Monday, 30 November 2020

Book Review: Assassin's Creed, Renaissance by Oliver Bowden


Book Review: Assassin's Creed, Renaissance by Oliver Bowden

My thoughts about Assassin's Creed, Renaissance by Oliver Bowden

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: Assassin's Creed, Renaissance by Oliver Bowden

Betrayed by the ruling families of Italy, a young man embarks upon an epic quest for vengeance during the Renaissance in this novel based on the Assassin's Creed™ video game series. “I will seek vengeance upon those who betrayed my family. I am Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. I am an Assassin…” To eradicate corruption and restore his family’s honor, Ezio will learn the art of the Assassins. Along the way, he will call upon the wisdom of such great minds as Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavello—knowing that survival is bound to the skills by which he must live. To his allies, he will become a force for change—fighting for freedom and justice. To his enemies, he will become a threat dedicated to the destruction of the tyrants abusing the people of Italy. So begins an epic story of power, revenge and conspiracy... An Original Novel Based on the Multiplatinum Video Game from Ubisoft

Some quotes I liked:

Leonardo was a dreamer. Dreamers should be allowed to dream. 

"I see no contradiction. How I choose to practise my faith, what I choose to do with my body - these are my choices and I am free to make them."

A gaggle of courtesans slipped smilingly past Ezio into the inner room, at the centre of which he could see a truly massive bed, by whose side was a singular contraption like a couch, but with pulleys and belts, and chains. It reminded him of something out of Leonard's workshop, but he couldn't imagine what possible use it might be put to. 

"He's an Inquisitor. He knows how to bully people who are already at his mercy. He's not a soldier. Hell, he doesn't even have the wit to be a halfway decent chess-player!"

"I've never heard of a woman ruling a city-state before. I am impressed. 
"Caterina smiled. " Well, it was in my husband's hands before, of course. Do you remember him? A little? Girolamo." She paused. " Well, he died-"
"I am so sorry."
"Don't be" she said simply. "I had him assassinated."

Are you a book blogger? Check out 101 Blog Post Ideas For Book Bloggers

Friday, 20 November 2020

The Ultimate Guide for Book Bloggers

The Ultimate Guide for Book Bloggers: Everything You Need To Know About Book Blogging (For Beginners and More Advanced Bloggers)

The Ultimate Guide for Book Bloggers

Whether you're just considering getting started as a book blogger, are new to the book blogging community, or even if you've been running a book blog for a while, this post is for you! 

Welcome to the ultimate guide for book bloggers. It's packed full of information and tips to help you be the best book blogger you can be. 

I've divided all the information into categories to make it easier to find what you're looking for.

Book Blogging Community

Link Ups

If you're looking for some book blog link ups to participate in Never Enough Novels has a good list at Joining in link ups can be a great way to meet other book bloggers, discover new books, and increase traffic to your own book blog at the same time. 

Lovely Audiobooks does a monthly link up at It's not just for audiobook reviews either. Any book reviews are welcome. 

Emily the Book Nerd lists 10 link ups for book bloggers in this post at


Connect with other book bloggers and get more involved in the book blogging community. At you'll find 108 book blogs to follow to get you started. 

Are you new to book blogging or thinking about getting started? Still not sure if book blogging is for you? Check out this collaboration post about why we love the book blogging community at

Making Money With Your Book Blog

If you want to make your book blog more than a hobby and actually start earning money from your book blog than I suggest checking out this post at by Lesbrary for Book Riot

Fancy getting paid to read books? This post at by Fatten the Wallet lists 7 sites that pay you to read books. Even better news is that it includes sites for every level so whether you're a new book blogger or a more experienced book reviewer you should be able to find a site for you. 

Interested in diving into affiliate marketing? Wonderfully Bookish has you covered at Includes info on everything from how to disclose affiliate links to different affiliate programs for book bloggers.

You can find more advice about affiliate marketing for book bloggers at's Hot covers deep links, banner ads etc... 

ARCs and Review Copies

That Bookish Brunette gives a nice overview of what ARCs are and where to get them at

BooksNest covers the basics of ARCs at and even includes sample templates for what to write in your message to request an ARC from a publisher. 

Prefer audiobooks? Check out this post for where to find free audiobooks

Lovely Audiobooks also has a post about getting free audiobook review copies at

The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging: Tips and Resources to be the best Book Blogger EVER!

Book Blogging How To

Just getting started in your book blogging adventure? Suggested Reads gives a good introduction on how to start a book blog at

The Uncorked Librarian also does a great overview for beginner book bloggers in her post at and has a mountain of other information and tips for book bloggers at A must read! You'll want to click on all the links in the list. 

Not sure what to post to your book blog? Book blogging can be so much more than just book reviews. Check out this post I did with 101 blog post ideas for book bloggers for inspiration 

Looking to improve your book blog? Join the Blog Audit Challenge 2020 

Find out the ways you can give some love to your older blog posts and increase traffic to your book blog at

Effective Call's To Action, or CTA's, guide your visitors to take action. Learn more about the different types of CTA's you can use at

Book blogging can be stressful at times. Blossoms and Bullet Journals talks about how to reduce ARC related stress in this post at

As with most things in life, you only realise certain things after you've started. That applies to blogging too. Find out what book bloggers which they knew at

Book Bumblings is always a great source of information but this post listing the book blogging tools they use most at is well worth bookmarking. 

A lot of work goes into creating, maintaining, and marketing a blog. There are a few things you can do to make it easier though.

Want to go more in-depth about what to do and not do when reviewing a book, then check out this post by Literary Hub about common mistakes in book reviewing and how to avoid them. 

Find more info on the what, how and why of book reviews at

Bored of the same old same old? Find inspiration to get more creative with your book reviews at and stand out from the crowd.

Learn how to write an audible review at courtesy of Lovely Audiobooks

As with pretty much anything in life there are always a few people that spoil things for the rest of us. Book blogging is no exception. Check out this discussion post about trusting book bloggers at

A media kit is a powerful tool that all bloggers should have. Find out more about why and what to include in yours at

Social Media for Book Bloggers 


Are you part of/planning on joining the world of Bookstagram? Me Otherwise does a fantastic breakdown of the hashtags you need to kill it as a Bookstagrammer at She even divides them all into categories making it super easy to find the best ones for your Instagram content. These hashtags can be used on other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook too for you'll really want to bookmark this one!

Not sure what to post as a Bookstagrammer? Check out these awesome ideas from Word Revel at As the title of the blog post states, props are not required. 

L.M. Durand shares 5 tips you should keep in mind to grow your Bookstagram at

Unbound Pages has some good tips to help you schedule a month of Bookstagram posts in one day at Perfect for those of you without a lot of free time. 

Alison in Bookland gives insight into whether to use a personal or business account for your Bookstagram at

The Riverside Library has an amazing post that breaks down Bookstagram hashtags by post type at  making it super easy to find the right hashtag for your post.


Pinterest can be a powerhouse for driving traffic to your book blog and one great way to leverage it is to be part of group boards. Reading in Stilettos has done a great post breaking the lists down into categories at The post includes; general book related boards, book review boards, book blogger boards and group boards with specific book themes.

New to Pinterest and not sure where to start? In this post at The Bookish Hedgemom takes you through the various steps she took to get started in her beginners guide to Pinterest for book bloggers. 


Cat on the Bookshelf gives a great list of hashtags for book bloggers to use on Twitter in this post at


Lovely Audiobooks discusses being a book blogger on Facebook at A great introductions to Facebook pages and groups.


Part of the Booktube community? Get a more professional look and learn how to add your logo to your YouTube videos at


New to Goodreads? Book Bumblings gives a good introduction in how to get started at

The Ultimate Guide for Book Bloggers: Everything you need to know  about Book blogging

Find this post useful? Share it with others by clicking the social share buttons

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Book Review: Chocolat by Joanne Harris


Book Review: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

My thoughts about Chocolat by Joanne Harris

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.

When the exotic stranger Vianne Rocher arrives in the old French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique called “La Celeste Praline” directly across the square from the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock. It is the beginning of Lent: the traditional season of self-denial. The priest says she’ll be out of business by Easter.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris
To make matters worse, Vianne does not go to church and has a penchant for superstition. Like her mother, she can read Tarot cards. But she begins to win over customers with her smiles, her intuition for everyone’s favourites, and her delightful confections. Her shop provides a place, too, for secrets to be whispered, grievances aired. She begins to shake up the rigid morality of the community. Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?

For the first time, here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as an agent of transformation. Rich, clever, and mischievous, reminiscent of a folk tale or fable, this is a triumphant read with a memorable character at its heart.

Says Harris: “You might see [Vianne] as an archetype or a mythical figure. I prefer to see her as the lone gunslinger who blows into the town, has a showdown with the man in the black hat, then moves on relentless. But on another level she is a perfectly real person with real insecurities and a very human desire for love and acceptance. Her qualities too - kindness, love, tolerance - are very human.” Vianne and her young daughter Anouk, come into town on Shrove Tuesday. “Carnivals make us uneasy,” says Harris, “because of what they represent: the residual memory of blood sacrifice (it is after all from the word "carne" that the term arises), of pagan celebration. And they represent a loss of inhibition; carnival time is a time at which almost anything is possible.”

The book became an international best-seller, and was optioned to film quickly. The Oscar-nominated movie, with its star-studded cast including Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) and Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), was directed by Lasse Hallstrom, whose previous film The Cider House Rules (based on a John Irving novel) also looks at issues of community and moral standards, though in a less lighthearted vein.

The idea for the book came from a comment her husband made one day while he was immersed in a football game on TV. “It was a throwaway comment, designed to annoy and it did. It was along the lines of...Chocolate is to women what football is to men…” The idea stuck, and Harris began thinking that “people have these conflicting feelings about chocolate, and that a lot of people who have very little else in common relate to chocolate in more or less the same kind of way. It became a kind of challenge to see exactly how much of a story I could get which was uniquely centred around chocolate.”

Rich with metaphor and gorgeous writing... sit back and gorge yourself on Chocolat. 

Some quotes I liked:

“Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.”

“The process of giving is without limits.”

“I envy the table its scars, the scorch marks caused by the hot bread tins. I envy its calm sense of time, and I wish I could say: I did this five years ago. I made this mark, this ring caused by a wet coffee cup, this cigarette burn, this ladder of cuts against the wood’s coarse grain. This is where Anouk carved her initials, the year she was six years old, this secret place behind the table leg. I did this on a warm day seven summers ago with the carving knife. Do you remember? Do you remember the summer the river ran dry? Do you remember? I envy the table’s calm sense of place. It has been here a long time. It belongs.”


“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”

Are you a book blogger? Check out 101 Blog Post Ideas For Book Bloggers

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: October Link Up

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: October Link Up #BlogAuditChallenge2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020

As I mentioned in the sign up post for this challenge, I'll be hosting monthly link ups in order to keep us all on track, and give us a way to see each others progress. On the first Saturday of every month participants can share their links and discuss their progress. 


October Link Up

How did you do with the October challenges? What was the hardest part of the challenge? What are your thoughts about the Blog Audit Challenge so far? Create a blog post sharing your progress and link it up below so we can all visit and support each other in our mission for blog awesomeness. 

Save the date!

Check back to the 2nd November post for the November Challenges. 

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: October Link Up #BlogAuditChallenge2020

You might also like: 60 Blog Post Ideas For Book Bloggers

Don't forget to promote your participation in the Blog Audit Challenge 2020 by using the following graphic in any blog posts you do connected with the challenge along with a link back to this site. 

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by @JoLinsdell at

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

2020 Challenges: October Update

2020 Challenges: October Update

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.

2020 Challenges: October Update

October has definitely had it's highs and lows. The major low point has been health related.

I've been ill for a few weeks now. I literally left the house once in weeks but that's all it took. A simple walk in the park. We were outside, wearing masks, and kept our distance. I got ill anyway. The joys of an immune system that struggles. 

Anyway, due to the current situation it was more complicated to get in touch with my doctor and unfortunately I tend to downwards spiral quite quickly. 

After almost a week I managed to get tested in a drive in. It took a while as for most places you need to book online first but none had spaces available. In the end I found a drive in where you could just show up and wait inline. 

We got up at 5:30am and were in line by 6am. The line was already huge by then. Test was done around 11:30am and then just had to wait for the results. All this without getting out of the car. It took them 30 minutes to do the test and give me my results. The good news is that I tested negative for Covid (relieved!). The doctors at the drive in were all super nice and did a great job. These people are amazing! 

The bad news is I'm still ill. I'm on some antibiotics and hoping they do some miracle work soon. Unfortunately all these Covid cases make normal healthcare harder to get at the moment. It's all a bit complicated this year. 

All this means I've basically been in bed all month with a fever, cough, and other symptoms. I also completely lost my voice. Fingers crossed things start getting better soon. 

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. 

I do have some awesome news to share. Last month I told you about how September saw the highest number of views to my site since it's creation. Well, October did even better! I'm thrilled with the results. Over 30K pageviews in just one month. That basically means my monthly traffic has doubled since the start of the year (January had just over 15K). I hope you're noticing an increase in your own traffic too. 

Now on to the October goals. The focus was to do with getting social.

The October challenges:

1. Increase traffic to your blog

Task 1 : I've been trying to share my content more on my Twitter and my Pinterest (my main social media profiles). I really need to get better at sharing more often to my Facebook page though. I did make some progress with that in the first week of the month but then all my health problems started. 

Task 2: I already have several click and share buttons to multiple social media channels on my blog posts. I do plan on updating them though. G+ still features as one of the main share options. 

I personally love and use it on this site as it allows for image sharing as well as plain text. It's free too! The only problem is that recently it stopped working for sharing the image on Twitter. I'm not sure if this is due to a Sumo update or a Twitter update. I'll need to look into this some more in the future.

2. Increase engagement on your blog

Task 1: Comment on other blogs. 

Again based on the first week of this month, I was back taking part in comment threads in Facebook groups and on Twitter. This really helped increase the number of comments left on my posts. It was great to be back with my blogging friends in these thread too. It's a nice way to keep in touch with them too. 

Task 2: Link to other blogs in your content.

I need to improve on my external linking. Once I'm better I plan on going through my older posts and updating with relevant external links to make them better. 

Task 3: Make sure your social media channels are set up and that you're interactive with your audience. 

I tend to stick to Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. The latter of which really needs some more work. I don't use my Facebook page as much as I probably should. I've also been thinking about getting my Instagram profile back up and running.  I already have an account I just haven't used it in a while. 

Task 4: Share your content.

This is something I'm working on. I started making video pins and gifs for sharing on Pinterest. I plan to do more of these for other blog posts too. Alternative graphics and media makes a post more pinnable.

The Audiobook Challenge

This challenge is was created by Eline from Lovely Audiobooks. I'm doing it as a year long challenge. 

Zero new audiobooks to add this month. 

The Audiobook Challenge 2020 Progress Report

Audiobooks listened to in October:
  • 0

The A to Z Reading Challenge

Next up is the A to Z Reading Challenge

Just one book added this month. 

The A to Z Reading Challenge 2020: October Progress

Books read this month:

C- Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Armed with a Bingo

I'm also doing the Armed with a Bingo challenge.

Chocolat lets me tick off another square for this challenge too. I'm also making progress with the first book in the Assassin's Creed series, Renaissance, which will get me the 500+ Pages once I'm done. I'm currently at 133/516.

Armed with a Bingo October Progress

Books read this month:
  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris (a book with a food included in the title)

2020 Challenges: October Update

How are you doing with your 2020 Challenges? Are you taking part in the Blog Audit Challenge? Have you read any of these books? Join the conversation in the comments section. 

Monday, 2 November 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: November Challenges

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: November Challenges

Blog Audit Challenge 2020

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

I hope you did well with the October challenges. Remember to link up your progress reports in the Link Up on the 7th November

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

Life is strange for most of us this year with Coronavirus, Lock-downs, etc... If you fall behind with the monthly tasks don't worry. Just catch up when you can. This challenge lasts the whole year. 

The Challenges:

January- Plan of action
FebruaryInformation pages
March- The trimmings
April- Design
May- SEO
June- Links
AugustContent gaps
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. 


November Challenges

Our focus for November is on Press and collaborations. 

We've already done a lot of work towards this months challenge already during the previous months of the Blog Audit Challenge. 

The November challenges:

1. Create a media kit for your blog.

This one file can save you tonnes of time and energy. A professional, up to date, media kit with all the important information about your blog and brand ready to share. 

I already covered the topic of what a media kit is and why you need one in a previous post so I won't go into too many details about it here. 

If you don't have one already now is the time to create one. If you do have one it's probably time for an update. Since I did my last update my stats have changed considerably. Hopefully yours have too. 

2. Work on your Press page.

A great place to upload a copy of your media kit (make it available as a downloadable pdf for easy access) is on your press page

Your press page is where you post any materials that could be useful for the media in general (this could be anyone from other bloggers who might want to include you in a feature to TV and radio). Fans will also enjoy using it to keep up with the latest information about you and your brand. 

Items to consider:

  • Your media kit
  • Social media links
  • Official photos and graphics (headshot, events, logo, etc...)
  • Press releases
  • Place you've been featured

3. Collaborations

In previous months of the Blog Audit Challenge we've touched on the importance of developing readership, building relationships, and being social with others in your niche. Now let's concentrate on leveraging those relationships.

I'm not surprised to see that a lot of the most viewed posts on my blog are ones where I joined forces with others. When you do a blog post that features other people those people drive traffic to the post. They share it on social media. They add the link to their own blogs.

Collaborations are also a great way to keep your content fresh and interesting for your readers. It introduces them to different points of view. 

Collaborations isn't limited to you hosting others on your blog. It includes you being featured on other blogs too... and not only. Why not try some social collaborations too?

Task 1: Do a collaboration on your own blog. 

This can be anything from hosting a guest post or interview, doing a feature post about someone/a business, including quotes from others within your blog post, or working together with another blogger to write a blog post together. 

Collaborating on a blog post with others can be great fun. Do you and another blogger have different opinions about something? Do a post where you both share your views about it. Readers will get a much more rounded picture of the topic.

Task 2: Get someone to host you on their blog. 

The type of content you do will depend on you and the host but it's a great way to reach a new audience, gives you a quality backlink for you site, and strengthens your brand. It's also good for the host as you will be promoting it and bringing new readers to their site. 

You might also like: 108 Book Blogs To Follow

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

Save the Date!

The December challenges will be posted on 2nd December. The monthly link up post for sharing your November progress will be on 5th December. 

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: November Challenges

You might also like: Exploring CTA's: Different Types of Calls To Action To Use in Your Blog Posts

Don't forget to promote your participation in the Blog Audit Challenge 2020 by using the following graphic in any blog posts you do connected with the challenge along with a link back to this site. 

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by @JoLinsdell at

Interested in my work and services?
Stay in touch