The Secret Life of a Book Blogger

Quick Tips for Uber Drivers from a Passenger

Hellllllo readers, hope you’re having a lovely Friday. It’s been a long week but blogging honestly has been getting me through. I think when I took by blogging break I forgot how therapeutic writing about something, anything other than how you’re feeling really freaking works.

So today I’m going to write about blogging – and I found this on the fantastic ‘Read At Midnight,’ which is looked after by the equally wonderful Aentee. It’s a beautiful blog and one you should go take a look at. 

How long have you been a blogger?

I’ve been blogging since April 2013 – SAY WHA. I can’t believe how long it’s been honestly, it’s slightly terrifying. I think which means I’ve been blogging 3 and a half years? It feels a lot longer than that but in a good way. Totally.

At what point do you think you’ll stop blogging?

Honestly, I don’t think there’s a time when I won’t be blogging or writing somewhere. I think over the past year my blog has really changed and I was really worried about it moving away from books but now I’ve taken a blogging break I think there’s definitely more I could be doing to take this down a more vibrant but definitely bookish path.

What is the best thing about blogging?

Really? That I get to share my personal opinions on books and getting to read more fantastic books than I ever could have imagined. I’ve met some pretty fantastic authors too who have always made me feel pretty wonderful.

What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it OK?

I can’t lie I’ve never been very social and or made a hella load of friends via this blog because it’s not the kind of person I am. I struggle enough to maintain friendships with the people I love offline. I’ve struggled at times with the blogging community and the negativity that does appear at time.

I’ve always been able to separate the two things but I’ve seen mean things said, I’ve seen things taken in a much more negative way than they should have been, I mean I was almost ‘named and shamed once’ because of something I wrote.

I think eventually I would like to contribute more and make more *friends* but for now I’m happy in my own little world.

Quick Tips for Uber Drivers from a Passenger (1)

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

It depends. I tend to rely on this type of image that doesn’t take too long ^. I do want to start taking my own new photographs but we’ll see.

Who is your book crush?

Amber from The Chocolate Run, she is almost everything that I’m not and almost everything that I want to be. She’s insecure but she has this air of self-confidence that helps her through those wobbles. She also is so good at being on her own – I FIND IT SO BLOODY HARD. 

What author would you like to have on your blog?

Though she would intimidate the shit out of me and I would never be able to even look her in the eye, let alone ask questions, I would love to have Catherynne Valente and her beautiful mind featured on this blog. I love her books, I love her personal blog, I just love every single word that she produces.

What do you wear when you write your blog post?

PAJAMAS, or if I’m blogging on my lunch break some kind of legging/cardigan/top/necklace combo. I’m sure I probably look alright though.

Quick Tips for Uber Drivers from a Passenger (2)

How long does it take you to prepare?

HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAH

what does that even mean?! I am a spontaneous kinda gal. We’ll see how it goes.

How do you feel about the book blogger community?

It’s fantastic – BOOK BLOGGERS are bladdy fantastic. The rest of the blogging community can get a little stressful sometimes. I know we’re all bloggers but the book bloggers are just so much nicer.

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

Someone that blogs to share, to create and to be a nice human. That is all you need to do

So there you go – my thoughts on the whole blogging lark. Didn’t mean to get too grumpy because ya know not my kinda scene. Have a fantastic Friday lovelies and please tag me if you decide to do the tag!!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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Hellllllo readers, what do we think of the new fancy opening to the blog post? I’ve decided that instead of using my stereotypical ‘A review from My Little Book Blog,’ I’m going to make an image for every single review – cause ya know why not. Also interestingly I’ve actually got a couple of book box subscription reviews coming up so look forward to them – for now, LE REVIEW.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock.

Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

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Let’s try and ignore allll of the reviews that say this is a novel about Sheldon Cooper trying to Find a Wife – it kind of is, but it also isn’t.  Don Till man is a genetics professor in his late thirties who wants to find a spouse by creating a very in-depth questionnaire. See, Don leads a very fussy life and throughout the story there are allusions that Don has Aspergers. However, Rosie becomes part of his life and she completely goes across everything in Don’s list of attributes; but a beautiful friendship (kind of) blossoms.

Don and Rosie are fantastic characters – Don’s constant flow of thought processes, and a need to keep his life constant is a continually contrasted with Rosie’s slightly outlandish and unbalanced way of life. Don’s need for example to eat the same thing each night (to minimise waste and time) the time he gets refused from a club despite it being a very expensive, waterproof model and generally messing things up in social situations is delightfully wonderful to read and equally interesting.

The storyline revolves around Don’s wife project (which 250000% does not include Rosie,) and Rosie’s father project which revolves around her need to find her biological father and deal with the stress of her relationship with her adopted father. Throughout both learn a lot about the other and how the other interacts and lives. A particularly special moment is when they travel together to New York; their two personalities together in a new place creates a beautiful section of storytelling.

In terms of genre this is really a romantic comedy and I think if you are fan of either the romantic or comedy style genre you will enjoy this. The writing throughout the book is really clever, the pace moves quickly and will pace but still manages to squeeze in numerous story-lines and supporting characters. The author has created really brilliant contrasts between each of the character’s ways of speaking which really adds to the dialogue of the book. I also loved how the author included a number of social gaffes, but Don is incredibly resilient and almost practical in them. He understands his strengths, his memory, his ability to being smart and dedicated; for example…

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Overall this was a really lovely tale, that I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t comment to throughly on the use of Aspergus because I just don’t have enough knowledge and I know there has been a little upset about how it’s portrayed. Overall I thought this was a fantastic book full of love romance and comedy and I can’t wait to read the second.

LINNNNNNKKKKS

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Author Website 

Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World by P.F. Citizen One

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Hello readers, hope you’re well and having a fantastic Wednesday. I’ve got a hella load of news to share with you this week and I’m excited to get to it, but today I’ve also got a really brilliant interview with a new author friend of mine. I know there have been a lot of these recently – it’s a new thing I’m trying out and if it doesn’t work we’ll go back to the before but for now I’ll let the author introduce this wonderful set of short stories.

A series of short, true life stories, which are the product of the travels and observations of one man. The stories are a miscellaneous collection of the funny and sad, of tragedy, love and friendship. And they are all, in a way, unexpected.  

Unexpected takes you on a journey from a Brazilian working on the oil rigs of Venezuela, who gets the shock of his life, to the uplifting story of a Chinese beggar living on the streets, entertaining passers-by with his songs and surviving through the mercy and kindness of others.  

There is a story for each of us in this book. Each one is subtly different and each carries either a message of hope for lost, or of caution for the unwary.
Unexpected is just that. Just as life is and just as the course of our lives run, at times unexpectedly.

Unexpected: Short Stories from Around the World by [Citizen One, P.F.]

 If you had to describe your book as a whole in three sentences (they can be long sentences) what would they be? 

Unexpected is a collection of true life short stories my travels around the world and the people I have met. The book features seven thought-provoking, humorous and engaging stories that end with the most unlikely twist.

What was the inspiration for the selection of short stories? Why did you decide this instead of one continuous novel?

I have learned a lot about life from listening and being kind to people, as well as from stories others have shared with me. I actively listen, and often feel like I’ve heard these stories many times before, until I realize that each story is unexpected and instructive. These experiences have inspired me to write.

I wanted to write the type of stories that I would enjoy reading: true life stories. Short stories. At first, you feel like you’ve heard these stories many times before, until you read the ending. This is true life—unexpected.

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Can you tell us more about one story?

In one of the stories, The Wedding Contract, a man who was forced to sign a pre-nuptial agreement simply because his wife was wealthy and he was considered poor. As time went on, fortunes changed and the man became far wealthier than his wife. His wife and friends dreaded the worst from him because of his new financial position but what he did next was shocking.

Finally where can my readers keep up with you and your writing? 

You can keep up with me through my website or my Facebook page:

Website

Facebook page: Unexpected by Citizen ONE

Amazon link

So there we go, a fantastic set of exciting and interest stories all with a different twist or turn to keep you intrigued. Thank you so much to this fantastic author for letting me share a little more about his book and have a fantastic middle of week break readers!

Innocent Crook by D. E Rodgers

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Hello readers, fantastic post today for you from the brilliant D.E Rodgers, and his new book The Innocent Crook! Sounds like a little bit of an oxymoron but let’s go with it! I will let Rodgers introduce the book and let you know a little more about it – so let’s get stuck in.

“Innocent Crook” is an exciting story of about Jupiter, a teenage black kid caught between his mother and aunt, and the struggle to control their drug dealing business. Jupiter’s journey, from a scared teen looking out for his younger sister to a successful high school graduate with a Harvard scholarship, will inspire and move you.

