Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Part One

To self publish or not to self publish.

That´s something I never had to ask myself because I´m not a writer, but many others have undoubtedly asked themselves if they should dive into self publishing or not.

Writers from all literature corners have, at some point, thought of the idea of publishing their own work, whether through traditional publishing or through self-publishing.

Both routes are fully acceptable these days, but before any writer choses a path to take they should definitely have a closer look at the pro´s and con´s of both traditional publishing and self publishing. Let´s do a quick breakdown to show the differences between the two and include pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self publishing:

Pros for Traditional Publishing

  • Marketing
  • Reach a wide audience, more exposure
  • Publishing houses often offer a financial advance
  • Publishing houses take care of edits, covers, etc.

Cons for Traditional Publishing

  • A writer hardly ( if at all, depending on the publisher) has a say ( in all areas)
  • Marketing runs at a snail’s pace
  • Royalty rates suck
  • It´s hard to get out of a contract

So basically, a writer´s hands are bound.

 

Pros for Self Publishing

  • You call the shots. You´re your own boss.
  • Publication is almost instantly
  • Royalty rates are higher
  • No rejections ( other than maybe from readers)

Cons for Self Publishing

  • No professional book polish ( no editing, no suitable cover image)
  • You have to do major self marketing
  • Potential for publishing a shitty book
  • Literally, anyone can self publish

It all comes down to having all the freedom in the world but also investing an outrageous amount of time doing self promotion because.. since you´re your own boss you have to do every stinking thing yourself.

If I was in a writer´s position I would definitely go with the traditional route. But that´s just me. Since I´m not a writer it´s not important what I would do, right?

A simple fact is: It´s hard getting a deal with a publishing house and it´s easy as hell to self publish.

Doing business with hundreds of self published writers did reveal an awful lot, but what the years of observation have shown was that many self published authors struggle.

And the struggle is real.

Some authors don´t know how to market themselves or they find it extremely difficult.

Why is that?

Well, for one… most writers who go into self publishing and want to make a name for themselves know that they´re going to have to deal with marketing but they don´t know how hard it is.

Imagine you wrote a book and you set your mind of self publishing. Great. But what steps need to be done?

Is your book edited? If not, it should be. You don´t want to sell crap and no one wants to spend money on crap. A harsh truth alot of self published author´s don´t want to hear.

Is the book cover image eye-catchy and is the quality of the image good? If not, you might want to invest some money and get something that´ll make a reader want to buy your book. Many readers judge a book by it´s cover. ( read my article on book covers )

Once your book is properly looked over and the cover ( incl. the quality) is ready you still need readers.

Do you have fans? Without fans you have little to no sales. And without fans you have no one but yourself and maybe your mother to spread the word about your book.

Your book can be a genius piece of written art or a possible world-wide bestseller but that´s worth crap if you don´t have any readers.

You need a plan. A large one.

From what I´ve been able to learn was that self published authors NEED to interact with people. There´s no way around it. Writers must use the tools they´re given and start interacting with all sorts of people in order to get the marketing ball rolling.

Social media is the best place for that. Millions of book lovers hang around Facebook, Twitter & Co. and are dying to get their hands on a new book. Befriending authors is also a step in the right direction because other, more accomplished self published authors have the know-how and can help with fulfilling a dream of becoming a known writer. Contacting book blogs is another way. Us foot folk know how to spread the word in an effective way.

It sounds so easy. But then again- everything seems easy in theory. Contacting strangers is not always easy. It´s acutally awkward.

„Hey, we don´t know each other but I have a book and ( after a full-blown social media investigation) I know you like to read… So, do you wanna read my book?“

Yes. That´s awkward but with a little more tact there is a high chance of gaining potential readers that way.

When a writer has to do their own marketing that means nothing other than having to sell their own product. In this case, it´s their book. Selling a product involves having to interact with people.

A nightmare for introverts or moody artists.

Another thing most self published authors forget is that self marketing never stops. It´s a constant, never-ending cycle. Once the self marketing slows down or stops then that´s it. Everything else stops too.

It also doesn´t stop at the interacting, either. There´s a whole lot more to self marketing than a writer´s eye can meet. Writers need to become creative and find ways to keep the ball rolling. This can be done with simple posts of teasers from their book or maybe a graphic quote or possibly through another author promoting a new writer. Something that engages other people. There are ways to make self marketing fun and slightly easier but the key is: interaction.

It also can´t hurt to mention how much time self published writers need to invest on self marketing. Yes. Many writers would appreciate a day with more than 24 hours.

The reality of self publishing is completely different from what people might think. It´s not just going on some self publishing platform and uploading a story with over 60.000 words and calling it a day.

Of course, writers who chose the traditional path and get taken under the wings of a publishing house have it bit easier. They don´t have to worry about self marketing because that´s included in their package. All the fun( insert sarcasm) with having to deal with emotional stress, interacting with strangers and working on spreading the word falls in the hands of competent people who know how to work the book mill. It might not always be what the writer had planned but it´s one less thing to worry about.

Self publishing is hard work and we´ve only just scratched the surface of how hard and frustrating self publishing can really be. The only advice I can give to writers who are unsure of which publishing path to take is: Collect as much info as possible and weigh your options. See what works best.

Because if we´re honest- not everyone is capable of marketing themselves or their work. Not everyone is a social bunny. But if a writer wants to self publish then there´s no way around having to do some self marketing. But when someone is good at marketing themselves then self publishing can be a joy and fun all around.

