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Sunday, January 31, 2016

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Review: Sword by Realm Lovejoy (The Necessary Bridge with No Progress)

Sword Realm Lovejoy

Le Fay #2

Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Self Published

Evil lurks. Camelot sits, vulnerable. The fate of a future king hangs in the balance.

After surviving a string of brutal trials, sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is an official member of Camelot. But beneath its shining fa├žade, Camelot is a crumbling government where loyalties are divided.

Nobody believes Morgan’s suspicions that enemies are closing in. Prince Arthur, a boy more interested in playing video games than ruling, will not listen to her, and neither will Lancelot, Camelot’s head of security. Even Morgan's friend Merlin refuses to take action.

When Morgan discovers that someone is plotting to assassinate the future king, she must take her destiny—and his—into her own hands. With the sword Excalibur beckoning in the distance, Morgan embarks on a seemingly impossible mission. And before her journey ends, everyone will know what she is truly capable of . . .

In this second book in the LE FAY series, author Realm Lovejoy takes readers deep into the heart of a splintering Camelot.
Review copy provided by the author via YA Bound Book Tours

is the second book to Realm Lovejoy's , occurring shortly after Arthur's Round in Camelot reveals the Maven. When I compare the sequel to , I'm not a huge fan of Sword – the book has a few good parts and bad parts that causes me to favor the first book over the second book.

Lovejoy first captivated me into the series with her – Camelot is integrated within the real world with technology and just comes across in the novel as something completely normal and acceptable by the rest of the world. Sword, however, doesn't really introduce us to anything new world-wise aside from a few new places within Camelot (dungeons are cool?) and Avalon.

Just like in the first book, Morgan is an ambitious person who will do anything to try and reach her goals. Much grief and questioning ensues when she doesn't get what she wants, but she ultimately decides it's not exactly the end of the world if she isn't chosen as Arthur's Maven as her visions determined. Morgan decides to take action into her own hands when she discovers that Arthur might potentially be in danger from a group called The Luminaries, who are trying to look for her for some reason. Everyone else chooses not to believe her or take her words into consideration and assume she's a little crazy in the head primarily because she didn't get the honor of being Maven.

In all honesty, just an injection of pity party for Morgan. But I like her good intentions, so I'm going to stick around and see if she becomes more batzy crazy sometime in the next few books. However, in the case of discovering something a lot more about Morgan's past, not much will be revealed, and anything revealed continues to shroud Morgan in a mystery.

Overall, feels more like a bridge between the first and third book in the series – not exactly a novella, not exactly a progression either. But not having Sword between the two books wouldn't work either because the book unveils a few new plot twists towards the end that will leave readers interested in following the series into the third book and possibly beyond.

3.5 Owls

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Friday, January 29, 2016

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Fangirl Friday: The Shadowhunters Edition Episodes 1-3 (Recap)


At the end of each month, I will review and share my thoughts and opinions about all the episodes that aired that month for Shadowhunters. I will keep doing this right up until the season ends, of course.

So let me just summarize what happened very vaguely (don't want to spoil anything for anyone) for every episode.
Episode 1 was basically the pilot, or the premiere, episode where they introduced each character and really started to develop the plot. Nothing special really happens in this one other than the fact that Clary is thrown into this world she never knew about until now. The bad guys took Clary's mother away because Valentine wants the Mortal Cup back.
Episode 2 was mainly about how Simon, Clary's best friend, is trying to get used to Clary's new world. Clary is frustrated by everyone asking her where the Mortal Cup is. Clary doesn't know anything since her memories were taken away when she was a little girl because her mother was sheltering her from this world. Jace takes Clary to the Silent Brothers in the City of Bones to try to get her memories back which helps them reveal who Clary's father is. It ended with Simon being kidnapped by vampires. Sorry, I really need to say this because this leads to episode 3.

Episode 3 was all about how the vampires are using ways to get Simon to spill information about where the Mortal Cup is. Simon doesn't know where it is obviously. So Jace, Clary, Alec and Isabelle go out to rescue him. It ended with a big cliffhanger. If you have read the books  you sort of know what's bound to happen next.

