Still Reading and Much More

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It has been awhile since I blogged. I have felt fine, guilty, wasteful, disloyal and then fine again for not needing to blog. Yet today as I received another reminder to pay for my blog domain, and yes finally decided to pay it, I feel moved to blog a little.

 

I am doing fine, my OCD is still with me but perhaps less rampant. I still have my perfected avenues of avoidance, but I also have the ability and will to talk myself off an emotional ledge when required.

 

I am not dependant, nor do I find it necessary, to share how I feel with others often and I am accustomed to safeguarding myself. I take no medication for my mental illness anymore and am currently receiving no formal therapy. I will review this with a professional in June to see if this is still advisable.

 

Most days I am fine, but there are days, as we all know when interractions with others or incidences, can rock the boat and in those situations I find I need support but less so and not for too long.

 

For example, recently I wrote a five star review for a book I had finished reading and usually after doing so I am met with either an expected silence from the author or a friendly and appreciated thanks (not compulsory, my social awkwardness prefers the silence), however on this occasion I turned to social media to find the author had complained about me to an admin on a Facebook book group alledgedly accusing me of giving away a spoiler. Something I have in my over 1500 books read and reviewed, never done. I disagreed, at most I had said a main character (not named) had died and in the crime thriller genre thats hardly news, but removed the post and reposted how much I enjoyed her book and apologised for the alledged spoiler anyway.

 

It is fair to say the incident stuck in my craw and I will think twice before interracting with or reading another from the author in question, who was on my Facebook friendlist at the time of her complaint, I have since removed her.  I don’t need this sort of negative interaction.

 

Drastic? Possibly. I blocked her too. Why? Because she has contacted me and interracted with me on numerous occasions on social media when she asked me to read or review yet in this case she made a complaint to a third party, who incidently is a good friend of mine, rather than using other less inflammatory channels to get her point across, hence losing a fan and a reader.

 

In the past I would be upset, possibly tearful and lamenting all of humanity and smoldering over this for days if not weeks, but today I remain resolute that I did nothing wrong and I don’t know what this individual is going through, however, I do have my own issues and there are plenty of other books to be read so I choose to no longer risk being at the mercy of someone elses’ ire or opinion of what constitues a damaging spoiler. I make no apologies for my reaction and actions I subsequently took.

 

That is progress in adversity for me and I am fine with that. Others may have handled it differently, may disagree with the whole spoiler question and be subsequently more laid back about the whole interraction, but I am me and this is what I do. I am no longer second guessing myself.

 

 

Reading Challenge 2017

After taking a 6 week break from reading over summer 2017, I still racked up 351 books in my Goodreads Challenge for for the year.

I found myself starting last year very slowly as my interest in reading psychological and crime thrillers seriously dwindled. I changed predominant genre to romance after summer and my reading mojo reinstated itself.

I exceeded my goal of reading 190 books in Autumn and read over 300 books for the first time ever.

Christmas Book Haul

Past years have taught me it doesn’t feel like Christmas without books. Books transcend the boundaries between old and young, rich and poor and any other class divisions we can dream up. 

It has to be a cold hard heart that cannot appreciate a book, but then I am biased. 

This year’s books are mostly autographed by the author and my collection of autographed books grows and I look forward to sharing them with you in the New Year.

Choosing Books

There’s absolutely nowhere else on the planet that my heart swings and sings so much than a bookshop. However, since 2007, my first Kindle e-reader, I leave bookshops mostly empty handed. 

There’s something to be said about volumes of novels laid out in front of you, taking up space and represented in colour. I never know quite where to start when I get in the shop, but find myself gravitating to the book charts. This gives me an idea of what others are reading (and buying). It’s an opportunity to see if I fit into community and it’s popular culture.

I then look at new releases, this section is increasingly familiar as I am fortunate to read a handful of books pre-release and I secretly hope the ones I have loved do well. Next I browse the crime thriller and horror sections, I always fervently hope I will find hidden gems here. 

The literary fiction section has me writing down the most titles I need to read. At this point a fierce debate rages in my head between knowing I could get the book cheaper online or free from my local library and buying the well packaged end products of some very serious marketing.

Before I leave the shop I find myself scanning the miscellaneous products for the ever increasingly rare item, the bookmark. The bookmark seems to have disappeared from the shelves of bookshops and when I do make the effort to ask a sales assistant if they have any, I’m met by the negative and embarrassed quizzical expression, as if the concept of marking where you are in a book is a foreign, if not, taboo practice altogether. 

Finally, I leave before I succumb to buying things that take up space and have little functional purpose. 

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

Real Neat Blog Award

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I’d like to thank Book Mouse Blog for nominating me for this award. I’m delighted and flattered, I apologise for taking so long to post the award, but I have been easily distracted by other things recently.

The Rules

1. Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.

2. Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.

3. Create 7 questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

And here are Book Mouse Blog’s questions:

What inspired you to start writing a blog?

I felt like I needed a space to talk about the books I read and how I felt with the hope of reaching kindred spirits.

Do you participate in any reading challenge(s)? Which one(s)?

Yes. I have been taking the Goodreads reading challenge for the last three years.

What is your favorite book format and why? (Paperback, Hardback, Kindle/E-book, Audiobook, Large Print, etc.)

I love reading hardback books as they are easier to keep pristine and cause me less stress when reading.

What is your favorite NON-fiction book?

The only non-fiction book I regularly go to is my Oxford Thesaurus.

What is your go to book store when you are looking for something?

Almost always Amazon, as they are most likely to have whatever I’m searching for. I was immensely disappointed when I took a list of books to Waterstones last October and they didn’t have any of them.

What hobbies do you have aside from reading?

I love movies, particularly horror and sci-fi films. I love crochet and knitting and am not put off by how basic my skills are at both.I’m rediscovering my love of heavy metal.

What are your five favorite fictional places?

Asgard, Narnia, Oz, Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, Hogwarts

My nominees are:

garabrandtreviews
On Turning Pages
Royalttie
An Aussie Bookworm
Book Adventures
The Book Review Cafe
It’s all about books

My Questions:

1. What’s your favourite read so far this year?
2. Name a film you’ve watched based on a book in the last twelve months.
3. What book release are you most looking forward to this year?
4. What’s your favourite series of books?
5. Which author would you most like to have lunch with?
6. What is the scariest book you’ve ever read?
7. If you could go anywhere in the world where would be the best place to read?

The Bookfangirling Award

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I am delighted to be nominated, for the first time this year, for The bookfangirling award by Cabeswater. I enjoy receiving these awards as it’s an opportunity to receive and give love to other bloggers. I am honoured to be nominated, it has been months since I was last nominated so it’s definitely time to spread the love.

For more information about this award click here.

Rules For Accepting The Bookfangirling Award:

Create a post to accept your award

Add the blog award button into your post (just save the picture to your computer and upload it) and put it on the side of your blog as a widget

Answer the questions we have below

Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think deserve this award

Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees

Cabeswater’s Questions

1. Be honest, do you judge a book by its cover?

Recent trips to Waterstones revealed to me that I am attracted to certain covers, but I read through the book description before I choose to read a book. So ultimately the themes of the book and genre are my deciding factors to whether I read the book and I judge the book on how easy and interesting it was to read and the emotions it evoked.

2. What draws your interest towards a potential read?

Firstly, who is making the recommendation, if there is one, I’m totally won over by other bibliophile recommendations, especially those from bloggers whom I regularly read. The description of the book and genre are key as I by habit avoid sci fi and fantasy reads, although never say never. The topic of the book is also important, for example I like reading books based during the Second World War, but am less interested in archaeological digs.

3. Do you have any books you regret reading? Why?

I can’t say I regret reading any books as they all have some sort of take home message. Even if I don’t enjoy a book, I have learnt something about my reading preferences and what doesn’t appeal to me. I feel awful if a book doesn’t live up to it’s initial promise.

4. What book gave you the most lasting impression?

There are so many! However, if we are talking about the longest lasting impression it has to be Charlotte’s Web, which was the first book to move me to tears and I was only 6 when I read it. I still cannot watch film adaptations of the book knowing what’s coming.

