Monday, January 21, 2013

Guest Post by Jess from Bookend 2 Bookend: Starting up a review blog and getting reviewed

Hello fellow Junkies,

So, I had the idea of having a guest blogger. I've never had one before, and I thought it'd be a bit of fun. With a little bit of wrangling, I managed to get this lovely lady to come on and show us how it's done: Jess from Bookend 2 Bookend. 

Before I fire away with the questions though, I just wanted to let you all know how I got to know her. As many of you may or may not know, I wrote a trilogy of books in 2012. Jessy picked up my first book, Half Blood when it was on a free promotion with Amazon. She said she liked it so much that she bought my second book, Half Truths, straight away and asked if she could review it. Me, being new to the whole 'being an author' thing shrugged my shoulders and said 'Why not?'

Admittedly, she was not the first person to ask to review one of my books. I had only just discovered Goodreads after (the shame of vanity) Googling myself and finding that half a dozen people had rated it. I joined up and a day later there was a request to review Half Blood. My immediate reaction was 'Why do they need to ask permission? Can't they just write a review?' and deleted the message. What I did in those early days was indie author blasphemy. 

So if you were that one person who asked me to review Half Blood, I'm so very sorry I didn't respond. Call it naivety, call it stupidity. Call it whatever you want, but I'll tell you what it was: a colossal mistake to ignore the offer.

By having Jess post this, I guess I just want indie authors and people thinking about starting up review blogs to see the wisdom in her words and learn from my mistakes. After all, what's life without making a few mistakes?

Well, enough from me. Let’s hear what Jess has to say...

How did you start your blog?         
I finished yet another great book and calling my close circle of friends was starting to not be enough. Lol I wanted to share these great books with a lot more I opened up blogger and ta-da BookEnd 2 BookEnd was born! :)

Did you ask other bloggers/friends about the different platforms, or was Blogger your personal choice?
Blogger was my personal choice, only because I got so excited with my idea and I jumped into it and blogger was the first thing that popped up on my Google search! Hahaha.

Had you ever had a blog before Bookend 2 Bookend?
No. I opened one but never used it. Didn't know what to do with it then. :)

There are so many review blogs out there. How do you keep readers coming back?
Gosh that's a good question. Lol I honestly don't know! I try my best to befriend my readers and build a rapport with them. It's important to me that they see me as a friend just giving them a good book recommendation. Plus I do my best to give readers giveaways! :) Readers love giveaways! Who doesn't!? I know I do! :)

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own review blog?
I would say don't try to do it alone. I reached out to others for help. I put myself out there letting them know I was new and wanted help. Bloggers are an amazing group of people. I've made many new friends! Not one turned me down and they all gave great advice and wonderful ideas to me, I can only hope I can repay that kindness when someone needs my help. :)

How do you decide which books to review? Do you need the author’s permission?
I've been lucky enough to review the books of some of the best books I've read. I just reached out to the authors and was surprised at how awesome they were in wanting to do something with my blog. I have yet to write a review on my blog without the author knowing first. :)

What genres do you like to read/review? Would you consider reviewing books outside of that(those) genre(s)?
I love to read just about anything! Paranormal, romance, scifi, thriller, mystery, contemporary, erotica, fantasy, historical. I won't review a book with a genre I don't particularly favor. I don't think it's fair to the author...I won't enjoy it as much as someone who normally reads that particular kind of book and so it just usually leads to a low rating. 

How do you feel about giving a 1 or 2 star review? Do you still do it, or do you politely decline to post a review? (I see you’ve actually taken the 1 and 2 ‘thumb’ options off your blog.)
Ugh, I feel horrible giving a 1 or 2 star review. I don't do it anymore. I thought who am I to bring down someone's hard work when honestly it's just my opinion right? I have a rating rule on my blog. Only 3,4 or 5 star reviews get posted. Why? Because I started my blog to share the books I enjoy. I didn't start this to be the tough book critic. A book I might not like could be someone's next favorite read! I refuse to put a low rating on my blog and possibly steal a chance at them ever picking up the book and finding out they may love it all because I said "Don't like it." 

How can indie authors approach review bloggers to have their books reviewed?
It's the easiest part! Email them. Review bloggers will only say no for 2 reasons. They are booked solid or they don't generally read your genre. So look for blogs that reach the audience that your book fits in with.  We love to hear from authors. We're there to help because we want to. So email us 99.99% of the time our emails are posted on the blog for you to use. :)

If for some reason a blogger turns them down, the author should ask if they could fit in a book or author spotlight and usually they can do that, too. Provided the author sends everything to them, all the blogger has to do is copy/paste.

What are the advantages for Indie authors in getting their books reviewed?
(There are) lots of advantages. You reach new potential fans. If the reviewer loved your book they're going to rave about it. When people hear great things they get interested and they pick up the book. Then before you know it, you have a chain reaction and many people now hold your book in their hands.

Another advantage is really free marketing. There's a blog willing to review your book and post great things about it...who doesn't want that free "ad" out there? :)

The greatest thing for me is being a part of it! Someone out there is holding their new favorite book because I blogged about it or an author is walking on cloud 9 because I blogged about their book and got them new positive sales and reviews.  It's an awesome feeling to be a part of the book loving world! It's a great community to be a part of!

In the grand spirit of blogs, I am having a little giveaway. This post wouldn’t have been possible without help from some review blog heavy weights and authors. In no particular order (coz’ let’s face it they’re all awesome), I’d like to thank:

And, of course, Jessica Johnson

The focus for this giveaway is getting some indie authors who haven’t quite sucked up the courage to email a blogger, or to those who are yet to receive a request to have their book(s) reviewed to get their book reviewed by one of the best: Jess!

If you would like to have your book considered for review, please leave your name, genre and word count of your book along with the blurb in the comments below and Jess will pick THREE books to review.
*Please note in the comments if complimentary copies of your books will be provided*

Please be aware that Jess has prior commitments to other authors. She will read and review your book, but wants to let you know it may take up to a month and half before she does so.

Some of the other review blog gods who are helping me out with this post are also available to review books and/or do an author or book spotlight. Click on their names to get a link to their blog site, and don't forget to follow them for the latest reviews, giveaways and author/book spotlights.

To thank everyone else for stopping by and having a look around, there will be some other things up for grabs including:
*An e-copy of Reviving Bloom by Michelle Turner and an awesome signed bookmark.

"Bloom was abandoned by her mother at birth, but thanks to her dad she never once felt unloved. When he is killed in a car wreck, leaving her without any close family, she spends a year mourning him. She feels as if her heart has been cut out of her chest and nothing is left but an empty hole that she doesn’t think will ever heal. Then one night after work she finds a wounded dog in the woods behind her house and takes him in, not realizing he’s more than just some stray dog but a wolf shifter, who happens to be her mate.

Pike is getting over the loss of his father by running full force away from his responsibilities. He’s getting ready to go back to face his new position as the Alpha of his pack when he catches the scent that can only belong to his mate.

When Bloom finds out she may not be the normal human she always thought herself to be, she’s forced to search out the woman who abandoned her at birth."

*The book that started it all: an e-copy of my first book, Half Blood.

   "A battle for werewolf territory and rights has Rhett fighting for his life and for the survival of the pack. The last half blood—a half human, half vampire hybrid—has been found and Rhett has been chosen as her unlikely Guardian. The pack’s survival hangs on her completing her transformation, but a Sicarii—a vampire assassin—is hunting her to ensure that never happens …

Indigo’s hard exterior is nothing compared to the dark secret she carries within her. Her haunted eyes alone tell of her struggle and desire to live. But what she doesn’t know is that she is hard-wired for survival; the very blood in her veins and the legacy of her father demands it. But when her life takes a violent turn, her heritage and her fate may be the very thing to get her killed …"

 *A $10 Amazon gift card for your spending pleasure.


  1. Lauren thank you so much for your kind words! I'm very flattered. I'm so happy to be a guest on your wonderful blog! Thanks to everyone else that comes by also! Glad you could stop by! Happy Reading! ~Jessy

  2. This was an awesome post!! I loved it!! And thank you for this awesome giveaway!! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing my blog in your post ladies! Fabulous Interview.

    1. No problems, Tammy. Glad you could help out with it :)

  4. I am super excited about this giveaway. Thank you so much for the opportunity :-)

    1. Me too, Ann Marie! Thanks for taking the time to read through the post and enter the giveaway!

  5. Great post and a wonderful interview!

  6. Great post and a wonderful interview Thank you for sharing

    1. Thanks so much, Teracia. I had fun putting it all together

  7. I would not have found Half Blood without this blog, Thanks
    I love werewolve/vampire stories and this sounds just like
    my kind of read!

    1. I'm so glad to hear that Lorraine. If you love that genre, my book is right up your alley :)

  8. Great post..Evan Greater giveaway..Thanks!!

    1. You're welcome. I hope to see you back here again soon!

  9. Hi Lauren, thanks for the opportunity, here is the blurb and other information

    Shattered (A Donna Harp Novel) Dark thriller/drama 103,000 words

    After the grisly discovery of a mutilated body, the small community of Greenville is held in the terrifying grip of a serial killer.
    Author Jason Denton immediately falls under suspicion, and while Sergeant Underwood is determined to prove his guilt, no matter what how he has to do it, the relatives of those being killed aren't so keen to wait for justice.
    Caught in the middle is Donna Harp, a young constable partnered with the sergeant. She isn't convinced the author is guilty, and is determined to catch the killer, whoever he may be, but is she being swayed by Denton's charm?

  10. Lauren, here's the info you wanted ... Thanks so much for reaching out!

    Title: To Love A Selkie, coming in at slightly under 55,000 words. It's a shortie, sort of a romantic tragedy with a touch of the fantasy element.

    A nasty divorce sends Annie Jacobs running. Fear of change and embarrassment over her ex-husband’s infidelity drive her to the shores of Bar Harbor, Maine. Living alone in a whole new town, Annie takes time away from her work and everything she’s ever known, to regain some of her confidence and begin to build a new life. A life that nearly comes to a crashing halt in the brutal waves of the ocean. Breathing what will surely be her last, Annie prepares for a lonesome death, trapped among the rocks of the shore as the tide rolls in around her. Instead, she finds rescue in the strong arms of a mysterious man who seems to appear from the very waves themselves. He pulls her to the surface, and in the coming weeks they form an inseparable bond despite Malik’s air of mystery. Drawn together by the circumstance of an ancient legend, will they survive the truth of his existence? Or will Malik’s reality tear them apart forever?

  11. Also, per your permission, the second novel which will be released in less than 12 hours ...

    Fat Chance, the first book of The Kingsley Series, coming in at slightly over 75,000 words. It's your classic contemporary romance, with a little bit of adult coming-of-age mixed in.

    "Meet Cassaundra Keaton, an adult orphan raised in the foster system. She's overweight and struggling to survive in a world that makes her feel like she can never fit in. Follow her journey as she learns to trust and love herself, and watch her grow as she finds the love of a good man. But will an issue from her past rise up to ruin her new life?"

  12. Thanks for the great information and spotlighting bloggers! It is much appreciated!

    1. I'm glad you found it helpful, Brandy. I've always wanted to know what they think about, too :) It turns out it's books!

  13. Awesome chance to get reviews!

    Paranormal Romance
    81,000 words


    Amber knows she is a werewolf, but that is all she knows. She has been on the run since childhood, never staying in one place so as to avoid contact with other werewolves, who seem intent on capturing her (or worse). By accident, she is reunited with the only other man/wolf she felt close to. Blake becomes her world and helps her lose her fearful solitary life and find a pack of werewolves she can live with. She is more powerful than any other werewolf – ever. Is she something besides just a werewolf? Amber is mated to Blake and, during the official ceremony, comes face-to-face with long lost family, old friends, new friends, and the Council that has chased Amber her whole life.

    Thanks for the opportunity,
    MaryLynn Bast

    1. Thanks for participating MaryLynn. The blurb sounds awesome!

  14. I would love the opportunity for a review thanks :)

    The Thirteenth YA Sci-fi Fantasy
    Word Count 100,000


    Imagine starting at the end and finishing back at the beginning. This is the story of a teenage girl called Valerie Saunders who is about to be thrown through time and space. Being bestowed with abilities beyond her wildest nightmares, she discovers that she not only has to deal with turning eighteen, her first job and an un-wanted tattoo, but also magical powers and intense urges to fall in love. She envisaged she would spend her life blending into the scenery, not blowing it up!

    Val has a calling, but which side is dialling her number?


    And i would be happy to do a giveaway.

    Many Thanks and will keep my fingers firmly crossed :)



  15. Hope it helped chatting, brainstorming, and maybe I got you an Indie author or two. Thanks for the LOVE darling, totally back at you and all of these fine people.

  16. I would love the opportunity of a review:

    Right Click, Love (Romance and Humour)
    Word Count: 18,000 apx (novella part of an anthology)

    Disheartened about not being able to find “Mr. Right” on the London dating scene, best friends Jodie Lynch and Louise Hewson create a blog to not only document their disastrous dates with the numerous “Mr. Wrongs” and “Mr. Okay-for-nows” but also to help those going through the same experiences and to see where they’re going wrong. How will they deal with everything the dating scene has to throw at them — planned or otherwise?

    Thanks again

    M. B.

    1. Thanks so much for participating! Good luck!

  17. Fantastic post! And thank you for the opportunity at a chance for an honest review! My debut novel, To Serve is Divine (1st in the Divine Trilogy) just released this week. It is a BDSM erotica and here's the blurb:

    Catherine O’Chancey is reserved, demure, and graceful. All traits enhanced by the world of Dominance and submission. Dallas, Texas is her destination for a fresh start from a tragic experience. After much deliberation, she attends an open-night event at an exclusive BDSM club because the need to submit which resides deep inside her is not a choice.

    Is it fate or coincidence that she garners the attention of a Dom who is on the hunt for the perfect sub – a partner who enjoys receiving pain and pleasure as much as he enjoys doling it out?

    Jayden Masterson is a Dom who doesn’t have an interest in relationships outside of contractual ones with his submissives. He likes his sex rough as long as it’s consensual. However, upon meeting Catherine, he finds that he is interested in more than just her body.

    Could she be the ‘jewel’ he’s been searching for??

    My name is R.E. Hargrave and all my info is at
    Thanks again!

    1. I'm so glad you found me! Thanks for reading and good luck with your debut novel :)

  18. This is perfect opportunity for authors reviewers and fans to get together. Love it :]
    Keep it up

    1. Thanks for stopping by and having a look, Lydia :)

  19. Great post and interview, thanks for sharing! Not to mention, awesome giveaway too!


    1. Glad you liked it. The giveaway is pretty awesome :)

  20. Indeed, I've been trying to pay some dues by reviewing other people's books, hoping that it will make me meritorious (but not meretricious) of being reviewed myself. I hope that you will like the idea, and that you'll choose me:

    3 Through History: Love in the Time of Republicans
    Literary fiction - think Franzen's Freedom fron a limited POV

    1. The blurb: The scion of Soviet emigres and a New Socialist Man meet on a kibbutz, and form a friendship that covers a quarter-century. A Mexican girl, abandoned by her mother when she was eight years old, cannot heal the wound with success, and turns to alcohol, but no amount of beer will fill the hole. The three characters converge. The ensuing love triangle explores the essence of love and friendship.

  21. Great Info i definitely learned a few things.. Please authors dont be shy! im always throwing myself at authors.. Thanks for the giveaway :D

  22. Thanks so much to all who found their way here! It is amazing to see readers, bloggers, and authors coming together for the love of books! I will be looking into the indie authors who left their blurb for me and Lauren will be announcing the winners for giveaway soon! This is going to be quite difficult all your books sound amazing! I wish I had room for all of them! Keep in mind though there is a wonderful list of bloggers above that are also willing to help! Happy Reading everyone! ~Jessy