This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Will These Genre’s Get Me Out of My Book Rut?

What do you do when you are in a book rut? I’m not in a slump. I don’t have trouble picking up a book and reading it, I have just felt like nothing has made me think lately and I hate that. Maybe I need to try to read outside my comfort zone? Lately, I have split my reading between romance, urban fantasy, and YA. Do I need to jog myself out of this pattern? I still love those genre’s but I think I need a little stimulation. I want to take a look at some other genre’s and get your opinions on these books. Have you read them? Do they look interesting? Do you have another suggestion of a book that moved you to think about it long after you’ve read it?

Mystery: I love romantic suspense novels, but haven’t recently read contemporary mystery novels. I do love a great historical mystery and have enjoyed a few of those but of the many books out there, which books are people saying are awesome?

Woman

I have seen some many reviews about this book, and it’s definitely on my radar. It came out in January, so isn’t brand new, but the mystery has yet to be spoiled for me. I’m intrigued by the family that moves across the street and isn’t what they appear to be…

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Ohh. Two ex best friends, a secret, and a competition for a new job. Sounds like it could be thrilling! Has anyone read this novel?

Non-Fiction: Admittedly, this genre kind of scares me. Unless it’s a funny autobiography I typically steer away from non fiction books. However, there are a couple that are tempting…

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Is anyone else out there a reality TV junkie? I am a fan of Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You can Dance, Amazing Race and have watched past episodes of the Real Housewives of practically any city. This novel may open the window into just how scripted these “reality” shows may be. OK, I’ll admit to being curious about this one, anyone else interested?

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Who doesn’t want to read behind the scenes of the making of Caddyshack? I can’t even imagine the hijinks, craziness, and maybe some bruised ego’s that could make this book fascinating. I didn’t even know this one was out there! Is anyone else curious?

Horror: I shudder to even think there could be a horror novel that could interest me. However, I do like supernatural novels that sometimes lean towards horror. I’ve been known to enjoy a Dean Koontz novel, althought typically I steer away from Stephen King. When I was younger I really enjoyed the occasional scary movie, but as I got older maybe it all got too real?

The hunger

The Hunger seems to be a horror/historical novel written about the Donner Party. This was on the list of one of the most anticipated horror novels for 2018, but the threat of cannibalism may keep me from reading this one…  Has anyone else read this novel? What did you think?

Bad-Man

A little boy goes missing in the grocery store when his brother looks away for a second. He spends the next 5 years searching for him. When he takes a job in the grocery store where he goes missing he realizes that there is something wrong with the people, his boss, and the whole place. This one looks really creepy! I’ll admit I’m intrigued. Has anyone read this? Is it more thriller than horror? Or is there an element of the unreal?

Other than that last book possibly scaring the crap out of me, will any of these novels make me think, feel, and well, linger?

Do you have any suggestions for a great book that will get me out of my comfort zone?

I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

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This Chicks Mid-Year Freak-Out Book Tag and Best reads of 2018 so far…

Wow, is it that time again???? June is here! Well, actually it’s almost gone, but that’s ok! I still have time to do the Mid-Year Freak-Out Book Tag, but because I’ve been tagged by the indomitable, amazingly creative and well, really nice Marie from Drizzle and Hurricane Books, we are putting a little spin on it. I will be talking about the best reads of 2018 so far…

www.thereadingchick.com

Check out Marie’s answers HERE!

Now, I’ll admit, I don’t always read books in the same year they were published, so my books may reflect my laziness, lack of time, and sporadic choices based upon my mood at that moment. What I’m trying to say is that I will talk about the books I’ve read so far this year, but they may not be brand new books from 2018. OK. Confession over.

Here goes…

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2018

MIdnight Valentine (Adult Contemporary Romance) Midnight Valentine took me completely by surprise, which is why I would pick it over all of the other great books I’ve read this year. It has a big twist in a Sixth Sense sort of way. J.T. Geissinger always writes intense stories, but Midnight Valentine took it to a whole other level.

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2018

514RZowbbGL._SY346_ (YA Fantasy) It took me forever to get around to reading this second installment in the Rebel of the Sands series. I don’t know why? I loved the first book and maybe was afraid Traitor wouldn’t live up to the first, but in this case the second book was even better. LOVED it.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

June Uppercase 4 (YA Contemporary) I just received Saved the Date in an Uppercase Box subscription but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It has a ton of positive hype around it so I hope it’s as good as the press!

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Magic Triumphs (Urban Fantasy) It is definitely Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews. This is the last (and 10th) book in the Kate Daniels series. It’s one of my all time favorite Urban Fantasy series and I will absolutely hate to see it end. It also comes out on my birthday. 8/28! Kismet, right?

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

The Hazel Wood (YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale) I’ll preface this by saying that I have definitely read worse books than The Hazel Wood this year. The reason why it’s my biggest disappointment was that I was so disappointed! The hype was so huge, so I didn’t read it right away trying to let all that die down and to try to forget about what I’d heard. When I finally read it, it was just eh. I thought it had such a great premise, was written well, but then the ending sucked. I think I gave it a 3.5? It should’ve been a 3.0 but it started off so well….

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Night Shifts Black (Adult Contemporary Romance) My sister recommended this book to me and she is seldom wrong when it comes to a great romance novel. This was such a surprise because the author leads you astray. You are reading about two characters who you assume are each others love interest. But are they really? I don’t want to spoil the surprise but if you like Rock Star romances you need to read this one.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR(s)

 

 

Yeah, I know, I picked three. I couldn’t choose! They are all YA authors, two in the contemporary genre and one in the fantasy. I really liked Once and For All. I loved Sarah Dessen’s style of writing and the emotion she imbued in her characters. If there wasn’t one minor flaw this book would’ve receive a 5.0 rating from me. Megan Crewe’s Ruthless Magic was a really fun and energetic fantasy novel. I loved the premise and the authors style. I did give this one a 5.0. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills was another YA contemporary. The characters in this novel were so well done! It was very diverse and I connected with the main character, which is hard for a middle aged woman to do in this genre! I’d definitely read Emma Mills again.

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

From Lukov (Adult Contemporary Romance) I really don’t do crushes, but I did really like Ivan Lukov with Jasmine Santos in From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata.

NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER

img_1405-1 (YA Fantasy) Brienne from Rebecca Ross’s The Queen’s Rising. She was young and insecure in the beginning but showed great growth. Also, as the heroine you expected her to all of a sudden gain some big power that would make her the hero and save the day. She definitely was a main part of the plot, but didn’t make the choices you’d expect a hero to make. This book kept things real.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

The Air He Breathes (Adult Contemporary) I think Brittainy Cherry tries to make her readers cry? I immediately got the box of tissues out for this one. It was very good. And sad. And emotional.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Neanderthal (Adult Contemporary Romance) Anything by Penny Reid makes me happy. Her characters are quirky and fun. I always smile when I read their stories.

FAVORITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

I haven’t read any books that have been adapted to film this year. ☹️

FAVORITE POST YOU HAVE DONE THIS YEAR

I have a very sarcastic sense of humor and I think some of my posts don’t come across in the way I intend them to. I’ve really liked my posts about Annoying Female Heroine Characteristics, and then the reverse post about Male Hero’s, but I think I like my post about YA books and how Young Adults Save the World… and we believe it.

Young Adults Save the World 

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

Lake Silence I think it would have to be Anne Bishop’s Lake Silence. I know, it’s not your typical kind of beauty, but it really gives you a hint of the otherworldliness you will be entering when you read this book. Plus the author signed it for me! I had a moment…

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

Hero I would really like to finish Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands series. I liked the first two books so much and don’t want to lose that mental momentum!

Iron and Magic I kind of hate this book cover, but am really looking forward to the first book in the Iron Covenant series by Ilona Andrews. How will they take their ultimate evil character Hugh D’Ambray from the Kate Daniels series and make him a hero? I can’t wait to find out!

I’m going to tag:

Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall

Anna @ Dole Whip and Books

Jill @ Jill’s Book Blog

Dee @ Novel Deelights

Kaleigha @ Wicked Scribes

NO worries if you don’t feel like doing this tag, and if you do and weren’t mentioned above, feel free!  I’d love to read your answers so please tag me on your post.

thanks and happy reading!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: The Thing About Fantasy Novels…

If you are a follower of my blog you know that I have a love for Fantasy novels. Especially if they have a hint of romance, but definitely if the book has some great world building that I can escape away from the realities of my regular world. Hmmm, interesting statement, right? Fantasy novels actually do a great job speaking to hot topics, but when it’s set in a new land, or deals with a magical race does that make it easier to accept the real message? I want to delve into a few examples of how Fantasy authors use their genre to voice an opinion and maybe in small part use their genre to shield them from criticism for tackling difficult topics.

  1.  Love: Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters novels do a great job introducing the subject of all types of romances. The most famous of which is the taboo of love between a brother and sister. Aren’t we glad that turned out ok? Let’s think about how we all reacted to that news. I was seriously distressed, kind of grossed out, and very uncomfortable, as I’m sure most of her readers were. When I look back on the sequence of events in City of Ashes, I realize that not only was that plot point a red herring moment but it happened as Alec was fighting his jealousy and romantic feelings for Jace. It introduced the subject of two men having romantic feelings for each other as safe, rather like Vanilla as a flavor of ice cream. Although to most of us a homosexual romance is quite normal, I’m sure there were some YA readers that may have needed that comparison. I LOVE her Dark Artifices novels the best. The emotional drama between men/men, women/men, trans/men and women/women (did I forget any?) kept my mind occupied and my heart racing. Great books!
  2. Bigotry: Fantasy novels often have multi race universes, however those races aren’t always differentiated by color. They may be humanoid, magical, beast-like, etc. Their relationships within their world are remarkably like ours. Cultures go to war with each other, they look down on each other and they denigrate each other. Our hero or heroine is usually fighting for equality, overcoming a dictator type king, or dealing with the bigotry of a multi-race romance. One of my favorite romantic fantasy novels is by Grace Draven. Radiance is about two species who inhabit the same world and are in neighboring kingdoms. One race, the Gaur is humanoid, awake during the day and sleeps at night, fair skin, etc. The other race, the Kai, is dark, has long pointy teeth, is awake at night and sleeps during the day. Our princess and prince of these two kingdoms must intermarry in order to retain peace between their countries. Brishen, our Kai prince finds Idilko, our Gaur princess, truly ugly, even though in her land she is gorgeous and refined. Idilko also find’s Brishen horrifyingly ugly, and those teeth oh so scary. When they marry Idilko has to move to Kai where she will be the only humanoid person among the Kai race. Of course, eventually they realize that they are both beautiful on the inside and actually find love for each other, but they have to deal with their blooming feelings for each other while also hearing others speak horribly about the person they are falling in love with. It is a really well told bi-racial love story, yet they are in essence two alien races. Brilliant. Small sidenote- I was disappointed that he didn’t have the big teeth in the cover though…Radiance
  3. Gender Equality: In Young Adult Fantasy novels there is a huge empowerment movement. Teenage girls have the power to save their world. I think having these role models for young girls and women are a wonderful thing. It is also wonderful that authors are introducing young people (and adults) to gender neutral characters. I read one novel last year that stood out for me because it was the first in this genre that I could recall reading that had a gender neutral main character. The book was Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. Sal was a thief who wanted to leave that life behind to become a member of the Left Hand. The assasin team of the queen. Sal entered a contest to gain that spot with other characters and they’d all try to kill each other. The last one standing would become a member of the Left Hand. This novel had it all, exciting action, a love story and betrayal – and our hero was gender neutral. Each candidate had a number so Sal was addressed by number which made things easier, but the other characters were curious. Was Sal a boy or girl? How would they like to be addressed? All of these questions were the same that I as a reader was asking. What mattered was that Sal had honor even though they were a thief, developed all types of relationships regardless of Sal’s gender identity and that the story held up. This was one of my top 10 picks for 2017 and if you haven’t read it? You should.Mask of Shadows

These are only a few of the subjects that Fantasy authors have voiced their opinions or come up with their own solution. It is not always done in the correct manner or in ways that are acceptable to the average reader. Most notably Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark took a lot of criticism for portraying racism. Her world was a little too close to ours for some people and their lighter skin, darker skin comparisons may be too obvious. I did read this novel without reading any reviews and was pretty obliviousto those nuances, taking things at face value. Looking back, I can see it. I haven’t read the second novel but I’m going to take a guess that she takes care of some of these criticisms in the plot. I hope so anyway. I also hope it’s a better book. I didn’t love it.

If you are a fan of Fantasy, can you think of another novel you’ve read where a difficult real world topic is handled in a graceful way? Or another book where the topic may have been mishandled?

Have you read one of the above books? What did you think?

Until next Sunday!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Book Themed Gifts

Do you ever feel like books are taking over your life? I have been blogging about books for over two years and anyone who knows me well knows that I read a lot. I love books, I can’t help it! I do love them and I guess my friends and family all know that I love to read so it shouldn’t be that surprising that I get a lot of book related things as gifts. The obvious choice are physical books and I certainly get a ton of those at Christmas and my birthday. Did you know all of the different book items that are out there? Well, I didn’t. Just for curiosity’s sake, I thought I’d share some items I’ve found as well as some gifts I’ve received.

Wine: Looking for a good hostess gift or want to make a suggestion to someone on what to bring to your party? Some pretty great vineyards actually have wines labeled after famous quotes or books. This one I’ve found uses a quote from Moby Dick as it’s label. “Folly of the Beast” Pinot Noir. I’m going to have to look this one up as Pinot Noir is one of my favorites wines.

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The Princess Bride was a great book and an even more amazing movie. My sister actually gave me this necklace for Christmas a couple of years ago. I’m sure you all recognize the quote that Wesley says to his Princess throughout the book. “As You Wish” I always have people comment about the quote and the book when I wear this necklace. It’s a conversation starter, that’s for sure! (side note- I’ve often wondered if my sister wasn’t making a statement to me by giving me this necklace. Hmmmm. LOL)

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Favorite Flashback gift! Who doesn’t remember getting these Lifesavers Storybook with rolls of Lifesavers candy for Christmas when they were a kid. It sure brings back memories! Although, I’ll admit that I did hate a couple of those flavors. Lime, ewww!!

lifesavers

For my birthday my mom surprised me with this fun necklace. It says So Many Books, so Little Time. I know you’ll all agree with me that that is definitely a true statement!! I own and want to read more books than I can possible get to in three lifetimes!

Books

There are a ton of clothing items out there with statements about books. Too many to print here and too many to talk about. I bought this t-shirt at a book convention because reading has impacted my life. I laid it on my poor dog, Nash because, well, he’s cute too and deserves to be in my blog today! LOL. Is Reading your Superpower? I think it should be everyone’s!

Reading
I’ll just end this kind of silly post by saying that it’s nice to be known for loving something like books. First of all, it’s not an embarassing hobby. I can think of worse things! Second, apparently there are soooo many book themed items out there it makes it easy for people to buy things for you. I googled book themed items and there are so many more from dresses made out of books to clothes with books on them. Socks with pithy book quotes to food items with book quotes. The choices are endless! LOL.

Have you ever received any book themed gifts? Purchased some book themed items yourself? What’s your favorite?

Join this silly Sunday discussion. I’d love to hear!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Young Adults Save the World

The other day I finished reading a Young Adult book that I felt was kind of well, average. The writing was good, the scenes were set pretty well, but there was just something that bothered me about the plot. It was a contemporary ya action novel that seemed to be inspired by the Jason Bourne spy movies. It was fun, it was well written, but why didn’t it connect with me? I did also have trouble emotionally connecting with the hero, but I really think it’s because I didn’t believe it.It didn’t connect because the world this seventeen year old lives in could be my own world. I had to fight my own reality and couldn’t immerse myself completely into the story.

Is that why it’ easier to accept a 17 year old saving the world or falling in love when it’s a Fantasy novel?  

Absolutely! Why?

  1. World building: When I read V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, or Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, I didn’t have time to stop and question the logistics, emotional capacity, training, and fortitude of the main characters. I was too busy immersing myself in the world they were building. Trying to figure out the schematics of jumping Londons distracted me from scoffing at such a young person single handedly saving her race. (yeah, I mixed the plots a bit to prove my point, but you get the drift.)
  2. Magic: It may be a tired trope, but if our hero or heroine has a magical power, that power trumps how old they are. 17? Pshaw! This girl can fling lightening out of her hands! This guy is a billionaire who has created a virtual reality game that is taking over the world! When he/she uses that power to save herself, her friends, or the world… well, I’m all in! I don’t even stop to think twice about it! Of course, not all powers are used for good, but point made.
  3. The power of love: I am not going to say that love can’t conquer all because love changes people and makes them view life differently. Love is life changing, but is that power of love more believable when it’s a 17 year old girl who turns into a dragon or a seventeen year old girl late for class in high school? Well, I’m intrigued by this girl who turns into a dragon and will be more willing to overlook her age than the girl I envision as myself in a high school setting.  The comparison to myself makes me remember all of her life that remains in front of her. I’m a little more skeptical that she may have found the love of her life at 17 than that she turns into a dragon. Weird, right?
  4. Fight experience: I’m speaking VERY generally, but I believe the percentage of 17 year old’s in the real world who have the fighting skills to overcome terrorists are pretty slim. However, in a fantasy setting where sword skills are learned by the age 10, and of course there are those magic powers  they can use (!), I can believe the storytelling for that world. After all, it’s not my own world, it’s make believe.

teen super hero's

You get the point. So, here’s the dilemma. How do you write a YA novel, set in the world we are living in, where it’s believable for the main protagonist to have the skills, knowledge and fortitude to save the day, fall in love and otherwise be a hero that is believable?

How do you review that book and not let your own opinions (yes, maybe even disbelief) of that story reflect in your review? Or do you let it affect your review?

I’d like to hear your opinion!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

p.s. I am in no way saying that a 17 year old can’t save the world, only that it is more believable in a Fantasy novel. There are amazing young people out there who love this world and will hopefully keep helping save it. This post was a silly way for me to procrastinate writing a review about a teen spy that saved his school. Back to it!

 

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Five Most Memorable Reads

I think we can all admit that we read to escape reality. Whether we want an hour’s break from our kids, a small break from poor health, or a story to help forget about our every day problems at work or home.  When we pick up that perfect book, you know, the one that immediately grips you, immersing you in another world and other peoples lives, you savor that world and don’t want that story to end. Now, I am no spring chicken and have read thousands of books in my lifetime. I’ll admit that most I don’t remember, but the books below are books that stuck with me no matter the age I read them. I’d like to share these books with you.

1) The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

I have read this book several times in my teen and young adult years and it is superb. However, this book makes my most memorable list because it was the book my mom chose to read to me when I was a toddler before going to bed. I’ll admit, as an adult I wonder what my mom was thinking because this book is kind of scary for a young kid! But, I can still hear her reading it to me and I hope I always will. This is also where my love of fantasy novels stems from.


Click this link to purchase this book! The Hobbit

2) Watchers -Dean Koontz

I read this novel when I was a teenager and a little more brave in my reading choices. Dean Koontz writes semi-scary fantasy/horror/mystery novels. Truly, each of his novels is in a different genre. Watchers is about a man who finds a golden retriever while taking a hike. This golden retriever is super intelligent and with his help a mystery is solved. I remember LOVING this dog! I don’t remember a lot of the plot but do remember how awesome this book was and how much I like it. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I think I need to re-read this one! Have you read this book? What did you think?

Click this link to purchase! Watchers

3) Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone- J.K. Rowling

When I read the first Harry Potter book I was completely blown away by the fact that this was a young adult book. It was my first young adult book read while being an actual adult who wasn’t young. The world building was amazing, the relationships real, and the problems, even if filled with magical adventures, rang true to life. I totally wanted to write after reading this book and kept reading the series as it came out.


Click the link to purchase! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

4) Guilty Pleasures – Laurell K. Hamilton

This is the first novel in the Anita Blake series. My aunt lent them to my sister and I and I read books 1-5 while on a vacation touring plantations in Virginia and Maryland with my sister and mom. Talk about immersing yourself in a book! I can remember staying up until 2am to finish those novels. Vampires by night, plantations by day. It was hard to keep straight at time! LOL. However, I was addicted. Anita was one kick ass heroine and I still like that character, although the more recent books have become too much about how much sex she has and less about the bad guys she’s fighting. Those first books in the series are great though, and I’d really recommend them to anyone.


Click the link to purchase! Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Book 1)

5) A Promise of Fire -Amanda Bouchet (The Kingmaker series)

This is the most recent book I’ve read on the list. It is a totally original historical fantasy/romance novel. I took a greek mythology class in college and have remained fascinated with those gods and their progeny. This series is set in a world where those gods are real and our heroine is fighting against her fate, and finds true love while doing it. This book captured my attention and became my whole world while reading it. I reviewed it and the second book in the series Breath of Fire and gave them both five stars. They are original, have swashbuckling action, and swoonworthy characters. Read them, I promise they will not disappoint! I loved them so much I had the author sign the books and I have them in my library. No, you can’t borrow them!


Click this link to purchase! A Promise of Fire (The Kingmaker Chronicles)

There are so many books that have helped me escape the realities of life or that have created amazing memories for me. I haven’t even touched on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon or the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs! Oh, and my most recent discovery, Written in Red by Anne Bishop! See, I could go on and on, but for the sake of time, both yours and mine, I’ll hold it to five.

What are the books you’ve read that have helped you create a great memory or helped you escape from your life? I’d love to hear about them!

Until next Sunday!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Marketing Your Blog

When I first started my blog my goal was simple. I’d read a book for pleasure and then write what I thought about the book. I didn’t know much about this book blogging world and really have learned by trial and error. I had few rules, but over time my goals have changed. As I’ve interacted with my fellow bloggers, publishers and PR machines, I’ve discovered that I actually love the relationships I’ve built and blogging has really added something to my life that I didn’t know was missing. An outlet for my creativity, certainly, that is still my main purpose. Reading books I love and talking about them. However, I’ve also discovered that I enjoy helping get the word out into my universe (which is admittedly not huge), but in my own way, promote reading and help some authors I enjoy attain success and hopefully make their living writing. This year, my goals changed slightly. I decided to apply myself more using my skills from my day job. So I am going to out myself on my blog today in the hopes that some of these tips may help some of you too! 

I am an Advertising Sales Executive! Ok, it’s not like I’m a superhero or anything, sorry! However, being in the advertising business, my job is to help small or large businesses deliver a message to their customers, bring people through their doors, and to buy whatever it is they are selling.  Thats remarkably similar to what we book bloggers are trying to do for our favorite authors, right? I decided to apply those marketing skills to my own blog, grow my followers, while at the same time, getting the word out and help authors sell some books! These five things helped me jump start my own blog and I wanted to share them with you all.

  Clean Look– This one seems like it should be so easy! Nobody likes to view a cluttered blog. Keep the colors simple and please make sure we can read your blog against whatever background color you pick. No white on light pink backgrounds please!  If I go to a website and can’t read the posts I hit unfollow. Put a menu at the top and make sure your followers can easily find reviews, Tags, etc. If they can’t find things easily your readers either won’t click follow, which is what your goal is, right? Or worse, they will hit unfollow! 

  Consistency– every blogger has their own goal for their blog. The key is to pick your subject and be consistent with your message. You are a book blogger and if you’re trying to market yourself as a reviewer then make sure you post reviews. If you start talking about gardening, cooking, or makeup you will lose followers. Be consistent in your message! You don’t have to stick to reviews, Book Tags, Stacking Your Shelves, TBT are all ok because you are sticking with your book theme. Stick with that theme to deliver a consistent message and gain followers. 

   Social Media– This has been a HUGE part of my own blog gaining traction. I will not lie, it takes work! WordPress will automatically send your posts to Facebook, Twitter, and a few more. Take advantage of that! Create a Facebook Page for your blog. Tweet out your posts, use Pinterest, Instagram, Google+. They all help deliver eyeballs to your posts. I love looking at the referrals section of my blog to see what post gains traction on what site. Of course, this is what I do for a living and seeing what works interests me. Recently I have noticed that Google+ has become particularly active with my Sunday Commentaries! Find where your traffic is coming from and cater to them. I wrote a review for the author Meghan March and when I posted it on Instagram I wrote one sentence about bringing a gun on your vacation, it was a romantic suspense novel and I hadn’t any idea that Google would rate that post high because of the word gun. I noticed a TON of views from Google. Ok, maybe not the best example because I’m sure some people didn’t know they were clicking on a book review, but the point is to be clever!  It works!

   Branding yourself– Remember while doing both of the above keep your message and the look of your blog consistent from Social site to Social site. You want your followers to recognize your blog name and the look of your blog. When a reader see’s the name The Reading Chick they know what they will get. Reviews, Tags and Comentaries! All delivered with my charm and personality, of course! Lol. When they see The Reading Chick from site to site and the message and look are consistent, it becomes branding. Everyone knows who McDonalds is, right? Golden Arches, red and yellow colors, Ronald McDonald, and burgers and fries. They are the master at consistency and  their dominance shows that consistency works regardless if your burgers are sub par.

   Organized topics/regularly scheduled– This year I introduced my Sunday Commentary, which I use to sound off, but to also post some fun tags. However, my blog is about book reviews, so I make sure I deliver on that promise and I post three reviews a week. This still gives me a few days to do other fun book related posts if the mood hits. Some bloggers post weekly Waiting on Wednesday or Throw back Thursday blog posts. These are great examples of regularly scheduled posts. We know what they are, they happen the same day every week and we come to expect them. In fact, I look for some of them! Branding, consistency and regularly scheduled all at work!

All of you know that reaching out to your fellow bloggers on WordPress, commenting, liking and developing relationships also helps you gain followers so don’t stop! It takes some time, but if you put in the effort you will see the results- and make some great friends while your at it!

I hope you all found this post interesting and helpful! I’d love to hear how you think you’ve gained the most followers. Please give your tips in the comments below!

Until next Sunday!

Deb

   

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Exploring my local Library #Sundayblogshare

Last weekend I went to the Nashville Public Library in downtown Nashville to listen to the author Greg Iles speak, and to get his most recent book Mississippi Blood signed for my husband, who is a big fan. This was our first visit, and I have to say that I was really surprised at how gorgeous the library was! This is my second time living in Nashville, combined for a total of seven years so far and I’m somewhat ashamed that I’ve never been. I do have a library card though, so I’m not a complete heathen! (I just get ebooks online…)

We walked into this gorgeous lobby. If you look at the picture below, you’ll see a mezzanine on the second level. There was a fabulous photography exhibit about the hidden treasures in Nashville. Normal houses, churches, etc. where great history has been lived. A small red brick church which was the home of the Civil Rights Movement. A trailer park that Dolly Parton lived in with her uncle when she came to town to sing at the age of thirteen. Some serious and also charming stories went along with these photos, and I recognized a few places in my own neighborhood. It was fascinating!


As you walked up the stairway you see at the bottom of the first photo, these beautiful murals were painted on the wall showing Nashville’s history, from the Civil War until now. We peaked at the mural from our era and tried to find our own neighborhood.


Peaking out through one of the windows was a beautiful little courtyard, still bare from the cold weather, but I’m sure will be gorgeous when the tree’s leaf out and the flowers bloom.


This would be a wonderful spot to sit and read a book in the sun, wouldn’t it?  On the second floor opposite the gallery is the Civil Rights Room and a Study Hall, both absolutely beautiful with dark would and a warm atmosphere. You can see the state capital peeking through the window of the Civil Rights Room, which seems totally appropriate!


We spent a wonderful two hours exploring, including listening to Greg Iles speak in a beautiful auditorium. When we left, my husband and I looked at each other and agreed that we had found a hidden gem. 

Sometimes the best explorations are in your own backyard, aren’t they? Do you have a hidden gem in your own hometown? How did you find it? I’d love to hear about your adventure!

Deb

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Do book signings influence reviews? #Sundayblogshare


I look back to when I posted my first review and think about how much more books are a part of my life now.  Up until last year I had never been to a single book signing! Last year my sister and I decided on a whim to go to the RT Convention in Las Vegas. We had a blast!  I met some authors that I liked, some I’d heard of and some I’d never heard of but got a free book and decided what the hell, this looks pretty good so I’ll try it! I came away with over 100 books and did not make much of a dent in that pile this year. Continue reading “This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Do book signings influence reviews? #Sundayblogshare”

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: It’s Not Just a Change in the Weather… #sundayblogshare

It’s 67 degrees in Nashville, TN. The crocus and daffodils are blooming, people are outside excercising and walking their dogs. My husband and I spent a couple of hours in the convertible driving around the city, seeing the sites and watching the people mill around downtown having lunch outside and listening to live music. A gorgeous day! My doodlebuddy Nash, loves his rides in the convertible too!

My Goldendoodle Nash and my hubby!

Continue reading “This Chicks Sunday Commentary: It’s Not Just a Change in the Weather… #sundayblogshare”