Posts By: Katie A

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LoveAThon: Dear Gale…

February 15, 2014 Katie A Uncategorized 6 Comments

loveathon

I have to admit, I had a hard time thinking about this one, but once I thought about the series that really brought me back into reading it was obvious who I was going to write my letter to. For those that know me fairly well – it should come as no surprise to see who it is.

Dear Gale Hawthorne,

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know, I know – you probably don’t even want to be my Valentine, but I wanted to ask anyway. You probably have your eyes on Katniss, and you know.. all those girls at school probably want you to themselves. Still, I’m writing to YOU because you need to hear what I’m going to tell you.

You are amazing. You are. Okay, look – you can be grumpy, but I don’t blame you. I’d be grumpy too – Katniss is stubborn and you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You are caring for your family. Your mother, two brothers and a baby sister. You’ve promised Katniss that you would watch out for her family too if she was ever reaped into the Games.

You love your family so much, and you care about Katniss so much – that’s why I adore you. I know things are difficult and you are craving change, but just remember that you are setting an example to those around you about how they should love and care for each other. All they have to do is look at you and the way that you care for your family and the Everdeen family.

You are always there when Katniss needs someone, even if she doesn’t talk much or knows how to explain how much she really cares for you. You listen to her. You are her best friend. You help each other out and you are her strength. She couldn’t have gotten this far without you. Remember when you met in the forest for the first time? Exactly. She wouldn’t be where she is today without you around.

Most of all, I love how you fight for what you believe in – a changed world, a better life for your family and friends. You just want things to change so that everyone can be happy and not struggle. I don’t blame you. I want the same for my family. I hate that times are rough, but just like you – I do what I can to support them and I work hard in order to do so.

You don’t have to pick me as a Valentine, but just know that someone thinks of you and believes in you. You are amazing, Gale.

Love,

Katie

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LoveAThon 2014: Interview Swap!

February 15, 2014 Katie A 2014 LoveAThon 11 Comments

loveathon

I can’t tell you how excited and flaily I am about being able to participate in the LoveAThon this year! I really loved watching it happen last year, but wasn’t able to sign up so when I knew I could participate this year? I jumped right in.

Even more exciting?

The moment I was assigned my interview partner! As a newbie blogger, I was given a veteran blogger to interview and when I got the e-mail, I pretty much shrieked with joy once I saw who my partner is.

Without any further hesitation… let’s meet Suz from A Soul Unsung! Fun fact: we were introduced to each other through my girlfriend and have gotten to know each other really well over the last few months – so this interview was a BLAST because I got to ask her some questions I normally wouldn’t get to ask.

Suz: So, oh my gosh, I have to take a minute and just gush about the fact that I LOVE my Love-A-Thon partner so much, because she is just a really sweet, amazing, and inspiring person that I’ve been lucky enough to get to know. I literally – really – I think I scared people nine counties away when I squealed in delight at the email. Hahaha. What can I say about Katie, she’s just so freaking AWESOME! <3

Q: Aw, thank you girl! I’m super excited, too. My first question for you is going to be: What are the top five books you’ll always remember?

Suz: This one is easy, because even though I’ve read a ton of books there haven’t been quite as many that have touched me, as much as these books have. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t start off with Flowers In the Attic by V.C. Andrews. This book really changed the way that I read and it also reminded me of why I love to read so much, plus challenged me in so many ways as a reader. Can, I cheat a little bit and talk about series of books, because The Baby-Sitter’s Club and the Sweet Valley Twins/High books are definitely at the top of my list of books that and series that I’ll always remember. They encompassed so much of my childhood that it’s unreal and they were just feel good books that I really loved to dive into during the summer. I remember being in school and having to read books and write reports on them, none of those books touched me in ways that Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry touched me. I loved it so much, that I remember checking it out quite a few times and re-reading it. And, I can’t not mention The Harry Potter series, because once again this is another series that reminded me just exactly how much I really love to read and why I love delving into other worlds and going on adventures with such wonderfully memorable characters.

Q: How long have you been blogging, and what is your favorite memory?

Suz: I’ve been blogging for almost three years now and I love it so much, because I’ve been able to get to know people who enjoy reading a lot of the same or similar books that I do, and getting to work with publicists and different authors that I admire. It’s just been a really fantastic experience, plus I’ve grown closer to some of my friends. I would have to say that my favorite memory is that first year of blogging, because it truly helped to mend a friendship that I meant a lot to me. Somehow, over the course of the year, blogging and books just sort of brought the two of us a little closer and we both realized that we could “be better” and it made all the difference.

Q: What inspired you to start blogging?

Suz: I started blogging about books, because I wanted a place where I would be able to talk about what I was reading, keep tracking of what I was reading, and share my thoughts on various bookish things with a community of people who generally felt the same way. It was sort of a coping mechanism at first, a way to escape the stress that was eating away at me on a daily basis, but then it became so much more than that and I couldn’t be more proud or happier that I started this blog.

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The Whirlwind Life of Katie #1!

February 8, 2014 Katie A Whirlwind Life 0 Comments

Out and about exploring Folsom Lake!

Out and about exploring Folsom Lake!

How did January go by so fast?! How is it almost the middle of February?!

January was an interesting month for me, to say the least. There were ups and downs, a big reading slump just after the start of the new year, big choices to make and a whole bunch of other stuff to get through. The month went by too fast and I still find myself sometimes thinking it’s still January. OOPS.

SCHOOL: I was supposed to start pre-algebra at the end of January because I had to retake the class. I snagged the only class available to me – a 7am class that was four days a week. I hated getting up that early, but if I have to retake it… I have to take whatever class I can get. I went into it with high hopes for the semester and knowing I’d work hard to pass this time around.

HAHAHAHAHA.

I knew within the first ten minutes of class for the day that I was in some deep shit.

It turns out that my professor for the semester was pretty much refusing to teach in class (and it was a lecture format course!) and straight up told us the following:

1. He’d assign  homework but he’d never collect it, OR correct our errors.

2. All grades were only based on exams, so for someone like me with horrible text anxiety? NOPE.

3. Our ‘study guides’ were copying word for word the vocabulary out of the chapter section with no actual math problems to review.

Needless to say, I dropped two days later and it was the best choice I could have ever made for myself. I was feeling burnt out on class anyway and needed a break, but I was also not going to allow myself to stay in a class where I wasn’t being taught the material and would fail. I was hesitant because I need to take the course, but I did what was best for me.

I took my book back, got my $70 refunded and dropped the course.

WORK: It’s been good – hectic, but good. I had to miss two days at the beginning of January because I was really sick, but I am back to work and haven’t had to take any time off. I think I have the next two Monday’s in a row off, which is really nice. I’ve done two late nights this week and they’ve worn me out.

Best part? I got a raise at the end of January! I’m STILL so excited!

WHAT I READ: The only two books I read in January were THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green and ME SINCE YOU by Laura Wiess. Both books were amazing, yet emotionally draining and devastating. Both were well written and realistic and made me feel like I’d been punched in the gut multiple times. Still, I loved both books.

I wanted to read more but then I got hit with a reading slump.

The end of the month came in with INTO THE STILL BLUE by Veronica Rossi, which I finished earlier this week and absolutely adored. I’ll leave that one for my next monthly wrap up post.

OTHER (RANDOM STUFF): I got to hang out with friends a bit in January which included – going to dinner a couple times, planning my girlfriends perfect Valentine’s Day present, the niece is officially walking now and the best part? My ugly, uncomfortable and stupid cast came off! One of my favorite adventures of the month was exploring Folsom Lake (dry, dry, dry due to drought here in California).

The lake is incredibly dry, we actually WALKED on the lake bed.

The lake is incredibly dry, we actually WALKED on the lake bed.

Over all, it was a decent month of abnormally dry and warm weather here and I’m currently bundled up inside with hot tea while we face our first “big” winter storm. I’m going to curl up in bed with some breakfast, a good book and hot tea.

How was January for YOU? Anything fun and/or exciting happen? What did you read? I’m hoping your year is off to a good start and I’m looking forward to catching up with you!

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Feature and Follow Friday!

January 16, 2014 Katie A Uncategorized 57 Comments

featuredbloggerHosted by Parajunkee, and Alison!

Hi everyone!

First let me just say how excited and thankful I am for this opportunity. I want 2014 to be the year where I finally get my blog up and running and have fun. Reading and making new friends has always favorites of mine, so I when I started blogging I knew I had found the right place for me – a community who welcomes me with open arms and friendship.

I’m Katie, a twenty-something girl living in Northern California. I’m a student at a local community college and working with kids part time. I’m usually found curled up with a book, watching tv/a movie, or spending time with my family/friends and my girlfriend. I’m incredibly laid back and I love exploring Northern California with my family/friends on weekends or vacations.

The question of the week is…Who is your blogger BFF? Tell us a little bit about him or her? If not tell us why you need or don’t need a blogger BFF.

Hands down, my girlfriend Molli over at Books and Whimsy! Molli the one who really inspired me to start reading again, but she also encouraged me to start blogging in the first place. Even though I’ve had a hard time getting my blog up and running, she has always been encouraging, supportive and reminds me to blog how I want to blog and to always, always have FUN blogging.

We’ve read some amazing books together, made some amazing bookish memories and I know that she will always be at my side. Without her I wouldn’t have even known about the blogging community or any of the amazing books I’ve come across in my short time of blogging.

If you don’t know Molli yet, you really should get to know her. She is so amazingly sweet and kind and always willing to help others. She’s told me about so many books that have touched me. We have so much fun together, we laugh until we cry and she makes me the happiest girl ever. Not only do I love her very much, but I am so incredibly happy to have her as my blogger BFF and in my life.

I can’t wait to get to know everyone and make some great new blogger friends! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

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New Year, New Features!

January 16, 2014 Katie A Uncategorized 0 Comments

Hi everyone!

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks brainstorming new ideas for the blog that will keep me inspired, excited and managed to come up with some new features that I can’t wait to share with everyone. I’ll tell you all about them shortly, but first I wanted to catch you up on my year so far.

The great news? My hand isn’t broken! I can’t tell you how relieved I am. I’m still in and out of a splint until I regain my strength, but that nasty half cast like splint is gone and in the trash. This makes it so much easier to do everything – typing was impossible, eating was a challenge and I couldn’t hold a physical book, ugh! Plus it left me stressed over what I’d do if it was broken and the semester started.

I caught a massive head cold that turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection and had to miss two days of work because of it, but the rest sure helped. I bounced back quickly and I’m back at work and learning a new routine for the month. The girls and family are doing great and have lots of fun activities going on that keep them busy. I’m happy to be back and the winter break was much needed and refreshing.

Reading? Oh, yes.

I’ve read two books this year so far and loved, loved, LOVED both! ME SINCE YOU was amazing and heartbreaking and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS killed me, but left me reflecting on life and those who make an impact in mine. I’ll review both soon. I’ve started my third book but haven’t had much reading time while I adjust to a new work schedule, but I hope to finish reading it this weekend.

As for the new features…

HEART TO HEART: I’ll use this feature/column for posts that could be tough in subject matter, or when I really just feel like opening up to everyone. Posts featured here could be on family bumps in the road, my coming out experience, health issues, etc. I want to use this feature to reach out to others and remind them they are NOT alone. This will also feature books that inspired me and touched me in a way that tie into a topic.

THE WHIRLWIND LIFE OF KATIE: General life updates, more than likely in the form of a monthly wrap up posts. It’ll include funny stories from day to day life, photos, favorite books I’ve read, etc. I’ll try to include things like my updated reading goal number and a discussion question. Totally laid back, random and fun – just like me!

I have an exciting feature coming up soon that I’m starting with my girlfriend Molli of Books and Whimsy that I am super thrilled about. We had such a fun time tossing around names and ideas and once she said it? We knew that was it! I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I hope everyone is having a great 2014 so far and I can’t wait to catch up with you! Stay tuned for a lot of fun over here. 🙂

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A look back on 2013

December 31, 2013 Katie A Uncategorized 2 Comments

2013  was quite the year for me, and it’s hard to believe that the year is over. It really feels like the entire year flew by. There were good moments, great moments, memories that will last a lifetime and moments I’d really like to forget (but I know that those are the ones that make me stronger).

READING: While I don’t think I’ll make my goal of 30 books in 2013, I’ve come really close! This year was more hectic than I though it’d be and a math class overtook my life so reading fell off the charts. I also encountered a reading slump or two that factored in. Overall, I’m really thrilled with the books I’ve read this year!

Most of the books in some way touched me. These books made me take a step back and reflect on who I am as a person, what I’ve gone through and how far I’ve come. I was able to heal some old hurts just by reading these books. I was able to find myself lost in a whole new world in many of them.

I can’t wait to see what books 2014 brings my way, so if you have any suggestions – I’ll add them to my ever growing TBR list!

LOVE: What a year for love. When I think about 2013 – I think about falling in love this past July. Molli spent a few days out here in California with me and I wouldn’t trade those days in for anything. We fell in love in Monterey, in late nights talking until we fell asleep and in all the silly things we did. We had breakfast on the beach and our first date. Our first kiss was the 4th of July.

We celebrated one year together. We’ve grown closer and more in love. We’ve made our FaceTime dates a thing that work and keep us up late even though we both say we need to go to bed. We spent summer mornings and afternoons napping in each others arms.

2013 was our year – as we said it would be – and I am so excited to see what 2014 brings for us. I’m counting down the days until I have her in my arms again.

Adventures: I did quite a bit this year! I went to my first book signing in the Bay Area where I met Jessi Kirby and was able to thank her in person for the book that touched me. I met and had brunch with Tamara Ireland Stone and later on attended the launch party for Time After Time. I welcomed a new niece into the world and it’s such a joy seeing her grow up. I surprised Molli with a “defaced” copy of UNRAVEL ME for her birthday (such a hard secret to keep!).

I celebrated seven years at my job. I had ups and downs. I met new friends who have become more than friends to me – they’re like family. I learned that some friendships can work best with distance, I became closer to my closest friends. I’ve grown in a year and I’m more confident in who I am.

I’ve started to live my life completely out as a lesbian and have pushed those who don’t accept me out of my life. I’ve worked hard to get the toxic relationships out of my life in 2013 and kept them out. I’ve faced challenges of my past and growing up, but they made me stronger.

And then at the end of the year… I fell going to the store and I’m dealing with a possible broken hand. How fun!

LOOKING AHEAD….

I want 2014 to be even better than 2013. I want to read more books than I did this year. I want to love more. I want to travel more. I want to spend more time with loved ones. I want to write more. Take more photos. I really want to blog more, even if it isn’t a review – I need to get back into blogging.

There are a few things I’m looking forward to in the new year and I’ll use this list to end 2013 with.

1. Seeing my girlfriend again in April. Expect a lot of photos and happiness.

2. Books! So many books to look forward to, I don’t even know where to begin.

3. Traveling. Yosemite, Monterey, (hopefully) San Francisco, I’d love to get to Disneyland for my 30th. I wanna get out to TN to where my girl is to see her and her friends/family.

4. Laughter. I’m really a big kid at heart and a goof (ask my girlfriend!). I want to laugh more in 2014.

5. Love. 2013 was full of love, but I want 2014 to be filled with even more love. ♥

Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks for sticking with me and being so supportive and encouraging this year. I can’t wait to bring in 2014 and spend more time with you!

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Review: Allegiant

November 4, 2013 Katie A Reviews 3 Comments

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Allegiant by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I am pretty underwhelmed with Allegiant. It was not the thrilling conclusion I thought it would be and while I did enjoy some parts, I honestly found myself trudging through most of the book.

While I flew through Insurgent, this book seemed to drag.  I hated that.

My biggest issues were: the world building – these guys had no idea about the world outside the factions, so I think the world building could have been better – more detail, less info dumping.

I really needed less of Tris constantly gloating about how she was “right”. I HATED that. Okay, we get it, Tris – you think you’re right constantly, but it’s annoying and downright rude.

There was simply too much information to keep track of along the way. Most of it, to me, was a giant info dump. With the world building it was so much of a info dump, along with other parts of the story. It was too overwhelming to keep track of everything and left me pretty confused.

I am usually not bothered by switching of the POV – but it just didn’t work for this book. It confused me too much and I found myself constantly flipping back to see if I was reading Tris or Four. It just… didn’t work.

The ending… I don’t know. At some point, I had figured out what would happen, so while I wasn’t entirely surprised – it wasn’t an ending I was happy with – or proud of.

All in all… three stars. It was not the conclusion I thought it would be and left me wanting a lot more from the story. I’m pretty bummed about the way this series ended after having enjoyed the first two books so much.

View all my reviews

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Summer Recap + Giveaway

September 17, 2013 Katie A Giveaway 0 Comments

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View from my breakfast on the beach, July 2013.

What a crazy summer!

Yet, it was the best summer of my life.

JUNE: Mostly worked, but started reading my growing stack of books for the summer. Lots of time at the pool, with friends and family and relaxing. It was weird not to have any homework, but I quickly settled into my summer routine and looked forward to the next month. Life kept me busy, work kept me busy but whatever was thrown at me was handled quickly. I made some rough choices in terms of friendships, but they needed to be made.

JULY: Best month ever. July was the month I finally had my girl here. It was the best week of my life. I’m not just saying that. Having her here with me for a week solidified everything – we fell in love, we made future plans and I have never been happier in my life. We got to take a vacation together and just enjoy each other. Even before she left, we had made plans for our next visit. I read as much as I could, and the stack of books kept growing. I got my drivers permit in July, super exciting!

AUGUST: Back to work, back to school. What a whirlwind month. With an emergency dental appointment or two that ended up working out just fine, settling into a new school routine and balancing work – it was hectic. I also realized in the midst of all this chaos that I really did miss blogging and started to really make the effort to blog at least a couple times a month. I went book shopping quite a bit despite being in a reading slump and found two books to pull me out of it.

SEPTEMBER: Summer is pretty much over. I’ve had my first exam since returning to school for the fall semester, made winter and spring vacation plans with my girlfriend and have struggled to get into a routine so I’m not exhausted anymore. I’m looking forward to reading some more books once I’m fully settled and planning/celebrating my birthday next month.

With summer over – I’ll call it my summer of books – there were books everywhere. I quickly ran out of room for all of the books I bought this summer and I’m constantly rearranging them, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This summer also meant the relaunch of my blog and I thought to celebrate what a great summer I had I’d do my first giveaway… Are you ready?

One lucky winner (US only this time, but the next will be international!) will receive CITY OF BONES and CITY OF ASHES in paperback!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope everyone had a great summer! What was your favorite part of the summer? What was your favorite book (or books) that you read?

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Review: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

September 15, 2013 Katie A Reviews 1 Comment

stars

Rating: ★★★★
Read: September 2013

First of all, a big THANK YOU to NetGalley for this ARC. I’m so excited to have a chance to read and review this book.

When I settled in to read WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE, I had no idea that the story would touch me as much as it did. It was a very pleasant surprise, and the story was so beautiful and touching that even hours after finishing it, I’m STILL thinking about it.

Callie has returned home after being taken by her mothers years ago and now has to face the challenge of living a life she isn’t familiar with. She’s used to being on the run and the life she and her mother had. Settling in to a family and a new life isn’t easy.

I love that the story doesn’t cover that up. So many books and movies show someone coming home after years of being gone and immediately adjusting. Life isn’t like that. It’s not an overnight change or adjustment. I’ve been there – many times growing up. It isn’t easy, it isn’t fun (there are fun moments) and it’s hard as hell.

The characters in the story are fresh and vibrant – jumping off of the page with enough detail and personality to make you feel as if you’re right there with them. The family dynamic of the story is what truly touched me. I felt like I was a part of the big Greek family – a family who welcome Callie home with open arms.

On a personal level – I could relate to Callie and the relationship she has with her mother. I know what it’s like to be all too familiar with a life that is taken from you, and then you’re shoved into adjusting to an entirely new life. I knew how frustrated, unsure and wary she felt.

I know on a personal level how hard it is to adjust to a new life. I’ve been there. It was hard. It was stressful. It was an adjustment full of tears, fights and pain – but I made it – just like Callie did. We both had to make some hard choices – but in the end we both knew what was right for us.

This is a story that will always remain close to my heart and one I’m already looking forward to telling friends about.

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Review: If You Leave by Courtney Cole

August 24, 2013 Katie A Reviews 4 Comments

ImageRating: ★★★★★

Read: August 2013

I knew right away that IF YOU LEAVE would have some sort of impact on me, but I wasn’t sure how it would. I was blown away by the story and found myself relating more to what Gabe and Maddy were going through more than many readers probably could.

We got a glimpse of what Maddy went through and her parents relationship, which is where things really started to hit home for me. My parents divorced when I was a kid and it wasn’t pretty for awhile. It was hard, but I understood where she was coming from when she told Gabe:

“Waiting for her to be strong and change our lives. But she never did. I hated her for that.”

We both wanted change, we both wanted our lives to be better than they were. More than anything, we wanted change. We didn’t get much of that change, but the above quote hit me and made me realize that I could relate to Maddy on a way that maybe others couldn’t – in a way, it made me stronger.

Both Gabe and Maddy have to face their demons, and their fears. They have to figure out where they both stand in order to be together and to make things work. It wasn’t easy for them, and it sure as hell wasn’t easy for me to read about. It broke me. I spent most of the book in tears while I read. If I wasn’t crying over Gabe and Maddy, I was crying over what they each had to face.

Their story hit hard and at the end?

I knew exactly how each of them felt. They had found the person they are meant to be with. No matter what shit they faced in the past, they had both come so far to be where they are now. They both faced their fears and took some huge steps on the road to healing in order to be together.

If there is one message from the book that truly hit home and something I fully believe in, it is this:

“Sometimes the hardest situations make for the best happily-ever-afters.”

No matter what Gabe and Maddy have faced in the past, or what they went through to finally be together – they both came to realize that even the hardest circumstances can weave together so beautifully at the right time to make an absolutely perfect happily ever after for two people who deserve it more than anything.

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