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June 30, 2012

Summer Fun: Breathe

Breathe by Abbi Glines
ebook
Published May 2011 by Wild Child Publishing
ISBN 9781936222858
Read June 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon  

I have another great summer read for you. It is a young adult novel that harkens back to those summer crushes. But I doubt any of us had a summer fling with the hottest teen idol of the Rock 'n Roll world.

Sadie doesn't have a great life. She is the adult in her household. Her mother barely does what needs to be done and relies way too much on her 17 year old daughter. Therefore, on the first day of summer vacation, Sadie heads to her mother's workplace to take her place. Her mother is a domestic for a wealthy family. Lo and behold, Sadie finds herself cleaning the house of the hottest teen rock star. Unfortunately, she has much more pressing issues to barely notice the heart throb. That is until he turns that panty dropping smile on her and bares a rarely seen side of himself.

Breathe is a bit of a modern day fairytale. Jax Stone is a worthy Prince Charming. I even got a little teary eyed towards the end.  I loved the characters. If you want to know more about the characters, Abbi shared how she created the characters in a guest post last July.

This is another perfect read for the summer. There is conflict and struggle. But it is every teens' fantasy and for adults reading it, it will bring back the fond memories of summer love.



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June 29, 2012

Friday Fun: July Roundup

There are some great books coming out in July that you will want to add to your reading list. If you would like your book included in the August Roundup, please fill out this form.

 New Edition! From Fantasy Island Publishing
Add The Night Watchman Express to your Goodreads shelf

Paperback, July from San Marco Press
Add Life After Paris to your Goodreads shelf.

New Edition! July 1
Add The Destiny of Shaitan to your Goodreads shelf

Hardcover, July 3 from Atria Books
Add The Next Best Thing to your Goodreads shelf
Pre-order: IndieBound, Amazon 

Hardcover, July 10 from Viking Adult
Add Shadow of Night to your Goodreads shelf
Pre-order: IndieBound, Amazon

Hardcover, July 17 from Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Add The Sandcastle Girls to your Goodreads shelf
Pre-order: IndieBound, Amazon

ebook, July 24 from Renaissance Romance Publishing
Add Angel's Heart: The Keeper  to your Goodreads shelf 

paperback & ebook, July 26 from The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Add Need to your Goodreads shelf



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June 28, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Newsletters

I announced last week that I'm restarting my newsletter. Newsletters are something I always recommend to authors with whom I've worked, but I think bloggers can benefit from a monthly newsletter as well. How often do you read the blogs that you follow? I know I follow too many blogs to read every day/every time they post. A newsletter can give an overview to your blog posts for that month and provide another reminder to your readers to check out your content.

For today's tips post, I thought I would share my thoughts and plans for my newsletter.

I started my newsletter last year using Google Friends Connect newsletter function. It was an easy way to send out an html email. There was also a widget for easy sign up to received the newsletter. I had about 150 subscribers to the newsletter when GFC discontinued the function.

I liked the newsletter and I always picked up new hits to my blog when it went out (confirming I was picking up readers who just didn't have time to check the blog daily). Since I was searching for a new mail service, I also took the time to look for a new layout. Google Docs have some great templates and I found one that I really liked. I also signed up to use Mailchimp to manage my email subscribers. It is a free service as long as you do not have a HUGE volume.

With the new layout, I also toyed with the idea of having print editions that bookstores, libraries and coffee shops could display. Cost quickly became an issue. I think with a few paid advertisements, I can cover the cost printing. Though I may have to require a subscription fee for large quantities. Due to cost, I won't be able to offer home delivery to individuals, but I think most individuals will prefer an email.

Now that I have an email service (sign up here). I have to think about content. My old newsletter was basically a list of posts that I did that month with a little bit of commentary. Since I want to use the newsletter as a promotional tool (the reason for the print edition), I need better content. It needs to reflect my blog. I will include a few reviews, both from books already reviewed on my blog and ones that haven't been reviewed yet on my blog. I also plan to have a featured article. It may be a reprint of a guest post on my blog or may be new content. I'm hoping that I will get submissions from reviewers and authors to help create the content. As my subscription list grows, this will be excellent promotional avenue for other bloggers and authors to reach new audiences.

I want to bring people to my blog so I will have a section highlighting a few of the posts from the previous month. Those who get the email edition should be able to click on the links just like they did with the previous newsletter.

For the print edition, I want people to keep it - not just glance at it and trash it. In the beginning the print edition will only be available locally, so it will be easy to include book related events.

To keep up with the latest on my newsletter, including submission and advertisement criteria check out the Newsletter page.

Your Turn: Do you have a newsletter? What would you like to see in a newsletter from a blog?



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June 27, 2012

David M. Brown: The Book Blogger Appreciation Society (guest post)

Hi, Everyone! Let me introduce you to fantasy author David M. Brown. He's here today to talk about how great bloggers are :). Seriously, though, I met David when I joined the Book Bloggers' Collaborative a few months ago and he is a great guy. (He has to be in order put up with the craziness of BBColl, which is predominately female.) He recently released the second book in his Elenchera Chronicles - A World Apart. Please give a big Girl Who Reads welcome to David M. Brown.

