My April Wrap-Up Post

 

 

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This has been a great month on my blog. As some of you will have already noticed, I gave my blog a big makeover at the weekend. My lovely husband, who is a great photographer, took some fab photos of my books for me to use on my blog – his photo is now my blog header and I’m over the moon with it. You can read my post about my blog makeover here.

I also decided to register my blog’s domain so I now own rathertoofondofbooks.com and am really happy about that. It just cements that I’ve been blogging long enough now to know that it’s something I want to keep doing in the long term.

I started using dictation software in April and this has made a massive difference to me, it means I can write blog posts even when I’m unable to type. I also learnt how to schedule my blog posts, and found some software that allows me to schedule unpublished blog posts links on social media in advance. All of this combined has made blogging so much easier for me and means I can achieve more in my day.

My TBR is even more out of control than it was last month due to April bringing lots more new books my way. I’m in the middle of sorting out my enormous TBR into recent purchases/review books and then a separate TBR for books that I’ve been keeping for the right time (see my post on this here). I’m still trying to come up with a way to challenge myself to read these books because if I could stop myself waiting for the right time and just read them it would really help me clear my TBR! If anyone has any ideas for this please share in the comments below. I’m planning on making a TBR jar once I’ve finished my lists but I want a challenge to go with that.

Otherwise life is same old same old really. I’m still struggling to get my pain levels under control but I do finally have an appointment to see a specialist this month so I’m really hoping that something can be done to help me. If I can get my pain better controlled and I can find a medication that doesn’t make my head feel like it’s stuffed full of cotton wool then I’ll be able to get back to reading at my normal speed and will finally be able to start making headway with my TBR.


I managed to read fifteen books this month (three were short stories and two were novellas, and ten were full-length novels):

(Click the orange links to read my reviews; the titles in turquoise are books I’ve read but not yet reviewed)

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Boy with the Boxes by Katey Lovell

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell

Peter and Alice by John Logan

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

 Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

Shtum by Jem Lester

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne


I also reviewed six books that I finished before April

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan (re-blog)

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen


 

I was very lucky this month that I got to interview six authors:

Jannie Lund, author of Vintage Dreams

Sherry Mayes, author of Stop the World

Katye Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage

Mike Russell, author of Nothing is Strange

Siobhan MacDonald, author of Twisted River

Greg Cope White, author of The Pink Marine

 

I also was delighted to have three authors write a guest post for my blog:

Rosy Stewart, author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge Rosy Stewart are a husband and wife writing team. They wrote a great post for my blog all about how it is to write as a duo.

Heidi Perks, author of Beneath the Surface Heidi Perks wrote a brilliant guest post for me in April all about marketing a book on a limited budget. It’s a really interesting post and I recommend reading it.

Sandra Nikolai, author of Fatal Whispers Sandra Nikolai wrote a great guest post for my blog all about how murder mystery writers keep one step ahead of readers. If you’re a fan of thrillers than I’m sure you will love reading this post.


 Also in April, I was very honoured when I was asked to guest post on Laura at 125 Pages blog as part of her first blogiverary celebrations. Laura asked me to write about how the way I approach blogging and how I’ve built my blog up. You can read the post here


 

So, that was my month! How was your April? Has it been a book-filled month for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below, or to leave a link to your own April Wrap-Up post.

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Weekly Wrap-Up (17 April 2016)

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SundayBlogShare

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 


I’ve not had the best week in terms of my health, I’m still struggling to find the balance between controlling pain but not ending up feeling out of it on painkillers. The result at the moment is that I’m feeling quite awful all of the time, so my reading is suffering as I can’t concentrate on books for more than around ten minutes at a time.

I’ve had a good week in terms of blogging though. It’s made such a huge difference to me having my dictation software, I’m dictating just about everything now (even tweets & Facebook updates) so it’s great. Finally working out how to schedule posts in advance, and also how to schedule links to my blog posts to go out on social media using an app, has been a revelation. I’m managing my time better now and it’s been great this week that I’ve had posts up every day on my blog as it was all scheduled in advance during the short periods when I’ve felt a little better.


 

This week I’ve managed to read two books:

Peter and Alice by John Hogan

This is actually a play script but it was easy enough to read as it’s predominantly got just the two characters throughout. This a fictional conversation between Alice (who Alice in Wonderland was based on) and Peter (who Peter Pan was based on) and it’s fascinating. I bought this book a while ago but wish I’d read it sooner now as it was brilliant. I plan to review this on my blog quite soon.

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I finished reading this very late on Friday night and so haven’t managed to review it yet but I will be doing very soon. I really enjoyed this book, it kept me hooked all the way through it.


 

 I’ve blogged ten times this week:

https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

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Monday: Q&A with Sherry Mayes (author of Stop the World)

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Tuesday: Review of Dear Dad by Giselle Green

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Wednesday: WWW Wednesday post

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Thursday: Review of Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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Announcement of the winner of The One-in-a-Million Boy giveaway

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Friday: Review of When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Blog post about Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves post

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Guest post by Rosy Stewart (Author of Hope: Stories from a Women’s Refuge)


 

Coming up on my blog this week:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up (Sunday Post)

Monday: Q&A with Kayte Nunn (author of Rose’s Vintage) PLUS an international giveaway!

Tuesday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Friday: Review or Author Q&A/Interview

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

I treated myself to this book last week and couldn’t resist starting it the other day. It’s about the Titanic disaster but focuses on the Californian – the ship who was near enough to potentially help but they didn’t react. It’s a novel but has been very heavily researched.  I’ve only read the first few chapters so far but it’s very good.

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

I’m very much enjoying this book, it’s brilliant. The only reason for me not finishing it sooner is due to me not being able to read much this week. I hope to read more of it very soon.

Shtum by Jem Lester

I’ve read the first third of this book but I’m not feeling very motivated to pick it back up, it just isn’t grabbing me at all. 

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

This is non-fiction and whilst I know it’s probably going to be quite a tough read later on, at the moment it’s fascinating reading about the family dynamics and how they all got on before the problems started.

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

This book is wonderful. It was written in the 1930s and is about a spinster, Ann, who always listens to what her brother tells her and lives a very sheltered existence. Then one day she comes into a sum of money and on a whim books a cruise! I’ve only read the first few chapters but it’s such an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more when I feel better. If you want to know more about this book, I wrote a post about it on my blog yesterday – you can read that here.

Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald

I only started reading this late last night so have only read a couple of chapters so far but I really want to read more of it as soon as I can. I’m on the blog tour for this book on Sunday so look out for my post then.

 


 

https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. :)

 

Q&A with Sherry Mayes (author of Stop the World)

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Today I’m happy to be able to share an interview I got to do with Sherry Mayes, author of Stop the World. I’ll be reading and reviewing Stop the World soon so look out for that post on my blog.

Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself.

I live in a lovely village called Caversham in Berkshire a few minutes from the river Thames which is the perfect setting for a writer. I have a sixteen year old daughter and have worked as a journalist on national newspapers for nearly twenty years and have written two self-help books. 

How did you first come to be a writer?

I first worked on newspapers and magazines writing human interest stories when I was in my mid-twenties. I’ve always loved writing and researching anything I’m curious about, and I think the two go hand in hand.  

What is your book about?

 Stop the Word, is a YA, coming of age story about a 17 year old vain pageant queen who ends up crashing her new car and ending up in a wheelchair. You might say she learns about what is really important to her. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

 I interviewed a young teen nine years ago about a car crash and how she ended up in a wheelchair nine years ago, and her story always stuck in my mind. I wanted to explore what someone would go through in that scenario and how it could make you think differently about things. 

What is your writing routine? 

I go where the inspiration takes me, so I have no real routine – it’s more like a compulsion; whether that’s jumping out of bed at 6 am to write or staying up half the night to get my words down.

What has your journey to publication been like?

It’s been tough. I got a literary agent for the book who loved in back in Feb 2015 last year but she couldn’t sell it even though she tried very hard. So I ended up self-publishing in December 2015.  

What’s your favourite book that you’ve read this year?

 This year it has to be, ‘I let you go,’ by Clare Mackintosh. A great riveting emotional thriller. 

What are you reading at the moment?

 I am about to start reading ‘The Light Between Oceans,’ by M.L. Stedman

Is there a question that you wish an interviewer would ask that you’ve never been asked? What’s your answer to that question?

What’s your two favourite characters in a novel that you would like to invite for dinner and mine would have to be, Scarlett O’Hara and Alice in Wonderland. Can you imagine what a riveting conversation we’d have. 

If you were to be stranded on a desert island, which three things would you want to have with you and why?

Well I’d have to be self-sufficient, so I’d need a sharp knife for cutting out fish guts etc, a loaded gun in case I met any cannibals or wild animals, and an Ipod with all my music on it.  

How can people connect with you on social media?

 You can connect with me on my facebook page for Stop the World: https://www.facebook.com/SherryMayesauthor/

And twitter: @authormayes which shows me as S.D.Mayes


 

About the Book:

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Published on December 9th, 2015, Stop the World is a poignant, ultimately uplifting, coming-of-age story about self-acceptance and making the most of what life has to offer, whichever form it takes. 

Beauty Queen, Jody Angel Taylor believes her life is all mapped out – glamorous, clever and popular, and due to marry her handsome boyfriend, she has it all. Until one night she has a devastating car crash, ending up paralyzed – and her perfect world collapses.  

Committing media suicide and publicly blamed for her own accident, everything around her falls apart. She becomes a lonely recluse, feeling she’s lost everything including her legs – her boyfriend to her best friend, her father to an affair, her mother to depression – but above all she fears losing her mind. 

What she doesn’t know is that someone across the globe is about to throw her a lifeline. Can she find the courage to take it?  

Determined to love again and clear her name, she embarks on a new adventure that will transform her life beyond all expectations.

You can buy Stop The World here: 

http://www.amazon.com/Stop-World-compelling-absolutely-unputdownable-ebook/dp/B019BOXL8S


 

About the Author:

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British journalist and author, Sherry Mayes, took her inspiration for this story from a real life case study she wrote about several years ago for a popular UK magazine (article available) revealing the often comic/tragic events of disability through a young woman’s eyes. As part of her research before interviewing the young woman, Sherry learnt a lot about hospital procedure and rehab as well as researching many other casualties who’d become paralysed through accidents, reading their blogs. 

She chose to set the novel in a small Californian town as she wanted the protagonist – a spoilt, only child of successful parents – to be a typical teenage pageant queen who aspires to live the big American dream, where celebrity and the body beauty myth are paramount, and everything is shared on social media. This is about the transformation of the so called ‘ultimate ideal’ – ‘a teen of our times’, obsessed with fame and looks, who then loses it all to discover what really matters.   

Sherry Mayes has worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years for national newspapers and magazines on human interest and health stories, most predominantly for the Daily Mail. She wrote two successful self-help books, BE YOUR OWN PSYCHIC and SUPERNATURAL LOVER published with Hodder & Stoughton, serialised by The Mail. She is also the proud mother of a 16-year-old daughter who is an avid book reader.

 

‘Get Reading’ a newspaper interview, published on December 17th reveals the back story behind Stop the World, along with an extract from the first chapter. www.getreading.co.uk

 

Weekly Wrap-Up (10 April 2016)

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SundayBlogShare

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 

This week’s been another up-and-down week in my real life. I’m still struggling with a combination of increased pain and the side-effects from my increased painkillers. This has meant that I’m having days where I haven’t managed to read anything at all, and on the days where I can read I’m only managing to read in short periods, which is very frustrating when you have TBR as big as mine but hopefully things will being to settle soon.

Dragon Software

On the plus side this week I finally decided to go ahead and get some voice activation/dictation software. I’ve used Dragon software in the past but found it really difficult to train, which is why I’ve been unsure whether it was worth trying again now. Anyway, I got this new software a few days ago fully expecting it to take ages to train so I was stunned when, after just running through the setup and then opening a pages document to see how well it worked, that it actually didn’t need any further training! Only an hour after opening the box I was able to dictate an entire review and found that the few tiny mistakes it made were easy enough to correct. I’m definitely converted to Dragon! 

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on finding better life balance last week. Things have come together in quite a serendipitous way this week. Firstly, the Dragon software is allowing me to dictate all of my blog posts which means no more typing so my pain levels aren’t being quite so aggravated by my blogging. Secondly, I discovered how to schedule blog posts that haven’t yet been published, and I found some software that I can then use schedule my links to post to my social media accounts at set intervals during the day. All of this means that I can now schedule in a regular time during the week where I can work on my blog schedule a few blog posts at time, then on my bad days I don’t have to stress about it. It’s early days yet but I think this compromise will work really well for me and I’m really grateful everyone who suggested that I consider scheduling posts in advance rather than doing it on a day-to-day basis. My blog is very important to me and gives me such a sense of fulfilment so I don’t want to compromise on the number of posts I write but at least this new way will allow me to work on my blog in blocks of time, meaning I can give myself time away from it too.


This week I’ve managed to read four  books (actually one novel, one novella and two short stories):

The Boy on the Bus by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

The Boy With the Boxes by Katey Lovell (Meet Cute series)

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters


 

 I’ve blogged six times this week:

https://rathertoofondofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/weekly-wrap-up-27-march-2016/

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-up Post

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Tuesday: Review and Giveaway: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Ward.  This giveaway is for a brand-new hardback copy of the book and it’s open internationally so everyone can enter. The giveaway closes on Wednesday so you still have time!

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Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

Thursday: Review: The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Friday: Review: The Good Mother by A. L. Bird

Stacking the Shelves

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post


 

Coming up on my blog this week:

Monday: Author interview with Sherry Mayes (Stop the World)

Tuesday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday Post

Thursday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Friday: Book Review or guest post/author Q&A

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves Post

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up Post

 


 

 This is what I’m currently reading:

In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Shtum by Jem Lester

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters

Truth, Lies and O-Rings by Alan J MacDonald and James R Hansen


 

What have you been reading this week? Please feel free to link to your weekly wrap-up post, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below! I love to hear what you’re all reading. :)

 

Stacking the Shelves (2 April 2016)

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(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.)

This week I’ve bought a few new books:

The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee

I added this book to my wish list quite recently after reading Cleopatra Loves Books fab review of it; I knew it was a book I’d have to read as it sounded so good! Anyway, I happened to notice it was on offer for Kindle this week and so I treated myself, I hope to read it very soon!

Who Are You? by Megan Henley

I’m still reading quite a lot of non-fiction and so when I read a great review of this on Postcard Reviews, I bought it straight away. It sounds like a very interesting read. 

Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke

This book popped up on my Amazon recommendations recently and so as it was on offer I decided to give it a go. It sounds like a really good read so hopefully I’ll enjoy it.

Last Kiss Goodnight by Teresa Driscoll

This is a book I’ve been looking forward to for a while but had forgotten I’d pre-ordered it so it was a nice surprise when it appeared on my Kindle this week.

Never Too Busy to Cure Clutter by Erin Rooney Doland

I can never resist a book about dealing with clutter! (There is possibly an irony here somewhere…)

The Unforgotten by Laura Powell

Another new book I treated myself to when I spotted it in a deal on Kindle this week.

In Too Deep by Bea Davenport

This book is free on Kindle Unlimited at the moment so I couldn’t resist downloading it, it sounds like a good read.


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I was thrilled to win a giveaway on Goodreads for a copy of The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan. The email telling me I’d won a copy ended up in my spam folder so I had no idea I’d won this until the book arrived through my letterbox this week. I can’t wait to start reading this – I loved Gilly’s previous novel Burnt Paper Sky so have very high hopes for this!

 


 

I was also very lucky to receive some books to review:

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The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

I was offered the chance to read and review this book for the publisher, Impress Books, a little while ago and I jumped at the chance! It was exciting to receive a beautiful proof copy of the book along with a really nice postcard and lovely note from the author, Annabel Abbs. I’m very much looking forward to reading this novel, I’m sure I’m going to love it. I recently took part in the cover reveal for The Joyce Girl and so you can read more about the book in this post if you’d like to.

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes

I’ve loved the previous Samantha Hayes books that I’ve read so I was excited to receive a review copy of her new novel. It’s due to be released in May so I’ll definitely be reading and reviewing it before then.

Girls’ Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg

The Pink Marine by Greg Cope White

Stop the World by Sherry Mayes

Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell

The above four books were all offered to me for review and I jumped at the chance as they all sound like really good reads. I was thrilled that all four authors also agreed to being interviewed by me for my blog so these interviews will be coming soon – please look out for them.


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too. 🙂 

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.