Hiatus???

I’ve given this quite a bit of thought and I really don’t want to do it, but it’s better than just not having anything to post and apologizing. I’m going to be taking a hiatus for a few weeks, to read and get some reviews written and edit my schedule a little bit and just take some time for myself.

Thank you all for reading!

No Review??

you probably noticed I deviated from my schedule today and skipped posting a review! That’s just because I didn’t finish the book in time. I should have a review up Monday, but if not, I WILL have a Whatever Wednesday up and a review Friday! Thank you!!

PSSSST DON’T FORGET TO ENTER IN MY GIVEAWAYYYY (ends May 4) https://thatbookgal.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/book-review-giveaway-who-she-was/

and I will be hanging out in the comments, so comment there and check out my last post: https://thatbookgal.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/self-publishing/

Self Publishing?

Lately, a lot of my friends have been opting to self publish, some after a lot of querying and hard work, and some a month or two after they wrote the book. I feel like self publishing has a little bit of a bad rep in the book world, mostly because a lot of people consider it to be cheating, both because of the easy, quick publishing time, and because there’s no one really to make sure you’ve edited enough. So today I thought I’d go through some of the things you should do before self-publishing, and highlight some people who have done it successfully.

Here’s the skinny: If you’re going to self publish and you want your book to be read and appreciated, you’re going to need to put some money done. The truth of the matter is that nothing important is easy.

The first thing you’re going to need to look into is an editor. If you put your naked(unedited) manuscript out there, you will regret it. While I don’t have experience with hiring or finding an editor, there are tons of people who do, so ask around.
Beta readers are also a viable option, though they do tend to not catch as many important details as a professional editor would. The incentive of the beta reader is that they’re cheap, so you don’t have to put down a chunk of money for some much-needed insight.

INVEST IN A COVER DESIGNER. The first thing potential readers are going to see is your cover. People are already super wary of self published books, so your cover has got to win them over. I would suggest hiring a professional to design your cover, because, let’s be honest, not a lot of people fall in love with books whose covers were made with the Paint app on your Dell. I do want to give a tutorial sometime on designing your own cover and making it look professional, but for now, here’s my nugget of wisdom: hire a professional. the outcome will be so worth it.

Self promote like a crazy person. I know this kind of goes without saying, but books don’t sell themselves. Dance, scream, use smoke signals; just get that book out there. offer up e-copies to readers. Look into the pricing to get your book on sites like Netgalley and Edelweiss. It may not happen overnight, but it will pay off.

So now that I’ve talked about a few things you really should and probably need to do before you self publish, I’m going to talk about a few people who have self published or are in the process of doing so who done things on this list and it’s paying off for them.tcpcover

I’m ridiculously proud of Sierra and everything happening around this book. She announced that she was self publishing in September of 2016 and since then she has had 3,000 people marking her book “want to read” on Goodreads. The Color Project is publishing in July of 2017 (please correct me if I’m wrong! Thought it was November before but I think she changed it) This book is definitely amazing.

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I’m not going to talk about what this book is about, but the cover is stunning, the writing is impeccable, and the story is just so good. This is a prime example of self publishing done right!

 

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You’ve probably heard of this last one. It was self-published by booktubing coauthors Lindsay Cummings and Sasha Alsberg and not long after being released it reaching the New York Times Bestsellers list AND got picked up by a traditional publisher.

 

 

So after all this you’re probably wondering; am I for or against self publishing? If you do it right, I think it’s an amazing idea. Just don’t waste your debut if you’re not willing to put in hard work and money to make it possible.

So: self publishing… what are your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Are you for or against it?

 

Book Review & GIVEAWAY: Who She Was

Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.
Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.
Charlotte (Charlie) Logan is broken. Under her perfectly-crafted exterior are the shards of a shattered heart. A handful of angry words changed her life completely and Charlie’s never been able to forgive herself for the truth she’s hidden from everyone.
While Trevor pushes Charlie to remember the music that lit her soul and the laughter they shared, they find themselves reverting to a banter-filled rhythm that feels all too familiar, yet different now. When Trevor’s own secrets come to light, it becomes clear he and Charlie both must face their tragic pasts if they have any hope at a future together.

It’s always a risk to take a chance on a self-published book because a lot of the books self-pubbed tend to need a lot more editing. And as a grammar nerd I die a little inside whenever people misspell a word. But with this book I am so glad I decided to take a chance on it.
The writing in this book is gorgeous and lyrical and it actually has some lyrics in it too. As you can read in the Author’s Note at the end, Stormy has had some real experience with the subject matter in this book (maybe trigger warning, idk) and that definitely shows, just as it would show in a historical when the author knows what they’re talking about.
This book is raw and brutal and heartwrenching and it needs to be read. It deals with teen suicide, depression, mental illness, having an alcoholic parent, and abuse, both verbal and physical. While I haven’t dealt with physical abuse, I definitely know what it feels like to be verbally abused and it hurts. This books portrayed the pain and reality of both physical and verbal abuse with grace and sensitivity. It’s dual-narrated by Charlie and Trevor, who I absolutely fell in love with. The story and characters and emotion in this book brought me to tears more than once.
I honestly expected this book to be about the romance, and while it featured an AMAZING relationship, it wasn’t just some romance. This book is more important than that.
This features the reality of mental illness, the broken mindset that it’s something that can be “healed” or something that you can just get over. It’s something a lot of people have to live with, and while taking medicine helps, it’s not a magic cure. This is something a lot of people make the mistake of assuming and I think it’s really important to have this represented in a book.
This also deals with teen suicide and grief. I don’t have experience to touch on teen suicide, but I am all to familiar with grief. I’ve lost and it hurts. This book has such a raw and excellent representation of grief, and omg I just can’t talk about this without getting teared up. I’m so, so glad I read this book. It’s so important to read.
Before I go, I’m dying to talk about the ROMANCE in this story. I’m honestly a romance nerd. I love it. This book took the cake for a healthy and wonderful and amazing and caring relationship. The only time I’ve read about a romance as good as this was in INTERMISSION by Serena Chase, and that romance was superb. Honestly, someday I just want a guy like Trevor or Noah. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
This book was raw and honest and real and needs to be read. FIVE STARS. THIS BOOK DESERVES IT.
(while I’m kicking my content guide to the curb, I will mention if something is violent or if there’s tons of cussing, or sexual content. This book has mild cussing and it deals with some rough stuff)

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What books do you love that feature teen suicide and grief in an honest, real, and raw way?

because I loved this book so much, and because I truly think it’s something a lot of people need to read, I’m going to give away an e-copy to one lucky person! Enter below and thank you so much for reading! The giveaway is US only, sorry!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s on my ARC shelf?

While I manage to have designed many gorgeous covers in my lifetime, when it came to reimagining the covers for books I haven’t read, I ultimately failed. (to quote a friend, my version was “somehow worse” than the originals). Therefore, if you’re here from twitter and wondering why I chose the second most voted for blog post option on my poll, that’s why.

So today I am going to show you all the ARCs I’ve got on my shelf right now, and please don’t unfollow me after because honestly I just have no self control 😛 (who knows, maybe this’ll become a thing :P) (the ARCs are in order of release date, which is the order I read them in)

WHO SHE WAS by STORMY SMITH
RELEASE DATE: 5/4/17
I was contacted by the author for this one, and when I read up on it I honestly couldn’t say no! It’s got a gorgeous cover and wonderful reviews and Stormy Smith is just so kind! (continuing trend: I have no self control 😛 )

THE CROWN’S FATE by EVELYN SKYE
RELEASE DATE: 5/16/17
So to continue with the trend of my utter lack of self control, when I saw this up on Edelweiss I honestly couldn’t control myself. I’ve been waiting for this since I read the THE CROWN’S GAME last year!

