Liebster Award!

liebster-award-2Heyo people! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a tag so I thought this would be fun. Here it goes:

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.

Answer the 11 questions they gave you.

Nominate 11 blogs. ( I will not be nominating 11 bc THEY’RE MORE LIKE GUIDELINES ANYWAY)

Give them 11 questions to answer. 

THE QUESTIONS

Why did you start blogging?

When I was 8 or 9, all my friends had blogs. I started blogging then, but didn’t start a solid blog until a year or two later. Even then, I wasn’t loving my blog but about a year or two ago I decided to book blog, and ever since I’ve had an amazing passion for my blog. I mostly starting book blogging because of Cait @ Paper Fury. I’ve been reading her blog since it was called the Notebook Sisters and it inspired me to be a book blogger.

What is your favorite series?

I could tell you my favorite series for each GENRE? that’s it? idk I can’t just pick one!!

Fave Fantasy series: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

Fave Christian Speculative Fiction series: TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD

Fave Contemporary series: All of Kasie West’s books

Fave Sci-Fi Series: ILLUMINAE

Fave Historical Series: Ummmmm probably RIVER OF TIME books?

Fave Adventure Series: the EMBASSY ROW books

Fave—Oh you want me to shut up now? uh okay.

If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?

IT’S A TIE. Probably Wales, Scotland, New York, or London. I CAN’T DECISION HALP

What book do you love that most people don’t?

I don’t know. I hate books that most people love more than I love books that most people hate. I guess I’ll go with THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER. it was okay at first but then the end really won me over. A lot of people hated it, though. Sheesh.

When did you get into reading?

When I learned to read.

What is your favorite hobby (besides blogging and reading)?

I design book covers and fandom/bookish designs! I love it.

If you had your choice of any superpower, which one would you pick and why?

Superspeed. Like the Flash. Because I’m lazy, and he can read books fast which would be SUPER USEFUL.

What is the last movie you saw?

In theaters? Lego Batman. Not in theaters? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

What is your favorite song?

Right now? It changes almost every day. Buuuuut probably Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots.

Who is your favorite author?

THIS QUESTION IS NOT ALLOWED SHEESH YOU KNOW I CAN’T DECISION THINGS UGH. but let’s say Kasie West right now? Because I’ve read ALL of her books and they have ALL been 5 stars.

Who is your favorite Avenger?

Batman. haha, just kidding. It’s probably Captain America.

Okay, that’s it! Thank you so much, Travelling Across Pages for tagging me! I’m going to tag two people because I don’t want to tag 11 and be annoying. I tag….

Stephanie @ Teacher of YA
and

Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm

What book do you love that most people don’t?

Muse Monday #7

Hey y’all! It’s been another week, so it’s time to start out with some positive thinking. I had a not-so-great week, but I found a bunch of new twitter friends and I read like 3? books. So I read a lot! And that made me feel super great because, let’s be honest, I don’t read as much as I used to.

Also, just a quick warning. I have scheduled a post for Wednesday, but I’m still writing my review for Friday, but I’m going dark for a few day(internet will be out) and I don’t know if my internet will be working by Friday. While I really hope and I will be striving to post a review Friday. it might not happen, so just be prepared. Google home remedies for fave human withdrawal. Survive. I will return.

What has inspired you this week?

Book Review: Changes in Latitudes

A “road” trip romance that takes place at sea! All Cassie wants is to get some solid ground under her feet following the shock of her parents’ divorce. So when she learns of her mom’s plans to take Cassie and her brother, Drew, on a four-month sailing trip from Oregon to Mexico, she’s stunned. There is absolutely nothing solid about the Pacific Ocean. 

Cassie is furious. And nervous. It’s been hard enough keeping Drew sheltered from what Cassie knows about her mother’s role in breaking their family apart, but living in such close quarters threatens to push her anger past its tipping point. Enter Jonah, a whip-smart deckhand who’s as gorgeous as he is flirtatious. Cassie tries to keep him at a distance, but the more time they spend together–wandering San Francisco, riding beachside roller coasters, and exploring the California coastline–the harder it is to fight the attraction. 

​Cassie wants to let herself go, but her parents’ split has left her feeling adrift in a sea of questions she can’t even begin to answer. Can she forgive her mom? Will home ever feel the same? Should she take a chance on Jonah? With life’s unpredictable tides working against her, Cassie must decide whether to swim against them… or dive right in.

There is soooo much character development in this book! The main character, Cass, starts out as a selfish, temperamental teen who checks all the cliche boxes. She hates her mom, has great besties, yells, slams doors, the whole shebang.

I wasn’t a fan of her for a good 50% until she started opening up, and we started to dig in deep, see who she really was. The character development was superb.

While the sexual tension in this was really well done, once the relationship began, it got a little too sexy? I don’t know— that may just be me.

But a lot of the humor relied on crude jokes, and the romance didn’t feel as real as I’d like. Almost as if they talked less, kissed more? It just fell a little flat for me, but mostly because I think that the basis of all good romance should be wonderful friendship.

However, I did spend a few years hating my mom for something I thought she did to me, and I found a level of relatability to the story. I was able to relate to how Cass felt, buuuut I did find the ending a little too perfect? Real life is messy, so I didn’t expect, after seeing the depth of the story so far, to get an ending that tied everything up in a bow perfectly.

I will mention that this book took me about a week or two to read completely, which is super slow for me, but I think that was just because I didn’t have a ton of reading time, so the book got really dragged out for me and that toned down how much I enjoyed it,

I really did love the view I got into how it feels to be a child of divorce. I feel like it’s a thing that’s displayed a lot in literature or media, but this is the first book I’ve read that I feel like I knew how they feel, if just a fraction. That definitely speaks to Malone’s prowess as a writer.

Oh and also, the bits about San Francisco? LOVED THEM.

Over all, while I did find the romance to be a little “ew” for me, this book was a lush expedition into the heart of a child of divorce as she grapples for closure and falls in love.

four

What book have you read lately that really made you feel like you were experiencing some of the events?

This is How it Happened Blog Tour: Stop #3 + GIVEAWAY

(welcome to a guest post from author Paula Stokes as a part of the blog tour for her ground-breaking new novel, THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED)

Hi everyone 🙂 This is Day 3 of my THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED blog tour. You can find the whole schedule of posts in the lead post on my blog right now.

I’m writing about the different challenges I faced while writing and revising the novel. Challenge #3 was how to best incorporate the internet. The story is about Genevieve Grace, a girl who is in a car crash that kills her famous YouTube boyfriend. When Gen wakes up from a coma, she knows that she was driving, but she doesn’t remember what happened. The rest of the world has already started blaming the other driver, and they are using the internet to call for him to be arrested for vehicular manslaughter. Many people have gone beyond this message to call the other driver a murderer or threaten him/his family with violence, or try to get him fired from his place of employment, etc. As is often the case online, most people only know part of the story and things spiral rapidly out of control.

This is How it Happened uses fictional news websites, blogs, comments, and Twitter as part of the narrative. I knew that I wanted Twitter to be the primary vehicle for the angry and abusive posts, because negative information spreads very quickly on Twitter and it’s a platform utilized by most celebrities to share information and engage with their fans.

But representing tweets in a book turned out to be more complicated than I thought. I knew that HarperTeen wasn’t going to create tiny avatars to go next to the posts of the thirty or so tweeters that inhabit the pages of This is How it Happened. Although Harper has several illustrated novels, including images in a book is time-consuming and expensive and creates additional workflow issues when it comes to formatting the e-book. The same goes for emoji. I know some YA books are incorporating in emoji these days, but that was not presented as an option for this story.

Therefore I knew my tweets wouldn’t look exactly like tweets, but I set them up using Twitter for a model so they look like this:

Shelly Webster @ericdismylove • 6m
@GenevieveLGrace OMG. I heard that our #PrayForGenevieve campaign worked and you’re back at school! Is it true??

Justine @Kadet4Ever • 11m
@GenevieveLGrace I can’t wait until you get your memory back so you can testify against #BradFreeman. He’s a #drunkdriver and a #murderer.

I honestly wasn’t thrilled about them being double-spaced, but my editor said that Harper has style guides when it comes to tweets, blog posts, etc., and that we should stick to the accepted form unless there was some strong reason to deviate. Some of the things I had to think about with these tweets included: making sure Twitter handles weren’t more than 15 characters long, making sure the real names weren’t more than 20 characters long, and making sure the entire tweet wasn’t more than 140 characters.

But here’s where it gets even trickier. When I started writing this novel, at the end of 2015, Twitter “charged” characters for the usernames you replied to, as well as charging 20 (or 25? I forget) characters if you attached an image to a post. I wrote the book with those limitations in mind, but before I turned it in just a couple of months later, Twitter changed its format so that images no longer took up part of your 140 characters. Then, right after I finished revision and copy-edits, Twitter changed its reply format so that replies no longer took up part of your 140 characters. I opted not to try to make last minute revises to account for this because the old way of replying is easier to follow on a printed page and there was no guarantee Twitter wouldn’t keep changing things.

This is actually one of the reasons I almost never use “real entities” in my books—not real companies, not real celebrities, not real social media platforms. Because TIHIH uses Twitter, I threw caution to the wind and included some other pop culture references, but if you’re a writer, consider that books often take ten months or more to be released after the author has done all the changing they’re allowed to do. But companies go out of business, celebrities die/get charged with crimes, and social media platforms are evolving all the time. I try really hard to write books that don’t become dated, and it’s hard for a book to feel current if the main character is fangirling for a celebrity who has confessed to a horrible crime on a social media platform that teens don’t use anymore.

But back to Twitter for a second—one more thing I considered was should I use handles that already exist? Some of my tweeters are meant to represent normal people who get caught up in their emotions and respond instinctively, but some of them are really gross trolls. I didn’t want to accidentally hurt anyone by using their Twitter handle for one of my trolls. So, I absolutely verified that all of those handles were not in use, and tried to make them odd enough that they probably won’t be taken in the near future.

Other internet considerations involved how to set up the news websites, blog posts, and comments. I based the websites loosely off fictional sites, so there is an official St. Louis news site, and later an independent news site, and also a couple sites that are more like gossip blogs. My editor and I discussed whether to nest the comments under the posts, another choice that adds a bit of reality, but creates potential workflow issues with the e-book. So if you have the ARC the comments aren’t nested (and you are also missing a set of comments—click here), but in the finished novel they are. (Though I took a quick scan through them and there’s at least one error—but hey, that’s authenticity right? Who among us hasn’t accidentally responded to the wrong poster? ;D)

Fun fact: Because I had to come up with names for journalists, bloggers, and tweeters, I paid homage to a couple of friends and a few fictional characters from TV shows and movies that I really love. If you know me, you know that I’m obsessed with James O’Barr’s The Crow. The first example tweet above is a tiny little reference to that. In fact, several of my books have little secret references to The Crow 😉

Want to win a copy of THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED or any of my novels? Enter the Rafflecopter below. And look for tomorrow’s blog post stop about the challenge of including romance in this story on  The Book Bratz.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TIHIH final cover 2017About This is How it Happened:

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.

Paula Stokes 2 web resAbout Paula Stokes:

Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently This is How it Happened, Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

Links:

www.authorpaulastokes.com

www.twitter.com/pstokesbooks

www.facebook.com/pstokesbooks

www.instagram.com/pstokesbooks

tihih twitter 13.png

You can find my review here

Don’t forget to thank Paula for dropping by and check out the amazing THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED! What in this super cool post stuck out to you? If you’re a writer, did you learn something?

 

Muse Monday #6

This week it was especially hard to think of anything good that happened. The whole week felt like wading(drowning) through molasses. I didn’t accomplish much, and that made me feel worse. My anxiety pulled me down this week. So naturally I dreaded writing this post. I didn’t want to. I considering skipping and seeing if anyone noticed. Even as I’m typing this I have no idea what has inspired me this week. But here are some things I’ve accomplished in spite of the depression hanging over me.

I went back on the forum that I spent most of my time on from when I was 9 to when I was 14. I started talking with some people and it felt so good to be with the people who got me through some of the toughest years of my life.

I left the house! and socialiazed. I met new people and ate food and it was great.

I watched two whole seasons of a new show!

I got up before noon once.

Okay, this is just depressing now. Sorry I had to put y’all through this.

What did you accomplish this week?

Book Review: The Writing Desk

19179093b4ec86dcf54de4b2b4faa514Tenley Roth’s first book was a literary and commercial success. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who merely found a bit of luck?
With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.
Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Yet her life is not her own. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams of her own. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has literally destroyed her dreams, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.
Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds. Yet when Tenley discovers Birdie’s manuscript, their lives intersect. Birdie’s words help Tenley find a way home. Tenley brings Birdie’s writing to the world.
Can two women separated by time help fulfill each other’s destiny?

Time hop stories and I have always had a rocky relationship. I don’t always notice the time jump so it’s just a mess. But this was the second one I’ve read that I actually liked. Yay! Despite my aversion to them, I unconsciously like to sign myself up to read them. 😐
While it took a little while to get into this, I did really enjoy it. I totally didn’t buy the romance between Holt and Tenley, so that held me back a little.
For me, this book, and the characters of Tenley and Birdie, were easy to relate to, as I myself am a writer. The main struggle of the first half of the story(Tenley trying to break through writer’s block/worried she’ll never write another good book) was easy to relate to since it was a struggle that every writer, including myself, has had those fears.
Let me just say; I absolutely loved Jonah and his family! That’s one of my favorite parts of reading Christian fiction–the strong, loving, welcoming family of a major character who eat good food, have traditions, and are generally the best. Jonah as a character was absolutely perfect, moral to a fault, and an amazing follower of Jesus.
This book was a delicious exploration of morals, disconnected family, and broken relationships. I loved every second and cried my way through a good chunk of it. It’s always such a blessing to see the struggles of writers in every age represented in books. To sum it up, this book was amazing, I felt all the feels, cried all the tears, and laughed all the laughs!

four-point-5

How do you feel about time hop stories? Yay or nay?

BUTTER, LEGGINGS, AND ALL THAT FUN STUFF

If you have a facebook account, friends, and are a woman, you’ve probably heard of LuLaRoe. If you haven’t, that’s fine. Especially because I’m about to tell you ALLLLL about it. Sit tight. This is going to be fun!

(VIDEO of the founder of the company explaining how it came about: https://vimeo.com/128190214)

LuLaRoe is a clothing company best known for their “buttery-soft” and plus-size inclusive leggings.

As you can see from the pictures I’ve provided, they carry children’s sizes 2-14, tween size 0-00, adult sizes 2-22(though they also fit up to 24 in my opinion.) As advertised, I can guarantee you that they are SO soft. While there is a little extra care you have to take with them (it isn’t recommended to machine wash them), they are so worth it and SO flattering on all sizes. I’m going to leave a slideshow of the rest of the styles of shirts, skirts, pullovers, and dresses they carry.

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The cool thing about LuLaRoe isn’t just their size inclusive and stunning clothes. The only way you can buy LuLaRoe is through their fashion consultants, which you can find on Facebook. There is literally no other way to buy LuLaRoe.

So I bet you’re wondering why I’ve explained all of this, and it’s not just because I wanted to. I’m hosting a Facebook popup. Essentially what that is, is an event on Facebook that takes place online. It’s run by my LuLaRoe fashion consultant, the amazing Francesca Tovar. The super fun thing about it is that for every 10 things that sell, I get two free items of clothing! It’s going to be tons of fun and I hope y’all can join me there. I’m going to leave the link, but if it doesn’t work, you can find me on Facebook under the name Lucy Buller and DM and I’ll invite you!

https://web.facebook.com/events/1194191477359911/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%222%22%2C%22ref_dashboard_filter%22%3A%22upcoming%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22%5B%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22dashboard%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22main_list%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A%5B%5D%7D%5D%22%7D