Upon the Tide: Review

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Title: Upon the Tide

Author: Ryan Jo Summers

Published: June 2016

Length: 188

Source: I got this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

I’m back with another review! I haven’t actually read that much in the past few weeks because beta reading has been taking over my life! I started this short read quite a while back and just not gotten around to finishing it. Anyway on with the review…

The concept of this book was initially what caught my attention, here’s the synopsis (taken from Goodreads):

‘New York fashion designer, Piper Kincaid, just wanted to have a pleasant visit with her cousin down in Florida. That was before she and handsome beach bum, Kade Wyatt, become the targets of a gang of robbers and killers.

Fleeing for their lives aboard Kade’s big boat, they experience risk, surprises, mystery and romance during the Great Caribbean Boat Chase. However, the biggest surprises are waiting for them back at port.’

A compelling and mysterious crime thriller aspect. Check! The potential development of a love story. Check! Again I’m still on a quest to find a romance book that I LOVE. Unfortunately it wasn’t this one and let me explain why…

I found that the characters in this story didn’t act rationally and as a reader you could tell that their illogical decisions were there for the storyline. The main characters Piper and Kade were pleasant enough, but nothing about them STOOD OUT. For me, if I’m not really that immersed by the characters I lose interest.

The main strong points of this book is the world building, as Kade and Piper board the boat and venture off, the scenes for me that were the best were those that heavily relied on world building.

My main problem with this book is that it’s a little too unrealistic to be honest. The relationship between the MC’s developed way too quickly, with both characters being way too comfortable with each other given their circumstances.

At one point Piper and Kade are having lunch in a restaurant and they get tracked by the gang through the use of the MCs credit card. They just about make it out alive and the next morning Piper leaves the boat to explore leaving behind Kade, who was asleep… I just felt like there was no logical reasoning, did she not worry that the gang members are out there waiting for one of them to slip up?

This personally wasn’t for me, I understand that I read fiction and of course if the characters made ALL decisions logically and rationally it wouldn’t make an interesting read. But I also need to be able to justify why they make decisions that they do…

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MOTIVATION!

This post is here to motivate me for the most part but if anyone else finds it useful then hey! I have just under two weeks until I have to go back to university, (yes I’m the kind of person that has to know how long of the holiday I have left!) I think it puts things into perspective. The first two weeks have flown by and I’m not going to lie, I haven’t studied one minute over that time…

I don’t know if I’m the only person that experiences this but I get tired of not being productive… I’m a little over half way through my holiday and I feel like I want to get back into work mode! But it’s hardddd. After doing absolutely nothing, I usually find it hard to get myself back into a routine, or into a study mind frame! This also tends to happen after I prepare for a test for months, at the end I kind of burn out! I just don’t want to look at a book again, even if it means I might fail…

Over the years I’ve tried to figure out a method of getting me out of this slump, and I thought I’d share with you what has worked for me in the past few years! Listen, this doesn’t work 100% of the time, actually if I had to put a number on it I would say maybe 70%. But for me, its a start! Even if I don’t immediately work, I might start the next day. So lets get into it (btw these points aren’t in any particular order!) :

  • Watching study vlogs: I know I’m not the only one that does this! As much as I hate to admit it, I’m someone who is very dependant on their environment. If I’m in a studious environment, I will study for 6/7 hours no problem! When I’m at home I tend to get distracted after a few minutes! So sometimes to create that atmosphere I watch a few vlogs, basically people studying or working and it gives me a little boost!
  • Grabbing my notebook and just writing down what I need to do! I don’t know what it is about making a to do list, but for me it actually gets me moving! I might not do EVERYTHING on that list during the first day of my slump, but progressively I end up being a lot more productive!
  • Giving myself a pep talk! As cheesy and cringey as it sounds, I have to keep reminding myself that the only person limiting my productivity is ME. I am sooo good at coming up with a million excuses, and for the longest time I truly believed them! So I need to constantly remind myself, that I AM SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for my failures and of course successes!

Hopefully that was somewhat useful, or even interesting? I planned on listing a few more points but to be honest I ramble on for way too long so I had to cut it short… Comment down below some ways you use to motivate yourself!

Heartborn by Terry Maggert: Review

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Title: Heartborn

Author: Terry Maggert

Published: September 1st 2016

Length: 238

Source: I got this copy from The Audiobookworm in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

This was an audiobook, which made getting through it a hell of a lot easier! It’s been a WHILE since I’ve listened to an audiobook and I really don’t know why!

Let me start by saying that I LOVED the narrator for this! It really helped me concentrate on the story instead of getting distracted by my surroundings. Here’s the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

‘Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.’

For me the most interesting thing is that the author decided to spin something that would be seen as a disability into a powerful quality! Although it is a YA fantasy I found that it wasn’t jam packed with cliches and tropes. It was a unique concept and the book was filled with witty characters and I LOVE that! There was no love triangle business that seems to crop up quite a lot in YA, it felt like genuine story told from the heart as cheesy as that sounds…

There were two storylines involved, the story of Kieron and Livvy meeting and how they impacted each others’ lives. But also the tensions building among the angels in another dimension! That aspect kept the story interesting, as one story had a slow pace we would change chapters and something major would be happening in the other world! The one thing I would say is that it had a bit of a slow start, as the world building was taking place it got a little confusing to keep up with all these new characters.

I would highly recommend this if you enjoy YA fantasy! It was such an enjoyable read (listen :’D) and I’m already looking into other books by Terry Maggert!

Beta Reading Services!

I know that for the past few weeks it seems like Beta Reading is all I talk about, but this is the last post I promise! I’ve just added the page under services, so if you’re interested in a beta reader the link is here .

(I was going to say sorry for the shameless promo, but if I don’t promote my services who will!) 

I’m currently working on my review for Heart Born by Terry Margert, so it should be up by the end of this week! Also I haven’t done a Q&A in a WHILE, let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d be interested in!

Born a Crime

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Title: Born a Crime

Author: Trevor Noah

Published:  November 15th 2016

Length: 224

Source: Received from Netgalley in exchange for honest review.

 

So I don’t usually read non-fiction (unless it discusses a compelling enough topic) but I’m a HUGE fan of Trevor Noah! When I found that this was available to request on Netgalley I almost lost my mind!

It follows Trevor Noah’s childhood, growing up during the apartheid in South Africa and what it was like to be born a crime!

His perspective was so interesting to read about. We all sympathise, as outsiders, reading about the apartheid and the struggles the black communities went through at that time. The injustice, the discrimination, limitation of opportunities, the list is LONG. The interesting thing was that he was retelling his story almost as if it were normal. Being born into that environment, as sad as it is, kind of normalises it for
him. He didn’t know any other way.Probably one of the strongest quotes from his book was this:

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

The topics he discusses are so varied and he really has an engaging way of telling his story! The most beautiful thing about this was his relationship with his mum. She is s
uch a strong and determined woman, he describes their relationship more as friends than mother and son.

He also emphasises that the end of the apartheid didn’t have this fairytale ending. Where society was absolutely perfect after. He describes the lengthy process of a country trying to overcome the oppression it had experienced for so long…
I highly recommend this, to basically anyone! Its funny yet sobering and definitely provides a unique insight.

 

My Journey to Reading…

DISCLAIMER: There is some serious rambling in the following blog post, side effect include: boredom, frustration and ermmm boredom again!

Throughout this year I’ve felt like I’ve tried my best to avoid writing blog posts about my personal life. Since I’ve started I might’ve written about 3 or 4 that are actually a little more personal, and that’s simply because I feel like I’m maybe more of a private person?

But at the same time, I want you as a reader to get to know the person behind these blog posts! At the end of the day there are 1000’s of other book blogs and I’ve realised that my character is what differentiates me from them, right?

I thought I’d start with something that for me was a no brainer! Probably something I should’ve posted months ago! That’s how I got into reading, and more importantly, why I read.

I’ve always LOVED reading, for as long as I can remember I’ve always been on the hunt for a good book to read. My favourite author as a child was Roald Dahl. OH MY GOD, I LOVED READING HIS BOOKS. Every time I see his books on the shelf they take me back to my childhood… My favourite book was James and the Giant Peach: ( uhhhhh nostalgic feels right there)

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I was never allowed to read the Harry Potter series as a child because my mum would always say they were too scary. Even as a 15 year old I couldn’t watch the films while she was around :’D! In her defence I’m someone who is scared by anything! I literally have to sleep with a lamp on in my room whilst listening to something ( radio, podcast or even just a news channel) otherwise I can’t fall asleep! (What a surprise, my rambling has taken me to expressing my fear of the dark, 10/10 for staying focused !)

But I think as I grew older, from about 13-15 I stopped reading. Or at most read  a few books a year, as a kid I was just so distracted by other forms of entertainment that basically required less of my attention and imagination!

As I grew up I started reading more, but it was still not enough ( when I compare to how many books I read now!). Maybe I’d read a book every month… There was no excuse, I was just lazy and after a long day at school I just wanted to go online and watch ’til my eyes started twitching (probably why I wear glasses full time now :’D).

What I started to notice was that after finishing a book I would have this urge to write down how I feel. At the time I didn’t have a book blog (I didn’t even know book blogging was a thing!) So I would literally just sit there typing on and on about my reading experience.

It was maybe over a year ago, I visited my local book shop and found that they had a clearance section. Let me tell you that is any book lovers heavennnnnnnnnn.  There were books that were brand new, for like 50p which is about 60cents. I literally found The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, books by Danielle Steele, Lisa Gardner etc. I even got a Feast for Crows ( do I have the first book in that series? Nope). It’s safe to say I went a little crazy and pretty much cleared out their shelves :’D.

So I’m just looking over how much I’ve written and I’m thinking no one is going to sit there and read that :’D. I think I’ll end this post here. !f you’re interested in these kind of posts let me know and who knows, in the next post, my journey continues… * Tumbleweed*

So here’s a rant…..

I really contemplated on making this blog post, debating on whether it was fair to subject you to my ranting! But at the same time I try and post all my experiences as a book blogger/reviewer the good ones, and the ones I’d rather forget about…

The topic I’m going to rant about today is *drum roll* the interactions between an author and a book blogger. By this I mean where there is an exchange of a book in return for a review. Another reason I wasn’t sure about this post was because I didn’t want to be unfair to 80% of the AMAZING authors I’ve had the pleasure of working with! Honestly most of my experiences have been so great, a lot of authors are always appreciative of a book bloggers’ reviews. Most are also quite open to feedback I give them through my review, saying that’s something they’ll keep in mind with their other work.

HOWEVER, there are some situations where I felt a little used. I emphasise the however because I honestly don’t want to generalise and say all the authors I’ve worked with haven’t been pleasant. But I’ve found that this occurrence is too often and I just wanted to mention it!

So after two paragraphs of rambling let me actually explain what I mean. An author will be so nice to me, I mean SO NICE, and cooperative. As soon as I’ve written up a review, and emailed the author with all the links to them I literally get no reply. No thank you, or even an acknowledgment that they’ve received it. It’s like as soon as I’ve done what they’ve needed from me all manners go out the window!

I don’t know whether I’m being overly sensitive, if this isn’t a big deal. Or maybe its because I’ve had some great experiences with other authors that I’m comparing to. Any authors out there that do this, the reviewer is not asking for an essay with you expressing your gratitude ( there were some authors who had done just that, and let me just mention that it means so much!) . Just a simple thank you, or even ‘Hey I’ve received the email’ would be fine.

But you know this doesn’t really affect me *nervously laughs*, I just wanted to put it out there into the WordPress abyss…

Miscellaneous Blog Post!

So I’m going to call this a miscellaneous blog post, because that’s what it is!

I don’t know if this happens to other bloggers, but I basically have little thoughts but I don’t have enough to say to write a blog post. I don’t even know if that makes sense…

Anyway I just wanted to discuss a few topics; how my beta-reading is going, some series I’ve been into recently and some more stuff you’re probably not interested in reading :’D!

Making a start on the manuscripts I received for beta-reading took a little more courage than I anticipated! I think because it’s a new experience, I was just worried that my comments wouldn’t be useful enough to the author! But once I got into it, guys I’m really loving it! This is going to sound cheesy, but it feels… Natural, I think maybe because I studied maths and Earth sciences I have a more critical approach. This is a service I have decided I’m definitely going to start offering on my blog! I’m still trying to figure out pricing, and my approach to actually annotating the manuscripts. If there are any authors out there reading this, I currently have a little questionnare about this service and others and would really appreciate your feedback! As these services are targeted at authors I would appreciate your opinion on a few ideas I have, please contact me at abooknation@outlook.com or fill the form below!

During my break, naturally I’ve started binge watching series. I came across a Korean drama called Its Okay, That’s Love whilst scrolling through Instagram. The clip that I watched really got me hooked so I’ve started watching it! It’s basically a romance/comedy/medical drama. Let me just say that Jae-yeol’s mental issues really took me by surprise! I also realised that it’s quite short, only spanning 16 episodes in total. Does anyone know any good Korean dramas they can recommend to me, I’m always looking for new ways to procrastinate!

Here’s the summary:

‘Jang Jae-yeol is an author of bestselling mystery novels and a radio DJ. Playful and a bit arrogant, he also suffers from obsessive-compulsive-disorder. Ji Hae-soo is a psychiatrist on her first year of fellowship. Driven and ambitious with her career yet compassionate towards her patients, Hae-soo has a negative attitude towards love and relationships in her personal life. Once Jae-yeol and Hae-soo meet, there is much contention between them caused by their strong personalities and refusal to give in to each other. But slowly their bickering turns into love and they begin to learn how compatible they are. Jae-yeol and Hae-soo attempt to heal each other’s deep-seated wounds, but their fledgling relationship takes a blow when they learn that Jae-yeol’s mental health issues are more serious than they initially suspected.’ ( taken from Wikipedia, of course).

I think that’s enough rambling for today! What have you been binge watching/reading lately? Let me know in the comments!

Making Money from Blogging Pt2?

I seriously need to figure out an intro and outro to my posts! I used to think it was just youtubers that needed them but I keep finding it weird and awkward to start blog posts. [ Maybe that’s just my lack of creativity :)))))))))]

Still on the topic of making money from blogging I was looking into a particular service, book promotions. Some blogs/companies will organise blog tours, whilst others offer packages where they might make a certain number of instagram/blog posts and tweets. In all honesty I used to follow a few blogs that did that and some point it felt a little spammy ( that’s not even a word is it…). But you know what I mean, I felt like a new book was being shoved in my face all the time.

What I thought would be better than just accepting books to promote was if I read them before hand. I want to know that what I’m promoting is something I actually feel passionate about and know that my audience will enjoy. Am I being naive? I also think in the long run it might be a little impractical, to read every single book before putting it up for promotion.

BASICALLY the whole point of this blog post is to get your opinion on this, I honestly value your perspectives and really benefited from your advice and input on my last discussion post ! Making that transition from having absolutely no income from blogging to trying to create services that will allow you to has been a daunting experience.

(Side note: Let me know if you’ve had enough of this topic, I know I only made one other blog post about it but at the moment I feel like this is all I’m talking about :????)