Liebster Award Part 2!

You guys! My ego is going to explode from all this blogger love: I’ve been (re)nominated for the Liebster Award by two people, SJ (Delirious Antidotes) and Cassie (Book Reviews & Haikus)! Thanks so much SJ and Cassie! Please go check out their blogs :)

I love answering random questions, so here we go!

Sidenote: when I was 17-18, I spent half my time on Facebook filling out those random questionnaires that you could post as notes, so this is pretty much my jam.

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Last time, I used the standard turquoise-y one, this time I wanted the pretty pink badge!

Questions from SJ:

1) Let’s kick this off with a little bit of self promotion, as it never did any harm: tell me about a project, website, post etc. that you want to draw attraction to. (URL’s are allowed)

My friend Jane and I are working on a pop culture website which we’re both very excited about! It officially launches on June 1st, but you can check out our snazzy home page here!

2) How did you/do you cope with exam season?

I made a lot of notes. Mostly on graph paper because, for some reason, it helped me focus (I was an English/French major, so I actually had to go out and buy graph paper, come exam time).

3) Who is your favourite band/musician?

How much time do you have?? I can narrow it down to my top five (in no particular order): You Me At Six, Panic! at the Disco, All Time Low, The Maine, and Fall Out Boy.

4) What is your favourite book?

One of my most favourite books of all time is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

5) When did you start blogging?

I started my blog in August 2013. I started talking about books in October 2013, and I’ve been reviewing ARCs/giving books actual ratings since April 2015 (before, I just talked about whether or not I liked the book).

6) What is the best advice you have ever been given?

“Everything happens for a reason”. It’s not really advice so much as a proverb (is it even a proverb?) and I know it’s somewhat cliched, but it’s something I hold on to.

7) Explain the title of your blog.

My oldest sister nicknamed me “Bella” when I was little; she still calls me that and so now my three nieces call me “Bella” as well. When she was about three (she just turned nine), my oldest niece figured out that “Bella” and “books” both start with “b”, and thus she christened me “Bellsiebooks”.

8) Tea or coffee?

Tea! I have a borderline absurd collection of tea, but I love it.

9) What is your least “politically correct” opinion?

That’s a tough one…I don’t know how to answer that!

10) What did you think about before you fell asleep last night?

I’ve been telling myself stories to fall asleep ever since I was a child. For years, it’s been how I’ve worked out plot points for the books I’m trying to write.

Questions from Cassie:

1) What are three things you want to do/accomplish in life?

a) Publish a book (multiple books, ideally)
b) Become a kids’ book editor (or work in marketing for kids’ books…I’d take anything at this point)
c) Travel the world

2) Do you have a favorite musical genre and/or musician/band?

Pop-punk and similar genres (pop rock, metal, “emo”, etc). Please see above for my top five bands!

3) What was your first concert?

I saw Bon Jovi on the “One Wild Night” tour in 2001 with my sisters (I was 11).

4) Who is your favorite author? [If you don’t have one, what’s your favorite book genre?]

I love many authors, including Neil Gaiman, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr, and J.K. Rowling. I read a lot of YA (which is a category, not a genre), and I tend to enjoy contemporary or paranormal/supernatural/urban fantasy.

5) What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

I cannot possibly pick just one!! Ella Enchanted has been one of my favourite books for 17 years (I read it when I was 8), but I’m always swooning over some book or another.

6) When do you read most?

When I was working, I’d read on the morning commute and then continued for a bit when I got to work. Since my internship ended a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been reading a lot more at night.

7) What’s your preference: “real” physical books, e-books, audiobooks, or a mix of all of them?

Real books!!! I have a Kindle (which I stole from my dad) for my NetGalley ARCs and I sometimes use my phone if I don’t want to carry the e-reader around, but I much prefer the feel of physical books.

8) If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Telepathy!

9) What fictional character would you like to be friends with most? Why?

Oh, so many! Anyone from the Harry Potter universe, of course, but sometimes I wish I had a tiger friend like Hobbes (he’s furry and good for conversation!). And if we’re going outside of books, then I’d want to be BFF’s with Marceline from Adventure Time because she is my hero.

10) Do you have hobbies besides reading?

I write and I’m a huge music fan, so I’m constantly a) updating my collection or b) attending a concert.

11) What’s your favorite food or drink to have while reading?

I don’t really eat/drink when I’m reading, but I guess tea. And I’ll eat chocolate at any time of the day, so I wouldn’t say no if someone were to hand me a piece of Dairy Milk while I was reading :)

Thanks for reading! And thanks again for the nomination(s)!

You may recall that I was nominated for this award in April, so I’m not going to officially nominate blogs. However, here is a list of the last 10 blogs I followed – you should check them out too!

a bookworm’s escape
aBOOkishOwl
iamkira
thoughts and afterthoughts
Becca and Books
Owls and Things
Just my humble life
Barda Book Talk
Gilmored
Hardcovers and Heroines

Fiction Friday Round-Up – May 22nd, 2015

Here are some books I’ve been reading/finishing over the past week or so. Please click the links for full reviews!

  • The Blooming Goddess Trilogy – Tellulah Darling: “I really enjoyed this series: it was fluffy at times but still had a strong plot. The writing was funny and compelling, and if you like contemporary takes on Greek mythology, you’ll love Sophie’s world.”
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali: “I loved this book. It’s a character-driven novel, so the plot is relatively simple, but in this case, it worked because I enjoyed getting to know Simon and the world around him.”
  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley: “Flavia’s personal journey is what makes this book my favourite, and I can’t wait to get started on her next adventure.”

This week, I attended the book launch for Sarah Henstra’s fabulous debut, Mad Miss Mimic. Read my recap here!

Because it was #IreadYA week, you can see some of the YA books that I’m excited about here!

What have you read recently?

Until next week, happy reading!

#IreadYA 2015

It’s that glorious time of year again – it’s #IReadYA week! A campaign brought to us by Scholastic’s This is Teen, #IReadYA week is all about celebrating those of us who read – and love – young adult books.
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Last year, I broke down some of my favourite authors/series, this year I decided I would talk about some of the more recent YA adventures I’ve been on. There are actually different discussion topics for each day posted on the Scholastic website, but I was not paying attention, so I’m doing things my own way!

MY TWO NEW FAVOURITE TRILOGIES

I talk about these books so much on my blog, you probably already know what I’m going to say:

Every series – Ellie Marney

One word: Mycroft. For him alone, you should read these books. Also Watts, who is an incredibly strong female protagonist (she grew up on a farm, solves crimes, and plays roller derby!). Their chemistry is redonk, and the mysteries are so well written. Wattscroft forever!

The Dispossessed series – Page Morgan

Sexy, brooding gargoyles and late 1800’s Paris. What more could you ask for? Notable for being one of the only series where I was actually perplexed re: the outcome of the love triangle (I’m so happy with the way it turned out, but I was legitimately torn for a while there i.e. during the entire second book).

OUTSTANDING DEBUT

Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra

I love me a good strong Victorian heroine. This was well written, well researched, and, well, I loved it. I also attended the launch yesterday, which was super cute and so my style (tea sandwiches! Lots of sweet treats! Fun cocktails!).

DISCUSSION STARTER

When Everything Feels Like the Movies – Raziel Reid

This has been making waves in the Canadian literary scene because stuffy adults don’t think this much attention should be paid to something so “graphic”, but the message at the end is so important, and if it gets the LGBTQ conversation going, then it should win EVERY AWARD.

GORGEOUS COVER, GORGEOUS PROSE

Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley

I didn’t review this one even though I read an ARC months ago (it was before I was actively reviewing ARCs), but the Neil Gaiman-esque prose is lovely, the cover is magnificent, and the story was unique and compelling.

GRAPHIC NOVEL

Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

Granted, I’m pretty obsessed with Nimona right now, but talk about strong female protagonists! From her bold hairstyles to her butt-kicking fighting technique (“I’M A SHARK”), Nimona is a pretty great role model – even if she is technically a villain.

UNRELIABLE HEROINES

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

I wasn’t as impressed with this book as everyone else seemed to be (it got so many glowing reviews), but Cady’s narrative keeps you guessing, even when you think you’ve figured it out (or, like me, you accidentally spoiled the ending for yourself).

YA FROM A MOSTLY MG AUTHOR

Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler

While it did tend to ramble on for a while, Min’s account of her intense and turbulent relationship with Ed can be a bit of a tearjerker. It’s also a beautifully designed book, so for that alone, I’d recommend it.

ON MY TBR

Here are 2 books on my “TO BE READ” list that I’m really excited for:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali

I read the first page and was hooked in an instant, so you know it’s going to be a great read. Plus it’s been getting excellent buzz from bloggers that I tend to agree with, so I’m fairly certain I’ll enjoy it.

Also a good contender for a “discussion starter”, from what I’ve heard.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

I’ve wanted to read this for a while (I even own a copy), but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Pretty covers, angels, demons – sounds amazing.

What are some of your favourite YA books (in general, or that you’ve read recently)?

#IreadYA

Apparently it’s “I read YA” week on the interwebs. I didn’t know this was a thing otherwise I would have properly prepared myself (for one, I might have put more thought into this blog post, or maybe read a YA book this week, even though as I keep saying – if only to convince myself – I’m “taking a break” from young adult fiction).

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But this was too good an opportunity to pass up. Even though I said Writing Wednesday would be every other week (and technically this should be a Fiction Friday post, but I already have a half-finished post lined up for that).

Why do I read YA? Honestly – I don’t know. I guess it was just the category of books I started reading as a pre-teen and never really “grew out of”. It has just as much death and romance, sex and violence as so-called “adult” books (though less graphic for the most part…); just as much depth and symbolism and emotions – except the characters happen to be younger. But trying to explain what I like about YA is like trying to explain why I’m a pop-punk fan. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about YA that draws me to it, but the pull is strong enough that I’ve made it my life goal to publish a YA series of my own (sidenote: in a perfect world, I would also be in a pop-punk band, but that might be asking for a little too much).

So, to celebrate “I read YA” week, here are a few authors (who fall into categories that I just made up):

THE ONE(S) I LOVE

Libba Bray can do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve read just about everything these she’s produced and her Gemma Doyle ranks among some of the best YA books I’ve ever read.

THE ONES I REALLY LIKE EVEN IF I HAVEN’T READ ALL THEIR BOOKS (YET)

Melissa Marr technically belongs in the “ONES I LOVE” category, but I think she may have just released something. Either way, her Wicked Lovely series is very high up on my list of favourites.

Robin Benway‘s Audrey, Wait! is one of my absolute favourite novels. I haven’t read her two spy books yet, but I’m desperate to.

Ann BrasharesThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was probably the first YA book I read (I was 12. I also didn’t know there was such a thing as “YA”). I’ve read almost everything she’s produced, even if I didn’t love it, but I haven’t gotten around to picking up her most recent book.

THE ONES WITH THE STELLAR FIRST SERIES THAT THEN KINDA WENT KABLOOEY

Lauren Kate‘s Fallen series (not to be confused with Thomas Sniegoski’s Fallen series which, incidentally, is decent) was wonderful and I devoured the last book…but then Teardrop came out and I wondered if maybe I had outgrown her. We’ll see if I read the sequel.

Likewise, Gena Showalter‘s Intertwined trilogy was so good I almost stopped breathing when I read the last page (is she EVER going to write a fourth volume?!), but Alice in Zombieland left me breathless in a bad way (like I’d been punched in the stomach).

THE ONE I FEEL OBLIGED TO FOLLOW UNTIL THE END

Cassandra Clare. Oh, Cassandra Clare, remember how much I loved the first Mortal Instruments trilogy? And then you wrote a second trilogy. And a Victorian trilogy that I probably would have loved even more except the characters were so boringly familiar. I keep promising myself that when City of Heavenly Fire comes out, it will be the last C.Clare book I read…but we all know she’s planning another series that I may or may not end up reading.

Well, this post has gone on long enough and I’ve really only touched half a bookshelf (plus I haven’t even mentioned THE AUTHORS I GAVE UP ON which includes Alyson Noel and Melissa De La Cruz. Or THE I DON’T KNOW IF THESE ARE YA OR MIDDLE-GRADE BUT THEY’RE AWESOME, home of Eoin Colfer and Justin Somper). So I’ll just leave this here as my contribution to this week because #IreadYA and I’m proud of it.