February 2017 Recap: Blogging Triumphs, Mishaps, and Discoveries

monthly-recap

What’s on Repeat: Shape of You ¦ Despacito ¦ Chantaje

Did I complete my goals?

In my last recap, I listed my goals for the month of February. One of my main goals was to get on a blogging schedule and stick to it, which I kinda (?) did. I made an overly ambitious schedule that required me to post everyday and made a bank of post ideas to work on. This worked for the first 9 days, but I burnt out soon after resulting in an inconsistent schedule.

What I learned: While posting everyday did increase the number of views I received, it isn’t worth the burn-out and inconsistency. Also- I really need to work on a promotional schedule/system that doesn’t take me too long to set up because setting up Hootsuite did not help with my burn-out.

What now? After tweeting a poll, I discovered that most people prefer 2-3 posts a week.

What did I read/review?

Thief of Lies Goodreads Review (3 stars) ¦ Guardian of Secrets Review (4 stars)

Books I received for review:

The Princess and the Page via Christina Farley ¦ Garden of Thorns via Blog Tour/NetGalley ¦ Island of Exiles via EntangledTeen ¦ Off the Ice via EntangledTeen ¦ Secrets of a Reluctant Princess via EntangledTeen ¦ Ensnared via NetGalley ¦ Paper Hearts via NetGalley

 On the blog:

Discussions – 20 Things to do Before Turning 20 ¦ What is Minimalism? ¦ Guide on Who Can Make Political Comments ¦ Meeting Lin Manuel Miranda

Series/Tags – Netflix Book Tag ¦ TTT Books I Wish Had More Pages ¦ TTT Book Boyfriends I’d Spend Valentine’s Day With ¦ Sunday Smiles Intro + A Kitten

Promo – Starfall Book Blitz ¦ Guardian of Secrets Blog Tour

Community Posts:

It’s always important to spread the love! Here are a couple posts that I loved:

Jessica @ The Book Bratz convinced me to Help Bring a Bookstore to the Bronx (after my next paycheck!)

Alice @ Arctic Books put together a visually pleasing February Uppercase unboxing and review!

SERIESous Book Reviews created one of my favorite Perfect Match, ‘if you like this, then try this’, posts.

A Small Wardrobe wowed me with her minimalist One Week of OOTDs.

Looking Ahead:

Since I have many personal goals in March, I will be keeping my bookish goals to a minimum! I learned a lot in February and plan to apply this knowledge to the future.

  • Read all the books I was sent to review
    • This will be the hardest, but since I’m not currently watching any shows on Netflix I should be able to do it.
  • Post 2-3 times a week
    • I definitely do not want to burn out again!
  • Create an easy promotional plan
    • I want to start utilizing Pinterest on top of Twitter, but often find myself dreading scheduling tweets or taking pictures. My plan is to try out a couple of systems to see which one will ease the dread.
  • Write
    • Anything, please!

How was your February?

Hyperion Reviews: Shadow Magic & The Hidden Oracle

shadow-magic Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: April 12 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

I’ve been meaning to review this book for quite awhile! I read it over the summer and absolutely fell in love with it, which I should have expected because Rick Riordan blurbed it and because the person who gifted it to me told me that he thought I’d like it since I love Harry Potter.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read this book, so here are some bullet points I jotted down after finishing the book in August, mixed in with some present day comments.

  • Well developed characters: If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I love well-developed characters. Lily and Thorn were beautifully crafted characters that are unlike any others that I’ve come across. Both are young, but so wise and strong! I don’t want to give away too much, but they may be my new favorites.
  • Strong and concise world building: I feel like I’m going to be using the word ‘unique’ a lot in this review because it perfectly captures the story. The world was so original and well thought out, Joshua Khan did an excellent job painting the scenes and atmosphere without info-dumping. The entire time I was reading I was completely immersed in the world.
  • Interesting magic system: Once again, I don’t want to give away too much but the magic system was intricate, but easy to understand.
  • YAY BATS: I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where bats had an important role, but there definitely should be more!
  • Addictive and compelling writing: I vividly remember trying to go to sleep after starting this book and my mind was swirling with facts about the world, magic, and characters. Finally I gave up on sleep and tip-toed to my grandmother’s kitchen so I can finish the book without disturbing her.
  • Surprisingly unique plot: With a market saturated by the same story with different characters, it was refreshing to see a middle-grade book that stood out. It’s definitely a bit darker than most kids books, but not enough to scare kids.

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan hidden-oracle

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: May 3rd 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

I always start off a new year with a Rick Riordan book because I know that it’ll be a good start to my reading year and this year was no exception.

It was a wonderful surprise to see that Uncle Rick decided to use a different writing style to share the trials of Apollo, opting to write in past tense instead of present. It was really cool to hear Apollo narrate his own life as a god stuck in a mortal’s body. Readers were able to get into Apollo’s mind and see what he truly cares about…himself! All jokes aside their was some amazing character growth in this novel that really moved me.

As expected there were a couple of cameos of some old favorite characters, but we also were able to learn more about some characters that played minor roles in past books. I loved learning more about Will and the rest of the Apollo cabin, as well as meeting Meg- a spunky demigod that carries dark secrets.

The book picks up around six months after The Blood of Olympus, the final book in Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. The cast of characters are dealing with the aftermath of the final battle which, of course, was not really over. (Do demigods ever catch a break?) This was a really fun read and I’m already looking forward to the sequel!

Review: E-ARC of Sisters of Wind and Flame

Yay, another review! As you all probably know by now, I’ve been reading Awakening Foster Kelly for the past three weeks now but haven’t had a chance to finish it due to all the craziness in my personal life.

A couple of days ago I was going through my feed on twitter and saw that Jennifer Ellision was looking for bloggers to read and review her prequel short “Sisters of Wind and Flame”

Of course I couldn’t resist this opportunity! I decided to take a break from my current read and asked Jennifer if I could read/review it and I’m so happy I decided to!

sisters of wind and flame

Sisters of Wind and Flame  is a short prequel to Threats of Sky and Sea. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Once, Lady Katerine was simply Ekaterina. Once, she was not a countess, but a girl who cleaned fireplaces. And once, she had a sister…

Short and sweet, but very mysterious. Now you understand why I just HAD to read it! Basically it’s about a girl who lives in a world where at the age of 17 people can get powers. These people are called Elementals and the powers can vary from air, fire, and more!

I really loved this story and rated it five out of five stars! The story was fast paced and really interesting. The world the Jennifer created was exquisite, I was particularly fond of how she described the Elementals. Their abilities were realistic; for example, if you had the element of air then you will be able to heal someone who has fluid in their lungs.

Ekaterina aka Katerine was a complicated character, but I loved her nonetheless. She was so real! In the beginning of the story she was debating whether or not to buy bread and eat it all or to bring it home to share with her ill mama and sister. Her decision really made her ‘real’ to me because it shows that she has flaws just like everyone else. Her character develops in an unexpected way, but it was really intriguing being inside her head!

All in all, I really enjoyed this short and CANNOT wait to get my hands on Threats of Sky and Sea. Unfortunately I may not be able to get it until my birthday in August *cries* but when I do, you can expect a review for that as well!

Until next post!