Category Archives: Miscellaneous

I’m Back!

birthday present germany jersey

I know I suddenly disappeared from the blogosphere with no warning, and I’m sorry for that.

But life happened.

Since starting college, I am sad to say that I have barely read anything for leisure. It seems incomprehensible for this to happen. After all, how could I go from reading a novel almost everyday to not reading any novels at all?

Well, this is college life for me, I guess. After a day of reading academic textbooks, the last thing I want to do is pick up another book and read, even if that book is a novel.

A couple of weeks ago, my English professor told the class that being English majors will “ruin” how we read a text. Apparently, after finishing our major classes, we will no longer be able to read a text without analyzing every word in it. That’s a pretty scary thought.

Anyway, back to my original motive for writing this post. I am indefinitely not going to post anymore book reviews. I’ll completely understand if some of you decide to un-follow my blog after this.

However, I would encourage you to continue following Audacious Reader. I’ve decided to return to blogging. I’ll be blogging about different things…mostly the things I’ve learned or am learning as a college student.

Let’s just say that this blog will give a peek into the life of an international student in Oklahoma. I would love for you to continue reading and commenting.

Thank you for faithfully supporting Audacious Reader! I would never been able to sustain the blog for this long without y’all. 🙂

Making A Difference

Wikipedia article screenshot

Yesterday, an article about me was published in the Wikimedia Foundation’s blog. I knew that I was to be the subject of a blog post, but I did not know when the post was to be published.

Someone tweeted a link of the article to me yesterday. To be honest, I was squirming with embarrassment. It took awhile before I finally mustered the courage to click the link and read every sentence. I am the type of person who feels extremely uncomfortable when being praised. I read the article, re-tweeted Wikimedia’s tweet about it, and decided to forget all about it because I did not want anymore publicity.

This morning, I woke up to discover that my friends had discovered the article. I could no longer shy away from the limelight (or the sudden influx of Facebook friend requests from people I do not know). The article also made me think about who I am… and this blog post is my response to the article. This is me trying to peel back the layers and reorder my thoughts.

I woke up late this morning… the consequence of being on winter break. I cut and sauteed mushrooms, and made an omelet for myself. Over the breakfast table, I listened to my American brother sing an amusing song about meatballs. Now, I am sitting on my bed trying to psych myself to start working on a work project that is due this Sunday. My hair is greasy (I blame the winter for my lack of hygiene) and I have no makeup.

On a regular college day, I am the nerd student who can either be seen rushing to a class or doing homework. During the weekends, while my friends are hanging out with their friends or at a party, I can be found doing homework in the Geiger Center… often by myself. I set a high bar of achievement for myself and I refuse to settle for anything less than an A.When I am not personifying the ultimate depiction of a boring person, I like socializing with my friends, and my long-suffering friends can attest to the fact that I become an absolute ball of craziness and randomness when I am high on sugar or caffeine (an epic example is the time I forced my friends to dance to “What Does the Fox Say” while we were studying in the library during Finals Week).

Do I feel like an inspiration? Absolutely not. I am the very normal girl who likes adrenaline activities, shopping, flowers, and surprises. I am quiet, and I only have a handful of friends. I make new friends at a rate of 0 mph (back home, my peers are only acquaintances, not real friends, and this was a point that bothered me a lot in my teen years), and I retreat to the background when I am with my gregarious, outgoing friends. Sometimes, bluntness and sarcasm are my favorite tactics. I love music, and I play the guitar and piano. I go to church every Sunday, and I love singing worship songs.

To be honest, I do not know why I am blogging about this. Perhaps, it is because I forgot to pack my journal and left it in my dorm room. I feel the urge to write and as any writer knows, it is never good to ignore the urge to write. Maybe this urge comes from my knowledge that I am just like you. I am not some famous, untouchable celebrity. I just try to make a difference whenever I can, and this is something you can do as well.

My final words to close this blog post (kudos to you if you have read this far) that I myself do not know why I am writing? Be yourself and enjoy life. It is the little things in life you do that makes the difference. You might not be like me who devoted hours to Wikipedia, but the things you do in making a difference will touch the lives of the people around you.

