Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review of the Month: Cinder

Hello readers, it's leap day and I'm finally posting February's book review of the month! I apologize for it taking so long, but I'll admit, I only finished the book yesterday. Oops. 

This month's book is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I know, I know, I said I would try to review something other than fairy tales all the time. But hear me out, this one is sci-fi. Sci-fi Cinderella? Sounds weird, doesn't it? It kind of is, but in a good way. 

Cinder is not your typical Cinderella story. Yes, there's a prince and a ball and a wicked stepmother, that's all still there. But Cinder is spunky, caring, and rebellious at times, not to mention the fact that she's cyborg. 

Yes, cyborg.

This story really isn't one about a girl who is stuck in some form of slavery until a fairy godmother and a prince save her. It's about disease and loss, politics and alliances, marriage and war. 

The book is set in the distant future, sometime after World War IV, somewhere in Asia. Countries have reformed into different alliances and commonwealths, and technology has definitely changed. Androids, hover cars, ID chips, and cyborgs are normal. However, there is one thing technology hasn't fixed. 

The world is suffering from a new plague, letumosis, and there is no antidote. You catch it, you die. Tests have been done to try to find a cure, but all have failed. More and more people die every day. 
And if a plague isn't enough, there's also a race of magical beings called Lunars living on the moon threatening to wage war on the entire earth if the peace negotiations don't go their way. 

That sounds like a fairy tale, doesn't it? 

As you all know, I love fairy tales and fantasy novels. I do like sci-fi, but it's usually not my favorite. This book, however, was fantastic. I could hardly put it down, even when I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. I honestly wasn't planning to get into the whole series just yet, but I can't wait to read the next book. 

I would definitely recommend this book if you like fairy tales, fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, or almost anything, really. 

If you have book suggestions, or if you've read (or are reading) any of the books I've reviewed, feel free to leave me a comment let me know what you think! And don't forget to submit some Q&A questions for my upcoming posts- see my last post for more details!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Why I Blog

Hello readers!

So I'll tell you up front, this won't be that serious of a post. (I do have some more real post ideas in the works, so you'll be seeing those soon!) It's really just me letting you know what's going on with TSM at the moment, but there's a part for you all to get involved, so really, it's worth the read.

I started this blog a little over a year ago, and at the time it was just something to do for fun and for a bit more writing practice, honestly. As you can probably tell by the fact that I only wrote 32 posts all year, I didn't take it that seriously.

However, lately I've thought a little bit more about the possibility of blogging becoming more than a hobby, and it's made me think a bit more about why I blog and what I want to say.

Let me be the first to tell you, there is a plethora of information out on the web about how to start a blog, what sort of posts to write, how your blog should look, how to make money blogging, etc etc etc. I've read a lot of those articles. And I've ignored most of them.

Yes, maybe doing some of those things would make me more popular or get me more subscribers. But then what would set me apart from every other blogger in the world that read those posts and did what they said? What's left to make me original or interesting?

Honestly, I don't like being told what I can and can't do when it comes to things like this. For example, one big tip is to find your niche or topic, and focus on that. I could call myself a book blogger and make that my focus. But is that the only thing I care about? No.

As I think I've mentioned before, I don't like being put in a box. I don't like being labelled. So while the internet tells me to pick one topic, what do I want to do? I want to branch out and write about more. Of course, I'll still write about books. I love books. But I want to write about music, beauty, lifestyle, art, etc etc etc. I want to have variety. That said, I don't want to write about these things because they might get me more page views. I want to write about them because I enjoy them.

So why do I blog? I want to write. I want to combine writing (which I love) and all the other things I love. I want to write about things that are important to me and things that are important in the world. I want to have a voice and I want to have a message. Of course, a message doesn't matter much if no one listens.

And that's where you all come in. You're the ones listening, after all. I have a few post ideas that actually involve hearing from you. I'm planning to start a few Q&A style posts, and so, obviously, I need questions! I'm certainly not an expert, but I'm planning to write about beauty/style, books, and music, so send in your questions on those topics! You can comment below, or contact me using the links in the side bar.

And as a bonus, it's in the works to do sort of a collab/guest post type thing with a Julliard flutist, so if you have any questions for her about music, Julliard, or anything like that, send those in as well!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Lie Society Tells Us: Valentine's Day

As you all probably know, Valentine's Day was this past Sunday. This is a day that can be both good and bad for a lot of people, as it is generally regarded to be all about romance. This is great for those who are in romantic relationships and have someone to spend it with, but not so great for those who don't, and may end up feeling lonely or even depressed. And a lot of this has to do with a few key lies our society tells us about love and romance.

LIE: Romantic relationships are more important than platonic ones.

This is a really common misconception our society has, and it's pretty well exemplified by things like the "friend zone" or being "just friends" or wanting those two friends on that TV show to finally be a couple, among other situations. And yes, romantic relationships are understood to be a bit more than friendly, most of the time, and yes, they are important. However, that doesn't mean they are more important. Friendships may often be longer lasting, deeper relationships than the dating relationships our society favors.

That said, romantic relationships are also not less important than friendships, since romantic relationships should also be friendships to begin with.

LIE: You need a romantic relationship to be worth something.

Society makes quite a big deal out of this one, too. People act like there is something wrong with a person if they "can't get a date" or "can't keep a relationship." People feel that because they are single, that they are undesirable or flawed in some way. And that's just not true. There are plenty of people who have never been in a relationship who are wonderful people. How many dates you've been on is not a way of measuring how good of a person you are. Value is not defined by love life.

LIE: Love, like everything else, is disposable.

Honestly, our society has a very conflicting perspective when it comes to love. One one hand, we throw around the word like it means absolutely nothing. We love food, music, celebrities, lots of things that we don't really love.

But on the other hand, we can be so afraid of telling people we love them, either because it seems weird (particularly in the case of telling friends we love them), or because our society is so afraid of committing to anything. That's what love is, or what it should be: a commitment, and we live in a throw-away society.

So, in the days following Valentine's day (or single's awareness day, as some people like to call it), don't be upset by the things society tells us because so many of them are lies.

Monday, February 8, 2016

What's New for TSM in 2016

Hello to all my readers out there! I've got a few brief updates for you, and I'm hoping to get some feedback as well!

If you haven't noticed, I've made quite a few little additions and changes lately. I've added a new post signature, updated the color scheme (hopefully to stay, this time), and uploaded a new logo, among other things.

For example, I have added a page for books I would recommend. This is basically just a compilation of the books I have mentioned in my monthly reviews, and I'll keep adding to it as I keep reviewing more books! I hope it helps you find things more easily and gives you a list to go to when you're looking for something new to read.

I'll still be continuing to review books every month, and I'm already planning out my next few reviews! I'll try to give you all a bit more variety in the types of books I review, since I know most everything so far has been fairy tales and romance. Let me know what genres you like, and if you have a book suggestion, don't be afraid to send it in!

In addition to those monthly posts, I've recently thought about starting to write a story through my blog. It would be a chapter a month installment of a longer work, or maybe just monthly chapters that don't necessarily fit together. I don't know what I'll write about yet, but if you like the idea or have suggestions, feel free to leave a comment for me.

I know most bloggers focus on some specific topic, whether its beauty and fashion, recipes, DIY projects, cars, music, etc. And I know I don't really do that, which makes me a bit weird in blogger world. I don't like trying to fit into a certain box of what I can post about. That said, I tend to post mainly about books and whatever random thoughts I have. If you would like me to branch out and give you more variety, whether or not it includes some of the topics above, we could give it a try. Just let me know what y'all want to see!

I've been trying to post once or twice a week, but I'm not on a strict post schedule anymore. If you want to stay up to date on the latest posts, you've got three options:

  1. Check back here every so often
  2. Follow me on social media (links in the left sidebar). I send out twitter updates when there's a new post, and I'll occasionally post reminders on instagram as well. 
  3. Subscribe by email (link in the right sidebar). You'll get email updates whenever there's a new post up! 
Thank you guys for reading and commenting! This blog has been fun over the past year and I hope to grow and have more fun writing in 2016! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Blank Page

I've been blogging for over a year now, and I'll admit- it's still intimidating.

I generally have no idea what to post about. I don't know what you want to read. Honestly, I don't even know what to post about right now, I'm kinda just making it up as I go, at this point.

Even when I do have an idea of what to write about, I'm not sure if I should write it. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing the same things over and over again. I thought about reviewing Ella Enchanted, but my last two posts were about fairy tales, and I was afraid you'd get tired of it. I thought about asking, once more, what you all out there would like to hear from me, but I haven't gotten an answer yet, so I'm guessing you're tired of that too.

Opening up a new post, seeing that blank page sitting in front of me, it's scary at times. It's strange to write knowing (hoping) someone will read it. It's strange to think that someone is probably forming an opinion of me as they read this. It's strange to think of comparing myself to bloggers who are much better than I am.

Maybe you all out there in cyberspace will understand this. It's the blank piece of paper when you start to take notes. The start of NaNoWriMo. The blank page when you begin writing a research paper. The empty journal you got from a relative for this holiday or that.

But I don't think you have to be writers to understand. Because a blank page isn't always literal. Sometimes it's the first day of a new school year. Or, better yet, the first day at a new school. Or, if you're past that, the first day at a new job. Maybe it's a first date. Maybe it's the first post on a new social media account.

Or maybe it's not a first. After all, each new blog post isn't my first. Maybe a blank page is just new. A new class. A new relationship of some kind. A new year, new month, new week. Even just a new day.

Even if it's not a chance to start over, entirely, it may be a chance to do something different. A chance to say something interesting. A chance to be someone you want to be.

And aren't we all at least a little bit afraid of that? Of a bad first impression? Of a bad impression in general, really? Or even just the sense of unknown something new brings?

For example, I don't know if this is your first time visiting my blog. I don't know if you hate this post or find it dull or boring or stupid. I don't know if you'll ever come back again after reading this, or any of my other posts. I can hope you don't hate me, but the only other thing I can do is just keep filling up the blank pages. That's all any of us can do.

"This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take: to be seen as we truly are." Cinderella, 2015