april 2015 playlist

Apr 30, 2015

english girls // the maine
the edge of tonight // all time low
borderline (vanic remix) // tove styrke
hotel ceiling // rixton
in the summer // iamdynamite
head over my heart // julia lauren
mine // phoebe ryan
the fool // ryn weaver
think of you // ms mr
the wind and the storm // seryn
woodstock // jon bellion
see you again // wizkhalifa ft. charlie puth
this world // lena fayre
can't take my eyes off you // cary brothers

yallwest 2015 | santa monica, ca

Apr 27, 2015

the first annual yallwest, sister of yallfest, was this weekend in santa monica, ca. it was definitely worth waking up at 4am to jump on a 1.25 hour flight to spend 6 hours with some fellow book lovers, and fly back home the same night. i only wish that i could've attended the second day of the festival. i think i ate too much grilled cheese mac n cheese melt from the grilled cheese food truck. that was the best, and i don't even like grilled cheese sandwiches. (side note: they stole my high school mascot ;-p)

authors i met:

richelle mead (vampire academy series)
victoria aveyard (red queen)
susan ee (penryn & the end of days trilogy)

i had an amazing time at yallwest, thank you to the organizers, volunteers and the whole team for hosting this festival. i can't wait to come back next year!

♥ did you go to yallwest as well? or yallfest?
tell me about your experience/blog post coverage below! ♥

{Story Diary} Words and The Meanings by Kate Bassett

Apr 22, 2015

waom coverWords and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett
Young Adult Contemporary
September 8, 2014 from Flux

Anna O’Mally doesn’t believe in the five stages of grief. Her way of dealing with death equates to daily bouts of coffin yoga and fake-tattooing Patti Smith quotes onto her arms. Once a talented writer, Anna no longer believes words matter, until shocking discoveries– in the form of origami cranes– force her to redefine family and love.

As Anna goes in search of the truth, she discovers that while every story, every human being, has a last line, it might still be possible to find the words for a new beginning.


I can't hold my breath for the full nineteen minutes.

Crucify (v.)

1.) To kill (someone) by nailing or tying his or her hands and feet to a cross;
2.) To criticize (someone or something) very harshly.

Palabra (n.)

Spanish for "word".

Callipygian (adj.)

Having shapely buttocks.

Lavash (n.)

A thin, round Armenian flatbread.

Swooning (v.)

1.) To become very excited about someone or something;
2.) To become enraptured.

We're all guilty of doing this, am I right? ;)

**Definitions were pulled from the Marriam-Webster dictionary**

"We're all made up of opposites, and they often crucify us."

-- Patti Smith

"Wherefore with infection should he live..."

 -- first line from Shakespeare's Sonnet 67

»Full Shakespeare Sonnet here«

Then Mateo touches my knee. Light. Like almost a non-touch. I hate the word swooning. But I might be doing it. A little.

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings (pg. 75)

Mateo grabs my hand and holds it to his chest. My skin glows, matches a painting of sun on the river. I try to pull away, but he holds tight.
"Fine. Okay. I've never been here."
"It's the best spot in town," Mateo says with obvious appreciation. He stops and catches my eye. "And right now, it's more beautiful than ever."

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings (pg. 137)

We sort of fall together in a slow, careful way. His forehead rests against mine.
"I'm not going anywhere," he whispers . . .

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings (pg. 183)

The universe is made of possibilities.

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings

Silence is beginning  to say more than I ever imagined it could.

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings

You never feel more aware of what it means to be alive than when you're falling in love.

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings

I was always looking backward. It took me a long time to appreciate the present.

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings

"In the end, we all die alone. But we shouldn't have to live that way too."

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings

We are human. We are fragile creatures made of fragile parts.

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings

One paper bird means something different than a thousand birds together, just like one piece of a life, on memory, is never the whole story. We are made of secrets and contradictions, stardust and possibilities.

--Kate Bassett, Words and Their Meanings

This is one of my favorite books, which started my love for Kurt Vonnegut's works.


I might not be as big of a Patti Smith fan as Anna is, but I did like this Patti Smith memoir. I keep my copy handy on my nightstand. Any Patti Smith fans in the house?

Everyone gets one last line. But first lines, stories of love and loss and hope floating on backs of paper cranes? We choose how many of those we get to tell.

All we have to do is breathe deep. Breathe life in.

My eyes slipped closed, and I do. I breathe. I breathe. I breathe.

Greetings and salutations!

I’m Kate Bassett. I can’t stop giggling.

Writing an “about me” page for a website dedicated to ME the book writer is weird. And awesome. And slightly (totally) self-absorbed. So on that note…I’m a YA writer repped by the one and only Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary. My debut novel, WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS will be out fall, 2014, with Flux.

Some details: I was born in 1978 (year of The Horse, if you’re a fan of the Chinese Zodiac) in Saginaw, Michigan. I could have (might have) won contests for having the county’s biggest cheeks as a child.

My little brother likes to remind me of this. I like to remind him he was bald until age 2. I spent my youth bouncing between a country club and, um, the detention room. My mom likes to say I got a PH.D in Life Lessons (which is a nice way of saying I got in trouble for skipping school, forgetting to do my homework, and maybe traveling across country without permission– none of which I endorse, by the way).

{Story Diary} Even the Moon Has Scars by Steph Campbell

Apr 7, 2015

Even The Moon Has Scars is Steph Campbell's love letter to her daughters, and this story diary is my love letter to the book.

even the moon has scarsEven the Moon Has Scars by Steph Campbell
Young Adult Contemporary
October 28, 2014 

Two strangers.
Two broken hearts.
One night to set each other free.

Almost dying from an undiagnosed heart condition means every second of your life is a precious gift to be guarded.

Lena Pettitt was born a miracle.
And her parents never let her forget it.
Even if that daily reminder kept her from experiencing the one thing they were trying to protect most--her life.

Gabriel Martinez’s heart has been ripped out.
His pride has been stomped on.
Oh, and he now has an arrest record that’s caused an even bigger rift between him and his DA mother. All for a love that wasn’t really true.

Now he’s exiled to his grandmother’s, working on his late grandpa’s old Corvair, when a shivering girl knocks on the garage door. Lena, left alone for the first time ever, has locked herself out of her house. Gabe knows he could help this girl get back inside her house--but that may mean missing the next train to Boston to pick up the part he’s spent eight weeks tracking down. She can wait for him at his grandmother’s or…

A few hours, an aluminum valve cover, and some strong coffee later, neither Gabe nor Lena can feign disappointment when they race to the station and arrive just as the last train home from Boston is pulling out.

As jaded as he is, Gabe can’t deny the fact that he’s excited to spend the night exploring a city he knows nearly every corner of, with a girl who sees magic in the simplest things.

Lena has been waiting for her tiny world to crack open her entire life. Now that it’s finally happened, she finds the only thing she can focus on is the unexpected tour guide who opens her eyes to possibilities she never imagined.

All they have is this one night, together, under the bright moon in a city full of hidden beauty.
It’s one night that will change how they see the world and the paths their hearts will take forever.

Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts

gloucester 1
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Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston Opera House

boston opera house
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There's this scene where Gabe takes Lena to a storage under the Boston Opera House (hidden gems like that piques my interest), but that the old underground concert hall is only semi-true. Steph informed me that the storage is not under the opera house in real life, but is actually under a piano store! That piano store is called M. Steinert & Sons on Boylston Street. You can read more about it here!

Here are some pictures of the old underground concert hall (it looks pretty cool!)...

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Go on a virtual tour the place while you're here...

[vimeo 18230808 w=400 h=231]

Pretty cool, right? I like hidden secrets in/underneath cities, and this is definitely one I'd like to explore. Any Boston residents/visitors ever know about this place?

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quote 1

quote 3
quote 4

"I feel like for a long time, my life has been in a million pieces. I've been scrambling trying to figure out what to do, how to make things right . . . I finally get that I'm in charge of figuring out how I want those pieces to fit back together . . . And you're one of those pieces," he says. "So don't go too far, okay?"

--Steph Campbell, Even The Moon Has Scars (pg.  231-232 )

quote 2

They aren't the kind of wounds that need a team of surgeons. . . .They're the tiniest hairline fractures on our hearts, but they still have the power to change us.

--Steph Campbell, Even The Moon Has Scars (pg. 233)

CHD (Congenital Heart Defect)

  • A birth defect of the heart in which a child is born with an abnormally structured heart and/or large vessels. [Source]

  • Such hearts may have holes between chamber partitions or narrow/leaky valves or narrow vessels, incomplete or missing parts, or put together the wrong way. [Source]

  • There are many types of congenital heart defects.

  • Some CHDs can be detected pre-birth or afterward. Depending on the type of murmur, they would need testing: Chest X-Ray, Electrocardiac (EKG/ECG), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or other diagnostic testing. [Source]

  • Symptoms in infants and children may include abnormal heart sounds or a heart murmur, cyanosis (bluish skin color), fast breathing, poor feeding, poor weight gain, excessive sweating and an inability to exercise. [Source]

  • As of 2014, CHD affect 1% (40,000) births per year in the United States. [Source]

TAPVR (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return)

[Image Source]

  • A birth defect of the heart in which the veins that bring the blood back from the lungs do not connect to the left atrium like usual. Instead, they go to the heart by way of an abnormal connection. [Source]

  • Oxygen-rich blood does not return from the lungs to the left atrium, and instead, the oxygen-rich blood returns to the right side of the heart. This causes the baby to get less oxygen than is needed. [Source]

  • TAPVR is considered a CCHD (Critical Congenital Heart Defect) because a baby born with this defect may need surgery or other procedures after birth. [Source]

  • There are different types of TAPVR, based on where the pulmonary veins connect: Supracardiac, Cardiac, and Infracardiac.

