Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions - Juggling Blogging and Real Life (Monday, April 1, 2013)

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month we will post a question and invite you to answer, comment and discuss opinions and different views.

Please keep the dialogue courteous. No bashing!

If you would like to participate in this meme sign up below and please feel free to to grab the button to include in your post with a link to For What It's Worth Reviews or here at Midnyte Reader.

Question:  How does blogging effect your *real* life?  Are friends and family supportive?  Do you find that blogging cuts into family time?  How do you strike a balance between the two?

Answer:  I do have to admit that blogging takes up a very large chunk of my time.  I feel like I spend even more time reading than I did before blogging.  Added to that is the time I spend blogging, checking out other blogs, on Twitter, etc.  I used to write a lot more and concentrate on other hobbies, like making jewelry and pottery.  It's just me and my husband at home, so I don't have to balance blogging even more with kids, which might be a good thing because I might forget to feed them!  My husband is absolutely fine with me blogging.  He has his hobbies, I have mine.  My friends are fine with it too.  They think it's interesting although I think some don't really get it.  

I don't think that blogging cuts into family time.  I can put it aside if I have plans and althogh blogging/reading is a priority, it's not an obsessive priority.  A night out or a movie definitely will come first.  

However, finding a balance with my own free time has been challenging.  As I said, I used to spend a lot more time on other hobbies and I'm having a difficult time getting back to them.  There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.  I know one thing that would help would be to cut back on social media and computer games.  I will probably have to simply implement a schedule.  Two hours for reading, two for blogging and two for crafts.  Of course I'll have to find time to cook, eat and clean.  Maybe an assistant is in order?

So what about you?  How do you balance blogging with the demands of everyday life?  Any tips?  (Because I could really use some!)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Feature and Follow #142.

Q: Tell us about the most emotional scene you've ever read in a book - and how did you react?

A: Warning!  This answer will contain spoilers.

In the book The Stand by Stephen King, Nick Andros gets killed by a bomb.  Let me tell you, I'm still not over that and I'm pretty sure I'm permanently scarred and need book therapy.  He is like my favorite character EVER!!! I was so.  Upset.  I felt betrayed.  By Stephen King, by the story, even by myself, because I allowed myself to fall so in love with this character who did NOT deserve the tragedy that happened to him.  I learned a very good lesson from The Stand which is that Stephen King is not afraid to kill his characters.

Ironically, I'm listening to The Dome,  which is fantastic. As you might expect, there are many very upsetting scenes.  No monsters,  just humans acting monstrous.  There is one scene where a woman gets raped and another woman is cheering the men on.  I actually called her the "C" word out loud.  I NEVER use that word.  Ever.  (Well hardly ever.)  But the scene brought out so much emotion in me that I just reacted.

Other scenes come from Harry Potter.  When Sirius Black and Fred Weasley died, I'm pretty sure I cried.  Again, I fell for Sirius and for both Weasley twins and when J.K. Rowling killed them, I wanted to throw the book across the room.  The Harry Potter series is tremendous - in it's scope, vision and story.  I wish it didn't need to go so dark at times, but I guess that's part of its power and also the reality of war.

When I was in grade school one of my teachers read our class a book called A Taste of Blackberries.  It was about a child our age who died from bee stings because he was allergic.  I remember my friend and I talking about it for a long time and for a while I was afraid of getting stung by any insect.  If you want to read my thoughts about it - click HERE.

What about you?  What are some emotional scenes you've read?

What Makes You Die.

Title/Author:  What Makes You Die by Tom Piccirilli

Genre: Dark Fiction.

Publisher:  Apex publication.

Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite character:  Tommy.

Favorite Quote:  The gods always know your heart.  And so does the devil.

Synopsis:  To see more is to find oblivion...

Tommy Pic's hallucinations come and go and leave sticky notes for him during his bipolar swings.  Coming out of a blackout in an unfamiliar psychiatric ward, Tommy Pic awakes to his missing childhood love, his dead brother, his alive family, and a message from his agent that his latest screenplay may yet be his ticket back to Hollywood fame and fortune.  If only he could remember writing it.  Searching out the hallucinations that will write Acts 2 and 3 of the screenplay that will oust Zypho as his best-known work, Tommy goes chasing his kidnapped childhood love, a witch from a magic shop, the komodo dragon he tried to cut out of his gut on Christmas Eve.

...This is what makes you die.

My Thoughts: I jumped at the chance to read and review this novella by Tom Piccirilli, a reknown name in the Horror genre.

What Makes You Die wasn't at all what I expected. It is the story of writer, Tommy Pic (coincidentally) and his struggle to climb his way out of his depression and the demons he created for himself.  It grabbed me right away as Tommy wakes up in a mental hospital and faces ghosts that have been haunting him his entire life.  His childhood love Kathy who disappeared many years ago, his deceased brother and another childhood friend. Even a baby that he can't figure out is real or not, which made me wonder right away if these ghosts were in his mind.  By the time I finished this novella I realized it didn't really matter.  Tommy fights what haunts him throughout the story until the end.

Written in first person, Tommy's voice is clear, his observations astute and quite humorous.  Tommy is a character that I quickly grew fond of and wanted to succeed.  Not only that, I was very interested in his thoughts, his experiences and his background, tangents and all.

The plot meanders yet moves forward quickly - if that makes any sense.  We follow Tommy on his journey as he tries to piece together his life while living in his mother's basement apartment.  He tries to figure out how he wrote and delivered pages of a new script to his agent of which he has no memory of doing and he also tries to figure out what happened to his childhood friend Kathy before she disappeared.  The story relays a person in a dark place who is trying to find his way out, to save himself.

The process of screenwriting in Hollywood is also very detailed and shows the downward spiral of his career.  The meetings, the game, how a script gets changed to passify the moneymakers backing the project and the parties.

There is a romance in this story between Tommy and a young witch he meets at an Occult store.  It is a wonderfully bright spot in the darkness.  Eva says she can see his ghosts too and wants to help him.  She is like a balm to his frenetic mind.

Although the big mysteries, his script and Kathy, were not as dramatic as expected, I still thought the conclusions interesting and noteworthy and truly unique.  I can't remember a story using such a plot device.

What Makes You Die shows the workings of a writer's mind, and a prolific writer's mind at that.  His struggle with his life is touching and poignant.  This was a piece I could not put down due to the strong writing and captivating character.

All in all: A masterfully crafted and human story.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Darker Still.

Title/Author:  Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hiebel.

Genre: YA/Horror/Supernatural/Thriller.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character:  Ms. Northe.

Synopsis:  I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

My thoughts:  Darker Still is a whimsical romp through a dangerous situation.  The story is told in the first person viewpoint of Natalie Stewart through her diary.  Natalie is a mute girl who lives in Victorian New York City and has just graduated from a "school" for youths like her including the deaf and blind.  Once home, she quickly becomes embroiled in a mystery about a painting featuring a young Englishman, Lord Denbury.  She is a likeable character and I especially loved when she had petulant, selfish thoughts (especially about her crush's fiance).  They translated as very honest yet amusing.  There are parts of the diary, however, that I would have preferred to experience as they were happening instead of being told after the fact.  That being said, I also thought this was a clever way to present her story.

Natalie wants to make a place for herself in the world and be useful.  When she joins her father in his occupation working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she is thrilled.  However, the infamous portrait leads her into darkness and magic. With the help of Ms. Northe, who becomes her mentor and friend, they unlock the mystery of how to release the real Lord Denbury from his enchanted prison painting while stopping the murders of his doppelganger.   Natalie shows a lot of guts and ingenuity on her quest that I admired.

I absolutely love Ms. North, the elder medium and spiritualist who takes Natalie under her wing.  She is so much fun and classy.  Someone you'd always want to back you up.  I also enjoyed Natalie's relationship with her father.  It is very sweet and she is so grateful to him for respecting her and taking care of her instead of casting her out.

The setting of NYC was fantastic for me personally.  I loved being able to see familiar sites that are still there (Central Park, The Met) and scenes that are exclusive to those times (carriages, cobblestone streets, opium dens.)   I even learned a think or two about NY history (Five points).  I thought Hieber brought the City alive with her descriptions, yet I would have liked to have seen more.

Although the insta love is very present, it also seems excused by the fact that Natalie appears to recognize her kindred spirit within the painting.  Unfortunately, I didn't connect with their relationship, and honestly, I didn't connect with Lord Denbury either. There is nothing wrong with him per se...and I gess that's the issue.  I felt he was too good to be true.  There were also parts where Natalie and Lord Denbury could interact in her dreams.   I didn't see how these interludes were any different from the ones where she interacted with him in the painting, except they had a bit more paranormal activity attached.

The mystery itself and how they research and break the curse is a bit confusing to me.  Although I don't mind when something takes pieces from several religions, it just didn't work for me.  The victims had to do with Saints, but then there was ancient Egyptian magic as well and demons too.  I think if things were a bit more grounded, a bit more explained, I would have been able to suspend my disbelief a bit more as well.

Even though the main problem in this book is solved, there is still plenty of evil to contend with in the future for Natalie and Denbury.

All in all:   Although not all aspects of the story worked for me, I still found the overall theme and plot  interesting.  The characters are worth meeting and the setting is wonderful.   I think future adventures for Natalie will be even more intriguing.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure as far as reading?  Is it a genre, or is it a certain type of book?

A: I feel kind of guilty reading YA books especially the ones where there is a really good romance and I'm totally crushing on the male main character.  Why do I feel guilty?  Because my teen years are waaaaaay behind me and I feel like I'm being immature or as if I'm trying to relive that time.  But hey!  I guess that's what fiction is for, right?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex - Chu's Day signing!

Who: Nail Gaiman and Adam Rex
What: Release of Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Adam Rex.
When: Saturday, February 23, 2013.
Where: Books of Wonder, NYC
This was a signing that I just couldn miss.  And apparently a lot of other people couldn't either.  When I arrived at 10 am (for the noon event), people were already cued up down the sidewalk finding shelter beneath awnings from the rain.

The staff at Books of Wonder had everything under control despite there being a huge crowd.  They were all calm, organized and helpful and I give them a lot of credit for all the events they hold.  Because I had pre-paid for some books over the phone, I was soon ushered to an express line where I picked up my books and received my number (72) - Not bad!

A surprise announcement was made that Neil and Adam were going to read their book and answer some questions.  They stood on chairs or maybe stepladders so the audience could see them and the crowd let children go to the front.  They read Chu's Day as if it were storytime, and Adam portrayed Chu doing a great job as the little fellow and holding back sneezes.

Neil and Adam answered some questions from the audience.  He was everything I expected, funny, humble, sweet and charming.  And not an ounce of pretention.  Adam was also so considerate and charming and I'm looking foward to seeing more of his beautiful artwork.  One point that Neil made was that he enjoyed writing all different types of books and thought it was silly that authors had to be pidgeonholed into one genre and use an alias for another genre.

Standing room only. 

Getting closer!

Neil signs my book!!!
Adam signs Chu's Day.  Neil made the initial inscription.  

Here are some videos I took.  I edited them down into short clips and quotes.  Enjoy!

Neil & Adam - Neil comments on Amazon critics. 

Neil & Adam - Questionable question from audience. 

Adam talks about collaborating with Neil. 

Adam talks about collaborating with Neil (2)

Neil explains how Chu's Day came about. 

~I am giving away a signed harcover copy of Nevewhere.  Yep, that's right!  A signed hardcover copy of Neverwhere.  

~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Extra entries are optional.  
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY! If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry. (For example, if I ask you to leave a comment and you do not, or you don't answer the question or if you say you follow and you really do not, that entry will be removed.)

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. 
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Ends Friday, March 29, 2013 at 12:15 a.m. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions - Blog Design (Monday, March 18, 2013)

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month we will post a question and invite you to answer, comment and discuss opinions and different views.

Please keep the dialogue courteous. No bashing!

If you would like to participate in this meme sign up below and please feel free to to grab the button to include in your post with a link to For What It's Worth Reviews or here at Midnyte Reader.

Question:  What is important in design for the blogs you follow?  What features/elements do you appreciate?  What are big turn offs?

Answer:  I think a good design is very important for a blog.  I like clean, simple blogs and I like fancy ones too.  The most important feature for a design to have for me is "readability."  I need to see the font so it is important that it has a color that doesn't hurt my eyes.  If I have to squint, I just won't read it.  Also, a fancy font also makes text harder to read.  For some reason, when the text is squished in the column it is also hard to know when there are only like three or four words on a line and it's very long?  

The other elements I like are when the theme is apparent.  When the name of the blog, the heading, the ratings and features are all somehow tied together.  For example, Kate from Midnight Book Girl uses a clock and hours for her ratings, her comments say "Midnight Whispers" and she calls her readers "Fellow Midnighters."  So, that is a wonderfully clever way to embrace a blog theme.  

I also like blogs better that are chronological.  I want to know what the blogger said most recently.  There is another style of blogs popping up that is like a newspaper style.  Although I am getting used to this when they first started appearing, they freaked me out.  I'm not sure why.  I think it was because I didn't know where to look first and see what was most current and also probably because it was just new and different and not what I was used to.  A few of my favorite blogs are now this format so I'm adapting. : ) Also, it helps when they tweet their link and it takes me right to what they are talking about. 

Also, if a blog is too busy, with tons of ads, out of date challenges and events and buttons that say what boy team you're on...stuff like that.  

Also, captcha.  Bleh.  

What do you look for in the blogs that you follow?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tote bag giveaway #3

Hey I told you I had a lot of tote bags!  Welcome to another tote bag giveaway.  

#1 - West Regional Library Tote.  (Has outside pocket.)

#2 - Penguin Classic Tote. 

#3 - Tote from Quirk books.  

 #4 - Harlequin tote.  

Other side of Harlequin tote. 

~Four (4) winners will receive one (1) tote bag each. 

~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Tell me which bags you would like in order.
~Extra entries are optional.
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY! If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry. (For example, if I ask you to leave a comment and you do not, or you don't answer the question or if you say you follow and you really do not, that entry will be removed.)

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. 
~U.S. and Canada only.
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Ends Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 12:15 a.m. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for participating and good luck!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Enter, Night.

Title/Author: Enter, Night by Michael Rowe.

Genre: Horror.

Publisher: Chizine.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Finnegan

Synopsis: Welcome to Parr's Landing, Population 1,528... and shrinking. The year is 1972. Widowed Christina Parr, her daughter Morgan, and her brother-in-law Jeremy have returned to the remote northern Ontario mining town of Parr''s Landing, the place from which Christina fled before Morgan was born, seeking refuge. Dr. Billy Lightning has also returned in search of answers to the mystery of his father''s brutal murder. All will find some version of what they seek - and more. Built on the site of a decimated 17th-century Jesuit mission to the Ojibwa, Parr's Landing is a town with secrets of its own buried in the caves around Bradley Lake. A three-hundred-year-old vampire is slumbering there, calling out to the insane and the murderous for centuries, begging for release - an invitation that has finally been answered. One man is following that voice, cutting a murderous swath across the country, bent on a terrible resurrection of the ancient horror... plunging the town and all its people into an endless night.

My ThoughtsEnter, Night is the kind of book that grew on me.  The novel takes place in the early 70s and it almost seems that the style itself is also from that era.  There is a long buildup giving the reader a lot of background, there are a lot of characters letting the reader become invested in them and there are thrills, chills and blood, giving a definite Horror stamp, but not too much that the story is a gore fest.  It's not the kind of book that jumps right into the action like so many stories today do.  It leads you around for a while showing you the scenery and just when you feel pretty safe, you realize you are heading for trouble.  It is subtle.  I liken it to walking down a slope.  It's slippery, but you think you can manage and by the time you realize you can't, it's too late. 

It takes a lot to scare me and Enter, Night included several very eerie scenes and one which made my jaw drop.  Literally.  If you like your vampires old school and terrifying, they can be found here.  The omniscient multiple viewpoints were not difficult to follow and gave the story a "thriller" formula and helped to build the tension.  Even while some people succumb to the horror of the vampire, there is still that feeling that you can turn a blind eye and not realize what's happening.  I think the seclusion of Parr's Landing helps to isolate the characters and the reader. 

There were several characters I loved as well, my favorites being Finnegan and Morgan, the young people in the story.  They have a very sweet friendship and as each feel that they are the loners in town, turn to each other.  I loved how the characters and events intertwined into each other creating a rich, dramatic plot.

Row's writing worked very well to put me in the moment.  He includes details that other other writers seem to overlook and takes full advantage of his own style and imagination.  There are a few scenes which take place in caves in the area and the way that the silence is described is so astute and worked so well. 

There are other horrifying elements in Enter, Night besides evil vampires.  The story also touches on the plight of Native Americans in the 1950s and how the church worked to "save"them as well as the view of small minded people on homosexuality and how they were "rehabilitated."  While not the main focus of the book, they are strong plot points that enriched the characters and gave me something to think about. 

I do feel that the beginning could have been edited down, unless Mr. Rowe was trying to lead us in one direction, only to surprise us when the story went in another.  Typos also pulled me out of the story and sometimes the dialogue just didn't work for me, but these were just moments within an epic story story not just of vampires, but of the history of Canada and it's people.  I think the backstory and mythology of this tale is rich and detailed.  In fact, there is even a sort of "epilogue" in the form of a letter that recounts events which lead to the present day story.  While a bit long, I appreciated the minute details and this could be held up as a novella in and of itself. 

All in all: A frightening, good ol' fashioned and unique vampire tale with lots of scares.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Dead and Buried.

Title/Author: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington.

Genre: YA/Horror/Supernatural/Thriller.

Publisher: Scholastic.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Donovan

Synopsis: Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?
My Thoughts: The Dead and Buried is an easy book to fall into and one I didn't want to put down.  First of all the plot.  I loved how the death of the victim is recent.  It's not an old, buried secret.  This gives such a fresh perspective and spin on this kind of tale.  Another very interesting aspect is Jade's relationship with her step-mother Marie, and the family dynamic.  Jade lost her mother when she was younger and that tragedy echoes the more recent death of golden girl Kayla and also contributes to other plot threads. 

The haunting is very creepy and eerie.  I love how it builds up through the book until things get dangerous.  I also love how Jade tries to talk to her father and Maria about their haunted house.  Again, refreshing that she is including her parents and counting on them for help.  Unfortunately, this backfires and Jade has to face this alone.  However, she is not alone.  Kayla's ex-boyfriend Donovan is there to help her. 

Speaking of Donovan...I looooved him and I loved the romance.  Donovan is a bit guarded, a bit damaged and uber cool.  Yes, it may have seemed like insta-love, but I really didn't care.  Jade is attracted to him at first sight.  That's realistic right?  I also loved how she admits she wanted to fix him.  Now, I know a lot of people who like to "fix" others, but to me, this went a bit deeper than that.  I personally felt that Jade wanted to heal him, more than fix him.  I think Donovan is now one of my favorite literary crushes.  He's an artist, he's a gamer, he's sensitive.  I picture him looking like that tall guy who dances in the Microsoft Touch ad. 

There was maybe one time in the book that I felt Jade was a bit too good to be true, but overall I did like her.  I feel she is not only smart, but has a certain maturity and confidence as well.  She gives people chances but also is aware of their personalities and is careful of who she wants to be friends with.  I loved how Donovan saw her as a breath of fresh air and a person who is not afraid of being who she is.  We got to see her through someone else's eyes.  I also liked her hobby of gemstones and their meanings and the deeper reason of why she collected them.  Even though she sort of scoffs at the reality, she still wears them for the properties they give.

The reader also gets bits of inside information about Kayla not only from other people's accounts of her, but through her journal.  I have to admit, I found her fascinating.  Beautiful, athletic, smart and just plain mean.  She revels in her status at school and what she is capable of, but then towards the end there is a glimmer of what may contributed to her shortcomings.  We also get to see Donovan through Kayla's eyes which I really liked as well.  I think there were times I felt she realized that Donovan was too good for her.

I kind of knew who committed the crime and that was a bummer, but then there's always the thought in the back of your mind that you're wrong and maybe it's another person from the list of suspects.  That's all I'll say about that.  As for Harrington's writing and pacing, I thought it was clear and fun and moved.  There was nothing in the book that confused me and everything was resolved to my satisfaction. 

All in all:  A very fun thriller.  Well written, well paced with excellent characters. 

Other Editions:


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions - Giveaways (Monday, March 4, 2012)

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that allows book bloggers to discuss issues unique to what we encounter in the blogging world. Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month we will post a question and invite you to answer, comment and discuss opinions and different views.

Please keep the dialogue courteous. No bashing!

If you would like to participate in this meme sign up below and please feel free to to grab the button to include in your post with a link to For What It's Worth Reviews or here at Midnyte Reader.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Book Blogger Confessions has been nominated for best meme for Book Blogger Twitter Con (#BBTC) hosted by Parajunkee and The Bookish Brunette.  This event will take place April 1-April 7 and all of it will be held on Twitter.  We are thrilled to be nominated and want to thank everyone who participates, comments and reads.  Voting started March 1, 2013.  Even if you don't vote for us, at least go vote!  For more information on #BBTC click HERE.

QuestionGiveaways:  As a blogger, how do you feel about extra entries, required entries, etc? Do you have a system to choose/announce winners and keep prizes organized? What method works best for you when hosting a giveaway? (Rafflecopter/Google Doc's or other)

What do you do about people who enter your giveaways but don't follow instructions exactly?

Have you ever had problems hosting a giveaway sponsored by an author or publisher who is supposed to send the prize to the winner and doesn't? How have you handled these issues?

As a prize winner - what do you do if your prize never arrives? Do you contact the blogger or just let it go?

Answer:   I think extra entries are fine, but I try to keep mine limited so the person entering doesn't get frustrated.  (Apologies if this isn't working!)  I know I get frustrated when there are too many hoops to jump through.  Even when said hoops are optional.  I think we've all seen contests with long lists of people to follow.  Sometimes I just bail in the middle of trying to complete the raffle form. 

When I do my own giveaways, I try to keep most things optional.  Sometimes (only sometimes) I will require a follow if I feel the prize is valuable, but not often. A lot of times I'll switch up the options too.  I'll ask for a Twitter follow on one contest and a Facebook follow on another. 

I've been mostly using Rafflecopter which is really working well.  I do miss the ol' Google Docs at times or even picking the name from a comment.  I liked having contests in the comments because I used to make games out of it.  I even had a contest where the commenter had to look at the above comment and base an answer off of that.  Rafflecopter is very helpful though in moderating, keeping track and picking a winner. 

I have it right in the contest post rules that if the entrant doesn't follow the rules, I reserve the right to delete that particular entry.  For example, if I want them to answer a specific question in the comments and they just say "Thanks for the giveaway" I'll delete the entry.  It's not fair to those who followed the instructions carefully.  I sometimes have contests for people who participate in a specific Challenge I'm hosting and I'll get a lot of outside entries on those.  So again, I'll delete them as well.  Sometimes, if it's apparent that a person is just confused by a technicality or maybe there's a language barrier, I'll e-mail them with instructions on how to fix things.  

The other thing I always worry about is if a person doesn't get back to me within the alloted time.  However, this has rarely happened.  A few times issues had been made, but I had already picked another winner.  Even though I say 48 or 72 hours, I *always* give extra time. 

Luckily I have actually never had a problem with a publisher or author not sending a prize.  At least I've never gotten notification about it.  

As a winner if I don't receive a prize, I usually let it go.  I don't know why.  Maybe I'm embarrassed, don't want to seem whiny and/or greedy.  I do remember one time that I didn't receive a book I had won and some other stuff and I did e-mail the host blogger.  I was told that the author sent out the prizes.  So, I figured that was that.  Luckily, the author (Adrian Pheonix) is so kind she contacted me and sent me out another book and told me she would replace the other items as well.  I told her not worry about that -- I just wanted the signed book!

So what do you guys do with your contests?  Do you find Rafflecopter is the best method?  What are some issues or problems you've had and how do you resolve them?


Friday, March 1, 2013

Tote Bag Giveaway #2

Welcome to my second Tote Bag Giveaway!

I'm trying to clean out the dozens of tote bags that I've collected over the years so I'd love to pass them on to you!

#1 - Angel Burn Bag

Close up of graphic on Angel Burn bag. 

#2 Random House Reader's Circle Tote.  (That flap is a nice big side pocket).

#3 It's a Small World Disney tote. 

Close up of graphic on Disney tote. 

                                                                    #4 Harlequin tote.

                                                           Other side of Harlequin tote.

~Four (4) winners will receive one (1) tote bag each. 

~Leave your name and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Tell me which bags you would like in order.
~Extra entries are optional.
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY! If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry. (For example, if I ask you to leave a comment and you do not, or you don't answer the question or if you say you follow and you really do not, that entry will be removed.)

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. 
~U.S. and Canada only.
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Ends Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:15 a.m. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and thank you for entering!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...