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 ~

Looking forward on March (There’s so many good books in my future)

Welcome to March!! With luck Spring will come, the weather will become warm, and I will start my first real coaching job!! Woohoo, things to look forward to!! Besides that, obviously, I should be reading!

March TBR…

This month is very, very ambitious, with a total of 7, but I’ve already started the first 3 so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to manage at least starting all of them.518855

  1. The Constant Princess– so far so good, I love learning about history in a romantic, definitely fictional way (I say that with zero sarcasm). BUY ON AMAZONfourthmonkey_3d2
  2. The Fourth Monkey– I can’t wait to find out what happens, and love the way the plot works.  BUY ON AMAZON21853621
  3. The Nightingale– Isabel is my favorite person EVER.  If I lived 70 years ago we totally would have been best friends. BUY ON AMAZON20820994
  4. I’ll Give you the Sun– I read the first chapter of this before being delayed by my buddy reader, and I can already tell that I’m going to love it, and it seems like a cute, easier read which is always fun. BUY ON AMAZONImage result for kit's law
  5. Kit’s Law– I bought this at Book Barn last Spring, and it still sounds really good, I just for some reason haven’t read it.  Well, it’s about time, and I’m going to break it open. BUY ON AMAZONGo Set a Watchman (To Kill A Mockingbird #2)
  6. Go Set a Watchman– It seems weird that I haven’t read this yet since I was so excited for its release.  After I finish Nightingale, I plan on getting this as an audiobook and cranking through it. BUY ON AMAZON

    caravaltyink
    Carval // The You I’ve Never Known
  7. Caraval or The You I’ve Never Known– I have a $12 Barnes and Noble gift card which means that I’m going to buy a physical book to add to my collection.  I want both of these so badly so it’s probably going to depend on my gut when I’m actually in the store.  I’m leaning towards TYINK right now, but if I can get to the store in the beginning of the month it might be Caraval, as The Perks of Being a Book Addict is doing a group read of that right now. BUY CARAVAL // BUY THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN

Hot Releases…

Just a reminder that to pick these books I scroll through the Goodreads list of all 200 top rated March releases, “open in new tab” all the ones whose covers and/or name grab me, and then flip through and narrow those 25 down to 5.  So I’m missing a lot of good books, and this is by no means the end all be all of book publishing. Summaries are from Goodreads, book cover links go to Goodreads.

25150798The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (March 21st)– A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.  Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.  In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.  After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.  A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.

Okay guys Lisa See is literally amazing so you’d be dumb to pass up on this one if it even sounds remotely interesting to you.

Buy The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane on Amazon

30753708The Cutaway (March 21st)– When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.  Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.  Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

Ohhh this could either be really good or really bad and I don’t know which so here it is for you guys to judge!! Knock on wood the former, but I guess I’ll have to read it to find out.

Buy The Cutaway on Amazon

30754003Our Short History (March 21st)– Karen Neulander, a successful New York political consultant, has always been fiercely protective of her son, Jacob, now six. She’s had to be: when Jacob’s father, Dave, found out Karen was pregnant and made it clear that fatherhood wasn’t in his plans, Karen walked out of the relationship, never telling Dave her intention was to raise their child alone.  But now Jake is asking to meet his dad, and with good reason: Karen is dying. When she finally calls her ex, she’s shocked to find Dave ecstatic about the son he never knew he had. First, he can’t meet Jake fast enough, and then, he can’t seem to leave him alone.  With just a few more months to live, Karen resists allowing Dave to insinuate himself into Jake’s life. As she tries to play out her last days in the “right” way, Karen wrestles with the truth that the only thing she cannot bring herself to do for her son–let his father become a permanent part of his life–is the thing he needs from her the most. With heart-wrenching poignancy, unexpected wit, and mordant humor, Lauren Grodstein has created an unforgettable story about parenthood, sacrifice, and life itself.

This sounds so good for the right audience (not sure if that is me) and you’ll probably cry a lot reading it so I recommend.

Buy Our Short History on Amazon

30653967The Women in the Castle (March 28th)– Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.  Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.  First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.  As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.  Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

This book first grabbed me because LOOK, it says “women” instead of “girl”.  That’s super exciting.  It also takes place AFTER Nazi Germany’s invasion (something I don’t often read about) and mentions The Nightingale, so like it’s perfect and going on my Want to Read list.

Buy The Women in the Castle on Amazon

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Strange the Dreamer (March 28th)– the aftermath of a war between gods and men.  a mysterious city stripped of its name.  a mythic hero with blood on his hands.  a young librarian with a singular dream.  a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled.  alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.  Welcome to Weep.

I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK IT LOOKS SO SO SO GOOD!!!!!  It was on the list for sure, and I’m really hoping to get it sometime soon (*cough cough* little, brown books *cough cough*).

Buy Strange the Dreamer on Amazon

Writing Progress…

I’ve finally decided to stick with The Chemical Capitalists and run with it, so I should be able to move a tiny bit faster from here on out.  I would love it if I could talk to someone about diversity stuff, or maybe help me flesh out character development.  If not I’ll take it to Fictionpress and have that fam help me out.  I’m currently working on chapter 7, and plan to finish chapter 10 by the end of this month.

Editing Progress…

I’m over halfway done with my current project right now, and so I am in the process of looking for someone who wants an editor for their manuscript sometime in the next month or two! Head over to the editing service page to see if you are interested.  Services include editing, character development, finding plot holes, writeups, and anything you could possibly want me to do.  I do charge, but if you have a legitimate reason (ex. you’re in college, or just don’t have much money) I will lower the rates dramatically.

That’s all for me!  What is on your March TBR?  Are you writing a novel? Which March releases are you most excited for?


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~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~

February Wrap Up (Look at All the Books I’ve Read!)

Month 2 is already over, and I could not be more happy with where I am right now.  I’ve read sooooooo much, have the best blogging friends ever, have gotten my politics/lifestyle blog underway, and am just generally really really happy.

Books Completed…

Before I start, I do want to say that even though I read a lot, I haven’t actually published a lot of reviews.  This is because I had some posts that needed to go out at a certain time, which bumped some backwards and I’ve also just been a bit behind on book reviews.  I promise that next month will have many more reviews!!!  I did finish every book on my for-the-month TBR so that’s exciting! The book covers include links to Goodreads, the name of the book is a link to the review (if I did one), and I included a specialized Amazon link at the end if you want to buy the book and give me a commission for no extra charge to you!9820853

  1. Little Bee– This book was so so so so so good.  I cannot give it enough praise.  It was my first audiobook, and it was the perfect choice.  Read my full review here or buy on Amazon26247008
  2. Truly Madly Guilty– This was my second Liane Moriarty book, and I thought it was really good.  It certainly wasn’t action packed, but I loved the way the details unfolded and kept you hooked the entire time.  Buy on Amazon 16981
  3. Invisible Man– I had to read this book for school, and three months later it is finally completed.  Thank the gods.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I read it on my own, but the slow classroom pace sort of killed that.  Buy on Amazon 29868610
  4. Scrappy Little Nobody– I adore Anna Kendrick, and I loved the way she put her humor and excitement (and lack thereof) into this book.  It felt very real, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, while laughing the entire time.  Buy on Amazon

Currently Reading…

I’m currently reading a book on my phone, a paperback, and listening to an audiobook, while also waiting on my mom to finish her book so that we can buddy read I’ll Give you the Sun together, which is why it showed up on my Goodreads shelf briefly and then disappeared.fourthmonkey_3d2

  1. The Fourth Monkey– This is a criminal investigation novel, where the detectives are trying to solve the case before it is too late.  I received this book by the author, and although I don’t read much of this genre, I decided to give it a try and am super glad I did, it’s really exciting so far! Buy on Amazon21853621
  2. The Nightingale– OMG I wish I had a physical copy of this book so that I could get through it faster!! The characters are amazing, it’s in my favorite historical time period (WWII), and one of the POV characters is an incredibly strong, independent girl about my age, which makes it THAT MUCH BETTER.  Audiobook is hard for me to read fast though… Buy on Amazon518855
  3. The Constant Princess– Philippa Gregory is my favorite castle/royal life author, or at least I assume she is, since I don’t know if I’ve read any other books about the Boleyn era.  At any rate, I bought this book last Spring at Book Barn, and am just getting around to it now, as I wasn’t in the mood for that style at the time.  I love it! Buy on Amazon

Challenge Progress…

You can find the complete list of challenges, and what I read for each one, HERE

Read Harder Challenge– I’m 5/24 right now, which is above target by precisely 1 book.  Actually, Invisible Man could count for 3, but I’m only going to use it for 2 unless the end of the year comes and I can’t finish the challenge.  I’m so excited because I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do it!

Goodreads– Ahead of the curve with 6/25!! I couldn’t be more happy about that, and I think I might up my goal during the summer if I feel I can.

What’s In a Name– I’m 0/6 so far, aka I’m not doing anything.  I am, however, reading a book for one of the categories, and have another one with a review request that fits, so I’ll be rollinggggg through this challenge soon!

Best of the Blog…

  1. Book Trends That Need to Stop— I really liked the way this Top 5 Wednesday post came out, because I feel like not only did a lot of people agree with it, but it made me think a lot harder, and will help my beta reading down the road!!
  2. How to Pick a URL— This post was written for people before they even start a blog, and so hopefully it was helpful to at least one person.  I got a lot of positive feedback from people who already have a blog, but I guess it’s not helping them too much
  3. Shelfjoy— I wrote a piece on a book shelving website that I really like, and apparently a lot of other people liked it too!  If you’re looking for a more user-friendly, multiple shelves alternative to Goodreads, check it out.
  4. Favorite Part of Blogging Collab— Thank you so much to Shania for putting this together!!! It was so fun to do and to read everyone else’s, and so I’m so so glad that I was able to take part.  If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend you search the tag #FPOBCollab for some great pieces
  5. OTPs for Valentine’s Day— I wanted to do something special for the holiday, and so I put together a list of book characters I adore together (with one surprise crossover).  It made me feel sad that I don’t have that type of connection, but oh well maybe one day 😉

The Generally Good…

  1. I finished last month with 130 followers, and this month I’m up to 170!!! Thank you to the 40 people who took the time to press the follow button, that’s crazy and I feel so honored and shocked.
  2. I put together Our Voices Matter, and although it’s in the roughest stages still, I’m very excited about the team and how it’s going to come out.  I’ve already published a couple of posts, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still looking for people to join!  Head over to the application page, or email me to join!
  3. This month went by SUPER FAST because we had 3 snow days in one week, followed by a 4 day planned weekend, and so basically I’ve barely even been in school and I’m loving it.

The Generally Bad…

  1. I’m struggling to find enough contributors for Our Voices Matter… I want there to be A LOT because that will make everything more interesting.
  2. I’m also a bit behind on blog posts and really everything, probably because I’ve been enjoying my life too much.

And Finally…

That’s all I have for this month, but I want to hear how your month went as well!

What books did you finish this month? Are you on track for your reading challenges? Let me know below!  If you’ve written a monthly wrap-up post, share the link so that I can stalk you!


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~ Now Venture out and Change the World ~

Review: Stolen

By Lucy Christopher

Rating: 😦 😦

I feel like I need to start off by saying that this book actually received 3.93 stars on Goodreads, so it probably isn’t as awful of a book as I’m going to make it sound, and I probably have a few (just a few) biases playing in. But still. I’ll do my best to tell you why I didn’t like it, and why it was good enough that I managed to get through it with a solid 2 stars. But Warning: It’s Complicated.

