Archive for September, 2012

Showcase Sunday #22

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

This week on Books, Biscuits, and Tea

This week was a pretty exciting one – I celebrated my 1 year blogoversary on Monday and throughout the week. Wahooo! I know it’s over but I’m still in a post-celebratory mood. :) I didn’t have much time for blogging because it was a super hectic week at uni, though, and I’m exhausted. I’ve tons of dramas, novels and various articles to read for next week so I don’t know how much time I’ll have for reading either. Anyway, if you have missed my posts this week, here’s what’s happened:

♦ I celebrated my first blogoversary on Monday and I’m having an international giveaway as well – make sure to check it out and enter if you haven’t entered yet.
♦ On Wednesday I posted about my best blogging related moments in the past 12 months
♦ And on Friday I answered all the questions you asked me last week in a blogoversary interview

Incoming books

The Confidant by Héléne Grémillon
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Survive by Alex Morel

 Once again, it was quite a slow week – I got a surprise on Monday, which is a paperback copy of The Confidant. It’s for review from the awesome people at Gallic Books – thank you! I also bought the new JKR book which I’m pretty excited about and Alex Morel’s Survive, which has been on my wishlist for ages. They’re both ebooks – normally I’d prefer paperbacks but since I’m rapidly running out of shelfspace and I’m always on the go these days, I decided to opt for the ebooks. Again, since uni books must be my number one priority right now, I don’t know when I’ll be able to read them but I’m really looking forward to it.

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Blogoversary Celebration Wrap-Up: You Interviewed Me

Blogoversary

Hello and welcome to the very last day of my blogoversary celebration! As you might remember, I asked you to submit interview questions you’d like to ask me – both reading / blogging related and totally random – sometime last week and as I promised earlier, today I’m back with my answers. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to send in their questions and celebrated with me, and thanks for all your lovely messages, comments and tweets!

  • Hey there! Congrats on the blogoversary! Actually there’s been a question nagging at me from when I first saw your blog: is it easy getting newly published English books where you are from? Or do you have to get them by mail? I know in Egypt it’s very hard to find the books I’d love to read, so I was wondering about that! – Aliaa @ Mademoiselle Le Sphinx
Hi Aliaa – thank you so much! It’s actually quite difficult. We only have about 3 bookshops that sell English books and they usually don’t have any of the new releases. If the book is very popular you might be able to find it a week or so after the release day but it’s pretty rare. That’s why I usually order my books from The Book Depository – shipping’s free and their books are often a lot cheaper than in store.

 

  • Now that you’ve been blogging for a year, what would you have done differently from the beginning if you knew then what you know now? – Hannah @ The Irish Banana Review
Oh, that’s a good one. Mmmm, let’s see. All in all I’m quite happy with how things turned out but if I had to change something , it’d definitely be saying no to review requests. When I first started out, clueless as I was, I said yes to every single review requests that I got. And then of course I found myself in a tricky situation: what do you do if you don’t like the book? You don’t want to offend the author who sent you a copy of his/her book for free but then again, you want to write an honest review. I know you can’t avoid it entirely because even if a book sounds good, it just might not be your cup of tea but you can at least read the synopsis or an excerpt of the book (if there is one) and say no to those books that you’d never actually pick up. Instead of, you know… accepting every single request and then running around in circles shouting ‘yaaaay, free book, FREE BOOOOK!’. :D

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Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: WordPress vs. Blogger

Bloggiesta

Hello everyone and welcome to my Bloggiesta mini challenge! My post will be a tiny bit different from most of the mini challenges because it’s more of a FAQ / tutorial post rather than an actual challenge, but you’ll see what I mean in a second. I hope you’ll enjoy my post and learn something new today! Also, feel free to leave me a message or tweet me if you need help, I’ll be happy to do so. :)

My blog went through some changes in April 2012. I’ve been thinking about moving from Blogger to WordPress for quite a long time but it wasn’t until early April when I finally plucked up the courage and went through with it. Since I know a lot of bloggers are in the same boat and since many people have been asking me about my first impressions with WordPress and the reason why I left Blogger, I decided to write a post about it and explain some of the main differences between these two blogging platforms, my concerns in connection with Blogger and whether it’s worth leaving your old blogging platform or not.

The main reason why I left Blogger was that ever since February of March this year, I’ve had constant issues with comments not showing up, blog titles not showing up, and several other things that made blogging less enjoyable than it was before. Mind you, apart from the time when Google decided to delete my blog for no apparent reason, I’ve been quite happy with Blogger. Up until April.

I’ve been on WordPress for almost 6 months and I’ve never looked back. I love it. For me the most striking difference between the two platforms is how professional WP looks compared to Blogger. And in WP’s case, professional doesn’t equal complicated. I thought I’d be confused with its system and I’d need weeks to figure out how it works but here I was, typing away with a huge smile on my face a few hours after the ‘big move’. :) Anyway, here’s why I think you should go ahead with moving to WordPress. Mind you, I’m talking about self-hosted WordPress blogs, not the free WordPress ones. For more information about the differences between these two, check out this article.

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Blogoversary Celebration: Highlights of the Year

Blogoversary

Hello and welcome back! As I promised on Monday, the blogoversary celebration continues with a new post today, in which I talk about some of my blogging, reading and social media related highlights of the past 12 months. I hope you’ll enjoy it and I hope you’ll stop by on Friday when I’ll be answering some of the questions you asked me last week. :) Also, don’t forget to enter my blogoversary giveaway for your chance to win a book of your choice.

Bookish events

There were several read-a-thons, challenges and other events that I signed up for and successfully (or not so successfully) completed but there was one that really stood out. I signed up for the very first WWReadathon, organised by Bex from Kindle Fever and April from My Shelf Confessions some time last year and it’s been my favourite bookish event ever since. I don’t know if it was my first read-a-thon or not (it probably was) but it was definitely the best. I made friends with people who I’ve been touch with ever since and who I love to bits. It’s definitely been one of the most special events I’ve taken part in and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that weekend. If you asked me what my favourite blogging related memory was, this would be it.

 

My proudest accomplishments

My proudest achievement would probably be… well, there’s two actually. When I first signed up and started my blog, I’d never, ever thought I’d be where I am today. Even while I was signing up and trying to come up with a name for my blog, I was thinking ‘I wonder how long it’ll last’. I was dreading the moment where I’d realise I don’t want to do this anymore but it never came. I went through a short reading and blogging slump earlier this year and life got in the way many times but my blog became a crucial part of my life and I’ve no intention of giving it up. I know it may not sound as a big thing but I really am proud of the fact that I managed to keep it up – and enjoy it! – on top of work and going to university and everything else. And the other thing would have to be hosting the Review Copy Cleanup along with one of my bookish best friends, Celine from Nyx Book Reviews. I loved working with Celine and meeting you guys, to see you all cheer each other on during these two events. And just like the WWReadathon, it will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s our own event and I’m proud of how it all turned out. We’ve received some amazing comments throughout the first two RCCleanups and it was so nice to see that people really are interested and so supportive.

 

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Books, Biscuits, and Tea is 1 year old!

1-Year Blogoversary

Hello everyone! I’ve some great news on this grey and rainy morning: as of today, Books, Biscuits, and Tea is officially 1 year old! This week I’m going to be posting about some of my blogging highs and lows, some of my favourite books and  bookish highlights and I’ve a fun interview planned as well. If you have some time then feel free to grab a cuppa tea and a slice of cake and join the celebrations!

When I started blogging in last September, I had no idea what I signed up for. I stumbled upon someone’s blog one day and started thinking about what a great idea it was. Most of my friends don’t like reading as much as I do and those who do read have quite a different taste, so I was desperate for a place where I could meet like-minded people and talk about books without being labelled as a nerd. Still, I wasn’t sure if I should give it a try or not, and even if I did, how long would I manage to keep it up. Well, in the end I did sign up and I never looked back. There were some highs as well as lows but I enjoyed every minute of it. :)

But all this wouldn’t have happened without you guys. Your encouragement, all your lovely comments and feedback, and the fact that you take the time to read my bookish ramblings mean an awful lot to me – thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for sticking with me in the past 12 months, encouraging me when I wasn’t feeling well and being such fun!

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Showcase Sunday #21

Hello and welcome to Showcase Sunday. Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

This week on Books, Biscuits, and Tea

I’ve had quite an exhausting first week at uni but thank God I’ve no classes on Mondays so I’ll have some time to catch up with blogging and reading at weekends. :) As for posts,

♦ I posted about going back to university on Monday and explained why I won’t be around as much as I used to
♦ On Wednesday, I posted a pre-blogoversary interview in which you get to interview me (you still have time to send in your questions – I’ll answer them next week)
♦ And I reviewed Marian Keyes’ newest book, The Mystery of Mercy Close on Friday.

Incoming books

Deon Meyer books

Dead Before Dying by Deon Meyer
Dead at Daybreak by Deon Meyer
Heart of the Hunter by Deon Meyer
Devil’s Peek by Deon Meyer
Blood Safari by Deon Meyer
Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer
Trackers by Deon Meyer

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Review: The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes

Cover of The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

Title: The Mystery of Mercy Close
Author: Marian Keyes
Publication date: September 13, 2012
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin Books)
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780718155315
Length: 528 pages
Genre: Women’s fiction
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

Helen Walsh doesn’t believe in fear – it’s just a thing invented by men to get all the money and good job – and yet she’s sinking. Her work as a Private Investigator has dried up, her flat has been repossessed and now some old demons have resurfaced.

Not least in the form of her charming but dodgy ex-boyfriend Jay Parker, who shows up with a missing persons case. Money is tight – so tight Helen’s had to move back in with her elderly parents – and Jay is awash with cash. The missing person is Wayne Diffney, the ‘Wacky One’ from boyband Laddz. He’s vanished from his house in Mercy Close and it’s vital that he’s found – Laddz have a sell-out comeback gig in five days’ time.

Things ended messily with Jay. And she’s never going back there. Besides she has a new boyfriend now, the very sexy detective Artie Devlin and it’s all going well, even though his ex-wife isn’t quite ‘ex’ enough and his teenage son hates her. But the reappearance of Jay is stirring up all kinds of stuff she thought she’d left behind.

Playing by her own rules, Helen is drawn into a dark and glamorous world, where her worst enemy is her own head and where increasingly the only person she feels connected to is Wayne, a man she’s never even met.

My thoughts

Marian Keyes has been one of my favourite authors ever since I can remember so seeing one of her books hit the shelves always fills me with excitement. The Mystery of Mercy Close is the fifth and final Walsh sister book, featuring the youngest Walsh sister, Helen. Although I was sure the book would be another fantastic read, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Helen. We already met her in her sisters’ books when she was still a teenager – she was the pretty and popular one who was known for her sharp tongue, her sarcasm and brutal honesty. She was hilarious in her own way but  for some reason I could never relate to her character as much as I could to some of her sisters’. Which was another reason why I’ve been so eagerly waiting for this book – I was really intrigued to see how her quirky character would work if she had her ‘own book’ and to see how much she’s changed throughout the years. As it turns out, she has changed a lot. So much so that a few chapters in she became my favourite Walsh sister and The Mystery of Mercy Close turned out to be my favourite book from the series.

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