Here’s To The Underdogs! ~ mini review and interview with the (awesome) author

Guysssss, I get to review an awesome new indie author! *is very excited* This book is so, so good. I was fortunate enough to be able to alpha for it, and now I was able to read it as part of the launch team, and it got even better from when I alphaed for it. So, shall we jump it? 😀

And friends, I know posts like these can be boring, but I think this book really is worth knowing about.

Let’s start with my mini review. It’s a mini review cause I don’t want to give spoilers. *nods*

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Here's to the Underdogs! by [Aardsma, Shannon]

Benjamin Connley is an outcast at school. His depression leads him to make a very drastic decision, but it is because of this decision that Ben realizes how selfish and blind he’s been, thinking only of himself. His only true friend is Colette…that is until he starts meeting others who are struggling as well. His small group of friends grows and bands together to form the Underdogs. By sticking together, and learning about God’s love and grace toward them, they are able to repay the hate that they’ve been shown with love and kindness, starting a revolt against bullying and leaving behind them a legacy that won’t be soon forgotten.

This book… ahhh, where do I start? It hits my heart, I guess that’s a good way of saying it. “Here’s To The Underdogs!” deals with a lot of subjects very close to my heart. Depression, suicidal thoughts/suicide, loneliness, not fitting in, and many others. And this books deals with them in a beautiful way.

I think this book’s story is a message of hope, and I think it’s a message that will somehow reach every readers in some way, because it deals with such a wide range of relatable topics.

I’m so very glad to know about this book, and to have been able to read it. ❤

The only I didn’t like about this book? I wanted so, so much more of it! AND ALFIE SHANNON I DEMAND MORE ALFIE IN THE FUTURE. I DEMAND IT. SERIOUSLY.

Oh, and more after that epilogue, of course.

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And now, for the interview with the lovely author, Shannon Aardsma! My questions are in bold, Shannon’s answers are in italic, and any comments I have after are in this normal text.

1. What gave you the idea for this book?

The book was originally about Colette and was actually based on an imaginary game some friends and I used to play. I’d play as Ben and Colette, and my friends were Morgan and Marcus. But the book didn’t have a good plot, and then, after role-playing with Ben, I decided to make the story about him instead. He gained a better backstory, and “Here’s to the Underdogs!” was born. And I owe pretty much everything to my good friend, role-playing buddy, and first alpha Saige Ross. She’s the one who got the book rolling and kept me writing when I didn’t want to. So, thanks, Saige. 🙂

Hooray for awesome friends, right?

2. How long has the book been in progress?

 I finished the first draft in January of this year, but the first draft took several months to write. I honestly don’t remember exactly when I started it, but I think I’d been working on it for several months before November of last year. NaNoWriMo is when I got most of it written.

3. Do you have a favorite character to write, or are they all your babies? 😉

 I love them all! But I have to admit that Ben is especially special to me. He’s my oldest character. He started out as an imaginary friend when I was seven or eight, but he’s come a long way since then.

Characters that start as imaginary friends are awesome. ❤

4. Do you have any resources that helped you while writing the book?

 The internet. 😉 In all honesty, though, I turned to Google a lot. As this book wasn’t rooted in facts, I didn’t have to do a lot of research for most of it, but there were certain scenes that required some digging.

5. Where can readers find you online?

“Here’s to the Underdogs!” will be available on Amazon, and readers can find more about me and my other books on my website: Shannonaardsma.com.

6. Do you have any more books in progress that you can tell us about? *wink wink*

 I have many many books in the works. *wink* The book I plan to work on next is a medieval fantasy (yay!).

7. What do you hope people reading “Here’s to the Underdogs” feel like after reading the book?

I hope my readers fall in love with the characters as much as I have. I hope they enjoy the book, of course, and take good things away from it.

If you’d like to read “Here’s To The Underdogs!”, the e-book is on sale for 99 cents during launch week! The paperback hasn’t reached Amazon yet, but it’s due to within the next couple of days, so if you prefer a paperback copy, you can keep an eye out for it.

Thank you for reading, lovely friends. ❤

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10 happy things

Hello, my dear friends!

So, a while ago, Maya tagged me for the ten happy things tag she created. And I’ve been seeing it all around the blogging world, which is amazing! I’m going to have a hard time tagging people, though, cause everyone has done it. Which is absolutely great.  Let’s jump into this, because at the moment, I really really need happy things.

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Floating along

Hello, friends. It’s been a while since I’ve published a proper post, hasn’t it? I know most people hate it when people do apologies for not posting in a while, but I really do feel like I should apologize, because the reason I haven’t posted is not because I’ve been busy (I have been busy, but I could have made time to post) but because… I just haven’t felt like it.

Life is like a rollercoaster, see. All these twists and turns and and drops. I’m planning on getting back into blogging more often, but I can’t guarantee it. Stress and anxiety and loneliness and a whole bunch of other stuff has been punching me repeatedly in the past few months.

Maybe some of you remember my Dear World post. And how I closed it on a hopeful note, saying that one day I’ll rise from the ashes of my broken dreams? Yeah, it doesn’t feel like that right now. Maybe I will. But right now, I don’t quite see how.

But this post isn’t going to be me talking about myself and how bad I feel. I’m just going to update you on things I’ve been up to, before trying to get back into a normal schedule. So here we go. Continue reading

in which i accidentally become a short term missionary supporter// pananaw for philippines

Dear readers, please read this and spread it as far as you possibly can!
I was going to make a whole post about it but I think Jo explains everything much better than I could.
Love you guys! ❤

da blog pananaw

i… can explain.

*immediately fails to do so*

you know how you wake up and do school and then bike to the library and write sappy poems and then read a book everyone’s raving about and eat and drink and breathe and exist—

and it’s like… it’s off.

which makes you off.

*me

yeah, yeah, me.

and maybe, i guess, i found out why.

so my uncle and aunt are missionaries to our home country of the philippines, on a little island called boracay. and like many people serving around the world, they need help– someone to lighten the load, someone to do the mundane details of running a church/school/ministry.

and for some reason, uncle (or as we say, “tito”) joven asked, of everyone in the world…

me.

i should also mention here that he’s both a missionary and the biggest clown you’ll ever see that side of the globe…

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Why it’s okay to take a break

Once upon a time, I had… a friend. And this friend was a really, really good writer. She was, in my thirteen or fourteen year old eyes, practically a published author, even though she was about my age.

One day, I asked her if it was okay for me to take a writing break. I was exhausted, my creativity was running dry. I just wanted a little rest.

But she told me no. She told me that real writers didn’t take breaks.

So of course, I didn’t take that break.

 

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Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal- but it was.

I went over four months without taking any kind of break- four months added to a month of NaNoWriMo and two months of just normal writing. (No, NaNo is NOT normal writing. Trust me. *falls over*)

That makes about seven months. Of course, I may not be remembering the time just right, but it’s the same thing either way- I went ages without a break.

And then I crashed. Mentally and physically. My creativity well ran completely dry. I couldn’t write a word. I couldn’t really do much of anything creative. Not blogging, I could barely even bring myself to read.

I felt so, so, so guilty. After all, my friend told me that real writers don’t take breaks- anyone who’s serious about their passions don’t take breaks.

But it turns out, she was wrong. At least, I think so.

I’m not saying it’s good to take a break every time writing gets tough, every time you get writer’s block. A lot of times, you just have to push through writer’s block.

But not every time.

Sometimes, you just need to recharge. Do something fun. Or do nothing at all. It may sound lazy. It’s really not. It does wonders. Truly.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to listen to what people tell you. If you want to take a break, if you think you need one, I hereby give you permission to take one. So what if people say it’s not professional? It’s good for you.

It’s good to get off the computer screen and go read instead. It’s good to go outside. It’s good to go a week or two without worrying about how good your writing is.

Maybe you don’t know how to take a break, and that’s okay too. It doesn’t have to be a long break. Just shut off the computer, or at least Google Docs or whatever you use to write. Browse Pinterest to your heart’s content. Watch Studio C. I give you permission to do that.

And please remember that it’s okay to take a break. Maybe you don’t need one now, but if someday you do, don’t feel guilty. Please don’t. I did, and that didn’t turn out well.

I guess this post is just a ramble, but I wanted to say it. I just… I dunno, but here I am, writing it all up, and to be honest, it’s okay if no one reads it because it’s so short. It’s nice to get your thoughts out instead of them being pent up in your mind for eternity. Talking helps.

By the way, if YOU need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me. I think I’m a good listener. I like to listen. So.

Remember that you’re beautiful and loved, dear friend. ❤ You’re a piece of gorgeous art.

Love you guys,

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Blanket Burrito Blog Tour

What is the Blanket Burrito, you ask?

It’s a blog! A wonderful new blog! Run by the amazing Enni! (!!!)

You want to know more about the blog?

The Blanket Burrito is a blog for all things warm and cozy. In case that doesn’t sound specific enough, you’ll be able to find posts that mostly revolve around books, tea, and comfort food and drinks. It’s also a place for all blanket burritos to commune and be our wonderful selves.

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Poetry

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Hello, lovely readers!

I’m sorry it’s been a while. Life has been pretty busy. Right now, I’m on vacation in Europe, visiting friends and family of my mom’s (she’s Czech, and all her family is over here in Europe.)

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting with some poetry lately, and I thought I’d share some with you. It’s not very good, but I’m working on it. 🙂

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What I Learned at Camp

(image coming… eventually.)

Hello, lovelies! I’m back from camp! Well, I’ve been back for a while, but I’ve also been really, really busy.

I got sick the day I got home from camp, and all I can say is that I am so grateful I didn’t get sick while I was at camp. That would have been awful.

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