I have read so many wonderful books this year. I’ve included some of them below, in no particular order. This in no way covers all of the awesome books I read this year, just touches on them. Click on the books to view the corresponding blog page (if there is one yet.) Enjoy!!
#BookBlogWriMo Day 15 and 16!!
So, I was out of pocket all day yesterday, thus you have a two-in-one post!!
My Favorite Book Blogging Things
- Getting to read – Well, I’d hope this was one of my favorite things about this process, otherwise doing it would be silly!!
- Meeting new people – I’ve met so many great authors and bloggers through this process. Having the chance to become an editor for one of those authors was even greater and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have this blog. They’re something great about being a part of this community; we all understand the addiction.
- Discovering new favorite authors and books – Oh my. My Kindle has SO many great books on it. I’m always finding new great books on BookHub and through book tours and recommendations.
- Free books – Ah, does this really need explanation? This is a wonderful perk.
- The opportunity to do what I love – I went to school for English and Journalism, so I’m happy to be able to put that to good use. I enjoy doing this. It’s fun, productive, and educational.
- Having the chance to read books before release – Another great perk! It’s what I’d imagine going to a movie premier would be like – just without the celebrities and photo ops!
My Least Favorite Book Blogging Things
- It can get expensive – Oh yes. Once you get hooked on an author or book series, stopping the chain of purchase is very difficult.
- Over booking – This is so easy when there are so many great opportunities to review so many great books. I’ve recently taken a look at my methods and cut back a bit so I can get my ducks in a row.
- Not having enough time to read everything – The plight of all major book worms.
30 Days of Thanks – Day 15 and 16
I am thankful for great friends. It’s always wonderful to look forward to fun get togethers with friends [and family.] Friends are the family we get to choose for ourselves.
I am thankful for public transportation. Sure, driving is great – but public transit allows for decompression time!
#BookBlogWriMo Day 12 – Advice for Newbie Bloggers
- Make sure you have the time to dedicate to blogging. It’s such an easy “hobby” to lose track of and forget about.
- Come up with a theme of some kind. I am a book blogger, but I will begin dabbling in other things at some point. I used to be a writer, so I’m hoping to bring that back out again. Some people have cooking blogs, some have scrapbooking, some have parenting advice… the list goes on and on.
- Decide if you want to write for an audience or write for yourself. This will give you focus instead of being all over the place.
- Join Facebook groups that have to do with your theme. I am a part of The Book Blogger’s Resource on Facebook and this page has helped me immensely as I’ve decided the path I want to take this blog.
- Don’t try to do too much at once. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fun of signing up for blog tours and things (especially as a book blogger), but you are one person. If you are starting your blog with multiple people, plan it out. I do this alone, so my time is far less. Keeping a planner helps keep everything in line.
- Schedule posts in advance. Or at least try to plan out what you want to post about. This is something I’m working on improving. It’s a work in progress. 🙂
- Network – there are so many people out there who do what you do, do what you want to do, and can help you grow. There are great friends to be made, as well. I’ve met so many wonderful people through this blog that I wouldn’t have originally.
- Stay true to you. If you don’t want to post about a specific subject or market certain product, you don’t have to! I don’t post certain things on here even though I know it will bring in more of an audience. It’s just not my thing. If you want to gear your blog to only cooking desserts, well power to you! If you only want to do cover reveals on your blog and you will NOT post reviews, go right ahead. 🙂 You do you, kid.
- For the love of all that is loved, please check your spelling and grammar. There is nothing less sexy than a poorly produced post.
- Keep a journal – either a real one or in your phone – to plot down ideas for posts. I used to find myself coming up with great ideas, but didn’t have anywhere to put them. Now I have Little Red – my mini journal that I keep track of everything in, from book reviews to blog post topics to story ideas.
- Try to post at least once a week. This was something I struggled with and that’s why I try to sign up for a blog tour a week. I tend to lag behind a bit or hit a slow patch, but I’ve been adjusting. Looking back, I’d definitely have planned out some more posts in the beginning before I launched. Non-blog life does get in the way, of course. That’s ok. You don’t HAVE to post a certain number of times, but it’s better if you want to have consistent follows.
- Do what you love so that you love what you do. If not, then what’s the point?
