Armchair BEA Day 5: The Future of Book Blogging

This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

I’ve had a lot of fun over the past few days. I’ve visited hundreds of blogs and learned a lot about the world of blogging.

My favourite thing about Armchair BEA is that I’ve been exposed to so many different blogs and I’ve learned that there’s no right or wrong way to blog. Some are run by multiple people, others only by one. There are blogs whose content revolves more about bookish ideas and concepts rather than reviews. There’s so much variety in what is a fairly specified field.

I think the number one thing that I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter how you blog as long as you’re having fun. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing then you shouldn’t be doing it. Blogging for most people isn’t a huge revenue stream and since most of us are doing in their our spare time then we should be enjoying ourselves whilst doing it.

I have a blast writing my reviews and other posts. I really enjoy going onto twitter and chatting to people I’ve never met and are never likely to but having amazing conversations regarding literature and authors.

I feel like this week has confirmed to me that the questions of whether of not my blog is worthwhile or not isn’t about the number of page views I get or comments I receive – although comments are always appreciated – it’s about me and whether or not I feel it’s worthwhile my time and effort. And it is. whY.A.not? may never be the biggest or most popular blog but as long as I’m having a great time working on it I will consider it to be a success.

And now for my question:

What do you consider to be the most important thing a newbie blogger should know when they’re just starting out?

 Thank you.

– Kate

Armchair BEA Day 4: Beyond Your Blog

This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

I’ve had a lot of fun this week – participating in a twitter chat and visiting so many amazing blog that I’d not known about until Armchair BEA.

Today’s daily post gave participants a choice of a few topics. They included writing about monetizing the blog or writing outside of blogging. Since I haven’t monetized since I started blogging I’ve decided to share “a fun aspect about your blog or life that may be completely separate from books.”

I mentioned in my day 1 post that I love to bake. Something else you didn’t know about me is that I LOVE to take photos. I’m pretty terrible at it but I love taking them. I love that my phone has a camera so no matter where I am I always have the ability to take a photo if I desire.

So today I’m going to share a few photos of mine. They’re nothing special but I like them all for various reasons.

This is a photo of the cake I made for my brother’s birthday. It was his 30th and my mother, sister and I thought it’d be a great idea to bake him a cake that showed he maybe getting older but no one is ever to old to enjoy Mickey Mouse 😛

 

I think my cat thinks he’s a book…

 

He’s a bit of an idiot….

The view of the sky from the last time I was in a plane. I’m not sure it’s possible to take a bad photo of the sky…

And some flowers that I’ve got sitting currently sitting on the kitchen table.

 

Thanks for visiting 🙂

Armchair BEA Day 3: Let’s Talk About Networking!

This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

Armchair BEA is a lot of fun with daily posts, twitter parties, giveaways and other things going on.

The official Armchair BEA site suggest for today’s post:
“to share your positive experiences of using your blog to get involved in your community.  This can involve partnerships with the local literary scene, attending author events and signings, or getting together with bloggers in your area.  We want to hear it all!”

I’ve been blogging for a little under 7 weeks. It’s not a whole lot of time and I don’t have a whole lot to share with regards to this topic.

However – there are a few things I’d like to say.

1. Find local bloggers to interact with.

I love goodreads and I find myself on there a lot. I’ve been a member there since September 2010 and since then I’ve joined a few groups and gotten to know a few people. One of the best groups I’ve joined on there is the Aussie Readers group. I know that most people reading this aren’t Australian and this group would have no interest to them but the point I’m trying to make is that joining a local group – either online or off – will expose you to local content. I love reading Australian novels but prior to joining this group I didn’t know many Aussie authors who are out there.

There’s also a lot of great people to chat with. Knowledge Lost who is a blogger himself started up the Aussie Book Bloggers group on goodreads. I may not contribute a lot but reading the posts and seeing how generous the other members are with their feedback and comments has been fantastic. It’s there that I found out a little more about how to use Twitter to interact with other bloggers, authors and publishers. And some of the main differences between blogger and WordPress.

2. Libraries – like a bookstore but better!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently studying to become a librarian so it’s probably not a surprise that I’m a huge supporter of my local libraries. I think they’re a resource that a lot of people don’t take advantage of for whatever reason.

Libraries are fantastic places for learning – about books, about authors and all sorts of other things. My local has free classes for people in a whole variety of areas. I convinced my grandfather to go along to a class for basic word processing skills.

Most libraries also host a whole range of events – from author signings to book chats and clubs. And the staff are generally interested in the public and have a wealth of knowledge. I love bookstores but generally the people who work there aren’t the most helpful when it comes to answering my questions. When I’ve had questions for librarians they either know the answers or they’ll actually go and try to find out what I want to know.

3. Book Events

It’s not just big book conferences or expos when you can interact with book-ish people. I’m a huge fan of second-hand book sales and I’ve met some great people whilst rifling thought the tables of pre-loved novels.

I’m generally a rather shy person but the shared love of books is a great conversation starter. I met a woman at a sale and after I saw she had a few books that I’d read and loved in her basket I struck up a conversation with her. It turned out that we had a lot of books in common and then we grabbed a coffee and kept talking. We exchanged email addresses and we still chat online every few days. There are bookish people everywhere.

4. Twitter

I am rather new to twitter. I had an account years ago but never really saw the appeal… there was only so many Ashton Kutcher tweets I could read before I started to feel like there was something better I could be doing with my time. But as a networking tool? I think it’s fantastic. I love letting people know about my favourite books and sharing my reviews to a wider audience. And I’ll admit it – I still get a bit of a thrill when authors tweet me back.

I’ve found a lot of other bloggers on twitter too. I participated in a twitter chat last week regarding love triangles in YA fiction( hosted by Tiffany @ Escaping One Book at a Time). I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun! Lots of book talk and other chatting went on.

 

I think the key is when networking about books – online or off – is just to go in with an open mind. For me, talking about books is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and I think a lot of people are from the same school of thought.

Armchair BEA Day 2: Best of 2012

This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

Armchair BEA is a lot of fun with daily posts, twitter parties, giveaways and other things going on.

Today’s post focuses on 2012! I’m going to share some of my favourite books that have been published so far from 2012.

Favourites from 2012 

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book in a giveaway – prior to that I wasn’t too excited about it. Cinderella is one of my least favourite fairytales. But this book surprised me. It’s interesting and fun and manages to stay true to the traditional story that I know whilst still offering something new and exciting.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I only ‘discovered’ Divergent earlier this year and in a way that was a good thing – it meant I didn’t have very long to wait in between reading the first book in the series and the second one being released. I’ve read a few reviews from people who were disappointed in the sequel but I enjoyed the fall out from the events in Divergent and how the characters and situation are developing.

Immortal City by Scott Speer

I think angels are the new vampires – there have been a lot of new angel books flooding the YA scene in recent months and Immortal City is one of them. This book wasn’t one of the best books I’ve read this year but I liked the concept and it’s only the first book in the series and I feel like there’s a lot of potential.

ADULT FICTION

I may only blog about the young adult books I read but I love paranormal romance and urban fantasy books too. I wanted to share two of my favourite books from these genres as well. Since I don’t have reviews for these books I’ll link them to their goodreads pages.

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett

I loved the first book in the series, Kindling the Moon, and this book was just as good if not better. The world that Jenn Bennett has created is so complex and creative and yet not overly complicated so the reader doesn’t get lost amongst all the demons and magic. This book has action, romance, drama and one of the most adorable and likeable secondary character’s I’ve ever read about – Jupe.

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

I’m a fan of all of Patricia Briggs’ novels and Fair Game is no exception. It’s the third instalment in the Alpha & Omega series and I was a little blown away by the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything if anyone’s planning on reading it but Briggs manages to write in such a way that I’m completely captivated by the story and I don’t see the plot twists and turns coming until they’re upon me. But everything that happens makes perfect sense and is right at home in the werewolf/vampire/fey world that she’s created. I loved this book.

Those are five of my favourites from this year. What are some of yours?

Armchair BEA Day 1: Introductions First

This week is the annual BookExpo America in New York City. I’m thrilled to be taking part in Armchair BEA which is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can’t attend the actual event.

Armchair BEA looks like a lot of fun with daily posts, twitter parties, giveaways and other things going on.

