Archive for the ‘Netgalley’ Category

Review: Now You See Me – S.J. Bolton

Cover of Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton

Title: Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1)
Author: S.J. Bolton
Publication date: June 13, 2011
Publisher: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780593064139
Length: 395 pages
Genre: Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

Despite her life-long fascination with Jack the Ripper, young detective constable Lacey Flint has never worked a murder case or seen a corpse up close. Until now…

As she arrives at her car one evening, Lacey is horrified to find a woman slumped over the door. She has been brutally stabbed, and dies in Lacey’s arms. Thrown headlong into her first murder hunt, Lacey will stop at nothing to find this savage killer. But her big case will also be the start of a very personal nightmare.

When Lacey receives a familiar letter, written in blood, pre-fixed Dear Boss, and hand delivered, it is clear that a Ripper copycat is at large. And one who is fixated on Lacey herself. Can this inexperienced detective outwit a killer whose infamous role model has never been found?

My thoughts

What made me interested in Now You See Me is, as morbid as it may sound, a fascination with serial killers on both the main character’s and my part. Since I’ve always been fascinated by these people myself, I was curious to see how Bolton would incorporate the Ripper myth into her story and how it would work in a twenty-first century novel.

The book certainly has a compelling set-up. The original Jack the Ripper, a sadistic serial killer known for his brutality and keeping London’s population in complete terror for several years, has never been found. So the idea of someone attempting to do the same (and get away with it) in an age where CCTV cameras are everywhere and the police force is a lot more resourceful than it was back in the nineteenth century made me prick up my ears. How does a criminal plan to get away with at least five murders when a) the police know every tiny detail about the original murders and probably have an idea what to look for in a similar case or what to expect from a copycat killer and b) modern technology and forensics make the police’s work considerably faster and easier, and the killers’ a lot more difficult. I had a feeling it was going to be a gripping read but I wasn’t fully prepared for what was yet to come. Saying that I enjoyed reading this book would be the understatement of the year. It’s been almost two weeks since I finished Now You See Me but thinking about it still sends shivers down my spine. I was  reading it for three days in a row and I literally couldn’t put it down.

I seriously can’t tell you one thing that’s missing from the book or anything I would have liked to be done differently. I loved this book for so many different reasons and while I know this review is going to be terribly long if I carry on like this, I’d like to highlight some of the things that stood out for me the most.

The first thing I need to emphasize here is that the book is extremely well researched and you can see how much work went into just looking up facts and theories about Jack the Ripper. One of the things I enjoyed the most is perhaps how much information there is about the original Whitechapel murders – through Lacey’s monologues Bolton gives us a very detailed picture of Jack himself (or herself, according to some theories) and all five of his victims, down to the tiniest detail.  And by doing so, not only did the author make the story more gripping but she made me want to find out even more about the Ripper and read some of these theories that are mentioned in the book (one of them being that Jack might have, in fact, been a woman), and do some research myself. I’ve never tried reading any true crime before but thanks to S.J. Bolton, now I will.

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Review: Hysteria – Megan Miranda

Cover of Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Title: Hysteria
Author: Megan Miranda
Publication date: February 14, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B009IRLD5C
Length: 353 pages
Genre: Mystery
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

Mallory’s life is falling apart. Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can’t remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear . . .

When Mallory’s parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There’s the hand that touches her shoulder when she’s drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory’s name is on their lips. Her past can be forgotten but it’s never gone. Can Mallory live with that?

My thoughts

I read Fracture, Megan Miranda’s debut this time last year and fell in love with her writing instantly. The plot was fast-paced, the characters relatable and there literally wasn’t one dull moment in the story. So when I first saw that the author had a new book coming out this year, I knew I was in for a treat.

If I had to pick one thing I love about Miranda’s books it would definitely be her ability to grab my attention right away, right at the very beginning. Three sentences in and I’m already hooked – and not everyone can do that. Her ability to create suspense and keep you in the dark until the very end is definitely one of the reasons why I enjoy her books so much and why I’ll keep reading them in the future. And this is exactly how I felt about Hysteria.

It was really creepy. I loved the fact that it’s impossible to tell whether what the main character goes through – the dead boy’s mum following her wherever she goes, a mysterious hand pressing down on her shoulder when she goes to sleep and the red fingerprints and bleeding blisters on her skin the next day -  is only her imagination or if it’s reality. I was prepared for the worst – when Mallory leaves for the boarding school and needs to spend her nights in a dorm room totally alone I was convinced someone would try to kill her. I kept thinking what on earth might have happened to make Mallory kill this guy and the way Miranda describes the terror she’s felt everyday since the murder is great. The way the author works with flashbacks and how Mallory’s past is embedded into the present story worked really well as well and I think it was perfect for the book.

My only problem with this novel is that I just can’t not compare it to the author’s previous book. While Miranda’s writing style is brilliant and equally captivating in both stories and I found her characters relatable and realistic in both of her books, I just didn’t find Hysteria as fast-paced as Fracture and when it all came to an end, it fell a bit flat for me. I think I  was waiting for a heart-pounding showdown or some huge, dark secret and when it didn’t happen, I felt a bit let down. Just a tiny bit. I kept thinking ‘that’s it?‘. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book. But if I had to pick between Fracture and this story, Fracture would win by a mile.

Having said that, did I enjoy the book? Immensely. Did the author manage to hold my attention and make me keep on reading? Absolutely. Will I pick up her next book? Without a doubt. Hysteria is a great story by a wonderfully talented author whose writing style is definitely one of my favourites among young adult novelists. If you like mysteries and young adult fiction (and the combination of the two), Miranda’s work is a good place to start.

Teaser

“My mother hid the knife block. In hindsight, that was the first sign. And then, two nights ago, she locked her bedroom door. It had to be subconscious, but still, I didn’t want to think too hard about what she was secretly thinking. I guess that was the second sign. And now there was a suitcase on my bed. Which wasn’t really a sign at all. It was the actual event.”


Rating:
4,5 stars
*Many thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book*

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

Netgalley month – December

I’ve been thinking about it for a while but never posted about it on my blog. I’ve been a Netgalley member for a pretty long time and I absolutely love it. :) However, I have way too many e-galleys on my Kindle, waiting to be reviewed – which gave me an idea. Why not declare December to be a Netgalley month and read as many e-galleys as I can? I know April @ Red House Books is the one who usually hosts Netgalley months but since I won’t be able to participate the next NG readathon in January (I think that’s the next NG event, right?), I decided to give it a try now and let’s see how it works. :)

And, since there’s no fun in doing it all one, I’m inviting you guys to join me! C’mon, it’s gonna be great! I don’t know how many of you will join in the fun (or if anyone will join me at all) but here’s how it’s gonna work:

Netgalley Month runs until December 31
Our aim is to read as many Netgalley books as we can in order to get ourselves through our TBR piles. You can read as many as you like: if you only read one book, that’s perfectly fine. If you can’t participate throughout the whole month, once again, that’s fine. It’s all up to you!
Make your own blog post about the event and sign up using the linky below, so that we know who participates. :)
If you have Twitter, feel free to use the hashtag #NetGalleymonth when you update your status.
❄ I’ll make a linky at the end of the month where you can list all your reviews you managed to post in December so that everyone can read them :)

Feel free to grab the event’s button and spread the love:

The Netgalley titles I’m aiming to read this month are:

 

Sounds good? :o) Please find the sign-up linky below and feel free to join me and/or spread the word!