Saturday, 30 April 2016

Announcing Wandering the Pages!




Starting tomorrow, I will also be blogging on another blog called Wandering the Pages! 

This blog will be run by myself and some of my bestest friends including Claire @ BlankSlaters Reads and Duane @ DuaneReads! This blog has been a work in process for months, and I’m so happy I can finally and officially announce it!

We’ve started this blog because each of us were looking to expand our blogging horizons and trying new things in the blogosphere! Our official launch date will be Sunday, May 1st! I’ll be posting every Sunday thereafter. We’ll be doing at least one group post per month! We also have a twitter page for Wandering the Pages over at @wanderthepage! If you can, please take the time to check us out there or on the blog.

I am so excited to be starting this blog with my friends! We have had so much fun doing Skype calls, and messaging back and forth with different ideas and such. Gahhh the feels are really catching up to me because this is such a huge step forward. I never imagined I’d have two blogs, let alone be running one well! When I started blogging six months ago, I was so inexperienced (I still am), but I’ve learned so much, and I’m so ready to take it forward with this blog! Thank you guys for all of your support! Just because I’ll be posting on the other blog, I will still be posting regularly on here! I can’t wait to start, can’t you tell? I hope you guys are excited for our launch tomorrow, I hope to see you there! 

Have you ever tried co-blogging?

Friday, 29 April 2016

Art Dump #3 (Apr. 29)


Once again, it's been about two months since the last art dump, so here we go. You can view the last one here.

Another Kaz, but this one got like recognition from Leigh herself. Feb 2016.

A Hershey Kiss for art class. Feb 2016.

Headshots of the characters from Seven Ways We Lie. Feb 2016.

Drawing for class of Harry coming out of a book. Mar 2016.

Kell and Rhy from A Darker Shade of Magic. Feb 2016.

Beau from The Love That Split The World. Mar 2016.

A leaf and cast shadow for class. Feb 2016.

Jest from Heartless. Apr 2016.

Some Haikyuu children. Apr 2016.

Jamie from A Study in Charlotte. Apr 2016.

Elias Veturius from An Ember in the Ashes. Mar 2016.
Amani from Rebel of the Sands. Mar 2016.
Redraw of The Island cover by S. Usher Evans. Apr 2016.
So yep, February, March and April were definitely art and book months, but from here on out, I don't think I'll have a lot of free time. *cries* So I definitely think I've improved a bit since last time. I've diversified my technique, and actually drew a girl for once. *cheers* There's a couple of other pieces I did for school, but I didn't add them here because well they weren't all that good lol. I think I can/should improve my sketchiness since it's kind of all over the place.

That's it for this bi-monthly edition of this art dump! Let me know what you think and how I can further improve either in the comments or on twitter! Thanks for stopping by! I sincerely appreciate it! <3

Keep creating!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

THE CHASM by S. Usher Evans - Cover Reveal!

It seems like just yesterday, we were talking about The Island. Oh wait, we were talking about it two days ago. Check out all the info, including the gorgeous cover, for Book 2, The Chasm!

They survived The Island, but can they cross The Chasm?

 

thechasmebook_600x900Four months after Prince Galian was discovered alive on a remote island, he's adjusting slowly to life at the hospital under the Kylaen media's glare. His promises to Theo remain unfulfilled as fear of his father keeps him from taking concrete action. And the more he learns about the machinations in Kylae, the less sure he is that it's possible to make a difference. Across the great Madion Sea, Major Theo Kallistrate struggles to navigate the tricky political waters of Rave's presidential staff. To make positive change for her people, she must remain relevant and interesting to the Raven media and to the president. When he asks her to deliver a speech on her supposed two-month imprisonment at Mael, she's not sure she can stomach the lies. The Chasm is S. Usher Evans' breathtaking, fast-paced follow-up to The Island, which readers say is "not to be missed." Buy the first book in the Madion War Trilogy today for Kindle, paperback, and hardcover, and see below for a special preorder promotion for The Chasm, coming July 12th.


 Buy The Island for Kindle (free for KU Subscribers), Paperback, and Hardcover.

Special SGR-Pub Preorder Promotion

preorderpromo

Preorder The Chasm paperback or hardcover through Sun's Golden Ray Publishing and get a signed Madion Trilogy bookmark, a signed map postcard of the Madion world, and a Very Special Surprise for The Union, the final book in the trilogy. Preorder the paperback / hardcover  

Preordering an eBook? Submit your receipt to SGR-Pub and get a signed bookmark!
 

