What Liran's Listening To #2

Friday, 29 April 2016

I'm doing another one of these because I genuinely enjoyed the last one and I want to share more music with the rest of you. Here's this week's playlist!

These songs are actually all ones that I'd recommend. Wasn't really in the mind-numbing bops mood this week. 💁💁💁

Songs I Recommend:

- Daddy Issues // The Neighbourhood (I love The NBHD and this track really grew on me. It's also very relaxing to listen to.)
- Cornerstone // Arctic Monkeys (I just really like this song and the music video is A+. 💁💁💁)
- Body Talk // Foxes (I loved Foxes's first album and finally had time to check out her newer stuff. It's still really good in my opinion. Especially this track.)
- Colors - Stripped // Halsey (I love the stripped and original versions of this song. I particularly like the new bridge in the stripped version and it really stuck with me.)
- Polarize // Twenty One Pilots (My fav TØP song. No further explanation needed.)
- Cough Syrup - The Voice Performance // Melanie Martinez (I love Mel and I think her cover of this song is great.)
- Heartbreaker // Mariah Carey feat. Jay-Z (This song has been stuck in my head, and the music video for this song is also A+++.) 

(Side note: I seriously doubt Mariah is Becky With the Good Hair (I know no one is thinking that but the video for Heartbreaker is about a guy cheating on his girl but it's older), and I haven't watched Lemonade yet but I want to soon!) 

I hope you all enjoyed finding out what songs I'm currently listening to and discovered some new ones that you like. :)

What Liran's Listening To #1

Sunday, 24 April 2016

I don't actually know if I'm ever going to do this again but whatever. I just want to recommend/just share what songs I'm listening to at the moment. I'm sure there's already something like this so sorry!!!!!!!! But everyone's taste in music is different, right? (Also sorry if I ever do this again and songs overlap. Even though I think it'll be cool to see what songs I've come back to.)

I'm going to try to make Spotify playlists for each of these so you can all go listen to the songs. And maybe include which songs I recommend and which ones I'm listening to because they're simply mind-numbing bops. (I still recommend them but more so as mind-numbing, catchy bops.)

Also sorry for the bad explanations. I'm pretty unoriginal and have a hard time explaining why I like/dislike something.

So without further ado, the playlist:

Songs I Recommend:

- Be Alright // Ariana Grande (Initially I wasn't completely sold on this and while it's lyrics are still pretty basic, it's a pretty solid pop song.)
- FOOLS // Troye Sivan (Not the first time this song has been on repeat and certainly won't be the last time. Tied for favourite song of the week.)
- All Hands on Deck // Tinashe (I'm currently in the process of trying to get into Tinashe and I'm quite liking this song.)
- UGH! // The 1975 (Everything about this song "slays my existence." Tied for favourite of the week.)
- Mess Around // Cage the Elephant (Cage the Elephant came recommended by Shelly from Read.Sleep.Repeat. and they are phenomenal. I'm really digging Mess Around right now.)
- Dreamlover // Mariah Carey (Mariah Carey is really great and while this song is the oldest on the list, it's still amazing.)

Mind-Numbing Bops:

- Cheap Thrills // Sia (Catchy beat and generic lyrics = light-hearted pop song.)
- 7 Years // Lukas Graham (While the lyrics are not so generic, I almost feel as if I've heard this song before. It also won't likely be a song I come back to.)
- Be My Baby // Ariana Grande feat. Cashmere Cat (She struggles with enunciation so I can't make out all the words, but it's still a catchy song.) 
- Worth It // Fifth Harmony feat. Kid Ink (Generic lyrics, catchy hook, and formulaic having-a-rapper-feature-on-the-track-to-help-get-rid-of-their-good-girl-image. It's basic bubblegum pop that just makes you feel good and want to dance. You could listen to the instrumental and it wouldn't make a difference because the lyrics are just that generic. I'm only here for that hook.)

