We Need to Talk About…how to choose a new blog layout! #discussion

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We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere (that’s you guys) for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’. 

Lately I’ve been thinking about changing my blog layout…

But there are so many to choose from. How do I decide? I’ve only changed my layout once in three years and it feels like a big deal to change it so please excuse my neurosis!

I want a simple layout, but one with a wider body of text and less space on the sidebars and stuff. Any suggestions?

Also, if I change it (I don’t have WP premium btw) is it easy to change back if it doesn’t work? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten how it went down last time. 

I’m also interested to know how often you change your layout, and why?

An Over-Due Apology (and what’s coming up)!

It’s confession and apology time here at Lipsyy Lost & Found.

I’ve completely neglected review requests over the past year. I mean, I knew I was really behind, but I recently did some much needed blog admin and went through all my emails since I started blogging and realised just how many requests I accepted and never followed through on.

Authors, I’m sorry. I hereby apologise for being so rubbish!

But, I’m here to make amends. August & September will now be Review Request months.

Here’s what you can expect to see over the next few months…

Wonder Light ~ R.R Russell

I read and reviewed the second book in the Unicorns of the Mist series when I downloaded it from Netgalley, not realising it was book two. After seeing my review, the author asked if I’d like to read the first book to get the full story and of course I accepted but then never got round to reading it. Bad blogger!

wonderlight
Release Date: 7/05/13 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Date Received: 15/05/2014

Deep in the heart of a mist-shrouded island, an impossible secret is about to be discovered.

Twig is used to feeling unwanted. Sent to live on a pony ranch for “troubled” girls on a misty, haunted island, Twig is about to discover the impossible — someone who needs her.
Jolted awake from a bad dream, Twig follows the desperate whinny of a terrified horse out to the stables. There in the straw is a bleating little scrap of moonbeam. A silver-white filly with cloven hooves and a tiny, spiraling horn.

A baby unicorn.

Now Twig knows what secret is hiding in the island’s mist: the last free unicorn herd. And a mysterious boy named Ben who insists that this impossible creature is now Twig’s to care for. That she needs Twig’s love and protection. Because there’s something out there in the deep, dense shadows that’s hunting for them…

My Soul Immortal ~ Jen Printy

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Release Date: 15/02/14 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Date Received: 20/08/2014

An endless love, for an endless price.

Jack’s immortality is exposed when he prevents a liquor store heist, forcing him to flee to protect his secret—a secret not even he understands. But when he meets Leah Winters—a mirror image of his decades-lost love, Lydia—his very soul is laid bare. He begins to question his sanity. Is she real, and if so, what does that mean for Jack and his secret?

Jack’s not the only mystery man in town. A stranger named Artagan hints at knowledge Jack is desperate to possess. But can he trust Artagan, or does the dark newcomer harbor deadly secrets of his own?

As Jack’s bond with Leah grows, so does the danger to her life. Jack must discover just how much he is willing to risk in order to save the woman he already lost once.

Grunge, Gods and Graveyards ~ Kimberly G. Giarratano

Kimberly did a wonderful Halloween playlist for me to post as part of last year’s Horror October, and I didn’t return the favour by reviewing her excellently named debut novel. The Shame!

GGG
Release Date: 31/05/14 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Date Received: 13/09/2014

Parted by death. Tethered by love.

Lainey Bloom’s high school senior year is a complete disaster. The popular clique, led by mean girl Wynter Woods, bullies her constantly. The principal threatens not to let her graduate with the class of 1997 unless she completes a major research project. And everyone blames her for the death of Wynter’s boyfriend, Danny Obregon.

Danny, a gorgeous musician, stole Lainey’s heart when he stole a kiss at a concert. But a week later, he was run down on a dangerous stretch of road. When he dies in her arms, she fears she’ll never know if he really would have broken up with Wynter to be with her.

Then his ghost shows up, begging her to solve his murder. Horrified by the dismal fate that awaits him if he never crosses over, Lainey seeks the dark truth amidst small town secrets, family strife, and divided loyalties. But every step she takes toward discovering what really happened the night Danny died pulls her further away from the beautiful boy she can never touch again.

Prophecy of Stones ~ Mishka Jenkins

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Release Date: 31/07/14 by Smashwords Edition
Date Received: 18/08/2014

The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

Prophecy of Stones is a tale of adventure, love and magic.

