Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Friday, February 21, 2014

Guest Post from Julie Musil - Book Reviews: Go For It!

As my southern grandmother would say, "I'm thrilled spitless," to welcome the amazing
Julie Musil
Friend - Talented Author - Critique Partner - Inspiration

Her fantabulous debut novel

is available NOW - YES RIGHT NOW! 

Julie was my mentor in navigating online reviewing. 
Today she's sharing her savvy on the topic. 

The Importance of Book Reviews & How to Write Them

Book reviews...who needs ‘em? 
Apparently, writers and readers!

I’ll admit, I never used to write book reviews. If I loved a book I’d share the good news with my friends and family. 
But that was it.

As I prepared to self publish my YA novel,
I learned how important reviews are for authors and readers. 

  • Reviews are important to the author because even negative reviews make the title visible to potential readers. Visibility helps sell more books.
  • A review is important to readers because it helps them decide whether or not to invest valuable time and money in a book.

I have two tips for leaving book reviews:

Be honest but fair. No need to be cruel with a review. If you didn’t like the book, don’t feel pressured to leave a five-star review. The point of a review is to help future readers. 

Say as much or as little as you’d like. If you want to say only a few words about what you did or didn’t like with the book, that’s fine. If you want to write an in-depth review about your favorite or least favorite parts of the book, go for it.

If you’ve read the story on a Kindle, chances are you’ll receive a pop up window requesting a star rating and review after you turn the final page. (I’m not sure if this happens with a Nook. If you know, please mention it in the comments). 

Here's the online step-by-step reviewing process for Amazon:
  1. Search for the title in question. Click on the title.
  2. Below the title, you should see “Be the first to write a review” or (4 customer reviews) — or however many reviews have been received so far. Click on this statement.
  3. Under “Average Customer Review” you should see “Create Your Own Review.” Click that button.
  4. Click on the number of stars you want to rate it. 1= I hate it, 2 = I don’t like it, 3 = It’s okay, 4 = I like it, 5 = I love it.
  5. In the line provided, write a headline summary of your review. When writing the review for Philippa Gregory’s The Kingmaker’s Daughter, my title was “Fascinating read.”
  6. Click in the box below where it says “Write your review here.” This is where you can write what you did or didn’t like about the book. In the review for The Kingmaker’s Daughter, I complimented the author on her beautiful language and character development.
  7. Click Submit.
The process for Barnes and Noble and Goodreads are basically the same. 

And there you have it—a quickie tutorial on writing book reviews.

What’s your opinion on book reviews? Do you still trust them? Do you write them? Any tips you’d like to add?

If you’ve read The Boy Who Loved Fire, thank you so much! If you’d like to write a review, click here.

Julie, thank you so much for popping by. 
I wish you all good things for 
The Boy Who Loved Fire

Julie Musil writes Young Adult novels from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her novel The Boy Who Loved Fire is available now. For more information, or to stop by and say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

The Boy Who Loved Fire
By Julie Musil
Manny O’Donnell revels in his status at the top of his high school food chain. He and his friends party in the mountains on a blustery night, sharing liquor and lame ghost stories around a campfire. The next morning, as a wild fire rages in those same mountains, Manny experiences doubt. He was the last of the drunken crew to leave the cave, and he’s uncertain if he extinguished the flames. Within hours, he becomes the number one arson suspect.

Santa Ana winds + matches = disaster. You’d think he would've learned that the first time he started a fire.

As he evades a determined arson investigator, Manny, a modern-day Scrooge, is visited by ghosts of the past, present, and future. He’s forced to witness the fate of his inadvertent victims, including Abigail, the scarred beauty who softens his heart. Manny must choose between turning around his callous, self-centered attitude, or protecting his own skin at the expense of anyone who gets in his way.

Buy Links for The Boy Who Loved Fire

Monday, February 10, 2014

Here and There and Everywhere

I'm taking a breather from my Common Core posts for a bit, but will return with info. on performance tasks and assessments next month.

I have been traveling like crazy for the past few weeks. My writerly imagination cache overflows in new surroundings. 

Is the gate to Narnia in Central Park?
Central Park

Do I dare pass through the tunnel?
Central Park


Will I meet my prince?

Where are the folks who usually sit on this bench? 

Chicago - Lake Front

If I have the luxury of a few free hours, I'll make tracks to a museum to...

Go back in time

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Brave a vortex

Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

Metropolitan Museum of Art

I take tons of pictures and scribble pages of bullet points in my journal, stealing settings, details, people, conversations, accents, and magic as I travel.

How do you fill your imagination cache when you are away from home?