bout of books

Bout of Books 8.0: Goals

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books is on again! It starts this coming Monday and there’s still plenty of time to sign up.

Here’s a bit of info about the read-a-thon:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books team

This time will be the revenge of the sequels for me – almost every book on the list is a sequel or prequel! I’ll be updating this post each day with my progress.

Make sure you visit the official blog to see all the events that will be going on around the blogs and on Twitter this week!

My Goals

  • Comment on some participating blogs. I say this every time but it’s the most important part of the read-a-thon! Apart from the reading, that is.
  • Spend at least two hours each day reading.

 

Book list

Realistically there’s no way I’m going to get through all of these books, but it’s nice to have a bit of a selection listed so I can see what I feel like next!

 

Updates

19th
Today’s progress: The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon – page 380-480 (end). The Assassin and the Underworld, Sarah J Maas – first 69% (about 70 pages)
Total pages so far: 170
Comments: I didn’t quite get to finish The Bone Season over the weekend so I polished it off today – such an awesome book! I do recommend it to fans of YA dystopia, even though this isn’t being released as a YA book.

I picked up the third and fourth Throne of Glass novellas last week and am so enjoying being back with Celaena, even if it is before all the events of Throne of Glass 🙂

20th
Today’s progress: The Assassin and the Underworld, Sarah J Maas – 69% to end (about 30 pages), The Assassin and the Empire, Sarah J Maas – all (about 94 pages)
Total pages so far: 294
Comments: It was all Throne of Glass novella today! I quite enjoyed The Assassin and the Underworld, but the Assassin and Empire didn’t quite catch my fancy. I’m not sure if it was because I knew it would end tragically before I started, but it just didn’t grab me and I felt a bit like it should have been put onto the end of the previous novella and condensed somewhat.

Not a huge reading day today but hopefully I can make up for it tomorrow!

21st
Today’s progress: Siege and Storm (Grisha #2), Leigh Bardugo – page 1 to 148
Total pages so far: 442
Comments: I was hoping for more opportunities to read today. Sadly, other people filled up my schedule and I really didn’t get much time at all, apart from when my lil boy was going to sleep. I was happy to get stuck into Siege and Storm and back with Alina and Mal. Wow, action from page 1!

22nd
Today’s progress: Siege and Storm (Grisha #2), Leigh Bardugo – page 148 to 259
Total pages so far: 553
Comments: Once again, not a day with a lot of reading opportunities. It doesn’t help that I’ve been spending my spare evenings this week on a secret blogging project… but stay tuned for more about that 😉

23rd
Today’s progress: Siege and Storm (Grisha #2), Leigh Bardugo – page 148 to 381 (end)
Total pages so far: 786
Comments: The end of Siege and Storm was soooo good, I made sure I sat down and read the end of this tonight before going to bed! Great stuff 🙂

24th
Today’s progress: Kinslayer (The Lotus War #2), Jay Kristoff – pages 1 to 92
Total pages so far: 874
Comments: I never have much luck with reading on Saturdays. I’ve barely started Kinslayer though, and I already love it – I’d forgotten how much I love Jay Kristoff’s writing style. I don’t want to take long to read this one, but let’s see how tomorrow pans out.

25th
Today’s progress: Kinslayer (The Lotus War #2), Jay Kristoff – pages 93 to 164
Total pages so far: 945
Comments: I am completely loving Kinslayer! I was so sad that I didn’t get a chance to read it much today, and I would have tonight, but being Sunday I had a raid to go to (yes, I’m still playing Wow). I always read more on work days so it won’t take me much longer 😉

In total, a pretty average week for me in terms of reading volume. I found some lovely new blogs which is why I still love to join in with these events even if I can’t devote a lot of time to reading. I hope everyone had a great week!

Bout of Books 7.0: Goals

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books is on again! It starts this coming Monday and there’s still plenty of time to sign up.

Here’s a bit of info about the read-a-thon:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books team

This will be the fourth BoB I’ve participated in! I’ve really enjoyed it each time, especially all the twitter chat and discovering new blogs to read. I’ll be updating this post each day with my progress.

Make sure you visit the official blog to see all the events that will be going on around the blogs and on Twitter this week!

My Goals

  • Comment on some participating blogs. I say this every time but it’s the most important part of the read-a-thon! Apart from the reading, that is.
  • Read at least one book that has been on my shelf for a while, one review book and one library book.
  • Spend at least two hours each day reading.

Book list

 

Updates

13th
Today’s progress: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – page 1 – 65
Total pages so far: 65
Comments: I had such grand plans for reading tonight, but then the lil boy didn’t want to go to sleep, and when he finally did we had no choice but to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode 😉 Still, between reading on the train and on my lunchbreak, 65 pages isn’t too bad.

Locke Lamora is great so far – such beautiful descriptions of the city (feels a bit Venice-ish) and very exciting early on.

14th
Today’s progress: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – page 65 – 126, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling – pages 300 – 370
Total pages so far: 196
Comments: Of course, the read-a-thon curse has decided to strike early this week. A mixture of busy-ness and feeling unwell has kept my totals low so far 🙁 On the upside, i got to the yule ball part of Goblet of Fire and couldn’t put it down long after my lil boy was asleep 🙂

15th
Today’s progress: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – page 126 – 196
Total pages so far: 266
Comments: The curse continues. Tonight was raid night (yes, I’m still a Wow player), so no reading to be done.

I am quite enjoying Locke Lamora though – I hope one of these days I can devote some time to finishing it! There are quite a lot of devious machinations going on so the pace is a little slower than I expected, but the descriptions, the snarky characters, even the food is amazing in this book. The story jumps back and forward in time which gets confusing from time to time (so to speak).

16th
Today’s progress: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – page 196 – 294, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling – pages 370 – 405
Total pages so far: 399
Comments: After a reasonably good reading session at lunch and on the train, I was determined to get Locke Lamora finished tonight. Once the Sprout was asleep I snuggled up in bed early to read, and promptly fell asleep. Sigh.

17th
Today’s progress: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – page 294 – 371, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling – pages 405 – 480
Total pages so far: 551
Comments: Just your usual Friday today. A bit here, a bit there. 

18th
Today’s progress: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – page 371 – 530 (end), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling – pages 480 – 583
Total pages so far: 813
Comments: Sat in the sunshine today and finished

19th
Today’s progress: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling – pages 583-636 (end)
Total pages so far: 866
Comments: It was a very busy Sunday around here today, but I managed to squeeze in the last few chapters of Goblet of Fire. Wow, what an ending! I’d forgotten how raw it is 🙁

In all, it was a busy week for me and I didn’t get to get stuck into reading as much as I would have liked. 866 is a respectable total though, so I’m happy enough 🙂  I hope you had a good reading week!

 

Bout of Books 6.0: Wrap-up

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

The Bout of Books 6.0 is over! How did you go with your goals?

Once again a big well-done and thanks is due to the organisers of the event, Kelly and Amanda. Sit down and put your feet up, ladies (and read a book?)!

I surprised myself this time around by getting much more time to read than I thought would be possible. I got through five books, plus a novella – a grand total of 1763 pages! My full list of goals and daily updates are over at my goals post, if you’re interested.

I didn’t get much of a chance to twitter this time, but I did visit quite a few new (to me) blogs. I love how many people get right into the read-a-thon spirit! Thanks to everyone who visited and left messages over the last week!

And now, I have a mountain of reviews to get through. Look out for reviews of these books coming very soon!

Books I read

 

Under the Never Sky roarandliv throughevernight
lastdragonslayer graceling The Gathering Dark

So… when’s the next one? 😀

Bout of Books 6.0: Goals

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

The Bout of Books is on again! It starts this coming Monday and there’s still plenty of time to sign up.

Here’s a bit of info about the read-a-thon:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books 6.0 team

This will be the third BoB I’ve participated in and this time, I’m really looking forward to reading some books that have been on my pile for a while. I’ll be updating this post each day with my progress.

Make sure you visit the official blog to see all the events that will be going on around the blogs and on Twitter this week!

My Goals

  • Comment on some participating blogs. I say this every time but it’s the most important part of the read-a-thon! Apart from the reading, that is.
  • Read at least one book that has been on my shelf for a while, one review book and one library book. The list below is just a list – I have no intention of getting through all of them, a few of them are over 600 pages!
  • Spend at least two hours each day reading.

bob6_books

Book list

Add-ins

 

Updates

7th
Today’s progress: Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi – page 60 to 376 (end).
Total pages so far: 316.
Comments: I certainly had trouble putting this book down, so.. I didn’t 🙂 I read for about 4 or 5 hours today, at lunch, on the train and at home after my Sproutling was asleep. Theoretically I cheated slightly by starting this book last night 😉 Awesome stuff!

8th
Today’s progress: Graceling, Kristin Cashore – pages 1 to 201.
Total pages so far: 517
Comments: I had a bit less time for reading today but still managed to fit in 3 hours or so. I was so looking forward to reading Graceling since so many people have recommended it to me, but so far, I’m not loving it. The romance is quite swoony though, and hopefully the action picks up in the second half.

9th
Today’s progress: Graceling, Kristin Cashore – pages 201 to 352 (end). Roar and Liv (Under the Never Sky #0.5) – 64 pages
Total pages so far: 732
Comments: I actually finished Graceling on my way home from work today, so I gave myself a night off. It didn’t work though – I couldn’t stay away from the Under the Never Sky novella and finished the whole thing. I love Roar, Perry and Liv! I’d love to start the second book tomorrow but I think I’ll have to write a review for UtNS first, otherwise I’ll get mixed up!

10th
Today’s progress: The Last Dragonslayer, Jasper Fford – pages 1 to 119
Total pages so far: 843
Comments: Only managed to spend a couple of hours reading in total today. Also, The Last Dragonslayer hasn’t grabbed me – it’s a bit Harry Potter wizarding world, but also rather silly and not always in a good way. Hopefully it’ll pick up soon.

11th
Today’s progress: The Last Dragonslayer, Jasper Fford – pages 120 to 281 (end). Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2), Veronica Rossi pages 1 to 60.
Total pages so far: 1064
Comments: The Last Dragonslayer… just didn’t do it for me. The story did get much more exciting as it went on, the characters were just a little flat. I got stuck straight into TtEN once I was finished – nice to be back with Perry and Aria and Roar 🙂

Getting a little reading burn out, but hopefully reading something I can’t put down will fix that!

12th
Today’s progress: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2), Veronica Rossi pages 61 to 352 (end). The Gathering Dark, Leigh Bardugo 308 pages (end).
Total pages so far: 1663
Comments: Well, I fixed my burnout by getting through the rest of Through the Ever Night, then got stuck into The Gathering Dark so much that I finished the whole book. Fantastic stuff! I didn’t think I’d get much of a chance to read this weekend but it’s been an absolutely stinking hot one here so we’ve been bumming around at home in the air-con and trying not to move much!

13th
Today’s progress: Besieged, Rowena Cory Daniells – pages 1 to 90.
Total pages so far: 1753
Comments: I had a bit of a lighter reading day today but my little boy wouldn’t let me leave the room when he was going to sleep tonight so I got into this book. It’s a little different to read some epic fantasy after such a lot of YA – and quite telling when the first chapter is a bit harsh on my soft sensibilities. Harden up, Ang!

Overall I can’t believe how much I’ve managed to read this week! A true read-a-thon week for me! And now, I need a break!

Five for Friday: Being a Book Blogger Newbie

The Oaken Bookcase has been open for three months now, and what a busy three months it has been! I still consider myself a total newbie in this, but I’ve read so many great books and met some lovely people along the way. I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned by chucking myself in the deep end with book blogging.

