How to get Free Books!

This has been a big month for me!

My first novel made it into the finals of a contest (Yaay!), I found out my novel formatting is incorrect ( Noo!), and I found another way to get free books.

I have been enjoying the world of book blogging for about five months.  I have deeply educated myself on how much I don’t know about the literary world.  I am slowly catching on. A few new bloggers reached out to me this week and asked how I got started, so I want to share the four main things I have learned.

    1-   Ask for a book before you buy it.

I always request review copies from the authors or publishers of books I am interested in adding to my website. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  I figure it’s better to ask and receive a no than to never know. Right?  Requests usually work out in my favor. Authors  want to get their book in the hands of people who are going to rave about it.  Are you a book lover? Are you passionate about the genre they are writing? Then you are who they are looking for! It’s a win-win!


   2- Sign up for your favorite Authors’ newsletters.

Newsletters do more than provide news on release dates and book signings ( although as a book reviewer you should be paying attention to these things). Authors often use them to reach out to their fan base and let them know about contests, book giveaways, and their need for book reviewers.  Newsletters are what really got me started. It was so simple, and it got me connected.

    3- Join a review website

A while ago a favorite author of mine sent out a request for book reviewers ( Oh look, # 2 in action!) .  I was all over that like white on a polar bear that’s never left the north pole. She sent me a link to a little website called Xpresso Tours

And my world was forever changed.

Did you know there are websites for book reviewers that GIVE AWAY free books?!?



I  also joined Net Galley, and I am sure there are many more websites and avenues I have yet to discover.  So far I have received four books,  and I definitely have things to say about them. all good things



One little tip- don’t  over request if you join these websites.  You are expected to fully review each book you receive. If you don’t your feedback rating will go down and publishers will stop giving you review copies.

4.- Use twitter!

All of the above actions can be done using tweets. Twitter is a great way to instantly connect with your favorite authors. It is also an easy way to be added to their newsletters. Once you start following a few people in the book business, they will follow  you.  I started  using twitter to connect with authors, readers, and publishers a few months ago, and my network has increased by 300.  If I really put some effort into connections ( it’s on my to do list, I swear!) I could see that number tripling in a month. While we are talking about this, follow me on twitter guys! right here! Follow me! @_AnchoredGypsy

One more thing before  I sign off. It’s the most important part of this post, so listen up!

   Don’t expect every book to be free.

If an author doesn’t need any more reviews I am happy to pay for their book. Remember, this is their livelihood, and it is important to support the people who create these worlds we love much. I Love books. They are worth my money.

Now I have a question for my fellow book bloggers who are much more seasoned than I am.

What other resources are available for the word gobblers out there? Enlighten me, please!



A Gift of Poison – Four stars!

A Gift of PoisonA Gift of Poison, what a name! And like its intention grabbing name the book started off with a flourishing scene involving gambling, a good chase, and knives being thrown at our heroine.

This book certainly has a hook.

The story centers around a young girl named Briand, who’s sharp, beautiful under all her gruff antics, and gloriously flawed. She doesn’t lack in spirit but she does lack in discretion, and it tends to get her into trouble. The fact that the man who is charge of her wishes she didn’t exist doesn’t help her situation.

The book started off well. Briand is shunned by her Uncle to the “wildlands” which seems to be an eventual death sentence. Her cousin, Bran, and the Steward of the castle, Kael, want to save her from the harsh punishment, so they attempt to whisk her away somewhere safe. In the process it is revealed she is the “Dragonsayer”, meaning she can control animals – even dragons.

Sounds cool, right?

In many ways it is. Kate Avery Ellison is an amazingly descriptive author with a vivid imagination and this book is full of poetic world building. Some people don’t like that, but I do. And there are moments of really great story telling, such as the snake scene (when you read it you will understand) and the moment in the mountains with the lake (JUST READ IT!). It has loss, different cultures, and a great twist ending. This book is appropriate for young teens and still interesting for adults, which is a rare thing.

It’s just missing something.

I think what’s missing is more connections. More connections between the characters, and there are a few holes in the story. This is the first book of a series, so I suspect many of those holes were placed with purpose and will be explained in the future. That’s understandable. But this book’s description is “Intrigue. Romance. Dragons.” Those last two words are a bit understated in the storyline.

There are dragons, just not as many as you might like to see. That is fine with me, the first book of a series often offers only peeks of what’s to come. Be warned that if you are choosing this book because of the dragon aspect you might be disappointed.


There are many great reasons to read this book, but if dragons are all you want go somewhere else, or wait until the next book in this series is released so you can jump right in.

As far as romance goes, this book is lacking in it.

