Tag: bookblog

Quintessential Quotes – Margaret Atwood

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely day! In today’s post, I am going to be sharing some of my favourite quotes from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and her more recent book, The Testaments.

I think dystopian fiction can have some really poignant quotes that make us think about the stark differences in our lives compared to those that unfold on the pages. How can such truth come from something so twisted, so horrible and depraving of life the way it is?

But it does. Here are some quotes from each of the books that have stuck with me the most: –

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

Really true though, isn’t it?

 

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

 

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”

Someone always falls victim to change; it all depends on how loudly the oppressed can shout as to whether anything happens as a result.

 

“There is more than one kind of freedom,” said Aunt Lydia. “Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.”

Yet the problem here, Aunt Lydia… is the distinct lack of freedom for these Handmaids to choose.

 

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.”

… Sound familiar, my English friends?

 

The Testaments

 

“As they say, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

True – history never pans out exactly the same for we delude ourselves that we learn from our past. That doesn’t mean we avoid making the same mistakes, however.

 

“But it can put a lot of pressure on a person to be told they need to be strong.”

Especially in times where you are out of control and vulnerable.

 

“The corrupt and blood-smeared fingerprints of the past must be wiped away to create a clean space for the morally pure generation that is surely about to arrive. Such is the theory.”

Raising children, particularly girls, to be treated as glorified brood mares in service to their husbands justifies this?

 

“Our time together is drawing short, my reader. Possibly you will view these pages of mine as a fragile treasure box, to be opened with the utmost care. Possibly you will tear them apart, or burn them: that often happens to words.”

I like this quote for the way it addresses the reader. It pulls the reader into the story.

 

“Such regrets are of no practical use. I made choices, and then, having made them, I had fewer choices. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one most travelled by. It was littered with corpses, as such roads are. But as you will have noticed, my own corpse is not among them.”

Sometimes blending in to bide your time is the only way to make a difference. Let them underestimate you.

Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale or The Testaments? Do you have a favourite quote you would like to share?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 13th October 2019

Good evening readers! It’s Sunday night again, so you know what time it is… time for my Sunday Summary post!

Even though I have published posts every day this week, I don’t feel that it has been all that stressful. Now that I’m a little ahead of myself and have gotten into the routine of writing more than one post in a sitting, it’s become easier. I’ve also ended up going to two work social events this week, which has probably contributed as well.

What have I been gracing your screens with this week? I began the week with a discussion post about how to write book reviews, and what I think is important to include. In that post, I talk about why I don’t really use a star rating system on my blog and why it is important to express yourself as honestly as you can, even if you don’t love a book. I published another Top Ten Tuesday post (you guessed it, on Tuesday), in which I list what I think are my top ten achievements since starting my blog. When I started the post I imagined it to be a nice, light-hearted one, but it actually ended up quite personal.

Wednesday was the day for me to publish an audiobook review. This week’s subject was a little okay a lot overdue, having finished listening to it over four months ago. The Painted Man by Peter Brett is an enjoyable read (or listen) for fantasy-lovers and you can find all my views in that post. On Thursday I discussed the results of an experiment I conducted at the end of September. If you are a book blogger and want to find out whether paid advertising is really worth it, I strongly recommend you check out my results before you spend your money. Seriously. Know what you are getting yourself into.

On Friday I shared the introduction to last month’s work book club read (that I didn’t get around to… oops!) in my First Lines Friday post. I definitely want to try and read it on holiday though, so fingers crossed I can catch up with it. Then, yesterday, I shared my list of books I wish I had never read. Thankfully, these are very few and far between; there is nothing worse than investing time in books to end up disappointed.

 

Books Read

Between drafting blog posts, meeting friends for lunch, taking part in a Quiz Night and going bowling with my work friends, it’s amazing I have had time to fit in any reading this week! Following on from last week, I started by making progress with The Haunting at Paradise House by Killian Wolf. You can tell I had a busy week as I only really finished this on Friday after bowling. I had only just about started this last week, so I suppose I almost read it all in a few days.

Yesterday I picked up After Whorl: Bran Reborn by Nancy Jardine. This is my last read of the month for which I have an upcoming blog tour. I have already read 36% of the book and found it quite easy to do so. I can’t see that this will take me too long to finish at all. It’s a lot easier to read than The Beltane Choice, in my opinion. It’s definitely more historical fiction than romantic fiction, which I like.

Visions of Zarua is taking me a lot longer to listen to than I would have liked. My blog tour post is coming up pretty imminently, and I still have seven hours left to listen to. I’m going to put some serious time into listening to it next week to have this completed in time to write my review. I have to. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, because I am, I just don’t listen to audiobooks very quickly.

 

Books Discovered

 

So, a few books have been added to the TBR this week. My first addition of the week came from a charity stall in my local Tesco, for the benefit of Cancer Research. I managed to pick up a second-hand, but a good-as-new copy of The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien. You can tell it has never been read by the condition of the spine – not only has it not been cracked, it’s not even stretched.

Thanks to Bookbub, I have also added a couple more books by John Marrs to the TBR. I have already added The Good Samaritan to the list. This week, I added When You Disappeared and Her Last Move, because both sound fantastic!

 

Coming Up…

Blogtober continues and I have a mixed line up of posts to keep things fresh for you guys. Here is what to expect popping up in the near future: –

  • Monday 14th October – Quintessential Quotes: Margaret Atwood edition
  • Tuesday 15th October – Top Ten Tuesday: New releases I am excited for
  • Wednesday 16th October – Book Review: Crowfall by Ed McDonald
  • Thursday 17th October – Book Promo: Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher
  • Friday 18th October – Shelf Control
  • Saturday 19th October – My Holiday Reads
  • Sunday 20th October – Blog Tour: Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson
  • Monday 21st October – Netgalley: Yay or Nay?
  • Tuesday 22nd October – Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I Love
  • Wednesday 23rd October – Tips to get out of a reading slump
  • Thursday 24th October – Autumn: The Season of Reading (for me!)
  • Friday 25th October – First Lines Friday
  • Saturday 26th October – Blogging and Social Media
  • Sunday 27th October – Sunday Summary

 

I have lots of blog posts in this week’s list as I am going on holiday very soon! I already have four of these scheduled, with a draft for a fifth post well underway. I’m going to be prepping these posts before I go, with the exception of my Sunday Summary on the 27th. Even if it’s a brief list, I am going to do my best to update you on everything I have been reading in the two weeks since my last summary.

Wish me luck…

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

It has been a few weeks, but here are a few blog posts I have stumbled across and enjoyed reading this week: –

Nope Book Tag

Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove Book Review. #BookReview #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #SherlockHolmes @JamesLovegrove7 @TitanBooks @Sarah_Mather_15

Book Review: The Winter Sea

A big bookish discovery

Bookish tattoos and my favourite tv show | The Liebster Award 🌰🍂

What have you been reading this week?

 

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Books I Wish I Had Never Read

It’s rare that I have such strong feelings against books, but sometimes, you do really wish you never read. Whether it’s because they are difficult to get into, have flat storylines or disappointing endings, no one wants to want to DNF a book. Mind you, with some of these… I wish I had!

Which books do I wish I had never read?

 

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Stardust well enough, but American Gods fell short of expectation. At the time I was reading it there was a lot of hype about the Netflix series too, which didn’t make me feel any better about not loving it. I finished the book with mixed feelings, but it left more questions than answers. It was confusing and not at all what I expected. After I read it, I was told that re-reading it would be a benefit. I quickly changed my mind though – I’ve wasted several hours on it already. My copy went to charity and hopefully to a more appreciative reader than I.

