Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

“Kathrine and Matthew are destined to be born again, century after century. Each time, they are total strangers thrust together under unusual circumstances. Each time, their presence changes history for the better. And each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. Why does fate keep bringing them together to save the world, and what must they achieve before they can finally be left to love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different.”

From 1745, 1854, 2019, to 2039, Kathrine and Matthew’s century-spanning love stories are never simple. Wars are being fought, cities are being invaded, government conspiracies are running rampant, and all they want to do is fall deeply in love, live a normal life, get married, and have children. But can they live a normal life when their lives, and the reason for their “reincarnations,” are the difference between world destruction and world peace?

Told between the varying perspectives of each of their lives, The Next Together is the perfect YA thriller/romance novel. I was captivated while turning the pages just waiting on the edge of my seat for that inevitable moment where Kathrine and Matthew finally found their way to one another and fell in love despite all odds.

One of my favorite things about this book was the idea that love could conquer all. I am a huge sap for love stories, regardless of how cheesy and improbable. There was a quote from the book that really stuck with me that said this:

“I love you too,” she replied, her breath catching in her throat. She realized then that she always had. She couldn’t remember falling in love with Matt. She hadn’t had the butterflies in her stomach, the giddy absorption of falling in love. It hadn’t been like that. She’d just seen him, and suddenly it had all clicked into place. She’d always been in love with him, and had been quietly, patiently, waiting for him to turn up. Perhaps once there had been a time when she wasn’t tied to him with every molecule of her being, but it was so long ago it was impossible to remember.”

How cute is that? And totally relatable for my fellow lovers of love. I oftentimes feel that way about my relationship with my own husband, so reading that paragraph made me feel so warm and cozy on the inside.

I will say that this book could have been made better by the author making the 1745 and 1854 timelines a bit more dissimilar. I found that I was having a hard time keeping tack of which timeline was which and it made the story progression a bit less enjoyable. It did help that there are literal timeline tracking indicators at the top, but I still found myself getting a bit overwhelmed with trying to keep track of them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and I give it 3/5 stars. I recommend this one for fans of YA fantasy, YA romance, and fans of books that take place during alternating timelines.

Thank you very much to Skyhorse Publishing for sending me a copy to review! I am extremely grateful!

To purchase this novel, you may find it here on Amazon.

Thanks for reading!

-Alisa

15 Thoughts I Have While Reading

15 Thoughts I Have While Reading

If you are one of those people who can read a book and not think much of what you are reading and just take it as it is and roll with the punches, you are incredibly lucky. As someone who can be hypercritical of everything, including the books I read, I have an inner monologue going on at all times while reading, chatting to myself about my thoughts and opinions on the book both positive and negative.

Curious to know what I think about? Here are 15 common thoughts I have while reading:

  1. “Okay, here we go, new book. I wonder how the pages smell…. Yup, smells like paper. So satisfying!”
  2. “Alright, so I guess this is just another watered down version of Hunger Games with a “magical twist.” Glad we are on the same page here…”
  3. “Okay, this girl is getting WAY too detailed about that man’s eyelashes and hair. Give it 2 more chapters and they will be making out.”
  4. “How the heck are they making out already?? They just met at that stupid club an hour ago!!!”
  5. “Yes, because that’s totally what a woman would say about her body while undressing in front of her boyfriend. Totally realistic.”
  6. “Wait, who is that person again? The main character’s best friend’s brother’s cousin? Okay, got it.”
  7. “Welp, there’s a racist/sexist/homophobic/prejudice comment. Throwing this thing RIGHT in the trash.”
  8. “How many more pages do I have left in this book? 200? Yeah, I can totally finish this in 30 minutes.”
  9. “Wait, was that a typo?? YESSSSS!!! I FOUND ONE!!!!”
  10. “Could this chair BE any more uncomfortable??? *flips upside down with legs behind head* Okay, that’s not great either….”
  11. “Where the heck did my bookmark go?!”
  12. “I KNEW HE WAS THE KILLER!!! I am a genius. I deserve a genius award of some sort…”
  13. “I think I need more snacks to really enjoy this book.”
  14. “How do you even pronounce this person’s name? Fantasy novels be cray…”
  15. “Phew. Another book finished…. Now what…?”

So there you have it, your exclusive sneak peek into my mind during reading! Does anyone else have similar thoughts? Different ones? Let me know! 🙂

-Alisa

5 Ways to Get Away With Reading at Work

5 Ways to Get Away With Reading at Work

 

If you are a bookworm after my own heart, you will know that reading and consuming literature is a full-time grind. This is not a hobby for the weak. If you aren’t thinking about books 24/7, you can’t sit with us.

Just kidding, you can sit with us, but just know that we are going to ignore you and not make eye contact in favor of finishing our third book for the week.

One of the things that get in the way of being able to read every day and all the time is this weird adult trapping mechanism called a “job.” Most of us work at least 40 hours a week, precious time that could be dedicated to our novels. So what can we do to make sure that we still have time to read at work without jeopardizing your paycheck (that will ultimately be used to buy more books)? Here are a few of my creative ideas:

  1. Read at your desk, but cover yourself with a blanket so that nobody can see you.This tactic worked really well for me as a kid. My mom would come into my bedroom to check on me at 10:00pm and lo and behold, there I was with my flashlight on and my book open wide. I would get scolded for not sleeping and have my book taken away, breaking my youthful, innocent heart into a million tiny pieces. This was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. I am still scarred by it today and thank you for your thoughts and prayers. But as I got older and wiser and crept up on the ripe old age of 10, I discovered that if you put your blanket over your head, shielding your book and Barbie flashlight beam from view, your parents would be fooled into thinking you were sleeping and carry on with whatever Moms even did back in the day. Take that, Ma, I got you so good!!!My confidence that this will work with your coworkers is at LEAST 40%. I will take that chance.
  2. Copy your books onto 8.5×11” paper with the company copy machine, print it out, grab a highlighter, and tell all your coworkers that you need to “finish these reports by the end of the day.”There are very few people in the business world who would deny that deadlines are stressful, especially when there is a big stack of papers sitting on the corner of your desk waiting to be completed and judging you harshly every time you open Amazon.com or google “baby otters” instead of getting them completed. Because everyone can relate to this stress beast, this particular scheme works incredibly well. Someone walks into your office and asks for a financial breakdown? Not now, Linda, gotta get this report done by the end of the day. Your boss needs you to go drop off a super important binder to a client? Not now, Deborah, these numbers aren’t going to crunch themselves, pal, sorry. The building is about to be attacked by a modern day Godzilla that will likely cause major destruction and upset to the entire organization? Sorry, gotta figure out who Kendra picks in this insane love triangle. Priorities.
  3. Convince your officemates to hold your book up for you so you can expertly multitask.It’s pretty obvious to other people when you a reading a book. It’s in your hands, your head is down, and you’re in a state of ignorant bliss. This is not conducive to sneaky reading and your boss will know right away that you are not being a productive citizen (the horror). That’s why you need to enlist a book-holding buddy so that THEY are the ones who get in trouble for holding the book, not you. Seems like a simple concept right? Not only that, but you can do so many other productive things while they hold your book like finishing stapling those documents together or eating a steaming, sloppy cup of noodles. The choices are limitless! You may be asking yourself “but what do THEY get out of this arrangement?” The answer: Killer biceps and forearms. Have you ever held a book up for 8 hours straight? They will thank you later when they look like Gaston.
  4. Listen to an audiobook and obnoxiously scream “I AM SORRY, I JUST CAN’T HEAR YOU” every time someone tries to talk to you.This tip is pretty straightforward. If you have any questions, please feel free to stop by my office and ask me, but I probably won’t be able to hear you.
  5. Hide under your desk and claim you are getting ready for disaster preparedness.Remember those tornado drills they made us do in elementary school where you were forced to sit under your desk with a book on your head for an hour while sirens screamed through the classroom (aka the good old days)? Now is your time to shine! Get under that desk, surround yourself with military-grade tornado shields, and hoard some snacks and books to keep you occupied for 8 hours. If anyone laughs at you for doing this, kindly let them know that you will be the one prepared for the impending tornado disasters, not them, and then who will be laughing? Probably me, Richard, probably me.

I hope these tips and tricks help inspire you to be the best reader you can be despite having to work 40 hours a week. Let me know if you try out any of these tips, and please send pictures.

 

Best of luck,

Alisa

Confessions of a Bookworm

Confessions of a Bookworm

*Usher voice* “These are my confessions…”

Usher Confessions

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way…

It’s pretty easy to have popular opinions when it comes to books, or anything really. I suppose that’s what makes them “popular.” But, like any honest human being, there’s probably a little nagging troll inside your heart that is telling you things like “Okay, but really, the book wasn’t that great even though there are about 40 fanfic Tumblr blogs dedicated to low res gifs of actors and actresses who maybe look like what the characters are described as in the books making out on a loop” or “No, it really IS messed up that Bella chose Edward at the end of the series instead of Jacob and we all know it’s true but the only reason we won’t admit it is because we are so dedicated to choosing the wrong guy/person because it just feels RIGHT” (Don’t even lie to yourself, you know that’s the truth, friend. Listen to your heart troll…).

I wanted to share with you some of my bookworm confessions because I know I am definitely not alone in some of my feelings. Let me know if you are my heart troll soulmate!

Confession Number One: I can’t stand the dusty smell of old books.
This is a big one, I know. So many people love the smell of old books, but as someone who has suffered from dust and mold allergies since I emerged from the womb, I am not into it. Each time I smell an old book, it makes my body immediately throw itself headfirst into panic mode thinking that allergens are attacking my nose with the force of an Orc army, and my sinuses scream bloody murder “GET THE BENADRYL!!” Basically… old dusty books can exist, they can just exist the heck away from me.

Confession Number Two: If you mark up, dog ear, tear out, underline, sharpie, burn, cut up, snort, or otherwise deface your pages, go to jail right now and do not pass “Go.”
I don’t get it… Why would anyone want to destroy a perfectly good book by ruining its beauty with things such as that neon pink Sharpie highlighter you probably stole from your place of work? Leave the books alone!! Use a bookmark and some sticky notes!! Unless you are doing some serious college-level analytical breakdowns of the text, you leave that girl alone, she deserves better.

Confession Number Three: Books that don’t address how to pronounce a character’s name make me feel very insecure.
Here’s the truth: Names both in real life and in books are getting weirder and weirder and further away from the “norm.” This is totally fine, as I embrace individuality and encourage people to be creative. But if I have to read a 300 page book, let alone a SERIES, where I can’t figure out how to pronounce someone’s name, it is going to drive me NUTS. Why? Because it makes me feel stupid that I figure out the meaning of, and how to pronounce, floccinaucinihilipilification, but it took me until 2001, when the first Harry Potter move was released, after already reading the first three books in the Harry Potter series, to learn that Hermione was NOT pronounced “Her-mee-own”. Imagine my shock… (Fun fact: Apparently J.K. Rowling never intended for us to pronounce the “t” at the end of Voldemort, so I am told)

Confession Number Four: I judge books by their covers.
There, I said it. I do. I’m not sorry either!!

Confession Number Five: Romance novels always make me laugh, which I am pretty sure is DEFINITELY not the point of romance novels…
I get the appeal of romance novels, I really truly do. I can appreciate a good love story where two characters meet and fall deeply in love after seeing each other one time in a Starbucks and accidentally bumping into each other and somehow her skirt flies up and his shirt suddenly comes totally unbuttoned, revealing gleaming pectorals, but like he’s a single Dad so he’s a softie who just GETS HER too (as is what happens in real life, obviously). However, books like Fifty Shades of Grey (which I have never read) or books where there are oily, 14-pack having men on the cover with titles such as “Abs of FEELS” always make me laugh. Why do they always say such weird things that no human person would ever be attracted to in real life?

So there you have it. My weird albeit honest bookworm confessions. I hope they made you laugh and if you can relate to any of these, let me know!

Xoxo
-Alisa

The Best Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers

The Best Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the yearrrrr. Or, well, it ALMOST is. That means it’s time to start making a list (and checking it twice) of things your book loving friends would love to receive for the holidays. I have made that task just a little bit easier for you this year by compiling a list of Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers that will help make your lovely bookworm buddies smile.

  1. Candles inspired by books from Frostbeard Studio
    Frostbeard Candles
    What better way to enjoy a book than with a candle whose scent truly transports you to the world it is inspired by? Frostbeard Studio candles are a favorite of my friends over on bookstagram (hint hint: follow me at @worldswithinpages) and their creativity is boundless when it comes to scent creation. (Image courtesy of Frostbeard Studio website)
  2. Book Buddies By Melvis Makes
    Sloth Buddy
    I bet you never knew that a Christmas inspired sloth book buddy was even possible outside of your wildest dreams, did you? Well surprise! Melvis Makes, an incredibly kind creator out of the UK, makes some of the cutest book sleeves ever. Your bookworm will love protecting their books in style this holiday season, so make sure you visit her site on Etsy! (Image courtesy of Melvis Makes on Etsy)
  3. Book tote designs made by Risa Rodilthousand-lives156247-bags
    Risa Rodil has the most gorgeous designs ever and my personal favorites are her book inspired tote bags featuring gorgeous colors and quotes from some of our favorite novels. Visit her store on Society6 and you can’t go wrong! (Image courtesy of Society6)
  4. Bookish Jewelry
    While I don’t have a shop I can recommend (please let me know if you have any favorites), there is a ton of jewelry inspired by books on Etsy. Some of my personal favorites include necklaces that contain quotes from my favorite books including Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Alice in Wonderland. Alex & Ani also just released a line of Harry Potter jewelry, so make sure to check that out!
  5. Fuzzy Socks (extra points if they are book-related)
    Socks
    Sock Sunday is a religion on Instagram and bookstagrammers come out in full force with their warmest, cutest socks to share along side photos of their current reads. Some of my personal favorites are from Modcloth and they are pretty inexpensive to boot and would make a perfect stocking stuffer!

 

I hope this guide has helped you make an awesome list of ideas for the people you love in your life who love books just as much as I do!

Did I miss anything that you want for the holidays that you will be getting for your bookworm friends? Let me know!

Happy Holidays!

-Alisa

Top 5 Books To Read Before 2018

Top 5 Books To Read Before 2018

Hello there readers!

It’s hard to believe that this year is almost over and 2018 is gently creeping its way into our lives along with the promise of upcoming snowy days and hot chocolate to be enjoyed by the fireplace. It’s during the last two months of the year that I begin to look back and reflect on the things I am thankful for and the new memories I made that I will forever cherish. This year was filled with so many things I am thankful for and I can’t wait to restart, refocus, and charge into 2018 with all the strength I can muster to become the best version of myself. Who’s with me??!

This year, with the beginning of my book blogging adventure on Instagram, I started thinking about the books I read this year that I most enjoyed reading and have not stopped thinking about since I finished the last sentence. What came out of that train of thought was a list of what I feel are the Top 5 books that you should read, if you haven’t already, before 2018. Want to know what those 5 books are? Keep reading!

1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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This book (and entire series) is a freaking GEM. Remember that feeling you had when you first read Harry Potter as a kid? Get ready to feel that all over again when you read these books. With characters so real and rich you’ll feel like you know them and a setting so gorgeous you’ll want to catch a plane to London ASAP, this book is one that you will be sorry that you put off reading for so long. Do yourself a favor and pick of A Darker Shade of Magic, just in time for the release of the new collector’s edition!

2. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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Stalking Jack the Ripper is one of those books that make you wonder what to expect and then far exceeds what you ever hoped it would be. If you are looking for a fun read with a side dish of bloody and gory murder mystery, you have found the right book. And spoiler alert: The second book is even better!

3. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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A gorgeous book filled with the magic of Russian folklore, The Bear and the Nightingale deserves so much more praise than I could ever give it. It’s no wonder that it was recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman. While this book is a bit rough to get through for those who are not familiar with Russian mythology, it’s undoubtedly one of my favorite books of the year.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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Book of the Month Club never fails to introduce me to new books that I never would have picked up on my own. My first book I have read by Celeste Ng, I was completely blown away by this story. There were some parts at the end that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but overall, the story was beautifully written and I cant wait to read her first novel, Everything I Never Told You.

5. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

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I just finished this book earlier this week and it will definitely make my “Top 10 Reads of 2017” post (stay tuned for that post which will be coming in December). I have a soft spot for books that contain magic, but the magic in this book is so different, beautiful, and captivating that I read the entire book in just about 4 hours. Ruth Emmie Lang is an absolute stunning force of nature with her debut novel, so be sure to grab a copy of your own on November 14th!

 

There is still plenty of time for you to pick up and read these amazing novels this year, so make sure you head to your local bookstore and grab a stack of these gorgeous novels.

Have you read any of the books on this list? Did you love them as much as I did? Let me know!

I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂

-Alisa