Fave Five Friday: Reviewing Tips

1. Don’t Just Summarize

If you’re writing a review you want to remember to actually review the books you read. If you get caught up summarizing what happened and never talk about what you thought, then you’ve written a summary and not a review. The point of a review is to have an opinion and ideas about the books content. You can talk about plot, tone, character development, anything you want, but make sure you have an opinion in there.

2. Be Clear

There really are three main ways to feel when approaching a review. You could like/love the book, hate/dislike it, or stand in a more neutral position. You have to remember to have firm opinions so that your readers can have a clear view of what YOU thought about the book. It seems almost pointless to write a review if you don’t have a firm grasp on what you thought of it. Reviewing is persuasive writing, so be persuasive.

3. Don’t Just Say You Like Or Dislike A Book

Why do you like or dislike a book? Make sure that you elaborate. Giving a star rating and saying yeah I liked it is not a review either. Your review should encompass the whole concept of the book to do it justice. How was the tone? Was the pacing too fast? Were the characters lacking depth? Let your readers know, because it helps them to make an informed decision about whether they’d like to read something.

4. Create An Intriguing Opening Line

Your very first sentence should capture the attention of the reader. Like a salesperson you want to say something right from the beginning to catch a readers eye. You can compare the book to another book/movie/TV show, or you can open with something about the book being innovative for its time. You want your opener to call out to something within your followers.

5. Be Unique

Stand out from the crowd. Do something you don’t see anyone else doing, or do it better. The easiest way to stand out is to be yourself and speak from your heart. I mean, you are one of a kind aren’t you?

What Hobbies Do I Have Besides Reading?

As you all have already figured out I’m pretty obsessed with books, but I promise I have other hobbies. Here are a few.

Gardening

I love gardening! I don’t have a huge space to grow plants right now so it’s limited to a few cacti and a small succulent garden.

Succulents are my favorite type of plant to grow. They take a little while to warm up to but once you get the hang of it they’re easy. I love that I don’t have to constantly water them and they stay beautiful all year. I’ve also grown flowers and I tried to grow cucumbers once but they died. Once I have a bigger space I want to grow my own herbs and try a few more vegetables.

I’ve been around gardeners all my life. My grandma has a beautiful yard with rhododendrons and a huge lilac tree, and she used to grow snow peas when I was little. My dad is also a gardener, he plants everything from potatoes to blueberries. His yard is awesome, he’s always working on it to make it better. He has a horseshoe pit, a huge deck, and a patio to grill on. My mom is also a green thumb, she’s working on growing an avocado tree and she has plants all over her dining room.

There is something so soothing about being surrounded by plants, plus they make your living space feel brighter and more natural.

Crochet

I picked up crocheting a few years ago and I haven’t stopped since.

I make everything from blankets to baby outfits. It’s a really nice hobby to have when all your friends start having babies, because I love being able to give them a handmade gift that’s going to last and be really cute.

I started this hobby because I wanted to make myself hats and scarves, well as it turns out you end making a lot of things for others and end up with very little for yourself. I’m not complaining though, because I love being able to give my family homemade slippers and I get to make stuffed animals for my son. It’s a really rewarding hobby.

Painting

I paint in all mediums. My favorite is oil painting but it is SOOOOO expensive, so recently I’ve been experimenting with watercolor and acrylic.

There is something freeing about paint. I can create whatever I want and if I mess up I can typically paint over it or just throw it away and start over. I love painting the ocean or trees. Most of my paintings are of nature or animals, they’re just the most beautiful to transfer from real world to paper. Lately I’ve been experimenting with watercolor and koi fish. The paintings aren’t very good yet but I’m having fun.

Hopefully when I have a bigger space and a better job I can hop back into oil painting, but until then I’m content with my watercolors and acrylics.


What hobbies do you enjoy? Do we have any in common? Let me know in the comments.

My Top 3 #ReaderProblems

Getting Comfortable

Have you ever sat down to read, then had to readjust, and then again. It’s like a never ending cycle of I’m comfy, wait no I’m not. I’ll be nice and happy reading, then my arm falls asleep, my leg falls asleep, or I fall asleep…

I’ll try and read in every place in my house. I’ll be on my bed, then the computer chair, the couch, and even the floor. But, there is always something that makes me uncomfortable. I’m like a fish out of water flopping all over the place, it makes it really hard to read if I’m the only one awake, because I like to read in my room. Have you ever tried to flop around for comfort and also had to try to be quiet? It’s not easy.

If someone knows the secret to reading comfort let me know.