The Book Blogger Appreciation Society

Earlier this month I had the privilege of being interviewed by three book bloggers, all of them members of the Book Bloggers’ Collaborative. During the two hour show I was asked what has been the best promotional tool for my novels. My answer was very simple – book bloggers.

As an author that has chosen the self-publishing route I was under no illusion that publicising my work and reaching out to readers would be tough. I published my first novel, Fezariu’s Epiphany, in May 2011 and with my second novel, A World Apart, released this month, I can look back over the last year and reflect on lessons learned and mistakes made. I can safely say book bloggers have played a big part in my writing so far.

A quick search of social networks and you will find a plethora of book bloggers out there. Not all of them will accept self-published work but many of them do. Some book bloggers are generalised in their book preferences but others are more specialised, such as romance. Do your homework. The majority of them have very useful review policies to help you establish whether your book may have a home with them or not. Oh, and once you’ve submitted a book for review don’t hound the blogger for a response. They’ll love you for not pressuring them. Remember, book bloggers get dozens of queries a day. Imagine reading that many books knowing a similar amount will be piling up the following day! Like publicists, book bloggers cannot guarantee to sell your books but they do help give you and your writing some useful exposure, a platform to promote yourself, but it shouldn’t all be one-way traffic of course.

Although I am an author, I also have a blog I run with my wife, Donna, and among the many features we have are guest posts for authors and book reviews. I see this as a way of giving something back in the indie community. Being an author and book blogger is rewarding in being able to see both perspectives and to ensure I behave in the best possible way when dealing with book bloggers. I wouldn’t want to be treated with impatience or a lack of respect, so I don’t treat book bloggers that way either.

If you’re a guest of a book blogger always remember they have allocated a slot for you which is a generous gesture. This is their blog and you are a guest. It’s important to behave respectfully and if you are a guest or having a book reviewed why not share the post across social media and give the blogger some extra traffic. After all, that’s what they are doing for you.

As well as sharing link to blogs that I guest or have books reviewed with, why not come back and visit, share further posts beyond your own and let the book blogger know you haven’t forgotten them and the chances are they won’t forget you either. Book bloggers are the lifeblood for indie authors and being good to them will ensure they are always good to you in future, especially when your latest book is released and you need bloggers for review or hosting opportunities. If you have your own blog, return the compliment. Interview book bloggers and allow them a rare chance in the spotlight. I’ve no doubt it will take many of them by surprise to be asked.

As a writer and book blogger I have enormous respect for both sides of the indie community. Book bloggers have made the early stages of my writing journey very rewarding and with my latest book I hope I can rely on them to offer me useful feedback and advice to enable me to develop even further as a writer. Indie authors must never forget that book bloggers are our friends, not our enemies. So, why not join the Book Blogger Appreciation Society? We might have strict rules here for the conduct of our members but you’ll see nothing but benefits. All hail to the book bloggers of the world. I raise my glass to them all.

About the author:
David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Hons in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.

Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu's Epiphany and A World Apart, combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten. David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month travelling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.

Stalk..erm...Follow David on the web:

Twitter
Facebook
Blog
Website

David's Books

12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well - and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it's more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.

Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge. From Goodreads.com 
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound


Demetrius makes his first mistake when he lets his best friend Halcyon marry Eleyna, the love of his life, without saying a word. On the day of the wedding, he walks away from the Elencheran town of Dove's Meadow and joins the army.

He makes his second mistake when the pirate Black Iris tricks him into letting dozens of men, women and children die in a fire. Demetrius is imprisoned in grief and disgrace.

But he can atone. The Black Iris is dead. The Ivory Rose has risen to the top of the pirates and is leading brutal raids on the coast. If Demetrius can capture and kill her, he'll win his pardon. From Goodreads.com

Goodreads, Amazon

 


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June 26, 2012

1st edition review: Farsighted

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand
Paperback, 218 pages
Published November 2011 by Blue Crown Press
ISBN13: 9780983930808
Read June 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

I bought this copy months and months ago, but like most of the books I buy they go to the bottom of the TBR pile. I was curious about the book. I had seen it all over the place. I liked the idea of a handicapped protagonist. Characters with impairments fascinate me. However, I wasn't sure about the paranormal aspect. It is a hit and miss genre for me, with mostly misses. Unfortunately, Farsighted  is a miss for me.

I had trouble getting into the story. The writing style was too choppy and simplistic. I know it was written for high school students, but it had the feel of a high school writer. I've kept some of my favorite writings from high school and I've re-read them and, well, Farsighted's writing felt that same way to me. Either I became accustomed to the writing style or it improved towards the end (I'm leaning towards there was improvement) as the last half of the book read faster than the first. I also had trouble with all the visual cues we would be given though the story was being told in first person. Sometimes there was too much visual description in a scene for me too really believe Alex is blind. 

I must point out that I read the first edition (the links are all for the second edition). There has been a second edition published. It is listed as expanded. I hope there is more polish to the writing. Emlyn did contact me about sending me a second edition. I thought about getting it just so I can skim through it for changes, but Farsighted isn't really my kind of story. It was too heavily paranormal for me.
 
Your turn: I'm trying to decide if I should attempt more paranormal stories to see if the genre grows on me or just give up. What do you think? Are there genres that you've tried and tried, yet can't seem to find more you like than don't like?


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June 25, 2012

Vlog #19: Vacation Reading



News:

I kicked off my vacation with a review of Gabriel's Inferno and a great summer cocktail.

Check out this week's Book Bloggers' Collaborative Giveaway: Falling - Girl with Broken Wings by J. Bennett

Remember to sign up for my newsletter. The first issue goes out in July.

Though I'm not taking new review requests right now, I still have openings in July and August for guest posts and Friday Fun ideas.

Finished:

Downburst by Katie Robison
Kit’s only goal is to stay alive. Right now, that means dodging brutal gangs while peddling fake I.D.s on the back streets of Winnipeg. But things get complicated when Kit sells a license to a girl named Aura—a girl who could almost be her twin. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kit is plunged into an underground society with heart-stopping surprises at every turn. To protect herself, she’s forced to assume Aura’s identity. But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, and when Kit learns the truth about Aura, she knows she has to get out before the storm breaks. There’s only one problem: escape isn’t an option.

Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot harder. From Goodreads.com 
Get Downburst: Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

Started & Finished:

Breathe by Abbi Glines
Sadie White's summer job isn't going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother's increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother's job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn't spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn't impressed by Jax's fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship's never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can't breathe without Sadie.

But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to breathe again? From Goodreads.com
Get Breathe: Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

Reading:

Change of Season by A. C. Dillon
“Ten months. Two hundred and ninety-nine days. Seven thousand, one hundred and seventy-six hours. Four hundred and thirty thousand, five hundred and sixty minutes. Perhaps not as melodic as Larson’s rock musical anthem, but it is how I will measure a year at Casteel… I will measure in time, because it is my only constant between the old Autumn and the now Autumn. I will measure by changes of season.”

Sixteen-year-old Autumn Brody has enrolled at Casteel Preparatory Academy, a prestigious boarding school with a focus on the arts, for her grade eleven year but the move isn’t recreational. Her choice was made in a desperate bid for the survival of herself and her family, who remain oblivious to the looming threat against them. In her self-imposed exile, Autumn must remain invisible – “a Chbosky wallflower” – or more blood will cling to her hands.

Forced into a behavioural reform program at the Academy by her frantic parents, Autumn refuses to whisper of the ghosts haunting her. But the troubled young woman soon finds that there are more reasons to fear the night than she ever dared imagine. A student cries out in anguish through the walls, rousing her from restless slumber. Mysterious messages seem to land near her feet – messages from a supposedly dead girl that Autumn sees darting into darkened service corridors. And yet, the reclusive film student she literally runs into might just be the gravest danger of all.

As past bleeds into present, Autumn uncovers truths long buried behind the door of room 308. Secrets that someone will kill to keep silent – someone who stalks Autumn’s every move, patiently waiting to strike…From Goodreads.com 
Get Change of SeasonGoodreads, Amazon

The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane
"The man she loved is gone forever. The child she lives for could be next."Each day is a struggle for Amanda Gleason's newborn son as he battles a rare immune deficiency. Justin's best chance for a cure lies with his father, who was brutally murdered before Amanda even realized she carried his child.

Or was he?

One emailed photo changes everything, planting a seed of doubt that Amanda latches on to for dear life: a recent photo of a man who looks exactly like Paul. Could Justin's father be alive? The mother in her is desperate to find out. But tracking down a ghost when every second counts is not for amateurs.

"Forensic Instincts is the one team up for the challenge."

A behaviorist. A former navy SEAL. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. A retired FBI agent. A human-scent-evidence dog. Together they achieve the impossible, pushing ethical and legal boundaries whenever the ends justify the means.

The manhunt is on for the elusive father. Yet the further FI digs into his past, the more questions are raised about whether the man Amanda fell in love with ever really existed at all.

Dark secrets. Carefully crafted lies. From the congressional halls of Washington, D.C., to exclusive Hamptons manors, there are ruthless people who would stop at nothing to make Forensic Instincts forget about the man Amanda desperately needs to find.

Little do "they" realize that once Forensic Instincts takes the case, nothing will stop them from uncovering the shocking truth that transcends "The Line Between Here and Gone." From Goodreads.com
Get The Line Between Here and Gone: Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

This Week:

Tuesday: Review of Farsighted by Emlyn Chand
Wednesday: Guest post with David M. Brown
Thursday: Newsletters
Friday Fun: July New Releases Roundup
Saturday: Review of Breathe by Abbi Glines

 
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