How To Survive Reading A Romance Novel With An Unwanted Ending #SundayBlogShare #BookWorms

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Bad endings in books can leave you feeling cheated and cross.

I can just about cope with weak endings in other book genres, however if I am given a romance novel with an unwanted ending I will struggle….emotionally….for days after it’s finished. 

When I read a romance novel I want:

  • Chemistry between the two characters.
  • A bit of romantic conflict.
  • A happy ever after ending.
  • Epilogue explaining how the couple are doing a year down the line.

In my view the following are unwanted endings:

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Book Reviewer Interviews @cleo_bannister #writers #authors

Book Reviewer Interview

I have decided to start interviewing book reviewers on my blog for the following reasons:

  • Book reviewers hold a lot of useful literary insight for writers.
  • Book reviewers are very valuable to us when our books are published. It is useful to see how their book reviewer mind works.
  • I believe getting inside the mind of a book reviewer will make an excellent blog post.

To kick off my new Book Reviewer Interviews slot is Cleo Bannister.

I am so excited because Cleo is one of my favourite book reviewers. I buy books according to what she says.

If you are not familiar with her blog ‘Cleopatra Loves Books’ please check it out.

Welcome Cleo, I am thrilled that you have agreed to this. Please have a seat in my new book reviewer chair!

Tell me about yourself.

Well that’s a daunting opening question! I am a forty-something woman, I have no pets and my favourite colour is purple!

I’m quite small, straight-talking although hopefully not to the point of rudeness and I have a distinctive laugh and actually say ahh tissue when I sneeze!

I work in the Legal Department of a company that renews Intellectual Property rights, and since I’ve been there for over thirteen years I can imagine the glazed looks on all the readers faces, so I’ll quickly move to the fact that I live in Jersey in the Channel Isles which people are always far more fascinated about.

It’s what’s known as compact living, anyone who is stupid enough to think that a large proportion of the island don’t know what they said, did and wore at any given point in time is much mistaken. Although it’s a beautiful place to live, in the winter there isn’t an awful lot to do other than socialise and so we jokingly refer to ourselves as 90,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock! I’m not, an alcoholic (I am fairly sociable) because if I drink too much the words on the page tend to swim and the reason why I’m being interviewed is because I’m a booklover and I think I’d crack up if I couldn’t get my daily dose of reading in!

What made you start reviewing books?

I started reviewing books on Amazon in 2010 as a way of having a record of the books I read because I have the memory of a goldfish when it comes to names so people would say ‘have you read xxx?’ and I’d look blankly at them needing a bit of hint to place the book – I also frequently borrowed the same book with a different cover from the library that I’d already read.

My early reviews were exceptionally short but served that original purpose but then it grew as I started to depend on reviews when choosing books and in turn wanted my voice to be heard in the crowd.

How many books do you review a month?

I can comfortably read 10 books per month and I review each and every one that I finish. Last year’s total was 145 books which works out at about 12 books per month. In between the reviews I do memes on the blog with features from upcoming books, the occasional blog tour or interview with an author and sometimes random pieces about book related stuff.

What is your selection process for reviewing a book?

  • Have I read and awarded 4 or 5 stars to the author before?
  • Does it have a synopsis that appeals?
  • Has it been reviewed and recommended by bloggers whose opinion I trust?
  • If I’ve been offered or can request it from a publisher/author, do I have a slot in my schedule?  My book reading is planned to the nth degree on an excel spreadsheet – once the slots are full for a month, that’s it, no more. At the moment I have books scheduled up to July as I like to review close to publication date, and then there is the books I already own that need to be read too, oh and the ones I buy for myself because I need them!!

My main interest is crime fiction particularly that which looks at the why of a criminal act as much as the who but I do read other genres too, it’s good to have variety.

What is your book review process? 

I rarely make notes, the only exception is if I’m on holiday and have a number of reviews to write on my return.

