A girl with a mouth almost as big as her TBR list

My Letter to Rachael Allen


I thought I’d share with you guys the email I wrote to the wonderful Rachael Allen, author of The Revenge Playbook, a fabulous feminist book. This letter expressed my feelings about the book and should hopefully convince you to pick it up too.

Dear Rachael
People tend to think that powerful and moving novels have to be serious and sombre in tone, full of long words and contain meaningful quotes that nobody is willing to admit they didn’t understand. Your book, The Revenge Playbook proved those people wrong. It made me laugh and it made me cry but above all it made me think.

The Revenge Playbook is one of the most powerful books anyone (but especially a teenager) could read. It teaches that beauty, bravery and friendship don’t always look the same.

The same courage and strength can manifest itself in many different ways. When we picture a strong woman, there is no one type of girl that should come to mind. Every girl is capable of being brave in her own way. She may not think she is changing the world but she is refusing to let the world change her. She is standing up for what she believes in and fighting injustice on every level.

You haven’t written a story about heroes and champions but you’ve written about ordinary girls like me. Girls with hopes, with flaws and with their own individuality. 

Thank you for not shying away from the tricky and frankly, at times, uncomfortable topics. Your book tackles losing your virginity or choosing not to, religion, rape and the attitudes that surround it as well as football culture in the US. You don’t pull any punches and you don’t hide the ugly truth. You tell us as it is and challenge us to respond.

So the main reason I’m writing to you is to thank you and let you know that even if I’m the only person who has been inspired by your book (I’m sure that’s not the case!) I’m so grateful that you wrote it and really impacted me. I’m keen to pass this on to all my friends as it teaches some of the most important lessons you can learn with the best teaching assistant- laughter!

Your bravery and writing talent has started conversations, opened door and made me think twice about the world I live in.

Lots of love,

Emily

An Update From Me (Finally…)

I thought I’d write a post to update you guys about what I’ve been up to and why I seem to have completely abandoned my blog.

I’ve just had the longest summer of my life after the biggest set of exams I’m ever going to have. The exams were really stressful and I definitely needed the long summer to recover. I didn’t just laze around for the 10 weeks though. I visited two different countries, with one being a mission trip with my church. I spent time with my family and my friends and generally had lots of fun and a summer I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Now, I’ve been plunged back into the busy world of school, this time doing A-levels, which is both a blessing and a curse. This year I’m choosing to study French, Spanish, Russian and English language and I can’t wait. I’m so excited to study subjects I love in more depth and thrilled I no longer have to study maths and science. During this year, I’m not only going to be doing my school work but some volunteering and other great activities. I’m looking forward to what this year will bring but I know that I’ll probably be busier than ever so I won’t have as much time for reading or blogging.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and it has been a difficult decision. A part of me still loves blogging so I’ve decided not to stop blogging altogether but I have accepted that I won’t be able to blog as regularly as I have in the past.

I haven’t blogged in about 2 months straight and if I’m being honest I haven’t actually missed it that much so I think a break was good. Since I’m now trying to get back into the rhythm of blogging once again, I’ll probably start slowly and mainly post posts I’ve been wanting to write for ages.

I’m sorry if you guys feel like I have completely abandoned my blog but I promise I’ll get back to it, it just might take some time.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding. You guys are genuinely one of the reasons I couldn’t bear to give up blogging.

Any questions?

SBPT – My Top YA Summer Reads

Hi everybody!  Thank you, Emily, for having me here on your blog! I really enjoyed getting to know you when you were a guest on mine and hope this post helps you and your readers get to know me and my reading habits a bit better as I discuss something I really enjoy…summer reading.
Summer reading…some kids dread it, some kids love it, some kids forget about it. I bet you know which type of kid I was…yeah, I loved it. Not so much the required reading part, but when I was allowed to pick my own books, I was thrilled! I practically lived at the library in the summer.
And as I’ve grown older, nothing much has changed. I still visit the library weekly and read everyday. I guess the only thing different is that my Summer Reading has morphed into Autumn Reading, Winter Reading, and Spring Reading as I am able to read whatever I want year-round.
But today I want to share some of my Summer Reads with you.  I have read several YA books this summer (and technically summer isn’t over…even though schools are going back around here), but there are a few that I would really recommend.  Some are old, some are new, but they were all so good!!!!
Here are My Top Five YA Reads of Summer 2016…So Far
1) A World Without You by Beth Revis
This book…oh, what to say. It touched me so much and was much different than I expected based on the blurb. An honest and heartbreaking look at the effects of mental illness on a teen and those around them.  This one is going to stick with me for a while and I will definitely be reading it again someday.
AWorldWithoutYou
2) The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
I shed a few tears reading this one.  It was such a unique time travel story with interesting, colorful characters and a story that really made me think and feel.  I’ll admit that it might not be for everyone, though.
TheSquareRootofSummer
3) The Big Summer by Jamie B. Laurie
Such a fun and wonderful book! This one features a gay teen struggling to fit in and find acceptance as he falls in love. With a cast of secondary characters and story that I couldn’t help but love and enjoy, this one is probably going to make it to my “books to re-read” list.
TheBigSummer
4) Resisting the Rebel by Lisa Brown Roberts
With likeable characters and fun plot, this contemporary YA romance was highly enjoyable!  Complete opposites, Caleb and Mandy pretend to be in a relationship in order to make his ex go away and her crush jealous…you can probably guess what happens. I absolutely loved Caleb…a sweet guy who hides behind a tough exterior and loves writing, reading and books!!!
ResistingtheRebel
5) Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Another emotional read, this one really tugged on my heartstrings.  After being assaulted, cheer captain Hermione copes with everything that follows with the support and love of those around her. Hermione shows a strength I can’t help but admire. This book, while dealing with a tough, but real life, issue, manages to handle it in a wonderful way.
ExitPursuedByABear
Well, those were just 5 of the books I read this summer that I’d recommend. I am sure there will be even more before summer is officially over.
If you want to see what I am reading or have read you can always follow me on Goodreads! Plus check out my Blog!
And I am always on Twitter and occasionally I remember I have Instagram!
What have you all been reading?

SBPT – My Reading Journey

Today I’m featuring the ever so lovely Michelle from Bookaholic Banter, who is sharing with us her reading journey from beginning to now.

When It All Started…start

My reading journey started when I was very young. From a very young age of two or three I remember my Father and Mother reading me books. I can distinctly remember the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. When that movie came out I just HAD to see it! I didn’t care if I was too old for it or not. It was cute, and brought back memories. I think for the main part my huge love of reading comes from my Father. I can remember him sitting in his recliner with his feet up, a cup of coffee, and a book. His closet was fully of rows and rows of books. Why he never got a bookshelf I don’t know.

 

My First Trip To The Library…2

My Mother started taking me to story time at the library when I was 4 or 5 years old. (This started my forever love of libraries. ) I can remember sitting on the floor listening to the librarian read a book. It was wonderful! Then all the kids would take some books home to be read by the parents. Probably by the age of 6 or 7 I had my own library card and was taking out books 10 at a time on my own. I would tear through books. I coudn’t get enough of stories. The library was-and still is-such a magical place to me.

Venturing Into The Book World On My Own….3

By the time I reached 8 or 9 years old is when I truly discovered the wonderful world of chapter books. I was reading The Babysitters Club and couldn’t get enough. I can remember my Father taking me to the book store in the mall on occasions and letting me pick out new books in the series. One of my friends introduced me to Nancy Drew and I couldn’t get enough! I became a very frequent visitor of the library. I lived in a very small town where everything was very easy to walk to. After school I would walk to the library. I would sit at a table for hours doing my homework and reading. Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? I LOVED those too! Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series and Judy Blume’s Fudge series were other books I loved at this age. I read these types of books for the next 4 or 5 years. I was there until the library closed. I never left there without a checking out a few books. My library card was-and still is-the most prized card in my wallet. It’s like gold to me.
Craving More…4

At the age of 12 or 13 years old, I started getting a little tired of these books and wanted something a little more older. I wanted to read about teenagers and romace. I started exploring the teen paperback bookshelves in the library ( at this time I don’t think they were called YA) and started picking up books first, if the cover piqued my interest, second, reading the synopsis on the back and choosing my books this way. If they sounded interesting, I took them out. At this age is when I discovered Judy Blume’s Just As Long As We’re Together. It was one of my favorites. I remember reading Blubber and really connecting with that story. I was a pudgy kid full of freckles and glasses. I was teased a lot at this age.

I watched a lot of scary movies with my father and I wanted to read something scary. This 5is when I finally discovered the beloved R. L. Stine. The first R.L.Stine’s Fear Street book I read had me absolutely hooked! I read every single one that my local library had available. I needed MORE! This is when my allowance for doing chores came in handy….back to the bookstore in the mall for more books!( Every penny I earned at this age was spent on books- I don’t remember ever buying anything else at this age.) I was so excited! I couldn’t believe how many books there were in this series for me to discover! I bought up every single one I could. I also loved R.L.Stine’s Babysitter series. That series really creeped me out. I got to the point where I had to wait for new books in the series to come out because I read them all. I was so anxious and couldn’t wait for more. This was when I discovered a sign in the bookstore that recommended other books for lovers of the Fear Street Series. This was when I discovered my other true love Christopher Pike. Bury Me Deep was my all-time favorite. That book really freaked me out! I still think about it to this day. Let’s just say this girl will NEVER be trying deep-sea diving for as long as she lives. The Last Vampire was also huge for me. Books were HUGE for me at this age. I can remember spending most of my weekends curled up in bed on a Saturday or Sunday and tearing through 2-3 books in a day. I just couldn’t get enough of these two authors. I loved these books for the scare they gave me but I couldn’t help noticing the romance, and kissing in these books as well. …
So Started My Journey Into Romance and Adult Books6

At the age of 15 0r 16 I started looking for books with romance at the library. One day I noticed a book from my beloved Judy Blume called Forever. It sounded very interesting and I checked it out. I can remember being schocked by the in-detail sex scenes in this book. At this age I had never read anything this detailed. I was very curious as to how many more books like this were out there. After I read this book I can remember perusing the library for other books like it. This was about the time I started venturing into the adult book section. I headed over to the romance books. Some of the covers told it all. Those were the ones I would pick up. I can’t believe that the librarians actually let me take out some of the smutty stuff I took out at this age. About this time is when I met a new friend in school. She saw the type of books that I was reading and recommended Jackie Collins to me. She let me borrow one to read. Wow! The sex and language in those books! I was hooked. This was a stage in my life where I was living a little rebellious. These books made me feel mature and like a grown up. Ha! Teenaged girls! I also read a lot of Danielle Steele at this time.
The Reading Lull…7.png

I lost a few years of reading until about the age of 19 or 20. I was busy with hanging out with friends, high school homework, and working. It was around this time that I met the love of my life. I got married, had my daughter, and life finally slowed down a bit. I started reading everything under the sun. At this time I was only reading adult books. I read a lot of Jennifer Crusie, Carly Phillips, James Patterson, Stephen King, and my all-time favorite- Janet Evanovich. I joined some Book Clubs such as Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and others. They had those deals where you bought two or three books at a regular price and got 5 or 6 free. I can’t remember the exact numbers. Either way, this was when I finally started to build my own library. I bought bookshelves and joined as many book-buying clubs as I could. I bought a Book Lover’s Diary and started keeping track of how many books I read a year. I started shopping at a used bookstore and also at the library when they had book sale days. These were the ways I gained a majority of my personal library. I read as many books as I possibly could around working, being a mother, and a wife.
From 30 to now…

At 30, I finally discovered the wonderful thing called Goodreads. I started filling my shelves with my TBR. I slowed down on the monthly book clubs because it was just getting too expensive. I would skip my monthly purchases and instead just add books that sounded interesting to my TBR on Goodreads and get them out from the library. I would only buy books from my favorite authors, that I knew I would want to own. A year later I created my website Bookaholic Banter. I created it to be a place that book lovers could gather for anything bookish. Up to this point it has mostly been reviews, a couple author interviews, book tours, and guest blogs. I am hoping to offer a lot more in the coming years. Any random book I read, I would write a review for on my website. I started an instagram and would post pictures of what I was reading. Little did I know at this time that there were other people ( referred to as bookstagrammers ) doing the same thing. When I finally discovered this I made a secondary Instagram account dedicated to books. I started posting book photos on a daily basis.

One year after that I stumbled across the wonderful world of booktubers. The first booktuber I discovered was Kassidy Voinche. I watched every single one of her videos and fangirled right along with her. I then started discovering more and more booktubers and subscribing to all their channels. I was thrilled to tears to discover this amazing community and to find that there were so many people out there who get as excited as I do about books! Booktube helped me in so many ways. It gave me a TON of new books to read! It helped me discover the world of YA and I have been completely hooked ever since! I admit, I now read more YA than I do adult novels. I still read adult fiction but I just enjoy the YA books so much more! It’s an indulgence. Booktube also helped me discover the wonderful world of readathons! I almost cried when I found out this existed. Seriously!
I recently got immersed in the twitter book family as well…then I discovered the wonderful thing called reading sprints! It is so much fun to meet and talk to to the book community. The book community is truly a family. Discovering all this was like a dream come true! The book community has made my life so special. It has truly made me happy in every single way!Ok….this post is turning into Why I Love The Book Community, instead of My Reading Journey. I promise this is all leading somewhere…
Ok, so when I discovered booktube and saw that all these booktubers were getting books in exchange for an honest review, I was so jealous! I wanted that! I was a little shy to start my own booktube channel-which I still hope to do one day soon- so I just stuck with bookstagram and posted my website name. I started immersing myself in the book world and talking to authors & publishers, and other bloggers. I started doing my research on how I could get in on reading books in return for a review. The first book I read was from an author I became friends with on Facebook. I honestly can’t tell you how everything came about…it just kind of happened with perseverance and writing reviews on my website and then sharing links to those reviews on social media. Now, I am getting books left and right for review. I receive daily emails to review an author’s book. I discovered online book tours and started signing up for those. I got a little carried away and it is becoming my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love discovering all these new authors and getting to read and review books, but I am not getting to read books that I want to read, from my own tbr. I had a huge pile of books out from the library and I renewed them all twice and still didn’t get a chance to read a single one. I had to return them all without reading them. That was tragic! I wan’t to get back to reading and reviewing what I want to read. I am going to start being more picky about blog tours and books offered for review so I can do more reading for myself. Also, I need more time to work on making my website better and working on my own book this November for NanoWriMo. Sorry for all the blabbing on and on. I got kind of carried away. Sometimes I start to get in the zone when I start writing and just start spewing words from my mouth. That is pretty much my current reading journey! If you got this far, thanks for sticking around and reading what I have to say. Maybe in another 5-10 years I will write an updated reading journey on my website. Love you all!
Thanks so much to Emily for allowing me to be a guest on her blog this week. I had so much fun! I hope to banter about books with you all soon! Much love!

SBPT – Reckoners Series Playlist

Today I am featuring the lovely Fay at Bibliophile Soprano. It’s a little bit late but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful, so without further ado, here’s her playlist for the Reckoners Series.

 

If you’re an avid reader of my blog, you might have noticed my love for Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series. It’s really one of the best fantasy series I’ve read and it became special to me because I JUST LOVE THE STORY SO MUCH.

 

Steelheart is where I got introduced to the world where Epics rule, Firefight is my favorite, thanks to David and Megan (BECAUSE FEELS!), and last book, Calamity, is where my mind was blown by all the revelations and plot twists.

 

REALLY. THIS SERIES. I LOVE IT.

 

I sang bookish songs for the three books, and I have an overall song for the entirety of the series. Today, I’m going to share my playlist with you!

 

I wasn’t able to sing Heroes as the overall song, but the rest are uploaded on my SoundCloud. (If you click the links, they’ll redirect to the SoundCloud file!)

 

Titanium for Steelheart

“You shoot me down, but I won’t fall..”

 

I thought of Titanium because it’s somehow related to steel (Steelheart’s power) and somehow, it’s about Steelheart’s invincibility.

 

Clarity for Firefight

“If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?”

 

ALL THE FEELS FOR FIREFIGHT BECAUSE OF DAVID AND MEGAN!!!

Firefight is where the fangirl in me swooned over David, Megan, and their forbidden love.

 

I Won’t Give Up for Calamity

“I won’t give up on us, even if the skies get rough. I’m giving you all my love, I’m still looking up.”

 

I felt that this song was David’s fighting spirit. He’s fighting for the world, and fighting for love. That really touched my heart, so I picked this song.

 

Heroes for the Reckoners Series

“Everyday people do everyday things but I can’t be one of them. I know you hear me now, we are a different kind, we can do anything.”

 

This song represented the Reckoners (a.k.a. THE SQUAD!!!) for me because they were the ones who did everything to make the world peaceful again. They were the seemingly ordinary people who became special because of their courage and heart.

 

There you go! I hope you liked my playlist and I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Discussing E-books

The Pros

  • One definite pro is that ebooks are often much cheaper than physical books. Whilst the average paperback costs £6.99 and hardbacks cost even more, ebooks usually cost a couple of pounds, making them much more reasonable to buy and easier on your piggy bank. Sometimes you can buy 3 or more ebooks for the price of one paperback, so in my mind, it just makes sense.
  • Another advantage of ebooks is that they’re perfect for taking on holiday as all you need to do is take one e-reader or tablet or phone and you can read as many books as your heart desires (or your kindle contains!) This means you’re not lugging around heavy books and you don’t have to guess how many books you’re going to read on a given trip.
  • If you’re desperate to read a book, ebooks can be downloading straight away whereas with physical books you have to either go out and buy them (and interact with other humans, ew!) or wait for them to be delivered to you. This comes in esoecaiily handy when it’s a sequel or  a book you forgot to preorder but desperately want to read. (This happened to me with Walk the Edge and I was so grateful for my KIndle at that momement!)
  • This bonus might be personal to me, but I find I read ebooks faster than I read physical books for some bizarre reason. Perhaps it’s because I can’t see the number of pages left or something, who knows! Since I’m always behind for my reading goal for the year, reading faster is definitely a good thing!

The Cons

  • You can’t lend ebooks to a friend. Well, I suppose technically you can if you’re willing to give your friend your Kindle, but that involves an awful lot of love! One of the best things about being a reader is sharing your love of books. For most people this involves physically lending your friend a book, which can’t be done with ebooks, which is a real shame.
  • Since ebooks are so cheap and easy to access, you can end up buying all the books which means your TBR is never ending and your  money disappears faster than the last cookie in the cookie jar. I end up buying far too many books as I don’t even feel like I’m spending money or my TBR list is growing. It’s a real problem for me, and I never know what to do about it.
  • Ebooks are a lot less attractive and enjoyable to collect than physical books. You can’t really admire their beautiful covers or fill bookshelves with them so in that regard they’re definitely less satisfying than physical books. In a similar vein, a bummer about ebooks is that you can’t get them signed by an author, so if I’m ever going to a signing I feel as if I need to buy physical copies of the books even if I already own them on my Kindle.

The Verdict

Ebooks, like all things that exist have both pros and cons, but overall I’d say ebooks are a blessing in our bookish lives when used sensibly and in moderation. They certainly make life easier, but sometimes they make it too easy and I forget the value of books and spend far to much.  They’re a quick and easy fix but aren’t that great as books you love and want to treasure forever.

What do you think?

How do you feel about ebooks?

 

SBPT – My Blogging Tips

sbpt
Today I’m featuring the lovely Carlisa who is going to be sharing her blogging tips, so without further ado:
I’m definitely not a professional blogger or anything. I do it when I can, where I can, and about what I can. I’ve been book blogging for about a year and a half, though, so I’ve realized some things about blogging over my time. And these tips have made my blogging experience better, but I’m in no way saying this will be how it is for everyone. Blogging is very individual. Yeah, so, here we go:
  1. Make relationships.
    I personally think social media is way important for blogging for this reason. Making sincere relationships with other readers and bloggers makes a huge difference. And in my personal opinion, a smaller number of followers who sincerely care about what you have to say isn’t a bad thing at all.
  2. Go to events if you can. 
    I know this doesn’t apply to everyone based on where you are. I often envy the NYC bloggers who I feel like get to see everything and everyone. But if have the opportunity to go—then go. Hearing authors speak is an amazing thing and changes your reading experience!
  3. Work on your design. 
    I don’t mean go hire someone to design your blog or spend a bunch of money on it. But I do think design is important. Your blog represents you—an ever-changing and growing person. So I also think your blog should change and grow with you. Make it your space. Make sure you like how it looks. What else really matters?
  4. Don’t stress the small stuff.
    I’m definitely one of the bloggers that, if I’m busy, I won’t post until I have time. And since I’m in school right now, this sometimes happens a lot. Especially if you’re not making money from it, blogging is a hobby, and I don’t think hobbies should lead to stress in your free time. Take a break if you need one or change your blogging schedule. Just make sure you blog because you love blogging.
  5. Read.
    We all blog about books because we love books. And, yes, I probably read less because I’m spending time blogging, but just make sure you make time to read the books you love, to read the books that motivated you to start your blog. That’s really what it’s all about, huh?
Thanks, Emily, for having me!
Find my blog at Confessions of Carlisa and follow my Twitter!