19

Taking a Step Back from the Bookish Community: A Semi-Hiatus Announcement

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Hello everyone! ♥

It’s been a while since the last time I’d been FULLY active here. My life is undergoing a big change and I was planning to tell you this on my March recap, but unfortunately I didn’t even have the time to write a March recap 😂

You might remember that I just started a new job in February, but recently I… got another job 🙈 It was totally unexpected! I wasn’t even looking and out of nowhere a recruiter approached me and asked if I’m interested to work in their company. Here’s the thing : I loved my previous job, it’s close, it’s in line with my major, the people are fun, etc. But there’s one thing I didn’t mention, it didn’t pay well. And this job is so much more promising and still in line with my major. I signed the contract mid March and started working last Monday ♥ which brings me to the second point.

I moved out of the house! My new office is located in this industrial district pretty far from my house so I had to move. One of the reasons why I took the job was because I could live on my own, hehe. I’ve mentioned a few times that I feel confined to live back at home after 4 years of living on my own. So when the first chance of getting out of the house came to me, I took it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family to bits and pieces and enjoy being with them. It’s just, living back with them feels like a step back from my independence.

However… moving out this time isn’t as smooth as I expected. I’ve lived away from home twice, so I know the drill. It’s difficult but doable and I’ll get through it. But this time… well, my place isn’t as good as I expected. When I first saw it, I loved it! Large room, modern furnitures, cozy. What I didn’t know was it is EXTREMELY HOT. It was hot when I first came, but I thought the temperature will drop when I install the air cooler. But nope, did not happen.

It’s also kind of humid that it is hard for me to dry my hair inside! I’m not joking, I washed my hair at around 6 and went to bed at 10 and my hair was still very damp I just?? While at home I wash my hair at 9 and it’ll be dry in about an hour.

But the worst thing from my place is it has a really shitty internet connection! </3 it’s even so difficult to get a decent cell reception. I thought that was the only issue so I bought a wifi device, I figured I’d be able to use it for both my laptop and phone buuuut it doesn’t work. I couldn’t get any signal from inside my place so whenever I want to use internet connection I have to step out and that’s just too much work.

To top it all off, I can’t use internet connection in the office. It’s STRICTLY for work that they block any access to the internet aside from e-mail and other work related stuffs. The only social media I could access is Linkedin and that is for professional purpose.

That being said, it’s so difficult for me to blog or even schedule a post. I tried posting from my phone wordpress app but that didn’t work well. I can’t reply to comments, let alone blog hop during weekdays. And with so many things happening in the bookish community, I’m sad to say that I just can’t keep up.

So, it’s time for me to take a step back and take a semi-hiatus from the book blogging community. I’m gonna look for a new place soon, the one with better air circulation and internet connection, but until then, I’m stuck with this situation 😦 so here’s what’s going to happen in the next three weeks.

  1. I won’t be posting according to my regular schedule. My only post of the week would be reviews every Thursday because I have a lot on backlist
  2. I won’t be able to reply to comments and blog hop. I’ll probably read it from my phone, but I won’t have time to engage 😦 I’m gonna try to catch up as much as I could during weekend
  3. I won’t be able to engage in Twitter and Instagram as much as I liked to
  4. I’m gonna have to push The Diversity Corner #3 to a later date. This post always requires so much time and effort and I definitely don’t have those two right now 😦
  5. If you need to contact me, Twitter DM and e-mail are the fastest method. Obviously I might not reply right away (because of cell reception—or lack there of) but they’re still the best ones 😂

And thaaaat’s it! It’s kind of sad for me and I know that my stats will probably hit rock bottom but at this point I just can’t do this. Please don’t forget me and I’ll be back before you know it 😛

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4

Review: History is All You Left Me // Character Driven, Complex, and Beautiful

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RATING : 3-stars

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It’s a little disappointing to see that I’ve fallen into the hype. In case you didn’t know, I loved More Happy Than Not and this book is honestly one of my most anticipated releases this year. This is gonna be an unpopular opinion but unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.