Romance is starting to show by the end, but it hasn’t fully bloomed. I have a problem with that. I am a sucker for a good “angsty” duo or a spit fire boy and girl who love to hate one another. This book almost has it, but not quite. I think a little more would have driven the plot along, especially because the two characters in question are so much more multi-dimensional when they are together. They make one another better, not just as people but as characters in a story. I am hoping the next book will break past the “I almost like you” barrier. When Briand and her love interest cross over that line it is going to be quite a show!

Finally, the ending is abrupt. Way to abrupt. I wouldn’t call it rushed. The plot points that needed to be tied up in this book are taken care of and foundation for the next installment is laid. The book just sort of …Ends. Where it ends doesn’t really make any sense to me, so I felt sort of lost.

Overall, I’d say this book is good. Not great, but good. It wouldn’t be the first book by Ellison I would recommend, but I will be anxiously waiting for the next installment to be released, mostly because of the ending.

I think she did that on purpose!

3.75 stars, and I’m rounding up on all the sites that don’t allow decimals…which is all of them.
Thanks for the book Kate Avery Ellison! It was an enjoyable read.

So I wrote a book … now what?

No, I’m really asking, now what?

A few weeks ago, I finally wrote the last sentence of the novel I have been writing for the past two years.

Two. Years.

As soon as I finished, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride.

I was joyful. Ecstatic. I had finally accomplished something that I had dreamed about doing as a little girl, and I was proud of it. So proud! I mean who cares if nothing ever came of it, I WROTE A BOOK!!!!!!! If no one else liked it at least I did, and I was okay with that. So what if I poured two years of precious time and effort into this thing? I didn’t need anyone’s approval, I was a strong independent woman who has accomplished a DREAM!!!!!!!!!!

I WAS A CHAMPION!!!!!! Right? … Right?

Well, yea, I was technically right. But here’s the thing about books. There not worth much if no one reads them. So, how was I going to get people to read it? and enjoy it? As I stared at the 107,000 words I had written ( I know, it’s long) I couldn’t help but think, Now what?

So I did the only thing I could think of. I entered a contest.

I wasn’t under any delusions that I would magically win and suddenly become a best selling Author.  I entered because they promised feedback, and feedback is invaluable. Creating my entry also forced me to look at the first two chapters of my book with a critical eye. It forced me to edit. It forced me to cut. All in all, it made my story better.

So, that was a good start! I took a first step!  I am going somewhere!

And after that first step, I arrived at the same question .

Now what?

So, I’m entering more contests and trying to gather some draft readers. Truthfully I’m just stumbling around, sort of lost. I am taking some time to read other people’s work, because I think a good writer has to be an avid reader . My inbox is jam packed with books, just waiting for me to review them! I can’t wait!  But I am worried this new experience is going to change my ability to critically review.  Will I still be honest about flaws? Will I be too connected to the author’s feelings, and suddenly be too biased?

Great job!!!!...Sort of.
Great job!!!!…Sort of.

Am I going to say “good work” to everything, just because I truly understand the blood, sweat, and tears that went into these pages? I open the first book on my list nervously. It’s written by a favorite author of mine, Kate Avery Ellison (review coming soon!) and I dive into the story.

Thank the book gods, I think I’ll be okay!

I have always enjoyed looking past a book’s surface and focusing on the details. Pacing, world building, and all the technicalities have always held a little magic for me. Suddenly I notice these intricacies more. I can read between the lines so much clearer now.

I am excited to post my next book review. I think it will be one of my better ones.

As far as my own book goes, I’m still stuck on island “next step is unknown”.

Anyone out there have any suggestions? A map? A guide? Anything? If so, please, send me a message in a bottle.  I could use some book direction.

A review of The Heir – Not what I was expecting!

The Heir (The Selection, #4)The Heir by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The fourth book of the Selection series has finally arrived! Some of us have been waiting for a year to meet the offspring of much-loved Maxon and America, and I am sure there are tons of girls (including myself) that immediately bought the book the moment it was available, sat down, and read it cover to cover. Now that I’ve finished it, what did I think? Was it good? Did meet my expectations?

Well, that’s a complex question.

When I started this book I was fully aware of the massive amount of industry demand and expectation that was riding the tails of The Heir. The Selection’s success is hard to truly express, the words “exceptionally well” really fall flat. I mean, it’s The Selection. It’s up there with The Hunger Games and Divergent. Heck, it’s up there with Twilight! I am positive that if a show or movie is ever created (please, please do this WB!!) there will be girls playing the shows on repeat on their DVR/ lining up outside the movie theater in the same droves twilight invoked.

That is quite a bit of pressure for one book.

Was it as good as the last book in the Selection series? No, it wasn’t. However, I think there is good reason for that.

The original Selection story was just that- an original story. That isn’t the case with this new part of the series. Yes, it is a new story with new characters, but Kiera didn’t have the freedom to just create any world she wanted. She had to build a new story around an already existing cast and set. She had to weave the old characters in with the new, and provide enough of the old to entice her readers, while still keeping her new characters as the main focus. She had to make us fall in love with new people, while we were still over the moon about Maxon and America’s happy(ish) ending.

Holy Spumoni, that sounds hard! I have to imagine that was a challenge, even for the exceptionally talented Kiera Cass!

Right from the beginning this book had so much to surmount, and it showed. I have to be honest, I dredged through the first few chapters. It wasn’t that they weren’t good per se, they just weren’t good in comparison to the first chapters of The One. I didn’t have the same heated anticipation that spurred me to fly through The One, tearing through each page with the vigor of a hungry child. There was nothing I needed to know about Eadlyn yet, because I didn’t yet know her at all.

So I set the book down, and I reset my mind. I reminded myself that I wasn’t feverish when I first picked up The Selection, either. The Selection had just been another new book, and that was how I needed to treat this book too. Regardless of knowing who Eadlyn’s parents are, I needed to focus on Eadlyn and not her parents. This was her story, not theirs.With a new additude, I charged on.

As the book went on, it grew on me. That doesn’t surprise me, Kiera is great with the build of a story’s crescendo. I don’t like Eadlyn as much as I liked America, but I think I could. I suspect that many people will prefer Eadlyn over America at first. The reason is simple, Eadlyn is a spoiled princess, and America was the very opposite. In fact Eadlyn isn’t just a spoiled princess. SHE IS A SELF CENTERED BRAT!!

Eadlyn and America could not be more different. Other than their stubbornness they have almost nothing in common at first glance, simply because they are both the product of very different worlds. Eadlyn was raised to know she was powerful and important. She is spoiled, and why wouldn’t she be? She is the next ruler of I’llea. She grew up in a palace, with an army of servants. Of course she has a bit of a self-important complex. Yet, I see potential in her. I see her mother’s steadfast nerve, and her father’s faith. I see a girl who could be great… if a few things change. One of things that needs to change is the way her parents handle her, and that was difficult for me to absorb. The Maxon and America I knew would never have allowed a daughter to treat people the way Eadlyn treats others… but then again, they seem to be trying to teach her selflessness through the selection.

I also want to discuss the boys, of course! I have to say, I am not sure what the outcome of Eadyln’s love life will be. Her love story isn’t as intense as America’s was, but I think it will be. I definitely have a favorite for Eadlyn, but my favorite could easily change. I knew exactly who America should be with pretty quickly, this time it doesn’t seem so obvious to me. The problem is Eadlyn’s crippling fear of falling in love. She puts up walls so people can’t see that she is just a girl, and you can’t fall in love if you don’t let anyone in.(view spoiler) My favorite picks from the selection are Kile & Henri, and I am leaning towards Kile because the Language barrier is a big obstacle for sweet, perfect Henri to overcome! Of course there is also Eric. He may not be a part of the selection, but he is certainly becoming an important part of Eadlyn’s life. I am interested to see where that relationship goes.

Finally there was the ending. It was devastating! I have a love/hate relationship with cliff hangers, but I feel no love for this one. It was cruel. Be warned, you might cry.

Overall, this was my least favorite book in The Selection series. I’ll still read the next one, and I think the next one will be much, much better, but I feel like this whole book should have been squeezed into the first half of one book. Eadlyn could have been a little more likable too! However, there were moments that truly moved me, and there are some very quotable phrases in this book. Some of them were so good I had to stop reading and take a breath, just to revel in them. four stars is my final verdict for The Heir!

View all my reviews

The One – Definitely the one for me!

The One (The Selection, #3)The One by Kiera Cass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been waiting for this book for over a year. A YEAR! So I was prepared to be let down because of the massive amount of build-up I had centered on The One. I promised myself I would stay calm, collected, and I would not cry hysterically, yell at the pages, or shout with joy. I was going to act like a composed adult.

Then I got through chapter two, and I was already yelling at the pages. You see, there are books that immediately capture you, and this series does that. Then there are books that get you so involved in the characters you stay up all night because you just HAVE to know what happens…and this book is one of those as well. So heed my warning, and start in the morning! You will not be able to put it down.

This book is a fairy tale. When I say that, I mean it in terms people don’t usually think of when they hear that phrase. There is a happy ending, but it comes with heartache and struggle as well. And really, isn’t that what most fairy tales are like? The characters in this book go through a lot to get to their happy ending. Maybe it should be called a “real fairy tale”, because it isn’t just a happily ever after story, it is an “I love you no matter what” story. That is probably why I loved this story so much, because those are my favorite kind.
I can’t say much more then what I have said already, because if I do there will be spoilers. This is a book you need to read spoil free! The ending is a surprise in a way most will not expect. It is fulfilling, happy, sad, and everything Cass’s loyal fans wanted. It is hard to make everyone happy, but I think she did it!

View all my reviews