Tag Archives: book recommendation

#SATurdate: Star Wars, Novel Aesthetics, Antlers, and Florence

26 Dec

First things first, I hope everyone had a great holiday! This girl celebrated with Christmas candies and hours of reading. (I seriously cannot believe it’s almost 2016.)

What I’m Writing:

I actually fixed some scenes in Take Me Yesterday this week, and I attempted to keep moving forward in it, but it has to take a pause while I focus on the Bad Bloods edits.

What I’m Publishing:

I received the first sets of edits for Bad Bloods, both November Rain and November Snow, I managed to finish them over the holidays. As many of you know, Clean Teen Publishing did finish the covers for both books, and we’ll be having a cover reveal on January 6. I’ll be sending out a newsletter this Tuesday, asking for help, and three lucky helpers will win an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain. (Sign up here.) In regards to this week’s sneak peek, I actually didn’t participate in #1lineWed, but I was invited to post a #novelaesthetics on Twitter. Basically, we had to choose three photos that represented the aesthetics of the novel, so here are those photos for November Snow.

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

novela

What I’m Reading:

 10900066_956293941084454_5982930522247100530_oI began The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and I’ve barely put it down. I LOVE it. It’s a mix of romantic cheese and heart-pounding betrayal in a world of royalty and assassins.

I began and finished Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. It received 5 shiny stars from me. I thought it was action-packed, absolutely epic, and a delight to read. I loved Kyra, the orphan who joins the Assassins Guild only to figure out that loyalties might not be so simple. Add magical beast-cats and knights to the mix, and I was in love. Recommended to fantasy and paranormal YA fans. Read my full review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Florence-And-The-Machine-How-Big-How-Blue-How-BeautifulFor Christmas, I received the new Florence + The Machine album, How Big. How Blue. How Beautiful. And I love it.

What I’m Watching:

Yes. Yes. I finally saw Star Wars The Force Awakens. (No spoilers, I promise.) I definitely LOVED it. I thought it was much funnier than the original ones and the ones I grew up watching. I loved the protagonists a lot, and I definitely did not see some of those twists coming. (I saw one coming, but other than that, I sat there like, WHHHHHAAAAAT?) I never thought they could make a cuter robot than R2D2, so that was awesome. The girl is a badass. Loved her. A great movie to go see this holiday season.

For Christmas, I received Dark City (1998)mainly because I professed my love for Rufus Sewell on here. AND I loved it. That is an awesome flick. Just purely twisted sci-fi.

I also watched Dune (1984) for the first time (please don’t kill me), and I have to say, not a fan. (Please don’t kill me again.) I simply think the director was ahead of his time. They just tried to tackle a too high sci-fi for the time period and the technology that was available to them. But, I will say this, I can tell that the book is probably awesome from the movie. It just seemed too complicated and imaginative for the screen to sum up in an hour and a half.

movies

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

You might be sad to hear that Shannon is going on a bit of a diet. Not that I’m trying to lose weight, but I have been eating WAY too much sugar, so you probably won’t see as many desserts on here as before…Even then, I totally failed this week’s goal, and I made breakfast cookies. (So not as sweet, but cookies nonetheless.)

What I’m Wearing:

Ugly X-Mas sweaters. This one has a dog on it and antlers.

What I’m Wanting:

This was me cheating at Barnes & Noble.

This was me cheating at Barnes & Noble.

Cookies. Because I’m on a diet. (Even though I cheated and bought myself one.)

What I’m Dreaming Of:

This is a story on how Shannon learns she is dreaming and forces herself to wake up.

In real life I had to make it to a family event at 6 p.m. That doesn’t sound bad for many of you, but I work a night shift, so I don’t wake up until 3 p.m….and this was technically my weekend, so I don’t get up til 5 p.m. sometimes…and this event was over an hour away, so basically, I was having anxiety about my alarm not going off on time, which is what caused this dream.

My alarm doesn’t go off. I see the time. 5:40 p.m.

I leap out of bed, rush up the stairs, and start pounding on the wall to wake up my roommate. “The alarm didn’t go off!”

For some reason, he screams, “Noon is not good enough.”

This was my first clue something was weird.

So, we run into the closet to pick out clothes, and he’s singing. (Another weird clue.) So, I stop to take out my cell phone. (I find electronics help me figure out if I’m dreaming or not.) And sure enough, this phone has a grocery list on it. There’s no such app like this one. It automatically knows we need certain things in our fridge based on previous purchase records.

It says we need two things of tuna.

I never get tuna.

This must be a dream.

I actually have a moment where I want to stay so I can do whatever I want, (because that’s a thing at this point,) but I’m super paranoid the beginning of my dream was trying to tell me that my alarm actually didn’t go off, so I wake myself up.

It’s 1:47 p.m.

I have two hours left to sleep.

What Else Is Going On:

I’m just really, really, REALLY excited for the cover reveal on January 6. I practically can’t sit still. It’s painful to keep them a secret, but it will be well worth it! I’m looking forward to starting 2016 off right.

~SAT

#MondayBlogs 10 Books That Will Inspire You To Travel

21 Dec

Intro:

As many of you know, I love reading…and I absolutely love traveling. So, when Jason Biondo approached me with the idea of combining these two topics, I was on board. I hope you enjoy this list as much as I do! (The first book is one of my all-time favorites.) Welcome, Jason!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

10 Books That Will Inspire You To Travel by Jason Biondo 

One of the best ways to see the world is through a good book. Reading opens a way through your imagination and allows you to dream. And, since most travellers are certainly book lovers, there are various travel novels that provide inspiration as well as enhance the spirit to dream and journey towards life. Here are some of the best travel books that will surely urge you plan your next trip and explore the world.

1. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Published in 1957, the story of Sal and his friend Dean leaving New York to head west to be passionate about life – partying in ghost towns, making new friends, sleeping with random women, and riding the rails on night-time. It is an inspiring tale about leaving life behind and creating a new one along the road. From New York to Denver to San Francisco and LA, Sal has learned a lot of things in life and he was able to become stronger, more matured and developed his self-determination.

2. In a Sunburned Country

This book talks about Bill Bryson’s voyage through Australia while visiting little towns. Wander lusting through the forgotten continent, he first visited Sydney where he walks down the town most of his stay and appreciating the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. He narrates about how Australia changed his life because of the friendly people, hottest and dry weather, and the most peculiar wildlife to be found on this planet. No matter how imperfect, Bryson found Australia to be an adorable and fortunate country.

3. A Year in the World, Frances Mayes

This book is a celebration of unanticipated pleasures found in voyages, interacting with locals and appreciating nature. In this book, Mayes left her hometown, Tuscany to see France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, the British Isles and North Africa. Merging together her personal perceptions, history, landscape and passion in culture and art, Mayes shared her experiences to inspire people to journey towards their dreams.

4. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

While most travel books focuses on going different adventures, this book by Eric Weiner is about a self-help guide in searching happiness in all corners of the world. The story is about a pessimist voyage from America to Europe to Iceland to Bhutan in search for the happiest people in the world.

5. The Beach by Alex Garland

Released in 1998, this book is a tale about a backpacker named Richard and his search for wild adventures. Using a small map, he found himself within a vast islet in Thailand that is within a small community. His journey gives inspiration to American and European tourists to encourage them go on a holiday in Thai beaches for better views. This books best message is that Mother Nature is the most beautiful thing on this planet.

jason

6. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Just like A Year in the World, this book from Mayes is a good read for travellers. Shortly after discovering that her husband was cheating on her, Frances takes on a tour to Italy. She wrote about her experiences as a local Italian and talks about different food traditions and artful style in northern Italy which makes this book as a guide for people travelling to the place. The book includes several chapters of recipe and how she decides to acquire and develop a villa in the countryside.

7. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts himself spent 10 years on the road to ponder some insights which he put through this book for travellers who are starting off to their long-term trips. The book is rich with travel philosophies that talks about solo travelling, planning and saving pennies on the road. The book will teach travellers on travelling cheaply, but having a rich experience. And, what makes it even more inspirational is that it includes motivating quotes from different travellers.

8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is just one among Coelho’s best-selling fictional books and one of the most-read travel books of all time. It is a story of a young shepherd boy named Santiago that goes on his journey from Spain to Egypt as he follows the step towards his dreams. Along his journey, he met a lot of people who seem to be like him and that made him even more passionate about travelling. He also found courage to experience new things, learned to love and discovered the real meaning of life. It is a must read book for travellers since it’s all about following dreams and travellers are dreamers.

9. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Having perfect life – an amazing husband, nice house and a good job, Gilbert couldn’t ask for more, but she feels like something in her life is missing. Elizabeth went through a difficult divorce and she then thought of leaving her hometown for different adventures. Spending her time on three different countries every year to get to know herself better, Elizabeth Gilbert gives inspiration to female solo travellers to go outside their comfort zone at some point of their lives. By travelling, she found an exciting way to eat in Italy, pray in India and love in Indonesia. She proved to people who think she’s crazy and her scared self that she was capable of surviving alone in a completely different place.

10. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This is a story of Christopher Johnson McCandless form Virginia, a determined wanderlust that sets off alone to a trekking adventure in the wilderness and has a strong desire to go soul searching. He gave away his college fund and began travelling across western America. Even though filled with positive thoughts, along the way he experienced difficulties that challenged his patience and endurance. After deciding to climb Stampede Trail in Alaska, he was left with few resources and insufficient supplies for camping. He later on discovered dead on a bus and a journal was found with him about his voyage diaries.

Inspired to travel? Open your travel planner now, and see all the beauty, charm and eccentricity that our beautiful planet holds!

Bio: Jason Biondo is an amateur bodybuilder and a travel junkie who loves to share insightful tips to his fellow health enthusiasts and travelers. He is also a User Interface Developer Consultant and the Founder of Trekeffect.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurdate: Cover Reveal, The Dark Artifices, Podcasts, and a Burglar.

19 Dec

I know so many of you saw Star Wars already, but I haven’t, so please don’t be disappointed that I’m not talking about it yet. I will see it soon, I promise!

What I’m Writing:

I’m working on the revisions of Take Me Tomorrow. I finished the initial run-through, so now, I’m basically sitting on it and letting it be for a little while I decide what I want to keep and what I don’t want to keep. This upcoming week, I might work on a secret project while I let Take Me Tomorrow stew.

What I’m Publishing: 

The cover designer finished the covers for Bad Bloods! Eeeeee. So, you can expect a cover reveal soon-ish, which means there will probably be an opportunity to win some prizes. (I’m thinking an exclusive sneak peek, like the first chapter of November Rain.) Keep your eyes locked on your emails. I’ll be sending out a call for help via my newsletter. If you’re not subscribed, you can subscribe to my newsletter here. Your information will never be given away, no purchase is necessary, and you can unsubscribe at any time. (It only goes out once a month, if that.)

And, of course, the #1lineWed preview. This week’s theme was memory.

I recalled how he walked in the rain. With that memory, others crept in. His half-laugh. His honesty. The dimple on his right cheek.

Visit the PinterestFacebook, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading: 

cassieI started and finished Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. (She loves Boo Boo.) And, as many of you already know, it absolutely wrecked me. I wish I could explain how much I ugly cried, but my roommate had the unfortunate timing of walking in on me while reading the ending. He thought my cats died. But you can read my five-star review here. Clockwork Princess is a heartbreaking, courageous adventure, a tale of flawed heroes and bright heroines, a death-defying journey of ill-fated lovers. It will surely stay with you forever.

I finished Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 9 by Naoko Takeuchi. I definitely gave this particular volume five stars, but I’m a bit biased. The Dead Moon Circus is probably my favorite character arc. I love it. I feel like we see more of all the characters in this arc, and everyone has matured greatly from how they started out. This is the one that brings everyone together and at their best. Here is my full review.

What I’m Listening To:

WX-10-Logo3Mainly podcasts. Without getting into too much detail, I listened to Japanese Fairy Tales by Theodora Ozaki, Myths and Legends by Jason Weiser, The Publishing Profits Podcast Show by Tom Corson-Knowles, and Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson. I LOVE Writing Excuses. might do a blog post about these, which is why I’m not going to get into detail here, but they are great!

What I’m Watching:

Interstellar: Yes. I finally saw it. I know. I know. I’m super late on that, but…I kind of already knew what was going to happen based on things I saw and read after it released, which is probably why I didn’t go out of my way to see it earlier.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I baked tomato mac n’ cheese and made beef tongue stew. (That’s a thing.) I have a weird love for organ meat.

What I’m Wearing:

Pajamas and my hair in an ever-sliding bun.

What I’m Wanting:

20443235Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare: This is the first book in The Dark Artifices, the next Shadowhunters series she’s starting. After wrecking me with The Infernal Devices, I’m dying for another series. I love Cassandra Clare so much.

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski – YES, even though the cover of the third book has changed and won’t match the rest of the series, I WANT this book more than ever.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Well, the best one I had this week involved my truck a lot. At first I was driving it from the backseat at night. (There’s no backseat in my truck.) Then, a cop was trying to pull me over, so I was attempting to get back into the front seat, and because of the sudden movement, the cop started shooting me. Flash-forward. Like a blink. I was in my driveway with my best friend. I’ve recruited her for a rather…interesting job. I’m storing bones beneath my truck’s driver’s seat. Human bones. An old man and a teenage girl. Why? I have no clue. But my neighbor sees us outside and comes riding over on his lawnmower (which is funny, because I had a neighbor that actually used to do this). And we know we’re going to get caught, but my friend thinks she can just sit in front of you know…the corpses…and he won’t see them. OF course that doesn’t work. He’s just sitting on his lawn mower, in shock, unable to run or anything. And I’m just staring at him, trying to decide what to do…when I wake up. Shake my head. And go back to sleep.

What Else Is Going On:

So…Shannon has a delightful story for everyone.

Setting the scene: I’m home. Late at night. By myself. When I hear a strange noise I’ve never heard before. Right. Outside. My. Window.

The cats react.

They jump under the nearest piece of furniture they can find.

Okay.

Strange.

But I can’t see outside into the dark because I have all the lights on…so I go upstairs to look out a dark window. And I’m searching. And I’m searching. And I’m…

The back door is getting beat in, and the entire house is shaking, and you better believe I am dialing 911 faster than I can type. (Which is pretty fast by the way.)

The cops also show up very fast. (Way to go, Gladstone PD.)

And suddenly there are five cops running around my house in the dark with their flashlights, shouting and such, when an equivalent amount of deer come out of the backyard and try to attack them.

Apparently, one of these guys was literally trying to beat in my back door.

Stupid rut season.

(Shannon and the cats are safe…although her ego is hurt.)

~SAT

#SATurdate: The White Rose, Man in the High Castle, Burt’s Bees, and Sweets.

5 Dec

As you all know, we didn’t have a SATurdate last week due to the monthly Website Wonders piece, so this one might be a bit longer than usual. (I think I say that every week for one reason or another…but oh well!)

What I’m Writing:

I realized I need to go over Take Me Tomorrow before I can move forward in Take Me Yesterday, so I’m officially working on Take Me Tomorrow. There are a few things I wanted to add, just with a sentence or two. Example, one thing that was hinted but went basically unnoticed (by my fault, not readers’) was the fact that boys and girls are encouraged to separate themselves, which was one of the reasons there were more boys than girls. I actually addressed this directly after a high demand in my article Why Most of my Characters are Male. I mistakenly thought I hinted to it enough, but this time around, I’m going to blatantly say it. There are a few things like that I’m looking forward to adding as I go through it. For original readers, I’m about 60 pages in, in the chapter It’s Too Late.

What I’m Publishing:

We’re working on the cover for Bad Bloods! The ideas were fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the cover ends up being. Bless my cover artist’s heart for dealing with my input. (Seriously. She deserves a huge shoutout.) So, thank you, Marya! Check her out at Strong Image Editing!

Now, I’m sharing the winning #1lineWed from the previous two weeks. The first one’s theme was home.

This was home to me. Just the thought of Catelyn’s suffocating hugs made my heart lurch.

A little background, Catelyn is Serena’s best friend and practical sister. They both live in the Southern Flock, and they nearly look like twins, aside from a scar on Catelyn’s face. Here is a link to the Pinterest Pin of Catelyn. In the original version, she had a moon/star tattoo (something that got cut out) and her name was spelled Caitlin.

Since it was two weeks—of course—here was the second #1lineWed preview. The theme was humor/laughter.

“He told me to stay away from you.”

I laughed. “How unoriginal.”

I would give extra information about this line…but I have to leave some parts up for mystery. ;)

Visit the PinterestFacebook, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

Winterspell by Claire Legrand: This is a darker retelling of The Nutcracker, so I thought it’d be the perfect book to start December off with. So far, so good.

The White Rose, book 2 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing: UGH. I love Amy Ewing so much. I cannot wait for book 3. I, of course, gave this wonderful novel 5 stars, and you can read my entire review here. But, again, not for everyone. As a flat-out, upfront warning, this series revolves around a lot of sexual abuse, including but not limited to forced surrogacy, prostitution, and castration. If you can handle reading about controversial issues, you’ll love this series. Amy handles everything delicately and brilliantly. Seriously. I have an author crush.

booksPretty Guardian Sailor Moon, V. 8 by Naoko Takeuchi: Again, no secret I love this manga, but I’m currently re-reading it and reviewing the new prints. Here is the link to my five-star review. This one covers the ending of The Infinity Arc and the beginning of The Dead Moon Circus.

What I’m Listening To:

I went to a concert! What? Yes! Little ol’ me went to a concert for the first time in…well…years. I went to the Puscifer concert, and it was pretty badass.

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I’ve also been obsessed with I’m Good, I’m Gone by Lykke Li. Literally, it’s probably the only song I’ve listened to in two weeks.

What I’m Watching:

 I binge-watched the full first season of The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon original. WATCH IT. It’s phenomenal…and I want a season two.

Basically, it’s alternative history where Germany and Japan won WWII…and Rufus Sewell is in it. For my readers out there, it’s based on a Phillip K Dick novel. Gooooo. Go watch it. GOOOOOO.

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On a side note, I also watched Brother Bear. I freakin’ love that movie.

I also watched Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows—Part 1 and Part 2, because you have to watch both if you’re going to watch one of them. This is a rule. You must not break it.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

It was Thanksgiving, so naturally, I baked a lot of Thanksgiving-themed treats. I actually made my very first turkey all by myself this year too. Not going to lie, I was pretty proud of myself. I stuffed it with fruit and covered it in a white wine butter sauce. I also made candied yams for my father’s job party and pecan tarts for my little self. (Those pecan tarts, though. I ate all of them.) As if I haven’t made enough sweets, I also made Rice Krispies Treats with butterscotch. Freakin’ delicious.

food

What I’m Wearing:

Blueberry-Chocolate Burt’s Bees lip balm. It’s a treasure. 

What I’m Wanting:

Book 3 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing. It doesn’t even have a title yet, and I’m DYING.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I dyed my hair white as the world went to war with one another. It was rather strange, because my hair looked normal until I could flip it over and put it up, and then it looked like an elongated white halo, almost like a melted halo, down to the ending of my back. I believe a bomb went off near me, and I thought I lost Bogart. But someone I knew found him and brought him to the safe house I was staying in.

I was a mouse, and my boat went down with three other mice, so we found another GIANT boat, and we got on. It was full of monk-related items, but no one seemed to be on board. There was also a story about Lykke Li on there and how she pretended to be a priest once, so we decided to pretend to be priests. The owners of the boat turned out to be cats, but when we told them we were priests, they decided to keep us on board.

What Else Is Going On:

The dorm hall I lived in while attending the University of Kansas was demolished this past week or so. It’s rather strange to see, considering it’s the oldest dorm on campus, a dorm my father AND my uncle lived in when they attended KU. I spent a year of life calling that place home. It was an awkward time of my life—definitely not the happiest—but now those memories are there, despite the location being turned to dust. I feel old, really. So, here’s a photo of my old dorm room.

college

~SAT

July Ketchup

31 Jul

July’s Ketchup

Can you believe it? July is coming to an end, and with it, Minutes Before Sunset has released. (Another release is on its way in August, but that’s for another post.) I’m unbelievably enthralled by your support this past month. Thank you. Thank you. Thank. You. And…you can win even MORE prizes soon. But I’ll talk more about that in this month’s Ketchup post.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up”. At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, YouTube videos, Members of the Week, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this July!

Big Moments:

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My #1 clicked item was ordering Minutes Before Sunset! Thank you!

Minutes Before Sunset released by Clean Teen Publishing on July 28! (Insert so many excited author girl screams.) It’s been emotionally difficult to be off the market for seven months, but it’s equally as wonderfully to be back on the book train! You can grab a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and pretty much everywhere. ::wink wink:: If you review the novel, please let me know! I’d love to share it! Or…you know…send you a signed bookmark to thank you. Tonight, we even have the CTP Midsummer Magic Party on Facebook where you can win prizes. I also started a newsletter.

Which brings me to my next point: Seconds Before Sunrise is releasing August 25. (Yes. This August 25.) And my publisher surprised me by sending me a paperback for my little writer hands. (It’s like holding a sweet little puppy. My heart is warm with love.) You can also pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and…again…pretty much everywhere. :]

Tish and me

Tish and me

Right before my release—as promised—I’ve started traveling more to meet readers, and I met a few of you at Penned Con in St. Louis. I even had the gleeful moment of meeting one of my favorite Indie authors, Tish Thawer. ::waves at Tish:: (I’m planning on writing a blog post about Penned Con, so I’m going to save the rest of that story for that.)

In writing news, I had my eight-year anniversary of publishing, starting with November Snow in 2007. It’s only fitting that I finished the rewrite of November Snow as well! (Can’t you tell this has been an absolutely insane month?) I could’ve written an entire post on the recent events in my life. Maybe I will. Maybe I have even more exciting news to come.

I like to tease.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

Top Three Blog Posts:

  1. Minutes Before Sunset Release Day! I hope my rejoice hasn’t been too repetitive yet. I simply feel so lucky and happy and delighted to be here today, and I know I wouldn’t be without my readers, so thank you to the ends of my writer’s heart for continuing to believe in Minutes Before Sunset! The Timely Death Trilogy lives on!
  2. Can We Stop Hating on E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer? After EL James was attacked on Twitter, I wrote an article about how destructive hate (not criticism) can be, and how many authors are affected by it.
  3. It’s Never Too Late To Start Writing Your Bestseller: Written by EssayMama, this infographic outlines famous authors and how writing fit into their lives.

Other Blog Posts:

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

YouTube Channel:

Minutes Before Sunset Release Day

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. I also like to specially thank the Members of the Dark. Every week, I award one member a “Member of Week” badge, and out of those monthly members, one of them will win an eBook of their choosing as well as more prizes. If you would like to be a member, subscribe to my newsletter. If you’d like me to share your review of my novels or if you want to interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Dark Members of the Week: The Schwartz Reviews, Red Sands Reviews and Ramblings, awkward Meow Productions, and Tranquil Dreams.

Reviewers:

Death Before Daylight: Pointe Taken

Features: Juniper Grove Book Blitz

Calculated on July 29 at 19,851 new followers

Calculated on July 29 at 19,851 new followers

 

#MondayBlogs: Life as a Book Bloggin’ Reviewer

13 Jul

Intro:

One of the best parts of being an author is meeting and speaking with readers. Among the readers who help authors the most are the wonderful book bloggers. Without them, we wouldn’t be the wonderful and supportive community of writers and readers we are today. That’s why I’m proud to share today’s post about bloggers. Kristine Schwartz is the writer behind the infamous book blog, The Schwartz Reviews, and today, she shares all that goes on behind the scenes in this loyal writing community. Let’s welcome her!

Life as a Book Bloggin’ Reviewer by Kristine Schwartz

So, as the title of this post suggests, I am a book blogging reviewer. I review books. Lots and lots of books. I consider it my day job, as I am one of the lucky ones who is also a stay at home parent. So, when Shannon Thompson put out a status update looking for guest posts I started thinking about all of the wonderful things that I could write. As a blogger, that is the other half of my job. I say job, but I do not really get paid… unless you count the piles of free books I acquire, which I do. I do count those as payment. Plus it is always such a great way to find new authors that just wow your boots off (or how does that saying go again?). So, without further ado, I bring to you my life as a book blogger!

Photo provided by Kristine

Photo provided by Kristine

What is amazing about my ‘Job’

FREE BOOKS! Ahem. I mean the free books are obviously a bonus. However, a book blogger is not for the faint of heart. I mean, you probably will not pass out or anything by anything that I do BUT it does require a TON of your undivided attention. Plus, despite what some may think, you will not hit it off right out of the gate. It takes a lot of work to gather a following, a lot of work developing your talent as a blogger. I am not even sure that I have completely hit it off yet; however, I am getting close to where I want to be as a blogger. Years later and hundreds of posts in, I’m beginning to get the hang of this book bloggin’ business.

A book blogger is an author’s best friend.

Ok, so free books are at the top of the list of what is amazing about book blogging. What is next? In my opinion, the relationships you create with authors that you fall for. Sure, there are many authors that just come and go, but the ones that affect you the most are the ones that you begin to chit chat with on a regular basis. The ones on your Facebook, the ones you work with behind the scenes on their newest works, and the ones you spread the word about on more than one occasion. I absolutely love it when I begin to consider an author my friend. Yea yea, a Facebook friend, but they mean so much more to me as a reader than just a number in a list. I begin to want what is best for them and become available to them at any time. What? They need a review of their latest book? Sure, I will put this book down for you right now! What? A cover reveal? I need that on my blog! Let me Facebook that, tweet it, and Instagram it! The relationships you develop with the authors that you love and are lucky enough to meet through your blog, priceless.

I get to work with authors on cover reveals, guest posts, interviews, and giveaways! I absolutely love interviewing authors and finding out all the in’s and out’s of their writing habits and styles. I also think it is fabulous to see all the amazing covers before anyone else. I mean, sharing their amazing covers with all of the readers, yes that is what I meant…

What is hard about my ‘Job’

Emails. That is the hardest part about being a book blogger. I currently have… let me check… almost four hundred emails in my account waiting for attention. Why is this hard? Because I hate the fact that I cannot answer them all. I do not want to leave anyone behind. I want to help everyone. I want to reply to everyone. But realistically, it is impossible. So it hurts my heart that some authors who have worked so hard on their novels will not get a reply from me. When the whole point of my blogging is to help as many authors as I can. I even have several members of my family working behind the scenes with me, reading and reviewing books so that I can help more authors. Yet, so many are left waiting, for an email that just will not come because I am swamped. It is the absolute worst part of being a book blogger. Feeling as though I am letting people down. I just have to remember that I am doing the best that I can, and that I am helping as many authors as possible. That has to count for something right?

Another hard part would be the social media. I am more of a behind the scenes person myself. I like to read and write my reviews. However, to be a successful blogger you need to keep up with all of the social media. And well, I find that it just takes away from my reading time. That is not good. Not when I try to average 2-4 books a week. So keeping up with Twitter and Instagram are hard for me. Facebook is my main social network platform that I maintain, and even that gets difficult at times. I cannot help it! I am usually reading an interesting book! And you know how it is…You know how it is, right?

I guess I have to put this here as well, boring books. Yes, such a thing exists. I find it quite difficult when I accept a novel for review, only to find that the novel is incredibly hard to read. Like, all I want to do is put it down. However, if I accept a novel for review, well, I give it my best. I will read it, and review it objectively. It is my ‘job’ after all. For example, I once read a novel about constipation that turned into diarrhea… enough said, right?

Book covers, they will get me every time…

How I started out: 

This is easy. I started out on Goodreads. I honestly suggest that if you have the desire to start a book blog that you begin on Goodreads. Why? Because that is the best site to begin meeting authors, other reviewers, and start your reviewing career. Start with the books you have recently read, rate them out of five stars, and then write a review. Find your style. Then, when you are ready, you can create your blog. I suggest BlogSpot because it is super easy to use and maintain. You can even use Goodreads to begin announcing your book blog. Remember, a blog takes a lot of work to maintain. This is exactly how I began.

Remember, a blog takes a lot of work to maintain.

A day in the life of a book blogger: 

Ok, so let’s begin when my blogging day begins and ends.

Are you ready to be impressed? Bored? A little of both maybe? I start by reading…for hours! Sometimes, I forget to eat. Others, I have a hard time keeping my attention on the novel in hand (damn those boring books, eh?). I attempt to read for 4-5 hours a day. Yes, that long! Then, my housewife duties begin…Don’t worry, I only waste an hour or two on these ;)

Then, I attempt to do my social media connections for an hour a night. Setting up posts for timed postings. I also attempt to write articles for my blog for an hour a night. Plus, whenever there is time in the evening…I have my nose stuck in a book (or game, Xbox is my second passion and I am LadyRPG009 on live ;)

I also spend quite a lot of time on the phone during the day. Connecting with various family members who have novels on the go for my review blog. I pressure them to hurry up, take notes, and read read read! I am a hard arse I guess. But hey, it gets the job done… most of the time anyway.

Running a Blog: 

The main part of running a blog is design. Design of your blog. Design of your posts. Design of your images. Design of your layout…you get the point.

Once design is finished, content. I have spent a lot of time lately working out some content kinks. Design flaws. I absolutely love the way of my posts now. My review format works wonderful for me, and I love it because it is unique to my site. Unique to my name. And it holds everything that I believe is important to a review. I will not get into exactly my format, as it can be found completely on my “How Books are Rated” page. I give out stars in my own five star rating system. I also format my reviews so that everything is labeled perfectly and a reader can see what they deem important right away. BAM! Done to perfection…in my eyes anyway J

I also offer editing…why? Because I am an avid reader who has done her research properly and knows the rules of the English language. And because one of my greatest book peeves is reading a novel that has not been perfected for the reader. Ugh! Please, before publication, just perfect it… Even a little. It is greatly appreciated. I even include a perfection star in my rating system for this purpose. I would even go so far as to say that it is my GREATEST BOOK PEEVE!

Ok, so after editing, which is an amazing service (every author that has used my service has told me this), I mainly run reviews. I attempt to have a review posted at least twice a week. Sometimes that is just not feasible as some books are quite large. Therefore, when that happens, I attempt to post articles. Posts written by yours truly. Or posts written by authors, interviews, or cover reveals. I am also starting to put up some giveaways. I have several planned for the summer that will rock your socks off (THAT IS the saying!).

Honestly, book blogging is a blast! If you can do it…Do it! It is sooooo worth it. Yes, it is a ton of work. Yes, it is a commitment, but it is a lot of fun and so very rewarding. I, honestly, wish that I had started doing it sooner. Really.

Bio:

Kristine Schwartz from The Schwartz Reviews leads an extremely busy life. She is first, a mother of four young children aged seven to ten. Two beautiful boys to protect her younger twin daughters. Living with four children is only half her work however; she also has a home and husband to maintain. She has studied Economics and Accounting. She has also made a home 800kms away from where she was born and raised. Leaving London, Ontario behind for the country life of the Quebec province. She spends her day’s home arguing with her cat, Joseph, and reading or writing for her blog. Her evenings are spent running around like a chicken with its head cut off while she cleans, cooks, and bathes her small baseball team of children. Playdates, and homework, and of course, reading whenever she finds the time.

Where You Can Find Me:

The BlogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Email: theschwartzreviews@gmail.com

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#WW I Avoided Certain Books. Here’s Why.

3 Jun

#WW I Avoided Certain Books. Here’s Why.

Right now, I’m basically reading all the novels I’ve avoided over the past year or so. Why did I avoid these reads? I can honestly just guess—since it’s difficult to remember—but I thought it’d make for an interesting topic.

The first novel I picked up was The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I already finished and reviewed it on Goodreads. Five fantastic alien stars. (No kidding.) I could barely put it down, and it kept me up way too late at night . . . which caused me to have some awesome (and wicked) alien dreams. That being said, I definitely reflected on why I avoided this phenomenal YA novel. My best friend and her husband recommended it to me first, and I often love their suggestions. In fact, I exchange nerd-dom news with them on a regular basis. So why did I immediately shut down The 5th Wave? It was everything I’ve ever enjoyed before: thrilling science-fiction with an underlining mystery in the midst of survival. And there’s a teddy bear. Who doesn’t love teddy bears?

This is Kiki, judging me for not reading The 5th Wave sooner.

This is Kiki, judging me for not reading The 5th Wave sooner.

I pondered my avoidance for a while for two reasons:

  1. I would hate to see this “avoidance” turn into a weird reading habit, which then causes me to miss out on some of my favorite reads of the year (like in this case.)
  2. I’m an author. I want to understand this from a psychology standpoint for my own novels. Was it the cover? Could this be avoided for readers looking at my books? Was it the back cover? Was it the main character’s name? Etc. And being an author made me HATE the possibility of being a judgmental reader, a.k.a. a book snob. That’s not me. So what’s going on?

I literally made a list of possibilities. (Literally. I love lists . . . and psychoanalyzing myself.) And I was brutally honest with myself.

At first, I thought it might have been because the protagonist’s name is Cassie, and my best friend’s name (yes, the one I mentioned above) is Cassie. Maybe it was too weird for me. (What author can avoid this?) But then I realized that couldn’t have been the case, because I read this entire 500-page novel in a few nights, and I never pictured my friend shooting a M16 at her enemies. They even have different hair colors. So . . . it wasn’t that. And it wasn’t the cover, because I actually kind of like how different the cover is, borderline thriller (which the novel is), mixed with an almost sepia-like glow in a forest. (Basically, if there were a pretty girl in a dress on the cover, it would not have made sense. At all.) My problem wasn’t the language or the violence either. I loved both. And the title didn’t confuse me, and the concept didn’t . . . wait. The concept.

So, the concept is where I saw myself stumble. (And you might want to read the synopsis just so you get what I’m talking about.) But the back of the book explains that this novel is about aliens taking over in a variety of “waves” (ex. The 1st Wave is an electromagnetic impulse, so we can’t use our technology.) Now, we’re waiting for The 5th Wave.

Why did this bother me? It sounds AWESOME.

Well, that’s what I had to figure out, and I did. Although it might be strange to some, I started with “why did I pick it up this time?” I thought starting in the NOW would help me figure out the THEN. And it did.

I recently watched Star-Crossed, a CW show about aliens that evidentially got canceled. (A fact I did not know while watching it on Netflix.) And even though Star-Crossed and The 5th Wave are VERY different, I was dying for another alien story. So then it occurred to me. When was the last time I actually READ an alien story?

This was difficult for me . . . which is strange because I read a lot . . . so I then realized I avoid alien books altogether . . . which was strange because I grew up around tons of alien books and intergalactic travel novels in my house because my mom was a trekky and overall book junkie.

And it hit me.

I’ve probably avoided alien novels since my mom died . . . back when I was eleven. Not entirely of course. But most of the time. Even though I love them, I think subconsciously aliens might have been “too close”—a topic that brought back too many memories. And while that sounds sad and all, (I get it. It was for me.) I think I overcame this psychological subconscious avoidance of alien books just by reading The 5th Wave. This novel solved a problem I never even knew I had.

Isn’t that amazing?

Books truly affect our lives in ways we can’t even begin to understand, and I like to believe that’s because reading falls along the lines of love. You can’t explain it, but it shapes you. And that’s why I’m picking up even more novels that I’ve avoided for one reason or another along the way.

Who knows? It could be the most impactful read of my life.

~SAT

On a fun side note, my recent vlog on my YouTube channel, Coffee & Cats, covered The 5th Wave, including the upcoming film adaptation, and a movie recommendation similar to it while you wait.

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