Monday, April 14, 2014

A Personal Update

Monday, April 14, 2014
I don't normally talk about non-bookish things on the blog, but I'm making an exception today. There has just been so much going on lately that I wanted to chat with you guys and give you a bit of an update!

As per usual, I've been really busy with schoolwork, but I'll spare you the details of that. One of the school-related reasons I haven't been posting as much, though, is that I was in my school musical. I've been apart of Drama Club for four years so it was a very strange experience to know that this was the last show. It makes my upcoming graduation feel very more real.

However, I'm also really excited to graduate already because...

I'M GOING TO COLLEGE. More precisely, I'm going to Lafayette College, which was my first choice, so I'm elated and thrilled and excited. And after yesterday (which was Experience Lafayette Day), I'm counting down the days till I can finally go.


As of now, I'm planning on double-majoring in English and Women's and Gender Studies (maybe with a minor in Politics?), so I'll be continuing my bookish and feminist ways. So, bloggers/readers, any college advice? Or are you like me, a blogger heading off to college in the fall?

I'm going to go get ready for Passover, but I promise to be more active in the blogging community in the next couple of weeks. I've missed talking books with all of you!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Sunday, March 23, 2014
Vessel
Genre: Fantasy
PublisherMargaret K. McElderry
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe's deity, who will inhabit Liyana's body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her tribe is furious--and sure that it is Liyana's fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.
Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. The desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.
The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice--she must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate--or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.
Summary from Goodreads.

I first heard about Vessel on Word for Teens and added it to my TBR list right away, though I only just got to it about a month ago. Before I actually write this review, I just want to say THANK YOU to Nicole for her glowing review because this book is incredible.

Seriously, the world-building alone is exquisite. The desert is a character unto itself, with so many features that make it wholly unique. I mean, there are sand wolves and sky serpents and other kinds of awesomeness.

My favorite part of the world-building is the mythology surrounding the gods. I found the whole concept of the Dreaming beautiful and magical while I was reading, but then I found out something really cool later: the religion depicted in Vessel is actually based on real Aborigine religions. (I'm taking a World Religions class and this was in Chapter 2. So naturally, I then fangirled about Vessel to my teacher.)

And I loved the characters. Thinking about them so many weeks after reading the book is like remembering old friends. Liyana's development and her inner struggle between tradition and survival is just so beautifully done. And each of her fellow vessels is so unique; they're not all likable, but they sure are interesting and understandable and oddly sympathetic. There's romance in Vessel, too, but it's not stereotypical in ANY WAY, nor is it the focus (Girl of Fire and Thorns fans will love it, but that's all I'm going to say).

As far as fantasies go, Vessel is the tops. I want to read it all over again!
*5 stars and then some*

What is your favorite fantasy novel?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day: YA Ladies

Saturday, March 8, 2014
Today is International Women's Day! This is one of my favorite days of the year because its purpose is to celebrate strides women are making all over the world towards equality, but to also serve as a reminder of how far we have to go.

In the year ahead, I want to continue to educate myself about women's rights around the world, so this is some of my reading list:


And just-for-fun, here are some of my favorite inspiring YA ladies.:

Source
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Murbur14
By DeviantArt user Murbur14

There is a shameful lack of Audrey, Wait! fan art. Maybe I'll try to amend this... maybe...
Victoria from Audrey, Wait!

Hermione by kakao-bean
By DeviantArt user kakao-bean
Hermione from the Harry Potter series

Just finished reading “Game”. 
I don’t think I can wait until 2014 for the next book. 
The only way I can survive is by drawing ((and maybe re-reading the first two books)). 
Jazz, Connie, and Howie probably don’t look anything like my drawing, but i don’t really have much of a reference. GO IMAGINATION! 
By Ninja-Neko-Aru
Connie from I Hunt Killers

By Yakis
Katsa from Graceling

By Lady Graceling
Fire from Fire

I recently fell in love with the marker tool in SAI, it’s so much fun *___*
Bitterblue/Saf for gracelingshipweeks.
By Walking North
Bitterblue from Bitterblue

By Yarrow and Stone

Who are your favorite YA ladies?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Parks and Rec plus YA

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
So lately, I've been watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix (season 6 here I come!) and I basically find it hysterical and awesome. Plus, I adore Amy Poehler. I was trying to come up with a blog post today and I may or may not have been watching Parks and Rec at the same time, which led me to thinking: if the Parks and Rec characters were YA fans, what would they read? Thus, without further ado, I present to you my Parks Pairings:

As an empowered feminist, Leslie would definitely appreciate this satirical piece of genius (okay, so I'm kind of a huge fan of Beauty Queens, if you haven't noticed).

Ben is a huge fantasy fan, so he would either love Eragon or proclaim it a Lord of the Rings ripoff. It could go either way. 

Since she loves dark and morbid material, I think she would really get into the twisted, amazing plot in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer... not that she'd admit it, of course. 

Well, Tom would pick up this book thinking it's actually about beauty pageants, but he might learn something about why it's not okay to objectify women! Maybe?

After a long day of work (either as a nurse or for the government), Ann would probably want to relax with a glass of white wine (even though it gives her headaches) and some light reading. 

Are you a Parks and Rec fan?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Awards

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I'm really excited for this mini challenge, especially since I feel like I don't celebrate other blogs enough on here. These are only some of my favorites- if I listed all of my favorites, I'd still be working on this post by the time it's supposed to be posted- but these blogs are fantastic. Definitely check them out! :)

Best Blog Design
Rather Be Reading Estelle and Magan have one of the most beautiful blog designs EVER. It is a work of art, while still being clean and easy to navigate. 

Best Weekly Feature
YA Highway: I never miss a Field Trip Friday post. Not only are there awesome writing links, but they have a ton of other interesting links about everything from reading to social issues to funny videos.

Best Discussion Posts
Writer of Wrongs: Every time I see one of Gillian's discussion posts in my BlogLovin' feed, it's an auto-read. They're just so fun and engaging! Check out Second Book Syndrome, if you need an example. :)

Friendliest Blogger
The Story Siren: When I was first starting to send ARC requests to publishers, I had no idea where to begin. I emailed Kristi to ask for help because she was one of the first bloggers I had followed and she was so sweet! 

Most Helpful Reviews
IrisjeXx: Iris (besides being one of the nicest, coolest bloggers out there) has really awesome reviews. They're thorough but also fun to read. 

Favorite Author Blog
Susan Dennard: Her writing tips are GOLDEN. Seriously, I used her prewriting tips for my current WIP and it's made the process so much easier and so much fun!

Favorite Author Twitter
Maureen Johnson: She's equal parts quirky, funny, and intelligent. 

Favorite Bloggers to Fangirl With
Aly at My Heart Hearts Books: I love talking about the Mara Dyer series (and our shared love of Noah) with her, and just books in general.
Alicia at Books and Words: Alicia and I don't just talk books- we also fangirl over our favorite TV shows, including Sherlock and The Crazy Ones. :)
Iris at IrisjeXx: We discovered each other's blogs through the Something Strange and Deadly book club, so obviously we like to fangirl about Eleanor's exploits!! 
Commenters: I love fangirling with everyone who stops by the blog. Even if it sometimes takes me a bit longer than I'd like, I reply to each one of your comments! 

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Dear Me

Dear Past Bloggy Self,


Wait, stop, don't publish that first review yet. Don't do ANYTHING blog-related yet. Just go take a look at other blogs, learn the ropes, get a feel for the community- there's so much you don't know and it'll be a lot easier if you don't have to figure it out as you go along.*

On the same note, don't pick that generic background that 200 other blogs have. Seriously, you can just look up html tips, or free blog templates, or really anything other than the templates Blogger offers.**

Get a Twitter, a Facebook page, and a Tumblr much sooner, especially Twitter. You'll get to talk to other bloggers and authors and publishers, which is just as awesome as it sounds.***

Ultimately, Past Bloggy Self, the most important thing you need to know is this: post what you want to post. Post about Harry Potter or feminism or John Green or whatever makes you happy. Don't feel pressure to measure up to other bloggers- real blogging success is when you're proud of the content you're publishing.****

Best of luck,
Sara


*Then again, figuring it out as I went along DID teach me a lot about blogging. I had to start with plot summaries before I could get to the actual plot critiques. And even in my not-so-spiffeh bloggy days, I was able to make some great bloggy friends.

**If I had just looked up free templates, though, then I wouldn't have learned basic html, or started playing around on Paint.net. 

***But waiting a bit allowed me to "figure out" Twitter before I jumped in.

****There's really no clause for this one. Just wanted to say that maybe all the mistakes I made as my Past Bloggy Self were also learning experiences. Just a thought.

What would you do differently as a new blogger?

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Feminism


So when I'm not reading books or writing about books, I'm reading or writing about feminism. Seriously, I've always considered myself a feminist, but I became really invested in women's rights after reading Libba Bray's Beauty Queens (that book is like my Bible). In fact, I have a whole feminist-y project in the works which I'll be posting about soon (but you can get a sneak peek on this tumblr here, if you'd like).

Since I've already done a Feminist YA Lit post (though I do have a few additions for a new post someday soon), I had to think outside the box for this. That said, here's a graphic I made to help you choose your next feminist read!


Which book did you get?