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review 2016-12-19 11:27
A little bit of self-promotion

For a long time I was debating wether  I should start making videos on youtube or not. But last week my boyfriend told me, that if I want to try something I should definitely give it a try. He also told me that it will give me more confidence in myself and you know what? I believe him.

So....Last week I attempted to do some videos and here is one of them. It is a short review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. I know that it is not perfect, that it is so much I have to learn, I know that I have a strong accent, but I hope that you give me a chance to improve. 

If you have time, could you please check it ? 

 

 

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url 2016-04-29 02:22
Big News: I'm Going to Be in a Book!


HUGE news! I am going to be in a book! Specifically, I’m participating in the YA villain-themed anthology, Because You Love to Hate Me curated by Ameriie, which is being published in July 2017 by Bloomsbury simultaneously in the US and UK, and as an audiobook in the US and UK. I’m not participating as an author but as a booktuber/blogger. More information below the cut! Aaaah!



You can check out Ameriie's announcement video here (and the others at their individual channels & spaces). Also theofficial Publisher's Weekly announcement here.

Add Because You Love to Hate Me to your Goodreads shelf here.

THE AUTHORS INVOLVED:

  • Sarah Enni: Sarah is the creator & host of the First Draft Podcast, and will be making her debut YA writing appearance in BYLTM. 
 
You’d think that might be all the contributors to the anthology, but Because You Love to Hate Me is different from most anthologies. The above authors will be writing short stories based on villain-themed prompts provided by booktubers!

THE BOOKTUBERS INVOLVED: 

All booktubers will be paired with one author. They will write an introduction to that author’s story, and we’ve all already provided prompts for our authors to use as inspiration. You'll find out later who is paired with whom, and which villains are being used :).

Let me rave about this anthology. Can I just say how much I love this sort of creative collaboration among readers and authors? We’ve seen it in the community for things like Litographs fanart T-shirts, extra content based on reader votes / input, paperback pages printed as appreciation for reviewers, etc., but this is first story collaboration that I know of, and I think that’s really neat.

So, not only is this anthology cool because of the creative collaboration, but it’s also cool because OF ALL THOSE AUTHORS. Renée Ahdieh? Gorgeous, sensual writing that can add really great layers to characters and here, to a villain we love to hate! Soman Chainani? The School for Good and Evil has a great atmospheric start, and Chainani has already switched up the moral good/evil sides—I’m sure his villain will be compelling. Susan Dennard? Everyone at the Truthwitch launch had mentioned how the villain was intriguing and complex, and Susan will create something equally, if not more, exciting for this anthology! Marissa Meyer has already written a book on the villain of the Lunar Chronicles (aka Fairest), so her villain will be equally compelling. Uh, did you not see me ramble on about my love for Serpentine? Cindy Pon creates wonderful, multi-layered characters, and I can’t wait to read the villain she will write! Victoria Schwab! Vicious! Blurring the lines between what’s right and wrong, and who’s the bad guy – sounds like a recipe for creating another great villain! Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season series is on my all-time favorites list, and of course I’m excited to read about her villain! Adam Silvera has already dealt with moral ambiguity in More Happy Than Not: how does a place like the Leteo Institute exist? With his character-centric focus, Adam will create a great villain too. Andrew Smith has been compared to Kurt Vonnegut, so duh, he’ll create an awesome work. April Genevieve Tucholke has gorgeous, atmospheric writing and River from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was a fascinating, multi-layered morally ambiguous character, so hello awesome villain-to-be! Nicola Yoon created multi-layered characters in Everything, Everything and I’m excited to see where she’ll go next after such a powerhouse debut! Sarah Enni is making her YA fiction debut with the anthology, and that's really exciting too!

BUT YOU KNOW WHO I’M MOST EXCITED FOR? Ameriie. I’ve been Ameriie’s critique partner for about three and a half years now, and all of her work is fantastic! Great writing and characterization, fast-paced, multi-layered plots, thematic works with story at the forefront, and I can heap on so, so much more praise. She's definitely an upcoming author to watch :), and I can't wait to see what see comes up with too.

ARE YOU AS EXCITED FOR BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO HATE ME AS I AM? I hope so!
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url 2016-04-28 02:46
Spring Book Haul 2016

Even though I'm moving in a couple of months, I seem to have a penchant for buying books. I mean, my bookshelf is teeming with books that I still haven't read and WHAT DO I DO? I BUY EVEN MORE BOOKS. Ugh, I dread when I'll have to lug these sluggers with me to the Post Office for shipping. BUT ANYWAY LET'S BE CHEERFUL. LET'S LOOK AT THE AWESOMENESS I BOUGHT AND HAVE READ!



The Books That I've Read:

1. The Winner's Kiss - Marie Rutkoski

I LOVE the Winner's trilogy. The Winner's Crime was on my Best Books of 2015 list, The Winner's Curse was onmy Best Books of 2014 list. I nominated The Winner's Crime in the Epic Reads Book Shimmy Awards and probably have mentioned these books at multiple points, in multiple posts in this blog (5 Fantasy Authors I Fangirl Over,Preview of 2015 Books, Review: The Winner's Curse, TBR: Releases to Watch Out For, Review: The Winner's Crime, My Reading Profile, & more). It should thus come as no surprise to you that I pre-ordered The Winner's Kiss and spent the 29th reading that book. Also spent the weekend and week before trying to sneak peeks at the book through Amazon excerpt, which is an obsessive habit I have when I reaaaaaally want to read a book (until I shake and distract myself by doing something else).

 

Ahem, anyways. This book surprised me in a lot of ways, all of them good. I also understand why they changed the covers -- the girl in the ball gown no longer fits the horrific scenes of war. If the first book set the grounds for the differences between the two countries and the romance, establishing our link with Arin and Kestrel; and if the second book delved deeper into strategy, games, political intrigue, alliances and quiet rebellion amid heartbreaking loss; then the third book was about all of that coming to head. War. Violence. The consequences of the politics between these three major countries. The differences in beliefs and how they've shaped our characters' attitudes and hopes but how there's still common ground to be had. The power of love and stories, forgiveness and new life amid an onslaught of death. As always, lots of character development, beautiful writing, romance, political intrigue, strategy, intriguing world-building, and more. Yes to these books.


The second book reminded me a little of Bitterblue (by Kristin Cashore). This book reminded me a little of the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and the His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers. Right now, I can't think of a good comp title for the first book, but I think that if you like any of the aforementioned books, you should definitely try The Winner's trilogy.

2. Summers at Castle Auburn - Sharon Shinn

Sharon Shinn is mentioned by a lot of fantasy authors, it seems. So I wanted to try one of her books, and Summers at Castle Auburn is the one that was recommended. If you read my Learning from Books as a Reader (Changing Reader Tastes) post, you know that I'm not a huge fan of books that begin with the main character as a child. Summers at Castle Auburn does that. But it also does something which I am a HUGE fan of -- twining the romance in with the main plot very heavily, and also making the main character's coming-of-age twined in with her realization that her initial crush sucks and that the real romantic interest is the one she loves. If you watched my booktube video, you saw how many dogeared pages there was. That's because when the romance is that way, I bookmark basically every page there's even the slightest encounter between the main character and the romantic interest. It makes no sense, but I love it, and I read Summers at Castle Auburn the day before I was presenting a poster at a research conference, and clearly I should've gotten sleep. Instead I read. And had a book hangover. *Sigh*

3. Serpentine - Cindy Pon

I read Serpentine a while ago. I reviewed Serpentine, nominated Serpentine in the Epic Reads Book Shimmy Awards, and included Serpentine in my Best Books of 2015 list as well as my Cinderella Book tag. I ordered Serpentine when I pre-ordered The Winner's Kiss, so the book didn't arrive until just now, but I'm happy to finally have my own shiny copy... and y'all should read the book too! Highly recommended from me (just check out any of those links!).

4. The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh

Like with Serpentine, The Wrath and the Dawn I had already read. I just wanted to own a copy. Persian culture is slightly different from Middle Eastern culture, I think, but as someone with Middle Eastern heritage, I can say that Renee Ahdieh capture the essence of Arab culture pretty well.

The Books That I Have Yet to Read:

5. A Fierce and Subtle Poison - Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison was on my 2016 YA Debuts I Want to Read list. As I mentioned in my Best Books of 2015 list, I want to read more Young Adult Magical Realism novels-- so much so that I made a list of my current YA Magical Realism recommendations. When I was in the Strand, I read the first couple of chapters of A Fierce and Subtle Poison and really loved both the writing and the setting of Puerto Rico (though I think that I still needed to attach the main character). The book has been blurbed by both Nova Ren Suma and Laura Ruby, and I love their books too, so I'm looking forward to finishing this one later!

