Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Bloggers Talk: The Final Interview

In April I decided to make a monthly blog post called the Book Bloggers Talk. I really wanted to get to know more of my fellow book bloggers and I decided the Book Bloggers Talk was a fun way to do it. I’ve had a lot of fun writing the interview questions and reading the answers I received. Unfortunately lately I haven’t gotten any responses or sign ups. So after trying to get more people into this post on Facebook and Twitter, and without any success I decided that it’s time to end this post.

So when the last person who signed up didn’t follow through and I was left with no Book Bloggers Talk in October. I decided to make the last Book Bloggers Talk on Maureen’s Books about me. There will be other regularly posts on Maureen’s Books.. Don’t worry.. Inspiration enough! ;)

The Talk:

Tell us a little more about yourself?

My name is Maureen (obviously :P) and I’m twenty-six years old. I live in the Netherlands and I’m a fulltime nurse in an academic hospital. I work in the Traumatology department and I really love working there. Next to my job as a nurse I spend my days reading. I love books and getting lost in different stories. 
I've been living with my boyfriend Tom for almost six and a half years now. He is my best friend, my lover and my everything. I can't imagine a life without him. With him I can be the crazy book lover I am. 

When did you learn about your passion for books?

Ever since I was a little girl I loved stories and reading. I come from a family of readers and so I grew up surrounded by books. I remember being very young and loving the moment when I was able to read books on my own.
I grew up with my mom and our home has always been filled with books and stories. Books were always very important to us. There is nothing I like more than spending my days surrounded by the people I love and reading a good book.

Which book was your childhood favorite?

I was eight years old when the first book in the Harry Potter series was published. I can honestly say I grew up with the Harry Potter series and they really became a huge part of my life. I read all the books multiple times and still to this day this series is my favorite book series. I remember the publication days of a new Harry Potter books being one of my favorite days of the year. I used to pre-order every book with help from my mom and when the book arrived I started reading and only stopped to eat.

Which book (or books) is your favorite right now?

Like I said the Harry Potter series is still one of favorites. But I also really love the twilight series, the fifty shades of grey series, the mortal instruments series and many more.  I honestly don’t have one favorite book.. I have many!!

What’s your favorite book genre?

I read everything, and books from every genre out there. The genres I love the most are Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical Romance and contemporary novels. But I will read all kinds of genres if the sound of a book interests me. I also have weeks I love to read romance more than any other genres. But there are also weeks I prefer thrillers.. It just depends on my mood I guess.

Do you prefer paperbacks or eBooks? And why?

I definitely prefer paperbacks. I’m one of those girls who smells there books. Weird maybe.. but there’s just something about the smell of a book.. It’s magical! I feel excited when I hold a paperback or hardback in my hands. And this feeling never goes away.
EBooks are very handy, especially when you don’t have room for a paperback.. And I also love reading ebooks because I don’t need to put on a light that makes my boyfriend unable to sleep at night.. but still.. I’ll always prefer the real deal!

How many books do you read in a week?

It depends on how much I’m working that week and what kind of shifts. I read less when I’m working the nightshift because I’m just more tired and love hanging on the couch with my boyfriend and watching a series. But when I’m working days I can read two or three books a week. On holidays I read one book or more a day.

If you could live inside one book world, which world would it be?

Without a doubt.. I would live in the world of Harry Potter. I would be a librarian at Hogwarts and fly a broom. And my best friend would be Hermione Granger. Sigh…

When did you decide to become a blogger? And when did you start your blog?

I’ve always wanted to talk and write about books. Somehow other than my family, I haven’t met many people here in the Netherlands who also love books as much as I do. So from a young age I thought about book blogging. But since I only read English books, I wanted to write in English but was afraid my English wasn’t good enough. Years later on March 17th 2014 I decided to start Maureen’s Books. Not caring if my English is good enough.. but just making my dreams come true!! And now a year and a half later I’m still blogging and loving every minute of it.

What do you love most about blogging?

What I love most about blogging is the people I came to know around the world who share my passion! I’ve come in contact with many amazing authors who wanted me to read their books.. And I’ve read a lot of amazing books since starting this blog. I’ve also met a lot of other bloggers out there who just want to share their love of books and help each other out. Book bloggers really are wonderful people and I love that I was able to get a look inside this ‘world’.  I honestly feel like I’m a part of something now.. And I can’t imagine my life without book blogging.

If you could change one thing in the book blogging community what would it be?

I can’t think of something I would change.

How do you plan your time for your blog? And how much time do you spend on your blog?

I try to spend a view hours on my blog every day. I’m a big planner and I write everything down to make sure I don’t forget anything. Sometimes when I’m really busy with work I’m not able to spend a lot of time on here.. but I always spend at least 30 minutes a day. I love my free days when I’m able to spend all day blogging and browsing the internet.

What is your favorite Book Blog?

I really love Candace’s Book Blog. Her blog was one of the first I really saw out there and I’m impressed with how much she has accomplished. She also really is an awesome person.
Recently I also really came to like the book blog the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Between My Lines. They are all very different but I love reading the reviews and other posts out there.

What do you think is the secret of a successful Book Blog?

Social media definitely seems to be a big part of being a good book blogger. I think I reach most of my visitors from my Facebook page and Twitter account. If you really want a successful book blog you most be prepared and willing to spend a lot of your time on it.

Some book bloggers out there are also inspiring writers. Do you also write?

Nope. I used to write a little when I was younger but other than blog posts I haven’t written anything for years. I just don’t have inspiration to write a book. I love reading books but I just don’t see myself as a writer. I’m really envies of authors though.. I think it’s awesome to be able to create your own story and characters.

What would you advise be for beginning book bloggers?

Just do what you want to do and love every minute of it!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Review 'Playing Dirty' by C.L. Parker
For fans of ‘Bared to You’, ‘Say My Name’ and ‘Beautiful Bastard’ comes the start of an irresistible new series in which competition is the ultimate seduction.

Shaw Matthews plays to win, and he intends to snag a coveted partnership at San Diego's hottest sports agency by signing America's top athlete. Only one woman stands in his way: rival agent Cassidy Whalen. But eliminating the competition will be Shaw's pleasure when he concocts an ingenious plan to seduce Cassidy and show the beautiful ballbreaker who's the better man for the job. That is, until Cassidy turns the tables - and their steamy encounters start breaking all the rules . . . 

This book is available at Amazon, Nook Books, iBooks, Kobo and audible.



My Review:

A couple of weeks ago I received ‘Playing Dirty’ the first book in the Monkey Business Trio Series. This is my first C.L. Parker book, and I was really interested in reading this one after I read the book description.

In ‘Playing Dirty’ we meet rivals Cassidy Whalen and Shaw Matthews. Cassidy and Shaw both work for a sport agency and are competing to get a partnership by signing America’s top athlete to their office, and they seriously hate each other. Not only are they competing, but they have disliked each other from the moment they met. Cassidy is a hardworking, control freak woman who really doesn’t take no for an answer. Shaw is a sexy, woman addicted and arrogant man who is comfortable in letting people think the worst of him.
Although Cassidy and Shaw would never admit it to each other, there is some real intense attraction going on between the two of them. And to get America’s top athlete to sign to their office, they really need to play dirty.

I had some really high expectations about this book. This is always a difficult thing because  if you start reading with so much expectations, a little ‘bad’ thing can easily be a major disappointment. But still, expectations were high for me and I started reading with a lot of enthusiasm.
From the moment you start reading ‘Playing Dirty’, it becomes clear that Cassidy and Shaw are not going to be your average erotic romance novel characters. They seriously hate each other without any real reason other than they are both good in their jobs and are very arrogant.

Especially the beginning of this book didn’t really work for me. There were a lot of childish conversations between the two coworkers and I really wished they would just grow up. I also just didn’t really get why they didn’t like each other, other than being jealous of one another.
Soon though, the characters began feeling a certain attraction for each other and not long after the hot and sexy scenes started.

Halfway through I began liking this book more and more. The characters grew on me and I especially began liking their moments in the pub. It was really fun to find out more about potential new characters and friends of Cassidy and Shaw.

In the end this was a fun read but I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. I suppose I just didn’t really get the story. And then there is the way this book ended in a cliffhanger.. I really don’t need to read another book about Cassidy and Shaw, and was really hoping to read a book about one of the other characters instead. But who knows, maybe I’ll give it another shot.. I am curious how Cassidy and Shaw’s story will end!!

