Well, I know I explain what Pulse It! originally was at the beginning of Free Book Friday every week, but I realized you guys actually never got a full fledged breakdown of how I got into the program, or what books I received, so I figured now was as good a time as any to really explain what Pulse It! was, what the perks and the downsides were and all that good stuff!
So to start off, every month I’d get a pretty cool package in the mail. It was your typical mailer envelope, nothing special, except I was 13. So um, hello, basically everything was pretty cool back then.
The package would contain a book and inserted in the front cover would be one of these nifty little cards with a short (and I mean one sentence short) blurb about the book and an estimate of when the review link would be emailed over.
Review links were basically fancy jargon for their way of keeping track of who was reviewing and who wasn’t. The way it worked for Pulse It! members was you were sent the book and within 2 weeks you’d be emailed a review link where you could go in and leave your detailed review.
The unfortunate thing about these reviews were that a lot of people were just writing 2 sentences and thinking that sufficed. Hence the reason why the program is unfortunately no longer running. It’s a shame because it definitely was a great way to get your hands on new books without venturing out to your local bookstore. Plus it was great because you really got a feel for some new genres without spending money on a book you weren’t sure you were going to like.
For example, Tithe by Holly Black was a fantasy book about a faerie world that I never would have picked up without Pulse It! sending it to me.
Anyway so the first book Pulse It! sent me was Model by Cheryl Diamond, and honestly an autobiography was not was what I was expecting from this program but I was excited the program was actually legit and I didn’t look like an idiot in front of my mom so honestly, I didn’t care.
So Model was actually really interesting. It was an entirely different side of modeling than I had ever thought to even look at, and here it was laid out for me on a silver platter. Really interesting book – definitely wasn’t the best book ever but still was something different and was great to read.
The next book I received I actually don’t own anymore. It was a graphic novel called 100 Girls by by Adam Gallardo and Todd Demong. It was about a girl who was created in a laboratory with super powers and was spread across the country with 7 others to grow up and see how it went. Basically her whole life is an experiment and is controlled.
Honestly you guys know me by now, I’m not a big fan of graphic novels – hence why I don’t actually own it anymore.
Next up was Tithe by Holly Black and honestly I don’t remember much about it. I guess that goes to show I didn’t really care for it but honestly, it was nice to be exposed.
Do you guys see a trend here? There’s an issue with this program. If you haven’t figured it out yet, just wait. I’ll explain soon.
The next month was GoldenGirl by Micol Ostow. Ehhhh…this was like a really poorly written wannabe version of The Clique series. Again, was slightly disappointed but hey, it was free books for just saying what I thought; and this was back during a time where I didn’t have my own income – getting books involved holidays with gifts or lots of begging.
The following month was Jenny Green’s Killer Junior Year by by Amy Belasen and Jacob Osborn. Another 3 stars from me. Just okay. At this point, I can remember waiting for a book like Model – one that at least caught my attention and made me look forward to what the next month held.
Finally my wishes were answered with Far from You by Lisa Schroeder. I am all about books in verse and I always have been, and this was GORGEOUSLY written and I gave it 5 stars easy. It was so beautiful and was finally something that I was excited to read and sped through in a few days, which involved me having to keep notes so I’d remember when the review link finally came through (whereas the others I was scrambling to force myself to finish so I could get a review in).
Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos was the following month and I actually really liked that one as well. It was really relatable for a lot of readers and was a unique concept. Plus I thought the cover was pretty cool. I was really pleased with that month and was excited for another hardcover book. I was hoping for more hardcovers in the future and the next month I was not disappointed!
And finally, Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger came in and I was blown away by that diamond in the rough. I’d say it was definitely a tie between that and Far From You for top books during the course of the program, and honestly I’m so glad I was able to read those two contemporary YA books, as I probably never would have been able to get my hands on them without the Pulse It! reading program.
Unfortunately after that, the program abruptly ended and all the free reads were transferred to online access only. I tried to get into it but unfortunately I wasn’t (and still am not) huge on sitting at a computer to read (and this was before kindles and smart phones with decent internet connection). But regardless, I was grateful to have had the program as it was while it lasted and though definitely sad to see it go, I can see now why it had to.
Did you figure out the issue with the program? It’s there, right in front of you, I promise.
Most of these books, though they were something different from what I would usually grab off a bookshelf from the book store and take home, they were exactly that. Books I wouldn’t usually grab – which made it very hard for me to give an honest opinion as a 13-year-old without saying “I don’t like faeries” or “I don’t like drama and gossip books.”
And I feel as though Pulse It! lost a lot of money that way on books that teens and tweens didn’t really care for because there was simply no direction with what books were sent. Had their been surveys or things to put us into groups so group A would probably like this book and group B would probably like this one, so lets send out both and actually get to test more than one book this month and see how it goes – that probably would have worked.
But sending out a generic genre to ALL your readers? Big problem.
Bottom line, I loved the program. But I think the way they have it set up now is definitely more sensible. You don’t like the book? Don’t read it. It’s online for everyone, but only for a week, so if you don’t have time to review it, we’re not out anything because you don’t get to keep the book anyway.
Pulse It! definitely made a smart move with their new online version of free reads for YA readers, but I definitely wish a program like this still existed, but was a bit more selective and/or organized.
Thank you guys so much for reading. Honestly, I probably messed up the order of which books I got, but these are definitely them!
If you’re interested in getting your hands on some free ebooks from Simon Pulse, check out pulseit.com for all the details on how to snag them! Free Book Friday always highlights what books are available for the week so stay tuned for that. And thanks again for reading!