30 Day Simplify Your Life Challenge!

Today I’m putting up some different content on the blog, mostly because I’m going to start introducing some non-bookish elements on here! But no worries, I’m still going to be publishing loads of reviews and bookish posts in the future.

A few days ago I stumbled across Muchelle B’s YouTube channel and discovered the 30 Day Simplify Your Life Challenge, which immediately intrigued me. Muchelle B created the challenge in order to encourage and help support people who want to ‘simplify their lives’ by decluttering it. The first two weeks are focused on the physical decluttering of your space, while the last two weeks are focused on the mental decluttering of your life. You can definitely check out her videos about it here to learn more!

Since I graduated from college in December I’ve been feeling a bit lost and confused. My life literally feels like a mess and it doesn’t help that my room reflects the mess I feel inside. During my last semester I was so busy with my 5 classes and 2 jobs that I barely had time to do anything but sleep in my room, which resulted in the state of un-organization it’s in. It also doesn’t help that I literally keep everything!

With the new year and a new chapter in my life starting, I want to start clean. If I had the money I would probably get rid of all my clothes/sheets/ and non-sentimental items but I am a broke, recent college grad that needs to save as much money as possible for grad school. So I’m going to do the next best thing and save only the bare necessities.

Which brings us back to the 30 Day Simplify Your Life Challenge! Here is how it is set up:

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I can already tell you that some days(like declutter your wardrobe and paper) are going to take me more than one day since I start working again this week. But I’ll balance it out by lumping together electronics, digital space, and social media all in one day.

Hopefully this will be as life-changing as I’m imagining, but if all else fails at least I’ll have a tidy room. I am planning on documenting my journey on this 30 day challenge on my blog, so I’ll be back soon with an update!

Announcing: Diverse Reads Subscription Box!

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I am excited to help announce the debut of the Diverse Reads subscription box, brought to you by the amazingly talented Angel! 2017 will be the year of diverse books, which is a long time coming. If you want some diversity in your reading pallet (I mean, who doesn’t?), I highly recommend checking out this box! But I’ll let Angel break it down for you:

So, Diverse Reads is a subscription box meant to celebrate people’s different experiences and thoughts! I wanted to create the box because I am an Egyptian-American Muslim woman and, unfortunately, until I was halfway through 11th grade, I never read a book that accurately represented Muslims. To be honest, I’d never read one that even had a Muslim in it but I’d seen so many TV shows and movies that misrepresented my religion so many times over and that was really disappointing.

That was three years ago and though the literary world has gotten more diverse, it’s still hard to find books that represent my religion and culture well without quite a bit of researching.

As I look back on how long it took for me to find myself in a world I so dearly love, as well as how much research it’s taken to just read diverse books, I find myself hopeful that, through ‘Diverse Reads’, I can help someone much younger than me find themselves in literature much sooner than I did.

Now, every month you’ll get a new, diverse young adult novel and 3 -5 awesallegedlyome, handpicked goodies based on the themes of the book! The book of the month for January is Allegedly by Tiffany D Jackson!
So, how does it work?

Well, it works in three easy ways:

1. You take your pick of a 1 month, 3 month. or 6 month subscription plan! One month is $20 excl. shipping & taxes! Then you get to sit back and relax while you wait!
2. I gather all the supplies needed to make your fabulous subscription come to life then begin packing and sending it on its way!
3. Diverse Reads is delivered right to your doorstep! Now you can enjoy the book & goodies, and share what you got on social media using #DiverseReads!

Guess what, though? You can get 10% off your first order of a 3 month or a 6 month subscription with ‘JOIN10‘!!! Just click here to get started and begin your awesome diversity adventure!!! You can only get January’s box by Tuesday, January 17th so hurry now to get your order in!!!

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Bookish Resolutions Tag!

I am ringing in the New Year (almost two weeks into 2017) by completing the Bookish Resolutions tag which was created by Charr Frears on YouTube. Every new year I write down some goals that relate to all aspects of my life: school, work, personal, and blog. However I never made specific goals for books other than the Goodreads goal. After looking over the questions in this tag, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to push myself to read the books I’ve been pushing off! I hope you enjoy this post, and if you want to do it yourself- consider yourself tagged!

Authors you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before):

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Despite the numerous number of bloggers and booktubers that recommend Adam Silvera, V.E. Schwab, and Mary Pearson’s novels I still have yet to pick them up! I own A Darker Shade of Magic, More Happy Than Not, and The Kiss of Deception trilogy.

 

 

 

Books you’d like to read:

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I was lucky enough to receive ARCs of Violet Grenade (thank you EntangledTeen!) and The Bone Sparrow (thank you Seale!), but have not have the chance to read any of them. My goal is to read and review Violet Grenade before its release in May. The Bone Sparrow was released in November 2016, but I still am putting it on the top of my TBR pile!

 

 

Classics you’d like to read:

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These are both books I was *suppose* to read for literature classes I took when I was in college, but never actually finished. I had to read Pride & Prejudice for a Lit & Film class and only managed to get halfway through before we moved on to the next book- but I loved it so much I want to finish! I am ashamed to say that I never touched Wuthering Heights, but since I own a copy I might as well try it.

 

Books you’d like to re-read:

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Does this even need to be explained? Since I own the illustrated editions of the first two Harry Potter books, I would love to revisit the story in a different medium. I also want to revisit another childhood favorite, Percy Jackson! It’s been 7 years since I completed this series and as I continue on with Rick’s other books I discovered that I don’t remember the references he adds in. So I want to remedy that by rereading the series!

 

 

Books you’ve had for ages and want to read:

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I am kind of embarrassed that I still have not picked up these books! I attempted to read The Night Circus when I was on a trip to Boston but was so busy that I never got passed the first chapter. I’ve only heard wonderful things about it and hope to get to this soon! I also can’t believe that I haven’t picked up The Bane Chronicles since I am obsessed with Magnus Bane- this year will be the year of Bane.

 

 

 

Big books you’d like to read:

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I absolutely adored The Diviners and would love to dive into the sequel Lair of Dreams! The size and the fact that the series is no where near complete keeps holding me back from reading. I just received a copy of Six of Crows (thanks mom and dad!) and cannot wait to see what all the hype is about.

 

 

 

Authors you’ve previously read and want to read more of:

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This year I read my first Sarah J Maas books, ACOTAR & ACOMAF, and instantly realized why everyone was obsessed. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, but I also want to read her Throne of Glass series now that it is finally coming to a close. I somehow managed to avoid spoilers, so I can’t wait to jump in. Jennifer L Armentrout will forever be one of my favorite authors and I will not rest until I have read and own every book she’s published!

 

Books you got for Christmas and would like to read:

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Does Christmas gifts for myself count? I actually had a signed copy of Heartless wrapped and placed under the tree as a gift to myself… Despite all the mixed reviews, I am stoked to read it and see what I think. My sister got me the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and I am planning to wait until the movie comes out on DVD so I can read along as I watch the movie.

 

 

A series you want to read (start and finish):

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My sister got me The Young Elites three years ago and despite being OBSESSED with Lu’s Legend books, I still haven’t picked it up. Since the series is complete I am looking forward to marathoning it ❤

 

 

 

A series you want to finish (that you’ve already started):

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I have a horrible habit of starting series and not finishing them! I need to read Fairest, Winter, and Stars Above to complete The Lunar Chronicles. The only book I need to read to complete the Miss Peregrine trilogy is Library of Souls. I cannot wait to check these two series off of my TBR list!

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2017?

Yes! I set a Goodreads goal for 65 books, but I’m hoping to surpass it and read 100 books!

Any other reading goals?

My main reading goal for this year is to exclusively read from my bookshelf. The only time I can borrow a book from my sister or the library is if the book is part of a series I already started. Which brings me to my next goal, I want to decrease the number of series I have not completed, which I’m hoping to so a separate post on. As always, I want to limit the number of books I add to my collection, from now on I want to only purchase books I see myself rereading in the future.

A List of Reasons Why You Should Read ‘A List of Cages’

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: Jan 10th 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

Why is it always so difficult to review the books you love the most. Ever since I finished this book a few days ago I’ve been trying to string together words that accurately represent my feelings about this story, and I’ve failed. The only thing I can do at this point is beg you to see for yourself, because no matter what I write I will never give it justice.

So instead of a formal review, here is a list of reasons why I loved and think you should read A List of Cages:

× Beautifully written: The writing immediately sucked me into the story, allowing me to be blissfully unaware of the turning of pages as I progressed through the book

× Engaging plot: (This also ties in with the beautiful writing) This book was addicting, I sat down around midnight to read a couple chapters and ended up staying up well until 3 AM to finish!

× Well developed characters: Anyone who knows me well knows that I love getting to know a character so well that I feel like I’ve met them in real life. Every character in this novel has a story, a quirk, and an important role in the overall plot.

× Amazing friendships: There aren’t too many books that I’ve read where I love the friends as much as the main characters! There were quite a few friends in this book, but they all brought something different to the table.

× Unique but relatable: This novel includes characters that have ADHD and dyslexia, an orphan, and some heavy topics- however it is done in a way that people who cannot relate to those specific situations or conditions can still grasp an idea of how it feels.

× It sticks with you: I am currently trying to read another novel, but my heart and mind are still stuck on A List of Cages! I miss the characters and I actually wish that I could live in their world and see how they are doing- it’s insane, but true.

This novel hits book stores today, so I highly encourage you to go and pick up a copy now! When you finish come back here and we can try to write a review that reflects its perfection together.

Firestorm Blog Tour: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY!

firestormFirestorm by Katie Robison

Book 3 of The Windstorm Series

Release Date: June 7th 2016

Amazon ¦ Goodreads

“Why did I possibly think I could do anything to end this war? I was a fool, and now I have one week to get the twins out of here, or I may never see them again.”

The seven tribal nations are at war, and as a taporo, Kit can finally do something to save her people. But Kit can’t shake the feeling she’s playing a game she doesn’t understand and if she agrees to fight, she’ll lose the ones she loves the most.

Firestorm is the highly anticipated conclusion to the The Windstorm Series, a fast-paced fantasy trilogy that critics are calling a “thrilling head-rush of an adventure” (Kirkus Reviews).

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s stop of the Firestorm Blog Tour! I am so honored to be a part of this tour and would like to thank the author- Katie Robison for including me. For this stop Katie will be guest posting and sharing her advice on how to balance school/work with writing. If you didn’t know, Katie wrote this series while she was in grad school- which is so amazing to me, so she definitely has some great advice. Alright I’m going to let Katie introduce herself and share her tips! Be sure to stick until the end for an AMAZING giveaway that Katie is sponsoring.

Katie Robison has a Ph.D. in medieval literature from the University of Minnesota andkatie robison is a registered member of the Ngai Tahu Maori tribe in New Zealand. She currently lives on a lake outside Salt Lake City with her husband, daughter, and Siberian Husky. Learn more at katierobison.com

If you’re a first-time writer, odds are you won’t be getting paid to write your book. (Maybe if you’re writing non-fiction, but probably not if you’re writing fiction. The payoff comes after the book is done.) This means that unless you’re being supported by your parents or your partner or a surprise inheritance you’ll have to eek out whatever time you can to write while also working a day job, or maybe even going to school. This makes writing your first book difficult. But it’s not impossible! Take it from me: I wrote three novels while earning a Ph.D. (During this time, I also had a baby and moved internationally—twice!) If I can do it, you can too! Here’s what worked for me:

  1.  Make writing a priority.

Even when we’re busy, we make time for the things that matter to us, and sometimes for the things that don’t. So make writing matter! Instead of watching a movie or checking Facebook, sit down and pound out a few words. I love to read, but I had to give up a lot of reading time in order to get my books done. Obviously, you need to be a reader in order to be a good writer, but if you’re spending a great deal of time reading—schoolwork is an exception—perhaps some of that time could be applied toward writing. This doesn’t mean you can’t still do fun things. Just do your writing first. 🙂 (This is how I wrote an undergraduate thesis in college. I had to sacrifice a lot of weekend time, but I managed to get it done while still taking a full load of classes, working several part-time jobs, and being involved in some demanding extracurriculars.)

  1.  Write in blocks.

Full disclosure: when I’m working on a project, I’m not very balanced in other areas of my life, which means my house is a mess and we eat a lot of frozen pizza. But I work best when I can give something my full attention. That’s why I find it helps to organize my time into blocks. During a writing block (not to be confused with writer’s block!), I focus almost exclusively on my book; once I reach a specified milestone, I take a break. This worked well for me in grad school. Rather than try to do creative and academic writing at the same time, I alternated between the two. During the school year, I focused on my classes and research; during the summer, I worked on my novels. After my coursework was done and I started my doctoral dissertation, I continued to block my time: I’d work on a chapter of my dissertation, and once it was drafted, I would work on a section of my book. This was helpful, because when I changed blocks, it forced me to let my work sit. Then when I came back to a draft, I could look at it with fresh eyes.

This technique is useful even if you’re not writing a dissertation. Divide the writing process into segments and take a break between each piece. So after your draft is written, set it aside and do something else. Clean the house. Tackle your to do list. Watch the TV show or read the book series you’ve been missing out on. After a few weeks, go back and revise. Then let it sit again. Then go back for more editing. The idea is that when you’re writing in your “block,” it should be your number one priority, which means non-essentials will have to be put on hold. Then, during your break period, you can catch up on all the stuff that you let slide. (It helps to take a break between books too!)

  1. Make time work for you.

I like to write first thing in the morning. It makes it more likely that I’ll get it done (and it’s easier with a toddler in the house). Plus, if I hit my word count and the day is young, I can keep going. But no matter how you do it, make sure you write something every day. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Even if you only write 500 words (you can do that in an hour easily), at the end of four months, you’ll have 60,000 words. Make time work for you, not against you.

When all is said and done, you have to do what works for YOU. You may not like how I do things, so find something that matches your rhythm and that fits into your life. And remember: writing is hard work, but it’s also supposed to be fun! When I’m working on a book, it’s what makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. If you’re not enjoying the process, take a step back and figure out why. Maybe give yourself a break to brainstorm and daydream. Then come back when you feel more energized. If writing matters to you and you carve out the time, you can make it happen. Good luck!

Seriously some amazing advice! I know that I will be waking up earlier this upcoming semester to work on my writing. Thanks so much Katie!

Okay so now for the giveaway, Katie has put together an amazing giveaway for this stop! It includes: signed copies of the trilogy, a necklace, a bookmark, and a journal. Honestly, I am beyond jealous of whoever wins, this prize looks amazing! This giveaway is only open for the US & Canada BUT Katie is holding a separate giveaway for any international peeps that want to take a shot. Click here to see the international giveaway!

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To enter you must follow me and Katie on Twitter (yes, I will be checking!) and tweet us that you are entering the giveaway using the hashtag #FirestormTour2016.

That’s all! If you want to be safe you can leave a link of your tweet down in the comments but it isn’t required. The giveaway will end on July 15th, 11:59PM. The winner will be notified via Twitter and will have 48 hours to reply or else another person will be chosen. Good luck everyone!

Shop Feature: Mockinbae on RedBubble!

Today’s post is different than my usual posts for a very exciting reason, I will be featuring a shop for the first time! If you are not aware- RedBubble is an online shop where designers upload their work for people to buy. You can purchase these designs as phone cases, pillows, shirts, stickers and so much more courtesy of RedBubble! It is an amazing website full of creative designers and today I will be featuring Mockinbae! Mockinbae is a fairly new shop that opened November of 2015. The designer behind the shop, Brianna, creates fandom designs and shares her photography for people to buy. She’s extremely talented!

MOCKINBAE PHONE CASE

Brianna has graciously agreed to share her favorite designs on her shop as well as talk briefly on her origin story! So be sure to check out her shop and purchase anything that catches your eye!

MOCKINBAE PHOTO SHIRT

I started my Redbubble because I liked editing and wanted to see if I could create things other people wanted. I mainly started with Scream Queen quotes because that was a current obsession, but I also started to post more nerd related stuff like Percy Jackson, and The Hunger Games. It’s really fun to continually challenge myself and see where I can go next with this shop. Right now I’m putting my drawing and photography skills to the test. I’m really excited to see this shop grow as I begin to hone my skills more. I hope more people will enjoy my work as I continue (:

MOCKINBAE HODIE

You can find Brianna on Instagram and Twitter!

MOCKINBAE PILLOW

Discussion + Review: The Elementals Series

If you’ve been following my blog, or even my social media, for a few months than you know just how much I love Michelle Madow’s books! My love for them is so strong that I decided to write an entire post all about her latest series: Elementals! If you’re a fan of the Percy Jackson or Secret Circle series then you’re in for a treat. This series is the perfect blend of the two plus so much more! Read on if you want to know more about this fascinating series!

elementals cover Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows

Book 1

You can read my full review here!

Freebie Alert: Get this book for free by visiting www.michellemadow.com

Nicole Cassidy is a witch descended from the Greek gods… but she doesn’t know it until she moves to a new town and discovers a dangerous world of magic and monsters that she never knew existed.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole and four others — including mysterious bad-boy Blake — are gifted with elemental powers. But the comet has another effect — it opens the portal to another dimension that has imprisoned the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes, it’s up to Nicole and the others to follow a cryptic prophecy in time to save the town… and possibly the world.

 Blood of hydraElementals: The Blood of Hydra

Book 2

A demigod who can kill with a touch. It’s an ability that must be kept secret from everyone—even from those trusted most.

Finding out that she was a witch was strange enough, but now Nicole must face the realization that she has the rare power to kill with just a touch. No one can know her secret — not even Blake, who she’s had undeniable chemistry with since first moving to town.

Now Nicole, Blake, and the three others with elemental powers must journey abroad to stop a series of monsters that they previously believed to be dead from rising once again and destroying the mortal world. Will they all survive the quest? And how long will it be until Nicole is forced to use her ability to kill in front of everyone, revealing the true darkness of her powers?

Mini Review:

I actually was lucky enough to receive an extremely early copy of this novel because Michelle was awesome enough to let me refer to it for a presentation and paper for my Mythology class! I’ve been holding off on my review so my teacher won’t accuse me of plagiarism :/

Things heat up very quickly in The Blood of the Hydra! If you thought The Prophecy of Shadows was action packed just wait until you dive into this. The Elementals embark on a journey after they learn more about the portal and the monsters coming out of it. Readers are taken on an epic journey that parallels The Odyssey but with a unique modern twist! Between monsters, gods, and boy troubles, this book will keep you at the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next.

head of medusaElementals: The Head of Medusa

Book 3

Release Date: June 29, 2016

When Nicole Cassidy moved to a new town, she discovered that she was a witch descended from gods. But that was nothing compared to learning that it was up to her and four others with mysterious elemental powers to help save the world from the Titans, who would soon return to Earth.

Now her relationship with Blake — the fire Elemental — is finally heating up. But she must remain focused, because Typhon, one of the deadliest creatures in history, has escaped from the weakening prison world. Only one object can destroy him — the head of Medusa herself.

Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the Earth, facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? Find out in the riveting third book in the Elementals series, The Head of Medusa.

I am beyond excited to continue this series! First of all- look at this cover, it’s stunning. I cannot wait to see where Michelle is going to take us next, but I know it’s going to be fantastic. Michelle never disappoints (:

Elementals: The Portal to Kerberos 

Title Reveal

The title for the 4th installment was released last week and I am soooooo excited! There will be a cover reveal in June but I think that this piece has clouds, so the air elemental may take this cover. But we’ll find out! If I’m not mistaken, Michelle mentioned on Twitter that this book will parallel Dante’s Inferno– which sounds absolutely amazing.


Why should you read Elementals?

 Elementals is a really fun series that is packed full of action, adventure, and drama! If you love Greek mythology, witches, and magic than this series is absolutely perfect for you. Pick up your copy today and dive into the magical world of the Elementals!