Spotlight: The Talisman Chronicles by T.M. Franklin

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For the next 5 weeks, Tuesday is #TalismanTuesday around here – as The Talisman Chronicles by T.M. Franklin are released – one episode per week!

A mysterious house. An old journal. A dusty chest holding more than secrets.

Each talisman found in the chest grants the chosen a gift, a unique ability. But with that power comes a burden—the duty of The Order.

Something is coming. Something evil. And it’s up to The Order to stop it.

Today, we get a double-dose of Talisman excitement. WINDOW – The Talisman Chronicles, Episode 1 is FREE all week!

 

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Chloe Blake has a unique gift, an odd connection to her house that results in glimpses of the past, present, and future via the picture window in her living room. Unfortunately, it’s a gift that sometimes proves to be more of a curse. Especially when she tries to help out Ethan Reynolds, the gorgeous boy who lives across the street – an endeavor that, for some reason, always seems to backfire.

Or leave her covered in mud.

But the house is convinced Ethan’s life is in danger and Chloe’s the only one who can save him. The problem is, he thinks she’s more than a little crazy.

Get it today only on AMAZON!

And while you’re at it, TIMEPIECE, Episode 2 is Now Available!

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Wren Galloway’s not happy that her mother’s vagabond lifestyle lands her in yet another new school, this time in gray and rainy Lamsden, Washington. She’s even less happy when she’s plagued by strange nightmares, sleepwalking, and a feeling that something really weird is going on in the small town.

When she wakes up outside Chloe Blake’s house—a house that’s been front-and-center in her dreams—she starts on a journey that takes her up the stairs to Chloe’s attic, and to a mysterious chest that grants her an unbelievable power.

But power comes with a price, and the question is, will Wren be able to pay it?

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Get TIMEPIECE on AMAZON!

You can also pre-order ALL of the remaining Talisman Chronicles right now, so they’ll load onto your Kindle as soon as they’re available.

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for a Kindle Fire, Signed Paperbacks, or an Amazon Gift Card!

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T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s since written three additional novels and several best-selling short stories…and there’s always more on the way.

Connect with T.M. Franklin

Web Site |Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ | YouTube |Email

 

Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

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Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

Goodreads

Publishing: 9 February 2017

I need to confess that I started this book angry at Sarah and Brian for how badly they portrayed Nicu. Now I am not generally someone that speaks out about racism. I mean I do tend to feel that people tend to go overboard with the whole ‘omg white authors can’t write about racism because they’ve never experienced it’ crap but there are some things that I do frown upon.

In this book in particular, I didn’t like that Nicu’s parts were all written so badly and disjointed that it almost felt like they were poking fun at him and trying to portray him as illiterate. Like ‘hey! Look at that foreigner. He can’t speak english! Let’s mock him and laugh at him and his cultures. Let’s make sure everyone knows he’s dumb.”

So yes, I did start out being angry in the beginning. And then the story started to unfold and I finally say what the authors were trying to get at and I guess it started to make more sense.

Plot

This book follows Jess and Nicu. Two teenagers who are going through enormous struggles. Jess is from an abusive home and Nicu has just moved from Romania and is struggling with speaking English, racism and the fact that his parents are just waiting to earn enough money to get him married off to a girl in Romania.

In the midst of all this pain and difficulty, Jess and Nicu meet each other in community service. What starts out as two people unwilling to connect with each other very quickly develops into a friendship and then a relationship.

Told entirely in verse, the authors weave a heartbreaking story about finding your home within someone else and how true love isn’t always the happy ending that everyone expects.

Characters

Jess

Jess was a girl that came from an abusive home. She was damaged and she was trying to deal with her home life as well as her life outside it.

Jess was honestly someone that I didn’t really like from the beginning to the end. She was quite bitchy and racist towards Nicu even after they became friends and then lovers. Not to mention that she thought ridiculously highly of herself considering that she and Nicu were at the exact same place in community service. I mean seriously.

But I think what kept me hating Jess was the fact that she refused to stand up to the people that bullied Nicu. Instead, she often joined in or just remained silent. Like no. I cant stand that.