My Thoughts and Opinions

I really like the show but there's something about it that seems pretty off. It just seems like a cheap action movie cut into pieces. That's how I feel sometimes as I was watching the episodes. I am not hating on this show whatsoever. I am just going to have to wait until it gets a bit more interesting and hope the CGI gets a tad bit better.

The actors do a great job portraying the characters which I am so happy about. Not gonna lie, I was a bit worried considering how the movie was a bust. These actors have big shoes to fill and I personally think they are doing a phenomenal job!

Now, let's discuss the characters themselves. Alec is the annoying one because he is too sensitive at times (Trust me I KNOW and I am talking to those of you who have read the entire book series). It just that it's really hard for me to watch the show without wanting to tell the world what happens in the first book. Sorry, I have only read the first one. Don't judge me quite yet.

Isabelle is great but sometimes I feel uncomfortable when she is on screen because of how comfortable she is in her own skin. Nothing against her at all, it's just how I feel. Now Jace is mysterious and also very helpful, unlike Alec, and always tried to find a way to help Clary out since she literally has no where else to go. Clary is becoming a leader and taking risks, willing to do anything to save her mother, which I approve. GO CLARY! The attraction between Jace and Clary is pretty obvious and gets pretty intense as each episode goes by. It is fun to see Jace get jealous seeing Clary and Simon together no matter how many times Clary tells him that they are just friends.

I still think the episodes go a bit too fast but then again there are parts where it gets too slow. I think that's a good combination for a show right? I don't know. I am still going to keep watching this series and hopefully it gets better. I have high hopes for this show. Like I said, this show has a big job since the movie was a flop. Watch Shadowhunters on Freeform every Tuesday at 8pm CST!

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Glittering Court and Glass Sword

Hosted weekly at Breaking the Spine
Well, hello there, and happy Wednesday!

After a million years of not participating in memes, I'm sort of back. Sort of. When I looked back, it was over two years ago. What happened in those two years?

  • Completely brand new design (with a few tweaks from when I first made it)
    • Every time I think about a makeover, I keep changing my mind. I mean, I'm really fond of this one.
  • I got cobloggers in the form of Ella and Lupe (Ella got introduced. Lupe slipped in fashionably.)
  • I'm also coblogging at In Wonderland with Stephanie and 5-6 other peeps
  • Nori @ ReadWriteLove28 and I teamed up to bring Novel Newcomers, which features new book bloggers from the past year (I'm really excited about this one)
Anyways... onto our picks! It's Lupe's first time in the meme world. Applause ensues.

This week, Lupe is choosing The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead, the first in her new series, and I'm choosing Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, the sequel to Red Queen, which I adored. And if you keep up with Lupe's Fangirl Friday posts, she discusses her thoughts on the cover and her excitement for the series to come out this year.

Title: The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill

A dazzling new fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds that’s dripping with romance from Richelle Mead, #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy.

Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands. . . .

Unfortunately for Lupe, she'll have to wait longer than me for The Glittering Court to come out. Myself, on the other hand.... won't be waiting long for Glass Sword aside from the possibly long hold on the book in the library (unless Amanda Dolan is reading the book, then I'll choose the audiobook yet again).

Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

And now, over to you. What are you waiting for this week? And who's ready for Glass Sword like I am, or ready to be introduced to Richelle Mead's new world like Lupe? Link up, and we'll try our best to visit!

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016


What's a Celebrity/Popular Blogger? - The Discussion You've All Been Waiting For

In case you missed it (and a good thing you did) last week, the book blogging community has been coiled up with tension in regards to Project #BloggerConfessions, created by Nick and Neredya over at Nick and Neredya's Infinite Book Shelf.

Which, to be honest, I agree with some of their confessions and sympathize with them here and there (in fact, I came up with one or two myself that weren't on the post, but are on Twitter), but there were a few confessions that actually hit a really sore spot. And as some bloggers have mentioned, this project has definitely created tension among us and revealed who some of us are really like in times of bitterness.
But first, before I get into the real intention of this post, I'll admit that while some confessions hit a sore spot, actually posting those confessions takes a LOT of bravery, and Nick and Neredya did make a post to make clarifications on their project. This post is also in no way related to Project #BloggerConfessions, and it should not be viewed as a retaliation or contradiction to their post. This is simply a post showing my perceptions and thoughts on what a celebrity/popular blogger is.

