Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cover Reveal: Breaker by Emma Raveling

I'm so excited to be a part of the Breaker cover release! But I don't want to take away from this moment, so here we go!




This is the cover reveal for Breaker by Emma Raveling, the fourth book in the Ondine Quartet, an upper Young Adult Urban Fantasy series. 


War. Prophecy. Freedom.

She fought for herself. She fought for friendship and love. Now, Kendra Irisavie fights for the survival of her world.

War rages on, leaving no one untouched. Destruction rips through elemental communities and terror flourishes in its wake. Suspicion soars, order fractures, and loyalties crumble despite Kendra’s desperate attempts to protect everyone she holds dear.

 When an organized Aquidae army launches a series of merciless assaults, Kendra and her friends set out to end the bloodshed once and for all. With the fate of elementals hanging in balance, the Shadow and sondaleur hunt each other down in a brutal match of cunning and will.

 Kendra has trained for this her entire life. But in a ravaged world where trust is scarce and no life is sacred, she soon realizes her battle may be against an invincible enemy and that her darkest days lie ahead.

 Twists and turns shape her harrowing odyssey, leading to a stunning climax that challenges everything she believes in.

 Torn between destiny and autonomy, Kendra must finally decide whether the cost of freedom is too high.

 Heartbreaking decisions, turbulent alliances, and shattering revelations collide in Breaker, the
explosive conclusion to the Ondine Quartet.


Tell us about the covers in this series.

The main novels of the Ondine Quartet (Whirl, Billow,Crest, Breaker) have conceptual covers. Each cover’s imagery captures a particular theme or motif in the book, and the coloring conveys a sense of the story’s mood and emotional arc.

The shorter works/novellas in the series (Ondine,Chevalier, and Warrior Prince) are essentially character portraits and are told through the eyes of different characters in the series. Those covers use models.

The goal for Breaker’s cover was to visually convey high stakes, explosive energy, and a brilliant, sharp intensity.This is the epic finale to the series and everything that has happened in previous books has led to this moment.

Out of all the covers in the series, this one took the most amount of work. My designer and I went back and forth multiple times, going through several drastically different versions before finally arriving at the right
imagery and coloring.


How does it feel to end a series?

It’s bittersweet. A part of me is thrilled to share the end of Kendra’s journey with readers. I’ve had the entire series planned since the very beginning so finally releasing what’s been in my head is a relief.

But the process of writing this final book has been a highly emotional one. There’s a personal attachment to the work itself. I’ve spent countless hours thinking and living with these characters and with this world over the past four years. It’s difficult to bring not only Kendra’s story, but my journey with her story,to an end.

A few easy questions:

Top 3 books?

Only 3?? Argh! There are so many books I love for different reasons and my list of favorites is always changing, depending on what’s going on in my life. Right now, if I had to name three, they’d be:

1. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. And of course, the Harry Potter series


Top 5 movies?

1. Aviator

2. Mulholland Drive

3. The Matrix

4. The Breakfast Club

5. Okay, I couldn’t just pick five. So the last one is a tie between The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs, Star Wars (ep. 4-6), and Catch Me If You Can.

Top 5 places in the world you enjoy visiting?
1.New York City
2.Tokyo
3.Paris
4.Kauai Island (Hawaii)
5.Berlin


Top 5 foods?
1.Fresh basil pesto – I’ll add this on anything
2.Sashimi (Japanese-style raw fish)
3.Dark chocolate
4.Jamón ibérico(Spanish ham)
5.And my terrible guilty pleasure: pizza



Author Bio:
Emma Raveling writes a wide variety of fiction for teens and adults. Hopelessly addicted to coffee and diet coke, she is the author of the Ondine Quartet and Chancer young adult series, and is currently working on the first book in her new Steel Magic series for adults.

 Previous Novels:

 



Previous Novellas:



 This event was organized by:
~Ashley

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
By: Ken Dalton


Welcome to this stop on the Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? blog tour! I have a review below, along with a giveaway and a really interesting contest.


