Whip it Up Mondays! {1} – thegrammariansreviews.com

Whip it Up Mondays! {1}


10 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Memes, Whip it Up Mondays

photo credit: slightly everything via photopin cc

When I’m not reading, blogging or doing homework, I’m cooking. Cooking is a lot like reading and writing: it brings ingredients together to create a single dish that tells a story of flavors, family, friends and experiences. And just like with books, you don’t have to be the creator. Sometimes we’re all just looking for a little eye candy. So here’s a little food for thought!

I don’t know if you all know this, but I’m a total foodie. A foodie is “someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food.” Cooking is all about discovery for me – seeing which ingredients work well together, what flavors can be created, and what new foods can be tried. So now I’m bringing this discovery to TGR!

Every Monday I’ll be sharing a new food find, recipe, and of course, some eye candy.

This week: Churro Cupcakes









When you think about churros, your mind immediately goes to those glorious sugary, golden sticks of dough. But today we’re going to think about churros in a different way – as CUPCAKES. Yes, you read that correctly.  Churros. As cupcakes.

Really, what could be a better combination?

I first saw the churro cupcake recipe on Cecilia’s blog (check it out for the original page and her bookish insights!) and immediately began to drool over the pictures she posted, including this one:

Heaven, in the form of a cupcake. Look at all that caramel!

Needless to say, I was sold on the recipe and discovered I already had all of the ingredients. So I made them, of course! Mine didn’t come out nearly as pretty as Cecilia’s, but they still tasted absolutely wonderful. And that’s what matters most, right?

My churro cupcakes. (I drizzled them with caramel sauce AFTER this picture was taken.)

I’m not at all lying when I say that they’re delicious. Okay, yes, I am. Because they’re MARVELOUS. They’re the perfect go-to dessert for Autumn and Winter – or any time at all, really. You can never really go wrong with caramel on top of cupcakes. Especially churro cupcakes.

So whaddaya think? Ready to give ‘em a go? I hope so!



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 (1 stick) cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk


4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until just combined then stir in the vanilla and oil. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the butter mixture and gently stir in until barely combined. Add half of the milk, mixing until just combined. Repeat these steps with the remaining flour mixture and milk, ending with the flour. Do not over-mix.

Fill each cupcake tin with 2 tablespoons of batter, or until the cupcake tin is filled half way (do NOT be generous). Bake the cupcakes for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with one or two crumbs clinging to it. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.??

For the frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in the cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Then stir in the vanilla. Beat the mixture well, until light and fluffy.

Pipe onto cupcakes, sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar and top with a drizzle of Dulce De Leche (or caramel sauce) if desired.

*Note: I’m not much of a baker, so making cupcakes from scratch and, well, NOT from a box mix was a little daunting at first. But this recipe is so simple and easy enough to follow that I actually ended up making these 2-3 weeks straight. No lie. So if I can do it, you can, too. And the awesome thing is you’ll be proud of what you’ve done with such little work, and everyone else will think you’re a Cupcake Queen (or King!). Win-win!

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10 Responses to “Whip it Up Mondays! {1}”

  1. Cialina says:

    That looks so good!

  2. Cecelia says:

    Alissa – So glad you liked the recipe (and found it easy!). Those cupcakes were a big hit when I made them, too. Happy baking!

  3. Ooooh, cooking. I think you need to come over and cook (or bake, as the case may be) for me. *nods*

  4. Liz. says:

    Those look AMAZING. Your ones looks so yummy, I wish you could send me some! 😛 Definitely want to try making these some day – thank you :).

  5. OMG, that’s amazing XD. I didn’t even know there’s such thing as cupcake churros, but I will definitely be trying this out. I fell in love with churros (and gained like, 3 lbs extra to show for it, lol) when I was in Peru last year and the only place I can find churros here is Cinnabon – not quite the same, haha. Thanks for the recipe and photos! Yum!

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (book review)

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him—the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target.

384 pages | Published: September 29, 2011 | Penguin Group


For a story that revolves around Jack the Ripper, I expected there to be many more Ripper moments.

The first chunk of The Name of the Star consists of serious build-up and character building, specifically that of Rory and her new life at boarding school. It’s a typical fish-out-of-water scenario.  That said, the characters are all memorable and realistic – especially the boys.  For once, it was nice to not have boys banging down any doors, standing outside windows with boomboxes, or going out of their way to get the girl.  Consequently, the romance took a back seat.  And even when it was prevalent, it was spontaneous and … awkward.  Really, all it did was get my hopes up very early on.

I never expected this story to take the turn that it did.  It kept me hooked, but dissolved into a letdown.  I never felt the urgency or terror associated with the Ripper drama. Instead of increasing in action, it dwindles, becoming a long history lesson. Between long monologues and recounts of past events, I fought to finish. The latter half of The Name of the Star feels as if it’s a separate story, woven together out of thin air.  I felt tricked, no longer understanding the story’s progression.  Had there been more answers to Rory’s questions, maybe I’d be satisfied as well. But I’m just left wondering how the story gets from point A to point B.

This is a good one if you enjoy mysteries that pull you in multiple directions.  It’s not entirely unpredictable, but more teasing than anything.  Don’t expect to be scared. It’s rather tame. Ultimately, I’m unsure what The Name of the Star tries to achieve.

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6 Responses to “REVIEW! The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.”

  1. Have you read any of Maureen Johnson’s contemp books? I’m curious how they compare.

  2. We Heart YA says:

    Really good review. We only read part of NAME OF THE STAR (then the library book was due back, haha) but we agree that it wasn’t completely… even/coherent. Like, we enjoyed it well enough, but we were never totally absorbed or emotionally engaged. We might finish it, just to find out what happened, but… well, we might just enjoy Maureen Johnson’s Twitter stream instead. 😛

    • Alissa says:

      Yes, exactly: never fully engaged. I wanted to be, so badly. But the story never added up.

      I think it’s worth finding out what happens. But if there’s a sequel (which I’m betting there is one already planned), I probably wouldn’t attempt it.

Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz (book review)

Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Camelia’s junior year of high school is finally over…but her troubles aren’t. After she discovers a painful truth about her family, she escapes to a summer arts program in Rhode Island, determined to put family – and boyfriend – dramas behind her.

At the arts school, she gets caught up in the case of Sasha Beckerman, a local girl who’s gone missing. Even though all signs suggest that the teen ran away, Camelia senses otherwise. Eager to help the girl, she launches her own investigation. While reviewing the details online, she stumbles across a blog by someone named Neal Moche, a fellow psychometric. With Ben away, Camelia feels as if she’s found a kindred spirit in Neal. That sense of connection also makes Camelia realize how much she misses Ben, despite being committed to Adam.

But time is running out for Sasha, and Camelia will have to trust her powers more than ever. Will the lessons she has learned give her the strength to save Sasha before it’s too late?

336 pages | Published: December 18, 2012 | Hyperion Books for Children


I never really thought this would happen – giving anything in the Touch series less than four stars.  But, I digress.

If anything, read this for the romance.  It’s worth it, I promise.

Buuuuuuut, if you’re looking for more from Camelia, forget about it. This installment begins with a VERY CRUCIAL plot twist, which immediately takes you to the edge of your seat, but just as quickly pushes you back for the long haul.  Camelia doesn’t step up to the plate enough for me.  Again, I was left wishing for more character growth.  We’re given so many details and bits and pieces, but they don’t add up to anything.  She’s like a blank slate. And with the series being this late in the game, my expectations only become higher. And, needless to say, they weren’t fulfilled.

The mystery aspect is, as usual, enticing and invigorating.  It had me scouring each word for clues.  But, again, it takes center stage, rather than Camelia.  I went in hoping for a little bit more from our usual cast, and was sorely disappointed.  A lot of it is repetition, of Camelia trying to make sense of her powers and feelings.  While I understand that this is still a process for her, as the reader I needed more. Or some sort of change.  A different angle.

Just when the story starts getting good and showing signs of progression, it ends.  It’s as if the only real Camelia moments are saved for the beginning and ending.  For me, this is frustrating.  I needed to see the bigger picture, or the purpose of it all, throughout the story.  When everything hit me at the end, I still had unanswered questions and knew the characters no better than I did from when I started.

If these were meant to be purely stand-alone mystery novels, I’d be better able to forgo the lack of character development and interaction.  But they’re not.  Yes, they deal with stand-alone mysteries, but the overall arching plot revolves around Camelia.  And if she’s a dud, her story becomes a dud.

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2 Responses to “REVIEW! Deadly Little Lessons (Touch Series #5) by Laurie Faria Stolarz.”

  1. Liz. R says:

    Aw, it’s a shame you didn’t love this one as much as the others! The series does sound great overall though, and I’m really intrigued by the romance you mention. I might have to start this series soon – maybe in the summer when I have unlimited reading time! Fab review :).

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (review)

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

304 pages | Published: June 14, 2012 | Penguin Group USA, Inc.


Can I just say that Sam and Jase may be my new favorite contemporary YA couple? Really. Jase is the fictional boyfriend I’ve been looking for all along.

Fitzpatrick makes these characters sing. They’re so real and dynamic, always working with each other. I’ve never before seen so many characters flow together.

That being said, I think this plot attempts to tackle a lot, and succeeds in tackling half of it. From politics, to drugs, to sex, to best friends, to boyfriends, to exes – there’s a lot to be said. And most of the time, Fitzpatrick gets the messages across. But the latter portion of the book nosedives so fiercely and suddenly, and doesn’t have enough time to recover. I just wanted more, more, more. It left me feeling like someone stomped on my heart and tried to put it back to normal…unsuccessfully. The resolution feels like a cop-out. When it says “the bottom drops out of her world,” Fitzpatrick wasn’t kidding. In the turn of a page the story goes from a super high to a super low. (Keep tissues handy. Just in case.)

Nevertheless, be prepared to be captivated very early on, even though it’s strange at first. The plot points (although whacky later), are spaced in a way that’s so seemingly seamless and fluid.  You get from Point A to Point B to Point C without ever feeling as if something’s been done just to create this new niche in the story.

If anything, read it for the romance. Really. It’s too darn perfect. Everybody will want a Garrett.

I know I do.

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5 Responses to “REVIEW! My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.”

  1. Alissa. I am INTRIGUED by this book. INTRIGUED. (Also, I like romance. Like, a lot.)

  2. We Heart YA says:

    Oh yeah, we definitely do. 😉

    We felt very similarly too you on pretty much all fronts, and are glad to know we’re not the only ones!

  3. […] Reviews: Goodreads Tar Heel Bibliobabe: 5 of 5 Stars (@theelbibliobabe) The Grammarian’s Reviews: 4 of 5 Stars […]

On falling behind on blogging.

On falling behind on blogging.


19 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion

As many of you already know, I’m a college student (tackling senior year!). This probably means nothing to you.

But it means everything to me. They tell you college is what you make of it, and well…I’m making the most of it. My schedule is jam-packed. Between classes, work, homework and thesis-writing, I have little spare time in which I feel like doing anything productive. Seriously. I’m all about putting aside the computer and just…not thinking or worrying about stuff.

Because of this, I severely slack on my personal reading and blogging.

But this isn’t one of my typical apologetic, I’ll Be Back Soon! posts.

I was inspired to write this after reading Amanda’s post on the entitlement mentality.

Every winter break and summer, I put a lot of my time into blogging and reading. Not because I have to, but because I want to. After going months estranged from the community, I begin to crave that normalcy and friendship again. In short: I miss you guys! So I throw myself out there. I participate in read-a-thons, try new projects, become a Twitter-holic. In return, I get visitors here. I meet new bloggers. I expand my blog reading list.

Every time I go back to school, I lose visitors. With no new content to draw them in, TGR sits abandoned. The best I can do is offer occasional posts and comments, which is enough to stay in touch with those I’ve grown closer to, but not nearly enough to build and maintain new blogging relationships. Even knowing this, I still, at times, get that nagging entitlement feeling – the one that says, “They know you’re busy. They don’t expect posts. Surely they’ll keep tweeting you as if you’re still around.” Or, “Don’t worry about it. You’ve established a small following of readers. They’ll be here when you return.”

But the truth of the matter is…they’re not. You’re not. You don’t keep visiting a blog that isn’t putting out new content, no matter how often you used to visit. What’s the point in visiting a somewhat-deserted blog?

It’s not that I enjoy feeling entitled. It’s not even like I truly feel entitled. For me, it’s more about knowing I’ve put in so much work, and the thought of it going to waste really bothers me. No one wants their blog or presence to be forgotten, do they?

I don’t know how to manage my time. I have calendar plugins and personal notes to get myself to read and post, but I can’t get myself to ever sit down and do it during the school year.

Is there a way to fix this? Is there something I could be doing to get back on track, to keep blogging while at school? Help!

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19 Responses to “On falling behind on blogging.”

  1. Definitely put college first; your formal education and all the fun stuff. Maybe you could post, short ones if need be, about your classes, the books you’re reading, heck even review books you read for classes. Your posts and reviews don’t have to be long, just substantial. Could you manage one post a week or every two weeks? If not, maybe monthly?

    You could do discussion posts, as you have time.

    While you want to keep your readership up, and I understand that, don’t stress over it. Even if you can’t post regularly, when you’re online visit and comment on other blogs so you keep up those relationships and keep your name visible.

    Have fun at school and good luck!

    • Alissa says:

      I’m definitely putting school first, of course. (I’d be worried if I wasn’t!)

      But once a week might be doable. I’ll have to look into planning something like that. :]

  2. First of it, it’s not “entitled” it’s “addicted.” You’re addicted to the feedback of an active community, to the little footprints that get left in your stats that tell you you’re not alone in the universe.

    Welcome to the club.

    I used to have a boss who messed endlessly with the schedule on a paper thin staff, trying to avoid having to admit he needed more people. I had to tell him, “you know, no matter how much you rearrange it, you’ll never turn a bikini in to a burka.”

    Your time is a bikini. You can only cover so much. Cover the necessaries (including sleep!) and then cover something that makes you happy, and the rest can go get sunburned.

    Remember this about blogging — blogging is forever. All that work you put in still counts for something in the blog-o-sphere, especially in terms of search engines. When you come back to it, you may not have your audience, but you will have an easier time building a new audience. (And they will be interested in your old posts. They won’t care how old they are.)

    • Alissa says:

      I really don’t think I’m “addicted.” That’s a bit harsh of a word and carries a lot of negative connotations.

      But I love the bikini analogy! It’s a great way to think of it. And it’s important to remember that blogging is forever.

      • Oh, I didn’t mean to be harsh, but I was speaking literally — there is something literally addictive about immediate feedback. It causes chemical reactions in your brain. And it affects everyone. It’s not like being a addict.

    • We Heart YA says:

      Completely agree with Camille here! (And haha love the bikini analogy.)

  3. I don’t think wanting to see return on our hard work is being entitled.

    But you’re right: you can’t expect people to treat you like always when you’re not around. That’s not to say that we don’t miss you, though. We do. Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice for dealing with blogging and school. That was the reason I waited so long to start my own book big.

  4. And that should say book BLOG but my phone is stupid.

  5. Liz. R says:

    I wish there were a way to keep blogging while at school, but it’s hard. I’m trying to get more organised but there really just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve only been here a few weeks and I’m already feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the work! And I get what you mean about putting in the work and it sort of going to waste. However, I do also feel like I let everyone down when I take a break and abandon the blog for a while. Sadly, though, it has to be done. Education must come first.

    • Alissa says:

      LIZ! <3

      Granted, there are times when the work isn’t overwhelming, and that’s when I’m able to put out posts like this. But they’re very few and far between. I also feel like I’m letting people down when I don’t consistently post. But like you said, education has to come first. I just wish there were some way to find balance.

  6. […] (The Grammarian’s Reviews) asked what we do when life gets in the way of blogging. I know I need to work on this […]

  7. Nikki Steele says:

    I’ll be a bit contrary to the other posters, but in the same supportive way that they all are too. Yes, you should put school first, but (and this is a major but), from everybody I’ve seen graduate around me for the last few years (myself included), life gets inordinately busier after school than we could have ever imagined during school. It’s not to bust your butt or even draw on the entitlement thing. What it more gets to is priorities. I imagine you will always feel busy, but making blogging a priority every day or every week that works for you is at the bottom of it.

    Again, trying not to assume that you don’t feel overstressed or out of time. When that happens, it’s just that realignment needs to happen as well and you have to pick and choose those things that you can fit into a normal 24 hour day. If you need your blog and the community to feel sane, make an hour a day for it or two hours on Sunday nights, something to make it into a habit.

    Sorry for my longer response! We all feel ya. I have you on my Reader so I’ll definitely check back in when you have time to put up new content. Good luck!

    • Alissa says:

      Aw, thank you, Nikki. You make an awesome point! Blogging (and the community) DOES make me feel more sane. Making time for it really is the issue. Maybe looking at it that way will be better instead of worrying about scheduling specific posts. Like, before I can do that, I need to first make the time.

    • We Heart YA says:

      Also love and agree with Nikki’s point too: life is always going to be busy, and probably only more so as you get older, start a career, maybe a family…

      A couple ideas:
      – Once a week might be a good, reasonable goal.
      – Partnering. Do you have any friends or fellow bloggers that you’d be interested in having join the Grammarian’s Reviews team? With 4 of us, it’s much easier to keep regular content going, because we have a schedule, and if something comes up with one of us, one of the others can cover.

      • Alissa says:

        I’ve actually looked into partnering in the past, but I’m not looking to do that right now. :/

        I am, however, looking into attempting once-a-week posts.

The Book Sessions: a book club

Introducing The Book Sessions!


1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Uncategorized

What is The Book Sessions? So glad you asked! The Book Sessions, hosted by both Anne from Creativity’s Corner and myself, is a cross between a Read-Along and a Book Club.

Each session will feature 2-5 books of a specific genre or theme that we will be both reading and discussing over the course of several months. The discussions are intended to provide connections between involved readers and spark discussions that go beyond book reviewing and blogging.

The Details:

  • Reading lists and potential schedules will be posted up to two weeks prior to the beginning of a session, along with a sign-up sheet.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read the books listed, or if you’ve read them 100 times. As long as you’re willing to read them with us and discuss them, we don’t mind.
  • Placement in sessions will be limited – we want to be able to get a good real-time discussion going [see: use of Skype], and we want you to be able to get to know your fellow participants.
  • There will be one official discussion for each book at the end of the allotted reading time. However, Skype names and email addresses will be exchanged between participants, and we encourage you to discuss on your own while you’re reading. (Just try not to spoil for anyone who hasn’t finished yet!)
  • These are open-ended discussions. We will have guiding questions to ask should the conversation drag, but we want YOU to talk about what you want. We will, of course, accept suggestions for questions from participants as well. (Note: we don’t want any of the readings to feel like assignments. These are open discussions for gushing, questioning, chatting, etc.)
  • Toward the end of each session, we will be asking for suggestions of book titles, genres, themes and potential dates for upcoming sessions – you’ll have a say in what you want to read!
  • It is NOT necessary to have a blog to participate. If you do not have a blog, and would like to post about the books somewhere and do not have a blog, Anne or I will be doing a round-up post for each book. For those who do have blogs, at the bottom of the round-up posts we will include a linky for reviews or any other kind of post you’d like to add. (Note: reviews and/or any other types of posts are NOT required. Feel free to simply read and chat with us!)

Some things to consider before signing up:

  • YOU are in charge of finding your own copy of the books, BUT where you get them (as long as it’s legal!) and what format you use (e.g. library book, ebook, audiobook etc.) is up to you.
  • All discussions will be held on Skype unless otherwise stated. Skype is free to download and use, but if you would rather not use it, then please don’t sign up.
  • International participants are welcome! Please be aware that all discussions will be held in English, possibly spoken as well as written. Also, do be aware that we are holding discussions in real time, so we will need to be able to find common times [see: Doodle poll details].
  • You MAY NOT choose to skip a book. If you sign up to be part of a session, then you are agreeing to read and discuss ALL of the books on the reading list for your particular session. Don’t let one book on the list deter you from a session; you never know: you may end up liking it!
  • As previously stated, places are limited! If you would like to be considered for a specific session YOU MUST FILL OUT THE DOODLE POLL. We will be choosing participants based on common availability, so this is absolutely imperative. If you do not fill out the poll, we will be forced to immediately disqualify you from consideration for that session. (Please note: we are aware that schedules change, and if you aren’t 100% sure about your availability, please just give us your general availability. We will do our best to make sure that if you’re chosen to participate, we’ll find a time that works for you.)
  • For all potential participants: The Doodle poll times are all in Eastern Standard Time (use New York City as a reference). If you need help with the time conversion, please see THIS SITE.

What now?

This sounds great! Sign me up!

Great! We’d love to have you. Please fill out the form below, and DO NOT FORGET to fill out the Doodle poll! (Please make sure the name on the entry form and the name you enter on the Doodle poll match so that we know who you are!)

I want to participate, but I don’t like the books/genre you’ve chosen! OR I can’t attend during the dates you set!

Not to worry! There will be multiple sessions, all of different lengths, at different times of the year, and with different types of books! We’ve chosen to set up the first session as an example, but we want YOUR input on what to do next time, and we’ll be asking for that later. Please just fill out the form below, and instead of filling out the Doodle poll, please mark “Not this time, but please keep me informed about future sessions!”

I want to participate and filled out the google doc form. When will I know if I’m in the session?

For this first session, we’ll be announcing/contacting the participants during the second week of July. This way you’ll have time to get the first book without having to scramble!


Still confused? Check out the first session below (just click on the titles to check out a description):

August 1-31 : Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

(OPTIONAL) August 24-Sept 15 : The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky (Anne and I will be reading this together in preparation to see the movie, coming out the 15th. Please email us if you’d like to join in!)

September 1-14 : What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn (currently on sale for $0.99 in eBook format!)

September 15-Oct 7 : Catching Jordan by Miranda Keannally

Oct 7-Nov 7 : My Life Next Door by Hunley Fitzpatrick

sign up here!

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One Response to “Introducing The Book Sessions!”

  1. […] Whip it Up Mondays, got the courage to speak up by including more discussion posts, and co-run the Book Sessions. And since implementing this new blogging drive for myself, I’ve felt more successful than […]

A thank you to bloggers

Dear bloggers,


46 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized

Blogging isn’t easy. It’s a full time job, commitment and hobby, fueled by passion.  In this case, and in this community, that passion includes two common things: reading and writing. But you can’t simply read and write and expect success. Book blogging isn’t about slapping together a review of a book, hoarding ARCs, or criticizing authors. It’s about so much more.

Book bloggers are responsible for creating enticing content on a fairly regular basis to attract and keep readers. With the exception of memes and reviews, this can pose a challenge. You want to be original, but not boring. You want to post what people want to read. But there’s no guarantee. You could spend hours thinking of, and writing, a post, only to have it receive very little (or no) feedback.

Book bloggers are also responsible for establishing a known presence in the book blogging community. We create Facebook accounts and pages, Twitter accounts, Tumblr accounts and Pinterest accounts to reach out to other bloggers. Essentially, we manage a main blog and its mini counterparts. But, let’s be real here. Tweeting and Tumblr-ing  and Pinterest-ing and Facebook-ing all day is a job in itself.

And before we can Tweet and Tumblr and Facebook and Pinterest, we have to create a name and look for ourselves. We start out small, without our own domains, and adorned with premade, inefficient layouts. Then we come to a point later down the road when we realize we want to be serious and, well, pretty. So we slave over ratings graphics, media graphics, meme graphics, headers, layouts, and blog icons. And if you’re incompetent at making graphics or layouts (like I am), then you pay for beauty. We take every little thing into account, and wrap it all up in a neat little bow. Each blog is like a little, special gift.

So how the heck do we have time to read? Most of us don’t. We sneak in reading time at work, lunch breaks, in between classes, and waiting for appointments. We’ll even set aside chunks of time for reading, especially through, and with the help of, read-a-thons. Then to show our appreciation for a book or author we’ll head to launch parties, conventions and signings. We then pass along those good feelings and books to others with giveaways, reviews, author interviews and blog tours, to name a few.

Ultimately, as book bloggers, we create, share and give to our community. We take a hobby and passion and turn it into something so much more, something so great that promotes a love for reading and writing.

We are awesome, hard workers. So even though our community’s taken a few hits and been dragged through the dirt, just remember how great you are and what your contribution means. In light of some recent disappointing events and shockers within our community in the past few months, I thought it was important to take the time to say thank you to all my fellow bloggers. Don’t stop being amazing! Your hard work is worth it!

Everybody needs a little pick-me-up now and again. And even if you don’t, it’s always nice to feel appreciated. A comment means a lot to a blogger (as I’m sure most of you all know); it means you took the time to read and react to their hard work. So, I ask you: Have you commented on a blog today? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. It just may make someone’s day.

*Special thank yous to Nafiza, Amanda, Liz, Cialina, Sarah, Kelly, Jess, and Jamie. You guys rock and continually remind me why I love being a book blogger.

Happy Tuesday!

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46 Responses to “Dear bloggers,”

  1. Mirely says:

    Very nice. Thank you for being pretty awesome!


  2. Nafiza says:

    Dude, *claps* that was well said and well timed. Though, to be quite truthful, I prioritize reading before all the blogging details. But I totally understand what you mean by how blogging itself can become a demanding job. And also? You rock too. Thank *you*

    • Alissa says:

      I know quite a few bloggers that prioritize reading before blogging, but I didn’t want to go off on a long tangent, haha.

      And thanks, Nafiza. :]

  3. YOU rock.

    And thanks for this. I’ve already told you that I’m in a down swing with blogging, and this kind of gives me motivation to just keep going. To push through and find balance.


  4. Rachel says:

    I’m not a book blogger, but I do blog and it definitely takes a huge time commitment, so I definitely respect all you book bloggers out there who find the time to read constantly in order to post reviews often enough. I couldn’t do it!

    • Alissa says:

      I blogged regularly before focusing on book blogging, so I definitely understand. I think all forms of blogging require ample amounts of time and energy.

      Thanks for stopping by, Rachel! 🙂

  5. Cialina says:

    Thank YOU, Alissa. <3

    I definitely have felt the demands on blogging lately, especially in the second half of the semester. I’m just slowly trying to get back on my blogging feet. It amazes me how much I had been able to accomplish before. :O

    • Alissa says:

      That’s how it was for me, too. The second semester really killed all my attempts to blog. I’m only just now getting back into the swing of things.

      Hope to see you blogging more soon! 🙂 <3

  6. Jamie says:

    Aww thank you! <3 I’m having a shittastic day and this made me smile <33

  7. Awww. Thank you, Alissa! This was a very awesome post! As a Tumblr addict, I can attest to how that can suck up HOURS of my time!

    I appreciate both you and your grammar! And don’t you forget it!

    • Alissa says:

      I know that feeling, although I’m a Pinterest addict, haha. Hours and hours sucked away!

      Thanks, Kelly. 🙂

  8. Oh, Alissa. This post is wonderful. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. It reminds me of the good side of this wonderful community. Thank you. 🙂

  9. Well said! 🙂 thanks for the great post.

  10. Liz. R says:

    Aw, I love this post :). It’s true that blogging takes a lot of effort and that can take a lot out of you sometimes! I want to thank you for being so awesome and for posting something that made me smile :). You rock too! 😛

  11. Anne says:

    I really needed to hear this today. I don’t know why but soon as Bout of Books was over I stopped having as much will to blog. I had all these crazy fun ideas of things to do on the blog during, and I kept telling myself “wait until next week, THEN you can do that” and now? Not so much. So thank YOU for reminding me that I’m not alone in this, and that there’s lots of reasons to keep doing this.

  12. We Heart YA says:

    This is so great! Thank you for spreading such positivity. Please know that we’re sending it right back at ya. 😉

  13. Cindy says:

    This is an amazing post. Thank you for writing this. It made my good day even better by knowing that you feel the same way I do about blogging and bloggers.


  14. Oh my gosh! This is an incredible post! With all the drama in the past few weeks, I’ve been somewhat down on the blogging community. I hate it when people act like high schoolers – although let’s face it – life is eternal high school drama.

    Blogging is such a time consuming but fun activity. Not many people understand the work that goes into it. Bloggers who don’t get it, don’t stay in for long. But us long-timers have figured out that the sacrifices are well worth it.

    And despite the drama, I love the community. It’s so nice having “friends” who share my interests.

    Thanks for expressing my own opinion so well!

    • Alissa says:

      Yes, unfortunately the high school drama just never goes away. But some of us can rise above it. And the friends are well worth it. 🙂

  15. […] The Grammarian’s Reviews has posted an open thank you letter to book bloggers. […]

  16. […] Dear bloggers, […]

  17. I LOVE this because it’s super true. Book blogging feels like a full time job, but to me, mostly every minute is worth it. I love the returns I get on my time and effort!

    Thank you for writing this rockin’ post!

  18. Awww…this is such a great post and SO true about the book blogging community! Hugs all around! I’m drowning in the warm fuzzies right now…lol.

  19. Isalys says:

    You could not have posted this at a better time because it’s exactly what I’ve been struggling with lately! Blogging is like a job, one that I am happy to do but it’s so easy to get discouraged. Lately, I’ve felt like I don’t have much to contribute to the community but there is something so gratifying in knowing that I’m not alone. Not because I want you guys to feel down in the dumps too but because it helps to know that what I’m feeling is normal!

    Thank you for your words! I’ll keep them as a reminder that I don’t need to strive for perfection and that it’s okay to only give as much as I can.

    ?Isalys / Book Soulmate

    • Alissa says:

      I’ve felt the same way. I think discouraged is a good word for it. Hopefully we all bounce back soon. 🙂

  20. Oh wow… thanks so SO much for this post… it’s so easy to feel alone, and wonder how everyone else does it, but it’s so nice to know I’m not alone… even though I kind of *knew* I wasn’t, it’s nice to hear it? Thank YOU for this post ♥

  21. Sarah says:

    You are absolutely awesome.

    It took me a while to get to this post, clearly, but I’m here and thank you for the shout out and the thank you and your blog is seriously one of the few I read every entry of, even if I don’t comment on them all.

    Keep being amazing 😀

  22. […] is my favorite post that I’ve written that I want everyone to read? My personal Thank You to bloggers and the book blogging community. Hands […]

  23. Felicia says:

    Nice post! I kept nodding along to everything you were pointing out! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂

    ~Livin’ Life Through Books

  24. i try to have commenting marathons, where that’s all I’ll do for an hour or so, or until I’ve read and commented on about 10 blogs. You’re right, sometimes I wonder when I can fit in time for actual READING!

    Great post!

  25. Jess Haight says:

    What a fantastic post! You are right that it takes a lot of work to be a book blogger. Thanks for giving everyone a little lift. 🙂 I try to leave comments on the blogs I visit because I know how much comments mean to me.

    Loving your new blog. 🙂 Very cheerful!

My Bookmas list: my book christmas list for 2012.

My Bookmas list: 2012.


10 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion




  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder
  • The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz
  • The Essence by Kimberly Derting
  • Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver

Despite making progress in finishing my TBR pile, that’s going to change come the new year. I’m excited to get back into all of these stories! ..Except for the one stand-alone and cook book. Obviously. Speaking of which, cooking is something I also hope to do more of come the new year.

What about you?

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Leave a Reply

10 Responses to “My Bookmas list: 2012.”

  1. I have so many books waiting on my Kindle, it’s hard to wish for any more right now! 🙂

  2. Days of Blood and Starlight! Mara Dyer! YES!!!

  3. We Heart YA says:

    Ooo, we didn’t know PLEDGE was the first in a series! Gosh, those books have the best covers.

    DOBAS is really good, but really tough! Brace yourself emotionally.

    • Alissa says:

      Yes, it is! 😀 I love the fonts they use.

      Also, I will break out the tissues. Or cookies. Or anything to help get me through DOBAS.

  4. Anne says:

    You know, I think every single one of these books is on my wishlist too! I never get books though – for some reason people don’t like to buy them for me. It’s weird!




0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: •

Hello! I’m Alissa, the creator of The Grammarian’s Reviews.

Around the blog I’m known as the self-proclaimed Grammarian because of my love for all things grammar. I’m a book reviewer of typically YA (Young Adult) books, but an Adult fiction novel has been known to come along. When I’m not reviewing I’m waiting impatiently for upcoming releases, offering Grammar Bits and other related book discussions.

Aside from my affinity for grammar and editing, I’m an avid reader and writer looking to enter the publishing world.  When I’m neither reading nor writing you can find me in Starbucks, watching Food Network, or cooking.

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