History is All You Left me follows the story of Griffin, a high school senior whose ex-boyfriend Theo just died in a drowning accident. Theo was Griff’s best friend, first love, and probably end game as well. They broke up before Theo went to college in California. In there Theo started a new relationship with Jackson, despite saying that Griff would be his end game as well.

Unsurprisingly, the writing is beautiful and vivid. I was hooked from the first page because it jumped straight to the important scene : Theo’s funeral. However, it went downhill fast. Suddenly the pace slowed and to be honest, I was bored 😦 the writing alternates between past and present and while I usually love it, I found myself having a hard time this time. The past chapters were too… rambly. There are too many filler paragraphs, discussing things that don’t really matter. However, we got a lot of Harry Potter and Star Wars references so at least those parts were great.

My biggest issue with this book is that I couldn’t emotionally connect with the characters. Despite narrating the story, I felt so distant from Griffin and I have no idea why. And if I’m already that disconnected from the main character, you can imagine how I felt for the rest of the characters. This is upsetting because it prevented me from feeling what Griffin and the other characters felt. That’s why I was only a liiiitle bit sad. I thought I was gonna cry like a baby but it didn’t happen.

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The middle of the book was probably the hardest because there was nothing much happened there. I realized this is character driven, but still, I was bored. I wanted things to happen immediately and when it finally did… well, there’s this twist (sort of) near the end of the book but it didn’t blow me away as much as I expected. I really didn’t see it coming, though it makes sense, but it wasn’t as surprising as the twist in More Happy. The ending was great, but to me it still didn’t make up for the rest of the book.

Speaking of the characters, it’s so great that almost all the characters are complex and realistic. Griffin stood out because not only was I in his head, his characterization was also explored thoroughly. He made plenty of bad decisions that I wouldn’t agree of, but it’s understandable. Jackson took a while to grow on me but by the time I closed the book, I absolutely loved him. Wade—Griff and Theo’s best friend—is probably my favorite. He’s sassy, funny, yet thoughtful at the same time. I also love Griffin’s parents ♥

The only person I didn’t like was Theo. I felt awful because he’s dead and he meant so much for Griff and Jackson. I loved the romance but the truth is, Theo was selfish. Griff might be the one who broke their relationship but Theo held the key. He found a new boyfriend (which is completely okay and not his fault since they’d already broken up) but he kept leading Griff on and it pissed me off because Griffin (and Jackson) deserved better. I just, I couldn’t see why he was so special for Griff and Jackson and again, I felt awful for saying this 😦

I love the portrayal of grief in this book. Everybody went through it, only differently. I also love how real the portrayal of OCD in this book was. It’s vivid and realistic and I loved to see how much Griffin’s OCD and anxiety affected his daily life. At the end of the book, Griffin got slightly better—well, not exactly better but more like he wanted to be better and were open to change, because of certain someone. I was worried about it but overall I think it was handled well. However, I was really not a fan of Theo calling Griffin’s OCD “quirks” even though THE BOOK DIDN’T CONDONE IT. But still, it kinda rubbed me the wrong way and only made me dislike Theo even more </3

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ALL IN ALL, History is All You Left Me didn’t live up to my expectation, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. The characters are great, complex, and realistic. There’s also a realistic portrayal of grief and OCD. Unfortunately, I was unable to emotionally connect with the characters and couldn’t feel what they felt. I’d still recommend it for readers who are looking for m/m romance and character driven novel and I’d definitely read more of Adam Silvera’s upcoming books ♥

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Book Title : History is All You Left Me
Author : Adam Silvera
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Release Date : January 17th 2017

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

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Have you read History is All You Left Me? What do you think about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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5

Review : The Hate U Give // Powerful, Important, and Provocative

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RATING : 5 Stars

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Five stars and more, and I don’t think any reviews will ever do this book justice. It’s so powerful, wonderful, and undoubtedly the most important and honest book I’ve ever read in my life.

