Three Years of Blogging

Friday, 14 July 2017
I honestly can't believe it's been three years since I decided to start this blog. Even though I've gone through a name change (I like Empress of Books so I doubt it'll be changing anytime soon), not much has changed over these past three years blogging wise (except that I used to blog like everyday and now I'm not nearly as consistent).

This blog still means so much to me though, and I'm so thankful to anyone who has ever read any of my blog posts. It means the world to me that someone would ever take time out of their day to read something that I wrote. Thank you.

Also to everyone I've met because of this blog (virtually or in real life), you're all amazing and I hope I can meet you all in person/see you all again in the future!

So I don't really know what I should blog about for my three year blog anniversary, but I'm sure as always it will be full of rambles. Some things never change lol.

I guess something I could do would be to give my updated thoughts on Throne of Glass (which was my first review), and see how my opinions on that book have changed.

First off, I was so far up Chaol's butt it hurts. In retrospect, I hadn't read Heir of Fire yet (I'm pretty sure it came out a few months after that review went up) and I had hopes that maybe Aelin and Chaol would reconcile (lol). Obviously I hadn't met Rowan yet, but let's just say my feelings towards Chaol are the complete opposite now. I can barely tolerate him now.

Also, I used to be so into Sarah J. Maas, and I still like her but lol the ACOTAR series is better than the ToG series (I hadn't read any of them yet because THEY HADN'T YET BEEN RELEASED!!! so don't judge). I was a SJM fan before she was a NYT bestselling author.

However, I'm really thankful for ToG in a way because when I'd just started blogging, no one I knew had really read them yet (I'm pretty sure that was the year I started trying to get Jaimie from Jaimiesam who I've known since forever to start the series), so blogging gave me a platform to talk about the books and all my thoughts.

So in true me fashion, I'm posting this in the evening because I had work yesterday and was too tired to write this post when I got home.

One more time, thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has ever read this blog, and to you, whoever you are reading this right now.

You've helped make my blogging dream come true.

Review of Paper Hearts

Tuesday, 4 July 2017
This book is out today, and it's really good. (I basically devoured it the second I got it in the mail.)

Book: Paper Hearts

Author: Ali Novak

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Music

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary: "I'm sorry," he said, slowly untying the ribbon that held his mask in place. "It's just-I didn't want you to think of me any differently."

Somehow I kept my mouth from falling open. I knew his face, but my mind couldn't accept that he was the person looking down at me.

"My real name is Alec."


Felicity has her entire future planned. Ever since her older sister ran away, she's had the full weight of her mother's expectations on her shoulders. So she works hard to get straight As and save for college.

Except sometimes the best things in life are unplanned-like when Felicity meets a handsome, masked stranger while she is volunteering at a charity masquerade ball. She never thought he'd flirt with her. And she certainly never thought he'd turn out to be a member of the world-famous Heartbreakers band, Alec.

Then Felicity uncovers a shocking family secret. Suddenly, she, Alec, and her two best friends are off on a road trip to find Felicity's missing sister. And she's about to discover that unexpected turns have a peculiar way of landing her right where she needs to be...

Review: If you thought the Heartbreakers was cute, wait until you read its sequel companion novel! (These books can be read out of order in my opinion. You'll only miss a few references to the first book if you don't want to read it.) 

Paper Hearts is that light-hearted, perfect-to-take-to-the beach kind of novel I am usually in the mood for during the summer. It's also not too long (and is a paperback original because taking hardbacks to the beach is too risky) so you could easily finish it in one sitting. Of course it helps that it is highly addicting. I kid you not when I say I couldn't put it down!

One of my favourite things about this book is that it centers around a road trip (I want more cute books about road trips please) because it really gave the romance time to blossom (which I highly appreciated because instalove isn't exactly my favourite trope). 

I also quite enjoyed the main character's friends, Asha and Boomer who were sassy and interesting, and provided some great comic relief.

Oh yeah, and I made a playlist for this book because road trips require good playlists.



If you've read the first one and enjoyed it, give this one a go, and even if you haven't read the first one yet, still give Paper Hearts a try!







Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review which in no way affected my thoughts.

What I Didn't Know About Blogging Part Five

Friday, 28 April 2017

How does one make friends online? Can one make friends online? Are people mean? Are people inclusive?

The answers are: see this blog post, if you're willing to put in the effort, sometimes, and sometimes.

I can't believe I forgot about this series, but I saw this post in my drafts, and now I think it's time I finally finish it + email everyone who wanted to do a guest post to see if they're still up for it! (Maybe fill out the form again even if you already did because it's been so long??)

Anyway, let's get down to business.

How does one make friends online?

Honestly, there is no right answer. There are so many ways you can make friends online that I don't think I could cover them all in this post. However, here are some ways to make friends online;
  • Get a Twitter account, and join in on book community chats such as:
    • #BHPChat
    • #BBTC (Shout out to the amazing Brittany who runs this chat, and is super nice if you ever need a friend. I'm also there occasionally whenever I can!!)
    • #FairyChat 
    • #OwlChat
    • #RQWN (I've met a lot of people during these chats!)
  • Follow, read, and comment on other new and up-and-coming blogs.
  • Join Bookstagram, and compliment people on their photos.
  • Be open to talking to new people online in general!
  • Interact with people in the comments section of your blog.
  • Read, and write fanfic, and connect with your readers/the authors of the fanfic you like.
  • Join Tumblr, and get sucked into a world full of fan art, fanfic, fandoms, etc.
  • Join fandoms (do not recommend this as much because some fandoms are full of awful people who are toxic, and whom you shouldn't be friends with).
Can you make friends online?/Do those suggestions above really work?


Yes! I've met so many people online who I would consider to be my friends, and we have amazing conversations. So yes, you can absolutely make friends online.

And yes, I can tell you those tips above do really work. (Obviously they will not work for everyone, but I do believe they will work for the majority.)

Are people mean?

Some people, yes. After all, the internet is filled with trolls.

However, most people are super nice, and I'm always here if you ever want to be friends. :)

Are people inclusive?

For sure! If you join one of the book chats, everyone comments on everyone's tweets, and you'll be welcomed regardless of how many people you've previously befriended.

I hope this helps in some way, shape, or form. I'm just happy this series is getting revived on my blog because apparently I started writing this post in October 2015, and now it's April 2017.

(Also, if any other bloggers want to do a guest post about this, fill out this handy form please: http://goo.gl/forms/ukHU6cfggI)

ACOWAR Inspired Makeup Tutorial

I've been in the biggest blogging slump for the past few months, but I'm back now with a new book inspired makeup tutorial because ACOWAR comes out this Tuesday. 

So this is the cover of A Court of Wings and Ruin. 



It's so beautiful I could cry. That's why I wanted it on my face. Enjoy!

What you'll need is whatever basic skin perfecting things you use (so like foundation, concealer, etc.), eyeshadow (I used shades from the Naked palette by Urban Decay, and the Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye palette for this look), a nude-ish blush, highlighter, and a terracotta nude liquid lipstick (I used Lolita from Kat Von D/my fav liquid lippie).

Step One:
Prep your skin for the fun part by using foundation, concealer, etc. 


Step Two:
Put an eyeshadow primer on because we want this to last all day while we binge read all 696 pages of ACOWAR. 



Step Three:
Put a translation colour that works for your skin tone in your crease, and blend. 



Step Four:
Put a mix of dark green, and black in your crease + outer corner, and blend. 


Step Five:
Take a cream shadow, and place it all over your lid.


Step Six:
Put gold eyeshadow all over your lid, and blend it into the dark green on the outer corner. 


Step Seven: 
Put grey eyeshadow on your lower lash-line, and charcoal eyeliner on your waterline to match Feyre's grey dress. Also put some of that cream eyeshadow on your brow-bone to clean everything up a bit, and a light gold shade in the inner corner to lighten things up. 


