Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ciao 2015! I'm Welcoming 2016 with Open Arms

Only one more day ‘till 2016, and I’m so excited! After days and days of squirming and asking my alter ego “Can I post this now?!”, I can finally tell you guys what I’ll be planning for the upcoming year. (Hopefully I can follow these throughout 2016. You all know how much I like end up abandoning plans.)


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 Reading Challenges I'll Be Joining Next Year!

For the very first time, I have chosen to join two book reading challenges for the year of 2016. I didn’t join anything for ’15 considering I revived this blog in the middle of September, but now, I’ll get the chance to finally join a challenge like other bloggers!

Am I excited? DEFNITELY.

The Inside Out Book Tag! (In Which I Share Books That Gave Me Feels, Shivers, or Remorse)

Before anything else, I would like to thank The Araliya Bookshelf for tagging me. It’s my first time being tagged, so saying that I’m totally TOTALLY happy is definitely an understatement. (Plus, I loved this movie. Wasn’t very fond of Joy, though. But I loved Sadness.) (And no, it's not because I'm emo.) (Well...)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Truth: Ooh, Half-Lion Humans!

TITLE: Truth (Oleah Chronicles)
AUTHOR: Michelle Johnson
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
DATE PUBLISHED: May 25, 2015 by Oleah Publishing
DATE FINISHED: December 15, 2015
RATING: ★★☆☆☆
SUMMARY: What would you do if everything you thought to be true in your life was a lie?

Sixteen-year-old Angel Seriki must face overwhelming truths about her family when she meets Zander Black, a new student to her high school who is smart, charming and devastatingly beautiful. The revelations he uncovers to her about her family's past changes everything, and as her relationship and feelings for Zander deepen, so do the risks involved. She must now accept her fate and face the true reality of who and what she is. Even if that means giving up everything, including being human.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

BBH: What is Your Preferred Review Format?

Previously hosted by Jen @ Crazy For Books, and now by Ramblings of A Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Blogger Hop is a weekly post to help book bloggers connect with each other. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week's question is:

What is your preferred format for reviews? Do you tell the story or do you focus on characters and the reason someone would like the review? Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews

I usually start my reviews with important information from the book that people might want to know about (such as the genre, summary, publication date, and the like). Then I tell my readers the good and bad points of the story, all the while doing my best not to give out any major spoilers (even if it's hard).

Sometimes, I also give out recommends at the end, like what type of readers would possibly love the book, or the type that might want to give the book a try.

How about you?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas! Here are Three Things I Love About this Occasion


Hey there! It’s only a few more hours ‘till Christmas is here, and I can’t wait to celebrate it! It’s the only occasion I actually wait for every year (besides my birthday), and I have a few reasons why.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cinder: Cyborg Cinderella? Count Me In!

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble
TITLE: Cinder
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Sci-Fi Dystopia
DATE PUBLISHED: January 3, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
DATE FINISHED: December 12, 2015
RATING:
★★★★★
SUMMARY: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

BBH: What Blogging Platform Do You Use?


Previously hosted by Jen @ Crazy For Books, and now by Ramblings of A Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Blogger Hop is a weekly post to help book bloggers connect with each other. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week's question is:

Which format do you use? Blogger, Word Press, or an independent format? Any reason for your choice? Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews

When I was still an on-again-off-again blogger when I was young, I always tried free Wordpress. However, when I revived Mara Was Here and used Blogger, it was most probably because it felt like using Blogger for blogging as a hobby was better than using Wordpress. Plus, the themes you can use for the free version of Wordpress are limited, wherein in Blogger we can customize our templates all we want. Eventually, I knew I felt more accustomed to using Blogger than Wordpress.

How about you?

Friday, December 18, 2015

#FF: If You Could Write a Book, What Would it Be About?

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read, which is made to discover and follow other blogs and get followed in return, as well as writing prompts you can answer every week!
It's the time of the week again for Feature & Follow Friday! Here are the rules if you'd like to join in on the fun:
  1. Follow the hosts (this is a requirement)
  2. Follow the featured bloggers (also required)
  3. Put your blog name and url in the linky thing (you'll know once you check the post on the host's blogs)
  4. Grab the button up there (well not mine, thats customised to match my blog, check out the host's blog posts) and place it in your post, this will give people a place to say 'hi' in your comments and let you know that they are following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn't have GFC (Google Friend Connect) state  in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say 'HI'
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love.....and the followers
  8. If your new to the follow Friday hop, comment (on the hosts blog) and let them know, so they can stop by and check out your blog!

This week's question is:

If you could write a book, what would it be about? - Suggested by Go Book Yourself

AGH THIS IS HARD. I have over 30 unfinished novels on my laptop and I still haven't continued them since, uhm, probably over a year ago...? BUT, let's just imagine that I have been blessed by the Bibliophile Angels and that I can actually write and finish a book for once. I'd probably write a fairytale retelling inspired by Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series. Like really, I was in love with book one. (Currently reading book two.)

I'd include girls inspired by Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel for sure, since I've been really interested in their stories when I was a kid. Recently, I've been thinking of writing a Little Red Riding Hood-inspired character that can control humans. Kind of like blood-bending in Nickelodeon's Avatar series or the power of the Lunars to control people against their will in Marissa Meyer's series. I'm pretty sure the book would be a bit mysterious and dark. I love thise kinds of stories.

For the subscriptions, I'd really appreciate more Twitter or Bloglovin followers. But if you'd rather follow me from somewhere else (such as e-mail), then that's all right with me! :)

How about you?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ten Thousand Skies Above You: But I Don't Believe in Destiny!

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble
TITLE: Ten Thousand Skies Above You
AUTHOR: Claudia Gray
GENRE: YA Fantasy, Science Fiction and Romance
DATE PUBLISHED: November 3, 2015
DATE FINISHED: December 6, 2015
RATING: ★★
SUMMARY: Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions. 

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared. 


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Bookworm Misconceptions You've Probably Been a Victim of

Bookworms have invaded a huge part of the world, and it’s only a matter of time before other people think of us as something we’re not. I’ve been a victim of this, and I honestly get annoyed at times, but I try and understand them. They’re not bookworms, so they wouldn’t understand. However, we just can’t help but cringe whenever people call us bookworms because of “blah blah blah,” when it’s definitely not the case. You feel me?

Therefore, I felt the need to write about this topic, in which I list 5 bookworm misconceptions I’ve faced with in my 15 years of existence.

You're an introvert


This may possibly be one of the most common misconceptions about being a bookworm. Yes, most of us would like to read in peace, with the sunlight shining just right on our book while we chill out on the porch and sit on that rocking chair... but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to interact with other fellow humans as well. We enjoy talking every now and then, especially about that superbly unexpected character death or that favorite OTP we’ve been rooting for years.

You know how to write


Essays, poems, prose... you name it. A lot of people somehow think us bilbiophiles know how to write as much as how we love to read. Nope. Not really. No matter how many times we endulge ourselves in books, not all of us readers know exactly how to write about our feelings. We may know a few more words than a non-reader, but some of us still find it hard to express ourselves as much as those actually-blessedly-gifted writers. I remember that time when my teacher joined me in our school’s impromptu speech contest... oh, God, the horror.


I love writing though. Just not public speaking. Please. Oh God. I'm not good at being under pressure.
 

Glasses + Person = Bookworm


Definitely not. Just because someone wears glasses, doesn’t already mean they like to read books. Yes, some of us can’t help but wear glasses because of reading in the dark or staying up late to finish that gripping novel, but not all of us wear spectacles. For example: Me and a few of my reader friends.

You've read all the books written in the whole universe 


Apparently this has happened to me before. My class was at the school library for English and one of my classmates kept on asking me if I've ever read "this" book or "that" book before. In my head I was like, "No. I may be a bookworm but I don't read all books invented out there." We have different genre preferences. We have different tastes. (Well, some of us might not have preferences of their own, but still.)

90% of our lives involve reading 


Which, well, may or may not be true. But just because we didn’t agree to come with the rest of the clique doesn’t automatically mean we did so because we’d rather read books than hang out with you. We have other responsibilities like the rest of the people on Earth, thank you very much.


Have you been victimized by any boookworm misconceptions before? (Either the ones listed or not listed above.) Share your stories below!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

BBH: Are You a Review-Only Blog?


Previously hosted by Jen @ Crazy For Books, and now by Ramblings of A Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Blogger Hop is a weekly post to help book bloggers connect with each other. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week's question is:

Are you a blogger that only has reviews on your blog or do you feature giveaways and attention-attracting posts such as personal and bookish posts? Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews

When I revamped my blog, I knew I'd be posting book reviews on at least a weekly basis or so. However, I knew I wouldn't be post only those types of posts. I needed to talk to my readers. To connect with them. So I also publish discussion posts or any other bookish posts out there every now and then.

How about you?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

BPC 2015: The Event Has Finally Reached Its End


In case you missed


The Blogger Positivity Campaign has unfortunately come to an end. And to conclude it with a flourish, I have compiled all the things I've loved about this wonderful campaign. I cannot express how fun it was to discover other blogs and read such positive posts from each and every one of them. It definitely gave me the positivity this campaign aimed for.

Before I start my recap, I'd like to hand out a special thank you to Jillian for making such an awesome campaign idea. I love her. She's adorable. Like a panda. I love pandas.

Advice I've learned through the campaign

  • Don't give in to every piece of advice
A bit ironic, yes. But I've learned that even though there are tons of advice and tips to help you in becoming better as a blogger (or student, or anything else), it is still important to remember what you're aiming for. Not every advice is fit for everyone. Yes, they are helpful and informative, but use those information to pick the ones you know will benefit you. Because following every single advice out there just isn't going to go well for you in the end.


  • eARCs aren't THAT important
I've been debating on whether or not I should join NetGalley or Edelweiss soon. However, whenever I look at my TBR list, I hesitate. Through this campaign, I've learned from a blog post that eARCs aren't really that important. It just takes away your time to read what you really feel like reading, because eventually reading them will feel like a chore.


  • Blogging is not a job, but a hobby
One of the most important lessons I've learned. I started this blog as a hobby - a test to see if communicating this publicly would be all right for me. And so far, it is, and I'm happy about it. This drove me to improve my blog by writing as much as I can and redesigning every bit and detail to make them better, even when I don't feel like doing it anymore. This eventually took lots of time from my daily life and stressed me out. Through this campaign, I've learned to stay chill and do what I want to do, all the while not forcing myself to do anything for my blog when I don't want to. I made this as a hobby, so it shouldn't feel like a chore.

  • Don't forget to love yourself

*Cue Justin Bieber* When I write, I sometimes feel like it looks like crap, or that my readers probably won't like it. I always rewrite it over and over again or, worse, delete it altogether. But through this campaign, I've learned to post it anyway because it's mine, and I wrote it, and other people should accept how I write. Because this is my blog.

  • Don't be afraid to speak out!
There are tons of bloggers out there with open arms to talk with you like you've been BFFs for ten years. Don't be afraid to start conversations, because communication from readers is what bloggers love - it's their goal, actually. So I've learned that I shouldn't think that they'd hate me for talking to them like we're already friends, because eventually I'll try for us be one. 

Things I enjoyed in the Campaign 


  • Spreading love to the community

One of the things I enjoyed in this campaign is how other bloggers did their best to spread love to other co-bloggers. I've always felt like I haven't completely dug my way inside the book blogging community yet, but through the BPC, I've decided that Heckif I haven't yet, then I'll dig even deeper. (In a good way, by the way.) I'm pretty sure this community is filled with friendly people, so I don't think I'll have any problems. :)

  • Knowing that there are others who are willing to help me whenever 
I always hesitate whenever I want to ask other bloggers questions, even when they have Ask boxes on their websites. I'm pretty sure it's me being my extremely annoying shy self. I still haven't asked anything yet, but it's good to feel like there will always be bloggers out there to help me no matter who I am - even when we're not friends (yet.)

  • The group of bloggers spreading positivity 

The main core of this campaign is to spread positivity throughout the whole event, and I'm pretty sure it succeeded. I love the fact that Jillian has thought of such a wonderful idea, because now, I've not just learned about new book bloggers, but also boosted my confidence while reading everyone's posts for each week.

  • Chatting with other bloggers 
I've only gone as far as comment sections (apologies, I'm still shy), but I still love talking to bloggers anyway. I know it's good that I've read and commented on their blog, but it's better when they try and comment back. It just gives me this happy feeling. Hopefully I'll force myself to talk to others on social media this time as well.

Favorite BPC Posts 


Bloggers that inspired you through their posts

And a quote to conclude this wonderful event... 

Dumbledore is ♥

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How Do You Cope with Your TBR List?


One of the problems all book lovers face are TBR lists.



I love using Goodreads to keep track of books I’m interested in or to just check on my lists to see what I want to read next. However, using Goodreads also means I have all-out access to fresh and upcoming releases I’m interested in, which I mostly tend to add to my TBR shelf. Which also means the said list keeps on growing and growing until I wonder if I can even read all of them before the year ends.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mini Reviews #1: This Book Loves You & Looking For Alaska

Hurrah for mini book reviews! These won't be as long as my usual reviews (hence "mini"), since these will usually be reviews from books I've read in the past that I don't remember that much anymore (apologizes for being such a forgetful old woman). I'll only be talking about my overall opinion about the book in a short paragraph or two.

All right, let's get started!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

BBH: Which Book Character Do You Most Likely See Yourself?


Previously hosted by Jen @ Crazy For Books, and now by Ramblings of A Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Blogger Hop is a weekly post to help book bloggers connect with each other. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week's question is:

Which character in a book do you most likely see yourself? If none, who would you think be your BFF in real life? Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews


I'm pretty sure I have an answer to the former question, but I can't quite name her, unfortunately. (Forgetful old blogger here, my apologies.) But, I do have an answer for the former! It would definitely be Tris Prior. I'd love to be her BFF, if only she existed in real life. I've already answered why on my previous Blogger Positivity Campaign post, so you might just want to look there instead to see why I picked her. :)

How about you?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How I Balance School and Blogging

It was school season when I decided to revive Mara Was Here back in September. I knew I was taking the risk of making myself even busier than I already was, what with tons of homework to do and lessons to study as a ninth grader. But my sister kept on forcing encouraging me to make a blog out of nowhere, and just to make her stop, I did.

At first, I was honestly close to the decision of taking the blog down again. Maybe just make another one once summer vacation starts. But I didn’t want to do my on-again-off-again blogging routine for God-knows-how-many times in my 15 years in existence, so I kept going.

Eventually, I found out my weekly schedule for keeping my blog alive after weeks of not giving up. And if you're a student who's also having the same struggle like I did, then this list might help you survive school and blogging. Because I wouldn't want you to sacrifice either one. See how motherly I was right there.

Note down random post ideas

Whenever I'm in school or somewhere else with my family, I tend to brainstorm blog post ideas out of nowhere. This is when my Notes app comes in handy. I make sure to remember these ideas by immediately adding it on my notes before I forget. Then, when I have time, I check back on them and try writing them to see if it suits the blog.

Write when you can

If you've got blog post ideas pending on your notes and you've got free time to spare, use it to write those ideas and make them a real thing. Who knows, it might save you the stress in the future. I usually binge-write during weekends and proofread them whenever I can, and then I schedule them. Which also brings me to...

Schedule your posts

This is VERY IMPORTANT. Whenever I finish writing a blog post, I don't publish them immediately. I schedule them according to how I consistently publish my posts. This is quite helpful so I'd have more time to brainstorm more ideas for the next time I won't have anything else to share to my readers.

One of the things I've also learned is to publish at least one to two posts per day. And if I'm posting two, it's most probably a meme and a discussion post/book review.

Don't publish all your lovely works immediately. Scheduling is the key.

Planners are your new best friend

I've never tried planners until I started blogging, and I didn't know it would help me loads when I did.

The thing about using planners is that I can see how active I can be on my blog. I can organize when I publish my future posts and find out the most comfortable weekly schedule for me. Without my planner, I'll never know that I can actually manage to publish two posts per week (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays), and keep the blog active with the rest of the memes I participate in on Fridays and Saturdays (which is, so far, Feature & Follow Friday and the Book Blogger Hop). So give a planner a try if you haven't yet. It might save you at least 5% of your stress.

But if you don't want to waste money on a planner, then use a free app

I started using the free app, Handle, a few months ago, and I've loved it ever since. I even use it more than Google Calendar. It's a to-do list with a calendar feature that can show me posts I plan on publishing each day of the month. I also use this for ARC and homework deadlines. It provides color-coding which I use to let me know if my to-do is for my blog or for school, which is really useful. It's available on both Android and iOS.

If you'll really be busy, inform your readers

If all else fails and you really can't be active on your blog, tell your readers. Don't leave them! They love you, so you should love them too. If life really gets tough and you have no choice but to go on hiatus for a few weeks or so, then tell your readers. Don't make them expect for a new post that will never come. :(

Friday, December 4, 2015

#FF: What's Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read, which is made to discover and follow other blogs and get followed in return, as well as writing prompts you can answer every week!
It's the time of the week again for Feature & Follow Friday! Here are the rules if you'd like to join in on the fun:
  1. Follow the hosts (this is a requirement)
  2. Follow the featured bloggers (also required)
  3. Put your blog name and url in the linky thing (you'll know once you check the post on the host's blogs)
  4. Grab the button up there (well not mine, thats customised to match my blog, check out the host's blog posts) and place it in your post, this will give people a place to say 'hi' in your comments and let you know that they are following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn't have GFC (Google Friend Connect) state  in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say 'HI'
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love.....and the followers
  8. If your new to the follow Friday hop, comment (on the hosts blog) and let them know, so they can stop by and check out your blog!

This week's question is:

What's your favorite ice cream flavor? - Suggested by Not Tonight I'm Reading

Hmm... This really depends on what brand of ice cream I'm buying from, because the flavors somehow change for reasons I don't even know lol. But when I'm buying ice cream from a new shop, the safest flavor I always buy is either Strawberry, Vanilla or Chocolate, because nothing can go wrong with those, right? (And no, I can't only choose one flavor from those three, because you know how I'm addicted to desserts.)

For the subscriptions, I'd really appreciate more Twitter or Bloglovin followers. But if you'd rather follow me from somewhere else (such as e-mail), then that's all right with me! :)

How about you?

BPC 2015: 5 Bloggers I'd Like to Hand Rainbow Unicorns To




For the past three months I’ve been in the blogging community, I’ve already found 5 special bloggers that I really feel indebted to without them even knowing. They’ve helped me when I was lost in a few blogging terms I had no idea of, or when I just really felt like a lost potato that’s been rotting in a cave for 15 years. They even inspired me to write more for my blog when I started running out of ideas (yes, I did run out of ideas a few weeks ago... whoops). I really appreciate what they do, and that they like helping out other bloggers, and I really hope other people can get to know about them and appreciate their hard work as much as I do.

Therefore, for this week’s BPC, I’ll be listing 5 Bloggers I’d Like To Gift Rainbow Unicorns To. Because who doesn’t want to own a rainbow unicorn?!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

November 9: Why On Earth Would You Want To Meet With The Love Of Your Life Only Once A Year?


Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

TITLE: November 9
AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover
GENRE: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
DATE PUBLISHED: November 10, 2015 by Atria Books
DATE FINISHED: November 30, 2015
RATING: 
★★★☆☆
SUMMARY: Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Free Graphic Resource Picks

Photo from Freepik.
Although my sister’s laptop has Photoshop installed in it for work, there are still times when she doesn’t bring her laptop home and I end up using mine, which doesn’t have it. As a book blogger that needs to make header photos for every post she makes, I’m always desperate to find out good alternatives for Photoshop, especially on web.

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