Monday, March 11, 2019

Guest Post ~ Jill Ramsower

Indie Publishing—two sides of the same coin.

Acquiring a publisher is like seeing a beautiful red apple at the very top of a tall tree and having no idea how to reach it. Indie publishing, on the other hand, is like spotting a somewhat under-ripe, low-hanging apple that’s within reach but not nearly as shiny. For some, the climb is the only way to go. For others, we are satisfied to take the easy pickings and attempt to ripen the apple ourselves. We get a guaranteed apple, and that’s the goal—right? To publish a book.

Not exactly. We want people to actually read our work. Authors who self-publish will find themselves sorely disappointed if they hope that their work is good enough to market itself. Unfortunately, this is not the Field of Dreams—just because you build it, does not mean they will come.

The reason publishers are so discerning about who they work with is because they sink large amounts of money into marketing their authors. As an indie, you best come prepared to invest in your business the same as any other publisher would. If you don’t, you will find your work falling into the Amazon pit of despair, where rankings are so low, your book will never see the light of day again. Your work may be published, but that does not mean anyone will ever see it.

Let’s say you come to bat with financial backing and are able to stir up a fanbase. Now what? Put out a book every year or so like a traditionally published author? Only if you want to start from scratch every time you release. The pressure to produce in rapid succession is enormous. Traditional publishers milk a book for all its worth with merchandising and marketing, allowing an author time to polish their next work at length before releasing to the public. As an indie, if you don’t release a new product every few months to keep yourself relevant, you quickly begin to fade from public view. Once the initial wave builds, there is substantial pressure to keep on top of the swell and ride the wave as far as it will take you, which means continuing to feed the momentum with new books.

When you wear all the hats—author, publisher, marketing pro, business manager—producing 3-5 books a year is a huge undertaking. Rushing the process is exhausting, and not only do we suffer, but the product suffers. Unfortunately, some authors cave to the pressure and scandals emerge such as the recent #cutpastecris ghostwriting/plagiarism debacle that is Christiane Serruya. Cheating the system (manipulating page counts, buying reviews, plagiarism) have become rampant problems that only make the situation worse. It is hard enough for an indie to compete against big-name publishers. How does the honest, hard-working indie survive in a market where so many are outsourcing their writing to mass-produce books, or unjustly taking an exorbitant number of pages from the KU global fund?

I would like to think that most of these individuals started out with the same honest desire to put their work in front of readers, but somewhere along the line, they succumbed to the pressures. I doubt any of us set out to become book-churning machines, but it can feel like a necessary part of self-publishing. Indie authors must remember that the low-hanging fruit may seem like a viable alternative, but it comes with its own challenges. If you choose to go indie, be prepared to work hard.

There is nothing easy about the world of self-publishing, however, it can be enormously satisfying. The key is to pluck that apple with the understanding that your struggle has only just begun. You must arm yourself with knowledge and realistic expectations, plan to put every ounce of your heart into your work and keep from using other authors as a measure of your own progress. When you have nurtured that apple until it is ripe a ripe,  shiny red, there is nothing more gratifying in the world.

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Friday, September 29, 2017

A Day in the Life by Theodore Ficklestein

A Day in the Life by Theodore Ficklestein

File Size: 563 KB
Print Length: 136 pages
Publisher: GenZ Publishing (September 22, 2017)
Publication Date: September 22, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English


A Day In The Life is Theodore Ficklestein’s debut novel about Nickolas Cripp, a college student finding his way in the world. Although Nick won’t admit it, he is the main focus to a young adult book that follows him from his home to college to the city, where he wants to attend an open mic.

Along his path, he encounters a teacher who asks about the apocalypse, a drunk on the train and two friends who feel writing isn’t Nick’s strong point, among others. Nick soon finds out that the funniest things in life aren’t that funny at all, and the greatest comedians never go up on stage.

As he goes through his day, one oddball character at a time, Nick starts to question if the comedy club he dreams of being in, is really for him. Should he be who he wants to be? Or who the world thinks he should be? Neither of which, he is entirely sure about.

A personal journey of self-discovery through the eyes of a youth yearning for meaning in a meaningless world; Nick learns that in life, the joke is on you.


