Bookstagrammers Are Making the Jump to New App Litsy

In what appears to be just a day, bookstagrammers have finally begun the potential Litsy craze. It’s an app that’s been under the radar for months, but now it’s become the new bookstagram. Designed like Instagram, it has features like “likes”, hashtags, comments, and tagging. However, it’s not exactly the same.

For one, posting isn’t just pictures. It can be a blurb, a review, or a quote. Which means there doesn’t even need to be a picture for a post to be made and creates posts similar to tweets on Twitter.

Next to the like and comment buttons, there’s a special stack button, which is similar to the Goodreads feature of adding books to to-read, reading, or have-read shelves. Every post has a specific book linked to it, so when a post has a book that interests you, you can hit that button and add it to one of your stacks. No more switching over to Goodreads every time you see a book you want to read!

Comments are kept separate from the activity feed for “likes” and stacking. This is helpful, since tagged comments can easily be missed beneath a sea of “likes” and then there’s that awkward moment when someone doesn’t respond to a comment you tagged them in. As well, there’s even a feature that lets you edit comments you’ve made, which wasn’t available on Instagram.

Then there is the important part, the reason why all of us are so frustrated with Instagram. No algorithm. Litsy even mentions this specifically, so we can count on them keeping our posts in chronological order. Finally, an app that listens to us!

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But it isn’t all perfect. Afterall, it’s a fairly new app. There are bound to be some bumps in the design or features that are still missing.

There’s no grid to view your photos. We all take pride in our themes, since it’s what draws in new followers and is pretty to look at (when we get it right). There have been a few debates on this. Should we have the grid pattern, or keep it the way it is so we don’t have to stress about themes anymore?

Then there are the comments, which, are formatted in a way that makes it difficult to easily skim over them. Regular comments show what the person is saying, but for comments where you are tagged in them (ex: @infinitbr) do not show the comment and instead say “[person] tagged you in a comment about [book]”. This might be just me, but I’d like being able to read what was said without having to click on the post!

Finally, the biggest change I’d like is the addition of DMs. I could never switch completely over the Litsy because of the many DM conversations I have on Instagram. Conversations are made easier on Litsy by having comments in a separate feed from other activity, but it would be most efficient to talk to other people in a chat-format like DMs.

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So, what do you love about Litsy, and what do you want changed? I’m hoping this post will encourage more of you to join those of us already on the app and post your own reviews to help improve their app!

 

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Review: The Moonstone

Greek mythology, magic, and a darkly sexy love interest…

The Moonstone by Evelyne Contant

Lou is a moonchild, someone rarely born in the magical world. Under precise circumstances, she was born from the sacrifice of her mother and raised by humans to have no memory of the magical world. She never felt as if she fit in with humans, and when she is taken away years later to train in the enchanters’ city, she faces her newly discovered home with little sadness.

As a moonchild, she has four versions of the major powers of earth, wind, fire, and air.  This makes her more powerful than any of the enchanters with each only one power. However, her powers must be kept a secret, because the magical world has been waiting for thousands of years for a moonchild…since only a moonchild can find the Emerald Tablet, which holds the powers of the gods.

The beginning was slow because of world building, but once I pushed through it, I finished half of the book in just a day. The consistent action enthralled me, and the book even caught me unaware at one point with a plot twist. These days, that’s pretty hard to do since I’ve seen them all.

I found the overall idea of the story to be beautifully unique. We’ve all read a lot of books where the main character is born powerful or prized and they’ll end up saving the day blah blah blah…we’ve seen it all. I think people just like writing about it because we’ve all wished we could be that person- born naturally amazing. But what makes this one so different is that Lou spends her time training and with other (well developed) characters, instead of becoming famous or saving the world straight away. As well, there are also the details Contant writes into the story that make it so different.

