Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week-long Blog Friend Celebration, Spotlight, and Giveaway #1

Hey everyone! This week I will be spotlighting 1 blogger friend each day and giving away 2 favorite picks of theirs. I really wish I could highlight everyone, but I could only do 5 this time and will choose different ones the next time I do this giveaway. Be sure and come back every day to read the new interviews and see which books I'm giving away that they have chosen.

Today's Celebrated Blogger is:

Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

My name is Jennifer Bielman and I am a 20-something year old book blogger, writer, and Social Media Consultant. I have been book blogging for a year and a half. On my book blog, Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, you will find all sorts of posts: reviews, author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, and book news. Many may know me from weekly feature, Kindle & Nook Freebies. When it comes to book reviews, I focus the most on Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Dystopian, and I have just found a liking towards Contemporary Romance. I review Young Adult, New Adult, Adult, and even Erotica on occasion.

What character from a book is your absolute favorite? Please tell us about them without being spoilery.

My favorite character from a book has to be hands down Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews. It’s my favorite urban fantasy series of all time. Kate is a kickass heroine who knows how to handle a sword like a pro and goes after the bad guys without a second thought. She lives in a world where magic and technology war with each other every day. She is the toughest female character I know. But there is this one guy, the Beast Lord Curran, who brings out her softer side. Side note: Kate and Curran = Best book couple ever.

If you could have one superpower, which one would you pick?

I would love to fly (That’s a superpower, right?). I have wanted to fly since I was little. To soar through the clouds and see the world from the sky would be amazing. And the bad guys would never see me coming.

What is your favorite mythological creature?

This one is hard because I love them all for different reasons, but I think I have a special place in my heart for shapeshifters. They really are just like you and me, but they can turn into an animal any time they want. I like that. They don’t really have weaknesses like vampires and wereanimals do, and they can live among us without being discovered. They are the perfect mythological/supernatural creature. If I had a choice, I would be a panther shapeshifter.

What book did you love that everyone else hated or hate that everyone else loved?

I really disliked The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater but almost everyone else I know loved it. I think Stiefvater’s writing style is just not for me. I couldn’t get into the book and it was way too slow.

But a book/series I loved that many book bloggers I know hated was The Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James. Sure, the writing is mediocre and the plotting was not well done, but the story and characters drew me in. I gave all the books 4 stars and up.

What are some of your quirks?

I am a germaphope. I wash my hands about 30 times a day.

I often make up words and sounds that I use constantly in conversations and no one really knows what I am saying. Mehr!!!

I am always touching my hair. It’s very long, down to my bottom, so I can’t help it.

What is your favorite website to visit?

Book blogger wise, I often visit Ashley at BookNook:
We read similar books and she often has the same opinions about certain books as I do. We even met in person at a book signing. We are book blogger best friends.

Normal website wise, I am always on looking up the new Jenna Marbles video (She is all kinds of hilarious) or looking for ARCs.

What tips or tricks would you pass on to fellow bloggers?

Tip #1: Well, for those who aren’t html or css pros (like me) I would get someone who knows what they are doing and have them set up your whole blog from the get-go. It took me forever to get my blog the way I wanted it because I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning. I wish I would have paid someone to just do my whole blog so it was less stress on myself and more professional looking overall. But if you are up for a challenge then go for it and piece it together yourself. If I can do it, you can do it.

Tip#2: Find a cool way to organize your reviews. It looks organized and it keeps your thoughts in order. I use the same format for all my reviews:

At A Glance
The Good
The Bad
The Snuggly
Final Thoughts

With these headers, I find writing reviews to be a lot easier and it looks structured. I don’t go off on tangents or forget to mention something. It helps me know what to look for when I am reading, too.

Tip #3: If you have a book blog, you should also be on

Tip #4: and are great places to get ARCs.

Tip #5: Want to gain followers? Run giveaways through And no, you don’t have to spend your own money to run giveaways. Sign up for book blog tours that offer individual giveaways that you get to run the way you want. But be considerate, have some of the entries help out the author, too. So if one entry is to follow you on twitter, have another entry for following the author on twitter. It’s the right thing to do since they are providing the book.

Another great way to gain followers is participating in the Feature and Follow Friday meme by and

Tip #6: You don’t have to follow the rules. You will hear a lot of “recommendations” on how your blog should look or be run. But I don’t listen to that type of stuff. They say a blog should always have a white background. Mine’s purplish. You know why? Because I like it. Done deal. They say don’t have a long blog name. Well, mine is like the longest ever, but I don’t care. I wanted everyone to know exactly what they were getting when they visited my blog. They say you have to post every day or you won’t be “popular.” Not true. I know a blogger who posts about 3 times a week and she still gets more comments on her posts than I do. They say don’t do too many blog tours, memes, guest posts, blah blah blah. Do whatever the hell you want. It’s your blog. People who are looking for your type of blog will find you. Sure, it may not be for everyone but do you want to run your blog for everyone else or for yourself as well? It’s impossible to make everyone happy. As long as a few people love what you do, then you are doing something right.

Okay, maybe if you are only looking for followers and page views, then follow the rules. But if you want to enjoy your blog and have it not become only work, make sure to run it the way you want to.

What 2 favorite books do you choose for me to give away?

 Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
I chose the urban fantasy Gunmetal Magic because it is the first book of the Kate Daniels World Series, a spin-off series of the Kate Daniels Series. Plus it’s a fairly new book. I didn’t want to pick Magic Bites, the first book of the Kate Daniels Series, because it’s old. But with Gunmetal Magic, you get a look at Kate Daniel’s world, which should help you see if Ilona Andrew’s writing style and characters are for you. You can enjoy this book without having to read the original series because it reads like a stand-alone.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I thought since I already picked an adult book, I should pick a YA book for my second choice. Shatter Me was my favorite YA book last year. It’s a dystopian read that will blow your mind. Tahereh Mafi has a way with words like no other author I know. I don’t know one book blogger who didn’t like this book.

Though I could only pick two books for our lovely host to giveaway (Is she not the most generous person ever?), I wanted to at least mention my favorite new adult book just in case anyone wants to take a look. I didn’t pick it as part of the giveaway because it’s contemporary romance and I am supposed to be the paranormal expert. I figured I should choose two paranormal books for the giveaway. But Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire is an amazing book. It’s almost like an obsession. It’s not perfect by any means but you will not be able to put it down. I highly recommend you add it to your TBR pile.

Before I go, I want to thank Jaclyn for this opportunity. I had fun answering your questions. I can’t believe how generous you are with the giveaway. It’s obvious that spreading book love is important to you and I thank you for that.  Your readers are lucky to have you.

OK, your choice of what I list from The Book Depository (please make sure they deliver to your country first) or an e-book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 

Gunmetal Magic - e-book from Amazon/Barnes & Noble, paperback from The Book Depository

Shatter Me - e-book from Amazon/Barnes & Noble, paperback or hardback from The Book Depository

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Jennifer, for taking your time out and answering my questions! I appreciate you visiting my blog so often, and I just love stopping by Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance all the time to see what new great post you have up.  :)


  1. Great advice! I understand what she means about the reviews, because I struggle with them all the time, I'm not very organized, I'd like to be, I just haven't found the best way for me.

    Rive @ Bookshelf

  2. I agree! I have a similar template to keep my reviews in order and make sure that I don't miss anything. I love her heading 'The Snuggly' - that's really cute! Thank you so much for stopping by :)

  3. Thank you for the contest & giveaways! I've not read either of these books. I enjoy your reviews very much and have turned on some other book-loving friends to your site & newsletter. Thank you!

  4. Great tips. Thanks for sharing. I think the most important thing is to enjoy it. for most of us it is not a job.

  5. I've been blogging for four years and I still haven't come up with a great way to organize my reviews.

    Here’s my It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Come by, if you can, and share your thoughts.

  6. Awesome review and I totally agree with your thoughts!

  7. Great advice Jennifer You rock and I love your blog.

  8. I've never read "Shatter Me" but I've heard so many good things about it that I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I agree with you about the books by Stiefvater. I started reading Shiver and o.o It was hard for me to finish, maybe in other time but I just couldn't do it. I haven't read any books by Ilona Andrews, so this is a great chance to. I love to read books with females kick butt character, I'm keeping fingers crossed!

  10. Hi! I like your blog. :)I've nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Visit


  11. Eeep! Hey girl! So glad Jennifer was highlighted. Amazing blogger I love to visit as well. :) Thank you!!

  12. Hey! She is fantastic! I really appreciate you stopping by :)

  13. Hey Heather, I will be having another Ilona Andrews book up for giveaway this week - Magic Strikes. It will be my Wednesday giveaway and interview with My words and pages. I hope you stop back by then and really appreciate you stopping by today :)

  14. Good Luck! Thank you for stopping by :)

  15. She really does! Thank you for stopping by, Brandi :)

  16. Thank you so much for stopping by! I'm headed over to check out yours...

  17. Definitely! It is very important to enjoy it. I really appreciate you stopping by :)

  18. Good luck! Thank you for stopping by :)

  19. OMG, You have to read the whole Kate Daniels series, you will fall in love.

  20. Magic Strikes is my fav book in the series. :)

  21. I never read Shiver, but heard great things before. But then I read Raven Boys and was like no thanks. lol Good luck on the giveaway.

  22. It really is one of the best YA books I have read.

  23. :D Thanks so much, Brandi. You are the best.

  24. I will come to check it out. I still tweak my reviews sometimes to freshen them up.

  25. Exactly. Enjoying the blogging process is so important.

  26. You will find it. It took me some time to find my review organization method.

  27. What a fabulous interview thank you!!

  28. My pleasure! I appreciate you stopping by :)

  29. Thanks girls, for the interesting post and for the giveaway! I always enjoy the `blogging tips` part on interviews :)

  30. Me too! I really enjoy learning more :) Thank you so much for stopping by!

  31. That's why I love reading your reviews so much, They are so organized.

  32. I do too, she has some great tips. Thank you for stopping by, Kimba

  33. Good luck to you! It's on my list to read too and I am anxious to get started. Jennifer picked a really good book :)

  34. Hi Jennifer! Great tips! Ilona Andrews' books have been on my TBR forever. I'm dying to get to them!


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