Category: Bookish Question

Do you read more than one book at a time?

Bookish Question #76 | Do you read more than one book at a time?


I try to only read one novel at a time. I find that if I’m reading two novels, I inevitably forget about one and it languishes, unfinished, while I move onto the next story.

So what do I read?


I read for pleasure, and I review a good proportion of the novels I read (although I don’t review as much as I used to). I find I have to stick to reading one novel at once and write the review before I move onto the next book or I quite literally lose the plot.

The Bible.

Because we’re all reading that, and none of us read the entire sixty-six books in one sitting, right?

Writing craft books.

I’m usually reading at least one writing craft book or taking an online training course. As with my general reading and reviewing, I’ve got a backlog of titles to read … but that doesn’t stop me buying more.


I edit fiction, although I’m not sure if that counts as reading. Sure, I am reading the novel, but at a much slower pace than if I was reading for pleasure. I can read a full-length novel (90,000 words) in a day, but I can only edit at a fraction of that pace.

What about you? Do you read more than one book at a time?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Have you been to an in-store book signing?

Bookish Question #75 | Have you been to an in-store book signing?

No, I haven’t.

I do have some books which have been autographed by the author—some I won in online giveaways, some I was given or sent as a thank you for editing the books, and some I have purchased from the author at writing conferences. But none I bought at an in-store book signing.

Why have never attended an in-store book signing? This is mostly because I’ve (almost) never been in the same town as a favourite author when they’ve held a book signing.

Almost? There was one time … I was in Brisbane to attend the Omega Writers Conference, and one of the authors (Jo-Anne Berthlesen, I think) was holding a book signing that morning in the local Koorong store. Well, I had a map, but after completely missing the correct motorway exit twice, I gave up and headed for the conference venue. So I missed my chance to attend an in-store book signing.

What about you? Have you been to an in-store book signing? Who was the author, and what was the book?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Do you share book recommendations on social media?

Bookish Question #74 | Do you Share Book Recommendations on Social Media?


As you all know, I review books. I publish a new book review on this website every Monday, and a #ThrowbackThursday review every (wait for it!) Thursday. I also participate in the First Line Friday blog meme, although I haven’t always read the books I share.

I share all my blog posts on social media: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (I use an app called Buffer to help: I set up a single post, and Buffer shares it to all the social networks for me. Click here to read a blog post I wrote introducing Buffer).

I also share my reviews on sites such as Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads, and RiffleBooks. I reshare reviews and my favourite book quotes on Twitter using an app called SocialJukebox. I add links to the relevant jukebox, and the app shares random quotes on a predefined schedule. (Click here to read a blog post I wrote introducing SocialJukebox).

What about you? Do you share book recommendations on social media? On which sites? What’s your favourite site for finding book recommendations?

Leave a comment and let me know!

How do you discover new books?

Bookish Question #73 | How Do You Discover New Books?

Once upon a time, there were only two ways I discovered new books.

One was to visit the home of new books—the book shop. You remember, the actual physical shop where books were sold. The other was to visit the school library, or the public library. I visited the school library most days, especially in winter or when it was raining. I travelled to and from school by bus, and realised I could stay dry and warm in the library while waiting for the bus. The best part was that only a couple of other kids had worked that out, so the librarian was happy to lock up and leave us inside.

Then I discovered mail order books, but they had to come from Australia and postage was expensive, so I didn’t do that often. Then I moved to London, Jeff Bezos invented Amazon, and my world was much larger.

My bank balance … not so much.

I still mostly buy from Amazon (especially ebooks), but the store is now so big that it’s hard to browse—not like in the old-fashioned book store. It’s easy to find the book you want if you search by title or author, but there are too many choices.

I tend to find new books a couple of ways:

Via NetGalley

I review books, and I get most of my review copies from NetGalley. I can search just those publishers I’m interested in, which makes it easy for me to keep track of what’s new in Christian fiction (from those publishers, at least. Not every publisher is on NetGalley).

