The BIG Picture: 2015!

I can't believe 2015 is coming to a close! As a blogger and as a person, 2015 has been such an incredible year filled with amazing people and fantastic memories. You guys have been such a big part of my year and I just wanted to recap everything that has happened this year. 

CLASSICS: The Old Man and the Sea...Review?

Title: The Old Man and the Sea
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Genre: Classics

The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal—a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.

12 Bloggers of Christmas Pt. 3

Christmas is over , and with it this lil' event is coming to a close! I just wanted to thank everyone who joined in and helped out to make this come to life. It's not very big, but it will be a great springboard for any other things I participate in or create in the future. I love you all! Today we are showcasing 5 amazing bloggers! 


Hey guys! It's December 25th, and although not all of us may celebrate Christmas religiously or at all, I've always loved the idea of having one day to celebrate love and joy throughout the world.

CLASSICS: Jane Eyre Review

Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Genre: Classics

*SIDE NOTE: I hope you're enjoying the new winter themes going all up in here...shoutout to those coders who make all the html stuff ready for us newbies to use :)*

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

12 Bloggers of Christmas Pt. 2

Hey guys! Whew, final exams have just ended and it is officially WINTER BREAK!!! That calls for winter-y festivities all over the blog including the FALLING SNOW (I am so happy about it) and the second post of the 12 bloggers of Christmas! Today I am showcasing another fantastic group, and I hope you're excited! 

12 Bloggers of Christmas Pt. 1

Welcome everyone! Today is an incredibly special one, because Read and Dream is hosting its very first bloggish event! The title of the event may be a little misleading because due to popularity it's actually 13 bloggers! In the holiday spirit of joy and happiness, I am showcasing 4 bloggers to you every Sunday for the next 3 weeks and their responses to a few questions. Please check them out as they are all amazing AMAZING bloggers :) 

Blogger Positivity Campaign RECAP!

Blogger Positivity Campaign RECAP!
Hey guys! Sadly, this amazing campaign must come to an end
but the good thing is the positivity won't go away! To sum up the past few weeks, we are all doing a post in the 5 4 3 2 1 format...Here we go!

12 Bloggers of Christmas

12 Bloggers of Christmas
Hey guys! I am here today with a fun little event I'm thinking of hosting here on Read and Dream this holiday season. Welcome to....12 bloggers of Christmas! 

Girls like Us Review

Title: Girls like Us
Author: Gail Giles
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Blurb: (from goodreads) With gentle humor and unflinching realism, Gail Giles tells the gritty, ultimately hopeful story of two special ed teenagers entering the adult world. 

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first "real world" apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward.

5 Bloggers That I Absolutely Love

Hey guys! I'm back today with another Blogger Positivity Campaign post hosted by the amazing Jillian @Jillian's Books! I have been super busy lately with the end of the semester coming up, but this is keeping me motivated! Today, we have...

5 bloggers I Absolutely Love 

This was so hard! I love all my bloggers and bloggerly friends, so narrowing down to 5? A real challenge. I also have links to other AMAZING people's blogs in my first introduction post, so please go check their blogs out as well. We are a community, after all! 

Look how cute her profile picture is...Anyway I've recently been fortunate to discover Lara after she began to comment on my blog! She is so kind and sincere in her comments and her blog is SO CUTE. I am officially in love. Also...she loves Celaena Sardothien. We are now besties. 

I've been reading Skye's blog for a while now, and I've always loved it. Her reviews and bookish posts are great, but most importantly I love her sincere discussion posts that really evoke thought. We need more of those around here! 

Another new blogger I have recently discovered by participating in this campaign (this is why I love this!) Our interest in theatre was something new I haven't seen with other book bloggers, and her blog posts and reviews are so unique and simple. 

Her new blog design is adorable, and her blog posts are always so visually pleasing and interesting. And she manages to keep up with her blogging and school at the same time...whhhattt?! That I can respect. Go check her blog out!

I love her personal blog, and her collaboration blog she does with a bunch of other bloggers called Lit Up Review! She loves contemporary and historical fiction (just happens to be my two favorite genres as well) and is also a TEENAGER. Ahhhh she rocks. 

So those are my 5 bloggers for today! Leave a comment below so I can make sure to check out your blog and fall in love! See ya later, chicas!

Letter to...A.S. King

Hey guys! I'm back with another Blogger Positivity Campaign post! As the third post in the campaign, here is a letter to an author who has changed my life...

Dear A.S. King,

First of all, it's Kate from Texas Teen Book Festival last year, when my friends and I continuously walked up to your table and tried to act cool while fangirling over our favorite author. I am so grateful for that festival, because I got to meet you but it's also why I started reading your books.  

Best decision ever. Your books understood me. Your characters were all just trying to make sense of life and go through it the best they could, and the questions they struggled with just really touched me. Not only did I love your characters (Lucky Linderman being my favorite) and plots, but I thought it was amazing that you incorporated such "dark, controversial" topics into your books so seamlessly. 

I think the best books are not the ones that keep me on the edge of my seat, sick with anticipation. The best stories, to me, are ones that hold up a mirror to the simple joys and sorrows of life. The ones that understand how beautiful yet crazy life is. With every book of yours I read, I felt like I understood more and more, that I was seeing something...bigger. 

So thank you. Your books have shown me that it's okay to feel lost in a hurricane of thought and that there is a fierceness, a power in love. 


P.S. Oh, and also thank you for introducing me to the joy of sending love to airplanes! 

This is A.S. King. She is the creator of all things magical and is an absolute sass monster. She wrote Reality Boy, Ask the PassengersEverybody Sees the AntsGlory O'Brien's History of the FuturePlease Ignore Vera Dietz, and more. (oh her most recent one is I'll Crawl Through It) In all seriousness, her books tackle some really emotional and controversial topics with characters I've fallen in love with. She is one of the reasons I love contemporary, raw realistic fiction so much. She is fierce, brave, and incredibly witty, and it shows in her books. 

Things to be Thankful For

Things to be Thankful For
It's the time of pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, black friday shopping, and turkeys. Lots of food, lots of can get swept up in it. I just want to take a moment and share what I am thankful for as a reader, writer, and blogger. 

1. Words
They don't get enough credit. I mean, without them, I wouldn't be able to be blogging right now. None of us would be able to read books, much less record our thoughts on them. They are the building blocks that every author can combine to weave beautiful stories that inspire and change our lives. These little things have so much power. 

2. Libraries 
My special place. The atmosphere is always so calming, and being surrounded by books is always a dream. Plus they regularly have book club meetings and super great librarians! Just another outlet to build the bookish community. 

3. Blogger and Good Ol' internet
Without them, none of us would be able to share our thoughts on what connects us: books. I'm so grateful that we live in a time where the world is more connected than ever, and we can all get our thoughts out there.

4. YOU!
Our blogging community is one of the most supportive, innovative, and creative environments I've ever seen. Seriously, though. Y'all (ooh my Texan is showing itself) inspire me to continue to read and blog, and I've made some great friends as well. And thank you for taking the ti
me to read this; it means the world to me. 
So enjoy your thanksgiving guys and (and for those who don't live in america/don't celebrate) BE GRATEFUL for everything that you have. See ya later!

Mosquitoland Review

Title: Mosquitoland
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary 

Blurb: (from goodreads) "I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." 

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Me: Every once in awhile there seems to be a book that captures all the little snapshots and quirks of life. Mosquitoland, for me, did just that. 

The Ups: I've missed my contemporary! It's been awhile since I've read a contemporary novel and this book showed me, yet again, why the genre is my favorite. 
Mim Malone...oh ever the heroine. She was such a breath of fresh air for me, especially because I see the quiet, romantic girls in books and also the snarky, cynical ones, but Mim was something new. She had such an unique voice that was neither romantic nor snarky, but what I felt was very the Mim sense. I think that she had a lens for viewing the world that was like no one else's and to see her story through that lens was fascinating. 
This book is, in my opinion, a scrapbook of snippets of people's lives woven into Mim's. I connected with Mim such that I felt so much love for the people she cared about, but I was also distanced from her just enough to see her as someone else. Her journey itself was not my favorite; the plot line wasn't super cohesive. But the people she met on the way have found a place in my heart. 
Walt and boys. I won't go into too much detail, but I think that both characters were as special, if not more, as Mim. 
It's very hard to condense the small beauties of this book into a review, but seriously...two words. 

WAR PAINT. (oh and lipstick) 

The Downs: Like I said before, I loved the mental and emotional journey Mim experienced, but didn't find much with the actual, physical journey. As a reader, the emotions and character development are much more important in judging the quality of a book to me, so I tend to weigh that a little more. 
But the actual plot and setting matters, and I didn't quite find it completely easy to follow what was exactly happening. Okay, rephrase that... I didn't feel the need to follow what was happening. It felt like the writing wasn't doing the work for me. 

Overall: Develops a real sense of love, compassion and familiarity with the story and lodges itself right in your heart. 

Rating: 5 kisses! 

Things I Just Would Like To Say for the Book Blogging Community

Things I Just Would Like To Say for the Book Blogging Community 

Hey guys! I'm back today with another Blogger Positivity Campaign post hosted by Jillian @Jillian's Books, this time with some words of wisdom (?)! So here they are...

1. Appreciate each other! 
I don't know about you, but as a reader and an absolutely self-proclaimed book nerd, it can be hard to find people who share the same interests and can fangirl together with me. But I have you guys! My bookish world would be a lonely place if I didn't have a huge group of bookish friends to constantly inspire and share with me. You are really great, guys. Don't focus on followers, what books certain people read, or anything else, because being in a community of people who love books as much as you do is more than enough. 

2. Go back to the fundamentals. 
The thing about blogging and seeing other people's blogs is that you can get swept up in a wave of constantly changing books that everyone seems to be reading and everyone seems to be blogging about. Don't worry too much about getting a lot of comments on a post because it's a book everyone has read. There are so many books out there that are just waiting for someone to open them up and love them. Read classics. Read children's fiction. Read for the love of reading, not just to blog. 

3. You have a voice. 
Use it well! I haven't seen much of it around the book blogging community, but there are some cases where people will purposely bring up negative/controversial issues and then use it to force their own thoughts down other people's throats. You have a voice on here- one of the best things about it, so be careful! That also means that you can speak about things you're passionate and curious about and as long as you are cautious, it can lead to intellectual, inspiring conversation! 

4. Don't worry. 
We all get busy. Blogging isn't (well maybe sometimes but for most of us isn't) a job, and no one is gonna run at you with a knife if you miss one post. *gasp* If you are overwhelmed with stuff going on in your life, take a break and forget about your blog for a while. We all understand! I've even taken breaks because I hadn't read any books to review! Don't make blogging too much of a chore.

5. Keep your originality.
Looking at other blogs with more followers or with a much more sophisticated design can get kinda obsessive. Believe me, I know. But every blog I've seen is special in its own little way, and they all play to the blogger's strengths. Don't try and make your blog look like everyone else's, because it's the quirks that make it interesting. 

That's a wrap! I hope you liked this post... and that it got you thinking :) Comment some of the things you'd like to say to the book blogging community! 

Blogger Positivity Campaign KICKOFF!

Blogger Positivity Campaign
Hey guys! It's Kate here, and first of all SORRY about not being around too much...:( I promise I will be back and will up my game. To aid with that though, my wonderful friend Jillian @Jillian's Books has started a Blogger Positivity Campaign to just share and promote positivity within the blogosphere. THIS IS HOW AWESOME SHE IS GUYS. 
Anyway, I have gladly participated, and the first post of the campaign is a small kickoff interview! I know some of you may know me really well by now, but there's always more to discover, yeah? Tell me your answers to these questions in the comments below! 

1. Introduce yourself and your blog!
Okay...I'm Kate, a girl who loves reading, writing, books, and mostly WORDS. Everything with words fascinates me: songs, poetry, speech, theatre, etc. I'm a lover of chocolate and Harry Potter and my other hobbies are singing and exercise! My blog has been around for almost 2 years now (WHAAT) and is the product of my ramblings about everything I read. I love to read anything from classics to Sci-Fi, YA Contemporary to Historical Fiction. Talk to me about books, and you are my friend!

2. Where do you blog from?
My house, usually. There is a special place upstairs where the sun usually comes in perfectly and it's a great way to focus and blog for a while...and it's not too far from my room (or the library, as I like to call it).
3. Who or what made you the reader you are today?
Oh gosh, everything. First, my parents, who gave me an infinite amount of stories to indulge in since the tender age of 3-ish. That's how my toddler self spent my time. READING. (what a nerd.)

The places I've lived have all had phenomenal libraries whose programs I attended all the time. I was personal friends with quite a few librarians, and continue to be today. I still attend book clubs consistently, which is like blogging...but in person!
Different authors and books: Harry Potter, being a classic, Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery, the women who inspire me, Contemporary authors aka A.S. King, Jandy Nelson who show the true power of stories, and a variety of classics, Les Mis, Pride and Prejudice, 1984, etc.

4. Who or what made you decide to create a book blog? that I think about it, I honestly am having trouble remembering. I think that I wanted to create a blog because I thought it was so cool, and my parents encouraged me to review books, since I already did that in my free time.

5. What are your thoughts on the blogosphere today?
As accepting and open as I would like, but a little redundant. I see the same reviews, same posts, same blog designs everywhere. I am guilty of this as well so I can't complain too much but I try to be as original as possible. And when someone else has a great new idea (aka this campaign) it's so great to participate! 

6. 5 random facts about you?
1. I have a fear of birds.
2. I love to watch Blogilates and Superwoman on Youtube.

3. Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate...mmmmm
4. I am South Korean.
5. I have a little sister! 

7.5 favorite books you’ve read and loved?
1) I'll Give You The Sun  by Jandy Nelson
2) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
5) And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

8.5 favorite book bloggers!
1)Emily @Paperback Princess- Simple, but straight to the point!
2) Jenn and Ash @Jenn Renee Read- So so so good, and I know her in person too!
3) Ranu @The Araliya Bookshelf- Her blog design, her content- EVERYTHING!
4) Novels and Necklaces Their gifs and discussion posts are spot on :)
5) Christina @Books and Prejudice- her blog name is already so clever, and so are her posts! 

WHOO this is long. Congrats for sticking with me all the way, and I hope you liked it! Can't wait to get back to y'all soon! 

1984 Review

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Science Fiction, Classics

Blurb: (from goodreads) The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time. 

Me: I do not know if I truly understand this book, but it is one of the most terrifying, mind-boggling books I have ever read. The critique of society is absolutely genius.

The Ups: There is a reason that "Orwellian" is a word. The writing and chilling insight of George Orwell in this novel is beyond words.
As a coherent story, this book may not be the best. It lacks interesting plot in some parts of the story, and it tends to get a bit repetitive. However, I think it's important to think of this book as not necessarily a high-quality novel, but rather a crucial critique on our society.
If this critique had been written plainly, with just statements like "Dictators are bad. Pay attention people. Don't let this happen.", it would probably have been very cynical, dry, and too salty for my taste.
However, with statements like
and propaganda like this poster: 
the context in which this story takes place becomes chillingly close to reality. As I read this book, I had to put it down a number of times just to contemplate the absolute magnitude of what the story was saying. Is it not just terrifying? And the scariest part is it is not that different (in some aspects) of the world we see today, and this book was written in 1949!!!!
*spoiler alert* THE LAST PART OF THE BOOK. Oh my gosh, that part just KILLED ME. Even he was changed, and witnessing that was just...ooh...goosebumps. 

The Downs: Again, it's not super entertaining in a story sense. It did take me a while to read, but it takes a while to fully digest all the symbols and genius predictions. However, I think it's important to look at this book as something to learn from and something to absorb, because looking at it from that viewpoint it becomes much easier and enjoyable as a reader. 

Overall: Chilling classic critiquing society while predicting an almost reality. Genius. 

Rating: 4 stars! 

All the Light We Cannot See Review

Title: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb: (from goodreads) From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.


The Ups: Okay. You may be thinking this is just another WWII book. And yes, it is a story set in WWII. But there is no book like it. It is so complete, so wonderful, so beautiful. 

There are books that tell a story. Then there are books that radiate truths about the human soul, about human nature, about human life. All the Light We Cannot See is one of those books. 
I have always been fascinated by the fact that there are billions of lives on Earth, which means billions of interactions, billions of meetings, billions of moments you get only once. We are exposed to only certain moments of people's lives, and the more we see, the better we know the person. 

But how can you express that haunting feeling of a short encounter whose memory lasts for a lifetime? How can you understand how the best of people come together in the worst of times? All the Light You Cannot See captures this perfectly. 
Marie-Laure is quiet, intelligent, and loyal. She loves the people near her dearly, even as she loses them one by one. The setbacks of being blind have matured her beyond her years, yet she still has a fascination with little animals and organisms, and loves to read. 
Werner is a Hitler Youth with a knack for wires and transmissions. He is smart and is amazing at what he does, yet his mind never fails to question. He spots the ripples in the seemingly-perfect Nazi society, and does not know what to do about them. 
Both stories are so wonderfully told that Marie-Laure, Werner, and all the surrounding characters embed themselves into your heart. Their fear, their love, their small triumphs are one with the reader, and it is as if the reader is living in those times. 

The story of their brief meeting and the impact of their encounter is breathtaking. To think that simply another human being, a complete stranger, can change your life so subtly yet remarkably. It is not often a book writes such a unique story, but maybe that's what makes this one so special. 
The research and the blood, sweat, and tears in order for this book to come alive are apparent. I do believe this book deserves nothing but praise. I have fallen in love once again. 

Overall: A book forever to be in my memory. The beautiful story that reflects the small beauties of life and those priceless encounters of suffering people. 

Rating: Beat My Scale.