Why I’m lovin’ Bloglovin’…

One of my blogging resolutions for this year was to read more blogs and be better organized. Enter Bloglovin.

Follow on Bloglovin

Shameless self-promotion: 

What is Bloglovin? 
Much like google reader – Bloglovin allows you to follow blogs and get alerts each time they put up a new post.

There’s even a video to explain (because let’s face it, I’m not so great on the explainin’)

Using a combination of the Bloglovin app, the Google Chrome alert (in the address bar next to the favourite star) and a daily feed email – I’ve been able to keep track of my favourite blogs.

Three reasons why I’m lovin’ bloglovin:
1. It’s very easy to use.
2. The blog you’re following doesn’t need to be registered on bloglovin in order for you to follow it. Blogger, WordPress, selfhosted – you can follow them all in one place!
3. The interface is clear and uncluttered.

I’ve not used Google Reader (and with it closing down that’s hardly likely to change) but I encourage people to check out Bloglovin.

Annddd…

Because I’m talking about following blogs – here are five of my favourite Aussie book blogs….

Australian Bookshelf

Vegan YA Nerds

Speculating on SpecFic

Read In A Single Sitting

Obsession With Books

 

Book Lover Gift Ideas…

I love Christmas – I start my shopping in January and now, just a week before Christmas, and I still have a few things to get. So whilst finishing up my shopping I’ve decided to share some ideas for gifts for book lovers in case anyone else is in the same boat and needing some inspiration for some last-minute gifts.

Book Hampers
The the best thing about book hampers you put together yourself is that you can personalize them. They can be as big or as small as you like. The most important thing is to only include items that the person you’re giving it to will appreciate considering that you are tailoring the hamper for that person.

You can theme them. Things like a recipe book and some cookie cutters; a book and a DVD of the movie. You could even make up your own special ideas for particular books – I may have given my sister a towel and a copy of one of my favourite books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

For a book hamper I made for a friend I included a copy of a book I thought she’d like, a coffee mug, some hot chocolate and a few chocolates that I know are her favourites. I put it all together in a handy tote that she could use as a library bag – or for anything really. Tote bags are fantastically handy.

Some other ideas of what to go into a book hamper – or could be gifted separately – are:

  • bookmarks
  • book lights
  • book ends
  • hollow book
  • book jewellery
  • reading journal
  • book clock
  • e-reader/tablet covers
  • gift cards – I think these are especially good to give if the recipient of your gift likes ebooks or audio books from audible or similar sites
  • literary quote t-shirts
  • tissues (if the book you’re gifting is a bit of a tear-jerker)
  • Literary inspired cookbooks for the culinary adept
  • magazine subscriptions,

This pretty much reads like a letter I would write to Santa – these are things I’d love to receive myself so they are things I would gift to others.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season 🙂

 

Books on a Budget: Second Hand Books

Generally, I’m rather good at sticking to a budget. The only exception is when it comes to books.

I love buying books.

I’ve gone out in the past to buy some milk from the grocery store and come hope with a few new novels and no milk to be seen….

But lately I’ve been trying really hard to try to stick to my budget. I’m moving house soon and have a lot of expenses associated with that so I’m trying to cut down my spending on everything.

Including books.

One of the best ways so far that I’ve come up with to save whilst still satisfying my need to purchase new reading material – buying second-hand.

In Brisbane last weekend they held another Lifeline Bookfest. The Lifeline Bookfest is a giant second-hand book sale where all the proceeds go to the Lifeline charities.

Look at all the books to choose from!

I manage to attend on Tuesday afternoon and picked myself up a whole stack of books that I had wanted to read and a few cookbooks as well.

Some tips I have for buying second-hand:

1. Go with an open mind

You can never tell what you’ll find when you’re buying at a giant second-hand sale. You may find many books you like or none. But going with a preplanned shopping list is probably not the way to go.

2. Past years bestsellers – this years secondhand treasures

If it’s been a best seller in years gone by then there’s a very good chance that someone will have decided to sell it on. I saw an entire table with over a hundred copies of each of the four Twilight Books on sale. I could have picked up the entire series – good condition too – for around $10. I could have also bought many Dan Brown novels, Harry Potter, The Secret – if it was incredibly popular a few years ago, I saw it. And for only a fraction of the price of buying it new.

3. Same book, Different name…

Sometimes books get sold under different names for the same book and it’s easy to be caught out. If you see a book being sold by an author you love but haven’t heard of it before and you have a phone with internet connectivity then I recommend that you google it or look it up on goodreads to make sure it’s not a book you already own under a different name. I’ve been caught out before when I was buying books for my brother. I knew that he loved a certain author and I found a few books that I didn’t think he had. He did own them just under the names they’re been published by a few years prior.

4. It’s what’s on the inside that matters…

Sometimes second-hand books aren’t in the best condition. But sometimes they look worse than they really are. If a book looks a little worse for wear, open the cover and see how the book inside looks. Does it have all its pages? Can the cover be repaired with just a little bit of clear book covering contact?

Last year I picked up a copy of Colleen McCullough’s The First Man in Rome. It had seen better days – the front cover was falling off – but the book itself was in great condition. I bought some clear book covering contact and covered the book and now it looks fantastic. The book was only 20 cents and the contact that I used (I was using off cuts that I already owned) was probably around 10 cents worth.

I think the main thing to look at with regards to condition is the pages themselves. Are there any missing? Are they moldy or water damaged? If they are then that’s a book that I’d pass on.

5. The diamond in the rough…

Sometimes second-hand book sales manage to hold a whole horde of treasures. If you look hard enough sometimes there are rare books that are out of print or limited editions. Second hand stores (not so much the giant sales but the stores) have been places that I’ve found books that I’d been looking for in regular bookstores and been unable to find. As they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

6. The Golden Rule 

One of my brothers is rather conservative with his money. Not to say that he’s stingy because he isn’t. But he has always been someone who never impulse buys. And he has a saying that whilst it used to annoy me like crazy whenever he’d criticize something I’d buy has always stuck with me.

If you weren’t going to buy it, then you’re not saving a thing

Basically it means that if you see something on sale, it’s still costing you more than you’d be spending anyway because you were never going to buy it in the first place. (I hope I managed to make that make sense)

For me, with regards to buying books, this means that if I’m not going to read a book then I shouldn’t be buying it no matter how cheap it could be. And not just with regards to my finances. If I buy a book then it means that no one else can buy it. I may be unknowingly be taking someone’s next favourite book just so it can still in the dusty recesses of my bookshelves.

7. Plan ahead…

This one is probably just one I need to tell myself. I took the train up to Brisbane the other day and forgot one very important fact: I had to get the train home. Along with everything that I purchased.

So this final tip is remember that whatever you buy – you have to carry. So make sure that if you aren’t parked close to wherever you’re shopping, don’t buy too much.

Or you’re get home and the next day you’re be complaining about back and shoulder pain all day long 😛

I spent $29 and brought home 26 books – most of which were ones that I had on my wish list for a while now but a few ones that just took my fancy when I saw them there. Now I just need to find some place to put them all before I have to move them to my new place next month 😛

The accidental bonus copy of the Prodigal Daughter has already found a home with my neighbour. So I think that counts as good karma too 😛

June New Releases!

June has many new releases that I’m very eager to read – I’ve pre-ordered many of them. And considering how rarely I pre-order, that’s saying a lot!


– I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in the Fallen series. But since then I’ve read each new instalment and I’ve grown fond of the character and how they’ve grown since the start. It’s really coming into its own as a series and I can’t wait to see how everything ends.

– I’ve read review from people who have read ARCs of this book and it sounds like a wonderful addition to the YA fantasy scene.

– I have a soft spot for cute contemporary YA fiction stories. And the trope of having the girl romantically involved with the boy next door? Well it’s one of my favourites.

– I. LOVE. MERMAIDS! It probably comes from watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid too many times when I was younger (I actually stretched the VHS from watching it too much and it got stuck in the machine once…) but regardless of why I love them – I do. And this particular mermaid book looks fairly dark and somewhat sinister. I love that it looks so very different to any mermaid book I’ve read before.

– When I was sixteen, I spent one summer (Australian Summer, Italian Winter) in Italy. It was incredible and an experience I’ll never forget. Since then I’ve had a soft spot for all YA related movies and books where the main character spends a vacation in the beautiful country (Yep… I’m not ashamed to admit it. I went and saw the Lizzie Maguire movie in the cinema and own a copy of it on DVD). This books looks adorable and full of that fantastic summer feeling that you get when you read a book about people on vacation.

 

What new releases are you looking forward to this month?

 

Books Are Not Just For Reading….

I love searching the internet and seeing just what crazy and exciting things people come up with. Here are a few of the cool book-related things I’ve found this week:

This is gorgeous. I know I wouldn’t have the patience or talent to create it but I think it’s beautiful.

Books as plant a boxes?

Books as paintings?

Books as tiny self-contained dioramas?

Books as a staircase…

Anyone seen anything lately where a book is more than just for reading? 🙂

The Secret Life of Books?

I came across this video a few months ago but I saw it again today and liked it just as much as the first time I saw it.

 

I love the idea that books don’t just sit around idle when we’re not reading them. They have this whole different life that we never get to see.

 

I can’t imagine how much work that would have taken to make this video. Some people are incredibly imaginative, talented and patient!

May New Releases!

There are a number of books being released this month that I cannot wait to be released so I can read them!


– I’m so glad that I came late to the party for the first book. I only read it last week but I fell in love with the story and the characters and even waiting a week has seemed to be too long! Luckily this book is out today and I pre-ordered it the other day so hopefully I won’t have to wait too long!

– I really enjoy werewolf stories. They are my favourite sub section  of the paranormal genre and from the summary of this book it looks like it’s something new and fresh. I really like the look of it and the cover is beautiful. This should be a good one.

– I’m still a bit of a newbie to the steam punk genre but the books that I have read have fascinated me. I love the blend of old and bizarre. This book has gotten some great reviews and those, combined with the steam punk aspect, have cemented The Particulars’  place on my to-read list.

– I haven’t heard too much about this book (in fact I only added it to my to-read list this afternoon) but the cover is beautiful and angels are quickly becoming one of my most read supernatural beings. They must be very ‘in’ at the moment. I can’t seem to go anywhere without hearing about another new angel book. And there’s a reason for that. Handsome guys with pretty wings = a winner. Or at least I think that’s the attraction. This book appeals to me because of the idea that a simple kiss can change your entire life.

 

There are a few other books I’m looking forward too but they are a little more steamy and not really young adult (like the next Sookie Stackhouse book or the third Lords of the Deliverance novel). And they’re all paranormal … I’m sensing a trend here 😛

 

If anyone could suggest some young adult new releases that ARE NOT paranormal, I’d love it if you could leave me a comment.

Thanks 🙂