Get Access To A Library Of Free Resources + Tools For Book Bloggers!

{Review} Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

glassswordTitle: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Pub date: February 9th 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Rating: 5 stars

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

My Thoughts (5 stars)

How long has it been since I’ve posted a book review? 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks…um, it’s been a very long time. Anyways, I’m finally pulling myself out of my reading slump, and it’s all because of Glass Sword, the sequel to Red Queen.

If you’ve been reading Bookish Serendipity for a while, you probably remember all my raving about Red Queen earlier last year. Red Queen was one of my favorite books of 2015, and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to read Glass Sword, especially after the wicked cliffhanger that Red Queen ended with. Seriously, how can you just end a book like that?

*ahem*

So yep, Glass Sword was really high on the to-read list for me. I ended up taking a while to read it because of a) school, b) my reading slump and c) CNN (American politics are interesting, y’all). But I finally finished reading it last weekend and I need to talk all about it with you + share why you should definitely get your hands on this series right away.

“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”

– Glass Sword

What I love about Victoria Aveyard’s writing is that it is so immersive and gripping. She has a background as screenwriter, and it definitely comes across in this series. Her writing is punchy and gets the point across, the story is gripping, and the plotline never meanders. I can totally see Red Queen and Glass Sword as movies (which is good, because RQ was optioned for film!) I was just getting out of a reading slump, so I really appreciated the fast-paced plot and constant action. 

Red Queen, the first book in this series, is about Mare discovering her secret abilities, mastering them, and finally getting betrayed by people she trusts. I was really interested to see where the author would take Mare in the second book, and how her newfound abilities would impact the story. Glass Sword is much more of the “quest” book of the series. Mare sets out to find and recruit other people like her, Reds with Silver abilities–people that shouldn’t even exist. Along the way, we get to meet so many new characters and learn new, dangerous secrets about characters from Red Queen. Relationships get tested, loyalties are challenged and essentially, a lot of “Boom!” and doom happens.

Among the tested relationships is the budding romance between Mare and Cal, the former heir to the throne. I’ll be honest, I had mixed feelings about their romance throughout this book. Firstly, not much happens. They fight a bit, kiss a bit, but really weren’t that better or worse off than before, which frustrated me because Mare grows so much throughout this book. Shouldn’t their relationship evolve a bit too?

“Fire and lightning raised Maven up, and fire and lightning will bring him down.”

-Glass Sword

That said, I still thought that Mare and Cal were a pretty cute couple (although is it bad that I’m still not over shipping Mare and Maven?)

Oh, and can we talk about my feelings as I got closer to the end? I KNEW that there was going to be some sort of insane cliffhanger, but as I was nearing the end of the book, there was nothing and I started to get hopeful. Like maybe everyone won’t die and Cal and Mare can just live happily ever after? Maybe? And then BOOM, it happened. So long, emotions.

I was worried that Glass Sword would suffer from second book syndrome. After all, I loved Red Queen and I figured it would be difficult to write another book that would capture my heart, grip me, and stomp all over my feelings again. Boy, was I wrong. Glass Sword was just as good as Red Queen, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book (I’m already guessing the possible titles. Silver Throne? Midnight Crown? Silver Crown? So. many. options.)

If you haven’t already checked out Red Queen, I have just two things to say to you:

  • This book is seriously amazing.
  • Stop what you’re doing and go buy yourself a copy of Red Queen and/ or Glass Sword.
  • No, really, you can buy yourself a copy on Amazon of Red Queen or Glass Sword by clicking here.

What’s the best fantasy book that you’ve read lately?

How To Move Your Blog To WordPress Self-Hosted For Only $24

wordpress

Hi guys!

I have something pretty exciting for you today. One of my favourite WordPress hosting companies, IPage (I use them to host this blog) is running a brief sale right now, and you can get hosting  for only $1.99 a month (that’s insanely cheap). I know that some of you are wanting to move to WordPress self-hosted, so I’m going to walk you through how to set up your blog in less than 20 minutes using IPage.

