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Monday, 23 March 2020

Book Review: Us, In Pieces by Tasha Cotter and Christopher Green


#BookReview: Us, In Pieces by Tasha Cotter and Christopher Green #NetGalley

My thoughts about Us, In Pieces by Tasha Cotter and Christopher Green

Disclosure: I got sent a free ARC of this book from the publisher via Net Galley


#BookReview: Us, In Pieces by Tasha Cotter and Christopher Green #NetGalley
Us, in Pieces is a fresh and witty love story that follows two old friends into the unforgiving and wild terrain of the heart.

In college, Lilly Jameson and Adin Driscoll were as close as friends could get, until Lilly leaves unexpectedly and without explanation at the end of their sophomore year. Nearly ten years pass without contact until a sudden invitation from her parents brings them back into each other s lives. Old, unspoken feelings resurface, and they take a gamble on their limited time together: they will be a couple for forty-eight-hours, and then go back to their own separate lives no strings attached.


But when Adin returns to his life in Columbus, Ohio, and Lilly to Denver, Colorado, they find themselves unable to move on. They soon discover that who the other person was and who they've each become is as unclear as the sort of life they could build together.


Are they really the ones they have been waiting for all their lives? Will they each risk the wildly different lives they have begun creating for themselves? Can they bridge a lost decade to rekindle a life-long love and share a future they've only dreamed of?

Told in sparkling prose in the alternating voices of Adin and Lilly, this beautifully crafted, tightly woven, debut novel is an exhilarating roller-coaster ride. Us, in Pieces is an enduring love story across generations.
 






Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


#BookReview: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald #Spotify #Audiobook

My thoughts about the audiobook The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Narrated by Michael Shannon


#BookReview: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald #Spotify #Audiobook
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.






Friday, 13 March 2020

Book Review: Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane


Book Review: Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane

My thoughts about Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane



Book Review: Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane
On a bitterly cold January evening, Tracy Ellis went for a jog along Chicago’s snowy lakefront and disappeared. Her body was discovered days later, her beautiful face bashed in with a rock. Police determine her brutal death to be a mugging gone wrong and drop the matter into their cold case files.


Over a year later, Tracy’s sister, Sondra, still can’t come to grips with what happened. She throws herself into her work as a documentary filmmaker to try and forget the cruelty of her sister’s death. However, a chance encounter with a man from Tracy’s past rips the wound open and sends Sondra on a desperate search for answers about the secrets from her sister’s life that may have led to her death.



As Sondra struggles to uncover what happened to Tracy, she’s launched into a tangled web of deceit and danger that put her on a collision course with life and death…








Friday, 6 March 2020

Book Review: Agatha Christie: An Autobiography


#BookReview: Agatha Christie: An Autobiography #Audiobook

My thoughts about the audiobook Agatha Christie: An Autobiography

Narrated by Agatha Christie


#BookReview: Agatha Christie: An Autobiography #Audiobook
Back in print in an all-new edition is the engaging and illuminating chronicle of the life of the "Queen of Mystery". Fans of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple and readers of John Curran's fascinating biographies Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks and Murder in the Making will be spellbound by the compelling, authoritative account of one of the world's most influential and fascinating novelists, told in her own words and inimitable style - and here in her own voice. These audio excerpts were dictated by Agatha Christie herself. 
The New York Times Book Review called Christie's autobiography a "joyful adventure," saying, "she brings the sense of wonder... to her extraordinary career."
Please note: This is a historical recording, and the audio quality is reflective of the time in which it was recorded.








Wednesday, 4 March 2020

2020 Challenges: February Update

2020 Challenges: February Update

2020 Challenges: February Update

February just flew by, so it's time for an update on my progress for the various challenges I'm taking part in.

I had a slower month as we all came down with a nasty flu. Lots of time resting in bed away from my computer, and unfortunately with evil headaches that made reading difficult. Needless to say I didn't make the progress I'd hoped for. 



You might also like: 2020 Challenges: January Update


The Blog Audit Challenge 2020

This is a challenge I created aimed at improving our blogs. You can find full details here in case you missed the introduction post. The goals for February were all related to information. 

About page

I only made a few small changes to my about page, although I do want to update the photos on site in general as my hair has grown and so it feels right to do an update so what you see on site matches my current look. I'll probably do that when we work on the graphics part of the Blog Audit Challenge

Legal Disclaimers

This part took some research. I updated my legal disclaimers and policies not that long ago, but these things tend to change quite often and so it's important to stay up to date with the latest rules. 

Resources page

This is the task I dedicated most time to this month. My resources page left a lot to be desired so I'm super happy to have finally taken some time to work on it. 

I decided I wanted to use my resources page as a way of categorizing some of my blog posts as well as highlighting some of the affiliate programs I'm part of, and some of the tools I use on a regular basis. 

It's definitely more functional now than it was before. It's a work in progress that I'll be adding to as I move forward with my blog so hopefully it'll turn into a useful hub that readers can come back to time and time again. 

As I've worked on my resources page I've been thinking about additional resources I could add to make it more valuable to my readers. I've come up with a list of files I plan on creating and making available through the page in the near future. 

As a side note, I failed to post on all the days I'd decided on when I did my post schedule as part of the January tasks. I'm still planning on trying for 3 times a week, but may modify it to twice a week if I still struggle to post without illness as an excuse. 


The Audiobook Challenge

This challenge is was originally designed to be done just in January 2020. Well, that didn't happen. I checked with Eline from Lovely Audiobooks and she said that's totally fine for carry on and do it as a year long challenge.



2020 Challenges: February Update The Audiobook Challenge 2020


Audiobooks listened to this month:
  • Agatha Christie: An Autobiography, narrated by Agatha Christie
  • Les Liasiaons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, narrated by Adjoa Andoh, Janet McTeer, Elaine Cassidy, Morfydd Clark, Edward Holcroft, Dominic West, Una Stubbs.

The A to Z Reading Challenge


Next up is the A to Z Reading Challenge. I started off slowly this month but caught up toward the end of the month. I did finish Stone Cold Heart though with is 471 pages long. Note to self: choose shorter books if you want to make faster progress. 

2020 Challenges: February Update The A to Z Reading Challenge

Books read this month:

S - Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear
K- Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane
U- Us, In Pieces by Tasha Cotter and Christopher Green

Armed with a bingo

Like I just mentioned above, I should make more calculated choices when picking books. Stone Cold Heart was a long book but fell short of the 500 pages that would have got me two boxes in the Armed with a Bingo challenge... which means I now need to read another longer book.


2020 Challenges: February Update Armed With A Bingo


Books read this month:
  • A book which was a gift/borrowed: Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear (I won a copy of this in a giveaway and so I'm counting it as gifted)
  • A book about friendship/family: Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane (A thriller but both family and friendship are strong themes)
  • A book written in a format other than third person: Us, In Pieces by Tasha Cotter and Christopher Green (written mostly in emails, texts, and letters).

2020 Challenges: February Update


Monday, 2 March 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: March Challenges


Blog Audit Challenge 2020: March Challenges #BlogAuditChallenge2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020


Welcome back for another month of challenges for the Blog Audit Challenge 2020!

I hope you did well with the February challenges, and linked up your progress reports in the February Link Up

Each month we'll concentrate on a different area of our blogs.

The Challenges:


January- Plan of action
March- The trimmings
April- Design
May- SEO
June- Links
July- Quality content
August- Content gaps
September- Developing readership
October- Get social
November- Press and collaborations
December- Know your stats



Monthly link ups

In order to keep us all on track, and give us a way to see each others progress, I'll be hosting link ups on the first Saturday of every month where participants can share their links and discuss their progress. 


#BlogAuditChallenge2020

March Challenges


Our focus for March is on the trimmings AKA your header, side bar, footer, etc...

The March challenges will make sure our supporting content is just as polished as our main content. 

The March challenges:


1. The header

Your header is the first thing people see when they visit your blog and therefore needs to send a clear message about what your site (and you) are. It should set the tone for your blog in terms of style and personality too. It's your very first impression and needs to be a good one. 

I definitely need to improve my own header as it currently does nothing for my site both in terms of design, mood, or communicating what I do. I know it says what I do, but it doesn't show it. Remember that rule they used to teach you about showing not telling. Well, it doesn't just apply to writing. It's a major factor in branding and design too. 

Our first task for this month is therefore to work on improving our blog header. 

A few things to keep in mind:


  • Your style- Is your blog professional or is it more laid back and chill? Does your header set the mood for your blog?
  • Your mission- In the January challenges we worked on our mission statements for our blogs. Is your header conveying that mission? Is it clear what your site is about?
  • Your branding- Does your header match the rest of your branding? 
Not sure where to start? Check out this blog post by Venngage with 5 tips for creating beautiful blog headers.

2. The sidebar

Your sidebar is for that extra content you want readers to find easily. The important stuff you want them to see but can't add to every blog post. It's also an opportunity to strengthen your brand, increase clicks to other content on site, and get more attention to your target content through calls to action. 

In the past I over cluttered by sidebar and so in my last blog audit I did a major declutter. Too much is well, too much. It distracts as opposed to drawing focus. 

Is your sidebar serving a purpose? Is it over cluttered? Is it missing elements that could help drive traffic to your other posts/gain more attention for your services?

Need some ideas for what to include in your sidebar? Check out this post by Hubspot with 7 things your blog's sidebar can't live without.

3. The footer

The blog footer is often given little consideration but can be the perfect place for a strong call to action. 

Looking for ideas of what to put in your blog footer? Check out this post by Orbit Media Solutions with Website Footer Design Best Practices: 27 Things to Put at the Bottom.


Free downloads: You can grab copies of all the extra materials for the Blog Audit Challenge 2020 for free here


Save the Date!

The monthly link up post for sharing your March progress will be on 4th April. The April challenges will be posted on 1st April. 


Blog Audit Challenge 2020: March Challenges #BlogAuditChallenge2020


Sunday, 1 March 2020

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books

Bookish Blog Hops: A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read


Today is the first stop on the Spring Hop for Bookish Blog Hops, and as always I'm kicking things off. 


Are you a book blogger? Want to join in with future Bookish Blog Hops? Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/127759384464964/

The topic of today's post is "A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read"

A book I saw on Net Galley, and requested is When I Was You by Amber Garza, (pub date 25th August 2020). 

This book sounds like the sort of book I enjoy reading. I've also recently binge watched You on Netflix and so that makes me want to give this one a try even more. 

About the book:

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
You meets Fatal Attraction in this up-all-night story of suspicion, obsession and motherhood.

It all begins on an ordinary fall morning, when Kelly Medina gets a call from her son’s pediatrician to confirm her upcoming “well-baby” appointment. It’s a cruel mistake; her son left for college a year ago, and Kelly’s never felt so alone. The receptionist quickly apologizes: there’s another mother in town named Kelly Medina, and she must have gotten their numbers switched.

For days, Kelly can’t stop thinking about the woman who shares her name. Lives in her same town. Has a son she can still hold, and her whole life ahead of her. She can’t help looking for her: at the grocery store, at the gym, on social media. When Kelly just happens to bump into the single mother outside that pediatrician’s office, it’s simple curiosity getting the better of her.

Their unlikely friendship brings Kelly a renewed sense of purpose—taking care of this young woman and her adorable baby boy. But that friendship quickly turns to obsession, and when one Kelly disappears, well, the other one may know why.

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books


Here's the new releases the rest of the Bookish Blog Hops gang are looking forward to reading in 2020:

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Stormi - Bewitched Reader Book Blog - www.bewitchedreader.com

The Trouble with Gravity by KK Allen is one of my most anticipated books of 2020. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long since it released in January. KK Allen is one of my one-click authors. Everything she writes is filled with tons of angst and romance, which I love. You can read my full review of The Trouble with Gravity here.

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Erica - Erica Robyn Reads - www.ericarobynreads.com

My top anticipated book of 2020 is a thriller, Home Before Dark: A Novel by Riley Sager! The expected publication date was my birthday (July 7th, 2020), but it has actually been moved up to June 30th! I have absolutely loved this author’s other works and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one when it arrives at my local bookshop where I have it preordered. I’m extra excited about this one because the U.S. cover will glow in the dark. How neat is that?! 

