Following in the vein of trying stuff out for free…

I read reviews religiously on before I buy a novel on my Kindle Fire. I would often see badges for Amazon Vine, for example, where people would receive what they call an Advanced Reading Copy (an ARC) or a “galley” for free in exchange for their honest review. Some were from the Amazon Vine Voice spe, which you can only get by meeting certain requirements, including reviewing a certain number (percentage) of your purchases, and/or getting enough “helpful” votes for your reviews. The others that I kept seeing were from a place called “Net Galley,” so I Googled it. (Yes, I know. “Googled” is not a word, and therefore not a verb. But I’m using it anyway!) ;)

I found They distribute e-books (for freeee!) directly from publishers before they’re released to the public. They do ask for your feedback, of course, but according to their website, you are not required to write a review in exchange for the books you read. In the feedback section, they ask for you to provide the link to your review on another site, like Amazon, or a blog. Even if you don’t submit an official review, they still have a text box where you can enter your thoughts on the novel. That way they still get some sort of feedback on their book.

You can enter in the genres that you love, and they’ll send you emails when new books in those genres are available. Then, you go to their website and request a copy when you see something you’re interested in. That way, you’re only reading books that you’d normally read. In my case, though, it’s turning out to expose me to novels that I probably never would’ve heard of that I’m loving! ;) That’s a plus in my book!

I LOVE to read. Like, love LOVE! I always wanted to just read books and write reviews, but up until a year or so ago, I lived out in the boonies, and did not have reliable internet. So for me, that dream was a no-go. Now, though, I’ve got all-day access to Wi-Fi, ample time for reading, and my Kindle is constantly being fed not only by me, but also by Net Galley! 

I feel pretty stinkin’ lucky right now. So - this is a fair warning - you will be seeing book reviews on this site from here on in. I’ll still be reviewing stuff I get from BzzAgent (once again, LOVE them!) and other things I deem worthy (whether that’s positively or negatively). 

You’ll be hearing more from me soon. In fact, my first book I’m digesting (and yes, I picked that word specifically. It’s one that you want to mull over and savor.) is called “The Book of Secrets” by Elizabeth Joy Arnold. It’s one of those I mentioned above, that I would probably never have found, if I hadn’t been offered it from Net Galley.

So you’re now officially a part of my new adventure. Jump in it with me! 

Whether you’re joining Net Galley right this second, or just coming along for the ride, I welcome you!

In fact, if you’ve read (or are reading) the same books as me, I LOVE discussing them, so please, feel free to comment! :)

“So, what is BzzAgent?” you ask. 

BzzAgent is this handy-dandy little site that acts as a catalyst between everyday people like you and me, and big companies that want to know our opinions. Think of it as focus groups in the digital-social age. 

Only with these “focus groups,” you don’t have to drive somewhere, and sit in a bland, boring office all day.

Here’s the scoop:

1. Sign up on their site:

2. Fill out short, sweet (really. as in 2 mins or less) surveys to let them know your demographic info so they can match you to the best campaigns

3. Accept an invite to a campaign that interests you

4. Receive your free “Bzz Kit” in the mail

5. Test out the product(s)

6. Use BzzAgent’s website to share your excitement/results with posts to your Facebook wall, Twitter, blog, written or video reviews, and “BzzReports,” which basically inform BzzAgent and the hosting company of the types of offline conversations you have with people about the product.

7. You receive “My Points” for these submissions, which you can redeem for gift cards, discounts, etc - but, in my opinion, the REAL prize is getting fantastic stuff to try for free. :)

See - easy, isn’t it?

And let me tell you - when I signed up, I wasn’t sure if it was legit. There are lots of companies out there that say they do samplings and give things out for free, but I have yet to meet any that are of the same caliber as BzzAgent. 

I’ve been a member of BzzAgent since 2009, and I’ve had a lot of campaigns. I’m not rich, so they’re not looking to dig into me or my friends’ pockets - I just talk a lot. Some might say I’m an over-sharer. But I think that’s the key. ;)

So this is my intro to BzzAgent. I might post more in-depth info about its inner-workings for those who are curiouser and curiouser, but that’ll have to wait for another time… ;)

“Mad love” kinda reminds you of “mad lib,” doesn’t it? I sure do miss those things!
I’m gonna throw it out there and say that I think I love BzzAgent as much as I love mad libs. And that’s saying something for a language-lover like me!

It’s late - more to come on this later. Until then, check out BzzAgent yourself, if you’re up for it. It’s awesomesauce!


    Stephanie is an avid reader, writer, video gamer, and daydreamer. A 26-year-old mother of three boys under 10, one massive 6-month-old puppy, and one 25-year-old husband-child. Recently mistaken as a all of them. Yikes! 


    May 2013