Category: Uncategorized

May TBR

It’s finally May! The month of all the great book releases. Unfortunately for my ever-growing TBR, I have been moved to another department at work and learning the ropes has been taking up most of my time. I don’t think I’m going to get to read all the books but here are the books on my TBR:

  1. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas- This is all I wanted to read for 2018 and judging from the Instagram pics, I can probably finish this in one setting.
  2. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo- I started reading this already and it is SO GOOD (but it’s the kind of good where you need time to binge-read).
  3. Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton- I’m rereading this (or atleast I was supposed to be rereading this but I keep getting distracted. See list of books previously mentioned). This is going to be followed by Hero at the Fall (and then I shall mourn the end of this series).
  4. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo- I am listening to the audiobook and trying to draw it out for as long as possible so that when I get my next credit, I can just purchase the last book in this series.
  5. The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor- I was 57% into this book before I got sidetracked by The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton (I keep stopping books halfway to read other books. I have a problem).
  6. A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman- I have been holding off on reading this because I didn’t read the previous book in this series. However I did read an excerpt from this book and it looks really interesting.

I’m not sure how I plan to finish 6 books in one month (especially since I still have so many reviews that I haven’t written yet) but fingers crossed that I make it. What do you plan to read in May? Let me know below.

April Book Haul

We are almost to my birthday! Okay, no. My birthday is in three months but whatever. April is my mother’s birthday month and it makes me incredibly happy because once this month is over I can finally start discussing my birthday plans. Here are the books I got for April so far (I have to say so far because recently I feel like I have  been magically finding books everywhere I go despite my supposed book ban):

 

1) SPCA and Bargain Books Book Haul:

Please take a minute to observe and be astounded by the small size of my haul. Also, YAY boxsets. I was working on the day of the SPCA booksale so by the time I got there, there were not many books that I found interesting. However I did find Matilda which I’ve always wanted to read. When I first started work and my co-workers found out about my love of reading, they called me the real-life Matilda (this quickly came to an end when I told them I had  no idea who that was).

I also managed to get a copy of “Seed” from Bargain Books. If you follow me on social media, you know that I have wanted this book for a really long time. I’ve seen it in the bookstore during my last two visits but I left it behind because I already read it and I had other (unread) books that I was buying (but still haven’t read any of those books). Anyway, when I got to Bargain Books, I looked around the entire store twice and was unable to find the book.I very reluctantly asked the saleslady to look it up and within a few minutes, the staff located a copy for me. I was overjoyed. “Seed” was one of the first Netgalley books I ever read and I enjoyed it immensely. The story is captivating and the writing is incredible. I feel like I have come so far as a person and as a book reviewer since then and I NEEDED this book to remind me of the girl I was back then. I don’t even know if I’m making sense right now but words cannot express how much it meant to me that I finally got this book.

 

2)  Review Copies from Jonathan Ball Publishers:

I requested “The Perfect Girlfriend” by Karen Hamilton because I recently read “The Woman in The Window”” and I LOVED IT. I very rarely enjoy mysteries but that was a book that made me rethink my opinion on the entire genre. I’m hoping that “The Perfect Girlfriend” will be something along those lines. “The Wren Hunt” has been all over my social media and I’m both excited and scared to read it. Excited because it seems interesting but scared because what if it doesn’t live up to the hype (that is the eternal book question, if you ask me).

What books did you buy recently? Feel free to send me weblinks, pictures, comments, etc. If it’s book-related, I want to know.

5 FREE Sources for Pictures for Your Blog

5 Free Sources for  Pictures for your blog

When I first started blogging I had no pictures in my blog posts. I didn’t think I needed them- I cared more about my words than the way they looked. I also had no idea where to get photos from. If you’ve had issues finding pictures for your blog posts this is for you.

1) Take Your Own- It’s your blog and no one know better than you what pictures you need. The easiest way to get pictures that you need is to take your own. However, keep in mind that you need great lighting and a good quality picture. I know nothing about photography so I always rely on websites instead. Also I really don’t trust my photo skills.

2) Death to the Stock Photo- Death to the Stock photo provides you with monthly photo collections based on a theme. Most of my pictures are from their site.

3) Picjumbo- Picjumbo provides you with new photos every few days and they occasionally allow you access to their premium packs. Their photos are of a high-quality and always have a theme depending on the time of the year. Need a Christmas or Easter-themed photo? They have you covered!

4) Canva- There is no end to what you can do with Canva. Use it to create social media banners, blog posts, infographs or printables. I especially like using Canva to add text to my pictures from Picjumbo or Death to the Stock Photo.

5) Pexels- I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pexels. Simply type in what you’re looking for in the search(e.g, a picture of a laptop) and pick from one of their many choices.

How do you get pictures for your blog? Have you tried any of the above sites? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday- Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and MoreThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emmaline lives in the beach town of Colby where it seems like she is nothing but a face in other people’s stories and holiday memories. Emmaline has been with her boyfriend, Luke for practically forever. They’re a great match. Almost perfect.
But things start to change in the summer before Emmaline goes off to college. Her absentee father returns with his son (and some secrets) while a visitor from New York, Theo seems taken with Emmaline.
While Luke is small town, Theo is ambitious and showy. Nothing like the life Emmaline knows but Theo represents the life she could have…If she only chose to move out of Colby.
This was a wonderfully written novel about growing up and finding your identity. Emmaline is a girl from a small town who longs for something more than her ordinary life. However when that something more is given to her, she isn’t so sure anymore if it is what she wants. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a contemporary read or a sweet family story.

View all my reviews

Life Update: Me, My Shelf and I

There’s been lots of exciting things happening for me recently so I thought I’d do a blog post about some of them. 

First of all, I’ve finally gotten a permanent contract at work. This made me really happy since from the second I started work about six months ago, I knew that I loved my job. It’s kinda scary since it feels like I’m finally a serious working adult and I don’t know how to deal with that. I’m not equipped to be an adult. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my new bookshelf. It’s black and red and absolutely gorgeous! 

Lastly I’ve been debating whether or not I should continue reviewing books. I’ve got about 10 or so review books that I still need to read but my regular print books are getting neglected which makes me sad. I miss reading just for fun and not because I need to have a review done before a certain date. I’m still not sure if I am going to still accept review books (it’ll kill me to miss out on all the great days) but it’s definitely something I need to think about.

That’s all for my life update. I’m hoping to have regular blog posts in the future but things never work out the way I want them to when it comes to the blog. 

How I Schedule My Blog Posts

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee that I have heated up for the third time this morning. This is also my third attempt at drafting this post. It has been getting harder and harder to get time to write blog posts since I started work. I think I have some sort of system going now. It is by no means perfect but I’m sharing it in the hopes that maybe it’ll help you.

1) Generating Ideas:

I use Trello and OneNote to keep track of my blog post ideas. I basically just make a list of blog ideas in Trello and then expand on them in OneNote. I know I can write the entire blog post out on a Trello card but I am just more comfortable using OneNote. I write down ideas as soon as they come to me so that I don’t forget them. I also use a regular planner so that I can see in print when I want to schedule my posts.

2) Actually Writing the Posts:

Like I said above, I usually use OneNote to write down the blog post. On occasion, I do write the blog post on WordPress. WordPress is my last stop before actually publishing so I make sure that I edit the post here before publishing it. I write blog posts every Saturday or every spare moment I can get.

3) Getting images:

In my opinion, this is where the magic begins. In the last week of the month, I spend an hour or two on Canva, creating images for my blog posts. I know that I usually have a TBR, Book Haul and four book reviews. While the book reviews don’t need any images, the TBR and book haul posts do so these are easy to create. I also use my Trello list of blog ideas to see what blog posts I’m writing for the month and then create those posts.

