Waiting on Wednesday: 2 Fantasies and 2 Contemps

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

For more books I’m looking forward to, check out the Upcoming page

 

Fantasy

 

Madly by Amy Alward (September 2015 – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

“When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?

And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.” Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

 

Untamed by A.G. Howard (December 2015 – Amulet Books)

“A post-Ensnared collection of three stories—available in both print and e-versions.

Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland.

In Six Impossible Things, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after Ensnared, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves. Alyssa’s mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in The Boy in the Web. And Morpheus delves into Jeb’s memories of the events of Splintered in The Moth in the Mirror, available in print for the first time.

This collection expands upon Ensnared‘s epilogue, and includes some deleted scenes to provide a “director’s cut” glimpse into the past and futures of our favorite Splintered characters.” Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository 

 

Contemporary

Diamonds are Forever by Michelle Madow (October 2015 – Harlequin Teen)

“It’s cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with international pop star Perry Myles continues as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is it “meant to be” with Perry, or has the right guy been in front of her eyes this entire time? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—Brett…and with Adrian and Rebecca’s wedding approaching, they feel more pressure than ever to reveal their relationship. Peyton might be figuring out a direction for her future, but she feels responsible for her bodyguard Jackson being fired, and wonders if the best way to find solace for her guilt is in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the Diamond sisters the truth about the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with Oliver, the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life, in the hospital fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamonds more than ever.” Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

 

Off the Ice by Julie Cross (November 2016 – Simon & Scuster)

“Junior Tate Tanley hasn’t made it off the bench since joining the hockey team as a freshman. But after the Otters’ star goalie leaves during a huge game, Tate’s got the attention of the entire town. Including Claire O’Connor, who’s mysteriously back in Juniper Falls and who he hasn’t seen in a year. But Tate hasn’t stopped thinking about Claire or what happened the night before she left.

Claire O’Connor should be enjoying college life in the big city. Instead, she’s serving drinks to handsy fishermen and taking care of her sick father back in Juniper Falls. And when she spots her best friend’s little brother, Tate, playing in a big varsity game, she’s thrown for a loop. Tate has grown up a lot: more muscles, more hotness, more…everything. But Claire’s responsibility is to her family, and she doesn’t have time for boys—especially not hockey players.

As games, parties, and town drama throw Tate and Claire together, they can’t ignore what happened last fall—and they can’t ignore what’s brewing between them now. It’s finally time for them to unravel the secrets of their past and face the future together.” Goodreads | Amazon

Blogging 101: Auto-Tweet Your Posts

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Twitter is an essential for your blog. It is the one form of social media that you need to have, whether you like it or not. More on why in a later post. For now, we’re going to focus on how to get your posts auto-tweeted. This way you can share your content without having to manually send out a tweet every time a new post goes live. Automation is your friend.

I am sure there are a zillion and one ways you can do this. I am personally using twitterfeed and have been since I got started in 2011. It’s very easy to use and all you need is the URL of your RSS feed. Once that’s all set up, your Twitter followers will be notified when you have new post up!

Want more tips? Check back on Tuesdays for new content or visit the Blogging 101 page to see what you missed!

 

In case you missed it

Choosing a Name and URL
Picking a Platform
Get an Amazing Design

On Twilight

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Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of Twilight-shaming. I wanted to take a minute and discuss the positive impacts Twilight has had on me and the reading community as a whole. Whether you like Twilight or can’t stand it, it has certainly bought about a lot of positive things in the world. And if you like Twilight and feel bad admitting it, check out my I’m Not Sorry discussion. Too often we apologize for things we love and there is just no need for it!

 

The Gateway Book

So many people credit Twilight as the book that got them into reading, or re-kindled their love for reading, or started their love for YA. I can’t give you any specific numbers here, but nearly every person I’ve ever seen talk about their “gateway” book has referenced Twilight. Could just be that the people I watch loved it, but I suspect it’s broader than that.

 

YA Lovin’

YA is a very hot genre and has been for years. What started that? Largely Twilight.

 

My Blogging Career

Twilight got me back into YA. I read YA in grade school and middle school. In the beginning of middle school, I started reading adult romance and in high school/the first half of college I was very into classics. The second half of college is when I read Twilight. I started reading YA from there and I started reading a lot more often. YA was just easier to devour and get lost in because the books were, generally speaking, more engaging to me. It re-kindled my days of staying up all night to read. Something I probably hadn’t really done since middle school. Then during my last year of grad school I started blogging. It’s been a wonderful four-year journey and it’s largely due to Twilight. 

Fairytale Fashions: Disney Journals

I went on a Target shopping spree last week and I found some really cool Disney journals!

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Now I ended up returning the Tinkerbell & Ariel journals because I really didn’t need any more notebooks (I bought a few others that day), but I just had to keep the Cinderella journal. It’s so me and everyone knows how much I love Cinderella! I couldn’t actually find these online, so apologies for the lack of links, but I bought them very recently at Target and you can probably still find them if you’d like. They’re in the regular office supply section by the planners and notebooks (not the back to school section).

If you want a more in-depth look at the journals, check out my Target haul video (I originally posted this on my lifestyle blog, Trendy Edgy Chic).

Are you a notebook fan too? If so, you have to tell me which journal is your favorite!

The Heir

The HeirTitle: The Heir (The Selection, #4)
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #4
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date: May 5th 2015
Pages: 342
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.


The Heir was so much better than I thought it was going to be! I was pretty skeptical going into this one because I feel very strongly that The Selection should have been a stand alone. Even though I enjoyed reading The Elite and The One, I had plenty of problems with them. Since Kiera Cass writes the most addicting novels though, I decided to give The Heir a try anyway and I was very pleasantly surprised.

The Heir had a lot of the qualities I loved in The Selection without the things that annoyed me (the love triangle and unnecessary length). Eadlyn is so different from America, but neither one of them wanted to be in a Selection and they both reluctantly find themselves participating anyway. Eadlyn, however,  will be picking a spouse instead of fighting it out with 35 others over royalty.

Something about these competitions can be quite addicting. For me, it’s just reading about someone who is very determined to keep her heart shut up learn to fall in love. And I know who I want to win! It’s the reluctant romance that can be so fun. It’s unexpected, there’s tension, it takes both people by surprise. Really couldn’t ask for much more from the book in that department!

The plot is fine as well, but it very much takes a backseat to all of the romantic stuff as it did in The Selection. If you are one of the many people who wanted more world building from The Selection, you are not going to get that here. The whole rebel, caste thing has always felt like something to just help propel the story along and that didn’t really change in The Heir.

While I wasn’t sure if I should expect more frustration from The Heir or something more on par with the magic of The Selection, I am happy to say that it was closer to The Selection than anything. I didn’t love it quite as much as the original novel, but it was so nice to just read and enjoy another Kiera Cass book. I got to devour the story without wanting to reach through the pages and choke someone and that’s all I was really asking for!

Blogging 101: An Amazing Design

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Do not underestimate the importance of this. Even if you are just starting out. After you’ve picked a name and a blogging platform, you should focus on finding a good design. A great design if you can! Sites that are too cluttered or hard to read will likely be abandoned quickly. Building a new blog is hard enough—you don’t need a poor design making it even more difficult. So where do you go for a great template if you’re not a designer?

Pre-installed Blogger and WordPress Themes

Both Blogger and WordPress come with a few designs you can use. They’re fine, but I do think they can be pretty generic and aren’t the best. If you want to invest $0.00 though, this is the way to go. Just make sure you don’t do any big design no, nos (hard to read, overly flashy, a zillion widgets) and you’ll be fine.

Pre-Mades

Pre-mades are fabulous. You know exactly what you’re getting and they aren’t too expensive.  They’re also easy to install on your site. I’ve seen pre-mades go for as much as $80, but most are between $20 – $45. My Trendy Edgy Chic template cost me a whopping $7.00. It’s not my dream design, but it looks pretty nice and didn’t cost a ton of money. Just make sure that before you buy a template, you check it out on a tablet and a phone first. If it’s not responsive design (optimized for mobile), you don’t want it.

Custom Design

After you’ve been blogging for awhile, you may want to invest in a custom design and spend some time creating a logo, etc. I will warn you that this can be pretty expensive. I am using a custom design on this site, and I love the way it turned out. If it’s within your budget, custom design is a great choice. I definitely would not do this if you’re just starting out though. So many people decide blogging is not for them after a few months or a year, which is perfectly fine, but would make a custom design not worth the investment.

5 Book Marketing & Publicity Mistakes

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I get a ton of requests for book marketing & publicity. 90% of them are aren’t great and 20% of those are so bad, I’ll never work with the people who have contacted me. Nearly all of these mistakes come from indie authors or blog touring companies, so I hope this post is helpful to anyone who wants to pitch their book or promote their company.

Not Using a Proper Email Management System

If you’re just sending out emails from your Gmail account instead of using something like MailChimp, you’re making a mistake. A really, really big mistake.

MailChimp isn’t very expensive, and can even be free depending on how many emails you send out a month. You will have nicely formatted html emails that look more professional and polished and you will have access to some pretty awesome (and useful) analytics. See who is opening your emails and clicking on links. Find out what percentage of your list is actually looking at your email. Find out how successful one email is compared to another. If you’re running a business (and promoting a book is definitely a business) this information is invaluable.

Not Using the BCC Field

I was so surprised the first time I saw this and even more surprised when I realized it was a relatively common thing to do! When you get a marketing email from your favorite retailers, do they have everyone they’re sending it to in the To field? No. They just have your name. Now if you’re not using an email system like MailChimp (and you should be, see above), you won’t have the ability to have the To field personalized for each person you’re reaching out to.

In this case you should use the BCC field. There are several problems with having 50+ emails in the To field:

  1. You are sharing private information (email addresses) with everyone else on the email.
  2. You want everyone to see the content of your email as soon as possible. They can’t do this if the entire screen is taken up by email addresses. Important content needs to be above the “fold” i.e. on the screen as soon as you open the email. This gives you an opportunity to grab people’s attention in the 3 seconds they’re spending deciding whether or not to delete your message

No Book Info

If you want your pitch to work, you need to provide all of the information up front. Don’t redirect me to Goodreads. Don’t ask me to open an attachment. Don’t leave out your cover. I am not going to take the time to go research the book and find all of the information I need. I have far too many requests for that.

Wrong Audience

If you are pitching an erotica novel, don’t contact a YA book blogger. Even if the blogger does accept your book (unlikely), their audience is going to be composed primarily of people who read YA — not erotica. The publicity you get from the blog (if any) will not be very effective in generating sales.

Including Me in Your Promo Schedule When I Haven’t Signed Up

Ah, now we have it! The reason I am writing this post. A funny thing has been happening to me lately—I am getting emails thanking me for signing up to promote XYZ book on ABC date using the attached materials.

Here’s the thing. I am not going to forget if I signed up for a promo. I also don’t do promos for free, so I know if I’ve invoiced you. I also know if the book you’ve scheduled me for is something I’ve never heard of and also would never promote (not a good fit, or not interested). This sleazy tactic is not going to get me to participate in a publicity campaign. It is going to get reported as SPAM, moved to my junk folder, and ensure that I never, ever work with that company. I’m sure that’s what they were going for right?

Fairytale Fashions: Hogwarts T-Shirt

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Do I need to say anything? I don’t think so! This gem speaks for itself. It is so beautiful, it’s available at Target and I’m pretty sure everyone needs it. In fact, if you want to get a serious jump-start on Christmas shopping, this would be an amazing gift! The above image is from the Target site, but if you want another look at it, check out my Target Haul video.

Clockwork Angel

Clockwork AngelTitle: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices, #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date: August 31, 2010
Pages: 479
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...


I almost feel like making this the shortest review ever by leaving you with a simple instruction:

GO READ IT!

 
But I won’t. That above little sentence is all you really need, but if it’s details you want, then it is details I will give. I loved this book. Obviously. There was just so many fantastic qualities that I’m trying to come up with a single thing I didn’t like or would change and I can’t. It was perfect.

The setting and plot had this very gothic feel to it and you probably know how much I adore gothic novels by now. I had someone on Instagram ask me if it was a scary book, and while I didn’t really think so, I suppose it does have some scary elements to it. Perhaps creepy is a better word. It definitely has a creepy, dark, sinister feel to it. AND THAT’S AWESOME!!!!

You know what else? Will Herondale is my Jace. Everyone loves Jace except for me. I was just never really fan. He did grow on me—I literally stamped him with big read Avoid in my City of Bones review—but by the time City of Glass came around, I didn’t mind him so much. Dare I say I even liked the kid.

Will, however, is just awesome from the start. The two are very similar, but Will is just a lot less douchey. He definitely had his share of jerky moments, but I just liked him so much more than Jace.

Clockwork Angel has been a fabulous start to The Infernal Devices and I am so very excited to continue on with the rest of the series. Cassandra Clare is a fabulous writer and has yet to disappoint me.

Catching Fire

Catching FireTitle: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date: September 1st 2009
Pages: 405
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.


Catching Fire was significantly better than I thought it was going to be. When I finished The Hunger Games over a year ago, I knew I wanted to keep reading the books. For some reason though, I just never picked them up and gradually lost interest in the series.

I am so happy I finally picked up Catching Fire though. I did it because my husband decided he wanted to read The Hunger Games. Since he decided he was going to read the trilogy, I figured it was about time I finished it as well. And here’s what I got: some heartbreak, a lot of political shenanigans, and some serious intensity.

I found myself just sucked into the story. It’s one of those books that makes you want to completely shut out the world until you’ve finished. The plot was just really fast paced and engaging, and I felt so bad for Katniss. She has sacrificed so much to keep her family safe, but it’s just not over. I’m sure all she wants to do is live a nice, peaceful, quite life. She wants to be free to make her own decisions. The capital will never let that happen though.

And speaking of the capital. President Snow. I seriously dislike that guy. I am hoping the series ends with something violent and painful for him. Certainly something that ends in death. Most of the time I like my villains to be very dynamic, and somewhat sympathetic. Not President Snow though. That guy has no redeeming qualities and I hope he doesn’t get any in Mockingjay.  I don’t want to like him. I don’t want him to be sympathetic. I simply want to hate him for what he’s done and watch him get what is coming to him.

Even though Catching Fire took me so long to get to, I am very glad I’ve finally read it. I’ll be reading Mockingjay in the near the future and I’m definitely looking forward to finally watching the movie.