blo Teens Read and Write: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do Book Bloggers Review Books? Guest Post & Giveaway

Demons at Deadnight Blog Tour Banner

Guest Posting today is the "E" in A&E Kirk. The fabulicious Eileen Kirk! We love her. Really and truly love and adore her. For our entire lives. She's like a mom to us. Oh, right. That's because she really is our mom! 


Well, isn't that lovely. Hmmm. They must want something.  

Anyway, hello, good day, and nice to "see" you all!

Since Alyssa and I are now authors as well as bloggers I decided to talk about a recent phenomenon churning through the blogosphere and get your opinion. 

Do book bloggers review books? The answer may seem an obvious "Yes," but lately their has been some question. Rachel at Parajunkee, a long time blogging friend, gave me the first heads up on this.

The short version is that bloggers wrote some less than stellar reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. An uproar ensued on the web between some authors, agents, and bloggers. At times it got ugly and personal. (Check the links below for more info.)

 So where to start? And let's be clear, the following is my opinion

Book bloggers have a right to their opinion. Call it a review, critique, judgment, expression, or whatever you like. Does it differ from a professional review? Sure.

Does it make it any less valid? Not when it reflects a reader's honest opinion. 

Should authors engage in a battle with those posting negative reviews? Absolutely not.

Bloggers are the consumers. Belittling their opinion/review has no value. An author can't please everyone. Book preferences are just too subjective.

If you're going to put your novel out to the public, put out the best product you can, then be ready for the public, all of the public (that reads and reviews an author's book, anyway), to have their say.

The web has opened up a tremendous way for masses of book lovers to share and connect. It also provides a fantastic tool for authors and publishers to market their books to those masses. But the bad has to be taken with the good. And if a book gets reviews, some will be negative.

On Goodreads, THE HUNGER GAMES has over 5000 two-star reviews, CATCHING FIRE has almost as many, and MOCKINGJAY has nearly 15,000 one- and two-star reviews. One of the biggest sellers ever, a major motion picture, and it's been bashed by thousands of readers.

Do you think Suzanne Collins is tracking those babies? Doubt it. And she certainly isn't responding to any of them. She's too busy writing and picking out a gown for the movie premiere.

Will some opinions hurt authors' feelings? No question. Authors put their heart and soul into their books. But attacking a review or reviewer is unprofessional and reflects poorly on the author. And authors can always take Elana Johnson's advice to not read any of their own reviews.

Should bloggers be "professional"? Yes. And by this I mean focus on content, explain your reasoning in a well thought out manner , and refrain from personal attacks. The bloggers I follow do this extremely well. And make their reviews incredibly entertaining! 

Do all bloggers act this way? No. But there are no official rules. I see some reviews that are full of hate and go off on some crazy tangent that has nothing to do with the book. I don't spend time on these reviews.  Bloggers are free to write the way they want, and readers can choose who suits their fancy to follow.

I see the book blogging community as a big book book club where I get to hear about books from a great bunch of fellow book-loving maniacs. We have various opinions, we agree, we disagree, but we should always be respectful of each other. 

There's no need for throwing stones. And if you encounter someone who is, just grab a good book and head to the high ground. Need directions? That's easy.

Just take the High Road.  

Now it's your turn.
  • What's your opinion on all the drama? 
  • Did you even know about it? 
  • Do book bloggers actually write reviews? And if not, what would you call them?
  • What do you think about negative reviews?
  • How should authors and agents respond, if at all?
I've read through a lot of information so let me provide a few links that are pertinent to this issue. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Rachel - Parajunkee: What is a Review? - Where I initially heard about all the hoopla
Amelia - Imagination In Focus: Review vs Reaction
The Guardian: YA Novel Readers Clash with Publishing Establishment
Elana Johnson (Author) - What I Think About Reviews
Maggie Stiefvater - The Only Thing I'm Going To Say About Bloggers in 2012
Kat - Cuddly Buggery: The First Five Days on Goodreads
Goodreads: Controversial Review #1 
Amazon: Controversial Review #2 , on Goodreads
Goodreads: Another One-Star Review that caught some heat

Thanks to you all for letting me shoot the breeze today. It's been fun and I can't wait to see what you have to say!

And a huge thanks for all the love and support you have given my kids over the years! This community has been the kind of positive influence that a mother dreams of! I adore you all!


Oh, and about that giveaway...

Every tour stop will be giving away something fun. Today, you can win some key items that relate to Aurora, the Hex Boys and their adventure in DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT.

A Celtic Cross Necklace, handcuffs keychain, and one colorful feather hair clip. The contest is International and ends Feb. 24. Just fill out the form below. The only requirement is your name and email. You can tweet for a extra point.

And the giving doesn't end there! 
Want a chance at a Kindle Fire!

To enter you need to know the secret phrase given out one word at a time by each blog tour host. Put the words together in sequential order and you'll eventually have the secret phrase! 
Starting March 9 (at the end of the tour) you can enter the complete phrase on the AEKIRK Blog Tour Page and earn BIG entry points! Your Kindle Fire will also include your choice of a DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT Skin. Either from the cover, or a Hex Boy group shot or individual "Team" skin of your favorite Hex Hunk! 

Today's Secret Word is:


Exciting right? 
For all the Hex Boys Individual AB-tacular shots, and a list of all the Tour Stops, go the Blog Tour Page.

But for this week it's:
Jan 30: Natalie @ Mindful Musings - Review
Jan 31Teens Read and Write - Guest Post
Feb 1: Missie @ The Unread Reader - My Book Boyfriend
Feb 2: Lea @ YA Book Queen - Author Interview
Feb 3: Ariel @ Must Love Books- Review

For seventeen-year-old Aurora Lahey, survival is a lifestyle.
Aurora has the crappiest superpower on the planet. And it’s just unleashed a hit squad from hell. Demons are on the hunt, salivating to carve her carcass into confetti.
The Hex Boys—mysterious, hunky, and notorious for their trails of destruction—have the answers Aurora needs to survive. But their overload of deadly secrets and suspicious motives makes trusting them a potentially fatal move.
The battle to save her family, herself, and stop demonic domination may cost Aurora everything worth living for, and force her to reveal her own dark secrets. But no worries. She needs the Hex Boys to pull this off, and, chances are, teaming up with these guys will get her killed anyway.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox: 1/28/12

Hosted by The Story Siren

Just me this week - Alyssa - since super soccer star Gregory is off at some soccer showcase event, and Jake in "under the weather" with a fever/cough/cold. What a baby!

There were slim pickings this week. I think our library is holding out on me. There's a whole conspiracy against me I'm sure of it!

Bought this for our Kindle Fire to read before the movie arrives. 
Gotta admit, I'm actually loving e-books. I was skeptical.

Picked this up from the library.
I know I requested more, but this one was the only one waiting for me. Ah, the woes of living in the middle of nowhere.

 The Black Butler Volume I and II
Gifted to me by an awesome friend who knows my embarrassingly deep love of this anime.

Got this baby because we're reviewing it for an upcoming tour with Mundie Moms. So excited to start reading it!

That was it. I'll take quality over quantity any day though. 
Been a busy week because we've been getting ready for two big events. The biggest is...

It's Jake's birthday! Yep, today he's 19 years old. A fact I doubt when his best comeback is, "Well...your FACE!"
I've spent all month trying to find the perfect gift for him and thank goodness Ash over at Smash  Attack Reads tweeted about a zombie infested obstacle course. That's right, ZOMBIE INFESTED.

It's a ways off, but I got tickets for Jake, some of his friends, me, and Gregory to go. It looks so awesome!

Our second major event?

Natalie over at Mindful Musings is kicking off the Demons at Deadnight blog tour where we're giving away a bunch of prizes everyday, and at the end of the tour, a Kindle Fire along with a couple other awesome things. You just have to stick around to find out.

     Demons at Deadnight Blog Tour Banner with Hex Boys

Where else will you find people who give you free stuff AND tell you about zombie infested obstacle courses?

Hope all your Sunday is IMMazing!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

YA Giveaway Hop: Demons At Deadnight by A&E Kirk

Welcome to the YA Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole.  What shall we giveaway?


It's by A & E Kirk (the "A" is Alyssa for those who don't know.) 

For seventeen-year-old Aurora Lahey, survival is a lifestyle.
Aurora has the crappiest superpower on the planet. And it’s just unleashed a hit squad from hell. Demons are on the hunt, salivating to carve her carcass into confetti.
The Hex Boys—mysterious, hunky, and notorious for their trails of destruction—have the answers Aurora needs to survive. But their overload of deadly secrets and suspicious motives makes trusting them a potentially fatal move.
The battle to save her family, herself, and stop demonic domination may cost Aurora everything worth living for, and force her to reveal her own dark secrets. But no worries. She needs the Hex Boys to pull this off, and, chances are, teaming up with these guys will get her killed anyway.
The paperback is open to US or International entrants.
The eBook is open to International entrants. 

Three ways to enter just fill out the form below!


Giveaway Details:
  • Fill out the form below
  • Paperback and ebook for US and International entrants
  • Ebook for International entrants
  • Enter by Jan 31
  • Must be 13 or older
Check out THE LIST of all the participating blogs and their giveaways!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hot, Hunky Hex Boys Harem @ Books and Things!

Just as we were setting up our Waiting on Wednesday post we spied some serious eye candy over with Melissa @ Books and Things.  Little did we know that she was putting up a My Book Boyfriend post starring the entire Hex Boy team from Alyssa's book, DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT, by A&E Kirk
The post is gorgeous! Here's a sneak peak at just one of the SIX Hex Boy Hotties!

Yeah, we just heard all you ladies sigh.

My Book Boyfriend is a drool-inducing, swoon-inciting meme by Missie @ The Unread Reader where every Wednesday clever bloggers bring the men of our literary dreams to life - at least in two-dimensional visuals that will make your knees weak! 

The mega super-cool thing is that Missie is also going to be highlighting the Hex Boys on her Feb 1st My Book Boyfriend! 

Missie and Melissa are always fighting over their handsome harems. (The greedy wenches!) And it's an absolute blast to have the Hex Boys in the middle! We're dying to hear what you think about Melissa's picks, and can't wait to compare them to Missie's.

And check out these awesome ladies' squee-worthy reviews of DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT and even a couple of giveaways! We bow to their fabuliciousness!
Melissa @ Books and Things 
Missie @ The Unread Reader
Lea @ YA Book Queen
Jen @ In the Closet With a Bibliophile
And a funny coincidence. Alyssa (with Jake's help) was up all night making "Team" buttons for all the Hex Boys. Now there are even more hot bodies to check out!
Oh, the heat is ON!

Waiting on Wednesday: 3 Hot Upcoming YA Releases!

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine and showcases upcoming releases we're dying to read!

by Julie Kagawa
April 24
You will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.
Kagawa and Vamps - great combo!

by Kate Hawkings
Feb 28
Not many people can say their entire existence has been one big lab experiment: poked and prodded by scientists, genetically modified to be the best and endure the worst, subjected to daily tests and trials that would kill a normal human. All Michaela wants is her own life, to be able to go to school, flirt with boys, maybe eat ice cream now and then. So when the chance to escape finally comes, Michaela and her sister grab it, taking their friends with them.

But they weren't the only ones to find their way out of those labs. Following close behind are another breed of creature, one that doesn't know the difference between right and wrong, who exist only to feed their own hunger. The appearance of a strange boy who seems too much like them to be a coincidence makes things even more confusing. But as the world begins to literally fall apart around them, Michaela must accept his help, especially when she could lose the very thing she holds dearest: her sister.
Sounds fun! A bit like Patterson's Maximum Ride series.

by S J Kincaid
July 2012
More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?
A futuristic guy-spy thriller!

What are you waiting for? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: 3 Hot Upcoming YA Releases (1/11/12)

WoW is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine and showcases upcoming releases we're dying to read!

by Kristin Cashore
May 1
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart

Loved GRACELING so very excited for this one!

by Gina Damico
March 20
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure. 
He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.
Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.
Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?
Who doesn't love a good-hearted reaper?

by Teri Terry
May 3
Sixteen-year-old Kyla has been 'slated': all of her past memories erased, her entire personality wiped blank. She has been assigned a new name, a new date of birth and even new parents. The government that did this to her claim she was a terrorist, and that she has been given a second chance. But Kyla knows that the government has been lying. Without her memories, how will Kyla ever find the truth? And if her old self is really and truly dead, then what are the terrifying images that still haunt her dreams?
Maybe she'll go all Jason-Bourne on the bad guys! 
(and is the author's name really Teri Terry?)

What are you waiting for? 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In Our Mailbox Video - IMM 1/8/12

Hosted by The Story Siren

We did a video this time.
You're welcome.

Do not eat or drink while watching this video. Ensuing laughter may shoot milk from your nose. Because we're a-dork-able. 

(And, no, we don't know what Gregory was doing with his hat.)

Goliath - from the library
Cinder - from Tara (Zeitghost Media)
Bad Taste in Boys - won from Carrie Harris 
Hereafter - bought - 99 cents!
Entwined - bought - 99 cents!

And by "we" I mean Alyssa and Eileen. NOT Jake and Greg. They just played video games and told me to blow things up. Which I greatly appreciated, but...

HUGE thanks to:
 Lea @ YA Book Queen for her DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT contest (which ends today, so hurry!) and her IMM post mentioning DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT and the swag package!

Melissa @ Books and Things for today's IMM post about her DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT swag package.

Felicia @ Geeky Blogger who mentions DEMONS AT DEADNIGHT in her IMM post because she bought the E-Book! Awesome!

You ladies rock! We love you and all of you who have shown us such generous support! 

And our current contest are at:

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