How I Became A Book Blogger

The origin story of An Average Life

I always loved reading as a child. I know most of our stories start this way, but hey! It’s true.

In fact you can read all about my childhood library memories in my newbie blogger spotlight over at Jennie-Ly’s blog HERE 

As I got older, music and socialising became more important to me than books. Please, forgive my blasphemy.
So from the age of 13 to 16 I barely read. I was too busy window shopping, watching angsty local bands and truanting in what my adult self now recognises as the perfect cliche of childhood rebellion. *Eyeroll*

At 17 I was living with my boyfriends family, going to college and working part time. Most nights we were hanging out in your typical teen aged gang at each others houses. I would read books on occasion, but I wanted to spend my money on other things. £8 per book in Ottakars (now a Waterstones) was too steep for the speed I would read them and there was never anything new in our town library- Their fiction section is still tiny and outdated to this day.

I had a handful of mass market authors I would buy at release, namely Gerritsen, Cole, Rose, Slaughter and of course The King– but I didn’t stray much further until…

THE KINDLE.

*Cue angelic singing and heavenly light*

The original Kindle was my first purchase when I obtained a management career and I was immediately hooked back in. Being able to shop for instantly accessible books at any time reignited my love of reading. I had plenty of time on my commute to work and was once again reading myself to sleep at night.

But what about the blogging? That’s why we’re here right?

By 2016 I was in a bit of a pickle. I had raging anxiety, a stressful job and a divorce to finalise.
At the same time my dearest friend had gone travelling and started up a little blog for himself (since shut down unfortunately). I loved reading about his escapades and when he returned he suggested I start my own as a hobby.
It doesn’t matter whether anyone reads it, he said, just having a place to ramble and a creative outlet would do wonders for my mind.

He signed me up to WordPress and told me to give it a try.

And so I did.
And it was awful 😂

I had no schedule, no audience and no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to share this part of myself with my family or friends but I was desperate for engagement.

I took to Twitter next.
I made a new profile with no IRL connections, no personal images and no use of my name. Completely anonymous.
After researching a little about the book community I cautiously reached out and began to join chats, the first of which being the wonderfully welcoming #SundayYA.

Finally, other people that wanted to talk about books! There has never been any bookworms in my family or social circle, seriously, why are they so hard to find?

I marveled at their blogs and traced their tags and memes to more and more incredible sites- realising with green eyed envy that my own efforts were minuscule.

I made the decision then to shut down AnAverageLife. I had charged in completely unprepared and needed a clean slate.
I gave myself 6 months to learn some very basic coding, create simple images and draft several posts- meanwhile cultivating my Twitter account and dropping hints about the upcoming relaunch of AnAverageLife.

This time I was going to be proud of my efforts. I created this About Me page, put up photos of myself and began using my actual name online.

On my 30th birthday in August 2018 I relaunched this site. Since then I’ve increased my online audience to almost 2400 across both platforms. I regularly participate in blog tours, joined Netgalley, made it onto several publisher mailing lists and most importantly have made some INCREDIBLE friends.

I became a blogger to distract myself from anxiety and depression but it has become SO MUCH MORE  than that.

Blogging has led me to a wonderfully diverse and supportive community, kind and caring friends whom I speak to – sometimes more than my real life pals- and a feeling of belonging that I hadn’t known I was searching for.

How did you become a blogger?

What does it mean to you?

Book Review; The Girl In Red- Christina Henry

Beware the wolves in the wood…

Publisher: Titan Books

Release date: 18th June / Page Count 304

GoodReads Link

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Synopsis:

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. 

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods…

Continue reading “Book Review; The Girl In Red- Christina Henry”

Blog Tour Review; Chop Shop – Andrew Post

Sometimes running a business can cost an arm and a leg. Literally.

Page Count 256

Publication date June 2019/ Publisher Flame Tree Press

Good Reads link

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Synopsis:

Amber Hawthorne and Jolene Morris, business partners and roommates at the Hawthorne Funeral Home, are drowning in debt. People are complaining about the makeup jobs they’re giving deceased loved ones–the word clownish has been used–and both young women have a little trouble keeping their partying habits in line. 

When they start selling body parts on the black market to keep their business alive (Jolene much more reluctantly than Amber), their new buyers seem friendly and trustworthy enough at first. That is until the dead gangster they’ve recently parted up turns out to have been full of disease. Now Amber and Jolene’s buyers want something else to make up for lost profits, leaving the two undertakers to learn sometimes running your own business can cost you an arm and a leg. Literally.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review; Chop Shop – Andrew Post”

Blog Tour Review; The Sunday Girl- Pip Drysdale

The Sunday Girl is rather like a car crash; you just can’t help but watch the horror unfold.

Page Count 400

Publication date June 2019/ Publisher Simon & Schuster

Good Reads link

The Sunday Girl Cover .jpg

 

Synopsis:

The Girl on the Train meets Before I Go to Sleep with a dash of Bridget Jones in this chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong …

Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle, he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again. So Taylor consulted The Art of War and made a plan. Then she took the next step – one that would change her life forever.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review; The Sunday Girl- Pip Drysdale”

May Reading Wrap-up 2019

As predicted my reading list dropped dramatically this month. I’m back at work, rediscovered my social life and got a little distracted by Netflix and sunshiney days.

Altogether I read 11 books in June.
Here’s a bit about them…

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Bridget Kemmerer
A fresh take on Beauty & the Beast. This isn’t my favourite retelling and I wasn’t captured by the MCs ‘romance’, but Harper made a fantastic Beauty- Her cerebral palsy was well written and I connected with her moral beliefs. I also loved all of the side characters- especially Grey.The pacing dwindled slightly in the middle but I was content by the end.

The Girl In Red – Christina Henry
You gotta know I’m gonna HIGHLY recommend this. I love Christina Henry and her Red Riding Hood retelling includes a fantastic crossover, read it and find out yourselves! Come back for my review on the 15th!

The Furies – Katie Lowe
An artistic tale of four college students and their transformation into vengeful young women. Acquired from Netgalley. Review to come.

The Girls – Emma Cline
This has been on my wishlist forever. Evie recalls her childhood summer in a cult. A dirt track road of a book about girl gangs, drugs, teenage desperation and small town life. An engulfing, atmospheric read.

The Red Labyrinth – Meredith Tate
Acquired from Netgalley- Review HERE

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The Pathkeeper – N J Simmonds
An NA fantasy romance, not my usual style but definitely worth reading. Acquired from Netgalley. Full review HERE.

Pans Labyrinth- GDT & Cornelia Funke
Absolutely perfect. Whether you’ve seen the film or not I implore you to pick up this beautiful blend of fantasy, history and horror.
Review to come 2nd July.

Allegedly- Tiffany D Jackson
When a young black girl allegedly kills a white baby the world doesn’t dig deep enough for the truth. A scarily feasible, shocking and harrowing read. Told in present and past tense, with excerpts of news articles and doctor evaluations throughout, Jacksons fantastic character development gave me all the emotions!

When The Lights Went Out – Bridget Morrissey
A summer YA tale of friendship, loyalty and loss. Acquired from Netgalley. Review HERE

The Sunday Girl – Pip Drysdale
Pegged as Bridget Jones meets Girl On The Train. Find my contribution to the RandomThings blog tour right here on June 18th

The Dark Game – Jonathan Janz
Goosebumps for adults! Pure entertainment with constant and unbelievable threats from fantastical creations. A raw dirty kind of horror that makes you feel like you need to scrub it off after reading.
See my full review HERE.

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As for spending- I purchased The Priory Of The Orange Tree on an insane Amazon deal promoted by Shannon. It’s an intimidating book and I’ll probably wait years to tackle it but I just HAD to, right? I also picked up 8 other book deals.

The Hunted- Meagan Spooner
Vanishing Girl- Laura Thalassa
The Moor- Sam Haysom
Dune- Frank Herbert
Kill Hill Carnage- Tim Meyer
The Pretty Ones- Ania Ahlborn
The Magpies- Mark Edwards
The Wicked Deep- Shea Ernshaw

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ARC Life

I’ve started giving myself a time limit on Netgalley to try and restrict any chaotic request binges. In the past two weeks I requested 5 titles and wished for 7. I’ve had four acceptances and one rejection so far.
Doing this alongside my blog tour acceptances, unread library and occasional purchases will still keep my behind my TBR til the end of time!

Netgalley ratio: 72%

Current stance on Goodreads: 67/100

GRchallengeJune

So, what did you read this month? Any thoughts on my choices?