Blog Tour: Tremontaine – Guest Post and Giveaway

What have you learned about writing diverse characters in today’s cultural climate?

This piece originally appeared on Quora. You can find a link here.

Tremontaine is the critically acclaimed prequel to Ellen Kushner’s beloved Riverside novels, which developed a cult following beginning with Swordspoint in 1987. The “Fantasy of Manners” focuses on decadent world building and interpersonal intrigue, and has been noted for its progressive expression of gender and sexuality. Team-written by some of today’s most exciting authors, Tremontaine season 3 is brought to you by Ellen Kushner, Joel Derfner, Karen Lord, Delia Sherman, Racheline Maltese, Paul Witcover, Tessa Gratton, and Liz Duffy Adams. The first episode is available for free at Serial Box and can be found here.

Listen.

Writing diverse characters is about craft.

You take the time and do the work to get it right. That means research, that means practice, that means reading widely, that means consulting experts. It means building diversity into the foundation of your story, from the world to theme to plot. It means finding empathy for people who aren’t you and prioritizing their needs. It means getting out of the way. It means putting down a project or character because it’s not yours, and you can’t do it without harm. It means examining yourself and your position in power structures, your privileges, your prejudices. It means making yourself sit the f*ck down to let somebody else talk. If you want to write a good book, you practice your craft. It’s that simple; it’s that complicated. Continue reading

Guest Post: How to Choose a Floor Lamp for Reading

It’s no longer a secret that lighting can affect your mood. That’s why you should never underestimate the influence a reading floor lamp can have on your bookish experience.

The right reading floor lamp can bring your reading experience to a new level

Unfortunately, not all floor lamps are created equal. Some are meant to provide some ambient to the room but do not work as task light. Some are made with special designs to solely augment the interior decors around them.

Picking the right floor lamp for reading, thus, can be a headache for us bookworms.

In this post, I’m so excited to share with you in this post some simple but effective tips on how to choose the best floor lamp for reading.

While I’m no lighting expert, I’m a bookworm who happens to like snuggling in a cushy reading chair with a soft blanket and lots of pillows and book in hand. And I spent a significant amount of time surfing the net and reading experts’ advice on lighting, just so I could find the right lamp to shine on my book while it enlightens my mind. Continue reading

Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr – Spotlight and Giveaway

Twofer Murder – Book Details:

Book Title: Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult fiction, 400 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: November 17, 2017
Tour dates: Nov 1 to 30, 2017
Content Rating: PG + M (Please be aware that TWOFER MURDER is a murder mystery. There are depictions of murder and some violence–though easy on the gore contents. No f-words but there may be some mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as “damn”, “hell” and “Oh God!”. Some depictions of brief sexual content (kissing). No drug use or underage drinking among the protagonists.) Continue reading

10 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

As a book lover, few things can compare to the pleasure of enjoying your book in a nice library.

And reading in one of the world’s most beautiful libraries is without doubt a very special experience.

You step in a large hall with walls and walls of books in the surrounding.

You look up the ceiling and see stunning paintings and frescos that remind you of people from generations before, people who built those shelves, who made those paintings, and who also came to read before you.

You sit at a table next to dozens of other people who are totally absorbed into their bookish world, but something in the way they quietly turn the pages that tell you they are all connected to you and to each other.

A beautiful library is like a different world. The world where knowledge, art, cultures, and peoples are in perfect harmony and tranquility. The world that while very different from your normal one, you feel completely belonged.

Let’s, together, explore the 10 most beautiful libraries in the world. Feel free to add all of them into your bucket list – I did.

1. Clementinum National Library, Czech Republic

Image courtesy of The Clementinum

The Clementinum (Klementinum in Czech), first founded in 1556, is a large building complex in Prague. It was the brainchild of some of the most prominent architects in Europe during the XVI – XVII century, including Carlo Lurago, Franz Maximilian Kanka, and Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.

A library, the Baroque Library Hall, among other functional houses, was opened in the complex since the early time, together with a university. However, it was not until 1930 that the Clementinum became house to the National Library. Nowaday, it houses over 20,000 volumes of theological literature accumulated from the 17th century.

You can take a guided tour around the library and visit the Astronomical Tower, the Meridian Hall, and the Baroque Library Hall.

Continue reading

The New Oasis 2017: Finally a Waterproof Kindle

Bathtub and beach reader friends: there’s at last a Kindle that can accompany us in our favorite water time!

Check it out on Amazon. In place of the 2016 Kindle Oasis is now an “All New Kindle Oasis”, next to it, “waterproof”.

IPX8. Safe in 2m deep water in 60 minutes.

That’s some serious **** there my friends.

It means you can now enjoy Gone with the Wind while relaxing in a bathtub full of soap bubbles and warm water. Drop it into the tub? Take it out, rinse it, and continue your trip with Scarlett to Atlanta. Continue reading

My biggest reading – related pet peeves

1. When my purse is too small for books

I’m no fashionista, but sometimes I want to feel girly and go out in high heels, a nice dress and a cute little purse instead of a huge backpack. Buuut I still want to bring a book, you know, just in case.

Not only because someone said it’s an effective tip to read more. I actually don’t even read that much! I just need to have a book everywhere I go, for the pure sake of feeling I’m not missing out on something. It’s the same way as people who have to check their phone constantly. (Except having a book in your hands make you appear somewhat more intelligent :P)

Every time I go out without a book, a part of me just dies. Sometimes I’d even go back to change to a bigger bag! Purses, they’re so cute, and yet they’re such a pain.

2. When I don’t understand why a book is so popular

You know The Faults in Our Stars? While I do think it’s a good read, I honestly don’t see the quality that’s supposed to be in such a popular, “highly-recommended” book.

Continue reading

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Book Review

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Published: August 13th, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown

Pages: 288

Synopsis:

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

My Thoughts:

This was such an emotional read that I enjoyed every second of.

This was my first book by Mathew Quick, and I will definitely be reading more from him soon. He writes about mental illness in such a realistic way and because of that, I think that everybody needs to read this book. Continue reading

Carry On Book Review

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Published: October 6th, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffith

Pages: 522

Synopsis:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

My Thoughts:

Carry On was such a big disappointment for me.

I read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl when it first came out and absolutely loved it, so I was very excited to read more of her work, but this ultimately fell flat for me. I love Rainbow Rowell as a contemporary author, but her take on fantasy was just not for me. Although I loved the world in the book and how Rowell incorporated different popular fandoms in the book, I could not get into the story. Continue reading

Read Bottom Up Book Review

Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham

Publisher: Dey Street Books

Published: April 7th, 2015

Pages: 256

Synopsis:

A charming novel about falling in love (or like) in the digital age—the never-before-seen full story

Madeline and Elliot meet at a New York City restaurant opening. Flirtation—online—ensues. A romance, potentially eternal, possibly doomed, begins.

And, like most things in life today, their early exchanges are available to be scrutinized and interpreted by well-intentioned friends who are a mere click away.

Madeline and Elliot’s relationship unfolds through a series of thrilling, confounding, and funny exchanges with each other, and, of course, with their best friends and dubious confidants (Emily and David). The result is a brand-new kind of modern romantic comedy, in format, in content, and even in creation—the authors exchanged e-mails in real time, blind to each other’s side conversations. You will nod in appreciation and roll your eyes in recognition; you’ll learn a thing or two about how the other half approaches a new relationship . . . and you will cheer for an unexpected ending that just might restore your faith in falling in love, twenty-first-century style.

My Thoughts:

This book was so much fun to read! When I picked this book up it was on a whim, and I did not realize until I started reading it that the book is told completely through texts and emails. I haven’t ever read a book like that before, so it was a fun and new experience for me. Even though it is told just through the texts and emails, the writing is amazing. Continue reading

Animal Farm Book Review

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Publisher: NAL

Published: August 17th, 1945

Pages: 102

Synopsis:

Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This 1945 satire addresses the socialist/communist philosophy of Stalin in the Soviet Union.

My Thoughts:

I decided to pick up this book since I had heard really great things about it, but had never read it. I know that many people are assigned this in high school, but I never was. I am so happy I picked this up, though. Continue reading