6. Feed - M.T. Anderson

Ameriie at Books Beauty Ameriie recommended Feed to me a while ago, particularly the audiobook. But my library doesn't have the audiobook, and when I saw that Feed was at the Strand for only a few dollars and that Feed was "out of print," I bought it anyways. When I'm in a more science fiction mood, I'll read this one. I'm pretty sure it's considered a classic of YA literature too.

7. The Riddle-Master trilogy - Patricia A. McKillip

The Riddle-Master trilogy has one of my favorite opening chapters ever. If you read my Learning from Books as a Reader (Changing Reader Tastes) post, you know that I was pretty entranced with this book. The first chapter introduces us to the main character, who is a land-owner. Traders are coming, so he tells his brother and sister to go about their duties. There are also childhood friends and others who are in the crowd when they find out about the traders. So, you get a clear sense of the immediate duties and setting for the MC's family and life (as well as a sense of the personalities of each of these side characters as they interact with each other). Then, you learn that the MC's parents disappeared a while ago, and that the siblings have all grieved in their own way, and his way was to go off on an adventure, solve a riddle, and a win a crown from a ghost. This backstory is revealed in a convincing way -- whereby we see his family recognizing that he's acting weird, and they confront him, and so we see what normal family dynamics are like, as well as when one of them is acting strangely. We get a sense of the main character's personality through his interactions with his family, his daily duties, and his backstory, and we get a sense of what the central conflict will be, since winning this crown clearly has consequences and implications that the main characters doesn't know yet. It's awesome. I felt like my brain got bigger reading that beginning, and so I immediately bought the entire trilogy. Can't wait to read the books!

SO, those were the books I bought this past spring. What are you planning on reading soon? What have you bought recently? Have you read any of these books? Let's discuss!
 
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url 2016-03-31 03:24
Fall 2015 / Winter 2016 Recap

Wow, it's been a really long time since I did a recap post. In October, I wrote a book talk, but I didn't even mention my blog posts. The last time I did a recap, then, was in September! So much has happened here on the blog, I've read so many books and gone to some great book launches, and I've received and purchased quite a few books as well!

 

Ah, well. This post was supposed to go up two weeks ago, along with a video that I had recorded in the usual recap way. :/ But basically I'm still trying to catch up with the posts that were scheduled for my time off but didn't go up.

 

On the blog, I have been maintaining my bookish rounds posts, which are round-ups of the latest MG/YA/NA book news in terms of book deals, cover reveals, discussions in the book community, tv and movie adaptations, and new YA releases. Since September, you'll findedition 88, edition 89, edition 90, edition 91, edition 92, edition 93, edition 94, edition 95,edition 96, edition 97, edition 98, edition 99, and edition 100. And, in fact, in terms of the book news, I gathered half of last year's adaptation news for a round-up post, and I made a calendar with 2016 Adaptations relevant to the YA community, so we could keep track of them. I discussed Mockingjay Part II, my New Year's Bookolutions for 2016, 2016 YA Debuts on my TBR list, 2016 YA Books (Non Debuts) on my TBR list, blogging and booktubing, the effect of awards in the YA community, my reading profile, reader loyalty, and 5 fantasy authors who I fangirl over. I reviewed Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith, the Eon duology by Alison Goodman, the Mapmaker's trilogy by S.E. Grove, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, and The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows, and gushed about my Epic Reads Book Shimmy Award Nominations and the best books that I'd read in 2015. I also asked for read-along buddies, and answered 15 weird questions about myself so that y'all could get to know me better.

Fall 2015 & Winter 2016, I didn't blog or booktube more frequently because in the fall, I’d been applying to graduate schools, and then there were the holiday breaks (aka laziness at home), and throughout February, I had a bunch a few graduate school interviews to attend (aka why you didn't hear from me much on social media then either). Maybe one day soon, I'll have actual big news to celebrate on that account. (Pray for me! Cross your fingers! Whatever you do.). In January, I attended the book launches for Truthwitch by Susan Dennard/Passenger by Alex Bracken and This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. I appreciated Marieke’s discussion on how the story was inspired, in part, by a yellow school bus, and the discussion of American gun culture vs. in the Netherlands. I appreciated the easy banter between Susan and Alex, and their personable approach to describing their writing styles and their experiences (e.g. researching ships in the eighteenth century). I loved how both events were moderated by other YA authors as well (Sona Charaipotra (Dhonielle Clayton was supposed to be there but I forget what happened) and Erin Bowman). And I ended up purchasing all three books for the book launches, as well as books by the author hosts. Here's to hoping grad school fares well too, so that I can say the season was an all around success :D.

