Posts By: Vlora

Chocolate, Christmas and Charity. (And a TV and Books but those don’t start with a C, so they only get bracket space.)

December 14, 2014 miscellaneous 2

I love how I’m keeping titles short and snappy on this blog.

self-made chocolate christmas trees

Do I have your attention yet? Good. :D I made those chocolate christmas trees for the christmas party I threw with my roommate a couple of days ago, so obviously I had to lead everyone into our kitchen upon their arrival to collect my praise because I’m modest like that. Thought I’d share them with you as well because all of that effort and no online sharing? Not a marker of my generation.

What else is new? I got a really cool tv for free because my grandma’s brother didn’t want it anymore. Basically all I did today is adjust the settings to my taste, watch as many Christmas-themed things as I could find and check whether I still have any cool DVDs. Well, that and turn up my new Guns’n’Roses Greatest Hits CD while cleaning as I was the only one at home and I’m such a good roommate. See with the modesty again? (Also because it was my turn.)

In other awesome news, Project for Awesome (a youtube charity event hosted by John and Hank Green) was this weekend! If you haven’t made your donations yet and you want to give something to charity this Christmas, the indiegogo campaign with lots of awesome perks by different youtubers, authors and other people is still open until the 16th.

I realized I didn’t post the new books I got, so here they are:

recent purchases books


I started Let’s Get Lost because it sounded like a fun road trip kind of thing, but it didn’t really hold my attention so I abandoned it for the time being and started reading Let It Snow instead. It’s actually been on my to-read list for a while, but I bought it for my cousin when she was feeling down and just now borrowed it in time for Christmas. It’s cute so far, but veeery predictable. Poison Study has been on my to-read list for ages as well, and I saw that the sequels are out too, so I’m hoping for a good read! And with that I conclude because I have urgent matters to attend to. Mainly sleep. ‘Kay bye.

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Book Review: Orla’s Code by Fiona Pearse (Or the One With the Anonymous Lover)

December 14, 2014 books, reviews 0

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld cover

“If you want to get ahead, get noticed,” is Orla Hanlon’s motto. New to London and the first female programmer at CouperDaye, a global investment bank, she takes on a high-profile but controversial project.
With her new luxury apartment and a work-romance quietly on the side, Orla thinks she has everything under control.
Until a bug in her code causes chaos on the trading floor and Orla finds herself a scapegoat in a corporate game, fighting to save her new life in London.

I bought this book mainly because of the programming aspect and because the blurb sounded intriguing. I’m not an expert on coding, so I can’t tell you whether the author got it right or not, which is why I’m only going to talk about the story itself.

Read more »

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Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Or the One With the Hot Death God)

December 3, 2014 books, reviews 0

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld cover

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

I have the suspicion that this book is going to inspire a lot of people to write. Which is a good thing because yay, books!

Read more »

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Talk To Me: Romance Novel Heroes

November 24, 2014 books, discussion 4

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to ask you a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it!


Topic

As I previously mentioned I just had to give a presentation on the representation of the male romance novel hero at university, so I thought why not take it to the blog! My presentation was based on a chapter from the Smart Bitches‘ Guide to Romance (hilarious book, I highly recommend it) and an academic essay on male virgins in romance novels. Basically, I talked about the stereotypes of romance novel heroes and how they have changed over time. I’m pretty sure we’ve all read a book with a controlling, dominant alpha hero, who is naturally the most handsome guy around (or if he has competition, he just has that extra something that gives him an edge) and is competent at everything but stepping the macho behavior down a notch. So… good and entertaining or stupid and sexist?

My Opinion

Personally, I fall into the category that would say good and entertaining AND stupid and sexist. I can’t speak for everyone, but even though it doesn’t always work for me (there’s a fine line between I-had-a-tragic-childhood-and-that’s-why-I’m-a-jerk-but-I-will-change-for-you and I’m-just-a-jerk-and-all-my-excuses-are-stupid), I have read a lot of novels like this and liked them. I think the same concepts would probably apply to same-sex relationships if one is always portrayed as the more dominant and controlling one (although there is probably a different history of stereotypes and portrayal), but it would be interesting to think about how that might or might not change the dynamic.

