Monday, August 24, 2015

Everything, Everything : Nicola Yoon | BookTalk w/ @sslluvsbooks

Rating: 40%
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Young Adult, 
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Page Count: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Friend

Goodreads Synopsis: This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Disclaimer: I received this book from my friend who picked it up at BookCon

Would I Buy It?
Definitely not as I didn't enjoy the book and my copy will merely sit on my ARC shelf. 

Background & Backstory?
My good friend Nath went to BookCon and offered to send me an extra copy.

What Was My Reaction Upon Finishing?

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Another Book By This Author?
If Nicola Yoon writes another novel with a premise that piques my interest, I will consider reading it.

Conclusion: The premise was intriguing but the directions the plot could follow weren't original and the characters are unrealistic as well as the relationships between them - romantic of otherwise.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Foray Into Fiction ~ "Dialogue"

A Foray Into Fiction is a video series on my BookTube Channel Loving the Language of Literacy featuring writing advice and examples and if you want to read what I shared in that week's video, this is the place :)

Shop Owner : I'd really like to buy this ring. My mother lost one just like this a long time ago and it would mean a lot to me.

Customer : Aw how sweet. That'll be $15. We take all major credit cards. We prefer checks that don't bounce.

Shop Owner : Oh, $15? Really? I only have $8, and in cash. It's only a few dollars less, please, can I have it for $8?

Business Partner : Robert! Don't even think about it. I'm sorry ma'am, but this is an established business here. We don't do handouts.

Shop Owner : Now, now Xanthippe. Can't you make an exception? This obviously would mean a lot to this kind-looking gentleman.

Customer : Let me see. I have one, two, three quarters. Eight dollars and seventy-five cents?

Business Partner : Robert, would you like to the the downfall of a store that's been in my family for five generations?

Shop Owner : Oh come now! Always with the theatrics. But... I'm sure we can come to an understanding. How attacked are you with that shirt if yours?

Customer : My shirt? Well, it's the only one I have. I've been unemployed for a long time, and everything I had was stolen by some people I thought were my friends but enough about that. Will my shirt and money pay for the ring? Because if so, you can have them.

Business Partner : Oh I suppose... and you can keep your shirt. Robert, that $6.25 is coming out of your pay. Would you like a bag for the ring?

Prompt : Write a scene using only dialogue featuring the three characters of a shop owner, their business partner, and a customer who only has $8 but wants to buy a ring with sentimental value but the shop owner has been giving people breaks on the prices of their products.

What is your stance on dialogue - is it your favorite part of fiction writing or the worst? What is the most important think you've learned along the way? What is your favorite genre to write? 

Friday, August 7, 2015

More Than Fashion (Chasing the Dream #3): Elizabeth Briggs | Book Review w/ @sslluvsbooks

Rating: 63%
Series: Chasing the Dream #3
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publisher: Elizabeth Briggs
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Page Count: 223
Format: eBook
Source: Elizabeth Briggs

Goodreads Synopsis: They’re enemies who will do anything to win...including each other.

When pre-med student Julie Hong wins a spot on a fashion design reality TV show, she celebrates by picking up a hot English guy in a hotel bar. But too many drinks leads to a night of embarrassment and a major hangover, and wow is she glad she’ll never see him again.

Until the show starts, and he’s on it too.

Julie quickly realizes she’s out of her league among the other designers, and Gavin Bennett, with his cocky grin and sexy accent, is her biggest competition. Julie can't decide if she wants to kiss him or kill him. Or both.

After she’s almost kicked off, Julie convinces Gavin to pretend they’re sleeping together for the camera. The ploy works, but as they get closer to the show’s finale their fake relationship starts to become too real. But only one of them can win the show—and they might both end up heartbroken.

Reviews of Previous Books in the Series

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a new adult novel with some sexual content.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Fans of Colleen Hoover, Cora Carmack & J. L. Armentrout

What Was My Reaction Upon Finishing?
*squeals* I'm so happy for Julie and Gavin!

I have been an avid fan of Briggs since last summer when I participated in the More than Music blog tour and have kept up with the series as each installment has been released. I simply could not break tradition with More than Fashion. Each novel delivered on exactly what every New Adult novel should with an overarching plot, well-developed characters, and a tantalizing romance.

I have watched Project Runway a few times and Briggs successfully modeled Behind the Seams with the same finesse as The Sound (which was modeled after The Voice). It did get tedious at time as each garment was described the competitive process repeated multiple times throughout the book but Briggs handled this the best she could.

Something Elizabeth Briggs should be commemorated on for all of her novels is her distinct effort to include diverse situations as well as characters. Who says new adult has to only be angst between two smoking hot characters? There have been multi-racial characters interspersed throughout the entire series and many cultures represented.

What I felt was lacking throughout the novel IN COMPARISON to Chasing the Dream's previous installments were the characters. You felt so engrossed and invested in Maddie's, Kyle's, Hector's, and Tara's lives but I just didn't feel the same way with Gavin and Julie. Nevertheless, their story was entertaining and Briggs did not disappoint with the steaminess factor. One characteristic of Julie that I sincerely enjoyed and respected along the lines of diversity was the fact that she was unapologetically into guys and sex. Obviously this isn't everyone's thing but it's a natural thing and she accepted that's who she is.

Conclusion: Elizabeth Briggs has written another excellent installment in the Chasing the Dream series with plenty of angst, steamy times, and sexy characters - perfect for your New Adult Beach Read.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July 2015 Wrap-Up | SO. MANY. THINGS.

If you're not following me on any of my social media accounts, you may not know that I went to the #BNBookBash in Orange County where I got to meet nearly every BookTuber I've adore and avidly watch. However before that, I made friends with the girls over at Book Temperament who are the most lovely people ever and I finally met my internet BFF of many months Bella McNally! 

1. #BNBookBash | My visit to California landed during the weekend of Vidcon so even though I wasn't able to attend, I was able to go to the Booksplosion Meet-Up that kicked off the Vidicon weekend for everyone else. It was an absolutely fabulous experience where I met nearly all of my favorite BookTubers as well as made and met with real life bookish humans [pictured above]. I have both a recap video of the event as well as most of the Q&A coming soon to My Channel.

2. STEM Sleep-a-way Camp | So basically I went to go nerd out for a week at Syracuse University whilst surrounded by some of the most intelligent teenage girls I've ever met that will probably dominate the engineering field in a decade. I had to apply for the program (and obviously got in) and the experience was extremely different from what I expected it to be but an unforgettable one.

3. Visiting my Homeland | I had a really nice stay with my father in Orange County where life was easy, consisting of tennis, swimming, golf, and eating for a straight week. The change of pace was enjoyable for a time 

4. Met Up With Bookish Friends | After tweeting, interacting in the comments, and texting each other for more than half a year, my friend Bella and I finally met in real life at the #BNBookBash. It was an incredible experience meeting up with her in real life and we were both so startled at first to see that we were real. I also met up with my friend Thomas from fiction class at a Barnes and Nobles to chat about books which was a blast because I don't have anyone else to completely fan person out with and discuss writing with. Plus we've been discussing filming a few collabs for you guys which may be coming soon... ;)

5. I'm Writing a Novel!I don't know if I can possibly express to you how excited I am to say that. Mid-July I came up with the premise for a brand new story and I've thoroughly outlined around half of it, been developing characters, and generally having a ball in the beginning stages. My hope is to finish the roughest of the rough drafts by November so I can spend NaNoWriMo revising. Wish me luck :)

Running Again! For the month of July I've slacked off because of traveling as well as it not being under 90 degrees every day. Nevertheless I have to whip myself back into shape because I'm going to a week of running camp in the mountains and then straight into Cross Country practice which is a daunting and exciting experience to look forward to.

