Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: The Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Maillay
Blurb from Goodreads: 

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk. Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay. All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to. The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

I read this book back in December after reading Slammed. Reading two epically awesome books in close proximity can take away from the other book. I think that was what happened with this book, but as the blurb says this is a slow building book and not only that, this book has stayed with me. I think that is why I am writing this review more than a month later, because this book creeps into my thoughts on more than one occasion.

The story between Josh and Nastya is, as the blurb says, slow building. That was one of my favorite parts. Many times in books the physical attraction is there and then it seems that they deal with the emotional after the fact. Not that I don't mind reading those books, but this one was so different. The quiet moments when they are hanging out in their garage are my favorite. The fact that by not talking, by simply just being next to each other working, is a calming aspect of their relationship in both of their hectic complex worlds. Their story is truly beautiful. I wish I could say more but it's hard without giving it away and this is one of those books that you discover, that with each turn of the page (or flip of the kindle) and you fall a little bit more in their world, the amazing and tragic aspects.

And the Last Sentence. Perfection.

So I say trust me, this book is a perfect storm of emotion, done in such a unique way. Read it!

And if have read it, let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Movies and Books

So I don't have TV, I only watch 4 shows during the school year on Hulu, but mostly I just read. The downfall is I miss movie previews. The book Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl has been on my to-read shelf on Goodreads for awhile now. I somehow stumbled on the trailer of the movie that comes out in less than a month.

Oh, geez where I have been?? (stalking the movie news of Divergent, that's where!!)

So I decided to read it, the trailer looked good and it seems to be a pretty popular book. I read the book and you can see my review of it on Goodreads here:

Now, today I am here to talk about books being turned into movies. This is what I am feeling with Beautiful Creatures. I liked the book, though, to me it wasn't anything amazing. Now I have a feeling what will happen to me is what I call the Twilight affect.

I read Twilight about 6ish months before the first movie came out. I know I was a bit behind and EVERYONE raved about this book. After reading it I was I wasn't really too impressed. I thought there were many aspects that were weak sauce. So I never read the rest of the series. On a cold winter night after the first movie had been out for a few weeks I went with my friends to see it. The theater was pretty empty but what happened. I LOVED the movie. Yep, the movie die hard Twilight fans hated I loved. Weird Right!?! I quickly went home and read the next three books in less than a week.

So I have a large feeling that I will not be reading the rest of the Caster Chronicles until I see the movie. Because I bet I love it.

So lets have a discussion, tell me what books you loved that were turned into movies and which ones you hated. Here is my list.

I think sometimes books are just written knowing that they will be blockbuster romantic comedies/heartfelt tragedies that are released during the month of February *cough* Nicholas Sparks *cough* and I find that a little overdone. But, on that note I will say A Walk to Remember is one of my favorite movies. And I don't like the book. The book is set in the 1950s, yeah it's a little different. And on that same note I loved Spark's Message in a Bottle, the book but hated the movie. I guess I should preface that I don't like actors with the name Kevin (Kevin Bacon, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Costner) so it already had one strike but the movie took away a lot of the emotion the book had.

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud: While I was in high school (2005?) I was at the dollar store one day and I found this book tucked away behind some book weird cooking book, I grabbed it read the back and said hey why not, its a dollar! Who would have thought I would love this book so much. I love any book that deals with the ocean, living in landlocked Idaho, I have a thing for the ocean. And this story was brilliant. A love story with twists and turns. This book stayed with me for a while and years later (2010??) I was sitting in the theater with D when the trailer for this came on. I had no idea it was being turned into  a movie. With a gasp, I grabbed D by the arm with a huge smile on my face. D was confused, I mean it was just Zac Efron on the screen and he was pretty sure I wasn't a 17 year old fan girl. I told him it was a book I loved! And The movie was pretty great.

I could go on and on about many different movies and books. Which I hope to due in the comments!
So let me know, what have movies have you loved or hated that are books?? And what books do you hope to see turned into movies??

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: Vain

Vain by Fisher Amelie
Blurb from Goodreads: 

If you’re looking for a story about a good, humble girl, who’s been hurt by someone she thought she could trust, only to find out she’s not as vulnerable as she thought she was and discovers an empowering side of herself that falls in love with the guy who helps her find that self, blah, blah, blah...then you’re gonna’ hate my story. Because mine is not the story you read every time you bend back the cover of the latest trend novel. It’s not the “I can do anything, now that I’ve found you/I’m misunderstood but one day you’ll find me irresistible because of it” tale. Why? Because, if I was being honest with you, I’m a complete witch. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a friend using, drug abusing, sex addict from Los Angeles. I’m every girlfriend’s worst nightmare and every boy’s fantasy. I’m Sophie Price...And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most envied girl to the girl no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world

So I devoured this book quite quickly. I had heard such good things from many different people and I decided to see what all the hype was about. It was well earned hype!!! These were the things I loved about this book

1. The orphanage in Uganda, while I am sure is fictional, is based on real horrible things going on in that part of Africa. Kony is a real evil man. In the fall of 2006, the Invisible Children organization, who we all know now due to the wonders of social media, came to College of Idaho when I was attending there. It was the first time I had heard of what was happening. It broke my heart. I am a fixer, and when I have no control over how to fix things, I feel at such a loss. I loved how Amelie brought in this real issue in this wonderful fictional story. I think more authors should do this, to gain awareness that is so desperately needed for many different issues in the world.

2. The action, I love romances that have action in it. I think it showcases strength from the characters that they do not even know they have. It brings out the true in people when they are faced with situations that require flight or fight responses.

3. Sophie. This girl is stripped of everything that she thinks makes her, well her, minus her beauty. She has to find herself and I liked how the simpleness in a complex world brings her to find the true beauty that she is.

4. Ian and Sophie are pretty awesome together, and their romance was more than physical but about being partners, opening up, and depending on each other. It was so sweet. The book also was pretty innocent, no really crazy steamy scenes.

5.The writing is great, having read Callum and Harper, Amelie's other work, I didn't even realize it was the same author. I felt that there was real growth between the two books. There are some great passages but I am not going to share because I hope you discover them yourself and feel the depth they bring.

Overall, I say GO  read this book. The only thing I didn't like was the cover, I think it gives this book too much of a light feel (plus that is not at all how I invision Sophie) so ignore the cover, because there is so much more in this book.

Sound off your thoughts in the comments!!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Winter Wishes

It is the dead of winter here in Southeast Idaho. We have days that are 2 below and a week later 45 degrees. Then the next day, 2 inches of snow. I love it. But, at the same time, it makes me hole away in our tiny apartment. Last week I read the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand, which was awesome you all should read it, but what got me was that it was set in Jackson Hole, WY. I am from only 2 passes over in Swan Valley. A tiny town of only 300. The book made me miss summer! So I started to daydream about how all I want to do is to be outside, with the sun warming my skin and spirit. It made me miss times like this: 

Our Quest For Narnia (Timpangoes Caves, UT)

Visiting D while he was away at field camp (Salmon River, Central Idaho)

Adventuring with this guy (Alpine Loop, American Fork, UT)

Sunday Afternoon Hikes (East Mink Creek, Pocatello, Idaho)

And stunning views like this one. (Alpine Loop to Sundance, UT)

So while I am holed away with in my winter wonderland, I am dreaming of summer, and not only dreaming of summer but that fact that my sweet husband will be graduating with his BS in Geology this May and to us, our summer is a mystery. We have no idea where we will be, what we will be doing. But man, I cannot wait!! 

So today I leave you with a song I have had on repeat for the last week and musing form 17-year-old Cait. 

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: The Sky Is Everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere  by Jandy Nelson
Lennie plays second clarinet in the school orchestra and has always happily been second fiddle to her charismatic older sister, Bailey. Then Bailey dies suddenly, and Lennie is left at sea without her anchor. Overcome by emotion, Lennie soon finds herself torn between two boys: Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, and Joe, the charming and musically gifted new boy in town. While Toby can't see her without seeing Bailey and Joe sees her only for herself, each offers Lennie something she desperately needs. But ultimately, it's up to Lennie to find her own way toward what she really needs-without Bailey. A remarkable debut novel perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block.

As I sat at a tire place waiting three hours (hey it was 20 bucks for a oil change!!) I read this whole book. I sat down and quickly the sounds of the hockey game on the tv, and the sounds of the couple next to me  disappeared as I fell into this world. Lennie is at a loss of how to live her life when she loses her sister, unexpectedly. Now I guess I should preface that I am no stranger to loss and grief. Sadly, many funerals I have been to have been for young people who left before their time. I guess I connected with this book in one way because I understood how Lennie portrayed her grief, her thoughts that ran through her head. To me, it made sense. The blurb highlights that Lennie must choose between two boys but Lennie really has to choose how to live her life. How to be Lennie without Bailey. We see her journey as she begins the slow slow process of accepting what she cannot change. I found the following passage pretty powerful

My sister will die, over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don't get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and the love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy. 

This book is about the journey that grief brings about but what Nelson does is also bring about a unique story. I LOVED every character in this book. I loved how they were each so different. This family was odd with a capital O. I embraced this crazy group of characters and how different they were, but how they all were dealing with essentially the same thing. The story has some great twists and revelations as well, keeping you turing the page. And I would also like to find a mystical forest bedroom. So I say go read this book. You will not be disappointed.

As I said, I am no stranger to loss and a day doesn't go by that I am not thinking of my Chelsie. I am constantly trying to live my life and remember all her inspiration and support. So today, I am loving the world. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Public Administration: Working on the Local Level

"If our histories are to help change the world, they must reach beyond the walls of the academy to affect the views of people who do more than just study the past."

Bill Cronon "The Uses of Environmental History"

This beautiful picture was taken as I was talking to my PA Ethics class on Thursday night as I finished off my first week of school. And the above quote was taken from a reading in my Global Environmental History class. A big reason why I wanted to start this blog was because many times people shy away from talking about what I am learning in school before because they automatically assume that I am a politician. In a way, this is a false statement. Elected officials are chosen by the people and they, in a sense are there to do the will of the people. As a Public Administrator I am hired by the government or the public sector and I am at the service of the public but mostly on a local scale. 

There is so much citizens can do on a local scale for their community. I am interested in sustainability, which is the idea of using resources more efficiently so future generations can have the same opportunities that I have. I am interested in local food co-ops, community gardens, and localized partnerships in a community working together to make sure that citizens have equal opportunities to be successful in their lives. 

Why, might you ask, is this important to understand? To talk about? Because in a community we each have our own experiences, values, morals, thoughts and together we can take those ideas and create something great. It can be a more well rounded discussion with many different disciplines adding insight that might not be seen from my eyes as a PA. Academia has to take a step out in the real world, take theories and apply them to better understand the world around us. I am open and excited to hear your thoughts and opinions on different subjects!! 

So I hope to start some riveting conversations on this blog about actions that you can take locally, and hopefully shed some positive light on "government". 

Follow me on twitter, or on this blog for some great topics in the upcoming semester!! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Inspiration: Martin Luther King Jr Day

Most kids during a book fair wanted to grab the flashy new coloring book or an adventure book or the crafty books that had titles about how to make friendship bracelets. I was not most kids. During a book fair around 2nd or 3rd grade I remember buying a diary with a cat on it and this

From an early age I was fascinated with the topic of civil rights. I was enamored with the idea that people were treated differently because of their color of their skin. I didn't understand it because they were people just like you and me. They felt the same, their heart beat the same, they experienced heartache, joy, longing, empathy,  and sorrow just like me. I was lucky enough to be raised in a household that was filled with open minds. A household where we accepted and loved everyone despite of our differences, whether on the inside or out. I had no room to judge but only room in my mind and heart to understand and accept. 

So today, on this day filled with hope from a man who had a dream, I challenge each one of you to find something good in each person you meet. Something small or big, and smile. Because when it comes down to it, we know nothing but ourselves, and to be true to ourselves we should be true to others. We can't to even begin to understand most people's trials and hills they have to climb but we can help them with a simple smile, a compliment, or a positive thought. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Inspirtation: Fit

My New Years resolution was to find the best in things, but that also requires to find the best in me. Along with being more positive, writing down my thoughts, and I want to be more active and more healthy. I focus in school on local sustainability and I have to be more honest with myself if I want to be true to what I believe. So I make sure I know what I am eating, even where it is coming from. I try to more active in my life so I have the capability to different things. So today be inspired to go out and be more active!!!

I have been lucky to have a great support group with my best girl friends. I am trying my hand at running and even days when it's hard (like today when I am pretty sure I have shin splints) I know that things are never easy, so I take the small strides I accomplish and look forward to more.

This song is what I am listening while running, or being active. Love it!
And while I would usually give a quote or something, I feel when it comes to being fit, there are some serious stupid stuff out there. Like being fit doesn't feel as good as eating something? False. Some food is just super tasty and not healthy. SO I encourage you to find a quote that inspires you! Because it's you that has to do the work.

AND If you like reading my blog, feel free to follow me, share it, tell your peeps. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Growing Up and Growing Old

There is something to say about finding that person to grow old with. Normally, society gives you an odd look when you get married young, saying that it wont last (sans the area I live in) but while there is something to say about finding someone to grow old with, there is a truth in finding someone to grow up with.

I was 19 when I met D. In a way, we had nothing in common. Now for me, this is nothing new. Growing up in Idaho I was always the one who liked different music, books, and was just a little different. Many referred to me as a "hippie" and I told D as much as on our first date. He quickly realized I wasn't like anyone else he had dated. I guess today on this quiet Saturday I was reminded about how perfect someone can be for you when I walked into our office to see D reading one of his new textbooks about geomorphology, listening to a British Folk Indie station. It put the biggest smile on my face! Not because he was totally doing something I would do, but more because it such a great feeling to know that two people with diverse hobbies and interests can be openminded enough to purse and engage in what the other finds interesting.

D has always been open to my interests, and I love him for that. I also love how we can easily have our own time, how it can nice just to be next to each other lost in our own worlds. When we started dating five years ago,  we grew up together. There is something to say about growing up and learning to be an individual it can also be refreshing to grow up and have to hold yourself responsible to another person. To want to be better not only for you but for your partner. To know that when times are tough, as they can be in your 20s, you always have someone there. That together all the times when your broke as hell, when your sad over things you cant control, or when you so stressed from the simple needs of life, there is someone there. I am happy I have someone to grow up with. And I look forward to growing up old with him.

So today I leave you with a song that we both love, that we find fits us perfectly. Enjoy.

P.S. And there are other times when you realize you both are so weird, no one else woud have ya ;)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Through the Ever Night

My Rating: 5 Stars! 

Blurb: It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

I love dystopian novels. They have the perfect combination of action, romance, and hope for new beginnings. This is the second book in a trilogy by Veronica Rossi and it did not disappoint. In this book there are many aspects that are appealing.

The first is the writing of Rossi. I am a sucker for writing that utilizes imagery to create a vivid visual. Not only does Rossi doe this in describing the unique world Perry and Aria live in, she also does it in showing the true emotion these two characters have. Examples are :

"She heard the trees rustle with a breeze, and then felt it brush cool against her cheeks. No one planted her as firmly in her skin as he did" 

"When he finally stepped outside, the air smelled ashy an carried the sting of Aether. It smelled of ruin. The sky churned dark and bright. Marbled and shifting." 

It killed me that Aria and Perry each had their own responsibilities, but understood the reasons behind it. I thought that Perry really grew in this book as he took on the responsibilities of his people. It was interesting to get into his head, to see his doubts as he made the best decisions he knew how. I think of my favorite lines in the book was this:

"Leaders need to see clearly in darkness, Peregrine. You already do that."

I didn't feel as connected with Aria in this book but I felt that the focus was shifted to Perry and Roar. Aria was there to support these two men as they both went through their own journeys, some not ending as happy as they wanted. In the end I liked how all the groups came together and I am excited to seem them venture in the Still Blue.

Overall, this book was great, one of my favorite dystopian novels I have read in the last year. Now I have to anxiously patiently wait for the third book. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Finding the Quiet

I am a lover of seasons. I find each season brings some kind of peace, whether it be the quiet ruffling of of leaves during a warm breeze on a late summer hike, or smell of the crisp cold air with the twinge of smoke in the air from stoves during the late fall. Each season brings a sense of the beginning of something new and bright.

The last few days have brought on a large amount of snow in my quite hill nested town, more snow than we have seen in awhile. This snow has covered everything in a soft blanket of white, a white that covers the dull and brightens the world. As I sit here in my own winter wonderland, I cherish this weekend because as soon as Tuesday hits I will be starting my second semester of grad school. Days will be filled with classes, reading, writing (the scholarly kind) and the hectic schedule grad school demands. Now, don't get me wrong, I am that person that genuinely enjoys going to school and learning. I soak it all up and it runs through my mind, processing the information and taking it apart piece by piece to only put it back together again to create a new picture. I am excited to start my next semester, but for now I am taking advantage of a quiet weekend of no obligations, plenty of tea drinking, and enjoying the winter around me. Because soon it will be spring, the snow will melt, and the trees will spring with a new growth of something new.

Today I leave you with a picture I took this November, as we experienced one of the first snows this season.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Inspiration

Mondays are no fun. It means the end of the weekend and the beginning of the week filled with work and school. So I plan on every Monday bringing you a bit of inspiration.

The highlight of my Monday was a long lunch with one of my most favorite people. This girl rocks it and together we are huge supporters of our goals and dealings of life. It's a constant reminder that family and loved ones aren't always blood related, that hiding around the hectic schedules of life, there are always people who are there to support you.

So today I leave you with a song. Cuz it's our jam, it really builds ;)
And some insight from 17 year old Cait

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

There are times when you sit down to watch a movie or read a book and, in that moment, everything aligns so you are consumed by the impact of said media. That was my experience with watching Perks.

It was a cold night, D and I bundled up and headed to the cheap theater to watch this movie. Our town, sadly, lacks playing a lot of the non major movies so this movie completely bypassed the bigger theatre and went straight to the cheap theatre. In a way, though, it was perfect.

I sat down prepared with my twizzlers, my comfy boots sticking to the floor from a busy Saturday of movie goers, and D next to me. Now Perks is a timeless book, a tale of adolescence, of fitting in, the darker situations that hide in the background waiting for opportunities to rear its ugly head. Many have read and praised this book. I, on the other hand didn't read it until this fall. Yep I was 24 when I finally read this book and was unsure how I had missed it for so long. I read the book quickly and enjoyed it, but I felt maybe I had missed the time frame for it to really impact me. If I read it at the age of 16 maybe it would have been more influential. 

Watching the movie, though, brought this book to life. It was an overall experience of being in a smaller cozy theater that was not handicapped by technology, with curtains hanging on the sides, with the tops of heads boarding the bottom of the screen and the full sound of laughter which filled the room during Patrick's witty banter. Perks was written in the 90s and I was pleased to see that they set the movie during this time. To watch it on the big screen in this older theater as Charlie turns in his reports on handwritten paper made me feel nostalgic for a time when I was only a child.

This movie only added to the book, made it better. The cast was great and followed the book nicely. Always a plus for a book lover weary of movie adaptations. I enjoyed Paul Rudd's character as Charlie's teacher and mentor and thought it was nice to see him play a role that was a bit more serious than his sarcastic comedy based roles. I think that Patrick was my favorite character to be brought to the big screen. He brought this joy to the story, even though he dealt with just as many issues. 

The music: I knew from the opening credits I would be in for a treat. They highlight The Smiths, as done in the book, and I got feelings of glee when Sam mentions Nick Drake. So much that have I have included my favorite Nick Drake song below! 

Overall it was a great night at the movies, I highly recommend this movie. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by music. I was a kid that had 2 working parents but didn't spend any time in day care, so I spend a lot of time with my parents, and music seemed to always be playing in the background. I grew up with Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison, and The Beetles. In the fourth grade my first CD was a Pop 60s CD (and Hanson, dont judge :) My brother shared the same music taste and I would fall asleep listening to oldies through the wall. That paired with my love of musicals and my years in dance, music has always been an important part in my life. I am constantly listening to music, in the car, at school, walking between classes, cleaning, cooking dinner, getting ready for the day. It's always there. I am always up for discovering new artists and am pretty open to music genres (minus most rap and country).

Going to concerts and listening to live music is, for me, one of the best experiences in the world. To set in a room with music filling room consuming you can be amazing. I hope on this blog I can highlight songs that I are filling my head and can't get off repeat. Below is my spotify mix I listened to through the majority of my first semester of grad school.

Highlights from this list:

Dance For You- Dirty Projectors: A fun song that I listened to multiple times on a weekend, it has a catchy tune. Folky type music.

Weights & Measures- Dry the River: This song I found on a spotify radio and I noticed as it is a song that really builds.

Carousel- Iron and Wine: Iron and Wine is a classic and this song tells a beautiful story, as most of their songs do.

Born to Die- Lana Del Rey: This had a bit of R&B to this song but I am all for girl power and Del Rey oozes it. For those who like Neko Case and Cat Power,  I suggest looking into this artist.

Have you Forgotten- Red House Painters: This band from the 1990s weaves a ghost of a song in Have You Forgotten. For the quiet times in our lives. I have been loving this song since 2005 due to a suggestion from a great friend.

Half Moon- Blind Pilot: This portland based band has tunes that can be played over and over again. Found this gem on a friend's Facebook.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Top 10 Books of 2012

I find it fitting to go over my top 10 books I read in 2012. I read approx 109 books this last year and this was the top 10 that left me full of emotion. They are in no particular order.

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

This was the first book I read in 2012 and it spurred my need to read as much as possible. A dystopian novel set in Chicago, Tris deals with what normal teens deal with, training to deal with danger, ect. I loved the world in this book and thought it was very well developed. I loved how Tris grows through this book, taking the leap (no pun intended) to do something different. I swooned over Four and how he helps Tris. I was literally hot and heavy over these two. I highly feel that this will be the next Hunger Games craze and can't wait for the movie to come out in 2014!!

2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
This book was recommended by a friend, and then I also saw it highlighted on a blog I followed. This series has been around for awhile and follows Claire as she time travels back into time to 1745 Scotland. I generally don't like historical fiction, even though I have a degree in History, but I loved this book. Looking for a detailed filled series with a couple that not only tests fate but time?? Look no further. 

3. A Discovery of Witches- Deborah Harkness

This is one of my top 3 books of the year. Harkness is a history professor who wrote a novel! I was in heaven! This story deals with vampires, witches, and demons but instead of usually in the YA world it was  written with adults as the main focus. I loved that, I loved the history behind it and I loved the authentic feeling of it, how you sit and questions that maybe these creatures do lurk behind the pages of history. The story of of Matthew and Diana is heartfelt and I loved some scenes as Diana deals with the many secrets Matthew has. I am anxiously waiting for the third installment of this series! 

4. The Girl of Fire and Thrones/ The Crown of Ember- Rae Carson
This was my first time reading high fantasy and at first I wasn't sure what I was reading but all I knew was that I couldn't stop. I was completely enthralled in what I was reading, it was different from anything else I had read. I put both of these books because together they created a vigorous story that kept you guessing. Usually in these stories, there is a love story and by 1/4 of the book in you can guess the two main characters. Not in this book. Carson, I think, breaks a lot of rules when it came to the love story in this and by the time you realize who the love interest who think, well duh it should that is perfect! Overall I say read this, it was a great book! 

5. The Evolution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin
This is actually the second book in this series. The first is the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I had read it last spring, liked it well enough but quickly forgot about it. I noticed that this book came out and I was like well I am already invested in this story, might as well. By the end of this book my mind was blown! In this book you question everything, you see relationships deepen, and the ending. Man oh man, it was epic. I LOVED this book and also would put it in my top 3 of the year. The best part was as I stalked looked at the authors webpage I came across this little gem. Again making you question everything...

6. Slammed by Colleen Hoover
I added this book my to to read list on Goodreads last Feb or March, but kinda ignored it as I was in a dystopian/fantasy stage and wasn't really wanting to delve into contemporary. So it sat on my list until the beginning of December until I finally got around to it. I was blown away! I might go as far as saying this is my TOP book this year. The story between Laken and Will is tender, sweet, forbidden, and perfect. These two go through so much but deal with it as mature adults. Hoover has a way with writing when it comes to sorrow. She is good at writing about the crap of life but also good at finding the good in it. The addition of Slam Poetry and the Avett Brothers? Perfection. If you only read one book this year from this list. READ THIS ONE. 

7. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
John Green is one of my favorite authors. At the young age of 16 as an angsty teen I read Looking for Alaska. For me that book was life changing and little did I know how much that book would, in a way, prepare me for some of life's harsher lessons. It seemed only full circle that I would read this book. I have dealt with cancer in my family, and have lost a best friend to it at the age of 18. I was a bit timid of starting this book, not sure if I could deal with the subject but with John Green's witty writing and no nonsense style, I quickly fell in love with this book. This book was about living, dealing with whatever is thrown at us and how to do with the best capability we have. To find the humor and joy where it is available  This book was simply amazing. 

8. The Convent Series- Jennifer L. Armentrout
This series follows Alex, a young women, as she fights fate and demons. I loved this series. Many on Goodreads compared it to the Vampire Academy series (which I read and loved) and in the beginning, Yes I could see the similarities but as the series progressed it become so much more. The third book and the novella in-between shows one of the most tender and heartwarming relationships between Aidan and Alex and I think that was why I loved this series so much. My heart felt what these characters felt as they dealt with what seems to be impossible situations. 

9. The Premonition Series- Amy A. Bartol 
This series follows Evie, a college age girl as she discovers secrets about herself. This series is a complex web of connections and relationships. This book has more than a love triangle, its more like a love Polygon. It is safe to say that it is pretty complicated when the least of Evies worries is her soul mate. What I loved about this book was how the first time I feel for the bad guy. I was Team Brennus in this series, rather then Reed. Crazy I know but I am over Reed. This series also exemplifies the writing style of Bartol and I have enjoyed to see her writing grow in this series. 

10. The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern
What I loved with this book was the world around it. While at times the plot was somewhat confusing, the imagry was amazing. I was lost in this world that Morgenstern creates and felt for these characters. 

Honorable Mentions:

The Signifance Series- Shelly Crane: I loved the family in these books plus the playlists rocked that were added to each book :) 

The Lux Series- Jennifer L. Armentrout: Hot Aliens?? Don't mind if I do. 

Hopeless- Colleen Hoover: This story was amazing and I loved the ending, loved how it all came together

The Sea of Tranquility- Katja Millay: A girl who doesn't speak and A boy who works with wood. Together they have a beautiful story. 

New Year's Resolution

 In 2012, I entered the year with hope and promise for a better year than the one before. For the most part, 2012 delivered. I also entered a different stage of my life. After graduating in Dec 2011 with my degree I was ready for the next step. I did an internship for 4 months with a nonprofit and helped write grants, opening my eyes to a profesional world where good was being done. I spent the summer working and supporting my husband as he was gone for 5 weeks for a field camp to further his course to get this degree. In the fall I started school again to get my Masters in Public Administration focusing on Environmental issues. Through this year I started to notice that I was surrounded with so many great things, I was learning so much but I didn't really have an outlet to express myself and mostly I was running into constant negativity. With my field (and it being an election year) I ran into many people already forming opinions and jumping to conclusions. It was hard to voice the idea that my field really doesn't have a lot to due with national issues and my focus is on the local level, where many people can make a huge difference!! So I started a blog to express and educate.

I want to use this space not only to talk about school but so much more! I love to read and read so much in high school. After started college I didn't have as much time and I challenged myself to read at least one book a month last year. WELL. I read over 100 books in 2012. I mostly read romance and YA novels, and I feel no shame about it!! I get enough real world problems with life and school that I don't need to read it in a fiction sense. And many YA novels are full of musings and ponderings that can make you think and ask questions. Other are light and full of innocence which is always nice to see. From my love of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games I also enjoy fantasy, usually in the YA section. I hope to highlight some amazing books I read.

Speaking of high school, I kept a journal through high school and filled it with keepsakes and inspirational quotes. While looking over it I found a list of things I wanted to accomplish. Man, 17 year old Cait was ambitious!! My list consisted of the following goals:
1.Learn Italian
2. Spend a year in rome (I was reading the DiVinci Code and Angels and Demons during this time :)
3. Observe more people
4. Go on a mercy mission in a third world
5. Watch a broadway play
6. Write a book

I realized that yes maybe one day I would write a book, but at least I should start writing and seeing this list gave me the push to write this blog. So I plan on at least starting on some of these goals. 17 year old Cait would be proud:)

I also want to focus on the positive of life. Have you ever had a moment in time where you looked around and realized everything was perfect? That in the moment, nothing could ever be better?? I have had a few of those. While at a live convert, driving to Salt Lake after D and I got married, looking at the snow capped mountains and just taking a breath that was free of worry.  I want to not only have more of those moments but to observe and capture them. I plan on sharing those moments in this blog as well as the motivational musing 17 year old Cait wrote down in her journal. And I leave you with one of those entries. It is where I got the title for my blog.

The Road
      You will find that it is all very familiar... 
    the strange and faraway places where you've never been. 
   The wild unknown leads you to a place just around the corner.
   Take a picture when you get there...
   The road is you.

-J. Beber
R. Hammond.