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Magan: What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

magan of rather be reading announces sheWhat to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway, Sharon Mazel
Publication Date: February 1, 2002
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Pages: 597
Target audience: Pregnant women!
Keywords: babies, pregnancy, expecting a baby, books to read while pregnant
Format read: Whelp, I haven’t actually read it… yet.

Summary: Are you really confused right now? Do you need an explanation.
Continue reading for more details…

 

Approximately 120,291,584 times I’ve thought about what I would say in this post. I’ve written drafts of it in my head over and over and over again. And now that I’m actually writing it, I feel so nervous. I think I’m actually shaking. I haven’t read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but some time over the next 27 weeks, I think I might.

Here’s the short version of the story: Dustyn and I are expecting our very first baby. Holy cow, y’all, I am having a BABY. And today, a very special day — our nine-year wedding anniversary — I am so elated to share the news with you guys.

Here are a few answers to commonly asked questions:

  • When is your due date? February 7, 2014.
  • How far along are you? 13 weeks. Hello, second trimester!
  • Will you find out if you’re having a boy or a girl? We’re completely undecided. Part of us thinks it would be so fun to wait, but then we’re also a little bit Type-A and want to know how to plan and prepare. I think having our foster daughter has taught us to be a little more flexible and laid back though. So, anyway, this is still to be determined.
  • How did you keep this a secret? Well, Estelle has known since the very, very beginning. I basically asked her to keep the biggest secret ever because I was so overly fearful that something might happen and I didn’t really know how I would deal with losing a baby and having to explain that. A few people have known, but we just told our grandparents on Saturday (four days ago) that we’re expecting, so don’t worry friends, you’re not far behind!
  • Do you have baby names picked out? Well, you see. Baby Blasig is likely to be born on Estelle’s birthday, February 5th. According to her, we only have one name choice for our future baby boy or girl. 😉

Long Story:

This whole moment, announcing we’re pregnant, is really exceptional and amazing, but also a little bit bittersweet. For a long, long time Dustyn and I have been hoping for this. For the last three years, I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office more times than I can count because things were just completely out of whack with me. I’ve had tons of friends in this time span that have announced pregnancies, had babies, and even have a second bun in the oven. Despite my excitement and happiness for them, I was always a little bit heartbroken and jealous too. Such a bottle of conflicting emotions and so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t completely push away my sadness and desire to be a mom to celebrate their moments. For all of the time we spent hoping and trying, I am completely aware there may be some of you who are in my shoes right now. (I’ve got tears streaming down my face, thinking about all those emotions I dealt with.) I don’t, at all, want my post to be one that rubs my pregnancy in anyone’s face. I understand.

These last few years, and maybe more specifically, the last 18 months, were some of the toughest I’ve ever been through. I felt so emotionally drained and so fed up with how difficult everything was. I questioned why it had to be so hard for us. Many times I sat at a dinner table with Dustyn and wept as another month passed and we were left waiting. He ever so patiently and lovingly dealt with my roller coaster of emotions and was so supportive. (Sometimes maybe a little too much as he’d say, “I just know it’s going to happen soon.” Maybe his definition of “soon” is different than mine, but man did it feel like an eternity.)

Over a year ago, last June, I sat at a table with Dustyn and we discussed our future family. Adoption was something we had discussed, vaguely, but that night we became a bit more serious about it. We both agreed that we didn’t want to spend years trying to have a baby and then more time waiting to be chosen or waiting to finish the licensing process to foster children. We decided we would take until the end of August to think and pray about what we wanted to do. I kid you not, at church one day the last week of August, they announced a partnership with a foster agency and had sign-ups to begin the classes for licensing. I immediately walked to the table and signed us up (yes, without even discussing with Dustyn first).

magan of rather be reading announces her pregnancy

Dustyn + me after announcing to our grandparents that we are having a baby; we got all of them together by telling them we wanted to have a lunch with them to “celebrate our anniversary.” One of my grandmother’s brought a cake!

From September to February, we worked on our licensing and continued to try for a baby (that phrase is really awkward to me, by the way). More doctor’s appointments came and went and I grew increasingly frustrated that it seemed we weren’t getting anywhere. Nothing was happening! We began receiving phone calls for children needing a foster placement in March and for every time we missed the opportunity to have a child in our home, I wept. I was having a really hard time dealing. Nothing, absolutely nothing, seemed to be working according to plan. I decided I needed a mental and emotional break. I cleared a few weeks of my work schedule to allow myself some time off. The very next day, we were so, so graciously blessed with our beautiful foster daughter.

Over the last few months, I’ve kept a lower stress level and continued to work, but on a much less hectic scale than I had been. I’ve really focused my time and attention on baby girl. I had less time to worry about waiting two weeks after I ovulated to see if I was pregnant. We went to Colorado in May with my family and the trip was somewhat stressful for me. Our foster daughter’s schedule was off and she wasn’t sleeping well. We were also pushing her a bit with inconsistent nap times as we traveled and explored. When we arrived back home and I realized I missed my period, I didn’t even think twice about it. In my mind, I was off because I had been stressed. It took three more days and me running to our house to grab something on Memorial Day and having to clutch my chest because my boobs hurt so badly for me to ask Dustyn, finally, “Do you want to know or do you want to keep waiting?”

First of all, let’s just add a disclaimer right here. Never, ever take a pregnancy test at night, friends. Never.

He was already cuddled up in bed with a book after a long, long day of BBQing with our neighbors and friends. He told me he was ready to know. I grabbed my pregnancy test and went to our second bathroom (our bed looks directly into our bathroom — a) I didn’t want to pee in front of him and b) if I had a breakdown over a negative test result, I was going to need a while to compose myself). The moment the test says “positive,” I start SCREAMING. I should mention that our second bathroom is by baby girl’s bedroom so my screaming caused Dustyn to run out of the bedroom, trying to hush me and saying, “SHHHHH. YOU’RE GOING TO WAKE THE BABY!” I yelled back, oh so happily, “WE DON’T CARE. WE DON’T CARE TONIGHT! WE GOT A POSITIVE. WE ARE HAVING A BABY.”

