Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Graphics 101 | Canva

Graphics 101 is a new feature I'm starting on my blog. I'll go over how to make graphics on free websites, such as PicMonkey, Canva, and Fotor!  

Lately, I've been using Canva to make my graphics, and I'm really enjoying them. First, Canva is a free website, which automatically makes it 10x better, and another thing is that it even works on my crappy laptop! Here are some examples of graphics made using Canva: 

I typically use the layout for each category, i.e. the Real Estate in the City for my review headers! I'll be leading you step by step on how to create awesome graphics!

First, you need to create an account, and they do send some really annoying emails, so I'd advise using a 10 minute email. Once you've created your account, it'll look something like this:

Well, mine looks like that because I've already made a couple. What I typically do is go to more, and then scroll down a little to Blogging & eBooks and click on Blog Title

For this example, I'm making a header for a book review I'll be doing soon (hopefully) on Angelfall by Susan Ee. After clicking on Blog Title, it should bring up a page that looks like this: 

On the side are your layouts, as well as your text and background choices and uploads. I wouldn't advise using the backgrounds because most of those need money. The layouts with free written on the side are the free ones, but if you want to purchase more, you can. I personally think that the free ones are sufficient enough. Scroll around and find a layout you like!

For my book review, I typically use Real Estate in the City, because it has that large box in the middle where I write all the information. 

Here, I am adding the title of the book, the author, and of course, my watermark. On the left hand side, it says TEXT, and you can add more text if you don't have enough text boxes in your layout. 

After you finish adjusting the text, you can go over to the UPLOADS tab on the right hand side. What I really like about Canva is that all the things you've ever uploaded are there. You can add a picture to the background by just dragging and dropping and adjusting if needed! If you look at the previous picture, the box around the text was originally blue, but since that's not an easy color to see black text on, I clicked on the box, and up appeared the design controls. I clicked on the circle with color, and selected white. Next to that on the right side is a drop down menu. This is extremely convenient because it lets you make it more transparent, so you can still see the image in the background.

After you're satisfied with everything, go to the upper right corner and click on download. I'd advise saving as a JPG because it takes up less space and is also pretty nice quality! Save your creation and upload it to your blog! 

And here is the final product: 

I hope you enjoyed this segment on my blog! If you have any questions, please comment down below and I'll be sure to answer your question ASAP! 

Thanks so much for reading this, guys. It made my day <3


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Book Review | The Rose Society by Marie Lu

image via readingoncloud9 on instagram

The Rose Society (The Young Elites, #2)The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2)
By: Marie Lu (@marie_lu)
Published By: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on October 13, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 395
Goodreads // Book Depository

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

“But true rulers are not born. We are made."

You guys, this book is dark. The Rose Society is 10x more complex, fast paced, and DARK compared to The Young Elites. Adelina is truly gone after the event that occurred in The Young Elites, but she's seriously gone. She has this little inner voice that slowly turns her into a "villain", and it's painful to read her struggle with this little voice in her head. Adelina was scary in this novel

The plot was straight-forward, and fast compared to the plot of The Young Elites. Adelina and her little Rose Society know their goal right from the start, and don't let anyone get in their way. There were a few plot twists that I knew were going to happen, but was still extremely frightened for them to happen. Honestly, this book is just a huge plot twist. 

A few new characters were introduced in this novel, and though they were interesting, I don't necessarily like them. The characters in this novel aren't exactly fuzzy teddy bears, you know. I either extremely despise them, or admire them in fear. 

Lu's writing is effortless and fascinating, and it seems to describe everything so well. I'm extremely excited in seeing where this trilogy will go in the next book. This series is very addicting and intriguing, so I highly suggest you go pick it up.

Thanks for reading this, guys. It made my day <3

Final Rating: 



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review | The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

image via outofthebex on instagram 

 The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
By: Renée Ahdieh (@rahdieh)
Published By: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 388
Goodreads // Book Depository

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

"You are not weak. You are not indecisive. You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure. "

I'm not a huge kicker for romances. Usually, it's an insta-love or a love triangle, and I spend my entire review complaining about that. HOWEVER, Shazi and Khalid broke my heart and mended it in every way possible. Having read this after most people had, there was tons of hype and my interest was piqued. I still went into this book only knowing one thing...that it was a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. I had no knowledge about this story until after reading The Wrath and the Dawn, and was pleasantly surprised. One thing I loved about this book was the diversity. Shazi and Khalid are of color, as well as Muslim. Overall, The Wrath and the Dawn is a wonderfully romantic, exciting story, but not without its flaws. 

The basic premise is intriguing from the beginning. Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her killed at sunrise. When Shahrzad (I'll call her Shazi in this review)'s best friend gets killed, Shazi is determined to take revenge. 

Shazi was a strong lead, who sort of reminded me of Annabeth? Shazi is confident, and a tiny bit reckless, but brave nevertheless. Sometimes her recklessness frustrated me, because she missed moments that she could have gotten revenge, and basically forgot her mission to avenge her friend with the end came, but that could be overlooked.

The romance part of this novel was spectacular. It was a love triangle, but the other dude (Tariq) is stupid and useless and conceited. Honestly, there's only one real contender. The romance part was really interesting, but frusterating at times where they wouldn't trust each other. URGH. 

Ahdieh's writing style is flawless. It's awfully descriptive, but not to the point where's it's overly descriptive. Shazi resides in a place for most of the novel, so of course the palace is exquisite, and Ahdieh describes that SO WELL

I had two issues with the book. The first The MAGIC wasn't developed enough. This could develop in the second book, of course, but I thought the magic part was sort of skimmed over and not that engrossing. The other issue I had was Shazi reading Khalid the story each night (to keep her alive) was a bit boring. I was hoping that Ahdieh could weave it in more smoothly. The parts with the story was a bit long and dull.

Overall, I highly enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn. I'm sold for the second books. I'm excited to see where this romance is going, as well as the magic getting more details.

Thanks for reading this, guys. It made my day <3

Final Rating: 



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday | Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

  Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine. Waiting on Wednesday spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: February 2, 2016

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5, 0.6, 1.5, 3.1, 3.6)  

The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

I AM SO EXCITED! I will buy whatever Marissa Meyer releases, because her books are literally magic. Ever since I finished the last book of the series, Winter, I just want more. I'm especially interested in the epilogue.

What upcoming release are you anticipating?



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Book Review | Winter by Marissa Meyer

*image from perpetualpages on instagram

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4)
By: Marissa Meyer (@marissa_meyer)
Published By: Feiwel and Friends on November 10, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages: 827 
Goodreads // Book Depository
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

The Lunar Chronicles is officially one of my top five favorite series ever. And Winter didn't disappoint. 
Winter looks about 500 pages, max, but it's actually 800 pages. Did I care? Not really. Did it feel like 800 pages? NO. FREAKING. WAY. Winter legit got me turning that page faster than I can eat a hot dog (which is pretty fast, btw). You know those books that you literally cannot put down? I was reading this at dinner. I will never risk eating with a book. Winter was an exception. So many things were happening at once, and you're just like ALSD;FALKS;FALSKJF;.

Hands down, you have to go read Winter. The characters were amazing (especially Winter and Jacin), and the fairy tale retellings that are intertwined in the books are incredible. Especially this one. If you haven't started The Lunar Chronicles, please do. And if you've read Cress, JUST PICK THIS ONE UP. This review will probably just be me fangirling, but seriously, it's SO good. There's not much else I can say. 

Winter was a satisfying read. Now PLEASE go read this series before I explode. 

spoiler section: please read winter before continuing. or continue anyways. be a rebel. i don't care. :P

characters and relationships~

Winter, as saw in Cress was a slight bit insane, but I still loved her anyways. My favorite part is when SHE MANIPULATED AIMERY AND KILLED HIM. I was SO freaking proud of her, and I was just like, YES GIRL YOU GO! She's so sneaky and clever, especially when Jacin tells her that he can't go in and watch her paint, she just goes outside and does it.

My little shipper heart was complete. Kaider was adorable as usual, but I think my heart still goes out to Cress and Thorne. The speech he gave at the end was just... 
"One should never save cake for later when it can be eaten now." ~Princess Winter Hayle-Blackburn of Luna  

plot recap~
So we start out with Kai on board the Rampion, and Scarlet is still a prisoner. (and Kai + Cinder shipping. The kissing counts. um YES.) So Kai and Cinder create a plan to host the wedding between Levana + Kai on Luna, so Kai goes back to Earth (and when Thorne takes him back they talk about Cress and KAI SHIPS IT TOO GUYS) and convinces the queen, who thinks it's a brilliant idea to do this (that made me really suspicious). So Cinder and Captain and the Rampion crew glamour themselves onto Luna, except Levana gets suspicious and finds them out, and they have a big thingy. Everyone escapes except Cress, which makes Thorne go crazy (SHIP) The crew then arrive at Wolf's mom's house, and they're safe. For now.  

Winter goes and finds Cress (somehow??) and helps her hide in Jacin's room. AND THEN JACIN IS SUMMONED TO THE QUEEN. And she's all like, "bro, i know you like winter so i want you to kill her cuz like you like her and stuff and also she's a danger to my throne." MY HEART WAS BREAKING HERE OKAY? He then fakes Winter's death and they kiss and it's just adorable. <3 
He helps Scarlet and Winter get on the RM-9, but Cress's still at the palace (!!)

The crew sends out a speech that Kai wrote for Cinder (it's perfect <3), and THE REVOLUTION OFFICIALLY BEGINS. And then that idiot, Aimery, he comes and TORTURES MAHA. And then she kills herself, but she was strong 'til the end. #MOTHERGOALS AF 

Cinder tries to fight back for Maha, but sorta fails, so they all get captured. Jacin and Cress manage to escape and find Thorne and Iko, who were on their way to save Cinder, who is captured with Wolf. Kai and Levana are getting married (barfs) and they drag Cinder in, who's being rebellious as always. She manages to scare Levana and jump off the balcony? and survive!!! Levana makes a video saying that the"imposter" was dead, but actually, Jacin, Iko, Thorne, and Cress find her in a lake, and they find out her internal computer is dead. Scarlet and Winter stumble upon the wolf-mutant soldiers and Winter uses her kindness and beauty to convince them to join us. 

So Levana finds out Winter isn't actually dead, and is furious. She disguises herself as an old lady and gives Winter sour apple petites (!! I know!!!), which turn out to be the "sour apples", and Winter gets letomosis! PANIC!!! (at the disco!) I loved how she incorporated the Snow White fairy tale. Meanwhile, Scarlet finds her sick and tells Jacin, and happens to get the disease in the process. Iko, Cinder, and Jacin sneak into the lab to try and find the cure for Winter. Jacin and Iko and Cinder make it in time (yes!) and they save Winter and Scarlet. Meanwhile, Cress and Thorne have a plan to attend Kai and Levana's coronation so that Cress can sneak in, do her fancy hacking skills, and release the video. They sneak in, (it's a costume party), and THORNE AND CRESS CONFESS LOVE (YES) But a guard finds Thorne and Cress, and Cress hides but Thorne gets captured (!!!)

Cress and Kai meet up, and Kai helps her sneak in, and Cress does her epic hacking skillzz, and gets the video out *relief* We find out Wolf has been mutated again and is under control another idiotic Thaumaturage. *groan* Kai and Levana continue with their *epic* coronation and then CINDER POPS IN (yas), and Levana is SO PISSED. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. THEY FIGHT AND IT'S EPIC. Wolf comes around and Scarlet is almost about to wack an ax into his head, but then they realize it's each other and *SCORE* WOLF IS BACK! The video is released (!!) and Levana runs away. WINTER GOES SO INTENSE AND KILLS AIMERY USING MANIPULATION (yAS WINTER YOU GO GIRL)

Cinder finds Levana, and Thorne getting controlled by her. IT'S SO TENSE GUYS. THEY DO THEIR MIND MANIPULATION THINGY, and Cress appears and shoots Thorne's fingers (!!!), making him stab Cinder. Levana pretends to give up, which makes Cinder sympathetic, but then STABS HER IN THE CHEST (THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR BEING NICE, CINDER), and then everything goes back. But don't worry. Everything is great. 

and they all lived happily ever after. 

Thanks for reading this, guys. It made my day <3

Final Rating: