#BookBlogWriMo Day 15/16 – My Favorite and Least Favorite Things about Blogging [and Thanks]

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#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 and Thanks

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#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 – My Top Ten Posts and Thanks

#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.

Blog Tour – Review and Giveaway: Coral & Bone by Tiffany Daune

Coral & Bone
By: Tiffany Daune
Publication Date: July 7, 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Format of Book: E-Books

*I received free ARCs of Coral & Bone from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

Synopsis

Halen knows the sparks igniting under her fingertips are dangerous. She has spent her entire life trying to quell the tingly feelings that make her destroy things, but now that she is back in Rockaway Beach, where she watched her father drown, the flames have become impossible to tame.
Halen is trying to hold on, but when she is thrust into a mysterious new world, the underwater realm of Elosia, she unravels the secrets of her past and can’t help but ignite. As she explores Elosia, she realizes her life has been a lie. And when those who have deceived her come to her for help, Halen must choose—walk away or unleash the magick that could destroy them all.
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Welcome to my stop on the Coral & Bone Blog Tour! Below is my review AND a giveaway! Click on the image at the bottom of the screen for the rafflecopter! I have also included my Facebook page for this blog – go follow me there – I may or may not give away a copy of this book in the next couple of weeks. 🙂

The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 3.5/5 Stars
I really enjoyed meeting each of the characters in this story. Halen, the main character, was well-constructed and really an interesting read. She’s got some issues (don’t we all), but that’s what drives her. Tage is a really entertaining personality. She is a hard-edged, rough girl who has obviously been through a lot. And Dax… he’s pretty great. And Pepper and Catch… adorable.

Overall, Daune does a great job piecing together the personalities and little intricacies of each of her characters. Much like the world she has created, a lot of detail has gone in to add to this great story.

Dialogue  –  3.5/5 Stars
There were many times while reading this story that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the dialogue going on between characters. There were some wonderful comical moments, but the heavier ones were dealt with with realism. Each character’s personality shone through their words.

Plot  –  3.5/5 Stars
I think the thing I enjoyed most about this story is that this was a fairly new concept. Besides the whole “character realizes she’s been living a lie..” bit, which proves to be the plot driver, the rest is creative and fun. This plot hasn’t been done before, which gave Daune the freedom to just roam and let it happen. And she did.

Visual Imagery  –  4/5 Stars
So many great visuals – the world of Elosia has to be my favorite – bubble sphere rooms, beautiful colors, fun clothes. I enjoyed being able to live in this story for a little while because Daune creates wonderful setting(s) for the characters to be a part of.

Ending  3.5/5 Stars
The ending of this book was fantastic. I can’t give much of anything away, but I’ll be looking for the next book when that comes out.

Total: 18/25 Stars

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed how different this story is from others I have read. It was fun and exciting, and it really got my imaginative thought-strings running. I look forward to reading future installments in this series!

So… when does the next one come out?

Goodreads: Follow This Link
Purchase:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
AUTHOR BIO
“I write stories about magick, love and dark creatures lurking in the shadows. When I’m not lost in Edit Land you can find me reading a book from my towering TBR pile or at the movie theater nibbling licorice. I don’t have a lucky number, but my favorite time is 11:11. I completely believe that the fortunes found inside cookies will come true and that you must be careful when wishing on stars. I live on an island, so if you want to visit you’ll need a boat, and if you want to survive the passage, be sure to bring candy for the mermaids.”
Author links:

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Blog Review Tour: “Captivate Me” and “IRIS” by S.J. Pierce

 

 

IrisCaptivate Me       AND       IRIS
By: S.J. Pierce
Copyright: 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance
Format of Book: E-Books

*I received free ARCs of Captivate Me and IRIS from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

 

Synopsis of Captivate Me

“My mom had always told me – when you meet “the one”, you’ll know; they’ll captivate your heart the moment you lay eyes on them. I had always wondered, though, if my mom’s words of wisdom were finite – if they applied to everyone. Maybe those who had found their one great love were the lucky few, and maybe the rest of us would have to settle for less than earth-shattering.”Seventeen-year-old Kat Walsh is a Gifted – a human with paranormal abilities. With her mom a former Angel and her dad a dream prophet, it’s always been in her genetic make-up to be extraordinary. But, unfortunately for her, the world can’t handle the strange or unusual. So when she slips up and uses her powers at her high school in Ireland, the entire student body treats her like a freak – even the ones she thought were her closest friends.

Broken, but hopeful for a fresh start, she allows her parents to enroll her in a boarding school buried deep within the forests of a small Colorado town. At Midland Pines, School for the Gifted, she feels as though she can finally be herself; she makes new friends and even has the attention of the most popular guy in school – Levi. Everything feels normal again… or does it?

Not long after her arrival, weird dreams of an alluring boy whom she’s never met surface during the night, and the eerie, shadowy trees encircling their school seem to call to her. As these disturbing, yet enticing developments intensify, other bizarre occurrences happen – students and staff turn up missing, and mystery visitors leave gifts while she sleeps. With all of these other things fighting for her attention, a desperate Levi has to fight even harder to keep her interest. But with the dreams of the attractive boy slowly captivating her heart, Kat has to make a choice – will she settle for ‘great’ Levi, or will she search for her elusive dream visitor, possibly stumbling across ‘amazing’?

From the author of the Alyx Rayer Chronicles, comes a refreshingly different Young Adult series with plenty of love, suspense, and a new take on the Paranormal.

Recommended for readers 16 and up due to mature content.

Synopsis of IRIS (#1.5)
by S.J. Pierce
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

***This book is meant to be read after Captivate Me***Set before the events in Book One of the Captivated Series, “Iris” explores the depths of family bonds, new bonds, and the lengths a person would go to save the life of a dying sibling. In this novella, get to know Iris and her two sisters more intimately, as well as Gabriel, the first angel-human hybrid who agrees to live under her protection.

Recommended for readers 16 and up due to mature content.

Welcome to my stop on the Captivate Me/IRIS Blog Tour! Below is my review of the first book with a teaser about the next AND a giveaway! Click on the image at the bottom of the screen for the rafflecopter!

The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 3.5/5 Stars
I really enjoyed reading the various characters in Captivate Me and then learning more about some of them in IRIS. Kat is a well-created character who has quite a bit of learning and growing up to do. This obviously sets the stage for some pretty interesting things to happen. Kat is just learning to be herself after hiding her Gift for so long. She’s quickly sought after by a very nice and popular guy named Levi. I also like Kat’s roommate Anna; she and Kat are a perfect pair. There is also a mess of other characters who I deeply enjoy, GabrielIris, and a few others.. but you’ll have to read to learn more. Pierce does a good job creating her characters and giving them enough backstory to move the story along, but leaving enough up in the air for the reader to want to learn more.

Dialogue  –  3/5 Stars
The dialogue in Captivate Me is realistic and fitting for the Young Adult reader. There is nothing overly stand-out, but it does help move the story along. I like the internal monologue, as well.

I found the dialogue in IRIS to be a lot more fun. Perhaps this is because of the characters and personalities of those involved in this particular novella.

Plot  –  3.5/5 Stars
This was a fresh take on the typical paranormal young adult books that are floating around. I haven’t seen this story before, which is part of the reason I found it so much more enjoyable. All of the characters have their own sub-story, which enables a novella like IRIS to work so well.

Visual Imagery  –  3/5 Stars
There are some really great visual moments, such as those in the woods, but I felt this story could have used more in the visuals. This would have helped drive the story farther. I wanted to “see” more colors and patterns. This is not a complaint, just a suggestion, however.

Ending  4/5 Stars
I definitely enjoyed the ending of this book. There was a lot to be said, but it was done in a wonderful way. Captivate Me ended wonderfully, opening the door to Book 2, and IRIS introduced what will be happening in 2, but should be read AFTER Captivate Me.

Total: 17/25 Stars

Why read this book?

I am a big fan of YA Paranormal books and this one was done very well. Definitely worth a shot.

Goodreads: Follow This Link
Purchase Captivate Me:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
Purchase IRIS:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
AUTHOR BIO
Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare  time to writing Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-fi novels.Author Links:
http://sjpiercebooks.blogspot.ca/

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Review: The Lilith Scroll by B.L. Marsh

 The Lilith Scroll
By: B.L. Marsh
Copyright: 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy/New Adult
Format of Book: E-Book

*I received a free ARC of The Lilith Scroll from N K Author Services in exchange of an honest review.

Please see this post for the book spotlight and more information on where you can find it!

Synopsis
What if you discovered there was time before time began? What if everything you thought was true, was not? What if there was a beginning before, “In the beginning”? What if another story was unfolding within our time? A story steeped in loss, love, betrayal, and secrets?

On her twenty-third celebrated birthday, Lilith arrived in Scotland, following clues she had secretly collected about her past. Little did she know that her arrival at the Rosslyn Chapel would reignite one of the oldest wars of all time- The Fall. Sides will be chosen, lives will be lost, and the secret kept all this time by the Illuminati will be exposed.

Welcome to Eden. The place where magic was born, trees are gateways to other realms, and Angels aren’t what you think they are. Meet Lilith. A young woman with an incredible story; one she isn’t supposed to know, much less tell. Meet Sam. A man with an unknown past and powers that rival Lilith’s.

Go back in time. Back to the garden. Experience the magic of creation, the wonder of nature, and the betrayal that destroyed it all.

The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 4.5/5 Stars
I found the characters in The Lilith Scroll to be incredibly complex and well-developed. Marsh does an incredible job weaving character webs and she hooked me very quickly. Lilith St. Claire is our main focus and I found myself wanting to join her in her adventure to find out about her past. Oh, and Sam… I’ll just leave it at that. Part of what drew me in to each of the characters is that there was a reason they became how they did and Marsh placed motivation into each of their actions, regardless of how small.

Dialogue  –  3.5/5 Stars
There were moments in The Lilith Scroll where I fell completely in love with a character because of their various monologues and speech patterns. Marsh creates a beautiful dialogue, especially between Sam and Lilith. There’s a moment toward the end where I had to re-read just so I could live the moment again. The dialogue is realistic and appropriate for the time at which it takes place. The dialogue and the plot work hand-in-hand to create a wonderful story.

Plot  –  4.5/5 Stars
I was unsure, at first, how I would feel about this story. As a personal preference, I don’t usually gravitate to stories that appear to be about religion, but this was such a wonderfully different story than what I expected. It was a bit slow to start and slightly confusing as I adjusted to Marsh’s style, but once I did, I fell right in line and enjoyed the adventure. I loved that I understood the shorter Hebrew phrases. Marsh did a fantastic job weaving her educational studies into this impressive novel.

Visual Imagery  –  4/5 Stars
There were many times during The Lilith Scroll where I felt like I was right there, experiencing the sights, smells, and feelings. Moments in the Garden had me reliving my own studies when I was younger. Marsh describes everything as I pictured them, but so much better.

Ending  3/5 Stars
I wanted a little bit more, but considering the rest of the novel was at such great length with such hefty detail, the ending was a bit of a relief as it closed the loop. I look forward to seeing where Marsh takes this story and what is to come.

Total: 19.5/25 Stars

Why read this book?

There’s something different about this story from anything else I’ve read. If you enjoy reading Tolkien, this is a great option for you.

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Blog Tour and Review: Crystal Magic by Madeline Freeman


CrystalMagicTourBanner2

Crystal Magic CoverCrystal Magic (Clearwater Witches #1)
By: Madeline Freeman
Copyright: 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance
Format of Book: E-Book

*I received a free ARC of Crystal Magic from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

Synopsis
Nothing is safe around Kristyl Barnette. Windows break. Books rocket across the room. Lights flicker. Strange occurrences follow the sixteen-year-old everywhere.

When tragedy forces her to move to the small town of Clearwater, Michigan, with her estranged aunt Jodi, Kristyl tries to leave her past behind. But Clearwater has secrets of its own—a mystical history that intersects with Kristyl’s life and might shed light on the inexplicable events that plague her.

When a mysterious illness threatens her aunt’s life, Kristyl will do anything to cure her. Enlisting the help of witches could save Jodi, but is dealing in magic worth the consequences?

Welcome to my stop on the Crystal Magic Blog Tour! Below is my review of the book and a tour-wide giveaway (follow the link) for a signed copy of Crystal Magic. (This giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers.)

The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 3.5/5 Stars
The characters in Crystal Magic are very lovable. Kristyl (Krissa) is really genuine and I found myself wanting to reach through the pages to hug her at times and others I wanted to high-five her for just being awesome. She’s genuinely curious and resilient. She’s had a lot to adjust to, as we find out at the beginning of the book, but that’s only the beginning for her. I enjoyed following her through her journey and finding out how she adapted to each curveball thrown at her. Krissa’s aunt, Jodi, is endearing and caring; it’s apparent early on that there’s something about her we don’t know.

Another wonderful character is Owen – ugh, love him. I did find myself wanting to know more about him. Luckily, this is a series, so I may get my wish.

One character I couldn’t stand is Crystal. (Imagine having to share your name with someone who is just an all-around bully.) She is developed well and has a nice bite to her.

Dialogue  –  3/5 Stars
The dialogue in Crystal Magic is realistic and fits the Young Adult genre well. I enjoyed the back and forth between Owen and Krissa. There was something refreshing about finding dialogue that can read aloud and on the page easily. The arguments aren’t forced and the monologues aren’t heavy.

Plot  –  3.5/5 Stars
This is a fun story with some nice twists. Between finding out the backstory of our main character and sifting through the crazy in the town of Clearwater, I was pulled right into the story. I look forward to seeing where this all goes in future books.

Visual Imagery  –  3/5 Stars
There are some really good moments throughout the book. As this wasn’t a visual-heavy story, I found myself drawn to Jodi’s store, Hannah’s Herbs. I could see the stones and jewelry. Having been in places like this before, I could practically smell the incense burning. I also enjoyed “seeing” the town of Clearwater and adventuring through Krissa’s new home.

Ending  4/5 Stars
Well, as far as endings go, this one was pretty great. I sort of saw it coming (just a teeny bit, and only by a hunch) but not to the extent that it did. I have to say it was VERY well done. (Yay for cryptic reviews, huh?)

Total: 17/25 Stars

Why read this book?

If you enjoy Young Adult Paranormal books, Crystal Magic is a pretty great choice for you. This may be my powers of seeing the future kicking in, but I have a feeling that this is a series to keep an eye on. I look forward to finding out what happens next.

Goodreads: Follow This Link
 
Purchase:
–Amazon: Follow This Link 
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MadelineAUTHOR BIO
Madeline Freeman lives in the metro-Detroit area with her husband, her daughter, and her cats. In the time she should spend doing housework, she rewatches Fringe. She also loves anything to do with astronomy, outer space, plate tectonics, and dinosaurs, and secretly hopes her daughter will become an astronomer or a paleontologist.
 
Author links:

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