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    Interview with MURDER AMONG THE STARS Author Adam Shankman

    I am so thrilled to welcome the very talented and amazing Adam Shankman to the blog today for a Q&A about his latest novel, MURDER AMONG THE STARS which he co-authored with Laura L. Sullivan. MURDER AMONG THE STARS is the second LuLu Kelly Mystery and is even more exciting than the first with its interesting and delightful cast of characters and its incredible setting – Hearst Castle.

    Author Adam Shankman talks favorite characters, favorite and challenging scenes, favorite book in the series, which character type he would be, just what Freddie adores most about Lulu, and more!

    I love why he chose the setting for this novel, I love how he differentiates Lulu and Lucille, and I love that he is entertained by his characters. And I love this series.

    If you’re new to the series skip the description for MURDER AMONG THE STARS but feel free to check out the interview as it is non-spoiler-y. The information about GIRL ABOUT TOWN, the first book in the series, can be found at the end of the post.

    If you’d like to learn more about the authors be sure to follow them on social media – links follow their brief bios. And if you’d like to check out the Blog Tour Interview with Author Laura L. Sullivan, CLICK HERE.


    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: MURDER AMONG THE STARS (A Lulu Kelly Mystery)
    Authors: Adam Shankman, Laura L. Sullivan
    Release date: June 13, 2017
    Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT


    A murderer is picking off the young Hollywood starlets gathered at the swanky Hearst Castle, and Lulu Kelly might be next—unless she can find the killer first in this glitzy, glamorous, and cinematic sequel to acclaimed film producer/director Adam Shankman and coauthor Laura Sullivan’s Girl About Town.

    After being framed for attempted murder, Lulu Kelly has earned a rest. Unfortunately, there is no rest in Hollywood for a rising starlet. Lulu and her boyfriend Freddie are invited to posh Hearst Castle, where Lulu will be competing against other young actresses for the role of a lifetime. But what’s a house party without a little murder?

    After a rival actress is found dead under the dining room table, Lulu makes it her mission to solve the mystery. But illusion is this town’s number one export, and it’s hard to tell the ambitious from the truly evil. As the clues pile up, Lulu and Freddie race to find the killer, even as Lulu becomes the next target.


    The Interview

    Q&A with Author Adam Shankman

    Q. Who is your favorite character to write about in the Lulu Kelly Mysteries series – and why is she/he a favorite?

    I would have to say that my favorites are the actually Freddie and Lulu. Certainly Lulu. They are both in a great hurry to be adults, and take on the world, and they feel VERY BIG feelings! They entertain me endlessly.

    Q. What was your favorite scene (non-spoiler-y) to write in MURDER AMONG THE STARS – and why was it a favorite?

    I liked the party scenes. I’ve always had a great fondness for Agatha Christie style gatherings, when people are all in a room together, and you know SOMEONE there is a murderer, but you don’t know who. The darting eyes, the mistrust, the booze and dancing, and the tension of not knowing. I love writing that stuff.

    Q. What was your most challenging scene (non-spoiler-y) to write in MURDER AMONG THE STARS – and why was it a challenge?

    For me, the challenge of these books are to try and keep them from becoming too twee and precious. They are homages to giants that came before us, and a period I have great unbridled respect and enthusiasm for. I guess, given that, the part I personally struggled with the most, was the reveal of the killer! Laura and I wrote one idea originally, than completely rethought it, and made it a completely different idea. More satisfying I think. But I don’t like endings! I like process, so endings are a bit sad to me.

    Q. Which book in the Lulu Kelly Mysteries was your favorite to write – and why?

    I actually thought writing Girl About Town was much more fun for awhile since I enjoyed creating the lives of our characters. Mysteries are a bit of math, what with the plots, subplots, misleads, laying out clues, etc… I tend to favor character related work. Getting to know these people. Hanging out with them. I’m terrible at math by nature, so as to that, I was so grateful to Laura for being such a stalwart guide and soldier. She had a great deal of patience with me.

    Q. What do you enjoy most about writing a mystery/mysteries?

    See above!

    Q. What made you choose the setting for MURDER AMONG THE STARS?

    I’m a native Angeleno, and as a child my mom took me to Hearst Castle, and I’ve never forgotten what an extraordinary impact it had on me. I imagined all of the movie stars, and luminaries of the time cavorting in that gorgeous setting. When I was small, it was HUGE to me. In fact, the bedrooms are rather small by todays standards, but the history is honey running down the walls there. When we were thinking about the next book, this was the actual setting I immediately suggested, and Laura went all in for it! I think it’s a pretty darn perfect location for glamorous mayhem, which is frankly what Freddie and Lulu are all about!

