Category «Features»

SERIESous Tips: My Favourite WordPress Plugins

One of the biggest draws to being a self-hosted blog (besides the graphics freedom) was the ability to add plugins. Plugins are these great little add-ins or apps you can use to make your site easier to run and/or have really cool features. While a lot of the plugins I use are the basic foundations of keeping my site running (like Jetpack and Akismet), there are a few that make my blogging experience super efficient and save me a lot of blog maintenance time.

Below you’ll find some of my favourite plugins, what they do, what I love and what I dislike. When you click on the title, you will be taken to the Plugin homepage where you can learn more.

**These links and comments are not affiliated with the respective plugin creators/companies! It is simply my take on using the services over the last year! I found posts like this extremely helpful for finding plugins for my blog in the past and wanted to contribute in my own way.**

My Favourite WordPress.org Plugins

(in alphabetical order)

CommentLuv

What it Does: Allows comment-ers to link-back to their most recent posts when they enter their URL when commenting.

What I Love: I totally thought you had to pay for this plugin and so it was always on the back-burn for what to add next. But it is free for a basic version with minimal features. It’s great for a blogger like me who comments back on blogs who comment on mine so I can immediately jump to their most recent post.

What I Dislike: I get a ton of spam in my comment spam folder now. Which isn’t a huge deal because it is easy to clear but it’s a little annoying.

Featured Image from URL

What it Does: Instead of uploading an image to your own site for your featured image (what appears in the blog roll page), you can use a URL from another site (like Goodreads).

What I Love: Now that my blog theme actually requires me to set a featured image for my blog roll page, I had to find a plugin that would save me time and not require me to upload a ton of cover images daily. I know that there are a lot of reasons why you should upload book covers yourself instead of using the image URL from another site but I find it tedious! Because I already add the image in my review post, it’s so easy to paste it in the side widget on my post creation page.

What I Dislike: I have noticed that the image I set as my featured doesn’t show up when I view my blog on the WordPress Reader. I’m not sure if that is just WordPress itself picking an image at random but I find my featured image varies on my out-sourcing platforms. It also doesn’t format nicely on my blog roll page once I did an update but I think I just have to play with the code a little more.

Hello Bar

What it Does: Creates a pop-up link bar on your blog.

What I Love: One of the biggest learning curves to my self-hosted blog was trying to figure out ways to make it easy for people to follow. Eventually I got a WordPress widget but when you go into the world of self-hosted, email subscribers are your main “follower” crew. But I find few people actually use emails to follow blogs, especially when you have sites like Bloglovin that create a nice feed for you to scroll through. The Hello Bar is created for email subscriptions but it does let you customize it for whatever link you like and so I choose Bloglovin! And since I started using it, I’ve noticed an increase in my Bloglovin’ followers.

What I Dislike: Not much really. It’s super customizable, they send me weekly updates on my stats (which you can unsubscribe to) and it’s FREE!

Revive Old Post

What it Does: Reposts old posts on Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, etc. with hashtags.

What I Love: I’m all for a little self-promotion on social media but I don’t want to bombard my followers with old posts every hour on the hour. I love Revive Old Post because you can set how many tweets (what I use it for) go out and how many hours between them. You can add hashtags, select what categories get sent out and more.

What I Dislike: You gotta play around with it a bit to get what you want but it’s very easy to customize.

Smooth Slider

What it Does: Creates an image slide show that can be a widget or a feature on your site.

What I Love: I originally had this on my old theme as a way to feature my recent posts on my homepage. Now, it’s a widget on my site for the same thing. I really like it that I can set it up when I create the post and it lets me set a date when it will automatically expire from the slider so my most recent content is always on display. It also works really well with my Feature Image from a URL plugin which I worried about at the start as some plugins clash.

What I Dislike: I was having some issues with the expiry aspect but it just took some playing around. I also had to play around with the image sizing but the code is pretty easy to figure out.

Post Index

What it Does: Creates an archive of posts for a particular category on a page.

What I Love: I’m not sure how many people used my old post archive back in the day but it was something I did manually using both cover images and text. It was so tedious to update and one of the first plugins I looked for was an archiving one. This one does everything itself, creating a beautiful list with anchored links throughout the page.

What I Dislike: I title my posts with a “Series Review” or “Fresh Fridays”, etc heading, and in an ideal world, the plugin I use would be able to omit that and sort on whatever follows the colon. I did find one that did that but it was more of a search result listing order than an actual page with the full list of my posts.

404 Page

What it Does: Creates a “broken link” page where readers can learn why that page is unavailable.

What I Love: My old theme had the ability to create my own 404 page but my new one doesn’t. I do keep an eye on broken links but they happen. Especially when you move post scheduling dates around a lot like I do. I think it’s just a nice way to tell people what’s up and why something they want to read may not be available right away.

What I Dislike: This is super easy to use and set up so no complaints.


What plugins do you love?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Bookstr Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Monthly Inventory: September 2017

September 2017

This was a weird month.

In terms of reading: This wasn’t a very good month, but I always knew that would be the case. I spent half of the month on a much deserved vacation that had me reading only a couple pages every few days. I made up for some of that time on my many flights but it was nice just to see the world and not worry about getting books finished. However, I did pledge to only read sequels for the Month of September and in that respect, I did succeed. AND, I completed my Goodreads goal for the year which means the rest of the year is just a bonus for me.

In terms of blogging: While on vacation, my blog went down and I didn’t even know it! It seem to be a problem with my host who was moving servers so my site was down for a couple of days. I did have some scheduled posts though so be sure to check out my blog feed to see if you missed one!

thoughts

Total for September 2017: 10 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

Last September: 23 Books Read + 3 Novellas

September 2017’s DNFs: 0 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Black City Trilogy

I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to finish this series! What a phenomenal series (I gave every book a 5/5 which is quite the achievement!). This series always delivered and the finale was no different.

Biggest Let Down (★★ )

A Wicked Thing #2

I should have DNF’d this novel way before the 30% mark but my curiosity got the better of me. One of the slowest novels I have ever had to endure. I swear, 90% of this book was just rehashing things we had already discussed in the previous novel OR, even worse, in the previous chapter.

kobostats

I thought it would be fun to keep track of my reading progress on my Kobo every month. While I do own a Kindle now, I mostly use my Kobo for everyday reading. As per my #ShelfLove Challenge, I really want to increase the Total % of Library Complete by the end of the year.

As of:

October 9, 2017

August 31, 2017

Total % of Library Complete

10%

19%

Total # of Books Finished

120

124

Total # of Reading Hours

2445

2418

Don’t ask me how I lost 4 finished books in the last month. This new Kobo update is really killing my stats!


thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: Took September off

October’s 5Y5B picks: The LoopMaid of Secrets

Goodreads Challenge: Completed as of September 6
#ShelfLove Challenge: 0 TBR Items added

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None
Classics Challenge: None

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. Here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 612 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of August: 606 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

 

November is Catch-Up!

I’ve really let my personal challenges fall to they wayside. But with my hours at work being reduced and no other commitments, I’m really going to use November to catch-up on series and novels I’ve let fall through the cracks. I really want my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge to be complete (or mostly complete) by 2018 and I would love to see a change in the percentage of my Kobo library that is finished. And it would be a fantastic bonus if I could get my TBR on Goodreads to be much closer to the 500 mark that I so desire.


What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

SERIESous Tips: How to Start Scheduling Your Posts

Last year, I posted a Tips Post about Scheduling Posts. I’ll admit, it wasn’t the most helpful post ever: I mostly focused on why scheduling works for me and how I keep track of my schedule. Not a lot of sage advice.

I schedule everything well in advance–months usually–and I love it! It makes everything so much easier for me as a blogger. And when I tell people that, I get a lot of questions of “how do you schedule so far in advance”?

So I wanted to create a post with some tips/ideas on how I think you can get started. You don’t need to do all of these but I think one or two can get you on the right track!

Tip #1: Not Posting Everyday

This is just a personal preference for me but there is no way I could create enough content to post everyday (props to those that do!). Part of the reason has to do with Tip #2 below but the other reason is that I like time between my posts. I try to have at least 1 day between posts, ideally two.

One reason is that I don’t check my blog everyday for some reason or another. In turn, that means I only get to browse my subscription feed a couple times a week. When I do browse the feed, I see posts from the last 2-3 days anyways so I don’t see the need for me to post everyday to make sure people see my posts. Again, this is just a personal preference and I know everyone has a different thought of this!

Idea: Keep a calendar of when you plan to post! That way you can see what you are posting and when.

Tip #2: Schedule Certain Posts on Specific Days

This is the main reason why I’m able to schedule so many posts in advance. When I created my blog 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to focus mainly on book series. But I also knew that I wanted to post standalone and new series reviews–just not all the time. And so, I created Single Sundays & Fresh Fridays respectively. That means I only post standalone reviews on Sundays (unless it’s a promotional post) and I try to alternate them every other week. So, if I write 4 standalone reviews in a month, I have posts for almost 2 months (4 posts for 8 weeks). Pretty Sweet!

Idea: Weekly memes are a great way to get some day-specific posts or create your own feature that is weekday specific!

Tip #3: Spend a Day Writing Posts

I know that’s hard to do for some people but one of the reasons I schedule so many posts is that I get these spurts of inspiration and just churn out the posts. I then use my don’t-post-everyday & day-specific guidelines to schedule them throughout the upcoming weeks. I consider it an investment of sorts that pays off later when I go away on vacation (like I did with this post) or am going through a reading slump and I don’t have to worry about posting.

Idea: If you are a lengthy writer, try breaking the post up into segments or separate posts  (and post over a couple of days) to get more content!

Tip #4: Write Posts on Your Hiatus

People go on hiatuses for many reasons. I went on a lengthy one my first year of blogging simply because I didn’t have enough material to be posting consistently. So while on hiatus, I would write posts and schedule them for after my slated return. My reasoning: no one was expecting new posts during that time I was away so I didn’t need to use my newly crafted post immediately.

I know that this can be hard to do depending on your motivation for the hiatus, but this could even be a week randomly in a month where you focus solely on writing posts and not publishing them right away.

Tip #5: Draft, Draft Draft!

The drafting feature on WordPress is my favourite! Rarely do I have enough time to compose a post from start to finish. But I can often spare an hour or less everyday working on something for my blog.

I also like having those drafts started so when I do feel inspired to blog/write, I can just finish something I already started instead of creating something from scratch.

Pro-Tip: Make sure you leave notes to yourself so you can pick up where you left off! It’s easy to forget your train of thought if you write something over days instead of in one setting.

Tip #6: Get Comfortable with Blogging a Week (or more) Ahead

One of the downsides to scheduling posts is that you don’t get that instant gratification from publishing something you just wrote. That post you were so excited to share won’t be out there for days (or more) and it’s hard to contain your excitement sometimes.

For me, it doesn’t help that I have such a crappy memory either. So when that post I wrote two months ago finally publishes, I’m not entirely sure what I wrote. BUT, that gives me a great excuse to read over my post with a fresh set of eyes. I catch a TON of typos and mistakes when I do. Sure, it sucks that I already shared it but I like revisiting those posts and reliving the idea all over again.

My point though with this tip is that you have to focus on the week(s) ahead and not just the current week. That can be a hard change to get used to but it’s worth it. Especially when you can’t guarantee that you will have the time to create fresh content that week.

Pro-Tip: Instead of focusing on my posts for the current week (because they are already done), I instead get to spend more time blog hopping and doing site maintenance when I check on my blog.


Scheduling blog posts is an adjustment that needs to happen over time. Like any habit, you have to do what works best for you and that can mean you have to try a few techniques out before you find one that is perfect for you.

I hope that you find some of these tips helpful 🙂

Anything I Missed? Do You Schedule Your Posts?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

#ShelfLove Discussion: My Trope Addictions + Dislikes

One of the main reasons I picked the #ShelfLove Challenge this year was the seasonal discussions it had. It’s a fun aspect and one I think will help keep the challenge fresh throughout the year for me.

I have a lot of must read and must avoid tropes. So this was a hard topic to narrow down. But I did! I’ve selected 3 tropes I adore and 3 tropes I could leave in the dust! Coincidentally, I listed my favourite tropes for a Top Ten Tuesday list earlier this year so feel free to check that out and two years ago I did one for tropes I could do without.

For 2018 I plan on doing more with book tropes in a new feature so be on the lookout for that in a few months!

