#BookBloggersSupport22 Challenge 7: Books You’ve Read From Recommendations From Fellow Book Bloggers.

The next challenge in my year long support for book bloggers. (Created by the ladies at PagesUnbound.)

It’s easy to recommend books to others, however it is much harder to match a book to a specific recipient. Some of the books below have been recommendations of either the book or the author. Others have been general recommendations on blogs from keen readers and I have gone ahead and bought my own copy.

Book covers for eleven book recommended to me by fellow book bloggers
Books recommended by book bloggers

First book: Hostile Ground (Stargate SG.1 by Sally Malcolm and Laura Harper) This is fan fiction, written around the popular Stargate TV series. Several authors have written ‘new’ episodes for the characters and I read a variety over the years. My favourite writer was Sally Malcolm, she caught the characters and the dialogue so well that I easily imagined them as real TV episodes.

Book blurb –

It was meant to be an easy mission, a walk in the park. But SG-1’s first trip off-world after Colonel O’Neill’s return from Edora (STARGATE SG-1: One Hundred Days) proves to be anything but easy.

Tapped for a covert assignment, O’Neill must conceal the truth from his team at all costs. So when Dr Daniel Jackson is injured and the mission begins to go awry, tensions quickly reach breaking point. Stranded on a hostile planet, and desperate to find a way home before it’s too late, O’Neill leads his fractured team on a desperate journey across a barren and forsaken world.

Faced with an enemy more vicious than anything they’ve encountered before, only SG-1’s strength as a unit will keep them alive – if the secret O’Neill is hiding doesn’t tear them apart first…

Second book: The Moment By Douglas Kennedy is a cold war thriller set mainly in Berlin. This was recommended to me because I like the edgy and tense themes in spy novels from this era.

Book blurb –

In this, his tenth novel, Douglas Kennedy has written that rare thing: a love story as morally complex as it is tragic and deeply reflective. Brilliantly gripping, it is an atmospherically dense, ethically tangled tale of romantic certainty and conflicting loyalties, all set amidst a stunningly rendered portrait of Berlin in the final dark years before The Wall came down.

Third book: Renegade by Laramie Briscoe. This is one book from the small town contemporary romance series set around a special task force group.

Book blurb –

Ryan “Renegade” Kepler

I’m the type of man who knows what I want. I make up my mind and stay in my lane, never veering off the course I set for myself.

Going into the military? Did it.
Serving overseas? Did it.
Youngest member of the Moonshine Task Force? That’s me.

Whitney Trumbolt

Ryan is ten years my junior, but damn, being a cougar never felt as good as it did the night we spent together. Now all I want to do is go back to how things were before.

But Ryan is my younger brother’s best friend, and where Trevor goes, Ryan goes. Instead I put my head in the sand and do my best to go about my life.

Fourth book: The Lady’s Slipper by Deborah Swift is historical fiction with a botanical theme.

Book blurb –

1660. King Charles II has returned from exile, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. There are old scores to settle, and religious differences threaten to overturn a fragile peace. When Alice Ibbetson discovers a rare orchid, the Lady’s Slipper, growing in a wood belonging to Richard Wheeler, she is captivated by its beauty— though Wheeler, a Quaker, is determined to keep the flower where God intended it to grow.

Fifth book: The Dead Boxes Archive by John F Leonard is a collection of creepy mild horror short stories with a Dead Box theme.

Book blurb –

The Dead Boxes Archive is a chilling collection of short horror stories and horror novellas. Together for the first time in one volume, seven tales from the critically acclaimed Dead Boxes series.

Dead Boxes are scary things. Wonderful and dreadful secrets hiding themselves in plain view.
On the surface, they often appear to be ordinary, everyday objects. Items which are easily overlooked at first glance. Perhaps that’s just as well because the Dead Boxes are as far from ordinary and everyday as you can get. They hold miracle and mystery, horror and salvation, answers to questions best not asked and directions to places better left unfound.

Sixth book: Writing Vivid Dialogue by Rayne Hall is just one book from her Writer’s Craft series of non-fiction books. I’ve read several and often recommend them to writers to help hone their work.

Book blurb –

Do you want to write fast-paced, exciting, sizzling dialogue?

This book reveals professional dialogue techniques to characterise the speaker, carry the plot forward and entertain your readers.

This is not a beginner’s guide. I assume that you have mastered the basics of fiction writing, and you don’t need an explanation what dialogue is and why it matters for your story. But your dialogue isn’t as strong as your story deserves. Perhaps it drags, perhaps the characters all sound the same, and perhaps it lacks tension, wit or sparkle.

I’ll offer you a toolbox filled with techniques. These are not ‘rules’ every writer must follow, but tricks you can try. Pick, mix and match them to suit your characters and your story.

Seventh book: A Demon Bound by Debra Dunbar is the first book in the Imp series of urban fantasy tales. I’ve read all the books in the series and was really pleased to have found them.

Book blurb –

Samantha Martin is an imp, enjoying an extended vacation from Hel. All she wants to do is drink beer by the pool, play mischievous pranks on the humans, and get her hot neighbor in the sack. It’s a relaxing break from her infernal home, as long as she manages to avoid the angels, who won’t hesitate to execute her on sight. But when her naughty hellhound lands her in trouble with the local werewolf pack, Sam is blackmailed into helping track and catch a killer. The steps she must take to appease the werewolves will put her right in the crosshairs of the angels. And with angels, there is no second chance.

Eighth book: The Worst Journey In The World by John R. McKay is World War Two historical fiction set on a boat heading to Russia via the arctic.

Book blurb –

When George Martin joins the crew of the Royal Navy frigate, HMS Virtuous, he is keen to start his new life at sea, but after trips escorting relief cargoes to the stricken island of Malta, he soon realises that life on a warship is anything but easy.
After the invasion of the Soviet Union by German forces in 1941, George finds himself on the Virtuous’s most perilous journey yet, as it forms part of a convoy heading to Russia. Hunted by Nazi U-boats, surface ships and the Luftwaffe, the crew must endure its greatest foe – the harsh Arctic weather. With temperatures dropping to minus 30 degrees Centigrade and violent storms threatening to sink the ship, George endures the harsh reality of war, whilst at the same time pondering his uneasy relationship with the mysterious Glenda, the girl he has left behind.

Ninth book: Flood by Ann Swinfen is historical fiction set in the Fenlands during the seventeenth century.

Book blurb –

Violence, greed and betrayal threaten the remote communities of East Anglia in the seventeenth century, when ruthless and unscrupulous speculators steal their common lands, while fanatic Puritans bring accusations of heresy and witchcraft. Granddaughter of a local hero, Mercy Bennington moves out of the shadow of her elder brother to become a leader of the protestors, finding the strength to confront the enemies who endanger the survival of her village and her own life. Yet the violence wreaked upon the fragile fenlands unleashes a force no one can control – flood.

Tenth book: The Heretic Heir by G. Lawrence is Tudor historical fiction and features the lives of Mary and Elizabeth.

Book blurb –

February 1603, the last of the Tudor monarchs is dying, but Death must wait for Elizabeth of England to finish her tale…

As The Bastard Princess, Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, has fought through a childhood of intrigue and peril to her place as the heir to the English throne. But as her sister, Mary I, the first anointed and sole Queen of England takes the crown, Elizabeth must face her most dangerous challenges yet… for Mary I is determined to return England to the Catholic faith, and will have none stand in her way.

Protestant Elizabeth knows that she must survive the suspicions and distrust of her sister, in a reign where rebellion and war freely stalked the lands of England.
To survive, this heretic heir must hone her skills in survival, wit and wile, in order that she may one day… become Queen.

Eleventh book: The Alchemical Detective by Kirsten Weiss is book one of a paranormal mystery series.

Book blurb –

This metaphysical detective has a murder to solve. But will a devilishly handsome casino owner get in the way?

There’s a storm on the horizon. Riga’s lost her magic and has come to Lake Tahoe for a fresh start and to spend quality time with her new love. But life for a metaphysical detective is never that simple.

Someone’s killing psychics in Lake Tahoe, and the police think Riga may be connected to the murders. The best way to prove her innocence? Catch the killer herself… if she can escape the monster-hunting “reality” show she’s committed to for long enough. And as the killer circles closer, she may become his next target…

If you love talking gargoyles, smart mysteries, and mature heroines with complicated lives, you’ll love this series.

I would happily recommend all these books to others.

May’s #BookBloggerSupport22 10 Book Blog Posts I’ve Recently Shared. @PagesUnbound

Challenge 5 in my year long support for book bloggers from the ladies at PagesUnbound.

Twitter is my chosen site for sharing blog posts, over the years I’ve built up my following and it’s where I am comfortable with the book community.

Everyday I share book blogs posts; it’s what I do, but for this challenge I have chosen 10 specific posts that I think might interest my readers.

  1. How to create suspense in writing. A guest post from Alex Cavanaugh.
  2. Book review for Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by Fredrik Backman
  3. ‘a beautiful nod to female empowerment and strength’. KKreads reviews The Change by Kirsten Miller
  4. King’s Mistress, Queen’s Servant: The Life and Times of Henrietta Howard by Tracy Borman
  5. Writing Tips. Choosing the Right Proofreader and/or Editor by Terry Tyler.
  6. Who gives narcissists their playbook? Asks Barb Taub. Plus a book review for psychological drama Where There’s Doubt.
  7. A very sophisticated thriller. Mairéad reviews A Traitors Heart by Ben Creed.
  8. Top 10 writing tips from multi-genre author Paula Roscoe
  9. A Brighton Mysteries book. Liz reviews The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths
  10. A Honey of a Book, says Davida about The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson.

Book Blogging: It’s About More Than The Book. #BookBloggerSupport22 @pagesunbound

Challenge 4 in my year long support for book bloggers from the ladies at PagesUnbound. Today’s post delves deeper into book blogging.

If you are active on social media and you love reading, you’ve probably read your fair share of book reviews from book bloggers – and, if you’re like me, I imagine you’ve been inspired to click the Amazon link a few times, after doing so!

This is why I started book blogging: I want to be a positive force in this corner of social media, linking readers to writers they may never have heard of before, and talking about books which I enjoy. Although I mix my reading with mainstream authors, I prefer to support indies.  Giving them an extra voice amongst the many million in cyberspace gives me great satisfaction.

There are no rules about writing a book review (except to avoid spoilers); everyone has their own slant, though it’s not just bloggers who are talking about books; pick any social media site and you will find book enthusiasts. However, a blog post can offer an opportunity for a longer article as opposed to other social sites which rely heavily on soundbites. A book blog gives a personal touch—most regular reviewers will have had a review rejected by Amazon, for any number of reasons; language, comparison to other works, sensitive subject matter, whatever. On your own blog, though, you can write exactly what you wish – and when you wish.  You might want to review two books a week, or one every two months.  Novels, short stories, novellas, whole series – it’s up to you.

A book blog gives a personal touch

Book bloggers are of key importance to the reading world as they are prepared to share their thoughts and feelings about a book online, where billions of potential readers can access the reviews. There’s no word limit, which is good when you feel the need to wax lyrical about a book, one you stayed up late reading or a book you just don’t want to let go. There’s nothing quite like finding another bookworm who felt the same way about a particular story; I have some fabulous book friends made through book blogging.  We’ve had meet-ups where we talk book for hours – it’s marvellous!

Some say that its popularity is on the wane; like everything that first made its stamp as the internet found its way into everyone’s homes, it has ebbed and flowed. Perhaps book blogging could be likened to those who don’t mind travelling in the slower lane; those who want to watch the view and take their time. However, I have no doubt that there are still new audiences to capture, for anyone who wants to use their social media profiles to join us in sharing their bookish thoughts in the online bookworm world! Rosie Amber’s Book Review Blog has been going for ten years now – it’s taken time, enthusiasm, adaptability and the support of my family, review team members, publishers and authors who submit to me regularly.  My best blogging tool, though, is the fact that I enjoy it.

‘Perhaps book blogging could be likened to those who don’t mind travelling in the slower lane; those who want to watch the view and take their time.’

Is there a future for book blogging? Sadly, the majority of readers in the general public don’t post book reviews, which is why, for authors and publishers, book bloggers are like angels sprinkling magic dust. Unless a book has the backing of one of The Big Five publishers with a large marketing budget, getting it seen by its target demographic is an uphill challenge. If book reviewers start raving about a book, it will hit social media and draw attention to itself. Every person who sees its cover, sees someone tweeting the title, notices that it’s got yet another great review, is another who may decide that, yes, today is the day they’re going to Amazon to buy it. 

Book bloggers are like angels sprinkling magic dust.

If, like me, you enjoy delving a little deeper into a book after reading the book blurb but before making a purchase, go seek out some book blogs who read the type of books you love.  We’re not paid by publishers or authors, so we have no agenda – we simply write what we feel.  We don’t claim any great skills in literary critique; we use our own words, as they come out of our heads.  We’re ordinary people who have one massive thing in common with you – we’re obsessed with books, and we want to tell the world about those we love! 

A New Challenge To Boost Book Blogging. #BookBloggerSupport22 from @pagesunbound

The ladies from PagesUnbound have created a new challenge, which can be completed in your own time-frame or made into an easy year-long challenge, to bring back some much needed support for book blogging. The last two years have been difficult and many people have struggled to read, review, write blog posts, comment and share posts. We all understand. But, now let’s get back to what we enjoy.

Here’s what to do:

Introduction post: Write an introduction post and link it to the Pages Unbound post.

Challenge 1 (January):

Write a blog post about 10 book bloggers that you have enjoyed reading posts from.

Challenge 2 (February):

Write a blog post about 10 new-to-you book bloggers.

Challenge 3 (March):

Leave comments on 10 book blogger’s posts.

Challenge 4 (April):

Write a blog post in support of book bloggers. Some ideas (if needed) are:

A round-up of blog links you enjoyed reading in the past week or month.
A post about why you enjoy reading book blogs in general.
A post about how other people can support book blogs.
Challenge 5 (May):

Share 10 book blog posts on your social media pages.

Challenge 6 (June):

Respond to 5 comments that other people have left on another book blog – the idea is to start a conversation or a discussion rather than just leaving a new comment about the blog post.

Challenge 7(July):

Write a blog post about books that you have read because of other book bloggers. Your list can be specific (I read X book because Y blogger recommended it), or it can be more general (I read these books because they were popular with book bloggers in general).

Challenge 8 (August):

Follow 5 book bloggers who have been blogging for less than a year.

Optional – write a blog post supporting them (N.B. It isn’t always easy to find out how long bloggers have been blogging, so just do your best.)

Challenge 9 (September):

Write a guest post for another book blog or feature a guest book blogger on your own blog. (If you don’t know who to ask, I’m sure that others taking part in this challenge would be delighted to help.)

Challenge 10 (October):

Take the time to fully read 10 posts and leave a “like”. Bonus: comment on them, as well.

Challenge 11 (November):

In 5 of your own blog posts add links back to other book bloggers.

Ideas:

Creating a round-up of interesting links from other blogs.
Writing a discussion post inspired by someone else’s book blog and link back to it.
Linking to other bloggers’ reviews at the end of your reviews.
Linking to another blogger’s post in a discussion post to support a point.
Including quotes from other bloggers and linking back to them in one of your posts.

Challenge 12 (December):

Share 10 more book blogger posts to your social media.

Extra ideas for mini-posts:

Comment on a book tour post. (Why? So that publishers can see bloggers have an audience and these marketing posts are reaching people.)
Comment on an author interview. (Why? These posts tend to get fewer comments, so commenting shows authors and publishers that people are reading them — and blogs in general.)
Tag a publisher on social media when you retweet a 5 star review from a blogger. (Why? These posts often get little recognition from publishers.)
Vote for book bloggers in any end-of-the year awards where “book influencers” are nominated. (Why? Usually these categories are dominated by bookstagrammers and booktubers.)
Share your secrets to blogging “success.” (Why? We’re all in this together! If you have a great way to get traffic or comments, let others know so we can succeed as a community.)

Read the full post at Pages Unbound for more details.