New Year #BookTag – Hello 2018!

2018

I saw this tag over at both Katherine @ BibliomaniacUK  and CleopatraLovesBooks and thought it was a great 1st January post to share my reading hopes and goals this year. I did plan to post it earlier, but taxi-ing kids to and from their social activities and dinner and a couple of drinks with the parents took longer than I thought! So, late but here it is…

How many books are you planning to read in 2018? 

I’ve joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge again. Last year I started at 50, upped it to 100 after getting to target in early June and then ended the year on a disappointing 88! I was 10 books ahead in September, but some crappy stuff meant reading went out the window.

So of course, this year I’ve set my challenge at 104 – I WILL do it! You can follow my progress here if you fancy.

Name five books you didn’t get to read this year but want to make a priority in 2018? 

Oh god! So many! But the top five I’m definitely planning on catching up with soon are:  

The Summer Of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

Final Girls by Riley Sager 

Together by Julie Cohen 

The Break by Marian Keyes 

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly 

Name a genre you want to read more of? 

I try and read a varied selection of books already, but I’d like to read more historical – a genre that I love but haven’t read so much recently. I’ve also decided to overcome my fear of becoming committed to series. I’ve avoided them for years, probably due to sickening myself with never ending YA vampire books (yes House of Night and Morganville, I’m looking at you!) I’ve bought the first books in Angela Marsons’ DI Kim Stone series and Robert Bryndza Detective Erika Foster series as bloggers really rate both.

Three non book related goals for 2018? 

Be more healthy, Be more positive, Be more brave

What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read? 

Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours. I could not wait for this to be published in 2010 and pre-ordered it way in advance … then never read it! My good pal Daisychain Books had the same issue…wonder of you ever got around to it!?! (hangs head in shame)

the distant hours

One word that you’re hoping 2018 will be? 

Calm

Tag a friend….. 

Anyone fancy it?

 

Weekly Wrap Up – 20th August 2017

cosybooks 2

I can hardly believe it but here I am, four weeks of my six weeks off work over. It seems an awfully long time ago since I waved my daughter off for a week at Guides camp right at the beginning, yet on the other hand that list of must do jobs around the house remains untouched and I’m now left with just two weeks to do it all! How did that happen?

Contradictions seem to be the theme of the week, as I’ve spent a lot of it shivering, moaning and avoiding bucketfuls of rain. Is anyone else thinking that this is the worst summer they can remember? Yet there were a few sunny interludes and I managed to take my reading outside now and then. We even made it to an outdoor pool on Thursday!

I’ve managed to get a lot of reading done this week …currently on number six which I’ll hopefully finish today. I’ve harped on about this one a bit- but my favourite was The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase. I just adored it.

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I actually thought I’d done very well on the new books front this week – but then when I looked back there’s more than I remembered! (Although Another Woman’s Husband was a pre-order and I’d actually forgotten about a netgalley request until it was approved) – Ooops! Here’s the book which found their way to my TBR list this week…

Thank you to Abby @ Anne Bonny Book Reviews for District Nurse On Call which I won in a competition.

So how was your week? 

WWW Wednesday – 16th August 2017

www wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Taking On A World Of Words to record and share our weekly reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?  

Currently Reading   

the houseWhat if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them.. 

 

Published 2nd November 2017 by Penguin (UK) 

I’m only a few pages in, but already hooked to this book! It’s another rainy, miserable day here in Cumbria and so I’m planning on curling up with this one this afternoon.

Recently Finished 

A much better reading week this week! I got through five books, which I’m very pleased with. Favourite? The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase. I absolutely loved this one. I really enjoyed The Wardrobe Mistress too by Natalie Meg Evans (I’m on a bit of a historical kick at the moment). I was a bit disappointed though with Did You See Melody by Sophie Hannah.

Reading Next 

any dream will doShay Benson adored her younger brother. She did all she could to keep Caden on the straight and narrow. But one day her best intentions got Shay into the worst trouble of her life. By protecting Caden, Shay sacrificed herself.

Drew Douglas adored his wife. But since losing Katie, all he could do was focus on their two beautiful children; everything else came a distant second.

Shay and Drew are each in need a fresh start, and when they meet by chance it’s an unexpected blessing for them both. Drew helps Shay to get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose. 

But when a devastating secret is uncovered, Shay and Drew’s new lives are threatened. It will take all of their strength, faith and trust to protect the bright future they dream of. 

Published August 10th by Cornerstone (UK)  

This one’s for the UK blog tour which stops by on Saturday. After this, I have no idea … free choice and whatever takes my fancy!

Oh, and I’m a bit shocked, because I’ve been using Netgalley for seven years  and FINALLY for the first time ever, after some serious reading and sheer willpower, this happened yesterday. I’m so proud!

 eighty_percent_feedback_ratio_120

So, how’s your reading week been? 

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Thanks to the lovely Dee of Noveldeelights.com for tagging me in the rapid fire book tag! I’ve seen these about and thought they looked fun, so I’m pleased to have a go myself. So here we go …

Ebooks or physical books?
I still prefer physical, nothing beats the feel of a new book. But I read both and really appreciate Ebooks these days as there’s only a limit on how many real books I can actually house
Paperback or hardback?
Easy…Hardbacks. I LOVE Hardbacks and collect them.
Online or in-store book shopping?
Online. I just don’t go into town shopping all that often. 
Trilogies or series?
Trilogies. More and I get bored
Heroes or villains?
Heroes! I like a good guy 
A book you want everyone to read?
Recently-I’ve been shouting about This Love by Dani Atkins a lot. 
Recommend an underrated book.
The Drowning Girl by Margaret Leroy. This would be so much more popular if it were released now (I read it 8 or 9 years ago)
The last book you finished?
The Many Colours of Us by Rachel Burton
Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?
You know the price tags off clothes…those. Also, not bookmark, but those M&S plastic knicker pack bags with the pressy/clippy fastener make great kindle protectors on the beach (with the labels off of course!)
Used books, yes or no?
I don’t mind. As long as they’re good condition
Borrow or buy?
Buy.
Characters or plot?
I’m an emotional reader. I enjoy feeling connected – so character. 
Long or short book?
Under 500 pages. 
Long or short chapters?
Short! So much more gripping!
Name the first three books you think of?
The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger  
The Binding Song by Elodie Harper
Dead Woman Walking by Sarah Bolton
Books that make you laugh or cry?
Cry. I am an emotional soul. 
Our world or fictional worlds?
These days – Our world. I do like a touch of magic now and then though. 
Audiobooks : yes or no?
No…my mind just wanders. 
Do you ever judge a book by its cover?
Always – sorry!
Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?
Probably TV. 
A movie or TV adaptation you preferred over the book?
I can’t think of any. I don’t actually watch much TV or films
Series or standalone?
Standalone. I like closure.   
So I’m tagging the following as I don’t think they’ve done it? (or if you have or just don’t want to- ignore me!) 
and anyone else who wants to do it! 

Discussion: Reviews and Ratings – Why I’m Mainly Taking The Positive Approach

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while, kind of a discussion/explanation of my approach to reviewing books and in particular less favorable or negative reviews. Then last night I noticed an email in my junk box from an author, whose book I’d reviewed on Amazon and had mainly liked, but had a couple of issues stopping me from really loving it. Now, I’m not looking for some sort of shit storm here or a blogger v author battle. The author was very polite, kind  and not at all aggressive – thanking me for my review (and I won’t be divulging who the author was). It did make me feel a bit uncomfortable though. I’ve been worrying since that I may have upset someone and that in turn makes me feel awful. However, that’s mixed with a conviction on my part that I also have to be honest and act with integrity. It’s what I respect and admire in others, but also what I expect from myself.

I’m a very emotional person, and that reflects in my opinions and feelings towards books. This is a personal thing, I cry at things that leaves others staring at me in disbelief (Kids singing is a big one – not even my own! Thank god mine are both out of primary now and neither myself or my child have to suffer the embarrassment of my uncontrollable sobby face in assemblies) or I feel ridiculously smiley and warm and exuberant where others may just raise a small smile. Ok, so my stability is probably a whole different post and I’m risking getting off track here, but my point is to say that how I react to a book emotionally is what drives my enjoyment of a book, whether it is sadness or joyfulness. I’m not a literary expert and I’m not critically analyzing every word when I read. I just want a story that captures me, that I can connect with, that takes me away for a while, that makes me feel something.

And this brings me onto negative reviews. If you regularly follow my reviews, here or goodreads or some other place, you may notice that I tend to only write positive reviews these days. I don’t rate books on the blog, because I kind of feel my opinion is enough to let people know if the book is for them or not and rating is so very, very subjective anyway. On sites where you have to leave a rating though, in 2017 and in 28 books read and rated I haven’t given less than three stars. And three stars is a GOOD rating in my eyes. It means I liked a book enough to read it and recommend it.

This hasn’t always been the case, and in the past I’ve written some fairly negative reviews. I’ve been blogging a long time on and off and in the early days I used to get a ridiculous amount of unsolicited book post, which I felt I HAD to read, even when I didn’t like a book or would never have chosen it myself. Yes, it meant I discovered some gems I wouldn’t have read otherwise, but often it meant I ploughed through books I didn’t really want to read or wasn’t enjoying. I don’t do that now. I’m pretty confident in choosing books I’m likely to enjoy – I know my tastes and stick to them. But I’m also not afraid to just say a book isn’t for me and not continue. So, yes, I’ve started books this year that I didn’t like, but I moved on and I won’t rate a book I didn’t finish – it’s unfair. I love reading, and to be honest, forcing my way through books I didn’t like was a big factor in my stopping both reading and reviewing for a while. This is what I do for fun and I intend to keep it that way. There’s not enough time to read all the books I will adore, let alone trudge through the ones I’m not.

So while I do tend to review books positively and mainly ones I’ve enjoyed nowadays, I also want to be honest. Not every single book can be amazing, faultless and a five star read, and there has to be some explanation and balance. I will point out anything I found problematic, but I will try my very best to do it as thoughtfully as possible. And it IS only my personal opinion. Something that mattered to me may not be an issue for others. I’ll justify why I felt that way, but ultimately leave a reader to decide if this is something they can live with or not. I think I achieve this, and I’ll continue to do so despite my slight discomfort when reading that email last night.  Oh, and if I were to come across a book I felt was offensive in anyway, I would absolutely call it out. I’m not afraid to say when something’s bad or even to say I didn’t particularly like something. I’m just more adept at recognising when a book isn’t for me and calling time on it pretty early on these days.

So what about you? How do you approach reading and reviewing? Do you go into it with a critical eye? How do you feel about writing negative reviews and also, about those of us who mainly write positive reviews? I do wonder if the fact I appear to “love” every book makes my opinion less valid, but at the end of the day I’m not here for personal acclaim or to discover the next literary award winner. I’m here because I love books and love talking about books to others.

Looking Back At March and Forward To April 2017

So, spring has sprung finally and in true British style, last week we had snow one day followed by beautiful, warm sunshine just a couple of days later. I went from woolly coat to t-shirt in 48 hours! I did manage to get some control over my overgrown garden and have been spring cleaning indoors too. I’ve had to become ruthless where books are concerned. I live in a tiny house, and to be honest they were taking over and becoming a massive problem. I had cupboards and shelves stacked with them, and not much room for anything else. So I had a cull. Around 300 books have now left my house, and if I’m honest, it felt somewhat of a relief. There were lots I’d read, plus lots I’d been sent unsolicited going back years that I was never going to read. Hopefully now, they’ll find someone to love them. I now have 3 bookcases – one for read but keepers, one for TBR and one for signed pretties. And I’m operating a new system of read it, then pass it on. Fingers crossed it works and I don’t become overwhelmed again! 
I’ve struggled a bit recently with anxiety/panic attacks and I’ve had to take a couple of weeks off work. Keeping busy at home has been a good distraction, as has reading, blogging and all the amazing bloggers, authors and book people on twitter. I’m feeling a lot better this week. 
Anyway…I read 11 books in March, and my 50 book challenge on Goodreads was almost 50% completed! I’ve moved that now to 75 books, and I’m still ahead but I like to give myself breathing room so I’ll stick with that for now! You can see what I read and reviewed in the archive section —> 
but without doubt, my book of the month was: 

 

(click on the image for reviews) 
Coming Up in April…  
Lots coming up in April, starting with the following blog tours next week: 



                     And here’s just some of the books I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing in April (some have already been read…look out for the reviews coming soon!)
What was your book of the month and which books are on your TBR pile for April? I’d love to know! 

On My Wishlist …

Like any book addict, my wishlist is huge and constantly being added to. I don’t always get to buy the books on it straightaway, or sometimes I’m waiting for them to be released. This week, I’ve added these two books thanks to wonderful reviews from fellow bloggers.

Kicking The Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins

The stunning debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French.

Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.

But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money… 

Published by Harper 9 March 2017 


Why I’m Wishing For It… 
This one’s down to Kaisha @ The Writing Garnet’s fantastic and enthusiastic review. It completely sold it to me…emotional AND funny. Sounds great!  I’ve only read Cathy’s Young Adult novels before (reviewed HERE), So I’m looking forward to read an adult fiction by her , as I know how well she can mix humour and more serious subjects.

What She Lost by Susan Elliot Wright  

Eleanor and her mother Marjorie have always had a difficult relationship and although they’ve tried, they have somehow just failed to connect.
    Now Marjorie has Alzheimer’s, and as her memory fades, her grip on what she has kept hidden begins to loosen. When she calls her daughter to say, ‘There’s something I have to tell you’, Eleanor hopes this will be the moment she learns the truth about the terrible secret that has cast a shadow over both their lives.
    But Marjorie’s memory is failing fast and she can’t recall what she wanted to say. Eleanor knows time is running out, and as she tries to gently uncover the truth before it becomes lost inside her mother’s mind forever, she begins to discover what really happened when she was a child – and why…
    A story of family and secrets, perfect for fans of Maggie O’Farrell. 

Published by Simon and Schuster UK 9th March 2017  

Why I’m Wishing For It… 
Anne @ Random Things Through My Letterbox wrote a beautiful review of this book. Alzheimer’s Disease and its affect on individuals and families is something that is close to my heart after loosing my beloved Grandmother to it in 2015 and I’m currently making a list of books that deal with the subject in some way.

And this one, which isn’t yet released, also found it’s way onto my ever growing wishlist…

Together by Julie Cohen 

This is not a great love story. 
This is a story about great love.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie’s actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret – one they will do absolutely anything to protect.


Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, David Nicholls’s One Day and M L Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

Published by Orion in July 2017 


Why I’m Wishing For It… 
Seriously…just look at it! Why wouldn’t I want to own it? This is one of those books that I’m going to just take from my shelves and just stare at (Everyone has those…right?) It sounds fantastic, emotional and beautiful…just my cup of teas. Roll on July when I can buy this absolute beauty!

On My Wishlist was a regular weekly feature I hosted here at Cosy Books in 2012. While I’m not intending to start up as a meme again, I’m more than happy for others to join in if they like.   

Blogger Recognition Award

Last week I was thrilled to be awarded the Blogger Recognition Award by Katherine @ Blibliomaniac UK – thank you Katherine, I was both surprised and delighted to be included!  You can visit Katherines book review blog @ bibliomanicuk.blogspot.uk or follow her on twitter @Katherinesunde3

 
RULES OF THE AWARD:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide a link to the post you created. 
How my blog started 
Back in 2009 I was actively writing reviews on a consumer opinion site. I reviewed anything from shampoo to places I’d visited but my main passion was writing reviews of the many books I read. Anyway, I was googling an author who I’d recently reviewed and really enjoyed to find out when their next book was out and was stunned to see my review quoted (It was Margaret Leroy’s The Drowning Girl if you’re curious) and made me feel that maybe more people would be interested in what I thought about the books I was devouring. I’d been reading reviews from Chick Lit Chloe and loved her website, so decided to give book blogging a go. with my first post  in January 2010 
Two pieces of advice to new bloggers 

1. Get involved in the community. I love it when people comment on the blog and chat to me on twitter. People won’t find you – you have to put yourself out there. Join and make use of twitter and reach out. yes it’s scary, but most of us just want to chat about books too!

2. Keep it fun. Remember this is not your job. It won’t pay the bills or put dinner on the table. In the past, I’ve become overwhelmed with the amount of books I have to read, worrying about whether I’m posting enough, whether I have enough followers. It really doesn’t matter. It’s ok to take a break, post when you feel like it and always, always read what you want to-when you want to.  You’ll burn out otherwise. 
Fifteen Bloggers I’m Passing This Award On To  
A mix of some of my very favourites whose blogs I’ve followed over the last seven years and some new to me blogs I’ve been reading recently. I know a lot of these bloggers have already had this award…but hey, I think they deserve it again 🙂

Looking Back At March, And Forward To April

WOW! 2015 is storming on isn’t it? I can’t believe it’s April already. SLOW DOWN! 
The good thing though is the nights are now light and the spring flowers are out! The weather may not have cottoned on just yet, but the promise of summer IS there. It always makes me feel so much better. And of course, the Easter Bummy will be making a visit this weekend…CHOCOLATE! 
March was a very, very busy month for me. In mid February I took on an extra job doing one nightshift a week in a residential home for Elderly people. This was great, as at the moment I only work three days during the week at College. However, they had a bit of a staff shortage and I ended up doing more shifts…and almost killing myself. I need to learn how to say no! 
So I didn’t get as much reading done as I hoped. But I did read some amazing books… 
Still to review: 
His Other Life by Beth Thomas
A Room Full Of Chocolate by Jane Elson 
March Book Of The Month was difficult, but I’m going with…


The Girl In The Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Coming up in April… 

I’ve been thinking about how to mark 5 years since I started blogging, and came up with an idea for 5 posts, over 5 weeks, with top 5 lists of bloggy & bookish stuff and memories from the last 5 years. There may be a giveaway or two tolook out for too. Starts Saturday 4th April
New Books this month… 

Finally, here’s the new books that have made their way into my home over that last month. I’m really looking forward to getting to these over April!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Recently Added To My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday topic is books recently added to my TBR list. These are the books that have most recently landed on that ever growing, almost toppling over tower of books to read.  

(Clicking on the images will take you to Goodreads for a description)

 








   

There’s a theme running there…and a LOT of black! I’m loving psychological thrillers with no sign of getting tired yet, but I still like mixing it up with some contemporary fiction and YA. 

These are books I’ve recently become the owner of, either through the Amazon Vine Program, Publishers, Netgalley or bought.