Before, I shared 5 reasons to spend time on Goodreads, but is Goodreads the only site for book lovers? Au contraire, it is not! It may be the most well-known, but there are alternatives.
In the "olden" days, you had to go with what was available in the library or on the shelves of your bookstore. Harder still was finding like-minded people who shared your reading passion. You either had to start a book club or find a local one. Nowadays, it's exponentially easier to find both new titles and book clubs. There are now a myriad of websites available to book lovers where they can find titles and share their thoughts about the books they've read, or get insights and read reviews about the books they want to read.
One of such sites is Goodreads. Established in 2007, Goodreads is a social media site where passionate book lovers go to find new books to pursue. You can also find new releases and join “organically occurring” online book clubs for every topic under the sun. But Goodreads is just one of the many sites that targets bibliophiles. There are others that operate on a social network capacity, mainly to provide a community for book lovers. This makes it easier for people with similar tastes in books to find one another and forge a connection.
Here are a few of them:
LibraryThing boasts over 2,000,000 members and is an old faithful when it comes to cataloging and title management. Similar to Goodreads, LibraryThing helps you manage your book lists. It also connects you to people who have similar book interests. You may choose to keep your lists private or display your libraries. Either way, this site helps keep you organized. It not only helps you curate your books, but also catalogs your movies and music as well.
If you find that you can’t commit to a title just yet, LibraryThing will give you information about the book you're are eyeing. Each time you add a book to your library, LibraryThing will display an image of the cover, the publication date, the ISBN, and the list of other editions - for starters. LibraryThing can also tell you where you can buy copies of that book online.
It lets you check out the recommendations from other users and peek into their libraries. Here’s how LibraryThing builds their book lovers community. When someone shares the same interests in books as you do, you can personally request a book recommendation or a review from them. Get all the information you need about what your next book conquest will be with related book suggestions and user reviews.
While LibraryThing is akin to a social media platform for curating books and sharing your thoughts, Booklikes functions as a blog platform for book lovers. Similar to Goodreads and LibraryThing, Booklikes also lets you discover new titles by leading you to “book blogs”. You can also create shelves and organize your books into titles or reading status. Similarly, you can read and share reviews, post quotes, and post photos of your favorite authors.
One feature of Booklikes that none of the other sites mentioned have is the ability to create your own timeline. You can see when you've finished a book, add your favorite quote, and mark it as a milestone. This is especially useful to see what you have been reading at a particular time in your life.
Just like the first two, ReadGeek is also a social network for book lovers. ReadGeek is focused mainly on finding the next book for you. Algorithms are at work here, so you have to first rate the books you've read in order for ReadGeek to get to know your preferences. ReadGeek gives you recommendations based on your book tastes and lets you see what other members liked. It also lets you create a wishlist of books you’ve been dying to read and shows you where you can get them online.
One neat feature of ReadGeek is the rating flexibility. ReadGeek has a 10-star rating system that gives you more range in rating books than most book rating systems, which are usually just 5 stars.
What Should I Read Next
What Should I Read Next is a site that generates recommendations based on your favorite titles or authors. It's pretty straightforward. You type in the title or author of a book you've read and What Should I Read Next will generate a list of titles for you to explore. It’s fun to discover what other titles are available under your favorite genre.
There are a lot of sites devoted to book lovers and there are millions of members on these sites. Explore them! And don't let anybody tell you that nobody reads books anymore or that books are dead.
I previously mentioned some ways to thin out your book collection. When you have too many books and too little space, you might consider parting with them by either donating, selling, or sharing. For book lovers who want to go the donation route, there are charities that take used books and distribute them to beneficiaries that will appreciate your donation. Among these charities are Books for Soldiers, Books Through Bars, and Books To Prisoners. The booklist on their websites lists the most requested books so that you get an idea of what to donate, and you can make sure that the book you once loved will continue to help someone else.
If you just want to share your books with the local community, I have previously suggested setting up a Little Free Library where you and a few other book lovers can pool together your pre-loved books, house them in an accessible mini library, and share them with your local community.
I have also mentioned using online markets for selling your old books. The old faithfuls like eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon are the most popular bets for selling old books, as college students frequently scour these sites for reference material. Here are a few more suggestions on where to sell your old books.
Try Abe, Barnes and Noble, eCampus, Powells, Valore Books or Textbooks.com. These sites will fetch you a good price for your used books but have a few rigid conditions that should be followed. All six can pay you through Paypal. Make sure you have a PayPal account setup if you want to take this route. Some will cut you a check and some will give you store credit. If you make sure that the books you send are in good condition, selling them on these sites won’t be a problem. Books that have rips, tears, highlighting, or taped pages will get rejected. It is worth noting that Abe sends rejected books back but Powell does not.
If you're feeling charitable, here are a few more suggestions on where you can donate your used, pre-loved books. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the Reading Tree all accept used book donations. Check out their websites so that you can see where the local drop-off centers are located. This way, you won’t have to handle shipping or incur mailing costs, and you can benefit your local charity chapter.
Community centers and high school libraries are also some of the places that are in great need of books. If you have old classics, those could greatly benefit the high schools who need multiple copies of our favorite classic stories. Titles like Little Women, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet Letter, The Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, 1984, and Animal Farm are on every librarian's wishlist.
You might want to claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions so make sure that you get a receipt for your book donations. Make an itemized list of all the books you've donated and what condition they're in. This serves two purposes; you keep an inventory of your donations, and the list might come in handy during a tax audit.
Lastly, you can also do a fundraiser event where you and volunteers can set up a book drive to collect books and sell them at a book fair or a charity event. Be clear about what the proceeds will go towards. You'll find that a lot of people are willing to support a good cause.
Good luck with your library spring cleaning. Hopefully, you find one of these suggestions on what to do with your extra books helpful. Give your well loved books a new home and clear out some space for other items that will be new sources of joy in your life.
Do you like crossword puzzles? Using a free online tool, I created one for Just Friends (Johnson Family Book 3). So, how well do you remember the story? Give it a whirl.
1) Click the link and print the puzzle.
2) Fill in the answers.
3) The answer key is on the last page.
Once you're finished, come back and let me know how you did. Have fun!
Some of us have too much stuff. We think we want it, but in reality we don’t need so much. It starts out as an innocuous collection and like all things that start out harmlessly, stuff begins to pile up. Before you know it, it takes over your life.
Book lovers are notorious for having too many books. A big part of a book lover's life is spent collecting, or to an extreme sense, hoarding books and lugging them around as we move from house to house, city to city. If, like me, you're a book lover and have accumulated a huge number of books over the years, I have a few tips to spring clean your library and give your well-loved books a new home.
It will be very hard to part with your books. Believe me, I had to do it and it wasn't easy. I suggest you have a long hard think about which ones you want to give up. Start with the two copies of Harry Potter The Sorcerer’s Stone. Do you really need both the paperback and the hardbound edition? What you decide to part with is up to you, but think about these spring cleaning tips as a chance to share your favorite books with others who have the same passion for reading as you do.
Donate your books
Give the gift of education. A lot of libraries accept used book donations. Go to your favorite local library and ask about their book donation program. I donated a couple of boxes to Goodwill, so check them out, as well. Going local saves on shipping costs and benefits local families and charities. You would be doing your community a favor by sharing reading material. Kids would love your old Archie comic books and adults would love your Sidney Sheldon novels.
If you don’t mind the shipping cost of mailing your books, you can send them to extremely cool charities that share your reading advocacy. A good place to start is Books for Soldiers. Check out the soldiers' book request lists and see if you can find a match in your library. You can send not only books but also CDs and DVDs as a care package to troops overseas.
Other charities that you can send your old books to are Books for Africa, Books Through Bars, and Books To Prisoners. The Books Through Bars website lists the most requested reading material. Some inmates are very interested in higher education, and so it might be a great idea to donate your old textbooks to them. Other most requested books are Bibles and other spiritual guides, dictionaries, and Spanish books. If you're considering this option, make sure that your donations are paperback books, as hardbound books are not allowed inside prison facilities.
Sell your books
Speaking of textbooks, cull your overflowing book collection and make some extra money by selling your old textbooks on online markets such as eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon. College students looking to cut down on costs scour those sites for copies of reference materials and useful guides that they can buy for a fraction of the original price. I personally sold my books to Half Price Books and made a few extra dollars.
Share your books
Another way to share your old books is to set up a Little Free Library. The Little Free Library is a volunteer community-run library, usually housed in a small cabinet or structure that keeps the books safe from the elements. Neighbors and locals can pass by the Little Free Library, check out the titles on display, and get the books they want to read.
Do you have suggestions for other places where we can donate, sell, or share our extra books? Tell me in the comments below.
I wrote this story years ago and shared it on my old blog. I'm reposting it here for your enjoyment.
Brandon Ringer slowly opened his eyes, completely disoriented as he tried to remember where he was. Whatever the location, it was pitch black, dank, and musty.
His head throbbed, a punishing beat that pounded throughout his skull. He groaned, lifting his head upright on his sore neck.
