A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “books”

My Top 12 Books of 2017

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve already and I really don’t understand where this year has gone.  I have had some ups and downs blogging wise and haven’t read half as much as I wanted to, but I’m pleased to say all is good with me now and I am feeling very positive.

I’ve read some fabulous books this year and it’s now time to choose my Top 12.


1.  ‘Deep Down Dead’ by Steph Broadribb


‘Deep Down Dead’ was published in paperback in January of this year by the fabulous Orenda Books.  I wasn’t too sure if this book would be for me, but I needn’t have worried as I was soon hooked.  If I remember rightly I think I was slightly late to work because of it, i.e. I couldn’t put it down.  Here is my review:



2.   ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore


March was an incredibly busy month for my blog as it’s when I did my two week Urbane Event.  ‘Fade to Dead’ was published last year and it is the first book in the Jessica Wideacre series.  I absolutely loved it and I want to read more by this author.  Here is my review:



3.  ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski


‘Six Stories’ was published in paperback by Orenda Books in March.  I took part in the blog tour for this book and it was so different to anything I have ever read before.  I just loved it.  Here is my review:



4.  ‘The Lies Within’ by Jane Isaac


I had the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for ‘The Lies Within’ which was published by Legend Press.  Until then I had never read any of Jane Isaac’s books.  I was totally gripped and I loved it from start to finish.  I am really looking forward to reading more by this fabulous author.  Here is my review:



5.  ‘The Wild Air’ by Rebecca Mascull


Rebecca Mascull has done it again with this book, published by Hodder & Stoughton.  It was absolutely incredible and I loved everything about it.  I also was lucky enough to meet Rebecca at her book launch for which I won a ticket.  You can read my review and write up on the launch here:



6.  ‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson


Laura Wilkinson is one of my favourite authors.  I have read and reviewed all her novels so far and was delighted to take part in the blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’ which was published by Accent Press.  This lady is so very talented and can turn her hand easily to writing about different subjects.  I could have cried with joy at being mentioned in the acknowledgements and at having my review quoted inside the book too.  Here is my review:



7.  ‘No Accident’ by Robert Crouch


I was given the wonderful opportunity to take part in the blog tour for this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed ‘No Accident’ and was delighted to discover yet another new author and to start reading another series.  You can read my review here:



8.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines


I was delighted when A.J. Waines invited me to take part in her blog tour.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ is the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series.  I hadn’t read the first one but this didn’t spoil things for me.  I totally loved it and I can’t wait to read more by this author.  Here is my review:



9.  ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia


I absolutely loved ‘No Way Back’ which was published in September by Urbane Publications.  I could kick myself for not having read Kelly Florentia’s first novel.  Kelly’s writing is incredible and I really can’t wait to read her next book.  You can read my review here:




10.  ‘You’re Next’ by Michael Fowler

Until recently I had never read any of Michael Fowler’s books.  But then I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘You’re Next’ and I’m so glad I took part.  Published by Caffiene Nights Publishing, this is the second book in the DS Scarlett Macey series and I really enjoyed it.  I will definitely be reading more of this author’s books.  Here is my review:



11.  ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett


I have read this series from the start and loved every single book, but I think ‘Hell to Pay’ has to be my favourite.  It was a real pleasure taking part in the blog tour.  I can’t wait to read more by Rachel Amphlett.  Here is my review:



12.  ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

When Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in her blog tour I was happy to help as I really liked the sound of ‘Brighter Days Ahead’, which was published in November by Pan Books.  It’s been absolutely ages since I have read a saga and I absolutely loved it.  I now want to read this author’s backlist.



I hope you have all enjoyed finding out what my top 12 books of the year are.  I look forward to reading many more great books next year.



My 6th Blog Anniversary

It’s that time of year again, my sixth blogging anniversary.  Honestly I don’t know where the time goes!

The past twelve months have been quite eventful blogging wise.  I have read even more wonderful books and discovered some fantastic authors along the way, I have found myself taking part in lots more blog tours and I have realised that my TBR pile will probably never go down, even after all this time.  I have also been invited to a number of book launches and events and have met loads more fellow book bloggers and authors.

I did find blogging really getting on top of me at one point earlier this year, but I’m fine now and have lots coming up.  It’s just a case of learning to balance things out.  Positivity helps too.



I would like to thank all you lovely bloggers, authors and publishers for your continuous support.  To show my appreciation and to celebrate my sixth blog anniversary I am running a competition.  To enter just leave a comment.

1st Prize – Up to £20.00 worth of books from Amazon.

2nd Prize – Up to £10.00 worth of books from Amazon.

3rd Prize – A mystery prize from https://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com/


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only (due to postage costs).

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 6th November 2017.

The winners will be notified within 7 days of the closing date.


Good luck! 🙂


Where I’m At With Blogging

In April things got too much for me and I ended up having a break from blogging.  I started again on the 1st May and although I have been okay I’m still not quite there.  Things have been getting in the way and best laid plans have gone to pot.  My main problem still seems to be blog tours.  Much as I love reading it gets a bit much when I have to read a book quickly due to not getting around to starting it earlier.  Lately I’ve felt that I’m letting just about everyone down and for that I apologise.  It’s all just getting too much again.

I’m really sorry for messing up on a number of blog tours.  I will be back to normal soon, promise.  I will find the answer one day.  I just can’t cope with getting up at 5:00 a.m. to get reviews done anymore and with blogging taking over.  I’m knackered.

Really sorry all.

Best wishes


Taking A Short Break

I have just made the decision to take a short blog break.  Much as I love blogging I am finding that things are getting a bit too much at the moment.  Life gets busy and I am really not giving myself enough time to read books for blog tours.  It all becomes very last minute and this is when reading can feel like a chore.  I really don’t want that anymore.  Reading is something I really enjoy doing but at the same time I don’t want to be practically chained to the sofa or bed.  I want to be able to do lots of other things too.  Unfortunately, this means I have to pull out of two blog tours with immediate effect; one tomorrow and one on Sunday.  I just can’t do it anymore.  I’m really sorry for letting authors and publishers down.  I now know I have to look at how I do things in the future.

I will be back blogging week after next.

Love from Sonya xx

Final Post – My Urbane Blog Event

Well, my Urbane Blog Event is over.  I have really enjoyed doing it and I really don’t know where these past two weeks have gone.  I’ll let you all into a little secret now.  Whilst organising this event I had a few doubts.  I thought I had lost the ability to organise another blog event.  As it goes, it all went very well.

I’d like to thank all my fellow book bloggers, authors and of course the Urbane authors for taking the time and trouble to share my posts.  I really was and still am totally overwhelmed at all the support I got.  You Urbane authors really are like one big happy family.  I’d also like to thank Matthew Smith for providing me with the book extracts.  Long may your publishing business continue.

I have decided that I would really like to feature Urbane authors on my blog on a monthly basis, about two or three posts a month.  If your book is due to be published do feel free to get in touch with me anytime.  I am always open to hosting guest posts and doing interviews.  I will also be reviewing lots more books.

Thanks again everyone!


Love from Sonya xx


Guest Post by Matthew Smith


First up, a guest post by Mr Urbane himself in which he talks about books and gives this event a nice mention.



There are a number of challenges and issues that tax the mind of the average publisher. Putting aside the editorial, design and production demands for a moment (and the industrial levels of coffee consumption), the key driver for all of us – publisher and author alike – is, of course, book sales. Namely, how the hell do you secure more of them?

The key of course is discoverability. I firmly believe there is a readership for every book (much to my accountant’s horror) and Urbane prides itself on taking a risk or two with its books rather than simply churning out genre fodder. The author has poured heart and soul into creating a voice – so give that uniqueness wings, don’t twist and turn it to mimic all the other voices already yelling in the same room, a room that’s getting smaller and smaller by the day.

But how does that impact on discoverability, if your books don’t fit the nice, neat little genre boxes that have been established in the risk-averse bookselling channels? And more importantly, if you haven’t got a pot of gold to spend on adwords, Amazon advertising, Facebook or ‘securing’ a thousand reviews the week of publication – and you haven’t made your book look like Girl on a Train (homage number 38) – how do you give that book the profile it deserves?

For Urbane the answer lies in a long term ‘strategy’ (sorry, hate that word, we’re creating books, not pumping out products) to connect directly with an ever-growing readership, and recognise that it’s the individual reader that counts, not whether we have ‘targets’ of 5,000, 10,000 or 20,000 sales. Find a new reader, ensure they receive a book that is deserving of their attention and commitment, and chances are they will not only discover another Urbane author but also find us another reader or two.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had a squillion pounds and could buy success for all Urbane’s authors I would – goodness knows they deserve it. But that’s not the world we publish in – every sale is earned, every reader is appreciated, ever piece of feedback is gold.

And how do we find those new readers? Yes, by ensuring books are visible in the relevant channels. But primarily through our growing network of advocates and supporters. The most important of whom are the bloggers and reviewers who have given, and continue to give, so much time and effort on behalf of Urbane and its authors.

Which brings me to this latest Urbane event being put together by Sonya. Urbane hasn’t requested or managed this event. It has been entirely conceived, created and managed by A Lover of Books. It is not an advertorial, it is not a contrived ‘marketing piece’, but rather a genuinely collaborative attempt by an established book reviewer and blogger to give Urbane authors a chance to reach a new audience.

And frankly I am in awe of such efforts on behalf of our small independent company. Every single post, every single comment, every single piece of feedback – and every single new reader – that results from this wonderful event is the lifeblood that keeps Urbane alive and thriving and growing so we can continue to bring you new books and new voices. Urbane – and I suspect lots of indies like us – could not survive without the support of advocates like Sonya. And I, and Urbane’s authors, will be eternally thankful for her generosity of spirit and unstinting efforts on our behalf.

So, please enjoy each and every post over the coming days and do let Sonya have your feedback (and a thank you or two). And remember, with every click, every read, every piece of feedback, every mention, YOU are driving discoverability for our books and authors. We can’t do it without you. And frankly, we don’t want to.

Thanks everyone x


Welcome to My Urbane Blog Event


I’d like to welcome you all to my Urbane Blog Event. Last year’s event was so successful that I decided to do another one. Matthew Smith, the founder and owner of Urbane Publications really does have an eye for great books and through social media I have been following his publishing journey. I am still in awe at just how many books are being published. I only have to blink and another one is out. Since my last event I have had the pleasure of meeting many of Urbane’s authors and I hope to meet many more.

As you will see from the picture above my books have increased considerably in number. This is a collection I will always treasure and I will of course still keep adding to it. I do wish bookcases were elasticated and could expand in size though.

I would like to thank all the authors who are taking part in this event for taking the time to write guest posts and for answering my questions. It’s been nice getting to know all of you that little bit more. I also think it’s very important at this stage to thank my lovely husband, Richard. Without his support I would not have been able to do this event or much blogging for that matter, and it would be impossible to read as much as I do. He really is unique and actually enjoys helping out around the house thus freeing up lots of time for me. He also doesn’t mind if the light is on in the bedroom at night whilst I read. Thank you darling husband. You are my soulmate, best friend, everything rolled into one.

I hope you all enjoy this event. I have lots coming up over the next two weeks. This is your chance to find out all about Urbane’s authors and their wonderful books.


Blogger Recognition Award


I would like to thank Caroline Vincent for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award.  I have never been nominated for this award before and I feel honoured.  It came just at the right time and means a lot to me.  Your blog looks lovely and I will be exploring it for sure.  This is Caroline’s blog – https://www.bitsaboutbooks.net/


Being nominated means that I am obliged to follow the rules.  These are:-

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog; let them know you have nominated them; provide the link to the post you created.


How my blog started

I became a regular user of Twitter.  At first I reviewed a few books on Amazon etc.  I could see that people had blogs but knew nothing about setting up a blog and running it.  Then one day I decided to take the plunge, registered for a blog with WordPress and over 5 years later here I am still blogging.


My two pieces of advice to new bloggers

  1. The blogging world is a very exciting community with lots to learn.  Choose books you really want to read and try not to take on too many reviews.  This is the mistake a lot of us have made and that’s when things can get really overwhelming and sometimes stressful.  If things get too much take a little break from your blog.
  2. Remember to write honest reviews.  If you didn’t like a book say why.  It doesn’t matter if the whole world seems to like the same book, it doesn’t mean you necessarily will.  After all if we all liked the same things it would be a very boring world indeed.  Don’t feel bad about not being amongst the thousands who love a particular book.


The 15 bloggers I want to give this award to

I’m sure some of the bloggers I will be selecting have already been nominated.  If you’ve been chosen more than once then please consider yourself as being very special.

  1.  Anne Cater – http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox.blogspot.co.uk/
  2.  Linda Hill – https://lindasbookbag.com/
  3.  Sarah Hardy – https://lindasbookbag.com/
  4.  Sharon – http://shazsbookblog.blogspot.co.uk/
  5.  Kate – https://bibliophilebookclub.com/
  6.  Rachel Gilbey – http://rachelsrandomreads.blogspot.co.uk/
  7.  Anne Williams – http://beinganne.com/
  8.  Sophie – http://www.book-drunk.co.uk/
  9.  Rebecca Pugh – http://thehummingbirdreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
  10.  Gordon McGhie – http://grabthisbook.net
  11.  Drew Weldon – https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress.com/
  12.  Joanne Robertson – https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com/
  13. Jen Lucas – https://jenmedsbookreviews.com/
  14. Janet Emson – https://fromfirstpagetolast.wordpress.com/
  15. Mairead Hearne – http://www.swirlandthread.com/

Each and every blog which I have chosen is unique.  These bloggers are amazing people and they put in a lot of time and effort doing what they love to do, spreading the word about books.   Sometimes things can get hard.  Sometimes there are disappointments along the way.  But the thing that will always keep us going is books.


Happy New Year!


I would like to wish all my readers a vey Happy New Year.  There’s always something so very nice about the 1st of January.  It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and to make lots of lovely plans.  My aim this year is to be much more positive and to try and live each day to the full.

I have met some wonderful book bloggers, authors and publishers at various book events and this year I plan to go to lots more.  It’s such a great way to socialise.  I am also going to organise myself better and read as much as I can.  I have so many fabulous books to tell you all about.

I hope you enjoy my posts this year.


Love from Sonya xx


My 5th Blog Anniversary

It’s my 5th Blog Anniversary today!  I really can’t believe how fast the past year has gone.

I am still very much enjoying my blogging journey.  2016 has seen so many wonderful books being published and I truly wish I could read them all, but I guess that would be impossible.  No harm in trying though.  Through my blogging I have attended a number of book launches and events.  It’s been truly amazing meeting so many lovely authors and fellow bloggers.

My aim is to continue supporting authors and publishers as much as I possibly can.  I want to help get all those wonderful books out there.  I want to shout about them from the rooftop.  Over the next few months there will be lots going on.  The Urbane blog event I did back in March was really popular and I hope to be doing another one next year.



To celebrate my blog anniversary and to thank everyone for their support I am running a competition and everyone is welcome to enter.  Just leave a comment.

First Prize – A book or books of your choice worth up to £20.00 from Amazon

Runner-up Prize – A mystery prize


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 6th November 2016.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified within 7 days of the closing date.


Good luck! 🙂


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