Guess what I’m working on…

I’ll bet you can figure it out :D I’m looking for something pretty specific.


Any guesses, booklovers?



Review: I Heart You, You Haunt Me

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder 
Genre: YA, Romance
Publication Date: Jan 8 2008


Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back...

...sort of.
Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.
Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

I Heart You You Haunt Me … is a little odd. It’s hard to describe it, really. Ava is so attached to Jackson, she loves him so much, yet hanging on to him is becoming more trouble than it’s worth. I was torn between wanting her to hang on to him in his ghost form, and wanting her to move on.

However in the whole scheme of things, it seemed just a little redundant, repetitive, and silly. It was painful and sad and sweet at times, but also a little absurd at times. I can’t really say if I liked it.

I did, however, like the end. What needed to happen, did happen. It had a pretty strong conclusion, though I felt almost like the author went one or two pages longer than she needed to (It was written in verse).

Content/Recommendation: clean, some kissing. Ages 12+



Review: The Language of Secrets

The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon 
Genre: Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publication Date: March 23, 2010

Justin Fisher was just an ordinary guy—he was a manager of a hotel, married with a son, and a great future ahead of him. But he decides that he must go back to his home, because he hasn’t spoken with his family in years.

When he arrives, his parents are dead—and his gravestone is beside theirs.

Justin embarks on an amazing terrifying journey of mystery, self discovery, and secrets to try to fix his broken past—or at least figure out who he is.

The Language of Secrets was powerful, ironic, and profound. I was instantly swept away by Dixon’s prose and illustrations. My jaw literally dropped as I read the opening paragraphs, the writing was so fluid and descriptive. It was all written in third person, but switched perspectives every few chapters.

Near the middle I felt like I was in the middle of two separate stories, and I wasn’t sure how they connected, but I knew they did because they were about the same characters. Watching the story unfold in almost a mystery-novel way was incredible: it was a complex series of events woven together expertly so that you can’t even find the seams.

I loved the ending. The Language of Secrets finishes up the story, concludes it, leaves you satisfied, and then throws something at you in the very last paragraph of the very last chapter that you didn’t expect. It sent my eyebrows to the ceiling and my jaw to the floor. I think my eyeballs are still rolling around on the ground somewhere.

The Language of Secrets was amazing—it’s staying on my shelf for a definite re-read.

Content: medium language, some violence, mention of sex but no details, mention of rape but no details.

Recommendation: Ages 16+



Funny videos!

And they’re conservative. Not offensive. So don’t be afraid to watch them ;)


Lanelle showed me these.


Review: The Life of Glass

The Life of Glass by Jillian Cantor
Genre: YA, Romance


Melissa’s father died almost two years ago. She has been struggling, but is surviving with the help of her best friend Ryan. But through a series of events, her world gets turned upside down. A new girl comes to school and befriends her immediately, for some unknown reason. Ryan gets a girlfriend. Melissa’s mom is dating some guy. Ashley, her older sister, is… well just being an annoying older sister with problems. And in the middle of it all, Melissa still has unsolved mysteries about her father, her desires, and herself.

The Life of Glass is a fast read—I tore through  it in a matter of hours. I wasn’t particularly sure why I couldn’t stop reading it. Maybe it was the easy language, maybe it was the characters, maybe I was just in the mood for a good romance novel and that was what was on my shelf. Either way, I didn’t stop reading until my sister turned the light out on me.

I liked the characters a lot (though some of them I despised) and others remained mysteries until later in the book; they were those “oh I had no idea they were that kind of person” characters, and I liked the mystery of their personalities. They were relatable and likeable, the ending was nice. It wasn’t perfect, but it was nice.

That being said, there was nothing hugely spectacular about The Life of Glass: nothing that will make it a long lasting fantastic memory or escape for me. I enjoyed it and I won’t forget it, but it won’t be one of those “second reads.”

This was part of the 1 ARC Tours for Bloody Bad. Click Here for the rest of the tour and other reviews.


Borrow My ARC Tour



Dawn of the Dreadfuls!

For those of you who don’t know (sillies!!!) Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to   Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was released yesterday.

Thanks to Anna at FSB I have a trailer for you, and you can read Chapter 1 for free right here!



And I have to say… this trailer is HILARIOUS. but disgusting!



Chapter 1
by Steve Hockensmith,
Author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Walking out in the middle of a funeral would be, of course, bad form. So attempting to walk out on one's own was beyond the pale. 

When the service began, Mr. Ford was as well behaved as any corpse could be expected to be. In fact, he lay stretched out on the bier looking almost as stiff and expressionless in death as he had in life, and Oscar Bennet, gazing upon his not-so-dearly departed neighbor, could but think to himself, You lucky sod.

It was Mr. Bennet who longed to escape the church then, and the black oblivion of death seemed infinitely preferable to the torments he was suffering. At the pulpit, the Reverend Mr. Cummings was reading (and reading and reading and reading) from the Book of Common Prayer with all the verve and passion of a man mumbling in his sleep, while the pews were filled with statues -- the good people of Meryton, Hertfordshire, competing to see who could remain motionless the longest while wearing the most somber look of solemnity.

This contest had long since been forfeited by one party in particular: Mr. Bennet's. Mrs. Bennet couldn't resist sharing her (insufficiently) whispered appraisal of the casket's handles and plaque. ("Brass? For shame! Why, Mrs. Morrison had gold last week, and her people don't have two guineas to rub together.") Lydia and Kitty, the youngest of the Bennets' five daughters, were ever erupting into titters for reasons known only to themselves. Meanwhile, the middle daughter, fourteen-year-old Mary, insisted on loudly shushing her giggling sisters no matter how many times her reproaches were ignored, for she considered herself second only to the Reverend Mr. Cummings -- and perhaps Christ Himself -- as Meryton's foremost arbiter of virtue.

At least the Bennets' eldest, Jane, was as serene and sweet countenanced as ever, even if her dress was a trifle heavy on décolletage for a funeral. ("Display, my dear, display!" Mrs. Bennet had harped at her that morning. "Lord Lumpley might be there!") And, of course, Mr. Bennet knew he need fear no embarrassment from Elizabeth, second to Jane in age and beauty but first in spirit and wit. He leaned forward to look down the pew at her, his favorite -- and found her gaping at the front of the church, a look of horror on her face.

Mr. Bennet followed her line of sight. What he saw was a luxury, hard won and now so easily taken for granted: a man about to be buried with his head still on his shoulders.

That head, though -- wasn't there more of a loll to the left to it now? Weren't the lips drawn more taut, and the eyelids less so? In fact, weren't those eyes even now beginning to --

Yes. Yes, they were.

Mr. Bennet felt an icy cold inside him where there should have been fire, and his tingling fingers fumbled for the hilt of a sword that wasn't there.

Mr. Ford sat up and opened his eyes.

The first person to leap into action was Mrs. Bennet. Unfortunately, the action she leapt to was shrieking loud enough to wake the dead (presuming any in the vicinity were still sleeping) and wrapping herself around her husband with force sufficient to snap a man with less back-bone in two.

"Get a hold of yourself, woman!" Mr. Bennet said.

She merely maintained her hold on him, though, her redoubled howls sparking Kitty and Lydia to similar hysterics.

At the front of the church, Mrs. Ford staggered to her feet and started toward the bier.

"Martin!" she cried. "Martin, my beloved, you're alive!"

"I think not, Madam!" Mr. Bennet called out (while placing a firm hand over his wife's mouth)."If someone would restrain the lady, please!" Most of the congregation was busy screeching or fleeing or both at once, yet a few hardy souls managed to grab Mrs. Ford before she could shower her newly returned husband with kisses. 
"Thank you!" Mr. Bennet said. He spent the next moments trying to disentangle himself from his wife's clutches. When he found he couldn't, he simply stepped sideways into the aisle, dragging her with him.

"I will be walking that way, Mrs. Bennet." He jerked his head at Mr. Ford, who was struggling to haul himself out of his casket. "If you choose to join me, so be it."

Mrs. Bennet let go and, after carefully checking to make sure Jane was still behind her, swooned backward into her eldest daughter's arms.

"Get her out of here," Mr. Bennet told Jane. "Lydia and Kitty, as well."

He turned his attention then to the next two girls down the pew: Elizabeth and Mary. The latter was deep in conversation with her younger sisters.

"The dreadfuls have returned!" Kitty screamed.

"Calm yourself, sister," Mary said, her voice dead. She was either keeping a cool head or had retreated into catatonia, it was hard to tell which. "We should not be hasty in our judgments."

"Hasty? Hasty?" Lydia pointed at the very undead Mr. Ford. "He's sitting up in his coffin!"

Mary stared back at her blankly. "We don't know he's a dreadful, though.

But Elizabeth did know. Mr. Bennet could see it in her eyes -- because now she was staring at him.

She didn't grasp the whole truth of it. How could she, when he'd been forced to keep it from her for so long? Yet this much would be obvious to a clear-thinking, level-headed girl like her: The dreadfuls had returned, and there was more to be done about it than scream. More her father intended to do.

What she couldn't have guessed -- couldn't have possibly dreamed -- was that she herself would be part of the doing.

"Elizabeth," Mr. Bennet said. "Mary. If you would come with me, please."

And he turned away and started toward the altar. Toward the zombie.

The above is an excerpt from the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2010 Steve Hockensmith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Author Bio
Steve Hockensmith is an award-winning novelist and reporter. His debut mystery, Holmes on the Range, was a finalist for the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony awards. Critics have hailed the novel and its sequels as "hilarious" (Entertainment Weekly), "dazzling" (The Boston Globe), "clever" (The New York Times), "uproarious" (Publisher's Weekly), "wonderfully entertaining" (Booklist), and "quirky and original" (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). He lives in Alameda, California, with his wife and two children.
For more information, please visit www.QuirkClassics.com.

Review: Young Bess

Young Bess by Margaret Irwin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: DNF

While I was reading this book I had my moments where I was thinking “this is nice…this is cute…” the writing was very eloquent and good. However the plot was just… nonexistent. By page 85 not much had happened. I had no urge to continue reading and even though I enjoyed it while I was reading it, I had to force myself to sit down and read it. And you should never have to force yourself to read a book (except for school). I felt the same way about The Midnight Charter. Both of these were similar in that they both had a bit of politics in them.

I did like the characters (Loved Tom Seymour!) and the writing, again, was great. But nothing made me want to keep reading.

I didn’t get far enough into the book to be able to say what content was in it.

Young Bess was re-published by Sourcebooks March 1st. Please know that I am in the minority for those who didn’t like/finish it. See other reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.



So I’m a little frustrated

I’m feeling frustrated because I am a note taker for my school. There is this kid with a learning disability and he can’t take notes so he’s supposed to listen in class and then I leave the photo copies of his notes in the ASC.

But he sleeps through class. And then never picks up the notes I take and copy for him.

Which makes me feel like I’m wasting my time. I mean, I’d have to take the notes anyway because I need them for myself. And it’s cool because I get paid $100 at the end of the semester just for dropping off my notes.

But it still frustrates me.

Don’t mind me I’ve had a rough week. Between school and deadlines and knees dislocating (the “good” knee this time) and boys, I’ve just about had enough. Hence the no blogging for three days thing. I didn’t want to like, scare everyone away from me because I was in a bad mood.


I know I didn’t post a meme this sunday, mostly because there was nothing to say but also because I’m lazy. But there will be four or five reviews coming this weekend. You can look at my schedule if you want dates, or you can just hang tight.

I’ll try not to scare you ;)


aah! *freaks*

Ok. Having a minor freak out moment.

Y’all know I wrote a book series called “Agent Smith Smith.” The main character is Lindsay, the secondary character is Brett Hudson.

Brett Harris looks like Brett my character.

I found this out when I posted a review to amazon and saw a book trailer and he was there. And I like, flipped. because that’s like, weird. because Brett Hudson is a piece of my imagination. and to see him in the flesh is… like… AAAAAGH!! Same name and everything…



Hey, you’ve known from the get-go that I’m random and weird. This shall serve as a reminder.


Review: Start Here

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris  
Genre: Youth and Christian Living
Rating: 5

Click the cover to buy)

(From Goodreads)

You want to do hard things. But you don’t know where to start. You are changing the world around you.  But you are tired and burned out.  You feel called to do the extraordinary for God. But you feel stuck in the ordinary.

Do Hard Things inspired thousands of young people around the world to make the most of the teen years. Now Alex and Brett Harris are back and ready to tackle the questions that Do Hard Things inspired: How do I get started? What do I do when I get discouraged? What’s the best way to inspire others? Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide to doing hard things, right where you are. Are you ready to take the next step and blast past mediocrity for the glory of God? START HERE.

I found Start Here to be very inspirational. The Harris’ get down to the point quickly and concisely.

Start Here is a light easy read, but then how can a Christian living book be light? They talk about pride and sin and giving glory to God, they talk about peer pressure and stress and fears and the Father of Lies. But they also encourage teenagers to get out of the box that our society has put them in. It’s light and easy in that it’s an easily understood page-turner.

The Harris’ first book, Do Hard Things, was about encouraging teens to do just that—to do hard things—for God. In Start Here, they talk about how to go about doing those hard things, what to do when you encounter fear, press, or peer pressure, and answer all the tough questions.

One of the points that they make is that your hard thing may not be to sail around the world at age sixteen or to make a movie or to start a nonprofit organization or anything else big. Your hard thing might be what some people consider a small thing, and it may be something that nobody even knows about. But God wants you to do that hard thing because in the long run, it changes your heart for the better. At the back of Start Here is a list of 100 things that people have contributed too, and I want to share a few with you:

  • Sold all the clothes I didn’t need and gave the money to charity
  • worked up to 100 pushups in four weeks
  • saved my first kiss for my wedding day
  • read a book out loud to my younger siblings
  • let my brother win an argument
  • Babysat for a single mom who could not pay me much
  • Set a budget and stuck with it.

Maybe these people aren’t going to be front page news… but their hard things are pretty important.

Start Here will encourage, inspire, and help you through whatever it is that God has for you, whether you know about it right now or not. Consider it a handbook, and use it side by side with your main instruction manual (The Bible).

Recommendation: Ages 11+ Adults do hard things, too! They also will benefit from this book.

**I have a giveaway for One copy of START HERE. See the sticky post up top for the link.**



Win an ARC of Magic Under Glass!

Brizmus Blogs Books is having an international contest for MUG. (wow that’s a funny acronym!)

Ends March 27th

Between the Pages

I wanted to do a quick shout out about a new book blog, Between the Pages—Reviews, giveaways, challenges, and entertainment.


Lynda has been blogging for about 5 months, and she’s started some cool new memes on her blog: Movers and Shakers, Imperial Yacht virtual world cruise, Book Cocktails, and 1000 words

She’s got a few giveaways going on, too. So go over there and see what she’s up to today!



Best videos ever

So I’ll add to this page as I go… I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I guarantee you’ll never know what you’ll see up here ;)

Rank a diddle dido ding dural i doe!

Me! Me! me…. me! me! me!


I love it when the camera talks

(and a spoof)

And the rats and the cats, they were playing peek-a-boo!

12600 calories… Seriously

Anaheim ballet pirouettes…WOW




Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  siembellish12

google irishLeave a comment in Irish (you can use Google translator if you want to ;)

from now until midnight EST for a chance to win THE SILVER KEY!

The Silver Key is a CD with music and a few other miscellaneous  things like Bingo cards and maps with no words. It’s a complicated riddle where, at the end, there is a silver key. The first person to solve the riddle and find the key gets to keep it, they win cash prize of $1000, and an additional dollar for every CD sold. All the clues necessary to find the key are in the album and the things that come with it.

the silver key

Click here for my review of THE SILVER KEY

**Note: The winner will recieve the CD and all the maps etc. that come with it. Winning the CD does not mean you will win the prize. You must solve the riddle yourself!

Good luck!

 greenhaleyknitz knitter

(ps—can you tell I like green? lol)

Winners of contests!

3 winners of THE LAST SONG contest are…

Marilu said...

I would have to say my worst summer vacation was the summer before 7th grade. I spent 7 weeks in Italy. I know you are probably thinking 7 weeks in Italy....how is that horrible??
Well we did not go to Rome, or Venice, or anywhere really. We spent all 7 weeks in a tiny little town at the top of a mountain. Yes 7 weeks in a tiny town, where you don't know anybody except the relatives you are visiting. But you don't really know them either as you met them for the 1st time when they picked you up at the airport. I do not speak Italian, and they do not speak English. Sounds fun, huh? So that whole 7 weeks the only people I could talk to were my parents and my little sister. Great summer vacation for any 12 year old.....

Bethie said...

The worst vacation I have ever had was when I was about 16 and we went to Canada with the family. Niagara Falls was beautiful, but I was so bored after a while.

MJ said...

Never had a bad vacation..can I still enter?? lol


Winner of Shadow Blade is…

jellybelly82158 said…

I guess my ideal weapon would have to be a gun because I don't want ot be to close when I fight anyone.

Please e-mail me at haleymathiot@yahoo.com before March 20 or I’ll pick a new winner!



I hit my sister over the head with a rock.

so when Hannah and I were like, five six, our next door neighbor (who, since we never saw anything except her eye through a hole in the wood, had been dubbed "eye") –’s dad got divorced and took her dog. we decided we would run away—to Texas, which we knew was across the street and a long ways off—and find her dog and bring it back. we packed our matching heart backpacks with water bottles and celery and carrot sticks and lettuce and Hannah said, the night before we went, "if i don't wake up, go outside and get a rock and hit me with it."

i did.


Anyway. we got as far as the driveway and we chickened out. We kept daring each other to go to the end of the block, but freaking out and running back.

Then mom came out to take yogi on a walk. she asked what on earth we were doing outside at 6am.

we said we were getting fresh air. we went inside and never did that again

Random story. :)



Blog design part 4—little details

Post body

What kind of plug-ins should be in your actual post? If you have a hard time seeing where one post starts and one ends, it’s too much. I’m talking about those “related posts” thumbnails and “rate this post” and “responses” and “retweet” and “Stumble-upon” and all that other stuff.

I have a retweet button at the top of my post. People are more likely to spread your links if it’s easy ( grazed over that earlier). However, a two-layer widget that allows you to retweet, stumble-upon, digg, facebook, everything else on earth, is overwhelming.

How many posts on your home page?

This really depends on what is in your sidebar, how long it takes your layout to load, and how many pictures you use. If your blog loads fast, put “All posts for 7 days” as your selection. If it takes longer than 15 seconds for everything on your blog to load, don’t do more than five or six individual posts. Otherwise anyone who is trying to find something in your blog is going to be annoyed at how long it takes to load.

Site Map

If you have a lot of pages, you should have a site map. It’s a link at the very bottom of your website (or at the top) and is just as easy to find as “Contact” or “About.” Use your discretion where to put it. Mine is at the very bottom.

A sitemap is an alphabetical list of links. It should have everything crucial, everything that your menu has, and other stuff that you think is important but that you didn’t know where to link, only in alphabetical order. If in doubt, put it in. Who knows what someone may be looking for?

And by “every link” I don’t mean “Every Post.” that’s what an archive is for. I mean all the important stuff.


The best kind of archive is the kind that is collapsible, and shows the title of your post. It’s called “hierarchy” Remember: only dates mean nothing but dates with titles are the best.

Quick Links

Posting a “sticky post” at the top of your blog is great—as long as it’s not as long as a normal post in and of itself. You don’t want a bunch of links and stars and dates and colors, its distracting and—there’s that word again—overwhelming.

Just like how I didn’t post this whole series in one long blog post like I was going to. Because as I typed it in Microsoft word and it ended up being five full pages, I realized it was overwhelming.

Post length

Post length is different, because some posts just have to be long (guest posts, reviews, interviews etc) while some are only a few sentences (promotions for other blogs, etc.). Remember that as a blogger, it’s ok to rant and rave for ten pages. Nobody will read it, but it’s ok. It’s your blog.

But I am more likely to read several paragraphs than four pages. In fact, I’m more likely to read five or six four-paragraph posts than I am to read one ten-paragraph post. It’s psychological.

Part 1—Keeping it basic

Part 2—‘side from that

Part 3—navigation plus

Part 4—little details

I hope this series helped some of you. Let me know if you’d ever like me to do something like this again.



Blog design part 3—Navigation plus

Navigation Bars

I’ve noticed that this is becoming more and more popular. I eventually switched layouts just so I could have a nav. bar, and then went back to the plain old “Minima” layout and used a paste-in html code. It was so easy! And it’s convenient. If you want to know the best navigation bar I’ve ever used, this is the one.

It’s very easy. You go to “edit html,” paste in this quick code, then add a widget on your layout page. You plug in the html, put in the links you want, and decide which ones you want to drop down—and even which colors they are!—then put in your pages.

Every good website has a short, quick, easy navigation bar. It starts with a four or five broad links, and breaks down further later on into more specific pages. That’s why I recommend a dropdown nav bar.

Here’s a rundown of what should be in a navigation bar:

  1. You need a “Home” tab, because A sometimes clicking the picture or header doesn’t work and B it looks professional (my other rant).
  2. You can have an “about” tab. You decide what “about” entails, but it should contain things about the blog, about you, about what you do or don’t review etc.
  3. You need a “reviews” tab—because that’s why we’re here, right?
  4. You need a legal tab of some sort, either “Policy” or “disclaimer”
  5. CONTACT. (Contact is most important: I’ll talk about that below.)

If you have a dropdown menu, you can make this easy. Here’s an example:

  • Home
  • The Life and Lies—> challenges, contests, songs, free downloads, knitting, crafts, riddles (personal stuff)
  • Books –>To be reviewed, Schedule (google calendar), Inventory (mostly goodreads widgets and lists)
  • Reviews—>Five Star Bookshelf, Reviews by Title. eventually I’ll do a second rollover menu for ‘reviews’ and sort it by title, author, rating etc. You see what I mean by broad and breaking down from broad to narrow?
  • About—>About Me,  About my rating system, Policy, Disclaimer
  • Sources (one link, with a page of everyone I review for who sends me books for free. You can put your libraries/book stores in there if you want to, I guess.)
  • Contact


Contact should be easiest to find. It should be the very second, or the very last button on every nav bar. Home should always be the first. If they can’t contact you… how on earth are they supposed to send you stuff? Ok I’m being sarcastic, but the point is people need something, at least an e-mail address.

The contact page should have this: E-mail address or contact form, quick summary of policy or phrase saying “click here (link) to see which books I do or do not accept before e-mailing me” or the like, and a link to your disclaimer.

If you need even more broad-to-narrowness than that, you can do a double-drop down or a multi-level drop down. It drops down, and then scrolls over as many times as you want (you just have to know how to read html—more on that another time) and you can get even pickier about organization. However, don’t go too crazy because then you’ve got so much sorting that nobody has any idea where to look for anything anymore. Try to keep your nav bar under 10 links, and no more than five or six per drop-down.

Next in the series: Post Body, Post numbers, and Sitemaps.

Part 1—Keeping it basic

Part 2—‘side from that

Part 3—navigation plus

Part 4—little details



Blog design part 2—‘side from that


number of them: If you go to my actual page instead of just reading through a subscriber of some kind, you’ll see that I no longer have five or four (or three or even two) sidebars. Between trying to maintain them and other people saying “Haley I can’t find anything!!!!”, I went back to the basics. I’ve got one sidebar and I’m pretty happy with it. Two isn’t really a problem, I have nothing against it: as long as it’s organized.

where: When I go to other people’s blogs, the most annoying thing ever is trying to find where the follower widget is, or where the “about me” box is etc. I don’t even mind so much if it’s scattered randomly in between widgets and pictures. But having to search up and down two or three sidebars is a waste of my time, and most of the time I say “forget it. More trouble than it’s worth.” (by the way, so will your future suppliers!)

What: Honestly, a countdown is great, but does it need to be in the sidebar? (no it doesn’t. put it in the post with the book review).  How ‘bout a “blogoversary” counter? Or a bunch of pictures of new releases? All those challenges? It’s unnecessary stuff, guys, and it makes everything look cluttered. The most important stuff should go first at the top, closest to the header, and the less important stuff should go down all the way to (or past) the comments.

For example: If you go to my blog, the first thing you see is a search bar, because you can find anything with it and it’s small. The second is a quick (not full) “note to authors/publishers” about acceptance and reviews, and my important notices to them. Then a contact button. Then my shortened FTC disclosure and a link to my full one. Then followers. Then other “connect with me” stuff… you get the point, right? guess what’s at the very bottom? my nings, my challenges, my buttons that have nothing to do with blogging (Kiss Me I’m Irish!) and stuff that I like but that doesn’t really matter (because this used to be a personal blog and it sorta still is, as you’ll see if you keep up with my rants).

Next in the series: Navigation Bars

Part 1—Keeping it basic

Part 2—‘side from that

Part 3—navigation plus

Part 4—little details



Blog design part 1—Keeping it Basic

I had planned on being part of a panel for the Book Blog conference but was unable to participate :( However, as Blog Design was the topic I was being asked to think about, it is now on my mind. I’m going to share a few basics with you, in a 4- part series.

I’m not a professional web designer. However, if you add up all the websites I’ve made (actively used or otherwise) I’ve easily made over 30 of them. And my biggest pet peeve about going to any website—blog or otherwise—is crappy web design.

Basic Blog design

The biggest things I want to highlight are these:

  1. You’ve got to make your blog easy to navigate. By “navigate” I mean find stuff.
  2. Make it easy to spread your links around, and people will be more likely to do so
  3. If you want people to take you seriously, act serious.

Now let’s look at these in more detail:

1—If a publisher or author comes to your blog, what’s the first thing they’re going to look for? Probably the basics: your review/acceptance policy, some of your past reviews (so they can see your style), your contact information. That’s all they really want to know right now. So how do you present that information in an appropriate easy way? Keep reading, I’ll get to it (eventually).

2—If you have a million ways of spreading links and sharing (ie twitter, goodreads, facebook stumble-upon, digg etc.) it makes people go “ahh! too much! forget it!” Make it easy.

3—If you aren’t professional about the way you organize your blog, people won’t take you seriously. If people don’t take you seriously, why should they send you books? The kinds of blogs that turn me away are these: hot pink text, lots of exclamation points, smiley’s in the reviews, headers that don’t fit (or don’t look good) in the header box. It’s a psychological thing, guys. You want people to take you seriously? At least use your blog to make people think that you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t).

Next post in the series: Sidebar designs.

Part 1—Keeping it basic

Part 2—‘side from that

Part 3—navigation plus

Part 4—little details



Diary of a psychotic cat

Ok. I love cats. I found this monologue in a monologue book for people preparing for auditions. It made me laugh out loud in the library (much to the dismay of the other college students.)

Here it is.

Everywhere I see signs of my lady's treachery. Clues I have overlooked for years suddenly snap into focus. How many times has she tried to suck me up with the vacuum cleaner? How often has her radiator "accidentally" sprayed me with scalding steam, while she played the innocent? What exactly does she plan to do with that Dutch oven she's never used? It's a twelve-pound roaster! I weigh twelve pounds! How could I have been so blind?

There was a time, dear Diary, when cats were masters of the Earth. I know this in my bones. We roamed outdoors with impunity, free of the hazards of speeding trucks and inbred toddlers with pointy sticks. We ate fish, fowl, possum, gazelle, moose, even hippo! We would descend on our prey in packs, like piranha, and gnaw them to gleaming skeletons, our fangs soaked in sweet and savory blood. But little by little, the humans have enslaved us. They have reduced us to sycophantic layabouts, no better than dogs!

The time of captivity has come to an end. I am the Chosen One, the Savior of All Felines. My name will be known throughout the Ages. I will reclaim what is ours.

Yes? Yes. Funny. I can totally use this for my next audition… if I ever get my lazy butt back into theatre. Which is likely to be never. But anyway.

Just thought I’d share.


I’d be filthy rich

Ok this is completely random, unplanned, unedited, and probably ridiculous. Read at your own risk.

If I actually received or won every penny that my spam box says I won, I’d be filthy rich. I could have the biggest library on earth. I could send millions of dollars to Haiti. I could go to college. Heck I could buy the college.

Why do people send spam? Do they get some kind of thrill out of infecting your computer? Do they love lying to innocent (ok maybe not innocent, maybe naive) children who think they’ve really won a laptop computer or a free phone? Why do they do it?

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

Actually, Someone has been going around various book blogs and gathering e-mail addresses from contests. She (or he if he’s playing a joke) gather the e-mails and then send something like this: “Dearest beloved, I found your e-mail address at bookblog.blog.com and would like to know you better. I am this many years old and I love doing this. I want to have a personal relationship with you, and I am trying to find the love of my life so I can get married. I look forward to hearing from you.”

what they really mean is this: “Hey, I gathered your e-mail address. I’m a crazy sex-addict from this country trying to get over to America so I can marry you and bring you home and make the rest of your life miserable.”

Ok so maybe not that bad. But you get the point.

I just don’t understand why people would do stupid things like that, either dumb e-mails like that (most of which don’t use proper grammar) or saying “YOU WON READ CAREFULLY LIST AGE…SEX…ADDRESS…PHONE…” and it’s like “um, no.”

I can at least say this: If you’re going to spam someone why do you make it so obvious?

(Rant over. It’s safe, you can come out now ;)


Ridiculous giveaway!

So you want to win these new YA releases?

git over to La Femme Readers for a mega contest! Ends April 15

warning! offensive material ahead!

Ok. Beware. I’m about to talk about sex.

Sex is used in our culture to sell things, whether that be food or alcohol or clothing or music or vacation spots or glasses or—you get the idea.

Or books! Hence, erotica.

I don’t read erotica for a few reasons:

  • One, I don’t need dirty or sexual images in my head, I’m 18 and not married, and my heart is deceitful and wicked and needs all the help it can get, therefore I should keep things that cause me to sin away from it.
  • Two, although I do believe in freedom of the press and am an advocate for anti-censorship and anti-book banning, I personally don’t think it’s appropriate. At least for me.
  • Three, I don’t think it makes the story any better. I believe that a great book can be ruined by the wrong content. I’ve blogged about this before.

Many times while reading a book, I come across a scene that I didn’t expect to be in there. This happened a lot when I first started reviewing books. I had no idea people would ever write out an explicit sex scene and publish it. I mean, who would publish a sex scene? seriously? I was completely shocked, a little disappointed, and very embarrassed (Hey, I was a sheltered homeschooler.). I wished I had known that contemporary books included things like that so that I could have been more careful about what I accepted for review. This is exactly why I always mention sexual content in my reviews. Now I’m more careful, and in the few times I get tricked I can “see it coming” so to speak, and I can skip pages and start reading where the dialogue starts again.

I was told ever since “the talk” that sex is something special, spiritual, and holy that is shared between husband and wife—and I firmly believe that that is exactly what it should be. God created it for a reason, and for husband and wife only. Sadly, in our world today sex is very casual and many people don’t hold to those standards. You find it in many contemporary novels, adult and young adult both.

But I’m not going to preach at you. (today.)

So how ‘bout book covers? Sometimes the cover is sexier than the book itself. (I found this to be true in One Scream Away.) 

And sometimes I expect a book to be clean and it’s not (My Unfair Lady).



Can you really judge a book by it’s cover? Sure. But your judgment may not be accurate.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with appealing covers, covers that catch your interest or make you think “ooh, what’s that about…” . I just don’t think that overly sexy covers, covers with near naked men (or women!) are the best ones to use.

In fact, lately I’d requested a few books that sounded great based on the summary, but I hadn’t been able to find a cover yet because it was so new. And when they came in…Let’s just say I winced and turned my eyes away. How was I supposed to read something like that? I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad.

Let me give you an example of some covers I’ve seen lately.

These covers, in my opinion, have crossed the line between appealing and  ridiculously-photoshopped: (and really, what’s with the whole no faces thing?) These are not even appealing they’re so overdone. And I’m putting the least absurd ones up here for you. Some were so offensive I didn’t dare click on them out of fear of the close-up.


These on the other hand, are great (hot!) but not offensive or ridiculous.

Ok so Lindsay Sans book there, that bite is a little silly. But the only thing “undressed” about him is his tie. And that last one in the corner is a little absurd too. I mean, how many men do you know who have arms like that? But at least he’s not half naked.

You get my point, right? I mean, the ones up top look just silly. They’re a turn off. How do you expect me to read the book if you’ve just turned me away from it due to stupid absurd mega-muscled-men (alliteration! whoot!)?

Again: Not that I would read them anyway. In fact I probably wouldn’t read the ones on the second list (except the YA one, and maybe Lindsay Sans because I’ve read her before) simply because I like more story to my books than just romance. But I’d be more likely to pick them up.

What do you think? Would you be more likely to read a book with an appealing cover (like the ones on the second list) or an “overdone” one like the first one? (overdone is my opinion, and I won’t judge you I promise.) Where do you stand in the discussion? do you think there’s nothing wrong with using sex to sell anything, books included? or are you feeling tempted to move to Saudi Arabia? (hopefully nobody is that desperate.)

Just gimme your thoughts.



Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.