5. If your favourite book was made into a movie, what role would you star as?

In my mind I’m always the protagonist but in reality I’d be part of the scriptwriters team. However, to answer the question in the spirit it was intended, my favourite book of the year was Disclaimer by Renée Knight and I couldn’t see myself having any role other than the lead, Catherine Ravenscroft, I can totally see why she kept silent. Read the book to know what I mean.

My Nominees for The Bookfangirling Award

1. In My Own Little World

2. Cozynookbks

3. Charlie’s Book Nook

4. SVM and TB Stories

5. Meditating Mummy’s Mostly Bookish Blog

6. Lectito

7. Grab The Lapels

8. Chocolatenwaffles Blog

9. Sublime Reads

10. A Chick Who Reads

There is no obligation to accept or take part in this award, but I hope you will want to participate.

My Five Questions

1. Where do you get inspired most to choose books to read?

2. Have you ever had a crush on an author? Who?

3. Is there a genre you would like to get into but just haven’t yet?

4. Which book do you fangirl over the most?

5. What do you enjoy most about book blogging?

Book Reviews Coming This February

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Last month I read 21 books, but with February being a shorter month and more of my time committed to Outpatient visits this month, I do not think I will be reading as many books, but I am looking forward to getting stuck into these.

Fire and Ice Book Tour and Giveaway: A Cat Taught Me That – Life’s Lessons From Felines by Charlotte Gerber

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A short, humorous and endearing read written from the point of view of Louie, a gorgeous ginger tabby, reflecting on his life and experiences, with appearances from a few of his feline friends.

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“Catnap often. Don’t be a stalker unless food is involved. Despite the rumor, it is okay to be curious! A Cat Taught Me That is filled with humorous advice and the wisdom of elder cats that includes information on how to get more out of life, and how to avoid common pitfalls along the way. Cat lovers will enjoy the adorable photographs and cute illustrations throughout.

Celebrity cat ‘Awesome Louie’ provides insight with his gritty cat interviews, as well as sage advice with his “Mewsings” column. Short essays from the cat-lady author will bring smiles to the faces of readers who have learned that “Not All That Glitters is Gold” and “To Be Kissed By a Cat” can have unintended consequences.”

With lovely photos and illustrations, this is a wonderful light-hearted book that will be enjoyed by cat lovers everywhere (just in time for Christmas!).

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Links to book:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Createspace
Barnes and Noble

Giveaway:

win this on the a cat taught me that tour (1)
2 winners: Each will receive 1 stainless steel tumbler mug, a signed copy of A Cat Taught Me That, and mystery swag items. Open to readers located in the USA, UK, or Australia. The giveaway will run 10/27/14 – 11/24/14. Please click Rafflecopter to enter.

About the Author:

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Charlotte Gerber began her writing career penning content articles on the Internet. Her articles have appeared on LoveToKnow.com and the New York Times/About.com Disability site, as well as numerous other outlets. She is also the author of Murder in Middleton and I Dream of Zombies (Rose Lee’s Zombie Adventures series).

Charlotte lives in upstate New York with her husband Gregg, two teenage children, one dog and ten rescued cats. She is a disability advocate, a supporter of animal rescue missions and the U.S. Military.

Author Links:
Website
Twitter

In Defense of the 5-Star Review

Tammie Painter

Aside from landing a huge publishing contract that includes a ginormousstar advance and an all-star-cast movie deal, nothing makes a writer’s heart happier than to receive a five-star review. That’s not to say writers would complain about a three- or four-star review – after all, we’re just thrilled to have people reading our ramblings – but the five-star review is such a brag-worthy ego boost.

So why is there this sudden disdain for the five-star review?

Several forums I’ve visited recently have touted claims about five-star reviews that include…

  • Five-star reviews are fake (as in posted by the author himself).
  • Five-star reviews have been paid for.
  • Five-star reviews are from relatives of the author.
  • And the worst….All five-star reviews should be skipped over because they don’t represent valid opinions of the book.

Really? Who came up with this new rule? Is it some disgruntled writer who never earned a…

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