Celebrating Books with a Giveaway

Within These Lines release today! Therefore, we’re going to celebrate by chatting about the book and having a giveaway, because what’s more fun than a bookish giveaway? This post is going to contain my official review for the book, but it’s not going to be a normal review because this author is beyond that. I’m so thankful the author sent me an ARC copy of this book so I could share the joy with y’all!

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First off, let me tell you about the author. Stephanie Morrill started a fantastic blog for teen writers called Go Teen Writers. If you’re interested in writing at all – no matter how old you are – you should check it out. It’s full of honest, encouraging, practical, and ever-so-relevant writing advice. She’s also the author of a number of Young Adult books, ranging over several genres – contemporary, historical fiction, and even nonfiction. I also consider her my unofficial writing mentor, although I’m not sure she knows that since we’ve never met in person or even communicated in any way other than email. Pretty much she’s just an all-around amazing person with fantastic writing.

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And now, about the book. Within These Lines is about Evalina, an Italian-American, and Taichi, the son of Japanese immigrants. Life as they know it is disrupted when America enters WW2 and anti-Japanese feelings sweep across the country. Taichi and his family are forced to move to a Japanese-American internment camp where life is anything but a bed of roses. (Okay, maybe it’s a bed of roses, just the thorns part.)

This book is fantastically well-researched and superbly written as the author tackles the often untalked about subject of what America did with Japanese during the war. I remember the first time I was introduced to the subject of American internment camps I was horrified. This book does an amazing job of making the camps and situation come to life and wraps you up in the story until you feel like you’re right there in the drafty, crowded shacks with Taichi. Although it’s a very sad and unfair part of our country’s history, I think it’s important that we don’t bury and forget it, because history has a tendency to repeat itself.

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This book is real and gritty and sad without being hopeless – the author somehow hit a great balance with making the book exceedingly real while still being interesting and giving the readers the hope that better things are in store.

The characters are well-crafted and even though I didn’t like the way the handled certain things, they stayed very consistent to their character/personality. It was interesting to see how different cultures handled the various issues and troubles they faced. The author did an amazing job at creating a truly American/Japanese character in Taichi, vs. simply slapping a Japanese name onto an American character.

I gave Within These Lines four out of five stars and like it (and Miss Stephanie’s other books) so much that I wanted to share them with y’all. Sadly, I can’t actually host a giveaway with all of her books, but the winner will get to choose their choice of any of Miss Stephanie’s books. (A physical book for an address in the states, an ebook for international.)

A list of Miss Stephanie’s books:

Me, Just Different
Out With the In Crowd  
So Over It 
The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet
The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet 
Go Teen Writers
The Lost Girl of Astor Street 
Within These Lines

Enter the Giveaway Here 

That’s it for today, folks! I hope your Tuesday is going delightfully well!

Nonfiction Books for 2019 Part Two {Giveaway}

And we’re back for part two! Here are the rest of the books you can choose from for the giveaway. 🙂

Giveaway Details:

Prize – Your choice of one of the books that I talk about in today’s or next week’s video. How To Enter – Comment on one of the posts where I talk about the books. (It can be on Youtube, my blog, or on my Instagram) Each comment equals one entry.
The Winner – One winner will be randomly selected the week of January first. If you live in the USA you can choose between a physical or ebook, if you’re outside of the USA you’ll win an ebook.

Books Talked About In This Video:

Life Creative
Think Again 
The Five Levels of Leadership 
Forensic Faith 

Books to Read in 2019 & Giveaway

Folks! There are some great books for you to read in 2019, and today I’m not only talking about them, but I’m also giving one of them away. 😉

Giveaway Details:

Prize – Your choice of one of the books that I talk about in today’s or next week’s video. How To Enter – Comment on one of the posts where I talk about the books. (It can be on Youtube, my blog, or on my Instagram) Each comment equals one entry.
The Winner – One winner will be randomly selected the week of January first. If you live in the USA you can choose between a physical or ebook, if you’re outside of the USA you’ll win an ebook.

Books Talked About In This Video:
The Lie
Whatever the Cost
Love Does 
Love Lives Here
Goals

The Five Love Languages

Which one of these books looks most interesting to you?

Giveaway Time!

Y’all! Today I’m spotlighting two great books for a giveaway! (Winner chooses which book they win.)

Gain entries by:

7 Tips For Being An Organized Blogger

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Y’all! I’m back to my “Blogging Tips For Beginners Series.” If y’all want to check out the other posts, you can click on the titles to find them: 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging, 7 Tips for When Blogging Blues Hit, and 7 Things To NOT Do When Blogging. It’s been so much fun interacting with y’all and getting to meet some new bloggers. If you have any questions you’d like me to try and answer, just leave them in the comments below. And now, let’s get started! 

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There are bloggers and vloggers I know who post on certain days every. single. week. and I look forward to getting to relax during a break or at the end of the day, catching up on what they have to say. Having specific blogging days won’t only be helpful for your readers, but it will help you get into the blogging zone.

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My goal is to post by 9:30 every morning. If I don’t make it, I don’t flip out, but generally, I do hit that target unless something comes up. This is helpful for a myriad of reasons, but the top few would be:
* It gives me a goal to shoot for instead of letting the blogging process drag on and on
* It gives my readers something to look forward to – for example, some of Noveltea’s readers enjoy keeping up with the blog posts during their lunch breaks, etc….
* Consistency makes a difference with the feel of your blog. Humans thrive on routine and having a blog post show up every time each posting day will eventually be part of the reader’s routine

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My mornings generally consist of me waking up, thinking of ten things I’m thankful for, then having my devotions. After my devotions are over I either get ready for the day or sometimes (gasp) head to the computer in my pajamas. On mornings when I’m rushing around because I have an early shift at work, I sometimes even do my hair while I’m blogging.
Blogging is exceedingly important for me, and when I make sure to at least try to get it knocked out early most mornings, then I have a much better chance of it actually happening.
Mornings are my thing (especially after blogging regularly in the morning for over five years), but that doesn’t mean they need to be your thing. You could blog during your lunch break. Or before you go to bed each night. The timing isn’t the issue – the routine is. If you stick to a certain time of the day, or listen to certain music while blogging, or eat a certain snack while sitting at the computer, then pretty soon your brain will begin linking the events, and that will escalate your thinking process. So it’s a win, win.

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Folks. Let’s be all nice and transparent: If you’ve hung around here long, you’ll know that in the past I haven’t been too good at answering comments in a timely manner. But! That’s something I’ve been working on a lot because it really does make a difference.
One of my issues is that for a while I forgot to factor comment replying into my every-day blogging schedule. It’s such an important part of being a blogger though, that now it has a prominent position.
I also sometimes come up with a couple of hours that I’ll give myself to visit other blogs during a week, then I make sure to leave comments after reading the post. Cause, really folks, comments totally make a bloggers day. ❤

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This can be exceedingly helpful if you ever start doing scheduled posts, interviews, guest posts, or take place with blog tours, tags, etc… There’s nothing like taking time during a crazy-busy day to write a post, then realize later on that you were supposed to post a different post on that day. #NotFun
This year is the first time that I’ve begun keeping an actual physical calendar for my blogging, and that’s specifically for my book reviews. Last year I got over 50 books for review, and it can get a bit confusing.

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Scheduling posts is pretty much the most simple thing to learn how to do, and yet it took me so crazy long to begin taking advantage of this smart feature. In fact, I still don’t use it as much as I probably should – mostly just when I’m going to be away from the internet. This is mostly due to the fact that I really enjoy my blogging time each morning. But, I’d sometimes like to use that time for reading and commenting on blogs, instead of always on creating content. Also, snagging breakfast before leaving for work every now and again might be a small plus.

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Y’all. I cut the time way too close far too often. There have been times when I’ve forgone breakfast to get a post written, then run out the door for work, carrying my shoes because I didn’t even have time to put them on… Only to get home from work hours later to discover I didn’t hit the final publish button, so my post sat there limply on my computer all day long while my stomach rumbled from my lack of breakfast. It’s rather sad when that happens.
Don’t be in such a hurry when you’re blogging that you don’t have enough time to read back through your post. Or to make sure that it publishes. Or to get the formatting correct. Blogging doesn’t have to be perfect, but it shouldn’t look like a toddler rolled their toy car across the keyboard, either.

What I Listened To:
This PlayList on Youtube. (Or some of it anyway. I haven’t heard all the songs.) 

Fun Fact:
I’m watching my sister’s puppy, Nica, so she sat at my feet as I posted. 

Question Of The Day:
What is your optimal time for writing blog posts?

Don’t Forget to Enter This Giveaway! It Ends Today!

Six Year Blogging Anniversary​ – Party and Six-Prize Giveaway!

Yo. Folks. Today is the DAY! Today is the six-year anniversary of when I first started my blog. Pretty epic, right? That, of course, calls for a celebration, and boy did I celebrate!

Not only did I put together a fun giveaway for you folks, I also documented the “behind the scenes” on my Instagram Storyand I made a vlog where I share my story of how I started blogging, and proceed to make fun of myself in hashtags throughout the video.

If y’all ever wanted to see what I’m really like when I’m excited, this video is a pretty good glimpse of what my family and friends live with every day. It’s very unscripted, unpolished (hence the hashtags), and quite random.

Enjoy, and thank you for helping me celebrate!

Enter the Giveaway Here!