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books

Several authors I know have released books already!
Author Kelly Blanchard started the year by releasing the NINTH book in her awesomely brilliant sci-fantasy series THE CHRONICLES OF LORREK. The book is called This Ends Now, and I, having already read the first five books, am beyond excited for it! 
Then there’s E. A. Copen, who released the second book in a series that spins off of her main series, The Judah Black Series. The spin-off is called The Silver Bullet Chronicles, and Book 2 is titled Fool’s Gold. I’ve read the first two Judah Black novels and another novella of hers, Beasts of Babylon, and I’ve really enjoyed her style and her characters--so I would deem this one worthwhile, for sure!
Of course, that’s only the beginning… Mark Lawrence I think might be releasing more books this year, and there’s no telling what any other author I’ve read is currently brewing for 2020--but one thing is for sure, this year will not go by without some great books hitting the market!

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Laura Doherty - Tales of a Natural Spoonie - https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com

Roots of Corruption by Laura Laakso is my most eagerly anticipated release of 2020. This is the third installment of the Wilde Investigations series and luckily it is released this month. I am absolutely loving this book series as Yannia the books protagonist is a kick-ass female private investigator, juggling life while living with a chronic illness. I love how multi-dimensional and complex she is and this brings a realness to the series that is often lacking in fantasy and urban fantasy. You can read my review of the first book Fallible Justice here.

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Kim - Writer Side of Life www.writersideoflife.com 

My favourite author, Diana Gabaldon, is releasing the next book in the historical fiction Outlander series around July 2020. It is called Go Tell The Bees That I am Gone.

I'm also looking forward to The City We Became, a fantasy set in New York by N. K. Jemisin, which is due out in March.

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Valerie, Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews www.catsluvcoffee.com
I have quite a few releases that I’m looking forward to this year. A new Kathy Reichs book in Temperance Brennan series, A Conspiracy of Bones (number NINETEEN!) is releasing this year. This is the series that the tv show Bones was based on if you’ve ever seen it. Another of my favorite authors, Kim Harrison, is actually starting over with a new urban fantasy series based on The Hollows series. American Demon (Return to the Hollows, #1) is releasing in June. It’s going to be strange since the series actually ended with a future time jump (think Harry Potter) so I’m not sure how it’s going to feel already knowing the ending. 
The long awaited Peace Talks by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files, #16) is releasing in July. There hasn’t been a new novel in the series since 2014 so I know I’ll devour it. I just hope it lives up to the expectations!

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Robin Loves Reading, https://www.robinlovesreading.com 

I have to choose Photos From You by Tammy Robinson. This book discusses the last months of a woman with terminal cancer and how the people in her life surrounded her with care and love. I only skimmed over the blurb before reading this so there was something really special that I was not prepared for with this book. This is a highly emotional read, but I found this to be truly compelling, especially as it is so well-written. Highly recommended. 

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Veronica - The Burgeoning Bookshelf https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

I just love anything written by Karen Swan. Her books include romance with mystery and an element of suspense. I am eagerly checking my mailbox for an ARC of her latest book The Hidden Beach due out in April 2020.

A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books
Kelsey - There’s Something About KM https://theressomethingaboutkm.com/

There are two 2020 releases I am highly anticipating, and fortunately they will both be available in the first half of this year. The first is Afterlife by Julia Alvarez, and is, on the surface, about a woman who encounters heartbreak and unexpected life events. I expect it to be a profound, gut wrenching, and exquisite piece of literature (out in April). 

The second book is the final installment of The Daevabad Trilogy: The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. The City of Brass (#1) and The Kingdom of Copper (#2) provide dangerous, exciting, anticipatory adventure, as well as gorgeous settings and descriptions - I am expecting no less from the third book (out in June). 


A 2020 Release You Can't Wait To Read #BookishBlogHops #NewReleases #Books

What 2020 release are you looking forward to?

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