Thursday, October 31, 2013

Have A Question? Maybe Get An Answer!

Why hello, lovely Read-Alongers!

So, I have something really cool to announce. Courtney Summers has agreed to do a Q&A for the Read-Along! *CUE THE FANGIRLING* I'm really excited (and, let's be honest, totally nervous) to have this opportunity. I seriously freak-out about these kind of things (and spend hours typing and editing and changing the phrasing of questions to make them *just right*) but, at the same time, I feel so grateful for this chance!

But hey, this Read-Along isn't just about me! It's about you guys! So, I'm offering an open door. What questions do YOU guys want to have answered? I can't promise I'll include them (I don't want to overwhelm her!) but I'll pick a few to ask and maybe combine some if they're similar. Also, if you have specific question about one of the books we've already read, be sure to ask it (though, tag it if it's a spoiler!) If you don't have a specific question, maybe tell me what kind of topics/themes you like to hear authors talk about! Leave your questions in the comments below!

I'll be sending in the questions in the next week or so, so get your questions in quick! Be sure to stay tuned into the blog for the Q&A in the coming weeks!


- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some Girls Are (The End): Discussion Post

Hi, guys!

We did it! We're officially halfway through the Read-Along! How awesome is that? Today is the final discussion post for month two's book: SOME GIRLS ARE. It's been one emotional ride but we made it through (possibly with a few more bruises on the heart).

**WARNING: Spoilers for SOME GIRLS ARE***

Okay, so I apologize for leaving you guys off with a cliffhanger last time (I promise, it was accidental!) but wow, what a last chapter right? We ended off with Regina sending out the mass email with all of those nasty secrets in it. The next day, everyone is talking and Regina is, let's be honest, pretty smug about it. She has a conversation with Liz that I think is really stunning. Regina says "...But they got what they deserved." and Liz replies "And what did you deserve?" It brings up, once again, this idea about 'getting what's coming to you'. Does Regina deserve what Anna and Kara do to her? They sure think she does. And Regina thinks Anna and Kara deserve to have all their secrets exposed like that. It's this really murky gray area, isn't it? What people 'deserve' to have happen to them. Who says any of us have the right to decide that? It's not okay what Anna and Kara have done to Regina but, is it okay what Regina does to them in return? Is revenge okay when you didn't cause the cycle? What do you guys think?

Because then we come to Michael's reaction. He isn't happy for a number of reasons, one of them being he knows this isn't going to end it. He knows the cycle is just going to continue on. When she asks him directly about the matter of deserving, he responses with "I think some girls are just...fucked up." Another one of those murky answers. But, appropriate. Because I don't think I could answer that either. A part of me wants to be like "Yeah! Take them down! Get them back!" but the other keeps thinking "How is this making it any better? Is any of this really okay?" It's the visceral anger I feel towards the girls warring with the sadness of the whole situation. How about you guys?

Then, we get to a scene that made me put the book down. Michael's journal. You see, I read SOME GIRLS ARE for the first time back in my last year of high school (three years ago now...yikes) and I completely forgot about this scene. So, I was re-devestated reading it again. Summers really writes this scene well because I felt this complete sense of panic. I felt like I was running alongside Regina reading note after terrible note. When we finally get to the storage room, Anna is there with her terrible (yet admittedly brilliant) plan. It's absolutely devastating reading from Regina's perspective to this scene because she's so broken and hopeless. She had that little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, it was all over only to have it ripped away from her. And to see just the beginnings of the hell Anna and Kara plan to put her through is horrendous. It gets worse when Michael finds out though. I think one of the worst things about being a reader sometimes is wanting to shout at a book, shout the truth everyone is hiding, and knowing you can't do anything. That feeling of being helpless as you watch these terrible things happen, hoping someone will do something because you can't. SOME GIRLS ARE is definitely one of those books were that helplessness gnaws at you. I wanted to tell Michael, to stop his and Regina's hearts from breaking, full-well knowing I couldn't and it probably wouldn't help anyways. Do you guys ever feel helpless when reading, especially during this book?

And then it gets worse with the scene after gym. I mean really, Summers, couldn't you give us a break?! (No, you couldn't. And no, I wouldn't have wanted you to).