Today’s daily post is for participants to answer five questions from a list of ten so that everyone can get to know each other a little better.

Here’s my answers so you can learn a little more about me 🙂

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I’m Kate. I’m twenty-four and I’m from Queensland, Australia. I love it here. I’ve lived in many states but Queensland is my favourite. I’m currently studying at university to become a librarian. I’ve always loved books but never really considered making them a part of my career.

I’ve only been blogging a few months. I’m fairly active on goodreads and often have seen people’s blogs and thought that it’s something I could do to better manage what I’m reading. I read a lot. I’ve found that I really enjoy writing up my reviews and memes. I’ve had personal blogs since I was 13 and always seemed to lose interest or motivation or both within the first week but I have a feeling that this time it will be different.

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

I’m currently reading a few novels. I’m one of those people who often have more than one book on the go at any time. There’s one in my car, one in my bag, one next to my bed, a few next to the couch. And I’m one of those people who prefer certain genres depending on my current mood.

Out of the ones I’m currently reading, I’m almost finished with Marked by PC and Kristen Cast. 

Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I love to cook. Baking is my favourite – especially cookies/biscuits and cakes. I read as many recipe books as I do fiction and subscribe to a few food magazines. I love the accomplished feeling that I get when I finish making a dish – it’s nearly as good as the feeling when you’ve finished reading a good book.

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

This is so very hard to choose. And unfortunately I’m a little indecisive. My answer to this changes depending on what I’ve just read.

But I think I’d have to pick Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. He’s just such an interesting person. And he seems very patient and like my thousands of questions about magic and the world he inhabits wouldn’t irritate him. I also wonder what he’d wear to a dinner with a muggle fan – his fashion sense is kind of bizarre.

Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

Yes and no. I have always read a lot of YA fiction but I think I’m reading more than I used to. And I’m trying to structure how I read differently. Trying to get some sort of balance between all the paranormal books and the realistic fiction.

I think what I’ve really noticed is that how I read has changed. These days I have a notebook with me to jot down notes or quotes whilst I’m reading. If I’m reading on my kindle then I have a number of coloured post-it notes on the inside of my cover. Pink ones are for notes about characters, blue ones for plot and yellow ones for other. I didn’t think that blogging would change how I read but it has and I think it’s for the better. I am remembering details better and really thinking about characters and plot rather than just finishing a book and putting it on my shelves.

 

Thanks for reading my answers. 🙂

Morganville Monday!: Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine

After discussing this series with a friend the other day, I realized that I stopped after the first two (because that’s all that had been released at that stage). I want to get back into this series that many people I know rave about! So I’ve decided to read one Morganville Vampire book a week for the next twelve weeks! Morganville Mondays I shall call the days when I post my reviews!

Welcome to the fourth Morganville Monday – this week focusing on the third book of the series, Feast of Fools.

Book Review:

Title: Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires #4)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Vampires
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: January 2011 (first published 2008)
Pages: 372
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
It was hard to imagine how Claire’s day could get any worse… And then the vampires holding her hostage wanted breakfast.

In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans have learnt to live in relative peace. Still, Claire Danvers knows that after dark, her homework can take a backseat to staying alive. But this tenuous harmony is turned on its head with the arrival of Mr Bishop.

Bad to the bone, the ancient old-school vampire cares nothing about keeping the peace; staying at the top of the food chain is enough. What he wants from the town’s living and dead is unthinkably sinister. It’s only at a formal ball attended by vampires and their human dates that Claire realises Bishop’s plan—and the elaborately evil trap he’s set for the warm-blooded souls of Morganville…

My Review:

WARNING: This review will contain spoilers from the first three books in the Morganville Vampires series.

I’m really glad that I’ve been reading these books one after another. It seems like every single book ends on a massive cliffhanger. Book 1 – Shane’s dad killing Michael. Book 2 – Claire signing her life away to protect her friends. Then there’s book 3 that ended with the sinister knock at the door and the arrival of Ameile’s father and sire.

There are sometimes advantages to coming to a series late and not having to wait out super evil cliffhangers is one of them.

Claire has a whole lot of drama going on in her life. Her parents have just moved to town and are insisting she move out of the Glass House with those wicked boys. Okay, the never called Michael or Shane evil but it was in the subtext. And the project that Amelie gave her to work upon fixing the virus that is killing all the vampires with Myrnin has taking a turn for the worse with Myrnin locking himself up within a cage with the other senile vampires so that he won’t be able to hurt her. Jason, Eve’s little brother, is still on the scene after stabbing Shane and he won’t seem to leave Eve alone. Oh and Monica? She’s gone back to the evil little human she was in the first few novels – it is somewhat comforting to know that a leopard can’t change its spots even in Morganville. Who knew that a young woman of not-yet-seventeen could attract so much trouble.

And then there’s Bishop – Amelie’s sire and father. He’s come to town for sinister reasons and one of his fledglings has gotten her claws into Claire’s boyfriend, Shane. Unable to resist her compelling magical vampire gifts, he turns into a puppy dog whenever she’s around no matter how much he hates himself for it. Claire and Shane aren’t the only couple with issues. Eve and Michael are starting to realize just how difficult a vampire/human relationship can be.

I love how the characters and plot are developing. Claire is showing that she’s just as street smart as she is bookish. She’s trying all she can to save the vampire race while at the same time trying to keep up with her own teenage problems; parents who just don’t understand her and a boyfriend who won’t take advantage of her no matter how much she wants him to.

And Myrnin? I was a fan of him in the last book and in this one he just endears himself to me even more. He’s smart and cold but happy and cheerful. I’m hoping that they somehow manage to find the cure because this series is so much richer because of  this character and I’d hate to lose him.

The Bishop is so evil! After finding out in book 1 that Eve’s hippy boss Oliver was really the head of the bad vampires in Morganville and the one who tried to turn Michael I wasn’t sure we could have anyone who was hated more than him but now we have the Bishop. He’s trying to destroy everything that Ameile has created in Morganville.

This series has a long way to go – this is only book 4 of 12 – but I’m enjoying how it’s progressing. There’s enough going on now that I’m not fixated on the small things and I’m loving the journey.

There are sometimes advantages to coming to a series late and this is one of them. I think these cliffhangers would drive me crazy if I had to wait to find out.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3) 
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Mythology
Publisher: KTeen (an imprint of Kensington Publishing Corp.)
Publication Date: May 2012
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me—again.

Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects—and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me?

It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me—and I’m in for the fight of my life.

My Review:

I love this series. And I’m only slightly ashamed to admit I’ve been staking out the mailbox for the last few weeks eagerly awaiting the postman to deliver my copy to me.

This novel starts with a bang. Or at least a bloody battle when a group Reapers attack the museum Gwen, Valkyrie best friend Daphne and Daphne’s Celt boyfriend Carson are visiting to complete some last-minute homework before the end of winter break. I thought the most dramatic thing to happen after their holidays would be Gwen and Logan’s reunion but I was so wrong.

Not that the Logan and Gwen relationship in any way let me down. I love them as a couple. I love the drama and the issues that they have between them. Gwen manages to be in love with the gorgeous Spartan and yet, at the same time, she’s not completely besotted to the point of not being able to do or think of anything else. I admired her independence. Not only in terms of her romantic (or lack there of) relationship but also in all facets. If she really needs help then she’ll ask for it.

There’s a lot of action going on in this novel and in many ways it’s darker than the previous two novels in the series. Things are really ramping up. Loki’s Champion knows who she is and is out to get her and Helheim dagger from the first few chapters in the novel. But Gwen manages to cope with the pressure better than expected. I suppose this is starting to sound a bit like a love letter to Gwen. I just really enjoyed this novel. That’s why I was up till 4am finishing it when I had to wake up at 6.

The supporting characters were, as usual, brilliant. I love the different types of mythological warriors and creatures. And how well this novel fitted in with the others. All of the characters are growing in terms of their warrior skills and themselves as people. I’m really enjoying watching them become who they are destined to become.

I loved the plot – I was proud of myself for working out the mystery before Gwen but I wasn’t disappointed in Gwen like I was in Kiss of Frost. The evil Reapers are insanely good at being evil. I have no idea how things are going to end up which is half the fun. But I hope not too many people have to die before Loki is defeated.

Now that I’ve finished Dark Frost, I can’t wait till the end of the year for the fourth book to come out!

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository