Monday, November 23, 2015

FEATURED FAVORITES: Book Blogger Favorites

Today, let's welcome Shannon from River City Reading.  She is here to tell us about some book blogger favorites, courtesy of her very own top picks.


I get the sense that I’m not alone in feeling let down when the Goodreads Choice Awards roll around near the end of each year. There tends to be a few books I’ve read or enjoyed, but more often than not the categories seem to miss out on many titles I see floating around the book blogosphere. Last year, I started to wonder what the Goodreads Choice Awards might look like if book bloggers had control.

So, I gave it a shot. There were already a few yearly awards aimed at specific genres, but I was looking for something that would catch a bigger slice of readers. Rather than putting together an “award”, I simply wanted look at the new titles book bloggers loved the most (and figured it could act as a pretty great TBR to boot). Book Blogger Top Picks was born and is in the middle of its second year as we speak.

It starts with open voting, which is a chance for bloggers to write in their favorite books for each category. From there, I pool the responses into options for the semifinal round, which is currently open until November 23rd. The final round consists of the top three in each genre and will get going on November 27th. It would be great to hear your blogging voice this time around!

Friday, November 20, 2015

FEATURED FAVORITES: Diverse Crime Fiction

I am excited to bring you Bryan of Still Unfinished.  He has some favorites to share with you today, featuring diverse crime fiction.  Get ready to add some books to your TBR list!


In July of this year, the ladies at The Socratic Salon were discussing reading inside or outside the box? In response, I wrote that while I do feel the pressure to be a well-rounded reader, instead of giving into the pressure completely, I am attempting to be more diverse within the genre I read, which is crime fiction, than I have been in the past. 

Since then, I have read 18 books that I qualify as diverse crime fiction meaning that the authors are non-white or non-male authors, many with origins from another country. I thought with this post, I'd highlight a few of my favorite authors and series I've come across that fit that criteria since starting my own personal challenge as well as one or two I started before then. 

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö 

I heard about these two within the last couple of years after the success of Norwegian crime fiction writer Jo Nesbø, who has credited the couple with inspiring him with his own work, most notably the Harry Hole series which I also love. The husband and wife team from Sweden collaborated on the Martin Beck series, which spanned 10 novels about the Stockholm police detective and his squad. I read all of them within the last couple of years, finishing them earlier this year, and enjoyed all of them. The series are police procedurals and it is only apropos, in my mind, that in the reprints of these works written in the 1960s and 1970s are introduced by modern crime fiction authors, who owe a lot to these two, considered separately as "The Godfather of Scandinavian Fiction" and "The Queen of Crime." 

Parker Bilal 

I discovered Bilal, the pseudonym of British-Sudanese author Jamal Mahjoub , on OverDrive at The Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) with his Makana Investigation series. Makana is an exiled Sudanese police detective in Cairo and so far, there have been four books in the series, of which I have read three. The best so far was Dogstar Rising. I plan on buying and reading the fourth, The Burning Gates for the upcoming Thankfully Reading Weekend which I'm extending to all week since I happen to be off work the entire week. 

Peggy Blair 

I think I first saw Blair's books at our library and was intrigued by them, but didn't pick them up until Belle of the blog Ms. Bookish mentioned that I should try them and so I did. I enjoyed the first two of the series Blair has written about Cuban Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, although probably the second one a little better because it seems like she has honed her skills. Blair is a Canadian author, formerly a lawyer who now works in real estate. 

Walter Mosley 

Mosley is not just a crime fiction writer as he also writes in science fiction as well, but he is most well known probably for his Easy Rawlins series of which Devil in a Blue Dress is the first. I remember seeing the movie years ago with Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beale and liking it, and reading the book, but only returned to the series earlier this year. I admit that I did skip one because it wasn't working for me, and learned that I have missed one other, but I'm now up to the seventh in the series, out of a dozen novels in the series and one short-story collection that I haven't read. Rawlins is very hard-boiled, extremely rough around the edges, but he always is looking for justice on the streets of L.A.. The series starts in the 1940s and goes up through the 1970s as far as I've gotten. 

Kwei Quartey 

Born in Ghana, now a doctor living in California, Quartey writes about his native country through the eyes of his detective Darko Dawson, who works in Accra, the country's capital. I have read all three in the series so far, although I didn't care for the last one as much as the first two. However, I know I'll probably still give a try to his next one, Gold of Our Fathers, expected out next year. I discovered him through FLP as well.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


It's that time of year when many of us are thinking about themed reading.  Well, we are not alone.  Today, please welcome Kai from FICTION STATE OF MIND who shares your favorites on themed reading!


Hello everyone. As I write this California is trying to welcome fall, yet failing miserably. Seasonal rituals are an important part of my life while living in a state that lacks four seasons.

As a reader and Blogger I also apply themes to my reading life. I love a variety of reading genres so themed reading also allows me to binge on one area of my passions and clear my unread books of the shelves. Here are some events I participate in that encourage community with other Bloggers and celebrating the seasons.


For the whole month of October I read and review Horror themed books.

Sci-Fi Month 

This is my second year participating in this event. I devote the month to reading & reviewing Science Fiction books.                  

Seasonal Reads 

I do reviews with the seasonal reads taglines around Thanksgiving and January. This year I discovered these Thanksgiving themed reads:

Sarah Gives Thanks:  This is the story of Sarah Josepha Hale a talented woman who dedicated her life to making Thanksgiving a national holiday

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving:  This is the story of a young Indian brave sold into slavery and his twelve year journey to return to his home. Squanto was also a helper to the Pilgrims on the very first Thanksgiving.

Franklin’s Thanksgiving: This is a sweet little read that reminds us that friends are as important as family and the pleasure that can be found in community.

12 Days 

12 Days is my yearly holiday celebration. From December 1st through the 12th I do gift guides, book reviews, interviews and more with a holiday theme. I like to celebrate diversity as well as classic holiday reads so this year I’m reading & Reviewing these:

A Fortnight of Holiday Romance 

I close out my reading year with holiday romance, especially historical and Regency period romance.

 So what about you guys? Do you have any reading rituals?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Featured Blogger: Melanie of Melanie's Diary

Today please welcome Melanie, who blogs at Melanie's Diary.


What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

I've always been big on keeping a diary, and blogs these days are like the modern version. Of course, my mom is reading it this time, but that's okay.

How long have you been blogging?

I started back with Xanga. That would be 2005, I think. It was a lot of fun and a great way to keep up with my friends, but because it was such an open diary, sometimes I'd say too much and caught some backlash with that. You learn as you go.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

In between book reviews, I'll write about any damn thing. I went to Central Park, or had a vacation in the Middle East, or I found a doll from my childhood I'd put away and now I'm awash in memories. Anything.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

As far as reading/reviewing goes, I'm open to almost any genre. I love a story with some suspense, but I also like biographies and historic novels (like Dickens or L.M. Montgomery). I'm also reading a few comic book series that I like to write about from time to time.

Every blogger feels pressure at some point. What's something you feel pressured to do or not do on your blog? How do you deal with it?

I feel very pressured to tackle "important topics" like mental health or sexual harassment or the rights of one group or another. It gets so heavy and opens the door for people to vehemently disagree. I just want to write about something I love. Bloggers who do tackle important topics are writing about causes they love, and they should absolutely do that, but it's not right for me to pretend to be passionate about something I just agree with.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

I'm all for it. I've bought used books where previous owners have written notes. Some of them are interesting (and some people can't underline a text without crossing it out). For me, it's a great way to help collect my thoughts, especially on a second or third read through. 

Do you judge a book by its cover, or its lover?

I love book covers so much. There have been times where I would read something solely based on the cover without even reading the blurb on the back (I'm not a fan of back blurbs).

To DNF or not to DNF?

Life is short, you know? If I'm not feeling a book (or movie, or experience, etc), I don't feel obliged to finish. The few times I have pushed through a book I wasn't into has never once been a positive experience.

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

I would love to see Prince Edward Island (from Anne of Green Gables fame). That series was a big part of my childhood.

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Most people know I write my own books, so we'll count that as a hobby. I also love to travel, I love trying new, weird food (like brains or haggis). I keep my inner child alive by getting my dolls out. And who can avoid that classic favorite: watching TV. There are stories on TV, so I'm not sorry.


Thank you for joining us today, Melanie! 
Remember to check out Melanie's blog, Melanie's Diary
and leave a comment or question.

Friday, November 6, 2015

FEATURED FAVORITES: For the Love of Rachel Vincent

Today, we welcome Kat from SassyCat's Books Review!  She is here to share her love with us about one of her favorite authors, Rachel Vincent.  Read on for more!


Why do I love her so much? 

Well maybe because she was the next author I’d probably read after Twilight and that was in 2009. I actually discovered her in two ways, one after Twilight WEREWOLVES were a huge thing but I was like “couldn’t there be cats?” and after doing a cat-shifters search on Goodreads I came upon her. I also learned that I had read some of her YA Soul Screamers book but never really thought about it. I’d sometimes pick up books and don’t remember why I picked it or when I picked it.

I fell in love with both her YA and Adult books, but what had saddened me as a newbie addicted reader was that her werecats shifters has just ended. Alpha came out in October 2010 and I started her books in 2011.

Her werecats shifters were the first Urban Fantasy/Adult book I have ever read and I’m glad I did because that opens up lot of window of books for me to read.

Her YA series Soul Screamers was something I had to reread the first three books because I couldn’t remember a single thing about them and by that time Rachel was anticipating My Soul to Steal to come out in 2010.

Between the two series that I had read so far from Rachel, Soul Screamers is kind of was closer to age with me at the time of reading or my mentality was still in that stage and age. I started college in fall of 2009 so the transition out of high school wasn’t too far away.

Why I would recommend for people to read Rachel Vincent’s Books?
  • She has a way with her writing 
  • She did CATS . . . CATS!!!! 
  • Screaming Teenage Banshee anyone? 
  • There’s not really a Love triangle in any of her books (so far) but I think she doesn’t like the idea. The only time I worried was the whole Nash/Kaylee/Tod situation from the soul screamers. But once she clearly explains the situation and how my opinion on the matter at the time showed that there wasn’t ever really an triangle love story. 
  • The covers from all over are gorgeous (how much are you willing to spend?) 

What about her other books? 

Well I still fell hard for them too; her Blood Bound series was quite something. I’ve never read anything like that where people were bound by an oath or a blood oath, seriously it’s almost chilling to hear and read that some of the characters are bound to their boss and basically have no control over it. It’s also a duo POV one of the female characters that are the protagonists of the story and male characters that are the love interests.

However there’s a twist in the trilogy that is set among the female characters in the books, they’re best friends and one of them had the skills/gift of bounding and accidentally bound all of them together. I wish Rachel wrote a short story on one of the girls and you’ll understand why I think that when you read Blood Bound which is the Olivia and Cam story.

The New WORKS of Rachel Vincent

Her new YA The Stars Never Rise is really brand new, the first book came out in June of this year and her Menagerie ADULT book was just released late September. The Stars Never Rise is really fitting for anyone that loves Supernatural and/or The Walking Dead.

Menagerie has lots of extensive details; more details than I think Rachel have ever done with all of her other books. It brings out the worst in human nature and it also brings out the mysterious world that we don’t see behind the curtains.

Rachel’s Self Published Works 

Rachel wrote a New Adult/Romance set from the Werecats world (FINALLY) five years after Alpha had ended in 2010. Lion Share is based on Jace Hammond and Abby Wade, her future plan for this NA/Romance is to continue self-publish with new characters for each book. It is not solely focused on Jace Hammond and Abby Wade but they will make an appearance in the rest of however many books she plans to write.

I’d even started a twitter rave when I suggested to Rachel that she should do a YA of the Shifter world and of course her mind was like “Raging teenage catshifters hormones!!” Here’s how the twitter went down, she might still consider it but I know she’s busy with all of her other committed works.

PICTURE of my Collection; there are a total of 36 books.

There’s a reason why I have so many Soul Screamers copies. One the complete set of seven books are my read-only books with the original covers before they switch it to the volume sets that is on the first row. 

Second set that only goes up to IF I DIE (bottom row) sets I won from Rachel when I entered a contest, YES they are signed so they are my signed copies, I am planning on hunting down the last two books to add to that collection. 

The Foreign edition that is on the top row as well are books I purchased because the UK editions are just gorgeous for the Soul Screamers books. Yes I’m planning on finding the rest of book one and two, then book six and book seven. 

Now the Werecats shifter books (second row) the first six are my first copies and also read-only copy. They got pretty worn out and the edges are showing creases as well the binding, that how much I love the books and how often I had opened the books to read them. 

With this series have been nearly ended for five years, the books were becoming less and less available in the stores. But I manage to find and buy the first four books as my collection copy, but to find Shift and Alpha I can imagine I’ll be paying more than it is marketed. But it will be worth it! 

The Blood Bounds series (three books, in the second row) suffers the same fate as did my read-only copies did but the stores for whatever reasons didn’t obtain many copies but I think if I go online I can easily find them. They’re not that old like a 10 year span old maybe 3 or 4 years old? 

The cover of Blood Bound is UK edition (in the third row I also won from Rachel). The next two books of that series also have a different cover and also a different theme because Mira Ink marketed it a little different with the covers so I’m not sure how easy it would be to find the UK edition cover I have of Blood Bound. 

Menagerie and The Stars Never Rise are the newest book releases by Rachel, it has been nearly a year since a book of hers came out.

You can find me

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

FEATURED FAVORITES: Going Foreign With Your Reading

Today, I am so excited to introduce you to our first guest for FEATURED FAVORITES ... Stephanie of Where Stephanie Reads.  She is going to take us on a bit of a vacation, traveling through her favorite foreign reads.  Enjoy!


Summer is a great time of the year to travel and have fun. With school out and so much to do, it’s nice to find a book that mirrors that. With the spirit of that I decided to compile a list of books that take you to a foreign country. In the list the books range in different genres as well, so on to my list. On this list I feature some of my favorite books but also those that have been adapted to the big screen as well.

The first book on my list is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. This isn’t a recent book but it’s timeless and it takes place during the summer and afterwards you can watch the movies as well. The book is about four friends that are going on their own summer adventures so in order to stay in touch they buy pants that fit them all and they will trade it amongst themselves. This is a great book of summer, and friendship.

My second book is one of my favorites this year is The Fault in Our Stars. This book is perfect for those that look for a light hearted love story and never read a John Green book. The book is about two teens with cancer, Hazel and Augustus who become friends (or more) and then travel to Amsterdam to meet an author from Hazel’s favorite book to find out what happens afterwards.

For those that love action and a great mystery I would say Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. This is the first book in the Robert Langdon series and takes place in Geneva, Switzerland and Rome, Italy. The book is about a man named Robert who gets called to go to Geneva to help solve a case of a murder that took place at a scientific institute. He soon finds out the murderer was part of an ancient satanic cult out to get revenge on Christianity. They also have a sinister plot to kidnap four cardinals and have a weapon that could destroy the Vatican City. Robert Langdon must solve the crime before this happens.

My fourth book is called Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book is about a woman who recently divorced decides to pack her bags and go on trip to find herself. This woman goes to Italy, India and Bali. This book also adds the element of food to go so make sure you have a bowl of pasta to eat.

My last book is Under the Tuscan Sun. The book is about a woman who gets divorced and goes to Italy to get away but ends up buying a house in Tuscany to live. In Tucsany she learns about the world of Italy, food, and finds herself. This book also was adapted into a movie as well staring Diane Lane.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Introducing a Month of Featured Favorites!!

Welcome to November's Featured Favorites here at Book Bloggers International!

What is Featured Favorites? 

Featured Favorites is a month devoted to all blogger favorites!  Favorites can include books, series, genres, authors, covers, and more.  We have so many amazing things already planned and you will not want to miss out on the favorite fun!

How can I get involved in Featured Favorites?

We are still looking for bloggers to share their favorites this month.  If you are interested in writing about your own personal favorites, email Tif at

We are also always open to blogger interviews and guest posts.  If you are interested in one of these options, visit our How To Be Featured page.  We will be in contact with you.

Here's hoping that you enjoy our month of favorites!  Until then, be sure you subscribe to our monthly newsletter and check out all the amazing events happening around the book blogger community on our calendar.