Lost Bookmarks

If there’s one sentence I hate saying it’s where’s my bookmark? I can never keep track of my bookmarks. I’ll end up finding them in strange places like under the bed or behind my desk. I hate when I get a cute or special bookmark and it’s gone the same day. I feel like my ability to lose bookmarks ties in with my discomfort we talked about a second ago. I’m constantly moving and leaving my bookmarks behind, plus I have a one year old and I’m sure he’s hoarding bookmarks somewhere.

It’s a good thing anything can be used as a bookmark. My last makeshift bookmark was my debit card 😅

Movie Tie In Covers

Yes, the dreaded movie tie in of The Hobbit, complete with “Now A Major Motion Picture” title…

I love going to bookstores and browsing, but you know what I don’t love? Movie Tie In book covers. There is nothing worse than hearing yeah, we have one copy left, then when they bring it, it has the horrible movie cover on the front. I know this is a total bratty first world problem but it’s so annoying that they’d ruin a good book with an ugly cover. I have such a hard time adhering to “don’t judge a book by its cover” when it actually comes to books. If I’m desperate I’ll totally buy a movie tie in, but it’ll be an eye sore on my bookshelf, and I will spend the money to buy a better looking copy just for the shelf.


What #ReaderProblems do you have? Do we have some in common? Let me know in the comments!

Fave Five Friday: Scenes Missing From The Harry Potter Movies

I absolutely love the world of Harry Potter, books, movies, everything. But, there are definitely pieces missing from the movies that I think should have been included. Here are my top five.

5. Every Scene With Peeves

Peeves the poltergeist is one of the funniest characters in the Harry Potter movies, but he is missing from the movies. He gets the golden trio into a lot of trouble during their time at Hogwarts. He also helps the Weasley twins create a huge show of mayhem, and he helps during the battle of Hogwarts. I loved him and I miss him, he’s like the Tom Bombadil of Harry Potter.

4. Firenze’s Classroom

When they kick Trelawney to the curb in The Order of The Phoenix they bring in Firenze the centaur. His classroom is modeled after the forbidden forest and they study divination from an expert. I hate that they left out the Firenze storyline because it shows the disdain a lot of the other races have for wizards, and their reasoning makes sense. This storyline also shows how brutal centaurs are, they kick Firenze out of their group permanently because he decides to teach wizard children. Hogwarts ends up keeping Firenze as a teacher when Trelawney returns and they have two divination classes.

3. Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day Party

Nick throws a party for the 500th anniversary of his death, and he invited Harry, who drags Ron and Hermione along. I think this scene is important because it gives the ghosts of Hogwarts depth. Nick has desires and fears, but in the movie he only seems to flit around in the background. I want to see Nick arguing with the Headless Hunt, whom he can’t join because he’s only nearly headless. I want better for the Hogwarts Ghosts.

Fred and George’s Portable Swamp

When Fred and George make their grand exit in The Order of The Phoenix they leave behind a portable swamp that Professor Umbridge is unable to fix. Harry is sure that the other professors could fix it, but they take great joy in Umbridge’s suffering and leave it. At the end of the year they decide to leave a patch of the swamp because professor Flitwick claims it’s a good bit of magic. But, it also serves as a tribute to the twins. I love the mayhem they already portray in the movies, but I wish they had given it the same longevity it has in the books. The swamp would’ve been the perfect way to illustrate that.

Dumbledore’s Funeral

The funeral is the perfect way to show just what kind of impact Dumbledore had on the world. Countless people show up, the mermaids are there, and even the centaurs show up. Dumbledore becomes a martyr and the scene is so heartbreaking it makes me cry every single time. But it also creates doubt in Harry because he realizes that he didn’t know Dumbledore as well as he thought he did. Everything about this scene is perfect, and it’s a great jumping off point for The Deathly Hollows. That somber tone carries on and sets the tone for the final novel.

Instead, we get the students and professors raising their wands in a group Lumos. While the scene is touching it doesn’t have the same impact.


There are many more missing scenes, are there any that you wish were in the movies? Do we have any in common? Let me know in the comments!

June Goals

This month I was able to surpass 2,000 total followers, in June I’d like to be at 3,000. This improvement has been huge for me. A couple months ago I was at 200 solid followers with no solid post schedule. But now I’ve surpassed my own expectations and I even have a dedicated readership.

My second goal is to beat my highest amount of views in one day. My current count is 163, if I could get even one view higher I’d be ecstatic.

My last goal is to put out more book reviews in June than I have in past months. My goal for May was 2 book reviews a week, but I’d like to push that number to three in June. The whole purpose of my blog is reviewing and I’d like that to be my main focus with a book tag or an interview here and there.

