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url 2016-07-18 13:48
Real Neat Blog Award (feat. Peggy the pegasus)


Thanks to the outstanding Carlisa @ Confessions of Carlisa for nominating me for this award. You can see her post here(with a wonderful story about a brave mountain goat named Billy). If a that does not catch your eye, you should check out her blog for the amazing reviews, discussions, and my personal favorite, Fairytale Fridays!

To get back on topic, here are the rules for this tag:
real neat blog award
1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you (the aforementioned Carlisa and her awesomeness).
2. Answer the seven questions.
3. Frame seven questions for your nominees.
4. Nominate seven(ish) deserving bloggers for the award.

Now for the questions that Carlisa borrowed from Ali @ The Bander Blog.

Click the link to see Ali's questions and my marvelous answers (featuring a magical pegasus and a serene cloud garden).

Source: 4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/07/real-neat-blog-award.html
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url 2016-03-31 13:13
Do Awards Matter Less to the YA Book Community?

There's no question that awards help a writer's career. Not only do they often boost sales, involve a money prize, and offer prestige and free promotion for a book, but the author also gets to mention winning that award for the rest of his/her career. What makes me curious about awards is whether there really is a sort of differential perception in adult, YA, and MG audiences.




For adult books, it seems like awards are universally acknowledged as a way of distinguishing literary merit. And for adult books, it's been shown repeatedly how winning them boosts sales. I remember returning from a MEG at NYU with a professor and discussing books with him; he said, well, of course you can't go wrong with a book that won the Man-Booker Prize (he'd mentioned how he loved The Luminaries or was going to read it soon--something along those lines). In the kidlit market, I wonder to what extent awards offer that same sort of prestige. Librarians seem to hold an even greater sway in kidlit, parents asking about books for their children, and one of the easiest things to do is to recommend an award winner. I'm not terribly familiar with the MG book blogosphere, but my impression is that it seems smaller than that of YA blogosphere. There are tons and tons of YA book bloggers and booktubers and so on--can we say then that booksellers and librarians might hold greater influence over MG sales than YA sales, given that bloggers are such a huge mass in the latter but not the former? Maybe that's an unproven, unfounded assumption. But I am curious about the perception of awards in the different communities.

It was reported that winning the Printz and Newbery greatly affected sales for Matt de la Peña’s Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson, and Laura Ruby's Bone Gap. Print sales of Last Stop went up by 677% and 264% for Bone Gap. My guess for part of that discrepancy in sales increase is that Last Stop was the second picture book ever to win the Newbery and Matt de la Peña was its first Hispanic author winner. Naturally that got people curious. Of course, maybe Bone Gap was already selling more than Last Stop, and its percentage increase was thus smaller. But I wonder whether part of the discrepancy is also because awards matter more for younger--and paradoxically older--readers; in the YA community, they still hold weight but maybe not as much. Is there a trend to value (value meaning a sales increase, I guess) more commercial than literary (okay, well, let's not get into the artifice of commercial/literary labels) books? I don't really know the answer, but what do you think?

Awards are undoubtedly a mark of respect and prestige regardless of the book's audience, but is it strange for me to think that the readership for YA seems to care less about them than the readership for MG or adult? Or do I have this biased opinion because we as bloggers don't tend to mention awards all that often--we're much more drawn in by the "hype" than anything else?

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url 2016-03-31 03:18
Personal: 15 Weird Questions Tag (Get to Know More about Me)

Hey, hey. Today I thought that I'd do the 15 Weird Questions Tag that I saw on Ameriie's channel. If you've ever wanted to know more about me, the blogger behind the blog, here's a little insider's chat.


1. A nickname that you get called.

Stinkle, Tinkle, Teenie, Tina, Xtina, Crystal, Kawthar, Hoots. Stinkle comes from a friend calling me Stinkleberry (I don't remember how we both got onto food nicknames), which she's then shortened to Stinkle. Tinkle is from that. Teenie, one of my friends said she just thought was cute and the other said that it fit me really well. Don't really know what that means but I like it anyway. Tina is what my family all calls me, plus my guy friends tended to do that too. Xtina is for all the people too lazy to write Christina but who don't like Tina. Crystal was what an Arabic professor called me, as if Crystal was an actual Arabic name lol. Kawthar was the name my actual Arabic professor called me. Hoots--my best friend was reading William S. Burroughs in high school and gave us Burroughs inspired nicknames.

2. A weird habit.

When you're alone, do you ever get the urge to dance? Not even really dance. It's almost like I'm performing for an audience but the audience is just me. And then when I realize what I just did -- like a slow gif montage -- I'm like wtf?

3. A weird phobia.

I feel like a lot of my phobias have been made mainstream (e.g. insects, sharks, crocodiles, the dark). As a kid, I used to run up the stairs, especially when it was dark, because I was afraid that an imaginary tiger was chasing me. In pools, I hated those bulging lights underwater because I was afraid they would metamorphize into sharks. Also that sharks would somehow come up out of those drains. My family loves to tell the story of when I was four-years-old, woke up crying, and kept saying that an alligator had bitten my finger off, waving my still very intact pinky in their faces.

4. A song you are ashamed to like so you blast it in private.

Here's a secret: I don't listen to a lot of music. I first started listening to music in eleventh grade, when I'd gotten fed up with not knowing what my friends were referring to. I went to a couple of concerts. Occasionally I look up music from tv shows and other pop culture, but do I actively pursue a lot of albums or artists? Nah. So I guess this means I'm not really ashamed to like anything because I'm not invested enough.

5. A pet peeve.

Just one??? And yet I can't remember any now. Hmmm. Smacking. When people don't hold the door open for others--and no, I don't mean "chivalry" from men. I mean everyone. It's just common courtesy. When multiple people are walking on the sidewalk and they don't move to make way for someone walking in the opposite direction. C'mon. You're really going to make me walk in the grass or snow because you can't be bothered to move for ONE moment? Common Courtesy, again.

6. A nervous habit.

I don't think this counts as a habit really, but when I get nervous, my hands get bone cold. It's like my body is saying, hey, send all the blood from the doofus's hands into her brain, she's going to need it. I guess I'm the typical nervous presenter where I say um a lot, fidget on my feet, etc.

7. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

I didn't realize this until now, but I have almost always slept on the left side. I don't think I'd care either way though.

8. The name of your first stuffed animal.

I don't know that this counts, but my brother had a white polar bear stuffed animal he called Marco Polo. And that's really the only stuffed animal I remember holding.

9. What do you buy at Starbucks?

Cafe mocha or the chilled, pre-packaged fraps. I'm all about the chocolate syrup to make coffee taste better.

10. Beauty rule.

Roll out of bed.

11. Which way do you face in the shower?

What does this mean? Is there a special way to face in the shower?

12. A weird body skill.

I don't know that I have any. I can roll my tongue. I think someone once got freaked out when she saw how I could push my thumb back. Something about double joints? I don't know. People get freaked out kind of easily.

13. Comfort food.

My mother's cooking mmmm. Garlic chicken sandwiches -- make garlic dip (garlic cloves, oil, some lemon juice), spread that dip all over a halved pita, add rotisserie chicken and diced tomatoes, fold the sandwich and place under a George Forman grill to make it somewhat panini like. Mmmm. Spicy chicken sandwiches from Stone Oven. Tabboule. Ice cream. Chocolate. Mmmm.

14. A word or phrase that you say all the time.

I used to say No Shit, Sherlock a lot because of my brother. Then it was coolio. Then rawr. I don't know what I say anymore.

15. What do you sleep in?

Giant T-shirt and basketball shorts.

If you want to do this tag as a sort of "let's get coffee, get to know me" post, go for it! Consider yourself tagged by me and come back and leave the post for me to read :). Do we share any weird habits? How would you answer these questions? Let me know!

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url 2016-03-30 13:36
Blogoversary Giveaway

I can't believe I've been blogging for five years. It's really something. I guess blogging just becomes a part of you, even though it's a hobby, and then time passes and wow.

Well, anyway. One part of blogging that I really enjoy is the community. The community is so foundational to everything that you do. And one thing that the community does really well is keep books alive. So, today, to celebrate blogging for five years, here's the requirement for this giveaway.

Tell me about your favorite #QuietYA. Were it  not for bloggers, I wouldn't have discovered some of my favorite books, and some of these quiet YA books especially fall into the cracks. So tell me about your favorite #QuietYA. They don't have to be in any specific time period. If you liked a book from the 1990s, go ahead and recommend it! If you thought that a 2015 book fell into the cracks, go ahead and recommend it! Just tell me why you love it. Help me build up my recommendation and TBR list. We all know bloggers are excellent at that.


ON THE ORIGINAL POST (aka linked above), I have a rafflecopter form, so you’ll be able to enter the giveaway there!

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url 2016-01-26 13:50
Booktubing & Blogging

It's weird for me to think that I've been blogging for nearly five years and booktubing for nearly a year now. It's also weird to me that my first instinct is still to say that both are completely separate; they are different mediums, but they've actually got quite a few commonalities. In thinking about my pending blogoversary come this March and the booktube channel anniversary that passed last month, I was thinking about what both have given me.



I think that's the coolest aspect of both the booktube channel and this book blog. Last week, I messed up my bookish rounds, saying that PulseIt was becoming RivetedLit when Riveted was meant to be publisher neutral. I changed it when I realized, but it's very obvious that there are errors here and there and everywhere on the site. Both booktubing and blogging force you to think somewhat ahead for post ideas and designs, and as someone who sometimes isn't the greatest at planning things out and following through, that's wonderful. I want to be more organized. Both could also use nice photos for each post/video, and that's forcing me to consider how best to use skills in photo editing. For booktubing, I'm still learning about outros, adding in audio music and editing videos. There was a series of videos when I simply didn't want to learn what cards were, which was really silly on my part. But because both are different mediums, they're both challenging me to think in new ways, even while encouraging me to be enthusiastic about one of my passions: books.


The awesome, life-changing aspect of being both a booktuber and a book blogger is that they're reminding me of who I am and what I like. Quite simply, I'm becoming more confident. The more time I spend on this blog, the more confident in my evaluation of books. The more time I spend booktubing, the more I'm learning to project my voice and say what I want about books. I've been told several times in my life that I'm quiet, which is true. I don't like being in the center of attention, and I probably never will, but that doesn't mean that I can't find a comfort zone and that I can't find a way of expressing myself without compromising those ideals. I've becoming more focused, too, on positive reviews; I'm accepting more of my own limitations, one of which is that negativity makes me feel worse about myself.


There's no doubt that both booktubing and blogging have given me new skills. Let's face it: when you write at least 500-1,000 words a week for almost five years, of course your writing will improve. Especially when it's tempered by reading a lot of books. Blogging has helped steer me towards finding my own "writing voice" and forced me to focus my ideas. I asked one of my friends for some advice on my booktube channel; I know that I'm not quirky, but I also know that I could play to my strengths and that I haven't been doing that so far. She pointed out that I needed to project my energy more; project more, she said, and more of "me" would come through. You know what? She's right. The more energy I use to make a video, of course both the silly and serious side of me would come out more. And the more videos I make, the better I'm getting at public speaking -- I've been having a bunch of interviews for graduate students, and while I still get nervous, I'm much more controlled about my opinions as well. I know that some people don't want to blog or booktube because they're afraid of what might happen if future bosses discovered them, but the truth is that I'm a better employee because of the skills I'm gaining (e.g. public speaking and writing) -- and not just the ones that are specific to the medium in question (e.g. blog design and video editing).


It's absolutely lovely getting to see people's enthusiasm for books expressed in different ways: whether writing a *FLAIL* ~flail~ into your reviews/posts or flailing about in your videos. The different mediums show different sides to books and the book community, and it's also really interesting seeing what books, particularly in YA, are popular in the blogosphere and popular on various booktube channels, and whether there's overlap.

You know what's also really interesting about having both a booktube channel and a blog? I have to describe books in different ways according to the mediums. Here on the blog, I can just post a goodreads summary or a link to the goodreads book page and assume that if my description or excitement interests you, you can check out the book for yourself. On the booktube channel, that's not really possible. You could assume that, but you might lose your viewers when you're talking about a book that they can't easily access. So you have to describe the book in a couple of sentences (or if you're like me, occasionally you'll end up rambling instead). That's another example of seeing how the two mediums have different but equally awesome ways of expressing enthusiasm for books.


Haha, I guess this is maybe the same point as number four or at least more of its implications, but it's a no-brainer that the more invested I am in the book community, the more I will be able to discover new books. My friend, Ameriie, at Books Beauty Ameriie is always chatting about books that I wouldn't have heard about otherwise because I'm so YA-focused. At the same time, many book bloggers (see the sidebar here -->) are reminding me of YA books that I haven't heard of either -- whether published already and on a backlist, or a soon-to-be-published book that's not getting as much attention. I love how both communities are helping me hone into the books I want to read and develop my reading tastes.


As much as I'm gaining skills from both, well, I'm flawed, and those flaws show up in both mediums in some of the same ways. When I'm lazy or I oversleep or I have a ton of shit to do and not much time left to do it, oooo that's going to show in my blog posts - typos, sentences that don't make sense or I just won't expand on ideas or things will sound too generic or hey, here's the example of that bookish rounds post error. Similarly, as my friend had said, a lot of my booktube videos are low energy and I'm not coming across the way I want. I probably should get better at promoting both the blog and the channel, but I suck at that too. Similarly, I keep wondering how to convey more of myself in both mediums. My friend, this past weekend, said that I was an asshole. I was confused; no one has ever called me an asshole--I try really hard to be kind to everyone. She pointed out the times when I had shoved sour patch kids into her nose and stuffed melting maltballs onto her summer camp bed. Oh, right, I was the trickster asshole with close friends. Yeah, that made sense. But have I ever really conveyed that silliness in with the seriousness here? I don't know. But I guess that's the point of time: more time, more experience, and more evolution, more development of the skills that I listed above and more.
Have you ever considered booktubing or blogging? How have blogging or booktubing or bookstagramming changed you? Do you feel that multiple mediums have unique advantages?
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