Summer Reading

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Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own, but I may be compensated if you make a purchase through my links. 

The internet seems all abuzz with people talking about what they are reading this summer and I guess that makes sense. Summer seems to be a time when things slow down and there is more time to read. There are car trips and beach trips which lend themselves perfectly to getting engulfed in a good (or trashy!) story.

Unfortunately this year it looks like I am busier than ever! Even with the break from school activities I am still a full time working lady with 3 kids and an amazing husband…and a lot of pregnant friends! This weekend alone I went to 2 baby showers! I don’t think that I am going to be dipping my tootsies in any beach sand this summer, so I am trying to to get my reading in how I can, through audio books!

I recently started using Audible about a month ago when I really wanted to “read” the Wicked series. I do a Once Upon a Time fan podcast  and the Wicked Witch and Oz were pretty important this spring I wanted to learn more about the world.

Since setting up my Audible account I have read Wicked, started The Husband’s Secret, and am nearing the end of Dogboy: Den of Thieves and it has made my commutes fly! It’s not so bad sitting in Atlanta traffic when you have something interesting to listen to.

I’ve decided to giveaway ONE free audiobook code to Audible. Enter below in the Rafflecopter (ending on June 25th). GOOD LUCK and make sure to tell me what book you are going to download.

Dogboy: Den of Thieves By Bill Meeks

Dogboy: Den of Thieves By Bill Meeks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter Here ^^^^^^^^^ (I’m working on getting the Rafflecopter to display properly)


This post is linked up on the Ruffles and Rain Boots: Thank Goodness its Thursday Linkup!!


Why Reviews Matter (and How to Leave One in Less Than 2 Minutes!)


So since I have been crazy busy lately (hence the lackage of posts!) I asked Bill Meeks of and to help me out. Full Disclosure…Bill is also my husband.

Bill Meeks

@billmeeks on Twitter

Hi, readers of Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated! Anne Marie asked me to talk to you about a matter that is important to many online content creators like myself: reviews.

You might be the next Picasso, Bach, or Kanye but if people don’t know your content is out there you might as well be the next Gilfred Gondry. What’s that? Don’t know about Gilfred Gondry? That’s because nobody can find him!

Gilfred has a problem. He pours his heart into each and every custom-painted Adventure Time iPad cover he sells over on Etsy. It’s not that his customer are unsatisfied with the product. In fact many of them send him e-mails with pictures of them enjoying their covers along with very kind words.

Adeventure TimeThe iPad covers are very well reviewed, just not on the Etsy site itself.

He wants to share these covers with other Adventure Time fans, but the show is very popular and competition is stiff. Even if it wasn’t the lack of reviews might turn a lot of potential customers off, sending them to a competitor instead.

Gilfred tries a lot of different things to get his customers to share their experiences with new customers: giveaways, personal outreach, even Youtube tutorials on how to make your own custom iPad covers. Nothing helps. It seems like people hate leaving reviews, and if Gilfred doesn’t get some soon he’ll have to pack up his paints and go back to his 9-5 at the post office.

Leaving an honest review is the #1 way you can help independent artist bring in new fans. Hitting a star rating and typing a sentence or two doesn’t seem like it would be much help, but it’s the best way to ensure things you like stick around.

Helping your favorite content creator “go viral” isn’t really the point here (although it doesn’t hurt). The point is to help level the playing field in an ever-increasing landscape.

So why is it so hard to get people to leave reviews? Most people have put up “blockers” to leaving a review. You’re probably guilty of this too.

The biggest blocker is assuming it’s more complicated than it is. Leaving a review for a product/piece of content you want to support is simple. So simple in fact that you can do it in only two minutes.

How to Leave a Review in 2 Minutes

  1. Choose a star/number rating
  2. Answer three of the following questions with a sentence (or more if you’re motivated):
    1. What was your favorite feature/use/character/etc.?
    2. What was your least favorite feature/use/character/etc.?
    3. Have you been able to use the product in your everyday life? How?
    4. Is there anything about the product that makes you uncomfortable?
    5. Have you recommended the product to friends?
    6. If the creator offered a similar product in the future would you purchase it?
    7. Does the product remind you of another product? In what way?
    8. What was the fulfillment experience like? Did it ship in a timely manner? Arrive in one piece? If not how did the creator handle it?

These are some general springboards for you when leaving a comment, but feel free to come up with your own. It’s simple, isn’t it? It’s not about writing a textbook critique, or sounding like you’re part of the marketing team. It’s about giving an honest assessment to help other consumers while supporting the artists you want to see succeed.

Another blocker I hear is that customers who liked the product but didn’t love it might think they’ll offend the artist (especially if it’s a friend). People who create something out of nothing should have a thick skin, even if the criticism is coming from somebody they care about. If they don’t they should probably find another way to pay the bills. Besides, I love it when I get less than stellar reviews on my books and podcasts. It helps potential new fans see that I didn’t just “stuff the ballot box” with 5-star reviews from my buddies. It feels more “real”.

For Gilfred Gondry (you’ve heard of him, right?) a few minutes of your time means the world by setting his iPad covers apart from those chintzy ones you can find at Hot Topic. He puts his heart into his product, scraping by because he cares about what he does.
Is it worth 2 minutes of your time to help his business succeed? I think Gilfred would answer a resounding “Yes”.


Now go and REVIEW Bill’s novels on Amazon and podcasts iTunes! (BTW…I am the co-host on those podcasts!)

Dogboy: Den of Thieves
Greetings from Storybrooke

Legends of Gotham

Greetings from Storybrooke…LIVE


Greetings from Storybrooke – Wonderland Wrap Up LIVE!

I know I have mentioned this before, but I do a couple of podcasts with Bill Meeks of MeeksMixedMedia and Dogboy Books. We do weekly fan podcasts about ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time: Wonderland called Greetings from Storybrooke where we offer a bit of a wrap up and discussion about what happened that week, as well as theories and news for upcoming episodes.

Well last week was the final episode of OUAT:W as it was only a 13 episode series and we wanted to do something to wrap things up. Our fans (so weird to say something like that!) had been asking us to do a live or video episode for a while, so we finally decided to oblige!

So last night we hosted a roundtable of about 8 other podcasters and friends of the show and we hashed it out…for 2 hours!! We each had our beverage of choice (or “Magic Juice” as we call it on the show) and most people were drinking from Disney Princess cups (again, it’s a thing we do) and we had a ton of laughs! Discussions ranged from “shipping” the Cheshire Cat with, well, everyone to the Red Queen’s horrible Botox lips to which storyline just felt like it never developed.

Now I know you may not be a fan of the #OUAT Universe, but I invite you to give it a shot! It was an AMAZINGLY talented panel and each member is doing different and great things. Please take a few minutes to check it out!

Oh, and in case you are curious…I am HIGHLY CAFFEINATED during this episode!!! We were drinking a jug of coffee, almond milk, Bailey’s and vodka! SO DELICIOUS!

Greetings from Storybrooke – Wonderland Wrap Up LIVE!


Amy P. life of a bookworm on tumblr
Daniel J. LewisONCE and WONDERLAND podcasts
Bobby Hawke
Jeff Roney and Colleen Roney of Once Upon A Time Fan Podcast
Patty Mouro
Wynn MercereCity of the Gods