 
In terms of what I've read this past fall and winter.... oh, what a varied list. I’m going to just list them out, and say a few things at the end!

Middle Grade:

1. The Golden Specific - S.E. Grove (review here).

Young Adult:

1. Passenger - Alexandra Bracken (review here)
2. Dreamstrider - Lindsay Smith (review here)
3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
4. Eon - Alison Goodman (review here)
5. Eona - Alison Goodman
6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Newt Scamander
7. All of Rosamund Hodge's listed short stories.
8. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
9. Vengeance Road - Erin Bowman
10. Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - A.S. King, audio
11. A Creature of Moonlight - Rebecca Hahn
12. Wink Poppy Midnight - April Genevieve Tucholke (review to come!)
13. The Star-Touched Queen - Roshani Chokshi (review to come!)

Adult Romance:

1. Wallbanger - Alice Clayton
2. Rusty Nailed - Alice Clayton
3. Screwdrivered - Alice Clayton
4. Mai Tai'd Up - Alice Clayton
5. A Lady of Persuasion - Tessa Dare
6. Goddess of the Hunt - Tessa Dare
7. Surrender of a Siren - Tessa Dare
8. The Rogue Not Taken - Sarah MacLean
9. A Gentleman in the Street - Alisha Rai
10. Once Upon a Marquess - Courtney Milan

Adult Fantasy

1. Feverborn - Karen Marie Moning
2. Captive Prince - C.S. Pacat
3. Prince's Gambit - C.S. Pacat
4. Kings Rising - C.S. Pacat

Nonfiction:

1. The Silk Road: A Short Introduction - James A. Millward.
2. The Madame Curie Complex - Julie Des Jardins
3. Bossypants - Tina Fey, audio
4. Yes Please - Amy Poehler, audio

What’s the deal with all the romance novels? Well, I’ve mentioned this before, but I share my Kindle account with my mother. You’d think this means she’d be more willing to read YA novels—alas, those are all just mine. Anyway, she loves contemporary and historical romance. The majority of the romance novels I read this past fall/winter, I read when I was at home with her. Usually when we’re together I remember that oh shit, I’m supposed to buy more romance novels for her to read. But it doesn’t feel right to just buy her anything out there – in some ways, I get caught too because then I want to make sure I’ve gotten her books that she’ll like. Like Alice Clayton. I read Alice Clayton’s book because I’d posted her cover reveal sometime ago, and I remembered writing that this was a new NA series for her, or she was continuing on Wallbanger, and it was pretty popular. So I tried the books out – I liked them, and my mom loved them. My mom also loves Tessa Dare, and Sarah MacLean and Courtney Milan are automatic pre-orders for her as well.

The young adult and middle grade books went pretty well, and I looooooove the Captive Prince trilogy, so yaaaaaas. And hey, look, I read about 32 books from late November to the end of February. Not too shabby, eh? And now interviews are over… :D :D

In terms of the books I received:

1. The Voyage to the Magical North by Claire Fayers
2. The Treasure of Maria Mamoun by Michelle Chafoun
3. The Wrong Side of Magic by Jannette Rallison
4. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, which was in my 2016 YA Books on My TBR List (and which I now read -- expect a review soon!)

The Voyage to the Magical North is about a girl and her friend who join a pirate’s quest to find the Magical North, which sounds like a place of secrets and myths and lots of fun. The Treasure of Maria Mamoun is an island adventure about a girl from the Bronx on a journey of mystery and discovery. The Wrong Side of Magic is a modern-day retelling of The Phantom Tollbooth, and all three are Middle Grade titles. I haven’t requested many ARCs as of late, and well, I’ve been more in the mood to read MG, as if it’s easier to review MG because I’ve read so much YA at this point, I almost feel saturated. Have you ever gotten that feeling? Do you think that that’s just a part of a reading slump or something more lasting? I was excited for Wink Poppy Midnight, and it was great – the book was also my first ARC from Penguin Random House. I’m a kind of a passive blogger uninterested in emailing publishers for ARCs, but if I’m sent the request form, I do look through the catalog. It’s always unexpected for me when any of that turns out, and I was doubly excited for Wink Poppy Midnight since it was in my 2016 YA Books on My TBR List. Did not disappoint!

That’s what I read, received, and blogged about in fall 2015 / winter 2016. How were these past couple of months for you? Did you read a lot or find a lot of new favorites? Have you been on your blogging/booktubing game?
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url 2016-03-30 13:29
Reader Character Wishlist

There are a bunch of hashtags out there for wishlists – agents have their manuscript wishlists, and my brain is currently freezing so I can’t remember what the hashtag for reader wishlists was, but that exists too. Lately I found myself thinking about some of the characters I’d like to see in more YA novels. Consider this the first of many posts on the kinds of characters I wish populated more YA novels. (I’m sure I’ll think of more characters in the future!)


 

1. Badass Females Who Aren’t Badass B/C of Traditionally Masculine Things

Think of your favorite or at least the most popular SFF “strong female characters.” (I feel like people use badass to describe their friends or SFF characters; for some reason I can’t picture with contemporary??? Does anyone feel this way?). How many of them have power because they’re considered ruthless or they’re given a weapon? (It’s usually the weapon thing that bugs me – as if the only way to power is to have some fighting skill). I’d really like to see some magic system or just a character whose compassion, sensitivity, and conscientiousness is what gives her power. Like Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Bitterblue knows how to defend herself because she’s a queen, but that doesn’t much enter the equation. Her power stems more from being a compassionate queen – her compassion helps her country heal from the wrongs inflicted by her psychopathic father (who was the former king).

2. The Girl in the Arranged Marriage Actually Accepts Or Change Her Background a Bit?

Okay, so if you’re going to have the arranged marriage trope, I’d like some girls to be a.) actually happy or accepting (if my parents wanted to set me up on a blind date, I would accept, but I’ve also been raised by Lebanese immigrants. I think that American culture is so individualistic, it doesn’t want to accept the very idea of arranged marriages despite the fact that there is a huge precedent in history and this is *actually* happening in places today) or b.) making the most of the situation like Elisa in The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson or c.) accepts the marriage because arranged marriages were historically ways that women could get more power, and the woman wants to be more empowered. I’d also like to see more books that shake up that character more! So, I’m excited to read Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst because the character ends up falling in love with someone else too, so there’s a conflict between duty and love. I’d love to see an arranged marriage that makes homonormativity the default in the way C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince series does. Also, why do so many arranged marriages end up focusing on teen girls? They weren’t the only ones either forced or asked to marry other people. Put more diversity in these arranged marriages! Use them to challenge concepts of privilege and racism and so much more.

3. The Chosen One Who’s Not Actually the Chosen One:

Okay, so actually there is a fantasy series out there right now that deals with the concept of the person who is raised as the Chosen One not actually being the Chosen One. I won’t say what that book is because that’d be a spoiler, but I want more characters like this and fewer actual Chosen Ones. I think that fantasy reflects reality with different symbols, so I’m going to talk about a personal story. In high school, I was at the top of my class. I was used to things feeling easy if I put in some work. When I got to college, I was no longer special; I was in a group of really intelligent people who thrived on challenges, and I needed to get on board and try harder. I see this as sort of relating to this “you think you’re special, but you’re not *that* special” and I think that how people react to that situation is interesting and shows a lot of their character. So if you have a character that’s been raised to think one way, and the carpet is swept out from under their feet – what happens to them? Do they become a villain? Do they fade into nothing? Etc. It's like imagining Neville if he'd actually known about the prophecy.

4. Villains!

Stories with villains at the forefront (e.g. The Young Elites)! Complex, complicated villains who aren’t only evil for evil’s sake but who are fully fledged characters are ALWAYS! Appreciated.

(And of course more diverse characters ALL AROUND will always be welcome with me too. I was considering including that on the list but then I don't know that I want to encourage non #ownvoices people to be writing some of the character types, etc.)

So that’s the first of many “reader character wishlists.”

Would you like to read any books with these kinds of characters? What characters would you like to see more of?

 

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