Happy Graduation To Us! Looking Back On The Book Bratz and Our Milestones

Amber and I recently graduated high school, which is something that we've been looking forward to for a super long time. 

jimmy fallon excited dwayne johnson graduation

To celebrate this major milestone in our lives, I decided to take a little bit of time to reflect on all of the amazing things that The Book Bratz has accomplished over our two (technically three) years of life, because today is all about looking back on our accomplishments and all of that.

For starters, I distinctly remember the day that Amber suggested starting the blog. It was May of our freshman year, because she sent me a private message on Goodreads (even though we saw each other in school every single day...). I told her as soon as my school dance competition ended I'd think about it, and think about it I did...that was over three years ago now! 

I also remember the first publishing company to send us an ARC to review -- it was ECW Press, and I'm pretty sure it was the Rule of Thirds. I remember being so excited to be holding a book that wasn't released yet - it was such a cool feeling! Even better? Seeing the finished work in Barnes and Noble a few months later and knowing that I got to see the book (and read it!) before it hit the shelves...that was such a cool feeling.

Hmm, what else do I remember? I distinctly remember when we hit 100 Twitter followers. And then 200. And then 500. And then 1,000. And then 2,000. And eventually, 2.8 thousand people were reading the dumb things we had to Tweet all day long. Knowing that that many people are so invested in what we have to say...let me just say, every time we hit a follower milestone on Twitter, I call Amber up on the phone and we both run around our respective houses in celebration. I know it isn't all about the followers -- not by a long shot. But it's super awesome to know that there are that many people invested in our reviews and giveaways and what we have to say.

We've met so many awesome blogger friends over the years -- far too many to tag and name them all, but just a few that have been with us since the beginning were Nori, Dana, Rachel, and Ri, and Drew! 

We started the Summer Blogger Promo Tour three years ago -- something we just wanted to do to help get the word out about a handful of new bloggers, but before we knew it, it grew and expanded into something that now over forty bloggers participate in each month.

We traveled to BookCon (and soon, next year, BEA) to meet tons of bloggers and authors and people who all share a mutual love for books. We even got recognized a few times, and seeing realization dawn on someone's face when they hear your blog's name never stops being an incredibly cool and awesome feeling. 

Here at The Book Bratz, I learned so many things. I learned how to connect with businesses, and with readers. I learned how to create content that people will be interested in. I learned how to host giveaways and form partnerships and promotions and a ton of other business-related things. Most importantly, I learned that this is something that I want to take on for the rest of my life. Starting The Book Bratz has shown me the behind-the-scenes aspects of the publishing industry, and it showed me that this is where I want my career to be. Before that, I knew I wanted to work with books, but I wasn't quite sure how. Now, I know that the publishing industry is perfect for me, and I couldn't be more excited about it. 

I have so much to be thankful for with The Book Bratz. I really do. I couldn't be happier to be working on this blog, and even though I'm moving onto the next stage of my life, I know that The Book Bratz is coming with me, and I'm so, so excited to see where it goes.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to head out into the real world and do some adulting things. None of which I'm very excited about.

Waiting on Wednesday: The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

"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 End of Oz (Dorothy Must Die, #4)
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2017

Summary: At the end of Yellow Brick War, Amy had finally defeated Dorothy. Just when she and the rest of the surviving members of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked thought it was safe to start rebuilding the damaged land of Oz, they realized they’ve been betrayed—by one of their own. And Dorothy might not have been so easily defeated after all. In the fourth installment of the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, the magical Road of Yellow Brick has come to the rescue, and whisked Amy away—but to where? Does the Road itself know where she needs to go to find the help that she needs? Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there’s danger around every corner, and magic shoes won’t be able to save you.

I've always been a big fan of this series, so the prospect of another book is super exciting, especially after all of the cliffhangers. I can't wait to get back into the world of Oz and see what happens!

Danielle Paige took a totally original story idea and ran with it, and it turned out to be something great. I totally love this series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!

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

What's With All The Blog Drama?

Hey guys. For the past few weeks, there have been random spurts of blogging drama popping up, which tends to happen every now and then. We're a big community with tons of different opinions. It's normal (and, as a matter of fact, encouraged) to disagree from time to time. Without diversity, we don't have much else. But what isn't okay is the hate and drama that tends to circulate afterwards. (You may know what drama I'm talking about, or you may not. It doesn't matter. It's all the same. Related to ARCs, other bloggers, and all of that stuff.) 

days drama kristin laguna beach kristin cavallari

So, as a quick little reminder, I decided to bring back my post from last year, about blogger/author love. (Click the highlighted part to view the whole post.) Here's what several authors had to say about bloggers and their efforts in the literary community: 

"I'm lucky enough to have the backing of a large publisher, but my book would be nowhere without bloggers to spread the word. I can't thank you all enough for reading and reviewing (good or bad). You bring so much light and heart to our industry, doing everything you can, usually for nothing, and always with the best intentions."
-Victoria Aveyard, author of Red Queen

"I'm so thankful for bloggers. Whether they give positive feedback or not, it gives my book exposure and helps me grow as a writer. The mutual benefits for bloggers and writers when working together are wonderful, and you gain new friends and supporters."
 -Juliana Mae, author of The Way He Looks at Me

"Bloggers are literary fairy godmothers. They can send a deserving debut author to the ball where every eligible reader is searching for a princely tale. Way better than glass slippers and everyone gets a happily ever after. Without bloggers, authors would be stuck at home with the mice."
-Sarah Negovetich, author of Rite of Rejection

"As a debut author, I’m still acclimating to reviews. While the positive ones fill me with a little extra glow, I’m grateful to all bloggers and reviewers. Anyone who’s invested energy in my book - and then given their time to discuss it - has broadened the conversation. The more perspective and insight, the better off we all are."
-Moriah McStay, author of Everything That Makes You

"If there is one piece of advice I could give every published author in the world it would be this: engage genuinely with bloggers, because they will be your biggest and brightest champions. Through my publishing journey, some of the nicest, smartest, and most creative people I have met were book bloggers. They’re amazingly impassioned readers and so astonishingly supportive. If you make friends with the bloggers talking about and sharing your book, there’s nothing you can’t do. Facing the blank page is a lot less scary when you know you have such a caring community cheering you on."
-Erica Crouch, author of the Ignite Series

"Before Zodiac, I’d been trying to get published for ten years. Then in March of 2014, I received Z's first printed galley, and I honestly can’t remember what that moment felt like. What I do remember is the blogger who messaged me after reading the galley, gushing about how much she loved Z. She was the first reader to reach out to me, and though she doesn't know it, she will forever be the first person to have made me feel like an Author. I also remember the pair of co-bloggers who warmly welcomed me into the world of Twitter book chats by allowing me to be part of their reading experience. Listening to their honest feedback was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Most of all, I remember the bloggers who included Z among their lists of favorite reads for 2014—I was going through the hardest moment in my life at the end of last year, and though they didn't know it, for awhile their love and support was the only light in my world. I don’t know what it would be like to be an author without blogger friends, and I don’t want to—thank you for reading my stories, for supporting me, and for reminding me I’m not alone."
-Romina Russell, author of Zodiac

My point is, no matter how much drama may be circulating around in the blogging world, I feel that it's important not to engage in it. We're all professionals here, and we're all coming together to bond over one key factor: books. So even if someone does something that may piss you off a little bit, or if there's an argument going on, we really should just sit back, unplug from social media, and focus on what we're really here for. I'm not preaching from a high horse here, because I've been guilty of it, too. It's easy to get involved in arguments when you're upset over something. It's easy to send a Tweet or spark up some animosity. But we need to focus on what's important and what we're really here for.

I mean, look at all of the amazing things that these authors had to say about us - about our incredible kindness and passion for what we love. We should be focusing on that and not on drama and hatred, right?

I think it's time that we all sit back and give our actions a second look, and realize that we're all shooting for one common goal here. Working together is so much easier and more beneficial than engaging in petty drama. I love this community with all of my heart, and I want nothing but the best for us, and maybe that's why it's time to talk about this stuff so we can put it behind us and all move forward as the tight-knit community we're known to be. 

fallontonight  jimmy fallon hug barack obama tonight show

The Best YA Prom Scenes Ever!

You guys, tonight is mine and Amber's senior prom! I've been waiting for this night since I was five years old, and to celebrate, I decided to take to Twitter and ask for suggestions for some YA books with the best prom scenes. So without further ado, here are the suggestions that everyone (including myself!) came up with! (And if you're looking for a sweet read, add these to your TBR!)

YA Books With The Best Prom Scenes:

22561320  170175  9803171  23013665  18660447  25912358  38980 16090645  12551077  23310751  8369681  9264058

What'd you think of these suggestions? Do you have any more of your own? Comment down below and share your suggestions for the best YA book prom scenes! 

(And now, it's time to go get ready! We'll definitely be Tweeting some pics and doing a prom slash graduation recap post, so be on the lookout for that too, and in the meantime follow us on Twitter!) 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Tuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy

Hey guys! With the help of BookFish, I'm here today to introduce you to a super sweet country romance that you will absolutely fall in love with. So without further ado, check it out!

Tuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy is available NOW! To celebrate, Cindy has put together a very cool swag pack, so stay tuned for more information on that! For now, let's talk Tuned...

Author: Cindy Dorminy
Publisher: BookFish Books
Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: June 21, 2016

About Tuned Into You

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wants to be. Beer pong? Stupid, foot-wrecking shoes? Random hookups? No thanks. Lydia would rather be in her cleats practicing her bat handling skills.

Enter Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; or at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except, Abe turns out to be nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet, and the way he talks to his horse…sigh.

Then life throws Lydia and Abe a curveball. They are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Their choices? Either work on the Fischer Farm for the summer earning nothing more than blisters and a sunburn, or have the arrest go on their records, which would ruin Lydia’s shot at a softball scholarship. It’s a no-brainer. Lydia picks up a pitchfork, pulls out the SPF 40, and prepares for the worst two months of her life.

When the press gets wind of a big secret Abe’s family has been keeping, things become even more complicated. Now Lydia has another choice to make: stick around for Abe’s messed-up life in the spotlight, or go for the scholarship of her dreams.

About Cindy Dorminy

Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories. When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese ifshe could figure out how to open the refrigerator. Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.

Buy It Now

Enter to WIN!

*Make sure you scroll through all of the items that're being given away, because there isn't just one prize!*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'd like to thank the lovely ladies over at BookFish for allowing me to be a part of this tour and giveaway! :-)

Guest Review by Emily*: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Right of Way
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Paperback, 320 Pages
Published July 2013

Summary: Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal. Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on. Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead… 

Right of  Way by Lauren Barnholdt is the second book included in the Road Trip Summer bindup. 

Right of Way is the story of Peyton and Jace on their own road trip. After Jace abruptly stop talking to Peyton, she doesn't understand why. Now, they're thrown back together when they're at Peyton's uncles wedding. Peyton is ready to start her summer with her best friend, Brooklyn, in North Carolina, but when Brooklyn gets caught and can't go, Peyton has no way to get home, or in her case, North Carolina. When Jace offers to bring her home to Connecticut, she never thought she'd fall for Jace all over again, all while trying to get him to take her to North Carolina.

Peyton is trying to get away for the summer after finding out her spend crazy mother has opened multiple credit cards in her name, all of them overdue.

After multiple fights and Jace leaving Peyton at a hotel in Georgia, everything comes out. Jace confesses that he stopped talking to Peyton because she didn't tell him her parents were getting a divorce.

Honestly, that was stupid on Jace’s part. Like really? You break up with a girl because she didn't tell you her parents were getting a divorce? And sure, Peyton was avoiding the divorce but she was also hoping it wasn't true. She didn't want it to be because it's her parents.

Like Two Way Street, I only gave this 4 stars. The communication between the two was minimal and just some of the small things, like why Jace stopped talking to Peyton, just didn't catch my attention. But again I did enjoy the book.

*What's this?

Our best friend Emily is currently on board to become the third (and newest!) Book Brat, so instead of throwing her into everything full-force, she'll be starting by posting some guest reviews here and there of some books she's read. So throughout the next few months, expect to see more frequent posts coming from her! :-)

Review: Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen

Title: Along for the Ride
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 424 Pages
Published June 2009

Summary: Auden has always felt like the odd one out. Since her parents' divorce she's shied away, studying lots and staying out of the party scene. But now Auden's realized there must be something more and, just like that, she changes everything. Moving to her dad's house opens up a whole new whole of beach parties, food fights - and simply having fun. As she gets to know herself - and a secretive boy with dark, brooding eyes - can Auden begin to let go and finally feel like she truly belongs?

I've always been a huge fan of Sarah Dessen -- I've read her books since middle school, and Along For The Ride is pretty much one of the only ones that I hadn't gotten around to, so I figured that there's no time like the present to get on that. As the summary explains, it's the summer before Auden is set to go to college, and she goes to stay with her dad and her stepmom. While she's there, she completely changes as a person (much to her mother's dismay). She makes friends, learns to be social, and starts to go out of her comfort zone and live like a normal teenager instead of as a serious adult. And of course she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac that shows her everything about Colby nightlife that an untrained eye might miss.

I really enjoyed this book. I saw a lot of myself in Auden -- focused on her studies, somewhat shy, not always willing to put herself out there...and I definitely related to the insomniac part. I'm more of a night person than anyone else I know. So I related to the feelings of isolation and loneliness that tend to surface when you're the only one awake while the rest of the world is asleep.

I really liked seeing the character change in Auden. She went from being a strict, school-oriented girl to someone learning to make the most of her last summer before college. She got a good group of friends, an adventurous nightlife, and even a possible romance. She was living the summer vacation of dreams, the summer vacation that all girls seem to dream about.

That is, until something went horribly wrong. Which always seems to happen in Sarah Dessen books. And before you know it, the life that Auden spent all of that time adjusting to settles back into her normal ways, and you're left wondering if she'll ever be able to make things right again.

Let me just say, Sarah Dessen's books are some of my favorites. The characters, the romance, the stories...it's all so great. Reading a Sarah Dessen book is like a breath of fresh air - much needed and sweet. I enjoyed everything about this story, from Auden's growth as a character to learning how to accept love and having the other characters learn how to handle the changes in their own lives. 

If you're looking for a good summer read to bring to the beach with you this summer, I definitely recommend Along for the Ride. Colby's beach town shows up in several of Dessen's stories, but I never get tired of the sweet summer romances that blossom there! If you need me, I'll be (im)patiently awaiting the release of her next book. 

Introducing the 2016 Summer Blogger Promo Tour Lineup!

July is just around the corner...which means that it's time to announce the 2016 Summer Blogger Promo Tour lineup! (If you're unfamiliar with what the Summer Blogger Promo Tour is, you can click here to catch up. For now, here are the 40 bloggers participating on this summer's tour!

(And psst...if their name is in bold, it means that you'll be introduced to them here on The Book Bratz this summer!)

The 2016 Summer Blogger Promo Tour Lineup:

We Live and Breathe Books

Here's to the start of a great summer filled with tons of new bloggers and friends! We kick off in July - can't wait to get started! :-)

What are you most excited about for the tour? Comment down below!

How To Balance Blogging With a Busy Life

Hey guys! Last week I talked about the things blogging with a busy lifestyle has taught me, so I figured that today I'd share some tips on exactly how I manage to keep myself organized and on top of my blog work while I'm busy.

yosub  keeping up with the kardashians khloe kardashian kuwtk jenner

For those of you that don't know me that well, I always seem to be busy. I'm involved in tons of extracirriculars inside and outside of school, and I try to keep up with blogging whenever I can. Now that I'm out of high school and it's summertime, you'd think I'd have more time to get blog work done...but I actually have less. All of my free time is spent dorm shopping, at college orientations, preparing for college, working at my summer job, doing my summer assignments, etc. So you might be asking yourself how the heck I do it, which is my intentions for this post: to explain to you how!

I have a few key pieces of advice that help me to multitask with blogging and my everyday life. So without further ado, here they are:

#1: Set aside a certain time to get blog work done.

Most of the time for me it ends up being Sunday mornings, where I'll set aside an hour or two to make sure that I finish setting up and scheduling all of the blog's posts for the week. I sit down (away from distractions, which I mention more in #2), and I focus on setting up posts, updating the blog's review archive, being active on the social media, replying back to comments, entering giveaways and visiting other blogs, etc. I actually factor "blog work" into my daily planner for the week to make sure that I have a set time to get work done without worrying that I'll be interrupted somehow.

internet jim carrey working computers typing

#2: Distance yourself from distractions!

I am well acquainted with the rabbit hole that is social media. When I'm doing blog work (such as I am right now), I usually stick my phone in the other room or facedown across the room on silent, and I only check it during breaks. Because the minute I cave and answer one text, I'll answer them all, and then check Twitter, and then Instagram, and then snapchat...and then, before you know it, all of my preciously scheduled blog work time is over.

phone working tim and eric awesome show great job busy fred willard

#3: Make social media a priority.

Okay, I know this sounds like the complete opposite of #2, but hear me out. Since I'm constantly running around all day, by the time I get home I tend to be pretty exhausted and won't check the blog's Twitter. Then I'll notice that for five or so days in a row, all I did was Tweet the post links. Part of being a blogger is interacting with your followers. You're literally nothing except an empty space of internet without them. So what I've started doing is taking a lull in my day and setting my phone timer for ten minutes, and then I spend those ten minutes scrolling through the blog Twitter's feed, replying to Tweets, entering giveaways, etc. It's my goal to be active on the blog's Twitter for at least ten minutes each day, which is barely anything when you're super busy. It's easy to do, and I love interacting with you guys. 

rihanna work busy extra

#4: Google Drive is your best friend.

I literally can't stress this one enough. Google Drive is great because you can schedule posts from your computer while doing blog work, or also from your phone/tablet when you get an idea for a post and you're on the go. 

#5: Read every waking chance you get.

As book bloggers, reviewing will always be our top priority, even when we do other posts (such as this one) or promotions and such. When reading time is sparse, I learn to read every chance I get. I throw my book in my bag and cart it with me wherever I go, so I'm never without it. I'll read on line at the post office, in a waiting room, while getting a pedicure, etc. Stealing ten or so minutes of reading time everywhere you go will eventually add up and help you finish a book a lot faster than just trying to speed-read every night after a long, exhausting day.

I asked some of you guys what your tips for blogging with a busy life are. Here's what you had to say!

@thebookbratz I write posts on the go, in my Notes section or sometimes even on a notebook :)
— ☾ jess ☽ (@PrincessicaOB) June 14, 2016 

I hope this post was helpful to you guys! No matter what people may think, blogging is a ton of work, and it definitely isn't for the faint of heart. I hope you use some of these tips to make juggling your blog and daily life a lot easier!

cartoon network writing working looney tunes typing

Do you have any tips that weren't mentioned here? Comment them down below!