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[Reblog] BookLikes future and the mobile app

Reblogged from Dawid Piaskowski:

We’ve received many questions about BookLikes mobile app and the answer to this request is always the same: Yes, of course, there will be a mobile app. Definitely. Since the question is still present in BookLikes community I’ve decided to present you several challenges we’re dealing with and what we’re working on right now to resolve your doubts and to assure you that it’s something really worth waiting for.


BookLikes is an unusual company, our development isn’t just based on my and my team’s concept, it is an ongoing process which is also based on BookLikes’ members requests and suggestions. We’re not only creating BookLikes for book lover but with book lovers, with all of you guys. Knowing your opinion is something extremely valuable for me and for the BookLikes team, it has showed us many new paths and introduced great solutions that we’ve implemented. You feedback, options and requests have also guided us in what direction we should be developing in the near future.


The notion near future is crucial here, our regular members know that we release a new feature -- a new functionality available for all BookLikes members every week -- on Thursdays. Those special Thursdays became our traditions and we definitely don’t want to give up on them, however, the weekly releases have a big impact on the process of development and maintenance of the mobile app.


What we care about the most is the quality and the functionality. Those two characteristics are our guidelines for building BookLikes and cannot be ignored when we refer to BookLikes mobile app. The thing is, we still have many awesome ideas to show, numerous exciting releases to launch -- I’m talking about unique, innovative and special releases, not seen on any other book-social sites -- but if we decide to introduce a mobile app now, at this very stage, it would mean we should stop or at best limit the Thursday releases.


For us the most important question isn’t Will BookLikes introduce the mobile app? (the answer is Yes) but rather What BookLikes mobile apps will include? The process of preparing apps for various systems (Android, Windows, IOS) is a necessity as well as including all BookLikes functionalities and this results in major changes for BookLikes.


With an active mobile app we won’t be able to launch new feature every Thursday and update the app on the weekly bases as it requires extra time and resources which we cannot spare at this very moment. We would have to freeze the process of BookLikes development in order to adjust all BookLikes functions to the mobile application because the maintenance of the functional, high quality app with weekly updates would be extremely difficult. This would result in holding back the development of new options and improvements on BookLikes, and in consequence this would also mean introducing the incomplete and not fully functional app. It’s definitely not something we want to set up.


The app should be like a gift with an exciting inside and a breathtaking wrapping. Both of these elements need to be complete in order to present a full package of options to make BookLikes mobile experience total, fun and enjoyable.


We’re super excited about the features we want to introduce during the upcoming Thursdays and I think you’ll be also thrilled about the things we’ve prepared. For this reason I was looking for the best solution for BookLikes that would allow us to develop BookLikes, launch new weekly releases and present the mobile friendly design, and I figured out that the best solution would be a responsive design.


This way, we’ll be able to give you the Thursday candies and provide a webpage perfectly adjusted to your mobile devices. The implementation of the responsive design won’t happen overnight but it will be executed much faster than an app, plus nor the BookLikes team, nor you - the BookLikes members - will have to resign from our weekly surprises and new options for BookLikes community. And they are really worth a wait.

The BookLikes mobile app will be of course introduced, and we promise that it will be much more than just a blogging/book-cataloguing app. Just wait and see :-)

Four Ways To Keep On Reading and Reviewing


What are two easy ways to keep on reading and reviewing? Keep a record of your reading progress and review after reading. These two solution will keep you in a bookish mood, motivate to finish up the book, think it over and express your opinion. Then you're ready for another literary round. The completion of these stages is easier with two new BookLikes' features. 



One: Update your reading progress


Firstly, we've updated the +Shelf Advanced window with a new option, now when you add a book to your Currently reading shelf, the total number of pages will be filled up according to the book edition. To keep record of your progress, just fill up the page you're on and keep updated when reading. When the edition is an ebook, the total number is changed into 100%. We're working on the solution for audiobooks. 



The total number of pages will be filled up when you use advanced +Shelf options and Update option on Dashboard. 




Two: Review after reading 


Secondly, when your click Finished! under your book in the Currently reading spot on your Dashboard, you'll see a new option Save and write a review which will save the rating and reading dates, and move you to a writing window. Plus, the finished reading date will be filled up. 






The Author Page

The author page on BookLikes has just received a new option: Add a new book. Now when you won't find a book in the book catalog, you can add it directly on the author's page. The author will be selected automatically in the add a new book form.




Three: Synchronize and stay active 


The BL->GR Sync 

The BL->GR synchronization received an update. To synchronize your accounts, go to Settings/Import and click Connect. Remember to be logged into GR in the second tab and to authorize the app (unless it's already been authorized).


The synchronization includes the following actions: adding books, adding/editing ratings, adding/editing shelves, adding/editing reviews. Once you do one of those things on BookLikes, they will be published on your BookLikes webpage and on your Goodreads profile.


Remember that the synchronization is possible due to the ISBN numbers and that some delays may occur. 


Four: Import and share


The GR Import

The import from Goodreads received an update - now the import process includes the private notes. To import your GR collection export your books on GR to a CSV file, go to your BookLikes Settings/Import, select the file and hit Import. We'll import your books, ratings, reviews, private notes, shelves and dates. The updated option works only for new imports. 

BookLikes Bookmarks Winning Spooky Stories


In case you missed BookLikes bookmarks winners, we remind you the winning stories in their full length. Dear winners, one more time congratulations! Your gifts are on their way :-) 


Dear BookLikers, should we make another contest? 



Mallory Kellogg, Cat Lady and Author (in that order)


Halloween Haiku

Darkness consumes me.

I welcome the freedom now.

Silence in the night.




Reclusive Reads


The Spirit of the Season


The Spirit of the Season I was driving back to the office after having dealt with a couple of would be Satanists up at the Hallowed Hollow boneyard and feeling pretty good about having locked them in the Hamperdamp family mausoleum. Old Man Hamperdamp had been a bastard when he was alive. Death hadn’t mellowed him and he hated being disturbed. If their hearts held out till morning, someone would be along to let them out eventually. And DeRigor Mortis, the funeral director, had paid in cash, no questions asked. Life was good.


I was cruising along, keeping an eye out for any sugar crazed costumed midgets who might dart out into the street and put a damper on my evening, and a costly dent in my grille when something in my peripheral vision caught my attention. I pulled over and slowly scanned the street. The house I had just passed was dark, the only undecorated one on the street. Nothing odd there. So, what was making the hair on the back of my neck do the wave? A group of kids passed by the dark house and moved on to the next. About 20 yards behind them, a lone boy in pirate gear, maybe 9 years old was fishing around in his bag of booty and dawdling along. Suddenly, the porchlight at the darkened house came on. The boy finished fiddling with candy and began angling towards the house. And a cold hand grabbed my guts. I pulled a fast u-turn, parked in front of the joint, and got out of the car to intercept the kid.


The boy saw me and stopped short. Smart boy. I pointed up at the house and shook my head.



“Forget that one, buddy. Light’s are on a timer, y’know?”


He glanced at the house, then back at me and nodded slowly.


I pulled a wad of cash out of my pocket, peeled off a couple of twenties, wadded them up and tossed them into his bag as I headed up the walk to the house.


“Happy Halloween, kid. Now go catch up with the others, okay?”


He took off like a shot, calling “Thanks, mister!” over his shoulder.