Tropes I Can’t Get Enough Of

Slow Burn Romance

This is a trope that is new to my “fave trope” lists. These are usually harder to find unless I read reviews before hand but sometimes, a slow burn romance is what I need to remind me why I love romances. All that sexual tension and anticipation is fantastic!

Trope Winners: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me |  Chasing Red

Forbidden Love

I love sexual tension and forbidden romances provide that in spades. You’ve got all that risk and you can’t wait for the reward. And I just love when love defies the odds.

Trope Winners: The Forbidden  |  Queen of Blood

Rockstar Romances

This is probably my favourite New Adult Romance genre. I will pick up any romance if it mentions a rockstar/musician love interest. I just can’t get enough of them!

Trope Winners: The Heartbreakers  |  Mayhem

Tropes That Can Drop off the Face of the Earth

Multiple Love Interests

Usually I’d say love triangles here (and I still do detest them) but lately, I’ve had to endure books where the lead has multiple people trying to win their heart. I’m talking love squares people! Apparently, the lead is so desirable that they can attract 3 significant others simultaneously! Ugh.

Trope Offenders: A Wicked Thing  |  Blood Rose Rebellion

Alpha Males

I can’t stand the men who think they can control their female counterpart. I like my romances to be a partnership where they can function as independent individuals but are stronger together as a pair.

Trope Offenders: BreathlessIndebted

Love At First Sight

I can understand instant connections but you need to elaborate on those for me. I want to see the romance blossom into something more than some unsaid connection. Physical chemistry is great but can these two hold an actual conversation? That’s what I like to see!

Trope Offenders: Real  | A Week for Love to Bloom

What tropes do you love and hate?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Bookstr Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

SERIESous Discussion: Not Reporting Assaults in Novels


SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


I got inspired to write this post after reading a particular book (which I won’t name because it is a bit of a spoiler but I will vaguely recap the situation). After a scene where the heroine is sexually assaulted in the novel and decides not to press charges, I got really upset.

Here are some statistics:

From Statistics Canada:

  • Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
  • 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
  • 11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault

And a lot of women don’t report it because:

Some felt young and powerless, or ashamed, or they blamed themselves or just wanted to move on. Many felt reporting would do little good.

(Global News Article)

That’s an unfortunate fact of sexual assaults and one that has been the focus of change for years. However, things don’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

So why are assaults rarely reported in fictional novels?

While I’m a firm believer in letting fiction be fiction, I also think it can be a vehicle to start discussions. But I’m very alarmed by the  “letting it go without consequences” trend I’ve been reading in novels lately.

See, in the book I was reading when I was inspired to write this post, the girl gets assaulted at a club when the guy she was dancing with takes her outside. He started to undress her and it stops when a classmate walks back, causing a distraction. The “hero” does the right thing by using his phone to subtly call for help. In the end, the club manager arrives along with the police and asks is she wants to press charges. Her response is “no” because she 1) doesn’t like the attention it brings (which I understand because it is a part of the larger plot of the novel–even if I don’t necessarily agree with it) and 2) feels that the fact that there will be a police report (meaning the police showed up) is enough to prevent the assailant from doing it again.

Um Excuse Me?

No, it won’t. Because who’s to say the next time he tries something like that, the girl won’t feel the same and reach the same conclusion? Add to that, the fact you’ve just subjected another girl to the same horrible situation as you and this time, there might not be some “hero” to help save her.

And thus a cycle of abuse continues.

I can’t help but feel like this is normalizing the situation. It makes it seem like it is an event that you can easily portray as a one-off and forget. That isn’t the case at all. There are a ton of New Adult novels that focus on what sexual assault can do to a person’s psyche after the fact. There are a ton of real life stories too that remind us of that. Nor are you a hero for taking it in stride or letting him/her off the hook for their actions.

This isn’t to say that assault is always ignored in novels.

I can think of a few great examples I’ve read over the years. Deeper by Robin York focuses on a heroine who is trying to remove revenge porn her ex posted of her online via the legal system. Veronica Mars not only dedicates an entire TV season to a sexual assault storyline but it also has it as the focus in one of the spin-off novels as well. You Against Me by Jenny Downham focuses on the rape trial of the female lead’s brother against the male lead’s sister and the affect it has on everyone in their family and community as a result. But they seem to be few and far between lately.

In Conclusion:

I do understand that not all sexual assault cases are cut and dry. It’s easy to sit on the outside of the situation looking in and say “you should’ve done this or that” without being fully immersed in the situation. It’s a deeply personal situation.

However, I can’t help but feel that in the world of YA fiction–especially ones toted as realistic fiction–you should have the leads make those hard choices. Set an example for those younger minds who are reading these novels they probably relate to in some way or another. You don’t need to sugar coat the outcome; trials are hard for all parties involved. You don’t necessarily have to follow through in legal detail either. Just be a part of that movement to standardize consequences for your actions instead of just brushing them aside like it’s no big deal.

Because the reality is: it is a big deal and we need to treat it like that.

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Bookstr Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Monthly Inventory: August 2017

August 2017

Where has the summer gone?

Normally at this time of year I’d be preparing to head back to school for the umpteenth time like many of you probably are. However, I’ve finally finished school (!) and am a productive member of society and it feels great.

Well, most of the time.

This August I really felt the struggle to keep up blogging and reading. There were days where I didn’t look at my blog and my reading was simply one chapter before I fell asleep. I felt like I was getting nothing done. Thankfully, I’ve got a great blogging schedule and had my posts for the summer scheduled wayyyy in advance so it looked like fresh content was always on the horizon.

So maybe I bit off more than I could chew for the month of August but I had a great time with the various readathons I participated in and blog hopping when I could.

September is going to be an interesting month. First, I’m taking 2 weeks of much deserved vacation at the end of the month (though I foresee very little reading time besides the flight). And second, I’ve decided to only read sequels for the month. More details on that below!

thoughts

Total for July 2017: 17 Books Read + 4 Novellas Read

Last August: 17 Books Read + 27 Novellas

August 2017’s DNFs: 2 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Leave the Night On

When I learned that there would be a new books to the Cottonbloom Series, my summer was made! This series has everything I love in a solid adult romance and Trentham did not disappoint with this new sequel!

Biggest Let Down (★★ & DNF)

The Changeling

I think my 2 star rating is very generous considering I didn’t enjoy a single thing about this book. Have you ever read the synopsis and thought you were getting one story but when you started you get something else instead? The synopsis for this one was grossly misleading and the book itself was terribly dull. It’s a shame because the idea is really interesting–but who knew you could make it so boring?

kobostats

I thought it would be fun to keep track of my reading progress on my Kobo every month (and compare it to last year’s numbers). While I do own a Kindle now, I mostly use my Kobo for everyday reading. As per my #ShelfLove Challenge, I really want to increase the Total % of Library Complete by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, with Kobo’s latest update they’ve changed the way they calculate statistics and it has drastically altered mine. It seems like they only count Kobo books now for total # of books finished (they used to include the eBooks from the library that I would add). But for some reason, that has changed my total % complete as well. At least my total # of hours seems to have stayed.

As of:

August 31, 2017

August 31, 2016

Total % of Library Complete

10%

19%

Total # of Books Finished

124

500

Total # of Reading Hours

2418

2007

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 8 of 25 Titles Read — DNF’d 1 title

September’s 5Y5B picks: The LoopMaid of Secrets

Goodreads Challenge: 21 books added
#ShelfLove Challenge: 5 TBR Items added

September’s #ShelfLove picks:  & Legacy

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None
Classics Challenge: None

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. Here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 606 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of June: 611 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

 

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

thoughts

Make Me Read It: August 2017

I didn’t meet my goal this year of reading 4 books but I really enjoyed the ones I did get to! The ones that are sequels are on my list for my Sequel September plan.

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Phoenix (Black City, #2) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1)

ARC August

This was my first time participating in the classic summer event hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat and I really enjoyed it! I powered through these at the start of the month and only have two left for September so I call that a success! Here’s what I read:

Leave The Night On (Cottonbloom, #4) Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1) His Ex's Little Sister (Insta-Love on the Run Book 1) The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries, #1)

Sequels for September!

When your blog is dedicated to book series, you keep an extra eye on what ones you have to finish and which ones need a little more attention. And lately, I’ve noticed I need to get some sequels under my belt! This summer, I’ve been really good at starting new series but not so great at finishing them. I’ve got quite a few series reviews in my draft folder just waiting to be finished and I have lots of Fresh Friday posts that need some updating.

So for the month of September, I’m only going to be reading sequel novels for series I have already started. Now, there are a few exceptions. I do have a standalone ARC I need to read this month and I will likely have to start a new series for audiobooks so I can entertain myself on the way to work. Otherwise, I’ll be taking a break from my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge so I can focus on getting those sequels read!


What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Release Blitz: When the Scoundrel Sins by Anna Harrington


Last summer, I discovered the greatness that is Anna Harrington. I read, devoured and absolutely adored her novel If the Duke Demands. It was a highlight of my summer and I was desperate for the sequel, When the Scoundrel Sins.

It didn’t disappoint! Catch my review of the series so far here!

 

Below you will find a link to an exclusive excerpt as well as a giveaway for a copies of the first book (If the Duke Demandscourtesy of Forever Publishing. So if you’d like a chance to win (and why wouldn’t you?!), enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post!


Title: When the Scoundrel Sins

Author: Anna Harrington
August 29, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Format: Mass Market Paperback & eBook
Find it: Goodreads // Kobo | Amazon

Six years ago, a childish prank perpetrated by the reckless Quinton Carlisle ruined Annabelle Greene’s reputation and any chance she had at securing a successful marriage.  Incensed, she moved to her beloved estate on the Scottish border and has reveled in the solitude…until now when the contents of a family will are revealed.  Suddenly, Belle’s single status may cost her the only home she’s ever known.  Now, with her only marital prospect a horribly greedy and completely undesirable man, Belle knows just the person to rescue her-the one person who owes her for his bad behavior…

There’s nothing Quinn Carlisle wants more than to get out from his older brother’s shadow and make a name for himself abroad. So when a mysterious letter arrives, promising adventure, he rushes to the Scottish border…only to find that Belle laid a trap for him.  The awkward, shy bluestocking whom he so enjoyed tormenting is gone, replaced by a graceful, elegant woman who ignites a desire in him he can’t resist.  Can Quinn help her save her home-and win her heart in the process? 

Add: Goodreads // Buy: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // iBooks // Google Play // Kobo

Read an Exclusive Excerpt Here!

 

Anna Harrington

Anna Harrington fell in love with historical romances–and all those dashing Regency heroes–while living in London, where she studied literature and theatre. She loves to travel, fly airplanes, and hike, and when she isn’t busy writing her next novel, she loves fussing over her roses in her garden.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trust me, this was worth the wait!

Full Series Review Found Here!

What about you? Are you excited?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Readathon: Summer TBR Wipeout & Make Me Read Wrap Ups

FAIRY.png

My Reading Time Frame: July 8 – August 19, 2017

My main goal for the Summer TBR Wipeout was to get back on track with my reading. I find by mid-year, I’ve lost some of the momentum and am scrambling to keep up.

In general my goals for this challenge were:

No ARC Requests

Result: Slight Fail

Leave The Night On  The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries, #1) The Forbidden When the Scoundrel Sins (Capturing the Carlisles, #2) An Earl by Any Other Name (Sins and Scandals #1)

I ended up getting ARCs for a lot of sequels for series I had already started so I picked up books I shouldn’t have in theory. I don’t regret them though! I really enjoyed all of these!

Finish (at least) 3 Series I’ve Previously Started

Result: 4 Series completed

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3) A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) Wayfarer (Passenger, #2)

My Make Me Read It Readathon helped with this a lot since I purposely chose sequel novels I needed to read. The Rising was the only one I had listed as a priority for this challenge so I’m happy I got it finished.

Read Sequels for (at least) 2 Previously Started Series

Result: 3 Sequels Read

In Too Fast (Roommates Trilogy, #2) Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4) Phoenix (Black City, #2)

I suppose In Too Fast shouldn’t really count since I had just read the first novel a week or two before, but I’m glad I picked it up sooner than later! And it was nice to return to the Arcana world nearly a year later. Phoenix was a Make Me Read It pick that I should have read YEARS ago but I absolutely adored it!

Read 1 Classic Novel

Result: I only started Jane Eyre

Work really kicked my ass on this one. I felt like I was scrambling to read my other books so this one soon became forgotten.

Binge Read 1 Series from start to end!

Result: Finished the Shatter Me Series!

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

I’m so glad I finally picked this series up! I really, really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next set of books in this fantastic world to be released!

Summer TBR Wipeout Wrap-Up:

I had a great experience with this challenge. I managed to read a lot of books during this timeframe (29 to be exact!) that didn’t necessarily meet my above criteria so I consider it a success. I’ve decided to do my own “Sequel September” self-challenge to help tackle some of those sequels I didn’t get to this month.


-are getting married! (3)

My Reading Time Frame: August 6 – August 13, 2017

My Goal: 4 Books

First, a big thank-you to everyone who voted! I know that I don’t always pick books that everyone knows but you still make such a great effort to vote!

The Results of the Vote:

Shadows in the Silence | This So Isn’t Happening | Phoenix | Across a Star-Swept Sea | Hitched | The Savage Blue | Trust in Me | Caught Up in Us | Derailed | The Bet

What I Read:

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1) Phoenix (Black City, #2)

Ok, so I know the point of this challenge is to read the books in the order of most votes but I needed a lighter read to counteract the teenaged angst of Shadows in the Silence. It’s the curse of being a mood reader and I usually break up my YA reads with a romance novel. That’s why I read Hitched second instead of fifth like I was supposed to (according to the poll results). I only got about halfway through Phoenix as well (but finished it the next day!).

Unfortunately, I also wasn’t able to get my library’s copy of This So Isn’t Happening in time for the challenge (it literally came in the last day of the readathon) but I will read it as soon as I can!

So I didn’t meet my goal of 4 books but hey, I got some long overdue novels off my TBR!

What about the rest?

For me, the Make Me Read It Readathon doesn’t end until everything on the list is read. As I said above, September is going to be all about the sequels and as most of the books are sequels, they are top of the list!


Did you participate in these challenges? Are you participating in anything right now?

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

SERIESous Discussion: What is the Perfect Series Length?

DISperfectseries

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


I think it’s pretty obvious that I enjoy book series.

And since I started my blog nearly 4 years ago, I’ve read lots of series with varying sequel lengths. For me, a series is anything with at least 2 books set in the same universe. Now, some authors write books within the same world but don’t classify them as the same series (like Until It’s Right by Jamie Howard or Everything Between Us by Mila Ferrera), leaving each to be a standalone. Basically, I go with whatever Goodreads tells me unless I’ve investigated further on the author’s webpage.

But I’ve started to wonder: is there a perfect length for a series?

When I first got serious about my reading 10 years ago, it seemed like a lot of series were 4 books in length (like the Hush, Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick or the Fallen Series by Lauren Kate). But then I read the Vampire Academy Series, which is 6 books, and decided that was the perfect number…

Until I read the Immortals Series by Alyson Noel and decided I could have done without 2 books in that 6 book series.

In the last two years, duologies have become my new favourite thing. From Hopeless by Colleen Hoover to The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows and The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel–I was totally onboard with these condensed and rich story lines.

So then I came to the conclusion: maybe it depends on the story trying to be told.

I’ve talked about what I call the “Book Two Slump of a Trilogy”. I wish I had a flashier name for it but I’m going to keep it simple. As per my Review Guide:

Book Two Slump of a Trilogy – where the sequel novel isn’t as exciting as the first book but is needed to progress the plot enough to set up the finale book of the series”

Basically, these books are needed to progress the story, but they can be absolute bores to read.

So could you remove that middle book and still have a positive outcome?

With the emergence of duologies, I’ve started to wonder if some trilogies really need to be trilogies. And I think the short answer is, no, not everything needs to be a trilogy. Of course, there are some really strong trilogies out there like The Red Rising Trilogy or The Winner’s Trilogy. Nevertheless, some stories could definitely be told in two books; maybe even one! There’s no need to spread it out over multiple sequels…

Besides money and marketing that is.

I get it though. I’m sure it’s easier to market a trilogy (or more sequels) to readers. You want to get the fan base that will go gaga whenever the next book is released. Because if you get people attached to the characters, they’ll come back for more and tell everyone about their love for this series.

I mean look at the slate of Pixar sequels to come in the next 3 years.

People love familiarity. It’s comforting.

But in the same breath, it also gets old real fast. And I think to a certain degree, it takes away from what it was before; especially if the newest editions are not of the same quality (like Syliva Day’s Crossfire Trilogy Series — talk about a series that didn’t need more than 3 books!).

I guess my point is: not everything needs to have multiple sequels for it to be successful.

Yeah, it would have been great if the Orphan Queen Series continued on for 5 more books in theory, but (IMHO) it would have really dampened the story. I think the Mythos Academy Series is a good example of that where the subsequent sequels started losing their excitement. Or even any of Sarah J Maas’ stories were the popularity has driven more sequels than original conceived and I think the series has suffered because of it.

My Conclusion: Strongly written stories last a lot longer than stretched out sagas that never seem to get to the point.

I’m looking at you Pretty Little Liars TV Series.

What do you think? What’s your perfect series length? Do you agree with me?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Monthly Inventory: July 2017

July 2017

Honestly, this month was a blur!

I feel like I was just posting my Canada Day 150 post for my favourite Canadian Authors and here I am, listing everything I did since! And I did a lot! You can find out more below.

One of the major highlights was officially scheduling my first post for the new year! It’s a little scary that I’ve run out of dates to post in 2017 but that’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve read a lot of standalone novels this year. Once I finish When Dimple Met Rishi in a few days, I’m only going to be reading novels that are part of series.

Also below, you will find my intro post to my first ever ARC August participation. While I told myself not to request a lot of ARCs this summer, I had a lot of opportunities for sequels and fav authors so I couldn’t resist. Oops

thoughts

Total for July 2017: 20 Books Read + 4 Novellas Read

Last July: 17 Books Read

DNF’d: 3 Books

Standout Read (★★★★★)

Everything, Everything

I was so charmed by this book and this story. I devoured it in one sitting.

Biggest Let Down (★★)

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

If this wasn’t the last book in the story arc, I would have DNF’d it. I thought this was so, so boring. It just lacked the shine to it the previous installment had (admittedly, that one is hard to top since ACOMAF was epic) and seemed like lots of talking, not so much action.

kobostats

I thought it would be fun to keep track of my reading progress on my Kobo every month (and compare it to last year’s numbers). While I do own a Kindle now, I mostly use my Kobo for everyday reading. As per my #ShelfLove Challenge, I really want to increase the Total % of Library Complete by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, with Kobo’s latest update they’ve changed the way they calculate statistics and it has drastically altered mine. It seems like they only count Kobo books now for total # of books finished (they used to include the eBooks from the library that I would add). But for some reason, that has changed my total % complete as well. At least my total # of hours seems to have stayed.

As of:

July 31, 2017

July 31, 2016

Total % of Library Complete

10%

18%

Total # of Books Finished

123

481

Total # of Reading Hours

2371

1951

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

-are getting married! (3)

Read-a-Thon: Make Me Read It Vote

Most Viewed Review

Single Sundays: Zenn Diagram

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

 

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 8 of 25 Titles Read — DNF’d 1 title

August’s 5Y5B picks: The LoopMaid of Secrets

Goodreads Challenge: 24 books added
#ShelfLove Challenge: 6 TBR Items added

August’s #ShelfLove picks: Just Breathe & Legacy

Judge By the Cover Challenge: None
Classics Challenge: None

August’s pick: finish Jane Eyre

View my Challenge Progress Here!

 

In February, I brought back my Tackling the TBR feature and announced my plan to get my Goodreads TBR down to 500 books. Here are my current standings:

  • Current TBR Shelf: 611 books
  • TBR Shelf at end of June: 614 books
  • Initial Number in February: 1205 books

 

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

Here are some of my favourite posts that I’ve come across the past month (I found a LOT!):

thoughts

Make Me Read It: August 2017

There’s still time to vote for what books I should read for the upcoming readathon! My goal is to read 4 of the 10 books I’ve picked during the readathon (and the rest by the end of the year).

This Is So Not Happening (He's So/She's So, #3) The Savage Blue (The Vicious Deep #2) Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Phoenix (Black City, #2) Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2) Trust in Me (Wait for You, #1.5) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1) Derailed (Clayton Falls, #1) The Bet (The Bet, #1) Caught Up in Us (Caught Up in Love, #1)

Vote here!

ARC August

This will be my first time participating in the classic summer event hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat! I signed up for more ARCs than I should have but that’s what the summer is for right? I don’t have too many but I’d like to get the books slated for September release finished before September.

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase