Greetings friends and booknerds! It’s finally time for another edition of “Meet the Blogger”! Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Paige Green of PopTheButterfly Reads and the Indie Blog Hop! I met Paige shortly after my first book came out, and we have been stalking each other on social media ever since. Recently, she hosted a read-along for my book with a handful of her friends, but that’s not why I’m featuring her this month. Paige is not only one of the most passionate readers—and lover of all things bookish—I know, but she is also a wonderful advocate for indie and small press authors. She devotes so much of her time and energy to spreading the good word about fabulous books written by smaller authors, who you may otherwise miss, that I’d be 100% a terrible person for not spreading the word about Paige and everything she does for the book-loving community. So, without further ado, please enjoy my interview with this fabulous human, and be sure to follow her and check out her websites if you’re an author and are interested in utilizing her offerings:
Blog – Goodreads – Indie Blog Hop – Instagram – YouTube
When I first “met” you, it was through a blog tour hosted by another blogger. Since then (goodness, it’s been nearly 2 years) you’ve started your own book blog tour service for indie authors! Can you tell us a bit about the Indie Blog Hop and what inspired you to start it?
Oh Lordy, time flies! I was inspired in December when I learned that Goodreads would start charging authors/publishers to host giveaways on their site. I thought it was extremely unfair and greedy to everyone, but especially Indie authors and publishing companies. I wanted to give people a way to freely promote their books and host giveaways without fear of losing money and the idea just kind of blossomed from there.
Your love of books is no secret, you even had a bookish themed wedding and engagement shoot! But what first got you into reading and made you love it so much?
I’ve always really liked reading and my parents encouraged it and are readers themselves. Both of them always challenged me to read outside my range and to explore the world through books. I’ve always traveled with at least one book in my bag since I was tiny, even when I was in a reading slump.
This is a very broad (and multi-tiered) question, but what is it about reading that you love so much? What is the most important thing for you when reading a book? Characters? World building? Unique plot? Etc.
I think what I love about books so much is that they’re reliable. They’ve always been a bit of a safety blanket for me, something I could rely on in whatever situation I found myself in. You can always open a book and find yourself somewhere new or familiar without judgment or condemnation. When I read I find that the most important thing for me in any book is my ability to connect with the characters. They don’t have to be likable and they don’t have to be good, but I have to be able to connect with them in some way or empathize with them somehow or else I’m not going to be able to get into the book. I also really like good world building, especially for high fantasy or sci-fi novels.
What would be your absolute perfect book? What would it have? Does it exist already, or will this be something you write one day?
Well sometimes I’m a bit of a mood reader lol, so that’s a hard question. I think I would really enjoy a book in which the main character isn’t a good character. Like, not a villain, but someone who’s misunderstood and acts out for attention because of issues they have at home. I used to work in Juvenile Justice and I’ve dealt with kids who were troublemakers. A majority of them didn’t commit crimes because they wanted to commit crimes, but because there were underlying issues at home that they couldn’t deal with and acting out was their only way of telling the world “hey there is something wrong in my life and I need help now!” While I’m currently writing a couple of books, one of them revolves around a teen who’s a habitual runaway, which I think is something that’s not been fully explored by literature.
What other bloggers and writers do you enjoy reading or admire? Why?
Oh geez. I don’t really get to enjoy bloggers anymore like I used to because of work and other obligations, but I do enjoy reading Kate Olsen (The Loud Library Lady) for bloggers and I love listening to booktubers like Hailey In Bookland and Nadine Brandes. For writers currently I’m really digging Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds), Miranda Asebado (The Deepest Roots), Scott Westerfeld (Imposters), Katrin Van Dam (Come November), CE Clayton (The Monster of Selkirk), Nicole Lambert (Threatening Souls), and Kendra Radke (Entangled Collateral).
What’s the hardest kind of blog post or review for you to write?
Almost every review is kind of hard for me. I take a lot of time and consideration into each book review to hopefully make something that can help others. I also really struggle with tag posts because I suck at thinking up books off the top of my head that fit tag prompts.
You rep for a lot of different kinds of bookish companies as well as book groups. How did you get involved with them originally and what’s your favorite thing to rep?
I originally got involved with companies because one reached out to me when I was still a new bookstagrammer and asked me to help promote their products. I really liked promoting the items and started entering different rep searches for different companies. While I get a lot of free products from them, I also try to support the shops by buying from their shop as well. I currently rep for a lot of shops and while I love each and every one of them, I find that my favorite thing to show off and promote are totes. I’m a tad obsessed with totes lol.
