Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Roundup (23) - August 30, 2013

Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)

The need to search through and re-catalog ALL the books is so strong right now because I KNOW there are more books around the house that aren't accounted for...

The need is SO strong....

grumble grumble....It will have to be ok for now I guess ;)

ANYWAY!

Here's what I do have to show you:


Bought em all ;)

The Fire Game by R.L. Stine
Fear Street baby! Another lovely for my Stine collection...doesn't everyone have one of those?

Star Trek The Next Generation #1 Ghost Ship by Diane Carey
And yes, since you asked, I am planning on getting my hands on ALL THE BOOKS

Kingdom Hearts Manga Vol 1 by Shiro Amano
Love this game! Can't wait to see how it plays out as a Manga :)

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
Snagged an autographed copy at B and N this summer - now I just need to finish the series.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Bought this one right up as soon as it hit my local indie's shelves. Not loving it as much as I hoped but I'm only a little way through it so far.

In The After by Demitria Lunetta
Total impulse buy - more post apocalyptic then dystopian I think - looks fabulous.


I feel like I'm SO out of the loop when it comes to new books these days.

Would love to hear about your latest additions!!!



Saturday, September 28, 2013

The BOOKS! We can't forget about the BOOKS! a.k.a Reading Slumps SUCK!

Reading slumps really suck. I haven't had one this bad in a long long time.

In July? I read - NOTHING! How is that even possible?!?!?

So blogging? Not so much.

I mean, I could have FORCED myself to blog but that really goes against all the reasons I started blogging in the first place.

Feedback loop? Is that what it's called?

I really wanted to be reading more but THE SLUMP was strong. I missed blogging but THE GUILT of having nothing to talk about and no motivation to do anything about it was overpowering.

SLUMP - GUILT - SLUMP - GUILT -- rinse, repeat

Any I totally over it all?

Not gonna jinx it by saying yes (or no) but things are looking a little better.

I finished a book the other day! The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon --- loved reading it even though I didn't love the story ;)

And I'm reading a book now -- The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman. Middle Grade, easy read, pretty awesome characters. It's just want I needed right now.

Also, you would think that not reading much would mean no new books coming into the house...yeah...that didn't happen!

What did happen though is that all those lovelies have been sitting in piles and piles all over my house. It's both pretty awesome and pretty chaotic -- just the way I like it.

So, surrounded by my BOOKS with a few recent good reads under my belt - I'm feeling better.


For anyone out there suffering from THE SLUMP or perhaps THE GUILT or, like my unfortunate reality - the double whammy combo of the two I have this to say:

Don't give up on your books. 
You may not be feeling the love now but it's still there. 
Take your time.
Books are always forgiving.

Wishing you all a FABULOUS weekend!

Happy Reading to one and all!

:)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Linked by Imogen Howson

Linked (Linked #1)
Imogen Howson
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication: June 2013 from Simon and Schuster
Pages: 368
Format: online
Acquisition: I read this book free on PulseIt.com

Synopsis:
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.
(from Goodreads)

This book is good. Like, really good. Like I read it in one day and maybe slacked off at work a bit because I couldn't not read it good.

The first thing I love about Linked is that it's science fiction. An actual futuristic world without a looming dystopian plot hanging above it all. Real sci-fi in a young adult book! Love love love!

The second thing I love about Linked is the characters. They are all over the place personality wise but they are so freaken realistic. The way the act and react to their situations was awesome. Every character was whole - lots of insights without being weighted down by narrative - again? Love!

All this love and we haven't even gotten to the plot! Here's a little secret....I loved it too!

If the situations Elissa finds herself in aren't exciting enough - she's in space for most of them. Space!

In case you couldn't tell, I really freaken loved this book.

Standalone? Totally works. More to the series? I could live with that. Imogen Howson has created a world I would love to spend a long time getting lost in.

Rating
5 / 5 Stars

The Linked Series
#1 Linked
#2 Shattered (2014)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Roundup (22) - August 18, 2013

OMG I'm back!

Can't say I really *went* anywhere except I wasn't *here* much. Just wasn't feeling it, you know?

But I'm missing it all :)

So I'm going to work blogging back into my schedule.

My normal, no drama, no frills, blogging because I love it schedule :)

Thanks to everyone who's still around reading!!

Had the urge to post today and since it's Sunday that means it's time for a much overdue Roundup!


Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)


Pictures pictures pictures! Just show us the pictures already! :)

Here you go:

Bought:
I know I'm behind with all the latest releases sitting on my wishlist but these beauties managed to find their way into my home nonetheless

*Replica by Jenna Black
Sci-fi YA - can I get a woop woop! 
Haven't read Jenna's other YA series but I've heard good things about it.

*Gravity by Melissa West
A sci-fi blend? Dystopian maybe with a little paranormal? Not sure of all the elements in this one but  it's a 2012 debut from Entangled that's been on my wishlist a while.

*Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
Total impulse buy today. I started Klavan's Homelander's series and enjoyed it and honestly, I was really taken with the cover of this one. Probably more Christian Fiction then I'm used to writing but the combo of elements here is really intriguing.

*Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
So many translations of this one out there and so many of them are horrible! I'm trusting Penguin Classics on this one!
Picked it up for my daughter who, although is too young to read is convinced she will still enjoy if it's read to her (but only until she's old enough to read it herself ;)

*Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams
Contemporary drama book full of the feelings - in verse.
Totally an impulse buy. Not a huge fan of the contemp but can't seem to pass up an even slightly interesting story if it's written in verse.

For Review / From the Publisher:
Snagged the Sanderson from a quick twitter giveaway from Eric Smith and was sent Eric's book by Quirk because Eric is awesome!

*Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
ARC - releases in September
Adult sci-fi - first in a series :)

*The Geek's Guide to Dating by Eric Smith
ARC - releases in December
PRE-ORDER THIS BOOK NOW! 
It's fabulous!

For Review / From the Publisher:
It's picture book time! These all came from the lovely folks at Macmillan and I'll be reading them soon with my daughter. Today maybe after she gets tired of Verne :)

*Cool Creations in 35 Pieces by Sean Kenney
Legos man! Who doesn't love Legos!

*When it Snows by Richard Collingridge
If it snowed every day I would be happy :)

*Princess Tales by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Gail De Marcken
A 'Once upon a time in rhyme with see-and-find pictures'

*Big Snow by Jonathan Bean
More snow!

Well, that's it for now!

Hope you all are having a fabulous Sunday :)




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shadow by Amanda Sun

E-novella / Short Story
Paper Gods #0.5
June 2013 from Harlequin Teen
free download

Synopsis:
Meet two teens whose worlds are about to change forever in this paranormal Young Adult novella, a prequel to Ink by debut author Amanda Sun…
Katie Greene’s worst nightmare comes true when her mother dies, and she’s devastated to learn that she will have to leave the only home she’s ever known. Desperate to find where she belongs, she must decide if she has what it takes to start a new life across the ocean.
For Yuu Tomohiro, every day is a nightmare. He struggles to control his strange ability, and keeps everyone at a distance so they won’t get hurt—even his girlfriend, Myu. At night, a shadow haunts his dreams, and a mysterious woman torments him with omens of death and destruction. But these haunting premonitions are only the beginning…
(from Goodreads)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A very interesting prequel for me as I found myself both confused and fascinated! With Ink taking place in Japan, I assumed there would be a lot of new to me elements but what I wasn't prepared for was how the inclusion of so many Japanese terms and names would throw me off. Some things are explained but still, I had a hard time keeping track of everyone.

Things were a little easier the more I read but I don't think I'll be able to keep names straight (especially because different people call people different things at different times). I'm pretty sure I know all the big players but I'll have to wait and see how reading Ink goes.

