March Wrap Up

Hi guys!

It’s that time of the month again where I tell you how many books I’ve read and give you a brief summary of how I felt about each one. Yay!

So let’s jump right in.

1. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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I feel like I’ve raved about this book ten trillion times already which is funny because I probably have. Actually that’s not very funny at all. Never mind.

Anyway, I absolutely loved this book and I thought that it was a beautiful book that told of a tragedy that was so real but that so few people remember or even know about.

I did a full review of this wonderful masterpiece and you can check it out here.

5stars

2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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This book was the Rainbow book club’s book of the month for March and it was chosen by Kat.

When I first started it, I honestly didn’t like it. It felt so unrealistic and predictable. I mean romance novels just don’t seem to have any creativity anymore. It’s so formulaic that it just ends up being annoying.

However thankfully, the book started to look up after a bit and the story took some very nice twists and turns which I enjoyed. It lost the final star because of it’s predictability but otherwise, I really enjoyed it.

4stars

3. A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

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When I was younger, I read a lot. Almost as much as I do now but probably more because children’s books are much shorter. Anyway, only a handful of books have managed to stay in my mind and some of these are the 13 books from A Series of Unfortunate Events (ASOUE). I remember that I got most of the books from the library and because of that, I ended up reading the books out of order. I did read all 13 books. But they were not rightly ordered. Now usually this would not bother me considering how long ago it was. But ASOUE was just so special to me that I couldn’t let it go.

So last week, I got the whole series on audio from my library and I’ve been listening to them on the way to work everyday.

I have to say that the books are just as good as I remember them to be. They are a little formulaic and the logic is sometimes infuriating as is common with children’s books but the whole experience is just magical. The audio books actually feature different voices for each character, background music and sound effects which just make the whole thing that much more immersive.

Not to mention that now that I’m older, I see a lot more of how Lemony Snicket tries to subtly inject such positive messages for children. Like how gender roles should not determine what you do in life or how being smart is fine and not something to laugh about.

I’m just really enjoying it and I implore you to go reread or listen to the books  again or for the first time if you have not.

5stars

4. A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

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I find it hard to give any of the ASOUE books anything less then a five stars because they were my childhood. So just know that my secret rating is 4 stars because of Mr Poe.

I hated Mr Poe I mean for such an intelligent and moral series of books, it makes no sense why Lemony would include such a dense and silly charachter. I couldn’t stand him.

5stars

5. Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

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This was a powerful book that touched on cheating and how the decisions of our parents can drastically affect us.

I was deeply moved by this novel especially because I saw a lot of myself in Sam and Hadley.

A full review of this book will be out really soon so hang tight.

4stars

So that’s all I managed to read this month. Even though it wasn’t my goal of eight books, I’m glad that my reading pace has been slowly increasing despite the changes in my life. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal when I do my April wrap up.

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Update On My Internship

Hi guys! So two weeks ago, I started my internship at Youth.SG. It’s honestly been a crazy two weeks and I thought that I would give you guys an update on how it’s going and what I’ve been doing because a lot of you actually were asking me about it on Twitter (which was very sweet of you all).

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So firstly, let me clear up one thing that a lot of you seemed very confused about. I didn’t find this internship myself. I do Mass Communications in Polytechnic which is a three year thing that will leave you with a diploma. So in our third year, we do a six month long internship. Some schools only have three months or less. Ours is six.

So we pick the general field that we want to be in (I picked journalism) and the school will pair you with a company based on what they have observed about your personality and attitude and then you will go for an interview and everything.

Now that is out of the way, let me tell you all about it.

So the very first day, my dad dropped me at work and I was so panicky that I actually got there two hours before I had to. I work at a building called The Red Box and it’s in Orchard road which is the shopping district in our country.

I start work at 9.30am and end at 6pm and I get a two hour lunch everyday. It’s a very comfortable time because I only take 40 minutes to get to work so I can actually sleep till 7am which is perfect for me.

As for the work, I love it. My main job there is to write which is what I do best. I pitch ideas, I attend events and concerts and I write about them. I write all day and I’ve never been happier.


Last week I attended the launch party of the Music Run at W Singapore which was amazing and there was free flow wine and heated toilet seats (yes. I know. It was fancy af). Then I attended the media only design trail on Saturday which was tiring but still fun and I got a good article out of it. I got to meet a food photographer, visit a letterpress house and learn about flowers or something.


This week was only a four day week because of Good Friday but it was a very busy one. I published three articles. One of which was a political piece. It was a dangerous piece to do considering the political climate in Singapore but my editors and office gave me the green light and were actually quite happy with the article so that was good. You can read them here:

  1. In Case You Missed It
  2. The Four Types Of Politicians We Saw At The Singapore Budget 2016
  3. Five Types of People You See On Snapchat

I’ve got a whole lot of articles scheduled to go up this week on Youth.SG so you can check that out and sign up or favourite the page or whatever it is you want to do. Quite frankly I’ll just be glad if you checked out one or two of my posts.

As for my colleagues, I am honestly so happy with the people I’m working with. Everyone is so nice and friendly and ready to lend a hand to help or teach. I love the people I’m working with. They are all such special little snowflakes.

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I’ve got an exciting week coming up. I’m actually going to be getting to interview the Blue Man Group and then watch a media only showing of their performance in Marina Bay Sands which I literally can’t wait for.

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So that’s all the good stuff and you’re probably wondering if there’s anything that I don’t like about my job. There actually is. Firstly, food is so freaking expensive! Orchard road is a very uptown kind of place and so everything is sadly very pricy. My lunches are usually between $6.90 to $10 and that kind of sucks.

Secondly, we don’t have a bathroom on the level my office is in which sucks for me and my tiny bladder.

Thirdly (is that a word?), our work laptops are all Windows ones. As someone who has been using Apple for absolutely eons, this is a very difficult thing for me to adjust to. But I mean I don’t have an option so that’s okay I suppose.

Other then these miniscule problems, I absolutely love my job and the people I work with. I honestly can’t wait to do this for the rest of my life.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who asked about how my job was going and who encouraged me when I was feeling really nervous.

Now I’m going to read because I have to put up a March wrap up on Friday and my current total for March is 3 miserable books.

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s Magic Box

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Hey guys! So a little while ago, I found out that there was a couple of wonderful ladies in Singapore who had decided that they, like the rest of us on this island, were tired of seeing other countries have amazing book subscription boxes while we had to either pay exorbitant shipping prices or simply have no way of getting it because international shipping wasn’t an option.

So unlike the rest of us, these women decided to do something about it and thus, the wonderful Carpe Librum was formed.

Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping) and comes with a paperback novel and about five other little bookish goodies.

Last week, my box was delivered and today I’m going to be unboxing it for you. I decided to wait a week mainly because I know some people didn’t get their boxes last week and I didn’t want to be the one to spoil it so I’m really excited to be finally getting to do it.

This month, their theme is ‘Magic’ and everything in it was related to that theme (of course). So here’s what the box looked like in all it’s glory. It came with blue ruffly truffly paper which I thought was super cute and of course, each box had our names printed on the top in beautiful writing which was such a wonderful touch.

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realise that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

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I have actually never heard of this book before which was completely fine by me because I love finding new books and reading stuff that I might never have picked up if it wasn’t quite literally shoved into my hands.

I will be getting to this book as soon as I can and I will do a full review on it when I’m done.

This is a Snape stamp that was made specially by Baisimu for this box. It was added into the mix in memory of Alan Rickman and I absolutely love it. It comes with a little ink pad and it’s such a cute little stamp. My only problem is that I don’t really know when I’m going to get a chance to use it because I’m not a very arts and craft kind of person.

This was probably my favourite thing in the whole box. It’s a little bracelet with a charm that has a crescent moon and a fairy sitting on it. It is honestly just so gorgeous and you can literally wear it with anything. My only issue is that I have tiny wrists and this bracelet is huge on me. A clasp so we could adjust the size might have been better but I really don’t mind too much. It’s just too gorgeous.

In the box, there were two cards with quotes on them. They were both designed by Doodle It Write and I thought that they were so adorable. I have put both of them on my bookshelves and I adore how much it brightens it up.

This was probably my least favourite item in the whole box. It’s a little button with a quote by Albus Dumbledore on it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the quote. I just didn’t like how the button was designed. The background makes the words hard to read and the whole thing just looks a bit crowded. That said though, I’ve put it on my shelves. It’s right on top of my Harry Potter books and it looks pretty good there.

Overall I absolutely loved the box. Everything was just so on point and wonderful. I will certainly be getting the next box which a little birdy told me is going to be announced really soon. I simply can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

If you’re a book lover in Singapore, please please please do support them. They are such lovely people and they really are so accommodating and efficient. Also we need to support the bookish culture in Singapore. Everyone of us knows that Singapore isn’t as good as it should be when it comes to all things book related and so we really need to band together to support the little that we have.

To find out more about them or to purchase a box, you can visit them on their Instagram page which is @carpelibrumsg or their Facebook at Carpe Librum SG.

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Everything and a Happy Ending by Tia Shurina

A memoir about 3 interconnected relationships & 3 special men in my life. The fact that youre reading this makes me happy. Maybe youve mistaken this for a how to give a good happy ending sexual self-help book. Maybe youre reading because you have a genuine interest in anothers journey. Either way, Im good. My journey almost destroyed me. Almost. Boy, have I come to like that word. What a pleasurable word almost can be. You may almost be ready to buy my book. You may almost be ready to begin an amazing new journey of your own. You may almost be over that rainbow Judy Garland sings about. What great potential almost can hold, if you can flip your way of thinking. Just imagine controlled pessimism, doubt, and fear flipped into blind optimism, faith, and love.

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*This book was given to me to read and review however all opinions are my own*

I’m not usually the biggest fan of non-fiction books and I tend to read only about 1 or 2 a year. So when I was asked to read this memoir of sorts about a woman who had kids and a husband and a father who used to gamble, I was very hesitant. I could relate to absolutely nothing it seemed. However I thought I would give it a try anyway and I was pleasantly surprised.

Firstly, I have to commend Tia for her blatent honesty. There were a lot of views in this book that I found a bit unique. The most glaring one being that with financial security, it doesn’t matter what problems you face because your life is great. I didn’t always agree with what she said but I found it refreshing that in a society where we are always so scared of saying the wrong thing or offending people, Tia is able to calmly state her piece and then logically defend it.

I also just enjoyed her story in general. Tia has been through a lot in her life and while I can’t relate to a lot of what she has been through, I can understand the feelings of being a failure, of being outcasted, of worry, of joy and everything in between. For some bizarre reason, I was able to still see myself between the pages of her novel and I found that to be the best part of reading it. The story was perfect.

That is not to say that this novel is without faults. Unfortunatly, while the story was excellent, I felt that it was very jumpy and at times I would get quite confused. The story jumped from one point to another and one time frame to another in the span of a paragraph at times and it was quite uncomfortable.

The story was also very repetitive and preachy at times. I understood the need to defend some claims but I found that she went on and on and on at times and I was like stop already. I get it.

That said though, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I thought that it was a very meaningful and special read. I’m very glad that I chose to read this novel as I know I would not have picked it for myself under any other circumstances.

My-Rating-3-Stars

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Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Furious by T.R. Ragan

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Synopsis: 

Faith McMann comes home to a nightmare: her husband is killed and her son and daughter are taken. Although the intruders leave her for dead, she survives. Crippling grief and fear for her children make life unbearable. Until her anguish turns to anger…and she trades victimhood for vengeance. Frustrated with the law’s efforts, she takes action to rescue her children—and wreaks havoc on the brutal criminals who tore them from her. With her family and newfound allies at her side, Faith descends into the hellish underworld of human trafficking, determined to make those who prey on the innocent pray for mercy. The forces she’s up against have already proven that their ruthlessness knows no bounds. And there’s nothing they won’t do to turn Faith’s crusade into a suicide mission. But they’re about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a mother fighting for her children—especially one who’s earned the nickname Furious.

 Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Book Depository

Author Bio: 

T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. Her exciting Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies, has received tremendous praise. In August 2015 Evil Never Dies hit #7 on the Wall Street Journal Bestselling List. Since publishing in 2011, she has sold over two million books and has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, PC Magazine, Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Theresa grew up in a family of five girls in Lafayette, California. An avid traveler, her wanderings have carried her to Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, China, Thailand, and Nepal, where she narrowly survived being chased by a killer elephant. Before devoting herself to writing fiction, she worked as a legal secretary for a large corporation. Theresa and her husband Joe have four children and live in Sacramento, California. FURIOUS, the first book in her most recent Faith McMann series will be released March 22, 2016, followed by OUTRAGE and WRATH.

Early Praise

“Faith McMann, heroine of this gripping novel, is a Sacramento schoolteacher, wife, and mother who comes home just in time to witness her husband’s throat getting cut and her two children hauled away. The attempt on her life is botched—the killers were in a hurry—and as she recovers, she’s convinced the police are brushing her off. So she whacks a detective with his computer keyboard and gets sentenced to anger management sessions. If this were a cookie-cutter thriller, the male hero would be tracking the killers with an automatic weapon and maybe a major babe beside him. But our hero is smarter than that, and her revenge is a product of relationships, not bullets. In classes, she meets other victims as angry as she is, and, together, in fine scenes of action and suspense, they seek explanations and vengeance as well as the children’s rescue, which takes them into a slimy world of human trafficking. Learn here about “lot lizards” and “kiddie strolls” on the way to a wild finale. Suspenseful and smart, in equal measure.” —Don Crinklaw, Booklist

“Searing…Readers with strong stomachs will eagerly await the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly

Surprise! There is also a giveaway being hosted and there are 5 copies of Furious up for grabs (US only)

ENTER HERE: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e29d475107/?

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Top 5 Books That Will Make You Cry

When it comes to books that make you cry, I am considered the queen. In fact, my bookclub friends are actually afraid when I give them recommendations because they know that most of my recommendations are guaranteed to make them cry. It’s gotten so bad that Mel has actually made it a rule that I’m only allowed to recommend one book to her a month.

I really don’t know what it is with me. I just really love books that make me ugly cry and that make my heart ache. I’m weird like that. Sue me.

So I think I am very qualified to give you my top 5 books that have made me cry in case you’re weird like me and love a little bit of emotion in your books.

1. The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

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If by now you haven’t figured out that The Nightingale is a major cry fest, I literally do not know what you are doing with your life. This book will make you bawl your eyes out. It will make your heart hurt. It will make everything in you hurt. But it is also one of the most informative, heartwarming and beautiful novels I have ever read in my life. So really I do recommend that you read it. Just not in public.

 

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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I know some people have mixed feelings about this book but I personally loved it. I related so much to Eleanor who was so out of place and Park who was just trying to get by. I loved the both of them and the ending just broke my heart right in two. I remember I had a serious book hangover after this one and I just felt ready to die with how the ending made me feel.

 

3. Everything I Never Told You  by Marieke Nijkamp

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This Is Where It Ends is essentially a novel about a school shooting. I have actually read a number of novels on school shootings before and I have to say that this was probably the most heartbreaking. The author just does such a good job that you feel every death reverberate through you and create cracks in your heart. It was honestly such a painful but necessary read especially in this day and age where school shootings have unfortunately become quite common.

 

4. Life On The Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

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I actually read this book while standing in the bookstore. It was a very short read and so that’s why I could read it so quick but it was so powerful. So this book is told through notes that are exchanged by a mom and her daughter. So everyday, they will keep each other updated on grocery lists, little daily things and even apologies by posting a note on the refrigerator door. This is mainly because they are so incredibly busy that they have no time to talk. What makes the book sad, and this is not a spoiler, is the fact that the mom gets cancer. I think you already know how this plays out and let me just say that it broke my heart in two and I was standing in that bookstore just trying not to cry but failing miserably.

 

5. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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If you’ve ever been bullied, or have had struggles with your self-esteem, or basically if you are human, you will find that it is almost impossible not to cry while reading this book. Auggie’s struggle with his self-esteem and the merciless bullying from his peers will just make you want  to hug him and never ever let go. I have honestly never read a book that I relate to as much as this one.

So there you have it. My top 5 books that have made me cry. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with liking books and movies that make you feel horrible things. If anything it makes you a better person for being able to access these feelings that you might otherwise suppress. You’re not crazy for liking upsetting books.

P.S. I have decided to start a posting schedule of Mondays and Fridays. I think it’s quite a good number to start with. If I’m able to stick with this, I might up it to 3 times a week but for now, I’m going with twice a week and I’ll see how it goes. Do give me your feedback on the days that I have chosen so that I can improve on it if I have to. I’m still not sure if the days are spread too far apart. Also don’t hate me too much if I have to miss a post sometimes. I am still working full-time (by the way I love my job!).

 

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The Secret Life of A Book Blogger Tag

Hi guys! So I recently saw The Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag over on Hashtaglovebooks and I thought it was such a cool tag and I knew that I really wanted to do it so here you go!

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging for a year and 9 months now. In fact, Twenty Three Pages turns 2 on the 26th of June.

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At what point do you think you will stop blogging?

I’ve thought about this a lot and I really don’t know. I feel like blogging has become such an integral part of my life that I don’t think I could ever just stop. I mean I’ve always wanted my blog to grow with me you know? Like even if in a few years I decide that I don’t want to blog about books, I want to still blog about other things. Like I know that when I’m a mom, I want to be one of those mummy bloggers. I just don’t think I’ll ever be ready to let go of this platform that I love so much and have invested so much time into. It’s my baby.

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What is the best thing about blogging?

Having the freedom to write whatever I want whenever I want. I grew up in a school system that didn’t give me a lot of room for creative expression. There was a set way to do everything. Even when things were supposed to be creative, like our essays or even art, there were still so many rules and formats and I hated that.

Looking back, I guess it was necessary to learn how to write with rules before I could write properly without them but it is still very liberating to me to be able to start a sentence with ‘but’ and to not get a big red circle for doing it.

Also I love the ARCs. Getting ARCs make me feel special and anyone who says otherwise is lying.

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What is the worst thing about blogging? What do you do to make it okay?

Making time for it. Most people in my life don’t know that I blog. So when I spend ages on my laptop writing, most people look at me and think I’m wasting my time and just watching Friends when in fact, I’ve spent the whole day writing, organising, designing and planning for my blog. And I don’t know how to tell them that that is not the case.

So people tend to think I have a lot of extra time and that I must be so chill when I actually don’t and am not. It actually can get quite irritating especially when I’m interrupted repeatedly when I’m in my groove and I’ve got the writing bug.

I don’t really have a way to make this okay. I mean I’m still working on it but I try to plan my blogging around my other stuff that I usually do.

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How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?

Not very long because I usually either create very basic graphics or get gifs from Google or Tumblr. Though it does often take me a while to find the perfect gif to sum up what I’m feeling.

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Who is your book crush?

I have ten million book crushes okay. But if I had to pick one, I’d say Tamlin from A Court Of Thorns And Roses.

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What author would you like to have on your blog?

Rainbow Rowell. Rainbow is one of my absolute favourite authors and it would be a dream to be able to interview her on my blog.

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What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

I mostly write at home so normally I’m either in my PJs (oversized Cotton On tee and oversized pyjama pants) or I’m just in an old t-shirt and shorts.

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How long does it take you to prepare?

Honestly? I procrastinate a lot and so sometimes it can take me a whole day to get a post up when in reality, if I hadn’t procrastinated and watched ten episodes of Friends, I could have got everything sorted out in 2 hours.

And just know that I’m not including coming up with a post idea because now that I’m using an editorial calendar, I usually plan my posts ages in advance so it’s all about glancing at the calendar and then writing whatever I planned for the day.

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How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture?

I think that the book blogger community is one of the best communities that I have ever been a part of. I used to be in a lot of different fandoms when I was younger and I noticed that there is generally a lot more unnecessary hate and competition in these communities as compared to the book world.

I don’t know why but that is how it is. I think people in the book community are just so supportive of each other and we just love to spread positivity. It’s honestly so rare to see someone spreading direct hate towards another blogger or even reader in the book world.

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What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

Be yourself. Let your writing style shine through you and talk about what you want to talk about. Rate books the way you truly feel they deserve to be rated. Let yourself shine through your blog because there really is only one person who can write like you in this world and that is you.

Also create a Twitter for your blog and interact with people. Participate in book blogger chats. Introduce yourself to other book people. Reply to loads of tweets. Promote yourself through interaction and befriending people. It doesn’t just create traction for your blog but it helps you feel more included in the community.

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Who do I tag?

I’m tagging everyone who sees this and wants to do it but specifically, I am tagging:

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Starting My Internship

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When I was about 14, I, like pretty much everyone my age, started planning what I would do once I finished my GCE O’Levels. I was actually one of those annoying people that had their lives figured out at age 10. Yup. I’ve known that I wanted to write as a career ever since I was 10 years old and I actually started making that possible from that age.

A lot of you don’t know this but I actually wrote a book  when I was 10 and it was published by the Young Authors Club. It was called ‘Abandoned In A Haunted House’ and I’m sure you can tell just from the title that it was literally the worst thing I have ever come up with in my life. I still ask my parents every now and then why in the hell they allowed me to publish it.

But I digress.

See when I was 14 and scouring school websites for their courses and their course structures, the one thing that I always saw was the internships that happened when you were in year 3. And I was actually most excited for that part of my education. I was excited at the prospect that I would one day be attached to a company and I would actually get to experience the working life.

However, it seemed so far away. It seemed like it was eons away. I was 14. The prospect of being a year 3 student that was about to get her diploma seemed as unlikely as my prospects of actually doing well enough in my O Levels to get into these elusive courses.

But God was with me and by some miraculous miracle, I did well enough to have the world laid at my feet. I was able to get into Mass Communications in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. A course that I had previously never even considered because the grades to get into it seemed impossible for me.

And from that point, life seemed to press the fast forward button. In a blink an eye, 2 years have gone by and I am now on the cusp of becoming a year 3 student. Tomorrow I will be starting my 6 month long internship. Oh how 14 year old me would swoon if she could see me now.

I can’t believe it honestly. I really can’t. Tomorrow I am going to enter the working world. Tomorrow I will have a boss. I will work in an office and I will get a salary every month. Tomorrow I start a new chapter in my life.

I’m really excited to start working at Youth.Sg but I’m also really nervous. I have worked before but never like this. It’s always been at my church or with a church friend or someone I know and I’ve never had set working hours and things like that.

I am very anxious and I really don’t know what to expect. Part of me just wishes that time would hurry up so that I can start already and start to form a routine. I thrive on routines and new things scare me to death.

So yeah. Tomorrow is the first day of a new chapter in my life. Tomorrow I become everything that 14 year old Camillia desired and admired.

I also just wanted to let you guys know that my posting schedule is going to change. I know that over the last 2 weeks I’ve been posting every weekday and I’ve been very active on social media and everything. That is going to change but I don’t know by how much.

I will take the coming week to see how things go and to see what I can commit to with regards to blogging and even reading but I can’t be blogging everyday. At my job I’m going to be writing on an online platform as well so I don’t know how I’m going to feel and how things will be. That said though, I have written and scheduled a few posts to go up and so I won’t completely vanish.

I just want to be able to create a healthy balance between blogging and reading and my job. I don’t want to stress myself too much with my blog right now because my job has to take #1 priority. I mean it’s 22 credits and I need to go to my dream university. It’s a very big deal.

So that’s that. I just wanted to give you guys an update on my life. I’m sure that I will be doing a post on how the intern life is once I get settled.

I don’t really know how to end this. I feel like its so final you know? Like even though it’s nothing close to it, I feel like I’m stepping off into this deep dark void and I don’t know how much my life is going to change with my job and I worry about that so much.

Anyway, I have a tag going up tomorrow and it’s a really fun one so till then, keep smiling and be happy. I love you all lots.

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Sarah J. Maas’s Singapore Book Signing

 

Last month, I received an email from Popular bookstore (a local bookstore in Singapore). The email was just a regular one that talked about the sales they were having in their store. And in that email, at the bottom, in extremely tiny print, was the announcement that Sarah J. Maas was doing a Singapore signing. I flipped out for two reasons. Firstly, Sarah is one of my favourite authors and secondly, HOW DARE THEY ANNOUNCE HER SIGNING IN TINY PRINT IN A REGULAR EMAIL?? They should have dedicated a whole email to her signing! I mean I almost missed it! Anyway, I was super glad that I saw it and I was extra glad that the date didn’t clash with my internship.

I thought about live blogging throughout the event but then decided that I wanted to be off my phone as much as possible during that time so I could really enjoy the experience. I did end up on Twitter a lot before the signing though because as you’ll see later, Sarah retweeted me and because of that, loads of people started liking my tweets and asking me questions about the signing and I couldn’t really put my phone down. But once Sarah arrived, I got my brother (who has never even heard of Sarah before) to be my photographer and I just focused on the experience.

I did scribble a few updates down though so you can just see the timeline of things here:

4.11pm: I’m on my way to Jurong for the signing with my brother! He’s helping me carry my books in his backpack (Come on. I didn’t tolerate this child for 18 years for nothing)

5.12pm: I’m at the bookstore and I’ve bought Queen of Shadows and Crown of Midnight. We are so early but it’s worth it!

5.15pm: They are setting up the tables!


5.24pm: Sarah retweeted my tweet and replied me!

5.59pm: Kinda made friends with the girls in front of us. It’s so cool to be amongst so many hardcore bookworms!

7pm: IT’S STARTED!!

7.30pm: She just finished the Q&A! Someone asked if she will have kids once TOG is over and it was so funny because she talked about her dogs


7.45pm: She’s starting to sign and I’m up next!

8.54pm: I can’t even begin to process what just happened.

Okay. Let’s talk about the signing. So let me just say that Sarah is so beautiful and nice and kind in person. I really was afraid that she wouldn’t be as nice as I always thought she was but she turned out to be so lovely and funny and she was such a good sport about answering everyone’s questions.In particular, I loved her answer when the moderators asked her what her dream cast was for the characters when both series becomes a movie and a TV show. She very passionately talked about how much she hated white-washing in Hollywood and how she wanted her cast to retain the skin colours they had when she wrote the books. She also gushed a lot about Scott Eastwood. And I mean A LOT.

She also briefly talked about the title release of the 5th TOG book which was happening that night (last night) and we begged her to give us a hint and she was so funny about it (she didn’t reveal anything). She told us that when she posted the teaser graphic for the title release on Instagram, she had the title graphic right beside the teaser on her phone and she was so afraid that she would post the wrong one.

Then the moderators came up with a bunch of scenarios for the Throne Of Glass characters  and asked Sarah to elaborate on them. My favourite was when they said that all the main TOG characters were in a theme park and they asked Sarah what each person would be doing. On the spot, she immediately spun a cool story of all the characters and how they would be acting and what they would say and it was so cute!

Then came the actual book signing. I ended up 4th in line because the girls in front of us were in a group of 3. When I finally got to Sarah, I just gushed about how she was my favourite author, how much I love her books and how this was my first time attending a book signing. She was so nice. She actually remembered that I tweeted her earlier and she asked me how long I was waiting and when I said 2 hours, she seemed genuinely shocked. Almost like, why would anyone wait 2 hours for me and I just found that to be so humble of her. She also asked me how long it took me to get to the location and was genuinely surprised when I said an hour. She signed 4 of my books and she said thank you so sincerely at the end.

Overall, yesterday was amazing. It was actually the first time that I had met so many book lovers and bloggers face to face. I mean I usually fangirl a lot online but I have never really talked to book people in real life so it was so nice.

Also, the moderators were the bloggers from A Page Of Heaven and they actually are in my course in school and we’ve always known of each other but we never had any reason to talk until yesterday and it was just so lovely to formally meet them and we actually talked for ages.

Because we were talking, I ended up unintentionally staying for the whole signing. Sarah signed for 30 minutes more then she was scheduled to and then we got to take a group photo with the people that stayed. Which reminds me, individual photos with Sarah and videography were actually not allowed.

Then I went home with the biggest smile on my face and gushed about it with my bookclub and on Twitter ad basically to anyone that would listen because I have officially met Sarah J. Maas.
  

Review: Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

Published: 16th February 2016

Goodreads

If you’ve been here a while, you would know that I absolutely adore historical fiction and even just history in general. My favourite though would be the history of Nazi Germany. I don’t know why but something about Hitler’s rule and WWII has always fascinated me immensely and because of that, I pride myself on knowing as much as I can about it.

So when I heard of Salt and The Sea and found out that it was about WWII and about the Wilhelm Gustloff, which was deemed the ‘single greatest tragedy in maritime history’, I was very surprised. How could I not know about a ship that was torpedoed and upon which over 9,000 people died? How did that happen?

Turns out that a lot of people actually knew nothing about the Wilhelm Gustloff. Apparently it was something of a secret of war. Apparently this disaster was greater then the Titanic. The Titanic?? I mean I am obsessed with the Titanic and it’s sinking and to me, that’s the worst thing that ever happened out at sea. How did I not know about this greater tragedy?

It really made me realise that there is still a lot that we do not know about WWII and that we might never know.

Plot

I did a lot of research into the Wilhelm Gustloff while reading and after reading Salt To The Sea and I was very happy to see that Ruta really did her research and portrayed a very accurate picture of what happened on the 30th of January 1945 as well as what happened before that.

She actually interviewed survivors of the tragedy and that was how she built her story which I always highly respect.

The story flowed very well and I enjoyed the short but impactful chapters that overall aided in making the story worth that much more.

Characters 

The book was narrated by 4 different young adults and each of them had  very distinct and unique voices.

Emilia

Emilia was my favourite narrator simply because of her innocence and her good heart. From the very first chapter that she narrated, I knew that she was going to be the best person. My heart broke so many times over the course of the book for Emilia and I was just constantly amazed at her selflessness and her refusal to give up and her loyalty to the people that took her in.

Joana

It’s impossible not to like Joana. She was the character that rallied everyone together. She made sure she got everyone to safety before she let herself relax. She fiercely protected her makeshift family and did everything in her power to save everyone. Reading from her perspective was just really calming. You could tell that everything was going to be okay even just from listening to her thoughts.

Florian

Florian was probably my second favourite narrator. He started out as stoic and rough but really showed his love and his goodness later on especially with Emilia. Even though he had to do some pretty harsh things, he was still good deep in his heart and I liked that. My favourite part of his was when he hauled a dying woman into a lifeboat despite the fact that there was another person screaming that an extra person would capsize them. He got her into the boat and then screamed at the person to just shut up. My heart just swelled at that.

Alfred

I have read books which have been narrated by Nazi soldiers and people who are loyal to Hitler but never have I encountered a character as despicable and disgusting as Alfred. I hated Alfred from the very beginning. So Alfred’s story was mainly told through his mental letters to a girl he loved back home called Hannelore. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the fact that he is a typical male but his ‘letters’ of course made him seem like he was this great big important guy serving Hitler and that he was one of the best of the best when in fact, he was the ‘bedwetter’ to all his colleagues and was considered the lowest form of marine life as my dad likes to put it.

It wasn’t that he made himself greater then he actually was that turned me off him. What turned me off was his blatant disregard for women and children in general. I mean I know that Hitler conditioned most men in Nazi Germany to think of women as lowly and unworthy of anything but I just couldn’t handle Alfred’s way of thinking.

There was one point in the book where he was mentally talking to Hannelore about the pregnant refugees and he blamed the woman for getting pregnant. He blamed the woman! As if it’s just the woman who is involved in the conceiving of a child!

There was also loads of other instances. Like he stole a lifejacket from a woman and then forced himself into a lifeboat while disregarding the thousands of woman and children that were still on the ship.

I hated him. You could say that this way of thinking was a consequence of war but I don’t believe that. You have to be a special kind of evil to act the way Alfred did.

Overall

Overall I really enjoyed Salt To The Sea. I was disappointed that it didn’t end up making me cry but I thought that the story was very powerful and ultimately, it was simply something that everyone needs to read.

I for one am so glad that I now know about this ship and it’s demise. I’m glad that I got to find out so much more about where the shipwreck is, how divers are still looking for the Amber Room and about how divers say that the Baltic ocean is haunting to be in simply because an estimated 25,000 people died in it because of the war.

Actually, I was reading a diver’s recount of his dive down to the Gustloff (which apparently is illegal now because the Gustloff is a registered war grave) and he said that he saw a skeleton that was still wearing his uniform and his boots.

It’s so important that we keep these stories alive. That we keep telling them so everyone knows and no one forgets. Everyone deserves to know about the Wilhelm Gustloff. None of the atrocities committed during the war deserves to be forgotten.

 

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