Left: Cover- If that doesn't entice you,
I'm not sure what will.

Right: Author Ken Dalton




Thanks Tribute Books for sending a free review copy!



Summary: Bear’s planned afternoon of beer and baseball is interrupted by a phone call from a man he hardly remembers from their years at Elko High. So begins the tale of a cold-blooded murder and the theft of a dime worth two million dollars!

Faced with bi-coastal murder suspects, Pinky hands Bear, and Flo the sweaty task of tracking down one of the suspects along the hot, humid North Carolina shoreline while he chooses to pursue the other on the Kona coast of Hawaii. But Pinky, after imbibing too many Mai Tai’s with a bevy of sky-goddesses, and a moved-up court date, is forced to return to Carson City, sans suspect.

Bear and Flo hit pay dirt and with the identity of the killer in hand they fly across the Pacific Ocean to the smoggy Beijing airport where they meet Joe, the uncle of Pinky’s Chinese secretary. The enigmatic Joe quotes Confucius and Shakespeare as he purposefully guides the dynamic duo to their final destination— oxygen sparse Lhasa, Tibet.

My thoughts: I went into this book right away, because it sounded really interesting. I can honestly say that on the whole, this was a good book. I enjoyed the plotline and I liked the characters. They are well written and the plot is wow. I think I may be taking a trip to Nevada and touring around using this book.
     I liked the mysterious aspect of this novel. I also enjoyed meeting new characters and the two different point of views (Pinky and Bear).
     I must say, though, that I was not impressed with the main character. Bear is an investigator, but he has little to no common sense at all. This may be because I jumped into the fifth Pinky and Bear mystery, but I'm not sure. That was my biggest complaint of this novel. There were a few comments that irked me, but nothing major. I do wish I could hear how the murder was performed in more detail, though.
     On the whole, this was a good novel. I thought the mystery was amazing and I loved suspecting new characters. I now want to read Dalton's other mysteries.

Rating:  4 stars! I had to take off a star due to the cons I mentioned above.

You can purchase a paperback copy or a Kindle edition through Amazon.

Cliff hanger contest:
Brother, can you spare a dime? ends with a prize winning cliff hanger that defies all logic.

Let Ken know how you would answer the question and he will choose the two answers he likes the best. Both winners will receive a complete paperback set of his Pinky and Bear mystery series.

The Bloody Birthright
The Big Show Stopper
Death is a Cabernet
The Tartan Shroud
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Five books, each one personally inscribed!

Email your cliff hanger answer to ken@kendalton.com and in a couple of months Ken will post the winners' names on his Facebook page.

GIVEAWAY

Win $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash!


Contact the author at his website: http://www.kendalton.com/

                                                                                                                                                  ~Ashley

Sunday, July 27, 2014

ARC August

ARC August 2015Hello! First post in FOREVER and I have good news! I will be participating in the second annual ARC August, hosted by Octavia at Read, Sleep, Repeat. Huge thanks to her, by the way. 
ARC August is a time for readers with a HUGE stash of ARCs to get through that pile. While I'd love to read all of mine, it isn't reasonable with all my other duties. So I'll be definitely reading at least one ARC (I know, pitiful) and I am going to try to get some more done. I'll let you all know how it goes!
~Ashley

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mini Review: The Great Gatsby

This will be a short review. I call it a Mini Review! (Making up names makes everything cooler).
                                              The Great Gatsby
By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
When I say short review, I mean short.
Plot: 5 stars. I liked the story line and how everything tied together, especially with all the things we didn't know at first and learned toward the end.
Characters: 5 stars. These characters were original and funny, but they were their own. They knew what they did and their purposes. 

Overall: 5 stars
Also, in case nobody has yet watched the 2013 movie, it does follow the book quite closely. It's actually a fantastic version!
~Ashley

Monday, July 21, 2014

All Things Harry Potter Giveaway!

So as you know, I make Harry Potter Toms. Well, a few weeks ago, I was asked by an awesome blogger if I would take part in a Harry Potter giveaway. Of course I said yes and now I finally get to post about it! This has all things Harry Potter up for grabs and I'm so jealous of all the winners. This is all thanks to Rae Gun Ramblings, so make sure you give her a huge thanks. And without further ado, let's start the giveaway! 




This is also a super cool photo challenge from Rae Gun, so enter each of these days, as well!













Christmas in July Giveaway HOP

    Do you feel that? That's the sun beating down on my stop in the Christmas in July giveaway HOP, hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Laurie Here.
    So you are here for this mega-awesome giveaway, I know, but first you get to read my rambling. Or not. Up to you. I guess I enjoy July somewhat, if only for the chance to read more. And Christmas is amazing! The hot chocolate, snow, fireplaces. Everything. And a Christmas in July would be fabulous if I could have the cold and the fireplaces, but with extra reading time so that I could read any book I had been given.


Without further ado, let's start the giving!






GIVEAWAY
I am giving away two books, unfortunately US only. I will try to do international sometime in the future, but I cannot be sure when.




ONE (1) winner will receive a copy of A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber and a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Christmas Treasury for Kids






I personally have not read either, but A Cedar Cove Christmas is supposedly a retelling-style of the Christmas story. And Chicken Soup is a fabulous brand that I really love, so I doubt this one would let anyone down.

-Do not duplicate entries
-Make this fun, without cheating
-All winning entries will be verified
-Winner has 48 hours to claim prize

**If you tweet a message, please leave your tweet's link and your twitter username in a comment. If the link is not there, the points will not count.**


Blog Tour Stop: Girl in the Middle

Girl in the Middle
By: Christine H. Bailey

Welcome to my stop on the Girl in the Middle blog tour! Find my review down below. And a huge thanks to Buy the Book Tours and Christine Bailey for sending me a free copy!Genre: YA Romantic SuspensePublisher: Vinspire Publishing, LLCPublishing Date: September 22, 2013Length: 210 pages

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Skye, the middle child, finds herself wishing for a new life-one that doesn't include daily harassment from the in-crowd at Highland Creek High School. Skye barely survived freshman year. She only did because her best friend, Goose, a semi-popular fellow band geek, was by her side. But when their sophomore year starts, Goose ditches Skye for a new crowd. Cast into a lone existence at Highland Creek, Skye wishes for a touch of extraordinary that everyone, except her, seems to have. Her older sister, Sara Elizabeth, has it. Goose is getting close to it, and even her little sister is wildly popular in junior high. Skye would do almost anything to cast off her ordinary life...but at what price? When her older sister goes missing without a trace, Skye gets her wish...but it's not exactly what she had in mind. And when she questions Bryan, the senior class renegade and also the last person to be seen with her sister, she finds something she never quite expected.
Excerpt: “Your essay was a little disturbing to Ms. Stone,” said Mr. Munsey. “She asked me to read it and give her my thoughts. That’s why I’m here.” Mr. Munsey, a large and bushy-haired man, looked about the same age as Ms. Stone, like around thirty-something probably. He had the mountain-man look—okay on a movie star, but not so much on Mr. Munsey.
“I don’t even remember what it was about. I wrote it last week when I had my migraine. 
“A story about ‘offing the populars,’ as you put it,” Mr. Jones said.
 I slumped into a chair and said, “Oh. My short story.”
 “Skye, we’re just concerned…” Mr. Munsey said. “About you being bullied.” He really dragged out the word concerned. 
“I’m fine, and the story was not a hit list or plan or anything. I was just having a bad day and wrote a stupid story. It was like therapy. It was supposed to be funny, actually.”
“Well, it’s enough to make us question you,” Mr. Munsey said.
“It’s not a journal entry,” I said. “It’s not a cry for help or anything. I was just writing. It’s a fictional story about a school with no populars. No hierarchy. No Queen Bees or loud-mouthed jocks.”
My Thoughts: I fell in love with this book. I actually knew that I had to read it for a blog tour and so, taking a break from my writing, I thought I'd start. After not moving for way too long, I finished the book. One sitting. That's how great it is.
     I can honestly say I wasn't expecting anything that happened. It kept me on my toes and satisfied. Nothing was predictable. I was suspecting some grisly murder, but no worries, it's clean. There is also a really cute romance in the book. I don't really love reading romance, but this was fantastic.
     The characters were well thought out and quite relate-able. The diction was strong, but not unnecessarily wordy and annoying. The descriptions were realistic. Every word made me want to read another page.
     All in all, this was a phenomenal debut novel. I will definitely look forward to anything else Ms. Bailey writes.
Pros: Plot, characters, cover, EVERYTHING

Cons: There is not really a huge climax, which actually appealed to me more. It may bug other readers, I'm not sure.

Rating: 5 stars! So easy to rate this one.
Christine H. Bailey teaches Creative Writing and Written Composition at a private university in Tennessee. Before teaching English, Bailey worked as a journalist, a marketing/public relations writer, and a freelance editor.
Girl in the Middle is Bailey’s debut novel. To learn more about this author and her work, visit her online at www.cibailey.com.
GIVEAWAY!!


~Ashley

Friday, July 18, 2014

Busy Day!

I'm probably going to try to get my Shelf Exploration in on Fridays, but I'm not sure. As for today, I cannot do anything special because I am sooooo busy!

I'm leaving town tomorrow morning (4 am morning) and I will have sporadic posts throughout the next week. Next Sunday is when my schedule will be back to normal. But this is everything I have to get done.


  • Pack. Duh, but I haven't done it yet.
  • Laundry. So I can pack.
  • Knit a Weasley sweater. I'm about 1/4 way through. 
  • Plan for LeakyCon, which is right after I get back from this trip.
  • Finish The Great Gatsby.
  • Adventures with Ragweed
  • Prey of Desire
  • I am the Messenger
  • My Antonia
  • Get back on track with my Etsy orders
  • Household chores
  • NaNoWriMo
  • A Wattpad contest (writing)
  • Win some giveaways. Well, I hope to. There's one that I'm dying to win, but I can almost guarantee I won't. Stupid odds.
I think that's about it. So I'm going to sign off for today. Monday I have some exciting posts coming up!
~Ashley

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Harry Potter MOTW: Bravest Character

I discovered something new!! So Uncorked Thoughts (http://uncorkedthoughts.blogspot.ca/p/harry-potter-meme.html) has an awesome thing where bloggers post their favorite Harry Potter moment based on a theme. And this week happens to be......BRAVEST CHARACTER MOMENT.

There are so many. Oh, so many. The forest with Harry, Hermione and Draco. But my moment is neither. It is a moment where a friend stands up to a friend. Oh yes, I'm talking about the Harry vs. Ron, the Neville vs. Trio. But mine is not as popular.
My moment is when Seamus Finnigan stands up to Harry Potter.

Tumblr (twinterrors)

It happens in Order of the Phoenix, but right when Harry enters the common room with Ron and Hermione. Seamus gets up and tells Harry his mother thinks he is lying and that he wasn't going to be able to come back to Hogwarts. And when Harry says something offensive about Mrs. Finnigan, Seamus fights back.

Now I love this scene for a few reasons.

1. Seamus Finnigan just stood up to a close friend of four years. He has known this boy for a long time and they have joked around together the whole time. He didn't want to stand up to him, but he did. If he could stand up to a friend, you can, too.

2. Harry Potter was HARRY POTTER. He survived Voldemort. He was the Chosen One. He was famous already and people loved him. Yet Seamus faced him. And I love that. It shows that you can fight social norm, you can fight anything for what you believe in.
~Ashley

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wandering Wednesday

"Oh, you're just full of new features!" you say. And yes. Yes I am.

Today is the start of something new (get some High School Musical going in here) and it is Wandering Wednesday. I'm not sure whether this will be wandering as in travels or wandering as in my mind is wandering. Maybe both. I think that Wednesdays will start to be my non-book days. No matter how much I love books, there are other things on my list of loves.

Today I'm just going to talk about Los Angeles, California. I'm actually just thinking about it because a) I qualified for a national competition there, and b) my character is currently sitting on the Santa Monica beach. So here goes.

I think I will have to be rich before I go to LA, because the hotel I want to stay at is practically ON Santa Monica beach, and it's expensive. Like, $500 a night expensive. Nevertheless, I would like to stay there for one night.

Then, I'd like to check out Universal and Disney there, along with all the famous beaches, especially El Matador (I was researching and it's exceptionally beautiful.)

I'd be tourist-y and view the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, and Rodeo Blvd. Just everything cool.
~Ashley
Please tell me LA is somewhat worth it... 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

To Read Tuesday: The Rule of Thoughts

So I learned that Jenna Does Books also does Make it a Movie Monday...I swear I'm not copying, Jenna. 

Today is another new feature *yay!* To Read Tuesday. I've seen so many versions of this so I thought I'd create my own!

Today's To Read is The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner. 

The Rule of Thoughts (The Mortality Doctrine, #2)This is such an amazing cover and I can't even fathom how great the book will be.

So a little backstory on The Eye of Minds: Michael is a gamer and he practically lives in VirtNet, a gaming community, which is awesome and totally a live or die situation. And now there is some player who is taking other gamers for hostage and they all get back to real life brain-dead. Michael has to help catch the gamer by going off the grid and he does this entire adventure and it's just really good. And that plot twist ending? Wow.
     I actually had the awesome chance to talk to Mr. Dashner after a book signing event. We literally talked for about half an hour on The Eye of Minds and The Maze Runner series, which cleared a lot up for me.



Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
304 Pages
Mortality Doctrine #2

Summary: Michael completed the Path. What he found at the end turned everything he’d ever known about his life—and the world—completely upside down.

He barely survived. But it was the only way VirtNet Security knew to find the cyber-terrorist Kaine—and to make the Sleep safe for gamers once again. And, the truth Michael discovered about Kaine is more complex than they anticipated, and more terrifying than even the worst of their fears.

Kaine is a tangent, a computer program that has become sentient. And Michael’s completing the Path was the first stage in turning Kaine’s master plan, the Mortality Doctrine, into a reality.

The Mortality Doctrine will populate Earth entirely with human bodies harboring tangent minds. Any gamer who sinks into the VirtNet risks coming out with a tangent intelligence in control of their body. 

And the takeover has already begun.


Wow. I mean I was ready a while ago (approximately last October) but now I'm dying. I need this book so bad. Just the entire idea of Kaine and Michael and seeing how Michael reacts to the plot twist I mentioned. And I want to know how the other characters are doing and just everything. I don't think I'm even making sense right now, but that's okay. Who needs sense when you have books?
~Ashley

The Rule of Thoughts is available for preorder through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers. 



Monday, July 14, 2014

Make it into a Movie: Control

New feature! Make it into a Movie Monday!

Today I will talk about why Control by Lydia Kang needs to be a movie. Without spoilers, I think.

 Look at this cover. Look at it! That's Reason #1 why I need this as a movie. I want to see this cover in every bookstore I walk into, under the From Page to Screen shelf. I want this to be blown up into a HUGE poster and given away as a prize for different movie-related contests. 

Reason #2: I can't figure out how to pronounce Dyl's name! Is it like Dill, or Dy-ell, or maybe Dell? I never can decide what I want it to sound like, though it's not my choice.

Reason #3: Cy. Everything about him. His mysteriousness, then awesomeness, then cuteness. It all needs to be on screen. 

Reason #4: The climax and ending chapters. Those need to be seen. Without spoilers, they just HAVE to be filmed and shot and perfect in every way possible.

Reason #5: I'll be honest, this will probably be on almost all of these: I want to audition to play Zel. Or anyone in the movie really. The characters are all really awesome.

Reason #6: All the science-y stuff. This is a true science fiction and I want to see the testing and lab equipment and the nerdy stuff. Am I a total nerd? Oh yes. 

Reason #7: The animation. Wouldn't this be a fun movie to make? I'm not completely sure because I'm not a producer or anything of the like, but this needs so many special effects to do it justice and I think it would be really cool to work on.

Reason #8: The fans. Trust me, we love this book. And I've heard many an author whose books are now movies say that the fans are the best part. 

Reason #9: Comic Con. Not even saying this is possible, but the cast, director, and Lydia could all go to Comic Con and do a panel. That would be amazing! And I'd have to figure out how to watch it from here, but that's no biggie:)

Reason #10: Lydia Kang. She is honestly the sweetest author I have ever spoken to. And she's helpful. How many authors at least attempt to answer twitter questions? Now I know a lot are busy and such, but still. If anyone deserves a movie made from his/her works, it's Lydia.

~Ashley

Friday, July 11, 2014

What Am I Doing?

Hi there!

Update: My mailman came yesterday. She did not bring any mail for me. I actually figured out a way to be outside when she was driving up: I decided to paint my mailbox flag. Yep, I painted so I could stalk her.

I am currently reading The Great Gatsby, so that will be my next review. Hopefully some time next week I will finish. Until then, I've got NaNoWriMo, which I am behind on, but not for long *cue battle music*.

Okay, the real purpose of this is to accompany my YouTube video that went up today. I know exactly what I want to do with my life, but I'm not so positive that I will ever get there. For example, my novels. I'm not sure that they will sell, though I am hoping they will. I'm actually most excited and confident about my writing. Next is acting. I can tell you, I want the opportunity. But unfortunately, casting directors for movies that can 'break you in' don't come to southern Alabama. Honestly, nobody really does unless they have to. Like in Beautiful Creatures: You're either stupid or you're stuck. YouTube? Yeah, I want to have my channel be maybe a teeny tiny bit known. It seems like YTers have the best of friends, and they always have such a fun time with them. And last, but most certainly not least, this blog. I want to become a really awesome book review/whatever-I-want blog, but I'm having difficulties.

Sorry for making you read all the boring stuff. I know nobody really cares to read about my worries in life. And if you are about to comment saying, You don't deserve to feel upset; some people have real problems, save it, please. I know that my problems are small compared to others, but that does not mean I don't have the right to be glum over them every once in a while.

I hope you are all satisfied with your lives, anyways. If not, come and chat. We'll figure everything out:)
~Ashley

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where is my mailman?

Alright, this has literally nothing to do with fandoms, but it's been bugging me. Actually, it could be related, as everything I'm waiting on in the mail is fandom swag and books. Yes, the link!

So, on Monday, I got this awesome swag pack from Tween 2 Teen books (thanks again, guys!). And I was happy. But I've been waiting for a book from Tamara Ireland Stone since June and I was really hoping it was there. It wasn't. But she told me it should be coming Tuesday or Wednesday. Fantastic, you know?

Not. The mail didn't come Tuesday, or Wednesday. I'm positive the mailman is now skipping us. This may sound odd, but we are a rather mail-popular house. We get mail daily, and often a lot of it. It's unusual to get nothing, but not impossible. But that's not why I'm so sure.

I left the little flag up. That shows that I have mail to be taken. They didn't get my "mail" either day. (The only thing in the box was a little note to our mailman saying how awesome she is and asking where my package is.) I was told to maybe try taking the note out. I haven't yet, but I wrote a letter to family and it's in there right now. I have stationed myself inside the front window so I can watch. I will get my mail, even if I have to chase them down the street for it.
~Ashley

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shelf Exploration: Week One

Okay, I know this blog isn't following a specific pattern, but I think this might stick.


Shelf Exploration: Week 1

Every so often, possibly weekly, I am going to upload a picture of my bookshelf and talk about the books shown. Kind of like bloggers' book hauls, except if I did that, I'd be showing maybe one new book a month (money doesn't grow on trees, you know).

So without further ado...One of my many stacks of books!




Top to Bottom:
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
Who Was Ben Franklin?
Guardian by Alex London
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Purple & Gray by Harl Vincent
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
The Complete Titanic by Stephen J. Spignesi
Shadow of the Titanic by Andrew Wilson







Attachments: I can honestly say I've been wanting to read this for a while, ever since I read Fangirl. It hasn't been top priority, though, so I haven't gone searching for it. But I went to my new 2nd & Charles and it was there for $5, so of course I bought it. And now I have a book to look forward to.

I Am The Messenger: Same story as previous, I haven't read this one. I forgot to mention this is also mainly a TBR shelf. But I've actually been as far as having to force myself to put this one back when out at a bookstore. It was one of the choices on my summer reading list; naturally, I know own it.

Who Was Ben Franklin?: This was bought for a school project once upon a time. The series is easy to read and has a bunch of facts. Like this is the main source I used. So if you ever need research on a famous person, use the little kids books; they are cheap and I found that it was better than some of the biographies.

Guardian: I am ashamed. I haven't read it yet. I absolutely adored Proxy, so I've been looking forward to this one since last December. Oh well, I'm getting to it soon.

Speak: Okay, this is an absolute favorite of mine. Laurie Halse Anderson is already a fabulous author but this one threw me over the edge. Addressing such a needed issue, and using such powerful language for it, just wow.

The Impossible Knife of Memory: Yeah, I'm an Anderson fan. So I have this book, which I haven't read. But the cover is gorgeous and the plot sounds amazing, so I have something to look forward to.

Purple & Gray: Don't really have anything to say for this book besides that it was a mixed-up order. I ordered three copies of my novel and got this and two erotica. But this is a mystery-thriller book...

Unbreakable: Five stars. Kami Garcia has done it again. Another phenomenal book. I actually loved this almost more than Beautiful Creatures. Not sure yet. Such a pretty cover and it's paranormal, which is refreshing. And the sequel comes out soon!

The Complete Titanic: I love Titanic, or I guess, learning about her. My family picked this up for me at our library for a quarter. It is unread, currently.

Shadow of the Titanic: I went to school for a week with this book and nobody even questioned me. They all know. But it is a collection of stories from the ship's survivors. Really sad, I think I cried if I remember right. Just a great book. Nonfiction, but written well-enough to be fascinating. I actually read this right before going on a boat and during a boat ride. And the waves were huge...

I understand now how many books I need to read. Getting back to that now...
~Ashley

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Music

Well, isn't that an informative title?

Updates:

  • My retelling is still in progress. I'm enjoying letting my character get kidnapped...
  • I'm in need of an intervention...from giveaways. I've found too many giveaway hops lately. The large ones, with 140+ blogs. 
  • I'm almost done with Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? and then off to start Girl in the Middle. YAY
Back to the whole music thing. So yesterday, Lindsey Stirling had a concert nearer to me than ever before. And her special guest? AJR. So naturally I went. And I had a blast.

AJR is an indie-pop band of brothers from New York City. Their song everyone seems to recognize is I'm Ready. They played phenomenally last night. Every song was beautiful and their voices are great and they have nice faces. So me being the total fangirl I am, I went straight to their meet and greet and bought myself the t-shirt I've been wanting. They signed it and posed for a picture. Seriously, the guys are so nice. And I left a note with them, which is always cool. Hopefully, they read it *crosses fingers*. Still gutted they didn't play Buy You a Rose.

Lindsey Stirling is already great. The first thing I'd ever heard was Crystallize and I was hooked. Lindsey was amazingly talented and energetic. Seriously. I've run a marathon and I don't think I could do all she did in a matter of 1 1/2 hours. She had really cool outfits for the gig and her violins were, of course, gorgeous. She was an inspiration to me to practice my violin a LOT more. She also had really motivational stories. But she said 5 couples who are now married met either through a Stirling group or at one of her concerts. And recently, a proposal happened at her meet and greet, right in front of her. Lindsey was hilarious. And I could gush about her all day long, but I'll spare you. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that she had VIP Meet Passes; I would've picked one up immediately. But I met AJR, so my night was made.

I'll include a video below. Not sure how it is; I haven't watched it yet. 

video

video





I'm watching these load right now and I have no idea why they won't load side-by-side. So they are like this:




~Ashley

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Fast Food Nation

Hellooooooooo! I am back from a lovely camping trip and now I have to catch up on real world stuff...I don't wanna. But I did promise to finish my book and I did, so I can now review it.

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser





That's actually an interesting cover. Not bad, publishing company, not bad at all...

Summary: In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.

In a new afterword for this edition, Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food. Fast Food Nation is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. The book inspires readers to look beneath the surface of our food system, consider its impact on society and, most of all, think for themselves.

Thoughts: I'm going to be blunt about it: I don't read nonfiction much unless the subject interests me. This subject is not my top choice for most interesting. I honestly only picked FFN up because it was required for school reading. 
     With all that out of the way, I was stuck for the first few pages trying to get into it. The pages took forever for me to turn, because I couldn't imagine the story in my head as well. 
     Eric Schlosser, you are amazing. You took a subject that is HUGE in America today and you made it fascinating and horrific. I very much enjoyed this book. 
     Schlosser, from page one, related really cool things to the fast food industry. He forced this book to be as interesting as it could be. I got to read about Las Vegas and super secret Air Force bases. I got to read really sad quotes and stories and I seriously almost cried when reading about Kenny Dobbins. There were parts that made me laugh. And you can be sure that there were parts that angered me. Ask anyone who knows me: during this book, I ranted daily about our fast food industry. 
     The ending was perhaps the best part. That last paragraph is so awesome to me. And the new afterward is great to read. 
     I feel so inspired by FFN. Like I never want to eat at a fast food place again (this was a problem during the long road trip to and from camping). I've actually boycotted McD's for almost two years now. I don't miss it. I'd like to do the same with other "restaurants". 

Rating: 4.5 stars 
I really did enjoy this book, but I had to take off 0.5 stars because of my lack of interest in the subject and the fact that I couldn't get into it for a few pages. I can definitely tell you, though, this book is worth the read. I absolutely can say without a doubt that I am glad I experienced it.


~Ashley

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo 2014

     Good day to everyone! And happy Nano-ing, if you are indeed participating. I am writing right now, trying to get ahead, because I will be laptop-free for the next five days. Exciting, but upsetting. So this is being posted on one of my breaks. Updates, you ask? Well...
     I will be a tour stop for the Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? blog tour on July 29th. I will also be a stop on the Girl in the Middle blog tour hopefully on July 21st or 22nd.
     I will update frequently about my NaNo novel, a retelling. I want to finish it completely and finish my coming-of-age novel in July. I also have required reading for school this fall, so I am working on that.
     And above all, I'm still planning and saving for London. I'll be treating my mom to an all-expense paid trip to England. We will tour London quite thoroughly and travel up to Scotland and then over to Wales. Everything is planned out to the dime. Or I guess the pound.
     So, welcome if this is your first time visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy looking around. I'll be adding multiple reviews this month, right after I finish my first school reading book. I would like to also do a couple of giveaways. Not sure if I will be able to, but I definitely would like to.


This has been the length of my writing break. I will not be able to post until Sunday at the earliest, so enjoy your week and Fourth of July! And here is a drawing I created.
~Ashley

Do you have any traditions for July 4th?