• Book Blog,  Book Reviews

    ARC Review: Where You’ll Find Me

    Where You'll Find

    • Original Title: Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend
    • Edition: Advance Reader’s Edition Paperback, 266 pages
    • Published: March 8, 2016 by Farrar Straus Giroux
    • Characters: Anna Collette, Frances Collette, Marnie Collette, David Collette, Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker, Sarabeth the Irish Stepper
    • Rating: 4/5
    • Goodreads

    Description: In this powerful and buoyant YA novel, a thirteen-year-old girl learns to navigate the shifting loyalties of friendships in middle school and deals with challenges at home.

    The beginning of the eighth grade is not what Anna thought it would be. Her lifelong best friend has ditched her for the cool kids, and her mom is in the hospital after a suicide attempt. Anna finds herself where she least expects to: living with her dad, his young new wife, and their baby, and starting a new year at school without a best friend. With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna learns that sometimes you find what you need to pull you through in the most unlikely places.


    I received this Advance Reader’s Edition as a prize from Alexa Loves Books.

    Okay, I don’t typically enjoy middle grade books because the writing is usually too simplistic, so I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about this book when I read the synopsis and saw that Anna was only 13 years old, but surprisingly, I really, really enjoyed this story! The main protagonist, Anna Collette, is mature for her age but not unbelievably so. She reminds me a lot of myself at her age, a little more mature than the people around me, intelligent but unmotivated and distracted, and sarcastic as f**k (that last bit hasn’t changed much). Additionally, I was very close to Anna’s age when my mom was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so I have that personal text-to-self connection to Anna and I truly relate to her struggle. I think Natasha Friend did an excellent job representing what it feels like to be that age and process those emotions. There’s a few paragraphs in the advanced reader’s edition that compare her mother to a burner control knob. It sounds silly out of context, but I thought that the comparison was very powerful and accurate…

    If my mother had a burner control knob, I could set her however I wanted. If, say, she started staying up too late, watching QVC and ordering a bunch of wine glass necklaces, I could turn her down to 6. If I found her in the bathtub with a washcloth over her face, listening to Anatevka on her boom box, I’d turn her up to 4. Talking too fast? Down a notch. Monotone voice? Up a notch.

  • Book Blog,  Marathons

    2016 Love-A-Thon // Bingo

    The Love-a-Thon is an event dedicated to spreading positivity and love. It’s time dedicated to visiting other bloggers/Instagrammers/BookTubers, leaving a comment or two, making new friends and fostering positivity among the members of our amazing community. As in the previous years, the event will include mini challenges, Twitter chats and giveaways galore!

    Hosted by: Alexa of Alexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit, Hazel of Stay Bookish, Mel of The Daily Prophecy

    2016 Love-A-Thon Bingo

    The objective of the Bingo challenge is to complete at least 3 of the tasks on the Bingo card. I want to do as many as possible. I will update my progress on this post as I go along! Shoutouts to Melanie @ It’s A Bookish Thing for the styling of this post.

    VISIT 5 NEW BLOGS:

    1. Writers for Misfits
    2. Eye Heart Romance
    3. For Book’s Sake
    4. Books N’ Calm
    5. Word Revel
    6. He Said Books Or Me
    7. Pop Crunch Boom

    JOIN ONE OF THE TWITTER CHATS

      Participated in

    1. Chat #2 – Hosted by Cee @ TheNovelHermit

    PARTICIPATE IN ONE OTHER CHALLENGE

    1. Mix & Match
    2. Book Spine Poetry
    3. An Invitation to Tea

    FIND 3 NEW INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS

    1. zerisse
    2. forbooksake
    3. TBD

    LEAVE A COMMENT ON SOME OF YOUR FAVE BLOGS

    1. TBD
    2. TBD
    3. TBD

    TWEET 3 OF YOUR FAVE AUTHORS

    1. John Green
    2. Maggie Stiefvater
    3. Cassandra Clare

    WATCH 3 VIDS FROM NEW YOUTUBERS (AND FOLLOW!)

    I’m not doing this challenge because I’m just not a fan of YouTube. :kanyeshrug:

    DEDICATE A BLOG POST: TBD

    COLOR HUNT: TBD

  • Book Blog,  Marathons

    2016 Love-A-Thon // Introduction

    The Love-a-Thon is an event dedicated to spreading positivity and love. It’s time dedicated to visiting other bloggers/Instagrammers/BookTubers, leaving a comment or two, making new friends and fostering positivity among the members of our amazing community. As in the previous years, the event will include mini challenges, Twitter chats and giveaways galore!

    Hosted by: Alexa of Alexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit, Hazel of Stay Bookish, Mel of The Daily Prophecy

    I was introduced to the 2016 Love-A-Thon via a post on Alexandra’s beautiful blog Twirling Pages and I immediately wanted to take part in it. Luckily, sign-ups are still open and I’m very excited to be participating in this year’s event, which is also my first! Below is my introduction post with some amazing questions provided by the lovely hosts which were a lot of fun to answer!

    1. What’s your name? I go by Elle, which is pronounced like the letter “L”, which is also the first initial of my real name.

    2. Where in the world are you blogging from? I’m currently in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, but I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

    3. How did you get into blogging in the first place? I’ve always been blogging in some for or another since I was a teenager. I always wanted to create a book blog, but I didn’t think that it was possible until I found bookstagram. As I started to interact more and more with my followers there and chat more about books, I discovered that I finally wanted to take the leap.

    4. How did you come up with your blog name? I just wanted something that was cute with alliteration and obviously bookish. haha

    5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog? I’m a huge fan of young adult novels. I have a slight obsession with Dean Koontz, but that’s about it. I will read any genre if I come across a book that appeals to me, but there’s something very entertaining about most young adult novels, especially fantasy and dystopian series.

    6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? My blog is fairly new so it’s mostly reviews and rants and raves. I’d like to post more blogging tips and lifestyle posts as well.

    7. Best blogging experience so far? I don’t want it to seem like I got into blogging for the wrong reasons, but it was really cool the first time I received a review request. I’m hoping Love-A-Thon will be great experience to add to the list!

    8. Favorite thing about the blogging community? I love meeting new people and hearing all the diverse opinions on books and book related shows and movies. Honestly, I’ve discovered so many amazing new books that I never would have heard of or considered if it wasn’t for bookstagram and the blogging community so I’m very thankful for that.

    9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2016!

    • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (March 8, 2016)
    • Bluescreen by Dan Wells (February 6, 2016)
    • The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (April 26, 2016)
    • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (July 31, 2016)
    • Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells (May 3, 2016)

    10. Name the 5 books you want to read this 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!

    • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Marr
    • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
    • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

    11. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read? The Partials Sequence by Dan Wells is a great read! I’m a huge fan of the author and I would recommend any of his books.

    Partials Sequence
    12. Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend/girlfriend? The Raven Boys… all of ’em, even the dead one.

    13. Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max) I only need two and they’re amazing…

    • Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter series / Let’s admit it, Harry and Ron would have died 100 times if Hermoine wasn’t there to save their asses.
    • Tris Prior from the Divergent series / She’s strong, fearless, and selfless. Despite her love for her family and Four, she always did what was necessary for the good of humankind.

    14. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests? I listen to a lot of music and watch a lot of Netflix.

    15. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? I have a huge collection of blu-ray movies. They’re kind of my other obsession.

    16. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing? Right now, it would be anything by the band Beachweather.

    17. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book. Although I didn’t love Shatter Me as a book series, I really loved the plot and I think it would be an awesome television show or movie series if it were done right (and with a few changes).

    18. What would your dream library look like? I love that this one is bright, open, and multi-functional. I really hope to have a large library and office in my home one day.

    Dream Librarysource: zillow

    19. Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with? J.K. Rowling! I want to know everything that’s inside her head and hear more stories about the Wizarding World.

  • Book Blog,  Book Reviews

    Book Review: Dorothy Must Die

    Dorothy Must Die

    • Original Title: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
    • Edition: Hardcover, 452 pages
    • Published: April 1, 2014 by HarperCollins
    • Characters: Amy Gumm, Nox, Gamora, Gert, Dorothy Gale
    • Rating: 3/5

    Description: I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

    But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?

    Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.

    What happened? Dorothy.

    They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

    My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

    I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

    I’ve been trained to fight.

    And I have a mission.

    So, I was drawn to Dorothy Must Die solely because of the premise. I am a huge fan of retellings and I’m a fan of The Wizard of Oz, so this book was a definite must read. It did not dissappoint!

    Amy Gumm is the primary character in this story, and she wishes to escape from her poor, sad life in Kansas. When a tornado comes, her wish is granted and she’s transported to Oz, but it’s very different from the Oz we all know and love. As Amy explores this new and wicked Oz, she discovers all the horrors imposed by Dorothy, who returned to Oz and usurped the status quo. Soon Amy meets the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, a group of once wicked witches who have banned together to fight Dorothy and restore the balance to Oz.

    I admit that the first few chapters were not very engaging, but I did give Danielle Paige a pass because this is her debut novel and creative writing is very different from her background of screen writing. Sometimes the writing is a bit bland, but the actual story is entertaining and interesting enough to ignore some minor flaws. The story moves along at an acceptable pace and there’s plenty of action, suspense, and drama to satisfy. While there’s a twinge of romance, it’s not the primary focus and it definitely doesn’t define our heroine.

    I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, The Wicked Will Rise. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a little twist on a classic.

  • Book Blog,  Bookish Tips & Lists

    Bookish Tips: Beautiful Bookstagram Staging

    Most young bookworms, like myself, are fascinated with bookstagram and booklr. The sheer amount of accounts that pop up daily is astounding, and I say the more, the better. The great thing about bookstagram is that almost no two accounts are the same. Even though you may see a plethora of the same books, everyone’s staging is unique. If you’re looking to start or improve your bookstagram photos, here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

    FIND A NATURAL LIGHT SOURCE

    Have you ever taken a photograph outside and been absolutely amazed at how crisp and professional it looks? Well, natural lighting creates the same effects for your bookish photos too. If you can, go outside and take pictures. If you’re like me and live in an apartment in the big city, you may not have the space to go set up outside, so open up those windows and let the light in. (If your window is obscured by another tall building, again, like mine, you’ll get the best natural lighting between noon and 3 when the sun is the highest.)

    Take a look at the two photos below. The first I took late one day after work. I really wanted to keep up with my daily book challenge, so I sacrificed natural light and did my best by turning on all the lights in my apartment. The second photo is a reshoot that I took the next afternoon, using natural light near an open window. It’s the same books, same props, same background, and I even arranged the books and props almost identically. Look at the difference. The first photo is yellow and dark and grainy, while the second photo is very light, crisp, clean, and colorful.Artificial vs Natural Lighting

    CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND

    Background is a little more simple. My personal favorites are either the torn out pages from an old poetry book, or a plain white background. Most bookstagrammers have a theme and they stick to it. I say try out a bunch of different themes and eventually you will find something that you love. My feed is a reflection of me, which is code for, “It’s a mess.”  But it’s my mess, and I love it.

    SET UP YOUR PROPS AND STAGING

    The last key to staging a beautiful photo is choosing what props you will use, or maybe you’re going to keep it clean and simple and have no props. Popular props include flowers and candles, bookish related mugs and pillows,  postcards, artwork, and art supplies. It really is amazing the things that bookstagrammers use as props though. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find beautiful things. All of my flowers are artificial bouquets purchased from the Dollar Tree… actually, all of my props come from the Dollar Tree or Target’s One Spot. I really try to buy items that I can and will use in my everyday life and decor, not just as props for a photo (notice that my candles have been lit).  If you are using props, especially a lot to get the messy effect like I use, try to make your props and books as cohesive and coordinated as possible. If there’s red books in the photo, I like to use my red and white flowers and props. If there are yellow books, or yellow accent in the book covers, I like to use my yellow flowers and props–you get the idea.  If you are using a background with a bold pattern or color, it’s really going to make coordinating your books and props harder though, so keep that in mind.

    Most importantly, follow other bookstagrammers and booklrs that you admire. Take note of their techniques and try to emulate [but not steal] their style. Remember, to have fun! Bookstagram is a great place to make friends and discover new books. Try not to focus too much on your follower count and likes because that will just make you crazy! Bookstagram is like a field of dreams: if you post it, they will come.