 

Re-Wired – S. R. Johannes

I don’t like DNFing if I can avoid it, but I had to for this Netgalley download. The main character, in my opinion, is extremely unlikeable (to the point of intolerable) and unrelatable. I felt the pacing of the narrative was jumpy and inconsistent too, which made for difficult reading. I wasn’t enjoying it, so I stopped. Simple as. I wish I hadn’t downloaded it. I didn’t even bother to review it here on my blog. It got one on Goodreads and on Netgalley only.

 

Ekata: Fall of Darkness

… AND here is another Netgalley download that turned out to be a poor choice for me. Put it this way, this is how I summarised my review: –

If you like reading about moody, insecure and overly-hormonal teenagers, spending every free moment not training to save the world fawning over each other, then this book is definitely for you!

My God, I just wanted to bash these character’s heads together. Aside from the mushy relationship between them, they were pretty flat. The ending wasn’t great either – totally set up for a sequel but there is no decent conclusion to the events of the book. The only thing I liked about the book was the world-building.

 

Books of Pellinor – Alison Croggan

This series is about 2,000 pages all-in-all, so not a short one. I was actually really enjoying it, but the last book and the conclusion to the series totally ruined the rest of it for me. Rather, should I say what conclusion? The ending was rushed into the last few pages and consequently, it’s anti-climactic. If you took the last 100 odd pages of The Singing and re-wrote it, it could be fantastic.

As it is, I feel like I wasted my time with the whole thing now.

 

The Darkness That Comes Before – R Scott Bakker

This is a clear winner for the top choice in books I wish I had never read. The worse thing is, I convinced myself to stick with it thinking it would get better. It didn’t. As an epic fantasy novel, it should have been right up my street. The world-building was confusing, the characters not that likeable or even interesting and there is a lot of focus on the religion and Holy War that I couldn’t invest into. Sorry to say, I wasn’t a fan of it… AT ALL!

I have enjoyed so many books like it before, but this was just something else. Never again will I attempt to read this book or even this author. That’s how much I have been put off!

What books do you wish you had never read?

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 11/10/2019

Happy Friday everyone! It’s nearly the end of another week and the weekend is well on the way! As ever, I’m back again with my (mostly) regular fortnightly feature post – First Lines Friday. If you want to sample something new without the bias of a front cover, then you have come to the right place!

Which book am I featuring today? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book: –

 

Imagine we could see the damage inside ourselves. Imagine it showed through us like contraband on an airport scanner. What would it be like, to walk around the city with it all on view – all the hurts and the betrayals and the things that diminished us; all the crushed dreams and broken hearts? What would it be like to see the people our lives have made us? The people we are, under our skin.

I thought about that when I saw you on the news just now. I recognised you right away. ‘Such an ordinary person,’ those people said. ‘I can’t believe someone like that could do something so terrible.’

 

 

I was supposed to read this for last month’s Book Club at work. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance. I still want to though, so if I get ahead of this month’s reading then I am going to try to read this on holiday. I’m not really all that enamoured with this month’s book choice, so if I have to pick one of the two to read, it’s this one!

Shall we find out what it is?

 

When She Was Bad – Tammy Cohen

You see the people you work with every day.

But what can’t you see?

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….

Now, there’s something chilling in the air.

Who secretly hates everyone?

Who is tortured by their past?

Who is capable of murder?

 

So, what do you think? Will you add this to the TBR? Is it on already?

 

 

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Paid Advertising – Is it worth it?

I’ve often wondered whether forking out my hard-earned money to pay for advertising on Facebook/Instagram was worth it. I decided to run a little experiment at the end of September to see whether it made a difference to my regular traffic and if I would get the promised 86-240 odd viewers a day for my advert. I was shocked!

To try and maximise the potential, I tried to choose a very neutral post – one that would appeal to as many people as possible. I wanted to stay away from reviews to avoid genre bias. In the end, I opted for my recent Book Blogger Problems tag. I paid $5 for the advert to last five days, which reached viewers on both Facebook and Instagram. Shall we see how both did?

 

Facebook

Facebook indicated that I could expect between 80 and 240 odd viewers a day for this advert. I was grossly disappointed with it. At the end of the five days, these are the stats.

Yes, I reached a measly 37 people. I didn’t even get the suggested minimum per day over the span of the advert! I dread to think about how an advert would perform if you picked more selective content. The more niche you go then in theory you’ll get fewer viewers. I barely got any as it is.

As of writing this post, I have had just over 3,000 views in 2019. That averages at 10 views a day organically. In the five day advert period, my page views varied from 0 – 21, which averages at 9.4 views a day. It’s not that much different, is it?

Comparing this advert period with the first few days of October, I’ve had nearly as many page views and interactions organically compared with the advert period. Okay, Blogtober will be having a bit of an effect on the figures as I have fresh content every day, but still, not massive. Only 7 of 37 actually went on to look at my blog, and I have no new subscribers for the trouble.

Could do better, Facebook.

 

Instagram

The stats for Instagram don’t look any better either, I am sad to say. The post received 21 likes in the period.

I would say that normally isn’t to be sniffed at… but this is how my posts perform normally WITHOUT advertising. In fact, I have posts which have performed better, such as my post about winning a signed copy of The Testaments.
My promoted post didn’t refer anyone to my blog, either. I didn’t expect as many from Instagram as Facebook, but as it happens I got none at all.

 

So – Is it worth it?

In my experience and opinion, absolutely not! I won’t be bothering again. I know for a fact that if I put the effort into blog hopping and reading new blogs etc, I could get more viewers to my blog and my content myself.

Sure, I am sure advertising is great if you don’t have the time to do this. Maybe if I had spent more it would have had a bigger impact. As it stands, the traffic to my blog and the “boost” my content got was so paltry that it isn’t even worth it.

I’ll save my money to buy something else more exciting in future… like more books!

Have you or would you ever paid for advertising? Did it work for you?

 

 

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Audiobook Review: The Painted Man – Peter Brett

It has been some time since I finished listening to Peter Brett’s The Painted Man, so it’s about time that I shared my review of this audiobook! I listened to this back in May/June this year. I started with some mixed feelings, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It grew on me the more I listened to it and the story progressed.

 

The Painted Man – Peter Brett

Goodreads – The Painted Man

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed this audiobook overall, but I do confess that I found the beginning slow. The early chapters of the book introduce Arlen, Leesha and Rojer and their respective lives in the small towns of their birth. The reason I found the book slow-going is because each character perspective reiterates the same idea for each of these individuals (okay, in slightly different ways), but we’re basically told the same thing three times. This took at least a few hours to set the scene (and set it again, and again…), so I think it makes up the first 20% of the book.

What do we learn from that first 20%? Humans are dependent on magical wards to protect them from dark creatures, known as corelings at night. Those who live in the small towns and outskirts of the cities have primitive technology. Disaster lies only around the corner for them. And finally, humans are as good as enslaved by their fear.

Then Arlen decides to do something about it and the whole book significantly improves from there. He has seen the devastation these beasts can cause but seeks to find a way to fight back. Arlen is the most developed character of the book, followed by Leesha. Unfortunately, Rojer felt like a late and underdeveloped addition. I wanted a little more from him to balance the story out.

I really enjoyed the concept of the magic and the wards to protect, or fight, against the corelings. It’s only a simple one, but it was executed well. There is sufficient development from the fear-ridden society present at the start of the book, both sufficient to pad out the storyline of the Painted Man, but also to lay the foundations for the remainder of the series.

Despite the slow start I will continue with the series. I think there is a lot of potential to explore the vast world constructed in The Painted Man even more, which the second book seems to do.

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – My Blogging Achievements

It’s Tuesday and Day 8 of Blogtober… so that can only mean one thing – it’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday Post!
Today’s post is all about celebrating my top ten achievements since starting my blog. It’s good to give ourselves a pat on the back sometimes. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about my blogging journey so far!

 

Starting a blog… and then sticking with it!

I will be the first person to hold my hands up and admit that I am TERRIBLE for starting projects and never seeing them through. I like to try new things and before I found my feet blogging, I was always abandoning one project or another.

Blogging is the exception to the rule! It was a slow start in the first four months or so whilst I got to grips with it. Once I had established a routine though, the whole experience became a lot easier and I have never looked back! Having never really done it before, it was a huge leap of faith. I think it helped that back then I was only doing it for me. It was my outlet to talk about books. Now, I still do it for me, but I do enjoy getting a like now and again! I can’t lie…

 

Getting onto Social Media

I have always been terrible at using social media. On a personal level, I hardly use it at all except to look at silly cat videos on the internet and the like. My Facebook profile picture gets updated maybe once a year. Yeah, it’s like that.
I never liked Twitter for a personal account. I had nothing to post, nothing to say. My blog changed that. I’m not the kind of person to take photographs all that often either… unless it’s books. That is a blog influence as well though. My personal Instagram account never took off either.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert – far from it! I have a reason to make an effort with it now, and that is the difference!

 

Engaging with a fabulous community of book bloggers

I started my blog as a means to talk about the books I love; it was primarily for me. By starting it, a new world opened up to me. Other bloggers with the same interests as me suddenly came to my attention and I had an audience to write to. Through bloggers, I have been introduced to more books, genres and authors.
Two and a half years on I still enjoy getting a like or a comment on my blog. I don’t think that will ever change. It’s nice to know that somebody cares to take the time to read something you have put effort into.

 

Switching to Self Hosting

Probably one of the biggest things I did last year was move my blog and domain name to a self-hosted site. I have never done anything like it before, so it was a total learning curve. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources on the internet to make the process as straight-forward as possible!

It wasn’t hiccup-free, but I got there. Eventually. Those few days whilst my domain was being re-registered were the longest ever!

 

Going “public” to friends/family

I only did this a few months ago. For a long time, I kept my blog private from friends and family. I had no idea how they would react to my hobby (and having kept it quiet so long). In hindsight, I was daft to worry. I guess I was worried about how they would react to it, or that they wouldn’t and I’d be met with a wall of indifference. My family have been very supportive and I feel a lot better for being able to talk about what I am doing more openly. There were some happy moments but also some disappointments when it comes to friends. I had some great reactions from some friends I didn’t expect to back me at all. There are also friends that haven’t acknowledged it or supported me when I really thought they would. It was bound to happen I guess.

 

Getting onto Publisher Mailing lists

Receiving copies of books in exchange for a review is always an exciting time! Who doesn’t love book mail? When I first started my blog I struck up relationships with some smaller publishers. As I was relatively new to the scene, they were more willing to give me a chance. After about a year of blogging, I decided to chance my luck and contact Gollancz about a new release they were advertising having ARCs for. And I got one! I was expecting my request to go ignored, but no. I have received several other books since then and I am always looking forward to the next one that catches my eye.

 

Also… working with indie authors!

Working with indie authors is a completely different experience, but I would argue that it is a lot more rewarding. I have struck up some good relationships with indie authors for whom I have written reviews. Many have come back to me with new books to review as well. Indie authors offer a far more personal experience to the book reviewing process. Many of them don’t have the representation others benefit from, so anything you can do is so much more appreciated and ultimately, grants a greater sense of achievement in helping them.

 

Improved Writing

It may seem like a small thing, but I have noticed an improvement in my writing. Not only is it a lot easier to take those first steps and start a post, but they flow a lot better too. I have found my voice. It’s an invaluable skill and one I use a lot at work. Even my work colleagues have commented on how well I can draft an email.

