Win Gathering Mist

Karla BrandenburgThis week, Booklover’s Bench welcomes new member, author Karla Brandenburg, to our “Let’s Talk” feature. Karla is the author of seven contemporary romances, a card-carrying cookie-holic, and enjoys baking and travel. Welcome, Karla!


How do you choose your next book to read?

Brandenburg bookshelf

There are certain times of the year when I read more than others. The beginning of the year comes to mind. Often I’m given gift certificates over the holidays for iBooks or Kindle or Barnes & Noble, and I take advantage of those to stock up. I also like to read (perversely) when I’m busiest at work, so as to take my mind OFF of my day job. I also commute to work on the train, which is prime reading time for me. But how do you decide which books to choose?

One of my favorite places to find new books is I enter the giveaways when something catches my eye, or I see the name of an author I’d like to try but whose work I’m not yet familiar with. I’ve found some bestselling authors this way as well as some up-and-coming authors, including some that I would “auto-buy.” I’m also old-fashioned enough to hang out at the library and browse some of my favorite sections. But what is it that makes me say “that looks like a good one?”

Well, there’s the title, for starters. And I’m a blurb reader. The cover isn’t usually what grabs me, although I know people who are more visual and go to that first. I also love when an author posts a snippet from the story on their Facebook page that gives me an “inside look.” Some people go strictly by recommendation, although that doesn’t always work for me. Reading is such a personal thing, so subjective, that what one person loves, another person might not “get.”

My interests vary from historical, to thriller, to horror, to mystery, to romance. Generally speaking, once I’ve found an author I enjoy reading, I’ll stick with them for several (or all of their) books.

Gathering Mist, by Karla BrandenburgIn a world where our reading choices seem to be exploding exponentially, how do you decide which book to buy? Do you download samples? “Look inside” at Amazon? Or are you lured by a good cover? Do you look for a catchy title and/or a blurb?

Be sure to leave a comment for an extra chance to win a download of my newest release, Gathering Mist.




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  1. Aloha from Maui, Karla! I’m one of those people who is influenced more by the first few pages than anything else. If the blurb is bad, I may pass. But, if the first page doesn’t show me good writing and engage me, I’m outta there!

  2. It’s interesting to read where you find books and reminds me to set up another Goodreads giveaway. I find new books through BookBub or the Fussy Librarian, might see a magazine ad that appeals to me, or I browse the bookstore shelves. The cover tends to pop out at me first. Then I’ll read the blurb. And finally, either online or in the bookstore, I will glance at the first few pages to see if the writing style grabs me.

    • Those first few pages are critical. I’ve read the first couple of paragraphs in a new book and immediately wondered how I was going to make it through! (or wondered if I would be able to put it down).

  3. I have authors I auto-buy, but new stuff is harder to peg. I am active on social media and in various writer groups. If someone really touts a book, I’ll check to see what they liked about it. If it’s something I also look for in a book, then I’ll click over to read a sample. If I like that, I’ll download it. I’m also on the mailing list for several newsletters that advertise book deals, including sales and freebies. One of the things I’ve learned is that I don’t want to load my device up with books just because they are free or a deal, I want to make sure the book is something that appeals to me. Life is too short to waste it reading something that you’re not enjoying.

    • All excellent options, as well. I have one author i autobuy and i get some of those deal newsletters, too. But like you, i don’t automatically buy every free or reduced price book. Those lists have introduced me to several excellent authors, however.

  4. I take a chance and use other author’s recommendations. I will also try a sample from Amazon that are linked by a book I just finished.

  5. As a librarian, I usually buy what is popular, then I graze through to what I think will be an exciting book. I enjoy reading the first paragraph of a story before reading the back cover blurb. If I like the two, then I buy it!

  6. Colleen C. says

    It is hard to pick and choose what books I will buy… so many choices! Besides the authors I read all of the time, I will first pick up a book if it catches my eye… then I will read the blurb… if it sounds good to me, then I will decide if I truly want it. Sometimes for e-books, I will check out what people generally say about it.

    • I like to read reviews, too, but sometimes I purposely avoid them so they don’t color my reading experience. And sometimes I read the best on and the worst one to see how far apart they are. They can be instrumental in whether or not I’m willing to take a chance on a new-to-me author.

  7. tinawhittle says

    I rely on personal recommendations mostly, because all my friends read voraciously (big surprise) and because they are all smart, engaged, readers who can not only tell me what they liked (or didn’t) about a book, they know my tastes well enough to tell me whether or not I’d like a book.

    • It’s awesome to have friends like that! I do have some friends (and family) whose opinions I trust, although I’ve had many recommendations from people with different tastes.