Saturday, May 26, 2018

How To Start A Successful Blog

First and foremost, I want to put out there that I am in no way an expert when it comes to blogging. I have only been at it for four months now. However, every single day I am immersing myself into the community and learning every single thing I can about blogging. To me, this isn't just a hobby. Maybe, it's the perfectionist in me but I like doing things fullforce and not half-assing things. Screw my french.. because lets be honest here. There's thousands of other competitors out there. What are you going to do to make your blog stand out? What sets you apart from other people? Those are the first two things I ask myself every day while working on my blog. For me, I like to work hard on my passions and being successful at it. I am sure that I am not in the minority here. 

With that being said, here is some of the tricks and things I have learned over the last four months or so that can help you when starting your very first blog. Before you do anything, decide first what you want to write about. This may be the hardest thing. What are your passions? What are you good at? Think about what you love more than anything. What do you spend most of your time doing? What types of people do you get along with? Who is your so to speak "tribe?" For me, this was the easiest thing to come up with because I love books more than anything in this world. Also, why are you wanting to start a blog? To meet new people, make income, promoting another business, or do you want a social media following? I always set goals before doing anything. I like looking at things from a long-term standpoint on where I want to be in so many years or months. Do some goal planning before you even start or open up the blog. 
So you've come up with a topic, established goals, came up with a name for your blog that will set you apart, and you have opened up your hosting. Think of a blog name you will not regret in the future or want to change. Something, you would want to use for years. This way readers will always be able to find you.

1. Make all social accounts and establish a following on other sites. 
Claim your blog on bloglovin' this is going to be a huge promoting tool for you. Literally follow hundreds of other blogs in your same topic. This is a huge way you are going to create readers to your blog. People like to read about the same things they are interested in. It's a pretty basic concept. I like reading other book blogs. I like making friends with book people. Book people are my tribe. If other blogs love your blog you can always link each others blogs on your pages and gain some of their readers as well. It's good to cross-promote.

You for sure need to have a twitter, pinterest, facebook page for your blog, and instagram. Add all people similar once again. The cycle just keeps going on and on. Social media is crucial in running a successful blog. But I am sure you already knew that.

2. Have pictures on all blog posts. 
Most people are visual and like looking at pretty professional looking posts. Think about your favorite websites or stores go to their pages and look at their ads and posts. Everything has pictures. Pictures make people more engaged.

3. Have a nice professional theme. 
Make your blog look functional and easy to use. A lot of people use their cell-phones while browsing nowadays so make sure you have a mobile theme as well. Link all of your social media accounts on the sidebars of your theme. That way readers can easily asscess them and follow you.

4. Have an email subscription widgit on your sidebar
This will let you get in touch with your readers. Also this is a great way to notify them when you have new posts on your blog and will help drive the views on your blog. You will be able to create newsletters and promote anything you wish. Many blogs use this function and make loads of money when emailing people to promote a product etc.

5. Write content that you believe in. 
Don't just write anything. Write about what you know and what you think sells. Put some thought into each post you make. I am way more likely to return to a blog that has fewer posts but exceptional ideas and writing. Don't just post anything random. Post something you would want to read. This is where Pinterest comes in handy for me and where I get most of my inspiration on posts.

6. Make sure your site has google analytics
As a blogger, you want to track your page views. What posts gain the most traffic etc. It's a good way to research what your readers like seeing and what they are not as interested in.

7. Make sure your blog has important pages
All blogs need a contact page. This is how people will get in touch with you if they have any questions. With that being said, please set up an email strictly for your blog that is professional. For example, don't use an email like that does not look professional. For me, I get hundreds of emails a day on my personal email from Target, Walmart, etc. So it's nice having a separate email just for bookish mail and inquiries from authors.

Have an about me page. People want to know who is behind the blog. These can be short and sweet or even on your sidebar. Just have an about me somewhere that is displayed.

You also need to have a disclosure or policy page. Apparently, this is the law if you are wanting to make a profit out of your blog. It also shows your audience that you are an honest and trustworthy person. You need to have a statement somewhere on your blog saying you are making money from a product etc.

8. Post consistently. 
If you don't post for a long time people will not return to your blog or forget about you. They will move along to another blog. Keep your name in their minds. The same goes with your social media accounts. Make sure you are posting to twitter, instagram, and pinterest daily.

Well, those are all the basics in starting a successful blog. I hope this helped you in some way. I am starting a new series on my blog about blogging tips etc. If you liked this post please comment down below and let me know what kind of tips or tricks you would like to learn about. I hope you are having a fabulous day.


The Greatest Showman Book Tag

the greatest showman

I am a huge musical fanatic and fan of this film. When I saw bookish bits blog doing this tag. I immediately knew I needed to do it as well. If you have not seen this film yet. You need to stop what you are doing and go get a copy immediately! You will not regret it. Thanks to this booky place for creating this tag.

1. The Greatest Show: A book that gave you all the feels
To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

This is my all-time favorite book. Atticus is my dream father. I adore all the characters and every single time I reread this novel I get all the warm fuzzies inside. Especially, when Scout first sees and speaks to Boo Radley. My love for this book will go on and on forever. When I think about this book, I realize why I fell in love with reading in the first place.

2. A Million Dreams: A book that left you dreaming after you finished it 
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I love this book so much. It's so heart-gripping and soul changing. This is one of those stories where years after reading it the first time... I find myself still thinking about it. This book had a huge impact on me when I first read it in elementary school. I also equate this novel with my love of reading. There are very few stories that have changed me and this is one of them. After finishing this book, I began to dream about my future and what life would bring. Thinking about how to make everyday count.

3. Come Alive: A book where a character finally accepts themselves
From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

This is the first book that came to mind when thinking about this question. Probably because I just read it last month. Plus, it really captures the essence of this question. The whole story is about Twinkle finding herself as a young girl and learning to accept herself for the way she is. Flaws and all. She has major growth throughout the story and learns how to stick up for herself. To not let people take advantage of her. Twinkle finds her own voice by the end of the novel and it's really empowering to read.

4. The Other Side: A character who changes your opinion of them
Jacob from The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

When I first read The Twilight Series in middle school, I could not stand Jacob! I was totally on team Edward's side. I could not understand how Bella could start falling for Jacob. Do not even get me started on New Moon. However, now that I am older, I side more with team Jacob and Edward annoys me. Jacob has become so much more appealing to me with age. HAHAHA. 

5. Never Enough – An author/series you could never get enough of 
Anything John Green, he is my guilty pleasure author and I will read all of his books. I don't even read the premise of the books anymore. I just automatically know I want to read them and add them to my TBR shelf. 

6. This Is Me - A book you love despite everyone hating it 
Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

I will admit that I had to look on Goodreads for this one to look at the lowest rating and the highest rating from me. I love everything about this series and the tv show. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. XOXO, GOSSIP GIRL<3

7. Rewrite The Stars - A bookish OTP that overcame a lot to finally be together 
Katniss and Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games

I don't really need to explain this one...

8. Tightrope: A book/series that gives you trust issues
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am not going to go into detail about this one. All I will say is that I was very much triggered by this book and had all kinds of feels mentally. 

9. From now on: A book you've ignored for so long, you need to read it ASAP
The whole Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. 

My dad keeps telling me to stop everything I am reading right now and quote, "YOU NEED TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW!!"

Well, that's it. Now I want to watch The Greatest Showman really bad. Maybe, I will just suffice for the soundtrack instead. 


Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

"Life's too short. I'm not." You might know her as a Tony Award-winning Broadway star, who originated the role of Galinda the Good Witch in the smash musical Wicked and won a Tony for 1999's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Or you may recognize her from her starring roles on TV—The West WingPushing DaisiesSesame Street...oh, and her Huge Hit Sitcom Kristin on NBC. (Huge hit. L.A. breast-implant huge. Ask either of the people who watched it.) Or maybe you saw her sexy spread in FHM magazine? Or her appearance on Pat Robertson's The 700 Club? Kristin is a wonderful collection of contradictions—but everyone who's ever met her remembers her as the little girl with the big voice. At four foot eleven, Kristin Chenoweth is an immense talent in a petite but powerful package. In this lively, laugh-out-loud book, Kristin shares her journey from Oklahoma beauty queen to Broadway leading lady, reflecting on how faith and family have kept her grounded in the dysfunctional rodeo of showbiz. The daughter of an engineer and a nurse, Kristin was singing in front of thousands at Baptist conventions by age twelve and winning beauty pageants by age twenty-two. (Well, actually she was second runner-up almost every freaking time. But, hey, she's not bitter.) On her way to a career as a professional opera singer, she stopped in New York to visit a friend and went on a whim to an audition. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and (she's quick to add) the grace of God, Kristin took Broadway by storm. But of course, into every storm, the occasional drizzle of disaster must fall. Filled with wit, wisdom, and backstage insight, A Little Bit Wicked is long on love and short on sleep; it's essential reading for Kristin's legions of fans and an uplifting story for anyone seeking motivation to follow his or her dreams—over the rainbow and beyond.

Title: A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages
Author: Kristin Chenoweth
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 240
My Rating: ★★★★★

The book summed up in a sentence: 
Kristin Chenoweth is a showstopper on and offstage.

My Thoughts:
I have always been a huge fan of Kristin Chenoweth since I was a very little girl. I had no idea she was adopted or what her life was like as a kid. She was a very hard worker and deserves everything she has worked so hard for. After reading about her way to fame, I grew to love her even more than I already did. If you don't know this heartstopping singer and actress. Stop everything you are doing right now and go watch some Youtube videos of her singing, dancing, and acting. You will begin to love her just as much as I do. She is easily hands down one of my idols. Not just because of her talent or charm. After reading her memoir, I have learned she has an all around beautiful heart and soul. There's very few books I have read where I am smiling and laughing the whole time reading it and her memoir did that for me. It was a very easy read and I read most of it in one sitting. Her writing is one big treat. If you need a book to get you out of a slump. Or you want a book that just flat out makes you smile please read this book. You will not regret it. I normally am very selective with nonfiction but this book was the icing on top of the cake. Not to mention there is a lot of insight into growing up and treating people the way you want to be treated. Chenoweth is full of spunk and grace.

A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages Buy from Barnes and Noble
A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Must Read YA Books Without Romance

Lately, I have been reading a lot of YA books with cheesy fluffy romance or first love scenarios. Let me say finding a YA book that does not have a romance is hard to come by. But yes, they do in fact exist. As a single girl in my 20s, I am tired of reading about romance period. At least for now anyways. I find myself getting annoyed very easily as I read the characters dialogue and watching them fall in love. I don't know maybe I am being more of a pessimist lately and just fed up with love in general. The thing is I find most love stories unrealistic and I am just tired of reading them and I am tired of being sappy. Love is just out of the cards in my life currently and I am fine with that. I like being single. As far as my reading tastes, I am more in the mood for a book with substance these days. I know I am not in the minority here and there are other people like me out there. So I began searching on the internet to compile a list of "Must read YA books without romance." So next time that you or I are fed up with the damsel in distress scenarios or another "Notebook" love romance. We can turn to this list. 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor. At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting - he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring.... In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close. The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own. Only it's different. At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself. 

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches. In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made and the light in us all that never goes out. 
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
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.
The Outsiders by SE Hinton
The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
Code Name Verity By Elizabeth Wein
Oct. 11th, 1943 - A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun. When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Do you have any other young adult books you can think of that doesn't have any romance? Leave them in the comments below. I am always looking for more suggestions.


*All novel descriptions/summaries above were taken from Goodreads.*