 

Completing my Goodreads Reading Challenges

I don’t quite know how I have managed to complete every challenge I have set myself (so far)! Maybe it is because I can be stubborn when I want to be. In fact, for two years I have increased the number of books in my reading challenge, in 2017 and again this year. Equally, it could be that I am just getting quicker at reading or better at managing my time. I can’t pinpoint any one thing that decides how I manage, but it works, somehow.

 

Confidence

This has been saved for last because I think it is the most important achievement. It’s also been the longest journey as it starts in my childhood. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve; I couldn’t take criticism at all. Friend or stranger alike, I took people’s opinions to heart. In high school, I started Performing Arts lessons as a way of putting myself under scrutiny. It was a safe way of doing it and it taught me, gradually, to accept constructive criticism as advice, rather than someone being hurtful.

Look at me now; I couldn’t stand out any more on account of my green hair and how I pour my passion onto the internet, practically inviting people to disagree with me.

Confidence isn’t something you wake up with one day, but it builds with time. In its own way, starting my blog, sticking with it and sharing my love of reading has helped me discover a greater sense of self. I am happiest when talking about my blog, or what I am reading. I wouldn’t say I am reliant on it, but the acceptance and inclusion of many has helped. There has been the odd time when I have met with less favourable opinions (or a lack of opinion when I expected one) of my hobby. It doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things, because I am doing what I love to do.

I still wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes, proven by the fact that I have gotten a little emotional writing this section. I’m not invincible, as much as I try to be. So whilst I am feeling soppy, let me say thank you. Thank you to everyone who reads my posts and drops likes or comments. Thank you to the friends and family who listen to my rambling, whether you are interested or not. And lastly, thank you to those that reminded me that those who mind don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.

 

 

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Discussion Post: How to write book reviews… (and how I write mine!)

How do you write a review?

Everyone has their own way of approaching the task – there really is no right or wrong way to do it. Naturally, you are taking the opportunity to express your opinion, so it’s a completely personal experience.

I like reading other bloggers reviews. I love the variety of style and structure to other bloggers writing, compared to my own. There are the same underpinning conventions, but we all have creative licence to do things our own way.

In today’s post, I want to touch on some of the things I do (and don’t do!) when writing my book reviews. So, shall we get into it?

 

Make Notes Beforehand?

I don’t really make notes as I read. I have tried, but I never stick to it. It interrupts my reading flow and does more harm than good in the end.

If I don’t wait too long to write my reviews then usually my thoughts are fresh in my head and the review is easy to write. That’s also the case if a book makes a good impression on me. I do struggle occasionally. I’ll freely admit in that case that I’ll look at other people’s thoughts and reviews. I would never copy a review, but I’ll shamelessly admit that I’ll use it as a prompt to ask myself what I thought about the same subject. It works!

 

Describe the Plot

I am not a big fan of reading detailed, lengthy plot descriptions, hashing out 80% of the book before reading a person’s review. I do read posts by bloggers who do this, and to be honest I just skip this section. I’ll have already read the synopsis of the book. If I read a post that summarises the vast majority of a book (minus the spoiler /ending), do I want to read the book then? Honestly, no. You may not have given the ending away, but the plotline and enjoyment of the rest of the book has been taken away from me. Why waste several hours reading something I already know?

Sometimes review points need a little context and I don’t have a problem with that. There is a balance, however.

 

Expressing views

I always write my reviews as honestly as I can. That is the point, after all. Reviewsfeed is my place to express my views. As a reviewer, I couldn’t in good conscience lie about my experience of a book. How could readers ever trust me to be honest again? It’s probably one of the easiest ways for others to lose their respect for you… and yet, it’s so easy to feel pressured into not saying something that may not be popular.

I’m not saying all bloggers should be brutally honest about their opinions. Saying that a book that an author has poured hundreds of hours into to publish is **** is uncouth. That doesn’t mean you have to lie or even gloss over the fact in your review; there is a way to be tactful about it. If I thought a book was that bad and I had nothing good to say about it, truthfully, I just wouldn’t review it.

I once gifted a handmade jumper to a family member for Christmas. It is one of the very first big crochet projects I completed, and I am really proud of it! That jumper has remained in that person’s wardrobe to the present day, unworn. They’re being tactful; they won’t get rid of it but they haven’t worn it either. I know I love it more than they do because I know how much time and effort went into it, and that’s okay.

That said, I really wouldn’t mind if they got rid of it now. It is several years old.

 

Star Ratings

Some bloggers like to breakdown their ratings based on various aspects of a book and then average the ratings. From other bloggers, I actually quite like reading these. It’s not something I will ever do though. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite an organised and orderly person (mostly), but I find this approach a bit too regimented.

In a sense I do take this approach, but I am a lot more flexible with it. I would describe myself as more of a mood reviewer. In my mind, sometimes character development may be more important than world-building. Personally, narrative style is a make-or-break thing with me and books. The story could be fantastic, but if I don’t enjoy the way a story is written it will hamper my enjoyment of it. I like to rate the overall experience of the book in a less rigid manner.

Also, I rarely put star ratings on my blog. I have used them in my Throwback Review posts, but I try to avoid them. In my opinion, star ratings are well and good, but the more important bit is the explanation of why I have rated a book a certain way. So, that’s what I focus on in my reviews on my blog. My star ratings are for Goodreads.

How do you write a review? What do you do differently? Do you agree with me?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 6th October 2019

My Sunday Summary posts are going to be quite busy for the next few weeks on account of Blogtober. I’m actually feeling quite good about it. At the beginning of the month it felt like a huge challenge, but I have made good progress with it already. That’s not to say it has been easy, but it’s proven how much more productive I can be when I push myself.

Blogtober officially kicked off on Tuesday, and how better than to start the month by sharing my October TBR? It’s one of my longest lists to date, but I am going on holiday shortly and I should be able to get plenty of reading done!

On Wednesday, I shared my thoughts on Thran Book I: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin. I discovered this book through Voracious Readers Only. Then, on Thursday, I published an interview with the author Brian, which accompanies the book well and gives some detail on Brian’s writing process and his advice when it comes to publishing.

Friday’s post is hardly surprising – it was a Shelf Control post featuring a book co-authored by one of my favourite authors. I have already read eighteen of this particular author’s books, compared to only two of his co-author. I am hoping the writing styles of the two complement each other. There’s only one way to find out, right?

Yesterday I published a bit of a fun post, Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a Book Blogger. It gives a little insight into how I work such a time-consuming hobby around a full-time job and what fractional social life I have. Obviously, today, here we are!

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post I vowed that I was going to really try to finish Elantris before month-end and that I was going to start listening to Visions of Zarua in the mornings. Well, I achieved one of those things. I finished Elantris on the 1st October, and it did not disappoint! I have loved every Brandon Sanderson novel I have read to date. This was his fifth book, so he’s basically an auto-buy author at this point.

After reading such a lengthy epic, I really fancied picking up something short. To that end, I picked up the shortest book on October’s TBR – To Snare a Witch by Jay Raven. At just over 80 pages, I read this in pretty much one sitting on the 1st October as well.

I picked up Hallowed Ground on Wednesday, the first book on my TBR. I’m still quite a way off my tour date, but I wanted to have it read in good time. All my review tours fall at the end of the month so I had to bear this in mind. I finished Hallowed Ground last night, well in time for the tour date (which makes a change)! Since I am so early, I am tempted to make some notes whilst it is fresh in my head. I also need to add this read to Goodreads, as a record for the book isn’t actually on the site yet.

I have also made a cursory start on The Haunting of Paradise House by Killian Wolf. We’re only talking about 12% off the top of my head. It’s a good start, especially since I am not normally on my third book of the TBR in the first week.