4) Publishing and Promoting:

In the first week of the new month (eg, first week of October), I combine my blog draft with the Canva images. Voila! A blog post. I read through the post to make sure it reads well, I add the relevant tags and publish. I try and make sure that at the very least, I have four book reviews for the month already queued. Then I use Buffer to schedule social media posts for the week. Honestly I usually just do this the first week and then forget the rest of the month. (Hey, I am trying here. Like I pointed out above, finding time to blog is TRICKY!). On the day that a blog post is published, I promote it on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I repeat this a week or two later.

 

My process is not perfect and sometimes I do fall behind. Okay, lots of times. But I’m working on it and I found that having an actual process in place makes it easier to blog. How do you schedule your blog posts? I’d love to know below!

September Book Haul


I was late for the July and August SPCA booksale so my mother thought to remedy that by waking me up at 7AM. On a Saturday! I don’t know if she’s aware of the fact that I often work Saturdays and my days off are sacred. Anyway we got to the booksale at about 9AM (which is good since that’s when Bargain Books opens). After a quick browse, I came up with an armful of books as well as a collection of kids magazines such as “Sabrina’s Secrets”  and “Make it Groovy” . My inner kid was overjoyed since I loved Sabrina’s Secrets but never had more than one issue since I subscribed (should the correct phrase be “my parents subscribed” since I was only ten at the time?) to Make it Groovy. Eventually that subscription was cancelled (Damn recession) and I was left a sad child. But not anymore *cackles evilly* I am an independent woman and I will have these kids magazines. The guy at the SPCA asked me if I finished the books I bought last month. I admitted that I didn’t read as much as I bought each month and he laughed. (I’m going to get to them one day okay!) 

Obviously after this I visited Bargain Books. I knew I wanted Melissa Delport’s “Legacy” series but things didn’t actually go as planned. There was small hiccup where “A Million Worlds with You” didn’t scan as part of the 3 books for R150 deal. I don’t think I have ever visited Bargain Books and not had an issue at the till. The manager had to be called to fix this and she greeted me warmly before asking if I had finished my last batch of books from their store. I swear I felt so attacked. I laughed and admitted that I hadn’t and she said she thought as much since I had visited the store a few weeks ago. This is what freaks me out- I cannot remember visiting Bargain Books in the past month. Either I have a doppelganger or I’m going book-shopping before blacking out. 

Before leaving the Crescent I popped into Waltons to check their colouring pencils and I also quickly looked at the SPCA books again. Fun fact- they have more than just books. I found some DVDs.

After this the only bookish thing I had left to do was use my Exclusive Books voucher. I knew that I wanted to buy “And I Darken”. Unfortunately there were no copies at the store so I ended up coming home with Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas. I also caught a quick glimpse of Somizi who was visiting the store. Sadly there were too many people for me to take a pic but I was thrilled nonetheless. 

I came home totally exhausted but so happy. I got a great haul of books and other items and I loved it! 

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Blogging

I’ve been blogging for about four years now and it never fails to amaze me how many things I don’t know. Despite this it also never fails to amaze me how much I have learnt so far. Here are 10 lessons I wish I knew when I first started blogging:

things-i-wish-i-knew-blogging

 

