Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Good Books and Good Wine

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 15

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 15

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Who are your book blogging mentors?

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet because if you go to my post for Day 3 on blogging BFFs it will be identical.

I learned my main reviewing style from the always amazing Annabelle at Sparkles and Lightning. I try to give her credit every so often when I stray too far toward copying her, and while I have since made a few changes to my style it was her blog that gave me the foundation.

You know those fun Hobbit Sized Reviews I mix in every so often? Those were inspired by the nicest blogger out there, Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer who does Coffee Pot Reviews. Hers run shorter than mine as I can never seem to cut it down to less than two paragraphs, but they definitely are where my Hobbit Sized idea came from. Again, I give her full credit, she’s freaking awesome.

Once in a while I’ll break things down into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. While that isn’t an original way of doing things by any means, I did get it from Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy though Jennifer replaces “the ugly” with The Snuggly (to talk about the romance) and I kept it as the original cliched version.

This is not to say my content is a blatant copy/paste of other blogger’s styles and I just input new words for each book. I hope think that the alterations I make set my posts apart, but those incredible bloggers deserve credit for giving me a great foundation to work with. The rest of what you see on my blog is original to my brain (as much as it can be anyway) whether it is my design, banner, button, Pro/Con or Anthology breakdowns for reviews, and especially my rating system. Those are unique to me. However, when you ask who my bloggy mentors are? Annabelle first and foremost, Kimberly for the short and sweet, and Jennifer despite me not using The Snuggly are mine, but more than that they are my bloggy friends. Thanks as always for reading.


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 14

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 14

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Tell us your deal breakers.

For this challenge I’ll list a few deal breakers, first the positive then the negative, and try to shed some more light on why I buy the books I do!

The Good

  • Auto-buy Authors – This is something I will expand on in a future post but there are definitely authors I LOVE so much that if a book comes out by them it is instantly on my shelf (virtual or regular) because I MUST have it! It doesn’t matter if they change genres or even target age groups (MG/YA/Adult/etc.) I will love it! Some authors on this list: Ann Aguirre, Rick Riordan, Sarah-Jane Lehoux, Leigh Wilder, Zoe E. Whitten, Malcolm Gladwell & John Green.
  • Synopsis Seduction – If the summary on Goodreads/Amazon/etc. is so good that I literally HAVE to buy it. This has happened numerous times and I’m sure will continue to happen in the future. The genre of the book sometimes ceases to matter, it’s all about that beautiful tease that I can’t ignore. Recent examples of this: Insomnia by J. R. Johansson, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (not yet released) and Fade to Black by Francis Knight.
  • Pretty Picture Passion – That’s right, I do succumb to book covers every so often. I can’t help it! I want to be able to put it on my shelf (after reading it of course) and call it one of my pretties. My bank account doesn’t thank me for these but some are too tempting to resist. Often the book at least interests me a bit as well, but it is the cover that makes me click that buy button. Very recent examples of this: Black City by Elizabeth Richards and Ink by Amanda Sun.

The Bad

  • Painfully Putrid Picture – Yup, I’m a cover snob as much as a cover lover. If your book sounds interesting but the cover makes me want to gag or burst into laughing fits (for all the wrong reasons) it isn’t winding up on my shelves. I have a few books where the covers aren’t amazing but for the most part I love all of my beautiful books and to taint that with bad, poorly done or bland covers would be a disgrace. Have you seen Katytastic’s recent quickie bookshelf tour? That’s what I want my shelves to be like and this means I may miss out on a great story or two, but there are plenty out there for me to read and this helps narrow down (a little) what I buy.
  • Infuriating Instalove – If you follow my blog you know my feelings on this. I do check out reviews for the books I buy on most occasions and if I catch wind of instalove and it doesn’t fall under my author auto-buy list it will take a TON of other positives to make me actually buy the book. In the vast majority of cases this is a deal breaker.
  • Cardboard Cutout – Oh the summary sounds really familiar, the preview (if there is one) makes it seem just like book x that I just read and the reviews say it’s JUST LIKE books x, y and z? Forget it. If the book doesn’t seem original or is far too similar to another book I’ve read or heard about then I’m probably not reading this let alone buying it. I love so many books and I don’t want to read carbon copies of them when there is so much original content out there to explore!

So what do you think of my deal breakers? Do you share any of them or are you the complete opposite? What are your deal breakers? Let me know, I’d love to check them out! ^.^ See you tomorrow for the last day of the challenge!


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 13

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 13

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Describe one underappreciated book EVERYONE should read.

There are SO many books to choose from for this challenge (as I’m sure all the bloggers participating in this one are saying) so it is very difficult to just pick one, but I’ll go with the first one that came to mind. The book is Thief by Sarah-Jane Lehoux which you can pick up from Amazon for only 99 cents!

Thief is primarily a fantasy book. You see elves featured a decent amount, though the dark elves are arguably cooler than their light counterparts if you ask me. There are also goddesses and pixies as well as a variety of other lesser used creatures which you’ll have to find out more about by reading the book.

Thief is headlined by Sevy, a kick-ass heroine who is easily one of my favorite characters in any book I’ve ever read. She’s that classic bad-ass on the outside and softie/sweetheart on the inside, but don’t let her know I told you that. She started from nothing, literally growing up on the streets and was stealing to get by until she runs into the other main character, Jarro. Picture your typical nice guy in your head, that’s Jarro, only he’s a gang leader. How does a guy like that end up in a gang? You’ll have to read the book to find out! I’m such a tease. ^.^

The book is action packed with displays of the fantastic, battles, rescues and grand adventures, the book has it all. There are also elements of romance that fuel a lot of the book’s plot but it melds perfectly with the rest of the story. Pain and loss are acutely felt by the reader, or at least by me, and the desire to see Sevy reach a “happily ever after” becomes just as big of a drive for us as it is for Sevy and the other characters in Thief.

I can’t say much more without spoiling major bits of the book so I’ll just say that I loved it and you should definitely read it. Fantasy fans this is a must read for you. Action junkies you too. Oh and sweet romance lovers make sure to check it out as well. Really just anyone who loves a good book needs to read Thief. What underappreciated book should I check out that you love? Why is it so amazing? Thanks as always for reading! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 12

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 12

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: How do you fight blogger fatigue?

Not particularly well is the honest answer here. In the short time my blog has been up (less than a year) I took a hiatus twice and they were both a bit lengthy, particularly my last one. I had legitimate reasons for taking them, but regardless I don’t do well when I’m crazy fatigued. However, on a day to day level there are a few tactics to keep blogging from becoming dull or tiresome, though they’re pretty obvious. Diversify.

  • Try a different post than you are used to: If you constantly post the same type all the time (say like me with reviews) you may get bored or lose interest with blogging. It’s repetitive and, especially in the case of reviews at least for me, time consuming and a lot of effort. So try a meme, write a random post about whatever or if you just have all the emotions post a couple gifs, tell your followers how much you love them and then collapse. No one will blame you.
  • Read a different genre: Another obvious tip but this is my main way to fight the reading/reviewing process from becoming stale. I try to change up the genre at least a bit every so often to avoid getting stuck in a rut. This of course goes out the window when I have deadlines or am so in love with a series that I MUST READ IT NOW (to avoid explosions of bookishness) but after the deadline books I move to a different genre or book I was really looking forward to.
  • Change up your format for whatever type of post you write. For me this again goes to reviews and I do try to change my format every so often. Usually it’s a breakdown of the book by major category with a summary at the end to explain my overall feelings. However, I sometimes do the Hobbit-Sized reviews which are usually lighter and a bit more fun rather than my analytical approach, or I’ll do it in some type of list format if it feels more appropriate (anthologies especially) and for me that works.

How do you avoid blogger fatigue? Are you very successful or does it still get to you sometimes? Do you never have any blogger fatigue due to how awesome it is to interact with the blogging/bookish community? Let me know! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 11

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 11

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Show off 5 of your best blog posts!

From reading some of the other blogs that are participating in this challenge it seems like this is one of the harder ones, and I can understand why. It involves tooting our own horn, something a few of us either aren’t especially good at or don’t really like doing. Share an awesome new book? Heck ya! Talk about a cool new author about to debut? Love to! However, get us to say how awesome we are and some of us clam up so tight you need the jaws of life to pry us open. In my case I just wasn’t sure which posts I thought were my “best” and sifting through my reviews (really the only ones worthy of consideration, I’m not going to pick a meme post after all) was the only way I could think of doing it. So, these may not be the best, but I liked how they turned out for one reason or another.

