Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

1 thing this week:

  • It’s been a pretty uneventful week, but I’m writing this blog post from a pinball museum, which is something I never thought I’d type.

Song of the week:

I put 1989 in my car’s CD player and I think I’ve heard this song any time I’ve driven anywhere the last few days.


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • my preorder of Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell finally came!

3 things this week:

  • I went to the release party for The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer and it was so much fun!
  • I started listening to audiobooks at work and first of all, I’m happy to have books in my life again, and second of all, it’s actually way less distracting than having fifty different conversations going on all around me.
  • I met Chelsea Jade!! I am still in disbelief.

Song of the week:

This song has been stuck in my head for like three days straight.


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

ARC Review: The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer

The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Source: ARC via author/publisher

A powerful middle grade debut that weaves together folklore and history to tell the story of a girl finding her voice and the strength to use it during the final months of the Communist regime in Romania in 1989.

Ileana has always collected stories. Some are about the past, before the leader of her country tore down her home to make room for his golden palace; back when families had enough food, and the hot water worked on more than just Saturday nights. Others are folktales like the one she was named for, which her father used to tell her at bedtime. But some stories can get you in trouble, like the dangerous one criticizing Romania’s Communist government that Uncle Andrei published—right before he went missing.

Fearing for her safety, Ileana’s parents send her to live with the grandparents she’s never met, far from the prying eyes and ears of the secret police and their spies, who could be any of the neighbors. But danger is never far away. Now, to save her family and the village she’s come to love, Ileana will have to tell the most important story of her life.

Once upon a time, something happened. If it had not happened, it would not be told.

From the first time I heard about this book, I was intrigued. A middle grade historical fiction novel set in Communist Romania? That’s a little different from what I usually read, and a little different from what I usually see floating around the book blogging world.

The thing is, I’ve been in kind of an extended reading slump for a few months now. It’s very rare that I want to pick up a book for more than a few minutes at a time, but this one had me hooked from the first page. Quite honestly, I probably could have finished it in one sitting if I hadn’t had other things to do.

So, where do I even start with this review? I guess, first, I’ll talk about Ileana and what a great heroine she was. Sure, she’s a great storyteller. But she’s also smart and perceptive and a little bit sassy, and above all, she’s a normal little girl. She makes mistakes and lives through the consequences. She questions the Communist government that she’s grown up in without it feeling forced or overly political. Her character growth over the course of this book is incredible and I was so, so proud of her by the end of the book.

The next thing I want to talk about is the story itself. I’ve never read a book quite like this before, and I think that was another thing that kept the pages turning. Not only was there the story of Ileana moving from the city to the country to (hopefully) escape the Romanian Securitate, but interspersed throughout the story are chapters of Romanian folktales, which I loved. Toward the end of the book, I actually got goosebumps reading about how everything played out.

As always, I want to avoid spoilers, so I’m going to cut myself off here. I’ll end by saying that this is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and I’m really looking forward to reading more from this author.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

J. Kasper Kramer is an author and English professor in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She has a master’s degree in creative writing and once upon a time lived in Japan, where she taught at an international school. When she’s not curled up with a book, Kramer loves researching lost fairy tales, playing video games, and fostering kittens.

Twitter • Website • InstagramFacebook


Have you read The Story That Cannot Be Told? What are some of your favorite historical fiction books?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

1 thing this week:

  • I’m like 99% settled in to my new home, but I cannot seem to find the time or motivation to read right now! My new job allows me to listen to whatever I want while I work, though, so I might give audiobooks a try! (Feel free to leave recommendations. I am very picky about my audiobook narrators.)

Song of the week:

I’M SEEING CHELSEA JADE TONIGHT OH MY GOODNESS.


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Guest Post: The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer (Playlist)

I am so excited to have J. Kasper Kramer here to share a playlist of songs that go along with her new book, The Story That Cannot Be Told. I absolutely loved this book and my review will be up later in the month.


Here’s a selection of songs that helped me write The Story That Cannot Be Told.

“Dear Reader” – Jason Graves (from Moss)

I’m a video game nerd, so a lot of the music I listen to comes from games. The entire soundtrack to Moss could be on this list. It’s absolutely perfect.

“Worth Fighting For” – Emily Hearn 

Not to get too spoiler-y, but this song, especially the chorus, makes me think of Ileana during some important moments in the novel, when she’s feeling hopeless but chooses to keep going.

“Childhood I” – Atrium Carceri

No exaggeration, I’ve probably listened to this (and “Childhood II”) on repeat for days at a time. It has a fantastic spooky fairytale feel, which is just right for some of the creepier moments in Story, like when Ileana’s traveling up the mountain to the village in the dark.

“Where Is Love Now” – Nickel Creek

Nickel Creek is a go-to favorite, and this song really captures how lost Ileana feels after a certain someone betrays her and sends her away.

“Owl’s Friend” – Alan Gogoll

This whole album felt right for Story in its happier, more light-hearted moments. It was hard to pick just one song, but “Owl’s Friend” feels like an appropriate choice. It makes me think of Ileana and Gabi hanging around together, not doing their homework.

“Endless Fragments of Time” – Deep Watch

Another song that played on repeat a lot. This one was the exact tone I needed for writing the fever dream, where Ileana travels to the monastery at the top of the world. 

“One Summer’s Day” – Joe Hisaishi (from Spirited Away

I’m a huge Ghibli fan, and I’m sure my writing is influenced by their movies. (Doesn’t Story’s cover even have a bit of a Miyazaki feel? I think that’s one of the reasons I love it so much.) You could probably pick any Ghibli score and fit it to something in one of my books, but this specific song makes me think of Gabi and Ileana at the end of the summer, when they share a special day together in the fields.

“Safe and Sound” – Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars

I found this song long before Story was even an idea in my head, but it fits really nicely. I like to imagine Mamaie or Tataie reassuring Ileana, perhaps when she’s sick or when she’s fearing for their safety and the safety of the village.

“Dream. Build. Repeat.” – Jim Guthrie and JJ Ipsen (from Planet Coaster)

This album is amazing. Another video game score for the win. “Dream. Build. Repeat.” makes me think of Ileana and Gabi enjoying nature and creating stories together.

“You Were Never Gone” – Hannah Ellis (from Teen Wolf)

I suppose this song fits best at the end of the novel, but I listened to it often while brainstorming for several important scenes—some which didn’t even make it into the final version of the novel. There’s something about the bittersweet lyrics and desperate buildup at the end that really helped me capture Ileana’s emotions.

“Snow Angels” – Thomas Bergersen and Two Steps from Hell

I found Two Steps from Hell over a decade ago, before they had much public music available, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. You likely know some of their songs from movie trailers. This one fits nicely in the scene where everyone steps outside Sanda’s house, a bit mesmerized, after being snowed in for quite some time.

“The Truth” – Fernando Velazquez (from A Monster Calls)

I absolutely adore this book, and though I always feel strange comparing my work to things I admire, Story also has difficult themes and some similar narrative structure, so including something from this score felt appropriate. I won’t spoil anything, but to me this song captures the emotion of several important moments for Ileana during and shortly after the novel’s climax.

“Light” – Sleeping at Last

If Tata was a singer—which he certainly isn’t—he would sing this song to Ileana at the end of my novel.

You can find the Spotify playlist here:


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer
Links: Amazon • TBD • GoodreadsIndiebound
Publication Date: October 8, 2019

A powerful middle grade debut that weaves together folklore and history to tell the story of a girl finding her voice and the strength to use it during the final months of the Communist regime in Romania in 1989.

Ileana has always collected stories. Some are about the past, before the leader of her country tore down her home to make room for his golden palace; back when families had enough food, and the hot water worked on more than just Saturday nights. Others are folktales like the one she was named for, which her father used to tell her at bedtime. But some stories can get you in trouble, like the dangerous one criticizing Romania’s Communist government that Uncle Andrei published—right before he went missing.

Fearing for her safety, Ileana’s parents send her to live with the grandparents she’s never met, far from the prying eyes and ears of the secret police and their spies, who could be any of the neighbors. But danger is never far away. Now, to save her family and the village she’s come to love, Ileana will have to tell the most important story of her life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

J. Kasper Kramer is an author and English professor in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her debut novel, The Story That Cannot Be Told, is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster/Atheneum on October 8th. You can find her online at www.jkasperkramer.com and on Twitter @JKasperKramer.


Have you read The Story That Cannot Be Told? Do you love any of these songs?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Monthly Favorites: September 2019

I’m so happy that I had so many books to choose from for September’s favorites! This was my best reading month so far this year and I ended up having six books that I rated either four or five stars.


The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer
★★★★★
Goodreads | my review is coming soon!

Revival, Vol. 1 by Tim Seeley
★★★★☆
Goodreads | my review


Have you read either of these books? What was the best book you read in September? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

  • Tag: Taylor Swift Book Tag
  • Tag: Game of Thrones Book Tag
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite things to eat or drink while reading
  • Review: The Vagina Bible by Jen Gunter, MD
  • Tag: Brave Book Tag
  • Review: Revival, Vol. 1 by Tim Seeley

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • Nothing this week!

1 thing this week:

  • Concert season is officially on! I saw Sigrid on Sunday and Dodie last night. Chelsea Jade is in two weeks!!

Song of the week:

Raffaella opened for Sigrid and oh my goodness, it’s been a long time since an opening band was that good.


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’