The Weekly Update: 6/26/16


Well, this hasn’t quite been my best week. I got rid of headache problems I had a year or two ago and have since only taken Tylenol a handful of times, but this week I had to take it twice :-/ One of the times was because I tried a different air filter for my AC, and that turned out to be a huge mistake. I have screwy sinuses, and it dried out the air too much or something, and my whole face and head and eyes and teeth and everything ended up in so much pain that I didn’t get anything done that day and couldn’t even sleep that night. Needless to say, I’m staying away from that kind of filter from now on. The other headache, I don’t even know what it was from. Maybe just exhaustion since I’ve been extra tired lately.

So anyway, it’s been a slow week for me with blogging and generally everything.

Oh! But I do have a funny picture of a cat I meant to show you all a couple weeks ago:

Funny Cat Picture

Ok, now, I’ve never had any cats myself, but I have never seen a cat just sprawl out on his back like that. Though I did feel bad because it does get really hot outside, which is, I imagine, why he was lying like that. And that is about it for my real life news today.







Blog/Bookish Updates:

I have a question. I don’t know if anyone reading this will know the answer, but authors or anyone who works with authors might. Ok, let’s say a book goes on a blog tour. The blog tour has graphics, banners, etc., but where does the person making those graphics get the fonts and images? From the authors? Because it’s not like those things are just free for the taking on the internet (not most of the time, anyway), so it always makes me wonder.

Another question, does anyone else find that their 3 star-ish reviews often end up being the longest? Actually, I think my reviews are just becoming longer in general, which I don’t consider a good thing since they weren’t exactly short to begin with. It’s like, I used to be content pointing out the main things, now I feel like I have to point out every single detail that I liked and disliked or I’m somehow being dishonest or not being helpful or… I don’t know. Which is ridiculous, of course, but I can’t seem to stop myself.

Books I Received for Review:

Make Me Burn by Tiffany Roberts | reading, books
The Experiment by Alicia Nordwell | reading, books
The Unquiet Dead by Chris Dubecki | reading, books
Pieces by T. Aleo | reading, books

I finally got a request from an author for a book that I had already wanted! And all because of the crazy hair post that I posted on a whim lol. Also, I love those first two covers <3

Books I Finished:

The Paranaturalist by Ki Brightly | reading, books
When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason | reading, books
As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason | reading, books

I have 17 unread review copies, so what did I decide to read this week? The Gardella Vampire Hunters books (which were not review copies, in case you didn’t figure that part out) -_- That’s mood reading for ya. But they were great! And I am SO excited already for the spin-off series because it’s set in the Prohibition Era! I had not known that, but, as some of you may already know, that’s pretty much my favorite time in history as a setting! Anyway, I did read one review copy at least. The Paranaturalist seems like a book I should’ve loved, but it just didn’t click with me for some strange reason, so it was just kind of decent for me.

Song of the Week:

I didn’t get the chance to find a song this week.

In Case You Missed It:

– I shared book covers with long, beautiful hair on them.
– I reviewed Thereafter by Terri Bruce, a book with a really unique take on the afterlife and lots of character growth.
– I discussed feminism and double standards in books and whether the term “strong female character” is doing more harm than good.
– I reviewed My Zombie Boyfriend by T. Strange, a light, funny M/M paranormal romance.
– I reviewed The Bleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason, another juicy, tension-filled, gripping book in the Gardella series.

The Sunday Post Link-Up:

Once again, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer 🙂


Talk to me!

Did you find any good books or music last week?
Have your reviews gotten longer since you started blogging?
Did you get any review copies read?


Your Thoughts


36 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 6/26/16

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  1. kimbacaffeinate

    That is a cat under there? It looks like a child’s doll…and heck yes has been very hot. Sorry about the headaches..too much time in the heat always gives me one. LOL sometimes we need to read the books we purchase good for you! Hope the week ahead is amazing 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha yep, that’s a cat on his back. And yeah, sometimes you just gotta read the other books you have instead of completely stressing over review copies! Thank you, you have a great week too 🙂

  2. Greg

    Ha that cat definitely looks comfortable… maybe? I’m assuming it’s trying t stay cool. I’ve seen cats stretch out on their back but not quite like that lol. Review lengths are funny- there’s no ryhme or reason to mine, I might go on and on about one book and then another might be just a few paragraphs and I’m done. It’s kinda funny. In fact I had one just last week I think that was fairly short, but I just kind of had said everything I had lol.

    Glad to see the Gleason books are still good. I do like the premise of them- and The Experiment is a nice cover.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol. Poor thing was probably just trying to stay cool, but it was still funny. Yeah, my review lengths do vary, but I’ve noticed they’ve still generally gotten longer than when I first started.

      The Gardella books were great! I enjoyed them. And I just love the artwork on that Experiment cover.

  3. Annika @ Hiding Books

    THAT’S A CAT?!
    Sorry to hear about your headaches! I hope next week is a lot better on that front.
    It probably depends who’s arranging a blog tour, but I think usually they have their own graphics that they give you a link to. I’m sure someone else will have more concrete information on that though..! 17 unread review copies, Kristen? I’m glad I’m not the only one…! I’ll get on the Girl in the Shadows today so we can hopefully chat about it soon 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha yep, definitely a cat.

      Thanks 🙂

      Oh, I’m not worried about participating in tours, I’m actually just wondering how the graphics are created. But yeah, the review copies have kind of started piling up. I keep trying to get the number down, I really do! This week one of them was offered, and two were books I had requested weeks ago but just received. But I have so many non-review and backlisted books I wanna get to :-/ Yay for Girl in the Shadows! I’m still only like 25% in, so I’m not too far ahead 🙂

  4. Annemieke

    I hope the headaches won’t come back this next week. Thumbs up. As for your reviews, I think we all go through a phase from time to time where things change, we second guess ourselves and we are just trying to find our way with reviewing again. Give it some time. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you 🙂 Yeah, I’m sure we all are constantly changing, part of life and all that, so our review styles are bound to change. Thanks for the advice!

  5. Trish @ Between My Lines

    My cat sleeps like that sometimes! She gets into the weirdest positions and always makes me laugh.

    Whoever is organising the book tour will supply the graphic, so it could be the author, a publisher or a blog tour company. And yes they must take time to put together but I suppose they are hoping to see a payback in sales and pr.

    Hope the headaches stay gone!

  6. irena_bookdustmagic

    When I first saw that cat pic, I was affraid it was dead. Honestly.
    I’m glad it just played there.

    Ohh, this cover The Experiment is amazing!!
    I’ll have to check your hairy post now! 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha oh my. Don’t worry, I will never post pictures of dead cats on my blog lol.

      I love that Experiment cover so much! And you cracked me up with “hairy post” 😛

  7. Samantha

    Oh cats…they are so weird! Sorry about your headaches. At least you figured out the source of one-mine are sometimes just ‘out of the blue’ headaches!
    I got Pieces by T. Aleo as well and am super curious about it!
    Have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      They are so weird lol, but that’s probably why I love them. Thanks, I used to get a lot of those “out of the blue” headaches, so I feel your pain.

      Pieces sounds so interesting, right?! I’m looking forward to reading it. And yay, now I’ll have someone to chat about it with 😀 You have a great week too!

  8. Kim @ kimberlyfaye reads

    My sinuses/allergies/whatever have been out of control this week, too. I think it’s that I need to change the air filter in my apartment. Or, ask maintenance to change it. I need to find out how these things work. I sympathize with you.

    As far as your question about blog tour collateral, I think it depends on the company/organizer. I’ve seen a big push from a couple of the larger companies I work with to make sure ANY teaser, etc. is using licensed stock photos (as they should) and not just images grabbed from Google searches. As a designer, I spend a lot of time on stock sites and if I receive something in a tour packet that seems suspicious, I won’t use it. Sometimes the teasers in packets are also fan-made and I won’t use those unless I know for sure stock is being used. Even if I didn’t make it, I’m not opening myself up to a lawsuit. I personally hope more authors and tour companies go this route. Stock isn’t that expensive. It’s worth it to do things legally. In case you can’t tell… this is a hot button issue for me. Haha.

    Have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I also get headaches when the filter needs changing. The first time it happened in my apt, I swear I almost ended up going to the ER because I was in so much pain for days I couldn’t even function or sleep, and I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. But within like an hour of changing the filter, I felt better. Now I’ve learned how to recognize the feeling and change the filter ASAP before I get a full headache.

      I’m actually more curious about the graphics that use the book cover and font but have things kind of rearranged or the text in a different place, etc., because I wonder how they make those. But I get what you’re saying. Images are such a huge issue online, and so many people still don’t understand that you can’t just grab whatever images you want to make graphics. I don’t blame you for not using suspicious things. I completely get why it’s a hot button issue for you, it bothers me a lot too when I see people using image illegally.

      You have a great week too!

  9. Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews

    So sorry about your headaches! And that cat is totally weird LOL. I do feel like some of my reviews are short sometimes and I try to be more detailed but some reviews make me want to fangirl about everything, I guess it depends on the book, my 3-star reviews are those books that usually make me want to say a lot of stuff – about tropes, characters. It’s a good thing there’s no standard work count for a review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks, at least I’m headache-free today 🙂 And lol, the way that cat was lying like that was just so funny to me. Yeah, it seems like the 3 star reviews are the longest because usually I give them that rating because there were good things but also bad things, and so then I have a whole bunch to talk about. Blogging would so stressful to me if there were a word count for reviews lol. I’m a very wordy person!

  10. Whitney @ First Impressions Reviews

    I hope your headaches stay away — it is a horrible feeling to have one. I can’t say that I cap off at a certain point while writing reviews but I do tend to get more wordy with books I was down the middle with, a bit more rambling man than my other reviews. I hope you have a nice week.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you 🙂 I never cap my reviews at any certain word count either. I just worry that mine are too long and no one will read them and then they won’t be doing any good lol. I tend to be a very wordy person. But those middle rated books do seem to end up with the longest reviews since they have both good and bad things to mention. You have a nice week too!

  11. Myrthe Dijkslag

    I think the lower my rating, the more I talk about it, because I feel like I need to point out why I really, really, truly didn’t like a book. I started off with really long reviews and have tried to shorten them. Usually that works, but not all the time.
    When it comes to 4 and 5 star reviews, I feel like I’m repeating myself a lot because usually it’s all awesome and a summery of how much I liked the writing, characters and other things seems so pointless. I try to keep them individual, but it’s not easy without spoiling any of the book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s a good point, sometimes there’s not a whole lot of detail to say about high rated books since everything was just great! But I tend to ramble on those because I get all fangirl-y and want to really impress upon everyone how amazing the book was lol.

  12. Lola

    Two headaches in a week definitely counts as a bad week in my opinion. I am sorry to hear about your headaches, I get headaches too sometimes and they are the worst. I hope you won’t get any more of them for a while. Exhaustion does seem to increase the risk of me getting headaches as well, so I try and get enough sleep.

    My sister has a cat and my boyfriend their parents have a cat and from what I’ve seen they do sometimes lie on their back like that, but rarely. It’s probably cool underneath that car, with the warm weather.

    I can only speak for how I handle things concerning tour banners. I have a banner maker who designs the tour banners for my tours. When an author books a tour I ask the author to send me the cover and let me know which font is used on the cover and then pass that along to my banner maker. She has a lot of fonts and a lot of authors use free fonts, so she uses the font from the cover on the banner or if the font is one she doesn’t have or the author doesn’t know the font she picks a font she has that looks similar. Not really sure about the rules around fonts and such as I don’t do any design work myself.

    Besides the tour banner I only use graphics/ covers I got directly from the author to use during the tour. I have some authors who provide me with teaser images or extra graphics to use for the tour, which I then include in the media kit.

    My 3 star reviews can end up pretty long as well, but all my reviews are pretty long. I do notice that with some books I have much more to say, while others are a bit shorter. When i just started blogging my reviews were pretty short, but they only have gotten longer since then. I don’t think long reviews are a bad thing and I always enjoy reading your reviews :).

    That’s awesome you got a review request for a book you already wanted, I love it when that happens. And all because of that hair post, that’s great she actually saw that and send you a review copy.

    I am indulging in some mood reading on my ipad before I go back to review copies there as well. My evening books have been review copies for months now and I hardly find/ make time to fit in a non-review book, but luckily they have been books I was in the mood for so far. Mood reading can be difficult sometimes when you have a bunch of review copies you really need to read. I finished one review copy this book and one non-review book, so that’s not too bad. I hope you’ll have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve had many far worse weeks in terms of headaches, but I think that’s why something like this bothers me so much. I thought I was finally past all the headaches, so whenever I get one that doesn’t have some sort of reason (like the air filter), it kind of makes me freak out that I’m gonna end up how I was a few years ago.

      I do think the cat was just trying to cool off, but it was so funny because I had never seen that before lol.

      I knew you’d have an answer for me about the graphics! Thanks 🙂

      Yeah, review length definitely depends on the book, but I have noticed mine getting longer in general, it seems. I just worry that a lot of people won’t want to read long reviews, but I suppose there are also plenty of people like me who do want in-depth info about the book when they’re making a decision. So you’re right, they’re not a bad thing 🙂

      That’s exactly what happened with the hair post, so that was pretty cool. And two of the authors whose books I featured ended up commenting, so that was fun!

      Yeah, review copies and mood reading don’t always mix very well, but that’s why I guess we gotta allow ourselves to occasionally take a break with a book that’s not a review copy so that we don’t burn ourselves out. You have a great week too!

  13. Got My Book

    My reviews are really long and yet I always feel like I didn’t say anything relevant. Improving my reviews is on my never ending list of things to do. I currently limit myself to 3 items on my Highlights list and try to sneak the rest into other sections of the review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol reviews are such tricky things to get right. But I guess that’s why it helps when books have lots of reviews, that way people can get a better picture rather than having to rely on just the things that one person alone points out. I’ve considered limiting myself like you described, but all my reviews are just too different and dependent on the book that they wouldn’t come out right if I tried to do that.

  14. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    I hope the headaches get better, I’m sorry you have to deal with that!

    I’m kind of digging the covers for The Unquiet Dead and Pieces — I’m going to look into those ones 😀

    Have a great week!

        1. Kristen Burns

          I do always find it so interesting how people have such different taste! Though I hate to tell you The Unquiet Dead was just released on the 27th, and it turns out the cover you saw on my blog wasn’t the final one, so you may be disappointed now lol.

  15. Anna @ Adventures with a Book Nerd

    My very first review was only a paragraph, so my reviews are a lot longer then they used to be. I think that my reviews are longer when I feel passionate about my opinions on the book. So I write longer reviews for books that I loved and for books that I absolutely hated. I hope that you have a great week! 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh man, no way could I write only a paragraph for some of the books I review! That makes sense though to write more when you’re passionate about it, whether it’s positive or negative. You have a great week too!

  16. Deborah

    Sorry to hear you haven’t been well Kristen. Do you think the heat played a role in the other headache as well?

    And yes… sometimes I struggle with the 3 star reviews. I’m a hard marker, so 3 stars usually means I enjoyed it and once upon a time most of my reviews were 3 stars as I just found what I could at the library. Four stars for me means it was special and 4.5-5 means it was pretty amazing.

    I sometimes struggle with reviews when I want to explain it was good, but not great… but that didn’t matter and I enjoyed it anyway! (If that makes sense!)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks. I think it was just the tiredness though since I wasn’t outside.

      I feel like I’ve been getting nicer with ratings lately? But I completely know the kind of book you’re talking about, the good but not great but I still enjoyed it one lol. I struggle with those too because it’s such a hard thing to convey, and you don’t want to turn people off the book, but you still want to point out the flaws… #bookreviewerstruggles lol 😛