Update

As you guys know, lately, I have been all over the place emotionally. Work, relationships and other drama have led me to extreme emotional turmoil. So, first, I want to apologize for dumping most of my drama on you guys. I desperately needed an outlet and sadly came here to do it. Thank you guys for your patience and support through all of this. That being said, I am officially killing the Diary Series. It may come back in another form/ another name once I’m in the right state of mind and am able to reestablish the point to it all. I am officially back and going forward, you will see all of my regular shenanigans.. lol.

That being said, last year in July for my blogiversary, I had massive giveaways all month-long. Sadly, while I do have a lot of giveaways in mind I haven’t exactly planned any of it. So hopefully what is coming will be epic and you will all enjoy.

I wish you all a very happy Monday!!! :)

P.S. For those of you who kept up with my drama, I got a new job! Yay me! So wish me luck! ;)

Let’s Talk: Status Quo’s and Blogging

20140309-203730.jpgI’m really weird… I oftentimes have a scene or line in my head that is on repeat. Except that it’s not perfect in my mind because I don’t remember all the details and it nags me.  I feel that I can’t stop thinking about it, at least not until I reread the book.

Before blogging I spent most of my time rereading books. It was like music for me and it was based on my mood. I would be in a morose mood or feeling kinda sappy and I knew exactly which book to go to. My collection was just perfect, I didn’t have a lot of books but I was content. If I ever they started to feel stagnant or I just needed something new I would buy more books.

I would go to bookstores and just browse, most times I had no itinerary, I had no idea what was out, I was just reading blurbs and then giving the good ones a new home. I would give away what I didn’t like, compared to the book hoarder I have become. Oddly enough I no longer give away my own copies of novels I have read. (If you don’t get it go back to the first line in the post.) But I digress, after I started blogging everything about my relationship with books has changed. I feel like I just have a LOT of one night stands with books and no longer have the time to court them. Also, I feel that I no longer have the liberty to shop for books. Well, that’s not exactly it. I can shop for them but I just feel that I never have the time to get to them.

20140223-110304.jpg Not too long ago I filled up my Amazon shopping cart with books that I have been anticipating their release and books I have really been wanting to get to. All the titles in the image plus The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa and all these books have just been collecting dust. I’ve only been able to get to two of these books. The Fault In Our Stars and The Distance Between Us. Now that I’ve gone to BEA and added about a hundred more books I want to read to my already extremely large pile, I’ve decided that somethings got to give.

So here’s what I’ve noticed. I know what I want, I know what I would like to see on my blog. However, I am so stuck on the idea of what other bloggers are doing (the status quo) that I’m falling into that. You know how all successful bloggers get all these awesome ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies) from publishers and then they’re going and posting their reviews and holy crap was that awesome to me. I wanted that, to have these great relationships with publishers and for them to want to send me their books. And just like that I lost sight of what I envisioned for the blog and instead started to strive to do what all the cool kids were doing. ;)

For me it’s not only wanting to reread books that are just playing over and over in my head and believe me there are a lot of them… But also, finally working through my TBR pile. I have more physical books than I have space for and ebooks that are collecting virtual dust. I really just want to focus on them and also really just read the books I want to read.

So I’ve been thinking about my original intentions for TiffanyLovesBooks, you know sharing my love of books- my books, the ones that I was reading and loving. Like Kelly Armstrong. Before blogging she was one of my favorite authors. After blogging, I basically never read her books. The idea of TiffanyLovesBooks is not reading what everyone else is reading just because it’s popular. While I don’t plan on reviewing the same book multiple times, I do want to cater my blog to me. What I like, what I want and what I envisioned it to be.  So here’s my question to you: If I stopped following the status quo and reviewing all the books that every one is reviewing or if I more consistently review books that are no where close to being new releases, would you guys still read my stuff? Or do I need to keep a mixture of both?

 

BEA + BookCon Recap

I originally intended to post my recaps daily as I did last year. This year however, I made the dumb decision to leave both my laptop and  iPad at home. While I love my phone, typing the post I published for the BEA Conferences was an absolute nightmare. Therefore it was my only post while I was in NY.

 

My first day 20140606-091124-33084017.jpgof BEA was not so great. They had ALOT of great authors that I really wanted to see: Lauren Oliver, Dawn Metcalf, Julie Kagawa, Jennifer Armentrout… All of which I missed. I was disappointed and my first day felt like a total fail. I stood in these lines, sometimes for hours and before they would get to me, they would be cut off. ‘No more books, we are sorry. ‘ And Julie Kagawa who I meet at #BEA13 still came out from behind the desk apologized and came out and socialized with those waiting in line. I totally fangirl-ed and came to love her all the more for trying to make a bad situation even a little bit better.

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Julie Kagawa and Tiffany #BEA14

Despite all of that though, I still got to meet Melissa Marr and R.L. Stine. Which were both really great! I walked around alot and didn’t take my own advice, so my first day I was dissappointed and in total pain because I wore new shoes to BEA. Seriously, I sat around at the Javits center for about an hour barefoot, before I could head out…

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BEA Day 2 

Was exceedingly better for me although it didn’t start off that way. When I heard Stan Lee would be there I was adamant I would meet/see him. I woke up really early and decided I would be there when they opened the doors to get these tickets (it was a ticketed event. It doesn’t cost anything but early on limits the amount of people who can get copies/ meet these authors). Well, I really didn’t think that one through since People where there since 6am lining up around the building to be the first in line at 7am when they opened compared to the 8am which I led myself to believe. All the tickets were gone within 15 minutes of them opening…

I did however meet:

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Becca Fitzpatrick

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Keira Cass

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Melissa Marr

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Jeff Kinney

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Marie Lu

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Ally Condie

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Meeting Brad Meltzer

And finally Brad Meltzer. There is quite a story behind this one but it was the most amazing author connection I have ever experienced. If you want to hear my drown out story this is it: My sister is also a huge book worm and last year when I told her about #BEA13 she asked me to please, please, please get her an autographed copy of Linda Lael Miller’s book. Which I did. Everyday of BEA, because she was there. I pretty much stalked her… :) So this year, my sister was unable to make it because she had just given birth to my niece. So she once again went through the list of attending authors and gave me nearly ten names, which I adamantly refused. Her words were ‘If it can only be one: Brad Meltzer I love him!’ Or something along those lines. His was also a ticketed event and I made sure I got one. Before I went to his signing I called her. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m about to go meet Brad Meltzer is there anything you want me to tell him?

Sis: Tell him that I love him. That The Zero Game is my favorite novel and I watch his show Decoded every night. Well not anymore because I had Faith (the baby) but I used to… But don’t tell him that. Just tell him I love him.

Me: okay, I’ll try to remember that and I’ll tell him something really embarrassing about you too. Like that you sleep with a picture of him beside your bed or that your husband has to wear a cut out of his face before he can touch you. (Which were all lies but hilarious to me.)

Okay so we laughed a lot going through different scenarios though she asked me to please not embarrass her. As I stood in his line I took the picture to the right and sent it to her. A couple of minutes later I’m standing in front of Brad and he’s sitting there with his book open and asked what every author asks: Do you want me to sign this to you?

Me: No, My sister Karen.

Brad: Wow you’re a good sister.

Me: Yep! She couldn’t make it but asked me to tell you that she loves your novel The Zero Game and she watches Decoded every night. I also told her I would tell you something really embarrassing about her.

Brad: (He really surprises me with his answer. He stops signing, leans his head on his hand and says:) Really? Like what?

Me: (I totally did not expect that… So I had a total brain fart and blurted out) That she sleeps with a picture of you beside her bed.

Brad: No! She doesn’t! (Truly flabbergasted.)

Me: No. But I told her I would tell you she did. (We both laugh.) I also told her I would take a picture of us and send it to her.

I had my phone out and ready for the selfie of us and instead he grabs my phone and says I have something better than that. He switches it over to video and records a video for her- to her. As I’m sitting there with my mouth wide open like ‘is this really happening’ and looking at his publicist trying to get some affirmation that my eyes are not playing tricks on me. My sister responds to the picture I sent her above:

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My phone was still in his hands when she responds, immediately after he stops recording and I’m all “Holy moley it’s like she’s responding to your video. Did you see that?!?” and he says he wants to find the message. After he finds it, he responds and holy smokes, I walked away from his line in a daze and fangirled with my sister for the rest of the day. I have never seen an author truly build a connection with their readers in this way. I absolutely loved it and he truthfully made a fan out of me.

BookCon

Was absolute chaos. Last year for Power Reader’s Day the entire BEA floor was open and it was just any other day but with more people present. This year at #BEA14 it was absolute mayhem. They closed of more than half the floor and that was BookCon. Thousands of people in a not large enough space. There was pushing and shoving and snatching and  just craziness all around. They had great panels and it was star-studded but it was mayhem. I’m hoping next year they consider opening up the entire BEA floor…

To all the awesome people I met this year at BEA it’s been crazy since I got home, but I will be taking out the time to go through my business cards and find your blogs and follow you on Twitter…

Advertisement: They did a great job of it this year with signs like these in the bathrooms:

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Getting Home I got so many great books… More than I know what to do with. I had to rent a car and drive home because there was no way I would make it on the bus… I rented a Beetle and was I surprised to see just how awesome it was! And I drove over 3 hours on just half a tank!

 

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Random: They had a taxidermied fox at BEA. It was seriously kind of creepy but I couldn’t help myself.

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Books I have unpacked one bag and got these: 20140606-103333-38013591.jpg

But I seriously need to buy more shelves because I still have all of this to unpack and nowhere to put it. (with the exception of the guitar.)

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Meeting: While I am grateful to everyone I was able to meet that made this experience that much better, I want to especially thank Skye of Ramblings In The Skye a dear friend who was able to accompany me to #BEA14.

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Giveaways As always expect many great giveaways. Beginning with a series of Flash Giveaways on Sunday June 8th. Every Hour I will be giving a way swag and/or books. Make sure you are following me on Twitter at @TiffLoves2Read for updates.

Disclaimer Yes, I know I look dorky in all of my pics… No need to point it out :) And sorry about the length of the post.

P.S. What books are you most looking forward to seeing a giveaway for?

 

BEA Bloggers Conference Recap

Yesterday I worked late and wasn’t able to make it to NY till like 4 a.m. Before I left my son gave me the most heart warming thing:

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Well I made it in time to attend BEA. Today was the first day of BEA and it was mostly a blogger thing: advice and tips on how to improve your blog and other things. This post will be dedicated to the info that was provided in the panels I attended. However, I will now make it clear that although I did gain knowledge from these panels, it was mostly a disappointing affair…

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Design 101: Creating a Picture Perfect Blog
Speakers: Ashley Evans, Nose Graze
Jeremy West, Jeremy West Design

Over all notes:
-You cannot just take images from google. You need permission to use images that belongs to someone else or use images that have a Creative Commons license.
-Creating designs is like writing a novel: it won’t be ready to publish after the first draft. Practice makes perfect.
-Be weary of colors and readability. Use contrasting colors. i.e. a light background and dark text. Do not use the same color for both in varying shades (like light pink text and a darker pink as background).
-Have a clearly defined theme to define your brand. Pick a theme and execute it fully through out your blog (header, layout, blog button, supporting graphics, etc.).
-Strip down to the necessities. Keep readers engaged and keeping it simple will draw their attention to actual posts. Minimize on the overuse of sidebars- try to have no more than one sidebar.
-Do not list your email on your blog’s home page. Robots and spammers stick to home pages.

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Software 101: Best Blogging Tools
Moderator: Thea James, Book Smugglers
Speakers: Sarah Wendell, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Stephanie Sinclair, Cuddlebuggery
Becca Brennan, Mad Mimi

This was my absolute favorite panel of them all. It was funny, informative and entertaining. These ladies worked perfectly together and fed off of each other. The info below will be paraphrased, but you’ll get the gist… I hope.

Platforms
Steph prefers wordpress.org. Has used blogger and wp.com but prefers wp.org- it allows for ALOT of options.
Sarah: Expression Engine- stay away from it!
Advice On Hosting
Steph: When choosing a host do your research. Need host that will help with learning curve to help fix issues.
Make Money On Blog
Sarah: Ad revenue allow her to make blogger her job. Use affiliates with available retailer.
Also: Securi- is a service that you pay $90 a year for and it will protect your blog from malware infestations. And Fiverr is an amazing resource for bloggers. The offer diagnostics and designs and all sorts of things at mostly affordable prices.
One Piece of Advice on Software:
Steph: You will break your blog- it’s ok.
Becca: stick to your comfort zone.
Sarah: don’t be afraid to ask for help. Tweet and ask bloggers for help.
Thea: If you are working with a designer do not just give money upfront. *Until they have a draft that you agree on do not pay any money- and even then, just half, the other half gets paid when they complete the job.

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The Publishing Process: How Bloggers Have Changed the Game
Speakers: Amanda Brice, Author/Attorney
Allison Leotta, The Prime-Time Crime Review
Katie Sunstrom, Lorance & Thompson, PC

They each took turns talking and again just writing the highlights.

Katie:
-What is copyrightable subject matter? The moment you write down your post you own it. Gives you the right to copy, distribute, display, make deviations, etc.
-copyright.gov- register all work
-Post copyright notices on blog as it is a deterrent to fraud.
-Check out these links: copyscape.com & plagiarismtoday.com/stopping-internet-plagiarism/ . With the latter you can enter your URL and can with it check if anyone has stolen any of your work.

Amanda Brice:
-Bloggers’ Rights: https://www.eff.org/bloggers
-Legal Guide For Bloggers: https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal

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Engaging Your Readers: Taking Your Writing to the Next Level
Speakers: Mandy Boles, Life Between Books
Nicole Bonina, Linus’s Blanket
Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey
Jason Baker, Senior Editor, Mediander LLC

So this was the published synopsis of this panel:
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I don’t at all feel that it’s what we got. Here is my very brief summary of what I found interesting.
Sheila Blogs are generating 20% of their audience by publishing on Pinterest.
Jason: The weirder the better- keep it strange (about attracting an audience to your blog.)
Mandy: keep it personal
Sheila: post titles are important. Let them be creative.

I was pretty disappointed with most of the panels, I feel that what was promised was not delivered…

After that we went to a blogger celebration. There was a band and music and free books: 20140528-220740-79660689.jpg
But I was sleep deprived and exhausted and just fell left before enjoying the band and beer they were offering.

That being said, I see everyone on Twitter going to these publisher parties… How do these work? I would love to go to one. Does the publisher personally invite bloggers or is it an open party? If any one knows please fill me in….

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books About Friendship

 

toptentuesday

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic is Ten Books About Friendship. My list will contain my all time favorite friendships in literature.

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  1. Harry Potter contains my all time favorite look at friendships. Harry, Ron and Hermione are less today’s interpretation of friends and more like family. I love their sincerity with each other and how they each have each other’s back.
  2. Eragon. Eragon and Saphira have a beautiful relationship. They don’t always say what the other wants to hear, which is part of being a true friend and they understand each other better than anyone else does.
  3. The Host. This one might seem weird but I like the friendship that Wanda and Melanie form and their reality of not always being able to choose who your friends are.

I’m having a major brain fart at the moment and can’t come up with anything past this. I figure I’ll later see everyone else’s post and face palm myself wondering how I could have missed so many friendships… That being said:

What are your favorite friendships in literature? 

Information Overload

Hi guys! As many of you know, I published a pretty open and very honest post about some things that are going on at work for me. I have taken it down. I apologize to everyone for it. Especially with my asking for feedback. Since it is already out there for those who follow via email if you have any thoughts you would like to share, feel free to email me. You guys know how much I love hearing from you.

However, people very close to me have pointed out that there’s no such thing as keeping any form of privacy when both my name and picture are posted all over my blog and two, there’s is a difference between personal and too personal. I seemed to have blurred lines and I hope I have not offended anyone with my last post which has since been deleted.

Tiffany

Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up

So I have a lot of awesome things going on right now. First, I have a super secret surprise which I will be unveiling in a few days. I’m super excited about it and expect for it to be:

I also got my business cards in the mail. Which I absolutely love. So much so that I’ve been doing an infinite happy dance every time I think of it’s awesomeness. And here it is:

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That just about sums up most of my excitement this past week. Oh and this:

20140511-120548.jpgNew To My Shelf: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Currently Reading: Nothing at the moment but I will be getting to The Forever Song as soon as possible.

This Week In Posts: Top Ten Tuesday, Review of Happily Ever After and hopefully my really awesome super secret surprise.

And to all the mothers out there:

mothersday

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

fault in our starsTitle: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Blurb: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Review:  It’s a weird thing, to read a book you know is going to emotionally rock your world. I’ve read plenty of books that have left me completely shattered, but I’ve never read one that scared me off because I knew tears were right around the corner.

At first, I struggled to connect to the story. Hazel, the protagonist is also the narrator. She is so intellectual, observant and insightful, it was a pleasure getting to know her. However, I had to get used to her vocabulary and her use of exceedingly large words. Seriously, it felt like I was reading a foreign language. On the bright side, Green has helped me considerably expand my vocabulary. So Hazel has terminal cancer, the fact that she has survived as long as she has is a fluke and a miracle. She’s a homebody and her parents force her to have a social life and go to a Support Group. For me, this is where the story really starts, when she meets Agustus Waters.

He’s a survivor and there to provide a friend with moral support and he stares at her. A lot. They hit it off- right away they have such great chemistry. Their banter is awesome and she refuses to be more than friends with him. She compared herself to a grenade. She is the grenade and when she dies, she will explode. Everyone that is close to her will be wounded by shrapnel and she wants to minimize the casualties. She eventually realizes that we don’t always get to chose the people that we hurt. Gus doesn’t make it easy for her to keep her distance either way. He is the perfect boyfriend. Handsome, and funny and understanding and he’s just there- he’s everything you need when you need it and they’re perfect together.

While I know just about everyone has read this novel, I will stop my summary here to not ruin it to those who haven’t. I will say that The Fault In Our Stars is poetic and beautiful. It warmed my heart and I felt lucky to get to experience this novel with the characters. I know that may sound cheesy, but this is the kind of book that you will find yourself emotionally invested in, with characters you find you really care about. The novel was not written to fulfill my expectations but to surprise me and allow me to feel love and loss. Also, to turn me into a total cry baby. Seriously, even when I put my tissues down and thought I was finished, I’d just start back up again. My sorrow felt never ending and somehow, despite that, the novel ended so well. It was beautifully written and I look forward to seeing if the film was able to capture all the emotion of the book.

That being said: Did anyone else expect this novel to end like Ana’s in An Imperial Affliction?

rating-5

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces of Art

toptentuesday

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

This weeks topic is an interesting one: Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Pieces of Art. There are so many beautiful covers out there that I struggled a bit with this one… I tried to stick to books I have read or am interested in reading. Again, these are in no particular order.

Consume20130526-233954.jpgthe edge of neverFor Darkness Shows The StarsUntil I Dieignite meSoul Takenstruckdreamlessorigin

 

Which covers do you find absolutely beautiful? Share your favorites with me… :)

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