Friday 31 October 2014

Fun Fact Friday (#40)

Fun Fact Friday is a meme hosted by Lettora at I'm Booked! Isn't it very fitting that the 13th Fun Fact Friday is on the day after Halloween... spooky. I hope you've all had a frightfully sweet filled week.

Now onto this weeks freaky(ish) facts... - See more at:
Fun Fact Friday is a meme hosted by Lettora at I'm Booked! Isn't it very fitting that the 13th Fun Fact Friday is on the day after Halloween... spooky. I hope you've all had a frightfully sweet filled week.

Now onto this weeks freaky(ish) facts... - See more at:

Fun Fact Friday is a meme hosted by Lettora at I'm Booked! Isn't it very fitting that the 13th Fun Fact Friday is on the day after Halloween... spooky. I hope you've all had a frightfully sweet filled week.

Now onto this weeks freaky(ish) facts...

1. Though many consider pumpkins, squash and courgettes to be different foods, they are in fact all the same genus and species, and can be bred with one another.

2. Candy Corn was originally known as "chicken feed."

3.  Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness.

4.  Trick Or Treating Is Actually A Form Of Ancient Begging

5. The symbolic white mask that Michael Myers wears in “Halloween” is actually a mask of William Shatner. The production crew bought the cheapest mask they could find at a party store and spray-painted it white.

Happy Halloween!

Friday 24 October 2014

Fun Fact Friday (#39)

Fun Fact Friday is a meme hosted by Lettora at I’m Booked! If you’d like to join and do your own Fun Fact Friday, just ask! At I’m Booked! Every week we’ll give you five new, fun facts.
This week’s five facts:

1.  A baby octopus is about the size of a flea when it is born.

2.  Watermelon is considered both a fruit and a vegetable.

3.  During photosynthesis, plants emit light, called fluorescence, that humans can't see.

4.  Owls turn their heads almost 360 degrees (a complete circle) but they cannot move their eyes.

5.  A ten-gallon hat actually holds a little less than one gallon of water.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Giveaway: Life of Pi by Yann Martel [INT: ENDS 23/11/2014]

I said last week that when I reach 500 Twitter followers I would do a giveaway but I just can't wait! There's no time like the present so why not put in an entry or two to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Life of Pi by Yann Martel. (This is also to celebrate a belated blogaversary from August. :))

Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Kathleen Hale: A Writer's Response to a Bad Review

A few days ago an article on the Guardian by a novelist named Kathleen Hale came out detailing an experience she had with and anonymous reviewer who left a one star review of her book on Goodreads. Once her book was out for the world (well, bloggers) to see, Hale decided to pay a visit to Goodreads to see what people thought. Although fellow authors had told her to avoid reading the reviews, the temptation was too great and it wasn’t long before things got heated.  

After an interaction on twitter where she was asking for book ideas, a blogger, who went by the name of Blythe Harris, tweeted Hale that she had a few ideas for her next book. This lead to Hale visiting the blogger’s one star review that she’d posted on Goodreads. In the review she gave her thoughts on the novel:

"F*** this," it said. "I think this book is awfully written and offensive; its execution in regards to all aspects is horrible and honestly, nonexistent."

Blythe went on to warn other readers that my characters were rape apologists and slut-shamers. She accused my book of mocking everything from domestic abuse to PTSD. "I can say with utmost certainty that this is one of the worst books I've read this year," she said, "maybe my life."

According to Hale, her book didn’t actually include the theme of rape and she felt the review was unfair. Some other commenters had apparently agreed with the blogger, and decided to lower their reviews. 

Just to note - Goodreads authors are given warnings on any bad reviews given on their books to discourage them from commenting on said reviews. If they want to comment they have to ignore this warning. This may be a response to the train of authors on sites such as STGRB who blacklist certain book bloggers for their notorious negative reviews.

So far it sounds like Blythe has been overly harsh. It’s important to give an honest review so that potential readers can make an informed decision on whether they want to buy the book. It seems to me that this blogger went beyond that. According to Hale she has a history of attacking people online who don’t agree with her opinions on books. That aside, we know that essentially when you put a book out there, it’s no longer your place to decide whether it’s good or not. There are going to be people who won’t like your book and you need to accept that. But Hale was far from finished here.

She engaged in what she refers so as ‘light stalking’ and kept an eye on Blythe’s social media accounts. You know, just to keep up to date.

This is where things get strange. Months later, when things had calmed down, Hale’s book was released and she was asked to do an interview for a book club. She got to pick a blogger to host it. Who better than Blythe Harris? This particular interview had a giveaway and so the book club forwarded her Blythe’s address. From here, Hale checked it out on Google maps and did an internet background check to find that Blythe Harris was in fact Judy Donofrio, a 46 year old woman rather than a 27 year old mother of two.

It looked as if I had been taken in by someone using a fake identity. I Gchatted Patricia (fellow author): “I think we’ve been catfished?

By definition, no. Blythe wasn't a character used to lure Hale into a relationship so no, she isn't a catfish. But Judy/Blythe is most certainly being stalked.

She rented a car to track Blythe down but before doing the deed, she needed some expert advice and consulted Catfish star Nev Schulman, who explained how the blogger may respond. It was time to hit the road. When she turned up at her house, Hale’s nerves got the best of her and she walked away leaving a book on her doorstep. This visit was later followed by Hale calling Judy at work where she denied the claims but did make herself look guilty.

To me it sounds as if Kathleen Hale is living in the fantasy of one of her own novels. You can't just turn up at a strangers house unannounced. That's creepy. So she wasn’t happy with a review? That’s fair enough. But this ‘light stalking’ went way too far and can’t be justified. I understand some bloggers need for anonymity online because some authors can get feisty when you criticize their book and this is a perfect example of why the right to stay mostly anonymous is so important. It seems that Blythe/Judy’s online persona gave her the ability to feel powerful over others without having to be accountable for her actions. She felt she could make or break a book with her review and had a large enough following that she could influence them to feel the same way.

Bad reviews are a part of the job. We've only seen one side of the story and the way Hale tells it, it seems like she feels she's the victim in this but she has most definitely crossed the line, essentially bullying another person. She should have left the review as it was and moved on. What she has done has done more harm to her and her book than a one star review could ever have done and now that she has publicly admitted to these events I can’t see how she’s going to recover any time soon. What disturbs me most that, she and many others don't seem to see a problem with what she did. They play it off as something that isn't a serious as it really is. I'm even more surprised that she was allowed to use the Guardian as a platform to share her story.

One thing to be learned from this is that this is a prime example of how not to respond to a negative review. On the bright side, if Hale is still looking, I think she’s got a great idea for her next novel.

Monday 20 October 2014

Grab a Button and Get Booked!

I finally got round to making one of these things so now you can check out the side bar on the right and get the new I'm Booked! button for your blog!
- See more at:
- See more at:

Friday 17 October 2014

Fun Fact Friday (#38)

Fun Fact Friday is a meme hosted by Lettora at I’m Booked! If you’d like to join and do your own Fun Fact Friday, just ask! At I’m Booked! Every week we’ll give you five new, fun facts.

This week’s five facts:

1.  There's a cruise ship named "The World" where residents permanently live as it travels around the globe.

2.  "Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

3.  The space between your eyebrows is called the "glabella."

4. 11% of the World is left handed.

5. The largest recorded snowflake was 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Why Blog Commenting is Important

Let’s face it. We all love getting comments. They let people know that your blog is alive with active readers that actually want to read what about what you have to say. From the good to the bad, it’s a nice way of knowing people are interested in your content. But did you know the benefits of leaving comments on other people’s blogs far outreaches gratification? There are many ways you, as a blogger, can see positives come from it too.

1.       Making friends: Having friends in the blogosphere is always a good thing. You can recommend books or other products to each other and keep one another up to date on what’s going on in the world of books. A good way of making friends is through commenting as you’re letting the other person know that you like their post and they’ll appreciate that you took the time to comment.

2.       Backlinking: If you’ve commented on another blog before, you’ll notice that your username links back (usually) to your blog or website. This helps search engines to find you, and consequently, your blog. Increasing your traffic.

3.       Engaging in discussions: Some blog posts may lead to a discussion due to interest or controversy. If an interesting topic is raised this is a great opportunity to write to other bloggers and discuss the matter and find out other people’s opinions on it. It can even lead to you developing your own ideas for a blog post of your own.

4.       Branding: Your blog has a brand. It’s different to other blogs because you wrote it and your posts have a unique voice. This voice can also be captured in a comment. A comment that you can leave on someone’s post that you found to be valuable. A thoughtful comment can lead others to becoming interested in your own blog. This is why you should try to leave comments when you actually have something to say because saying ‘Hi (blogger), great post’ and leaving your URL isn’t likely to garner you any favour. In fact it will most likely hurt your brand.

5.       Give and you shall receive: Do you like getting comments? Of course! We all do. It shows that someone wants to tell us that we helped them or that we made them laugh. But if you don’t comment on other peoples blogs then why should others comment on yours? Take a few minutes to comment and share the love. You’ll get noticed and people will want to comment in return.

These are just a few things that I've learned about commenting. Let me now what you think!

Friday 10 October 2014

Fun Fact Friday (#37)

Fun Fact Friday is a meme hosted by Lettora at I’m Booked! If you’d like to join and do your own Fun Fact Friday, just ask! At I’m Booked! Every week we’ll give you five new, fun facts.

This week’s five facts:

1.  In 2002, the average user spent 46 minutes on the Internet per day. In 2012, it was 4 hours.

2. The last animal in the dictionary is the zyzzyva, a tropical weevil.

3.  A 10-Year-Old Goldfish Had a 45-Minute Surgery To Remove A Tumor in 2014.

4.  The first drinking straw was designed to have a diameter slightly smaller than a lemon pip, as the inventor was tired of getting lemon seeds in his mouth when drinking lemonade.

5.  The first colour photograph was taken in 1861 by Michael Sutton.

Thursday 9 October 2014

How to Write a Book Review

Writing a book review isn't too bad once you know what you're doing. You read the book, you write down what you thought and then you publish it on your blog, Goodreads or any other place you can give reviews. When I started blogging I learned from other bloggers that there are ways to make your reviews more informative and also, look easier on the eye. Here are a few tips to get you started if you’re new to the book reviewing game:

1.       Bookmark pages: Keep tabs or stickers on pages you found interesting in the book so that you can easily refer back to it in your review. This has helped me write my reviews faster as it means I don’t have to memorise everything that I want to write. It’s easy to forget interesting points after you’ve finished reading a book and you might not write a review straight away so it can help to keep tabs on key pages and chapters.

2.       Writing the review: Normally I start by saying a general sentence about the book. Usually just referring to the main plot. I’ll then say what I liked and what I didn’t like in separate paragraphs. Normally the final paragraph is a summary of my overall thoughts on the book and then I give a rating. This is a basic skeleton for my reviews which I don’t always completely follow. I like to add a bit of humour here and there to keep it upbeat. Especially if the book gets a bad rating. I normally centre my reviews around these three things:
  • Characters
  • Plot
  • Writing

3.       Formatting: Everyone does this a bit differently so it doesn’t really matter how you do it. The basic components reviews that I’ve seen are similar to what's shown below:

The main things I'd take away are:
  • Large Title
  • Synopsis in italics
  • Book Cover
  • Book info (e.g page count)
  • Review below

As long as it's easy to read its fine. I've seen really cool review formats from other bloggers like on Candace's Book Blog.  Colour scheme can also be important. Always try to pick a font and background colour that clearly contrast each other so they're easy to read.

4.       Spoilers: If you have any spoilers in your review it always nice to say so in your title so the readers don’t get a shock when they find out their favourite character dies in the book they haven’t read yet.

5.       Give it a rating: This can be fun if you have a new blog but you haven’t established a rating system yet. Most people use stars but I use a rating from 1-5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being exemplary. I’ve seen letters from A-F like school grades and I’ve also seen people use funny things like cats and ice-cream (e.g. 2/5 ice-creams). I try to rate things before I've seen other reviews so my opinion isn't influenced.

These are just a few basic ways to help get your review started if you’re not sure how. If you have any more ideas say so in the comments!