RIP Cory Monteith

rip cory monteith

Gonna miss this guy so much! 😥

I’m still in shock and a tiny part of me is hoping that this news is a bad joke gone wrong. I’m sitting down here thinking “he’s so young still!” and “why?”. I watched Glee: Season 1 and Cory’s character, Finn Hudson was my favorite character. He was awkward and funny both on and off screen. The romantic in me was a huge fan of the Finchel (Finn and Rachel) and Monchele (Monteith and Michele) relationship. I thought it was cute how Cory and Lea were a couple on and off screen. Also, I loved it when they sang duets because their voices flowed well together…

All I can say now is #RIPCoryMonteith and #prayforLea.

Blog Header & Blog Button/Badge

I finally made a proper blog header and button! I’ve been wanting to make them for quite some time, but didn’t have the proper tools or applications. When someone from my Christian Blog Buddies Facebook group posted about PicMonkey, I decided to give this free photo editor a try. It worked fantastically well.

I started with a blank template using the “Create a collage” function and proceeded to fill in a light pink color that matches the color of my menu links. I then added the wording and graphics using the palette provided. I had to re-size the header to fit WordPress’ requirements, but that was pretty easily done. All I had to do was re-upload my complete image using the “Edit a photo” function. Cropping and resizing the image made it blurry, so I had to tweak the clarity settings a little.

I had to redo the entire process for the blog button because resizing the header image using such a wide scale difference distorts the proportion. It was quite easy, except that I probably spent most of the time taken to do it staring at the computer screen trying to figure if the graphics were evenly spaced and proportioned or not (blog button is 150×150, so quite small).

Doing both took me over an hour. I didn’t want to overdo the image, but I also didn’t want it to be too sparse. Unfortunately, it looks way girlier that I expected it to be. I decided to use the butterflies and flowers graphics because butterflies and roses are my favorites. What I didn’t expect was the image to turn out way girlish than even the images used on those girly craft blogs! Oh well, what’s done is done.

There’s a code on the right of this screen for the blog button. —>
If you could add it to your blog sidebar, that would be great. 🙂

On another topic, I mentioned a few weeks back that one of the things on my to-do list is have a giveaway. I’ve signed up for a giveaway hop. The Freedom to Read giveaway hop will run from July 2nd to 9th. It coincides with Independence Day, so that explains the name. I’ll be offering an Amazon giftcard since sending book swag isn’t feasible right now and I don’t have any fancy bookish items in stock.  I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, it would help expand my blog reach after the period of stagnancy (I’ve learned my lesson – never leave a blog stagnant… it’s difficult trying to do the whole networking and attracting active readers again).

I guess that’s about it. I have a few review posts lined up till the end of the month. I’ll be having a cover reveal and different types of posts next month. I’m trying to get more variety, since this month’s book postings has been nearly all review posts as I try to catch up with my backdated books to be read.

Reading voraciously,
Audaciously Evangeline

Sugarpeach Blog Survey 2012

I have been blogging here for approximately 14 months. After awhile, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m doing things the right way here and what my readers (regular and those who happened to stop by) are thinking about Sugarpeach. With that in mind, I have created a blog survey. I will run this survey until February 12. After I have compiled and analyzed the survey, I will post the results here.

There is a total of 14 questions (12 questions, depending on your answers) in this survey. The survey is divided in Part 1 and Part 2, with 10 questions in Part 1 and the remaining four questions in Part 2. Since the Basic version of SurveyMonkey permits only 10 questions in one survey, you will find the link to Part 2 at the end of Part 1. It takes less than four minutes to complete the survey and I hope to have as many blog readers as possible complete the survey so that the results can be close to the general opinion.

Click here to take survey

Random Acts of Kindness: January

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After reading about Random Acts of Kindness, I decided to join it. R.A.K. is started by the bloggers at Book Soulmates. The concept is giving without expecting any in return. After joining R.A.K., you post your wishlist and someone might decide to send you a book from your wishlist. You can also send someone else a book if you wish.

Rules:

• Sign up each month you’d like to participate in.

• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available 🙂

• Create a wishlist and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.

{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there’s a link to it.}

• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wishlist and contact that blogger for their address.

• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!

Make a post saying ‘Thank You’ to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us 🙂

OPEN TO EVERYONE!

Let’s keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.

