Unscheduled Blog/Social Media Break

I have been noticeably absent for a few weeks as I haven’t been well. Rest assured treasured regular readers it really isn’t anything too serious and I’m on the mend. Authors I have not forgotten your books and I will be hitting my reading list again soon. 

I hope very much to tackle the backlog in books and blog posts soon. I’m thinking of you all and missing you. I hope normal service will resume soon. 

1001 Blog Posts

Without even realising it I published my 1000th blog post yesterday. It certainly doesn’t feel like I have published so many posts nor does it feel like I’ve been blogging for very long as I’m still learning stuff about blogging. 

When I feel pessimistic one of the things I think about to rally my spirits is the wonderful community and support I encounter from blogging. This is the reason blogging is so much more than keeping a diary. If I just kept all these posts to myself it would be a huge loss to me personally as I would not have the wonderful feedback and comments from fellow bloggers. 

Thank you all for tuning in and reading my ramblings, I hope I have something interesting to say in my future posts. 

Is it self-promotion when you don’t make a penny? #Sundayblogshare #bookbloggers

Recently I removed myself from a FB book lovers group. It is a big group and I had contributed now and then commenting on posts if I had read a book and quite a few of my fellow bibliophiles were on there. Overall it was a friendly book group and I had been a member for over a year at least. 

Every once in a while when I think I have written something of interest on this blog I post the link on a book group. I don’t post a link to my blog on book groups every time I blog a book, nor do I regularly post links in certain groups even when it’s welcome, simply because as much as I enjoy increasing my readership I don’t want to feel mercenary whilst doing it. 

However, posting my top ten books of the year is a special post and I have never had any financial interest in the books I read/review or rank on my top ten. So I was a bit taken aback when a moderator, whom I had ironically never seen post before, reprimanded me for posting a link to my top ten books of the year. 

The gist of his reprimand was I needed to post and get involved more in the group before I could post about my blog. Honestly, I felt, and still do feel, stung by this rebuke. What abritary hoop did I need to jump through for this book group fascist to justify posting about the top ten books I have loved last year? 

Why would it be self-interest or promotion when I don’t make a penny from this blog? Why is sharing a link to my top ten books of 2016 any different to posting that list directly on a book group? Allegedly, as someone on Twitter pointed out, it’s because I’m increasing my status and glory. If this is the case I have no knowledge of my status and couldn’t recognise glory even if I tripped over it.

I never have had any financial interest in the books I review. I’m simply a reader who keeps a catalogue of books I’ve read on a blog rather than typing it out numerous times on book groups. 

When my blog stats increase my bank balance remains the same. This is not a job for financial gain, this blog is a record of books I read and various life experiences I like to keep track of, it does not afford me any income. Even using the tracked Amazon links to date has brought me no income. I put the links there mainly so my fellow bibliophiles can access the book online easily to add it to their wishlist/reading list. 

It’s hard to be slapped down incorrectly as an opportunist when you do something out of passion for no financial gain. Perhaps I should let this slight go, but I feel very strongly still about being scolded online period, but being scolded by a stranger for posting my top ten favourite reads of the year, because of some perceived financial gain, really sticks in my craw. 

Maybe I’m wrong and the fame I get from being the writer of this blog has gone to my head, either way folks, what do you think? Is it self-promotion when there’s no financial gain involved? 

(Possibly) Last Blog Post of 2016

This year has seen a modicum of uncertainty that my previous years as a blogger did not encounter. This has been largely due to my worsening physical health, which has been seen in the fewer books I have read this year, 210 as opposed to 235 last year. Even as I write this post I am aware 24 hours ago I was quite ill and couldn’t finish the book I had scheduled to review before 9 a.m.yesterday. I also haven’t been able to engage social media or the blogging community as much as I would have liked but I have immensely enjoyed reading the various blogs I have felt up to this year.

In the event I am unable to post a book review between now and New Years Day, I thought 2 a.m. on 31st December 2016, was a good a time as any to write a little insurance post, so as not to let the ending of 2016 and my four year blogging anniversary go unmarked.

I am seeing the year out with my husband who will be unusually home to share the evening TV line up with me. Our days of raucous partying was over years ago. More likely than not it’ll be green tea and mint Matchmakers with a cat each on our laps, which suits us both fine.

Despite the celebrity losses, Brexit, and various disappointments I have shared with my fellow man, it has overall been a good year for me. I discovered two things I thought I had lost: happiness and gratitude. I think it virtually impossible to have one without the other and as I go blindly into the abyss that is 2017 I do so with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everything. 

The year will start with my fast approaching appointment with transplant assessment clinic, which on paper sounds like quite a tiring day of medical scrutiny. I was hoping not to think about this so soon, but any illusions of further delay were extinguished when an appointment letter arrived a couple of days ago. My OCD and resulting competitiveness will mean I will be attending as if competing in exams of yesteryear, but I’m not sure I want to win any prizes in these tests.

I’m hoping I learn to take it at a pace that allows me to keep going next year and do all that I plan to do. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! 

I Messed Up #Book Tag #Bookbloggers

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Thank you to Jackie at Fall in Love with the Sounds of Words blog. This tag is challenging and thought provoking.
 

The rules:

No rules per se but the idea of this tag is to note times you did something wrong or messed up when it comes to books and then tag a few people.

 

A Character’s Appearance You Misread or Imagined Differently

I was totally floored by the way Isles of Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen was portrayed by Sasha Alexander and admit it was a total departure from how I pictured Maura Isles and still do when I read the series.

A Character Name You’ve Been Pronouncing Incorrectly

Most Irish names prior to this year, but I have googled and learned how to pronounce Aoife.

An Overused Trope That Is Your Guilty Pleasure 

Strong women who turn out to be the villain. I don’t get to read as many of these as I would like but it’s liberating to see women in the villain role with character flaws.

A Cliched Character Type You Enjoy Viewing On Screen Than Reading About

The FBI men in black suits, circa The X-Files: dull on page but you know they’ll drive the story forward on screen.

A Word/Phrase You Learned Because of Its Use In A Book

I’m coming up totally blank on this one. I should probably highlight and save any of these for future reference.

Have You Ever Not Read or Completed a Required Reading Book For School

No. I have always finished reading books I was given in English lit.

Have You Ever (Or Wanted To) Skipped A Chapter From the POV of a Character You Weren’t Interested In

Yes, I’ve wanted to, but no I didn’t as I was mindful of missing important points.

Have You Ever Cancelled Social Plans To Read A Book

Yes. Unapologetically. And I would do it again when the book I’m reading is too good to put down.

I’d Like To Tag:

meditating mummy

Tpolen

Inked Brownies

Author Lissa Pelzer

Living In A World Of Book Quotes

Excessive Wallowing/Overanalysing

Many of us are prone to over thinking stuff, which leads to self-criticism and self-loathing in those of us with self-awareness and a sense of blaming others in those without it. Recently, I know I am over thinking stuff and to counteract that I have tried to be in the now by trying new experiences, which has not been easy, but has been beneficial overall.

From high teas in sophisticated dining establishments to browsing books, I have tried to put my mind at rest and focus on the here and now, which has had a reasonably good effect on my mood, but has drained energy levels significantly. Just when I thought I was feeling better, I was told I had a noticeable drop in my blood haemoglobin. I usually don’t worry about being anaemic unless I drop into single figures in my haemoglobin levels, so couldn’t ignore the results this time. I have felt tired lately but put it down to the expected affects of chronic illness and nothing out of the mundane ordinary.

There’s no obvious cause for being anaemic as far as I can see and things seem to be the same as always from my point of view. It’s a source of frustration for me that I don’t get to see my haematology report myself to check mean cell volume etc, which would give me a clue as to the type of anaemia I have so I can try to decipher what’s going on with me, but maybe that’s a blessing as I would be back to overanalysing stuff and I have learnt that figuring such things out is not my job anymore.

As much as I appreciate the care I get from various departments of the NHS, I couldn’t help feel a little frustration with the pulmonary hypertension team when my practice nurse pointed out that the bloods that indicated I was anaemic were drawn on 8th July and it’s taken almost a month for whoever should be dealing with the results to contact me and when I (over)think about it, there was no plan when I was informed, I took it upon myself to have the test repeated. I see the same nurse to have my bloods drawn every month and couldn’t explain away the delay or the find a reasonable explanation from my point of view as to why I should be anaemic now.

The Pulmonary Vascular Diseases Unit seems so far away in space and time when something like this crops up and time seems to slow,as I run through all the worst case scenarios spawned by various risk factors, including a florid family history of diabetic complications. No doubt, the probability is that there really isn’t anything serious going on, but in all honesty the probability of being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension was incredibly insignificant, so I no longer trust in low odds.

Is it overanalysing when there could be a significant underlying cause for something? Has my recent reduced reading speed been a symptom of the anaemia I now have? Would it have been easier on me if I wasn’t told I was anaemic? Am I over thinking this again? All I really want is to find my reading mojo, which has been absent for the past month.

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Suntag: The Secret Life of A Book Blogger

I’d like to thank Donna at Chocolate n Waffles Blog for tagging me and taking the procrastination of what to blog about today away. Thank you!

How long have you been a blogger?

I started blogging in December 2012, although was not sure what I was going to blog about until weeks later when I started publishing my book reviews regularly.

At what point do you think you will stop? 

When I’m too weak to stop them from prying tablets and Kindles out of my weak and feeble hands.

What is the best part?

Having a purpose and sending questions into the blogosphere knowing there are people like me, out there who will answer my call.

What is the worst part? 

Not having as much time as I would like to explore more blogs and keep on top of my every growing to-be-read pile of books.

How long does it take you to find/create pictures to use?

I usually try to keep a library of images I have taken for every occasion. Inevitably they mostly feature cats.

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Who’s your book crush? 

I don’t usually get a book crush so was surprised when I did have a crush on Ben Hope from the Scott Mariani books.

What author would you like to have on your blog?

Tess Gerritsen, I am sending this out there to cyberspace, so Tess if you are reading this and would like to make the day of an ailing ex-medic, get in touch.

What do you wear when you write your blog?

Something lose, comfortable and bohemian. Due to the warm weather I have taken to wearing linen and cotton.

How long does it take you to prepare a post? 

It varies depending on what I am trying to say. If I love a book, no time at all, but if I’m conflicted because, I wanted to like it and I just didn’t, it can take hours.

Posts that are more personal in nature can take over a day to feel ready to post.

How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture? 

I absolutely love it, I feel part of something greater and enjoy meeting new bloggers. I have never felt so inspired by a community as I do by book bloggers.

What do you think one should do to have a successful blog? 

I think you have to love blogging in all it’s forms:

Reading and commenting on other blogs everyday.
Posting regularly.
Promoting other blogs/bloggers on social media.
Reading books for content.

Just keeping at it with patience and an open mind.

Who do I want to know better?

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Marje at Kyrosmagica

Mary at Low Country Book Lover

PJ Manley at Making It Natural

Laurie at Cozynookbks

Becca at Shihtzu Book Reviews

#BookReview The Mourning Doll by Karen Joyce Kay #TuesdayBookBlog

A mild historical horror, set in the Victorian era, Sir Lincoln Rineheart is an academic and part of the nobility, which he secretly despises. At a time where chartists are raising uproar and the archaic values of the ruling classes are fighting to hold on to their superiority a cynical Lincoln is called upon to mediate when his cousin is to marry.

An unfortunate death in the would-be groom’s family changes the circumstances of the marriage and Lincoln finds himself being gently propelled in the direction of the stunning Lady Madeline.

However, there appears to be what seems like an apparition of a dark haired woman, clad in an expensive red dress that appears at the start of the book and is known to drive away staff from Lady Madeline’s ancestral home. The afterlife is a particular interest of Lincoln and he cannot help but be beguiled by this dark haired beauty and sets on a course to unravel the mystery of this unknown woman.

With much detailing of the Victorian background, this novel really does show off the extensive research the author must have done prior to writing this book. However, as much as I enjoyed the way the scenes were set and the details of each character’s life shared, it diluted the horror factor for me.

Any impetus generated by the opening scenes of a dark Victorian manor in the early hours of the morning and a frightened governess unable to sleep was lost in the the heavily laden chapters that followed.

I like historical fiction thrillers and I like horror stories, I just wish the author had decided which one was more important in the telling of this story.

The characters undoubtedly were well written and it was easy to become invested in them, especially Lincoln who is a man of contradictions and very conflicted about the world he lives in.

Overall I found myself easily lost within the pages of Victorian England but my need to be frightened or spooked was disappointing unmet at the end of this book.

Links To Book:
This book appears to have been retitled The Montague Manor and is part of The Lincoln Series, which can be read for free by Kindle Unlimited subscribers available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Goodreads

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Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

I would like to thank fellow book blogger and bibliophiles, Donna at Chocolatenwaffles Blog for tagging me in this thoughtfully retrospective mid-year reading reflection tag.

So without further ado, I take my queue from Donna and dive into my Goodreads Read list of 2016.

#Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2016

This is always a hard question to answer and even halfway through the year I have a shortlist, which I have procrastinated over for an age before finally conceding my favourite book of the year so far is Play Dead (DI Kim Stone Book 4) by Angela Marsons.

I find I demand more and more from crime thrillers and DI Kim Stone does not disappoint with her eccentricities and her naturally taciturn personality, she brings a new dimension to crime for me.

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#Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2016

Without a doubt the best sequel I have read this year has to be The Killing Files (The Project Trilogy Book 2) by Nikki Owen, sequel to Subject 375 by Nikki Owen, this second in the series sees Dr Maria Martinez out of prison and on the run as she tries to unravel the mystery of her past that has lead to her dire circumstances today.

Maria has Asperger’s Syndrome and is a walking encyclopedia, who takes everything literally. An amusing, but strong and intense character in an intriguing story.

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#New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

As always my purchased books get pushed to the bottom of my reading list and the concluding part of the Bill Hodges Trilogy, End of Watch by Stephen King is no exception in that regard. The series has read more like a crime thriller than a horror so far but things did start to look creepy at the end of the second book in the series, Finders Keepers.

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#Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

I have this book on pre-order and cannot wait to read it, The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards. Always successfully giving me the creeps, Mark Edwards has been a firm favourite psychological thriller author of mine since before I started writing this blog. I look forward to great things in September 2016, when this book will be published.

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#Biggest Disappointment

A book that left me feeling somewhat bereft as I was so looking forward to reading it based on it’s description and genre, was horror thriller, Father of Lies by Sarah England. I really wanted to like this one but it just didn’t come through for me.

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#Biggest Surprise

There are a number of books that surprised me but none as much as The Widow by Fiona Barton. A chilling and intense psychological thriller that definitely chills. Although not quite to everyone’s taste, I really enjoyed this one.

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#Favorite New Author

The author who has got me excited about her work this year is Shalini Boland, who wrote The Girl From The Sea, a disturbing psychological/mystery/suspense thriller, which shows great insight into human behaviour.

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#Newest Fictional Crush

After reading The Martian and watching the film, it has to be Mark Watney. I know I wouldn’t survive astronaut training and am in awe of anyone who can bring social adhesion to a group and remain optimistic under the most extreme of conditions.

#Newest Favorite Character

Probably a tie between Dr Maria Martinez from The Project series by Nikki Owen and DI Kim Stone. Both strong, intelligent women, who wouldn’t think twice before kicking your butt.

#Book That Made You Cry

Without even having to think about it much, Me Before You by Jojo Moyles. I admit I don’t much cry at all in life at anything and for me to have a worsening lump in my throat for the last thirty percent of the book is really something.

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#Book That Made You Happy

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and made me laugh. This book reappointed my spirits.

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#Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

So far this year it is The Martian, but I haven’t seen Me Before You the movie yet.

#Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

Is Scathing Acceptable? I loved the responses to this post that renewed my faith in there being good, compassionate and sensitive people/readers/reviewers out there. Too often reading reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, or comments on Facebook, I feel swamped by the negativity that is so easy to believe is the norm.

#Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I love my Oxford Paperback Thesaurus. Every time I reach for it a frisson of excitement goes through me as I find new words to add to my lexicon. No book has kept giving me so much joy so long after I bought it.

#What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year

Everything currently on my tbr list, otherwise the list will feel stale and I risk my enthusiasm plummeting.

I Tag the Following Bloggers to do the Same

Low Country Book Lover
Lectito
Cozynookbks
It’s All About Books
SVM & TB Stories

Blog Reader Book Choices: Second Quarter of 2016

Every quarter I write a blog post telling my blog readers which book reviews had the largest audience in each month. Being so close to the end of June, and the most popular reviews having such a clear lead, I have decided to publisher’s post a few days early.

My most popular book reviews from April to June:

April 2016

The Dance of Dimitrios by Patrick Brigham #RBRT
I really enjoyed this mystery crime thriller, it was well written and mature, but may be upsetting to read post Brexit as it is set in mainland Europe and Greece. I have the sequel waiting on by Kindle.

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May 2016

The Playground by CS Boyack #RBRT
A chilling fantasy thriller about sinister toy dolls which connect to a wireless network. What could possibly go wrong? But an unlikely and unsuspecting super heroine steps into the breach. An interesting read.

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June 2016

The City of Mirrors (The Passage Book 3) by Justin Cronin
This epic concluding part to The Passage Trilogy was a long time coming, but what a conclusion! Revelations galore and a bittersweet ending tie up this extremely popular series.

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