Wednesday, November 26, 2014

*knocks warily* Is Anybody Home? | What's Been Going On? (3)



Welcome, Welcome to the THIRD Episode of What’s Been Going On? An alternative title could be, “Where The Hell Were You In The Month of November, Sofia?” Never fear, you will get to know the reasons for why I was so absent from my blog, what I was doing in my absence (I swear I didn’t spend my entire month watching Red Band Society, Nashville, and How to Get Away With Murder), and what you should expect for December.

Why Haven't You Been Home?

Even in October, BEFORE everything that happened in November happened, I knew it would be a slow month for Loving the Language of Literacy. I had just started the BookTube Channel, it was the end of the trimester (translation = common core testing), and NaNoWriMo would be on the front burner for the entire month.

Then everything in November went down.

If you are an old-timer around Loving the Langauge of Literacy, you will know that my mom had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and after an almsot two year fight, passed away at the end of July. (For a more in-depth information, click here) I went to go live with some family friends, but that arrangement sadly didn't work out due to compatability issues. I had just been informed of it (on the 9th of November), packed up by stuff, and moved in (temporarily) with my dad. May I mention, my dad who has limited internet access? Hashtag: The Struggle Was REAL! Almost two weeks went by until I could move in with my best friend's family. The catch? They live in upstate New York.

So there you have it! A combination of limited internet access, NaNoWriMo-ing, and moving across the country are the reasons I have not been present that much on my blog. 

Where Have You Been During November?

I Wrote 50,000 Words Of A First Draft Of A Novel! | NaNoWriMo 2014: In terms of free time I normally would have spent doing blog-related things (reading books/writing posts), I used that time to write the thee foundation of a YA  contemporary/fantasy crossover with parallel universes, romaance, and a ton of other fun details. 



Brace yourself for how cliche this next sentence will sound. I want to make writing my job. How much does this sound like 75% of the book bloggers/vloggers out there? I don’t mean that I want to write just for the money, as ANYONE can tell you, doing ANYTHING in life where making money is the final goal is pure bullsh*t and you should stop doing that thing ASAP! 2014 has been a year to remember for myself in ALL aspects of life. Throughout everything I have experienced, blogging, vlogging, YouTube, books, libraries, and pretty much anything related to putting a pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) has been my fallback. Throughout everything, the internet, and words have been there for me. I have discovered this fiery passion (I am just a bucketload of cliche phrases today) whenever I discuss the craft of writing and my own writing with people (those who want to listen and even those that didn’t). 


Therefore, the obvious decision was.... participate in NaNoWriMo. In July, you may have seen my announcement that I was doing Camp NaNoWriMo, and that.... just didn’t go well. It was a wrong-time-wrong-place thing. It was a complete impulse decision to participate (two days before), and I just wasn’t in the right, or good, place mentally  or creatively to write a novel. My decision to participate in November’s NaNoWriMo was one I had been thinking about since September, and I actually outlined a few chapters (which shows serious commitment if you know how much of a panster I am). I pushed through the month, despite all of the external obstacles (to be discussed), and hit 50k on the 23rd of November, and now I'm at a stage where I'm re-doing my outline andd story bible to fit what I have wrirten so far. Because, as we all know, 50k isn't enough to finish a story. It was a challenge to sit myself down every day and (at some points) force myself to pound out those words. Yet, I did it, and that is the number one reason I wasn’t able to blog. I used every moment possible to write the words of my novel instead of writing the words of blog posts.

I Moved Across the Freaking Country!!! I don't know if you're aware, but moving takes a LOT of effort. Especially when all of your belongings are divded between three locations. It was a mini-battle betweeen my dad and I for every little seemingly replaceable item. (I agree with him on this one) I even wanted to lug my huge power strip! 


Eveen though I am here now, I am still thinking "OMFG! I have moved to the city where everyone is freezing their butts of." If I thought I could validly complain about Sunny Southern California, I was sorely mistaken. When I arrived, there were snow flurries, and it was 28 degrees. *shivers just thinking about it* 
Lolz! I'm still at the, "I love snow phase"
These events in my personal life took up a lot of my time, which is why I haven’t been posting or uploading half as much as I would have liked.   It has been such an environment change, in terms of who, what, when, where, why, how everything in my life has been going. The good news is that I have a heck of a lot less homework at my new school, so.... more time for blogging/BookTubing/ reading/writing. Hallelujah!       

Who Is To Say You Won't Go Away During December Too?

Because a ton of cool things are a comin'. You had to suffer a whole month without hearing from me! I need to make up for loss time with my wonderful attitude (Don’t worry, I am 100% joking, I am not that much of an arrogant person). December is the month of my birthday, Christmas, Winter Break, and (the thing you’re most expecting me to say) my ONE YEAR BLOGOVERSARY!!! Let me just say that during Turkey Break (yes, I did just call it that), I actually got off my rear end and scheduled a lost of posts. There is more information going up on the first of December with ALL OF THE DETAILS for ALL OF THE THINGS. Because there is an entire month of shenanigans planned.




