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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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Blog Tour: The Tiger's Watch - Review & Giveaway

Hi everyone! Let's jump right into today's post.


The Tiger's Watch (Ashes of Gold #1)
Author: Julia Ember
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Sixteen-year- old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal.
When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the
monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more
vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their
country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t
question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to
their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

About the Author:

Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads




Review
This was a great read, albeit it is pretty short, 180 pages, which surprised me as I didn't realize the length of the novel while I was reading. I loved that it was a quick read because most fantasy books take at least three or four hours to finish and this one probably only took one or two hours to complete. That makes this a great read while commuting or if you only have a little time to read and you'd rather not start a 400 page book. The downside to it being short is I think there could have been a bit more world building because I was left with some questions about the world. Also, it was a bit rushed, cramming a lot into just 180 pages.

I loved that this story's main character is genderfluid! Even more than that, I love how accepting the other characters are of Taishi being genderfluid. It pretty much went like this:
     "By the way, use they, not him." - Taishi's friend
     "Okay" - Other character
Everyone was super chill about it and nobody questioned why, they just went with the flow.


Here's a link to the tour schedule in case you want to go check out everyone else's stop! 

Giveaway
Two winners will receive a signed paperback of The Tiger's Watch by Julia Embers (International!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, August 21, 2017

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Characters Sophia Would Love to Watch the Solar Eclipse With (Maybe Some Hijacking from Lupe and Anelise)

Happy Solar Eclipse Day!

Today is the day in which the solar eclipse is happening at approximately 1:15 pm CST over in my area, and both Lupe and I are in the DIRECT path. We also discovered my mother is no fun, so while Lupe gets the grand experience, I get the dark experience thanks to the window in my room.

In honor of this fabulous day, I'm here to list ten characters/couples I would love to watch the Solar Eclipse with if I could.

Lucy from Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
I'm 99% sure Lucy would talk everything science about the solar eclipse, but I'm probably not going to complain.
Bee and Levi from The Color Project by Sierra Abrams
Because I can, and because I will.

Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Of course I'm including my ship from SoC!


Genie and Quentin from The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
Yee is getting a lot of spotlight here on the blog, and I definitely won't complain because his debut novel is simply amazing and hilarious and you should totally get the book if you haven't yet. Other than protecting us from all the demons possibly lurking around here, both Genie and Quentin will be a hilarious pair to have along.


Hey! It's Lupe, and here I am crashing Sophia's post an hour before this post goes live! I'm still a procrastinator, can't you tell? MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sophia: I'VE BEEN HIJACKED.

Yes, I was fortunate enough to buy some glasses a month before so I wouldn't have to stress about where to find them at the last minute. I'm very worried about traffic. I saw tons of cars coming from other states into the state of Missouri, such as Texas. Did I tell you it's also my first day back to class? I'm glad I have a nice two hour break where I will be able to watch the Eclipse. NO. I swear I did not plan this!

In other words.... Here are whom I would like to see the Eclipse with! Some of these SHOULD NOT BE A SURPRISE if you knew me very well. I know that side eye Sophia. I'm watching you too.

Sophia: I have done no such side eyeballing.

The Whole Crew from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I honestly thought about which specific character I want, but I just can't choose! I want Dimitri, Rose, Lissa, Mason, and Christian! It would be an amazing time! I could already imagine the crazy stuff they would say! It would suck for Lissa and Christian being tortured under the sun, but hey, it would get dark so they will be able to experience it!

Sophia: And then they burn.


Sydrian from Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Do I need to explain more? Sydney would give me bomb info about the eclipse while Adrian keeps me entertained with his wit. What more could I honestly ask for? Adrian would have to suck it up though since he is not able to handle the hot sun for long, but hey, he can survive here where I am in the path of totality!


Kenji from Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi
I JUST CAN'T LEAVE MY BOY KENJI out in this post. He is one of the reasons why the series is great. He has the best sense of humor and his commentary would be bomb during the Eclipse. I also need someone that will complain with me about the nightly creatures coming out when it's gets darker. He will be a phenomenal companion. 



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Friday, August 18, 2017

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Fangirl Friday: LOVE WILL WIN + Some Trailers


Hey everyone! Some of you are already back in school or preparing to head back to class. My first day back is this upcoming Monday and I'm already stressed for what I'm going to be stressed in the future. If that makes any sense.

Let's get serious for a moment.

I like to use my voice and platform to share my opinions and share my love for books and movies! I also like share and remind you of good or bad events that happened every week. It's a way for me to reflect what happened and how it affected everyone.

What happened in Charlottesville was honestly devastating, but it did not surprise me at all. At the rate we are going, it was a only a matter of time before every negative thing explodes in our eyes. I know you heard about it, read about it, and even seen the videos about it. It's not pretty, but we can certainly learn from it. Share love whenever, wherever you can. Everyone needs to be accepted for who they are. At the end of the day, we are all human. We just have to show these people that they will not win.

Love will.



REMEMORY


MOLLY'S GAME




DON'T FORGET TO WEAR PROTECTIVE EYE WEAR DURING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE EVENT ON MONDAY AUGUST 21ST IF YOU ARE GOING TO SEE IT!





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Monday, August 14, 2017

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Nine Ways to Getting Review Requests Ignored by Book Bloggers (With a Few Horror Stories)

Every so often I see posts from fellow bloggers telling the dos and donts of sending review requests (you'd think the amount of the posts will somehow drill it into everyone).

I typically receive about one or two review requests a day, but after one too many of the wrong kinds of requests, I think it’s time for me to make one as well with a few horror stories attached to it (things can get a little scary).

My name is Sophia, not Whatchamacallit, and I blog with two others whose names are also not Whatchamacallit.

We deal with this a lot, but it happens to me more often than the others since all the earlier databases have me and only me and not the others here. My name is not “Blogger” or “Admin,” it is Sophia, and it is, quite frankly, all over the blog.

Lupe's and Anelise's names are also all on the blog (maybe less of Lupe since she’s in the lovely slump, but she’s still there, alive and well in her fabulousness).

This also means we should not be resorted to our email addresses as our names.

We don’t have anyone named Jane Doe. Seriously.

We once got a request addressed to some other blogger name that does not blog over here, and the snarky side of me tells the others that we have a ghost here on the blog. (If we do, they're slacking big time, and the three of us aren't too happy with them.)
Gotta have a little fun sometimes, right?


I wasn't aware that I read smut, but okay.

Every blogger will tell you the best way to get a blogger to read your book is to read their review policy before contacting. 99.9% of the bloggers out there have a review policy. It states if they're accepting requests, what their preferences are, what they can do for you, miscellaneous yet important yet important notes to take into consideration, etc.

95% of the requests that I get nowadays are from the following genres and age groups:
  • Picture books
  • Children's 
  • Adult Espionage
  • Adult Fantasy
  • Adult Mystery
  • Adult Thriller
  • SMUTTT
100% of the list have one thing in common: NOT accepted (adult being case by case and by the reviewer).

It seems like once I reached the age of 18 and started adulting a little, I started getting erotica requests.

How about no.

“I wrote this book, and I've attached a copy of it for you to read and review.” No prior email, a heads up, or connection beforehand.

I don't like the feeling of being forced into things, so no thanks.

I also don't like the thought of a virus getting into my little laptop, so no.

AND 99.9% of the books that are unsolicited aren't up my alley, so definitely no. (I say 99.9% because one author has done it, but 1) I've read their books and enjoyed it, 2) I would've accepted the request anyway, and 3) I got a heads up from them.)

“Can you read and review my book?” No title mentioned. No links included.

Let me tell you some information about myself, folks. I am a full-time college student working two jobs, and when I am not in school, I work six days a week. Three of those days are 10-11 hours. I pay all the bills, including my rent and college tuition. During the school year, I work five days a week, two of which are 10-11 hours.

Does that blow anyone's mind? I'm also 19, almost 20. Here's more:

I blog here at Bookwyrming Thoughts on a full-time basis (technically speaking), but I am also a contributing writer (although I don't always have time to take on more than a few articles) at Stay Bookish Zine. I am also a member of the marketing team, so I am one of the people who manage the Twitter account. Other than that, I am a contributor on The Arts STL and part of the social media team for Project Canvas, a book coming out early next year.

