The Liebster Award

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Hey guys! S0 recently, Jess from JbelkBooks presented me with a Liebster award!

So if you don’t know, a Liebster award is an award given by bloggers to other notable bloggers so that we can all discover new blogs and show appreciation to all the bloggers out there.

I’m super grateful for it and it’s come just when my blog turned two so that’s really great timing. So let’s get to the award!

Rules of the award

  1. Thank the nominator and link back to their blog
  2. Answer 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
  3. Nominate other bloggers that you think deserve the award
  4. Write 11 questions for your nominees
  5. Let them know you’ve nominated them

My Answers

What’s the last song you listened to?

Safe and Sound by Bailey

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What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate peanut butter

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Do you believe in horoscopes?

Nope but I do like to look at it sometimes just for the fun of it.

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If you could pick one genre to read for the rest of your lifetime, which would you pick?

Young Adult for sure!

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Have you ever wanted to change your name? If so, to what?

I’ve always really liked my name because it’s unique but if I did change my name, it would be to either Charlotte or Delilah (That’s going to be my future daughter’s names).

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If you had a twin, would you want it to be a female or male? (If you already have a twin…give a random fact)

I’d want a sister. I’ve always wanted a sister because I would very much like to have that connection that sisters have and be able to share clothes and makeup. I think that would be a lot of fun.

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What’s the last meal you ate?

Breakfast. I had two sunny side up eggs but turned over because I hate it when the yolk is runny. And I had a milo.

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Do you prefer shopping online or in-store?

In-store. Not being able to try things and shipping prices just stress me. I like having my things instantaneously.

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When’s the last time you were happy?

Last Friday. I just had a really good day at the photography workshop we were sent for with Edwin Khoo. It was so much fun doing the photo walk and then editing the photos and having Edwin critique them. And I had fun with my colleagues too because we were all there.

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If you could describe your life right now in three words or less, how would you describe it?

Turbulent, Exciting and Scary

What’s your favorite number?

23. It’s my birthday and also how I got the ‘Twenty Three’ in my blog name.

My Nominations

  1. Melissa
  2. Tina
  3. Aria
  4. Erica & Christy
  5. Joséphine 

My Questions

  1. What’s your favourite TV show?
  2. Who’s your OTP? (You can only pick one)
  3. Do you prefer milk, dark or white chocolate?
  4. If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
  5. If you could be a character in any book, who would it be? (The story line will remain)
  6. What is your favourite country?
  7. Apple or Samsung?
  8. What’s your best piece of advice as a blogger?
  9. What’s your favorite Disney film?
  10. Do you have any pets? If not, what’s your dream pet?
  11. Tell me about your happy place.

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Second Blogiversary: Four Blogging Tips

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Hey guys! Guess what today is! It’s Twenty Three Page’s second birthday! My blog is two years old! How did that even happen?

I’m so grateful for all of you who have stuck around. I feel like we’ve really been through loads together over the years and I honestly cannot say thank you enough.

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This blog has helped me grow as a person and I just really don’t think my life would have ever been the same without the wonderful community of people I’ve met through it and the things that blogging has taught me.

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So recently, I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from you guys telling me that you’ve been inspired by my blog to create your own blogs and you guys have been asking me for advice on starting it up and maintaining it.

Firstly, I’m honoured that I’ve inspired people to create their own blogs. I think that’s one of the highest praises I could receive.

Secondly, while I have replied individually to everyone that has emailed me, I thought it might be interesting to do a post where I give you guys some round up tips on starting and maintaining a blog.

Now I kind of did something like this when I received the Blogger Recognition Award in 2015 but let’s be honest, there has been so much I’ve learned since then and I’m excited to share them with you.

Social media is your best friend

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This year, I finally decided to revive the Twitter I created for my blog. So I revamped it, followed loads of bloggers and used it to tweet out links to my latest blog posts, enter giveaways and interact with bloggers and readers.

Social media is vital and I noticed a jump in my stats when I started promoting my posts on Twitter and Pinterest.

You can obviously use any social media platform that you like. In fact, Facebook is also an excellent way to promote your stuff. You can even join blogging groups on Facebook where they let you blast your links to loads of other bloggers. It’s very helpful and a great way to integrate yourself in the community.

(Subtle hint to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest haha)

Create a posting schedule

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This year, I also decided to create a posting schedule. This was largely because when I started my internship, I knew I could no longer manage my habit of posting whenever and at whatever time I pleased because if I did, I would probably never post at all.

So I decided on Mondays and Fridays at 10am as my posting dates and time. This was decided through a poll I ran on Twitter. It’s important when deciding on days and times to involve your readers and to get their opinions. Especially considering that your readers are probably coming from around the world.

You want to make sure that you are posting at a time when most people are awake and have the time to be reading. Posting when majority of your readers are asleep or at school or work is pointless.

That said though, make sure that the timings also aren’t crazy for you. Majority of my readers are from America and your guys are 12 whole hours behind me. That can make life a bit difficult. So make sure that it is a time that suits you and your readers.

Create an editorial calendar

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I created an editorial calendar for myself earlier in February this year because I wanted to be more organised and I wanted to be able to plan and schedule posts so that when I started my internship, it would be easy to write the week’s posts over the weekend and then just schedule them to go live by themselves.

So I created the above editorial calendar (sneak peek into the life of me) and I have not had a single regret since then. The editorial calendar provides me with a sense of organisation and responsibility that I didn’t have before. It also gives me a nice overlook so I know when I’m posting too much of one thing (like reviews) so I can switch things up.

It also helps me keep track of my blog tours and when certain ARC reviews need to go up.

Post what you wanna post!

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Listen. There is no such thing as if you post what everyone else is, you will be guaranteed amazing stats. Post what you want and what you are passionate about. That’s the only way to make it.

So there you have it! I hope this helped you if you are thinking about starting a blog and you can feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or in an email. I will always respond to you.

Once again, thank you for the last two years and here’s to many more. I love you guys!

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Going Out More Often (GOMO)

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Hey guys! So recently, I learnt about Eventbrite’s new campaign called, Going Out More Often (GOMO). Basically GOMO is about getting out of your comfort zone, doing more things and staying away fro Netflix and the dreaded Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).

So  I was inspired to share  my GOMO bucket list. Basically what I plan to be doing this summer to go out more and to enjoy the outdoors.

Now as a major introvert who loves to read, going out for me is quite frankly a chore. I tend to isolate myself a lot because being social or in crowded places tends to just drain me and I just don’t see the point.

However this year, I feel like I have really put in a lot of effort to change that about myself. While I still really cringe every time I have to be social, I have been forcing myself to get out more, connect with friends and to just enjoy life a bit more.

Certainly it helps that I am a budding journalist and that basically means that by default I have to attend loads of events and press conferences and I have to be able to network an talk to people.

Anyway, let me share what I have been up to and what I plan to do.

The Greyson Chance Concert

Last week, I got the amazing opportunity to meet Greyson Chance and to film The Whisper Challenge with him.

It was amazing and Greyson was so wonderful and humble. He actually walked out of the press room to get a coffee and he saw us standing outside waiting for our time to go in and he came up to us and said, “Hey I guess we will be talking soon but I’m Greyson.” And he shook our hands. I mean how many celebrities would introduce themselves?

Then when we walked into the room, he immediately went to hug me and was like, ‘Hey! Long time no see!” HOW CUTE?!

He hugged me twice (three times if you count the photo) and he was just such a gem. The next day, I got to attend his concert. It was a very unique experience and I’m telling you this because that was me going out and I’m proud of that.

I also will be attending the Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui concert next month so that’s another concert that I’m going to.

Hanging Out

If you haven’t gathered, I’m really not a very outgoing and wild person so for me, a quality catch up over a meal is the perfect way to spend time with a friend. Lately I’ve been making more of an effort to keep alive friendships and to meet friends for lunch or dinner. In fact, I’ve got a lunch with a friend next week that I’m super excited about. Yes. I know. Nothing crazy over here. Just plain and simple hanging out.

I guess a goal for me would be to go out with more of my friends and to reconnect with them. I’m not very good at maintaining friendships but I’m working on it so I’m hoping to do more friend meals.

So there you have it. It’s not an impressive bucket list but it’s my bucket list and I’m happy with it so that’s all that matters.

Don’t forget that it’s not a crime to not enjoy wild parties and doing crazy things. You do you. If you wanna go out and be wild, go ahead. If you are like me and prefer curling up in bed with a good book, then do that! It’s not a crime and no one should make you feel like it is.

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Spotlight: School Of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

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The Scythe Wielder’s Secret is a thrilling young adult fantasy/adventure series by Christopher Mannino. The first two books in the trilogy, School of Deaths and Sword of Deaths, are out now, with the third book Daughter of Deaths expected to be released next year.

The Scythe Wielder’s Secret series has received rave reviews and been compared to bestsellers like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson. It is recommended for readers who enjoy magical realism, fantasy, paranormal, middle grade, young adult, and/or books with a strong female protagonist.

School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 1):

Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Suzie Sarnio is a thirteen-year-old whose world is turned upside down when she discovers that she is destined to be a Death. She always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe, but now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. As her year progresses, Suzie uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must learn and embrace the reason she was chosen to be the first female Death in a million years.

Praise for School of Deaths:

“If you like Harry Potter, you’ll love this!” – Sasha Alsberg, A Book Utopia

“Wonderful! Addictive! Two thumbs up! The plot itself was beyond intriguing. It definitely took me for a spin. I wasn’t expecting the story to take me where it did, and it definitely kept me guessing all the way toward the end. The author did a wonderful job at keeping me both entertained and fascinated by the world he created. Would recommend School of Deaths to YA lovers everywhere.” – Kristy Centeno, author of The Keeper Witches series and the Secrets of the Moon series.

“The characters are well developed, the story is complex and non-stop. Lots of surprises along the way. A dash of romance, lots of intrigue, mystery, and fantasy. This was a book I didn’t want to end.” – Montzalee Wittman

“Loved this book! Suzie is a wonderfully well written and in depth main character. I understood her struggle and appreciated her growth throughout the book.” – Ann Andrews

“Not just a book for young adults, but an imaginative read for everyone who likes something a little bit different. 5 Stars!” – Reader’s Favorite

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“You okay, squirt?” Joe bounded through her bedroom door. He smelled of sweat and dirt.

“I’m okay,” said Suzie. She sat up in her bed, putting her book aside. “They teased me a lot today.”

“You? My sister? I’ll beat ’em up.” He slapped her on the back playfully, making Suzie slump forward. He leaned closer to her and peered in her eyes. His cinnamon gum stank.

“Tell me honestly.” He lowered his voice to whisper. “What’s going on? You’ve been losing weight since Bumper died. Mom and Dad are freaking out.”

“I’m not trying to scare them, Joe. I’m sure I look anorexic or something, but I keep eating and eating and nothing changes. It must be some disease the doctors haven’t heard about, they’re bringing in a specialist and everything.”

“Suzie?” Joe sat next to her and wrapped his big, muscular arms around her wiry frame. “You’ll be okay?”

“I will be, yeah.”

“Susan,” called Mom from downstairs. A moment later, her head appeared in the doorway. Joe released Suzie and stood.

“How are you feeling honey?” asked Mom.

“I’m fine.”

“Why don’t you both come down for dinner?”

“Okay, Mom,” they said in unison. Joe turned to Suzie and smiled. They headed downstairs and sat down.

“Your father had an urgent call, and won’t be home until late,” said Mom, carrying a steaming dish of delicious-smelling rosemary chicken and potatoes to the table. The doorbell rang.

“I hope it’s not the Mormons again,” muttered Mom, rising.

“I’ll get it,” said Joe. Whenever Dad wasn’t home, Joe tended to act like the man of the house. Suzie wasn’t sure if he was annoying or endearing, or perhaps a little of both. Mom sat down, and Joe opened the door.

“Can I help you?”

A hunchbacked man in a black robe, carrying an immense scythe, stood in the doorway. Something shiny hung around his neck.

“Er, um. H-h-hello. I-i-i-s Su-su-su-Susan here?”

Joe laughed. “Halloween’s not for over a month, man. Why don’t you come back then?” He started to close the door, but the strange man lowered his scythe, propping it open.

“What are you doing?” yelled Joe.
“P-p-please. I n-n-need to ta-talk to Susan,” he stammered.

Suzie gasped, remembering where she had seen the strange man. He was the one who opened the door looking out in the strange dream she kept having. Mom touched the blade of the scythe and drew her hand back in surprise.

“That thing’s real,” she said. “Get out. Get out of my house!”

“P-p-p-please,” he started again.

“Wait, Mom,” Suzie said, rising. Joe, Mom, and the strange man turned to her. “I want to talk to him.” Was it the man from her dream?

“Susan, sit down,” said Mom, her voice trembling.

“No, it’s okay,” said Suzie. She walked to the door. The man seemed scared, even a little confused. He was probably her father’s age, but was nothing like Dad. His face was chubby, unshaven, and pockmarked, and his blond hair was uncombed. A golden chain with a charm hung from his neck. He raised his scythe and nodded. Joe held the door, ready to slam it, but Suzie stood in the entrance.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“My n-n-n-name is K-k-k-Cronk. C-Cronk Averill.”

“C-Cronk Averill?” laughed Joe. “Is this guy for real?”

“I’ve c-c-c-come to t-t-t-take you b-b-b-back.”

“Take me back where?” asked Suzie.

“You are a D-d-d-d…”

“What?”

“A Death,” said Cronk. Joe reached for Suzie, but before he touched her, Cronk grabbed Suzie’s arm. His speed surprised her. She yelled, but he raised his scythe and lowered it, cutting the air. Suddenly, the house, Joe, Mom, and the entire world vanished. Colors and smells, noises and strange sensations, flowed past Suzie in a blur.

She opened her eyes. She was standing in a field. Cronk stood in front of her, frowning.

“What did you do?” she demanded. “Where are we?” She looked up. It was sunny. But there were two suns.

About the Author:

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Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance and production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.

Christopher’s debut novel School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 1) was published in May 2014 by MuseItUp Publishing. The second book in the trilogy, Sword of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 2), was published in August 2015. The third book Daughter of Deaths is expected to be released in 2016. His series has received rave reviews and been compared to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Christopher’s wife Rachel Mannino is also an author. She writes romance books. To learn more, go to http://www.rachelmannino.com/

Readers can connect with Christopher on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

To learn more, go to http://www.christophermannino.com/

 

Adulting: Is The Struggle Real?

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Recently, I was inspired to give you guys some tips about this strange thing called ‘adulting’. Basically, the art of being of a grownup age and being required to act as a grownup while essentially having no idea how to do it.

I’m going to be 20 this year (oh god) and  while I have yet to move out because we just don’t that in Singapore till we go to university or we get married, I have had to learn to grow up and manage a lot more stuff now.

So here are a couple of tips and things to do to help you become an adult:

1. Get a planner

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When I started my internship in March, one of the first things I did was to get a simple but super useful $2 planner from Muji.

It was only $2 but it changed my life. I am a very visual person so I used different coloured pens to mark down the things I had to do, the events I had to attend and the different deadlines and publishing dates of my articles.

It’s been so helpful for me to get more things done in a day and it’s just a great way to keep your head on your shoulders.

2. Learn to take care of yourself emotionally

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Now I’m not saying that all of a sudden you have to forgo your best friends and stop depending on them for emotional support. I mean everyone needs emotional support from people.

What I do mean though is learn everything that is to learn about yourself. Know the things that make you happy and know what makes you sad. Know what will pull you out of a funk and know what to avoid when you do get down.

In this way, you are able to control yourself better and you won’t constantly be a babbling mess of emotions.

Again, not saying that you can’t breakdown. Just that it’s good to know how to help yourself so you look more put together on the outside.

3. You know what you are doing in life

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There is a stage in everyone’s life where they are allowed to flounder around and not know which direction their lives are taking them. When you start to become an adult though, you better know what you are doing.

I can’t say much on this because I have known that I wanted to write for a career ever since  I was 10. But really, once you’ve started entering adulthood, you need to get down what you want to do in life. You need to start working towards a career. Building a resume that is targeted to that career, studying things that are related to your career and basically getting ready to be a working and self-sufficient human being.

So if you haven’t figured out what you want to do with your life, here’s your wake up call. Figure it out. And if you need help, you can always try Credit Card Insider for some help. They have great resources to help you out.

So there you have it. A couple of tips to help you be a better adult. Quite honestly I found this quite hard because I realised that I am a very bad adult and really I am still five so I don’t know what you are doing taking advice from me but hey, I tried right?

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Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

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Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon.

Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted.

As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Publish Date: 14th June 2016

Goodreads

This was a novel that was loosely based on the infamous Manson murders that took place in 1969.

I honestly had never even heard the name Charles Manson before I picked up this book and as someone who is morbidly interested in these kinds of things, I found it quite good that from the book, I could go over and do my own research on these famous murders and in the end walk away with much more knowledge on it.

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So this book follows Evie, a girl who is struggling to find her footing after her parents get a divorce and start seeing other people. She is pretty lost until one day she sees a group of girls in the park.

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The Mason girls on the way to court.

After a couple of chance encounters, Evie starts to get mesmerised by these girls and eventually, one of the girls, Suzanne, invites her to their home which is in a ranch. At the ranch, Evie meets their ‘leader’, Russell, as well as the other girls and their children.

There it was again, their wonder at Russell, their certainty. I was jealous of that trust, that someone else could stitch the empty parts of your life together so you felt there was a net under you, linking each day to the next.

As Evie gets lost in the world that is Russell and Suzanne and the ranch, she gets lulled into this false pretence of family and finding her place in the world.

Eventually the story comes to a climax and essentially if you are familiar with the Manson murders, then you will know how this book ends.

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Charles Manson

I really wanted to enjoy this but I just felt like the writing style was very pretentious and a lot of the book was just really boring because nothing happens.

I mean there were a lot of parts that just simply didn’t make sense like this bit:

I ate in the blunt way I had as a child—a glut of spaghetti, mossed with cheese. The nothing jump of soda in my throat.

What the heck is a ‘nothing jump’?

I quite honestly don’t know why or how I finished this book. I mean part of me was just so eager to finish it and just be done with it.

I mean I know there were a lot of bits that were just really raw and honest and yes I appreciated that. But the language used was unnecessarily complicated.

Another thing I hated about this book was how badly men were portrayed. Granted that the men Evie associated herself with were generally the not so nice types but every single man in the book was portrayed as a horrible being. I would think the author has some personal agenda against men or something the way she wrote about them.

I honestly don’t have an in depth review for you for this book because most of it was dull and I was just trying to get through it. I wouldn’t recommend it.

If you are looking for more information on the Manson murders, there are loads of resources online. Also, if you really must read a book on it, you can try ‘My Favourite Manson Girl‘. I haven’t read it but I’ve heard amazing things about it. Just skip this book.

*An advanced copy of this book was provided to me to read and review however all opinions are my own*

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Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

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For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

Goodreads

I quite honestly wasn’t sure if I wanted to review this book because so much of it bore such striking resemblance to my own life that I wanted to put it down multiple times especially within the first 30% of it. In fact I’m still not sure what exactly I’m doing because this is so personal it’s a bit cringe-y. Okay.

Let me explain.

I have an imaginary cast in my head. I personify the voice in my head as two people with a names and a bodies and everything except faces.

I can never imagine the faces of anyone that I have never physically met or seen a picture of. In fact that’s why I never have a casting preference for book-movie adaptations. Simply because I can never see faces in my head.

So while I wouldn’t say that I have exactly what Alice had (obviously, that would be really crazy), I’ve always imagined that there was someone there who would be my sort of perfect (and unrealistic) boyfriend but also not really. It’s hard to explain but basically we hang out in my mind scape and he’s just there.

Anyway, I had exactly what happened to Alice happen in real life to me some time ago.

I met this person who had the same name as my imaginary ‘boyfriend’ and who checked every single one of my boxes when it comes to a life partner and he had every single thing but he was off the market if you know what I mean. Just like Max was.

So reading this book was a bit weird for me because the whole first part was just ridiculously similar to what happened when I met this person that I was a bit freaked out.

Okay enough of me because that was so cringe to write. Let’s talk about the book.

Plot

I thought the whole premise of the story was something that was very interesting and fairly unheard of in the YA genre. I thought the idea of two people dreaming of each other their whole lives and then meeting was just such a unique concept that has never really been explored.

However I feel like the whole story was geared towards them trying to fix this part of themselves that was ruined by a dream centre and yet somehow, when it got to the part when they were supposed to get all their answers, it was very rushed and barely explained and it was almost just brushed off.

I wanted to know how it was possible. I wanted to know what this person did to stop the dreams. I wanted to know what happened and I didn’t get that and it irked me to no end.

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My second problem was the dreams. I hate it when contemporary books do dream sequences because it’s so unrealistic! The reality is that most of us only remember 30% of a dream (or nothing at all!) and probably one in 30 dreams actually make sense or have a  structure to it and that leaves something for you to think about.

But when authors do dream sequences, they always make them structured in a way and while yes this book did have dreams with giant Jenga and talking parrots and teleporting, I felt like each dream was very structured and there was always so much sense in each dream. I just feel like it was unrealistic.

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Charachters

Alice

I really liked Alice. I felt like I could relate to her a lot. Loving someone more then the person loved you back. Always being afraid that people were going to leave and that if things didn’t stay exactly the same way then everything will go wrong and the person will disappear.

I just felt like she was everybody’s secret fear. She embodied what everyone is secretly scared of but won’t ever admit for fear of sounding like a loser or just desperate.

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Max

Max was a very decent guy in that he did exactly what he should have done but I found it hard to like him that much mainly because he reminded me a lot of the person I was talking about earlier. That guy was so up and down and Max reminded me of how insecure he used to make me feel.

I didn’t like how he toyed with Alice’s feelings and forced her to ride his rollercoaster. I mean he knew how much she reflected how he acted towards her and yet he took her on a wild ride and let his emotions take him away and in the process, Alice too.

He just reminded me of all the people in my past that have taken advantage of the fact that I ride everyone’s rollercoaster and I didn’t like that at all.

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Overall

I think it was a good concept and I can see it going very far. I mean in the end it was a very cute story and I did enjoy the mushy-gushy aspect of it.

But I feel like the crux of the story lay in solving the mystery of their dreams and it was done very haphazardly. Too much attention was put on making it a cute romance and not enough on the fact that there was a very real problem that needed to be solved.

So I would totally recommend this book for the romance but if you actually wanted to get to the bottom of the weird things going on, you’re probably better off reading Never Never by Colleen Hoover.

My-Rating-3-Stars

I’ll see you soon

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Spotlight + Giveaway: The Four-Night Run by William Lashner

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J.D. Scrbacek is young, talented, and the best criminal lawyer money can buy. But after winning the biggest trial of his career, his victory ends in violence. At first, Scrbacek assumes the bomb that killed his assistant was meant for his monster-mobster client. But with a second attempt on his life, he comes to realize he’s a marked man.

On his own and on the run, Scrbacek seeks safety in Crapstown, the forgotten, run-down slum of the city. But when he gets there, he’s forced to face his past… if he ever wants to see his future. Scrbacek must argue for his life to a jury that would rather see him dead. Is he lawyer enough to save himself?

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Excerpt

 

On his rush out of the courtroom in search of the nearest camera, Scrbacek ran smack into Thomas Surwin. The prosecutor’s expression was understandably darker and more pinched than usual.

“I hope you’re proud of your fine work in there,” said Surwin.

“Very.”

“Take my advice, Scrbacek, and watch your ass.”

“Oh, I will,” said Scrbacek, with a wink. “On the evening news.”

The lovely glow of Casinoland was just infiltrating the darkening sky to the east when J.D. Scrbacek stood on the courthouse steps with the cameras on and the heavy white lights picking up his rugged features. His tie was tight; the collar of his raincoat was turned rakishly up. His intern had already been dispatched to drive the Explorer from the parking lot behind the courthouse to the front steps, so as to provide the cameras a view of Scrbacek’s dramatic exit with his client. All was as it should have been, except that his client wasn’t by his side. Surwin had unexpectedly kept Caleb Breest locked up one more night, pending a probation revocation hearing scheduled for the next morning. But still the scene was as near-perfect as Scrbacek could have wished when he began to crow to the crowd of reporters.

“The Jury’s verdict wasn’t just a victory for Mr. Breest, it was a victory for all of us. This was a case without motive or evidence, a case that should never have been brought, a case hatched in the mind of First Assistant County Prosecutor Thomas Sour-Wine simply because he doesn’t like my client. Well, I’m not sure I like my client either, but if that’s enough to put a man in jail and kill him dead, then we all have much to fear.”

He gave good press, Scrbacek, especially on the courthouse steps after a high-profile win.

“Now that Mr. Breest has been found innocent of Mr. Malloy’s murder, I hope the police redouble their efforts to find exactly who committed this horrible crime. My sympathies and the sympathies of Mr. Breest remain, as they have all through this ordeal, with the Malloy family. Nothing that happened in this courtroom can disguise the fact that a man is dead and his murderer still at large. There might be celebrating tonight by Mr. Breest’s friends and associates, there might be fireworks in the night sky over this fine city, but our thoughts will be with the brave—”

A loud pop, followed by a deafening explosion from behind the courthouse.

The crowd ducked. Some reporters dived to the ground, others threw their arms over their heads as if mortars were incoming. Scrbacek alone remained standing tall, his anger rising at the goons who had started the celebration before he had finished his speechifying. He raised his voice and began again.

“As I was saying, there may be fireworks in the night sky over this fine city, but our…”

It was no good. The cameras were off him now. The reporters were running in a pack down the steps, circling the building. TV crews lugged their equipment, straining to keep up. There were calls, yelps, and poundings of hard-soled shoes on cement.

“What I’m trying to say,” Scrbacek shouted to the retreating backs of the media, “what is important to remember…” But no one anymore was listening.

Standing alone on the steps of the courthouse, Scrbacek cocked his head at the commotion before following the mob down the steps. People were now running away from the explosion, running madly, with terror etched on their faces, as they passed the reporters. The two groups were shouting back and forth, the reporters heading to the rear of the courthouse and the sane civilians running away.

“What is it?”

“A car, I think.”

About William Lashner

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Lashner is a graduate of the New York University School of Law and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He worked as a prosecutor with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. before retiring to write full-time.

He is the New York Times bestselling author of the Edgar-Award nominated novel The Barkeep, as well as Guaranteed Heroes, The Accounting, and the Victor Carl series of legal thrillers. He lives outside Philadelphia with his wife and three children.

Keep up with Lashner:

http://williamlashner.com/content/index.asp

Giveaway

1 $10 US Amazon GC (open INT) & a copy of THE FOUR NIGHT RUN (US Only)

 

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Review: It’s All True By Juliana Macintyre

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21-year-old Thalia Vandergruen is struggling to find both the meaning of love and the meaning of her life. Her mother died soon after her birth and she was raised by her wealthy grandparents, who have long shielded her from the truth about who she really is. Now she desperately wants to break free from her life of privilege. But her long-time boyfriend, Will – the one person she thought she could trust – isn’t planning to let that happen.

Meanwhile, Sofi Aguilar, a clairvoyant who is Thalia’s only connection to her late mother, has finally been visited by the ghost she has been longing to see for decades—but who she has also feared the most. At the urging of the ghost, she begins to write Thalia’s story in a notebook with a gold cover. As she writes, events begin to unfold that will change everything for Thalia – and Sofi – forever.

As Sofi predicts, Thalia travels to the darkly mysterious south side of Cuba, to Santiago and a coastal village that holds the key to the mystery of her birth and her mother’s death, as well as the secrets of her mother’s friendship with Sofi. While there, Thalia witnesses Will begin to make dangerous plans. She also finds a passion that takes her by surprise in the form of Yahriel, a Cuban dive master who shows her the kind of life she can lead if she’s willing to take the ultimate risk of being true to herself.

Goodreads

As of late, it’s been quite rare that I actually enjoy a self-published book to the point that I  can’t stop reading so I’m really happy to be giving this book such a high rating.

Plot

I loved the plot. It was set in Cuba which I found out the author actually travelled to in preparation for this novel. I really enjoyed getting to experience Cuba through this book because I honestly don’t know much about it except for the war and realistically, I don’t know if I ever will visit Cuba though I really do want to.

The story brought in a lot of aspects such as fortune telling, witch craft and abusive relationships but for some reason, all the vastly different themes came together in a beautiful medley that was spectacular to experience.

You would think that it would be really hard to weave together a story that was so impossible but Juliana did it seemingly with ease.

She turned a situation that was unbelievable into something that made sense and she did it in a way that wasn’t cringe worthy.

Characters

Sofi

Sofi is a very hard charachter to sum up I feel like.

She was in a way the person that held everything together and she weaved the different  storylines together into one big picture that made sense.

I really liked how mild she was yet when she started to write in that notebook, she almost became this completely other person and she became strong and opinionated and I really liked that.

Thalia

It’s already said in the blurb that Yahriel and Thalia get together and I think that was largely why I didn’t fancy Thalia all that much.

While hers was my favourite point of view to read from, I found that I didn’t enjoy the decisions she made. Even thought Will was a disgusting human being, I don’t think cheating on him was an appropriate way to go about solving her problem.

I also felt that she was very ‘damsel in distress’ which I thought was a little annoying.

But those were minor issues and overall she was just as well developed as the other characters.

Yahriel

I really liked Yahriel despite the fact that he was involved with Thalia. I felt like he was very innocent in a way and he was very relatable in the sense that he just wanted to find his true love.

I thought he was a vey nobel charachter and I liked that we got to experience the point of view of a local Cuban. I think that really added to the whole experience.

Overall

I really enjoyed this book and I think it had amazing characters and a unique storyline that really saved the book from all the bad decisions made by the characters.

I honestly recommend that you pick it up because you will honestly feel transported to Cuba and you will feel like you are learning a whole new culture.

*A copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by the author however all opinions are my own.*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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