♦ Feature & Follow Friday #20: Forget the Magic Schoolbus–Magic Armchair Time

Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop–a way to find and follow new blogs–hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. For more information on how to participate, click the button below. Parajunkee explains it best. : )

This week’s activity:

Armchair Travel! Tell us about your favorite book in a setting you’d like to visit (a real place for this question).

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♦ Creepy and Captivating: Mini Review of Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty was the perfect novel to introduce me to the audio book experience; yep, I’d never done it before. Then came the trip back from visiting family.

7 hour bus ride + book I’d been dying to get my hands on for free from audiosync’s summer program = the only proper way to pass the time on a Chinatown bus.

The reader was perfect for it, too. Wins all around.

Cruel Beauty

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pub Date: January 28, 2014

Cruel Beauty- Rosamund Hodge

Nyx Triskelion is one of two daughters of the noble family in her village. Before she was even born she was promised to Ignifex, the demon master of the land, as a bride when she came of age in exchange for safety for her people and a personal request from her father.

Growing up with this hanging over her head, Nyx is trained and prepared to kill the Ignifex, whom the villagers call the Gentle Lord, once inside, but no one–including Nyx–has ever believed she would survive.

When the inhabitants of the castle and the truths she always believed about herself, her life, and her world are all challenged by the castle’s mysterious inhabitants, for the first time in her preordained and settled life, Nyx suddenly has choices–and she doesn’t know how to make them.


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♦ #BlogBeat: Book Blog Pet Glees

I’ve read lots of lists of bloggers’ pet peeves, whether about books, blogging, or other bloggers. I love these lists; pet peeves are super easy for me to rattle off.

I’m going to try something new, though: pet glees. Wondering what that is? That’s because I made it up. My pet glees are the things I love about  book blogs and book blogging in general.

Just feeling like being positive today; must’ve been something in my morning java.

My Top Eleven (Because Ten Was So Last Week) Pet Glees of YA Book Blogging

1. CommentLuv – I love seeing this feature in other people’s blogs. I love being linked back to without that sleazy feeling that comes with linking to one of my own posts in a comment. Also: the icon is cute.

2. When Seasoned Bloggers Write Back – I have some blogging heroines / role models, etc., and when I comment on their posts, and they respond, I fist pump IRL, peeps. If authors are my rock stars, then book bloggers are my E! News Network, and it’s an awesome feeling when you hear back from your celebs.

3. Bookish Link Aggregations – I love collections of news and great posts for the week all in one place. I read Parajunkee’s Book Bloggerista News every Monday like clockwork, and ChapterBreak.net has Sharing the Bookish Love. <3

4. BEA – I had never heard of BookExpo America until I started blogging. Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide was helpful in answering approximately a million questions, and the actual conference was helpful for 1) getting books 2) teaching me bloggish skills 3) helping me to meet bloggers for real, both in waiting lines and at the picnic! I will eventually put my totally unnecessary recap up.

5. Thoughtful Comments – When I read comments on non-giveaway reviews or posts and it shows that the person actually read my post I want to throw a fistful of glitter in the air–yes, like the P!nk song.

6. Blogger-made Info-graphics – Another thing that The Book Addict’s Guide does well! These are so neat to read.

7. Tweeting with Authors – Oh, no big. Just playin’ it cool, hanging out on Twitter with my world’s celebrities, and secretly fan-girling in the background. I may or may not have called my mother to squeal over one of more of these interactions.

8. Blog Tours – I do a little dance when I get on  the schedule for certain books. I’ve been privileged enough to be a part of the tours for some  I’d been really anticipating (like Dark Metropolis from Disney-Hyperion–thank you to Shane, from Itching for Books!), and as a new blogger, those opportunities were huge for me. I am grateful to the Tour Hosts who took me in, clothed me, sheltered me, and, you know, let me be on their tours. :)

9. Winning Giveaways – What’s not to like, exactly? I’ve won way more than I ever expected to. I have to give a shout-out here to Amanda from Stuck in YA Books, who hosted the first giveaway I ever won, and it was a monster: a hardcover set of the whole Divergent series. Still grateful!

10. That Feeling of Accomplishment from Learning Something New – Although Tagul just changed it so it no longer works for this, I had learned how to use it embed a Rafflecopter widget into a WordPress.com site, which, as some of you know, is supposed to be impossible. Bethany from Bethany the ngnrdgrl did a tutorial on the long-ish process, which I used for a while–and it made be feel like a total pro. Booyah!

11. Reviewing ARCs – Here’s the thing. I’ve always been an avid reader, but until book blogging, I didn’t know that civilians getting books to read before they came out was a thing. I’ve read a lot of different opinions about ARCs and bloggers, and here’s where I stand: it’s fun. There’s a responsibility there (to me at least) to read and review, but it doesn’t feel like a chore at all. Why? All of this comes down to one thing:

Book blogging is the best and most fun thing I’ve done for myself in years.

What about you? Any book blogging pet glees?


♦ Feature & Follow Friday #19: Not-So-Guilty Pleasures

Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop–a way to find and follow new blogs–hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. For more information on how to participate, click the button below. Parajunkee explains it best. : )

This week’s activity:

What are your non-book guilty pleasures? Like TV shows, food, websites, hobbies, etc.

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♦ Guest Post from Allen: Review of Seige and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo…and Giveaway!

Alice reminded me that Ruin and Rising, the third book in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, is being released this month, so I tore myself away from Hearthstone and re-watching House to read the second installment: Siege and Storm. I had been pleasantly surprised with the first book, Shadow and Bone (you can read that review here), and this one didn’t let me down either.  Second books are always rough; there is a lot of expectation and a lot of promises to fulfill, but Siege and Storm satisfied several lingering questions left open in Shadow and Bone and introduced some new problems and people that I enjoyed very much.  If you couldn’t wait to find out what happened with Alina after her time in the Fold, and the tag line for this book says it all: “Darkness never dies.”

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end for a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone, the first book in the series!

Note from Alice: While reviews are spoiler-free for the book being reviewed, there are no promises about mentioning previous books in the sequel reviews. Enjoy at your own peril.

Siege and Storm

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pub Date: June 4, 2013
Pages: 435
Source: Amazon the Great and Powerful

Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo

Darkness never dies.

Running from their fates, Alina and Mal are in a foreign land, trying to keep her identity a secret and trying put food in their hungry stomachs.  When fate, it seems, catches up with them, Alina has to rely on a privateer who can only be trusted to be untrustworthy and choose between her ravaged nation, her faithful followers, and the man she loves but is forever distanced from.

As her strength as a summoner grows, new responsibilities are thrust upon her, and Alina begins to develop a taste for power.

It’s not easy being the Sun Summoner.



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