Secret Keeper by Jane Alvey Harris: Exclusive Author Q & A

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What if the worst thing isn’t that they don’t believe you?
What if the worst thing is that they just don’t care?

Seventeen year-old Emily has accepted the truth of her past trauma and made peace with her battered egos. She’s won the first battle…barely…but the war in her psyche still rages. The same day Mom is released from rehab and Emily finishes detox, Dad announces he’s ready to be a family again, throwing Emily into panic. Determined to protect her younger brothers and sister from Dad, she gathers the strength to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: speak her Secret.

But it isn’t enough. Nobody will intervene. Emily is more alone and helpless than ever. Her therapist suggests that the key to resolving her crises lies within the mysterious First Realm, where Emily has access to her Fae abilities and where she can find her Champion…the one person with enough power to end the destructive cycle of abuse and help Emily transform from victim to survivor.

Desperate for guidance, Emily returns to the First Realm only to discover the Seven Kingdoms in total chaos. She has just a few days to find her Champion before Dad comes for her. Can she complete her task and return to the Second Realm in time to save her family, or will her dreaded premonition turn out to be true: that she is her own worst enemy?

Goodreads

Published: 20 March 2018

Hello folks! I’m back with a guest today.

Jane Alvey Harris, the author of the award-winning YA fantasy novels, Riven, is here to answer some questions on her latest book in the series, Secret Keeper.

Secret Keeper is the second book in Jane’s ‘My Myth’ fantasy series.

Q & A

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1. Secret Keeper features seventeen-year-old Emily, who we met in Riven, the first novel in the My Myth Trilogy series. Where is Emily when Secret Keeper begins, and what is the catalyst for this part of her journey?

Secret Keeper picks up right where Riven left off. Emily regains consciousness in the grove, surrounded by her siblings and extended family, only she isn’t sure which Realm she is in, the Second or the First?

At the end of Riven, Emily was able to accept her past trauma. But now that her dad is out of prison and ready to be a family again, Emily must once again gather her strength to share her secret in order to keep her siblings safe.

2. In Secret Keeper, Emily finds the strength to tell her family about her experience as an abused child. What is the reaction by the various family members and how are they typical to those in real-life abuse stories? 

Emily has an expectation that sharing her secret with her family will be the most difficult thing she has ever done or will ever do. She is tormented by what she anticipates their responses might be: What if they don’t believe me? What if they think I’m broken? What if they think I’m a threat? What if they think I’m crazy? It’s going to be his word against mine. These kinds of questions are what prevent victims from sharing their stories. Statistics show that you either know someone or are someone who is a survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA):

·      The primary reason that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 73% of victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. Many never disclose. (Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007)

·      Less than 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the police (Browne, A., & Finkelhor, D., 1986),

Emily does share her revelation, 10 years after it occurs. The reaction of her extended family is typical, according to my experience and research, ranging from denial to suspicion, pity to support. But Emily learns it isn’t the reaction of her family she has to fear most, it is their powerlessness to intervene.

3. Like Riven, there are a number of fantastical elements to Secret Keeper, including the imaginary world of the First Realm and its Seven Kingdoms. What role does fantasy play in the storyline of this second novel?

When Emily discovers that her family can’t (or won’t) protect her and her younger siblings from their father, Emily’s therapist, Nancy, encourages her to return to the First Realm in search of a Champion who can. The First Realm acts as a buffered proving ground for Emily, where she can take all of the things she’s learning in therapy, all the input she’s receiving from the outside world, all her hopes, humiliations, wishes, fears, and actively work through them. When there is an external conflict in the Second Realm, Emily enters the First Realm, hoping to find answers and courage. Likewise, when Nancy provides her with theoretical insight into concepts such as consent and empowerment in the Second Realm, Emily is able to turn them into practical knowledge in the First.

4. Emily explores her feelings about body image during an initiation into the Shield Maiden Club with Teagan, Chloe, Twist, and Minali. What role does feminism play in Emily’s journey, and how does it affect her character development in the series?

Feminism plays a huge role in Emily’s journey to empowerment, and as her internal pendulum begins to swings from victim to survivor (and eventually thriver). To me, feminism has more to do with women embracing their individual personal power, and I definitely had an agenda in creating Emily’s feminist awakening. I am all about smashing patriarchal constructs which subjugate women and rob them of their voice or choice. From Emily’s early childhood, she has been indoctrinated both by religion and by her father into believing that the purpose of women is to be an object of pleasure for men – an idea that features heavily in Emily’s own retelling of the history of the Seven Kingdoms. She has also been isolated as a result of her dysfunctional family situation, and is basically afraid of her own shadow at the beginning of Secret Keeper. As Emily interacts with her self-assured female peers and embraces her feminine power, she begins to grow in confidence and in her abilities to take care of herself.

5. What are the main themes in Secret Keeper and how are they different from those explored in Riven?

Riven promotes themes of self-acceptance, self-mercy, and self-love, while exploring the damaging consequences of buried guilt and shame. The plot centers on Emily’s purpose: protecting her brothers and sister.

While Emily’s purpose drives the plot of Secret Keeper as well, Emily’s journey leads to an exploration into the behavioral impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on survivors, including re-victimization and the perpetuation of the abuse cycle. While there are many empowering scenes and messages throughout, the second book in the My Myth Trilogy is admittedly dark and sobering. It does not end in a healthy place for Emily, which is very realistic. In real life, learning to overcome trauma and to thrive while living with PTSD is far from simple. It takes effort, practice, determination, plenty of falling on your face, and ultimately getting back up again.

6. Much of Secret Keeper is based on your own real-life experiences. How does your personal story inform the novel and, more-specifically, Emily’s character? 

Without getting into specifics about my own experiences, I will simply say that Emily has my personality and shares my purpose. Emily’s siblings in the My Myth Trilogy are my children in real life, immortalized at the ages they were when I began writing Riven: 10, 14, and 15. My wonderful real-life therapist, Nancy, is the angel who suggested I write down the scenes in my head as a way of working through them. With her help, I have used EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) and hypnosis to process trauma, rewire internal pathways, and write personal scripts. Many of the scenes in the My Myth Trilogy come from these sessions. While I don’t claim all of Emily’s specific trauma, I will happily claim 100% of her reactions: her anxiety, her growth, her triumphs, and her mistakes. I say happily, because if sharing these books normalizes even one reader by shedding light on these too-often hidden issues, or informs a loved one of someone who struggles with something similar, I will be ecstatic.

7. Are you working on the third novel in the series and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes, I am currently working on Primed, the final book in the My Myth Trilogy. I can tell you that Emily still has a lot to learn and a long way to go on her path to healing. “Prime” is a word that is used (along with “groom”) to describe the process in which a predator gradually gains the trust of an abuse victim. Primed deals with boundaries and triangulation, and will ultimately explore what the process of re-priming might look like. Think “Prime Positive.”

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Review: Freedom Japanese Pack

Hey guys, welcome to 2018! I hope you guys had a great festive period and that the start of your 2018 has been wonderful, productive and full of all the good things life has to offer.

Today I’m going to unboxing and reviewing a Japanese subscription box. This review is long overdue, as the box in question was the December box. But the festive period is always a mental time in my household and then there was the start of school which was crazy. Basically I haven’t had the time to sit down and actually write.

So let’s get into it.

Freedom Japanese Market very kindly reached out to me and asked if they could send me one of their Japanese snack subscription boxes. Being a huge fan of subscription boxes, I immediately said yes.

So this is Freedom Japanese Market’s December snack box. What they do is that they jam pack a box full of an assortment of snacks and candy from Japan and ship it around the world for people to enjoy a taste of authentic Japanese snacks.

The best part? Free. Worldwide. Shipping. Yes. You heard that right. Free shipping. Everywhere.

Each box also comes with a content list that explains what each snack is as well as provides little anecdotes about Japan during each season. So you never have to worry about having no idea what you’re eating.

I however, somehow managed to lose this piece of paper so I only have some of the names. I’ll try to describe them as best as I can though.

Now that you know that, let’s get unboxing!

1. An Origami Bunny

Each Freedom Japanese Market box comes with an origami animal. I believe it differs each month or perhaps with each box. Regardless, I got a cute little rabbit. I really loved this touch because it felt so personal.

If I’m not wrong, Freedom Japanese Market is run entirely by a family and this origami animal really just makes you feel cosy and like there’s a real human behind the boxes. I mean, in this world of massive businesses and factories, supporting family-run business who do things by hand is so important.