Then there's a brief interaction with Donnie. Brief but stunning because it hits you once again what happened that night and just what kind of pain it has caused Regina. Then we get to the party and the interaction with Josh and the interruption by Kara. As soon as she walked in that door I think we all knew Regina was done for. That Kara would tell and Anna wouldn't let this slide. So, when they pull over in the middle of nowhere, we all knew it wasn't going to end well. The violence becomes physical. Anna throws a punch like it's a joke but Kara, Kara is the one with so much vile hatred in her and she throws punches to break. She kind of seems to snap and loose all sense of control in this scene, and Regina bears the brunt of this horrific onslaught. None of the bullying up until then was really physical. A few attempts but nothing substantial. A lot of people do not understand just how powerful mental bullying can be. That it's not really bullying because no one gets "beat up". Anna and Kara don't have to lay a finger on Regina to utterly ruin her. To break her down so completely. They do that with words. There wasn't a single punch thrown until the very end of the book and yet we've seen just how destructive words can be. With Regina. With Liz. With Kara. With Michael. They all had words thrown out like razors at them that just kept cutting and cutting. What did you guys think? Are words more powerful in your eyes than any punch can ever be? Or do they both destroy in different ways.

The scene ends with one of the most stunning lines of the book, in my opinion. Regina keeps trying to say how Anna is being played but Anna replies with such anger saying "Kara's not that smart". This lines makes me kind of question everything. Because it makes it seem like Anna knew this whole time that Kara was lying about Donnie's attempted rape, but destroyed Regina anyways. As I was reading it again while writing this post though, I'm even questioning that. The way Anna says it so angrily, so desperately, makes me think she wants to believe in the lie. That maybe she knew but refuses to believe she could be played like that. I honestly don't know anymore. Either way, it just proves how selfish and disgusting a person Anna is. Because even if she believe in the lie Kara told, she believed it because it benefited her.  

Do you guys think she knew all along or that she just didn't want to believe she could have been lied to like that?

And then we get to the end. And it's Liz that ends everything. She finally threatens to do what should've happened so long ago: break her silence. To say something. I love that it's Liz that does this. Like, after all this time, she finally gets to say enough. Regina doesn't run around jumping for joy, she doesn't go out and celebrate. Instead, she sits. Empty. Like all the fight has been drained out of her. Like everything has been drained out of her. And then, her little pocket of hope, Michael, comes out and puts his arm around her. No grand romantic gesture. No kiss. Just support. When you finally read that last line, it's like all the adrenaline you've felt throughout the whole book just rushes out of you. Personally, I felt empty too. I felt wrecked. Then, suddenly, was overwhelmed with emotions. I couldn't help but crying. This book rips you up, punches you in the gut, and leaves you broken on the ground. 

Anna and Kara don't get in trouble for what they've done. They aren't "brought to justice". Summers doesn't give us a neat little bow of an ending. We get the jagged broken pieces handed to us, and the knowledge that this is how it is. That things aren't always perfect. But, that there's always that little bit of hope to look forward to. I thought it was the ending the story needed, and the only one it should have had. 

We're done! What did you guys think of the book overall? Did you like the ending? Tell me in the comments!

Get ready for more heart-shredding moments cause FALL FOR ANYTHING is next and that one is gut-wrenching.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Courtney Summers Read-Along: AUDIOBOOK GIVEAWAY

Hi, guys!

Have a mentioned how amazing and generous some people are? Cause really, I've had some amazing people help out with this Read-Along and donate some awesome prizes. Today, I have another giveaway for you! THREE people will win one audiobook copy (via Audible) of either Cracked Up to Be, Some Girls Are, or This Is Not a Test!

Giveaway Rules: 
- Must be 13 years or older
- INTERNATIONAL (So long as you can receive audiobooks from Audible)
- You do NOT have to be a participant in the Read-along to enter (but, if you are, there's bonus entries for you!)
- Not responsible for lost or damaged prize (I don't know how digital audiobooks would get lost or damaged but hey, just covering the bases!)
- I reserve the right to disqualify as I see fit (aka don't fake entries pretty please!)
- Fill in the Rafflecopter form to be entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
I want to say a massive thank you to Damon for donating the audiobooks for this giveaway! This giveaway ends on November 7th so be sure to enter before then!


 - Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

QUICK GIVEAWAY: Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

Hi, peeps!

Today I have an awesome giveaway for you guys! We are really close to finishing up month two of the Courtney Summers Read-Along. Crazy, right? Next month, we're going to be reading FALL FOR ANYTHING and thanks to the wonderful team at St. Martin's Press, I have two copies to giveaway today! ONE is open to participants AND non-participants! ONE is open to Read-Along participants ONLY. It's only open until the end of the weekend, so be sure to enter quickly!

FALL FOR ANYTHING is one of those books that completely rocked me to the core. I'll get into more detail during the month but it is, honestly, one of the most beautiful and stunning books I've ever read. I've never had such a physical reaction to a book but I honestly couldn't move, could barely breathe after I finished it. This is not a book to be missed!

From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes a gripping story about one girl’s search for clues into the mysterious death of her father.

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

Giveaway Rules (FIRST Rafflecopter Giveaway):
- Must be 13 years or older
- US/CANADA ONLY (sorry, international peeps!)
- You do NOT have to be a participant in the Read-along
- Not responsible for lost or damaged prizes (sorry!)
- I reserve the right to disqualify as I see fit (aka don't fake entries pretty please!)
- Fill in the Rafflecopter form to be entered!

Giveaway Rules (SECOND Rafflecopter Giveaway):
- Must be 13 years or older
- US/CANADA ONLY (sorry, international peeps!)
- Not responsible for lost or damaged prizes (sorry!)
- I reserve the right to disqualify as I see fit (aka don't fake entries pretty please!)
- Fill in the Rafflecopter form to be entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Phew! That was a lot of info! If you guys have any questions let me know (best way to contact me is through twitter (@lostatmidnight))! Good luck! I'll email the winners on Sunday!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Some Girls Are (Pages 125 - 181): Discussion Post

Hey, guys!

I have on the blog today, the third discussion post for SOME GIRLS ARE! Can you believe it guys? We're almost half-way through the Read-Along! Craziness. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to you guys for participating. It's been such fun and I love seeing you guys enjoying the books so much! There's going to be (hopefully) lots of cooling things happening in the next little bit, including giveaways, so be sure to watch the blog!

If you haven't signed-up for the Read-Along and want to know what it's all about, check out this post! (If you want to start participating now, that's awesome! Just leave a comment on this post to let me know) And if you're participating and have a SOME GIRLS ARE post to link-up, make sure to add it here!

***WARNING: Spoilers for page 1 - 181 of SOME GIRLS ARE***

This week starts off with Regina and her mother going into an interview with the school. They want to discuss Regina's absences. Both Regina's mom and her school really frustrate me in this scene. Her mother, after Regina's minor meltdown in the car, should try and figure out what's really going on with her daughter. Instead, she creates a story in her mind (Josh breaking up with Regina) and clings to it. She doesn't want to see anything that could be hard to deal with. Same with the school. I mean, someone spray-painted "whore" on Regina's locker (among other things) and their only concern is that Regina is skipping school? It's ridiculous. But, kind of realistic. They don't want to see a problem, because then it becomes their problem. It happens all the time. What did you guys think? Should Hallowell High be doing more to stop the bullying?

Regina also does something pretty brazen in that opening scene. She slaps Anna. I was both cheering and internally screaming at that scene. Because I knew, just like Regina did, that the slap wouldn't go unpunished. (But that Anna sure has heck deserved it)  

This set of pages has one of the worst scenes (in my opinion) that happens in SOME GIRLS ARE. The closet scene. Regina ends up trapped in a closet with Donnie, put their by people who knew (or heard rumors) about what he had done to her. It is one of those scenes that shocks me to the core every time I read it. But, you know what? The closet scene is only about three pages long. Three pages. What astounds me about that is how much damage Summers' does in just those little pages. Because it sure as heck does not feel like three pages when you're reading it. It feels like twenty. It feels like you're being dragged along this endless, horrible journey. It's not just this short intense scene, but one that creates such horror it feels like it last hours. I know I thought about it a lot after reading it. Because it was like I could feel Regina's terror. Like her terror had become my terror. Courtney Summers' is a brilliant writer because she has this amazing ability to draw you right into the story. She doesn't do it by detailing everything, or by overdoing it with the emotion. Rather, she writes these powerful scenes where every sentence hits you in the heart, to the point where you can't always separate yourself from the book. The closet scene is one of those, and one that seriously ruins me every time I read it. How did you guys react to it? Were you as angry as I was that Josh, Kara, et al. put Regina in that situation?

Regina, now having escaped the closet (freed by none other than Liz Cooper), goes home and gets drunk and ends up passing out in Michael's backyard. Liz is also there, and she an Regina have a bit of an uncomfortable conversation. Drunk apologies don't really go a long way, and Liz doesn't let her Regina off the hook. But she doesn't seem to hate her either. They're at this weird kind of stalemate. There's nothing Regina can do that will erase the pain she's done to Liz. But, Liz isn't a horrible person (as she says "I'm not Anna") so she doesn't like watching Regina suffer either. This scene is short but it leaves you with the impression that, maybe, things could get better. Not to a friendship level. Probably never there. But maybe, that one day they could forgive. Did you guys have the same impression? Interpret the scene differently?

Michael really shines in this section, in my opinion, and I really enjoyed getting to see how their relationship evolves. Michael steals Donnie's car just so Regina can get a little bit of revenge on that jerk (I have many other words to describe him but I'm trying to keep this relatively swear-free). Then we get what, let's be honest, we've all been waiting for: the romantic Regina-Michael kiss. *cue the swooning here* It was perfect because it wasn't perfect. Because it shows us that people have the capacity to forgive. It shows us how powerful it is to forgive. It's that bright spot the story needed. What did you guys think? Did it give you the feels?

We leave off this part on a bit of a cliffhanger (if you stopped at page 181, of course)! Kara and Anna have upped the bullying, and Regina has had enough. She sends the email with all their secrets to everyone in school. Do you guys think it'll make a difference? Do you think Regina did the right thing? 

Next week, we're at the end! Tell me what you think of the book so far!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blog Tour: Anywhere But Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Hey, everyone!

Today, I'm happy to be participating in the blog tour of Anywhere But Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi! It just released on October 15th and sounds like it's one heck of a book. (She also happens to be a Canadian author which is awesome!) I was lucky enough to get to interview Tanya for the tour so check it out:

Ciara: Can you describe Cole in five words?
Tanya: Cole is (1) smart, (2) funny, (3) creative, (4) selfish, and (5) a bit of an idiot. But he's working on that last one, and he's slightly improved by the end of the book!

C: What do you love most about contemporary fiction?

T: I love when characters become so real that I know them better than I know the people next door. I love when I'm deep in a novel and find myself noticing real-world details the way an imaginary character would notice them. And I love finishing a book and feeling reluctant to let go of someone I've grown close to. 

My favourite contemporary writers are masters of developing complicated and nuanced characters. They create people who are real enough to live on in my mind long after I've turned the last page.

C: What was the hardest part about writing Anywhere But Here?

T: To properly tell the stories of Cole and his friends and family, I needed an advanced degree in the art of weaving. While Cole's tale is definitely the dominant one in the book, my secondary characters kept developing lives and problems of their own. His best friend is dealing with his parents' relationship issues. Cole's dad is battling grief and alcohol. Even the school counsellor has a love affair going on! So I had to weave their lives into the background of the novel. At one stage in the writing process, I had a giant chart covered with multi-colored post-it notes to track the lives of different characters.

Sometimes, developments in secondary stories are just a sentence in a conversation. Or a scene glimpsed in the school hallway. But together, these little moments help create a fabric of overlapping lives. And since my book is set in a small town and it's about discovering the value of friends and community, I needed to tell these stories -- in a way that didn't overwhelm Cole's point of view. 

Whew! It was even hard to explain the hardest part of writing this book! 

Thank you for having me, Ciara, and thanks for the thought-provoking questions!

C: Thank YOU Tanya for taking the time to answer my questions, and for the detailed answers!

Cole’s small town is a trap he’s determined to escape in this fresh and moving debut novel that balances loss with humor.

Ever since his mom died, Cole just feels stuck. His dad acts like a stranger, and Lauren, his picture-perfect girlfriend of two years, doesn’t understand him anymore. He can’t ditch his dad, so Cole breaks up with Lauren. She doesn’t take the news very well, and Cole’s best friend won’t get off his case about it.

Now more than ever, Cole wants to graduate and leave his small, suffocating town. And everything is going according to plan—until Cole discovers the one secret that could keep him there…forever.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for including me in the blog tour!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Tanya Lloyd Kyi's Website

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Author Interview: Robyn Schneider!

Hi, everyone!

I am ridiculously excited to have one of my new favourite authors, Robyn Schneider, here on the blog today! Her novel The Beginning of Everything has sky-rocketed onto my all-time favourites list. It is an absolutely stunning and beautiful debut, and a book I highly recommend. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Robyn a few questions!

Ciara: I was really impacted by this story, emotionally and personally. I’m still reeling from it! What do you hope readers come away with after reading The Beginning of Everything?

Robyn: Thank you. I suppose I hope my readers take away from this book exactly what they need but never knew they were looking for.

C: Ezra really grows and changes throughout the novel. What do you think is so appealing about a coming-of-age story?
R: There’s a type of magic specific to stories about growing up. I suppose it’s easier to believe, when reading a coming of age story, that when the main character walks away from the book irreparably changed, I might come away a little bit different as well.

C: There were a lot of unique and lovable characters in The Beginning of Everything. Which one do you think you relate to the most?
R: Ezra’s inner monologue is very much my own. I like to joke that we have the same soul but different stories. I was never a star athlete, but I know what it’s like to question the ideas everyone else seems to have about your future. I was never the victim of a hit and run accident, but I know what it’s like when your friends disappoint you.

C: Since there were a bunch of Doctor Who references, and I happen to be a Whovian... who’s your favorite Doctor?

R: David Tennant, without question.

Thank you SO MUCH for being on the blog, Robyn (Ten is my favourite Doctor too)! And extra awesome thanks to Suman from HCC Frenzy for arraigning the interview!

Readers, check out this book. I'll have my review up hopefully next month (after I re-read it for book club!) but honestly, it is one of the best books I've ever read. You will love it.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Some Girls Are (Pages 1 - 124): *Double* Discussion Post

Hello, epic people!

Welcome to the first discussion post for month two of the Courtney Summers Read-Along! I apologize for having to postpone the discussion post last week (I talked about why here). This week you're going to get a double whammy because we're going to discuss the first two sections of SOME GIRLS ARE (pages 1 - 124)!

Don't know what the Courtney Summers Read-Along is? Check out this post!

*WARNING: Spoilers for pages 1 - 124 of SOME GIRLS ARE*

As I picked this book up for the second time, I kept telling myself it wouldn't be that bad. Yes, I know all the horrible things that happen in this book. Yes, I know just how much this book affected me the first time I read it. But, it can't be that bad. I must just be remembering it worse than it is. I was wrong, of course. I always knew I would be.

SOME GIRLS ARE starts off with few very powerful scenes. How did you guys react to them? The attempted rape scene with Donnie and Regina is thoroughly disturbing and really horrifies me every time I read it. Summers' doesn't try to shock you with description, but rather focuses on Regina's thoughts. It is so much more stunning and impacting that way. Flash forward a bit to another impacting scene which is the first of many scenes in the girls bathroom. Anna won't believe Regina. Won't even listen to Regina despite the fact that they're "best friends". To do so, would give Regina power and Anna just won't do that. Then Kara enters and things get worse. It's gut-wrenching reading how hurt and scared Regina is and it makes me livid that Kara has done something that horrible. I just want to scream when I read it. What did you guys think?

Something I think Summers' really displays well in SOME GIRLS ARE is the power of silence. There are so many instances where if someone had just said something things could have gotten better. Regina stayed silent about Donnie's attempted rape which really started this whole story (although, it was Kara's selfish and twisted advice that made her stay quiet). Many people stay silent, or even help with Regina's bullying and in the past with Michael and Liz's torment. Everyone is too afraid to stand up for these people even though, by staying silent, they are helping the situation. What do you think about the silence in this situation? How do you think this book would be different if people would stand up for Regina?

Regina Afton, as is typical in a Courtney Summers book, is not your regular protagonist. She isn't nice. She's not kind, and sweet, and the kind of person you'd want to be best friends with. She is a bully and we see early on just what kind of terrible things she has done in the past. But, does that make her unlikable? Does that mean she "deserves" what happens to her? One of my favorite lines in this book happens right where we ended off for part one. Regina says "Tell Liz, the mean girl totally got what she deserved in the end" and Michael responses with "Nobody deserves that". And it's true. Nobody deserves to have someone try and rape them. Nobody deserves being tormented like that. It doesn't matter what they've done in the past, nobody deserves to be treated like that. I think that scene is so powerful because Michael, a guy who has been bullied by Regina in the past, knows that it doesn't matter what she has done, she still doesn't deserve what's happening to her.

Now, let's talk about the mean girls in this situation: Anna and Kara. Anybody else feel like reaching in the book and just punching them clear across the face? Cause I know I sure do at times. Anna is vicious for sport. She seems to take pleasure in destroying other people, no matter how "close" she apparently was with them. The bullying orchestrated by her is horrible and makes me almost sick to read about. Then there's Kara. Who is, in a way, worse than Anna. Kara may not be the mastermind behind these attacks, but she gives Anna her power. Everyone in that school, as a matter of fact, gives Anna her power. By saying nothing. By doing nothing. By even participating in these cruel acts. If nobody listened to Anna, she would just be one girl against a sea of people. But people do, Kara worst of all. Yes, Kara had to face some horrible bullying herself. But, does that give her the right to attack other people? Does she have a right to revenge? I don't think so. It definitely does not give her the right to spread the rumor that Regina slept with Donnie when she knows he tried to rape her. It's sickening. How can people be that cruel?

I've heard one negative thing about SOME GIRLS ARE which is that it's unrealistic. That girls aren't that mean. And I have to vehemently disagree with this. I wish I didn't, but when I turn on the news everyday and see another story about a kid being bullied to death, I realize just how real these situations are. I was bullied as a kid (never to this extreme, thank goodness) and I know exactly what it does to you. By saying that things like this "just don't happen" we are being unrealistic and silent. What do you guys think? Did you find the bullying Regina faces to be too extreme? Or did you think, as horrific as it is, that it's the harsh reality some kids have to face?

Now that we've gone through some of the harsher parts of the book, let's talk about Michael. As soon as he was described as "Unstable Emo Writer Boy" I knew I was going to love him. I love that he isn't perfect. He is pretty angry about what Regina has done to him (understandably so) and doesn't let her off the hook. But, unlike Anna and Kara, he actually has a heart. He isn't unnecessarily cruel, but defensive and hurt. His relationship with Regina is filled with grudges, and bullying, and assumptions, and this twisted kind of caring. They have an odd connection to each other through Michael's deceased mother, and it brings then together in a special way. He adds this little bit of hope in an otherwise desolate situation. That, just maybe, there's a chance for redemption, forgiveness, and happiness for these destroyed characters.

I know I've missed a few things (but this post was getting way too long!) so I'll end it here for now. How have you guys reacted to the book so far? Has it wrecked you like it wrecked me? Tell me what you think!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Postponed: SOME GIRLS ARE Discussion Post

Hi all!

Just wanted to let all you read-along participants know that I, unfortunatlely, have to postpone this week's discussion post. Midterms are taking over my life and I haven't had time to write it. I'M SORRY! I'll be posting a double discussion post next Sunday and will (hopefully) have a giveaway in the meantime. Sorry again! 

Hope you guys are enjoying the book!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Courtney Summers Read-Along, Month Two: SOME GIRLS ARE

Hello, Read-Alongers!

Today (actually yesterday but if you read my blog update here, you'll see I'm a bit behind on things) is the first day for SOME GIRLS ARE month! During the month of October, we will be reading Courtney Summers absolutely fantastic sophomore novel all about mean girls, high school, and revenge. 

Get ready to be wrecked, guys, cause SOME GIRLS ARE is a punch in the gut (in the very best way). I find myself seeing it on the shelf sometimes and getting another wave of sadness just by looking at it. It's one of those books that sticks with you long after you've read the last page. I don't know if it ever fully lets you go. And I think that's important. I read SOME GIRLS ARE my final year of high school. I remember wondering how girls could be so incredibly mean to each other, how friendships could flip on a dime like that. There were a lot of mean girls at my school but I never really felt their wrath. It wasn't until later (until my best friend turned mean girl on me) that I really understood what it was like to deal with this kind of situation. Girls can be pretty terrible, and SOME GIRLS ARE shows what it's like to be one of those girls, and then to be destroyed by them. Courtney Summers doesn't write happy books, but truthful, powerful books and SOME GIRLS ARE is a stunner. Get ready guys, the Fearsome Fivesome are coming.  

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard—falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.  Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully.  Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.

So, here's how the month is going to work. Each week we'll be reading designated chapters from the book (the list of chapters is below)! Every Sunday, there will be a discussion post about that week's chapters! You can read as fast or as slow as you want (aka you don't have to follow the schedule, that's just how we'll be separating the discussions), and I hope you guys will participate in the discussions on Sunday. Throughout the month, there will be guest posts, reviews, and other cool things (including giveaways)! You don't have to have signed up to participate! Just comment below.

SOME GIRLS ARE Page Breakdown
Week One: Page 1 - 61
Week Two: Page 62 - 124
Week Three: Page 125 - 181
Week Four: 182 - the end 

Add your review/post/etc. for SOME GIRLS ARE to the link below! (If you didn't get a chance to link-up your review for CRACKED UP TO BE feel free to do so this month.)

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

School, Loss, and Other Things That Get You Down

Hello, you awesome people!

I haven't done a blog update in awhile, and after realizing I haven't posted a review since August 27th (!!!) I figured I should probably give a heads up about why.

It started with a writing slump. I was having trouble writing reviews over the summer, for a multitude of reasons. The main thing though was that I just couldn't seem to get the words down on the page. It was (and still is!) driving me absolutely crazy. I'm one of those people that will agonize over reviews, wanting to make them as best as they can be. And recently, writing reviews is like pulling teeth for me. Which, frankly, sucks.

Then this thing called anxiety happened. Actually, I should say, this thing called school happened. Which caused my anxiety to spike. You see, dear readers, I have severe anxiety. It gets to the point where I can barely do anything but crawl in my bed and cry. And, sadly, it gets to that point more often than not recently. School is a lot of pressure, and it kind of brings out the worst in me. I worry about every little aspect of it. The social, the educational, the whole-this-could-dictate-my-future-thing, all of it creates this black whole vortex that I get swept away in. Essentially, it's not awesome. And has been really wrecking me for blogging.   

Then, at the end of the month, the worst thing so far happened. My grandfather passed away suddenly on September 21st. We didn't know how sick he was. We all thought he was going to make it through. It was really, really hard. That Tuesday, my family flew in from Ireland to be together. It was great to see them, and I think it really helped all of us get through it. We didn't expect it, but they all ended up staying at my house. Which barely fits three. And had to house nine. Although it was squishy for awhile, it was so nice to be together. There were lots of ups and many many downs this last week and no time for anything but my family. The last of them flew out Monday night so I'm just getting back into the swing of things. 

Just in time for my two midterms, one midterm debate, and a midterm essay. All within the week. Joy. 

So, I guess I'm going on a bit of a reviewing hiatus. I hate that I have to do this. I really don't want to. I hope it won't be long. I hope I'll be back reviewing by the end of the month. But, really, I can't know for sure. Reading and blogging are two of my favorite things and to have to push those both to the side is really breaking my heart. I'll still have some posts going up (blog tours and such) but as for straight up reviews, those will be few and far between if any go up at all. Sorry to the publishers who sent me ARCs that I haven't reviewed yet. I'll get there, just not right away. And sorry, readers, that I'm failing at this whole blogging thing. I hope to be back and better than ever in due time.

**This will NOT affect the Courtney Summers Read-Along. That event will still go on as scheduled. This event is something I really have been looking forward to and, dammit, I'm going to keep it going**

So, that's it for me. I'll still be on Twitter, and feel free to email me. I'll be back soon (hopefully very soon) and can't wait to see you guys then. 

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)