This Crumbling Pageant ~ Patricia Burroughs

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Release Date: 6/05/14 by Story Spring Publishing
Date Received: 25/05/2015

Get ready to be swept away into a dark fantasy series that combines swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance and plot-twisting suspense in equal measures.

Expect to hear more about Persephone Fury.

A lot more.

England, 1809. As fashionable Society streams toward London for the start of a new social season, they are unaware of a hidden magical England existing alongside. The Magi cathedrals are temples to the old gods. Reigning on their throne is not poor mad George, but the ailing King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon. But their wars are no less deadly.

The Furys are known for their extraordinary music, their powerful magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. But the Furys have their secrets as well, none so dangerous as the daughter whose Shadow magic spills from her, unchecked. Unless her powers are concealed, she’s not only ruined in Society, but marked as a target for those who would use and abuse her magic.

Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and a good marriage for this frightening daughter is desperately needed. On the night of her debut, her world comes crumbling down around her when she is abducted from the man she loves by the man she most loathes.

Evil powers circle, calling her to the destiny foretold at the moment of her birth, drawing her to the source of her power, to the one place she can finally be free.

By embracing the Shadows.

Persephone is ruthless, devious, and clever, but when confronted with the truth, she must make horrifying choices.

Can she defy destiny and seize her own fate?

Fancy any of these??

Challenges: 2014 Results & 2015 Goals

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Last year was my first full year of blogging, and like most book bloggers, I set myself some challenges. So, how did I do?

Hmm…not that great, but not toooooo bad either.

Here are the goals I set myself and how I did:

The Goodreads Challenge/ Yearly Goal

Goal: 70 books
Outcome: 71 – Success!

You can see the full list here.
 

The TBR Pile Reading Challenge

The idea of this challenge was to read some of the older books on my shelves that I never got round to – so I made a rule that only books I’d had for over five months counted. That was a mistake.
Goal: 11-20 books
Outcome: 7

Rereads Challenge

I wanted to make time to reread some of my favourite books. These are the ones I chose:

    1. Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Phillip Pullman
    2. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
    3. Peter Pan by J.M Barrie
    4. Sunshine by Robin Mckinley
    5. The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
    6. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger
    7. The Gates by John Connolly
    8. – 10. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne CollinsGoal:

Outcome:2 (The Shame!)

Series

I wanted to finish the following series:

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Status 01/2014: Book 3/5
Status 01/2015: Book 3/5

The Akasha Series by Terra Harmony
Status 01/2014: Book 1/4
Status 01/2015: Book 1/4

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
Status 01/2014: Book 1/3
Status 01/2015: COMPLETE!

So, a mixed bag! It could have been worse I guess.

2015 Challenge

I’m going for the minimal approach this year.

1. Goodreads Challenge: Upped to 75

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Lipsy has
read 3 books toward her goal of 75 books.
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2. Reread Challenge: I still want to reread all of those on the list so I’m going to continue plucking away at that one.

3. TBR Challenge: This time, I’m going to make a list of all the books I have sitting on my shelves (which I will publish at some point) and just see how many I can get through. Whatever I don’t pick up, I WILL take to a charity shop at the end of the year.

Good Luck to us all!

Disclosure! And 10% off at Waterstones Offer

In the interest of full disclosure I wanted to let you all know about some new features/links on Lipsyy Lost & Found.

I was recently approved for the Waterstones affiliate programme, which means that I can advertise them in exchange for a small commission (4%) if anyone buys something* from them via my blog.

So What’s New? I hear you ask.
Not a lot really. On the sidebar you will see the Waterstones banner (which I think is really cute). If you click on that it will take you to the Waterstones website. Below that, is an Affiliate Window banner, which is the service that Waterstones uses to manage their affiliates. If you click on that it will take you to Affiliate Window where you can apply to advertise a whole range of companies in exchange for a small commission. I’ve found the system really easy to use so far and recommend it.

I will be posting Purchase Links for each book I feature so you can go and order it if you so wish, and I will have more offers/promos in tandem with Waterstones.com, but other than that, my site will stay the same.

Why I applied
I feel like this is the next step for my site. I don’t think I’ll ever make much money from it, but as they say, every little helps. If any of my posts do encourage you buy a certain book I’d really love it if you’d consider using Waterstones from my site. UK postage is free, but international postage does apply.

The main reason I wanted to this though, is to show my support for Waterstones. Over the last few years we have seen so many bookshops go out of business, and Waterstones is one of the few large chains left operating UK wide. It feels good to advertise an actual bookshop – and one that I’ve used all of my consumer life – rather than say Amazon.

You can read more about Waterstones here.

10% Off

I have a vouchercode for 10% off any orders* over £25 before midnight on 25th August 2014.

Simply click on the banner below (or on the sidebar), make your selections and enter the code LE1025 at checkout.



*Print books and stationary. Excludes Kindle, downloads and the click & collect service.
Online orders only. Full T&Cs at waterstones.com/terms

Slaying Saturday!

I am slowly getting through my To-Do list today and feeling nice and de-cluttered.

I’ve finally added a ‘Challenges’ and ‘Events’ section to my sidebar, and here’s why….

2014 TBR Reading Challenge


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As previously mentioned in my Challenges & Goals post, one of the things I really need to do this year is get my TBR pile down, so I’ve joined Evie-Bookish.co.uk’s 2014 TBR Reading Challenge. I’ve been thinking about which level to sign up for because I also need to leave time to read all the new books I want to read, ARCS and not to mention books that friends will inevitably lend me throughout the year.

But I’ve decided on A Friendly Hug (11-20 books)

And here is my TBR Pile in all its glory. I’m not including any new books I have to read because the whole point is that these have been sitting there for anything from 1-5 years and I NEED to read them, or get rid of them!

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Events


I’m thrilled to say that the beautiful Sage Adderley will be stopping by Lipsyy Lost & Found on the 24th January as part of her virtual book tour for Invoking Nonna.

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Watch this space!

Blog Admin Update & Currently Reading

A few more changes/updates to the blog:

I finally added a Review Policy & Contact page (and got a new gmail account solely for blogging purposes) and updated my TBR page. Hurrah! I’m getting there.

There are more changes I want to make to my sidebar but at least the important things are done, so I’m feeling pretty smug with myself.

I’m off work sick today (having a nightmare with my Wisdom teeth!) so I’m trying to cheer myself up with this beautiful picture book I just got approved for from NetGalley. It’s so cute!

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It’s Christmas, and two tree decorations – cardboard prince Rudolph and clothes peg fairy Rosalind – are discarded for being too shabby. Christmas Eve magic brings the toys in the cupboard to life, and when they discover their two friends are not on the tree, they search for them. However, while they are away, a Fouly – the exact opposite of a Christmas Fairy – sneaks in and hides. Unaware of the evil creature’s presence, the toys return with Rudolph and Rosalind, who have also been transformed, and they all help prepare a festive feast. During this the Fouly steals Rosalind’s wand and uses it to kidnap Father Christmas… Rudolph and Rosalind go to rescue him, but they must first seek out Santa Lucia for the one thing Foulies hate the most: the Lucia Light.

Their mission takes them to the Fouly Castle, but they are captured and confronted by Malicia the Fouly Queen. Using the Light, they defeat Malicia, free Father Christmas and return home. But the Fouly follows, seeking revenge, and – backed by a fierce Holly Army – the battle for Christmas begins… Will the Fouly be defeated? Will Rudolph and Rosalind be thrown away, or will the gratitude of Father Christmas help them regain their places at the top of the tree?

The Prince, The Fairy and The Fouly is a charming adventure story which combines all the elements of a traditional Christmas tale with a variety of characters and situations that highlight the battle between good and evil.

Resplendent with beautiful black and white illustrations, it’s the perfect bedtime story for children aged 7+ in the run-up to Christmas, and an ideal stocking filler. Its large format and presentation make the book ideal for emergent readers.

Title: The Prince, The Fairy and The Fouly
Author: Jim Fitzsimmons
Details: E-book
Publication Date: November 4th 2013 by Troubador Publishing Ltd.

How Many Unicorns?

As mentioned earlier, I’m doing some long overdue blog admin this weekend.

Changes thus far:

I finally got round to creating a proper rating system for my reviews. I’ve also included the criteria on the sidebar and added my NetGalley Member button. Yay.

My Unicorn Ratings!

unicorn rating 5/5 Unicorns: Just Amazing!

 

unicorn rating 4 4/5 Unicorns: I loved it!

 

unicorn rating 3 3/5 Unicorns: I really enjoyed it but something was missing.

 

unicorn rating 2 2/5 Unicorns: It was OK but I had some issues with it.

 

unicorn rating 1 1/5 Unicorns: I wasn’t a fan; I might not have finished it.