Monday, May 23, 2016

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Review

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | ReviewThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 519
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?


It’s been a while since I’ve read a Morgan Matson book (I know, I fail at life) and I’d forgotten how much I loved her writing, her characters, and the way she writes romance.  The Unexpected Everything was just what I was looking for in a summer contemporary novel.  I can’t help but smile just thinking about this book!


  • The characters: This one is a little odd for me because some of the characters are on my pro and con list.  Take Andie, for instance.  I mostly loved her but she had some moments where I could not stand her.  I’ll get to that part later though.  For most of the book, I loved Andie.  I think the best part about her was the development she went through over the course of the novel.  She was almost a completely different person by the end of The Unexpected Everything and I think a lot of that had to do with her friends, her family, and Clark.  It just goes to show how the people around you help shape who you are.  Speaking of the people around her, I adored her friends and Clark.  Her friends were all really well-rounded and they were all so different but they just worked together.  I never had issues telling them apart because their personalities were so well developed.  As for Clark, he might be my dream guy.  He’s totally shy and nerdy and a little awkward and just so dang cute.
  • Family: Family plays a huge role in The Unexpected Everything and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first because Andie and her dad had a very weird relationship.  I didn’t like how her dad all of a sudden cared so much about what she was doing when he never had before.  He was a total absentee parent and then he decided to take a really active role in Andie’s life and came off a little overbearing at first.  However, once Andie and her dad hashed some things out between the two of them their relationship changed a lot and definitely for the better.  There were some absolutely adorable moments between them (the scavenger hunt!)
  • Friends: Andie and her friends were extremely close.  I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that showcases a friendship like theirs.  These girls interacted with each other daily.  They told each other almost everything and they had these rituals (like talking about love lives at the diner) and their friendship was seriously adorable.  They had issues (boy did they ever) but they were pretty much always there for each other.  Friendship goals right here guys!
  • Romance: I’m just going to gush here.  Clark and Andie were so adorable.  They had probably one of the most awkward first dates ever but I knew that couldn’t be the end for them.  Bertie (the dog that Clark is dog sitting) brings them back together and things really took off from there.  They didn’t have a picture perfect relationship and that is what I loved so much about them.  They had issues and they disagreed on things and they didn’t have to spend every waking moment together.  They were so real and neither of them was perfect.


  • The characters: Like I said, a couple of the characters fit on both my pros and cons list.  Andie was one of them.  She was so uptight at first.  She was so unwilling to accept changes and she kept everything bottled up.  So many things could have been solved so easily if she was just willing to say something about it.  Her relationship with her dad was one of those things.  She was never willing to tell him how she felt about her mom’s death or their relationship without her and it finally just all bubbled over and she couldn’t keep it inside anymore.  She was closed off and just unwilling to let people in and it really bothered me.  But like I said earlier, she developed a lot throughout the book and by the end of it, I really did like her. One character that I still didn’t really like at the end of the book was her friend Toby.  I’m not going to spoil anything but Toby did some really crappy things and she was so selfish.  She only ever thought about herself and she made that very clear.  Also, I think I may have liked her even less by the end of the book.  She was a minor issue for me though.

Overall, The Unexpected Everything is another stunner from Morgan Matson.  I couldn’t read it fast enough and I never wanted it to end (and that’s saying something for a 500+ page book!)  If you’re looking for the perfect summer read, this is it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Blog Tour: Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins | Review

Blog Tour: Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins | ReviewSummer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom.

Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

picadillyblueWhen I heard that Stephanie Perkins was editing (and contributing to) another collection of young adult short stories, I was beyond ecstatic.  I was a fan of My True Love Gave to Me and I’ve really come to love collections like this one.

This is a little hard for me to review since if I had the time, I’d review each story separately.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get around to doing that eventually but today I’m just going to touch on the book as a whole!


  • Authors: Summer Days and Summer Nights has a wide variety of authors, some I’ve read before and others that were new to me.  It’s also great that it’s not just one genre represented.  It didn’t hurt that a few of my favorite authors were included here (Leigh Bardugo, anyone?)  I feel like readers who already love these authors will enjoy getting even a little bit more from them and if the book includes new authors for you, maybe you’ll find some new books to check out.

Okay, that’s really the only point I can make in a pros and cons review.  The rest is just going to have to be more traditional.  I tried but I just don’t know how to word it to make things fit with all the stories.

Let’s break it down here:

My favorite story would have to be Stephanie Perkins’ (no surprise there) but I also loved Brandy Colbert’s and Tim Federle’s and I’ve never read any of their books.  I also really enjoyed Nina LaCour’s and look forward to reading more of her work.  A few others that were up there on my list were Lev Grossman’s, Jennifer E. Smith’s, and Jon Skovron’s.

Stories that were right in the middle for me were Libba Bray’s and Francesca Lia Block’s.  I’m not really a huge fan of either author so I didn’t know what to expect with these two which actually helped me like them more, I think.  I went in with no expectations so they couldn’t really disappoint me.  I know that’s sad but it’s true.  I think if you enjoy either (or both) author you will like these stories from them.

I was let down a bit by both Leigh Bardugo and Cassie Clare’s stories.  I think for Leigh Bardugo’s it had more to do with the subject than the author.  I still love her writing but I wasn’t impressed with the story and just didn’t get into it.  As for Cassie Clare, I think I’ve just read too much of her work and need a break from it all.  I find her stories to be really fun and that’s what I expected from this one but it just didn’t hit the right note with me.

Overall, while Summer Days and Summer Nights had a few stories I didn’t love, I really did enjoy it as a whole.  Overall, take some time to read through this one.  Not only did I get the chance to read some new things from some of my favorite authors, I got to read a couple new authors (Lev Grossman is a new one for me) that I’ll have to check out more from now.  Summer Days and Summer Nights really is the perfect book to take out with you on a summer day!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trials Of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan | Giveaway

Thanks to the awesome people at Disney Hyperion, I’ve got a great giveaway for you guys!

Welcome back to the world of Percy Jackson.  Rick Riordan has just released the first book in the new Trials of Apollo series, The Hidden Oracle.


New series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters, and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.


Rick Riordan, dubbed “Storyteller of the Gods” by Publishers Weekly, is the author of three #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with millions of copies sold throughout the world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, based on Greek mythology; the Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and the Heroes of Olympus, based on Greek and Roman mythology.

Rick collaborated with illustrator John Rocco on two best-selling collections of Greek myths for the whole family: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes. The first book in his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy based on Norse mythology,The Sword of Summer, also debuted at #1 on the New York Times list.

Rick lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @camphalfblood.


Read an Excerpt at the Official Site
Download the Activity Kit


Learn more at
Follow Disney on Twitter and Instagram
Follow Rick on Twitter and Instagram
‘Like’ Percy Jackson on Facebook

And check out the awesome exclusive editions offered at the different retailers.

Thanks to Disney Hyperion, one US reader will win one of these exclusive editions! Good luck!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1) by Laura Kaye | Review

Ride Hard (Raven Riders #1) by Laura Kaye | ReviewRide Hard (Raven Riders, #1) by Laura Kaye
Series: Raven Riders #1
Published by Avon on April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: PLA
Buy on Amazon
2 Stars

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .


I’m still asking myself why I actually finished this book.  I’ve gotten better at DNF’ing things and Ride Hard is definitely one I should have just given up on.


  • The writing:  The writing was not terrible.  It wasn’t anything fabulous but it gives me enough hope that maybe some of Laura Kaye’s other books might be better for me to read.  It was a simple style of writing that lent itself to the story very well.  It had good pacing and helped move things along, even when the story itself seemed to be plodding along.


