Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Black History Month Giveaway Hop

The Black History Month Giveaway Hop hosted by myself and Mocha Girls Read is here!  It starts today and will end February 7th.  This Giveaway Hop will kick of an entire month focused on celebrating authors and characters of color and those who support them.  The participating blogs are below.  Please feel free to visit each one and enter their giveaways.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: I Loved You First

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
    My Teaser: Today's Teaser comes from I Loved You First by Reena Jacobes.  I just started it.  Though it sounds like a spoiler, it really isn't.  This teaser appears on page two of the book.  I can't help but be drawn in!

    "Besides, what he'd told no one but me was a little something I wished I could forget... or ignore.  He was gay.  Gay wouldn't be bad if I wasn't so in love with him."
    Be sure to share a link to your teaser!

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    Comment Changes and Black History Month Hop Updates

    Comment Changes:

    I have finally fixed the comment issues with my blog.  I apologize to everyone who had problems (even I had problems).  I've gone back to blogger comments but my problems had nothing to do with my switch from IntenseDebate to Disqus and from Disqus to blogger. My problems had everything to do with my template.  It took a long time reproducing my template to find the issue but I finally found it.  Notice the missing brown background behind the sidebar...

    My thoughts on IntenseDebate and Disqus:  I switched from the IntenseDebate comment system because I felt like the system had been abandoned by its developers and support was lacking.  I really really loved Disqus.  If you are looking for a comment system, I would choose Disqus hands down.  I loved how quickly support responded to me and it was an easy system to work with.

    Ultimately, I wanted my comments to belong to me and I didn't want to worry about getting my comments back if I didn't like a system or if a system stopped supporting a feature.  With the changes made by blogger and the issues with my comments, it seemed the perfect time to switch back to blogger.

    IntenseDebate Users... IntenseDebate does not currently have a method for you get your comments back to blogger BUT you can import them to Disqus.  If you import your comments to Disqus and then sync (it's an option) them to blogger.  All your comments will return to blogger.  You can keep Disqus or delete it but you will have all your comments.

    Black History Month Reminder:

    The Black History Month Hop hosted by myself and Mocha Girls Read is just around the corner.  It isn't too late to sign up if you want to participate.

    Looking for some books by African American authors?  Try Mohogany Books and Goodreads for ideas.

    Check out this post for more information about the hop and tell us about your interest levels.

    So far 21 blogs are signed up for the Giveaway Blog Hop.  Click here to join.

    Don't forget, participants will be entered in giveaways for each week they participate.  We can't wait!  We know this will be an informative and fun week.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Review: Our Man in the Dark

    Our Man in the Dark by Rashad Harrison
    Genre: historical noir
    Pages: 302 ( Hardback)
    Source: TLC BookTours

    Feeling underappreciated and overlooked, John Estem, a bookkeeper for Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), steals ten thousand dollars from the organization. Originally planning to use the money to seed a new civil rights initiative in Chicago, he squanders the stolen funds.
    To the bookkeeper’s dismay, the FBI has been keeping close tabs on Dr. King and his fellow activists—including Estem—for years. FBI agents tell Estem that it is his duty, as an American and as a civil rights supporter, to protect the SCLC from communist infiltration. The FBI offers Estem a stipend, but in case he has any thoughts about refusing the assignment, they also warn him that they know about the stolen money.

    Playing informant empowers Estem, but he soon learns that his job is not simply to relay information on the organization. Once the FBI discovers evidence of King’s sexual infidelities, they set out to confirm the facts to undermine King’s credibility as a moral leader and bring down the movement. This timely novel comes in light of recent revelations that government informants had infiltrated numerous black movement organizations. With historical facts at the core of Our Man in the Dark, Harrison uses real life as a great inspiration for his drama-filled art.

    My Rating:
    My Review:

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Why I Love Wednesdays... Types of Endings

    Reflections of a Bookaholic

    I am returning with my new feature... Why I love which takes place on Wednesdays. Today's proclamation of love concerns our Favorite Types of Endings.

    Why I Love...Happily Ever Afters

    So many people complain about authors who feel the need to tie everything into a neat happy bow.  Obviously this isn't realistic.  It might even be seen as a bit sappy.  BUT... I'm a sappy kind of girl.  *gasp*  I know.  Seriously.  Don't let this get out to just anybody.

    I definitely read to escape the real world and it wouldn't be a true escape if the people I read about didn't end up happy at the end.  Not normal happy either.  It's got to be the big grandiose almost everything falls into place for the main character kind of endings.  I can't help it.  Don't judge me.

    The girl has to get the guy (or catch the bad guy), the promotion, AND the forgiveness of the [mom, sister, best friend, or whatever the problem].  Who gets everything?!  The characters I like to read about :)  I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I can never get enough of that feel good feeling that comes when everything ends up just right.  Maybe Disney warped me as a child.  Happy endings put a smile on my face every time.

    Which endings do you love? Feel free to create your own post and link up.  Don't want to create an entire post?  Tell me your favorites in the comments.  Thanks for stopping by for another week of Why I Love Wednesdays!!

    If you want to play along, feel free to grab the image (there is a button on the right sidebar now) and link your post in the linky. Here goes.

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Bookish Stumbles

    As many of you know from my previous post about my brother's car accident, I've had a lot of time hanging out in hospitals.  I can't always focus on my current read for various reasons and I've found myself glued to Stumble Upon.  Here are a couple of my cool finds...

    1.  What Sticks: Five 2011 Books That Stay With You
    While I have yet to read the books mentioned in this article.  The article really made me think.  I find that the books that really stuck with me last year might or might not have been books that received the highest rating in my reviews.  The Hunger Games trilogy and The Book Thief stuck with me and received top ratings. I rated books like The Peach Keeper and The Girl Who Chased the Moon with the slightly lower "good" rating, though they both stuck with me long after I've completed them.  I'm not quite sure what this means.

    What about you?  Do you find that some of your most enjoyable reads slipped from your mind and some of the others stuck with you?

    2.  The Best 100 Opening Lines from Books
    I don't keep track on opening lines in books but this article made me wish I did.  I might start including them in my reviews.  We'll see.  When browsing this page and reading the first lines, I fell in love with many of the books all over again.  An author who nails the first line, gets me every time.

    Do you keep track of the first lines of books?  What are some of your favorites?

    3.  BookBrowse
    I found a new book site that I've never heard.  Though I've yet to fully explore it, I'm definitely intrigued.

    Anyone ever heard of used BookBrowse?

    I've got more but I'll share them later.  I'll also do a What Are Non-Bloggers Reading (Hospital edition) soon.  I'm still trying to quietly stalk readers.

    My brother is finishing his second week in the hospital and I think we are looking at another week here.  Each day is better and better.  Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Why I Love Wednesdays Back Next Week

    Reflections of a Bookaholic

    Why I Love Wednesdays will return next week and I think it will be better than ever.  I just want to thank everyone for the topic ideas.  We were able to generate more topics than available weeks in 2012.  Reading everyone's ideas really invigorated me and made me excited again.

    Here are the coming topics:

    Jan. 25: Types of Endings
    Feb. 1: Book Challenges
    Feb. 8: Author Blogs
    Feb. 15: Love Stories
    Feb. 22: Book Worlds
    Feb. 29: Book Jewelry
    March 7Favorite Title

    I'll update topics toward the end of February and you will always be able to find them on my right sidebar.  As I do a few modifications to the site, you'll be able to find them in other places as now.

    There will be a linky every week.  Be sure to add your title and blog link so other blogs can hop around as well.

    If you haven't joined in previously.  Take a lookie here at some of the previous topics.  I would love for those interested to jump in.  

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Review: A Lawman's Christmas

    A Lawman's Christmas by Linda Lael Miller
    Genre: Romance, Historical Romance
    Pages:249 (Galley)
    Source: Netgalley


    The sudden death of the town marshal leaves Blue River, Texas, without a lawman…and twenty-five-year-old Dara Rose Nolan without a husband. As winter approaches and her meager seamstress income dwindles, she has three options. Yet she won't give up her two young daughters, refuses to join the fallen women of the Bitter Gulch Saloon and can't fathom condemning herself to another loveless marriage. Unfortunately she must decide—soon—because there's a new marshal in town, and she's living under his roof. With the heart of a cowboy, Clay McKettrick plans to start a ranch and finally settle down. He isn't interested in uprooting Dara Rose and her children, but he is interested in giving her protection, friendship—and passion. And when they say "I do" to a marriage of convenience, the temporary lawman's Christmas wish is to make Dara Rose his permanent wife….

    My Rating:
    My Review:

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Updates, Reminders, and Miracles

    Updates & Reminders:

    We are still gearing up for the Black History Month Hop hosted by myself and Mocha Girls Read.  Some people have expressed interest in participating but don't have books by African American authors to read and review.  We completely understand and feelings along this sentiment are part of the reasons for this hop.

    Looking for some books by African American authors?  Try Mohogany Books and Goodreads for ideas.

    Check out this post for more information about the hop and tell us about your interest levels.

    So far 15 blogs are signed up for the Giveaway Blog Hop.  Click here to join.

    Don't forget, participants will be entered in giveaways for each week they participate.  We can't wait!  We know this will be an informative and fun week.


    Fortunately, this blog has been running itself this week.  Tuesday, I received a phone call letting me know that my baby brother had been in a car accident.  Turns out, he was hit by an 18 wheeler.  If you want to hear more about this 2012 miracle, you can click here for the back story. and here for pictures of his car (I've never seen anything like this in my life).  His survival is a true miracle.

    So...I'm hanging out in ICU, praying, and feeling blessed.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Mini-Review: Delirium the Special Edition

    Delirium by Lauren Oliver
    Delirium trilogy
    Genre: Dystopia, YA
    Pages: 441 (Kindle for iPad)
    Source: Bought
    Author's Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

    “You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”
    Quick-Thoughts: Love. Eloquent. Sweet.
    Delirium is a sweet story that starts a bit slow but by the end it will have you sitting on the edge of your seat with your heart pounding.  Here we find Lena who is months away from the procedure that will cure her of the disease that has been identified as love.  Surprisingly, Lena believes in the society, and although she has fears of pain or of something going wrong, she looks forward to getting the cure.  I found this a bit unexpected, but it is one of the things that allowed me to disappear in the story.  The world-building is thorough while leaving much to explore in future reads.  I wouldn't call the ending a cliff-hanger because there seems to be a clear resolution of sorts though it broke my heart a little bit.  I will be looking forward to Pandemonium.  Read this if you are interested in a sweet romance and a very interesting take on love.

    This book satisfies the Dystopia 2012 Challenge & the Eclectic Reader Challenge

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Black History Month Hop: More Details & Interest Survey

    Black History Month Hop

    Feb.1 to Feb. 29
    Hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic and Mocha Girls Read

    Purpose:  To give black authors, books and those who support them a month in the spotlight.  

    Before the hop the hosts site will open the link for entry.  Your site can post anything related to the weeks topic.  Your site must link to the host site and add the button to the post as well.

    Weekly Topics for the Black History Month Hop:
        1st - 7th Black History Month Giveaway Hop:  
    The prize has to be a book by a black author, or about black characters, or regarding black history.   Gift cards  and books of choice from the Book Depository are welcomed as well.

        2nd - 4th Around Town:  
    For these three days post must be about black history month events  and/ bookish events in your city, state, or on the web.  
    TOPIC IDEAS:  Museums special programming, parades, school events, storytelling at the library, movie festivals, art shows, giveaways, online events.