If I recall correctly, one of the points the Smart Bitches’ Guide made (yes, I did choose the presentation topic because I saw that title on the reading list) was that one shouldn’t underestimate the reader – we’re aware it’s a fantasy and don’t necessarily want our partner to behave like that in real life, but sometimes the fantasy is nice. The book also talked about how the male role has changed over the years due to the fact that heroines are now often in control of their lives without needing the hero to save them, so the hero can be a more interesting character because he gets to do more than swoop down and save the damsel in distress.

So I guess I don’t always mind the macho behavior, as long as the heroine is not completely dependent on her love interest and can support herself and kick ass all on her own. To be more precise, I don’t mind it as long as it’s more showing off than really acting like an overbearing jerk. I do appreciate a more realistic portrayal of men (or, you know, people in general), and I think it would be much more interesting to read about more diverse and complex characters. To be honest though, I have a MUCH higher tolerance for jerk-y behavior in books than I do in real life. Would I approve of a friend’s relationship with a guy who killed several people, werewolf or not, in real life (yes, the werewolf hypothesis still holds up in this scenario)? Proooobably not, but it’s not like I’m going to throw my book across the room when the hero kills off all the bad guys either.

Your Turn!

So, what’s your take on romance heroes? Are you into controlling alpha males in books, or do they just plain annoy you?

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Book Review: Loop by Karen Akins (Or the One With Female Snape)

November 16, 2014 books, reviews 0

Loop cover by Karen Akins

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels… at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

This review contains spoilers.

You had me at time travel academy! I found this book on Goodreads First Reads a few months ago. I didn’t win it (obviously), but I bought it anyway because the premise sounded fun. I had to struggle through some university books before I finally got around to this one, but it didn’t disappoint! Loop is an entertaining, fast-paced read that contains a lot of action and wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

Read more »

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We’re All Mad Here

November 10, 2014 miscellaneous 2

I’ve been so busy with university and things™ that I hardly got around to posting, so I thought I’d just share some of what I did with you!

First things first, check out my guest post at So Obsessed With. It’s more of a recommendation than an actual guest post, so make sure to find out what classic I recommended. :)

I meant to post an image of the website design I worked on my Digital Medie Design class this week here (just the home screen in photoshop, no coding or anything) because it frickin’ took me all night yesterday, but then I thought that might not be such a good idea because since the site’s not going online anyway, I used some icons off the internet that I’m not sure I’d be allowed to post. I planned to make them myself, but I don’t have the hang of Adobe Illustrator yet, so I used placeholders.

Actually I’ll share it with you anyway, but I painted over the icons and removed the social media icons, so now it just looks stupid. Imagine it like that, but better. :D
Read more »

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Talk To Me: Blogging and Stress

November 1, 2014 discussion 4

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to ask you a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it!


Topic

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while now and this recent post prompted me to finally write up my opinion on blogging and stress. If you’re reading even just a couple of (book) blogs, you’ll have read things like “I’m sooo behind on my ARCs” or “I’ve only blogged twice this week even though I wanted to blog every day” and so on and so forth. It seems like a lot of people deal with stress related to blogging.

My Opinion

It stresses me out just reading those things! And I mean that literally, I’ll start comparing myself and my blog and feel inadequate for a few minutes until I remind myself of what actually matters to me. I’m not judging anyone because if I started requesting ARCs, I’d get worried about not being able to stay on top of my reading list too. I also understand why it’s so important to post regularly if you have a lot of readers you don’t want to disappoint, or if you want to build your audience or even just because of a goal you set for yourself. I do also get itchy when I haven’t posted in a while. Honestly though? I blog because I love it. I don’t care to make it a competition. I’ve read like 30 books this year and you know what? With that I already surpassed my own goal and I really couldn’t care less if that’s 200 books less than someone else read. I read because I enjoy it (or because I have to for uni) and I blog because I enjoy it.

I downloaded an ebook from NetGalley once in the Read Now section and was stressed out about abandoning it for about a day before I realized I don’t even want ARCs because I don’t want to feel obligated to someone. I think accepting books for review consideration instead of for review is a great idea, and I adamantly refuse to do any sort of weekly feature because I know the pressure of things like that would take the fun out of blogging for me. Instead what you get with me are rambly posts, I’ll-do-it-when-I-feel-like-it-features and an irregular posting schedule. I’m obviously not saying everyone should follow my example – I like some weekly features on other blogs and I love when my favorite blogs are updated regularly. However, I do wish there was less comparing and feeling stressed and more chilling the eff out.