In a smaller format:
  • Two jobs
  • Full-time college student
  • One blog + social media
  • One website
  • One literary magazine + social media
  • One book + social media
  • Whatever free time I can get to do homework and all the things
Oh, and I'm probably going to add on an internship in the next few years. My hands are full, and I can't even put in as much dedication as I want to four of the bullet points mentioned.

When I get a request with no title, I don't even bother. I do NOT have time to search an author's name and play “whack a book” to find what book is referred.

“Shame”

Hi, my name is Sophia, and I volunteer my time to read and review books without compensation aside from a copy of the book and maybe the occasional gift card. Sometimes I don't respond because I live a hectic life.

I don't think a reviewer should feel shameful when they have a lot on their plate and say something along the lines of, “No, thank you for the request, but I am currently preoccupied with other commitments and will, therefore, have to decline your request. If the author you are representing would like a promotional post such as a guest post or interview instead, please let me know. Thanks!”

This isn't as bad as the last one on here, but rest assured I'll be screenshotting and asking if I'm not the only one who would interpret it as so. Please also be assured that you will never hear from me again, and if you're a publisher, we (my co-bloggers and I) will refuse to work with your authors and titles without directly saying so.

Oh, and the poor author’s guest post never got posted. I'm going to feel bad a little bit. Maybe 2% bad.
After that bad experience, I never respond to requests I've declined or have had a prior connection with them. You'll figure out that I'm not interested, move on, and there will be no bad blood exchanged in the process.

Hey, I Just Found You, and This is Crazy, But I Found Your Facebook, so Here's a Review Request!

I avoid explicit language but this is an exception
This happened to me recently, and to be honest, I am STILL creeped out by this. Please keep in mind this is NOT the Bookwyrming Thoughts page - this is my PERSONAL page. My Facebook is protected as much as possible - you can’t see my friends (only mutual), 95% of my posts, the school I go to, the other jobs I work, the city I live in, etc., etc. - but I cannot say the same for everyone else.

When something like this happens, I get worried. I freak out a little. I wonder, “If we’re sending requests through FB now, what’s the next level? Am I getting my IP address tracked as well, and I’m going to find some random person waiting for me at school or home or work?”

I know I seem paranoid, but this is NOT okay, and you’ll be lucky if I don’t hit that block button on you immediately and alert my co-bloggers of what happened (especially Lupe).
Now if I've “known” you for awhile, read and enjoyed one or more of your books, and you'd like to send a friend request, I am okay with this. But I am not okay with a random stranger. I get too many requests from perverts.
There are plenty of more, but this list is just a few things to avoid when sending a request to a book blogger, but the best way to get through to a blogger is taking some time to read their review policy.

Bloggers, any horror stories? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter @HannahSophiaLin.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

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Fangirl Friday: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo By: F.C. Yee + Giveaway


Hey guys! I was given the opportunity to share a new book that was released earlier this week! The cover is awesome, the excerpt got me wanting more, and who doesn't love a good giveaway?



Title: THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO
Author: F.C. Yee
Pub. Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Synopsis:
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
Excerpt
“GREETINGS,” HE SAID, HIS ACCENT THICK BUT HIS VOICE LOUD and clear. “I have arrived.”
Now, I’d done my best to describe this guy to the police. They pressed me hard for details, as apparently this wasn’t the first group mugging in recent weeks.
But I’d let Officers Davis and Rodriguez down. Nice eyes and a winning smile weren’t much to go by. I was too frazzled to notice anything before, which meant this was my first decent look at the boy without the influence of adrenaline.
So a couple of things.
One: He was short. Like, really short for a guy. I felt bad that my brain went there first, but he wasn’t even as tall as Mrs. Nanda.
Two: He was totally okay, physically. I didn’t see how anyone could be up and about after that beating, but here he was, unbruised and unblemished. I felt relieved and disturbed at the same time to see there wasn’t a scratch on him.
And his mint condition just made Point Three even more obvious.
He was . . . yeesh.
Nothing good could come of our new classmate being that handsome. It was destructive. Twisted. Weaponized. He had the cheekbones and sharp jawline of a pop star, but his thick eyebrows and wild, unkempt hair lent him an air of natural ruggedness that some pampered singer could never achieve in a million years of makeup.
“Argh, my ovaries,” Yunie mumbled. She wasn’t alone, judging by the soft intakes of breath coming from around the room.
“Arrived from where?” said Mrs. Nanda.
Quentin looked at her in amusement. “China?”
“Yes, but where in, though?” said Mrs. Nanda, trying her best to convey that she was sensitive to the regional differences. Fujianese, Taishanese, Beijingren—she’d taught them all.
He just shrugged. “The stones,” he said.
“You mean the mountains, sweetie?” said Rachel Li, batting her eyelashes at him from the front row.
“No! I don’t misspeak.”
The class giggled at his English. But none of it was incorrect, technically speaking.
“Tell us a little about yourself,” Mrs. Nanda said.
Quentin puffed out his chest. The white button-down shirt and black pants of our school’s uniform for boys made most of them look like limo drivers. But on him, the cheap stitching just made it clearer that he was extremely well-muscled underneath.
“I am the greatest of my kind,” he said. “In this world I have no equal. I am known to thousands in faraway lands, and everyone I meet can’t help but declare me king!”
There was a moment of silence and sputtering before guffaws broke out.
“Well . . . um . . . we are all high achievers here at SF Prep,” said
Mrs. Nanda as politely as she could. “I’m sure you’ll fit right in?”
Quentin surveyed the cramped beige classroom with a cool squint. To him, the other twenty-two laughing students were merely peons on whom his important message had been lost.
“Enough wasting of time,” he snapped. “I came to these petty halls only to reclaim what is mine.”
Before anyone could stop him, he hopped onto Rachel’s desk and stepped over her to the next one, like she wasn’t even there.
“Hey! Quentin!” Mrs. Nanda said, frantically waving her hands. “Get down now!”
The new student ignored her, stalking down the column of desks. Toward mine.
Everyone in his way leaned to the side to avoid getting kicked. They were all too flabbergasted to do anything but serve as his counterweights.
He stopped on my desk and crouched down, looking me in the eye. His gaze pinned me to my seat.
I couldn’t turn away. He was so close our noses were almost touching. He smelled like wine and peaches.
“You!” he said.
“What?” I squeaked.
Quentin gave me a grin that was utterly feral. He tilted his head as if to whisper, but spoke loud enough for everyone to hear.
“You belong to me”
About F.C:
F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and went to school in New England, but has called the San Francisco Bay Area home ever since he beat a friend at a board game and shouted “That’s how we do it in NorCal, baby!” Outside of writing, he practices capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts, and has a day job mostly involving spreadsheets.


Giveaway Details:
5 winners will receive Genie Lo prize packs—complete with a finished copy of the book and a special Genie Lo horoscope (that doubles as a bookmark!), US Only.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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5 Signs of Being A Balance Wizard For Too Long (I Mean, It Happens to Everyone, Too)

Hellooo wizards (and witches, goblins, and all)!

It's been a long while since there's been a post other than Questing Shenanigans and general wizardly updates, but here I am, with a different post!

Most of the wizard community (at least the ones that know me) are probably aware I have a Balance wizard - trekking through Azteca currently, which is a long and tedious process I really dislike doing alone.

Side note: I've gotten bored and started running around the spiral with my myth wizard, according to the past few questing shenanigans (less of those when school starts).

Balance is an interesting school compared to the other six schools wizards can choose from when they start - there's a lot of things others have that Balance doesn't, or vice versa.

Consistently Forgetting Converts

Sometimes - actually, often - I forget to put in my converts. In a lower level world like Krokotopia and Wizard City, I'm perfectly fine and can get away without converts safely. But when I get into worlds like Dragonspyre (recently finished) and beyond, I'm pretty screwed if I forget my converts and don't put secondary schools in my deck.

The perks of being a Balance is I can still solo since we get a few other school spells as well (Spectral Blast, Hydra, Chimera).

Side note: It's a very long process.

How Does One Convert, and Am I Doing This Right?

Sometimes the questing teams I'm on likes to tease me about how I suck horribly at converting… because Balance has no converts whatsoever and converts operate backward.

My brain does not function backward. It treks forward and onward unless I'm dealing with math, in which I promptly give up after a pitiful three tries and guess my answer in the hopes I'm right (still did decent on that part of the ACT.)

Oh Right. They Shield.

Balance does NOT have a shield (although I did see a treasure card version of shields specifically for the Balance school) except for Tower Shield, which is universal and any spell can take it out.

School bosses typically have shields for schools opposite them that would take away more of their health than what the spell would usually hit for. For a good week of messing around on my myth wizard again, I often forgot to switch to a storm wand so I could take away their shields without using my blades or traps.

WHERE ARE MY HEALS (Not Life)

Balance has a few heals (I think two versions) that I personally prefer using over Sprite from the Life school - there are more chances of someone surviving the battle than dying the next round (I still, have to hope they survive).

Other schools don't have their own version of a healing spell, which is actually why my balance wizard is the only wizard who will have spritely and get away without unicorn or fairy (she has good resist and health too).

No One Begs You For Blades or Traps

Everyone can relate to this in some way or form - if we're not the ones getting asked, we hear someone ask while prowling by casually on our mounts to the next destination. For the longest time after being a Balance wizard, I ALWAYS had someone begging me to blade or trap them nonstop. (Doing so constantly is the quickest way to get me running away to another realm.)

Let's be honest: I hate balance blades. They're generic, so any spell can be used with it.

Do you have a balance character? Do you notice/forget anything else that wasn't mentioned here?

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Monday, August 7, 2017

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#TheReadingQuest, Where Gaming Meets Reading: Sophia's and Anelise's TBR

Hello booklings!

This is our latest attempt to complete a reading challenge (because Sophia has a thing for gaming, and she somehow convinced Anelise to join her in this challenge). #TheReadingQuest is hosted by Aentee from Read at Midnight, and if you're keen on joining a reading challenge where gaming collides with it, join us starting August 13!

Gameplay

Thanks to CW from Read Think Ponder, #TheReadingQuest has some gorgeous artwork! Anelise and I are both creating a different character, thus taking different paths.
Sophia's Character: Mage! (But of course.)
Anelise's Character: Knight

Sophia's TBR

A Book with a One Word Title: Want by Cindy Pon (Pon is pretty popular in this post)
A Book that Contains Magic: The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse (Time to knock out that mini Netgalley pile!)
A Book Based on Mythology: Serpentine by Cindy Pon (more Chinese mythology!)
A Book Set In a Different World: Cage of Destiny by Jennifer Anne Davis or The Selection by Kiera Cass
The First Book of a Series: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Lupe would approve of this without even being in the conversation with Anelise and me.)

Sophia's Ever So Ambitious TBR

Fortunately for me, I'm the last soul of BWT to get shipped to school (although I suppose I can't call it shipped to school because I'm still in state), so I'll have approximately two weeks to be an ambitious book dragon.

I'll probably take a detour or two... so here's my list of detours! Um... side quests.

Buddy Read a Book: I'll be joining with Anelise, and we're going to read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. The movie came out this year as well, which takes out a prompt from another reading challenge I'm doing through an app called Habitica.
A Book Concocted by 2+ Authors: The first one that came to mind was Because You Love to Hate Me, but I don't have a copy of that. My official victim is a book I got years ago from Amazon and haven't read yet: Alchemy by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse, and Sabrina West. (I've considered Dangerous Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, but I have a love/hate relationship with their books.)
A Book Set In Either the Past or the Future: Tempting Fate by April White. Marking Time was the first book I received as a review request, and I've yet to find the time to continue the series.

KNIGHT
The next path I'm taking? Knight.

A Book With a Verb in its Title: Arbitrate by Megan Thomason (Also awhile since I've read her books.)
A Book With a Weapon on Its Cover: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel
A Book With a Red Cover: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel (Anelise forgot to mention I'm guilty of this rec as well... even though I haven't read it yet.)
A Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (THE MOVIE COMES OUT NEAR MY BIRTHDAY EEP)

I'll be more ambitious later.

Anelise's TBR

The First Book of a Series: Storm Siren by Mary Weber
A Book With a Verb in its Title: Want by Cindy Pon
A Book With a Weapon on Its Cover: The Young Elites by Marie Lu (Sophia wonders how Anelise has not gotten her hands on this yet.)
A Book With a Red Cover: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel or Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
A Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Ambitiousness runs in the blog family, I suppose! While I don't think I will be able to read everything (25 books in one month!) as school starts right after this challenge starts, I made a TBR for the other paths and the bonus. So umm here it is?

BARD
A Fairy Tale Retelling: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
A Book Cover With Striking Typography: Timekeeper by Tara Sim
A Book Translated From Another Language: Death Note, vol. 3 by  Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
A Banned Book: George by Alex Gino
ROUGE
A Book Cover With a Partially Obscured Face: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
A Book With <500 Ratings on Goodreads: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
A Book Published by a Small Press: Lichgates by SM Boyce
A Book With a One Word Title: Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
MAGE
A Book That Contains Magic: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
A Book Based on Mythology: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
A Book Set in a Different World: Wandering Star by Romina Russell
BONUS
A Book Concocted by 2+ Authors: All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds
Buddy Read a Book: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (will read with Sophia!)
A Book With 500+ Pages: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
A Book Set in Either the Past or Future: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
(Free Space) Read Anything: Legend by Marie Lu
Read a Book You Previously DNF: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Read a Companion Novel or Short Story: Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
Read a Graphic Novel, Novella, or Poem Collection: The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
A Book Referencing an Animal in the Title: The Tiger's Watch by Julia Ember
__

Have you joined the readathon? Do you think Sophia and I will be able to read everything on our TBR? Let us know in the comments!


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Saturday, August 5, 2017

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Should Mulan Adaptations Be Feminist? | Guest Post by Alyssa Carlier

Hello booklings!

Saturday posts are a rare thing here at BWT, but it's been busy enough (post wise) that uh... I had to squeeze another post in on the weekend.

Okay, okay, I'm not really squeezing a post in aside from an intro, but today's guest blogger is Alyssa from The Devil Orders Take Out!

Mulan is one of my favorite Chinese legends that Disney made into animated movies decades ago, and they are now considering a live-action movie of. There aren't many retellings either, but when there are... should they be feminist? Alyssa answers the question in today's guest post!

Mulan. It's odd to talk about everyone's favourite cross-dressing warrior online because I mean something different from what most people think. I mean the legend, the ballad; the Internet gushes over that Disney cartoon I watched half-heartedly years ago.

With Disney's live action remake in the works, Twitter has buzzed about Mulan now and then, especially the girly martial arts fiasco. So that set me wondering ... is the story of Mulan feminist? And should adaptations be feminist?
Disclaimer: You may choose to take my opinions with your preferred pinch of salt. I was forced into reciting the ballad in grade school (just like everyone else receiving a Chinese education), and later read up enough on the legend to translate the ballad of Mulan.

But hey, at least I won't be calling that Disney cartoon the "original."

Is the story of Mulan feminist? 

Well, first of all, I'm delighted to inform you that my Shakespeare classes have paid off. Since Mulan is a legend that predates the rise of the feminist movement, I'm told it can only be proto-feminist.

... I hate literature class sometimes.

At first glance, Mulan certainly seems feminist! The plotline obviously gives the titular character (sorry, I'm still in literature mode) room to bend gender roles. Which is always awesome.

(But in my own experience, practically every awful-CGI wuxia flick TV features their token warrior woman. It's honestly not that ~feminist~ in their portrayal, but that's a discussion for another time.)

Plus, the last couple lines of the ballad make an awkward attempt at claiming how rabbits look the same regardless of gender.

Yes, rabbits. I know I sound like I'm making this up, because how many people online will bother to read an ancient Chinese text, but I swear I am not.

But ultimately, I don't see that the story of Mulan is a feminist narrative. The entire point is how Mulan joins the army for her father and ultimately remains—to perhaps state it more strongly—subservient to Confucian concepts of patriarchy. (Which doesn't mean filial loyalty is a bad thing, just that as a theme it doesn't exactly pave the way for her independence.)

And in fact, it's important to note that the ballad both begins and ends in the domestic sphere and associated with feminine qualities. Which doesn't reduce the badassery of going to war!

Sadly, the context of the setting, the plotline, and the bare-bones nature of the legend, it's not very possible for the story to have an overt feminist message in addition to the more crucial element of family and duty.

But the fact that Mulan is not a feminist work, doesn't mean it cannot have any feminist interpretations.

And you can definitely make those interpretations for yourself—by looking it up if you can read ancient Chinese (ha! grade school memories), or with this nifty translation I wrote after realising the Internet only offered Google Translate versions.

So if interpretations can be feminist, that begs the question ...

Should Mulan adaptations be feminist?

I know I wrote that header, but it's honestly an odd question to ask.

A better question would be, should Mulan adaptations include a talking cartoon dragon? Answer: Probably not, but it turned out for the better.

Another better question, should Mulan adaptations include a love interest? Answer: Only if it results in bisexual icon Li Shang. (He's honestly one of the few parts of the animation I approve of.)

But back to the topic! Can Mulan adaptations be feminist? That has the easier answer of it's pretty difficult. 

Here are just a couple of reasons why straight-up feminist remakes might end up difficult:
  • You can't alter the context of the patriarchal society.
  • Mulan fundamentally acts out of duty, not out of self-determination. If she desires her own glory, that makes balancing the familial duty that much more difficult.
  • People involved could lose their head and decide that "girly martial arts" is the direction they want to take.
I obviously don't have the highest hopes for Disney-style remakes ... but I definitely think feminist! Mulan could show up in books, where looser reimaginings and retellings are common.
  • There's more artistic license to the context.
  • Include more well-written women characters!
  • And have the room to shape Mulan as a more complex, independent character without sacrificing the plot point of familial duty.
And ultimately, while the existence of overtly feminist and empowering books are important, it's equally valuable to read books which don't make a big deal out of women being awesome.

(Like the Mulan + Swan Lake retelling that I'm writing and sharing riiiight here.)

Thanks to Sophia for having me and my Mulan Thoughts™ on this blog! I've just relaunched my blog and hope you'll join my international book merch giveaway:
3 bookish prize packs giveaway: V.E. Schwab swag, Society6, and more!

About Alyssa:
Alyssa Carlier writes (and more often rewrites) novels about girls in worlds of magic, madness and murder. Sometimes she remembers to blog about books and shares her best book blogging tips with other booklings. Alyssa hasn't noticed Jedi mind tricks work better in second person than third.
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Friday, August 4, 2017

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Fangirl Friday: Death Wish, Mindhunter & Other Trailers!


I'm back! I switched internet services and did not have internet the past 2 weeks. Thank you Sophia for taking over while I was unable to create fabulous blog posts for you wonderful people. It's finally August and summer is slowly coming to a close. I'm both happy and sad, but I'm mostly happy the muggy weather is almost over. Anyone still confused as hell why stores are starting to shove down pumpkins and fall scented candles down our throats? It's still AUGUST! Rant over.

Let's focus on these epic trailers and Netflix is definitely rocking these awesome shows and movies. 

Death Wish
There are tons of controversy against this films and different opinions about this trailer alone. I think it's pretty interesting, but I can't judge the whole film based on this trailer alone. Tell me your opinion about this trailer below! 



Mindhunter
Dang, Netflix, is coming out with some BOMB STUFF!



Mother! Teaser
Jennifer surely does make some interesting films now a days. CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS!



What Happened to Monday?
We should kill Mondays all together. Pretty interesting plot. Check it out!



Narcos Season 3 Official Trailer
I have never seen this shows, but I've heard good things about this! I might give it a try, but I don't have much time to watch shows anymore.



First They Killed My Father Official Trailer
This is not a sponsored post by Netflix, I SWEAR. They are just coming out with bomb stuff like this!


American Vandal Official Trailer
Not my cup of tea, but I'm sure it might be something you are interested in!






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