Friday, 28 June 2013

BLOG 101 PART 3: Helpful Blogging Tips and Other Stuff


You can see Part 1 of Blog 101 HERE and Part 2 HERE. Today's blog post is full of tips from other successful book bloggers and a few links which can help you with your journey into the blogoverse!

My top blogging tip is...

"Get involved! Whether it's in features, memes, blog tours or guest reviewing on other blogs, you need to get your name out there. A really good feature I have come across that I participate in is Feature and Follow Friday. You find new blogs to read, and you gain new followers - it's a win/win situation!"



Visit Hawwa's blog.


Another one of my blogging tips is...

"It's a really, really bad idea to copy another blogger's words, whether it's from their reviews or from their other pages such as About, Review Policy etc. The way to become a successful blogger is by using your own words. Always. This is very important. Publishers really like bloggers who know their own mind. Sadly parts of my blog have been copied a few times by a couple of other bloggers, and not only is it unfair because I worked very hard to create this blog, but it's also a violation of my copyright (theft of content.)"

Some great websites that you might like are Spinebreakers (if you're 13+) and the Guardian Book Club. I also really love Girls Heart Books! Check them out and leave comments and messages and tweets and wall posts and....stuff. Please. :D

Sadly this is the end of Blog 101 for now! But there may be some more Blog 101 blog posts in the future. Hopefully these blog posts have been helpful and if they have, make sure to leave me a comment and let me know! Don't forget you can see Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE. Bye guys!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Chocolate S.O.S by Sue Limb

Title: Chocolate S.O.S
Author: Sue Limb
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 5th January 2013
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Humour
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.


This is the life of Jess Jordan - charming but insane!

 Jess has broken up with Fred, though really she is waiting for him to come to her door and beg to get back together again.

But is that the sort of thing Fred would do? He has said himself that he has no backbone . . .

Meanwhile, a gorgeous boy has moved in next door and, to Jess's mingled horror and delight, is making it very, very obvious that he would like to be a lot closer than next door . . .

Surely, now, Fred will be driven, in a fit of jealousy, to sweep Jess back off her feet? Won't he?

Jess is not sure. But she means to find out!  

Chocolate SOS is part of a fabulously funny series which is about a couple of comedians called Jess and Fred. Clumsy is definitely a good word to describe both of them!

This book shows Jess newly single after dumping poor Fred. It was so heart-breaking when they broke up, they were so sweet and definitely one of my favourite character romances! There were a few new characters, including cute new neighbour to Jess, Luke. 

As always, Jess was hilarious throughout the story and her fabulous sarcasm was still there. The book had me in stitches! I felt empathy for Jess and Fred at times, though - they both clearly still loved each other, even after breaking up. They broke up because Fred left her in the lurch to organise a charity dinner all by herself before turning up and stealing the show! However, all Jess was waiting for was for Fred to perform a chivalrous act to win her back. Sadly, over-enthusiastic Jodie has her eyes set on Fred, and Jess is furious. But fear not, their love was not completely gone!

Chocolate SOS is a really refreshing read and I loved every second of it! They're all so bonkers - if you're having a bad day, this book is guaranteed to cheer you up after just a few pages.

Chocolate SOS is addictive (a bit like chocolate, to be honest), genius and pure awesome. If you haven't read it yet, you're so missing out! 5/5!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

BLOG 101 PART 2: How to Start a Book Blog


You can see Part 1 of Blog 101 HERE and Part 3 HERE.. Today's post will show you how to set up your own book blog, although with a couple of alterations, the instructions can be used to set up any other kind of blog, too.

A blogging platform is basically the domain you see at the end of a blog address. For example, mine is '.blogspot.com' because I set my blog up using Blogger. Other blogs might have used Wordpress, so their web addresses would end in '.wordpress.com'. Personally, I recommend using Blogger to host your blog, because it's extremely easy to use and has a simple layout. Also, if you're a more advanced blogger, you can customise it however you want with a few bits of HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets.) Wordpress, from my own experience, isn't too easy to use, but you can customise it more than blogs on Blogger.
This is the fun bit. Your blog name is what will attract people to come and find your blog. You should consider having a brainstorm before naming your blog, so you can think of the best possible name.
To start with, you should try adding some Pages to your blog (e.g the tabs I have at the top of this blog.) A few ideas for different Pages are: About me, About the blog, Archive, Gallery...whatever you want! Once you start reviewing books, you should also add a Review Index, but that is optional and just down to personal preference.  A 'Review Policy' page is also a very good idea, as publishers and authors visiting your blog need to know whether you might be interested in reviewing their book/s. You should also introduce yourself with your first blog post! Tell readers a little bit about yourself and what you hope to achieve with the blog.
This is optional but I highly recommend doing this, so blog emails don't get mixed up with your personal ones. A blog email address usually has the blog name in it, for example mine is themilelongbook-shelf@hotmail.co.uk (I had to put a hyphen in it because 'themilelongbookshelf' was already taken...). If you created a Review Policy page, you should add the email address to it, so people can find it easily.
Visit other book blogs you have come across (or you can find new ones using a search engine) and comment on their blogs, letting them know you have set up a book blog too. However, it's quite important that you don't keep commenting asking them to look at your blog, because that is classed as spam and won't gain you much respect. They will look at your blog soon enough and they might even leave you a comment in return. Who knows, you might become friends!
Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great for gaining more readers of your blog. You can easily set up your blog's Facebook page by logging into Facebook and clicking 'More' next to the pages tab on the left hand side. It will then give you the option to create a page. It's also very easy to make a Twitter account for your blog, just go to twitter.com and click 'Sign up'. Some other great social networking sites you should consider are Bloglovin', Goodreads and LinkedIn.
Start by reviewing books you already own, or alternatively you can borrow books from your local library. In time, publishers and authors will hopefully offer you free books to review, and add you to their blogger databases. Some of the  fab publishers that support my blog are Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, Atom, and lots more!
Adding a 'favourite blogs' list to your sidebar is a great way to make your way into the lovely book blogging community. Your blog link will pop up in the stats for each blog on your list, and you will have a quick and easy way of getting to other blogs without having to write down their link and risk forgetting it!

What did you think of this blog post - did it help you? If you make a new blog, make sure to leave the link in the comments and I'll check it out!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

BLOG TOUR: Interview with author Cathy Cassidy!

Today is an awesome day, because I have an interview with one of my all-time favourite authors, Cathy Cassidy! Enjoy!

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Waterstones CCTV

Hi Cathy! Can you tell us a bit about The Chocolate Box Girls series?
It's all about five sisters in a step-family and how they learn to get along together - or not! It's called the Chocolate Box Girls because the parents in the family launch a luxury chocolate business... yum! 

What made you want to write a series, instead of the stand-alones that you used to write?
My readers had been asking for a series for a while, and Puffin my publishers felt this might be a good time to try it. I set the series up so that each sister had her own story to tell, taking the series forward, so they could almost be read as stand-alones too - best of all worlds! ;o)

If the Chocolate Box Girls series got offered a movie deal, who would you pick to play the Tanberry sisters?
Ooh... that would be SO cool! I'd have to have auditions from my readers - they know more about the characters than any casting director, right? 

Good idea! What is your favourite food?
Chocolate... (hangs head in shame...) 

What is the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?
You had to ask this, didn't you? I was once waiting for the loo on an aeroplane on the way to Sri Lanka when the lady in front of me went in and managed to trap my skirt in the door. I was stuck in the aisle, unable to move because my skirt was stuck in the door, and even the stewardesses couldn't get past me. The whole plane was laughing and I was mortified. When the lady came out of the loo, releasing my skirt, I was so embarrassed I ran back to my seat without using the loo. Aghhh.

Oh no, haha! That sounds awful...but quite funny! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
- Write every day, even if it's just a little.
- Write about things you care about - the passion will show in your work.
- Write for YOU - not because school tells you to.
- Don't be afraid to write in the style of a favourite author - you can learn a lot about style and narrative this way.
- Write in a journal or start a school magazine - anything you can do to get practice helps!

Where is the furthest you have ever travelled from home for a book signing?
Australia or New Zealand... and it was amazing, so totally worth it! 

Wow! How long, roughly, does it take you to write a book?
Round about six months... 

What can we expect from you when the CBG series finishes?
There's another stand alone I want to write, and then I have an idea for a new series... 

Ooh, exciting! Chocolate or cake?
Chocolate cake. (What is this 'or' thing?!!! You can't choose between such awesomeness!) 

I agree, good point!  Apple or Windows?
Apple, always!

Summer or Winter?
Again, I love both... but I'd maybe pick Summer. It's getting pretty rare these days, after all! 


Thanks Cathy! You can join Cathy Cassidy and Sarah Dessen for a live Penguin Chat on Twitter on Sunday 30th June at 6pm BST using the #PenguinChats. Can't wait until then? Keep following this blog tour for more exclusive content like interviews, extracts and giveaways! See you there!

Monday, 24 June 2013

BLOG 101 PART 1: A Day in the Life of a Book Blogger


Recently, I have had a few emails asking the same question - "What is it like to be a book blogger?". This post will be the first in a three-part series. In this post, you can see what an average book blogger's day is like, with a few links that I hope you'll find useful. Make sure to check out Part Two on Wednesday 26th June where you can find out how to start your own book blog, and Part Three on Friday 28th June where I have compiled a list of top tips from successful book bloggers.

I'm not basing this on a weekday because I have school which I'm sure none of you want to hear about. So this is just going to be based on a day where I have lots of spare bloggy time! (Which is rare. But y'know. It happens occasionally.)

Every day starts with bed hair, whether you are a book blogger or not...
Book blogging includes being woken up at an ungodly hour due to heavy books being pushed through the door. I'm not complaining though! Cat is optional but preferred.
I am the Queen of Procrastination. Procrastinating helps your writing, I find. Erm...yep...that's my excuse. Move, peasants, I am the Queen.
To review a book, you obviously need to read it first. Duh! Coincidentally, a review of the book I'm reading in this picture has been published on the blog already as this is a scheduled post! You can see the review HERE.
I like to keep a 'blogging notebook' which is where all of my ideas, reviews and interview questions are born. Not literally born....ugh, you get my point. A review can take anything from 40 minutes up to an hour to write. As obvious as it may seem, it's important to include your own honest thoughts - don't say you liked a book if you didn't, because to be a reviewer you need to be completely honest, otherwise you'll be giving readers the wrong impression of a book. And you don't want to do that!

Through book blogging, I have had so many amazing opportunities that just wouldn't be available to me if I didn't have this blog. For example, having my quotes in Luisa Plaja's 'The Quick Expert's Guide To Writing a Blog', and being able to interview well known writers and other celebrities (see photo above).

Another perk of book blogging is getting free books, obviously! Most of the time you can get proof copies that aren't in shops yet, and I've even had a few manuscripts sent to me for review before, one of which you can see here:


And through book blogging I have also met some of my favourite authors. One of the best moments from book blogging has been when I went to one of Cathy Cassidy's book signings when I was 10 or 11, and she recognised me from my blog!

What on earth was I wearing...
So in between all of the stuff I mentioned above, I also have to promote my blog on Facebook and Twitter (I blame blogging for my Twitter addiction) and check my emails from authors and publishers regularly. And then I have to fit in homework, revision and coursework around blogging! It's busy, slightly stressful and chaotic but totally worth it.

You're still thinking of starting a book blog after reading all of that? Yay, go for it! But not until you've read Parts 2 and 3 of Blog 101....because, y'know, I like getting views and comments! Haha, what? I'm only human!

Don't forget to look out for Part 2 and Part 3 and let me know what you thought of this post in the comments below! :)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Friday Focus

"So named because it will make you get really still and quiet and focus on your surroundings and feelings."
I was meant to post this yesterday but I forgot and published a review instead! This is a new weekly feature by Top Floor Treasures - please go and check it out. :)

Right now, as I write this post…
I can hear: music playing quietly on my iPod dock, cars going past and a rustling of a food packet.
I can smell: I can smell sour cream and onion pringles...mmm...
I can see: my laptop screen, my Family Guy 'I am a genius' mug, my phone, and a stack of books next to me on the arm of the sofa.
I can taste: The pringle I just ate.
I can feel: the keys as I type out this post, the skin on my hands as I rub them together wondering what to write...
I am wearing: My pyjamas which consist of my old blue Jack Wills t-shirt and my pink shorts that have Animal on them from the Muppet Show.
The weather today was: overcast.
I’m enjoying: blogging and listening to music.
I want to: get more views and comments on my blog. I'm working on it. 
I need to: stop worrying about stuff.
I’m thinking about: what song to play next on my phone.
I’m feeling: hungry...
To move forward with my blogging dreams, today I can: Work on that extra special blog post I'm preparing...
I am looking forward to: when I have enough money to buy something secret (I can't tell anyone what it is yet.)


Friday, 21 June 2013

Brooklyn Girls: Pia by Gemma Burgess

Title: Brooklyn Girls: Pia
Author: Gemma Burgess
Published by: Quercus
Publication date: 4th July 2013
Pages: 352
Genres: New Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Jobless. Clueless. Topless on Facebook.

*Not necessarily in that order.*

Welcome to New York City.

Pia Keller is not living the dream. Unemployed, unemployable and broke, post-Uni life in a Brooklyn town-house with her four best friends suddenly isn't so easy.
And that's before heartbreaks, hipsters, all-nighters, one-nighters, food trucks, screw-ups, loan sharks and jail-time make things a whole lot more complicated...

Who knew adulthood would be so damn grown-up?
Life begins at 22.

When I first started reading this book, it seemed like a bit of a cliché. Five best friends living in a house in the city suffering the consequences of a massive party from the night before. But then sub plots were introduced and we found out more about the girls Pia lived with; Julia, Madeline, Angie and Coco. Julia is the loud and sporty one, Madeline is mysterious and moody, Angie is the wild party girl and Coco is the calm, collected, responsible one. Soon enough, I found myself not wanting to put it down!

There were some great moments in Brooklyn Girls, like when Pia was describing all of these different food trucks. My mouth was watering just at the thought of all the food! Brooklyn was written about so beautifully and now it's a place I'd love to go to.

Pia's life is definitely like a roller-coaster and I felt lots of empathy for her at certain points throughout the story. I couldn't relate to her as she is a lot older than me, but I really liked her and it was good to watch her become a better person as the story progressed.

The publisher also sent me these really cute postcards that have quotes from the book on them! Aren't they cool?

Overall this was a fantastic book and I have no complaints! I recommend it to girls aged 14+ because there was some adult content. Funny, realistic and action packed - you won't want to put it down!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #12

The Feature and Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read.

Q: Activity: Spine Poetry. Create a line of poetry with your book spines.



There was a Geek Girl,
Who found her Fortune,
She went to NYC!
But the Perks Of Being A Wallflower is that -
 - OMG! She got Split By A Kiss?!

Wow. That failed. From reading that, you really wouldn't think my poems had been published in books before. *facepalm*.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

GIVEAWAY: Signed copy of 'Shipwrecked' by Siobhan Curham!

Review coming soon!
"I jump at the sound of a whispered voice over my shoulder. But when I turn all I see is sand, and the towering, green wall of the rainforest. I guess it must have been the breeze, but I can't help shivering. I have the weirdest feeling we're being watched. Grace Delaney and her fellow dance students are en route to perform on a South Pacific cruise-ship when a freak storm hits and they find themselves stranded on a seemingly deserted island. With the tropical heat rising, passions and tensions swell to breaking point. And the island itself is quietly steaming with a terrible secret ..."
Yes, I know, it's been less than two weeks since my last giveaway, but I thought I would treat you all! How does a signed copy of Siobhan Curham's new book 'Shipwrecked' sound? And even better, it's international!

All you have to do is fill in the form below. Competition ends 13th June 11:59pm BST. Good luck!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #11

The Feature and Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read.

Q: Have you ever broken up with a series? If so, which one and why?
Well, I didn't exactly hate Twilight but it didn't keep my attention and I found it boring, so I found no reason to carry on reading it. I think I only got to page 20 or so in the first book...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Invisible Girl by Kate Maryon

Title: Invisible Girl
Author: Kate Maryon
Published by: Harper Collins
Publication date: 6th June 2013
Pages: 272
Genres: Children's/Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.


I whisper to no one: "Hello, I'm Gabriella, can someone tell me what to do next, please?"

In the past twenty-four hours, Gabriella Midwinter has lost her home, her dad, her school and her best friend.

This morning everything seemed so normal.

But caught between arguing parents and moving house, twelve-year-old Gabriella somehow slips through the cracks. Now she's more alone than ever before.

Unless she can find her brother Beckett. Unless she can find a home. But sometimes the way home is hard to find... 

'Invisible Girl' is about a girl called Gabriella, who lives in a scruffy, dirty old flat. She cooks for her Dad every night, and it's fine - just them, no one interfering. But then everything changes. Her Dad gets a new girlfriend called Amy who is absolutely horrible, and things start to go terribly wrong. Eventually, Gabriella finds herself out on the streets, alone. Homeless.

This book flowed really well and it was easy to read. I really felt empathy for Gabriella and hated her Dad's girlfriend, Amy. I didn't really like Gabriella's Dad either, because to put it simply, he was a bit of a doormat! It was like he didn't feel any love towards his daughter at all, and he never fought for her. He was incredibly lazy and very irresponsible! I really liked Gabriella though because she did what she thought was best and she was pretty intelligent. She seemed more grown-up than her parents at times.

I felt that the book was slightly too young for me - I'd say it's suitable for readers aged 8-12 - but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. There were a couple of subplots, e.g Tia's strange Dad (for people who have read the book) which didn't really go anywhere and ended up getting a bit lost. The main plot was exciting though and full of surprises.

I love the cover, it's gorgeous and very different from most books out there these days. It's really pretty! I enjoyed this book a lot, so I give it 4/5.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Prizes and books for review!

Top Row: Prizes won from Nayu's Reading Corner including 3 mangas, Drummer Girl by Bridget Tyler, MUA Eyeshadow palette, Collection blusher, Barry M nail varnish and adorable Hello Kitty tissues! Bottom Row: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris (review), Invisible Girl by Kate Maryon (review), All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (review), The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts (review), You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett (won from Goodreads, signed), Cathy Cassidy newsletter and Threads by Sophia Bennett postcard.

You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett - signed copy won from Goodreads.

Postcard that came with my prize, from Tina at Chicken House.
I used to do In My Mailbox and I always forgot to do it. I guess I kind of gave up on it (oops!). So I have decided that every once in a while, I will show you some of the things I have received lately. In this post you can see the things I received in the past week (from 27th May to 31st May.)

Thank you to Nayuleska at Nayu's Reading Corner, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, Teresa Orts, Templar Books, Puffin and Chicken House!

What did you all get this week? Let me know in the comments!


Don't forget, there is still time to enter my Ruby Redfort giveaway, where you can win a t-shirt, iPod case and more! Click HERE to enter.