Tuesday, January 8th 2013

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

For 2013, I’ve decided to participate in a new blog meme!
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature created and hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks topic is: ”Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013‘.

So, last week I posted about looking back at 2012 and looking ahead to 2013. In that post I set out some goals for 2013, both for reading and blogging. So I’m going to duplicate them goals for TTT this week, as they haven’t changed in the last week! If you’d like to read about them in a bit more detail – such as how I plan to meet them – you can check out the original post here.

…and here we go! Here are the top ten  bookish goals I have for 2013:

  1. Read 100 books

  2. Read more YA Contemporary

  3. Reduce my TBR pile/Have a book clear out

  4. Take part in reading challenges

  5. Interact more with Authors

  6. Schedule blog posts

  7. Be more social

  8. Do some author interviews

  9. Host more giveaways

Monday, January 7th 2013

Review: My Love Lies Bleeding, Alyxandra Harvey.

Author Info: Website | Twitter
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9781408803400

The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange’s brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father’s killer.

Review

(Continue Reading…)

Saturday, January 5th 2013

Review: Tempest, Julie Cross.

Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publication Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Books
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 412
ISBN: 9780230756267

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.
Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Review

(Continue Reading…)

Thursday, January 3rd 2013

New Releases in January 2013!

Take a look at some of the most-anticipated releases in YA this month!

For 2013, I’ve decided to change how I highlight new releases each month. It’s more condensed, which I think – hope – allows for quicker, easier reading. You can still find more about each book through clicking on the relevant cover.

Altered, Jennifer Rush. – 1st Jan (US) | 28th Feb (UK)
Splintered, A. G. Howard. – 1st Jan (UK/US)
Prophecy, Ellen Oh. – 2nd Jan (UK/US)
Vortex (Tempest #2), Julie Cross. – 3rd Jan (UK) 
| 15th Jan (US)
Broken, A. E. Rought. – 8th Jan (US) 
| 10th Jan (UK)

Just One Day, Gayle Forman. – 8th Jan (US) | 10th Jan (UK)
Paper Valentine, Brenna Yovanoff. – 8thJan (UK/US)
Revolution 19, Gregg Rosenblum. – 8th Jan (UK/US)
Level 2, Lenore Appelhans. – 15th Jan (UK/US)

Everbound, Brodi Ashton. – 22nd Jan (UK/US)

The Archived, Victoria Schwab. – 22nd Jan (UK/US)
A Shimmer of Angels, Lisa M. Basso. – 29th Jan (UK/US)
Nobody But Us, Kristin Halbrook. – 29th Jan (UK/US)
The Madman’s Daughter, Megan Shepherd. – 29th Jan (UK/US)

And there we have it! There are some amazing reads to kick of 2013 and I can’t wait to read them.
How about you? What releases are you most looking forward to?

*all release date information was found on Amazon UK/US and information is correct at time of posting.

Wednesday, January 2nd 2013

It’s 2013!: A look back at 2012 & to the future…

I can’t quite get over the fact that it’s 2013 already!
It seems like just yesterday we were all celebrating the beginning of 2012 and setting ourselves goals for the upcoming year. Well, it’s that time of year again folks and for the first time ever,
I’m going to look back on the previous year while outlining what I’d like to achieve in 2013!

lookback2012

Quick Stats:

No. of books read: 57
No. of pages read: 19,305
No. of reviews written: 45
No. of blog posts posted: 85

I think the stats above speak volumes of how little time I had in 2012 to read/blog. There is no doubt that 2012 was difficult. I had a lot of different responsibilities and I’ll admit it; I failed to balance them all. Looking forward to 2013 though, I plan to make some changes. However, before I move onto that, here is some miscellaneous facts relating to BTS in 2012:

Top 5 Reads of 2012:

coversbr2012

  1.  Everneath, Brodi Ashton.
  2. Divergent, Veronica Roth.
  3. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare.
  4. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins.
  5. Obsidian, Jennifer L. Armentrout.

I also loved:

Most Viewed Reviews of 2012*:

  1. Dark Flame by Alyson Noel.
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare.
  3. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.
  4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
  5. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

*Determined by the number of page views received in 2012.

Countries Visited:

You have visited from all over the world in 2012. Here are the top 5 countries who visited*:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States of America
  3. Canada
  4. Philippines
  5. Austrailia

*Determined by the number of page views received since February 25, 2012.

Those were some bits of information that give an idea of what 2012 was like for BTS. To conclude, I thought it’d be nice to highlight some of the achievements of 2012:

  • I moved over to WordPress Self-Hosted from Blogger: I am quite proud of this as I did it alone. I still am learning new things that go alongside running a self-hosted blog, but I feel as though as time goes on, I get a little better. There are still a lot of things I need to iron out and new things I’d like to add, but on a whole I’m so pleased I made the leap… no matter how terrifying!
  • I got new blog design: Ok, so this isn’t an achievement of mine. In fact, all credit goes to the very talented Tawni at Forever Design Studio. With the move from Blogger, I wanted something new and fresh. I wanted a design that could expand as BTS grew bigger in terms of content. I had to mention this as an achievement of sorts, as it has made a great impact on BTS as a whole.
  • I hosted my first giveaway: I was so pleased I finally had the opportunity to host my very first giveaway in 2012. It was something I’d been meaning to do for a long time and I loved the whole experience of it. It offered me a great opportunity to get closer to readers of BTS and I was lucky to discover many new blogs which I now follow regularly. I hope to host many more giveaways in 2013!
  • I began posting new content, aside from reviews: I love writing reviews and will continue writing them until I no longer have the want to do so. Yet, in 2012 I was pleased that I challenged myself and began to include a different type on content on the blog. Some examples include my Blog Sparks feature, which was a way of writing about different topics. [see: 'A Guide to Writing a Review - Sort Of...' and 'Should I Stop Blogging?'] I also began to highlight some of the new releases in YA each month, which for me was a fun, albeit a bit of a challenging experience.
  • I was interviewed: Although this was featured away from BTS, this was such a new experience for me. I want to interview many different authors but me, being interviewed as a book blogger? Well, that was a surreal experience. I’m glad I did it though. It really allowed me to get some of my views across and reaffirmed for me that I enjoy being a book blogger. [see: 'Interview #1' and 'Interview #2']

So that was 2012. It wasn’t a smooth ride but it was educational. I have to admit that it’s quite an achievement I haven’t bowed out of book blogging. Ok, so I haven’t had as much time to read/blog in 2012 as I’d have liked, but I’ve stuck at it. I’ve kept going when I thought I should give up. I am proud of that. I would of course make some changes but on a whole, I’m pleased with the direction BTS is taking. I’m still around. It’s 2013 and I’m still here!

lookahead

Most Anticipated Books of 2013:

ma2013

These are some of the reads I’m most looking forward to, but be on the look out for a more comprehensive list coming soon!

Reading Goals:

  • Read 100 Books: I wanted to achieve this in 2012 but unfortunately failed. Sure, I’d read countless books for my degree course but they don’t count as books read for pleasure in my eyes. I’d love to reach 100 books read in 2013 and with the end of my university days quickly approaching, who knows? Maybe I’ll read more than 100.
  • Read more YA Contemporary: If you’ve read my reviews, you might have noticed there is a pattern in the types of YA books I read. They tend to mostly be fantasy, paranormal or dystopian. I guess I enjoy them the most because they offer an escape from the ‘real world’. Yet, in 2013, I want to branch out and read more contemporary fiction. I’ve read a few recently and surprised myself by enjoying them.
  • Reduce my TBR pile/Have a book clear out: These two goals kind of go hand-in-hand. I want to have a clear out of books – either with giveaways or donating them – so that when 2014 arrives, I can look ahead to the books I’d like to read that year, without looking back at all the books still sitting on my shelf. (If that makes sense!) To do this I know I need to try and get through as much of my TBR pile as I can. (I know I won’t ever be able to reduce it completely; it’s never-ending!)
  • Take part in reading challenges:  I’ve never done this before, aside from the GoodReads challenge, and I really would like to give this a try in 2013. I’m not 100% on which/how many challenges I’m going to take part in, but I plan on keeping track here.
  • Interact more with Authors:  I’ve been extremely lucky to get to know some amazing authors over the past two years. Yet there have been times when I’ve read a book and gone on to review it, with little thought to whether or not the author may be interested in what I have to say. That’s not me being egotistical – claiming my opinion should be important to them.  I mean, authors put in a lot of hard work for our enjoyment. I’d like to try harder to say thank you now and again.

Blogging Goals:

  • Schedule: I started to get to grips with this a bit in the latter part of 2012, but I didn’t always think ahead. In 2013, I’d like to give myself more breathing space and time to prepare posts by planning and scheduling them ahead of when there due to go live on the blog. In fact, this goal is kind of essential to me as I won’t always have the time to post this year, especially in the earlier months of 2013.
  • Be more social: I remember when I started Books that Spark and one of my favourite parts of being a book blogger, was being a book blog reader. Seriously, I love reading other peoples book blogs. Yet in 2012 I was more of silent reader and that was down to being too busy to comment, instead catching a few minutes now and again to have a quick browse of my favourite blogs. This year, I am finally going to ditch my internet browser bookmarks and start using google reader. I can’t wait to discover new blogs and I plan to be more interactive as a whole.
  • Interviews: I have been blogging for over two years now and 2013 will see the arrival of my third blogoversary., yet I’ve never interviewed an author. For one reason or another, it hasn’t happened yet. I promise that 2013 will finally be the year when I bring you an author interview.
  • Host more giveaways: I hosted my very first giveaway this year and I definitely plan on hosting more. I want to giveaway a variety of different goodies this year. Although I will be hosting international giveaways, I want to try and do some UK only ones too. It’s a common sight that some of the giveaways out there are frequently US only and while I completely understand that shipping costs and other things come into it, I want to give something back to those who sometimes miss out. That means UK giveaways as well as international ones.

And that’s it… 2013 has officially begun!
I look forward to looking back in 2014 and seeing how much BTS has moved forward.

I hope 2013 brings a lot of great things for you all: here’s to a fantastic year of books!

Tuesday, January 1st 2013

Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read In 2013

For 2013, I’ve decided to participate in a new blog meme!
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature created and hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks topic is: ”Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read In 2013‘.

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I know I should have read this by now but I’m too scared about how it’s all going to end! Some people have said I won’t like it so I’ve been avoiding reading it. I know I have to!

2. Destined by P. C. and Kristin Cast
I kind of got a bit fed up with the House of Night series in 2012. I bought ‘Destined’ and have never read it, but I think it’s about time I got back into the series… even to just see the series finished.

3. Everlasting by Alyson Noel
This is a similar scenario to the above. I began to dislike The Immortals series. It was such a shame as initially, I enjoyed it. This is the last book to go and it’s sitting on my shelf… I might as well complete the series in it’s entirety.

4. Last Breath by Rachel Caine
I’m a HUGE fan of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire seires! Theres a lot of books in the series (which is great!) but I seem to have fallen behind. Last Breath is where I’m up to and I’d really love to get back into the series again.

5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
I’ve heard soo many amazing things about Shiver – I even bought it! However, I’ve put off reading it for awhile now. I don’t think wolves are my thing, but I will read this in 2013 to see what all the hype has been about.

6. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Oh, I LOVED the Vampire Academy series! I can’t wait to read Bloodlines! Unfortunately I never quite got around to it in 2012 but I will definitely read it this year.

7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I really wanted to read If I Stay in 2012 but after reading Fracture by Megan Miranda, I thought it might be too similar. I’d like to read this to see if I liked it, as I liked Fracture.

8. Sweep: Volume 1 by Cate Tiernan
I’ve not read anything by Cate Tiernan before but a close friend of mine got me this for my birthday in October 2012. She has said it’s amazing so I hope to make my way through Volume 1 (comprised of books 1-3).

9. Beastly by Alex Flinn
I’m that type of person who must read a book before watching it’s film adaptation. I really want to watch the Beastly, as Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favourite film. But I need to read the book first…

10. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
2012 saw me fall head over heels in love with The Mortal Instruments series! I don’t even know how I haven’t read this! MUST READ IT ASAP.