Friday, November 30, 2018

Review: One Shot @BrianGatesBooks

TITLE: One Shot
AUTHOR: Brian Gates
RELEASE DATE: November 21st 2017
PUBLISHER: Melange Books, LLC
FORMAT: paperback & ebook
SOURCE: complimentary copy

ADD TO GOODREADS


“Man cannot see the future, but once in a blue moon, the future calls out to man.”
Meet Jack Shot, a bartender with a happy-go-lucky attitude, content to drift through life at his leisure…until one night a strange man pulls up a seat at the bar and flips his life on end.
Now the 23-year-old, whose biggest concern to that point had been asking out a hot blonde coworker, is charged with stopping tragedies before they occur. It starts with a riddle that inexplicably materializes on a single sheet of paper placed on his desk. After deciphering it, Jack is shocked to find they predict impending, man-made catastrophes. The necessary details of these future events are buried in the cryptic riddles, and the lives of many hinge on Jack’s ability to decipher them and stop the devastation before it occurs. Aided by his crush, Abby, and Larry, the old man who runs the bar, Jack takes on the impossible task.
Jack is forced to question his own sanity whilst striving to save as many people as possible, even as the riddles become progressively more lethal and drag him further and further down the rabbit hole.
In a shocking twist, Jack must reckon with the most perilous threat yet, and is forced to confront an evil that hits closer to home than ever before. He must race against time to prevent losing everything, because when the future whispers your name, you only get One Shot. 


Brian Gates grew up in a small country town in North East Ohio with a younger brother and sister. He had a passion for writing from a young age, and spent countless hours in and out of class writing stories, and he even gave his senior speech on various writing concepts. His love of stories eventually led him to pursue an English Degree in college. During his time there, several professors were impressed by his writing ability and encouraged him to pursue writing as a career. He graduated from Kent State University in 2014, and continued to pursue his passion for writing. Brian prefers a handful of literary genres, but two of his personal favorites are psychological thrillers and works set in post-apocalyptic worlds. Two of his biggest influences are Dean Koontz and D.J. MacHale.

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As soon as you start reading "Jack's memories" you know this one is no ordinary tale. A man who claims to have a particular luck and can see the future is not someone you encounter every day. 

It all begins with a mysterious poem he gives by mistake to his coworker, which seems a simple strange riddle. However, when the words in the paper become true Jack and his friend realize that maybe the riddles are some kind of premonition.

This one is an engaging reading, with an excellent writing style and words thought carefully to create a solid story with very interesting twists and action in every chapter.

I enjoyed reading about Jack and his attempts to save people from different tragedies. Little by little we see how it all is connected to reach a mind-blowing end. 



Monday, November 26, 2018

Review: A Christmas Date @camillaisley

TITLE: A Christmas Date
SERIES: First Comes Love #3
AUTHOR: Camilla Isley
RELEASE DATE: October 25th 2018
PUBLISHER:  Pink Bloom Press
FORMAT: Paperback & ebook
SOURCE: complimentary copy

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No one wants to be single at the holidays.
Even Little Miss Grinch, Nikki, a successful and independent woman, must face her bachelorette status at the most horrible time of the year.
December is her personal version of holly-jolly hell: a merry torture made of couples kissing at every corner, forced vacation days, and an inescapable family reunion.
And when her baby sister announces she’s engaged—to Paul, the man Nikki is secretly in love with—and that he’s spending the holidays with them, Christmas starts looking bluer than ever.
Nikki can’t possibly survive an entire week trapped home as the family’s spinster. But she has no time to meet men or to try the newest dating app, she’s too busy working as a video producer for an advertising agency.
So what’s a girl to do?
Nikki has the perfect solution: to hire a fake boyfriend.
Luckily, her job gives her access to an endless catalog of gorgeous actors to choose from.
But Nikki will soon discover that keeping business and pleasure from mixing isn’t so easy, and that she might not be immune to a little mistletoe magic. Especially not when she picked out the perfect man as her Christmas date...


Camilla was born in 1984. She's an engineer that has always had a vivid imagination and a more creative approach to life. After working in a corporate job for some years, she left everything to follow her husband around the world in a new adventure. Upon finding herself with loads of free time for the first time in a long while, she decided to begin pouring some of her fantasies into words...



I'm not a huge fan of Christmas, especially because in my hemisphere is Summer and Holidays turn into a melting spectacle due to the heat. However, Camilla has written a book that makes me love Christmas a bit more.

Nikki has a successful career but for her mother and the world is not enough, she needs to find a man to make everyone else happy. Tired of being the single one and with her just engaged sister (with her secret crush) she decides to hire a fake boyfriend. Being part of the advertising world has its perks, so she finds the most handsome man to be her boyfriend for Christmas. Of course, life never goes according to plan and Nikki will find hard to stay professional when she discovers that Diego is more than just a pretty face. Their relationship grows little by little as they learn more from each other and what starts as a crazy job soon becomes a super sweet story.

This book is super fun to read, the romance is perfect, the friendship is amazing and the scenes flow one after the other naturally and it's hard to stop reading. I love Camilla's writing because it makes you want to read more and more. This one is a perfect chick-lit, ideal for the Holiday Season. It's sweet, entertaining and easy to read. 



Friday, November 23, 2018

Review: Secrets of PEACE @ta_hernandez5

TITLE: Secrets of PEACE
SERIES: Secrets of PEACE #1
AUTHOR: T.A. Hernandez
RELEASE DATE: July 24th, 2016 
PUBLISHER: Sanita Street Publishing
FORMAT: paperback & ebook
SOURCE: complimentary copy

ADD TO GOODREADS


Nearly 30 years ago, the PEACE Project rose from the ruins of a global war to take power over a new America. Providing stability in exchange for absolute authority, the Project controls every aspect of citizens' lives through each of its five units:
Protect
Enforce
Advance
Control
Eliminate
Raised in the Project since infancy, eighteen-year-old Zira has been trained as an assassin under the stern guidance of unit E-2's Chairman Ryku. After she makes a careless mistake on an assignment, the chairman partners her with Jared, the best operative in her unit. Their partnership transforms into friendship as they work together and learn to rely on each other. But when misinformation causes a solo mission to backfire, Zira's deepest loyalties and strongest relationships are tested in a place where even a hint of doubt can be perceived as treason.
The life she knows is falling apart, and nothing will ever look the same again. 

T. A. Hernandez grew up with her nose habitually stuck in a book and her mind constantly wandering to make-believe worlds full of magic and adventure. She began writing stories after reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings for the first time at age 10. Thankfully, her writing has improved significantly since then, though she will happily admit that she has much more to learn and is looking forward to a long and exciting journey in her Quest to Tell Better Stories.


She is the proud mother of two girls and a college student working towards her degree in social work. She also enjoys drawing, reading, watching movies, riding her motorcycle, and making happy memories with her family and friends.



In a dystopic world, Zira is part of the PEACE project, her task? To eliminate threats, which means she has been trained to be a "perfect assassin". When she is teamed with Jared, what starts as friendship soon moves on to something bigger. 

Zira is a likable and believable character, she is very mature for her age and her strength has allowed her to be part of a unique team. She has to face some shocking revelations as a consequence of her missions and her world will never be the same. Her relationship with Jared is sweet and natural and makes the story even better.

One of the things I liked about the book is how easy it's to read. The writing is really good and the story moves really fast. We jump right into the action and there aren't chapters and chapters explaining why PEACE was born or why the world is where it is. We have to put the pieces together and immediately follow the line of the story.

I would definitely read more from the author and the world she created it.




Monday, November 19, 2018

Resources: 11 email subject line mistakes to avoid at all costs

What's Emma? If you are like me, you like to know a bit about everything there is to know, especially when we are talking about blogging. This page is an email marketing platform that helps you create the best email lists or campaigns. 

I have to admit I'm a bit slow when it comes to email campaigns so this page has been a great help to learn more about all the things we can do with our emails and blog. I love how simple and educational the posts are, anyone will easily understand what they are talking about and I’m sure you will find something useful for your email, blog, page or whatever.

So today we have: 11 email subject line mistakes to avoid at all costs. This article is aimed at campaigns, sales or gaining customers but in my opinion is useful for anyone writing emails and trying to gain someone’s attention.

We all have struggled at some point deciding on the right subject for our email, it’s something I deal with every day at work! And after reading this, I’ve realized I have made some of the mistakes listed.

After reading the article you will see that it’s easy to understand how to avoid mistakes and how to write an appealing and charming subject for your emails.

11 email subject line mistakes to avoid at all costs


When it comes to email marketing, subject lines are the make-it-or-break-it. Many times, the subject line is your prospect’s first interaction with your brand or new marketing campaign. It should promise value, convey your brand’s personality, and get them to open and read your email.
And yet, so many businesses pay little attention to this factor necessary for customer engagement, and that’s a big mistake we don’t want you to make.
Not thinking through your subject line can not only curtail results, but the wrong line can also ding your sender reputation and send your emails to the spam folder.
The more times you’re reported as spam, the less deliverable future emails will be, which will, in turn, have a dampening effect on your campaign's return-on-investment (ROI).
But don’t worry, getting a grip on your subject line matter isn’t difficult if you’re aware of the most common pitfalls and actively try to prevent them. 
Let’s take a look at some subject line mistakes you’ll want to remember and avoid.

11 email subject line mistakes to learn from

Good email marketing begins with the subject line, and good subject lines are easy to create if you know what your customers are interested in. 
We’ve curated a list of subject line mistakes to stay away from for better open rates and happier customers.

1. Writing a generic subject line

Your customers crave authenticity, which means they don’t respond well to those blanket, one-size-fits-all emails that many marketers send.
If you're thinking ahead when your customers opt-in to your emails, tons of data can be at your fingertips that can be used to define your target audience — age, gender, geographic location, hobbies, profession—and, of course, their name.
Use all of this powerful stuff to craft subject lines that resonate with your audience and engage their curiosity to prompt more opens and click-throughs.
Sending generic, off-the-shelf subject lines will relegate your emails to the junk bin or spam folder.