I hope you all enjoyed that. Want songs are you currently loving and are there any you would recommend to me?

ARCs Vs. The Finished Book

Thursday, 14 April 2016
Recently it has come to my attention that I own the ARC and the finished copy for multiple books. However, I have yet to compare the two and this seems like an easy way to compare them and for you to ask any questions if you have any. :)

Before we begin, an ARC or an Advanced Reader's Copy is an early bound draft of a book sent to trade reviewers/bloggers/book stores in order to generate hype before the book comes out and mainly during the first two weeks after its release. They are a marketing tool first and foremost, and are NOT A COLLECTOR'S ITEM.

I'm going to break this down by sections so it's easier to compare the two versions.

The Cover:

So the cover doesn't always change. However, an ARC will indicate (usually on the cover) that it's an ARC and that it's NOT FOR SALE. (So please don't go buying them on eBay.) For example:

A couple things to note:
- The ARC says right across the top that it's an ARC.
- The finished copy's title is shiny and glossy, while the ARC's title is matte.
- The covers themselves are slightly different (this happens sometimes and the covers can be completely different depends on rather or not it's redesigned).

Here are is another more example:

Again, the letters on the finished copy are shiny, and the ARC says it's an ARC on the front.

The Spine:

On the spine, the month or release along with the year are usually indicated somewhere. It's 50/50 as to whether or not the spine changes. Generally it seems with later books in a series, the actual spine is used, but for the first book or a stand-alone, it differs.

A few things to note:
- Shiny title vs not shiny title.
- The publisher logo is different (which doesn't always happen).
- Date on ARC vs no date on the finished copy.
- The spines are different to match the slight cover change.

Here's an example of when the spines are the same:

Again, the date is there on the ARC, but otherwise, they're the same.

The Back:

Massively, massively different. Expect to see marketing info on the back of an ARC or book details and possibly an author bio. For example:

A couple things to note:
- I blurred out information as to how to contact the publisher back to send them your review but the finished copy doesn't have that.
- Author bio vs no author bio.
- Marketing plan vs no marketing plan.
- Synopsis vs excerpt.
- Barcode vs no barcode.
- And they just overall look completely different.

Here's another example:

Again with the barcode and the different design overall.

Inside the Book:

ARCs tend to have a page inside too that says they're an ARC again. Otherwise, they're basically formatted the same.

Something to note is that the finished copy will not have this page.

This one just happened to have contact information on the page too.

The Story Itself:

As I mentioned, this is an early draft, so things are bound to change like minor plot details, types are fixed, and all these tiny things that had to be changed before the final book was printed.

You can expect typos in the ARC that you won't see in the final copy. However, I think what more people want to know about is how drastically does the plot change?

Honestly, I've only ever read the ARC and the finished copy for Map of Fates (sooooooo gooooooodddddd highly recommend), but there was definitely a minor change towards the end that I *think* I picked up on (I haven't gone and checked the finished copy against the ARC yet). Other than that, the plot changes aren't noticeable enough to the point where most readers won't pick up on the differences. The storyline is the same for both versions.

I hope this answered any questions you may have had about the difference between ARCs and the finished copy. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them. :)

Review of Daughters of Ruin

Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Happy Monday! I hope you're all doing well. :)

Book: Daughters of Ruin

Author: K. D. Castner

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Summary: Meet rumor with quiet, treason with cunning, and vicious with vicious.

Rhea, Cadis, Suki, and Iren have lived together since they were children. They are called sisters. They are not. They are called equals. They are not. They are princesses. And they are enemies.

A brutal war ravaged their kingdoms, and Rhea’s father was the victor. As a gesture of peace, King Declan brought the daughters of his rivals to live under his protection—and his ever-watchful eye.

For ten years they have trained together as diplomats and warriors, raised to accept their thrones and unite their kingdoms in peace. But there is no peace among sisters, and all plans shatter when the palace is attacked. As their intended future lies in ashes, Rhea, Cadis, Suki, and Iren must decide where their loyalties lie: to their nations, or to each other.