As could be inferred from the blurb, The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Going into this book, I almost didn’t know what to expect. I heard it was amazing, unapologetic, and possibly one of the best books everyone’s ever read. But still, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was so much… more, than I could have expected. This book was so honest, strong, brilliant, and it evoked so many emotions in me. Hours after reading that last page, I’m still reeling with my emotion. There are so many things I want to discuss about this book.

Racism is a prominent theme of this book. It discusses racism, shows us what happens, and how it affects the Black and their lives. The way it was portrayed was unapologetically honest. Starr doesn’t narrate it in a mean and bitter way, she doesn’t mean to corner White people, she just talks about the reality. Differences between races exist, and so does racism.

I don’t want to say things like “I learned so much about racism and Black people” just by reading one book. It sounds… naive, and despite Angie Thomas’s honest and brilliant portrayal of it, I’m sure there are a lot of things I still don’t understand, and I don’t want to act like I do. But I’m gonna say this : THUG gives me so much insight to the lives of Black people and the racism they have to deal with. It makes me realize that racism runs so much deeper than I ever knew. It’s internalized. It’s everywhere. It’s hard to avoid, and just like Starr said, you can say something racist and not be a racist. And it’s dangerous. It costs people like Khalid, and who knows who else, their lives.

This book also evoked so many emotions in me. Seeing all the things that happened to Starr, her family, Khalid, and everyone in her neighborhood makes me angry, sad, heartbroken, furious, and baffled. But seeing Starr with her friends and family makes me smile, happy, and laugh. Between its tough issues and its sass, THUG is a perfect mix.

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More than anything, this book also makes me uncomfortable–in the best way possible. I almost never have any encounter with people from different races. In this country where I live, almost everyone here is Indonesian. We might come from different ethnics, but we’re the same race after all. But still, prejudice between ethnic exists. Sometimes I assume things about other ethnics based on common stereotypes. I know it’s not the same as racism, but it pains me to realize that I’m practically doing the same thing that these cops and some of Starr’s friends do to Khalid. They make assumption.

I also hate the fact that sometimes I justify cops killing people. It might not be about racism here, but sometimes police officers shoot drug dealers and other criminals to death. I never condone it. I believe it’s not justice. But sometimes, some tiny part of me, feel… I don’t know, relieved, that one bad person is gone. Reading THUG made me feel so, so deeply ashamed of myself for ever feeling this way. But like I said, this is the good kind of uncomfortable, because now I realize where I did wrong and it makes me want to stop doing those things for ever.

Characters wise, THUG also does a really wonderful job. Starr is my new favorite protagonist. She’s brave, strong, funny, and she’s sooo sassy I love her. She grows so much in the span of one book and I love seeing her growth. She’s grown from someone who felt like she needed to hide her true self to someone who’s not afraid. Someone who feels confident with herself and not afraid to show the world who she really is. I love all her family as fell. Seven, Sekani, Starr’s father and mother, even Uncle Carlos and Nana. They’re all amazing and together they make a wonderful family dynamic. They’re definitely my new family goal ♥

The friendship dynamic in this book is also brilliant. I love Maya, Kenya, Chris, even Hailey (even if I dislike that girl so much). I love the fact that they exist and a part of Starr’s world. It gives so much depth into the story and it makes Starr’s life more relatable. I felt weird toward Chris at first, or still do, but I love the fact that he sticks with Starr to the end. It’s also very refreshing to see a couple had been together before the story started.

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ALL IN ALL, The Hate U Give is definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s wonderful, it’s so unapologetically honest, and it’s so unlike everything I ever read before. It changes my perspectives. You probably realized that I talked a lot about how the book affected me, because that’s how powerful this book really is. Highly, highly recommended.

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Book Title : The Hate U Give
Author : Angie Thomas
Publisher : Walker Books
Release Date : February 28th 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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Have you read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas? What do you think about it? Did you learn as much as I did from it? What is the most important book you’ve ever read? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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57

Reviewing on Goodreads and on the Blog: is There Any Difference?

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Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another discussion post 😀 today we’ll talking about reviewing books on different platforms and if there’s any difference between them. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blogging tip post that talks about the difference between reviewing books on goodreads and on our blog and the blogger said that it should be different. It surprised me a little because I’m that kind of reviewer who practically copies-and-pastes my goodreads reviews to my blog 😁

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Basically this is what I usually do : 

  1. I write review as soon as I finish a book and post it on goodreads (and netgalley if I get the book from them)
  2. I copy-paste the review to my blog, add star ratings, add links too Goodreads, Amazon, and TBD, and break up my review so it won’t seem as long.
  3. Add pictures of the books
  4. Check for typos or offensive critiques and make sure they’re gone before I hit publish. This is probably the ONLY difference because I almost never proofread my goodreads reviews. They’re full of typos and I don’t really care
  5. Post the blog review according to my schedule (every Thursday)
  6. Sometimes if I remember, I put a link to my blog on my goodreads review

But after reading that blog post I started to question my credibility as a reviewer and whether I’ve been doing the wrong things all along :’) so I did some google search for everything I need to know about this topic.

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The first result landed me on Kourtni’s post about reviewing on different platforms. On her post, Kourtni talked about a reviewer who posts significantly different reviews on her blog and on goodreads in which her blog reviews are way nicer than her goodreads reviews—which are pretty harsh and brutal. Kourtni than said that according to that reviewer, it’s because different kinds of reviews are popular on different platforms. I quote :

She felt that Goodreads reviews were more popular and taken more seriously if they were extremely critical, but noted that this was not a good strategy on a book blog, where readers expected a more fair and balanced but honest review. She seemed to change the wording of her review (and sometimes completely change the content) based on what she thought readers were looking for.

It’s probably a truth widely acknowledge that on goodreads, the harsher you get, the more popular your reviews become. If you haven’t noticed that, try scrolling through the review section of some of the popular books, you’ll see the top results are mostly harsh reviews. I did more google search and it landed me on Goodreads Review Guidelines. According to the guidelines, goodreads is for expressing our honest opinion about books. Harsh critical statements that apply to the book or the writing in it, such as “This guy can’t write a lick,” or “This book is absolute trash,” is allowed on Goodreads review—as it is an honest opinion.

Now let’s think about reviewing on the blog. As far as I know, there’s no guideline or rules about it. We are free to review the books however we want to, but everything we write is on us. I can’t imagine myself saying harsh things like “this book is absolute trash” on my blog just because it has messy plot or immature characters, that’s just… too brutal and I don’t have the nerve, or heart, to do it. We can’t forget the fact that behind every book, no matter how awful it is, there’s a person who’s done a hard work to write it. I’m not gonna bash them on my blog.

I guess my point is that on the blog, everything we write is our responsibility while on goodreads, we are still protected by the rules and guidelines. Also, I noticed that a lot of goodreads reviewers strive for popularity, that’s why the snarkier the reviews, the better.

HOWEVER, I wasn’t sure if the difference in reviews is simply because of popularity, so I did more research and it landed me on Ashley @ Nose Graze’s post : Goodreads Reviews Can Outrank Your Blog Reviews. I suggest you read Ashley’s post because she understands and explains this better than I could possibly do but bottom line is :

1) If you post identical reviews on goodreads and on your blog, your goodreads reviews will beat your blog in search ranking. This means that if you google your blog/goodreads username and the title of the book, your goodreads review will show up first on google search results. The first thing Ashley did to win back her blog SEO was to change her goodreads username so it wouldn’t be identical to her blog name. In my case, I’d have to remove “Sparkling Letters” from my goodreads user name so if anyone google Sparkling Letters reviews, they will be directed to my blog.

2) If you post identical reviews on goodreads and on your blog, Google would recognize it as duplicate content and pick only one result to display. In which case, see point number one. I admit that this never even occurred to me before! I post identical reviews on goodreads and my blog and the problem is, I post my goodreads review first and then post the same review on my blog a few days/weeks later. So by that logic, google would consider the review on my blog as the duplicate and the review on my goodreads as the original one, right? Scary! I don’t want google or people thinking that I’m the plagiarist one :’)

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Now we’ve reached the point when I ask myself the question : what am I gonna do about it? Based on the discussions above, we could see that there are a few things we could do.

The first is to change our goodreads username so it won’t match our blog name. I already did it. In fact, my goodreads username has always been ‘Puput’, without my blog name behind it. I don’t know if there’s any other consequences if you do this (e.g. branding, recognition, etc) but I think I’m good so far.

The second is to not post identical contents. If you post different kind of reviews on your blog and goodreads, you could kill two birds with one stone. 1) google won’t recognize your contents as duplicate and 2) if you could make your goodreads review a little snarkier, you have the chance to be more popular there. Now this is the problem.

I really don’t have the time to write TWO different reviews for a book. I mean, it’s time consuming enough to have to write one review. There’s other solution to this problem, that is to write a shorter version of your review on goodreads, and then link it to your longer and more comprehensive blog review. This way google won’t recognize the contents as duplicate. The thing is, I… don’t want to do it. I love having my full reviews on goodreads so people (or at least my goodreads friends who don’t follow my blog) could still read my full thoughts on the book.

I’m honestly concerned about the duplicate issue, so I still haven’t decided if I’m gonna post a shorter review on goodreads or not. As for popularity, I don’t really care if my goodreads reviews are popular or not. There was the time when I did care but now, not so much. I’ve accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be famous there and that’s okay. Plus I use goodreads mainly to track my reading 😛

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Alright everyone, those are my thoughts and research results about reviewing on different platforms? What do you usually do? Do you post similar reviews, or do you make certain changes so they’re not the same? Do you care about popularity, stats, SEO, and the duplicate issues? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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15

Review : A Quiet Kind of Thunder // Important, Relatable, and Sassy

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RATING : 4 Stars

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Hello everyone! ♥ if you pay attention to my posting schedule, you’ll know that Tuesday is for random posts and review is supposed to be posted on Thursday. This Thursday is almost the end of March, which means I’ll be posting my monthly recap. So here’s a review on a Tuesday! 😀

This is the story of Steffi, a 17 year-old high school girl with selective mutism and anxiety. On the first day of school, Steffi was introduced to Rhys, a new guy at school who was deaf. The school staff thought it would be great to pair them up, only because Steffi could speak BSL and therefore could help Rhys settled in. What started out as annoyance on Steffi’s part quickly turned into happiness because Rhys is actually a really great and adorable guy.

From the very first chapter, I instantly connected with Steffi. Not because I share her condition, but simply because she’s a very relatable person. That, and the fact that she has a really sarcastic sense of humor really charmed me. I loved how Sara Barnard explored Steffi’s condition as a selective mute and as a person with anxiety, and how no matter how much she wants to get better, there’s the fear of losing her sense of self if she suddenly be able to talk all the time. The way she described her anxiety, it was so easy to understand for someone like me. Between AQKOT and Queens of Geek, the book I just finished recently, books are doing really good job explaining anxiety.

Rhys is downright adorable, but I’ve said that before. He’s so friendly, sweet, patient, and genuine, but now without his angsty side. Just like how it is with Steffi, being deaf plays a hugeee part of Rhys’ life. It’s not all he is, but it is a central part. I love seeing how he navigates between both worlds, the hearing world and the deaf world, and how sometimes everything just frustrates him beyond belief. It was all so real. Reading about Rhys also made me realize that as a hearie, there are so many offensive things I could do without realizing that they are in fact, offensive. Things like raising my voice when talking to a deaf person, talking too fast, or not looking at them while talking. This is all so important and I’m glad the book managed to touch these issues effortlessly.

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Their relationship is both simple yet complicated at the same time. The way they understand each other? It was effortless. But there’s also the barriers, starting from the most basic one like how Rhys can’t hear and Steffi can’t talk, to the usual couple problems of miscommunication. I love reading their texts, super adorable and I really think texting is one of the most exciting element of a new relationship. It’s also nice to see that although they bonded over their limitation in communication, it’s not the reason why they are in love with each other.

And I think… every couple can relate to their problems, because their problems aren’t exclusive to deaf, selective mute, and anxious people. Misunderstanding, insecurity, saying things we don’t actually mean, it could happen to every couple. It does, actually, so it’s kind of nice to see that even if Steffi and Rhys have their own situation, it doesn’t always have to be the source of the problems. Obviously, I’m not trying to downplay their struggles and say that it’s not a big deal, because it is.

Let’s not forget that friendship and family also play a big role in Steffi’s life. I love her relationship with Tem and the conflicts within it. It’s wonderful and multi-dimensional. And her family, albeit far from perfect, is a realistic portrayal of family life. I love Steffi’s dad, Lucy, and her mum, though she’s definitely not my favorite person in the book. Also, also, cheers to how much animal appreciation there is in the book! I feel like I love Rita ♥

I also appreciate that being with Rhys doesn’t automatically cure Steffi from her anxiety nor selective mutism. I admit, I was so worried that there would be some romantic cure but as far as can tell, that’s not what happened. Steffi gets better, but it’s not only because of Rhys. Like the book said, it was a combination of medication, Rhys, and being ‘forced’ to go to school without Tem. I like how comprehensive it is because as far as I know, that’s what actually happens in real life. A combination of things.

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ALL IN ALL, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a wonderful, quick read that effortlessly handles so many important issues. Deafness, selective mutism, anxiety, family, and friendship, among other things. On top of it all, this book is also incredibly sweet and adorable it would make you giddy with happiness. Highly recommended for a fan of realistic fiction contemporary 🙂

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Book Title : A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author : Sara Barnard
Publisher : Macmillan Children’s Book
Release date : January 12th 2017

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.

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Have you read A Quiet Kind of Thunder? What do you think about it? Do you have other book recommendations similar to it? Also, has anyone read Beautiful Broken Things? I’m thinking of ordering it because I love Sara Barnard’s writing and also the covers match each other. I’d love to hear your thoughts ♥

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48

The Diversity Corner #2 : March Updates, Asian Representation, and April New Releases

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Hello everyone, welcome to the second edition of The Diversity Corner! ♥

ICYMI, I talked about Muslim representation in books on my first edition, you could read it here. Today I’ll be talking about Asian representation and I teamed up with several Asian bloggers to put this post together! 😀 But before we get there, as usual, I’m bringing you some diversity-related news and updates ♣

P.S. it’s gonna be long, so grab your drink, settle into a comfortable position, and read 😉 Continue reading

9

The Evolution of My Book Photography Style

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Hello everyone! ♥

If you do book photography—whether it’s for your blog or bookstagram or both, you must have taken some times to experiment with your photography style before eventually finding one that you’re comfortable with. To be honest, this is an ongoing process. You never stop experimenting because even if today you have found your favorite styles, you might find another favorite in the future. Especially if you’re someone who’s always looking for the next best style. Like me 😛

As you’ve seen from the title, today I’m gonna show you the evolution of my photography style 😀

Style #1 : The Simple Flatlay

I started out taking pictures of books long before I created my instagram account. At first I used my phone because it was simple, and I didn’t think I would need more options—the ones that camera provides. My first style was super simple! They’re all flatlays of books with a few of my stuffs. 

That was pretty basic and practically required no effort to set up 🙈 while some bloggers/bookstagrammers could pull off this simple style effortlessly, I failed miserably 😂 I wasn’t satisfied at my pictures. I hated looking at the empty spaces and I always had this urge to fill those empty spaces up, which is weird because if you look at my blog design, it’s all about empty white spaces 😛

Style #2 : The Origami Phase

After realizing the fact that I hated empty spaces, I started to look for props to make my pictures look more cluttered. At first it was difficult because when I looked at those pretty pictures on instagram, everybody seemed to use expensive props like candles, funko, etc. Some bookstagrammers successfully used random items as their props but when I tried using random items on my pictures, they looked like… well, random items 😂 it was very discouraging ahaha that was when I discovered the magic of origami ♣

Spoiler : I didn’t make those paper stars. I can’t 😂🙈 buuut I did make the origami flowers and butterfly. They’re very easy to make! This is also around the time when I started using my brother’s DSLR. I didn’t understand a single thing about it though, so I only used automatic hahaha it was pretty satisfying for a newbie.

Style #3 : The Graduation Flowers Edition

I’d always wanted to use flowers as props but to have to buy them myself ONLY for props sounded… absurd. And redundant. No judging any of you who does, but I’m cheap and I don’t want to spend money on things that don’t last 😂😂 but then the day finally came for me to use flowers as props! Remember how I got so many flowers on my graduation day? Those flowers served as my props, at least while they last 😛

I actually really liked this aesthetic! It’s pretty and I love the colors, especially because the flowers came in so many colors I basically had so many choices.

Style 4 : The Drying Flowers

Like I said above, flowers don’t last. I put them in a vase of water but still, in less than week they started to dry. But hey, drying flowers still make good props, right? So I thought. I started using them as my props and while at first they looked great, I started to dislike them rather quickly.

The thing with using dried flowers as props is they made the pictures looked a lot darker than I preferred. Compare it with the pictures above, you’d see the difference. This was the time when I started to experiment with manual setting, because as you see, the pictures are dark 😂 I wanted to brighten them, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) automatic setting didn’t suffice. So I had to learn to play with ISO, aperture, and shutter speed 😛

Style #5 : The Autumn Vibes

There’s really no stopping the flowers from dying, so one day I asked my friend about what to do with my flowers because I didn’t want to throw them out. She told me to pry all the dried petals and put them in a jar, it would look pretty, she said. It was actually a good idea so I started prying them, but then halfway through it I realized these dried petals would be great for props! I mixed them with my paper stars and voila ♥

I also started to experiment with props and used random stationery items for my pictures. Thankfully they blended well enough and no longer looked like random items 😂🙈 I called this autumn aesthetic because with all the dried petals and flowers, they created an autumn-ish vibe. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m a tropical girl and we don’t have autumn here 😛 anyway, I was pretty content and I stuck with this style for a long time… until something dreadful happened.

Style #6 : The Extinction of the Dried Petals

Sometimes in last September or October, I completely lost ANY desire to take pictures. I can’t remember why, maybe I didn’t have any inspiration, time, or was simply lazy. But I went for a few weeks without taking any pictures. During this brief hiatus, I stored my dried petals in a shoe box and it was closed. Fast forward a few weeks later, I suddenly wanted to take pictures and when I opened my shoe box, the dried petals were humid and covered with mildew. I freakeeeed 😂😂😂 honestly it felt like a step back because I lost a vital prop and didn’t have anything to replace it yet. So I started taking pictures with my usual style—only without the petals.

I really didn’t like this style, I thought it looked so boring. I started using my origami paper to spice things up. It worked, but it didn’t look like my style at all. It only lasted a few pictures before I tried on another 🙈

Style #7 : The Dried Petals Replacement & Return of the Flowers

I spent some time thinking of something to replace my dried petals then one day I went to the bookstore and found some dried wooden skins in arts and crafts section. It was a bit overpriced but I bought it. And while I was at it, might as well buy some flowers, or so I thought. The color is more white with less autumn vibe but it worked so well. I really liked this aesthetic, too bad it didn’t last long because the flowers (inevitably) dried 😂

Style #8 : The Fake Flowers

I was so done using flowers only to have them dried a week later so I decided to buy fake flowers altogether. If I was gonna spend money on it, might as well spent it on things that last, right? 😛 at first it was kind of difficult to set up but after some times experimenting, I started to really love this style. This is actually the style that I still use 😀 I’ve experimented with the set up and props ever since but my general aesthetic remains the same.

So you see, it took me a while to finally settle on this current style. I’m probably not gonna stick to it forever, but for now I’m pretty satisfied with it and have no intention of changing style anytime soon ♥

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Alright everyone, that was the evolution of my book photography style! I went through roughly 8 styles before settling with my current style. Which one do you like best? What about you, did you do a lot of experimenting before finding your perfect style? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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