Spring 2017 Bloggiesta

Well Spring Blogiesta is upon us, running march 20th to March 26th, and the sign up post is up.

I’m going to keep it relatively light this year, and so my to-do list is relatively short.  It’s the standard stuff that should be done, but often gets forgotton or pushed onto the back burner. They are as follows:


  • Review uploaded media…anything not attached to a post?
  • Do Librarythng. and Goodreads match, including reviews?
  • Any posts that need to be completed/scheduled?
  • Tags and categories right on blog, Goodreads and Librarything?
  • Any posts that can be schduled into twitter?
  • Take part in twitter chats where possible


Book Review: Lady of the Bridge by Laura Kitchell


Saiko, warrior princess under Japan’s first ruling shogun, is tasked with entering the dethroned emperor’s household as a consort. It is her duty. It brings honor to her family. This alliance between the old regime and the new can end rebellious uprisings that keep Japan in upheaval.

Takamori is an elite samurai in service to the first shogun. He is war-weary but loyal in his service under the man who ended the civil wars that threatened to destroy Japan. With no major battles to fight, he faces a peacetime that has all samurai questioning their role and their future.

When Saiko and Takamori meet on a garden bridge, both seeking answers and calm, they stir unexpected desires and create more questions than answers. Each day they meet and each day they fall deeper in love. Duty and honor, however, dictate that Saiko must belong to the emperor, and as her father’s marshal, Takamori must deliver her.

A ronin attack forces them to fight for her life. They race across Japan with armies on the chase and two questions left unanswered. Who organized and directs the ronin army? And how much time do they have together?

In a world where duty is everything, how will she choose between family honor and her heart’s desire?

Received from the publishers via Netgalley. I do have a thing for books set in Asia, and Japan and China in particular, which is what drew me to this story.  It is told from the perspective of Princess Saiko, who is the daughter (and youngest child) of the Shogun.  She has spent several years staying with her brother, and using her time to study martial arts.  She knows that it is her duty to become consort to the dethroned emperor, and also develops the more “womanly” virtues, of poetry, literature, painting and calligraphy.

Takamori has come back from extended fighting, having built up a fearsome reputation as an excellent fighter and leader of troops. Since the fighting has been essentially suppressed (ronin not withstanding!), he’s now at a loss as to what happens next with his career.

The two meet on the covered bridge that Saiko’s father has built for her each year, and at first she is more than a little angry he is invading her space. Not wanting to make a scene – she’s come out without her ladies in waiting – she lets him stay, but doesnt tell him who she is. Over the next few weeks, they meet, fall in love, and there’s plenty of discussions about painting, poetry, nature etc.

Finally, Saiko has to go to the Emperor’s household, and Takamori is to lead her escort. However, they get attacked by a group of Ronin, and they have to separate from the escort.  The pair end up in a protected castle, and it’s here that their relationship becomes more physical. Finally they make it to the Emperor’s household where the Ronin attack again. Saiko defends the emperor, killing a number of soldiers in the process.  As a result, she manages to find a way to leace the emperor and find her true love, with noone losing face, and with her having performed her duty.

It was good to have a female character who was interesting, educated as well as able to hold her own as a warrior (she kills more than a few Ronin along the way, with no subsequent wailing that you might expect from someone not trained as a warrior). Takamori has done well as the Shogun’s Marshal, but is also educated and now searching a different path in life. The occasionally forays into fights are not too often and are decently written, showing that Saiko and Takamori can work well together, whilst showing that Saiko can defend herself (and others) without the need to be “protected by a man” (can you feel the feminism standpoint coming through?)

About this author

Laura Kitchell is a member of Romance Writers of America and Chesapeake Romance Writers. She’s never happier than when she’s spinning a new tale. Hearing from fans is her second favorite activity, though book signings come in a close third. She writes historical, contemporary, and will dabble in romantic suspense and even mermaids when the fancy strikes.


#Bloggiesta Spring 2016 – Sign Up to-do list update

Bloggiesta Spring 2016


Last week I announced my Bloggiesta spring to-do list, and it’s time for me to give an update of how things went.

  • Write outstanding reviews and schedule them (there’s a few) including making sure they’re cutover to Librarything, Goodreads, Netgalley etc.

I did some clearing up here – I had a lot of half written posts in as “scheduled” which meant I actually struggled to see what was ready to publish and what was half written and needed to be re-visited before publication. I now only have posts that I’m pretty much happy with, with the rest in the “draft” folder.

Some reviews have been written and scheduled. Some of those already published have now been copied over to GR and LT, and put to Stumbledupon.  The latter is not a HUGE source of traffic, but can amount for a reasonable percentage, especially immediately after submission, so right now I’m counting every hit as a bonus (I’m a little pathetic like that!).

  • Make sure the social media set ups for them are done, including schedules

The “problem” I have with WordPress.com is that they will NOT give you the URL until a page is published. That means it is *impossible* to schedule Social Media Updates until after the event – at which point, I’m at work, and doing something else…..Anyway, Posts are in my “these are the things I’ve scheduled” list if nothing else.

  • Random spot check images for ALT-TEXT being set up correctly.

I have done a variation of this. First of all, I went through my media, deleted those images that I know I won’t be using. Then I went through duplicates, and linked to pages correctly and deleted those that were no longer needed. In essence, I cleared 3 pages of images that I wouldn’t be needing.  Since I get a set amount of space for free, I need to be smarter as to what I store before I start getting charged for new stuff.

Then I started going through remaining images and making sure that the ALT-Text has something in it. It’s certainly not finished (I have 31 pages of images after all) but I’ve made a start.

  • Make sure my Reader Challenge catch up post is up to date with links (as much as possible)

This was a little disappointing in that it proved that I am well behind in any form of reading challenge as well as being able to write a review in time. Certainly a “Must Do Better”. However, the post is as up to date as it can be (haha)

  • A lot of new books have come in recently – time to look at my physical and ipad bookshelf and see how things can be dealt with and/or tracked.

Believe it or not, this turned out to be the easiest idea to come up with. Much as I hate to make use of Amazon if I can avoid it in any way, I was thinking of the type of things I want to capture (author, publisher, publication date, source etc), I realised most of these things could be captured either automatically, or making use of shelves on Goodreads (e.g. “publisher”, “NetGalley” etc for source).  Since I made use of Goodreads anyway to track my reading, I just had to be better at it.  My NetGalley TBR list is now up there, as are all (I hope!) of my outstanding LTERs, as well as books I’ve picked up in bookshops etc.

As a result of this, I exported my list from Goodreads and imported all the TBRs into Librarything, bring the two lists much closer to matching!  I also got my LT Tag list updated.

So, I got a lot more than I expected do, even if it wasn’t in the way I initially intended!


#Bloggiesta Spring 2016 – Sign Up to-do list

Bloggiesta Spring 2016


I’ve taken part in Bloggiesta for several years now and have found it can be useful.  The main event is usually a week long, and this year it is being held between 21st and 27th March 2016.  It’s a great chance to have a think of what needs to be done on your blog (what ever type of blog it is) and do “stuff” to move things up a bit.

This year, I’ve taken my eye of the ball a little with my blog so my initial stab at my to-do list is as follows:

  • Write outstanding reviews and schedule them (there’s a few)
  • Make sure the social media set ups for them are done, including schedules
  • Random spot check images for ALT-TEXT being set up correctly.
  • Make sure my Reader Challenge catch up post is up to date with links (as much as possible)
  • A lot of new books have come in recently – time to look at my physical and ipad bookshelf and see how things can be dealt with and/or tracked

This list may change as things go on, but suspect that’s enough to go on with!


Autumn (Fall) Bloggiesta To Do List


It’s time for the signups for the Fall Bloggiesta that’s scheduled for September 17th – 20th. I havent been around here much recently, and I’m relatively happy with how the blog is at the minute, so part of me is wondering whether I have anything outstanding to do.

I do however have a couple of things that could be looked at, namely:

  • Write up some outstanding reviews (as of today, yes there are some!)
  • There is a blogger event happening this weekend in a local bookstore – if there’s enough to talk about then write it up, including any stash photos
  • Review some scheduled posts, see if they can be improved before publication (there’s not that many left)
  • Start thinking about some more posts and see what I can start writing

#ArmchairBEA: Blogging Q&A

Design by Amber of Shelf Notes
Design by Amber of Shelf Notes

I have previously written variations on this posts so I’m not going to rehash *everything*. Some of my previous posts have covered:

And specifically for authors/publishers looking for a reader/blogger to read their book

About this blog and my journey to here

This blog is hosted by WordPress.com. It has it’s limitations, but it’s free. Things like the editor format is something to be put up with if I’m not prepared to fork out the money and time to have my own blog hosted on a .org version. I’m certainly not getting the traffic or the sponsorship to warrant a move over – yet!

I started out on a previous blog, writing about sewing and crafty stuff. I have recently shut that blog down, and moved the more extensive posts into this blog, and are scheduled into next year. Looking back at my early posts on the original site I realise that I actually needed to be using Twitter instead of writing a blog post!

I have learnt much about blogging even after starting this blog – my original reviews were not as comprehensive as the ones I’m doing now.  Not only am I trying to do more considered reviews (e.g. I have a stock set of questions when I start writing a review, to give me an idea of the things I need to writing about) but I also try to include other interesting links, such as videos, related websites, additional reviews, details about the author etc.


I do much networking on twitter (@brumnordie). I have lists for things like “Publishers”, “books” etc, which I check on a semi regular basis.  Biggest tip for twitter: interact with people/accounts. If you look like a bot, you will be treated like a bot, and traffic will drop accordingly.  There’s no harm in scheduling tweets, just make it look like there is a human behind the account.

Authors/publishers contact me through twitter, my website or, for the trusted people, direct via email.

I have business cards printed up with my website, twitter and email details and a number of these are always carried on me. You never know when you will get the chance to hand one of them out!  For instance, I recently decided at the last minute to attend a writer/book event and good thing too – had I not, the number of authors at the event would have matched the number of guests! I was able to give out my card to most of the people there to allow them to get in contact if they chose. No loss if they didnt, but at least they have my card.

Where possible I also include the publisher and/or author in at least one tweet, so that they know a review of a specific book has gone up – this allows them to read the review (I never get pre-approval for a review, but sometimes give authors first sight of it) and retweet as appropriate.

No (Wo)Man is an Island

Dont believe the adage of “if you build it they will come”. No they wont. You have to work for it.

  • Write great content.
  • Publish regularly (the definition of “regularly” depends on you)
  • Tell people about it, without being a spam-dick.
  • Comment on other people’s posts
  • Reply to comments on your posts
  • Take part in community events, like this one