Fairytale Fashions: Mythological Bracelets

Mythological Bracelets

 

 
I have had this post in mind for over a year, but for some reason I’m just getting around to it now. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Alex & Ani since they’ve gotten pretty popular in the last few years. I love their bracelets—they are elegant and simple, which is exactly my style and I love that each one can be very meaningful to the person who wears it.

For this collection, I’ve selected items that remind me of Greek mythology. It’s no secret that I was obsessed with Greek myths when I was younger and I know a lot of you love it too! I have a golden apple charm for The Judgement of Paris, a winged sandal for Hermes, a peacock feather for Hera, and a Star of Venus for Aphrodite.

The peacock feather is probably my favorite of the four, but I know it’ll likely be way too big for my wrist. The apple or the Star of Venus would probably look much better on me. What about you?

Cinders & Sapphires

Cinders & SapphiresTitle: Cinders & Sapphires
Author: Leila Rasheed
Series: At Somerton #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Date: January 22, 2013
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

One house, two worlds...

Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies' maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can't help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.

For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada's beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family's honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name-but it would mean giving up her one true love ... someone she could never persuade her father to accept.

Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting ... at Somerton.


loved Cinders & Sapphires. Last summer I read a book called Manor of Secrets, which I was expecting to be like Downton Abbey but ended up just not being that great. You know what I should’ve read instead? Cinders & Sapphires.

This book has been sitting on my kindle app for a while now and I’m so happy I finally picked it up. It started off a bit on the slower side, but I was quickly swept into Ada’s life, dreams, and ambitions. I was also intrigued by Rose’s circumstances and all of the talents she wasn’t able to make use of as a lady’s maid.

There are so many great characters in this novel. Some of them or lovable, some are really hateful, and others are just complicated. You’ll find a bit of everything in this one—including a wonderful romance.

Now with regards to the romance, I know exactly who I want Ada with. And it’s not necessarily someone who Ada would choose for herself. But suffice it to say that the romance is great and will leave you wanting more!

Cinders & Sapphires has the perfect balance of upstairs/downstairs drama and relationships, romance, politics and peaks into societal life. If you like Downton Abbey you just can’t miss this one!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Fantasy Edition

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

For more books I’m looking forward to, check out the Upcoming page

 

The Siren by Kiera Cass (January 2016 – HarperTeen)

“From Kiera Cass, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series, comes a sweeping stand-alone fantasy romance.

A girl with a secret.
The boy of her dreams.
An Ocean between them.

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.

Falling in love with a human breaks the Ocean’s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.” Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

 

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers (February 2016 – HaperTeen)

“In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.” Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

 

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (February 2016 – HarperTeen)

“Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.” Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

 

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie (March 2016 – HarperTeen)

“Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

BURNING GLASS is debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning tale of dangerous magic, heart-rending romance, and the hard-won courage it takes to let go.” Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

 
I’ve always loved fantasy, but lately it’s been my go-to. All four of these sound fantastic and two are by authors I really like—Kiera Cass & Sophie Jordan. I’m especially excited to see what these ladies have up their sleeves for their new series, particularly Kiera Cass as I’ve only read her Selection series. Assassin’s Heart sounds like it will be filled with revenge and forbidden love, which is very much up my alley and I’m expecting an epic fantasy from Burning Glass.

Which books are you looking forward to?

Blogging 101: Reader Engagement

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Have you ever been mystified as to why some people get a ton of comments on their posts and others don’t? I know I have, and it took me awhile to figure out why that might be. The answer of course is reader engagement. Some blogs have more engaged readers than other blogs. This means that they get more comments and more views. So how do you build up your reader engagement? Comment back and make friends!

Now if you’re confused about the whole making friends thing (which is completely understandable, especially if you’re new), check out my How to Get Involved the Community post. People you interact with on a regular basis will be more likely to check out your posts and comment. Not for selfish reasons, mind you. Simply because they like you and your material, just as you like them and their material.

The other big part of getting a more engaged readership is to reply back to those comments! Don’t even ask me how long it took me to start replying, it’s slightly embarrassing. But you definitely should be!

When I first started out on blogger, their commenting system was crap. It’s still not my favorite. I find the WordPress comment system to be far superior, and I’ve made it better with plugins. I am currently using Comment Reply Notification (and have previously used ReplyMe) to send an email to a specific person letting them know I’ve replied to their comment and what I’ve said. If you’ve left me a comment in the past two years, you’ve seen this in action)! This is way better than hoping people click on that “notify me of follow-up comments” button. I hate that! It notifies me of every single comment left on the post instead of just replies to my particular comment.

