March 29, 2019

Let's Chat: Bookstagram

My first post on Instagram was on August 11, 2016. I had more time back then so I was posting pretty often. When I started my full-time job and was still in grad school I barely posted at all. Now, as I am getting used to the full-time gig and since I no longer have grad school to worry about, I am trying to post a few times every week. I am working on getting more followers, but the algorithm is against us all. I know my photos aren't the best, but they aren't bad either. I know the algorithm is crap because so many people that I do follow I never see their new posts... it is so frustrating! With that being said, let's talk about some ways I have and haven't tried to get more followers, and if they worked.

Does all the Instagram advice you see out there actually work to get more followers? Here is what I have and haven't done, and the result.

  • THEMES: Although I don't necessarily have a theme, which I know is supposed to get you more followers, I usually keep my posts more minimalist with only three different types of set ups. So I guess, this advice could work if you actually follow it, but I do not. I am not sure I will ever decide on just one theme for my account.
  • CHALLENGES: I have also been told that joining monthly challenges will help, and maybe it does a little, but I have yet to see a big increase in followers that way either. However, I will keep joining in and following the hashtag for the month because they are a lot of fun, and I find new accounts to follow that way. A few accounts that host challenges you should check out: @thereaderbee, @loriimagination, @wildbookbabe, @fictionaladventures, @book_junkee, @bookchelle
  • COMMENTING: I enjoy commenting on other people's posts, especially if I love the photo or book or enjoy the topic they are discussing. Maybe a couple of people have followed me back after commenting, but no big increase there either.
  • HASHTAGS: I mainly use #bookstagram, #bookphotography, #yalit, #bibliophile, #booknerd, and #bookstagrammer. I use other ones depending on special events such as #stacksaturday or #shelfiesunday.  I have no idea if this helps others find my posts, but I do like to check out the hashtags from time to time to find new accounts to follow.

Do you have any additional advice for me? Will you share your secrets? If you have a bookstagram that I should be following please comment bellow! I am always looking for new accounts to follow. I love seeing all the pretty photos of books, and love finding new books that were not on my radar before. I currently have 323 followers, but I hope to hit 500 by the end of the year. Fingers crossed! If you would like to follow me you can find me here: @itisabooklife

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March 27, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I have decided to feature The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I am a fan of this author and just got approved to read this title on Netgalley. I can't wait to find the time to read it! I have been in the mood to read all the mystery/thrillers lately. 

The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (May 7, 2019)
Kira Bennett’s earliest memories are of living alone and wild in the woods. She has no idea how long she was on her own or what she had to do to survive, but she remembers the moment that Cady Bennett and one of her search-and-rescue dogs found her perfectly. Adopted into the Bennett family, Kira still struggles with human interaction years later, but she excels at the family business: search-and-rescue. Along with Cady’s son, Jude, and their neighbor, Free, Kira works alongside Cady to train the world’s most elite search-and-rescue dogs. Someday, all three teenagers hope to put their skills to use, finding the lost and bringing them home.

But when Cady’s estranged father, the enigmatic Bales Bennett, tracks his daughter down and asks for her help in locating a missing child—one of several visitors who has disappeared in the Sierra Glades National Park in the past twelve months—the teens find themselves on the frontlines sooner than they could have ever expected. As the search through 750,000 acres of unbridled wilderness intensifies, Kira becomes obsessed with finding the missing child. She knows all too well what it’s like to be lost in the wilderness, fighting for survival, alone.

But this case isn’t simple. There is more afoot than a single, missing girl, and Kira’s memories threaten to overwhelm her at every turn. As the danger mounts and long-held family secrets come to light, Kira is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her adopted family, her true nature, and her past.

What are you waiting on?

March 25, 2019

ARC Mini Review: My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (March 26, 2019)
Genre: Adult Psychological Thriller
Length: 359 pages
Publisher: Brekley Books
Source: The library I work at received an ARC from the publisher. This did NOT affect my honest review. Thank you Berkley!
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored. We look like a normal couple. We're your neighbors, the parents of your kid's friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with. We all have secrets to keeping a marriage alive. Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.

My Review

When a couple murders together, they stay together?!?! My Lovely Wife is an enthralling contribution to the psychological thriller genre. It gives Gone Girl a run for its money. It has interesting characters I loved to hate, plenty of twists, is dark, disturbing, and will give you goosebumps. This debut author deserves some high praise for writing this wild unputdownable story. Even when I could predict a twist correctly, there would be an extra surprise, or two, or three, that I didn't see coming. My Lovely Wife may perhaps even make you second guess how really well you know the people in your life. This is a must-read thriller, and will probably make it on my best of 2019 list. What are you waiting for? Grab a copy and prepare to be shook.

If you liked My Lovely Wife try:


March 23, 2019

ARC Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment by Samira Ahmed (March 19, 2019)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Length: 400 Pages
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher. This did NOT affect my honest review. Thanks Little Brown!
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
My Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: Rebellions are built on hope. Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp's Director and his guards. Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

My Review

Internment is the politically charged YA fiction title we all need to read. Although it hits painfully close to reality, making it a challenge to read, it's an important message of fighting back and speaking up against what's wrong. Islamophobia and racism are happening today, in 2019, and we need to be aware and speak up against those that say and do horrible things. We can't be silent.

Ahmed does an excellent job at creating a horrifying yet pretty believable near-future America where Muslim American citizens are forced into an internment camp. After reading this book, I am even more aware of the importance of speaking up against hate, to vote, donate what I can, be an ally, and pay attention to what is happening in our country. Readers will find many powerful passages inside the pages of Internment. The author's note at the end of the book shares the horrible shit our country has done in the past and what is currently happening in our country, and how this inspired her novel, a way to bring awareness to these events.

Layla Amin is a Muslim American teen who decides to stand up for her rights, and for those who were also forced into the internment camp that may be too scared to do so. I have seen some reviews floating around saying that Layla makes some rash decisions and cares too much about her boyfriend. I disagree. Layla acts like a teenager, which she is. Just a small reminder to those adults out there reading YA books, which is awesome and please keep doing it, (I too am one of those adults), that these books are written about teens for teens and that may just be why the main characters act like teens. Layla is brave. If anything, I was more annoyed with the parents in this book and their decisions, although I can also understand their point of view as well. I liked Layla, her family, the friends she makes, and found their story thought provoking. 

The pacing of the plot is steady and captivating enough that I read the book in one day. The setting of the desert is described in rich detail, emphasizing the conditions the people are forced to deal with in the camp. 

The Bottom Line: Buy it. Read it. Borrow it. Do whatever you must to give this book the attention it deserves, and which will in turn hopefully spark some important discussions about our current political climate.

My heart goes out to all those affected by the recent terrorist attack on Mosques in New Zealand. Support the victims here: United for Christchurch Mosque Shootings

March 19, 2019

TTT #95: Spring TBR Pile

This week I feature some of the books on my spring TBR pile. I can't wait to read these!

To Catch a Killer by Erin Blake

Once I finally get around to reading this one it will count towards the Beat the Backlist Challenge.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Another book by Angie Thomas. Of course this made my list!

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

I just bought this and I can't wait to dive in.

You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook

A joke about swapping murders turns real.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

The cover and title of this one sealed it for me. It may break my heart.

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

"A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star."

Once and Future by Capetta & McCarthy

A diverse and magical-sounding retelling of The Sword and the Stone.

Sky Without Stars by Brody & Rendell

"Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…"

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This may be the one I am most excited for!

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

I have already pre-ordered this one!

Did any of these books make it on your spring TBR pile?

March 9, 2019

ARC Mini Review: Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson (March  12, 2019)
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Nonfiction Poetry Memoir
Publisher: Viking Books
Source: I received an eARC from the publisher. This did NOT affect my honest review. Thank you!
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
My Rating:
Goodreads Synopsis: Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she's never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society's failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice-- and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

My Review

Laurie Halse Anderson is brave. Her poetry memoir is powerful. Although Shout is geared towards teens since the author writes books for teens and discusses her own experience with sexual assault when she was a teen, her inspiration for writing Speak, everyone should read this book. Anderson is honest and raw in her writing, and Shout is a timely story for the important #metoo movement. Shout is a quick read, making it a nonfiction title reluctant readers can get behind. I found courage from her words, and I think others will too. Shout is at times difficult to read since it does openly discuss such topics as sexual assault, fat shaming, physical abuse, and alcohol abuse, but this book could lead to some open and honest discussion with teens about these issues. Shout should be on every library's shelf. Heck, everyone's home shelves too.

March 4, 2019

Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (2017)
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Length: 425 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: The Library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
My Rating: 

Goodreads Synopsis: Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius. That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own. When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race. Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

My Review

Review in a Tweet: This Mortal Coil is a page-turning, science heavy, zombiesque-level apocalypse novel. Catarina is an intelligent hacker. When her father dies he takes the cure to the plague, where the infected explode and infect everyone in its path, with him. Catarina is the world's last hope.

Opening Line: "It's sunset, and the sky is aflame, not with clouds or dust, but with the iridescent feathers of a million genehacked passenger pigeons."

I am a sucker for any kind of survival story so I just knew I had to give this book a try. I was fortunate enough to meet the author last year, and she was very sweet, further cementing my need to read this book. Although there is A LOT of science talk in this book, making it more science-fiction than survival story and not always my cup of tea, I really enjoyed it. However, I am going to have to keep this review short to be able to keep it spoiler free.

Catarina is a very complex main character. After her father is forced to work for Cartaxus to help end the plague, Catarina must survive for two years all on her own. Cole, the soldier sent to protect her while she finds the cure, is just an okay character. I didn't love him and I didn't hate him, but I did find him interesting. Although Catarina doesn't trust him, she can't help but feel something for the guy helping her with her mission.

Let me give a quick run-down of what I thought of the plot. The details of the plague are unique, and since it is rapidly evolving, I felt the same rush/need the characters had to find the cure, making for a quick read. Although at times predictable, there were still a few twists I didn't see coming!

The Bottom Line: Give This Mortal Coil a read the next time you are in the mood for a sci-fi/survival/dystopian/romance fast-paced read.

If you liked This Mortal Coil then try:

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