Sunday, 12 January 2014

Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram (Review)

Genre: Paranormal/Supernatural
Number of Pages: 353
For ages 13+

"An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities. To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High's resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special. Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat? More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?" -Goodreads

So I had just finished Allegiant. I was a mess. Seriously a sobbing mess. And I was in DIRE need of a new, bubbly, somewhat happy book. And this book seemed like the perfect solution. I've LOVED Kelly Oram's other books like, The Avery Shaw Experiment, which I reviewed! You can find that here! And V is for Virgin. Both AWESOME! So, I was pretty positive I was going to like this one.

At first, I was a bit skeptical about the "superhero powers" thing. I'm not really into the whole super hero vibe, but hey! It's good to try new things. And goodness gracious, I'm so glad I did.

Jamie Baker is your average girl. She goes to high school... Uh... Actually that's about the only average thing about her. She goes to high school. What is most definitely not average about her is the fact that she has, oh yeah! SUPER HUMAN QUALITIES? That's not average. And that caused lots of issues in for Jamie in this book. And I seriously felt so bad for the girl. And due to the fact that she was basically a super hero, minus the saving part, Jamie wasn't the sweetest girl at her school. But can you blame her? Luckily, a handsome quarter back with the name of Ryan changes things up. And I'm sure all of you know by now what this means... *Cue the sighs*

... He was so stinking swoon worthy. I had to say it guys, I had to. Because it is seriously so true. The guy swept me off my feet the moment he talked to Jamie. I was a goner. (For a fictional character, once again. I know, this is an issue.) And from then on, I was Team Ryan all the way. Sometimes he could come off as a bit arrogant, but it was kind of charming in a way? The boy knew what he wanted, that's for sure. And no matter what Jamie said to sway him, he was not giving up. Thank goodness for that. I loved that he wasn't afraid of Jamie for what she was. He was willing to help her. Seriously, guys, you have no idea how many times I wanted to squeal like the teenage girl I am because of some of the things he said. What's that? You want an example? Well, if you insist! (I was gonna share one anyway, but we'll just pretend you all were begging for one.)

"After that day, every time I was with you I got brief glimpses of the real Jamie, the one who is dying to break out, and she was this fun, relaxed,
smart, funny, caring girl. Finding out the truth about you only made you that much more incredible. You’re so strong. You’ve gone through so much,
you’re going through so much, but you never stop trying. You’re amazing.” -Ryan Miller 

Uhh... CAN YOU SEE WHY NOW? Oh my gravy... That's only one example. That's just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to Ryan. BUT, you all will have to read the book to get the rest of the swoony-ness. Let's just say this is yet another example of why I have extremely unrealistic expectations for teenage boys. Oh... and he's goin' on the list.  You know? The super lengthy one I have filled with swoon worthy boys? (And goodness gracious my paragraph about Ryan's swoony-ness was the longest one on this post. I have a problem. I admit it.)

While I was a bit wary at the beginning of this book, it exceeded my expectations. I was filled with laughs, sighs, and sitting on the edge of my seat moments. (Well, the edge of my figurative seat) 5 of 5 diva crowns! I would recommend this book to people who love a bit of supernatural with their romance. And if you are more of a fan of contemporary romance, I would still recommend this book. Shake things up a bit! I'm telling you, you are going to love it.


In case any of you were wondering what I was listening to while reading this book I was listening to Mindy Gledhill's album, Anchor, and if YOU are looking for a great playlist for a book you're reading make sure to check out my post on a playlist for any kind of genre! You can find that here!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you all had a great weekend and I hope your week is filled with *SPARKLES!*

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A Playlist for Any Kind of Genre!

First of all, you all are probably thinking, "Wait? Julia's posting AGAIN? I thought this was just going to be a weekly thing..." I'm terribly sorry. But when I said I was back I MEANT IT! This isn't going to be normal for me to post every day but I HAD to share this idea I had with you all...

When I'm reading a book I have to have SOMETHING in the background. I just have one of those brains where if I only have silence, it's louder than anything. And no matter how many times my English teacher tells me it's MORE difficult to read and do homework with background noise than without, there's no way I'm focusing. So, I listen to music! But I'm also the kind of person who can't just listen to any kind of music. (Gasp! Did Jewelz just use italics instead of capitalizing something?!Yeah.. I know what italics are!) Before I start reading I always make sure I have the perfect type of music for its genre. So, I thought I would share those with all of you!

I'm posting YouTube videos that link to a playlist for each type of book so you all can use these if you're really needing a good reading playlist to get you in the mood!

First off, there's anything Dystopian, or Science Fiction, or anything that's going to be a bit dark and twisted. For that I like to listen to Coldplay! I especially like their album "A Rush of Blood to the Head."

I also like to listen to their album, "X and Y."

Now, some of you may not be the biggest fans of Coldplay. Do not fear. I have a playlist for you!

Adele's album, "21" is also good for darker books!

If you're reading a more light and fluffy contemporary romance I would recommend Mindy Gledhill's album, "Anchor." It's so sweet and it always gets me in a bubbly mood. (I'm actually listening to this album as I type this!)

If you're reading a contemporary romance that has a bit of a darker theme to it I would recommend pretty much anything Sara Bareilles. I've been obsessed with her album, "The Blessed Unrest" ever since it came out this summer!

I also love her album, "Little Voice"

If you aren't a Sara Bareilles fan I would also recommend Ingrid Michaelson's album, "Be Ok."

I actually think Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson are great for ANY genre! They have a whole mix of different songs that would be great for any book. I also love Christina Perri!

And last but not least, if you're the type of person who just CAN'T listen to music with words while
you're reading, I have the solution for you! The Piano Guys are AMAZING and their music is breath taking... and completely instrumental.

Hopefully this post was a bit helpful to you! I'm hoping that even if you didn't like everything on the playlists I provided you, that you at least found SOMETHING. Maybe one song that you think fits perfectly with a book you're reading now? I thought it would be something a bit different from what I usually do! 

Just a quick side note: I'm currently reading Allegiant but I have to keep stopping because I KNOW something is going to happen at the end and I know it's going to be devastating. I don't know if I'm going to be able to bear it so... I'm slowly reading it. SLOWLY.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope everyone's rest of the weekend is filled with *SPARKLES!*

Friday, 3 January 2014

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (Review)

Wow! So, I haven't posted a review since JULY. And I am SUPER sorry... This school year has been absolutely insane for me and I didn't really understand when people said Junior year was the hardest but, I would say they were beyond right. I've had to do more work this year than ever. High school is kicking my behind. Along with play practice and all of my other theater things, well, I've had close to no time to read or review. And I miss it. A lot. So that, my friends, is why I am BACK! I have made it a goal to go back to my review ways and post a review every week! Obviously today isn't Sunday, but I just finished this book and felt the need to review. I apologize for the super long paragraph filled with dumb excuses.... ONTO THE REVIEW! (Did you miss my overuse of capitalization?) (and my overuse of parentheses to give little tidbits of information you guys REALLY didn't need?)


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Number of Pages: 416
For ages 13+

"If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?" -Goodreads

I have been on a MAJOR contemporary romance kick lately... Seriously cannot get enough of it. And this book was exactly what I was looking for! Sidenote (as if I don't make enough already): I had no idea this was the same author of The Statistical Probablity of Love at First Sight until after I bought the book! COOL!

This book was filled with all my favorite kinds of things. A swoony boy, a hilarious, quirky, main character, and... Did I mention a swoony boy? Just thought I should make that known just in case any of you forgot. 

Ellie is the kind of character you wish you knew. She's gutsy, she's super funny, and she's unbelievably sweet. And while she has faults, you just can't help but have this need to help her. Even though that's pretty much impossible. (Crazy, I know.) Ellie has had some hardships in her past and it causes her to be a bit wary when it comes to some things. (I can just hear my English teacher right now, "Julia, there's a better word to use there instead of 'things.'" BUT I'M NOT ABOUT TO GIVE STUFF AWAY.) There were times when I just wanted to tell the poor girl that it was okay to be a little adventurous. To just let things happen. But who am I kidding? I'm a complete wuss and if I were in her shoes, I would probably be doing the same stuff she was doing. But hey, if there was a swoony boy involved, maybe I would have been a bit more adventurous in her shoes. 

