30.6.16

June 2016 Wrap-Up!

Happy end of June! Even though there are still some hours until June is done, I will not have as much time to read today as previously thought (since I'm going to an event! Driving!) therefore I am doing my wrap-up post now for the #SummerSeriesChallenge. However, I thought it was silly to just tell you what books I read for that challenge when I read a whole slew of others! So you're getting a REAL monthly wrap-up which I haven't done since July 2015. ALMOST A YEAR. Enjoy!

Posts You Might Have Missed

Reviews:

Discussions:

Blog Tours:

Books Read In June 2016

Total Books Read: 44 
Average Rating: 3*

Highest Rated June 2016 Read

WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary:
When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28220826-when-the-moon-was-ours
Pre-Order:

28.6.16

#GuestPost: UNICORN TRACKS by Julia Ember

Hello everyone! I have a special post for you today that I was really lucky to scoop up. Julia Ember, author of UNICORN TRACKS, was talking on Twitter about writing a post about plus-sized heroines and made a general call out for someone to host it on their blog so naturally I said ME PLEASE! I am really glad I did because this is an ah-mazing Guest Post (and it totally made me cry). Read it below to learn about why Julia included a plus sized heroine and why it's so important for body positivity in YA books! But first, let's learn more about Julia's novel...

UNICORN TRACKS

Author: Julia Ember
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Publication Date: April 21, 2016
Review!

Summary:
After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.
Purchase:

On Plus-Sized Romantic Heroines in YA Fiction 

Julia Ember for Books and Ladders 


I am a plus-sized woman. Throughout my teen and adult life, my weight has fluctuated greatly. At the time of writing, I weigh 192lbs and wear a UK Size 18.   I’m also a polyamorous bisexual woman. I’ve dated a lot of plus-sized women and I have been deeply sexually attracted to each one of them, often in love to one degree or another. When I look at their bodies, my brain doesn’t see “fat” it sees softness, curves, bright eyes and clever minds. To me, their bodies have always been beautiful. Never mind that two of my SERIOUS celebrity lady crushes, Fluvia Lacerda and Tess Holliday, are both plus sized. I appreciate their bodies. I approached them with wonder. 



But when I look at myself, I often struggle to maintain that feeling of love and appreciation.  Something about that beauty I see in other women doesn’t always translate to how I see myself. I like my eyes. I think my face is pretty from certain angles when my chin doesn’t show. But whatever body dysmorphia exists inside me doesn’t always allow me to see my own body as beautiful. Instead, I see my body as a barrier to the narrative I want for myself.  When I start to date new romantic partners, I think about my size. I wonder if I should bother to take that step towards a first date or if I should put my life on hold to lose weight. Sometimes, I wonder if my existing partners are repulsed by me in bed, even though I have dated women with similar proportions, I have always wanted to touch every inch of them. 

I think in terms of fat representation and acceptance, the world has made a lot of progress in recent years. Stores have expanded their size ranges. Agencies have hired plus-sized models. Celebrities like Meghan Trainor have started bringing curves into vogue. 

But still, there’s that question of narrative. What is the fat girl’s story? If you listen to Hollywood, the fat girl functions for comedy and tragedy. Even though plus-sized actresses like Melissa McCarthy have developed careers for themselves in recent years, they are still only cast in comedies or as sidekicks. They are not the leads. They are not cast opposite Ryan Gosling or Idris Alba. They aren’t the Bond girls.

It’s easy for fat ladies to internalise what our cultural constantly reminds us. We’re for comedy. We’re the sidekicks. Never the stars. Our narratives aren’t sexy or adventurous, and they certainly aren’t filled with clandestine romance with hot people. No, if romance exists for fat women in film at all, it’s with another undesirable stereotype and again for comic relief. Isn’t it funny that the two people nobody else wanted in the film would find each other? 

27.6.16

Discussion: A Day in the Life

I thought I'd show you guys a little of what I do on my heavy "blogging" days (which is pretty much every day right now!) so you can see how much time and effort I put into all three of my blogs to bring you guys quality content.
5:30-8:00am: Wake up! I get up and do an hour of walking on the treadmill to hit my steps counter on my Fitbit. Then I shower and get dressed for the day and eat some breakfast and check in with Dani so she knows I'm alive.

8:30-10:00am: Schedule my promo tweets for the day on Hootsuite, double check everything is good to go for whichever post is going live for the day. Plan my instagram caption and make sure my picture is tagged.

10:00am-12:00pm: Get caught up on world news. I have a subscription to the Globe and I read it every day then do some extra reading from other news outlets so I’m less biased about what is happening.

12:00-1:00pm: Update social media, check over my blog post (again), answer back on some comments/tweets

1:00-3:00pm: Read. Update status on Goodreads. Sometimes I just browse tumblr or search for apartments near my new school.

3:00-4:30pm: Get ready for work, which sometimes includes a nap

4:30-5:30pm: Drive to work, usually while listening to an audiobook

6:00-9:00pm: Work, usually I use this time to update my blog, schedule future posts, comment spree, etc. Sometimes I just watch hockey though.

9:00-10:00pm: Drive home from work

10:00-11:30pm: Eat dinner/read/watch Netflix. This varies by day and depending on how much reading I got done.

11:30-12:00am: Try to fall asleep, usually I don’t succeed. If I don’t I read until I do or I get out of bed and do something else.
Oh wow, writing out my life makes me realize just how boring it is. Once I’m in grad school, starting September!, I should have a bit more active lifestyle but for now that’s it.

How does your day look when you are committed to blogging?

26.6.16

Weekly Challenge Update (4): #ReadProud & #SummerSeriesChallenge

I'm participating in two challenges in June so I can knock off some books on my TBR: #ReadProud is hosted by author Julia Ember and is all about the LGBTQ+ books. You can see my intro post where I discuss my TBR for it here. #SummerSeriesChallenge is hosted by Amanda @ Brains Books Brawn and is all about reading the first book in a series you have wanted to start for a while. I am hoping to read a combined total of 30 books for these challenges.

See my Week (1) Wrap-up!

See my Week (2 & 3) Wrap-up!


Week 4: June 20-26



#ReadProud

I officially completed the challenge this week! I have one more book I want to read before the end of the month but I am DONE! Gold level!

This week I read:

Week Three: Category A (Speculative F/F)

- DAYBREAK RISING by Kiran Oliver: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1586727204

Week Four: Category A (Speculative F/F)

- NO HOLDING BACK by Kate Evangelista: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1676405655

Week Four: Category B (Wild Card)

- WE AWAKEN by Calista Lynne (Asexual Characters): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1673984417
- SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN by Jeff Garvin (Genderfluid Characters): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1423817509


#SummerSeriesChallenge


This week I read...
- BLOOD MAGIC by Tessa Gratton; will be continuing this series
- DAYBREAK RISING by Kiran Oliver; might continue this series
- THE ISLAND by S. Usher Evans; will not be continuing this series

24.6.16

#Review: THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie

THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US

Author: Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #1
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Flux 
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water. 

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop.
Purchase:
Read this as part of the #ReadProud Challenge as hosted by Julia Ember.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I liked the plot and the characters, but there was something that kept me from LOVING it. Do I still recommend it? Yes, absolutely. But there was just something that I can't quite put my finger on that made me just "really like" this one instead of "loving" this one.

23.6.16

#Review: MY MAD FAT DIARY by Rae Earl

MY MAD FAT DIARY

Author: Rae Earl
Series: Rae Earl #1
Source: Finished Copy via the Publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
It's 1989 and Rae Earl is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint green bathroom and a refrigerator Rae can't keep away from. She’s also just been released from a psychiatric ward. My Mad Fat Diary is the hilarious, harrowing and touching real-life diary Rae kept during that fateful year and the basis of the hit British television series of the same name now coming to HULU. Surrounded by people like her constantly dieting mum, her beautiful frenemy Bethany, her mates from the private school up the road (called “Haddock”, “Battered Sausage” and “Fig”) and the handsome, unattainable boys Rae pines after (who sometimes end up with Bethany…), My Mad Fat Diary is the story of an overweight young woman just hoping to be loved at a time when slim pop singers ruled the charts. Rae's chronicle of her world will strike a chord with anyone who's ever been a confused, lonely teenager clashing with her parents, sometimes overeating, hating her body, always taking herself VERY seriously, never knowing how positively brilliant she is and keeping a diary to record it all. My Mad Fat Diary – 365 days with one of the wisest and funniest girls in England. 
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was honest and raw -- which, obviously, because it is edited versions of Rae Earl's actual teenage diaries. Kudos to Rae Earl for publishing those because my teenage diaries are never going to see the light of day ever again.

22.6.16

ARC #Review: SONGBYRD by Anna Silver

SONGBYRD

Author: Anna Silver
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary:
Living on the road with her mother, all she's ever really wanted is a normal, stable life in one place. Innocence is plagued by nightmares of a terrible event in her past, and the ever-growing fear that whatever she and her mother have been running from will finally catch up. In Stonetop, a small town in the Texas Hill Country, she meets Jace, a charming and sensitive guy but he's not the only one drawn to her. Suffering from PTSD symptoms, Innocence becomes increasingly aware of her family's mysterious and sometimes frightening powers. As her own powers begin to surface, Innocence has to decide who to trust. Unable to elude their haunted past, three generations of Byrd women must not only unite, but embrace their heritage as a gift—and their key to a future of love and understanding. 
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I actually really enjoyed this one. This one starts off in a way that I usually hate (Girl Bounces From Town To Town Because Mother Is Keeping A Secret) but I thought it really worked here. Even though there were a lot of tropes used in this one, I thought Silver did a good job of making them her own. I did, however, feel a bit of a lull in the middle of the book that caused me to lose a bit of interest. And I wasn't a huge fan of how PTSD was treated in this one, which is why it's a 3.5*.

19.6.16

Weekly Challenge Update (2 & 3): #ReadProud & #SummerSeriesChallenge

I'm participating in two challenges in June so I can knock off some books on my TBR: #ReadProud is hosted by author Julia Ember and is all about the LGBTQ+ books. You can see my intro post where I discuss my TBR for it here. #SummerSeriesChallenge is hosted by Amanda @ Brains Books Brawn and is all about reading the first book in a series you have wanted to start for a while. I am hoping to read a combined total of 30 books for these challenges.

See my Week (1) Wrap-up!


Week 2 Update (June 5-12):

I was really busy with Life Things™during week 2 so I got the minimum amount of books read :(


#ReadProud

Week 1: Category A
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1657601838)

Week 1: Category B
Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1649845643)

Week 3: Category B
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1585072879)

Week 4: Category A
Jerkbait by Mia Siegert (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1419876433)


#SummerSeriesChallenge


Week 3 Update (June 12-19):

I wanted to read more this week and semi-succeeded.


#ReadProud

Week 1: Category A
When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1472763458)

Week 3: Category A
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1437311575)

Week 3: Category B
Out On Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1649852045)



#SummerSeriesChallenge

17.6.16

#Review: SAVING MONTGOMERY SOLE by Mariko Tamaki

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for

SAVING MONTGOMERY SOLE by Mariko Tamaki!

I have a review of the book for you today so you can read that. But first let's learn more about the book...


SAVING MONTGOMERY SOLE

Author: Mariko Tamaki
Source: Copy via Publisher
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary:
In sight not see
black light not be

This is the curious instruction that comes with the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet that Montgomery Sole buys online for $5.99. It’s also the next topic of discussion at Mystery Club (members: Monty and her two best friends, Thomas and Naoki), dedicated to the exploration of the strange and unexplained.

When Monty wears the Eye of Know, strange things happen, all targeted at people she despises. Maybe it will help Monty take down her newest enemy, a preacher who has come to save her town from so-called sinners—sinners like Monty’s moms. Or will its mysterious powers mean the end of the friendships Monty cherishes most?

Mariko Tamaki has created a thoughtful, funny, and painfully honest story about family, religion, ignorance, and other unsolved high school mysteries.
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a quick and easy read and I really enjoyed it. I thought Monty was a really great character and super relatable. I really liked that she had a diverse friend group and that we got to see from her perspective all the things that were affecting them - slurs, people in general, religion, etc. etc. - because I feel like a lot of allies don't realize that instead of getting weighed down and burdened by these things, most LGBTQ+ people try to roll with the punches (sometimes quite literally).

15.6.16

ARC #Review: YOU KNOW ME WELL by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

YOU KNOW ME WELL

Author: Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I enjoyed this one but something kept me from loving it. I loved that it wasn't about coming out -- both the main characters were already out and accepted -- and that it was more about learning who you are as a person. I also really liked that both the main characters were falling in and out of love in different ways with different things. This was about two kids trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives that just also happened to be gay. And that was great!

14.6.16

#Blitz: CHAINS OF COMMAND by Marko Kloos

Hello and welcome to my book blitz post for

CHAINS OF COMMAND by Marko Kloos!

Today I have an excerpt of the novel for you but first let's learn more about the book!

CHAINS OF COMMAND

Author: Marko Kloos
Series: Frontlines #4
Publisher: 47North
Publication Date: April 19, 2016

Summary:
The assault on Earth was thwarted by the destruction of the aliens' seed ship, but with Mars still under Lanky control, survivors work frantically to rebuild fighting capacity and shore up planetary defenses. Platoon sergeant Andrew Grayson must crash-course train new volunteers—all while dulling his searing memories of battle with alcohol and meds.

Knowing Earth's uneasy respite won't last, the North American Commonwealth and its Sino-Russian allies hurtle toward two dangerous options: hit the Lanky forces on Mars or go after deserters who stole a fleet of invaluable warships critical to winning the war. Assigned to a small special ops recon mission to scout out the renegades' stronghold on a distant moon, Grayson and his wife, dropship pilot Halley, again find themselves headed for the crucible of combat—and a shattering new campaign in the war for humanity's future.
Purchase:
The Lankies can sense our vehicles somehow. Anything with an electric motor or fusion plant draws their attention much faster than just a trooper or two in battle armor. Two of the Lankies notice the four-wheeled crawlers and stop what they are doing to pursue the all-terrain vehicles in strides that are slow at first, then longer and faster as the aliens get their enormous mass moving. The drivers of the crawlers goose their electric engine and shoot off into the desert, and even at full throttle, they are barely pulling away from the Lankies. The two rear-facing troops on the passenger seats empty the magazines of their rifles at the pursuers. On a small vehicle going at top speed over rough and bumpy terrain, even the aiming computer isn’t a great deal of help. Most of their rounds go wide or kick up dust in front or beside the Lankies. Then two or three rounds hit the lead Lanky, whose lower left limb collapses midstride. The Lanky tumbles to the desert floor in an enormous cloud of dust and gravel. 

13.6.16

Discussion: Jamie's Guide To Surviving Book Events!

On Books Are My Fandom, I will have a post about how to interact with others at events, but I thought I would write a post about what to pack to prepare for the events and what author events actually entail. I am going to give general tips that correspond to all events and then break this up into two sections for specific tips: one for just one or multiple authors at a bookstore and one for larger conventions/festivals.


General Tips

Pack Ahead of Time

Make a checklist about two weeks before the event for everything you need. It should include items like:
  • Books to get signed
  • Post-it notes
  • Pens
  • Additional Book to Read, optional
  • Portable Phone Charger
  • Camera, optional if you don't have a smart phone
  • Snack foods; ideally for me, granola bars WITHOUT peanuts because you can keep them in the wrapper and not get your hands dirty.
  • Water bottle
  • BUSINESS CARDS, if you have them/are a blogger

Get Your Books Ready Ahead of Time

Do you want your books personalized? Check out how to get your post-it notes and books ready! Here's what you need:
  • Square post-it notes
  • Pen
  • Book!
Take your post-its and flip them upside down so the sticky part is at the bottom. Write your name here! Stick it on the opposite page from the one that has both the title of the book and the author's name. This way they don't have to move the sticky note and can still see your personalization! This works even better with hardcovers because you can move the flap to this location so you can easily access it!

Double check that your phone is charged to 100% and that your portable charger is charged/has extra batteries too! 

12.6.16

#SST: ALL THE FEELS by Danika Stone // #GuestPost + #GIVEAWAY

Hello and welcome to my Sunday Street Team tour post for

ALL THE FEELS by Danika Stone!

I have a Guest Post for you from the author about surviving conventions and there is a tour wide giveaway at the bottom so keep scrolling! But first, let's learn more about the book...


ALL THE FEELS

Author: Danika Stone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 7, 2016

Summary:
College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.
Purchase:

Liv's Top 10 Survival Tips for First Time Convention Goers

1. Embrace Your Inner Nerd!

Leave your inhibitions about your fandoms at the door. Conventions are a great place to share that love, so pull out that fandom tee you have hidden in your closet and squee to your heart's content. This is the time to let your shipper flag fly!

2. Yes, you SHOULD Cosplay!

Stop overthinking it, and get yourself a costume. It'll help you fit in with everyone else attending the convention (See #1) And you'll be visible to "your" fandom people. (See #10) Side-benefit, the crowds will give you more room as you're walking around the floor.

3. Bring the Sensible Shoes

You will walk more than you ever thought you would. You WILL get blisters. Your feet will hate you. Functional trumps adorable cute in this case.