Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

To All Who Visit, 

Have a Happy New Year!!!!!  May 2011 bring you happiness and good cheer!!!

My New Years Resolutions/Follow Friday

Follow Fridays asks, "What are you New Years blogging resolutions?"

I meant to write a post about this sometime this week, so I figured why not participate in FF while posting it. :-)

Brooke's Box of Books New Years Resolutions for 2011

Goal 1: To get at least 6 reviews in per month. Currently, I've been trying to review something once a week. That's pretty much due to procrastination on my part. :-) As this is a book blog, I feel that I should try to get a few more reviews in each month.

Goal 2: To increase traffic and comments. I'd love to reach 200 followers by Dec. 31st, 2011 and to get a few more comments on my posts. I'm going to try to reach this goal by creating more interactive and exciting posts. 

I also plan on participating in some of the big blog giveaway meme's.  I'll be participating in a big giveaway meme in January.  I like being able to share books and things with people who might like them.  Also, I know how good it feels to win things and I like to pass that feeling on to others!

Goal 3: To host a few authors. This resolution has been underway for a while. I have already scheduled two blog tours for February. In the past, I was a bit worried about doing these because I didn't want to read something I wasn't sure I'd love. The two authors I'll be hosting in February are semi-self published and have some books with interesting concepts. I look forward to posting my reviews and their interviews in 2011! I've already reached out to a few authors in hopes of adding to this list!

Goal 4: To continue to keep on doing my best here on the blog! I've loved meeting all you bloggers this year, as well as learning the ropes of what it takes to be a blogger. If anything, 2010 taught me that things are possible if you stick your neck out there and try.

And that's it. There are my four main goals for BBOB's in 2011. I wish everyone luck in achieving their own resolutions set for the year to come!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Action, Adventure
Perfect for: Readers who are looking for a light fairy tale
Star Rating: 3/5

Taken from Goodreads, "Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face… and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart."

I had the great honor of winning this book from a fellow blogger. I went into this book with high expectations because of the fan base it has. While this book didn't let me down per se, it didn't live up to expectations.

'The Iron King' is a fun read. Simple as that.  It's lighter than the typical fey stories that have been out in past years (ie: 'Replacement', 'Tithe'). Funny, the book I can most easily compare it to is 'Twilight'. It had that same sort of feel. The story flow is very light, jovial-- even in times when the characters are in mortal danger. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just different from what I expected.

The romance is cute, even if it's totally predictable. At this point, I've gotten used to having instantaneous romances in my YA fantasy reads and 'The Iron King' is no exception to this trend. The romantic ties between the characters are formed fast. Thankfully, even with those quick love ties, main character Meghan doesn't fall into the trap that other YA heroines fall into. She keeps her cool and direction, even as she begins falling in love with a certain character. She keeps her eye on the mission at hand, while occasionally oogling the males in her party.  (The end has a bit more of oogling, but I can forgive that!)

Pushing the storyline aside, I do enjoy the characters in this series. They all have at least one attribute that I latched onto. Puck, for example, has some great sarcastic lines that verge on snarky. Ash and his incessant need to battle Puck was entertaining, because you know neither one really means to do anything other but injure eachother.   (It helps that he actually does come off as pretty darn hot on paper!)  Meghan's 'go with the flow' attitude about her being part fey was refreshing. And Grim, well, I adore Grim. His Cheshire nature made me adore him instantly. He's the character I wonder about-- what are his intentions and what deals might he be calling in in future novels?

'The Iron King' is one of those reads that you should look at. It is a light story that sucked me in without me even knowing it.  One of those reads where you'll find yourself rooting for the characters and even feeling bad for some of them!

This book gets 3/5 stars from me.  I had to take off a few stars because I felt it was a bit over hyped. Still good, but just not as fantastic as expected.  'The Iron King' is on bookshelves online and in stores now. Take a peek!

2010 Highlights-- A Year in Review

2010 has been quite a year, hasn't it? Who would have thought this little blogging adventure would become what it is today? It's kind of amazing. 2010 has not only been a year of discovering new hobbies, but also a year of some great reads and some excellent opportunities.

Here, dear readers, is Brooke's Box of Books 2010 Highlights-- A Year in Review.

First Book Read in 2010:
'The Seven Rays' by Jessica Bendinger

My Favorite Debut Novel or Stand Alone Read of 2010:
'Hex Hall' by Rachel Hawkins

Runners Up:
'Knightley Academy' by Violet Haberdasher
'The Grimm Legacy' by Polly Shulman
'Birthmarked' by Caragh M. O'Brien
'Tigers Curse' by Colleen Houck
'Nightshade' by Andrea Cremer
'Matched' by Ally Condie

Best New Book in a Series of 2010:
'Empire of Night' by Justin Somper

Runners up:
'Guardian of the Gate' by Michelle Zink
'Spirit Bound' by Richelle Mead
'City of Ships' by Mary Hoffman
'Mockingjay' by Suzanne Collins

Most Irritating Read of 2010 (aka The Book I Read Like There Was No Tomorrow, but Wanted To Ring the Characters Necks Half the Time):
'Torment' by Lauren Kate

Runner up:
'Spells' by Aprilynne Pike

The 'At Least I Tried To Like It' Book of 2010:
'Shiver' by Maggie Stiefvater

Runner Up:
'The Dark Divine' by Bree Despain

Last Book Read in 2010:
'The Iron Queen' by Julie Kagawa

And there you have it-- my favorite and not so favorite reads of 2010.  In total, I will have read 63 new books this year, which is roughly a book a week.  Geez Louise!  That's quite a bit, I think!

Now that you've seen my list, I want to know what you think of the slew of books that came out in 2010...  What was your favorite?  What was your least favorite?  Share your comments below!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!!!  

I hope your day is filled with joy and laughter!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Happenings- A Holiday Meme, Week Three

'Christmas Happenings' is a meme designed to let you readers in on what makes Christmas special to me. It will be a weekly installment here on the blog until Christmas comes to town! (Which is in five days if you didn't know!)

I'll be making the theme of this years 'Holiday Happenings' a visual one and will be showcasing the holiday specials that share the season with me year after year. You never know, maybe you'll remember a few!

Christmas Happenings meme -- Week Three(ish)

You've seen clips from my favorite Christmas special and the corniest Christmas special. Now it's time for a twist in the format-- Holiday movies. I'm sure you have holiday themed movies you watch every year and (surprise surprise) I have some to! Here are a few movies that I think you need to check out this year!

White Christmas (1954)
Premise: Army buddies and popular song and dance men Wallace and Davis try to save their old generals Vermont inn when the lack of snow causes money to become a big problem. Along the way, their lives get entangled with the Haynes Sisters. What follows is filled with fun, laughs, and tons of great song and dance numbers!

My Thoughts: If you haven't seen White Christmas, go rent it right now. Seriously. It's a classic.

Holiday Inn (1942)
Premise: Crooner Jim Hardy is ready to give up show business and settle down in the country. When his fiancée expectingly leaves him for dance partner Ted Hanover, plans change. Convinced he can make it on his own in the country, he continues on. When country life turns into a nightmare, Jim has a smashing idea-- to open an Inn that is only open for business on holidays. He hires Linda Mason, up and coming dancer/singer, and from there, hijinks, music, and dancing ensue. Holiday Inn is filled with fantastic holiday themed songs, fantastic sets, some sweet dancing with fire crackers, and tons of fun.

My Thoughts: I love this movie. I believe I saw it for the first time seven or eight years ago and from then was hooked. The songs are fantastic and very catchy. And the fire cracker dance number that Fred Astaire does? Fan-Tas-Tic! It's so well done. If anything YT that number.. Or maybe I'll embed it for you. :-)

Since this was made in 1942, be warned that is has a black face number celebrating Lincolns birthday. My own personal opinion of it is that there is no harm done in this number because it was made in a time where people still remembered or had performed in vaudeville and black face was something you saw in those days. 

Miracle on 34th Street (1947/1994) 
Premise: Susan doesn't believe in Santa. But when a man who looks the part comes to work at her mothers dept. store, she begins to wonder...

My Thoughts:  I think we've all seen this movie, so I felt I could keep this premise short and sweet! Both versions are wonderful. I like how each version has a different ending.  It keeps it the same, yet fresh.  And both Santa's are completely believable-- heck, if I saw them I'd probably believe they were Santa, too!

Jingle All The Way (1996) 
Premise: A harried father decides to dream the impossible dream, to get that year's hot toy for his son just before Christmas Day. (Taken from IMDB)

My Thoughts: This is actually a really cute holiday movie. It's a bit corny, yes, but who can't related to wanting to find a hard to find item during the holidays. *cough*Monster High*cough* It's worth taking a look at. Plus, the Gov. of California has always been an entertaining actor to watch.

I'll Be Home For Christmas (1998) 
Premise: A college student experiences difficulty in getting home for Christmas after being hazed by his friends. While struggling to get home in time for Christmas, he learns quite a bit about himself and the true meaning of the holiday. (Taken from IMDB)

My Thoughts: Yes, this movie stars JTT (have I just dated myself calling him JTT and not Jonathan Taylor Thomas?). And yes, it also has Seventh Heaven star Jessica Biel. But it also has a fun script and is an entertaining holiday movie. It's something you might want to check out if you haven't!

There you go-- Five Christmas movie I watch at home during the holidays.  Do you like any of these?  What are you favorite Holiday movies?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop/Updates

Another week, another hop. Brooke's Box of Books has been a bit dry this week. Did you know there are only 7 days left to shop for Christmas! Good luck to all those who are behind! The bookstore has been CRAZY with patrons with long lists of books they are in need of. Remember, if you are going to a bookstore and hear that a book is out of stock or have to wait in line for help, be kind to the bookseller!!!

I'll be working on posts that should go live on the blog next week, so there will be basic stuff happening here. With Christmas AND my birthday next week, things may get hectic!!!

Things To Check Out:
S.O.S Book of the Week
Forever Favorites Review: Dying to Meet You

And onto the hop!

Book Blogger Hop

The question is:  
What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?

Answer: I like a good mix of both, actually! Books that fit that bill? 'Hex Hall', 'The Grimm Legacy', and 'Knightley Academy'.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Forever Favorites Review: Dying to Meet You- 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise

Title: Dying to Meet You- 43 Old Cemetery Road
Author: Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise
Genre: Juvi, Supernatural, Graphic Novel, Unique
Perfect for: Readers of all ages who are looking for a quick, entertaining read told in newspaper articles, letters, and pictures!

Taken from Goodreads, "Ignatius B. Grumply moves into the Victorian mansion at 43 Old Cemetery Road hoping to find some peace and quiet so he can crack a wicked case of writer's block. But 43 Old Cemetery Road is already occupied by eleven-year-old Seymour, his cat Shadow, and an irritable ghost named Olive. It's hard to say who is more outraged. But a grumpy old ghost just might inspire this grumpy old man--and the abandoned kid? Well, let's just say his last name's Hope.  Sisters Kate and M. Sarah Klise offer up this debut volume in a clever new series told in letters, drawings, newspaper articles, a work-in-progress manuscript, and even an occasional tombstone engraving."

I know what you're thinking-- you're right. This isn't a YA title. However, 'Dying to Meet You' is a fantastically awesome book that won't take too much of your time and will keep your attention due to the unique 'writing' style. As is usual with these 'Forever Favorites', this book fell into my lap. My mom brought it home from the library thinking it looked interesting. Well, she was totally right!

This novel about an old house, a writer, a young boy and his cat, and a ghost is told not through your typical narrative, but through letters, articles, and pictures. You'd think it would be confusing, but in all honesty, it reads quite nicely. It has a level of sophistication in the writing style that is unlike other Juvi titles. Don't worry, while it appeals to the Wimpy Kid audience, it is steps above when it comes to story and writing!

The strengths of this novel come from the simple nature in which the story is told and the amazing way that you can see characters grow, even though it's not told in your traditional narrative style. 'Dying to Meet You' is a true charmer and something that you really should take a look at. It's available at your local bookstore, library, and online. And if you enjoy this title as much as me, check out the sequel, 'Over My Dead Body'.

Monday, December 13, 2010

S.O.S Book of the Week

The S.O.S Book of the Week is where I let you in on what new releases I'm looking forward to! S.O.S comes from the term 'Strict on Sale'. It's bookseller speak for a title that you can't sell before a specific date-- think Harry Potter. While the books I have here may not be S.O.S titles specifically, they are all new!

