Thursday, December 8, 2016

A life update thingy||| Where I've been & LE BOOKS & A Month in Review (November Edition!)



Hello book humans!!! *all the huggles*


*Warning: This post is going to be ginormous*


You may or may not have noticed but throughout the fall I've been pretty nonexistent in the blogosphere. There's a few reasons for that including....





Marching band 
Okay so the season ended, for me, on the first weekend of November (so a little while ago.) But that was kind of why I literally stopped blogging in October. If you've ever been in marching band (or any sport for that matter) then you'll know that it can be time consuming... very time consuming.



School
I think we can all agree that homework sucks xD
Unlike queen Rachel from A Perfection Called Books or the fabulous Nori from ReadWriteLove28 I suck at managing my time. (ESPECIALLY when it comes to school.)



Lack of inspiration
I'm not someone who likes to only post TTT's or WoW's. Don't get me wrong they can be hella fun to write up. But they aren't the most unique posts out there and I'm big on reading/putting out more unique content. I don't feel like I've been doing that for a few months now so I'm hoping to get some unique posts out, soon :)



What have I been doing while I haven't been blogging?

Well, I've been doing homework and I've been reading a lot more! I'm super behind on my Goodreads challenge, 18 books behind, but I'm hopeful haha.

Without having the pressure of posting I've been able to indulge in reading a lot more (and it's been amazing!!!)




I read a total of *checks Goodreads* four books last month. I'm on the reading struggle bus this year ahaha. But all the books I read were, at least, four star books!































Reviews:

Wintersong 

The Lovely Reckless



(I don't have any posts to compile since I only posted once in November xD)





I didn't really read any blog posts this month *cries* BUT Brittany from Brittany's Book Rambles updated her website not too long ago and I LIVE for the design. 

(But seriously if you haven't seen the design yet you need to see it's gorgeousness!!!!)



I'm not sure how interesting this post was (haha) but if you made it all the way through *HANDS ALL THE COOKIES*







What have you been reading lately?
Thank you for reading and have a lovely day!
=D



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Top Ten Fantabulous New Author Humans That I Discovered This Year

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.


 Hello, friends! 

As you may have noticed, I changed my image for TTT posts to accommodate the Holiday Season. (Fun Fact: I LOVEEEEE the Holiday season.)


Today doesn't have a specifically holiday-ish topic BUT I'm still very excited to talk about some fantabulous author humans.

So without further ado let's get started! 



The lovely Shannon M Parker was a 2016 debut author! Her book, The Girl Who Fell, covers the subject of abusive relationships. I'm not generally someone who reads contemporary, or intense stories such as this one, but I ended up really enjoying the book. Shannon's writing was compelling and this book put me on one heck of an emotional roller coaster.




I was lucky enough to read S. Jae-Jones' debut(?) novel, Wintersong, this year. GUYS. THIS. BOOK. It consumed my life while I was reading it. It was SO. ADDICTING. *Calms self* Needless to say, I'll be looking out for anything she writes in the future.




I read Rebel of the Sands earlier this year and it was AMAZING. If you haven't read it yet... then what are you doing?! Also, Alwyn is sassy and fabulous and her tweets give me lifeeee.



There are some mixed reviews for Traci's book, The Reader, but I personally loved it! The book was strange but the good kind of strange. You know? I'm also a huge fan of books with pictures/ unique qualities and The Reader was SUPER unique. I definitely recommend =D




I've never been interested in The Beautiful Creatures series, Co-written by Kami Garcia. I've heard to0 many mixed things and I have piles upon piles of other books to read. #Thebooknerdstruggle amiright? But I did recently read The Lovely Reckless and OH. MY. GOODNESS. I devoured most of the book in one sitting because it was so addicting! If Kami keeps writing stories as delicious as TLR then I'll keep reading.

*Keeps talking about books like they're cupcakes because they basically are*




Soooooo I read my first Colleen Hoover book this year...
I read Confess and I really, really, really enjoyed it! Also Confess has a BEAUTIFUL cover! So that was definitely a bonus :) I'll be reading more from the fabulous Coho from now on...




I didn't get through too many books this year so I haven't discovered a TON of new fantabulous authors. (Which is why this list is only 6 people long.) BUT I'm definitely open to allllll the author/book suggestions. I love finding new books to fall in love with!





What have been some of the best books/authors you've read from this year?

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!
=D

Friday, November 11, 2016

Review||| The Lovely Reckless by: Kami Garcia




I apologize for not posting in FOREVER. I miss the blogging community and I'm happy that I'm back to posting!

But while I was gone I got to read the book we'll be talking about today aka The Lovely Reckless.



So if you've been on Bookstagram within the past month then you'll know that The Lovely Reckless was advertised LIKE. CRAZY. (I didn't mind it, though. The cover is so so pretty!)


Anyways....


A week or two back I caved and checked it out from my school library. I started it but wasn't really invested. Then IT happened.

I was bored and I decided to read. 


... and then I got invested.


Like, I read the remaining 300 pages in one sitting, invested.


I think what pushed me away from the story in the beginning was the addition of a dysfunctional family. Bad parents in YA so the main character(s) can do whatever they want is so annoyingly common. I definitely don't think the opening scene made the best impression on me, personally.


But once I got farther in I was definitely into the story. 


The romance is insanely addictive. INSANELY.

The tension between Marco and Frankie was extremely palpable and I was living for it. (I don't think I've been this excited about a couple since I read ACOMAF in May ahaha.)



I don't think I particularly connected with Frankie but I did really like her as a character. She definitely had some personal growth throughout the story. She learns to fight for herself, which I can definitely appreciate. 

I wasn't particularly a fan of Frankie's interactions with her parents.(Which were very limited.) They were all pretty negative. I hate when parents are just straight up bad people. I did, however, end up appreciating Frankie's mom just slightly towards the ending of the book but besides that her mom, dad, and step-dad didn't really seem to have many remaining qualities. 



I don't know about you but I'm someone who appreciates sassy, strong, badass side characters *cough* who I wish I was friends with.



Cruz was definitely one of those people. She knows how to take care of herself, she's a badass car racer AND she's loyal to her friends. What more can you ask for in a bestie?!?! Overall I just really enjoyed her as a character.



Two words.


Marco. Leone.

*fans self*

Y'all why can't Marco be real? He was the perfect mix of sexy bad boy and caring family guy. The infinite love he had for his little sis had me loving him even more because AWEEEEE. 



Now I don't want to say much about the story line because that's for you to discover on your own. BUT I can say that the ending messed. me. up.




The last 60 pages went by super quickly since I NEEDED to know what was going to go down. (If you've read it you knowwww.)



Overall I enjoyed the story as a whole. There was an underlying concept of family that I loved as well as the entire concept of street racing. Street racing definitely isn't a typical thing to base a YA novel off of and I loved seeing something different!





Quote

"'Fear is like a ten-cent magician. If you watch the trick a couple of times, you see the flaws and you know how the magician is doing it. But the first time, that same trick looks good. When we're scared we don't always think things through. We react. It's human nature. Fear can make the wrong decision feel right.'"



I would recommend this book to contemporary lovers who enjoy fast-paced stories.





Have you read TLR? What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading and I hope you have an amazing day!
=D




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bookstagrammers you MUST follow ft. Glorious book pictures *sigh*



Bonjour, friends! 

So I've been more active on Instagram lately than I've been in a long while, which I'm happy about, which also means I've been seeing more peoples photo's. 

There are often times when I find myself wondering why someone doesn't have more followers. I think that people who work hard to take their pictures should receive a little more attention, basically.
(Though I blame Instagram for people's photo's not being seen *glares at Instagram*)


Anyways...


Here are some lovely people who have less than 3k followers that have fabulous bookish pictures.




Hannele's pictures are warm and perfect for fall. (Also I am living for those gold antlers...)




Katelyn's pictures are ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. They're super high quality and creative and just go follow her already xD 




Hannah's pictures are clean and I love it! The white background goes perfectly with the flowers, and the books of course.




Bunny's account is a little on the darker side, but still, all the photo's look A-MAZING together. You don't want to miss out on her account.




But really, how does Rachel not have more followers? The layout of her photos is pure perfection!



So that was just a few of the many smaller Bookstagrammers I adore. I highly, highly suggest you go look them up and follow them!



Who are your favorite small Bookstagram accounts?


Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!
=D


Friday, October 7, 2016

Review||| Daughter of Smoke and Bone by: Laini Taylor





I discovered Daughter of Smoke in my school library back in... 2013 I think. (Wow it's been a while.) 

I thought, yeah I'm not reading that the mask is hella creepy. (Yes this used to be my thought process.) 

Despite my previous thoughts I ended up getting it from the library and reading it that year. Not going to lie, the entire book confused the heck out of me. But I just kind of went with what other people were saying and I rated it five stars and said: WOW that was AMAZING!

(This was before the creation of my blog.)

Then I decided it was time for a re-read. I finished my re-read of DOSAB this year and let me just tell you, it's so much better the second time! I may not have been surprised by the ending but it's so much more enjoyable when you aren't confused out of your mind.


It was great getting to re-visit Karou, Akiva, Mik (?) and Zuzana. Guys, Zuzana is MY FAVORITE. She's sassy, she loves cake, and she's an all around amazing friend. (Why can't Zuzana be my bestie?!) There's some amazing characters in the DOSAB trilogy but Zuzana may just be my absolute favorite. 

Since I wasn't confuzzled this time around I was able to focus on the amazing world Laini has created. Laini does an outstanding job when it comes to creating and atmosphere. I shudder at just the thought of Eretz. With its monsters, angels, and constant war. 


You may get confused while reading DOSAB, I know I did. But that's because of the intricate story line. There's so many details, so many pieces of the puzzle, that all come together to ultimately form a shocking finale. And, you know what, I can appreciate that. Laini put so much thought into the story and, it's very evident. Her writing is lyrical, almost, which is something else I love about this book. 

This isn't going to be as long as some of my other reviews but that's okay. I'm going to wrap this post up by saying: I don't think this trilogy is for everyone but if you love high fantasy and you like the little things in stories then give DOSAB a go! 



Quote:

"'Peace is more than the absence of war. Peace is accord. Harmony.'"



I would recommend this book to lovers of high fantasy.

Read if you've enjoyed ... I literally have nothing I can compare DOSAB to. It's pretty... unique.



I created a Pinterest board for this fabulous book that you can view here! 



Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!
=D




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ARC Review||| The (Read?)er by: Traci Chee (A Sea of Ink and Gold #1)





Way back in March I won a giveaway hosted by the fabulous Brittany from Brittany's Book Rambles, The Reader being one of the books I won. 

I remember reading the synopsis and being... confused. I didn't really know what to expect out of this book. But I ended up picking it up mid- August and dang. This book. 

First off, I think this is a book that you should go into knowing nothing. The synopsis doesn't accurately describe what you're about to witness. 


So the book starts off with a note from the mysterious narrator. It's kind of riddle-ish (yep riddle-ish is a word now) and you may not quite get it, but trust me, by the end you will.

While reading, if you look by the page numbers there are words. These words form a paragraph. 

As cool as the words were, I definitely didn't have the patience to stop reading so I could figure out the sentence they formed. When I was almost done with the novel I flipped back through and figured out what the paragraph said. 
What I don't suggest doing is flipping ahead and figuring out the paragraph immediately. It's so much cooler when you finish the book, read the paragraph, and let everything come full circle. 

(Wow I used "cool" a lot ahaha.) 


I'll get into my thoughts in a second but... Just LOOK at how pretty!



I already featured these on my blog but there's never enough pictures of this book.
The Reader is a book that you want to read in Physical Form. The experience definitely won't be the same with, for example, an audiobook.


As for the actual story, I really enjoyed it! 

The story kept me interested and there was a diverse cast of characters. (And the MC was Asian which is fabulous because there's not nearly enough Asian MC's in YA.)


Speaking of MC's....

The main character, Sefia, was a pretty solid MC. She was fierce, strong, and she had some pretty cool magical abilities. What was also great about Sefia's character? She wasn't boy crazy. Though she did express feelings for out other MC, Archer, their relationship wasn't annoying. Actually, for 99.9% of the time they're just best friends. (Super freaking adorable best friends.) 

It was super refreshing to have a character that's not obsessing over their love interest the entire book. (Since this seems to be a trend in YA nowadays.)


Like I mentioned before the cast of characters was super diverse, especially personality-wise. We have characters who are serious, villainous, comedic, friendly, and hardened by their pasts'.

It was interesting to see how everyone interacted with each other. (The character dynamics were fantastic.)


I'll admit, I was confused at some points. There were a few POV switches that weren't consistent, which kind of threw me off. 
The cast of characters was really diverse which also means there were a boat load of characters in the story. After the first 150 pages the story, and the POV/story changes, become easier to understand.


Before I start wrapping things up I'd like to add that I was singing, "Who lives, who dies, who tell your story" from the Hamilton soundtrack during the last portion of the book. (If you've read the book & if you've listed to Hamilton you'll understand ;)


In conclusion, I definitely enjoyed The Reader  and if you have any interest whatsoever you should pick it up!

However, it may not be the book for you if you have trouble getting through anything besides contemporary books.



Quote:

"'What I mean is, we're free. We choose what we want to do and who we want to be. Sometimes you gotta fight hard for it, but it's worth it, to choose for yourself.'"


I would recommend this book to people who like easy-to-understand magic systems and magical pirate adventures.

Read if you've enjoyed Truthwitch by: Susan Dennard



I created a Pinterest board for The Reader if you're interested! You can view it here!



Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!
=D





Saturday, September 17, 2016

Bookstagramming 2.0: More tips from a book photography (and donut) lover


Hello!

So a little while back I did a post on Bookstagramming (which you can find here!) This is by far my most viewed post so I figured that maybe people want more bookstagramming tips... maybe?

Like I've mentioned before, I'm in no way a pro at bookstagramming. I've not yet mastered the book photo, but hey, I try. 

So without further ado let us get into all the book photo things.


*casual HP GIF usage*



When you're taking a photo, lighting is KEY. The lighting can change the entire look of your picture. For example, I like to take my pictures when the sky is clouded over so the sun doesn't make whatever I'm taking a picture of look too over-exposed.




Notice how in the picture of the chair and the flower pot the sun makes the image appear much harsher. When you take pictures when the sky is clouded over the image comes out much softer looking. 

If you take your pictures inside, ignore most of what I said haha. If you're taking pictures inside make sure you use natural lighting. (You can always usually tell the difference between light-bulb lighting and natural lighting.) 
I recommend that you find a window and let as much light in as possible, while still avoiding direct sunlight.



(Tout translates to all in English by the way. I was trying to be fancy but, alas, I failed.)


So if you're part of the Bookstagram community you may have noticed the usage of props... a lot of props. While I would like to tell you that I don't go out and buy stuff just for bookstagram, I can't. The other day I was in Meijer's and I purchased a fake branch that I had found... just because. 
I also just made a trip to Hobby Lobby to get fairy lights and fake pieces of nature... wow I'm not helping.

Let me just say this.

YOU. DO. NOT. NEED. TO. BUY. PROPS. TO. BOOKSTAGRAM. 

If you really want to spend your money on fake branches then go right ahead. You do you. But if you don't have an endless supply of cash and you need to save money then store bought props aren't a necessity. For most of my Bookstagram career I've been using random knick knacks from around the house. As well as branches and vines I get from outside.

However, I do also know that many of you might live in dorms or apartment complexes or someplace where you don't own the land outside where you're living. So you're going to have to get a little creative. What inspires you? Maybe you're inspired by your wood flooring. You could take pictures with that. Maybe your white bed sheet is the perfect background. Maybe that gold candle you have lying around matches your aesthetic.

... and of course the books. You could literally take pictures of your books on your bookshelf, no matter the size of the shelf. Everyone, and I mean everyone, on Bookstagram can appreciate a good bookshelf.


Now you've taken the perfect shot of your book. But you still have to edit. Which brings us to our next topic...



So I talked about editing in my last post I did on bookstagraming but I wanted to get a little more in-depth.

While I'm not going to tell you exactly how I edit my photos I am going to give you some more tips. 




You don't need to pay lots of money for Pro editing software. Once again if that's what you want to spend money on the go right ahead. But there are WAY cheaper ways to edit you pictures.



I, personally, edit my pictures using Pixlr. For those who don't know, Pixlr is a free editing app that allows you to edit pictures and make collages. (It's available on your phone and on your laptop/desktop as far as I know.)

{Pixlr is also the app I'm going to use as my editing example, today.}






So when I'm using Pixlr I don't use all of the editing options. (If you edit a picture too heavily then it won't look as "natural") 

 In the image above I show you some editing extremes. 

The two pictures in the middle are edited to the highest and lowest saturation possible. I'm not personally a huge fan, but there's nothing wrong with a black and white photo! Same goes for the saturation when its all the way up. Having a high saturation on your pictures is actually a style. If you do it right, feeds with a high saturation level look amazing!

An example being:



I'm absolutely IN LOVE with Marlene's feed! I'd head over to her account for inspiration if you're wanting to post pictures that have a higher saturation level. 




Make sure you don't over-sharpen your pictures!



The picture on the far right is an example of an image being over-sharpened. Notice how grainy the picture appears to be.

I'll only sharpen my pictures about 10% so the picture appears slightly more focused, yet, not grainy or dirty looking.

I edit my pictures so they're color-drained, but the color is still very much visible. (If that makes sense ahaha.)

The less color(s) in a picture the easier it is to make an image fit in with your feed. 

Also, keep in mind, you can always change your theme up! If you get bored of how you're editing your images you can always edit them a different way. Just try not to change your theme constantly. 

Oh! If you're wondering, I adjust the following things on my pictures when I'm using Pixlr:

Saturation, Shadows, Highlights, vibrance, and Sharpness. 

(I'll occasionally adjust/ use other features in the app depending on the picture.)




One of the top most annoying comments you can get is like 4 like? (Well, that and  @/010201FOLLOW HELPS YOU GAIN THOUSANDS OF FOLLOWERS FAST.) 

I personally don't accept f4f? or Like 4 like's? 

If you want to get a fellow bookstagrammer to like your pictures/ check out your account then the best way to do that is:




Like their pictures





Regularly comment on their account.

(and not just stuff like: Great! or nice pic! Many people put questions in their captions so maybe answer the question or just give a response to what they said in the caption. This shows that you actually care about what they're saying/ what they're posting.)



Hashtags also help other accounts find you.

(I talked a about the importance of the # in my last post :)



Make an effort to interact with others and others will likely make an effort to interact with you in some way.  





All image origins' : http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/watercolor-feathers-leafs-and-branches_825849.htm
So at this point you've started up your Bookstagram and you feel like things are going super well! 

But a few months in you just... loose all motivation to post. 

I've definitely had those moments and there's a good chance that at some point, you may too. 

When you loose motivation I suggest:


Pinterest. 

(So much inspiration!!!)




Looking at other bookstagram accounts.

(Other accounts can definitely offer inspiration.)



Keep in mind a goal that you're working towards. 

Maybe you want to get to 1k by the end of the year. Maybe you want to get a follow from a large publisher. Maybe you want to become a rep for a bookish company. 


Remember that your account matters! It doesn't matter how big or small your account is. 



I hope that this post was helpful to at least a person or two. I think that Bookstagram is an amazing place and I want to encourage any & all people to join the community!

... and if you're already a Bookstagrammer maybe this post helped you improve your pictures? 

It took me 5 ever to write this post. I'm actually convinced that you're a super human if you read EVERYTHING in this post. 
*throws cookies to le super human*



Was this post helpful... maybe?

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!
=D