The 2nd Annual Book Blogger Awards: Rules and Categories

Hey everyone!! For those of you that don’t remember, last year I decided to start The Book Blogger Awards, which are exactly what it sounds like– blogger awards exclusively for book bloggers.¬† I was honestly so humbled and amazed by what a big response I got last year (see the winners here) and so I decided to continue the tradition and host the 2nd Annual Awards!!

I can’t wait to see who you all nominate, and find tons of new book bloggers to add to my reading list ūüôā Just read the rules below and get started!

Continue reading “The 2nd Annual Book Blogger Awards: Rules and Categories”

Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There

It’s February! (yes it has been for over a week, and this post is super late, but let’s ignore that please and move on)

I’m sure y’all know this, but January was a little rough for me. It should have been my 2nd month back from hiatus but instead it turned into unplanned mini hiatus, which is… not so great. I think I bounced back strong at the end though (aka posted roughly twice) and it was a good month for reading, so overall, could have been much worse.

Continue reading “Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There”

6 Hot August 2017 Book Releases

I know this post is really late, and so about half of these are already published, but I wanted to make sure I gave all of the August books a chance at fame*. ¬†So, halfway through the month, we’re going to celebrate all of the August releases. ¬†I have to admit, I’m VERY excited about all of these books even though I haven’t read a single one!

*ha, I’m assuming that¬†my¬†blog would help a book sell

Young Adult

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Wonder Woman, by Leigh Bardugo— ¬†I’ve heard A LOT of hype about this book, and after watching the Wonder Woman movie, I¬†really¬†want to hear this take. ¬†Obviously it’s not quite the same story, but it sounds amazing, and I’ve heard it’s a must read for DC fans!

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law‚ÄĒrisking exile‚ÄĒto save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn‚Äôt know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer‚ÄĒa direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies‚ÄĒmortal and divine‚ÄĒdetermined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

All Things NewAll Things New, by Lauren Miller– This book sounds TOUGH but really good at the same time. ¬†It could definitely go either way but I feel like it’ll be emotional wreck of a book that I can’t put down.

Jessa has always felt broken inside, but she‚Äôs gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn’t help, the meds that haven‚Äôt worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa‚Äôs efforts to convince the world that she‚Äôs okay finally crumble‚ÄĒnow she looks as shattered as she feels.¬†

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, where she meets Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world‚ÄĒa place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world, perfect for fans of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

Adult Contemporary

The One That Got Away

The One that Got Away, by Melissa Pimentel— This SOUNDS ADORABLE and perfectly romantically fun. ¬†I love “one that got away” stories, and this literally has that title, so why wouldn’t I read it?!?!? It seems like a perfect light read and I’m looking forward to seeing what other people think.

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . .¬†The Burning GirlThe Burning Girl, by Claire Messud—¬†I can’t quite tell if this is adult or YA, but Goodreads is telling me adult so we’ll go with it. ¬†Apparently Messud is an amazing author, and this book sounds really emotional and profound which I love.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

Thriller

Emma in the Night

Emma In The Night, by Wendy Walker— aaaaah you can’t even understand how good this sounds. Dysfunctional family thrillers are my absolute favorite because they’re so twisted and messed up and exciting. ¬†Plus it’s about girls and doesn’t have girl in the title so BONUS POINTS FOR CREATIVITY, WENDY!

From the bestselling author of¬†All Is Not Forgotten¬†comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

The Readymade ThiefThe Readymade Thief, by Augustus Rose— This sounds hecka good, and has a super unique plot, which is something that you don’t find very often in a thriller. ¬†I love the whole idea of it, and the female protag thing is always a bonus for me (although apparently that’s become a bit of a readily repeated trope now that people hate, but ROLL WITH ME HERE)…. and it looks like it’s set up for ROMANCE!

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run. Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, she finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle, but the façade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. They believe Lee holds the key to it all.

Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city‚ÄĒempty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families, but the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she‚Äôs trying to elude. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her‚ÄĒand why.

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What books are you looking forward to for this month? Have you read any of the ones I talked about? 

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Discussion: Genre Shaming… A Crime?

I’ve decided to try and bring more discussions to my blog, since I find them super interesting when other people do them, and so today we’re going to talk about a topic which I found interesting after hearing about it on Twitter…. Genre Shaming.

I hadn’t ever really thought about genre shaming in the past, because I didn’t really realize that it was a thing. ¬†After I heard about it for the first time, I instantly got on the lookout for examples because I wanted proof that this shaming truly existed. ¬†I was (sort of) shocked at how often YA books are called “less than” and how often the term “guilty read” gets tossed around. ¬†And then I realized that I am far from innocent of doing this. ¬†Since I was little, I would intermix my cliche high school novels with classics that I deemed better literary material. ¬†Even in last week’s blog post, I defined summer reading books as “beach reads” then promptly decreed that books that take on issues or aren’t light and fluffy don’t fit this description.

But is it a bad thing to consider some books as “less” than others?

I adore “easy” read YA books, and I’ll certainly always include them on my TBR. ¬†After all, reading would get boring if you didn’t include some books that you could fly through in just days and that leave a smile on your face. ¬†However, they are not as intellectually stimulating as other books, such as literary fiction and classics. ¬†I’m not saying that makes YA books any worse than lit fic, I’m just saying that it doesn’t provide as much educational value as “education” is traditionally defined.

Still, does that give us a right to shame people who read certain genres? or change the definition of reader so that it doesn’t include those who read only certain types of books?

My short answer on the subject would be no.

I don’t think it’s possible for books of literary merit to exist without having some books that are there PURELY FOR FUN. ¬†And, not to mention, people, especially teenagers, need books with characters that they can relate to. ¬†And recently, more and more YA books are taking on important issues in society. ¬†They may be written to be more accessible for the average reader, but they aren’t afraid of teaching and taking stances as well.

By telling someone that they aren’t a true “book lover” because they choose Sarah Dessen over Charlotte Bronte is hurting the bookish community as a whole. ¬†Not to mention the fact that some books that considered easier reads can have the most powerful messages as well as influence the reader. ¬†While reading classics and other “good” books, there is often very little representation of minority groups, teens and younger, independent women, or lifestyles that would make sense to today’s generation of readers. ¬†In order to find a role model in literature, it is often necessary to turn towards contemporary prints.

That brings me to my main point. ¬†We, as a bookish community, cannot afford to be judging and shaming each other for the types of books we decide to read. ¬†WE ARE TOO FEW IN NUMBER TO AFFORD OSTRACIZING EACH OTHER. ¬†Look, the book community should be close, and for the most part we are, but those among us who consider themselves superior just due to the type of books that they read are seriously, seriously wrong. ¬†And I hate when I go on Twitter and I see certain people flaunting the types of books that they read. ¬†It’s ridiculous and self centered.

I do believe that books should be separated slightly based on educational/literary merit, because I genuinely think that when kids read harder, more complex books, they will become more intelligent and able to think in bigger, better ways. ¬†THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THEY CAN’T READ EASY BOOKS. ¬†In fact, the only way someone will truly enjoy all of those big books is if you get to read 2-3 books that you really desperately want to read in between (I’m thinking of when I read¬†The Cliche for all of middle school despite the eye rolls sent from my mom’s direction).

That top part doesn’t just go for kids. ¬†Everyone once in a while should try to read a book that challenges them, whether it be at the diction level, finding the deeper meaning, or a moral struggle. ¬†These are the type of books which will make us better people.

For some people, the above book might be¬†13 Reasons Why,¬†or¬†I’ll Give you the Sun. ¬†For others, it might be¬†Crime and Punishment, or¬†20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. ¬†All four of those will challenge you in different ways, and although the latter 2 are considered “better” than the former by the critics among us, ALL FOUR could be just as enriching and powerful for the right person.

So stop genre shaming.  Stop calling some books guilty pleasures and others works of literary merit.  Stop judging a book by its genre, and stop presuming that you know what will challenge others and make them better people.

If you love classics, then great. ¬†Congratulations. ¬†If you love YA and SSF, then that’s awesome too. ¬†It isn’t about the genre, it’s about the emotions of the person as they read, and how it will change them when they come out on the other end. ¬†Let's Talk

Do you think genre shaming is okay? Are you a victim of genre shaming? Do you think that readers of different genres should be looked at differently? Let me know!

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June Intro: The Start of Freedom Means More (Hopefully) Reading

As I sit down and write (the first draft of) this post in mid-March, it’s hard to believe that exactly 1 month from now I’ll be graduating high school and entering the free world. ¬†Well, not really. ¬†I still have college, but that’s completely different and way more independent and I’m very excited. ¬†(actually, on that vein of thought– I’m going to school in Boston next year so I’d love to do a blogger meetup!)

Because I have school in half of the month and then summer for the other half, I think that I’ll be able to read somewhat more books than I normally do, while still managing to keep up on blog posts and the like. ¬†Also, because of the fact that I have less time to write during the summer, I’m breaking up what normally comes in this post into two separate days. ¬†Today will consist of a TBR and blogging goals, and on Monday I’ll send you all a list of hot books being released this month. ¬†I see a lot of book bloggers do similar things, and so I figured that it would be better this way for my own personal schedule.

halfway (38)Before you roll your eyes, yes I realize that I have a shit ton of books on this list, but I really truly think that I’ll be able to do it this time. (yes, even I’m rolling my eyes now)

Ebook / eARCs 

The Darkest LiesNot the Only SkyThe Handmaid's TaleSelect (Untitled #1)

  1. The Darkest Lies— I’ve been reading this book for almost 2 months, and it’s wayyyyyy overdue for a review, but I just can’t seem to get into it enough to stay interested. ¬†My mind is drifting all over the place, and I would rather be on Twitter than reading it, which is a problem since the book is on my phone.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale— I had been SO FREAKIN EXCITED for this book, and now that I have it, the writing style is weird, and I just haven’t been reading it for enough time all at once. ¬†I need an hour or so to read constantly to get into it I think.
  3. Not the Only Sky— I’ve had this book on my Netgalley shelf for forever and since it came out 2 months ago, now is as good a time as any to start reading it. ¬†It looks really good, and I’m looking forward to the chance to download it and start.
  4. Select— I don’t think this book comes out until October, which is good because it means I’m not even behind!! I’m putting it on the list now because I can read it on my phone after I finish Not the Only Sky, and then I’ll type up a review and have it on file for the fall. ¬†I honestly don’t even know what this is about, I’m just going for it.

Physical Books

Big Little Lies

  1. The Glass Castle— I never had much of an interest in reading this book, although it was recommended to me a couple of times, but I just found out that it’s going to be a movie sometime in the fall, and that’s enough for me to read nearly any book. ¬†Plus, it was on a bunch of “Must Read” lists, so I clearly need to give it a chance.
  2. Big Little Lies— I’ve had this book on my shelf for the past couple of months, and have wanted to read it for at least a year. ¬†Since I own it AND can watch a TV show right after, it seems dumb not to go ahead and put it on my TBR. (also side note but I got the TV show edition since it was on sale for $.50 but look how pretty the real one is)

Audiobooks

Orange Is the New Black

  1. Orange is the New Black— Unlike Big Little Lies, I want to read this book because I’ve started watching the TV show and it’s INCREDIBLE. ¬†I genuinely never thought that I would enjoy it this much, because I heard that it was just over sexualized nonsense, but I’m loving it and so I might as well hear the accurate story, and what better mode of doing that than listening.

halfway (39)Blogging

This month, I really just want to get ahead on my blogging and schedule my posts for the entire summer. ¬†I’m road tripping to Colorado, and I plan to document that on Our Voices Matter (my other blog), so that’ll take up a lot of time and use of the internet and I can’t be worried about uploading blog posts for the end of June –> July. ¬†Don’t worry though, I’m sure I’ll be VERY active on Twitter.

Besides just posting early, I plan on reaching 400 followers, which I’m aware is a giant number but I think it would be awesome. ¬†(For added incentive, I’m doing a giveaway when I hit 500)

Writing

I decided a couple of weeks ago to set aside the story I worked on for all of Camp NaNo because there’s wayyyyyy too many plot holes, and now I’m going to work on the story I wrote a blurb for in Mahriya’s challenge. ¬†I’m drafting characters and plot FIRST this time, which should greatly improve it, since before I felt like I didn’t know the characters 40 pages in. ¬†Read my blurb and excerpt and let me know what you think!

Buying Books

Since I’m going to be in summer this month, which means day trips and vacations, I want to buy a book at every place I go to, and write in the covers where I purchased them. ¬†I think this could be a really good use of my money because I’ll have mementos and books to read. ¬†Win win!!!

Let's Talk

What books do you plan on reading this month? Do you think my TBR is too big?  What are your blogging goals for the month?

May Wrapup: A Good Month For Blogging and Somewhat For Reading

This month has, surprisingly, been really good for reading and just life in general!! I’m super proud of myself because I’ve gotten wayyyyy ahead on my blogging, scheduled out the whole month of June, am participating in 3 blogger projects, and still managing to get everything done in a reasonable amount of time. ¬†I feel like I’m one of those people with crazy productivity that I’m jealous of, and I don’t understand how this is happening.

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This month I read 3/5 book on my TBR, and 4 books total. ¬†That’s because I forgot to put a 2nd audiobook on my TBR, so I was held at gunpoint¬†needed to stray from my list. I haven’t posted reviews for any of these books yet, so all of the links will send you to Goodreads.

Kindle/Ebooks

I'll Give You the Sun

I’ll Give you the Sun (5 STARS)— This book was INCREDIBLE. ¬†I was hooked from page 1, and couldn’t put it down. ¬†I also read this with my mom and we talked about it the whole way through, which made it amazing and gave me different perspectives on the book than I would have had otherwise.

Physical Books

The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls (5 STARS)— This book was so twisted and messed up but I loved it and couldn’t put it down. ¬†It has a lot of triggers so I recommend researching before you read it, but if you can do it, you NEED to. ¬†It will leave you feeling sick and twisted and amazed and wanting more.

Audiobooks

The Orphan Master's SonGo Set a Watchman

The Orphan Master’s Son (2 STARS, DNF)— Ugh. ¬†I was so excited to read this book when I first heard about it, because I’m semi-obsessed with crazy dictators and what it does to people in a country, and North Korea doesn’t exactly have its own section in the library. ¬†But this just didn’t do it for me. ¬†I think I’ll write a review eventually, but overall my main reasoning is just that it was boring. ¬†I found myself NOT LISTENING for the first time ever, just because cleaning my room was suddenly more interesting than a book. ¬†Which has never in my life happened.

Go Set a Watchman (3 STARS)— Hmmm, this is a tricky one. ¬†I loved this book because I enjoyed hearing about Scout again, since I have such a deep attachment to her and her family, but the story itself just wasn’t that good. ¬†There were tons of 1 second flashbacks that threw me off a little bit, and the whole thing felt sort of forced. ¬†I mean, another white-black court case, for real? and the whole thing with Scout and her boyfriend just didn’t really work for me. ¬†Plus, the Atticus character was so twisted that it wasn’t really Atticus at all. ¬†This isn’t a sequel, persay, since it was written first, and it’s obvious that Harper Lee changed her mind on a lot before TKAM went to print, and you need to take that into consideration. ¬†So, although I loved Scout, the story and the rest of the characters weren’t my favorite, which is why I had to give it just 3 stars.

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Goodreads Challenge (17/30)– If you’re confused by the fact that my Goodreads challenge is suddenly out of 30, the reason is that I upped it by 5 since I’m doing so well, and 30 seems far better than 25 as a goal. ¬†I’m hoping to maybe even reach 50, depending on how much I read this summer.

What’s In a Name (2/5)– I can’t believe that it’s taking me so long to read 5 books. ¬†My problem is that I’m not going out of my way to find any of them, and I’m going to need to if I expect to even get close.

Read Harder Challenge (11/24)РI seriously need to put more work into this.  The rest of my categories are all outside of my comfort zone which will be tough to cram into the last few months, so I need to start now.

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Followers

Last month I gave myself a goal of 275 followers, and I KILLED IT. ¬†I’m so happy to say that I now have over 330 followers, which is absolutely incredible considering the fact that I ran my 200 follower giveaway about a month ago. ¬†I’m so thankful to you guys and the fact that you let me feel so good about myself and my writing.

Book Buying

I really wanted to make my bookshelf a little bit bigger this month, because it’s been a long time since I was able to put a new book on the shelf. ¬†Although I didn’t actually¬†buy¬†any books, I book hauled Lola (from LibraryThing) and Vanishing Girls (from Molly, who was kind enough to give away her books and send them to me, and whose blog you should head over and follow asap)

Posting

I wanted to schedule more posts this month, as well as catch up on reviews. ¬†I managed to do just fine scheduling posts and now have a fairly good buffer. ¬†But, I haven’t been writing my reviews and so that’s fairly disappointing. ¬†I want to eventually post reviews in the month that I read the book, but as of right now I’m posting like 2 months behind.

Editing

I really wanted to get a new client for this month, but that has proved impossible, so I’ve failed on this front as well. ¬†If you need an editor or beta reader PLEASE CONTACT ME!! I have time for you ūüôā

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This month has been a fairly good one for reading, but not so hot for writing and editing. ¬†My blog growth is astronomical, and I’ve almost hit my year goal of 50 views per post, which is making me super excited. ¬†It’s happened on roughly every other post in the past 2 weeks, which means that I AM SO CLOSE.

This was the last full month of high school for my whole life, and it’s basically over. ¬†That’s a weird feeling, and I’m proud of all that I’ve managed to accomplish.

Let's Talk

How did May go for you? What books did you finish? Link your wrap up posts so that I can find out!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Reflection Upon My Failures

It’s taken me a long time to think clearly enough to write this post, or to even think that I wanted to, so sorry for being so late to the party. ¬†That being said, I tried my very best…

For those of you who don’t know, I chose this year to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, and in the beginning, I could not be more excited.

In the beginning, my word count was set to 50,000– I don’t know why I would ever do that to myself. ¬†It was obviously a far reach goal, considering in the past 3 combined months I’d written 16,000. ¬†So, about 3 days in, I lowered my goal to 30,000 which is far more reasonable and also proving slightly unattainable. ¬†I wrote for at least a few minutes every day for the first 2 weeks, but then April break happened and it was alal down hill from there.

Plus, my blog posts have become super rushed in the past month. ¬†It’s super hard to write high quality posts 3x a week (so about 3,000 words a week) when you need to write 7,000 additional words on a story. ¬†10,000 words is wayyyyyy too much for me to handle. ¬†The fact that I had to lower my word goal is proof of that.

Before I go any further, I need to take a second to say that I LOVE MY CABIN!! ¬†I joined one with a lot of other teenagers, and so we all have a ton in common while simultaneously living on complete opposite sides of the world with totally different life experiences. ¬†It’s given be a great perspective on everything, and I spend far too much time procrastinating with them. ¬†I love it.

I ended up reaching about 10,000 words, which isn’t terrible, since that was a good kick start on my story and so now I have quite a few chapters down. ¬†Plus, I managed to outline a whole shit ton of it, which is more than I’ve ever done for anything ever, so props to me for accomplishing my primary goal in life.

One problem that I did come across is that I kept changing the way people looked and so it’s going to be a bitch to go back and edit. ¬†I’m trying to ignore that semi large problem and just keep pushing forward.

Anyways, I know a lot of people were really successful at Camp NaNo, but writing on any sort of timeline just isn’t for me. ¬†I’m very slow and just kind of need to be suddenly inspired to even sort of start moving in the right direction.

But, regardless of how I did, I’m really want to finish this story eventually and I think camp helped me get closer to that goal.

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Did you win Camp NaNo? Do you outline your stories? Do you think I’m an absolute disaster and want the chance to yell at me? Go ahead!