Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Stolen book review - an unexpected disappointment

The Stolen
Title:  The Stolen

Author:  Bishop O'Connell

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Source:  Review copy provided by Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, LLC

Synopsis:
Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin's entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist--and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. 

Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae's Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston's suburbs to the shadowy land of Tir na nOg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it's too late? (Goodreads) 

My Thoughts:

While the premise of this book really intrigued me, the story itself let me down a little. The plot was interesting, the characters were intriguing, the writing was good, and I love anything to do with the Fae. So why didn't this book draw me in as expected?

Most of the story is told from Caitlin's point of view, then it splits and we have Caitlin's and Eddy's parallel adventures. The duel story lines were easy to follow and interesting enough, but I found myself putting the book down more than once for some reason.

After stewing about it for awhile, I think that it was the pace of the plot that ultimately put me off. We know from the synopsis that Caitlin has to travel to Tir na nOg to try to retrieve her daughter, but it takes almost half the book before they even cross!

While it's important to set things up, it felt like the author was giving us almost too much information. I kept waiting for Caitlin to cross over into Fae territory and I admit that I became impatient.

While not a bad book, it was just okay for me. If anyone else has read this one, I'd love to know what you thought! It took me much too long to finish this one, but I'm not 100% sure why.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

31Days Challenge: Days 18, 19, and 22 catch-up

Parajunkee is hosting a Better Blogging Challenge again this year. She hosted something similar for 2014 and I had fun taking part, so thought I'd try it again this year! I like that the challenge is pretty flexible and you're not locked into doing every single task.

Still playing catch-up after a wicked bout of the flu!

31 Days of Better Blogging

Day 18:  Social Network...Go!

Your task today is to check out a new social network.

Rachel lists four new social network sites that she thinks are worth checking out:  Tsu, Medium, Learnist, and Secret.

The only one of these that I've heard of is Tsu, but only because I followed Kevin Hearne there. I followed him from Facebook to Google+ to Tsu. Hope he settles down soon and picks a social media platform, as I'm exhausted! ha!

I like the looks of Tsu because it's pretty intuitive and reminds me of Facebook. I've found a handful of authors and book bloggers there, but haven't explored it in depth yet. If you want to join, here's my link.

Day 19:  Change It Up

Your task today is to change something in your blogging routine.

While schedules and routine can be good, changing things up a bit can stimulate creativity and freshen things up.

I'm not ready to change my blog design, but am thinking about taking part in a new meme. Just have to find one I really like, so am open to suggestions!

Also like Rachel's suggestion about changing the time we post. I usually schedule my posts for the morning, but maybe I'll try posting them in the evenings instead when more people are home and online.

Day 22:  Check Under the SEO Hood

Your task today is to check how well your SEO is doing.

Have to admit that I'm not 100% sure what SEO is exactly, so need to read a few tutorials. I know that I have several dead links that I need to deal with, but not sure where to go from there.

Rachel does suggest having unique post titles, but most of my posts are reviews so not a whole lot I can do to jazz those up. I follow a few blogs that create eye-catching titles, but you wouldn't know that they were reviews until you clicked. I like full transparency and to call a review a review, but it's certainly something to think about....

Friday, January 23, 2015

31Days Challenge: Days 14, 16, & 17

Parajunkee is hosting a Better Blogging Challenge again this year. She hosted something similar for 2014 and I had fun taking part, so thought I'd try it again this year! I like that the challenge is pretty flexible and you're not locked into doing every single task.

Still playing catch-up after a bad bout of the flu....

31 Days of Better Blogging

Day 14:  Competitors

Your task today is to narrow down a list of competitors. Take note of who you think of as “competition” and follow and pay attention to what they do.

Glad that Rachel made this a challenge, as she clarifies what she means by "competition." While none of us are really competing against each other with our blogs, she points out that there is some competition for blog tours, ARCs, author interviews, and so on. Since I more or less wait for email invitations and don't solicit anything from authors/publishers, I guess I've taken myself out of the competition.

But, based on her parameters, I'd prefer to think of them as role models or inspiration. Once you find someone with similar reading tastes and blog stats, then see if they can inspire you to do better. Maybe they have features that might work on your blog? Which content has the most comments and shares? Do they use social media differently? Who are they following that you haven't discovered yet?

I like her idea of finding similar-to-you blogs and using them for inspiration. I also use the so-called "Big Fish" blogs as inspiration. I'm still not comfortable with asking someone to guest post on my blog because I don't want to impose, but that's my issue and I know I need to get over it. Think I'll think more on this challenge and maybe implement some of her suggestions down the road.

Day 16:  The Buddy List

Your task today is to create a blogger buddy list.

I sorta-kinda have a buddy list. I have the blog roll on my blog, plus have different groups set up on Bloglovin and Twitter that I try to check most often. I don't mind leaving comments and connecting on Facebook, Tsu, or Twitter, but am too shy to take it beyond that.

Day 17:  Goals & Missions

Your task today is to get a firm grip on your blogger goals and mission. Do you have them? If not - get on that…

No mission statement for me, but I do have some blog goals. To remind myself, I made a permanent page on my blog with daily tasks as well as long-ranging goals.

One of my unwritten goals is to grow my blog and interact with my readers on a more consistent basis. I'd also love to attend BEA this year, but that's more a physical goal as I need to build up the strength in my knee. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

31Days Challenge: Days 10, 12, & 13

Parajunkee is hosting a Better Blogging Challenge again this year. She hosted something similar for 2014 and I had fun taking part, so thought I'd try it again this year! I like that the challenge is pretty flexible and you're not locked into doing every single task.

I was hit pretty hard by the flu earlier this month, so am playing catch-up!

31 Days of Better Blogging

Day 10:  Email Signatures

Your task today is to revamp your email signature.

Have to say that I'm happy with my email signature as is. I have my two blog names, with links, right under my name. I'm hesitant to add my Twitter name since I'm rarely on Twitter, but maybe I should add my Facebook page address? What do you think about adding a description, like "Reader. Reviewer. Blogger." in there too? I just don't want to clutter up my signature too much or be annoying.

Day 12: Menu System

Your task today is to inspect your menu system. Is there something on there that really doesn’t need to be? Is there something that is missing?

Aside from not being able to figure out why I can't get my menu back under the header, I think it's okay. I've got pages for Home, About Me, My Review Policy, Challenges, My TBR Pile, Blog Goals, and Contact Me. Anything else I should add?

Day 13:  New To You Blogs

Your task today is to find five new to you blogs and leave them a comment.

This was made easy by Parajunkee including a linky in her post where you could leave your blog name and link. I visited several new-to-me blogs and found way more than five to follow! Fingers crossed that I've found some new blog buddies!

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