2. Mugi Chocolate

I’m not entirely sure if the name is correct for this one. I’m going with what was on the packet.

So this is tiny packet of chocolates. They tasted and looked a little bit like coffee beans which was very interesting. I’ve definitely never tasted chocolate like this before.

What I don’t like though is the aftertaste. It left a rather bitter aftertaste which was quite gross.

3. Bubblish Ramune Candy

This was quite a basic but fun one. It’s basically bubblegum flavoured pop candy. So they come in little tablets and you pop them in your mouth and they start to fizzle.

It was quite enjoyable if I’m being honest.

4. Christmas Umaibo

I was very excited to try these Umaibos because I think they were the biggest mystery in the entire box. I had no idea what to expect with this.

So if I’m not wrong, there was one that was Christmas themed and another that was the original flavour.

So basically these are chocolate sticks with a wafer of sorts inside them.

They honestly tasted heavenly and it was by far my favourite in the entire box. I only wish there were more of these because I was obsessed.

5. Sanrio Gum

I was very surprised that this made it into Singapore honestly. So these are chewing gum pieces. Pretty basic. Nothing noteworthy except the cute packaging.

However, gum is banned in Singapore. You can’t buy it here and if I’m not wrong, it’s illegal to bring it in. So I was very surprised that they made it because I thought they checked envelopes and parcels before they got in.

Regardless, I was excited to see them and to enjoy them.

6. Candy Balls

This is another name I’ve not been able to get so I improvised. Basically they are choking hazards in a container. Even me, as a 21 year old, saw these candy balls and immediately worried about the choking hazard. What more a young child. I was very surprised that they were being sold as candy.

However that aside, it was a nice treat. Small, so the sweet taste is more intense. I would have really liked it to be honest but I have a fear of choking (brought on by almost choking on vitamins when I was 10) so this was not very pleasant.

Also, I’m not sure but I think the top doubles up as a whistle. Again, I’m not entirely sure so I could be looking really dumb right now but I thought it was a whistle and I thought it was fun to play with.

7. Curry Arare

If I could have these as a replacement to normal chips, I totally world.

These are fun shaped, colourful chips that taste like Japanese curry. They are literally bursting with flavour and each chip is equally spicy, flavourful and just delicious. I am obsessed and I need more immediately.

8. Candy Floss

This was probably the most strange thing in the entire box. It was basically a rock hard square of white that was supposed to be candy floss.

When you put it in your mouth, it melts down incredibly fast and gives you the feeling of just having eaten candy floss.

Now I’m not a huge fan of candy floss. It’s fun to look at but way too sweet and sticky. This was convenient in that it was not sticky and hard to manage but it was sickly sweet. It basically felt like putting a spoon of processed and plasticity sugar into your mouth.

As someone who hates things that are overly sweet, I really didn’t like it very much.

9. Spicy, Green Chips

I LOVE CHIPS. I LOVE SPICY THINGS. I LOVE THIS PRODUCT.

And I really loved the packaging. Like I loved how I could just pull out the little plastic container thingy and get my chips. Loved it!

Though we can get this product in Singapore. I’ve seen it in some Japanese stores here as well as Cold Storage.

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I don’t actually like strawberry flavoured things (though I do love strawberries) so this product was a bit of a miss for me.

So this is basically a cookie that to me, tasted a bit like a strong strawberry cheesecake. It was slightly soft. It was edible but I personally didn’t like it too much.

Popcorn

I love popcorn and this was actually my first time eating it out of a bag like this.  It was very delicious.

So basically, it’s tomato flavoured and it tasted amazing. Each piece was just filled with flavour. I was so surprised actually at how flavourful it was.

Marshmallow

I’m very sad about this one because it was my favourite product in the whole box and I was the most excited about it. I did take some cute pictures but I can’t find them for some reason. I have no idea what happened.

But this was basically a very long, twisty marshmallow. Nothing notable or uniquely Japanese but just your classic marshmallow.

I loved it even though it was super sugary.

So there you have it. Freedom Japanese Market’s subscription box. I honestly love this product so much. It’s such a fun idea to have mystery food delivered to you and it’s great if you want to try some new snacks out.

Probably the only issue that I had with it was that everything was very sweet. So you really can’t get this if you’re trying to even be the slightest bit healthy.

Also, if you’re in Singapore, you can get a lot of these products here so the novelty is somewhat lost there. I’d personally have loved so see a box with truly authentic Japanese snacks that are maybe not so easily found. However I get that this can be difficult especially considering that they ship international.

Regardless, it was an overall great product that I would totally repurchase. I just love subscription boxes so I’d really love anything you put in one.

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21 Things I’ve Learnt At 21

Hey guys! It’s my birthday! I’m officially 21! I feel old. And very adult-like. I don’t know. It’s weird.

Anyway, I know I haven’t really been very regular with blogging anymore. Life and school has become very overwhelming. However, I really wanted to sit down and write a post that I’ve been writing for the last three years on my birthday (this year will be my fourth birthday on the blog!). I wanted to give you guys 21 things I’ve learnt at 21.

  1. Some fights are not worth dragging out. Don’t hold on to your anger.
  2. Let the little things go. Pick your battles.
  3. Blessings come in many shapes, forms and sizes. Pay attention.
  4. Make rash decisions. You don’t always need a pro con list.
  5. Sometimes your dreams come true unexpectedly and sometimes they are not what you expected them to be. That’s okay. Move on. Find new dreams. Make new goals.
  6. Decluttering does absolute wonders for your mental health.
  7. Relationships are hard work and they require a lot of give and take.
  8. Your ego really means nothing. You lose nothing by laying your ego down. In fact, you simply gain respect.
  9. In a relationship, there are two people and the feelings and thoughts of both people are equally valid and important.
  10. Never go to bed angry. Just don’t do it. Talk it out always.
  11. There is greater value in reading for quality rather than quantity
  12. Taking a step back from your school work to give yourself a mental break does not mean that you will fail.
  13. Money can be earned back but certain milestones and experiences only come once. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself.
  14. Be on time for things. Don’t be super early for everything. Use the extra time for other things. Life is not all about sitting around waiting for other people.
  15. If you procrastinate, you waste time that you could’ve spent on something more important.
  16. Choose your family over your career. Always. Being number one in your job isn’t as important as meaningful connections with the people who matter the most.
  17. Pick a job which doesn’t require constant overtime or weekends away. And if you can’t avoid it, then make sure that company compensates you with time off or overtime pay. Time off is very important because time off is time for yourself and your loved ones.
  18. Don’t sweep issues under the rug. Take them out and talk about it and work it out.
  19. Doubt will kill even the best of things.
  20. Trust your heart. It often knows what it’s doing.
  21. Go out. Explore the world. Don’t stay cooped up in a comfortable bubble. Experience life.

So there you have it. 21 things I’ve learnt in the last year. I’m so excited for the rest of the day. I will be having a brunch party  today and in the evening, I have a dinner party. I can’t wait to see what 21 will bring.

Lots of love and merry Christmas!

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Singapore’s Largest Book Event: BookFest@Singapore 2017 + Tips to Survive a BookFest

Hey guys! If you live in Singapore, take note.

Popular’s BookFest@Singapore 2017 has returned to Suntec Convention Centre from 15 – 24 December 2017!

Sprawling a massive conventional hall, readers can expect a whole host of events, products and bargains. From IT gadgets to books and stuffed whales (I found one and carried it with me during the entire 2.5 hours I spent there. I also named him Billy), this fair, truly has everything.  Whether you are a book lover, tech junkie, music fanatic, bargain hunter or otherwise, this 10-day event will be a one-stop extravaganza.

Trust me, when I was there yesterday, I was blown away by the variety. There was every single book you could ever want. Any candy, assessment book and gadget. There was even a pop-up cafe!

The biggest highlight for literary fans every year is naturally the renowned POPULAR
Readers’ Choice Awards 2017. This will be returning to BookFest for its 6th edition this year.

With a reader- voting system, it is the voice of the public and a huge reflection of the books that made their mark.

30 local works will be vying for the top 3 places in each of the three categories – English (Adult), English (Children), and Chinese.

Additionally, the “Citibank Book Cover Award” will also be presented to the publisher
with the best cover design, based on the use of graphics, creativity and visual impact.

