Feature Images

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Let’s talk images! Every post should have one! You heard me. One. Yes, there are exceptions and personal preferences so let’s just dive right in.

Feature Images

Feature Images are great! They are the first image people see for your post. You can see mine for this series right at the top of this post! You also probably saw it in your reader, twitter feed, or facebook feed. You said, “Oh! Jessica has a new informative post up! I should click that!”

Would you have clicked if there was just a grey box? Or just the logo on my site?

Probably not.

There are many tools online to make images for your blog. I highly recommend Canva.com. They have many templates, sizes, images, fonts, and plenty of tools for you to create eye catching material for your blog.

Every template has a different size for its features. It might be a perfect square, it might be 800×500 pixels. You can check this in most media/customization settings on most platforms.  Continue reading “Feature Images”

My Shelves Are Empty

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As a book blogger, it’s always weird to get to a point where I’ve cleared my review shelves. I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten to the end of my TBReviewed books before the end of the year which leaves me with plenty of room for craft books and personal reading for the rest of the year.

To fill out the rest of the year, I have a few weeklies planned and a daily series planned in December. Without much further ado, allow me some shameless plugs for all my projects:

Book Blogging 101

A series which started a few weeks ago and get caught up on some tips and tricks for starting and maintaining a book blog.

Booked All Night Podcast

A late night podcast about YA lit and puppies! We even have a store that we’ll be launching in January.

Connect with Me on Social Media

Instagram . Facebook Twitter

BookRecs

Fun facts! I have an entire category dedicated to 4 and 5 star book reviews.

Setting Up Your Blog

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It’s time to get started! You’re not writing a review, you’re not posting your “Hello, World!”, you’re not creating content. You’re choosing from a plethora of themes, colors, and widgets. But even before that, let’s talk names.

Naming Your Blog

For most free accounts for blogs your username will become part of the URL to your site. For example. If your username on WordPress is SomeRandoBlogAboutBooks, your URL will be SomeRandoBlogAboutBooks.wordpress.com.

Imagine putting that on a business card to promote yourself.

That’s insane.

And consider what your blog is going to be about. My blog started as a place to post work for school. It had to have my name. Now I use it to promote myself as a writer, it should still have my name.

Here are some tips for naming your blog and coming up with your URL.

  • Are you a writer yourself and do you need build a platform?
  • Keep it short and sweet and easy to write down and remember.
  • Read it out loud to avoid awkward words

Continue reading “Setting Up Your Blog”

I Dare You Book Tag

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I realized I haven’t done a tag in way too long, so I went a digging and found this one. Here it goes!

RULES:
You must be honest
You must answer all the questions
You must tag at least 4 people

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Oooh… probably Harry Potter to be honest. My poor beat up old copies even have their own shelf!

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Voyage to Avalon by Julie Leung, I just finished Alaexandra Bracken’s The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding, and I will probably move into Lumberjanes next. Although, I’m not entirely sure that I won’t pick up something else.

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

Toooooo many to name.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

The rest of Maze Runner. Seriously. I have this nice collectors edition, it’s signed, and I just keep it on my shelf.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

None? Continue reading “I Dare You Book Tag”

National Book Award Longlist Announced

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Congratulations to all the wonderful authors who made the longlist!

Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of (Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Publishing Group)

Robin Benway, Far from the Tree (HarperTeen / HarperCollinsPublishers)

Samantha Mabry, All the Wind in the World (Algonquin Young Readers / Workman Publishing Company)

Mitali Perkins, You Bring the Distant Near (Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers / Macmillan Publishers)

Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down (Atheneum / Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Simon & Schuster)

Erika L. Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House)

Laurel Snyder, Orphan Island (Walden Pond Press / HarperCollinsPublishers)

Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give (Balzer + Bray / HarperCollinsPublishers)

Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground (Amistad / HarperCollinsPublishers)

Ibi Zoboi, American Street (Balzer + Bray / HarperCollinsPublishers)

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE JUDGES:

Suzanna Hermans, Brendan Kiely, Kekla Magoon, Meg Medina (Chair), Alex Sanchez

via 2017 National Book Awards

So You Want to Start a Book Blog

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So you want to start a book blog, or vlog, or podcast, or bookstagram, or literally anything online having to do with any awesome book you’re reading. Great! Good luck!

I love finding new book blogs to follow, so whether you’re just reviewing or having discussions, feel free to leave the URL in the comments.

There are lots of things to consider when you start a book blog: Continue reading “So You Want to Start a Book Blog”

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding ★★★★★

cover110213-mediumSave yourself the time of reading my review and just go buy the book. I LOVED IT!

“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness.”

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation. Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?

Bracken uses the perfect blend of darkness and humor. I loved learning about Prosper’s family history and reading Alastor’s many, MANY quips at Prosper’s expense as well as the numerous other humorous moments.

“If I had sat down at my desk at home, opened my spiralbound notebook, and tried to draw my perfect nightmare… it would have been adorable in comparison to this place.”

“Why is he talking like that? … It sounds like he swallowed a Pilgrim.”

“Do not keep my lord and master waiting. It is a school night and he has a bedtime.”

Alastor is hilariously bad at being bad, Prosper is steadfast and good, and I loved every second of their journey together.

Without giving away too much, know that Alastor has been asleep for 300 years and doesn’t know what traffic cones are for. And that scene alone should be why you pick up this book.

Epic Birthday Tag

Today is my birthday! And now I’m officially 30! My God… 30… To celebrate I’m doing this tag I tagged in by Eva @ Brilliantly Bookish. I feel like you tagged me like six months ago.

Rules

  1. Always Always Always pingback/link to icebreaker694‘s site (she wants to see your answers).
  2. Post this on your birthday!!! Or not, y’know, you do you. 😄
  3. Answer the questions! (You might have to do some digging, hope that’s not a problem.)
  4. Tag as many bloggers as you can! (At least 1+ so the tag won’t die!)

Questions

WHEN’S YOUR BIRTHDAY (MONTH + DAY)?

September 5th! (pssst that’s today)

WHAT’S YOUR ZODIAC SIGN?

I’m a Virgo.

WHAT’S YOUR BIRTHSTONE?

Sapphire.

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WITH THE SAME BIRTHDAY?

I know one person IRL who shares my birthday.

WHAT HISTORICAL EVENT OCCURRED ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?

  • 1666 Great Fire of London ended
  • 1774 Twelve of the thirteen American colonies adopt a trade embargo with Britain at the first Continental Congress at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1839 The First Opium War begins in China
  • 1914 World War I: Battle of Marne begins, French and British forces prevent German advance on Paris

Apparently a lot of fun…?

WHAT DO YOU USUALLY DO TO CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY?

I eat an entire cake by myself. Not alone. I just don’t share it.

WERE YOU BORN IN THE MORNING, AFTERNOON, OR THE NIGHT?

I believe I was an evening baby.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY PRESENT IN THE WORLD, WHAT PRESENT WOULD IT BE?

Money for books. No one ever gets the right book, you know?

WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST BIRTHDAY MEMORY?

Ughhhhh….. a few years ago my fiance threw me a surprise party…?

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR NAME?

Well… it’s funny that I’d start this with “Well.” Before I was born there weren’t a lot of Jessica’s on my block. Plenty of Amanda’s and Elizabeth’s and Rachel’s etc, but no Jessica’s. So my mom thought she’d name me something that would be easy to hear on the block. But then Little Jessica fell down a damn well and that’s how I graduated high school with 17 other Jessica’s.

HAVE YOU EVER FORGOTTEN YOUR BIRTHDAY?

Have I ever forgotten my own birthday? No. Not yet. Give it time.

BOOK FLASH: 5 BOOKS YOU’D WANT TO BE GIVEN ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY!

I don’t actually want books on my birthday. No one ever gets me the books I ask for and it’s much easier just to buy my own.

LASTLY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! TREAT YOURSELF TO A GIF!

giphy.gif

I Tag…

 

Magdalyn Ann @ Booked All Night

Before She Ignites ★★☆☆☆½

9780062469403_24007It sounded like it would be a great read. Fantasy. Anxiety. Dragons. But Before She Ignites fell short for me and I ended up putting it down about 75% of the way through.

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

At first, the out of order narrative was intriguing. We bounced back and forth learning just what got Mira thrown in prison in the first place. The first few shifts in time worked like flashbacks and added to the story in place. But as the book went on and I learned more about Mira, and her personality, the more these shifts worked against the book.

You might assume that being thrown in prison by those you trusted would sparked a certain amount of forced maturity on a person. It might be a wake up call to an absurdly naive and privileged character, like Mira. But the flashes just showed me the same character.

Mira before and Mira after, aren’t significantly changed. I would assume getting thrown in prison and being starved and taken from a world of comforts would change a person. I don’t see strength in Mira, I see naivete.

She gets warnings at every turn: you don’t know who you can trust in the Pit. And her first actions are to trust the people in her cell block. Her excuse is that the friendliness is a custom on her island, but that’s just not strong enough for me. The friendliness should from Mira before, and be something to work back to for Mira after.

Her lack of change comes through strongly in the out of order narrative and it’s where the book lost a lot of stars for me.

 

But it wasn’t all bad. The anxiety, the part of the story which really intrigued me, was really well done. Although Mira has panic attacks for legitimate things and I really wanted to see her have one for no reason at all to really drive home to readers who don’t suffer from them just how obnoxious and intrusive they can be, her coping mechanisms were spot on. Her reactions and frustration with losing control of her of her body were accurate and I really enjoyed them.

But the one thing which annoyed me to know end was how the dragons were referred to. Always by full Latin-esque names: drakontos quintus, drakantos mons, drakontos aquis, drakontos raptus, drakontos titanus, drakontos mimikus, drakontosrex, drakontos maior, drakontos sol, drakontos ignitus, and drakontos milus. I understand that Meadows is trying to create a species and keep us thinking is sizes and colors, but the jargon for her world was tiring and it made the descriptions sound unnatural.

People say, “I have dogs” not “I have a black Labrador, St. Bernard mixed breed canine.” I think this could have been a lot better if the academic classification of the dragons had been less integrated into Mira’s narration.

September TBR

Monthly TBR

Going to be a slow September apparently. I’m super excited that I was approved for the second Mice of the Round Table by Julie Leung. I’ve had This Darkness Mine for a little bit now and I really need to get it off my review list since it comes out this October. The Stolen Child is an old one but my teacher recommended it to me. Here’s all the back copy:

Mice of the Round Table: Voyage to Avalon

voyagetoavalonAuthor: Julie Leung
Pub Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins

A mysterious curse sparks a dangerous quest in book two of the epic middle grade series ALA Booklist called “a charming blend of Arthurian legend and Brian Jacques’s Redwall series.”

Young mouse Calib Christopher has nearly completed his training to become a squire to the Knights of Camelot when news of a deadly plague reaches the castle. Soon all of Camelot is showing signs of the illness, animals and humans alike. Desperate to find a cure, Calib and his friend Cecily set off on a voyage to find the healing land of Avalon. But even as their journey takes them over land and sea, back at home, Calib’s human friend Galahad discovers that the true enemy may have already found a way inside the castle walls.…

This Darkness Mine

9780062561596_305afAuthor: Mindy MicGinnis
Pub Date: October 10th, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen books

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.

Stolen Child

1152031Author: Keith Donohue

Inspired by the W.B. Yeats poem that tempts a child from home to the waters and the wild, The Stolen Child is a modern fairy tale narrated by the child Henry Day and his double.

On a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings—an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit him away, name him Aniday, and make him one of their own. Stuck forever as a child, Aniday grows in spirit, struggling to remember the life and family he left behind. He also seeks to understand and fit in this shadow land, as modern life encroaches upon both myth and nature.

In his place, the changelings leave a double, a boy who steals Henry’s life in the world. This new Henry Day must adjust to a modern culture while hiding his true identity from the Day family. But he can’t hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the true Henry never displayed), and his dazzling performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he ages the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Of a time when he, too, had been a stolen child. Both Henry and Aniday obsessively search for who they once were before they changed places in the world.

The Stolen Child is a classic tale of leaving childhood and the search for identity. With just the right mix of fantasy and realism, Keith Donohue has created a bedtime story for adults and a literary fable of remarkable depth and strange delights.