I’ve always wanted my reviews to be the gut reaction when finishing a book and in the early days I was really disciplined about not opening the next book until the one just finished had a review written, sadly I’m not that good anymore so I tend to write my review and then go back through the book trying to find the names and places to check I’ve got them right.

If I’m reading on my kindle I will highlight passages if I want to refer to them in the review but nowhere as frequently as I should.

What do you think makes a good book?

For me I have to be able to believe in the characters, which shouldn’t be mistaken for liking them, in fact my favourite characters tend to be the wolves in sheep’s clothing types. But characters alone do not make a book, there has to be a solid plot preferably a clever one by which I mean one that makes me think or encourages me to put myself in ‘someone else’s shoes.’

If it has a historical aspect then it has to be well-researched, I know all sorts of random things and if something is not in the right era it lifts me out of the story. So to sum up in a single sentence:
A good book is one that I can believe in from the beginning to the end, and that I am totally immersed in while I’m reading it.

Which 3 books have caught your eye recently and why?

Haha only three – I have a list of books so long but three books which aren’t part of a much loved series (of which I have so many to juggle) are:

  • Kate Summerscale’s The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer is much anticipated as I loved The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. I love historical true crime and this sounds like it will pack a real punch.
  • I also want to read the late Margaret Forster’s last novel, How to Measure a Cow an author who writing was often about real women and as a result creates exceptionally well-drawn characters.
  • And because a list from me wouldn’t be complete without one psychological thriller I’m going to pick Gilly McMillan’s book The Perfect Girl as her debut completely wowed me.

Are you a fan of a good plot twist?

I am but not just for the sake of having them and the more of these types of books you read the more contrived the poorer imitations can feel. I certainly think the format of multiple twists, especially when loudly announced on the cover, mean that reading the book can become more of intellectual puzzle about what the twist will be rather than being immersed in the story itself – I guess I’m trying to say, there should be a balance and not every book needs one and in some cases they detract rather than add to the story. It also makes it exceptionally hard to review as there is little you can say about that type of book without ruining it for others and I make it an absolute rule not to have spoilers in my reviews.

How important is an opening chapter?

The style of writing matters in the opening chapter, it has to be something that I find appealing, not too complicated, there is nothing worse than an opening chapter that has too many characters to remember before you have some sort of context to put them in, especially if you’re like me and have a blind spot when it comes to names. There are some writers that I know I’m going to love from the first page but I haven’t put my finger on what the elusive quality is, but it definitely has to do with the style of writing. If I feel like I’m being told something by a trusted friend then I’m won over.

How do you approach a review if you have not enjoyed the book? 

It may sound harsh but my blog is for readers and not for authors or publishers so I am honest in my review with a one caveat:
I always bear in mind that what I don’t like in a book maybe what someone else really loves, some aspects are down to personal taste for instance I don’t like anything supernatural and therefore I’ll say that within the review if it that put me off but will talk about characterisation, plot etc as positively as those aspects deserve.

I don’t finish books that I haven’t enjoyed from the beginning so there is always something to say and I try hard not to be too cruel and trash everything about a book.
The hardest books to review are those that fall at the mid-way point, those that I don’t get really excited about nor dislike because it can be hard to pinpoint what I did really like about it.

What do you think is more important – plot or characters?

Both – I do like a good plot but if the characters aren’t realistic then I don’t tend to believe in the plot. Likewise if the characters are great but nothing happens then it’s not really going to hold my attention.

Do you find it hard to forget a good book?

Yes – the downside to writing my reviews soon after reading them is that you don’t always get a feel of how long a book will stay with you. The books I rate highest and therefore recommend to other readers in person, are those I remember well.

Have any books made you get emotional? Any examples?

I’m not a really emotional reader but sometimes a book does just get to you!

My example is The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes that I read while in my sick bed – there I was totally involved with a story about hope, not a ‘big issue’ but it had me howling. That in itself would have been fine except I got a DHL delivery whilst I was in full sobbing mode, not really the image I wanted to present to the poor man who knocked on my door.

I have been caught out a couple of times reading on holiday in the past but I’m more cautious about my public reading choices these days.

Do you have a large book collection at home?

Not as large as I’d like. I do have quite a few books but there are some that have been abandoned over the years that I wish I’d kept, especially my childhood favourites, but then we would need a library in the house – now there’s an idea!

If you are mid-way and struggling with a book – what do you do?

That’s a tough one, I usually give a book 20-25% before deciding to give up, longer than that I feel I’ve already invested the time and should maybe limp on to the end.

What is your biggest book reviewer success story?

The book that made the biggest change to my reading was reviewing Rosamund Lupton’s debut novel, Sister on Amazon which I did just before it got selected for the Richard and Judy book club. I got masses of positive votes which I’m sure is the reason I got asked to join Amazon Vine.

Being offered ARCs was new to me and I broadened my horizons by choosing books I would never have bought for myself and found myself enjoying the variety.
On my blog the biggest success has been The Book of You by Claire Kendal which is about a stalker, this review which was originally posted on 6 February 2014 has been viewed by readers at least once every week since and is my most visited review of all time.

I’d like to thank you for your questions, I come to visit your blog every time I need a lift as it never fails to make me smile and I’m honoured to be chosen as an interviewee.

 

Wow Cleo, I loved your answers!  Your love and passion for books came through in this interview.

I liked how you were emotional for the DHL Delivery man after reading a book. I am always emotional whilst reading books.

This interview has made me want to work harder on my characters. I want to be able to insert the reader into my character’s shoes.

I have really enjoyed interviewing you and I am just going to nip off to make some book purchases…sigh!

Here is a photo of Cleo busy reading and reviewing.

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If you are a book reviewer and would like to be interviewed on my blog please leave a message in the comments section and I will make contact with you 🙂

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9611371@N03/7040599487″>Helmut’s House</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

15 Reader Options to a Book Problem #bookaddicts #books #amreading

Book Reader Options

Imagine this:

You have reached the middle of a book that you have been reading and you don’t have a clue about what is going on. Somewhere along the line the author lost you and this has left you in a bit of pickle.

If someone quizzed you on what is happening with the plot or what the main character is doing you would:

  • Try to explain but give up.
  • Stare blankly.
  • Shrug your shoulders.
  • Say stuff like ‘I thought I knew what I was reading but now I don’t know!’
  • Exhale loudly.

So, what are your book reader options?

  1. Plough on and remain optimistic that all will become clear soon.
  2. Quit. Life is too short.
  3. Go back a chapter and see whether you can pick up any clues.
  4. Go back a couple of chapters or to the point where you lost sight of the plot.
  5. Start the book again. Only for the brave!
  6. Have a break from it. Put it down and go enjoy yourself. Hard to return once your enjoyment has ended.
  7. Read the blurb again whilst muttering “what the hell is going on here?”
  8. Phone / email / message / tweet a friend with ‘did you know what was going on in?’ [enter book name]
  9. Read the first bit of a book review. This is a bit sneaky but sometimes those helpful book reviewers can point you in the right direction. Just don’t read too much.
  10. Skip a chapter or two and see whether that helps. You can always go back.
  11. Read the last page, walk away and be done with it.
  12. Go make a strong coffee, come back and carry on reading. Let caffeine guide you through.
  13. Study the cover and title for any clues.
  14. Check the genre again and try to get into the genre zone!
  15. Go have a nap and see how you feel when you wake up.

Let me know if there are any other reader options out there!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30192212@N03/6800908213″>Selfie (II)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

35 Reasons Why You May Have Bought That Book #reader #bookaddict #writers

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  1. You want to read it.
  2. It has an interesting premise.
  3. It has a nice artistic cover.
  4. It is free.
  5. It is a decent price.
  6. The blurb on the back interests you.
  7. The first page enticed you.
  8. It is the latest book from your favourite author.
  9. It was recommended to you by someone you know and trust!
  10. It has some amazing online reviews. You have never seen such reader feedback outpouring.
  11. It came up by chance on a book search and you thought why not?
  12. A classic book and it is on your reading bucket list.
  13. Part of the series of books that you are reading and addicted to.
  14. It is about something similar that happened to you in your life. 
  15. Everyone at work is talking about it and you want to see what all the fuss is about.
  16. You are bored and looking for something to do. You found yourself in a bookshop.
  17. You feel lonely and want to mix with some friendly fictional folk.
  18. You have heard that there are some really good naughty bits (sigh!) in this book.
  19. You have heard that it is really scary and you want to see how scary it is.
  20. You know the author personally. You have promised faithfully to buy it and write a review.
  21. You have recently watched the film and now you want to read the book.
  22. Everyone is talking about the plot twist in this book and you don’t believe you can be fooled by some pesky author.
  23. You are on a reading binge and craving more books.
  24. You are going on a long journey and need something to read. 
  25. Its on your holiday reading list and for you to devour whilst lounging by the pool drinking cocktails. 
  26. You and the author recently fell out and you have a sneaking suspicion that you have been turned into one of the characters.
  27. You have no intentions of reading it but you know it will look amazing on your book shelf.
  28. You had the idea for the book a few years ago, didn’t write it and now someone somewhere has beaten you to it and turned your amazing idea into a book. Sigh! 
  29. You are trying to attract the attention of someone hot in the bookshop and buying this book will give the impression that you are very intelligent.
  30. You are going on a date with the author and you feel like you should get up to speed with their work so you can have interesting pillow talk. Sigh!
  31. People are saying its badly written and you want to feel good about your own writing. Loud sigh!
  32. You have a huge crush on the author.
  33. Its at the top of the book charts and you want to check out the competition. Sigh!
  34. Your friend claims it did things for her and she hasn’t been the same since.
  35. You wrote it!  Sigh!

 

If anyone has any other reasons for buying a book (the more bizarre the better) please let me know and I will add to my list.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/56218409@N03/19701595253″>Holidays</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

How To Spot A Book Addiction #bookaddict #bookworm #quiz

15 Signs of a Book Addiction

Here’s a handy quiz for you to do if you think you are displaying worrying book addiction signs:

  1. Does daylight turn into darkness outside whilst you are in a bookshop?
  2. Could you build a small house with the huge stack of books labelled ‘my reading pile’?
  3. Do your mood swings follow the emotions in your book?
  4. Do you often binge read and don’t understand people who take weeks to get through a book?
  5. Instead of buying music, makeup, clothes and apps – do you buy books?
  6. Do you often use books to escape the real world?
  7. Does time and life stop when you are reading a good book?
  8. Are characters in books part of your friendship circle?
  9. Do your irritability levels can increase significantly when someone disturbs you whilst reading a good book?
  10. Does a good book makes you fall in love with reading all over again?
  11. Does a powerful sentence make you put the book down and stare into space?
  12. Do you struggle to stop buying books?
  13. Do you regularly suffer from ‘book hangovers’ (the period after finishing a good book where you feel jaded, mixed up and weary)?
  14. Could you open a library with your book collection?
  15. You are considering moving your family into your favourite bookshop as it has a café, nice toilets, comfy sofas and books?
Count up the number of ‘yes’ answers.
  • If you answered up to 5 questions with a ‘yes’ – You are are not at risk (yet).
  • If you answered up to 10 questions with a ‘yes’ – You are showing some worrying book addiction signs although you must still have some sort of a normal life. Take it easy and avoid those book reading binges.
  • If you answered all questions with a ‘yes’ – There is no hope for you! The book addiction has taken over your life. There is no known cure so you might as well enjoy it!
Happy reading!
Photo: Pexel.

The Book Series Reading Binge #Bookworm #BookSeries #AmReading

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Photo Credit StockSnap.

There are several stages to the Book series reading binge:

 

  1. Denial. Everyone around you is talking about this amazing new book series. It’s so good your friend claims that life stood still whilst they read the entire series. They talk about how the first book in the series catapulted them to new levels of reading euphoria, the second book blew their mind and by book three they were a shadow of their former self. You struggle to believe this literary tale. You have always considered yourself to be different to those around you, especially when it comes to reading. It’s rare for you to get carried away with a book, let alone an entire series. You don’t follow book fads. Out of curiosity you buy the first book in the series, but you make it clear to your friend that you are different. You tell them that its unlikely that you will reach book two – you are a lion and not a sheep when it comes to reading!
  2. Secret Euphoria. You have reached the middle of book one and you are flooded with literary euphoria. The book is so good you forgot to make your usual cheese and pickle sandwich with a small side salad for lunch. It’s now 4pm  and you haven’t eaten anything. You cannot put the book down! Your fingers are itching to get onto social media and shout about the book but you can’t because you made such a big deal about not getting carried away with it. So you are forced to keep your intense feelings of literary happiness secret.
  3. Book Withdrawal. After finishing book one you immediately start to suffer from book withdrawal symptoms. This wasn’t the plan. In your head you envisaged yourself waiting maybe a week or two before casually reading the second book. Cue your sweaty palms, short breath, racing heart and trembling hands. Book withdrawal can be nasty especially if you know there are other books in the series waiting for you.
  4. Frenzied Purchasing. After some anxious pacing you decide that you can’t suffer these strong  book withdrawal symptoms any longer. Life is too short. Its only been a matter of hours since you finished book one but you can’t stop thinking about those characters and that cliff hanger at the end of book one. The withdrawal symptoms are coming in powerful waves. Why put yourself through unnecessary anguish?  You are an emotional mess. When no one is watching you nip onto to Amazon with only one thing on your mind – buy the rest of the series in a book buying frenzy!  This series needs to be read and fast.
  5. Reading Binge. Life grinds to a halt as you take to the sofa and binge read the entire series. Things like eating, washing, sleeping and interacting with other humans go out the window. By the end of the book series you are tired but satisfied. The reading frenzy is over as you crawl away. You tell your friend the next day that you didn’t think much of the first book. Sigh!

Take it easy readers!

 

How To Tell If You Are Obsessed With The Fairy Tale Literary Genre #writers #writing

 

How To Tell If You Are Obsessed With The Fairy Tale Genre

It is very easy for writers to get obsessed with one particular genre but what happens if that obsession gets out of control?

Here are some signs to watch out for if you think you are getting carried away with the fairy tale literary genre:

  1. You start all conversations with “once upon a time…..”
  2. You have lively and animated discussions with animals and birds. Sometimes you break into song mid conversation.
  3. In fairy tale land you are either very wealthy or desperately poor. So you alternate your daily life between the two. Rags to riches one day and riches to rags the next.
  4. Marrying royalty feels like the norm for you.
  5. Your friendship circle contains some magical helpers, but you are always on the look out for more.
  6. You have moved to an enchanted and idyllic setting with some impressive floral displays.
  7. You have identified some of your relatives as evil and have taken precautions. You have made it known that you will no longer accept apple based gifts, go on trips into a dark forest and refrain from any form of sewing with a sharp needle in the presence of these family members.
  8. Fairies, trolls, goblins, ogres, old witches in woods and dwarfs live alongside you in your enchanted setting.
  9. You know that with the help of a fairy godmother you could look amazing and pull any handsome prince / beautiful princess. Sigh!
  10. Every day you encounter terrible bad luck but what keeps you going is that soon you will be rewarded with a happy marriage to a member of royalty.
  11. You enter all social occasions on a white horse with flowers in your hair.
  12. If you are feeling lonely you head down to your pond and start frantically kissing frogs in the hope that a physical transformation will take place.
Live the dream readers!

 

photo credit: Pexel