Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Review: Paper Hearts Vol 3: Some Marketing Advice by Beth Revis

Title: Paper Hearts Vol 3: Some Marketing Advice
Author: Beth Revis
Published: December 31st 2015
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Writing Reference
Buy: Amazon ~*~ B&N
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Help readers discover your work.

Once your book is out there, you realize that the most difficult thing about publishing is actually getting read. For the novice author looking to find actionable methods of gaining exposure, this volume will provide a foundation for marketing that will help kickstart any writing career.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

After the book is published, your job as a writer isn’t done. Paper Hearts will help you:

-Find Balance between Art and Business

-Develop an Online Presence

-Examine and Exploit the Way People Buy Books

-Set Up Basic Tools for Communication

-Discuss Best Practices to Get Reviews

-Analyze What’s Worth Your Time & Money

-Develop Live and Online Book Tours & Events

-Host Live Events, Even if You’re an Introvert

…And much more!

BONUS! Includes a list of the most common social media outlets and the best practices for authors to use them and reach readers.

My Thoughts:

I tried to keep myself away from NetGalley to remove the temptation to request books because I didn't think I'd be able to get to them. But one day while I was on Twitter somebody RT'ed a link to this book being available on there and I checked it out. As an indie author, marketing advice is extremely appreciated and necessary to keep your book going. So I decided to request and I'm glad I did.

There's loads of tips and tricks for authors in this book. A decent number of them I was aware of, but there were some new-to-me ideas that I can put to use in the future. Even the stuff I already knew was a nice reminder. I would highly (and I mean HIGHLY) recommend this book for new authors, indie or traditional, because there's so much to learn and apply to get the most out of your marketing techniques. This is the third book in the Paper Hearts series by Beth Revis. I'm very appreciative of the knowledge I've taken in from this and hope to get the chance to read the first two books to learn more.

My Rating:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Review: May the Best Man Win by Mira Lyn Kelly

Title: May the Best Man Win
Author: Mira Lyn Kelly
Published: August 2nd 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon ~*~ B&N
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Caution: May contain spoilers
Four friends
Each a Best Man at a wedding
One chance to get it right

Jase Foster can't believe his bad luck. He's been paired with the she-devil herself for his best friend's wedding: Emily Klein of the miles-long legs and killer smile. She may be sin in a bridesmaid dress, but there's no way he's falling for her again.

They can barely stand each other, but given how many of their friends are getting married, they'll just have to play nice-at least when they're in company. Once they're alone, more than just gloves come off as Jase and Emily discover their chemistry is combustible, and there may be something to this enemies to lovers thing after all...

My Thoughts:

Mira Lyn Kelly's Dare to Love series had me hooked from the start, so when the opportunity arose to join her street team, I jumped at the chance. I was super excited to be able to read May the Best Man Win before it was released, and my excitement was justified because it was pretty awesome!

Jase and Emily have a history together, one that led them to avoid each other at all costs. So when they have to be around each other for the duration of the wedding, you better believe things get a bit heated. Enemies to lovers always creates that perfect tension: the one where you know they supposedly hate each other, but the hate passion turns to love passion. And oh boy did their love passion explode!

I enjoyed watching them learn to trust each other after everything they've been through, not because they're forced (even though they are at first), but because they want to. They learn how to move on from the past and discover what they want in the future: each other.

May the Best Man Win was definitely a win in my book. Mira Lyn Kelly has delivered yet another solid and sexy story that will keep you turning the pages. Jase and Emily will draw you in with their romance and keep you there until the end.

My Rating:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: Wanderlust by Roni Loren

Title: Wanderlust
Author: Roni Loren
Published: July 19th 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon ~*~ B&N
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Loving on the Edge series and Off the Clock, a story of sex, love, rock & roll, and a reporter who’s about to learn a new meaning for staying on top of her assignment...

Restaurant critic Aubrey Bordelon is never at a loss for words to describe her meals in the fancy restaurants of New Orleans. But after her magazine’s high-profile music reporter falls ill, she finds herself out of her element and in a sea of screaming fans awaiting Wanderlust’s lead singer, Lex Logan. The sound of his voice gives her goosebumps, and the stage presence of the hard-bodied rock star takes her breath away. So when he pulls her onstage for a sexy stunt, she knows she’s in real trouble.
 
Lex doesn’t want to pretend that the sparks on stage between him and Aubrey never happened, but it certainly makes the fact that she’s writing a story on his band all the more dangerous. The last thing he needs is some nosy reporter revealing their problems to the world. But the sexy Southern belle doesn’t give up easily, and soon he’s wondering if the best way to chase her off the story is to coax her into his bed…

My Thoughts:

Since I've been on a little bit of a blogging hiatus, I was reluctant to take on any more ARCs for fear of not being able to fulfill the commitment of them. I like to be able to post reviews on release day or at least during release week. When Roni Loren tweeted that Wanderlust was available as a Read Now option on NetGalley, I kinda jumped at the opportunity and signed myself up for this book. I started reading and as soon as the sexy stunt mentioned in the synopsis happened, I was hooked AND reeled in.


Aubrey is a journalist and it's up to her to score an interview with Lex Logan of the band Wanderlust. He's not too keen on having her along, or having to answer any of her questions, so he tries to throw her off her game and get her to drop the story. It's not as easy as he thought... but seducing her is definitely fun.


While the chemistry and the heat between Aubrey and Lex were, ahem, freaking spectacular, there was way more to the story than only romance and sexy moments. Aubrey faced a tragedy in her teenage years (losing her sister in a car accident caused by her), and because she doesn't want to upset her family, she chose to do the safer things in life. But the choices she made to appease them weren't the ones she wanted, and being around Lex is causing her to realize what else there could be, what else she could be.


All in all, Wanderlust had me flipping pages almost faster than I was reading. And even though I guessed a little twist early on in the story, I was still immersed in Aubrey and Lex and their world and loving every minute of it. The sexytimes were hella sexy, my heartstrings were tugged at a few times, and I spent the entire epilogue in swoon-mode. There's no way I wouldn't recommend this to everyone I know who loves stories about sexy rock stars and characters finding their way.

My Rating:


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: The Billionaire Escape Plan by Ember Casey

Title: The Billionaire Escape Plan
Author: Ember Casey
Published: June 17th 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon | B&N
iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers
Most girls dream of marrying a billionaire.

Me? I'd rather make fun of one. Especially if the billionaire in question is Alexander Grant.

Excuse me--Xander Grant. That's right--the mega-hot entrepreneur who seems to top every magazine's "Rich Eligible Bachelors" list these days.

To me, he'll always be Alex--my childhood best friend. The guy who joined me on all sorts of wild teenage misadventures. The only person in our small town who understood me.

It's been four years since I've seen Alex. But suddenly he's back in our town at the exact same time my life is imploding around me.

We've both changed so much--I mean, the guy used to live in ripped jeans, and now he wears nothing but designer suits--but when I need it most, he offers me exactly the escape I need. A chance to run away from my life, if only for a few days.

I only hope my heart is prepared.

My Thoughts:

I'm a sucker for friends to lovers stories and right now Alex and Mae are my current romantic ship. Ember Casey's The Billionaire Escape Plan was just the book I needed this last week. I've been battling a somewhat slump off and on and I swear, this book was my ticket to loving romance all over again.

Mae is in the middle of some major personal issues, and having Alex back in her life is sort of throwing things even more off course. After a handful of (hilarious) disasters, Mae finds herself in Alex's company as she stays with him until everything blows over. Curiosity and attraction cause the two of them to go back and forth in a will they won't they that'll keep you on edge of your seat like nothing else.

If you're in the mood for a good old fashioned romance, I strongly recommend The Billionaire Escape Plan. There's so much swooning and blushing and laughing throughout that you'll want to stay in Mae and Alex's world much longer. Another winner from Ember Casey!

My Rating:


Check out the rest of the Friends With Benefits series!


The Billionaire's Ballet by Deanna Roy
Yours and Mine by Lacey Silks
Always You by Rachel Schurig
The Rock Star's Secret Baby by Blair Babylon
Going for Broke by Gretchen Galway
Next to You by Daisy Prescott (link to author
's Amazon page since book isn't available for pre-order yet)

 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Review: It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort

Title: It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too)
Author: Nora McInerny Purmort
Published: May 24th 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Memoir/Humor
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Caution: May contain spoilers
Joining the ranks of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Carry On, Warrior, a fierce, hysterically funny memoir that reminds us that comedy equals tragedy plus time.

Twentysomething Nora McInerny bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Then she met Aaron, a charismatic art director and her kindred spirit. They made mix tapes (and pancakes) into the wee hours of the morning. They finished each other’s sentences. They just knew. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and married after his first surgery. They had a baby when he was on chemo. They shared an amazing summer filled with happiness and laughter. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms in another hospital bed. His wildly creative obituary, which they wrote together, touched the world.

Now, Nora shares hysterical, moving, and painfully honest stories about her journey with Aaron. It’s Okay to Laugh explores universal themes of love, marriage, work, (single) motherhood, and depression through her refreshingly frank viewpoint. A love letter to life, in all of its messy glory, and what it’s like to still be kickin', It’s Okay to Laugh is like a long chat with a close friend over a cup of coffee (or chardonnay).

My Thoughts:

I discovered this book by chance on Twitter when someone I followed tweeted about reading this book. I hadn't heard of it so I checked it out on Goodreads to see what it was about. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to read it badly. So I did.

Nora's memoir was a journey of humor through sadness. She has this way with words, and in her manner of thinking, that makes you smile and chuckle in between tearing up. Each chapter is about a different moment in her life, and they all tie together for a really lovely memoir.

Even though I wouldn't compare it to Jenny Lawson's memoir, it is still an extremely touching and often amusing book. Nora McInerny Purmort is someone I can admire for her bravery and her ability to find humor in the little things. Not many people can do that. If she writes another book, I would definitely pick it up.

My Rating:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mini Reviews: Getting Rough by C.L. Parker; A SEAL's Touch by Tawny Weber; ~&~ Mending Michael by J.P. Grider

Title: Getting Rough
Author: C.L. Parker
Published: January 26th 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon ~*~ Barnes & Noble
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers
The next sizzling novel of C. L. Parker’s Monkey Business Trio—perfect for fans of Bared to You and Beautiful Bastard
Hotshot San Diego sports agent Shaw Matthews and his sexy professional adversary Cassidy Whalen have gone head-to-head in the boardroom—and the bedroom. Now Shaw has scored a big promotion—but only because Cassidy turned it down and ran off. There are many things he wants when it comes to Cassidy—just not her pity. So Shaw rushes to a small town in Maine to retrieve his dignity—and maybe the woman he’s hungry to claim once more.

Cassidy has pushed herself to the max to realize her career dreams—until a family crisis brings her home. But Shaw isn’t letting Cassidy go that easily. Neither is gorgeous heartthrob Casey Michaels, the childhood sweetheart she left behind—and who now wants to win her back. As the rivalry between the two alpha males intensifies, and Shaw’s seductive moves reach a whole new level of heat, Cassidy has to make a choice. And this time, it’s for the highest stakes of all.

My Thoughts:

I really loved the first book in the Monkey Business Trio series, Playing Dirty. It was sexy (so very sexy) and captivating and the cliffhanger definitely hooked me instead of upsetting me. However, Getting Rough felt like it didn't have the strength that the first book had. I found myself skimming here and there because certain things were frustrating me about both Cassidy and Shaw and what they were doing. I will say this about the second book: It was definitely full of the sexy. Not as much as book one, but enough to make it worth my while to read. I'm debating whether or not I'll be reading the final book, Coming Clean, but there's a good chance I might because I enjoyed this one enough that it may be a fun enough romp in the sheets.

My Rating:

~*~

Title: A SEAL's Touch
Author: Tawny Weber
Published: January 19th 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon ~*~ Barnes & Noble
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers
Subject: Navy SEAL Taylor Powell

Mission: Find a sexy fake girlfriend…with even sexier benefits!

Lieutenant Taylor "The Wizard" Powell has a reputation for getting out of tricky situations. Bad guys, bombs, weapons—no problem. Finding a girlfriend in order to evade matchmaking friends? Not so easy. He's banking on contractor Cat Peres to help him out…not realizing his tomboy friend has a whole lot of sexy surprises hidden in her tool belt.

Cat can't remember a time when Taylor wasn't the object of her hottest dreams—so she can't help but agree to his plan. Their only rule? Friends, no matter what. Except the deliciously hot chemistry that ignites between them takes them both by surprise…and having nothing between them might just ruin everything.

My Thoughts:

My love for the Uniformly Hot SEALs series knows no bounds. Before A SEAL's Touch, I had read five other books in the series (A SEAL's Fantasy is on my favorites shelf) and given them all five star ratings (because Tawny Weber is THAT good). This installment was pretty great, too! It was a great friends to lovers story, and Cat and Taylor were exceptional. Their friendship was amazing, and their chemistry was wowsa. So sensual and real. It just goes to show how great the author is if she can continually give us one supremely hot, sexy, and spectacular story after another in this series. I can't wait to dive into another one soon!

My Rating:


~*~


Title: Mending Michael
Author: J.P. Grider
Published: December 13th 2014
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: New Adult Romance
Buy: Amazon ~*~ Barnes & Noble
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers
There is a fine line between love and hate.

When bartender Mick Ross first sees Holly Buchanan walk into Donny's Bar, his heart comes to a halt. That is, until she serves him her fake ID and reveals her true nature when she's declined her drink.

Holly thinks Mick is an ass, and she has no clue why he can't stand her. Though, she does enjoy looking at his ass.

So, when Donny hires Holly to waitress at his bar, she must either deal with Mick's hatred toward her or give him a taste of his own medicine.

Tensions are high.
Comments are made.
Hearts are hurt.
But if there really is a fine line between love and hate, then Mick and Holly must decide on which side they stand.

My Thoughts:

After enjoying J.P. Grider's Calling California, I was looking forward to Mending Michael. I actually was more intrigued by the synopsis of this book than the other, but I ended up liking the first book in the Hunter Hill University series than this one. The story tugs at your heartstrings, I can't deny that, and there are some scenes that are very touching. However, I found that the story itself didn't entirely have the pull needed for me to get invested in it or the characters. I wanted to see what happened in the end, which made me press onward with Holly and Mick's story. I did like the story enough by the end, but I had to skim a little bit here and there to get to it. Still, it was a very nice new adult story with very serious and real issues.

My Rating:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thoughts will be undergoing a temporary hiatus...


Hello to all of you wonderful followers!

I'm sure some of you have noticed my absence on the blog since the beginning of the year. I've been wanting to write this post for a LONG TIME, but my life has been chaos for most of the last few months. So, here we go...

Like I said, things have been chaotic for me. Some has been good, some hasn't been as good. I'm going to focus more on the good in this post, but here's a brief rundown of it all.

To say I burned myself out last year would be the understatement of this year.


I wrote hundreds of posts last year, not only for this blog, but also for my short-lived author blog, The Authorteers. I liked that I was staying busy, doing something I love to do (blogging), and I couldn't imagine slowing down because I enjoyed it so much. Then November and December rolled around and I found myself losing interest in getting stuff done for the blog. I wanted to postpone things, or do something else entirely. I didn't like where it was going, so I tried to kick myself in the booty to get it moving. It kinda worked... and it kinda didn't. My bloggy motivation was almost nonexistent.

It didn't help that my former roommate and I decided to go our separate ways. I knew it was coming last year, but then once 2016 rolled around and I had to start searching for a new apartment AND packing for yet another move (this is the 4th apartment I've lived in in the last few years), I was sorta like a kid again with the whole "I don't wanna!" attitude. I'm just going to say this: Moving. Sucks. I'd like to say that I hope I never have to do it again, but I don't want to live in apartments forever either, so I'll have to move at least one more time in my life.


As I'm (finally) writing this post, I'm getting myself settled into this new apartment (see above pic, which also showcases my super awesome new haircut). Unpacking and organizing and breaking down boxes to recycle (there's this HUGE pile of cardboard next to my front door). It's further away from work than I used to be, but it does have some benefits. One of which is that I'm in a pretty nice city with lots of things to do (many are in walking distance). Second, I'm closer to my boyfriend.

And that brings me to the good! My boyfriend. He and I met at the end of 2015 and we've pretty much been inseparable. In the back of my mind I thought it would take me a long time to find someone I feel like I have a connection to. Like how it's one thing for you both to like Linkin Park, it's an entirely different thing when you have obscure things in common. He's the first person I haven't had to introduce Veronica Mars to because he'd already seen it, not to mention he's seen older movies like Fried Green Tomatoes and actually likes to watch them. And then we're completely on the same page about the same things... it's like we're totally in sync and it boggles my mind when I try to figure out how in the world this has all happened.

Anyways... here's the two of us recently... I love this picture.



He and I decided to pool our collective resources together to open up an eBay store. It was something we bounced around a little bit since I was selling a bunch of stuff on there earlier this year, but then eBay did a special promotion to get a discount on opening up a store and I figured I might as well jump on it now and get it going sooner. So I spend a lot of time getting stuff listed (which is a breeze on my phone), and then shipping when it sold. And this was between him and I spending time together AND packing all my stuff.

But I should get back on point, right?


So, what's happening with Thoughts? First off, I love this blog. I've loved it from the moment I created it and through all the ups and downs and changes that have taken place not only in my life, but also in my reading. Let's not forget all the amazing and wonderful and beautiful people I have met along the way because of this blog getting started. I could never give it up entirely. I just couldn't.

Which brings me to what will be happening on here. I debated in my mind what I wanted to do and how I wanted to go about this for months. Back when I was trying to get myself back on track, I talked myself out of going on hiatus. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only way this is going to work for me. With the new apartment and my online businesses, I've got a lot on my plate that needs to be sorted out. All of my items for sale are stacked precariously against a wall near other piles of boxes... and a decent number of those items need to be either relisted or put into lots... none of which I can do because I still haven't unpacked the stuff I own!

So what does this "hiatus" mean exactly?


Well, I'm going to give myself a few months to get everything back together again. Not only organizing my life in the new apartment and my online sales, but also getting reviews and other posts written. As of right now, I have 2 NetGalley reviews that need to be written/posted, plus a handful of other review books that need reviews written. Then there are several books I never reviewed from awhile back that were read in 2014 and 2015, and that's just borderline unacceptable.

Will I have any posts before this hiatus is over? Of course! I'll still be doing my Thoughts and Daydreams posts with Marie Landry every month. Plus, I'd like to do a quick little post showing off my new place once I get it all set up (including an updated shelfie). And I'll likely at least get the review book reviews posted to the blog (but at the very least they'll be up on Goodreads).

What else can be expected when the blog is back on track? Well, I've been pondering a few possibilities. I would like to start a feature on Thoughts for indie authors--not something authors come to me to be featured/host giveaways/promote--but something where I just showcase an author. No frills, no gimmicks... just spreading the word about awesome unknown authors to help get their books in the hands of new readers. As an indie author myself, I know how much even just a little bit of publicity helps. It may only generate a couple extra sales, but that's okay! I want to give back to the community and give my fellow authors a virtual high five for just being awesome. Plus, I'd like to have monthly swag pack giveaways. I have so many random swag things and I would love to be able to send them out to followers. Also, I want to make my reviews more fun. Like with GIFs and quotes from the book.

When will the hiatus end?


Now that I can't answer right now. I have it in my mind sometime in June or July, but we'll see. Once I know which day it is, I will totally let you know either on my Twitter or Facebook page. So, you better be following my posts on both! I'll still be available on social media, especially Twitter, so definitely hit me up for some book chatting because you know I'm down for that. I've been slacking off on my reading for 2016 (according to Goodreads as I'm writing this, I'm 2 books behind schedule), but I'm slowly getting back to it now that things have settled down a bit. I actually spent like ten minutes going through my Kindle and Nook apps on my phone to download a bunch of the books on my list of books I want to read this year so that they're ready for me when I'm looking for a new one to pick up.


So I'm getting there! Slowly but surely, this will all be back to normal... or at least as normal as I can be. Lol.

Anyways! I hope all is well with you guys! I'll be getting back to checking out your blogs and commenting again as soon as I can. I miss you all bunches and can't wait to see how everything is going for you because you're awesome!

Have a wonderful spring! I will see you this summer!!



Jessica