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Electrifying Reviews

    Blogoversary Guest Posts + Giveaway

    I am so excited to welcome to the blog five bloggers that I have known, admired and respected for quite some time. One I met on Twitter, a couple around the blogs and one on Facebook. I feel like I’ve known them all forever, and I’m so thrilled that they accepted my invitation to share some of their wisdom with me and my blog’s readers this blogoversary.

    They are all bloggers whose opinions I value, who have fantastic blogs that I try to visit as often as I can, and who have been the source of more than one bookish purchase I’ve made.

    They are all so very different from one another which is the perfect example of just how diverse the book blogging community is, how appreciated all their unique voices and styles are, and how the internet allows readers from one country to so very easily interact with those from another.

    And so, without further ado let me turn this blog over to….

    Kara of Great Imaginations

    If you are looking to get blog followers, obviously getting on Twitter and Facebook are a must. I just use Twitter myself, but I know Facebook users are very successful too. However, the best way to get blog COMMENTERS is to comment on other blogs. It takes awhile and it takes a lot of time, but if you want those treasured comments that we all love getting, pick some blogs you like and start commenting! And I don’t mean saying “Nice blog post, come visit mine.” Leave a meaningful comment. Read the post. I know our time is important to all of us and we don’t have a lot of it, but if you want people to actually respond and READ your posts, you have to do the same to them. Show them the respect you want in return. Respect is not given, it is earned.

    ***

    The other point I would make is that blogging is stressful as hell sometimes. It’s okay if you can’t post every day. It’s okay if you don’t want to read every day. There are a lot of blogs out there to look up to and envy, but you don’t HAVE to be like everybody else. That took me a long time to learn. Some weeks I post every day. Some weeks I only post twice. I battle with depression/anxiety so it’s hard to find motivation sometimes. But that’s totally okay! I am me and I know that the most important thing of all is to blaze my own path and be myself. It’s so easy to put pressure on yourself because you want to have it all and you want it RIGHT NOW. But the reality is that most likely it’s not going to be that way. Most of us will never reach big blog status. And that’s totally okay! If you want readers to appreciate what you write and post, you have to be you. Because your voice and passion will come through only when you stop putting pressure on yourself and just do what you are capable and comfortable with doing.

    FIND KARA…
    Great Imaginations, Twitter, Goodreads, Formspring, YouTube

    For a little background…

    I am almost positive I first “met” Kara on Twitter. I’d followed a link to one of her reviews and loved her voice. She was honest, intelligent and had a very distinctive voice. I enjoyed the reviews I’d read because they gave me enough insight into a story to make an educated decision about the book without feeling I was reading a rundown of the book itself.

    While I don’t always read the same types of books she does and we don’t always agree on the likability factor, I always respect her opinions.

    Kara is a hoot to follow on Twitter, too. She’s not afraid to say what she feels or thinks. And she is quite the editrix.

    And I couldn’t agree more with both her “tips.” Leaving thoughtful comments is so important and reciprocating is also a must if you want to develop loyal followers and commentators.  And being yourself and blogging in a way that works for you is the key to being a happy blogger.

    Kara, thank you so much for sharing and being a part of my two year blogoversary. It’s really such great advice!

    Alex of Electrifying Reviews

    Blogging is a lot of work… if you do it right. If you decide to create a blog which you hope will gain a readership, you have to take it seriously. Don’t post about your life or things unrelated to the theme of your blog, because you won’t be able to develop a specific audience which will want to continue to visit. Create as many quality posts as you can; and if you can’t get a worthwhile post ready in time, skip a day instead of posting something worthless.

    FIND ALEX…

    Electrifying Reviews, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Formspring

    For a little background…

    Alex was one of the very first bloggers I “met” on Twitter. He was offering up a book for trade and I jumped at the chance to trade with him. I wanted that book. I believe it was an advance copy of one of Carrie Ryan’s books from her Forest of Hands and Teeth series.

    But Alex’s blog was one of the first blogs I discovered prior to joining Twitter. My friend Nic stumbled across his blog and pointed it out to me. She was amazed that there was someone who was a young teen who was already an established blogger and a writer and who was quite articulate.

    His blog was one of about four or five blogs I checked out frequently in those early days. And it’s one I still check out at least a few times a week. I honestly have no idea how he does all that he does.

    And I couldn’t agree more with his tip, too. To gain a solid readership you have to keep it focused, keep your message clear. And it is better to skip a day rather than post something that doesn’t meet your blog’s standards.

    Thank you so much Alex for sharing your advice. For someone with a successful blog who’s been blogging as long as you have it’s so very helpful!

    Kaitlyn of Kaitlyn in Bookland

    First, I would like to say congrats to Rachel on her 2-year anniversary! She is such an amazing blogger and person. 🙂

    My piece of advice to new bloggers (and even existing bloggers) is to not be afraid to take breaks. I am the queen of going on hiatuses. Some of these last longer than I would like, but sometimes it’s just necessary. If you’re not into it 100%, it will definitely come across in your reviews. I would rather publish something I’m completely happy with on a sporadic schedule than write something that I’m not proud of.

    Overall, I would suggest that you make sure you’re blogging for you. If it becomes overwhelming, a short break could be all you need to get back into it. I know that each time I come back from a break it’s because I realize I miss writing about books… and I think every time I come back, my blogs get better and better. I come back rejuvenated and ready to talk books like never before. Maybe it will be the same for you!

    P.S. Make sure to make friends in the book blogging world – seriously amazing people!

    FIND KAITLYN…

    Kaitlyn in Bookland, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

    For a little background…

    I either met Kaitlyn on Twitter or Facebook. It’s been so long since we first met that I can’t be sure. But I remember her sharing this amazing story of a book signing she attended with Kami Garcia and the author recognized her from her blog, I believe it was…. Clearly my memory is not as good as Ms. Garcia’s. But it was one of those “to die for” moments.

    I absolutely love checking out Kaitlyn’s vlogs. She is so super enthusiastic and a total riot when talking about books. Though I have been a little remiss in checking on them lately… something I must remedy ASAP.

    And as someone I adore and someone who started blogging long before I did, I just had to see what piece of wisdom she’d share. And I absolutely love her “tip.” It is so important to take a break. Her enthusiasm for blogging has not waned because she has taken time away when she needed to. While it is hard to step away because of statistics and loss of followers, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, then what do those numbers matter and what kind of content are you providing for your readers?

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Kaitlyn for reminding me that stepping away is a good thing!

    Daisy of Between the Pages

    My advice to new bloggers (how weird does this sound as I still feel like such a newbie myself, even after two years) would be to remember why you started blogging. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy to get more followers/review copies/be the next big name, but if you’re not enjoying yourself it’s not worth it. I’ve made some amazing friends with whom I can share my love of books and that’s what counts for me.

    FIND DAISY…

    Between the Pages, Twitter, The Broke and the Bookish

    For a little background…

    I first met Daisy on my blog Fiktshun’s Ramblings, a.k.a. The Annex. I started participating in The Broke and the Bookish’s meme “Top Ten Tuesday” and discovered her blog because of my participation. And I’m so glad.

    Because our paths might not have crossed as we don’t always read the same books. But I love getting a peek at the books she does read and have purchased a few – though they’re still on my TBR pile – from some of her posts.

    I love that we both feel like newbies! Two years really isn’t that long is it? And I love the advice she’s given. It’s so important to remember why you started out. Because it is so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of everything in this community. And it’s easy to lose your sense of direction and your reason for being here.

    Thank you so much Daisy for sharing your wisdom and being a part of my blog’s two year celebration!

    Mist of Bookaholics

    Make lots of friends

    I’ve had a great time blogging, getting to read lots of books and talk about them is fun, but it wouldn’t be half as much fun without all the fabulous blogging friends I’ve made in my blogging journey. There’s a huge communtity out there and I’m proud to be part of it, not only do I have someone to ramble my excited thoughts and opinions to but they talk back with their ramblings and we’re all on the same page (pun intended!) because we share our love for books. And some have become more than book friends, we talk about things in our every day lives and even meet up.

    So, my advice to any new blogger is to get out there, network, meet other book obssessed nerds who are as crazy for the written word as you are!

    FIND MIST…

    Bookaholics, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Formspring, YouTube

    For a little background…

    I met Mist on Facebook. She’s one of the first bloggers I met when I started my Facebook page. A few of those blogs are no longer in existence or have scaled back. But Mist’s blog, Bookaholics, is going strong.

    If I remember correctly, she’d started her Bookaholics Book Club on Facebook and then decided to start a blog. So she’d already had experience and made social connections before venturing out into the blogosphere.

    I, on the other hand, was a complete newbie everywhere. But she was so super nice and friendly! And I loved checking out her In Mist’s Mailbox vlogs until I decided that hiding from all book haul posts was a must for awhile. But I loved watching her posts as she always got so many amazing books – many she purchased – though I envied her for having those beautiful UK editions.

    And I absolutely agree with everything she said about making friends. Blogging just isn’t the same when you don’t have someone to gush about your favorite books, characters and authors with. It’s not the same without having someone to commiserate with about crazy formatting issues, blogger scheduling mess-ups, and all the other highs and lows that come with being a book blogger.

    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy blogging schedule to share your tip, Mist!

    As I couldn’t ask all five bloggers to share their favorite books for giveaway, I thought I’d offer up one of my very recent favorite reads….

    But since I couldn’t ask them for their picks, I am including a few extra entry opportunities to follow these awesome bloggers on Twitter.

    My Blogoversary Celebration Day 3 Giveaway is for a copy of STARLING by Lesley Livingston – to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location – to two winners.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway rules apply. (See my giveaway policy if you have any questions.)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Interview: Alex Bennett of Electrifying Reviews

    I have been super lucky to get the chance to ask Alex Bennett of Electrifying Reviews a LOT of questions about blogging, books and more. He was nice enough to answer all 42 – yep, I told you it was a lot – of my questions.

    ***

    …on Blogging, Reading and Writing

    Q. Your blog, Electrifying Reviews, has been up and running for a year-and-a-half now. By many you’d be considered a seasoned blogger – at the ripe old age of 14 going on 15. Do you have any advice for new bloggers? Any pitfalls they should avoid?

    AB: I think new bloggers shouldn’t immediately focus on things like ARCs or BEA, and all that. They should just share their opinions, and try to get those opinions out to people without making it feel like they are desperate for people to go look at their blog. I get tons of comments and such with people saying “blah blah blah, here’s a link to my blog!”. Don’t spam people. Put out quality content. The rest will follow with time.

    Q. What would you say is your favorite part of the book blogging experience? Your least favorite?

    AB: My favorite part is definitely interacting with all of the awesome people in the YA book world! I’ve met so many amazing people thanks to blogging, and wouldn’t give my friendships up for the world. My least favorite part is the drama. I didn’t notice it a lot at first, but as time has passed there’s been plenty of it flowing through the blogosphere and the like. I try to avoid it as much as I can but sometimes it’s too hard or personal to look away.

    Q. Since you started your blog in December 2009 is there anything you wished you had done differently? Is there anything you wished you hadn’t done at all?

    AB: I wish I would have had a clearer goal. I started off with really no idea what a book blog was. At first, I posted tons of random crap, but once I started reading more blogs I got a better idea of what book blogging is, and that really helped. I actually started reviewing on YouTube, and have since dropped my account. I don’t wish I would have never done that, because it introduced me to book reviewing, but it added a lot of unnecessary drama, since so many people are on the site.

    Q. You read quite a bit and post content on your site pretty much every day, plus you’re an avid Tweeter – how do you find time to do it all – writing, school and blogging?

    AB: A lot of what I post is scheduled ahead of time, so it doesn’t actually take too much time away from my schedule. Haha, Tweeting is like breathing. It’s natural, and easy, and takes just a second. Writing… I barely do it anymore, and that sucks. It really sucks. I hope I can find more time to do it soon. School is pretty manageable, actually. I have a study period where I get all my work done. Plus, I’m pretty smart anyway so it’s easy to not get bogged down with work.

    Q. As a frequent visitor to your site I’ve noticed that you’ve had a few redesigns – love this latest iteration by the way. Is this something you will continue to do or are you happy with the current layout and design? How important do you think it is to change your site’s design or do you think it’s fine to choose one design and stick with it?

    AB: Yeah, I do change it a lot, don’t I? I’ll probably update it as time goes on, but probably not as regularly. The one I have currently is professionally done and I’d like to not have to pay lots of money to get a new design whenever my heart desires. The one I have now is sleek and professional, and I love it. I think if you are happy with your design, and it isn’t off-putting to readers or, you know, ugly, then it’s fine to stick with it.

    Q. On Twitter and on your blog you are very friendly with several authors. Do you find it challenging to write your honest reviews about authors you know? How do you handle writing reviews for books that just weren’t for you by an author you’ve become friendly with?

    AB: This is a hard part of blogging, but authors know that not everyone is going to like their books. I’m actually pretty close with authors whose books I didn’t like very much at all. I think as long as you are professional and give good reason and critique, then an author can’t really hate you for not liking their book. As long as you don’t make it personal, they won’t take it personally.

    Q. As a younger writer do you feel that your blogging experience has helped you make connections in the industry? With all the brouhaha going on with bloggers/authors, do you feel that having a blog has affected your future as an author?

    AB: If anything it’s probably helped. I have countless mentors now who can give me great advice and whatnot when I am ready to take it to the next level. I know agents, authors, editors, publicists, and just about everything else there is in the book industry. I’m definitely not going to be able to be like, “Hey friend, how about you publish this book I wrote!”. Because it doesn’t work that way. I hope my blogging shows people in the industry that I can be professional, and that I know what works and what doesn’t.

    Q. You mention on your blog that your goal is to get the word out about reading and how important it is for teens to read. How successful do you feel you have been at spreading the message? What else do you seek to accomplish with your site?

    AB: I think I’ve successfully spread that message because people often are shocked that I am a teen. And a boy! People automatically jump to conclusions thinking I must be some old housewife or something, and then they realize that I’m obviously not. So by breaking that stereotype, I hope it shows others that they can branch out too and be what they want to be, not what people think they should be. I also hope to just get the word out about YA. It’s an amazing thing, young adult books, and I hope I can be a factor in spreading their popularity.

    Q. Which do you prefer best – writing, reading or blogging? Why?

    AB: Reading, probably. Because so many books are just so… good! It’s hard to get that with anything else. My writing isn’t always going to be good. Blogging can often have more negatives than positives.

    Q. The young adult writing and book blogging community seem to be made up largely of female authors and bloggers. What is unique to your experience as a male writer and blogger in this environment?

    AB: What’s unique about it is that I don’t think I come off as the typical “guy”. A lot of the YA book world is associated with teen girls or Twilight Moms freaking out over their favorite literary guys. And I’m reading the same things as them. So it’s odd in a way.

    Q. What advice would you give to others your age who might want to start their own blog and become a part of this community?

    A. Don’t expect it to be easy, and don’t think that things will fall into your grasp without working hard. It’s fun as hell, and it can be so rewarding, but it can be tough and it can suck at times. Deal with it and write another review.

    Q. Book blogging is a fairly recent phenomenon, there aren’t too many book blogs that have been up for five or more years. Do you see yourself continuing your blog after you graduate or is this something for the short-term until your writing career takes off?

    AB: I hope I don’t drop it! I mean, who knows if my writing career will ever really take off. I mean, hopefully it does. But if not, then I still have my blog and all of my fabulous YA books. I don’t see myself dropping blogging at all in the future… near or far.

    Q. What was your reasoning for discontinuing the ratings on the reviews on your site? Do you find it easier to write your reviews without coming up with a rating or is it more of a challenge?

    AB: I basically write the same reviews as I did before, but I often notice that when I am reading blogs that I just glance at the star rating a blogger gave the book. I want people to actually read what I write, and if I kept doing star ratings fewer people would actually do so.

    Q. You have a number of awesome features on your blog such as “Future Favorites” – have you ever thought of turning any of those into a meme?

    AB: No, I don’t. A lot of my blog features are just my spins on other things that exist. If people want to do something like Future Favorites, or Waiting on Wednesday as the common meme is called, they can name it something that suits them.

    Q. Is there anything else about you that you feel that fans of your blog and reviews should know?

    AB: That I really do work hard and try to be as professional as possible, yet still fun. There’s a lot of drama that seems to find its way to me, but I’m not going to give up and stop for anyone.

    Alex’s Favorites

    Q. Favorite book?

    AB: For real, Rachel? Gosh… probably The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith. Technically it’s a series, but HA, you can’t stop me!

    Q. Favorite book with a female main character?

    AB: See above answer.

    Q. Favorite book with a male main character?

    AB: Harry Potter.

    Q. Favorite female main character?

    AB: Lena from Beautiful Creatures. NOT from Beautiful Darkness.

    Q. Favorite male main character?

    AB: Probably Will from Angelfire. I totally don’t know actually, but that was the first book to come to mind.

    Q. Favorite evil dude?

    AB: Snape, Snape, Severus Snape.

    Q. Favorite anti-hero/protagonist?

    AB: One of the two love interests from the Sweep series. I won’t tell you which one is actually evil.

    Q. Favorite love triangle (if you have one)?

    AB: Probably the one from Dark Visions by L.J. Smith.

    Q. Favorite character “couple”?

    AB: I recently read Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz and the two main characters were so real and their relationship was just as real.

    Q. Favorite genre?

    AB: Probably Urban Fantasy. I do love contemporary, but for some reason barely read them.

    Q. Favorite sub-genre? (Fairies, Vampires, Shifters, Angels, Demons, etc.)

    AB: WITCHES!

    Q. Favorite supernatural ability?

    AB: MAGIC!

    Q. Cliffhangers – love them or hate them?

    AB: Depends. Usually I love them.

    Q. Love triangles – yes or no?

    AB: Again, depends. But if they aren’t there just for the sake of there being a love triangle, then I think they are fun.

    Q. Favorite author?

    AB: L.J. SMITH!

    Q. Favorite book into movie?

    AB: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

    Q. Book buy or book ban – the I Am Number Four series of books? the L.J. Smith-less Vampire Diaries series of books?

    AB: Book buy. I’ve already bought some of the non-L.J. Smith Vampire Diaries books. People have ghostwriters all the time, and just because there is one doesn’t mean the story will be any less good.

    …because I just didn’t ask enough yet

     

    Q. What was the weirdest comment someone left for you on your site?

    AB: God, anything from Teisha Little.

    Q. What was the oddest Tweet you ever received?

    AB: God, anything by Teisha Little.

    Q. What was the most unusual request for review you received?

    AB: I think it was an erotic cookbook.

    Q. What was your favorite book signing event that you attended?

    AB: BEA. Does that count? If not, the Angelfire launch party. Those are the only two I’ve been to.

    Q. Aside from BEA, what were the most books you received for review in the mail at one time?

    AB: At one time meaning one package? Probably 30.

    Q. How is your relationship with your mailman – does he/she love you or hate you?

    AB: The Post is evil. They leave these little pink slips because nothing ever fits in my mailbox. The slips tell me to come over and pick up my packages at the Post. I’m not sure about the actual man/woman.

    Q. If you could choose two writers to collaborate on a book who would they be and what would the genre be?

    AB: Sophie Jordan and Tera Lynn Childs. It would be a paranormal romance.

    Q. If you could write a book with another author, who would it be?

    AB: L.J. Smith. Probably just to learn where she comes up with all of the ideas she does.

    Q. What author has influenced your writing the most?

    AB: Wow. Every book has influenced my writing. I definitely can’t pick one author.

    Q. Do your friends support your writing and blogging endeavors or do they roll your eyes when you talk books?

    AB: Actually, I tell very few people about my online life. But those who know about it are supportive through and through.

    ***

    Thank you so much, Alex, for answering every single one of my questions! Your answers were a great mix of extremely helpful, outrageously funny, and boldly honest.

    Is there anything more you want to know about Alex? Is there something I forgot to ask that you’ve been dying to know?

    Either leave a comment, or just ask Alex directly on Formspring. And if you want to check out Electrifying Reviews, just click the blog button.

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FTC

All reviews on this website are unbiased and reviewers are in no way compensated for their reviews by the author, publisher, or any other agencies. While some reviews may be based on receipt of ARC copies of an authors work, a fair and impartial review is always given by the reviewer. Most of the reviews, however, are based upon books purchased after publication date.