The Vogue Book Tag!

Hello lovelies!

vogue

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite book bloggers, The Petite Book Blogger, nominated me to do the Vogue Book Tag. The tag was created by Victoria @The Petite Book Blog! I greatly encourage you all to try Victoria’s debut book tag because it’s extremely fun!

You are a socialite going on a shopping spree with your most stylish book BFF. You are going to be having lunch with your favorite author later that day at NYC chicest restaurant. Wanting to make a good impression the both of you hit every store on Fifth Avenue and rack up quite a bill. What book character would you have style your outfit for your important lunch date?

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Because I infrequently read books that are are about fashionable characters, I would pick Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. With Effie Trinket’s over the top fashion style, you are likely to turn some heads!

You are attending a charity event entitled #WeNeedDiverseBooks. In order to raise money for the purpose, they are auctioning off a date to the highest bidder. The date will be with any book character that the winner chooses. Who would you bid for?

date

This question is hard! You are making me choose between my two bookish boyfriends. Aaron Warner (The Shatter Me series) is undeniably stunning. Like his looks, his personality is swoon-worthy! However, Daemon Black (The Lux series) may be the hottest male character in young adult literature. Everything about Daemon Black screams boyfriend material. In the competition between both guys, Daemon would win. I would choose him because Warner and Juliet are my one true pair. I would never want to break Warnette (Warner and Juliet’s ship name).

This year’s theme at the Met Gala is book covers. The attendees have to pick a stunning outfit from a beautiful book cover and wear it. The men are dressed in their finest and the women’s dresses range from stunning to daring. With your impressive literary knowledge, you, of course, are going to be the main attraction this year. What dress from a gorgeous book cover would you wear?

A Thousand Nights

I would pick A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnson. Have you seen A Thousand Night’s cover? It’s beautiful!

As Hollywood’s IT girl, you get offered all of the best roles directed by the best directors. You have more awards than you know what to do with and aren’t afraid to use your power to secure the roles that you want. While at the coffee shop you read this amazing book and decide that you want to make it into a movie. What book would you want to be made into a movie for you to star in?

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There are too many books to choose! A few book character roles that I would love to play on screen are Cadence from We Were Liars, Avah from Blood Rose, Mara from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Vanessa from Impulse, and Juliette from Shatter Me (this one was directed towards the people casting the roles for Shatter Me).

The world’s top fashion magazine Vogue has asked you to grace the cover of their September issue. In fact, the whole September issue highlights your love of books. Your photo shoot is inspired by your favorite classic fairy tale. With so many gowns and stories to choose from which fairy tale would you choose?

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Rapunzel! Tangled is one of my favorite movies. I love Rapunzel and her story. The fairy tale is beautifully enchanting.

You have just received the greatest news. The royal family has invited you and a friend to have tea with them in the royal palace. Wanting to make a good impression you decide to bring along the smartest person you know. You invite an author whose work is widely regarded as brilliant. Who would you bring along to have high tea with the royals?

I guess I would choose Jane Austen.

You are invited to a wedding tonight. This is no ordinary wedding, though. On the couple’s private island, they are flying out your favorite pop star to serenade them that night. You are so excited that you can’t wait to get there. Unfortunately, the island is so remote that it takes at least two days to get there by yacht. Unable to contain your excitement you decide to read a book where music is its main theme. What book are you reading on your two-day yacht trip?

books-are-entertaining

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover is my top pick! You can find out why by reading my review: here.

Being a socialite isn’t as easy as it seems. Between attending fabulous parties, working with some of the most important people in the world, and mingling with royalty; you’re simply exhausted. You pack up and go to an exclusive resort in Tulum, Mexico to get some well-deserved relaxation. Of course, you can’t go anywhere without a few books. What books would bring to read on your tropical retreat?

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I can’t pick between my babies! We Were Liars would be one of my go to vacation books. Also, I would like to read a few books that are featured on my TBR. My top picks for my TBR are All the Bright Places, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Asking for It, and Denton Little’s Death Date.

I had an immense amount of fun participating in this tag. I nominate River and Sam @Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup, Guinevere and Libertad @The Twinjas, Deanna and Gabi @Books a Blog, Lucy and Sashana @The Reading Emporium, Stella @StellaMarie Books, and Sydney @Sydsauras (this is my ‘welcome back to blogging’ present:)).

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Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

AHS

I have mixed emotions about this book. I loved it but hated certain aspects of the book (Brandy). Just like The Shatter Me series by Taherah Mafi, you either loved it or hated it. There is rarely an in between. In this book, I veered more on loving it than hating it. Why? Because despite what others might say, it was an enjoyable read.

Personally, I have no experience in the aspect of bisexuality, therefore, I do not know whether it was relatable. Being that I am less educated on bisexuality than other reviewers, I will not base my review on the relatability of the story. However, this story made me more intrigued on the topic of bisexuality. Reading about someone’s confusion and frustration about being attracted to both genders was something I found unique because you fully feel Will’s emotions. Story’s that are similar to Cut Both Ways are now becoming mentioned more on my TBR.

Another thing I enjoyed about the story was Angus and William! They were so cute and incredible! I shipped them together more than William and Brandy.

The final thing I enjoyed about this story were the characters (besides Brandy). The characters were well written. Carrie has a great talent for adding depth to her characters that make them appear real.

Despite my enjoyment towards the book, there was one thing I disliked. Carrie. Brandy tended to annoy me every time her name was spoken. Maybe because of how love sick she was. Brandy felt weak and had little respect for herself at times. *SPOILER* I mean, she had sex with Will without a condom *outside* because they felt like it. Brandy did the most idiotic thing you could possibly do when having sex at a young age. Brandy basically stated that she did not care if she got pregnant or inherited an STD because of her desire for sex. How careless could you possibly be?! *SPOILER IS OVER*.

Overall, I enjoy this book, and think that it is a great entrance to the topic of bisexuality. I cannot wait to read more on this topic.

Tonight the Street Are Ours by Leila Sales

yupI do not know how to write this review without being too harsh. To be frank, I did not like this book at all. I tried extremely hard to love this book because of the hype but failed miserably. I know I am going to receive an abundance of negative comments but please try to hear me out.

I am going to begin this review with the characters. Oh, the characters. I would be lying if I said that I liked the characters. Considering that a main aspect of the book is the characters, this statement is not positive.

I decided to go over the characters I disliked the most first. I am going to state something that I feel is being overlooked throughout this book. ARDEN IS A STALKER!! What teenage girl drives over 300 miles to an unfamiliar city *without permission* just to see a boy who you met on the internet. Not only did she drive there and call every bookstore in New York City to find him, she never once talked to him nor comment on his blog. I mean, hello! At least give him a warning before you show up to his job! Also, Arden was extremely controlling. When she was not bossing around Lindsay, she was reprimanding Peter for wat he was writing despite only knowing him for a day.

Now onto Peter. Peter was the most annoying character in this book. I disliked him from the beginning and that opinion remained the same. Peter had the trait of subtly bragging. In one of his posts, he states how he does not want to be defined by the amount of income his family receive or something relevant to that statement. However, in future posts, he talks about his trips to the Hamptons and various parties that appear to be extravagant. Another thing I did not enjoy about Peter was his blog posts. I thought that his posts were mediocre and did not compare to Leila’s writing style for Arden’s mind. Finally, his instalove for Bianca was cheesy. I understand he liked her, but the whole thing felt fake.

Since those were the only characters that suffered major faults, I decided to leave the rest of that area untouched. The next aspect of the book I disliked was the plot. Parts of the story felt unrealistic. Who would drive over 300 miles to see someone that they met online without parental permission? How would you feel comfortable meeting someone that you don’t know what he looks like?

The one thing that this story had going for it was the theme. The theme was a beautiful expression of love. I love Leila’s expression of love and loyalty.

Overall, I would not recommend this book. It was simply okay. I wish I could say more about it.

Bookish Adventures: Kidlitcon 2015!!!!

I cannot believe how long it took me to write this post. It has almost been a week since my incredible bookish weekend occurred, and I have not posted my recap yet.

For those who may not have heard, this past weekend was Kidlitcon. Kidlitcon is a two-day conference about children and young adult literature. This year’s Kidlitcon was based on children and young adult book blogs. The two-day event has many amazing panels that will benefit you when blogging about children’s literature. The panels were not the only incredible aspect of Kidlitcon, the people who attended the event were extremely friendly and interesting. I came back from Kidlitcon with many great stories and business cards of marvelous people in the bookish community!

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Flaunting my name tag!

On the first day of Kidlitcon, I had to miss the first two panels because there was traffic heading to Baltimore. When I finally arrived after two never ending hours in the car, I went to get registered. At registration, I got a name tag (fun fact: I love getting name tags because I feel so professional wearing them) and a Brightly tote bag that had some swag inside.

After signing in, I went to The Power of Teamwork panel. Alison Formento (author of These Rocks Count!), Alisa Grosso (author of Shallow Pond), Jacqueline Jules (author of Zapato Power), Nancy Viau (author of City Street Beat), and Timothy Young’s (author of The Angry Little Puffin) panel was well put together and extremely beneficial on the topic of blog groups. Because I am part of a book club, their panel provided valuable advice on how to manage a group of bloggers.

teamwork

The next panel I attended was the Visual Storytelling panel. The panel featured Matt Phelan, Minh Le, Kevin O’Malley, and Shadra Strickland. Prior to the panel, I met Shadra Strickland who was one of the speakers for Visual Storytelling. Shadra was telling me about her career in illustration and about the stories she has worked on. The Visual Storytelling panel was educational to me because I don’t typically read picture books. Learning the process of creating the perfect illustrations for the book made me realize how much effort goes into these stories. I came out of the panel with a deeper understanding of the effort it takes to create a picture book.

illustration Shadra

After Visual Storytelling, we had a lunch break. During lunch, I met a local librarian named Cheryl. During lunch, Cheryl and I had a discussion on what summer reading for children should be. We both agreed that if schools insist on reading classic works of literature then we should have a modern book that coincides with the classic to study as well. This idea was unique because it can show students how the perspective of topics changes over time.

Following lunch, we all went to listen to the author of Cut Both Way, Carrie Mesrobian, speak about edginess in books. I adored Carrie’s talk! Carrie carried her topic in a unique and intriguing way. I felt like I knew Carrie personally after her talk.

Carrie cut both ways

For the last panel of the day, we all went to the And the Winner is…. panel. This panel featured the judges of the Cybils Awards. And the Winner is.. helped me become more educated on the topic of book awards.

After a day filled with panels, it was nice to relax while attending the Author Mix and Mingle. During that event, I met many incredible people. The first people I met were Guinevere and Libertad are the authors of The Mark of Noba. Guinevere and Libertad are bloggers over at The Twinjas. The Twinjas were extremely personable. I had an enormous amount of fun hanging out with them! Both of them were hilarious. Not only were they incredible people, they also support diversity in books!

Twinjas

I bought Carrie Mesrobian’s book during the signing event. When I personally met Carrie, she was very nice. After the signing was over, Carrie and I talked with Tracey (author of The Jumbies) and a publicist from Harper Collins named Alexandra. It was an immense amount of fun to talk to them. We all got into a discussion on television shows. If you did not know, I love to watch television shows so I very much enjoyed that conversation. Eventually, Alexandra and I were the only people remaining in the lobby of the hotel. Alexandra and I talked about books that we liked and books that we thought should be published. After a while, I had to get ready for the Cybils party which meant we had to end our conversation.

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Carrie Mesrobian

At the Cybils party, I hung out with The Twinjas who were extremely entertaining. Sadly, they had to leave which made my dad and me decide to go bowling. When we went to go bowling, we met Elissa (author of Nerd Camp) and a local librarian named Laura. I had an extreme amount of fun bowling with them. It was incredible to talk about books all night because where I live I don’t know of many readers.

writer friends

The next day we went to Tracey Baptiste’s panel where she talks about her book, The Jumbies. Tracey is an incredibly talented speaker. Her panel was intriguing and inspiring. I am so thrilled to have been able to talk to her! I love how she portrayed the struggles of writing a book.

tracey

The next panel I attended was How Graphic Novels Work. The panel featured Maggie Thrash (author of Honor Girl), Jay Hosler (Last of the Sandwalkers), Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre (Giants Beware!). The panel was entertaining! I love graphic novel which was another reason that the panel was a great amount of fun. It was amazing to see many talented illustrators in one room.

graphics graphic maggie

The next panel I went to was the Diversity Panel! It was so nice to support The Twinjas during their panel. I am a huge advocate for diversity in books. I hope to gain more awareness toward diverse characters in books. The panel incorporated several topics regarding diversity that need be discussed.

