What’s Up 2019?!

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been a little silent over here at Beyond the Stars. Lots of exciting life changes have been happening this year, from graduating college to getting married. Super exciting!

I thought it would be a great time to update y’all with what has been going on over here, reading wise. I have read twenty-seven books so far this year, according to Goodreads.

2019 READING CHALLENGE

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27

books completed

8 books ahead of schedule
27/60 (45%)

Here is an over view of everything I have read so far in 2019 (ALSO, ignore my simple paint job cover up of three books from 2018)

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I’ve picked up some great books so far, with eleven being five star reads and only TWO being one star reads. Check out my five star, 2019 favorites, SO FAR down below.

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It’s been a great year so far, reading and life wise. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this year holds!

What all have you read this year? What has been your favorite(s)? Tell me in the comments!


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Guest Post: Authors need Bloggers with Ms. Hannah Lynn

Hellllooooooooo blogging world!

I want to take the time to thank Ms. Hannah Lynn, author of The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, which will be releasing July 12, 2018, for stopping by today!

The blog tour for The Afterlife of Walter Augustus will be running from July 15th-July 31st.

Make sure you stop by on Sunday to check out my stop on the tour!

Without any further ado, I am handing the mike (so to speak) over to Ms. Lynn!


Authors need Bloggers:

Why self-published authors need to take a little more care when they are contacting bloggers.

As a writer, I am a member of various online groups and forums aimed to connecting readers and writers. Some of this is for promotion — writers seeking out reviews for their latest novel — and others are simply there to allow you to make a connection. Time and time again on these forums I see the same thing, reviewers frustrated by the impersonal blanket emails sent out seeking reviews. In all honesty, I don’t understand why any writer — or generally any well-mannered person — would do that. So, I thought I would offer an explanation as to why this is such a bad idea and why taking the time to know bloggers can be not only worthwhile, but incredibly rewarding.

Writers need bloggers, not the other way around

Perhaps it has escaped your notice as a writer, but there are hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of books out there. Yes, yours may be incredibly unique, a masterpiece, rewriting fiction as we know it — I could go on and on, but I’m making myself a little nauseous — but even if it is, (and the truth is that it’s probably not) it won’t matter if no one ever gets to see it. Bloggers are our doorway to readers. And they don’t have to unbolt the door if they don’t want to.

Bloggers are people

Again, it may have escaped your notice yet again, but bloggers are actual people. You know that annoying work colleague, the one who can’t be bothered to learn your name but thinks you should jump to his or her command when they call. That’s you if you can’t be bothered to go to the effort of finding out who you are actually talking too. It is just plain rude. You are asking for vast amounts of their time, if you can’t be bothered to even find out their name, you don’t deserve it. Which brings me to my next point.

Blogs are hugely time consuming

For about 3 months my husband did a daily vlog. I nearly killed him and I’m not joking. I never saw him, let alone spoke to him. Every waking thought was about his vlog, and that was only 3 months long.

The amount of time that goes into preparing material for any blog is massive, but with a book blog, it’s colossal. First the bloggers need to read the book. Even a fast reader is going to need to give over a day of their time to do this. Then they need to hone the review as well as post it on various different sites to up your exposure. If you don’t believe me, write a guest post for a blog — I’m certain you will find plenty of blogs willing to accept your offer — and see how long it takes you. I’d be impressed if you could get anything worth reading done in less than an hour (I mean that, I would be genuinely impressed. It takes me ages to write them).

Now let’s not forget that many of these blogs have been running for years. Some have passed the decade point. These guys have followings that lots of us self-published writers would die for, and if you don’t respect that, you’re in the wrong business.

Blogs are good

This is my last point. There is a reason that so many of these blogs have vast followings that stick by them year after year, and it’s quite simple. They are good. Bloggers are writers too and a lot of them are damn talented. Their posts are witty and clever, both detailed yet succinct; everything a lot of us hope our writing could be. Throw in with that some great recommendations and light-hearted humour and why wouldn’t you want to spend half-an-hour reading through their back catalogue of posts?

It can be hard as a self-published writer to get people to even look at our books, so for the good of all of us out there, can we try and be a bit more mindful of our manners in the future please.

Hannah Lynn, Author of The Afterlife of Walter Augustus available on Amazon from 12th July 2018.

Find me on Twitter @HMLynnauthor and Facebook @HannahLynnAuthor


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First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years- if it ever did end- began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

The boat bobbed, listed, righted itself again, dived bravely through treacherous whirlpools, and continues on its way down Witcham Street toward the traffic light which marked the intersection of Witcham and Jackson.


Read on to find out which book this extract is from…

Arrow

ArrowArrow

Arrow

It by Stephen King

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INFO | Goodreads

BUY | Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Summary:

Derry, Maine is just an ordinary town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part, a good place to live.

It is a group of children who see – and feel – what makes Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT appears as an evil clown named Pennywise and sometimes IT reaches up, seizing, tearing, killing…

Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, emerging again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.


I’m about one hundred pages in and it’s already scary…. You’ll float too….

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Review: A Dog’s Purpose (A Dog’s Purpose #1) by W. Bruce Cameron

Links to Purchase:

Amazon Link (Affiliate Link)

Book Details:

Originally published: 2010

Author: W. Bruce Cameron

Followed by: A Dog’s Journey

Synopsis: This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

Opinion: I HAVE NEVER HAD FEELINGS LIKE THIS WHEN READING A BOOK. I put off reading this novel due to controversy with filming (I know, I know, that has nothing to do with the author) and I regret it so much. I have never cried both tears or joy and sadness so many times in one book.

This book address so many “controversial” topics that, quite frankly, needed to be addressed. Let us go down the list from start to finish (let me know if I miss any key points)

  • People with too many dogs
  • Pounds having to put animals down due to injuries and being “unadoptable”/lack of space
  • Puppy mills
  • Leaving your pets in hot vehicles with the windows rolled up (Leaving your pets in your vehicle PERIOD really)
  • Leaving gates open/not fixing fencing properly and pet getting out
  • Neglect, leaving chained up 24/7, not picking up poop in the yard, not providing food, water, and shelter
  • Dropping dogs off in the middle of nowhere because you decided you don’t want it anymore

I’m sure there’s more but those are the ones that really stood out to me.

This book is so touching and so real. It hits so close to home, especially Bailey’s story. I have two dogs myself and they are my pride and joy (I don’t have kids and don’t really plan on it.)  It made me view my dogs differently and I kept having the urge to cuddle them and pull them in tight.

The main point of this story is a dog finding their purpose. It’s the same dog reincarnated into different breeds, with different names, and different jobs and he just wants to know what his purpose is. Why does he keep being reborn? What is his purpose if he hasn’t found it yet? It’s a really sweet novel and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to feel a little tug on their heart strings.

My Rating: ★★★★★

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1,000 Pages +

Okay, okay, okay. Everyone calm down. Class come to order.

I have two, YES TWO, over one thousand page books I want to knock out in the next two weeks. Normally, I would say about two hundred pages a day for ten days? No big deal. But these books are not for the faint of heart.

I started A Storm of Swords by GRRM and made it about one hundred pages in. I can’t seem to pick it back up, so I’m challenging myself to finish it, but not til next week. That is because I also just received IT by Stephen King off of hold at my library, so I have to read it first since I don’t own it.

I have a review going up 10/20, 10/24, and, hopefully, next 10/27 as well. I’ve got a prequel (#0.5) that I’m going to knock out here once I quit putting it off. It’s only seventy-four pages so it might take an hour? I don’t know. I tried to judge how fast I read but I forget I’m supposed to be counting. Anyway, point is, I should have enough reviews to fill the gap for me to read these big books.

I’ll try to throw in a few memes and tags since it seems like y’all really like those. Views and visitors sky rocket when I post those, so that’s always fun. Down below I’m going to post a tentative schedule of what reviews will be put up through the end of October. I only post reviews on Mondays and Fridays, I think I might switch this to Tuesday and Fridays though to space it out a little better? Tell me what you think in the comments.

  • 10/20: A Dog’s Purpose (A Dog’s Purpose #1) by W. Bruce Cameron
  • 10/24: Aaru (The Aaru Cycle #1) by David Meredith
  • 10/27: Debutante (Davenport House #0.5) by Marie Silk
  • 10/31: IT by Stephen King
  • 11/3: A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3) by GRRM

Keep an eye out for these reviews! (Schedule is subject to change)

Slippin’ and Slidin’…

We took a night off from being super serious last Friday night. I convinced Greg to go to Barnes and Noble with me, and on the way there some our friends called inviting us to go Ice Skating. You already know where this is going. So, Greg goes and says, “Well, I’ll just drop you off or I’ll stay and watch.” Could NOT convince this man to get on the ice because he thought I was good and he had never skating been before. Y’all, I haven’t been Ice Skating in five years. It’s like learning how to walk again.

So, I go out there and get bullied by a little kid that’s probably not even ten years old that makes me get off the wall. I don’t fall but I come close. I’m trying to watch my language because eight year olds are flying past me doing cool tricks and here I am, twenty-two, and back on the wall slipping around trying not to bust it. Greg FINALLY realizes that I suck and decides to try. I change skates because mine are too big, well guess what, new skates are too small. There was so much complaining going on it wasn’t even funny. Our other friend falls multiple times because she’s waiting around on us.  For TWO hours (maybe more) after all I heard was this is all your fault (in a joking manner, of course.)

I decided I would go again in five years when I forgot how awful it was. Greg said I was crazy and that he was never doing that again. Even with all the negativity and pain, it was crazy fun. As we start getting older (YES, I KNOW I’M ONLY TWENTY-TWO BUT I’M  A GRANDMA OKAY, I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE MY HOUSE) I feel like we forget how to have fun. Life becomes too serious and we’re always stressed out. I’ve been struggling with Anxiety for about the past three months. I get stressed out of little things that I have no control over and create things to be stressed about. One of the things that has triggered me is an inability to buy journals. Y’all, I have two that are half-empty and two that are completely empty at home. PLUS, journals cost like two dollars. Let’s be real. I literally only use my journals to write my reviews in, along with one that is strictly for recipes of foods we love. I start to get worked up and I have to talk myself down out of theses situations.

It’s really awesome to be able to have nights like these where, yeah we spent twenty dollars on something that was absolutely terrifying, but we had fun. We did it together and with good friends and what other way would you rather spend your Friday night that hanging out and having fun? (We spent way more than twenty bucks because we HAD to go to the bar after. Ice Skating was THAT traumatizing, y’all.)