Your Turn!

So, what’s your opinion on this? Are you deeply offended by what I just said, or have you had similar thoughts? And please tell me I’m not the only one who feels stressed when she reads about other people’s stress!

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Update and Stacking the Shelves (5)

October 31, 2014 books, fun, miscellaneous 8

Hey there, it’s been a while! I hope I find you scared and laden with candy on this joyous day.



Okay, actually it’s just been a week or so, but my last few posts were scheduled, so I feel like I haven’t written one in ages. I can’t believe how busy I suddenly got! One week I was minding my own business, procrastinating and working every few days as usual and then BOOM university hit me over the head with a stupid amount of workload. Okay, to be fair some of it is voluntary, so maybe it wouldn’t be as much if I were only taking the seminars for my own program. But they’re so booooring and everything else is so SHINY. :D

So, what’s new?

This semester, I’m taking Hindi (because why not). I didn’t think I’d already have problems learning the alphabet. The frickin’ ALPHABET. But hey, failure is the road to success; I’m sure at some point I will actually be able to hear the difference between t and th and the other t with the little dot underneath (what the hell, Hindi). I can write my name in Hindi now though, so I feel disproportionally cool.

I’m also taking Digital Media Design because someone told me about it two weeks into the semester and it sounded good. I went for the first time last week and it’s EXACTLY what I want to learn. Our homework (of course people aren’t calling it that at university because it doesn’t sound cool enough, but that’s exactly what it is) this week is to design a button and write the HTML and CSS to go with it. How cool is that? Wow, I’m using the word cool a lot in this post. Anyways, I was able to sooort of keep up during the lecture because at least I’ve heard of HTML and I’ve taken a look at Photoshop before, but I expect this is going to get pretty hard pretty fast. I already asked my tutor a gazillion questions last time, but hey, what’s he there for, right?

I also quit my job. I only started in August, so that was kind of a douchy thing to do, but I’m sure they’re used to fast turnover as they only pay 5€ an hour and they already found someone new. The money sucks, but it’s not like it’s the hardest job ever. They have to pay minimum wage starting in January, which is why I considered staying. In the end, it really wasn’t worth neglecting university or my social life for a boring job with a bad salary though. Once the semester is over, I’ll probably start applying for jobs and internships again, but for now I’m happy with my decision.

Books!

I didn’t have a lot of time to read lately, but I finished one book for my seminar (Burnt Offerings by Laurell K Hamilton – it had EVERYTHING bad and cheesy that people who are prejudiced towards paranormal books would expect) and I’m reading two other books at the moment, which are thankfully better. I also got some new ones!



LOOP



I found this book on Goodreads First Reads. I didn’t win it, but I bought it anyway because TIME TRAVEL and… no, actually that’s it. It sounds like a light and fun read and I’m VERY tempted right now to throw my other books across the room and start this one already.

WASTED (A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia)



I’m reading this right now for a seminar called Writing Madness. I just received it yesterday, so I’m not too far in yet, but I think it’s very interesting, if a bit self-indulgent. I know that I read a book like it when I was much younger, but I read it in German and it was like ten years ago, so I have no idea if it was the same book or not.

GIRL, INTERRUPTED



This book I also bought for the Writing Madness seminar. I haven’t read it yet, but I remember watching the movie (or part of the movie) with Angelina Jolie when I was younger and liking it. I’m looking forward to reading it!

So, that’s it for the new books I got. I think I might as well link this post up with Stacking the Shelves since it’s tomorrow – everyone who is (shockingly) not interested in my personal life can just scroll by that part. :D

Tynga's Reviews Stacking the Shelves Post
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Anything new with you guys? Tell me below! And if you’re feeling talkative anyway tell me your opinion about blogging and stress too. :)

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Loony Blurbs!

October 23, 2014 books, fun 3

It’s time for Loony Blurbs, where we write blurbs based solely on the titles of books! I missed the first few installments of this for time reasons, but I was determined to participate at least once because this is totally my kind of thing. Whacky? Creative? Both combined? Hell yeah.



Out of the ones I did, I’ve only read The Book Thief. I have no idea what the other books are actually about, but I think it’s even more fun this way. I didn’t look at the covers before I wrote the blurbs, so it’s all based on the title.

Read more »

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Talk To Me: Authors and Social Media

October 21, 2014 books, discussion 2

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to ask you a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it!

Topic

AUTHOR ALERT! AUTHOR ALERT! …is what goes off in my head every time an author replies to me/favorites a tweet/comments on a post of mine. Theoretically, I knew social media give everyone a chance to connect better, but it was only when I got into this blogging thing that I really realized what that means. I’m not really someone who tends to be startstruck by anyone, but let’s be honest – it does kind of give you a kick when someone whose work you admire acknowledges your existence.

My Opinion

As with everything there are two sides to this. I think it’s amazing that writers, performers – basically anyone who has a fan or two or two million – can connect and interact with the people that love their work. This usually benefits both sides enormously. BUT, and you knew there was a but coming, it does make me think more about what I say and how I say it. That alone is not necessarily a bad thing, but there is such a thing as thinking TOO much about it. I think it’s important to remember that reviewers are criticizing the work and not the maker behind it (unless they’re jerks), but I generally believe in being respectful in my reviews. I do however make exceptions sometimes: If I really hated something, I might be tempted into a rant and, if they hit my kind of humor, I like reading bad reviews from time to time. Oops.

Naturally I don’t like everything I read or watch. Even when I really liked something there will probably be things that could have been improved. Let alone the times I DIDN’T like something. Does the fact that the person who created whatever I’m criticizing might see my review make me change the content of my post? No, I like to think it doesn’t, but sometimes I have to really force myself to leave things in. My blog is TINY in comparison with others and this has already happened a couple of times, so I can imagine this can get stressful for some people who accept review requests from authors who personally send them their books, especially if they know and like the author.

All of that doesn’t mean I don’t want authors (or whoever else) to see my posts or to connect on social media. Quite the opposite – 99.9 percent of the time it’s AMAZING. I do think this could be stressful the other 0.1 percent though, and I’m wondering how people who are under a lot more pressure due to a bigger audience or a personal relationship with the author handle this.

Your Turn!

What do you think? Is it part of the job description to deal with rants and disrespectful people when you’re a creator or should people be respectful at all times? Have you ever changed a review or a post because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings? If you’re an author, how do you deal with bad reviews?

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Stacking the Shelves #4

October 17, 2014 miscellaneous 8

I didn’t actually plan to buy any books, but then this happened.



I probably won’t be able to read any of these before I read my university books, but it’s always good to have options, right?

LOST CTRL

LOST CTRL Cover

Did you know you can’t buy books at a book fair? At least at the Frankfurt Book Fair you can’t. Since I wanted a bookish souvenir, I was glad to see a little comic book store in some hidden corner. Not my usual reading style, but the story sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a try!

Orla’s Code

Orla's Code by Fiona Pearse Cover

Ashley from Nose Graze (seriously, where does that name come from?) was kind enough to point me towards this book when I asked her for recommendations for books that have coding in them. I didn’t plan on buying it so soon, but I ordered way too much make-up on amazon, so I figured I might as well save on delivery costs and include a book. Okay, the delivery probably wouldn’t have been more expensive without the book, but I didn’t check so I can still use the excuse.

Afterworlds

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld Cover

I’ve been a fan of Scott Westerfeld since I read his Uglies series a few years ago. This novel sounds awesome and I’ve been waiting for it for ages because for some reason it took forever to be delivered. I’m really looking forward to it!

New On The Blog

As mentioned above, I went to the Frankfurt Book Fair. I failed to make connections, but I still had a good time. I also reviewed Trial by Fire (which I really liked), as well as Joss Whedon’s Biography (which I can recommend to fans). I wondered whether people actually subscribe to blogs via e-mail and if I should start a Childhood Favorites feature, where people can point out the childhood favorites that haven’t been getting enough attention. If you’re interested, send an e-mail to reviewsandcake@gmail.com!

Tynga's Reviews Stacking the Shelves Post
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

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Book Review: Dear Comrade + Childhood Favorites Feature(?)

October 15, 2014 books, psa, reviews 0

I didn’t actually finish this book just now, but I was reminded of it recently and after looking it up on Goodreads, I saw it didn’t even have a review there (now it does). Since this is one of my childhood favorites and it saddens me that not a lot of people seem to know it, I decided it deserves some space on my blog. I’m also toying with starting a Childhood Favorites feature of some sort on my blog so people have a chance to highlight those little almost-forgotten gems that impacted their childhood. If you’d be interested in showcasing a favorite book from you’re childhood/youth, definitely drop me an e-mail at reviewsandcake@gmail.com!

If there’s enough interest, it’ll definitely happen! If not, I’ll delete this part of the post and we’ll never talk about it again.

Okay, so now for the actual review:

Dear Comrade cover

After a party Kate and Paul start to write each other. The letters reveal their very different political convictions, but even so they can’t stop themselves from falling in love with each other.

(Goodreads keeping it short and snappy there.)

The main reason I like this (very short) book is that the two main characters manage to respect each other and establish a relationship despite the fact that they have vastly different world views. Even though their ideological perspectives couldn’t be more different, they don’t just SAY they’ll try to understand each other, they actually DO. Try, that is, not understand each other. There’s still a lot of fighting and casting stones (metaphorically) going on. Couple that with all the confusion and insecurity of first love and you have Dear Comrade.

That’s another thing I like about this book – Paul and Kate’s relationship is sweet without being annoying and develops naturally. Whereas the premise of the book can feel a little constructed at times, their relationship progresses organically as they begin to care more and more about each other. They often struggle to even stay friends, which of course makes it even harder once romantic feelings are involved. But when things get serious, they can rely on each other, which makes this story more romantic than a lot of things I’ve read recently. This book is basically the opposite of instant love. Plus, it’s an epistolary story, so what more can you wish for?

4 out of 5 cupcakes to this novella!

cupcakecupcakecupcakecupcake


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Book Review: Joss Whedon – The Biography (Or The One With Tom Hiddleston’s E-Mail)

October 13, 2014 books, reviews 0

Joss Whedon: The Biography by Amy Pascale cover

From the cult favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which netted four million viewers per episode, to the summer blockbuster The Avengers, which amassed a box office of $1.5 billion, Joss Whedon has made a name for himself in Hollywood for his penchant for telling meaningful, personal tales about love, death, and redemption even against the most dramatic and larger-than-life backdrops. This biography follows his development from a creative child and teenager who spent years away from his family at an elite English public school, through his early successes—which often turned into frustrating heartbreak in both television (Roseanne) and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)—to his breakout turn as the creator, writer, and director of the Buffy television series. Extensive, original interviews with Whedon’s family, friends, collaborators, and stars—and with the man himself—offer candid, behind-the-scenes accounts of the making of groundbreaking series such as Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse, as well as new stories about his work with Pixar writers and animators during the creation of Toy Story. Most importantly, however, these conversations present an intimate and revealing portrait of a man whose creativity and storytelling ability have manifested themselves in comics, online media, television, and film.

Let me start this review by saying I HATE reading non-fiction books with a passion. I can’t remember a single instance where I managed to read a non-fictional book from start to finish unless it was also meant to entertain in some way or another. I even struggle with essays I have to read for university. Don’t get me wrong, they’re always interesting in some form or another, but where are the DRAGONS? Where’s the MAGIC and the CHARACTERS and the SUSPENSE? I actually love books that contain scientific elements, whether real or made-up, and I only vaguely remember the time frame of the French Revolution because of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Wrap it up in a story of some sort and I can retain (fictional) virology and dates of important historical events like no one’s business, but serve it to me as actual facts and I’ll forget it in a min- what was that? I DON’T REMEMBER I WAS READING ABOUT A MAGICAL KINGDOM.

However, this biography is about Joss Whedon. The creator of fictional stories like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Firefly and to top it all off Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. All of those I love more than I would my firstborn child (don’t judge me, I hate children – you’re judging me even more now, aren’t you?), so when a friend walked into the room with this book, I just had to borrow it.

Read more »

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Talk To Me: E-Mail Subscriptions

October 12, 2014 discussion 4

Talk To Me

is a new no-nonsense feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to ask you a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it!

Topic

Subscriptions!

When I started this blog, I hadn’t really been following any blogs regularly and, once I created it and started posting, I was faced with the same problem every newbie blogger is faced with: how do I announce my presence to the rest of the world? How are people supposed to find my blog? I felt like I was shouting into the endless depths of the internet with no echo to speak of. I quickly discovered that there is a community within the world of (book) bloggers and things became a little easier. I added ways to subscribe to my blog and finally created a twitter account I actually use.

A lot of people use sites created solely for the purpose of keeping up with their favorite blogs like bloglovin or pinterest, whereas others are more comfortable with social media designed for a broader range of possibilities like twitter or facebook. From what I’ve observed, twitter seems to be more popular within the blogging community, and Jessi at Novel Heartbeat recently wondered whether facebook pages are actually useful, but a lot of blogs still have them anyway. If you’re using wordpress.com you already have a built-in community you can take advantage of (one of the only things I’ve been missing since switching to wordpress.org), and I assume the same is true for blogger. The real reason I am writing this post, however, are e-mail subscriptions.

I hate to say it, but I DEEPLY distrust every e-mail I get that informs me of a new registration to my blog because I always wonder whether it’s a real person or a spambot. Judging by the e-mail adresses some definitely are spam, but I don’t want to go randomly deleting people in case some of them are actual e-mail subscribers. Which, you know, I’d be very happy about. I’ve had some weird e-mail addresses in my life, no judgement. But are there really a lot of people who follow blogs via e-mail?

My Opinion

I recently stopped using bloglovin and now subscribe to blogs via e-mail or twitter or both. At first I thought bloglovin was a great idea and I haven’t deleted my account, but the app wasn’t really doing it for me. I didn’t like that I can’t comment on posts or see others’ comments within the app, or that posts disappear from my feed once I’ve read them. Sometimes it seemed like it took a couple of hours for new posts to show up as well.

I never really considered following blogs via e-mail an option because I thought it would be unnecessarily complicated to receive an e-mail and then log on to my computer to actually read the post. Now I follow blogs I like on twitter AND subscribe to my favorite ones via e-mail. I like that I can actually read the blog post within the e-mail and then check it out later. If the subject of the post isn’t for me I can just delete the e-mail, no harm done. Keeping up with folks on twitter is also fun because you don’t get to just see the posts, but share interesting articles or fun pics. Or, you know, stalk your favorite celebrities and authors, whichever. Apart from the fact there’s an unreasonable amount of cat and baby pictures, I’m starting to really like this totally new thing that none of you knew about before I pointed it out in this post.

Your Turn!

What’s your favorite way to subscribe to blogs? Which options do you offer on your own blog if you have one? And, most importantly because I haven’t found a way myself yet: how the eff do you filter spambots from your e-mail subscription list without deleting people who are ACTUALLY interested in your content?

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2014

October 10, 2014 books, fun, miscellaneous 2

I went to the Frankfurt book fair yesterday! It was a semi-spontaneous decision. As you may remember (or not if you’ve never been on my blog before, in which case: hey, there!), I took a weekend seminar on what an editor does two weeks ago. The editor who held it recommended to go the Frankfurt book fair to make connections and possibly talk about internships. We decided to go on a Thursday because the fair isn’t open to private visitors during the week and we thought we’d have more of a chance to talk to people. I even got in for free because I accidentally signed up for press accreditation and my blog qualified, which I thought was pretty damn awesome.

Book License Advertisement Penguin Group
book rights advertisement

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Book Review: Trial by Fire (or The One With a Lot of Aquiline Noses)

October 4, 2014 books, reviews 0

Trial by Fire cover by Josephine Angelini

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA fantasy book that entertained me this much. Let’s talk about the good things first.

This review contains spoilers. Please only read on if you don’t mind or have already read the book.
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Stacking the Shelves #3

October 3, 2014 books 9

Wow, that week went by fast. I didn’t buy any new books, but I borrowed two from friends.



