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{Guest Post} Approaching Bloggers and Booksellers by Laurie Lyn

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I’m an author. My first book VILLAIN KEEPER in my debut series was published in February by HarperCollins. Until I was under contract, I thought mainly about writing, and querying agents, and hopefully, one day, someday, being published. And then I WAS published. I’ll be honest. It was all a blur and a surprise, and then there was an amazing hardcover book with a cool cover and my name written on it.

And suddenly there were other exciting (and sometimes stressful) things to think about.

One of those new things which can be especially daunting to me is approaching bloggers and booksellers. And I thought it might be interesting to write a post about how I feel when I do that. (Disclaimer: I can’t say ALL new authors feel similar to how I do, but my guess is at least some do.)

To get straight to the point: I’m a bundle of nerves.

VillainKeeperLastDragon_CVR (1) (2)Sometimes, I type out an email or message but I can’t send it right away. I do the same thing with tweets and blog posts. And don’t even get me started on cold calling someone to say hello. I have to replenish my courage periodically. It’s like I have a social media gauge similar to life or magic counters in video games. It takes time for my little status bar to reach to the point where I can do what I want to do.

I’d like to emphasize, too, that almost everyone I’ve met (or internet met) and have chatted books with have been somewhere between polite and super-excited. Book people are generally good people. How could they not be?

But books are very subjective things. People like different stories. That’s what is so great about reading today. There is something for everyone. And I never know if the person I’m talking to is someone who is going to absolutely love my book or someone who may not connect with it.
It’s hard to email someone, tell them about the book, and ask their opinion. Not only that, ask them to post their opinion in PUBLIC. Where other people will see it. It’s scary I tell you. Scary.

And if a blogger is reading my book, the question looms, will he or she like it?

I’m not sure if reviewers, readers, and booksellers always realize how much power their words can wield on authors (or at least on me). Writing and reading are very personal things. Logically, I know some people will love my book more than others. And I know from my experiences as a reader some books speak more to me than others. Logic doesn’t stop me from wanting everyone to love my story and characters like I do, and while I sincerely appreciate it when anyone takes the time to read and review my work, critical reviews still sting.

And it’s not only not-so-great reviews that have power. A nice review or comment can have a profound effect, too. It can replenish my ‘I can do this’ meter straight to the top. It can also replenish my ‘I’m going to write 1000 words today’ meter. (Note: Hmmm. It’s possible I’ve played too many video games over the years.)

When I see that a blogger loved my book, it’s such a great feeling. If I see a bookstore has chosen it for a reading club or a staff pick, my hopes that more people will read it soar. When I see a reader loved it, it makes me remember why I like to write in the first place.

In the end, and despite my nerves, it’s just fun to meet other people who love reading, writing, and books.

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About The Author:

Laurie McKay is an author and biology instructor who lives in Durham, NC. When she’s not working, she spends time with her family and her two elderly dogs. Her debut MG fantasy novel, VILLAIN KEEPER (The Last Dragon Charmer #1), is available now! To learn more about her or to see pictures of her dogs (and her family) follow her at lauriemckay.net or on Twitter or Facebook. You can find her book at GoodreadsIndieboundAmazonBN, and wherever books are sold.


Thank you so much to Laurie for stopping by to share her thoughts! I’m so glad she was able to share this today. I’m personally planning on reading Villain Keeper soon, and I’m definitely very excited for it.

 

 

Ask The Bloggers: Favorite YA Characters

Around a month ago, I kicked off my new blog feature: Ask The Bloggers. I love getting book recommendations, and Ask The Bloggers involves having other bloggers share their recommendations here on Bookish Serendipity. If you’re interested, there is a sign-up form at the bottom of this post!

Last month’s theme was favorite characters. Here’s what other bloggers have to say:

Nova @ Out Of Time

divergent

Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth

I would have to say that my favorite YA protagonist hasn’t changed from my favorite YA book. The Divergent trilogy ended up going downhill for me but I still remember how much I loved the first book and if it had been a standalone, I would’ve totally been alright with that.

Tris is my favorite protagonist because she grew up selfless but ultimately had to break free from that to make her decisions pertaining to her life. I really loved how much she cared for others, despite not testing for amity and how she’s never portrayed as a fearless idiot. The girl is just as terrified as the rest of us but she has to face her fears head on and since i’m scared of my own shadow, i admire a quality like that.

Zoe @ Stories On Stage

pj

Book: Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

There are so many wonderful heroines in young adult literature, but one of my personal favorite heroines is Annabeth Chase from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. Annabeth is extremely intelligent and wise and she’s never without a complex, logical plan – all qualities she inherits from her mother Athena. Yet, she is also fiercely loyal to those she loves and brave when the situation calls for it. Not only is she a fabulous character, but she’s the kind of person I aspire to be more like.

Brooke

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Book: Mother Daughter Book Club series

One of my favorite series( besides Harry Potter) is the Mother Daughter Book Club series. I’m usually more of a fantasy/ sci phy person so this book really surprised me. The first few are more like middle grade but as they go along they get more YA. All of the books are really good. I hope you give then a try.

Katherine @ Neon Yeti Reads

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Book: These Broken Stars

I really loved Lilac from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner because of the great character development she goes through in this book. I love any sci-fi young adult books, but seeing that Lilac lead this one was even better! She’s a really strong character, but it takes some pushing until she recognizes her inner strength. I love her spunk and spirit. At first, she might seem like a girly girl who cannot stand up for herself, but she goes on a great journey of self discovery and finds that she is much stronger than she thought at first.

Sunny @ Splash Of Ink

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Book: Just One Day

Allyson Healey (Lulu) from Gayle Forman’s Just One Day isn’t a character that I thought I’d like. For the first portion of the book, she seemed like your average, angsty, teenage girl YA character. However, in the second half, Forman lets Allyson’s character grow into a real person. She isn’t a kick-butt assassin or leader of a revolution, she’s simply a university student who has to figure out who she is. Allyson’s journey to find herself reconciles being a confident, independent, young woman and finding romance- two plots that don’t often go together in YA. Allyson didn’t make all the right decisions, but there was a type of growth that I found incredibly relatable (and entertaining) which is what made her such a good protagonist.

Shanti @ Weaving Waves Words

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Book: Chanda’s Secrets and Chanda’s Wars by Allan Stratton

These books are less popular, and I haven’t seen them much in the YA blogosphere. However, Chanda is one of my favourite YA characters ever. She has really strong friendships, and is super loyal to her mother, even when she has AIDS and her best friend Esther. On the surface, it might seem like there isn’t much that us priveleged people can identify with in Chanda, a Sub-Saharan African girl with a lot of problems that we’ve never faced. However, her faithfulness to her friends, the kind and loving way she deals with the discrimination and hate in her life, and her love for education and willingness to forgive and explore make her a fantabulous heroine. I love how she is so passionate about everything, and her struggles can be identified with by anyone who has ever lived in the world.

Honourable mention

  • Sabriel from Sabriel
  • Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

Ask The Bloggers: What’s The Most Recent Book You Read And Loved?

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I personally love getting book recommendations and learning about new books. I’ve decided to create a new monthly(ish) feature here on Bookish Serendipity that allows other book bloggers to submit their own book recommendations. For the first edition, I’ve invited several awesome bloggers to answer the following question:

What’s the most recent book you read and loved?

Melanie @ YA Midnight Reads

When I read that question my mind immediately went to The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand. I ended up giving that book a full 5 stars, which makes it the first and only 5 star read of the year so far. Hand’s book was also one of my most highly anticipated books for this year. I LOVE her Unearthly trilogy and Hallowed was definitely my favourite out of the series because of how beautifully and realistically the author deals with the topic of grief.

This skill of hers is reflected in her contemporary debut which left me in a sobbing mess. Seriously guys, if you want a good sob and something that will rip your heart out, The Last Time You Say Goodbye is something you should not be skipping. I’m buying myself a hardcopy when I get off my book buying ban just so I can cuddle with it. Basically, this book was painfully gorgeous and I already can see myself rereading it very soon.

Valerie @ The Innocent Smiley

The most recent YA book I’ve read and loved was All The Bright Places, because not only did it introduce as to amazing characters with unique personalities, but it also portrayed mental illness accurately. It’s really important for YA books to show us that mental illness is a disease, and that it’s not any different from having a “physical” illness. It’s seriously a MUST READ and I guarantee you will be bawling your eyes out by the end of the book.

Mel @ The Daily Prophecy

The last YA book I read and loved was Sharon Biggs Waller – A mad, wicked folly. It reminded me that I need to pick up more historical fiction, because it’s an amazing story. This book is focused on the strong main character Victoria, also known was Vicky, who causes a scandal in her art class. Her parents have one solution: they want her to get married as soon as possible. Vicky only wants one thing in her life and that is making art, no matter how often she is told that she must aspire to be an obedient housewife with no ambition.

In this book we see Vicky and her inner conflict when she meets a girl who is part of the women movement. They are demonstrating to get their rights, especially the right to vote. Vicky slowly becomes more involved in the movement and I loved to see her struggle between the life she has and the life she wants. It felt realistic and it made me appreciate her and her decisions even more. It must have been so hard to be a women during that time, where your only talent was to get children and clean the house.

The author does a great job in portraying Vicky as a complex and flawed character – and you can’t stop yourself from falling in love with her stubborn personality. The slow-burn romance is also a great addition to the storyline and I loved how authentic the setting felt.

Emily @ Loony Literate

The most recent book I loved was We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach. It’s contemporary, but it’s a kind of genre mash-up, so the main element was apocalyptic. I loved it because it gave a new urgency to the usual tropes in YA contemporary fiction – love and success and the future and happiness. Plus, the writing was so beautiful – it was the kind of writing where you want to learn all the quotes off by heart. It was pretentious in the best kind of way – because sometimes, us teens like a bit of drama, right? It dealt with issues that teenagers face, but on a much broader scope – you know, since they’re about to be hit by an asteroid.

Cait @ Paper Fury

I have a lot of favourite YA books! 2014 was a year of a million favourites for me but, 2015? So far, I’ve only had a handful. I’m going to pick EVERY BREATH by Ellie Marney. I (ashamedly) but this book off foreeeever because it has a dorky cover and a fluffy-romance sort of title. (Not my thing.) But is it like that?! UM. NO. It’s a Sherlock Holmes retelling in Australia (!!) where best friends solve a murder of a homeless guy that no one cares about. It’s stuffed with adorable characters, Aussie slang, copious amounts of tea, and the cutest ship ever. Seriously, I just wanted to kidnap the main characters and hug them by the end. Also, did I mention TEENAGE GENIUS?! Because that alone makes the book incredible. Seriously, go read EVERY BREATH.


Did you enjoy these answers? I certainly did! Thanks SO much to these awesome bloggers for participating. 😀 If you’re a blogger and are interested in signing up for the next edition of Ask The Blogger, then there is a form below for you to fill out! Next month’s topic is:

Who is your favorite protagonist of a YA novel? Why?

 Here are a few basic guidelines:
  • Try to keep your response between 50-300 words.
  • No swearing, please!
  • All recommendations must be YA, unless otherwise specified
  • By submitting a response, you agree to allow me to use it on Bookish Serendipity, along with a credit and link to your blog.
  • The deadline for the second edition is May 31st
  • Feel free to message me if you have any issues!

If the form isn’t showing up below, click here.

{Guest Post} Do You Bring Books Everywhere?

Hey, guys! My friend Emily from For The Bookish is stopping over today with a guest post about books, finding places to read, and reading in public! I really enjoyed reading it, and a million thank-yous to Emily for taking the time to share!

For the Bookish

Guest Post By Emily:

Finding time to read can sometimes be a little tough, but luckily I have the ability to read anywhere and everywhere. I can block out noise and read while everyone else is talking and whatnot. But this brings up the question about whether or not I should bring books with me!

I usually bring my books with me everywhere. Even if I’m just running errands to the grocery store with my mom, because I hate the feeling of being without a book. If I’m in between reading books, I make sure I have a few downloaded onto my phone. If nothing else, I bring a magazine or make sure there are some blog posts or articles I haven’t read online.

When I’m reading alone in my room, I get a little annoyed when I’m interrupted. But if I’m reading in a public place, when other people are around me and I’m interrupted, I close my book and smile and talk to someone. Which makes me wonder if it’s rude to bring books along. I certainly think it’s a lot less rude than if someone is looking at their phone (which I’m guilty of!), but even if I’m reading a book on my phone, if I’m reading a physical book it looks less rude to other people.

So what do you guys think? Is it rude to bring books along places? Is it rude to read them around people? Do you bring books places?

Thanks again to Emily! I love this post. Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments section! 🙂

Every Day by David Levithan–Co-Review with Fari from My Little Corner For Books

I am SO excited because today I get to bring you a super special post. Another blogger, Fari (from My Little Corner For Books), and I both read Every Day by David Levithan, and we wrote a co-review together.  Read on to learn our thoughts!

About The Book:

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Plot

Me: First and foremost, I have to say this: THE CONCEPT IS SO COOL! The idea of waking up every morning in someone else’s body was what initially attracted me to this book.

Fari: Yes, I absolutely agree! That was such an incredible and unique idea! There were ways it could’ve gone wrong but I also agree that the execution was great. I loved the plot and I also liked the messages that this book puts out to the world.

Me: It was a very powerful and unique story concept, for sure, and even though there were a few things I didn’t enjoy as much (we will get to those later!) I think the concept was really interesting. The plot itself had a few rough patches, but had my complete attention.

Fari: Yes, there were some places where I thought the story was kind of slow and some things were unneeded but in the end, they could be over-looked because of how I enjoyed this! The thing is, I don’t really have too much to say about the plot because it’s basically A trying to see Rhiannon each day and trying to be with her even in different bodies. It’s the characters and what they taught me that I have more of an opinion on.

Romance:

Me: This was the one part of the book that REALLY disappointed me. A followed (stalked?) Rhiannon around for weeks in his different bodies, and it just felt very uncomfortable.

Fari: At points, I thought that it was kind of stalkerish as well… I knew that he will tell her, but it was around 100 pages into the book.  Before that, A was at her school and at parties she was at, but she didn’t know! I was surprised that that conversation didn’t come up between the two of them. However, after that, I did like how the romance progressed.

Me: Their relationship just didn’t work for me. It’s interesting that David Levithan is writing a book about Rhiannon ( called Another Day) though. I think I might be interested to learn her side of the story. Hopefully I’ll be able to connects with her better in that book!

Characters:

Fari: A’s character was so interesting and I found it ridiculous, yet amazing how his life is drastically different every day. He adapted so well it amazed me.. I know he’s had more than a decade and a half to deal with this but if it had been me, I would’ve been terrified every time!

Me: Definitely! Except for his obsession with Rhiannon, I think A was probably my favorite character. He was very easy to relate to and it was very cool seeing him wake up every morning in a new body. I’ve already talked about Rhiannon in the Romance section so I won’t go into much detail about her except to say that she was decidedly less easy to connect with.

Fari: Okay, so I won’t really talk about her, either. I will say that while I didn’t completely hate her, I didn’t like her either. I found myself annoyed by her and not connecting. She was weak, and I really don’t like weak characters.  On another note, I liked how we got to kind of know the people whose bodies he was inhabiting. Not much but just a little bit.

Additional Thoughts:

Me: I’m not sure what to think of Another Day, the sequel. I think I’ll probably end up reading it, but I’m not really sure what it will add to the story of Every Day since it’s the same story, but in Rhiannon’s POV. We’ll have to see, I suppose! What were your thoughts on the covers?

Fari: Yes, I’m not sure either. I read the first couple pages and it’s just Every Day. *shrugs* I’ll probably read it but I think that it (Every Day) was actually pretty good as a stand alone because I don’t really um, care about Rhiannon’s POV. However, if it’s a bit extended, that’ll be interesting, though I actually *cue “For the First Time in FOREVER”* liked the open ending. The covers are not very related to the book but they’re not really bad covers, I don’t think. I don’t know…

Me: Yeah, my thoughts on the covers were pretty similar. Overall, I did enjoy this book, though. It was entertaining and even though there were a few things that bothered me (*cough* romance *cough*) I can still give it a solid 3.5 star rating.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Fari’s Rating: 4 Stars

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