And there in our hallway, we hugged and cried and laughed and stared in complete utter disbelief that a test had finally, finally, finally come back positive. The next day I took another one just to be sure. The next week, I took another test just to be sure. That night, we called our parents and Face Timed with them to tell them our good news. We swore them to absolute secrecy and they promised they wouldn’t breathe a word to anyone. For all our excitement, there was so much fear in me. I was so scared that after all this time, something was going to happen and this little slice of happiness was going to disappear. We laid in bed that night, giggling like little school girls, so excited and giddy. We couldn’t sleep!

I had a doctor’s appointment at eight weeks. Well, I thought I was eight weeks according to my last cycle, but the baby measured at seven. My due date was pushed back from January 31st to February 7th. After the night we found out, I never got overly emotional or excited about my pregnancy. Fear completely overtook me. At my first appointment, when we saw the baby for the first time, I wept like nobody’s business. The nurse practitioner held my hand and the doctor passed me tissues and patted me on the back. I guess it just didn’t seem “real” until then.

magan

Baby Irmagerd: the 12 week ultrasound

Last week, I had a 12 week check-up and Little Irmagerd (we looked up popular German names and Irmagerd made the top 20 list — it’s our temporary placeholder name) was measuring just fine. Everything looks perfectly okay and now that we’re at trimester number two, we feel confident sharing the news and letting our little secret be known.

I’ve had a relatively blissful first 13 weeks so far. I’ve not suffered from morning sickness, though I did throw up last week because I was brushing my teeth. Stupid gag reflex. I’ve been extremely tired and needed a lot more naps than I ever knew I would need to take. I haven’t had super odd cravings or felt ridiculously emotional. I feel so much like myself, but my stomach is poking out in a very self-conscious-inducing way because I just look pudgy and not pregnant. Everyone told us that once we stopped thinking about having a baby, it would happen. I suppose we have one little girl to thank for taking our minds off of things.

Maybe you’re wondering what we’re planning with her. Maybe you’re wondering if we’ll still want to adopt her. The answer is, if we can, absolutely yes. There’s no question in my mind that we want to make her a permanent member of our family. She feels like ours. We’re a long, long, long way away from knowing what will ultimately happen with her, but for now, we’ll continue to enjoy every single day with her and hope and pray she’ll be ours officially one day.

So friends, there’s the story. I’m having a baby. Rather Be Reading is expanding. (HA.) Nine beautiful years of marriage, and today we celebrate the hope of many, many more to come and the excitement of waiting for our little person to be here. Holy moly.

magan

 

December 22, 2013 - 12:44 pm

Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2013 Edition! - […] up to their readers and discuss personal issues like Magan’s reflection on foster care and pregnancy announcement make the experience seems all the more personal and allows their readers to connect with them on a […]

November 5, 2013 - 8:00 am

Happy 2nd Anniversary to Rather Be Reading! - […] kind of goes without saying that one of my favorite moments to get to share with you guys was announcing my pregnancy. My whole body was shaking that day as I read your comments, received your tweets/texts, and sobbed […]

August 11, 2013 - 10:31 am

Alexa Y. - I’ve already told you this, but I want to post an official comment on this post because it’s AMAZING. Congratulations to you + D! I can’t think of 2 people more suited to be parents, and I think it’s such a beautiful blessing for you both. Can’t wait to see your little family expand! So excited for Baby Blasig 🙂

August 9, 2013 - 1:56 pm

Kari - Your post just brought tears to my eyes! I’m SO happy for your expanding family! I know what it’s like to be trying for years and see friends being blessed with not one, but two, three and even for kids (one friend of mine is pregnant with baby number SIX). My husband and I welcomed our first baby earlier this year (February 1st!), and we’re beyond grateful for him and the joy he brings to our lives every day. Enjoy every second of your pregnancy! Spend time cherishing your little one as he or she continues to grow and develop inside you (okay, that sounds weird, but hopefully you know what I mean!). Happy, happy day! 🙂

August 8, 2013 - 11:19 pm

Katelyn - I know this comment is getting to you a bit late but I just wanted to let you know that I am so incredibly happy for you and Dustyn! I saw you mention this something in one of your Instagram pics and had to hurry on over to your blog to see what was going on(please don’t be freaked out I was stalking your pics, they’re always just so cute!). But anyways, getting back on track, this post most definitely brought tears to my eyes in the best way possible. I just know that this little baby is going to be so loved and that your little family is going to be even more adorable <3

August 6, 2013 - 12:19 am

elena - I’ve already said this before but AHHHHH SOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!! Cannot wait to see your new baby and I already know you are a fantastic mother!!! Good luck with everything and please keep me updated xx

August 5, 2013 - 10:06 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - MAGAN, you must think I’m the worst friend ever! I’m LATE LATE to the party, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited and thrilled and overjoyed at this news. I’m SO thrilled, SO happy, and I just don’t know what to say except that my face hurts from smiling so big. It really does. It probably looks really goofy but I don’t even care. I’m so sorry you didn’t hear from me sooner, but I’m toasting you and Dustyn RIGHT THIS SECOND, right here in my PJ’s. Now my prayers have expanded to included two babies! How exciting. I love it. 1 Samuel 1:27 NIV

August 4, 2013 - 12:51 pm

Liz (Along for the Read) - Congratulations, Magan! Such a beautiful post, and such exciting news! Have a wonderful, healthy pregnancy and enjoy every step of it.

Also, I am loving your current hair colour, and you look fantastic in that photo, it looks like pregnancy is treating you well.

August 3, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Magan - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL! I read all of your comments with tears streaming down my face. Getting to share the news felt so amazing and I’m so grateful for this little moment in our lives. So happy we get to share it with all of you. Thank you for all the love and support! I’m overwhelmed (in the best of ways!) by you guys! xoxoxo

August 2, 2013 - 8:37 pm

Annette - Your story brought tears to my eyes. I have several family members who have difficulty getting pregnant. One has two children now. One is still waiting and hoping.

Congratulations. Really…I’m so happy for you and your family. God bless you.

August 1, 2013 - 7:57 pm

picturemereading - Congratulations! That is an amazing story 🙂

August 1, 2013 - 1:45 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I exploded with love all over Twitter yesterday….I’m SO happy for you, Magan. Then, I popped over here to read your post, had a good cry, but couldn’t comment because I couldn’t see the screen through the tears. Perhaps it’s because all of the memories are all so fresh in my mind, but I just can’t wait for you to experience every amazing moment that pregnancy has to offer! I had an inkling of the struggles that you’d been through getting to this point, but you’ve explained it SO eloquently in this post that I just want to give you a massive hug for real.

July 31, 2013 - 10:05 pm

Sash - I’m overjoyed that you’re having a baby! 🙂 I know that you’ll be a great mother. Maybe you’ll even get into audiobooks so the little one can listen to books soon too! 🙂 So happy for you and Dustyn! Muah!

July 31, 2013 - 6:47 pm

Jenny - So very excited for you!! I loved every second of my pregnancy and max is more than I ever could have imagined… I wish the same for you and so much more!!

July 31, 2013 - 6:42 pm

kristi wright - So many happy thoughts coming your way. Congratulations!!! xoxo

July 31, 2013 - 5:48 pm

VeganYANerds - I am so, so happy for you guys! Enjoy every minute of it 🙂 xoxox

July 31, 2013 - 5:47 pm

Tara - I am so unbelievably happy for you and Dustyn!! You are already an amazing mom and baby #2 will be lucky to have you. My positive thoughts will be with you throughout your entire pregnancy 🙂 And I expect baby bump pics stat!

July 31, 2013 - 5:23 pm

Christine @ Oh, Chrys! - This is such amazing, sweet news! I loved the creative way you announced. Wish you the best with your pregnancy! Congratulations!

July 31, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Katie @ Mundie Moms - I AM SO HAPPY for you guys! I am literally in tears for you! I am so, so happy! Seriously! Congratulations! What an amazing time in your lives. You are such an amazing person, and I have always thought of you as an anchor of strength. Now I seriously want to go out and buy you baby items. I am dancing around for you. Enjoy this moment Magan! I could not be any happier for your family!

July 31, 2013 - 4:41 pm

Lori - I already told you that this made me cry, but I just read it again and got teary all over again! It took us a long time to get pregnant and we had given up for about a year and accepted it wasn’t going to happen…and then it did. Now I can’t imagine a life without that little guy. So this makes me extra thrilled for you guys.
I absolutely loved being pregnant and I miss it! I hope that yours continues to be smooth and that you enjoy it as much as I did. It’s such an amazing time. Just want until you start feeling that baby move! There’s nothing like it. Oh, and I never had bad morning sickness, but brushing my teeth made me throw up 3 out of 5 times lol. I’m going to stop rambling now, but I just gets so excited about pregnancy and babies these days.

Congrats again. You guys are already wonderful parents!

July 31, 2013 - 4:06 pm

Randi M - Happy anniversary & CONGRATULATIONS! I can’t even begin to imagine how hard the last few years have been for your family. Great news is great. 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 3:36 pm

Tressa - Congratulations! 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 3:30 pm

Nikki @ The Paper Sea - Such exciting news! I am so happy for you and Dustyn! Congratulations, and I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well!

July 31, 2013 - 2:59 pm

Cynthia - Congratulations Magan!!!!! I’m so happy for you!!! =D and she looks lovely already in that ultrasound.

July 31, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Daisy - OMG!!! CONGRATULATIONS!! 😀 I’m so happy for you guys!!!

July 31, 2013 - 2:18 pm

Elora Nicole - Welp. I’m crying. This is beautiful, Magan. SO EXCITED FOR YOU. <3

July 31, 2013 - 2:00 pm

Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea - Congratulations! I’m so happy for you Magan, here’s to a healthy and happy pregnancy for you! 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 1:28 pm

Elissa - I’m so happy for you, Magan. And this is so wonderfully written; I don’t consider myself maternal by any means but reading about how you felt when you saw the positive test made me want to cry for you (with happiness). What an amazing family you guys are!!!

July 31, 2013 - 1:13 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - AHHHH congrats, Magan!!!! That story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I am just over the moon for you guys! I’m so happy for you! xoxo

July 31, 2013 - 12:46 pm

Jessie @ Jessie Marie Reads - Oh. My. Goodness. CONGRATULATIONS! I’m in a puddle of my own tears of joy for you and yours and am so excited. What a beautiful story with a fantastic ending and the most promising of futures. Ah! Babies. Absolutely beautiful. Congratulations and best wishes for a super awesome pregnancy. : )

July 31, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - AAAAAAH! I am sitting here at work, CRYING because I am SO, SO HAPPY for you guys!! And just another reminder of things happening when their meant to, gosh, what wonderful news, Magan. I wish I could totally hug you right nooooow!

July 31, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Allison L - Ahhh Magan! I’m teary eyed right now because I’m so happy for you. Congratulations!! <3

July 31, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Hazel - I’m real happy for you guys!!! Congratulations!!!!

July 31, 2013 - 12:22 pm

Elizabeth @ Don't Take My Books Away - Congratulations! It is such a joy to be a parent (as I am sure your foster daughter has already taught you) and pregnancy is a really special time. I hope you enjoy it, even with its discomforts. And SO SO soon there will be a precious little baby to cuddle and love and watch grow– SO much fun!

July 31, 2013 - 12:18 pm

Betty - YAY!!! Congratulations!!!!! <3 This post literally made me tear up! So many of my friends have struggled to get pregnant or have gone through miscarriages. Pregnancy seems so simple and natural, yet it isn't always that easy! So so soooo happy for you– wish you all the absolute best!!!

July 31, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Lena @ Addicted 2 Novels - OMG, congratulations! That’s so amazing. Your baby was suppose to be born on my birthday (aka Justin Timberlake’s birthday). How funny!

AHHH, I’m seriously dying of happiness right now for the both of you. I know how long you’ve wanted this and already know what an amazing mother you are and will be. I hope the baby likes being photographed!

July 31, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Willa - CONGRATS MAGAN! YAY!

July 31, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Melissa Walker - AHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I love everything, everything, everything about the way you’ve expressed yourself here, and I am so happy for you guys. Your home is already full of love, it’s clear. What a lucky, lucky baby.

July 31, 2013 - 12:05 pm

Rachel - I totally skipped this post at first because I thought it was something else, but oh my gosh! I’m so so excited for you! Reading your story almost had me in tears I’ve known people in your position. Eeek! Best news ever 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 12:03 pm

Cassie - OH MY GODDDDDDDDDD Congratulations sweetheart!!! I HAVE NO DOUBT YOU WILL TREASURE EVERY MOMENT!! <3 congratttttttttttttttsssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 31, 2013 - 12:01 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - Everything happens for a reason <3 I love you sweet friend!

July 31, 2013 - 11:54 am

Ashley - I know I’ve told you this on instagram (heartontheline) and twitter (_ash) and we’re new friends, but I am so, so, so, so happy for you. Filled with love and joy for you. That baby (and your foster baby) are so lucky.

July 31, 2013 - 11:42 am

daphne - I don’t even know you and this has made me so happy. I’m so excited for you to become a mom. It’s a beautiful journey and it seems like you & your hubby are starting out on the right foot. Congratulations! I know you’re gonna be wonderful parents and your baby (and foster baby girl) are very lucky to have you guys.

July 31, 2013 - 11:40 am

Natalie @ books, etc - Congratulations Magan!!! I am so so happy for you guys <3

July 31, 2013 - 11:38 am

Morgan Rooks - Oh my goodness, what exciting news!! Congratulations!! Sending good vibes for a happy, healthy pregnancy!

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Magan: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by by Louise Rozett

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for Confessions of an Angry Girl. Proceed with caution.

Book Review of Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett
Series: Confessions #2 (My review for Confessions of an Angry Girl.)
Publication Date: July 25, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: therapy, confusing relationships, bullying, domestic violence
Format read: ARC received via NetGalley. Thank you to Harlequin Teen!

Summary: Soon to begin her sophomore year of high school, Rose is determined to have a different experience than her last year. She’s reinventing herself while trying to figure out her questionable relationship with Jamie and dealing with heaps of family drama that continues to mount after the death of her father last year.

At the end of Confessions of an Angry Girl, there was a huge prom debacle involving crazy Regina (don’t worry — I’m being vague) and Rose was left more confused than ever about Jamie Forta. He had a very cryptic note delivered to her and their contact was cut off. The summer months have separated Jamie and Rose, and that’s right where Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend begins. Rose is about to begin her sophomore year of high school. She and Jamie haven’t spoken or seen each other in months.

Rose is still very hard on herself — wishes she had more style and thinks her hair is ridiculous — but she’s determined to have a better year. She decides that she’ll be Rose 2.0, reinvented and sassier than ever. She ditches the school band and tries to find a new niche by auditioning for the school musical. (All the while questioning whether or not she can sing.)

She and Tracy, after much separation and freshman-year-drama, are finally on the mend again. Tracy’s had a huge wake-up call and while Rose still wishes things had happened a bit differently, she’s happy to be reunited with her best friend. It was pretty refreshing to see a friendship so deeply explored — to go from a very fragile state and back to a healthy and happy place again. (That’s real life; friendships ebb and flow.)

Then there’s her family. Of course. Her brother, Peter, has bigger issues. He and Rose have almost lost touch completely; she knows he’s in trouble, but there’s really no way to reach him. She and her mom are attending family therapy sessions together. These were some of my favorite scenes because Rozett did a lovely job making them comical; Rose’s mom has a helluva time turning off her therapist switch and frequently gets put in her place by their therapist.

And finally, there’s Jamie. He’s not sure Rose is good enough for him so he’d rather back away than get more serious. (Hmm.) And Rose just can’t help but fall for him a little more every day. Regina is sadly still on the peripheral and Rose doesn’t really understand their relationship. They aren’t dating anymore, but Jamie can’t seem to step away.

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend is a fantastic follow-up novel. Rose really grows and matures in ways that made me proud; she speaks up for herself and continues to do the right thing. Sure, Jamie and Rose’s relationship made me feel a little like — GAH! JUST MAKE UP YOUR MINDS ALREADY! — but once I flipped the final page, I felt it all made sense. Hopefully you’ll love the journey and continue to fall in love with these characters, too.

(By the way, there’s a bit of a bonus at the end of Confessions. I loved the Q&A with Louise Rozett!)

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July 31, 2013 - 10:20 am

Cassie - WOOHOOOO! I love this series! There was a LOT going on in this installment though! It was handled well, but.. a bit shocking to say the least!

I can’t wait for more from this series though, because JAMIE FORTA <3

July 31, 2013 - 9:17 am

Bookworm1858 - I loved that their friendship was on the mend! Its breakup was so sad to me (way more than anything Jamie Forta did) and was so glad to realize it was back to business for the girls. I really enjoy this series and am hoping most fervently for a third.