Disclaimer: None of these images (except for the signature and banner) are mine nor do I claim them to be

Monday, November 24, 2014

What Do YOU Want To Know? Privacy, Disclosure, And Censorship Taken Into Question | A Discussion

Today I want to talk about privacy, what it means and the correlation between safety and being impersonal. Warning: I actually had a blog post that was supposed to go live today, but it's on another computer currently.... a computer that won't wake up, but that's another trauma/drama of mine. 


The definition of privacy is this: "the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs" 


Yet, when posting something online, through a blog post, YouTube video, Instagram Picture, Tweet, Facebook post, or whatever other social media outlet you are using, you have the chance to censor personal information. In a face-to-face conversation, you can't take back or make the other person forget what you said... and if you can, I want to have a serious talk with any blog reader of mine that is withholding the power of mind control from me. Yet, the internet gives you a safety net in the way that, as long as you don't hit "Publish," you can edit and revise what you're going to say/post for as long as you want. Of course, the moment you hit "Send," the entire world can see it (if the entire world chooses to do so) and it will never go away. Come on, don't tell me you haven't seen the multitude of screenshotted snapchats. This discussion is NOT about internet safety, I'm not going to lecture you on the dangers of cyberspace (I'm sure you have a well-meaning elderly person in your life who can do that for you). It is merely about the pros/cons and perception of what privacy truly is.

The tweet below tells you the innocent information that I celebrate Halloween (scandolous) and that I'm on Student Council. There are these little things like this tweet that give people a bigger picture of who I am, and while I'm fine disclosing this.... is it the right decision to do so?


My examples are YouTube specific, but I'm sure (with a little research I don't feel like doing right now) there are solid examples for the blogging community as well. There are the people that choose to disclose their personal lives and people who choose to keep as much of their private life just that - private. 


We have here Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan, the two hottest, biggest, most popular beauty gurus on the internet. Yet, you have to ask yourself, on an exterior, fact-only level of things, "How much do we know about these two ladies?" Combined, they have over 15 MILLION YouTube subscribers, 2.7 million Twitter followers, and 6.3 million Instagram followers. That is a hella lot of people who are interested in what those two succesful young ladies are doing on a regual occasion. I'm sure if I talked to a Michelle Phan or Bethany Mota expert, there would be more trivia, but in actuality, we don't know that much about them.


Then there are daily vloggers like AprilJustinTV and the SacconeJolys. They vlog 7 days a week/365 days a year. If you kept up with them, you would know a ton of intimate, personal information about their daily lives. You know what they had for lunch, where they buy their clothes, what relatives are coming to town, what their children have accomplished. You know a heck of a lot information.


I, on the other hand, am not planning on going all "daily vlogger" (or blogger) on you. In all honesty, that would take waaay too much work on my end to edit, export, and upload vlogs every day or even compose and revise a diary entry of sorts. Yet, I want to find a happy medium (look forward to an entire blgo post in the future about balancing and happy mediums) between you guys knowing every detail of my life. You would probably be bored, because, as hard as it is to believe, my life is not glamorous 24/7 (I've been in my PJs ALL day and am just now beginning to attempt productivity). 


Loving the Language of Literacy is a book blog, but I want to expand it a little more so that you know (the more interesting) events going on in my daily life. If I have had a little success (like winning NaNoWriMo), I want to share it with you, since you are such a big part of my life and who I am. In 2015, I would like Loving the Language of Literacy to be 85% books and 15% writing and other things going on in my life. My blog is a diary of sorts for myself to look back on, even if it's just to point and say, "He He He! You look ridiculous in that video." 


And with that disclosing of information, I have told a little more about myself and made a little more of my personal life public. I could, in theory, go on and on about something that happened without context, but then you would be clueless and it wouldn't be as fun. I know a lot of people choose to keep their personal lives private, but I feel like I need to provide some explanation to you guys when I go missing from my blog for longer periods of time (take November as an example). I have had a lot of things going on this month (in the next post, I will tell you more about them) and not all of them are good/positive.


That's what originally got me thinking about the topic of privacy. Because I could say, "I have gone through so much and I don't owe them anything." Or I could decide to tell you some of it. 


On that note, I will proceed to explain 2 topics that are kind of personal that I am debating about disclosing.

Location: Looking on my Instagram and Twitter, you will know that I recently moved across the country to the state of New York. What you do not know (at least I think, because with "moving brain" it is likely that I have told you my address and how to find me and not remembered it) is what city specifically I live in. When I was in SoCal, I claimed that I lived in Los Angeles. Well.... I lied! *grins evily* I lived in a small suburb of Los Angeles (that is in fact its own city, something I didn't realize until around two years ago). If you saw Instagram pics or knew what was in driving distance of the various booksignings I have attended, then you have a general idea of where I resided. 


Now that I have moved, I have been asking myself, "Do I do the same thing? Tell them the name of the big city closest to me? Or keep quiet and let them guess what mystical part of New York I'm from?" There is also the Instagram concept known as "Tagging" and when people in my personal life tag me in photos, the photo will sometimes say a location. So does that mean I have to create a new Instagram entirely for people to tag me in once in a blue moon? (I created an Instagram purely for book blogging purposes. I'm not the typical teenage girl who posts selfies every hour on the hour)  

Age: This is something I have been seriously considering telling people just to put things in perspective for my blog readers. And every time I think about it, I immedietaly remember the reasons why I HAVEN'T told people my age. Don't worry, I'm not a pedophilic 80 year old man, you have the YouTube channel to confirm that. A ton of people, mostly in their 20s, have no problem whatsoever with disclosing their ages because that is the primary age group of YA book related content creators. For me, age is a sensitive topic because age is often misconcieved for being synoymous with the word "capabilities." There are a lot of teenagers my age are who perfectly capable of maintaining a blog and a lot who aren't because of the effort and time it takes. 

What About You?

Do you think its perfectly fine to give away personal information about yourself such as likes/dislikes, relationship status, proffession?

Do you carefully craft every single Instagram caption so that your followers never know anything about you?

Do you daily vlog and tell people bucketfulls of information about yourself because that's who you are and the people deserve to know this?

What are your thoughts on disclosing personal information and finding balance?

Bonus Question: How old do you think I am?

Monday, November 17, 2014

{Book Review} The Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles #1): Mary E. Pearson

Rating: 72%
Series: Remnant Chronicles #1
Genre: High Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Page Count: 492
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.



Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Fans of the Fire & Thorns Trilogy (Rae Carson), The Shamer Chronicles (Lene Kaaberbøl), Throne of Glass Series (Sarah J. Maas) 

Would I Buy It?
70% 
There is actually a large possibility of me purchasing The Kiss of Deception because of 1) How much I enjoyed the novel and 2) How beautiful the cover is of both this book and its sequel

Background & Backstory

Fun Fact: I put off reading The Kiss of Deception for literally the longest time possible, even though it was one of my most anticipated releases of the summer. I had received this book as an eARC from Netgalley ages ago, like in April of 2014. Pretty much, life has gotten in the way of my reading this book, and I forgot about being accepted for it until the release date drew nearer and it was getting so much prepublication hype. Even that didn’t make me pick up the book immediately. Finally, I put it on hold at my library and borrowed. But wait.... there’s more. I renewed this book TWICE, which mean I had it in my possession for almost nine weeks. For an anticipated release, this sure was getting pushed to the back burner a lot. 
And then.... came the move.

for personal reasons, I had only recently (last Saturday) been notified that I was to move cross country to upstate New York. And as you know, I only recently (four months ago) moved around 30 miles from the home I had lived/grown up in almost my entire life. But enough about that, I had been forced to move, and because of this, I had had to return all 31 of my library books (I’m not an impulsive clicker at all). Because of this, I was forced to read books I actually owned (what a concept), and I saw this as a sign and a FINAL go-ahead to read The Kiss of Deception. 

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?
Stupid, Stupid, Stupid male protagonist that makes me yearn for a sequel this very instant!

I conquered my hatred! If you’re new around here, you may not have seen a discussion post from September which was entitled, I Hate Big Books and I Cannot Lie. In this, I explained about my hatred of reading big books because of the sense of unproductively and dissatisfaction they gave me. And the number one time this hatred is felt is when reading large eBooks. There is an ongoing debate about eBooks versus Physical Books, and one of the best arguments for Physical Books is the sensation of turning pages and the visual representation of making your way through a book, something us 21st century readers like to see to have our egos stroked. Anyways, The Kiss of Deception clocks in at almost 500 pages, something I was blissfully ignorant to when I began reading. Yet, I sped through this chunkster in less than 24 hours. My eBook reading pace is usually three times as much as my physical book one for other reasons mentioned in [INSERT POST TITLE/LINK]. Reading The Kiss of Deception has made me conquer my hatred of big books, and made me believe in myself and the fact that, if I am loving a fat eBook, it can be read in an extremely short amount of time. The fast-paced intrigue of the novel is the most attractive aspect of it, and if you struggle, like I do, with chunkster, you may have no issues whatsoever. 

Multi-Points-of-View-Sensory-Overload: One of the most enticing factors for myself as a reader is multiple POVs (Thank the Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu for this). And The Kiss of Deception had a boatload of perspectives. The majority (60%) of this novel was told my Lia, aka our leading lady. The other 39% was told by her two love interests, Rafe and Kaden, or “The Assassin” and “The Prince,” as the ominous headers for each chapter state. The last 1% is an unnecessary chapter told by Lia’s best friend, Pauline. Anyways, one of the biggest appeals of The Kiss of Deception is the fact that Lia, and yourself as the reader don’t know if Rafe is the assassin or Rafe is the prince or if Kaden is the assassin or Kaden is the prince. I don’t know how many revisions and rewrites Pearson had to make to get the reader so clueless as to who was who, but she accomplished it. I felt intelligent (for once) because I actually guessed which name was attached to which person. On another quick side note, it doesn’t matter actually whose name is attached to who in the fact that neither man uses their real name. You have this idea of who each man is, but in the next chapter you read, you’re thrown off, and your presumption is *maybe* proved wrong. I will have to say that they weren’t the most distinct voices I have ever heard (June and Day will forever be that pair), but they definitely held their own and got the job done.

Length Not Needed? While I wasn’t bored, and the story was fast-paced, I do think that it could have been shorter by 100 pages or more. There was a lot of extra standing around, waiting for each, and every, distinct, little, event to happen a lot of revelations could have been made in a shorter span of time. 55% of the story took place in this ONE town and it got a little tedious. The other 40% of it took place in  a desert-like terrain which annoyed me a little, coming from The Fire and Thorns trilogy, and although that wasn’t The Kiss of Deception’s fault, there was still so much extra traveling time trekking across the desert.

Fantastical Tropes? Having only begun to incorporate High Fantasy into my regular reading, I can’t judge as to what is a “cliche” or “overdone” trope. But I sure as heck can point out the similarities between three separate series. I am talking about the Fire and Thorns Trilogy, the Throne of Glass Series, and The Kiss of Deception. All three of these had so many similarities in their royalty structure and the protagonist’s desires to break out of the mold and tradition set before them. I get it, it’s a common problem with royalty now, back then, and in these high fantasy universes, but you would think their systems would vary slightly. Yet, they don’t. Royalty doesn’t want to be royalty. Magic is taboo but some still believe in it. Protagonist has to make the decision to make a stand for her home. The end.... until the second book.

Love Triangles That Work: I am not in the party of bloggers who think love triangles are the devil. I am known to indulge and and enjoy a well written one every once in a while. The Kiss of Deception’s trio was, as usual, unprobable, but I just liked them together and thought their relationships worked well. Each man provided something different that Lia needed, and I enjoyed seeing the contrast between them a lot. What I will have to say is that the name (Rafe/Kaden) and the occupation (Prince/Assassin) of the guy who I was routing for ended up not coinciding, which would be kind of awkward if these book characters knew my wish of exchanging one for the other.

Ending 40%: I am such a fickle mistress when it comes to liking endings of books, because I usually don’t and they fall flat. Sadly, The Kiss of Deception continued this trend. The vibes I was getting felt so Crown of Embers, and the character’s motives for their actions unrealistic. Why did you have to let me down but entice me enough to pick up the sequel Mary E. Peason? WHHHHY?!?

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel To This Book?
80%
Hell yeah, I’ll be reading the sequel. *Fast forwards a year from now and Sofia still hasn’t read it* I need answers. 

Conclusion: A strong series debut with lyrical prose, multiple points of view, fast paced, plenty of intrigue, a likable love triangle, and suspenseful ending.

Monday, November 10, 2014

{Blog Tour+Giveaway+Review} Induction Day (Butterman Travel #2): P.K. Hrezo

IDT7


Induction Day
Rating: 75%
Series: Butterman Travel #2
Ages: 16+
Pages Count: 247
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Time Travel, New Adult, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Create Space
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Candace's Book Blog Promotions

The year 2069 is coming to a close, and eighteen-year-old Bianca Butterman's time-craft license is finally official. She's ready for the Induction Day she’s waited for since she was a kid—the one that will secure her name on the Butterman family tree of time travelers. But ever since the media discovered Bianca is pop superstar Tristan Helms’ latest new honey, everything Bianca does or says becomes a target of criticism. Having her professional credibility topping the gossip sites across social media is an open invitation for the government to step in and regulate Bianca’s Induction. Now she will have to ask herself if saving 1500 people from drowning is worth losing everything she’s ever worked for, including the Butterman family biz.

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated; a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. We’re a family owned and operated business with one hundred years of experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.

Anxious to attend some special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply

Use our Web conferencing to contact our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, who will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.

Goodreads | YouTube

  Information on Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc 

 Click on the Image to be led to my review of the first book!


Synopsis: Welcome to Butterman Travel, IncorporatedWe are a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. Family-owned and operated, we offer clients one hundred years of time travel experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.Anxious to attend a special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do applyConference us directly from our Website. Our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.


 Goodreads |  Amazon Kindle  | B&N   

PK HrezoAbout the author:
PK Hrezo is a native Floridian rarely found without her flip flops on. She shares her home with her firefighter husband, their two children, and big dog named Ripley. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog

Giveaway:

To be entered into a special giveaway, copy one of these ready-made posts and share it. Make sure PK’s name is tagged so she can see it and enter your name into a giveaway. The more you share, the more entries you receive. Five winners will receive a time traveler’s book thong:

TWEETS: Induction Day by @PKHrezo is a #timetravel #mustread. Retweet this to be entered into a special #giveaway. Add it to #AmazonCart here.

FACE BOOK: Induction Day is here! A taut, fast-paced, engrossing read by PKHrezo. Find it on Amazon here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G9ADV2O

GOOGLE PLUS: Induction Day by #PKHrezo is a #timetravel #mustread. Retweet this to be entered into a special #giveaway. A taut, fast-paced, engrossing read. Find it on Amazon here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G9ADV2O

Share this post for an entry into a special giveaway.




Disclaimer: received this book from Candaces Book Blog Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Background &Backstory
I was planning, somewhere on my lengthy TBR, to read this book, after all, I had sincerely enjoyed Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc back in January and wanted to know what happened next. I just hadn't planned on reading it as soon as I did in November. Yet, sometime in October, Candace's Book Blog Promotions when they inquired about me wanting to participate in the Induction Day blog tour. I thought, "What the hey?" I liked the first book, I already wanted to read the second, I love supporting authors I have previously worked with. I'll do the tour.

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?
That was.... somewhat confusing, sequel PLEASE

Pro | Solidity/Deliverance: In terms of self/independently-published books I have read for promotional events, Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc is on my top three list. The first book had an extremely strong plot, interesting take on time travel, a swoon worthy romance, and well-developed characters. I am so happy to say that the sequel, Induction Day, was just as strong and solid of a sequel, delivering on my expectations after reading Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. Sophomore Slumps are a common occurrence amongst all authors and I was so appreciative for Induction Day carrying out my wishes as a reader (I don't sound entitled at all :p). 

Con | The Feeling of Wanting More Well-Roundedness : In Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. The story's setting and focus had a lot more variety. So, while Induction Day was satisfying to me in terms of reading enjoyment, it was not nearly as diverse in terms of where, what, how, why, when everything was taking place. Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. was a big bucket of crazy (of the good variety). Yet, Induction Day was centered in only Alaska and the Titanic versus the multiple locations of Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. I had just wanted a wider scope of vision in Bianca's world and didn't receive it. What I will point out is the fact that this novel did serve as an excellent foundation for the next book.

Pro | Characters & Romance: Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc allowed us to see into the minds, form opinions, and get to know Bianca and Tristan, our leading man and lady. Induction Day put our preconceived ideas of the two of them to the test. The raw, grittiness of Tristan's smoking hot character was upheld with all of the recent issues with his drug addiction. Bianca's Butterman's choice of judgement and intelligence was challenged with her Induction Day, and I respected her so much as a character because of it. On top of that, even though this novel is classified as New Adult (by default with the protagonist's ages), but the two of them have not been to the intimate level so many teenaged book character get to by at least the second book. I commend Hrezo so much for making Bianca hold so strongly to her moral beliefs about her virginity. The couple's relationship was also put to the test. They argued, yet as any reader/author duo knows, that is what makes the story stronger and more believable.

Con | Confusion With Time Travel: Time Travel has always been an extremely confuzzling concept for our inapt human minds to handle. Therefore we are bound to not understand. Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. did not have me confused with this concept, but because Induction Day built on what I had already learned in Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. everything was just multiplied in terms of complexity. P.K. Hrezo did a brilliant job of going into detail with this concept and designing her own rules for this peculiar concept. Therefore it is a personal thing only, with the matter of my finding this book a tad confusing when it came to the time travel aspects.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel To This Book?
40%
Since beginning to book blog/vlog, I have needed to prioritize my TBR and make sure that my bookish needs were satisfied above anything else. (Yes, I am aware about how selfish that sounds) I try my best to only read books that I truly want to read. Therefore, I probably won't obtain this book purely on my own want for a sequel, but most definitely, if the opportunity to promote/support the next book comes up, I will take it.

Conclusion: A solid, satisfying, fast-paced sequel that delivered everything I expected.


Monday, November 3, 2014

{Blog Tour+Giveaway+Review} The Last Changeling: Chelsea Pitcher

Rating: 70%
Series: Faerie Revolutions #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Faries,
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: November 8th 2014
Page Count: 360
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: A Kingdom at War . . .

Elora, the young princess of the Dark Faeries, plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother, the Dark Queen, and bring equality to faeriekind. All she has to do is convince her mother’s loathed enemy, the Bright Queen, to join her cause. But the Bright Queen demands an offering first: a human boy who is a “young leader of men.”

A Dark Princess In Disguise . . .

To steal a mortal, Elora must become a mortal—at least, by all appearances. And infiltrating a high school is surprisingly easy. When Elora meets Taylor, the seventeen-year-old who’s plotting to overthrow a ruthless bully, she thinks she’s found her offering . . . until she starts to fall in love.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author: WEBSITE | @Chelsea_Pitcher | FACEBOOK
Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light. 





Disclaimer: received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Background & Backstory
Everything, at least in the bookish world, has a reason. Despite knowing how much immense pressure is put on myself when it comes to reading and reviewing a blog tour book, I sign up for them anyway. Go figure! The reason behind THIS tour stop is that I needed that pressure. To be honest, my Netgalley approval ratio is shot, I have no chance of ever amending that sucker unless I spent half a year reading purely eBooks. There you have it, I signed up for this tour to get my approval to feedback ratio 1% higher.


Con | Insta-Love:  While I am not a blogger/reader that immediately shuts down whenever they face a fearful instal-love situation *Divergent Reference* I don't enjoy it unless I myself am routing for the couple extremely hard. With The Last Changeling, it was one of those model instal-love situations that I, personally, disliked. The moment the two of them met, they were already thinking about each other in a physical way, which EXTREMELY annoyed me.

Neutral | Dual-POVs: If you know what type of reader I am, having dual-POVs as a neutral point of the book is surprising. I enjoyed the dual-POVs, never got them confused, and they added insight to the story. Yet it almost felt as if this story couldn't stand on its own without them. First person from either side and even third person would have confused me as a reader, so it seems like the default and obvious choice was to write the novel in duo-POVs. 

Neutral | Faeries: I don't like faeries in books. Never have. Never will. The beautiful creatures found in kid's fairy tales usually are bad, or mean, or unappealing. I had hoped this book might change my opinion, but since it was so set in stone, I think only a 5-star book would have done that. So while I don't count this as a strike against The Last Changeling, I didn't like the faeries either.

Neutral | LGBTQ+ Advocation: Neither Taylor or Elora falls under the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but there was a ton of advocation for LGBTQ+ people and their rights. As always, I commend authors for including the aspect in their stories. I just thought it was kind of distracting from the main, overall plot arc with SO much focus. 

Pro | Predictable Urban Fantasy Plot With a Twist: The Last Changeling was one of those classic urban fantasies where a magical being (female or male or anything in between) is found. Then they are helped and concealed with the help of the opposite gender as they attempt to blend in with everything around them. The first 50 pages, I thought I wouldn't like the plot because of how many cliche trope markers there were. Yet, I held on and was pleasantly surprised with how much originality followed the predictable plot set up.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel To This Book?
25%
This is absolutely nothing personal against Chelsea Pitcher (who is an extremely nice author) or her book, but I don't think I will be reading the sequel. I make it a point to only read sequels to books I rated 4 or more stars and reading the next book in the Faerie Revolutions just would not fit into my enormous TBR. On the other hand, if you had asked me how likely it is for me to pick up another book by her, the percentage would be a lot higher because I am interested to see what she does with her writing in a contemporary novel (such as The S-Word) which is the first book of hers I had ever learned about.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Existential Crisis.... Of the Blogging Variety

The Running Wall: If you're a runner, or an introvert that has only read about running and has no idea what the action actually feels like (both are absolutely fine), you may have heard of this wall that you tend to run up against during a long distance run.


My Feelings: At this moment in time, on October 26, 2014, that's how I feel. This has nothing to do with recent events in the blogosphere (because if it did.... I would have some serious things to say), just with where I am at this point in my life and time.

I feel stumped. I feel inspiration-less. I feel kind of down.

Teach Me Your Ways!: I look at all of these other people's awesome blogs with tons of followers and views (which is not what blogging is about, statistics aren't incorporated into this), great ideas, insightful posts, awesome social media presences and then I look at my own blog. This isn't necessarily jealousy, more admiration and the feeling of "teach me your ways." I would LOVE to be able to have a full-time job, children, a spouse, and time/inspiration to post amazing content every day.

How the Heck Do You Have The Time? There's also the matter of time, how the heck do these people have the time to do all of the awesomesauce stuff that they do such as blog tours with popular authors, giveaways, go to IRL author events, vlog at the same time, and all of this amazingness I long to achieve? I am still in school and undergoing the pressures of HOURS of homework every night (no exageration) and other events in my personal life.

Statistics: Since June, my blog post count per month has had a gradual decline. From May with 27, to June with 22, to July with 18 posts to August when I had 10. Let's face it, those statistics are sad. I know everyone says posting every day isn't a necessity, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. Yet, I'm not blogging by ANY means for all of the impressive statistics, or monetization. I do it as a labor of love because I love books.

I am the one feeling down.

I am the one putting pressure on myself.


I am the one wondering what any of it means if I can't do the things I love.

I am the one setting all of these outrageous deadlines for myself when I know full well that life will get in the way.

There's the Want: And you want to know the part of everything that makes me feel discouraged? I WANT to post. I want with all of my heart to film videos, write reviews, compose discussions, do tags. I want to put out as much content as possible, because I'm the kind of person who will put in the same amount of effort if I'm writing a blog post for one person to see versus 1000.

Positivity Will Prevail!: What I have told myself to do in both my blogging, reading. writing, vlogging, personal, and life in general is to get a positive outlook. If I do better by even ONE post more than the month before, I should be happy. If I write 100 more words than my goal, that's a cause to celebrate. If I get three more views than I did my last video, I will consider it a victory. And if I don't post for a week (*cough cough* last week). I won't dwell on the past and vow to get back in the swing of things the next week. Having a pity party with one person isn't very fun.


Pushing Past the Wall: So.... This existential blogging crisis might continue on for longer than I hope, but I will consider it the running wall and push through it. Because you know what happens after you FINALLY break down the bricks of that wall? An inexplicable rush of adrenaline and victory when you finally cross the finish line. I'm just going to push through it all and hope I come out the other side of this blogging slump stronger, and raring to go with shiny ideas and new content.

What about you?
Have you ever hit the blogging wall?
How did you get past it?
How did you cope?
How do you get ideas and inspiration for new posts?
How do you make time in your day for ALL of the things?

Thank you so much for listening to my mini-rant and I hope to see you soon in my next post!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

{Book Blitz+Interview+Giveaway+Playlist+Excerpt} More Than Exes: Elizabeth Briggs


Series: Chasing the Dream 0.5
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
Publication date: October 28th 2014
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Nobles

Synopsis: Keyboardist Kyle Cross may look like a bad boy with his tattoos and piercings, but he’s really the good guy who’s always stuck fixing his band’s problems and never gets the girl. His band is competing in a college Battle of the Bands, but when their bassist doesn’t show, Kyle must track her down with the help of the person he least expects: his ex-girlfriend Alexis Monroe.

Kyle hasn’t seen Alexis since she dumped him in high school, and she’s dropped her preppy image for fiery red hair and a bold new attitude to match. With only hours before his band goes on stage, Kyle has to be a little bad if he wants to win both the Battle and the girl he’s never gotten over. But when their old problems resurface, the good guy might just get his heart broken all over again.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.


Interview with Elizabeth Briggs

Where did you get the idea for More Than Exes?

In More Than Music, which is about Kyle’s friend, Maddie, and his brother, Jared, there’s a part where Maddie thinks about how it must be difficult to be Jared’s brother sometimes. That made me wonder about how Kyle sees his brother, and I quickly jotted down what would become the first chapter of More Than Exes. Right then I knew I had to tell Kyle’s story, too. I also had many fans of More Than Music tell me they loved Kyle and wanted a book about him, so that sealed the deal!

Do you need to read More Than Music to read More Than Exes?

No, definitely not. More Than Exes is a novella set about a month before More Than Music and can be read as a standalone. There’s nothing in it that would be confusing if you haven’t read More Than Music – but if you have, it will also shed light on a few things in that book. You can read them in any order, even though More Than Exes is a prequel.

What is your favorite thing about More Than Exes?

There are so many things I love about this book – the fact that it takes place over a few hours, the sarcastic humor in it, and the love story of two high school sweethearts getting back together… but my absolute favorite part is the close sibling relationship between Kyle and Jared. I loved showing Jared from Kyle’s point of view – Kyle views his brother very differently from how Maddie does in More Than Music, but still loves him and would do anything for him.

What was the hardest part about writing More Than Exes?

More Than Exes is the first book I’ve ever written from a guy’s point of view, and that was a lot of fun but also challenging at times. I had to make sure that Kyle would be sympathetic to romance readers but also feel like a realistic 21 year old male. I don’t think there are many romances told from only a male perspective, but I hope people will give this one a chance!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?

A rock star, of course! I play the guitar, though I don’t have time to practice as much as I’d like. I’ve always wanted to be in a famous rock band, but now I just write about them instead.

What’s next in the Chasing the Dream series?

I’m currently working on More Than Comics, a novella about the drummer of the band, Hector, set at Comic-Con about a week after More Than Music ends. After that, I’ll be writing books about Maddie’s best friends, Julie and Carla, who both go on their own reality TV shows!



EXCERPT

Alexis stood alone in front of the bar, watching the band on stage. Her leather jacket had been left in her car, and in her tight jeans and tiny, V-necked top, she radiated a cool, sexy confidence I found irresistible. She’d had that same confidence when we were younger, too, but now it had an edge, like she wasn’t afraid to be herself. It made me want her even more.
I moved behind her, fitting myself against her back, and whispered her name in her ear. I didn’t need to say anything else. She turned her head and met my eyes with a look of desire that matched my own. Her hand reached up to circle my neck, drawing my head down to hers, and I gave in to her siren call.

Our lips touched for the first time in three years. It was everything I remembered and more. Like waking from a long coma. A bright sunrise over a dark sky. The first hint of spring after a long winter. I was truly living again, in the way I normally only felt when I was on stage.
The kiss started slow, an awakening, an exploration, a forgiveness of our past mistakes. I teased at her mouth with my own, opening her wider, wanting more, wanting everything. Her lips were amazingly soft and sweet, like candy I’d tasted long ago and had finally rediscovered. I wrapped my arms around her hips, holding her flush against me. She groaned and dug her fingers into the back of my hair, pulling me even closer.

She turned in my arms to face me. “I guess this means you’re giving me a second chance.”

“I guess it does.” I lowered my lips to hers again.

Our bodies fit together perfectly, like when we’d hugged except this time we didn’t hold back. I slid my hands down to cup her butt, pressing her against the front of my jeans. Our kiss deepened, mouths hungry for each other, bodies desperate to be together again. We couldn’t get close enough, couldn’t get enough of each other. She clung to me like I was her savior, and I kissed her harder, flicking my tongue across hers, nibbling at her lower lip. Her fingers gripped the top of my jeans and tugged on them, like she wanted them gone. If she kept this up, I would rip her clothes off and take her right there on the bar counter.

This was all moving so fast, but I didn’t care. This was exactly the kind of thing my brother did, and after being apart from Alexis for so long, I didn’t want to go slow.
“Let’s go to my car,” she said, breathless. “The backseat…”

“My thoughts exactly.”

We broke apart, and the rest of the club came into focus again. The crowd pressing around us in the dark. The clink of bottles behind the bar. The music blasting from the speakers. The lights illuminating the band on stage. I checked the time. About an hour before our set. No one would miss me if I slipped out for a few minutes.
I took Alexis’s hand, the action so familiar I could almost believe we’d never broken up. She gave me a knowing smile and let me lead her through the club, weaving between other couples and head-banging fans. I couldn’t get us out of there fast enough. My brain had shut off and my body had taken over, with only lust and primal urges controlling me now.
This might only last one night. I didn’t care. I’d take one night with Alexis. As long as I reminded myself it was just sex and nothing more, I’d be fine. If Jared could do it, so could I.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

{Book Review/Movie Adaptation Comparison} Coraline: Neil Gaiman

Rating: 79%
Series: Standalone
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Horror,
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 4, 2002
Page Count: 162
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what's what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we're hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book's eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best.



Would I Buy It?
40%
None of the book covers give me the urge to die unless I got the book in gorgeous, hardcover form. While scrolling through the various covers, none stood out particularly to me, so much so that I didn't even insert a book cover (found it off of google images). This story deserves something spine-chilling and striking, something to depict the darkness in this seemingly innocent Middle Grade novel. Basically something that I would be terrified to have on my shelves and would deter every little prospective 10 year-old out there.

Background & Backstory
Grab a seat. This backstory could take a while. My memory is horrible, I don't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, let alone movies/books from the Summer of 2010. Yet, the cartoon version of Coraline (made by Tim Burton) defied the clutches of forgetfulness, and to this day, I still remember a TON of main plot points, characterization, and absolute terror I felt.

That alone should tell you something. When I was little, I liked terrifying myself, which means that I watched Coraline nearly every chance I got. I expected myself to get less afraid because of the repetition, but that didn't happen. I would climb into my mom's bed because I was so scared after watching this movie.

Fast-Forward more than four years and I STILL like giving myself goosebumps. AT this moment, I am the sole patron of every YA novel in my local libraries that hadn't already been checked out. Of course, a book that took primary real estate on that was Coraline.I had had the opportunity to read this book around two years ago, but the memories of the movie still haunted me, and I hadn't dared.  

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?
I'm glad I read that.

Middle Gradenesss: Over the past six months, I have developed a rather unsavory (what the heck does that mean?) prejudice for Middle Grade. I hate those feelings, especially when I get so defensive about everyone being able to read YA. Coraline was a classic Middle Grade book, but I was okay with that. Aspects of the novel could be considered somewhat juvenile, but when Neil Gaiman is the author.... you can easily look past the fact.

Spookiness: I'm not sure if the book wasn't as creepy because I knew what would happen, but the book DEFINITELY did not creep me out and make me want to sleep with the lights on. This might be because Neil Gaiman didn't want to scare off his target audience? Despite me not feeling creeped out,      I believe the reason I was so scared when I was little was because of how expertly the movie was adapted. This is also not to say the adaptation was unfaithful (there was some word-for-word dialogue), it was just the WAY it was adapted that made the movie so terrifying versus the book.

Premise: Something about a book that will immediately draw me in is the premise and proper of execution of it. And let me tell you, Neil Gaiman follows up with it BE-YOU-TI-FULLY. I never once felt like I was promised something and not delivered (a feeling uncannily common with adaptations as well as movies in general). Just the concept of parallel universes is one I have always been intrigued with (*hint hint* NaNoWriMo novel), and the way Gaiman twists it so artfully, making it that the evil "Other Mother" would suck Coraline's soul *shivers get sent down spine* with those godawful button eyes which were petrifying in the movie.

Concise: Coraline was my VERY first Neil Gaiman book ever. Since then, I have read (and flipped out over how much I loved) The Ocean at the End of the Lane and am currently reading The Graveyard Book. And I might (just might *winks*) have put every Neil Gaiman book on hold at my local library. Something I commend Gaiman for with the highest respect is with how many few words he can develop the richest, most detailed, most abstract stories I have ever read. I never once felt like the novel was incomplete or that I wanted more (of the novel, not his writing). There was a distinct and satisfying beginning, middle, and end. And the book was only 162 pages. Beat that! 


How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?
90%
Because of its lack of length, I am considering making Coraline an annual re-read accompanied by watching the movie. So (for once) it is very likely I will be re-reading this book.

Conclusion: Spooky, Eery, Conceptual with a terrifying premise. Perfect for Halloween time and sleeping with the lights on.


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