Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Blogging Age

A while back, an author called for the teenage bloggers on Twitter to speak up because she wondered if there was any. Do they exist? Are they good? It started a rain of questions for me, but not if they exist. I know they do. I'm one of them and I know quite a few others. Fast forward a couple weeks and there I am, researching BEA. For those of you who don't know, BEA is an event in NYC, which has many perks, but one of which is many bloggers go and meet authors and snag a boatload of ARCs.

I found something strange. On the registering prices, it says that you have to be 18 years or older to sign up. Most things require that to be the minimum age limit, but I was still surprised considering that a large portion of BEA was young adult fiction. Fiction that has protagonists usually at ages 15-18 years old. Fiction that is usually geared towards readers the same age as said protagonists. Fiction that is placed in the TEEN section of libraries and stores. Do they not realize that readers make up bloggers so therefore, there are teen bloggers out there who might want to attend BEA? I think I might have accepted that disgruntling fact if not for this next part.

"Anyone under the age of 18 (minors and infants) will only be permitted to register to attend if accompanied by a registered industry professional and will have to pay the industry professional rate to receive a badge."

Industry professionals are consultants, manufacturers, book packagers, wholesalers, and venture capital/investment bankers. The BEA 4-day pass, early bird registration, is $349, almost triple the amount of what a regular blogger would pay at $119. Does anyone know an industry professional? I sure don't. I doubt that if I did, they would go and/or let me register with them since it's likely that they won't be a family member. So not only am I dependent on someone else, but I am also restricted to who I sign up with (that means I cannot register with my 23 year old blogging sister) and I have to pay a ridiculous price for someone I am not. I'd have to pay the industry professional price because I'm forced to register with an industry professional, but I'm a blogger.

I'm just a 17 year old girl so I doubted that no one really cared what I thought, but I like to know the whys of everything. Why can't I do this? Why did this happen? Why did you say that? WHY? So true to my nature, I emailed BEA and asked why. 

The kind lady told me that it doesn't matter if I'm a few months away from my 18th birthday or a few years, it's about liability since I'm a minor. I quickly waved that off and said I absolutely understood. Like I said, most things operate for people 18 years old or older. I made my questioning more specific: why am I restricted to registering with an industry professional adult instead of, say, another blogger? 

She told me she'd have to talk to her manager/supervisor.

During that time, I tried to deal with my annoyance towards BEA and the frustration that started bubbling up inside a few weeks prior. YA books center around teenagers and are geared toward teenage readers, yet adult bloggers are the ones that have the head-start because they're over 18. This coming summer, I will be 18 and and in a few years, I'll be one of those adult bloggers and YA-reading adults. I love all those adult bloggers (remember, one of them is my sister) in their twenties to thirties (or to whatever age, I don't judge). But sometimes in this community, I feel as if the preference and "fun stuff" is geared towards the adults. BEA and ARCs are just two things that I think adult bloggers have in their favor. A lot of blogging duties or perks also rely on money and while I save, I don't have much money as a teenager and that's not because I spend. It's because I'm not allowed to have a job because I'm in school and am involved with extracurriculars. Of course, most twenty to thirty-somethings do have jobs so they do have a wallet to dip into to make their blog more successful. All the more power to them...which is kind of the point. 

I'll interrupt my musings to let you know that the BEA lady emailed me back and told me that I can register by myself and pay the blogger fee with a link she provided me and that I wouldn't have a problem getting in underage there because they would give me permission. Victory! Right? Well, I showered her with thanks, but still wondered at the numerous teenage bloggers who won't have the same outcome or won't know to email. And what about my whys? She answered why I have to be 18, but not why the rule was to register with an industry professional.

So here's what this whole post boils down to: why do the preferences seem to be given to adult bloggers in YA rather than actual teenage bloggers? Note the key word: seem. This is purely my pondering and my question. It seems like the most "successful" blogs are the YA ones run by adult bloggers because, yes, they tend to have more mature and better writing, more resources, and I bet publishing contacts like to connect with people their own age more (although I've talked with amazing publicists myself). However, I know there are teenagers running a more "successful" blogs than other blogs run by adults, but it's not the "most successful" if that makes sense. Why does BEA have a rule about who a minor can register with? Why do teenage bloggers have to pay a higher price just because that's who they're forced to register with? Why does it seem like there aren't nearly enough teenage bloggers out there blogging about YA books?

Many of the blogs I read are by twenty-something bloggers who are witty, personable, insightful, and friendly. I like their writing, style, and content. So I know that sometimes, age doesn't factor in with how much someone likes a blog. I guess I wonder why it's this great thing to find another YA blogger under the age of 18 (yes, 18 is still a teen, but considered an adult in most areas and out of high school) when most YA books are centered around under-18 year olds. I do know teenage bloggers and that's great, but why is adults blogging about YA the norm?

Can anyone answer my never-ending whys? I want to hear what YOU think about all of this in the comments below!

Edit: Your comments are awesome, but I realized I caused some confusion. I am now ALLOWED to attend BEA and while I made a big deal out of this, I still might not be able to go because of MY side of things now. Fingers crossed, but it's a very low percentage. But thank you and keep commenting your thoughts! If anyone is possibly interested in rooming together, contact me!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Worst Worlds/Characters

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This is the week where dystopian and fantasy books come in handy. Hurray! The lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish gave us the option of picking the worst worlds to live in or the characters you'd NEVER want to be or switch places with. I decided to do five of each, so in no particular order:

Panem from The Hunger Games
This will probably be a popular pick this week considering it hosts an annual event in which 24 kids die to the death until one is left. It's a horribly realistic, dystopian society and run by a manipulative "leader" with mindless subjects. So if you're not mindless, you're overworked and suppressed. No thank you.

Luna & New Beijing from Cinder
I couldn't pick between the two considering they seem equally bad. In Luna, you have a dictator of a queen and these mind-controlling abilities. If you have a "shell" for a child, they're killed. But then in New Beijing, you feel helpless because the previously mentioned Lunar queen is trying to take over your world. 

Middluns & Monsea from Graceling
I think the Middluns sounded worse through Katsa's eyes and Monsea is horrible for Bitterblue. But basically, the Seven Kingdoms are bad for girls in general. What makes it worse is Katsa's uncle, the king and tyrant of Middluns.

Reverie & Death Shop from Under the Never Sky
Aria is from Reverie, which keeps their citizens blind and dependent on them. But then the Death Shop hosts cannibals and questionable woods. Of course, it doesn't matter for either of them because everyone has to escape to the Still Blue (hence the title of the third book). 

Dystopian Chicago from Divergent
There is no way I could survive in this city. I could never be ALL one type of personality and of course, I'd have the luck of being in the faction of selflessness. I can be pretty generous and selfless, but don't force me to be that way. 

Annie Cresta from Mockingjay
I think most people would consider another character in this series, like Katniss, but really, Annie has it rough. We're told she went insane when her partner was graphically murdered in the Games and then...well, Mockingjay was not kind to her.

Tarver Merendsen from These Broken Stars
I can't even say anything because it's spoilery, but I pity the man.

Mia Hall from If I Stay
The whole book is about her deciding if she should live or succumb to death as she's in a coma after HER WHOLE FAMILY DIED. Whole. Family. I can't even comprehend the grief.

Nikki Beckett from Everbound
I usually don't sympathize with girls in love triangles, but I can't help it. Things happen in the first book that I probably shouldn't reveal, but the second book is where I sympathized with her the most. 

Sybella d'Albret from Dark Triumph
Who would I NOT want to switch places with in a million years? Sybella is an understatement. Cringe-worthy happenings in her life. She does have Beast as a love interest, granted, but I'd rather live alone forever than have her past. 

What worlds would you never want to live in? Who would you never switch places with?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rewind & Review: January 13 - January 26

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
Two weeks already? Well, it's been a great two weeks for me so I hope it has been for you as well. My mailman is finally doing an acceptable job again and I think I unnerve my UPS man by already greeting him at the driveway (and sadly, most of the time, the packages aren't for me). Mostly, I've been getting into e-books more thanks to Edelweiss and NetGalley and thankfully, really enjoying them. I hope this reading streak will continue.

Books I Was Given:

Books for Review:

Obviously, I got into a contemporary and e-galley kick.

Number of Books I've Completed: 6

Books I'm Reading:

Previous Blog Posts:
  • Proud moment: Winning my basketball game on the 24th, 49-24! 
  • Celebrated my dad's birthday yesterday. He's the best example of what a man should be.
  • Met a super nice senior publicist last Saturday at an author event. She gave me her card and offered to answer questions as well as information for internships. A phone call (oh help me, I sound awful on the phone) is to take place this coming week! 
  • For the past MONTH, I've been off of desserts, sweets, and overly sugared things (like Cinnamon Toast Crunch), which is huge for a sweet-a-holic like myself. My goal was to my dad's birthday. Now considering to start up again until the end of basketball or just limit myself to once a week. 
  • Hi, new followers *waves*

Upcoming Blog Posts:* 
  • Top Ten Tuesday - Worst Worlds/Characters
  • Followers: The Shameful Truth
  • Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers
  • The Blogging Age discussion
  • Connecting with Characters discussion
  • Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt 
*Subject to change

Reward yourself with a great book, we've reached the end of January. Happy reading!

To buy any of the books mentioned in this post, click this button: 
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This vs That: Book Preferences

Ice cream or cake? Beaches or mountains? Carpet or hardwood? Morning or night? Ellen or Oprah? Tied, mountains, hardwood, night, and Ellen. We all have preferences and are asked many this or that questions. In a small way, they define us. So what about the common book preferences?

Paperback vs Hardcover
Some people prefer paperback because it's smaller, they don't have to deal with the annoying jackets, and they're cheaper. Hardcover comes out sooner though and I think a series in hardcover looks nicer on a bookshelf. 
My pick: Paperback. I don't have to take the jacket off and can still have my pretty cover when reading. 

Ebook vs Physical
Probably the most debated preference in the blogging world from what I've seen. Convenient, can tote around more books, less clutter...the list goes on with the bonuses to reading an ebook. With a physical copy, you get to feel the book in your hands, admire the cover, and have your book senses tingling. 
My pick: Physical. I tend to enjoy a book more when it's a physical copy.

Series vs Standalone
"Ugh, commitment," people say when asked about series. There seems to be more series than standalone books nowadays and many people groan at the thought of having to read three or so books to finish a character's journey. Or it's the problem of having to wait until the next book comes out. But then you finish a standalone and you crave more of the great characters you experienced and dangflabbit, you want more. 
My pick: Tied. 

Faces on covers vs Not
This could be better phrased as: do you want floating heads, weird poses, and odd facial expressions or symbols, buildings, and possibly another body part on your cover? 
My pick: Depends. To be on the safe side, a cool symbol (but I always like a WELL-DONE character visual).

Nice guy vs Bad guy
This usually relates to a love triangle in which a character has to pick between the nice, "safe" guy or the mysterious, "bad" guy. Usually the bad guy is misunderstood and wins, but sometimes the nice guy wins like in Phantom of the Opera. (If you were spoiled by this, it's not my fault. It's like being mad that someone told you Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennett get together.) Or you could just have a preference in what your love interest is like. Do you want your protagonist to meet a super nice guy or a possibly dangerous one? 
My pick: “I wouldn't want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I'd like it if he could be wicked and wouldn't.” Or just a nice guy. Less baggage, ya know? 

Music vs No music
After a comment I got on one of my past posts, I realized we may have different reading habits as well. Some people may need to read alone while others have to be in a certain spot. But what about music? Music can enhance the mood and connection to the book if you have the right playlist going, but others could be hindered by extra noise and words going on around them. 
My pick: Music. I felt pumped with music going on as I reread The Hunger Games.

Male vs Female
I wouldn't be surprised if most people said the latter when it came to not only the protagonists, but also the authors. I know that for some, it really doesn't matter to them and they don't pay attention. But others when I say that, I mean me might not read a book when they see that a guy is the main character. They might also hesitate when they see the author is a guy and not John Green.
My pick: Girl power! I connect better. 

There are probably a whole lot more that I didn't mention. Just like people have genre preferences, there are many book and reading preferences for people to have. Is it weird that I'm always wondering what people prefer in the categories above? It's cool for me to see who's the same and who's different from me.

So...what are your book preferences?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Things On My Reading Wishlist

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

The first thing I thought of when I saw this topic was the amazing RBWL that my sister, along with others, started, which is Reader/Blogger Wishlist. It was a time where readers and bloggers shouted out on Twitter what they wanted authors to write about. So if you haven't checked it out, here's their Tumblr page.

This is probably what I wish for most. I'm listing this first because I might reference back up to it multiple times throughout this list. Below are retellings I would die with happiness from if someone wrote them: 
  • Anastasia. Or any of the Romanovs, I won't be picky. The animated Anastasia has always been my favorite and it includes lost identities and such. 
  • Aladdin. STREET RAT! Maybe even with Aladdin being a girl?
  • Mulan. I was tempted to put this as my only item on this entire TTT list because I want this so bad. A war and a gender-bending plot. She could even be in a historical setting in one of the wars where boys enlisted underaged, but SHE enlisted. 
  • Retellings from different perspectives. I love me some Darcy and Elizabeth, but maybe instead of doing another retelling from Elizabeth's POV, it could be from Mary. Or Jane. Or Darcy himself. I love to look at someone else's perspective in a commonly known story or fairytale. 

Gender-bending and gender-flipping
I touched on this in the retellings, but I want more girls disguised as boys especially. Then there's gender-flipping where someone can retell a story (say, Beauty and the Beast, something I've been thinking about) and the genders are flipped. Beast is a girl or Cinderella is a boy or Anne Elliot is a boy! 

Back to the different perspective plot, I want more villains. Maybe an anti-hero of sorts? I've always been fascinated with villains in stories and I want to know their perspective. I'd be fine with an original villain, just make me feel.

Right now, I can think of two ways that I really want this to go: a girl being in a set of multiples (quints, quadruples, triplets, etc.) and trying to go through life with that OR a girl who's rescued after a long kidnapping and has to deal with that, but not TOO depressing. It's a depressing issue, I get that, but I don't want to be bogged down too much. I just want there to be a real identity problem going on (I'm also hinting back to Anastasia).

Big, crazy family
Italians, anyone? Doesn't even have to be Italians, but I want to read about a big family. It could be a book with familial storylines from the siblings or how the family has an event together.
  Bonus: Siblings. I want more sibling relationships explored. Anna and Elsa from Frozen, anyone?

I immediately pictured a YA Sky High.
Bonus: And please, for the love of cupcakes, can we have more fantasy that doesn't involve the protagonist being The Chosen One? Can she NOT have the ultimate saving power?

I love WWII, but maybe more military stories involving other wars, like the Civil War. Or stories involving letters between a soldier and a girl back home. Sweethearts being split up by a war. Anything along those lines will be good with me.

I think this will be a popular topic today. I'd love more interracial couples or non-stereotypical Asian Americans. While I'm talking about diversity, what about a more diverse historical setting? 1950s, anyone? A Grease-like situation?

Adoption and fostering
I know quite a few people that are foster parents and I'd love to see more good examples of the fostering world incorporated into YA fiction. Additionally, what about someone being adopted? Yes?

Snow's granddaughter
Not specifically this girl from The Hunger Games, but something like this. Instead of the rebel in a dystopian society being the main character, let it be someone from the other side. It was great to see a glimpse of President Snow's granddaughter in Catching Fire.

College not involving sex
I'll be leaving home, at a university, in the fall and I'd love to read about someone like me. Does all college experiences have to be stereotypically about partying and sex? I don't read those kind and they aren't like me. 

Slow-burning love
TENSION and FEELS. I instantly thought of Anne and Gil from Anne of Green Gables. Or maybe a hate relationship turning into friends and THEN love. If I find a book that has people not liking each other, they immediately transition into being in love. Why can't they slowly become friends first? 

More Ally Carter-esque books, yes? 

What do you want to read more of?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill

Author: Cristin Terrill
Publication date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

First line: I stare at the drain in the center of the concrete floor.

I think Cristin Terrill smirked for days after finishing this book (well, after she collapsed from relief and exhaustion as well) and maniacally laughed as she saw readers' and bloggers' responses to All Our Yesterdays. I really do. Because here's the thing about this work of art: it grabs your eyeballs, dictates your sleep, grips your heart, spins you around, and then lets you deal with the aftermath. I felt Terrill's smirk just radiating off the very last acknowledgement page. She's good, folks. Better than good. 

This is a really hard book to review. At least, it was for me. You have so many twists and spoilers lurking everywhere that I just want to point at each aspect and say that was good and that and that and that. 

The characters:

We have Em, who we first meet in a prison (dungeon?) cell. Like most everyone, I adored Em. She was rough, but passionate. Willing to save Marina (the other girl who we'll get to) and Finn and take down the crazy Doctor. She's tortured daily, physically and emotionally. People always love a strong girl and there have been many discussions on what defines a character as strong. Physical strength? Emotional toughness? Mental stamina? Well, Em was all of that. She endured torture and escaped after finding a note, she constantly examined things throughout, and considering the hard spot she was put in, she knew to keep her emotions on a tight reign. She kicked butt and I loved it. 

Then there's Marina. Rich, soft Marina. I did like her and continued to throughout the book. She's in love with her best friend James, but has everything else a teenager could want. Of course, that all comes crashing down when an incident happens and she realizes that nothing will ever be the same. I actually felt like Em in the story because I desperately wanted to protect her, but at the same time, wanted to open her eyes to the painful truth.

I wish I could talk about every single character because I liked them all. From Em to the helpful soldier, Terrill didn't waste a single line in the whole novel. If any of you read my 2013 End of Year Book Survey, you'll see that along with All Our Yesterdays appearing multiple times, one of the characters named Finn appeared as well in the fictional boyfriend question. Finn. Witty, sarcastic, loyal, charming, strong, and THERE. I don't know how else to describe it, but he's there for Em and has that thing about him that I love in fictional males. 

The time travel: 

Time travel is a tricky thing, I can't even imagine writing about it. How about if I just said that, yes, Terrill did an excellent job with it and explaining it and making me envision Em and Marina's whole world? 

The twists: 

Well, obviously, I can't say anything about this point. Almost the whole book is made up of twists and spoilers. Some I guessed, some I flipped out over. It enthralled me. Each new chapter seemed to build my impatience to see what would happen, but at the same time, I wanted the story to go on forever. I heard something about one of the twists, but fortunately, it was miscommunication of sorts because I wasn't spoiled. Even if I was, Terrill made up for it with all the other surprises. 

All I really wanted to do for this review was put a big stamp in the middle of the page that said: EXCELLENT. Truly, it was one of the best standalones books I've ever read. I messaged Lauren from Love is not a triangle constantly through my process (thanks, Lauren!). The ending was exactly what I wanted so, yes, the glaring negative that I find is that there is now a sequel coming out. I will be definitely clamoring to get it, but considering that I thought a standalone would be perfect, it's disappointing. Also, I get anxiety just reading the synopsis. 

Verdict: AMAZING, SPECTACULAR, WONDERFUL, um, all the positive emotions? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

10 Steps of Fangirling

I'm a very all-or-nothing kind of girl. I sometimes do have my "meh" moments, times where I feel lukewarm, but those aren't fun. When it comes to books, I like it when I find a book that makes me feel something, whether that's white-hot rage or floundering love. Preferably, it makes me fangirl. I tend to fangirl a lot.

So what is it to fangirl?

Fangirl - to behave like a fangirl. (verb)

Well, that doesn't really help now, does it?

Fangirl - an obsessive female fan (noun) 

But usually, people say someone is "fangirling." People have their own ways of releasing their emotions, but here's what I find is best, starting from the very beginning.

Step 1: Find a book.
This seems obvious, but you have to pick the right kind of book. Weed out the undesirables, the ones that are incapable of drawing fangirls (different than a fandom). Series usually do the trick considering that they give you more time to connect with the characters and the author's writing. But standalones are also fine, like The Fault in Our Stars. You can even fangirl over Fangirl, which I think makes it fun fangirling over a story about a fangirl. 

Step 2: Keep the world updated in your progressive adoration.
Naturally, you need to work your way up to fangirl status. While you read, share your thoughts. That moment when the guy does something that makes your heart pitter-patter? Tweet it! Update your status on Goodreads! People will likely comment on it and it increases your chance of a greater fangirling experience later. 

Step 3: Devour it.
Two words: BOOK BINGE.

Step 4: Find someone.
Internet peeps are wonderful and great to fangirl with, but they come later. You need to find someone in real life so you can physically let your fangirling emotions out. 

Step 5: Flutter, jump up and down, fan yourself, clutch your heart, make weird facial expressions, but most importantly...squeal.
Squealing involves high-pitched volume usually along with other noises such as saying "ahhh!" and repeating "oh my" and not finishing your sentences.

Step 6: Go on Twitter and use those 140 characters to the max.
YOUR FEELINGS. Emoticons are encouraged.

Step 7: Now immediately push the book on a friend via text. 
You can't wait until you're in person. They need to feel your urgency. Share the love and it'll make you feel better.

Step 8: Make more noises as you pace.
Warnings: dogs may become confused.

Step 9: Nurse your book hangover.
After you finish a book that gives you a fangirl status, you'll most likely be in a book hangover afterwards. A new book cannot compete with your fangirling emotions. Don't even try to start a new book that same day unless it's a sequel.

Step 10: Repeat and keep pushing.
Yes, it's exhausting to become invested in a book, but isn't it fun? Go find another one! It'll probably take a while to find that ONE book or series that makes you want to use all the expressive GIFs in the world again. But while you start reading again, don't forget to keep recommending your latest beloved book. Someone mentions they need another book to read, PUSH.

Just as there are different ways to eat eggs, there are different ways to express your absolute adoration of a newly discovered book. But now you know what I'm doing when I say I'm fangirling and usually that's Step 5. 

An incomplete collection of books I've fangirled over LOTS:

 Note: If series, I only included the first book.

What are books that have turned you into a fangirl or fanboy?