The S.O.S. Book of the Week is:

Taken from the only place I could find a blurb and edited to leave out a bit of spoilery material, here's a teeny tiny bit of info about 'Illusions' by Aprilynne Pike.  'Illusions' is the third book in the series that started with 'Wings' and continued with 'Spells'.

"Just as life returns to normal, Laurel realizes that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail."

I've enjoyed reading about Laurels entrance into the world of the Fae. The sequel had a few problems, but I can forgive them. I'm hoping 'Illusions' has something awesome going on. I'm looking for quick witted lines, a good even story, and a bit of romance (preferably between Tamani and Laurel)!

I was all set to go into how I hoped it would be a fantastic ending to a trilogy, but looking at Goodreads, I noticed that a fourth novel is also planned! I'm surprised she's going the non trilogy route! Will it work in her favor? I hope so.

This title comes out May 2011.

Are you looking forward to this title?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Update/Book Blogger Hop

What's been happening here on the blog this week? Here's a quick peek!

Bustin' the Newbie Blues meme
The Versatile Award (my second acceptance!)- Fun facts!
The SOS Book of the Week
Christmas Happenings: A Holiday Meme- Week Two
Forever Favorites Review: The Big Empty

I'm in a bookish bind... I've been having trouble really getting into new books this month because of everything Christmas! Expect more updates like the Forever Favorites review through December. Currently, I'm reading 'The Hourglass Door', which seems to be keeping my interest! (Fingers crossed!)

Before I get to the question-- check out this College Humor article, "Five Sci-fi Childrens Books".  It's quite cute!  My favorite is the Doctor Who themed one!

Book Blogger Hop

The Question is:
What is the thing you like most about reading book blogs? Is it the reviews, author guest posts, articles, giveaways, or something else entirely?

Answer: There are so many things I love about browsing book blogs. I'm a lurker by nature when it comes to blogging, but rest assured I do visit your blogs!! :-) I typically like reading reviews of books I've read already and seeing how my thoughts differ to said reviewers.

Contests are also a plus, but I really dislike when people require you to follow them, especially when they already have hundreds of followers. I understand the idea is to promote yourself, but I'm not one to follow a blog just to enter a contest.  Other than that, contests are awesome!

Thanks for stopping by! All those who made comments this week-- you rock! I'm slow at returning the favor, but I will!!! Have a happy hop!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Forever Favorites: The Big Empty by J.B Stephens

We all have our favorite books, books we can't imagine not reading over and over again.  Here's another one of my 'Forever Favorites’...

Title: The Big Empty
Author: J.B Stephens
Genre: YA, Dystopian, action, mystery
Perfect for: younger and older ya readers!

Taken from Goodreads,
"One year ago, a devastating plague called Strain 7 killed three quarters of the human race. Around the world, power systems failed and supply chains screeched to a halt. The surviving population of the United States has been relocated to the coasts; the heartland is now a wasteland called The Big Empty. But seven teens trying to put their lives back together will learn that the abandoned zone holds danger, secrets, and above all, hope."
'The Big Empty' debuted October 2004. It has now gone out of print, but can be found easily at libraries and online. Thinking back, this was probably the first true dystopian novel/series I read. Maybe it's for that reason that I hold fond memories for it!

'The Big Empty' follows a group of kids as they learn about themselves and the truth about their world and the horrible disease that decimated civilization. This is by no means a novel that is for a strict age range. Even though the characters are older teens, I think this novel would suit younger YA readers just as well as older.

Stephens world wasn't complicated or hard to read-- it was just right. (And this is coming from someone who has trouble reading hardcore sci-fi worlds!) The main goal of 'The Big Empty' was not to play on a love triangle, but was focused on the characters, the role the disease played in their personal history and how it binds new friends together. (Towards the end of the series, there is a cute romance that develops, however!) It has action and mystery, too!

Chapters change perspectives and it takes a bit to really know who is who (due to the large number of characters). As a reader, the switching of perspectives helped create suspense for when the characters (who lead completely different lives) would finally meet in some sort of middle ground.

Speaking about characters, Stephen did a good job with naming the characters. I know it seems a silly thing to be impressed with, but in a world full of 'repeat' names, I loved the ones he chose. Specifically, I love the name Keely. It's up their with Scott Westerfeld's choices in the 'Uglies' series!

While I love the book, it's not perfect.  It has a bit of a slow start, but is nothing compared to other books that I've read!

'The Big Empty' is the first of a four book series. If you liked 'The Uglies' by Scott Westerfeld or even the popular dystopian titles on the market now, I recommend picking it up and giving it a try! You won't find it at your regular bookstore, but a used book shop or library will probably have it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Happenings- A Holiday Meme, Week Two

 Christmas Happenings' is a meme designed to let you readers in on what makes Christmas special to me.  It will be a weekly installment here on the blog until Christmas comes to town!  

I'll be making the theme of this years 'Holiday Happenings' a visual one and will be showcasing the holiday specials that share the season with me year after year.  You never know, maybe you'll remember a few!

Christmas Happenings meme -- Week Two

Last week, I highlighted the He-Man/She-Ra Christmas special.  This week, I'm highlighting the special that is near and dear to my heart.  Literally, it is my most favorite Christmas special ever.  Unlike last weeks, it's one that a lot of you might also be fans of!  Can you guess?

Hint One: It was first scene on the small screen in December 1986.  
Hint Two: This live action tale is filled with songs, such as 'We Need A Little Christmas', 'Jingle Bell Rock', and 'Pass It On'.
Hint Three: The cast is humongous and includes a turkey and a rather large yellow bird!

Think you know?  Ready for the big reveal?  The 'Christmas Happening' for today is none other than...  

The Muppet Family Christmas!!!!!!

Here's the premise found on the Muppet Wiki,"In this one-hour Christmas special, Fozzie Bear surprises his mother Emily on Christmas Eve by bringing the entire Muppet gang to her farm to celebrate the holidays. Doc and his dog Sprocket, who had planned a quiet Christmas, end up joining the Muppets in their holiday activities and preparations.

The Sesame Street regulars, including Big Bird, Bert, Ernie and others, join the festivities, but to Kermit's dismay, the only one missing is Miss Piggy, who has been caught in a snowstorm."

Timeline:  I've been watching this every year since it aired.  It never gets old!  I even went to the trouble of dubbing my old VHS tape to DVD when I learned that the current american releases were being heavily edited due to copyright laws.  (bah, humbug!)

Why should you watch this?  Because it's packed with musical numbers galore and the whole entire muppet family (including Kermit and friends, Fraggles/Doc/Sprockett, the Sesame Street gang, AND Jim Henson himself)!!!  
Seriously, you should watch this.  If you haven't seen it, you're missing out on some great running gags ("Watch out for the Icy Patch!"), spot on humor (ie: Ernie, Bert, and Doc's 'small talk'), and touching moments (ie: Jim Henson and Sprockett).

Now, your job (if you choose to accept it) is to watch this holiday special!  Like it?  Leave a comment?  What's your favorite part?


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

S.O.S Book of the Week

The S.O.S Book of the Week is where I let you in on what new releases I'm looking forward to! S.O.S comes from the term 'Strict on Sale'. It's bookseller speak for a title that you can't sell before a specific date-- think Harry Potter. While the books I have here may not be S.O.S titles specifically, they are all new!

The S.O.S. Book of the Week is:

Taken from Goodreads, "After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare–former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead–finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this, ugh, “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello?! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately signs her name in the “clearly not” column. But Will is, ahem, willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth."

'Queen of the Dead' has a release date of June 2011 and holds a spot on my 'eager to read' list! If you read my review of 'The Ghost and the Goth', then you know that I quite enjoyed it. I hope that 'Queen of the Dead' holds the same enjoyment! This series is flying under the radar at the moment, but I think once we see this follow up tale hit store shelves, it will become as popular as it deserves to be!!!

Are you looking forward to this title?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award-- Take two!

I'd like to thank Laura from Read Between the Lines for this award!  It will be the second time it's come my way!  (We book bloggers need some new awards!!!)  I recommend you check out Laura's blog for some great reviews on Urban Fantasy and YA titles!

Here are the rules:

1. Share 7 things about yourself.
2. Pass the award to 15 bloggers recently discovered.
3. Notify the blogger recipients.
4. Link to the blogger who gave the award.

7 Things About Me:

1- I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who. Christopher Eccleston is my Doctor. Matt Smith, however, is doing a fantastic job so far with his Doctor! On a similar note, I've wanted a sonic lipstick (from The Sarah Jane Adventures) for years and still have yet to get one! I have a sonic screwdriver, but sonic lipstick is more purse friendly! :p

2- My birthday is right before Christmas, and when I say right before, I mean two days before. I cam home on Christmas day in an extra large stocking. Most would feel jipped having their birthday by such a huge holiday, but I love it. My family always made it a point to celebrate my birthday and Christmas separately. Plus, being that close to the holiday, I never had school on my birthday. Since graduating, I've started requesting it off, because who wants to work on their special day?

3- I'm currently working on a reality show with an LA producer. We're going to pitch it early 2011 to production companies!

4- I can quote line by line 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', and 'The Neverending Story'.

5- Along the same lines, I love Star Wars. I've read the books since I was a kid, can quote the movies, collect C3P0's, and even attended Star Wars Celebration IV. I own multiple Star Wars themed shirts and really, really wanted the bed sheets that Pottery Barn was selling earlier this year!

6- I collect My Little Ponies. Being a product of the eighties, I have plenty from my youth. when they came out again for in the early 2000's, I received a bunch for the holidays. Since then, I've started mainly collecting the first generation ones. I recently bought a pony case that I owned way back when from a toy show.

7- (Thank goodness!) My dream house has a doll room, a library, and art working hanging all over the walls!

15 9 Bloggers Whom I Think Deserve This Award:

Lu's Bloody Big Book Blog
I Swim For Oceans
Far From Reality
Forever Young
The Bookworm is Here!
Down the Rabbit Hole-- this is more honorary, as they don't really accept awards.  Check it out, though!
Lost in the Library
That Hapa Chick

Congrats and thank you!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Small Review's "Busting the Newbie Blues" Meme

Small Review has started a meme with the purpose to help smaller blogs gain a bit more of a following and maybe even learn about what they want on their blog and how others have achieved it! This even runs through the end of December!!!

I was torn on what survey to fill out. Blogging less than a year, I'm quite proud of my accomplishments! I've kept to a pretty decent schedule, made friends with some great bloggers, and even hosted a contest. Because I am pretty proud of what Brooke's Box of Books has become in this past few months, I'm filling out the experienced form.   I may not have a huge number of followers or even get publishers delivering books at my door, but I think I'm doing something right here regardless!  Read below and take what you will from it. :-)

When did you start your blog? This blog officially opened in August 2009, but I didn't really begin updating on a regular basis with at least 10 posts a month until June 2010. 

Why did you start your blog? I started my blog because I found myself posting reviews everywhere else--amazon, goodreads, etc-- and thought why not make my own space where I am free to post whatever I'd like?

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from? My biggest mistake in the beginning was posting too many things at one time. Had I spread out the posting of my older reviews, I would have been able to keep more of a schedule. The early months were quite hectic with me posting four reviews one month and ten another.

Making a schedule and sticking to it is one of my main challenges. In months where I know time will be tight, I've begun planning ahead. I'll write a review and schedule it to post later that week or I'll map out my month so I can make a deadline for myself. Procrastination is always staring me in the face, but I think I've done quite well at keeping it at bay!!!

For new bloggers, I highly recommend looking at your blog like you would work or school. It's something that you have to dedicate equal time to each week so that if people stop by, they'll see all the work you put into it!

What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this? Publicity. I had no idea how to get my name out to readers. I don't need lots of followers to read my stuff, but I think every blogger enjoys comments, page hits, or a new follower or two. After studying various other blogs, I noticed that a large chunk participated in the 'Book Blogger Hop' and decided to join. That was truly when I began getting my name out into the world wide web!

What do you find most encouraging? The people. I haven't encountered a single blog that has had any sort of 'war' going on, like you see in forums and such. It makes me happy to be part of the book blogging world!

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog? I love idea of meme's. I think weekly meme's help make your blog more than just 'another book blog'. I'm trying to slowly delve into that world with my own Christmas Happenings meme and my S.O.S Book of the Week.

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this? It's really not my place to say one blog is worse than the other. For my blog, I try to proof my posts (though I'd be the first to tell you I stink at finding my own mistakes). I also try to post regularly during the week-- enough so that I hit at least 15-20 posts a month. Another key thing for me is layout. For meme's, for example, I like to clearly define the question and question. So, the question (like here) is bold. The answer isn't. To me, it makes things all so much prettier. If someone doesn't do the things above, it' a bit of a let down. But then again, to each his own!

Do you have any advice for new bloggers? I can't stress this enough-- know what you want to post each week and stick to a schedule. It can even be as simple as posting a review every Monday, a meme every Wednesday, and the hop every Friday. Also, join in the Follow Friday/Book Blogger Hop fun! When you type in your blog info (to the linky), why not put *new blog* somewhere in there. I always hop to those. :-)

How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people? I've been joining the Book Blog Hop since every week since July. It has helped my followers grow about 10-15 a month since then. It's not a grand number, but I'm proud of it!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience? I love this blog and plan on keeping it up for years to come. In my case, hard worked paid off. As long as you strive for YOUR best and not someone else's, you'll be fine!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Book Blogger Hop/FF/Updates

Hi guys! Wow, time is flying. I just can't believe it's time for another hop!!! Work and holiday shopping have kept me from reading a great deal this past week. I'm going to try to keep up with new reviews, but you might see a lot of older titles popping up here this month.

Book Blogger Hop

The question of the week is:
What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your review?

My Answer:  Tough question today! You will probably disagree with me here, but I really hated 'Shiver' by Maggie Stiefvater. It just did not sit well with me. I didn't like the writing. Oh, and don't get me started on the relationship between the girl and wolf. It was just creepy. Even if the boy is a dog, do not let him sleep in your bed after just a few days of knowing him.

For 'Shiver', I posted a short, quick review stating what I disliked about the story. If I liked any bit of it, I'll put it in the review, because who wants to leave a purely negative review? Unfortunately for 'Shiver', I just didn't like it all around!!!

This Week On The Blog:
TodaysMama Holiday Meme Contest Entry
Review: ReBoot Artbook
Review: Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows: The Movie
Christmas Happenings Meme: Week One

The Question Is:
What do you do besides reading / reviewing as a hobby??

My Answer:  I re-root doll heads. I just started getting into it last year when I decided to try it out. Basically, I take dolls who have been given a bad haircut and give them a new fun hairstyle! You can see some example HERE and HERE. It's actually quite fun and with the proper tools quite easy, too!  I'm working on a Chatty Cathy head now that should look awesome!!!

I'd like to thank everyone who stopped by this week! I'm up to 104 followers! E gads! Now I can get to planning a contest of some sort!!! Also, thanks to all who commented on my entries this week! You guys made my day(s)!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today'sMama Holiday meme

Today'sMama is giving away a huge Gamestop giftcard and lots of extra's!  Head over to her blog HERE to find out how to enter!!!
Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama (link to: GameStop (link to: giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.
1. What is your holiday wish for your family?  My wish for my family is that everyone is happy and that old negativities or disappointments disappear with the dawning of the new year!

2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition?  To this day, I still try to wake up early.  Of course, early isn't 6AM or 7AM, it's usually 8 or 9AM, now.  Still, that's early!  When we're all up and awake, my family gathers in the living room and we open gifts.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?  Oh, I don't know.  I would love to receive notification that I made the interview process for the DGA Producers Training Program.  Course, it would be a belated Xmas gift, as they notify you in February!
4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?  I play Xmas radio and watch Xmas related entertainment!
5. What games did you play with your family growing up?  We never played games during Christmas...
6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?  Alas, as I'm still at home, I haven't had a chance to carry anything on yet!  :p
7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?  I'd love to visit Disneyworld during the Christmas holiday or even go abroad and celebrate in Italy!
8. Check out GameStop (link to: and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?  Epic Mickey, the nunchuck for the game, and a language program for my DS.