June Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

June has flown by and I can’t believe it’s already July! The highlight of June for me was going to see Kraftwerk with my husband and it was absolutely brilliant. I still can’t believe that we managed to get tickets to see them!

I’m still going through my medication changes so I’m very up and down depending on where I am in the reduction plan. I was offered a new kind of treatment to potentially help with pain management and the person who is doing the treatment has ended up working with me on my PTSD. It’s been amazing for me to finally be shedding those symptoms, and once we’ve worked through those I’ll be starting on the pain protocol to see if it can help me cope better with my pain levels. It’s very draining, mentally and physically, but it’s worth it to be finally dealing with some very traumatic memories.

I also wanted to say here that I am so grateful to all of you who keep reading and sharing my posts, to those of you who comment and check in to see how I am. I honestly can’t tell you how much it means to me. I feel terrible that I’m not managing much time online at the moment and aren’t keeping up with all of your blogs just now. I promise that when I feel stronger I will be back commenting and catching up. In the meantime though – thank you so much.

 

Here are the 15 books I read this month:

 

Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

 

Fabrice Muamba: I’m Still Standing by Fabrice Muamba

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A Year Lost and Found by Michael Mayne

 

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

 

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

The Hidden Legacy by G. J. Minett


June Blog Posts & Reviews:

I wrote my regular blog posts this month – my Weekly Wrap-Ups, WWW Wednesday posts and my Stacking the Shelves posts so I’m pleased that I didn’t miss any of those.  I didn’t manage to write as many reviews as I’d hoped but I did get five reviews posted which is better than nothing. I also had two fab guest posts from authors Kate Vane and Emily Benet.

Here are the reviews I shared in June:

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig

The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

 

Here are my blog posts from June:

Kate Vane wrote a guest post for my blog all about choosing the title of her novel The Former Chief Executive

Emily Benet wrote about her perfect hen night in celebration of her brand new novel The Hen Party


the-state-of-my-2

The state of my TBR:

As any of you who read my weekly wrap-ups will already know, my plan to reduce my TBR this year has gone completely awry! Books are my pick-me-up so when I’m having a tough time I end up looking at books online and often end up buying one or two. My TBR is now very out of control, not helped by the fact that I didn’t read as much this month as I normally do!

I began this year with a TBR (this is books that I own) of 1885 books and it now stands at 1981 owned but unread books! My aim now is to just really try not to let it get over 2000. I need to get back to at least not buying anymore books than I can read in a month so that my TBR doesn’t get any bigger. My willpower is weak at the moment though.

So far this year I’ve read 129 books, and my target for the year is 200 so I’m definitely on track to achieve that. My Goodreads Mount TBR Challenge to make 100 of those books ones I owned before 31 Dec 2016 is on track. Of the books I’ve read so far this year 52 count for this challenge, which I’m very pleased about.


Quarterly Stats!

 

At the beginning of this year I started tracking my reading and book buying on a spreadsheet for the first time and I’m finding it fascinating to see the patterns in my reading. This is something I’ll definitely be continuing with. I decided to show my stats every three months so it’s that time again!

 

screenshot20

As I said above I’ve read 129 books this year so far, which amounts to 43,464 pages! I’m really interested in keeping an eye on my total page count as well as books read as it means I’m reading for enjoyment, regardless of how long a book is, rather than focusing on shorter books to get my books read numbers up.  Most of my books fall into the 300-399 pages bar but you can see I have read a couple of much longer books as well as a few shorter books.  The average length of book comes in at 339 pages, which I’m pleased with.

 

screenshot21

I’ve used Goodreads to track my reading for many years now and I enjoy the stats that I get from there but it doesn’t give a great deal of info. One thing I’m really enjoying about having my own spreadsheet to track other data, and it’s fascinating me to see the breakdown of author genders. This year I’m not consciously picking authors by gender so this is purely how my reading naturally has been. It’s interesting to see that in the first six months of this year 70% of my reading has been books written by female authors.

 

screenshot22

I read quite a lot of non-fiction last year and wanted to keep that up this year. It was my aim to try and make sure that at least a third of my reading was non-fiction or memoir. Of the 129 books I’ve read so far 35 are non-fiction, so this isn’t quite on target but I have had a month where I’ve needed escapism and fiction so it’s not surprising. I feel sure that my non-fiction mojo will come back and I’ll end up being back on target.  I am reading a wide variety of genres in general though, so I’m pleased overall. The genres I read most of are general fiction, thriller and non-fiction.

 

screenshot23

I’m also tracking how I acquire my books, which is also interesting to me. I’m happy to say that I buy the majority of my books, or have received them as gifts. I do get quite a lot of books from NetGalley and from publishers, which I am so grateful for but I think it’s good to see that I’m buying more books than I get sent as I do want to always support authors by buying their books, as well as reviewing them.

 


 

How was your June? I hope you all had a good month and that you read good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

Weekly Wrap-Up! (2 Jul)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

 

This week has been another quiet week but I’m slowly having a de-clutter of the kitchen, which is proving very satisfying. I’ve discovered that I’m inadvertently a collector of jars – there were jars shoved in the back of a lot of cupboards and I had no idea I’d kept so many. They’ve now gone for recycling and we now have more space to put things away! Isn’t it funny how you don’t even realise the way your hoarding tendencies are playing out until you see the evidence for yourself?! Ha!

It was also an exciting week this week as my cousin has released his debut album. He lives in America so it’s wonderful that we live in an age where I can buy his album on iTunes in the UK on the day it was released! I’m so proud of him – his late mum and me were very close and I just know she would be bursting with pride at how he’s following his dreams.

 

This week I’ve finished reading three books:

The Hidden Legacy by G. J. Minett

This has been on my TBR ever since it was first published so I made it one of my choices for the #20BooksofSummer challenge and I’m so glad I did. I found myself really engrossed in this novel and very much enjoyed reading it.

Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

This book caught my eye on my kindle last week and I immediately started reading. I got completely wrapped up in this novel and am still thinking about it now, a week after finishing it. I highly recommend this one.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

This was another of my #20BooksofSummer picks and I adored this novel! I’m not the biggest fan of Pride and Prejudice but this modern take on it was brilliant. It’s a great read for the summer and I definitely recommend it if you haven’t already read it.

 

This week I’ve blogged four times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up post

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

Friday: Guest post by author Emily Benet on her ideal hen party as part of The Hen Party blog tour

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

My Sister Milly by Gemma Dowler

I bought this book after seeing Gemma on This Morning last week and I started reading it right away. It’s a tough read because you see the pain the family were in when Milly went missing and you know it’s not going to have a good outcome. This is a very powerful book, I recommend it.

A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

This is my current audio book – I picked it on a whim and it’s an okay listen. I’m about 20% in and it’s lacking something for me at the moment but I’m intrigued enough to keep going for now so hopefully it will pick up a bit soon.

The Child by Fiona Barton

I’ve had to leave this to one side this week as I just haven’t been able to turn the pages of a print book. I was really engrossed in the novel though so I really hope I can get back to it soon. If all else fails I’ll look at getting the ebook or the audio so I can carry on with it.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

This is a book that has got to me in ways I wasn’t expecting when I started reading so I’m now reading it much slower and savouring it. It’s a beautiful book though and one I’ll be recommending.

Baby Lost by Hannah Robert AND The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Both of these books have been on hold again this week. I feel like I need to add them here as they are on my currently reading shelf and I do hope to continue with them soon. Both are brilliant reads, it’s just not been the right time for me to read them recently.

 

the-state-of-my-2

Update on my TBR: 

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1973

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 9

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1982

 


 

How’s your week been? I hope it’s been a good week, I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to and what you’ve been reading over the last seven days. If you do a wrap-up post please feel free to share a link below.

Find out what @EmilyBenet’s ideal hen party would be! #TheHenParty #BlogTour

Today I’m thrilled to welcome the wonderful Emily Benet back to my blog! Emily’s brand new novel, The Hen Party is out now and to celebrate Emily has told me all about her perfect hen party!

My Ideal Hen Party

Call me a party pooper but in my ideal hen party there are no rubber willies. Not dangling around my neck, not shooting up like a rocket from a hair band and not fixed to the end of my straw. I’m not that bothered about a sash either! Forget the L plates, at 33 years old I’ve only just learned to drive. The last thing I want to be reminded of while I’m trying to have a good time is my fear of driving alone!

In my book, the hens win a one-week holiday in Mallorca and are filmed for The Hen Party reality TV series. It sounds pretty great but the director has her own agenda and the hens themselves are keeping secrets from each other. I definitely wouldn’t want my hen party broadcast on national television and I’d only want my best friends around me.

In my ideal hen party the schedule would be very relaxed. I’d escape to an alpine cabin in the mountains and the day would begin with a swim and a picnic at the nearby river. Yep, I know it sounds a bit Enid Blyton, but hey, I love ginger beer… especially when mixed with rum. Although, I think cava suits the scene better. In proper glasses too. There would be a delicious spread. A lot of cheese. That bits important. A LOT OF CHEESE. And olives. I love olives.

It has to be sunny. We’ll go for a wander through the forest and all the wildlife will come out to meet us like in Snow White. Rabbits, hedgehogs, deer, maybe even a friendly bear. I love wildlife documentaries but would never have the patience to wait days on end for the perfect snap.

Back at our cabin, we’d have an Argentine-style barbeque with lots of red wine. The barbeque would turn into our bonfire which we’d inevitably end up dancing around to all our favourite tunes, because miraculously the signal will work perfectly for Spotify.

When the fire has gone out, we’ll lie on our backs and look up at the stars. I won’t have to pretend to see a shooting star like I did when I was little, because there will be so many. We’ll reminisce about the good times and have a good laugh at ourselves.

In short, my ideal hen party would be drama-free, unlike my book, The Hen Party!

 

 

I’ve previously interviewed Emily (you can read that here) and reviewed her last novel #PleaseRetweet, which I loved and highly recommend (you can read that here).

About the Book

CoverFinalRGB

Film Director, Kate Miller, is in serious trouble. The entire cast and crew of the reality TV show The Hen Party has gone missing while filming in Mallorca. To make matters worse, the network boss has just flown in and will be arriving any minute to check up on her production.

Kate thinks it’s all her fault. She hasn’t exactly been following the guidelines.

But if she is to blame, why were the hens arguing among themselves? And why is the groom-to-be calling her in tears?

Kate doesn’t know the half of it. The hens have their own secrets and it’s only matter of time before they all come tumbling out.

A party of eight arrive on the island, but not everyone’s going home.

 

About the Author

ProfileMedRes

 

Emily is an author and award-winning blogger. Her debut book, Shop Girl Diaries, began as a blog. Her second, Spray Painted Bananas, racked up a million hits on the online platform Wattpad and  led to a 2 book deal with Harper Collins which led to social media comedy #PleaseRetweet. Her latest book, The Hen Party, is set in Mallorca where she lives with her husband and writes for abc mallorca magazine.

 

Universal Link:  https://books2read.com/u/b5Oyq7

My website: www.emilybenet.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EmilyBenetAuthor

Twitter: @EmilyBenet

 

 

You can follow the rest of this blog tour at the following stops:

Hen Party-Summer Blog Tour

Author Interview with Emily Benet about #PleaseRetweet

PleaseRetweet BookCover

Emily Benet‘s fabulous book #PleaseRetweet is published in paperback today for the first time! I read it a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it, you can read my review here. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to interview Emily recently and couldn’t resist asking her about all things Social Media!

When did you first join twitter? What made you join?

February 2009. I had to check that. I don’t want you thinking I celebrate my Twitter anniversary or anything! I had already been blogging for a year and saw Twitter as another way of reaching potential readers.

How quickly did it feel quite normal for you to share things about your life with your followers, and how long was it before you were checking twitter every chance you got?

I was very open from the start. My blog, which was turned into the book, Shop Girl Diaries, tells my whole journey to publication with all the highs and lows. It’s very personal really with a dollop of romance in there too. No real names, though! The dark, handsome hero is referred to as ‘The Date’!

Whereas blogging felt natural, I didn’t get Twitter at first. I felt like I was in the middle of a busy airport and everyone was just shouting at each other. I got into it about three years ago.

Have you ever tweeted while drunk/half asleep or attempted to send a DM and instead accidentally shared the tweet publicly on your timeline? Is it something you can share?

I’m more likely to drunk text, than drunk tweet. I have tweeted drunkenly but never anything of consequence, just silly comments about Eurovision. I once tweeted that my husband had just lopped his own hair off with a scissors.  His sister texted him about that and he asked me, how does she know about my hair? He doesn’t like me tweeting about him so it was a bit awkward! Sometimes you need to ask yourself, Why am I sharing this with the whole world?

Do you go on twitter whenever you have a spare minute or do you allow yourself regular times throughout the day?

There is no structure to my Twitter life. I check whenever I get a notification and tweet completely randomly, but always daily.

Have you ever felt that you were addicted to twitter, or going on it too often? How did you deal with it?

I know I’m going on it too much when my daily word count suffers. I hate the feeling of wasting time. Tweeting isn’t half as fulfilling as writing a novel, and it can leave me feeling a little empty if my attention has been spent more on social media than writing.

I recently had a social media detox and was offline for a week. I deleted the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone. It was really liberating. At the same time it was alarming how my brain kept composing tweets!

What inspired you to start writing PleaseRetweet? 

It was a mixture of wanting to laugh at social media and make sense of it. It’s something that has had such a positive influence in my life with regards to my writing career and can be an amazing tool for creativity and community. But it can also get in the way of you living life and enjoying the moment. I hate it when people meet up and spend more time on their phones than actually talking to each other. I also hate people taking selfies all the time. It’s so boring. It’s basically the same photo over and over and over…. I suppose I wanted to get all that down on paper!

Is life better now we have social media or was it better before?

What social media has done for freedom of speech and enabling the broadcast of important issues is incredible. With social media we can get different perspectives that aren’t offered in mainstream news. It has motivated people to help lots of great causes. On the other hand, being bombarded by so much information and so many opinions, not to mention the trolls and haters, can be difficult to process and can cause anxiety. There are plenty of pros and cons. How long have you got?

Do you believe it’s possible for people to form true friendships and relationships on twitter? Have you made any?

Yes! I have two very good friends on Twitter. We are completely different ages and we all first met at a book launch after months of tweeting. As for romantic relationships, I have heard of bloggers meeting after tweeting and hooking up. The internet has been the catalyst of a lot of romance!

Did you use your own experiences of twitter in PleaseRetweet? Or did anything you read on twitter inspire aspects of the story?

I couldn’t have written the book if I hadn’t been very active on social media myself. The first thing I did when I decided to write #PleaseRetweet was to follow all those people I’d originally unfollowed on Facebook. Some people have no filter at all and post some really wonderfully, cringe worthy status updates! There are lots of observations of myself too; the constant checking and scrolling and the feeling of inadequacy when no one responds to a tweet. I enjoyed taking the mick out of myself!

What do you do to relax away from social media?

Reading- surprise surprise! I’m a huge fan of hilarious John O’Farrell and the brilliant Liane Moriarty. It’s the perfect escapism. I also love watching Downton abbey, even if the plot is a bit rubbish. I’m happiest outside though. I love the sea, mountains… and anything cooked on a barbeque.

Thank you so much for your time, Emily. I wish you all the best with the paperback release of #PleaseRetweet.


Emily is on the following social media sites:

Social Media Links:

www.emilybenet.com
www.twitter.com/EmilyBenet
www.facebook.com/EmilyBenetAuthor

Optional You Tube video: https://youtu.be/n6TjNUy_iQM

Amazon link:  http://hyperurl.co/v47754


ProfPicWeb
Biog:
Emily Benet is a half Welsh – half Spanish Londoner, currently living on the beautiful island of Mallorca. Wherever she’s lived her passion for writing has followed.

Her debut book Shop Girl Diaries began as a blog about working in her Mum’s eccentric chandelier shop. It won the CompletelyNovel Author Blog Awards at the London Book Fair.

Her second book, a romantic comedy called The Temp, also began its life online, as a serialised novel on Wattpad and racked up two million hits under its original title Spray Painted Bananas. It led to her signing with MBA agency and a two book deal with Harper Collins imprint Harper Impulse. #PleaseRetweet is her latest book.


My September Reads

During September I read sixteen books and think I can safely say that I’ve got my reading mojo back! I read some absolutely brilliant books this month and honestly can’t pick a favourite. Here is a list of the books I read (in the order I read them), I’ve not reviewed all of these books but will link to the ones I have.

Blog September Reads

Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

Fragile and Perfectly Cracked: A Memoir of Loss and Infertility by Sophie Wyndham

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

Abroad by Katie Crouch

A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

Somewhere in Between by Katie Li

Chronic Pain: The Mananagement Plan by Robert Lewin

Never Too Late by Amber Portwood

Sept Reads blog#PleaseRetweet by Emily Benet

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

Bulletproof by Maci Bookout

Carefully Everywhere Descending by L. B. Bedford

Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy

Breaking Away by Anna Gavalda

It’s impossible for me to pick a favourite book from this list, I was lucky enough to read so many amazing books. I think honourable mentions have to go to A Parcel for Anna Browne and Christmas at Lilac Cottage because of the wonderful, magical powers these two books have to just make your day so much brighter and sparklier! I also want to mention #PleaseRetweet because it was the first book I’ve read in a really long time that had me full on laughing out loud. And finally I have to recommend Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart because it is such a beautiful, moving look at grief and yet remains uplifting. It’s a MG/YA book but I’d recommend it to everyone, especially people who have lost a loved one.

Review: #PleaseRetweet by Emily Benet

PleaseRetweet

I absolutely loved this book! It’s such a fun, contemporary novel that is so apt for the social media age we now live in.

May Sparks is a social media expert; her job is to run the twitter accounts of C-list celebrities who either cannot be trusted to run their own account, or they’re completely clueless when it comes to social media. Her job sounds like it would be fun and easy, what could possibly be hard about being paid to be on twitter all day? Well, it all quickly begins to unravel for May when tweeting as these celebs starts to take over her whole life, and ultimately the lines begin to blur between her real life and the lives of the celebrities she works for. May finds she has no time for her own twitter account or her real life friends and it all begins to spiral out of her control.

May is a brilliant character who I’m sure anyone who has spent time on twitter will identify with. I think we all occasionally think in hashtags these days, or feel compelled to take photos of everything that happens to us so we can share with our followers. We can’t help but feel a flutter of excitement if we get retweeted a few times; or if a celebrity replies to us, or even better follows back!  I often found myself chuckling as I recognised some of my twitter traits in SparkyMay. I know I’m guilty of planning on just having a quick scroll through my timeline only to realise a whole afternoon has disappeared. And I’ve occasionally retweeted sappy motivational quotes! Oh, and twitter and my real life blurred in a big way when I met my husband on there and moved to the other side of the country to be with him many years ago, and it all stemmed from a certain celebrity’s short-lived book club (for real!).

I can’t think of another book that has ever made me laugh out loud as much as #PleaseRetweet did. It’s such a brilliant take on modern life and how twitter can easily take over if we let it. I’m recommending this book to everyone!

I rate this book 10 out of 10.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I’ve now bought my own copy as I know this is a book I’ll read again.

#PleaseRetweet is out now and available from Amazon


EDIT 5th NOVEMBER 2015

Today on my blog I’ve got an interview I did with Emily Benet about the paperback release of #PleaseRetweet and we talked about all things social media. The link is here!