What are your goals for the month of June? Let me know in the comments!

(Not So) Fave Five Friday: Tragic Deaths

So I’m not going to say these deaths are my favorite because they make me very sad. But, I wanted to put them on a Five Friday list to discuss them.

There are spoilers! So please beware!


5. Chuck in The Maze Runner

I think this death was so tragic because he was like a little brother to protagonist, Thomas. Chuck was the newest arrival to the maze until Thomas showed up, and he’s young compared to the rest of the kids there. He also dies right before they’re going to “escape”, and he’s killed by Gally, a complete asshole. It was just a punch to the gut that I wasn’t expecting.

4. Rudy in The Book Thief

Rudy’s death was one that made me cry ugly tears and I had to put the book down. His is a tragedy because he loves the protagonist, Liesel, and we learn that in some way she loved him too. Rudy is killed in a bombing during WWII, towards the end of the book. He continuously asks Liesel for a kiss, but he only receives his kiss as he lay dead in the street. They were only teenagers, and this isn’t entirely fiction. Stuff like this happened all the time during WWII, and it felt so real even though it’s a book of fiction. This was the reality for a lot of people during WWII.

3. Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit

Thorin’s death is so heartfelt, because he’d turned against Bilbo, a friend and member of his party, but in the end he makes peace with him. Thorin has been skeptical of Bilbo’s abilities to be a burglar for them, and questioned whether he had the heart to finish their quest, it wasn’t until the end that Thorin learned Bilbo’s value. They parted as friends and it’s a hard scene to read.

2. Finnick O’Dair in The Hunger Games

Finnick sacrifices himself to save the rest of his group as they journey through the sewers to infiltrate President Snow’s manor. He fights off the mutants while the rest of his unit escape out of the sewer, and Katniss detonated a bomb, mercy killing him. This death is tragic because he’s just reunited with the love of his life, Annie, and unknown to him she’s pregnant. For so long he wished to be with her, but instead was pimped out to the capital, and finally, when she’s within his grasp he dies. It’s so Romeo & Juliet. It killed me inside.

1. Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter

Everyone talks about Dobby and Fred’s deaths, but I think the real tragedy is Tonks. I was absolutely devastated when Fred and Dobby died, don’t think I wasn’t, but there was something different about Tonks’s death. She had just become a mother to a beautiful baby boy, a boy who had the potential to turn in to a werewolf, and would need the loving care of his mom. Tonks has to fight to be with Lupin, then had to fight to keep him, they had a baby, and they died. It hurts me to this day. It goes to show the the cycle of evil repeats itself, and war will always leave orphans.


Let me know what you think of my list in the comments.

3 Pieces of Blogging Advice

Be Consistent

You’ve probably already heard this before, but I’m going to give you my experience as an example.

I used to post 3 days a week when I felt like it, my traffic per day that I posted was maybe 10, if I was lucky. My monthly views were a bit pathetic, and I had around 200 followers when I decided to go on hiatus.

When I returned from my hiatus I decided I was going to post 6 days a week, and only deviate from that plan for holidays or if I needed a mental health day. My daily views on average are between 50-60 and I have over 2,000 followers. I’ve only been back from hiatus since the middle of March, when quarantine started. I’ve also earned a small amount of money through my blog.

Seriously, BE CONSISTENT. It pays off.

Be Yourself

To gain a following you have to be unique or likable in some way. What’s a better way to be unique than being yourself. There’s are billions of people on this planet, but there’s only one you. The best way to stand out is to speak from your heart, and to just say it how you would say it. You don’t have to be perfect. Throw in thirty emojis 🥰👌🏼👍🏼📚❤️🙋🏼‍♀️😭🥳🤣🐶😊 or a crazy gif

Do whatever it is that makes you happy, and just celebrate being unique.

Don’t Sacrifice Your Mental Health

I mentioned above that I’ll miss a posting day if my mental health needs it, and I’m serious. If you sit down to write a post and nothing is coming out and you’re getting stressed out, just take a day off. Your followers won’t abandon you, and I can assure you that they’ll understand. I often find it hard to come up with six days of content, like today, I’m sitting in bed writing this after I randomly had the idea to spread what advice has meant the most to me. Before I had that idea I was sitting here contemplating whether I’d be able to come up with any content or not. It’s okay to need a day, you’re only human, we’re all only human. At least I think 😂


Alright everyone, I hope you have a great day, and I hope you find this advice helpful.

Thoughts on Midnight Sun

So, if you’ve been on twitter you’ve probably seen that Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer will be released later this year.

This book is Edward’s perspective of the events of Twilight. I have a few questions. Is this just going to be the events of Twilight? Or will Meyer be rewriting the entire saga? Why now, after all of this time did she decide to publish Midnight Sun?

My issue with this book is that Meyer is essentially writing and selling the same book for the third dang time. We have the OG Twilight, the gender-swapped Life and Death, and now this one. Are fans really going to pay almost $30 for the same story retold from the least interesting characters perspective? I feel like Meyer is milking her fanbase, I’m totally down with her writing something in the Twilight universe, but not the same thing over and over again. That’s so boring.

Also, the cover.

Midnight Sun Book Cover

Does it not have a striking resemblance to this cover?

Bright We Burn Book Cover

I’ve never once seen pomegranates used on a book cover until Bright We Burn, but suddenly Midnight Sun is using the same concept, and for god knows what reason.

I’m not a fan of Meyer’s sales tactic. Give fans something original and thoughtful, not the same story over and over again.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Book Merch Tag

Rules:

1. Mention the creator of the tag(Celine @Celinelingg).

2. Mention the blogger who tagged you.

3. You may add your own questions if you want to!

4. Spread the love and tag some people to participate and connect! (There’s no limit in number, so have some fun and just tag!).

1. Book Merch that you are dying to have?

I really want some book stickers. Like this one:

Gem Stone Stickers by fableandblack on Etsy

I love stickers and I really need to add some to my blogging laptop to make it feel more me.

2. Let’s say you win a lifetime voucher with only ONE option. Book merch or Books?

Books for sure. Books can be so expensive and I’d much rather be able to save my money for merch and get the actual books for free. Imagine what you could do with a lifetime voucher! I’d be able to review whatever I wanted without the financial strain.

3. Have you ever tried making your own book merch?

Unfortunately, no. But I have been wanting to crochet my own Harry Potter figures. It would be so fun and my son could have them when I’m done.

Check these little cuties out by Galencaixe on Etsy

4. How do you usually get your book merch?

I used to get my merch from a book box subscription but it was too expensive for mediocre items, so then I started buying all of my stuff from the bookstore I worked at. Since I no longer work there I haven’t been buying merch 😭

5. Mind to share why do you love (or the contrary, not a big fan of ) bookish merch?

I love being able to rep my favorite fandoms. It’s the easiest way to connect with other book nerds. I love when I’m wearing my Gryffindor shirt and someone comes up to me and says, “You’re a Gryffindor? Me too!” It’s such an easy way to open a vessel for conversation for someone as introverted as me.

6. Let’s say you are a book merch addict. What will you do if there are no space left to store your new book merch?

Oh I would make room 🤪 No honestly, I might give some stuff to my brother or my dad. I like being able to give them stuff we both like. And they are not put off by getting something I had on display in my living room for a while. So, it’s a win-win.

TAG: Anyone who feels like joining. No pressure, I just thought this sounded fun.

The Best and The Worst of Blogging

My favorite thing about blogging is when someone actually reads and tells me they enjoy my content. I honestly never really expected to have a following and thought that blogging would be a fun little thing to do on my off time, but it’s turned into a full blown job at this point. Which is awesome. I’m working on monetizing my blog to help pay for a new logo and my premium WordPress cost. It really is amazing that I have people out there who support what I do. I never expected my words to have any kind of meaning to anyone.

The worst. I am such a socially awkward person and I worry that I’m going to say something that makes me sound dumb. When I reply to comments or say something on Twitter I obsessively analyze them before I reply because it stresses me out. I’m hoping that this is something that become more natural to me as time goes on, but as of right now that’s what freaks me out.

I will say that the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I love being able to share what I think with the world. If I could do this as my primary job I’d do it in a heartbeat. The writing community is such a joy to be a part of, I really do love it here.

Fave Five Friday: Local Bookstores

5. The Book Bin

The Book Bin Store Front

Location: Corvallis, OR.

The Book Bin is the closest large bookstore to my area, and I worked there for nearly three years. It has a huge selection of new and used books and until recently had the coolest bookstore cat named Tess (retired). I love this store because I met some of the best coworkers I’ve ever had here and if you go here, there are still pieces of me around the store. Little signs and labels, sections I organized, it just gives me a nice feeling of familiarity.

4. Browser’s Bookstore

Browser’s Bookstore Store Front

Location: Corvallis, OR.

Broswer’s is the competing bookstore to The Book Bin, so I feel a little like a traitor mentioning them, but I’m going to talk about why I loved it prior to my time at The Book Bin.

Browser’s is books head to toe, books on the floor, stacked in corners, and balanced on tables. I always found hidden gems in this place, and their sci-fi section is awesome. The best part? It’s cheap! I could get way more books here than The Book Bin, but the catch is that the owner at Browser’s is not at all friendly. So if you can handle a grump, you’d probably love Broswer’s.

3. Bob’s Beach Books

Bob’s Beach Books Store Front

Location: Lincoln City, OR.

Bob’s Beach Books is a comfy little bookstore with all of the basics, plus a ton of knick knacks. Their prices are decent and they sell new and used books, so you’re bound to get a good deal. It sits right on a nice busy tourist area of the town and it’s not far from the beach. It’s a good place to go on a fun weekend adventure.

2. Canyon Way Bookstore

Canyon Way Store Front

Location: Newport, OR.

Canyon Way is not only a bookstore but a restaurant. The books are a little pricier but the whole experience is awesome. You can make a reservation show up early and browse for books, or go on a nice romantic dinner date and pick out books for each other after. This store is dog friendly and right off of Newport’s historical bay front, which has candy stores, gift shops, and a newly renovated Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (which I used to work at years ago, before the renovation).

1. Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s City of Books Store Front

Location: Portland, OR.

The holy grail of Oregon bookstores, Powell’s is an absolute must visit for any book lover. This store have been here since 1971, it sells new and used books, it’s massive, and every Oregonian knows about it. Powell’s City of Books has a color coded organizational system and a team of staff members that will go above and beyond to help you. I love this place and there is definitely a reason it’s been around so long. It has become an Oregon landmark and a standard set for all bookstores. If you come over to the Pacific Northwest, you must visit Powell’s.

Thank you for reading! What is your favorite bookstore? Do you have a favorite independent bookstore, strictly an Amazon shopper, or are you in love with Barnes & Noble? Let me know in the comments.

Cool Author Incoming

I was recently contacted by Claire McFall the author of the book Making Turquoise to review her book. I am doing this little blurb to let you know how cool this author and book is. All of the proceeds from Making Turquoise will be donated to food banks during the coronavirus crisis.

Making Turquoise is a contemporary YA romance, taking place in Scotland, that follows Hayley and Liam as they grow up and fall in love. They live a Romeo and Juliet type of life and just when things can’t get any more difficult, Hayley’s brother ends up in the morgue.

Keep your eyes peeled for my review of Making Turquoise on Saturday at noon!

You can get McFall’s novel here.

What Genre of Literature is My Favorite?

My favorite genre is fantasy, and I mean all fantasy. Old school fantasy, YA fantasy, modern fantasy, the whole thing.

Why? Fantasy is my favorite because it allows me to escape into different worlds and it makes magic real. Existence can be really dull or quite frankly disappointing sometimes, but being able to tuck in to a good fantasy novel distracts the brain from boring every day life. I’m able to be a wizard, a hobbit, or a knight. I can take part in something I would never be able to experience in reality.

I’ve been in love with fantasy since I can remember. My dad would read The Hobbit to me every Christmas season. My grandmother was obsessed with fairies and dragons, she had the funky old hippy statues that they’d sell in tourist shops that depict fantasy characters. Growing up I had a wild imagination and I loved pretending like I was magical, I can remember playing outside and just letting my imagination go.

As I got older I started to really appreciate the genre and branch out. I truly believe Tolkien was what made me decide to pursue English and writing in college. The way he wrote and the depth that he created was something I wanted, and still want. I want to be able to create the world that I made up as a child on paper. That’s the best part of fantasy, dreams can be brought to life.

Do you like Fantasy? What’s your favorite genre? Let me know in the comments.

Fave Five Friday: Quotes

5. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

“I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

This one is so beautiful because anyone who has learned to read or write knows this feeling. The world is filled with so many words, how do you know if you’re using just the right ones? This quote really speaks to me as a writer.

4. Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech

“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins”

Growing up on the reservation this quote meant a something to me because it took an everyday quote and gave it a native twist. It was a reminder that we are still here and we’re just like everyone else.

3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

“The sooner you learn it’s on you to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.”

This is so beautiful. Life is what you make it.

2. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

“It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

This one is pretty self explanatory. Who you choose to be will always outstrip what you’re capable of. I live with this quote everyday.

1. The Fellowship of The Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Everybody picks this quote from The Lord of The Rings and it’s because it’s so true, so simple, and so beautiful. We are dealt a hand of cards and we must decide how we spend our time. Life is up to us.