Quietly, I stepped up to the front door, rang the bell and sidestepped to the left. One beat too fast, the door opened.


“Ahoy, what a fine pir…” was all he got out before I had him by the throat.


I knew why this place set off my alarms the minute I got a good look at the home owner.


“Sonovavich…Bobby Lee Gagney! How’s tricks, you little freak?”


Bobby Lee was a child molestor and registered sex offender who had gotten out of prison about a month ago. The house had belonged to his mother.


He struggled to break my grip, squeaking something that sounded like “lawyer” and “sue”.


“Bobby, you know the damn rules! No lights. No decorations. And where is your warning sign?”


A quick dart of his eyes pointed out where the official “Sex Offender Warning” sign lay on the table next to the door.


I dragged his sorry butt out of the house and down to my car. A quick rap of his head against the roof put him down for the count and I tossed him into the backseat. I started the car and headed for the Boggman place. Every town has a haunted house, a place everyone avoids. Ours was the Boggman house. The place has been empty for over 75 years. Sort of. Bobby was just coming around when I parked in front of the old Gothic pile. I dragged him out by his collar and hauled him to the front door. Bobby babbled the whole way.


“This is kidnapping! I’m gonna have you arrested! I didn’t do nothing! I’m sick! I’m gonna sue!”


I gave him a good shake and pointed at the front door.


“Shut up and listen! Here’s the deal: I dare you to knock on that door. Do that and you’re outta here. You don’t and we go visit your parole officer. Choose!”


He looked at me like I had lost my mind. I was used to it and let it go.


“Seriously? I just knock and I can split?”


I nodded.


“Three times, yes.”


A creepy little smile crept across his face as he turned to the door and rapped his knuckles three times. He started giggling and whispered “Trick or trea…..” when the door swung open in well oiled silence, the shadows yanked him in, and the door swung shut once more. I lit a smoke as I waited. I had only taken two drags when Bobby screamed. He stopped before I finished my third. I heard the door open behind me and turned to see a figure in the doorway, formed by writhing shadows. A pair of glowing orange eyes watched me from beneath the edge of a tattered hood as a wide, sharp toothed smile that would have made the Joker green with envy split it’s otherwise featureless black face.


“Good evening, Mr. Chase.”


“Same to you, Mr. Boggman.”


“Please, call me Bogart. It amuses me and is close enough to my given name.”


“No problem. I gotta tell you, I’m a bit surprised to find you doing this sort of thing.”


“Why, Mr. Chase? I deal in fear. Some say I am Fear itself. Frightening children to teach them caution is my reputation. Giving terror back to those who find pleasure in spreading it is a higher calling, wouldn’t you agree?”


“Works for me, Bogart.”


“Excellent! Now, since you have brought me such a thoughtful treat, tradition demands I give you one.”


He reached into his own substance and withdrew a jingling bag the size of a melon and handed it to me.


“I cross your palm with clean silver, Mr. Chase, for the gift of one black soul. Now I must bid you good night, for Mr. Gagney has a great deal more screaming to do. Happy Halloween, Mr. Chase.”


“Happy Halloween, Bogart.”


He shut the door as I headed for my car. I hefted Bogart’s gift and smiled. They say you should never make deals with the Devil, but no one ever said you couldn’t bargain with the Bogeyman.

Reading List Is Never Just A Random Collection of Books - Your Reading Lists Retouched


Carlos María Domínguez once said 

To build up a library is to create a life.

It’s never just a random collection of books. 

Reading Lists, just like your books on bookshelves, present reading ideas, guidelines, inspirations for you and other book lovers, and they are seldom random. That's why we've decided to add some improvements to the literary guides to polish their appearance on BookLikes. 


First of all, now you can search not only from the Book Catalog but also from your Shelf. This will help you to create a list with books you've already read and can recommend with an open heart. 




Secondly, we've added the description field for your reading lists. Some of you requested the ability to add a short summary of what the list is about and why these particular books have been chosen. Now you can add a short description when creating a list or add one to your existing reading guide. 



Thirdly, the reading list page presents the number of books added -- this can be used as a reading order, and can be helpful in the book series and collections reading lists. 




Finally, we've made the Edit option for your reading lists more visible to spot and use. You can modify your reading lists, add/remove books, add a description any time.






The book series names are visible on the book pages. If the book entry includes the book series information, it will be visible on the book page. You can also add book series information by editing the book page. 



The Photo Size Limit for the uploaded images and a Photo Post has been changed to 4MB. The limit for a photo added via image URL link (the upper tool bar in the writing box) is unlimited.



headline photo: source

Show Your Reading Lists and Change Book Editions & Halloween Bookmark Winners


We have several treats for you today.There's a new way of showing what you're reading with the reading list widget. Those of you who want to change a book edition, can do it on your bookshelf. Read on to know more on tags and photos updates, and to find out who the Halloween Bookmark winners are.


There's a new widget in BookLikes' Goodies -- the Reading list widget! You can show the reading lists you've created, liked and the ones you signed up to. The widget will present the list's name, number of books and people signed up and three book covers as a list's preview. You can personalize the widget by choosing the widget type, name and the number of lists that should be presented.



To show the widget on your BookLikes blog copy the widget code, go to a customization tab and insert the code in the Widget Area




Remember to Save and check if the widget displays correctly on your blog page. You can add several widget codes in the Widget Area to show your books on shelf, reviews, or a profile summary. 


You can also add the widget on your other webpages to share your reading goals with your blog readers. 






Change Edition on Your Shelf


We've updated the way you can change the book edition on your Shelf -- just go to your Shelf Table View and click change edition under a book title. 



The title will be inserted in the search box. To trigger the search, press enter and choose a book. Then you'll see a window with other editions to choose from. 



Choose the book edition that suits you and it will be updated on your Shelf and in the review. All data, like rating stars, reading dates and private notes will be also attached to your newly chosen edition. 


Have in mind that the window with other editions will be full only when all editions are combined. If you notice that some titles should be merged, please let us know by using Report option on the book page. 



Remember that you can choose a desirable edition of the title on a book page. When you're adding a new book to your shelf, use the upper main search box, click the cover and go to a book page. To view all editions, click Other Editions and look through other formats of the title. 




Tags & Photo Size


We've done some updates concerning tags: please use only letters and numbers which can be divided with hyphen or space. Special characters will be removed from tags. 


We've done some updates concerning photos: photo size for the uploaded images and Photo Post should be maximum 500KB. 



Halloween Bookmarks Winners


Do you remember our last week contest? We know who'll get our handy bookmarks, we've picked two winners! Congratulations! 


You can read the winning stories below: 


Reclusive Reads


The Spirit of the Season

I was driving back to the office after having dealt with a couple of would be Satanists up at the Hallowed Hollow boneyard and feeling pretty good about having locked them in the Hamperdamp family mausoleum. Old Man Hamperdamp had been a bastard when he was alive. Death hadn’t mellowed him and he hated being disturbed. If their hearts held out till morning, someone would be along to let them out eventually. And DeRigor Mortis, the funeral director, had paid in cash, no questions asked. Life was good.


I was cruising along, keeping an eye out for any sugar crazed costumed midgets who might dart out into the street and put a damper on my evening, and a costly dent in my grille when something in my peripheral vision caught my attention... read more



Mallory Kellogg, Cat Lady and Author (in that order)


Halloween Haiku

Darkness consumes me.

I welcome the freedom now.

Silence in the night.


Dear winners, congrats! We'll contact you to collect your postal addresses and send out the treats :-) 


Author Talks: Kate Brauning


Please welcome Kate Brauning to BookLikes' Author Talks! 


Kate is an Young Adult author with her debut novel How We Fall coming out November 11th. She writes contemporary and speculative suspense. Kate has written novels since she was a teen, but it wasn’t until she studied literature in college that she fell in love with the soul of young adult books.


You can follow Kate on BookLikes where she shares her favorite reads and reviews here: Kate Brauning. Read on to win Kate's debut novel. 



As a child you’ve enjoyed spending time in the library. Was it then when you thought “I want to be a writer!”?


I’ve always had fun writing stories, and I wrote a novel all through high school. I loved it, but it just never occurred to me that I could write for a career. I kept on loving it, though, and in college I decided that I loved it too much to not try.



You seems to be keen on Young Adult: you write and edit YA novels. Why have you decided to write in this genre, or did the genre pick you?


Oh, that’s a great question, with a tough answer. Yes, YA has really grabbed me. Young adult fiction explores the teenage years of a person’s life, and those years are a significant point of change for most of us. Teens are tackling adult issues for the first time—serious relationships, jobs, shifting authority structures, new limits and opportunities—but they’re doing it without the experience and often without the resources that adults may have. It’s a vulnerable, heady, thrilling stage in someone’s life. Teens are also adjusting to greater independence and more authority in their own lives, but might still be dealing with limitations at odds with those things, like curfews, not having a car, house rules, and the structures of school. YA tackles that.


The experiences we have in our teenage years are formative ones, and the mistakes and choices we make can follow us into adulthood. There’s great opportunity, uncertainty, and passion in those years, and they leave a mark on us. I didn’t start reading YA until I reached my twenties, and I wish I’d found it earlier—seeing so closely into the lives of other teens who are wrestling with the same changes and struggles I was would have been so helpful as a teen. I still find myself identifying with the characters in these stories, because people never stop struggling with change. You don’t grow out of YA.


A final reason I love YA is that there’s no reason not to. Teens are every bit as complex as adults, and they can think as deeply, too. Of course they can. Teens aren’t a more simplistic or less demanding audience, and their stories aren’t any simpler or less worthy. When I came to YA as an adult, what drew me in was the depth of these stories, and that’s what I’ve stayed for, too.

Your debut novel How We Fall is about to be released, congratulations! Can you tell our readers more about the book -- the plot is quite controversial.


I’d love to! Yes, the cousins relationship is unusual, but the complexities of it are why I wanted to write about it.  I love best friend romances, and to me, that’s essentially what this story is. I think best friend romances are sweet, and deep, and full of little tensions. There’s not much like discovering the person who knows you best is the one you want to share your life with.


To me, How We Fall is primarily a best friend romance, even though it’s a taboo one. I liked the idea of writing a sort of extreme best friend love story, and the cousin dynamic seemed like a fascinating one to use. For a lot of people, the cousin relationship is a unique one. Cousins know your family, but don’t necessarily share the same baggage. They know your siblings and parents and the special aggravation that can come with them. A lot of people grew up seeing their cousins frequently, so there’s no use having pretensions– they’ve known you since you were little. They’ve been there, they know you, and they’ll be there for the rest of your life.


And I mean, why not write about cousins? a) It’s not illegal. Cousin marriage is legal in about half the states, and is only considered incest in a few. b) It happens. Some form of cousin marriage accounts for 20% of marriages worldwide. I personally know of a few cousin marriages. c) People do write about it. We have a history full of famous cousin marriages, as well as a number of famous novels (including Mansfield Park) where cousin marriage is part of the story. d) Cousin crushes happen a lot. One thing I find really interesting is the stories people tell me when they hear about my book. Turns out, a lot of people kissed their cousin when they were little and a lot of people crushed on an older cousin. It’s there—we just don’t talk about it much.


Yes, there are safety issues, similar to other forms of nontraditional relationships, and yes, there are genetic issues, though the genetic issues with children from first cousin marriages are widely exaggerated. The risk of birth defects for children of first cousins is only 2% higher than for the general population.


The problems and issues surrounding cousin relationships are exactly why I wanted to write about it. Conflict makes a story, right? Usually, the deeper the struggle, the more fascinating the story. The problems with cousin relationships are a huge part of why I wanted to write about it. It would test my characters in ways not much else could.


To me, How We Fall is about self more than cousins. It’s about finding out what you really want out of life, and being brave enough to go after it. It’s about emotional dishonesty, and courage, and roots, and missed opportunities changing who you become. And really, I hope it’s a fun read. There’s humor, produce farming, and Casablanca quotes, and flirting, friendship, and sisters. It’s about parents, and being uprooted, and sneaking off in the dark, and Hitchcock movies. It’s about a girl and her family, and the guy she can’t/won’t/desperately wants to go after.



Literary genres mingle and mix with each other, YA is not only dedicated for teens and gathers more and more adult readers. You’ve worked as a high school English teacher and you have some experience with teenagers. In your opinion, what issues should Young Adult books touch to meet teens’ expectation and be well received?


Oh, tough question. Since YA explores the lives of teens, it can cover a lot of territory. Being a teen for one person may be an entirely different experience than being a teen is for someone else. However, dealing with the changes and struggles that go along with being both a person and a teenager is really what most YA explores. Independence. A changing identity. Choices that affect your future. Serious relationships. Friendships. Sex. Jobs. Those things are key to YA. And YA needs to be authentic and genuine about what it means to be a teen, for that character, in that culture and situation, because teens can identify pandering and preachy stories so easily, but also because I think most great authors write to explore, as a way to be genuine and interact authentically with the world.


If I write a story that’s not authentic, that doesn’t deal with real life and tough issues, I’m missing the whole point of why I write. I don’t know how other authors feel about that, but that’s how it is for me.



Apart from being a write, you’re also an editor. What’s more difficult: writing or editing? How these two jobs are different from each other?


They’re both challenging careers. Which one is tougher depends on the day and the book, I suppose! They’re very different from each other, though, because when I write, I’m creating—my own world, my own characters, my own vision for the book. When I edit someone else’s book, I’m evaluating and challenging the story, and helping that author figure out how to get his/her vision on the page. It’s a supportive position instead of a creator position.



How long does it take to write a book? Can you tell our readers about your writing process and its phases?


For me, it depends on the book. A few months to a year, depending on what else is going on in my life and how easily the book comes together for me. I like to spend time mulling over the characters and the conflict and even scenes before I ever start writing the book. I tend to fast-draft the first 30,000 words or so, and then take a step back and do heavy revisions to condense, focus, and shift anything that needs to change. Then I finish writing the book, and start revising again. Then it goes to my critique partners and agent, and I do more revisions.



Do you have any writing habits, like drinking a coffee from your lucky mug, not writing on Mondays, inventing the plot while riding a bike?


I think having a routine is important. It helps me stay dedicated, accountable, and avoid burnout. I like to turn on my playlist for the book, get coffee, and sit in my armchair with a yellow legal pad and jot down the conflicts, goals, and ideas for the scene I need to work on, and spend a while thinking it through. I then turn off the music so I can focus, and work through those notes while I write the scene. Doing this every day is my goal, but life gets in the way. The times I can do this consistently, every day, without interruption, are the times I produce the best writing and the times it comes most easily for me.



You run fiction workshops in your local library, what have you learned from teaching others how to write?


Teaching writing fiction to others has been one of the main things that has shown me how many varied ways there are to be a talented writer. Writing is made up of so many different skills, that even if you need to strengthen most of your skills in that area, there are likely several areas where you really stand out. The unique fingerprint of each individual writer on his/her story always surprises me. It’s a wonderful field to work in. 



Can anyone become a writer? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?


I think anyone with the passion to become a writer can. Some people have more natural talent than others, but writing is also a skill that can be developed if you’re determined enough. My advice to aspiring writers is to study writing fiction, and not just keep writing draft after draft. Practice is definitely important, but there’s so much to storytelling that I’d struggle to pick up just from practicing. How the human attention span works, what makes people curious, what puts them on edge, how to make concepts interesting, the difference between theme and message, identifying and then connecting with your readers, etc. Reading good books on craft and hearing great authors speak has been invaluable to me, so definitely do that.


Also, read. And read more than you think need to. At least a book a week, if not two. It will show you what’s out there, help you identify all-important voice, and help you see how others did what you want to do. 

Can you tell our readers what are you working on right now?


I’ve got a couple projects going! I’m working on a new adult contemporary right now, and I’ve got something really fun and different (not contemporary), too.




Do you read books during your writing process? Do they influence your work?


I do! I have to, or I lose touch of what great writing is. I usually try to be conscious of not letting the voice in another book bleed over into mine, but if I’m paying attention that usually doesn’t happen.



What are you reading now?


I just finished Carrie Mesrobian’s Sex & Violence, and it was wonderful and voicey and thought-provoking. I also finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette? So funny and charming and engrossing!




Are you a book collector or a book recommender?


Both. I love owning books I loved, and I love telling people about the great reads I come across. If I loved something, you’ll probably hear about it.



Paper books or e-books? Why?


I love both—but ownership is important to me, and I don’t feel like I own an e-book. I love e-books for sales and trying new authors and for bringing a tonof reading on vacation, but if I love a book or the author, I buy a physical copy. Just to make it mine.



What are your favorite books?

Please recommend some must read titles for our readers.


Gone Girl. The 5th Wave. What Alice Forgot. Warm Bodies. Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Under the Never Sky. This is Not a Test. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. This Song Will Save Your Life.





Every one of these books is imaginative, twisting, gripping, and completely engrossing. Read them all.


What are you favorite quotes? 

I have two that rank pretty highly for me:


The first comes from A Dance With Dragons, by George R.R. Martin: “‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’”


The second is from The Deathly Hallows and J.K. Rowling, courtesy of Kingsley Shacklebolt:

We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.


What’s your favorite writing and reading spot?


I love to read on my couch at home, or in bed at night, but I most often write in the creative arts studio I run with my husband and a friend.


It’s a gorgeous studio with hardwood floors, a high table I use for a standing desk (important for people who sit all day!) and lots of natural light. It also shares a building with a café/wine bar, which is a great perk.



Thank you, Kate!


And here's a surprise from Kate Brauning: 

enter the giveaway to win How We Fall:



 You can find more information on Kate's author page

Treat - Not - Trick! Become The Librarian on BookLikes & Win Halloween Bookmark


A lot of BookLikes members have been asking us about the ability to edit/add/improve book information on BookLikes' book pages. Guess what -- its here! 


All BookLikes members can help us improve the book and author information. The book pages and author pages has just received a new edit option -- available for all book lovers. 


To edit the book and author information, go to a book page or an author page and click edit. 



The edit view is the same as the one in add a new book form and includes the same fields to fill up.



Please make sure to add the correct data that refers to a given book edition.



Remember that the book and author information should be objective, and should not include a review or personal feelings (have a look at the edits guidelines). Let's make it professional.


With your help we wish to develop and maintain the biggest multilingual online book catalog, however, we need to make sure that all the edits are necessary and that the changes are well executed. Today we introduce two features: the ability to make edits on book/author pages and a new official status for BookLikes bloggers -- The Librarians. 


The Librarians are BookLikes bloggers who have been invited by the BookLikes team to join this special project and to monitor all the edits made in the BookLikes' book catalog. You can recognize the Librarians by the special badge visible on their blogs and by their avatars'.  



The Librarians will have the overview of all the edits done by the BookLikes members. Once the edits get accepted, they will be made public and visible on the book page and author page. The process of verification will allow us to counteract the unfair behavior and listing the incorrect data. The Librarians have also an ability to look through the new book entries added to BookLikes' catalog and reports. No book entries will be deleted, the information will be reviewed and improved. 


The BookLikes' team wish to thank all Librarians and BookLikes' members who support us and help in making BookLikes better and better.



And Happy Halloween, folks! We have a treat for you -- win a halloween bookmark from the BookLikes team! 


What to do to grab those hands? Make up a rhyme / short story / poem / video post / a book-likes collage / haiku / or any other form in a halloween spooky mood and publish it on your BookLikes blog with a #HalloweenBookmark tag.


Be crazy, be creative, surprise us. We'll pick two stories we like the most and send out the Halloween treats to you :-) So, who's in?


You have 7 days -- we'll introduce the winners next Thursday :-)



Discovery Boxes Personalized


Discovery boxes on your Dashboard has just received new options. From now on you can add your reading preferences and choose what books and blogs will be presented to you.


All new options are visible in the discovery boxes in the upper part of your Dashboard, in the upper right corner of the box. Each box has received its Settings spot where you can choose the preferences for each discovery box. 



Let's have a closer look at the particular Settings:


- Popular Reviews Discovery Box - you can select book categories that you enjoy reading, the reviews will be selected from the chosen genres.




- Who To Follow Discovery Box - select blog categories -- these are the genres that bloggers read and review on their blogs, the categories have been selected while registration or anytime in Settings/Blog.


If you haven't filled up the categories for your book blog, you can update them in Settings/Blog -> edit categories




- Giveaways Discovery Box - select preferences for the giveaway books -- you can choose language, country and format. 




- Daily Deals / Free Kindle eBooks Discovery Box - select categories for the discounted books and free e-books. 


The Daily Deals and Free Ebooks sections are in the middle further development. We're working on adding new book sources for the book promotions, deals and free reads, however, not all sources have a ready to go solutions and ways to connect. 




Apart from Settings the discover boxes are equipped with See me / See me not option, you can hide and unhide the discovery boxes any time. However, thanks to discovery boxes both new BookLikes' members and our regular bloggers can meet new book-likes friends, discover great reviews and grab new books, thus, we highly recommend to glance over them from time to time. 



We'll be also adding new discovery paths and new sectors to explore. Stay tuned. 




Recently we've experienced minor issues with the images, including avatars and some book covers. If you've noticed that your avatar is still missing, please upload the photo in your Settings. Then everything should get back to normal with your photo image/avatar. Sorry for any inconvenience.


This may be also a good time to make some changes to your blog look. Click to read more ->

Time For Photo Shooting


Hi there, 

just wanted to let you know that we're having minor issues with some of the images, including the avatars and some book covers. But don't worry, we're working now to sort everything out.


However, if you notice that your avatar is still missing, feel free to upload the photo in your Settings. Then everything should get back to normal with your photo image/avatar. Sorry for any inconvenience. We're in the middle of sorting things out. 


But hey, let's look at this from different perspective. Maybe it's also a good time to make some changes to your blogs, go wild and crazy with the design, maybe prepare it for the Halloween week or simply make it look special?


You can personalize your BookLikes' webpage in Settings/Blog. Simply click Customize and change the layout of your blog, add social profile link, upload background images, and change colors. You can explore different layouts in the BookLikes Theme Store, or personalize the blog's look by yourself. BookLikes' bloggers are also great examples to look into. Find more on the Explore page.





Some of our posts that you may find useful while making-up your blog look:


One more time sorry for trouble. Can't wait to see your new looks. 

A Place Where All Book-Likes Things Happen


The discovery paths on BookLikes can lead you into various book-likes places: new books, reviews, authors, reading lists, reading challenges, great blogs and shelves. From now on you'll have more opportunities to explore BookLikes places and community and decide where to go first. 



The upper part of your Dashboard presents the discover boxes with the most recent activities of BookLikes Community and places worth visiting, like Book Catalog, Reading Lists and Discussion Rooms. We wish to encourage new and our regular members of BookLikes Community to explore all BookLikes' spots and find new friends with a similar reading taste and interesting books. 



To boost the discovery experience we're also showing you valuable BookLikes blogs as well as books and reviews worth your attention. 



Warning! You TBR pile might get bigger with the Daily Deals, Free Ebook and Giveaways sections.  



The discovery box display will change when you refresh your Dashboard page. If you're BookLikes' regular blogger and know all our places by heart you can hide the discovery boxes. However, we highly encourage you to glimpse once in a while at the discovery hints as we have a great bunch of new cool options to launch and reveal. 



We also plan some further development on the discovery boxes. The personalized settings for each discovery box are on their way as well as more hints and guidelines what's worth discovering on BookLikes. 

Add More to Your Reading Lists



Don't pick up random books. Plan you reading ahead with the reading lists which are great for sharing book series, book recommendations and presenting a reading guide for other book lovers. 


Your reading list guide can present an endless number of books. You can choose the book order to suggest where to start or show the titles according to your preferences.



When you find a reading list that works for you, you can not only Sign in but also Like it and add all listed books to your Shelf page. The books will be added to a thematic shelf named after the List and will include the reading status if selected.



This will help you to stay up to date with your reading plan and keep you on reading.


You can easily reach your lists on the Reading Lists page which presents now your lists, lists that you've liked, and the BookLikes community's reading guides.



Author Talks: Nina Milton


Please welcome Nina Milton to Author Talks!


Nina Milton is a British writer of children's books, short fiction and now crime stories. She's won many literary competitions, including the Crossroads Competition, Kent Festival Prize, and the Wells Literary Short Story Competition. 


You can visit her blog and follow her at BookLikes: Sabbie Dare and Friends, and win her title on BookLikes. 



Have you always wanted to become a writer? How long have you been writing?


When I was five, my infant school teacher Mrs Marsden read a story to the class. It might have been the fable 'The Mouse and the Lion', but I can't really remember. Then she asked the class to write a story. I was dumfounded. For the first time I realized that the books I loved had actually been written by real human beings. Before that, I believe they must have fallen from some sort of story heaven. It was a revelation - from then on I was scribbling down stories all the time.


I started to write a novel at the age of fifteen. It was chock full of angst and I never finished it. I then took to writing short stories, which I began publishing a few years later in women’s magazines. Once my children were at school I made a big push to start some children’s stories.



Your first published works were books for children, you also enjoy writing short stories, and now you focus on crime novels. What’s your favorite genre to write?


I do love writing crime. I love the mystery aspect, trying to puzzle the reader while keeping them on the edge of their seat. I stay awake at night, trying to sort out all the permutations of each novel. I’m not sure I value that as much as the actual writing, though...the creating of strong characters, for instance, or the creation of a lyrical ‘voice’ for the narrative, but perhaps I should.


A revelation has been writing a series; the characters become so entirely real, and their lives, past and present, open out. I’ve had such fun writing my shaman ‘sleuth’, Sabbie Dare. She’s like a younger sister to me now.



The second installment of your mystery series is out, Unraveled Visions has been released in UK on October 5. Congratulations! Can you tell our readers more about the title and A Shaman Mystery series?

In the Moors was the first of the Shaman Mysteries published by Midnight Ink last year and available online and from bookshops and libraries as a paperback or hardback large print book. It’s   also an ebook and available on Kindle. Unraveled Visions continues to follow Sabbie’s adventures as she runs a therapeutic shamanic business in Bridgwater. She’s still seeing Rey Buckley, the maverick cop she sparked with in book one. And she’s still as cock-eyed and gutsy as she was in the first book, even though, yet again, her investigations hurtles her towards a dark and menacing place.


The idea for my Shaman Mysteries, and In the Moors in particular, came to me when Sabbbie Dare. She walked right into my head and  spoke directly to me - sort of - ‘hi, Nina, I’m Sabbie, I’m 28 and I’m a shaman, which means I walk in the spirit world to help my shamanic clients. I love my job, but sometimes very strange people come into my therapy room...’


Sabbie gains the strength to get through life with her pagan beliefs, but still struggles over the memories of her difficult childhood which left her as a very angry young teenager. But she has an open heart, and is adept at inviting trouble into her life. In Unraveled Visions, a gypsy is looking for her missing sister and a neighbour is terrified of her husband and as aways she has a hard time keeping away from danger. As she says in In the Moors I’m the sort of person who has to poke their finger into all the holes marked, ‘do not insert’.”



Before A Shaman Mystery you wrote books for children. Was it difficult to switch to another genre and audience? A Shaman Mystery is quite dark.


I loved writing for children, and, once I’ve found the voice to my main character, I don’t really notice much difference between writing for adults and children - apart from the amount of swearing! I’m certainly hoping to write more for children and young people in the future. In my books for eight to thirteen year olds, I still have a central mystery to the story.


The Shaman Mystery series will continue to have a dark, atmospheric edge. Sabbie has a mysterious past herself, which she’s only just beginning to unravel.



How do you invent the story? Does it happen spontaneously or is it a long lasting process?


Like most writers, I’m fascinated by the way ideas, characters and entire scenes drop into a writing place in our heads, which becomes increasingly real to us. Characters seem to appear from nowhere, or from a muse, as the ancients would have it. They have conversations in houses that don’t exist, or stand gazing out from headlands, the salt spray on their lips, while the writer is actually under the shower.


I call it ‘walking in your imagination’, because you can travel to any place or time or the mind of any character you chose. In this slower state of thinking, you naturally enter the relaxed, twilight world where vivid imagery flashes into the mind’s eye and we become receptive to information. To create this sort of trance state, hypnotists use a swaying crystal, therapists use a soothing voice, and shaman use the beat of a drum - Sabbie Dare uses a drum to enter her otherworld.


Writers, on the other hand, mostly use their legs. As far apart chronologically as Dickens and Drabble, writers are known to swear by the afternoon walk, disappearing after lunch to walk in the woods, allowing the beat of their stride and the beauty of the surroundings to let their minds drop into the world of story.


In my experience it doesn’t much matter where you walk (although scenery can be inspirational in the most surprising ways), but it’s important to walk alone. I have beautiful Ceredigion countryside to walk through, and I use that a lot when I’m creating new stories. Once the characters are talking to me, I start serious plotting; making charts and lists and timelines and investigating possibilities. I also spent time plotting carefully. I don’t dry up half as often as I used to nowadays.



Do you consult the crimes you want to put in your books with the police, detectives, doctors?


I have two very friendly and helpful relations who are in the police force and keep me up to date with things. And I know a lot of shamans, as I’m a druid myself. I’m also in touch with people in the medical profession and have a good grounding to start with as I was a nurse before I became a full-time writer.



Which authors influence your writing and your works?


I actually like reading contemporary fiction which contains mystery at the core, like  Kate Atkinson, Patrick Gale, Ian McKewan, Sarah Waters, David Mitchell and Kazuo Ishigor.


But I also love crime, of course, especially Raymond Chandler, PG James Francis Fyfield and Elly Griffiths, to whom my work has been compared (Library Journal).



Do you prefer writing novels or short stories? How is the process different?


I’ve just been writing a degree-level course about writing short fiction for the Open College of the Arts. But yes, writing short stories is very different indeed. You need a tighter timeline (hours, preferably) less characters (two, preferably) and a single core theme - the cleverer the better.


I have to say I’m more comfortable writing 100,000 words than 1000, but inbetween my crime fiction I can’t help be drawn back to the genre. My favourite short story writer at the moment is Geoffrey Ford and my most recent short stories can be found in the anthology Unchained (Tangent Press) available from Amazon uk.



What are the best and the worst things about being a writer?


The best thing is the sheer creativity and the way you can lose yourself in the writing when it’s going well. The worse thing is sitting on your butt for so long! (Especially when the sun’s shining.) It’s good to get out, meet other writers, go to events.



You’re participating in “Books Are My Bag” which supports local bookstores and writers. Is it easy to be a writer nowadays? How can readers support local authors?


Yes, if you’re in the UK on the 11th October, I’ll be launching Unraveled Visions the 2nd Shaman Mystery Novel from Midnight Ink in a Bristol bookshop - Foyles in Quaker’s Friars - as part of the Books are my Bog weekend. I'll be there from 2pm to 7pm at this drop-in event, signing my new book, and reading from it. I'll also be holding a short workshop for writers. So if you’re around do come to meet me, check out my writing, and also meet a lot of other Bristol writers.




What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?


Gardening. I love growing veg and I would love growing flowers, if I could get the hang of it! I also love transforming the things we grow into food, and I’ve just been part of a project for writers who bake. The book is out now on Amazon; it’s called Bake, Love, Write.  



If not writing than what? Who would you like to be if you couldn’t be a writer?


I would have loved to be a dancer. Maybe a ballroom dancer. The idea of swirling gracefully around a floor to a rush of beautiful music is tantalising. Sadly, I don’t swirl gracefully. I trip over my feet and crash onto the parquet. 



What are you reading now?


I’ve just finished The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, which deserves every bit of praise - characters who are real and unforgettable and deep, clever Theme with a brilliant twist towards the end. I’m now reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which carefully explores themes of race and belonging. Not such an exciting read, but a very meaningful one.



Paper books or e-books? Why?

I do own a Kindle and I do use it, but you can’t beat holding a book in your hand.



What are your favorite books?

Please recommend some must read titles for our readers.


I couldn't put The Hours, by Michael Cunninham, down, It's the perfect accompaniment to Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. It is also a great achievement in itself. Written somewhat in the Woolf style, it moves deftly, never making a shortcut, through a single day in the lives of three women. 


In 1923 Virginia Woolf, living in countryside Richmond, but longing to go back to London, is setting out to write the first words of her new book, about a woman holding a party. In 1951, in Los Angeles we meet a woman with a small son and one on the way. Laura Brown is reading Virginia Woolf, struggling with her husband’s birthday cake and contemplating suicide. In 1990  in New York, Clarissa Vaughan a middle-aged woman with a grown daughter and a female partner, is planning a party for her friends, to celebrate her early love’s recent literary award. But Richard has AIDS and doesn’t want a party in his honour. I saw the film before reading the book, but the book itself is the revelation. Stunning.



What advice would you give to aspiring writers?


Get yourself a writing buddy; someone who can read your work and comment honestly, and someone who has fallen into all the writing pitfalls you’re likely to encounter. It should be someone who can buy you a consolitary drink when there’s bad news and join you in champaign cocktails when there’s good news!


What are your favorite quotes?


Show, don’t tell - Chekhov said…

Don’t tell me the moon is shining;

show me the glint of light on broken glass…


Characterization - Ernest Hemingway said…

A writer should create living people; people not characters. 

A character is a caricature.


Description - Proust said…

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,

but in having new eyes…


Follow those three pieces of advice and you’ll hit the ground running.



What’s your favorite writing and reading spot?

(our readers would love to see some photos).


My garden (the bench where I sit is just out of the picture), my office, and the countryside I walk in.



Thank you, Nina!


And here's a surprise from Nina Milton: 

enter the giveaway to win Unraveled Visions!

You can find Nina Milton's books on BookLikes:


and more on Nina Milton's author page. 


Read other talks on BookLikes

Author Talks on BookLikes: 

Author Talks: Tony Talbot

Guest Post by Warren Adler: The Title Dilemma

Author Talks: Libby Fischer Hellmann

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part One

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part Two

Author Talks: John Biggs

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part One

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part Two

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part One

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part Two

Literary Inspirations of Rayne Hall


Blog Talks on BookLikes:   

Book Blog Talks: Parajunkee

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part One

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part Two

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part One

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part Two


Photos courtesy of Nina Milton.

Book Blog Preview


Your BookLikes' Dashboard presents blogs you follow, people you want to stay connected with, and friends with similar reading preferences. Now you can peek into your friends' shelves and compare your books on the go thanks to Book Blog Preview. 


The Dashboard keeps on moving, the bookshelf updates changes from minute to minute, new posts and reviews are published - sometimes it's easy to overlook the book information. We don't want you to miss anything so in case you have forgotten or haven't noticed what your friends are currently reading use the new quick book blog preview.


To have an immediate access to the blog's teaser hover over your friend's avatar on your Dashboard.


The book blog preview will present you the following information: blog name, number of books, followers and followings, and books on the currently reading shelf. You can also check how many similar books have you read by clicking Compare books.


The book blog preview works for all kind of activities on your Dashboard: posts and reviews as well as on single book activities. 




P.S. Who wouldn't like to have such a wonderful bookshelf necklace?!? You can have it here <3

Author Talks: Tony Talbot

Please welcome Tony Talbot in BookLikes’ Author Talks!


Tony Talbot is a British Young Adult author. Inspired by the novels of Australian author John Marsden, he took up writing in 2008 and hasn’t stopped since. You can find Tony's books on BookLikes, follow his blog at: Tony Talbot and win Tony Talbot's book! Read on to know more. 



It is said that our dreams reflect our lives. In your situation it was a dream that made you become a writer. Could you tell our readers more about it, and have you ever thought of becoming a writer before that dream?


There was a film made in the 1970s – Capricorn One – where the first mission to Mars is faked in the desert. There's a scene where feet approach the capsule, seen through the window. In the dream I had, it was someone's face through the window when they're re-entering earth's atmosphere from a moon landing. That didn’t really work, so I changed it to someone without a helmet or spacesuit appearing in a moonwalk. Back in mission control, two reporters are there and happen to catch it on camera.



I'd thought about being a writer before then, on and off, but never had the nerve to get started. I'd dipped into a few writing books, most notably Stephen King's On Writing, (which is the best writing book ever written. Read it!). I decided to give my story a go and see if people liked it. Which they did, which gave me confidence to keep going.



You write mainly short stories. Why have you decided to choose short fiction?


Short stories are a blast! I love writing them, making everything small and compact and neat. It appeals to me to work small as well as on novels…and not every story has the potential to be 60,000 words. Just walking through a short story with one character can be a lot of fun, and it's a great way to keep things interesting.



We can read in your bio that your wife is an American, and you’re from UK. Do you experience any cross-cultural differences which then become inspirations for your stories?


Not differences, but when I was casting around for a book, my wife suggested Japanese-American internment during World War Two. She's from Washington State, one of the places affected. I didn't know anything about that part of American history, and was shocked at the number of Americans who don't either – and the result was American Girl.



Your writing is a mix of various literary genres with the majority of YA. How do you know in which genre the story will end up? How does you writing process look like?


I try and make a decision what genre the book will be before I start, but I don't try to follow the conventions for it. Whatever writing style works best is what I try and go for. Writing in sci-fi or historical fiction genre are really secondary to what's going on to me...which is the characters in that world and how they interact.


My writing process is very seat-of-the-pants. I don't pin a character down and demand to know what their favourite colour is or what they're going to be doing in chapter four. I like to let them get on with it and make their own mistakes.



Your first science fiction book Medusa is out. Congratulations! How did you come up with the idea for the book? Was Sci-Fi difficult to write?


I subscribe to a science magazine full of speculative ideas, and one article was about immense floating cities. An image popped into my head of a girl riding a jet-ski towards one a few weeks later. I didn't know anything about her or her world until I started writing.


SF wasn't really difficult to write, but it was important to me to get the details right – so my characters don't use days or weeks as a measure of time, and the science in the book is grounded in reality...just a far future reality. I asked some friends to come up with some new swear words as well, which was a lot of fun.



How long does it take a write a novel / short story for you?


It takes about a year from draft zero to finished product, including the cover and beta-reads and endless, endless edits!



Can you point one favourite character from your books, and tell our readers why?


It would have to be Jenna from Over the Mountain, my first book, because she's very much like me: Loves rainstorms and is quite reserved.



Do you have any writing habits which help you keep the story going?


I try to work on a story as often as possible when I get rolling, or self-doubt starts to set in. Sometimes I have to walk away when I get blocked with it though...I start to write slower when I can feel one coming on.



Could you tell our readers which authors inspire you and your works?


I've read a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and from them, I learned characters and the trials you can put them through. All the cards are on the table with   those two, they don't hold anything out of their reach. My wife told me about Australian author John Marsden, and I'm always blown away at how good he is, even on a re-read. I've been digging into Patrick Ness recently; When a Monster Calls beguiled me with its simple language and then sucker-punched me to tears with the ending.


There are so many good authors out there, and I learn something from all of them.



In your recent post you write that the author’s imagination is a gift but also a curse. What are the best and the worst things about being a writer?


I love being to create a world from scratch and make it believable enough that it feels like you've been there. To step into someone's fictional shoes and to walk around, and then translate that onto a page. Worst part is thinking that I'll never write anything that good again. The weight of my own high standards!



What are you working on right now? Do you have any new books in development at the moment?


I'm thinking of a coastal sea-side town, quite isolated, as the galaxy comes to an end: The stars are going out, millions every night, and for some reason Earth is being left until last...



What are the characteristics that each author should have? Any advice for aspiring writers?


Patience and persistence! No one expects a pianist to be able to perform Mozart overnight, and writing is an art like any other: don't expect to be great first time. Keep practicing, and you'll get better. Read everything you can, good and bad. And read On Writing by Stephen King, the most encouraging book on writing out there.


What are you reading now?


My wife wanted to buy "Kenobi" by John Jackson Miller, because she liked the cover! She read it and enjoyed it, and I'm about seventy pages in and feel the same way.



Paper books or e-book? Why?

I love them both. I love being able to carry the complete works of Dickens in something so slim as a Kindle, but the weight of a hardback is reassuring as well.



Some authors cannot read books when they are writing.

Do you read books while writing a novel or short story?

I couldn't read when I wrote my first book, but then I realised I'd probably never be able to read again if I stopped every time I started writing!



What titles won your heart? Recommend must-reads for our readers.

Most recently, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. As I said, it suckered me with its simple language and powerful ending. Old classics work best for me: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank. Must reads for everyone.





Your favorite quotes?

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. – Allen Saunders

Books are a uniquely portable magic. – Stephen King


What’s your favorite writing and reading spot?

(Our readers would love to see some photos ;-))


I read everywhere I can find a spot, so here's my writing space in the spare room:

The little TARDIS beside the computer is a USB hub that makes the "materialisation" sound when you plug something in. And the light flashes on the top. ☺


All those toys on the upper shelf...


My wife makes these business cards for me as a little matchbook:


...and my work in progress!

 Thank you, Tony!



And here's a candy from Tony Talbot: 

30 e-book copies of Medusa!


You can find books by Tony Talbot on BookLikes: 


 and more on Tony Talbot's author page


Read other talks on BookLikes

Author Talks on BookLikes: 

Guest Post by Warren Adler: The Title Dilemma

Author Talks: Libby Fischer Hellmann

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part One

Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part Two

Author Talks: John Biggs

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part One

Author Talks: Ned Hayes, Part Two

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part One

Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part Two

Literary Inspirations of Rayne Hall


Blog Talks on BookLikes:   

Book Blog Talks: Parajunkee

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part One

Book Blog Talks: The Happy Booker, Part Two

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part One

Book Blog Talks: Happy Books, Part Two

Compare Books with Your Friends - Reading stats, Part Two


Check out if you and your friends have the same reading taste. Now you can compare books with your friends on BookLikes. 


You’ve been asking about reading stats and book comparison, and here they are! Recently we’ve launched reading challenge statistics and now it’s time to explore if your BookLikes friends are keen on the same books as you are. The book comparison will also allow you to sneak a look at your new followers' shelves. 


New feature Compare Books can be found in the new tab, Apps, which presents now three features: Reading Lists, Reading Challenge and Compare Books. If you wish to update your challenge or create a list make sure to go to the new place in the menu, Apps.


You can compare your shelved books with any of your Followings or Followers, just type in a blog name or a username to see the results.



The Compare Books page is divided in the following sections:

  • total number of books
  • books in common
  • book category compatibility 
  • total number of reviews and ratings
  • reviews and ratings in books in common

When you choose a blog to compare all data will be counted and presented on the page with the book details, reading status, rating stars and reviews.


Book Blog Talks - Parajunkee


Please welcome Rachel from Parajunkee blog in BookLikes’ Book Blog Talks! 


Rachel is an experienced book blogger, book reviewer, and talented designer. She has received many awards for her writing, blogging, and design works. 


You can view and use her works in BookLikes Theme Store, and follow her on BookLikes at: (we must say we love Rachel’s new domain name on BookLikes!)



Could you please tell our readers a little more about yourself?  Have you always been keen on reading & reviewing? 


Hi, I’m Rachel and this is always the most awkward of questions. How to sound both interesting yet not so narcissistic. But, basically, I’m in my 30s, a freelance designer and have been reading voraciously since I can remember. I got into reviewing about five years ago, kind of by accident. The blog just also sort of happened, but since it happened, it has taken over my life.  Which was good, because then it gave me two hobbies. Reading and blogging.

How did your blogging adventure start? And why blogging, and not cooking, paragliding? ;-)


This is not a very romantic story, as I mentioned, I’m a freelance designer. It wasn’t always the case. I once worked for a big evil corporation. I was a medium sized peon in the Marketing Department. The idea/problem girl. If our clients wanted something, they came to me and said “figure it out.”  Well, a large group of our clients attended a con, where a speaker mentioned that everyone needs a blog for their company. So, they all looked at me and said “we want a blog.” We designed 50K web sites for these guys and they wanted me to figure out how to do a diary type free web thingy? Yea. So, I began researching and I figured out, to actually learn how to blog, you actually had to blog. Get your feet wet, just do it. I could read all the posts I wanted on “how to blog” and I wouldn’t learn anything until I jumped in. So, I had to start blogging. I wasn’t going to blog about Marketing or Health Care, that was just boring - so I decided my experiment would be my own hobby. Books.


I commenced to learn how to blog. And then I taught some of my clients how to do it, but it didn’t really catch on with them. Because, they didn’t realize, you had to really “own” the blog, you just couldn’t do it halfway, or it would just seem like a promotional outlet. But, because I would use my blog, Parajunkee’s View, that I created as an example in my presentations, they saw that mine was doing well. They saw I had all these people following me. They saw that my twitter account had blown up. And their blogs, just sat there. Stagnant. They fired me. Because obviously, my attention was somewhere else. Told you it wasn’t a romantic story. But, that is why I started blogging. And why I continue to blog. Also, I can’t really cook and paragliding - well I’m accident prone and I won’t regale you with the story of my tries at adventure - which usually leads to a hospital visit.



You’re a wife, mum, reviewer & designer, you’re active on your blogs, and in various social media: Twitter, Facebook, BookLikes. Does your online life affect your offline life? And how do you manage to schedule all your tasks?


Yes. And yes. Luckily, I’m a freelancer, so that means, I work at home. Which gives me a lot more leeway to update blog posts, social media etc. I also have a very supportive husband, who likes having me home and taking care of our one child, which I have the freedom to do, working from home. He also understands that all my business is drummed up from online interactions. So, he only tells me to “unplug” every now and again. The one way I do try to keep things even though, is by making sure that I do “unplug” on occasion. On the weekends, you won’t see me online a lot, unless I have a big project. Also, I try and stay off in the evenings - just like if I were to work at a 9 to 5. I don’t always succeed, but my first priority will be my family.


I also find that automating a lot of menial tasks really helps, I use plugins that promote my posts, organize my reviews etc, which has done wonders for time management.



You read & review a lot. How do you pick books to read? Book covers, reviews, family recommendations, book lists?


All my book choices are from books that are sent to me for review, I haven’t read a family recommendation in a long time, even though they love giving me suggestions. I usually choose from a list the publisher sends me, or just grab the next one on my TBR spreadsheet. Books will make it on my TBR after I read the synopsis, look over a few recommendations from or and then agree to review it. I have a little more leeway in my reading repertoire for audiobooks, so if I’m looking to use up an credit, I’ll run to twitter and ask for recommendations from a group of ladies that I know are also audiobook fans and we like similar things.

You’re an advanced reviewer, what book aspects make you love or hate the book?


I think of myself as a logical person, so the plot has to make sense. I don’t give the book “credit” for being a young adult or romance or some other genre - so the plot doesn’t have to come together realistically. I like things to make sense and feel real. Then I want to like the characters.  Reallly relate to them and like them as people, or hate them as people, because any kind of emotional response makes for a great read. Finally the writing technique of the author. It can’t be sloppy, or amateurish. Other then that, there isn’t much that I’ll read that will make me instantly hate or love a book. I have noticed though,that there is one thing that will push me over the edge with a book into the hate - and that is when characters fall within an insulting stereotypical box. Like the token GBF there for comic relief, or the old judgmental Christian republican is the traditional Southern bad guy, ex-girlfriend nemesis…those sort of things.



Is blogging always fun or do you experience hard time, such as reviewer’s block, a never ending tbr pile, complaints on negative reviews, pushy authors etc?


Honestly, no, there are some times when I ask myself, “why am I doing this?” Usually it happens when I come across complaints about me, or the times when I was plagiarized, that was pretty debasing. I can deal with the TBR pile and the work, I just get frustrated with the negative people or people that do malicious things to promote themselves seem to be circling around me. Luckily this doesn’t happen often.



Apart from being a blogger and reviewers, you’re also a designer (also on BookLikes). Was it a hobby at first? What made you start a professional design business?


No, it wasn’t a hobby. I went to design school, it is actually where I met my husband. I’ve also worked as a Graphic Designer, Web Designer and Marketing Manager for the last decade (I’m showing my age). Only in the last few years, because of the aforementioned axing (see question 2)…did I start just doing it on my own. Why get a real job, when I can just hang out here with you guys?



What are you working on right now? What are your plans when it comes to blogging and designing?


I’m working on a few cover designs, both for great authors that I’m so excited to promote. Along with a few pet projects that I hope to get done soon. The 2015 Book Blogger Organizer is something that has been a work in progress for awhile, I hope everyone likes it when it comes out. And to answer the second part of the question - to take over the world?



What are the best and the worst things about being a book blogger?


The best things. It has to be when you finally meet an author in real life and they recognize you from your blog or twitter. It is both embarrassing (especially when they call you out in a panel or signing after you tweeted that you were there) but thrilling, I wouldn’t have had the guts to really have a conversation with an author that I loved before I started blogging. They are my celebs, my rock stars. Worst things. Some of the drama that pops up with the authors. If you write a negative review and they have a negative reaction. There was an author that I really liked and I wrote one mediocre review about one of her books and she got pretty nasty with me. I planned on reading any book that she published - but after that, I never wanted to read her again. Those kind of things are the down times and make me second guess any negative reviews that I publish.



What advice would you give to people who would like to start blogging? Are there any golden rules to follow?

Make a plan before you begin. It makes things a lot easier to have a guide. And have fun.



What’s on your nightstand right now?

The Young Elites by Marie Lu


Your favorite author(s)?
Karen Marie Moning, Jeaniene Frost, Illona Andrews, Julie Kagawa,  Kresley Cole…oh my the list can go on and on.


Your favorite literary genres?

I prefer Urban Fantasy, Paranormal type novels,

I really enjoy any kind of Young Adult though


Do you have books that totally won your heart?
The first book ever that won my heart - I think I was 10 - Where the Red Ferns Grow. Still all emotional about that book.



Could you think of literary character that you would like to meet face to face?

What would your ask him/her?
Jericoh Z. Barrons, what he eats?


Paper books or e-books? Why?
Both! I usually am reading a paper book, an eBook and have an audiobook on my currently reading shelf.


Favorite reading place? (we’d love to see some photos :) )

When it isn’t so hot - my favorite place is to read outside - in my little crazy garden: 


Any favorite quotes?


    There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.


One of my favorites from Hitchhikers.


 Thank you, Rachel! 


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Author Talks: Lauren B. Davis, Part Two

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Author Talks: Elizabeth Watasin, Part Two

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