Coming next: Self Published Authors, Part Two: Book Pricing

Review: Breaking Gravity ( Fall Back Series #2) by Autumn Grey

Book Description

I’ve always followed my dreams with ruthless determination.
My life was going well. Success was at my fingertips.
Until it wasn’t.
All it took was three seconds to send my world crashing down around me, 
ripping my dreams to shreds.
Then I meet her, with her large hazel eyes that slay me at first glance.
And everything starts to make sense again.
I try to keep my distance.
To remind myself I am her mentor.
That we can’t be more, 
but every time I push away, I’m pulled deeper into her.
The line between student and teacher is blurring. 
One kiss. 
One taste. 
They’re all it would take to cross the line.

My Thoughts

This student / teacher romance definitely earned a place on my sacred bookshelf.

`Breaking Gravity` ( Fall Back Series #2 ) started out in a devastating light and ended with a beautiful warmth.Breaking Gravity

Nathaniel Rowe´s life will never be the same. Once a well-known professional cellist, now a damaged and crippled has-been who suffers from chronic pain and medication abuse. It took one unfortunate event to change his life and make Nathaniel a walking mess. With his career over and the love of his life gone there´s hardly anything left to live for. Until…

Nathaniel takes up a job as a temporary music professor at Rushmore college and becomes fascinated with a red-haired beauty, Elon… who also happens to be one of his students.

Now, I´m not a huge fan of student/teacher romances because they somehow always end the same way. A story about a forbidden by law love is bound to end in a catastrophe. It´s kind of like watching a train wreck happening in slow motion. You know it´s gonna be ugly. You know the outcome.. Everything starts out as a one time thing. A secret. Then the secret turns into an affair. Soon, a best friend finds out and then others become suspicious. The secretive couple gets exposed. One loses a job. The other gets kicked out of school, yada yada yada.

For some reason, `Breaking Gravity` wasn´t entirely like that. So, the student / teacher story wasn´t new…. but the flair the story gave off was refreshing. Both main characters have dealt with unimaginable pain in their pasts and yet both weren´t completely unwilling to move forward, despite knowing about the consequences of their actions. They had something to look forward to: seeing each other.

I was rooting for the main characters. It took me a lot of will power not to get out the pompoms and cheer for Nate and Elon. I actually wanted the characters to get exposed as quick as possible because they fit so beautifully together.

What I loved most about the story was the fact that the author approached different real life issues, such as: death, abuse and addiction. The author´s ability to let her characters suffer from these issues was wild. It made her characters feel more authentic / realist and relatable. And it made them 100% lovable.

Do Nate and Elon live happily ever after? Or will life force them apart?

Read it and find out for yourself. I can say, without a doubt, that this is my favorite student / teacher romance.

`Breaking Gravity` is a warming, beautiful, swoon worthy, hot and full of hope romance that´ll stick to a reader like glue for weeks after reading.

Would I recommend this book? Yes!

Would I reread this book? I already have…* smile *

The Cover – 5 stars ( I have been gushing over this cover weeks before I even bought the book. Such a beautiful and unique image. There was no way I was not going to have this book.)

The Story – 4 stars ( Student / Teacher romances don´t usually float my boat but this story did.)

The Characters – 5 stars ( Nate was the perfect Hero. Ruined, moody, passionate, hot. Every woman needs a Nate in their lives. Elon was an equally perfect character. Loving, clever, guarded, witty. What more can I ask for? Nothing.)

My emotional state after finishing this read? Totally, utterly, 100% happy and satisfied.

I´m giving `Breaking Gravity` by author Autumn Grey 4 out of 5 stars.

Instagram Book Box Feature

°•○BOOK BOX FEATURE○•° This came in the mail today and I couldn't wait to share this beauty with you guys. 'Breaking Gravity' by the wonderful @autumngreyauthor. This is one of those covers you can admire all night long *dreamy sigh* So mesmerising. If you don't hear or see anything from me then I'm either swooning or reading. Have a fab day and don't forget to share the 📚🖤 . . . . . #bookpic #bookaholic #addictedtoreading #addictedtobooks #bookaddict #booknerd #bookwhore #bookjunkie #bookninja #libraryofinstagram #igreads #igbooks #bookstagram #instaread #iaminlove #booklove #books #paperback #bookphotography #pages #author #outdoor #booksbooksbooks #bibliophile #beautifulcovers #coverpic #prettybooks #📚 #germany #bücherwurm

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This book can be purchased at Amazon.com

Latest Instagram Features from Morgana´s Book Box

It´s time for a few honorable Instagram Book Box Feature mentions!

I proudly present my recent works. Lots of love, sweat, energy, yelling at the dog, telling my kids not to run on the road, fighting with wind, rain and heat were invested in creating these pics. Have a look…. 🙂

Happy Saturday, everyone!🌸 My neighbor caught me examining her flowers today from my kitchen window and invited me to pick a few, even offered me the whole bush as it annoys her😂. So- a purple 💜BOOK BOX FEATURE💜 it is today. Let's give it up for one of my favorite books by @pccastauthor – 'Devine By Mistake' (Partholon #1). Such a beautiful story worth losing yourself in. Okay, chichas… gotta run. Hope you all have a lovely day. Don't forget to share the 📖💜! . . . . #bookstagram #libraryofinstagram #love #fantasy #paranormal #read #book #paperback #series #pccast #partholon #bookworm #bookpic #bookphotography #purple #flowers #bookishfeatures #feature #saturdaynight #germany #bookjunkie #ilovebooksmorethanpeople #bookstagrammer #bookblogger #instablog #instablog #readingissexy #magical #📚

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*waves enthusiastically* Hey all you lovely people! How's it going? Enjoying the heat?☉ I've been hiding in the shade reading one 📖 after another and contemplated on buying a sombrero ( I burn poorly while tanning. Life's such a bitch) Anyways… while hiding i managed to get a ☆☆BOOK BOX FEATURE☆☆ done. ' Verführt' (Colours of Love) by Kathryn Taylor. All in all a nice read. Keeo sharing the 📚💓 . . . . #romance #lovestory #love #books #bücher #lesen #read #leseratte #bücherwurm #suckerforromance #igreads #libraryofinstagram #ilovebooks #bookstagram #bookworm #booknerd #bookwhore #bookjunkie #bookninja #bookcover #📚 #liebe #androidphotography #s7 #bookphotography #bookpic #bookfeature #germany #read

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Happy Monday! 🤓What to do with your kids and their friend when they're bored as hell? You force all 3 to sit and pose for a book box pic😂 Yes. I was deeply hated before/during/after this pic. Was it worth it? Definitely! I'm in love. ( btw- left and center are mine ) Hope you all enjoy your day and don't forget to share the 📚💜! . . . . . #instakids #childrensbooks #kidsandbooks #mygirls #bookbuddies #bookstagram #bookbesties #bookfriends #readingbooks #androidphotography #bookworm #books #booklove #paperback #bookstagrammers #instabooks #igreads #bookphotography #fortheloveofreading #outdoors #kinder #mädchen #lesenmachtglücklich #buchliebe #bookgram #lesenmachtschlau #germany #📚 #lesen #monday

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What do you think?

Feel free to find and stalk me on Instagram under Morgana´s Book Box and leave a like and comment! If not, then I might cry a round or two then I´ll get over it.

Hope you all have a lovely day! Don´t forget to share the book love!

Ridiculous Book Sex

Alas, a subject I have been dying to write about. A topic that needs further discussion.

Sex in books.

Romance readers want to have a good time while reading. They want the heartache, the sappy moments, etc. If a romance has the whole package, including good sex scenes, then it´s a total win for us readers.

Reality has taught us that sex can be loads of fun ( If done right, of course. ) and reading about it in a book that has a drop-dead-gorgeous male protagonist in it makes the head theater much more fun.

When I´m reading an erotic romance I´m literally waiting for a good sex scene with great sex. You know- the mind-blowing kind. The kind of sex in books that take a reader to a complete new level of horniness. I´m not talking about reading a porn….I´m referring to a romance / erotica novel that has sex in it. ( okay….maybe erotica novels come pretty close to porn, or not. What do I know?!)

In my opinion – reading about sex cannot be compared to pornography because… Well, characters in books have background stories and go through emotional highs and lows. Porn doesn´t. Although, my husband disagrees with me on that one. Just the other day he tried to convince me that porn movies have an actual plot. * Hangs head * Romance novels keep it real to a certain extent.

ANYWAYS…. Back to book sex:
I bow before any author who writes about sex. Period. I cannot imagine how hard it is to write about 2 people screwing and gushing their feelings for each other. Some authors have so much talent in that department. I often ask myself if those scenes came from personal experience or if it´s just a thought up scene. Imagined. Either way…..I love extremely well written, fully described, sensual, intimate sex scenes in novels. Nothing makes me more happy to know someone put a lot of thought into a scene like that. It´s actually pretty cool if you think about it.

But then there are authors who just write about sex. You know…..the questionable kind. The kind that puts huge question marks on my panties instead of making them change their color.

Now- this is a subject we all can discuss to no end because everyone has a different opinion on what good sex is. Which is fine by me. We all have different tastes, right? I´m not judging anyone if they like to read about any type of bed sports. To each is their own. But in some cases ( no matter what kind of sex I´m talking about) the sex is too much to take in. It´s also almost tacky. Tasteless. 

Authors often over-do it with their sex scenes. I´m not talking about all authors. I´m only referring to 75% of self published writers who include sex in their romances.

I consider myself still young, with being 35. I´m practically living in the best years of my life. But not even I find it sexy to read about characters who screw at every given opportunity. I can´t, by all that´s holy, visualize a sex marathon that goes on and on and on without feeling some sort of mental exhaustion after a while.

You have to keep in mind that I´m 35, not 20. I have a hard time keeping up with fictional characters these days because all they want to do is have sex. Even if I wanted to, I couldn´t have as much sex as book characters have. It´s as if these fictional characters are trying to compete with rabbits.

I know that the stories I read ( especially in the romance/erotica world) aren´t meant to be realistic. Still…..cut me some slack here- At some point, a Heroine has to start walking like John Wayne after she´s been well screwed / shagged / fucked by the sex-God from down the road. I´d definitely need a weeks worth of bed rest if were a female protagonist from any sex loaded novel.

I live in Europe…which means people over here are confronted with sex on a daily basis in a healthy way. Sex is apart of life. No need to shut up about it.   Either people like it kinky, or they don´t. No one is utterly fazed or shocked over here. So, before anyone gives me the ” Prude” stamp- keep in mind that I´m as open-minded as anyone can be. You cannot shock me with sexual acts or dirty talk, or what-not. I just do not appreciate bad / too much sex in a book. That just distracts from the actual plot. Or a terrible dialogue, for that matter.

An author can make their characters as kinky as they want them to be…I still don´t think anyone or anything should have sex 20 times a day, as some authors LOVE to make their characters do. That just…..hurts to think about.

 

And, please, * slamming hands on table, leaning forward, giving the stern look*, what is it with the Dialogue during sex scenes? Has anyone noticed how the majority of romance / erotica heros do the ultimate „ You´re so wet for me“ line?

Or, wait! I got a better one!

“Come for me, baby“  *shaking head* Am I the only one who noticed those two sentences in almost EVERY romance / erotica novel lately?

It´s not the sentences alone that are terrible. It´s the fact that those sentences come up in every damn sex scene. Let´s say characters X and Y are having sex for the first time. And all of a sudden X says: „ Oh, you´re so wet for me.“ Okay. It´s a line that isn´t original, but it´s still okay. If an author believes those words must be included, fine.

When X and Y have sex the second and third time ( in the same night, day, week ), X says the same words to Y. Uuhm… * scratching head * Does Y need a bucket because she´s so wet? Should X fetch the Tupperware just in case?

Obviously, X can´t get over the fact that Y gets wet! Y get´s utterly wet as soon as X touches her! Y is leaking.

And when X commands Y to orgasm ( or better…to come – to cum ) Y magically orgasms. Every single time! Some ladies might find that ” to orgasm ” on command is a hard task to do. But who am I kidding * wave off * I´m thinking way to realistic. What do I know, right?

Let´s rehash-

X is fascinated by the fact that Y gets so wet for him all the time that he needs to announce it.

Y can orgasm on command effortlessly because X is DA SHIT!

Let´s do a real life version of a novel sex scene ( of course, a woman has a few options on how to respond to the magic words)-

Guy: „ oh, Baby….you´re so wet for me.“

Woman: ( option nr. 1 ) „ U-huh.“

Woman: ( option nr .2 ) „ Really? How bad is it down there?“

Woman: ( option nr. 3 ) „ Yeah, I´m so wet for you.“

Or the woman might not give any answer and enjoy what´s bound to happen.

Guy: „ You want to come? Then come, NOW!“

Woman: „ Hold on…I´m almost there…“

Guy: „ No. I want you to come, NOW“

Woman: „ I can´t now. Just keep doing what you´re doing…almost there…“

Guy: ” NOW! Damn it ! N.O.W! Why can´t you orgasm on command?!“

Woman: „ Because I´m NOT  Y from those non-unique sex scenes!!!!“

Do you see my point? A dialogue like that can make whatever feelings I developed disappear into thin air. Poof! Just like that. Gone.

It´s also just as cringe-worthy when the words „moist“ and „cream pie“ are over used. There must be a way to replace those words with something more… fitting? Moist are my kitchen towels after I dry the dishes. And cream pie…. it´s a pie or cake, for heaven’s sake.

And now- while we´re at it… Let us comb through the phrases used in sex scenes. Let´s call it the sex lingo.

Ready?

  • …she tasted like honey…..“ ( I guarantee you, no one tastes like honey down south. Male and female do NOT taste like honey. It´s just a fact. If it were true then you´d be seeing a lot more people going down and having a 3 course meal with „honey“)
  • .. until I finally found her secret center…“ ( A vagina isn´t Narnja. It´s not the rabbit hole that leads to Wonderland. It´s not Barbie´s secret garden, either)
  • …his maleness, passing the petal soft folds of her womanhood…“ ( No vagina lips can be compared to petals. Touch a rose petal then touch vagina lips. It ain´t possible. But touch a turkey´s overlapping skin on his neck and then try touching a vagina. And vagina lips don´t fold. They´re bunched in your underwear. )
  • … I was drowning in her juices…“ ( How many characters are leaking? )
  • …I was blinded as I soared over the edge…“ ( I never went blind before/during/after an orgasm. Maybe I´m doing something wrong? And I never soared anywhere except for the one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to turn on the bedroom light but missed the wall and switch and went „soaring“ towards the floor. That shit hurt.)

Why compare food and drinks to body fluids? Why not stick to the truth instead of misleading the innocent and giving them weird ideas? Am I thinking too realistic here?

Sometimes people don´t smell like Christmas spices when they pull down their underwear. I can already hear you say „ Eeeeew“ after reading that but it´s true. Any person who´s sexually active KNOWS the dark secrets of sex. And no author has interest in coloring out the harsh reality of event.

Most writers would rather have you believe it´s fabulous to give your partner a blowjob after being on the road for 12 hours with 3 bathroom breaks in between ( without the possibility to wash up..like, at all). There are no rose scents involved there, trust me. Yet, authors will have you believing that the sexual drive between their characters is greater than anything else. They let their characters focus on their lust and ignore the wet fox smell.

As you can probably tell by now, I´ve read some crazy stuff over the last few years and I have a strong feeling that nothing is going to change.

Can we just try to call „his sword“ a penis? Use cock, for all I care….but sword? And how about vagina instead of „where she was moist and desperate“? It´s a vagina. It´s a penis. Either you have one or the other. And maybe it´s a good time to mention that sex is fantastic but sex doesn´t always sell. 

I´m just afraid if young women ( who haven´t had sex yet) read those scenes….they´ll think it´s supposed to be like that in real life. * head against table*

Authors should try to come up with better lines. These people aren´t called artists for no reason. Authors have so many ideas and words to work with…. it should be a piece of cake to come up with something better than „You´re so wet for me.“. It´s really not funny anymore to read the same lines in 80% of all books I read.

This is not meant to discourage writers to include sex in their stories. This is meant to help spark their passion for finding better, more authentic words for their scenes.

Review- Dirty Dix (#1 Hard Love Romance) by Monica James

Book Description

I knew she was bad news when she walked into my office, but I just couldn’t help myself… 

Filthy, sexy and full of surprises, Juliet is so hot she has me on fire. I’ve met my match and I can’t help going back for more. 

Then there’s Madison… she’s sweet, funny and awakens in me a fierce need to protect her. 

But I don’t do relationships. I don’t usually do the same woman twice. 

Juliet and Madison: Two very different women have got me completely hooked. 

Who will I choose? 

I know who I should choose, but I never said I was the hero of this story, or even the good guy. And besides, who wants to be good, when it feels so good being bad? 

My tale isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re game, strap yourself in and expect the unexpected. But don’t say I didn’t warn you… 

My Thoughts

Monica James is my GO – TO author. This woman has her writing down to a T. It all started out when I read her very first novel `I Surrender` a few years back. Now, many published books later, I´m sitting here and feeling as happy as any reader could feel.

What can I say about this book?

`Dirty Dix` ( Book #1 in the Hard Love Romance ) is a fun, exciting and intriguing read that´ll put you on a ride you´ll never forget. In fact, this story is so addictive it makes it´s readers long for more.Dirty dix

The story is brilliant. Easy going and playful at first and then everything slowly becomes complicated.

New Yorks top psychiatrist, Dr. Dix Mathews, drowns in two women who are both toxic to his own health.

Both women couldn´t be more opposite from one another and Dr. Dix finds himself in a position he shouldn´t have been in the first place.

What to do, what to do? Dr. Dix is screwed one way or another. Or is he?

This book  reminds me of a time when I dated 2 guys at the same time. I was 16 back then and everything went well before both were standing in my mom´s livingroom. The one guy had a bouquet in his hands and the other wore a confused look on his face. I decided to bail. Crawl my way out of the house through my bedroom window and make an epic escape. But I got caught by my mom outside ( I was a terrible teenager).

I wish Dix had a window to make a grande escape but he wasn´t so fortunate ( neither was I, to be honest. I had to deal with both and ended up alone until I dated my husband 3 years later. What a miserable time!).

ANYWAYS…. Dix.

I loved Dix. His character was something special. A doc who helped others for a living got caught up in his own little personal hell. What´s not to love? Reading his parts brought so much satisfaction. The poor bastard struggled. He was a professional with a broken heart who ignored the rules. And with every step that beautiful man took he unintentionally dug his own grave deeper and deeper. He was fighting an emotional war with his desires, his own personal addiction.

Dix and Juliet were a match made in sex heaven. Dix and Madison were a match made in relationship heaven.

Who will he pick? Both? Neither? Will anyone find some sort of happiness in this book? You´ll have to find that one out for yourself.

All I can tell you is that this story was so good I couldn´t put it down. And the cliffhanger ending… I saw it coming. I truly did. I just hoped it wouldn´t happen. But it did and now I´m left with the awkward feeling of not knowing what´ll happen next until I can get my greedy claws on book #2, `Wicked Dix`.

An enticing, sexy and hot read!

The Cover – 4 stars ( I´m not such a fan of a buffed torso on a book cover but I am a fan of a white shirt and black tie. There´s something sexy about that. And the colors are great.)

The Story – 5 stars ( Way cool. Brings back so many ugly but now funny memories.)

The Characters – 5 stars ( Dix, Madison, Juliet, Finch and Hunter… What a great lot!)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Excited. I just can´t wait to find out what happens next!

I´m giving `Dirty Dix` ( Book #1 Hard Love Romance) by Monica James 5 out of 5 stars.

stars15

To purchase this book  click here

Review- Thicker Than Blood (#1) by Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley

Book Description

A true friendship never dies. 

Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…

Even an apocalypse.

Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.

Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.

Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.

But in such a savage world, is there room for love?

In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.

There are friends…

And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.

My Thoughts

It´s super dangerous for my wallet when I visit a book signing. Once I´m in a room packed with awesome authors then there´s no stopping me ( Don´t judge. It´s an illness ). Within an hour I´m broke, yet, at the same time I´m richer than anyone I know.

That´s how I came upon this little treasure. The RARE ´17 Berlin book signing was my undoing.

`Thicker Than Blood` by authors Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley belonged to the many books I purchased that day. I walked up to the author´s table and asked what she would recommend and VOILA!Thicker than blood

I´m always looking for something new in the book universe. Something a topic that hasn´t been told to death over the last 5 years. I want something that will grab my attention. I need a story that´ll do all kinds of things to my emotional household. I need excitement. I need something that´ll blow my mind.

And right now I need to give these authors a high five for writing such an amazing story.

I was hooked the moment I began reading and I felt like someone hit me with a frying pan when I finished the story.

Perfect! That´s exactly what I´m looking for in a book!

So, what are we dealing with in `Thicker Than Blood` ?

  • a zombie apocalypse

  • a friendship like no other

  • survival

And with that we automatically deal with the whole pallet of emotions. And boy, did I go through some nasty up´s and down´s.

The authors created a new world in such a brilliant way and made me suffer along with their characters until the very last page.

The author´s created a world that felt oddly real.

I´ve watched zombie movies / shows and I´ve read my fair share of zombie books before. They´re amusing and entertaining but they hardly feel realistic. Yet, I never ended up sitting on my sofa, thinking about the „what if´s“ like I did after reading this book. There came a point where I had to remind myself that this was just a work of fiction. A brilliantly written, thought-up piece of madness that stunned me.

And the fact that this isn´t a full blown sappy romance just fills my heart with joy. Of course, there´s a bit of lovey-dovey throughout the story…. but nothing you´d imagine. This is a horror / apocalyptic novel with a focus on friendship and survival and a pinch of romance. And the best part- You cannot relate to the characters because no one knows how they´d react in the same situation.

Would I recommend this book?

I most certainly would. Over and over again.

Would I re-read this book?

You can bet your ass I would. But, first, I´m going to read `Beneath Blood and Bone`(#2) before I do anything else. 

The Cover – 5 stars ( The image, the lighting, the blood…. I like it alot. Something I can look at all night long. A total catchy book cover.)

The Story – 5 stars ( When authors create worlds and are good at it then it´s already a winner.)

The Characters – 4 stars ( Eve and Leisel aren´t the best characters ever but their friendship is truly something special. )

My emotional state after finishing this read Pooped beyond means. Mentally and physically preparing for a possible zombie apocalypse and. I might even text my bestie so she can get ready as well.

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I´m giving `Thicker Than Blood` by Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley 4 out of 5 stars.

This book can be purchased over at Amazon.com 

Instagram: Morgana´s Book Box Feature

Review- RARE ´17 Berlin Book Signing Event

There are different types of book signing events. There are the ones we all know from back in the days, where authors had a table at a bookstore and signed tons of books for their fans.(Good thing  is – those signings still exist. They´re rare…but every now and again published authors pop into a bookstore and do a signing. * YAY *)

In this Era, book signing events have become more interesting, to say the least. Due to the massive amount of self-publishers ( and their wildly growing fan-bases ) alot of author events have turned into something bizarre ( and that´s putting it mildly ).

Book signings are said to be a great way to meet your favorite author ( maybe even hold a chitchat with them for 2 minutes ) and get your books, kindle covers, boobs and scrapbooks signed. Some signing events also offer full weekends of drinks, parties, meet & greets, and other fun stuff for readers and bloggers. Which is like- the ultimate thing for any book nerd!

Of course, those events aren´t for free. The prices for tickets can be from $10 – $400 , depending on which signing event a visitor decides to go to. In my opinion… I´d rather buy books worth 400 smackers than go to an event that costs that much, plus paying for a hotel room and traveling has to be taken under consideration, too- Unless you´re up for snoozing in your car. BUT…I was told that those highly expensive events were totally worth the money ( I shall never find out ).

I´ve been to quite a few book signings in my life but none have left such impressions as the last 2 I´ve visited. That is why I´ll focus on the last 2 bigger book signing events, here, and I´ll compare them.

I´m generally a happy person. I love to laugh and all that. And I´m also ALWAYS under alot of stress ( work, family, household, bla bla bla). When I´m at a signing I like to think I´m treating myself. Taking a break from being a highly responsible adult and having some Morgana-time without my babies actually helps me recharge enegery. I don´t need a 2 week vacation away from the family. A day or even a few hours can also work wonders.

But when I´m surrounded by madness it´s hard to think I´m treating myself in any way. It´s also impossible to enjoy my Morgana-time away from the family when I´m in a room surrounded by nearly 500 women who run around like headless chicks ( who also sporadically scream from the top of their lungs from excitement) That´s not book heaven. It´s definitely not my idea of having a good time.

And that´s exactly what happened at my first romance book event a few years back in London. Crazed women rushing from author table to author table in hopes of spending endless minutes with their favorite authors. It felt like I was in the Mean Girls movie with 100 Regina George clones.

After that unholy event I swore to never attend a romance book signing event ever again. I valued my sanity far too much to deal with another day of chaotic book women.

Years have passed and the nightmare from the past event eventually faded until I spotted an ad for another romance author event. RARE ´17 Berlin.Rare

Berlin? My heart melted. There was a romance book signing in the country I live in! I didn´t have to leave the country to visit a book signing and I could get a hotel room and I could….. Then it hit me. No. I swore I´d never put myself through another round of disappointment. But the author lineup for the RARE ´17 Berlin event was AWESOME! There was no way I could stay away.

After a week of back and forth I decided to give romance book signings another try. Why not, right? It´s been a few years since the last one. Readers / fans change. ( or, I hoped they did ). I wasn´t 100% convinced but I kept thinking happy thoughts. Everything was going to be alright.

After all- who would want to miss out on meeting Jodi Ellen Malpas, Monica James, Lesley Jones, Kandi Steiner, etc, etc? No me.

After a gruesome 5 hour drive from Frankfurt a.M. To Berlin I finally arrived. My hair looked like squirrels tried to braid it ( driving with an open window cannot be recommended) but I didn´t care. I was on a book mission, not trying to win a beauty contest. As long as no one noticed the chocolate stains in the crotch area I was good to go and halfway presentable. ( I do not recommend eating a chocolate croissant while driving on the Autobahn, either )

Needless to say- I arrived looking like a crazed forest witch, ready to spend time and money.

3 hours, 10 signed books and 6000 spoken words later I reached my limit and decided it was time to go home ( because I totally forgot to book a hotel room ). I wanted to spend some quality time with my newest reads!

And guess what? My fear was…gone. I was confronted with peaceful, nice people. The authors were wonderful. Everyone was smiling, chatting and just having a good time. I was shocked beyond belief! Hof was this possible? The last book signing event was a nightmare. Rare ´17 wasn´t. RARE ´17 Berlin was civilized, organized and just a great place to be.

Was I happy? Definitely. The event was a total success for me. Would I visit another RARE book signing?

Yes. I would.

Ticket price 36.87 Euros

Location – Hotel Estrel in Berlin

Author count – Roughly around 60 ( give or take)

Atmosphere-  Friendly

The authors- The ones I was able to meet were such sweethearts.

My biggest regret- Forgetting my hair brush at home. Forgetting to take pics with all the authors I talked to.

My mood from beginning to end-  Excited to happily exhausted.

All in all a wonderful event filled with awesomeness! Until next time, RARE!

And now – let´s take a look at what the forest witch looked like with the awesome authors! Have fun!

Event Monica

Left: Monica James. Author of the `I Surrender` , `Something Like Normal` & the `Hard Love Romance` books. Make sure to stalk her on Social Media!

Event Ashley

 

Right: Katie Ashley. Author of the `Proposition` & `Runaway Train` books.

 

Event Halle

Right: Karina Halle. Author of `The Pact` and `Dirty Angels`books.

 

Event steiner

Left: Kandi Steiner. Author of `Weightless` & `A Love Letter To Whiskey`.

 

Event Malpas

Right: Jodi Ellen Malpas. Author of the `This Man`& `One Night`books.

 

Review- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Book Description

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

My Thoughts

You know it´s a sad day when a book lover thinks the movie was better than the book.
I think this book and I didn´t have a great start to begin with. 
It all started when a good friend of mine gifted me `Gone Girl` by Gillian Flynn as a Christmas present. That alone is a tricky thing to do because I think gifting books is nice, but it gives me the chills. Especially when the person who gifts me a book says „ The lady at the bookstore said you might like it.“ If my friend doesn´t know what I like…then how would a stranger know what I like? * shaking head* To my friends credit…he´s a guy. I forgave him and thought the idea was still cute ( and still creepy).

It´s hard to say if I just didn´t enjoy this book or if I hated it. I´m a bit torn about the whole thing. First…it took me ages to get into the story. The first half of the book was slow and I found myself putting this book down more often than I would have wanted. The second half was a total clusterfuck. I was just as „ emotionally bent“ as the characters were ( God, that was mentioned so often in this book that I now dislike that term ).

Did I like the mystery in this book? No. Did I like the characters? Not really. Why?

I don´t know if it was the characters or their story in general… but I couldn´t understand this book. There was nothing I could relate to at all. There were some things that were mentioned where I understood Amy, but other than that….I disliked her and thought she was just a bored psycho. Nick, Amy´s husband, did nothing for me, either. I couldn´t sympathize with him at all. I didn´t see him as the good or bad guy. He was twisted in his own special way.

My biggest concern was: If a couple is happy on the outside, but can´t stand each other within their own four walls….then why not split up? Happens everyday….the characters should have tried it out.

As for the story…..Well, Amy disappears on their 5th anniversary into thin air and ….the main suspect becomes Nick. Did he really kill Amy or did Amy, the UBER PSYCHO/ WEIRDO / bored housewife ( who thought it would be funny to cause a shitstorm) want attention?

I have no clue because now I´m confused, but only because I don´t know why this story would be a book of the year.

The dual POV`s ( Amy´s POV came more from the diaries she wrote before ) confused me and when I finally „ got it“ I didn´t like it.

The end was…..dull. I expected a huge firework ending to make up for the crappy story. That did not happen. After the last page I couldn´t believe I spent my time reading this book.

The only thing I really liked was the writing style. But that didn´t make up for the rest.

On a positive note- I did like the movie a tad bit better. I thought Ben Affleck nailed Nick 🙂 

`Gone Girl` is a typical love or hate book. You´ll either think it´s brilliant or you´ll be as aggravated as I am.

The Cover- 4 stars ( I like the cover alot.)

The Story – 2 stars ( what a royal clusterfuck.)

The Characters- 2 stars ( Seriously, both deserved each other. Such nut-jobs)

My emotional state after finishing this read- I´m just going to repeat my statement above about it being a sad day when a book lover thinks the movie was better. That should sum it up.

I´m giving `Gone Girl` by Gillian Flynn 2 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Review- A Sky Full Of Secrets by Briana Pacheco

Book Description

Months after getting kicked out of college my senior year, I made a split decision and moved in with my best friend and his roommate, Nix.

I never thought I’d try the whole ‘friends with benefits’ thing with Phoenix, but he didn’t seem to mind when I offered up the idea.

We promised no feelings would get involved.

We lied to each other, to ourselves.

In his eyes, I wasn’t just the deaf girl or the family burden. I was beautiful and smart and a bit crazy with some anger issues which he overlooked because to him, I was normal.

We were never supposed to be more, but you can’t fight that pull when the stars align.

We are fire and water.

Stars and the moon.

Phoenix and Luna.

This is the story of how a man who loves everything showed a girl how to love herself. 

 

My Thoughts

Once upon a brutally boring night on Facebook I spotted something that stopped me dead in my tracks. The cover for Briana Pacheco´s `A Sky Full Of Secrets`( Cosmic Love #1). After reading the description I acted quickly and ordered myself the paperback… because there was no way I was going to settle for the e-book version ( pretty books need to be on an actual bookshelf!).

The book arrived. I started reading. I finished. I liked it alot.

Make room for Briana Pacheco! She´s going to conquer the book world!

`A Sky Full Of Secrets` is not one of those over dramatic romances with over-the-top first world problems. It´s a story about love, acceptance and dreams. It´s about conquering your fears, dealing with what life throws at you and finding happiness when you´re not sure you´re ready for it.

Luna´s life became difficult when she became deaf. From then on everything slightly went down hill, until…… Phoenix happened.

But Phoenix ( Nix ) wasn´t supposed to happen. Luna didn´t want anything to happen. All she asked for was a normal life and little did she know Nix was exactly the person who could give her that.

But was Luna ready to break down the walls she so carefully built around her heart?

Briana 12
You´ll have to find that one out for yourself by reading the story.

I liked that there wasn´t a super villain. The biggest issue was Luna herself ( including her family) and the way she made her life unnecessarily difficult due to her insecurities and her past. How does one fit in when they don´t feel like they will ever fit in? Luna´s thoughts and feelings were well displayed and I enjoyed reading about her struggle ( that sounds odd. * g * ) She was just a normal girl with a disability that kept her from loving herself and enjoying life as she should have.

A great modern romance with all the feels.

The Cover – 5 stars ( seriously, It´s beautiful. Period.)

The Characters – 4 stars ( Phoenix was the best. His character was interesting and had so much to offer * insert hearts*. Luna was great as well. Mac…..dear Lord. Create a real Mac for me.)

The Story – 4 stars (What I liked most was the aura the story had. Although this is a well written contemporary romance it had a magical touch to it. )

My emotional state after finishing this read- Down right happy and satisfied.

I´m giving `A Sky Full Of Secrets` ( Cosmic Love #1 ), by Briana Pacheco, 4 out of 5 stars.

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Instagram feature on Morgana´s Book Box

This book is available via e-book and paperback.

5 Reasons Why Book Reviews Are Important

We´ve all seen them. They´re all over the internet, on movie / book covers and even in magazines in form of recommendations or as one-liners included in ads. In one form or another – we´ve all been confronted with someone´s opinion on something that piques our interest. Reviews.

We live in a time where everyone has the opportunity to raise their voice and be heard and the easiest way for that to happen is through the internet. Luckily- not everyone has to be a professional writer to whip up a few words and publish them.

Reviews play a major role in the book industry.

When an author decides to publish their work they need people who will read their book and leave an opinion on their story, or else, their dream of „ getting out there“ will less likely come true.

Sadly, alot of great books don´t get enough recognition. Many good stories never see a large audience. Why is that?

Well, maybe the book is terrible. Maybe the genre of the book isn´t popular and therefore hasn´t been able to reach a larger audience. Or, maybe… just maybe the book doesn´t have enough reviews.

In alot of cases, all points above can be the reason for lack of success. In my humble opinion- the main reason for a missing fame is a missing review.

Mouth to mouth propaganda used to be a reliable source when it came to spreading the word. But these days- it´s not enough to tell your neighbor about the awesome book you recently finished reading. You have to use the tools you´re given in order to help spread the word and that tool is the internet.

Now, I know what you´re thinking because I think about it alot before I purchase a book.

Are reviews reliable? To be perfectly honest… the answer is YES and NO. The problem with reviews are- they´re subjective. Reviews are 20% based on facts and 80% based on personal feelings. Every reader who writes a review will always know what the story is about but their feelings on the story is what makes a review a review. So, can I trust a stranger´s opinion about a book I want to read? The answer is still YES and NO. It depends.

But one thing is for sure- reviews help and here are the 5 reasons as to why reviews are important.

Reviews Help Indecisive People

Despite the fact the reviews are subjective, they still help readers make a decision. It´s a trust issue. It could also help to read more than one review before picking the next read. What usually helps me is to skip all the 5 out of 5 star ratings and go straight for the 3 star reviews. Those are mostly more trustworthy than all the ramblings from the outstanding ratings. Reviewers who give 3 stars often take a step back and try to be less emotional about what they´ve read.

Reviews Increases Sales

Believe it or not. Reviews help with sales. If you´re a fan of an authors work, especially a fan of an independent author, then publishing an online review can help them climb up the ladder of success.

 

Reviews Help Get An Author Noticed

So you read a book and want to share your thoughts? You call a friend or you mention the book at a party and that´s where it usually ends. The bush drums have collected dust over the last few years. My first boss used to tell me- „Good news spreads at a snails pace but bad news spreads quicker.“. There´s alot of truth behind those words but nevertheless, if you don´t spread the word ( positive or negative ) then people won´t know. People won´t notice the amazing author your discovered if you don´t use your tools ( technology ). It takes one curious person to stumble upon your opinion on the internet and you have the power to persuade that person with your thoughts. And in the end, you also helped an author get noticed. It´s a win / win for everyone.

 

Reviews Help Authors Improve Their Skill

It´s true.

Reviews are not only there to help with sales and convince a reader to buy a book, reviews are a form of feedback for authors.

If 20 people wrote that they hated the story then that´s their opinion based mainly on their feelings. It´s then a matter of taste. But when 20 or more reviews say the story lacked emotions then that´s something an author can work with. That´s called constructive feedback. Sadly, both don´t really help an author with sales but it can help an author improve their skill and write a book with more emotions for the future. If no one points out the positive or negative then an author will never know if they´re doing something right or wrong.

 

Bonding Through Reviews

Who would have thought that reviews are also a great way to meet new people and possibly make new friends? Yupp. Whatever a review entails there are always going to be people who either agree or disagree and that can bring people together. It can be an author who liked your review or it can be another reader… when someone reacts to your review and reaches out then there´s a good chance to make a new friend ( or enemy ). It´s not science, it´s nature. And here´s the clue- when people bond over a mutual interest then they eventually expand and form groups that often turn into larger groups and that always leads to a small fan base. The small fan base meets another small fan base and they create a large clique. That´s how an author CAN get fans and fans meet new people and sooner or later they become devoted cheerleaders with a purpose. Another win / win.

 

The truth, though, stays the same. Not everyone wants to write a review for the public eye. Many are just comfortable reading and leaving it at that. Which is fine. But keep in mind- If no one writes a review then others can´t be helped. Reviews do not have to be as lengthy as a novel. They don´t even have to sound professional. The sole purpose of a review is to help ( or not help, depending on the type of feedback you want to give ). It only takes a few words, maybe 5 lines to state your opinion. You also don´t have to use every single social media to publish your review. Pick one platform ( Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, FB, etc.) and I guarantee someone will see it. You can even contact a blogger and speak with them about your thoughts and maybe co-write a review with them. The possibilities are endless.

And that, my dear readers, is why reviews are important.