book review

Review: Don't Look Back

10:43 PM


Hi. I'm very calm right now. Especially considering I just finished Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout and MY EMOTIONS.

But first, I will give you all the important information. So you can go buy this book and read it too.


Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Source: Me
Pages: 369


Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash. 

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?



####

Pretty much the only thing that bothered me a little were the many smoldering-eye-contact/kissing-but-not-kissing/definitely-kissing moments in the romance. It just made me a little uncomfortable and also at some points made me think it was going in a direction that I didn't want it to go aka cliche. 

It never went to that point. But it had me worried a few times. :D

Now that I've got pretty much the only negative thing (in my opinion) out of the way, we can look at the awesomeness of everything else.

The people were amazing. They were amazing because they were real. Everybody has flaws, pain, coping mechanisms... in Don't Look Back I could see that. There were some characters that were a little cliche, but I didn't bother me too much because 1) they were only a little cliche and 2) they were secondary characters.

My favorite people were Sam and her twin brother Scott.

One of the reasons I really liked them and their relationship is because of the huge switch from before Sam's "incident" to after. Sam was a cut-throat high school queen and then she is a really nice person. It was really neat how much she couldn't believe that that was how she used to be.

It confused the heck out of the remaining mean girls (I loved the confusion)-- it confused the heck out of everybody. I loved the Sam I got to know-- strong, caring, impatient -- and I loved watching the other characters get to know her again, whether they liked the changes or not.

And even though the romance was probably meant to be the highlight relationship of the book, my favorite was the way that, after Sam and Scott got know each other, they were close and stood up for each other. It was like neither of them knew it, but both of them had just been waiting before for a chance to be close.

I JUST REALLY LIKED THEM.

I had my doubts about Carson, the one she's "falling hard for", because almost everything about him screamed the classic quiet, intense hottie that is featured in a gazillion books. Buut I warmed up to him. It was a close one though. ;) The thing that really won me over, I guess, is that he was there for Sam even when he was mad at her or hurt by her. Even when everything was messed up, he was there. He didn't ask for anything in return.


The mystery of the whole story was everything that I expected and more! There were tantalizing hints of what might have happened. Information was dropped in a way that didn't make sense by itself. And the fact that the mystery was all tied up in the dynamics of the real world and the dynamics of Sam's head, since she had memory less, was amazing. I didn't guess the culprit. Darn.

That's all I will say. Spoilers are imminent if I go further.




Oh. My. Gosh. Here is where I really gush. I could feel everything that Sam felt. I was afraid when she was afraid, I was frozen when she was. When I stopped in the middle of the book to go to sleep, I made sure the curtains were closed all the way.

Armentrout wrote all of Sam's emotions so vividly, so right.

I got confused along with Sam when her memories popped up randomly, in no particular order with no particular meaning. When you read a book, you're supposed to completely empathize with the main character and I think this is where the author did the best. I was completely in Sam's head, from the first page to the last.


And lastly (finally), is that am I the only one who's life was totally justified when Sam said she liked watching all the movie previews that play before the actual movie?? Apparently no one else in my family does this.


My Rating: 


Have you read Don't Look Back? Did you like it?

Alsoooo....HAPPY NEW YEAR! The actual New Year is about an hour and a half away where I live but who's being techinical? Not me. My family and I do a thing where we give gifts on New Year's eve. It's like our Christmas. *grins* Let me tell you, the couch looked fabulous with all those gifts on it. Best wishes and hugs from me to you, lovelies. :)

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. All opinions or thoughts expressed are my own. 

20 things you may not know about me

20 Things You May Not Know About Me

10:48 PM

Note: I wrote some of this ages ago, but I'm gonna leave it in because personality. The intro and questions 1 & 2 are the old ones. 

*sigh*


As I type, I just sat down on my bean bag a few minutes ago and have lots of homework and a soccer game to go to. 

I just don't feel like it though. 

That's a problem I have a lot. Anywho, if you're wondering what this has to do with this post, well, I'm writing this post to get something done while at the same time relaxing. 

And that's why you'll be learning 20 things about me that you may or may not have wanted to know. ;) 

1. How tall are you?
5'4" And I'm gonna follow Sophia's lead and tell you that that's approximately 163 cm. In other words, short. #pride

2. Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
I'm guessing you mean something that most people don't know about me. Huh. OH. I can put my foot behind my head and also I'm pretty good at catching almost any kind of ball. ADDED: Good reflexes. What can I say? I was born with them. *wiggles eyebrows*

3. What is your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
I really don't like it when bloggers don't reply to comments on their posts or if the formatting is unprofessional on a blog. If there's lime green type on a black background or mis-aligned borders, it really throws me off. 

4. What's your biggest non-blog-related pet peeve?
I hate it when people pity other people and it's the farthest thing from sympathy.

5. What is your favorite song?
-_- How can you ask things like this? Music literally saved my life during this last semester of college (which was my first) and it's really hard to pinpoint one song.

How about a list? *grins winningly*

Home to Mama by Cody Simpson & Justin Bieber
Blank Space by Taylor Swift
Coward by Hayden Calnin
Outside by Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding

Aaaand I also got crazily into K-pop. Korean pop music for those of you who aren't familiar with that term :D So here's some K-pop.

Moonlight by Got7
Lovesick by B.A.P
Peter Pan by EXO
Beautiful Target by B1A4

I've come to learn that almost all K-pop groups' names are capitalized or acronyms or both. XD

6. What is your favorite Etsy shop that isn't yours?
This probably defies the average-blogger-type, buuuut I don't really do Etsy. It's just really pricey so I don't look even if I want to ;)

7. What is your favorite way to spend free time when you're not alone?
Watching movies and TV shows for sure. Or browsing stores like Ross and T.J. Maxx which are basically stores that re-sell a huge assortment of everything at lower prices than the original seller.

8. What is your favorite junk food?
Junk food is awesome. I refuse to think of chocolate as junk food (because it's not obviously) so I would say either Cheetos or sour cream & onion potato chips. Yes, they're as delicious as they sound. 

9. Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind, and what are their names?
I do have a pet! A gorgeous puppy (not really...she's actually four years old) called Kim. She's an amazing mix of we-don't-know-how-many breeds. I would put a picture on here but I don't think I have one handy. *le sigh* 

10. What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?
This is unanswerable. I haven't read nonfiction in a looong time and there's no way I can pick a favorite fiction book. Sorry. You shouldn't ask these questions ;)

11. What is your favorite beauty product?
Um...hm...

I don't usually use make-up but when I do my favorite's probably mascara. I hate putting it on because I'm awful at it but I don't have long eyelashes so... 

12. When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
OH. MY. GOSH.

Okay. So this is what happened. I am not a sports person. I reject exercise. Therefore, I know the game rules for like zero sports and I don't even watch sports on TV except for football (the American kind) sometimes.

I went to a whiffleball game with a friend at the beginning of the semester. I didn't want to. I was forced. Anyway, whiffleball is kind of like baseball except less hardcore and it was really casual cause kids were playing too, etc.

The first time I hit the ball I tried to run with the bat.

>.< I still cringe.

This is why you shouldn't make me play sports, people. 

13. If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) what would it be?
Gatorade. That way I have many flavors. ;)

14. What's your favorite movie?
NO.

I loved How to Train Your Dragon 2. And Guardians of the Galaxy. Don't make me choose between those two, just don't. 

15. What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?
I was homeschooled all through high school so I have no idea whatsoever. If I had to guess, though, I'd say a combination of nerd, loner, and artist. Bam. 

16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Oh gosh, I don't know. Arizona? Great Britain? Ireland? I feel like I need to see more of the world to decide on my favorite place. In the end, no place feels like home without my family. 

17. PC or Mac?
PC. I'm just much more familiar with it. And compared to Mac it seems a lot more user-friendly to me. There aren't like five steps to take a screenshot. 

18. Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?
*chokes* HA.

How bout never.

19. Favorite celebrity?
I don't really keep up with celebrities, but maybe Jennifer Lawrence. 

20. What blogger friends do you secretly want to be best friends with?
Too many to count! (I know how exciting it is to see your name but it's not very exciting if you aren't named) Let's just leave it at-- there are some of you that I'm already best friends with ;) some of you who I keep in touch with and we're on our way to being besties, and some of you who I haven't met yet. <3


Hope you liked reading all about me! (Because I'm awesome.) Besides that, ahem, thanks Sophia for the tag! It was in October. Oops. But you're awesome! I had loads of fun answering the questions.

I tag:

Briana @Reader, Writer, Critic
Aneta @The Graffiti on the Wall
S.R. @McKade 

and anyone else who wants to join in. :) Put a link to your post down below and I'll go check it out and leave a comment. 

book review

Flash Review: Ticker

10:58 PM


Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
Publication date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Skyscape
Format: e-ARC
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 273

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder. 

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings...or is the motive more sinister?


