Dicusssion Post: Tips for Baby Bloggers

I’ve been at this book blogging thing for a little over two months now, and I’m happy to report that it’s been one of the best experiences of my life. I started getting involved in the YA bookish community in January of this year through Twitter and after a few months decided I would give blogging a try as well. I was so inspired by all the of the amazing bloggers I met and their kindness, generosity and support. The gifting and sharing between bloggers is so overwhelming. A HUGE thank you to everyone that’s shared ARCs, awarded fantastic giveaways or sent little cards/gifts to me just because. You know who you are and your kindness means so very much!

Gifts like this Throne of Glass tote from Andi and Andi’s ABCs perfectly demonstrate the kindness of people I have met in the blogging community!

I won’t lie though, the journey has been overwhelming and discouraging at times. I’ve worried over how many posts I should be publishing each week and if I’ll be able to read a book fast enough to post a review on Monday. My stress levels over how many visitors I have to my blog each day or how many official blog followers I have can get a little out of hand. I get really insecure a lot and wonder if my posts are even interesting to other readers and how I’ll never be as “cool” as the other bloggers I’ve met.

How am I supposed to real ALL THE BOOKS AND review them when I keep buying more? This pile has only grown in the month since I took it! Talk about pressure!

To combat all that pressure, insecurity and stress is the joy I get out of reading and sharing the excitement with other readers. I’ve fallen in love with books that I never would have heard of otherwise and fangirling with the rest of you over amazing books is basically the best thing EVER! There is nothing I love more than finding a good book and then convincing a friend or family member to pick it up and start reading it too. Case in point, I loaned my copy of The Grisha Trilogy to my 12-year-old nephew and I just heard from him that he’s absolutely loving it. I’m desperately trying to convince him to make an appearance on the blog as a guest poster. I’ll keep you posted.

Putting this here because the book was so amazing and I’m super proud of my book levitating abilities.

So, all this blabbing and venting leads me to the topic of my blog post for today. I know a lot of you out there reading this are seasoned bloggers with years of reading and writing under your belt, and SO many of you have been so supportive with your tips and advice. What I’d love to is extend the Twitter advice line and gather some of your favorite blogging tips and tricks into one place. My hope is that not only can I refer back to this post in times of need, but other baby bloggers can find useful information as well.

Another thing I love about the bookish community on Twitter? The dialogue between authors and readers. I mean…isn’t Emery Lord THE.SWEETEST?!

***

There you have it friends…gimme what you got! I’ve already learned so much from you and I WANT MORE! I’m learning from the best of the best here and am so very grateful to each and every one of you for the love, support and generosity you’ve shown me. I couldn’t be more honored to be part of such a fantastic community. Kisses and hugs all around.

Waiting on Wednesday: Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the cover. I immediately got a sense of what type of read it would be based on the font style, as well as the image and color selections. It all comes together so perfectly for such a gorgeous cover. I’m anxious to see how it looks in real life and can only imagine the dust cover is going to be gorg and curious to see what’s beneath it! Ohhh…that sounded dirty!

OK, enough swooning over the cover! As I started to read the description of the book, I realized it has all the elements I look for in a great fantasy book! Historical Romance? Check! Witches? Check! Tatooed boy? CHECK! I am so thrilled that Little Brown approved me for title on NetGalley and look forward to the day I can curl up and devour this novel.

How about you? Does Salt & Storm seem like a book you would enjoy? What about the summary appeals to you? Oh…and isn’t that cover stunning?

 ***

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper
September 23rd 2014 by Little Brown
Pages: 416 | Pre-order this book

A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder–and the one boy who can help change her future.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she’s to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane–a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Own The Most Books From

click for source

click for source

Welcome to another installment of Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic is the ten authors I own the most books from, but I’m new to book blogging and still building up my library. Soooo…this post will be short and sweet since I only have four authors dominating my shelves. All four authors have written series that I absolutely adore and they all live on my “favorites” book shelf.

personal photo

personal photo

I’m loving the fact that each series is about a powerful woman asserting her strength and wisdom in a unique and inspiring way. Also, something tells me I enjoy me a good fantasy novel! If you haven’t already, you definitely need to check these series out!

Robin LaFeversHis Fair Assassin series
*editors note: Gail from Ticket to Anywhere kindly loaned me her Mortal Heart ARC but I fully intend on purchasing my own copy to finalize my collection.

Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass series

Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke and Bone series

Rae CarsonFire and Thorns series

Are any of these authors on your shelves? Do you have a fave pictured here? Or, give me a suggestion of a novel or series I would enjoy based on the selections above. Have a great Tuesday!

Fangirl Friday: The Happy Edition

Is it me or did this week just fly by? I for one am thrilled that it’s Friday so I’m just going to go ahead and make that reason #1 why I’m so happy. I was wracking my brain for a Fangirl Friday topic for today and then it dawned on me that I should just write about all the things that are putting a smile on my face lately.

header
Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (wink-wink) but I’m a total Disney fangirl! I love everything about it…the rides, the atmosphere, the restaurants. I’m totally sucked in by the Disney magic. So, I’m super psyched that my husband and I just booked a trip for next month to visit “the world” with my sister and her kids. Last time I went with my niece and nephews they were itty-bitty but now they’re all grown up (ages 9, 12 and 14) and so pumped to go on ALL the rides with Auntie and Uncle! My husband and I are hard-core when it comes to touring Disney, so we’re already working on itineraries for each day and planning out our best strategy. Hope my sis and her kids are ready for this! As you can see from the photo below…we take our Disney pretty seriously. Enough so that we memorize where all the on-ride cameras are. Yeah…we don’t mess around!

IMG_5130

source: sneaky iPhone pic of Disney ride camera

Untitled
You guys…I live in the boonies! Like, the middle of nowhere! So it’s very rare that I’m able to go to book signings or author meet and greets since they normally fall on week nights. It takes me about 3 hours to make the drive down to Boston from where I live, so getting down after work for a 6pm or 7pm event is literally impossible. But, in an apparent twist of fate, I will be in the very town on the very same night that Sarah J. Maas will be there for her Heir of Fire book tour! It’s like it was meant to be! This will be my very first time meeting the author of a book that I am such a huge fan of, and I’m so psyched it’s my very favorite author! The icing on the cake is that A.C. Gaughen (author of the amazing Scarlet and Lady Thief) will be there as a special guest and I’ll get to meet her as well! It’s basically going to be the greatest night ever!

tumblr_n97xze66pP1szhnhvo1_r1_1280

Source: Bloomsbury | Click for dates & locations

Untitled2
So much love to Gail over at Ticket to Anywhere for generously loaning me her ARC of Isla and the Happily Ever After, and to Andi and Sarah for taking good care of it and passing it along to me! Isla is one of my most highly anticipated titles of the year, and I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful blogging buddies who are willing to share the love! I cannot wait to get this beauty in my hot little hands today and I know what I’m reading this weekend. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for the Happily Ever After readalong starting next Thursday. Just click on the gorgeous image below for more info.

source: Meg @ Cuddlebuggery

source: Meg @ Cuddlebuggery

Untitled3
I’m a little over two months into my blogging career and I cannot tell you how excited I am over how far I’ve come already! I’m close to hitting 400 followers on Twitter, over 125 friends on Goodreads and two people shy of 100 followers on Instagram!! It’s just THE.BEST feeling to know I have so many supporters out there. I’ve met some fantastic people and made some pretty amazing friends through this experience, and I just want you ALL to know how much I love you guys! I cannot wait to see where this experience continues to take me!

Thank You

So, there you have it! Four incredible things that are making me HAPPY this Friday! What are you happy or thankful for today? Please feel free to share in comments…I’d love to hear all about it! 

 

 

 

ARC Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

The Young World by Chris Weitz

Publication: 7/29/14 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley and Little Brown
Purchase this book

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind. The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park…and discovers truths they could never have imagined. 

 

I was provided with an ARC of this title by Little Brown & NetGalley
in exchange for an honest review.

I’m going to be perfectly honest with ya’ll and say that I really have NO CLUE how I’m supposed to rate this book. It’s not that it was a bad book. As a matter of fact, I think it was a pretty decent book on the whole but perhaps just not the right book for me. So many times while reading I had to stop and question whether or not I wanted to continue, but something kept me going. It’s for that feeling alone that I can’t say definitively that I didn’t enjoy it. I guess I’ll just have to say…it wasn’t you The Young World, it was me.

What I Liked…

The diversity of the characters was refreshing and added to the dynamic of the story. Jefferson, the main male character, is of Asian descent and there are also many other minorities featured heavily throughout the book. The main female character, Donna, is ANYTHING but a damsel in distress, and it was nice to see the typical gender roles turned on their head to be explored from a totally different angle. So for those reasons I give the author kudos. He incorporated characters from all walks of life into his storyline and I believe it added to the authenticity of the relationships.

The world building in this novel was pretty on point and I certainly got a picture of what a post-apocalyptic New York City would look like after a worldwide pandemic virtually wipes out humankind, save a small population of teenagers. As the novel progresses different areas of the city; iconic landmarks, dirty alleyways, abandoned hotels and office buildings, and even the vast subway system are fully developed into backdrops for the journey Jefferson and his tribe embark upon. For each new community we visit, we are introduced to a completely new population of teenagers with their own rules, rituals and behaviors. It’s really fascinating.

What I Didn’t Like…

It’s really hard to say. The more distance I get from the book, the more I can appreciate the grittier aspects and in-your-face style of writing. I mean, it definitely served a purpose. These kids aren’t living in the world as we know it. They’ve seen their families killed off one by one and are now dealing with a world that is harsh and violent one that will ultimately end in death. So naturally I can understand why they’re as hardened as they’ve become. Cults, militias, gangs, tribes…whatever you want to call it, these kids have been forced into a new way of life that is horrific at best.

That being said, I just don’t particularly enjoy these kinds of books. Let’s face it, The Hunger Games is really as intense or violent as I want to get and this novel was like if you took Katniss and Peeta, turned them into foul-mouthed, intense killers and dropped them into a disease-ridden metropolis filled with other criminals, killers and rapists. Oh…that’s another thing  I wasn’t very fond of. The rape culture in this world is pretty intense and there were times where I wanted to put the book down just because of that.

Did I Like This Book?

Gahhh…I just don’t know! Some aspects of it I truly enjoyed and as I got closer and closer to the end I definitely found myself getting more invested. The book ends on a serious cliffhanger and I wouldn’t be surprised if my curiosity gets the best of me and I pick up book two when it comes out to see what happens. I just don’t know if I would have even started this book in the first place had I know how intense it was going to be. When I read the summary I was all “heck yeah…this is my kind of book”, but then I started reading and was all “orrrr maybe not”. I really feel like it should come with one of those disclaimers you see before shows on HBO.

source: theatlantic.com

source: theatlantic.com

I don’t know if I would even consider this is YA novel but it’s listed as such and has an age range of 13-17 years old. I know for a fact that I would NOT want my 13-year-old nephew reading this book….but that’s just me. I had a hard time reconciling the fact that this book is going to be marketed to younger teens, as I would say this book strikes me as having 17 years old and up subject matter. There are some graphic descriptions of killings and the whole story has a very intense and savage feel to it.

So that’s my (long-winded) way of saying, while I didn’t hate the book, it definitely wasn’t my favorite and it certainly is NOT the kind of book I would normally read. However, if you do enjoy dystopian novels that are raw and intense than you may want to give this one a shot.

Waiting on Wednesday: Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Can you believe we only have THREE WEEKS (and one day) until the release date of Isla and the Happily Ever After?! I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book forever but in reality it’s only been about five months since I finished Anna and Lola, so I know my wait has been quite a bit shorter than a lot of you out there. But…it’s almost over! I’m so excited and looking forward to catching up with some of the characters we met in Perkins’ previous two books, especially Josh. I always felt like his story deserved to be told and have a feeling that as we get to know him better, Josh will join the book boyfriend ranks of Etienne and Cricket.

As if a third Stephanie Perkins book was’t amazing enough, Penguin Teen has an absolutely amazing offer for anyone who pre-orders their copy of Isla from a list of participating stores.  On top of all the amazing swag, 25 lucky pre-orders from each store will also get THE TOTE!!!

click for source

click for source

OH…and if you haven’t already, you should definitely sign up for the Happily Ever After Readalong! Starting on July 31st, Andi, Jamie, Judith, Meg and Lindsey will be hosting a readalong of Anna and Lola leading up to the release of Isla. It promises to be a fantastic three weeks filled with blog posts and giveaways as well as the actual readalong of all three books. I’ve already signed up and you can too by clicking on any of the hosts names above or that pretty little badge created by Meg up there on the right!

How about you? Have you been eagerly anticipating this book? Ony 22 days to go!! In the meantime, head on over to my Pinterest board for some Anna, Lola, Isla goodness!

***

isla

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Expected publication: August 14th 2014 by Dutton
Pages: 339
Pre-order this book

Publisher Summary

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Top Ten Tuesday: Deserted Island Roll Call

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created at The Broke and the Bookish as a way to share our book-related lists with other bookish folks! This weeks topic is the ten characters I would want with me on a deserted island. I thought long and hard about this one, but so many of the people who kept popping into my head really come as part of a duo or team. I decided to cheat just a little bit and make my list a solid twelve people. Thankfully, my deserted island is pretty big (and has running water and electricity of course) so we’d all be happy and comfortable together on our tropical home away from home.

AriaPerryFINAL

banner created by me | cover image source: goodreads

Do I really need to explain? I mean, these two are hard-core outdoor survivalists! Between the two of them we’d have all the basic necessities covered! Fire, food and shelter…check, check, check!
Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

AmyRogerFINAL

banner created by me | cover image source: goodreads

Amy and Roger know how to make the best of a bad situation, so I’d rely on them to be in charge of island development. Before long they’d be arranging expeditions and we’d all be exploring hidden corners of the island.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

CelaenaChaolFINAL

banner created by me | cover image source: goodreads

I’d have the island on LOCK DOWN with Celaena and Chaol on security duty. Restless natives or dangerous animals wouldn’t stand a chance against these two bad-asses!
Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

banner created by me | original photo source: goodreads

banner created by me | cover image source: goodreads

Emily and Sloane would make sure everyone is having a great time and if people started getting bored they’d just whip out their deserted island to-do list! Oh…and I wouldn’t be mad if they decided to bring along Frank!
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

AlinaMalSturmhondFINAL

banner created by me | cover image source: goodreads

The trio of Alina, Mal and Sturmhond would be the team I’d rely on to get us OFF the island. Between the three of them you’ve got the brains, the brawn and the charm you’d need to find an escape.
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

PicMonkey Collage

banner created by me | cover image source: goodreads

What? You really thought I’d get through a top 10 list without mentioning Fangirl! You KNOW I’d be bringing along my book boyfriend Levi. I’d need a snuggle buddy to keep me warm at night and someone to tell my how pretty I am even after two solid weeks without a shower.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Honorable mentions*:

  • Dee and Reagan from Open Road Summer: they’d keep the music coming all day and night. Again…wouldn’t be mad if Matt Finch tagged along.
  • Scarlet from the Scarlet Series: you can never have too many deadly ladies on hand to keep things under control.

* Because my first boat got too crowded and they had to wait for the next one

I have to say, I think my deserted island is shaping up pretty nicely and I’m not sure I’d want to leave! How about you? Who would your top choices be for island neighbors? Do you think I made the right choices or would you make some substitutions? I’m open to suggestions…except Levi, he’s not going anywhere!