Readers' Favorite

August 22, 2014

Bestselling Vampire Thriller: MOTH by @SeanPoindexter


Social worker Max Hollingsworth is no stranger to the otherworldly. But when he's called upon to investigate a missing child, he stumbles upon a deeper mystery.

Children are vanishing and no one remembers them, not even their parents. Suspicion turns to Neo-Nazi vampires and humans running a child slavery ring, but that is only the beginning. For help, he turns to friends, old and new, but even they might not be enough. When new enemies turn deadly, old enemies become allies, including the least likely ally of all: an enemy whose cruelty and evil was almost his end, and haunts him still.

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August 21, 2014

Image Use: Is it Fair Use?

by Donna Huber

I was going to discuss interviews today, but I ran across an article yesterday about using images properly on blogs. Most of it was information I have read elsewhere until I got to the section on Fair Use. It gave me pause. It has me second guessing my use of cover images and author photos.

I encourage all of you to read the article on HubPages: A Guide to Proper Image Use.

But I want to further tease out the use of cover images and author photos on our blogs. Does the use fall under the Fair Use clause of the copyright law?

According to the article, and probably most people's understanding of Fair Use, one component of whether the use is infringment or fair use is when used in the following manner,

"Only use copyrighted work to contribute something important and original to the world, typically in the form of art, criticism, reviews, education, or reporting."

For most book bloggers, we use cover images as part of our reviews and thus the use is an "allowed" use of copyrighted material. Interviews and guest posts or other articles could be considered "reporting" and, therefore, an author photo could be used. Just because the use is exempt it does not mean you do not attribute the work. I know I have been lax on attributing my covers and the author photos. Even when the author or publisher provides the material I should still be giving proper credit. For book covers it is the cover designer which could be tricky to determine, but typically it is included on the copyright page of the book. I know not all ARCs come with a completed copyright page and thus making it more difficult. I recommend making the best effort and include a link to where online you got the cover (for me, I get most of the covers from and when furnished by the author or publisher to make a note of that. (However, "best effort" won't necessary stand up in court.)

So far so good, right? Nothing that I haven't heard before. So what gave me pause? The next point in the article:

"Are not monetized (e.g. are not selling something, featuring ads, etc.)."

Do you run Adwords on your blog? What about the use of affiliate links? I use both and they do show up in my review posts. Though I do make a few dollars throughout the year, I don't think of Girl Who Reads as a commercial venture. The funds are rolled back into running the blog - giveaways, paying for the domain name, etc. And I'm sure at the end of year that I take a loss. Under IRS rules my blog would be considered a hobby and not a business (see Hobby Loss Rule). Also, I have wondered about getting non-profit status for the blog. Most literary magazine have non-profit status since they support the Arts. It requires a board of trustees and some legal documents, so I haven't pursued it (maybe in my retirement).

However, if it doesn't matter about being a commercial venture or profitable, but only that it is monetized, then I do not have the right under Fair Use to use book covers or author photos without the expressed permission of the author.

So what to do?

I could possibly take a picture of my own copy of the book, but I often read ebooks and electronic galleys so nothing to take a picture of it.

Ask permission to use the images. For the author photos I use, they are almost always sent by the author so I assume permission. On the odd chance that a photo wasn't provided or I'm writing some other article, then I should either exclude it or seek permission. Now book covers might be a bit trickier. I'm thinking of putting a stipulation in my review policy to the effect that the request for a review gives permission to use the book cover in said review and for advertising said review.

But what about books I got from the library or I purchased myself and then reviewed? Or galleys from Netgalley - the publishers don't read my review policy. As an affiliate, Amazon has coding I can use that includes the cover. Is that allowed under Fair Use as the link will contain my affiliate code?

I dare say that most authors and publishers have no problem with using the cover image in a review or other blog post. But we also know that sometimes authors behave badly when a review is negative or one they considered not glowing enough. Then what?

Reviews are subjective and while you may think you gave it a positive review an author may not see it that way. The fourth point the article gives for allowance under Fair Use,

"Do not use copyrighted work in a manner that would compromise the copyright holder's ability to earn from it."

A negative review could be argued that it does compromise the copyright holder's ability to earn. But what about the okay reviews? You know the ones where you liked the book, but it wasn't stellar or particularly a standout. Could you get in hot water? Perhaps. I'm not a lawyer and I'm not sure what precedent exists on the question. However, there have been a few cases of suits over negative reviews of businesses and I could see where an author could think this was opportunity to remove a negative review.

I know many authors read my weekly tips posts and I would love to hear your opinion on bloggers using book covers and author photos on their posts. Do you consider it an infringement on your copyright for bloggers to use cover images in their reviews? What about other posts - like release announcements, interviews, guest posts, general news?

Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres (NO horror or erotica), but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances.

August 20, 2014

Review: Exposing the Psalms by Peter Nevland

by Donna Huber

Exposing the Psalms
When I find myself neglecting my daily Bible study, I often turn to the Psalms. When I was on Netgalley I noticed this book, Exposing the Psalms, and thought it might make an interesting read. Peter Nevland took a more creative approach than most of the commentaries that I typically read. It was a refreshing change and Nevland's insight gave much to think about.

I do recommend using Exposing the Psalms as a daily devotional as opposed as a recreational read. I found that there was much to ruminate on with each chapter, which features one Psalm, and when I tried to read more than a chapter in a sitting that I had too much to think on and missed out on the deeper thoughts Nevland provoked.

Buy Exposing the Psalms at Amazon

When I read books like this, I always want to know if it can be translated into a group Bible study. I used the material twice in my Sunday morning Bible study. I think it would have been better if the other members were also reading the book. Also Nevland makes reference to other Biblical passages without providing the reference so that made it difficult in preparing for the discussion. I found that I needed to more research while preparing the lesson. But the class enjoyed the topic and we did learn a knew tidbit about the Psalms.

In most commentaries, the Greek is well explained for New Testament passages, but I don't find as much detail is given for Hebrew in the Old Testament. I really liked that Nevland explored language and usage. And the tidbit we learned - in Hebrew there are 7 words that translate to the English word praise. I think the explanations of Hebrew words and poetry conventions added a depth to the Psalms that I had previously missed when study them.

Perhaps the only thing that really detracted from the book was the format. I think I would have much preferred it to be in paperback as I read it as an ebook. I'm glad to see that it is now also available in paperback.

If you are looking for something to accompany your daily personal Bible study without it being too scholarly or feel like textbook, then Exposing the Psalms by Peter Nevland is for you. But don't think just because I said it wasn't "too scholarly" that it is a fluff read. No, you will definitely be challenged and your understanding of the Psalms will be enhanced.

Book info:
Published March 2014 by Authentic Media
ISBN13: 9781860249037
Source: Netgalley
Read: April - July 2014

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. A free egalley was provided for the review.

August 19, 2014

Review: Dead Hunger by Eric A. Shelman

by Claire Rees

Dead Hunger
My favourite genre is apocalyptic horror and more specifically Zombies. I bought Dead Hunger by Eric A. Shelman as it was part of my Zombie book club’s book of the month and I have to say that it quickly become my favourite zombie series.

The story follows Flex Sheridan as he fights for survival in this new and unforgiving zombie apocalypse. Along the way he loses friends and family but also picks up with some good people who become as good as family very quickly and they become a close knit group. We meet the intelligent Hemp whose job included human genetics before the end of the world as they knew it, and then Flex’s long lost love, Gem, who fought her way through hell to find Flex. They meet others along the way and start to plan for the way forward together.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves zombie/apocalypse stories but also to those who love a good adventure. With plenty of gory bits and zombies that get a little too close for comfort Dead Hunger will keep you turning page after page and you will quickly become addicted.

Buy Dead Hunger at Amazon
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Book info
Published October 2011 by Dolphin Moon Publishing
ISBN13: 9780966940046
Source: Purchased
Read: July 2014

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

August 18, 2014

10 Questions with @AuthorReneeJean

by Heather Kirchhoff

What made you decide to start writing? Was this something you always thought you’d do?
I began writing when I was 7. In the second grade I borrowed a poetry book from my school library. I read a poem that I was able to visualize perfectly. I wanted to give someone that same thing. I wanted people to open up a book and take a journey with me being able to see what I saw as I wrote it. 

I knew it would always be a hobby and as a lover of performance art I never missed a chance to get up in front of the class and read my latest creation. I considered doing it professionally a few times but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I found my voice and discovered a story inside me so pressing I know I had to get it published. Now that I have started the journey there is no turning back. 

How do you come up with your characters or story ideas?
I find ideas all around me. Never Give Up and Sharing Strength are emotional looks inside psychological aspects of my own life. I have fought past injuries as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. I want to hopefully reach people that may feel like they need a friend and let them know I understand. I also hope to draw awareness to these situations among people that may not currently understand. 

How do you get inspired to write?
I seem to get inspired most often when I am in the middle of doing something else. I came up with an idea while I was at work and had to tell myself the story idea over and over until I could get home to write it down. Another time I created an entire series while driving between the Grand Canyon and home in Las Vegas. 

What do you do while having writers block?
I try to be as active as possible, especially when I cannot concentrate. I run and bike around town as well as go to the gym to try new classes. I am also a huge fan of movies, pools and of course catching up on my reading. 

Never Give Up
What kind of stories do you write?
I write mostly contemporary drama although the series I will be working on next has a fantasy twist. I also have a charity anthology in the works and have been developing a children’s series aimed at children between four and nine. 

Who’s your favorite author(s)?
I will read anything that catches my eye but I have to say R.L. Stine, Stephen King and Terry Pratchet are my go to authors when I need something I know I can count on for a good read. 

How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first poem twenty four years ago. I began doing short stories around seventeen years ago and I wrote my first full length novel about five years ago so it has been quite the progression for me.

Buy Never Give Up at Amazon

What are your stories about?
I have a story called Breathe currently being edited that is a romance novel about a young woman the plans a bank robbery but then gets double crossed by a man she thought she could trust. 

Sharing Strength is the story of five support group members for PTSD and tells their stories and how they form their own family unit, an emotional roller coaster for sure. 

The Syn series is my fantasy twist and follows a family of sister witches as they seek revenge for their mother set during the Salem Witch Trials. 

My Children’s series is still expanding but currently encompasses travel ideas through the states for younger children. 

What are you currently working on?
Sharing Strength is my largest focus right now because I believe is has a message that needs to get out there and this is a good time in society to bring it to light. 

What do you do when not writing?
I love to go check out the local pool parties and go to the water park. I work around my house fixing it up because I love to be hands on with projects. I ride my bike although in the heat of summer that can be difficult. I also love spending time camping and traveling with my incredibly supportive boyfriend. 

Connect with Renee Jean on Facebook  and Twitter

Staff interviewer Heather lives in a small town in Missouri. She became a bookworm back in sixth grade when her teacher suggested the Phantom Stallion series by Terri Farley and instantly fell in love. She loves reading paranormal stories, plus some love ones here and there. Writing is her passion-it helps her escape the world for a while, as well as reading-she doesn’t know what she’d do without it. She just loves it. When she isn’t writing, Heather is doing odd jobs, reading, taking walks, or spending time with her boyfriend and animals/family. Richelle Mead, Alyson Noel, and Stephenie Meyer inspired her to write. Connect with Heather on Facebook and Twitter.

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