####

The premise of someone having a mechanical heart completely grabbed my attention. And the cover. The cover also grabbed my attention. :) 

I don't know if it's just me being dense but I couldn't really tell that Ticker was steampunk from its blurb. So I really loved the way I could immediately tell that the story world was steampunk when I started reading. From the clothing to the mechanical horses, there was complete immersion but it didn't feel like info dumping either. 

And from a girl who loves gadgets, let me tell you-- Ticker's got it all. Mechanically operated boxes for pastries, mechanical beetles who serve as library guardians...there is no end to the fascinating technology. The thing that really impressed me is that many of these things were ones I had never read before in other steampunk novels. Points for originality!

Names. The names were super cool. They sounded like they fit in the storyworld. The only problem with these awesome, and usually quite complicated, names is that I had a hard time remembering them. I have this problem a lot because I'm awful at names in general. It's not a huge deal (I just winged it wrote them down somewhere I could reference to) but something that might affect your reading experience.

Now for the biggest thing I didn't love...

The romance wasn't great. I felt like almost everything about it was cliche. It was too fast, it was too expected. It just didn't meet the quality of the rest of the book. The main character Penny meets the guy and instantly starts feeling the "symptoms." Butterflies, lightning-- you get the idea. And to me, not only was the romance itself something that I've read a thousand times (and loses even more in my sight because it's insta-love), the love interest was so love interest-y. He fit almost all the criteria for a certain type of love interest. He seemed harsh and cold but in reality he was caring, kind, only acting that way because of his past, because he was hurting. He was physically "perfect." He was dutiful. He had scars. I have nothing against love interests or anyone for that matter having a past. I think it adds depth and something to sympathize with to the story, but it just didn't work for me this time. 

Of course this next point I'm going to make is completely relevant to personal situations, but I'm not rich in real life. I'm actually kinda broke. So I experienced twinges of annoyance when money or expensive things were treated so flippantly in Ticker. Just because someone is rich doesn't mean that they can't be conscientious about their riches and how they treat them.

Overall though Ticker was an amazing, fast-paced read set in a steampunk world. Perfect for one of my first books this break! ;) I think some people might say it was wrapped up a little too neatly in the end, that it wasn't as hard as the rest of the book. But I thought that was fine because 1) I am a character softie. They better get out alive. And 2) they already went through so much...I think they deserved a break.

So, I would recommend this book to people who like traveling at break-neck speeds, sweet pastries, and the intricate gears of steampunk.

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way and received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

books

Top Ten Books of 2014

10:37 PM

The great year of 2014 is winding down...and this of course calls for a recap of my favorite books of 2014, through the awesome Top Ten Tuesday linkup courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish. :)



It was hard but not as hard as I thought it would be. Drum roll please. :) These are not in any particular order.

1. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen



Honestly, this book had me turning pages SO fast and my emotions didn't know what to do. Even though the premise of trolls and the way the author dealt with story building was fantastic, I think the book's strongest point was in the characters. I was so invested! They were written like all amazing  characters (at least to me), very complexly.

2. Hex Hall trilogy + School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins


      

No, I'm not cheating by listing four books for one slot. Nope. ;)

The thing is, though, that the whole Hex Hall trilogy and School Spirits (not shown here) are so amazing that I couldn't leave them out even a little bit. Besides the Hex Hall books are obviously all in the same series and School Spirits is a spin-off so it's all good. 

These books are paranormal set in modern times. It sounds cliche but these books stand out from so many others. From the paranormal world to the character dynamics to the awesome sarcasm, it was the best series I read this year. Promise. 

3. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge 



COVER. Look at its gorgeousness. It's one of my favorite covers of 2014 for sure. The story ripped my heart to shreds. Apparently I like that kind of thing because it was amazing. The characters were filled with pain but the author wove the story so beautifully. It was like...maybe these two broken people could fix each other and it would make the world seem better even if the world itself couldn't be fixed.

Just urgh. Heart wrencher.

4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin



First of all, this was the first book I read that dealt with a person that has mental issues. Michelle Hodkin completely portrayed all the emotions perfectly. And to top that off, I loved the characters too. I haven't read the next two books though because I'm so scared. O.O

5. Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay



Juliet Immortal is based off the idea that original story of Romeo and Juliet was never true. That is the most intriguing thing ever for me. PLUS this is a paranormal re-telling. Uh huh. It was really easy for me to empathize with Juliet too because even though she went through so much she still cared about people and did the right thing.

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater



Oh. my. gosh. This book was like opening a whole new world in front of me. Not only was it a paranormal when I hadn't read many of those but Stiefvater's writing is so different from other writers. It's crazy. And it's written in such a way that magnifies the whole "fantasy" feel I think.

7. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt



This was a story about discovering and empowering yourself. Add a character who talks and thinks like me? Yes, please.

8. Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel


With the so-so cover and the younger MC, I didn't think I'd like this book at all. But anything with fairies + zombies + dust bowl has to be fabulous, right? It definitely impressed me. :)

9. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross


IT IS STEAMPUNK. Steampunk I tell you. If you know me, you know I love everything about steampunk from the clothes to the automatons. The big thing here though was that even though the plot and action was great, I fell in love with almost every single character. Especially the main character Finley. She is so kick-butt. 

10. The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper


This is about a girl gifted with the ability to see, hear, and speak to ghosts. I just really liked the writing style, the main character (Sparrow), and the whole heart-breaking story. 

Those were my top ten! Have you read any of them? What did you think? Are there any books that you think I really have to read? SPILL ALL. 

blogging

Big Plans (Cue Evil Laugh)

6:27 PM

Hey guys! So I have been catching up on sleep and food and other essential things these last few days. FIRST DAYS OF WINTER BREAK. Excuse me while I do a happy dance. That is like one of the only best things about college that I completely support. But I say that it's deserved because what the heck is a two day long fall break?

Okay. I'll stop hating on the system. ;) (For now.)

My main purpose right now is to give you a game plan on the future of Life of a Random. This last semester I didn't have any idea how to incorporate blogging into my busy life but that doesn't mean I want to quit at all. It means I'm going to find a way to do blogging anyway. *grins*

1. You can expect regular discussions, reviews, or link-ups starting this next week or sooner.

2. I have LOADS of books to read-- ones I've bought, ones for review, physical ones, e-ARCs. Everything. I'm also planning many trips to the library so: reviews! That also means I'll be pre-writing reviews to be published throughout the next semester.

3. I will try my hardest to create a schedule. I know I've said this before. >.< But I do need some kind of structure now that college is a factor. I'll be working on that...

Anywho, I am so excited to be back. You guys are the best and it always makes me feel so happy and fabulous when I remember that I have a whole community of people like me that I'm a part of.

*hugs*


'bout this blogger tag

'Bout This Blogger Tag

11:22 PM


Since I'm planning on coming back in full force on my blog soon (YOU CANNOT STOP ME), Cait's tag celebrating her new blog website Paper Fury is a perfect post. But before I start talking all about my blog, go check out Cait's! Seriously. She's awesome. 

RULES: Grab the set of ten questions, answer them, and use Cait's button or link back to paperfury.com. You can also add your post to her linky if you want. :)

'Bout This Blogger
I feel like I've used this before but I can't contain my swag, guys.

1. Why did you start blogging?

Because I wanted to have a way to express my feelings, I guess, of just whatever. At first, I used my blog to just talk about my life or different things I had opinions on. Just the idea that people were seeing my posts, even if it was just 5 views, was an awesome feeling. Especially since they weren't family members ;)

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

The story behind my blog's name is that I tried and tried to come up with something cool but I couldn't think of anything so...yeah. I just settled with Life of a Random. Because life, I talk about it, and me, a random. Logical, right? *grins* But now that I've had it for a while, I've grown to really like it because it doesn't confine me to one area of blogging. 

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging? (Pictures! We demand pictures!)

HAHAHAHA ha. Ha. A gazillion. I don't even know. I'm completely serious when I say probably around ten. If I'm exaggerating, I'm only exaggerating a little bit. 

I don't really have pictures... Lemme check though. 

After some digging, I've discovered that it's basically the headers that I mess with the most. Like, countless. Headers. 

Maybe a few of you remember the steampunk-ish header I had for ages with the gears and stuff on a creamy background. I have no picture. I think all evidence has been swallowed in the black hole of new-computer-that-has-no-beautiful-memories. 

The one right before my current one.
4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven’t ever changed…why?
I haven't. Just because I'm used to the way Blogger works and I've kind of worked out the little secrets to tweaking it and I also really like the blogger comment system. I feel like the Wordpress one takes too long. 


5. How long does it take you to write
 a post? What’s your postly process like?

I don't really have a set process or a set time. Cause I'm cool like that. :P Usually, book reviews take me the longest and book hauls and discussions take less time. 

My postly process... do I even have a process? Um, for posts (at least when I blogged regularly) I read books for review than usually reviewed them the same day or a couple days later or maybe even more spread out if I had to search for the exact right way to say what I wanted. I do book hauls whenever I get new books. And then my discussion posts are usually sparked by a book I read or something I disagree with or something I have a strong opinion on. Sometimes I write it out all at one time and sometimes I finish it over several days. It's a very flexible process. ;)

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why?! What was it?

I can't remember a specific post right now, but I always get nervous when I write a review for a book that's received a lot of hype. So, I'll question myself a lot more. Like, do I not like it because it's so hyped up? Did I really review it logically? I have a very loud inner editor. It doesn't succumb to threats.

7. Do you have a blogging schedule?

I do not. 

I have tried. 


8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?

I do tell people about my blog, but I brush past it and don't give them a lot of time to actually react. I'll be like, "Oh, yeah, I have this blog. I've done it for a little while. What did you say your hobby was?" One thing I think is different from most bloggers is that I have not let any of my family read my blog except for my sister. I just--the blog is me. A very true, book-crazy (sometimes weird) me. 

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most! Go! Go!

I don't have a Top Ten because I have been bad and haven't been active at all. BUT, the ones I have kept up with a teensy-weensy bit are:


THIS DOESN'T MEAN I DON'T SEE AND READ ALL THE OTHER BLOGS THAT I FOLLOW OR THAT FOLLOW ME. I do. I'm just not good a keeping up with commenting. 

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

Everything? Heehee. 

Actually I think maybe the organization of it and probably still, yes, *le sigh* the design. Hey, I'm an art major. I am never finished tweaking. The art major has nothing to do with that but whatever. I would also like to have scheduled posts on certain days of the week, but knowing me that will never happen. Sadly. 


Was that fun for you? It was, wasn't it. I can tell. I can see things. *stares at you intensely* If it was fun, then I think you should go check out Cait's blog and do it for yourself. You'll love it. Promise. In the mean time, like I told you guys before, December is going to be a huge getting-my-blogging-act-together month. Any suggestions? What were your favorite posts before? What has been YOUR favorite look of my blog? 

apologies

Hey...

10:30 AM

So guys, I'm really embarrassed *hangs head* I haven't been a good blogger at all. I could list a whole sheets of things why I haven't had time but I think I shall just talk about how that's hopefully going to change.

Soon a glorious vacation will arrive called winter break. I have really high hopes for this. *grins*

During winter break, figuring out a schedule that works for me and scheduling posts will be high on the priorities list. I've also been thinking about doing vlogs once in a while.

I'm gonna try to get at least one post out this week or weekend though, probably a book haul. So, crossed fingers everything works out.

Who ever heard of professors handing out homework to be done over Thanksgiving? ;)

briana

Sunday Swoons | Roses are Red...You are Creepy

11:27 PM


The image below was placed there because I like it. It's pretty. Also, the quote is a necessity, I think, in any relationship.
source @freegreatimages.com
I'm so sorry that I have been very absent from the blog, but college is proving to be very challenging. I've got something due every week it feels like and when I have free time I'd usually rather spend it wasting my time listening to kpop or watching funny vlogs. Which, of course, is very un-bloggerly of me but...eh, what can you do.

But this week I have come with a Sunday Swoons post! Sadly, Briana can't join in since she has no wi-fi. I think we need to send her kind thoughts and tons of virtual gifts to make up for that, don't you?

No wi-fi. *shudders*

Therefore, I shall be surging forward to host Sunday Swoons today. If you'd link up, it would make me and Briana very happy! (Or at least B will be when she finds out ;))

(You can find a more complete set of rules here.)

Our topic today is *drumroll* 
Stalkerish Types
Which is a very sucky name but I don't have the brain cells or Briana to help me brainstorm for something better so we're stuck with it. 

Basically, you can talk about anything weird/creepy/stalkerish characters in books. You know what I'm talking about...those people who "love" a person at first sight and then proceed to follow them everywhere and proclaim their feelings and all that jazz. This post is dedicated to those...special...people. 

Have fun! Go wild! (Except don't stalk people. That's never good.)

My personal peeve on this particular subject is when these stalker people, usually guys, follow these other people around and watch them creepily etc. it's not seen as weird. 

Usually, the person who is the object of their attention is flattered. 

Um...okay? It's just so annoying to me. Why would you even consider it okay that some random guy you don't even know is following you around, appearing out of no where, and knows your name. 

*suspicion* 

Wait, so you, whoever-your-name-is, have no thoughts whatsoever about this stalker's background or motives or anything? 

I really don't think this is something that should be promoted. Being obsessed with something or someone is not the same thing as genuinely caring. Never.

(Sorry for the shortness of this. I'm racing to publish this before midnight. #BloggerCinderella)

ALSO, guys, we have a problem. Briana and I are running out of ideas for Sunday Swoons fast. I mean, we're awesome but we're not that awesome. Would you pretty please send us some suggestions? Comment on this post or tweet Briana (@Briana_RWC) and I (@randomofalife) with the hashtag #SundaySwoons.

What are your thoughts on this? Any particular examples you know of in YA?


briana

Sunday Swoons | Romantic Writings

11:17 PM


(More detailed rules can be found here.)

This Week's Topic: Romantic Writings | Talk about couples that you have created in your books, stories, and worlds. That's basically the only requirement so have fun with it. :)

Romance in My Writing

I have never written a complete book, and honestly, I haven't gone too far in writing relationships yet either. So this will just be me rambling about the kinds of couples I tend to write and maybe snippets of what I have written for my couples. 

source @ Pinterest
I'm a big fan of "one and only" couples so that's usually what I write. I don't want to write stories about people who are only together for a short period of time. I want people to believe in true love and loyalty (since that's such a hard concept to grasp in all these current novels) and that it lasts. Not all guys are players, not all girls are flirts. 

source @ Pinterest

Before anything else, I want my couples to be friends. I have to admit, I'm not one of those people who believes in insta-love (as you might have guessed from my rants on that ;)) because jumping from a first sighting to passionate love doesn't make sense to me. I believe in building-love. I think it's stronger. I don't want my characters to be together because they each think the other person is hot and kick-butt. I want them to be together because they love the little things to. The way one side of their smile is higher than the other, the way they step carefully around even the tiniest flowers, the way they look so fulfilled when they're breathing in the cool wind. This stuff matters the most.


This kind of ties in with the "one and only" thing but...I think it's so amazing when a couple looks at each other like they're the only ones that matter. Not in a lovesick way but like...you're the only one they can see and they would never even look at another girl/guy even if they were hot or sexy or whatever. That's what love is all about and that's what I want to write in my stories.

Now for revealing some of the couples I've written (this is a bad idea this is a bad idea):

1. Daughter of Zion #1

A long, loooong time ago I wanted to write a series with my sister that featured teenage girl warriors. Here comes in one of the girls, quiet and deadly, and the guy a mischievous, kinda dangerous gang leader.

I don't think it's too cliche and I still like the idea but it's a no go I think after multiple re-writes of the first few pages and also it was totally copying the Kingdom Series by Chuck Black.

2. Working Title: Misunderstood

This is the couple in a super short story I wrote from a dream I had. The girl/young woman had been betrayed by the guy who had in addition gotten her pregnant and left her with a little girl. When the baby girl is around two, they meet each other by chance again. This whole story is set in a war-torn country and both the girl and guy were involved with military. And even though the guy betrayed the girl, there was some misunderstanding that I didn't figure out. I actually would love to turn this into a story but I'm not sure if that will happen.

And I'M SORRY but this is all I have time to write tonight. You all have a great coming week and please link up with us! (If you want to of course. *grins*)

Next Week's Topic: Everyone Loves Me Syndrome (a girl or guy having multiple people interested in them at the exact same time)



Guest Review: Rebel Belle

6:30 AM






Bunnita is a fun loving woman from the South. She's on a journey to read as many books as she can. She likes all things pretty so when she is not at a bookstore she can be found looking for home decor treasures. With no time like the present, she is on a mission to make all her dreams come true. Her advice to everyone is-- "If there's anything you ever wanted to do there's no time like the present to do it. You may succeed but even if you fail at least you'll have the satisfaction of trying."







Thanks so much for stopping by Bunnita! You my lovelies should definitely stop by her blog, Worth Reading It?

Bunnita's Review:

First thing I thought was "Yay it takes place in Alabama". Second was "Oh great a Buffy the Vampire Slayer wannabe". I mean the whole dance scene...well you'll see what I mean. Harper Price is a total type A personalty. She has to be perfect. She is head of every committee the school has while aceing her classes. She's not a mean girl, that surprised me. She is a nutshell, a prissy prude.

David is an unfashionable nerd though I do think that dressing nice can and should include jeans. He and Harper have been sniping at each other for years. He makes sure to mock her at every chance through the articles he writes for the school paper.

Ryan is Harper's boyfriend. He is understanding and loving but I couldn't get worked up for him. They had no humpf. Bee is Harper's best friend. She is the type of friend who is loyal but not a kiss ass.

Two things happened, I ended up wanting to make a hummingbird cake and I ended up liking the story. It quickly turned into its own book. Helped by the fact the author acknowledged the similarities to Buffy. It turns out to be a paranormal, action-packed, love triangle, we have to save the world type story. You're wanting to read it now huh?