But one thing still resonates.
  • Celebrity bloggers? What the fudge is a celebrity blogger? And I quote Cuddlebuggery, "Where can I find these magical unicorns?" (So I can seek their knowledge and wisdom and have an epiphany. Maybe I'll go kiss their boots, too. -_-)
Which ultimately leads to this whole celebrity bloggers thingamajig. I'm quite aware this might bring drama in and of itself (or it'll have a lot of support by the end).

Obviously I am not popular. Obviously I should not be writing this post. Obviously I should not be speaking my mind on what I think a celebrity blogger is because obviously this might just end up as controversial and will obviously result in some retaliation. And if I'm lucky, maybe I'll become famous out of this. *makes a face and carries on her usual blogging ways* (I'll have you know I'm feeling a little bitter and sarcastic in writing this post.)
But the entire time this whole thing was going down, I got approached by a former teacher earlier this month (is it wrong to keep in contact with former teachers, too?) about blogging, how it works, how to get started, etc. I'm sorry I had to pull in a former teacher in this fashion, but Project #BloggerConfessions kind of pulled this into the light and sort of supports my hopefully insightful little rant going on here, which is apparently the longest discussion post I've ever made in my blogging career.
One of the questions I got was, "What is Professional Blogging?" And after doing some research on the definition of what Professional Blogging is, I came up with virtually nothing and ended up writing a long paragraph about the commonly accepted attributes of what a "professional" blogger is.

And from what I've seen on what others think of "celebrity" bloggers, some of the attributes are actually the same as "professional" bloggers. Here is what I came up with in my research about professional bloggers:
  1. They have expertise, background knowledge, and a passion for what they blog about.
  2. They spend a lot of time dedicated to that topic – on and maybe off the Internet as well.
  3. They interact in the community and they're active. They're seen as influential in their communities.
  4. They come up with creative ideas, or take former ideas and give those ideas a new spin that makes it uniquely theirs.
  5. They have a large fan base or readership and they have a lot of engagement.
  6. They blog consistently and have been doing so for awhile.
And finally... they typically make a living out of it. But let's keep that whole making a living out of blogging out of this book blogging business, eh? (Because most bloggers get money out of advertisements, which typically sponsors giveaways.)

Do those attributes sound like celebrity bloggers? Absolutely.

But let's take a few examples from some of the "big name" bloggers that most of us, if not all of us, have heard appear in some way, shape, or form (there's more than this list). And if you're named, then I apologize for any offense taken.
Those are just some of the people I could name off the top of my head who most of us look up to in the blogging world. Who, in fact, most of us actually follow in some way, shape, or form, and probably regarded as part of the "big league" bloggers in the book blogging community. And if you're friends with them or they follow you, way to go! Progress is finally being made. Am I right or am I right?

All of them match up to "professional" bloggers. But let's look at some of those attributes again and compare "professional" bloggers to us "lowly" bloggers finding our footing in the world.
  • We all have a passion for reading. Reading the book gives us "expertise" and "background knowledge" on the books to write a review for the book.
  • We spend a lot of time blogging and reading and promoting those books. In fact, some of us actually aspire to work with books because of blogging.
  • We interact in the community – with other bloggers, authors, publishers, etc. Going to BEA or ALAMW.
  • We come up with ideas that may or may not already exist.
  • We blog consistently and have been doing so for years, or plan to. No problem if we're not, right? I mean, life is more important, which is why I'm totally okay with Lupe and Ella vanishing off in the abyss of life and posting a few times a month. In fact, Lupe doesn't really post reviews and primarily focuses on Fangirl Friday. Ella focuses more on reviews. I'm everywhere. And that's okay.
  • We don't necessarily have huge pageviews or fanbases or readership or engagement. Yet we find these important to our worth in some way, shape, or form, even just a little bit.
Basically, any of us can consider ourselves professional bloggers simply because professionals dedicate lots and lots of time. But... celebrity seems to be an entirely different level of WOW.
Let's take a look at me here at Bookwyrming Thoughts. I have a passion for reading, spend a lot of time blogging (which my mother doesn't like), aspire to work with books in the future, interact in the community, come up with ideas that may or may not already exist (part of the mastermind behind Novel Newcomers), blog consistently, and have over three years of blogging under my belt with four years this coming November.

I have approximately 7000-10000 pageviews per month, 272000 total pageviews, 4000 followers on Twitter, 670 followers on Facebook, 105 followers on Tumblr, 320 followers on Pinterest, 28 followers on NetworkedBlogs, 40 email and feed subscribers, 270 Bloglovin followers, and 390 followers on GFC.

And yes, I just ratted out my statistics, rounded, because I am obviously too lazy to go check my actual statistics when I'm on a roll here.

Do I have a large fan base or readership? Well... probably, if you count all the people who are silent and engage on here every so often. And if you just want to focus on my Twitter followers, that's almost the same amount of, if not more, followers some of the "big name" bloggers have. Which means, I should be famous, right?

Would I be considered a celebrity blogger? Maybe to some people, but I don't consider myself to be popular enough to be considered a celebrity blogger. I think I just wing blogging and go from there, even if I schedule more posts than Lupe and Ella put together. (Not that we care.)

Am I perfect blogger? Absolutely not. In fact, I talked with Lupe once about creating something called Blogger Bloopers, where I confess my [silly] mistakes I've committed throughout my blogging career just for poops and giggles and hopefully to reassure all bloggers out there that bloggers aren't perfect. We're all human. We make mistakes.

Here's another thing that's in common in our views (from what I've read) on what a celebrity blogger is: All of those bloggers are adults. They're college age and beyond. Which means as soon as I step in the doors of the university I'm going to this fall, that means I'm a celebrity blogger! Oh, joy! Happy dance ensues!
Yeah... no.

But let's bring in some of the ones I consider "celebrities," minus the ones already mentioned (again, no offense if you're named):
Some of these bloggers you might not even have heard of them until now. Some you might have heard or know about. Some are actually teenagers or, like me, started out as teenagers. Some of you might not have heard of me, or maybe you do know about me, or heard about me.

I wasn't aware I was floating from ear to ear.

But I look up to them, even if I just read or skim through their posts because I don't have time to comment on their blogs. Heck, I don't even have time to reply back to comments on my own blog, which commonly grates on Roberta's nerves, but she'll have to suck it up like a proper buttercup. (I'm serious. I take months to get back to bloggers, which makes me feel really bad.)
So... what's in common with the "big league" bloggers, the ones I consider "celebrities," and me?

We all have someone looking up to us. We influence maybe one or two – maybe even hundreds and thousands of other bloggers out there. We don't have verified Twitter accounts. None of us do, honestly, and if you do, hats off to you. Tell me your ways.

Which brings us back to the question: what, precisely, is a celebrity blogger?

My answer, and my perspective, is this: A celebrity blogger is someone you look up to and varies from person to person and blogger to blogger. It is someone who you look up to, inspires you, and encourages you. Basically, they're an idol of sorts.

Not a strong definition or an exact, but a definition nonetheless.

And maybe you just got started in blogging, but does it really matter? Not really. All of us, ones we all look up to, the ones I look up to, and the ones who look up to me, started out somewhere and went from there. We never knew we were going to be "famous" when we started blogging.

In fact, I never really knew I would continue to blog for more than a year, that book blogging would inspire me to work with books in the future, that I would write about book blogging as my college essay, or that I would ultimately bring in other forms of entertainment aside from young adult literature.

But here's the thing: One day, you'll be an inspiration to someone else, and you might not even know about it. Does that make you famous? Perhaps not to the entire community as a whole, but certainly to a few people. And most of all, what's really important is how those people, even if it's a minuscule amount, can make all the difference in the world to you. When you decide to take a step back for awhile to take a breather, they'll still be around to welcome you back with open arms.
So answer me this: Who do you look up to in the blogging world? Who inspires you? What do you perceive as a celebrity blogger?

