Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Album Unboxing #1: "Verse #2" - JJProject


Hello, everybody! I'm super excited to introduce a new "segment" to this little blog of mine that I'm personally hoping some of you enjoy: album unboxings. I love music and am very passionate about it. I love pretty much every genre of music, in any language, any artist, I just LOVE music so much! My phone has become more of a glorified MP3 player since I now have so many songs in my library, it's not even funny. 

I also love buying albums and vinyls and have found that some of them are incredibly fun to open, particularly Kpop albums. Yes, I'm still in the deep dark abyss of Kpop and am NOWHERE NEAR climbing out of it. At this point, I'm simply in too deep. Anyhoo, I often wish that more albums of different genres were as fun to open as Kpop albums since they come with much more than just the album itself. I've seen a handful of American albums come in special packages that came with merch such as shirts, postcards, stickers, etc. but not that many. For now, I'll be doing mostly Kpop album unboxings until I can find other albums that I personally think will be fun to open on this blog. I hope you all enjoy so let's get on with the fun!

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If you're still here and actually interested in this album unboxing, I THANK YOU.

WARNING: Excessive fangirl may be ahead.

Anyhoo, I actually pre-ordered this lovely little album a few weeks ago, (before the album cover, song list, or any preview had been released #dedicated) and I'm so HAPPY with what I received! Apparently, there are two versions of this album, the "Tomorrow" version which is what I received and the "Today" version. Funny story is that I actually thought this was a different album I ordered so I was super extra surprised to have pulled this one out of the package. The album also came with a lot more stuff included than what I was expected and compared to other albums I've ordered in the past, it was like Christmas.

There were a couple of little fold out bits on either side of the album (which confused me for a second because like fifteen things fell out of those little fold outs) and I was shook. Anyhoo, it also came with a little photo card thing of one of the members and in the back was the actual album itself. I'm a 90's kid so having CDs out the wazoo makes me happier than a kid in a candy store. Literally not kidding.
So those fifteen things that fell out upon opening the album up and flipping through the booklet, I received a set of mini-photo cards (two packs actually but I accidentally deleted a picture of the other two) and a couple of them were double sided. I literally have a two-inch stack of these photo cards I've received from other albums in the past because I HAVE NO IDEA what to do with them. I've thought about using them as bookmarks but would that be weird? I'm all about shouting your fangirlism from the rooftops but when it comes to bands, I'm very hesitant. I don't want people thinking I'm some crazy fangirl (even though I AM  . . .) When I fangirl over books, music, etc. I go HARD.
The next thing the album came with was this really cool Photo Essay thing which is a booklet full of photography from the set of the music video for the album's single "Tomorrow, Today" which I thought was really neat since I've never received anything like that before. The photography was so beautiful and I especially loved all the scenic pictures of the country side and the nature.

There were also little captions to all the pictures (which I have no idea what they say since I don't know Korean) BUT the pictures are pretty so I'm satisfied. For now. Until it drives me crazy not knowing what the heck the captions say but thank goodness for Google Translate, right?
Last but not least, THE POSTER. I actually got two posters this time round which made me pretty darn happy. The first one is freaking HUGE as you can see as I used the photo essay booklet for size comparison.

I have a few other posters from other albums just stored safely away in a decorative box since I'm actually not a fan of hanging posters on my wall. It makes me feel a little like a creeper having people's pictures up on my wall, is that weird? I know plenty of people who hang posters up with no shame and I seriously ENVY THEM. I barely have two mini-posters hanging on my wall and one of them is only the silhouettes of the band members whereas the other has the band members facing AWAY from the camera and you can't see their faces. Am I the only one with this issue? Yes? Okay then . . .

And the last poster is much much smaller than the last though still a decent size, a little bigger than a sheet of printer-size paper. It's actually my personal favorite poster I own and I left this one tucked into the album booklet to keep safe.

Though I did take a picture of this one on my phone, just for, you know, no reason . . .
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So I hope I entertained at least ONE PERSON with this little album unboxing. I hope to do more in the future but don't worry, these won't happen often as it does take a while for albums like these to make it all the way to my little house. But there will be more, so please enjoy and stay tuned! I love all genres of music and I would LOVE to know what YOUR favorite genres are. If you feel like doing so, please let me know in the comments and maybe recommend some albums to me? I would SERIOUSLY LOVE that! Okay, see you guys in the next chapter!








Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July Book Haul + Wrap-Up!


Hello, everybody! Well, it hasn't been the best month for posting on this blog here now has it? I promise I'm trying my hardest to get better at posting more often (as I've said a THOUSAND times before) but this time, I'm serious! I WILL get better. 

Anyhoo, it also was actually a good book buying month as I was able to lessen the number of books I purchased. That's always a regular goal for me since I have WAY TOO MANY books I still have yet to read and really can't afford to keep buying more than what I'm actually reading. You understand my pain, right? RIGHT? Anyhoo, I'm quite proud of myself for having bought less books this month and I'll hopefully be able to read even more.

Last month was a bit slower for me reading wise but this month I hope to read as much as possible. I decided that this month I'll only be reading books that I FEEL like reading instead of picking up books that I feel like I should read because I've had them forever. I think that's what's been putting me in a reading slump lately and I plan on turning that around.

Alright, enough rambling. Here's my wrap-up and book haul for the month of July. Read on, bookworms! See you in the next chapter!
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REVIEW COPIES
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BOUGHT BOOKS:
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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia - Half Price Books - $8.99
Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan - Half Price Books - $4.99
Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane - Book Outlet - FREE with coupon
The Leaving by Tara Altebrando - Barnes and Noble - $9.99
The Darkest Lie by Pintip Dunn - Half Price Books - $4.99
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn - Half Price Books - $4.99
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WRAP-UP:
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CD'S/ALBUMS:

L O V E by kirstin™ - Target - $7.99
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SONGS/ DIGITAL DOWNLOADS:

Come Back Home by BTS - Google Play - $1.29
Youth by Spencer Kane - Google Play - $1.29
Hola Hola by K.A.R.D - Google Play - $1.29
Down by Jay Sean ft. Lil Wayne - Google Play - $0.99
L O V E (EP) by kirstin™ - Google Play - $5.99
Habit by Megan and Liz - Google Play - $1.29
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Review Chain: Level Up (Fandom Hearts #1) by Cathy Yardley + GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)

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Rating: PG-13
Score: ❤❤❤1/2
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Page Count: 151
Book #1 of the Fandom Hearts series
Publisher: Cathy Yardley
Published: December 30th, 2015

Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?


Review:
PROS:
1. Upon first reading about this book, I thought it sounded super cute and would be a breeze for me to read since I adore any book that has to do with video games, graphic art and anything nerdy. This book was a combination of all three and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy and read it. I was really excited for this book going in and I'm so happy I got that chance to read it and review it for you all! Let's get on into the review! 

2. Special thanks to the author for sending me an e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review! To start off, I really loved Tessa's character! Not only was she an introverted young woman working in a heavily male-dominated line of work, she was also an ambitious and determined Latina woman working hard to be recognized for her skills in coding. She wanted to work hard and earn respect for what she did and by continuously pursuing her career, she challenged herself in many ways that were at first hard for her such as being social with people, making friends and getting out of the house and out of her comfort zone.

3. I also liked that the relationship evolved quite nicely in my opinion between Tessa and her roommate Adam. At first, they're nothing more than roommates, not even friends. As they both continue to search for their place in their line of work and hone in on their coding skills, they go from roommates to good friends and eventually, a sweet romance blossoms between them. It was entertaining and swoon-worthy to watch their relationship evolve and made for an easy and fun read throughout the book. The characters were also very fun and lively, showing their support for each other in many parts of the book that I really enjoyed.

CONS:
1. I did have a few problems with this short chick-lit read, however. My first issue was that the initial first kiss in the novel was a bit random. It felt a little out of place, like it was kind of just thrown in and never mentioned afterward. It felt too quick and easy especially since Tessa was very shy and introverted and it felt like too sudden of a move for her character to make at the time it happens. 

2. I also would have loved a bit more fleshing out of the supporting characters as I really enjoyed seeing them pop into the story and wanted a bigger presence from them. They added a lot to the book and I wanted to see more of them as I read. I also would have liked a bit more romantic development. I know I said earlier that their relationship developed nicely, which it did, but the romantic FEELINGS on both their parts felt a little out of left-field, too quick, almost over night. There wasn't that slow simmering build-up of romantic feelings that I personally love seeing in romantic reads. If I had seen more of that, I think I would have absolutely LOVED this book. 


Overall, it was a quick and easy read, perfect to relax with. I think if you're a reader who loves a good geeky romance story, then definitely pick this one up and see what you think! I do plan on reading the sequel to this book, which I will be posting a review of later in the month so stay tuned for that. I did enjoy "Level Up" and I hope more readers out there can enjoy the book either as much or more than I did.


Please Note: I would recommend this book to OLDER readers as it does contain mature content.

You Can Purchase The Book Here:
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About The Author:

Cathy Yardley needs to get out more. When not writing, she's usually lurking on social media, playing Fallout 4, or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She's a fangirl of Supernatural, Doctor Who, SherockLOTR,  and too many others to name.  She lives with her family in Seattle.  They are considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture.

