Category: Books/Writing

May 05

Sunday Post #7 – In Which My Brain is Mush

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s been a LONG time since I did a Sunday Post, but I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

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Finals are FINISHED! Thank you to everyone who left encouraging comments, it was so kind and such a mood boost! I have until June 3rd off now…and then it’s all systems go to cram an entire year of organic chemistry into two months. So best just not to think about that for now…hehe. This week has been good, I just feel like I’ve kind of been drifting around in a fog. I’ve done SOME reading…I finished the middle-grade series I’d been working on, AND the first book in the Twilight Saga. THAT was very…interesting. I have a lot of thoughts about it, hopefully for a later date.

Check out my Instagram story highlights for a play-by-play of my Twilight readthrough. Oh, the drama! *eyeroll*

Last Week on Blog

Wow, I actually had quite a few posts (for me) this week!

Next Week on the Blog

  • When You Find My Body – nonfiction review
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) – historical mystery review

Around the Blogosphere

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May 01

Can’t Wait Wednesday #2 – Wild and Crooked

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #2 – Wild and CrookedWild and Crooked by Leah Thomas
Published by Bloomsbury YA on June 4, 2019
Pages: 448
Goodreads

Critically-acclaimed author Leah Thomas blends a small-town setting with the secrets of a long-ago crime, in a compelling novel about breaking free from the past.

In Samsboro, Kentucky, Kalyn Spence's name is inseparable from the brutal murder her father committed when he was a teenager. Forced to return to town, Kalyn must attend school under a pseudonym . . . or face the lingering anger of Samsboro's citizens, who refuse to forget the crime.

Gus Peake has never had the luxury of redefining himself. A Samsboro native, he's either known as the "disabled kid" because of his cerebral palsy, or as the kid whose dad was murdered. Gus just wants to be known as himself.

When Gus meets Kalyn, her frankness is refreshing, and they form a deep friendship. Until their families' pasts emerge. And when the accepted version of the truth is questioned, Kalyn and Gus are caught in the center of a national uproar. Can they break free from a legacy of inherited lies and chart their own paths forward?.

Wild and Crooked (due out June 4, 2019) first caught my attention because of that beautiful and adorable cover. Also it sounds a little bit dark and a little bit hopeful and a whole lot intriguing. I also love that the main characters, while a guy and a girl – apparently remain platonic! YES SEE IT IS POSSIBLE. Thank you.  Anyway, I’m sure it will be awesome and I can’t wait!

 

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May 01

The Sisters of Salem – Cover Reveal

Book Tours, Books/Writing 0

Not going to lie, I was attracted to this series ENTIRELY by the gorgeous covers! And then the synopsis totally hooked me…I have the first one downloaded to read on my iPad!



The Sisters of Salem
Tish Thawer
(Witches of BlackBrook, #3)
Published by: Amber Leaf Publishing
Publication date: Summer/Fall 2019
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Through space and time, sisters entwined. Lost then found, souls remain bound.

After facing a relentless foe, three sister witches are forced even further back through time to a place that holds just as much sorrow for them as it does joy.

Returning to their origins in 1685, the trio races to save not only their mother from the clutches of their new enemy but also to secure the future they’ve worked for centuries to build.

Avoiding their younger selves is a necessity that proves difficult, especially when one sister isn’t sure she wants to leave the past behind. Faced with love and loss, these witches are forced to endure the burning times again, and one wrong step could alter history and their future forever.

Add to Goodreads

Previous books in the series:

 

Author Bio:

2017 – #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction (Witches of BlackBrook)
2017 – Top 100 Bestselling in Paid Kindle Store (Witches of Blackbrook)
2015 – Best Cover – Penned Con (The Witches of BlackBrook)
2015 – Readers Choice Award – My New Favorite Book Awards (The Witches of BlackBrook)

Bestselling and Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.

Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has received a RONE Award nomination (Reward of Novel Excellence), as well as nominations for Best Cover, Reader’s Choice, and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery).

Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Arizona with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.

You can find Tish on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTishThawer

A common FAQ: “How do you pronounce her last name?”

Answer: Think “Bower” or “Thow-er”. It’s Persian!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Apr 30

Read a Series in a Month!

Books/Writing 0

Read a series in a month? Say whaaaaat? YEP! I’m going to try it. And I’m going to try it with a series I’ve put off for a long, long time. Thanks so much to Because Reading for coming up with this idea and hosting!

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The Rules

  1. Pick 1 series. Yes, just 1. Announce which series you’ve picked on your sign up post and link it back here.
  2. Read EVERY book in the series. You don’t have to read novellas or short stories, just the core books.
  3. Read them all between 12am (your time) May 1st and 11:59pm (your time) May 31st. They MUST be marked (on Goodreads) as started and finished in the month of May to count.
  4. Enjoy bragging to everyone about how you’re all caught up on whatever series you read (AKA – have fun)! Use the hashtag #SeriesinaMonth

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So, my series is…drumroll please…

I was 18 when the first book came out, and, being the young English major that I was, I turned up my nose. Fast forward several (ahem) years, and I realize how much of an idiot I was – not for disliking the idea of Twilight, which I’m still suspicious of, but for book-shaming anyone and forcing myself to read only classic or literary books. So.

I’m going to be recording my progress on my Instagram stories (my first time really using stories for anything so don’t laugh too hard at my awkward self), with reactions/quotes/etc., and I’ve put them in Highlights so you can start at the beginning if you wish. It should be…entertaining. I’m notoriously hard to please when it comes to romances, and from everything that I’ve heard over the year I feel like I’ll probably still be doing a lot of eye-rolling as I read these. But, I kind of felt like I needed to read them, since they’re one of the first series that was really marketed for a YA audience and they helped kickstart the genre. A lot of people have told me I’m not missing much, but still…I feel the need to see for myself, almost as a rite of passage. Haha!

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If you’re playing along with the Series in a Month challenge, leave a comment with what series!

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Apr 30

May 2019 New Book Releases

Books/Writing 0

It’s time for the May new books post! I have not…erm…read any of the books I pre-ordered for April yet. But I had finals this month so I think I will make up for it in May. Also there are SO MANY amazing books coming out in May I had a horrible time narrowing my pre-orders down to just five.

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All covers link to GoodReads!

  • The Bone Charmer – basically necromancers and prophesies, and a bad-boy romance hinted at. Futures told in bones. Um, yes.
  • Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors – I’m a Jane Austen junkie, and I looooove retellings. I was ready to buy it just knowing that, but then this sentence, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep” totally sunk me. I can not WAIT to read this!
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – a mobile library in Depression-era Appalachia and the woman (with a physical “disfigurement”) that makes it her passion. This strikes so close to home, I feel like weeping. I only hope it’s as good as it sounds.
  • There’s Something About Sweetie (Dimple & Rishi #2) – EEEEEEK finally!!!! I absolutely loved When Dimple Met Rishi and I am so ready for this companion novel. Also the girl on the front just looks so HAPPY, I can’t stand it!
  • Stepsister – a Cinderella retelling where the stepsister CUT OFF HER TOES. OMG. I must know what happens. I must. Holy hell.

And a few more I wanted to mention but didn’t get to pre-order:

  • The Wise and the Wicked – this sounds delightfully witchy and atmospheric (magical realism). I have a feeling I may still end up buying it when it comes out, because my library hasn’t deigned to get it.
  • No Place Like Here – a very short little book (according to the Kindle page count of 230-odd), it sounds like a cute, fluffy summer read.
  • Dark Shores (#1 in a new series) – Pirates, soldiers, secrets, and grand adventures. Yes, yes please. I’m always hoping that I will find a new epic fantasy series that I can totally love.

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What books are you most looking forward to for May? Any of these?

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If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

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Apr 28

Sunday Post #6 – Just Breathe

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. I’m trying to be consistent with these, since I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

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Final exams were this week! It was…well, pure hell, to be honest. I stress so hard and my anxiety levels go through the roof. I already got the grade back on the chemistry one, and it was ok, so now I just have to wait on the rest. Oh, and I have one more to actually TAKE on Monday. Phew. That’s pretty much where all of my energy and thoughts have been this week.

Oh, our oldest pupper graduated from level one obedience class! It was, apparently, exhausting.

“I’m sooooo tired, Mama…can’t you get ready for bed faster?” Well, I don’t know, could you be any cuter? 

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • The Cold is in Her Bones – YA historical/fantasy review
  • Deposing Nathan – YA modern review + blog tour
  • May 2019 New Book Releases

Around the Blogosphere

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If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

 

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Apr 24

Can’t Wait Wednesday #1 – The Girl in Red

Books/Writing 0

I’m joining in the fun with a Can’t-Wait Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Usually the books are ones yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Can’t Wait Wednesday #1 – The Girl in RedThe Girl in Red by Christina Henry
Published by Berkley on June 18, 2019
Pages: 304
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon

It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods....

Cue ALL the flailing. OMG, a feminist retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and by CHRISTINA HENRY?!?

I have been sold on anything Christina Henry writes since I read her dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Also, check out this fabulous UK cover. I might have to buy both.

What do you think? Will you be reading this?

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Apr 21

Sunday Post #5 – Finals are Looming

Books/Writing 0

Hey everyone! Back with another Sunday Post update, via Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s been a LONG time since I did a Sunday Post, but I’d like to get back into it regularly as a way to wrap up. I’m totally patterning mine off of Kimberly’s, at least for now.

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This week has been stressful. STRESS.FUL. I have one more day of classes, officially, and then finals start on Wednesday. As always, I have procrastinated way more than I should. As always, I’m freaking out. Which means I’m not sleeping well and my stress is rubbing off on my husband and even the dogs. Sigh. But, this time next week, I’ll have everything except one final complete for the semester and then I have the month of May off!

Today my husband’s family is having an “Easter dinner,” i.e., breakfast for dinner where everyone has to wear PJs. I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from and I don’t personally celebrate Easter, but I’m always down for breakfast food!

Gratuitous dose of adorableness, courtesy my sweet Noah.

Last Week on Blog

Next Week on the Blog

  • All We Could Have Been – YA thriller ARC review
  • What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) – historical mystery review

Around the Blogosphere

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If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

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Apr 04

April 2019 New Books Releases

Books/Writing 0

It’s time for another monthly new books post! Let’s just ignore the fact that I totally missed March…not just for books. Where did the month go? I felt like I was just barely treading water and then all of a sudden – boom – the month was over. *blink blink*

THIS month has already been quite eventful. Monday morning, I was working on a school project at home. Closed my laptop, drove to school, opened laptop…to find that my hard drive had died somewhere between home and school. Yep. Fantastic. Thankfully my husband works at an electronics store and I was able to get a new hard drive for much less than it would have cost anywhere else. Also thankfully, I long ago learned to put everything important either on a flash drive (this was years ago), or in the cloud somewhere. Preferable multiple somewheres. So I didn’t actually lose anything, just had the annoyance of not having a computer for a few days. First world problems.

Anyway! You’re here for the books, so let’s get started. I broke my five book limit for preorders rule this month, and made it six…and then there are three more that I just had to talk about even though I didn’t buy them (yet)!

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All covers link to GoodReads!

  • Last of the Name – I was lucky enough to get an ARC from Netgalley of this book, but I ordered a copy for myself, I loved it that much. You can read my full review here!
  • The Devouring Gray – it was compared to the Raven Cycle, which is one of my favorite series of EVER…so yeah.
  • Demon Magic and a Martini – the 4th in the Guild Codex series by Anne Marie (how does she turn these out so fast?!?), which I’m buying even though I still haven’t read the third one…but, you can read my reviews of the first one, Three Mages and a Margarita, and the second one, Dark Arts and a Daiquiri!
  • The Missing Years – Scottish highlands, family secrets, creepy gardens…sign me up!
  • Little Darlings – twin changelings? Faery? Sounds fascinating! I’m kind of sad that this has gotten some lukewarm to negative reviews from bloggers that I’ve found usually align with my tastes, but we’ll see.
  • The Boy Who Steals Houses – by the amazing PaperFury, so obviously I had to get it…not to mention her debut, A Thousand Perfect Notes, completely broke my heart and crushed my soul (you should read it, obvs).
  • We Rule the Night – feminist pilots saving the world! Need I say more? Also, THAT COVER. Holy shit.
  • Witch’s Honor – sequel to the book that unexpectedly gave me hot flashes a few months ago, Shadow Walker. I complained about the cover of that one but loved the story, and I was super excited to see the female MC on the cover of this one – and NOT in some ridiculous state of half-dress.
  • The Raven’s Tale – EDGAR ALLAN POE!! Inspired by, anyway. And finding his muse…which is more demanding than one might think…yes, I need this book.

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What’s on your radar for April? Have you read any of these yet?

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If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

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Mar 20

The NetGalley Problem – is it worth it?

Books/Writing 3

Book blogger confession: NetGalley is both the most wonderful thing to happen to me, and my kryptonite.

We all dream of having hard copy ARCs, but sometimes it takes awhile to build the following for those! It seems safe to safe most book bloggers start off by using either NetGalley or Edelweiss to request ARCs  (or both).  I signed up for both but ended up only using NetGalley because it’s just more intuitive to me. I do use Edelweiss’s saved search feature – after learning about it from Reader Voracious’ most amazing and helpful post – because it helps me find new releases that aren’t as popular. Edelweiss has a TON of books, a lot more than NetGalley, and not all are available to request ARCs but you can at least see a lot more of what is releasing at any given time, and I really like that.

NetGalley makes it easy to request upcoming books. Just set up your account, add some profile information, and you can request away! It’s super easy. Almost too easy.

What Not to Do

I’ve been on Netgalley since 2016. I took most of 2018 off from reading ARCs, so in the 2+ years I’ve been a regular visitor, I’ve received 53 eARCs. Not that many, really. However, in the beginning I made some mistakes.

  • Request everything that looks interesting. Now, this might sound like a good idea when starting off, as you don’t have any NetGalley stats/percentage. However, you might get surprised and get an influx of eARCs, and then your feedback percentage goes WAY down and no one wants to approve you for books.
  • Review books super late. While you can always go back and leave feedback, which will boost your percentage no matter how late you are, when you are *coughoverayearcough* several months late with your reviews it seems like the publisher/publicist never sees them, which makes sense.
  • Don’t read publisher approval preferences. I didn’t notice this little feature when I started out, but if you go to each publisher’s page, there is a button that says “View Approval Preferences.” This really helped me start to tailor my requests. Some publishers don’t approve until you have over 1,000 followers. Some want you to have specific information in your profile.

NetGalley Success

When I came back to NetGalley this year, the first thing I did was try to clear off all the old titles I had. If you use the Send-to-Kindle option, the files never actually disappear. If you use Adobe Digital Editions (like I did for a long time), they automatically delete. Thankfully I had sent almost all of my old books to my Kindle app, which is what I’m using regularly to read eARCs now.

After that, I let myself wander over to the “Find Titles” section…just to see. Um, right. I promptly went on a requesting spree, because I told myself my feedback ration was still under the desired 80% so I wouldn’t get that many, maybe one of two.

Oops. I suddenly ended up with about eight new titles, which isn’t a lot for some bloggers but cued total panic for me. I hadn’t really paid attention to WHEN these titles were releasing, despite my goal of posting feedback within a month of publication (ideally BEFORE publication), which meant most of them released around the same time. OOPS.

There went my feedback ratio, AGAIN, and even further in the hole. I think at one point (around the time the approvals stopped), it was around 47%. ARGH! Like I said, that little “Request Title” button is like crack for me. Total kryptonite.

So, I buckled down to read these new ARCs. Thing is, I had so many that in my limited reading time, I had NO TIME to read all the other books I was hoping to get to! All those new releases I pre-orded for January, February, March…yeah, I’ve read ONE, because I’ve felt SO obligated to read all the NetGalley books.

That’s kind of…not fun. As much as I love reading new releases AHEAD of time, I also want to read the books I cared enough about to pay for, or put on special request at my library.

Is It Worth It?

YMMV, but for me the answer is – sometimes. Obviously I get SUPER excited when I get to read a book early. It’s like being let into an inclusive club, it’s fun, and I love hoping/knowing that my review might help an author get more readers. On the other hand, there is that sense of obligation – not for any particular rating, but to at least read and rate. When too many stack up, that’s STRESSFUL.

Reading should not be stressful. Books are my happy place.

So what does this mean? Am I/have I abandoned NetGalley? Not on your life. But I have implemented some strategies that have really helped me cut back on the stress and let me ENJOY the titles I do receive. I’ll be posting more about that in detail in a later post, but the end result is –

  • I have an 80%+ rating on NetGalley right now. Which, I’ve discovered, DOES actually boost your chances of getting approved considerably.
  • I have eight NetGalley titles currently waiting for reading/review, but they are spread out until SEPTEMBER. I have one coming out this month, two in June, two in July, two in August, and one in September. That’s a lot of time to read eight books! Did you hear the stress bubble pop?
  • I’m going to be reading many more of my MOST anticipated 2019 books, along with the books on my shelves already. This makes me SO HAPPY!

Let’s face it, that’s how we should feel about the books we read. Not stressed.

How About You?

How do you manage your ARC requests? What are your strategies?

Of Interest

If you’re struggling under a mountain of ARCs, check out Avalinah’s State of the ARC meme. I haven’t joined but it sounds like an awesome way to tackle the pile!

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If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

 

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