Five things I’ve learned as a Book Blogger Newbie

1. Getting snowed under is easier than you think.

When I first started out, I wanted to gather ALL THE BOOKS. I found the free bestseller lists on Amazon and went nuts with downloading free books to my Kindle, and once I worked out how to use Netgalley I requested a load of ARCs from there as well. It only took a couple of weeks before a couple of authors approached me to read and review their books – I was so excited, but when I looked at my growing to-read list, I was pretty daunted. Then I went to the library and it all went downhill from there.

Pretty soon I was feeling overwhelmed with the number of books I had to read by a certain date (for the releases of ARC books), plus the books I had recieved from authors – there was no time to read the books that I had wanted to read back before I started blogging!

I’m still trying to sort through and rationalise my to-read pile. It’s important to realise that there’s a limit to the number of books you can read and review in a certain amount of time. After a while, you get a feel for how many books you can comfortably read in a week. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be organised.

Make lists, use a calendar, stick post-its all over your walls – do whatever you need to do to visualise the books you have for review, when you plan to read them and when you need to post the reviews. It helps to rationalise your workload and help you to feel a little less snowed-under. I’m still working on that.

 

2. Embrace the Social Media

Social media is the best and (arguably) the easiest way to market your blog. There are so many sites now that it can all get overwhelming pretty quickly, so I suggest picking a list of a few that you’re comfortable with and stick with those, at least to start with. Twitter is the best networking tool as you’ll easily find hundreds, if not thousands of bloggers, authors and publishers to follow and interact with. Here are a few others to consider using:

  • Feedburner – make sure your RSS feed is on Feedburner so that people can subscribe and easily keep track of your updates in their feed reader. Feedburner also has some neat tools to help you keep track of your followers and add things to your feed. If all of what I just said was gobbledygook to you, there’s some nice help files there too to explain things.
  • Facebook – Create a Facebook page for your blog! You can also combine this with Networked Blogs or RSSGraffiti (here’s a how-to post) so that your blog post feed is automatically sent to your FB page – then your likers get your updates in their FB timelines.
  • Pinterest – Pin your reviews to a board in Pinterest. I’ve had a bit of traffic from people repinning my reviews into books they’ve read and following through the link to my blog. Not to mention that Pinterest is full of the most beautiful stuff – if you haven’t tried it out, go and have a look, it’s amazing.
  • Forum sites such as Book Blogs – write a post introducing yourself and join the groups that you’re interested in. It’s a great way to meet other bloggers and interact somewhere where you can write more than 140 characters!
  • Goodreads – If you’re not a member of Goodreads, then what are you doing here?!?! (okay, just kidding) There are plenty of groups to join and discussions to be had there, not to mention you can add all your pretty books to your shelves and see just how many are in your to-read pile.
  • Amazon.com/Amazon.co.uk/vendor of your choice – post your reviews. If you’ve updated your blog address in your profile, people who like your reviews might follow through to your blog as well.

There was plenty more information on how to set up these and more social media sites in the mini-challenges for the Bloggiesta that was held back in March.

 

3. Authors don’t bite (usually)

The first time an author retweeted my review on Twitter I was terrified! They’re actually reading my stuff! I hope I didn’t say anything too awful! After following authors on twitter and through their blogs, I’m reminded that their book is their baby and they could be mortally devastated if anything nasty is said about it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be writing critical reviews! Just remember to be respectful and tactful.

I am still pretty shy when it comes to interacting with authors in general, but I’m pretty sure they like to hear feedback so I need to remember to tell them I enjoyed their work more often.

Publishers… now I’m not sure whether they bite or not, but I’m almost ready to work up the courage to request some review copies to find out!

 

4. Community events

I recently participated in the Bout of Books read-a-thon. I saw so many new blogs, spoke to new people on twitter and put new books on my to-read list, and it was great fun! Participating in community events like this increases your exposure and gives you new blogs to follow as well. This also goes for Giveaway hops such as those I Am A Reader, Not A Writer hosts, but they tend to drive a lot of one-time traffic. Hopefully a few hang around to be actual lasting readers.

I keep reminding myself that while these events are great for getting those follower numbers up to look good on Netgalley and (eventually) for wooing publishers, it’s real readers that make writing a blog worthwhile. Getting those is a lot tougher, but adding content and meaningful networking goes a long way towards impressing people enough that they subscribe and read your posts.

 

5. Discovered my own style and reading habits

This whole blog-creating process has not only changed my blogging style (which I hope is improving over time!), but also helped me to find what books I most enjoy reading. Over the last few years I’ve barely read any books that weren’t already on my shelves, and last year I didn’t read much at all while I was at home with my baby son. This year, I’ve rediscovered the Young Adult and Middle Grade age groups and I’ve got to say I’m loving them! The adult books I’ve read recently have been very dark and gritty and not always particularly enjoyable. YA and MG books are free of most of those darker adult themes and in fantasy books, I think that makes for a much more enjoyable read.

I’ve learned a lot more over the last three months than just these five things, but I hope these things will be useful to someone starting out in the blogging world! If you have any more tips for newbies do please leave a comment. Also, if you have any questions please get in touch, I’d be happy to help!

Bout of Books Day 2: Confessions

Bout of Books

Day 2 of the Bout of Books is over (for most of the world, anyway). How are you progressing with your goals? My updates for the last couple of days are on my original goals post.

The challenge for Day 2 is hosted by Nyx Book Reviews. Here are my answers!

Physical book or eBook?

I’ve always loved physical paper books, but eBooks are so convenient – you just can’t beat being able to carry a library around in your handbag. I got my Kindle for Christmas last year and have been steadily filling it up since then. There are so many great free eBooks out there, plus eGalleys of soon to be released books! I will always love borrowing real books from the library or reading from my own shelf, but the eReader definitely wins for convenience.

Paperback or Hardcover?

I prefer paperbacks. They’re cheaper, lighter, smaller and so more portable. Also, more fit in one bookshelf!

Reality or Make-believe?

If you hadn’t noticed, this is a Fantasy and Sci-fi blog. Make-believe all the way!

Adult or Young-Adult?

A bit of both for me! That’s why this blog is for all ages.

Dog ears or Bookmarks?

Bookmarks for sure. I like to keep books looking like new for as long as I can! I can’t stand it when pages are folded.

Breaking the spine or Barely open the book?

Ow ow ow! There’s no way I would purposely break a book. See previous answer 😛

Tea or Coffee?

Both throughout the day. Usually a coffee first thing, but I like to drink tea for the rest of the day at work.

Reading in bed or On the couch?

I prefer reading on the couch but I do read in bed fairly often. It’s just more comfy holding a book up on the couch.

Series or Standalone?

That depends on the book or series. If it’s a book I really love then being part of a series can be bad because you have to get the next book to find out what happens. Then again, a series allows the author to really create a much longer and more intricate story. Tough question!

Original or TV Adaptation?

Some TV or movie adaptations are good, some not so much. I’m really loving the Game of Thrones TV series – even though they’ve been changing the story slightly, the settings and characterisations are so brilliant I haven’t really noticed many differences (apart from the gratuitous sex scenes, of course). On the other hand, the movie of Eragon? Really, really not good. Don’t bother. I loved The Hunger Games movie though!

Defy motion sickness or Audiobooks?

I don’t get motion-sick so books are fine in the car. I did enjoy listening to a couple of audiobooks while travelling though – it means you can still look out the window!

Author crushes or Who-was-that-guy-again?

To be honest, I never really thought much about authors before I started blogging about books… they were just a name on a book cover. We don’t get a lot of authors making appearances in Brisbane so I haven’t got to meet anyone in person, either. Nowadays I interact with many authors on twitter and through other sites and they are much more in the foreground of things!

Interview or Guest post?

Love both! Please, come and post 🙂

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: