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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tell Me Something Tuesday: 09.26.2023 (Freebies and Previews)

 


Hello and welcome to Tell Me Something Tuesday (TMST)!

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog. Feel free to leave your links in the comments if you are participating.

If you are interested in participating in TMST or receiving periodic emails that list the upcoming TMST topics and questions,  please fill out this GOOGLE FORM.  Participation is optional and never required.



YES! All the time! I tend to download more freebies than checking out the free preview chapters, but I do both. This is a great way to ensure the book is something I'll like, and that it's well written and edited. If I'm sucked in, I'll go on to buy the book or the others in a series. In fact, I recently downloaded a free prequel and was so hooked I went on to buy the other 7 books in the series. 

So if any authors are wondering if the freebies or preview chapters work -- they sure do for me! I wish more authors would do this, but as an author myself, too, I understand the dislike and/or reluctance to giveaway your hard work for free. 


What about you -- do you like freebies and preview chapters? 
Do they help you decide if you want to keep reading?




Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Tell Me Something Tuesday: 09.19.2023 (New To Me Authors)

 


Hello and welcome to Tell Me Something Tuesday (TMST)!

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog. Feel free to leave your links in the comments if you are participating.

If you are interested in participating in TMST or receiving periodic emails that list the upcoming TMST topics and questions,  please fill out this GOOGLE FORM.  Participation is optional and never required.


I'm pretty sure all the books I've read this year are new-to-me authors! I've been trying hard to expand my reading list and engage with new genres and authors. 

Some of my notable new-to-me authors this year are: 

  • Lily Meade -- I absolutely loved her debut novel, The Shadow Sister.
  • Josh Berk & Saundra Mitchell -- Their Camp Murderface duology was tons of fun.
  • R.F. Kuang -- I devoured her book, Yellowface, and will more than likely reread it at some point. 
  • Julie Murphy -- I found her newest book, Camp Sylvania at a thrift store and loved her writing style.


What new to you authors have you discovered this year? 
Who should I check out?


Monday, September 18, 2023

Kara's Book Cravings: Hawkins Horrors

 


I'm a huge fan of Stranger Things on Netflix. I must have watched it half a dozen times already, and I'll probably rewatch again next month -- I mean, talk about a perfect show for spooky season! So when I found out there were multiple books based on this show, I couldn't pass them up. 


Hawkins Horrors: A Collection of Terrifying Tales by Matthew J. Gilbert is just as the title implies -- a series of short stories. Now, normally I'm not a big fan of collections like this, but what was great about this one is that each story leads into the next. So while they are all individual stories, they were all also interconnected. 

The Hawkins gang is hanging out in the local video store during a power outage, and to pass the time, they decide to tell scary stories. The set up felt so much like telling stories around a campfire, which was fantastic. Anyway, each character takes a turn, and sometimes another character would interrupt or accuse the person of not telling the story correctly. 

The interactions among the group and the characters' voices were so spot on and accurate based on the show. That was certainly refreshing, and I felt like I was right back in that world. I have several more books set within the Stranger Things world, and I'm excited to dive into those. 


Anyone else a fan of this show or the books? 
What's your favorite thing about it? 


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Tell Me Something Tuesday: 09.12.2023 (Library Visits)

 


Hello and welcome to Tell Me Something Tuesday (TMST)!

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog. Feel free to leave your links in the comments if you are participating.

If you are interested in participating in TMST or receiving periodic emails that list the upcoming TMST topics and questions,  please fill out this GOOGLE FORM.  Participation is optional and never required.



I'll admit -- I haven't been to my local library in well over a year. Mostly because I already have so many books at home that I need to read, but also because my local branch has been undergoing a massive remodel and has been closed for a while. 

When I do go, though, I prefer to visit in-person. I can walk there, which is great exercise for me, and I love to just browse the shelves, pick up the books, read the back covers. It's a great way to try out new-to-me authors and genres I might not otherwise try. And yes, I'm that person who will then go buy the books for my shelves if I really enjoy them, so that's a double win for the author. 

Which do you prefer when using a library -- in-person or online? Why?

Monday, September 11, 2023

Kara's Book Cravings: Camp Sylvania

 


I love to browse thrift stores and antique shops, and I always take time to peruse the books they have available. I've found a lot of great gems doing this -- though I always feel a twinge of guilt that the author isn't getting paid for a secondhand sale like that, but I also know if I like the book, I'll go on to buy more of their books or the rest of the series. 

