Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. […]
On the eve of battle, Bower will have to fulfill a mystical prophecy and become the leader he was born to be, or risk his future kingdom falling apart. Surrounded on all sides by deadly foes, he must face not only the evil king, but his deep doubts about himself.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Upon Dragon's Breath #2
Author: Ava Richardson
Publication Date: December 30, 2016
Publisher: Relay Publishing Ltd.
Page Count: 214
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist: Joemel Requeza
My Rating: ★★★
This synopsis may contain spoilers!
Bower, being the rightful heir to the throne, is the bridge between the world of dragons and men. After a slim escape from King Enric, Bower has taken up residence with Saffron among her clutch of dragons. In the time he is there, it is the dragons’ duty to teach him about magic, and what it means to be a king to both humans and dragons. Not understanding much of magic herself, Saffron decides to take Bower to visit the old Hermit. Upon arriving, they find the Hermit mortally wounded, and discover that the king knows the two of them are on the island as they were his attackers. The Hermit instructs them to find the Three-Rivers clans before he succumbs to his injuries.
”Find what I’ve hidden for you, my king. Take back what is yours by right. Get to the clans. Stop Enric. Trust each other.”
Bower and Saffron meet with the dragons to discuss what they are to do about King Enric. Bower, being the rightful heir, must show his worth to the dragons before they are willing to back him up. In order to gain their trust, the dragons send him on a quest to make friends between the dragons and island people–which is not a simple task. There has been a long-spanning dispute between the two races.. The local shaman speaks of messengers from the king arriving on the island, looking for the two of them, then reveals that she plotted to lure them out so they could be captured. Before Bower is able to enlist the people in a peace treaty with the dragons, the islanders are forced to take refuge in Den Mountain with the dragons from a raid the king planned with the shaman.
Bower helps to lead the dragon swarm in a fight against the king’s boats. Defeating them, Bower instructs the villagers and dragons that they need to find a different place to live, now that the king knows where the dragons were residing. He and Saffron then leave the island astride Jaydra, to seek out the Three-Rivers clan of dragon riders. On the way, Saffron uses the opportunity to help Bower develop his riding skills, along with her abilities with magic.
The group finds the Three-Rivers clan, but they aren’t who they imagined. They do not live in harmony with their dragons, and treat them as wild animals. When their leader Ryland learned that Bower is the rightful king of Torvald, he challenged Bower to mount one of their black dragons to prove his dominance. Bower realizes that the dragons are nocturnal, and frees one, trying to make the wild creature realize he’s not trying to hurt it. The dragon, out of anger, knocks Ryland from his dragon and the two dragons escape. Out of fear, Saffron uses her magic to keep Bower safe from the feral dragon, and ends up injuring some and scaring the dragons off.
The town is raided by the Iron Guard. Saffron discovers that Ryland doesn’t have any other dragons as they are all feral and unrideable. Saffron, Bower, and Jaydra do what they can to hold the Iron Guard back, but when the king’s magic stops them and tries to call Saffron back to him. In desperate need of aid, Bower sends out a call to all dragons. The brood from Den Mountain, along with dragons from several other surrounding locations hear him, and come to help. As Saffron fights the king with magic, Bower focuses on guiding the dragon warriors.
Exhausted after the magic battle with the Iron Guard, Bower and Saffron are held and watched by the Three Rivers Clan. The red dragons that came to Bower’s aid confronted them, but were unable to share their thoughts with humans. Ysix and the rest of Jaydra’s brood arrive and show both the red dragons and the Three Rivers clan that dragons and humans have an ancient bond, and acknowledge Bower as the rightful king. Ysix is able to help repair relations between the humans and some of the black dragons. On the same side, the dragons choose their riders, and they learn how to work together through training.
One evening, Saffron is acting strange and turns in early. Bower, worried about her strange reactions, goes to check on her. He finds her in a nightmarish state, and is dragged into the depths of her dream, where Enric infiltrates her mind and tries to persuade Saffron again to join him. She is able to break from his grasps with the help of Jaydra, but now the king knows their location.
A massive battle ensues between the dragons and the king’s Iron Guard. King Enric tries to force Saffron to come to him. In her anger, she recklessly uses her magic and creates a massive storm. With the distraction of the storm, and the valiant sacrifice by Ryland, they are able to escape the king’s clutches.
1) Dragons of Wild: ★★★½
Initially, I was slow to get back into this series, and remembering all of the details. I let far too much time pass from when I read Dragons of Wild, which is a shame. What I found when I jumped back into this world, however, was how much I appreciated this series. It’s clean, it has straight-forward intentions, the characters are wholesome, and it is a refreshing deviation from the typical YA fantasy read.
Dragons of Kings is set in the surrounding lands of Torvald. While there is detail given of the land, it is not in depth, and somewhat difficult to follow where the characters actually are. More of the world building comes into play when the reader is introduced to the Three-Rivers Clan, and see some of their perspectives, especially towards dragons.
Pacing & Readability
The pacing is moderate but remains consistent throughout the entire book. While this book is easy to read, I had a difficult time staying engaged with it as not a lot happened. The distance between “point A” to “point B” could be summed up in just a few sentences.
Point-of-View & Characters
The point-of-view remains the same as Dragons of Wild, and shifts between Saffron and Bower. The reader is privy to moderately deeper ruminations of the characters this time around. I felt that I got a better picture of Bower’s character overall.
“I had been raised with books, not with battles.”
For the first time, Bower is challenged by the dragons to see if he is worthy enough to be the dragon king. He knows he is the true heir to the throne, but struggles immensely with the responsibility that comes with it.
Saffron’s character was rather flat in this sequel. While she has a few challenges thrown her way, her character didn’t react as much as I would have expected in the situations. If it wasn’t for Jaydra helping her along, I fear Saffron would be nearly unremarkable.
We are introduced to a few new characters (both dragons and humans) in this installment, but these too are barely explored. Ryland, the leader of the Three-Rivers clan is briefly introduced, then made into a petty criminal with his acts towards the black dragons. (view spoiler)[While I feel his character tried to be redeemed by his sacrifice in the end, he simply didn’t do much to move the plot forward. (hide spoiler)]
King Enric, the antagonist of the series, is probably the most consistent character of all. I felt that as the villain, he delivered what was expected of him.
⇒ Good vs. Evil:
The battle between good and evil is the central theme through this series. Saffron and Bower, the representatives of good, fight against King Enric, an evil sorcerer king who has tried (and mostly succeeded) in wiping everyone’s minds clean of dragons and history in general. As I stated in my review for Dragons of Wild, this series parallels Fahrenheit 451, in the idea that knowledge (books) are dangerous. This is exactly the world that King Enric is trying to enforce and control, which truly is a terrifying goal for an antagonist.
This theme is also applicable for Saffron as she battles with her Maddox magic.
“If it is magic for human and dragons to share a mind, is it magic that also breaks our ties? Or is it the lack of magic? And if there is a place where Jaydra and Saffron are one thing in our hearts and minds, is there also a place where Saffron and Enric are one?”
Unsure of its functioning, Saffron doesn’t know if the magic is good, or evil like that of King Enric’s. It causes a rift between her and Jaydra, and Jaydra must protect herself from being influenced by the king when Saffron uses her magic. There wasn’t a conclusion to this issue, and assume it will be made clear in the sequel, Dragons of Dark.
⇒ Coming of age:
This story was largely centered around Bower, and him coming to terms with the fact that he is the rightful heir to the throne. Not only that, he has the ability to unite the dragons and humans once again. Throughout the entire story, he is seeking his worth, understanding, ability, and influence. Being one that loved to hit the books, he hadn’t had any experience with leading others. It was a trait that he had to learn and develop for his own.
⇒ Unity/Coming Together:
Another underlying theme was bringing unity between the dragons and humans in order to fight King Enric. After a long time of having little-to-no ties, Bower must word in tandem with the dragons to gain their respect and trust, as well as be a good advocate for them to the humans.
Things that I liked:
⇒ The dragons and humans learning to work together.
⇒ The diversity of the dragons. This is more of a personal point, but I loved learning about all of the variations of dragons, and how different they are!
⇒ How clean of a read this is!
Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ The plot pacing was a bit slow. I found myself having to reread areas because I became distracted and didn’t pay enough attention.
⇒ I still had some difficulty really engaging myself in the characters’ stories. I felt that they and several other aspects of the plot needed more depth.
While I really wanted to like this series more, I feel like there’s an outstretched hand, halting my progression in immerse myself further. I’d like to get further into this world, but need more depth in the characters in order to do so. I’m hoping Dragons of Dark will fulfill my hopes for this series because I think it really has potential to be great!
Sexual content: None.
Violence: While there are several fight scenes, there is no gore.
Happy Thursday, everyone! Just a spot of good news – in case you didn’t know, Thursday is basically Friday, so, it’s basically the weekend! I have great logic, yes I do. Along with the fact that it’s practically the weekend, it’s also International Women’s Day! […]
Oh hey, March.
Seeing how we are already a week in, I should probably get my post up for what ARCs I have for this month! I’ll be playing some catch-up from February as well, because I overloaded with ARCs for such a short month. So, let’s get caught up! In order to get started, here are ARCs I will for certain be reading and reviewing in March!
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.
Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey & Krystal Wade
While she sleeps, the whole universe changes.
Princess Talia Starchaser has it all. Wealth. Status. Adoring citizens. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to publicly betray her best friend, a companion mock she’s had since birth, setting events into motion that lead to the destruction of the humans, and the princess floating through space, a remnant of a time when humans ruled over droids.
One hundred years later, half-mock captain Will Perrault and his ragtag crew discover a device floating in space. When a very human Talia emerges from its depths, Will suspects she’s the key to buying his way back into the regiment he once commanded against the last remaining rebel humans—and the ruling mock queen’s good graces.
Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.
Dwarves of Calcus by Katie Hamstead
When she was thirteen, Snow Sabbia crash landed on the dwarves' home planet of Calcus. After fleeing from her step-mother's huntsman, seven brother dwarves took her in to hide and protect her. She has hidden for years on the peaceful planet, tinkering with old automobiles and pushing papers in the mine office.
Then, Timothy White shows up.
The shy, nervous, nerdy heir captivates Snow before she even knows who he is, and quickly she falls in love. But his high profile in society draws unwanted attention from her vengeful stepmother, who wants Snow dead.
Geneva believed Snow died years earlier and she had consumed her innocent heart. With her late husband's wealth, Snow's inheritance, in tow, she married a young lord, Conrad. Both are using each other--Geneva for his title and to have a child, Conrad for her money and beauty. But when Conrad lays eyes on his boyhood rival's lovely fiance, Snow, his overwhelming desire for her reveals the truth to Geneva, that Snow lives.
Desperate to hold onto her wealth and power, Geneva seeks to kill Snow properly this time. Snow has the power to wield the one thing that can destroy her, so she cannot let the girl claim possession of the family heirloom, the Nevollo Sword.
Snow soon learns her step-mother knows she is alive. But she is a pacifist, so she must outwit Geneva and remain hidden... until Geneva, disguised as a child, presents her with an apple.
That's it! I'm so curious what ARCs and/or books you'll be reading this month! What is your most-anticipated read being published this month? Let me know in the comments below!
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: A Wrinkle in Time Series: Time Quintet Author: Madeleine L’Engle Publication Date: May […]
Ole-Luk-Oie, The Dream God
written by Hans Christian Andersen
One of the more well-known fairy tale authors, Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author in the 1800’s. He wrote Ole-Luk-Oie (or Ole Lukøje in other versions) and published it originally on December 20, 1841 by C. A. Reitzel. Not one of his well-known works, the tale is based off of the mythical creature, the Sandman, who takes children off to sleep and gives them dreams.
Other versions of this tale exist in Western and Northern European folklore, where this being is referred to as: Jon, or John Blund (Swedish), Wee Willie Winkie (Scottish), Klaas Vaak (The Netherlands), Dormette (France), Billy Winker (Lancashire), as well as Morpheus (the Greek god of dreams).
This tale has been paraphrased in my own words from the original version.
Ole-Luk-Oie knows more stories in the world than anyone. Every evening, he sneaks into houses and gently blows dust in children’s eyes and on the back of their necks to make their heads droop. But he is not menacing, for he loves children, and wants to give them nice stories to dream of when they sleep. He wears beautiful color-changing clothes, and carries an umbrella in each arm that have pictures on the inside. One has nice pictures which he spreads over the good children, the other has no pictures, which is spread over the naughty children so they do not dream.
Ole-Luk-Oie visited a boy named Hjalmar for an entire week, and shared with him seven stories.
On Monday, Ole-Luk-Oie decorates Hjalmar’s room to look like a greenhouse. Although the room was beautiful, dismal noises came from the desk where Hjalmar stored his school books. Curious, Ole-Luk-Oie went to investigate. He found a writing slate with terrible math, and an alphabet copy-book with poor writing. Seeing the state in which the letters were, he made them practice standing how they stood. But the next morning, Hjalmar found them looking as bad as before.
On Tuesday, Ole-Luk-Oie made Hjalmar’s furniture speak. A picture of large tree began to chirp with birds. Ole-Luk-Oie helped Hjalmar into the picture frame. He felt the sun on his face and ran down to the water and into a boat pulled by six swans sat. They sailed down the river, passing all sorts of magical landscapes. Great palaces with princes and princesses passed. He landed in the town where his nurse from when he was young resided. She sang to him and the landscape around them joined in.
On Wednesday, it was raining, and filled Hjalmar’s room with water up to the window-sill. A beautiful ship sat outside the house and Ole-Luk-Oie invited the boy to sail with him to foreign countries that night. In their travels, they came across a flock of storks. One being too tired to keep up, dropped to the ship, where Hjalmar put in him a pen with other fowl. The stork told the other birds stories of Africa, but they were not nice to the him and made fun of his long legs. Now rested, Hjalmar let the stork out of the pen and to continue on his journey. Because of their cruelness, Hjalmar told the birds that the next day they would be made into soup.
On Thursday, brought a mouse to Hjalmar who invited him to come to a mouse wedding taking place under his mother’s store-room. Ole-Luk-Oie shrank the boy and dressed him in finery. The mouse pulled him to the wedding in a thimble. He observed the grand event, then returned back to his room.
On Friday, Ole-Luk-Oie told Hjalmar how many old people wanted to pay him to give them good dreams. Their evil deeds haunted them at night, but he wouldn’t work for money. Ole-Luk-Oie took Hjalmar to the hundred and first wedding of his sister’s two dolls, Herman and Bertha. The couple decided to go to the sand-pit in the front of the gate for their honeymoon.
On Saturday, Ole-Luk-Oie was tasked with making the whole world beautiful, for tomorrow was Sunday. He told Hjalmar that he had to take down the stars to polish them. But Hjalmar’s great-grandfather hanging in a portrait told him not to tell the boy lies. Ole-Luk-Oie told him that he is an ancient heathen that the Romans and Greeks called the Dream-god, and that he knows how to conduct himself. Great-grandfather was disgruntled at the response.
On Sunday, Ole-Luk-Oie showed Hjalmar his brother, who only visits a person but once. He takes them away on his horse, and tells him stories on the ride. His brother, called Ole-Luk-Oie was also called Death. Hjalmar watched as the picked up people and placed them on his horse, and checked their mark books. Two stories are told of his brother, one being beautiful, the other terrifying. But Ole-Luk-Oie tells Hjalmar that if he keeps a good conduct book, then he has nothing to fear.
Ole-Luk-Oie, The Dream God is a sweet little fairy tale about the Sandman, an elusive mythical being that coaxes children to sleep each night. He comes and gives beautiful dreams to the good, and no dreams to the naughty. Steeped in creativity, this fairy tale has something for every generation to draw from.
For seven days, Ole-Luk-Oie visits a boy named Hjalmar, and takes him all sorts of adventures through dreamland. He visits faraway places, attends a mouse wedding, and then a doll wedding, and learns how Ole-Luk-Oie prepares the world for each Sunday. One the last night of his visit, Ole-Luk-Oie introduces Hjalmar to his brother, also called Ole-Luk-Oie (aka Death). I thought the tale was going to end with the boy dying, but it didn’t. I almost started tearing up! He explains that one is visited by his brother only once, and that visit is either beautiful or terrifying, depending on the life each person leads.
The moral of the story is this: what you do in life will come back to haunt you. At a point in the tale, Ole-Luk-Oie shares with Hjalmar that many old people try to bribe him to come to their houses to give them good dreams because the choices they have made in life haunt them at night. Hjalmar, being young and innocent, does not fear Death when he sees him because his conduct book is clean.
For being such a simple tale, it was full of whimsy and has learning points for all.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Have you heard of this fairy tale before?
What were your initial thoughts when you read it?
Be sure to check back for the next Fairy Tale Friday post on March 16, 2018!
Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Publisher: Parliament House Press Some see it… Some don’t… People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among […]
Joey is a warhorse, but he wasn't always. Once, he was a farm horse and a gentle boy named Albert was his master. Then World War I came storming through and everything changed.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Book: War Horse
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Publication Date: first published in Great Britain in 1982
Publisher: Egmont UK
Page Count: 180
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Animals
Cover Artist: Rae Smith
My Rating: ★★★★★
Joey, a strapping young foal is sold at auction to an unlikable farmer. But the farmer’s son Albert, dotes on Joey and raises him to be a fine horse. When WWI shakes Europe, the English army travels from town to town, gathering up soldiers and purchasing horses to use for the war. In a bad way, Albert’s father sells Joey to the army behind his back, in order to pay off his debt. Beside himself, Albert swears that when he is old enough, he too, will enter the war and find Joey and bring him back home.
Joey is sent to a short training camp and learns how to become a war instrument instead of a simple plow horse. While he adjusts quickly to his new position, he is abruptly thrust into the front lines of the war. Guided by the kind hand of Captain Nicholls, Joey is at ease. He also becomes close companions with Topthorn, another pristine black horse. But the war isn’t so kind, and takes Captain Nicholls’ life in that first battle. Joey is passed between riders, until he is finally captured with Topthorn and enlisted into the German army for a few years
The two find solace as they are kept by a young French girl Emilie and her grandfather, and used to pull the German ambulance carts. The war lulls, and the Germans leave the two horses in the young girls’ care. However, soon after, a different regiment comes through and takes the horses again to pull ammunition carts. It’s heavy work, and many horses perish, and Topthorn grows gravely ill.
Spring returns, but Topthorn never fully regains his strength, and ends up dying due to complications. Although devastated with losing Topthorn, Joey escapes the Germans’ clutches in a raid by the English. He ends up getting stuck in No-Man’s-Land, and severely injures himself. Both armies see the poor horse’s condition, and end up flipping a coin to see who would take him back to their company to be cared for. The English win, and take him back to their veterinary base.
Ironically enough, Joey is confronted by Albert, who is now enlisted in the army to give veterinary service to sick and wounded horses. The two are elated at finding one another again, however, Joey grows gravely ill from his injuries he obtained in No-Man’s-Land. With Albert and the other order-lee’s help, they are able to nurse him back to health.
Once Joey regains his strength, he is enlisted to work again and pull the ambulance cart for injured horses and bring them back from the front line. During this line of work, one of Albert’s closest friends is killed, and Albert becomes severely depressed. It isn’t until talk of the war ending that he begins to liven up, saying how he and Joey will soon go home.
The army has different plans, and auctions off all the horses to the highest bidders, many being French butchers. Desperate to keep his horse, Albert asks for help. All of the soldiers pitch in to raise money to buy Joey, even though it is against orders. They end up being outbid by the old French gentleman who had kept Joey and Topthorn back when they were with the Germans. Hearing Albert’s story, about how he owned Joey since he was a colt, he decided to give Joey to him for an English penny, as his Emilie had passed away. He didn’t want to see Joey, the beloved horse by his granddaughter, go to a slaughterhouse.
Albert and Joey are able to return home, and live out the rest of their days in each other’s company.
”That’s what war is all about, my friend. It’s about which of us is the madder.”
I remember when I saw this movie when it first came out in theatre. At the time, I didn’t realize it was an adaptation from a book. Naturally, when I learned of its origins, I had to read the book as well! War Horse is told in a similar fashion to Black Beauty, as it is told from the horse’s (Joey’s) perspective. While this point-of-view may be slightly limiting as it leaves out a lot of human emotion, I appreciated how it simplified the narration and actually made everything come across more bluntly. Just like humans, Joey and the other horses felt and experienced raw emotions throughout the war. Fear, anxiety, comradery, sacrifice–however, they came across without jadedness. Unlike humans, animals feel emotions without complications. This narration bled into the human characters throughout that were pivotal in Joey’s story, as their complicated situations were unraveled to reveal the jewels underneath.
The main point about this book that I love is the theme of human value. Despite the fact of there being a war going on, there weren’t any ruthless characters that only wanted to kill, kill, kill. Everyone had a sense of general right and wrong and understood the fact that war is ugly, traumatic, complicated, and tiresome.
”The horse is yours. Take good care of him, my friend,” and he picked up the rope again and handed it to the Welshman. As he did so he held out his other hand in a gesture of friendship and reconciliation, a smile lighting his worn face. “In an hour, maybe, or two,” he said, “We will be trying to our best again each other to kill. God only knows why we do it, and I think he has maybe forgotten why. Goodby Welshman. We have shown them, haven’t we? We have shown them that any problem can be solved between people if only they can trust each other. That is all it needs, no?”
This element of humanity is undeniably prevalent in a pure form to show how humans can only take so much. For a majority of this war, the people didn’t even know what they were fighting for. They didn’t hate each other–they knew they were all equals, and they respected each other in that.
Comparably, the theme of friendship is very strong. Deep friendships between men, horses, and men to horses, exist in several examples. Albert and Joey–Joey and Captain Nicholls–Joey and Topthorn–Joey, Topthorn, and Emilie, and several other connections overflow this book with friendship. I believe this is the aspect which makes this book so emotional because the deepness of affection between characters in untainted ways is tangible. It’s so tangible, in fact, that several characters willingly faced their fears in order to sacrifice for one another.
This book is devastatingly heart-wrenching at times but makes you feel so good at others. It’s a short read, but is packed full of virtue, respectful characters, and honorable missions–both by horse and man. It was a refreshing read and completely cleansed my palate. This book is aimed at children to young adults, but can easily be read and appreciated by someone of any age. I would highly recommend this read to anyone.
Vulgarity: The “H” word is only used once.
Sexual content: None at all.
Violence: Seeing how this book is about WWI, the evidence of violence is there. However, the author does a wonderful job in its portrayal and steers clear of gore, unnecessarily graphic scenes, and the like.
Release date Feburary 27, 2018! Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls […]
I've been blogging for over a year already...
It was Winter 2016 when I decided that I really needed to do something in order to keep me sane (for lack-of-better-terms). Being a wife to an amazing husband, mother to an adorable toddler (we are also expecting a baby boy), a full-time employee, along with all of that other demanding life stuff, took up majority of my time. However, most of that time is me doing things for others (which is truly a blessing!) I just wanted to look for something that I could focus my attention on when I did have some downtime. Instead of watching movies (which I like to do), I wanted to focus more on reading. It was something I had always done, but got away from for a few years because of college.
I grew up on not really a farm, but out in the country where I was always involved in outdoor activities–mostly horseback riding and training. Showing took up a good twelve years of my life (which I gladly gave), along with a peppering of sports, extra-curriculars, and then some more. If you don’t get the picture: I was always incredibly involved in multiple different activities. Naturally, living this lifestyle molded me into a mess of chaotic organization, so when I wasn’t doing one-hundred things at a time, I didn’t know what to do to myself.
After my husband and I were married, we bought a house where I couldn’t sustain my horse. In the midst of one year, nearly everything I had been mega-involved with disappeared. It was a sad stage of life for me, to part with the old and take in the new. However, I welcomed the life to come with my husband. I realized though, that I didn’t really have an active hobby.
A friend and I have been working on writing a book series over the course of two or three years now. In order to build some credibility, I was told by fellow authors and bookish folk that starting a blog was a great way to do this. It was around that time that I also really took an interest in writing reviews for books, so I thought, I’m going to start a book blog!
So I did.
Only recently, had I realized how little I’ve posted about blogging itself. When I decided to start reviewing books and blogging, I dove in without really having much (any) of a plan.
Sometimes, jumping in and learning to go with the flow isn’t all that bad. You have the freedom to do whatever you please! However, I found that over this course of time, I spent nearly all of my time only blogging about my book reviews, and participating in a few reading challenges, cover reveals, etc., here and there.
This isn’t necessarily bad. However, it doesn’t really help establish my brand on blogging itself. I’m not surprised it took me this long to realize some of these things because it’s how I work–I jump in full-force, not really knowing what to expect, and planning to learn along the way. I have learned a lot, too–and now I have some strategy.
Blogging takes some trial and error. There isn’t really a way to do it right or wrong, it’s a combination of everything you do as a whole. When I started getting approvals for eGalleys of books, I went a bit berserk and requested far too many. I was, quite literally going book crazy.
(I'm so funny...)
So, I got in a little over my head. I had to play catch-up right from the beginning (but I liked the challenge.) I wouldn’t recommend this method for others to use, but it definitely forced me into commitment right from the start!
I certainly didn’t anticipate how much time and effort blogging takes! But after burning myself and learning from my mistakes, it’s slowly getting more manageable.
If my testimony has scared you, please, don’t be. I made the mistake of getting in over my head right away, but that doesn’t mean you will. Most people are better strategists then I am, so that will definitely help benefit them in the long-run. I had to learn some of that. Thankfully, Book blogging has helped me do that! It’s also opened a new world to me, with tons of wonderful bloggers just doing what they like to do: talk about books!
I think blogging could be beneficial to anyone who just needs an outlet. You don’t even need to have a consistent theme or topic you discuss! (Although, it may help you when starting out.) I’m amazed at the diversity, versatility, and uniqueness by every blog I’ve come across.
So, there’s a little of the backstory as to what got me into blogging. I’ve spoken with many others who started for various reasons. That variety is what makes the realm so interesting, if you ask me!
Here are some reasons why blogging is great, and why you should consider blogging as well!
It helps to pass the time: get more organized!
I’ve experienced for myself the benefits blogging has. For one, it’s helped me manage my time for effectively. Instead of filling my “free” time with frivolous things, I sit down and read, write a review, read other’s posts, write something, etc. It helps me appreciate the time that I do have instead of wasting it away, and to stay focused. I’m not always the best at this because I get distracted, or I have too much to do, or…you get the picture. But it could definitely be a useful tool to those who like to have a schedule and know what they will be doing, and when!
It's a wonderful outlet for creativity!
Your blog is your own. Meaning, you have the freedom to do whatever you like with it! You can customize it to your liking, and create whichever content you want to feature on it! I’ve seen many types of blogs, all with their own unique flare. It’s fun to be able to make something your own. In an age where much of what we do is digital, it’s nice to be able to express ourselves in that way, too!
While my blog mainly focuses on books, I’d like to expand it to also include my artwork. I’ve been a hobby artist for years, and would love to share some of that with others, too!
Engage your mind: challenge yourself to think outside the box
This point goes along with the previous one about creativity. Create! Do new things! Write about topics that you wouldn’t normally–or ones that you are passionate about. Ask questions! Host discussions! Really, the options here are endless!
Make new connections
Book bloggers are probably some of the nicest people you will ever meet. But, you want to know a secret? If you are a nerd, and nervous to geek out about books and gush about how much you love them, don’t fear; book bloggers reciprocate. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t grow up (or currently have, for that matter) many friends who read a lot. Sure, I’ve made an effort to find those who do. But, they simply aren’t in my proximity. Stumbling upon the bookverse has been a great experience for me, and I’ve met some wonderful people from all over the world!
This isn’t exclusive to just book bloggers. There are people who blog about all sorts of topics that I’ve interacted with who have been really wonderful to get to know!
To put it in short terms: you can make new friends!
Practice your writing skills!
Seeing how one of my main reasons to start this blog in the first place was for writing, it actually helped me out a lot in regards to improving my writing overall. (I definitely still make mistakes though!) Even if I’m not working on creative writing, composing book reviews takes a lot of work and brain power. It takes a lot of effort to string one’s thoughts together into a coherent review (that will hopefully be helpful to whoever reads them). Writing blogs and reviews have really helped me focus on writing well. I can see this only as a benefit as it helps to exercise that part of my mind.