Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge Hop!

Monday Monday, Funday Monday! Join us for our midsummer hop!

We're bringing you another Summer Reading Challenge Update! Be sure to sign up for this week's hop below!



SUMMER READING CHALLENGE UPDATE

Link up your goals or updates for a fun Summer Reading Challenge hop!

Below you'll find my and Tori's goals. Click on the book to go to its goodreads page. Titles with a slash through them are books that we've read! Links to their reviews will be added as they happen.


Auggie-Talk's Summer Reading Challenge is a 2014 summer reading hop that takes place between May 1 and September 1 on Mondays. Every Monday participants can recap their reading week, which books they read towards their goal, and hop to other reader's posts to cheer them on! This is an all-for-fun way to connect with other readers and maybe find a few new favorite books!

 




Auggie's Goals



TBR Current: 15/31



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Tori's Goals



TBR Current: 13/33


Feel free to join in every Monday with links to you SRC updates! You can link up for the next few weeks on this post with a goal post of your own! If you miss the linky sign up on this post, no problem. You can still join by linking up your hop-posts every Monday!








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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Auggie-Rant: Paid Book Reviews and Why They're Not Helping You

Here we are book lovers. Another moment when I just can't keep it to myself.



You're an author and you've got a new book. You need reviews to help get your book noticed, to attract more readers. Understandable. You know that bad reviews might harm your book sales and you're a little uneasy about the prospect of turning your work over to all of these people who might not like your book ESPECIALLY if they post their reviews on public media.

Again. Understandable.

But here's the deal... that's a risk you have to take as an author. Authors who believe that they can purchase good reviews and therefore up their book sales are fooling themselves and here's why...

1. It is completely against FTC guidelines for a reviewer to post a review that has been paid for without stating in the review that they received payment.

If your paid reviewer states in their review that you gave them money for their "honest" opinion that means that no smart consumer will trust the review. This will hurt you in the long run because people don't like to feel duped or lied to. If you don't think the average consumer is smart enough to figure this out then there's your problem. They're reading reviews on purpose, because they care about their time and money and no one wants to be swindled.

Even if your book truly is GREAT a consumer that discovers you're paying for reviews will have a hard time trusting any review they read and may be less likely to take a chance on your work.

2. There are so many well established blogs out there that review books FOR FREE. Let me repeat... FOR FREE. The huge majority of book-reviewers with blogs or social media circles take review requests at no charge. You may have to wait in line and you might have to ask multiple reviewers before one will take your book (they're either backlogged with requests or your genre just isn't their cup o' tea) but eventually you'll get a foothold. This is where YOU (or your author's assistant) are going to have to do some dirty work and start sending e-mails.

3. Don't want to send e-mails to every blog on the planet? Perfect. Here's where you can put that money that you want to spend on marketing to good use. Pay for a tour. Book tour companies exist in droves and they charge varying rates for Blog tours. They do the work getting the reviewers together (the reviewers are not paid for their opinions) and your money goes to their time in developing your new media marketing materials. These can be really effective and it violates no FTC guidelines because no reviewers are being paid. The only thing they have to mention is that they received the book from you for review.

Before you fork over money for an "honest review" reconsider what you're actually getting yourself into. You might be spending unnecessary money, be wasting money by paying for individual reviews and LESS exposure, or you might be alienating future readers.

Take that $10+ and go and buy The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages that includes HUNDREDS of book reviewers who offer review services for free and marketing services (not including reviews) for affordable and honest prices.

Don't want to spend the money?

Bookblogs.ning, Goodreads, or Booklikes are great places to find book reviewers.

If you're REALLY WORRIED about negative reviews have a conversation with the reviewer and ask them if they would be willing to work with you. Some reviewers won't post a negative review on their website but will give YOU feedback including why they didn't like the work or thought it needed improvement if they don't end up loving it.

In short paying for a review is a waste of everyone's time and YOUR money.


End Rant.

Until Next Blog,

Read On!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Introducing: "The Starlight Saga" with Dream Cast Guest-Post by Author Sherry Soule.


In celebration of the release of the "Starlight Saga", an Upper YA/Sci-Fi romance series, Sherry Soule is here with a guest-post to introduce her top casting picks. Auggie-Talk will be reviewing this epic YA romance next month. If you don't want to wait that long to find out if this series is awesome (and it will be. We <3 Sherry) then go and grab your copy now! Hot off the press, ladies and gentlemen!


Take it away, Sherry!

“Author Sherry Soule’s Dream Cast”




So without further ado here are Sherry’s top actor picks...


For my tough heroine, Sloane Masterson, I think this lovely and brilliant actress:  Lucy Hale (just imagine her with purple hair!) would be perfect.
Tough talking, girl reporter, Sloane is not your typical heroine. She’s a feisty, disarming, and a fiercely independent seventeen-year-old. But she’s not flawlessly beautiful, or super thin, or extremely intelligent like some YA protagonists. Sloane has very real and relatable body issues and insecurities like most teen girls do. She favors the dark-side in clothes and music, loves to watch scary movies, and likes hanging out in graveyards. She uses her wits to cover her emotional scars, and if you can break through her tough exterior, you’ll have a fearless, loyal friend for life. 


For the part of the stoic and brooding, Hayden Lancaster, I think this dynamic actor would be great, Luke Mitchell.
At first glance, it seems that eighteen-year-old Hayden has a detached, unemotional exterior, but what lies beneath is a kindhearted individual that will go out of their way to help another. Although he’s self-assured, he does have a tendency to emotionally distance himself from those around him, and this can make Hayden an unpredictable and confusing companion at times.  
   


For Sloane’s best friend, Viola Saks, this remarkable actress would be fantastic: Camilla Belle.
Outgoing and feisty, Viola’s a fun-loving spirit girl, who loves to read. Never lacking in optimism, Viola is frequently seen as a crusader for the rights of others and a defender of lost causes. Popularity makes no difference to her as long as she believes in the cause.


For Devin Greenspan, Editor of the school paper, I like this gifted actor best: Ed Westwick.
Devin has had a crush on Sloane for years and never gave the hope of one day hooking up with her. But when Hayden becomes her best friend, he feels threatened by the newcomer.



Only one actor comes to mind that could portray Hayden’s younger brother, Zach Lancaster, and it is actor, Paul Wesley.
Zach and his brother grew up in a close-knit family where outside friends are discouraged. So when Hayden becomes good friends with Sloane, Zach tries to sabotage the friendship and strongly opposes the relationship.

For Sloane’s good friends, Tanisha and Raymond, I like both of these talented actors: Erica Hubbard and Daniel Andrew Sharman:
Tanisha and Raymond are loyal friends that hang in Sloan’s crew. Tanisha dresses sort of Goth, and she’s really into Wicca and alternative bands. Raymond is more punk rock, and plays the role of the tortured musician to perfection.



 
VOLUME ONE: Starlight Saga
High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.
Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.
They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.
Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, ├╝ber snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life....




 Read the first five chapters for free on wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/14214838-lost-in-starlight-syfy-romance

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:
Twitter @SherrySoule: http://twitter.com/SherrySoule
Please add LOST IN STARLIGHT to your TBR on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20707942-lost-to-starlight
The awesome book cover was designed by the talented, Kristen Thompson-Oh of KCT Designs at www.kctdesigns.com
Eager to read the first five chapters on your Kindle? FREE every Friday from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hdo6Oh

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: "Enchanted" by Alethea Konti

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Title: Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1)
Author:Alethea Kontis
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fable-Twist
Pages: 308
Publication Date:May 8, 2012

Synopsis:
 


It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?



Fantastic! Highly Recommend! 

Ever wonder where fairytales come from?

It's been a while since I've met a book with this much spunk! Creative, intelligent, and even a little wacky, "Enchanted" will have both youth and adults imagining themselves pirates, paupers, and princesses. Alethea Kontis masterfully weaves together the favorite fairytales of childhood into one big "This probably could have happened, almost certainly" origin story.

The entire epic adventure is focused on the unique concept that all of the fairytales we've come to know and love originated from a single family and the unbelievable adventures of their 7 daughters. 

It all starts with Sunday, a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, who couldn't be more sure that she is the plainest of her 6 sisters. Awkward, bumbly, with no particular special talent. Well, aside from the fact that her stories are magic and what she writes can suddenly become very real in very unexpected ways. No biggie. 

She unwittingly sets off the great adventure when she befriends a very special frog setting into motion a cascade of outstanding events which include a royal ball, a royal marriage, and a visit from an unexpected relative who holds the answers to the sister's odd abilities.

Cue evil king. 

We've got talking animals, magic dresses, foul fairies, enchanted geese, and a giant beanstalk. It's all here, wrapped up in a pretty little package for all fairytale lovers to enjoy.

Might I mention that there are also some FANTASTIC underlying themes regarding family-ties, the love of a mother, and the importance of believing in one's own uniqueness? It's all there and I can officially say that I am in LOVE with this book.

A very strong five out of five.




Until Next Blog,

Read On!


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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge Update

Greetings my summery bibliophiles!

We're bringing you another Summer Reading Challenge Update! Be sure to sign up for this week's hop below!



SUMMER READING CHALLENGE UPDATE

Link up your goals or updates for a fun Summer Reading Challenge hop!

Below you'll find my and Tori's goals. Click on the book to go to its goodreads page. Titles with a slash through them are books that we've read! Links to their reviews will be added as they happen.


Auggie-Talk's Summer Reading Challenge is a 2014 summer reading hop that takes place between May 1 and September 1 on Mondays. Every Monday participants can recap their reading week, which books they read towards their goal, and hop to other reader's posts to cheer them on! This is an all-for-fun way to connect with other readers and maybe find a few new favorite books!

 




Auggie's Goals



TBR Current: 14/31



691363682




Tori's Goals



TBR Current: 13/33


Feel free to join in every Monday with links to you SRC updates! You can link up for the next few weeks on this post with a goal post of your own! If you miss the linky sign up on this post, no problem. You can still join by linking up your hop-posts every Monday!








POST DIVIDER

Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: "The Shadows" (The Books of Elsewhere #1)


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Title:
The Shadows (The Books Of Elsewhere #1)
Author: Jacqueline West
Genre: Middlegrade Fantasy
Pages: 224
Publication Date: June 9, 2010

Synopsis:
 


Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there's something odd about the place--not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that's strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own. Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets--and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper. As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It's up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.




 
Entertaining/Pleasant Read 

Now this is a cute one. It's plenty full of mystery with just enough spooky to make you keep the pages turning. Ms. West's peculiar world of living paintings, bewitched spectacles, talking cats, and magical shenanigans is bound to scoop up your imagination for an adventure you'll never forget.

Olive and her family move into a spooky old house and within days things start to get weird. The paintings that were left in the house won't come down off the wall. What's even more odd is that they MOVE. When Olive locates a pair of antique glasses during a game of dress-up and unwittingly makes herself a target for the spirits of angry witches her world is turned upside down, inside out, and six ways to Sunday.

I admit that there were some parts that were a bit slow, and it's not easy to like Morton, the pint-sized secondary character with a big attitude. I found it only a little unlikely that a 12 year old like Olive would put up with such an unpleasant younger boy for so long, but that speaks volumes about the type of character Olive is. It seems that she almost immediately adopts the painted little beast as a younger brother. Or at the very least a second cousin.

Olive's parents are quirky but loveable mathematicians, and her neighbors are quite odd themselves with overgrown gardens, or pale sleeky skin. Olive's three new feline companions are also a hoot with three VERY different personalities. I found myself adoring the soldier-like  Leo, laughing out loud over the theatrical Harvey, and attempting to find affection for the dry and serious Horatio... I eventually did.

There are a few intense scenes throughout this first book which include the TALK of murder and actual attempted murder. Might be a bit scary for wee-ones but it's nothing too graphic or terrible and everyone turns out okay in the end.

Though I'm only giving this book a 3/5 for its bit of slowness at getting me drawn in I can very confidently say that the rest of this series is far better (WONDERFUL even). Stay tuned for reviews on books 2-5!

Until Next Blog,

Read On!


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