Anyway, I found this book at a local thrift store: 


CAMP SYLVANIA by Julie Murphy is another middle grade book set during summer camp, so naturally, I was immediately intrigued. This one had some twists though. First, it's set at fat camp, which was a new one for me. Second, it has vampires! And y'all know how much I love vampires!

At first, I was so angry with the parents in this book, because they just drop the bomb on the main character (Maggie) that she's going to fat camp instead of the acting camp she had her heart set on. The fatphobia disguised as loving / concerned parents really got under my skin. Thankfully, by the end of the book, Maggie found her voice and stood up to her parents -- who were already having a change of heart. But the shift to "love the body you're in" was really nice. 

The vampires were an added bonus to this story, and I really enjoyed how they were handled. We don't get too much of the lore, but we get enough to understand what's happening. 

I really, really enjoyed this one, and read it in a day. Even though this is aimed at younger readers, there's so much in here that appeals to readers of all ages. I highly recommend everyone read this book!


Has anyone else read this book? 

What about any other books by this author? 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Kara's Book Cravings: Daybreak on Raven Island

 


Twitter strikes again! While scrolling aimlessly, I stumbled upon a list of middle grade books, and the first one I found was...

Daybreak on Raven Island by Fleur Bradley is a spooky, paranormal-ish mystery. Set on an island that houses an abandoned prison (inspired by the real-life Alcatraz), a group of students are on a field trip. Told from 3 different points-of-view, each character is struggling with something that skews their worldview and their reasons for jumping off the ferry and staying behind on the island. One wants to make a scary movie. Another desperately wants new friends and feels obligated because the wannabe movie maker stood up for him against bullies. And the third lives by the idea of "no one left behind." 

The pacing for this was spot on, and the mystery wasn't exactly easy to unravel, which isn't a bad thing at all. Not to mention, the twist at the end was masterful, and I certainly didn't see it coming! I'm still thinking about it days later, and that's a sign of a good book. 

This book packs a very strong social commentary about race, social injustices, and prison reform. While I agree with the sentiments presented, it felt very heavy-handed, especially with how some of the ideas were given in dialogue. It just didn't ring true to how kids this age generally speak to one another. 

Overall, though, this was a great read, and I'm glad I bought it. 


Has anyone else read this? Or anything else by this author? Should I read more of Fleur Bradley's work?

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Thursday Thoughts: Is Blogging Dead?

 


Back when I first started in this industry -- more than a decade ago -- blogging was just becoming popular. And all the experts shouted that you couldn't be a successful author without a blog. I mean, blogs were all the rage. Everyone was doing guest posts, interviews, book reviews, blog hops, monetization... You needed information, you'd Google it and a billion and one blogs would pop up! 

And then, somewhere along the way, blogs began to fade. 

I'm not exactly sure when or why, but I've seen a lot of successful bloggers step away. Blogs that were once "the spot" to be are no longer active. Nowadays, everyone is saying you need to be on YouTube, or TikTok, or doing a podcast if you want to be successful. 

But... is that really true? 


I'm not so sure. Yes, if video content is your thing, then go do it and have fun! But if you're anything like me, you prefer the safety of the keyboard rather than spotlight of the camera. Surely, there's still a place for us bloggers, right?

Recently, I participated in the Back-to-School Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt, which was a blog hop in which readers would hop from one blog to the next, gathering clues to complete a phrase that would then enter them into a drawing for several prizes. I'll admit that when I joined, it was out of nostalgia for the good ole days when these were so popular, but I really didn't expect a lot. 

I've never been happier to be wrong!

That single post had upward of 500 views, 50-ish comments, and I gained quite a few new newsletter subscribers, too. I also so an uptick in downloads of my first book, Eternal Curse, that's perma-free. For me, this was extremely successful and very reminiscent of years ago when these types of promotions were so popular. 

This has given me hope that maybe blogs and blogging as a creative art form isn't as dead as I thought (and as everyone says). I'm definitely going to be testing my theory for the remainder of the year with some fun new blog promotions. 


So, what do you think? Is blogging dead? Is it possibly making a comeback? Share your thoughts in the comments!