Sep 29, 2015

Online presence isn't about being everywhere. It's about making a mark.


Blogging is not just about what you write and talk in your blog. It's certainly not just about yourself. When you blog, you create a presence for yourself, you build a platform and you acquire an audience. But to do all of this, you also need a voice apart from your blog, a presence online, which invites readers and fans to your corner of the internet eventually. This presence plays a huge part in your blogging success, and here's some tidbits and secrets ( well, not exactly:)) that I've learned regarding making your mark online!


Before I start discussing, let me clear this. I am only going to tackle twitter and your presence as a blogger/reader/commenter. I have no idea about facebook, and I am an amateur pinner, so I can't be of help in that areas!:)

1. Learn to accept the fact that you can't be everywhere and be online all the time.

This is where all the stressing starts. When I was a newbie, I wanted to peek my nose into everything, I want to be in the middle of ALL THE THINGS and wanted to know every single happening that's being discussed currently in the blogosphere.

Let me tell you something. It's no use stressing about it! No matter how much time you spend online, you're always going to miss something. Missed a twitter chat? There will be another one! Missed a drama? Be thankful! You log on to twitter and find everyone talking about something and you're lost? Don't worry at all! Stay away and in a few days, there'll be some post about it for sure! 

Like I said in the title, ONLINE PRESENCE IS NOT ABOUT BEING EVERYWHERE. It's all about leaving an impact. Making people notice YOU! 

2. Timing is always important.

It is certainly the key. For example, even a really interesting thought you tweeted when you're up and everyone's sleeping can get ignored while a random tweet of yours which you put up at the busiest time of twitter gets so much replies! It's insane, but that's how twitter works. 

You have to understand the correct time to say things. This also goes to blog posts. Know your best time, and your best day and make your thoughts and words go live in the correct time.

But how do I know it?

Good question. Let me answer that!

To know your best time, you have to know your feed. And your audience. Research says that 12 pm to 6 pm EST is the right time to tweet while 5 pm is the peak. But if you ask me, it all depends on the people you follow and who follows you.

All you have to do is observe

Trust me, it's not at all easy. I observed for months before finding a pattern. Nowadays, I know exactly when most of my friends come online and when I should be online. I know my twitter feed and my followers like the back of my hand, and no I am not exaggerating. My knowledge here is actually a bit creepy and stalkerish. If I follow you in twitter, I most probably know roughly the time you are often online.

This helps me in deciding when to be online and when not to bother at all. I know what time I should schedule my posts and what time I should log on to twitter.

3. Master the art of timezones.

Timezones are frustrating. But they're also something you can master. Know what your time translates into EST and GMT. For example I go by the IST (Indian Standard Time). I am ahead of the US peeps by about half a day and behind Australia by 5 hours. This limits my ability to be online when everyone is, but at the same time, after I understood the right time translations, it became easy. And with a few sacrifices and change in routines, I managed to achieve the best out of timezones.

For example, my feed's traffic will be really high when it is early morning to me. Since I board the bus at 6 am to go to school , and I study in a stupid all girls' convent where phones are prohibited (gasp!) I have no way of being online then. But I being the dedicated blogger I am, wake up at 4.30 in the morning, spend exactly one hour online, then go get ready for school! That gives me time to do a lot of things, and make up for the fact that I won't be back online until I come back from school, 3 in the afternoon.

4. Be nice.

This actually should go without saying, but please, please, be nice to everyone and anyone who tweets to you. When I was a newbie - and who am I kidding, even now - when I tweeted to bloggers I admire or was in awe with, and they didn't respond or didn't even show any sign that they noticed my tweet, it hurts! It sucks so much.

This is why I take the time to reply to every single tweet that is directed to me. I know it's hard. Your notifications might be messy and flooded, twitter might be playing games with you hiding your notifications *glares at twitter* or you really don't have time to respond to every tweet. 

But also remember this. A single favourite or reply from your favourite author or blogger will make a fan's day! For a moment put yourself in their shoes and think. The moment I started to think that way, I started to make sure to respond to all my notifications. It's just a small thing that I can do, I guess.

5. Schedule

In case you didn't know already, you can actually schedule tweets in twitter just like you can schedule posts in your blog. I learned this really really late :D Apps like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are a great help in this department. I myself use Hootsuite, as I didn't get the hang of Tweet deck!

Also, keep #2 in mind when you schedule. Your timing is going to play a huge role in the response to your tweets and blog posts.

6. Follow the right people.

Keep your feed clean and organized. Follow the tweeters who are informative, fun, nice and friendly. Follow publishers, and handles like Epic Read and Fierce Reads. This will keep you updated with news and announcements regarding book releases and announcements. Follow the right set of bloggers who you actually think you connect with.

Do a bit of spring cleaning often both in your bloglovin and twitter feed. There's no point in a cluttered and messy feed which will make you miss the most exciting and interesting things. The more control you have over your feed, the more benefit you'll get from it.

7. Engage.

Strike up convos. A single " what are you reading" question can spark off a lot of responses and conversations. Go reply to tweets. Start up a conversation with other tweeters! Participate in twitter chats! They will definitely broaden your circle. Join in Nori's #RQWN, Penguin Australia's super informative PTA Chat, get introduced to newbie authors in #FAC16 etc. 

8. Be personal but safe.

There's a thin line between both of them, and you have to be careful there. Being personal is super important in developing a healthy relationship with your readers. When your friends and readers get to know the person behind the screen, they connect to you more. So make sure to include random tid bits about yourself, bookish or non bookish. Trust me, things get noticed. I am sure by now, half of my feed knows that I have an undying love Victoria Schwab and villains. 

But at the same time, it's very very important to be safe. I never knew how much exposed I am with my twitter profile, until I stupidly shared my skype address publicly in twitter while in a convo. The next moment I started getting request after request in skype, people I never know and profile pics which had quite ...... graphic images. *shudders* I was so scared! I immediatly deleted that tweet and in a while the requests stopped but that incident scared me for life. Just how much exposed am I to the world?

You need to find the perfect balance here. Let's start with your profile pics. I know it's ideal to have a picture of yourself - with a clear shot of your face - from what I have gathered through other posts like these and research. But at the same time, think twice whether you're okay with the fact that your pic is out there in the open. 

There are bloggers out there who maintain a perfect balance between both. I've never seen what Cait looks like unless you count those rare photos in her IG and her blog where no face is shown. As long as I remember Kelly's twitter DP has been Miss. Piggy. Many bloggers use pseudonyms. Some are even super careful with their email addresses. 

9. Talk about new things.

The original and thought provoking your content is, the more reception you get! It's a bit annoying when someone says a statement then everyone keeps saying the same thing again and again until it gets tiring. Talk about new things! Random things! Please don't try too hard to be smart and updated. It's annoying. #sorrynotsorry.

To summarise........
  • You don't even have to be online all the time. You just have to make it appear as if you are. It all works with some observation, a few sacrifices and a little bit of logic. You can certainly master the art of your online presence!

What's your views on "online presence"? Do you agree with me? Do you have anymore tips to share? Anything I missed?







Sep 27, 2015

Fairytales Report #2


Hey guys!

How's everyone? Can you believe that we are actually nearing the end of September! I feel like the month just started!

Let's take a look at what we and the book community were up to these past two weeks!


WHAT WE READ


Mishma

I didn't get much reading done. It sucks! I buddy read The Diviners with Cait, Amanda and Charnell and did a bit of speed reading since I started late. But otherwise I've been moving so slow with my reads. I've been reading Six of Crows for 4 days now, and despite it being an engaging book, I can't seem to find the time to read!

Books Read

Legend by Marie Lu
The Diviners by Libba Bray

Currently Reading

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Jillian

I finally managed to read a YA novel over the past few weeks, despite this mental burden called "stress" instigated by this institution called "school." Haha. And I loved the book so much that I recently posted a review at the blog. (It's Since You've Been Gone!) It was such an enjoyable read!

Books Read
Breaking the Silence by Maria J. Nieto
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Currently Reading
This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup

WHAT WE POSTED


The Reviews

Undaunted by Ronnie Douglas
Dreamland by Robert L.Anderson
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab

Others

( US and INTL)

AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE


I listed the pros and cons of book adapted TV Shows (Over at APCB)
Claudia discusses villains
Chiara lists her Throne of Glass ships
The girls at Deadly Darlings share 30 truths about themselves
Shannon discusses how hard it is to say no
Jillian tells us what she thinks about controversial topics
Kayla lists her favourite bromances
Faye describes the struggles of writing a positive review
Melanie talks popularity
Ranu discusses about writing reviews
Claire shares her thoughts on the Allegiant movie
Shay talks about book trailers
Inge shares a hilarious post about The Sims

BOOKISH AND BLOGGING COMMUNITY NEWS


Mishma

1. Nori's #BBCreativityProject is going to be live in October! In case you missed it, Nori came up with this project in August, where she grouped up the participants into 13 groups, and instructed us to come up with our own feature. All 13 groups are now prepared with their respective features!

I myself belong to the Lilac group, and I have the best teammates ever!:) We have come up with a blogging bucket list, which was compiled, selected and voted by our team members. We are planning to complete everything in our bucket list by the end of October, while keeping it as fun and stress free as possible!

Our feature's going to be called, "When We Aren't Lazy" and here's our bucket list!


( Credit goes to Claudia)
  1. Cross Post all reviews - I am so bad at this! So I am going to concentrate on GR, Amazon and if it's an ARC, EW and NG.
  2. Get ahead on posts - I want to get at least one month ahead on all posts. November is going to be a busy month, so I have to work hard in October.
  3. Blog hop weekly - I am planning to make Saturday my blog hopping day.
  4. Use more photography in posts - I am going to make it a habit to make all my blog images, photos that I took, with the exception of gifs.
  5. ALWAYS double-check and triple-check posts for spelling, grammar, etc - I suck at this. I always find little typos here and there in my published posts, so I am going to pay more attention here.
  6. Make a dent in my Netgalley pile - While others are trying to bring up their ratio, I just want to finish off all the e-ARCs. My NG ratio is beyond repair, that I've actually given up improving it!
  7. Make new friends & interact more with other blogs - I need to find more blogs since I cleared up my bloglovin feed recently.
  8. Engage more in twitter - This is going to be a true challenge, because I have very limited time to be online hereafter. 
  9. Reply and comment back on all the comments without fail - I really need to work on this. I'll try to do this weekly, but we'll see.
  10. Try to manage time between blogging, reading, school and life efficiently - This one was made for me. Period :D
  11. Host at least one guest writer on the blog - I don't have any specific plan for this, tbh. But I might do it since I had so much fun with guest posts during LITHW!
  12. Try out more bookish challenges - I really don't have enough time for this, but what I am going to do is catch up with all the tag posts and instagram tags.
Oh, and before I forget, here are the rest of my teammates! 

Claudia | Rhea | Nori | Sam | Fatima | Wren | Leigh | Pam | Emily

2. The search for the ARC of Scarlet by A.C.Gaughen is taking over the #booksfortrade hashtag! Gail  is willing to offer some rare old ARCs ( The DUFF, Bloodlines series, Beautiful Creatures etc.) in exchange for the copy! Everyone is now in a frantic search for Scarlet now, including yours truly, because Gail promised me some V.E.Schwab ARCs if I helped her find a copy, and we all know how desperate I am for them!:)

3. Six of Crows is releasing next Tuesday! I am currently reading this book, and guys, THIS BOOK IS GLORIOUS!!! I can't wait for you guys to meet the crew, fall in love with Kaz and drown in the feels that Mathias and Nina will give you!

Jillian

01. The "Potter It Forward" social media movement. THIS IS SO INSPIRING. As part of a new campaign called Potter It Forward, readers are leaving behind messages in all Harry Potter books in bookstores and libraries to inform new HP lovers of how the books have inspired them. The notes are so beautiful. You may read about it HERE.

02. Adult coloring books are a thing now. I don't know about you guys, but they are so highly popular here in Manila. And I tend to love these coloring books because they're so cute! I bought an adult coloring book a few weeks ago after heading to the gym. What a beautiful invention. They are also climbing the bestseller list now. Read about it HERE.

03. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is in two parts. Apparently, J.K. Rowling is releasing a new thing called Cursed Child? I might not have known about this?? And the movie will be in two parts??? My life is unupdated. You can read about it HERE. (Fun fact: Eddie Redmayne will be Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I LOVE HIM.)


TWEETS OF THE WEEK









PERSONALLY, OUR WEEK...


Mishma

1. I turned 17!!!! I had the best birthday ever this year! My new classmates are really awesome and welcoming, and despite the fact that I've only known them for two months, they made sure that my birthday was a day to remember! Plus, the book community showered me with wishes, that I was quite stoked with all your love! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!! You guys made my day!

And to top it all off, VICTORIA SCHWAB WISHED ME!!!! You guys know that she's my favourite author, so I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this!

FLAILS! DIES!!!!

And that's not it! My cousins had a surprise birthday party for me at home! I was stoked, and the best part of it all is the cake my cousin made for me!!!


Gorgeous, isn't it?:) It was also super delicious!:)

I also got a lot of presents! My dad gave me $700 since I am saving up for BEA and my parents got me clothes, but no books since I am in a book buying ban right now :D My best friend got me this wonderful book of folktales of other countries since I was looking for some for my WIP!


This is huge since she's the kind of person who doesn't even step into a bookstore voluntarily!

Plus, my darling blogger buddy Ruzi, sent me some cute stuff on my birthday! Thanks love! :D


Basically I had the best birthday ever, and thanks to all of you who made my day awesome!

2. I got an internship!!! I got a 3 month internship at a local radio station under the PR and Brand Management section and I am super excited!!! I start on the 2nd of October, and I'll keep you guys updated on my adventures!

3. I am drowned in research for my WIP. I actually think I research more than I write. The thing is, since my book is an urban fantasy and I am also basing it on Indian mythology during the time of the Aryan invasion, it's proving to be super hard for me to connect the dots. Plus, I am a bit stuck on the history research. I am currently looking for someone from Pakistan who can give me some insight. You guys know someone who can help me?

4. I am going to India in November! I am so excited as the last time I went there I was 13! I have a cousin in Chennai, (the south of India) and I am going to visit her as well as get some stuff done. First of all, I need to find some more books on mythology, and I am also helping out my blogger buddy Xander with finding the Harry Potter translations in Indian languages, so I have to go in search for them too. Oh and do I have any readers from India? I'd love to meet you guys too!!!

Jillian

01. Class overnight. I'll be away on Thursday and Friday because I'm taking part in a mandatory class overnight trip somewhere south of Manila. Two hours away from home, to be exact. This would be my 5th overnight, and while I'm excited for it, I hate how it's so far from home. I get homesick easily. ^_^"

02. Senior high school entrance exam next Saturday. It's finally here! I'm so nervous. While majority of my friends and classmates are taking up senior high in my current high school, I plan to pursue Grades 11 and 12 in a university with my brother. This is nerve-wracking because the test is 5 hours long! Wish me luck!

03. New books. I bought The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte yesterday. I can't wait to start reading them, even if I have 7 other books I still need to read.

04. Birthday is coming. October is so close, and that means my cake day is here! Two weeks from now, I'll be 15 years old.



Sep 24, 2015

This book is awesome. Enough said || A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab


(Phone wallpaper credit goes to Aimee from The Social Potato)

Title : A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E.Schwab
Release Date: February 27th 2015
Publisher : Titan Books
Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.



If you follow me in twitter, you would already know that I am a huge fan of Victoria a.k.a V.E. Schwab. I love her Vicious to death, adore all her other books, and after reading A Darker Shade of Magic, I can say without a doubt that she is my favourite author. Period! I'll probably read even a terms and conditions page if it's written by her!



A Darker Shade of Magic is a complex and intricate high fantasy, where there are four types of London. Red London is a place where magic is common, appreciated and praised. Grey London is devoid from a single trace of it, and most citizens doesn't even know the existence of it. White London craves it, where control is in a brink and power is dangerous. Black London is extinct, where the darkness of magic, has consumed the city and its inhabitants. 

“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.” 

Each London is separated from each other, via figurative doors, through which only two people can ever travel, one of which is our MC - Kell. His eventful life turns chaotic when he comes across an object that shouldn't exist, travels with a person he shouldn't hang out with and fights against a force which will most probably consume his own life.

One of the most beautiful things about Victoria's books is that they deal with a thin line - the grey area- between two contrasting forces. In The Archived, it was the line between what should be remembered and what's best left forgotten. In Vicious, it was the complex grey area between good and bad - a villain and a hero. Like wise, A Darker Shade of Magic dabbles with balance. The balance between power and darkness, and portrays the harsh reality of how easy it is for power to be consumed by darkness, greed, hunger and insanity.

The world building of ADSOM is terrific! The whole concept of different Londons and the different shades of magic which was portrayed in the book was beautifully written. Victoria has a way of explaining her world without info dumping, which I've never seen any other author pull off so effortlessly. By the time you finish the book, you'll know every single nook and corner of ADSOM's world building, but at the same time, not a single moment while reading the book, would you have felt like she's stuffing you with information. Every single revelation is carefully timed and worded, which is a trademark of her books, which I adore.


Moving on to the characters, there were a couple of them who made a mark in me. First of all, we have Kell, our MC. He's an Antari - one who can perform blood magic, and he dwells in Red London, where he is considered as an adopted prince, and is admired as well as feared. I loved his character so much! He reminded me of Victor from Vicious - who is one of my all time favourite character - but he was a less nefarious and more arrogant version of Victor. Plus, by the latter half of the book, he was engaged in an intense war within himself, hanging onto the threads of balance while he tried so hard to keep his powerful soul away from darkness. It was a hard battle for him to win, and his slow but steady victory was beautiful to read about!

“You know so little of war. Battles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out.” 

( For some reason, I was reminded of this quote often while I was reading the book)

Lila - a brave, defiant, amazing, cross dressing, aspiring pirate and current thief/cutthroat/pickpocket - is Kell's companion when he drags himself into some sticky business. This girl was absolutely amazing! I loved how she had a thirst for adventure, and never backed out of a challenge or said no. Her fierce protective nature towards Kell, her determination and her carefree attitude towards life, all made her a favourite of mine!

“Aren't you afraid of dying?" he asked Lila now.
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. "Death comes for everyone," she said simply. "I'm not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here." She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. "I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” 


Rhy - the prince of Red London - was adorable! He was a flirt and a laid back character, but his unconditional love for Kell, his sense of loyalty and most of all, his empathy and forgiving nature, made me admire him quite a lot! His bromance with Kell was adorable as well!

I'd also like to mention Holland here - who was an antagonist, but he made a lasting impact in me. It's hard to describe him without spoiling anything, but his last scene in the book made me cry a lot!
Two more terrific characters are Athos and Astrid Dane! Woah, I was petrified of these villains! I wish they had more screen time though, they were two of the best villains I've ever come across!

“The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea.” 


Romance always take a backseat in Schwab's books, which was the same case in ADSOM. Kell and Lila had a wonderful companionship, and they have a potential romance which is hinted by the end of the book. Plus, I also loved the fact that Rhy is bisexual - it's not everyday that there's a LGBT character in a fantasy book - and I am looking forward to see what Victoria has planned for him as well!

“He would see her again. He knew he would. Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time they were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila felt like a pin in Kell's world. One he was sure to snag on.” 

A Darker Shade of Magic was a fast paced story! I finished it in one sitting, as it kept me engrossed, and the writing just flowed through me, and there's never a dull moment in the book. I also loved the fact that everything was chaotic in the story, as nothing went as planned, characters made mistakes, had epic failures and went to the brink of death and came back. It's such an eventful book that you can't have the liberty of breathing a sigh of relief, because the next moment, there'll be something to keep you worried again!



Overall, A Darker Shade of Magic is a book which you SHOULD read! ASAP! And if you haven't read this one or any other book by Victoria Schwab, go remedy that soon because her books are awesome! THEY ARE THE BEST!!!! I am dying to read the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows, counting the days painfully until February 2016.


Sep 23, 2015

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson


d

Title: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Borrowed

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um...

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she'll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait... what?


PRAISE THIS GLORIOUS BOOK.


Morgan Matson, you've done it again! You are officially one of my most favorite YA contemporary writers out there because I love every single book you've ever written. After having finished Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, I was bound to read this book next. And after waiting for so, so long, I am glad to say I am not disappointed.

In all honesty, I think I like this book as much as I love Amy & Roger. It was light, fluffy, and fresh enough to read. It fit my everyday mood pretty well!

Since You've Been Gone revolves around the friendship between Emily and Sloane. Emily is very dependent on Sloane and would often follow her style, but one day when Sloane disappears without a word, Emily finds herself going through life without her best friend. With only a list from Sloane for her to follow, we see her thrive to find a way to find her friend by following Sloane's list, thinking that it would help her find her. 

"Real friends are the ones you can count on no matter what.
The ones who go into the forest to find you and bring you home.
And real friends never have to tell you that they're your friends."

What I loved most about this book was the FRIENDSHIP.


I loved seeing the friendship between Emily and Sloane! It was so beautiful to see that, despite their differences, they were able to become really close friends eventually. It made me see the value and importance of friendship in our lives, and how it could shape us as we continuously grow.

Emily Hughes was an amazing protagonist! Although I was slightly irritated by the fact that she was completely reliant on Sloane and could not seem to get through without her, I loved how daring she was throughout the book. Emily does, in fact, follow Sloane's list, and reading about her doing them made me appreciate how willing she was to complete them in order to find her best friend.

"All the stuff you can't wait to get away from, until it's not there anymore, and then 
you miss it like crazy."

One of the aspects that made me love Since You've Been Gone so much was the CHEMISTRY between Emily and Frank, and the new friendships that Emily created with other people apart from Sloane.

As Emily continues the list, she creates new friends -- one of which is a boy named Frank. Cute senior boy and class president. She also meets new people named Collins and Dawn, and watching her slowly leave her position as "Sloane's Shadow" greatly affects her character development. Because Emily develops very well in this book. Leaving behind the idea of being Sloane's Shadow makes her come off as an independent person -- no longer reliant and hidden. Instead, outgoing and open.

Watching her befriend Collins and Dawn, and actually developing a little chemistry with Frank (who is PERFECT for Emily *cough*) made me like her more. Matson did an amazing job turning Emily into a much stronger person than before! I loved it so much!


I highly recommend this book to all lovers of contemporary novels (light, fluffy, fresh, and cute... those kinds!). If you've read Amy & Roger or Second Chance Summer, you have to give this one a try as well!

Sep 21, 2015

A girl who walks dreams || Dreamland by Robert L.Anderson




Title : Dreamland
Author: Robert L.Anderson
Release Date : September 22nd 2015
Publisher : Harper Teen
Synopsis:


Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?



I received an ARC of this book from Harper Teen in exchange for a honest review.
*Quotes shared in the review may not be in the final copy.*

Dea walks dreams. She's always been able to do it and more than a gift or a power, it has become an unwanted part of her life. It prevents her from being normal, along with the constant moving, a weird and secretive mother, a life where mirrors are prohibited and clocks are welcomed - she has always been an outsider, a freak and a loner. For a short time, she thinks that everything's alright, with the entry of Connor, the new guy, who understands her and might even like her, but it doesn't take a long time, for him to be exactly what shatters Dea's carefully constructed life of dreams, lies, confusion and secrets.

Dreamland was a mess of a book. But it was also a beautiful and fascinating mess. I adored reading this book, where everything was all over the place, and the writing was whimsical and eerie. The story was intriguing, at times creepy, thrilling and unpredictable.

"The hall was cool and dark, and smelled like rosemary. Other than the tick-tick-tick of a dozen old clocks, it was quiet. Dea's mom was a nut about clocks..... Sometimes Dea felt like that crocodile in Peter Pan, like a ticking clock was lodged in her belly and she couldn't escape it. Every so often, her heart picked up upon the rhythm."


I had mixed feelings for Odea. Sometimes I felt a deep connection to her, and empathized with her, as she was a loner and bullied at school, plus struggles with the fact that no body can understand her. But she was also frustrating at times. There were times when she was pushy, stubborn, and stupid. But I also wanted to excuse her for those traits, as she had too much on her plate which must have been really hard to handle.

"Dea was six years old the first time she walked a dream

It was an accident"



I liked Connor. The romance in this book, was subtle, though it did have importance to the plot. However, Connor was a great companion, a good friend and most of all, a stable and sensible guy who was the one thing that made sense in Dea's life. 

Dreamland is not just a story about Dea's dream walking. Rather it's a story of two quests. One involves the search for a person, and the other is a murder mystery. Dea's life gets entangled with both of these quests, while her habit of dream walking drags her into trouble as much as it helps her.

One of the best things about the book is the writing. It was creepy as hell, and I loved it! The constant mention of the ticking of clocks, the birds that lead the way out of dreams and most of all, the faceless men - they gave me nightmares! - everything was described perfectly, to the point, I could envision them in front of my eyes.

"They had no faces. No eyes, no noses, no cheekbones or foreheads, just a swirl of flesh-coloured skin, barely patched together, like some horrible painting left to bleed in the rain."

There were also a few misses, as well. I felt like some parts of the story dragged a bit, but it wasn't so bad, and the book got saved by the fact that it had an engaging beginning and an eventful ending, which makes you don't mind the middle. And I wanted more dream walking. I liked the fact that the book focused on a mystery as well, but I wanted to see more of the dreams. 


Overall, Dreamland was a great read! I'd recommend this book to fans of messy books like me. If you enjoy a good amount of creepiness in your reads, then Dreamland will be the book for you. It won't be Inception - gotta admit that - but then, nothing can beat that movie. But still, I felt like Dreamland gave a remarkable take on dreams and mysteries, and I enjoyed it a lot!




Sep 18, 2015

I turn 17 today! (Giveaway!!!!)

Guess who's turning 17 today?

Meeee!!!!



I am so excited - obviously - and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday!:)

Anyway, since I am turning 17, I wanted to share some random 17 things that you might have not known before!

  1. I am an ENFP. As in the campaigner - Enthusiastic, creative and sociable free spirits, who can always find a reason to smile.
  2. My favourite book is Vicious. My favourite author is - coincidentally - Victoria Schwab, who wrote the book.
  3. I have an insane love for villains.
  4. I am a debater.
  5. I love older movies. My favourite film decade is the 90s.
  6. My ambition is to work in publishing.
  7. I believe in God. But I don't believe in religions.
  8. I am quite passionate about my culture.
  9. I am quite sentimental about number 9.
  10. I love pastel colours.
  11. I have lost my love for Throne of Glass. In fact I might be the sole blogger who dislike the series now.
  12. I am really really insecure. But I like to think I am growing on my looks.
  13. I am fascinated with violence. I love violent movies - Martin Scorsese is my favourite director - ultra violent books etc.
  14. I am a character snob. They are more important than the plot to me.
  15. I don't read as often as some bookworms. But I am a really fast reader. I read four books in one night when I was 13. I consider it my biggest accomplishment!
  16. I am a straight A student. But I rarely study. I just have a good memory.
  17. I lost 10 marks in my O/Level Maths exam by mistaking a rectangle for a square. #epicfail. I managed to get an A despite that though!:)
What things did you already know about me? What was a surprise?:)

Anyway, now it's time for the party, a.k.a the giveaways!



I have two giveaways for you guys today. One for my US readers and one for my INTL ones.


INTERNATIONAL

You guys can win a paperback under $15 from The Book Depository.
( I'll ship the book to you even if TBD doesn't ship to you)



US ONLY

I have something different for my US readers.

You guys can win a journal from Hafsah Faizal's Etsy shop - Icey Designs!

I've always admired Hafsah's journals, and in case you haven't seen them before, here are a few of my favourites!



Check out the Icey Designs shop here

Thanks a lot to the lovely Hafsah for sponsoring the giveaway!







Sep 15, 2015

The tamest NA I've ever read || Undaunted by Ronnie Douglas




Title: Undaunted
Author: Ronnie Douglas
Release Date: September 15 2015
Publisher:William Morrow Paperbacks
Synopsis:

Being fearless has never looked so good . . .

Aubrey Evans needs to get her life back on track after her father is indicted for embezzlement. All she has to do to hightail it out of small-town Tennessee is save up money for college tuition and steer clear of hard-muscled boys on motorcycles. Yet there's no ignoring someone like Zion. A knight in black leather, Zion looks like every bad idea she's been told to avoid, but she can't resist him. Whenever she's in trouble, he's there. Appealing as his rough exterior may be, it's the protective, principled man beneath who tempts her like crazy.

Zion knows Aubrey doesn't intend to stick around. She claims to want only friendship, but he senses there's a naughty girl hiding on the inside—one whose intense desires match his own. For now, he'll be patient and play by her rules. But he knows it's just a matter of time before he weakens her resolve.

As they join forces to figure out who's behind a local crime spree, it's clear that the danger goes deeper than Aubrey guessed. And when she needs someone tall, dark, and undaunted to keep her safe, Zion intends to be there—now and always.


I received an ARC of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks in exchange for a honest review.
*Quotes shared in the review may not be in the final copy.*

Aubrey has her life all planned out. College, career, marriage, kids - her future was clear to her. But everything falls apart when her father gets into some legal trouble, her family slowly becomes dysfunctional, and she is pulled out of college and is taken under the wing of her grandma who lives in Tennessee. Aubrey has to leave her safe cocoon in Portland, and starts a life in the small town, where bikers play a significant role in the community. Her perfect life turns chaotic with the intervention of a tough cookie grandma, too hot to handle bikers, and a mystery to solve.

Undaunted was a breath of fresh air to me. I've been devouring all intense stuff, and mostly high fantasy books, and it was super refreshing to take up a NA romance read after some time. It's about bikers, yes, but it's actually a really tame read considering the fact that it tackles an intense concept, and is a New Adult book. If you're looking for a light yet entertaining NA romance with a lot of sexual tension and angst to keep you occupied, then Undaunted is your book!

I had mixed feelings for Aubrey. She was a nice girl, but she got on my nerves most of the time! Also, she came off as pushy at times, but still it made up for the fact that she suddenly has so much in her plate, considering the fact that she led a pretty uneventful life until then. I also really liked her transition from a straight laced lifestyle to a relatively carefree one.

"I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want to be safe, not after he’d planted such forbidden images in my mind. I yanked my mind out of the gutter and climbed onto the motorcycle, wrapped my arms around his waist, and tried not to shiver. I shouldn’t like the way he talked, but I did. I liked the whole package: the rescue, the insinuations, the motorcycle."



Now, Undaunted should have come with a warning for hot guys! There was not one, but three guys who were vying for Aubrey's attention - one was a complete asshole, so let's get him out of the picture. The other two, Zion, and his cousin Noah, were smoking hot! Both guys were so charming, protective and I loved these two so much!

Zion is, obviously, the love interest. *sighs* He is a super rough guy - which is evident by the fact that his biker name is "Killer", but he's also completely adorable when it comes to his feelings for Aubrey and it was so cute to read it! Aubrey and Zion had a smoking hot chemistry, and there was more tension and teasing than action, which I loved since most of the times, I get tired of the number of..... you know what scenes in NA books :D

"But kissing her when she was barely dressed was dangerous. He wanted to prove that this wasn't just lust, that the girl he held was special, that he thought she could be the one who got him."

I really liked the secondary characters as well. Noah, the "other guy" was a great character as well! I felt sorry for him at places, because he deserved so much more, and I am looking forward to read his own story. Ellen, Aubrey's quirky new friend, was pretty entertaining! And I loved Aubrey's grandma, Echo, and all the guys from the Motorcyle Club! There were all terrific characters!

I had some minor problems with Undaunted as well. First of all there's the fact that Aubrey gets a bit annoying and frustrating at times. She also kept expecting Zion to change his ways, which irritated me a bit. Most of all is the fact that I wanted more angst. I originally expected this novel to be darker and more intense that it actually was. Maybe it was because it was written by Melissa Marr - who is writing under her pseudonym - because, I absolutely adore her Wicked Lovely series, and she is one of those rare authors who never shy away from writing really dark YA. But then, I might be biased there, and maybe I shouldn't have expected a lot from Undaunted, because after all, she's starting afresh by taking on a pen name.


That being said, Undaunted is your typical NA read, only with less steam and darkness. It has action, family, lots of tension, great characters and a mystery to keep you hooked. I'd recommend it to anyone who's looking for a light contemporary read with a hot guy and smoking chemistry, and fans of Katie McGarry.