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

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 

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.

Enjoy this post? Feel free to share on social media by using the super-easy share buttons below

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? 

Friday, 7 June 2019

Series I'm Obsessed With: The Shepherd Series by Ethan Cross

Book Series I'm Obsessed With: The Shepherd Series by Ethan Cross

So far in this series I've shared my love for the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and the Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes. Today I'm highlighting one of my absolute favourites from the thriller genre; The Shepherd series by Ethan Cross.

Warning some small spoilers ahead for those of you that haven't read the series yet.

Reasons why I love The Shepherd series:

1) Perfectly grey characters

Ethan Cross has a real talent for creating characters. Very rarely are his creations ever completely evil or completely good. There's always an element of "grey" to them, that just makes them feel all the more real. 

I love that the good guys make mistakes, and that the bad guys also have moments where they do the "right thing" for a change. It really makes you feel invested in the characters, both good and bad. 

2) Action packed

All the books in The Shepherd Series are fast paced and packed with action. There's always something going on, and always something that keeps you turning the pages.

3) Thought provoking

This series really makes you question your morals, vigilante justice, and the legal system in general. It'll have you thinking about the whole question of good vs evil in a new light. 

Favourite Characters:

Francis Ackerman Jr - Although he is the main bad guy in this series, Ackerman Jr is the character that made this series so great. Sure the protagonist Marcus Williams is good, but it's Ackerman Jr, that steals the show. 

Despite all the truly gruesome things this serial killer does you can't help but feel for him. There's even times when a part of you can't help but think he might be right about some stuff. 

Some of My Favourite Quotes:

“We’re so fascinated by what we fear.” - The Shepherd

“Home is somewhere that we all search for and many will never truly find." - The Shepherd

“Maybe we all have a monster inside. Maybe we all have the same capacity for evil as we do for good." - The Shepherd

“While you were learning about Lincoln and Washington, I was learning about Jack the Ripper, Albert Fish, Ed Gein, the Zodiac. Those were just a few of my founding fathers.” - The Shepherd

“I've told you before. I'm here for you, day or night. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” - The Prophet

"It's moments such as these when a person must examine their existence and their place in this world. We all have regrets. Some mistakes can be rectified, and some can never be undone. The trick is realizing the difference and acting upon it." - Father of Fear

My reviews of the books:

Book 1 The Shepherd

Book 2 The Prophet

Book 3 Father of Fear

Book 4 The Judas Game

Have you read this series? 

Not read them yet? Grab your copies here:

Book Series I'm Obsessed With: The Shepherd Series by Ethan Cross

Enjoy this post? Feel free to share on social media by using the super-easy share buttons below

Monday, 3 June 2019

Book Review: The Shepherd by Ethan Cross

My thoughts about The Shepherd by Ethan Cross

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning, I get a commission if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Book Review: The Shepherd by Ethan Cross
Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering.

When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante's beautiful daughter – a woman with whom he's quickly falling in love – Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the must cunning and ruthless killers in the world.

Are you a book blogger? Join the Bookish Blog Hops group on Facebook to connect with other book bloggers. A great community offering support and events to help you grow traffic to your book blog and generate more brand awareness.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

#BookishBlogHops Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

It's time for another Bookish Blog Hop! 

That's right for the whole month of June, I'll be touring the web with my blog blogging buddies from the Bookish Blog Hops group. We'll be answering a wide variety of bookish questions over the next 30 days. 

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

#BookishBlogHops Summer Hop 1st-30th June 2019

But now on today's question... 

Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

This is a tough question because there’s so many great books that I would love to be able to say I’d written. There’s obvious ones like the Harry Potter series or the Percy Jackson series. Both awesome and incredibly popular. Who wouldn’t want to be reasonable for their creation?

Then there’s series like Me Before You, that was so emotional. Jojo Moyes had me feeling all the feels with these books. Or Ethan Cross with his Shepherd series that is, in my opinion, some of the best thriller work I’ve ever read.

And don't get me started on the works of writers like William Shakespeare... Do you realise how many words and phrases that guy invented that we all use today? Absolute legend!

I wish I could write as well as all of these awesome authors. Each has a particular skill set and all are amazing talented.

Here's what the rest of the gang had to say:

#BookishBlogHops Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

I wouldn’t say ‘wish I had written’, but maybe ‘hope to write something like’ Dame Agatha Christie’s or Sir Arthur Doyle’s kind of writing. They have written such powerful stories in such simple setting - it is an inspiration to me.

#BookishBlogHops Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

@View She Writes. Great answer! They are both phenomenal authors. For me though, I would have to say that I wish I had written The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. There is little dispute that J.R.R. Tolkein is the father of modern fantasy.  Without him there would be no Robert Jordan, David Eddings or George R.R. Martin. Game of Thrones wouldn’t be a show that cause Facebook Riots. I would venture to say that almost all quest based fantasy can be traced to him in some fashion… even Harry, Percy and Katniss.

#BookishBlogHops Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

There are so many books that I enjoy and would love to either have written, or even just be able to write similarly. My favorites would include Harry Potter and Sense and Sensibility, I think. Harry Potter because Rowling did such an amazing job of creating a world that I could picture. The characters became real! With Sense and Sensibility, Austen was able to take the world around her and show a slice of life with humor and frustration all mixed in together. She created characters that we loved and loathed and showed just how unfair life could be just for being born a woman. I would love to be that clever!

#BookishBlogHops Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

If I could write a book like Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, I would be very happy. I love the intricately detailed settings that completely transport the reader to another place. The characters are also realistic and relatable, but somehow creepy and mysterious, to keep you wanting more.

For our next stop you can find us at where we'll be answering the question "Would you or do you choose a book solely on the cover?"

#BookishBlogHops Which Book Do You Wish You'd Written?

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

Looking for help with your blog? Struggling to come up with ideas, or need help with your branding, SEO, or website design? I can help! 

Interested in my work and services?
Stay in touch