Jun 30, 2015

June Wrap Up


It's the end of June. As in, we're currently at the end of the first half of the year.


But how? 


Though it's confusing and hard to digest, we've got to accept it. And that also brings another reality to my mind.

Today will be the last day that I blog alone at Chasing Faetytales!

You guys all know that my new co blogger, the darling Jillian, will join tomorrow, and as excited as I am for that, it's also a bit hard to accept the fact that I am going to share my baby with someone else from tomorrow.



My feelings are a bit all over the place regarding this, but at the same time, I am also pretty excited that Jillian is joining me, and guys don't forget to tune in tomorrow to welcome her on board!:)

Having said that, now let's look back at the month!

WHAT I READ


The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling
The Witch Hunter by Viginia Boecker
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
The Marriage Bed by Laura Lee Guhrke
The Price of a Bride by Michelle Reid
Unforgivable by Joanna Chambers
Virtues of War by Bennett R.Coles

Currently Reading

Rereading Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Matched by Ally Condie

WHAT I POSTED



Reviews

Mini Reviews || Highland edition

Discussion Posts

I asked whether you see a fictional character as a real person or a creation of the author?

I talked about how much blogging has changed me.

Personal Posts

I started writing my first book!

I shared my bitter and horrifying experience with insecurity

Others

I did the Ultimate Book Tag!

I created a tag myself! And it's all about Pixar!

Also, I celebrated my 6 month blogoversary!

AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE


Rachel shared this thought provoking post on Opinions and Freedom of Speech

Chiara explained how sometimes, "meh" books can be good books!

Aimee wrote a pretty informative post on the essentials and mechanics of starting a book blog

Nicole shared her thoughts on reading and writing diversity



(That doesn't mean  I am going to stop tagging you!:))

Melanie gives tips on how to get people read your blog

Jillian tells that she admires and loves book bloggers!
(Love you too Jill!:))

Jeanne confesses that she wants a "social media off button"


Asti talked about accepting changes



BOOKISH AND BLOGGING COMMUNITY NEWS


1. It was a month for new co bloggers!:) While I myself announced that Jillian is going to join me at Chasing Faerytales, Aimee announced her two new co bloggers at Deadly Darlings while Veronika introduced her co blogger at the newly renamed Regal Critiques!

2.Sadly it was also a month for blogger dramas. First of all, there was a blogger who " plagiarized another as an experiment". As a person who strongly disapproves of plagiarism, I personally thought that what the blogger did was absolutely wrong, no matter her excuse.

The second one was a bit more intense. Tbh, I wasn't active enough in twitter to know exactly what happened, but some tweets regarding book tubers were misinterpreted and there started a "feud" between booktubers and book bloggers.

Both have ended, but they left some impact in the book blogging community. There were some negative vibes around, but, we being the awesome community we are, bounced back as soon as we could!:)

3. #BookNerdBoost ! This awesome chat was hosted by Holly, Faye and Amber who came up with the idea after feeling that we bloggers needed a boost after the tense atmosphere the blogosphere was left in, thanks to the dramas.

4. #AskELJames This chat was originally intended to be a Q and A with Fify Shades author James, but the plan backfired when tweets started to pile up with questions that were insulting and poking fun at the author. They were so damn funny, that I couldn't help but share some with you all!:)







PERSONALLY, MY JUNE


1, School is amazing! My new classmates are super friendly and when they learned that I have a blog and that I read, I've become the coolest kid in class!:) My three subjects - Econ, Media and Literature - are wonderful as well, and I also like my new teachers. 
So far Advanced Levels are going great!

2. My PH trip is finalized! I am flying on the 9th of July, and I am pretty excited!:)

3. I took part in an inter school debate competitions which drained my energy totally. I had to practice so hard, as I've lost touch with debating, and though our team didn't win, we came up to the quarter finals, which we're so happy about!:)

4.I am going to buy a new camera! I've gradually started to develop an interest in book photography, and I am also planning to travel a lot in the future, so I made the decision to finally go invest in a DSLR. It's going to make a dent in my savings, though, and I am currently in a book buying ban because of it.

Oh, and before we part ways,

Jill and I have an exciting project coming up, most probably by the end of July. We'll make an announcement later, but while we're developing it, we need a help from you guys!
 Take a moment and fill in this survey, will you sweethearts? It will really help us.

All you have to do is share some questions that you have about blogging, regardless of what aspect of blogging it is about.


Also, I think I am starting to get into a reading slump. You guys got any good recs for me to get back in track?
Btw, how was your June?
Feel free to leave a comment!