July 31, 2013 - 9:07 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - I think I enjoyed the first one a bit more, but I still really enjoyed this one from Louise Rozett! (Come on, Rose, don’t be mean to musicals.)
JAMIE. Gah. Jamie just kills me. When he first showed up, I practically had palpitations haha. Then it was a struggle for the rest of the book. Again! Come on kids, just get together!
Since this book dealt with sophomore year, I’m hoping we’ll get junior & senior in the next two books! Such a fan of this series 🙂

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Sweet Summertime Reads: From Songs to Pages

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!
It’s music week for us! If you stopped by Ginger’s post yesterday, you’ll see that she created a Sweet Summertime Reads playlist for this year! Hopefully you’ll find some fun new tracks to jam to during your own summer adventures.

So what’s our contribution this week? Well, you know we love stories. Duh, we have a book blog and read like it’s going out of style. Books teach us about people and make us feel so many different emotions; music is like that in a lot of ways. It may not be the singer’s story but it is someone’s. This is why we decided to pick a few tunes that we would think inspire some great stories we’d love to find on our bookshelves one day!

Hope you enjoy!

estelle.

I Don’t Want This Night to End by Luke Bryan

I’m a self-proclaimed country music fan. I just love how the songs tell us a complete story. There’s so much to get our of the lyrics, and when they are good, so good, they can make you feel a little sexy. (I’m not alone in this; Rachel from Rachel Reads feels the same way.)

Now this particular song came out last year, but oh man. I still love it like it was just released five minutes ago. There’s something so intriguing about a guy and a girl spending one night hanging out together, not knowing what’s going to happen the next day. The freedom of the open road, learning about each other, and oh the mystery.

Favorite line: “I don’t know what road we’re on or where we’ve been/ From staring at you, girl / All I know is I don’t want this night to end.”

Related book: From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Unemployed Boyfriend by Everclear

An oldie but goodie that is close to my heart. One summer, my ex-boyfriend’s best friend burned me a bunch of CDs to take on my annual Florida road trip. Everclear’s Songs from an American Movie Volume 1 was one of them and it is still one of my favorite albums of all time.

Because the answering machine message frames the beginning and ending of the song… it always felt so cinematic to me. Like I could see these characters in my head. A boy watching a girl who is not in the best relationship. He’s the good guy for her but will she ever notice him? This actually seems like it would be more of a mature young adult book (especially with the lyrics) but it could so work.

Truth: When I used to listen to this song in high school, I wanted the nice guy to be mine. I really did.

Favorite line: “Yeah you can be with me / Yes I will treat you like a queen / I will go to all those chick flick movies / That I really don’t want to see.”

magan.

Last Kiss by Taylor Swift

So unlike Estelle, I haven’t always been the biggest country music fan. In fact, I protested Taylor Swift for years and years because I just couldn’t get into her music. But by golly, her catchy lyrics eventually won me over and slowly, oh so slowly, I’ve started listening to more and more country music. Yes, I do realize I’m the one from Texas and I should bleed country music, but alas, it’s an acquired taste for me.

But back to the song. This is really a melodramatic choice. It’s about the ending of a relationship and how you don’t really expect that to happen. Remembering the good times is bittersweet, but I love how there’s a positive spin here — two people may not be meant for each other, but you can still wish them well and hope the best for them. I love the implication that we can be changed forever by a relationship.

Favorite line: “I don’t know how to be something you miss / I never thought we’d have a last kiss / Never imagined we’d end like this / Your name, forever the name on my lips”

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

My “Magan Needs a Save the World” book side would really love to read a book with the power that this song evokes. It’s about being in the midst of a crisis and starting a revolution — being prepared to kick some major ass and fight. I really think this could apply to so, so much — life crises or the end of the world. We have to believe anything is possible and be prepared to stand our ground and fight.

Favorite line: “I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones / Enough to make my systems blow / Welcome to the new age, to the new age”

Tell us what songs you want to become a book!
Listen to Ginger’s Sweet Summertime Reads Playlist.
Check out Tara’s music-inspired post on Thursday at Fiction Folio.
*Bonus: Listen to Cassie and Betty’s Summer Playlist and Road Trip Playlist.*

August 11, 2013 - 8:19 am

Alexa Y. - What great song choices girls! The only one I haven’t heard before is Unemployed Boyfriend, which is pretty great. But I totally think that the other three (Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift + Imagine Dragons) could definitely inspire a story or two.

August 1, 2013 - 9:18 pm

Allison L - Mmm. Luke Bryan! I would definitely read a book based on his songs. Especially if it were an audiobook … that he narrated .. can you imagine it? Your other choices are good too. Fun post once again! 😉

August 1, 2013 - 1:03 am

Sweet Summertime Reads: My Life Told In Summer Music | Fiction Folio - […] sure to check out the awesome music posts by Ginger and Magan and Estelle from earlier this […]

July 31, 2013 - 9:34 am

picturemereading - I keep getting Radioactive in my head lately LOL I keep thinking it’s a great song for a number of YA dystopians I have read!

July 30, 2013 - 8:42 pm

Betty - What a fun post! Eeeek.. I think the Imagine Dragons song for sure— I love action and fighting in books, but obviously with some kissing on the side! 😉
Oh, and thx for the shout out. <3

July 30, 2013 - 7:05 pm

Bookworm1858 - Yay for the Taylor Swift song-I adore Taylor (almost all of her songs) especially because so many could be the basis for books. She just has a way with words sometimes.