        5th - 11th The Business of Black Books:  
    This week focuses business related topics pertaining to black authors.   
    TOPIC IDEAS:  Interview a black author about getting published, interview or feature a black owned bookstore, interview black publishers or publishers about black books, guest post and giveaways 

        12th - 18th  Black Love:  This week focuses on black romance novels and love stories.  
    TOPIC IDEAS:  Interview a black romance author, review black romance books, your thoughts on the topic, character list, guest post and giveaways 

        19th - 25th  Black Books:  
    This a week focuses on black books generally.  Any genre, any author, and/or anything related to black books.  TOPIC IDEAS:  Book reviews, interviews, guest post and giveaways 

        26h - 29th  The Best of...:
    This is all about the list.  Write you own list about your favorites during this week.
    TOPIC IDEAS:   The top 5 black authors, the top 10 black YA books, the 10 black books everyone should read, the 5 black books I love, giveaways 

    Why join this hop?  One to raise awareness of black authors and black topics in books.  Two, to promote diversity in mainstream literature.  Three,  because we are giving a prize each week to one lucky blogger. 

    Think you are interested in participating?  Please fill out this form and let us know :) 

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Review: Dragon Bound

    Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
    Elder Races #1
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Pages: 312 (paperback)
    Source: Giveaway win
    Author's Site | Facebook | Twitter

    Half-human and half-Wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the Wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful—and passionate—of the Elder Races. As the most feared and respected of the Wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they've ignited in each other. Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave—although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul.

    My Rating:
    My Review... 

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Review: All the Flowers in Shanghai

    All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson
    Genre: Historical Fiction, Cultural - China
    Pages: 302 (ARC)
    Source: TLC Book tours

    All the Flowers in Shanghai is Jepson's stunning debut novel. Set in 1930s Shanghai,the Paris of the East, but where following the path of duty still takes precedence over personal desires, a young Chinese woman named Feng finds herself in an arranged marriage to a wealthy businessman. In the enclosed world of her new household-a place of public ceremony and private cruelty-she learns that, above all else, she must bear a male heir. Ruthless and embittered by the life that has been forced on her, Feng seeks revenge by doing the unthinkable. Years later, she must come to a reckoning with the decisions she has made to assure her place in family and society, before the entire country is caught up in the fast-flowing tide of revolution.

    My Rating:

    My Review:

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Black History Month Giveaway Hop Sign-Ups

    Black History Month Giveaway Hop
    February 1st - 7th.
    Hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic & Mocha Girls Read

    This giveaway kicks off the month-long Black History Hop, which will focus on giving black authors, books, and those who support them a month in the spotlight.  If you are interested in hosting a giveaway during this month please sign-up in the linky below.

    Hop Rules:
    1. Each participating blog will host a giveaway on their site.
    2. Your giveaway must be a book by a black author, about black characters, or regarding black history. 
    3. Giveaways of gift cards, or a book of choice from The Book Depository are welcome as well.
    4. Anyone is well welcome to join.
    5. This hop is open to any blogger who wants to participate at any given time during the month.  If the site is adult rated, please indicate it in your linky name. (ex.  blog name *adult*)
    To enter, please add your blog to the linky with your shipping information in parenthesis.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Review: Attachments

    Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
    Genre: Chick-lit, Contemporary Fiction
    Pages: 321 (Hardback)
    Source: Won in a giveaway
    Author's Website | Twitter

    Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period. When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories. But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him. Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met

    My Rating:
    My Review:

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Friday Memes: Bookshelf Numbers & Reading Resolutions

    Follow Friday Question of the Week:
    Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

    Ummm...I'm not at home to look at my bookshelf but I have 156 books on my iPad (still geeking because I have an iPad!).  On top of that I have 56 Accepted Review Requests!! The last time we had to count a couple of months ago, I had 46 books on my TBR list.  Hmmm...blogging...has made my addiction to books so much worse.

    Hi!!  Welcome everyone who stops by.  If you have a chance take a look around :)  I'm really looking forward to hopping.  Figured had to get have some fun before starting school next week.

    A couple of things:

    If you have problems commenting, click on the title and it works.  I'm working on it, I promise.

    Pawing Through BooksThank you for the Topics for Why I Love Wednesdays!!  I really appreciated the help.  We were able to generate 53 topic ideas.  How awesome is that?!

    Oh and be sure to visit this week's features, the lovely Book Den and Pawing through Books.

    TGIF at GReads Question of the Week:
    What are some of your reading goals for the new year?

    • Well I set a goal to read 75 books on the GoodReads challenge which is more than the 60 book goal I set last year but still fewer than 84 books I read last year.
    • I really want to get more reading time in.  I spend too much time blogging and not enough time reading and I don't really like that.
    • I want to venture out of my comfort zone and try other genres like steampunk, zombie books, and I'm still looking for that perfect ghost book.
    • I want to read some of the books on my bookshelf.  Many of them are books I bought because of recommendations of other bloggers.  Others are some that I saw in a book store and had to have.  I want to read them.  I really do.

    Coming Soon! Black History Month Hop

    I'm so excited to let you guys know about an event coming in February.  Mocha Girls Read and I are co-hosting the Black History Blog Hop.  This hop will focus on giving black authors, books, and those who support them a month in the spotlight.  Although there are plenty out there, it can be hard to find great books that feature minorities as main characters.  We really wanted to feature them and bring them to the forefront and February seems a great time to do it.

    The month will include giveaways, weekly topics, and all genres.  We'll also host giveaways for other blogs that  join in.

    Look out an upcoming post that will allow interested blogs to link-up to host a Giveaway.

    We'll also post a form for those who are interested in participating to sign-up so we give out more information.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Why I Love Wednesdays...Discussion Topics Needed...Help!

    Why I Love Wednesdays is a weekly meme where I get to gush about my favorites within a given topic.  I mentioned previously that I was considering discontinuing the feature.  However, after much reflection, I realized that I just can't let it go.  I really love talking about the things that I love and sharing with everyone when I find new loves.

    If this sounds like something you are interested in, please feel free to join in every Wednesday.  I usually post very early in the day and it includes a linky so that everyone can hop and see everyone's posts.  Feel free to tak e a look at some of my previous posts.  You can find them here.

    But I need your help.  Please share with me some gush-worthy topics so that we can start fresh.  Just think of things you are loving right now and suggest a topic idea.  I would really really really appreciate it.  Hope to hear from you soon :)

    Oh and don't forget I'm giving away Mockingjay because someone gave it to me.  You can click here to read about that and enter the giveaway.

    Also, don't forget I'm answering questions as part of my Blogoversary reflections.  If you have any for me.  You can fill them out in the form here.

    Remember...topic suggestions...much appreciated!

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Review: The Book Thief

    The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
    Genre: YA | Historical Fiction | WWII fiction
    Pages: 418 (iPad Bluefire Reader)
    Source: Purchased
    Author's Facebook

    It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . . Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

    My Rating:
    My Review:

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    1st Blogoversary! - Giveaway to follow

    Well Reflections of a Bookaholic is now ONE years old!!! Um..yes.  Crazy.  I've come a long long way. My first post was title "Welcome" and my mom commented on it and I commented on it twice. lol.  So let's talk about this past year...

    Total followers: 1400
    Total pageviews: 222,834
    Total Book Reviews: 94
    Total Posts 266
    Unique visitors:  ?
    I don't know... when I changed the layout at the end of summer, I forgot to include the Google Analytics code.  Ooopsey!

    Most popular reviews:
    The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey (6,355 views, posted Aug. 5, 2011)
    The Imperfect Enjoyment by Dewan W. Gibson ( 4,499 views, posted July 10, 2011)
    The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen (4,034, posted on May 31, 2011)

    Most commented review:
    The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

    Most popular reflection posts:
    Reflection: How do you get out of a reading funk?
    Why I Love Wednesdays...Series or Stand-alone novels

    It's funny because it has been a year and I'm still struggling to figure out what is going on in the book blogging world.  I still feel lost sometimes.  But there are still times when I feel a bit old.  It doesn't happen often but usually I feel that way when one of my blogger friends stop blogging or decide to scale back.  I'm really really excited about entering year 2, here are a few things I'm thinking about or coming up.

    I get questions every once in a while about how I go about doing certain things or about blog growth and I don't mind answering them.  If you have any questions, fill free to leave them in the form below (it can be anonymous).  I'll answer them at the end of the week in a post or if I figure it out (and it doesn't look awful), I'll do my very first vlog.

    Questions Form

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