The 2nd Annual Book Blogger Awards: Rules and Categories

Hey everyone!! For those of you that don’t remember, last year I decided to start The Book Blogger Awards, which are exactly what it sounds like– blogger awards exclusively for book bloggers.  I was honestly so humbled and amazed by what a big response I got last year (see the winners here) and so I decided to continue the tradition and host the 2nd Annual Awards!!

I can’t wait to see who you all nominate, and find tons of new book bloggers to add to my reading list 🙂 Just read the rules below and get started!

Continue reading “The 2nd Annual Book Blogger Awards: Rules and Categories”

Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There

It’s February! (yes it has been for over a week, and this post is super late, but let’s ignore that please and move on)

I’m sure y’all know this, but January was a little rough for me. It should have been my 2nd month back from hiatus but instead it turned into unplanned mini hiatus, which is… not so great. I think I bounced back strong at the end though (aka posted roughly twice) and it was a good month for reading, so overall, could have been much worse.

Continue reading “Wrap-Up: January // Not Stellar But Hanging in There”

6 Hot August 2017 Book Releases

I know this post is really late, and so about half of these are already published, but I wanted to make sure I gave all of the August books a chance at fame*.  So, halfway through the month, we’re going to celebrate all of the August releases.  I have to admit, I’m VERY excited about all of these books even though I haven’t read a single one!

*ha, I’m assuming that my blog would help a book sell

Young Adult

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Wonder Woman, by Leigh Bardugo—  I’ve heard A LOT of hype about this book, and after watching the Wonder Woman movie, I really want to hear this take.  Obviously it’s not quite the same story, but it sounds amazing, and I’ve heard it’s a must read for DC fans!

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

All Things NewAll Things New, by Lauren Miller– This book sounds TOUGH but really good at the same time.  It could definitely go either way but I feel like it’ll be emotional wreck of a book that I can’t put down.

Jessa has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn’t help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels. 

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, where she meets Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world, perfect for fans of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

Adult Contemporary

The One That Got Away

The One that Got Away, by Melissa Pimentel— This SOUNDS ADORABLE and perfectly romantically fun.  I love “one that got away” stories, and this literally has that title, so why wouldn’t I read it?!?!? It seems like a perfect light read and I’m looking forward to seeing what other people think.

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . . The Burning GirlThe Burning Girl, by Claire Messud— I can’t quite tell if this is adult or YA, but Goodreads is telling me adult so we’ll go with it.  Apparently Messud is an amazing author, and this book sounds really emotional and profound which I love.

Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

Thriller

Emma in the Night

Emma In The Night, by Wendy Walker— aaaaah you can’t even understand how good this sounds. Dysfunctional family thrillers are my absolute favorite because they’re so twisted and messed up and exciting.  Plus it’s about girls and doesn’t have girl in the title so BONUS POINTS FOR CREATIVITY, WENDY!

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

The Readymade ThiefThe Readymade Thief, by Augustus Rose— This sounds hecka good, and has a super unique plot, which is something that you don’t find very often in a thriller.  I love the whole idea of it, and the female protag thing is always a bonus for me (although apparently that’s become a bit of a readily repeated trope now that people hate, but ROLL WITH ME HERE)…. and it looks like it’s set up for ROMANCE!

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run. Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, she finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle, but the façade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. They believe Lee holds the key to it all.

Aided by Tomi, a young hacker and artist with whom she has struck a wary alliance, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city—empty aquariums, deserted motels, patrolled museums, and even the homes of vacationing families, but the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web she’s trying to elude. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her—and why.

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What books are you looking forward to for this month? Have you read any of the ones I talked about? 

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Discussion: Genre Shaming… A Crime?

I’ve decided to try and bring more discussions to my blog, since I find them super interesting when other people do them, and so today we’re going to talk about a topic which I found interesting after hearing about it on Twitter…. Genre Shaming.

I hadn’t ever really thought about genre shaming in the past, because I didn’t really realize that it was a thing.  After I heard about it for the first time, I instantly got on the lookout for examples because I wanted proof that this shaming truly existed.  I was (sort of) shocked at how often YA books are called “less than” and how often the term “guilty read” gets tossed around.  And then I realized that I am far from innocent of doing this.  Since I was little, I would intermix my cliche high school novels with classics that I deemed better literary material.  Even in last week’s blog post, I defined summer reading books as “beach reads” then promptly decreed that books that take on issues or aren’t light and fluffy don’t fit this description.

But is it a bad thing to consider some books as “less” than others?

I adore “easy” read YA books, and I’ll certainly always include them on my TBR.  After all, reading would get boring if you didn’t include some books that you could fly through in just days and that leave a smile on your face.  However, they are not as intellectually stimulating as other books, such as literary fiction and classics.  I’m not saying that makes YA books any worse than lit fic, I’m just saying that it doesn’t provide as much educational value as “education” is traditionally defined.

Still, does that give us a right to shame people who read certain genres? or change the definition of reader so that it doesn’t include those who read only certain types of books?

My short answer on the subject would be no.

I don’t think it’s possible for books of literary merit to exist without having some books that are there PURELY FOR FUN.  And, not to mention, people, especially teenagers, need books with characters that they can relate to.  And recently, more and more YA books are taking on important issues in society.  They may be written to be more accessible for the average reader, but they aren’t afraid of teaching and taking stances as well.

By telling someone that they aren’t a true “book lover” because they choose Sarah Dessen over Charlotte Bronte is hurting the bookish community as a whole.  Not to mention the fact that some books that considered easier reads can have the most powerful messages as well as influence the reader.  While reading classics and other “good” books, there is often very little representation of minority groups, teens and younger, independent women, or lifestyles that would make sense to today’s generation of readers.  In order to find a role model in literature, it is often necessary to turn towards contemporary prints.

That brings me to my main point.  We, as a bookish community, cannot afford to be judging and shaming each other for the types of books we decide to read.  WE ARE TOO FEW IN NUMBER TO AFFORD OSTRACIZING EACH OTHER.  Look, the book community should be close, and for the most part we are, but those among us who consider themselves superior just due to the type of books that they read are seriously, seriously wrong.  And I hate when I go on Twitter and I see certain people flaunting the types of books that they read.  It’s ridiculous and self centered.

I do believe that books should be separated slightly based on educational/literary merit, because I genuinely think that when kids read harder, more complex books, they will become more intelligent and able to think in bigger, better ways.  THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THEY CAN’T READ EASY BOOKS.  In fact, the only way someone will truly enjoy all of those big books is if you get to read 2-3 books that you really desperately want to read in between (I’m thinking of when I read The Cliche for all of middle school despite the eye rolls sent from my mom’s direction).

That top part doesn’t just go for kids.  Everyone once in a while should try to read a book that challenges them, whether it be at the diction level, finding the deeper meaning, or a moral struggle.  These are the type of books which will make us better people.

For some people, the above book might be 13 Reasons Why, or I’ll Give you the Sun.  For others, it might be Crime and Punishment, or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  All four of those will challenge you in different ways, and although the latter 2 are considered “better” than the former by the critics among us, ALL FOUR could be just as enriching and powerful for the right person.

So stop genre shaming.  Stop calling some books guilty pleasures and others works of literary merit.  Stop judging a book by its genre, and stop presuming that you know what will challenge others and make them better people.

If you love classics, then great.  Congratulations.  If you love YA and SSF, then that’s awesome too.  It isn’t about the genre, it’s about the emotions of the person as they read, and how it will change them when they come out on the other end.  Let's Talk

Do you think genre shaming is okay? Are you a victim of genre shaming? Do you think that readers of different genres should be looked at differently? Let me know!

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June Intro: The Start of Freedom Means More (Hopefully) Reading

As I sit down and write (the first draft of) this post in mid-March, it’s hard to believe that exactly 1 month from now I’ll be graduating high school and entering the free world.  Well, not really.  I still have college, but that’s completely different and way more independent and I’m very excited.  (actually, on that vein of thought– I’m going to school in Boston next year so I’d love to do a blogger meetup!)

Because I have school in half of the month and then summer for the other half, I think that I’ll be able to read somewhat more books than I normally do, while still managing to keep up on blog posts and the like.  Also, because of the fact that I have less time to write during the summer, I’m breaking up what normally comes in this post into two separate days.  Today will consist of a TBR and blogging goals, and on Monday I’ll send you all a list of hot books being released this month.  I see a lot of book bloggers do similar things, and so I figured that it would be better this way for my own personal schedule.

halfway (38)Before you roll your eyes, yes I realize that I have a shit ton of books on this list, but I really truly think that I’ll be able to do it this time. (yes, even I’m rolling my eyes now)

Ebook / eARCs 

The Darkest LiesNot the Only SkyThe Handmaid's TaleSelect (Untitled #1)

  1. The Darkest Lies— I’ve been reading this book for almost 2 months, and it’s wayyyyyy overdue for a review, but I just can’t seem to get into it enough to stay interested.  My mind is drifting all over the place, and I would rather be on Twitter than reading it, which is a problem since the book is on my phone.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale— I had been SO FREAKIN EXCITED for this book, and now that I have it, the writing style is weird, and I just haven’t been reading it for enough time all at once.  I need an hour or so to read constantly to get into it I think.
  3. Not the Only Sky— I’ve had this book on my Netgalley shelf for forever and since it came out 2 months ago, now is as good a time as any to start reading it.  It looks really good, and I’m looking forward to the chance to download it and start.
  4. Select— I don’t think this book comes out until October, which is good because it means I’m not even behind!! I’m putting it on the list now because I can read it on my phone after I finish Not the Only Sky, and then I’ll type up a review and have it on file for the fall.  I honestly don’t even know what this is about, I’m just going for it.

Physical Books

Big Little Lies

  1. The Glass Castle— I never had much of an interest in reading this book, although it was recommended to me a couple of times, but I just found out that it’s going to be a movie sometime in the fall, and that’s enough for me to read nearly any book.  Plus, it was on a bunch of “Must Read” lists, so I clearly need to give it a chance.
  2. Big Little Lies— I’ve had this book on my shelf for the past couple of months, and have wanted to read it for at least a year.  Since I own it AND can watch a TV show right after, it seems dumb not to go ahead and put it on my TBR. (also side note but I got the TV show edition since it was on sale for $.50 but look how pretty the real one is)

Audiobooks

Orange Is the New Black

  1. Orange is the New Black— Unlike Big Little Lies, I want to read this book because I’ve started watching the TV show and it’s INCREDIBLE.  I genuinely never thought that I would enjoy it this much, because I heard that it was just over sexualized nonsense, but I’m loving it and so I might as well hear the accurate story, and what better mode of doing that than listening.

halfway (39)Blogging

This month, I really just want to get ahead on my blogging and schedule my posts for the entire summer.  I’m road tripping to Colorado, and I plan to document that on Our Voices Matter (my other blog), so that’ll take up a lot of time and use of the internet and I can’t be worried about uploading blog posts for the end of June –> July.  Don’t worry though, I’m sure I’ll be VERY active on Twitter.

Besides just posting early, I plan on reaching 400 followers, which I’m aware is a giant number but I think it would be awesome.  (For added incentive, I’m doing a giveaway when I hit 500)

Writing

I decided a couple of weeks ago to set aside the story I worked on for all of Camp NaNo because there’s wayyyyyy too many plot holes, and now I’m going to work on the story I wrote a blurb for in Mahriya’s challenge.  I’m drafting characters and plot FIRST this time, which should greatly improve it, since before I felt like I didn’t know the characters 40 pages in.  Read my blurb and excerpt and let me know what you think!

Buying Books

Since I’m going to be in summer this month, which means day trips and vacations, I want to buy a book at every place I go to, and write in the covers where I purchased them.  I think this could be a really good use of my money because I’ll have mementos and books to read.  Win win!!!

Let's Talk

What books do you plan on reading this month? Do you think my TBR is too big?  What are your blogging goals for the month?

May Wrapup: A Good Month For Blogging and Somewhat For Reading

This month has, surprisingly, been really good for reading and just life in general!! I’m super proud of myself because I’ve gotten wayyyyy ahead on my blogging, scheduled out the whole month of June, am participating in 3 blogger projects, and still managing to get everything done in a reasonable amount of time.  I feel like I’m one of those people with crazy productivity that I’m jealous of, and I don’t understand how this is happening.

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This month I read 3/5 book on my TBR, and 4 books total.  That’s because I forgot to put a 2nd audiobook on my TBR, so I was held at gunpoint needed to stray from my list. I haven’t posted reviews for any of these books yet, so all of the links will send you to Goodreads.

Kindle/Ebooks

I'll Give You the Sun

I’ll Give you the Sun (5 STARS)— This book was INCREDIBLE.  I was hooked from page 1, and couldn’t put it down.  I also read this with my mom and we talked about it the whole way through, which made it amazing and gave me different perspectives on the book than I would have had otherwise.

Physical Books

The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls (5 STARS)— This book was so twisted and messed up but I loved it and couldn’t put it down.  It has a lot of triggers so I recommend researching before you read it, but if you can do it, you NEED to.  It will leave you feeling sick and twisted and amazed and wanting more.

Audiobooks

The Orphan Master's SonGo Set a Watchman

The Orphan Master’s Son (2 STARS, DNF)— Ugh.  I was so excited to read this book when I first heard about it, because I’m semi-obsessed with crazy dictators and what it does to people in a country, and North Korea doesn’t exactly have its own section in the library.  But this just didn’t do it for me.  I think I’ll write a review eventually, but overall my main reasoning is just that it was boring.  I found myself NOT LISTENING for the first time ever, just because cleaning my room was suddenly more interesting than a book.  Which has never in my life happened.

Go Set a Watchman (3 STARS)— Hmmm, this is a tricky one.  I loved this book because I enjoyed hearing about Scout again, since I have such a deep attachment to her and her family, but the story itself just wasn’t that good.  There were tons of 1 second flashbacks that threw me off a little bit, and the whole thing felt sort of forced.  I mean, another white-black court case, for real? and the whole thing with Scout and her boyfriend just didn’t really work for me.  Plus, the Atticus character was so twisted that it wasn’t really Atticus at all.  This isn’t a sequel, persay, since it was written first, and it’s obvious that Harper Lee changed her mind on a lot before TKAM went to print, and you need to take that into consideration.  So, although I loved Scout, the story and the rest of the characters weren’t my favorite, which is why I had to give it just 3 stars.

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Goodreads Challenge (17/30)– If you’re confused by the fact that my Goodreads challenge is suddenly out of 30, the reason is that I upped it by 5 since I’m doing so well, and 30 seems far better than 25 as a goal.  I’m hoping to maybe even reach 50, depending on how much I read this summer.

What’s In a Name (2/5)– I can’t believe that it’s taking me so long to read 5 books.  My problem is that I’m not going out of my way to find any of them, and I’m going to need to if I expect to even get close.

Read Harder Challenge (11/24)– I seriously need to put more work into this.  The rest of my categories are all outside of my comfort zone which will be tough to cram into the last few months, so I need to start now.

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Followers

Last month I gave myself a goal of 275 followers, and I KILLED IT.  I’m so happy to say that I now have over 330 followers, which is absolutely incredible considering the fact that I ran my 200 follower giveaway about a month ago.  I’m so thankful to you guys and the fact that you let me feel so good about myself and my writing.

Book Buying

I really wanted to make my bookshelf a little bit bigger this month, because it’s been a long time since I was able to put a new book on the shelf.  Although I didn’t actually buy any books, I book hauled Lola (from LibraryThing) and Vanishing Girls (from Molly, who was kind enough to give away her books and send them to me, and whose blog you should head over and follow asap)

Posting

I wanted to schedule more posts this month, as well as catch up on reviews.  I managed to do just fine scheduling posts and now have a fairly good buffer.  But, I haven’t been writing my reviews and so that’s fairly disappointing.  I want to eventually post reviews in the month that I read the book, but as of right now I’m posting like 2 months behind.

Editing

I really wanted to get a new client for this month, but that has proved impossible, so I’ve failed on this front as well.  If you need an editor or beta reader PLEASE CONTACT ME!! I have time for you 🙂

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This month has been a fairly good one for reading, but not so hot for writing and editing.  My blog growth is astronomical, and I’ve almost hit my year goal of 50 views per post, which is making me super excited.  It’s happened on roughly every other post in the past 2 weeks, which means that I AM SO CLOSE.

This was the last full month of high school for my whole life, and it’s basically over.  That’s a weird feeling, and I’m proud of all that I’ve managed to accomplish.

Let's Talk

How did May go for you? What books did you finish? Link your wrap up posts so that I can find out!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Reflection Upon My Failures

It’s taken me a long time to think clearly enough to write this post, or to even think that I wanted to, so sorry for being so late to the party.  That being said, I tried my very best…

For those of you who don’t know, I chose this year to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, and in the beginning, I could not be more excited.

In the beginning, my word count was set to 50,000– I don’t know why I would ever do that to myself.  It was obviously a far reach goal, considering in the past 3 combined months I’d written 16,000.  So, about 3 days in, I lowered my goal to 30,000 which is far more reasonable and also proving slightly unattainable.  I wrote for at least a few minutes every day for the first 2 weeks, but then April break happened and it was alal down hill from there.

Plus, my blog posts have become super rushed in the past month.  It’s super hard to write high quality posts 3x a week (so about 3,000 words a week) when you need to write 7,000 additional words on a story.  10,000 words is wayyyyyy too much for me to handle.  The fact that I had to lower my word goal is proof of that.

Before I go any further, I need to take a second to say that I LOVE MY CABIN!!  I joined one with a lot of other teenagers, and so we all have a ton in common while simultaneously living on complete opposite sides of the world with totally different life experiences.  It’s given be a great perspective on everything, and I spend far too much time procrastinating with them.  I love it.

I ended up reaching about 10,000 words, which isn’t terrible, since that was a good kick start on my story and so now I have quite a few chapters down.  Plus, I managed to outline a whole shit ton of it, which is more than I’ve ever done for anything ever, so props to me for accomplishing my primary goal in life.

One problem that I did come across is that I kept changing the way people looked and so it’s going to be a bitch to go back and edit.  I’m trying to ignore that semi large problem and just keep pushing forward.

Anyways, I know a lot of people were really successful at Camp NaNo, but writing on any sort of timeline just isn’t for me.  I’m very slow and just kind of need to be suddenly inspired to even sort of start moving in the right direction.

But, regardless of how I did, I’m really want to finish this story eventually and I think camp helped me get closer to that goal.

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Did you win Camp NaNo? Do you outline your stories? Do you think I’m an absolute disaster and want the chance to yell at me? Go ahead!

April Wrapup: A lot of Reading and the book blogger awards

April is over, and that means that I’m starting to look forward on the very end of the school year.  Because April was CRAZY I wasn’t able to keep up on blogging as much as I would have liked, and so I’m sorry to you guys for that, but I’m worried that the next few months will get even worse, considering summer and finals and everything combined.  Anyways… there was actually quite a bit that got done this month (even if I wasn’t as active in the blogging world), so I’m excited to share!!!

The Book Blogger Awards…

There’s only a couple of days left to submit your nominations for the book blogger awards!!!!  I haven’t gotten as many submissions as I’d hoped to thus far, so I really need your support to spread the word, and actually nominate people.  Even if you only have good responses for a couple of categories, that’s better than nothing!!!!!!!  If you need a link back to the post with rules and category nominations, click HERE

Books Completed…

I had 5 books on my TBR for this month, and finished 3 of them.  One, The Host, I just stopped because it was terrible and I hadn’t even added it to my Goodreads “reading” list yet so it didn’t seem worth it to push through.  I plan on coming back in another throw of boredom later on.  The others I’m still reading, just slowly and steadily.  The ones I finished are below!Smugglers & Scones by Morgan C. Talbot

  1. Smugglers and Scones– I can’t remember if I finished this in actual April, or just right after I published my March wrap, but either way I finished it recently and it was really good!! It was marketed as mystery, but I’d advise that this is a light, warm, curl up by the fire mystery read, with more interest in falling in love with the characters than catching the culprit.  That being said, I loved it.518855
  2. The Constant Princess– It took me a long while to finish this book, but I loved it, I just didn’t have the time.  Philippa Gregory’s writing is amazing, and I loved hearing more about Katherine, now forever known as Catalina to me.  It was so amazing and you really felt like you were seeing inside of her head.30095464.jpg
  3. The Bone Witch– I received this book for review, and was a little nervous about it, but it had an INCREDIBLE plot.  The descriptions in the first 1/2 were a little overdone for me, but they relaxed somewhat as it went (or I got better at skim-skipping them) and then I was able to fully enjoy it.  plus, it’s a series with a sort of major cliffhanger.Image result for hamlet book cover
  4. Hamlet– Yes, I know this isn’t technically a book, but it was a 5 act play, and it was Shakespeare, so I think it counts.  I personally enjoyed this way less than other Shakespeare plays, which is odd since it’s one of the most popular.

The Best of the Blog…

  1. Book Blogger Award Nominations-– Obviously the book blogger awards are getting a lot of attention, even if you all aren’t actually NOMINATING people, and so the rules, and then the nominations, were my most viewed posts all month.  If you haven’t read my nominations yet, make sure you do to find some great blogs.
  2. Books That Would Make Great Video Games— This was a really fun t5w post to write, and I think a lot of you agreed with me!!
  3. Book Haul— I got 7 books this month, which is a ton for me, and so I wrote a book haul! I’ve gotten even more excited about all the books since then, because I’ve heard amazing things about the ones I hadn’t heard of.
  4. Reading Above your Grade Level (Discussion)— I’m so glad I wrote this post because I’ve gotten so many interesting perspectives on what their opinions are, and a lot of them agree with me, so *pats myself on the  back*… but seriously, everyone who commented had something I hadn’t thought of quite that way before, which is what I love about blogging
  5. Book Reviews– This month, 2 book reviews went live on the blog, none for books I actually read this month.  In no particular order, Scrappy Little Nobody (4 stars) and The Fourth Monkey (3 stars).  Okay, fine, yes, there was an order.

Challenge Progress…

What’s In a Name– I’ve read 2 books for this challenge, and wrote my review for the 4th Monkey, so I’m really excited about that!!! 2/5 is right on target

Read Harder– I’m 10/24 here, which is really really good, but I finished all of the easy ones first, meaning that I’m going to have to work a lot harder to get the last 14, since they’re not genres or books that I would typically read.

1/3 Goals Update…

  1. Reach 500 followers– I’m at 250 now, and it’s not even halfway through the year.  I think my growth of 150 in four months puts me behind anyways, but I knew this was a stretch and I’m proud of where I’m going.
  2. Post a minimum of 2x a week all year long– I’m at 3x and haven’t messed up yet!! It’s getting harder though and I’m thinking of scaling back, or potentially bringing on a guest blogger, for the future.  Would you guys rather only have posts 2x/week, or would you like me to try to find a guest blogger to post on Wednesdays?
  3. Make more blogging friends– Done!! I’ve made so many amazing friends recently, especially Emma ❤
  4. Get involved in more challenges, memes, and big blogger events– well I’m running the bookish awards so that’s a good blogger event, but other than that I haven’t been doing much on this front.
  5. Go to a IRL blogging or bookish event– not yet but I’m going to college in Boston so that should help
  6. Read and review a total of 50 books– I’m at 32, which is well on my way to 50
  7. Get enough of a following so that each of my posts receives 50 views– I’m averaging over 30, so that’s not bad
  8. Reach 500 followers on Twitter– I’m 80 away as of right now.  I have no idea how up or down I go normally, so not sure if it’s a feasible goal lol

IRL Updates…

  • I finished my physics class for the year, which is huge because it means wayyyyy less work for me and hopefully more time to read!!
  • I officially signed the paper committing to college, which means that I’m officially going, and that’s always something to be happy about!

Reminder….

VOTE IN THE BOOK BLOGGER AWARDS!!!! THERE ARE ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT.  2 DAYS TO SHOW OTHER BOOK BLOGGERS THAT YOU LOVE THEM!!! Rules and categories are here

April Intro: So Many Books to Finish!

Welcome to April!! I’m so excited for this month because in just a few days I’m going on Campus Preview Weekend at my college, then it’s April break, and then it’s two more weeks of school and then the month is over!!  Plus, it means that spring should (I hope) finally be here to stay.  If it snows again I think I’m going to go crazy.  But anyways, enough about my personal life, and let’s get to bookish stuff

My TBR…

I grossly overestimated what I was going to read last month, so this time I’m keeping it simple.  5 books, 4 of which I’ve already started.  That should *knock on wood* give me plenty of time to get through absolutely everything.

5188551. I plan on coming back to this one after I finish I’ll Give you the Sun.  Since they’re both physical/kindle, I read them at the same times so I had to put one on hold.  Sorry Philippa.
208209942. This is one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read so far. Jude and Noah’s lives are both shit and I’m just hoping that it’ll get better, ASAP.  (but it’s a really good book I love it)51wxen3hdul-_sy346_3. This is a review copy, and so I’m trying to really get this done.  I can’t get over how cute the main character of this book is.  I love her.the bone witch

4. This one’s another review copy, and I plan to start it after S&S is done.  Everyone has been talking about how they either loved it or hated it and I’m nervous but excited so we’ll see!the_host

5. I don’t actually know why I picked this to read, because it’s already terrible and I’m only 20 minutes in, but it was available immediately as a library audiobook and I was in the book for something less serious, and I enjoyed the movie, so here we go.

I also received a physical review copy of The Roanoke Girls, and an ebook of The Select, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get to those in the next month, so I’m leaving them off for now.

Releases I’m Excited For…

I don’t have a whole lot this time, because none that I’ve seen have really grabbed me, but here’s the top 3 that got my attention.  The cover has a link that will take you to Goodreads
the upside of unrequitted

The Upside of Unrequited (April 11th)— This book looks super cute, and I’m 95% sure other people liked it when they received ARCs.  It has diverse relationships, and in general seems to be a fun story about high school twins.

Goodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.  Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.  There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?witchfinder's sister

The Witchfinder’s Sister— A “literary historical thriller”.  Holy shit.  what could be better? my favorite genres combined in one!!! Sign me up!!!  If anyone knows the best (cheapest or free) place to find a copy of this I need one!

Goodreads summary:  Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth–but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew’s soul.   There is a new darkness in the town, too–frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice’s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he’s become, Alice is desperate to intervene–and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew’s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul.   Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother’s brutal mission–and is drawn into the Hopkins family’s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils–before more innocent women are forced to the gallows.
Inspired by the real-life story of notorious “Witchfinder General” Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown’s thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with harrowing storytelling for a truly haunting reading experience.spindle fire

Spindle Fire (April 11th)— A Sleeping Beauty retelling with a badass female protagonist.  This sounds awesome, and I can’t wait to read it!

Goodreads Summary: Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.  And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood–and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.  As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.  Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.  Spindle Fire is the first book in a lush fantasy duology set in the dwindling, deliciously corrupt world of the fae and featuring two truly unforgettable heroines.

Blogging Goals…

  1. Reach 250 Followers– I just hit 200 last month and I couldn’t be more excited!!!! I still can’t figure out just how 200 people decided that I have good enough content to want to read it all the time.  It’s amazing.  Also, it’s the reason I’m having a giveaway below.  Make sure you enter if you haven’t already.  But anyways, I digress.  This month I’m hoping to get to 250, which is a lot, but it will put me at halfway to my goal of 500 for the end of the year, which I think will mean that I’m generally on schedule.
  2. Start Promoting Indie Authors– I’ve done some indie author promotion, and I accept their book review requests, but I don’t tend to read a lot of them, and I don’t normally do interviews and promotional stuff with them.  I’m hoping to change that this month, and try to get more indie authors on the blog.
  3. Find another story to edit– I completed my first paid editing job last month!! It was so fun and I’d love another, especially for after April break.  (aka starting the 17th)
  4. Start reading more blog posts– I haven’t been on my Reader enough lately, and so my commenting skills are lacking severely.  I want to go back through and make sure that I am reading everyone’s blogs I love, and unfollow all of the ones that do not interest me.
  5. Not exactly a goal, but camp NaNo starts this month!! I’ll be updating you with my progress periodically 🙂

Have you Entered the Giveaway Yet?

Finally, the giveaway!!!!  I mentioned this in my last post, but I’m saying it again for those of you who forgot: I’m at 200 followers and I’m thanking you all with a book giveaway!! Enter for a chance to win any book from my book review index that is under a $15 value on Amazon.  Open wherever amazon ships (if shipping price is obscene, I may lower book price cap)

Rafflecopter giveaway

A Personal Favor…

I’m running for the Hood scholarship, because I desperately need money for college, and to win it I need votes.  You can vote once a day, and I will love you forever if you go out and vote for me.  I’m from CT and go to Bacon Academy.  It only takes 2 minutes to cast your vote, so if you have a chance please please please go vote

Have you entered the giveaway?  What April releases are you looking forward to?  What is your April TBR? Do you have anything exciting happening this month? Comment!!!!!


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~ Now venture out and change the world ~

Blogger Interview: Susan Barton– Books, Tours, DIY, and More!!

Just a month ago, I first stumbled across one of Susan’s many service based blogs–Book Blogger Listing— and then from there made my way around to see all of her other great blogs: My Book ToureBook Review Gal, and DIY Mom.  All of them had equal effort put in, and there was INCREDIBLE content on each.  After talking to Susan a bit about being a tour host, I fell in love with her effort and her blogs, and I couldn’t resist asking if I could interview her.  And I was lucky enough to have her say yes!!  So, without further ado…

 

Me: How did you decide to start blogging?

Susan: I guess I’ve always had a lot to say. I’ve also always had strong opinions. Just ask my husband! I fell in love with books and reading at an early age and I take my reading very seriously. After all, it takes a certain amount of investment – monetarily and time-wise – to choose the perfect book and sit down to read it. When I read glowing, positive book reviews, I expect to be wowed. If I’m not, then I get cranky. It’s as if I’ve been cheated. That’s when I write about my disappointment. Likewise, when I read a really great book and I absolutely love it I have to let EVERYONE know about it. The perfect place to do both of these things is on a book blog.

How long have you been blogging?

I started my very first blog back in 2005 – so twelve years now!

What is the most rewarding part of your online business/blog?

I get to meet SO MANY interesting and unique people. Many have become longtime friends. I just LOVE that!

You are one of the most versatile bloggers I’ve ever met. How do you balance your book blog, DIY Mom blog, Ebook review site, and your book tour service?

I’ve always been a speedy multi-tasker! I love keeping busy – in fact, I need to keep busy. It also helps that my ADD keeps me bouncing from task to task at lightning speed 🙂 But, I try to devote adequate time to each endeavor, just to maintain the proper balance.

Which of your websites do you find the most rewarding to run?

That is an EXCELLENT question! I’m a little torn about that, since most of my sites center on authors, books and reading. I LOVE helping struggling authors and I do get genuine pleasure in promoting them. But…my mommy blog (DIY MOM) is equally important to me too. I guess, ultimately, I view my websites like I view my children – I don’t have favorites 🙂

You host/design Book Tours for authors, so you must have come into contact with a lot of authors and publishers. Do you have any interesting/comical stories about these interactions?

I think the most common thing I find when working with authors is 1) they never realized how much marketing would be involved when they decided to become authors. And 2) They didn’t previously know too much about book tours and how they work. I don’t mind one bit having to explain the process to any author and I sometimes have to do this. But I love every minute of it!

You are stuck on a deserted island, and can only bring three things– a book, an item of food (endless supply), and a hygiene product. What do you bring for each category?

That’s easy! My beloved copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, Quaker Popped (I can’t eat gluten and these are my absolute favorite snacks!) and my toothbrush (I’m an oral hygiene nut!)

 

What are your favorite genres to read?

I love psychological thrillers, mysteries and paranormal novels.

Least favorite?

*Gulp*….at the risk of ruffling some feathers, I’d have to say Sci-Fi. Oh, and Erotica. They’re just not my “thing”.

All of your crafts on DIY mom are so creative! How do you come up with your ideas?

Well, thank you! It definitely goes back to my days as a young mom. I was always looking for super inexpensive, easy ways to decorate our home, so repurposing, recycling and upcycling became my best friends. Pinterest is another great inspiration. I check out photos and think “how can I do this myself”. Then I share my results.

Which social media site do you find most useful in promoting your content? Do you think that social media is necessary for reaching a large audience?

All of them! Without a doubt, social media is ESSENTIAL for reaching your target audience – regardless of what you’re doing. If you have an online or brick and mortar store, you absolutely HAVE to get social. Running a blog or business without utilizing social media is like throwing a party but forgetting to send out the invites. Who will know what the heck you’re doing otherwise? And, I’d also add that it’s not enough to just join all of the social media platforms, you have to interact with you followers on a daily basis. And…by interact I don’t mean yelling at people about how great you are. You have to actually be sociable on social media or people will tune you out very quickly.

And finally, what advice do you have for people who are currently running a small blog and wish to broaden their audience?

The best advice I can give is to write, write, and write. The more content you publish, the more of a following you’ll gain. You simply cannot afford to allow your website or blog to sit, languishing in stale silence. Readers want to see fresh content on at least a weekly basis – more frequently is even better if you can manage it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of my questions!! I loved hearing more about how you started blogging, and your blogging advice!! 

Loved the interview and want to hear more?  Don’t forget to head over to one of Susan’s many websites or social media to share the love:


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~ Now venture out and change the world ~