  • The story:  The story was unrealistic and dragged along so much.  There was so much build up and not nearly enough action.  I get that it’s a romance novel but I expected so much more.  The book could have been 100 pages shorter if things just moved along a little faster.
  • The dialogue: I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything cheesier than the dialogue between the two romantic interests in Ride Hard.  Also, Dare was supposed to be this badass president of a motorcycle club and half the things he said to Haven made me laugh how cheesy they were.  I just couldn’t take him seriously as a badass after saying those things.
  • The romance: I know it’s a romance novel but there was just too much!  It was pretty repetitive, actually.  I also didn’t really get why they liked each other that much.  They had similar pasts but it didn’t seem like they actually shared a lot of interests or had that much in common.  It mainly seemed like physical attraction.
  • The characters: The characters really didn’t stand out to me and I could not have cared less about what happened to them.  None of them were well developed and they were just not memorable.  Normally in books like this I become attracted enough to the stories of the side characters to continue the series so I can see what happens to them.  That was not the case with Ride Hard and I will not be continuing this series.

I’m just gonna stop now because it’s only going to get worse from here.  Needless to say, I don’t recommend Ride Hard though, like I said, I may check out another of Laura Kaye’s books to see if it’s any better.  I’m normally a romance fan and I love books about motorcycle clubs so this one really let me down.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann | Review

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann | ReviewAsk Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
Published by Greenwillow on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.


Ask Me How I Got Here ended up on my TBR because I needed a quick book to read.  I’m not typically a fan of books written in verse and I think that’s probably why I didn’t love this one.  It had potential to be more than it was though it was by no means, bad.


  • Story: The story was fast and extremely interesting.  Addie is a teenage girl attending an all girls Catholic school when she gets pregnant and decides to have an abortion.  However, to get an abortion in her state, she has to have parental consent.  So not only do she and her boyfriend know, so do her parents.  The abortion causes Addie to lose a lot of motivation for things such as cross-country and she starts to become withdrawn.  Her relationships suffer and it takes a lot of introspection for her to really get past what she has done.
  • Verse: While I did mention that verse novels aren’t really for me, I think it fit well with this story.  Writing in verse really opens up a lot of different possibilities for the author and Christine Heppermann took advantage of that.  Not only was Addie’s story told in what she had to say but also in what she didn’t say or even what she crossed out.


  • Characters: I never felt like I knew or could connect with any of the characters.  I understood that Addie was going through a very tough time but I couldn’t feel that much for her.  She shut herself off from the people that were there for her and she wasn’t willing to let any of them try to help her.  As for Nick or Addie’s parents or even Claire, they all played very brief roles and so I didn’t really get a feel for any of them.
  • Romance: The romance between Addie and Nick was cute but not very substantial.  The romance between Addie and Julianna seemed to come out of nowhere and didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I think Addie saw some of herself in what Julianna went through and so she was drawn to her.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked Julianna just fine but I didn’t really see a connection between her and Addie.  Once again, probably a little due to the writing style.

Overall, Ask Me How I Got Here was not one for me but I can see why it’s been getting quite a bit of love from some other bloggers.  The poetry was great and the story was definitely something that appealed to me but it just fell flat in some areas.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Captain America: Civil War | Movie of the Month

I don’t know about you guys but I have been waiting for this movie for what seems like forever.  I have work at 7 on Friday morning but I do not care, I will be seeing this one Thursday night, for sure. I am 100% #TeamCap but I guess we can still be friends if you are #TeamIronMan.

Have you seen the trailers?  I think there are 3 out now and I have been obsessively watching them.  Even if I DVR a TV show, I will watch the Captain America commercials rather than fast forward.  I have a problem, I know.

I’m also beyond excited to see the new characters that are being introduced.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Spiderman but I’m willing to give this new guy a chance.  I also can’t wait to see more of Scarlet Witch.


Do you have plans to go see Captain America: Civil War?  If so, whose side are you on?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Published by Scholastic Press on April 26th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 438
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.


I’m still a little in shock that this series is over so forgive me if my thoughts are all over the place.  I finished this last week and this is the first time I’ve even felt like I could string together coherent sentences about it.  That should tell you plenty about the finale to the Raven Cycle.

Let me start off by saying that this will be spoiler free as far as The Raven King goes but I make no promises for the other books in the series.  If you haven’t read them, I urge you to stop reading my review and go read them.  Or just go read my review for The Raven Boys to see if it might interest you.


