For What It's Worth

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Tell Me Something Tuesday: How do you measure blogging success?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post where bloggers discuss a wide range of topics from books and blogging to life in general. 

It is co-hosted by (Linda from Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell, Roberta from Offbeat YA, Jen from That’s What I’m Talking About, Berl's from Because Reading is Better than Real Life  and me) 

Join in by answering this weeks question in the comments or on your own blog.

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3/14/2023 How do you measure blogging success? Followers, page views, interactions, etc.

Answer: The answer to this has changed over the years.

At first, I had no measure of success because I was sure no one would ever even see my blog!

Once book blogging became a thing then I will admit it was all about followers. I started in 2010 and I did all the giveaways, weekly memes, follow trains and you could get 100 followers in a weekend- easily. It wasn't just about #'s to me though - back then we all talked and shared books/supported each other and it was fun. 

The next phase was was when BEA and book conferences, Netgalley and publishers/authors requesting that you review their books. And that can get pretty heady and you accept everything. Then have to keep up with stats to stay int hat pipeline. 

That's when things started changing for me. It was less fun, I felt like I had to push myself to stay in the loop and the good graces of publishers. So success was measured in whatever it took to stay there or grow bigger. People just stopped on your blog so you would visit their blog. It was all just a numbers game with loads of pressure and no real connection And I hated it. 

Fast forward past several slumps and existential blog crises 🤣later I just want low stress blogging and success = being happy, and under zero pressure.

Really, the biggest measure of success at this point sounds hokey but it's true - the friends I've made and continue to make. The interactions even beyond the blog comments. I've been at this for so long that I've made REAL friends. We've gone through births, deaths, huge life changes and I've had more support from my blogger friends than I ever got from real life friends. 

Am I so above it all that I don't want more followers and page views? No lol No-one wants to blog into a void but it's not my priority and I'm not up that challenge anymore so I had to let that all go. 

What defines success for you in blogging?

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Review: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune


Welcome to Charon's Crossing.
The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door
 is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home. 

Source: Hoopla - Audiobook

Review:  I adored The House in the Cerulean Sea by Klune (you can read my review here) and I described it as a warm hug. Under the Whispering Door is a warm hug with an edge to it. 

Wallace is a lawyer, and frankly, an asshole. He's good at his job but mostly by being cut throat and detached. The story opens with him callously firing a woman from his firm because of one mistake, despite her being his only defender and desperately in need of the job.

I'm not spoiling anything by saying Wallace dies and no one really cares all that much. The shocking thing is...he can see and hear all the "mourners", including his ex-wife, who are polite but don't have anything great to say about Wallace. He's screaming at them, but ultimately, into the void as they can't hear him - until he notices one person can see him. That "person" turns out to be his reaper, Mei, on her first assignment and a little late, as Wallace wasn't supposed to see his own funeral.

Mei escorts him to Charon's Crossing - an between sort of place with a topsy, turvy house, a tea shop where the living come to sip, and where people like Wallace - dead but not ready to leave - gather. Charon's Crossing is run by a man named Hugo who selects the perfect teas and helps guide the dead to closure so they pass on.

Wallace is adamant that he get back to his "life". He has trials to prepare for and he refuses to be trapped in Charon's Crossing and he's not going down without a fight. Yet, over time, he falls for the charms of Charon's Crossing, it's inhabitants, those passing through, and for Hugo. 

This is a very quiet, sad sort of story about death, love and acceptance. There is humor - Wallace trying to change out of the sweatpants and flip flops he died in lol for example but really it's about grief. Grief for a life not well lived, grief for those we lose, and grief for those we fail. 

I think this book just hit my at exactly the right time. I have major life things going on that are completely out of my control and it's frustrating - but reading about Wallace's journey was just what I needed. The themes of accepting things outside of your control, forgiveness (of self), the found family, the meaning of life and death hit me right in the heart and made me feel so much better. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door do not seem to be related - despite the similar covers - and, I'll be honest, the story tends to meander, but the both have a gentleness and kindness to them and quirkiness that pull me in and make me want to stay with the characters long after the story ends. I highly recommend audio for both books.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Reading update... Chick Magnet by Emma Barry, Under the Whispering Door and more


Just a bit of a reading update!


Chick Magnet by Emma Barry ~ Goodreads

Source: Kindle Unlimited

"From Emma Barry comes a clever romance about a hot veterinarian and a chicken-loving influencer who can’t help but ruffle each other’s feathers."

Review: This was a delightful romance! I think it's hard to write a *present day, post COVID* romance and not head into divisive or non romantic mode but Barry nails it. 

Chicken influencer (yup it's a thing lol) Nicole Jones' YouTube channel takes off during the lockdown but it also shined a light on her toxic relationship. She heads back to the small town where her grandmother had once lived, hoping for a fresh start.

Next door, lives the hot grumpy veterinarian, Will Lund, who hates the hobby chicken raising trend and, what he sees as, Nicole's making light of something that is a big responsibility. Add in the the pandemic and closures have not been so kind to him and his practice and things get off to a rocky start for the pair.

As I said, I think Barry uses COVID as a framework - she is writing contemporary romance after all and this is what's happening in real life - but moves on and shows how to move forward and heal. Will with his business and Nicole from her gaslighting ex.

They are both broken in different ways but so openly, and honestly call each other out when needed but offer support as well. They start with a friendship, then more. 

Chick magnet is also funny! Lots of chicken (& kitten) mayhem ensues. But Barry masterfully balances trauma recovery, struggles with anxiety, healing and growth with humor and a whole town full of support and love. 👍👍


Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune ~ Goodreads

Source: Hoopla - audiobook

"Welcome to Charon's Crossing. The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through."

So far: I'm 30% into the audiobook. This lacks the all out whimsy of The House in the Cerulean Sea with it's cast of young  ghosts, goblins - not to mention it's lead character is dead and needs to accept that so he can move on. 

Even so, it still has that charm of lovely, eccentric people, helping each other, a tipsy, turvy tea house that shouldn't be standing but is and themes of acceptance. 

Loving it so far!


~ Goodreads

"They've spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they're sixty years old, four women friends can't just retire - it's kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller."

This is a library hold that came in - I'm not ready, so I bumped it for 7 days lol I'm excited to read it though. It sounds fun!

~ Goodreads

"A starry-eyed romantic, a cynical writer, and (the ashes of) an elderly woman take the road trip of a lifetime that just might upend everything they believe about true love."

I guess I requested this on Netgalley?? I don't remember doing it or why I would lol but I was approved so apparently I'm reading this soon.

What are you reading this week?