Monday, August 4, 2014

Sharing Time- 8/4/14 (P.S Writing Contest Alert!)

Music and Videos
I'm not surprised this following video is from Canada, but in any case, its pretty adorable. I wish American banks would do this! Any chance I can get help paying off my schooling? 



Janelle Monae's "Cold War" music video.

In the News
Coffee shop with no employees. - This article is kinda old but its a neat idea. This coffee shop doesn't have an employees because it runs on the honor system. People can pay whatever they want for the coffee and serve themselves.
Fail-This article deals more with design, but I thought that it can be applied to writers too. It talks about how its okay to fail.
What would you give up for world peace?- I thought this article was share worthy because it deals with "hive mind", the idea that we could share a collective mind- some animals like bees and ants have what is called a hive mind. In Night Lies, Faith joins a team where the team's leader has them join his hive mind.
25 free apps that help make the world a better place- Its a Buzzfeed article, so I take everything with a grain of salt on this site. I don't trust it, since they've been known to plagiarize, but it is entertaining and they share some pretty cool stuff regardless.


Writing/Book Articles/News
Double Standards for Journalists- This article deals with a topic I ranted about earlier. But it basically goes on to say that journalists need to treat social media like they do traditional journalism. Which includes fact checking and acting professionally. If they don't, they risk losing their reader's trust.
Unlimited Profit: The Math behind Kindle Unlimited- I'm not good at math, so I didn't fully understand this. But for the more math inclined brains out there, this article makes out the math behind Kindle Unlimited and how authors and Amazon stands to make a profit.
YA- The Changing Face of Marketing- This discussion I found during my marketing class. It deals with how authors in 2014 are marketing themselves and their books. Its pretty interesting and worth a look.

Contest Alert
Do you have a finished MG, YA, NA, or Adult manuscript? Looking to be published? Well Pitch Wars is going on and I thought I'd share. You can find the rules and mentors listed here Pitch Wars Mentors 2014.

Story Time
So I've had this story idea for a while now. But I thought I'd share it with you because its been going pretty well.

Beautiful Manipulation

Being against evil doesn’t make you good.

Rhielle Medley knew three rules. 1) When you got into trouble you called in your local superhero. 2) Superheroes can only be killed by their nemeses. 3) Don’t tell anyone you’re not perfect.
Since she was young, Rhielle, a fraternal triplet, knew she and her sisters, Sian and Ilvione were different. They always knew how to be perfect in public. Physically, socially, and personally graceful and flawless, the triplets could get away with anything and even a complete stranger would feel like they had known them forever. But on the inside, they are far from perfect.
When their parents' rocky marriage comes to light , suddenly everything seems to spiral out of control. Someone is killing the superheros, Sian is taking advantage of their power, manipulating everyone in her path, Ilvione keeps disappearing, and Rhielle just wants to finish her homework, and go to work.
But when their local superhero, Nest, asks her to help him find out who’s killing his colleagues, Rhielle will have to ask what’s the difference between good and evil? Can you still be good if you just stand by and do nothing? And if she, herself, is even worth saving before it becomes too late.
I'm not quite sure where I got the general idea from, but its a really fun story to write. I'm basing their power though off a Superpower Wiki entry though- Supernatural Beauty- and giving a new look to the power.

For more Beautiful Manipulation, you can check out the story at my Wattpad page or on my Pinterest Board. Also, here's a semi-depressing, but interesting article that I know Sian would use to her advantage- Being Attractive Pays Off.

Also, check out my friends' stories on Wattpad- Drunk on Love by natmarie, Clever Devils by EDcarrol, and The Dawn- The Aleron Chronicles Book 1 by Evelynn Grace.

Sincerely,
Sareh

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sharing Days! 6/13/14

Random articles, Music and Media



  • I found a new (Its actually old but new to me) song by BOA called "Hurricane Venus".
    • This post written by Lauren DeStefano about "manic pixie dream girls" and how girls can be girls and not an object to be attained. 
    • A map that shows the entire world in stereotypes. 
    • Studying is really hard when this happens: 
      If this doesn't illustrate studying, I don't know what does.
      Can she just absorb it for me and give me the knowledge?

    Posts from Around the Web about Books

    Articles Dealing with Amazon's Bullying
    Articles dealing with YA
    In the News

    P.S I know I'm posting on Friday the 13th, but you guys believe in any superstitions? 

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Do you need to read to be a good writer?

    I don't actually own this picture, but it was cute,
    so I put the title of this post on it.
    Credit Link
    So I know this is a question that depends on the person, but honestly, I just wanted to throw my two cents in there.

    But basically, I know some writers that who for whatever reason either won't read, or they hate it. And I don't really understand it. Now, if you're simply too busy to read, that's understandable (it happens), but a writer (especially fiction) who hates reading?

    If there's anything that writers say will help your writing, one thing that everyone repeats ALL THE TIME its that if you want to be a good writer, you got to READ. 

    I know this one girl who's a fantastic writer. She's honestly pretty good and she knows a lot about writing. The only thing is that she doesn't read and doesn't see why its such a big deal if she doesn't. 

    But see, just like any other craft, in order to improve you have a) study a ton B) practice till you go blind (basically). And reading is how writers study. If you're a writer and you want to improve, you have to read. 
    Reading helps you see what works and what doesn't work. 

    Struggling on how to write something in first person or third? Read books in first or third and see how they do it. Writing a book in verse? Read other books in verse. Read things outside your favorite genres (I'm guilty of not doing this. Basically all I read and write is speculative fiction and historical fiction). Read stuff you don't really want to write or read. Heck, even read nonfiction or if you're a nonfiction writer, read fiction. (You could even read writing guides).

    Take notes while you read if you want. Or if you don't feel like being that studious, don't. Put little tabs by parts that struck out to you or by words you want to look up. Look at books that break grammar and other writing rules. (Examples I've seen of this is The Girl in the Arena in which there's no quotation marks, only dashes. And Blood Red Road by Moria Young in which I think the dialogue is separated by commas). 

    Read and study classics, see what makes them so famous and important. Read friends writing (or go find some writing friends and ask to read their stuff), and critique their writing. Not only will critiquing their writing help them, but it'll help you as well. Show you things to watch out for in your own writing and things you want to try. 

    Basically read everything. 

    Reading for writers is like chefs who don't eat or try out competition's dishes. 

    Sure if you don't read, but only write you'll still grow. But it will be very slowly and you won't see as much improvement. You don't have to read a lot, but you should be reading. How many books and what kind of books depends on you, but if anything, you could always read a little before bed like I do. (Reading before bed, studies have shown, apparently trick you into getting tired easier. But I wouldn't recommend horror right before bed.)

    And besides, reading other books will give you so many new ideas. Like seriously, each book is just waiting to inspire you (not to copy it obviously, but to give you your own idea). Also, don't be afraid to read bad books, because then you can learn what not to do. 

    Another reason you should be reading is because its entertaining and you can learn stuff. Even from fiction books you can learn stuff. You can learn how to empathize better with people (studies show that people who read have more empathy for others), learn how to handle a situation, learn about people and cultures you don't normally interact with, and learn things about yourself. 

    So basically, if you're a writer, there are a ton of good reasons why you should be trying to read if you don't already. Besides, you're a writer. You love books and stories. Why wouldn't you want to read more awesome stories and even learn from them? 

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Online Journalism and Bad Ethics

    Image Link
    I used to use Yahoo! for the majority of my news gathering. It usually gave me interesting news and different kinds of news. It was easy and right there to use. But I recently stopped using Yahoo! at all. One of the reasons was that I've found more news on Twitter (Twitter is apparently a hive for journalists) and its more immediate. But the biggest reason I stopped reading Yahoo! was due to the lack of professional standards I started seeing in their journalists. 

    I'm not sure if Yahoo! wants to be more of a blog than a real news organization, but I have a problem when people who call themselves "journalists" (i.e professional journalists) start to turn the news into their own personal blogs and to further their own personal agendas. 

    I saw it in other stories they reported on, but the ones I saw this the most in was in their reporting on LGBT stories. Now I'm fine reading these and was interested in them because its now a "hot button topic". Its big news and journalists are capitalizing on LGBT stories. 

    See, these journalists when reporting on the topic would often insert their own personal opinions into the story and I finally got fed up when I started seeing them call people who disagreed with them, "bigots" and all sorts of other things. 

    I'm not okay with this. Because Yahoo! doesn't clarify if this is really news they're presenting or opinion pieces. If this is a blog within the organization I'm reading, or if their editors are somehow letting this slide as an actual piece of news. 

    I'm not okay with this because 1) the very first thing you learn in journalism classes (I should know, I'm a journalism student) is to NOT insert your opinions into a reporting piece (unless you're writing an opinion piece), 2) you shouldn't be calling your readers bigots in the first place on a professional website. Its not good PR, I believe. 

    Now I know online journalism is usually written in a more "conversational" style, but that still doesn't mean that you can totally forgo all professional standards. If you want me to take you seriously as a reporter, then you have to act like a professional. 

    According to my journalism textbook, The Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics is considered a standard for most media professionals. This code of ethics rules that journalists should: 
    • Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
    • Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
    • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
    • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
    • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
    • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
    And while there's no clear code of ethics for online journalism itself, the Poynter Institute has recommended a set of rules for online journalism.
    • Journalists should avoid conflict of interest. 
    • News Organizations should clearly label news and opinion. 
    • Journalists who work for news organizations may keep personal blogs, but they should discuss their plans with an editor to avoid potential conflicts. 
     I don't care what you're writing, but if you're a journalist and you're writing actual news, leave your opinions out of it. If you want to write your opinions into something, clearly state that this is an opinion piece or get a blog.

    So I even took the liberty of emailing SPJ's Ethics Hotline (you can also call them, but since I was writing this over the weekend, I emailed them) and the Vice Chair of their ethics committee emailed me back, agreeing that opinions should be kept separate from news and that opinions in news stories should be labeled as such.

    So, have you seen other examples of bad journalism in the media lately? (I would show you the article I'm talking about and a few others but unfortunately, I didn't save them).

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    Thoughts on Diversity in books.

    URL link
    First and foremost, I'm totally for more books with diversity (diversity in YA especially is being opened to including, people of different races, sexual orientation, and whatever else you can think of besides a white, middle class, straight person I guess). I think that we really do need more books with a wide range of people in them.

    Well, A) it represents reality. B) It exposes readers to people that are not only different from them, but people who are like them as well.

    I've seen a lot of books lately with authors who are using more diverse characters. I've seen a lot of LGBT books or a TON  (underlying that because I'm pretty sure that almost every book I've read this past year as including at least ONE character who's LGBT) just with them in it. More books with black, Asian, Latino, and other races in it. And more books with people of different sizes.

    One book that comes to mind is Rae Carson's A Girl of Fire and Thorns. The main character is on the bigger side and struggles with her weight. She even eats more throughout the book, almost in a rebellious streak, and after losing some weight due to walking around in a desert, comes to terms with her weight. She'll never truly be skinny, but she's fine with herself.

    Now, to get to my point, after seeing the hastag trending on Twitter #weneeddiversebooks, my friend Rae Slater and I got into a discussion about this. My friend and I both agreed that while diverse books are important and having those characters are indeed so, we also felt that we're focusing too much on what a character looks like and missing everything else that comes with the book.

    My friend's point was that we need to be careful not to make our quest for diversity overshadow the meanings, messages, and plots in our books. We shouldn't put a "diverse" character in there just because we're trying to make a point or because we're doing it for diversity's sake. Because when you start doing that, you can fall into harmful stereotypes and your characters will start to come off as fake and unrealistic.

    She pointed out that in Rae Carson's A Girl of Fire and Thorns, a lot of people loved the MC because she had "realistic worries and concerns", but then everyone does, the rest of our characters do too, but people can't look past their "perfect" body images to see that.

    I agree with her. In response to characters with body issues, I would like to argue that its not "unrealistic" to have a girl who's white and skinny or whatever. Because you know what? There are girls out there like that. I'm one of them, I should know. We're people too, and we shouldn't be put down because majority of America especially happens to be big now.

    I have realistic worries and concerns just like Rae Carson's main character did. I worry about my weight and how other people see me just as much as bigger girls do. I may not struggle with losing weight, but I so struggle gaining weight. And that's not as nice as everyone thinks so, because if I so much as lose a couple pounds I have to fight to gain it back and it causes issues with my body.

    So while I agree we should have more "bigger" girls in books, I also think that we need to be careful about saying that someone who is "skinny" isn't realistic.

    Onto the rest of my talk. I believe that we needs to write characters as they come to us, as we believe they should be written. If they happen to be black. Cool. If they happen to be white. That's cool too. But we shouldn't focus so much on what race or origin a character is unless it particularly affects the story and pertains to it. We shouldn't just decide to make someone black or whatever just because we want "diversity".
    _______________

    As for the authors who are concerned that they "can't write someone who's a POC or whatever just because they themselves or white or whatever", I have this to say.

    Stop. Worrying. About. It.

    Why? Because you shouldn't be THAT concerned about their skin color or whatever. People who are black or Latino or Asian have the same worries, concerns, dreams, and problems as everyone else. Sure their race, skin color, whatever affects how people see them and how people "think" they should act.

    (If you really are concerned, do some research, but don't go overboard on it. I will say I know genetics does affect people of different races differently. And there are economic standpoints to consider. For example, did you know that there is a worse pay gap for women of color then there is for white women?)

     But if you want to write a  realistic black character, just write a realistic person. Sure you'll have to think about how their race affects them differently then it does you, but in all honestly, they're just people.

    URL Link
    For example, in Those Crazy Years, Blissom Thomsen is black. Well she's more half-black, half-I-guess-native-Amazonian. Her mother was a tribeswoman from the "Southern Holdings" (basically, think the Amazon rainforest and its tribes people), who fell in love with Blissom's father. He was a black missionary who eventually went back to the book's version of France.

    But in any case, in the 1920s, there was this huge explosion of the arts that black people contributed to. It was called the Harlem renaissance. And there was also, within Harlem, this famous black woman gangster, Stephanie St. Clair and her assistant, Bumpy. So there was a lot of black writers, singers, artists, and well, gangsters too at the time. But the Klu Klux Klan also saw a revival during the 1920s and weren't only against black people now, now they were against foreigners, Catholics, Jews, and pretty much everyone who wasn't a white, protestant.

    So during the story, Blissom's skin color is kinda a big deal. So I've had to figure out and research how that would affect a woman like her. But in actuality, I haven't done a whole lot of research on "how to write a black person". I've written Blissom how she is as a person.

    Blissom is loud and energetic, extroverted and passionate, she's sassy and takes crap from no one, she's her own woman who doesn't care about boys and trying to get a date. She's also loyal and stands up for what she believes in. She's responsible for her actions, protective, and compassionate. But then she's kinda obnoxious, she has an outrageous temper, she doesn't think before she acts, rude, too carefree, rebellious, impatient, easily distracted, and doesn't believe that anyone would hurt her. She's her own person who doesn't let what anyone else think of her stand in her way.


    The story features several other prominent "diversity" characters. Such as Hana Hayasi, who's a princess who's come to New Haven to study in the university and be a movie screen actress. I've had to do more research onto Japan in the 1920s because even though Hana is far away from her homeland, she still acts and holds onto the ideals and attitudes of her people during that time period. She's not as adventurous, outgoing, or rebellious as her friends. Another character is Misae Fey who's also Asian, but comes from a version of Southeast Asia. She's quiet and reserved, reportedly wanted for crimes back home, uptight, rude, insensitive, revengeful, angry, manipulative, and suspicious. But she's also responsible, intelligent, patient, confident, thinks before she acts, strong willed, ambitious, and opinionated.

    The other thing that one has to understand about the 1920s, is that during that time the "Flapper" look (that the era is known for, and arguably started our whole obsession with being thin) was partly achieved by being thin, flat-chested, and not very curvy (the look was partly based off a boy-ish figure since Flappers wanted more equality with men and figure they might as well look the part. Or something to that effect.). So many of the girls in the story are thin (admittedly, not all of my characters achieve this standard and therefore, struggle with it).

    URL Link
    Josephine Baker, at 16 (During the time of "Shuffle Along".

    Two guys looking snazzy

    URL Link
    Anna May Wong
    __________

    Point being is that we shouldn't focus so much on a character's looks, sexuality, or whatever unless that is what the story is about. Instead of focusing so much on putting "diversity" in our books, we should just focus on writing realistic characters. And if we write, realistically, then we'll end up with good characters and good books.

    We should write characters as they come to us and not force them into something they aren't. As my friend said, "does that mean that I, personally, might get a lot of white characters? Yes. But I have characters in other books who aren't."

    We need to write stories that are important to us. Stories that reflect what we want to say and the world around us. And if you want to write a "diversity" story, go for it. But if that's not what you're aiming for, then don't worry about it. Be true to yourself, and to your books. Be true to our readers. Reflect reality and be true to it.

    So that's my five cents, while I believe diversity in books is important, I also believe that we need to remember to write stories how they're supposed to be written. Write characters how they come to you even if that means they're white, middle class, straight people.

    Other Articles
    Are Authors Scared to Write Diverse Books?
    We Need Diverse Books Campaign

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

    Sharing...Sundays! 5/25/14

    So I couldn't...post on Friday because I was on vacation, but I took some lovely pictures I'll be putting up on my portfolio on Devinart.

    Music and Media
    • Here's a wonderful Ted Talk about domestic violence. 

    And while we're talking about domestic violence, I saw this video on Buzzfeed about domestic violence in public and how people react, when its guy-on-girl/girl-on-guy. 
    The video is presented by the Mankind Initiative which aims to help men in domestic violence situations. 
    • To hear the kind of music I've been listening to for my story, Those Crazy Years, check out these Spotify playlists.  In Full Swing & Electro Swing. Also, some classic 1920s,  Flapper Jazz Dinner Party.
    • I created a "research template" for writers. Here's the PDF version. I can also send it to anyone who thinks it might be useful. Let me know what you think and if I can improve it! 

    Articles From Around the Web
    Websites to Look At
    • Who Pays Writers? tries to figure out how much writers make and offers tips and suggestions to writers. They also have a magazine aimed at helping writers as well. 
    • Old Magazine Articles- They have tons of free old magazine articles available online. Writing historical fiction and trying to find out something from a particular time or era? Or just curious? Well look no further! 
    • Crisis Textline- is a free crisis hotline aimed at teens with help and support available 24/7. 
    • Perdue Owl offers lots of hints and suggestions not only for research papers, but for researching as well for fiction writers (well you can take it that way). 
    Sincerely,
    Sareh



    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Expierence Your Book with Mozart: Booktrack

    Ever thought that reading would be more interesting if you had some kind of music to go along with it? No? Well maybe you've thought that you know a particular song goes just well with this passage and only if you could share it with the world. 



    There's website, Booktrack, that allows users to listen to books and texts with synchronized movie-style soundtracks and sounds. Apparently you can buy books with soundtracks already loaded (for example, the Power of Six comes with over 70 different musical scores and sounds, according to The Atlantic), create your own for books, or even add music and sounds to books and documents you originally create. 

    According to The Atlantic:
    It takes about six weeks to produce the nine hour-long track for a typical book. Booktrack has a small in-house team, but the bulk of the labor is done at outside production companies like Park Road Post, which has won Academy Awards for sound mixing. Creative designers read each book and determine what music and sounds should be used, and where. It all comes together with a composer, an audio technician, and sometimes, a sound producer. Cameron said it was only natural to seek out sound experts from the film industry, and they try to work with writers when they can. 
    But how exactly does it work? According to the Smithsonian:
    How does the book know when to fire the gun? It reads your mind. Almost. By calculating your reading speed from when you turn the page, it gauges when you'll reach the word or group of words that trips a sound effect. For slow readers, the background music plays on a loop, idling euphoniously, until you get to one of the trigger words. 
    Booktrack tries to help improve literacy
    According to Forbes.com, it reports that the National Endowment for the Arts reports that 33% of high school and 42% of college students never read a book after graduation. And with these numbers, educators are looking for more ways to engage students with reading (with reading showing not only increased test scores, but other benefits as well).

    So in comes Booktrack, hoping to help educations tackle the non-reading trends among young adults. Booktrack Classroom gives students free access to ebooks with soundtracks for reading or creating their own. 


    The thinking goes that with videos, radio, TV, video games, and interactive media, students have a hard time engaging in silent reading with a book that requires longer attention spans and less interactive parts to keep them engaged. So Booktrack figures that by adding music and sound, it'll help keep their attention.

    According to their press release:
    The announcement follows findings from a research project conducted by a team of experts from the University of Auckland that shows how reading with Booktrack increases reading comprehension and engagement. Of the 260 students in the randomized study, those who read the syllabus text incorporating Booktrack’s synchronized soundtrack spent 30% more time reading and registered up to 17% higher comprehension in comparison with the control group.
    A second study was conducted with students with reading difficulties, with an even greater impact. This group had up to 18% higher comprehension and 35% higher satisfaction. The studies were led by Dave Hithersay, head of Biology at Auckland’s Mt Roskill Grammar School.
      From my own experience, I know when reading a book, my English teachers have often played corresponding movies and soundtracks (usually not while we were actually reading) or would find some way to make it more interesting (because apparently just reading on its own can't be entertaining). In any case, its a nice idea. 

    Creating your own Booktrack?
    Going on from education, we've now come to the what if I actually want to do this and create my own Booktrack? part. 
    Booktrack’s expansion into education builds on the company’s recent successful fundraising round where it secured US$3million from global investors, led by Sparkbox Ventures. It allows the company to build on its recent growth with Booktrack Studio, which provides self-published writers with the ability to add soundtracks to their ebooks. In just over five months since its launch, over 300,000 users have created more than 3,600 Booktracks in 30 different languages and have spent more than 2.5 years reading.
     Anyways, according to the website, its fairly simple. "1. Copy your existing work, type an original story, or use a royalty free text to get started. 2. Add music, ambient sounds, and effects from our free library of 1,000s of tracks to create an immersive soundtrack for your text. 3. Publish your story for our community of readers to enjoy and share."  But of course, we all know that it is never as simple as they say. So if you really want to create your own booktrack, there's this handy-dandy little guide on how to make yours nice  or you can check out their author's blog.

    Booktrack isn't such a new idea
    Even though this is totally relevant, but I feel I must mention audiobooks. If you've ever listened to an audiobook, you'll probably notice that there's usually a little bit of music and sound involved. Usually in between the reader actually reading, sometimes to indicate a break or to introduce a chapter or whatever.

    Authors in the past have also made use of creating soundtracks to go along with their books. Author Glen Duncan collarbated with Stephen Coates to create soundtracks to go with the novels I, Lucifer and The Last Werewolf. Jeff VanderMeer has also created soundtracks to go with his books.

    And besides that, is a habit for writers now days to seek out music that goes along with their books. For Those Crazy Years, I found some wonderful playlists on Spotify (I think under a genre called electro swing) that works perfectly with my 1920s steam/deco punk story. Many of my writing friends have also created playlists on 8tracks that go along with their books. And this Amazon post lists some other books that have soundtracks created with the story in mind.

    Other tibits
    You can watch this Tedtalk by Booktrack's co-founder Paul Cameron.

