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


Sunday, September 4, 2016

#1 ||| Thoughts I have while reading. A strange compilation of never said out loud bookish thoughts...


(Apologies for my face ahahaha)


Hello!

So earlier today I was laughing at myself, as one does, and I came up with this series. I think about some strange things when it comes to books, including underwear and going to the bathroom. (You'll see what I'm talking about a little later.)
I'd love to know if you have any of the same thoughts (or maybe you're a normal human and none of these things come to mind lol.)

But anyways... let's get into my thoughts!

(Apologies in advance for the strangeness you're about to witness.)




"How do SJM's characters afford so much new underwear? You know, since it always seems to be getting ripped off. Like, I get that commerce doesn't work the same way in their fictional world but still."



"Do they ever use the bathroom? Really, though. When you're going on an adventure and there's no bathroom near AND you're always being threatened when do you take time to go pee?"



"Haha lol yeah I'd be dead already if I was in this situation."



"WHY ARE THEY SUCH AN ASSHOLE.
*FLIPS OVER TABLE*




"Did you hear that? That's the sound of karma mother trucker."






"I totally look like this character. I could play her in a movie. My portrayal would be EVERYTHING."




"If only this relationship was realistic"
*cries in background*






"I WANT TO LIVE THERE."





"OH HELL NO I COULDN'T LIVE THERE"




"I wonder what that tastes like. It probably tastes like chocolate. "
*goes to kitchen and eats chocolate because I'll use any excuse*




"Ianthe, girl, let's be honest. I know you have all the diseases. Like ALL of them. You should probably seek medical help :/

Why are you so thirsty? The world may never know."








So....


Do you agree with any of these?

Some of them were kind of out there but maybe, just maybe, you can relate.





Thank you for reading! I hope you have a fabulous, book-filled, day!
=D


Review|| A Court of Wings and Ruin (and lot's of cringe) by: Sarah J Maas

I don't usually like to review sequels because then the review can't truly be spoiler free (which is a huge bummer). BUT I ha...