Step Eight:
My favourite part: EYELINER!! You want a nice cat eye with a bold wing just like the Illyrian soldiers. 


Step Nine:
The easiest step: Mascara. Apply generous coats until you're satisfied with the volume and length. 



Step Ten:
Repeat steps 2-9 on the other eye.

Ta-da! The eyes are done. 



Step Eleven:
Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. 

Step Twelve:
Highlight your cheek bones, tip of your nose, and your Cupid's bow until your glow is so blinding, it could blind (spoiler for ACOMAF) Tam the Tool. 


Step Thirteen:
Apply your liquid lipstick to your lips because you want it to be long lasting, and not come off when you're eating those snacks while reading ACOWAR. 


Now you're done!! Time for the obligatory final look shots!



I hope you enjoyed this makeup look, and maybe actually try it. (Sorry that my instructions suck. It's hard to describe what I'm doing in words.) Also how cute is my penguin sweater? It's from Forever 21 in case you were wondering. 

🌹❤️🌹

So I've Been Away

Tuesday, 31 January 2017
So I guess I'm back from my unofficial hiatus??

Anyway, I hope you had a great holiday season?? (Is that even correct?)

I've been genuinely slacking, and so I missed an entire two months of blogging. I'm sorry. It's been a hectic past couple of months to say the least (had to recover from 2016). But I'm back now and hopefully I'm a little more diligent about blogging this year.

I hope you've all been reading amazing books, and I guess I'll be back on here soon??

The Term "Woke" Is Problematic

Sunday, 4 December 2016
Let's get one thing straight: I am not "woke." No one is. It's impossible to be all-knowing, educated about everything, and basically perfect. We all make mistakes, but that's okay so long as we learn from them.

To call someone "woke" implies that they are super politically correct all the time and never make mistakes ever. As I just mentioned, no one is like that (but many of us strive for that). By referring to yourself as "woke" or to call someone else "woke," you are implying that you/they are perfect and never make mistakes. That you/they have never made any mistakes in terms of political correctness, and have never accidentally said something others would find offensive.

That is why the term is problematic. It is an unattainable idea.

It's turned into a word used to put someone down, more commonly given a negative connotation nowadays. "Oh look she thinks she's so woke but she's problematic." I've been told that, and I've seen people saying that to others as well.

BUT MOST PEOPLE DON'T CALL THEMSELVES "WOKE" BY SAYING THAT YOU ARE IMPLYING THAT IS WHAT THEY THINK, AND YOU ARE MORE THAN LIKELY WRONG.

Most people make too many mistakes to genuinely think they are "woke" because no one is that educated. No one is so aware of everyone else, and so knowledgeable about all the sexualities and races and religions that they are truly "woke."

However, these people are not exactly "asleep." They are trying their best, they are learning everyday, they are educating themselves and are open to being educated. So the term "woke" isn't completely accurate, but it isn't completely inaccurate. These people are sort of in a weird in-between. And there's a spectrum depending on just how educated one person is.

That is why the term is problematic. Because no one is "woke," but many people are trying to be as correct as possible. We need a different term to describe this because "woke" is not cutting it.

So time to think of a new insult, trolls. Also, keep your comments out of my comment section and my notifications. Thanks.

\

Books To Boycott: A List of Books That Are Problematic

Monday, 21 November 2016
So I don't care. If you want to support these problematic books, stop and reevaluate your values please. Keep your privilege in check, and use it to speak out against those who wish to oppress minorities.

And if your book made this list, please don't start any drama. I won't be supporting your books, and you'll only make things worse.

The Continent by Kiera Drake

Drake can't even apologize for the racism in her book without throwing her sensitivity readers under the bus. For those of you who missed what happened, Drake got called out on her book (in which she calls the civilization of the Topi people who just so happen to look a lot like Native Americans "uncivilized" and "savage") and things got ugly. And the other civilization? Basically Japanese, only misrepresented. 

And then after getting called out, she says she had sensitivity readers look over her work, and really only apologized because her publicist probably told her to. She came off as insincere, and didn't take enough responsibility.


Yes, I am aware Harlequin pushed it back, but I don't care. It should be pulled completely. If she can't even fully own up to her mistakes, why should we give her book a second chance? 

All of Michael Grant's Books

I'm sorry. Take your able-bodied privilege and gross behaviour elsewhere. 


https://twitter.com/alyssakeiko/status/798994466522746881

I'm done. Never reading another one of his books again. 

Summer on Earth by Peter Thompson

Oh look. Another racist white guy. If you can't see how Thompson is LITERALLY ALIENATING AFRICAN AMERICANS FROM SOCIETY, I can't talk to you anymore. It's disgusting that a publisher cannot see this book as blatantly racist and problematic. I'm sure the MC is white, and basically saying African Americans are foreign and making them the aliens is despicable. African Americans are people too, and deserve to be properly represented. 

And the fact that this is middle grade makes it even worse. Spoon-feeding them racism and hatred is disgusting and Thompson should be ashamed of his book. 

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

How dare you belittle young adult and the amount of talent required to write it, and expect your young adult book to fly off the shelves?! You're a white male whose book follows some basic formula you think is required to produce a bestseller, and I wouldn't be surprised if The Cruelty lacks proper diverse representation. 

Bergstrom is just another problematic white male author. We have enough of those already (see Michael Grant). Do not support him or his book please. Make it flop so hard, he'll wish he kept his mouth shut.



Also, teens are not dumb, so you don't need to dumb down your books. I have yet to meet a teen who couldn't handle The Hunger Games. Teens don't need your book.

#TheHungerGamesDidItBetter

All of Tommy Wallach's Books

Here we have an author that joked about suicide.

How.

Dare.

He.

Suicide is not a joke, and has taken and affected more lives than he will ever know. It's not something to joke about.


And you certainly do not let you mom defend your suicide joke because 1) Take responsibility for your actions and 2) You're a grown man. Don't drag your mom into this.



And you do not threaten to sue anyone who calls you out on your stupid suicide joke that's NOT FUNNY AT ALL AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS.


And all this other crap that includes racism, trying to force atheism onto others (extremism isn't okay and if he were a muslim trying to force his religion onto others, he'd be called a terrorist), and just general problematic stuff.





And in case you want a full explanation of what happened, here's the link to a brilliant article written by V. E. Schwab (who writes excellent books by the way): http://www.yabookscentral.com/blog/we-need-to-talk-about-tommy

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth



I've never read Divergent, and now I don't know if I ever will. Justina Ireland's tweets basically sum this up perfectly. But for those of you who can't see how it's basically dark-skinned people depicted to be trying to destroy white people and how that is a problem, it was the white folks who oppressed PoCs.



And thank you to the booktubers who reviewed this early who apologized for not realizing that it was problematic earlier.

All of Sierra Abrams's Books

Okay but biphobia is sickening and is not okay. This is why I keep the receipts too.




And here's why this is a problem. Yes, queer-baiting is a problem, but ugh. Don't say that my precious Dorian can't be bisexual just because he's only liked women so far in the books. No bisexual or pansexual needs to have relationships with both men and women to prove their sexuality. End of story.

These Racist Abrams Kids Picture Books

These are racist and xenophobic and they make me want to throw up. This is what I mean. http://bookriot.com/2016/12/02/its-not-funny-its-racist/ Stay away from this book.




And then they tried to play the racism off as a problem with censorship. Absolutely. Despicable. 


For the booksellers and librarians reading this list, please do not order these books for your store or library, and promote diverse books like The Girl From Everywhere, Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda, The Hate U Give, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, History Is All You Left Me, The Sun Is Also a Star, The Love Interest, When Dimple Met Rishi, Dear Martin, or just about any diverse book that does a good, proper job of representing minorities. 

And for those who aren't, go request these books!! Let the publishing industry know you like diversity, and want more of it with your money!!!