Recommendations from Friends

We discussed this a couple of weeks back. Yes, I follow several other book bloggers, and am often introduced to new books and new authors through their posts. I also participate in the weekly First Line Friday meme, which features 20+ Christian novels each week.

So now I’m spoiled for choice!

What about you? How do you discover new books? Or new-to-you authors?

Do you subscribe to book deal email lists?

Bookish Question #72 | Do you subscribe to book deal email lists?

One of the big changes in book marketing over the last few years has been the introduction of book deal email lists, advertising free and cheap ebooks. Many were developed as a way of earning money from the Amazon affiliate scheme. This pays a commission of between 3% and 8% (I think) if anyone clicks through from the website to Amazon and makes a purchase.

Amazon soon caught onto this.

They introduced more rules about affiliate marketing, like the fact affiliates are not supposed to email affiliate links, and that a certain percentage of purchases have to be of paid purchases (not free ebooks) in order to earn affiliate commissions. (Yes, I’m also an Amazon affiliate. I don’t earn enough from the scheme to pay for the hosting on this blog, let alone turn it into a profitable business! But click here if you’d like to visit my Amazon shop and contribute a few cents to my book-buying habit.)

Bookbub is the biggest in the business.

They have the biggest email list, and Bookbub subscribers can choose which genres they want to receive emails about. They have 810,000 people on their US Christian fiction list. It advertises just two books most days—free, or heavily reduced (usually to 99 cents or $1.99). Authors and publishers pay hundreds of dollars for a spot in one of these daily newsletters, and most make their money back.

Other book deal email lists include BargainBooksy, eReader News Today, FreeBooksy, My Book Cave, and Riffle. I subscribe to all of them, and occasionally buy from them.

Occasionally. Why not more often?

Sometimes it’s because I’ve already read the book. Sometimes it’s because I already own the book. Sometimes it’s because I’m just not interested (Christian fiction is a wide genre, and there are some sub-genres I’m not interested in). Mostly I don’t buy because I already have too many books on my to-read and to-review pile, and I’m trying to get that number down. So I’ll buy maybe one book a month as a result of seeing it advertised in one of the emails, although I’m more likely to download or buy a free or 99 cent book than a more expensive book.

What about you? Do you subscribe to book deal email lists? How often do you buy a book from one of the emails?

Have you purchased books recommended by friends?

Bookish Question #71 | Have You Purchased Books Recommended by Friends?


When it comes to books from the major publishers, I tend to be the friend recommending books to others because I get a lot of advance review copies (ebooks. Even the biggest publishers don’t want to post me paperbacks because I live in New Zealand).

But when it comes to books from smaller publishers, or self-published authors, I often rely on recommendations from friends.

For example, I bought and read The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce after Narelle Atkins recommended it. Now I’m anxiously waiting for the sequel (and would love a review copy, hint hint). I was introduced to the brilliant Amy Matayo by Catherine Hudson, while Andrea Grigg told me I *had * to read Bria Quinlan (she was right). Most recently, Christine Dillon recommended Criss Cross by CC Warrens, and I ended up buying and reading the whole trilogy on one wet weekend.

I also get recommendations from fellow book bloggers. One of the best-worst parts of my week is reading the First Line Friday posts. I usually read them on Saturday, because time zones mean most people post after I’ve gone to sleep on Friday night. Anyway, it’s rare that I’m able to make the rounds of my fellow First Line Friday bloggers without downloading at least one Kindle sample, or buying the book because it’s on a limited-time sale.

What about you? Have you purchased books recommended by friends? Which books or authors?

Do you read seasonal-themed books?

Bookish Question #70 | Do You Read Seasonal Themed Books?

Lots of books have seasonal themes. Christmas-themed books (and movies) are probably the most popular, but I’ve come across others.

Summer-themed books seem more popular than winter-themed books.

But that could be because Christmas comes in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, so Christmas books are winter books. Or vice versa. I’m not a big reader of either summer or winter books, and I think that’s because I live in New Zealand. I see summer book advertisements when I’m cuddled up by the roaring winter fire, so a “beach read” isn’t exactly a selling point. Equally, when I’m looking for a summer beach read, all the books show snow scenes and big red mugs of hot chocolate. Yeah, no.

I’ve also seen romance novels with a Valentine’s Day theme, but I have to admit I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan. It wasn’t a big part of the Kiwi culture when I was growing up, and not it seems mostly commercial. Anyway, it always strikes me that we don’t have to wait for a specific day to buy flowers or chocolates for the ones we love. Any day the shops are open is a good day to buy flowers and chocolate. And books.

What about you? Do you read seasonal-themed books? Does your answer have anything to do with where you live?

Join the conversation below.

Have you been to a book launch?

Bookish Question #69 | Have You Been to a Book Launch?

A book launch is the low-key equivalent of a movie premiere, a celebration of the fact the book is now out in the world and available for purchase.

I have been to two local in-person book launches.

One was for a book I edited, and one was for a book written by a friend. Both were held in hired halls with catering, and attended by lots of encouraging family and friends.

But those aren’t the only launches I’ve attended.

I stayed up until midnight to watch the televised launch of the sixth Harry Potter books. JK Rowling read the scene where Harry and Ron visit Fred and George’s newly opened magic joke shop.

I’ve also attended several whistle-stop fast book launches at writing conferences, where authors each got five minutes during a meal break to share the story behind their book.

And I’ve participated in a couple of Facebook launch parties, although these tend to be at odd times in my (New Zealand) time zone—either too late at night (or early in the morning), or in the middle of my working day … so I mean to take a break and check out the party, but invariably forget.

What about you? Have you been to a book launch? What kind of launch was it?

Do you read with a favourite beverage by your side?

Bookish Question #68 | Do you read with a favourite beverage by your side?

I always have a drink by my side, no matter what I’m doing.

If it’s morning, it’s likely to be coffee—it takes one or two cups to get me up and running each day. I rarely have more than two coffees, although I might have another if I go to a cafe. I might then treat myself to a Chai Latte … but cafes are usually for meeting up with friends or writing, not reading.

I switch to green tea in the afternoon and evening, and water the rest of the time.

My husband works for an international company with operations in China, so I’m currently drinking some Lychee tea he brought back from a work trip. It’s a lovely green tea with a hint of sweet lychee. (Note that the Dragon tea did not taste of dragon—not that I know what dragon tastes like!).

I usually have a glass or a bottle of water with me all the time. I drink a lot of water—I definitely drink my eight glasses (two litres) a day, and it’s often more. Why not? Our tap water is as good (i.e. tasteless) as any branded bottled water, and it’s free. And calorie-free. We have a Soda Stream, so sometimes I’ll have plain tap water, and sometimes I’ll use the Soda Stream to add the bubbles (but no flavour).

My reading times are usually evenings or weekend afternoons, so I’m usually drinking water or green tea by then. Maybe one, maybe the other, maybe both. Often both.

So yes, I always read with a drink nearby.

What about you? Do you read with a favourite beverage by your side?

Does your library stock Christian books?

Bookish Question #67 | Does Your Library Stock Christian Books?

Yes! My local library system has a healthy selection of Christian books.

They do tend to focus on the major US publishers rather than buying books from local authors. They also had more of a focus on fiction than non-fiction.

Unfortunately, they aren’t all free.

My library has two sections—fee and paid. New releases and books from popular authors tend to go into the paid section for several months before finding their way into the free section. This does keep waiting times down (I’ve heard of people being 84th in line for a book, but that doesn’t happen here!).

Anyway, books from the paid section cost $3 for two weeks (compared to around $30 to buy the same book in the bookstore that used to be across the road). That’s a fair price for a new-to-me author I may or may not enjoy, or for a book I don’t think I’ll want to read and re-read (yes, there were books I’d borrow then buy).

But I mostly stopped borrowing the paid titles once I started reviewing, because those were the titles I chose to review.

But the library still stocks a great selection of Christian books.

What about you? Does yuur library stock Christian books?