I am conscious that the correct place for an introduction is at the beginning, but to set up a book blog and immediately start telling people all about myself felt too much like a brand new football signing coming out on to the pitch and saying ‘Hey everybody, my name is Dave and I’m super stoked to be here! My favourite shampoo is…why is everyone shouting at me to kick the ball?!’
So here we are. I’ve done my warm up, had a bit of a kick around, and played a couple of friendlies. And now it feels a bit rude not to even say hello!
Also it occured to me (in the shower. I do all my best thinking there, because it’s the only place I don’t tend to have a book in my hand), that reviewing books is subjective. I can give you my opinion, but if you don’t know what weight to give my words then they are useless to you. As this is a book blog, I thought the best way for you to judge your opinion of my opinion was to tell you a bit about my tastes (in life and fiction) and then leave it up to you as to whether you think we make a good fit.
I’ll do the non-book bit first as that will be much shorter! I am a big fan of Lush Cosmetics products (because they are ethical and smell nice), Lyme Bay Winery’s country wines and meads (because they taste delicious and leave less of a hangover in my experience) and Jamberry nail wraps (because they’re pretty and even a pleb like me, who doesn’t own a hairdryer, can use them). I am not sponsored by any of those companies, although I wish I was! My favourite colour is blue, I have two small children and two loud cats and I like to play Elder Scrolls games on my pc when I’m not reading.
In terms of reading, my favourite genre is fantasy, but I am an omnivorous reader and have favourite books in most styles and story-types. As a child I loved Colin Dann, Gerald Durrell, C. S. Lewis, James Herriott, L. M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and pretty much anything that had an animal in. I then moved on to pulp romance and horror novels for a while (Point Horror / Point Romance…anybody?!), followed by a Stephen King and Agatha Christie bender. I have and do enjoy Thomas Hardy, Charles de Lint, Maya Angelou, Mercedes Lackey, Tom Holt, Jane Austen, and Bill Bryson.
My current favourite stand-alone books are Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.
My current favourite series are Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, Douglas Adam’s Dirk Gently books, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogies, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, Robert Rankin’s Brentford Trilogy, Elizabeth Peters’ Peabody series, J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books and Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.
I can’t possibly list all the books I love, because there are far too many, but the above provides a fair selection across the spectrum I think.
The books I have NOT enjoyed in one way or another are extremely rare. I didn’t finish James Joyce’s Ulysses because with a pre-schooler, a toddler, and a nearly full-time job, reading time is at a premium and life is just too short. I did not finish Clive Barker’s Books of Blood or Stephen King’s It because they tickled such a dark place in my brain that I was sleeping with the lights on for weeks. But I can see what makes these good books anyway. Poorly written books often have intriguing plots; books without much story can still be beautifully narrated; and if neither of those is the case there is usually at least one character I can root for!
In short, I absorb books like kitchen roll soaks up spilt wine and can generally wring a trickle of enjoyment out of each one even if it’s not exactly to my personal taste!
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
― Terry Pratchett,
For authors looking to submit copies to me for review, I have recently been asked about my rules for submission. I don’t have any! I’m in this for the love of it and am happy to read any book/story of any length, any genre (or not), any age range, and give you my honest thoughts on it. I prefer the MOBI format to my email, as I am able to read more on my Kindle out-and-about than I can at home, but if that isn’t possible I can read PDF or EPUB formats on my PC with no problem at all! I post my review here and it auto-uploads to my Twitter and Facebook page. I am happy to tag authors/publishers, and/or to copy my review to Goodreads/Amazon if requested.
In return for my flexibility, all I ask is that authors remember that I do this in my limited spare time, and therefore bear with me when it comes to turnaround times. I hope to eventually be able to devote more time to this blog, but in the meantime it does take me a few days to read and get a review up. I’m ok with being chased if you’re impatient, and will always give you my best estimate of timeline!
If you are interested in me providing a proof-reading/editing/beta reading service for your writing then please contact me directly to discuss terms.
Finally, I am always looking for new book recommendations and am happy to chat about books all day and night, so do please get in touch on the following: