Category: For Fun

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books to Re-Read

We all have a beloved favourite… or multiple books we yearn to re-read every once in a while! They may look tattered, dog-eared or rough… maybe even like they’ve gone through the mill a few times. In a way, that’s a sign of a really good book! Equally, some people worship their books like Gods. I have a pet hate of spine cracking and avoid it where I can. However well you look after your books, they truly are a gift that keeps on giving.

Today, I wanted to share with you the Top Ten Books (series where applicable) I would die to read again: –

 

The Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

I love the magical realism in these books and how well each of the characters is developed. I am yet to read the next trilogy taking place after the original series, but I would certainly read these again! And again…

 

Gentlemen Bastards – Scott Lynch

I am definitely going to have to re-read these books once The Thorn of Emberlain is released. I read The Republic of Thieves back in February 2015, so it’s been over three years since I’ve touched any of the books. I’ll admit I had even forgotten we were awaiting the next installment – good of me to remind myself (and you!) I’m not a fan of all the negative messages from other fans about it not being published yet. Books take as long as necessary to write and polish. Be patient.

 

The Kingkiller Chronicle – Patrick Rothfuss

This is a series I read some time ago as well.

Usually, when I fall in love with a book, it is either for the plot or the writing style… rarely both. This series is the absolute exception to the rule! I could read these on repeat and not mind one bit. Once it is finished, I expect this series is going to end up on my all-time faves list.

 

The Broken Empire series  – Mark Lawrence

The thing I distinctly remember loving about this series is how unlovable and flawed the MC is. He is no hero. He’s selfish, spiteful and egotistic, to mention but a few things. You come to understand why though, and that kind of makes him lovable in the end.

 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

This is an absolute classic! If anyone either doesn’t like this book or doesn’t want to read it again, then I don’t understand you. I think this is a book that I will revisit and cry over again and again in my lifetime.

 

IT – Stephen King

I only read this book about a year ago, so I am not looking to re-read any time soon. I want to re-read it as it is such a large and detailed book and I want to see if I missed anything the first time around. Stephen King is such a fantastic writer. I don’t think re-reading any of his books would get repetitive.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I think there are some fairly obvious reasons as to why I would like to read this book again.

I loved the narrative, the characters and the plot itself – but what is most important is the lesson in our history. Only from our mistakes can we learn. I would hate to think of a society so openly hostile to those within it for something so superficial as skin colour. Unfortunately, prejudice and discrimination haven’t been stamped out as much as I would like; people are just less overt about it. That is all the more reason to remind ourselves once in a while about just how awful it is.

 

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is a very recent read. In fact, I devoured the book! Whilst I expect to love Muse of Nightmares just as much, that hasn’t come out yet. I would anticipate I’ll end up reading this duology again. The characters, the magic, and the narrative are beautiful.

I am still waiting for my Lazlo. Still. Waiting.

 

Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling

I grew up with these books, reading them at various stages in my childhood. Arguably, these books were hugely responsible for my love of reading. Now, I would like to read them again as an adult as I think I will appreciate them an awful lot more as more.

 

A Song of Ice & Fire (aka A Game of Thrones) – George R. R. Martin

I have in fact already re-read the series (so far) once and am pining to do so again. I am half considering re-reading one book of the series a month for the rest of the year. I’m not 100% decided though. They are large books and it would take a fair chunk of my reading time out for new books.

Fuck it. I’ve re-downloaded them onto my kindle. What’s done is done.

 

Have you read any of the books above? Would you want to re-read them again? Let me know in the comments!

 

Three Things Noone tells you about going self hosted

Three Things no one tells you about going self-hosted

Migrating a blog hosted via WordPress (wordpress.com) or Blogspot to a self-hosted site is a rite of passage. At least, it felt that way for me anyway. It’s a huge step for bloggers alike, but it comes with added responsibility – and a bit of work to get it there in the first place.

I spent a lot of time researching how to migrate a blog before I took the plunge and found plenty of information out there. Confident I knew everything there was to know, I took the first step to make my blogging dreams come true.

A common expression is that you don’t really learn to drive until you have passed your test… and I found this process to be much the same thing. Each and every one of us will have a different experience. In my research, I was never really told what to expect once my blog was successfully migrated. If you are looking to find out a little more on that subject, then you’ve certainly come to the right place!

My experiences are written from the perspective of migrating a site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Whilst one the points I am going to make you aware of is exclusive to WordPress, I think the other advice is non-platform specific. I hope it is of some use to you. 

 

Transferring a domain is not an overnight process

Throw laptop frsutration
Source: GIPHY

Whilst this piece of advice is certainly out there, I was stubborn to accept it. I tried everything I could to try and get my website live once the transfer of my domain had been processed. The transfer in itself took a couple of days to process, during which time my blog was still live via wordpress.com. Once I had authorised WordPress to action the transfer, however, I had to wait a couple of days for the DNS server to update before my domain would show as a live website.

There really is no way around this. Believe me, I tried. Try to set up your website before these settings have updated and you’ll find yourself up against a brick wall. Sure, it’s new and exciting and OH MY GOSH… but you’ll have to rein it in for a day or two.

I repeat. No. Way. Around. This.

Patience, friends. I wasn’t and the temptation to make my laptop pay the price was unreal.

 

WordPress Import software is flawed

Anger, frustration girl
Source: GIPHY

Finally, your website goes live. It has no content, but, FINALLY, it is live. Once you have installed the necessary software to get your blog up and running, the next step is to export your old blog or website. Once you have the export, you are going to need to import that file into your new dashboard.

But there’s a catch. I referred to numerous sources when encountering the glitch personally and it appears to be a long-term problem. I found that the WordPress importer software didn’t import ANY of my media files. So, I had to import them all again manually.

Doesn’t sound like too much of a problem, until you realise that all your blog posts are trying to link to media files that are no longer located where they used to be. Thankfully the WordPress dashboard has a means of detecting broken links, and this monitors everything for you. After my initial import failure, I had just over 300 broken links to fix. I still have just about 200 left to fix. It’s not a small task, but it isn’t difficult either.

My advice, set aside time for unexpected IT technical issues. Even if you don’t particularly have the know-how, the internet is a wonderful thing. The greatest commodity you can have in the first few days of setting your new site up is time.

 

Spam Comments

You’re going to start noticing lots of comments. Great, right?

Not necessarily. A lot of these (and I really mean a LOT) are going to be spam. Thankfully, there are some great plugins that can filter out the vast majority of spam comments. Some are still flagged in your spam box, so you will have to review/delete them yourself.

By way of example, in two and a half weeks since going self-hosted, this is the number of spam comments I’d had:-

 Akismet Spam Comments

Realistically, I’ve only had to manually review and delete a further 12-15 or so comments, so a lot of the hard work is done for you. At present, I am only using the free version of Akismet, but depending on your blog content, you may have to opt for a paid subscription to cover you. If you are looking for coverage yourself, as ever the best thing to do is shop around. There are plenty of options out there.  

If you have had an issue that I haven’t mentioned above, or any other advice, please let me know in the comments! There are so many different sources out there; it can be difficult to know where to turn.

 

Top Summer Reads

Rebecca’s Top Summer Reads

How do you even go about choosing your top summer reads when there are just SO MANY books out there?! It’s a tough one to call! In order to tackle the problem, I’ve decided to split this column into two main sections, with a final section including the books I hope to read during the sunny season.

Everyone has different tastes as well, so the books I choose are probably different from yours. I hope to cover as many genres as I can so that something appeals to you, dear reader – so without further adieu, let’s get started!

Light / Humorous Books

The Queen & I – Sue TownsendThe Queen & I - Sue Townsend

My mum recommended this book to me years and years ago – and I actually have it downloaded on my kindle. I started reading the first few chapters all those aeons ago, but I haven’t finished the book. I used to be very selective about the books I read, (once upon a time) and I found it difficult to read anything that wasn’t Fantasy. Were I to re-visit this now, I think I would appreciate it a lot more! There’s just something about the idea of the Queen being forced to live on a council estate that spells humorous disaster!

 

 

 

The Rag Nymph - Catherine CooksonThe Rag Nymph – Catherine Cookson

I have included this book here because the narrative is easy to read. I have Yorkshire influence in my family too, so “Raggie Aggie” reminds me of mum when I was growing up. The fond memories I have and the familiarity of her character must play its part in my choosing this book. Set in 1854, this book will appeal to fans of historical fiction. This novel does have mature themes, however; if you are looking for something lighthearted I would point you in another direction.

 

 

 

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Allison PearsonI Don't Know How She Does It - Allison Pearson

Please don’t think I am discriminating here guys – but in this section, I’m giving a nod to a book categorised as “chick lit”. That’s not to say you can’t read this book – for the most part, I wouldn’t describe this as my genre either.

This entry is another in which I have read part of the book, but not finished. Again, it was years ago I first found myself laughing at Allison’s take on the trials and tribulations of “the working mum”. Whilst the expectations of a mother may be a little out of date now, the book is laugh-out-loud funny. Allison made a rip-roaring return to the series by publishing How Hard Can It Be? last year, proving that there is still the demand to laugh at (and relate to) Kate Reddy’s parenthood troubles.

 

 

Epic/Long Reads

 

 

The Last Kingdom - Bernard CornwellThe Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

Maybe you prefer to sit down with a heavier book – perhaps you want to be transported to another world/universe entirely. Let the sun, sea and sand melt away and the riotous clash of swords fade in. Going abroad was never a peaceful affair in times past. If you’d like to reminisce on those English shores many moons ago, then The Last Kingdom (aka The Saxon Chronicles) may be your cup of tea.

 

 

 

IT – Stephen KingIT - Stephen King

Looking for a challenge? Are you happy to dedicate your soul to one book? Do you like horror? Then I challenge you to read IT by Stephen King. I read this book back in October last year – in time for Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa locally). The book was unnerving rather than scary, in my opinion, so I wouldn’t say it was unapproachable for anyone. That is, unless you are intimidated by clowns or the page count. At approximately 1,370 pages, it will keep you occupied for some time… or hiding under the covers.

 

 

The Way of Kings - Brandon SandersonThe Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

If a series based with its own established Universe, complete with a unique magic system appeals to you, then The Way of Kings is my recommendation for you.

The depth of history and world-building in this epic series will have you in awe, my friends. If it weren’t for the fact that Brandon Sanderson has only published the third book of the series just recently, I would have binge-read the entire thing by now! I am forcibly restraining myself – trust me.

 

 

Empire of Silence – Christopher RuocchioEmpire of Silence - Christopher Ruocchio

Here is one for fans of science-fiction.

I was floored by this when I read it… and soon you can too! With a publishing date of the 5th July, I have high hopes that this book will soar in popularity this summer. Whether you are a veteran sci-fi fan or a relative newbie, this can be enjoyed by all.

If you want to decide if this is for you or not, you can find my recent review of the book here.

 

 

 

My Summer Reads

So, which books am I planning on reading this summer? There are lots to choose from and an inevitably never-ending TBR list! It’s taken some time to narrow it down, but here are three of my much-anticipated summer reads:-

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

I loved Strange the Dreamer… and I cannot wait until October until the release of Muse of Nightmares!

I’m serious – I cannot wait… and so this is why I have decided to pick up the first book of this series! I love Laini Taylor’s writing style – so much so that genres or themes I would normally not show a preference for can basically get away with murder.

 

 

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeThe Curious Incidenct of the Dog in the Night-time

I have wanted to read this book for such a long time… and now it is well overdue.

Not long ago I read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and really enjoyed reading a narrative written from a child’s perspective. The added bonus with this is hopefully learning how people on the autistic spectrum perceive the world (or at least one interpretation of, anyway).

 

 

 

A Darker Shade of Magic - V E SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic – V.E Schwab

Considering I was supposed to read this in February this year… I have absolutely no excuse to put off A Darker Shade of Magic anymore. This is a hugely popular book and I have yet to see whether I love it as much as the hype would indicate I should.

I’ll admit I always take things like that with a pinch of salt, becuase we all have different opinions and tastes in books. I would be lying though if I said I wasn’t curious.

 

 

 

So – have any of the above books made your list? Perhaps you have read them already! Either way, I would love if you could drop me a like or a comment about what you are doing this summer.

Your devoted blogger,

Quintessential Quotes – A Game of Thrones edition

Happy Tuesday everybody!!
When I published my first “Quintessential Quotes” post last month, I enjoyed taking the time to review the quotes and snippets I had pulled out of books as important, significant, or downright witty. Revisiting them gives you a purpose for looking out for them in the first place, after all!
When I committed to putting this post together, I had no idea on the theme I would choose. Last time, I featured my favourite quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (of the books I had read so far, at least!).
These books continue to make a huge impression on me, so it was tough deciding on another series of equal, amazing standard to take inspiration from. As the title suggests, I finally found my muse… and I think it is a series that a lot of people love – be it the TV series or the books. So, without further adieu and in no particular order, here are my Top 5 Quotes from A Game of Thrones (Book 1):-
 
GoT 1
GoT3
These are very similar quotes and I relate to them a lot personally, as I am sure many do. We have all experienced cruelty of a kind at some point in our lives.
 
GoT 4
Another quote from our little Lion of Lannister, which is in a way quite contradictory to the first two. I like to think if I am able to mock myself, then I get the best of both. I am guilty of taking myself very seriously though.
 
GoT 5
Seems relevant even now, doesn’t it? #Brexit
 
GoT 2
This probably is my favourite quote of all, as it really sums up the players and how the game of thrones plays on and on. (I also like to compare myself to Tyrion in that my mind is my weapon, but bookish doesn’t always mean smart. I can dream, yes?)
 
Those of you familiar enough with the series will probably recognise that the majority of these quotes are sourced from none other than Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion is by far my favourite character! Always the butt of the joke and underestimated, there is something I find somewhat relatable to this wise dwarf.
If this post has achieved one thing, it had made me want to read from start to finish ALL OVER AGAIN!! And I might just do it! Watch this space.
Who is your favourite character? What quotes have you adopted from the series? I would love to know!
Rebecca mono

Five Reasons I Don't Rate Netgalley

I think pretty much all book bloggers have or will dabble with the offerings of sites such as Netgalley, Edelweiss or Bookbridgr at some point. I mean, what’s not to love about free books, right?
Well.
I see other bloggers hugely enthusiastic about the site… usually talking about how they have downloaded FAR too many books to keep up out of sheer excitement over the privilege. I never quite understood that because I didn’t really do it. I regret to say that I have never felt the same enthusiasm over the site; today’s post is all about telling you why.
 

Time Pressure

Book bloggers inevitably have to read A LOT in order to keep content on their sites… and let’s face it – there is practically an infinite choice out there! I remember hearing a ridiculous fact about how long it would take you to read all the free books available for download via Amazon. It was years… decades, even! Decades of continuous reading, and those books barely scratch the surface on the number out there available.
Inevitably, reading takes time. At the moment my average reading speed is about 4.5 books a month, which isn’t the most I could do… but hey, I don’t have a death wish. Bearing in mind I work 35 hours a week and have a little of a social life on the side, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading and writing. I already put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up the schedule I do… and I feel extra pressure by Netgalley and it’s rating system to review ASAP. As soon as you are accepted for a book, your rating drops… and the “recommended” rating needs to be quite high to stand a chance of acceptance for new, popular books.
 

Mediocre Site

If I’m completely honest, I just don’t think the site is all that great.
In the time I have been using it, there have been no changes, no updates… just the same, uninteresting userface since day one. What also surprises me is that there isn’t an app. Whilst compulsive downloaders may think this a blessing in disguise… I think an app would make using the service far more convenient. I’d be more likely to take note of what is available if it were presented in a more approachable, on-the-go format.
 

Rating

Am I a bad book blogger because I don’t reach the 80% recommended rating? No, I’m not.
Referring back to my first point, I read a lot of different books; some I have bought, others I have been gifted or provided with a copy in exchange for a review by authors/publishers directly. Some are even borrowed, the old fashioned way, from a library. Should I be punished for being a diverse reader and having multiple sources of books? I don’t think so, and yet I feel in order to gain a respectful rating and backing as a Netgalley reader, I’d have to read their books alone for months.
MONTHS!!!!
 

Badges

Badges look cute, sure, but do they serve much of a purpose? Again, am I a bad blogger because I haven’t earned many? I don’t think so.
From what I have seen, the vast majority of badges are awarded for quantity as opposed to quality. I suppose it’s a great tool for authors to identify that a blogger is active and reliable… but I think the best way for a blogger to sell themselves is via the content they publish on their own site.
 

Book Offering

Lastly, and most importantly, I just haven’t been enamoured by the books I have downloaded and read so far.
I know publishers do release review copies of both new and popular titles via Netgalley, but with my profile being as small and limited as it is, a request for these books would probably have me laughed out of the door.
Given the relationships I have established with publishers directly, by providing links to my blog alongside requests, I think I would have far more of a chance of obtaining review copies of titles without using a service like Netgalley at all.
 


 
If you love and use Netgalley all the time, then hats off to you. I hope you continue to enjoy the free books on offer.
I have two books left to read and review; both of which are scheduled soon. Writing this post and mulling over the reasons I don’t like the site has convinced me to close my account once I have reviewed the books I have outstanding.
If I have the means to enjoy reading in other forms, then why would I not allow other readers the chance to use the service and enjoy a hobby when they may not have the resources I do. I would much rather lend the opportunity to someone else when I don’t enjoy it at all.
Am I being unduly unfair? Do you use sites like Netgalley? What are your thoughts?
Rebecca mono
 

Top 5 Quotes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld… so far!

Hi everyone!
So today I promised you a slightly different blog post. I don’t write Top Five posts very often, even though they are good fun! I should probably make an effort to make them more regularly…
I actually found choosing my Top Five Terry Pratchett quotes harder than I expected! These quotes are based on the books I have read so far out of the Discworld series alone… but even though I have “only” read 16 so far (ONLY?!), I had plenty to choose from!!
So, without further ado, here are my Top Five quotes and why I love them!
 
TP 1 18.04.18
This is number five on my list, but whilst technically the last on the list, I still adore this quote.
It is an inspirational quote for me because identity is a very personal thing. Not to come across conceited, but I am proud of who I am. In my lifetime have come across far too many people who were quick to try and put me down. Once upon a time I wore my heart on my sleeve and they succeeded, but no more. In it’s own way, this has contributed to who becoming who I am, but being bullied and/or criticised (as I prefer to term the comments experienced in later years) isn’t the only thing that has shaped me to be who I am.
You can criticise my manner, my appearance or my hobbies, but those things don’t make me who I am. I can tell you what I am. I’m a hard worker. I always try to help people, even if that means putting myself out to do so. These are the things that matter.
 
TP 5 18.04.18
I love the wit and humour behind this quote and it’s completely true! There is a lot of ignorance throughout the world, but sticking your head in the sand doesn’t make a problem disappear. Instead, you are giving someone the opportunity to give you a free kick up the backside whilst you can’t defend yourself.
 
TP2 18.04.18
I relate to this quote so much! I have got to be one of the most unromantic souls on the planet.
I hate public displays of affection. I find the sight of new couples, dangling off of each other’s arm like they could disappear any moment, (I liken this in my head to limpets clinging on to a rock), cringey. Maybe this is because I am a very independent person? I don’t know. I’ve never been in a relationship or had someone like that to depend on, so I just don’t get it.
 
TP 4 18.04.18
This is less of an inspirational quote than the previous ones, but it takes its place on the list because both of these characters remind me of several women in my family, but particularly my mum.
Even going back further, the female role models in my life have been far from shy about dishing out their opinions, usually in some sharp, witty manner. Like mother, like daughter, as they say – I think it’ll take a few more years under my belt, but I can definitely see myself following in my mum’s footsteps. Granny Weatherwax and Gytha Ogg (and their whole dynamic) mirrors my family exactly; that is why I love these characters so much!
 
TP 3 18.04.18
This last one by comparison may perhaps seem a little morbid, but I love the idea that we all live on through the legacies we leave behind.
Linking back to the previous quote, one of the influences of my character is my nana on mums side. She was also just like mum and a true Yorkshire lass at heart. She was quick to love and had a warm heart, but if you deserved it you’d get a lash of the tongue too.
I am just old enough to remember her; she sadly passed away from illness when I was eight. Although she isn’t here anymore though, she lives on as a part of my family through memories and stories. And songs. She used to make up songs for anything and everything… and I’ve been treated to as many as my mum has been able to remember. There were one or two about the family dog, bless him. If only he knew.
 
So there you have it! What do you think of the quotes I picked out? Do you have any favourites, or do you have any alternative quotes you would have picked?
Rebecca mono
 

Blogger Recognition Award

Hi everyone!
I have been looking forward to sharing this post for a little while – after all, it’s great to celebrate each other’s blogs!!
I was nominated for this award on the 6th of March by the lovely Larissa over at Book Bosomed Blonde; I have followed her blog for some time! She writes fantastic reviews and hosts other lovely book-related content. My favourite thing about her blog is that she is fair and isn’t afraid to express her opinion! If you don’t follow her already of haven’t checked out her blog yet, please do!


Rules

1.Generate a post about the award.
2.Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
3.Write a brief story about how your blog began.
4.Provide two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers.
5.Select 10 blogs to nominate.
6.Comment on each nominee’s blog and provide a link to the post that you created for the award.


 

How it all began…

Before I get on to how I came about setting up my blog, I think I should explain how I got into the reading habit required, so that is where my story will start.
Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then let us begin.
I’ll begin as clichéd as it comes; I was an avid reader from a very young age. Encouraged by mum and dad, I grew up with books. Reading was my chance to escape the confines of  everyday life – the only limit is your imagination!
During secondary school I chose to spend my free time in the library. I would help out in any way I could. It was a place I felt at peace. The older I got, the more I read. How glorious it was to live and experience life through book characters, all the while I sat in my sheltered life, between rows of books otherwise collecting dust.
After I left school, my reading slumped. I still read, but it was intermittent.
The circumstances in which I took up reading again in earnest came at one of the most difficult times for my family. A close family member fell seriously ill – with little warning. I had to go to work as normal and visit afterwards. I would be out at 7:15am and not get home until past 9pm every weeknight. I would rise early at weekends to catch up on jobs I wasn’t doing in the week before visiting began at 12pm. This routine continued for three weeks, until thankfully my relative had recovered enough to come home.
It was a busy and difficult time – I had very little free time at all. There were days I couldn’t commit to an hour to watch TV – I was too tired. It was January, so I came back to a cold flat more often than not. My compromise was to sit in bed, warm and comfortable, and read. I could read as much or little as I wanted and it was an effective way of winding down. In the second and third week I would wake myself in the small hours, stiff-necked, still sat in bed with the light on and a book open in front of me.
After my relative recovered, I stayed in the habit of reading, and by the end of April last year, I reached my reading goal of 20 books. It is at this point, ladies and gentlemen, that I began my blog. I wanted to share my love of books. I wanted to keep reading and stay in the habit. It was also a motivator to read other blogs, discover new books and broaden my horizons. There have been many projects in my life that I have let fall to the wayside, but I am proud of myself that this is not one of them.


So that, folks, is my story – and in the time I have spent on this blogging journey, I have learned many things.
I have had a long, hard think about some advice to give to newbie bloggers. I don’t think it is particularly original, but I would say it is important:-
Be yourself
It is your blog after all! The best selling point of a blog is the voice and personality behind it. We could all like the same things – or write the same way, but then your blog just wouldn’t stand out at all from the rest. Don’t be afraid to say how you really feel. On the other side of this computer screen, I have had my blogging hobby laughed at. Sure, it hurt at first, but I don’t do it for the acceptance of others. I blog because it is what I enjoy. It doesn’t matter what those people think. I don’t really care for their opinion if that is what it is.
 
Be honest! (with others and yourself)
Again, not an original piece of advice. Sure, it’s exciting having a blog and I am sure you would love to post all day, every day and have everyone love you for it. Frankly, that isn’t possible for an individual blogger who works 35 hours a week, like I doBlogging is a hobby so it has always had to work around my free time. I have really active weeks and others less so, but that’s okay. Think ahead, know what you can commit to and stick to it (unlike I did when I said I was going to post this earlier this week. Do as I say and not as I do folks!)
If you are starting a blog that involves reviewing books, or expressing your opinion, then honesty is important in other ways. I really believe integrity and trust is acquired from your followers as a result of expressing honest opinions. To lie (or be perceived as lying) breaks down trust and isn’t going to do you any favours. Don’t do it.


 
So, there we are! That’s me in a nutshell!
I’ve come to the decision that I am not going to tag anyone in this – I don’t want to single out blogs. All bloggers and their stories are valid, interesting and should be recognised, so if you want to take part in it, please do!!!
I would love to hear your story, so please tag me!
Rebecca mono

The Liebster Award!

Hi everybody!!
So this is the first nomination I have ever received for my blog, so thank you very much to Larissa over at Book Bosomed Blonde for nominating me. I’ve been following her blog for some time now, and if you haven’t already, it would be lovely if you could go and take a look at her latest posts!
Here are the questions I have been nominated to answer:-
 

Story behind your blog name?

So, I played around with the name a bit recently. I originally set up my blog as Readers Online, and after the sudden realisation it sounded a bit TOO similar to something else (i.e. Writers Online, the website associated with Writing Magazine), I felt the need to change it… FAST! I toyed around with a few names, but opted for ReviewsFeed in the end.
Why? Well, it is a play on words really, based around the medium of blogging and posts being almost like a newsfeed. Book reviews, newsfeed… Reviewsfeed!
It was the most witty and intelligent thing I could come up with, but as to how successful the attempt was … I guess that is up to you!
 

What is one of your favourite blogs? Share the love!

I enjoy reading a lot of blogs… but if I had to pick one to mention, I would have to mention this one because I love how his reviews aren’t about what is current, and aren’t chasing the latest trend. It’s not that this is a bad thing at all, I enjoy reading these too! My point is that there are far more blogs gushing about current bestsellers and a lot of YA books, but Erik’s blog stands out for doing the exact opposite.
For anyone interested, you can find Erik’s blog here: The Past Due Review
 

Would you like to become an author, if so what genre would you write about?

I would probably bite my own arm off for the chance!
Well maybe not quite literally, but I need to do something to make me sit down for five minutes to actually commit some of the ideas I have to paper. I think my greatest problem is thinking on too large a scale and overwhelming myself into giving up.
Lately, I have started writing short stories and entering some competitions hosted by Writing Magazine – starting anywhere is an improvement from all the abandoned projects I have had over the years, and there are many…
 

A book you’re most excited to FINALLY get to this year.

Making a book lover choose just ONE book? What kind of devilry is this?!
Truth is, I have a lot of amazing books to read so this has been a difficult question. If I have to commit to one book, I’ll have to say The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I know this book will make me sad and no doubt I’ll cry – but if this subject doesn’t move you, then I call you out as inhuman.
 

If you could choose one book being released in 2018 to get for free, what would it be?

I don’t know of many books that are being published in 2018 – but the one book I hope I get to review as part of a Blog Tour is StoneKing Donna Migliaccio, the third book of the Gemeta Stone series.
 

What book world would you most like to be transported to?

In the world that comes to mind, I don’t think I have anything to look forward to… but I would risk death by Whitewalkers or dragon fire, or alternatively more mundane and far likelier, poisoning, stabbing or being trampled on by a horse. Anything could happen, right?
Jack Sparrow Run
 

Only kidding, I don’t run…

 

Favourite female character?

I chose this character from The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson, for her hilarious, no-nonsense attitude. She isn’t perfect – far from being a princess sat atop her high castle and waiting for her handsome prince. She is Raggy Aggie – never wanting anything out of life other than to get by and provide for her family. Aggie takes in Millie, a young, well-learned child, after her mother is arrested and disappears.
Aggie is poor and barely has two pennies to rub together, but she always does her best to protect young Millie, from her own innocence and from those who would sell her for her beauty into the oldest profession there is. Aggie is down to earth and frequently administers some tough love, but she always does her best by the girl.
In terms of her character if not her circumstances, she reminds me of my mum, and her mum before her. It must be the Yorkshire influence!
 

Favourite male character?

Without a shadow of a doubt, John Coffey – like the drink, only spelled different. He truly is a victim of timing, circumstance, and racial injustice. His compulsion to help those in need with his gifts lands him awaiting death by electrocution.
You’ve probably guessed that I am talking about The Green Mile by Stephen King, and if you haven’t, I politely enquire as to which rock you have been hiding under!
He is so misunderstood and good at heart, and one his quotes has stuck with me since reading the book:-

“I’m rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I’m tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not ever havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we’s comin or goin to or why. I’m tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I’m tired of all the times I’ve wanted to help and couldn’t. I’m tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it’s the pain. There’s too much. If I could end it, I would. But I can’t.”
~ John Coffey

 

Short term goal for the year?

There is a short story competition, for which entry closes mid next month. I was hoping to enter it, but I’ll admit I am struggling at the moment. I have idea solidly in my mind, but I’m struggling to get it written down and I don’t have long left.
It’s quite a peculiar brief in that the short story (1,500-1,700 words) can be dialogue ONLY. It’s quite difficult, and realistically I wanted it finished weeks ago so I had the chance to revise and edit, but now all I can hope for is to kick myself and get it prepared and submitted before the closing date.
 

Long term goal?

I’ve set myself a lesser reading goal this year of 40 books, as I want to commit more time to my blog this year. I want to improve my content and get better at putting myself out there. I’m even thinking of going self-hosted once my plan runs out, but that is months away yet! I have time to work out what I am doing before then.
 

One weird thing about you.

Again, just one?! Aha! There are many, many, many…
Um, okay, so as a book blogger, I obviously love books, language and all that jazz. Would you then expect me to have a job that I enjoy but revolves heavily around numbers? If not, then the surprise is on you, because I do! It makes for a nice balance actually…
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So – there are my answers! I hope you enjoyed reading them and getting to know a little more about me!
Here are the questions I would like to ask some fellow bloggers:-

  1. Why did you decide to start your blog?
  2. Name your favourite movie adaptation of a book.
  3. How do you pick yourself up out of a reading slump?
  4. Are you an epic multi-tasker – can you listen to music and read at the same time?
  5. Share your most popular blog post so far!
  6. What goal you would like to achieve by the end of the year?
  7. On a scale of 1-10, how creative would you rate yourself, and why?
  8. Share a #shelfie
  9. Are you a meticulous planner, or do you tend to go with the flow?
  10. What are your favourite book genres?
  11. If you were given the opportunity to meet only one of your favourite authors, who would you choose?

 
So… drumroll – it’s nomination time!!!
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I nominate the following people to participate in the tag:-
Erik @ Past Due Review
Hollie @ Hollieblog
Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek
Sarah @ Dragons and Zombies
Ashleigh @ A Frolic through fiction
The Orangutan Librarian
Vivian @ Passionately Perusing
Kate @ Reading Through Infinity
Beth @ Bibliobeth
Amy @ Persuit of Wonderland
 
I hope you can all take part – and I would love to see your answers!
Rebecca mono

Top Ten Tuesday – Books of the Year

Hi everyone!!
So I figured it was about time I shared my top reads of the year with you, as we are fast approaching the end of the year (and those all-important reading challenge deadlines!) I’m pleased to say I am so close to mine, being on the LAST BOOK of my challenge, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
I’m keeping matters brief here, but if you want to read more of my thoughts about any of these book, I have linked my reviews to each title for you.
So, without any further preamble (to which I am apt), here are my Top Ten Reads of the Year:-

10 River God – Wilbur Smith

River God
River God was recommended to me by a work colleague and I am glad I have started the series. The writing style is wonderful, and I am also blessed to know that a dear family member of mine used to love the works of Wilbur Smith. Knowing that gives me another little thing to remember them by. I can’t say I love all the characters all the time, but I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes us.
 

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – J. R. R. Tolkien

LOTR Return cover
I am both sad and gladdened to have finished this series this year. That probably sounds odd to some, but there is nothing quite the same about reading a book again for the second time. That won’t stop me, but it doesn’t have that magic spark you get when you don’t know what is going to happen and the suspense is killing you. Admittedly, you probably pick up on more subtle hints when you read again… I’ll have to find out when I revisit.
 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom
Here is another series started on the basis of both watching the TV series and on a recommendation. Cornwell’s writing is also fantastic and he succeeds in writing Uhtred’s character in such a way that he is loveably arrogant – and that is hard to do. I also love the historical fiction element, and with the filming of the next series starting next year, I’ll have to get reading!!
 

Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad.jpg
This is, so far, my favourite book by Terry Pratchett. I love the fairytale theme and the messages he so often likes to portray. Greed and vanity can be your downfall if you let it rule you. I also love to see the development of Gytha Ogg’s character. In the prior Witches books, she takes more of a backseat and that doesn’t suit her. I love the bawdy jokes, her huge personality and “don’t give a monkeys” attitude. Witches Abroad is satire at its best.
 

Making History – Stephen Fry

Making History
I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Again taking a leaf out of History’s book, it considers what might have happened had Adolf Hitler not been born and the impact on the rest of the world. It is an entertaining, fictional read, with our main character progressing from bumbling through life to changing the course of History rapidly, and each of the characters are very relatable.
 

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird.jpg
I’m glad I tackled this classic this year. It is a book that was available to study through school, though it wasn’t one I was ever fortunate enough to read there. I’m glad I took the plunge though, as it makes for provocative reading in terms of educating ourselves on the injustice of the system in place not all that long ago. Makes you think, huh.
 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

Green Mile
I have lost count of the number of excited rants I have had about this book, and I am not going to go into another one because we could be here all day! Again, as in with To Kill a Mockingbird, The Green Mile is a real eye-opener as to how segregated society was (and arguably, still is). I won’t get into it though. If you want to read more, check out my full review by clicking on the title.
 

IT – Stephen King

IT
This is the longest book I have read all year. Not only that, it captures your attention and stirs your imagination, wondering what could be so terrible as to haunt the town of Derry so brutally. The fact that a book can be so long and both 1) popular and 2) keep your attention throughout, says a lot about Stephen King’s writing. What a legend this man is.
 

2     The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings 2
If I have one regret about this book, it is that I haven’t picked it up sooner. I literally only started reading this in October and I can testify it promises to be a fantastic series! Book 3 0f 10, Oathbringer, has only just been released, so I am going to have to pace myself I think.
Who am I kidding, I am not going to pace myself at all…
 

1     Thank you for review requests!


Lastly, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all you independent authors that approached me with review requests this year. I am very humbled that each of you took the time to read my blog and chose to approach me for a review. I couldn’t possibly pick any one of these over the others as a favourite, as I have read such wonderful and diverse books, so I wanted to take the time to celebrate them all.
 
I truly have been able to read some fantastic books this year and I hope to have as much success next year. What have you been reading and absolutely loved? If you have any recommendations for next year I would love to hear them!!
Rebecca mono

Top Ten Tuesday -Books on the TBR

Hi guys!!
I thought with today’s post I would take the opportunity to share my Top Ten eagerly anticipated books that I will be reading next year!
 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radience
Goodreads
You know when you start a series, and you finish the first book and immediately just want to binge read the rest? Yup. This is one of those for me. Given that Sanderson is only so far as having released the third book (out of ten) of this series, I am going to have to pace myself.
 

The Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law
Goodreads
Here is another Sanderson book, and it is the start of the second “trilogy” of the Mistborn series. I’ve been meaning to start these for some time, but you know, there are so many books out there and so little time… *sigh*
 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Goodreads
I was drawn to this book as it is both a classic and famously written from the perspective of an autistic child. Since it is so different from usual, I have to give it a read.
 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Goodreads
I am absolutely sure reading this will make me cry, but it’s another classic that I have really wanted to read for some time. I’ll get some tissues to hand.
 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

Sword Song
Goodreads
Sword Song is the fourth book in a series I started this year. As I haven’t read any of the books in this series since June, I think we are overdue the next instalment.
 

The Shining – Stephen King

The Shining
Goodreads
I never thought I would enjoy Stephen King’s writing… and how wrong I was! I’m so ashamed I haven’t picked up any of his books until this year, I feel the need to make up for lost time.
 

The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith

The Seventh Scroll
Goodreads
As much as I really dislike the MC at times, River God was such an enjoyable first instalment that I have to read this soon.
 

Soul Music – Terry Pratchett

Soul Music
Goodreads
I only finished Men At Arms, the book prior to this one in the Discworld series in September but somehow it always feels like an age has passed between me reading Pratchett’s books. They’re almost a guilty pleasure.
 

11.22.63 – Stephen King

11.22.63
Goodreads
I love books that have an element of history in them, so combine this with Stephen King’s amazing writing and you get a very excited me. I also managed to pick up a copy of this in a charity shop in good nick for 50p, so win-win!!
 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Good Omens
Goodreads
I think this has the potential to be absolutely hilarious, so this was a definite addition to the list!!
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So that’s the list!!
I’ve tried to keep it brief because if given the opportunity, I really could go on for hours and hours!
What are you looking forward to reading next?
Rebecca mono