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Fan Experiences

About a month and a half ago, I went to go see Pitch Perfect Sing-Along at Phipps Plaza with some friends. It’s one of those things that sounds super dorky, but it was so much fun. In the lobby, a local school’s a cappella group sang Christmas songs. In the theater, you could hear everyone singing along, especially during the Cup Song. Including the cups. I didn’t turn around, but I’m going to guess that some people were packing cups.

A few weeks ago, The Backstreet Boys released the trailer for their documentary, Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of. They’re releasing it on VOD (Video on Demand), but also said that there would be screenings. Now, they’re seeing how many people will go to each screening through this website. They’ll only have the screenings if the required number is met, which depends on the theater size. And yes, it’s $20 if your city mets the limit, but think about it. Think. About. It. I’ll not only be sitting in a theater, watching the film a day early, but I’ll also be surrounded by 50 other BSB fans. And I’m not even claiming to be their biggest fan. Heck, not until recently did I listen to their most recent albums. Which are fantastic, by the way.

On top of that fan experience of being with other people who appreciate this film and this pop band, it’s their story directly from them. I feel like with pop music, we’ve seen all these people paraded on the covers of Tiger Beat, YM, and other magazines that probably gave you whiplash from such a throwback mention! Haha. Also the fact that BSB has stuck to it. It seems like they’ve had their ins-and-outs, but they’ve stuck to it and they’ve really made it work for the long haul. That demands respect right there.

There are so many good and ridiculous memories with BSB music in the background. There’s the time my cousin Karen showed me one of their tour DVDs that also had the music video for Everybody — which truly won me over. There’s the time Brittany pointed to their faces as we listened to a song so I would know whose voice I was hearing. The list goes on and on.

So, if you have a chance to see this film, do it with people. It’s so fun watching films with people who really, really love it.

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Debut Author Challenge 2015

It’s that time of the year again! I’m pretty sure I didn’t even try at the Debut Author Challenge in 2014, but I’m sure as heck gonna make a go at it for 2015. I know a couple of people who are debut authors, so I’m super excited to read their upcoming novels.

My goals: Read 12 debut novels, and at least 6 need to be from authors of color. That’s one book per month.

Some of the books I’m looking forward to reading:

  • The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark
  • When Reason Breaks by Cindy L Rodriguez
  • Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  • Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becki Albertalli
  • Hello, I love You by Katie M Stout
  • For the Record by Charlotte Huang
  • First & Down by Emma Mills (Elmify)

Looking at my list, it looks like there are some great Contemporary YA books coming out. Do you have any suggestions as far as debuts in other genres? Let me know below!

Also, here are some of my other 2015 Goals:

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It’s worth repeating: Be Kind.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: Be Kind.

It sometimes comes off as a cheesy sentiment. Why be kind when you can make sarcastic remarks? It’s the easier route to go toward negative, even if it’s for the sake of comedy.

So, why be kind? I always assume that I don’t know what the other person is going through when I cross paths with them. I work in retail, and when someone comes in the shop with a question or they’re looking for something, I go for being authentic and kind. I know I have my rough days when I want to hide under the counter, making graphics for our social media sites, but I can’t.

I know a part of it is that I want everyone who walks into the door to become a loyal customer who tells all his/her friends ALL about us. It’s the same thing online. Sometimes I get sassy and say that I never want to read a certain kind of book or I would never do XYZ, but it never comes from the idea of wanting to offend someone. Yes, I have definitely said some things in the past that weren’t nice. Sometimes I was standing my ground and sometimes I took some things to far. We all have our moments of stupid.

Being kind is definitely a work in progress. It’s really easy for me to respond to someone asking me, “Well should I do this THIS way or THAT way?” by saying, “Do whatever you think is best.” Is it a cop-out? Yep. Sometimes I just can’t think on my feet and it takes me an hour to respond to emails asking me about how one becomes successful in “BookTube”.

I feel like being kind comes easy for some, but those of us who were raised on sarcasm and getting made fun of for our weirdness… We make the negativity our shell and our defense mechanism. Let’s turn that. Let’s treat people better than we’ve been treated.

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The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Book Review

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger Book ReviewThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Book DepositoryPublished by Little Brown on September 7, 2010
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 280
Format: eBook
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

I know, I know, finally, right? Right. I’ve finally read one of the most critically (or bloggerly, to be more precise) acclaimed books OF ALL TIME of all the Contemporary YA literature. Yes, yes, good.

Trigger (because this book is rather intense): There’s a scene in which her dad is drunk and he hits her once.

The Good:
The humor in this novel is on point. I really love YA novels that bring the humor to balance out the not-so-humorous times. It’s not the kind of book that turns from one feeling to another on a dime, but I appreciated that. It’s definitely not a crying book, but I did laugh out loud at some of the lines.

Put your pants on, we have an essay to write.

The best friend-ness. How often do you see active best friends in a YA novel!?!?!?!?! NEVERRRRR. Just kidding, but half of the time when the MC is all “Woe is me, I am unattractive,” they tend to be friendless. But even when Bianca is being shady, Jessica and Casey confront her about it. Also, I’m glad that their dialogue isn’t just boy-related. It was really refreshing.

This isn’t necessarily a good situation, but it is well-written: the parents and the divorce and the dealing with her dad’s alcoholism. DUUUUUUUUDE. Like, dudes. Yes, Bianca does run from it. Yes, she does some things that aren’t emotionally healthy. BUT. When she does deal with the things like talking to her mom and talking to her dad, it’s really, really good. Of course, she’s not the most eloquent person ever, but when she finally confronts certain situations, she’s honest. And the writing about her dad’s relapse was honest and dealt with very, very well.

Digging Deeper + AHA! Moment:
There were times when I thought, “You really think that, Bianca?!” When she talks about her perceptions of herself as well as her perceptions of other people and what people may think about her. It’s actually a really interesting study of how we view ourselves opposed to how we view others. And how we compare (and relate) ourselves to others, as well. It isn’t all about physical looks, but also how we’re perceived. Bianca talks about Vikki, who ~sleeps with all the guys~. Bianca has her AHA! Moment when she realizes that we’re all Duffs and we all think about what other people say and think about us.

There were some “Really, Bianca?!” moments when she said or thought things that weren’t good (mostly the slut shaming), but I’m pretty sure it all — or mostly all — gets resolved by the end of the novel.

The Boys:
I mean, the idea about The Duff kicks off with a boy — Wesley Rush. He’s the school… flirt?! Let’s just say that his motto is, “I don’t chase girls, girls chase me.” He has quite the reputation for sleeping around. His character gets more complex as the novel progresses (thank goodness) and he does quite a bit of realizing for himself (thank goodness x1000).

Jake is someone we get a secondhand account of, but don’t actually meet. The ex-who-wasn’t-really-an-ex who had Bianca as his lady-on-the-side. Gross. He isn’t a redeemable character, to me. Gross.

Toby. Oh, sweet Toby. He’s the boy Bianca has had a crush on since… forever. He’s genuinely a good guy. A little pretentious, but it works for him. He didn’t really have much to him, but his presence did what was necessary.

Overall:
I can see why people love this book so much! It’s a really well-rounded book. The writing was great in regards to humor, truth, and all of that. Rarely does a book leave me wanting to write a review as soon as I finish, but this was an exception. I know that there are hundreds of reviews out there about this book, but YOWZA. This book packs a punch. I felt like I experienced a whole range of emotions while reading The Duff and I can’t wait to read more of Kody’s work!

A song that popped in my head while reading this novel:

four-half-stars

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Brazen by Katherine Longshore Book Review

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Brazen by Katherine Longshore Book ReviewBrazen by Katherine Longshore
Book DepositorySeries: Royal Circle
Published by Penguin on June 12, 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

This month, I kept picking up books that I couldn’t get into, so my solution? Pick up the biggest book on my shelf. And which book was that? Brazen by Katherine Longshore, the third book in a companion series set during Henry VIII’s reign as king. Tudor Times? I read Tarnish a while back for book club, so when I was flipping through Penguin’s catalog for upcoming releases, I knew I needed to request this beast of a book. Both Tarnish and Brazen sucked me in with the world, the cast of characters, and of course the drama.

Even though the ladies in this story were progressive, they had their differences and it was great discourse for how women fit (and didn’t fit) in the society at the time. It was almost like a Sex in the City in Tudor Times. Sex in the Castles? There ya go. It definitely shows when the ladies are sitting around with their embroidery or the book and they’re chatting about the boys and other gossip.

Fitz was rather swoon-worthy and adorable in his way of interacting with Mary Howard. Two awkward 14 year olds get married, and what do you expect? This. This is sooooo good. I definitely giggled every time she was bold enough to just lay one kiss on him and surprise the heck out of the kid.

Also, King Henry is the worst. Just, King of Terrible. But y’all know that from History books and whatnot, right? Dude was fifty shades of awful.

It was really interesting to see Anne in this novel in that the reader gets to see her struggles in her terrible marriage, her interactions with her ladies, and of course her slow demise. I knew what was coming, but I was just hoping for better. You know how it is? Yeah. I just wanted her to kick King Henry in the face and run off with baby Elizabeth.

Back to Mary! I loved that she didn’t forget where she came from. She remained fairly close with her brother throughout the novel, which I am a huge fan of because sibling relations are my favorite. Also the fact that Hal was kind of like the liaison between Fitz and Mary. He could tell Mary things about Fitz, and Fitz things about Mary. Good chap.

Overall, this is just a really REALLY good novel. Ahhh. It definitely has fueled my Historical Fiction kick!

And you can’t read this book without having this song pop up in your head at least once:

five-stars

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