Sunday, May 31, 2015

Snapshot Saturday | BEA Loot

This Thursday I had the incredible opportunity to attend BEA, also known as BookExpoAmerica. And while I know I said that today's Snapshot Saturday (now Snapshot Sunday) would be about prom, but BEA was way more worthwhile. 

This was my first BEA and I will tell you that it was amazing, way better than BookCon last year. Most booths, especially the Young Adult Fiction ones, have stacks and stacks of free books just waiting to be taken. In addition to that, there are hundreds or authors there, signing books, networking.

My friend and I heavily underestimated the number of books we would get and, as a result, only brought a fairly small suitcase. Overall we filled up five totebags, one backpack and the suitcase and then travelled on the train home. It was a long and grueling journey, but we made it. We each got about fifty books, at least a quarter of which were signed (all of them will be featured in my May Haul). There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will be attending next year, even if it is in Chicago. 

Did any of you guys go to BEA? If so, which books did you get? 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Free For All Friday | Prom Antics

Today's the day millions of girls all over the world dream about. It's the day that is showcased in TV shows and movies to be "the best day of your life." It's prom.

If there's anything you should know about me it's that I hate unnecessary antics. And to me, there's nothing more unnecessary then spending hundreds of dollars on one night, an overrated, extremely fancy school dance. 

First there's the promposal. If you're a couple, you already know you're going to prom together so why do you need to make a big deal about it. Why do you have to plan a flash mob and force everyone to practice the dance multiple times? It seems like an unnecessary waste of time and effort. I know I seem like a cynic, but I promise I'm not. I just think promposals should be saved for those who aren't expecting it. 

Secondly there's the dress. Thankfully my dress shopping wasn't extensive. But I've heard the stories. You buy a two hundred dollar dress, then you have to spend another hundred getting it tailored so you don't trip and fall over the ridiculously long hem. Then you have to shop for all the accessories: the necklaces, earrings, makeup, shoes, etc. AND you have to make sure they perfectly match your dress. It's just too much. And if you're taking a date, forget it. They have to get you a corsage, and their tie/shirt has to perfectly match your dress. I honestly don't care if your tie is three shades greener than my dress. It makes no difference to me. 

Then there's the day of prom; the hair appointments, the nail appointments, the hours getting ready, and then the ridiculous number of pictures.

Prom never felt like a big deal for me. My high school goal isn't to be prom queen, it's to graduate as a valedictorian. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but prom queen has never been in my agenda. I'm also quite bitter since I'm missing BEA to attend prom, and while I'll try to have a good time, prom is not my scene so who knows what will happen. 

Snapshot Saturday, if it's on time, will probably showcase my time at prom. 

Do you guys have any prom stories? Good ones? Bad ones? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Biggest Reading Influence

Welcome to another Tuesday Talks, a Goodreads group started by Janie and Janelle. Today we're going to delve deep into my past and talk about the biggest influence that galvanized my reading.

My passion seems to have arouse from nowhere. Neither of my parents were huge readers, nor were any of my close relatives or friends. Back in the time when Internet wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now, an only child didn't really have much to occupy herself and so I picked up a book. I travelled to other worlds and realized how much I loved it and the habit has stuck with me ever since.

There's just this feeling that only a good book can give you. The feeling when you know the characters and are invested in their lives, when you wish you could be a part of the book. For some people it happens with movies, with others comic books. For me it happens with novels.

There's no big influence for me. It's a hobby I tried and loved as a kid so I do it now. And I think that's the best kind of hobby. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Soaring Through Stars | Rajdeep Paulus

As the third book in the Swimming Through Stones series by Rajdeep Paulus, this book did not disappoint. It continues right where the last book left off and we continue to learn about all these wonderful characters. 

I will admit, this book wasn't as fantastic as the first two, only because I felt a distinct lack of romance, but besides that it was terrific. 

My favorite aspect of this book was by far the familial aspect. We finally get some closure to the lawsuit against Talia's father and we get to learn of other long lost family members. We get to see the bridge of trust begin to build between Talia and her family. The interactions and relationships built between these characters is phenomenal. Paulus does a fantastic job of developing these characters we already know and love. 

