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Sep 19 2014

Story Gazing {22}: Isla and the Happily Ever After

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Story Gazing is a bi-weekly feature we started here at Lit Up Review and is a fun way to recommend new books to our readers through an “if you like blank, then you should try blank” format. This week, I’m recommending some melt-y romances to fans of Isla and the Happily Ever After.


Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | Goodreads

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

If you liked Isla and the Happily Ever After, you may like…

justoneday Just One Day by Gayle Forman | Goodreads

 If you looked to Isla for the wanderlust aspect, this is definitely a great one to pick up. Gayle Forman is a stunningly talented author, painting cities in romantic lights bathed in a specific realism. It has a bit of that fall-fast-fall-hard feel to the romance which is exactly what the book aims to capture, especially in the year of reflection after the main character has her love moment. It’s lovely.

theinfinitemomentThe Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle | Goodreads

 I usually struggle with contemporary books that feature instalove; with paranormal, at least I can usually attribute it to a demon/zombie/werewolf quirk. The Infinite Moment is heavy on the romance, heavy on the characters, a bit of a stretch, but exactly what you need for a quick swoon.

dieformeDie for Me by Amy Plum | Goodreads

The gorgeous Parisian backdrop and romance reminds me strongly of a paranormal version of Isla and the Happily Ever After. From clearly elaborate world building to a fascinating take on “revenants”, everything from the dynamite French culture to the immersive romance is spot-on. It’s a fun read!

Happy reading! What contemporary romances would y’all suggest?

Sep 17 2014

Waiting on Wednesday {50}

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Waiting On Wednesday is originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, but we just love this meme so much we had to tag along! Each Wednesday, one of the Lit Up Review writers will post a book she is looking forward to, along with the summary and cover. You can find all of these posts by clicking on the category button and selecting “Waiting on Wednesday, and fill up your Goodreads shelves with great books to get excited about!

17563833Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez | Goodreads
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

I love Jessica Martinez’s books and will read anything she writes. Kiss Kill Vanish seems like a bit of a deviation from her usual style, more thrilling and mysterious than her previous works, but I have complete confidence in her ability to pull it off. If this upcoming release is half as good as her past books, you want it on your TBR.

Sep 14 2014

The Weekly Blaze {54}: September 8-14

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Content was a bit sparse on Lit Up Review this week, but we’re proud of what we did manage to get posted. Here are the two posts you may have missed:

Tuesday, September 9: Calling all #TeenBookBloggers: We are looking for more bloggers 17 and under to interview!

Thursday, September 11: Ten Illuminations on Books Set in Schools: Heading into another school year? So are some of these characters.

Saturday, September 13: Grace’s Discussion post about Why You Should Listen to Audiobooks: “Try books with beautiful writing, suspenseful/scary books, funny ones – those often have the best impact for me on audio!”

Sep 13 2014

Why You Should Listen to Audiobooks

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Today I’m here to talk about something that has really become even more prevalent in my life since July: audiobooks. I’ve written variations of these, dedications to books-on-tape and why I enjoy them. I’ve even written a few reviews for them.

I go through phases with them. I go through obsessions to where I listen to three in a week (which is a lot for me) and every time I go to bed and every time I’m somewhere that I can pop in my earbuds.

Last month, I got a concussion and I’ve just now been easing back into “real” reading.

I’m not addicted to reading; I’m addicted to stories. I like collecting characters. I like the blur in my head when I start to say something and realize – no, that didn’t happen to me, that happened in a book I read. I like feeling like I’m connected to so many people and places and ideas, living other lives because I’ll only ever get to live my own.

So I needed an outlet to get stories. I couldn’t watch movies or do anything with visual stimulation (my visual tracking was in less than the 2nd percentile) so I turned to audio. I got a library card again and set it all up, enduring my screen sensitivity so I could scroll through and pick out some books.

I’m horribly picky, but I’ve discovered some excellent reasons why I’ll be listening to audiobooks even when I’m perfectly fine with text.


Most libraries – including my own  – have fantastic online programs.