    And although I think this is a pretty neat idea, and I could see how it could be appealing to some, I would think that overall, it would just be too distracting. Unless maybe you're already in a situation that is distracting and you want something to listen to. Besides that, if you're looking to buy a book with a Booktrack, it costs extra (obviously, but would you really want to spend a couple extra dollars on it?). In any case, the app for it is available for both Apple and Androids so you can download it for yourself and check it out. And I might have to as well just to see if it really does work nicely or not.

    So what do you think? Would you like to add music and sounds to your own book or read a book with a soundtrack ebbed in it? Do you think it says something about society went we're using soundtracks to help engage readers, or do you think its a smart or stupid idea?

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Cover Reveal: Forever Kinda Love by Clara Stone (+ Giveaway!)

    So everyone, this is exciting! Because not only am I doing my first ever cover reveal, but its for this lovely author who wrote this really awesome sounding book and LOOK AT THAT COVER PEOPLE. Its so pretty. But anyways, take a moment to look at all this awesomeness, AND check out the giveaway at the bottom!


    Title: Forever Kinda Love
      Author: Clara Stone
      Release date: August 15th, 2014
      Genre: Contemporary Romance
      Age Group: Mature Young Adult
      Cover Design: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design & Photography

    Ebook will be available at: Kindle | Nook | Kobo |Smashwords |Paperback





    FOREVER KINDA LOVE Synopsis:
    Life’s. Little. Surprises.

    The last thing seven-year-old Carrigan "Ace" Casper foresaw was an eight- year-old Heath Lovelly walking into her life the day her mother died. From that moment on, Heath sticks by her side, slowly becoming her strength, her confidant, and her entire world. What she doesn’t know is, she's his saving grace, too.

     Ten years later, Ace is handed another crippling challenge that threatens everything in her almost perfect life. Only, this time, she doesn't turn to Heath, hiding the truth instead. But Heath knows Ace too well and won't back down easily. He's ready to do whatever it takes and will stay by her side until she accepts that their love is the kinda love worth fighting for.

     Will he be her forever triumph or her unexpected downfall?

    Two lives.

     One story.

    And an unexpected journey to falling in love.

    *** Follow this book's Story board at: http://pinterest.com/pkanaparti/forev... ***

    **Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language and sexual content.

    About the Author:
    Priya Kanaparti lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID. Unlike what most believe about Idaho, it’s more than a sack full of potatoes. When she’s not writing, you’ll catch Priya reading YA and NA books, mostly romance, and enjoying time with her family. She is a proud CW TV addict. She also write Mature YA and New Adult romance under the name Clara Stone. She is published through Reuts Publications.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Sharing Fridays! 5/16/14

    So I kinda forgot yesterday was Thursday (I blame summer break), so I'm sharing things today.

    Book Contests

    • Lori. M. Lee is having a cover reveal and an international book giveaway! Check it out here.
    • Beth Revis is having a huge giveaway and you have to check it out here.
    • Jay Kristoff is having a cover reveal and a giveaway too! You can check it out here.

    Media and Music



    Articles to Look at


    Websites to Look at

    • The Brits have established a website chock full of literature and other documents from the British Library's collection on Romantic and Victorian writers. You can check it out here.
    • There's an awesome website you can buy books from for REALLY cheap. You can check out Book Outlet here

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Book Review- Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

    By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
    Common enemy, common cause.
    When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
    And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
    But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
    What power can bruise the sky?
    From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 
    At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
    Wow.

    That's probably the one word I can use to describe this book and series. As you'll probably notice, I've been reviewing a lot of end of the series, third books. Well that's cause a lot of series I've been reading as been coming to a close. Which, I'm sad to see, especially with this series.

    First off, I'm just going to say I really have nothing but praise for this book and the series overall. And if there's anything I want to pound on more, its that Laini Taylor's writing style is beautiful. I've read a lot of interesting writing styles (Like in "Girl in the Arena" and "Blood Red Road") and I know I've said before I like Ally Condie's writing, but Laini Taylor's style in this book blows everything else away. Its so poetic and funny and real and...wow.

    Of course, there's going to be flaws in this book and the series, but overall, there's not much I can say. The descriptions were beautiful, the emotions of the characters were real, and overall throughout this story this was a TON of character growth. If you just start with book one and read this one, there's a constant movement of character growth throughout most of the characters.

    I say most because I didn't really see Zuzana or Mik grow all that much, but I kinda think they were already developed enough. It was nice to see different perspectives in this book, including theirs, and while they did annoy me a little at times, these two were also if anything, the comic relief. They were also Kouru's loyal "sidekicks" and they were felt like real people almost. Sometimes they were a little overdone, but I'm letting that slide.

    Throughout this book I was kinda confused a lot because Taylor added in a complete new character and I was always terribly unsure about why she was in there at all until the very ending. Her perspective was a little confusing here and there, and I was never sure what to think about her.

    Another thing that's always impressed me about this story was besides the complexity of its characters and the level of depth I felt Taylor achieved, was the unique story. Its certainly original if I'd call it anything. I haven't seen a story done like this. And some of the concept were certainly original and interesting. Some of the ideas behind them, when you strip them down to the barebones, not so much, but overall, yes. I really like the new worlds created for this story and the new take on angels and the chimera. I'm normally not really into "angels and devils" stories because I see most of them are kinda overdone, but this was far different. This didn't really have anything to do with our concepts of angels and devils (well it plays into the story but besides that), so I was pleased to find it was different.

    I also thought that Karou's magic was really unique. I can't exactly recall if I've seen resurrection magic with teeth before. That's a cool idea. It reminds me of something else I know I've read, something a tad bit similar, but I've never been able to place my finger on it.

    I know a lot of people have trouble getting into the first book because its a little slow before all the action starts, I really liked the beginning of the first book. It was really dreamy and kinda had a "romantic" feel to it (not really romance, but the way I read it felt like that). And I loved how it was set in Prague. I don't really see a lot of books here in America that are set in different countries, and I really enjoyed that it was.

    The second book was exciting and interesting, and I thought that the different ways both Karou and Akiva approached the problems of their worlds was interesting and believable. I loved Akiva's sense honor and love, and how he was able to see through the pain he and Karou and their people caused and still believed that something better could come from it.

    And I'm one for sappy endings, but I also really loved throughout the whole series the constant thread of hope and love. Because I think that despite the odds, despite their loss and their doubts, I loved that in the end, they still hoped for something better. And in our world that often can see bleak and depressing, I think that its a good message for people to take away. That there's always room for hope and that even when we can't see it, we have to dream sometimes the impossible in order for it to become possible.

    But anyways, I just really loved this series and this book. And I could go on, but I won't. But overall I give the series and this book an outstanding five+ stars.

    You can find this book (and the other two) on:
    Goodreads

    And look up Laini Taylor at her Goodreads page and at her wesbite/blog.

    Sincerely,
    Sareh



    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Support the Kidnapped Girls in Nigeria!

    Hey everyone!

    So I don't know if you've heard about the kidnapped girls over in Nigeria, but my professors at my school are calling for letters of support and encouragement to the families of the kidnapped girls. It doesn't have to be long or anything overly done. In fact, you can just write a short email/letter and send it to me through the contact page and I'll make sure to forward it on to my professors to send to the families in Nigeria!

    It doesn't cost you anything and will only take a few minutes of your time. All letters are due by May 30th.

     I know it doesn't seem like the most helpful thing we can do, but for the majority of those who can't fly over there and help look for ourselves or whatever else would be helpful, I think this is pretty good. Those families would really appreciate knowing that we care, even if we can't help them indirectly. None of us would like it if that happened to us!

    What exactly are you talking about Sareh? Well here's some news articles to catch you up!
    Image Link
    Basically what happened is that there's an extremist terrorist group in Africa called Boko Haram. And this group kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school and is hiding them somewhere in jungle and is planning to sell them as slaves.

    You can get a full breakdown at this post: Your Vital Questions Answered.

    Thanks everyone!


    Edit: Some extra sources
    Five Lessons from Chibok
    Boko Haram: Who they are and what they want
    Nigerian Girls Shed Light on Human Trafficking.
    What's so Scary about Smart Girls?
    11 facts about Human Trafficking.

    Some Organizations to get involved with if you want to help stop Human Trafficking. 
    Courtney's House
    Polaris Project
    Shared Hope
    End Slavery Now

    Sharing Thursdays! 5/8/14

    Welcome back to this weekly post of random stuff for me to share from around the internet!

    I got a Twitter! 
    So follow me for everything interesting, randomness, and for the fun of it and I'll probably follow you back!

    https://twitter.com/SarehLovasen

    Web Posts To Take a Look At!
    • This Contently Post introduced me to this new thing Facebook is trying called Facebook Newswire. Apparently its trying to compete with Twitter as a place for breaking news and the like, and wants to attract more companies to it. 
    • This post  discusses the if Buzzfeed really knows the secret to getting things viral and other ways that Buzzfeed is changing the way we see news and media. 
    • And as much as I all know we don't like taking finals at school, don't be like these college students who ordered a hit on themselves in order to avoid their finals! 
    Music and Media to Think about and Listen To
    Websites and Other Randomness to Look at
    • Wasn't exactly sure if this counts as a website yet or not, but there's a kickstarter program called Storium that kinda reminds me of a role playing game or Dungeons and Dragons. But either way, you can check it out for yourself by clicking here.
    • If you're a graphic designer or an artist, check out AIGA- the professional organization for artists and designers! 
    • There's a website devoted to books that work on paper and wouldn't work well as ebooks. You can check out Wink-Books by clicking on its name (<---). 
    • This picture about the opening ceremony of Woodstock! Wow, that's a lot of people!
    Story Time!
    So I also recently posted a revamped story on Wattpad, called Those Crazy Years, that I'm really excited about! Its an exciting story about an alternative universe of the 1920s filled with magic, international intrigue, mobsters, spies, and mystery!
    It was fashionable, you see, to kill.

    In high style of the day, the Skylarks of New Haven have taken the city by storm. They were the bee’s knees, the big cheese, and everyone wanted to be just like them. They could sing, dance, act, anything they set their mind to, these girls could do. Everyone loved them and no one dared breathed a bad word about them. They seduced everyone and were called the “It” girls. Sexy, smart, fashionable.

    But like everyone, they each had their own secrets. And sometimes secrets have a nasty way of revealing themselves. Its been over a year since James Royston disappeared while on a mission to save his kidnapped bride, and now his sister Juliet is determined to find them no matter the cost. But it could very much cost her life.

    Thrown into a dangerous game of international intrigue, lies, forbidden romances, magic, and crime lords, Juliet will have to keep her wits about her if she’s to save her brother. But Juliet’s new friends have dug themselves into a deeper hole then anyone could imagine, and it might just take an outsider to save them. In those days it might have been fashionable, but now they call it, those crazy years.
    You can check out the story here on Wattpad and take a look at my Pinterest Board for it.

    Well that's all today! If you have more you'd like to share (whether its a new book you just discover, got published, music you want to share, an article, pictures, whatever) just let me know either in the comments or through the contact form underneath the author page!

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    Book Review- Reached by Ally Condie

    (From Goodreads) After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.
     I wished I would have been really impressed with this book. Although I'll have to admit that I liked this much better then other dystopians I have read lately. I wasn't all that thrilled with the second book, but I thought that the third book was much better.

    Once again, this series has had some seriously simply, beautiful covers, which I really like. Only with this typeface, it annoys me how the first E is different from the second E. But graphic design student annoyances I guess. But with this cover design, I feel like while there are some really complicated, but seriously beautiful covers out there on the market, I really enjoy how simple, yet eye catching these covers are.

    Since this is a review of the third book, I'm making another notice that if you haven't read this book yet or this series, and you don't like spoilers, then don't read ahead. But otherwise, continue. 

    Anyways, onto the story. Like in the second book, I thought that this book still had some slow parts to it. There wasn't too much exciting parts to it and I feel the book just kinda got around to things on its own time. But I think that it kinda worked for this book because most of everyone is sick in this book and so it makes sense that there wouldn't be as much excitement as we've seen in other dystopians.

    But I also did enjoy the character growth I saw in this book. I thought that Ally Condie did a wonderful job at that, and it was nice to see that not everything worked out in the characters favor all the time. I also thought she wrestled with some topics successfully like grief, pain, loss, and other happier topics, like falling in love again. And moving on from past loves.

    I was happy that in the end, Xander ends up falling in love with someone else, although I'll always like Xander better then Ky. And maybe its just because I'm biased towards his name, but I thought that Xander had more character development then Ky. But anyways, it was nice to see that things worked out in the end for him.

    Another thing I did like about this book was the level of depth that this book went into and the style that Ally Condie employed like in her last two books of this series. One of my favorite parts was when Cassia starts the place for them to share things like art and music. Maybe its just because I'm an art and writing and music geek, but that really struck a cord with me.

    There were a couple parts that I was confused with, like one of them was how did Ky and Indie became one of the best pilots in their society. Maybe I missed something in the other books or this book, but I was just really confused about that.

    One of the things I did like about this book is that I felt Condie was able to separate this from other dytopian books. They don't wait until the last scene to overthrow anyone, and instead it happens suddenly, soon, and quickly. I liked that. The other thing I liked was that the characters weren't quite so sure about this new system, they had their doubts. And not only that, but everything wasn't so rosy under this new system. There was good things and bad things.

    There was also a lot of plot twists I wasn't expecting, but that I thought were written well enough. One of them, though in the ending, I wasn't overly fond of, but I've decided to let it slide.

    Overall I really liked this book and I thought it was a satisfying ending to the series.

    You can look up more about this book and this series on Goodreads or on Ally's website.
    Goodreads: Reached
    Ally Condie's Goodreads Page and her website.

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Sunday, April 27, 2014

    Randomness- 5 Healthy Recipes to Try This Summer!

    So my school gave us a little packet with healthy recipes to make. And so I thought to share them with you guys. Just let me know if you have trouble seeing the pictures, and I'll type it out. 






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