30 Days of Thanks – Day 12
Today I am thankful for journals. I’ve always had one, ever since I was little. I started collecting them a few years ago and haven’t stopped. I’m picky about my journals because I want to make sure they have a purpose in my collection. Sometimes I write in them, sometimes I give them away as gifts, and something they just sit there like something beautiful on my journal shelf. Journals are a wonderful place to jot epiphanies, keep your secrets, water your ideas, and keep the brain juices flowing. They’re a friend to look back on after many years, and they’re an enemy when you don’t want to remember. They’re small enough to tuck away until the time is right, and they’re a lifesaver. They’re that thing your little sister tries to find under your mattress to read your deepest adolescent secrets, and they’re the thing that you can trust when you’re little and don’t know who to turn to. They’re what you tell your first crush to and they’re what you throw across the room when you’re really angry. Journals are pretty awesome. Unless there’s an angry wizard soul hiding in one… then you’re in trouble.
#BookBlogWriMo Day 11 – #TopTuesday – My Most Popular Posts of All Time
I have actually never used this feature on my blog before, so it was really interesting to see what posts have accumulated a following and what ones aren’t as popular. Here are my top ten posts so far. My blog has only recently begun gaining more traffic as I’ve been posting more, but I’m excited to see what has been doing well.
#10 C: The Four C’s to a Great Book and a Successful Review From Me – 4/4/2014 – 22 views – This is actually one of my favorite posts on this blog. It pretty much spells it all out – what I review and what it takes to get a good rating from me. I have received some great feedback for this post and it’s a great reference for authors and other bloggers who are looking for ideas on a reviewing system.
#9 Blog Tour: Book Review + Giveaway – Inevitable Detour by S.R. Grey – 10/10/2014 – 22 views – Blog tours are always great traffic drivers.
#8 Book Boyfriends and Lady Loves – Updated 2/6/2014 – 23 views – Ah, another one of my favorite posts on this blog. I haven’t updated this in a while, so I’m due for another few lovely fellers and ladies.
#7 #BookBlogWriMo Day 1 – The History of My Blog and Thanks – 11/1/2014 – 26 views – Self explanatory. From just a few days ago!
#6 Book Review: From the Wreckage by Michele G. Miller – 7/9/2014 – 29 views – For those who don’t know, I am Michele’s editor. This is awesome. Beyond awesome, really. I met Michele through my blogging, joined her street team, then the rest is history. I started editing for her on the third book in this series – All That Remains. This series is awesome and Michele is a phenomenal author.
#5 A Little Bit About Me and My Love For Books – 3/7/2014 – 32 views – This post has a whole lot of information about me in interview-ish form. Worth checking out if you’re interested in learning more.
#4 Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – 2/27/2014 – 37 views – My first ever book review! Not really a huge fan of the book, though. Ha!
#3 My First Rafflecopter Giveaway – 10/24/2014 – 50 views – Another milestone! Hoping to do a huge giveaway in January when my blog hits one year!
#2 Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway – #Nerd by Cambria Hebert – 11/3/2014 – 51 views – Part of a blog tour, #Nerd was a fun read and I’m excited that the next book will be coming out soon. 🙂 If there’s a tour for that one, I will definitely be participating.
#1 Blog Tour – Review – Unlit Star by Lindy Zart – 10/10/2014 – 95 views! – This is one of the most incredible books I have read. When I go into the search stats for my blog (aka, how people found my blog and posts) many of them have been searches for “Unlit Star” and the various characters and plot points within. I’m always on board for Lindy Zart’s book tours, as she’s one of my favorite authors.
30 Days of Thanks – Day 11
I am thankful for all of those military men and women – past and present – who put their lives on the line each day.
By: Cambria Hebert
Publication Date: November 1, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Format of Book: E-Book
The Final Countdown
Characterization – 3.5/5 Stars
I found the characters here to be well-developed and interesting. Their personalities were stark contrast from one another, which was effective in keeping the story interesting. Rimmel Hudson is the main character. to start, her name is different than typical leading females. She’s a “nerd” with secrets. Rimmel secluded herself from others, but she is in no way a doormat. Her love of animals pulled me in, but I found that she very easily gets swept up in her emotions. Roman “Romeo” Anderson is a jock with his own set of problems. He has earned himself the nickname “Romeo” for obvious reasons. Our first impressions of this guy are pretty gross and, to be frank, I still don’t like him. Regardless of anything redeeming about him, unfortunately he left a sour taste in myself. But don’t mistake that for a dislike of this book – these characters fit together very well in the context of this story. Ivy is Rimmel’s roommate and they are polar opposites. I’d love to get the know Ivy a bit more. And then there’s Braeden – what Roman lacks, Braeden has. I like him a lot and want to know more about him, as well.
Dialogue – 3.5/5 Stars
The dialogue is well-executed and realistic. I enjoyed the conversations between characters and the Alpha Buzz alerts.
Plot – 3.5/5 Stars
This story felt very familiar, but while it is not wholly original, I liked it. Perhaps it’s my own nerdiness, but I enjoyed the movement of the plot. They pace was realistic, especially where it takes place in college. There was a but of steam, but that’s also realistic to college.
Visual Imagery – 3.5/5 Stars
There are definitely some very visual moments in this book – one of them early on being the reason I’m not a huge Roman fan, but this book has some great descriptors without going overboard. The use of Alpha Buzzfeed alerts was effective and started out new chapters in a fun way.
Ending 3/5 Stars
(Warning: potential sort of spoiler alert, but jot fully?) The story ended well, but wrapped things up in a far neater package than seemed realistic. This may just be me, haha. I would definitely read the next in the series. I’m curious and intrigued by what happens next. Winter 2015 will be interesting.
Total: 17/25 Stars
Inevitable Detour (Inevitability #1)
By: S.R. Grey
Publication Date: September 7, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Format of Book: E-Book
Steam Factor: Open a window… lots of detailed steam.
Trigger Warning: This book does contain scenes that may be a trigger.
My name is Essalin Brant, but everyone calls me Essa. I attend a small college in a tiny town, and in my twenty-two years of life I’ve never even traveled outside the state of Pennsylvania. You could say my life is pretty boring. I live by the rules. I’m a good girl and nothing exciting ever happens.
But that’s all about to change.
Enter Farren Shaw. Not only is he older and intimidating, but he’s more sure of himself than any 29-year-old man has a right to be. Did I mention that he’s drop-dead gorgeous? Well, he is. He also happens to be my best friend Haven’s brother. And I would be content with just fantasizing about Farren from afar, but when Haven suddenly goes missing, her gorgeous brother is the only one who believes me when I say she was abducted, even though all signs seem to suggest Haven left town willingly.
I know better, though. As does Farren. So when he asks me to accompany him to search for his sister, I accept.
That’s when the real adventure begins.
Our quest to find Haven takes us across the country. And throughout the time we spend together, I find myself falling for Farren . . . falling hard. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted. But is he really someone I should fear?
Because aside from making me feel things I’ve never felt before, Farren is hiding something. Something big. What could this stunning man be keeping from me? And why? Is Haven’s disappearance somehow connected to his mysterious job?
All I know is that things are about to get real.
Welcome to the Inevitable Detour that has become my life.
The Final Countdown
Characterization – 3.5/5 Stars
The characterization in this book was done pretty well, though there were moments throughout the story that I felt the reactions were unrealistic or that the characters bounced back a little quicker to certain scenarios that seemed likely. That being said – I thought that all of the characters had a great dynamic with one another. Essa is the average small town girl with overbearing parents and a dream for her future that she doesn’t see a way of accomplishing. She’s a “good” girl with little experience in the world. Haven is Essa’s best friend. There’s something wonderful between these two and, when Haven goes missing, I appreciate that Essa is willing to put her fears aside and try to find her. With Haven out of the picture, the story does seem to be missing something – but for the type of story this is, it works. Enter Farren, Haven’s brother and Essa’s crush of forever. He’s a very strong male character, but he is respectful of women – always a plus. These characters, along with others, intertwine well together.
Dialogue – 3.5/5 Stars
The dialogue in this story was realistic, and at times uncomfortable due to subject matter. This discomfort was intentional and worked for the story, but I did need to look up every so often.
Plot – 3/5 Stars
This plot was pretty great. I love reading suspense, though I don’t get to often. I enjoyed that there was a mostly realistic issue that needed to be solved; watching it unravel was fun, as well. As mentioned above, there were points where I felt myself thinking “Really?” and having difficulty moving forward because it didn’t seem realistic. With such heavy subject matter, parts felt brushed over. Others were very well done. There’s a scene later in the book that had me cringing because of how perfectly it was written… I wish I could share, but you’ll just have to find it out for yourself.
Visual Imagery – 3/5 Stars
Of all the pieces, I’d have liked to have “seen” more of this story. There were moments where I found details to be abundant (steamier scenes) and then many others where I wanted to know more.
Ending 3/5 Stars
The ending was done well. I had my inklings as to what was going to happen, but it worked.
Total: 16/25 Stars
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/S.R.-Grey/e/B00A1ACRBE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1401638256&sr=1-1
Newsletter sign-up link (exclusive excerpts, specials, writing tips, and more):http://mad.ly/signups/106801/join
50$ Amazon gift card
5x eBook copy of Inevitable detour
Only fools fall in love…
After her senior year of high school leaves behind nothing but heartache, Olivia Beaumont is sure of this: She’s no stupid girl. She sets out for Winston College, promising herself that she will remain focused on her first and only love – astronomy. But all it takes is cocky sophomore Brax Jenkins and an accidental collision with a football, to throw her entire year off course.
A quick-tempered Southie who escaped the inner city streets of Boston to pitch for Winston, Brax is known to play way more fields than just the baseball diamond. So, when his name is drawn to take part in his fraternity’s hazing dare, Brax eagerly accepts the mission to take Olivia’s virginity. But he doesn’t plan on falling hard for the sweet and sassy Texas girl who sees right through his bad-boy persona.
As Olivia and Brax battle their feelings for each other, echoes of the past year begin to surface. A boy who once turned Olivia’s whole world upside down reappears, and “harmless” pranks wreak havoc. Pretty soon the aspiring astronomer is on the verge of revealing her most difficult, heartbreaking secret. All the while, Brax must wrestle with the irrevocable dare, and Olivia struggles against all logic as she does the one thing only a stupid girl would do: fall in love.
Brax: Wake your ass up, Sunshine.
I grinned as I stared at his text. What a charmer.
Me: I’ve been up, Boston. I had celestial homework on the rooftop. What’s up?
Brax: I’m running late. Celestial you say? Sounds sexy. Meet u in class?
Me: Of course. Everything sounds sexy to you, weirdo. Last one there’s a rotten egg.
Brax: A dare? You’re on. But it’ll be worth more than eggs, sweetheart.
Me: We’ll see.
Brax: L8R beautiful.
Me: You’re crazy.
Brax: I know.
I set my phone down and glanced over at Tessa, still curled up in a ball on her side, buried in the covers. She’d come in late last night, long after Brax and I had said goodbye. “Tess? Are you okay?”
She turned her head and one eye cracked open as she peered through a mossy mass of tangled hair. She groaned. “I don’t feel so good, chica. I’m going to skip class.”
I stared and shook my head. “For shame. Can I get you anything?”
Tessa pulled the covers completely over her head. “Yeah. A hammer. Then you can bonk me on the head with it.”
I laughed lightly and continued getting ready for class. Steven had agreed to take my shift so I could go to Brax’s baseball game Saturday, and I’d taken his shift for tonight. Excitement coursed through me at watching Brax pitch. I could barely wait.
Pulling on a pair of jeans, a cami top and a three-quarter sleeved snap up shirt to wear over it, I hurriedly dressed, pulled on my All-Stars and grabbed my pack and bag. One final glance at Tessa’s huddled form beneath the covers, and I headed out. I hit the stairwell and jogged down to the first floor, but the second I entered the common room, I noticed quite a healthy amount of heads had turned my way. A little self-conscious, I wondered why they were all looking at me. Making my way to the front door, I stepped outside and noticed more students in the parking lot. As I walked, heads turned. What was going on?
“Hey, Olivia.” A hand reached for my arm, and I turned to find a girl named Becca from my astronomy class. In her expression I immediately saw pity. “Do you know who did it? Pretty lame.”
She pointed. “Isn’t that your truck over there?”
I followed her gaze and pointed finger to where my truck was parked. Several people stood around it, holding their cell phones up. My feet started moving before my brain kicked in, and I started pushing my way through the gathered students toward it. With my heart in my throat, I finally got close enough to see what the fuss was all about. White letters slashed across the hood, fender. Pushing ahead of the people who stood gawking and taking pics, I could do nothing but stare, horrified at the vulgar words scrawled against the blue paint.
Embarrassment washed through my body, and anger, shock, almost paralyzed me. A few voices filtrated through my brain as I continued to stare. Oh shit, man, that’s harsh, and Oh. My. God. I didn’t look up. Didn’t look at anyone. I just turned, pushed through the crowd and headed back to the dorm to find something to wash it all off. Eyes followed me, of course, all the way back through the common room, and I eased up stairs and into mine and Tessa’s dorm. She lay sleeping, just as I’d left her. Quietly, I grabbed a few older towels I’d brought with me specifically for washing the truck, and just as I was slipping back out the door Tessa stirred.
“Something wrong?” she asked feebly.
“No, go back to sleep,” I said. “