Author Links:
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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Review Chain: Article Three (Systemet #1) by Anna Jakobsson Lund + GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)

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Rating: PG-13
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Score: ❤❤❤1/2
Page Count: 349
Book #1 of the Systemet Trilogy
Publisher: Annorlunda förlag
Published: March 3rd, 2015

Trust will get you killed – and trust will keep you alive

In a world where the System governs everything, Ava’s a rebel – one who can control other people’s thoughts with her mind. As part of a resistance movement preparing for war, this is a useful skill. 

Levi stopped believing in the struggle for freedom when it snatched his parents from him. Now he’s just trying to live a quiet life and control the voices that threaten his sanity. 

One night Levi’s sister is arrested. To free her, he has to break old promises and get involved with people he swore he’d never associate with. Ava’s ordered to help him and, together, they leave on a rescue mission. She says he has to trust the rebels. But should they?


Review:
PROS:
1. Special thank you to the very talented author herself for sending a physical copy of the book my way in order for me to review it! As part of The Review ChainI was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Before I can ramble on too much about how interesting the synopsis sounded and how the sound of it had me interested in the novel when I first read it, let's just get right into the review, shall we? But can we appreciate that cover though?


2. Right off the bat, I was getting some CITY OF EMBER vibes from this novel which I was totally digging as the book played out. It's not necessarily a post-apocalyptic book, but it does take place in a time of uprising as it is an espionage action novel with an underlying dystopia tone that really intrigued me as I read the book. The main characters of this novel are working undercover to save one of their own who have been arrested by The System and have to go a long and potentially dangerous journey in order to save their friend. There were quite a few elements of this novel that I appreciated and made the story interesting and enjoyable as it plays out.

3. One thing I really loved about the novel was the world building. It was detailed yet simplified with the descriptions which made for a beautifully smooth and uncomplicated way of explaining the world of the book to the reader. The author used a simple and straightforward writing style which went very well with one of the POVs in this book as that particular character saw the world in a very straightforward, black-and-white way. At first, it was a little hard to get the hang of what the world looked and felt like since the beginning of the book wastes no time in getting right into the story but after a few pages, you're able to visualize this almost futuristic system with ease. 

4. Another thing I liked about this novel was the air of mistrust throughout the book. The characters can trust literally no one, not even each other as the rebellion takes shape and action on bringing down The System. With a lot to lose at stake for the character, the atmosphere of mistrust really adds that little extra magic to the story that kept me as a reader entertained and wanting to know who was really worthy of trusting and wondering just what each characters' motives really were. The paranoia that characters were feeling makes the reader feel as if they are on the mission with them, making it somewhat interactive in that sense.

CONS:
Originally Published in Swedish March 3rd, 2015
1. While I enjoyed this novel for the most part, I was a little let down by the choice of it being written in third-person for the POVs of the characters. This novel would have been killer to read in first-person for each of the POVs as it would have allowed me personally to really connect with the characters and get to know them and how they think, feel, and act, which was something I wasn't able to do while reading. I'm not sure if the third-person writing kept me from attaching myself to the characters as it distanced them from me, or if it just didn't work for me because of the kind of fast-paced story it was but I was disappointed that none of the characters really clicked for me. I wanted to love them but I wasn't really able to connect with any of them for some reason.

2. There is a lot happening throughout the book and a lot of information coming at you about The System and the rebellion and while it is paced nicely, it's still a lot of info. I found myself kind of feeling like I was drowning in all the information at some points, it just wasn't sinking in fast enough. However, if you're the kind of reader who doesn't mind a lot of information about this kind of dystopia world, you might enjoy the book just fine.

Overall, I did really like the book and the crazy plot twist did catch me by surprise, almost blowing my mind as I read. I don't know if I'll reread this one in the future but I would definitely recommend it to all dystopian book lovers. Article Three is totally a game-changer to the dystopian genre as it includes different elements that make it a unique read in the ocean of cookie-cutter dystopian novels out there. 




You Can Purchase The Book Here:
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About The Author:

I’ve always been a daydreamer. As a kid I wasn’t that interested in other children, I wanted to be left alone with my mind and let it tell me stories. Distant worlds and time travel were frequently reoccurring topics. I was usually the hero, with the occasional side-kick. Writing came naturally to me, as a way to try to catch the stories, and later on, to share those with the friends I did manage to get, despite being somewhat strange.

Adulthood didn’t stop the daydreaming, but it made me use less of it in my writing. Instead I wrote poetry and more conventional stories. Boring stories.

141208-AnnaJakobssonLund-124When I was pregnant with my second child I’d enough of them. I’d self-published one novel; a neat piece of relationship drama where nothing happened. I loved the characters but the plot was too slow. Writing, publishing and marketing were hard work, and if I was going to do it again it would not be with a boring story.

