Tuesday 30 June 2015

Chin Up, The Crown'll Fall - Disney Princess Tag

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Anna and Elsa - Frozen (2013)

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A book involving siblings

Amanda: Perfectly Ella is the first book that springs to mind for me - lots of sisters and lots of laughs, but also Penryn and Paige from Penryn and the End of Days, and Percy and Tyson from Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus. So much sibling love, beautiful.
Stacie:  I'm going to say You Against Me by , while looking through my list of books I'd read on goodreads to get inspiration, it was one that just jumped out at me because basses around a brother and sister relationship (and other things haha). However I would also say The Vampire Diaries or Forbidden

Rapunzel - Tangled (2010)

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A book that made you emotional

Amanda: So many books I could choose right now, honestly, there's a craaaaaazy amount, but Half Wild is a book I'm still completely not over yet. So many LGBT shippy feels, but most of all, why do that Green? Why my favourite? MY MARCUS.
Stacie: As in recently? I think the only book to make me feel intense amounts of emotion this year would be All The Bright Places (and Heir of Fire) I'm still trying to recover from being punched in the gut by that book.

Saturday 27 June 2015

The Unpopular Opinion Tag | Baa Baa Black Sheep

I'm an avid believer in reading books that other people maybe haven't quite shouted from the rooftops about, and that's all fine and dandy, but because of this, I don't tend to stray too far into hyped up territories. They're heavily guarded by dragons that require pieces of your soul to enter, and the people housed up in these hyped up areas, they're crazy and try drag you into their dangerous depths of looneyville, BUT, I have escaped from these territories and visited rival, smaller, and more calmer villages and farms, so today, with thanks to Charnell for tagging me, I'm going to introduce you to my black pet sheep. Baa..

1. A Popular Book/Series You Didn't Like. At All

The Winner's Curse was always a book I was completely and utterly convinced I wouldn't love, but I never for one moment expected to find it so dry, so boring and so unappealing. Kestrel just - ugh, I really couldn't with that girl, did I read a different book to everyone else? The Immortal Rules really broke my heart when I didn't love it, it was just - meh. Nothing felt as amazing as I had expected, although I do have the sequels; guess who's going to be punishing herself soon.. And don't even get me started on The Infinite Sea, I'm genuinely convinced everybody who loved that book is crazy. WHAT EVEN IS THAT BOOK? Nothing happened. Nothing made sense. It was so damn boring. You can guarantee I'll end up reading The Last Star though. * le sigh*

Thursday 25 June 2015

Revamp and Republish | Old Posts Shouldn't Be Forgotten

Recycling old content is frowned upon when it comes to blogging and it really shouldn't be. Why should we use time and effort putting together content that will probably get lost in our archives if we didn't stay on top of promoting them? It makes no sense, therefore recycling, or at the very least, adding to previously published content is a great way to draw attention to a topic that newer readers may have missed. Here's how.

Add updates to previous posts

You can almost guarantee that when a blog publishes a tutorial and it has an 'updated' section, they've updated the post and republished it as a fresh new piece of content, and guess what? It works. New readers and subscribers who may not have seen that content before get the juicy details other readers have before, as well as keeping your more loyal following in the loop with the newest information. If you're going to be revamping a post with new information, I would advise you make it one that's over 6 months old.

Create a follow-up complimentary post

Written a post about a subject that you could expand on, or a post that you've had a change of heart about? Have you written something that you create a catch-up or update version with new information? Do it. I've done this many times with my Commitment to Series and my Series Relationship posts, recapping the last year and creating new challenges for myself when it comes to series. People like to know what you've been up to and it's always exciting for you to see how you've changed too.

Combine content into an ebook

If you've written a number of posts about a certain subject, or you have a blog series that's buried beneath new content, it's pretty easy to produce an ebook and combine these posts together into one easy to read format. You could make the book available for new subscribers, giving them a quick snap view of the type of content they can come to expect from you, while also getting use out of your older worthy content. You could also sell the book if you fancied making a few quick bucks.

Switch up the format of your post

Got an old post that could be transferred into an infographic for easy sharing across Twitter and Pinterest? Switch it up. Got a post that you could vlog about instead? Switch it up. Got a post or tutorial you could turn into powerpoint slides? Do it. Keep content fresh and looking good is something all bloggers struggle with and strive to be better at - by switching up some older content and making it look brand new can give you a new lease of life, and if all goes well, it might inspire you do it again.

Link up related posts below new content

Those widgets that appear below other peoples posts showing you similar content or posts you should check out. They not only help your bounce rate, but they can direct readers to older content too. Many people recommend using LinkWithin, and personally, I've never had much of a problem with it myself, although I do prefer to link up my own recommended posts similar by categories or type of post, or if it's reviews, by author or genre. Pointing out content that people will love is one of the easiest things to do, and once you've somebody clicking around, chances are, they'll explore your blog further.

Link up content in your sidebar

I tend to focus on sharing the posts readers like most at Nellie and Co. but generally, you can link whatever takes your fancy in your sidebar and people will check it out. Want to get more attention to content you loved, or content that refers to subject that's 'big' in the news lately. Link it up. Want to show off posts your readers loved to draw new readers to? Link it up. Shake things up every now and then so your readers can constantly be impressed and surprised by the content you have, and make sure you have some graphics that help with linking up any content. Visuals gain more attention than simple words, make your content work for you.

Share a round-up of related posts for specific audience

Have a collection of posts that would be perfect for new bloggers? Create on big post and share your links in a giant link-up. Same can be done for any content you have a think would not only be helpful for your readership, but positive for the content in itself. Something similar to my giant monthly link-ups I do with community content can be done easily for your own content. Take two or three times in the year to refer to older content of different subjects, for designers, for bloggers, for reviewers, for authors, for whoever your target audience is. People like things handed to them, give them what they want, and they'll lap it up.

Stop letting your old content get lost in your archives, get creative and find ways to bring them out of the dark depths and into the light of your new readers and across the board of social networks. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, so get thinking, there's bound to be many many more. Do you revamp and recycle your content, and if so, how do you do it?

Monday 22 June 2015

Amanda's Big Announcement - Nellie and Co.

I've been co-blogging here with Stacie now for over 6 months, and wow, does that time seemed to have flown by. It feels like only a few weeks ago we made our beautiful blog public, and now look at us. Loyal following, pretty design, it's all really rather unbelievable.. but I have a confession to make to you all..

I'm leaving Beautiful Bookish Butterflies.

Hold up now. I don't want you to jumping to any conclusions, so sit down, stay calm, and I shall explain.

It may or may not have been noticeable to you all, but Stacie and I have been struggling with a number of things in our lives, and those number of things have, in the past few months, affected how, when and why we blog. I cannot vouch for Stacie, but I know she's had it tough lately, which is why I, as co-blogger, stepped up to the plate and took hold for a while. Something changes when you go from a routine of co-blogging back to solo-blogging, even if it is for a short amount of time. You're ideas are the only ideas being published, your thoughts are the only ones out there, you're content is the content that gives your blog it's brand, and when you're actually meant to be a co-blog, that's not fair.

Friday 19 June 2015

Book Review - Maxon

Author: Christina Bauer
Series: Angelbound #5
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy | New Adult
Release Date: 12th May 2015
Publishers: Ink Monster LLC
Source: Review Copy - Ink Monster LLC
Prince Maxon may be twenty-two years old now, but he's still haunted by his boyhood abduction and torture in Hell. To deal with his past, Maxon limits his present-day activities to killing demons and seducing women. No long-term relationships. No combat too dangerous. No problem, right?


Maxon’s life has stalled out. The old thrills aren't there anymore, either on the battlefield or in the bedroom. While staking out his next fight, Maxon meets what seems like just another girl after a good time. What he gets is a close encounter with Lianna, a lady warrior with ties to the mysterious elemental rulers called the monarkki. It's love at first fight. Trouble is, Lianna's running from a dark history of her own, and her elemental enemies are closing in. When Lianna gets taken, Maxon realizes that after years of wrong choices and dead ends, the right woman is worth risking it all.

Ugh, why wasn't this the amazing sequel and look into Maxon's life I was hoping for? I'm not sure if there was something about my expectations, or my slightly less impressed state with Armageddon, or that there was overall more character and development, plot and action issues, but this was not what I had in mind. Credit where credit is due, this is a really good sequel, and I'm still going to continue reading the instalments that follow, I'll just be sure to lower my expectations this time around.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Google Search Tools | How Find Time Restricted Tutorials

Whenever I'm searched for tutorials, one of the first things I check is the date in which the tutorial was posted. Nobody likes searching for answers only to find that, low and behold, these answers are years old, and you've wasted half an hour looking for something that's hidden amongst fossils. That's because Google finds webpages related to your search based on SEO, not by recent date or when it was published. Did you know that you can narrow your search down to a specified time period? Perfect if you're looking for a tutorial that isn't time friendly. Here's how.

When searching for anything in Google, you have Search Tools..

Search tools can be used to narrow any type of search down to a more specified search. As you can see, the current search results are ordered in terms of best match or most related to the subject you've searched, and that's great, but we want to specify a search time in order to find time restricted blog tutorials.

Click on 'Search Tools' and an extension will appear;

You now have different options to search either by country, which would order the search results in terms of country you specify, and by time, which is the option we're focusing on today.

Click on 'Any time' to be given more options like the following:

This is where Search Tools comes to life. You can now specify any time period you would like to search within. For blog tutorials, I usually use the 'Custom Range' feature which allows you to search within a period of time, for me, that's 6 months, and if that doesn't provide results I want, I search for within a year, in order to keep myself updated as close as possible. In this example, I've chosen 'Last Month'.

Click on a time period to search. Your search results will reorder.

See how the posts have changed now you've searched within a time period? You can still change how the results are shown by choosing by relevance or date, however, I usually stick with relevance. With the internet and everything on it changing by the day, it's sometimes hard to find tutorials that are up to date, recent and actually related to what it is your searching, and this is the best way I've found to locate time restricted articles. The Search Tool's feature can be used for almost anything - it's worth taking a look and seeing it if can benefit you.

Did you know about Google Search Tools and it's features?

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Film Review - Jurassic World

Jurassic World
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Genres: Action, Adventure | Children, Young Adult
Duration: 2hr 4m
Release Date: 11th June 2015
IMDB Rating:
Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond.

After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which ends up, backfiring horribly.

Jurassic World. Wow. Let's just say, from a pretty much Jurassic virgin, I was damn impressed, enthralled, excited and definitely eager to actually sit down and watch the previous instalments in the series properly, rather than just an hour here and there. If you're looking for a film that gets your heart racing, surprises you and entertains you for almost two hours, Jurassic World does it, it's just.. not quite perfect.

Monday 15 June 2015

Hide and Seek My Pretties | Find Me Book Tag

Okay okay, you caught me. I was never ever ever tagged for this tag and damn, I was disappointed about it. I've missed taking beautiful images of my beautiful books and now I'm getting back on my reading bandwagon, I'm back on the 'take photos of all my pretty books' bandwagon too. I just could not resist taking part in it myself. Here's my.. adequate, photography skills.

Friday 12 June 2015

Book Review - The Traitor

The Traitor
Author: Allen Zadoff
Series: Unknown Assassin #3
Genres: Mystery, Thriller | Young Adult
Release Date: 12th June 2015
Publisher: Orchard Books
Source: Review Copy - Orchard Books
The Program has sent Boy Nobody on countless missions, instructed to kill whichever target he was given. But now, after going rogue, he is on his own mission to rescue his friend Howard who was captured by The Program.

Boy Nobody manages to free Howard as well as Tanya, a mysterious girl who was being held with him. Howard and Tanya help Boy Nobody collect information about his father, eventually revealing a dangerous secret that teaches Boy Nobody a valuable lesson..

..he can't trust anyone.

I hate saying goodbye to any series I've had strong feelings for at the best of times, but saying goodbye to Unknown Assassin is definitely up there in 'most saddening au revoirs' ever. I will never forget just how much The Hit blew me away and surprised the heck out of me, and I definitely can't get how awesome The Mission was out of my mind, and yet I feel as though The Traitor just trumped both these previous instalments by a mile. The long year wait was hard, counting down the days was painful, but I'm pleased to say, The Traitor was a roller-coaster ride of adrenaline-fuelled perfection.

Zadoff has this extremely brilliant way of writing that, no matter how long it's been since reading previous novels, you can't help but fall right back into the world of The Program and Zach, into the mind and feelings that a young boy assassin would have, and it's superb. I felt like I'd never been away from this series. After the horrendously unacceptable cliff-hanger in The Mission, I admit to being a little surprised at how easily the tables were turned when it came to addressing that cliff-hanger, but my surprise didn't affect any of my enjoyment whatsoever, it heightened it, which I never thought was possible. I've fallen head over heels for this world of assassins, or danger and action, of explosions, car chases, questionable motives, untrustworthy characters, twists and turns at ever corner, and you'd think I'd come to expect these great things from Zadoff, but alas, he continues to excel, and I'm seriously not complaining.

The characters and hidden motives and aspects of loyalty, friendship, family were all intensely strong in this instalment - not that they weren't already, but seeing just how far Zach has come, from pure detachment in The Hit, to a group of people he would lay down his life for, people he would fight to the very end for, it's really rather wonderful to see the development through his actions, his emotions and his thoughts. It's been a slow development, and a realistic one at that - it would be unusual to see an assassin got from murder to being best buddies, but the pacing and the experience's Zach has been through with both his missions, the program and the friendships he's made along the way, it's helped create a character I couldn't love more.

The banter and humour in this series though, it helps strike the perfect balance within the dark, dangerous, slinky spy work, and the light-hearted angle of friendships and love. Seeing Zach interact once again with Howard was beautiful, really, it made me face, and heart, light up - watching their relationship, their never wavering loyalty, their support for one another, the advice they gave each other, the real sense of brotherly love between them, it was struck wonderfully with the joking scenes they shared, and yet the best banter came from the romance between Zach and Tanya. That girl can put a knife up my back any time - she was strong and willful, wise and intelligent, independent, creative and totally badass - the perfect addition to a fantastic double act, creating, without a doubt, one of my favourite trios to date. Zach and Tanya's banter and jokes, the emotional rollercoaster of doubt, trust, loyalty, lies and hidden agenda's that came between them, and the honest and realistic emotions that bloomed was really rather good. For a man that writes superb mystery novels, Zadoff sure can right a romance I can get behind. I'm impressed.

The Traitor, while really focusing and hammering home the characters, the development, the friendships and the romance, never once forgot about it's speedy styled plot, it's fantastic and amazingly well paced feel, and the variety of scenes, delicate or dark, twisted and horrifying - his simple yet completely immersive writing compliments the quick taste of action and defiance, of deceit and entertainment that this series gives, it's physically impossible for me to fault it. Getting much needed answers to questions that haunted this series though, that was one of the stand-out features behind the The Traitor and boy oh boy did I get what I wanted. Zadoff knocked every twist out of the park each and every time, and just when I thought it couldn't get any more amazing, it did. Taking steps back into the past in order to revisit and close up loose ends, finding out more about important characters just at the right time, being reminded of just how realistic this novel is, and how scarily real the events in this novel could be true, I confess, I almost want them to be.

I'm always in awe of Zadoff, and I'm sure I always will be. The series has been one of the most action-packed, exciting, plot-filled, character driven, intense and completely mesmorising I've ever read. It wowed me, enthralled me, and captured my heart. I'll be sad to see this series end - saying goodbye to characters I've connected so easily with, turning my back on a plot unrivalled in this genre, and to a series that I never expected to fall so madly in love with before, but it's definitely not the end. This is a series I will without a doubt read again some day, and Zadoff is an author I can guarantee I'll be reading more from. Let us pray the wait isn't too long.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Book Review: One Night

One Night
Author: A.J. Pine
Series: Only You #1
Genres: Contemporary | New Adult
Release Date: 21st April 2015
Publisher: Intermix
Source: Review Copy - A.J. Pine
Twenty-one-year-old Jess used to have everything - a loyal best friend, a boyfriend she loved, and a future that was right on track. But in a single night, her whole world changed.

Now, Jess lives for the impersonal connection of drunken hook-ups and to-go coffee cups in the morning. All she needs is one night to pretend everything is fine.. until she meets Adam.

Thanks to a sports injury, gorgeous, charming basketball star Adam Carson is stuck in physical therapy at the hospital where Jess interns - giving her the perfect opportunity to see his sweet, considerate nature and making her realize that maybe she does want something more.

But while Adam might be the best thing that's happened to Jess in a long time, letting him past her carefully constructed walls means letting him know what happened.. and why he'd never want her for more than one night.
The moment I found out Pine had another book set for release, I halted everything I was doing and rushed to find out more about it. That's one of the most wonderful things about having an author that you love, especially when you're almost completely certain that everything they write will please you. One Night, much like If Only and What If, isn't doesn't differ much from other New Adult novels in the genre, but there's something about Pine's characters and writing, I just can't get enough of it. One Night is special, and utterly broke my heart.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Book Review - Mindwalker

Mindwalker (Mindwalker, #1)Mindwalker
Author: A.J. Steiger
Series: Mindwalker #1
Genres: Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 9th June 2015
Source: Review Copy - Knopf Books for Young Readers
At seventeen, Lain Fisher has already aced the Institute's elite training program for Mindwalkers, therapists who use a direct neural link to erase a patient's traumatic memories. A prodigy and the daughter of a renowned scientist-whose unexplained death left her alone in the world-Lain is driven by the need to save others.

When Steven, a troubled classmate, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood experience from his mind, Lain's superiors warn her to stay away. Steven's scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about her society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven's memories, it becomes clear that he's connected to something much bigger…something the Institute doesn't want the world to discover.

Lain never expected to be a rule breaker. She certainly didn't plan on falling in love with a boy she's been forbidden to help. But then, she never expected to stumble into a conspiracy that could ignite a revolution.
So yet again we have book that was available from LoveReading4Kids for request, it is yet again one that I had heard nothing about and was completely unaware of until I got the email through about it. I think it would be safe to say that it was another book requested on a whim, one that I wanted to read purely because its a dystopian and everyone must now by now how much I love my dystopian books. When I first read the summary the first thing that caught my eye was just how unique and original the story sounded, it wasn't one I felt like I had read hundreds of times and instantly my expectations were. Everything about it sounded good but it was one that seemed to be relatively unknown throughout the young adult community, so that itself was enough to make me unsure about reading it. LoveReading4Kids is pretty lethal to me at the moment because I can't seem to stop requesting books that I may be on the fence about reading, however it wasn't for them I wouldn't have known about some great books otherwise and I'm happy to say that Mindwalker was one of them.

Monday 8 June 2015

Amanda's Series Relationship - 2015 Update

Last year, I took inspiration from Nitzan and talked about my series relationship, what series I'd finished, started and planned on finishing, started and was unsure about continuing and series I wanted to started. If I could be so frank, it was a pretty nifty idea that revealed that I, am was a bit of a series un-finish-er. Fast forward over a year and I thought it would be fun (ha! who am I kidding?!) to take a look at the that relationship status now, see whether I have improved, take a look at where I stand with series, and cry over all the new series I intend to read. Essentially, I'm just digging myself into a worse hole I was already in. Fabulous, worthy post then, right? I thought so. So it begins..

Friday 5 June 2015

Stop Using Sexual Assault/Rape As Character Development!

