Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Sunday Post #49~sharing blog news and book haul

The Sunday Post ~ 49th Edition
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. 
It's Easter Sunday and I hope the bunny left you a little chocolate :) We are finally warming up here and the snow is gone. I have been sick on and off all winter and cannot wait to open the windows and let in the sun. This is the last day of reading for Take Control, be sure and enter your read books in the rafflecopter which closes on the April 2nd at midnight. 

Last week on the blog we brought you
This week on the blog look for
  • 13 by Amy Lignor (review)
  • Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (review)
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (review)
  • The Prophet by Amanda Stevens (review)
  • Coffee Pot Reviews: Pushing the Limit by Katie McGarry & Blood, Smoke and Mirrors by Robyn Bachar 
Around the Blogosphere 
New arrivals to the Caffeinated Cafe
For Review

Summer in Napa by Marina Adair
courtesy of author and Montlake Romance 

Tempting Cameron by Karen Erickson
thanks to Entangled Publishing

Outcast Prince by Shona Husk
thanks to Sourcebooks 

Gifted or Won

won from Bea @Bea's Book Nook and author 

I won a box of books from Diana @ Book of Secrets
and it's a delightful mix of genres. I cannot wait to try them.

Purchased or Downloaded

Follow on Bloglovin

Peace, Love and Books! 
Link up peeps! 

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

How The Heck Did You Do That?!? Blogger Tips and Tricks #8

Encouraging People to Explore your Blog Once they have Dropped In.

So you've got a new visitor to your blog. Yippie! How easy is it for them to follow you? Like your post? Explore other reviews? Open up your blog and let's take a look as I ask you some questions. 

Can you immediately find your follow options? They should be easy to locate in your side bar.

How many options do you have? At minimum you should have at least three.

These can be GFC, Linky, Twitter, RSS or email. Network Blogs is good, but did you know it limits the amount of blogs a user can follow by 200? !? Yeah...I will keep it, for those who use it, but will not be recommending it as a follow option. 

Why do I need more then one option? 
People have preferences for how they follow. I prefer RSS as my following method, it allows me to have posts I follow in one place making it easier to manage. However some prefer GFC/Linky and still others twitter. By only having one option you are seriously limiting connections. I will be honest I loathe following by email. My reason is simple- I do not want my email box to explode on a daily basis. So I avoid following by email and hope the blog offers another option. You can create an RSS feed to follow any blog..but your followers should be able to do so with the click of a button on your blog.

I've just read your wonderful post and want to check out older or newer ones. How easily can I do this? Do I have to refresh the link?

Is there an older post link at the bottom of the post I've just read? You would be surprised how many blogs do not have this option. Some have a previous and newer option at the top of their blog post..but i feel this is ineffective. If I have just left a comment then I need to scroll to the top of your post to find the previous post?  Most people will just flutter away from your blog before doing that. 

An Archive? You do not have to go all crazy and file these by author, genre, title etc. (although secretly I want to do this) But at least show an archive on the side of your blog with recent posts. 

A search this blog option? You add all these lovely tags to your posts like author name, genre, series. Why would you not have a search box to allow a follower to see what books and posts you have for them to discover? 
People do this all the time..I have gotten comments on reviews that are six months old, because a reader was curious as to whether or not I recommended it. 

Google Reader is Going Away?!? 

First Do Not Panic! RSS is a wonderful way to follow blogs, and I use my reader daily but after researching and discovering new readers, let me assure you that there are plenty of options out there. After researching and testing them I am going to recommend: Feedly and Bloglovin

Feedly works on all formats and is available for your mobile devices as well. 
It will easily transfer your existing RSS feeds into its RSS reader "My Feedly" and allows you to organize your feeds. It is easy to navigate and totally free!
You can sign up and download. . 

Follow on Bloglovin

Another option is Bloglovin and it offers similar features to Feedly and is easy to navigate.  As a blogger you can choose to claim your blog and add a follow button. I claimed my blog and added the button. I highly recommend that you add your blog and button as another option for followers to keep track of your posts.

I did modified my button!!  Their pre-made buttons all direct you away from my blog page. So I changed it to open the button in a separate window.

I added the attribute ... target='_blank'  so that it opens Bloglovin in a new window. (I shared how to do this with your social icons on a previous BT & T) Here is the code they use and all I did was insert the highlighted's easy and keeps folks on your blog page.

 <div style="margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto; text-align: center;"><a title="Follow Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer on Bloglovin" href=""target='_blank'><img alt="Follow on Bloglovin" src="" border="0" /></a></div></div></div>

Did you miss an edition of How The Heck Did You Do That?!? Visit my Blogger Tips and Tricks page for links to all of them. 

If you have a question or tip you would like answered please send me an email. Due to the large amount of emails I have been receiving I may choose to only answer your question in post form. 

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White
by Jaclyn Moriarty
Series: The Colors of Madeleine #1
Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication date: April 1, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
ARC provided in exchange for unbiased review
*purchase through buy links supports this blog

The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty! This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world). Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth. As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses..
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty is the first book in an exciting new series called The Colors of Madeleine. The tale offers a delightful mix of contemporary and fantasy filled with endearing and unique characters. Split between the Kingdom of Cello and modern day Cambridge the tale began slowly  but I soon found myself captivated as the author transported me into Madeleine and Elliot’s worlds. If I had to describe the book using three words I would say; Magical, Unique and Enchanting. I can already imagine the movie I just need Tim Burton to produce it.

Madeleine lives in “our world” in Cambridge with her mom and on a windy afternoon she spies something white wedged in a broken parking meter. She pulls on it, and twists and digs her fingernail between the cracks of the meter to reveal a note. It says, “Help me, I am being held against my will!” Madeleine finds this funny, after all it’s not as if someone is trapped in the meter! She decides to write back. Elliot lives in Bonfire a farming town in the Kingdom of Cello; a parallel world to ours. There he discovers a note in an old broken TV converted to art near the town square. The tale that unfolds divides its time between both worlds introducing us to two whimsical and lovable characters and the worlds they live in.

Madeleine is such a unique, quirky, and imaginative character.  Madeleine ran away from home and her mother went with her. They left a world of travel, cakes, and iPods and now live in a tiny flat in Cambridge, England and eat way too many beans. She loves to read and finds history fascinating  She is home schooled with two other children; Jack and Bella. A strange group of characters make up their tutors and I the lesson were rather curious. Madeleine dresses in color from her head to her toes and sees the world differently than those around her. She questions everything and I adored her. Elliot’s father disappeared on the night the Purples killed his uncle. He spends a lot of time traveling throughout the kingdom searching for his Dad. He is anxious to set out again to the Lake of Spells to catch a locator spell but family and the town keep him from leaving. Elliot is well liked by both the adults and children of Bonfire and they often look to him to solve problems. I found him loyal, protective, determined and brave. The budding friendship between Madeleine and Elliot began as humorous and developed into something deeper. They both have love interests and confide in each other. The citizens, and princesses of the kingdom added to the tale and their newspaper correspondence was hilarious. The characters were beautifully developed and we see growth throughout this first tale. I enjoyed the secondary characters like Jack who believes in reincarnated and Bella who claims to read auras.

At its core A Corner of White is about friendship and how two people from seemly different worlds can find common ground and issues. The world-building was fascinating, and the Kingdom of Cello felt original and fresh. We get a good sense of how the two worlds divided, and a history of Cello since the separation through the letter exchanges. The works of Isaac Newton, Byron and more influence our characters and aid them. Moriarty gave me a panoramic view of Elliot’s world and the descriptions were vivid from the colors to the game of deftball. She laid out the kingdom for us through Elliot and her descriptive writing helped immerse me into his world. Colors and the role they played in both worlds was fascinating as the author brought them to life. The Butterfly Child was positively wonderful and I loved this Kingdom lore. While I still have questions, the world-building was solid and a foundation has been laid. Madeleine’s world is familiar to us as the author brings the sights, smells and colors to life thorough Madeleine’s creative eye. Her world is more character driven and Elliot’s is more world-building and incredibly the author developed them both. We travel back and forth between Elliot’s and Madeleine’s worlds and for the most part I found the transition to move smoothly. A few times I resented leaving one world as the tale had me captivated, but I quickly became equally absorbed into the other. The interaction between them was hilarious, and as their friendship grew we began to see compassion, understanding and serious conversations. Suspenseful threads, character obstacles and mystery are woven into the tale, making our visits to each world enthralling. The ending closes these threads, and opens a few others. I love that we have a strong sense of where the next tale is taking us and I cannot wait to go.

Fans of fantasy will love A Corner of White with its magical world, and colorful characters. From the parallel worlds to the engaging plot its a place you won't forget with characters who will make you smile. At this time there is no information on the second book but this reader cannot wait.

Four cups of coffee out of five from the Watermelon Inn, Bonfire, The Farms; Kingdom of Cello 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Spellbinding by Maya Gold

by Maya Gold
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Publication date: April 1, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
ARC provided in exchange for unbiased review
*purchase through buy links supports this blog

There's more than one way to be powerful . . . It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva--sixteen and nearly friendless--makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession. Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush--and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there's Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on. A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history--and her heart--before she can face the powerful truth.
I like witchy things especially those related to Salem, Massachusetts and witch trials, so I was excited and intrigued about the premise of Spellbinding.  Gold offered a sweet, well paced tale that I enjoyed but sadly will forget after writing this review.

The tale begins when we meet Abby Silva a sixteen year old suffering from nightmares, who is not part of any group at school; she simply exists. Like most teens, she has a crush on the star jock, hates her hair and longs to fit in.  A school project, a trip to Salem, and strange occurrences lead her to believe she is a witch. The tale that unfolded was an easy, enjoyable read but sadly it was completely predictable and lacked depth.

I started out liking all the characters and we catch glimpses of who they are, but no one was fleshed out leaving me disappointed. Abby is likable, and I felt for her as she dealt with the “mean girls”. Rem was sweet, and mysterious but sadly underdeveloped. Travis had a little more depth but again I was left wanting. The characters fell into typical clichés with predictable behavior and never developed their own unique voice. What frustrated me, was that we caught glimpses of something more from all the characters. There is a love triangle, but not in the traditional sense. Abby has feelings for both boys; one is a crush and one is something new to her. Confused she was insanely immature and at other times sensible. Her behavior to me felt young and maybe that is because she is socially awkward. Her actions were more along the lines of what I would expect from a newly turned thirteen year old.

The world building had potential and ironically I breezed through the tale as it had an easy readability but the premise was cookie cutter in its ideas and the author failed to make them her own. I found myself frustrated and wanted more explanation, back history and depth. Information and history presented themselves as statements and lacked any detail. At times I felt they were simply added to move from point A to B in the plot's development. The villains are vaguely touched upon and never reached their potential. I quickly consumed this and was certainly entertained but I never fully slipped into this world. I honestly think this should be marketed for middle grade readers.

Overall Spellbinding was a cute coming of age tale with a witchy twist geared towards a younger audience. The author has potential and I personally felt everything should have been expanded upon and the characters given their own unique voices. As written it reads more like a MG novel. 

Two cups of decaf out of five
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday # 38

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme
 hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

by Kat Richardson
Series: Greywalker #8
Publisher: Penguin/Roc
Publication date: August 6, 2013
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

When a comatose woman suddenly wakes up and starts painting scenes she’s never witnessed, with a skill she’s never had, medical science has no explanation. As more bizarre phenomena manifest, even her doctors start to wonder if the woman may be possessed. Frustrated and frightened, the patient’s sister reluctantly turns to Greywalker Harper Blaine to discover who—or what—is occupying her sister’s body. As Harper digs into the case of apparent possession, she discovers other patients struck with the same mystifying afflictions and a disturbing connection to one of the most gruesome stories in Washington’s history…
I love the Greywalker series and watching the character growth in Harper as she learns more about her abilities and solves each new case. Every book gets better and better. Eep!  This is an auto-buy for me and I cannot wait! 

Ashes on the Waves
by Mary Lindsey
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: June 27, 2013
Genre: YA Gothic Retelling/Paranormal
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository 

Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever. With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed. Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem Annabel Lee, Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.
Doesn't Ashes on the Waves sound creep-tastic! It's based on Edgar Allan Poe's poem Annabel Lee and I cannot wait to devour this Gothic tale!  

What are you waiting on? 

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