Archive for 2011

Recap of 2011 – Happy New Year!

2012 is only 2 hours away, can you believe it? Where’d this year go?

2011 was a great year for me reading-wise. I started blogging at the end of September and made lots of blogger and author friends along the way. I somehow managed to get almost 600 followers, which is just incredible – I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for sticking with me and for all the support and love I got from you all! I’m really happy that I met you all.

I’m looking forward to meeting some new people in 2012, to co-hosting the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge with a bunch of lovely ladies and of course, reading lots of great books!

I wish you all a very happy New Year – see you in 2012!
Hugs ‘n’ kisses x x x

Netgalley month December wrap up and Q & A with Lindsey Rudnickas

Good morning, everyone. Can you believe December and this year is almost over? It’s so unbelievable! And just like December, NetGalley month is drawing to a close for 2011. First of all, I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who joined us – it’s been fun! As I promised, I’ll post a linky at the end of this post where you can submit all your reviews that you posted during NG month, so that everyone can check each other’s out. PLUS, we have a very special guest for today – Lindsey Rudnickas from Netgalley is joining us today to answer some questions about Netgalley and reviewing e-galleys. Sounds good? :o)

First off, however, here are my totals – I did pretty good, considering the fact that I didn’t have much time due to my uni exams. I managed to read and review 3 books and I started my 4th one the other day. The titles I did finish are:

Q & A with Lindsey Rudnickas from Netgalley

1. Should we include our blog statistics (number of followers, unique visits) in our public bio?

YES! Definitely! The more information you can include about your “reach” the better – how many people visit your blog, how many subscribers/followers you have, how many people follow you on Twitter/Facebook, anywhere else that you post your reviews and/or promote books, etc. Publishers want to know how you get the word out about the books you read/review.

The information in your bio is what publishers see when deciding to approve your galley requests. It’s very important to check the Publisher Approval Preferences page for guidance. Publishers are telling you exactly what they’re looking for in your Bio in order to approve you, so be sure to follow their advice! And don’t forget to indicate if you are a member of any Associations, like the ALA or ABA (under Account Information).

2. Does the number and quality of our previous reviews influence publishers’ decision to approve future requests? Do they read our previous reviews before approving our requests?

That depends on the publisher. Some check your previous reviews before approving or declining you, but it depends. I would say the general rule of thumb is that if you consistently send reviews back to the publisher, then they’ll be more likely to approve you again and again, since they know you’re promoting their books in return for the galley. 

3. Do publishers use our reviews after we submit them?

Great question, and again, it depends! Some publishers definitely use quotes/blurbs from blog reviews in their marketing materials.

4. Why are some books only visible for some people on NetGalley?

Publishers have lots of flexibility in how they can use NetGalley. Some choose to make all their titles available  for requests in the catalog, and others keep all their titles private and only invite select people to access them. Most publishers do a combination—allow requests for many of their titles but may keep just a few titles private. Plus, they could keep a title private at first but then make it available for requests later (closer to the pub date, let’s say). It all depends on their specific marketing campaign for that particular title.

5. What happens if we don’t make the deadline? If the galley expires or the publisher archives the given title before we manage to read it or post our review, I mean.

Glad you brought this up, as we’re hearing about this more and more. We strongly urge publishers to put a disclaimer in the title description that clearly states when they plan to archive the title, so you know when the dead-stop expiration date is. Remember that until a publisher archives a title, you can keep re-downloading if you run out of time on the individual download (55 days). But once the publisher archives the title on their end, you can now longer re-download. Most publishers archive titles around the pub or on-sale date, but it is entirely up to each publisher when they choose to archive each title. If you haven’t finished reading the book before it is archived and therefore don’t plan to review it, always best to notify the publisher—so they know why you aren’t reviewing it. For the sake of your own organization, you may wish to press the Archive button on your MANAGE MY REVIEWS page, so that you don’t see the title in the list of your other active galleys. In general, I think it’s always a good idea to request titles that you know you have time to read/review, and then once you’re approved, try to download and start reading right away.

6. Should we let publishers know when we post our reviews by emailing or tweeting them?

Yes, definitely—do both! You can email them directly if you are already in contact with them, but you can also use the tool in NetGalley to send your review notifications. It’s great if you do send via NetGalley since publishers will have a record of how many titles of theirs you have reviewed. Remember, NetGalley members are under no obligation to finish reading a title or write a review—but it is strongly encouraged, and publishers will be more inclined to give you access to future titles if you review.

If you do choose to write a review, you can use NetGalley to send the review to the publisher. Your review is shared with the publisher as a courtesy — but the content and publishing rights for that review belong solely to you. NetGalley does not post or publish your review — instead, we are providing an “electronic tear-sheet.” Most publishers will appreciate if you also include a link or other information with the review that says where the review will be published. You can also use NetGalley to let the publisher know that you are declining to review.

Login to your account, go to MY REVIEWS, and press the pencil icon (“write”) to send your review to the publisher. Make sure to select the REVIEW COMPLETED button, include the link to your review, the date it was published, and anything else relevant. Then hit SAVE!

7. Do publishers check how many pending requests we have before approving our requests?

Great question. Publishers can only see the pending requests that you have for THEIR titles—not all pending requests that you have across all publishers. Depending on their internal process for approving requests, it could be a different person who looks at the pending requests for each title (for instance, if the publicist assigned to a title only logs in to approve requests for that particular title). Or, it could be that one person is approving all blogger requests, so they may very well see all your pending requests for their titles.

8. Who do publishers choose to auto-approve and why?

Individual publishers can auto-approve individual NetGalley members for all their titles in the catalog. This means that when you press the Request button for that publisher’s titles, you’ll receive the galley immediately on your home page. If you are auto-approved by a publisher, you’ll receive an email saying: “You have been auto-approved for any of Publisher’s titles in the NetGalley catalog. Next time you click the REQUEST button for one of their titles, you’ll be automatically approved. Congrats!”

Generally, publishers are likely to auto-approve you if you are consistently approved for their titles and send them reviews. Think of it this way: it’s a time-saver for the publishers—if they realize, hey, I always approve this person, so I might as well auto-approve them so that I don’t have to keep manually approving each of their requests. But you should also check the Publisher Approval Preferences page for specific criteria that each publisher has for who they auto-approve! 

9. Why do some bloggers get rejected from certain titles on Netgalley? What are publishers looking for when they’re trying to decide whether to approve or reject our request?

Check the Publisher Approval Preferences page for guidance. Publishers are telling you exactly what they’re looking for in your Bio in order to approve you, so be sure to follow their advice!

Lindsey, thank you so much for joining us and for all the useful advice! I hope it answered some of your questions guys. :)

If you took part in NetGalley month, make sure to use the linky below and submit all your reviews you posted during NGmonth so that we can all check them out! Just click on “Click here to enter”, fill in the first required field with your review’s title and the second one with the link to your review. As simple as that. :) Feel free to submit as many reviews as you like! 

Thank you for joining NetGalley month in December and HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! xxx

Booking Through Thursday #11 – Best of 2011

This week’s question is:
What were your favorite books of 2011?

I’ve been thinking about the exact same thing since Monday morning and I’m still clueless. There were so many great books I read this year, I don’t even know how I should list them all in one post. I’ll tell you what. I’ll try to narrow it down to the best five.

#1  The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

It’s not a surprise, is it? I’ve been fangirling over this book for months now and I’m still in complete and utter show. It was just amazing. I know many people who like Marian’s books but this one didn’t work for them – well, it did for me. It’s true, it’s a bit different from her other novels but for me, it was her best book so far. It’s mysterious, witty, funny and emotional at the same time – it made me bawl my eyes out by the end. If you like chick-lit or romance, make sure to pick it up in 2012, it’s really good!

My reviewGoodreads | The Book Depository

#2 How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue

This one was provided for review by Netgalley and I have to say, it’s been my favourite ebook this year. I loved the story, I loved the characters, the setting, and … well, everything. It literally made me want to pick up some biscuits or cupcakes while I was reading it, though! Meg is currently working on her second novel (which is not a sequel to How to Eat a Cupcake, unfortunately) and it’s going to be released in 2013 if I remember correctly. I wish we didn’t have to wait that long!

#3 Seeing Cinderella by Jenny Lundquist

Something for the fans of middle grade fiction out there. :o) I got this book for review from Jenny herself and I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s been a long time since I read any middle grade fiction (well, in middle grade, to be exact) but I fell in love with the story right away. Don’t be put off if you don’t normally read MG – I don’t, either. It doesn’t matter where you live or how old you are, you will be able to relate to this story and its characters.

My review | Goodreads | The Book Depository

#4 Farsighted by Emlyn Chand
I’m sure you remember this one, right? I’ve never really read paranormal fiction before so Farsighted was literally the first such book I’ve ever read – and it made me fall in love with the genre. It was a real page-turner and I just couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen! Seriously, if you haven’t read it, pick up a copy and do – you’ll love it. The sequel, Open Hearts is on its way and is going to be released in late spring in 2012!
#5 The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate
 
The Secret of Lies was the biggest surprise for me this year. It’s a captivating and very emotional story and the writing style is pure brilliance. I have a soft spot for literary fiction and this book just left me speechless. I had an instant connection with Stevie, the main character, which made me want to find out what was about to happen even more. A great tear-jerking coming of age novel with relatable characters and an excellent storyline – I loved it.
 
I could probably list a bunch more but these were the ones that really stood out for me this year. :o) Have you read any of them? What were your favourites? x x x

Custom blog design and HTML tutorials

Good evening, cupcakes! I hope everyone’s enjoying the last couple of days in 2011 :-) So, as some of you already know, I have some great news to tell you. I had many people asking me about my Blogger templates, headers, buttons, etc in the past few months so I decided to start a Design Studio last night. What does it mean exactly?

Well. If you need a custom blog design, that is, a new blogger template, just give me a holler and we’ll get started. :o) I have two design packages you can choose from at the moment but don’t worry if you’re looking for something else, we’ll figure it out. 

Another thing I’d like to mention here is that I’ll probably upload some Blogger/ HTML related tutorials on my design blog so if you have any questions about Blogger, templates, or HTML, feel free to leave a comment here, tweet me, DM me on Facebook, or email me and I’ll answer all your questions on the blog.

All my blog templates should look something like Melissa’s @ Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf and Kathy’s @ I Am a Reader Not a Writer because I’ll use scrapbooking kits as well. But even if you’re thinking about getting a new blog design and you want something different, no worries – we’ll figure it out.

More info and contact on the website:
http://sweetdreams-design.blogspot.com/

Review: Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts – Talli Roland

Title: Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts
Author: Talli Roland
Publication date: December 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Format: Kindle Edition
ASIN: B006LLBWFE
Genre: Romance / Chick-lit

Order from Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Goodreads

All Rose needs is a Christmas miracle… or does she?

When chief romantic Rose Delaney scores her dream job at London’s quirkiest new attraction, The Museum of Broken Hearts, she thinks she’s got it made. Sure, it’s a little depressing dealing with relics of failed relationships each day, but Rose is determined not to let it break her ‘love conquers all’ spirit. After discovering the museum’s handsome curator is nursing a broken heart of his own, Rose steps in to fix it. Can Rose heal the rift in time for the holidays, or will this Christmas crush her fantasies forever?

I’m usually quite sceptical when it comes to reading short stories for a number of reasons. Well, two actually. The most obvious one is that by the time I get to know the characters and start enjoying the book, it’s over. Not to mention the fact that there are many authors whose books I absolutely adore but they just don’t succeed when it comes to writing short stories. However, Talli Roland’s Christmas novella, Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts has simply blew me away.

Even though Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts is quite short, you can’t help falling head-over-heels in love with Roland’s characters. The main characters are Rose, a hopeless romantic with a charm you can’t resist, her best friend Mel, who’s the complete opposite of Rose and doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings, Rose’s drop-dead gorgeous but broken hearted boss Heath and his mother Liz, who has built a successful career but alienated herself from his son in the process.  Being a Londoner herself, the author manages to describe the book’s setting perfectly – reading Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts brought back millions of memories of London: trying not to breathe through your nose on the Central Line, the grand stairs of the British Museum, the ever-present hot dog vendor in front of the building and the inedible sausage you should never, ever try.

Amiable characters, great story line and character development and a perfect ending that will bring tears to your eyes -  Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts has all the ingredients of a great read. With her incredible sense of humour, charming personality and her talent in keeping you on the edge of your seat while making you cry and laugh out loud almost at the same time, Talli Roland will definitely render you speechless. What can I say? I’m her newest fan. 
Rating:

Teaser Tuesday #10

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly event, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can participate, just make sure to read the rules by clicking here.

My teaser comes from Practical Jean by Trevor Cole.
(4% on Kindle)

“More than once, Milt,” she said. “More than once, when I was feeding Mom in bed? And she would lay her head back and fall asleep? I thought about pinching her nose and her lips closed and just holding them like that. Holding them tight.”
“Until she died?”
“Until she died.”

This quote is from an e-ARC therefore it might have been changed in the finished copy.

I started reading this book the other day and even though I’m not too far in, it looks quite promising. I’ve heard some very good and some… not so good things about it so I’m looking forward to reading it now! :) What are you reading? Feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your own teaser!

Top 10 Book Covers of 2011

Hello bookaholics! Today I’m going to show you my top 10 book covers for this year! These are the ones that immediately caught my attention and made me want to pick up the book itself. It’s been really tough trying to narrow down all these gorgeous covers to only 10 because there are so many fab books and covers out there, but here’s my top 10:

#1 – Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
#2 – Exiled by RaShelle Workman
#3 – The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
#4 – On The Fringe by Courtney King Walker
#5 – Eve by Anna Carey
#6 – Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
#7 – How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
#8 – Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
#9 – Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
#10 – Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Of course the list is entirely subjective – I guess we all have different taste in books, just like in everything else. So feel free to let me know what you think and what your favourite covers of 2011 are! x x x