How many times have you read a young adult novel in which the main character, male or female, is trapped in a scenario that involves them fighting somebody off them or away from them sexually? Off the top of your head, you probably can't name any, and yet I am willing to bet that you've read a scene exactly like that. Somebody being pressured into a situation they don't want to be in. Somebody being 'convinced' that what one person wants, they want too. Somebody having to forcibly shout, scream and beg for somebody to stop what they think is acceptable. I've read scenes like these one too many times - it's about time we asked:
Why is sexual assault and rape being used in young adult fiction as 'development'?

Thursday 4 June 2015

Blogger Love: Awesome Posts That Rocked May

One of my favourite things about the blogging community is it's so vast. There's no little group of people doing one thing, there are thousands of people blogging about a thousand different things, and with so many voices in the community, it's very easy to feel lost among the many many voices. Fear not, because I'm all about sharing my love for all things fabulous, and that includes super awesome blog posts I read last month that deserve your attention. Go forth, explore, find fantastic posts and spread love!

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Book Review: Bruja

Author: Aileen Erin
Series: Alpha Girl #4
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 12th May 2015
Publisher: Ink Monster LLC
Source: Review Copy - Ink Monster LLC
Claudia de Santos has always looked out for every witch but herself. She fought from the shadows as her coven turned dark, and with a little help from her half-witch/half-Alpha werewolf cousin, Teresa McCaide, Claudia is doing everything she can to keeper friends and family in the light.

Now the coven has splintered into two factions: Luciana’s army of witches wielding dark magic, and Claudia’s few stragglers who fight with the wolves. War is coming, and it won’t be much of a battle if Claudia can’t find the spells to counteract Luciana’s demonic power. But Luciana strikes before they’re prepared, and Claudia’s twin brother pays the price.

Suddenly, going to Peru in search of ancient Incan magic doesn’t seem so crazy. Fighting evil will require a pure spirit, but her quest is full of temptations, including a handsome Peruvian guide with secrets of his own. Finding love is the last thing on Claudia’s ever-growing to-do list, but sometimes what you need has a way of seeking you out.
The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

Anybody that has been following for any length of time will know that the Alpha Girl series is a series that forever proceeds to steal my heart, ruin me for any other paranormal series, and makes me really really really want my own wolf in my life, (alas, I shall stick to wanting my own cat-sized fluff-ball instead.) Tessa and Dastien's story has always hit a soft spot in my heart, as has the entire plot and collection of characters throughout the series, but Claudia has always been a character I've wanted to explore more, and I could not be happier than Erin not only explored her story, but made Claudia shine.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Book Review - Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road
Genres: Contempoary | Young Adult
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Source: Review Copy - Harlequin Teen
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighbourhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home
When I heard about Nowhere But Here I was excited but also very cautious. Personally speaking I was in a love affair with Katie's writing at the start, but as the series went on I felt like we had become comfortable and I began cheating on it with more exciting, challenging and memorable contemporary books, while always going back for the happy memories we had (much like a marriage haha). I knew I would request Nowhere But Here, I knew at some point I would read it and experience new characters with different situations (hopefully). However what I didn't know was just how much I would end up loving it. When I decided to bite the bullet and just get the book over and done with, I wanted that spark I first felt when I picked up Pushing The Limits and I would be lying if I said I didn't think I would get that with Katie again, I'm so glad to say that I was wrong because from the first chapter my heart was not only fluttery but I was hooked!

Monday 1 June 2015

5 Things I'd Do Differently If I Were Creating My Blog Today

It's only natural that after a specific length of time, bloggers come to look back on their journey, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad experience and consider what they may have done differently now they've already done it, or what you could have and should have changed early on in order to positively benefit yourself, and I am no different.

I'm coming up close to two years blogging, and there's been a lot of upheaval in my life lately, whether that be emotionally or mentally, online or in real life, and it's encouraged me to take a serious look at what I would have done differently with my blogging experiences if I were to start over tomorrow. After much thought, I established that these changes may just benefit others considering starting a blog, so here's 7 things I'd do differently I started a blog today.

Sunday 31 May 2015

Goodbye May - Hello June | Where Is 2015 Going?!

Well, after April's very busy and very exciting month, may as come around and just disappeared before out very eyes. WHERE IS THIS YEAR GOING? It'll be Christmas before you know! Too soon?.. Still, It's been quieter here on the western front, with Amanda holding fort while Stacie dealt with buys life events, so you've been able to relax without the fear of catching up on many, many posts from us when you check in. Here's to a (hopefully), little more exciting month in June!

Friday 29 May 2015

Five Friday Favourites - Incomplete Series

Feature Details and Participation: Five Friday Favourites

I'm pretty much obsessed with series. Anybody that knows me knows this, and it's impossible not to see all about series on Beautiful Bookish Butterflies. I've talked about my relationship with series and marathoning series, my all time favourite series and saying goodbye to series, in fact, over 60% of my reads this year have been a part of series, and I love them so. There's no getting away from series when it comes to me, and I'm one of the few (it seems) readers who just can't stop lapping them up, so of course, I have a few firm favourites that aren't quote complete just yet, and I'm waiting extremely impatiently to finish them, and then attempt to let them go. Here's just five of those special series.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Book Review - A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Genres: Fantasy | New Adult
Release Date: 7th May 2015
Source: Review Copy - Bloomsbury
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin - one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae.

But with an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, Feyre must find a way to stop it..
or doom Tamlin - and his world - forever.
This book and/or review may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due its use of language, sexual content, drug and alcohol abuse and/or violence. Please bare this in mind before reading.

Sometimes, books just don't impress you. No matter your expectations, nor the authors talent, the story itself can just feel, flat, and to me, that is what ACOTAR felt like. Flat. Unimpressive. A little, meh. Don't get me wrong, Maas' talent and writing still sings to me in a way many other authors couldn't even begin to dream of doing, and her talent of crafting stories in a way that always keeps me additively reading is commendable, if not fabulous, and yet ACOTAR felt miles away from any of my few expectations, and that's not a good thing. As featured with Deep Blue and The Rain, ACOTAR will be reviewed in the only way feels right to me..

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Book Review - Steelheart

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Reckoners #1
Genres: Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 26th September 2013
Source: Borrowed
Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics.. nobody but the Reckoners.

A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

By now I think that everyone has heard about or read something by Brandon Sanderson, but I as always came very late to the party. Growing up I've always loved the fantastical worlds more than reality, so I was pretty shocked that I hadn’t heard of him before a few months ago. I first talked about him in Who Wore it Better post, not really knowing who he was or much about his stories but it seemed like after that I noticed him everywhere. I'm not even exaggerating with you, I started watching Booktube finally (late again) and it was like everyone and their next door neighbour was talking about him. So what did I do? I like any other normal person searched high and low for any of his book until I finally I hunted down Steelheart, I prepared myself for what was sure to be an excellent book while still trying to keep my expectations low and I was blown away. He isn't for everyone though, I'm not sure if Amanda would fangirl with me but for me, it was everything I wanted and more.

Monday 25 May 2015

Popular vs Underrated - Contemporary Edition

Roll up roll up, it's time for another edition of 'Amanda creates a new feature and isn't sure how long it'll last, but hey, let's enjoy the moment while it lasts!' I'm kidding, I've got a feeling this might be a re-occuring feature, hence, I made a snazzy banner to highlight just how regular this could be, but that's not what's important, what's important is recommendations, but recommendations of books you probably had no idea actually existed. These are my favourite recommendations; there's nothing better than seeing someone reading a book they heard about from you and really liking it, it's like giving children candy and it making their day, beautifulness.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Book Review - Because You'll Never Meet Me

Because You'll Never Meet Me
Author: Leah Thomas
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 2nd July 2015
Source: Review Copy - Bloomsbury Children's Books
Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine

Everyone who knows me will know just how much I love a good, well written young adult contemporary. I'm always on the look out for the next best thing in the genre ever since getting my first taste of Sarah Dessen and John Green, and once in a while I come across a book that is so different than I expected or I'm left speechless, this everyone is how I felt after I finished Because You'll Never Meet Me. The first time I heard about this book was when I received an email from Lovereading4kids asking if I would like to review it, I skimmed over the summary and thought that I might as well because at the worst way it would just be a quick read. I was wrong, so so wrong. It was a quick read, but I was never prepared for the attachment or emotions I would feel towards the characters.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

4 Ways Your Blog Can Benefit Your Résumé

We all have CV's and résumé's, most of them are more than likely a little out of date, not very exciting and lacking in what could be deemed as interesting information about ourselves. God forbid we actually shared a little something personal about ourselves when applying for a job, employers are much more interested in why we enjoy socialising with friends lazy nights in with our cat, or actively seeking out new and exciting opportunities doing whatever job will hire you until you get bored and find another.

If you run a blog, you're missing out on great résumé content!

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Amanda's Favourite Series of All Time

Hosts - The Broke and the Bookish | Details - Top Ten Tuesday Feature

I love receiving recommendations and seeing what people have liked, it comes with the hobby of reading and reviewing books, it's something we all do already, with reviews and blog features and memes galore, they provide us with an outlet, that lets us say 'this book, you should read it', and we love that we have the ability to do that. But sometimes, people don't like reviews, they can be too detailed, too, inclusive of plot details, they can create an opinion in a reader, without them ever having to read a book, and a lot of the time, reviews are now avoided.

Monday 18 May 2015

You Should Celebrate Milestones - Promotion Party!

When I first started out blogging, I never for one moment considered that I'd have achieved as much as I have. After all, blogging was just a way to kill time, a shout out to the void in the hope that somebody, anybody would care to notice, so to have a reached a point where I can fill both hands with achievements I couldn't be prouder of, that's so much more exciting. I love seeing what other people have accomplished and what people are proud of, and I've never not considered sharing my experiences or how proud I am to be a blogger, but some people fear sharing their achievements, and they're missing out of easy promotion..

Saturday 16 May 2015

Why I Don't Buy and Keep Books I Don't Have To

You're probably sat there thinking to yourself 'that's a very vague title Amanda, care to elaborate there?' Why yes, yes I would, but first, I need to give you a few examples, or else there's a chance I'll lose you. Lets see.. firstly, I read Throne of Glass last year, the only thing was, I didn't own a copy, I borrowed it from the library and so eventually, after reading it, had to return it, which would leave other people in a quandary - buy a copy to add to the 'collection' when I buy the others, or not continue the series physically, consider it on an e-reader of sorts. I, did neither of these, I just continued the series with Crown of Midnight, Assassians Blade and Heir of Fire, obtaining physical copies and just left getting Throne of Glass because, what was the point, I'd already read it? Another example was when I read Dead Girls Detective Agency via my physical copy, but only read the sequel, Dead Girl Walking, via e-arc - I didn't buy a physical copy of the sequel, I actually gave my physical copy of the first installment as a gift to my sister last Christmas since it was in perfect condition. I guess the main point is:

I dislike buying/keeping books that aren't necessary!

Friday 15 May 2015

Book Review - World After

World After
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #2
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Dystopian | Young Adult
Release Date: 21st November 2013
No. Pages: 438
Source: Purchased
When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?
The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

I do believe I feel let down. Angelfall was, without a doubt, one of the best books I read last year - in fact, it was the best book I could have ended 2014 on, there was no other book I would have wanted to finish the year with, it was complete perfection and faultless. No surprise then I purchased this book milliseconds after finishing Angelfall and that my expectations had been sky high since that fateful moment, right? I just feel so cheated and so disappointed by this sequel, and that hurts.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Who Wore It Better - Goddess by Josephine Angelini

Man, it's been a while since we did a Who Wore It Better, and in that time, we've come up with lots of fabulous series to feature, including one of my more well known and enjoyed series, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini. I really loved this series with all it's Greek Mythology and it's romance and secondary characters (basically Hector was my baby and I love him so), so I'm so pleased to be featuring it this week. You can check out my reviews for Starcrossed series, and Nitzan's WWIB featuring Starcrossed.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Where Art Thou Bisexual and Lesbian Relationships?

 photo where my ladies at_zpsx6qqdjev.png

I am bisexual.

Right now, there's a variety of feelings going through you all - some of you didn't even bat an eyelid, some may have tweaked an eyebrow in interest, some may have been surprised, and some will have been shocked and even disgusted, but right now, it's not your reaction that matters to me most, what matters to me most is that I feel there aren't enough LGBT novels out there that covers being bisexual, or lesbian for that matter, and I would say that this distresses me, but it does more than that, it angers me.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Mini Reviews - My Secret Ella Remix

My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend
Author: Eleanor Wood
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: June 4th 2015
Source: Review Copy - Macmillan Children's Books
Geeky girl meets famous boy.. what could go wrong?

Tuesday Cooper is happy being normal -doing her a-levels and indulging in her twin obsessions: buying weird vintage clothes in charity shops and writing her beloved music blog (which nobody ever reads). Her love for music started when she was thirteen and had a massive crush on Jackson Griffith, teen rock god and SUPER HOT LOVE OF HER LIFE. Now Tuesday's eighteen and has moved on to fancying boys in real life and Jackson went off the celebrity radar years ago.

So it can't be him that's messaging her on her blog, can it?
I think the thing that made me want to read this book is the fact that I just kept thinking about what I would do in the situation. When I was around 13 I was completely obsessed and in love with Marilyn Manson (he's gone downhill over the last few years but going back 12 years he was still good) and I had a blog where I would talk about my life and my 'struggles' as a teenager, I was pretty much the original emo, and I would mention him on there a lot because I listened to him all the time. Anyway I was trying to think what I would do and how I would react if I was Tuesdays (granted giving what Marilyn Manson was like I probably wouldn't sneak off to meet him because that would be silly, even at 18) so before I even read it I was already really intrigued with the storyline.

Monday 11 May 2015

Book Review - The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Boys #2
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 19th September 2013
No. Pages: 464
Source: Borrowed
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...
The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

*slow claps* The blogging community did well when recommending me this series. No, I've not fallen in love with the series - well, I have fallen in love, there's something so unlike anything I've ever read before about this series that just produces so many emotions in me, it is one of the strongest series in any number of ways that I've read in a while, but will I ever completely and utterly love it? I'm not so sure. For now, I can settle for being in awe, inspired and completely enthralled in this series, and Dream Thieves especially.

Sunday 10 May 2015

7 Design Resources I Can't Live Without


Designing a blog isn't easy. There's a lot of trial and error, there's a lot of research that goes into getting what you want, and there's a lot of finding the right tools for the job, and trust me, it's a headache if you don't know where to look, who to go to and what to use, so today, I fancied giving you insight into my tools of the trade and how you can get your blog looking slicker, quicker.

