Jan 29, 2017

What Blogging in College is Really Like!


Being in college is hard for everybody, no matter what you do. However, it's exceptionally difficult when you're a book blogger trying to juggle reading, promoting, and writing reviews in addition to writing papers, studying for tests, and just generally trying to put your tuition money to good use.

We teamed up with several of our blogger friends today to ask them exactly how they find ways to make time to blog during college. If you're an incoming college student with a book blog, hopefully you find these tips helpful! If you're already a student, steal some of these tips or share some of your own in the comments down below!

So, let's see what everyone has to say:

"Growing up, I always thought that once I graduated high school and started college, I would be a real adult that had all the answers. Of course this wasn't the case and I struggled daily to find time to study, work, go to class, eat, and sleep. I quickly realized that even though I had more 'free' time, that time was always being used for school- which severely impacted my blogging.

I always started the semester by writing a list of blogging goals after seeing my syllabus and determining my course load. The beginning of the semester is usually pretty light, so I try to bulk up on my blog posts. As the assignments start to pile up I try to treat blogging as a reward for completing an essay or studying for a certain amount of time. I think it's super important to make sure that blogging doesn't become another task to complete and if it starts to feel like one then I take a small break.

When I'm in the middle or end of a semester I try not to make any commitments to anyone, like a book review for a blog tour or requesting ARCs. This is mostly because I know that I might not hold up my end of the bargain, which will make me feel horrible. 

I also recommend involving school with your blog. As an English major, I had to read a butt ton of books so I often would discuss the books on my blog. I would also write semester updates to share what classes I was taking and what we were discussing."

-Ana, Ana Loves 



"I am just now starting my second semester of college. Blogging while in college is one of the most difficult things possible, but it's ultimately rewarding. You have to be able to manage your time effectively, but if you can, you'll soar! Personally, I really struggle first semester because I had to get used to a new course load and it can be troublesome to manage. I highly recommend just taking 10 minutes each morning to type for a little, plan a little bit out. Naps are very effective in relation to getting things done. I've learned that taking 30-40 minutes every day you can maximize your productivity for blogging and homework as well. Also, as much as I love you blog, school takes priority. And that's okay. Your blog will be there soon, education is more important. Let blogging be a reward and it will motivate you to get shit done! If we can do it, you can too!" 

-Cody, Roecker Reviews


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"Coming from a girl who hated reading as a kid, I never would have imagined I would become a book blogger, let alone an English major. I graduated before I started blogging. I actually didn’t know such a community existed, and every day I am grateful for having stumbled upon it. If I could go back and have a do over, it would be to get involved in the book community. Never have I met a more inspirational and encouraging group of people, all who share one common passion: books. In perspective, blogging in college has got to be a challenge! As an English major, I read a hell of a lot of books for each class, and as a writing concentration I was writing 30 page stories every other week… so school can be consuming.

One piece of advice I have to offer is to give yourself the little things, one small thing that makes you happy, and hold on to it! Allegiant (by Veronica Roth- duh) had just come out when I went to college, and I HATE spoilers, but my schedule was chaos. What’s a girl to do? I gave myself 15 minutes every night outside of homework and work-study to read what I wanted. And guess what— that ending! It was worth those 15 minutes every day.

My motto in life is to do what I love, each and every day! Whether it be reading, or blogging, or writing, the act of doing what you love is so essential to feeding your soul and your creativity. Build yourself a community that encourages you to do so, and don’t let the world let you feel like you’re alone, because you’re not. You are a piece of this magical community that will be there for you, always. Just be you, and don’t let the world try to tell you otherwise. We are only as powerful as we allow ourselves to be, so reach for the stars, shoot for the moon, and chase after those dreams!"

-Camille, cammilesmaby


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"Balancing school, work, and a social life is hard. Trying to add blogging and reading to that mix is difficult. My first semester of college I barely read anything for pleasure and hardly posted on my blog. However, it got a little bit better during my second semester. Ebooks became my best friend as I could read them anywhere: working out at the gym, waiting for a professor during office hours, or in the dinning commons. Plus, while I do enjoy reading a real book, I tend to read ebooks a lot faster. I also tried to stick to shorter (mostly contemporary) books. These are easy to pick up and set down. With longer fantasy books, it can be hard to dive into a 600 page, fourth book of series without being frustrated about not remembering parts from previous books or even several chapters ago if it’s been a week since you last had time to pick up the book. One of my biggest tips would be to not feel guilty if you just want to read a book for fun. When I have a lot of reading to do for classes, I can feel guilty if I’m taking a break and reading something I want to read. Everyone needs a break, and it is okay to take time for yourself. Also, do not feel guilty if you would rather just watch Netflix instead of reading/blogging when you do have a break. A lot of the reading and blogging I got done this past year ended up being when I was home on break, and that is okay. Find the right balance for you, and do not worry if you are not able to post something on your blog for a week or so. Blogging and reading is something you should be doing for fun, and if it is stressing you out, it is okay to take a break."

-Jordan, The Heart of a Book Blogger


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"My blogging and college journey started the same year (2014). I had to get used to both, because I could let go of neither. The first few months were tough, but I never contemplated ditching any of the things I felt passionate about. There have been up and downs but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have learnt so much from both. And the most important one and that you should know about too is the following. You can't do everything, you can't succeed at everything. You're human, you get tired, you get bored, you get sick (me in December 2014 aka the month of hell). I'm not trying to belittle the struggles of the awesome beans that are still in high school, or the ones that are rocking the bookish community from their homes and jobs. But blogging while in college is HARD. 

In spite of the struggles though, as I said, the most important thing is to acknowledge your limits, step back when you need to, recharge and come back like a Terminator! There's no right or wrong way to do it. You can either be super organized with an army of spreadsheets or you can be a lazy procrastinating potato. It's completely fine. Because it's you, it's your style and that's what people appreciate when they visit your blog."

-Pamela, Reverie Society 


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"From the minute I got to college, I was immediately overwhelmed. On top of homework and classes and missing home, my heart wasn't into reading. I constantly felt overwhelmed and stressed out. Through time and practice, I figured out that setting aside a specific time to do blog work kept me on track. As soon as I wrote it into my schedule just like I did with my other homework and club meetings, I felt more compelled to do it. So that's my biggest advice -- it'll be really hard at first, but find a time during the week where you're free for awhile, make yourself a to-do list, and get stuff done!" 

-Jessica, The Book Bratz


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Hopefully this post inspired you college (or soon to be college) bloggers to find ways to be more productive with their blogging! If you have any tips of your own whatsoever, even if you aren't a blogger in college, comment them down below!


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Jan 25, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

Title: 180 Seconds
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: SkyScape 
Publication Date: April 25th, 2017


Summary: After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds. One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome. When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

The concept of this story is really interesting, especially because I tend to be super shy, the same way this main character seems to be. The idea of an 180-second social experiment is intriguing, and the cover is beautiful, and this seems like a story that I'd definitely be interested in reading!

What are YOU waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back!

Jan 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

Title: The Love Interest
Author: Cale Dietrich
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017

Summary: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets. Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad? Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die. What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both. 
I stumbled across this book when I found the author on Twitter, and the summary immediately had me hooked. I'll be the first to admit that although I do read some diverse stories, I don't read nearly as many as I should be, and this one would definitely help me with that. The premise of the story itself is intriguing -- two guys fighting for the affection of the same girl. The thing is, they end up falling for each other, which puts a spin on the story that I hadn't suspected, and I'm curious to see where it goes and how the two boys handle their feelings, especially when, as the summary says, those feelings can kill them both. Is it May yet? Because I really want to start this one!

What are YOU waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back!

Jan 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I've Read


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This Week's Topic: Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I've Read!

 10. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

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I liked this book so much better than the movie. Most people don't even know it's a book. I'd definitely recommend reading this one!

9. The Young World by Chris Weitz

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This book was hysterical from start to finish. That is all.

8. The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

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This book actually inspired my own novel that I wrote, so I was super in love with it, especially with the terrifying yet thrilling concept of reading a story about a character who was going through witness protection. 

7. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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This love story between a small-town girl and a Marine will melt your heart from start to finish.

6. Shadowlands by Kate Brian 

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This creepy, chilling trilogy about the afterlife will have you hooked from start to finish.

5. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

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This book!! This love story!! It had me captivated from start to finish. Especially because it mirrors the love story of William and Kate, which is a story I've always admired and been interested in.

4. Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Collins

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I loved this psychological thriller from start to finish, and I think it deserves a lot more recognition than it got.

3. Lailah by Nikki Kelly

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Not only is the author of this book a total sweetheart, but she writes a pretty badass story about a love triangle between a supernatural girl, an angel, and a vampire.

2. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

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The movie may have been popular, but the book itself was an absolute gem that had me rolling on the floor laughing for long periods of time. I didn't think I'd enjoy it so much, being that I hadn't heard much about it, but it ended up being fantastic.

1. The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy

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I read this book in middle school and read it so many times since then, because it's undoubtedly one of my favorites. I'm even thinking of rereading it again, and since the two girls are writers, it relates! :-)

Jan 13, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Sonora and the Eye of the Titans by T.S. Hall


Sonora and the Eye of the Titans
T.S. Hall
Publication date: January 14th 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

The King is dead, and the capital city of Titanis has fallen. The world of Sonora is at war, and the only hope against the onslaught of the Titan army lies with the last royal decedent of Zeus, who is being covertly sheltered on Earth in the secluded mountain town of Sandy, Oregon.
Allora is a shy, intelligent sixteen-year-old, trying to get through the gauntlet of high school while coming to terms with her otherworldly origins. After getting into a fight at soccer tryouts, Allora’s emotions boil over, and her hands suddenly burst into flames. She has harnessed the power of hadrons at the highest level, but at extreme cost. The magical outburst projects an energy signature that is detected by a group of assassins tasked with killing Sonoran rebels.
To survive, Allora, Katie, Dax, and Tanner must find a powerful ancient artifact known as the Eye of the Titans. With the help of a guardian known as Sasquatch, they will have to fight off creatures, solve complex riddles, and navigate magical caverns, all while enduring advanced calculus, jealous girlfriends, and prom.


Author Bio:
I'm a writer, skier, and wanderer. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, but currently live in the beautiful mountain resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho. I love history, mythology, and the fantastical interpretations that have been incorporated in my debut young adult urban fantasy series called Sonora.





We'd like to thank the lovely team over at Xpresso for allowing us to be a part of this tour! This seems like a super interesting book, and if you're into mythology at all, this book is definitely one to try out! Enter the giveaway above to try to score a copy, and also pick up a $0.99 copy to celebrate opening weekend! 



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Jan 12, 2017

My Dream BookCon Panel!


Hi guys! Today on the blog, I teamed up with Eventbrite to plan my dream panel for BookCon. Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world, which helps people find and plan events -- things like concerts, benefits, and yes, even convention panels! So, when they reached out to us with the idea to share our dream author panel, I couldn't resist. That's one event us bookworms would love to attend.


I sat around for a little while thinking about this one, wondering just what kinds of things my dream panel would consist of. For starters, it would be at BookCon, since that's my favorite bookish event of the year. As for the rest of the details about this fantastic panel, here they are!

Panel Topic:

After thinking about this carefully, I decided that I wanted my panel to consist of YA romance authors. It'd be the perfect place for all the swooning teen fangirls to come together and ship their favorite characters and gush over their favorite stories. Plus, love stories are some of my favorites!


Panel Guests:

John Green
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Morgan Matson
Sarah Dessen
Wendy Higgins
Kate Evangelista
Kasie West
Heather Demetrios

      


Questions/Topics to Discuss:

  • Which aspects of their love stories were taken from real life experiences?
  • Were their own romances in their personal lives as romantic as the stories they wrote?
  • Why do they write romance stories?
  • How to create the perfect (and heart-crushing) love triangle.
  • A quick improvised love story activity - sort of like MadLibs - where all of these authors have to work together!
  • And of course, a Q&A session for all of the fangirls!



Moderators:

Maureen Johnson would definitely have to be one of the moderators of this panel, because I follow her on Twitter and she's absolutely hysterical, and she's also very good friends with John Green, so it'd make for an interesting and humorous time. Another moderator would be Margot Wood, because she's one of the funniest/best employees over at Epic Reads, and definitely one of my favorites. She's so personable and goofy that it'd be great to see her interact with all of these authors.

 

This was such a fun project, to be able to have full creative liberty in choosing the details of my dream BookCon panel! And if you, like me, create your own con ideas and want to bring them to life, they also have special conference management tools as well. 

Another thank you to Eventbrite for partnering with us to bring you this post today! ♥ Now BookCon, I'm just waiting on you to make this event a legitimate thing!


Jan 11, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

Title: Ramona Blue
Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Publication Date: May 9th, 2017

Summary: Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. One of only two out lesbians in her small town and standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the responsible adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, her responsibilities weigh more heavily than ever. The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. As Ramona falls more in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift as well, and she must decide if knowing who she is is more important than figuring out who she might become.


I loved Julie's previous book, Dumplin', so it was only natural for me to be excited abut this one as well. I definitely got hooked on the summary, because it's the kind of plot I've never really read before -- someone's life being affected after a natural disaster, especially one I was alive for, such as Hurricane Katrina. I'm excited to see where this story leads, and I'm also intrigued by the cover. I can't wait!

What are YOU waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back!