Theodore Ficklestein is an author, blogger and poet. His books include This Book Needs A Title Volumes 1 and 2 and I Killed the Man Who Wrote This Book. His first novel Day In The Life will be published by Gen Z Publishing in 2017. His multiple blogs include This Blog Needs Sports, This Blog Needs Poetry and This Blog Needs Movies.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review ~ Lucky Broken Girl By Ruth Behar

Lucky Broken Girl By Ruth Behar
Age Range: 10 and up 
Grade Level: 5 and up
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (April 11, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399546448
ISBN-13: 978-0399546440

“A book for anyone mending from childhood wounds.”—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time.

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.

Prior to reading:
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
 I did not request this book so when I received this it was a nice surprise (specially the fact that it was an Advanced Readers Copy). The first thing that caught my eye about this book is that it is about some immigrants that came to the US from Cuba. This is something that speaks to me considering the fact that the US is composed of immigrants, my family included. 

After reading:
I have to be honest I read this book so quickly! It was just so hard to put down. The book’s main character is Ruthie who in the beginning of the book has only been in the US a little bit. In school she is placed in what she calls the “dumb” class only because she doesn’t speak the language. One of her closes friends is a boy named Ramu who also doesn’t speak English very well. When they feel like they know enough English they ask the teacher if they can move up to the “smart” class. The teacher considers this and decides to give them a difficult word to spell to see if they are ready. To everyone’s surprise they both get it right meaning they will be moved up! Shortly after things take a dark turn for Ruthie.
While her family is driving back from visiting some friends they get in a car accident. Ruthie wakes up to a world of pain and is ushered to the hospital. 

The news only grow darker, she finds out she has to be in a body case (from her feet to her chest). So doing anything is out of the question. 

At first Ruthie is upset with this. She prays to God, to anyone who would listen to answer her prayer. Her best friend Ramu isn’t allowed to visit because his mom doesn’t want him to lose his roots and become to “American”. So Ruthie is left behind bed ridden.
Ruthie now has to find ways to entertain herself one of her favorite activities is reading but it is hard considering she can’t see the windows so she can scarcely tell the weather, or time of day. 

It was so enjoyable to see how Ruthie would stay positive although it wasn’t always easy and sometimes the anger ate away at her. I would really recommend this book to anyone even though it is a middle school book. It was easy to read but captivating at the same time.

Overall my rating for this book would have to be 5 stars. This book was astonishing; I could not put it down. I hope you guys get the chance to pick it up. If you have heard of this book or read it please leave a comment below to let me know of your thoughts.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review ~ Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Something in Between Hardcover by Melissa de la Cruz

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (October 4, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373212380
ISBN-13: 978-0373212385

Synopsis (From Amazon):

Be the first to read the thought-provoking new novel from Melissa de la Cruz, the #1New York Times bestselling author of The Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost.

She had her whole life planned.

She knew who she was and where she was going.

Until the truth changed everything.

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. She’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship to the school of her dreams.

And then everything shatters. Her parents are forced to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

As she’s trying to make sense of who she is in this new reality, her world is turned upside down again by Royce Blakely. He’s funny, caring and spontaneous—basically everything she’s been looking for at the worst possible time—and now he’s something else she may lose.

Jasmine will stop at nothing to protect her relationships, family and future, all while figuring out what it means to be an immigrant in today’s society.


“A great read!” —Rachel Cohn, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

“We’re obsessed—and you will be too.” —The Editors of Seventeen magazine

“Heartbreaking and bursting with hope, this is the book we all need.” —Marie Lu, #1New York Times bestselling author of the Young Elites and Legend series

“This book will change you. A must-read.” —Dhonielle Clayton, coauthor of Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces, and the forthcoming The Belles

“A must-read!” —Ally Condie, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched trilogy

“An immigrant herself, de la Cruz succeeds in presenting a complicated and multifaceted topic in a manner that is light enough to keep readers engaged.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[A] great choice for younger teens…This book belongs in every middle school library.” —School Library Journal

“De la Cruz presents a timely and thought-provoking look at the complex reality of being young and undocumented in the United States…Readers will root for Jasmine as she fights for her future and finds the power of her own voice.”—Publishers Weekly

My thoughts prior to reading it:

I received an Advanced Reader's copy of this book, I didn't request it but it was a nice surprise. I read the synopsis and was instantly intrigued. I felt like I could relate to the character, she is an immigrant but has grown up in the US. One day she finds out that her whole family has been staying in the US illegally  she starts to worry. Jasmine is a senior in High School and is looking at colleges but with the news she knows she has just lost a lot of scholarship opportunities because of her status. I can't even begin to imagine how that would feel like. With that being said all opinions are my own. 

My thoughts after reading it:

I must admit the book began a bit too slow for my liking. I contemplated putting it down a few times but in the end I'm glad I didn't. The main character is Jasmine, she is a cheerleader and is always pushing herself to do better.

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 Jasmine receives some great news that she has been elected for the National Scholar Award. She is so excited she goes and tells her family first, however she doesn't receive the reaction she was hoping for from her parents. That is when they confess about the green cards, they don't have them anymore it expired years ago and were technically illegal immigrants in this country. Jasmine's world begins to crumble she had a set goal that she was working towards but now it all seemed so pointless.

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At around the same time she meets a stunning boy. She can't help about feel so comfortable around him and the same goes for him. Things between them get serious quickly but there are obstacles in their way. One being that she may be deported at any moment, two that his father is a congressman that is highly against illegal immigration. Jasmine becomes overwhelmed with everything, she still wants to attend college and her top choice is Stanford but she doesn't know if that is even possible.

This story is very touching I could connect to the character on a personal level. My family moved to the US from Mexico (I am a very white Mexican we come in that color too sometimes click on my about me page to see more) and although I was born here my parents did not speak English so I grew up speaking Spanish. Then when my first day of schooled rolled around, well, let's just say it was less than pleasant.  Since of my light complexion people assumed I was white and spoke to me in English. I was absolutely overwhelmed and I cried most of the day. Over time I learned English and felt like the US was more my home than Mexico ever would. I cannot imagine what would happen if I was suddenly told I was illegal and I had to move back to Mexico. My whole life is here, my friends, memories. That is what this character is going through. Melissa de la Cruz, the author went to a similar situation also under the Author's note she writes, "My family was here legally, but we did not yet have our green cards either". I think it is so great that she would write a book based so closely on her life.
I didn't really like the relationship between Jasmine and Royce. It was your typical rich boy meets poor girl and falls in love with her. I don't know I really wanted to like it but I just couldn't (forgive me?).

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My rating:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review + Giveaway ~ Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass) by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass
Hardcover: 704 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 6, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619636077
ISBN-13: 978-1619636071

Synopsis (From Amazon):

Kingdoms collide in Sarah J. Maas's epic fifth installment in the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what -- and who -- to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

My thoughts prior to reading:

I knew I wanted to read this book. I have been following this series since it first came out. Anything that Sarah J. Maas writes is absolutely stunning.

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Have you read ACOTAR? Those characters! Specially Rhysand *sways*. Anyways I am getting off topic. I was so happy when Book People announced that she would be coming. I was fangirling so much when I found out.

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Funny thing was that when I found out I wasn't even in Austin I was in Hawaii visiting a friend. Still from so many miles away I pre-ordered my book from Book People to hold my spot. The day the book came out I went to Barnes and Noble to get the special edition copy. I was so scared when I couldn't find any but then as I had nearly given up hope from the corner of my eye I saw a small stack near customer service. So I walked over there and took one and gawked at the colorful pictures. I didn't look crazy at all.

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My thoughts after reading:

I began reading that book that same day but work *curse work* impeded from me reading Empire of Storms as fast as I would've liked (I should've called in sick till I finished it). So the story continues a few weeks after where the last book left off. Aelin, Rowan, Lysandra, Evaneline, Fleetfoot and Aedion are all together trying to set Aelin as the rightful ruler. Things however don't go according to plan.

Lysandra was wonderful in this novel I feel like she was figuring herself out and managed to grow a lot in this book.

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We get to see more Manon!

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Through out the book we get many different points of view from the characters and different plots. Sarah manages to make that work were it doesn't feel confusing.We get a lot of questions answered and get a little bit of background on some of the characters. I really enjoyed when unexpected characters crossed paths. One I really liked was Lorcan and Elide (small spoiler sorry). I never expected for these two to meet but when they did I thought they should have met sooner.

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Aelin begins to better understand her powers and manages to have better control of it. Together with Rowan, Lysandra and Aedon they are nearly unstoppable. They make new friends along the way (characters we know from the novella stories). Aelin is trying to gather as many people as she can to defend everyone from the impending doom. As they go along doing this they discover many things about Elena Galathynius.

If you love this series then you should really pick up this book. I enjoyed it so much and I am certain you will too. I think I enjoyed it so much because I feel EVERYONE was in this book. We got to hear from characters we had not heard from in a long while.

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P.S. these images are not mine. They are from wonderful people who gave life to this stunning series. Check them out!
My Rating:

Now because I love you guys so much I want to do a giveaway. The prize is Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. It is signed by her too, so that's a plus. Good luck!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fangirling over Sarah J Maas

This is a late post but.... the other day I got to meet Sarah J Maas. I had been dying to meet her since I first read Throne of Glass. All her books are absolutely stunning. Book People were part of the Empire of Storm book tour and I made sure I pre-ordered the book so I could have a spot for the book signing and good thing I did because they sold out! Over 200 copies sold just like that. I wanted to arrive early for the signing so I asked if I could leave early from work (I should've just asked for the whole day). I got all my books and headed off to Book People.

 I had a basket full of books and my friends were all running late. So I snagged a seat as close as I could on the floors because all the seats were already gone. Then when Sarah came I was so happy I think I even heard someone behind me burst into tears.

 Sarah was so funny and sweet just like I imagined she would be! Then she shared some great news that her Throne of Glass series was going to be a show for Hulu. At one point she was talking about her younger days and pointed to me something about my shirt being pink and I think she said I could be pink police? I was so shocked she did this and I was fangirling inside. I'm super shy so I probably just looked serious but I was just thinking is this really happening Sarah J Maas pointed me out. Ahhhh x100000. Then came the fun part the signing! I got in line and even though I thought I had ordered my book relatively early I was still way in the back of the line. Finally my friend came (who has never read the book) and we waited to meet Sarah.

When we finally met Sarah she instantly recognized me and said Pink Police! Then she saw my Japanese Throne of Glass books and we talked about how pretty the covers were.

I got all my other books stamped with her signature stamp and I wrote in her book (she has people write in her book when she goes on tours). This night is one I will cherish forever.

Here is my collection. Isn't it pretty?

Now for a giveaway since I love this series and I love candles the prize is as you may have guessed a Throne of Glass themed candles. Enter it via Twitter and good luck.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Review ~ Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses) by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 2)

Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619634465
ISBN-13: 978-1619634466

Synopsis (From Amazon):

The # 1 New York Times bestselling sequel to Sarah J. Maas' spellbinding A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

My thoughts prior to reading:

I really enjoyed the first book in this series so naturally I HAD to read the next book. Although I had a lot of other books to review I took a break to read this beauty.

My thoughts after reading:

This book takes place where the last book left off. Feyre is with Tamlin but things have changed drastically. For one she is now a fae and Tamlin is much more protective than he once was. Feyre is scarcely allowed to leave their home. The only time she is able to leave is when Rhysand comes to fulfill their deal and whisks Feyre away to the Night Court. If you love Rhysand this book is definitely for you.
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Feyre realizes that she has some power from each of the High Fae that helped revive her, this makes others a bit fearful. Tamlin is against her tapping into these unknown powers while Rhysand is all for her to learn as much as she can. This book focuses more on Rhysand and Feyre. You will discover a lot of things about Rhysand that may make your heart sway.
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There is a new problem that arises in the book. Amarantha may be defeated but she isn't the only one out there that had malignant thoughts. This book finishes on a cliff hanger that will make you want to hurl something. I don't know if I can wait for the next book I need it now.
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I think this series is quickly becoming my all time favorite (it used to be Throne of Glass). I suggest you pick up this series it is absolutely astonishing.

My Rating: