June 2016 Book Haul

As June comes to an end, I am looking back at all the beauties I have recently placed on my bookshelf. I have added so many books to my TBR list. Happiness!

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan, book 1 (2/9/2016)

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie, book 1 (3/1/2016)

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, book 1 (6/2/2015)

And I Darken by Kiersten White, book 1 (6/28/2016)

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman, book 1 (8/18/2015)

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, book 1 (3/10/2015)

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I really should stop buying books since I have a pile of books that have yet to be read. But let’s be real…I’m a book addict.

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Red Queen Series Evolution

With the recent release of the title and cover of the third installment of the Red Queen series, here is the progression from the very beginning.

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So many book feels! The covers are all simple and gorgeous, but also badass. Hold in your excitement, because we have to wait until February 7, 2017 for King’s Cage. The anticipation will be a long and tortuous, but completely worth it.

For more about Victoria Aveyard‘s amazing series check out this link from Epic Reads.

You can buy these books here:

Red Queen

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Glass Sword

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Cruel Crown

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King’s Cage

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How to Write a Blog Book Review

Whether you run a blog about books or simply love to read, writing a book review is essential for authors, publishers, and fellow readers. Here are some tips to write a compelling and informative book review for your blog.

Include the Basics

When writing a book review make sure to give your reader the fundamentals. Give them the information that identifies the piece of literature and tells them product details. Characteristics that should be covered include:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Genre
  • Publisher
  • Date published
  • Pages
  • Paperback or hardcover?
  • Price
  • Series

If you want to get very specific show the product dimensions, language, ISBN, and weight.

Summarize

Tell your readers the main theme or idea of the book in one sentence (if possible). Provide the professional synopsis which accompanies all books online or on the cover. Then give a quick and personal overview that outlines the plot, main characters, and some slightly more specific details. 

Give Your Own Honest Opinion

The book review should describe your reactions and ideas about the book in question. Give your thoughts on the characters, who you loved and who you hated. Recap the basic story line. If possible, compare the book to previous novels you have read or give suggestions of other reads. Explain the sentiments of joy, sadness, frustration, and hope that you felt when reading. {One way to remember these feeling is to keep a notepad nearby when you read. Scribe your questions, guesses, emotions, and thoughts; this will give you a good start to writing your opinion.} Tie it all together and formulate a “thesis.” In general, be truthful. Your review is a recommendation to those who view your post. Authors appreciate your honesty, but critique the book, not the person who wrote it. There is no reason to personally attack the author or publisher (it’s just bad form and downright mean).

Quote the Material

There is usually at least one sentence or phrase in every book that speaks to us. If you have marked paragraphs, cite them in your post. Try to include the page or chapter number, though various volumes and editions are set up differently. Clarify the significance of the quote and wrap it into the rest of your review. 

Spoilers

This may be common sense, but please don’t spoil the book for others. If you include material that is revealing then give your reader a very clear, very fair warning. If you want your review to be seen on a broader spectrum, give the basics that will show your audience if they will enjoy the novel. There are reviews for pre-readers and post-readers, so make sure you determine your type and make it known to the public beforehand. 

Special Case: If you are reviewing an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) DO NOT disclose private book information. Most ARCs are given in exchange for an honest review. These copies are limited and not widely available to the public. The review should be to determine the book’s future success and give proper recommendations, not spoil the novel for future/hopeful readers.  

Make it Look Good

A picture is worth a thousand words. Photos and graphics can spice up your blog post and draw people in.

WARNING: Beware of copyrighted images and graphics plagiarism violations. Please don’t steal any property from another person. Give credit where credit is due. 
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If you are unsure if the image is availbale for use, check out the demonstrative poster in the link up above from http://thevisualcommunicationguy.com.

Insert Links

Provide other Websites that give your audience access to further information. Incorporate aspects such as the author’s Website, the goodreads page, and the places where a prospective reader could purchase the book (i.e. Barnes and Noble, a local indie store, Amazon, etc.). Again, give credit where credit is due if you mention another online source. On various social media, most authors are okay with being tagged. Some prefer not to be flagged if the review is less than a certain amount of stars (3, 4, 5).

Conclusion

Conclude the book review for your blog with your final thoughts. Generalize your first and final impressions of the literature. Finish up with the consistency of reading, whether it was a slow read or a thrilling page-turner, and leave off with an ending that will either have the public up and off the couch on the way to the store or still searching for the next best read. 

 Make sure to read your writing a few times to check for fluency, grammar, and spelling mistakes. Click publish and voilà, you will have posted your book review.

Here is another blog post about writing a book blog review. 

Happy blogging/reading/reviewing!

6/26/16

“The fastest selling book in history is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh – and final – novel in JK Rowling’s (UK) Harry Potter series, which sold 8.3 million copies in the first 24 hours (or 345,833 books per hour), following its release in the USA at 00.01 on 21 July 2007.”

Source

Disclaimer

8 DIY Bookmarks

Recently, I found myself dog-earing the pages of my books. So I started looking for easy to make bookmarks. I found these 8 cute DIY tutorials from other artists, bloggers, and readers. They come in a varying levels of difficulty and a ranging list of materials. Check it out, and let’s get creative!

1.

Leather Color Blocked Bookmarks by And We Play

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2.

Magnetic Washi Tape Bookmarks by Lemon Squeezy Home

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3.

Bow Tie Paper Clip Bookmarks by How About Orange

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4.

Lacing Bookmarks by Handmade Charlotte

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5.

Bookmark Wraps by Craft Snob

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6.

Paint Chip Bookmarks by In Our Spare Time

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7.

Corner Heart Bookmarks by Creative Homemakers

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 8.

Handmade Bookmarks by Everything Etsy

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Ruined Review

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Ruined (Ruined, Book 1) by Amy Tintera

Synopsis: A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

About the Author: Hi! I’m Amy Tintera, and I write novels for young adults. I grew up in Austin, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in journalism. After receiving a masters in film at Emerson College I moved to Los Angeles, where I promptly discovered I didn’t enjoy working in the film industry, and went back to my first love, writing.

Genre: fantasy, young adult, romance

More Info: Hardcover, 368 pages, published by HarperTeen on May 3, 2016

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Emelina Flores will do just about anything for revenge. After her parents are murdered and her sister, Olivia, is taken prisoner, Emelina has nothing to lose. She is willing to go to extraordinary lengths, such as killing Princess Mary of Vallos, taking her place, and marrying Prince Casimir of Lera. As the daughter of the King and Queen of Ruina, Emelina feels it is her responsibility to save her country and get revenge upon those who have hurt her people.

Even though she is the firstborn in a line of royalty, Em is “useless.” She has no extraordinary power represented by markings in the skin. The one drawback is that that magic is not explained in detail, the surface of that topic was only skimmed. This could be intentional, as there are some promises to new developments for their powers in the second book. Due to this weakness, she tries to prove her strength.

She is bloodthirsty, a fierce character. However, you can see into the heart beating within her chest. Her love for her sister, her loyalty to her people, and her generosity towards Cas shows that underneath her hard exterior (both mental and physical) is a soft side. Yet, she is still a badass. Such a contradictory combination, but consistent.

Despite being rejected by her own people she still attempts to save them, to avenge them. She makes a deal with the warriors of Olso, to attack and kill the royal family of Lera…until she meets Prince Casimir.

Married within a day of arriving at the palace, both Em and Cas are reluctant. At the wedding while countless killing scenarios run through Em’s head, she still saves the Prince when there is an attempt on his life. He is sweet to her, and although he is not always good with words, he eventually tries to get to know her. And what he finds, is not Princess Mary (though he is oblivious to this development). As Mary, Em is supposed to hate the Ruined for killing her parents, but when Em sees compassion that is so different from the harsh King of Lera she loses some of her credibility/secret persona. Em takes the Prince’s ignorance and helps him blossom his own ideas, so radical from his father’s.

To make change, Cas doesn’t have enough power yet. So he challenges his father’s rules. I enjoyed Cas’ dominance, since I considered him to be a slight pushover in regard to his family. His parents and cousin make him seem childish, and I’m glad that he pushed back at those boundaries, even though he didn’t 100% break the constraints. His circumstances have kept him down, and at the end of the story he has a chance to grow.

I like the relationship Cas had with his guard, Galo. It reminded me so much of Prince Dorian and Captain Westfall in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I also liked the surprise romance Galo had with another one of his soldiers. The casual gay love made me so happy. It wasn’t shown off and none of the other characters made a big deal about it, except Cas because his best friend had been holding out on him.

I won’t spoil the ending, but come on! I mean, I feel like deep down I knew that was going to happen. It’s not exactly a cliffhanger, and it borders between antagonizing and dreadful. It isn’t exactly happy, but it’s also not the worst ending in the world. It will certainly have me coming back for more when book two hits the shelves.

In total, the book was a blast to the past but with a refreshing twist. It seems so much like other YA novels, but with its own personality. It was surprising and also predictable. Overall, a fast-paced read with fluid and easy to follow writing.

Price-wise, I used a coupon so my copy wasn’t as expensive as the normal retail price. With the hardcover, it is pricey in locations such as Barnes and Noble. If you are unsure of this book, I would recommend buying it on Kindle for $9.99.

Buy it here:

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