  • Characters: These characters hold a special place in my heart at this point.  I’ve grown so attached to them over the past 4 books and I was so happy with how Maggie chose to end their stories.  I’m not saying that everything that happened to them was happy.  What I appreciated about how she ended everything was that it felt true to each of the characters.  I also loved that she could introduce new characters in the final book and make it feel like they had been there the whole time.  Henry Cheng may have been introduced in an earlier book but The Raven King is really where he made his grand entrance and he grew on me in no time.  I loved the relationship he built with everyone but Blue especially.
  • Romance: Y’all already know how I feel about Gansey and Blue (I adore them!) but I’ve never really been vocal about anyone else.  After reading The Raven King, I may like Ronan and Adam more than I like Gansey and Blue and that is really saying something.  Gansey and Blue have always had this chemistry that pulls them together and a curse that pushes them apart.  I’m a sucker for forbidden romance and that was another big appeal for them.  Ronan and Adam have a completely different type of relationship.  I wouldn’t even say they are that close as friends.  It’s more that Gansey brought them all together and they found each other through that weird friendship.  The tension between them just permeates everything they do and I just wanted to reach in the book and push them together.  Gah!  I can’t even talk about it anymore because I’m out of words.  Oh and then there was Maura and the Grey Man.  They were oddly cute together.
  • Writing: I bet this one is a big shocker to you guys.  Well, okay, maybe not really.  We all know I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing.  It’s a style that might be a little more wordy than some authors but I love that.  I feel like every word she writes should be savored and she somehow manages to string them all together perfectly.  She is beyond talented.  It’s no surprise that the writing in The Raven King is flawless.


  • Story: The story was not bad, it was just a little all over the place.  I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t quite what I got.  I said no spoilers so this part of the review is a little difficult.  Maggie Stiefvater tied up all loose ends which pleased me, definitely, but how she went about it wasn’t perfect, in my opinion.  And to be quite honest, if I took my time and re-read the whole series, I may not find the story to be a problem at all anymore.  I think it may have been that I took so much time between the first 3 books and this one that the confusion was only on my part.  I know there were things I forgot from the first books and when I eventually go back and re-read them, maybe things will make a bit more sense.

Overall, The Raven King will surpass expectations for fans of The Raven Cycle.  Maggie Stiefvater impressed me once again and I cannot wait to see what she does next.  The Raven Cycle will forever be up there on my list of favorites.

Monday, May 2, 2016

10 Books I’m Dying To Read This May

I don’t know about you guys but my TBR is going to be insane this month. May is going to be an epic month for new releases. Narrowing it down to 10 was almost impossible but here are the ones I’m most excited.

May's Exciting Releases

1. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Hitting shelves May 3rd

The Unexpected Everything cover

If you haven’t seen this one around on blogs or Instagram, you maybe live under a rock.  Morgan Matson’s new one is high on my TBR especially since I’ll be meeting her! This one is a contemporary about a girl whose life is rocked by scandal and has her life turned totally upside down.  I’ve heard great things about it already which is not surprising since it’s Morgan Matson.

2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Hitting shelves May 3rd

A court of mist and fury cover

I’ve become the biggest Sarah J. Maas fangirl.  I actually read A Court of Thorns and Roses before I read the Throne of Glass books and that was the main reason I checked out her other books.  A Court of Mist and Fury has definitely been a highly anticipated sequel for me.

3. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Hitting shelves May 3rd

Love & Gelato cover

I feel like this cover is so misleading.  It looks like nothing but a cutesy summer read but it seems like it will be more than that.  Lina goes to Italy to fulfill her mom’s dying wish of getting to know her father who has been absent her whole life.  While there she finds a journal her mom kept during her own time in Italy and it sets her on an adventure that will change everything she’s ever known about her family.

4. Ruined by Amy Tintera

Hitting shelves May 3rd

Ruined cover

This one reminds me a little bit of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows which is why I’m so excited to read it.  Em is on a mission to save her kidnapped sister but to do that she must infiltrate the palace.  She poses as Prince Casimir’s betrothed and finds herself married to him.  As she gets closer to the prince, her mission for revenge starts to change.

5. The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

Hitting shelves May 3rd

the outliers cover

I love suspense novels and this one looks both suspenseful and kind of creepy.  Wylie gets a text from her friend asking for help and instead of telling her what’s going on, she sends Jasper to team up with Wylie to find her.  However, the clues lead them on a hunt through the woods in Maine and as they get deeper in the woods, the danger to them both gets higher.

6. Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Hitting shelves May 3rd

Queen of Hearts cover

I’m quickly becoming obsessed with anything and everything Alice in Wonderland related.  I read Marissa Meyer’s take on the Queen of Hearts and now I’m eager to see what Colleen Oakes does with her backstory.

7. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Hitting shelves May 17th

the problem with forever cover

Jennifer L. Armentrout’s newest sounds like my kind of book.  Mallory has been home schooled her whole life but now she has to spend her senior year in public school.  On her first day of school she runs into her childhood best friend, Rider, who she hasn’t seen in years.  As they get to know each other again, their connection grows stronger but secrets from the past threaten to tear them apart.

8. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Hitting shelves May 3rd

The Square Root of Summer cover

I’ve been seeing quite a few people reading this one and loving it.  It’s a contemporary story with time travel!  How awesome is that?

9. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Hitting shelves May 17th

The Crown's Game cover

This one reminds me a bit of the Grisha trilogy and also Throne of Glass.  Since I love both of those series, I figure I’ll give this one a shot.  Set in Russia featuring a magical duel to the death (between a girl and a guy who may be in love with her), The Crown’s Game has already been getting rave reviews from bloggers.

10. Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

Hitting shelves May 3rd

Suffer Love cover

This one actually wasn’t really on my radar until recently but now I want to read it.  Hadley’s life changes completely when her father’s year-long affair comes to light and all she wants is to be left alone.  Then she meets a new guy, Sam, who changes all of that for her.  However, Sam is keeping a secret that could ruin everything between them.

What are you looking forward to reading in May?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Blogging vs. Bookstagram: Is It Really A Competition? | Discussion

Talk Blogging

The title here really says it all.  I want to know if blogging, book blogging in particular, is going out of style and being replaced by the ever-growing Bookstagram.  For the longest time, blogs were popping up left and right.  It was the thing to do.  At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it (let’s be real here, it means more competition) but I realized that the addition of new blogs to the blogosphere was a good thing.  The addition of new book blogs proved that we were making an impact and it showed that other people wanted to do the same.  Now, on the other hand, I don’t see a ton of new blogs pop up and I actually see a decrease in the ones that currently exist.

I’ve been blogging for over 7 years now and I’ve seen a lot of blogs come and go.  I’ve seen the growth of Booktube and I’m now watching the growth of Bookstagram.  While I love the addition of new mediums, I hate the thought that blogs are getting pushed to the side.  I find it funny that we are all self-professed lovers of reading and yet the blog is going out of style because people don’t really want to read them anymore.  Pictures and videos are much preferred these days.

Blogging is extremely time consuming.  It’s not just the act of actually blogging that we have to worry about, we also have to count time spent reading all those review books.  I don’t know about you guys but it can sometimes take me an hour to get a post drafted, formatted, and scheduled.  It doesn’t usually take me quite that long but sometimes there are reviews where I just can’t say enough or can’t quite get the words right.  It’s a huge undertaking when you start a blog and I honestly don’t think people realize or really appreciate that until they have their own blog.  Now try running a blog and all the other social media accounts that go along with it.  It’s not easy to balance that and have a life.  (Come on, we all know I don’t really have a life outside my blog.)

Speaking of other social media accounts, I’m attempting to grow my Instagram account and make it a dedicated Bookstagram to go along with my blog.  I will freely admit that I have no skills with a camera and editing is not my forte.  Everything I am doing, I’m doing on my own.  I’m attempting to figure out how to frame the perfect shot, place the right props, and set it against the perfect backdrop.  Not to mention get the lighting right.  It’s pretty cloudy here in Colorado sometimes so natural lighting isn’t always possible.  I realize now that I’m trying to learn this stuff that it’s not as easy as grabbing a phone, taking a photo, and posting it to Instagram.  It may seem like that at first but it’s not the case.  Bookstagram does take skill and a pretty good amount of time depending on how many shots you take and if you choose to edit those photos.


One thing I have noticed about Bookstagram and what’s hard not to notice is the follower counts.  Bookstagram accounts range from a couple hundred followers to close to a hundred thousand followers.  Blogs have never had that kind of popularity and it’s hard not to get discouraged by that.  No matter how many times we try to stress that follower count isn’t the most important thing ever, it’s obviously a pretty big deal.  We wouldn’t be spending all this time writing blog posts if no one was reading them.  To be honest, these days it sometimes feels like that is what we are doing.  I will even admit that I check Instagram a lot more often than I check my blog feed.  It’s just more convenient and everyone knows that people are all about the convenient option these days.

However, I think instead of being a bad thing for blogs, Bookstagram can be a great asset.  If you have the skills to post pictures that draw people in and use the caption to attract those readers to a blog post, your traffic can definitely be boosted.  Those huge follower counts can really work in favor of your blog, if you have one.  The really tough part is going to be consistently posting good pictures to grow that follower count.  You also have to take into account that no matter how many hashtags you use, people aren’t just going to stumble upon your page.  You have to reach out and create connections by checking out other accounts and commenting.  It’s just like trying to grow traffic to your blog when you first start it.  It’s kind of like starting over.

Do you think blogging is going out of style?  Do you see Bookstagram and Booktube taking over and blogs getting pushed aside?   Do you blog, vlog, or bookstagram?  All three?  Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano | Review + GiveawayHolding Smoke by Elle Cosimano
Published by Hyperion on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.


Elle Cosimano became one of my favorite authors with her Nearly duology (possibly trilogy?)  When I first heard about Holding Smoke, I was extremely excited and immediately added it to my TBR.  I got my hands on an ARC and I read it immediately.  While it was very different from her first books, I liked the new direction her writing took.


  • Characters: Smoke stole my heart from the very start!  He comes across as a bit of a bad boy but he has a heart of gold.  His circumstances were beyond crappy.  He was not a completely innocent man but he was not as guilty as you’d first think.  He had quite a few layers to him and I never knew what side he was going to show next.  I liked that he was able to keep me guessing.  As for Pink, she was a bit of a mystery.  She came across as this badass female but she also had quite a shy, scared side.  She knew when she could handle herself and she knew when she needed help.  She and Smoke weren’t always good for each other but they worked past that.
  • Story: The story was both a pro and a con for me.  It was so unique and so twisted that I was kept guessing until the very end.  Not only could I not figure out who committed the crime Smoke was in jail for, I also couldn’t figure out the exact nature of the crime Smoke actually committed.  He was good at hiding things and Elle Cosimano is good at twisting things so much, you’ll never see it coming.
  • Romance: Smoke and Pink didn’t have a traditional romance.  For one, Smoke wasn’t actually physically there for most of their interactions.  With his ability, he came across as a ghost to Pink most of the time.  Because of that, their relationship developed mentally way before it did physically and I really liked that.  They weren’t exactly a cute couple (they got on each others nerves quite a bit) but they had their own charm.


  • Story: Like I said, the story was both a pro and a con for me and it’s actually the only con I had with Holding Smoke.  I felt a little confused at times.  Smoke’s ability was very unique but also very odd.  I didn’t understand it all the time and some of the scenes when he was separated from his body threw me off.  I think it was how they were written and how Smoke looks at things when he’s like that.  It wasn’t bad, by any means, it just took some getting used to.

Overall, Holding Smoke isn’t my favorite from Elle Cosimano but it held up to my expectations pretty well.  Elle Cosimano is a name to know if you are a fan of YA suspense.  If you were a fan of her Nearly books, check out Holding Smoke.  I think you’ll find you enjoy it.


3 winners will receive copies of Holding Smoke.  US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour!

Week 1:
Week 2: