Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge

Notice how you get braver as you get older? Take on new challenges?

Well, it doesn’t amount to learning to ride a motorcycle at 55 years, but this year I went hunting for reading challenges, and although I did not catch either of these in December or even January, found two I wanted to try this year. I have gathered those books read beginning in 2018 and performed some serious catch-up. I have added a page I’m calling Reading Challenge to collect any new reads posted to either challenge so you can follow my progress during the year. (My Goodreads Challenge is 90 books and progress appears in the widget column to the right.)

The NetGalley and Edelweiss Challenge

In for a penny–in for a pound–and I went straight to the platinum level, which translates to 75 books for the year. Seventy-five books just from these two sources will definitely be a challenge for me. If you’d like to sign up for this challenge, click here. Continue reading “Reading Challenge”

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Will Bookbloggers Abandon Pinterest? Maybe–Here’s Why

Will Bookbloggers Abandon Pinterest?

So, was the Pinterest platform created for people with too much time on their hands, or as a serious media form with myriad connection capabilities?

I’ve mentioned before my attempts at understanding the attraction and heaven knows I’ve been bombarded with invitations by “experts” for advice on learning how to expand my followers and make significant gains in either monetizing my blog or directing traffic to sales through Pinterest. (Except that my blog is not particularly sales driven.)

I have twelve boards and umpteen “pins” and the one that catches the most traffic is the one of Iris Apfel, whose repins (at age 93) greatly outnumber my own and does nothing for my stats. How fair is that?

Launched in 2010, Pinterest was designed to discover information on the www mainly through the use of images. Images were where it was at! In particular, I do enjoy the Infographics you readily find on Pinterest.

However, I like that Instagram may become a powerful adjunct to my blog. It’s simple! Even I can do it! And I get a lot of positive engagement from Instagram, second only (and sometimes tying) to Twitter (not facebook). I’m still fairly new to posting on Instagram, but adding followers at a consistent pace. I particularly appreciate the ability to add appropriate hashtags and find that authors and other book bloggers, as well as publishers, haunt your posts. There is a limit on the use of hashtags of course, but many can do double duty, where appropriately added to your twitter post. Here are a few of my favorite hashtags for Instagram/Bookstagram (keeping in mind these are not to be used for every post–change them up!):

#book #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #igreads #igbooks #epicreads #booklife #bibliophile #read #reading #reader #booklover #bookaddict #booknerd #bookworm #booksbooksbooks #bookstagramfeature #readingforfun #booksworthreading #readinglist #bookswag #readingisfundamental #currentlyreading #amreading #bookshelf #newbook #goodbook #reviewbook #mybooks #goodreads #bookrecommendations #bookblog #bookblogger #tbr #indieauthor #bibliophile #mustread

Rather than using Pinterest as a major source of traffic, I see a few of my fellow book bloggers using Pinterest as a side link, sort of a sub-blog. In fact, I found that shockingly few post a link to Pinterest. It appears most bloggers opt to link to Instagram and Twitter. (If you also have a Pinterest account that I missed it here, please let me know and I’ll be glad to follow.)

Lynne at Fictionophile

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Adventures of a Bibliophile

The Cozy Pages

Of course, more than images now the use of videos, vlogs, and gifs. Videos–videos are where it’s at! Well, I won’t be doing many of those soon, so I’ll continue to work on images, particularly through the use of Instagram and Bookstagram, which I’ve also alluded to rather recently.

I’m still not sold that the hours and hours of time I’ve spent on Pinterest has been worth it, but I see huge inroads of web interest in Instagram and the buzz says this is where the major focus will occur in 2018. I’m thinking that besides the time spent on my blog, that is where I’ll focus my secondary hours. How about you? Do you still use Pinterest or has Twitter and Instagram taken a new lead for you? I’d love to hear your comments! ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Rosepoint #Reviews – January Recap

Congratulations to you for surviving the holidays and making it through January! Isn’t that considered the worst of winter is over? We can only hope! It’s certainly been a frantic month for me, back to reading, reviewing, and concentrating on “stats.” (Yes, I know. I’m not supposed to think about those, but…)

I have achieved some goals: 

Books to Cell
Photo attribution: Shutterstock

Blog stats (hit 1,000 followers–Thank you all–again!), Goodreads stats (made my Book Challenge!), Amazon reviewer status (now down under 15K), and NetGalley stats achieved 80%–gonna keep it that way and pushing for my 50 reviews badge. (As a new reviewer on NetGalley, it’s easy to fall into that trap–BOOKS! All those BOOKS! I want them all–no, wait…oops!)

So, besides the ARC’s from NetGalley, there was #ThrowbackThursdays highlighting two of my favorite authors (Jodie Bailey and Linda McDonald). Spent some heavy time doing #AmReading posts, #TBR posts, and #Bookstagrams, the latter of which has fired up new ideas for “staging” books and that’s been fun.

Eleven January reads, most ARC’s through NetGalley and one read (#11) by my associate, the CE (If you haven’t caught his review yet, check it out!):

  1. January 02 – No Turning Back by Nancy Bush
  2. January 04 – The Last Homecoming by Dan Chabot (author request)
  3. January 07 – Grist Mill Road by Christopher J Yates
  4. January 09 – Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel
  5. January 10 – Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
  6. January 14 – An Engineered Injustice by William L Myers Jr
  7. January 16 – Dark Ocean by Nick Elliott (author request)
  8. January 21 – Deep Zero by V S Kemanis
  9. January 23 – An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig
  10. January 28 – Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall
  11. January 30 – The Yanks Are Starving by Glen Craney (author request)

See anything here that catches your eye? These run the gamut from historical fiction to psychological and legal thrillers and I know you’ve read at least one of them.

I’m having a tough time keeping up with reading and commenting on all your reviews! I comment when I can and I enjoy receiving all your comments here as well as the likes and comments on Bookstagram.

Photo attibution: lifewithdogsandcatsMaybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes us longer. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Thank You – 1,000 Followers!

Thank you for 1000 followers!

This blog has now achieved 1,000 followers! Thank you to each of every one of you who has read and followed my reviews, posts, and rambling observations. I could not have reached this milestone without your support. I am grateful for all the likes and each and every one of your comments!

Thank you new visitors and regular blogging buddies!

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Instagram vs WordPress – Want More From Your Pics?

Rob Moses PhotographyRob Moses at Rob Moses Photography started his blog about the same time as I, was one of the first to follow me, and I’ve followed with interest his beautiful and unique pictures. I’ve mentioned him before. He takes a lot of pictures; a lot of different types of pictures. Street photography and city skylines are some of his most favourite things to shoot, but he also finds himself shooting more landscapes than he thought he would.

Most recently, he ran a rant about Instagram vs WordPress which I found so exactly echoed my own sentiments, as well as recent discussions with many of my own followers, that I thought I’d share with you. No doubt you agree. Instagram is too much fun, gets too much attention, and so rewarding that’s it’s difficult to get back to the WP blog subject of the day. For me, of course, the time is spent in crafting “bookstagrams.” (And you have my invitation to follow my efforts in the widget column on the right or @rosepointpub.)

New Review!

For me, Instagram is an attractive alternative to either Pinterest or Facebook. The two image-sharing platforms were both released approximately 2010 and I’ve yet to really figure out Pinterest. According to Digital Guide, there were approximately 400 million Instagrammers to 100 million Pinteresters back in 2016. Currently, there are almost 75 million WordPress sites out there with over 50% of those (or 37 million) on the free WordPress.com. There are articles on WP vs Tumblr, WP vs Squarespace and Instagram vs Flickr. (And I did try Flickr.) But Instagram–and further–Bookstagram really caught my attention.  Now that Instagram has the “story” capability, the ability to add dialogue has expanded dramatically. I love books and they make some gorgeous pictures and now stories (posts) as well!

Time is at such a premium–especially at my age–and I no longer have a full-time job. As jmeyersforeman noted in part, “I think both Instagram and WordPress have their purpose, as you said, Instagram is great for it’s immediacy, while WordPress gives you a longer format to explore topics and it takes time to develop those posts…we only have so much time in the day and we have to decide where we get the most reward for our time.”

