Blogging from A-Z April Challenge Wrap Up & Giveaway

Well that’s all done and dusted for my first year and I am really pleased that I did complete the blog challenge.


This year’s challenge I tried (albeit sometimes loosely) to tie in each of my post with books and reading; quite generic which allowed for lots of choice and means I didn’t struggle to come up with post ideas (I did have to reach out once to Twitter for help).

Pros of participating

Higher blog traffic; an additional 269 views were made to the A-Z posts
More comments and likes
Discovered new blogs of interest
New people discovered my blog

Cons of participating

Blog traffic higher than usual but not significantly
Considerable amount of time went into planning, prepping, actual blog post writing, scheduling tweets, replying to tweets and comments.

Although I actually enjoyed having a post going live every day, I felt it was a good idea to plan and schedule at least a couple of days ahead in case other things in life cropped up; I then didn’t have to panic that my post wasn’t prepped and ready.

In case you missed any of the posts; here’s what my blog challenge consisted of:

A – Advanced Review Copies
B – Baking
C – Christie (Agatha)
D – Debuts
E – Emily & Education
F – Fangirl
G – Grisham (John)
H – Hausfrau
I – Interaction
J – Judging a book by its cover
K – Karenina (Anna)
L – Library
M – Murder Mysteries, Marple & Murder, She Wrote
N – National Trust
O – Oldest book on my shelf
P – Pet Peeves
Q – Quotations
R – Reading & Reviewing
S – Shelfie
T – To Kill a Mockingbird
U – Used books
V – Vlog
W – Wish list
X – eXcerpt
Y – YA
Z – Zoella

I did visit other blogs that were of interest and like posts etc but sometimes I found it hard to keep up with the comments and visiting depending on what else I had going on at the time.

Will I participate next year? Yes, I think I will so long as I can think of a theme that will enable sufficient content.


As a celebration for me completing the A-Z April Blogging Challenge, to apologise for clogging up your timeline and inboxes with alert emails and tweets, I’m having a little giveaway to win a £10/$10 Amazon gift card.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Update: winner is Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea

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Blogging from A-Z April Challenge – Z

Here’s my last post for the A-Z Challenge 😦

ZZ is for Zoella

Zoe Sugg aka online as Zoella is a beauty, fashion and lifestyle YouTuber and blogger and at the end of last year published a book called Girl Online.  Whatever your opinion is of this young woman, you’ve got to give her credit, she’s carved herself a very successful career from social media and vlogging.

The purpose for me selecting her as for my Z post is her book Girl Online. After the book was released at the end of November, it transpired that she’d not written the book herself but had used a ghostwriter.

“A ghostwriter is a writer who writes books, manuscripts, screenplays, scripts, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, whitepapers, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.”

My discussion question to you is does it matter that she used a ghostwriter? After all she had the story, the characters and the experiences just not necessarily the expertise to write it. Does it matter if anyone uses a ghostwriter and passes it off as their own? I suspect the ghostwriters themselves are handsomely paid so are just providing a service. Personally,  I don’t think she did anything wrong in using a ghostwriter. I think she’s in a time sensitive career and should milk it for everything she can get because potentially this ‘job’ she does may not last for ever. As long as she’s not doing anything illegal – fair play to the girl!  What may irk some people or her fans is that she wasn’t totally upfront about it and didn’t confirm until it was outed so to speak. Katie Price aka model/celebrity Jordan openly admits to using a ghostwriter.

What are your thoughts on ghostwriting?

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Blogging from A-Z April Challenge – Y

YY is for YA – Young Adult

Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe young adult books are generally targeted at teenagers so I made the assumption that this genre wouldn’t be the type of books I’d read or enjoy.

It’s easy to pigeon-hole books into one genre that makes readers think they won’t enjoy them because for one reason or another they’re not the intended target audience. It’s easy for adult readers to think ‘that’s too young for me’ or ‘I’m too old to read that and enjoy it’ because it crossed my mind when I read The Fault in our Stars and Eleanor & Park.

As I was preparing this post it made me realise that I’d read/own more YA books than I thought I had.

ya CollageMy favourite book out of these is by far More Than This by Patrick Ness. It was recommended to me by my brother who is 37 so he’s not the target audience either but we both loved it and had a really good discussion about it. I want everyone to read this book! It’s a little bit mystery and a bit sci-fi and reminded me of The Matrix and I didn’t understand that either. A book I would love to read again 🙂

Here’s an interesting piece on the Guardian website about young adult books – What are YA books? And who is reading them?

Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what label is attached to it or what section it’s in –  if you like the sound of it just buy it and read it, you might just be surprised! (like me)

Do you ever read YA books?

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Blogging from A-Z April Challenge – X

XX is for eXcerpt
(Ok, so it’s a little cheaty)

Today I have an excerpt for you from a new psychological thriller/mystery published by Faber & Faber at the end of February – The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer. It’s received very positive reviews via social media.

The Girl in the Red CoatThe blurb

She is the missing girl. But she doesn’t know she’s lost.

Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…

While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.

Excerpt from chapter 2 of The Girl in the Red Coat

 For my eighth birthday I want to go an see a maze.

“Carmel. What do you know about mazes?” Mum says.

If I think hard I can see a folded puzzle in my mind that looks like a brain.

“I’ve heard things,” I say. And Mum laughs and says OK.

We don’t have a car so we go on the bus, just the two of us. The windows are steamed up so I can’t see where we’re going. Mum’s got on her favourite earrings which are like bits of glass except colours sparkle on them when she moves.

I’m thinking about my birthday, which was last Thursday, and now it’s Saturday and I’m thinking about how my friend gets cards and presents from her nan but Mum doesn’t talk to her mum and dad even though they’re still alive. I don’t mind so much about the cards and presents but I’d like to know what they look like.

“Mum, have you got a photo of your mum and dad?”

Her head shoots around and the earrings flash pink and yellow lights. “I’m not sure. Maybe, why?”

“I just wonder what they look like sometimes and if they look like me.” It’s more than sometimes.

“You look like your dad, sweetheart”

“But I’d like to know.”

She smiles. “I’ll see what I can do.”

When we get off the bus the sky is white and I’m so excited to see a real maze I run ahead. We’re in this big park and mist is rolling around in ghost shapes. There’s a huge grey house with hundreds of windows that are all looking at us. I can tell Mum’s scared of the house so I growl at it. Sometimes she’s scared of everything, Mum – rivers, roads, cars, planes, what’s going to happen and what’s not going to happen.

But then she laughs and says, “I’m such a silly old thing.”

Now we’re at the top of this hill and I can see the maze below and it does look like a brain. I think it’s really funny I’ve thought about a brain inside my brain and try to explain but I don’t do it very well and I don’ think Mum really gets it. But she’s nodding and listening anyway and standing there with her long blue coat all wet from the grass at the bottom. She says, “That’s very interesting, Carmel.” Though I’m not sure she really understood, but Mum always tries to. She doesn’t just ignore you like you’re just a mouse or a bat.

So we go in.

line dividerIf you enjoyed this excerpt and would like to buy the book; here are the links: Hardcover | Kindle

Connect with the author Kate Hamer via Twitter or Facebook

Linked with the excerpt above, have you ever got lost in a maze?

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Many thanks to Sophie at Faber & Faber for approving use of content 🙂

Blogging from A-Z April Challenge – W

WW is for Wish List

Wish lists….whether these be a physical paper list, a diary list, an app on your phone or an Amazon list most of us probably have one in some form or another.

Most book lovers and bloggers have a wish list as long as their arm even though they can’t possibly read anymore but we still want more! We want the newest releases even though we’ve not read all the newest releases from 6 months or a year ago.

At the moment I have 11 books on my wish list which compared to some is relatively small. So really I should read 11 of my TBR before I purchase any more from my wish list – yeah right!

-okay-maybe-just-maybe-my-tbr-pile-is-getting-a-little-out-of-hand-09cdeA recent survey/poll that’s been doing the rounds on Twitter  was about how long it would take you to read all the books on your TBR (to be read)  – how long will it take to finish your TBR pile?

Here’s mine and this is if I don’t add any more books to my list – yeah right!


But us book lovers we still go piling on the books – from giveaways, publishers, gifts, buying – it’s a compulsion!

What’s on your wish list?

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