Joss Whedon: The Biography by Amy Pascale
Or, alternatively, Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe. Which is totally not over the top. At all. I’m about 80 pages in and I’m basically just waiting to get to the Avengers part. Apparently there’s an e-mail by Tom Hiddleston. Not that I’d care about that.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
I already have Cat’s Cradle on my to-read list, but I happened upon this first. Apparently John Green mentioned it’s one of his all-time favorite books or something and that’s why my friend bought it. DFTBA, yo. It also says on the back it’s “one of the worlds great antiwar books”, so that sounds promising.

What’s New?

Um… my downstairs neighbours brought me delicious pizza tonight because they had too much. Can you say great neighbours? In slightly more interesting news: I’m going to the Frankfurt book fair next week, so prepare for a post on that soon!

On the Blog

I finally posted my review of Throne of Glass. Spoiler alert: I didn’t like it.

What have you been up to this past week?

Tynga's Reviews Stacking the Shelves Post
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

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Book Review: Throne of Glass (or The One With All The Balls, No Not Those)

October 3, 2014 books, reviews 0

Throne of Glass Cover by Sarah J Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Initial Impression

I was fully prepared to like this book. Guess it goes to show that you should never trust the hype.

The word that best describes my feelings when reading the first couple of sentences of this book is relief. The author’s writing style didn’t suck, so how bad could it be, right? Wrong. I feel like the gifs in this review express my feelings perfectly, but I’m going to attempt to review it anyway.

Thoughts While Reading

BEWARE, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS

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Stacking the Shelves: University Edition

September 27, 2014 books 5

I was planning to do my STS post next week because my internet at home doesn’t work, but I’ve been at the university library for an hour without writing a single word for my term paper, so I figured I might as well do something a little more fun!

Tynga's Reviews Stacking the Shelves Post
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

I was totally going to wait before buying more books, but I HAD to buy these for university. :D Usually we don’t read bad romance novels at uni, but this is a seminar called Investigating Intimate Relationships (yes, I totally expect this to get awkward haha) and the lecturer either has really bad taste in books or plans to look at them very critically. Here’s what I got.

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Dan Wells’ Partials Series: Best Book Trailer I’ve Ever Seen

September 23, 2014 miscellaneous 0

It’s time for

TRAILER TUESDAY!

Okay, this isn’t actually a feature on my blog; I don’t watch that many book trailers. But if you credit me, you can use it for your blog if you like. You probably thought of the idea way before I posted this, didn’t you? Damn it, I bet you have a pretty banner to boot. I also wrote this post last Wednesday, I just scheduled it for Tuesday because alliterations. No, Thursday wasn’t an option. Okay, let’s just clarify this now: weekly features aren’t my field of expertise. It’s just too much commitment for me to handle, dramatic sigh. (No, I don’t plan on marrying anytime soon, in case you were wondering.)

Aaaaanyways: While researching for my term paper on Dan Wells’ Partials series and ethics in bioengineering, I was reminded of this gem:



This is hands down the best book trailer I’ve ever seen. At first I thought it was an actual movie trailer. I absolutely love the effort they have put into this. It’s creepy, it’s sleek, it’s absolutely like I would imagine a ParaGen ad to look.

If you haven’t read Dan Wells’ Partials series …well, you should. It’s Young Adult, post-apocalyptic/dystopian science fiction, and I don’t think it’s getting the attention it deserves! Dan Wells has mad world-building skills and his “villains” are phenomenal because he always manages to show both sides until you’re not even sure who you’re rooting for anymore. I love how he approaches the concept of humanity, especially humanity and morals under extreme conditions. Also, Marcus.

The books aren’t perfect. A friend of mine stopped reading around book two because the pacing was too slow for her (I can see why, but I didn’t mind it because, again, such great world building). As with every book, there are flaws, but, all in all, this is one of the best Young Adult sci-fi series I’ve ever read and I want more people to read it! I actually just wanted to share the trailer and now this has turned into half a review/recommendation post, so you can see I really love these books. I enjoyed these much, much more than more popular YA dystopian books like Divergent or Delirium (which I still haven’t bothered to pick up again), so if you haven’t read it and the description sounds like the book could be up your alley, do give it a try!

What are some of your favorite book trailers? Do you watch book trailers at all?

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