Review: The Essential Book Blog: by Ken J. Howe, Saul W. Tanpepper, Michael Guerini and Cheryl L. Seaton

The Complete Bibliophile’s Toolkit for Building, Growing and Monetizing Your On-Line Book-Lover’s Community: A Guide for Writers and Readers 

Volume 1 of Brainstorm Guides


Title: The Essential Book Blog:

Subtitle: The Complete Bibliophile’s Toolkit for Building, Growing and Monetizing Your On-Line Book-Lover’s Community: A Guide for Writers and Readers

Authors: Ken J. Howe, Saul W. Tanpepper, Michael Guerini and Cheryl L. Seaton

Genre: Non-Fiction, Blogging

Year of Publication: 2012

Published by: Brinestone Press

Series: Brinestone Guides

Rating:  4/5 stars

After writing book reviews and other articles for for three years , I decided that it was high time to build and manage a blog of my own, not only to review books I enjoy or dislike but to befriend other book bloggers, to build a community of readers and to take my passion to a whole new level. Therefore, with this plan in mind, I began doing a bit of research and I found the book I’m going to talk about today: The Essential Book Blog written by Ken J. Howe,  Saul W. Tanpepper, Michael Guerini and Cheryl L. Seaton.

The structure of the book is as follows: an introduction, eight main sections in which the topics of this guide are discussed, parts which include subtopics marked by capital letters and those subtopics contain smaller subdivisions marked by numbers and low case letters; the eighth part includes three appendixes, there’s a small section informing the reader about the authors who wrote and contributed to this book and there’s a note regarding services and products mentioned in the guide through hyperlinks.

In the Introduction, we learn that this guide is not only for amateur and semi-professional book bloggers, but also for authors who want to familiarise oneself with the book-selling industry, which is constantly changing as well as the way we read, books, but also the book community of readers itselfBook reviews play an important role in the reading community and that’s why they “are the foundations upon which people discover, share, and sell books in this new digital publishing era.” (Loc. 234) In other words, book reviews are crucial for any writer because they have a great impact on the best-seller charts through the power of the Internet, a blog and Social Media. Whether you write book reviews for pleasure or for profit, this guide will help you understand the process of book reviewing and give you the resources to succeed in your book blogging journey.

If bibliophiles of the past gathered in small groups in cafés, parks or private homes where they could share their reading experiences, now, thanks to the Internet, there is a plethora of websites, blogs, social platforms and groups dedicated to certain books (fandoms I would add), where book lovers can share their opinions about their favourite books with other avid readers from around the world, regardless of their background, nationality or religion.

“Along the way, these new book-lovers are forging new friendships, interacting with other readers and authors in ways never before possible and only imagined, and, most exciting of all, becoming part of a worldwide marketplace where the pleasure of reading and sharing books can also be income-generating.” (Loc. 261-263).

This book teaches every reader (reviewer, blogger or author) “the fundamentals of book sharing through the art of book reviews” (Loc. 274) from how to write a review, to reach out to other reviewers, to create an online presence, to grow your community, getting (free) books to review and earn money ethically while pursuing your passion. And authors will learn how to get more reviews by reaching out to potential readers through book reviewers.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot because the writing is plain and simple, sometimes humorous, the explanations are clear and the writers give tons of useful tips on building your blog, writing reviews, getting traffic and exposure, making your blog profitable and so on and so forth. There are a lot of things I’ve learned from this guide and I will surely reread some of the sections and apply some of the tips to my blog to make it more user-friendly for my followers and potential readers. The only downside of this guide is that it was published a few years ago and some pieces of advice might be irrelevant in the future because the Internet is constantly changing too through new trends and Social Media. Also, some of the links from the book don’t show the source anymore. However, the overall experience of reading this book was amazing and I highly recommend this guide to new book bloggers.

Before I wrap it up, tell me how is your blogging journey so far?


Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

I actually had a book review planned for this Friday, but I changed my mind because June and July are two crazy months for me, so I opted again for a book tag which suits this time of the year. Plus, I’m always happy to talk about the current state of my TBR pile.

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag was created by two book-tubers (Chami and Ety) and it comprises of fourteen questions, mostly regarding the books you read in the first half of the year. I read twenty-six books until now including the dnf-ed ones, so I think that I have enough material to answer properly to each and every question.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

This year I wanted to read all the first instalments in the series I own because I plan to continue only the series or trilogies I’ve found unique and enjoyable to explore further on. For the best book I’ve read until now I choose The Essential Book Blog by Ken J. Howe, Saul Tanpepper, Michael Guerini and Cheryl L. Seaton, which is an easy yet informative guide for each new book blogger or newbie author and it teaches you anything from how to build your own blog, what your review should include, how to get traffic on your blog, how to get books and even how to earn money through your blog. Personally, I can’t wait to review this blogging guide and reread some of the sections in order to apply them to my blog.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.


At the beginning of this year, I promised myself that I will not be as generous as I used to be with the 5-star ratings and by far, there are just three books that had the wow factor I was looking for. The first 5-star sequel I rated in 2017 is Escape from Sudan, the 9th book in Mike WellsLust, Money & Murder series because I was on pins and needles while reading this book. It really was a roller-coaster of emotions for me and Elaine’s (almost impossible) mission through such a war-torn and dangerous country made my adrenaline levels increase.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I’m not very interested in new releases for now because I have a lot of unread books sitting and collecting dust on my shelves and many eBooks on my Kindle too; so I prefer to stick to those.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I read Mike Wells’ blurb for Panacea, the 11th book in the Lust, Money & Murder series, which is set in Ukraine and the book, is going to be released in September. This is the only sequel I’m excited to devour.

5.  Biggest disappointment.

Well, I have a few disappointments and dislikes reflected on my ratings and on my dnf-ed shelf, but the biggest one came from an author I haven’t read before. I’m sorry for the repetition, but I was extremely disappointed by Isabel Allende’s Zorro. How can a book about California’s famous bandit be so boring with so many info-dumps, lifeless characters and no hook? I loved the fact that Diego is mixed-race, but besides that, his friendship with Bernardo and how his father met his mother, I didn’t find anything of interest in the chapters I read.

6. Biggest surprise.


The biggest surprise was The Rocker Who Holds Me by Terri Anne Browning, a book which didn’t deal only with the dissolute lives of rock stars, but also with abuse, heartache and lack of communication. I really love it and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys rock star romances.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

My new favourite author is KK Allen who wrote Enchanted, the first instalment in The Summer Solstice. Besides her beautiful and visual writing, I enjoyed spending my time with her well-built characters, the plot was extremely interesting and the elemental magic blew my mind along with its complexity. The ancient wisdom passed on to Katrina is a combination of Greek myths and Wiccan beliefs. For those of you who are wondering, the review is coming soon.

8. Newest fictional crush.

Nik from The Rocker Who Holds Me might be a potential fictional crush because he is talented, caring and a very hot guy, but he makes Emmie suffer a lot. On the other hand, she is afraid to talk about her feelings for him.

9. Newest favourite character.

I’m currently reading The Lady of the Pier trilogy written by Effrosyni Moschoudi and though I root for both protagonists of the two alternating stories, Sofia Aspioti is very dear to my heart, not just because she is Greek, but she is also a book nerd, a hardworking student, an animal lover and she also writes poetry. She is shy and very cautious because she is aware that everything she does might reach her strict father’s ears, an overprotective parent who forbids her to stay out late or to do anything silly. Despite the restrictions that suffocate her life, Sofia longs for freedom and adventure especially after meeting Danny, an outgoing and non-conformist British tourist whose laid-back attitude makes Sofia fall for him.

10. Book that made you cry.

Though I’ve shed a tear occasionally when I read about Sofia’s kind and loving grandparents from Corfu who reminded me of my own, none of the books I’ve picked up in the first half of the year made me cry hysterically for a certain character or situation.

11. Book that made you happy.


It’s hard to say that one of my recent reads made me feel happy, but You & Me Forever is a collection of romantic YA and NA stories written by eight authors including Megan Linski and Pamita Rao, a book that made me feel good most of the time because the short stories range from sweet to dark and they are easy to read especially while you are travelling. I highly recommend it for the summer.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I adore the new covers for The Lady of the Pier trilogy; they are so gorgeous and suit the novels perfectly with that beautiful and mysterious woman standing on the pier.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Besides the books mentioned above, I want to continue reading the two remaining novels from the Try a Chapter Book Tag and afterwards to flip through or even reread some classics I’ve read a few years ago, but I haven’t reviewed yet.

 14. Favourite Book Community Member

For now, I’ll give a shoutout to my best friend and awesome reviewer, Elena from who has great tastes in books and movies. Check out her website and show her some love!

If you enjoyed this book tag, give it a try and leave your answers below in a comment or through a link to your blog or YouTube channel. Have an awesome weekend! See you next time!