Book blogger hop: advance reading

book-blogger-hop-finalThis week, I’m once again joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

How far in advance do you read the books you have scheduled for review?

And the answer is it really depends.  I don’t read a huge amount of review books compared to other bloggers I don’t think, generally sticking to requesting those I am pretty sure I will like (given the author or subject/genre), which means I’m often quite keen to read them and so do as soon as the opportunity arises.

Often, this is months before publication and where I used to fall down is that I wouldn’t review them straight away.  I would make some notes and there they would sit, waiting to be fully written up until close to the release date…by which point the book was no longer clear in my mind and I’m sure I missed much of what I might originally wanted to say.

Now, I review a book as soon as I’ve read it.  I have a personal goal of within 24 hours and am usually quite good at sticking to it.  It’s then scheduled for whenever it needs to be scheduled for.  I’m even organised enough now to have a calendar which shows if I’ve got something posted on a particular day so I can plan when other books with similar review dates can go up (*pats self on back as it’s only taken two years to get this far!).

There is another benefit to this and that’s that I can post the reviews on netgalley earlier than the release date and keep my % up above 80, the magic number and (hopefully) then get approved for more of the books I request (so really want).

What about you, do you read in advance or wait till close to the release date?  If you do, how do you plan your time so you have enough of it to read and review the book without going over (a big fear of mine if I leave things)?

Emma x

Book blogger hop: preferred reads

book-blogger-hop-finalThis week, for the first time in a while, I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

When you start reading a novel, do you prefer to be plunged right into the action, or do you prefer a slower, more descriptive introduction to the plot and characters?

This is a question that pops into my head quite a bit – what I prefer in a new book – mainly, I think, because I regularly join in with the first chapter, first paragraph meme by Diana at Bibliophile by the Sea. I always pick the book I’m reading that day (or am about to start) and sometimes all it takes is a few sentences to get me completely hooked.  I know straight away if that is a book I am likely to like.  For me, it normally involves finding someone in peril but for others it might be a moment leading up to a kiss or a tear.

My choices often come from prologues, which I think plunge you right into the action.  They are pretty much standard fare for crime fiction, mysteries and thrillers these days and something I have a love / hate relationship with if I’m honest.  I love them because they draw me in.  Hate them (well, dislike them strongly) because they can sometimes make you think you are getting something you are not.

But then, whilst I read crime and mysteries more than anything else, looking at my favourite books of last year, a lot were slow burns.  The type of book that you find out nothing about in the first paragraph at all, or very little.  These do let the characters and the story grow over the pages and sometimes you are a 100 pages in before you realise you haven’t put the book down for an hour and need to stay up all night to finish it.

So, going back to the question, the answer is I read more books that plunge me right into the action which makes them my preferred choice but I probably enjoy slower, more descriptive books, more than I think and would definitely never turn one away if it caught my eye.

What about you, what is your preferred read?

Emma

Book blogger hop: black Friday books

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I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Name one book that you would fight for on Black Friday!

This is a hard one.

First , because I refuse to shop on Black Friday, even online. I tried once, when I lived in the states, and hated the crush. Now I’m back in the UK it feels like shops overwhelm us with offers, deals and sales for weeks in the run up to the “big day”.  I find it all a bit too much and all too easy to buy just because there is a deal, not because it’s something I want. So I avoid the whole thing. I delete every email immediately and won’t be stepping outside of the house today (other than to go to the pub later).

Second, though, and the one that makes this question really hard, is how do you chose one book? There are too many I have loved over the years. I’ve tried to narrow it down by looking at the books that will NEVER leave my shelves no matter what, books I just can’t bear to part with, or books where I have had to go out an buy a new copy after making the mistake of packing the original copy up in the charity box.

There are probably a handful of these as, for the most part, I’m not overly sentimental about books.  I believe they are for sharing and will often pass them along to friends, family or charity once I’ve read them.  Those that will never go that way, though, include (links to goodreads)…

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Why these books?  The Godfather, because it’s the first “grown-up” book I remember loaning from the library; Dracula, because it’s the first book that kept me up at night scared to death; The Robber Bride, because of all of Atwood’s books this one – for whatever reason – has stuck with me most closely; and finally it’s all of the Famous Five books because it was the first series I got hooked on and they are books I can’t wait to pass on to my daughter (yes, I still have the ones I read).

Any one of the them I would be desperate to keep hold or get a new copy of. Would I fight for them on Black Friday? I’m not sure…if it was the last copy on earth, probably. What about you – what books would you fight for?

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Emma

Book blogger hop: encouraging others

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I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Do you encourage other reading friends to start a blog or at least put their thoughts/reviews on public reading sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, etc?

My answer is yes I do but not many of them take me up on it.  I have one friend who blogs, but not on books, and friends who follow my blog but say they don’t have the time, interest, and/or inclination to do the same themselves.  I understand – it isn’t for everyone and blogging does take commitment, even for those of us who blog somewhat sporadically.  Still, I do tell everyone how much I enjoy it so one day you never know.

I can’t say I’m as enthusiastic about recommending reviewing on sites such as goodreads but that’s because I don’t use them much myself.  I do post reviews, but it’s not regularly.  Instead, I do it in bursts then forget about it until the next time I get an email telling me I’ve been reading the same book on goodreads for a month!  I don’t feel I can promote something I don’t use as I can’t say if it’s good or not or what the benefits are.  Maybe if other friends used it the way they use facebook etc I might but for now they don’t so I don’t either.

What about you, do you encourage people? And what do you encourage them to use?

Emma

Book blogger hop: novel ideas

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I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Have you ever wanted to write a book? If so, what genre would you choose? And…have you been successful in writing a book?

And my answer is yes (to the wanting to) and no (to the ever been successful at it).

I wonder if there is any of us out there who haven’t thought about it – what it would be like to be writing vs. reading words – and it crosses my mind every now and then.  Currently it’s a now phase as I’m taking a short course in fiction writing which is fun.  I don’t know if anything will come of it but I figured why not – plus it’s free so I’ve got nothing to lose but my pride!

The big thing of course if as much as I or anyone else might want to write you still have to have a talent for the written word plus dedication and ability to get over any fear of rejection – all pretty big things.  If, however, it turns out I do have these then I would definitely try to turn my hand to writing.  Leading to the next part of the question…what genre?

Whilst I would like to say I would look to write a piece of profound literary fiction that blew people’s minds and was talked about long after I shuffled off this mortal coil, in reality I would probably write something that involved death murdering kind.  My favourite genre is crime fiction and it is a formulae I feel I know well.  I definitely couldn’t write something humourous or historical because humour is hard to get right on paper and historical fiction scares me in that it has to be accurate or you have people like me picking it apart.

So, crime fiction it is, assuming I can overcome all other obstacles.  What about you? Do you write or would you like to? What do you (want to) write about?

Emma

Book blogger hop: reading goals

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I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

When you set a yearly reading goal, do you set it high to force yourself to meet that goal or do you keep it low and normally go over that goal any way?

My answer is I set it higher than the previous year but not so high I am bound to fail and feel miserable about it.  I like to know I’m accomplishing something I’ve set my mind to but if I’m honest I never set a goal till I joined goodreads and I don’t know if I pay much, if any, attention to it during the year unless I get an email telling me I’m ahead or behind.

If it’s behind I have a little panic then go on the site and realise nine times out of ten it’s because I am not only rubbish at monitoring my goals, I am also rubbish at using goodreads.  I go through phases when I use it a lot but mainly I forget it’s there and then have a mad rush to add lots of books I’ve read (usually after been prompted by an email telling me how behind on my reading goal I am!)

It’s fun to do but I’m not sure how important it is to me to have an annual goal.  I prefer the shorter ones set with reading challenges.  They are less intimidating and more immediate in seeing the results of my reading labour.  Plus, I engage with other bloggers when I take part – a big plus for me.

Even here though, I never set the bar too high.  My life never goes the way I think it will and something always come up to stop me reading as much as I want to or plan to.    This might make me a book blogging under-achiever but it works for me.  What about you – do you set goals and how do you decide what to set?

Emma

 

Book blogger hop: book stacks

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I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Do you have books stacked in every room of your house or are you strictly a believer that books belong on bookshelves?

And the answer is yes, there are books in pretty much every room of the house bar the bathroom and (if you count cookery books) in the kitchen.  The ones stacked tend to be those just bought or picked up from the library that haven’t made it to shelves or ones I’m reading.

Stacks tend to be anywhere and everywhere, on the floor by chairs, on table tops, by the side of the bed – especially by the side of the bed as I read a lot at night before I go to sleep.  They are never that high though or at risk of toppling over because I am quite a neat freak too.  Eventually, the books have to go away and that’s when they end up on the book shelves.

Like my book stacks, there are bookcases in most rooms of my house too, though I use them for displaying knick-knacks as well as books.  The main book bookcases are in my living room and spare room.  They aren’t particularly neat and never in order but for the main part books to read go in the living room, books read go in the spare room.  That’s about as much of a system as I have.

What about you, where can you find books in your house? Do you have a system for your shelves and book storage?

Emma

Book blogger hop: book club bloggers

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I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Do any of your book club members have a blog? Do you compare notes if they do?

The answer to this (and it’s a short one this week!) is yes and no.

One member of my book club does have a blog, a really good one, but it’s not a book blog.  So, whilst we regularly talk about books when we meet – in and outside of book club – we rarely talk about blogs.

We did initially as we both set up at the same time and both use wordpress and we might occasionally talk about something the other has posted but neither of us does it for more than a hobby and neither is more or less an expert than the other.  The same with social media.

So, once the initial thrill and excitement – the “oh my god, I’ve started a blog” moment died down, so did the discussions.  Now it is part of our lives and something mentioned in passed.

What about you, do your friends have blogs – book related or otherwise – and do you compare notes?

Emma

Book blogger hop: book recommendations

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I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

 If you recommend a book to someone, do you also send that person your review?

My answer is no, in fact I’ve never thought of doing it.  I suppose it’s because I do tend to keep my blogging separate from the other parts of my life so people know that I blog about books and a few follow me but I don’t promote my posts on my personal FaceBook page or through emails etc.

This is because blogging puts you out in public and, whilst I am more than happy with strangers reading what I write and judging me on some level because of that, I couldn’t really cope if friends and family were doing the same…what if they thought something I wrote was rubbish?

When I recommend books, it tends to be in person or as part of a larger conversation.  Sometimes it’s as part of book swaps that I’ve been involved in as part of my book club – if I feel strongly about a book I will try and convince others to give it a go.  Books I recommend tend to be ones I’ve read so I can talk about why I liked them vs. having to send a review of a book through to someone.

If I have heard a book is good, I will say where I heard that it was but, again, normally don’t share the reviews.  I think this is because these conversations tend to be around newer books as there are usually a spate of reviews at the same time so the discussion is more about I’ve been hearing good things about a book vs. one particular review.

One thing I do do though is always share reviews on twitter and my blog’s FaceBook page where I have commented on the review and, if I read a book because of a particular review, I will reference that in the post.  I hope that helps gives credit where credit is due and shares thoughts on books that sound like they should be read.

What about you, do you share your reviews when you recommend a book?

Emma

 

 

Book blogger hop: the gift of a good book

imageI’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Do you give books as gifts?

My answer is yes, but not as often as you might think someone who loves books as much as I do would.  There’s a couple of reasons for this.

First off, everyone’s tastes are different and I have made the mistake before of buying books that were never going to be loved or cherished by the person I was buying them for.  There is that moment when you say “did you enjoy the book” and the person looks at you and there is a long pause before they say something like “oh I haven’t gotten to it yet” and you know it wasn’t for them. My worst choice was probably picking How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran for an older aunt-in-law because I got it into my head one year to buy people books by authors from the Midlands (where we lived at the time…the aunt lived in the states).  It was not appreciated – way too close to the bone.

Second on the list is that I have a lot of friends and family members who read a lot and I am never completely on top of just what that reading is.  It is very easy to duplicate books and, as I love giving gifts, it spoils it for me if no one else when I don’t see a person’s eyes light up – not because they don’t love books but because they have already read it.  Top tip? Never buy anyone a best seller unless they ask or something that has been adapted for film or TV.  There’s a good chance they will already have a copy. And, when you are at their house, take a good old look at their bookshelves just to see what is on there.

I will buy books where I have been specifically asked and I always buy books for friend’s children – though never Julia Donaldson because hers are the first books I think every new parent buys or is given.  Even then, I include a gift receipt.  Always better to be safe than sorry.  And I will also buy books that maybe have more of a meaning, so a first or special edition of a book I know someone loves, one with a different cover or that is out of print.  Those are likely to be kept, and appreciated, even if there is another version on the book case.

What about you? Do you give books as gifts?

Emma