Shadow gives us two points of view and while I wasn't really drawn to either character I am curious to see how their lives interweave.

If you're thinking about reading Ink but haven't decided yet, I think Shadow will go a long way in helping you make up your mind.

Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars


Monday, July 15, 2013

Otis Dooda: Strange but True by Ellen Potter

Otis Dooda: Strange but True
Ellen Potter
Illustrated by David Heatley
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publication: June 2013 from Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Acquisition: I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for my review

Synopsis:
HARDY-HAR-HAR!
Meet Otis Dooda. Yes, that’s his name. Go on and have a good laugh. He’s heard it all before. He’s been called things like Otis Poopy Stink and Otis Toilet Twinkie. That’s right, yuck it up and get it out of your system. We’ll wait.
All right then. This is the story of Otis and the Dooda family (including their rat named Smoochie) moving to New York City, and the incredibly strange, but true, things that happened to them. It all started with Otis getting cursed by a guy in a potted plant in their apartment building lobby, and then meeting a bunch of their neighbors, including a farting pony named Peaches who was disguised as a dog. And that was just the first day.
(from Goodreads)

I love illustrated chapter books! I really wish there were more books like Otis Dooda when I was a kid. Now, I can't wait to share this one with my daughter.

Otis is a pretty typical kid - or a "sort of" kid in his own words. Sort of short, short of good at some things, sort of bad at others. He was a very believable and like able character.

Otis and his family, made even more 'sort of'' normal by the inclusion of an older bully brother, have just moved to New York City. Living on the 35th floor of a huge apartment building he soon makes friends. I love that Otis's family is a little odd but that the friends he makes are also a little odd. Everyone fit together really well.

Lots of laughs - lots of fart jokes - which even I found funny so you can imagine how kids will react :) Lots of love too in this one - Otis understanding his brother a bit better, learning not to judge people because they're a little weird, making new friends, working together to solve problems - there is a lot to like in this book!

If you have a young reader in your life, I highly recommend picking them up a copy of Otis Dooda Strange But True!

AND I just saw that there is going to be a book 2 - I can totally see this becoming a best selling series!

Rating
5 / 5 Stars

I've also read The Humming Room by Ellen Potter and loved it!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

As They Slip Away by Beth Revis

E-novella / Short Story
Across the Universe #0.5
January 2013 from the author
online read

Synopsis:
Taking place on the spaceship Godspeed before Amy Martin wakes up and Elder takes leadership, this novella describes life at the Hospital during Eldest's reign. Focusing primarily on background characters, readers will see fan-favorite characters Harley, Orion, Victria, and more.
This tragic tale explores the background of a previously unknown character, linking the history of the ship and its residents to Amy and Elder, giving depth to the world of Godspeed.
(from Goodreads)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A creepy tale about Selene, a girl we meet briefly in book one. I knew what ultimately happened to her but it was still a little heartbreaking learning more about her story. She could have been so many things but she never had a real chance.

Reading this short story really helped bring home the sense of wrongness that surrounds much of what happens on Godspeed.

Told with all the passion and pain that made Across The Universe so compelling to me, As They Slip Away was a fantastic read.

A great read for fans of the series - maybe not for you if you haven't read book one however.

Rating:
5 / 5 Stars


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

NetGalley Challenge: July Review Link-Up + Giveaway


Time to link up those June NetGalley reviews!

This is for those participating in my NetGalley Challenge - if you would like to join in, check out the sign up post.

Instructions:

1. Be sure you are signed up for the challenge
*If your blog isn't listed on the challenge sign up post your review(s) may be deleted and you will not be eligible for the monthly prize.

2. Link up 1 review of a NetGalley book you posted in July
*Use the 'Name' field in the linky for the book title and author.
*If your review did not post in July it may be deleted.
*All NetGalley books are fair game but I do ask if the review, or your blog, is NC-17 please make a note of such with the link.
UPDATE *If your review does not clearly state that you obtained and are reviewing the book via NetGalley your link may be deleted.
UPDATE *It doesn't have to be a book you read in July, simply a review you posted in July.

3. Visit other reviews!
*Discover some new to you blogs, read some reviews and leave some comment love!

4. Earn extra links / contest entries
*For every review you visit and comment on, you can post another one of your reviews in the linky.
*You can post up to 5 of your own reviews -- and therefor gain up to 5 entries in this month's contest.
(1 review for 'free' and 4 others IF you visited and commented on 4 other reviews)
*Please be honest and please leave actual thoughtful comments (the same type you yourself would like to receive)

You can post your June reviews until
August 12th

This month's prize is
A $20 Amazon Gift Card (for US participants)
OR
$20 worth of books from The Book Depository (for international folks)


To get us started, I've linked up a couple of my recent NetGalley reviews. If you're one of the first to visit, be sure to leave your link and check back later for others.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments or via email :)





Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Roundup (21) - July 7, 2013

Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)

Hey guys!

This is a couple of weeks worth!
Links are to Goodreads :)


November 2013 from Henry Holt
(ARC/ for review)

October 2013 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
(ARC / for review)

June 2012 from Hyperion
(hardcover / bought)

October 2013 from Feiwel and Friends
(ARC / for review)
+patch

June 2013 from Scholastic
(hardcover / bought)

March 2013 from Yen Press
(paperback / bought)

May 2013 from Delacorte Books
(hardcover / bought)
SIGNED!

June 2013 from Putnam 
(hardcover / bought)

October 2011 from Square Fish
(paperback / bought)


What have you added to your horde lately?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

On My Reader (32) - July 6, 2013

On My Reader posts are were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection :)

So...it's been FOR-EV-ER since I posed a OMR post!

Let's see what I've got here....

Links and info from Goodreads

For Review from NetGalley

October 2013 from Flux
Young Adult Sci-fi

Loved books 1 and 2 so I'm really looking forward to this one!

July 2013 from Berkley Trade
Young Adult Dystopian

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. 

I met Shaunta briefly at BBC this year. She was supper nice and her book pitch got me really excited! I'm still in love with dystopian stories and I don't think I'm going to get tired of them any time soon.

August 2013 from Wizards of the Coast
Adult Fantasy

The Companions moves Salvatore's signature hero Drizzt into a new era of the Forgotten Realms.

Yes please! I LOVE Drizzt Do'Urden!

October 2013 from Wizards of the Coast
Adult Fantasy

In the 2nd book of the multi-author Sundering series launched by New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, the shadow legacy of Erevis Cale lives on even as his old foe Mephistopheles seeks to stamp it out at any cost.

I just couldn't resist!


BOUGHT / FREE

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. 

It was supper on sale and I've heard some good things about it.


Meet two teens whose worlds are about to change forever in this paranormal Young Adult novella, a prequel to Ink by debut author Amanda Sun…

Free download - quick read and very good!

So, what did you guys add to your e-readers this week?





Friday, July 5, 2013

My BLOG, BOOK and TWITTER week :)

In case you missed it, this week I:

...blogged about WHAT I WANT MY BLOG TO BE AND HOW I PLAN TO ACCOMPLISH MY GOALS


...reviewed THE GIRL WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO DIE by APRIL HENRY and gave it 3 / 5 Stars -- a quick read that while I didn't love, I do think others will really enjoy

...reviewed ORIGINS: THE FIRE  by DEBRA DRIZA and gave it 4 / 5 Stars -- a really short prequel novella that got me excited for MILA 2.0

...shared MY LOVE FOR JORDAN DANE and her upcoming sequel (and might have fangirled a little)

...had nothing book related to talk about for the 4th so I SHARED MY 4th OF JULY INSPIRED MANICURE



Also this week in Twitterland I:

...started ESTELLAGRAMing -- head over to The Estella Society to check it out!
July 2: Chapter 1 (Taken by Erin Bowman)
July 3: Last Line (Storm Watcher by Maria V. Snyder)
July 5: Burn (Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian)

...was reminded that I need to UPLOAD MY REVIEW of The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner to Amazon -- along with tons of other reviews!

...learned about  Barnes and Noble's SUMMER READING PROGRAM for kids -- thank you @TheBookVixen!

...found NetGalley's new NEW ADULT CATAGORY!

...found SHAUNTA GRIMES debut in my local indie

...was reminded to DOWNLOAD MY FREE AUDIO BOOK this week -- thank you @booksandwine

....found THE MOST HILARIOUS book description on Amazon (for Twilight fan-fic -- go figure ;)


And finally, right now I'm:

...reading Taken by Erin Bowman -- about halfway through and I have no idea what is going to happen!

How was your week?!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July - now with nail pics!

For all my US readers -- Happy Independence Day!

For all my non US readers -- Happy 4th day of July ;)

I just couldn't help it - I had to share my 4th of July inspired nails.

Nothing book related in this post - just some shiny things to look at :)


For anyone who is curious, these are the polishes I used:
*China Glaze Strong Adhesion
*China Glaze, Ruby Pumps
*Sally Hansen, Cha-Ching!
*Orly, Silver Pixel
*Essie, Aruba Blue
*Sinful Colors, Hottie
*Finger Paints Top Coat

Hope everyone has a fabulous day!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cover Love: Crystal Fire by Jordan Dane

So, I'm not head over heals for this cover but I do love how it goes so well with he first book.
Indigo Awakening was a great read for me and I can't wait for this one!

If you haven't read any of Jordan Dane's books I suggest you fix that right now!


Crystal Fire (Hunted #2)
Jordan Dane
November 26, 2013 from Harlequin Teen

Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.
A storm is brewing on the streets of LA, one that has intensified since a tragic and deadly confrontation claimed an innocent life.
While Gabriel Stewart trains his army of teen psychics to stop Alexander Reese—the obsessed leader of the Believers—the fanatical church becomes more bent on the annihilation of all Indigo and Crystal children. They're silencing the voices of the telepathic hive, one soul at a time, with frightening experiments cruelly executed on vulnerable minds.
When the Believers torture a mysterious homeless boy, Oliver Blue, they brainwash him into betraying his own. The boy becomes a deadly pawn to take Gabriel down. As the fires of chaos burn around him, Gabe is running out of time. He'll need to confront his past—and the man who made him—before the hope of peace for the future is silenced forever.
(from Goodreads)

Here are the 2 covers side by side -- love the colors!

Jordan Dane's YA Books:
In The Arms of Stone Angels (my review)
On A Dark Wing (my review)
Indigo Awakening (my review)

I've read Jordan's 3 YA books and I've been thinking of picking up one of her adult titles as well as I love her writing.

What about you?


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Origins: The Fire by Debra Driza

E-novella / Short Story
MILA 2.0 #0.5
January 2013 from Katherine Tegen Books
free download

Synopsis:
Mila can't remember anything before the fire that took her father's life. It's normal to have some memory loss after traumatic events, but Mila doesn't remember if she's ever learned to ride a bike, or if she's ever been in love. Nothing.
What she doesn't know is that she isn't supposed to remember—that she was built in a computer science lab and programmed to forget. Because if she remembers, she might discover her true identity.
The question is: If she relived the fire, what would she see?
(from Goodreads)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A very quick, very fast and very frightening read. I'm not a fan of fire - or reading about being trapped in a fire - or escaping a fire - or surviving a fire and...that's pretty much all this short story is!

Although it is short and not much (besides fire!) happens, I did fell like I got a sense of who Mila is. I liked what I saw and I would very much like to read more of her.

Felt sort of like a first chapter - where we get a little tease as to what's to come without a whole lot of background or details. Very much made me want to run out and buy MILA 2.0 as soon as I was done! (UPDATE: I did! It's sitting on my shelf now begging to be read!)

Without having yet read MILA 2.0 I can't say how 'crucial' this short story is to the plot but it's an enjoyable read none the less. If you're on the fence about starting this series, this short might help you make up your mind.

Rating:
4 / 5 Stars


Monday, July 1, 2013

The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die by April Henry

The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die
April Henry
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication: June 2013 from Henry Holt
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Acquisition: I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for my review

Synopsis:
“Take her out back and finish her off.”
She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.
And that she must run.
In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive.
(from Goodreads)

There was so much about this book that I really loved but unfortunately, the implausibility of it all was just too much.

The premise is great - what would you do if you woke up with no memory with the voice of your potential killer ringing in you ears? I for one, would hope I would be as brave and insightful as Cady was. She might have lost her memory but she never loses herself. She's a strong character and despite what she is going through she doesn't waiver.

Cody's strengths however, for me, turned into her faults. She finds a way through everything - too easily. The good guy who shows up at the perfect moment and who instantly wants to risk his life for her - the bad guy who gives her all the details of everything before messing up and allowing her to escape (this actually happens several times) -- it's all just too much. Cady is strong because its easy to be. Her situations are so over the top, she almost could have done nothing and it felt like everything would still work out for her in the end.

While I initially felt very connected to Cady, as the book wore on, this connection grew weaker and weaker. By the time her story came to a close, I wasn't much interested.

And that ending? Not enjoyable. Will she make it? Oh no, the bad guy found her! Poof! The End with a cherry on top. It made very little sense.

Now, do I think others will enjoy The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die more then I did? Absolutely. I'm a pretty tough critic when it comes to thrillers and I know a lot of what I didn't like about this book are totally my personal 'issues'. So, yes, I do think others would very much connect with Cady more then I did.

A quick YA read with only a slight romantic twinge, this one could be a light thriller I think a lot of different readers would enjoy. I encourage you to not take only my word on this one - go seek it out for yourselves!

Rating
3 / 5 Stars


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why hello there!

Hi guys!

I've been a little MIA lately.

Main reason? Lack of motivation.

Busy life stuff too but mostly it's been a lot of
"I really should blog but my computer is ALL THE WAY over there..." or
"I'm going to blog today! I have so many ideas for things and stuff and OOH LOOK SOMETHING SHINY!"

I pushed myself through the self pity phase --- I'M SUCH A HORRIBLE BLOGGER - NO ONE WILL CARE IF I JUST STOP..BOO..WOO..I SUCK..WAA...WAA...WAA.

I perfected the justification phase --- I DON'T HAVE TO BLOG TODAY BECAUSE I'M TOTALLY GOING TO BLOG THE HELL OUT OF S*** TOMORROW AND NEXT WEEK AND THEN I'LL TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

I pretty much ignored the common sense phase --- HELLO, YOU LOVE BLOGGING GET OFF YOUR A** AND DO SOMETHING! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? I SAID YOU LOVE BLOGGING AND YOU NEED TO STEP UP!

And now?

My brain has settled down, I've come up with a plan and I'm really excited to be back on track, mentally at least.

Basically what I've decided is that I really want to 'get back to my roots' blogging wise. For me this means reviews.

Over the last year or so I've been severely lacking in review posting and I want to change this.

SO!

Going forward that's just want I'm going to do - post more reviews (and cross post them as well).

Also, some Cover Love, On My Reader and Roundup posts I'm sure and the occasional feature or giveaway but I'm really going to strive to have the core of my blog be reviews -- and thoughts on books and bookish news.

This might not seem like a big deal but for me it is huge! I finally feel like I have a hold of what it is I want to accomplish here at Red House Books and I'm excited and I'm not stressed and I'm NOT going to let myself get overwhelmed and lost in my own crazy brain again ;)



It's been just about 4 years since I started blogging and I thank you all who joined me on this journey!
It's been fantastic and I can't wait to see what comes next :)


Happy Reading everyone!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BEA Blogger's Conference Part 4: Extending You Reach - to ALL the things!

Since I'm so behind posting reviews and it's been forever since I posted ANYTHING I considered not posting the rest of my planned BEA posts.

BUT!

This one is so fun because it has links and pictures and stuff :)

Seriously though - I learned a bunch in this session at the Blogger's Conference and really want to share all the pretties with you.

Here we go!

Extending the Reach of Your Blog Online
Speakers:
Mandy Boles, The Well-Read Wife
Malle Vallik, Harlequin
Eric Smith, Quirk Books
Robert Mooney, Blogads

*The speakers started by highlighting what they believed to be the most important social media venues for bloggers. They then went on to talk about some of their favorites.

*Robert pointed out the fact that, as bloggers, you can't put your post up and expect everything to happen. You have to work at promoting yourself and your ideas.

So, what exactly did they talk about?

Let's start with the big guns:

Twitter -- www.twitter.com
Not everyone uses it but a lot of people do. Lots of third party programs and apps to choose from.
Don't think I need to go too much into this one ;)

Facebook -- www.facebook.com
I personally don't love Facebook but so many people use it. Even if you aren't that active, you can create a page for your blog and have your posts feed to it.
Again, it's all about options. Even if you aren't a heavy Facebook user, your followers (or potential followers) might be.

Instagram -- instagram.com
App based - iOS and now Android supported. I'm on the fence about this one. It's apparently VERY big with tech and mommy bloggers and Mandy believes it will become just as huge for book bloggers in the future.
It uses hashtags in the same way Twitter does and Mandy mentioned 1 blog that hosts a monthly 'gram a day' type meme -- The Estella Society (here's June's #EstellaGram list).
If I get an iPhone I'm sure I'll use it more. It's very (completely?) visual and I do like that.

Now some more fun goodies:

Pinterest -- pinterest.com
Love this site! It can be a total time suck but it's also pretty awesome. I've been using it to link up my review posts (which link to my blog) and also to link up books I've read (which link to Goodreads). Again - it's a very visual place and I think that helps a lot when talking about books. Publishers are using it more and more to promote and I love logging into my account and seeing tons of pretty covers :)

Vine -- vine.co
Vine is a app that lets users post 6 second video clips. It started with iOS devices and recently released for Android.
BBC was the first time I had heard of this app! Since then it seems to be creeping up everywhere - even my library is considering setting up an account. I can totally see this becoming very very big and loads of fun to use.

StumbleUpon -- www.stumbleupon.com
Taken directly from their website: "StumbleUpon is a giant collection of the best pages on the Internet". I honestly have no idea what this is all about except for the fact that views or readership or whatever you want to call it can grow over time so something you post today could be viewed by others months from now if it becomes popular? Maybe? Maybe you don't actually post things yourself...again - NO IDEA! (I'll probably check it out soon though ;)

Triberr -- triberr.com
A type of "blog amplification" platform where you become part of a tribe and promote the works of other tribe members. The only experience I've had with this has been negative. It very much feels like spam - group organized and focused but still spam.

Reddit -- www.reddit.com
Another site I don't fully understand. It's user generated where people can submit links or text and others can vote to promote stories. I hear it all the time about something becoming big after being posted to Reddit or someone finding out something because someone posted it to Reddit.
No idea how you could use this to promote your blog...would love to hear your ideas if you're a Reddit user!

Other sites mentioned:

Tweetreach -- tweetreach.com
A tool for measuring the reach of your tweets. (Really tried hard to come up with a better explanation for this one :)

Google+ -- www.google.com
I have a Google+ account and I know people who are heavy users and love it. It's growing in popularity...just slowly I think. I do want to figure out how to add a Google+ share link to my blog posts.

Blogad products mentioned by speaker Robert Mooney

Distillry -- www.distillry.net
A website that can fiter your Twitter stream for you.

Twiangulate -- twiangulate.com
Another Twitter using device - it can help you find all the ways everything and everyone on Twitter is connected.

Pullquote -- pullquote.com
You can use Pullquote to "create a link to a paragraph on a web page" (like your blog). Great for "tweeting, micro-bookmarking and sharing key ideas".


I would love to know what social media sites you guys love!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

BEA Blogger's Conference Part 3: Blogging Platforms

I know you've probably seen a TON of post BEA recap posts

As to not overwhelm you with ALL THE WORDS, I've broken up my BEA experience into a couple of posts (you know, because more is less ;)

I've also broken down my posts into bullet points because I like them :)

Today I bring you my thoughts on:

BEA Blogger's Conference, Blogging Platforms

Speakers:
Rachel Rivera, Parajunkee
Stephanie Leary, Word Press Consultant
Evie Seo, Bookish
April Conant, Good Books and Good Wine

This panel was fun as the main focus was Blogger blogs vs Wordpress blogs.

I can't say that I agreed with all of what was said but it was all very interesting!

Here are some of the points discussed!

*Blogger has limited html use - if you like working with html there isn't a whole lot you can do

*Blogger is seen as a 'starting' point and most bloggers 'move up' to other platforms eventually and becasue of this you might be viewed differently by some if you use Blogger.

*A "blogspot.com" address is seen as less professional --- this was a point that I didn't agree with at all and not only because I'm one of those bloggers :)

*Blogger is free to use and is relatively easy. You can have a fully functioning blog that you can use without many problems, without having to pay a dime.

*Wordpress doesn't cache your blog so you are at the mercy of your host. If your host goes down your blog goes down. Traffic spikes to your blog can mean down time if your host can't keep up.

*Both offer free picture storage although Wordpress gives you more to start. Once you do have to pay for more, Blogger's prices are cheaper.

*If you want to make money with your blog (which I would never dream of doing) then WP is the way to go.

*Wordpress has more of a support system.

Now, here's the thing to remember. Wordpress is actually 2 different platforms. There is Wordpress.com which is free and hosted by WP and there is Wordpress.org which you have to pay for and self host.

Wordpress.com doesn't offer nearly as much as its .org counter part. It wasn't outright said but I think some would agree that Blogger is actually better overall then Wordpress.com -- SOME would agree with this I think.

Wordpress.org has TONS to offer but you need money to make it happen and the time and knowledge to do it well.

The way I see it is this: If you have time, money and knowledge you can really make a Wordpress.org blog look fantastic. You'll get a lot out of it and your readers will enjoy it BUT if you don't have the time, money or knowledge, you can still have a fantastic blog using Blogger.

When it comes right down to it your blog is what you make of it. For me at least, content is the most important part of a blog. Sidebars, headers, URLs, plugins, bells, whistles, fireworks -- these things are important also but not as important as the content of your blog.

For me, it's what you say, not how you say it.

Last but certainly not least in my little semi ranty recap of this panel I need to say - the speakers were FANTASTIC! They all obviously knew what they were talking about and did an extremely good job of sharing their thoughts with the audience. I might not agree with everything they said but I enjoyed hearing their opinions. It's one of my favorite things about being a blogger -- we are all so different with SO many different opinions (and not just about books :)

For more info on my BEA experience (because, you NEED more info don't you ;)
BEA Book Haul
BEA Blogger's Conference Part 1: Keynote Speakers and YA Blogging
BEA Blogger's Conference Part 2: Blogging and the FCC

Next up... Extending The Reach of Your Blog Online

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Novella Reading Week!

Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

I saw a tweet last night that led me Novella Reading Week hosted by Rachel of Fiktshun and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

I'm a little late to the party but the event runs until Sunday and I'm hoping I can get a ton of novellas read by then!

To sign up yourself click HERE

I'm setting some high goals for myself -- here are all the novella's I hope to get read and if I have time I might even re-read a few from a while ago :)