I hope you all enjoyed meeting Paige of PopTheButterfly and Indie Blog Hop! If you are a booklover, she really is one to follow, I promise you won't be disappointed! In another month (or two...) I'll feature another excellent blogger, so stay tuned my friends!
Hello friends and booknerds! I have a question for you. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and have even discussed with some other book reviewers and authors. All of whom have different—and equally as valid—opinions on the matter. But I want to ask you about giving a review / rating for a book you didn’t finish, or DNF as so many on Goodreads refer to it as.
How do you feel about giving a star rating for a book you couldn’t finish? Does it depend on the reason why you couldn’t finish it? For example, will you give a star rating for a DNF book if it was just so bad—0 editing, plot holes a cargo freighter could drive through, racist / sexist beyond belief, that sort of thing—that you feel compelled to essentially warn people away from it? Or do you prefer to write a text review stating you DNF for whatever reason, but leave off the star rating? It’s important to note, that only sites like Goodreads let you do this. Places like Amazon require both a star and text review when rating any item. Or, if you can’t finish the book because it just wasn’t your thing, or emotionally you aren’t in the mood for a given book, do you quietly put it down and say nothing?
This may seem like a hot button topic, but only because people have some pretty strong opinions on the matter. I want to better understand where people are coming from, passionate readers and “professional” book reviewers alike! As an author, I have mixed feelings on this. Generally, I’m fine with a text review of a DNF book—but not a star rating—if there was a good reason someone didn’t like it. I’m not here for author or book bashing as it’s helpful to exactly no one. But usually I find telling the world you DNF a book to be rather pointless? Unless you're rating and reviewing something so terrible it needs that kind of warning to readers—and even then—I don’t see the need to express that a certain book was something you couldn’t force yourself to read.
I struggle with DNF books because I don’t like it. I feel compelled to finish all books I read, even bad ones. I’ve been told I maybe shouldn’t do this, as there are so many amazing books I’m not reading while I force myself to finish something I regrettably started. But that means I feel justified when I don’t rate a book positively, because I read it and therefore am qualified to give an opinion. That point is also debatable by many who think authors shouldn’t review or rate books out of professional courtesy. I don’t know about all that. I get book review requests all the time and I do spend my own hard earned money on books, so why can’t I review those? I am a reader as much as I am an author.
If you’d like, we can discuss that as well. Because, again, I know people have opinions.
But basically, I’m just curious. Curious as to when you feel compelled to rate and review a book. Is it only if you loved it because you find the bad books not worth your time to rate or review? After all, just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean the book isn’t great, it just wasn’t your thing. Which is fine! Or, regardless of if you DNF, hated the book but finished it, or loved every moment of it, will you rate and review it? Or will you not rate and review a single thing because you’re also an author?
As someone who wears both hats, I will say I only rate books I finish, and I will always give my honest opinion about the book. I don’t think rating a book you DNF is fair because what if something amazing happens on the next page but you never found out? If I don’t like something, I’ll outline why so others can understand my rating and decide for themselves if my issues will be a problem for them.
But I do understand how, as an author, my opinions on books may be interpreted as bashing or unprofessional for the indie author community, even if I’m asked to review the book, but whatever. I get that concern, I just don’t agree with it. Reviews are so important that as long as someone is civil and is constructive with their criticism, I don’t see a problem in a fellow author reviewing a book. But I can respect when an author decides to not rate a book if they would otherwise give it a bad rating. I know such authors as Robin Hobb do that. She’ll review books occasionally, but only if the review is 3 stars or above because anything less, at least to her, means the book wasn’t her cup of tea and is, therefore, not something she feels necessary reviewing.
But tell me what YOU think, dear friend! Do you have an opinion? What’s your process? Sharing is caring! I’d love to have a dialogue with you on this topic that’s near and dear to my heart.
Well hello there my friends! Long time no see, I know. But I did warn you that with moving things would be a tad slow for me… I'm happy to say that things are back on track now and I have some updates, well, stories really, for you. And, as I keep you updated throughout the year on my life, my work, and my rambling thoughts in general, I’ll also have goodies like blog tours, interviews, reviews, and giveaways. So thanks for sticking with me and let me just say I’m so glad to be back and done with moving/unpacking!
Moving sucks. To anyone who has moved, that’s no surprise. Moving and starting a new job are, apparently, some of the most stressful times in a person’s life. I’m sure that goes up exponentially if you happen to travel with cats like I do. You can read the guest blog I wrote a while back on my first experience traveling with my fuzzy friends. I'm happy to report that they were much better this time! Aside from my boy cat wanting to walk across my face while I slept, the cats were angels. The dog not so much this time, but that wasn’t his fault.
Dobby was attacked by mosquitoes just before we left New Orleans. He was itching and chewing himself so much he had giant wounds all around his tail. Nothing we did worked and the poor pup just howled in pain if we tried to touch him (he sounds like a dinosaur when he cries). It broke my heart and my only consolation was knowing he had a vet appointment as soon as we arrived in California. The crying wouldn’t have been so bad, except me and my husband were idiots about the drive.
The place we were moving into wasn't ready for us by the time my husband had to be back in California and at his new job. In the interim, we were to stay with my parents which was fine! My dog loves it, he has lots of friends to play with at their house and my mom absolutely spoils that little dog. The problem was my parents’ dogs. They don’t like cats. At all. So the cat’s needed to be boarded at the vet. The vet could only take them on Friday because otherwise they wouldn’t have the right person there to take our kittens. Again, not a big deal because we could time our driving to be there in time for that. Except our moving company screwed us over.
The moving company showed up late on Wednesday and then had too few people to pack. They were at our house packing up until 11 pm at night! My husband was freaking out by 5 pm that day because we needed to be on the road in order to get to the vet in time for both the cats and the dog. Come 8 pm, we say “fuck it” and get a friend to sign off on the moving van so we can leave and try and make up some of that time on the road. Well, we couldn’t make up the time lost so once more we said, “Fuck it, we’ll drive straight from New Orleans to Phoenix, Arizona so that we can make it to California in time for the pets.”
Some of you are probably groaning/cringing by this point. Those of you who aren’t, let me fix that for you: New Orleans is a good 20+ hours from Phoenix. Yup, we decided to drive 20 hours straight starting at 8 pm, and that’s after getting up early (like 6 am) to be ready for the moving company who showed up late. It wasn’t a smart move on our part and resulted in stopping for 3 hours at 3 am to “sleep” at a turn off with a bunch of truckers, 2 panic attacks where my husband legitimately thought he was dying, and 3 pets who we couldn’t feed properly without risking them getting out and fleeing the hell hole that was the car. We were bad humans.
Anyway we lived, the pets are fine, and eventually we moved into our new place and our stuff arrived. Except a bunch was missing or broken, so I got to argue with an insurance claims adjuster on getting the items replaced or getting reimbursed if they couldn’t be fixed, so that was fun. All this to say I have no intention of moving again for a very, very long time (I did say that when I first moved to New Orleans, but this time I mean it).
But it wasn’t all awful. Moving back to California meant being much closer to my family. It made our father’s day weekend in Big Bear all the more satisfying to know that moments like that, making memories with my family and being involved in their lives, is something that will happen with much more frequency. So be sure to enjoy your family at every opportunity, my friends. You never know when life might take you, or them, away and you’ll miss them when they're gone. You’ll feel left out and forgotten, even though you aren’t. That little extra bit of distance changes things and I wasn’t prepared for that the first time around. I know better now, but still have no intention of getting that far away again.
Oh, Big Bear was fun by the way. We didn’t catch much on the lake and I have an epic sun burn on my thighs, but it was great because I got to spend it with my family and didn’t have to worry about catching a flight immediately after. Sun burns on flights are just the worst….
Anyway, the next few blogs will be highlights of my favorite bloggers and updates on my books, so get excited, my friends! And tell me about some of your horror stories about moving so we can all have a laugh about it together!
Greetings, booknerds! I have officially moved into my new place so I am (semi) back into the groove of things. Which means more blogging and book news and book reviews and life goodies... Now if only I had a working kitchen and life would be glorious. That aside, I wanted my first blog post back in California to feature a California native author who loves music! Plus, she's got a fun giveaway going on right now so if you want to win a copy of the book, be sure to check out my Instagram post for June 10th. But now, on to the fun stuff. Allow me to introduce you to award winning author, L.J. Evens!
Who is this talented writer? What does she do outside of writing? Well, let me tell you:
Award-winning author, LJ Evans, is known for binge reading, binge watching, and binge writing. She is routinely inspired by music and will pull over the car to write a book scene when a particular song strikes her imagination. Her my life as an album series debuted in 2017 and won The Independent Author Network’s Young Adult Book of the Year. The second in the series, my life as a pop album, released in January 2018 and the third, my life as a rock album, is available for pre-order for a June 2018 release. By day she’s a 1st grade teacher in a public school in the California Central Valley. By night, she’s a wife, mother, and pillow for the 3 terrors known as cats.
She sounds awesome, right? Well then you should check out her books! I've included the synopsis below, but I also had an opportunity to ask L.J some rapid fire book and music related questions. As you guys know, I am also a passionate lover of music, so this rapid fire interview was a lot of fun. Plus, check out the link in the below image as it includes yet ANOTHER CHANCE AT THE GIVEAWAY. These books sound perfect for summer reading, so be sure to enter. Now, on to the interview:
1. Favorite band of all time?:
IMPOSSIBLE - depends on my mood, seriously. But I obviously like the ones my books have in them and I really like Lady Antebellum a lot.
2. Best concert you ever went to?:
I know it seems too easy, but Taylor Swift. She puts on amazing shows. We just were at her Reputation Stadium Tour in Pasadena. Crazy good!
3. Least favorite song?:
Hmmm. I pretty much don't like any electronic music..... And if I get the Itsy Bitsy Spider stuck in my head I want to bury my head in a bucket of water.
4. Guilty pleasure song/band? (who you're slightly embarrassed to admit you listen/dance to):
Probably One Direction...... and any of the guys that are now solo from it.
5. Favorite playlist to read to?:
I have a "Now" playlist that is all my current favorites. But I always gravitate back to country more than anything else.
6. Favorite genre to read vs. write?:
I read a lot of YA.... A lot.
7, Favorite author?:
Again, IMPOSSIBLE! How about favorite in genre's, LOL. Classic - Georgette Heyer; YA - John Green; NA - Jessica Park; Romance - Marianna Zapata; Historical - Beatriz Williams; Fantasy - JK Rowling; Paranormal - CJ Archer; New Indie Author - Kelsey Kingsley; A little of everything - Amy Harmon (seriously she does everything - she's amazing).
Check out the "My Life As An Album Series" and be sure to add them to your TBR list. And don't forget to enter the giveaway! Good luck, friends.
My Life as a Country Album:
2017 Independent Author Network Young Adult Book of the Year
I belonged to you the moment you told my mama you were waiting for me when I was still inside her stomach.
I belonged to you as we grew up sharing a treehouse, a yard, and the lake. I even belonged to you when our three-year age difference tried to pull us apart rather than put us together.
But, I was most especially yours when you kissed me and told me you weren't letting me go.
Except you did. And now I'm wondering how to turn our lives from a country love song without a happy ending into one that does...
Because "loving you was a race I was determined to win."
Inspired by Taylor Swift country songs, this is a story of aching love and loss and learning to live through life in all its pain and glory.
4.45 on Goodreads currently!
My Life As a Pop Album:
What if you are my dream?
From Award Winning Author LJ Evans comes a novel inspired by Ed Sheeran love songs about forgiveness, love, & healing!
Good Girl Mia feels guilty for her brother's death, it was her kidney that killed him after all… and four years later she still isn’t really living life. But then soulful musician, Derek Waters, enters her world and she finds herself setting aside everything she thought she wanted for an adventure she never saw coming. For some reason, she wants this gorgeous man to know her story. The story of a girl who gave a body part to save a brother that everyone wanted to survive more than the girl herself. And how that hadn’t worked out.
Derek Waters and his band have just signed on with a major record label and are touring the country. He has his own set of baggage that he hides behind a huge smile and a famous Johnny Cash quote. He definitely isn’t looking for any kind of female distraction. But once Derek walks into Mia’s life, he finds he can’t leave unless she comes with him.
Can Derek and Mia find a path to forgiveness and healing? Or will they be left with hearts more torn apart than before?
SPOILER ALERT this book can be read as a stand alone novel but contains significant spoilers to the first novel in the series MY LIFE AS A COUNTRY ALBUM.
4.65 on Goodreads currently!
My Life as a Rock Album:
He’s an addict. He’s a rude bastard. He’s also broken-hearted.
Trash artist Seth Carmen has lost everyone he’s loved and even some he didn’t. He’s better off alone. He’s made a success of himself by focusing on the one thing he’s good at, turning trash into something stunning. But then feisty blogger PJ Hensley enters his world with her fairy like quality, and he isn't sure who will be left more broken.... him or her.
PJ Hensley is dealing with her own tormented past and a stalker she doesn’t want to admit to having, but she’s pulled herself together in order to graduate and focus on her future. The last thing she needs is a moody trash artist entering her world. But like all things Seth, he enters anyway with an intensity and focus that leaves her breathless.
Can Seth and PJ find a way to take the shattered parts of their hearts and lives and weld them into something beautiful? Can they find a way to make this love last?
Inspired by Bon Jovi songs, the third novel in the my life as an album series shows how love and acceptance can heal even the toughest scars.
Coming out June 26th!
Hey there booknerds! I wanted to pop on the good ole blog and give you an update on what’s going on, and what you can expect from me in the coming weeks/months.
So, first things first, I'm moving again. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was packing up my life and moving to New Orleans where I focused on my writing full time. Well, that’s because it was only two years ago. That’s right, almost 2 years to the day of starting this adventure and this website (which was actually started in May but it took me a bit to write the first blog), I’m moving back to California.
Never fear, my friends, just because I’m going back to my old stomping grounds doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go back to what I had been doing before. No, I’ll just be transporting this adventure back to familiar ground. So, in case you were worried, don’t be. That does mean that the next few weeks will be awful though. In case you’ve never moved cross country with pets, I don’t recommend it. Unless it’s just a dog, they’re pretty chill. But unlike kids who may abhor road trips, you cannot reason with a cat.
You can’t console cats and reassure them that after a few days of annoying driving, it’ll be over. That they’ll be somewhere new and awesome and the torture will end. No. All cat’s see is: THIS IS MY LIFE NOW AND OMG I HATE YOU, HUMAN!
They cry and howl the whole time unless you drug them. Or my cats do, anyway. And yes, some people have told me that if I don’t keep them in their carrier that they’ll be much better on the road. The thing with cats is, they like to be in your face, or near your feet—or, again, my cats do. Which means it’s only a matter of time before one of the fluff balls decides that under the brake is the PURFECT (sorry, couldn’t resist) place for them to take a nap. Or, they’ll want to be on the driver’s lap and just touch their face. Side note: our girl cat is a face touch-er. She just loves to sit on your lap and look at you adoringly, and then touch your face. It’s cute, but probably not the best thing while driving. So the cat’s will remain contained, and they will continue their diatribe of anguished meowing in the car and in the hotels, and my dog will look at us and say—with his eyes, of course—“Why you do this? Why you no love me?”
And of course, once we arrive in California our stuff won’t be with us. It’ll be on a truck arriving sometime later. I’ll have my laptop, but not my main computer or my desk, and we’ll be crashing at my parent’s house until our things arrive and we can move into our new digs. Which means, dear, dear friends, that I won’t be doing a ton of work during that time.
I’m neurotic. I need my familiar things to be truly productive. Plus, whenever I’m home my mom tends to go back to treating me like I’m in high school—please tell me I’m not the only one whose parents do this?—so I get interrupted a lot and end up with a sort of curfew again. Me and my husband, thirty year-old grown-ass adults, will once again have a curfew. But hey, at least I get to eat for free, right?
That’s not to say there isn’t a bunch of new stuff coming. Book 3 in The Monster of Selkirk series is due back from the new editor any day now! Once that’s back in my hands, regardless of where I am, I will go through that bad boy like no one’s business to ensure it gets into your hands sooner. In other good news, books 4 and 5 are pretty much in the final stages of “doneness” as well, so I swear there won’t be such a long wait for those as there was for book 3.
In terms of new stories and projects, my short horror story “The Cautionary Tale of Bertrand Allary” has been published! You can get yourself a copy here along with short stories from 33 other talented authors. If you’ve seen the newsletter, you saw that the secret Pinterest board for the new fantasy series I'm working on is no longer a secret, so be sure to give that a gander. I’m about 70k words into the new project so it’s coming along rather nicely. It’s one of those world’s that I’ve made so robust, that it could very well have several spinoff novels all within the same universe, which I’m pretty excited about. Once you’ve looked at the board, I’d love to hear what you think that book may be about, but I can’t promise to confirm much at this stage due to serious spoilers, and that stuff may change. This is a first draft, after all.
The last project I have in the works is a contemporary fiction. I know, it’s quite the departure from my normal genre, but it’s an important story. It was inspired by true events and, as many of you know, I love making characters that deal with tough things and normalizing those feelings or situations so that others, perhaps, don’t feel so alone. This book is very much in that camp. But because it was inspired by actual events in my life, it’s something that’s even closer to my heart, and makes me feel incredibly vulnerable to share with you all. That being said, I am happy to share that I’ve just gotten that book back from my first critique partner, and once I go through their suggestions, it will go through a few more hands and then revisions and… you get the idea. Even though the book is “done” in terms of writing, it still has a lot of kinks to work out so I don’t have a deadline or timeline of when you'll have that in your hands, as I’m taking it through different channels then The Monster of Selkirk. But rest assured, you will see it.
If you’ve made it this far in the blog post, I applaud you, and shall reward your efforts! You see my friends, I’ll be running another giveaway starting Monday, April 30th. Want to enter? Be sure you’ve signed up for my newsletter! This giveaway will be exclusive to subscribers, and they’ll get a signed copy of book 2 headed their way before I move!
See? I told you I was working hard on fun stuff for you all! I hope that makes up for the weird “break” I’ll be taking as I transport my life. Again.