Now if you are on Blogger, fear not! You can create something similar. It just won’t be as easy or seamless. I recently installed Disqus on my lifestyle blog, Trendy Edgy Chic. I’m not a huge fan, and they have some compatibility issues to work out, but they do notify people of your replies via email and that is a step up from the Blogger comment system in my opinion. If people don’t know you’re replying, it’s a lot harder to build a relationship with the individual people who are stopping by to say hi and have a conversation with you.

 

Whew! That was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be! Do you have any additional tips for building up your reader engagement? I would definitely love to hear about them if you do. I’ve found that I also get some great advice in the comments from my fellow bloggers, so please do keep them coming :)

 

Want more blogging tips? Check out the list of all my previous blogging posts!

All I Need

All I NeedTitle: All I Need
Author: Susane Colasanti
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Date: May 21, 2013
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.


All I Need was a well-executed novel. It very easily could have felt like insta-love, and in a way I suppose it was, but Susane Colasanti pulled it off perfectly.

Skye and Seth meet on the beach at the end of summer. Skye is in love with love and Seth is not looking for anything serious. But they have this undeniable connection, sparks fly, and then life happens. The two aren’t able to exchange contact information and while they do of course find each other again, we see their separate lives as time goes by.

The book may be very short, but it actually covers several years and that’s why the romance worked for me. I could believe in Skye and Seth because the story took place over such a long period of time. I also love that we get to see them both as individuals and a couple. Most of the time, once the two characters meet — that’s it. Their lives are intertwined and there’s no separating from each other during the course of the novel. Susane Colasanti’s ability to write these two characters’ stories in such a way was unique and I loved it.

All I Need can be devoured pretty quickly, making it perfect for summertime! If you want something you can read in one beach/pool session this it. It was cute and at times emotional. The writing style was unique and worked perfectly to make a short contemporary romance feel natural and slowly developed.

Fairytale Fashions: Fandom Bracelets

Last week when I posted Fairytale Fashions: Harry Potter Necklaces, I mentioned that I’d have a few bracelets to show you this week that I am in love with. Well, here they are!

 

Fandom Bracelets

 

The Harry Potter bracelet on the left is definitely my favorite. It’s something I would 100% wear and it comes in a few colors, but I like the blue one best. Then we have The Hunger Games Bracelet, which I also really like. It’s currently available for $1.70 with free shipping, so I am seriously contemplating ordering two. That way my husband and I can both where them when we go see Mockingay this fall. Think he’ll go for it? :) Maybe I can talk him into it!

What do you think? Will either of these make it into your shopping cart?

Finding Paris

Finding ParisTitle: Finding Paris
Author: Joy Preble
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date: April 21, 2015
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

An evocative and compelling story of two sisters who would do anything for each other—perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. Joy Preble's stirring new novel explores the lengths to which sisters go to protect each other, and the winding road that brings two strangers into each other's lives.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can't trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who's moved them all to Las Vegas. It's just the two of them: Paris, who's always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn't going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.

Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max's offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.


Finding Paris took me by surprise with it’s fast-paced, unputdownable nature. Sure, I was expecting a quick contemporary, but I wasn’t expecting to devour the story the way I did.

Part of the reason I was a little hesitant with this one is that I had read The Sweet Dead Life and it just wasn’t for me. There were qualities I liked about it though, and Finding Paris sounded like it would be much more up my alley, so I decided to give it a shot.

The short chapters and slight mystery involved in Paris’ scavenger hunt had me flying through the book. I wanted to know what happened and I was enjoying the writing style. Overall, it’s definitely a fun summer read, but I was disappointed in how several of the issues were handled.

Paris & Leo’s stepfather is a drunk. Their mother has taken Leo’s money out of her bank account before. Not cool at all. The mom seems to be pretty detached and puts her relationship with a drunk gambler before her children. There are also hints at sexual abuse. All of this kind of gets glossed over in the story. It’s present, it’s discussed briefly, and then we move on.

I wish we had delved into the pain, the turmoil, and got a deeper understanding of what Paris and Leo were going through. Instead these felt more like they were thrown in to move the plot the forward. We need a reason for Paris to want to leave. We need a reason for Leo to be super hardworking and motivated to get out of Vegas. Let’s make it something terrible and then not really discuss it. It’ll be an awesome plot twist.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed Finding Paris. It was a fun, light contempt (which is what I was in the mood for) and I didn’t really want to put it down. My one big gripe is that there were issues here, it could’ve been stronger than it was, and the fact that it wasn’t is disappointing to me.

The Empty Throne

The Empty ThroneTitle: The Empty Throne
Author: Cayla Kluver
Series: Heirs of Chrior #2
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date: January 27, 2015
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

How do you find the strength to save your kingdom when you've lost everything?

Anya has failed in her mission to bring Prince Zabriel back to the Faerie realm of Chrior so that he can ascend his rightful throne. Instead, Zabriel, her prince, cousin and dear friend, is standing trial for crimes committed under the false name William Wolfram Pyrite. Worst of all, the last possible heir to the Faerie throne is Illumina—the cousin Anya suspects of the foulest betrayal possible.

In a desperate last attempt to put things right, Anya must partner with the unlikeliest of allies and venture into ever more dangerous situations if there is to be any hope of peace for her people.


The Empty Throne has tons of action and adventure, but it is also character-driven, so it started off a bit slowly. It had been a while since I read The Queen’s Choice and I had forgotten a few of the details, so I had to get reacquainted with the story at the beginning of the novel.

Once I remembered everything that was going on in the story, it just flew by! Kayla Cluver has created an intricate world, and we still have quite a few mysteries to unravel. I’ve loved getting to know about Chrior and the faerie magic, but I’m just as interested in the family dynamics and mysteries behind the fey experimentation.

There are so many layers to this story. So many different aspects of the plot and relations between the characters. It makes the entire story more complex and a bit harder to get into if you’re reading the books far apart, but I just love it. I love the depth, I love the mystery, and I want more.

Book Blogging 101: How to Get Involved in the Community

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One of the most frequent pieces of blogging advice I hear is “get involved in the community.” If you’re new, you may not know what the hell that means or how to go about it. If you’re looking to join the book blogging community here are four great ways, in no particular order:

Memes

These are weekly features that are hosted on a particular blog. The blog host invites other bloggers to write a similar post and then link up. A few popular ones include Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, Swoon Thursday, and Stacking the Shelves. If you’re following a lot of book blogs, you’ll see these popping up in your feed. Participating and adding your blog to the linky list is a good way to start getting exposure.

Targeted Giveaway Hops

Giveaway hops are a great way to get new followers, but you need to be careful with this. You want the right followers. The people who are actually going to come back and read you’re blog and not just follow you to win something. If you’re focused on YA, look for YA giveaway hops. If you’re focused on romance or erotica, look for giveaway hops featuring romance or erotica.

Another tip: pick some of you’re favorite books or books you’re really excited about to giveaway. Stay away from gift cards. This increases the chances that people who follow your blog for a giveaway will be interested in the types of books you’ll be posting about and they’ll be more likely to turn into long-term subscribers.

Commenting

There are a million blogs out there. Find the ones you like, subscribe to them, and start leaving comments on their posts. This DOES NOT MEAN:

“great post! new follower.”

“Love this list! Check out my Top Ten Tuesday?”

This means you read the content the person posted and you respond to it. You should be following and commenting on blogs you genuinely want to read, so this should be easy! If you’re a frequent commenter, the person may end up checking out your blog and if they like what they see they’ll follow you. There are several blogs I comment on because I love their content! Several of them are following me as well and frequently leave comments on my posts.

It makes sense! We have similar interests, so we end up liking each other’s content and this is part of how you make blogging friends.

Twitter

Twitter is another great place to connect with fellow bloggers and make friends. I’m not awesome on Twitter because it is super time-consuming and I’m running two blogs here! Plus, it’s just not where I end up spending my down time. If Twitter is your thing though, that’s great! Go talk with fellow book lovers and see if you end up making a few friends!

 

Blogging 101 is a weekly feature on About to Read and is posted every Tuesday. Check out the rest of the posts in the Blogging 101 series, if you liked this post!

Silver in the Blood

Silver in the BloodTitle: Silver in the Blood
Author: Jessica Day George
Series: Silver in the Blood #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Date: July 7, 2015
Pages: 358
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

A New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate... or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.


I thought I was going to enjoy Silver in the Blood, but I ended up really, really liking it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was engaging, fast-paced, and exciting. I decided to pick this one up because I flew through Princess of the Midnight Ball and wanted to try out something else by the author.

I was expecting Silver in the Blood to be a lot like The Luxe by Anna Godberson, but with shape shifters. Not the case at all. There are certainly shape shifters, but we see very little of New York or Romanian society. No fancy balls, not too much romance, but tons of political intrigue, back-stabbing, and rebellion.

While the story was 100 fold different from what I thought I’d be getting, I enjoyed it more than I expected to. I attribute that to a strong plot and Jessica Day George’s writing style. She crafts these awesome characters that you can’t help but get attached to and she knows how to keep you turning pages. I was surprised that I found myself not wanting to put this one down.

I was also surprised at the open-ending. I thought this was a stand alone (and it was supposed to be), but this feels like there is more coming. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see! I would have preferred if this was a one and done story, but I will continue reading if more are released.