Top Ten Tips For New Book Bloggers

Tip One // Getting Started
As you're currently reading a post for new bloggers, I'm going to assume you are in the process of building your blog. When I was at this stage, I remember wondering whether I had the chops to participate in a community of so many amazing people. I just to want to get it out there that we're all just regular people with a love for books and you don't really need any special skills although a basic writing ability and a few hours to spare each week will help!

Tip Two // Why YA?
This is a question many of us have asked ourselves especially those who are no longer within the recommended age bracket of the Young Adult genre. It's a complete mystery to me and many others as to why it seems to have blown up in the bookstore and blogosphere. The truth is, no one really knows but let's enjoy the community of like-minded individuals while it lasts unless YA Books aren't really your calling and you're only jumping on the bandwagon to become a successful blogger. In that case, build your blog around your daily life or basically any passion or interest you have as there is likely to be a following out there somewhere!

Tip Three // Socialize
Once you've got the basics of your blog sorted, you may start to wonder how to build interest. Well, it all comes down to socializing. Spend lots of time commenting on other blogs and you may just make some friends along the way, it's also the perfect way to gain inspiration for your next blog post, just remember to always give credit to the original blogger. Don't forget to create a Twitter or Facebook account that links to your blog so we can get to know you a little bit better!

Tip Four // Followers
It may seem like blogging is purely a game of building followers but you'll soon realize that the GFC Widget isn't a very clear representation of readership at all. Most blogs with a large following have either hosted a giveaway or have simply been around for yonks! The best advice I can give you is simply do not pay attention to the little or large number on your sidebar as you'll only to start to hate on it... just make sure it's easy for readers to follow your blog in a variety of ways i.e. email subscription, rss or bloglovin.

Tip Five // ARCs
At first, you may be tempted to request review books but in my opinion, it is best to wait until you have your reviewing format down-pat. It's entirely up to you but my advice would be to start off reviewing your own books or those you can obtain at the library. Once you're comfortable with your skills, you'll be able to build a great relationship with publicists by reviewing each and every book sent out  to you in a timely manner and you'll become much more successful in the end.

Tip Six // Advertising 
We would all love to turn our hobbies into a paid career but unfortunately blog earnings are extremely slim and some advertising will actually turn away readers. For the most part, a small button on your blog sidebar won't bother followers and they are now really easy to install thanks to Google AdSense and many other blog advertising websites.

Tip Seven // Design
You may find it a little time-consuming but the design of your blog is extremely important. For your first layout, a freebie self-install that represents your personality should do the job just look for something that personifies the topics you hope to discuss. Try to avoid overcrowding your sidebar or choosing a font that is hard to read as these are huge pet peeves in the world of blogging.

Tip Eight // Quality vs. Quantity
It may seem like you're already behind the eight-ball but as a newbie blogger you'll have plenty of motivation and ideas for posting on your blog. Try to strike while the creative iron is hot by scheduling a few quality posts in advance while also not becoming too reliant on fluff posts unless that's what you're going for.

Tip Nine // Vlogs
If you have the confidence to blog via video recording then I say give it a go. There is nothing better than popping by a random In My Mailbox post and instantly getting to know the personality behind a blog. It isn't an essential skill but totally worth giving it a go at some point.

Tip Ten // Real Life
It's extremely easy for blogging to take over your life so remember to take a step back every now and again to analyze the amount of time you're devoting to your blog and whether it's having a negative effect on your social life. In the end, you'll be the only one to notice if you've gone on hiatus for a week, month or even a year so don's stress too much about taking regular breaks throughout the year.

Top Ten Tuesday is organized by the lovely people at The Broke and The Bookish

Review: The Ivy

Authors: Lauren Kunze, Rina Onur
Released: 31st August 2010
Genre: YA Romance
Challenge: ABC Reading Challenge
Links: GoodreadsAmazon

Congratulations! You have been admitted to the most prestigious university in the world. Now what are you going to do?

Callie Andrews may not have money or connections or the right clothes, and she may have way too many complications in her love life, what with
the guy she loves to hate ...
the guy she'd love to forget ...
the guy she'd love to love ...
and Matt 
the guy she really should love ...
all vying for her attention.

But she has three fantastic roommates (best friends or her worst nightmare?) and a wholesome California-girl reputation (oops) and brains and beauty and big, big dreams. Will it be enough to help her survive freshman year at Harvard?

My Thoughts:
I had rather high expectations of The Ivy as it's one of the few YA novels to venture into the realm of the college lifestyle. Other than the fact that it was set at Harvard, The Ivy could easily have been transposed to a high school drama involving boys, friendships and partying. It reads much like a love-letter slash guidebook and is worthy of quite a few eye-rolls especially when the protag keeps jumping from love interest to love interest within mere pages of her devotion.

Overall, I feel college is a huge niche and I can see great things for it in the future of YA but for right now, I'll be sure to steer clear of the fluff.

In My Mailbox #85

I'm really excited about Holier Than Thou this week, it isn't often that I find a character who shares my first name. It's even better to find another awesome Aussie YA. I also can't wait to read comedienne Corinne Grant's memoir especially after the amazing Tina Fey won me over with Bossypants. It's been a long time since I've received such a haul in one week, YAY for lots of new books!
 Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo
 Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody
Storm (Elemental, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer 
The Winds of Heaven by Judith Clarke
Lessons in Letting Go by Corinne Grant

Q: What's In Your Mailbox This Week?

5x5 Q's w/ Vanessa & Isalys from Book Soulmates!

Welcome to another edition of 5x5 Q's, this week we're chatting to Vanessa & Isalys from Book Soulmates!

Q: What would you most like to accomplish in the future?
Vanessa: Finishing school and getting my BA...possibly in education or history.
Isalys: Change careers and pursue something in either history or publishing *sigh*

Q: What would you buy with a million dollars? 
Vanessa: First, I'd share it with family and then buy my own house.
Isalys: A private island? Cuz that would be awesome.  If not, then I'd also share it with family and then move to London.

Q: What is your favourite snack food?
Vanessa: Sunflower seeds
Isalys: Goldfish crackers

Q: What is your #1 Guilty Pleasure? 
Vanessa: I'm hooked on the show Gossip episode was all it took :)
Isalys: I'm a member of Shoe Dazzle (it's like a shoe club).  Next to books, shoes are my other weakness!

Q: What's on your wish-list?
Vanessa: Divergent, Embrace and Grave Mercy.
Isalys: Insurgent, Shine and Before I Wake.

Now, it's Isalys' & Vanessa's chance to ask me a few questions... 

Q: Name something that always cheers you up when you're down? I really, really wanna say LMFAO but that wouldn't be very accurate. Maybe a combination of chocolate, Gilmore Girls and PJ's?

Q: What scares you? I'm actually creeped out pretty easily, most recently I attempted the skywalk tour at Grand Canyon and was just a little too chicken to walk across the glass bridge walkway but c'mon it's a pretty steep drop!

Q: If you could have ANY car (money no object), which one would you get? I've actually had my eye on a VW Bug for quite some time. Not only are they super cute but they also hold childhood memories of playing Punch Buggy and getting hit in the arm multiple times at random.

Q: What is a food that you cannot live without? Hmm, I think I could get used to not eating almost any particular food after awhile but I would really miss french fries if they became a rarity.

Q: Do you have any blogging pet peeves? Sure, I'm not exactly a fan of filling out those word validation forms when leaving a blog comment. I'm also turned off when a blog has a crowded sidebar or a font that is hard to read.

Be sure to let me know if you'd like to participate in 5x5 Q's!

Friday Finds #2

Is anyone else a little tired with Waiting On Wednesday? It's so damn popular that I feel a little break is needed on my part. Instead, I will now be paying a little more attention to FRIDAY FINDS, brought to us by the lovely people over at Should Be Reading. Basically, it involves sharing the books that you've discovered in the past week or so!

Recently Discovered:
The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Ruby Oliver, #2)The Boy Book by Ruby Oliver // Believe it or not, I only just got around to reading The BF List and while it wasn't as hilarious as I hoped, it was still a worthy read and I can't wait to pick up the sequel.
Emma Hearts LAEmma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton // For quite some time now, I've been keeping my eye on a little UK author by the name of Keris Stainton. She now has quite a following and is one of the few authors that I have managed to read each book as it has been released.

Casey Barnes EponymousCasey Barnes Eponymous by EA Rigg // These days, I rarely accept self-pub novels to save myself all the drama of negative feedback but this one was hard to resist. From the cute and eye-catching cover to the mention of a music junkie for a protag, this sounds like the perfect novel for me!

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) LifeThe Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando // I've always loved the idea of competing in a scavenger hunt and what better way than to live vicariously through a YA novel or better yet, maybe this will finally inspire me to cross it off my bucket list.

Let me know of the best books you've recently added to your wish list.

Waiting On Wednesday #59

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
July 10th 2012 by MTV Books

Why? It's Jennifer Echols! She took me by complete surprise with Forget You back in 2010 and I'm now working my way through her back catalogue. Truthfully, I'm not all too sure how the element of flying will play out as I've never actually read or even heard of a YA novel with a similar theme. I'm keen to read the early reviews but if all goes well, I should be pre-ordering this one rather soon.

Summary: High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.     

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly. 

Engrossing and intense, Such a Rush is a captivating story from an author with a rising star.

Let me know what books you're most looking forward to buying in the next couple months.

How Fast Can You Read?

Hmm... Ever wondered whether you're able to read faster than the average person? I've certainly been curious to see whether the amount of books I go through has improved my reading speed so when I spotted the Staples Speed Reader Challenge at Radiant Shadows, I could hardly resist.

It turns out, after three attempts my score is fairly dependent on how interested I am in the text. My score significantly improved when Alice In Wonderland popped up, proving that I should finally make an attempt to read the childhood favourite.

Overall, my score fell just below the average college student. Roughly 279 words per minute and 12% faster than the national average.

What Does This All Mean? I Could Read:
  • Harry Potter in 4 Hours
  • Lord of the Rings in 28 Hours
  • Catch 22 in 10 Hours
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four in 5 Hours
  • The Fountainhead in 18 Hours
  • The Grapes of Wrath in 10 Hours

It also means, I'd be able to read 3 books on a Sony Reader before recharging.
ereader test
Take the test for yourself, then pop back over here to share your score :)

Rewind & Review // April Edition

Rewind & Review is a brand new feature from Ginger @ Greads. I instantly knew this would be the perfect challenge to attempt as I have a whole heap of older books I've been promising myself I'll read sooner rather than later. Hopefully I'll be able to turn this into a regular feature but I'll wait to see how successful the books are this month before committing.

Both books I'm attempting to read this month have been hanging around my shelves since late 2009!
Little Black LiesFirst up, we have Tangled by Tish Cohen which you can tell from the title, is based on lies and whether it's worth telling them. I actually won this book in a giveaway and I recall also receiving a cardigan with the book, I guess it has an important part in the story-line at some point. I'll find out soon enough. 

TangledAnd for my second choice, I've selected Tangled by Carolyn Mackler. I received this one through a book swap from the lovely Nomes over at InkCrush. I guess I never got around to reading this one as I've seen quite a few average reviews particularly those saying the book is not what it seems despite the attention-grabbing cover.

That's all for this month in Review & Rewind. Let me know what older titles you're hoping to read next!

About Me

Hey, I'm Holly! I blog about my daily life, books and almost anything that catches my fancy. When I'm not reading, I like to cook, watch movies and listen to music. Some of my favourites include...

BooksAcross the Universe, Anna and the French Kiss, Bossypants, Divergent, Forgotten, The Hunger Games, Just Listen, Perfect Chemistry, Shiver.

Movies: The Castle, E.T, Edward Scissorhands, Grease, Home Alone, Little Miss Sunshine, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Uncle Buck, The Wizard of Oz.

Music: A Day To Remember, All Get Out, Bayside, Blink-182, Brighten, I Am The Avalanche, Manchester Orchestra, Paramore, Say Anything, Taylor Swift.

Television: Gilmore Girls, Home and Away, The Mentalist, Modern Family, Parenthood, Pretty Little Liars, The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

People: Alexa Chung, Chloe Moretz, Dallas Green, Emma Stone, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennette McCurdy, Josh Thomas, Max Bemis, Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel.

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