[July Reading Wrap-Up TO COME! Check Loving the Language of Literacy the YouTube Channel]

 What I'm most proud of this month is how I've dealt with life. July started off with a lot of things going on / happening in my personal life which included running a 10 mile race on the 4th of July after not running consistently since May which I am quite proud of myself for. My boyfriend of the past nearly six months and I decided to break up and remain friends because he and his family are moving halfway across the country. I decided on Fiction for the Young Author's Academy and have begun writing a novel. Overall it was an event filled month :)

This video got 180 views within the first 48 hours which - hands down - makes it my most popular video of all time and there's a reason for that. As you read above, I went to the #BNBookBash and filmed the entire Q&A with BookTubers PolandBananasBOOKS, Katytastic, and Jessethereader, as well as debut author and entertainment journalist Valerie Tejeda.

I got the idea for this video because of Hank Green and my then-boyfriend Gavin. I turned on the camera, started to speak, and ended up with this discussion. I'm honestly dying to know your opinion because of how much media glorifies things but if you think, on a smaller scale, if that's okay.

Coincidentally, this BookTuber's name is also Sofia and she got her friends tighter to play the Backwords Book Title Challenge and it had me laughing hysterically the entire time. They made valiant efforts and have probably gotten closer than anyone I have ever seen make this video before. The dynamic between the three of them is awesome and you should definitely give this video a watch.

The past week at Vidicon, BookTube did one of their famous lip syncing videos and this one was for BookTube's favorite artist - Taylor Swift. Just watch this and tell me it isn't the most fabulous video you've ever seen. 

I discovered the Lizzie Bennet Diaries this month which may be what I have been looking for all my life in a YouTube channel. It's a modern day rendition of Pride and Prejudice done in 3 minute vlog style clips that the entire internet has been buzzing about for ages but I just began watching two days ago... and I'm already halfway through the series. Yeah, I haven't been the most productive lately, but that's okay because it's perfection and now I'm determined to read the book.



If you could meet any BookTuber, which would it be?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: Benjamin Alire Saenz | BookTalk w/ @sslluvsbooks

Rating: 98%
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Ficiton, Young Adult,
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
Page Count: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Barnes & Nobles

Goodreads Synopsis: A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Disclaimer: At Loving the Language of Literacy, "Book Review" means a spoiler-free overview of my opinions versus a "BookTalk" where there's a spoiler-free synopsis section with my general thoughts and then I distinctly tell you to go away when there will be spoilers.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
For anyone struggling with or wanting to be informed about being LGBT
For anyone wanting a diverse, well written Young Adult novel where parents are alive
For anyone wanting to see themes like race being debated about by the Main Character.

Would I Buy It?
I already did and so should you!!!

What Was My Reaction Upon Finishing?
Sweet baby Jesus! That was absolutely incredible, give me ALL of the Benjamin Alire Saenz books!

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Novel?
I need to revisit this one every few years because I think it will just get better and better.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Another Book By This Author?
The only question is... how soon?

Conclusion: Featuring a completely unique, well developed main character with a voice entirely his own, a plot that delivers on the premise, a romance able to remind everyone what it's like to be in love, and the need for a "Feels Warning" on the cover. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Our World | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ Sorrys, Social Issues & Sappiness

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)

Our World

It’s a world everyone has heard of
But seldom want to discuss
Too heavy to be the centerpiece
For another gathering of plastic well wishers

A constant stream of white noise
Assaulting condemned ears
That we have all seemed
To lock out of consideration

Constant attention is required
For those who have invalid claims
Brought to light when the
Ones we thought we were protecting
End up being our guardians

It’s so easy to stay standing on the front line
For a cause we don’t actually have to believe in

Until it is brought to our attention
That this is our world.

Prompt : Write a poem addressing a social issue you feel passionate about.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What social issue would you address? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cognizance | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ Social Issues, Sorrys & Sappiness

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)


Bound together by chains and nails,
The last ditch efforts of super glue
Look at them
As basic hardware
Cogs and wheel spokes
Sustain binding contracts and forced commitment
The most minute of details
Soldered together from affections
The naked threads
Too tangled from being used to each other
Whether it’s the two children
Made to socialize or
The reluctant peers begrudgingly collaborating
Exchanged hatred or lovelorn glances
Make no difference
Time impresses upon the skin
Of who you wouldn't be otherwise
Maybe that’s why we can’t help but fall in love.

Prompt : Write a poem describing or somehow incorporating an old pocket watch.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What do you think of the poem’s message? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Friday, July 24, 2015

To those who miss what can't be home | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ Anthems, Shoutouts & Being Away from Home

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)

To those who miss what can’t be home

Day by day you feel the same
Sometimes those days are wretched,
Sometimes exalted
But that is the way it has always been.

It is only when you are reunited
With the sly grins and remembered references
That you know you have finally “moved on”
A phrase you never believed in.

There will always be
The scent of stale water on fighting-to-be-green grass
The euphoria of nighttime air clinging onto skin
As heads are stuck out of car windows
Like the dogs you are missing.

It is only when you are reunited
Does the gossip of transience become relevant.

When dragged back into the currents
Of what you thought you would always know,
You realize sanctuary under the surface was an incubator
Accompanied by the baby blanket of routine familiarity.

Though you left on terms not your own,
Being reunited serves as confirmation
That being catapulted through the rose colored glass
Could have been the best thing that ever happened.

Look back,
It’s not the same,
It can’t be.

Because home is what you left to come back to.

Prompt : Write a letter to any object in the room from another object’s perspective.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What do you think of the last line? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Conversation Traveler | My Journey to Dark Side ~ Underpants, Perception, and Imitating Sofia

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)

Conversation Traveler

Round. Symmetrical in shape. 
Picked up a yard sale for only a dollar.
What could have been a 
Cold, Unreachable, Unaffecting museum display,
Has instead piqued curiosity,
Thus sending life from one side to
Meet with its potential from the other.
Upon experiencing the stone, 
It is merely a time capsule. 
A flawless finish hastily plastered
On the uneraseable mars, cracks, and possibility.
Serving as a creator’s attempt to 
Cover up a history
As one last effort to hide the truth.
That worth is not defined by a price tag
But by the ongoing miles it gains through conversation.

Prompt : Write a poem describing or somehow incorporating this (dubbed) indescribably stone.

Other Poems in the Series ~
What do you think of my description? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dear Orange Sharpie | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ What is Poetry?

*squints at bright blogging light* Yes, yes, I know it has been forever since I swept out the cracks of my keyboard and posted anything on my blog. Today I’m here to present you with the first of a 5 part series of posts which will hopefully be the start of something new. So long, Loving the Language of Literacy has been a book blog but now I want to expand it into writing as well.

My own writing.

This is an extremely daunting thing for me to do considering how judgmental the internet can be but assuming the only people who will come here will want to see the writing I’ve already read aloud in my YouTube video, then it shouldn’t be that scary. We’re all friends here, right?

If you watch my BookTube channel eponymously named Loving the Language of Literacy, you might know I go to writing class and for all five weeks worth of videos, I have shared my work. For the first time ever, you’ll have a post to refer back to you if you want to read my original work.
Without further ado, I present the first poem I EVER shared on my YouTube Channel.

Dear Orange Sharpie

Dear Orange Sharpie,
What is the meaning of life?
I bet this has never been an issue for you
In the realm of writing instruments
You are so obviously the king
Because you do only what I have longed for all my life.
You. Are. Permanent.
Day after day. Week after week,
I am used on that relentlessly white board,
Serving my purpose as the instruction writer or doodler
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job
Getting people to where they’re supposed to go
Is my life’s pleasure
But no matter what I write,
No matter how helpful I am,
My work always disappears.
For once could Eraser let my markings stay?
For once, could people step back and appreciate
Everything I have written
Without erasing it 2 seconds later?
All I ask is to be recognized as
More than something disposable.
Why work countless hours if only to be
Abandoned at the end of the day?
What is the meaning of life
If I am only to leave a
Temporary mark on the world?
Sincerely your friend,
The Bitter Purple Dry Erase Marker

Prompt : Write a letter to any object in the room from another object’s perspective.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What do you think of my prosetry? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

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