The Versatile Blogger Award!

versatile-blogger-awardA big thank you to Amy Berrett for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Please stop by her awesome blog and show her some love ❤

The Rules:

  • Show the award on your blog
  • Thank the person that has nominated you
  • Share 7 different facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 blogs of your choice
  • Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination

7 Facts:

1. I’m a HUGE Mets fan. DO NOT try to bother me during a game, especially when Matt Harvey is pitching. ❤

2. I enjoy making Indian curries and have built up a large spice collection. I’m always looking out for new recipes to try.

3. I’ve been to a handful of rugby matches but still don’t really understand the sport. Cricket is another sport I just don’t understand either. Can anyone explain? Hahaha.

4. Before becoming a teacher I was terrified of public speaking. Actually, I still am! I would get all shaky and twist whatever paper I was holding into a tiny ball. Having to do yearly speeches killed me in elementary school.

5. Being Canadian to most people means loving hockey and winter. I hate both! Being cold is horrible and I’m scared of skating. It all goes back to when I was in third grade. We had a PE class at a skating rink and we were all told to link arms. The girl next to me tripped, I fell and her skate blade went into my knee. I haven’t skated since.

6. I’m nearsighted and therefore wear contacts daily. I have two pairs of glasses but rarely wear them because I always feel awkward in them.

7. Growing up I always had pets. My family had a two dogs and a tank full of fish. Of course the fish fought each other and we ended up with only one in the end…but he was pretty cool and lived for years!

I Nominate:

Whew! That’s a lot of blogs! Of course you are under no obligation to do this. I didn’t check to see if you’ve done it before. Have a wonderful day everyone! ❤

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Twitter & Blogging

twitter-iconWhen I first started blogging I had a Twitter account, but didn’t really use it. I just retweeted interesting links (so exciting I know) and rarely checked it. I didn’t see the use for it. Not a lot of my real life friends use social media. I’m always the person pushing for them to sign up for Instagram or Snapchat. Twitter was like the friends wasteland. What’s the point when no one is going to read your tweets anyway?

Things changed when I discovered the bookish community. I kind of lurked in the background, reading bookish tweets and discovering new blogs. I had always wanted to blog but was super scared. I also didn’t join in discussions because the thought of speaking to people, even though they couldn’t see me, petrified me. Full disclosure: I’m naturally a shy person, especially around people I don’t know. Once I feel completely comfortable though watch out! 😛 This shyness translated to the online world and prevented me from trying to connect with others who shared my passion for all things books.

Once I created the blog my relationship with Twitter changed. I wrote posts but didn’t get very much traffic. No one knew my blog existed so how could they find it? I started off small, following WordPress sites and writing comments on other blogs. They weren’t earth shattering or in-depth but the baby steps built up my confidence. People weren’t so scary. They were actually pretty nice! But following sites and adding comments wasn’t enough for me. All of the bloggers I followed tweeted links to their blog posts on their accounts. Once I started doing this traffic did increase. People were slowing finding out about Rattle the Stars, which was great!

Another way Twitter has helped the blog has been through Twitter chats (a crazy huge step for my interaction with the online world). For me it’s been the best way to discover other blogs, build up relationships with other bloggers and interact with authors (which makes me so unbelievably nervous). The first chat I participated in was #BHPChat, a monthly blog hopping discussion hosted by @thebooktraveler and @Emren. I won a free eBook and gained a lot of new followers. The chat is on the last Tuesday of the month which is sometimes hard to make but the people are super kind and since it’s based on your blog, you get to share your favourite blog posts and get super helpful tips.

Another chat I regularly participate in is #BBTC. This chat is hosted by @bbookrambles and is usually on a Saturday evening and focused on a new soon to be released book. The questions are opened ended, there are no spoilers and knowledge of the book isn’t necessary, and the author usually joins in. Again, it’s great for getting your name and big out there and connecting with other bloggers and the author. I still get excited when an author tweets or follows you back. I’m always thinking: I’m so boring, why would they follow me?

Twitter has been good to me so far. I’ve not only promoted the blog, but met some wonderful people that share the same interests as me. Not to mention the author who I’ve been able to connect with and have full-on discussions with. It’s also helped boost my confidence. I’m still nervous and shy online, but slowly but surely it’s getting easier each day. 🙂 Also, feel free to add me on Twitter @JAtamanuk!

I would love to know about your relationship with Twitter. How have you used it to promote your blog? Do you participate in any chats?

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

25064648This week I am waiting on The Reader by Traci Chee. I’ve seen this book everywhere! It’s been promoted all over Twitter and across various blogs. This could be a good or bad thing, but so far all the reviews have been positive. I’m hoping it lives up to the hype because it sounds fantastic. *fingers crossed* Also, LOVE the cover. Oh, the colours and that intense face. YESSSS!!

Synopsis: Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

Top Ten Tuesday

Untitled.001Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The topic this week is: Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them.

I’ve taken this week’s topic and have narrowed it down to books that peaked my interest in a certain historical topic or time period. I love history. I’m a proud history nerd and love a good piece of historical fiction. In university, I focused mainly on German history but also dabbled in ancient Egypt and Islamic history. Thanks to some great books, I’ve expanded my knowledge and these are the books that drove me to do it. 🙂

What historical time periods/topics do you enjoy reading about? Have you read any of these books?

Cover Reveal!

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Let us know what you think of the NEW covers for Opposition and Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

Opposition (Lux, #5) and Shadows (Lux, #0.5) release on November 1, 2016

This cover reveal is brought to you by Entangled TEEN and YA Books Central!

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About Opposition:

Don’t miss Opposition, the fifth and final book in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s bestselling Lux series, now available as a standalone in print for the first time!

“An unmissable series!” –Samantha YoungNew York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street

“This is the stuff swoons are made of.” —Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Evil

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came. She can’t believe Daemon stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

Want to read the LUX series on your ereader? Each book is sold individually in e-format: 
#1: Obsidian 
#2: Onyx 
#3: Opal 
#4: Origin 
#5: Opposition 
Dawsons story: Shadows

Want to Read More? Pre-order Opposition Today!

add-to-goodreads

Amazon | B&N | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

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About Shadows:

Don’t miss Shadows, Dawson Blacks story in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s bestselling Lux series, now available as a standalone in print for the first time!

“An unmissable series!” –Samantha YoungNew York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street

“This is the stuff swoons are made of.” —Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Evil

The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life-form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane. Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in. Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence…and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself.

Want to read the LUX series on your ereader? Each book is sold individually in e-format: 
#1: Obsidian 
#2: Onyx 
#3: Opal 
#4: Origin 
#5: Opposition 
Dawsons story: Shadows

Want to Read More? Pre-order Shadows Today!

add-to-goodreads

Amazon | B&N | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

About the Author:

JenniferLArmentrout

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Find Jennifer L. Armentrout Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads’ Author Page

Review | The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

25814507The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine
Release date: August 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Mystery, historical fiction
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley

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Goodreads | Amazon

Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and her strained relationship behind for Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She intends to renovate the ruinous house into a hotel, but the shocking discovery of human remains brings her ambitious restoration plans to an abrupt halt before they even begin. Few physical clues are left to identify the body, but one thing is certain: this person did not die a natural death.

Hungry for answers, Hetty discovers that Muirlan was once the refuge of her distant relative Theo Blake, the acclaimed painter and naturalist who brought his new bride, Beatrice, there in 1910. Yet ancient gossip and a handful of leads reveal that their marriage was far from perfect; Beatrice eventually vanished from the island, never to return, and Theo withdrew from society, his paintings becoming increasingly dark and disturbing.

What happened between them has remained a mystery, but as Hetty listens to the locals and studies the masterful paintings produced by Theo during his short-lived marriage, she uncovers secrets that still reverberate through the small island community—and will lead her to the identity of the long-hidden body.

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It’s been a while since I read “adult fiction” and I couldn’t be happier with my book choice! The House Between Tides is a wonderfully written slow burner. I can best compare it to a puzzle: tiny pieces are slowly connected to solve a murder mystery that stretches across decades. The book takes places during two time periods. In 2010, Hetty Devereaux visits her long abandoned family home, Muirlan House, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She wants to escape her life in London and transform the derelict house into a hotel. However, the discovery of human remains complicates things and leads her to explore her family’s past. The other time period is between 1910-11 and focuses on the relationship between a painter, Theo Blake, and his young wife Beatrice.

I read the novel, about 400 pages in length, in one day. It was completely engaging and all consuming. I made a lot of the connections on my own and did correctly predict where some of the storylines were going, but the end? I didn’t see it coming and I’m always delighted when that happens. I’m also not usually a fan of multiple narratives, but switching between time periods and the people in them added a lot of depth and even more mystery. I wasn’t ever sure what was real because each character had so many secrets and told so many half truths. Of course, this just kept me even more interested to read on and find out what would happen. A huge pull for me was the atmosphere of the book. It was very gothic with the moody Scottish weather, the old crumbling buildings and isolated island. And the descriptions were spot on. I could clearly capture the the location and Blake’s paintings in my mind.

The only weakness was its one dimensional portrayal of some of its secondary characters. Hetty’s boyfriend Giles and his team of bankers and lawyers who push her to turn the old house into a hotel resort come across as power hungry and absorbed in their self worth. They are “bad” because they ignore Hetty’s wishes and are all consumed by money and business. I didn’t really know them at all and in a way, it made me like Hetty less. Why stay with a man like Giles? It simply didn’t match how she was characterized in the rest of the novel.

I would like to point out that this novel was originally released in 2014 with the title Bhalla Strand, but I am very happy that Atria is publishing it again. From what I can tell, some names and location have been changed. I definitely recommend this book. It’s a fantastic blend of historical fiction, romance and mystery that stays with you long after you finish.

 

Versatile Blogger Award

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Thank you very much to Diana Prince Reviews for the nomination! Her blog is all kinds of AMAZING, so please go check it out! ♥

Rules:

  • Show the award on your blog
  • Thank the person that has nominated you
  • Share 7 different facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 5 blogs of your choice (because 15 is a bit much)
  • Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination

Seven Facts About Jacquie:

  1. I hate, like really hate, meatloaf. My mum used it make when I was little and it was the worst. She knows and now admits it was terrible. I secretly think the rest of the family is thankful. 😛
  2. I love watching Lucy Worsley’s history documentaries on YouTube. The lady really knows her stuff and isn’t afraid to act goofy to prove a point.
  3. My favourite number is 13. When I played soccer in elementary school the coach refused to let me use the number. So, being the horrible child that I was, I accepted number 3 and with a permanent marker wrote a 1 in front of it.
  4. I got my parents into Snapchat, which has turned out to be hilarious. It’s also blown up in my face because now I’m getting tons and tons of pictures and videos from them.
  5. I just bought an DSLR camera and I can’t wait to use it! Prepare for lots of bookish photos!
  6. I may have discovered the awesomeness of Hamilton a wee bit late, but OMG!! I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack and how adorable is Daveed Diggs?!?! *sigh*
  7. I’m a HUGE baseball fan and I’m trying really hard to get my husband into the sport. So far I’ve been unsuccessful but one day…it’s going to happen. He can’t avoid it forever. Hahaha.

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Seven Facts About Gina:

1. I have to take a nap every single day, otherwise I get angry and annoyed hahaha!
2. I am getting married next year !!!!! Woohoo!!! And I am super excited and happy!
3. Recently, I took over my old obsession with working out! I go twice a day to the gym and do some CARDIO HIIT and TRX.
4. I am a super fan of diets!!! I’m always looking for the perfect one and love to read about nutrition and strength.
5. I can call myself an astrologer! A beginner astrologer! I think there is a relationship with our events and the routes and wonderings of stars and planets.
6. I struggle managing impulsivity sometimes, especially when shopping!
7. I enjoy taking pictures! I have my own Nikon but sometimes I am so lazy that I don’t use it. I think I must start again.

We Nominate: 

Have a wonderful day! 🙂