If I hadn't made it clear enough in my previous paragraphs, there's a swoony boy in this book. (SAY WHAT?) Not to mention he's a STINKING MOVIE STAR. I loved the fact that in the emails between Graham and Ellie we really got to see their personalities. They didn't know who the other person was on the other side of the computer screen and they weren't afraid to tell some of their deepest feelings. Plus, their banter back and forth was beyond adorable. Like, seriously, people, (I think I misused all of those commas...) the amount of sweet in this book could give you cavities.  

I loved the fact that we got both points of view in this book. We got to see that Graham isn't just some stuck up, pampered movie star. We see that he had a normal childhood, and we see his inner struggles. (As cliche as that sounds.) And some of the things he said had me falling back on my bed and sighing, stereotypical teenage girl style, I know. This is why I have unrealistic expectations of teenage boys, people. BECAUSE OF THESE BOOKS. Do I stop reading, though? No I most definitely do not... 

And while I rave and rave about the swoony-ness of this book, I couldn't help but feel unresolved in the end. Don't get me wrong, I loved everything else about this book, as you can tell. But, the ending just didn't feel like enough for me. There was something more that I think I was wanting from it that I just didn't get. It may just be a me thing. I'm the kind of person who lives off of resolved endings. And this one kind of did, just not enough for me. It ended with possibility instead of a for sure thing. Which is completely okay! Just not my taste. But do not, I repeat DO NOT, let that keep you from reading this book. It will make your heart flutter and make you wish you could have a boyfriend that was a sweet, sensitive movie star. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 diva crowns! It had me swooning every other page and gave me the teenage girl giggles. I'm pretty sure there were moments in this book where I was all alone in my room smiling to myself. I highly recommend this book to contemporary romance lovers! This book will leave you feeling light and fluffy. (Because apparently, to me, that's a feeling...) 



Thanks so much for reading! I'm sorry I've been absent for so long, but I'm back! I hope everyone's rest of the week is filled with *sparkles* and that everyone had a FANTABULOUS New Years!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Better Late Than Never: My Trip to Paris and London!

Well, hello there! This post is going to be quite different from what I usually post but I thought it would be cool to post some pictures from my sixteenth birthday trip to Europe! I actually went in late June but just now got around to doing this! (Thanks to Danielle Sibarium for giving me the idea!)

So about three years ago I fell in love with Paris... all because of a book. Anna and the French Kiss. This book seriously made me OBSESSED. I redecorated my room, I wanted to learn to speak French, and I began to dream of taking a trip to Paris. In my family, on your sixteenth birthday you get to take a trip to pretty much wherever you want. I knew where I wanted to go when I turned sixteen. PARIS. So this summer I finally got to go with my mom and I was lucky enough that my best friend, Megan, got to tag along with us. And my mom also decided to go to London as well! So, basically it was a mix of Etienne St. Clair... French boys and English boys. And the trip was beyond amazing. Better than I even dreamed. So here's what we did... (Be prepared for LOTS of photos. I'm warning you now...)

Where we went was basically planned around ALL of the places in Anna and the French Kiss. And we did go to every single place mentioned. Except for the top of Notre Dame... :( The lines were always insanely long and we never had the time to wait...

We rented an apartment in Paris so we could feel all French and such and THIS was the view from our apartment...

Yeah, that's the Eiffel Tower. Right by our apartment. It was CRAZY. 

Here's the inside of our apartment:

These stairs went down to a super creepy, but super cool basement. This was where Megan and I originally thought we were going to sleep but once it was night time we changed our minds. Luckily, there was another room upstairs we used!

We visited the Eiffel Tower (duh!)
(I'm the one in the blue dress, in case you were wondering!)

We also took a tour on the Seine river!