  • Symptoms usually occur at birth or soon afterward, if not diagnosed during pregnancy, such as: bluish-looking skin color called "cyanosis" because their blood doesn't carry enough oxygen, problems breathing, pounding heart, weak pulse, poor feeding and extreme sleepiness. [Source]

  • As of 2014, according to CDC, TAPVR and PAPVR (Partial Anomalous Pulmonary Return) occur in about 1 out of every 10,000 births. [Source]

Author Steph Campbell has a blog called Dear Britta that is about her daughter, whom has CHD, and you can check it out here.

**The facts from above are taken from the Children's Heart Foundation and CDC, and should be double checked with a doctor for accuracy and updated data/stats**

Steph Campbell grew up in Southern California, but now calls Southwest Louisiana home. She has one husband, four children and a serious nail polish obsession. She blogs at stephcampbell.blogspot.com Stop by and say hello! facebook.com/authorstephcampbell Twitter: @stephcampbell_

{Story Diary} When My Heart Was Wicked by Trisha Stirling

Apr 4, 2015

When I met Tricia Stirling at her When My Heart Was Wicked signing in February, I had no idea that she's from the same city I reside until we met. This book takes place in Sacramento, and a bit in the city I spent a good part of my teen years/party days -- Chico aka "the college/party city". But Chico is more than a party city, though; there is plenty of outdoorsy things to explore and do. There aren't very many fiction books that takes place here (at least what I've read/heard of), it's almost as if people forgot that Sacramento is the Capital of California. Too many are focused on LA. So I'm excited to show you around the Capital of California in this story diary!

coverWhen My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling
Young Adult Contemporary, Fabulism
February 25, 2015 from Scholastic Press

"I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.

But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good."

16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.

Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface.

But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?

Chico, CA


madison bear garden

big chico creek

horseshoe lake
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Sacramento, CA

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Sac State University

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Weatherstone Coffee & Trading Co.

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american river

McKinley Park

mckinley park
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Protection spell

  • Sprinkle dried angelica around four corners for extra protection

Binding spell

This spell requires limes, a knife, string a piece of paper, a nail, a jar, a lighter and a picture of whom the spell is being casted on.

When she comes back with everything, I find Drake's student picture in the yearbook and tear it out . . . . I wrap the string tightly around the picture, concealing first his eyes, then his mouth. Next I tear the piece of blank computer paper in half. One piece I put between two halves of the lime, and I remember . . . . I drop the lime [in the jar] and the wrapped picture from the yearbook into the jar. "Now we write Drake's name on this half of the paper, set it on fire, and let the ashes fall into the jar." -- Tricia Stirling, When My Heart Was Wicked (pg. 107)

From there you bury it and chant: "[redacted] I bind thee from causing harm."

Resurrection spell

I bite a chunk of skin from my thumb . . . and I smear it on the dove's head. "Bring this creature back, I whisper aloud. "Bring her back to life." . . . I take the bottle of silver calligraphy ink. I tear the cork stopper with my teeth and smear the bird's feathers with silver. As I chant, she begins to stir. -- Tricia Stirling, When My Heart Was Wicked (pg. 70)

[California Mugwort | Image Source]

  • Official name is Artemisia douglasiana, but is also called "California Mugwort" or "Dream Plant".

  • Can be dried for tea

[Plantain Leaf | Image Source]

  • Grows in clumps like a weed

  • Natural remedy for stings, wounds and even acne

I like to take the natural route for medicine but have yet heard of/tried this, so I'm going to look into this and maybe give it a try.

[Queen Anne's Lace | Image Source]

"See the little red flower in all the white? It's supposed to represent a drop of Queen Anne's blood from where she pricked her finger while making lace." -- Tricia Stirling, When My Heart Was Wicked (pg. 90)

Also called "Wild carrot." Queen Anne's lace is actually one of the common names; the official flowers name is Daucus carota.

quote 2

"I like tossing and turning," I say. "It keeps my arm from falling asleep."
"It's the only way I get any exercise."

--Trisha Stirling, When My Heart Was Wicked

I'm a tosser-and-tuner too, so this made me literally LOL and--sad to say, but--also realize that it's the only exercise I get too.

quote 1

"I think of Artemis, the moon goddess, who killed a man just for seeing her naked."

-- Tricia Stirling, When My Heart Was Wicked (pg. 109)

I am a writer. I am also a mother, daughter, wife, sometimes crafter, and voracious reader. I'm outdoorsy and kind of shy. As a child, I was kicked out of girlscouts. I love cheese and bread. I love Anthopologie and Mary Margaret's apartment in Once Upon a Time. I'm a sloppy dogloving person, but I admire the sleek cool of cats. My favorite writers include Alice Hoffman, Janet Fitch, Donna Tarte, and Aimee Bender. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were also good.

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