Rewind, recap: Weekly update w/e 13/01/19

It’s a funny old month, January. A time when people ponder lots of things. Resolutions, fresh starts, new directions. How to make the limited funds in your bank account last until the following payday …

One of the things I have been thinking about is blogging. It’s an age old dilemma that I think most bloggers end up contemplating at some stage, and one which has been expressed eloquently by my lovely friend and top notch fellow blogger Jill over at Jill’s Book Cafe. Should I stay or should I go now? To continue to plague the world with my reviews or to hang up my blogging gloves before I fall out of love with reading.

It can be a chore sometimes when you have made a commitment to read a book that, in any other circumstances, you are certain you will love, but right now is falling into second place behind ‘real life’. There have been many times lately when I have struggled to find my way through a book, knowing full well that it is me and my mindset, not the book, that is at fault. And this weekend I have seen the power of a simple ten second tweet where I have had several responses telling me that they have now bought the book (probably because of who wrote it, published it and the fact it is on offer …) because I tweeted, and yet I seldom get any response to a review I have spent hours pouring my heart into. (Ironically I also got more reactions yesterday to what was intended to be an ironic FB status saying I was giving up reviewing than most of my reviews/posts get – go figure.)

Sure, a review gets shared by fellow bloggers, for which I am eternally grateful, but other than a thanks from the author (in most but not all cases!), I am never certain anyone has even actually read what they are sharing. A waste of time you’d think then, huh? Believe me when I say that I am as guilty as the next blogger of tweeting and running. It can be a full time job just sharing the blog love never mind actually telling the other blogger why their review is fabulous or what you thought of the book they are reviewing. Like many others, I am more likely to comment on a personal blog post than one which details their thoughts on a book. Why, I don’t know, but there it is. And why bother with a blog when I can just wallop them on Amazon and be as ignored there as I am here? I’d certainly avoid what appears to be a targeted campaign of marking bloggers reviews unhelpful so that other reviewers slip ahead of them in the ‘Amazon Reviewer Rankings’. Yes that is an actual thing …

So yes. I’ve been thinking. (Another reason why I am so crap at actually reading right now as I am not concentrating on the task at hand at all). Do you want to know what conclusion I have come to? Are you even still there? I realise this post could now be just like my reviews and I’m talking to an empty room, lol. So … Do you?

Well, what I have been thinking is (and pardon my language here) that I don’t actually give a bollocks about any of that stuff. I didn’t start blogging to find fame or fortune or any of the other things that youngsters seem to want a YouTube/Bookstagram career for these days. Just as well really, as book blogging is literally the worst type of blogging to pursue for all that crap ;). I blog because, behind all the doubt, agonising over reviews and general procrastination that stops me from reading the books like I should be, I like sharing my thoughts on books. Even if the author is (occasionally) the only person who actually reads them, then I’ve done my job. My reviews were, and are, a thanks to the author for the joy they have given me with their weeks, months, or even years of hard work. No more and no less. Everything else is window dressing. I don’t need validation.

If you had told me three years ago that I’d be a part of an online community where I would make new friends and find people with shared interests that I would end up meeting up with around the country, in pubs and hotel gardens and what not (and believe me when I say I bloody HATE pubs), I’d have responded with the following. ‘Are you high? No thank you. Bloody Facebook is annoying enough.’ And yet here I am.

Whether you want me or not, I’m in the heart of what is, for the most part, a bloody brilliant community and full of fun and friendly people. Yes – we can be neurotic and crazy at times. We are human. It’s what we do best. Sure, we have the occasional spat and get on each other’s nerves – what family doesn’t – but we get over it and move on and get back to what is important. Sharing the book love. We don’t all like the same books. That’s fine. Taste’s differ. It’s natural My sister eats leeks and I bloody hate them – they stink. And we share actual DNA! You’d expect some kind of synergy there at least!

Book blogging can be frustrating. It can be brilliant. I may get no views or I might get a hundred (usually closer to the former…) but it doesn’t matter much. We all do this thing our way and that is fine. I’ll meet some of you (well I’ve already met two of the three readers of this blog post and they are lovely people 😉 ) and I won’t meet others. We may each love or loathe Marmite (loathe), but we’ll always have books in common. ❤

Can you tell bugger all of interest happened to me this week? 😀 Here have a random cat pic. And some swans from my walk yesterday. They’re cute.

Back to the books. I bought and received two this week. Red Snow by Will Dean as a gift for my sister, and The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup as a gift for me.

Other ebooks I have ordered/preordered are The Shape of Lies by Rachel Abbott (there may be a familiarly named character in that one …); Bridge to Burn by Rachel Amphlett and Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear. Only one ARC from Netgalley – Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary.

Books I have read

Bollywood Wives – Alex Khan

The biggest scandals happen off-camera…

Zara Das is Bollywood’s hottest property, her every move watched by the eyes of the press. Riding high from the success of a string of blockbusters, she has the world at her feet, but the scandal from her latest film threatens to dethrone her as Bollywood’s reigning queen. 

So when superstar director Raj Dillon stages a lavish retelling of Pride and Prejudice, moving the shoot from Mumbai’s soundstages to London, Zara knows this is the role that could put her back on top. Coming with them are the Bollywood Wives – Jackie, Sasha, and Rani – bringing their own off-screen drama.

But behind the diamonds, designer clothes and seven-star hotels lies the truth of how Zara reached the top. And when a dead body is found in her hotel room, it seems that someone is determined to take Zara down – and will stop at nothing to expose her darkest secrets. 

Zara has spent years running from her past. But now it’s caught up with her…

A marked change of direction for the author a lot of us will know as Alex Caan, this is a fun, thrilling and scandal laden tale set in the heart of Bollywood. Sexy and addictive I can think of quite a few people who are going to absolutely love this book. A brilliant start for Mr Khan and brand new publisher Hera Books, you can preorder it here.

Beton Rouge – Simone Buchholz

On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of the biggest German newspapers. Closer inspection shows he is a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in similar circumstances.

Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect … to the dubious past shared by both victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the elite world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

Man, I absolutely loved this book. Raced through it in a just a few hours. It’s one of those absolute page turners with cracking characters and an intriguing and completely engrossing storyline. Chastity Riley is a brilliant lead character and I have to admit to a bit of a book crush on the new Detective, Ivo. Highly recommended. You can preorder the book here.

The Hunter – Andrew Reid

A troubled genius who vanishes in a mysterious car crash.

A disillusioned cop sensing conspiracy in the corridors of power.

A ruthless team of mercenaries operating in the shadows.

A billion-dollar business that wants the world in its grip.

One link connects them all.

A champion fighter. Betrayed and searching for the truth.

CAMERON KING IS THE HUNTER.

I read this for a blog tour and have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised by the book. High action, full of great characters you can really get behind, especially Cameron and Ray. I love a good action thriller and this is a good one, and although a bit of a techno-thriller too, it’s not so far from the realms of possibility … You can order a copy here.

That was it. Three books, not too shabby I suppose as I’m also half way through In A House Of Lies by Ian Rankin. And I’ve been procrastinating and debating the finer points of blogging, obvs … Blog slow down continues. Recap below for those those of you still here:

Red Snow – Will Dean
Behind the Smile – Mary Grand
Fatal – Jacqui Rose
Mary Kate – Nadine Dorries
Bridge to Burn – Rachel Amphlett

The week ahead is very sparse. A couple of tours for Perfect Match by Zoe May and The Good Teacher by Rachel Sergeant. If you’re over on Instagram I’m part of a Bookstagram Tour tomorrow too. And that’s it for the week. No. Honestly. It really is.

Hope you all have a great week of reading and writing and procrastinating and whatever else floats your boat. I may be quieter (yippee I hear you cheer) but I’m still here. Sorry 😀

Jen

44 thoughts on “Rewind, recap: Weekly update w/e 13/01/19

  1. I’m listening. I may not always say much, but I often read. Time, as you say, is often limited, and blogging does seem to need quite a lot of it, but like you, I love being part of a wide (a global) network. Twitters are fine, but blogging feels more like friendships, to me. Hope you do keep posting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a difficult balance. I want to be able to do more, to comment more, but with work and reading and writing posts and trying to have a life not lived in a book… I just pity any author looking to me to increase sales for them lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank goodness you are still here! It is. a lonely life book blogging I would imagine. I feel so guilty that I don’t post after each of your blogs. Must do better. I read every one of them and value your ‘take’ on each of the books mentioned, even if I don’t post. There must be a million more like me, too. You are valued. Will try to post more often. JM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww. Thank you but it’s. Not a problem honestly. I think a life lived online will always be lonely. Tweet and it’s gone in a flash and maybe no one sees it. Write a long post – same lol.

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  3. I’ve considered giving up a lot but told myself I’d never give up reading other blogs, or reading, or leaving Amazon reviews … and then that led me back to why the hell would I give up if I want to do all of that anyway?! So I think it’s ingrained in me and while I can see myself tak i ng breaks, I can never see a time where I won’t. I think you’re probably at ten times the pressure I am though because I’m a wuss and don’t commit to blog tours the way you epic bloggers do!! And I honestly mean this but your blog posts are so funny and intelligent that I would say most people read (I never share if I don’t read in case the blogger has totally different opinions to my own and I’m giving them a share of a view or something I find awful!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s a difficult one isn’t it. I’ve had a full on couple of years so am trying to give myself more of a breather but as I will still be writing the reviews anyway, I’ll still keep blogging.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello, my lovely friend and fellow ace blogger (your cheque’s in the post btw!). It’s obviously the time for reviewing (bad choice of word) and re-assessing. I know exactly where you’re coming from. My last years most viewed post and the one that attracted attention was dashed off in about 10-15 mins without the usual hours/days of pondering and figuring out what I wanted to stay. meanwhile a review that might have been days in the making (forget the reading time) attracts little attention. It’s very easy to get sucked into stats and comparisons, which didn’t even figure on my radar when I set up the blog. I was delirious to have anybody following me or sharing. So it’s really recognising why we do what we do. For me it’s therapeutic (possibly not for others) to put out there what I’m thinking and sharing what I like. I readily acknowledge I miss the bookish interaction I used to have with readers in the library and my blog is my virtual substitute. I for one am happy you’ll still be sharing (especially now I know it won’t include Marmite – I hate the bloody stuff). Do what makes you happy and rest assured some of us do actually read it – even if we don’t always comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely no Marmite appreciation here (although it may get mentioned in an upcoming review… ) I hate stats. They are all rubbish. It is nice to be able to chat about a book though, something that I don’t think we as bloggers, ironically, do enough. We share, we may comment we love it, but we seldom spend time to talk about why. Quite odd that really lol

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  5. I prefer marmite to leeks. Never considered stopping blogging, I need to step back from tours though for my own sanity. Really looking forward to picking up a book by choice. With regards to people marking reviews unhelpful oh amazon, some people need to get out more.
    Hope to say more than ‘hi’ if we meet this year x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you summed up brilliantly how most feel, and also how hard it is to share all the time. I think even if I didnt work I would still struggle. Great book haul by the way and fab post 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s a difficult balance isn’t it. I’d love to do more but in reality the priority has to be earning the pennies that keep the cats in Dreamies and me in books lol. And social media is so hard to keep Up with these days. Just too much to juggle.

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  7. I like this post! However, I have to admit that I’ve never considered giving up the blog. Eight years in and it’s part of me, it would be like cutting off one of my feet, and you know how much I LOVE ankle boots!
    I rarely look at my stats, Blogger is rubbish at stats!

    Blogging really has changed my life. I now make a living through book blogs, I’ve made friends who I cherish and who gave me strength during what was a pretty rough time last year. I now talk to real life authors; my childhood dream!

    I honestly would be completely lost without my blog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean Anne. It’s a labour of love. Highs and lows from it but it has genuinely opened up a whole new world to me. I am a natural introvert. Shy and unsure, in spite of having the ability to be loud and outspoken. But I’ve met some really great people through blogging and have found my own version of Rock Stars. I love the theatre and used to spend thousands on going to see shows. Now I spend all my time figuring what hours I need to work to get the time off to go to book events lol.

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  8. So I may have gained a few more grey hairs when reading that post. I love your reviews and because of you I have discovered so many books and gosh you were the one that herded me to LJ Ross and the Infirmary.
    I am the same with you with the comments, I try to comment when I have something better to say then fab review all the time. Even though that’s what I think. But I don’t always get the hits and the comments but when someone says they brought a book because of me then that makes me smile. This year I am gobigt to try and meet bloggers and hopefully I will get to meet you!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah it would be great to meet you. Hopefully you do get to meet some
      Bloggers as they are a fab bunch. It’s so hard to find the words to say sometimes and others I’m scared to read a review when I haven’t written my own but by and large I think we all do okay.

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      1. I think you do fab! I try not to read reviews until I have read the book and wrote mine so I am with you on that!

        Hopefully I will make Harrogate this year as it looked amazing last year so if you are there then that would be good to meet you then!

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  9. OMG don’t apologize for being here. If not for eloquent book bloggers like you – what would be the point? Like you, I’m guilty of sometimes ‘liking’, ‘tweeting’, and running – but there are only 24 hours in a day. If you want to spread the book love, you have to accept that and move on. There are some bloggers (some of whom have kitties), that I will read every word of their post/review before ‘liking’ and ‘tweeting’.
    I totally agree with your reasons for blogging. Like you I’ve been delighted when an author acknowledges the love and time I’ve put into a review. More often than not though, I don’t know if they have even taken the time to read my review as I don’t have any way of knowing one way or the other. Yet we persist…
    I would be lost without my blog. It has fulfilled a much needed outlet for me since I retired from the career I loved (a public library cataloguer). It has connected me to like-minded people from all over the world. What old retired lady wouldn’t like that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I know exactly what you mean. I never expect interaction to be fair but always nice when it come. There are certain tour organisers or authors who always comment on the blog post without fail, others who acknowledge via Twitter, which is far less trouble to be fair, but by and large you get a warm feeling from being part of the book crowd.

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