Friday, November 28, 2014

Let's Talk Historical Fiction

Ok! So, normally I don’t read historical fiction. Normally I don’t post rambly posts. But, today, I wanted to talk about historical fiction, which is a genre I honestly don’t read much of. However, I’ve been reading a very long YA historical fiction novel lately, and I just have to talk about it and how it’s been making me think about YA historical fiction in general. The book is Brazen by Katherine Longshore, which came out earlier this year and was one that tons of book bloggers were excited to talk about. And I can honestly see why. I’m not going to be doing a review of it right now, but reading Brazen has made me want to talk more about YA historical fiction, what I like about the genre, and more!

So, to begin let’s talk about something specific to Brazen but that indicates something very important to how I read historical fiction, and that is- I must have an interest in the historical time period the book is set in. Brazen, if you are unfamiliar with this book, is set in Tudor England. This is an era that always fascinated me. It was a time of turbulent change, with the glitz and glamour of the old court serving as a background for huge political upheaval and, of course, Henry VIII’s six marriages. I always thought that this was a time of interest to me. Sometimes, I may pick up a novel that I’m not very familiar with the setting of, but that is alright because it takes me to my next point.

Sometimes (and this is not always 100% true, but it’s something I’ve noticed recently) I enjoy reading books about times or people I’m not very familiar with, because it includes the element of surprise. Yes, I know historical fiction is just that- fiction- but I like knowing some aspects of a book but learning more about characters or a time period I wasn’t as familiar with and then researching it more after I read. (Yes, I have done that with one or two books before.) With Brazen, the story revolves around Henry Fitzroy and Mary Howard. I know of Henry Fitzroy but I don’t know anything beyond the basic of he was Henry VIII’s son. So, not knowing anything of what’s happening with those two characters but being familiar with the Tudor court and the other main characters has been interesting. (Oh, and I’ve loved how this book has talked more about how the day to day court life was, but I’ll save all of this for my review of the book later.)

So, in general, I am definitely wanting to read more historical fiction, and talk about what works for me in book genres and what doesn’t. If you have any historical fiction recommendations for me, let me know in the comments, or if you have another genre you want me to share my thoughts on in a more discussion post, comment! Before I go, though, I’ll leave you with some historical fiction novels I’ve read and enjoyed!

From the paper world,

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Interviewing Cassi of My Thoughts...Literally! - One Year of Blogging

Today I'm so excited to be sharing an interview I did with Cassi of My Thoughts...Literally! Cassi is an awesome book blogger who I've done several readalongs with and talked with for awhile. Her blog is really fun and she has very thought provoking reviews and great posts! Without further ado...

no. 1 - When did you start blogging?
My first ever post was November 6th, 2009. It's hard to believe that was five years ago. But I was really lax about it for a really long time. I forgot it existed and I would only blog if there was a specific book I wanted to talk about. But then I found the whole book blogging community last fall and my first post back was October of last year. That's when I developed my format of reading a theme each month. So I like to think I've been in an on-again off-again relationship with blogging for five years but it really stuck a year ago.
no. 2 - How did you come up with your blog name?
I wanted something that was a play on words with literature. And like the general population, I misuse and misunderstand the word literally. When I came back for good I thought about changing it but these literally are my thoughts and I'm so self-deprecating that keeping it gives me something to laugh at myself about.
no. 3 - What is your favorite part of blogging?
Definitely the community. I've met so many amazing people through blogging. The people I interact with on a daily basis either don't read or don't read as much as I do so it's great to find people who have similar interests. I love commenting on others blogs to share thoughts with one another, chatting with people on Twitter, and doing readalongs. I've even met a few folks at events and stuff. Plus I've found so many amazing books through recommendations from fellow bloggers!
no. 4 - What is the post you're most proud of?
I think the post I am most proud of is my review of The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman. It's the final book in a trilogy which I love, and I was so happy with the way I was able to gush about the book without giving too much away. Plus it was my first ever book review on BookTube. I have since fallen off the video-making train but I was really proud of myself for that video.
no. 5 - What is something you're looking forward to in your next year of blogging?
There are few things I'm looking forward to. The first is just continuing to grow within the community. To meet new people and to continue interacting with those I have build a rapport with this past year. But I am also really excited about redesigning my site. I've been thinking about it for awhile and I really want to customize things so it's more unique to me. I love seeing the creativity within the community and I really want to put my own spin on my site.

no. 6 - Author whose books you always want to pick up?
This would have been so easy a year ago (and a gigantic list) but I've picked up books by so many authors I had wanted to read this year. There are still a lot of Fantasy authors that I want to check out like Patrick Rothfuss, Garth Nix, and Robin McKinley. And very soon I will be taking Marie Lu and Gail Carriger off the list but they are still currently ones I want to read.
no. 7 - Cat person or dog person?
Cat person. I used to be a dog person but it was only because I never owned a cat. They're so much easier to take care of and when it is your cat they are incredibly affectionate. My cat is a little too affectionate sometimes! I'm pretty obsessed with her, it's a little sad! But I do still love dogs.
 no. 8 - Favorite music to sing along to?
My iPod is full of cheesy pop music, soundtracks from musicals, and Disney music. Those would probably be my favorite things to sing along too. Also I like to listen to music at work and tend to listen to 90's and early 2000's boy bands and bubble gum pop. It makes me feel very nostalgic.
no. 9 - Favorite series or feature on your blog?
 I think my favorite feature is what I call "Crossing Over" where I recommend an adult book based on a similar YA book and vice versa. I think there is too much focus on these age group specifications in the blogosphere but for me you can appreciate a book regardless of the way it's shelved at a bookstore. I haven't done one since July. Maybe I should do one this month!
no. 10 - If you could instantly be teleported anywhere in the world, where?
Where wouldn't I teleport? I've always wanted to visit Russia so I would probably teleport to St. Petersburg if given the chance. But with it getting colder by the day that may be pretty miserable. I'm always cold to begin with so maybe somewhere a little warmer. Peru, perhaps? I've always wanted to visit Matchu Picchu so maybe there.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Cassi! Definitely go visit her blog, she interviewed me awhile ago (complete with hilarious gifs and super cool blogger stuffs) and her blog is great. Thank you again, Cassi!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Guest Post by the Wonderful Rebecca of The Library Canary- Tips for Beginner Bloggers! - One Year of Blogging

Hi I'm Rebecca and I blog over at The Library Canary! First of all, I want to thank Violet for letting me invade her blog today and also congratulate her on her one year blogoversary! *throws confetti* One year of blogging is such a huge accomplishment! Violet is one of the nicest bloggers I know and I’m so happy to be able to celebrate with her. And now, for my guest post:

Hello new bloggers! Just started a book blog? Have a bunch of questions that you’re scared to ask or don’t know where to turn? I’m here to help! We all go through that new kid phase. The phase where you look around and everybody seems to know what’s going on except for you. You have a million questions floating around in your head, but you’re either too embarrassed to ask them or have no idea who would know the answer. Hopefully this post helps with some of those questions and always feel free to ask me or Violet!

What is an ARC?

ARC stands for advanced reader copy. These are copies of a book that a publisher prints prior to the release date and prior to the final editing process. That means that you may find a few more typos in them and things may change slightly in the final copy. These books are printed for promotional purposes and typically distributed to bloggers (that’s you!), librarians, book sellers, etc. You may have heard the term galley thrown around as well. They are the same thing.

How do I get ARCs?

There are a couple of different ways to request ARCs. You can email the publisher requesting a physical copy of the book. Usually these emails are found on the publisher’s website within their publicity section. Or you can get on Netgalley and/or Edelweiss and request digital review copies. These are ebooks that will be sent to your e-reader if you are accepted for a copy. Finally there are book conferences like BEA (see #3) and ALA (American Library Association), among many more.  

What is BEA?

Another term us book bloggers use a lot. BEA stands for Book Expo America. It’s a conference held once a year at the end of May, typically in New York (though I believe they are moving it starting in 2016). BEA is a magical place where you can meet all your blogging friends, network with publishers, meet your favorite authors, and get lots of ARCs. It’s a book lover’s paradise. If you can make it happen, I highly recommend going. It is an amazing experience!

What is a meme and should I be doing them?

Memes are these things like Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine that book bloggers can participate in. Basically you write a post based on whatever that meme’s topic is (some change week to week like TTT and others stay the same like WoW). Then you go back to the host’s blog and add your link to the linky. The purpose of memes is to participate in the community. They are a great way for new bloggers to drive traffic to their blogs and a way for you to get to know other bloggers in the community. That being said, I encourage you to only participate in one to two memes per week. Any more than that and your site starts lacking original content which is what a lot of people are looking for.

Blog Tours, Cover Reveals, Book Blitzes, etc.

I remember when I was a new blogger and I first heard about blog tours. I thought, “let’s sign up for all of them!” Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you want to be part of a tour every once in a while that’s fine. Cover reveals and book blitzes (which is basically where you just put up the cover and synopsis on your blog) every once in a while, fine. But please, whatever you do, do NOT make this your only content. These are the posts I skip over the most when going through my reader. Especially cover reveals and book blitzes. They’re just boring, to be honest. I want to read reviews or discussions or other creative content. So please, if you’re going to do them, keep them to a minimum.

Which social media sites should I use?

Twitter. Hands down, Twitter is the best social media site to use when it comes to promoting your blog. Every month, I get the most traffic to my blog from Twitter. But it’s not just about that. Twitter is a great way to make friends with other book bloggers! See a conversation going on between some bloggers you follow? Jump in! This is how I made most of my blogging friends. Don’t be shy! We don’t bite, I promise.

Other than Twitter, I have a Facebook page and I also utilize Pinterest which drives some, but not a lot of traffic to my blog. I also have a Youtube channel that all my vlogs get posted to.

How can people follow my blog?

This is important. There’s a lot of different ways for people to follow you. There’s RSS feed, email subscription, Bloglovin’, Feedly, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. The list goes on and on and on. I try to give people as many options as possible. So I recommend getting these things set up. Make it easy for people to follow you as well. I have social media buttons on my blog so all people have to do is click once and they’re good to go. Don’t know how to make one? There’s TONS of tutorials out there. That’s how I did mine!

Which brings me to the next question I know you all have. 

How do I make my blog pretty?

Blog design. Not my strong suit. BUT there are tons of bloggers who are very good at it and are nice enough to put up tutorials and blog tips for us like Ashley @ Nosegraze and Stephanie and Jessica @ These Paper Hearts. And when in doubt, Google it. Seriously, there are so many tutorials out there. It might take some time to figure it all out (god knows how many hours I've spent cursing my computer or trying to figure out how to write one tiny line of code), but it’s doable.

And my last and final tip for you: have fun! This is a new hobby of yours. Hobby being the key word there. Don’t make it feel like work. Make friends, read good books, gush over said books with said friends. Keep it chill. If you don’t feel like blogging or you don’t have time, don’t stress over it. It’s your blog. Make it your own, be yourself, and the rest is sure to follow. Hope this helped you all! Happy reading and happy blogging!

Thank you so, so much to Rebecca for guest posting on the blog today! Rebecca is an absolutely fantastic blogger who posts wonderful reviews, thought provoking discussions, and so many other wonderful posts! Be sure to check out her blog, and thank you again to Rebecca for stopping by! Your post is so thoughtfully written and definitely helpful!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sequels I Can't Wait to Get - Top Ten Tuesday

I'm so excited for this week's Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at The Broke and the Bookish, and each week has a new and interesting theme to talk about, and this week we're talking sequels! I wanted to talk about several different types of sequels, from ones already on my TBR to ones that I'm waiting to read soon! As usual, let me know if you have a TTT for this week, and let me know your picks in the comments!

Coming out this Year:

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Recently Released:

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Silvern by Christina Farley

Sequels I Have and Can't Wait to Read:

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Three by Kristen Simmons

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Sequels Coming Out in Early 2015:

Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole

From the paper world,

Monday, November 10, 2014

Looking Back at the Letter

Back in February, I participated in the absolutely wonderful Book Blogger Love-A-Thon and wrote this letter to myself for when I've been blogging for one year. And I'm not going to lie, writing it, I wasn't even sure I would be blogging for a year. At the time, those few months had felt so much longer than they actually had been, but in an amazing way. I was unsure of the future and what it would hold, but that event made me love blogging even more and really appreciate the book blogging community. So, here's my letter to my One Year of Blogging Self - 
Dear Future Self,

Hello! How has the blog been going? I can't believe it will have been a year of blogging once you read this! Right now, I'm writing this for the Book Blogger LoveAThon, and so far I've participated in several blogging events. I stayed up for 24 hours reading, I've done Bout of Books, and I'm so excited for everything else that's to come. 

What's been your favorite read of the year? Have you had a good reading year? I know that I'm excited for more of blogging; meeting other bloggers and making friends, as well as sharing my love of books. So, I hope you enjoy your blog anniversary, congraulations on having come so far, and I wish you more happiness to come.

From the paper world several months back,

Looking back at this, it reminds me of all the fun blogging things that had happened in just those few months. I'd been lucky enough to read for hours on end with other bloggers, and to have read some wonderful books (even back then I knew I wouldn't be able to pick one favorite, but a few of my favorites have been Jellicoe RoadAmy and Roger's Epic DetourAnna and the French Kiss, and these books from My First Half of 2014 series). In general, I've had a good reading year, with some big life changes but a persisting love of books, albeit reading much more slowly now. I've also had so many wonderful opportunities to talk to other bloggers and do readalongs together. 
So, there's my letter to myself, a few months later, and one year later of blogging. What are your thoughts on how your first year of blogging went? Or, if you're still a newer blogger like myself, how has blogging been for you thus far? And if you're interested in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon, Katelyn and Alexa hosted it in February and it was a lot of fun!

From the paper world,

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Struggles and the Fun

One of the reasons I love blogging so much is how it is multidimensional. There's the creative aspect, such as coming up with blog posts and writing them, and then there's technical aspects, like formatting, scheduling, and of course there's the social aspect of talking with other bloggers, etc. So, while we're still celebrating Paper Worlds being around for a year, I wanted to share some of the things I love about blogging... and some of the not-so-fun stuff for me.

no. 1 - Formatting

I had some notes jotted down for how I wanted this post to go, and under cons I had written 'Formatting. Formatting is doom.' I think that can summarize my feelings on the subject. I'm still not very savvy about the technical details about posting, which is why my posts lack gifs and more fancy add ins (If you're good at that sort of thing by the way, help the technological beginner?) but just figuring out how to lay out a post just so, including any additional things, these are the minute details that are probably not my favorite part of blogging.

no. 2 - Coming up with blog posts
This can be a super fun thing for me, and sometimes it can be staring at a blank screen. Am I the only one who has those days when I can't type out the blog posts fast enough and then has days when I sit there for thirty minutes and only succeed in logging on? However, coming up with something new makes the whole process worthwhile.

no. 3 - Scheduling

This is how most of my blog posts happen. During one of those creative, write-all-the-posts days, I'll normally schedule things out from a week in advance to a month. That way, when I can't figure out what to write or get super busy, I know that the posts are still written and created.

no. 4 - Talking with bloggers, authors, and book people
My. Favorite. Part. This is why I joined the book blogosphere, and I don't regret it. Interacting with other bloggers, having readalongs, seeing others' amazing posts and reviews and commenting back and forth have all been absolutely wonderful experiences I've loved wholeheartedly. Blogging has been so wonderful because of this.

So, there are some different aspects of blogging and my thoughts on them. Thank you again to you all for making this such a fantastic experience thus far, and I hope you all are finding wonderful books! I'll see you next time.

From the paper world,


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Books I Want to Reread - Top Ten Tuesday

Rereading books is something I've been enjoying more recently, so today's Top Ten Tuesday is especially appropriate! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature by The Broke and the Bookish, with a new theme each week to pick 10 books for. I've always been a fan of taking books back off the shelf and rereading my favorite parts, and lately I've been starting to reread books in their entirety, so I thought I would give 5 books I pick up to reread parts of, and 5 I would reread the whole book of.

5 Books I Would Reread Parts Of -

City of Glass, City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
These are two books but they're from the same series so... *shrugs* close enough. City of Glass and City of Lost Souls are my favorite books from the series. These two, to me, had a lot of character and story arc development.

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
This is a book where everything comes together into a huge finale. Rereading this brings back a lot of fond memories of the series, and I thought it would definitely be a nice addition to the list.

I love how unique this series is! This book explores the wonder of the Theatre Illuminata, and the writing style and world are incredible. I love the characters' wit and dry humor as well, and how the entire novel reads as this intricate tapestries of playmaking and storytelling.

Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
I was considering adding Ashes to Ashes onto this as well, but the last two books of this series are filled with plot twists and character development. I definitely reread parts of Fire with Fire often as I waited for Ashes to Ashes, and now I can reread parts of both!

This book is like a trip to Paris for me. I loved exploring the nooks and crannies of the city with Anna, and of course meeting her wonderful friends. I think this is the sort of story that swept me away with its writing, and I love reading back through parts of it from time to time.

5 Books I've Reread Completely or Want To Soon

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
This was a Jenny Han book I really loved. The narrator is awkward yet not in an overly exaggerated sense- she's funny and quirky, and I loved reading her perspective. Also, this whole adventure is really fun, and I think I've reread this book, if not in its entirety (which I probably have), then almost, and I probably will reread it again before the sequel comes out!

The plot definitely thickened in this sequel! I've reread most of Unhinged numerous times, and so I think by now I've definitely reread the book. I cannot wait for Ensnared!

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
Another sequel where character development and story lines are expanded upon. Things are definitely more than they appear, and this is a sequel that I enjoyed even more than the first, and made me very excited for the next book in the series.

You may have seen in my recent book haul that I picked up a copy of this book. It's my favorite from the Gemma Doyle trilogy, and I think a reread will be in order soon!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
This is actually a book I'm currently rereading along with my other current reads. This series is one that means a lot to quite a few people, and I'm excited to be going back through and rereading the books. I think I'll sporadically continue on rereading it and possibly go on to the rest of the Harry Potter series, or just reread my favorites.

So, there's my Top Ten Tuesday! Let me know your picks for this week.

From the paper world,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

One Year

It's amazing to think it's been a year already since this post went live on Paper Worlds and Swirls of Ink. One Year. I can't believe how a year has already gone by. I remember messaging my friend talking about how I'd wanted to start a blog like this but never had the gumption. Finally, one day I just made the blog, and a few days later posted a wrap up of the books I'd read in October. It's definitely not the fanciest post I've ever written, but my excitement and enthusiasm couldn't be contained. I was so excited to join the world of book blogging.

And what a wonderful world it is! This year with Paper Worlds and Swirls of Ink has seen me through some big changes and some wonderful times. I've had the opportunity to interact with other bookish people, and share my love for books with others. It's been amazing to just have others who share this excitement for reading, and talking about our favorite books, recommending some to others, and discovering new books along the way. I've found some truly wonderful reads through interacting with others through the blog, so thank you for that!

I have many, many more 'thank you's to say, but I'm going to save that for later on this month. I'll just say now that there are so, so many people who have done something to make my day as a blogger, or been truly helpful and thoughtful. I couldn't have imagined how there would be so many wonderful things to come from this blog. I think that this community is something special. Weekly features allow us to connect and talk about things we have in common, we can talk about how we buy far too many books, but find ones that we truly love and really have meaning for us, set goals and challenges for us to meet. Blogging has allowed me to celebrate reading with others, and it's been such an amazing experience thus far. I did not know if I would end up blogging a week, a month, however long. But I've loved being involved in the book blogging community and one year later, I'm so happy to still be a part of it. 

I hope you enjoy celebrating One Year of Paper Worlds and Swirls of Ink with me, and stay tuned for more posts to come! 

From the Paper World,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - The 'How Long Has It Been Since My Last Post' Edition

Apologies for my sporadic posting lately! I'm getting a few behind the scenes things in order for celebrating Paper Worlds and Swirls of Ink's One Year of Blogging Celebration! Anyways, in the meantime I wanted to include a mini book haul today! 
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews, and it's an opportunity to share some of the books you've picked up recently! My book buying has definitely been on the decline lately, but I did find some really wonderful books recently and thought I'd share them with you all!

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
This is the sequel to The 5th Wave, which I read last autumn and really enjoyed the book. It was thrilling, fast paced, and very unique and so I was super happy to pick up the sequel. You can read my review of The 5th Wave if you haven't yet picked up this series- I think it's a sci fi post apocalyptic with some thriller elements mixed in.

This is the final book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, which I read several years ago. I definitely enjoyed the series, but The Sweet Far Thing was by far my favorite book in the series by far. It really moved me, especially by the conclusion. So, I was really happy to pick up a copy.

I don't think I've ever mentioned it before on the blog, but I do enjoy history, and the Tudor era of English history has always been especially interesting to me. It's a time of huge changes within the time, and I knew a lot about Henry VIII and his different wives. However, I'm really excited for this book set during the Tudor court of the time because it focuses on figures I know relatively little about, and having read a chapter of this months ago while browsing a book shop, I loved the writing style. Lately, I've been wanting a historical fiction read too, so I'm very excited for this!

There is my book haul! Let me know if you've read any of these and your thoughts on them, and if you picked up some books feel free to let me know about that as well!

From the paper world,