This is part of a review swap, guys, so you can go check out the review I did for Bunnita's blog here if you'd like (SAY YOU WANT TO. SAY IT.). *grins sweetly*

briana

Sunday Swoons | Diversity in Relationships (LATE I'M SORRY)

11:28 PM


This week we're discussing diversity in couples. As always, GO CHECK OUT BRIANA'S POST. Oh, sorry, *smiles sweetly* didn't mean to scare you. Please go (That was better, right?).
For a more detailed list of rules, you can go here.

Diversity in Couples
This is a very relevant topic, that hasn't been dealt with enough. According to me. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this post because I'm already two days late (bad, Skylar) but it's definitely something that is very important, maybe even more so to me since my mom and dad are different races and, when they met, they had different religious beliefs too. 

But for now I'm going to focus more on the "race" part. Mostly I'll be focusing on it as it relates to America, but if you have comments and input on it whether you're from America or not feel free to. :) 

This is SO important. America is a nation of diversity, with many different kinds of people. Why isn't this portrayed in novels then? I've read one book where a half-Asian was in a relationship with a white person. I know there are a few at least of Asian and white pairings but they're not too common. What about black and white? Black and Mexican? Arabic and Asian? 

It's just not out there and it's frustrating. 

There's no reason why I, as a reader, wouldn't want to read it. I love experiencing different cultures from characters' perspectives! 

It's something that I've wondered about for a while. With all this diversity surrounding us, how can we still just write white couples (or our respective nation's dominant race) without falling behind our world. And for that matter, how can we do that without not respecting or understanding the fact that there are other kinds of people besides ourselves? 

I'm a Protestant Christian but that doesn't mean I won't respect Catholics or Muslims. We are all people who deserve respect as humans. I'm half Taiwanese and half (white)American. That doesn't mean that I'm conflicted or hold strongly to just one culture. I'm proud to be Taiwanese. And to be American. 

This should be portrayed in novels not because we don't embrace diversity because I know that the book blog/tube etc. community is generally very understanding and loving. BUT I am saying that this stiff mold that is being stuck to can influence us subtly until we expect every pairing to be the same race. We expect that there won't be mixing. It even goes further (past relationships) that sometimes, I admit, I expect every main character I read to be white if I haven't read anything about it. 

It makes me kind of uncomfortable to think about because this shouldn't be a problem. 

Diversity for the win! 

Sorry for the short-ness and the kinda somewhat rant. I tend to get...excited.

Next Week's Topic: Romance in Personal Writings (but with an awesomer name after B and I talk about it)

What are your thoughts? Do you have experiences with this in real life or in books you've read?


Review: Pardon My French

7:00 AM

First of all, OHMIGOSH this is an actual review post which I haven't done in ages. I'm so excited that I got this done. Whoo!


Hehe, but seriously. This is an important moment. *pauses to take it in* Fine, fine, I'll start the review.

Pardon My French by Cathy Hapka
Publication Date: November 3, 2005
Publisher: Speak
Format: paperback
Source: myself
Pages: 224

Seventeen-year-old Nicole dreams of spending the rest of her life with her boyfriend Nate. So when she finds herself on her way to Paris to study abroad without him, she’s less than thrilled. Paris is filled with cars that move at the speed of light, edible snails, and a language that Nicole can’t speak or read. Worst of all, Nicole feels lost without Nate. She’s not sure she’s capable of finding joie de vivre on her own, but with the help of some new friends—and a certain handsome Frenchman— Nicole might find Paris as sweet as a cafĂ© au lait after all.

I knew this book would be a fluffy contemporary as soon as I saw it, and I was right. But that's kind of the reason I picked it up. That and it was TEN CENTS. It was the perfect book to read in between classes and homework and all my other things of business.

What grabbed my attention right off was the cover. The cover is fabulous. I love the artsyness and the envelope-type quality. And it's obviously about travel, so I was like, "Yes, please. This is the perfect quick read."

It turned out it wasn't as impressive as the cover. At least to me. :) My favorite part of the book was all the traveling and exploring France! The descriptions of the food and culture were pretty well done and it made me even more determined to travel all over the world, whether it's in college or after.

But that was pretty much the only part that I really liked. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, which we all know are THE most important part to me. The characters were nice, but that's just it. They weren't amazing. I found the main character Nicole really hard to empathize with, and I think it's because of these reasons:

1. She had a really negative outlook for most of the book.
2. She hated change and traveling.
3. She was completely different from me.

I don't automatically reject characters who are my opposites. Nope. But Nicole was so unappreciative of the amazing opportunity she got to visit France. She didn't care about the art, she didn't care about the city...I guess I just couldn't relate.

I want to point out here that she wasn't an awful person, or this way for the whole book. She did undergo some character change. She learned to appreciate art. She changed but her character never clicked with me. Also, she was seventeen and she just didn't strike me as being mature for her age at all.

There was romance--basically, it's something between her and a French college guy. It didn't go anywhere there. On one hand, I was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out because it wasn't cliche, buuut on the other hand I wanted it to go somewhere. I'm the kind of reader who usually likes a little romance (growing not pointless) in my stories. I don't like full-on romance novels and I don't like novels without any romance. Unless the characters are twelve. I make exceptions for that.

So, that also lowered my opinion of the book. I was conflicted over how I should feel about it.

It describes food a little bit though. Those kinds of books always make me feel hungry even if I'm not sure I would like the food. POINTS.

BUT DON'T MENTION SNAILS TO ME RIGHT NOW OKAY. I've just recently read a disgusting, puke-inducing scene involving snails in my World Lit book assignment. Leave snails out of it, thank you.

In the end, it was a nice light read, but I'm not sure I would read it again. Doesn't mean YOU wouldn't like it though ;) I would recommend it to readers who like traveling, food, Paris, and foreign languages that you can't understand but sound nice.

My Rating:

Ashtyn

Day 5 | Freshmen Assemble-Final Thoughts

12:16 AM



We have come to the end of Freshmen Assemble, and through this feature I'm so glad I got to know Sophia and Ashtyn better. They are some fabulous people and you should go check out their blogs immediately ;)

Final thoughts...when I read that, I kinda tend to think that it's something about deep things. Like once-in-a-life-time revelations, or more practical thoughts on choices to make in high school. I am going to throw in a few last minute tips because tips save lives (seriously). But I want this to be relaxed, chill....something you can just laugh at along with me if it's funny. Don't laugh if it's not. 

Just don't. 

But BESIDES that, have fun reading the little tidbits I'm going to take from stuff I typed on my computer or scribbled in my journal. 


As an explanation, while I giggle at myself (even though the bathrooms still aren't too high on my "love" list), I have to use a community bathroom. It's the showers that take a lot to get used to. It's usually freezing in there and water gets on literally everything. And it bubbles up from the other shower right beside you. 

Yeahhh, I wear flip-flops. 

BEWARE THE COMMUNITY BATHROOM SHOWER. 

*cough* Moving on. 

this delicious snippet is from my 2nd day at college
It was literally that bad. I didn't know where anything was except my dorm room and I didn't know my way around town either. I was suffering from a mammoth landslide of homesickness too, so don't feel awkward or "not normal" if you just know you're going to miss home like crazy. Not everybody is just waiting to escape home. 

I'm a little bit better now on the knowing-where-I-am stuff. Emphasis on "a little". 


And humble. 


So, as you can see, college isn't always the best thing in the world but it isn't the worst thing in the world either. It's different ratios for different people. 

Here's where I start throwing out random pieces of tips:

Go in with an open mind. Be ready for change. This way you're going to have loads of new and fun experiences and enjoy it. 

DON'T, and I mean DON'T, ever forget your keys or phone in your room while you trek off to class. If you leave the first item, someone is going to have to let you back in when you get back to a locked door. Are you prepared? Do you have your RA's number? Just take the keys, man. If you leave the second item, then you have worried/angry/scold-y parents. I just wouldn't advise it .

Maybe when you chose your meal plan you thought you were all set but there are going to be times when you absolutely do not want to get off your butt and walk across campus to just eat. Take food. It's good for when you want to stay in and it's good for studying at all hours. 

Smile at people when you walk past them! I don't always do this and it's fine if you don't but just imagine yourself in the other people's positions. I know that I like it way better if someone smiles at me than if they stare stonily ahead. *cough* me *cough*

College is an experience you may or may not go through, but I'm happy that I chose this way because I think it'll lead me to what I love doing, for a job. And of course, YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME. I'm trying to set aside more time for blogging now that I've kinda gotten into my groove. Hopefully that works out and you see more of me. Because that's always good ;)

Also, yeaaah, technically I'm not posting this on the right day, but we'll just pretend it is. I only missed the day by 15 minutes okay. Geeze. (But I really am sorry. *pacifies with chocolate*)

Hugs! Chocolate! Books! All the good things. 

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