ROMANCING THE THRONE by NADINE JOLIE COURTNEY
RELEASE DATE: 5/30/17
This was on Edelweiss ages ago and I never requested it, but then I saw so much buzz about it that I went back and remedied my mistake! This is why I don’t have self control. When I try I miss out on really fun books!


THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE by KAYLA OLSON
RELEASE DATE: 6/6/17
Like ROMANCING THE THRONE, this is one that I originally didn’t request but after seeing all the buzz I went back for it. I think I wasn’t totally in love with the cover when I first saw it, but I am in love with the concept of the novel!

LIBERTY: THE SPY WHO (KIND OF) LIKED ME by ANDREA PORTES
RELEASE DATE: 6/6/17
To be completely honest, I requested this one for the title! I’m a sucker for a good spy novel, and this one seems really cool and I cannot wait to jump in!!

EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE by KATRINA LENO
RELEASE DATE: 6/6/17
It’s always interesting when there’s those ARCs I have that I have completely no idea what they’re about. Well, this one is one of those. I requested it because I loved LOST & FOUND by Katrina Leno and how she mixed in the mystical with our real world yet I didn’t wonder why the mystical happened. (MAGICAL REALISM, YO)

THE WRITING DESK by RACHEL HAUCK
RELEASE DATE: 7/10/17
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with Rachel Hauck’s writing. I loved it in her ROYAL WEDDING series but not so much in THE WEDDING CHAPEL, but I just COULD NOT say no to this cover. I mean, look at it #aesthetic

THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED by PAULA STOKES
RELEASE DATE: 7/11/17
I read Paula Stokes’ GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE and loved it, and so when I heard about this book I knew I had to jump on the chance to get a copy. I’m definitely excited, especially because I’ve heard all of her books are so different, and this one seems kind of thrilling and I cannot wait!

I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE by SARAH MLYNOWSKI
RELEASE DATE: 7/11/17
I have always loved romantic comedies, and this one seems like it will be one. I’m definitely a sucker for romances in France and London (i.e. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, WANDERLOST, ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER). Plus I’ve heard tons of great things about Sarah Mlynowski

CHANGES IN LATITUDES by JEN MALONE
RELEASE DATE: 7/25/17
Remember last year when I flailed about the ah-may-zingg book WANDERLOST? OH YEAH THIS IS BY THE SAME AUTHOR. In case I haven’t said this in the last 50 words I’ve said, I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL (however I’m okay with that)

16 WAYS TO BREAK A HEART by LAUREN STRASNICK
RELEASE DATE: 7/25/17
The concept of this one sounds really cool, and it’s something I’ve seen around in other books but I’ve never read something like this. I cannot wait! (I have no self control) (I have no self control)

THE SECRET HISTORY OF US by JESSI KIRBY
RELEASE DATE: 8/1/17
To be absolutely honest, I request so many ARCs that I had completely forgotten what this one was about, until I looked it up on Goodreads for the release date and I must say; I’m so excited! I remember why I requested it. It seems like it will be very thrilling, very thrilling indeed!

THESE THINGS I’VE DONE by REBECCA PHILLIPS
RELEASE DATE: 8/1/17
I can’t even think of why I requested this one, but here’s a confession. I request almost everything HarperTeen puts on Edelweiss. It’s my thing, honestly, and they’re always gracious and give me many books! (yay) I don’t always love every one of their books, but I definitely feel like seeing them as the publisher of a book is like a stamp of approval, and a sign that the book will be well-written and enchanting

BLIGHT by ALEXANDRA DUNCAN
RELEASE DATE: 8/1/17
I just loved the colors in this cover! That’s what initially drew me in, and while I adore lovelovelove the blurb, I definitely think this will be an interesting novel and I can’t wait to read it!

THE AUTHENTICS by ABDI NAZEMIAN
RELEASE DATE: 8/8/17
This book sounds so fun and diverse! Plus that cover omg. And the concept! I can’t wait to read it!

