Hi there! Today I just wanted to host a guest post for another book review blogger. Rosie Amber became my one and only blogger friend when I first started my blog. She placed her digital arm around my digital shoulder and said ‘There, there, it will be OK.’ She’s helped me in many ways since then. But, if you take the time to get to know Rosie, you’ll discover that is not so unusual. She truly cares for others. Since April 2013, after being inspired by A Year of Good Deeds written by Judith O’Reilly, she has committed herself to performing some good work each day.
Here on my blog I focus on book reviews and helping authors spread the word about their books. I began writing reviews of books I’d read and then I offered to review books, slowly the blog built up and I invited authors to be guests on the blog. I post my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. I’m lucky enough to also have two local magazines that I write monthly book reviews for, they both have on-line editions which is great for my featured authors who are spread across the world.
For the last three years I’ve taken part in the April A to Z Challenge and I blogged my way through the alphabet using books each time. It’s a great way to meet loads of new people from across the world and I have stayed friends with many of them.
During April 2013 I read Judith O’Reilly’s book A Year of Good Deeds and I decided to set my own challenge of doing a Good Deed a Day for a year. Often my deeds are as small as picking up litter, or writing a book review, but I was so thrilled when I managed a whole year that I have continued my challenge. I post weekly updates on a Sunday and I have encouraged others to follow in my footsteps which is really great.
In September 2013 I joined with Stephanie Hurt from USA and we ran a joint Romance Book Tour. Thirty authors got the chance of two posts about their book on their allotted day, stretched across the world to a wider audience. The concept worked really well and we ran a second tour in 2014. Places on the tour were snapped up in a week, we had a waiting list and people are already asking us about a 2015 tour which is fantastic.
I ran a Mystery Book tour all through last November, 30 books, 30 authors and 30 days. There were all sorts of sub-genre books taking part in the tour.
I’ve just run a Beach Read fortnight with guests telling us about the five books they’d take on vacation as well as their favourite destinations.
I really believe in the value of book reviews helping to sell books as we move more and more into buying books online. In June 2014 I ran a book review challenge for a week with posts giving advice on book reviews, guest book reviewers, authors and a publisher all talking about the need for more written book reviews. I had authors offer free copies of their book and challengers were invited to read the book and try writing a review. It went down so well that on the back of this I set up a book review team. This is a no pressure team who review books they choose around their busy lives. They commit to reading and reviewing a book within a reasonable time and we posts reviews to a minimum of two sites plus I get a copy of all reviews to go on my own blog. That way authors get access to several reviewers at once and can get some good feedback on their book. We publish all reviews, many bloggers feel pressured to only post 5* reviews, my policy can lead to disgruntled authors, but hey we’re here to show we are readers with our own opinions.
I love blogging and offer a busy blog for people who love books in all sorts of genres. I’m passionate about reading and I’m always recommending books to others or passing on copies of books I’ve read. Plus I’m happy to get other people who love reading involved with my book review team.
Rosie – I thank you for allowing FictionZeal to host you and your blog today. You have a wonderful blog and always keep it new with unique and fresh ideas.
My questions to Rosie:
First, would you provide a link to a few of your most favourite books as featured on your blog? Tell us why you loved them so much.
Swamp Ghosts – Marcia Meara (Romantic Suspense) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-7Qf
Florida beauty and dangerous animals mixed with a serial killer with time for a bit of romance.
Back Behind Enemy Lines – Chris Bridge (Historical WW2 fiction) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6GA
A WW2 secret agent now faces a war against her family in the book split into two time eras.
Walking On The Edge – Zee Monodee (Romantic Suspense) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6tL
A woman with amnesia starts to recall her past, but first she must escape those who are keeping her captive.
I Listened To my Heart – Rosemary Gallagher (Spiritual Romance) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-6h6
Angels and spirit guides feature in this search for a soul mate.
The Parrot Told Me – Rachel Rawlings (Murder Mystery) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-64Y
Great mystery, where it’s the talking parrot who can tell who the murderer really was. Had me hooked from the start.
A Place In The World – Cinda MacKinnon (Contemporary S. American setting) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5VC
A coffee finca in the cloud forests of Colombia are the setting for this tale about discovery and survival.
Craving – Sophia Grey (NA psychic romance) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5TR
A sexy leather jacket wearing young psychic gets involved with chasing away the evil.
Backpacks and Bra Straps – Savannah Grace (Travel) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Qu
Second travel book about a Canadian family who sold up and went backpacking around the world, very good.
The Soul and the Seed – Arie Farnham (YA fantasy thriller) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Hy
Scary storyline about testing teenagers and experimenting on them to extreme lengths.
A Woman’s Choice – Annie Thomas (Historical Fiction) http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5di
The turn of the 20th century and one young lady steps foot on America to make a better life for her and her mother. I liked all the historical details.
As a reviewer, what does the rating scale mean to you? Do you ever review books on your blog that are 2 stars or under? Do you finish everything you start or have you DNF (did not finish) any?
I keep to the 1-5* rating. I don’t do any 4.5 or 3.2 stars, and I post the same star rating on Goodreads and Amazon. So within a 4* rating I’ll have books which just made it past a 3* and books which weren’t quite perfect for me. I’ll try to make the rest of my written review show how much I liked a book or what I felt didn’t quite work.
If I have a review which will go below 2* from an author who has asked me to review their work, I’ll go back to them with an appraisal of their book, it may have massive editing errors, or be very unrealistic with characters doing impossible things, even fantasy has to be believable. Some of my appraisals are for books I could not finish but I’ll try to read at least 20% before I give up. I think this type of approach is more helpful to an author than silently posting a 2* with barely a review, it doesn’t give them a chance to see where they need to improve.
If one of your favourite authors added you as a character to one of their books, how would you like to be portrayed?
Whenever I see a character called Rosie in a book I get a shiver and love seeing how these Rosie’s develop in their storylines. If I was a book character I would like to be in a book about self-discovery as fun, carefree and a good friend. I’d have my eyes wide open to the opportunities life experiences offer without the restrictions of the modern world. I’d enjoy being in a storyline about finding or digging into my past lives, I’m a believer that we’ve all been on this earth before and that each time we return it’s to learn something new or sort out some bad Karma. I’d want my characters to travel to places which connect to those past lives, I have a yearning for Ireland, Africa and more of North America/ Canada (The wilder parts). My journey would begin with some past life regression work, deep meditation training (I’m enjoying reading about meditation at the moment and trying to put it to practise) and move on to just what I can do to make this a better place to live.
If you could have an author from the past write one more book, who would it be? What would be the genre of the book?
I’d like Maeve Binchy to write another of her Irish family dramas, I grew up reading much of her work, there were lessons within her writing which were good to be guided by. Contemporary drama.
I know blogging can be both rewarding and challenging. What are the greatest rewards for you, and what are your biggest challenges?
Rewarding: Meeting lots of lovely people, giving something back in life – if I can help spread the word about books, writing and useful tips to others then that’s a great payback for all the books I get to read.
Challenging: At first it was finding interesting topics to fill my blog, and developing useful feedback in a book review, my first review post was only a couple of lines and barely said anything useful to other readers. Now I make notes as I read so I can write a better review at the end of a book. My main challenges now are firstly dealing with authors who disagree with my review, some forget we all read a book differently and see and like different things. Some authors get so close to their work that they struggle to accept any idea that the book could be improved, they let their ego get in the way of developing their craft.
Secondly my challenge is with fitting in all the admin needed to run a review blog, a review team and finding the time to visit and share other bloggers posts/ tweets etc plus juggle this with a part time job and full time mother/ friend and housewife in my everyday life.
If you are not familiar with Rosie Amber’s blog, I encourage you to spend a bit of time there. It’s awesome!
Re-blogged from Diane Coto at FictionZeal.com