I’ve Got a New Netgalley Badge

When I logged into Netgalley tonight I realised that I have been awarded a new badge.

Reviews Published

This means that three of my reviews have been added as a ‘Featured Review’ on the title detail page by a publisher.

Of the five ARCs I have reviewed so far, three have been five star (and funnily enough these are the ones that have been featured).

Featured Reviews.PNG

Here are the links to Netgalley for each of the titles. I will be posting my reviews here closer to their publication dates.

‘The Boy from Tomorrow’

‘Little Moments of Love’

‘A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns’ (which by the way I cannot stop talking to people about!

When An Author Tweets You Back

Many moons ago, back while I was studying at Kent University, I read ‘The Death of the Author’ by Roland Barthes for one of my critical theory classes. It was a seriously annoying essay and caused many a heated discussion in class. I will save you the pain and summarise his point:

Don’t take the author (their lives and experiences) into consideration when you are reading a book. Your understanding of the text should purely come from your own experiences.

When I am reading, I am lost in the story (hopefully) and I don’t think much about the author. On the other hand, if I was to study a story then I would. I would think about why the story might have been constructed in that way and why the author made the choices they did.

Now in the age of Twitter (yes kids I do remember a time before Twitter – how shockingly old that must make me *cough cough* 33 *cough cough*) I think about the author as I am reading. Not in an analytical way, but in a “this woman is awesome and I must tell her and the world about her immediately” sort of way. I only use woman because it has yet to happen to me with a male author.

And yesterday that is what I did:

And then this morning, with equally good gif game, I got a reply from the author of my current read:

Now, other than being freaked out that Alex is wearing a summer dress in her profile picture (I assumed she lived at the North Pole), I was amazed that Alex had taken the time to reply. Thanks Alex, I appreciate it 🙂

To be able to follow authors and interact with them like this is wonderful. It shrinks the gap between us. It proves that they are people rather than mystical figures, and that with some hard work and a bit of luck I could be one too.



Shelf Organisation

While I know that this is never going to happen…

Image result for belle's library

…I do have high hopes for creating a library of my own one day soon.

It will be floor to ceiling and it will have a ladder (although the ladder may not slide around). We are buying a house in the next few months though and well, lets just say there is a Pinterest board dedicated to the library. It may only take up one wall initially – I digress, that wasn’t the the point of this post.

This post isn’t about physical bookshelves, but Goodreads ones.

I have been playing around with how to work my shelves for the several years I have been using the site. Here is how things stand currently.


I am aware that this is VERY tame by book blogger standards). I am also aware that not all books on my physical bookshelves are included on Goodreads. I have learned that I use this more as a record of what I have read, rather than a plan of what I am going to read (although I am trying to address that).

Exclusive Shelves

abandoned and paused (the fact you can’t use capitals on shelves you create does annoy me) are the exclusive shelves I have created myself. Typically a book is either on the Read, Currently Reading or Want to Read shelves. It can also be on other shelves, but it has to be on one of those main three unless you create your own exclusive one(s).

Why ‘Pause’ Reading?

Sometimes I am enjoying a book, but my enthusiasm for it fades. Perhaps there is a bit of a rubbish chapter. Perhaps there is a bit that I know just needs pushing through because overall I am keen to see where the story goes. Perhaps I have just read too many of the series already.

When this happens I pause the book. I have every intention of going back to it, but in the meantime I am going to give something else a try. Otherwise I have found I tend to stop reading thanks to the pressure of thinking I must finish the story before I can move on.

When it becomes clear that a book has been paused for too long, it moves the the abandoned shelf. It is incredibly rare for this to happen, but it does. I’m looking at you ‘Death Cure’.

The ‘Others’

I have started shelving my reads by year, and by reading challenge as well. I have found that I am returning to these shelves so clearly they were a good idea :). I don’t really re-visit the genre/age groups shelves so I might do away with those down the line. I think I will keep the shelves that show the format I ‘read’ in though. That is something I would like to be able to easily look back on.

What about you? How do you organise your shelves on Goodreads? Maybe we could become Goodreads buddies to share ideas?


Tag – I’m It!

I stumbled across Emma’s ‘Currently Reading Book Tag‘ today and while she didn’t tag me directly, she did say

I am tagging anyone who reads this and hasn’t already done the tag.

Well thank you Emma 🙂

This tag was started way back in 2015 by Charly Reynhorse on YouTube. I’m very proud of myself for following this tag back far enough to find that link!

Without further gif-ing, here are my answers…

How many books do you usually read at once?
Typically it is one per medium. I will have a paperback book on the go, one of the Kindle, and then one Audible audiobook. At the moment I only have two, 1x e-Read and 1x Audio-Read.

If you are reading more than one book at a time, how do you decide when to switch books?
I don’t so much switch, as read what is appropriate for what I am doing/where I am. For example, when I am on a long drive I have no choice but to listen to the audiobook (even if I wasn’t the one driving I cannot read in the car). If I am away from home, I will take the Kindle and save the packing space.

Do you ever switch bookmarks while you are partway through a book?
No, I have one bookmark that I use all the time. I only got this last year however, and before that I tended to use the receipt for the book. I’m not a corner folder though, I’m not an animal!

Where do you keep the book(s) you are currently reading?
I listen to audiobooks on my phone so that can be anywhere. My kindle is currently downstairs on the coffee table, but that tends to move around the house. Paper books stay by my bedside (and get used to block out the light for my clock over night).

What time of day do you spend the most time reading?
Before bed. Every night.

How long do you typically read in one setting?
About half an hour. Unless I am having a lazy day and am reading at some point other than before bed. Then I could lose hours to it. And if I am on holiday? Whole days for sure.

Do you read hardbacks with the dust jacket on or off?
I would struggle to tell you the last time I read a hardback. They are just a bit too pretty (and more expensive) so I tend to avoid them. Although I do have a collection of beautiful hardbacks, some of which are really old (like early 1900s old), but those don’t get read. They just sit there and look pretty. They are part of the ‘one day I will have a library like Belle’ dream.

What position do you mainly use to read?

Seeing as I typically read in bed this is a tricky one for me. If I am sitting while I read though I will rotate through almost all 12 of them. Although I would probably skip 7, 8 and 9.

Do you take the book you are currently reading with you everywhere?
My current reads are digital and audio so yes, thanks to my phone they are always with me. Even if I forget my Kindle I can use the app on my phone.

How often do you update your Goodreads progress on the book you’re currently reading?
All the time! I love having my Goodreads up to date. It is also really important to me (no idea why) that the edition showing matches mine as well. I love that I can update Goodreads straight from my Kindle too.

So internet…

How My Reading Has Impacted My Story Ideas


This year I have been working on upping my reading game. I want to read more widely and I want to read more frequently. I’m already ahead on my #2018GoodreadsChallenge so things are going well so far!

Knowing that my #NaNoWriMo story is aimed at 9-12 year olds, I decided it would be good to read more for those age groups. Having taught books like ‘Holes’, ‘Boy Overboard’ and ‘Feather Boy’ in the past, I do have some fairly recent experience of that age range. I also have specific children in mind when I am writing. I thought therefore that I knew what I was doing, but still, more current research couldn’t hurt.

Over the past few weeks I have been listening to ‘His Dark Materials’ and reading ‘Murder Most Unladylike’. These books have taken wildly different approaches to writing for children. Both feature characters of roughly the same age as my main character so have been helpful to me in figuring out where I want to go.

The language used within the stories is a good example of how the books are different, although that is not to say that one is better or worse than the other. ‘His Dark Materials’ is written in the third person and uses figurative language repeatedly. ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ is written in the first person and therefore as though written by a child. While I am still enjoying the story, it isn’t something that I would have been able to teach in school. There is little to no need for inference and for the year groups I taught I needed that extra depth of language.

One of my original motivators was writing something that I would be able to teach. If I want to stick with this (which I currently do), I need to write a little bit ‘older’ than the style of ‘Murder Most Unladylike.’ However, I think my current story would suit that style. Maybe I need to rethink my priorities.

‘His Dark Materials’ has reminded me that I love dystopian fiction (not that I would class that as such but stay with me). I want to create world different from our own that allows me to explore an element of humanity/society. That isn’t the story I started in NaNoWriMo, but the sketchy notes in my notebook say a story is brewing!

Also posted on PhiliBWriting.