  1. The importance of social media- I cannot stress this enough. When I first started blogging (a very casual Tumblr that was filled with posts about my day at school and shirtless pictures of Ian Somerhalder), I saw no need to promote posts on social media. Unfortunately this habit carried over when I started blogging seriously as well. I had social media accounts but they were for me and my friends and not my blog.
  2. How to make friends- Okay, this is still something I feel awkward about and don’t really know how to do but I have made far more friends through my blog over the past year than I did when I first started blogging. The great things about having blogger friends is that they get the pits and peaks of having a blog. They get why certain blog-ish things make you excited or disappointed.
  3. The Value of Pinterest- Pinterest is a HUGE source of traffic and I will forever regret not using it in my earlier blogging days. Pinterest is a constant source of my traffic and it isn’t even for recent posts. Once you Pin a post and it’s repin, you can get tons of new views.
  4. Blogging is not always free- When I first started blogging, I didn’t want to pay any money for anything. I was a high school senior with little to no steady income (my allowance was solely reserved for data). So I didn’t have my own hosting and domain. Now that I do, it is a move that I definitely do not regret. Blogging is not always free especially if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger.
  5. SEO- Another great way to get traffic is through SEO. Unfortunately I didn’t know much about SEO so this was not something I used to bring traffic to my blog.
  6. Blogging is not easy- Blogging is time-consuming and tiring. Ever since starting my job it’s been more difficult to get time to blog especially if I happen to be working on a Saturday. As a newbie I assumed I could post whenever I wanted to and no one would care. However if you want people to keep coming back to your blog, you need to have a consistent schedule.
  7. Not all bloggers get free stuff- While I didn’t start my blog in order to get freebies, I was very confused when I saw other bloggers getting free food and clothing vouchers. Why did they get those things? Why didn’t I? (Hint-they’re a) overseas and b) have a larger following than I do so they have a lot more perks.
  8. Free stuff is not actually free- There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When bloggers get “free stuff” they usually have to promote it with a blog/social media post. Which, as you can see in point 6, is not always easy.
  9. You don’t have to be online 24/7- When I first started blogging, I was glued to my phone (granted I’m still pretty glued to my phone but that’s usually because I’m chatting to my friends). I didn’t want to miss any social media notification or review request. I do have moments when I’m waking up at 2AM to see if I have review requests for Historical Romance (I get such amazing historical fiction reads, you guys. St. Martin’s Press really knows what they’re doing in that genre) but besides that I leave all blogging stuff for days/times when I’m blogging.
  10. How to Use a Social Media Tool- Like I mentioned in the point above, you don’t have to be online all the time. Using a social media tool such as Buffer, you can give the appearance of being online and you can promote your blog without needing to log into Facebook/Twitter ten times a day.

What things do you wish you knew before you started blogging?

Waiting on Wednesday: Hello Stranger (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

I love Lisa Kleypas’ historicals and I especially love how dysfunctional the families are. The Ravenels series follows a family of misfits (similar to her “Hathaways” series). However the fourth book in this series, “Hello Stranger” doesn’t really follow a Ravenel- or atleast not one that I’ve seen in previous books. There isn’t a cover yet since the book only releases next year but here’s the synopsis:

 

Official Synopsis from Goodreads.Com:

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of an unconventional beauty who finds passion with the spy who can’t resist her

A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man – why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Release Date:  February 27th 2018 by Avon

My Favourite Blogging Apps

I love blogging apps. They make it so easy to create posts, edit pictures and blog on the go. This is great since I don’t have to be attached to the computer 24/7 in order to create content.Here are some of my favourite blogging apps:

My Favourite Blogging Apps

 

  1. JotterPad- I love using Jotterpad to jot down ideas or drafts for blog posts. I have a memo pad app on my phone but there’s just something about Jotterpad that I love when it comes to taking down quick notes. I also use JotterPad for non-blog notes such as phone numbers, lists or reminders.
  2. Trello- I use Trello to keep track of my social media and editorial calendar. I occasionally also use it to track my reading and book reviews. The Trello Android app now has the Calendar Power-Up which makes it even more   effective for blogging. It also makes using Trello as an editorial calendar SO much easier
  3. Pixlr- I don’t always edit pictures on my phone but when I do, I use Pixlr. This is mainly because when I first started adding pictures to post, I used Pixlr and the habit stuck with it. I’m just really comfortable with it and hey, if it isn’t broke why fix it?
  4. WordPress- For some reason the WordPress app on my phone does not let me blog but I use it to reply to             comments and check my blog stats. This is probably my least favourite app on my phone even though         WordPress is my favourite blogging platform.
  5. Pinterest- I love Pinterest for tips on blogging, sharing my own blog posts and to keep up with friend’s blogs. I feel like you can find anything and everything on Pinterest. It’s like a visual Google.

Blogging would definitely be far more difficult without these apps. What are some of your favourite blogging apps? I’d love to know below.

 

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