Bloggiesta To-Do Lst

Today is the first official day of Bloggiesta, which means it's time to post my to-do list! PLEASE link to your to-do list in the comments because I want to know if I'm missing anything! This weekend is going to be awesome-sauce!

Don't know what Bloggiesta is? Click here to learn more!

My Bloggiesta to-do list:
  • Write a review policy
  • Write a contest policy
  • Clean up my labels
  • Schedule outstanding reviews (including audiobooks)
  • Film and edit new IMM
  • Figure out how to make drop-down menus! (Any advice? I've tried and tried to do this before and I just can't figure it out!) DONE! What do you guys think? It's still a little buggy if you're using Internet Explorer. And if you're curious, I followed this tutorial with just a few personalizations.
  • Organize my Google Reader into categories
  • Clean up my sidebars and move stuff into new pages (did you know you can now have TWENTY pages?! I thought it was still ten!)
  • Learn what SEO is/means
  • Make my SEO the awesome-est out there
  • Catalogue all the books I own (optional: add them to goodreads)
  • Transcribe the blogging panel I was on and get it ready to be posted/a series of posts
  • Create a template for a new MONTHLY newsletter! Those of you who signed up (you can on the right sidebar) will actually start getting newsletters!
  • Make a list of 2012 books I'm interested in by publication month
  • Update author inteview page

So? What are YOU doing? Maybe I should be doing it too!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

Bloggiesta Challenge: Policies

It's time for bloggiesta! If you don't know what that is, head on over here to learn more and here to see what other challenges are out there!

Today I'm challenging you to work on your policies!

Policies are a very important part of book blogging, and I'll admit that my policies right now are not very rigorous/don't exist. So I'll be doing this challenge right along with you. The bottom of this post describes the details of the challenge, including a giveaway! But first let's talk about two different types of policies:

Review Policies

This is the big kahuna. As a book blogger you need to make it very clear what authors/publishers/anyone should expect from your reviews. I've been doing some research, and I've found some questions (both essential and non-essential) that should be answered in a review policy:

Essential Questions to Answer:
  • What kind of books do you review? Are you purely YA? Adult? Audiobooks?
  • What kind of books do you explicitly NOT review? Self-published? E-books? Paranormal romance?
  • How quickly do you promise to read the book? Sometimes we have a backlog, and you don't want to get requests that say REVIEW MY BOOK NOW!! Because you just won't be able to keep up.
  • Do you guarantee a review for every book you read? Sometimes you really don't like a book, are you still going to review it? Sometimes you just don't feel like reviewing a book. That needs to be made clear.
  • How should people contact you? Be sure to make your e-mail address/physical address VERY CLEARLY VISIBLE. I hate digging for e-mails. I also personally dislike it when people do [at] and [dot]. I use the actual @ and . on my policy currently, and I haven't noticed any increase in spam.
And here are a few questions that you can answer, but I don't feel are a must.

Optional Questions to Answer:
  • Will you participate in tours/extra activities without reading the book? I won't. Because what happens if you participate in the tour and then when you eventually do read the book you hate it?
  • What are your statistics? Usually if a publisher is reading your policy then they already care enough about you to send you a message, but this could help! I suggest using Google Analytics
  • Where do you post reviews? Just on your blog? Or are you on GoodReads? Amazon? B&N?
  • Who will you take requests from? Authors? Agents? Publishers? Dealing with each is a very different experience. Which do you prefer?

Contest Policies
Contest policies are a way to cover yourself. If you make yourself very clear, then chances are you'll be able to back yourself up if anyone ever has a complaint about your contests. Always good to have support in your back-pocket. Here are some questions that you could possibly answer in a contest policy:
  • Do you have age restrictions? It can be dangerous to let those under 13 (or even 18) win something on your blog because you can’t guarantee parent permission.
  • What about location restrictions? I think sometimes it’s best to say “All contests open to US residents only unless otherwise stated”
  • What do you claim the right to do as blogger? Eliminate entries/entrants? End contest early? End contest all together?
  • Do you collect addresses or e-mails? Consider adding in a privacy policy
  • How will you contact the winners? Sometimes I'm bugged when I realize that I was supposed to go check the winners post and contact the blog author. I thought they were going to contact me!
  • How long do they have to respond with an address? And what happens if they don’t meet the deadline?

So there you go! Some coolio guidelines (not rules. I'm no expert) on how to create a privacy and contest policy. So what's my challenge to you? I bet you can guess:

My challenge to you:
Write a Review Policy for your Blog
Review your current Review Policy
(pun intended)

I also offer you a secondary challenge to write a contest policy. They can really be helpful! And to motivate you, I'm having a giveaway!

To those who complete my challenge you will earn entries toward winning a SIGNED hardcover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, a book which I ADORE! Or if you're international, you can get a copy through TBD! You can enter using the rafflecopter, but not quite yet! Remember, Bloggiesta runs March 30th through April 1st (no joke! You just have the weekend!). It's three days of non-stop blog-awesomeness-ing!

So your challenge for the rest of today is to mull over the questions I posed, and then tomorrow get to writing your policies! I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Come back tomorrow to see my bloggiesta to-do list and link to yours! This is so exciting!

Dark Divine Trilogy giveaway!

Early this morning I posted my review of The Savage Grace, the final book in the Dark Divine trilogy. Now I have TWO sets of the trilogy to give away to two lucky winners! This giveaway is publisher sponsored, and I haven't been told that it's international, so I can only assume that it's for US residents only. Also, I'm using rafflecopter for the first time, and so there are quite a few more entries than I usually do because I'm testing it out. Here's hoping y'all/I like it! Go forth and enter!

P.S. Rafflecopter can only be seen if you come directly to the blog. So get out of those feed readers and head over here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

**The Savage Grace-- Bree Despain

Release Date: March 13th, 2012
Genre:  Romance, Paranormal
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 488
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
Series: The Dark Divine #3 (Review of #1, #2)
Summary (Spoilers, highlight to view):
A troubled soul. An impossible choice. A final battle.

Wrestling with the werewolf curse pulsing deep inside of her, Grace Divine was finally able to find her brother, but it nearly cost her everything.

With her boyfriend, Daniel, stuck in wolf form and Sirhan's death approaching, time is running out for Grace to stop Caleb Kalbi and his gang of demons. If she fails, her family and hometown will perish. Everything rests on Grace's shoulders.
Blurb: A strong heroine. Believable love story. A great ending to a wonderful series.

Review: I've been in love with this series even before I met Bree (who's a Utah author!). It's amazing. The first book had me completely surprised, the second had me screaming for more, and the third totally satisfied me.

Here's what I love about this book: Grace is treated like an equal. In so many paranormal books the girl is treated as an inferior. She isn't allowed into battle because her love interest is too worried about her. No chance of this happening here. Daniel and Grace are 100% equals. If he goes to battle, she's right on his heels and he's glad to have her. I love that! For being werewolves, their relationship sure is healthy.

This book also delves more into religion. What captivated me in Bree's first book and continues to do so here is her ability to deal with religion in a way that is neither offensive nor cheesy. Grace is really trying to develop her relationship with God, but the book never explicitly states what is right and wrong. Neary anyone can read this and relate to Grace regardless of personal religion. That's so rare in a book. Usually those who are religious are so religious that unless you think EXACTLY like they do you can't relate, or they're shown as crazy, evil people. None of that here!

There were a few things in this book that might be considered deus ex machina, but I think Bree handled them very well. She created a lot of problems she had to solve, and some were solved a little easily but still believably. The one regret I have is that I didn't re-read the first two books before reading this one. It took me a while to remember who everyone was, which made it hard for me to enjoy the first few chapters. I'd recommend reading all of these in one fell swoop if I were you. Lots of names and places to remember.

All in all a fabulous end to a fabulous series. It is paranormal romance, which I know many of you are sick of, but it's one of the best PnRs I've had the pleasure of reading. It's got a lot more depth than most and I LOVE it.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

A great post on Stats

I could write a post today, or I could let Emily do it. She posted an AWESOME post on stats and why they don't matter and we shouldn't let them get us down. I'm totally in the same boat. No matter what I do on my blog it never feels "good enough." That's ridiculous! It's my blog! It's as good as I feel it is. I'm trying harder to stress less about stats, and you should too. :) After all, "How dreary to be somebody, how public like a frog."

Coming soon to Squeaky Books: How I felt about The Hunger Games movie, an IMM vlog, survey results, an awesome giveaway, and a kaboodle of audiobook reviews.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

Discussion post: self-publishing

Okay... I'm a little nervous to be posting this discussion post, but I'm really curious as to what you guys think. Let's talk about self-publishing. Here are some prompting questions to get the discussion flowing:

  • How do you feel about self-publishing?
  • Do you consider it a "legitimate" form of being published? (i.e. do you consider a self-published author a "published author"?)
  • Do you think self-publishing is awesome and totally under-rated?
  • Do you read self-published books?
  • If you're a reviewer do you ever accept self-pubs for review? Why or why not?
  • Are there any great self-published books out there?
  • What about indie-pubs? Do you treat them like self published books?
  • What do you think about those who just self-publish electronically vs. those who print physical copies?
  • Are you a self-pub author? Why did you decide to go that route?
I want to hear it all! I'll join in the conversation in the comments. Anonymous comments are fine, just be sure to see my "be courteous" note below. Any cruel/unnecessarily rude comments will be deleted.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

BE COURTEOUS. I know this can be kind of a sensitive topic. As always, try to remain kind. I know lots of people who don't like self-publishing at all and others who think it's awesome! Please be respectful of all opinions in the comments. No personal attacks or blanket statements. I want this to be a place we can learn about other people's opinions, not kill each other. :)

Meet Lissa Price tonight!

So I just finished an AWESOME book. It's called Starters. I'm meeting the author tonight. You should come too. Here are the details:

Monday, March 19, 2012 — 7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble – West Jordan
7157 Plaza Center Drive
West Jordan, UT 84084

Seriously peeps, this book was super-cool. Come have fun with us!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

In case you were curious...

...about what a 3-dimensional step-wedge was, here are the video supplements I made to support my paper on the subject:

What does this mean? This means I'm finally DONE with this and can MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE! I'm starting with Starters by Lissa Price which came out Tuesday. Anyone read it? I'm going with Emily to meet Lissa on Monday, so I hope it's super good! The book itself is beautiful and shiny!

Have a fabulous Thursday! I hope you're having as good a weather as we are here (I wore SHORTS today!)

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

Writing for Charity Reminder!

Hey y'all! Just another reminder about Writing for Charity this Saturday. If you  haven't signed up yet, it's not too late! Even if you can't come for the full day, you should definitely sign up for half day 'cause it's going to be EPIC!

CLICK HERE for my original post on the event

CLICK HERE for the official website

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

What I have done this week:

Please feel free to ignore this post. I feel a need to both kvetch and document this horrendously busy week

What I have done/has happened this week:
  • Written a paper on the cognitive development of adolescents
  • Analyzed A Streetcar Named Desire (blegh)
  • Made 3 different posters for costume design
  • Taken a mathematical task design test
  • Solved the area for any three-dimensional step-wedge
  • Graded about 30% of the papers I need to grade (I have over 100)
  • Designed the costumes for my favorite musical
  • Taken my brothers to school/piano/scouts every day
  • Fed said brothers
  • Fought off a cold
  • Watched A LOT of crime dramas (they're easy to watch while you're doing something else)
  • Had my iPhone finally kick the bucket (it was an iPhone original. A dinosaur, but I loved it)
  • Spend $50 I don't have on a loaner phone
  • Had to learn how to text using T9 again (#FirstWorldProblems)
  • Leftsideofmy spacebar doesn'twork anymore

What I still have to do tomorrow:
  • Continue to make sure my brothers stay alive
  • Go WATCH the show I costumed
  • Figure out how to get a new iPhone (I can't live this way!!)
  • Write a lesson plan on how to do character analysis
  • Write a MAP (mathematical analysis paper) on my proof of the 3-dimensional step-wedge
  • Finish this blog post
  • Make fliers for Writing for Charity
  • Choose a scene from Streetcar to over-analyze and blah
  • Figure out where I put my pants
  • Remember all the things I have left to do.

What I have not done (and feels like I will never have time to do again):
  • Read
  • Written
  • Blogged

The end.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

P.S. I've noticed that my happiness level DRASTICALLY decreases the longer I go without reading a novel. Am I the only one who feels that way?

Hunger Games Nail Polish Giveaway!

Have you guys seen the new Hunger Games nail polish? I'm dying to have some. Each color goes with a different district. You can see them in detail here.

Would you like a bottle? I'd love to give you one. But I need you to do me a little favor. In my survey I've noticed that a lot of people have conflicting views when it comes to my layout. And I know it doesn't look the same on every computer, but since I don't own every computer I can't tell for myself.

What do you need to do? Take a screenshot of my blog. Like this:

Don't know how to do that? Here are instructions for Mac and PC.

Then upload your image (full size please) to Photobucket or another image hosting site, and put the link in this form (along with answering a few extra questions), then you'll be entered to win your choice of any one of the Hunger Games nail polishes!

So here it is again in a nutshell:

How to Enter:
  • Take a screenshot of my blog on your computer
  • Upload the image online and put a direct link to it in the form
  • Answer a few questions about what kind of computer you're using
  • Tell me what nail polish you want!
  • You can enter as many times as you want so long as you are entering with DIFFERENT images. Meaning something about your two images don't look the same (even if you use two different computers and the image still looks the same, it doesn't count). Don't just change the resolution.  I reserve the right to disqualify any entries I feel don't fit the requirements
  • I can only ship the nail polish inside the US, but if you are international I will give you a $5 e-bay gift card so you can buy from this listing.  Then all you have to pay is shipping! (Which is probably another $3-$5)
  • Open to ages 13+
  • Ends 3-13-12

 Does that make sense? You'll also need to know some basic stuff about your computer, including your screen resolution. Let me know if you have any questions!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

This Dark Endeavour-- Kenneth Oppel

Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Genre:  Mild Horror, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 298
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
In this prequel to Mary Shelley's Gothic classic, Frankenstein, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor's twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor can cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and his best friend, Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love ? and how much he is willing to sacrifice.
Blurb: Simple, easy, and subtley creepy.

Review: I love me some prequels. I, like many, read Frankenstein in high school. I was hoping for a story full of magic, horror, mystery, and more. Well... I got some of that.

I wasn't prepared for how simple this book was. It didn't have very much magic, or horror. The book was set up very episodically. It was focused on the main characters gathering three ingredients, and it essentially followed the pattern of 1. find what the ingredient is, 2. go through something dramatic to get the ingredient, 3. wait around for information on the next ingredient.

Along those same lines, Victor was a relatively normal boy with only glimpses of the man he would become. It made the story a little less exciting, but also very authentic. I could easily believe that this boy could become Victor Frankenstein.

This pattern and Victor's easy way of thinking and talking made the book very easy to read-- I found the pages flying by-- but it also wasn't the crash bang boom I was expecting from this book. There was very little of the drama of the original Frankenstein. But all in all, a very enjoyable story. It was horror-lite enough that I think any teen could read it. And by the end I REALLY wanted to read Frankenstein again just so I could see how closely the two matched up. It was subtle, but still wonderful.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

Reached! (Matched #3)

SO EXCITING! It's finally here!!!!

What do you think? Matched is still my favorite, but I love this one, too! The red is so powerful.

Read more about it here.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

March's Featured Upcoming Releases

It's back! Each and every month (Well... almost) on Squeaky Books I feature about 5-8 upcoming releases. You vote for the ones you are excited about via this form. At the beginning of the next month, the novel with the greatest amount of votes will be given away. Fun times, eh? You can vote for the January books from March 2nd – March 31st at 7:59pm MST. On April 2nd I'll post the giveaway of the book with the most votes!

Feel free to ask questions in the comments or e-mail me. Now go forth and vote!

Is there a book you'd like to be featured? Click here to fill out the form and nominate it. If it's picked as the book of the month you'll get 5 extra entries to win it!

The Selection
by Kiera Cass

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Masque of Red Death
by Bethany Griffin
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

by Elizabeth Norris

Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.

But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.

The Obsidian Blade
by Pete Hautman

Release Date: April 10th, 2012
The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear.

Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing — one right on top of the roof — hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he's launched on a time-twisting journey — from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker's actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.

by Leah Bobet

Release Date: April 1st, 2012
Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee's wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above—like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.

But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe's history and the shadows' attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home—not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

March's New Release Giveaway, February Winner!

The winner of May's Upcoming Release Giveaway is...
Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

You won a copy of Under the Never Sky! I have e-mailed you. You have 48 Hours to respond.

!!March's New Release Giveaway!!
 I didn't do the traditional "vote for the best book" because March is a rather sparse month for books (compared to other months). So I just chose the giveaway! Guess what you can win?

An ARC of Grave Mercy
by Robin LaFevers
Rules and Overview:
  • Giveaway runs 3/1-3/31
  • Winners announced 4/2
  • Fill out the form to enter to win
  • Open international
  • No bonus entries

Check back tomorrow to see this month's featured upcoming releases! We got some good ones!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011
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