  • Day 70: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger: Let the horn tooting begin! (Not a phrase you hear every day…) When I did this review I was still coming off that natural high you get after reading a book you know has become one of your all time favorites. Giving it less than five smiling Frodos wasn’t even an option in my head. So maybe it was the book’s awesomeness seeping into my review, but I felt like this was one of my better ones, especially out of the positive ones (which for whatever reason I have more trouble with than the negative). I’m happy with how my writing was at the time, the flow of the review and if someone were to read it I would imagine this could push them right over the fence they were on and make them read the book. I give Etiquette & Espionage, and Gail Carriger of course, full credit for the quality of the review, without her amazing piece I couldn’t have so many great things to say. ^.^
  • Interview with Sarah-Jane Lehoux: What’s this? A non-review post? Of course! You thought this would be all about me? I loved doing the interview with Sarah-Jane. Coming up with those questions and trying to be original wasn’t easy for me since this was my first attempt at an interview on the blog and I didn’t have any stock questions to fire off. Somehow they seemed to be a lot of fun for her to answer and the answers she gave? Interesting, informative, hilarious and a bit snarky, which pretty much sums Sarah-Jane up too. Seriously though, this was just a blast and I’m so glad we set this up (especially because I almost backed out of it due to nerves) and would happily do it again.
  • Day 59: The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton: While I don’t enjoy torching a book  because I know how much work goes into it, sometimes I have to. This was one of those times. The reason why this makes my “best” blog posts is because, while it wasn’t necessarily my most fun to write, I felt the review I did was actually pretty good. Humor was incorporated seamlessly, the analysis was strong and I didn’t trip over my own words (which I have a tendency to do at times). Also, the review gives a potential reader of my blog a good idea of elements in books I really don’t like and if they don’t mind them or even, in fact, like them then they know our feelings toward books probably won’t mesh well. Conversely, if you hate what I hate, you likely will love the elements I love in books too. The review just worked despite having to be harsh at times. I tried to be constructive, attempted to bring up what few positive elements I could drag out of this piece, but overall it was mostly just a Hulk smash of negativity.

  • Day 46: END: An Apocalyptic Anthology: This wasn’t my best review in terms of writing quality, it was short and not overly detailed because of the novella length stories and the breakdowns were simple, though not bad. So why does this make the cut? Impact. If you’ve followed my blog (especially long enough to see this many posts which I LOVE you for) you’d know I work with Angela Kulig on a semi-regular basis. Essentially whenever she has something new come out you’ll see a review here. Which makes it even crazier when she told me that this post was a major factor in her continuing to write. At all. I was floored because, especially at this point in the blogging experience, I didn’t think I had much impact at all. Small time blog and fine with it my reach wasn’t great so at most I’d impact a reader here or there and be fine with it. For this to happen…I’m still stunned.
  • Dewey’s 24hr Read-A-Thon: Why is a readathon post one of my “best” ones? I just had so much FUN! Dewey’s 24hr readathon was the first I ever took part in and kindled my love for them which at this point is borderline obsessive. I loved every aspect of the 24hr experience. Participating in sooo many challenges, reading three books and a novella all of which I enjoyed and tweeting with all of the other participants, again something completely new to me at the time, is an experience I’ll never forget. It is one of the longest posts I’ve ever done and yet reading through it again was an amazing treat for me. *hugs Dewey’s*

So there you have it, my five “best” posts! Honorable mention goes to “Review: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson” because it was my first real review and my the first giveaway win I ever had on the blog. I feel that reading those five posts is a pretty good summary of what kind of blogger I am. Really the only thing missing is a Frodo’s Hobbit-Sized Review, but you can’t include everything. There is the high points, the very low, the impactful and the joyous. I hope that my content in the future can leave me even a fraction as happy as I am after looking back over these posts. Thank you so much for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on any of the posts or your own top five! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 10

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 10

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: How do you choose what book to read next?

Oh the pretties, how they call to me! The difficulty is trying to decide on which beautiful book to dive into next and sometimes it seems like there is no rhyme or reason to my choices. However, that is not always the case! So how do I choose what book to read next?

Scheduled Posts – This is the most obvious and easy. If I have a blog tour coming up, review scheduled for a specific date or some other event where a book needs to be read by a certain time then those books tend to be the ones I read right away. Recent Examples: Maven and Shudder (Blog Tour) as well as Water & Chaos (Book Release)

Obligations – These are books that I have received for review either through the author or something like ARCycling. I don’t have specific deadlines for these but I feel guilty if I wait too long to read a book I requested so I do my best to read these as soon as I can. Recent Examples: Blind Spot, Beta and Blood Winter (ARCycling) as well as Wicked Intentions (Author Gift for Review)

Readathons – I can’t get enough readathons and love participating (as much as I can) in each one. Some of them are themed and so I’ll read specific books that fit that readathon. Recent Examples: My Sister’s Reaper (Debut Readathon)

Peer Pressure – Yes this does happen from time to time. Bloggy friends of mine know I have a book that they love and push me to read it sooner then I might otherwise. This isn’t a common one but it still occurs. Recent Examples: Invisibility

Randomness – If I’m not participating in a readathon (at least not one with a theme) and don’t have any obligations or scheduled books often I’ll just choose whatever looks the most interesting or appealing to me at the time. This can be because of a pretty cover, a genre mood or any other of a variety of reasons. Recent Examples: Invisibility (Too awesome sounding to not read any longer) as well as Peter the Wolf, In the Dark and Drain Me Dry (Learned about the new authors and had to check out their pieces)

So there you have it! The method to my book reading madness has been unleashed! What are your reasons for choosing your next book? Is there a process or is it completely random? Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 11 all about my best blog posts! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 9

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 9

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Why do you blog about books?

This is something I touched on in challenge #7 when I spoke about my blogging quirks. Most of my posts are reviews, for a variety of reasons but mostly because I feel (and have been told) that they are the most helpful for authors. Will I do them in conjunction with a blog tour? Absolutely. Regardless of whether the review is part of something or just because I want to share my thoughts about the book the goal is to bring the book to a wider audience. This is true for both positive and negative reviews. If I loved a book I want more people to read it that may not be aware of the book or might be on the fence on if they want to read it. Conversely, if I am not a fan of the book I’d like to explain why so that other people can potentially avoid that one and spend their valuable time reading something else.

This is especially the case with indie authors. They work so hard to garner even a tiny fraction of what the “big boys” get and if I can help share their book to just a few people that wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise then it’s more than worth the time and effort spent. Plus, blogging has allowed me to connect with these authors when I likely wouldn’t have otherwise so I’m reading pieces I wouldn’t otherwise as well. Examples of some fabulous authors I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise and that I reviewed a piece (or a few) for: Zoe E. Whitten, Leigh Wilder, Angela Kulig, Larry Kollar, Starla Huchton, Sarah-Jane Lehoux as well a bunch more.

The community. The book blogging community is just incredible. They’re intelligent, helpful, caring and willing to deal with each other’s obsessiveness, insanity and frequent squees. The joy I see in book bloggers when they are talking about a book they just read that they loved, a book they are super excited to get or really anything book related is like no other group. It’s infectious and uplifting how the community supports its fellow members through seemingly everything. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It’s freaking FUN! I get to talk about books all the time and people actually talk back to me about the ones they loved or their thoughts on whatever, how great is that?! I use it to participate in readathons which are always a blast (marathon reading + twitter chats + giveaways + challenges, heck ya!). Plus I get to record my progress and see how much I’ve read whenever I’d like, and with pretty cover pictures included! Plus it is (hopefully) helping my writing and helping me to understand what I like/dislike in books so that if when I write my own I’ll know what to look out for or what to utilize.

So that’s why I blog about books! Why do you do it? What parts are your favorites? Let me know and thanks for reading! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 8

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 8

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Quick! Write 15 bullet points of things that appeal to you on blogs!

I love this challenge! Quick and easy and it still sheds some light on things I love to see in blogs, can’t go wrong with that! ^.^

  • Readability – If your blog has bizarro color combinations for your text and background that make it hard to read it will drive me crazy and I won’t stick around. Conversely, if your blog has a great combination then I’m instantly more likely to read multiple posts or even subscribe, nice and easy to read people!
  • No Noise – Exactly what it sounds like. No music playing automatically, no random sounds assaulting my ears and I’m a happy camper.
  • No Clutter – Again exactly as it seems. Don’t have a crazy amount of tabs, pages or sidebars. A good array of tabs at the top, some proper organization and sidebars that don’t go on for miles goes a long way.
  • Properly Sized Photos – Your photos are all designed to fit nice and neat in your sidebar and/or posts? Hooray!
  • Appealing Colors – I touched on this with the text/background combination in point 1. To expand, here I mean with the layout of the blog as a whole. If your blog has easy tones or snazzy combinations then I’ll be excited to come back.
  • Meaningful Posts – I’m not meme bashing, but if that is all your blog consists of I’m not coming back. Same goes for ten thousand giveaways, while I appreciate your generosity or whomever is funding them it doesn’t give you actual content. So blogs with some reviews mixed in or original random posts are great to see. The latter for originality and the former for quality.
  • Unique – Yes I had to get to this at some point. If your blog looks exactly like ten others I checkout that day and nothing really stands out or grabs me then I’ll likely move on. Example of how I (try to) use original stuff is my rating system, who else uses smiling Frodos? Exactly. So if I come across a blog that is personalized and stands out from the crowd I’ll come back to check out their work at some point.
  • Consistency – I’m a hypocrite just by putting this in here since I’ve taken a hiatus twice (though there were valid reasons both times) but this is what I like to see in a blog so I have to include it. I love seeing regular posts, especially ones with high quality and/or originality. If I see single digit posts multiple months in a row on your feed I’ll probably move on unless I’m devoted.
  • Normal Levels Of Media – Not as complicated as it sounds. All I mean by this is that I prefer blogs that don’t go super crazy with pictures and even more so, gifs. A couple in a post is fine and can definitely add to the awesomeness, but too many and it just gets annoying and grating on the nerves. Less is more here.
  • A Cool Name – Just another thing to set your blog apart from the rest. It sounds simple but every time I see another blog with something like “Person X Reads” or “Person X Loves Books” I die a little inside. Again, this is hypocritical because my name isn’t the best in originality, but this is a factor nonetheless. Favorite cool blog names off the top of my head: Sparkles and Lightning, The Aussie Zombie and ARCycling.
  • Awesome Button/Icon – Whatever you’d like to call it, if you have a cool/unique/eye-catching icon that you use in your blog it gives major style points. This isn’t a must but it is a plus. Examples of some of my favorites: Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, Owl Read It and Sparkles and Lightning.
  • Current – By this I mean your information, the links you have being active, and especially any blogs or giveaways you link to all are accurate and current. If you link to a giveaway that completed months ago that’s a bummer. Link to a cool looking blog and it’s inactive or down or they moved to a different address (this is especially true because bloggers are moving to wordpress lately) and it’s frustrating. Keep your stuff updated as much as you can!
  • About Me – No not content about me silly. I mean your “About Me” page. This is another instance of being hypocritical because I’m not thrilled with mine, but having current information whether it is your age, what books you are into, any contact information or whatever is on there is huge. Yes we can find out about your style and tastes by reading your posts, but this is a big help too.
  • Search Bar – Please, please, pleeeeeaaaaaseeeee have one on your blog, preferably near the top. This helps immensely when trying to find a particular post, especially if you post very frequently. When I run into blogs that don’t have a search bar I am immediately frustrated and turned off. So ya.
  • Email Subscription – I love SO many blogs and the only way I can keep track of the ones I want to visit on a regular basis is to subscribe to those by email. I still visit others that I haven’t subscribed to in this way, but it is sporadic at best. Give me an email option and I’ll likely read every post you write. Also this option isn’t going to be taken away or made useless like so many others (GFC anyone?) so it’s a good way to stay in touch.