My Rating:

About the Author:

C.L. Parker is a romance author who writes stories that sizzle. She's a small-town girl with big-city dreams and enough tenacity to see them come to fruition. Having been the outgoing sort all her life - which translates to 'she just wouldn't shut the hell up' - it's no wonder Parker eventually turned to writing as a way to let her voice, and those of the people living inside her head, be heard. She loves hard, laughs until it hurts, and lives like there's no tomorrow. In her world, everything truly does happen for a reason.

For more information about C.L. Parker please visit her website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads and Google+.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from the Little, Brown Book Group.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Blog Ahead Challenge - Round up

blog ahead 2015

This month I’m super excited to participate in the Blog Ahead 2015 Challenge organized by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Herding Cats & Burning Soup. In the holiday season blogging can be very stressful. Between buying gifts, preparing dinners, decorating the house, visiting family and work, there probably won’t be as much time for making fun posts as normal. So when the Blog Ahead 2015 Challenge came along I immediately decided to participate.

The Challenge: 

In the Blog Ahead Challenge the goal is to increase the number of scheduled blog posts, so there will be much less stressing in the holiday season. Every week from now till October 31st I will share a post which tells you how I’m doing with my Challenge.

My Goal:

My Goal for October 31st is to have 36 scheduled posts. I think it probably is a little too high, but I like a challenge. My posts will be everything you can think of from reviews, Blog Tours, Sunday’s Author Spotlights, Top Tens etc.

Week 1:

* Five Things That Make Me Happy - November 6th
* Discussion Post: The Sunday's Author Spotlight - November 9th

Week 2:

* Wednesday Favorites: The Next Breath - November 4th
* Five Things That Make Me Happy - November 6th
* Discussion Post: The Sunday's Author Spotlight - November 9th
* Wednesday Favorites: Henge - November 11th

Week 3:

* Sunday's Author Spotlight: Michael W. Clover - November 1th
* Wednesday Favorites: The Next Breath - November 4th
* Five Things That Make Me Happy - November 6th
* Sunday's Author Spotlight: Tracy Kincaid - November 8th
* Discussion Post: The Sunday's Author Spotlight - November 9th
* Wednesday Favorites: Henge - November 11th

This week I've got another two posts ready for November. I'm still way behind the goal I set out in the beginning, but I'm still really happy with what I've reached so far. I'll keep working on posts this week but I've let go of my goal of 36 posts. I'm just happy with whatever I get done.
Although I haven't done as much as I wanted, I love being busy with planning and making posts. I definitely feel like this challenge helped me get ahead of things and I hope I can keep up the work.

Week 4: The Round Up

* Sunday's Author Spotlight: Michael W. Clover - November 1th
* Wednesday Favorites: The Next Breath - November 4th
* Five Things That Make Me Happy - November 6th
* Sunday's Author Spotlight: Tracy Kincaid - November 8th
* Discussion Post: The Sunday's Author Spotlight - November 9th
* Wednesday Favorites: Henge - November 11th
* Sunday's Author Spotlight: Palessa - November 15th
* Sunday's Author Spotlight: Linda L. Picl - November 22th
* Sunday's Author Spotlight: Linda Covella - November 29th

I can't believe October is already coming to his end. When I started this challenge I had big plans. I was going to finish 36 posts for November and December. Well.. Like always.. Time went by way to fast and in the end I only finished 9 posts for November. But to be honest, I'm really happy with that result and I'm convinced this was the best I could do for now.

But.. October still has two days left and both days are free days for me.. So I'm thinking I can make at least 10 posts before the end of the month.  And I’m really proud of that!

I loved participating in this challenge and it was a huge help to get some posts ready for November. I'm positive about keeping this pace going and I'm definitely going to keep blogging ahead. The best thing definitely was the support of all the other participants. I definitely feel like we kept each other going though Facebook and Twitter. I'm definitely going to give this challenge another try next year!

Other Blog Ahead Challenge Participants:

There are many more bloggers participating in this year’s Blog Ahead Challenge. Make sure to visit the official challenge page and show my fellow bloggers some support.
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