While the story from Swimming Through Clouds was one of struggle and pain, the one from Soaring Through Stars was distinctly of healing and rehabilitation. We get to see Talia and Jesse finally recover from the one person who has haunted them their entire lives and finally find peace. 

Though it is a great conclusion to a great series, I want to continue the lives of Talia and Jesse. I want to know what happens next. I want to see Talia and Lagan get married and raise a family together. I want to see the role their uncle plays in their futures. I feel as though I'm not done with these characters yet; I'm too invested in their lives and I sincerely hope that Paulus feels inspired to write more about these characters. 

I highly recommend this book and this series as a whole.  If you haven't already checked it out I really think it's worth trying out, I'll link my reviews down below if you want to check out more! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Snapshot Saturday | Kiera Cass Meet & Greet

I've decided to start yet another segment on my blog, one hopefully I'll upkeep, called Snapshot Saturday. Here I plan to post some picture, one that I took or made, either book-related or not. I'm not much of a photography person, so I'm hoping this segment will encourage me to take more pictures and hopefully make more memories.

So the first photo I want to share with you was from a meet and greet for Kiera Cass I went to recently. After she had a short Q&A session, we got to meet her and get her newly released book, the Heir signed. Though the line was moving pretty fast, I got to tell her a little about my blog and get my book signed.

It's such an exhilarating experience to meet authors and network with them. I'm going to BEA very soon and hopefully I'll be able to network some more authors! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Free For All Friday | Unphotogenic Pictures

Hey guys, so for this Free For All Friday, I want to talk about something very near and dear to my heart: unphotogenic photos.

If you're reading this and thinking "Man I'm the most photogenic person", trust me, I've got you beat.

I would say that I'm a fairly average looking person, not extreme either way, but for some reason photos have a way of warping all of my features into an unrecognizable and laughable face.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to not know what the term means, "unphotogenic" is essentially when someone doesn't photograph well and all their pictures turn out weird.

There are several classic things that usually never fail to happen whenever a picture of me is taken:

1. Half-Closed Eyes

I'm known for having quite large eyes, and while most of the time it's a fantastic feature, my blink timing is off and when the camera's click goes off, my eye is usually in mid blink and the camera never fails to catch that moment.

2. The Chandler Smile

Also known as the forced and painful smile. While my regular smile is fairly average, when a camera is placed in front of me, it instantly turns into a forced and unnatural smile. And I honestly have no idea why. The traditional "cheese" doesn't really work for me.

3. Awkward Poses

I'm not sure if this has anything to with being inherently unphotogenic, but when someone tells me to stand for a picture I never know what to do with myself. Am I supposed to strike a pose? Put my hands on my hips? Regardless of what I do, I feel dumb.

So from this post, I have basically come to the realization that I probably won't be a model, which I am perfectly content with, but am I the only unphotogenic person out there? Let me know in the comments below if you guys have any unflattering consequences of cameras. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

If | Nicholas Bourbaki

If is an experimental novel of ideas. You, the reader, are the nameless protagonist, a young dreamer from northern California. At the end of each chapter, you must make a pivotal decision. These choices shape your identity as the plot and literary form of the novel swerve toward twenty-two possible endings.

I stumbled upon this read on Courtney's blog: CourtneyReads and was intrigued simply by its format. At the end of each chapter, there's a choice. As the main character, the reader has some type of control over the ending of the book, and this, in itself, fascinated me.

However, I will admit, I didn't love this book as much as I hoped to. While I appreciate the difficulty and effort that may have gone into writing this book, the format didn't work as properly as, I think, it should have. Frequently, I would come to the end of a chapter that had no choice, and would continue reading, only to find myself in the midst of a different scene with different characters. And this happened often, often enough that I couldn't finish the book since I wasn't able to extricate and follow any one storyline from the book.

If I have time, I will definitely attempt to try this book again, but it didn't appeal to me as much as I'd hope. Though I don't discourage anyone else from trying out this book. If you've read this book, let me know what you think in the comments below! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Bookish Pet Peeves

Welcome everyone to yet another Tuesday Talks, a Goodreads groups hosted by Janie and Janelle. Today's topic is on Bookish Pet Peeves, and since I treat my books as if they were my children, I have a long, long list. So let's get started.

1. Doggy-Earing the Page 

You can use literally anything as a bookmark. A page of paper, a fork, sunglasses, literally anything. And if worse comes to worse, you can just remember the page number. There is no reason to fold over the pages and put unnecessary creases.

2. Bending of the Spine 

Like I mentioned before, you can use literally anything as a bookmark, so there's no reason to damage the book, the spine or the pages. Leave the poor book be, and please don't break/ wear down the spine.

3. Books of different heights

I understand that hardcover and paperback books are made of different materials and thus are of different heights, but all hardcovers should have a universal height, as should all paperbacks. They just look a whole lot better on my shelves.


4. Book Scuffings 

This is something I'm particularly crazy about. A brand-new book is perfect. It's not scuffed or worn at all, and I strive to keep it that way. I'll go so far as to wrap it in a plastic bag if I need to take it out. I'm going to try as hard as I can in order to keep my book looking brand-new.

5. Nonmatching Series 

I really like it when books match on my shelf. Same format, same cover theme, same size, etc. It's just something that looks really nice on my shelves.

What are some of your bookish pet peeves? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Everything That Makes You | Moriah McStay

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore. 

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn't everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it's who we are that determines our luck.

Generally I think that the concept of having two separate story-lines is genius, however in actuality I have yet to find one that has been executed really well. This one was no different. The concept and plot of the story was genius, but the execution was mediocre. While there were two different story-lines with the same characters, because there were some major differences in the childhood of the main character, it was essentially as though there were two different stories with completely different characters. 

My main problem with this book was the ending. It just kind of...ended. There was no climax. I finished the book and thought "What was the point?" I expected both sides to end at the same place to show that no matter what happens we will end up where we need to, but both ended in completely different spots, which was confusing. 

One of the things I really liked in this book was the parallels between both sides of the story. Seeing the different characters at different points in their lives interact was interesting to watch. It was also interesting to see the different relationships between different characters. 

Overall I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it. The concept was really really interesting but I feel like the execution, particularly the ending could have been done better. Have you guys read this book? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Free For All Friday | Finals

Hey guys, I know I haven't written a Free For All Friday post in a while, but I've been furiously studying for finals, and now that they're over, here I am.

As a high school senior, these were some of my last finals...well until college starts again. And I wanted to give those of you who still have finals left some tips and tricks to get through the week.

Tip #1: Don't wait until the last minute. 

I know this is a bit cliché, but don't wait until the day before the final to open your textbook for the first time. I'm not saying you have to start studying two weeks in advance, but at least start looking over the material beforehand so it's not completely foreign the night before.

Tip #2: Take lots of breaks. 

Contrary to popular belief, finals week isn't a constant repeat of studying and sleeping. You're allowed to take breaks. You can go on YouTube, or on Netflix. In fact, it'll probably be beneficially for you to take a few breaks and let your mind relax from the constant stream of information. In fact right before my calc final I went to a book signing by Kiera Cass and still did well on the final.

Tip #3: Don't overstress. 

I know in the moment these tests may seem like a big deal but, speaking as someone who strived so hard to attain a 4.0, one B isn't going to ruin your life. It may hurt your pride, but you're not going to be rejected from college because of one bad grade. The education system is just a game, all you have to do is learn to play it.

These are just a few of the things I've learned over the years, comment below some of your experiences with finals, or with tests in general! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Matching Series Books

One week later and welcome back to another Tuesday Talks, a Goodreads group hosted by Janie and Janelle, where we talk about book-related topics every Tuesday. Today's post is on matching series.

