Monday, October 23, 2017

Current Events of the Fall Season

So I shared a 140 character or less quote on Twitter from the dark fantasy, and it got SO MANY likes that it just makes me so happy people seem to be intrigued when I talk about it. I sadly haven't written much more in it, only a few future scenes that just wouldn't leave my mind. But. PROGRESS.

Also a little while ago I started a meet cute short story inspired by the Meet Cute anthology coming out in January. I loved writing it, and I was challenging myself to finish *something* because I never have. And I wanted it to give me the confidence to do better at finishing my WIPs. I was aiming for around 7,500-8000 words, and I got to 4.2k. I'd planned on posting it on the blog when I was done, and that was it.

BUT GUESS WHAT HAS NOW BECOME A FULL-LENGTH NOVEL AND WILL BE MY NANO PROJECT THIS YEAR? lolololol Shannon totally called it. I'll be talking more about this WIP on November 1st, but I'm just so excited to start it. I don't know what I'm doing with the 4.2k I already have yet, so I'm just starting from the beginning, when my two MCs meet again after two years. I can't wait to start actually writing it. :D


I'm actually not reading very much right now, feeling sort of meh over books. I've started and stopped so many lately. The past two weekends I've finished a few, so I think I'm slowly getting over the slump, but idk because I just am still having a hard time finishing stories. WAH. So, anyway, I hope it ends soon because I've got 2017 eARCs to catch up on! My ~currently reading~ pile:

  • The Speaker by Traci Chee: which is really good so far, and I'm very intrigued how the rest of it will go! Archer is still my love *heart eyes*
  • First and First by Santino Hassell: I just love his books so much, and I decided his Five Boroughs series will be my October one. But I'm running out of time, so I NEED to get this one finished + another.
  • How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake: wanted to read it bc of the bisexual MC, and I'm not super into it, but it's probably gonna be a short book, so I'm sure I'll finish it soon. I hope.
  • The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli: I'm enjoying this one, but I just haven't gotten, idk, hooked enough to stick with it.
  • Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody: the first chapter was okay? I'm not sure if this one will be for me, because I'm not a circus fan, but I'll give it a bit more to see if my opinion changes.
  • The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera: I just. I CAN'T DO BOOKS LIKE THIS RIGHT NOW. I'm already so confused after one chapter, and I'm sure it'll be worth slogging through a slow pace + world I need wrap my head around. But do I have the time to invest? NOT REALLY.
  • Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust: I am REALLY into this, but it's on the slower side, and definitely more character-driven. So not much is actually happening, but I want to keep reading, so that's a good sign!
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I already knew this one was a book I'd just read every once in awhile, so my not finishing it isn't a big deal. I will get it done one of these days!

*dies*


I finally went back and finished season two of Outlander, so now I'm caught up and watching season three as the episodes come on! I'm so obseeeessed with this show that I also started the first book a few weeks ago and will be on-and-off reading it (since it's so effing long). I also finally watched The Bold Type, and omfg I fucking love this show so much. I'm currently writing a post about why you should be watching it too. I CANNOT WAIT FOR SEASON TWO. WHEN CAN I HAVE IT.

I also found the anime, Fairytail, on Amazon so I bought the first season (and am sad it's in English, because it isn't the same as when it's in Japanese) and rewatched the episodes I'd already seen. Now I'm into new-to-me episodes, and oh how I've missed this show. The world. The magic. But especially the characters. Natsu, Lucy, Gray, Erza, Happy, etc. They are all so well-rounded, and I LOVELOVELOVE their relationships and banter with one another. It's the best. I need more of it all the time.


So what have you guys been currently up to? Any good movies or TV shows or books I should check out? Are you a NaNoWriMo person? If so, be my buddy! skizzles22 :)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cover Reveal: Sweet Life by Nina Lane



He knows if she's been bad or good. 

Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she's having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she's ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer. Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for fourteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes. Just when Julia thinks Warren is all she wants for Christmas, an old flame comes to town and reminds her of the carefree girl she used to be. As the new year approaches, Julia is forced to decide if she wants to relive the past or embrace the future.   

PRE-ORDER NOW 

iBooks | Amazon


        *****


 *****

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she's that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 2017 Releases

This is late because of the Shattering Stigmas event (which has a INT giveaway still running!), but I still wanted to share it with y'all. :)

October 2nd 

October 3rd

October 4th

October 10th

October 17th

October 24th

October 31st


I've already read: SO. MANY. October is always such a huge month with new releases, and I was able to pick up a lot of them when I went to ALA annual in June. And I got through *most* of my list, all but one or two titles. And anyway here they are: All the Crooked Saints, This Darkness Mine, A Line in the Dark, Brooding YA Hero, Gray Wolf Island, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Wild Beauty. So yeah, basically all of them. 😂 All but Wild Beauty got around 3-3.5 stars, so it wasn't exactly a bunch I loved. But I definitely enjoyed them all!

From NetGalley/ALA/publishers: 27 Hours and The Tiger's Daughter. I'm nervous about the former, and I am almost certain I'll be DNFing the latter because I just do not have time for a book like this. I'm also reading and enjoying The Last Namsara and hope to finish it soon. The Knowing and That Inevitable Victorian Thing are on my list too, and I want to read them before 2017 ends, at least.

My most anticipated: um, I kind of already read them all? LOLOLOL. I am really looking forward to Dear Martin, though!


What October releases have you been most excited to read? Did I miss any that should be on my radar? Let's talk! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Don't Be a Starfish

Title: Starfish
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 26th, 2017!
*eARC kindly provided by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.



My Review!
I felt such a personal connection to Kiko, the main character. I'm not biracial, nor half-Japanese, but there was a whole lot about Kiko's life and personality that I related to so hard. It made the read that much more special to me, because it's not very often when I can say that a book is basically my life.

*Kiko is a middle child
*with two brothers
*she's shy and quiet
*awkward and has social anxiety
*parties make her super anxious, and she feels better when she's got friends like Jamie and Emery around 
*feels weird for fangirling and showing her passion for things
*is a dreamer and a creative type
*doesn't like confrontation
*but wants so badly for people to see her feelings
*yet she's always scared those she loves will get angry or dislike her for feeling different from what they want
*but she's so courageous, and she learns how to demand better from people
*I'm going through a similar situation re: the relationship Kiko has with her Mom, but with a cousin of mine. I know starfish in my life too, and it SUCKS.

So yeah, I ended up absolutely loving this book, and all I wanted while reading it was to give Kiko a big hug and tell her that she deserved better from many people in her life. I loved that this book didn't tie everything into a neat little bow (especially with her mental health) and that it had so much good in it, especially the relationships Kiko makes with others. Just absolutely WONDERFUL.

RATING: 

 

Also, I wanted to share this interview Akemi did with one of my co-hosts for the Shattering Stigmas event. Guys, READ THIS BOOK! :D

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Midnight Tales Tour Recap

I'd been SO excited about Leigh Bardugo's The Language of Thorns tour stop ever since it was announced. Because it was in Grand Rapids, which happens very rarely! And because of my job, I've been driving more of certain areas in the city, and luckily Schuler's is in a place that I could get to. I had a little bit of anxiety at the start of this. My lovely friend Sabrina was unable to go, so I was heading to an event where I would be alone. Normally, I don't mind, but bookish events are 100% better when you've got people with you. Plus, there was going to be a wait with the signing (it was in order of your ticket #), and that could get boring.

But what's great is that I knew someone else who was going! Theresa and I have known each other a few years now, and she was gonna be there. She also saved me a seat, which was SO NICE, and honestly great because we were in the second row and I could hear everything and feel like I was part of the Q&A session. The event was moderated by someone who does a lot of the moderating for book tours at the Lansing location, and she was really funny. Her and Leigh had a wonderful banter going, and I felt like we got so much information on Nikolai's upcoming book, King of Scars, and also random facts about Leigh that kept the whole crowd laughing. 

A few highlights:
  • Leigh said she once had a dream that she and The Darkling were having a cooking competition on the Shadowfold ala Chopped style.
  • Someone asked what her characters would make, and I don't remember all the answers. Nina would obviously do a waffle dish, and Kaz would probably make this glamorous meal to be like, "Didn't expect that, did you?"
  • She teased that Nikolai was supposed to die in Siege and Storm, and when the crowd reacted, she was like, "but he didn't! ...yet." SO RUDE, LEIGH.
  • She mentioned that she goes away during October because everyone wants her to do their Halloween makeup. (I don't blame her).
  • That's where the idea of Shadow and Bone came from, a retreat in the mountains during October, when she thought about the dark being a tangible monster and how someone would fight it.
  • When asked her favorite character, she said she must've really loved Nikolai not to kill him off. She also mentioned Genya (!! who I love).
  • She likes to think Wonder Woman chose her, and it was an honor for her to be able to write about Diana and the Amazons.

After that, the crowd dispersed to wait for the signing. I was #79, so I didn't have THAT long, and I mostly shopped around the store. I found some cute socks for my #otspsecretsister and some holiday cards for these things. I also saw a Shakespeare love mug that I had to force myself not to buy. (I just really love Shakespeare, okay). I actually chatted with someone I didn't know in line a little, which I hope went well? And then I finally got there, and someone needed to leave, so they cut in line. OKAY, FINE. (I really didn't mind, but I feel like this *always* happens to me). Anyway, the signing was pretty rushed, so I didn't even really get to talk to Leigh. And she didn't remember me, which was sad. She asked me if I'd chosen the witch button, or if it chose me. I was like, it was hard to choose between Queen and witch, but I always choose witch. And she's like, or you can be both! A witch queen. Which yesssss. She personalized TLOT and signed three other books I brought (SoC, CK, and WW). Yet so, I had a great time listening to the conversation almost more than meeting her again? But I AM very happy that I got this awesome picture with her.

(idk what people do with their hands, but I really fucking love this pic of me, and that doesn't happen very often)

I left after that, and I definitely was sad to miss Sabrina, but the event was fun. It was so great to finally meet Theresa, and I JUST LOVE BOOKISH EVENTS SO MUCH. Please, publishers, send more of your authors to Grand Rapids? Kay thanks, love you.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Another Year of Shattering Stigmas at a Close

Technically this event doesn't end until tomorrow. But since I'm out of guest posts, and I've no emotional energy to write another, and I don't post on Sundays, I think it's a good day to close out my part in it. But please do still check out Shannon's, Taylor's, Inge's, and Vlora's blogs, and Taneika's booktube! They've had loads of posts (and videos) this week, and we've got the giveaway running until November 2nd. And since I think that's all for the administration needs, I'm going to end this on a more personal note.

It was scary to share my story, but putting a name to what I face daily has felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders. The response, the love and support, made it even easier to let go. I'm proud of myself, for taking the step. And I'm grateful I did, because the reassurance on therapy has made me feel a lot better about giving it a try. I haven't set anything up yet, but I want to before 2017 ends. Now it's just having the courage to talk to my mom about costs and finding a therapist who might fit me. And after this, I feel braver.

I'm also proud of all the people who shared posts on my blog, and on everyone else's. Y'all are warriors. I'm so glad to know a lot of you, and I just appreciate so much all of you taking the time and effort to share your own stories. It's because of this event last year that I was able to share mine, and I hope this continues to help others and foster mental health discussion. So thank you CJ, Beth, Charlotte, Kara, Jenniely, Brandy, and Taylor! You made this event that much brighter and better.

Lastly, a massive thank you to Shannon for inviting me back to co-host and for always knowing just what to say. I love you, friend. Thank you to the other hosts for making Year 3 even better than the previous ones. I didn't know Taneika and Vlora before this, and I'm grateful I do now. You guys are all wonderful people. And Taylor, you're an absolute gem. I don't know what will happen next year, but I know I would love to host with a group such as this one again. I can't wait to read the rest of your posts. <3

*****

Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't yet! There will be SIX winners, and it's going on until November. :) 
 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Collected Musings

For the last guest post of this week, I've got my friend CJ on the blog with a very raw and honest collection of what mental illness has been like for her. So please give her a warm welcome and support in the comments. :)

*****

Hey, guys. I’m C.J. from Sarcasm and Lemons, a book blog. I have depression and anxiety. Many flavors of each, and I’ve been dealing with them for a long time. I’ve talked a lot about mental illness on my blog, self care tips and myth busting and various bookish topics, but for this year’s mental health awareness week, I’m going with something a little more personal. A series of snippets, things I’ve written down in the midst of anxiety or depression. Fragments of my experience in those moments. Mental illness is a fickle, mercurial thing, different for everyone but with a core of gray sameness.

Here’s what it’s been like for me. 
CW: Depression, anxiety, thoughts of self-harm 

--- 

Collected Musings

Anxiety is taking a klonopin on your birthday because you’re worried your dinner reservation won’t work out or your friends won’t have fun or they’re only coming because they feel like they have to or…

Depression is longing and failure. When you’re so desperately sad and you find someone else’s poetry, someone else’s lines that express exactly how you’re feeling in that moment, and instead of feeling less alone you feel more depressed because there’s even someone out there who’s better at your pain than you are.

Sometimes the greatest relief in a moment of depression comes when you have come to think so little of yourself and your situation that you’ll say anything to anyone, even a thing so terrifying as a “How do you do?”  A lovely irony, that the fear to seek what you want is lowest when you’ve nearly given up on seeking it. 

In this world, you can be in a room full of people and invisible. In this world you are a character.  You are a ghost.  You feel that you live but you can’t help shifting your eyes to the side, searching for the edge of the scene.  Blinking, to clear the fog and bring the real world into focus.  Move too quickly and you’ll tip off the edge of the earth.  If you move, you cease to exist.  If you speak, you’re a shadow.  This place is a phantom.  This is the dream world, where you stand on the threshold of the void and long to jump, because the smash of the earth will make everything real again.  If the wind didn’t tear the wheat to the side and bluster the walkers into corners, would they know they were real?  Pain, no matter how melodramatic it sounds, is the only reality in this kind of world.  Muffled in the golden glow, you struggle against the itchy restlessness of a scream.  Dig your fingernails into your wrist.  Suck down coffee hot enough to scald.  You fear that you’ll be in this half world forever, but even more you fear the reality you’ve left behind.  Because step out that door you break the spell, and the loneliness can find you.  The only good solution is to open a book, because locked behind two layers of unreality, you can cease to exist . . . with the comfort that any time you feel yourself dying, you can come back. 

It's medication. You know you need it, but you hate needing it. Hate piling those little capsules together and choking them down. I remember, once, picking up the pills and having this awful feeling of deju vu. Didn’t I just do this? I realized, listlessly, that I had. Last night, and the night before, and the one before that, every one of them so much the same as to be indistinguishable in my memory. God, I thought. Is this my life? I’d never felt so restless to escape, and so unable to.

Television is the refuge of the lonely. TV shows are prepackaged friends. I’ve come to know many of them, Alex the wizard, Leslie Knope, Jessica Day. Cancellations feel like funerals.

Sometimes it’s being afraid to live. To be me. To express opinions, to share the splinters of my soul. I’ve become a fragile thing that cracks beneath fingerprints.

Does going to sleep count as situational anxiety?

I’ve perfected the silent scream. It comes from the back of your throat. You can force your diaphraghm in, push air out of your throat, hard, into your closed lips. In a reasonably noisy room, you can smile and scream and no one will notice a goddamn thing.

In truth, I hate myself a little. Sometimes I hate myself a lot. I feel claustrophobic in my own skin and I scream for escape but the only escape is death, and that’s no escape at all because it scares me so fucking bad to think about it that I want to claw my way out of my skin.
It’s a circular problem. 

*****

Thank you for sharing your story with us, CJ darling. <3