If you log into your library’s website (if you’re in Hillsborough County, it’s here – and head on over to their eBooks and Online section, if they have something similar. Overdrive Media allows you to check out a book or place holds, and you can either check out eBooks or audiobooks. All you have to do is download the program and you can immediately start listening to your book.

It’s through your library so it’s free of course, and you don’t have to worry about turning them back in because the program does it for you. It gives you a generous lending period of about 21 days and you can always renew them or check them out again. It’s perfect for me because I’m awfully picky about narrator and audiobooks. I don’t know whether I like an audiobook or not until I actually listen to most of it and so I often hesitate to purchase them because they’re pretty pricey.

Even then, there are programs online that do similar things. There’s SYNC, where you get a free YA audio download each week of the summer, paired with a classic on audio, that’s a great way to get popular titles. There are programs like Audiobooks.com and Audible (which I hesitate to mention due to my prejudice against Amazon at the moment).

It’s easier than ever to get audiobooks online. I either use iTunes or my public library and they’re great!


When I was given the all-clear to begin reading, I was also given the all-clear to begin physical activity again. I’m a lacrosse player and it’s an intense sport, so I was dreading the process of getting my body back to its usual, especially since conditioning is coming up. My motivation?

Screenshot 2014-08-31 14.19.54

Listen to audiobooks at the gym. Yes, I’m THAT girl. Although I thought it wouldn’t help much, I’ve tried to cut down on listening to them in other places. Then, when I want to listen, I get myself to work out while I’m doing it. (You get so focused on the book that you forget how miserable running is.)

Also, I’m a student so I of course dread homework time. I’d so much rather be blogging! Anyways, listening to an audiobook while I’m doing insufferable busy work (that requires no brainpower) makes it so much better too. Audiobooks are a good way to motivate yourself to do things because you can read AND get things done.


I want to read when I’m on the verge of sleeping; I want to read when I’m in the shower, or doing random things that paper and e-books are simply implausible for doing. When I’m exhausted and physically can’t open my eyes to read, but I can’t stand letting go of the story, there’s nothing I like more than listening to the book I love.

It brings it to life in a way that takes it beyond the words. There’s something thrilling about a book-to-movie adaptation, or hearing a narrator press personalities into words and voices. It makes it much more cinematic. Books that have good stories, but are often rather plain, can be turned into great reads via audio. It’s really wonderful. Especially if I’m rereading books, audio brings it to a different level that makes me appreciate them much more. If you have some books that you put down or were disappointed by, try checking it out on an audiobook.

I’ve definitely been converted into a listener, not only a reader. I’ve always been a music-person but audiobooks were a little out of my comfort zone.


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater | Goodreads
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black | Goodreads
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver | Goodreads
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson | Goodreads
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake | Goodreads

Try books with beautiful writing, suspenseful/scary books, funny ones – those often have the best impact for me on audio! My current listen is Before I Fall.

What do y’all think about audiobooks? Are you listeners or straight readers?


Sep 11 2014

Ten Illuminations {11}: Books Set in Schools

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“Ten Illuminations” is a bi-weekly feature hosted by Lit Up Review where we recommend our ten favorite books that fit under one topic. Inspired by The Broke and The Bookish’s “Top Ten Tuesday,” “Ten Illuminations” gives you five people’s recommendations in one!

September has arrived and students all over the world are heading back to high schools and universities (or, if your school is like mine, you have been back for over a month), so we are recommending some books that incorporate education into their plots.


5925969Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald | Goodreads

The premise of this novel? Two girls, two reasons for getting as far away from home as possible, and one botched foreign exchange program. Party girl Natasha is now in over her head at Oxford and serious student Emily is trying to navigate the sun-soaked campus of UCSB. As these two girls attend each other’s schools, they develop new parts of themselves they never knew existed, become more confident, and discover what they really want out of life. With themes of feminism and creating the true you, this book is surprisingly thought-provoking and still so much fun.

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur | Goodreads7786516

A book about Harvard students written by two Harvard graduates results in a fascinating look into the life of someone who studies at one of America’s most prestigious universities. However, based on the plot alone, you would never guess that the characters attend an Ivy League school. They engage in countless ridiculous antics, making The Ivy on of the funniest, most entertaining books I have ever read.