Then we got food from the small food market across from our apartment! 
(Fresh baguettes, some Boursin, and then some fancy carbonated drinks that we put in fancy glasses!)
It was seriously so delicious and all it was was bread and cheese. That's France for ya.

The next day we slept in late because we were SO jet lagged. We literally fell asleep at 6:00 the night before and then woke up at 10:00 pm ready for the day... Yeah. Since we slept in late we decided to get a quick brunch!
I got a Croque Monsieur which is a pretty common breakfast/lunch food in France! It's basically just ham and cheese melted with more cheese melted on the bread. It's pretty darn good. 

Then we took the metro to Notre Dame!

The inside was absolutely gorgeous. I can't even put into words how amazing it was.

Then, of course I had to go to point zero near Notre Dame since it's such an important part of Anna and the French Kiss. 
And I HAD to make a wish on it!
(Note my shoes. Wearing flats? Huge mistake. My feet were KILLING me the rest of the day.)

Then we ate lunch at a nearby cafe and after that we went to Etienne's church: St. Etienne Du Mont! AHHH!

And then off to the Pantheon!

After that we headed towards the Latin Quarter where a lot of students live and go to school. (This is where the school in ANNA took place in! Also where the characters would hang out all the time!) Plus, super cheap shopping! And on our way there was a Creperie! Which I decided was the same one that the characters in ANNA ate at!

 I got some kind of caramel crepe. It was probably my favorite dessert I had in Paris.

Then we HAD to get some French macarons! It's a must.

Then we were off to the Luxembourg Gardens!

 And thankfully for me, that was the last stop that day. By that time I could barely walk. I was pretty much hobbling behind my Mother and Megan. 

The next day we went to the lock bridge where Megan and I put a lock on it and threw the key in the Seine River!

And here's me and my Momma! 

Then I had THE best lunch ever at another cute cafe!
I also ate completely French. Which meant using a fork to eat my French fries. ;)

Then we went to the Louvre which, sadly, was somewhat disappointing. I wasn't all that amazed. We mostly went to see the Mona Lisa and it was jam packed in that room so I got a less than decent picture...
Isn't my picture stunning?

And then we went to Pere Lachaise, the cemetery Anna, Etienne, and the rest of the gang go to! This cemetery was insane. Some of the tombs were literally the size of a large shed. 

Victor Noir. Known for giving fertility if you rub... well... you get the picture.

After we went to Arc de Triomphe!

At the top of Arc de Triomphe!

Champs Elysees! 

Then we headed back to the area of our apartment where we got some dinner before going up in the Eiffel Tower that night!

After we went up we had about ten more minutes before the sparkly lights were supposed to appear on the Eiffel Tower! 

On our last day in Paris we went to Versailles!

The next day was my birthday and we were off to London on a train!

Unfortunately, I got a not-so-great birthday lunch on the train...

In London we went and saw all sorts of places:
Westminster Abbey

Big Ben

London Bridge

Tower Bridge

London Eye

Parliament Building

The Globe Theater

At the Globe Theater I got to be dressed as a tradition Elizabethan woman would dress. It was actually an amazing experience. The clothing was SUPER heavy.

Tower of London

Soldier at the Tower of London

Buckingham Palace! (Sadly, no sign of Kate... Do they KNOW who I am?)

Then the day before we left we went to go see Matilda the Musical. You seriously have no idea how excited I was for this. I had been DYING to see it and we were lucky enough to get tickets! 

It was beyond amazing. I pretty much almost cried at the end just because it was so fantastic. I had chills. 

So that, my friends, was my WONDERFUL sixteenth birthday trip to Europe. It was most definitely an experience I will never forget. I am extremely lucky that I even got a chance to experience the culture of both of these places. If I had a favorite part it would probably be sitting at the cafes in Paris and experiencing everything. Nothing fancy. But very French. And that's what I wanted.

 Hopefully you guys enjoyed looking at all of these pictures. I do realize there are a whole bunch but that was just the short version of the trip. I took over a thousand pictures! Crazy, I know, but I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss one bit.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope the rest of your week is filled with *SPARKLES!*