I really need to give myself a kick up the backside when it comes to audiobook progress. Last week I said I was going to start listening to it more, particularly in the morning. That hasn’t consistently happened though. I think I did one day, and that’s it. My review date is getting quite close now, so I am going to have to start listening for an hour a day to have it finished in time to draft my review. Rather than mornings, I’ll see if I can listen to it whilst I am cooking tea, or in the evening before bed. I have to find a way to make it work.

 

Books Discovered

Thankfully I have been too busy to see or hear of anything new. My TBR can breathe a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that it isn’t going to collapse under its own weight for another week.

 

Coming Up…

I feel really good about next week since I have blog posts prepared and scheduled up to and including Friday already! Here is the line up for next week’s posts: –

  • Monday 7th October – How to Write Reviews… and how I write mine!
  • Tuesday 8th October  – Top Ten Tuesday: Achievements
  • Wednesday 9th October  – Book Review: The Painted Man – Peter Brett
  • Thursday 10th October – Advertising: Is it worth it?
  • Friday 11th October – First Lines Friday
  • Saturday 12th October – Books I wish I had never read
  • Sunday 13th October – Sunday Summary

So, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post. What have you been up to this week? Are you participating in Blogtober? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a Book Blogger

For day 5 of Blogtober I wanted to write a blog post I have never even considered before. Have you ever wondered how a book blogger juggles their days to make this wonderfully time-consuming hobby work? If so, then you have come to the right place! Everyone has their own schedules and ways of making it work. Ultimately, it’s about finding what suits me and to the day I still experiment with adaptations to routine as and when required.

The Working Week…

In the typical working week, I wake up at 6:40 am. After 5-10 minutes of sulking, I drag myself out of bed and make myself look at least a little human. Sometimes I like to do this in silence, or I’ll listen to music. If I am a little time-pressured or keen to get to the end of an audiobook I will listen to that instead. It depends if I am tired though; I can’t concentrate first thing if I am tired.

We get to work at around 8:25 am; I car-share with a lady who starts work at 8:30 am but I don’t start until 9:00 am. I’ll typically spend as much of this half an hour reading as possible before I have to get ready for the working day.

I try to get out of the office, even for a little bit over lunchtime. When I am not out and about or meeting friends for lunch, I can typically be found with my head in the latest book on my TBR. Sometimes I will prepare content for a blog post instead, – it depends on my schedule.

 

After work, I give myself a break of a couple of hours before I really do anything in earnest blog-wise. This is the time I typically draft blog posts if I have one coming up. It’s the most time I have to sit down and think, although it isn’t as distraction-free as I’d like. I have had to adapt to that though; before, I was terrible at working whilst listening to music. I am a little better at that now, although not perfect…

After blog posts are written or on my evenings off I will be catching up with my reading or talking to friends and family. It varies night by night, but I can be reading at any time in between 7:30 pm and 12:30 am. I can’t read for that long without breaks, but I make a cup of tea or coffee or my lunch for the next day etc. I potter around in between spells.

 

Weekends

At the weekend, I can always rely on my good friend, the housework, to be there for me. It doesn’t take me that long though and doing bits at a time suits my preference to read in shorter bursts. If I am not doing one, you can guarantee I am looking after the other. Saturday evenings are always dedicated to reading, so in the right frame of mind, I can get a lot read on those days.

Sunday is a complete flipside to that. It’s the day I spend with family. I’ll have a quick read in the morning while having my breakfast. Then, I’l go spend the afternoon with them. I won’t look at anything blog related until at least 8:30 pm, when it is time to start drafting my Sunday Summary post! If I have any time after that, I’ll be hitting the books until it’s time for my head to hit the pillow.

So, that’s how I manage to work my hobby around my full-time job and life in general.

Is there anything you do differently? What works for you? Do you need set hours to do something or can you be flexible? Do you feel like you have to sacrifice anything in lieu of your hobby?

 

 

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