After that panel was MY panel! I was speaking on my first panel! This was one of the most memorable experiences that I have faced in my life. People dedicated an hour of their lives to listen to me and four other bloggers talk. The feelings I encountered were overwhelming. I loved every second that I was speaking. Afterward, I received free chocolate too!

panel panell chocolate

The Podcast panel was right after my panel. I have been meaning to start podcasting for a while (I am going to set it up later in this week) which was why I went to this panel. I adored this panel. I came out of the panel ready to start podcasting!

I had to leave early to meet up with my family which was why I missed the last panel. Overall, Kidlitcon was a massive success. I highly recommend to children and young adult book bloggers.

SST: Jennifer Walkup Interview

A few months ago, I signed up for Sunday Street Team, a street team where we support a different author each month. This month we are promoting Jennifer Walkup’s book, The Ordinary Life!

1. What is your book, The Ordinary Life, about?

The short version: A teen with big dreams of making it in radio, struggles to hold her family together while dealing with her brother’s epilepsy, her mother’s alcoholism, and her own broken heart.

The back cover copy (long version):
High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep Jasmine from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything, not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health, not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but Jasmine may just discover that what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

2. What inspired you to write The Ordinary Life?

Jasmine came to me first – a strong main character who loves working at her school radio station and works hard for her ultimate dream – to be a real radio dj someday. But I knew she’d have struggles – a cheating ex boyfriend, an alcoholic mother, an absent father. Her brother’s epilepsy was central to her character. I wanted at least one character who is struggling with epilepsy. It’s a subject that’s important to me, and something I wanted to represent. When I wrote in Wes, the love interest, also with epilepsy, I wanted to show how characters are people first, disability second, and way more than the sum of their disabilities. Wes is a really great guy, and they quickly become good friends, and maybe more… Plus, Wes gives her support, attention, and love she hasn’t had before. But he also gives her the hope she needs to keep following her dreams and caring for her family.

3. How did you come up with the title of your book?

It’s funny how difficult titles can be. With my first book, I went through what felt like millions of titles. But with THIS ORDINARY LIFE, the title came to me almost as soon as the book did. Jasmine, the main character has lots of challenges in her life. She often wishes things were easier and simpler, but through the course of her struggles and chasing her dreams, she realizes that sometimes “ordinary” is found where we least expect it. And sometimes ordinary is more than good enough.

4. Which character(s) can you relate to most in the novel?

I can relate to most of the characters in the novel, in one way or another. Like Jasmine, I take care of someone with epilepsy and understand the unexpected struggles this sometimes bring. Like the Mom character, I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed. And like Ms. Hudson, I know what it’s like to believe in someone so much and be proud of someone else’s accomplishments as if they were my own, doing what I can to help them on their path.

5. Who was the hardest character to write about in your book and why?

The mother was probably the most difficult for me to write. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine making some of the choices Jasmine and Danny’s mom made. It was necessary for the story, but man did I get mad at her in some of those scenes.

6. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Creating characters and new worlds and putting my imagination on paper is pretty great. And when I hear from readers, that is truly one of the best things ever!

7. Did you always want to be a writer? If not, when and how did you realize you wanted to become one?

I did! I always wanted to be a writer. I have the first book I wrote in fourth grade, about a mouse who runs away and gets stranded on a desert island. It’s bound with duct tape and illustrated by yours truly. Hopefully my stories have gotten at least a little better since then.:)

8. Do you have a specific writing style?

Not really. I’m a pantser (meaning I don’t plan or write from an outline). This style of writing can be really exciting when the words are flowing, but frustrating when they’re not. For the most part, when I’m in the middle of a project, I write daily, at least a few hours at a time. I also take a good amount of time off between books.

9. What advice do you have to give to new authors or people who want to become authors?

Write. Read. Write. Read. Write. Read. Seriously. Write a ton, read a ton, and don’t ever stop writing. Also, grow a thick skin. Rejection stinks, but getting through it is the only way to the other side.

10. What would you like to say to your readers?

Thank you so very much to everyone who reads my books. I appreciate every single one of you