Hello. Today is my birthday so I thought it would be perfect to post my holiday gift guide aka a thinly veiled wish list of beautiful books.

perfect gift guide
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Hi! Today, I have a giveaway for the Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly. It’s about MERMAIDS! and there’s also pretty stellar nail polish colors.

deep blue by jennifer donnelly

Add It: Goodreads
Pre-order Rogue Wave, the sequel: Amazon, Indiebound,B&N
Learn more: Official site, author site

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations.

Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

Here’s what you can win, courtesy of Disney Hyperion. US only, sorry. I think the cover for Rogue Wave is so gorgeous! A closer up look.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I wrote before about Taylor Swift as an unlikable female character but “unlikable characters” is something I think about A LOT so here it goes again.

sound bite

When you read a review of Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy, they usually go along something the lines of “Alice is so unlikable” and everyone either loves Harvey or wants to kick him into his senses.

I can understand this but what struck most to me was that if I were Alice, I would have been.so.much.worse. In fact, I remember I was rooting for her at one point to be even MEANER. More aggressive. Harsher. Basically, you would fucking hate me if I were a YA character.

Have you ever read a Courtney Summers book? I haven’t read all of them because they make me too anxious at times but the ones I’ve read: wow. Courtney Summers is unflinching. I think these books are important to people, like how YA is important, because they show us being a teenage girl is rough. Being a person is rough. It’s not the best. I was the most depressed as a high school student. It was just not a good time for me and it’s not like I was bullied (that was earlier) either. Sometimes there’s a darkness clawing at you and you can’t escape. Sometimes you claw right back and you don’t make good decisions. What teenager always makes the right decision anyway?

I can’t always read these books because godhowterribleitistorealizeTEENAGERS ARE SO CRUEL. We can read teenagers kill each other on The Hunger Games with some form of detachment but we can’t read about teens being unlikable. Why? I don’t know. It hits too close to home for me but I think I would have really appreciated this as a teen. There’s such a tumultuous amount of emotions and it’s always nice to realize you are not alone. Maybe you don’t “grow out” of being unlikable but you learn how to be more amendable. Spoiler alert: I still do not feel like a “likable” person. I’m very aware of my faults and I’m very paranoid.

Whenever someone says a character is “unlikable”, I tend to give that character ESPECIALLY IF IT IS A GIRL because it is USUALLY A GIRL more leeway. I’m not saying I “like” every “unlikable” character or that I even that I always enjoy reading about them, but I understand. I’ve been there too.

I like encountering flawed people because I am a deeply flawed person. Other people want more perfect people because they’re more perfect or their addiction to perfection blocks how deeply flawed they are. Being human is having compassion for your own flawed self. First is to have compassion for other people. People who are only worthy of our sympathy are only people that are good? That is a chilling logic. We’re not perfect but that doesn’t mean we don’t have value. The best training is being sympathetic towards flawed people because you’ll need it for your own flawed self. – Junot Díaz

This weekend, I went to YALLFest and it was p cool.

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blue lily lily blue by maggie stiefvater

Release Date: October 21st 2014
Source: ARC (Thanks, Scholastic!)
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon, Indiebound

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

I almost reached the end of Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater before realizing “wait….what has actually happened in this book so far?” I am going to be honest; I actually have no clue what’s going on in this series. Like, at all. I think we have already established I am not the most astute reader. If you asked me to explain it to you, I would say there are boys and there’s a girl and psychics and no kissing (JK maybe kissing except there is also the possibility of DEATH BY KISSING) they want to find this THING and IDK READ IT? I ENJOY IT A LOT??

This is what I can tell you about Blue Lily, Lily Blue: there is a guy who talks in ALL CAPS (I guess I can kind of relate to this), clandestine phone calls, and of course it leaves you wanting the next book ASAP. Stiefvater’s writing is very beautiful and also, funny! I like that she knows how WTF it all seems and balances it with humor when you least expect it.

The reason why I love the Raven Cycle series so much: the relationship between Blue and the Raven Boys. In The Dream Thieves, there was a quote about how Blue is a little bit in love with them and in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, it’s about how they are all in love with another. I may not understand plot but I UNDERSTAND FEELINGS!! They’re all intertwined with each other and I am so invested in all of them so STIEFVATER BETTER NOT KILL ANY OF THEM, DAMMIT. (ugh, she totally is though)

So, my end note? I don’t understand anything that’s going on but I AM INTO IT, ANYWAY.

Sound: The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving

Oh hey, another group of boys that ends in DESPAIR AND A PILE OF SADNESS. Nothing makes me sadder than The Beatles. This song is considered one the greatest of all time but I have no clue what it’s about. Supposedly meditation or whatever but it leaves me feeling confused in a good way. Like the Raven Cycle series.