    Q. If you could describe Lulu Kelly in 15 words or less, how would you describe her? AND if you could describe Lucille O’Malley in 15 words or less how different would your description be?

    Lulu Kelly: insatiably curious, head-strong, brave, and ambitious. She’s a glamorous trouble maker and a hopeless romantic. I counted head-strong as one word.

    Lucille O’Malley was infinitely more humble, burdened, fearful and didn’t know she could really ever raise herself up. Her shame about how she got everything that her “new life” has offered her will likely never stop plaguing her conscience. She’s simply too moral.

    Q. What is it about Lulu Kelly that Freddie van der Waals adores the most?

    This question makes me want to use a million old fashioned words that seldom get used these days! Moxie, pluck, wiles, spunk, guts, nerve, and fearlessness. I think he’s terribly drawn to everything about her that he compains about! Her impetuous nature drives him bonkers, but it’s also what endlessly intrigues and endears her to him.

    Q. If you were a character in the Lulu Kelly Mysteries who would you be – hero/heroine, villain, victim, suspect, someone else? And why would you choose to be that type of character?

    I will always and forever see myself as the goofy sidekick. I’m probably Charlie, the dog in these books. I’m not handsome or dashing enough to be the hero, or female and girlish enough to be the heroine! I’m the funny narrator. The wise cracking pal. And I love that character. They add a fresh perspective to things, and usually take the edge off of the leading folks. Also, not for nothing, they so seldom get killed!

    About the Authors

    Photo credit: Frank Meli

    Adam Shankman is the director and producer of the exuberant musical remake of Hairspray, the producer of the top-grossing Step Up films, the director of the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestseller A Walk to Remember starring Mandy Moore, and the director of Bringing Down the House starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah. Adam has also directed episodes of Modern Family and Glee, and he was a popular judge on So You Think You Can Dance.


    Photo credit: Andy DeLay

    Laura L. Sullivan is a former newspaper editor, biologist, social worker, and deputy sheriff who writes because storytelling is the easiest way to do everything in the world. Her books include Love By the Morning StarDelusion, and Ladies in Waiting. Laura lives on the Florida coast.


    Other Books in the Series

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: GIRL ABOUT TOWN (A Lulu Kelly Mystery)
    Authors: Adam Shankman, Laura L. Sullivan
    Release date: April 19, 2016
    Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook

    Read an EXCERPT


    Not too long ago, Lucille O’Malley was living in a tenement in New York. Now she’s Lulu Kelly, Hollywood’s newest It Girl. She may be a star, but she worries that her past will catch up with her. Back in New York she witnessed a Mafia murder, and this glamorous new life in Tinseltown is payment for her silence.

    Dashing Freddie van der Waals, the only son of a New York tycoon, was a playboy with the world at his feet. But when he discovered how his corrupt father really made the family fortune, Freddie abandoned his billions and became a vagabond. He travels the country in search of redemption and a new identity, but his father will stop at nothing to bring him home.

    When fate brings Lulu and Freddie together, sparks fly—and gunshots follow. Suddenly Lulu finds herself framed for attempted murder. Together, she and Freddie set out to clear her name. But can they escape their pasts and finally find the Hollywood ending they long for?



    Giveaway: Wake + Lullaby SIGNED & a pre-order of Tidal


    As one or two of you may already know, I am a huge fan of author Amanda Hocking. She’s been such an inspiration to not only self-published authors but to me. If it weren’t for her taking a chance on me way back in 2010 I wouldn’t be blogging today.

    That’s right, she is the sole reason Fiktshun became a book blog. If it weren’t for the opportunity to beta read her book TORN, I wouldn’t be the happy blogger I am today. But I owe her so much more than just that. I spent countless hours caught up the worlds she created in her stories long before I became a blogger. And her stories gave me a much needed escape from a bunch of real life stuff that was taking me down.

    They always say there’s a catalyst. Well she was mine. And she changed my life. And I cannot thank her enough.

    So as you might guess, I am so unbelievably excited to be able to host a giveaway for signed copies of the first two books in her Watersong Series – WAKE and LULLABY + a pre-order of the third book in this awesome series, TIDAL.

    Not only do I have one set of these books for giveaway, I have FIVE thanks to this very amazing author who sent me all these lovely signed books to share with my blog’s readers. And as TIDAL, is releasing on June 4th, I decided to add in pre-order for that book, too. Though it will be unsigned.

    As you can see from the two pictures below there are more than five copies of each book.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    Yes, there are ten sets of WAKE and LULLABY in both paperback and hardcover format. But as I’m not greedy… okay, not that greedy… I decided to share the giveaway love with a few of my favorite bloggers – Jaime of Two Chicks on Books, Rachel of Parajunkee’s View and Mindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads – who will each be hosting a giveaway at some point in the near future for five sets of the books on their blogs.

    So be sure to stop by each of their blogs in the next couple of weeks for more chances to win.

    The Giveaway


    What’s Up for Grabs

    A signed set of WAKE and LULLABY in hardcover format + an unsigned pre-order hardcover copy of TIDAL to FIVE (5) Winners.

    The Deets

    • There will be FIVE  winners
    • Giveaway is US Only – (Sorry but I have 20 sets of books to ship!)
    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • Winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter
    • Winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
    • Winners will have 48 hours after notification to respond

    As always there is no requirement to like or follow, just leave a comment with your favorite Watersong cover, but there are a few extra entry opportunities.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Haven’t yet “met” this amazing author and her awesome series? Here is some info and places where you can find them all online!

    Amanda Hocking

    About Amanda Hocking

    Amanda Hocking is the USA Today bestselling author of the Trylle trilogy and six additional self-published novels. After selling over a million copies of her books, primarily in eBook format, she is widely considered the exemplar of self-publishing success in the digital age.



    Wake Cover

    About WAKE (Watersong #1)

    Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

    Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They’re the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone’s attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

    Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

    Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.



    About LULLABY (Watersong #2)

    Harper only wanted a safe, normal life. But when her younger sister Gemma runs off with a dangerous clique of beautiful girls, Penn, Thea, and Lexi, everything changes. Vowing to get her sister back no matter what the cost, Harper must face dangers unlike any she’s ever experienced. Fortunately, she has Daniel by her side, a gorgeous guy who’s devoted to helping her find her sister—and who’s immune to the girls’ dark powers.

    While Harper searches for her sister, Gemma struggles to adjust to her new life. Gemma’s powers are growing by the day, and the longer she lives with her new “sisters,” the harder it is to resist entering their magical world. It’s a realm both dark and beautiful, and where she’s plagued by strange hungers and unspeakable needs. Just as she’s drifting far away from her old life, Harper and Daniel find her…but no one can deny how much she’s changed. All she wants is to return to her family and the mortal world, but how can she do that when she’s become something else entirely—and will they still love her once they learn the truth?

    Prepare to fall under the spell of Lullaby, the second book in the Watersong series from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.




    About TIDAL (Watersong #3)

    Gemma and Harper Fisher are facing the fight of their lives.  Gemma has been cursed with extraordinary powers that have a terrifying dark side, but she’s finally found what she needs—a way to break the curse and become human again.  But finding the means to do it will be her greatest challenge yet.  And now Penn, Lexi and Thea—the gorgeous but deadly creatures who cursed her—are determined to kill her before she has a chance.  Making matters worse, Penn has her sights set on Daniel—the guy Harper loves—and Penn always gets what she wants.

    As Gemma and Harper race to break the curse before it’s too late, they’re thrust deeper into a mythical world of immortal secrets.  They must delve into their enemies’ past to find the answers they need, even if it means being drawn deeper into their savagely beautiful world.  But one of the girls is not what she seems…and Gemma finds an unlikely ally as she struggles to save herself.  But will it be enough to break an ancient curse that no one has ever escaped alive?



    Other books in the Watersong Series…



    … Places to learn more about the entire series – GOODREADS | BLOG | WEBSITE


    Top 10 Book Covers of 2012


    Today is Day Two of Top 10 of 2012.

    A week of Looking Back…

    …and Looking Forward.

    I am so excited to be able to co-host this event again this year with Lisa from A Life Bound By BooksJessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic and Jaime from Two Chicks on Books. I am even more stoked that Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads has joined us as a co-host this year.

    In case you hadn’t heard of our week-long event, it runs for five days, starting on Monday, where we have been sharing some of our FAVORITE lists and inviting YOU to share yours in the Linky list each day.

    Throughout the week, each of the hosts will have a giveaway that you can enter, so be sure to check out all of our stops this week. Of course, if you’re just as curious as I am, you’ll want to check out as many of the top ten lists being shared this week as possible.

    And if you haven’t yet signed up, that’s OK, there’s still time. Just check out THIS POST for all the details.


    The topic for today is…

    Best Book Covers of 2012

    This time I’m glad it’s only for books released in 2012, because there are some amazing 2013 covers that I love, love, love including…

    Mary Lindsey’s ASHES ON THE WAVES, Amanda Hocking’s TIDAL, Karsten Knight’s AFTERGLOW, Bethany Griffin’s DANCE OF THE RED DEATH, Brodi Ashton’s EVERBOUND, Courtney Allison Moulton’s SHADOWS IN THE SILENCE, Scott Tracey’s PHANTOM EYES, Kimberly Derting’s THE ESSENCE, A.G. Howard’s SPLINTERED, Cassandra Clare’s CLOCKWORK PRINCESS…

    Yeah, 2013 is going to be impossible… unless that IS my 2013 list….

    Last year I had the most challenging time choosing just ten covers for my Top 10 Book Covers of 2011. This year it was even worse, so I did include a small gallery of other favorites. But seriously, that’s not cheating!



    Masque of the Red Death

    MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)



    VESSEL by Sarah Beth Durst

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)


    Born Wicked Cover

    BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)


    Soul Screamers Volume Two

    SOUL SCREAMERS VOL. 2 by Rachel Vincent

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)



    EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)



    ARISE by Tara Hudson

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)


    Timepiece cover

    TIMEPIECE by Myra McEntire

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)


    Illuminate Cover

    ILLUMINATE by Aimee Agresti

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)


    Grave Mercy

    GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)



    LULLABY by Amanda Hocking

    (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)



    Once again my favorite covers seem to be those with ladies in them. But this year it’s not all about the dress.

    MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH has just the most gorgeous colors, textures and fonts.

    VESSEL is just stunning. I have no other words.

    BORN WICKED has just this warm old-fashioned elegance.

    ARISE has wonderfully rich, dark and beautiful colors.

    TIMEPIECE is so creative and different and eye-catching.

    ILLUMINATE has wings and a gilded elegance.

    GRAVE MERCY has a crossbow which I didn’t see the first hundred times I looked at the cover.

    And LULLABY has such vivid and lively colors.

    So what if I’m totally enchanted by SOUL SCREAMERS VOLUME TWO and EVERNEATH because of the dresses and the wispy delicate feel to those dresses. They’re beautiful.

    What can I say? These are my cover love picks after all.


    It’s still not too late to sign up for the event. Whether you want to go back and post your Top Ten Lists for any of the missing posts or you just want to start today… or tomorrow… you can!

    Tomorrow’s topic is YOUR CHOICE. Whether it be villains or love triangles or books with your favorite quotes, it’s up to you. And while I totally wanted to pick villains again, many of my villains have turned into book boyfriends… don’t ask… please.

    I also would have loved to do a post of books with my favorite passages, but many of those books are 2013 reads or secret books. So I chose … nope, I won’t reveal that here. You’ll have to tune in tomorrow to find out what MY CHOICE will be.


    Once again I can’t wait to check out your Top Ten Book Covers for 2012. Just leave your link in the Linky List below so everyone can take a peek.

    And don’t forget to check out today’s giveaway on…


    PLEASE NOTE: This is the SAME Linky List that is on each of the co-hosts blogs, so please just enter your links once!


    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #100

    Below are the YA books releasing this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of November 27th-December 3rd that I have pre-ordered.

    Before I start rambling about the three amazing books I have on order this week, I just want to say that I can’t believe this is the 100th Releasing This Week post I’ve done. While I’ve done quite a few more “Book Watch” posts than that, they haven’t been numbered, so I can pretend there were just a few.

    But being in the triple digits here on the blog is a bit of a shock. Because I can’t imagine the number of books I’d have to have purchased if this were to ever reach the 1,000th Book Watch RTW post. Or the number of other posts and reviews I’ll have to have done to reach that mile-marker. Yikes!


    THE LUCKY ONES by Anna Godbersen will be released in the U.S. on November 27, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperCollins, the print edition is 384 pages.

    THE LUCKY ONES is the third book in the author’s Bright Young Things series.


    I have not yet read the first book in the series and yet I just had to pre-order THE LUCKY ONES. I love the 1920s setting for this series and I’m just dying to finally pick each book up and get lost in the Roaring Twenties.

    In this latest installment, the new “it girl” is Cordelia Grey, the daughter of a bootlegger. And according to the description her romance with “celebrity pilot” Max Darby seems to be quite the scandal.

    Both Letty Larkspur and Astrid Donal are also major players in this book. But I don’t want to read that part of the description that talks about just what has happened with them since I haven’t read the first two books in this series.

    I love this time period in American history and I can’t wait to see what life is like in the author’s version of this era. I can only imagine that life in White Cove will be intriguing, scandalous and decadent. But I’ll have to move all three books to the top of the pile to be sure.

    With the upcoming version of the film The Great Gatsby soon-ish to hit the big screen, I am more tempted than ever to dive into these books and see just what life is like for these Bright Young Things.

    LULLABY by Amanda Hocking will be released in the U.S. on November 27, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 304 pages.

    LULLABY is the second book in author Amanda Hocking’s Watersong quadrilogy. The third book, TIDAL, is slated for release on April 16, 2013 and the fourth and final book in the series, ELEGY, is also scheduled for release in 2013.


    I am so glad that the release date for LULLABY is finally right around the corner. While the wait hasn’t been as long as it is for some books, I have been dying to find out just what happens to Gemma in this next installment in the series.

    As I have already gone on… and on… and on… in my Book Watch post earlier this month, I will try to keep things brief and spoiler-free, but I am so curious as to what is going to happen next. Especially after the way things ended.

    When I first sat down to read WAKE I did not expect there to be multiple POVs, but I loved getting to see things from Harper’s perspective. And I’m even more curious about what she’ll have to face in this second book. The description mentions “dangers unlike any she’s ever experienced” which makes me rather anxious for her safety.

    Whenever I read anything by author Amanda Hocking I am always prepared for the unexpected. Well, as prepared as I can be, anyway. So I’m excited to see what kind of surprises she has in store for me in this book with its gorgeous cover.

    I can’t wait to read more about these “dark powers” that are hinted at, and to be spellbound as the description promises. I hope that things do not end on too much of a cliff since the next book in the series won’t be out until April. But I’m sure I’ll find out in the next couple of weeks when I get this book on top of the pile.

    ELIXIR by Jennifer L. Armentrout will be released in the U.S. on November 27, 2012 in paperback format. (The eBook edition was released on November 22, 2012.) The paperback is currently available to pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and the eBook is available to purchase now.

    Published by Spencer Hill Press, the print edition is 80 pages.

    ELIXIR is a novella in the Covenant series that  falls between books three and four. The fourth book in the series, APOLLYON, is slated for release on April 9, 2013 and the fifth book, SENTINEL, will be coming in January 2014.


    I am just a wee bit behind on this series. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. But with five books and this new novella, ELIXIR, planned, I have just a little bit of time to catch up.

    Of course I bought the eBook of ELIXIR for my Kindle collection, but I’m thinking of purchasing the print edition as I have all its predecessors in print. And I really cannot wait to read this short installment. Especially because it’s told from Aiden St. Delphi’s perspective – one of my favorite heroes in YA fiction.

    But it does mean I’ll have to catch up on the rest of the series first… and it might just mean a re-read of HALF-BLOOD and DAIMON, too. Which is totally fine by me. Because I am dying to get back into this world of half-bloods and the gods. And any world with Aiden St. Delphi is an absolutely wonderful world to be in.

    Jennifer Armentrout is one of my favorite YA authors and I cannot wait to get the chance to move ELIXIR to the top of the pile.

    Touched (Sense Thieves #1) by Corrine Jackson

    Pub. Date: November 27, 2012

    Publisher: K-Teen



    NOT a YA release… but one I have pre-ordered…

    Shadow’s Claim (The Dacians #1) by Kresley Cole

    Pub. Date: November 27, 2012

    Publisher: Pocket Books



    Not a YA release… but one I have pre-ordered…

    Trapped (Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin Hearne

    Pub. Date: November 27, 2012

    Publisher: Del Rey



    It’s another relatively quiet week for YA releases, but I have a few non-YA books on order that I’m dying to read. So my TBR pile is definitely growing this week.

    I only just learned of TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson yesterday, but I think that is also a book I’ll be purchasing this week. I did end up buying her previously released YA contemp when Jaime pointed it out to me and I definitely plan on reading that in the next month or two.

    I hope some day soon to get caught up with the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne because that series looks wicked awesome. But in the meantime I think I will be reading SHADOW’S CLAIM by Kresley Cole as she’s become my latest addiction in After Dark fiction.

    I am trying so very hard to stay away from too many impulse buy books. But with so many amazing books releasing each week, it’s really, really hard to do.


    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!


    Blogoversary Guest Posts + Giveaway II

    I am running out of days that I can legitimately celebrate my blogoversary without it becoming just a bit too much. At some point I have to get back to those reviews. But that day is not today. Phew. Because I find myself still entangled in those very recent reads and would much rather dive into a new book than try to wrap my mind around a review.


    Today I have four more amazing bloggers that I have known for as long as I have been blogging or have admired from afar and only recently gotten the chance to know better. Some have been blogging much longer than I have, some are just a bit newer to the blogosphere. But they’re all bloggers I respect, who have very much shaped this community, and whose blogs I try to visit as often as I can.

    Once again I’ve included a diverse group of bloggers, each with very different and unique blogs, who have a variety of tips and advice to share. So let me step aside and pass my blog along to them….

    Avery of Avery’s Book Nook

    When Rachel told me the theme of her 2nd Blogiversary celebration, tips for new book bloggers, the first thing that came to find was “numbers”. Numbers are something that Rachel and I have discussed numerous times over the years as they are something that we have both given a lot of thought to (for instance on her post over on the Annex called Are You Established). As a new blogger (scratch that, new bloggers aren’t alone in this, as someone who has been blogging for over two years I still find myself experiencing this) it is SO EASY to get caught up in the numbers game (from the number of followers that you have, to the number of daily pageviews you have, to the number of ARCs you get in your mailbox every week, and so on) and all of those thoughts and emotions that come along with it (“OMG. I have been blogging religiously for the last two years, yet this blogger who has only been blogging for 6 months has 5-6 times the number of followers that I do! What is wrong with me?” < true story). My advice to you? Don’t worry about the numbers- there is SO MUCH more to blogging than numbers!

    If you ever find yourself experiencing the thoughts/ emotions I described stop for a second and think about why you started blogging. Did you start blogging because you wanted to see your follower count in the triple or quadruple digits? Probably not! You probably started blogging because you wanted to share your love of books with those around you- and guess what? You can still do that no matter the size of your audience! And think that numbers are the only way that you’ll get books to read and review? Not so- there’s NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads Giveaways, Random Acts of Kindness, blog tour sites *Cough, cough, Rockstar Book Tours*, and the likes of!

    Don’t make blogging a burden- it’s supposed to be fun! Spend that time that you’re stressing about numbers doing something productive, like reading more books, getting to know people in the blogging community, or bettering your blog!

    Looking for more blogging tips? Check out my Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers post.



    For a little background…

    I am fairly certain I first met Avery on Facebook. But I got to know Avery through the stalking I did of her blog. I was still a newbie blogger when we met and I thought she was amazing and I absolutely loved her blog.

    Her blog was review heavy, something I always had hoped my blog would be. She was incredibly well-read, diverse in her reading habits and she wasn’t afraid to  take a day off now and again. All traits I aspire to.

    I love how her sidebar highlights and showcases upcoming books that all just so happen to be on my “to buy” or pre-order lists. Some have been added just because of that sidebar.

    I am in awe of how she manages to read and review all the books she does with everything she has to juggle in her real life. If you haven’t checked out Avery’s awesome blog or “met” Avery on Twitter you are truly missing out on getting to know someone super amazing in the blogosphere.

    And as for her advice… I totally agree about taking a step back if you’ve found that you’re so caught up in the numbers game that you can’t remember why you’re blogging in the first place. It is so easy to get distracted by the numbers and forget why you do this thing. Unless you are trying to run your blog like a business and numbers are what’s most important to you, then giving yourself a little reminder of just why you’re here is key.

    Thank you so much, Avery, for being such an inspirational book blogger, for writing such fantastic reviews that I love to read, and for being such a vital part of this community! And thank you, thank you for sharing your wisdom here on the blog!

    Amy of The YA Sisterhood

    The advice I would give to bloggers is to just be yourself. Write about things that interest you, and don’t try to guess what other people want to read.

    Take things you are familiar with and expand them. That’s how we came up with our Crush Tournament. Our family is huge into sports. March Madness is an annual event, so we took something so familiar and just made it work for our blog. I think that’s the key, turning the everyday into something great! Plus, you’re less likely to get burned out if you are making it something you enjoy!

    Thanks so much for having us Rachel! Congrats on 2 years!!!! What a great accomplishment!



    For a little background…

    I know exactly how I “met” Amy and her awesome blog The YA Sisterhood. It was during the first-ever YA Crush Tourney in 2011. I decided to hop on Twitter late one night when I needed a break from researching and trying to come up with author interview questions.

    My good friend Jaime was chatting with someone about a new tournament she had just signed up for. I clicked the link. Saw this fairly new blog’s awesome idea. Decided I needed to do something different. Took a chance. Signed up. And the rest is history.

    Amy and the team at The YA Sisterhood had an amazing idea. It was wildly successful. It was so much fun. Who doesn’t know of their wicked awesome blog? Who doesn’t anxiously await the next tournament?

    And while their tournament is the reason I met these lovely bloggers, it isn’t the reason why I continue to check out their blog and chat them up on Twitter every so often. They are just really, really nice. They did something that brought the community together in a way that other events hadn’t.

    And they connected me with an author that was heretofore an idol of mine…. Well, she still is… but now I am not quite so afraid to send her a Tweet…. Okay, well, maybe I still am.

    But without their event I might never have gotten to know and love Tod as much as I did. I never would have hosted the SSRC. And I never would have met some really amazing bloggers and readers because of that. So, I have them to thank for that.

    And as for Amy’s advice… She is so right. You have to be yourself. Trying to be someone else just won’t work in the long run. As much as you want to please your readers, ultimately you have to enjoy what you’re doing. They won’t enjoy reading your posts if you don’t enjoy writing them.

    Thank you so much Amy (and everyone at The YA Sisterhood) for doing all that you do, for putting together these events that bring the community of bloggers and authors together. For just being all-around awesome! And for sharing your advice here for my blogoversary.

    Lisa of A Life Bound by Books

    Lisa had some great tips for bloggers in her Blogging about blogging post, two of which I’ve included here…

    “Some of the best advice I can give anyone is, if you’re thinking about starting a blog, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. What are the right reasons you ask? Well, in my honest opinion, one main reason would be to make sure you’re doing it for you and your passion for books. Share what you love about books and authors in honest reviews and content that means something to you. If you’re honest and excited about what you choose to talk about on your blog, people who visit will see it all come through loud and clear. Because in the end that’s a huge part of what book blogging is all about.

    “Honesty, excitement and passion over reading.

    “Another thing is not to get discouraged. I think we’ve all been through that from time to time. While it’s a huge, EPIC community to belong to and you’ll meet amazing people, far and wide, it takes time and sometimes hard work to be a book blogger.

    “None of us are paid for what we do. Well, in a way we are. We’re paid in comments and friendships and the excitement when we find a new book or author… we’re paid in the chance we get to have with talking and sharing about a book with others. Because, lets get back to basics here… book blogging is all about just that, the books. Your love of books and it’s where it should stay the whole time you continue to be a book blogger.”

    To read the rest of her tips on her blog, CLICK HERE.

    She has also offered up some new advice… 

    I think if I was to change it, or add to it today, I’d suggest being part of Twitter, because the community there for so many of us is another layer to being a book blogger. If you’re looking for a great recommendation or someone to talk about a book you’re reading and just had a moment you have to freak out about, there’s always someone there who’ll be ready to listen and discuss.

    Book blogging and social media – it’s happening, you can’t have one without the other.



    For a little background…

    Lisa’s blog was one of the very first blogs I stumbled across when I first started out. I didn’t even know book blogs existed, but then I found a handful of blogs that immediately made me feel completely intimidated. And overwhelmed. And terrified. Lisa’s was one of those blogs.

    I didn’t visit her too often in those early days or I might have been discouraged about my own blog. Her blog was rich with content, full of wonderful guest posts and author interviews. And her blog was so gorgeously designed.

    And it still is all of those things. And more. Even though the design has been updated – which I love, love, love. And even though her blog has even more to be in awe of.

    While Lisa and I didn’t “meet” until an unfortunate situation brought us together, I’m so glad that something good could come out of something so horrible. Lisa is beyond generous, she’s one of the most hard-working bloggers I know. She is thoughtful and nice and dedicated. And she is not afraid to share pictures of her overstuffed bookshelves.

    And as for Lisa’s advice… Be sure to check out the rest of her post, because she has some seriously great advice to share. But I totally agree with her statement that “[h]onesty, excitement and passion over reading” are such an important part of what blogging about books is about.

    And I also think it’s important not to get discouraged. Because as long as you have that passion for books and you surround yourselves with those that are equally as passionate, you’re pretty much set.

    Thank you, Lisa, for allowing me to share your tips with my blog’s readers on this blogoversary. And thank so much you for offering up a new piece of advice! I totally agree that you have to join the conversation on Twitter or you will be missing out on so much of what this community has to offer!

    Jean of JeanBookNerd

    One of my favorite things about book blogging is that it has given me a portal to others who have the same interests as me. It has been over a year since I dove into this fascinating world and I can honestly say that I have made many friends along the way.

    When I first started, it was like a rush discussing a book that I love with others who share the same passion. As time progressed, I became involved in reviewing books from numerous publishers. Soon my usual stack of “to-be-read” books has tripled in size literally overnight. I truly enjoy reading and reviewing the books that arrive at my door. There is no pay that is involved, but it’s my passion and love of reading that it is most rewarding.

    If you have this kind of passion, by all means do it! But do not do it because of the free books. Do it because it’s fun and you will meet some of the most amazing people.



    For a little background…

    I’ve known of Jean for quite some time. She has a very active group on Facebook that someone added me to awhile back. While I don’t remember who added me… I’m not sure I ever knew… it made me aware of this very enthusiastic blogger named Jean.

    But I didn’t actually “meet” Jean until the Authors Are Rockstars event this past summer. Jean and I exchanged a few emails, then a few Tweets and I’ve recently been a part of a couple of the awesome tours she hosted.

    Jean is so incredibly nice. She’s very active in the community and is crazy passionate about the books and authors she loves. I am so honored that she took the time to get to know shy me, invited me to be a part of her book tours and has agreed to be a part of my blogoversary this year.

    And as for Jean’s advice… I so completely agree with Jean’s piece of advice that you shouldn’t just blog for the “free” books. Do it because it IS fun. Do it to make friends. Because you will soon discover that the amount of work it takes to keep your blog updated, the content fresh and visitors coming back to read your posts and reviews costs much more in time and energy than the couple of bucks you’d save by getting these “free” books.

    Thank you so very much, Jean, for sharing your blogging experience and your tip to new bloggers. I couldn’t agree with you more! And I’m so very happy we got to “meet” this year!

    Once again, I couldn’t ask all four bloggers to share their favorite books for giveaway, so I thought I’d offer up a couple books written by the author whose book, TORN, was the very reason I started blogging about books in the first place.

    And so… My Blogoversary Celebration Day 6 Giveaway is for a copy of WAKE and a pre-order copy of LULLABY by Amanda Hocking – to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location – to ONE winner.

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

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


    Book Watch: Lullaby


    LULLABY by Amanda Hocking will be released in the U.S. on November 27, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 304 pages.

    LULLABY is the second book in author Amanda Hocking’s Watersong quadrilogy. The third book in the series, TIDAL, is slated for release on April 16, 2013 and the fourth and final book in the series, ELEGY, is also scheduled for release in 2013.


    When I saw a certain book – LULLABY by Amanda Hocking – was releasing the week of November 27th I was so unbelievably ecstatic and I immediately knew that it would be the book to watch for me. I am a super huge fan of author Amanda Hocking and after the way things ended in WAKE, I have been dying to find out what happens next in LULLABY.

    The description reveals next to nothing about how things will turn out for Gemma. I really hope that Harper and Daniel are able to fix things, but as there are four books in the series I’m not so sure everything will be set to rights in this sequel.

    I can’t wait to see what Gemma’s life is like in this next book in the series. And yes, I am being vague as I don’t want to be too spoiler-y for book one. But I am excited to see what this new world is like and just what happens there. Especially when the description talks of “strange hungers” and “unspeakable needs.”

    I was surprised by the twist in WAKE and the mythology that the story was built upon, and I can’t wait to see how that is incorporated into LULLABY and how it evolves. As always with author Amanda Hocking’s writing, I found the tale enchanting and magical and I am so happy I won’t have to wait too long for this next installment in the series. With less than three weeks to go the wait shouldn’t be too bad….

    I also absolutely love the covers in this series as they fit so well with the fantasy and magical elements of the stories. Of course I am partial to the cover for TIDAL which is incredibly sexy and makes me anxious for that book’s release.

    And while there are a few books I’m very much looking forward to that are releasing on the 27th, I can think of no other book I’m as excited for as LULLABY. And I will be adding it to my reading pile the second it releases so I can find the answers I’ve been waiting for since I read WAKE this past summer.

    I haven’t yet taken a peek, but there is an excerpt available on the author’s website. If you’d like to check it out, CLICK HERE.

    Places to Watch

    The author on TWITTER

    The author on FACEBOOK

    The author’s WEBSITE

    The author’s BLOG

    The author GOODREADS


    About the Book

    *** Spoiler-y for WAKE, the first book in the series***

    Goodreads Description:

    Harper only wanted a safe, normal life. But when her younger sister Gemma runs off with a dangerous clique of beautiful girls, Penn, Thea, and Lexi, everything changes. Vowing to get her sister back no matter what the cost, Harper must face dangers unlike any she’s ever experienced. Fortunately, she has Daniel by her side, a gorgeous guy who’s devoted to helping her find her sister—and who’s immune to the girls’ dark powers.

    While Harper searches for her sister, Gemma struggles to adjust to her new life. Gemma’s powers are growing by the day, and the longer she lives with her new “sisters,” the harder it is to resist entering their magical world. It’s a realm both dark and beautiful, and where she’s plagued by strange hungers and unspeakable needs. Just as she’s drifting far away from her old life, Harper and Daniel find her…but no one can deny how much she’s changed. All she wants is to return to her family and the mortal world, but how can she do that when she’s become something else entirely—and will they still love her once they learn the truth?

    Prepare to fall under the spell of Lullaby, the second book in the Watersong series from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

    Other Amazing Books to Watch

    Here are a few other awesome books releasing the week of November 27th:

    The Lucky Ones (Bright Young Things #3) by Anna Godbersen

    Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin Hearne (not YA)

    Shadow’s Claim (The Dacians #1) by Kresley Cole (not YA)



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