Sweet Summer Offers – August 21, 2017

Introduction:

Happy August, friends, family, and friendly strangers.

Thought you’d all be interested in some cool giveaways going on right now. No matter what you like, you’re probably going to find something to fall in love with.

My Book Cave promo Back to School with YA Fiction.

Click on the picture below to enter:

You could win a $50 gift card to Amazon/B&N/iTunes courtesy of the nice folks at My Book Cave.

Want More Freebies?

Click the picture to get in on some quick deals. Note: These are all available from Instafreebie.

On Sale!

Get Alabaster Island (YA, fantasy) for only $0.99!

Looks like paradise holds some dark secrets. 17-year-old Marei makes some choices that will affect the fate of many.

Another Cool Contest:

Win an entire epic fantasy trilogy on Audiobook.

With over 36 hours of epic fantasy adventure on audio you will live the journey, danger, and romance as forces strive to control a forbidden branch of magic in the world of Myrrah. I’ve heard one of the narrators (Thom Bowers) before. He’s excellent.

Personal Offers:

As always, you can get Ashlynn’s Dreams, The Kiverson Case, Awakening, and a rotating mystery free just by signing up for my newsletter. (All 3 pages will get you the same 3 books, so only sign up once.)

With over 36 hours of epic fantasy adventure on audio you will live the journey, danger, and romance as forces strive to control a forbidden branch of magic in the world of Myrrah.

Students get a discount on Amazon Prime.
Did I mention I’m jealous?

Can’t Seem to Keep Your Kindle Stocked?
Try Kindle Unlimited absolutely free.

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Three Nails by Michael Maxwell

4.0/5 A Snapshot Look at a Teacher’s Personal Tragedy

Summary:

A public school teacher has his whole life turned upside down by a personal tragedy.

Additional Comments:

  • Plot: It goes all over the place, but it’s really a snapshot of a guy’s life. The description pretty much tells you what’s wrong in his world. Most of the first half centers around the devastating loss of his son, Logan. However, I’m not sure how the very first scene fits in. I know it plays into his nightmares later, but I’d thought the book must be a murder mystery given the way it begins.
  • The side characters felt a little flat to me. I mean Logan’s death obviously devastates this guy, but since the reader doesn’t really get to meet him, there’s not a big emotional pull.
  • The guy works in a much tougher school than I do, but the descriptions of some of the frustrations public school teachers face are accurate, except that his first teaching assignment probably would never have happened. I think you need a special ed license to be assigned a classroom like that. At the very least, it would probably be a co-taught class, meaning there would be two teachers/witnesses supervising and instructing the students.
  • I like that the book didn’t shy away from showing the dark side of life. The things some of these kids in this guy’s classroom face are horrific, and the sad part is that even though it’s fiction, the scenarios are very realistic.

    Characters:

  • The characters are pretty well fleshed out, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the main character’s name.
  • – Not sure why it’s categorized as Christian fiction. While there is nothing offensive besides a few curse words, the main character doesn’t ring true as a Christian. His daughter who becomes a missionary – maybe – but his comments at the end sort of tell the reader he’s not sure what’s “up/out there.” I don’t think there’s a set requirement that the MC has to be a Christian to categorize the book as one, but it certainly would help.

Conclusion:

A snapshot look into a teacher’s life during one of the darkest times he faces.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

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Audiobook Reviews: 3.5/5 Empty Threat by Danny Bell

 

Summary:

Elana Black can hop into the pages of a book and save people.

Additional Comments:

  • This is the second time I’ve seen this premise. The idea of entering stories to save characters. It’s very cool. The first time was in a children’s book.
  • First person narratives lend themselves very strongly to conveying character voice. Elena’s voice is very strong. She’s uses self-deprecating humor all over the place.
  • Plot was all over the place, but that’s to be expected in a fantasy of this nature. You’re literally hopping into and out of books.
  • The bad guys made no sense to me at certain points. (I’m told that there’s a lot of stuff in here that will be explained in future, but that doesn’t really help the stand alone work.)
  • Elana’s big end strategy doesn’t seem like it would work as described.
  • The pacing is weird. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
  • Performance was nicely handled by Whitton Frank.

Conclusion:

There are a lot of story seeds that will likely be expanded in later books of the series. I’m pretty sure that I missed quite a few things along the way. Might have been easier to pick up on in the kindle version. Not sure. I’m on an audiobook kick. If you’re looking for a quirky female character with neat powers, this is a great book for you.

Only $0.99 !

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Audiobook Readers’ Edge Update

What is Audiobook Edge for Readers?

·         A short, vetted list of clean indie audiobooks I recommend every month. I’ll try to give you a clear rating system in terms of curses, adult content, and the like. The first Sunday to be precise. By “clean” I mean the book has minimal curse words and adult content. (There will also be Matchmaker, which has some stuff I will not post to the main list – email me to get on that list.)

What do you get?

·         Free audiobooks. (The author emails of those willing to share audible gift codes or directly gift you the book you’ve select.)
·         News of any audiobook price drops, giveaways, and cool contests put on by the lovely authors on the list.

What’s the “catch”?

I run by the principle: “If you like it, then you shoulda put a review on it.” (And if you don’t like it, let the author know privately.)

These authors and their narrators have put hours upon hours into creating an entertaining or informative show for you. Listening and enjoying their hard work is one step, but it costs you about five minutes of your time to thank them with a review. It also helps other readers find and enjoy things you love.

Details:

By “vetted” I mean I’ve either read the book or know the author and the quality of their work personally. (I will be gathering a small team of audiobook readers I trust to make such decisions, but right now, it’s just me.) My reading tastes tend very strongly toward mystery, thriller, and science fiction with a smidgen of fantasy and a few other genres. Therefore, you can expect the list to lean heavily toward these genres. Also, I write (and therefore tend to read) squeaky clean stuff. I’m not saying there won’t be curse words here and there as it fits the story, but these will be the works you wouldn’t mind if your grandmother caught you reading it.

I’m just the middleman here as it were. I’ll show you thing I’ve enjoyed or am excited to try out. It’s up to you to contact the authors who are kind enough to offer some free codes.

Reviews:

Eventually, I’ll be posting the lists to my wordpress blog. After they’re up and running, I’ll send you a link to the recent post(s) at the bottom of the weekly newsletter.

If that sounds like a good deal to you, please sign up below. As a bonus, I’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of 5 ebook, audiobook, and paperback bundles of any of my applicable works. (Clarification: It has to be a title that has an audiobook, ebook, and paperback version.)

Update as of 8/12/17: I also have a matchmaker list of things rejected from the normal list due to excessive curses, too many adult scenes or gory descriptions.

Questions can be directed to: devyaschildren @ gmail.com (take out the spaces)

Ready to get your Audiobook Edge?

Join up here.

 

If 1-2 free books ain’t enough, check out Audible’s paid programs.

The first two books are free through the link below.

*Bonus: I also have free codes for all my audiobooks and if you join Audiobook Edge and email me the title of one of my books you’d like to review, I will send you a code to purchase it. See my Amazon page for a list of my books. (Eligible titles: Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, Varick’s Quest, The Collins Case, The Kiverson Case, The Dark Side of Science, Awakening.)

*Double Bonus: If you buy one of my books as your very first Audible.com account purchase (needs to be a paid account), I’ll give you a $10 gift card/code to Amazon.com (please note, you have to be able to buy from the US site.) Also, this is only doable because of Audible’s bounty program, you’ll need to prove the purchase and wait until the bounty clears on my end.

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Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 stars Treasure: Seed Savers by S. Smith

 

Summary:

Two siblings, Dante and Claire, go on a journey to find a place where they can be safe from an overbearing government, a place where people can grow real food without fear.

 

Additional Comments:

– The premise – that genetically altered, government sanctioned plants and processes have taken over America – is well-handled but still not very believable. The idea that all knowledge of gardening and farming is pretty much gone from the world except for some books and a few brave souls, is hard to accept, especially given the ending. I believe the part where the government wants to control everything, but I just don’t buy that these kids have 0 knowledge of things like apple trees and chickens. The internet would have to be completely gone. It’s been renamed the monitor, so it’s still there.

– Claire and Dante are believable.

– Dialogue’s good.

– Plot’s okay. It’s a little slow for my tastes, but that could be because of the recent stuff I’ve been listening to.

– I don’t get much of a sense of danger or fear for the young travelers. It unfolds like that “Everything is Awesome” song from the Lego movie. By extension, that means it will be exactly what some people are looking for, but just wasn’t “my thing.”

 

Conclusion:

An intriguing look at a future where processing food has reached uncharted heights.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Crane by Stacey Rourke narrated by Karen Krause

 

Content warning: Language; graphic violence

(Sorry about the name spellings. I heard the audio version.)

Summary:

Ireland Crane moves to Sleepy Hollow/ Terrytown to get away from a disastrous romance. What awakens in her when she gets there is much, much worse.

 

Additional Comments:

– There’s a good deal of snark in the lines of dialogue and in the protagonist’s thoughts. It adds a much-needed lightness to an otherwise gripping but very, very grim, dark, horrific plotline.

– Content warnings: language, graphic violence

– Characters: excellent. One can truly sympathize with Ireland. Noah’s kind of a flat character, but he’s still awesome. Rip is funny, but he doesn’t play much more of a role than inept conscience.

– Although the main character’s supposed to be a school guidance counselor, she does and says some stuff that makes me doubt she’s ever been in earshot of a school.

Plot: Good but there are some leaps of logic required that have nothing to do with the fantasy side of the story.

– It’s an interesting twist on the legend of the headless horseman.

Conclusion:

If you can handle gruesome, go for it. There’s even some fun to be had in this bloody tale.

It’s one of the creepiest books I’ve heard in a long time, yet it was very, very compelling.

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 The Time Pedaler by Michael Maxwell and Tally Scully

 

Summary:

Chant Baker finds and old time machine in the basement of his parents’ shop. He uses it to visit a few key spots in history and solve a small mystery.

Additional Comments:

– It’s middle grade appropriate.

– I’m not big on time travel books in general because logic always messes with my head. They tried to address the issue of clothes a few times, but it just seemed like everywhere Chant went initially, people were very friendly and totally accepting of the fact that he appeared out of nowhere. I can see his clothes blending in well enough in the 1960’s but 1860’s?

– His family’s perfect, but that’s cool. The fact that a perfect nuclear family strikes me as abnormal is probably just a sad commentary on the state of the modern world.

– The places Chant chooses to visit do follow a certain logic, which I appreciate. (Mostly, they’re places he wants to study for history or English class.) I enjoyed the fact that he didn’t get a perfect grade even though he’d traveled back in time and witnessed the event in person because history isn’t always remembered perfectly.

– There wasn’t a real sense of danger, but that might come from the general middle grade feel than something in the plot. Probably don’t want a story like this to come across as too scary anyway.

– I hear the audio version, which was very good.

– Fun, unique premise that’s well-executed (in audio format anyway)

Conclusion:

If middle grade time travel’s something you enjoy, Chant won’t disappoint you.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Audiobook Reviews: 3.45/5 Diviner’s Prophecy by Nicolette Andrews

 

Summary:

A girl gets visions of the future and finds herself at the center of dangerous political games.

Additional Comments:

  • No ending. The end is more like the end of Act 1. Large portions of the story are therefore unresolved. Some people love things that are part of a larger story. I like that too, but I like there to be a complete closure to one story arc.
  • Characters are okay. Maea’s powers are cool. She can see other people’s dreams. I love the concept.
  • I loved Princess Sabine. Her guard was kind of a stick figure until the end of the story. I like that he gained more depth later.
  • The plot kind of meandered. There’s a lot of political intrigue going on. The beginning didn’t make much sense. Johai and the lady stole her memories? Why?
  • The thing with the handsome prince didn’t seem to make much sense either. One second she’s appalled by his casual sex with a lady during a party. And the next she’s inextricably attracted to him.
  • The end twist was decently handled.
  • The cover’s gorgeous, but the woman looks way older than the main character.
  • Narration was good. I like Anna Castiglioni’s voice.

Conclusion:

The beginning of a much longer tale that doesn’t really hold up on its own, but if you’re willing to read the whole trilogy, it offers a lot of magic and political intrigue.

The e-book is a free download. Go for it.

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Consider Author Reach for your Email Server

Tired of seeing a flat line on your sales page?

Introduction:

Several people on a few different Facebook groups have asked about Author Reach. So, I figured I’d tell ya a but about my experiences with them. I’ve been on Author Reach through beta, but only really started using it regularly within the last month or so.

What is Author Reach?

It’s an email marketing system that sort of combines ideas of Bookfunnel with Mailchimp/mailerlite. You can upload books you want to use as a reader magnet and create a lead generation page that automatically puts the subscriber onto whichever list you wish that subscriber to go to.

Top 5 Reasons to Join Author Reach:

  • 1 several different styles of lead generation pages
  • 2 connect with other authors in a similar genre
  • 3 top-notch customer service
  • 4 risk-free first month – First month is $1 and subsequent months are$19 for lists under 1K
  • 5 connect with new subscribers
  • Bonus – I can almost guarantee you’ll pick up some subscribers just by having AR run one of your books by their list of subscribers. (I can’t guarantee they’ll do this for you, but I got about 800 subscribers from them that way.)

Pretty Lead Generation Pages:

You can create pretty nice lead generation pages with one of their easy-to-use templates. I don’t think there’s a limit to the number of lead generation pages you can make, but ideally, you’d probably want one for each of the type of list you create.

Connect with other authors:

Facebook groups are awesome, but having a system in place that will let you connect with authors who write in the same genre or a similar genre should be amazing too. Why? Because not everybody sees every post that goes live to a particular Facebook group. It gets buried under 25 other threads if you’re not on at the right time.

These are additional connections you wouldn’t make otherwise.

Excellent Customer Service:

Part of the company model must be to connect with each author personally. I don’t think your signup’s even complete until you have a conversation with one of the people from Author Reach. I had a problem with one of my lead generation pages, emailed customer service, and got it sorted within a few hours. As the company grows, I’m not sure they’ll be able to keep the standards quite that high, but I’ve been very impressed with the personal touch.

Risk-free $1 month-long trial:

If you’re looking to grow, this is a great starting place. Check it out for a month and see if it’s for you.

Other Pricing Comments:

If you have a very large list, Mailerlite’s got the best prices, hands-down. There’s no way most companies out there could compete with that. However, there’s nothing saying you can’t use both. Set up an Author Reach account and use it and the many beneficial features to funnel people through a filter then make Mailerlite your massive list.

Connect with new subscribers:

Success is going to vary. That’s an unwritten rule in this business. Newsletter swaps, giveaways, and paid promos work for a while, but you need to mix it up from time to time anyway. We’ve all heard that email lists are where it’s at, but this is a company trying to help you do that right.

Comparison to Mailchimp/Mailerlite:

First of all, I love Mailerlite. Mailchimp has its uses too, but they’re on the pricey side once you go above 2K subscribers. (Mailchimp’s customer service is hit or miss on efficiency. The company’s just too big to really care about the little guys/gals.) Haven’t tried Mailerlite’s customer service – guess that says something too – that I haven’t needed it.

Email Creation: Probably easiest and prettiest on Mailerlite, but you can upload a template you like working with into Author Reach. Or if you’re really in a bind, you can ask and they might be able to do it for you. I’ve made nice emails on Mailchimp too, but they’re not quite as easy or intuitive as Mailerlite.

Price: Mailerlite – cheap, Author Reach – medium, Mailchimp – free or super expensive

For any of these, it comes down to how many subscribers you have, so you should be highly motivated to keep only people who are actually engaged with you.

Learning Curve:

Author reach has probably one of the higher learning curves because it’s not just about the email side. It’s about the growth side. Mailerlite and Mailchimp aren’t going to be much help in terms of grow your mailing list. If used properly, AR has that potential. That said, the system is a little intimidating and takes a lot of getting used to. It’s not as flashy or polished as Mailerlite or the mail monkeys. They’re getting better all the time, but you’ve got to be willing to really poke around and play with things.

What they’re working on at Author Reach …

Author Connect – the more official and automated way of getting in touch with authors who write in similar/compatible genres. As far as I know, this is still coming soon. Although it’s hard to pin down a time with anything, I’d say they’ll have this functional in a few month’s time. Meanwhile, they are connecting authors informally because they actually take the time to get to know the people who sign up with them.

Soap box moment: This matters a lot. We’re in a business where you need to get to know the people on your mailing list, so working with a company that does the same is vital.

More templates for lead generation pages – I believe there are about 4 right now, but there should be more soon.

Drag and drop email creator – Pretty sure they’re still a few months out from this, but it’s in the works.

Conclusion:

If you have a relatively small list or are looking to move it beyond the 1K mark, you’re at a stellar place to join Author Reach. Give it a shot, and let me know how it goes. (devyaschildren@gmail.com)

 

Sincerely,

 

Julie C. Gilbert

Prime Student – Oh, how I wish I was still a student.

Kindle Unlimited – Keep that Kindle Happy. 30 FREE trial

Since most authors are book addicts …

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

 

Summary:

Charley can’t abide by the system that would condemn innocent people to certain death.

Additional Comments:

  • Typical fun dystopia. The hero’s flat but he was never meant to be more. He’s perfect. A great fighter. A High Score. A compassionate kid. His justification for everything is what they did to his brother.
  • Side characters. Only Charley’s female counterpart had any depth to her. I liked her. Sven’s development didn’t go very far. It reads like this: he was a nice guy then he saw horrors in the tower and turned into a sullen violent jerk.
  • No ending… or very little ending. There’s a giant exciting battle at the end but it doesn’t really get resolved. It might as well have ended with the big, fat “TO BE CONTINUED” sign. There’s talk of a bigger, badder, meaner threat coming and then the book just ends.
  • I probably would have given it a much higher rating for the fun premise if it had a ton more closure, but as is it reads like a part 1.
  • Narrator did a decent job.

Conclusion:

Fantastic start but doesn’t stand on its own. If you are willing to invest in the whole series, you will likely enjoy it. If you like closure to your story, it’s not for you.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.