Saturday 9 May 2015

Book Review - Day Four

Day FourDay Four
Author: Sarah Lotz
Series: The Three #2
Genres: Horror, Thriller | Adult
Release 21st May 2015
Source: Review Copy - Hodder & Stoughton
Four days into a five day singles cruise on the Gulf of Mexico, the ageing ship Beautiful Dreamer stops dead in the water. With no electricity and no cellular signals, the passengers and crew have no way to call for help. But everyone is certain that rescue teams will come looking for them soon. All they have to do is wait.

That is, until the toilets stop working and the food begins to run out. When the body of a woman is discovered in her cabin the passengers start to panic. There's a murderer on board the Beautiful Dreamer... and maybe something worse.
When it comes to Day Four, I only really heard of it because of The Three, and then when I was given the opportunity to read and review it for LoveReading I was a bit cautious at first. It's been a long time since I last read what is classed as adult, I used to read them more than young adult books when I was a teenager but recently I've only read 1 or 2 over the last 3 years. Anyway I've been looking to get back into adult books lately, and I thought that Day Four would be just the book to help me make the transition (I'm not leaving the young adult community, don't panic haha). When I first read the summary it struck me as a really creepy read, something that would keep me interested and have me hooked. I was looking forward to it, I wont lie, but sadly it wasn't as good as I hoped. Its meant to be a companion to The Three, but you can read it as a standalone. It has mention of some of the characters from the 'first' book but overall I don't think you would be missing much if you read this first.

Friday 8 May 2015

Book Review - Life Unaware

Life Unaware
Author: Cole Gibson
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 28th April 2015
No. Pages: 320
Source: Review Copy - Entangled: Teen
Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's 'plan' for high school success - cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society - until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched..

Especially Regan Flay.

Books are special. They're a mixture of 26 letters, jumbled up into an impossible number of variations, influencing us and our thoughts, our decisions, our emotions, changing our perspectives, our opinions, our attitudes, rearranging our point of view, how we see people and the world, but most of all, when they're good, connect and allow a reader to completely and utterly resonate with the story that's being told. When a book is that good that it takes a hold of your sensitive heart strings, those that feel, sometimes, just a little too close to home, and manages to make the world, in the time you're reading, less scary, and less intense, less, overwhelming, that's when you know you've got more than just a good book - it's perfection. Life Unaware, to me, was nothing short of perfection.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Book Review - Biggest Flirts

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives, #1)Biggest Flirts
Author: Jennifer Echols
Series: Superlatives #1
Genres: Contemporary |  Young Adult
Release Date: May 20th 2014
Source: Purchased
Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laid-back swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn't interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it's no big deal.. until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardise Will's new relationship — and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated..
Even though I don't like to be too negative in a review or start it of with negative thoughts I feel like the first thing I should tell you is how disappointed I was with this book. I think that's because of how much I was looking forward to actually finally starting a books, I know that in the young adult community she is like the go to for contemporary books along with the likes of Stephanie Perkins and Jennifer E. Smith, so I've been dying to try her for a long time, because well I'm a lover of contemporary. I've been drawn to her other stuff but Biggest Flirts just sound like such a great book that I thought it would be the first of many books I would read by Jennifer, and though I will read her other work before making my mind up completely about her writing, this book just didn't work for me at all.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Book Review - Killer Instinct

The Naturals
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals #2
Genres: Mystery, Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 6th November 2014
Publishers: Quercus
No. Pages: 352
Source: Gifted
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father - a man he'd do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer's psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?
The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

You know what makes reading books that don't quite hit the spot bearable? What makes those unimpressive, slightly uninteresting, or pleasant books worth reading through? There's a feeling that comes with anything you realise is perfect for you; the perfect clothes, the perfect shoes, the perfect bed, the perfect film, the perfect day out, there's something about the entire scenario that just feels complete, that just feels, beautiful and calming, like a trustworthy friend, like a blanket that's so comfortable, so snuggly, so warm and wonderful, there's nothing more made for you. That feeling, that is the feeling I have towards The Naturals, and each of it's instalments, Killer Instinct included.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Book Review - Love, Lucas

Love, Lucas
Author: Chantele Sedgwick
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: May 5th 2015
No. Pages: 208
Source: Review Copy - Sky Pony Press
When Oakley Nelson loses her brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she'll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend the summer in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn't sure that a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they're settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her - from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

When it comes to the summary of Love, Lucas, I like many other I'm sure, were completely and utterly in love with the premise of how good this book could be. Just going on the fact that its a story about a young girl who has 1) lost her brother to cancer and 2) is left with a notebook that he wrote in while in hospital, is enough to interest you right? Well it was for me. When I saw this on Edelweiss for direct download I would be lying if I told you that my original intentions of downloading it were pure, they weren't. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to review some books for Edelweiss, thus boosting my feedback rating (I know I isn't the same as Netgalley, but there must be something keeping score). That might be my reasons for wanting to download it, however after I read the summary I was just thankfully that would I expected to be a heart wrenching book was available without the hassle of requesting. I wouldn't say I had any expectations as such before I started reading Love, Lucas, but sadly I was hoping for more.