I'm a sucker for matching series. I love looking at books of the same cover scheme and same height on my bookshelf. One of the reasons I particularly love boxed sets is because everything is the same. In fact the selling vantage of boxed sets is the fact that they are all consistent and usually cheaper than buying them individually.

For example, my boxed sets of the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices.

I really really hate when my series don't match on the shelves. I got a paperback ARC of Divergent and then the hardcover copies of Insurgent and Allegiant, and they still don't match which is mildly annoying. However I'd rather deal with that than spend money rebuying a book when I could be buying a new book.

Finally, and the thing that angers me the most, is when publishers change the cover scheme in the middle of the series. This has happened with so many series including the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The first four books had a dark, dramatic scheme while the last book was bright blue, which is mildly offsetting on my shelves. I just think that if a publisher is planning to change the covers, they should do it after all the books have been released.

What do you guys think? Does it bother you having mismatched series books? Let me know in the comments below! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hey Beautiful, God Loves You | Imani Dunning

Hey Beautiful, God Loves You is for the woman who needs a reminder. It was written in an effort to remind you that it's normal to need God and community on a day to day basis.

While I am not a particularly religious person, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. While there are some religious thoughts and ideas that I don't necessarily agree with, I think that this book, especially for Christians, is great to read while going through a hard time. This book covers various topics from dating to self motivation, giving an insight on how to balance a free life with faith. For me specifically, this book gave an interesting and real perspective on the thoughts of a Christian. Dunning's reflections on her past experiences and obstacles really enforce the points and advice she gives. Definitely worth a read if faith is something you struggle with during hard times.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Hard to Pronounce Names

Welcome to another Tuesday Talks, a Goodreads group hosted by Janie and Janelle! Today we'll be talking about hard to pronounce names in books. There is not one of us that hasn't stumbled on a name, whether it be as complicated as Raskolnikov or as simple as Tobias, odds are you've stumbled upon it.

When I come across these types of names, usually one of two things will happen.

1. I completely butcher the name and continue to pronounce it like that in my head.

For example, when I read Divergent, I continually read Tobias as TO-BEE-US rather than TO-BY-US. I only realized I was wrong when I listened to the audiobook and then asked around how to pronounce the name in disbelief.

2. I give the character a shortened nickname and continue through the book.

When I read Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov was too long of a name to continually say in my head over and over again. So, I nicknamed him Ras and just called him that every time his name came across in the book.

Basically, rather than waste time stumbling through the name, I'll avoid the problem by nicknaming the character or just pronoune it wrong.

Are you guys the same way? Or do you have to get the name right, either by googling it or asking others? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fairest | Marissa Meyer

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her "glamour" to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story- a story that has never been told... until now. 

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

My only reason behind buying this book was so I could read the first few chapters of Winter previewed at the end of this book. Tumblr told me there was a chapter showing some flirtation between Kai and Cinder, which I NEEDED. Of course, that was chapter four of Winter, and my book only gave me the first three chapters of Winter. 

Needless to say, it was a very frustrating time for me, and as a result I was extremely disappointed with this book. After my disappointment curbed, I decided to backtrack and read Levana's story. I might as well, I already had the book. 

Levana's story was interesting to say the least. But although it explains her tyranny, it by no means justifies it. Throughout the entire book I pictured Channary as Kourtney Kardashian and Levana as the younger Kim Kardashian, though I'm not sure why; the faces seemed to fit the personalities. 

Levana was entirely cringe-worthy in this book, especially her "love" story with Evret; pretending to be his wife, forcing him to marry her, etc. It made me very uncomfortable. She has some kind of sadistic part of her that makes me fear for her mental sanity. She's not evil, she's not misunderstood, she's just not sane. In a completely medical way.

My favorite part of this book was the glimpses of the baby cast we saw. Princess Winter, Princess Selene (Cinder), Jacin, and even Kai. 

I just want it to be known that Channary shipped Kaider before any of us.

I need Winter. In my hands. Now. 

What was your favorite part of Fairest? Let me know in the comments below! Mine was definitely seeing the baby versions of all the characters we already know. They were so adorable!