If you’re not sure why you should move to WordPress self-hosted, here are some reasons:

Why WordPress self-hosted rocks:

  • You own your content. Did you know that if you’re on a free platform like Blogger or WordPress.com, your content and entire blog can be deleted at any time without prior notice? It’s happened a friend of mine, and is awful. Most of the time, it is because of some infraction that the rules state you can’t use advertising (which includes blog tours/ blog blitzes) on your site. Yikes.
  • WordPress self-hosted allows you to design your blog to be exactly how you want it to look. You have access to all the code, or you can even buy (or one for free!) a website design that you love.
  • Plugins are amazing, and WordPress supports them. There’s a plugin for practically everything out there, and they can seriously help you take your blog to the next level.
  • Often, having your own domain name is perceived as more professional, and can make you stand out,

Now let’s get you started (in less than 20 minutes!)

Click here to get started with IPage ]


 1. Select The Plan

ipage

Firstly, go to the Ipage website (here). When you get there, you’ll immediately see a large image that describes their deal. You can glance over the offer, which includes:

  • a free domain (I bought mine separately for about $12)
  • a free email address (that’s what I used to create my “contact@bookishserendipity.com” email address. You can also set this email address to redirect to your personal address, which is what I do.)
  • over $500 in extras included (seriously, take advantage of these.)
  • free security suite

Once you’re on this page, click the bright orange “Sign Up Now” button and you’ll be taken to a page that looks like this one below…

2. Select your domain

typedomainFrom here, you’ll enter what you want your domain name to be. The domain is just the actual name of the site (not including the www. or .com) So if you want site to be http://www.totallylegitbookblog.com, you would enter totallylegitbookblog here.

domain

Once you’ve done that, you can click “Search” and it will show you whether or not your domain name is taken yet. In the above example, you can see that totallylegitbookblog is available, and that I selected the .com ending. Typically, you’ll want to stick with .com or .net here. Once you’re done, you can click on “Checkout” and you’ll be taken to the next page.

3. Checkout check

On the next page, you can view and confirm the details of your plan. It should look like the above. If you want to buy hosting for longer than a year ahead, you can adjust that as well.

I’m not going to include screenshots here, but over the next few pages you will be able to confirm all of the information you’ve already entered and enter your billing information. Once you’ve done that, you will receive an order confirmation email with further details + instructions.

4. Go to your IPage control panel

cp

In the confirmation email, you should receive details about your order as well as instructions on how to log in to your control panel. Click the link included in your email, and sign in to your account. From there, you should be taken a page that looks like the photo above.

5. Install WordPress

wp

What you’ve purchased so far is the hosting for your blog. It is what stores your website and all of its contents. To actually get your WordPress site up and running, you need to now install WordPress on your hosting plan. You can do this by scrolling down your control panel until you see the WordPress icon. Click on it, and you’ll be taken to a page that looks like the above.

Click the orange “Install” button to get started with WordPress. On the next few pages you will be able to:

  1. Select the domain you want to use (this is the one you picked during checkout!)
  2. Fill in information about your site (Ex. site title)
  3. Pick your WordPress admin username and password
  4. Click “Install” to get your site set up!

6. Go to your WordPress admin dashboard

wop

You can access your WordPress admin dashboard either through IPage (longer way) or you can just go to http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin. You’ll then be able to enter the admin username and password you chose in the last step, and login.

Once you’re in, you should arrive here at your WordPress dashboard! This is what the behind-the-scenes of your WordPress site looks like. Just check out the “Getting Started” section on your dashboard for some ideas of what you can do first.

7. Upload your old blog content (WordPress.com edition)

import

If you previously had your blog on WordPress.com, you will be able to quickly upload your old site file. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to your old WordPress.com site and in the dashboard sidebar, go to Tools > Export. You will then be able to download a file with all of your blog content (remember to select “All Content”). Save this file to your computer.
  2. Go to your new WordPress dashboard (remember http://www.yourbloghere.com/wp-admin/) and in your dashboard sidebar, go to Tools > Import. Here, you will be able to upload your old site file.
  3. Your old site file will upload, and all of your old content will be on your WordPress self-hosted site!

7. Upload your old blog content (Blogger edition)

import

If you previously had your blog on Blogger (or Blogspot), you will be able to quickly move all your old content to your new WordPress site. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to your blogger dashboard. Under Settings > Other, you will see a button where you will be able to export your blog. Click “Export Blog” and save the file to your computer.
  2. Go to your new WordPress dashboard (remember http://www.yourbloghere.com/wp-admin/) and in your dashboard sidebar, go to Tools > Import.
  3. You will arrive on a page that looks like the one above. Click the “Blogger” option.
  4. A pop-up will appear prompting you to install the Blogger Importer. Install it.
  5. Click “Activate plugin and run importer.”
  6. You will arrive at a page that will let you import your old Blogger site. Upload the site file you downloaded from your Blogger site (in step 1) and you’re ready to go!

 

Congratulations! You’ve set up your WordPress blog.

WordPress has seriously limitless options for you to be able to customize your new site. Once you’ve got all your WordPress files imported from your old site, you will be able to add new posts, customize your blog design, and more. Seriously, it’s amazing.

 [ Get started with IPage today ]

21 Epic Resources For Book Bloggers

21-epic-resources-for-book-bloggers

I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years now (since 2013–wow!) and over that time, I’ve discovered and used plenty of resources and tools to help me blog. Some have been okay. Some have been downright terrible. A select few have been seriously great, and those are the resources that I’m going to be sharing with you today.

When I started out blogging, I thought I had to do it all myself. I had no idea that there were so many epic, helpful tools and resources out there. Since then, I’ve weeded through hundreds of them to create a list of my go-to resources and tools to make your blog even more amazing. I wasn’t sure if I should share this with you or not, but I’ve seen so many tweets and comments from book bloggers who don’t know where to find great blogging resources, so I’ve decided to post this list for you to look through and use as a guide.

I’m covering all aspects of book blogging, so this list will be long! You can search through the headings to get to a section that you’re interested in, or you can read through the entire list.

Web Hosting

asmallor

A Small Orange – A Small Orange is the web host for my other blog, Fierce Blogging, and I seriously love them!  They have plans starting at only $2.95/ month (that’s only $35 for an entire year–basically the cost of two books). If you’re looking to move your site to WordPress self-hosted soon, you definitely want to check them out. They also have amazing customer service (like, I can send them a question and get a helpful reply in 5 minutes). If you want to learn how to set your site up with A Small Orange, you can read my step-by-step tutorial here.

Bluehost – Bluehost is another great web host! They also come highly recommended in the blogosphere. If you’re worried about the technical aspect of setting up a blog, Bluehost has 1-click WordPress install, so you can get your site up and running in just a few minutes. Their plans are also incredibly reasonably priced.

IPage- IPage is my current web host for Bookish Serendipity. Their interface is easy to navigate, and I’ve never encountered any problems with them (plus, the customer service is very prompt). They also have a great deal running right now– just $1.99/ month to host your blog, which is pretty great!

PS. If you want to move your blog to WordPress self-hosted, I’m here to help! Just shoot me an email or DM and I can answer any questions or even walk you through the entire process.

Graphics & Design

cm

Creative Market– Creative Market is a great place for finding cool design elements and everything from blog designs to fonts to illustrations to photos and more. Every month, they also offer a giant bundle of amazing design things (valued over $1000) for just $39. Their latest, March Big Bundle , is available for the next 15 hours only, so hop over there and check it out right away!

Unsplash – Unsplash is one of my favourite places to go for free stock photos. I create a graphic to go along with each of my blog posts, and Unsplash is often the place I find the pictures.

Kaboompics – Kaboompics is my latest stock photography obsession. While Unsplash tends to have more nature-y pictures, Kaboompics has a really great variety of free photos available. I just found out about this site a couple of weeks ago, but I’m a little bit obsessed!

Canva – Why did it take me this long to find out about Canva? It’s my new go-to tool for creating and editing blog graphics. Plus, it’s free!

Blog Design

tweakme

Tweak Me theme – If you haven’t already heard of the Tweak Me theme, you need to check it out. The Tweak Me theme is very popular in the book blogosphere, and offers so many options to customize it (no coding knowledge needed!) It’s easy to customize it to be exactly how you want it to be, and offers lifetime support.

Nose Graze – Need a fun, unique WordPress theme for your book blog? The Nose Graze store has got your back. I bought my very first WordPress theme from Nose Graze, and the store has so many great other themes for bloggers (it’s also run by Ashley, a book blogger and WordPress guru)!

Bluchic – Bluchic is where I purchased the WordPress theme that I’m currently using for my other website. I use the Jacqueline Theme, and I love it! Bluchic has a great selection of stunning feminine WordPress themes, so if you’re looking for a pretty, versatile design you definitely want to check it out.

Promotion

vistaprint

Buffer– Scheduling some of my social media content (like tweeting out links to blog posts, etc) has been so helpful, and Buffer handles that all for you. I often use Hootsuite for this, but I’ve recently set up a Buffer account and I’ve fallen in love! Seriously, if you want to schedule some of your social media content, check this out.

Vistaprint–  Vistaprint is a printing service that allows you to design, upload and have your own business cards printed (I used them to create mine). If you frequently attend book events or send off giveaway prizes, you might want to invest in some excellent business cards for your blog!

Mailchimp – Mailchimp is what I used to set up my blog newsletter and to send blog posts to subscribers. It’s free up to 2000 subscribers, and is incredibly easy to set up and use. You can read my post about using Mailchimp here.

Staying Organized

evernote

Evernote – Oh my gosh, Evernote is such a lifesaver. It’s a (free) online tool that allows you to create notes, set reminders for yourself, organize your ideas, and more. It also syncs your content across all devices, which is so helpful. I just started using it earlier this, but it has been so valuable so far. I can start drafting a blog post on the bus and hop on the computer when I get home to finish it up, and have my work already ready on the desktop.

The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin This plugin is seriously THE best plugin for book bloggers out there. According to the description, it automatically updates your review archive for you, grabs book descriptions directly from Goodreads, saves you so much time formatting your reviews, adds a Currently Reading widget to your sidebar, and so much more! Seriously, go check this out.

The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook  Okay, shameless self plug alert! I created The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook to help you get organized and create a vision for your book blog, and it is coming out April 19th 2016! Keep an eye out for updates about this.

Books About Blogging

blogincI highly recommend that you check out at least one of these book below. They’re really helpful for bloggers, and are absolutely packed with good advice.

Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community– Okay, if you are going to buy just one book about blogging, make it this one. Blog Inc is my go-to guide when it comes to creating and running both my book blog and my other site, and it packed with seriously valuable information. Plus, it’s only $9.52 right now, so get on it!

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Create Ridiculously Good Content This is a book specifically about creating even better, more useful blog content. If you feel like your blog posts are missing something that makes them stand out, check out this book.

How to Start a Blog that People Will Read- The title for this book is actually much longer, but I think that this part sums it up pretty well! This book is definitely more for bloggers who’ve already been blogging for a while (think 1+ years), but it a really great resource. 

#Girlboss – This book isn’t specifically for bloggers, but boy is it inspiring!

Blog Boss: The Practical Guide to Getting Down with Blogging- Blog Boss is a great book for newer bloggers (think 1- year of blogging) who want to learn how to get their blogs noticed and grow their sites. 

Here’s my challenge to you:

There are so many amazing resources out there that you can use to grow your book blog and streamline the process. I want you to pick two of the resources listed above (maybe one paid and one free!) and get started using them to make your book blog even better. You’ll be surprised how much it helps and improves your blogging process!

What are your favourite blogging tools and resources?

50 Blog Post Ideas To Renew Your Creative Juices

50blogpostideas

At some point during your blogging career, there will come a time when you will simply run out of ideas to blog about. It happens to everyone at some point, and it has definitely happened to me in the past.

There are many things you can do to try to find inspiration again, and I’ve talked about many of these methods before. Normally, I would recommend going through your archives and seeing there are any old posts you can update or redo. You can also see what important events are currently going on, or write about your opinion on a topic.

However, sometimes the brainstorming techniques that usually rock your socks just don’t work. You may be in a blogging rut. I’ve compiled a list of ideas specifically for this occasion. Feel free to use any of these ideas for your own blog, and give suggestions for topics that could be added.

  1. How has blogging changed your life?
  2. Do a blog tag
  3. Why did you start your blog?
  4. Share your thoughts on a recent event.
  5. Share your favorite quotes
  6. Highlight some of your favorite blogs
  7. What are your blogging goals?
  8. Talk about what is on your bucket list
  9. Run a giveaway
  10. Do Mythbusters: Blogging Edition
  11. Host a link-up.
  12. Talk about your blogging process
  13. Create a moodboard for your blog
  14. Talk about what you learned from a blogging milestone.
  15. Do a 30 day challenge
  16. Make a playlist
  17. Create a checklist
  18. Share a personal story
  19. Share some tips for new bloggers
  20. How to create graphics for your posts?
  21. Revamp an old blog post
  22. Talk about the books on your TBR
  23. Create an infographic
  24. Talk about your failures/ successes
  25. Share some unknown facts about yourself
  26. Create a cheat-sheet
  27. Highlight posts by other bloggers
  28. Run a survey
  29. Do a case study
  30. What made you a reader?
  31. Join a meme
  32. Ask a question
  33. Talk about the pros and cons of doing something
  34. Do a blogging glossary
  35. Where do you host your blog?
  36. Do an open letter to someone, or something.
  37. Do a collab post with another blogger
  38. Create a comic
  39. List your favorite blog posts
  40. What is the future of blogging?
  41. Blogging mistakes to avoid
  42. Give advice
  43. Do an FAQ post
  44. What blogging resources could you not live without?
  45. Write a news story
  46. Recap an event
  47. Announce something
  48. Compare products.
  49. Make a vlog
  50. Invite someone to guest post

If you’re struggling to come up with blog post ideas, I hope that this list helps you out!

What do you do when you’re struggling to come up with blog ideas?

{Announcement} The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook (+ Snag Your Free Gift!)

hugeannouncement

Remember last Friday when I mentioned that I had a pretty big surprise coming on Tuesday? Yep, today is the day! I finally get to reveal something I’ve been working on for quite a few months now.

Do you want to find out what it is?

Yes?

How about now?

Okay, fine. I’ll spill.

fearlessI created a physical book blogger workbook + it’s coming out soon.

I’ve gotten numerous tweets, comments, and emails from book bloggers who want to get organized and grow their blogs. I already offer a free book blogger planner (you can snag it if you subscribe via email) and it has been such a massive success that I decided to expand the project into something even greater and more useful for you.

At first, I thought about creating a guide for book bloggers, but there is so many different types of book bloggers out there and there’s no way a guide would work for everyone in the niche. Everyone has different goals and wants to get different things out of book blogging.  I don’t want to tell you how to run your book blog; I want to help you explore book blogging and figure out how you achieve your OWN goals.

The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook comes out April 19th 2016. It’s a 180- page workbook to help book bloggers grow their blogs and get organized, and is packed with worksheets, checklists, questionnaires, and an extended monthly blog planner. I’ve been working on this for several months now and seriously, if you want to rock your book blog, this is a must have.

And yes, it is going to be a real, physical workbook you can use and keep!

Here’s what we cover:start

  • Setting goals for your book blog
  • Writing killer content your readers will love
  • Tracking your reading progress
  • Creating a stunning, functional blog design.
  • Staying organized and getting the most out of your blogging time.

Want more info?

Are you ready to rock your book blog?

The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook is a the ultimate resource for book bloggers. Packed with worksheets, checklists, calendars, and a bonus blog planner, The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook is the perfect tool to help you grow your book blog, find clarity, and stay organized.

The workbook is divided into 6 purposeful sections to help you create a vision for your book blog, stay on top of your reading schedule, make your book blog stand out, and write amazing content your readers will love. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran blogger, The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook is sure to help you stay organized and excited about your book blog.

Let’s take your book blog to new heights.

Oh, and I’ve got a little gift for you!

fearlessbookbloggeroptinfreebie

I’m so excited about this launch so I created  a surprise bonus gift for you. Sign up below to get notified of when the workbook is available for pre-order and snag your free bonus freebie. My VIP tribe (sign up below!) also gets access to epic deals, bonus content, and more. Every week leading up to the launch, my VIP tribe gets a brand new freebie to help you build your blog sent directly to their inbox. Want in? Just sign up below!

I’m so thrilled to finally get to share this with you! Tell me, what is your biggest blogging struggle right now?

1 2 3 4 5 6 93

%d bloggers like this: