What's in a Blog?

Jul 25, 2016

I've been struggling with blogging for a good chunk of time. I'm just not feeling it. Blogging has become something that feels less like fun or a hobby and more like work (that I'm not getting paid for) or a dreaded school assignment I procrastinate on. This could very well be a case of It's not you, it's me. I'm not breaking up with blogging--I love the community too much, even if I see most of it on Instagram and Twitter and probably nothing would even change if I did quit. But I think it's time to revive Beauty and the Bookshelf and give it something...more. And to make myself more of a presence.

I'm not going to worry about posting a Top Ten Tuesday every Tuesday or a Waiting on Wednesday every Wednesday. I'll participate in TTT when I really like the topic, and those weeks I'll also do a WoW.

Reviews...those have been so hard to write. They're like an essay. I don't want to write them, but I have to. I'm debating revamping the format and seeing if that helps, or figuring out what I can do in my reviews that's unique. It would really help if I wrote a review after I finished a book. (I have yet to write reviews for A Darker Shade of Magic, Winter, A Court of Mist and Fury...) I've considered switching my reviews to YouTube--I already do the Ninety Second Novel there--because it's so much easier to talk about a book than write about it, but I don't know if people would actually watch those videos, and I like having those thoughts in print. I don't even want call it a review--or a discussion a discussion--but I am constantly stumped on what else to do for names. (Is a blog post title that doesn't state exactly what it is--review, discussion, giveaway--okay, or do you like it to say exactly what it is?)

Speaking of YouTube, I really, really want to use that more. It's fun. Right now I just use it for book hauls and the occasional Ninety Second Novel, but I'm thinking I might also use it to review/discuss rereads. I'd like to think of something else that's fun to do with YouTube, but I don't have any ideas yet.

Back to this here blog...I have discussion ideas. I've had a draft of a post about there being multiple editions of a book (and how much it sucks for readers) sitting for a few weeks, but it may need some rewriting. It's awfully ranty and could use more eloquence. I want to write about my bullet journal (which I'm also horrible at using), and maybe do some arts and crafts and things with food. I don't like to get deep and personal, but I'd like for this blog to be a sort of reflection of myself, awkwardness and all.

One thing I really want to bring back is Be Our Tattooed Guest. (Examples here, sign-up form here.) I looove tattoos and books, and this feature was a great way to combine the two and let people show off their tattoos (and make me want several myself). I've been thinking about doing a Sunday Post--or something of the sort--where I recap the past week on the blog and foreshadow the next one. The latter might help keep me accountable, which could come in handy. Maybe I'll find a way to link back to bookstagram, too, because I love it.

I don't want to worry about my blog, but I still want to use it. I need to put more time and effort into it. I need to read other blogs and comment on other posts. (I am so, so bad at that.) I don't want my blog to be boring in the slightest; I want it to be fun and interactive and something people want to read. I want it to be whatever I want it to be, but also something that appeals to readers (otherwise I'm speaking to an empty room, you know?).

But I want to know: what do you want to see on Beauty and the Bookshelf? And on blogs in general? More of this, less of that? I don't know! But your feedback is very much appreciated. In the meantime, I'm going to try posting at least four times a week and give you posts that I hope you'll like. But first: Brainstorming! (And hopefully you'll notice an improvement in this blog over the next few weeks.)

Tell me: how have you felt about blogging lately?

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jul 21, 2016

TitleThe Long Game
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publishing Date: June 7, 2016
Pages/Format: 360, ARC
Add on Goodreads!

The Kendricks help make the problems of the Washington elite disappear…but some secrets won’t stay buried.

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can—and cannot—be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.

Book in One Word: PISSED.

Waiting on Wednesday (171)

Jul 20, 2016

is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that 
showcases upcoming releases people are very much anticipating.

So, like, here's the deal. I picked up this author's debut novel a bajillion years ago just to read a chapter and ended up reading several chapters. I love that book. Then I read her second book, and though it was hard to love because of what it was about, I'm still a fan of that book. And every time this author has a new book I scream the same damn thing: NEW KATIE COTUGNO NEW KATIE COTUGNO NEW KATIE COTUGNO.

Top Ten Tuesday (171)

Jul 19, 2016

is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This Tuesday's theme is...

Waiting on Wednesday (170)

Jul 13, 2016

is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that 
showcases upcoming releases people are very much anticipating.


Top Ten Tuesday (170)

Jul 12, 2016

is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This Tuesday's theme is...

Rewinding June

Jul 11, 2016

I've been falling behind on reading and blogging, but IN MY DEFENSE I was finishing school, moving, and bingeing shows on Netflix (Fullmetal Alchemist and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries). So. But I'm working on getting back in the groove.

The Notables Halfway: Five Favorites

Jun 24, 2016

This week's Top Ten Tuesday focused on the best 2016 releases we've read so far this year. I chose not to participate because I didn't have ten books to put on the list (which is actually kind of terrifying). Even then, though I've definitely liked several of the books I've read this year, I'd say five are standouts--and of those five, three are 2016 releases, and one of those still has yet to be released. But I thought about it, and I decided I still want to talk about those books. Instead of just saying, "Hey, here's this book," I chose to do things a little bit differently. So here are five standouts I've read during the first half of this year, complete with their bookstagram photos and some aesthetics.

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Jun 23, 2016

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publishing Date: July 5, 2016
Pages/Format: 464, eARC
Add on Goodreads!

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Book in One Word: Good!

The Never-Ending Story (or Series)

Jun 22, 2016

The thing about a standalone is that it's over after the last page. The thing about a series is that it's not over until the last page of the last book. That's what I love about a series--I don't have to say goodbye yet. (Honestly though, the prolonging may make the imminent pain of having to say goodbye even worse.) I hate when a series and story comes to a close and I'm forced back into the real world, especially when that fictional was one I wanted to wrap around myself. You know what I mean--you know the characters, feel all the emotions, and just immerse yourself into that world. I hate when it comes to an end. But what if The End wasn't really The End?

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