2. Forgetting preheader text

So many marketers don’t even know what this is, and yet the preview, or preheader, text in your email can make or break your open rates.
Preview text appears in your customers’ inboxes right after your subject line, like so:
 
Image: Media Survival
Generally, this is pulled from your first sentence when you’re sending personal emails, but in the marketing world, it normally consists of image alt text or browser instructions, like the one below:
Image: Media Survival
Most email service providers (ESPs) give marketers a box in which to choose what text gets shown in the preview. Using 35-90 characters to capture the recipient’s interest—and supplement your subject line—will help you get those high open rates.

3. Not leveraging urgency in the subject line

Subject lines that convey a sense of urgency have a 22% higher open rate than those that don’t. Leverage this power by creating a subject line that communicates urgency or scarcity:
Williams-Sonoma tackles this nicely with a subject line that reads, "Final Hours to Save on Soaps, Lotions, and More."
They’ve given recipients a reason to click immediately without using spammy or misleading phrasing.

4. Not optimizing for mobile

With about 81% of people regularly using their smartphone to check emails, it’s critical that your emails, including subject lines, are optimized for mobile users.
Image: Email Monday
Make sure your subject line doesn’t translate into random characters, numbers, or code when opened on a mobile device by previewing your email across all channels before sending.
Unrecognizable text or shapes in the subject line will spell disaster for your email.

5. Shouting in the subject line

It’s good to be excited about your product or service, but you don’t have to yell at your customers to get their attention.
If you’re using ALL CAPS in your subject line, that’s what you’re doing, and it could be misinterpreted as rude. You want your prospect’s first contact with your brand to be a good experience.
Not only does using caps in your subject line come across as shouting, but this kind of type also often triggers spam filters, too.  

6. Using special characters

Special characters in a subject line can result in your email landing in the not-so-special spam folder, even if some marketers report success with them.
Image: Practical eCommerce
There is enough evidence that these characters can just as easily get your email deleted or relegated to spam for it to be worth taking the chance.
Characters like $, #, @, &, and others should be reserved for the body of your email if you feel you must use them. And, if you have to include them, use them sparingly for best results.

7. Filling your subject line with spammy words

Your subject line is the gatekeeper for people opening your email. If your email is thrown into the spam folder, it will never get seen by your target audience and it will damage your reputation as a sender.
Having a bad sender reputation contributes to email deliverability issues and low search engine rankings. To avoid this, keep spammy words and phrases out of your subject lines.
Here is a short list of examples of words and phrases to avoid:
  • Do you like/have/want?
  • Act now
  • Order now
  • All natural
  • Affordable
  • Amazing stuff
  • Cash Bonus
  • Compare rates
  • Credit
  • Guarantee
  • Home-based
  • Increase sales
  • Info you requested
  • Incredible deal
  • Limited-time offer
  • No investment
  • Obligation
  • Almost any phrase with the word “free” in it
  • Cheap
  • Promise
  • Thousands
There are hundreds more, but these will give you a good idea as to what kinds of language triggers spam filters.
With so many techniques for writing good subject lines, it’s easy to leave these words out of the mix for better open rates and a clean reputation for your brand.

8. Run-on subject lines

Business people get upwards of 122 emails a day, so they don’t have time to read a novel when skimming their inbox.
Short is sweet when it comes to subject lines, but it also drives results:
As you can see, the best open rates fall in the 6-10 word range, with rates dropping the longer the subject lines ran.
So, save the meat of your information for the body of your email and use your subject line to pique interest, convey urgency, or deploy one of the other open-rate boosting tactics out there.

9. One-word subject lines

Keeping your subject line short is a good idea, but relegating it to one word is taking efficiency a bit too far.
Most people aren’t going to respond to a subject line that just says, “Important.”
Couldn't anything be considered important?
They’ll be unlikely to open one that says, “Survey” since you haven’t given them a reason to bother with a survey, and “Hi” will get you sent straight to the junk folder or reported.
One-word subject lines appear lazy, unprofessional, and spammy. Besides, using a few more words gives you the ability to be more creative and strike a chord with the recipient and their needs.

10. Overusing emojis

Emojis can increase email open rates, but they have limited applications you should be aware of before employing them.
Image: Campaign Monitor
If your product or service is more conservative, a smiley-face may not be the right vehicle to match your brand image.
Also consider that emojis are rendered differently across platforms, so they may come across as strange characters for some viewers.
That being said, they do work in some applications, so use your best judgment and data on your audience to decide if they’re right for your brand.

11. Misleading subject lines

Customers have email overload to begin with, and getting them to open your email using a deceptive subject line will only get you deleted or reported as spam, and leave your prospect cold.
Your subject lines should clearly outline what the customer can expect from your email. Using "RE:" as a subject when you haven’t had prior contact with them is a red flag, as is using fear-based tactics, like “your account status,” or “you missed it.”

Wrap up

Subject lines are your brand’s first contact with potential customers and, if used correctly, they can contribute to a thriving, profitable email marketing campaign.
Avoid making subject line mistakes like the ones in this article by familiarizing yourself with common errors and having several proofreaders look over your marketing emails before you press send.






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