July 30, 2013 - 6:56 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - I like country music, but OLD country music like George Strait and Randy Travis and Clint Black and those guys. But you’re right, country music tells great stories, even the cheesy ones. Layla Greta and Jack absolutely LOVE Taylor Swift and Imagine Dragons so they’re on heavy rotation when we’re in the car, where I keep those actual CD’s. (I tend to keep my iPod on my actual person. Always. Like in my back pocket all the time. And I wear my earbuds inside of my clothes everyday, even right now as I sit in this chair commenting here on your blog. But that’s another story for another time.) This is fun, ladies, as always. xo

July 30, 2013 - 5:39 pm

April Books & Wine - I LOVE country music. That’s kind of all I listen to lately, so I am excited for the Luke Bryan and Taylor Swift picks.

Also, Radioactive, I don’t change the radio when it’s on.

July 30, 2013 - 2:43 pm

Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea - Unemployed Boyfriend is a great song…I would definitely love to read a book based off the song. Also, thanks for the introduction to Everclear – it seems like all their songs are perfect for summer!

July 30, 2013 - 2:07 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - LOVE THIS! You ladies picked some really great songs! I hadn’t heard Estelle’s picks before *hides* but I have now!! And I love them too!! 😀 I’ve actually blogged about this topic before, and I had picked a country song because they do tell such great stories, like Estelle said. I picked Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter. But guess what?! SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT IT LAST YEAR! Strawberry Wine by Lee Adams! Crazy….

July 30, 2013 - 2:05 pm

Tara - How cute is this idea?! It didn’t even occur to me to choose songs I want to see be made into books (which, hello, how could I not have?!) I think every single country song could be made into a stellar book — as long as the dog never actually dies 😉

July 30, 2013 - 11:18 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Ha! YES. Radioactive is TOTALLY a kick-ass, save the world song. I actually pictured this as like a background song/soundtrack song for some kind of dystopian or paranormal kick-ass heroine-type book when I first heard it! Haha! 🙂 Great choice.

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Estelle: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight by Bill KonigsbergOpenly Straight by Bill Konigsberg ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic
Pages: 336
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: LGBT, boarding school, labels, friendship, lies
Format read: ARC paperback from TLA.

Summary: Rafe decides to spend his junior year on the East Coast at an all boys boarding school. What’s so crazy about that? Well, unlike his life in Boulder, he decides not to share with anyone that he is indeed gay in order to give him the chance to strip away all labels and give him the opportunity to be more than his sexual preference.

Openly Straight is a novel that encompassed so many of my favorite things: a flawed main character who felt a lot, supportive and enthusiastic parents, and heart-tugging friendship and romance. And best of all? It made me think.

Basically, I want to hug and squeeze this book until I can’t anymore.

Rafe is pretty lucky when he comes out to his parents. They are completely supportive; they barely blink an eyelash. The liberal town of Boulder, Colorado responds pretty much the same way. His teachers want his thoughts on the gay movement, he trains to give speeches to others about sexuality, and his family surprises him with an awesome coming out party. Life is pretty much hunky dory. We’ve all heard people’s hurtful experiences regarding coming out, so it’s kind of hard to believe that Rafe has anything to complain about, right?

Well. Wrong. He feels totally pigeonholed by his sexuality, and decides to go off to a boarding school on the East Coast in hopes of wiping the slate clean. He won’t exactly be back in the closet because he knows he’s gay… he just won’t really tell the peers in his all-boy school what his deal is.

The idea of going to a brand new place and being a whole new you is pretty tempting. Of course, part of it, especially in Rafe’s case, isn’t awesome because he is kind of lying in some instances. But in others, he’s finding out things about himself that he never knew. Like maybe the jock isn’t always “the jock” and maybe he can actually keep up with a bunch of guys playing football in the quad.

The challenges though… outweigh that lack of boundary Rafe feels. And as a reader, you are just waiting for everything to blow up in his face. His parents are confused by this “phase”, he’s making up stories about his closest girl friend, and this intimate friendship with Ben, a soft-spoken jock who loves to read and have deep conversations, is definitely in jeopardy, especially as he and Rafe continue to get closer. Is Ben gay? Are they just best friends? The lines are so blurred at times, that it was really hard for me to figure it out. The possibility of heartbreak is so palpable.

Konigsberg also included pieces from Rafe’s writing class — a great way for us to get this character’s back story but also to see him grow as a writer. (I adored the teacher’s comments so much because so many times what he was saying was criticism I have about what I’m reading: “show don’t tell!”) Mr. Scarborough also gives him room to think about his choices to be someone new at the school, and subtley offers some helpful perspective. He would definitely have been one of my favorite teachers too.

I feel absolutely so much love for this book that my heart is actually seizing up as I write this review. From Rafe’s refreshing narrating to watching him painstakingly make blunders and attempt to get himself out of them, Openly Straight unveils a different kind of journey towards self-discovery — one filled with laughs, love, late nights, and finding out how to balance all the parts that make you you.

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September 19, 2014 - 9:15 am

Pub Date: Fall Fest (Brews + a Book) - […] Narragansett Fest Lager = yum. I have never had a fall beer in a can (this is a new development) and I liked that even though this beer was heavier than I’ve been used to all summer, it was still on the light side. This beer is New England’s oldest beer and the official beer of the Red Sox  (I know this makes Andi happy) which segues perfectly into my book pick: Openly Straight (my review from last summer). […]

December 27, 2013 - 11:25 am

Estelle's End of the Year Survey (So Long 2013), Estelle - […] Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones How to Love by Katie Cotugno Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy Openly Straight by Bill Konisberg Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu […]

October 7, 2013 - 12:01 am

Openly Straight | Bill Konigsberg | Book Review - […] Be Reading – “I want to hug and squeeze this book until I can’t anymore.” Lost In A Great Book – “a fantastic read that speaks honestly” The Reading […]

September 15, 2013 - 4:30 pm

April Books & Wine - Well, I finally wrote my review and I just want to give you all the snaps for this review like how on Legally Blonde when someone gets something right, they get snaps. I agree with everything here — how you want to hug this book, how your heart seizes just thinking about it, Rafe’s flaws. Didn’t you love how much this book made you reflect and think? And just how honest it was. What a stinking great book and a stinking great review. Thanks so much for tweeting about Openly Straight and basically convincing me to read this book, quite unintentionally, I think. 🙂

August 11, 2013 - 8:09 am

Alexa Y. - This book sounds utterly amazing. I love the sound of the story! It seems like this character is pretty great, and the story is fairly refreshing, if I’m being honest. Glad to see you enjoyed this one!

August 3, 2013 - 8:42 am

Ash @ Paranormal Indulgence - When I saw what you’d rated this one, I didn’t even bother waiting before I put this on a list of books I’m buying this month. I kinda suspected I WOULD want to read this but I’m so happy that I read review and feel no doubt about it. I’m positively positive I’m going to love this book. It screams “MY THING!” so I seriously cannot wait until I’m squeezing it myself.

July 31, 2013 - 5:48 pm

Amy @ bookgoonie - I think I’ll do just that. Buy it.

What a great topic…not wanting to be defined by your sexuality.

July 30, 2013 - 7:04 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - This is such an great idea for a book. I’ve never thought of anyone that has felt comfortable enough with coming out then feeling pigeonholed by their sexuality. I love that you love it so much because your enthusiasm is infectious. Great review, Estelle. (:

July 30, 2013 - 6:02 pm

April Books & Wine - I’ll leave a longer comment later when I am not skimming (I haven’t written my review yet and don’t want to be influenced) so I’ll just say that YES YES YES hugs and squeezes for Openly Straight!

July 29, 2013 - 7:38 pm

Bookworm1858 - I enjoyed this book a lot too even as I was cringing as Rafe spun yet another half-truth to hide his true self-I could not see it ending well and in my opinion, the ending was pretty sad (though the author sees it as pretty optimistic.)

July 29, 2013 - 3:55 pm

Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea - This book sounds awesome! I definitely need to get myself a copy of it, I love how it’s dealing with more than Rafe’s coming out story, and I can’t wait to see how the topic is tackled.

July 29, 2013 - 2:42 pm

Tara - Whoa — this book sounds incredible! The story seems very original and unlike anything I’ve read before.

July 29, 2013 - 12:31 pm

Sara (of The Page Sage) - I LOVED this book. Rafe’s flaws and the blurred lines are what make it so great. For a book that (based on its cover) looks pretty light, it really makes you think.

Lovely review! 🙂

July 29, 2013 - 11:33 am

molly @ wrapped up in books - Great review! I’m so excited for this one, but it has a long hold list at the library. I think it’s great that queer YA lit is moving beyond simply coming out stories and showing different aspects.

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Nailed It: August 2013 Book Releases + Pretty Colors

Every time, we throw one of these posts together… we can’t believe another month is come to a close. August 2013 Book Releases? So crazy how fast the summer is going. Hope you are enjoying all your books and painting your nails!

Last month, we changed things up and used Zoya colors to make some book cover palettes. We gave one of our colors away, and Jennifer won and picked an awesome red called Diana! She sent us a picture of her gorgeous manicure!

Zoya Diana from Nailed It Rather Be Reading Blog winner

Doesn’t it look fantastic?

Jumping back to this month, we’re back to the rainbow of Julep colors out there and hope you enjoy what we came up with this time around!

Estelle.

The Hero by Robyn Carr

Nailed It The Hero by Robyn Carr August 2013, part of Thunder Point series

This is actually the first “big kid” book I’ve picked to feature for Nailed It! The books in Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series have such dreamy covers, and when I first spotted The Hero… I was just so taken with how gorgeous the colors were. It’s such a striking cover, and from all the rumors I’m hearing, it’s the best in the series so far. (Yes!!)

Unlike other romance novels I’ve read recently, Carr’s Thunder Point series jumps from various people in town rather than focusing on just one person’s story. I like this a lot because you can really invest yourself in the characters and don’t feel like you are missing too much when you move to another book. In The Hero, we have a new football coach, a young boy who just found out who is bio dad is, and a lot more hi-jinx. I can’t wait to get started.

As for the color palette, purple has always been one of my favorite colors + I just love the shades here. Perfect for the summer but also workable for the transition to the fall.

Alaina | Gabrielle | Alice

Magan.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

cover love for counting by 7s by holly goldberg sloan

I haven’t read a book by Holly Goldberg Sloan yet, but I’d like to change that right now. I’ve heard amazing accolades sung for this particular book. “It should win awards” has been one of the best endorsements I’ve heard for it. That means a lot, right?

Plus, this cover is ridiculously awesome. I’m so in love with the color combination and the layout. If you walked into my house, you wouldn’t be surprised to find these colors accenting our home. I’m so drawn to them! I love the pops of color on the clean white background. And the typography? Nice, simple, understated. I sent this ARC to Estelle after I went to ALA and I can’t *wait* to hear what she thinks about it. This might be a pre-order book for me soon!

Lena | Jackie | Harper

So tell us what you think of our Nailed It selections for August!
What covers are you guys loving right now and what books are you anxious
to get your hands on this coming month?

August 11, 2013 - 8:07 am

Alexa Y. - I am in love with both of these colorful palettes! The purples of the cover of THE HERO really feel calming, while the bright colors of COUNTING BY 7S (which is pretty fabulous, by the way) are perfect for the last month of a US summer. Great choices!

July 29, 2013 - 12:33 pm

Candice @ The Grown-Up YA - I LOVE the colors for The Hero! Those look like my go-to fall colors! (that I actually wear year round) The other colors for Counting by 7s would be perfect for a beach trip…. 🙂

July 29, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Rachel - Every time you two do one of these posts I don’t think they can get any more perfect, but every time they do! I LOVE your choices for both of the covers. The choices for The Hero are so pretty! I don’t think I’ve ever worn purple polish, but I would totally wear one of those choices. And I love the colors for Counting By 7s. They match so well!