Giveaway

 

Sneak Peek

"Fellow Ravens, my countrymen, my 'neechais and 'nichais. The fifty years since we reclaimed our independence from the Kylaens has been a struggle to keep our great nation alive. Great sacrifices have been asked of every Raven man, woman, and child, and we, as a nation, continue to rise to the occasion."

"Sacrifices, of course, being the conscription of twelve-year-old children," the Kylaen announcer said, cutting off the rest of the speech. "It's just sickening how Tedwin Bayard continues to be heralded as a savior when he's responsible for tens of thousands of deaths a year—"

I tuned out the rest of the conversation, too tired to get my blood pressure up at either Bayard or the announcer. As far as I was concerned, both were liars. Like most of Kylae, I couldn't give a rat's ass about the so-called president of our disputed colony and would've completely ignored the minute-long segment…

…if not for the beautiful Raven woman sitting just behind Bayard.

Her eyes were locked on some unseen point beyond the cameras. When I was marooned with her on an island in the northern Madion Sea, she'd been fiery, full of life and passion. But there wasn't even a spark in her now. Compared to Bayard, who swayed and gestured on the podium in front of her, she looked like a wax doll.

I ran a hand over my face. The Kylaen news had moved on to another story—the trade agreement with Jervan—and I was left with my guilt and a half-eaten sandwich. It was midday, and I'd finally been able to spare a few minutes out of my busy shift at the hospital to eat lunch. Seeing Theo had stolen my appetite.

I couldn't blame it all on the news report as I'd already been in a foul mood. After working the late shift two nights ago, I was now on an early shift. The back-and-forth shift-switching had been going on since since I'd returned to my residency, and I could barely tell if it was morning or afternoon anymore.

To make matters worse, my mother had been hounding me to attend some stupid function at the castle for some person who'd done some thing for Kylae—I couldn't care less. Aside from the fact that state functions were my least favorite part of being the third prince of Kylae, I hadn't set foot in the castle in over four months. I'd stormed out of a family dinner and told the king of Kylae to kiss my ass. It was a miracle I wasn't in Mael, our prison to the north.

I glanced at the television again and wished they'd replay the Bayard segment. Days like today, when I was tired and miserable, all I wanted was to talk to her. In the short months we'd spent together, I'd become addicted to her counsel. Hers was the only opinion I cared for anymore, though I was pretty sure I knew how she'd feel about my progress so far.

Theo was home and she was safe, but the larger issues—the war and the Kylaen death camp at Mael—remained nagging issues in the back of my mind. I was no closer to finding a solution to either of them than when I'd started. To make matters worse, the days were passing too quickly for me, and the more time that slipped through my fingers…

"Helmuth, break's over," came a disgruntled voice from behind me.

Dr. Hebendon was my new attending physician. Dr. Maitland had either been asked or forced to take a six-month sabbatical to a hospital in the country of Herin. In his place, they'd sent Hebendon. Like most Herinese, he was tall and pale with jet-black hair that hung in a curtain around his face. I was pretty sure that despite not being Kylaen, he'd been given a royal decree to make my life miserable whenever I set foot in the hospital. Thus my skewed schedule and, of course, the special privilege of having the best cases.

"Janna needs you in room fifteen for another impaction," he said, a twisted grin curling around his thin face.

I forced a tight smile onto my face so he wouldn't know how completely sick I was of pulling shit out of asses.

Hebendon left, and I pushed myself to stand, tossing my sad sandwich in the trash. When I'd been on the island, I would've done anything to eat so much food.

Now I would've done anything to get those half-starved, beautiful days back. 

About the Author

View More: http://ashleyvictoriaphotography.pass.us/whitneyevansS. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit. Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing. 

Check her out on the below social medias:

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

ARC Review: The Island by S. Usher Evans

The Island (ARC) 
By: S. Usher Evans
Pages: 260
Published: April 26th, 2016
Published by: Sun's Golden Ray Publishing
Format: e-ARC
Source: Author
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Sypnosis:
"Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in.

Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors.

When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain.

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?

The Island is the first in a new romance trilogy by S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series and Empath."

Add THE ISLAND on Goodreads right here!

Thank you Sush for sending me a copy to read and review!
Disclaimer: This in no way impacted my review.

I read Sush’s first book back in January and have fallen in love with her writing. So when she announced this one, despite my hesitation for romance, I was so, so excited for her new trilogy. And let me just say, I wasn't disappointed. The Island was everything wanted and more which is why I am rating it with a fabulous 5/5 stars due to amazing characters, compelling twists, and detailed world-building.

This novel starts off with Theo who is a pilot in the midst of a war. She is strong. She must be strong. Theo is the captain of her young fleet at such a young age, she has survived countless air battles and seen more death than anyone her age should be seeing. Her wit and skills keep her alive, and that’s what I admire so much from her. Sush creates amazing female role models and Theo is another to be added to that list.

Galian is the prince of the country Theo is fighting against, and he is absolutely adorable in every sense. He never wanted to be a pilot, and just wanted to help people as a doctor. His morals and values are commendable and his interactions with Theo always had me laughing. Their development throughout this book honestly couldn’t be done without the other. Their relationship developed well, so that I was shipping them very, very soon. They had so many great moments, and the author had me itching for them to kiss. And when they did omg it was glorious.

The only problem I had with their relationship was that I feel Theo warmed up to Galian a little too quickly. She was ice cold for most of the beginning, but then it felt like she immediately didn’t mind that he was the enemy and allowed him to help her stay alive. If she were truly loyal to her country, she would have just killed him and got on with it, probably died even. I mean of course that wouldn’t be the point of the book, but I feel that it would have stayed in her character better if she had.

Anyways, there were so many things that I didn’t really picture happening, but they happened and were so unexpected it kind of blew my mind. Sush’s writing will keep you compelled throughout the story and guessing about what happens next. She is amazing at keeping the reader hooked all till the end when they are craving the next book. I finished this book in the span of three or four hours and couldn't stop to even do a project I had due the next day. Honestly, that’s how awesome this book is.

I mean, when I first heard of this book, I thought it was going to be filled with a bunch of cliches. I hate cliches. And it was kind of was cliche in parts now that I think about it, but while reading, I didn’t notice them at all because they were executed in a way that I didn’t even realize it. I think it’s because the characters were so real to me. They leaped off the page, and in life, there are tons of cliched people, so the characters instantly felt normal and I was completely satisfied with these cliches, because they were done right.

The last thing I loved about this book was the world building. I was able to completely understand the politics of the world, and the tension between the Raven and the Kylae. The world felt so real to me, I could totally imagine myself as the new recruit in Theo’s squadron. But the history between the two countries, the darkness and the horrors were all very well-explained and dealt with.

Final verdict:
Sush’s fantastic writing comes through once again in her first installment of the Madion Trilogy in The Island. Through characters of Galian and Theo, we can once again learn the boundaries of love in an everlasting war. If you love romance, forbidden romances, or even hate-to-love relationships and a good war, this one is for you.

THE ISLAND releases today! 
Purchase your copy right here!
 

THE ISLAND Release Day Blitz

TheIsland_eBook_600x900Want a low-down of The Island by S. Usher Evans that releases today? Well, you've come to the right place!
 Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in. Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors. When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?


 Buy The Island for eBook, Paperback, and Hardcover.
 

Giveaway!

 

 

The Island Sneak Peek!

 

Theo_Ravelogo_h500

Theo

 

  "Yep," he observed, with a smirk on his face. Up close, he was every bit as handsome as I'd seen in pictures. "You definitely got what you deserved. Shouldn't have shot at me." "You shouldn't have invaded my country." His eyes widened for a moment and I thought I'd finally done something to wipe that smile off his face. To my supreme annoyance, he tilted his head back and let out a throaty laugh. "Oh, you are witty," he said, nodding. "And technically right. But it wasn't my decision. I was, as they say, just following orders." "And I was just following orders when I blew you out of the sky." "Aren't we at an impasse then?" He seemed to be enjoying this conversation. He looked down at the side of my ship and read the inscription. "Theo, huh? Well, you must be a pretty high ranking pilot then. I hear the Ravens only allow you to put your name on your ship after you've survived plenty of battles." I moved out of anger, but the pain in my legs came roaring up my body. "Please let me die in peace," I asked, unable to look at him. "Oh, you aren't going to die today. But it would probably be safer if I pulled you out. I don't like the look of that fuel leak." He leaned into my small cabin. If I'd had half a mind, I could've snapped his neck, but it was hard enough just to breathe. He found my seat strap and unhooked it, then lifted me out by my arms. I couldn't help but scream. "Yeow, buddy," he said, stopping. He put one hand over his ear and muttered. "You sure got a girly scream." "My legs are caught. Just leave me here. I'm as good as dead anyway." "Naw, then who am I going to talk to while I wait to get picked up?" He sounded like he was waiting for dinner. "C'mon, we can get you out of here. Just take a deep breath. One…two…" I didn't hear him count to three as he yanked my legs out of the mess and I screamed again, the pain so bad I almost lost consciousness. But, blessedly, it subsided, and the next thing I knew, he was laying me on the ground. "There, now, Theo of Raven, let's take a look at you," he said, taking my helmet off. 

Galian_KylaeLogo_h500

Galian

 

  Theo was a girl. A pretty girl. I'd always thought Raven women were more interesting looking than Kylaen women—with their olive skin and black hair, they seemed to draw my attention. And this girl, something about her made my head spin. Even with her mangled, bloody legs. They were a sight: dark red staining her gray jumpsuit. "Thank you, Dr. Maitland," I said, cracking open the bag he'd given me and sliding on the pair of latex gloves. She murmured something. The amount of blood she'd lost was a real concern, and she was most likely concussed. I would worry about the head injury later; it wouldn't matter much if she died from blood loss. "What are you doing?" she croaked. "Pardon the invasion of privacy," I said, flashing her my trademark smile. I unzipped her jumpsuit and pulled it down, exposing a white bra and underwear and nothing else. Immediately, her skin puckered with goosebumps as I tossed away the soaked dark gray suit. "Are you still with me, Theo?" She blinked, but didn't respond. "Okay, I'm going to examine you now," I said, leaning over her bare legs. I pressed my hands to her hips, and she reacted, swiftly, sitting up so fast she nearly whacked her forehead to mine. "Get your filthy hands off of me," she hissed, her breath touching my face. 

About the Author

View More: http://ashleyvictoriaphotography.pass.us/whitneyevansS. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit. Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing. 

Check her out on the below social medias:

Sunday, 24 April 2016

ARC Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen (ARC)
By: Roshani Chokshi
Pages: 352
Published: April 26th, 2016
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher and Raincoast Books
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
 Sypnosis:
"Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget."

Add THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN on Goodreads right here!

I received an advanced readers copy from Raincoast Books and St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sending me a copy!

In all honesty, I was already mesmerized by this book the moment I laid my eyes on the cover (I mean look at those stars and the background!!!), and the synopsis had me craving this book. So of course when I received an ARC of this, I freaked out! This book was stunningly beautiful and everything I hoped for! The Star-Touched Queen was a beautiful 4.5/5 stars with its captivating voice, whimsical retelling, and enriched characters.

I just want to say before I continue any further, that I am a feeling rater and there were somethings that didn't quite work in this book, but everything else basically covered it up and doesn't change my overall feelings about this book. One of those things is the way that it was written. Roshani has a beautiful style of writing that completely fits with the story she has to tell. However, at times, this was overused and I felt that instead of adding to the story, it detracted from the reader's attention on the actual story.

But then again, the retelling of a Hades/Persephone was told in such a whimsical and different way, that I loved it and was hooked. I had no idea where anything was going because there were so many twists and turns that I was constantly trying to find out more. Yes, I know, I just kind of said some negative stuff about how it’s written, but looking at it as a whole, the beauty of this book is just beyond so many other things in this world.

The characters in this book were absolutely stunning. Maya is such a strong, witty girl that I had no problems with her as a protagonist. She carried us through this story with her head held high, and her acts of bravery had me feeling everything. She develops so much throughout the story, starting as "bad luck" to becoming the one who would define her own destiny. Maya was curious, smart, and thoughtful, making her relatable for all readers alike.
Her relationship with Amar was amazingly well-done and I was shipping them very quickly. The ending had me crying with the revelation that was discovered. Amar was mysterious and I didn’t quite trust him at first, but his actions proved to be trustworthy and he turned out to be one of those perfect guys that I can only dream of. He only ever wanted an equal partnership with Maya and the best for her. And the last main secondary character was Kamala, a demon human-eating horse which is like the most awesome thing ever. Honestly, her lines had me laughing despite the tough situations and it was the best thing. 

Everything about this book was so surreal to me. Believable, but so far out there, if you know what I mean? It was like a dream that I had in my head since forever and Roshani wrote it all out in that dreamy sort of style. Roshani had an amazing world building up that I was immersed in the logistics of it. However, I felt sometimes the world building felt a little short, especially in the world that Maya originally comes from. But in the end, I don’t feel that it detracted from the overall story and in fact added to the dream-like style she writes in.

Final Verdict:
The Star-Touched Queen was an absolutely beautiful and everything I could have hoped for. It was the whimsical journey of a girl who is labelled as bad luck, but doesn’t let that define her in the adventures she takes to find who she really is. If you love mythology and retellings, this is definitely the one for you with hints of Indian mythology and a Hades/Persephone retelling in its roots.

THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN releases to stores on 
April 26th, 2016!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Introducing #GetYouIntoHaikyuu! (An Anime Watchalong)

Wren from The Litaku and Em from Piplup’s Shadowy Bookshelf are hosting a watchalong of Haikyuu! season one!
Who: Wren from The Litaku and Em from Piplup’s Shadowy Bookshelf

What: A watchalong of the first season of Haikyuu!

When: April 24-30 (April 24 is the day of the sports-themed Bookish Anime People chat at 8 pm EST! Use the hashtag #BookishAnimePeopleChat to join!)

Where: Wherever you watch anime and Twitter

We’ll be using the hashtag #GYIH (which stands for Get You Into Haikyuu!) throughout the week to update you on our progress with the show! We encourage you to use the hashtag too, to tell us your thoughts (and feels, ESPECIALLY THE FEELS) as you watch!

There will also be a recap chat on May 1 at 9 pm EST. To join, we'll be using the hashtag #GYIH, so come chat with us!

What is Haikyuu! about, you may ask? Haikyuu! is about Hinata Shoyou who is inspired to restart the volleyball club at his middle school after watching the “Little Giant,” a high school volleyball ace, who is of a similar small-stature as Hinata. However, when Hinata gets to the tournament, they get wrecked in their first game which was against Kageyama Tobio, nicknamed “King of the Court.” Hinata swears to overcome him, only to find that his rival is now his teammate when they both join Karasuno High School’s volleyball team. Kageyama and Hinata must work together in order for the team to be successful despite their rivalry to constantly up the other. Haikyuu! is based on Haruichi Furudate’s manga, and follows an exciting sports story of two unlikely friends trying to make their volleyball team the best in Japan. (As said by Em.)



Will you be joining us?

Thursday, 21 April 2016

SIX MONTH BLOGIVERSARY + Why you and I should continue blogging!


So apparently I've been blogging for six months or something. Here at Piplup’s Shadowy Bookshelf, it's been quite a lot of fun, but I must admit it has been difficult at times to balance blogging, reading, and schoolwork. Like I mean as I write this, I'm at a badminton tournament and I’m finishing this post in between classes. Anyways, it feels as though I just passed my first month of blogging yesterday. You can read that post here and what I learned about blogging so far. Everything still applies and I have learned so much more. I’ve met so many amazing people and so supporting, I am so thankful that I started blogging. With all my heart, thank you guys so, so much for reading.

So I’m not sure if I’m the only one who does this, but sometimes I feel I want to stop blogging, whether it be because of the workload that comes from it, or external factors. For today’s posting I’ll be highlighting some of my main reasons for why I have continued to blog, and maybe why you should continue, too! Sometimes we lose our way or sight of why we originally started, so I figured this would be a good chance to remind myself and others of why we blog in the first place.

5 reasons why you should continue blogging:

1. It’s the little place in this world you can call yours.

A tweet is 140 characters, there is only so much you can do with that many characters. With a blog, or the little corner that you have in the vast Internet, you can write so many more words about what you think, or feel about a certain topic. For me, it’s a place I can call my own and express my love for books which I can’t quite do in real life because most of my friends aren’t bookish.


2. This is for YOU; have fun with it.

While it does feel like a chore sometimes (which I’m sure you’ve felt before), I have so much fun coming up with posts and content for this blog. Especially for me, school is really boring, and sometimes reading gets a bit repetitive; but blogging gives me the chance to create something, and for me, creating things is so, so much fun. I started this blog for myself, I had absolutely no idea that it would get to this point here today with constant readers of all sorts. I’m not sure about most people, but I’m pretty sure you all started blogging for yourselves. So don’t feel like you are letting people down when you don’t blog for a while because of life, your readers are humans, too. I’m sure they can understand you being busy.


3. You can meet new people, and meet the best friends you could ever ask for.

I don’t know about you, but I have met so many new people since I’ve started blogging. The blogging community is so, so large that I could probably meet a person a day and not have met everyone for yearssss. I can’t tell you how many amazing people and friends I’ve made since I’ve started, and I keep meeting new people everyday. Maybe you’ll meet an awesome friend in a month if you just keep at it.


4. Your favourite book might be one you haven’t read yet.

I know in the YA book blogging community that we talk about books. But YA books is such a huge category that there’s no way that I could have heard of every single book ever created. I know for me, that I’ve read and come across so many great books because I’ve been blogging. For example, in the summer (okay I wasn’t exactly blogging at that point, but that’s besides the point) I started following a bunch of YA book blogs and discovered Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard’s books which have both become favourites of mine. So keep blogging, and an amazing book will for sure come your way and rekindle your passion for reading.


5. You started, so why stop now?

As Woody Allen said, “showing up is 80 percent of life.” You showed up. You made a blog. So why stop now? I am a firm believer in not giving up even if things are difficult. I’ve given up many times and in the end, I knew I never really let anyone down but myself. It’s not the regret that got me, it was the fact that I wasn’t strong enough to continue. And I hope I won’t make that mistake with this.

Before I end this blogiversary post, I want to say thanks to some peeps. Firstly, I want to give my thanks to my bestie Claire @ BlankSlaters Reads for basically everything, and everything she does for me. Ily girl. I’d also like to say thanks to my good friends Duane @ DuaneReads and Wren @ The Litaku for being such great friends and always there to talk to. I also want to thank Sush aka S. Usher Evans for being the sunshine in my life and believing in me. And lastly I want to thank the Fire Clan girls (Sondra, Megan, Aneli, Faith, and Jana) for always being there to talk to and the craziest, funniest people I’ve ever met. I know I’m forgetting someone, but even if I did - thank you. Thank you to whoever is reading this and actually reading what I think and feel. It’s an awesome feeling that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Honestly, I can’t thank you guys enough, so once again, thank you.






P.S. I'm running a giveaway on my Twitter for a bunch of swag! The link to it is here! You get extra entries by commenting below! Make sure you include your twitter username so I know it's you! Thanks! :)

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

5 Reasons Why You Should Read THE ISLAND by S. Usher Evans


Okay, so I'm not quite the typical romance reader, but when I read the synopsis of S. Usher Evans' newest trilogy, I knew I needed it IMMEDIATELY! I was so lucky I got the chance to read an ARC of it because, man, did it live up to my expectations!! Without further ado, here are five reasons why you should read The Island!

THE ISLAND by S. Usher Evans releases on April 26th, 2016 and is now available for preorder right here: http://www.sgr-pub.com/shop/paperbacks/the-island





1. It has a kickass female protagonist.



Okay so maybe not as badass in the way Black Widow is, but Theo is an amazing strong female lead who knows built her reputation up from the ground, and knows how to take care of herself. I feel she's the driving lead behind a lot of the novel, and I can't wait to see her grow even more.

2. It has an adorable prince.

(Taken from S. Usher Evans' Pinterest!)

Not only is Galian adorable, but he's such a romantic and so driven by his morals, that I could completely understand his motives and how he felt about the world. His determination is absolutely admirable. And since he's a prince, he's very, very swoon-worthy.

3. The characters grow so fricking much.

(Also taken from S. Usher Evans' Pinterest.)

They develop and grow throughout the novel so much, it was like watching my precious children growing up and being the proudest person ever omg. As the novel progressed, they overcame adversity after adversity, and it was such awe-striking and inspiring moments like the ones Theo and Galian went through that make me rate books with five stars.

4. There are so many damn twists and gut-wrenching moments.


So many times I thought this was going to be cliched by reading the synopsis, not that I mind much, but dude this absolutely blew that out of the water and I was reading and reading and the twists just kept coming and coming. Oh man, I sped through this so fast my heart was in shatters by the end because dammit Sush. You'll get a lot of feels from this one that's for sure.

5. There was a very (hot) burning romance.

The romance was amazingly written, guys. Like you'll be rooting for them to get together from the very, very beginning and it'll hurt that they don't FOR SUCH A LONG TIME. I was like in the image above for so long and when it happened - damn it was good guys. Theo and Galian are OTP for sure!


Will you be reading THE ISLAND?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Childhood Favourites (#readersforachange)

Ever since I was very, very young, I have always loved and taken an interest in reading. My parents fed my reading addiction with countless picture books, and still feed my needs with Young Adult novels. As an avid reader, of course I have many favourites, but today, I'll be talking about some of my favourite books that made my childhood absolutely wonderful.

1. David's Father by Robert Munsch


Of all the Robert Munsch books, this book has always resonated with me. I'm not quite sure why, but I think it may have to do with the fact that it's one of the first ones I read by him and it was in my native language, traditional Chinese. Like Julie, I have always had a bit of social anxiety meeting and talking with new people. But when she made a new friend named David, I felt that I could make a friend too. And later, I did.

2. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne


I started reading this series back in kindergarten. Yes, kindergarten. Even though this is technically a middle grade series, I flew through these and my reading level blew way past kindergarten standards. My teacher had no idea what to do with me, they still don't know what to do with me. Anyways, this holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first series that I knew I HAD to finish. But they just keep publishing more and more... I still read them today. Their stories are so magical and informative, I just can't stop.

3. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan


This series holds the most special place in my heart. It was the series that truly got me into reading in third grade, before the last book in the series was published. The originality of the idea that the gods are real had me awake at night, thinking, what if I'm a half blood? Percy and Annabeth were absolutely kick-ass for nine year old me. I just thought it'd be so cool, and I kept reading, and reading, and reading. I haven't really stopped since.


As you can see, my reading journey began with imaginative stories, and have made such a huge impact on my life. But sadly, not everyone has the same opportunities to read books during their childhood. Children in many developing countries don't have access to libraries or books to enrich their imagination.


This is why The Library Project @ library-project.org has come forward to many of us book bloggers today to help spread the word of this disheartening situation. The Library Project is a non-profit organization that strives to improve literacy rates by donating books to schools all throughout China, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In 2014, they invested in over $830,020 and donated more than 838,000 children's books to over 521,000 children who have access to these libraries.

This is an amazing cause, helping to support the education of children, improving their literacy rates, and creating opportunities for them later in life. I've already donated to this wonderful organization that does things that holds a special place in my heart: education.

I come from a family with a very strong value on education. Although I don't try as hard as I can in school, I always take the time to do homework and stuff like that and hold a 96% average in school. This work ethic in learning all started with my grandfather. He grew up in rural China and had to leave school to help his family's income. However, throughout the rest of his life, he learned everything he could; English as his third language by reading the newspaper almost everyday, and even learning how to use a computer and iPad at 80 years old. Not only was he a life-long learner, but he tried to spread his value on learning. He was a community leader in London, Ontario and won many awards in recognition for his work. He instilled his values on me and I made him a promise before he passed away two years ago.. okay I'm going to stop this part now because I'm crying as I write this.

He is an inspiration I will never forget, and if I can help to make one difference in the world, I feel he would love it if you could help donate to the Library Project. With their mission to improve literacy rates for children in developing countries, we the book blogging community should be making a stand and helping these children discover what has become such a big part of our lives, so that maybe it will become a big part of their life too. 

It would be very appreciated if you could consider making a donation to this very important cause. You can make a donation right here: https://fundraise.library-project.org/checkout/donation?eid=51902

What are some of your favourite books from your childhood?

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Recap: PENGUIN TEEN ON TOUR - March 28th (Brampton)


So last week I had the awesome opportunity of going to one of the stops of the #PenguinTeenOnTour to meet five awesome authors: Alison Goodman (The Dark Days Club), Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands), Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes), Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle), and April Genevieve Tucholke (Wink Poppy Midnight)! I met them over at the Toronto (in reality it’s Brampton) stop on the 28th of March.

I left pretty early, hoping to get there at about an hour and a half early. But it started raining, and my dad and I got lost, so we showed up about 45 minutes beforehand. And man, WAS IT PACKED!! I really didn’t expect this many people. Omg, these tour stops really need to learn to get more chairs though because there was like only 20 chairs and like 50 people standing in a line.

Anyways, I digress about chairs because that’s turning into a theme with events I go to lol. I went to go buy An Ember in the Ashes, and Rebel of the Sands since those two are the only ones I’ve read and can afford to buy... I mean I want to read the others, but I had no time before the event. After I got into line, I saw Nova @ Out of Time, and Jessica @ Bookish Serendipity! I’m an awkward soul so I didn’t go up to Jessica until tweeted me later on. I was also lucky enough to meet Emily @ Paperback Princess and see a bunch of other bloggers!

The event started with an MC introducing the lovely authors and asking them questions in which they’d all answer. It was hard to hear from the back, so I moved closer to the front, but given I haven’t read many of their books, I was lost a lot of the time and I wasn’t very interested to be quite honest. So I waited around checking out the store’s young adult section and hung out until it was time to get my stuff signed.

It took a good hour after the talk until it got around to me. I was tired and slightly anxious by that point, but I was definitely excited to meet the authors. I got a poster with all of the author profiles, and got that signed by them. I also got some swag from them as well.


The first book I got signed and personalized was by Sabaa, which was a paperback copy of An Ember in the Ashes. She has this really cool signature with the mask image on it. Then I took out my drawing of Elias for her to sign as well, and she absolutely freaked out lol. At this point, I was grinning like an idiot. Then I got Rebel of the Sands signed by Alwyn, and she also completely freaked out. It was super awesome and I gave her my gold sharpie since she ran out. I got a picture with her and I look so bad omg, I digress.



Overall, I had a super fun time at the event despite the lack of chairs. Yes, I’m still hung over chairs. Anyways, thank you to the publishers and Indigo team for making Toronto one of the stops on the #PenguinTeenOnTour! It’s awesome when we, Canadians, have the opportunity to meet amazing authors like these!


Were you able to meet any of these fabulous authors on the tour?

Saturday, 2 April 2016

ARC Review: The Haters by Jesse Andrews

The Haters (ARC)
By: Jesse Andrews
Pages: 352
Published: April 5th, 2016
Published by: Amulet Book
Format: e-ARC
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Sypnosis:
"Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band.

For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best."


Add THE HATERS on Goodreads right here!
I received an advanced reader's copy from NetGalley and Amulet Book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read this!

I was so, so excited to read this book ever since I first heard of it last year. I loved Me, Earl and the Dying Girl which is also by Jesse Andrews. So when I received it as my first e-ARC, I was completely ecstatic! It completely met my expectations and I just couldn't stop reading it! The Haters for me is a solid 4/5 stars with its unique voice and very, very real characters.

One of the things I really loved with Me, Earl and the Dying Girl was Jesse Andrews' voice and way he tells the story. I was not disappointed when his writing style came back full-force in this novel. The Haters has a very raw voice with its direct and straight-to-the-point sentences which I love just as much as the beautifully written sentences in other books. His writing is concise, yet still captures the depth it is trying to express.

Not only was the writing well-done, but the format of some parts of the book was very interesting as well. At times to explain some of the musicians the characters were referencing, Andrews would include short mock "Wikipedia" pages, as well as lists to explain their opinions on the particular artist. I felt that these were done at appropriate times, and weren't over-used at all. In fact, I found them pretty useful for where they were placed. As a music student myself, I loved all of the musical aspects of this book, and thought they were pretty accurate as well.

The next part I loved about this book was that the characters were really real to me. The way they talked is pretty similar to how I find a lot of the high school students in my school talk. I felt connected to the characters in that way. Wes, Corey, and Ash all had unique quirks in how they talked and acted, so I easily understood more about them as a character because of the way they would interact with each other.

This book was hilarious. Like Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, I was constantly laughing out loud at the dialogue between the characters. Corey and Wes' interactions constantly had me trying to stifle my laughter as I was reading in geography class and wow, just wow at how Andrews' is such a funny writer.

The reason this book was a four stars as opposed five stars for me, is because of the fact that I felt they barely got anything done in the 352 pages. While the writing style is concise, the characters aren't straight to the point they go on a whirlwind of things that I felt didn't add to their development as much as I would have liked. Basically they did a lot of things, but they didn't do a lot of meaningful things.

Final Verdict:
On the high note (pun-intended hehe), I really liked The Haters. It was a musical journey of three kids trying to find their sound and their way in life like teenagers. If you like music and hilarious road trip novels, then The Haters is definitely for you.

THE HATERS releases in stores on April 5th, 2016!

Friday, 1 April 2016

March Wrap-Up + April TBR


Yayyy!! Happy Fool's Day! It's finally April and school's just about to get busy hahaha. Anyways, I'll keep spontaneously blogging like this for the next little while since I haven't had a lot of time to blog with school and so so many extracurriculars. Gahhhhh, but I have been reading a lot, so let's get to what I set out to read last month:

- The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry
- The Haters by Jesse Andrews
- The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
- The Island by S. Usher Evans
- Something Strange and Deadly and A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (re-read)
- Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
- An Ember in Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

And here's what I read last month:

- The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
- An Ember in Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- Sage Teon and the Fake Diamon Heist by S. Usher Evans
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (reread)
- Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
- A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (reread)
- The Haters by Jesse Andrews
- The Island by S. Usher Evans
- The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
- Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout

So I'm totally like WOOOWWWWW because I managed to finish all those books this month lol. So I finished like four ARCs in one month, so that must be like a new record for me. I missed one, but don't you worry because I'm going back to The Girl From Everywhere as soon as possible. Also, reviews will be coming for a lot of these so stay tuned! So here's what I want to read in the month of April:

- The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
- Signs of You by Emily France
- The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard (re-read)
- The Wrath and the Dawn by