Monday, September 23, 2013

Meeting Ally Carter!

As you guys may or may not know Ally Carter is one of my favorite YA authors. No one does teen spies, espionage, and heists like Ally Carter. Her books are awesome. That being said, I've been dying to go to an Ally Carter book signing, especially after some of my friends got to attend one and told me how great it was. Well, the stars aligned and I was finally able to attend a signing and not only did I get to meet Ally and get some books signed, but I also got a bunch of awesome swag! YESH.

I won a cool Gallagher Girl's notebook from trivia (yay for knowing trivia answers! I may or may not have used Google though....) and my mom ended up getting her name picked in the prize drawing and won me a Gallagher Academy mug! I also picked up a chapter sample from Ally Carter's Heist Society/Gallagher Girls crossover e-book which I still need to read. I'm definitely gonna get around to it eventually!

All in all it was a great event and I love that Ally Carter immediately skipped to Q&A so that everyone's questions could get answered. More authors should do that! It was great to know she cared enough about her fans to want to get all of their questions answered. Ally was super sweet and bubbly, and I would definitely love to attend more of her events in the future. She's just so much fun!

Hopefully I'll be able to attend more bookish events this fall. Unfortunately, most of them are kind of far away (San Francisco is not an easy trek folks) and they often occur on school nights when I can't guarantee when I'll get off work. #NannyProblems. Regardless, I hope that I might get lucky again in the future and have a random day off that coincides with an awesome book signing! What are some author events that you guys have been to this past year?

Julia :)
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Diamond Candles Review + Giveaway!

Soooo I know this is a break from my norm, but I was contacted by Diamond Candles awhile ago about a review and giveaway opportunity and I am a HUGE scented candles fan so I could not pass it up! Believe me guys, you want a chance to win one of these candles. They are AWESOME.

Basically how these candles work is they are not only made out of natural 100% eco friendly soy, but they also come with a surprise ring inside worth between $10-$5000! Of course, the odds of getting one of the super valuable rings is pretty slim, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun ordering and waiting to see if you got one right? I love surprises!

Being the fruit scent loving gal that I am, I decided to check out the Watermelon Wedge candle. It is amazing and has a wonderfully sweet and tangy smell reminiscent of watermelon candy. YUM! As soon as I started burning it for the first time everyone in my family asked me what smelled so good. Ever since then I have been using it practically non-stop as you can probably tell from the picture since the candle is already 2/3rds gone. It has enveloped my entire room in the wonderful scent of watermelon deliciousness, which is fantastic because I have a pet rat and let me tell you, he can get pretty stinky. Thanks Diamond Candles for helping with that little problem! Haha.

Of course you're probably curious to know what kind of ring I got inside my candle. I was totally impatient and pretty much dug the ring out of the middle of the candle. Hehe I had been burning it for several hours, and the ring still hadn't emerged so I was losing patience! Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to get one of the super valuable rings, but that's okay because the one I got is still cute! It's an orange flower and even though it's a bit big for my fingers I still really like it.

Want a chance to win your very own Diamond Candle? Just fill out the super easy rafflecopter form below. GOOD LUCK GUYS! :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh and be sure to leave a comment below telling me what your favorite scented candle scent is! Mine is anything fruity, but I think I may want to try the cupcake scent next time. Thoughts?

 Julia :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Super Six Sunday: My Favorite Fictional Worlds!


So you may or may have not noticed I've been on a blogging hiatus for over a month now. My sister got married, I was a day camp counselor, I was super lazy for about a week, and then school started. Ironic that I'm getting back into the swing of blogging now that school is happening and I have less free time ehhhhh?

To get back into the swing of blogging I figured I'd take part in my new favorite weekly meme Super Six Sunday hosted by the gals over at Bewitched Bookworms! This week the theme is Most Original World Building, but I decided to simply do a list of my favorite fictional worlds. That's pretty much the same thing right? Let's get started!

6. Any world created by 
Dr. Seuss

I don't know about any of you guys, but when I was a kid I always dreamed of going into the world of Dr. Seuss. It's just so magical, and colorful, and who hasn't been intrigued when the Once-ler says that the truffula trees smell like fresh butterfly milk? What does that even mean? I MUST KNOW. And what about Whoville? or the Jungle of Nool? Can someone please build a Dr. Seuss theme park? WHY IS THIS NOT A THING YET?!?! Okay, so apparently there is a small Dr. Seuss section at Universal Studios in Florida, but I think we can all agree that that is just not enough.

5. Gallagher Academy from The Gallagher Girls series

Maybe it's because I grew up in the Spy Kids generation, but I've always wanted to be a spy. Yes, Gallagher Academy is set in the real world and not a fictional one, but the school is fictional one of my all time favorites so I had to list it on here. Sure, there aren't any guys that attend Gallagher Academy, but think of it this way: instead of spending all your time thinking about boys, you can put that time towards studying! The Asian in me loves the idea of being bilingual and studying extra hard to get straight A's all the time. Plus, I REALLY want to learn how to do hand to hand combat. Why don't they have those kinds of classes at community college?

4. Wonderland from Alice in Wonderland

Who hasn't wanted to fall down the rabbit hole with Alice? ONLY BORING PEOPLE. Okay, sorry to all you people out there who honestly have never wanted to travel to Wonderland, but seriously I feel like it would be an awesome place to visit. Except of course for the fact that there is an insane queen there who yells almost nothing but "OFF WITH HER HEAD" all day long, but you know other than that it seems pretty great. Plus, it looked so awesome and fanastical in the Tim Burton movie version. Leave it up to Tim Burton to make something already awesome even more awesome.

3. Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia

I'm pretty sure that everyone who has read the Chronicles of Narnia (or seen the movies) has walked into a wardrobe, closet, etc, hoping to magically walk into Narnia. Unfortunately, no matter how many wardrobes and closets I walked into as a child, I never did find my way into Narnia. DRAT. The closest I got was walking through a wardrobe replica from the movie into the Narnia exhibit that came to the Arizona Science Center several years ago. So close, and yet so far! Narnia is definitely one of the best fictional worlds ever created. C.S. Lewis is brilliant.

2. The Wizarding World from Harry Potter

One word: Hogwarts.

I didn't grow up with Harry Potter the same way most other people did (darn you parents and your need to shelter me from witchcraft!) so I didn't spend my childhood wishing for a Hogwarts acceptance letter, but now that I've read the books damn, I WANT THAT LETTER. Not only is Hogwarts a boarding school (not sure what it is about boarding schools, I just find them really intriguing) but it's a boarding school that trains you in magic. Plus, if you're a wizard you get to go to Diagon Alley. Take me there!!!

1. Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings

Middle Earth is without a doubt my favorite fictional world. Just look at that picture of Hobbiton guys. Who wouldn't want to live there? Seriously, I want to live in Hobbiton so bad. If I could go off into the wilderness and find some nice secluded grassy valley, I would build myself a hobbit hole and just live there happily forever. I was meant to be a hobbit guys. Since Middle Earth isn't actually real, I'll just have to settle for the next best thing and travel off to New Zealand. That is my dream vacation. I will go there one day! IT WILL HAPPEN. But yeah, Middle Earth is the bomb and I think we can all agree that J.R.R. Tolkien is a master of world building. He wrote entire languages for his world. If that isn't great world building, I don't know what is.

So those are my six favorite fictional worlds! What are some of your favorite worlds in fiction? Let me know, and if you also took part in Super Six Sunday be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments so I can check it out!

Julia :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review: The Elite

The Elite
by Keira Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013
Source: Library
Add it on Goodreads 
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn't sure where her heart lies. When she's with Maxon, she's swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can't dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, she is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over - and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she's made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she's struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

If you're like me and you enjoyed The Selection because of it's cattiness and endless drama, then you'll be sorely disappointed in The Elite. I didn't really expect anything more from this book other than fluffy drama set in a pseudo dystopia, but gosh this one really disappointed me. There was one cat fight. One. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH HERE KEIRA CASS!!!

I really didn't mind the characters so much in The Selection. Sure, Maxon was a bit too vanilla, and Aspen was well, an emotionally manipulative jerk, but America was basically so bland I couldn't care less what she did. This time around? Oh goodness this girl got annoying really fast. I don't watch The Bachelor so I don't really know what happens on that show, but I feel like it's pretty much always the guy calling the shots. In The Elite, it's America calling the shots and being a bitch about it. You know that Katy Perry song Hot n' Cold? Yep, that was America.

She spent the whole book toying with Maxon's feelings, and then got all jealous and pissed whenever she saw him hanging out with any of the other girls. Plus on top of that she couldn't decide which guy she liked better, Maxon or Aspen. It was literally every other chapter that she changed her mind.

Maxon was putting everything on the line and saying "say the word and we'll be wed!" and America's all like "I can't be the princess... BUT I DON'T WANT ANYONE ELSE TO HAVE MAXON HE'S MINE STEP AWAY BITCH!!!!"

Yep, it was awful.

As for the guys I am solidly on team "America get's killed by the rebels and Aspen and Maxon go off into the sunset marrying girls that are much more worthy of their love." THEY DESERVE BETTER THAN AMERICA. SO. MUCH. BETTER.

Ultimately The Elite was really disappointing, especially for someone like me who read it simply for entertainment/drama purposes. It was pretty much entirely composed of America whining, and one of my favorite characters got tossed to the wind. While this event did cause the only good drama in the story (if you could call it good drama), it also left the queen as the only interesting character and she was not around nearly enough to save what could have been.

Oh and did I mention that there's also one of those awkward "Did you, you know do it? What was it like?" *wink wink nudge nudge* type scenes which I thought was hilarious and terrible all at the same time. That stuff just does not translate to the page well. Authors take note.

I'll still be reading the final book in this trilogy, but my expectations are way, way down. Plus, I'm secretly hoping that America will get blindsided by a semi-truck and we'll never hear from her again. Too much to hope for? Darn it.

Julia :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

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