Monday Morning Check-in: Blogging for Books

Good Monday morning everyone.  I have a confession.  I’m typing this up on Saturday, scandalous I know.  I had some time to fill and a topic to discuss so I decided to schedule this post.

So have you heard?  Blogging for Books is closing.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.  I did write a Bookish Thoughts post here, about being done with the program as they never had books I was interested in.  I lied, or rather I couldn’t give up the temptation of being offered a physical book to review that I could keep.  Don’t get me wrong I love the digital arcs but it is nice to have a book I can put on my shelf when I’m done.  Especially if it is one I loved.  For instance, I received my copy of The Martian through Blogging For Books and I’ve read it like three times now.  So I’m sad the program is closing down but not surprised.

I imagine they felt the cost of sending the books was not worth the reviews they were getting.  After all, they are still offering digital arcs through Net Galley and their (crappy) First to Read program.  I totally don’t blame them but I have to say if perhaps you offered books that people were excited about then perhaps the quality of reviews would have been better.  I only participated in the program for three or four years but besides The Martian, I never found anything truly exciting in their offerings.  It always felt like books they were second or third tier titles.  Maybe I just wasn’t a popular enough blogger to be offered better titles though.  I also didn’t care for the hoops they made up jump through.  Proving our influence on social media through a Klout rating.  Maybe another reason the program failed.

I’m still active on Net Galley but have noticed that many of the publishers are not listing their big upcoming release titles for request anymore.  I have been offered widgets through email from a couple of publishers but when I go to search the title I can’t find where people can put in a request.  So perhaps all the publishers are simply becoming more exclusive in who they offer their books to.  Or maybe not.

Others have mentioned to me it is nice to not have an arc to review as then there aren’t 40 different blogs reviewing the same book.  I agree but I still find it fun to score an arc by an author I’m a huge fan of.

I know I’ve not been a blogger for all that long but I feel like the environment is changing.  I can only control this little corner of the internet however and no matter what happens as long as I am reading I will be posting my reviews.  You might have to deal with older titles but that isn’t such an awful thing.  After all, it might be a great way to find some great book that perhaps you missed when it first came out.

So what are your thoughts about Blogging for Books closing?  Will you miss them or have you already written them off ages ago?

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Monday Morning Check-In: I have been reading!

Good morning everyone.  It might not look like it due to the lack of reviews but I have been reading.  I’ve decided to make it policy for the blog that ARC reviews get published on the day of their release.  Makes it easier that way as some publishers don’t care and some want you to hold them until the week before and others not until release day.  So if I actually manage to get a book read on time you all won’t see the review until release day.  Next week I have either two or three reviews lined up to go live so keep your eyes open for them.

Not a lot of reading over the weekend.  Managed to dig up some of my potatoes and list some items on eBay as we have not posted anything new there for some time with major cleaning that took part in the beginning of the month. The house looked so nice I decided to try to keep it that way by taking an hour out of each day this weekend to work on tidying up.  While I’m comfortable with a bit of clutter in the house I’m kind of digging this clean home feeling.  Even managed to straighten up a cupboard and weed some dishes on Sunday!  Looks so much nicer.

Well, I need to continue with laundry and practice my Halloween makeup for next week.  I also hope to finish up a novella I started on Friday.  Have a great week, happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: First Year Five Stars

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

September 12: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog

Repetitively speaking my blog isn’t that old, I founded Read What I Like back in 2014, so there wasn’t a huge number of books to pull from and many are fresh in my mind.  I decided to go back and find the first 10 books that I gave five-star reviews for, only one per author.  It is interesting to see how my reading and writing has changed since my first year and I wonder if I continue to stand by my five-star ratings for the following books.  Let’s find out!

Ten books that earned five stars my first year of blogging.

Books will link to their original review instead of Goodreads for this post.

  1. Fury (The Cure, #1)  This was the first book I gave five stars to on my blog!  It was a great story but sadly I have not finished the trilogy.  I still have it on my Nook but simply too much time has passed and my reading taste changed too much for me to pick this world up again.  I continue to recommend it to others however.
  2.  Hard to believe it was only three short years ago that I discovered this series and now it only has two more books before it ends.  I’m going to miss this world so much as Ms. Jones has become one of my favorite authors.  If you have not read this series I highly recommend you jump all over that bandwagon.
  3. Illusion (Chronicles of Nick, #5) Happy to see that my favorite author made the list even if it is for her YA spin-off series.  The next installment of this series should be out soon.  Only like six or seven more to go…
  4. Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures  This is one of the first physical review books I received as well as one of the, if not thee first, non-fiction books I reviewed here.
  5. Mostly Magic One of my two regular indie authors that I enjoy.  This is a charming series and I encourage you to go check her work out.
  6. Wolver's Gold (The Wolvers, #5) And here we have the other indie author!  Ms. Rhoades has become a good friend through online social networks and reviewing her books.  I did miss out on her latest release, however, and plan to pick that one up to review as well.  After all the hours of enjoyment her books have brought me I thought it only fair that I actually buy a few of her books!  Also my reading life has been a bit chaotic the past year or so…
  7. Prototype (Archetype #2) This was another review book that I absolutely fell for and wished the author had written a few more books set in this world.  So much potential!
  8. The Martian Wow.  I can’t believe I read this book the first year I was blogging!  It seems like it was so long ago yet I continue to pimp this title regularly on the blog and with my library patrons.  Can’t wait to share my thoughts on his second book coming in November.
  9. The Book of Life Loved this trilogy so much. I’m delighted to see that it is being made into a tv series but a bit disappointing that it won’t be releasing in the United States.  Not the end of the world.  I am thrilled to learn though that the author plans to write more books set in this world, though.
  10. Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #4)  Ah, the turning point for this series for me.  I was not a big fan until this book then everything turned and I was thrilled when Read What I Like became a blog stop for the final book in this series.  I am also looking forward to the spin-off series coming out soon.

Well there you have my first ten five-star reviews!  I don’t think I would change the rating on any of them.

Bookish Thoughts: Amazon Review Notice

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Notice:  Read What I Like blog will no longer post reviews for any author to Amazon.  In light of recent events I feel that it is not a safe atmosphere to publish my opinion.  I will continue to post reviews to my blog, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads (yes, I know it is owned by Amazon). My reviews links are also cross posted to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumbler.  I may be open to other requests to non-Amazon sites like Smashwords and authors are welcome to share them on their personal website and media links.  I will not delete the current reviews shared at Amazon, but no further ones will be made.  I understand if this means you do not wish for me to review your book, but my personal safety comes first.  Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Monday Morning Question: Blogging?

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Good Monday Morning to all of you out there.  I hope you had a great Christmas and got all the bookish items on your want list.  I already told you about my new Samsung Nook that I got this year, my other gift was three new peafowl.  I lost my hen and hubby agreed to me getting a new bird.  Well one new bird turned into three new birds and I’ve decided my husband is a saint for putting up with all the critter drama on our small farm.  I might be starting up a Facebook, YouTube, or blog to share the critter adventures that my friends on FB enjoy following.  I’ll be sure to post a link here once I decide what direction I’m going.  Anyway, back to bookish topics, or rather blogging this morning.

So I thought I would ask all of you to share some of your blogging habits or tips in the comments section.  I’m thinking of making some changes at the start of the new year.  Main one might be a new theme for the blog,  getting tired of the blue, more in a purple mood lately. I know they say not to make a lot of changes right away when you start, but I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and I think, hope, that changing the look won’t matter to followers. Have you changed your theme?  How did your followers respond?  I also might look into changing the format of my review posts.  What sort of information do you all include in your reviews?  What would you like to see: page counts, publisher, links to authors website, price, etc.  What sort of weekly memes do you participate in?  I try to post this Monday Morning Question, Top Ten Tuesday, and a Thursday Thoughts most weeks so I have at least three blog posts.   If I am going to have a review on Thursday, I might skip that meme though.   I also post a monthly review.  What sort of recurring posts do you all have?  Your most popular?

Have a Happy New Year everyone.  I will have a Top Ten Tuesday and hopefully one more review to post this year.

Various Short Stories by Andy Weir

As many of you know The Martian was my favorite story of the year and it was also a reader’s choice winner over at Goodreads.  I spent the morning reading many of the short stories he has published on his website, http://www.galactanet.com/writing.html.  (In my opinion) Mr. Weir is a very talented writer and I suggest you take a few moments to visit his site and read some of these stories for yourself.

Anyway, since I read them and wrote up short reviews I thought I would share them with you in a single review post.  I have linked the title of each story directly to its page at his site, but you can also review them at Goodreads too.

The Egg

5 Stars

Loved this short story. Found on author’s website. Makes you think and beautiful. Would wish it was longer, but its pretty great the way it is.

Annie’s Day

5 Stars

Brilliant. I had to read this short story twice. Once I knew the twist I had to go through it again and read it from the perspective of knowing “who” Annie was. Until I knew that thought it was kinda creepy, so read to the end and then you will get it. Very clever!

Antihypoxiant

3 stars

I liked this one too. Less than the others I’ve read, but it still makes you think. This story is much more a character piece then a twist ending, but it has that too. This author really seems to click for me, I can’t wait to read his next full length book.

Bored World

3 Stars

Probably my least favorite so far. Kinda wish it was expanded though. Maybe if the story was longer I would have enjoyed it more. I want to know more about the Omnipotent character and would have enjoyed seeing what other havoc they could have created.

Meeting Sarah

4 Stars

Another good one. This author has mastered a twist ending. Very sweet story, enjoyed the ideas it presented and it definitely had heart. Starts off not knowing where the hell you are going, but by the end you are smiling and wanting to re-read to make sure you’ve caught everything.

The Real Deal

5 Stars

Wow, another great short story by this author. I’m going to have to read more of them. I started off rolling my eyes a bit but ended in tears. So beautiful. Love.

The Chef

4 Stars

Wow. Really a different piece. Demonstrates the talent this author possesses. A much darker story, do read this one twice.

There are a few more, but I’m going to save those for another day.  Enjoy and happy reading!

Thursday Thoughts: Novella November.

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I was going through my Nook yesterday looking for short stories and novellas to read so I can catch up, seven books behind, and make my reading goal for the year.  I found twenty of them just in new free downloads alone.  I’m thinking there might be many, many more on not only my Nook but the Kindle as well.  I was wondering how I could work this into the blog and wallah I came up with Novella November!  For the month of November I am going to work on cleaning off all of those Novellas, defined as 180 pages or less, from my e-readers.  This is going to mean a lot of reviews coming in November.  I will try to combine them into multiple review posts so I don’t clutter up your news feed or in-boxes.   I may also read a few full length novels in the month, but my focus is going to be mainly on novellas.  I will try to add to the post where I got the novella and how much it cost, I’m thinking most of them were free.  So for the rest of the month I am going to work on clearing out three ARC reviews and a couple of other titles and then come November it is Novella time.  Maybe I can even reach my reading goal early this year!

Thursday Thoughts: Love an author? Leave a review.

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This week has me (still) working hard for my husband.  We are now signed up to do two book signings, one local and one at our Alma mater, Graceland University.  There are posters to be made, books to be ordered, publicity to thought up, details to be ironed out all on top of his website and social media accounts to be maintained.  There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes and beyond just writing the damn book that really it is a full-time job in itself.  When you are an indie author this also all falls on your, or your spouse’s, shoulders.  It will be worth it to see his dream realized, but seriously it is eating into my reading time…  Also all this work will only go so far to sell books.  Sure people you know are going to be supportive and buy a book, people even once removed might buy a copy to support a local author or out of curiosity. But to sell to people who don’t know you, have never heard of you, you need reviews.  So today I implore you if you love a book, like it a little, or even don’t care for it… leave a review.  It helps the author so much.  Positive thoughtful reviews that simply state what you though give a book weight, help it catch the eye of others that might enjoy it too.  Negative reviews help too (BUT be kind in your criticism), they help the author grow and learn from their mistakes.  They also help lend credibility to the book.  Too much positive can make readers suspicious and wonder if the only people who left reviews are family and friends.  You don’t need to be a book blogger to share your opinions, just willing to take a moment out of your day to pop over and leave a couple of sentences at Amazon, B&N and/or Goodreads.  So I challenge you to go leave a review for your favorite book, or least favorite.  Thank an author for all of their hard work, let them know it is appreciated.

Monday Morning Question: Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

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Good Monday morning everyone.  Must confess I’m not feeling it this morning, so I am relying on one of my questions that I thought up a while ago and have saved for morning just like this.  This morning I ask: Have your reading habits changed since you started blogging? How? This question mainly applies to my fellow book bloggers, but if you are not one of them feel free to share how your habits might have changed through reading book blogs.

For me I’m more conscious of how many books I’m reading a week, how many reviews I’m writing. I also think my reviews have changed as well.  They are much more detailed and definitely longer, I’ve leaned a lot from reading all of your reviews. I also pay attention more while reading and know quicker when a book isn’t working for me.  I’m also noticing more of the structure and clichés that authors sometimes use.  I also know I am a sucker for free books, and will request way to many for review through Net Galley.  I’ve had to set up some rules for myself in that regard.  I am also more conscious of when I’m not reading, especially when I’m behind in books like I am now.

The blog is fun though, and I’m surprised at how much it feels like a job at times.  Perhaps I’m making it harder than it needs to be, but I’m enjoying it.  If it ever becomes a job that is no longer fun I will probably stop requesting books for review and cut back in how many books I pledge to read.  I’m glad some of you enjoy reading my thought as well.

Well as I said I’m behind, need to get off the computer and put in some pages.  I have an ARC book that I’m working on and while its good, the text is very tiny on my nook and is slowing me down…

Month in Review: New Meme!

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Decided to have a new meme for the blog. This one is going to be just monthly and I will go over the previous month’s reading and share what goals I have for the next month with you all.  Excited yet!  I thought so…  I’ve already done recap posts, but being a lover of categories I now have a new have a space to assign these posts.  I will try to keep these posts to the first of the month, mainly so I can justify using the picture I created with a one in it…

 

So here we are, waving good-bye to June and half the year along with it!  It’s not fair, I love the warmer months and winter never passes as quickly as spring and summer.  Before we move on to July lets summarize June.  I managed to read 15 titles this month, better than I expected.  Sure some of theme were ‘cheater’ novellas, but I’m counting titles not pages.  Doing well on that front though too, 26352 pages read this year so far by good reads, spread over 95 different books.  Not bad for the half way mark.  I did post this already, but if you missed it,  I  lowered my reading goal from 200 books to 180 titles.  I’m still going to shoot for as close to 200 as possible, but the being behind was really getting to me.  As we tell our participants of the Summer Reading Program, you can always read over your goal.

Now for July.  My favorite month of the year.  Might have something to do with my birthday right around the corner on the 17th, books are always a nice gift…  There is also the Fourth of July my favorite holiday; love the fireworks, cooking out and parades!  I also work at our county fair during fair week.  It is a lot of fun,  I am on a committee with a great group of ladies and we run the creative arts entries and exhibit (quilts, cooking, crafts, knitting, woodworking, photography, etc)  It is held in the town I went to school in so it is also a great week to see old friends.  So there are lots of non-reading reasons I love July.  Reading wise, the book I have been waiting for for two years comes out in 15 days! The  Book of Life, book 3 in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness release date July 15th (I know what I’m getting for my birthday).  So this month I have decided to do my series re-read for the year.  I am going to read books one and two of the All Souls Trilogy before I read the last book.  There are a couple of review books I have signed up for, including my first cookbook review.  There wasn’t any fiction books that looked interesting over at Blogging for Books, but they had this cookbook on Thai food that looked promising.  July is going to fly by with so much to do, I’m not sure how much reading I will get done.  I am going to set a goal of 10 book this month and hope to do better.

Well that about cover it.  I look forward to sharing my reviews and reading all of yours.  Happy reading everyone!