Jun 29, 2015

I've created a book tag and it's all about Pixar!

Hey guys!
So all of you must have realized by now that I love tags. Given by the fact that I adore doing them even if I am not actually tagged for one!:) 
But despite my love for them, I've never tried creating a tag myself! But today, while I was talking about Pixar movies in twitter during a chat, I got struck with an idea!

I should do a Pixar Book Tag!

I immediately started developing it, so ladies, let me present to you The Pixar Book Tag, created by the genius mind of yours truly!



Let's get to the questions, shall we?:)



I have a huge soft spot for all Pixar movies, but my favourite would be Finding Nemo. It's a childhood favourite of mine, and I still get pretty emotional while watching it. I adored the characters - especially Dory- and "Just Keep Swimming" is one of my favourite motivational quotes ever!



Without a question - Harry Potter. It's amazing how much the series had an impact in my life when I was young, and still do. I'll forever remember the series and characters fondly, as they're an important  part of my childhood.


Half Blood by Jennifer L.Armentrout. The book's characters, story concept, plot lines and sometimes even particular scenes were too similar to Vampire Academy. Thankfully, Armentrout ended up being creative and original with the rest of the books in the series, but Half Blood's similarity to VA was quite striking for me to accept the book as an original creation.





I think my pick for this would be Warner from Shatter Me though he stopped being the villain of the series by the end of the second book. Still, I couldn't hate him from the first book itself. There was some kind of vulnerability in him and I could sense a hidden desire for affection, which raised my hopes for his character, which were cemented with the novella, Destroy Me.


Emily and Eli's relationship from Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry. Emily has always believed that her father- Eli- has abandoned her and her mother, but later learns that there's a long story behind their estrangement. Their gradual, slow and hesitant bonding is beautiful and sweet and it was heart touching to read.
I also loved Emily's relationship with her step father in the book as well. It was also a sweet and wonderful bond, regardless of the fact that they are not even biologically related!




Addison's power from Pivot Point! I think it would be quite cool if you can know the consequences of your decisions before you took them, especially because I am a specialist in making horrible decisions:)



The Edge of Never by J.A.Redmerski. I am a huge fan of books which involve road trips, and this book is one of the best! Caymen and Andrew are practically strangers when they start their road trip, but by the end of it, they become the most important person in each other's life. The book is one hell of a ride ( don't mind the pun:)) with a wonderful travel experience, deep emotional romance and a heartbreaking ending.



Mitch from Vicious! He is a techno savvy, prison breaker, giant of a man who helps Victor with his evil missions and adores chocolate milk. He's adorable. Enough said!:)




My favourite sci fi / dystopia book would be The Host! I read the book ages ago, even before I knew the meaning of the genre, but that book will always be special to me, as I was quite fascinated with the concept, the characters, and most of all, the beautiful and heart touching love story between Ian and Wanda.





Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Philips. It's an underrated, adult romance novel, but I'll recommend it to anyone who appreciates a beautiful and touching love story. The whole story is about pride. And how love can have an influence on one's pride. It's beautiful and the book broke my heart to pieces, yet I loved it a lot!




Katsa from Graceling. I often think that she's actually pretty underrated, because she isn't as popular as she's amazing. First of all, she has a fantastic power, second, she fights like a pro and third, she's a total feminist. What else do I need from a heroine?:)


Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. This series invoked all kind of feels from me, happiness, sorrow, heartbreak, full on fangirling, tears, angst and by the end of the series, even disappointment. 


Tag, you're it!

Cait @ Paper Fury
Nova @ Out of Time
Jillian @ Jillian's Books

So guys, how was the tag? Did I do okay with creating my first ever tag?
*bites nails nervously*


Jun 25, 2015

Blogging has changed me a lot as a person

When I started blogging, what I initially thought about it, is that it's a hobby which will give me a chance to talk about something I love - books - and get to interact with people with the same interests and passions as me.

But now, after 6 months of being involved in it, I've discovered something beautiful.

Blogging is not just about books. It's certainly not just a hobby.

It's a beautiful and amazing life experience.

I've never actually felt the need to talk about how much blogging means to me. I mean, I've always thought it's obvious that every single book blogger out there loves what they're doing. After all, it's the reason why we stay up all night, spend all our energy and sometimes neglect our personal life totally, to invest all our time, energy and imagination to develop our respective corners of the internet.

But recently, it's kinda evident, that the blogosphere is going through a rocky phase. It's almost over, and everything is back to normal now, as we always bounce back even after the worst drama. But still, I felt that I wanted to share my thoughts on how amazing blogging is and how much it has made an impact in my life.


Blogging has made me more brave and confident.

I am probably one of the most insecure person you'll ever meet in your life. Past experiences and my utter lack of self confidence at times, has made me a person who always self doubt myself. As a result, I've never felt confident enough to go forward and let out my thoughts and ideas.

But after I became a blogger, I became brave enough to talk about a lot of things openly, regardless of the consequences and my own insecurity. I have shared my most personal and ugliest stories with you all, and never feared that you guys will judge me. Talked about pretty controversial and sensitive concepts in my discussion posts, and I was never once afraid of what others will think of me.

And as a result when I hear other bloggers say that my posts are thought provoking and inspirational, I can't help but feel elated and proud and sometimes wonder in disbelief, how I became this person who's now never afraid to speak my mind.

Blogging has made me feel like I matter

When my readers listen to my recs, my advice and when people agree with me and mention me as one of the bloggers they adore, and overall make me feel like I do matter, like my views, opinions and voice matter, I consider it as my greatest accomplishment:)

Blogging has made me feel like I belong

I've always been that girl in school who's lost and clueless when it comes to stereotypes and cliques. The one who never fit in at school, with family and friends. I've always felt like I am too different and too detached from the people in my life, which has made me a lonely child for most of my life,

But then, I discovered blogging and the community. I discovered a lot of people who not only share my love for books, but various other aspects of life as well. People who'll understand me if I gush about my OTP or book boyfriend, celebrate with me when I hit a milestone and understand my happiness if I received an ARC or gained a lot of followers.

Blogging has introduced me to the best batch of people I've ever encountered in life.

The blogging community is amazing. It's friendly, supportive and super cool, to be honest:) We do have some glitches here and there in the form of dramas, a little bit of envy and some bad nuts. But otherwise, it's probably one of the best community to be a part of and I am so proud and blessed to be one of its members.

It's not just about interacting about our love for books anymore. I've realized that the community is so much more. We're always there to wish each other on their birthdays, send virtual hugs and cookies when someone's going through a tough phase in their life, send good luck and positive vibes to everyone who's going to face an exam, interview or an important step in their life and most of all, stand up to each other when someone from the community is facing a drama or an offender regarding to their blog or opinion shared in social media.

When something bad happens, there's always someone to come up with an idea to bring the positivity back, whether it's through a twitter chat or a love project. Always someone to back up a friend or a blogger buddy when we're stuck in a sticky situation. No matter where in the corner of the world we live in, we're all friends, all sisters connected by our mutual love for books.

Finally, blogging has made me mature.

At times, I forget that I am 16 year old. I feel like an adult, organizing events, features, dealing with publishers and authors and interacting with people far older than me without feeling for a single moment that I am a adolescent and they're an adult.
And come on, I've become famous!:)
The postman knows me by name, my new classmates (they're awesome by the way:) are fascinated with me and my blog and when word got around, I've become one of the coolest kids in school!:)

Aside, all of that, I've learned how to handle things, people and situations. I've experienced a lot, which I wouldn't have if I've been a normal teenager. I mean, come on, I am even going to fly all alone to PH this July, and I used to be afraid to even go to the next town alone to get something done:)

Having said all of that, I also want to mention that I absolutely adore being a blogger and starting Chasing Faerytales is probably one of the best decisions I took in life!:)

So anyone, who's tired or in the verge of giving up, think of all the best things about blogging. Think of why you invested all your time and energy into putting your thoughts into words for others to read,
And don't forget to share them to the world, because blogging is amazing,but it also needs to be said often, especially in times like this.

So tell me, what has blogging done to you? How much does it matter and mean to you?
Feel free to leave a comment!



Jun 21, 2015

It's my 6 month blogoversary!


Hey my lovely readers! My baby is 6 months old today!:) 
I am so happy and decided to hold a party, because why not?:)



These past 6 months have been awesome!
I've had a lot of fun, got to know a lot of awesome people and learnt a lot of lessons both for my blog and for life.

I know it's only 6 months, but it feels like a long time, tbh.
So, today, I wanted to reflect back at these amazing 182 days.

What has happened to Chasing Faerytales?

My baby, which was created on the 21st of December 2014, has grown quite a lot from a teeny weeny toddler to an almost walking adolescent:)
It also had a sudden growth spurt in these last few months, and I hope it will continue:)

Let's see some stats, shall we?

Posts : 72
Site visitors : 17,936
Followers :
- Twitter - 778
- Bloglovin' - 383

I know that it isn't a lot, but I personally am pretty happy and proud of what my blog has achieved so far:)


This also brings me to a pretty important announcement!

You guys all know that I've been looking for a co blogger for some time. And guess what, I've finally found my perfect co blogger!

All my lovely readers, say hi to my new partner in crime and co blogger of Chasing Faerytales, Jillian!

You might know her as the blogger from Jillian's Books. She's such a sweet and amazing blogger and I am so excited to announce that she's joining me at my blog.

She won't join until July, but we've already planned a lot of exciting things for the blog.
Check out Jillian's own announcement here and don't forget to tune in by the start of July for her official introduction here as a co blogger!

Now that I've made my announcement, let's get back to the topic:)

What has happened to me, as a blogger?

In these 6 months, being a blogger at Chasing Faerytales, has influenced me a lot personally. I've got to know a lot of amazing people of the book blogging community, developed my taste in books, learnt a lot of blogging lessons the hard way and most of all, become a part of a wonderful and beautiful community that has always made me feel like my opinions, views and words matter!

I've become more open with my views, dared to share even the most personal aspects of my life, and become more brave, more passionate and certainly better at my writing.

And all of this happened because of you all, my wonderful readers. You guys offered me virtual hugs and made me shed happy tears with your comments to my very personal post about insecurity and it's toll in my life. Supported me when I was down during a blogger- author drama. Encouraged me when I told that I had self doubts regarding my writing dream and rejoiced with me when I finally found the courage and inspiration to start my book.

Everyone of you has been with me, supported me and made this 6 months possible. I want to say that I love everyone of you and am eternally grateful to you all from the bottom of my heart.



It's time for some thank yous.

Here's a tribute to all my lovely blogger friends who've made this 6 months awesome.

Nuz - my fellow SL blogger who has been like an elder sister to me, when it comes to blogging. Hazel - without whom I'd be hopeless with regard to coding, design and anything that requires HTML. Rachel - my darling perfectionist co blogger:). Cait - my speed reading buddy and the queen of awesomeness. Kelly - the writer of beautiful reviews and hilarious tweets. Melanie - my go-to person for fairytale retelling recs. Jillian - my sweet blogging buddy, and now, co blogger. Nova - who inspires me to be more daring in my posts. Kaitlin - with whom I share my oldest and longest blogging friendship. Christy - we bonded over our mutual love for Captain Hook. Asti and Kelley - thanks for linking my discussion posts in your weekly recaps! Nara - the high fantasy expert. Jules - I am in awe with this girl's artistic talent. Jeann - with whom I can fangirl over superheroes. Aimee - whose negative reviews are my favourite:) Faye - I look forward to our #RandomYAParty every Sunday. Melanie - who inspired me to finally go on to look for a co blogger. Chiara - I love this girl's hair! Nicole - I often forget that she's as old as my mom:) Benish - who brings out thought provoking discussion topics. Megan - who leaves the best comments. Shannelle - whose lettering I swoon over. Pam - with whom I rant about the unfair life of an International book blogger. Veronika - who is a sweetheart and a lovely friend.

And also to my new twitter buddies!

I look forward to have more conversations with you all!

Amber | Paula | Ruzaika | Xander | Erin | Rachana | Lillian | Kaitlin | Nori | Beatrice | Mei | Kristen



And also to every single person who've read my posts, commented on them, linked them in your recap posts, shared them through social media and to everyone who stopped by my blog or twitter to talk to me, I love you all, and thanks a lot for being awesome!

What's a party without treats?

Thanks for joining my party everyone, and as a treat, I am hosting a giveaway!

One person will win a book (or two) upto $ 20 in The Book Depository.
Giveaway is International

Jun 19, 2015

As cruel as it's beautiful || Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Synopsis:
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


Cruel Beauty is one of my most anticipated reads - ever since its release a year ago - as I am a huge sucker for fairytale retellings - especially that of Beauty and the Beast - and the stunning cover of this book demanded a place in my shelf. When I started it, I was expecting it to be a great read, but nevertheless, I was totally taken aback by this enthralling story with unique concepts, multi dimensional characters and a mesmerising world building and writing style.


In a paranormal dystopia world, where demons have taken over the original kings, and the prince of demons - also called as the Gentle Lord - controls the people through his cunning and wicked bargains, Nyx is brought up from a small age to be married to the said lord, as the consequence of the foolish bargain her father struck with him. But she was also brought up to kill the demon prince, trained and educated by an unloving family - in the name of duty - which made her cynical, bitter and wicked at heart. When she marries the Gentle Lord - Ignifex - she finds herself dragged into an enticing, enthralling, confusing and deadly game of magic and curses, while she loses her heart to the man she was supposed to kill on the way.

There were three things that I specifically love in Cruel Beauty. First was the writing style. It's not a secret, that I am a huge fan of unique, beautiful and descriptive writing that make me envision the story in front of my eyes. Rosamund Hodge had such a writing style. Her descriptions were vivid, pace was steady and most of all, her usage of words were stunning. Even the names she has chosen for her characters and places were absolutely beautiful and creative.
“Almost immediately, I found the red door into the library. I opened it idly- and the breath stopped in my throat. It was the same room I remembered: the shelves, the lion-footed table, the white bass-relief of Clio. But now, tendrils of dark green ivy grew between the shelves, reaching toward the books as if they were hungry to read. White mist flowed along the floor, rippling and tumbling as if blown by wind. Across the ceiling wove a network of icy ropes like tree roots. They dripped- not little droplets like the ice melting off a tree but grape-sized drops of water, like giant tears, that splashed on the table, plopped to the floor.” 
Next was the world building and concept. I was completely blown away by Rosamund Hodge's creativity. She has woven her tale beautifully with a beloved fairytale as the basic story line, greek mythology as the background and her original take on hermetic beliefs as a support to the realm she has created. Cruel Beauty keeps throwing some new revelation at you in every other chapter, so much so that, there's not a single dull moment in the book. I also loved how she has used all three elements of her concept effectively to give us a story rich in it's creativity and story development.
“The fire roared down upon us. It curled through our hair, then wrapped around our wrists and faces, trying to drag us apart. It seared across my skin, hotter than the Heart of Fire, and yet more painful was how it seared through my mind. The fire burned away my memories, taking back his name and mine, both of my pasts and all of my hopes, the sky and the sparrow and the world itself. I clung to somebody I did not know, could not imagine knowing, but I still knew beyond all doubt that he was mine.
We fell until we had been falling forever and always, and always would continue falling, because nothing existed outside this chaos of fire and shadow.
Finally and probably my most favourite aspect, is the characters. It's been some time since I read a book with such complex, multi dimensional and beautifully crafted characters, and I loved reading about them in Cruel Beauty. Nyx is not your stereotypical YA heroine. Not at all. She's cruel, bitter and her heart is filled with hatred and envy. Some readers might find her unlikeable, but I loved her character to bits. She is exactly how I want my YA heroines as. Flawed and unapologetic. The perfect anti heroine, with wickedness and cruelty inside her heart as much as she had kindness and love.
 'That's what makes you my favorite.' He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. 'Every wicked bit of you.” 
 “You fought and fought to keep all the cruelty locked up in your head, and for what? None of them ever loved you, because none of them ever knew you”
Then there was Ignifex. The charmingly dangerous, beautifully wicked and mysteriously alluring Gentle Lord - the prince of demons, bargains and curses. He was a perfect blend of a hero and villain - the perfect anti hero, and the perfect match to the equally complex personality of Nyx. These two characters had so much depth and layers in their characters, that I couldn't help but fall in love with their characterization and portrayal, and somehow the characters themselves, in all their twisted glory.


But that doesn't mean that I didn't have any problems with the story. Truth to be told, I did find a lot of flaws in Cruel Beauty, and personally didn't mind them, but I do want to mention them in the review, as some might not ignore the imperfections as I did while reading the story.

As much as I loved the characters separately, and also thought that they made a good match, I am not exactly a huge fan of the romance in the book. I often felt like it wasn't developed enough, and it was a pity actually, as Nyx and Ignifex had a lot chemistry and sexual tension that had a lot of potential to be terrific slow burn, hate to love romance, but instead, Hodge didn't spend enough effort in developing the romance as much as she did while developing the backstory and plot.
“I still wasn’t sure that I loved him. Love—the kind that was holy to Aphrodite—was not something I had ever allowed myself to think about much. If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?” 
Then there's also the fact that there is too much information dumped on the reader. I personally appreciate a well crafted world with enough info so that I don't find any loopholes in the plotline, but at times, I couldn't help but notice that, the amount of explaining, flashbacks and old stories were too much and overwhelming and might annoy a reader who enjoys fast paced paranormal stories without too much info dump.



Other than that, Cruel Beauty is an alluring tale, beautifully written and crafted with terrific characters, mesmerizing back stories and interesting takes on mythology and the good old fairytale of the Beauty and the Beast. I would recommend the book to all fantasy lovers who love a dark and gothic take on fairytales an also for readers who like their main characters with a little bit of malice.