“Innocent Crook” is about overcoming your circumstances, learning that family alone doesn’t define you and that the power to succeed is in all of us. A story about love, regret, determination, forgiveness and revenge that will keep you turning the pages for an exciting and unexpected conclusion.

“Innocent Crook” was named winner at the San Francisco Book Festival and Paris Book Festival for Best Unpublished Book.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book.

This book was a passion project. Over a long period of talking to a woman on the train to San Francisco I learned about her life in foster care. Some of her experiences were good and some were bad. Her story led me to have the same discussion with others that I knew who grew up in foster care and from those stories “Innocent Crook” was born. Though fictional “Innocent Crook” is a powerful story about a young man struggling to achieve more out of life than being a criminal.

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How do you get inspired to write? Interacting with people and hearing about the lives of others. Plus seeing movies and reading books get my creative juices flowing.

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What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Freedom of expression and freedom to be creative. I love being imaginative, thinking outside the box, and creating characters.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

If you are truly a writer never let someone else kill your writing dreams.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Good question. What I do is typically stop trying to write and do something else to take my mine off of what I’m writing about. Go exercise or go play with my kids. Have fun. When the time to write again hits you return and knockout that masterpiece.

So there we go a fantastic book and a fantastic author – if you want to know more here are all the links to all of his platforms for you to take a closer look! Have a fantastic day readers!

 LINNNNNNKS 

We Know What New Book You Should Read This Faaaaaalll

We Know What New Book You Should Read This Fall

Okay, okay, excuse the use of the word fall but Buzzfeed think they can guess what book I should read so I thought I would try it out. I barely know what book I should read next especially if I was trying to make it seasonal so we’ll see. What do Buzzfeed think I should read next? 

WHere would you most enjoy spending fall?

OPTIONS: 

Seattle

Berlin

Poland

Sri Lanka

On a road trip across America 

New Jersey


I would definitely pick the road trip to America with a hella massive group of friends. I really, really, reallllly want to go to America and I think a road trip would be the best way to see as much as possible. 

WHat is your ideal fall activity?

Options: 

Playing Backgammon

Bonding with your family

Inheriting a house

Getting your life together

Meeting an old friend

Starting a new relationship

Being a part of a love triangle

Fighting for your freedom

Fighting for your survival


God that’s a lot of choice there! I think maybe sorting my life out? There’s a lot of things I need to sort out at the moment and maybe reading about other people trying to get their life together will make me feel better! 

Pick a number

208

304

352

320

368

272


whaaaaaa Buzzfeed? HOW IS THIS GOING TO HELP. Right, I’m going with 368 for no reason at all 

PICK some orchard apples


I picked this one? I don’t know why but I did.

Have some pumpkin pie


I picked this image for this question – once again no idea why.

andddddd the answer is…..

You got: “The Wangs vs. the World” by Jade Chang

Jade Chang’s debut novel “The Wangs vs. the World” follows Taiwanese-born American businessman Charles Wang, who must unite his children to start fresh in China after losing his fortune to the 2008 recession. The Wangs set off on a road trip across the country, all the way struggling to deal with their new financial situation — and each other. Highly entertaining and often laugh-out-loud funny, “The Wangs vs. the World” shows the often surprising ways hardship can bring a dysfunctional family closer together as well as what it means to be an immigrant in America today. Publication date: Oct. 4

^ So, there we go. That’s the book for me to read this fall – you can take the quiz here! Otherwise I’m off to add this to my Amazon basket.

Melody’s Key by Dallas Coryell

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Helllllo readers, hope you’re well! Another day another review. I’ve been really enjoying this slightly more relaxed schedule. It’s felt a lot more helpful for encouraging creativity and I’ve adored reading lots more books from lots more genre’s and I have a lovely YA book for you today.

“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”

Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

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The first thing to mention is I was sent this book really nicely by the author. The story follows the life of Tegan Lockwook who is a very talented and also beautiful young girl who helps with the family business – Lockwood Holiday. Tegan is not only a talented painter but she also loves to compose and write songs and due to this she is accepted into a college in New York. Through her families financial struggles Tegan must stay with them, and put her dreams on hold. However, one summer her life is about to change forever, when American pop star Mason Keane comes to the estate, everything might be turned entirely on its head.

This is a very fun summer romance and to be honest with you I really enjoyed it. It  has a romance, it has a number of really likable an well fleshed out characters and it doesn’t follow the typical girl changes bad boy. I loved the fact that Mason is really presented as a ‘good guy.’ Mason does have struggles, he’s not perfect but the author really makes this clear at the beginning. I also adored tha the author wrote all of the songs in the book – it’s a lovely addition.

Delving into a problem I do tend to have with YA fiction, the character development throughout the book was JUST FANTASTIC. Tegan and Mason are constantly changing as individuals from the very beginning to the very end, learning not only about each other but learning about their own personalities too and the relationship DOESN’T HAPPEN IN A HEARTBEAT. I adored the fact that they built a friendship which leads to love – I won’t spoil the plot because that’s unfair but I really thought that this was a beautifully built relationship.

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This is a really tough book to review because there’s so much going on and I don’t want to spoil any of the special bits – however I loved that the plot was full of surprises. Throughout the new story there are also glimpses into the older love story (#NOSPOILERS.) There are letters from a forbidden love that takes part during WW1 and they are mixed in with the romance of the modern world. I can’t like I wish there was more into  the past love story, but that could be the historical fiction lover in me.

I think the only thing that did kind of test me was the kind of languid quite overly done descriptions. Not only did they come across a little dramatic and full of teenage angst (which is okay in small doses,) but it did make the writing a little stodgy. Through the middle of the book it does slow the pace of the book down and it does become a little slow. There are also a long of cliche’s with I’m not a big fan of (piercing eyes etc,) but I think than Dallas has written this book for the lovey-dovey one’s of us. It does have some intense descriptions, and for some readers that’a a good thing – for me a little overwhelming especially towards the end.

So, what did I think in the end. I thought that the story was really special, I thought the characters were brilliantly written, the romance was built throughout and actually happened throughout the story rather than just smushed together. I did struggle a little with the overly cliched and heavy description of the love story – it just felt a little bit over done. But if you really love a romance, with a bit of mystery, pick up a copy today.

LINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNKS

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Hellllllo – TODAY IS THE DAY. I’m going to try and attempt to review 1Q84 and I’m a little bit worried about it because it’s such a MASSIVE book to review in one go. I’ll get straight in because there’s so much to squish in but enjoy. Or try.

(ALSO THERE WILL BE SPOILERS I’M SORRRRRYY!!) 

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

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I’m a little bit scared to review this book because I know that T loved it so much and I just struggled with it. It took me almost a year to read and on reading the last 50-ish pages I knew that it wasn’t going to give me the ending I needed. The book started out fantastic, the characters are exciting, the writing style is beautiful. I adored snuggling down and engrossing myself in the depths of Murakami and his writing.

The first part of the story is very plot-driven and exciting. The lead characters are really exciting. Aomame is a really unique character – she’s almost a sim-like character with her lack of emotion and how different she is from Tengo who is this blissfully aware character who is struggling with so many different emotions, events and this constant connection to Aomame. Murakami seems to deal with a number of interesting social issues specifically about the misogyny of Japanese society. The struggle for job advancement and destructive and abusive marriages.

Murakami has such a way with words that allows you to become a part of the story. Even Tengo cooking allows you to see the depth of Murakami’s writing for example.

“Tengo chopped a lot of ginger to a fine consistency. Then he sliced some celery and mushrooms into nice-sized pieces. The Chinese parsley, too, he chopped up finely. He peeled the shrimp and washed them at the sink. Spreading a paper towel, he laid the shrimp out in neat rows, like troops in formation.” 

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It is like this the entire way through and as we met more and more characters I found myself more and more engrossed in the world that Murakami was creating.

(SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) 

However suddenly the book climaxes to an utterly confusing ending. Aoname turns from this avenger, calculating character becomes a character that is bearing a child waiting endlessly for Tengo who kind of meanders around. The plot is doing nothing also – we’re introduced to the Little People, the crysallis, we’re in the middle of the BUILD UP and then it just kind of gets disregarded. Everything is okay, nothing really FRICKEN happens. What happened, what was the point. WHY GOD WHY?! The first half sets up so many mysteries and less than half of them are explored at all! 

So, my thoughts – I know this review is pretty short even though the book is hella long. I think that I could really adore Murakami because I thought the writing of his book was honestly beautiful. I really found myself completely sucked into the writing the style and I think if it was a little shorter I might have enjoyed hella more. I think because I spent so long in the story to have everything pulled away from me just made me angry. I read a couple of reviews that tried to convince me that the author is trying to turn the tale back on the reader – erm no. No it’s just silly. If you haven’t read 1Q84 I would recommend Murakami for the style but  I couldn’t really recommend this tome of a read. It left me a little cold.

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