Self Publishing: The Key To Reader Satisfaction

Updated: November 16th, 2018

I’ve been a member of the book blogging community since 2012, and everywhere I look I see aspiring authors — they’re networking with bloggers, participating in NaNoWriMo, and sending query letters to The Big Five of the publishing world (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster).

As a book blogging community, we share a common goal: we want to find books that we will love and then share them with others. We want to enjoy quality writing and spread the word about quality authors, and yet we far too often disregard, or, worse still, blatantly dismiss the very industry that is achieving those goals. Now, I know what you’re thinking:

Source: Tumblr

But I promise, you’ll want to hear (read?) this one out.

Mention the words “self-published author” or “indie books” in our community and you’ll get reactions ranging from the thinly veiled disdain of book blog Horn Books in stating why they refuse to accept indie novels for review:

“Just about every adult I ever met has ‘a great idea for a children’s book’ that is always an AWFUL idea for a children’s book, and, thanks to the greater ease of self-publishing, those books are coming to light.” (Sutton)

To the outright disgust of HuffPost writer, Laurie Gough, in stating why she will never self-publish:

“From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature.” (Gough)

I do not mean to suggest that all bloggers or readers are like this, only that the industry as a whole, and many prominent figures in it, still react this way to the notion that someone rejected by the all-knowing Big Five of traditional publishing would consider self-publishing their novel. (Also, while we’re at it, anyone painfully reminded of the Big Three of Percy Jackson’s Greek gods?) But here are the facts: the scene is changing. Traditional publishing is losing sales, and self-publishing is topping the best seller lists (we’ll come back to that one in a bit).

Thad McIlroy of BookBusinessMag compiled information from 2016 quarterly financial reports from The Big Five and found that sales and profits are “mostly flat or declining” and that in order to cut costs, there have been layoffs and consolidation, and he concludes that there’s not much more they can do to cut their costs (McIlroy).

So why are we still so hesitant to read, review, or write self-published novels? Since my brother first introduced me to the world of indie books when he self-published his first novel nearly seven years ago, I’ve seen a lot of arguments for and against self-publishing, and I’ve seen the reaction on many a face when they realized my brother had self-published. So let’s start by clearing up three major misconceptions in the TradPub vs. SelfPub world:

Misconception #1: TradPub Will Pick Up The Best Books

This is probably the most common argument when it comes to the world of indie books, and it’s an understandable one. We have this idea in our heads that the big publishing companies are these “gatekeepers” who determine who is or is not permitted to grace the Great Kingdom of Published Authors with their presence. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading voraciously since I was a little girl, it’s this — Everyone loves the unexpected hero.

Do you love Katniss Everdeen because she went along with the established system? No. So, why do we need some established entity to tell us if they think a book is “good” enough to read when we certainly didn’t require Katniss to receive that approval from the gamemakers? (Gif source: Tumblr)

Do you love Tris Prior because she was formally recruited into Dauntless? No. So, why do we feel that a book needs to be be validated with a formal business deal if we didn’t require such validation for Tris’ membership in Dauntless? (Gif source: WeHeartIt)

Do you love Malcolm Reynolds because he was the poster boy of The Alliance? No. So, why do we insist that a book must be adored and celebrated by governing bodies when we never required that of our Captain? (Gif source: Rebloggy)

All Tributes, Initiates, and Browncoats know that it is not possible to answer yes to any of the above questions. Katniss Everdeen defied The Capitol and the system it had established, Tris Prior fought her way into Dauntless despite all of the professional opinions that she shouldn’t, and Malcolm Reynolds lost the Battle of Serenity Valley and spent his life on the run from The Alliance.

We love these characters, not because of who approved of them, but because they proved themselves through their character and heroism. They were each fiercely independent and refused to be held back by other’s rules or expectations for them, and we applaud them for it. So why don’t we feel the same way about authors who create such heroes and the books in which their stories unfold?

Larry Correia, author of the originally self-published (and, might I add, best selling) Monster Hunter International (M.H.I.) series, explains that the fundamental problem with the “gatekeeper” argues that what constitutes ‘the best books’ is subjective, giving the example of Twilight – a book that he would never buy, but millions of people have. He says, “‘Good’ is arbitrary. The real question is whether your product is sellable.” And with the Larry Correia sass his fans have come to expect and appreciate, he adds, “(and yes, it is just a product, get over yourself)” (Correia 2016).

To find an example of the flaws of the gatekeepers, one need look no farther than household name J.K. Rowling, who had her first Harry Potter book rejected twelve times prior to its eventual publication. Years later, when she published her first adult novel, J.K. Rowling, now topping Forbes’ world’s highest paid authors list, having earned $98 million in 2017 (Cuccinello), was rejected twice before being published (Marsden).

Misconception #2: SelfPub is For Those Who Can’t Get Picked up by a Real Company

Translation: Indie novels are the failures that the gatekeepers tried to save you from (see above misconception about gatekeepers). Now, I won’t deny that many authors first go indie when they had no success with TradPub. After all, publishing companies reject 90% of query letters they receive from authors, and that’s just the query letter, not even the manuscript (Shine).

However, I don’t think you can call any author a failure when enough readers want to throw money at them that the author can quit his or her day job to write (and publish) full-time.A fantastic example of that is J.S. Morin, a relatively new discovery of mine and an instant favorite. He recently hit 5 years as a self-published author (traditionally publishing only one series), and, get this, in those five years, he has published thirty five books (Morin).

Yeah, you read that right. Five years, thirty five books. He quit his day job as an engineer to treat writing as a full-time career, and his readers (myself most certainly included) love the pace at which he is able to release books because of that. I listened to his 16.5 book series (long story on that one), The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions, over the period of weeks. If listened to at a normal speed, that’s 85 hours of recorded audio, however, I listen at 1.5-2x, so make of that what you will. His quick releases made it possible to keep the momentum of the series and keep getting fans hyped for the next installment.

Source: GeeksMirage

Let’s be real here, y’all, the age of waiting a year in between books and then throwing midnight release parties are long gone. J.K. Rowling largely had a monopoly on them. They were an amazing time, but face it, they’re over. We live in a binge watching society, and it certainly doesn’t take us a year to read a book, and turns out, it doesn’t take authors a year to write one, either. Most successful self published authors publish about four books a year.

We live in a monopolistically competitive market — and that’s a fantastic thing for us! Because of the rise of self-publishing, authors are able to break into the writing industry more readily, and the ones willing to make it a full-time career, well, they can crank out quantity and quality and make some serious bank (we’re talking a nice six figures, y’all).

As a matter of fact, there are a lot of reasons why even an established TradPub author would want to go indie, and not just as a last resort. Skeptical? Don’t take my word for it, let’s look at another of my favorite authors: Drew Hayes, TradPub author of the Fred, the Vampire Accountant series and SelfPub author of the Super Powereds series, (not to mention the other series of his that I have yet to read). Drew explains to his readers,

“In truth, I only do one traditionally published series because I genuinely love going indie, especially for projects where it’s a better fit.” (Hayes)

He goes on to talk about the three primary reasons he loves indie publishing so much: the money, the control, and the schedule. (Hayes) Quick summary: indie authors keep 70-100% of the royalties (compared to the 15-40% of TradPub), they have complete creative control over their series (meaning they can do new, riskier things without a company pressuring them to adhere to the tried and true), and they can publish as fast as they can write, making sure that they release books at the optimal time to keep the hype, momentum, and revenue.

Misconception #3: Readers Won’t Pick up a Book Unless it’s Marketed by TradPub

Yeah, try telling that one to the Amazon bestsellers list. As I write this, it is 15:44 on November 11th, 2018, and four of the ten best selling fantasy novels on Amazon are indie (Amazon). If self-published books really were the trash that they get stereotyped as, how could they be taking top ten spots away from classics like the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones (all of which are ranked below them)? How is that even possible without the vast marketing campaigns that these big publishers can run?

Let’s go back to Larry Correia of M.H.I. fame, who self-published his first book after getting rejected by publishers for two years. Through hard work and a lot of self-marketing (he explains that all authors have to self promote— indie authors just do it alone), he made it into bookstores, sold the one thousand copies he had printed, garnered a dedicated and loyal fan base, and even made it to #3 on Entertainment Weekly’s bestseller list (Correia 2008).

I’m a huge fan of Correia. M.H.I was simultaneously the first adult novel and the first urban fantasy novel I had ever read, and my review says it all — I was hooked. Even now, years after having accepted a deal with Baen Books, Correia is still an avid supporter of self-publishing, as is evidenced in his many passionate defenses of self publishing on his blog.

‘Okay, okay,’ I hear you say, ‘Correia was a special case. He just worked exceptionally hard and is probably one of the only indie authors to actually sell.’ Well, as an Economics major, it’s taken me a lot of self restraint so far to resist the urge to fill this post with graphs and charts… but now let’s look at some!

In 2017, Author Earnings, the comprehensive yearly analysis of book sales, broke down each country’s e-book sales by publisher type. Of key importance here are two things to be aware of; red and purple represent the percentage of ebook sales that are TradPub. Bluegreen, and teal, represent the percentage of ebook sales that are SelfPub.

Source: Author Earnings, 2017

You know, while we’re at it, how about we take a quick look at 2018?

Source: Author Earnings, 2018

These are the top ebook publisher types. See that little purple one at the top? That’s the Big Five ebook sales. And the blue, light blue, and green? That’s all indie. Crazy, huh? In my opinion, anyone still refusing the indie market is really just denying themselves the satisfaction of reading some of the best novels of our time. Oh, and…

Source: Imgur

A common, and undeniably well-founded, concern about SelfPub is the misconception that, without the assistance of a TradPub company and editing team, a novel will not be peer reviewed and edited. However, this is simply not the case. I would be willing to bet that every successful SelfPub author (remember, successful means their product sells) has at least one, if not dozens of beta reading teams. I have been on a number of these teams myself, reading and providing feedback on advanced copies and drafts of SelfPub novels. One could argue that this provides even more opportunities for critiques and editing than a TradPub company can offer.

To Sum It Up: At the end of the day, this incredibly long post comes down to one thing: reader satisfaction. Self-publishing increases the author’s ability to enter the market (both through lack of gatekeepers and by making it possible to actually make a living from writing), gives them the complete creative control necessary to increase the rate at which books can be produced, and, in turn, the rate at which they can be consumed by us, leading to greater reader satisfaction.

Willing to give it a try? Wondering where to get started? Well, aside from the authors I’ve already mentioned above, a few of my favorite indie novels that I’ve reviewed here are: Appaloosa Summer, Persephone, Corporate Husband, The Ugly Stepsister, and The Sailweaver’s Son.

Looking for more?

For the other highly successful indie authors check out the Goodreads pages of: Chris Fox, Annie Bellet, Michael Anderle, Christopher Nuttall, Marco Kloos, T.S. Paul, Lindsay Buroker, Ilona Andrews, Hugh Howey, Sarah K.L. Wilson, M.D. Cooper, and Elana Johnson.

Continue reading “Self Publishing: The Key To Reader Satisfaction”

Top Ten Books to Read if You Liked Firefly

Top Ten Books to Read if You Liked Firefly


If you HAVEN’T watched Firefly… go do it. Now. It’s on Netflix. Go. You won’t regret it. Ahhh, cult classic Firefly. 14 episodes, 1 movie, and an undying fandom (clearly illustrated by the record-breaking success of Con-Man), the space western tv show directed by the King of Television, Joss Whedon only gets more amazing with every re-watch. But… you’re a fan of Firefly. And you want to read books with a similar feel. Here are my top ten list. They’re not all Space Westerns, but they’re all good.

I realize I was a *bit* creative with this topic, but I decided to go with it anyway!

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this meme is all about making book-ish lists of your
Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this meme is all about making book-ish lists of your “Top Ten”s!

Hover mouse over cover image for quick summary/explanation!

You may have noticed that more than anything else, I love characters. So, maybe these ALL aren’t space westerns like Firefly, though Liberty DEFINITELY is, but they’re all great books.

High Five! 2015 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Mini-Challenge!


Subscribers, I apologize for the recent spamming posts. As you have probably discovered, I am taking part in the 2015 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books. And today, I bring you another mini-challenge: High Five! The top five things in the below categories that are currently making me happy. :) I’m going to try to avoid repeats of the same book/author.


  1. Non-fiction: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This is the most life-changing and happy-making book I will ever read. I know that it is the word of God.
  2. Harry Potter (it will always be in this list, because it has the magical ability to always make me happy)
  3. Persephone– By Kaitlin Bevis. If you follow my blog, you’ve probably realized by now that I’m obsessed with this series. Very obsessed.
  4. All Fall Down – By Ally Carter. I really, really, REALLY loved this book!
  5. Atlas Shrugged – by Ayn Rand. This is one of the biggest reading challenge I have ever taken on. But I intend to finish it. All 1168 pages of it. I’m only a few chapters in as of yet, but I’m loving it!


  1. Urban Fantasy! My brother is currently writing a UF series, so after I beta read his first book, he recommended some others, starting with Monster Hunter International. I’m loving it!
  2. Mythology. Very similar to UF in some ways, but I love mythology retellings.
  3. YA Fantasy! I love it! Basically, my entire blog.
  4. Science-Fiction. I’m talking, R.A. Heinlein, J.A. Dalley, type of sci-fi, not dystopian.
  5. High Fantasy. Probably one of my all-time favorite genres. If you’ve got ANY recommendations for high fantasy PLEASE let me know! I’m always looking for some more great ones!


1. J.K. Rowling. Have you seen her twitter feed? She’s just an amazing person, tbh.

2. Rick Riordan. I met him 3 years ago. His books have the magical ability to always be able to make me laugh, no matter what.

3. Larry Correia. I read my first ever book by him, Monster Hunter International just a week or so ago. He’s a pretty cool guy.

4. C.S. Lewis. Not only do I adore (see Lucy Pevensie cosplay HERE) his Narnia series, but I also have Screwtape Letters as #1 on my TBR list.

5. Tudor Robins. She restored my faith in good quality Equestrian fiction with her phenomenal novel Appaloosa Summer. I highly recommend it!


  1. Alex @ Seagulls and Semantics. Cuz Texas bloggers need to stick together! Haha. :)
  2. Sarah @ On Another Note. I love this wonderful blogger. We met via Pinterest what feels like ages ago.
  3. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books. Right now, Alexa makes me VERY happy for putting together this wonderful Love-A-Thon!
  4. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. One of the first bloggers I started following.
  5. Kaitlin @ Kaitlin Bevis Blog. Oops. Sorry, guys. There I go again. I don’t think it’s possible for me to talk about bookish things I love without accidentally bringing up Kaitlin again. She’s just so awesome!

Bookish Merchandise / Book related site

  1. The King’s English Bookshop in SLC, UT. I’ve never actually BEEN there, but I buy signed books from them ALL THE TIME. Love them! My goal is to one day actually go inside their store.
  2. BookPeople in Austin, TX. Again, never been there, but I love them! Independent Bookstores FTW.
  3. HALF-PRICE BOOKS. They are basically my favorite place ever. It’s perfect for everything: finding books, going on dates, selling books, eating sandwiches, getting lost in books, reading books, everything.
  4. Made With Magic Etsy shop (for all of your HP themed light switch cover needs! And Frostbeard Studio Etsy shop for all of your fandom and book smelling candle needs.
  5. Sure, they’re way pricey. But nothing is more fun than making a special trip to Barnes & Noble on the release day of a long-awaited novel. Or going there at 7am on Black Friday for signed books. :)

So, there you have it! What are YOUR high-fives? Leave me your link so I can check them out!

Snapshots + Shelfies! 2015 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Mini-Challenge, #4


Snapshots and Selfies! Mini Challenge #4 is is all about taking fun pictures of your favorite books!


Above is my most treasured fictional book — My first (and very beat up) copy of The Sorcerer’s Stone.

My signed books bookshelves below. (I have a LOT of bookshelves, and didn’t want to bore you with pics of all of them, so these are just my signed ones)

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A few of my favorite signatures (I think I have collected about 55 signed books, so I don’t want to bore you with pics of ALL of them…):

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Some of my favorite shelfies:

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My very treasured and FINALLY complete Beautiful Cover editions of the Chronicles of Narnia. As you can tell from my Halloween Lucy Pevensie Cosplay last year, I’m kinda obsessed.


What do you think? Link me to your Shelfies so I can check them out!


So, I decided to hop on the bandwagon. However, when I took the #Shelfie I was in a hurry to get to school, so it’s not a very high quality one. Anyway, this is one of my 5 personal bookshelves. It’s my personal favorite. Isn’t it beautiful? In my room, I own about 400 ish books. 50 of which are signed by the author. In my house? Well, let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to attempt to count them. Each room has at least one, if not two, bookshelves, and then we have a library and hall which are floor to ceiling bookshelves, soo…

Anyway, I thought this was a good way to begin the end of the hiatus! Enjoy!


My shelf!
My shelf!

Since it’s such a terrible picture, I figure an explanation is in order. My top shelf has my legend books. Le Morte D’Arthur, Sherwood Forest, etc. They’re mostly Robin Hood and Arthurian legends, my two personal favorites. It also houses some of the spillover Harry Potter memorabilia. :)

The second shelf is part of my Harry Potter collection. I have the full Mary Grandpre editions, half of the original British children’s editions, plus tons of related books such as Page to Screen, Harry Potter and the Art of Spying, We Love You Harry Potter, We’ll Tell You Why, etc.

The third shelf is my Work and the Glory collection. Along with a few carefully placed vintage books that I’ll probably never read, but they LOOK gorgeous! This is the closest my shelf’s have ever come to pretty over practical.

The fourth shelf is a bunch of my random books that I love, along with a few of the horses from my Breyer collection. I’ve got The Illiad, Four, Lincoln, 7 Habits of Highly Effective teens, Gregor and the Code of the Claw, the Buffy books, and more.

The fifth shelf didn’t fit in my frame. I’ll try to post a high quality image of this shelfie soon, so if you can’t read the titles now, just wait a few hours!


Lynette ❤


Review: Appaloosa Summer – by Tudor Robins

Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: Appaloosa Summer (Island Trilogy, #1)

Author: Tudor Robins

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring.

Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident.

Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B.

Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing.

When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by the end of the summer.

Genre/Pages: Fiction/246

Rating: ★★★★ (5 of 5)

My Review:  Don’t judge a book by it’s synopsis. This book was engaging. I would just sit down and read page after page after page, and it would take all my willpower to close the book and be productive. Definitely not your typical horse book, either. Growing up as a horse-crazy girl who was determined to read every book her local library had to offer, a girl who also frequented Half-Price Books… I ended up reading (and owning) a LOT horse books. My reaction to horse literature by now? YAWN. It’s always the exact same plot, same shallow not-well-developed characters, same never-ending series, same Suspense and Mystery (SARCASM). Don’t get me wrong, I loved those books! But after a while, they all bled together…

So, when I saw this book on NetGalley… Well, first off, the cover was gorgeous. Seriously, I would buy this book JUST for the cover. But I had low expectations. Very low. This book blew them away! I LOVED it! I’ve been a bit (okay, a lot) down lately, and this book was perfect. It was a wonderful world and story to escape into for brief snatches of time, and it leaves you feeling satisfied. This may well be my new Happy Book. The only real complaint I have about this book is that it wasn’t longer.

Every once in a while, I would just get lost for a few sentences. Nothing would make sense. Unsure about what day it is, how much time has elapsed, who’s talking to whom, etc. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it was disconcerting. A brief trip back to the real world as I tried to discover what had just happened. I wish that the book could’ve been longer, that we could’ve spent more time following Meg around at her job, and just… being in her head during the slow, boring, moments of her life.


Thank you to Netgalley, for supplying me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 

Hero/Heroine: The romance was excellently written. It started as a friendship, but nothing was rushed, nothing was pushed, and they were still best friends by the end of the book. The relationship didn’t change that.

❤ Meg: I was terrified that she would be your sterotypical whiny teenage girl. Who, yes, went through something horrible, but then refuses to do anything the entire book except for whine about how horrible her life was. But Meg was different. Her pain was real, but so were her interactions with her friends and her family. She was REAL. She wasn’t a whiny teenager girl, but she still acted like a girl. She knew her horses, she had a job, she’d gone through some awful events, lost those very close to her, and lived in her family’s cabin, but she also knew what it felt like to have a crush on a guy. But it wasn’t unrealistic. The character development was superb.   

❤ Jared: I was dubious, I’ll admit. In my experience with books like this, the guy is often thrown in solely as a love interest, with no character, backstory or development to go with him. But Jared was different. He was complex, and deep, and REAL. (Noticing a theme here? Tudor Robins writes wonderful characters!). He was country through and through. Country charm, country courtesy, country loveable! He was quite the gentleman, and even though he wasn’t a horse person, he loved watching Meg work with horses, and helped make that possible. He had been griefstricken, and he carried that with him, but he was just a wonderful guy. And, in his own words, he knew that “Grief isn’t a competitive sport.” ❤ ❤ ❤

Plot: I knew by the first page that I was in love with this story. Tudor Robins has such a way with words — frankly, it’s unbelievable how believable her writing is. I’ve been riding horses for about 8 years, and I was drawn in and enthralled by Robins’ descriptions and writing, especially while characters were riding. It was all so accurate, so real, I knew exactly what it felt like. It was breathtaking.

The plot itself was fairly simple. The spotlight of this book wasn’t on the plot, it was on the characters, their development, and the writing. This is the kind of book I want to buy, just so I can keep it on my physical bookshelf, and pick it up whenever I’m down. I loved this book more than I can possibly describe. Tudor Robins deserves my highest praise.

Content Advisory: Maybe a FEW minor cuss words (5, max). But I honestly don’t remember any. Some kissing. Some traumatic events.

To Sum it Up: This was an amazing book. I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. Ms. Robins knows her horses, creates fantastic characters, a unique and enthralling plot that made it nearly impossible to put down, a sweet romance, and a happy ending.

Something new I’m starting: Using Reenin from Deviantart’s sketch Reading Zone, as a guide, I will determine which Reading Posture I was using during this book. :)

Appaloosa Summer’s Reading Posture: Enthralled Reading. 

Click here to see Reenin's sketch on Deviantart!
Click here to see Reenin’s sketch on Deviantart!

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

Bookish Survey: Cast a Harry Potter Spell!

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fixes damaged objects

A book that needs some serious fixing: Rumplestiltskin – By Jenni James. I couldn’t even finish it. In fact, the dialogue and writing was so unrealistic, stilted, and rushed, that I even broke my cardinal rule of always read 5 chapters before quitting. I couldn’t get past 5 pages of this dialogue.


creates a narrow beam of light

A book that deserves more attention: Knightley Academy – Violet Haberdasher. Maybe if this book got more attention the author would flippin’ FINISH THE SERIES ALREADY. You can’t just end the second book on a cliffhanger, PROMISE a third book, then change your name and disappear off the face of the writing earth. That said, oh my gosh, I ADORED this book. It’s the kind of book that fans of Percy Jackson, Ranger’s Apprentice, Beyonders, etc., would enjoy.


counters the effects of Lumos

An overhyped book: (I’m going to ignore the obvious answer of Twilight), Matched – By Ally Condie. It wasn’t horrible — heck, I even followed through and read the entire series. But… eh. It just fell flat for me. Very flat.


summons an object from a significant distance

A book you’re anticipating: The Blood of Olympus – By Rick Riordan. Need I say any more? It’s the series finale. The end of Percy Jackson. After more than 10 books… it’s all going to be over.


opens unlocked doors, unless bewitched

A book you want to be more open about: Sweet Romances in general. I’ve started reading a handful of them lately, but I always feel like I can’t talk about how much I loved them, because sweet (AKA clean) romance novels aren’t “cool.”

Expecto Patronum

conjures an incarnation of positive feelings

A book that made you cry, or at least want to: The Burning Bridge – By John Flanagan. Anyone who’s read the ending of this book understands. I was crying. I was sobbing. It was uncontrollable. OH, the feels. Never has a book ended that horribly. And beautifully. And tragically. Oh, goodness, if I keep on talking about it, I’m gonna start crying all over again.


conjures the Dark Mark

A book you wish to mark as one of your favorites: The Captive Maiden – By Melanie Dickerson & The Dark Lord of Derkholm – By Diana Wynne Jones. The Captive Maiden is a retelling of Cinderella — except I actually loved it! It was very different from the classic, and the characters were actual people. I loved it. It was a feel good happy ending book. Ranger’s Apprentice meets Cinderella. The Dark Lord of Derkholm… Well, I love books written in that era. It is a wonderful fantasy high adventure for middle grade and YA. I loved it.

Petrificus Totalus

petrifies victim

A book you wish to keep forever: I can’t pick one… So I have two. Harry Potter – By J.K. Rowling & Narnia – By C.S. Lewis. I really don’t think an explanation is necessary for either of these. I will treasure these books all my life, and read them to my children from a young age. This will be a part of their lives forever.


shield charm

An intimidating book you keep putting off: The Illiad – By Homer  and The Odyssey – By Homer. I think it’s quite obvious why they’re so intimidating. You know… 500+ pages, in prose, of greek mythology. The original greek mythologies. I desperately want to read these books, but they’re just SO HUGE.


used against a boggart

A book with a deceiving synopsis: North of Nowhere – By Liz Kessler. The synopsis makes it seem quite boring. Stereotypical, cliche, been there, read that. But the actual book? PHENOMENAL! It was a middle grade mystery with suspense that actually had me enthralled and engaged by the mystery.

Lacarnum Inflamarae

shoots fireballs

A book you wish to burn out of your mind completely: Unwind – By Neal Shusterman. Even just thinking back to this book makes me nauseous. The premise was fascinating, but the dystopian world was far to intense for me. I don’t often abandon books, but I couldn’t physically bring myself to continue this one. It was sickening. It felt rated R. Everything was too intense, too graphic, to messed up. The world was just so twisted I couldn’t physically handle it. If I could, I would burn this book completely out of my memory. That would be wonderful.

Wingardium Leviosa

levitates objects

A book you wish to reread: Harry Potter – By J.K. Rowling. Seriously? I ALWAYS need to re-read this series. You can never read Harry Potter enough! I’m actually in the middle of a Harry Potter Movie Marathon (13 hours and counting! 8 hours left! Wish me luck!), so I REALLY want to read the books again. And again. And again. Best books in the world.

Avada Kedavra

causes instant death

Worst book EVER: Switched – By Amanda Hocking. I’m in the hated minority here. Everyone loved this book. I hated everything about it. Starting with the main character (she was a brat! and a totally undeveloped one at that!), and ending with the entire world. In the middle was the writing, the backstory, the so-called “romances”, and the awful, awful, everything about this book. Horrible, abusive relationships. Word to the wise? If a mysterious stranger’s been stalking you for days, asks you to dance at the school dance, yells at you while dancing, and then shows up at your bedroom window (on the second story) that night, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU LEAVE YOUR FAMILY AND TRAVEL TO AN ALTERNATE REALM WITH HIM?!?!?!? Let alone spend all your time thinking about nothing but making out with him. Ughhh…



puts victim in unconscious state

A book with a chapter you couldn’t seem to get over:  All is Well – By Gerald N. Lund. Having spent THOUSANDS of pages invested in these wonderful characters, and the historical fiction era they lived in… To finally read that last chapter — Where everything had finally wrapped up so perfectly… It was… Heartwarming. Overwhelming. Tear jerking. Beautiful. Satisfying. Perfect.


causes befuddlement or forgetfulness

A book that generally confused you: Proxy – By Alex London. In the moment, while reading it… I sorta enjoyed it. Anytime I’d put it down I would think that I didn’t like it. But then at the climax, I did like it. But then in retrospect, I thought that maybe I hadn’t liked it afterward. But the ending had made me cry. But I didn’t even LIKE the characters ALL that much. Confused is a good word to describe it.


inflicts unbearable pain

A book that was a pain to read: Mockingjay – By Suzanne Collins. I could go on for hours about all the things I hated about this book. Long story incredibly short? The entire book was painful. A horrible end to a wonderful series by a truly talented author. This book crashed and burned. It was hard to read, to see these characters, the world,  coming to this.


heals relatively minor injuries

A feel good book that you enjoyed: Appaloosa Summer – By Tudor Robins. This book was phenomenal. I thought it was going to be a YAWN been-there-read-that horse story. But this one was different. It was amazing. Even the (sweet) romance! I adored this book, and HIGHLY recommend it to all horse lovers! I would re-read this in a heartbeat on a bad day. It’s like my happy book.


temporarily disarms an opponent

A book with a swoon-worthy character: Persephone – By Kaitlin Bevis. I never thought I could love a Persephone retelling — let alone FALL in love WITH Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The sweet romance is perfect, and the mythology is like none you’ve ever read before! A modern retelling with PLENTY of new twists. You can never see them coming until they hit you in the face. And Hades. He’s got a rough side, a wild side, a sweet side, a gentle side. He’s not a “bad boy,” so to speak, but he’s not an angel, either. He’s the perfect guy. Flawed, but caring.


impedes target’s progress

A book that kept you up all night reading: The Ruins of Gorlan – By John Flanagan

 I’d been meaning to read this book for quite some time, but nothing about it ‘spoke’ to me…so, it just sat there. Finally, late one night, at about 10 pm,  my stack was gone. All that was left was The Ruins of Gorlan. So, I picked up, I was desperate. About 4 hours later, I closed it. THIS BOOK WAS PHENOMENAL. This series is my LIFE! I love it!


immediate silencing

A book that left you speechless after you read it: The Shadow Children series – By Margaret Peterson Haddix. Every single one of the books did this to me, but particularly the first book and the last book. The dystopia she creates is so believable, so close to modern society, it is terrifying. The characters she creates are phenomenal… you become so deeply attached to them, it hurts.



allows you to delve into someone’s mind

A book with well-developed characters: The False Prince – By Jennifer A. Nielsen. Sage, Jason, Imogen, Mott, Amarinda… Jennifer creates a character, you fall in love with him/her. The complexity of her characters is breathtaking, and the dialogue is absolute perfection. I cannot possibly speak highly enough of these characters. I adore each and every one of them.


a spell that turns you upside down

A book that changed your mind about a character from its prequel:  I can’t think of any book characters. However, the one character that does come to mind is Wesley Wyndham-Pryce of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame. In Buffy he’s the most detestable character on the planet… in Angel, you fall in love with him. He changes, and you understand him. By far the best character development I have ever seen on television.


used to hide memories

A book with a story you can’t remember: The Amaranth Enchantment – By Julie Berry. Apparently, I read this book in 2011, and gave it a 4 star review. Even looking at the cover and reading the synopsis… Nothing about it rings a bell. I basically have NO memory of this entire book.

Peskipiksi Pesternomi

useless spell

A boring book that had absolutely no effect on you: Prep School Confidential – Kara Taylor. I wouldn’t say it had no effect on me — It definitely succeeded in making me incredibly angry, frustrated, BORED, and completely lose faith in humanity at large.


breaks through solid objects

A book that convinced you to reconsider a certain genre: Her Ex Next Door – By Beverly Farr. This was the first sweet romance (or, really, any romance, but I only read the clean stuff) that I had ever read. I actually ended up thoroughly enjoying it, and have since read 5 or 6 books in the genre. I love it!


tickling spell

A book that made you laugh: Slaves of Socorro – By John Flanagan. Brotherband meets Ranger’s Apprentice in this amazing book! It’s hilarious, and Flanagan has a sense of humor that never fails. He (and occasionally Rick Riordan) is the only author who came make me ACTUALLY laugh out loud. And I laugh until tears roll down my cheeks — I laugh until I’ve completed my ab workout for the day… all because of this amazing book. It was far too short.


offensive spell that violently wounds the target

A book that may have scarred you for life: Gregor and the Code of the Claw – By Suzanne Collins. MAY HAVE?!?!??!?! This entire series scarred me for life! In the best way possible, of course. I adore this series to no end, and would absolutely adore to re-read the series. But this is written for middle grade children. NO. I was 15 when I read it, and it scarred me. I love this book so much! Emotionally scarring, but one of the best books ever!


makes you dance uncontrollably

A series finale that made you feel giddy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – By J.K. Rowling. No words are needed. Harry Potter is the best series ever written, and Jo is the best author ever. She is the Queen.

Bombarda Maxima

causes an explosion that breaks through obstacles

A book that made you explode with the feels: Allegiant – By Veronica Roth. All I’m going to say is that I ADORED Allegiant. ESPECIALLY the ending. The ending was literary perfection. Don’t even try to argue this point with me. I LOVE THIS ENDING.

Finite Incantatem

nullifies other spells

A book you thought you’d dislike, but ended up loving: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – By J.K. Rowling. I’ve got an interesting story on this one. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER  So, I have always loved Sirius Black. By far my favorite character in the series. My brother was listening to the audiobook the day it came out, and little six year old me overheard Harry’s vision about Voldemort torturing Sirius. I demanded that my brother tell me if Sirius ACTUALLY died. He told me yes. And, little six year old me who had read the first 3 books, and watched the first 3 movies, determined never to read OotP. Half-Blood Prince came out, and, as a family, we all listened to the book day it came out. By the end, I was THOROUGHLY confused, and determined that my hand was forced — I had to go back and read OotP. I went into it knowing I would hate it. When I finished the book shortly thereafter, I proceeded to read it again. And again. I loved it. It is my favorite HP book.

I’d like to add one spell/mini review that was not included in the original post:


being able to turn oneself into an animal, this process is highly

Cover image from Click on image to go to goodreads book page.
Cover image from Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

dangerous, and yet authorization is rarely given out. (this one’s a bit of a stretch, honestly).

That fandom analysis book you’ve read and loved with “unathorized” on the cover (e.i. The Unathorized Harry Potter coobook, etc.): Harry Potter and the Art of Spying – By Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am almost done with this book, so you will soon be able to access the full review. However, here is my mid-way, mini-review. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It’s written by two amazing people, Lynn (Author of spy novel, Mission to Chara) and Peter (Executive Director of the International Spy Museum). Basically, they’re analyzing the Harry Potter series (particularly books 5-7), from the persepective and experience of spies. Not only do you get to see the series in an entirely new light, but you also get to learn a lot about real-life spy techniques and missions. This is a SUPER fun and easy read. I thought it might be difficult to read, seeing as it’s non-fiction, but it’s actually quite the page turner! This book is set for release September 15th, 2014.

Soo… This is a Harry Potter heavy post, but I AM 6 movies into a Harry Potter Movie Marathon, and haven’t slept in over 30 hours, sooo…

2013 End of Year Book Survey!

Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner created the End of Year Book Survey back in 2010, but this is my first time completing it!
Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner created the End of Year Book Survey back in 2010, and I’m excited to be joining this year! (Image links to The Perpetual Page-Turner)

(Images from The Perpetual Page-Turner)
(Images from The Perpetual Page-Turner)

Just so y’all know in advance… The answer to nearly all of these questions would be, plain and simple: HARRY POTTER. However, to prevent extreme repetitiveness, let’s just assume in advance that all of these answers are second to Harry Potter. kthxbai.

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Yeah… I’m cheating.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Day of Doom, the final book in the 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers series. I had dedicated so much time (and SO MANY books!) to that series. And the ending was just… disappointing. Nothing was wrapped up nicely, and it just seemed haphazardly thrown together. :(

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

Wake up Missing – by Kate Messner. Hands down! When I picked up this sci-fi YA novel at the library… honestly, I liked the cover. The premise sounded interesting. Then I began to read. And, simply put, I couldn’t stop! WOW, this book was phenomenal! Very reminiscent of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Sci-fi standalone novels. Seriously, if you’re into MPH’s work, or REAL YA sci-fi? Check this book out! It is AMAZING! I seriously need to read some of Kate’s other books!

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Though I’ll mention this again later: The False Prince – By Jennifer A. Nielsen. Though I originally read it shortly after it’s release in 2012, I re-read it in 2013, and I cannot say enough good things about it! I have recommended this series far and wide! And the Ranger’s Apprentice series. I’ve recommended them countless times as well!

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Before I answer, I have a confession to make: Yes, it’s true, it wasn’t until 2013 that I read this book. Please forgive my horrible error. But, I have now begun my journey into The Ender-verse written by the amazing Orson Scott Card! So far, my favorite is Speaker for the Dead, but I’m excited to continue reading this great series!

And, OF COURSE, The Work & The Glory series. That series has been my life this year, and is one of the reasons I only read 100 books. But it was so worth it. If you’ve ever wanted to read a TRUE & enjoyable account of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, definitely read this series. it will change your life. :)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Robin Mckinley and Jack Weyland. I was introduced to Robin through Outlaws of Sherwood (FANTASTIC book, by the way.) I began my Jack Weyland journey with, take a wild guess, best-seller Charly. They are both such phenomenal authors! I am loving there work so far!

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Cinder – By Marissa Meyer. Steampunk Cinderella? Eh, I was doubtful. And WAY out of my comfort zone when I finally gave into the countless recommendations and picked up this fantastic book!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Oooh… Hard one! I’d have to go with The Chaos of Stars – By Kiersten White and The Royal Ranger – by John Flanagan.

I went into Chaos expecting to enjoy the mythology. But I couldn’t put the book down! Everything about it was perfect! And the Royal Ranger. Final book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series… suffice it to say: It was a smashing finale that left me satisfied about finally leaving the world I’ve known and loved for so long.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Dealing with Dragons – By Patricia C. Wrede. Though I’ve read it countless times, I’m sure I’ll read it many more! It never gets old. :) And, of course, All the HP books!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

I have four, actually. United We Spy – By Ally Carter, Unremembered – By Jordan Brody, Princess of the Silver Woods – By Jessica Day George, Poison – By Bridget Zinn, and Champion – By Marie Lu.

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Ender Wiggin. And Nathan Steed from The Work & The Glory. And Sage, from Runaway King. As one of my friends stated: “Sage is defintion of SASS.”

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Allegiant – By Veronica Roth. Towards the middle of the book, the plot started dragging, but the literary perfection and beauty of that ending made up for EVERYTHING.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

The Work and the Glory series. Best books I have ever read. Also, Brittany – By Jack Weyland. The (fictional) story of a teenage victim of date rape, and her recovery from it.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

Ender’s Game. Duh.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

Let me go cheat via Goodreads… Ah! Yes! I have a few (and, I’m sure, many more that I have forgotten):

Above all else, I think that you are a compulsive liar.”
My laughter was tense, but sincere. “Hardly. In fact, I consider myself a compulsive truth teller. It’s only that everyone else seems compelled to misunderstand me.”
― Jennifer A. NielsenThe Runaway King

“Keep practicing,” he told her.

“Until I get it right?” she said. But he corrected her.

“No. Until you don’t get it wrong.”

― John FlanaganThe Royal Ranger

“But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

― C.S. LewisThe Last Battle

“Hi,” he says. “I’m Daniel.”
“Hi,” I reply. “I’m June.”
― Marie LuChampion

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

No idea what the shortest is, but the longest is All is Well – By Gerald N. Lund. The conclusion to the Work and the Glory series, coming in at 900 pages. And I loved every one!

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? Be careful of spoilers!

CHAMPION – By Marie Lu. The ending! AGH!!! SO PERFECT!!! There aren’t even words!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Oooh… Hard. I have a few. Sorry!

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

One that I have not yet mentioned: Chasing the Prophecy – By Brandon Mull. Spectacular conclusion to The Beyonders series!

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Poison –By Bridget Zinn. Though I had wanted to read it, I doubt I ever ACTUALLY would have gotten around to it, if one of my best friends hadn’t literally forced it into my hands. Am I glad she did! I LOVED IT!

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

I’ve been ALL OVER the place this year, but, as usual, fantasy pulled ahead in the genre race. :)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Not really anyone NEW this year. Ry from The Chaos of Stars was pretty amazing. Does Robin Hood count? Not really a CRUSH, but I do love him! Just not that way. Particularly from The Outlaws of Sherwood.

BBC's Robin Hood.
BBC’s Robin Hood.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

Poison – By Bridget Zinn. Hands down. That book was amazing.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo – By Obert Skye. Though the plot and characters really pulled me in, and I loved them, what REALLY had me hooked here was the GORGEOUS imagery, and style of writing. The whole narrator-talking-to-reader deal? LOVE it! Very C.S. Lewis-y.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Okay, there is no way to answer this honestly. PROBABLY United We Spy – By Ally Carter. The whole premise of the series is just fun. So of course I loved it.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

A lot of books this year. Charly – By Jack Weyland, Champion – By Marie Lu, Allegiant – By Veronica Roth, and The Royal Ranger – By John Flanagan. To avoid spoilers, I won’t elaborate on WHY I was crying. :)

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Enchanted – By Althea Kontis. How had I NOT heard about this fantastic new re-telling before???

28. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Quite a few actually. 6 completed, 3 failed. I think that’s pretty good. Check them out HERE: My 2013 Challenges!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Le Morte d’Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table. Also, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! –By Sariah Wilson.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

The Shadow Throne, final book in the Ascendance Trilogy!

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I’m not very in the loop on debuts, unfortunately. If you know of any good ones, I’d love to hear about them!

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

The Heroes of Olympus series – By Rick Riordan.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

I want to stress less. You know me. I don’t write posts every week, I don’t review all the books I read, and I’m not very timely in getting to For-Review books. All of these things stress me out. I want to find the careful balance between doing it all and doing none. :)

Well, that is my 2013 wrap-up! Here’s to a fantastic new year and new semester!

Review & Author Q&A: The Ifs – By J.D. Pooker

Update on ARC AUGUST:


Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: The Ifs

Author: J.D Pooker

Summary: Landon and Broden are brothers. Sometimes they get along. Well, sometimes they don’t. But when they find out who’s behind the weird happenings in their house, they are called to battle.

Battle? Whoa. Not just one of their fun play-battles either, but a real battle in the forest with the most unusual of creatures and the wildest of animals. Can the brothers pull together when they need each other most?

Genre/Pages: Fantasy/141

Rating: ★★ (3.5 of 5)

My Review: I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. And, honestly? I liked it. It’s definitely a children’s book, and one I’m sure younger children would enjoy even more then I did, but I still really liked it.

I found The Ifs to be in the style of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Swordbird, or a younger version of Fablehaven. I know, I know. I just compared books, which I absolutely hate doing, but since this is a fairly unknown book, I decided to give y’all a few examples of similar books. The writing style was fun and resourceful, though it did take a bit of getting used to. The characters were well-thought out, and I didn’t (as I have in some other multiple POV books) ever mix up which brother was which, or who was talking, which is quite a feat for me.

The story jumped around a bit, but merely for the purpose of switching POV’s, and I think that not only was it handled quite well, but I found myself really enjoying it, and being pulled in even more by the flashbacks and such. The concept of “Ifs” , little people about 6 inches tall with whole cities and farms hidden under and above ground in local forests, is just so fascinating to me, and something I’ve always loved; This book brought back a lot of memories of my childhood. The plot was well-developed and exciting, though it did take about 60 pages to truly pick up speed. All in all, it was a fantastic book, that I really loved.

Content Advisory: Some violence. Death threats made to children. Children injure wild dogs and tiny people, in battle. No actual deaths.

To Sum it Up: Though not my all-time favorite book, it probably ranks among  my favorite children’s fantasy adventure books. I’m sure my younger sister would absolutely LOVE it, and I’m looking forward to reading it to her. A fun and thought-provoking fantasy story, with great morals, life lessons,  and lots of adventure, The Ifs is a thoroughly enjoyable quick read for younger audiences. Personally, I think this would be a fantastic read-aloud for a young family. J.D. Pooker has a lot of talent, and I’m really looking forward to reading her YA books written under the pseudonym “Pembroke Sinclair”. I recommend this book to ages 6+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

Author Q&A with J.D. Pooker:

1. Will there be a sequel, or are Landon & Broden’s adventures over for the time being?
There is a sequel.  The publisher has it, but no word on when it will be coming out.  I’m also planning on a third book, but I have some other projects to finish first.
2. Did Landon & Broden’s mother ever have experience with Ifs? She says she read about them in a book, but they had a different name, to keep their identities safe… and yet SHE knew their real name.
To be honest, I’m still undecided about that.  I have to mull it over in my brain a little longer.
3. I know that your children were inspiration for the main characters, but how did you come up with Ifs?
I actually had a dream one night that I caught a little man in a jar and was feeding him spaghetti.  I thought the idea was fun, so I expanded it from there.
4. What author or book has most influenced your writing to date?
I have a Master’s in English, so there have been a lot of authors that have influenced me over the years.  My most favorite author when I was a teen was Christopher Pike.
5. Do Ifs exist all over the world, or only in a few places?
All over the world.
6. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I really enjoyed imagining how my boys would react if they were put into this situation.  They aren’t nearly as old as the kids in the book, so based on how they act now, I had to project what I thought their personalities would be like in the future.
7. Can you tell us a little bit about your other books?
I have several other books that have been published, including some YA zombie novels and a children’s picture book.  I also have a few adult titles out.  If you are interested, you can find out more about them at my blog at
Thanks so much for reviewing my book and having me on your blog!
And thank YOU for allowing me to, and for coming onto my blog! It’s been fantastic getting to know you, and reading your book. I wish you all the best with future books, and can’t wait to read your YA ones. :)