My brain rescued me by playing me a scene I’d first come up with as a teen. I knew that the street depicted was from the future, and that the boy getting beat up was on a quest to save his sister. I also had the idea that the girl saving him (who had been me in the original story, of course) was part of a resistance movement.

I ran with that, started writing and discovered the kind of writer’s high I hadn’t experienced since I was a kid. As I finished that first book (Article Three) more ideas kept entering my daydreams. Not just about the two other parts of what would be The System trilogy, but ideas that could be turned into short stories and new novels. My mind is as creative now that it has ever been, which is no small blessing for a mum of small children.

The wonderful thing about sci-fi and fantasy is that you don’t have to be tied down by norms and rules of the ordinary world.  You’re still able to address modern day issues, though. I try to use this in my writing by exploring themes that make the reader question his or her own views as well as society’s. I use characters that are not often depicted in main-stream literature. People I find interesting, who stretch our notion about what parts people usually play in literature. In my writing there’re no alpha-dogs and no damsels in distress. I’ve even declared my books love-triangle free. It sounds like a joke, but I want other things for my readers than the question about which hot guy the main character is going to choose at the end.

I’m an indie-publisher, which is equal parts funny and exhausting, and I have four novels published in Swedish. The idea to get my novels translated professionally and try to reach a larger audience is more than a little crazy, but as I started discussing it with fellow writers I couldn’t quite shake it. As I grow older I get increasingly less afraid, and also crazier, and I feel like I would be stupid not to follow my dreams when I have the chance.

Author Links:
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Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn + GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)


Hello, everybody! Today is my stop on the blog tour for WESLEY JAMES RUINED MY LIFE by Jennifer Honeybourn hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of this blog tour.

Down below you'll find my full review of the book, the purchase links, as well the author's social media links, a link to check out the rest of the blog tour and finally, the GIVEAWAY. I hope you all enjoy this one, folks!

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Rating: PG
Genre: Contemporary
Score: ❤❤❤ 1/2
Page Count: 256
Stand Alone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Published: July 18th, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it


Review:
PROS:
Source
1. First off, I took a liking to the cute little cover this book has and since it's summer time and the season of contemporary romance reads, I thought this would be a good book to add to my summertime TBR. As if I need to make that list any longer than it already is at this point. Anyhoo, I thought the synopsis sounded pretty cute and lighthearted so I took a shot. I mean, who doesn't love a book with a medieval restaurant and a food truck, am I right? Here are my thoughts: 

2. The book ended up being super cute, and funny at times. It is a super quick read so if you want something to keep you entertained that doesn't take up too much of your valuable reading time, I'd suggest picking this one up as it's cute, fun, lighthearted and a little bubbly. It was a breeze to get through and the humorous tone of the story is present from beginning to end, making it a great summer read.

3. I also liked that the book mentions other issues going on in Quinn's life, not just having the story focus on the love-to-hate relationship she and Wesley have going on through most of the book. Quinn's grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer's which Quinn isn't taking so well as she was so close with her grandmother, as was Wesley but she chooses not to tell him about her current condition and the fact that she's now in a home. Quinn's father is also a gambler who is jobless and often takes advantage of people, including her, his own daughter.  Quinn has been having a hard time dealing with all of this, especially since she believes that Wesley was the reason it all happened, the source of all her problems. It was entertaining to see how Quinn chooses to punish Wesley for ruining her life in various ways, such as trying to get him fired from his job.
CONS:
1. While I liked this book, as it was fun and quirky and cute, it didn't do much for me. The lack of swoon made me feel like this book fell a little flat for me as I wasn't really invested in the romance between Quinn and Wesley. There was also little-to-no transition from Quinn hating his guts to her falling in love with him. It felt rushed and sudden like a snap of the fingers. Personally, I like a slow simmering romance, the build-up, the angst even just a touch of it. This one though? Didn't have really any of that. I also thought the ending was too rushed and would have preferred another two or three chapter for the story to take its time to wrap things up in a cute little bow. 

2. I also liked the characters enough. I felt Quinn's character was overshadowed by the fact that she was so keen and determined to get revenge on Wesley that I didn't really get to know her as a character, even though at some points I did think she was funny and feisty. Wesley didn't really get much character development either which is too bad because I found him to be a quirky character and would've loved to have seen more development, interaction, and more time for the romance to build-up. They had a cute and subtle chemistry, but I needed just a touch more to really get me invested.

Overall, it was cute, quick, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary reads that aren't too dramatic but choose to take a simpler route with straightforward characters and fun, entertaining antics.  


You Can Purchase The Book Here:
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About The Author:

Jennifer HoneybournJennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. Wesley James Ruined My Life is her first novel. 

Author Links:



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