Sitting at Starbucks: New Books & Hot New Blog Designs

New Books

I got so many fabulous new books this week! Most of these are from HarperCollins (Edelweiss). They have September/October release dates, but I think I’ll end up digging into them straight away. I’m just so excited!! Also I kind of love being one of the “first” to read a book. Not because it makes me feel special or anything, but because there are often zero reviews and zero ratings and I love going into a book with no expectations. Sometimes if I wait until closer to release date, my friends have already read, reviewed, and rated the books and it can put me off reading them (if they didn’t all give it like 5 stars).

Into the Deep by Samantha Young
Into the Deep by Samantha Young

Out of the Shallows by Samantha Young
Out of the Shallows by Samantha Young

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

On the Edge by Allison van Diepen
On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

The Dare by Hannah Jayne
The Dare by Hannah Jayne

Coding Projects

New UBB add-on for review requests

UBB Review Requests Add-On

After weeks of development and sitting on this project (afraid to release it for some reason… I’m weird), I have finally released a new add-on for the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. This add-on allows you to create a front-end form for review requests. Publishers and authors can fill it out with all the book info, a custom message, and specify if they’re interested in giveaways, interviews, or promo posts. You can then view and manage the review requests inside WordPress and even copy the request to a new post draft (with all the UBB info!).

Demo Buy Now ($9.99)

New Blog Designs

Caffeinated Book Reviewer (client work)

I had a lot of fun working on this design for Kimberly. Funnily enough, I was sooo itching to do a “coffee” design before she approached me. Looks like I got my wish!

Caffeinated Book Reviewer

View Live Site

J.A. Redmerski (client work)

I did J.A. Redmerki’s blog design back in 2013 and she returned to me wanting something new. She wanted a brighter, more feminine look as she started to separate her contemporary romances from her darker books. So below you can see the “before” and “after” shots!


J.A. Redmerski's Blog Design


J.A. Redmerski's Blog Design

View Live Site

Creative Whim (personal project)

After redesigning Nose Graze to have a more feminine, whimsical feel, I felt inspired to redesign Creative Whim as well! Check out the new design below:

Creative Whim Flowers Design

I went with a much simpler feel. I liked my last one a lot, but I think it was a bit bulky and complicated. I also spent a lot of time separating the Creative Whim website into design (theme) and functionality (plugin).

The Perfect Pink Wedding Cocktail

On Wednesday night, my mom and I got to work experimenting with pink cocktail drinks for the wedding reception. She found five different fruity drink recipes online and we made all of them! After much deliberation, I proposed a combination of a couple of them to create something totally new, and that’s the winning drink!

Mixing pink cocktail drinks

Six pink fruity cocktail drinks

Pink cocktail drink

The winning recipe:

  • Grapefruit juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Canada dry (maybe)

What’s new with you? Tell me about your week!

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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    1. Haha! Yeah I’m totally digging the soft, simple, feminine designs right now.

    1. Exactly! Sometimes I wonder if just hearing that other people didn’t like a book causes me to not like it as much, just because of that influence.

  1. Loving the new designs! Especially the redesign of Creative Whim, it looks gorgeous. And I’m definitely going to try that pink cocktail, sounds yummy. 😀

    As for my week, I released the english edition of my book (which I’m so excited about), got Murder of Crows as a birthday present and I just finished reading Brush Strokes by Janelle Stalder and I loved it! 😀

    1. Thanks! 😀

      Congrats on releasing the English edition of your book! That’s so exciting! 😀

  2. I saw all the lovely books on Edelweiss too and picked up a few myself, one was Snow Like Ashes 🙂
    All your blog designs are so pretty! I especially love the one you did for the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
    Yay for wedding drinks! The winning recipe sounds good, I kind of really want to try it now.
    My week was awesome, got my nails done for a trial for my wedding, got my new place more organized, and getting cats soon! I’m really excited 🙂

    Kelsey recently posted: Showcase Sunday (68)
    1. Doesn’t Snow Like Ashes sound awesome?? I hope you love it! 😀

      Wow it sounds like you had a great week! I adore cats—lucky you. 🙂

  3. You received so many amazing books this week! Snow Like Ashes sounds so good, it has been added to my never-ending wishlist! 🙂
    I purchased one of your amazing blog themes this week as I restarted my blog, and I completely love it! Thank you 🙂
    Hope that you’re having a lovely weekend 🙂 xx

    Ellie @ The Storybook Girl recently posted: When you wish upon a star 01.
      1. Is there a way, through css coding even, to make the message boxes smaller? The ones for the synopsis and request message, I mean. They feel so big on my page, so I would to be able to make it shorter and let it auto scroll sooner.

        Also, is there a way to remove book formats? For example, I don’t read/accept audiobooks, so removing that as an option would be snazzy. If not, I can always just remove that field in general, but just thought I would ask if it were possible, even if it’s just set up for book formats I’ve reviewed before.

        1. You can adjust the height of those boxes by adding this custom CSS:

          .ubb-visual-editor iframe {
          height: 300px !important;

          Change 300 to whatever you want.

          There’s not a way to remove individual format options. You’d just have to remove the “Book Format” box from the configuration.

          1. Thanks a bunch!

            Yeah, I ended up removing it anyway. I thought to leave it there and remove the message box, but keeping the message box instead made more sense. I’m trying to add enough in there to keep things nicely organized, without scaring authors away entirely by having too much to fill out. I think it’s easier than them having to find a way to start a conversation, but sometimes they like to be more personal. It’s an amazing plugin, but it changes so much that it’s taking time getting used to. 😀

            Ariel recently posted: Life Update: Baby News!
  4. I’m loving all the designs and Creative Whim looks awesome! I loved your old design too (it reminded me of iOS 7 for some reason…maybe because it was super sleek I don’t know lol) but I love how the pastel colors look now! Your new books look awesome as well, especially Even in Paradise; I really love that cover for some reason 🙂

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
    1. I use a combination of Photoshop and sometimes stock imagery. 🙂 For example, the coffee cup is about half stock image and half custom drawing in Photoshop.

      I have Illustrator but we do not get along! Even when I want to do vectors I use Photoshop.

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