While you’re there, don’t miss the first-ever Gadgets & IT Show housed in BookFest,
where you can get a sneak peek of the hottest and latest technology. From portable chargers to robot vacuums, there’s really something for everyone. Even me, who doesn’t really bother with gadgets of that calibre, found stuff that proved interesting.

And of course, the most important part of BookFest, the crazy deals! The Crazy Auction will be held on 4 different days at BookFest. With Gadgets & IT products with a starting bid as low as $1, gear yourself up to snag some delightful deals.

There are also books going for 3 for $12 or 3 books for the price of 2. For all you hardcore readers out there, nows the time to spend and not feel guilty! Yay!

So if you live in Singapore and have the time, I totally recommend going down.

Also, considering that I went yesterday, I thought I’d give you guys some tips on how to have the best BookFest@Singapore 2017 experience.

1. Go early and avoid peak periods

My best advice is to go early. As in, the second it opens early. When we were there, the crowds were already massive and there were queues to enter the venue. Mind you, it was a Friday morning at about 10am. So you can only imagine what the weekends would be like. So avoid the weekends or peak periods and always go early so you don’t have to waste time waiting in a queue

2. Go alone

Okay this sounds mean but it’s really not. I always feel that book sales or even just book browsing requires one to be alone with themselves and perhaps some music. So either go alone so that you can enjoy every section at your own pace and comfort, or bring someone who is equally passionate about giving all the books their undivided attention and who will be okay with letting you do your thing while they do theirs.

3. Make use of the trollies and baskets provided

Popular has very kindly provided loads of baskets on wheels and trollies to carry your books and gadgets and stationary in. Make use of them. Your stuff will be heavy.

4. Wear comfortable clothes

I cannot emphasis this enough. Wear good walking shoes and comfortable clothes because you will be walking and standing a lot. Additionally, try to eat before you come or have a bite at the pop-up cafe. This is so that your book experience isn’t interrupted by anything at all.

So there you have it. This year’s bookfest. I’m so excited about the selection and I can’t wait to hopefully go back for more.

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Popular’s Reader’s Choice Awards + Review: The Commuting Reader: Here Now There After

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The Commuting Reader is a series of four books of local literature, one in each of Singapore’s four official languages. The books are anthologies of original, creative content; comprising stories, poetry and comics by many of Singapore’s most vibrant and talented literary artists.

All of the works featured in the four books were specially commissioned and the collections feature pieces by the likes of Troy Chin, Neil Humphreys, O Thiam Chin, You Jin, Chia Joo Ming, Isa Kamari, and many more. The books are heavily design-accented, with beautiful cover designs, plentiful illustrations, and even a removable, fully illustrated ‘Literary Landmarks’ map of Singapore.

Uniquely, the books come with an enclosed NETS FlashPay card, inclusive of $5.00 of pre-loaded credit. This allows readers to use the book as a ‘ticket book’ during their daily commute, encouraging the enjoyment of local literature while on the go.

The publication of these books is part of the wider initiative, ‘Buy Local, Read our World’, led by the National Arts Council and the National Book Development Council to promote the appreciation of Singapore literature among the general public, especially the younger generation.

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Popular’s Reader’s Choice Awards are back for yet another year and this year, their selection is incredible. They have a whole line up of local novels specially curated for the awards.

This year, Popular reached out and asked if I would review one of the titles and of course I said yes.

So here’s my review of The Commuting Reader which is from the English (Adult) category. Bear with me if my reviewing skills are not up to par. I haven’t reviewed a single book in ages.

The Commuting Reader

The Commuting reader is an anthology of  short stories, poems and comics all centred around a central theme of traveling. The book challenges our travelling habits and forces us as commuters to face up to the collective habits that we have developed.

The Poems

The collection of poems that peppered the pages of this book were probably my least favourite part of the book. I just felt like I couldn’t connect with the poems and most of them just seemed irrelevant. There were a couple that were nice as poems on their own. However, as a contribution to an anthology with a specific theme, they seemed to miss the mark.

The Prose

My favourite part of this book were the prose pieces. I loved each one but my favourite two were A Heart The Size Of An Armchair and Drunk and Orderly on The MRT.

A Heart The Size Of An Armchair

This is a story about a woman who gets called in to help cut up and preserve the skeleton of a sperm whale which has washed up dead along one of Singapore’s beaches. This is an event that actually happened a couple of years ago so I thought it was pretty cool to see this in the book. I also really loved how the author weaved in transport into the story. You really wouldn’t expect a story about a beached whale to have such strong elements of transport in it but there you go.

Drunk and Orderly on The MRT

This was my absolute favourite because of how the author confronted societal issues. So this story is basically about a drunk man on a train. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you any more but basically the drunk man puts a spotlight on our habits as commuters. As a social media generation. It’s incredible. You just have to read it to see.

The Comics

The comics were very interesting breaks in the story. I particularly enjoyed Herbal Tea. I thought it was really cute and sad. Even though the story felt pointless, it was quite nice to just be in it. White Rat, which was a comic on the war, was also gorgeously done. I was so blown away.

Readers’ Choice Award (RCA)

In an effort to support local talents, POPULAR came up with this campaign to recognize local authors. With three categories to choose from – English (Adult), Chinese and Children – readers of all ages will be able to vote for their favourite title. Voting ends 5 November 2017 and the winners will be announced on 16 December 2017 at BookFest@Singapore 2017.

RCA Voting Link: http://www.bookfestsingapore.com/readerschoice/

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Review: Moonrise By Sarah Crossan

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Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.

But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think …

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

Goodreads

Published on: 7 September 2017

I have strong views on the death penalty. I personally don’t believe in its value. I firmly believe that the state should not play God and decide that someone should be sentenced to die for their crimes.

I believe in jailing a person and giving them the chance to learn and reflect and become a better person. To me, the death penalty serves no purpose except to torment the families of criminals. Realistically, how does death punish a person? It’s over for them very quickly. But it’s their families who have to suffer with the grief.

Reading this book unsettled me quite a bit. It made me think a lot about what we value as a society and how we treat people who have committed crimes and even people who have not.

So let’s break this book down.

It was written in verse

In typical Sarah Crossan style, this book was written entirely in verse. I completely adored it. I’ve always loved Crossan’s books because of her simple way of telling a story in such a powerful and poetic way.

You really don’t need a lot of words to make a person feel something.

It was heartbreaking

The book follows the Joe and his family as they deal with the fact that their brother is heading straight for the gallows. He has been in jail for a long time and every single appeal has failed them.

As you can probably imagine, that is extremely difficult to bear witness to. It’s like watching a car crash happen in slow motion. You know what’s going to happen but you’re powerless to stop it.

I hated it but I also loved it. It was a beautiful sort of torment.

The characters were well-developed

What was interesting about this book was the fact that even though it was very short, we still got to see the characters in a very three dimensional way. I felt like I could really see Joe for who he was. does through this moral dilemma. We see him struggle against his heart and his head and it’s a gorgeous kind of struggle. The type that most people will understand but will not be able to relate to.

It was short but impactful

There’s not much to say about this book because the fact was that it was very short and it was also just very good in a way that is almost incontestable. At least to me. You guys know that when a book makes me cry, it has also basically stolen my heart.

It was certainly one of those very necessary books in the YA department. I enjoyed seeing such a highly debated topic in a book like this and I think Crossan looked at it in a very brave angle.

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

My-Rating-5-Stars

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SG Book Deals: Books Box Sale 2017

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Hey guys! Guess what! SG Book Deals’s Books Box Sale is back for another year!

This is the third year that they are holding this glorious book sale and if you live in Singapore or will be in Singapore between the 4th to the 13th of August, you should check it out because this is the book sales of all book sales.

What will happen is that you will be given a huge box. You will then be able to pack in as many books as you possibly can. Once you’re done, you just go up to the counter and pay $50 for your giant box of books and you’re done.

How many books you take home completely depends on your packing skills and the size of the books you pick.

I remember I took home so many books last year that I couldn’t even count them.

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Books Box Sale 2017 (Public Sale)

Date: 4-13 Aug 2017

Mon-Fri: 1pm-6pm

Sat, Sun, PH: 10am-6pm

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Free Books for Students:

This year, in an attempt to get people into the habit of reading, SG Book Deals is giving away 100 books per day to students. You can get one book per student and it can be redeemed using your student pass.

Book Genres You Can Get:

  • Adult Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Baby Toddler
  • Early readers for children
  • Intermediate readers for children
  • Activity/Novelty books for children
  • NonFiction
  • Selfimprovement
  • Business
  • Health Wellness
  • Parenting
  • Crafts Hobbies
  • National Geographic
  • Cookbooks
  • History
  •  Music
  • Academic
  • Christian

For more information, you can visit their socials here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SGBookDeals
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sgbookdeals

I will be down for the sale and I hope to see you guys there!

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Guest Post: Putting the Readers Back in Charge of Publishing

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Imagine a YA publishing process without gatekeepers.  One where editors and agents read the manuscripts that readers love, not vice versa.  One where anyone with a knack for writing, a passion to succeed, and a little flair for self-promotion, has a fair shot at being published.

All too frequently, this isn’t the case.  Books often get rejected for reasons beyond authors’ control.  One editor turned down an ultimately successful book by saying, “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”  The book in question?  The Diary of Anne Frank.  Furthermore, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only about 10% of all YA books accepted for publication feature “multi-cultural content.”  Clearly, there are some blind spots that need addressing in the publishing industry.

It’s with this vision in mind that Publishizer is launching its YA book proposal contest called Plot Without a Cause.  Publishizer is a startup seeking to fill a hole in the publishing industry through crowdfunding.  It works like this:

You write the book proposal.  You know the book proposal I’m talking about.  The one you’ve been daydreaming about for years.  The one that just popped into your head last week and you haven’t stopped thinking about since.  The one for the manuscript that’s been dearly loved by you but maybe not so much yet by the publishing industry.  That one.  Then you register (for free!) on Publishizer’s website and post your proposal in the Plot Without a Cause section (again—for free!).

Now this is when you’ll have to start hustling.  Crowdfunding runs on pre-orders, so you had better start promoting that proposal.  Reach out over social media, post on your blog, email your old roommates—whatever it takes to start building buzz.  If you get the most preorders by the time the contest ends, you’ll win $1000 dollars.  And if you don’t have the highest number of preorders, don’t worry—you’ll still be queried to major publishers who fit your proposal.

Previous Publishizer contest participants have gotten interest and landed deals with a variety of traditional publishing companies, including Harvard Square Books, She Writes Press, and Weiser.  Publishizer takes a small commission on pre-orders when you choose a publisher at the end.

Every year, thousands of books are rejected by the publishing world for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the book—they’re too mainstream or not mainstream enough, too similar to books already being published or too different from books already being published.  Or the literary agent just doesn’t stand to make much money on the deal so they pass on a perfectly good book!  Imagine how many brilliant YA manuscripts go unpublished every year thanks to frustrating rejections.  Imagine how many hugely talented authors quietly give up on their dreams, just because the gate to a traditional publishing path isn’t open to them.

With their new YA book proposal contest, Plot Without a Cause, Publishizer is seeking to level the playing field.  Publishing decisions shouldn’t be based solely on a literary agent’s judgement or how many friends you have in the industry. They should be based on quality of writing and how many readers the book attracts.

Great books get overlooked all the time, and this is an opportunity to show acquiring editors that yours is worth paying attention to.  Not to mention the readership and funds you could gain in the process.  Crowdfunding (or crowd-publishing, in this case) is growing in popularity and brings a personal touch back to book sales—for readers and publishers.  Are you in?

Review: The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Goodreads

Published: 7th March 2017

Okay I really didn’t expect to have to do this but I’m doing it.

I read ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe‘ maybe a year or two ago and while I wasn’t utterly blown away by it, I did enjoy it. So when I received this ARC, I had high expectations. However, it didn’t entirely deliver. Here’s why:

Pros

Very real

The book was very real. The problems faced were realistic and the way the characters handed their issues was real as well.

This was obviously pretty great considering how very few books nowadays have that element of true realism in them. Like I could imagine them stepping out of the pages and living an actual life.

It did make me cry

Despite all the flaws of this book that I will outline in a bit, it did make me cry which is not always easy to do. There were parts that I teared up at and of course, the ending really killed me.

Actually, the ending was the only part of the book that was really interesting. It was heartwarming and I actually think it was only the last 100 pages or so that earned it one more star.

Cons

Too real

I am so fussy aren’t I? Yes, while it was good that it was real, it was also too real for me. I read a book because I want some sort of escape. I don’t read a book to see real life just plastered on a couple of pages.

Everything was real but felt stilted when you put it on a page. Like yes, this is the way a normal dad would react to situation A, but when you write about it, it just looks pretentious. Do you get my drift?

Too long

The book was way too long. Absolutely too long. At 452 pages, this book could have been halved and would have still delivered the intended message and impact. Actually there was no impact anyway.

Nothing happened

I feel like there was no climax at all in the book. It was just one big long line of normal. The whole book is about life and living but did I really get into a book to read about normal people living their dead ass boring normal lives?

Where was the action? Where was the big exciting event? It was so boring!

I mean, the blurb lines up this fantastic read about discovering yourself but the reality of the novel is that nothing happens at all.

Unrealistically perfect

The dad and the kids were just too perfect. Like no one is that perfect. How did the dad not have one single blow up? Or like, how did he not react badly to something at least once?

The writing style

Now, the absolute worst thing a writer could do. Repetitive and stilted writing. Sentences were jarring and everything was just said over and over. This adds on to my point about it being too long by the way.

Overall

Overall, it was a book that kept me reading till the end but I’ll be honest, I only really kept reading because I had to review it.

It was way too real and long. The characters just felt too much like a real, well-adjusted human and I couldn’t take it.

There was zero action. It was just a flat line of boring with zero storyline (especially for a book that stands at 452 pages jeez).

In fact, the only redeeming quality was that it was heartwarming and that it made me cry.

This is certainly not a book that I would recommend.

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

My-Rating-2-Stars

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Product Review + Exclusive Discount: Maccessories MacBook Skins


Hi guys! Happy Friday!

Last week, I finally got my new MacBook Pro. I’ve had my old MacBook for about five years and it was getting very slow. So I decided to upgrade before I started university.

Of course, me being me, I had to deck out my laptop in some cool gear to personalise it. My old MacBook had a pink hard case and stickers. However, I was determined to make sure that this Mac looked like something a university student should be carrying.

I knew that I wanted something with a marble sort of design. Marble is very in right now and it looks gorgeous as well as professional. I also needed something that would protect my computer considering that I would be putting it in a bag every day and using it in class and in my dorm room. I am really not the gentlest of people with my things.

During my hunt for the perfect way to decorate as well as protect my MacBook, I got an email from Maccessories letting me know that they had a whole new set of skins for MacBooks. They invited me to check them out.

When I got on their site, I was blown away by the number of choices I had in front of me. They have so many designs to choose from. I struggled so hard to pick one guys. I’m not even kidding.

If you are searching for a unique way to deck out your Mac, this is completely where you should go.

What I Thought Of It

I put the skin on my laptop immediately after receiving it and I have to say, it was the easiest thing to do.

I am the clumsiest person ever and I can usually never get these things right without leaving at least five bubbles but for some reason, this just ended up sliding on perfectly.

Now one of my biggest concerns with moving from a hard case to a skin was the fact that I was worried it would not protect my computer as well as a proper snap on case.

Admittedly, the skin does not protect the bottom of my laptop and if I were to hit it against something accidentally, I’m pretty sure my laptop will still get dented. But, it does protect against scratches and dirt which is perfect for me and how I will be using my Mac.

I’m not totally secure in how safe it is just yet but so far, my laptop has been very safe and scratch free. Not to mention gorgeous and light.

Another perk of switching over to a skin is how light it is compared to a hard case. I really enjoy knowing that my computer is protected but that I don’t need to lug around a laptop that is twice its weight simply because of a case.

Finally, the shipping was lighting quick. I was so surprised when I saw it in my mailbox just a couple of days later. Usually things take about one to two weeks to get to Singapore so this was an incredible feat in itself.

Overall, while I’m not entirely sold on how well this skin will help me should I drop my laptop, I am very pleased with how well it has managed to avoid scratches. It’s kept my Mac looking amazing and I am very excited to be carrying it around campus in a couple of weeks.

Exclusive Discount

And now comes the fun part. The part where you get perks for simply being one of my readers (and making it to the end of this).

Maccessories is giving you guys a 15% discount! All you have to do is enter the code 23pages when you checkout an item. Yes, you’re welcome.

*The product was sent over to me for free. However, all opinions are my own.*

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