Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why hello there!

Hi guys!

I've been a little MIA lately.

Main reason? Lack of motivation.

Busy life stuff too but mostly it's been a lot of
"I really should blog but my computer is ALL THE WAY over there..." or
"I'm going to blog today! I have so many ideas for things and stuff and OOH LOOK SOMETHING SHINY!"

I pushed myself through the self pity phase --- I'M SUCH A HORRIBLE BLOGGER - NO ONE WILL CARE IF I JUST STOP..BOO..WOO..I SUCK..WAA...WAA...WAA.

I perfected the justification phase --- I DON'T HAVE TO BLOG TODAY BECAUSE I'M TOTALLY GOING TO BLOG THE HELL OUT OF S*** TOMORROW AND NEXT WEEK AND THEN I'LL TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

I pretty much ignored the common sense phase --- HELLO, YOU LOVE BLOGGING GET OFF YOUR A** AND DO SOMETHING! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? I SAID YOU LOVE BLOGGING AND YOU NEED TO STEP UP!

And now?

My brain has settled down, I've come up with a plan and I'm really excited to be back on track, mentally at least.

Basically what I've decided is that I really want to 'get back to my roots' blogging wise. For me this means reviews.

Over the last year or so I've been severely lacking in review posting and I want to change this.

SO!

Going forward that's just want I'm going to do - post more reviews (and cross post them as well).

Also, some Cover Love, On My Reader and Roundup posts I'm sure and the occasional feature or giveaway but I'm really going to strive to have the core of my blog be reviews -- and thoughts on books and bookish news.

This might not seem like a big deal but for me it is huge! I finally feel like I have a hold of what it is I want to accomplish here at Red House Books and I'm excited and I'm not stressed and I'm NOT going to let myself get overwhelmed and lost in my own crazy brain again ;)



It's been just about 4 years since I started blogging and I thank you all who joined me on this journey!
It's been fantastic and I can't wait to see what comes next :)


Happy Reading everyone!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

BEA Blogger's Conference Part 4: Extending You Reach - to ALL the things!

Since I'm so behind posting reviews and it's been forever since I posted ANYTHING I considered not posting the rest of my planned BEA posts.

BUT!

This one is so fun because it has links and pictures and stuff :)

Seriously though - I learned a bunch in this session at the Blogger's Conference and really want to share all the pretties with you.

Here we go!

Extending the Reach of Your Blog Online
Speakers:
Mandy Boles, The Well-Read Wife
Malle Vallik, Harlequin
Eric Smith, Quirk Books
Robert Mooney, Blogads

*The speakers started by highlighting what they believed to be the most important social media venues for bloggers. They then went on to talk about some of their favorites.

*Robert pointed out the fact that, as bloggers, you can't put your post up and expect everything to happen. You have to work at promoting yourself and your ideas.

So, what exactly did they talk about?

Let's start with the big guns:

Twitter -- www.twitter.com
Not everyone uses it but a lot of people do. Lots of third party programs and apps to choose from.
Don't think I need to go too much into this one ;)

Facebook -- www.facebook.com
I personally don't love Facebook but so many people use it. Even if you aren't that active, you can create a page for your blog and have your posts feed to it.
Again, it's all about options. Even if you aren't a heavy Facebook user, your followers (or potential followers) might be.

Instagram -- instagram.com
App based - iOS and now Android supported. I'm on the fence about this one. It's apparently VERY big with tech and mommy bloggers and Mandy believes it will become just as huge for book bloggers in the future.
It uses hashtags in the same way Twitter does and Mandy mentioned 1 blog that hosts a monthly 'gram a day' type meme -- The Estella Society (here's June's #EstellaGram list).
If I get an iPhone I'm sure I'll use it more. It's very (completely?) visual and I do like that.

Now some more fun goodies:

Pinterest -- pinterest.com
Love this site! It can be a total time suck but it's also pretty awesome. I've been using it to link up my review posts (which link to my blog) and also to link up books I've read (which link to Goodreads). Again - it's a very visual place and I think that helps a lot when talking about books. Publishers are using it more and more to promote and I love logging into my account and seeing tons of pretty covers :)

Vine -- vine.co
Vine is a app that lets users post 6 second video clips. It started with iOS devices and recently released for Android.
BBC was the first time I had heard of this app! Since then it seems to be creeping up everywhere - even my library is considering setting up an account. I can totally see this becoming very very big and loads of fun to use.

StumbleUpon -- www.stumbleupon.com
Taken directly from their website: "StumbleUpon is a giant collection of the best pages on the Internet". I honestly have no idea what this is all about except for the fact that views or readership or whatever you want to call it can grow over time so something you post today could be viewed by others months from now if it becomes popular? Maybe? Maybe you don't actually post things yourself...again - NO IDEA! (I'll probably check it out soon though ;)

Triberr -- triberr.com
A type of "blog amplification" platform where you become part of a tribe and promote the works of other tribe members. The only experience I've had with this has been negative. It very much feels like spam - group organized and focused but still spam.

Reddit -- www.reddit.com
Another site I don't fully understand. It's user generated where people can submit links or text and others can vote to promote stories. I hear it all the time about something becoming big after being posted to Reddit or someone finding out something because someone posted it to Reddit.
No idea how you could use this to promote your blog...would love to hear your ideas if you're a Reddit user!

Other sites mentioned:

Tweetreach -- tweetreach.com
A tool for measuring the reach of your tweets. (Really tried hard to come up with a better explanation for this one :)

Google+ -- www.google.com
I have a Google+ account and I know people who are heavy users and love it. It's growing in popularity...just slowly I think. I do want to figure out how to add a Google+ share link to my blog posts.

Blogad products mentioned by speaker Robert Mooney

Distillry -- www.distillry.net
A website that can fiter your Twitter stream for you.

Twiangulate -- twiangulate.com
Another Twitter using device - it can help you find all the ways everything and everyone on Twitter is connected.

Pullquote -- pullquote.com
You can use Pullquote to "create a link to a paragraph on a web page" (like your blog). Great for "tweeting, micro-bookmarking and sharing key ideas".


I would love to know what social media sites you guys love!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

BEA Blogger's Conference Part 3: Blogging Platforms

I know you've probably seen a TON of post BEA recap posts

As to not overwhelm you with ALL THE WORDS, I've broken up my BEA experience into a couple of posts (you know, because more is less ;)

I've also broken down my posts into bullet points because I like them :)

Today I bring you my thoughts on:

BEA Blogger's Conference, Blogging Platforms

Speakers:
Rachel Rivera, Parajunkee
Stephanie Leary, Word Press Consultant
Evie Seo, Bookish
April Conant, Good Books and Good Wine

This panel was fun as the main focus was Blogger blogs vs Wordpress blogs.

I can't say that I agreed with all of what was said but it was all very interesting!

Here are some of the points discussed!

*Blogger has limited html use - if you like working with html there isn't a whole lot you can do

*Blogger is seen as a 'starting' point and most bloggers 'move up' to other platforms eventually and becasue of this you might be viewed differently by some if you use Blogger.

*A "blogspot.com" address is seen as less professional --- this was a point that I didn't agree with at all and not only because I'm one of those bloggers :)

*Blogger is free to use and is relatively easy. You can have a fully functioning blog that you can use without many problems, without having to pay a dime.

*Wordpress doesn't cache your blog so you are at the mercy of your host. If your host goes down your blog goes down. Traffic spikes to your blog can mean down time if your host can't keep up.

*Both offer free picture storage although Wordpress gives you more to start. Once you do have to pay for more, Blogger's prices are cheaper.

*If you want to make money with your blog (which I would never dream of doing) then WP is the way to go.

*Wordpress has more of a support system.

Now, here's the thing to remember. Wordpress is actually 2 different platforms. There is Wordpress.com which is free and hosted by WP and there is Wordpress.org which you have to pay for and self host.

Wordpress.com doesn't offer nearly as much as its .org counter part. It wasn't outright said but I think some would agree that Blogger is actually better overall then Wordpress.com -- SOME would agree with this I think.

Wordpress.org has TONS to offer but you need money to make it happen and the time and knowledge to do it well.

The way I see it is this: If you have time, money and knowledge you can really make a Wordpress.org blog look fantastic. You'll get a lot out of it and your readers will enjoy it BUT if you don't have the time, money or knowledge, you can still have a fantastic blog using Blogger.

When it comes right down to it your blog is what you make of it. For me at least, content is the most important part of a blog. Sidebars, headers, URLs, plugins, bells, whistles, fireworks -- these things are important also but not as important as the content of your blog.

For me, it's what you say, not how you say it.

Last but certainly not least in my little semi ranty recap of this panel I need to say - the speakers were FANTASTIC! They all obviously knew what they were talking about and did an extremely good job of sharing their thoughts with the audience. I might not agree with everything they said but I enjoyed hearing their opinions. It's one of my favorite things about being a blogger -- we are all so different with SO many different opinions (and not just about books :)

For more info on my BEA experience (because, you NEED more info don't you ;)
BEA Book Haul
BEA Blogger's Conference Part 1: Keynote Speakers and YA Blogging
BEA Blogger's Conference Part 2: Blogging and the FCC

Next up... Extending The Reach of Your Blog Online

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Novella Reading Week!

Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

I saw a tweet last night that led me Novella Reading Week hosted by Rachel of Fiktshun and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

I'm a little late to the party but the event runs until Sunday and I'm hoping I can get a ton of novellas read by then!

To sign up yourself click HERE

I'm setting some high goals for myself -- here are all the novella's I hope to get read and if I have time I might even re-read a few from a while ago :)




BEA Blogger's Conference Part 2: Blogging and the FCC

At this point you've probably seen a TON of post BEA recap posts 
(including my first one ;)

As to not overwhelm you with ALL THE WORDS, I've broken up my BEA experience into a couple of posts (you know, because more is less ;)

I've also broken down my posts into bullet points because I like them :)

Today I bring you my thoughts on:

BEA Blogger's Conference, Blogging and the FCC

All of these points are taken from the Ethics Forum Luncheon and please keep in mind that I am NOT an expert on any of this! I have read the FCC's rules and I've tried to be an informed as possible. This forum added to my knowledge of the situation BUT I urge you to seek out answer of your own regarding how you operate your own blog. For example, I do nothing with paid advertising or affiliate links or the like so there are some 'issues' I never need to think about.

People on the panel:
Jane Little - DearAuthor.com
Richard Newman - Hinch Newman LLP
Professor Geanne Rosenberg - Baruch College

Most of the notes I took came from what Richard said as he spoke the most regarding the FCC.

With that said - these are the things I took away from the Forum.

*The FCC is concerned with the consumer 
This means that they care about how a product is portrayed and how that portrayal effects what people pay money for. All rules and regulations in place follow this guideline of protecting the consumer.

*ARCs are freebies
Whether you agree with this or not - it's how the FCC sees things and it's how a lot of non bloggers see things as well.
You are getting something for free in exchange for a review -- the true retail value of the object (in the case of ARCs this is $0) doesn't matter.
Which leads into my next point...

*It's all about appearance
The FCC doesn't care how you got that book but they do care about what you say about WHERE you got that book.
Got it for review from the publisher? Tell your readers this in your review.
No magic words to use in your disclosure. A simple "I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for this review" works.
As long as you remember that...

*Where you put your disclosure is important
One blanket statement about how you receive products in exchange for reviews posted to your side bar? - Not good
A small footnote at the bottom of your review? - Also not good.
The FCC actually gives specifics on where your disclosure should be. As their interests lie in making sure the consumer is well informed they believe a disclosure should go up top and be easy to read (lots of things about mobile devices and not having to scroll anywhere to see it) and it should be placed before any hyperlinks (because we all know we love to click away whenever we can!)
But really we aren't talking about every review you post because...

*Negative reviews are 'critical' reviews and the FCC cares not
Really these rules I've talked about apply only to positive reviews.
Critical reviews - or negative reviews or non positive reviews or whatever you want to call them don't count.
A little weird but it makes sense if you think about it in a black and white sort of way.
People are going to buy what other people say is 'good'. The FCC wants to make sure people yelling 'good' are being fully upfront about everything.
People don't buy what other people say are 'bad'. No one is buying it, there is no consumer, the FCC doesn't care.
Does this reflect real life? Not really.
Is it easier to just disclosure the source of the books you are reviewing in every review you post? In my opinion - yes.

I've always had a little 'disclosure' statement at the beginning of my review posts stating where the book I read cam from, even if I bought it myself. I see no need to change this although I might format it a little differently.

Like I said before, how you operate your blog is up to you! Do you really have to worry about the FCC? Probably not but it's better to be safe then sorry and it doesn't take all that much to comply with their rules and regulations.

For more info on my BEA experience:
BEA Book Haul
BEA Blogger's Conference Part 1: Keynote Speakers and YA Blogging

Up tomorrow -- Blogging Platforms!

Monday, June 10, 2013

BEA Blogger's Conference Part 1: Keynote Speakers and YA Blogging

At this point you've probably seen a TON of post BEA recap posts.

As to not overwhelm you with ALL THE WORDS, I've broken up my BEA experience into a couple of posts (you know, because more is less ;)

I've also broken down my posts into bullet points because I like them :)


Today...oops...I mean Tonight! I bring you my thoughts on:


BEA Blogger's Conference Keynote Speakers, YA Blogging and...
other various things :)

*Opening Day Keynote speaker Will Schwalbe ruffled some feathers with his speech but all in all I think his heart was in the right place

*Loved it when he said "Books are how we take part in the human conversation" and that readers are "...looking for the book to do something for them." I totally agree with this!

*Meet with the NetGalley folks for a Wellness Check up - I love them and it was awesome.

*NetGalley is getting ready for some website changes this summer! Think, easier usability - very excited!

*Missed part of the panel called Young Adult Editor Insight Panel...and can't really remember what is was about...

*Second YA session was better - Young Adult Book Blogging Pros: Successes, Struggles and Insider Secrets - the speakers were all really great.

*Some good things in this one - like having back up plans for when you want to post something but it doesn't work out and a cool hint (to me at least) for using Edelweiss to search pub catalogs for upcoming releases.

*Some not so good things - like how you should 'force yourself to blog' and that you need to blog everyday or your blog isn't going to be successful. This doesn't really jive with how I do things but to each his own!

*Lunch was crazy and not well thought out at all.

*I was able to eat and make it back to the big meeting room for a lively (sarcasm ;) talk on Ethics - which was basically lots of talk around the FCC rules for bloggers..which I'll post about tomorrow!

*Closing keynote speaker was kind of a joke. Randi Zucherberg (brother of the other Zucherberg) spoke for a while about how great stuff and things are - now with Facebook!

*Ok - maybe it wasn't that bad but I got nothing out of her talk and I don't think she even said the word 'blog' once let alone anything that was relevant bloggers.

More tomorrow!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Roundup (20) - BEA BOOKS!

I'm so glad I put together these lists before I started organizing my book collection :)

BEA was wonderful and exhausting and I have lots of quick and no frills posts about my experience ready for you guys this week.

BUT!

What I really love talking about are THE BOOKS!

I was good this year - at least I think I was. I really tried not to take books I knew weren't for me. Even so, a few made it home that after some consideration I decided I wasn't going to keep.

Anything marked with a * at the end have since been added to my donation pile for my local teen librarian.
I apologize if something is pictured I forgot to list...brain full...no worky so good anymore...




Book Blogger's Convention
~Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender / October 2013 Scholastic
~Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken / October 2013 Hyperion
~The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch / September 2013 Scholastic
~Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow / October 2013 Arthur A. Levine
~Winds of Salem: A Witches of East End Novel (The Beauchamp Family #3) by Melissa de la Cruz / August 2013 Hyperion

Harper Publisher Party
~Wait for You (Wait for You #1) by J. Lynn / September 2013
~The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney / October 2013
(I also received some contemporary fiction books that I gave to my aunt)

Simon Teen Publisher Party
~Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn #2) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian / September 2013
~OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu / July 2013
~Chantress (Chantress Trilogy #1) by Amy Butler Greenfield / May 2013
~Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young / August 2013
~When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds / January 2014 (not pictured)
~Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano / October 2013 (not pictured)


Thursday
~Ghost Time by Courtney Eldridge / June 2013 Amazon Children's Publishing
~Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake / September 2013 Tor Teen
~Treasure Hunters by James Patterson / September 2013 Little Brown
~Unbreakable (Legion #1) by Kami Garcia / October 2013 Little Brown
~Wild Born (Spirit Animals #1) by Brandon Mull / September 2013 Scholastic
~The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos / May 2013 Starscape
~These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner / December 2013 Disney Hyperion
~Nowhere To Run (The 39 Clues: Unstoppable, #1) by Jude Watson / October 2013 Scholastic
~Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles / October 2013 Walker Books*
~Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper / August 2013 McElderry Books*
~Storm Watcher by Maria V. Snyder / October 2013 Leap Books
~The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner / October 2013 Delacorte Books
~Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes / August 2013 Harper
~Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman / October 2013 Harper

Friday
~Hostage Three by Nick Lake / October 2013 Bloom
~Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan / August 2013 Knopf Books
~All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry / September 2013 Viking Juvenile
~Vicious by V. E. Schwab / September 2013 Tor
~Hypnotize Me by Gordon Korman / September 2013 Scholastic
~Charming (Pax Arcana #1) by Elliott James / September 2013 Orbit
~The Boy On The Porch by Sharon Creech / September 2013 Harper*
~Indelible (The Twixt #1) by Dawn Metcalf / July 2013 Harlequin Teen
~The Bone Season (Scion #1) by Samantha Shannon / August 2013 Bloomsbury
~The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown #1) by Holly Black / September 2013 Little Brown
~Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan / March 2013 HarperTeen
~Body and Blood (The Survivors #3) by Amanda Havard / July 2013 Chafie Press*
~Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling / March 2013 Tor
~The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave #1) by Rick Yancey / May 2013 Putnam Juvenile

Saturday
~Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston / September 2013 Putnam Juvenile
~Awoken by Timothy Miller / August 2013 Spencer Hill Press
~Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1) by Ransom Riggs / June 2013 Quirk
~Relic (Book of Eva #1) by Heather Terrell / October 2013 Soho Teen
~The Ward (The Ward #1) by Jordana Frankel / April 2013 Katherine Tegen Books
~Find Me by Romily Bernard / September 2013 Harper Teen
~Independent Study (The Testing #2) by Joelle Charbonneau / January 2014 Houghton Miffin
~Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian / October 2013 Carolrhoda LAB*
~The Creature Department by Robert Paul Weston / November 2013 Razorbill*
~False Sight (False Memory #2) by Dan Krokos / August 2013 Hyperion
~Hereafter (Shadowlands #2) by Kate Brian / October 2013 Hyperion*
~Shadowlark (Skylark #2) by Meagan Spooner / October 2013 Carolrhoda LAB


Which are you the most excited for?

What should I read first!?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NetGalley Challenge: June Review Link-Up + Giveaway


Time to link up those June NetGalley reviews!

This is for those participating in my NetGalley Challenge - if you would like to join in, check out the sign up post.

Instructions:

1. Be sure you are signed up for the challenge
*If your blog isn't listed on the challenge sign up post your review(s) may be deleted and you will not be eligible for the monthly prize.

2. Link up 1 review of a NetGalley book you posted in June
*Use the 'Name' field in the linky for the book title and author.
*If your review did not post in June it may be deleted.
*All NetGalley books are fair game but I do ask if the review, or your blog, is NC-17 please make a note of such with the link.
UPDATE *If your review does not clearly state that you obtained and are reviewing the book via NetGalley your link may be deleted.
UPDATE *It doesn't have to be a book you read in June, simply a review you posted in June.

3. Visit other reviews!
*Discover some new to you blogs, read some reviews and leave some comment love!

4. Earn extra links / contest entries
*For every review you visit and comment on, you can post another one of your reviews in the linky.
*You can post up to 5 of your own reviews -- and therefor gain up to 5 entries in this month's contest.
(1 review for 'free' and 4 others IF you visited and commented on 4 other reviews)
*Please be honest and please leave actual thoughtful comments (the same type you yourself would like to receive)

You can post your June reviews until
July 15th

On July 16th I will use Random.org to pick a review winner!

This month's prize is
A $20 Amazon Gift Card (for US participants)
OR
$20 worth of books from The Book Depository (for international folks)


To get us started, I've linked up a couple of my recent NetGalley reviews. If you're one of the first to visit, be sure to leave your link and check back later for others.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments or via email :)



Monday, June 3, 2013

I'm Back!

I'm home! 

Got a few hours with my family yesterday before bedtime and now it's back to work.

I had such a fabulous week and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Detailed posts to come soon but in the mean time, here are some pics of the pretties I was lucky enough to take home with me :)

These came from the Book Bloggers Convention (which will be getting an entire post of it's own!) and also a few a publisher parties I was invited to.

Thursday - BEA day 1

Friday - BEA day 2

Saturday - BEA day 3