10964693The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides | Goodreads

Despite this novel being grey area between YA, New Adult, and Adult, to me the portrayal of life at Brown University (another Ivy) was, to put it plainly: refreshing. It wasn’t romanticized or overly exaggerated and although I’ve yet to be a university student, I found it be gloriously authentic. While Eugenides is better known for his other novels, namely Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides, Eugenides attended Brown which is so evident in the novel– there are aspects of the book that I feel like only a Brown student would know and know well enough to write about. In addition to a great setting, the romance in The Marriage Plot is quite captivating as well– definitely recommend this one!

11699323Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin | Goodreads

A very different pick, this one, but it immediately came to mind when I heard the topic. Set in a high school in New York City, this brutally honest (and hilarious!) portrayal of freshmen year is no doubt one of my favorites. You know this moments in high school where everything seems to have gone awry and it’s so bad that it’s almost funny? That feeling is this book, except this book really is funny. Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters will no doubt have you laughing, but at the same time it will have you reliving the inevitable truths of high school in this authentically frank portrayal.




Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti | Goodreads

I’m a huge Susane Colasanti fan, and this book was by far the hardest one for me to read. It’s the story of Noelle, a girl is brutally bullied in school and is neglected by her mother, and feels alone in the world. It’s the story of her learning about love, standing up for herself, and growing into a stronger woman. Although I couldn’t directly relate to much of what Noelle goes through, I think it’s definitely one that many others could, which is why I so highly suggest it. Keep Holding On will make you not want to stop flipping pages, and maybe even bring out a couple tears. Maybe.

18667792Conversion by Katherine Howe | Goodreads

This is fairly recent release, and one I think deserves far more love than it has received. Katherine Howe is a New York Times Bestselling Author and let me tell you – this one is equally worthy of an award. She weaves together the story of Colleen, a senior at the prestigious St. Joan’s Academy where a mysterious disease has broken out, and the words of the girls of Salem Village who experienced a suspiciously similar disease… It brings together the stress of high school, the pressure of college, and the drama of friendships into one incredible novel that is sure to get you thinking.



852470I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter | Goodreads

If you know my reading tastes, you know that I’m a sucker for boarding school books. This series is one of the fundamentals of my love for young adult. It’s snappy, funny, dramatic, suspenseful. It’s quite literally everything I could ever want in a book. It has intensity, romance, and friendships that leave you swooning. From Cammie’s likable yet quiet narration to the absorbing plot, it’s phenomenal.

5287473Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins | Goodreads

I reread this book every year at Halloween. It’s a harbinger of the fall for me. Sophie is bubbly, a protagonist that you fall in love with every time. Sharp one-liners and a boarding school setting positively dazzling with intrigue, it has that satisfying paranormal feel that I miss from a few years ago. And the romance!



Solving for Ex

Solving for Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans | Goodreads

I really love this book a lot. Although I’m not a fan of math, I think it’s important to have more female characters in/interested in the STEM fields represented in YA books. And with the whole Matheletes aspect, this book definitely fulfills that. Additionally, it’s a pretty well-written story about being in love with your best friend and also about dealing with high school in general. I saw a lot that I could relate to in this book. Plus, it’s apparently a Mansfield Park-inspired book (I say apparently because I haven’t read MP). I really do recommend this book, as there’s so much you can get out of it. Plus, the companion novel just came out!

This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | Goodreads

I don’t talk about this book enough, which is why when I was picking between Fangirl and This Song, I went with This Song Will Save Your Life. This is one of those books I wish I’d had in middle school and in my early high school years. It’s the kind of book that lets you know that there are so many people out there that get it. That get what it’s like to be awkward and alone and all of that. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also comforting. And though much of the book occurs outside of school, a lot of what she’s going through is as a result of something that happened in school or caused something else to happen in the book. Also, if you’re a music lover like I am, this is fabulous book that explores music and the effect music can have on people. All in all, I just love this book, and I highly recommend it. I might even go back and reread this sometime.



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