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Monday, 1 July 2019

Bookish Blog Hops: A Recap Of All The Summer 2019 Hop Stops

Bookish Blog Hops: A Recap Of All The Summer 2019 Hop Stops

Bookish Blog Hops Summer Hop


Over the month of June the Bookish Blog Hops gang came together again for our Summer Hop. We toured the web for 30 days of bookish questions.

It was great fun getting to know each other better and discovering more about our reading habits, and tastes in books. Not to mention all the great book recommendations we shared. My TBR is exploding with yet more books I want to read now! 


In case you missed any of the stops here's a recap for you:

Day 1

I kicked things off on 1st June with a post where we discussed books we wish we'd written. So many amazing authors were mentioned. 

I also really enjoyed hearing about what particular talents and skills everyone appreciated in the authors they picked. 


Day 2

Then we were hosted by Eline on her blog to talk about choosing books based solely on the cover. This topic created a great discussion, and one which (as a book cover designer myself) I found particularly interesting. 


Day 3

Next we dropped by the site of Fee to chat about reviewing books. As an author I know how important reviews are, and how much they are appreciated, especially on sites like Amazon. 

A review can be what helps a customer decide if they book is for them or not. It's a closer for potential readers, and therefore worth gold to an author. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing there is. 

As a reader I know it can be hard to keep up with posting reviews for all the books read though. It was comforting to see how other book bloggers manage their book reviews. It was also great to see how many support the authors they read by posting reviews to multiple sites. 


Day 4

Our next stop was on the site of Devi to discuss the authors we always read and recommend. This post reminded me of some authors I really need to read more from. 


Day 5

Have you ever wondered how book bloggers find their next read? That was the topic of discussion in this post. 


Day 6

Then we visited Kim's website to confer about classics. I loved this topic and all the books that came up in the discussion. 


Day 7

For this stop we talked about the sort of books we like to read in the summer months. This was a great topic for getting to know each others reading tastes. 


Day 8

Our hop then took us to Leslie's website where chatted about how we keep track of all the books we read and review. This topic also gave us the chance to debate about Goodreads.


Day 9

Next we visited Laura's website for a trip down memory lane. In this post we talked about some of the most memorable books from our childhoods. 


Day 10

We couldn't have a blog hop and not mention the books we're currently reading now could we? In this post we shared our current reads, and it was interesting to see that many of us have more than one book on the go at once. 


Day 11

This stop added several books to my TBR. So many great sounding books mentioned in this post about books we can't wait to read this summer. 


Day 12

For this stop we shared books that are sure to get you in the mood for summer. 


Day 13

This post was all about book settings and the destinations books inspire us to want to visit.


Day 14

We embraced the summer vibe in this post about books set in summer.

https://upstreamwriter.blogspot.com/2019/06/bookish-summer-blog-hop-show-us-book.html


Day 16

I'm a sucker for a good quote and so loved this post about some of our favourite book quotes.

https://lovelyaudiobooks.info/the-best-book-quotes/

Day 17

For this post we discussed how reading inspires our everyday life. I feel like I could have written any of these answers.

https://russelllindsey.blog/2019/06/17/bookish-blog-hop-how-does-reading-inspire-your-everyday-life

Day 18

Our next stop had us debating the worst film adaptions of books.

https://viewsshewrites.wordpress.com/2019/06/18/worst-film-adaptation-of-a-book

Day 19

Then we visited Brandy's blog to share our favourite books of 2019 so far.

https://brandypotterbooks.com/2019/06/19/bookish-blog-hop-summer-hop-favorite-book-of-2019-so-far/


Day 21

Day 22

I'm currently melting here in Rome so this topic was easy to answer.

http://www.writersideoflife.com/books-set-in-a-hot-country/

Day 23

Next we discussed our favourite film adaptions of books. I now want to read and watch all of these.

http://ebookaddicts.net/bookishbloghop-best-film-adaptation-of-a-book

Day 24

For this stop we talked about the last book series we read.

https://upstreamwriter.blogspot.com/2019/06/bookish-summer-blog-hop-what-was-last.html



Day 27

Next we talked about how we feel about cliffhangers.

http://ebookaddicts.net/bookishbloghop-how-do-you-feel-about-cliffhangers/

Day 28

I was back hosting again for this stop where we discussed our favourite genres to read.

https://www.jolinsdell.com/2019/06/what-is-your-favourite-genre-to-read.html

Day 29

Our next stop was discussing when books get turned into movies.

http://ebookaddicts.net/bookishbloghop-do-you-like-it-when-books-become-movies/

Day 30

And for the final stop in this Summer Hop we talked about what book is next on our TBR lists

https://viewsshewrites.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/what-book-is-next-on-your-list-to-read/

It was a fantastic hop and I can't wait for the next one. It's great getting to know other book bloggers, and these blog hops always introduce me to new authors, and add new books to my TBR. 

You might also like: Ways To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

Bookish Blog Hops: A Recap Of All The Summer 2019 Hop Stops


Want to take part in future blog hops organised via the Bookish Blog Hops group? Join the Facebook group

Friday, 28 June 2019

What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

Bookish Blog Hops Summer Hop, Day 28


The Bookish Blog Hops Summer Hop started on 1st June when I kicked things off with a post about the books we wished we'd written. Since then we've been visiting the different blogs of participating book bloggers to answer a variety of book related questions.

Yesterday for example, we were hosted by Fee at eBook Addicts to discuss how we feel about cliffhangers. Check out the post here.

Want to be part of future Bookish Blog Hops? Join our Facebook group.

For this post we're discussing our favourite genres to read.

Those of you that know me, know I love thrillers, especially psychological thrillers. I’ll happily read anything that falls into the crime, mystery genre too though.

The thing I like most about this genre is that it's nearly always thought provoking. It makes me think about my own morals, and how I feel about certain topics and themes. I also love trying to work out who did it, and why. In order for this genre to be good the characters need to be well developed. You need to feel a connection with them. Then, of course, there's the action and plot twists. These types of books tend to be page turners that I struggle to put down.

I also like easy read “chick-lit” and romance novels. These are my go-to for when I just want to relax.

What are the most popular literary genres?


Let's see what the rest of the gang had to say...

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

Cozy mysteries always. Although I like mysteries and psychological thrillers too, my all time favorites in any mood are cozy mysteries. I prefer writing such stories too.

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

I love any read any genre but my go to are romance, thriller and cozy mysteries.

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

I will read any genre. Literary, historical fiction, romance and memoirs are my best, like Angela's Ashes or All the Light we Cannot See. I am also a big fan of science fiction, especially when it plays with time, dystopian novels and thrillers.

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

I like to read mystery novels in any genre. I also like quest fantasy novels that are well written.

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?
Valerie @ Cats Luv Coffee www.catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

Urban fantasy is my favorite.  I love the layering of the magical world on top of our own. The MC is most often a good guy (or girl), strong but sometimes flawed. I love the snarkiness that a lot of them have. Not to mention that it frequently incorporates many other genres like suspense, horror, and romance.  

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

The list of genres I absolutely will not read is far easier to list than the ones I will absolutely read! Fantasy is a big one, with all its subgenres: urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sci-fantasy, high fantasy, low fantasy, fairy tales… Then there’s sci-fi, from cyberpunk and steampunk (pretty much any “punk” at all!) to hard sci-fi and alternate histories. I’ll read crime thrillers and cozy mysteries; supernatural and paranormal. I love them all!

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

Urban Fantasy is always a winner for me. I usually read Romance and Fantasy. And Urban Fantasy is kind of a connection between the two. It often has a Romance element. And it’s a bit more relatable for me than high fantasy worlds.

#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?
Renee Huggins http://reneesbookcase.com 

Paranormal romance is my favorite, but I’ll usually take a break and go for thriller in between.

What's your favourite genre to read, and why?



#BookishBlogHops What Is Your Favourite Genre To Read?

You can find a complete list of all the stops in the Bookish Blog Hops summer Hop 2019 here.

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Book Reviews: Can You Trust Book Bloggers?

Book Reviews: Can You Trust Book Bloggers?


The topic of book reviews is not a new one here on my blog. I even did a webinar about the What, Why, and How of Book Reviews a few years ago. It's one of those topics that comes up time and time again among book bloggers, authors, and readers.

I was recently chatting with my book blogging buddy Eline from Lovely Audiobooks (@lovelyaudiobook) about book reviews, book reviewers, and book blogging in general.  

Eline told me about a book discussion group she's part of on Facebook and how a lot of the ladies there don't read book blogs anymore because they find them to be dishonest. Always gushing about books they hated.


Honest book reviews: Can you trust book bloggers?



Unfortunately the true answer to this question is "it depends". 

I review books here on my blog and also post to Goodreads and Amazon. One of the reasons I do video reviews is to show I'm not afraid to put my face out there. I will only ever do an honest review and say what I really think of a book. If I can't think of anything nice to say about it, I won't say anything. At the same time, I'll never hype up a book I didn't enjoy. 

Reviews come in all different shapes and sizes, and that's a good thing. Variety keeps things interesting. I love it when I read a review that has a unique style to it, and there are some truly amazing book bloggers out there doing a fantastic job. 


As with everything in life, there are always a few people that spoil it for the rest of us, and book blogging is no different. 

Unfortunately there are some reviewers (and I use the term loosely), that don't even read the books they review. Others give false reviews being overly positive about a book they didn't really enjoy that much. These are the people that the Facebook group were talking about. They're in it for the money and hits. It's definitely a numbers game for these people. 

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great when people turn a passion into a business. That's what dreams are made of. Being able to do what you love for a living... that's the big goal for most of us. 

I'd also like to point out that not all big name book bloggers are fake. Lots of them really do read that many books, give honest reviews, and have been lucky enough and worked hard to build large followings that allow them to monetise their content. To those people I bow down and say "you're awesome!"

Then there are bloggers who go so far as to steal another book bloggers review and post it as their own. I kid you not. This happened to another book blogging friend of mine recently. The person literally did copy and paste of her whole review post (graphics included) and posted it to their own blog without giving credit, or a backlink, and published it under their own name. It wasn't a one off either. This person was stealing posts from a variety of sites. DMCA notices were sent and both Wordpress and Google have been contacted to get the site removed. 

I should point out that not all book bloggers are interested in making money from their book blogs. A lot of them post reviews just to spread their love of reading. They don't monetise their posts at all, or get sent review copies from authors and/or publishers. They buy all the books they read or check them out from their local library. 

Not all book bloggers have huge followings. In fact, the majority of book bloggers have a relatively small number of followers and, a lot of the time, people visiting these blogs don't engage by commenting on the post. 

This brings about an important question: Do we only get feedback from other bloggers and authors, but not from book buying readers?

Who reads book blogs?


I did some research on the topic by running a poll on Twitter. This is the results:

As you can see the majority of book bloggers voted that it's book bloggers who make up most of their blog audience. 

Now there's nothing wrong with that. Book bloggers are by nature avid readers, and do buy a lot of books. I also love how supportive the book blogging community is. 

I visit other book blogs regularly. I love reading book reviews, and have added a huge number of books to my TBR thanks to the reviews I've read. I've discovered books and authors I didn't even know existed. 

There are plenty of book bloggers I know I can trust have given an honest review. 

So to those people in the Facebook group (and non) that don't read book blogs anymore because they find them to be dishonest, please know that there are plenty of honest book bloggers out there. 

And to the book bloggers who don't think readers are reading their book blogs, try posting your reviews to other platforms as well. Goodreads is full of avid readers with no interest in blogging or writing a book of their own. They just love reading. 

Discuss the books you read on your social media channels too. Again this adds to your credibility and spreads the word that you blog about the books you read. 

Eline also did a blog post following our discussion. Read it here.


Book Reviews: Can You Trust Book Bloggers?

I'd love to know your thoughts about this. Who are some book bloggers you know always give honest reviews of the books they've read?

As a book blogger, are you writing your posts specifically for readers? Where else do you post your book reviews besides your book blog?

Friday, 21 June 2019

Ways To Write More Creative Book Reviews

Ways To Write More Creative Book Reviews


Writing Reviews That Stand Out


How do you make sure your book review stands out from the crowd? 

Both readers and authors/publishers appreciate a quality book review. You don't just want to be rehashing the synopsis of the book. You want to put your own twist on it and make your review different from all the other book bloggers out there. 

Ways To Write More Creative Book Reviews


I'm lucky enough to know some truly awesome book bloggers, and they each have their own unique why of reviewing the books they've read. Here's a few examples to give you some ideas of the different types of book reviews you can do:

1. Reactions as you read the book 

Judith from Chain Interaction is an excellent example of this method of reviewing and it makes for entertaining reading. It's a real blow by blow of her thoughts as she progresses through the book. You get a real taste for all the highs and the lows.

2. Video reviews

This is my preferred method of reviewing. I film my reviews for my YouTube channel and then share them here on my blog and on my other social media platforms. 

I want my reviews to be as honest as possible, and I don't want to think too much about what I want to say about the book I've read. I want to share my raw feelings about it. For me, video is a great way to do this. I don't prepare a script before filming. I just jump in front of the camera and press record. 

I also think this method of reviewing allows followers to get to know me better. 

3. Make a list post

Make a review more interesting by turning it into a list post like this one about why you should read Rick Riordan books. Instead of large blocks of text, break it up into a topic related list. 
  • Reasons to read [insert name of book]
  • Favourite characters from [insert name of book] 
  • Favourite quotes from [insert name of book]
  • Places I want to visit now I've read [insert name of book]
You get the idea. Put a new twist on the format of your review. 

4. Share your reading journey

Get personal and share your journey with the book from the moment you picked it out to your feelings once you'd finished reading it. 

Did you pick it up based on a recommendation, or was it solely based on the cover design? Had you heard of it before? or was it an impulse buy?

Did your feelings about the book/characters change of the course of the book? On finishing, was it a book that stayed with you? Was it thought provoking? What impact did it have on you?



Ways To Write More Creative Book Reviews

What review formats have you tired? What types of book reviews do you enjoy reading?


Monday, 17 June 2019

How Taking Risks Can Lead You to a Better Life


How Taking Risks Can Lead You to a Better Life

How Taking Risks Can Lead You to a Better Life


Today marks 18 years since I left the UK and moved to Rome, Italy.

I still remember all those years ago being sat on the plane and wondering if I was brave or just plain crazy. If I'm honest, I was probably a bit of both.

Back then I never would have thought that I would now be married, have two amazing kids and, above all that, that I'd still be here in Rome. My original plan had been to stay for 3 days!

I took a risk. A huge risk, and it was the best thing I've ever done.

Sometimes you just have to follow your gut. 

Taking risks doesn’t mean succeeding every time, and that’s OK!


“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” — Stephen McCranie


The Plan

As I said, my original plan had been to stay here for just 3 days. I was going to travel around Europe visiting different countries. That is until I found myself with no money. 

Yep, I lost all my money in France. I had a connecting flight and all I know is I had my wallet when I got to the Paris airport but it was gone when I arrived at the airport in Rome. 

At this point I did freak out a little. I was alone in a foreign country with no money, and didn't speak the language. 

I could have called it quits. I'm sure a lot of people would have given up at a hurdle like that. I almost did.... almost. 

Luckily I'd booked my accommodation online before leaving the UK and so had my 3 days paid in advance. That gave me 3 days to work out a new plan.

On my third day here I got a job working in a hostel, which got me a small amount of money and a bed to sleep in. I was back in control.

At this point I figured I'd stay in Rome for a few weeks and put aside some money to get to my next destination, Greece.... I've still never been to Greece.

Well, weeks turned into months, and I got a job offer at a different hostel. Nicer place, more money, better hours... and then I met my now husband. It was then that I knew I'd really moved to Rome, and I wasn't just visiting anymore. 

So you see, life doesn't always work out the way we planned. 

Sometimes risks don't mean success. 
Sometimes, they can lead to a complete failure. 
Sometimes failing isn't such a bad thing after all. 

What was probably one of my most epic fails turned out to be the best thing that could ever have happened to me. I learnt so much about myself, and discovered strengths I didn't know I had. I faced my fears, and came out on top. I was rewarded for all my hard work with the life I have now, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Through failure I ended up succeeding and having a better life. Some risks are worth taking.


"The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done."  ~ Arnold Palmer


Whilst my above example was a complete life changing event, it applies to how we live in general... and to our blogs.

So, are you going to just sit there wondering what your life could have been like if only you had taken a couple of risks? Or are you going to do something about it while you still have the chance?

Want to write a book? Do it!
Want to start a blog? Do it!
Been thinking about trying something new with your website? Do it!

By taking a risk you'll either reach your goal, or learn from the failure. Either way, you'll grow as a person and discover talents and skills you didn't know you had.


How Taking Risks Can Lead You to a Better Life


Want some help setting your goals? 



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