OUR BROKEN PIECES by SARAH WHITE
RELEASE DATE: 8/8/17
I requested this one because a lot of authors are being discovered through Wattpad these days I was curious to see what the books were like, and how the quality of writing and storytelling is. Plus, this story sounds really fun!

HOW TO DISAPPEAR by SHARON HUSS ROAT
RELEASE DATE: 8/15/17
HOW COOL DOES THIS BOOK SOUND? as someone who definitely enjoys the anonymity of the internet, this definitely seems like a book that might shine on a few truths I need to hear, and maybe all of us need to hear. I cannot wait.

WICKED LIKE WILDFIRE by LANA POPOVIC
RELEASE DATE: 8/15/17
Last year when WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT came out everyone flailed and loved it, so when I saw this on Edelweiss I knew I had to take a chance on it (translation: I have no self control 😛 )

THE ART OF FEELING by LAURA TIMS
RELEASE DATE: 8/15/17
They say opposites attract… quite literally in this one! It sounds so interesting, and I’m always up for accurate grief rep. LET’S JUST SAY I COULDN’T SAY NO TO THIS ONE. AND HELLO THERE’S A PUPPY ON IT FOR GOSH SAKES

YOU DON’T KNOW ME BUT I KNOW YOU by REBECCA BARROW
RELEASE DATE: 8/29/17
Teen pregnancy is something a lot of people edge away from talking about, so I always jump on a chance to read YA books that have teen pregnancy rep. It’s a subject that’s very close to me, as I have a friend who got pregnant and I really admire her and her family, so it’s always great to get to see through the eyes of someone experiencing what they went through.

THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON by KATHERINE LOCKE
RELEASE DATE: 9/1/17
I heard about this one over on Twitter, and it sounds so fun! It has magic and time travel and ROMANCE and HAVE YOU SEEN THAT COVER????

Oh look. We’re done! I bet you thought that would never end. To conclude, I have no self control. SORRY NOT SORRY

Adieu!

What’s on your ARC shelf? Or, if you don’t get ARCs, what’s on your TBR?

Book Review: True to You

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

While adorable and full of cutesy romance, I really felt like this book carried an important theme, one I wished would have been introduced sooner in the book so I could really say it’s the feature of the book. The feature of the book is clearly the romance, which is well-written, adorable, and quite honestly just a joy to read. While there is a love triangle that I really didn’t like, I felt like it was dealt with well and that Nora made the right decision.
Now let’s talk about that important theme. This book carries it well and it kind of works with how far it was into the book, but this theme is: that a person’s worth and future isn’t decided by who they’re related to—it’s decided by God, and their actions are what make them, not the actions of their father or mother. I feel like that’s something really important, especially to children of abusive parents.
A lot of Christian romances like this are books where the content generally is no worse than a Christian YA, which is why a lot of Christian youth tend to read YA and adult romances in the Christian section. However, this book may have a trigger for some people, as it deals with rape (not shown, but there are characters shown who have been previously raped). This isn’t something that a lot of Christian books deal with, and I think some even shy away from dealing with it, but it’s a prominent part of the world today and it is something that needs to be talked about. I think it was so brave of Becky Wade to write a novel which shines a light on rape, and the fact that good things can come out of something so brutal and so awful.
As one of three sisters, like Nora, I really felt that I could relate to her, especially in the sense that she viewed herself as the least pretty of them, she loves books, and she dyes her hair red. (#twinssss) It isn’t often I see myself in a character, but I really did see myself in Nora. She’s such a fun and quirky character, and I loved the dynamic she had with her sisters, and I truly enjoyed seeing her story play out.
While this story tackles some really important things, it still maintained a feel of lighthearted contemporary and at times was so funny. I really loved getting to know Nora and all of her family and I cannot wait for the next Bradford Sisters book!

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Let’s talk! What’s a tough subject that you’d liked to see more of in books, both YA and adult?