To alleviate the pain, he tried to cup his head in his hands and realized with a start that he couldn’t move. His eyes widened in panic. Suddenly, the throbbing pain increased as his heartbeat kicked into a frantic gallop at the realization that he was completely immobilized.
And his mouth was taped shut.
What the hell?
He struggled into full consciousness, now aware of the fact that he was in a seated position in a chair with armrests - completely naked.
Tape bound him to what felt like a wooden chair, wound from the top of his hair-sprinkled torso down to just above his hips. His hands were bound, secured tightly to the arms of the chair. His legs were open and bound to either side of the chair’s front legs.
As the fog in his brain cleared, the memories came flooding back.
He had attended the annual Halloween costume party held by a local law firm. The party was known all over town for bringing out the local who’s who and being a good place to make business and sexual connections. He had been interested in the latter.
Dressed as a Roman gladiator, Brandon had prowled the party looking for a woman interested in having fun for the night. After being shot down several times, he met a blonde wearing a mask across her eyes and a toga cinched over her shoulder. He moved in for the kill, introduced himself, and found out her name was Jill.
“You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked, pouting prettily.
“If we’ve met before, sweetheart, pardon my manners, and allow me to get reacquainted.” Smooth.
Unexpectedly, she invited him out to the privacy of her car. The last thing he remembered was opening the door for her, and…nothing. Nothing except…a blinding pain to the back of his head.
Wait a minute. That’s how he’d gotten here. Someone working with her had knocked him unconscious. They must have put him in the car and brought him here. But why?
As if on cue, a noise caught his attention. Light filtered through to what he now saw was an unfinished basement.
A bulb overhead suddenly illuminated the space. Footsteps on the stairs indicated more than one person. The door through which they’d entered closed. His heart began to beat faster, pumping so hard he was certain it would burst through his chest.
Then he saw her, coming toward him in her white toga, sans mask this time. Her eyes were no longer playful and teasing. Instead, they were glacier blue, devoid of all emotion. She looked angry. An attractive brunette trailed her, dressed in a black and white maid’s costume. He remembered her from the party.
Before he saw it coming, Jill slapped him hard across the face, twisting his head back. The jolt from the blow increased the pounding in his head to an almost unbearable pitch.
“You lying, cheating, son of a bitch!” Jill hissed.
What is she talking about?
She cast him a scathing look.
“You’ve really let yourself go,” the maid said. She shook her head. “You’ve lost weight, you’re pale.”
“That didn’t stop him from hitting on us,” Jill said, as if he wasn’t in the room. Whack! It landed in the same spot. Brandon felt dangerously close to passing out from the pain. “Your rap has gotten weak, too.”
They both giggled.
What was going on here? Brandon tried to talk, but only muffled tones could be heard behind the tape. He tried to jostle the chair. Nothing. They’d tightly secured him, and it seemed as if the chair was bolted to the cool concrete below his bare feet.
Jill laughed. “Nothing to say now?” she asked, leaning forward to look him in the eyes. Her voice sounded sweet like honey when she said, “You look scared, but you’re only getting what you deserve.”
Jill straightened and walked away, prompting the brunette to lean forward. In a menacing tone, she said, “You shouldn’t play games with women’s emotions. There are consequences.”
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any harm.
A whirring sound caught Brandon’s attention. Jill strolled back over to where he sat. She held an electric knife in her hand. He gulped.
“I knew you’d come to the party. I just had no idea how easy you’d make it for us.”
“You’ve been a bad boy, Barry. And now it’s time to pay,” the maid said.
Barry? Wait a minute…
Brandon’s eyes widened as Jill moved closer, the knife cutting through the air as she waved it in his face.
Sweat broke out on Brandon’s forehead and upper lip. His stomach muscles clenched and he began to fervently pray. He promised a multitude of changes in his life if God would get him out of this.
It was a case of mistaken identity. He had been house-sitting for his brother, a successful attorney, of whom he’d always been jealous. His brother was in the south of France, living it up with his latest model girlfriend. Brandon had taken the ditched costume party invitation from the trash and decided to go as his brother. His twin brother, Barry.
“Where should we start?” Jill asked her companion.
“I say we save the best for last,” the brunette answered, looking pointedly between his open legs. “Let’s start with his fingers.”
He tried to move as the knife came closer, but there was nothing he could do.
Please, God, he prayed. Help me. I’m sorry I pretended to be Barry. Tell them I didn’t do whatever it is they’re angry about.
He moaned hysterically.
Somebody, tell them. I’m not Barry. I’m Brandon. I’m Brandon!
Share this with anyone you think would enjoy a short Halloween story. Be safe and have fun. Happy Halloween!
Some authors don’t like visiting Goodreads. But I find there’s a perfectly good reason to participate on the site, which was why it was created in the first place. Participate as a reader.
Goodreads has been around since 2007 and has been the go-to site for bibliophiles, from beginner level book enthusiasts to hardcore book collectors. It’s a virtual book club where people from all over the world can share reading lists, recommendations, and write reviews. According to Goodreads, they are “the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.” A claim that’s hard to contest.
So what are some of the benefits of hanging out on Goodreads?
1. You can curate your list of books
If you haven’t checked it out yet, Goodreads is a good place to curate your own list of books by filing them into categories. Start by organizing them into the three default categories or shelves, namely: Read, Currently Reading, and Want to Read.
In your Read shelf, you record all the books you’ve previously read. This can serve as a reference for when you want to re-read books. Or, if you’ve been following a series, the list can serve as a reminder of which books you’ve read so far. You can also see how many people have read the same books you have and how they rated them.
In your Currently Reading shelf, list all the books you’ve started reading but haven’t finished. This is useful for people who are into reading challenges, where they set a goal of a specific number of books they plan to read during a calendar year.
In your Want to Read shelf, list all the books that are part of your reading wish list, aka the to-be-read (TBR) pile. This is particularly helpful if you have a thousand recommendations from friends and family, but for the life of you, can’t remember a single one of them. Having a wish list on Goodreads beats keeping a notepad on your phone. My personal TBR list is long, and I refer to my Goodreads list as a reminder of books I want to get the next time I visit a bookstore or browse online.
2. You can create your own shelves
Another cool feature of Goodreads is that you can create your own shelves. My shelves are pretty mundane. They include titles like contemporary romance, sensual, african-american romance, etc. Other members have created quirky shelves where they put their favorite books into re-read categories or list them as guiltypleasures, or the not-so-nice overrated-drivel.
3. You can discover new books
Goodreads’ main mission is to help their members find new books. Every time you view a book, Goodreads will show you reviews of it by your friends first and then will show you reviews from other members. This creates a strong sense of community, making Goodreads like being part of a worldwide book recommendation club. I’ve found quite a few new authors by scrolling through my friends’ updates.
4. You can discover new releases from your favorite authors
The platform helps you discover new releases from your favorite authors. You can use Goodreads to follow your favorite author’s work and also create shelves of all their previously released titles. You also have the opportunity to learn more about your favorite authors, their upcoming events, which books they love, what they’re currently reading, and genres they are particularly interested in.
5. You can join book groups
Keeping with the book lovers community theme, Goodreads has thousands of groups for book fans. They fall under hundreds of categories with featured groups displayed on the landing page. This is an avenue to ask questions or discuss common interests, tropes you love or hate, favorite authors, genres, writing styles, and just about anything under the sun. In groups, you may discover independent authors or start a discussion about your favorite book, author, or genre. And because some authors do hang out in Goodreads groups, you may get the opportunity to chat with them.
Other fun things Goodreads offers:
If you’re a book lover, you should definitely explore Goodreads. It’s currently available as an app on Android and iOS devices. By the way, check out my most recent reads on Goodreads, below.
Are you a die-hard bibliophile but can’t always find time to read? Then you might want to consider audiobooks, which are growing in popularity for people just like you. Amazon’s Audible offers a monthly subscription audiobook service and boasts having the world's largest audiobook library with access to more than 180,000 titles. You can download these titles to your phone, tablet, or computer. If you have the ebook and the audiobook of a title, you’ll love the Whispersync for Voice technology.
What is Whispersync for Voice?
Whispersync for Voice, simply known as Whispersync, is a feature that allows you to switch between all of your Whispersync-enabled devices without losing your place. Here’s the cool part…this feature allows you to listen to your audiobooks and easily switch to reading the companion ebook and vice versa. All it takes is a wi-fi connection, and you can pick up where you left off without losing your place, your bookmarks, or your notes. You can switch between an Audible for Android app and an Audible for iPad app seamlessly and also access your ebook from your phone, e-reader, or laptop or any compatible device.
Why is this beneficial?
Let’s say you have a one-hour commute to work, carpool or ride the bus or train, and use the time to read. You can continue with the story even as you get off the train and walk to your office building. But of course, you can’t read and walk at the same time (or at least you shouldn’t). So instead, you listen. That’s the beauty of the Whispersync feature. With a simple tap of a screen, you can switch between reading and listening, pop in your headphones, and continue the story. Perfect for those books that are so good you can’t put them down.
Another beneficial feature
Whispersync not only lets you switch between reading and listening, but you can also do both! It lets you read while listening to your ebook, highlighting the text as it’s being narrated, great for when you need to boost comprehension and retention.
Alternatives to Audible
Amazon Audible is the only place where you can use the Whispersync technology, but you do have other options for audiobooks. You can borrow books through Overdrive. If your library doesn’t have the book you’re interested in, request it. With enough requests, they might acquire it. iTunes is another alternative. Audiobooks.com has a similar subscription plan to Audible, including a 30-day free trial, which equates to one free credit when you try the service. Downpour is another alternative source for avid listeners. They also offer a monthly subscription plan free credit upon sign-up.
June is Audiobook Month, so keep your eyes open for specials, coupons, and giveaways at all at the aforementioned retailers. And make sure you stop by my audiobooks page to see the list of books I’ve produced in audio, and listen to the samples. For any of those books you already have in ebook format, Amazon offers the audiobook as an add-on for only $1.99 each, and they’re all Whispersync-enabled.
Happy reading and/or listening!
- Delaney Diamond
I have some exciting news! My publishing company, Garden Avenue Press (GAP), has partnered with Building Relationships Around Books (BRAB), an online book club of over 1200 members for an amazing writing contest.
BRAB is the sponsor of the Writers Got Talent contest, in a search for creative stories in romance and women's fiction that feature people of color. The first place winner in the published and unpublished author categories will receive a publishing contract from GAP, as well as a $250 advance.
Get your manuscript ready and mark your calendar. BRAB starts accepting entries May 1st. Here are the details:
For more details, visit the contest page.
There are only 20 slots in each category, so make sure you submit early. Good luck!
To celebrate the release of More Than a Mistress, I decided to do a blog tour. It's been years since I've done one, but I was fortunate enough to arrange for some bloggers and authors to help me spread the news of my fifth addition to the Latin Men series. It's the longest book of the series and takes place mostly in Miami, with short visits to Argentina and Atlanta. Esteban, a wealthy restaurateur, pursues Sonia, a sommelier, and eventually convinces her to begin an unconventional relationship with him as a kept woman. But of course, this is a romance, and when they develop feelings for each other, things get complicated.
What's included in the blog tour? Interviews, where you learn more about me and my books. (The interviewers ask some really good questions.) Excerpts, to tempt you into buying a copy of More Than a Mistress. And prizes!
Below is the schedule of events. Each host's link goes live on the date they're scheduled to post. Take some time to visit each site. Check out the authors' catalog of books, and visit the bloggers to read reviews of other novels and see what other events they have planned.
By the way, feel free to leave questions here or on any of the blogs you visit, and I'll answer them. I look forward to chatting with you!
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
April 3 - Black Page Turners - interview
April 3 - Monlatable Reviews - excerpt
April 3 - Tall Stack of Books - excerpt
April 4 - My Reading Nook - interview, excerpt
April 4 - Musings and Romance - excerpt
April 5 - The Island Reader - interview
April 5 - SORMAG - excerpt
April 6 - Nana Prah, author - excerpt
April 6 - Kim Talks Books - interview
April 7 - Tia Kelly, author - 5 Things I Learned About Wine While Writing More Than a Mistress
Will their arrangement ever be enough?
Relationships are not a priority for restaurateur Esteban Galiano, and when he sees Sonia Kennedy at a party, he plans to make her a conquest in a long line of many. But she rebuffs his advances and forces him to adjust—determined to meet the challenge and do whatever he must to make her his.
All her life, Sonia’s beauty has caused unnecessary problems, and right now she needs a job, not a suitor. When Esteban makes an indecent proposal, her first instinct is to turn him down. But soon she’s rethinking her response. Maybe it’s time for her to use what she’s got, to get what she wants.
In a previous blog post, I gave you two solutions to ensure you don’t miss newsletters from your favorite authors. You can find those here. Today, I’m suggesting one more way to stay up-to-date.
Subscribe to the author’s newsletter RSS feed.
I subscribe to various blogs via RSS feed and read them at my leisure when I have time. I prefer to subscribe to author newsletters via email so I don’t miss time-sensitive announcements such as sales or new releases, but this is a good option for readers who don’t have a preference.
I’ll use my own newsletter as an example, which I send out via MailChimp.
And there you have it! Follow these steps and never miss a newsletter from your favorite author again.
Thank you! You have successfully subscribed to my blog posts.
Brooks Family series
Royal Brides series
Latin Men series