Posted in Notes

Just a few words of advice for new bloggers :)


I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, how I set up my blog, all the things that blogging includes and so I decided to put together a list for all the new up and coming blogs to perhaps mull over. I know it took a while for me to get my head around everything, so I am hoping this may put your mind at ease. So, here are my tips for you 🙂

Getting started

It took me a while to actually set up a blog. I’ve loved reading since I was little and then I had a kindle for Christmas one year and Amazon was like a massive candy shop. I was finding books by authors I had never even heard of – self-published authors and a new genre called New Adult took me by storm. I spoke to some friends who encouraged me to set up a book blog and I did and I’ve never looked back.

Take the time to decide which hosting site you want to use. WordPress and Blogger are the most popular but its all down to personal preferences which of the many sites you want to set your blog on. Also picking a blog name and icon is highly important. This will be the name and photo in which everyone will know you, in which authors will know you, so think about it carefully and then embrace the fact you have a blog!! It’s fun and exciting and scary all rolled into one, but you are starting what you love so don’t let anyone put you down.

Blogging is NOT about free books

I never knew you could obtain ARCS or review copies when I began my blog, hell, I didnt even know what they were. I was happy buying books, reading them then reviewing. As I mention below, I had no idea what I was doing when I started, so free books were FAR from my mind. If you are beginning a blog just to get free books then think again. You should do it for the love of books, not so you DONT have to pay for them. Sure, there are websites such as NetGalley and Edelweiss in which you can request copies of eARCs (electronic advanced copies of books) but dont start up a blog to use them. Sure its nice to pop on and request a book every once in a while, but try to limit yourself and actually BUY books that YOU want to read instead of trying to snatch up freebies.

Ask for help

When I began my blog, I had no clue what the hell I was doing. Nor did I have anyone offering to help me. I think that’s why when newbies come along, I love to offer them advice, help them out anyway I can because, honestly, its scary starting a new blog, joining a new community and then not knowing what to do. Seriously, if you need help come and ask me. If you want to know what book tours are, cover reveals, book blitz, giveaways….anything you want to know, I will be more than happy to answer, and if I don’t, I will find out for you. Nothing is too big when you are a little fish in a big pond and you have no idea what you are doing. You soon get used to it and you will be a pro in no time.

Social Media + Interactions

Social media is a must for your blog and there are so many platforms that you can use to promote your blog. The ones I have are Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr and Pinterest. But its up to you which ones you want to use. It connects you with authors, other bloggers, readers, publishers etc. It’s a massive way to get your blog and name out into the blogging world. Interact with everyone on social media. I have found some of my best friends over Twitter; bloggers, readers and authors, and its been a massive boost in getting my name out there and having people look at my blog.

Take a few days off every now and then

I’ve had The Book Lovers for nearly two years now. Two long and short years. It’s my baby but even a baby can get you down, make you stressed and basically, not want to do it any more. When it gets to that point you know you have to step back for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months to just have time to yourself. I’ve had many times where I’ve had enough, where the pressure of keeping my blog has become too much so I take a few weeks off, read because I want to read and then when the time is right, I’ll return back to blogging. Remember your blog IS JUST A HOBBY. Don’t turn it into something you will end up hating. It will eat away at you.

Having a full time job + Blogging

Running a blog and having a full time job is a hard business. I am envious of people who just spend their days reading and blogging and tweeting and it does get you down, but chin up. It used to get me down but now I think that everyone is different. Some people can read all day, some people have to work and read when they can. It doesn’t make your blog any different. My advice if you are like me? Have posts scheduled for the upcoming week. I tend to schedule my posts on the weekend or if I can, have posts scheduled for the month. It takes the pressure off me worrying about not having anything to post.

Don’t accept ALL the review requests

At the start when I began receiving emails from authors I was like ‘OMG they want ME to review their book!’ and then I realised they probably sent this same email to so many bloggers in the hope that a few will reply. I have a review policy on my blog, outlining which genres I read, how to get in touch and to not be offended if I don’t reply as it probably is the sort of book that I won’t enjoy.

Choose carefully which books you want to review and never give the author a set time line of when you will read and review the book. I never do because I don’t know when I will get to it. More recently I have stopped accepting books because I just dont have the time to read ‘review copies’ due to my busy workload, but dont take my advice for it, at the end of the day, its down to you and what works best for you in terms of accepting ARCS (Advanced copies of books) and review copies.

