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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

“Why don’t you leave her?” asked Milo.
Floyd digested this question for five full minutes.
“I’m trying to be mature about things,” he said at last. “I thought maybe we just needed time. Marriage is work.

“The problem with a barracuda,” said Milo, “isn’t that you aren’t being mature. The problem is that it’s a barracuda. If you don’t like being in the boat with it, one of you has to go.”

I really wanted to like this one… With clever, pithy lines about life and love like the one above (to illustrate the point, Milo actually pulls a barracuda into the boat, where it thrashes at Floyd’s feet – one of the BEST illustrated life lessons EVER in fiction!), how could I not be intrigued?? I was a little apprehensive, because Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore are hit-and-miss authors for me, and there were more than a few comparisons between those authors and Poore, but I was optimistic because of the subject matter. I’m fascinated by the concept of reincarnation and love when Death is a character – there are so many wonderful possibilities to explore in the complex relationship between man and Death… I was semi-turned off from the get-go though – the book opens with reference to death by shark, and I have a ridiculous life-long phobia about sharks, so I was battling the eight ball from the opening line. Unfortunately, things never really picked up for me after that… Continue reading Book Review: Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Book Review: Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

“His mind felt full of shattered ice and quicksand, all sharp edges and dull helpless sliding at once, poisoned with blue, drunk with it.”

This was a cool find, and not quite what I expected.

Dr. Greta Helsing (the family dropped the “van”) is in the family business. She serves as the go-to medical practitioner for the Things That Go Bump In The Night – she takes care of them and they, in turn, as we learn as the story develops, more than take care of her in return… When a new, unidentified, source starts attacking London’s TTGBITN, Dr. Helsing quickly steps in, hunting the hunters who are hunting her and her friends… Sound confusing? It’s really not – and the story development and cast of characters are more than original enough to keep you entertained, curious, and in suspense throughout the book.

Both Greta and her “monsters” are more human than you might expect in a book about supernatural characters. Continue reading Book Review: Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Book Review: The Brass Compass by Ellen Butler

I love historical fiction, particularly when it covers an aspect of history that I’m not already familiar with – I love having the opportunity to learn something while being entertained, it adds an extra dimension to the story that I really enjoy. That said, there are certain periods of history that I tend to avoid in my historical fiction. There are timeframes and historical events, like the Holocaust or slavery and the Civil War, that I find difficult to enjoy because of their underlying impact on humanity. I read fiction to be transported into the world of the story; I don’t generally want to be transported to a place of horror and despair. I will read non-fiction about these eras and events, because I don’t expect the same things from non-fiction. I like being generally well-informed, and to consider myself so, I feel compelled to read non-fiction across the spectrum of human emotion, because I firmly believe that ignoring the distasteful elements of history makes us subject to the risk of allowing them to be forgotten or mitigated in our memories, and thus to be repeated. So it will come as a surprise to you (it did to me!) that I no only read Ellen Butler’s novel of female spies in Nazi-occupied Germany but that I so thoroughly enjoyed it.
Continue reading Book Review: The Brass Compass by Ellen Butler

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

“Every choice feeds every choice that comes after, whether we want those choices or no.”

I do NOT know how Seanan McGuire does it – she writes numerous series (as well as individual stand-alone books), each with numerous books/novellas/short stories (that come out with extraordinary frequency), under her own name AND a pseudonym, and each of them feels like it was written by someone different… On top of that, each of them is uniquely strong in its distinct category. She must never sleep!

This series intrigued me SO much: I loved the concept and couldn’t wait to read the first book (Every Heart a Doorway). I was a little disappointed – it felt like there were a lot of loose ends and half-explanations, which is somewhat unusual for the start of a series, particularly by a talented series writer. Then I read this second installment. So much is starting to come together already, and this is only book two. Continue reading Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Guest Post: 16 SEO FAQs We Still Struggle to Understand

In March, I was delighted to be able to share a very helpful tool designed to demystify HTML and help bloggers maneuver through the morass that can be coding. Today, I’m pleased to bring you another exceedingly useful tool from the good folks at Skilled.co – a set of FAQs to help you navigate the increasingly important world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization – aka The Magic Behind Good Numbers). The new infographic contains answers to the most often asked questions among website owners and content managers, and topics like organic traffic, white hat SEO, Google algorithm, mobile SEO and more. Hope it helps – I certainly learned more than a few bits of background AND garnered a few clever tips…

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16 SEO FAQs We Still Struggle to Understand
When was the last time you checked out page three of Google search results?

That’s right – never!

The majority of users never even go to page two, let alone beyond that. This is why every website owner’s dream is to get to the top of the Google search results.

New search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies are being developed constantly, and the rules of SEO keep changing. This can make it difficult for those new to SEO to keep up with the developments in this area and figure out what the best SEO strategy for their website is.

While the history of SEO starts over a decade ago, we still see millions of people searching for “SEO” every month, which means that there are still plenty of confusing things about SEO that most users are struggling to understand.

This is why we bring you this informative infographic about 16 things we still struggle to understand about SEO. Here are just some of the interesting SEO facts you’ll find in the graphic: What is SEO? What Is The Difference Between Off Page and On Page Optimisation? How Long Will It Take to Get Rankings?

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Check out the infographic for answers to these questions and a slew more, including how to speed your way to the top of the rankings and boost readership and promotional opportunities. The infographic is available here. And let us know what you learned and how you plan to use it – feedback is, after all, key!

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