45 Thoughts whilst writing a book review

Afternoon readers, hope you’re all having a wonderful Friday because the weekend is nearly here *squeals.* There will be a review up today, but I fancied doing something a little bit silly. I decided to do a list of some of the thoughts I have when writing book reviews, this isn’t to say it happens every time (trying to convince myself I’m more organised,) but inevitably happens most of the time. I don’t know whether others can relate or have anything to add and although this obviously wasn’t written with a specific book in mind I thought we could have a giggle about book reviewing on a sunny happy Friday afternoon.

1)      Right, laptop on. Okay that’s not worki…wait plug it in; might help

2)      This dell monstrosity is the slowest machine in the world

3)      Oh, I’m not cosy, pyjamas would be better

4)      Right, scour the ‘floordrobe’ to find something suitable

5)      Right totally ready. Pink moustache covered bottoms and an orange jersey top totally goes, let’s get this review done

6)      Wait, where’s the book gone?

7)      That could help when writing a BOOK review

8)      *scours the book covered desk*

9)      *Creates avalanche of books*

10)   Right, got it; read notebook on notes made whilst reading. Okay, all caught up.

11)   What interesting events shall I write about today for the introduction?

12)   Well my breakfast order at work was wrong and my top was inside out today at work, for most of the day…

13)   Let’s go with that, describes my life pretty well

14)   ‘Good evening readers!’

15)   Why do I always sound so goddamn excited about everything?

16)   Right introduction done, blurb time

17)   Gee this blurb is great/not so great/ hmmmm desirable edit might be needed

18)   Time to re-write the blurb

19)   This is why my reviews are sooooo loooonnnngggggg

20)   What was that character’s name again? *thumbs through book*

21)   This house is so cold I can’t feel my fingers, must buy fingerless gloves

22)   Maybe music would help, click on ITunes

23)   Wait, no too many distractions

24)   Focus

25)   Ooooo Twitter notification

26)   I have to favourite, and at least reply

27)   *Enter twitter conversation*

28)   Okay, focus…. So positives

29)   Character build up, pace, plot, interweaving plot line

30)   Make sure you haven’t only used the word wonderful….oh you have, edit that bit now

31)   Right deep breath

32)   Critiques…couple of things to note

33)   This could be a thorny point, try not to feel too awful and guilty

34)   Now a good thing; pop that in about symbolism and meaning

35)   Sounds clever and made the book good

36)   God you’re good at this

37)   How do you spell sequal? Sequel?

38)   You’re so bad at this

39)   Right conclusion and don’t babble

40)   Totally babbled

41)   Photo of the book now, nearly there

42)   Oh that cover is so much prettier than the cover I have (use that one instead)

43)   Okay, it’s a review, and here are the tags

44)   Preview

45)   Now proofread……jkgjfgdlkjfla;fg

This was so much fun to write; if you enjoyed might do another? Not sure let me know and Happy Fridayy!

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The ten day book review challenge: A follow up

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It’s Tuesday afternoon and after yesterdays blog tour my stint of reviews is finally over. Finishing the ten day mark yesterday with a well-deserved review of The Vault I’m taking a little book blogging break in terms of reviews and bringing you a post on what I’ve learnt over the past ten days. The original reason for taking part in the challenge was to clear a little of the backlog that was starting to accumulate but also to take a closer look at my reviewing habits and see if there were improvements that the challenge would show me. I’ve learnt a lot over the past week and a half and I’m going to be making some changes to my reviews, which you can start to see in my last two reviews. Thank you once again to Suze and Sophie for running the review challenge and for the supportive tweets along the way.

1)      Time: I have always thought when reviewing you need a lot of time to think over a book and reflect upon it once you’ve finished reading. Running out of books already read before the challenge, by day six, I had to completely overthrow this rule I normally have when reviewing. The decrease in time between reading and reviewing actually added a lot of spontaneity to my reviews and instead of focusing on the main bulk of the book I found myself picking out little details bringing together a more personal review. Although my notebook helps me to collate all the little things, reading and then immediately reviewing is sometimes the best way to review a book

2)      Repetition: One of the things I found around day five was that reviewing books each day made me enjoy them so much more. I was a little worried I would become tired of reviewing each day, and it could be my competitive side, but I found myself looking forward to reviewing at the end of the day. Normally I get home after work, go out with friends then change into my pyjamas and slump about but I found myself feeling more alert knowing there was a review to write

3)      Entirety: When I review I like to get everything in and I think this is what has been slowing my reviews. I panic that I’ll have left something out and upset the author a little if it’s the main event and I don’t sell it well enough. As the days went on, I found myself focusing on the whole of the book rather than spelling out everything. I learnt not everything needs to be said for the review to be an extensive one.

4)      Fewer Mistakes: It comes with writing more frequently but I found as I reviewed that there were lesser mistakes as the days went on. Often I type out the review on word, read it, edit, then copy across and re-edit on WordPress. Saturday morning snuggled up in bed and wanting to get out and spend the day shopping I had to just do it once, and to be honest I was pretty stunned how well it flowed and how it got so much across. For someone that constantly worries about their reviews I have learnt I can get things done precisely without the time panics.

5)      Worry Less: This one follows on, but I really need to worry less about reviews. On mylittlebookblog I’ve only had two bad experiences with authors and the rest, despite my reviews, positive or more critical have been wonderful. I need to worry less about writing reviews and enjoy letting you all know what I think despite what others think

6)      If you put your mind to it nothing can stop you: I as like everyone have bad days, and often after a tough day at work I feel the need to just slump in front of a film or read all snuggled up in bed. On Sunday I was feeling rather groggy and cruddy but the reviews had to go on. After a couple of hours of sulking I plugged in my rather tired laptop and managed to pull the review out the bag. I felt so much better for it, and I think in the future when I’m having an off day I’ll remember that Sunday and do something a little more productive.

7)      Genre matters: I have always been a stoic blogger in that I accept books from all genres regardless of personal taste. I know for many it doesn’t work but for me I cannot help but want to read everything (seriously!) Throughout the ten days I reviewed romance, thriller, comedy, a children’s book, a book on personal discovery and even a book that re-evaluated life after death. This challenge has only helped to reinforce my love of reviewing all types of books from every genre.

8)      I can read more: I struggle sometimes with reading, and working, blogging and writing for three online publications; however I have always known I don’t make enough time for reading. This challenge has showed me I can get so much more read in a day. I found myself taking books everywhere; whilst making coffee in the morning, waiting for the bus, on the bus, lunch breaks, on the bus home and for a little while before finally turning in for the night. What surprised me was I didn’t lose any time I was just using it so much more productively.

9)  Regularity: Linking to this, I now know I can review more regularly but still keep the same quality. Obviously when I’m really busy, particularly at the end of the month I can be more seldom in my reviews but I know now that I have the capacity to read and review more regularly. You’re going to be seeing a lot more posting in the next coming months and maybe my own review challenge.

10)   There is still something utterly magical about staying up into the early hours of the morning to finish a book: This is something I used to do a lot as a child, I would be exhausted in the morning and my parents could tell just by looking at me that I had barely slept a wink. I guess there’s something inherently lovely about being physically unable to turn in a book and that’s something I got to rediscover whilst finishing the challenge.

So there you go, ten things I’ve learn over the past week and a half; it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t impossibly difficult but I’ve realised a lot about my blogging tendencies and how I can get the most out of mylittlebookblog and give more to you, my wonderful readers. Any comments, questions as always pop them below!

See all the reviews from the challenge here:

Day 1)

Day 2) 

Day 3)

Day 4)

Day 5)

Day 6)

Day 7)

Day 8)

Day 9)

Day 10)

P.S: Some are labelled day and some are labelled review. Due to technical problems although all written on different days, they had to be posted on the same day which then messed up the numbers for the rest of the ten days. However there are all there! 😀 ❤

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Blog Tour: The Vault by Karen Long

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Good afternoon readers, after finishing the ten day review challenge I’m adding another to the list with the kick off review of the blog tour for Karen Long and her book ‘The Vault.’ Recently I’ve become a little more twitter obsessed and was tweeting away when I got a lovely message from @crimebookclub who asked whether I would like to take part in the tour. I readily said yes and settled down to read. It’s always a great privilege for me to be included in a blog tour because they are so wonderful at creating a buzz around a book and one as good as this thriller needs to be read. This one is dark, gritty and gory and I couldn’t get enough of; let’s hope I do it justice.

VAULT: A large room or chamber used for storage of valuables, especially an underground one…

In the unrelenting heat of the Toronto summer, a fire at a land-fill site uncovers the remains of a local prostitute. But the post-mortem reveals disturbing details – the body has been preserved and is not who or what it seems. DI Eleanor Raven is back on duty six months after barely surviving being kidnapped and tortured by a depraved serial killer. Work is her sanctuary but she’s carrying deep scars – mental as well as physical. Where do you go when the place you feel safest is also the place where you are most at risk? As Eleanor battles her own demons, it looks as though a killer in the city is making a gruesome human collection. And Eleanor’s fight to save the last victim of the Collector becomes a battle to save herself.

When I started this review I tried to think of word to sum up the book as a whole, maybe shocking or terrifying, or perhaps taboo or intense. As I rifled through the words I couldn’t think of one that could sum up this book on the whole it is all of those words and so much more. The book follows Eleanor Raven who a number of months before was terrifyingly kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer; however after a number of months away from the force she takes her rightful place back on the job just in time for a new case. A body is found in a local tip, thought to be a mannequin by a local worker; it has been almost perfectly preserved but why and by who? As the team work through the case methodically a new victim is revealed and the case must be solved quickly to stop this inhumane killer. As the case continues new clues, evidence and suspects are thrown up but will it all be too much for Eleanor who is fighting her own personal daemons? You’ll have to find yourself a copy, snuggle down and read to find out!

A couple of years ago I read a book that stopped me sleeping for a number of days and this could definitely do the same. First things first the premise of the book is incredibly strong but awfully horrifying. Someone is ‘plasticising’ victims and it’s not pretty. The idea of this was enough to make me shudder and as the author took me on this tale of horror and taboo I found myself feeling both sickened and also desperate to continue. There are so many themes throughout that are woven in, sexual tension, taboo, and also a transgender victim which is managed very well there’s not much the book doesn’t include. In terms of characterisation Eleanor is a wonderful character both determined and steadfast and also harbouring strains from past experiences that are running incredibly close to the surface. She is an exceptionally intricate character and that allows the author to play with her so much more. Although the story mainly follows her, because she is the main protagonist the supporting characters are equally well thought out and described.

In terms of writing style it was perfect for me, just enough detail and gore without giving too much away. I was surprised at how much information has been gathered and woven into the book because it felt so real and authentic. The research into the process of this type of crime is both fascinating and stomach turning. I loved the way the novel dipped and bobbed between different alternative sub-plots. The obvious one would be Eleanor’s past experiences but the author takes it further than that experimenting with sexual frustration and release and also starvation and malnutrition of the main character. It is both heart wrenching and utterly compelling. This matched with other subplots such as the distance from her partner and his request to join another force and also parts of the story told from the POV of the killer made for a complex but utterly compelling read. The pace to get everything in is snappy and rapid but matched with the strong writing style you don’t feel like anything has been missed out.

I think the author really went to town on the details, there is some much to go through and keep up with you do feel a little overwhelmed at points; the skulls, the wooden animals, the additional suspects, witnesses and the continuous and relentless pace would make you think this would eventually get muddled but the author manages (somehow) to create an incredibly coherent novel that just keeps giving you more and more. Continually throughout I found myself so engrossed and then utterly confounded and disturbed. Overall this is an incredibly detailed and exciting book that will be perfect for all you thriller readers out there, a wonderful protagonist, a sickening plot and a brilliant read.

As part of this blog tour we have a little competition for you wonderful readers; Karen is offering one of you a personalised signed copy of The Vault valid today only! All you have to do is suggest a name for a character in Karen’s next book and email mylittlebookblog2014@gmail.com The competition ends at midnight on the dot. I will pick my favourite and let you know by email tomorrow! Good Luck!

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_DSC7396Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website KarenLongWriter.com, where she posts regular blogs.

The Safe Word is Karen’s first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon to be joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault

Thoughtful Thursdays and Sophie and Suze’s review challenge

Good afternoon readers; whilst I was writing down my facts about my blogging habits I started thinking about my review writing habits generally. I have a lovely book review notebook that allows me to write down all my ideas about a book, general thoughts  positive and negative comments, grammatical or spelling mistakes and the like. I do write very in-depth reviews generally because I have so much to say however it does mean that reviews seem to take me forever. A few days ago whilst trawling through my twitter feed (@littlebookblog1) I stumbled upon Sophie and Suze’s review challenge. The idea is basically that you review as many books as you can in ten days starting January 23rd (so tomorrow.)

Although this is something I normally wouldn’t do (because I’m so busy with 1000001 other things) I honestly  want to see whether I can sustain the detailed analysis that I normally try and incorporate into my reviews but also manage to get one done each night that I take part in the challenge. If it is too difficult I will be cutting down the number because I don’t want my reviews to suffer but I think it will be interesting to see how I do. There are a number of bloggers taking part, I’m actually blogger number seventeen, and  each will be attempting a different number of reviews.

I’m going to attempt one a day although I think this will be a struggle for me. Although I type relatively quickly it feels like it takes an age for me to fully collate my thoughts and get everything straightened out. If you’d like to sign up and join me or have any thoughts on getting reviews done or whether you think it’s a tough enough goal I would love to know! See all the information, links and sign up here! http://www.librarianlavender.com/2015/01/sophie-and-suzes-review-challenge.html

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The second part of this post is that I have not done a Thoughtful Thursday’s post in weeks. I have been so busy and disorganised with my posting and this year I really want to get a schedule sorted so I can post more regularly and consistently. To match up with the review challenge above, my question for you today is,

‘What is one most important thing you’ve learnt whilst writing reviews?’

Mine would have to be that there is no one way to review a book and I’ve discussed this before, but I’ve learnt that giving ratings doesn’t necessarily help in reviewing a book more succinctly as it doesn’t allow for this; for me at least! I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!