Review honestly

There is nothing worse than saying you liked a book when in fact you didnt – all just to please the author or other fellow book bloggers. There have been plenty of books I have read that every single person on the planet seems to love and I didnt enjoy it, and all it is is personal preference. I’m honest in my reviews, I dont slam the author and even if its a book I didnt enjoy, I will still offer up the parts I did like, and explain why I didnt enjoy certain parts before still recommending it you all the readers. Why? Because something that I dont like, you might like. Just remember, be honest but not to the extent in which it may cause hurt or upset someone. That’s not who or what book bloggers are about.

It’s okay to be jealous, but then you get over it.

We have all been there, I know I have. You look through your Twitter time line and think ‘HOW did they get that book?’ or ‘HOW did they get that many followers when they havent been around that long?!’ and its OKAY. We all have tendencies to get jealous over fellow book bloggers but then you get over it. Don’t compare yourself to other blogs. Sure, there are bigger ones, there are smaller ones but at the end of the day, we are all doing what we love – reading, reviewing and promoting authors. That’s all that should matter at the end of the day, not how many ARCS or signed books or stats or followers you have.

Go to meet-up and book events.

Most of the book events are held in America, but it seems that the UK are beginning to gain exposure on hosting large book events for authors. Find meet-ups, book clubs, author signings and go along to them. Blogging is so much more than sitting behind a computer screen. Engage with the people you speak to on Facebook, Twitter etc. It’s so much fun to actually SPEAK to them in person and go for a drink or two.

I went to the London Author Event last year and met some of my besties and favourite authors and in two weeks i’ll be heading to the Edinburgh Author Event and spending the weekend with awesome authors and friends (and bunking with Emma Hart). So see, its all fun and games behind a computer, but its more fun to meet up and actually hang out!

Finally HAVE FUN!

That is why you started the blog right? To share your love of books. Well, have fun, be yourself and get involved. Meet authors, meet bloggers and have fun. We’re a nice community (albeit a bit bitchy at moments 😦 ) but don’t let the haters get to you. Ignore them and do what you love to do – READ.

Posted in Family, Romance

Billy and Me – Giovanna Fletcher


Sophie May has a secret.

One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.

But then she meets the gorgeous Billy – an actor with ambitions to make it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world.

Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation?

4 /5 stars




My Review

*Thanks to Katie Sheldrake and Penguin for sending me and Advance copy in return for an honest opinion*

Billy and Me is about Sophie May and Billy Buskin. Sophie is a shy girl, having grown up with a secret that she would very much like to keep secret.

When a film is being made in her hometown, she meets the star – Billy Buskin. At first she doesn’t recognise him, wondering why he is in the small village. They start up a friendship, spending time together when he comes into the teashop. When she eventually knows who is he, nothing changes. Yes hes famous but he’s not egotistical, hes sweet and kind and really likes Sophie.

When they fall in love, Sophie is whisked into his world, surrounded by famous people, bitchy people and paparazzi; her life is thrown into the spotlight, after years of shying away from it. With comments and the scrutiny of being with Billy, can she handle it all? And is she ready for her secret to be exposed to the nation?

What will become of Billy and Sophie?

So I have known about Giovanna Fletcher for many years. Being a McFly fan, it was kind of hard not to know who she was. I really admire her and she is a great role model, so when I found out she was writing a book, well that baby was going straight on my TBR list and the countdown was on for the release date.

I obtained a review copy and when it came through my door, I just KNEW that is was Billy and Me and ripped open the package, gleaming that I had this book in my hand and I was staring at the most gorgeous cover. I proceeded to read it everywhere; on the bus, on the train, in bed, at the bus stop, I could not put it down. No matter how much I needed to eat etc, the book was etched in my hand the whole time.

Mrs Fletcher has written an amazing debut novel. Being married to a famous musician, you would expect her to have encountered many of the things she writes about in Billy and Me and write about her experiences. Either way, if she did, or didn’t experience the paranoia and the paparazzi and the comments, she still wrote the story to perfection. She makes you love her characters, feel their emotions, feel the pressure and paranoia and everything that comes from being in a relationship with a famous person.

I was crying, I was laughing, I felt paranoid, I was smiling so hard and I also had to put the book down at times to take deep breathes because I didn’t want things to happen, or read on to find out what was going to happen. Emotions, people, you feel!

I really did like Billy. He wasn’t like all the other ‘famous’ actors whom are high maintenance, only think about themselves and throw money around. He was down-to-earth, wasn’t in it for the fame, and was genuine, and completely loveable and romantic. It was hard not to fall for him at first read.  He was the famous guy who you would love to be with simply because he loved the acting side and didn’t care for the fame and money. He liked his home necessities, his love for him family and the love he had for Sophie was lush to witness. He would do anything to be with her, to make her happy and feel loved.

Sophie is independent. She never used to be but a trauma in her life made her push people away. She doesn’t really have any friends, apart from Molly, the old lady she works for and her mother. She has a warm and caring aura about her. You want to be friends with her, for her to be your best friend and to confide in. She hates gossip, as she has been the subject of it, so she keeps to herself. She’s very comfortable in her ways, there aren’t many people who live in her village, and most of them are older women, she shes not really used to dating or seeing anyone her age around. When Billy comes into the shop, you can see that she finds him attractive, yet she holds her own, despite the lack of men, she can talk to him, make him feel at ease, make him laugh, and that is what is so great about Sophie is that she just has this aura about her that you want to spend time with her, want to know her and have to love her because she is true to herself.

Molly. Oh Molly. I absolutely loved this gem of a woman. She was Sophie’s boss but also her best friend. She was such a brilliant character to read about and you just want her as your own friend or your grandmother because she was funny and caring and gave the best advice. She looked out for Sophie, didn’t like anyone hurting her and pushed her in the right direction. She was the perfect character, and I really loved her throughout Billy and Me.

My favourite scene has to be the first date. I’m not going to say what happens, but seriously..Billy is the perfect romantic and I loved what he did. I really want my boyfriend – when I get one – to replicate this date because it is something that seems so intimate and sweet to come up with and make for a first date. You will be swooning over this date and over Billy, no question about it!

Giovanna Fletcher has written a great first novel. I know I am slightly late in reviewing it….well writing my review as I read this about a week or so ago, but damn work commitments. But seriously, if you are looking for a great love story, then Billy and Me is it. It’s hard to put down; you will fall in love, swoon, cry and generally savour every single page. So what are you waiting for, go grab your copy now and see what I am talking about.

Posted in Colleen Hoover, New Adult, Romance

Point Of Retreat (Slammed #2) – Colleen Hoover


Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart.

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’


My Review

Point of Retreat picks up from where Slammed ends. If you haven’t read Slammed, don’t read anymore of this review, as it will tell you what happens next in Lake and Will’s life.

After Julia’s death and the hardships to get to where they are now, Lake and Will are together, with nothing to keep them apart anymore. Lake and Will have proved that love can concur all, and they have waited so long to be together. The four of them are now a little family and although Julia is missed every day, they get by; with the love they have for each other.

But when someone from Will’s past emerges, she seems to do more damage than good and when Layken watches an interaction between Will and that person, it devastates her and leaves her questioning and doubting everything about their relationship.

With Lake heartbroken and not listening to a single word Will wants to say, it’s up to Will to prove just how much he loves this girl and how he can’t live without her. And with the help of his new neighbour, he’s determined to make Lake realize just how much he needs and loves her. Will he succeed in getting his soul mate back?

Colleen Hoover is perfection. Utter perfection. Oh Point of Retreat has my emotions all over the place. I was smiling, I was cursing, my heart fluttered, I was angry and I was in floods of tears. WHAT.A.SEQUEL! I couldn’t put this book down either.  In Slammed, it’s about the forbidden relationship, the love but also about the loss of the one remaining parent between them both – Julia. Point of Retreat shows us the bind that both Will and Lake have, not only losing both parents, but having to bring up their respective brothers. But more than that, their love and connection that binds them together is also foremost in Point of Retreat too. Their determination to be together, to stand strong together and still try to be the young adults they are whilst helping each other find that balance between being parents and still acting their age.

With Julia’s death, Lake and Will have more in common, dealing with the heartbreak of another family member’s death, but could this be something that could tear them apart? Having so much in common? With them both attending college, yet on different days, Will encounters a blast from the past that he would rather forget about, but since she’s in his classes, he can’t.

Enter Vaughn, the ex-girlfriend who deserted him when he needed her the most. Deciding it’s probably best not to tell Lake about her being in his class, Vaughn wants Will back after coming to her senses and realizing she threw someone as amazing as Will away. But no matter what Will tells her, that he loves Lake, Vaughn hits him with a hard blow and asks him the question: What if he’s only with her because he knows how it feels and he feels sorry for her?

After a confrontation and witnessing something so heartbreaking, Lake takes that question and turns it into something that could ruin their relationship forever. Yes, they have the loss of parents, the bringing up their brothers in common but is that why he loves her? Lake is planted with doubts over his love and tells him he can have days, weeks, even months to think about why he loves her. Months? Like he needs months to tell her but if only she would listen and not block him out, then he could tell her how much she means to him. So what does a guy like Will do to prove him love? Slam Dunk with poetry of course!

But with their love back on track, something even worse is coming their way and now it involves everyone. It’s times like these where this small close family of friends need to stick together and pray that it will all be okay.

I felt every single emotion when this happened – around the 75% mark. Will was frightened, he was scared, he was tired of waiting, not knowing what was happening, but he had to be strong. I cried so much during these few chapters because I hated seeing Will hurting so badly and I just wanted to crawl into my kindle and give him a hug and console him. His love was so strong and powerful that he would do whatever it took to make sure Lake was okay.

Lake kind of annoyed me when she began questioning Wills love for her, but in a way, I could see where she was coming from. They had so much in common at such a young age, that it could be seen as just being together for the sake of this, but in Slammed, they overcame so many obstacles to be together and proved that even when they weren’t together, their love couldn’t be vanquished. I know that now Lake has had to grow up after losing her dad and now her mum, and with Will already knowing what it’s like, their love could be built on that foundation, but even when she’s not here, Mama Julia knows best and is still there in spirit and there with her advice and wisdom to guide both of them through the hard times they are both experiencing.

And she of course, has something for every scenario and feeling both of them are going through, to prove that they can get through anything together. The lyrics, quotes and wisdom throughout the book gave it so much depth and meaning and each one integrated into the scene that was happening with grace and gave a whole lot of emotion back.

I loved the determination of Will to make everything right again with Lake, to prove that their relationship isn’t just based on the factors they have in common, that it runs much deeper than that – about the little things about Lake, her personality, their favourite band, the booth they shared their first Slam together. He poured his heart out during his Slam to win her back and prove that he was so in love with her; everything about her that who cares if they have deceased parents and brothers to look after, he loves her despite those factors.

Point of Retreat was in Will’s POV and I absolutely butterflying love it when authors write in the guys POV because so many are in the females’ that you have to guess their feelings and go off from what the girl is saying. HOLY SHIT! This book made me fall even more in love with this god of a man. I love that we got to see his true feelings, his emotions, his love and his fears come through. He wasn’t a guy afraid to show anything, he bared his soul, and of course, his soul is also bared through his poetry which is why he is so passionate about it. Can’t wait to read the third book which will also be in Will’s POV 😀 WOOP WOOP!

Gavin and Eddie are heavily involved within this book and I love them as much as I did in Slammed, as are my favourite boys Kel and Caulder who are now 11. Oh my boys are growing up! But two new characters in the form of Shelly and Kiersten, the new neighbours are brought into the book.

Oh Kiersten! She’s the boy’s age but well old before her time. I loved her wisdom and advice, which she had obviously inherited from her amazing mother Shelly. She and the boys are really close and they protected and stuck up for her when things in school weren’t going too well, but she never once had a sad smile on her face, she was always happy and always happy to help, much the same as Shelly who was like the adopted mum to Will, Caulder, Lake and Kel. She was there with advice and medicine when they all got ill. It was great to see that even though Julia had gone, they had Shelly to go to.

This close knit family of friends were always there for one another, through thick and thin and you could see how much they loved one another and would help out whenever they could.

I can’t say how much I love this series and Colleen Hoover. This series is perfection. Its powerful, its full of love, its full of amazing poetry and quotes that integrate within the situations at hand and it’s about finding that one person who will own your heart forever, even though the hardships and it’s about loss. I can’t wait to read Slammed from Will’s POV now when it’s out later this year. I can’t get enough of Colleen’s writing. She has be hooked from the beginning, the book begging me to keep going until the end and not stopping till I’ve finished. Read Slammed and then this book – you will not be disappointed and I assure you, you will fall in love with Will and Lake and everyone else involved in this series! I butterflying LOVE IT.