Nicu

I think I liked Nicu a lot largely because he could not speak English fluently. So you just automatically felt  more protective towards him. Especially when Jess is saying terrible things to him.

He was a very innocent kid but you could tell that there was this buried hardness in him that was developed from staying quiet about the horrible way that he was being treated in school and how his parents treated him like a piece of meat at home.

It’s something I think a lot of people can really relate to. I know I certainly did.

Overall

I really enjoyed this book. It was a very quick but impactful read.

I personally loved how it wasn’t your typical romance with the happy ending. Rather the ending proved that love does not mean that you end up dancing off into the sunset with your lover. Something that I think is sorely lacking in most young adult contemporary books these days.

The characters, while unlikeable, were well-developed even in this short book. It was just a read that was painful and it made me cry and we all know that any book that makes me cry is a good book in my books (wow that was a mouthful).

The way the book was written (in verse) was also really excellent and enjoyable.

Overall, something that I totally think you should read.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Tips For Staying in

Hey guys! So as you know, I am a huge fan of staying in. If you follow me on my Snapchat or Instagram, you would know that Friday nights for me means turning on a scented candle and curling up with a book.

While I have made significant efforts to get out more lately, deep in my heart, I am a huge fan of nights in and I’m not entirely sorry about it.

So today, I thought I would give you guys three tips for staying in.

1. Buy a scented candle


You can’t do a night in without a scented candle in my opinion so go out to Yankee Candle or your favourite store and buy yourself a scented candle.

Personally I think the autumnal scents are the best for when you’re staying in because they give you that added cosy feeling even if it may be boiling hot outside.

My personal favourites are the Apple Cider and Cinnamon candles from Yankee.

I also strongly suggest investing in a candle warmer. A candle warmer basically warms your candle so that the wax melts without you ever having to light a fire. Perfect for people like me who are scared of fire or who tend to fall asleep with the candle still on.

So you can curl up in bed and not have to worry about burning your house down.

2. Pick a short book

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For me, a night in usually means reading. But you want to feel accomplished because a night spent curled up should always have a nice feeling of accomplishment at the end.

I don’t know. I feel like after time out with a friend, I feel accomplished. Like hey I’ve spent time with this person that I care for and I’ve strengthened our relationship. So the key to a good night in is feeling a similar sense of accomplishment.

So what I like to do is to pick a book that is short. Perhaps something like a poetry book or a novella. And I’ll binge read it and the satisfaction is amazing.

3. Turn off your phone

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Now I’m guilty of this as well but very often, our quiet night in can become something entirely different because of a text you might have gotten or because of something you saw on Instagram. Not to mention the fact that when you start scrolling, you sometimes don’t stop till hours later.

So my advice is to just turn your phone off or keep it in a place that you can’t reach easily.

Don’t let your quiet night be ruined by people on the outside.

So there you have it. Three things that I recommend you do to have the perfect stay in. Remember that it’s okay to say no to an outing sometimes in favour of me time. Me time is extremely important so prioritise it for yourself.

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Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

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Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Goodreads

Publishing Date: 12 Jan 2017

I haven’t done a book review in the longest time so I may be a little rusty. Bear with me.

This was such an odd little book but it was such an incredible adventure that it was impossible to not fall head over heels in love with it.

Plot

So let’s start with the storyline. In this book, we follow Flora, a girl with amnesia. Of course because of her condition, she becomes a highly unreliable narrator. Something that I found very interesting. I love unreliable narrators because then when the twist comes, it’s usually a bigger sucker punch.

So the story follows her as she goes to the Artic in an attempt to find the boy she kissed all while trying to help herself remember where she is, what she’s doing and who she can trust.

A pretty unique and quirky storyline in my opinion.

Characters

Flora

I loved Flora. I thought she was so brave (see what I did there?). No but seriously, for someone who loses everything in a matter of an hour or two, I thought Flora did an excellent job getting herself to the Arctic and hunting down Drake.

I mean personally, I would have been so terrified not knowing what was true and who had my best interests at heart and who didn’t.

But above all, I really liked how resilient she was. I mean here she was, writing everything down. So she knew how long she had spent looking for Drake. However each day, she just got up and went right back out to look for him. Never knowing where she was headed, where he was or what he was doing. She just kept on keeping on.

There was just something so pure and innocent with her that I really enjoyed. It’s impossible to not root for her.

Drake

There are no words for me to tell you how much I hated Drake. I don’t know why exactly but from the very beginning I just felt like something was so off about him.

I mean come on. Any guy that kisses another girl while they have a girlfriend is just screwed up. Not to mention that he does this literally a day before he leaves claiming that she will forget so it doesn’t matter. Like excuse me! It totally matters! You can’t just use someone like that! It’s as good as rape. I mean he was using her!

I don’t know I think I just felt so protective over Flora that knowing that this boy was ultimately going to hurt her just made me hate him.

Paige

I honestly don’t get Paige. I mean okay. She had every right to be angry about Flora kissing her boyfriend and I fully respect her decision to not want to babysit Flora when her parents went to Paris.

But instead of just ditching her, a responsible human being would have told her parents at least that she would not be looking after her.

I mean yeah it was good that she called every day but seriously? How irresponsible can you get?

And I don’t get how they were suddenly BFFs again at the end of the novel. How did Jacob even talk to Paige? I’m confused here!

Overall

I enjoyed this novel immensely. I think especially with YA contemporary novels, you tend to get a lot of the exact same things and formulas. But with this book, there was so much that was different that it made the book really stand out.

I wasn’t pleased with the plot holes and the loose ends that were not tied up properly but I think it was an altogether pretty amazing concept and story.

The charachters, while not all loveable, were very well-developed and I enjoyed learning about them.

If you’re looking for a light read with serious undertones, I strongly recommend picking this up.

*An advanced copy of this book was given to me to read and review by Penguin. All opinions however are my own*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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My 2016 Wrap Up


I’m not going to give you that ‘time flies’ nonsense today. I mean obviously time flew this year but I think I’ve done so much in these last 12 months that if I look back, I can actually account for the time. Anyway, I wanted to wrap up this year by giving you guys a little run down of my year because some memories are worth documenting.

I got my drivers licence

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In January, I finally passed my driving test (after three tries) and I got my driver’s licence. I honestly don’t know how the heck I managed to hypnotise anyone to let me be on the road legally if I’m being honest.

Anyway, in less then a month, I will be taking off the triangle that we are required to stick on our cars in the first year of getting our license and I will be officially off probation.

I won’t lie. Driving has been one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I can drive but I hate it because it terrifies me to no end. As a result of that, my dad has had to literally force me behind the wheel as often as he can so that I will practice.

And while I still do have a very very long way to go, I am making progress. In fact, just last week, I took the car with my brother (who can’t drive yet) and I drove to the airport to pick up my dad who was flying back home from a business trip.

I consider that to be my first solo drive because obviously my brother could not help me if I ran into trouble. This was the first trip I’ve done without another licensed driver in the car and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.

I did my first internship


This year, I did my very first internship. I did six months at Youth.SG and I enjoyed my time so much. I really grew so much in that time and I made so many friends who I still keep in contact with today.

I honestly can’t believe how much my internship shaped me. In a way, I think it forced me to grow up and to face a lot of the things that I’ve always found to be quite terrifying like meeting new people, going to new places and doing new things.

Another awesome thing was the people. As I mentioned, I made so many new friends in my internship and I really feel like we all became a sort of family. In school, I was so used to toxic people that I just expected that from Youth.SG. But instead I found some of the most genuine and loveable people ever and I am so grateful for the six months where I got to feel wanted and important.

I mean everything I did was celebrated while I was at Youth. Yes I got into trouble sometimes (for not keeping to the house style mostly oops) but I felt really valued there. Like what I wrote was important.

In fact, I went back to visit the office a few days ago and everyone was so happy to see me and it made me feel so good.

All I can say is that I am so grateful to Youth.SG and I really owe them a lot.

I covered loads of concerts


Because of my job, I got the opportunity to go for many concerts this year to review them. I saw The Sam Willows at the Music Run, Greyson Chance,  Jay Chou,  Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider, Tiffany Alvord, Gentle Bones, Selena Gomez and Simple Plan. Yup. Looking at that list I really do realise how blessed I’ve been.

I also got to meet and interview Greyson Chance, Charlie Lim and Jai Waetford which was incredible.

I covered loads of events and met loads of people


One of the best things I did this year was to freelance. I wrote for a number of other publications after I left Youth.SG and because of that (and also Youth.SG), I managed to go to a lot of very cool events and openings this year.

This year, I got to cover the Illumi Run, the launch party of the Music Run, the opening of the Friends cafe in Singapore, Singapore Writer’s Festival, the media preview of a new gameshow, media previews of movies and so much more.

These events were so much fun but above that, it really helped me to build my confidence. I can now attend an event and if I’m alone, I don’t really care. Many times, we are sent to cover events alone and because of that, I have been forced to learn how to function on my own. A skill that I previously did not have.

I put out my Working on the Dead series


This year, I pitched a very  adventurous series. If you’ve been following me for a while, you would know that this series was the Working on the Dead series. Essentially this article led me to some very crazy places.

I ended up watching two embalmings, going for a Buddhist encoffining, watching an embalmer clean and place a foetus into a coffin and even following a funeral director and a coffin to the fright terminal to watch them load the coffin into a plane. I talked to so many amazing people in the funeral industry, had some creepy experiances, broke down many times and achieved one of my biggest successes to date. It was epic.

I got two of my articles promoted on social media

One of my proudest achievements this year was that two of the articles I wrote for Youth.SG got promoted on their social media. That means that they paid Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to have my article pop up everywhere. It was really surreal especially when a  friend found one of my articles being promoted on 9Gag.

I experienced my first relationships


Okay here’s where I come clean. The boy that I was all messed up about a little while ago was the second guy. Earlier this year there was another guy who liked me and we went out and texted and that kinda stuff.

Unfortunately I just felt like he and I didn’t really get each other in the way I wanted us to so I ended it with him. Very uneventful in my opinion because I wasn’t even upset which yes, I do feel bad about because I think he actually liked me but yes. It happened.

Anyway, this year I experienced my first brush with relationships. Yes they both ended before they really began but it’s given me a lot of perspective when dealing with guys.

I read 61 books


Last year, I read 114 book. So this year was quite an insane drop to 61 books but also I know that with my internship and my cousin’s wedding, I barely had any time at all so I’m not too disappointed. I’m just glad that I reached my Goodreads goal (even though I had to tweak it here and there along the way).

I went clubbing for the first time


A while ago, I made the decision that before I turned 20, I wanted to go clubbing at least once. That very day, I got an email inviting me to cover the soft opening of Zouk’s new location in Clarke Quay.

So I went with my best friend and she and I had such a good time. We drank and I got so high and we danced and we got hit on a couple of times and I had such an incredible time. Certainly a night I’ll remember (kinda haha) for a long time to come.

The best part was that I got home at 5.30am, had breakfast with my parents and then we went straight to church without sleep because my parents’s rule (really my grandma’s rule) is that you can club till all hours as long as you make it to church still. So that was really fun.

So there you go. My year in a nutshell. Obviously a lot more happened this year but these were some of the highlights. I truly am so happy with how much I grew and learnt this year. You know a lot of good and a lot of bad happened this year but I think I can still very proudly say that this was one of the best years of my life.

I mean ever since I was 10, I’ve been working towards becoming a writer and this year, I finally got to see what it really means to be a journalist and I am so happy with my career choice. I have so much passion for what I do and this year really showed me that I can really do this for the rest of my life.

Emotionally, I grew so much stronger as well. I think getting my heart broken this year was the most devastating thing to happen and I still am feeling the aftershocks. You know every time I see a picture pop up on Instagram or when I see that he’s liked one of my pictures or that he’s watched my snapchat story. There’s always that jolt. But I’ve grown so much stronger for that and it’s only because I’ve grown stronger that I don’t regret him at all. I’m just a really sentimental person.

In some ways though, I think I’ll never love as carelessly again and that is something that I both resent and appreciate. With him being my first real something, I think I threw myself in and I allowed myself to love him with everything I had. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. I think I finally get why people say that once they’ve been hurt, it’s hard to learn to love again. I’ll never let myself be so vulnerable again.

Aside from that, meeting so many people and getting to see such cool things as part of being a journalist was such a huge part of my year. I feel like meeting all these people just opened my eyes to a world that I would have never gotten to see if I didn’t do what I do.

Just this week, I got to see a 16 week old foetus who had died a day before Christmas. I watched an embalmer wash the foetus and place her in a coffin and it was so sad but also so fascinating. I mean who gets to say that they’ve seen that? I am constantly discovering new things about my world and I love it.

2o16 will always be the year that I grew up. It will be the year that I formed some of my closest friendships. It will be the year that I learnt what it means to push yourself to your limit. What it means to be brave. What it means to be kind and gentle in the face of extreme cruelty.What it means to be mature. What it means to carry on even though your world is shattering. 2016 will always be the best year of my life and I hope it was yours as well.

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Cover Reveal: The Talisman Chronicles by T.M. Franklin

T.M. Franklin, author of the best-selling MORE Trilogy and How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You has an exciting new release coming on January 17th – and it doesn’t have only ONE cover – it has SIX!

The Talisman Chronicles is a six-part serial, which will be released every Tuesday from January 17th-February 14th. It builds off the Amazon best-selling short story WINDOW and tells the story of a group of teenagers who find some unusual items in an old chest . . . items that give them incredible powers.

But they receive those gifts for a reason. And one day soon, they’ll need to use them to fight for us all.

Add The Talisman Chronicles to your Goodreads TBR HERE.

Or follow T.M. Franklin on AMAZON to be notified when the books are available.

And if you’d like to join the Talisman Chronicles Release Day Party – with giveaways all day long on January 17th, join the Enchanted Publications Facebook Event page. It’s going to be a blast!

About T.M. Franklin

T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s since written three additional novels and several best-selling short stories…and there’s always more on the way.

Connect with T.M. Franklin

Web Site | Facebook | Amazon | Twitter |Instagram |Pinterest | YouTube

 

20 Things I’ve Learnt at 20

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Hello guys! It’s my 20th birthday today! I can’t believe this is the third birthday that I’ve spent on here. It’s a little strange to know that as this blog grows, I’m also growing. I feel like I’ve managed to clock a lot of pretty major milestones and experiences here and it’s just pretty incredible and special.

So last year, on my birthday, I put up a post called 19 Things I’ve Learnt At 19 and I thought in keeping with that, I would give you guys 20 things that I’ve learnt since I turned 19 a year ago.

1. Office politics is a very real thing. Do whatever it takes to be liked by your boss and you will see many doors open for you.

2. Remember that sometimes, being right is not as important as respecting authority. Your superiors will never like you if you constantly push for what you feel is right and when you disregard them. Remember. They are your superiors for a reason.

3. People will always be jealous of you for some reason or the other. The idea is to ignore them, recognise that you are fantabulous and keep moving on.

4. I know this is said many times, but believe it when I say that real friendships develop when you guys are there for each other during the heartbreaks, the failures and the loss. No strong friendship was ever built on sunshine alone.

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5. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Even though many signs may point to someone wanting to be in a relationship with you, always proceed with caution until you can be absolutely sure.

6. Communication is very important in any relationship and it can really break or make it.

7. Games are for children and if you still insist on playing them as an adult, you will find that people will avoid you like the plague. No one enjoys being with someone who plays games with them and their feelings.

8. No matter what, always treat people the way you would want to be treated. How would you want to be let down? How would you like your best friend to respond when you tell her you’ve been hurt? Treat people as if they were you.

9. Speaking of treating people right, remember also that you will never please everybody so sometimes you need to make the decision to do what’s best for you even if it means that you aren’t very nice to people. You are important as well.

10. Post the pictures that make you smile instead of the ones where you look perfect or the ones which you know will get you loads of likes. Post the blurry picture where you’re laughing weirdly at a joke that was just said because you will look back at that and you will remember and you will be happier then if you had posted that perfectly staged photo.

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11. Nothing amazing will ever be achieved if you are constantly comfortable and constantly doing things by the book. Bend the rules. Push yourself to do things that you may be terrified of or that most people are terrified of. That is what will make you great.

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12. When you’re young, do all the crazy things you want in terms of your career. Make decisions on a whim, dare to do things that are usually not done and say things you shouldn’t say but that people need to hear. If you mess up, this is the only time that you can feign that you did not know the rules and where you can get away with it. If you succeed, you will reap the benefits of that for a very long time to come.

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13. New experiences are important. Try everything even if you think you may not like it. You never know what kind of fun you could discover.

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14. Make plans with people. Sometimes you need to make the effort to keep a friendship from just fizzling out and that’s okay. Do it because friends are very important and you should never be petty about things like this.

15. You’ll never find love when you’re actively looking for it. Take a step back and just live. Love will come.

16. Don’t respond in anger every time. Sometimes you need to pick your battles and know when to let things go even if it’s the hardest thing to do.

17. Having a quiet chat with a friend over food or a drink is as good as therapy. Do it often.

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18. Say yes to as many things as you possibly can because experiences shape you and even though you might feel out of place at an event, you still have that experience and that’s what matters.

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19. If you’re feeling sad, try this: Walk into a Starbucks and order a chocolate chip frappachino with extra java chips, a shot of hazelnut, a shot of mocha and extra whipped cream. This is a Nutella Frapp (a recipe my best friend and I created through trial and error) and it will cure even the worst of days.

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20. Being happy is a conscious decision that you have to make every single moment. You can choose happiness or you can choose to be sad. You can choose to be excited about the prospect of school next week or you can choose to be miserable about it. Make the right choice and life will always work out.

So there you have it. It was a lot more lengthy then last year and that’s because I really learnt so much this year and I’ve really come so far. Honestly this year, I think I grew more then ever. I’m so proud of myself and I truly hope that some of these things helped you out as well. It’s important to me to know that what I put out can impact someone positively.

Here’s to being yet another year older. I look forward to continuing to grow and learn with you. Lots of love as always.

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Excerpt: Gilded Cage by Sherry Ficklin

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Gilded Cage

The Canary Club Novelettes, Book 1
Author: Sherry D. Ficklin
Published: December 1st 2016
Publisher: Spark Serials
Genre: YA/Historical/Romance

The Canary Club series consists of three novelettes which together form a stunning prequel to the full length novel, The Canary Club.

About the book:

 A dazzling story of star-crossed lovers set against the backdrop of gritty prohibition-era New York City and the dangerous gangs who ruled the streets.

Masie, the flaxen-haired daughter of notorious bootlegger Dutch Schultz, returns home from boarding school to find her family in crisis.Her mother is dangerously unstable, her father’s empire is on the brink of ruin, and the boy she once loved has become a ruthless killer for hire. To keep her family’s dangerous secrets Masie is forced into a lie that will change the course of her future–and leave her trapped in a gilded cage of her own making. As she watches her world fall apart, Masie must decide whether to take her place in the hierarchy, or spread her wings, leaving the people she loves, and the life she despises, far behind her.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | GoodReads

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Excerpt:

It’s dark when I finally roll to my feet, wrapping my lavender satin robe around me. I wait until I’ve heard Daddy and JD leave before sneaking from my room and out onto the terrace. Butler has left a plate of pasta for me, covered with a tin lid to keep it warm in the hopes that I might eat. My stomach growls at the scent of garlic and pesto, chipping away at my pathetic attempt at a hunger strike.
Taking my seat I lift the lid and dig in, stopping only long enough to breathe and drain a bottle of red wine. By the time I’ve finished I’m full and sleepy and enjoying the soft tingle of drunkenness as it spreads through me.
Maybe that’s why I don’t hear the front door. I don’t hear the footsteps approaching me from behind. I don’t even hear his breath until I feel the weight of his hands on my shoulders, rubbing in gentle circles. “How you feelin’, Mas?” Vinny asks.
Relaxing back into the chair I look up, unable to keep the sour grin from my face. “Never better.”
Releasing me he steps around the table, helping himself to a seat. “That’s not how I hear it. I hear you lay in bed all day feelin’ sorry for yourself”
“Can you blame me?” I ash harshly, straightening in my chair.
He’s still for a minute, then pulls the fedora off his head and plays with it in his hands. “I’m sorry about your ma, she was a fine lady.”
I snort, the booze in my belly making me bold. “She was a nut job and everyone knew it.” Now he looks up, his thin lips downturned at the edges, “She was good to me.”
Signing I stand, helping myself to the crystal decanters on the tray. “She loved you like her own,” I offer gently as I pour myself a drink. “It’s the only thing she was good at, loving people. Wasn’t great at taking care of them, though.”
She’d tried to take care of Daddy at first. I know she always secretly hoped he’d change his ways, as if her love could make him a better man. But, as much as they may want to, people don’t really change. Time passes, choices are made, but we are who we are in the end.
“Is there anything I can do?” he asks, twisting in his chair to look at me

.
I just hold up my glass, “This seems to be helping.”
Standing, he walks over, taking the glass from my hand and swallows back the contents in one gulp. “Never drink to feel better, Mas. That’s not how the stuff works.” I frown, pushing past him, “Don’t tell me what to do.”
He stops me, grabbing my arm and pulling me toward him until the tip of his crooked nose is touching my forehead, “I’m not gonna let you throw yourself away like she did.”
His words are sharp and they cut like glass.
I shut my eyes against them, against the closeness of him, the heat radiating off his body, the smell of bourbon on his breath. Part of me demanding to push him away, the other part wanting to lose myself in him.
“You left,” he continues, his tone accusatory. “You left so you wouldn’t have to watch—but I watched. I watched the light in her go out. I won’t watch that happen to you, Masie. I can’t. So you’re going to have to be strong. Because we need you. I need you. It’s awful dark here, Mas. We need you to be the light.”
The first tear slips from beneath my closed lids. Maybe it’s the desperation in his voice, or the fact that he’s right, but something in his words strikes me to the core. It’s tempting, far too tempting, to drink the pain away, to let it eat me from the inside out until there’s nothing left to hurt.
But I can’t.
I can’t be like my mother. I won’t.

 

About the Author:

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Sherry is a full-time writer from Colorado and the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best-selling Stolen Empire series. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
Sherry also writes New Adult fiction under the pen name Ranae Glass and appears as a guest speaker at several conventions annually. You can find her at her official website, http://www.sherryficklin.com, or stalk her on her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/sherry.ficklin. She is represented by Nadia Cornier of Firebrand Literary.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s November Book Box

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Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again where Carpe Librum releases yet another one of their amazing book subscription boxes!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a paperback novel and a number of other little bookish goodies.

This time, as a Christmas special, Carpe Librum gave us the option of choosing between two themes (or getting both). The themes were: Happiness & Love Yourself. I got the Love Yourself box because obviously.

Anyway, today, I will be unboxing it and reviewing each item.

1. Holding Up the Universe By Jennifer Niven

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Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Goodreads

Okay I’ll be honest, I read this book and finished it in the week that it was released. But, I read the ebook so I don’t actually have the physical copy and I have been trying to decide if I should just buy the physical copy for the longest time.  So this completely solved that problem for me. I can’t wait to put in my shelf right next to my beloved All The Bright Places.

Also, if you’re wondering, the book is incredible and a review of it will be going up on Youth.SG next month so I’ll certainly link you guys up as soon as it’s out.

2. A Tote Bag

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Do you even know how much I love tote bags? I love them. And this one is so adorable. I won’t lie, I did wish it came in black because black goes with everything but I love it all the same.

And, if you look closely, you’ll see Carpe Librum’s little stamp at the bottom because they actually came up with this themselves. I feel like a proud mama not gonna lie.

3. A Mug

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Ever since Carpe Librum put in a mug in their May book box, I’ve been waiting and waiting for them to put in another mug. I mean I used the last mug religiously every single morning.

So I was so excited to open my box and to find a cute little mug. It’s adorable and my only problem is that now I’m going to have such a hard time figuring out if I should use this mug or the mug from May in the mornings.

*tea not included

4. Six quote cards

This month, we got six little quote cards with a little wooden stand to prop them up on. I really love these cards. Especially the one that says ‘Eat like you love yourself’. I think that was the best and most powerful line out of all the cards. I don’t know I guess a lot of times we need to remind ourselves that we do actually love ourselves and we should treat ourselves like we would someone we love.

I don’t know about you but I would never withhold food from someone I loved. I would never beat someone I loved over the head for a small mistake. So just remember to love yourself. It was such a great reminder.

5. Drink coasters

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I love coasters and I was so excited to see two of these bookish ones in the box this month. However I am concerned about the quality. The coasters were a little sticky like the paint hadn’t dried properly yet and it just doesn’t look very durable. They are gorgeous no doubt but I don’t think they are too functional.

So there you have it. Everything that was in Carpe Librum’s November box. I am honestly so impressed with this month’s selection. I’m so glad that they finally delved into the young adult genre because I’ve personally really been wanting to see that show up in the boxes.

I also really like how Carpe Librum experimented with making their own products this time. They usually do a lot of collaborations but this time, I was very excited to see their own little stamps on some of the items.

If you want to get your hands on the next box, you can visit Carpe Librum’s Facebook page or their Instagram page to find out more.

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Review: What Light by Jay Asher

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Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

Goodreads

For starters, Starbucks has released their Christmas drinks already which basically means that it’s Christmas already so you totally can read this Christmas-y book without feeling weird.

Plot

This is your typical, sugar sweet, cotton candy YA contemporary novel. We follow Sierra, a girl who spends every Christmas at her parent’s Christmas tree farm. She helps out there and while she misses her friends back home, she loves coming to the farm every year and spending Christmas with her Christmas friend, Heather.

This year, Sierra meets Caleb. A boy who many people have warned her away from. But of course, when someone tells you not to do something, you will do it. So yes, they fall in love and they have to battle the odds against them.

Yup. Just your typical YA love story.

Characters

Sierra

The entire book was narrated through Sierra and I’ll be honest, I actually quite liked her. Even though she was placed in a very shallow plot, I found that she thought very maturely and I liked how forgiving and sentimental she was. I’m very sentimental so I totally got her on that level. I also loved how she saw Caleb for more then his mistake. I think everyone (except cheaters) deserve second chances so I appreciated her for doing that for Caleb.

Caleb

I liked Caleb too. The only thing I didn’t get was why he was so badly shunned. I mean what he did wasn’t that bad. And for the whole entire town to suddenly act like he was the devil reincarnated. I just found it a bit excessive.

I mean honestly, it just felt like Jay Asher could not think of something big enough so he took a smaller thing and played it up but it was done so badly that it just failed. Kind of reminded me of why I couldn’t appreciate Thirteen Reasons Why all that much too.

But otherwise, Caleb was literally boyfriend goals. He had such a good heart and he was a really well-developed character.

Overall

Overall I liked the characters in the book. I did. The only thing that ruined it was the simple plot. I mean okay, you guys know I prefer to read fiction books about big social issues so take this with a pinch of salt.

It was a very cute, simple and quick read that is perfect for Christmas. In fact, it really gave me all the Christmas feels. It’s very warm and fuzzy but there really isn’t any substance in the plot.

So if you’re looking for something easy to curl up with while sipping a peppermint mocha this holiday, I would totally recommend this book. If  you’re like me and need to read something that will make you think and change how you look at the world, stay far away from the book because it is very generic and it does follow the typical John Green formula (that I hate).

Instead, you could read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult because we need more books like this especially now that Trump holds the most important job in the world (I won’t ever stop being angry and upset about this).

*A copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. All opinions, however, are my own*

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