Essentially, Stolen is written from the perspective of Gemma, a teenager who is kidnapped at an airport and taken to the middle of nowhere to live with and love her captor. When I got this book for Christmas LAST YEAR I thought it was going to be really good, and was super excited to read it. I thought it was a fun added twist that it was written as a letter from Gemma to her captor, Ty. As the story progresses, so does Gemma and Ty’s relationship, until it becomes a story of survival, emotion, and complexity. At least, I think that’s what Christopher was going for.

Sounds good so far, right? (See, I told you I could do a relatively unbiased review) But rather than creating an incredible protagonist who struggles with her feeling, Christopher became the one who didn’t know her true thoughts. Gemma never seemed to have a real personality. The second it seemed to start developing, it twisted, and not in a good way. It was as though in order for the story to properly progress, the very essence of Gemma’s personality had to continuously change. And then, when you finally believed that she was had finished “changing” she twisted again, so that the very end wasn’t even consistent with her feelings a chapter from the end. I’m all for character development, but this was so completely unrealistic I couldn’t take it seriously.

I’ve been told that the reason I don’t like this is a similar reason to why I don’t like Paper Towns– protagonists with annoying beliefs annoy me to no end– but honestly, I really don’t think this is the case for this book. I honestly just don’t think anyone could relate to Gemma, not just because her situation is unique, but because Christopher didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on her emotions and who she really is as a person.  Considering that there are only 2 people for 95% of the book, I think you should be able to nail them both.

That being said, I loved Ty. He was the “antagonist” technically speaking, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be trapped in the middle of nowhere with him, but his personality was dynamic, while still staying true to his own essence. Everything she lacked in creating Gemma, Christopher did a great job in creating Ty.

Part of the reason that I think Gemma was made a weak character is that she constantly needed to be vascilating in order to make a plot. There’s not much to do if there isn’t a conflict; there were constantly things happening to drive the plot forward in this book, which I appreciated while reading it, but I wonder now if it was a bit overkill. Maybe if Christopher had stepped back and focused more on relationship than plot, it would have been a better and more well developed story. Who knows.

Overall, I certainly wouldn’t say that nobody should ever pick this up, but they should certainly know what they’re in for. It’s a really quick read, so it doesn’t hurt to try it at any rate.

I want to know your opinions

What did you think of Gemma? Does Christopher have any other books, and are they better? Have you read any books with a similar theme that you would recommend?

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Blogger Interview: Cassidy @ Quartzfeather

A few weeks ago, I started talking to Cassidy @ Quartzfeather, and I realized that even though Cassidy is only 14, her posts are amazing and way better than I could ever write at that age.  Plus, her site has a phenomenal color scheme and layout; it is the book blog that I wish mine could be (if only I had a sense of color scheme or code).  So, without further ado… to the interview!

All About Cassidy…

What is something you think everyone should know about you?

I’m a huge fangirl (basically the entire story of my life). I’ve been a fangirl since before I even knew that word existed.

Why did you decide to start blogging?

I originally wanted to run a DIY blog, cause I’d been reading a ton of real cool ones online. After starting and abandoning like 5 blogs, I finally figured out that DIY blogging just wasn’t for me. After all that I created Quartzfeather, which gradually evolved into the book blog it is. I didn’t really intend to start a book blog (in fact for a while after starting Quartzfeather, I didn’t even know the online book blogging community existed) it was mostly a happy accident.

DIY blogging? That makes it sound like you’re really creative!  What are some of your favorite DIY projects?

I like all sorts of DIY projects, anything to keep my hands busy, and my creativity churning. However recently I’ve taken a liking to sewing, in fact I recently sewed up a dress for a school dance, which was an awesome experience. I did it all by hand, which meant, that by the time I’d finished the project, my fingertips were covered in tiny puncture wounds from the pins and needles. Luckily, my first sewing machine is on the way, as I type.

What is your favorite post you’ve ever written?

At the moment it’s this Who Am I tag post.  I just really like the way this one turned out. However my favorite is always and forever changing.

Your Twitter feed has a lot of controversial political content.  How do you balance your political feelings with the overarching purpose of your blog?

I have pretty strong political views, I’ve always been a pretty opinionated person. I love debating, researching, and formulating opinions, so I tend to enjoy keeping up with politics. (My dad and me discuss politics a ton during dinner, the rest of my family’s not a huge fan.) I generally keep my political opinions off my blog, I never really decided I wasn’t going to talk about my political opinions on Quartzfeather, just never felt like doing so. However on occasion I will talk about politics just a bit, like if I’m reviewing a book that handles some political issues or conflict.

What inspired you to include animation reviews on your blog? They’re so fun and make your blog so unique!

Time for some backstory…. *superhero movie villain laugh* I didn’t grow up on Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, or Cartoons (I know *gasp*). Instead, like the little nerd I am, I grew up on books. However, while I successfully evaded animation as a child, it got me as a preteen. I went to see How To Train Your Dragon 2 with my family, and as I walked out of the theatre that day, I knew I had a serious obsession on my hands. I’ve loved talking about animation ever since, and I decided I’d like to include my love for animation in my blog, so I started occasionally writing posts about animation.
Do you think you’ll ever go into the animation field as a career?
YESSS! In fact that’s my top dream job at the moment (how did you know?), I’d love to work in character or story development. However animation is a really exclusive field (with there only really being like 4-5 well known movie studios). At the moment I’m still a bit on the fence, but I hope that I’ll find myself in that field in 9 or so years.

Some Advice from the Expert…

What is your favorite type of post to read?

I’m a huge fan of tips or tutorials posts, that either deal with web design or blogging in general. I’ve always been a person who likes to learn new things. Plus, with blogging, and especially web design, there’s always something new to learn.

You have some tutorials on your own blog which I think are really helpful for people using Blogger.  Maybe in the future you could expand to write a DIY blogging site in addition to book blogging, to combine all of your interests!

I’ve considered this, however I have so many other things I want to do, including: the aforementioned web design store, a booktube channel, and a possible podcast, plus, I’m also currently scribbling away at a writing project. However, maybe in the future, I’ll post some bookish DIYs from time to time.

In your opinion, what is the hardest part about blogging?

The hardest thing about blogging for me is being uninspired. I love my blog, and I’m not giving it up anytime soon (you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands), however sometimes I just can’t write a blog post. Basically my brain deciding to bail on me.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to all new bloggers, or just people in general?

Don’t push yourself too hard, don’t feel like you need to post 7 days a week. Go at your own pace, It’ll make blogging (and life) much more enjoyable.

Because I couldn’t resist…

What is your favorite book?

Ah this question, the bane of every book lovers existence. Right now my favorite is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Carry On is pretty much Harry Potter fanfiction, but it also has the coolest spells, and fabulous gay wizards (now if only it wasn’t a standalone).

Now, the real most important question: What Harry Potter house do you belong to 😛

I’m a loud and proud Ravenclaw. I’ve always loved learning and knowledge, and yes I can be a bit eccentric at times. My second house of choice would probably be Slytherin though (shhh don’t tell the Ravenclaws).

And Finally…

What are your blogging goals for the coming year?

My biggest goal for the coming year is to just to keep on track with my posting schedule (with high school that is always a struggle). Unrelated to blogging I’d also love to finally launch my long dreamed of web design business (however at the moment the chances of that are quite unlikely, again busy busy high school).


 

Thank you so much to Cassidy for participating in the interview and telling us so much about her blog and her life!  I wish you the best of luck in your future at Quartzfeather and in animation ❤  If you liked what you read, check out Quartzfeather for some awesome Bookish content, follow her on Twitter (just to be nice), and don’t forget to check out all of my blogger interviews to spread the love!


Think you could be the next interviewed blogger? Email me at isobelmoonnovelist@gmail.com , or comment below!