Remember, there’s always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

Here is the link to my wishlist on Amazon. Shoot me an email or fill up the contact form by clicking on the “Contact” tab in the menu above if you wish to send me a book or homemade item.

2011 Wrap-Up & 2012 Challenges

Wrap-up

Deciding whether to post a year wrap-up post has been on the back of my mind the past few days. I’ve finally succumbed to peer pressure (not!). I’ll first start with the wrap-up before going on to the challenges I’ll be taking part in 2012.

Some fun stats first:

Total number of posts in 2011: 173
Total number of page hits in 2011: 12,020
Total number of books reviewed in 2011: 56

Top 5 books of 2011:

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – It was such a breathtaking debut novel! Definitely my favorite read in 2011. I did not post a review for it here as my review was published at Lovereading.co.uk.

The DMZ by Jeanette Windle – It is long at 500+ pages, but worth every minute I took to read it. The suspense, mystery, action, and romance were all at the right places in the right amounts.

Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer – My favorite Amish book. I liked it so much, I had its sequel pre-ordered from The Book Depository as a birthday present, although it’ll only be released in April 2012.

Tuesday’s Child by Carolyn Gibbs – This book is proof that a book doesn’t have to be published by a big-name publisher to be good. It wasn’t a relaxing nor a light read, but the issues touched on in this book should serve as important reminders that domestic abuse exist.

The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson – The author played the romance element well. There was no rushing and the fairytale element in the book only served to make it an even better read.

I had many wonderful blogging moments this year. Moments with plenty of firsts – first giveaway, first interview, first guest post, first meme, first vlog. Among the things I’ve learned is how to ask interview questions, put on my thinking cap for creative guest post titles, and create a vlog using iMovie. I’m proud of all those accomplishments, minor they may be. Something I’m not proud of is the fact that I failed my first challenge. I simply did not have time to reread, much less read all the books I received this year. The books I won in giveaways have been put aside as I attempt to conquer my reading pile.

Challenges

But! I’ll be back even stronger in 2012. I have signed up for two giveaway hops and with this post, two challenges. I’ll be joining the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren as talked about in my post about it, and the ABC Challenge hosted by Patricia from Book Exhibitionism.

For the 2012 DAC, I have not yet checked the list of books by debut YA/MG authors, but will soon. I’ll probably pick one or two from the list and doing the rest as time goes by, meaning that I will not be actively looking for debuts, but will give priority to debut Young Adult/Middle Grade books sent to me for review.

As for the ABC Challenge, I have a few books in mind thus far. I aim to read at least five books for the challenge. I’m not setting a high target for myself because I’ll be away for three months next year (you’ll know about it when the time comes). The books I’m hoping to read (or reread, as in the case of a couple of books) are as follows:-

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck (reread)
Beauty by Lisa Daily (tentative, depending whether NetGalley has it or not)
Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer (post has been scheduled)
Dark Water by Laura McNeal
Exile by Anne Osterlund (reread)

Final news:

I know this isn’t really news, but I’ll be keeping a book log here in Sugarpeach. I’ll be updating it each time I read a new book so that I can keep track of the number of books I’ve read. I know this is a little late for it, I should have done this years ago, but better late than never. This will in no way affect the posts as I’ll be having it as a separate page that will be listed in the menu tabs above.

Starting from January 1, 2012, I’ll be having a monthly post titled “The Dear Series”. In each post that will go live at the beginning of each month, I will address a certain issue either regarding authors or bloggers. If it is for authors, it would be titled “Dear Author”. If it is for bloggers, it would be titled “Dear Blogger”. Feel free to give me suggestions as to the issues you would like to see me write about.

This isn’t a news related to the entire 2012 year, but I’ll be having my first blog survey in mid-January, 2012. I hope to have as many readers as possible to fill in the survey. The survey is a sort of “feeler” and “touch-base” for me. I need to know whether the direction I’m taking this blog to with my posts is right or not.

I think I’ve said all I need to say here. This post is longer than I expected it to be. Before I end, here’s a fun fact. Did you know… that Sugarpeach had an average of 3 readers a day in December 2010? For December 2011, we had an average of 52 visitors a day. Not much a big jump, but who knows what holds in December 2012? Anyway, I’ve prattled long enough here!

Happy New Year to all Sugarpeach readers! 🙂 Signing off, 2011. Hello, 2012!

It Is An Extra Special Day Today…

… that warrants a special post.

Sugarpeach readers:

Just wanna wish you a…

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Hope you have a wonderful, blessed day!

‘Tis the season for giving thanks…

Thank you for reading Sugarpeach this year. Without the faithful readership, I wouldn’t be able to continue blogging. I don’t know what next year holds for this blog, but hopefully it’ll be more fun things for you and me! Can I read an affirmative “YES!” to that?

To my fellow book bloggers… thank you for inspiring me. I love stalking your blogs and reading all your fun posts. Keep up the good work! Blogging can be tedious sometimes, but just visiting your blogs is enough to give me the push to continue blogging.

My Christmas post wouldn’t be done if I don’t say a big “THANK YOU” to the authors who have sent me books to review and supported Sugarpeach in one way or another. Thank you for believing that I can write book reviews. Thank you for believing the I can send you good interview questions. Thank you for allowing me to pick the titles of your guest posts.

All the best,
♥ Evangeline ♥

P.s. Keeping this message short and sweet because webpages are growing in girth. I can assure you I’m not joining that trend. No way!

My Novel Taught Me

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The Writers Voice
Where you get to know the people behind the pages
(Please stop by and follow us at http://ourbooksourvoice.blogspot.com)
This is Emma Michaels, the author of ‘The Thirteenth Chime’ and
‘Anasazi’ and I am taking over! Don’t worry, it is only for one post to
introduce you to the team of amazing authors who are a part of a new
blog called, ‘The Writers Voice’. A blog run by 10 authors and dedicated
to letting you get to know each of us and the many guest authors we feature!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned when creating your book?

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“I think the main thing I learned was: If you feel the need and the love to do something in your heart but you don’t think you will be good enough, it is all the more reason to do it and become good at it. All you really need it honest passion and time.”
-Emma Michaels

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“Well, I don’t know if this is a learning thing……but a girl that I haven’t been ‘friends’ with on more than a run into her and say “hi” kind of basis has become one of my most trusted Lovies. She is great when it comes to helping me clean up a scene and make it flow right. Thank you Lara! You rock!”

-Devyn Dawson

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“How unpredictable a muse can be – that I have no control over where my characters will lead me.”

-Jamie Magee
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“If you wait for inspiration to strike you, you might as well give up writing altogether. Write even when you don’t feel like writing. Write even when you’re bored with your plot and characters because if you force yourself, at some point you’ll get back into the story.”

-Jayde Scott

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“For me, it is that I do better at coming up with the story by not thinking too much about it other than when I’m writing. I feel like I have inspiration from a higher power, helping me write and giving me ideas that come to me as I’m writing.”

-Victoria Simcox

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“That I could actually finish something I started. Three times!”

-Brenda Pandos

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“That people are enjoying my work. I wondered if anyone but me would ever like them, but there’s a few out there that do. I treasure every encouraging word!”

-Megg Jensen

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“That I actually had a whole book in me – and not just one, but many. During college, I’d given up on fiction writing. I’d convinced myself I was just never meant to write a novel and I needed to use my talent in the business world. When I decided to give it a try again, I was floored when an entire book, and then a series, immediately welled up, seemingly out of nowhere. Family and friends said they knew I had it in me, so I was the only one so surprised.”
-Kristie Cook

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“The most surprising thing I learned is that my outline was useless. I’m usually a very structured writer. I always create an outline just to assure myself that I have a logical beginning, middle and end to the story. In every case so far, I departed from the outline and ended up allowing the characters to take the story and run with it. I think the books have turned out better for it.”

-Raine Thomas
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“That I had an incredible imagination!”
-Kim Richardson
Oh yeah, did I mention we have amazing guest authors? 
Here is a sneak peak of a few of the interviews we have planned for the future:

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“I think what surprised me the most was that my characters had minds of their own and often took the story in directions I hadn’t anticipated. It was fun! And, kind of a roller coaster ride at times.”

-Julia Karr
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“I learned how incredibly carefully deadly viruses are handled in the lab—with more precautions than even occurred to me, and only very select people allowed to work with them—but also how easily mistakes can be made despite that, through human fallibility. It was scary and startling to find out how close to the catastrophe I write about in my book we may have come several times in the past.”
-Megan Crewe

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“I discovered—painfully, at times—that I really needed to come up with my own methods for writing and revising, and some of those methods are a little… unconventional. For example, the revision process was giving me fits as I tried to do it on my laptop. I finally started printing out chapters, cutting them up with scissors, and physically rearranging them and making notes on them. It went so much easier after that! It made me realize I just had to do what worked for me, even if I was the only one doing it that way.”

-K. C. Neal

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“For THE PRINCESS CURSE, I learned a bit of Romanian folklore; I learned that Romanian has had at least three words for dragons. First, zmeu, which is a dragon prominently featured in my book, is a humanoid sort of dragon that likes to kidnap young wives; second, balaur, which is a more dragony sort of dragon; and third, dracul, which we know from Vlad Dracul and of course Dracula. (Vlad Dracul was a member of the Order of the Dragon, which was a prestigious chivalric order of the day; he was very proud to be a member. “Dracula”–or slightly more accurately, “Draculea,” meant “son of the dragon.” In Modern Romania, dracul was adapted to a meaning more like “devil” while balaur stuck with meaning dragon, and zmeu means both dragon and… kite!”

-Merrie Haskell

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“There have been a few instances of “wait…I thought I made that up” connected with D,D and the sequel. Probably the biggest one concerns the Allister gene bank and nature preserve, which is mentioned in book one and becomes pivotal in book two. When I was drafting book one, I randomly decided this thing was located in “northern Nicaragua.” It’s my book, it’s 2195, I can make up anything I want, right?

While drafting book two I ended up mapping out some roads using Google Maps, and I found there was a dead zone through which no roads ran. “What is this thing getting in the way of my chase scene?” I huffed, zooming in.

Turns out there’s an enormous nature preserve located in northern Nicaragua, right where I said it would be.

Yeah, I didn’t get any writing done that day after finding that out.

-Lia Habel

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“How much I love writing from the male perspective. I don’t know why I found this surprising because all my life my guy friends have told me I don’t think like the ‘average’ female :-s Okkaaay. But yeah, I really enjoy writing from my hero’s perspective. It’s fun because, in general, there is a lot less ‘musing’ and a lot more ‘doing’.”
-Samantha Young
I hope you will join us at The Writers Voice and hear more from our team and other writers from around the web! 
“The Writers Voice: Where you get to know the people behind the pages”

Reaper Two-Six Year 5: The Rise of Global Insurgency by Robert Grand

reaper two-six year five tour banner

I was supposed to host a review tour stop for this book, but was unable to receive the book. Since I want to honor my word about hosting this tour stop, I am just going to post the blurb of the book. I know this is an unusual post here in Sugarpeach, but there’s always a time for a “first”. Since I have not read the book, I cannot say if it is good or not.

Title: Reaper Two-Six Year Five: The Rise of Global Insurgency
Author: Robert Grand
Publisher: Reaper Two-Six Productions
Publication date: July 26, 2011
Product page: Amazon
Website: Reaper Two-Six Productions

Will the Reapers bring peace and stability to the World?

The world is suffering from the effects of out-of-control terrorism. Governments are spending huge amounts of precious capital for the safety and security of air and rail transportation as well as inspections at all sea ports. The global economic effect is crippling; countries struggle to manage commerce, international trade, business growth, job creation and tourism. The world’s economy is on the brink of collapse.

The Global Defense Organization (GDO) has been created to be a cost effective multinational elite group that monitors, infiltrates and eliminates terrorist activities within all supporting countries. Known only as Reaper Two-Six, this secret 48 member squadron has quickly earned a reputation for precisely eliminating terrorist threats, in the air and on the ground.

Why did China and Columbia oppose the creation of the GDO? Are they connected to global terrorist cells? Are they secretly financing the sale of weapons?

The Reaper’s greatest challenge is now upon them; infiltrate China and Columbia to discover their real intentions. Through a series of electrifying and heart-stopping missions, see how the Reapers use their skills and advanced technology to put fear back where it belongs; in the minds of the terrorists, not in the minds of its citizens.