book lovers

For the Love of Ebooks

It's hard to believe now, but I held out on getting a Kindle. For years. I didn't feel a single pang of jealousy when my friends would pull out their sleek, six ounce ereaders. I was perfectly happy with my paperbacks. It just felt more real, holding a physical book in my hand. Besides, I had to look at screens all day for work. Why let the hand-held/ touchscreen phenomenon take over yet another part of my life?

Over time, my stubborn opposition to ebooks dwindled away. When I had to rearrange the contents of my purse three times to fit the book I was almost finished reading alongside the book I wanted to read next, I knew. It was time. 

In 2013, I got a Kindle. I don't feel like I'm exaggerating (much) when I say it changed my life.

For the Love of Ebooks || blog post by Ellen Smith at www.ellensmithwrites.com

Turns out I love ebooks.

Seriously. My Kindle has solved bookworm problems I didn't even know I had. Stuck in a long checkout line? No problem. I just read three more pages in my current book. Need to look up a line from a favorite story? Easy--instead of going home and getting lost in a sea of books, I can find the passage I want with the flick of my finger. And did I mention that I can even highlight and make notes on my Kindle? I hate to take a pen--or even a pencil--to my paper books. Now I can jot down notes to myself whenever I want!

Not to mention that this little thing can house almost as many books as my living room. Beat that!

For the Love of Ebooks || Blog post by Ellen Smith on www.ellensmithwrites.com

Probably the best (and most dangerous) feature of ebooks is the price point. When your family reads as much as mine does, things like "new books I had to buy and read immediately," become a regular line item in the budget. We love the library and we also have awesome bookish friends that are happy to trade books back and forth. But sometimes, I still see a new book on Instagram or Goodreads and the need to get my hands on a copy is almost compulsive. An ebook on sale for $.99 or even $3.99 isn't too bad for an impulse buy. I mean, it's less than a cup of coffee! 

(Listen to me, justifying my book habits to myself.)

Thankfully, there are several awesome discount ebook sites. They're kind enough to send me daily emails of ebook deals I might enjoy...and more often than not, they're right! These are two of my favorites:

Bookbub

Fussy Librarian

(Click at your own risk, fellow bookworms. Don't say I didn't warn you!)

That's not to say that I've abandoned my paperback and hardcover books completely. There are still some things that an ebook will never be able to replace for me. Special fonts, white space, and decorative chapter headings don't translate well onto ereaders. For example, the paperback version of Every Last Minute has two slightly different fonts to differentiate between regular text and the news articles that are sprinkled throughout the story. That can't be replicated for an ebook and I kind of miss the effect!

Favorite books and classics are almost always purchased in hard cover, too. If I truly love a book I read on my ereader, I'm pretty likely to buy a hard copy--especially if it's signed by the author! (Hmmm...maybe reading ebooks isn't saving my budget after all!)

I also make an effort to put all the screens away when I'm winding down for the evening, so paperbacks are my first choice for bedtime reading. Besides, there really is something wonderful about holding the weight of a real book in your hands. Ebooks have a big place in my reading life, but they'll never replace hard copies for me. 

Which do you prefer--ebooks or physical books? Let me know in the comments!


Speaking of ebooks...today is the last day to enter the Amazon giveaway for Every Last Minute! Enter here for your chance to win one of five ebook copies! 

Release Day for THE BLENDED ONES by Angela J. Ford

Which birthdays are the most fun to celebrate? Do you like milestone birthdays? Friend birthdays? "Thank goodness April the giraffe FINALLY gave birth" days?

I'm going to do you one better: the best birthdays are book birthdays.

The day a book is released out into the world is a huge cause for celebration for the author--and it's also a huge celebration for the readers. We've been waiting for this day since the words "pre-order" first appeared on Amazon. Some of us have been waiting and hoping for another book even longer than that. We might even have been stalking an author's blog and twitter feed, looking for signs that another book is in the works. (Did I say stalking? I meant "reading with enthusiasm." It's not creepy, I swear. Ahem.)

So you can imagine how excited I am that today is the long-awaited book birthday for The Blended Ones by Angela J. Ford. It's the second book in The Four Worlds series, and since I've already read Book 1: The Five Warriors, I'm thrilled that I get to dive right in to the next story!

Just take a look at the cover art:

THE BLENDED ONES by Angela J. Ford

You can tell this is going to be another epic fantasy adventure--perfect for readers that like to get lost in new worlds and go on quests of mythical proportions. Here's the synopsis:

Phyllis and her 17 year old twin sister, Ilieus, are blended ones. But Ilieus suffers from visions of darkness she is unable to discern. Forsaken by their parents the two cross the country in search of the Order of the Wise for help.

Cuthan the Charmer is mischievous enough to change anyone’s mind with a smile and a wink. Born into a family of treasure hunters, he’s searching for the key to unlocking his dormant powers.

Pharengon the Horse Lord was born to be King. Young and inexperienced he seeks a weapon to turn the tide of the war in his favor. But when his very own army betrays him, he will have to turn to the Lost Ones for assistance.

Caught in the fate of the Eastern World the youths’ destinies become twisted together in a frightful quest that will change the course of time. In the midst of their whirlwind adventure, they discover love, loss, and uncover the truth about who and what is behind the chaotic, spiraling events in the Eastern World.

The writer behind this epic fantasy is none other than Angela J. Ford. You might remember her from an author interview I posted back in October. In addition to writing the Four Worlds Series, Angela is a Digital Marketing Strategist and creator of the course How To Plan A Book Launch. She's also a fellow bookworm--if you want to talk about books, I highly recommend following her on twitter!

Angela J. Ford, author of THE BLENDED ONES

Angela J. Ford, author of THE BLENDED ONES

You can grab your paperback copy here and the Kindle version here. More good news: the Blended Ones is only 99 cents on Kindle through the end of this month!

Happy book birthday, Angela! I'm so excited to read The Blended Ones!

Release Day for THE BLENDED ONES by Angela J. Ford || www.ellensmithwrites.com

What Are You Reading in 2017?

This week, I had planned to share a list of books I read and loved in 2016. One small problem: there were too many. Seriously. I could not narrow them down to a manageable list. I couldn't even pick a Top 10, much less a Top 5. I'm still trying to catch up with listing/ reviewing them all on Goodreads!

This is literally my favorite problem to have.

Instead, I'm going to share my list of books I can't wait to read in 2017!

WWYR2017.png

Love Fortunes And Other Disasters

You know the old saying "You can't judge a book by its cover?" Maybe you shouldn't, but you can definitely decide you want to pick up a book based on its cover! I saw this adorable book on Instagram, read the description, and decided I had to read it.

Here's the book's synopsis:

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Dupree's have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita's famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It's a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love. Fortunately, Fallon isn't the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.
 

Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita's tyranny and fall in love?

Stardust

This was recommended to me on Amazon based on other books I've bought. That's no surprise when you read the description: this sounds like a fun Southern fiction novel with quirky characters, new beginnings, and a spunky protagonist. What's not to love?

From the book description:

Shortly after burying her unfaithful husband, Georgia Peyton unexpectedly inherits the derelict Stardust motel from a distant relative. Despite doubts from the community and the aunt who raised her, she is determined to breathe new life into it. But the guests who arrive aren't what Georgia expects: Her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband's mistress; an attractive but down-on-his-luck drifter who's tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia's past.

Can Georgia find the courage to forgive those who've betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxy to face the future? And will her dream of a new life under the flickering neon of the STARDUST ever come true?

Stardust: A Novel
By Carla Stewart

The Magnolia Story

I love watching the Fixer-Upper show on HGTV. Chip and Joanna Gaines seem like a really sweet couple and they have an amazing ability to create homes that are just right for their clients. I can't wait to read more about how they got started!

From the book synopsis:

Are you ready to see your fixer upper?

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people? What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

The Magnolia Story
By Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino

The Sun Is Also A Star

I saw people posting about this book on Instagram and decided I had to add it to my to-read list! I'm always up for a good love story, so I was hooked as soon as I read the synopsis.

From the book description:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

The Sun Is Also a Star
By Nicola Yoon

The Five Warriors

Remember my interview with Angela J. Ford? Her love for books is infectious! Plus, she's a great writer: everything from her tweets to her blog posts to her online course is well-written and engaging. It's no surprise that I'm eager to read the book she wrote! Bonus: The Five Warriors is the first in a series. I love starting a good book knowing that there's going to be more to follow!

From the synopsis:

What if...

your best friend started a rebellion in the middle of a war?
your lover awakened a deep evil and helped it grow?
your people were too cowardly to face a battle?
you stole an ancient power source?
you gambled with the fate of the world?

Join five powerful warriors each with a unique ability and magical weapons. Their quest is to discover where the transformed creatures are coming from and put a stop to it.

Along the way they run into treacherous immortals, sea monsters, powerful beasts of the air and talking animals.

Each has their own reasoning for joining the quest, but one carries a deadly secret which just might be the destruction of them all.

What books are you planning to read in 2017? Want to recommend a book to add to my to-be-read pile? Leave a comment and let me know!

*Note: the links in this post are affiliates. All opinions expressed in my blog are my own--including why I can't wait to read all of these books in the new year! Using affiliate links helps me stay well-stocked in fine-point Sharpies, post-it notes, coffee and other writing essentials.

A Girl And Her Dog

Although we often hear dogs called "man's best friend," I know plenty of women that couldn't live without their canine sidekicks. There's no bond quite like that of a girl and her dog. Personally, I would love to have a dog to share walks through the park, the occasional (okay, frequent) game of fetch, and nights curled up in front of the fireplace.

However, due to some seriously unfortunate allergies, the furriest pet I can have is...well, a goldfish. Yep. As much as I would love to have a dog of my own, I have to live vicariously through friends, neighbors, and, of course, books. Here are a few of my favorite stories about a girl and her dog.

A girl and her dog--a few stories about woman's best friend: Little House, Solomon's Oak, and Reluctant Cassandra | from the ellensmithwrites.com blog

Jack from the Little House series

One of my favorite fictional dogs is Jack, Laura's faithful bulldog in the Little House series. I loved Jack for his protectiveness of the family. In the first chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, Laura recounts how Jack kept watch by the front door of their little log cabin, listening to the howling of the wolves just outside. However, Jack is also Laura's playful companion and her first friend: 

Jack laid his nose on his paws and waggled, he jumped out on the path and looked back at [Laura], smiling with his ears, begging her to come out.
— Laura Ingalls Wilder, "On the Banks of Plum Creek"

Edsel from Solomon's Oak

I'm also a huge fan of Jo-Ann Mapson's novels, which frequently feature beloved pets as integral characters. In the novel olomon's Oak, grieving widow Glory Solomon draws comfort from the horses and dogs she and her late husband rescued over the years. Even as Glory is trying to reimagine her life without her husband, caring for the animals--and allowing them to care for her--keeps her grounded. All the dogs in this story help Glory in their own way, but one Italian greyhound, Edsel, is my favorite:

Everyone who met Edsel fell in love with the ten-pound comedian who made Glory laugh at least once a day.
— Jo-Ann Mapson, "Solomon's Oak"

Thor from Reluctant Cassandra

In addition to reading about dogs, I like to write about them, too! The main character in Reluctant Cassandra, Arden McCrae, has a canine companion--and honestly, he's one of my favorite characters! Thor, Arden's Boxer puppy, is playful, mischevious, messy, and always there to protect and comfort Arden. Between dealing with her premonitions of the future and facing her father's rapid decline due to Alzheimer's disease, Arden definitely has moments where she needs some comfort. I love that Thor is always there for her.

Thor leaps up next to me, and for once, I’m too exhausted to remind him he doesn’t go on the furniture. I’m going to start bad habits, I think, but then Thor rests his chin on my knee and I decide I don’t care.
— Ellen Smith, "Reluctant Cassandra"

So many stories just wouldn't be the same without the beloved animals that populate the pages. Who's your favorite fictional pet?

P.S. I'm giving away a signed copy of Reluctant Cassandra on Goodreads! You can enter to win here: http://ow.ly/muhe304XcJz

Why Do You Love To Read?

Why Do You Love To Read?

Why do you love to read?

Depending on the day, I might have several different answers. If I'm reading a series, I probably can't wait to find out what's going to happen to my favorite characters. Sometimes I want to read a book that reminds me of something going on in my life...and sometimes I read because I want to escape for a while. (Just being honest.) 

There's one more reason why I'm always disappearing into the pages of a book: 

I read because I want to connect.

After I finish a really good book, I close the back cover and feel a little surprised that I’m actually sitting in my living room. The world I was just visiting and the characters I just met still feel so real. The next thing I want to do (besides flip the book over and start reading again) is to go find someone and ask, “Did you read this? What did you think about…?”

The best thing about my first year as an indie author has been connecting with other book lovers. It’s really true that if you love your job, it will never feel like work – and I definitely love my job!

On this blog, I want to connect with you over the books I’m reading and writing. Plus, I hope to introduce you to some of the other book lovers I’ve met along the way. Most of all, I’d like to hear back from you!

Why do you love to read?