And everyone loves pictures! What do you think? Love to work your pictures into your Instagram and blog? ©2018 V Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

“Secret Writing Rules” and Why to Ignore Them – Reblogged from Chris at TSRA

Reblog

Christopher Graham over at The Story Reading Ape’s Blog has a mission to introduce authors to readers and authors to introduce themselves. The man has a massive following and with good reason, he delivers. He refers to his blog as TSRA and recently guested an article by Anne R. Allen who wrote “Secret Writing Rules” and Why to Ignore Them.

The article posted on January 4, 2018. I loved it, found it most appropriate, had a good laugh, and commented to Chris that I’d be reblogging. (Only one problem–no reblog button! So I’ve resorted to the link below.) He no doubt believes I’d forgotten–but there is no chance–I’m sure you’ll find the article as fun and informative as did I! She leads the article with this quote from Somerset Maugham, “There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.” Yeah–you gotta read it. BTW, Anne’s latest book is called “Easy Blogging for Busy Authors.”

“It’s good to learn these rules—because it’s way more fun to break them when you know what they are. But then go ahead and smash them with gleeful abandon.”

 

Anne R Allen - author
Anne R Allen Blog with Ruth Harris

 

The Story Reading Ape

©2018 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

 

My Favorite Reads of 2017-Rosepoint Publishing

My Top 12 Favorite Books for 2017

Welcome to my version of The Bloggers Dozen–twelve of my favorite reads during 2017.

These are laid out in chronological order, and please don’t ask me to narrow it down any further. I didn’t choose these by the rating I gave them, though most came in between 4.5 and 5 stars. They all resonate with me–still. Lest you think they may all be thriller and suspense (since I seem to lean that way), I’ll mention that they were actually all over the board from Literary Fiction to Cozy Mysteries and Animals. I did have a number of other five stars reads–just that these were special for me.

Okay, it’s no secret I’m a sucker for a story that includes (especially) dogs animals. Also, if I had to count–and even I was curious–of the twelve listed here, free BookBub books only accounted for one this year as I discovered NetGalley and got serious about their offerings to the tune of 58.3% of those I downloaded. That doesn’t add up to 100% though, does it? That’s because I devoted 33.3% to author requests and beta-reads.

Follow the link to explore my full review and give you additional links to the books. Perhaps you might find one you missed that looks particularly exciting for you as well–I HOPE SO!

Stone Song by Wil BlevinsStone Song by Wil Blevins

This is the story of the Lakota Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse, a man who lived—and died tragically—on his own terms. HistFic 5/5 Stars

Dining and Driving with Cats by Pat PattersonDining and Driving with Cats-Alice Unplugged by Pat Patterson 

Travelogue from Mexico to the “Boudin Capital of the World” with two kitties loose in the car. (Doncha just love that cover?!) Foodies will love! Travelogue-food 5/5 Stars

Telemachus by Peter GrayTelemachus by Peter Gray

Interpret this anthropomorphic metaphor as a Greek tragedy, engaging all the elements of love, challenge, loss, and triumph as seen through the POV of a protagonist bird and his flock. Literary Fiction 5/5

Hunting Hour by Margaret MizushimaHunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima 

Loved, loved, loved, this Timber Creek K-9 Mystery and K-9 drug-sniffing German shepherd, Robo. Cozy mystery-5/5 Stars

Fender by Brent JonesFender by Brent Jones

This emotionally packed literary saga will have you grabbing for a hankie. (But it is a “good” cry.) Fender is a Beagle, btw. Literary Fiction 5/5 Stars

Snap Judgment by Marcia ClarkSnap Judgment by Marcia Clark

If you thought a novel by an attorney (yes, “that” Marcia Clark) would be stale, dry, and unappealing, then look again. Suspense-crime 4.5/5

Sea of Doubt by Jeremy D. HoldenSea of Doubt-The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Jeremy D. Holden

You know by the title that you are in for an intelligent and socially unacceptable ride and after the hook at the beginning, that’s how this book proceeds. So how would you announce to the world the Second Coming? Mystery-suspense 4.5/5 Stars

Her Last Secret by Barbara CopperthwaiteHer Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite

Loved the way this brilliant author took you to the week prior to the tragic Christmas day event, seamlessly introducing each of the major characters using their own POV. Gripping psychological thriller 5/5 Stars

Bonfire by Krysten RitterBonfire by Krysten Ritter

I’ve said it before, will say it again–how is this fair? Ritter is a successful actress–pretty, intelligent, and now an author? Yes, she can grow, but really, try reading this and visualize Jessica Jones. Psychological thriller 3.5/5

Outside the Wire by Patricia SmileyOutside the Wire by Patricia Smiley

At last–a female protagonist not damaged by an abusive childhood or sporting model-like height and classic features! This lady sounds real. Sympathetic commentary on ex-military. Suspense-thriller 4.5/5 Stars

The Whispering Room by Dean KoontzThe Whispering Room (A Jane Hawk Novel) by Dean Koontz

Jane is the ubiquitous former FBI agent gone rogue. She’s smart, she’s dangerous, and she’s on a mission. Uh oh Suspense-thriller 4.5/5 Stars

The Wild Road to Key West by Michael ReisigThe Wild Road to Key West (The Cave of the Stars) by Michael Reisig

The Hole in the Coral Wall Gang always does the right thing. One of my favorite authors; this book includes some HistFic-Men’s Adventures 5/5 Stars

Which of the above did you read? Did I miss something fantastic this year that you’d love to tell me about? Do you have a suggestion (book or author) for my 2018 reads?

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve and a successful 2018!

Happy New Year!

The Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition AwardI am thrilled to announce that I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award before Christmas by The Cozy Pages.  Surprise Christmas gift, thank you! The Cozy Pages enjoys reading, writing, coffee in the morning, and mysteries! And she posts about her odyssey on her dynamic website. She is also open to review requests, but you should check out her Review Policy to see that your genre is one she accepts. You will love her blog; read and follow.

So what’s this Award about?

Blogger Recognition Award

Once you are nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award, if you wish to accept your nomination, you must follow these rules:

  • Generate a post about the award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a brief story about how your blog began.
  • Provide two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers.
  • Select 15 blogs to nominate.
  • Comment on each nominee’s blog and provide a link to the post that you created about the award.

How My Blog Began

As most of you know, I began my blog as a way to create a social media presence following the publication of my grandfather’s manuscripts. With no clue what I was doing, it took me several years to gear up and find a niche, although it seems the niche found me. I was getting a lot of free books from BookBub, but so many of those books already had a large following. Joining author groups, I was able to participate personally with debut authors. As a side benefit from participating with authors, I began receiving review requests. My posts shifted specifically to #bookblogging, #bookreviewing, and all things books from #blogtour to #booklaunch.

Blogging Advice from Me:

I continue to get more review requests than I can manage to read, and have much to learn in the way of social media promotion. Computers remain a mystery to me, but there are so many sources of information on so many platforms, that (thankfully) it’s easier than ever to find answers.

  1. The biggest education in my growth goals was membership in the Phoenix Book Marketing and Promotion Meetup in Phoenix, Az. Laura Orsini always had wise words for us newbie bloggers, the biggest of which was to blog early, often, and intelligently, introducing us to the 30-day challenge and blog prompts. It’s tough to get your website out there. Competition is extreme. Expect to give it a lot of dedicated time and effort. Hang in there–it’s worth it!
  2. The other two most helpful sources of growth for me has been Twitter and now Instagram (Bookstagram), replacing Facebook, where I never really caught on and probably blew my initial setup. There was more than enough push to participate in Pinterest, but that never got me any traffic and I’m still scratching my head over what the whole thing is about.
  3. Seek other bloggers in your niche and cultivate followers or subscribers. They can teach you so much! Find a platform you can work with and search for bloggers with whom you can exchange information, guest posts, or sources of photos or graphics. You’ll need them.

As with The Cozy Pages, I feel 15 is more than I can manage with my current schedule, so I’ve provided these few below in no particular order. These are all excellent #bookbloggers who provide excellent reviews. Check them out and follow!

Adventures of a Bibliophile

Book Journey

Books Beyond the Story

Books Teacup and Reviews

Chat About Books

Clues and Reviews

Novel Gossip

The Geeky Bibliophile

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Another One Bites the Crust – a Book Review

Another One Bites the Crust by Ellie AlexanderTitle: Another One Bites the Crust (A Bakeshop Mystery) by Ellie Alexander

Genre: Currently #553 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Culinary

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Source: St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Another One Bites the Crust – Cover reflects bakery locale

It’s almost time for the annual Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, and the bakery Torte is gearing up as a major supplier of Elizabethan-era treats, not only for the cast and crew, but to greet the hordes of tourists who flock to the area for the season event. Unfortunately, Antony of Antony and Cleopatra is found murdered before the curtain can rise, and Jules’s friend, Lance, artistic director of the OSF, had a rather public fight with the actor on the eve of opening night. But actors can be as ego-driven and difficult as Lance and Lance can orchestrate drama all by himself. Continue reading “Another One Bites the Crust – a Book Review”

#AmReading – Smoke by D B Borton

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

#AmReading - Smoke by D. B. Borton

This week I am presenting D. B. Borton and her book Smoke. I received a direct review request from the author. The book was released on November 10, 2017 by Boomerang Books. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, and women sleuths and is only 306 pages.

I will be presenting my review on Tuesday, December 19th, and can tell you that so far I’m finding the book a hoot. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the

Book Blurb:

Late one night during the fiery days of the Iranian revolution, two figures slip into the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and steal twelve of the world’s most valuable paintings. Here’s what the thieves don’t know: most of the paintings are fake. Decades later, when she ought to be enjoying a sedate retirement from the field, Marge Smith remains on active duty as an agent of the secretive Quixote, Ltd. But now that she’s broken her leg in a motorcycle accident, her bosses have sent her to a nursing home to recover. She doesn’t know why, but she doesn’t think it has anything to do with the geriatric production of Macbeth she’s been inveigled to take part in—until one of the witches drops dead in the middle of opening afternoon.

Called in to work on a theft recovery, Marge is surprised to discover the surviving witches across the conference table, and astonished when she’s handed a list of stolen paintings to recover. She knows these paintings; she once stole them herself. Now Marge has several problems to solve. Who stole the paintings and how can she get them back? Are they the real paintings or another set of fakes? If they’re real, how did they end up in a house in suburban Washington, D.C.? Was the third witch murdered for them? And how soon can she ditch the crutches?

About the Author: (From Amazon)

D B Borton - authorD. B. Borton teaches English at a Midwestern liberal arts college. She has published eleven mystery novels in two series, the Cat Caliban series and the Gilda Liberty series. As an academic writer she has published work on film, women’s ghost stories, and girl detectives.

“A native Texan, Borton became an ardent admirer of Nancy Drew at a young age. At the age of fourteen, she acquired her own blue roadster, trained on the freeways of Houston and the broad stretches of oil-endowed Texas highway, and began her travels. She also began a lifetime of political activism, working only for political candidates who lost. She left Texas at about the time everyone else arrived.” ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

Verified Purchases – Stop Losing Your Reviews

Verified Purchase

Have you noticed any of your hard won reviews disappearing on you lately? Is lack of a verified purchase review badge the only reason for removal? Of course not, but let me count the ways.

Continue reading “Verified Purchases – Stop Losing Your Reviews”

Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?

After I released my grandfather’s books on the world, I started reading and then reviewing in earnest. It wasn’t long before I discovered BookBub, and I absolutely loved it, gleaned free books that for the most part turned out to be exceptional, fun, and compelling books. Shortly after came series–lots of them–and I proceeded to read books from one series or another, sometimes exhausting them and looking for more, which might be considered a “con.” The wait for the next in the series–sometimes up to a year–then will you have to get reacquainted?

When you pick up a new book, do you prefer to start a new series or a standalone?

And, if you are starting a series, do you absolutely have to start with #1?

(Yes, sometimes!)

How can you read this? There's no pictures!

Continue reading “Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?”