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
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Monday, January 25, 2016


On Blogging Organization: Utilizing the Spreadsheet

Two weeks ago, I (sort of) reflected on my blogging organization when I first started in 2012 as a high school freshman (gee, that was a century ago) and how I keep myself organized as a high school senior, and hopefully as a college student as well this fall. Knowing myself, it'll change in some way.

This week, I'm going to talk about spreadsheets. And maybe more embarrassing blogling stories worthy of a multitude of facepalms. Although... most recently Lupe found it absolutely hilarious that I thought hot glue guns come with power buttons. What doesn't have a power button these days?! (Totally not a blogling story, but go ahead and laugh at my failure. I assure you I've done worse fails.)
Actually, I might save that in a future post specifically for Blogging Bloopers (to reassure all current and future bloggers that it is perfectly okay to mess up a little and laugh at yourself). Sigh. Too bad Lupe thinks this is a brilliant idea.
Back in 2012 and early 2013 (because 2012 doesn't really count since I started Bookwyrming Thoughts in November), I never used spreadsheets, despite the fact I had just learned Excel in Computer Applications (those lucky ducklings get the chance to be certified now).

I don't even use Excel at home (too expensive). I personally have a preference for OpenOffice and Kingsoft Office, with a strong preference for OpenOffice. Kingsoft Office is used to convert Microsoft 2003 to 2007 and beyond. Both are brilliantly free softwares that I highly recommend if you can't afford Microsoft Office. And if you want more softwares... I once listed five softwares I use to organize my blogging life (and maybe my actual life as well).

Moving on.

Reading Tracker – Offline

I use spreadsheets primarily to keep track of all the books I read – the ones I receive for review and the ones I read of my own choosing (of course, the books I request on Netgalley are of my own choosing). For this post, I'm going to use my spreadsheet for 2015 and the one for 2016 I'm currently using as examples. Note: 2016 is outdated and has changed.

Here's a sample view of my spreadsheet for 2015 and 2016:
Title – Where I put the title of the book. This is also if I mention if the book is an ARC or an audiobook. My current spreadsheet has a lot of ARCs, but I'm slowly going through them. (I'm also avoiding Netgalley aside from maybe a cover like or two, or sending a request for a book publishing in the summer.

Author – Le author of ze book. Nothing special going on here.

Read – The month I started reading the book (days are tracked somewhere else). I tend to be months ahead during the summer.

Posted – Typically this is filled out ahead of time with a predetermined month. If it's an ARC or review opportunity, I typically put in the publication month or the due date.

Ratings – This is honestly just for me to keep track of books. If anyone asks about a particular book, I can pull the spreadsheet up and have a minor idea on what I thought.

Notes – I never actually used this much, but I have a feeling I'll be using this a lot in 2016 now that I'm a coblogger at In Wonderland. The notes is where I keep track of where I post the reviews other than my own blog and basically anything that doesn't belong in another category.

Nothing I post at In Wonderland will be posted here, though. Only a link in the archives.

I also keep track of books I really liked (okay, those with a 5/5) and the books I DNFed. They're all color-coded. In the past I also kept track of the books I was reading, but then decided the empty ratings would be enough to suffice. Plus, the spacing between the book titles separates the books I've read/currently reading and the ones I'm reading in the near future. Then there's also spacing for books that I'm waiting to hear back from the publisher or the review copy to arrive (typically the latter).
The spreadsheet I use is very, very basic. I just throw in colors and pretty fonts to keep it pretty. After all, the original template (in a folder on my hard drive I've dedicated to everything Bookwyrming Thoughts) is always available for me to change if needed.

Speaking of changes... I might need to do an update one day. I haven't found a reason to, though.

Quarterly/End of Year Posts – Offline

You know those Best of January-March, April-June, June-September, and October-December posts I do?

I keep track of them as well....

Okay, the books (and the month I posted) are tracked. They're also kept in the exact same file as my reading tracker, but I divide it all with colorful borders at the last book reviewed every three months (unless it's December, of course).
I also admit that lately I haven't been feeling like doing a quarterly wrap up.

I also keep a spreadsheet for my favorite/least favorite covers, female characters, and male characters, and why I like or dislike them. I tend to be excited about filling this out in the beginning of the year and slack off as the year goes on. All of this is on one file with one too many books within. Maybe I'll even change it up every year (or every few years) so no one will get bored.

See, Lupe? I procrastinate. I'm just good at acting like I work hard. (I think I mentioned that already... in another post.)
Okay, I work hard and attempt to get things done when I need to. Not everything gets accomplished, though.

Of course, now that it's been decided what we're going to share in December... I might actually make a legit template. It'll have a little bit of the reading tracker's aspects and then some more. At least, that's what I would like to think.

Posting Schedule – Online

I also use a calendar for this. Does that mean I'm OCD, obsessed, weird, or a combination of all three? No screenshot with this one (primarily because I can't exactly watermark photos on a public computer).

Let me talk about the calendar for just a second: it's for my own use, and only my own. The spreadsheet I use as a posting schedule is what Ella, Lupe, and I all use so we're not stumbling around like lost ducks (not that we're lost... at this point, we've pretty much established a system of sorts).

The unfamous (not infamous) spreadsheet is basically just a finalization of posts – blog tours, Fangirl Friday, Novel Newcomers, WoW, TTT, yada yada. Everything else isn't necessarily on there because they can be changed as necessary. It can be on there; it just doesn't have to. And even if it is on the spreadsheet, it can be moved.

The spreadsheet is just an idea on who plans on posting on what day. Nothing too special either.

We've been good at winging it the past year, though. We might even continue winging it for the most part, which, to be honest, we've honestly just continued our winging.

We're cool like that.

Blog Tours – Online

No screenshot with this one.

I think I made this spreadsheet for Lupe's benefit – primarily because she chooses to avoid Netgalley and Edelweiss. (I totally tucked her under my blogging wing. Okay, I tucked Ella under my blogging wing as well. It's part of the "job" description.)

A wise move, Loops. A very wise and applause-worthy move that I can't really help but praise her.

And well... maybe this is also used to keep track of who I frequently tour for. Definitely not in a stalking way. More like reference.

I get the occasional question about blog tours (or I spy them on Goodreads) and I'd like to have a list handy instead of shuffling my brain cells around and around just to pull out a decent number of sites to refer people to. I'll probably ignore this spreadsheet most of the time, but maybe I'll be tired one day and just not feeling like thinking.

Nothing personal to everyone else I tour for, but Xpresso Book Tours tends to be one of the first I mention. Must be Giselle's virtually baked cookies. (They're evil!)

Novel Newcomers – Online

There's definitely a spreadsheet or two going around behind the scenes here! The first spreadsheet we use is to organize sign ups. (No screenshot with this one because the emails are all confidential information.)

The second spreadsheet is a fabulous schedule for our own uses, and for the participants. And in this case... you can see our lovely little participants as well.

On the other hand, though, Novel Newcomers is a work in progress (hey, this is our first year). We might change it next year to better organize ourselves. ^_^

That's enough secret exposure for today. Come back soon for more exposure! And if you want more spreadsheet ideas, Michelle @ Book Briefs made a post awhile ago about how other bloggers use spreadsheets for blogging purposes (among other resources). :)

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
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Friday, January 22, 2016

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Fangirl Friday: High School Musical 10th Anniversary Reunion

"This could be the start
of somethin' new
it feels so right
to be here with you!"

Don't act like you didn't sing along with me. Don't lie because I know you did.

Over the weekend, I discovered that the cast of High School Musical will reunite and do a special 10th anniversary segment on Disney Channel on Wednesday, January 20th. I didn't want to believe it at first but I realized that it was true. So I had no other choice but to watch it.
I have never enjoyed something so much in my entire life.

I SANG MY HEART OUT. I mean who wouldn't?

I have to admit, I honestly really hated this musical when I was younger but I didn't know any better back then. Now that I look back on it, it really did shape a bit of my childhood. No matter how bad you dislike something, you will always remember it somehow. Except for Justin Bieber, I will never like him yet I think I can recite his song "Baby" word for word because of the amount of times the radio overplayed it. 

I was laughing and smiling throughout the commercial breaks when the cast was hanging out at the gym and it was so awesome! I mean look at them! They are all so grown up and so beautiful!
I know. I know. We are all so disappointed that heartthrob Zac Efron wasn't present but he did leave a short video for all of us to see! It was great but it still felt like this reunion would've been SO MUCH better if he was there! I feel like in almost every reunion, there has to be at least that ONE person who decides not to show up. In this case, it's Mr. Troy Bolton.
High School Musical will always be in my heart and this year is the 10th anniversary. This just makes it so much better! It's the year I graduate from High School! #classof2016 

Just the thought that this came out 10 years ago is just crazy to me. It seemed like this just premiered yesterday! I will re-watch this beauty many MANY more times in the future no matter what because I don't think these songs will ever get old. You know what they say right?


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Thursday, January 21, 2016

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Chibi Views: [Don't] Touch Ice Like Fire

Touch Jennifer Snyder

Reaper #1

Publication Date: August 26, 2011
Publisher: Self Published
More Afterlife: Afterlife Academy, Soul Taken, Call Me Grim

Seventeen-year-old Rowan Harper knows her life is forever changed the moment her schizophrenic mother commits suicide. What Rowan doesn’t realize is how much her mother’s choice altered her own fate. It’s not until after meeting Jet, a sapphire-eyed dead boy, Rowan begins to learn of her new destiny as becoming her mother’s replacement for something she never knew existed.

Snyder takes Reapers into an interesting spin with Touch, but I feel a novella didn't go too well with me. The characters aren't really as fleshed out and developed as it would with a longer novella or even a full length novel. All I have is Rowan seeing crows following her lately, gets into a car crash and sees something the living can't see, aspires to find out what the nonliving thing the living can't see is, and finds out why she sees crows.

The plot feels primarily unoriginal – girl gets into an accident that triggers supernatural sight, girl falls in love with said person she sees and learns from, girl dies from attempted noble heroics (not original with the death either) in order to fix the "balance of the supernatural and real world" (as I so like to put it). The whole aspect of having Links, people who can see Reapers and will ultimately become Reapers when they die, is pretty much the only thing original.

Oh, and the fact Reapers aren't exactly scary looking but dress formally, which may or may not be true because the book is really, really short.

Basically, Touch feels a little too fast and would probably be a lot more enjoyable if it were longer, where everything would be more fully developed that the novella gives me.

3 Owls

Ice Like Fire Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes #2

Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
More Fantasy: Darkness Watching, Cage of Deceit, The Last Changeling
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

I don't know what to say about this one. (Aside from the fact the author is just another evil writing spawn...)

Anyways. Let's get this up and out of the way: I enjoyed much much better than Ice Like Fire. In fact, it would have been great as a stand alone novel as well, aside from the fact it would be an open-ended ending that would probably just demand a series in the end.

Ice Like Fire is basically a reconstruction phrase for the Winterians, who are recovering from the harsh conditions of their work camps in Spring (or maybe another kingdom). Under Cordell's orders (and because Winter is in debt to the kingdom for their assistance in getting rid of Angra), the Winterians are mining and searching for the origins of the conduits, and the source of powerful magic. When they find the magic chasm, everyone has different viewpoints: Theron wants to open the chasm and unite the world, Meira wants to keep the chasm closed and answers, and Mather just wants the Winterians to be free.

And to hopefully accomplish all of that and gain allies, Meira and Theron set off on a journey to the other kingdoms, primarily Summer, Yakim, and Ventralli. If you ask me, nothing terribly action packed is going on in this sequel unless visiting kingdoms and seeing their traditions in action is considered "action."

But let's talk about this love triangle established from Snow Like Ashes and continuing with Ice Like Fire. Mather is compassionate and loyal and quotable, and Theron makes fantastic comments and has big dreams for the kingdoms. Both with good intentions and not exactly considered annoying thus far. I haven't actually made any progress with this love triangle – not when it comes to going with one side or another.

Ultimately, though, stay away from Ice Like Fire. The first book is more enjoyable, but the second book will leave readers wanting closure that won't actually happen until later on this year.

4.5 Owls

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Twitter101: Why Sophia Follows/Follows Back, Unfollows, or Never Follows

I am a picky person on Twitter. A very picky person. I keep my following list small, and while it's been growing the past few months, it's still considered "small" compared to everyone else's 650+ average. (I'm also thinking about cleaning it again...)

I thought I could give some insight as to why I follow the way I do.

Don't Bring Illamas to the Dramas – Bringing Illamas means more drama, and this is probably directed to Twizards (because this is who I see the most drama from) who bedazzle like nobody's business over free codes from official fansites. I get it. Not all of us have a job and can get adorable polar bears and penguins. That doesn't mean I want to see fights popping up all over my timeline.
But that doesn't make anyone who takes more than one or two codes even better. In fact, seeing everyone fighting? It probably amuses them and fuels them. And let's face it: The Friendly Necromancer doesn't have to give out codes. Kelsey Fireheart doesn't have to give out codes. I don't have to run giveaways and waste $10 that I can spend on maybe ten ebooks or renew my domain so it's out of my hair for another year.

Be Interesting/Funny – I might follow back most book bloggers (note I said most, because I don't catch everyone), but they're interesting, funny, or the combination of both. Bonus points if you're mildly sarcastic, snarky, and sometimes exaggerates for the purposes of being funny.
Have I mentioned punny? I do love [creating and seeing] cheesy puns (they're facepalm worthy and it's hilarious).

We're Like Real Life Friends – Although Roberta from OffbeatYA and I live across the world from each other (oh, and there's a whopping age gap, too), we nag each other like I nag Lupe (and vice versa). Of course, in the Lupe situation, she knows more about Sophia than anyone else (like my real name).
Verdict: If I know you and we've interacted quite a few times (via Twitter Chats, Goodreads, etc), then I'm bound to "annoy" you as well. Just less than I do to Lupe (which basically means no emoji wars).

Don't worry, Ella is after Lupe. Then everyone else. :D

Tweet Moderately – No one cares if you're in the bathroom. Nor do they care about one letter popping up after the other just so you can elongate CRAPTASTIC in whatever many tweets. The end.

Inspirational/Relatable – Perhaps if you're quotastic... (I adore quotes, okay? They inspire me and I favorite them far too much.)

Oooo, Giveaways. Gimme gimme gimme! – Nope. Just nope. I'm okay with giveaway entries through Twitter, but I like my timeline remotely clean. And mildly entertaining with a dash of seriousness.

I Have (or Have Plans to) Read Your Book and I Adored It (or Think I Will When I Read It) – Only reserved for the special peoples (write a love triangle in which I love both and you just might find me advocating your book to the school librarian). I have nothing against authors, of course.
Bonus points if you're from Missouri. (Because you're local, and that automatically makes you awesome, even if I might not like your book. Don't worry Illinois – you're awesome as well. Generally.)

Don't Follow and Unfollow Repeatedly – Here's what really annoys me: people who follow and unfollow me repeatedly. It just means they want my attention, and I'm probably not going to give them my attention. (It goes to my notifications, okay?)

It doesn't matter if they're a book blogger – I follow most book bloggers back, but there are some I've come across who unfollow as soon as I follow them back. I'm not going to run in a vicious cycle with them if they're just going to follow to get my attention, have me follow, and then unfollow. (I pay attention.)
Chances are, I'm going to notice the person doing so (what they say is true: multiple mentions of your name causes them to remember you), and I'm going to ignore them. I won't use the block button unless it is absolutely necessary (which is code for taking it to a dramatic level, saying bothersome things, or unkind criticism).

Besides, why are you even following me if you're just going to unfollow shortly after I follow you back? I'm confused there. Someone tell me why. Hands down, if you're going to do that, then don't follow me. Simple and easy.
Are you picky about who you follow on Twitter? What makes you click that follow button, and what makes you not? And if you don't have a Twitter but want to know more about it, check out the posts created by Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books and Jeann @ Happy Indulgence. But if you do have a twitter, feel free to give me (@SophiWaterheart) a holler if you want – I don't bite without a reason.

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