There you have it! 15 things I love (or hate) about blogs! What are some things you love to see? Some you hate? Would your blog fit (most) of my criteria? What changes would you like to see on my blog? Really, I’d love to hear them! Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for a review of Kerstin Gier’s Ruby Red and tomorrow’s challenge, why do you blog on books! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 7

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 7

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Talk about your blogging quirks.

This challenge is likely to be the most difficult for me simply because I don’t really have blogging quirks, at least not many I can think of at present. Well, here goes nothing!

  1. Saving and Previewing – I know many bloggers that obsessively click the “Save Draft” and “Preview” buttons every couple minutes (or more) to make sure every minute change is absolutely perfect. If they don’t it is utter chaos. I won’t say that I don’t do some saving or previews, but for the most part each post has but a handful of previews and maybe a save or two and it’s good to go. I have photos, for the most part, sized the exact same for my posts such as the one above. 400 x 300 in case you are curious. This allows for a very streamlined process and not too much fuss about if it is lined up just right. The major thing I adjust is the spacing and alignment of my “Smiling Frodos” because each one is slightly different, but even that is only a couple previews and I’m good with it. I know what I like and my posts reflect it, but admittedly this does lower the originality a bit.
  2. Review, Review, Review – This blog is known (by the few people that read it regularly) as a book review blog. While I do readathons regularly, do the occasional giveaway and dabble with other posts such as these challenge ones, the bulk of my posts has been and likely will continue to be book reviews. Why? Don’t get me wrong, I think incorporating memes (to a degree) is fine, but I have a limited amount of time to blog as well as read and in order to get posts up regularly I can’t be participating in a thousand things at once. While memes are easy to post and take less effort they feel a bit empty to me. The reader might get a feel for what books I like in a Waiting on Wednesday or look at my new pretties in Stacking the Shelves or Sunday Post, but it isn’t doing anything for the bookish community and that’s a big reason why I do this. I want to support authors and so my posts are reviews because that’s what helps them the most. It also is intended to shed some light on some pieces that either you are on the fence about, or even better, that you would never hear about otherwise. (Wow that got ranty o_o)
  3. Don’t Like It, Don’t Care – Quite a few bloggers shy away from negative reviews for a variety of reasons but that’s just not me. If I didn’t like a book the review is going up anyway, partially because I spent the time reading the piece so if I didn’t like it at least I’m getting a post out. I’m shedding some light on it so that maybe you will think harder about purchasing/reading it and I feel that’s worthwhile. Also, while I know a TON of effort goes into writing a book that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be critiqued any less than a movie or dish at a restaurant. If it’s bad you should know just as much as if it is 5/5 worthy. There are more books out there than we have time to read, decisions have to be made and maybe I can help a bit. However, when I’m tweeting out my latest review and it is a negative one I don’t link up the author’s handle. I don’t want to upset people by what I write, and this way the people who enjoy my posts will read it without the author having to feel crappy.
  4. Scheduling Posts? Bahaha – Plenty of bloggers I know are waaay ahead and have scheduled posts through most of the year and if I could I would be all over that kind of preparation. Alas, I can’t get ahead of the game and almost never have posts ready in advance. Heck, I’m posting this one right after I finish writing it. I have a limited time to read and as I mentioned most of my posts are reviews so I can’t exactly have those in place prior to finishing the book. If your blog has a lot of memes, giveaways and cover reveals then sure it would be possible to get ahead of the game rather easily. Those posts are formatted and require mostly a change of title, a few pictures and maybe a brief bit about how excited you are for whatever piece you are talking about. This isn’t a slam on those posts, I just don’t do them. So there is no order to the time stamps on my posts and usually even the days are random because my schedule is too. Oh well.
  5. Let There Be Music! – I don’t do silence. Reading a book? There’s almost always music or something going on in the background. Blogging? Definitely, its the best time to listen to some music while I’m not being distracted by Twitter, YouTube or who knows what else. Sometimes I even match the type of music I listen to (I listen to all sorts so variety isn’t a problem) based on what kind of post I’m doing, if I’m enjoying a book or not and even the genre of the book. I feel it enhances the experience. ^.^
  6. Must Review IMMEDIATELY – If I finish reading a book I immediately dive into writing the review. I want my thoughts as fresh as possible and since I don’t take notes of any kind this is the best time for me to talk about the book as I can keep all of the details straight. I also feel I’m more passionate about how I feel about a book when I review it right after I’ve read it.
  7. Rambling – A quirk I kinda was aware of but that this post made me realize was a reality is that I ramble a lot in posts. If I LOVED something I can’t stop gushing about it. If I hated something my feelings are just as strong and are hard to reign in. So yes, I ramble, and the best I can hope for is that after you read a post you gain something out of it and the main sentiment isn’t lost.

So those are a few of my “quirks” when it comes to blogging. What quirks do you have? Are there any that you could never give up? Let me know! Come back tomorrow to see 15 things I find appealing in blogs and see if you love (or hate) them! Thanks as always for reading. ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 6

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 6

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Describe how you shop for books.

How do I shop for books? I’m not sure that there is necessary an overall method to my madness but I do have some trends when it comes to book buying. While I do have a full time job (albeit a crappy entry level one) I also have bills to pay and I’m saving a bunch as well so I have a finite amount I can spend on whatever every two weeks and that includes books. So how do I decide which pretties to add to my ever growing collection?

  1. Fellow Book Bloggers – In one of the previous challenges I spoke about some of my bloggy BFFs whose opinions I trust completely. If I see they really enjoyed a book I was considering buying I’ll quickly grab it and the reverse is also true, if they hated it (especially if it is a consensus among the group) I will likely avoid it. I do go against them on occasion, but for the most part they’ve led me to some fantastic reads. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that I bought using their advice that has received less than three smiling Frodos, not bad at all.
  2. Favorite Authors – This is pretty obvious and something I’m sure most book buyers do. If you love a book by an author chances are you’ll at least enjoy the rest of their work. This isn’t foolproof, I’m sure there are exceptions where you’ll detest one book and love another, but for the most part it’s a solid method. If you have read my recent reviews you’d know I really enjoyed pieces by Leigh Wilder and Zoe E. Whitten, so much so that I now own almost every piece they’ve ever written. That’s how my money goes poof, if I LOVE your work I want it all and I don’t take no for an answer. Other authors I have done this with: John Green, Sean Beaudoin, Ann Aguirre, Rick Riordan, and Jeremy C. Shipp.
  3. Ooo Pretty! – That’s right, I see or hear about a book and when I go to check out the cover my mouse is already hovering over the one-click purchase button on Amazon. I do check out the synopsis and if I have never read anything by that author before or haven’t seen anything about the book/author on a blog then I might even check out the preview if there is one available. This also happens in physical stores, mainly Target for me simply because that’s the most frequent place I go to for stuff and they do have a (limited) book section. I try not to “judge a book by its cover” but it sure as heck helps to have a cool one to entice me from the beginning.

So those are the main ways that I find books and my “process” for which ones I buy. It’s pretty haphazard to tell the truth, but basically if I love one book by an author most of my book money goes to the rest of their stuff because I HAVE to read more. I also do genre searches if I am feeling the desire to dive into a certain one or want to stock up for an upcoming themed readathon but that is less common. One other big factor is if they are an indie author. Even if I haven’t LOVED their books, if I’ve enjoyed them I am more likely to buy another of their books to support them then I am to do the same for a “big” or “mainstream” author. They rely on support from the bookish community to be able to continue to write and to reach audiences, I’m happy to do it. I don’t even want to get into how long I looked on “recommended for reader’s that enjoyed this book” lists for a book like John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, stuff like that leads me to random books I’d never find otherwise (ex: Prodigy by Dave Kalstein), oh, and I never did find any like that one. =/

Anyway, what is the method to your madness? Do you have any ways you narrow down which books you buy? Do you go for all print or are eBooks more your thing? (I’m a mix.) Do you go on author binges? Genre ones? Let me know! Thanks as always for reading and look for another review tomorrow as well as Day 7 of this challenge! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 5

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 5

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Recommend a tearjerker.

I’ll be honest, I don’t cry often, and that includes even while reading the saddest of books. This isn’t some attempt at seeming “macho”, I just don’t. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t think of a great book that might make some of you shed a few tears!

My choice for a fantastic tearjerker is John Green’s Looking for Alaska! 

While most Green fans would turn to The Fault in Our Stars as the classic tearjerker example, I felt Looking for Alaska had a bigger emotional blow to it. I connected with Alaska and Pudge far more than I did with Hazel or Augustus. While the sadness in TFiOS is more pronounced as a feeling throughout the book, Looking for Alaska delivers a punch to the gut, you can’t HELP but feel saddened by what happened, you probably won’t even see it coming.

I felt like the sadness in Looking for Alaska, because of the unexpected and forceful nature of it is more likely to get someone to shed a few tears, especially if they connected with the characters as much as I did, rather than a book with sadness throughout where you eventually could get used to those undertones. Looking for Alaska isn’t a sad book, but it sure can make you cry.

What is your favorite tearjerker? Is it a sad book as a whole or did something catch you off guard and make you cry just for that emotional moment? Thanks for reading!


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 4

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 4

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: What’s the last book you flung across the room?

I’ve never flung a book across the room, at least not that I can ever remember, books are way too precious for that. However, I did come prepared with a book that brought me closest to making an exception to that rule, Darren Shan’s Zom-B. That book, review here, infuriated me. I loathed the characters, the plot, the dialogue especially and just the book as a whole. I hated that book and while I have given other books one star ratings, and more will be turning into them when I get to adjusting all of my numbers to the new rating system, none have made me HATE them as much as Zom-B. I detested the things said in it, not just because they were insanely offensive but because they never resulted in any changes that would give them meaning or purpose, instead the crapfest just kept going. So, I’ve never flung a book, but I’ve certainly considered it with books like Zom-B, what about you? Have you ever actually thrown a book? What book and why? Thanks as always for reading!


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 3

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 3

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: Who are your blogging BFFS?

There are sooo many amazing book bloggers out there and I love the ones I’ve been fortunate enough to converse with and get to know better. However, there ARE a few that stand out so I’ll focus on them, in no particular order:

Annabelle @ Sparkles and Lightning – This girl is AMAZING! So incredible that I nominated her for THREE bloggy awards (Best Design because her blog is absolutely gorgeous, Most Influential because I trust her thoughts on books more than anyone else and Best Reviews because her style inspired how I do most of my reviews, clear, concise and detailed.) We talk on Twitter quite a bit (though not as much lately due to her unfortunate computer issues, I miss you love!) and she’s just as hilarious and helpful there. Give the girl a follow and subscribe to her blog, you can thank me later!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer – Kimberly is another blogger I nominated for the bloggy awards, for Nicest Blogger, because she is just the sweetest there is. She’s friendly on and off of her blog, she always is there to answer any questions I have and she genuinely cares about her reader base. She was also one of the first book bloggers I connected with when I started and her Coffee Pot Reviews are the inspiration for my Hobbit Sized Reviews. Also, her meme, The Sunday Post, is an excellent way to share a recap of your posts from the past week, share your weekly book haul and even give a schedule for the next week so you readers know what to expect. She’s awesome.

Hannah @ Book Haven Extraordinaire – Hannah easily makes this list for our hilarious conversations if nothing else. Whenever I talk with her via comments on our blogs or Twitter I inevitably end up laughing. She has some of the most entertaining blog posts you can find and her book haul video posts are always must see. She’s sweet as can be and her energy is infectious, make sure to check her blog out!

Melissa @ My World…in words and pages – Some of the most informative reviews out there are done by Melissa. I actually first found out about her and connected with her via National Novel Writing Month in November of 2012 and we’ve been talking ever since. She’s an inspiration to me every day with all of the stuff she manages to do. I can’t wait to read her books in the future!

So those are some of my book blogging BFFs, the ones that have had the most impact on my blogging style and why I love this community so much. I can’t imagine what it would be like without even one of them missing from my daily blogging activities. They are great bloggers, and more importantly, great people. Thanks as always for reading! ❤


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 2

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 2

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

Today’s Challenge is: What’s your bedtime reading ritual?

To be honest I don’t really have a pattern as to when I read as far as the time of day/night. Some days I’ll read all day long, others not at all and of course plenty in between. If I have a review to do by a deadline I might be reading and reviewing right before bed, already in my bed of course, so that I can get it done in time. Ah procrastination how I love thee…

My reading schedule is usually dictated (as much as I hate it) by my work one. Day off? Pack in the bookish goodness! I work in the morning? Read at night! I close at night? Try to squeeze some reading in before lunch. So sadly no rituals here except that if I’m reading I’m in my bed. It’s comfy, it’s close to all my stuff from my computer (constantly connected to Twitter) to my Wall O’ Books in case I feel like switching up what I’m reading (you’d be surprised how often this happens). What is your bedtime reading ritual? Do you read right before bed at all? Is your reading schedule dictated by other schedules, school, work, family? Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 3! ^.^


15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 1

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Day 1

15-Day-Challenge

The awesome people over at Good Books and Good Wine came up with the fabulous 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge!

I will be posting the first two today to catch up with the crowd so here is the first challenge!

Make 15 Book Related Confessions

  1. I almost never read BIG books anymore. Since unlike some of the amazing bloggers out there I do not have a bunch of posts scheduled in advance, almost every time you see me post a review I have just finished that book that day. So attempting a huge book in one day, while doable, is a bit too intimidating for most days, especially if I work the next morning. I miss you big books!
  2. I am becoming a book hoarder. Though I’ve seen some people having lists as high as 2,000 unread books and I can’t (thankfully) claim that, my TBR is still getting pretty high…and I keep buying more. My print TBR is somewhat manageable at a bit over 100, but the eBooks? That’s around 500 or so by itself. *hides* o_o
  3. Since I became a book blogger I’ve never re-read a book. There is simply no time!
  4. This is one I’ve seen a few times, but I have secondbookitus. Books like Insurgent, Outpost, Fiery Edge of Steel and plenty more sit unread for no particular reason except that I’m a bit afraid they won’t be quite as amazing as the first. I believe I gave all three of their predecessors five star ratings, that’s a lot to live up to! I swear I will continue those series…eventually.
  5. I don’t read classics except when they were assigned for school. I’m not going to make a list but think anything akin to a Jane Austen level book in the literary community and assume I haven’t read it. No real reason except that there are SO MANY new pretties to read!
  6. My books don’t match. My series tend to blend between paperback and hardcover for no good reason whatsoever. OCD people stay away from my bookshelves, just trust me, I’m doing you a favor.
  7. I’m cheap when it comes to most of my book purchases. Bargain books? Check. Paperback over the hardcover because it is cheaper despite the previous books in the series being the other? You bet ya. I want ALL OF THE BOOKS so whatever there is a cheaper price tag on is what I’ll grab, even used copies.
  8. I’m another one of those that will never write in a book. My books are not pristine necessarily, but write on them and I will turn into the Hulk, not recommended.
  9. I’ve likely read over 1,000 books in my lifetime. Not a lot but nothing to sneeze at. I read all the time as a kid and quite a bit as a teenager and with the book blogging I’ve rekindled that love for books and read all the time to try and keep posts going (along with the enjoyment of reading itself). So far 105 this year as of this post, not bad right?!
  10. I do have books on my shelves that I’ve owned for more than a couple years I still have yet to read. Remember all those new pretties? Ya…I really should get to some of the older ones…
  11. My most reread book was published in the year I was born, 1992, and I’ve owned it since I was around 5 or 6. It’s Alfred Slote’s The Trading Game, a kids book about baseball cards mostly, and it started one of my major collections which is now over 5,000 trading cards of various types. I’ve probably read it somewhere along the lines of 20-25 times, even relatively recently (last year around September). I’ll probably read it again sometime if I find spare time. (HAHAHA)
  12. If I love an author, and I mean LOVE, I tend to buy all their work, like, all of it. Ann Aguirre? Her books alone added ~14 books to my TBR. Rick Riordan? Nine of his on my shelf waiting to be read. Sean Beaudoin and Jeremy C. Shipp are among a few others whose collections fill my shelves (both physical and virtual), I can’t help myself.
  13. I have a really hard time saying no to indie authors, especially ones kind and generous enough to speak with me regularly on Twitter. So I end up with a solid amount of review books that I NEED to read by certain deadlines. Luckily a lot of them are great pieces I wouldn’t have found otherwise, huzzah!
  14. Quotes and lines from books I’ve loved are slowly taking up a wall in sticky note form. I tend to look at them when I’m stuck on a review or on the rare occasion I’m working on my own pieces. Great inspiration.
  15. I refuse to dog ear pages. I have a ton of bookmarks from giveaways that I’ll use though if I really am into a book I won’t even pause long enough to need one. Some of my books have some damage to them, but I will never inflict it on purpose, they’re my pretties after all!

Well hopefully that list had some interesting tidbits in it! Thanks as always for reading and the next post will be up shortly!