Alliances shift and the consequences are deadly in this stunning fantasy debut from K. D. Castner.

Review: It was good. I'll give it that.

But like all books with multiple POVs, I didn't particularly like all of them. Cadis and Rhea were nice. I liked their chapters and found them easy to connect to. However, there were so many parenthesis in Suki's chapters. Ugh. They just made her chapters painful to read. I guess Iren's chapters were fine. They just weren't my favourite and didn't really stick out.

I did appreciate that it was all told in third person though, because four narrators in first person would have been too much.

What I did really enjoy was the world building. I definitely got the whole Game of Thrones meets Graceling vibes from the world. Not to mention that the book was fairly fast-paced, which I liked. It didn't really drag. The plot was simple and easy to follow, so I think people who don't tend to read fantasy as much would quite enjoy Daughters of Ruin, especially if they find super complex plots in other fantasy novels to be too hard to follow.

Overall, I think I was just expecting more from this book (which is not to say it was bad or anything, but it wasn't Graceling).

***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influence my opinion. 

Writing Is Hard

Monday, 4 April 2016
I don't know why I'm writing this, but I just wanted to talk with you all, so hi. How are you? I hope you're doing good. I'm doing okay.

So Camp NaNo has basically taken over my life. I haven't been reading the past few days, nor have I been watching Netflix. But it's okay because I'm writing. And I think writing is good. It's something I enjoy doing (like blogging), and doing Camp NaNo gives me that little extra push I need to sit myself down and write.

For those of you who don't know, writing is hard. Now I don't do this professionally, but as some amateur who does this as a hobby, I have come to the conclusion that writing is hard. It's hard to sit myself down and to come up with ideas. I guess this is why I've never finished a single WIP before. (Hopefully I will someday, but who knows? I could end up never finishing one.) And that's okay because it's the actual writing process that I enjoy. I like typing away at some fresh new idea that just popped into my mind because that's the part that I find fun. Writing isn't a competition, and while I would love to reach my 15k goal for Camp NaNo, it's the fact that I'm writing that counts.

But I also feel really guilty about not reading and focusing on writing instead. I enjoy doing both and this blog is meant to be about books, so I also feel a little guilty that I'm blogging about writing instead of books. A more appropriate post would have been a recap on that Penguin Teen signing I went to last week. I don't know. I just feel like a really bad blogger right now because I also didn't even post for the last two weeks of March (way to go Liran!) and I'm sure the majority of you couldn't care less about writing.

And I'm not trying to get sympathy or anything like that (which is another reason as to why I feel really guilty right now), but I'm really trying this thing where I blog about whatever I want to blog about, but maybe I should make a personal blog and do it there, but I like this blog and ugh. Not to mention that I have life and everything and ugh.

Maybe the internet isn't the best place to post all this stuff, but I don't want to censor myself and pretend like my life consists of reading 24/7 because while books are a huge part of my life, I don't always want to blog about them.

If you made it this far, then I'm sorry for wasting your time. I just sort of wanted to talk on my blog and so here we are.

I think what I'm going to try to do is blog as often as I can about whatever I want for maybe a week and see how that goes. (Because I totally want to do some sort of music review or recommendation post, but that's not related to books and UGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!)

This has been a shortish ramble about something I am in no way qualified to talk about, but I hoped you enjoyed it regardless.

Camp NaNo April 2016

Sunday, 3 April 2016
Guess what I'm doing this month?

Do you know?

Do you know?

Yeah, you know. (I shouldn't have told you in the title. I'm such an idiot.)

But I'm doing Camp NaNo!!!

Currently, I've got 3,000 words and am aiming for 15,000 (because why not right?). I've forgotten how much fun writing is.

Anyway, this post is super short, but I haven't blogged in ages and I just wanted to say hi and that I'm alive.