A detail that shaped the entire story was the greek mythology threaded through it. Not only was there incredible imagery of mythical creatures, but also characters based around myths. Then there were the outfits, written about with careful thought that I could easily imagine. These details showed the author’s personality through her writing, and created a connection I can rarely find in books between the readers and the author. One last one I’ll mention…the enchanters lived off of sweets. I found that to be a cool little detail that brings to life the dreams of mostly everyone- eating their favorite junk foods with no side effects.

Now, what we’re all here for. The darkly sexy love interest *smirky smirk*. LORD BLACK! The romance between them was slow-building and flirtatious. This is the best type of romance because we want that satisfaction of our ship coming together, but we also need that time in between where the characters are so clueless of each other or hopelessly crushing. It’s just adorably frustrating. Also, he was completely evil, like many other characters we know and love. Warner, Rhysand, Draco…all characters from other books with this totally evil demeanor that stole the heart of the main character. Oops was that a Drarry reference?

When I tell people about little-known books I want them to read, this comes up in that list. Just because others haven’t read it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth your time or just as enjoyable. I’d recommend this to anyone interested in magical worlds, greek mythology, or maybe just some good old romance.

Happy reading! ❤

 

Cheap Bookstagram Equipment! (camera, lenses, studio lights,+)

I take photos at night. No, seriously, I do!

It doesn’t have to break your bank to be fancy with your bookstagramming! It’s been one year since I started my bookstagram, and I’ve slowly brought in more and more equipment to up my game. Sure, you can use your phone camera and natural lighting, but if you want your photos to be high quality and to use fancy camera tricks (will be doing another post on that 😉 ), then this is for you!

The Camera

You don’t need a high-end camera! The quality of your photos depends on your skills with the different settings, not on the thousands of dollars you spend on a camera. It doesn’t take much to learn the basic settings you need for effective bookstagramming, which I will detail in another post soon.

I use a Nikon D60, which is a 2008 model that I bought years ago. Now, it costs between $100-200 based on the seller you choose! You only need to buy the body if you’re planning to buy a lense.

Lenses

I use two lenses. One is a zoomable one for flaylays and my very first lens. It’s helpful for higher quality pictures with extra detail and zooms out far enough that I can easily do a flaylay without needing wings…or maybe a ladder…

The other lens is for my bokeh shots, since it has an apperture of f1.8 (meaning that it takes shots with very blurry backrounds that make my fairylights into pretty little circles) and is 50mm (which means that it’s not zoomable and any picture I take of a book will make the book appear much closer than it really was when I took the shot).

If you’re deciding between the lenses:

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(uneditted except for top right)

I found the zoom lens here and f1.8 lens here on Amazon. The f1.8 is from the same seller I bought it from and includes a ton of accessories!

Studio Lights

This is my grand secret for being able to take pictures past midnight. I bought my lights for only $56 dollars and it’s my favorite investment. Any picture you see after December 2016 was not taken with any natural lighting! Plus, they’re easy to set up and reflect beautifully off of white sheets. No more worrying about awkward shadows or the sun going down before you get home from work or school! You can find them here.

Tripod and Remote

Invest in a tripod! They’re helpful for flatlays and shots that your body is in since we don’t all have a model on hand!

Also get a remote. This is used to connect wirelessly with your camera and take a photo without you needing to touch the camera.

I recieved both of these as gifts, but you can compare models on amazon.

I hope this helped you! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or DM me on my Instagram! Also give a like, share, and follow because it would encourage me to make more posts like this.

 

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The title of this book is a warning. I became heartless afterwards.

Don’t get scared of it, though, even though I just told you about the inevitable pain. As readers, we learn to expect the books to completely destroy us, so how is this book any different? It’s just one more book that will make us cry so hard that we will eventually enter into a drought. Unless you’re like me- who already entered the drought a long time ago. I cried dust instead from the rubble of my heart.

My Summary:

Modeled after the Queen of Hearts from the book Alice in Wonderland, Catherine is the sweet daughter of the Marchioness and Marquess. She is pined over by the king, much to the delight of her parents. But even though she is a noblewoman, she wants to have nothing to do with titles or royalty because all she wants to do is start a bakery- the best in all of Hearts.

However, pressure keeps building between her, the king, and her parents as the king desperately wants her to be his wife and her parents want her happiness- to be rich and a ruler- or rather, what they think leads to her ultimate happiness. But Catherine only wants the feeling of dough molding between her fingers, the fine dust of flour upon her arms, and the warm heat from the oven.

As the time before the day the king asks for her hand starts to lessen, she can see no way out of it without disappointing her parents and embarrassing the king. What’s even worse is that there is another factor pulling her away from her parents’ wishes- the irresistible charm and mystery of the court joker.

My Review:

I screamed into my pillow several times while reading this book. Knowing the ending just made the ending so much worse because I knew that every action Catherine would take would eventually make her into the cruel Queen of Hearts. But also…knowing the ending made the ending more managable. If it had been unexpected, then I think my heart would have been shocked so hard that it truly turned to ashes.

I loved so many characters. The Mad Hatter (Hatta) and the Cheshire Cat were major characters, which made me so happy. For Hatta, his story was connected to Catherine’s because by the end, they had become their characters in Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts. The Mad Hatter wasn’t always mad- though aren’t we all just a little mad?- and it showed his character development. Another character that I loved was Jest… OH JEST! Fictional characters like him are my krytonite because I am constantly scared for their safety and my heart clenches every time they’re in danger. Jest was such a flirt, but not a dumb flirt, if you know what I mean. He was clever and funny and everything that makes up a fictional crush for me.

Then…there are the annoying characters. First of all, I’d like to mention THE most annoying character- Catherine’s mother. The Marchioness was so blind to Catherine’s  happiness and made me want to say OFF WITH HER HEAD! Then there was the king, who I started to imagine as the king from Wreck It Ralph after @beaulitful mentioned it. He was exactly the opposite of Jest- old, plump, and with the brains of a toddler. I cringed every time he danced with Catherine (on tiptoes) or kissed her hand. Ew.

The book has a lot of underlying plots, like the constant attacks from the Jabberwock, a creature known to carry off people to eat and that was believed to be extinct. These details made the book action-packed and kept me wondering, even though I knew the ending. It proves that even when a book is spoiled for you, it’s still possible to read it and love it even if you know what will happen.

I was so scared to start this book, especially because of the dire warnings from my friends. They told me it would leave me heartless, and they were right. But it was worth it in the end because it perfectly explained how the Queen of Hearts came to be that way- from a sweet baker to a kill-crazy queen. My heart is gone but its empty cavern is happy that I read it.

Review: Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell

My Synopsis:

Tegan Lockwood lives in England, settled in a village of snooty and rich neighbors who look down their noses at her and her family. Ever since her parents had bought Lockwood Manor, they have been deep in debt despite the shiny exterior of their home that screams riches. During the summer, Tegan spends long hours laboring keeping the family business alive, a vacation spot for tourists in her own home. Each summer, there is a constant stream of people in her home and she is used to it.

That is, until Mason Keane comes to live with them. He’s an American pop star, loved by his many 12-year-old fans, and Tegan despises him for his cocky attitude, repetitive songs, and long history of romances. But, like any unlikely pair, they find themselves drawn to each other, despite their outward differences, because they might not be that different at all.

Review:

I loved this book from start to finish and couldn’t bear to finish it. Think of it like tea- I sipped it, rather than shooting it down like a shot, and each page left me satisfied. Dallas’s writing is full of imagery and his characters are so well developed that I felt like I knew all the characters personally. I smiled at their successes and laughed at their humor. I even felt second-hand embarrassment, like when Mason caught Tegan staring at him working out (I would do it too, no one blames you girl).

The book synopsis sounds cliche- famous pop star falls in love with the one girl that isn’t his fan. But this book’s imagery, characters, and inside information on the music industry made it not at all the cliche book you would expect. Hidden away from his fans, Mason isn’t a popular singer and is just the raw and hurt person hidden inside. As you progress through the book, you see his painful history and his lonliness and he becomes just another person with a broken soul instead of a face on the front of magazines. Once Mason became a regular person, the differences between him and Tegan disappeared because of her own personal painful history- why she is distrustful of men and her secret hopes and desires.

Tegan and Mason are a perfect pair. They are both singers and songwriters, but one ended up famous and singing lyrics that aren’t even his own and the other hides away her songs. When Tegan finally started seeing Mason for who he was, a sweet guy with a sense of humor to rival her own, she started to cast away her barriers. The times when they sing together, I can almost feel the electric intensity between them and imagine the sound of their voices intermingling and the feel of Mason’s fingers under Tegan’s as she helps him play the piano. Sometimes in romance books, it feels like the romance was forced down our throats (*cough cough* Tamlin and Feyre from ACOTAR) by the author, but their love comes so smoothly and naturally as if they are soulmates. I particularly liked their “seduction battles” where they tried to seduce the other in public settings under the oblivious eyes of Tegan’s family. If they were real people, I wouldn’t even crush on Mason, no matter how hot he is, because I wouldn’t be able to bear the idea of him being with anyone else than Tegan. However, even in their perfection and chemistry (think the chemistry of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling), they are nearly pulled apart because of Tegan’s internal distrust of both Mason’s history as portrayed by the media and men in general.

I found the details about the music industry to be the most interesting. As a singer himself, Dallas Coryell has a lot of details that he put to use while describing Mason’s musical history. Mason is in debt, far more than Tegan’s family, despite what the public believes. His songs he writes are given to other artists who sing that type of music, while his boss gives him repetive pop music that apparently the teenage girls will love. Even his personality and attitude is changed in the sake of making teenage girls fall in love with him and bringing more money to the music industry. He is unhappy, unloved (the girls are only in love with the idea of him- his portrayed personality- but not the person he is inside), and he can remain that way if he only signs to work for them for 5 years and as a result signs away part of his life. However, he will be free of debt and have enough money to live on for the rest of his life. Facing a difficult desicion, he is sent to Lockwood Manor to hide away and contemplate.

Tegan’s family was a detail that made the book for me. I love books that give the main character’s history with their family and connects the reader with the family. There is her rambunctuous sister who has a history of trading pranks with Tegan, part of their close relationship. Then there are her brothers, her “wanker” (“” because Mason called him this with a fake British accent and it cracked me up) brother Noah and her much less wankerish brother Joseph. Then, there are her parents, who are fulfilling their dream with their business, but live in fear of losing it.

There is one last detail that I would like to mention- letters that Tegan found in her home’s attic between Violet and Jonathon. Violet, who had to marry another man instead of her true love Jonathon, and Jonathon, who went to war while still pining over his lover. These letters are the extent of Tegan’s love life, and although they aren’t incredibly important to the storyline, they, with other details, add a special touch to the book that doesn’t leave any boring moments.

You may be tired of cliche books, but this is not your typical one. Even the ending is unexpected for a seemingly cliche book. It is a love story, one full of breaking past barriers and past pains. The fact that Mason is famous only adds to his personality instead of making it a major part of the story. I challenge you to get rid of your fear of cliche books and dive into this one.

Thank you to Dallas Coryell for sending me his book! This does not at all impact my obsession with this book or any opinions I have.

Fun Fact: all of the songs by Mason and Tegan in this book are sung by Dallas Coryell. You can find the song “Into You” here.

Review: A City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

This is a book that will leave you drooling and running to the oven to bake a beautiful apple pie or a soft, melt-in-your-mouth cake. Even if you can’t bake, you’ll be inspired to become a baker. Just be sure to be careful, since inexperienced bakers are known to accidentally set things on fire, just like Livvy did. Except…she wasn’t inexperienced, so that means it’s even more important that you, as a possibly inexperienced baker, be cautious.
Chased by scandal and embarassment after setting the kitchen on fire from a lit Baked Alaska, Livvy fled to Vermont to join her best friend Hannah. She is hired by Margaret, the owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, to bake her beautiful and swoon-worthy desserts. It’s a stroke of good fortune, since, after all, she had set the kitchen on fire at the last place.
I found the book to be a very enjoyable and cute read, something that can be read beside a fireplace with a blanket wrapped around you. You’ll drool over the desserts (don’t actually drool though…that would damage the pages of a beautiful book!) and find yourself smiling at the little happy moments. It wasn’t as cliche as I expected, which I really enjoyed. I found that it was predictable, but most cute reads are like that, unless they’re the odd ones that suddenly turn into SciFi or the apocalypse. Even if there weren’t major shocking points, I feel that a read like this is a nice break from all of the recent action-packed books being released.
I found that I especially enjoyed Livvy’s character. She reminded me of myself, actually, since she colored her outrageous colors. She had a very unique personality that way and I could envision her as well as I could envision her baked goods. It was a nice detail to have differently colored hair, since most main characters have a unique feature that isn’t so outrageously unique- like striking eyes or high cheekbones. Her features just made her the fun and interesting main character that I found her to be.
I also loved the parts about friendship and family. It wasn’t only descriptions of food- I promise! Though I don’t think you’d complain… since the descriptions felt like stories of their own (that may be my own exaggeration though–but truly I loved those parts!). There was, of course, a love interest, which as usual I shipped so hard. I mean, who can blame me? I just naturally form fictional ships that I either sink with or sail away with into the sunset. Other than the love, she also formed her own new family. Ever since she was sixteen, Livvy had been caring for herself. Now that she had moved to Vermont, she formed a family not only with the locals, who she baked for and played banjo for with the Hungry Mountaineers, but with a family named the McCrackens. I couldn’t help falling in love with their family–smiling at their successes and breaking my heart with their heartbreaks, like how Henry McCracken is battling colon cancer and his son Martin gave up his life to help out at home. I couldn’t help feeling sad for both the McCrackens, since they had to be facing such a challenge, and Livvy, who unlike Martin, didn’t have anyone she could give up her life for to help, and as such, I found a lot of joy in that she was able to finally find a family and make Henry the father she lost.
I would recommend this book to anyone, even if you do not have a passion for baking. I never bake anymore and I don’t eat sweets (wow, what an alien, am I right?!) but even I could appreciate the descriptions of the food. I just find imagery to be one of the features that stands out most to me in books, and the fact that the book had so much made me love it even more. I would read it again, since it was a cute adventure that I would enjoy traveling upon again. As well, it was an easy read, which made it a good break from my recent reads.

I recieved this book from Blogging For Books for this review, which absolutely does not change my opinion of the book. I value honest feedback as a growing experience for the author and as a true recommendation to my readers.

Reading Update: I ADOPTED A BUNNY?

Did I say a bunny? More like a cat-puppy hybrid.

Cat: licks excessively and alternates between sleeping and eating. Is the alfa animal (reigns over human as well)

Puppy: likes to greet the owner and runs with flopping ears

That’s something misunderstood about bunnies. They’re not boring, food-consuming animals that look cute for pictures. Okay, they do look adorable for pictures, but that’s not the point.

Ever since my bunny arrived, all I’ve been doing is either thinking about her or   petting her. Or… cleaning up her poop. Which somehow is more than the food actually consumed… I mean, they did say that bunnies are pretty similar to horses. I’m getting off-track. Give me a break! It’s 3am and I’m ranting about my bunny. 😭

Having Essie has been throwing my reading off. It took me two weeks TWO WEEKS to read Carry On! I was too busy playing with her (yes- bunnies do play. This is her puppy  characteric: she loves to jump around when I wiggle my fingers on the ground or jump from side to side. It’s my workout routine now 😂) and stopping her from tossing around her food bowl like a toddler or flicking her poop into her waterbowl. Has she mistaken herself for a toddler and thinks that playing with her food and pooping in her waterbowl like a human toilet is acceptable for a bunny?? Sometimes (ok always) I am confused what type of animal Essie thinks she is.

Fun fact about Essie (I mean, these are all fun facts but I needed a transition. I also need some sort of coffee right now. I’m going to read this in the morning and regret ever staying up so late writing): She really is a miniature toddler. When I don’t give her enough attention by looking at my phone, she thumps her back leg until I shower her with kisses and treats- though not too many because a fat bunny is a rabbit, not a cat-puppy hybrid. By the way, thumps sound like your heaviest book- like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- fell off the top of your shelf in the middle of the night and scared the bejeebus out of you. Yes, that has happened. Yes, I skipped a few heartbeats.

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Wait, this is a reading update, not a bunny update (if you want a full bunny update, let me know, because I am a very proud mommy who doesn’t mind ranting about her child okay???).

I recently read Carry On, which I rate 5/5 stars because it honestly blew me away. I thought that it was a contemporary, but it actually is a DRARRY FANFICTION?!?!?!! Um, yes! I’ll rant about it in another post because it deserves its own mini essay.

As for my current read, I’m reading Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell. He very kindly sent the book to me for review, which I was so happy about since the summary told me that it would be a beautiful novel with romance that can probably help me with my Baz-Simon (from Carry On) obsession right now. I clearly need someone else to ship. I already started the book and I can tell you right now that the beginning itself is a story. I haven’t lost attention at all, which usually happens to me in the beginnings of books, and I had to force myself to stop reading it last night so I could at least get a few hours of sleep before going to see the movie La La Land.

By the way, if you enjoy musicals and the chemisty between RYAN GOSLING (who is literally O.M.G. BEAUTIFUL) and Emma Stone then you neeeeeeed neeeeeeeeeed to see La La Land so that we can rant together.

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This was more of a talkative post and directionally-challenged post, but I hope you enjoyed it!

Let me know what you thought of your last read! If you already reviewed it, I’ll be sure to check out the review as well on your blog! ❤

Author Stories & Autographs Tour!

Now I haven’t met enough authors yet, but I’ve had some pretty strange experiences that I still laugh about! Is it weird for me to say that I have crushes on authors? That sounds so strange, but what I mean is nonromantic crushes and more like dayumn-i-want-to-be-them and can-we-please-be-friends crushes.

Erin Hunter – author of the Warriors series

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(hers is the least pretty of the signatures just saaaying)

This is my most prized autograph, both for the story behind it and the fact that it was my very first author autograph. The book is from the Warriors series, a 30-book (even longer now) series that I was absolutely in love with. It was my favorite book from the series, and I have to treat it with caution now because the cover is barely hanging on and the pages are yellowed from constant flipping. I must’ve read the book at the very least ten times.

The series is in the point of view of cats who are divided into four clans. They are constantly fighting, gory deaths (some of the worst fictional deaths for cat lady me) in every book. Even though the books had torn apart my heart, I kept reading. Clearly these were the books that made me nearly immune to fictional deaths.

I was so excited to meet Erin Hunter (though little did I know, Erin Hunter was actually 6 women) and with this book and several others in tow, I went to listen to her talk. One of the first things she said was…I actually don’t like cats. WHAT?! If minds could literally be blown, mine would be in pieces. I have a strong suspicion that she’s the one who encouraged all of my favorite cats to die. As a cat hater, she had too much power…

Markus Zusak – author of The Book Thief

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I totally copied Sasha Alsberg (because she is bookaholic goals, let’s be honest) with the autograph on the outside cover. Zusak outlined the cover 😍

I totally expected him to be awkward. His writing is just so perfect, and he can’t be perfect in every way, right? Wrong.

If his accent was a person, I would marry it. Instantly. Combined with his humor and story-telling, I could listen to his voice for my entire life. I don’t need music anymore with his voice in the world. This is exactly why I fell in love with all of the Harry Potter characters! Accents just get to me. I CAN’T HELP IT!

He said that he never expected The Book Thief to be popular and that it took years for it to be published! In the beginning, he read his book to a person in a library (telling this from memory so could be a little different) and they fell asleep while he was telling it. If that’s not inspirational for us struggling writers, I don’t know what is!

Sabaa Tahir – author of An Ember in the Ashes

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THE SIGNATURE LOOKS LIKE BEAUTIFUL GRAFFITI ON MY BOOK! goals goals goals goals I need to stop saying goals!! But what author here ISN’T GOALS?! (oh except for Hunter because she is a cat-hater 😂 I do have priorities, you know)

I didn’t get much of her talk because of a family in front of me (yes, those people. We all know them). The little girl kept singing and glaring at me like I had stabbed her teddy bear repeatedly. It’s hard to concentrate when a child is directing all of the hatred such a tiny human can have directly at you. I didn’t even do anything…I love children! (I sound like I’m responding to the police- “I swear I didn’t kill her teddy bear!”)

I remember from it that Sabaa is incredibly beautiful! She was so nice and funny (tip for writers: eat a lot of chocolate and you can write like her. Sort of. Easy, right?!).

Adam Silvera – author of More Happy Than Not

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His smily faces are so cute. Mine usually look confused

He seemed like the type of guy you could easily be friends with. I met him this year when I was halfway through his book. I know, I know, I’m horrible for not finishing it! I finished it that night, okay? 😅  When he learned I hadn’t finished it, he didn’t mention any spoilers without telling me to cover my ears. Completely awkward for shy me, but worth it because it turned out there was a huge plot twist at the end (I started screaming when I got to that part and instantly commented on his Instagram page thanking him for not spoiling it for me 😂)!

>>>>>>>>

I highly recommend all of these books and authors (yes, even the cat-hating one)!

What authors have you met?

 

 

Review: Guide Me Home

Goodreads Synopsis:

Working in the massive cave might allow Rebekah the chance to bring joy back to her family.
But will it claim more than it gives?
After tragedy leaves its mark on Rebekah Hardin s family, she plans to help her parents and six siblings honor her beloved brother’s memory and alleviate their poverty by working as a guide in the dangerous cave system. Kentucky’s renowned Mammoth Cave presents profitable opportunities for hardworking, capable”men.” But Rebekah is determined and if it means presenting herself as a”himself,” then she’s up to the job.
Under the wing of experienced guide Tolly Sanford, Reb begins to learn the complexities of the cave and the two are joined by an aspiring young cartographer, Devlin Bale.
The university student has traveled to the hill country to map tunnels, not to fall for a girl in disguise. Can the God who designed miles of underground astonishment shape Devlin’s ambitious plans and free Reb from the weight from the past?

This has become my favorite book from the 1900’s. Filled with romance, drama, and a healthy dose of knowledge, I wasn’t ready to let the book go when I hit the acknowledgements. The worst feeling is when you think you still have several more pages to exist in a book’s world, then realize that those pages are just the acknowledgments. 😭 You know that feeling.

One of my fears is of enclosed spaces. I like to be free and surrounded by air, and honestly I would go shoeless if I could because I hate my feet being enclosed too. Weird, I know. Anyways, I never go in caves because not only are they enclosed, but there are cave-ins that can trap me even more. However, the book described the caves so beautifully, capturing both the creatures and the crystals, that I immediately wanted to visit Mammoth Cave. I still would never enter the cave, mostly for the sake of preserving people’s eardrums down there when I would start screaming at every noise (and probably cause a cave-in while I am at it). Disclaimer: I am not usually overdramatic (I think).

One of my favorite things about the book was Rebekah’s family. She had so many little sisters, from adorable Little Nellie to sassy (and annoying) Cissy. The best scenes were when Rebekah returned home on Sundays from working as a guide at Mammoth Cave, though I did love those Devlin and Rebekah moments. 😉  Her parents quickly became my favorite fictional parents, especially her father, who was so loving of his daughters and gentle. They were both so strong and trusting in God. I loved their random and small talks about God and finding strength in him, and even if that isn’t your religion, they’re comforting.

Now I will talk about those Devlin and Rebekah moments (because we all know we are all really here for the romance 😏). I think the most refreshing thing about them was that their love was not instant, which is more realistic. They were both young adults, so didn’t ignore the impossibility that they could be together (Devlin being a rich Senator’s son and college student and Rebekah being a hills girl). However, their differences didn’t stop them from loving each other. Even Rebekah dressing as a girl and helping guide Devlin through the caves didn’t discourage him. He was a gentleman constantly, comforting Rebekah when she was sad and respecting her parents.

Devlin was misguided in the beginning of the book. He hoped to map the Mammoth Cave as his college project, but also secretly put together information for his father to use for his compaign to have the government seize control of Mammoth Cave for the money. If the government took it, they would also take the lands of the people living around it (but pay them), and from Rebekah’s side of view, not even money would appease her and the people. The people cared about their land more than wealth, since their ancestors had fought for it and they would not want any other land than theirs. I found this difference between them that was even bigger than themselves and the typical drama between people to drive the plot and their love.

This was a beautiful read, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and the underlying theme of faith. Even if you are not interested in the parts about faith, there are very few, but I think it’s important thing to mention since it was such a driving force in the novel. The book is so beautiful and descriptive, making you feel like you’re part of one of the tour groups making their way through the cave and marveling at the white fish and shimmering crystals. It’s an experience I would go through again and a perfect book to reread.

I recieved this book from Blogging For Books for this review, which does not impact anything I have said about it!

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Are You Bookaholic or a Reader?

Once you pick up a book, your life is forever changed, for better but…also sometimes for worse. Addiction is common, though some merely enjoy a book as it is. Others cannot stand it and abstain from reading.

Discovering if you are a bookaholic is the first step to handling your addiction.

You can’t just read one chapter.

One chapter changes to two, two changes to three, and before you know it, it’s 5am or the sun is rising since you fell asleep with the book on your face.

You carry your book everywhere.

You can’t be without it. It’s always with you, even if you know you won’t need it.

Leaving your book at someone else’s house, in the car, or in a restaurant is THE WORST.

Now you won’t even get to read tonight and you were at the best part, weren’t you? It doesn’t matter that you’ll get it tomorrow, you want it RIGHT now!

You would rather read than spend a night with friends.

Of course it’s fun to be with friends, but books > people and a night reading is always better.

You ignore text messages and calls while reading.

No one calls anymore, but I included that because your mom still calls you. You would ignore your mom calling to keeping reading about Rhyyysssannnd, wouldn’t you? Don’t lie.

You buy at LEAST a book a month.

At the very least. Ten is a lot more likely.

You have a stronger crush on fictional characters than real people.

Who can blame you? I’m surprised some of us can even be in relationships with the stardards we set from books.

You cry (or nearly) when your book is ripped.

That’s your baby that just got hurt. You’re mentally yelling at yourself for being such an irresponsible parent.

Your to-be-read pile is bigger than your pile of read books.

You worry that you’ll never be able to read all of the books you want to read in your lifetime.

You turn into a fire-breathing monster when someone tries to talk to you while you’re reading.

To other people, it looks like you’re looking at words on paper, but to you, you’re in a world that you were just ripped out of. If you didn’t need to stay out of jail to stay with all of your books, they would be a dead man.

Your book-buying bans don’t actually work.

You’re broke now. But at least you’re a happy broke person.

Insulting your favorite book is like insulting you personally.

They’re no longer your friend. How dare they say something like that? How rude.

So are you a bookaholic? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Bookstagram and book blogging are your support groups.

All you need to do is realize that you have an addiction. Then do absolutely nothing about it because you wouldn’t change your life for the world because you are a wonderful little unicorn.

Comment how much of a bookaholic you are and your other side effects of addiction to books!