July 28, 2013 - 4:31 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I haven’t read either of these books, but I do love the colors in both of them. I love purple, too, Estelle, and I agree that cover really has that dreamy quality to it. I love the nailpolish you picked. It’s perfect, and it makes me want them.

And the colors for Counting by Sevens is awesome! I love that glitter nail polish, Harper. It’s perfect for an accent nail.

I just wish I were better at doing my own nails. 🙂

July 28, 2013 - 3:02 pm

Lisa (heylisarenee) - Yes hi there can we talk about how much I love this feature? You do such a good job pairing the colors with the covers and it makes my girlish heart all fluttery. GO YOU.

July 28, 2013 - 11:25 am

Annie - I love all the colors for The Hero, especially Alice! I haven’t heard of the book (or the series) prior to today but it sounds really interesting! I like the idea of shifting perspectives.

Wow, the colors Magan chose for Counting By 7’s match PERFECTLY. I love how you even managed to find a shimmery turquoise for the little fish.

July 28, 2013 - 10:59 am

Bookworm1858 - Not entirely sure what comes out in August but love the color combos here. I think Counting by 7s has an amazing selection and I would love to see a real-life manicure emulating this cover (any takers, Magan?)

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Estelle: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah JayneTruly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 262
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Death, stalking, secrets
Format read: eBook from Publisher via NetGalley (Thanks!)

Summary: When Sawyer’s popular jock boyfriend dies in a car accident because of his drunk driving, she thinks the secrets of their relationship will be buried with him. But a mysterious note in her locker (“You’re welcome” attached to a newspaper clipping of her boyfriend’s accident) has her wondering what really happened that night… especially when other horrible things start happening right before her eyes.

When I picked up Truly, Madly, Deadly, I expected something along the lines of Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf — a book about a girl who survives a car accident that kills her boyfriend (who wasn’t really the nicest guy). I was completely glued to that book until the very end.

But Truly, Madly, Deadly only grazes what Shaw managed to do in Breaking Beautiful and I really missed that happening here. While main character Sawyer does wrestle with the truths of her relationship with Kevin, the novel focuses on the domino effect of bad events that occur after his car accident. All of these terrible things are somehow connected to Sawyer, are supplemented with a note or flowers, and are downright scary. Instead of going to the authorities, she fears all of these occurrences might be her fault and keeps it to herself.

I really felt for Sawyer throughout the book. Her boyfriend suddenly dies, she feels like she can’t trust anyone, her dad is preoccupied with work and his new baby with his new wife, and her mom lives on the opposite side of the country. The only two people who seem at all on her side are Chloe, her best friend from forever, and Cooper, the new guy in her life who is super sweet. But even so, she doesn’t divulge what is happening to anyone until everything spirals out of control and too many lives are at stake.

Personally, I felt very suspicious of every character I met in this book. (This is probably in direct relation to my reading of the amazingly horrifying Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas.) And while the ending semi-took me by surprise, I would have loved to have the book go on a tad longer instead of just dropping off and ending on a semi-joke. There was too much blood shed for a tone change like that. Plus, I’m not sure if Sawyer’s character made the kind of growth that I needed her to make.

A little bit more character development and plot tweaking could have really strengthened Truly, Madly, Deadly. Instead, I felt like I had just finished an addicting but not entirely fulfilling Lifetime movie of the week.

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February 18, 2014 - 9:01 am

See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne (YA Review) - […] the plus side, See Jane Run worked better for me than Jayne’s debut, Truly Madly Deadly. Why? This story line felt more relatable, and I must applaud an ending that comes out of left […]

August 11, 2013 - 8:03 am

Alexa Y. - Well, this doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as Dangerous Girls! I mean, I’m mildly curious about who did the deed. But I can’t seem to summon more that, honestly.

July 30, 2013 - 7:09 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - This is the second review that I’ve read that has said pretty much the same thing. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll read this one because books like this make me all cringy and twitchy, but what it seems like your reaction is kind of what others are feeling too. I love the cover.

July 27, 2013 - 9:38 pm

Sara (of The Page Sage) - I had been considering adding this one to my TBR pile, but the sound of that ending turns me off to this story. Although I might read Breaking Beautiful now because that sounds really good! 🙂

July 27, 2013 - 10:15 am

Bookworm1858 - I wish this was a more enthusiastic review as I actually bought this book instead of borrowing it from the library because I liked the sound of the concept so much. I will definitely still read it because I own it but I will lower my expectations.

July 26, 2013 - 5:59 pm

picturemereading - Too bad it wasn’t awesome! I love the description of the story!

July 26, 2013 - 2:37 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I’ve read fairly mixed reviews about this book, although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t immediately intrigued by the book’s synopsis. I love the dark, twisted undercurrent of the story (The idea that perhaps the accident wasn’t that at all) and the fact that Sawyer is haunted by cryptic messages in the weeks following her boyfriend’s accident. Chilling! It’s a shame that this novel couldn’t quite seem to figure out what sort of story it wanted to be (i.e. Switching tone suddenly at the end of the novel) as had it remained a darker, grittier tale throughout I would be much more interested in reading it. As it is, I’m now left a little confused about its intention. Perhaps I’ll take a look at Breaking Beautiful instead…

July 26, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Annie - I actually didn’t connect much with Sawyer and I’m not sure if that’s because of the third-person narrative or simply because she was so underdeveloped. I didn’t know who she was and that made it challenging for me to really get into the book.

I thought the premise was really interesting though but at the end, when they revealed the killer (I knew it!), I was still left with a lot of questions like how did they do it? I think I needed more on the mystery front.

And I totally agree with you on the ending! That was super annoying for me as a reader. It just seemed so abrupt. ‘There was too much blood shed for a tone change like that.’ Ditto!

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