Well. This has been a long week. Not a bad week but a long week. Lots of thinking, lots of pondering and, strangely, actually less reading than last week but hey ho. No bad thing. Can’t say I’ve been busy at work but I’ve a busy week coming up to make up for it. Off to Dublin today to deliver a bit of training and talk about labelling. Can’t contain my excitement at that one. Tuesday and Wednesday back in the office and then I’m off right up north. Dundee on Thursday/Friday and then a weekend at Granite Noir before spending Monday morning with my team in Portlethen. Busy bee I am then.
On the positive side, I’ve got about sixteen hours of driving ahead of me so I get to listen to a couple of audio books which will be nice 🙂 And all that airport time today will mean another one of my ARCs will most likely be completed too so it’s not all bad.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about this week is the responsibility of being a book blogger. I think that it’s one of those things that novice bloggers don’t always think about when deciding to get into the game. And, trust me, a game is exactly what it can be. Getting caught up in blogitics can be a perilous pastime. Some readers will love you, others will hate you, for no clear reason, and accuse you of not being a real reader. They will assume you’re on a publishers payroll (some bloggers are paid for reviews but that is a whole other can of worms and not one for a round up post). Some authors will love you, some will get very personal and (thankfully only on occasion) quite aggressive over a less than perfect review. Some authors may say thanks, some don’t even notice. Most, however are great and actually do take the time to read your review policy which states quite politely that you don’t EVER EVER EVER review erotica…
Anyway. Back to responsibility. Blogging, book blogging especially, is, for most, a hobby and one you should always strive to enjoy. Don’t let it get you down. Don’t let it make you angry. Don’t feel pressure to agree to a review if you cannot commit and try not to feel bad when you say no. It’s okay. However, we have a responsibility to be fair in those books we do agree to review. While it is a hobby for us, there are seldom few, if any, authors for whom writing is merely a hobby. It is something they do for work, for the love of books, and it is entirely personal. Their baby. Their precious. We have to remember that when reviewing as while praise is great, unqualified, unfair criticism and being personal or attacking an author through review is not only wrong but uncalled for. And so is simply not providing feedback at all. In that respect I know I must try harder.
I have joked in the past about having no book post. The reality is that the idea of unsolicited book post terrifies me. I know the word ‘unsolicited’ infers there is no guarantee of a review, but authors do count on our reviews and feedback, and on bloggers spreading the word. Yes – maybe it is free PR and they should be happy with what they get, but then we hardly got into blogging so our thoughts and feelings on books stayed locked up in our heads never to be shared now did we? We want to share the book love. At least, that is why I blog. I’d hate to think I ever take for granted the opportunity I am afforded by publishers (via Netgalley and direct approach) and authors to review their books, often ahead of general release. I’m in a very privileged position. I do know that. I fully intend to review every book I have been sent. It may take me a few decades but I’ll get there.
I still see debates around the tinterweb about freebies. Where can I get them? How do I get #bookpost? Well … you get regular ‘free’ books on Netgalley by being a trusted reviewer, one who leaves an adequate review not just a ‘I liked the book’ one liner. That may get you one approval but won’t necessarily lead to more. Auto approval is a privilege, not a right. You get #bookpost by giving honest and detailed feedback on how you liked (or didn’t like) a book without any expectation of anything in return. This attitude will get you noticed. This will get you respect. This will get you feeling all the #bloglove.
I’m very lucky. I can afford to purchase lots of books and don’t have to wait for the Amazon daily deal to do so. Every ‘freebie’ I receive I either buy on Kindle or in physical form, even all of those Netgalley ARCs. I may not always be able to review bang on time for ARCs, but I do pay my way in the event I let everyone down. (And new bloggers – never, ever feel you are letting folk down. You aren’t if you maintain honesty and fairness in your reviews when they eventually come.)
The truth is we all have lives outside of blogging. Mine is fairly limited so I do read rather a lot, however I will never take for granted the wonderful gifts I am given by Authors and Publishers alike. Please, in return, do not take for granted, or ignore, my review policy, or the fact that sometimes I am just too busy. Important job, lots of travel don’t you know.
Get me all serious and stuff. Who knew?
Well … speaking of #bookpost, I have more this week. My postman/woman/gender-fluid person (who knows) must be starting to hate me. Some of it was a ‘freebie’ or two, other was my long awaited Goldsboro books parcel.
Starting with my purchases I received my limited edition copy of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Very pretty, red edged pages, ribbon book mark, maps and everything. Total #booklove. I also got my signed copy of This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan.
My #bookpost for the week was plentiful by my standards. First up was The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl courtesy of Orenda Books. Three in one day with My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland from Trapeze; The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise from Oldcastle Books/No Exit and The Fear by CL Taylor from Avon. Last, but my no means least, I also received a copy of Never Go There by Rebecca Tinnelly from Hodder. So lucky.
Netgalley wise I only picked up one book as I need it for a blog tour. That was Emma Robinson’s The Undercover Mother.
Reading wise I was pretty poor with just four books this week.
Books I have Read
Are you looking for an unmissable historical mystery? Then you’ll love BK Duncan’s Found Drowned.
Smuggling. Prostitution. Murder.
London. 1920 and coroner’s officer May Keaps is tasked with solving the mystery that surrounds the death of a young boy, found drowned in The Thames.
But was it murder or an accident?
May knows that when children go missing, the reason is often linked to money but she is in danger of underestimating the corrupting influence of power . . .
On streets where poverty and exploitation walk hand-in-hand everyone has a price. And some are more valuable dead than alive. But who is pulling the strings?
May must journey into the dark underbelly of London to find the answers.
I will be reviewing this for the blog blitz next week. Book two in the May Keaps series this touches on some very hard to read issues as our heroine tries to find the identity of a young boy who was found in the Thames. You can preorder a copy of the book here.
The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.
One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.
Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to ask questions about her parents’ deaths. But by digging up the past, is she putting her future in danger? Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie . . .
The stunning, twisty new psychological thriller from number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh, author of I LET YOU GO and I SEE YOU.
Clare Mackintosh’s third book and quite different in pace and tone to it’s predecessors. Following a woman trying to come to terms with her parents’ suicides, she cannot begin to comprehend the truth she is yet to uncover. A gripping mystery I’ll be reviewing next week (fingers crossed). You can preorder a copy here.
Scarred by the Troubles in Belfast, Billy Nelson returns to his loyalist roots following his discharge from army service. But Belfast and the people he knew have changed, and after his gang are responsible for a series of violent attacks on innocent victims, he is forced out of the city and moves in on the drugs business in Edinburgh.
Taking on the family who have been the main players in the city for years, a battle for control amongst the criminal underworld of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast ensues, and the balance of power is upset…
Grace Macallan, recently promoted to Superintendent in the Specialist Crime and Counter Terrorism Directorate, has her hands full as a series of incidents leaves a trail of victims. As the old demons of the Troubles come back to haunt her again, can Grace keep the streets of Scotland safe, as well as balancing the conflicting interests of the police in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Security Services, who all have an interest in Nelson and his paramilitary contacts in Belfast…
This is the second book in the Grace Macallan series but the first I have read. Set in Edinburgh there is a gang war about to begin which Grace and her team need to halt before things go a step too far. Out on 22nd Feb you can preorder a copy here.
A serial killer stalks the streets of Rome…
A gripping debut crime novel and the first in a groundbreaking series, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.
A city on lockdown.
In the depths of a freakish winter, Rome is being torn apart by a serial killer dubbed The Carpenter intent on spreading fear and violence. Soon another woman is murdered – hammered to death and left with a cryptic message nailed to her chest.
A detective in danger.
Maverick Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara are assigned to the investigation. But when Rossi’s girlfriend is attacked – left in a coma in hospital – he becomes the killer’s new obsession and his own past hurtles back to haunt him.
A killer out of control.
As the body count rises, with one perfect murder on the heels of another, the case begins to spiral out of control. In a city wracked by corruption and paranoia, the question is: how much is Rossi willing to sacrifice to get to the truth?
Set in Rome, this is the opening book in the MIchael Rossi series and what an opener it is. A violent killer is stalking the streets of Rome but just what is their story and what message are they trying to convey. I’ll be reviewing next week for the blog tour. IN the meantime preorder a copy here.
Blog wise I took the weekend off but still a few reviews out there last week if you’d like to peruse the archives…
The week ahead is littered with reviews and blog tours. As you do. On Wednesday I have a blog tour review of The Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies; Thursday it’s Come A Little Closer by Rachel Abbott (which may have a little added bonus feature); Friday and it’s The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom. Do stop by for those and other reviews and features.
So. I’ll be a bit busy this week. Might not be a weekly round up next week either, depending on how it all goes at Granite Noir. I might be too busy. But I’ll be back. Already prepped my posts for Tuesday/Wednesday at least so you don’t get rid of me that easily.
Have a fabulous week all and please don’t hate me after Thursday. You’ll see why if you check out my post. Remember folks – I’m just an amateur.