Wednesday, March 25, 2015

6 Ways to Follow your Favorite Bloggers

Depending on your source, there are over 152,000,000 blogs in existence (as of 2014), and a new blog is being created every half a second. I currently follow 116 blogs, and I've heard others following anywhere from a few to a few hundred blogs.

With so many fascinating blogs out there, and everyone posting on different schedules, it can be easy to lose track of your favorite blogs.

If you stay connected to your favorite bloggers by just occasionally popping over to their page, you're probably missing a lot.

Whether you only follow one blog or a few hundred the following tips will help you find the best way to stay up to date with their posts and keep them organized.

1. Look for quick follow icons. Most bloggers will include on their main page icons that show you the social networking sites they belong to where you can follow them. At the top of my page, you can find my links where you can follow me on twitter, pinterest, facebook, goodreads, ect...

2. Join Bloglovin. Bloglovin is a social networking site dedicated to helping you find new blogs and keeping their posts organized in one place. Follow me on Bloglovin.

3. Get your favorite blogs to send their posts directly to your e-mail. Many bloggers will  have a Follow by E-mail submission box, like I do on the right hand side of my page. Enter your e-mail address in it and every time I publish a new post you'll get a notification in your inbox. (Note, you might want to see how often that particular blog posts, or your inbox might be filling up quickly. This option is best for a blog like mine that only posts a day a week.)

4. Use Google+, Twitter, or Yahoo to join the blog. This is a great option if you are a blogger yourself. When I join a blog via Google+ all the posts for that blog appear on my Reading List on my Blogger Dashboard. So, every time I log on to write a new blog post of my own I can easily scroll through the feed of blogs I follow.

5. Join Networked Blogs. Networked Blogs is similar to Bloglovin, but uses Facebook and Twitter to help you share the posts you're reading.

6. Follow your blogs via a Feed Reader. If you see a blog with a subscribe icon like the one below you can get that blog's RSS feed and follow it on a feed reader like Feedly, Curata, or Digg. If you like to read blog posts on multiple devices, particularly your smartphone, this might be the best option for you.

I hope these suggestions make it easier for you to stay connected to your favorite blogs, and remember, if you read a post you like, please share it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review for The One by Kiera Cass (The Selection #3)

Kept me hanging on every word, but the ending didn’t meet my expectations.

4 Stars. I couldn’t put this down. Cass sucked me in just like she did with the first two books. As usual there’s some beautiful imagery, some interesting tasks for the contestants to compete in, and a wonderful love story.

America is still stubborn and holds true to her values. I loved that even though she faced some hard choices she never wavered or compromised her beliefs. However, unlike the second book, she was smarter in the way she dealt with the things she felt passionately about that she knew the king would dislike.

I loved seeing America and the final contestants grow close. There’s a shift in this book where they stop competing and actually get to know one another. And, I loved seeing America and Maxon working together. They have a few experiences together outside the constraints of the selection contest, where it’s just the two of them, and I loved those moments.

However, I was a little annoyed that it took America so long to just tell Maxon how she felt about him. It seemed obvious that all he wanted was to hear that she loved him. I could understand that she was worried about putting herself out there, but it felt like Maxon had given her more than enough to know how he felt about her. However, when they finally do say their “I love you’s” it’s done in a way that’s really believable, and you know each of them mean it.

My only complaint was with the ending. It felt a little rushed and I wished America had had a more active role in it. She spent a good amount of time hidden in a safe room, and even though her earlier actions had led to a positive outcome, I wished she’d been able to contribute more in the moment.

I also wish the ending had been different overall. I feel like there was still more story to tell. There are a few secrets we discover at the end, including a big one with Kriss, that aren’t really explored as deeply as they could have been.

Spoiler: There were too many plot points left hanging, and I feel if the King and Queen hadn’t been killed off at the end that those points could have come up in a fourth book. For example, the power play going on between America and King Clarkson was a really interesting point of the story. I loved watching America defy him. I feared for her when she made him angry, and I was excited to see what he would throw at her next. I would have loved to have read a fourth book seeing America find her place within the castle as the princess, trying to support Maxon, and dealing with conflict between her and the king. Also, I disliked that the king and queen died off camera. I would have liked it better if we had seen those deaths. It would have made them more meaningful and poignant.

Overall, I loved this series and highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Four Book Genre's you've Probably been Confusing

It seems to me that there are a lot more book genres these days than there used to be. Self-publishing has allowed for more niche genre's to develop and grow and because of that labeling a book has gotten a little more complicated.

Sometimes figuring out what a book is about based on its genre isn't that hard. For example anything labeled as a "Romance" whether it's "Contemporary Romance," or "Romantic Horror" will have romance as a key part of the plot. Others however aren't as easy to distinguish. For example, what's the difference between "Paranormal Romance" and "Urban Fantasy"?

So, I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of the new genre's that have emerged and what I think they mean.

Paranormal Romance (PNR) - A story with paranormal elements that has romance as the central plot. Note this may sometimes get confused with "Romantic Suspense" however, there are no paranormal elements in Romantic Suspense, even though there may be suspense in a Paranormal Romance. In a PNR the overarching theme is "Love conquers all."
-EXAMPLES: Twilight Series, Warm Bodies

Urban Fantasy (UF) - A story often set in modern times, in a city or urban environment that has fantasy or supernatural elements. Note the word "romance" is not in the title. Many Urban Fantasies have romantic subplots, but romance is not a driving force of the story. In a UF the overarching theme is "Good vs Evil."
EXAMPLES: Morganville Vampires Series, Mercy Thompson Series

For more clarification between PNR and UF check out this website.

Urban Fantasy Romance (UFR) - A story set in an urban setting with romance as a central theme and fantasy elements. While romance is a key element in these books, they tend to focus on the action more than a PNR story would.
EXAMPLES: Night Huntress Series, Mortal Instruments Series

Dark Fantasy (DF) - A fantasy novel with elements of horror. Also sometimes known as "Supernatural Horror." Sometimes these books will have a hero/heroine that may come across as more antagonistic.
EXAMPLES: The Darkest Part of the Forest, Red Queen

Along with genre there's also been more emphasis placed on point of view. Check out this blog post that take about what it means for a book to be labeled YA or NA.

What are some of your favorite books in these categories? Or, what books have you mistaken their genre. Share your thoughts below.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review of Mark of Defiance (Defiance Gray #2) by Adrianne Brooks

3.5 Stars. A Scary Journey. I enjoyed the dark imagery and scary moments of this book. There were also some interesting philosophical questions that the book raised about religion and being open minded, which I liked. And, most of all I enjoyed seeing Defiance’s character grow and watching her start to open her mind and question all the things her “church” had taught her.

However, there were places where the plot dragged a bit, and the pacing felt off. I think if the first book had been combined with this one, and the author had cut a few things that it would have had a better flow.

Like in the first book there were a few contradictions that took me out of the story. For example they’re taught to lie in school, but lying to a high priest is a bad thing. Also Defiance seemed to have never seen windows before, but I thought I remembered her climbing back into her orphanage through a window in the first book. Also there’s a mention of using gas from old cars in the desert, but considering this is supposed to take place hundreds of years after the apocalypse, the gas shouldn’t be good anymore. They were just little annoyances, but they pulled me out of the story.

The biggest problem I had, was that I just didn’t feel drawn in to the budding romance between Defiance and Uriel. I could kind of understand Defiance having a bit of a crush on Uriel, but there’s so little we actually know about him that I had a hard time connecting to him as a love interest for her. As a protector and an Angel, he’s written perfectly, but I think he maybe didn’t seem human enough for me to believe that there could be a relationship between the two of them.

That said, I did love the ending, and how much Defiance was actually involved in saving the day. It felt like her learning about her gift was building up to that moment, and it finished the story off in a great way.

Read my Review for Act of Defiance (Defiance Gray #1)

Indie Book Goal 2018