A blogging update

It’s been about 10 months since I started this blog and it has gone through some pretty big changes in that time, so I wanted to do a quick update about how far it’s come, and hopefully will go! When I started I never imagined how welcoming and supportive the book blogging community could be, but you’ve all taken me in and accepted me as one of your own, and I can’t express how grateful I am!

Then…

When I started this blog it was intended to be somewhere I could post about my writing progress and share reviews of books I read, but having discovered book tags and awards, memes and blog hops, it’s become so much more than that. The interaction is my favourite part of blogging now, being tagged by other bloggers and chatting in the comments, hopping around everyone’s posts, whether it’s Top Ten Tuesday or the Author Toolbox.

I hope you enjoy the kinds of posts I share as much as I enjoy writing them! If there’s anything you’d like to see more of, or less of, just let me know in the comments.

Blogging update Lyndsey's Book Blog

Now…

So, you might have noticed I gave the blog a bit of a refresh a few months ago, changing the template and layout etc. I also created a page where all my review are archived for ease, and I wanted to ask if you would appreciate having the star ratings listed on this page too? At the moment the star rating is only in each review, I don’t list it in the blog titles or on the Reviews page. Let me know what you would prefer in future.

I also created a page where you can find out more about my own books and what I’m currently writing. There’s also a link to sign up and download the first three chapters of The Fair Queen, my first novel, which I’m about to enter into #PitchWars. I’m so nervously excited about the pitching process, but I feel like this competition will be my best bet for finding representation and a good way to throw myself into the querying trenches. If you’ve taken part in a previous Pitch Wars or you’re planning to enter this year let me know in the comments! I’ve entered #menteeshelpingmentees, so I can’t wait to find out if I’ve won and one of the past mentees is going to help me perfect my entry. I’ll keep you all up to date with how everything goes!

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I joined Netgalley this week, which – for those of you who don’t know – is a website where publishers and indie authors post their upcoming books and bloggers, librarians, school teachers and other influencers can request e-ARCs (electronic advanced reader copies) to read and review or decide whether to stock it on release. I applied for a couple of books and quickly received polite rejection emails, so I googled how to get accepted and found lots of advice for improving my profile and increasing my chances of getting the books I want. I downloaded a couple of the Read Now books, which are books that everyone is automatically accepted for, to give my feedback on and start building my profile up. Hopefully, before long I’ll be getting exciting ARCs like some of the fabulous, established bloggers I follow.

I also signed up to the Book Depository affiliates program, which you might have seen if you’ve read any of my recent reviews. This is a scheme where I share links to the Book Depository website for any books I mention in a blog post, and if any of you click through and decide to buy it I can earn 5% commission. It doesn’t affect my reviews, they’re still completely my own opinions and I’m not being paid to share them, or even encouraged to read and review particular books. So nothing will change around here except that you can now click on a book title and buy the book and support my blog at the same time!

I also started posting my reviews on Goodreads, and shared another YouTube video of an Illumicrate unboxing, and I plan to make more videos, so let me know what kinds of BookTube videos you love in the comments!

And I joined Bookstagram, but I haven’t posted any photos yet as all my books are currently packed ready for the move! I’d love it if you popped across to Instagram and followed my new account, it’s @lyndleloo_books and I’ll post my first bookstagram photo soon…

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In a couple of days, Camp Nano begins (I’m also moving house, but that’s a whole other story) and I’ll be starting to write the first draft of a completely new WIP, tentatively called Cockle Shells and Silver Bells. It’s a YA magical realism reimagining of The Secret Garden, which I can’t stop thinking about and I’m hoping will be really fun to write! Since finishing The Fair Queen and handing it over to beta readers last month I’ve been desperate to start something new, but I’ve taken my time in planning and outlining my new WIP so that I’ll have everything pretty much in order by July 1st for Camp.

I’ve set my target at 35k, which is the most I’ve ever achieved during Nano, so fingers crossed I’ll at least achieve that, but with the aforementioned house move I’m not too sure. At the end of the day, words are words, and any achievement is a success, so I’m not too worried. Wish me luck!

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Next…

I’ve been thinking about moving this blog over to a new domain and hosting, but I’m not exactly sure how it all works so I’ve been putting it off until now. I’m planning to make the move in a few months, once I’m all settled in my new house and everything is back to normal, so I’ll keep you all posted when the time comes. It shouldn’t affect how you see my blog, I’ll be sticking with WordPress, just moving to the self-hosted version, so I should still appear in the Reader, etc.

If you have any tips for moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, leave them in the comments please!

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It’s been a whirlwind ten months, what with starting and growing this blog, finishing my first novel and preparing to enter a pitch competition, discovering and taking part in two (soon to be three) NaNoWriMos, joining BookTube and Bookstagram, and everything else that’s gone on at home and work, but I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’m enjoying being a part of the online bookish community so much, you’re such a crazy, sweet and fun bunch and I love reading all your posts and chatting with you in the comments and on Twitter. I’ve definitely found where I belong, and I’m looking forward to many years of being a part of this amazing community and getting to know you all better!

Thanks for reading, and being a part of my little blogging world 🙂

Lyndsey

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Hello there! I read A Court of Wings and Ruin last month and I can’t believe it’s over, so I thought I’d do a round up review of the whole A Court of Thorns and Roses series for those of you who haven’t read it yet. I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but there will be spoilers for book one if you read on to books two and three!

ACOTAR A Court of Thorns and Roses Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses – book #1

Feyre lives with her father and sisters in a ramshackle cabin near the woods, made cosy by her painted murals on the walls and furniture. Times are hard, and her father is unable to work since his leg injury. Her sisters, Elain and Nesta, are too stubborn, spoilt and helpless to do anything to provide for the family, so the responsibility falls to Feyre.

One day, she’s hunting a deer in the forest when she spots an enormous wolf also stalking the animal. She realises immediately that it isn’t a normal wolf, it’s one of the fae from the other side of the wall, the magical beings that enslaved humans for centuries until a war resulted in the wall being constructed to separate the two realms. She shoots the wolf, not wanting to let it deprive her family of a good meal.

Later that night, a hideous beast bursts into their cabin and demands that she come with him to Prythian, on the other side of the wall, in exchange for the life she took. Feyre goes with him, terrified he will kill her family if she doesn’t. There, she discovers that the stories told about the fae amongst humans aren’t all true, and she finds herself torn between her family and their home in the human realm, and the wondrous, magical new world she has discovered.

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I enjoyed book one, I’d probably give it a solid 3.5, maybe 4 stars. It begins as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, before taking a serious curve around halfway through. It was at the halfway point that I really started to enjoy it, the action ramps up and some really fascinating characters start to come into their own. ACOTAR is slow going at first, but I recommend you persevere, because it’s about to get SO GOOD…

A Court of Mist and Fury Sarah J Maas Lyndsey's Book Blog

A Court of Mist and Fury – book #2

After the events of book one, Feyre is back at the Spring Court with Tamlin, a tattoo representing her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court, covering her arm from fingertip to elbow. She’s struggling with PTSD and depression after everything she went through Under the Mountain, and planning her wedding to Tamlin is the last thing on her mind.

She can never return to the human realm and her old life, too much has changed, including her. When Rhysand finally calls in their bargain and forces her to spend one week a month at the Night Court with him, she’s pretty angry, but any excuse to get away from the Spring Court and all the wedding talk is welcome.

Meeting Rhysand’s friends and family, seeing a side of him she never could have imagined after the events Under the Mountain, Feyre begins to wonder if he is really the monster everyone says he is, or if there could be more to him than meets the eye…

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OK, there is no denying it, or being coy, ACOMAF is the best book I have ever read in my entire life. This is a solid 5 stars, and if I had more I’d give them to it. The book hangover I was left with when I finished it was the worst I have experienced since Harry Potter ended ten years ago. What did I love so much about it? Only everything! The new characters are all amazing – flawed and layered, with fully realised back stories and motivations of their own. The relationship that develops between Feyre and Rhysand is the stuff of #relationshipgoals, the setting of Velaris is dreamy and beautifully described, the events of the book are heartbreaking, surprising, wonderful and terrible.

Just read it. If you found ACOTAR a bit of a slog, or you didn’t even both finishing, do, and then pick this one up. You won’t regret it.

A Court of Wings and Ruin Sarah J Maas Lyndsey's Book Blog

A Court of Wings and Ruin – book #3

Feyre is once again at the Spring Court with Tamlin, wishing she was in Velaris with her husband and sisters, especially after what happened in Hybern at the end of ACOMAF. But, she’s got a plan to get back to her family, she just needs to hide her true feelings and abilities until the time is right to make her move.

The King of Hybern is mobilising his troops and plotting to tear down the wall between the two realms, enslaving those humans that are not killed in the ensuing battle. A meeting of the High Lords is called, uniting the leaders of all seven courts for the first time in centuries. Old rivalries are renewed and old wounds are reopened, but the only way to stop the King of Hybern is to put their issues aside and work together.

With battle imminent and the outcome of the war uncertain, relationships start and end, bonds are formed and broken, and loyalties are tested to breaking point.

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ACOWAR had a lot of living up to do if it was going to surpass ACOMAF, and it didn’t quite reach those realms of perfection, but I felt it was a really enjoyable and satisfying ending to the series. I gave it 4 stars, I enjoyed it more than ACOTAR, but a lot less than ACOMAF. There are a few things I would change if I could, but overall it was the right way to end the story, and it definitely did justice to the the characters and the world Maas has created. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about this spin-off series Sarah has planned (if not already written). I’ve no idea who will feature, if any of the characters we have come to love will, or whether it is a prequel or a sequel, or a companion series, but I’ll be at the front of the queue the day it releases in bookstores.

 

Have you read the ACOTAR series? Did you enjoy ACOWAR? How did you feel about the way the story concluded? Let me know your thoughts and feelings (because let’s be honest, this series is all about the feelings) in the comments.

 

Lyndsey

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I am a member of the Book Depository affiliate program, so if you click through and buy any of the books mentioned in this blog I might make a little commission, but I am not paid to review books and all reviews are my own opinions!