A Time for Reflections

I have been blogging for just over 4.5 years. This blog has seen me apply to colleges, take the SATs, graduate high school, move to New York city, struggle with roommates, travel to Israel on my birthright, make new friends that I now call family, triumph academically, lose friends in emotional waves, begin a journey of self-discovery, spend nearly 6 months living in England and traveling Europe, hop from internship to internship, deal with some really terrible sicknesses in my family, write my thesis, and, finally, graduate college a semester early summa cum laude. This blog has seen me through the silent stress of realizing college is coming to an end and I have to enter the real world and find a job.


I think it's fitting to end on the most important note that is going to open a brand new chapter in my life: this blog has seen me get a job.

This is still weird for me to say only because I have been an intern for so long! Alas, no longer!


I've been very fortunate to have found a family with Tor and their kickass publicity department. Somehow, over the seven months that I was there, my team morphed from a group of bosses to people I call my friends; people I binge Star Wars with, fight over ships with, howl with laughter with, share cat pictures with on a near daily basis. Today is my first day as an official employee. "A real person" as I like to joke, that has a salary and benefits and actual responsibilities. And I'm excited to make this transition with such an amazing team! I can recognize how rare it is to have a job straight out of college, especially in our industry, and I know that I'm blessed. I worked so hard for this, and I'm excitedly taking that step into that new life.

With this step comes a huge change in my life--changes that are going to take away from my blog. So, this isn't a goodbye, but it's a see you later. My blog will still be here and, who knows, I may update it with foodie adventures and my travels randomly throughout the year, but it's time to let it go. I need to relax, read for pleasure, work, and enjoy my free time instead of sitting down to knock out a million posts a month. My life is books though, so I will never stop talking about them. I'll still be on Twitter and Goodreads posting scattered thoughts that must be shared, but this chapter of my life has to be let go.

I'll still be reachable on Twitter (@LiliFeinberg), Instagram (@LiliFeinberg), and also Goodreads. Thank you for staying with me for so long and going on this crazy journey with me! I don't know what I would have done without the blogging following and family I've found these past 4.5 years. I don't want to lose touch!


P.S. Seriously, friend me on Goodreads! I will always need book recommendations and that is where I'll be spending most of my book-related Internet time aside from Twitter!

2017: My Most Anticipated Books

2017 is going to be a crazy awesome year for releases, so I am putting together a list of my most anticipated books. Fantasy tends to dominate everything I read, so I am splitting it into fantasy vs. contemporary. The following books are in no particular order!

Fantasy


The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab

London's fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.



Top Ten Literary Names I'd Use For A Cat

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Does anyone else have the terrible habit of drafting posts and then forgetting to post them because you never fine-tuned them? Well, that's me. I found this post back in October in my drafts section and I love it, so I am posting it late because why not?!

Ladies and gentleman, prepare for some serious intensity because I recently got a new cat and in the process of naming her thought long and hard about literary possibilities.

So, this is a list of 10 different literary works that can inspire cat names.

In case you're wondering, my fur baby is named Charlotte, Charlie for short, from Charlotte's Web. :)

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1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling- If I had a black cat, I would name it Padfoot in a heartbeat, just as I would name a ginger cat Weasley. There's also the whole humans with animal names so I'd seriously consider Fred here. But, of course, we have to give a nod to Crookshanks. I mean, just imagine it: Crooky, Crooky, Crooky. Here, Crooky, Crooky, Crooky. Also, Luna is an awesome cat's name, but I already used it for one of my others!

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas- Most of the names in this series are too complicated for a cat, but I love the idea of naming a kitty Rowan. I also like the name Manon, but it strikes me as more of a dog name for some reason.

3. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote- The name of Holly Golightly's cat is Cat. I don't know if I ever actually could do this to a kitty, but I know I want to do this to a kitty. haha

4. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll- I would hands down name the proper mischievous fur baby Cheshire if I feel they are feisty enough to handle the name. Come 'ere, Chess!

5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis- Aslan is a strong and powerful name for a strong man of the house cat. FOR NARNIAAAAAA!!!!! *jumps into a tree* *runs into a wall* *eats a bug*

6. The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta- I seriously considered the name Finnikin for a male cat, Finn for short, but I ended up with a female and I just didn't think that would work!

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- I love animals with human names as mentioned before, so I would happily name a cat Max after one of my favorite characters ever. It's just, you know, weird that this is the name of one of my best friends, and one of my cousins, and 3 of my friend's dogs...

8. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter- So, I wouldn't really name the cat a name from the work, but I'd happily give a cat a name as awesomely awesome as Beatrix. Trix or Trixie for short? Bea for short?

9. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab- The author is well aware of the fact that Delilah is the perfect name for a female cat because they're so mischievous. In fact, Charlie was almost a Delilah. And I'm sure V is doubly as well aware that any male gray cat HAS to be named Holland. No if's, and's, or but's about it.

10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- Mr. Darcy would be such a great name for a male cat to which I can angrily say, "Come here, Mister!" I think Darcy alone for a female cat is even cooler though. I just love the name, don't you? Or, for a boy cat, Fitz would be pretty great, too.


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Do you have any cool names for animals that are from literary works? :)

Review: The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter

Series: Heist Society #3.5
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 105 (eBook)
Source: Bought
Katarina Bishop is a thief. To many it wouldn’t matter that she now uses her considerable skills to re-steal valuable works of art and return them to their rightful homes.

She’s still a thief.

So that’s why Kat’s surprised when an Interpol agent comes to her one snowy evening, asking for Kat’s help.

The Magi Miracle Network was set to auction off a very rare, very valuable Faberge egg two days before Christmas, but the egg’s been stolen and now the charity’s reputation—and their future—is on the line.
Kat’s family and Interpol might be opposite sides of most jobs, but someone just stole Christmas.

Now it’s up to Kat and her crew to steal it back.

The Grift of the Magi is a Heist Society novella and is approximately half the length of the other novels in the series. It stands alone, but if you want read more about Kat and her crew check out Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, and Perfect Scoundrels.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I flipped out when I found out this novella existed. I honestly had no clue until a few days ago. How did it fly under my radar for so long?! I quickly realized that it is because Ally Carter did not publish through Disney Hyperion the way the rest of the series is published and instead did it on her own.

This book features the gang. Everyone I could possibly want is in it, even if only briefly, and I often found myself jumping in excitement when a new name appeared on the page. The second I saw the countdown layout of the chapters, I was in the zone. I got to travel the world (albeit it was not as detailed as I would have liked but, hey, it's a novella) and do illegal things again and what more could you want from an Ally Carter book? This book is a super quick read and it made it nice to slip back into this world. 

My favorite part about this story is that we have Hale and Kat working together... as a couple! There is their usual awesomeness doubled by some kisses and even better bickering-y banter. YES YES YES! Slightly rushed ending aside, I loved every minute of this novella and the Christmas (mistletoe!) feelings brought with it.

I will say that this novella is making me believe that Heist Society #4 may actually be a thing because it really ties the series together. We all know that Kat has an Egg of the Magi because it is her most prized possession from her mother. And then this book has to deal with rescuing the second egg. This series wouldn't be hole without us discovering where Egg #3 is. I truly wouldn't be able to forgive Carter if she gave us this amazing novella that gives such hope for the continuation of the series without actually continuing it. I just... I want this so badly. This is one of my major bookish wishes ever. For realsies.

Anyway, read this novella. It's well worth the three dollars because slipping into this world with this amazing group of characters is intoxicating. BUT GOSH DANG IT, I JUST WANT TO KNOW HALE'S NAME!

4 stars

~*~Links~*~

Top Eleven Best Books That I Read in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

This is a rough list to make considering the fact that there is still 4 more days left in the year. And yes, it's just 4 days, but I can still manage to read some seriously life-changing books in 4 days! Anyway, of the books that I have read so far, these are my favorite.

In no particular order...

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1. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer- This book doesn't come out for a few months, but its placement on this list was a no-brainer for me. It was pure perfection. I wouldn't change a thing about this YA You've Got Mail except, you know, the fact that it ended.

2. By Your Side by Kasie West- Two teens get locked in a library in the middle of a snowstorm for a weekend. There's more to each than initially meets the eye. Yet another perfect contemporary from Kasie West.

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli- This is my first Alebrtalli, but it is so amazing! I related so hard to the Jewish mentions in the story, and I loved the beauty of a first kiss. I saw lot of my anxious not-small self in Molly, and this is a book I wish I had as a teenager.

4. Remembrance by Meg Cabot- This is the long-awaited adult sequel to a YA series I loved. It could have been absolutely terrible and I still would have loved every minute of it because of what it meant.

5. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo- I binged this duology (finally!) this year and loved every minute of it. Kaz is amazing and this cast of characters, and the surprise appearances from past cast, blew me away. I have one issue with CK and that's the fact that I felt like the end of one character's arc was completely unnecessary, but I just hope that means that this world will be revisited again one day.

6. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid- If you center a series around a character named Nemesis that is a robotic killing machine sent away to take down foreign governments, I'll probably read it.

7. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson- This series is so meta and ahead of its time and I loved every minute of it. Read it! Love it! Bask in its amazingness. You will never stop laughing.

8. The Goal by Elle Kennedy- Again, another series I binged. It was like candy crack, so bad it was good. But then this last book came along--one I actually wasn't excited for because I didn't like the direction the series seemed to be going in, and it showed how much Kennedy grew as a writer. The best in the series if you ask me. Plus, swoony men and kickass girls. WOOOOOOO!

9. When We Collided by Emery Lord- Lord has a way with writing really intensely emotional stories. This is perhaps "darker" than her other ventures, but her exploration of mental health is very important.

10. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab- Okay, so this is a slightly fillery sequel, but Schwab is such an amazing writing that even a filler book is BOMB. Things pick up near the end and the character growth is great, as is the expansion of the cast.

11. Geekerella by Ashley Poston- So much geekiness. So much cute. So much Cinderella. One of my favorite fluffy retellings ever!

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Do we have any top ten books in common? Which ones? Link below with your own Top 10s for me to add to my TBR!

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 448 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher For Review
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book. I don't know what to say. I enjoyed it immensely.

I know that it was initially written as an adult erotic fantasy-type book that was then converted to a young adult book because of appeal. A Goblin King, while super intriguing, has the makings of perfection for a YA audience instead of an adult audience, you know? With that in mind, you can still tell this was initially adult. While there's less sex (though that's not to say there isn't any sex romance lovers) the way it is written just seems so... adult. There's an intimacy to everything, especially the way the author focuses on music, and it makes you flip pages super fast.

Firstly, I loved the lore in this. This Labyrinth re-imagining is definitely spot on. But, more than anything, the lore about The Underground, The Goblin King, and all the other creatures we find down there is beyond fascinating. This book truly transfers you to another world when Liesl heads underground, but because the main part of the book takes place in Austria it's like the entire book is a fairytale. The world-building is definitely spot on.

And here's where my intense love of this book wavers...Liesl. She's very selfless, rarely selfish, and it's easy to love her. But, gosh, is she frustrating at times. Nearly every other page she talks about how "plain" and "not pretty" she is. If I have to see the word "plain" one more time, I may scream. I understand that she envies her gorgeous sister, Kathe, and her talented brother and eyes often skim over her because of that, but she harps on it to the point of obsession. Even when someone else admits they see beauty in her, she can't fathom it because she's so wrapped up in her own plainness. Which, you know, makes her personality pretty dang plain at times when she's not being passionate and heroic and at times kinda overemotional and all over the place.

On the other hand, we have The Goblin King. He is so dang complex and fascinating. With his two different color eyes and lanky build, he is instantenously attractive to all. He has many hidden secrets, but a respect for scholars and a deep love and admiration for music, especially the violin. He, too, is simultaneously selfish and selfless and I wanted more of him. He is a compelling and easily loved villain. I'm talking The Darkling level, guys.

The romance...man. Liesl and the Goblin King have such an intense and passionate relationship. Because of this, her time spent underground is literally a rollercoaster. Happiness, sadness, passion, triumph, despair. You name it, they experience it, and their story is told through the beauty of her music. Speaking of music, as someone with not a lyrically talented bone in her body, I was hesitant to pick this book up. There's beautiful sequences describing rhythm and song that I wouldn't understand, but Jae-Jones wrote them so that even a music noob like myself could still feel the power and intimacy thrown into such compositions.

And then there's the end. The book ends where it does because there's a sequel, but it's like everything happened and it just ended there. And then there's an epilogue which made me have a little bit of hope, but it just wasn't what I wanted as a reader. It's not what I expected at all. Did it have something to do with the plot? Yes. Did it tie the book up in a satisfactory way? Not at all. It is unfortunate to end on an unsatisfactory note because the book is so great, but I am definitely looking forward to book two.

3.5 stars

~*~Links~*~

FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.

Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 400 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher For Review
Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I have no words for my intense love of this book. I read it, I immediately bothered the author on twitter and ran down the streets screaming. Okay, maybe not that last bit, but I did force it on everyone I could at work and on the Internet, which is a success in my book. I mean, a YA You've Got Mail? Sign. Me. Up.

This story is so character driven. That's the beauty of it. We have these two teens that are hurting really badly, they're suffering the way nobody should ever suffer, and somehow they find each other under the most unlikeliest of circumstances and realize the world isn't as lonely of a place as it may seem.

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother. When her mother passes away, she continues to do so, leaving them at her grave every couple of days because she doesn't know what else to do. Her grief is intense and real, leading her to give up her greatest love and talent, photography, because it reminded her of her mother too much. One day she gets a response to one of her letters from a boy named Declan. Of course, Juliet doesn't know that the school thug who got drunk and crashed a car last year and is constantly doing community service is the one writing back to her, the one she is starting to get to know and have feelings for because of how similar they are. They start this journey together, and the question is are they going to finish it?

Declan, like Juliet, is hurting. He's perhaps the most complex character in this book and I loved it. He's a protector, but he also needs protecting. He is hard, mean, and angry, but he just needs to be held and told that everything is okay and that he is loved. He is intelligent and handy, but hides behind a facade of stupidity because it is easier to play into stereotypes. Once you're written off, nobody expects anything better of you. (Also, shout out to the fact that Declan's family is the worst family I have ever read and I hate them with a burning passion so bravo, Brigid, for making me want to vomit whenever they randomly appeared in the book because they're just not good parents and don't know how to handle any situation and huge enablers and blah. That run-on sentence was totally necessary because they're that bad).

Through a series of almosts, the two slowly start to guess at the others' identity, which causes readers to flip through the pages at a lightning fast speed because they need to know what happens. This book is just...wow.

And, luckily, there will be a sequel. While this book was amazing, there's still so much more to tell. Especially when it comes to Rev, Declan's best friend who was abused as a child and eventually adopted by his amazing foster family. His story only just begun in this book and I am so, so, so excited to see where it goes! Plus, I NEED MORE KISSING!

5 stars

~*~Links~*~

FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for an honest review.