Thursday, April 17, 2014

Great Networking Event - #ArmchairBEA

by Donna Huber

If you ask just about any book blogger what their favorite part of blogging is they will say the community. It is one of the main reasons why I've been able to keep blogging year after year. There are number of events that bring bloggers together throughout the year. Some are small events such as blog hops and read-a-thons. Others are large events like Bloggeista and Armchair BEA.

Armchair BEA is an awesome event. I've have participated every year since I started book blogging. My first year's event was just a few months after I had started blogging and I believe it was instrumental in getting my name out there. The next two years were about reconnecting with friends and meeting new people. I participated more in the Twitter parties and stretching my writing skills with the daily topics.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. For how large the event has become (there were something like 600 bloggers participating last year) there are still bloggers who have never heard of it. If you haven't been part of the book community long you may not know about one of the largest industry events - Book Expo of America (BEA). It is a time when major publishers showcase their upcoming releases to members of the industry - media, booksellers, librarians, educators and in more recent years bloggers. It is a HUGE multi-day event in New York City. As book bloggers have proven their worth to the industry, a one day blogger conference in conjunction with BEA was started. However, for many bloggers the cost of the trip is prohibitive. Have you seen the rates at hotels in NYC? Add in a flight and meals and there goes the family vacation money.

So a group of bloggers got together and started an "at home" version called Armchair BEA. It's all the fun without the sore feet and heavy books. There are even on the ground correspondents to provide live clips from the Expo. And there are a bunch of sponsors - publishers, publicists, and authors who offer prizes - FREE BOOKS! And unlike our Expo going counterparts we don't have to worry about fitting them into a suitcase or the cost of shipping them home.

Are you ready to join the fun? Clear your calendars for May 26 - 31. 

Registration is NOW OPEN

Donna Huber
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"a gripping, sophisticated story" ~ The Idea of Him by @HollyPetersonNY

Holly Peterson has written a gripping, sophisticated story of high life suspense that kept me riveted till I’d finished. THE IDEA OF HIM is hugely enjoyable and vividly satisfying. ~ Tina Brown of Tina Brown Live Media

Holly Peterson’s THE IDEA OF HIM is the perfect novel if you want to plunge into great dialogue, a twisting and unexpected plot, shady Wall Street schemes, betrayal, girlfriends… and sex.  It is unputdownable.  ~ Lesley Stahl, CBS News 60 Minutes Anchor

The Idea of Him

Mary Crawford is a once aspiring screenwriter turned successful public relations executive, mother of two young children, and wife of a hotshot magazine editor whose power base spans the worlds of finance, fashion, culture, entertainment, and society. At 34, she finds herself at a crossroads: between the office and her home, her life has become an endless rotation of people pleasing-whether pulling rabbits out of hats for her mogul boss, entertaining advertisers and phony A-listers for her husband's magazine, or making elaborate costumes for children's school plays. At least, that is, until she meets a head turning, traffic stopping beauty at the bar of the famed Four Seasons Grill Room-where many of the novel's players regularly convene-and shortly thereafter finds the same woman and her husband in an apparently compromising position in her own apartment.

And so begins the story of two very different women bound by similar missions-to uncover the crimes and betrayals of various men in their lives and finally put their own interests front and center. For Mary this ultimately means leaving a husband who is ideal in theory but not in practice, and deciding to risk security for self-fulfillment and a new life on her own. Like so many women, Mary fell for the man she married when she was in her twenties only to realize years later that it wasn't him she fell for as much as it was the idea of him-the idea of a savior who would protect and provide and ferry her from her past into the future. But the guy who seemed so right at the time turned out to be nothing more than a fantasy.

Read a Sample


Enter the giveaway at Goodreads to win a paperback copy of The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Details: US only. Open until May 3, 2014. 30 copies available.

Buy The Idea of Him at Amazon

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: For Always by Janae Mitchell

by Claire Rees

For Always
In For Always by Janae Mitchell, 16 year old Malyn and her grandmother have moved to a new home in a new area. Malyn finds a new best friend called Beth who has a very cute brother called Jace and Malyn gets herself a job in Beth’s and Jace’s parents cafe and marina shop.

Soon after moving into the new house Malyn finds herself falling deeply in love with the gorgeous Beau who seems to feel the same way about her. Their love is perfect except for one thing........... Beau is dead!!!

Beau decides that he cannot be with her as in ghost form he cannot give her a normal life and tries to move on. Meanwhile Malyn does and she starts to date Jace and get feelings for him.

Buy For Always at Amazon

A friend of her grandmother discovers something that may mean Malyn and Beau could have somewhat of a normal life together.  Now loving both boys Malyn has to make the hardest decision of her life – Beau or Jace?

Plus they also have to fight the “takers” dark creatures from in between heaven, earth, and hell who have come for Beau's soul.

Happily ever after is not as easy as it seems.

The story is a unique love triangle; it has all the things that make a love story great; two boys and a girl fall in love, happiness heart break, betrayal and lots of sexual tension. For Always by Janae would make a great read for young adults and adults who like a love story with a twist.

Today is Pub Day for the sequel For Now. To celebrate, Janae Mitchell is offering a giveaway. Be sure to enter below.

Book info:
ebook & paperback
published November 2013 by Limitless Publishing
ISBN13: 9781493626212
Source: Author
Read: March  2014


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. Giveaway is sponsored by the author who is responsible for the delivery of winnings.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Switched at Birthday by @NatStandiford

by Donna Huber

Switched at Birthday
Looking through the offerings of middle grades fiction at Netgalley and Switched at Birthday by Natalie Standiford caught my eye.

What "misfit" tween hasn't just once wished they could switch places with the most popular kid in school? Lavender is the kid just about everyone loves to pick on or so it seems. Perhaps they are more worried about getting on the bad side of the school's queen bee Scarlet. And what a bad side she has. You know what they say though about walking a mile in another person's shoes. A shared birth date, a special candle in a special cake and one accidental "wish" and they get to find out exactly what the other person goes through on a daily basis.

Buy Switched at Birthday at Amazon

While Switched at Birthday isn't exactly an original idea, I've learned from my niece and nephew that each generation needs their own take on a story. My generation had Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers. I'm pretty positive that they wouldn't read it today. Yet, I think they would be interested in Standiford's book. As the themes of understanding, acceptance, and friendship are important concepts, particularity for the target age group, I'm glad that the idea of switching places never grows old and that authors still find it a worthy plot device.

Standiford's take is well done. It is an entertaining read and kids will identify with the characters. There is a bit of hyperbole in the actions of the kids, sometimes exaggeration is required to get the point across. Plus, as a kid who was picked on at that age, it can feel like the actions of others really are that extreme.

If you have a kid who is struggling to fit in, then this is definitely a book you will want to slip into their backpack or your nightly reading routine. But I encourage not to let only the story be the teacher, use it as an opportunity to talk with your child about what is going on at their school and in their lives.

Book info:
hardcover (240 pages)
published February 2014 by Scholastic Press
ISBN13 9780545346504
Source: Netgally
Read: March 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Character Interview with Nathan from Nate Rocks the City by @KarenToz

Welcome Nathan! So I see you finally had a chance to visit New York City! How was it?

It totally rocked, of course! First of all, I got to go with my two best friends, Tommy and Sam, which was awesome – yeah that know-it-all Lisa Crane came along, not to mention my annoying older sister Abby, and my own mom volunteered as class chaperone. UGH.  But you know what? In the end, none of that even mattered, because I had such a GREAT time!

I’m so glad. There’s a lot to see in New York. What were some of the places you went to?

Nate Rocks the City
Oh my gosh – there was so much to see! We were only there four days, but Mrs. Cogin – she’s our teacher – she managed to squeeze in a lot of stuff. Let’s see. We went to the zoo in Central Park where we saw the ninja birds, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island where I learned that Lisa Crane is NOT related to Ichabod Crane like she always likes to tell everyone, the Metropolitan Museum of Art which was WAY cool, Times Square – where everything is super-sized, and my personal favorite – Yankee Stadium.

Wow! You did see a lot of stuff. So I have to ask – did you ride the subway?

Yeah. It was crowded and stinky. Not a highlight of the trip.

So other than the things mentions – were there any other highlights of the trip?

 Oh yeah – the FOOD was amazing! I’m not even joking! I seriously could have skipped the sightseeing and just eaten 24/7. Of course, you have to live in my house back home and eat my mom’s cooking everyday to understand why. It’s not good (and by not good, I mean it’s downright awful) - - you’re not going to print that part are you?

Hey this was fun! Thanks for having me on your blog today!

About the Author:

Karen Pokras Toz writes middle grade and adult contemporary fiction. Her books have won several awards including two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, the Grand Prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature. Karen is a member of the Society of the Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). For children, her books include the Nate Rocks series, Millicent Marie is Not My Name, & Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas. For adult readers, Karen’s books include Chasing Invisible, and her soon to be released, Whispered Wishes series. A native of Connecticut, Karen now lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. For more information, please visit
Twitter  *  Facebook  * website

Buy Nate Rocks the City at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guest writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Syndication - Good, Duplicate Content - Bad. What to Do?

by Donna Huber

Ever since Google started cracking down on blogs that had duplicate content, I have wondered how syndication played into it. In legacy media, being a syndicated columnist was a huge feat. The columnist reached greater audiences with the same content.

Then there are the news stories that play over and over on every television station and every newspaper. Even as the legacy media moved online, the practice continued. Online news sites like Huffington Post even reposts content from other sites.

I've asked around in various groups what makes syndication okay for sites like a newspaper, but not a general blog like mine? Early answers were that they were somehow exempt from Google's algorithm. Not fully understanding, I searched the web and Google's own information and all I got was some technical mumbo jumbo that all I took away from was syndication was okay but not duplicate content.

I got into another discussion yesterday with an author who read an article about the benefits of syndication, but wasn't sure how it differed from duplicate content. It got me thinking and again I went searching for answers. I ran across the most helpful article to date on the subject at Search Engine Journal.

To bottom line the article - it's all about the quality. You really should read the article for yourself, but I'll highlight a few things I took away from it and some thoughts on syndication as it applies in the book blogging world.

Quality Matters

A lot of bloggers and authors are doing book blasts or sponsored giveaway posts. These posts usually only contain "canned" information. The whole point of the post is to be an advertisement. Ads = low quality. It is likely that Google will view these types of post more as duplicate content than syndication.

More: Book Blasts, Blog Blitz, Sponsored Giveaway

What is a high quality post? One that contains meaningful information is usually of high quality. Meaningful content may be timeless, usually answers a question the reader has on the subject, and/or provides insight possibly not found elsewhere. Interviews and guest articles usually are good examples of high quality content.

But content alone does not make the post high quality. It must be well written: free of grammar and spelling errors, contain clear and concise language, structured to be highly readable.

How to Syndicate

After reading this post, authors may be thinking "Great! I have that awesome post I wrote on my tour last month. I can syndicate that." Not so fast. You may be running into a rights issue. Who "owns" that content? When I developed my Submission Guidelines, I consulted literary magazines and other publications (both ones that have print issues and ones that are online only) to determine how they handled content submissions. Most had language detailing the rights and permissions. Even if money did not change hands over a post, it is still possible that a guest article you wrote belongs to the blogger. Just to avoid hard feelings if nothing else, I would advise authors to check with bloggers.

Bloggers, should you give permission to have a guest article syndicated by the author? While the decision is up to you, I would tend to say yes, you should. Again if you look at my Submission Guidelines, I state I have exclusive use rights for a certain period of time, after that time the author may reuse the article, but a link back to the original post on my blog is required. Why? Getting other sites to link to your blog is good for SEO purposes also it means that more readers will see your blog's name and since the post is of high enough quality to be reposted then it speaks well of the other content on your site.

Another option for syndication is to write an original article and then send it out to bloggers to post. You may first publish it to your own blog or you might not. Either way, make sure there is a bio and a link back to your website/blog. This option is open to more than just authors in the book writing sense. Bloggers can also have their own content syndicated. For example, most of my tips posts would make excellent content for syndication. I recommend including at the end of the article or somewhere unobtrusive, but visible, a statement to indicate it is a syndicated article. By indicating it is a syndicated article may encourage others who love the post to consider posting it on their own site.

Problems with Syndication
(or when does syndication cross the line to duplicate content)

According to Google, duplicate content is not grounds for action against a blog. So why have I been told not to post duplicate content? Mostly because there is a fine line between white hat SEO techniques and black hat SEO tricks. Did I lose you? White Hat = Good. Black Hat = Bad. Anything that attempts to manipulate search engine algorithms is bad. Duplicate content can become black hat if it looks like a linking scheme (meaning you are more interested in having a site post a link to your site than the content you are providing in the article). That's why the most important thing to remember is QUALITY.

Bloggers may be thinking "hey, I never have to write another post. I can just post syndicated articles all the time." I'm not sure if that would be a wise move. I think that the algorithm looks at the ratio between original content and duplicate content when determining if a site is trying to artificially influence search engine ranking (how high on the list a site is when someone searches for a subject).  Adding in a few original posts will also keep your readers interested. It is no secret that many book blogs share the same readers so if you only have content they can also find on another site they may stop visiting your site all together.

A third problem with using syndicated articles is related to the problem above. If 10 blogs post the same article then Google's search algorithm decides which blog gets the top billing when returning search results. A couple of things play into it. One, the site that posted the article first may get pushed higher. Two, sites with better page rank get higher billing. I'm sure there are other factors, but you get the idea. The other sites may rank higher than yours in search and therefore your blog isn't "found" by new readers.

Speaking of page rank. That is another problem you can run into with syndicated posts. If you have 10 blogs that have a lower page rank than you pointing to yours through a link then that might not be so good for you. And possibly worse you are linking to sites with lower page rank. What is page rank? It is a scoring system that Google uses to rank your site's content. The better the content the higher the rank. You linking to a site is seen as an endorsement of sorts. I don't fully understand page rank, so I'll leave it at that. An option you have is to make the links "nofollow".

More: Choosing doFollow or noFollow

Bottom line: syndicated content can be great for both bloggers and authors, if you used appropriately. Use it for good not evil by devoting the extra time to making sure that one post is worth being syndicated.

If you would like to repost this article on your site, you may. Please remember to link back to Girl Who Reads with this url:

Donna Huber
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: Digitus 233 by K. D. Emerson

by Claire Rees

Digitus 233
We start off with a group of teenagers on a plane off to ‘leadership camp’. All of the kids are the sons and daughters of millionaires and are supposed to be ‘leadership’ material. What they do not know is that there is a stowaway on board; Zeph the brother of Zander. Jealous of his brother but also curious to what this special camp is like.

Before getting to camp the teenagers are thrown from the plane, terrified and not knowing what else to do Zeph stays in his hiding place until the plane lands.

Meanwhile back on the ground the gang find themselves on a frozen wasteland with nothing else around but ice. They quickly realise that this is real and nobody is coming to save them. Zander takes charge and they quickly realise that they will have to work together to survive this harsh and unforgiving place.

Buy Digitus 233 at Amazon

Zeph meanwhile finds himself on an island. There seems to be some sort of excavation here complete with a small village type area where Zeph goes to find something to eat. Whilst digging around Zeph finds out that ‘Leadership camp’ is not exactly what it seems and he starts to fear for his brother's safety. Finding an unlikely ally Zeph and his partner set out to save Zander and his friends.

A wonderful adventure, written beautifully we meet some lovely characters, including a cheeky monkey, and some diabolical characters who will go to great lengths to gain power.  The end of the story is a huge cliff hanger and I cannot wait to read book two.

Book Info:
Published December 2012 by Master Koda Select Publishing

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.

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