Tag Archives: Laura Diamond

My free reading challenge: lost in Netgalley

I signed up for Netgalley recently. I wouldn’t have bothered, but a book I’d requested to review for a blog tour was only available via Netgalley, so I got myself an account.

I’ve tried to be disciplined, I swear I have. But it’s a bit like another bookshop – except one where most of the books aren’t freely available yet. It’s an awful lot like being able to open your Christmas presents early. I only had a look around for a minute, I promise, but even that was maybe too much for an inveterate book lover.

Cover of Lee Kelly's A Criminal Magic
Outlawed magic in prohibition America

Apart from the book I’d requested to review (A Criminal Magic – it’s brilliant; watch out for my review on the Paisley Piranha site later this month), I’ve also requested and downloaded Dawn of the Vie and The Masterminds, both by authors I’ve read and enjoyed before.

Cover of Laura Diamond's Dawn of the Vie
Vampire aliens – click for the preview

Since it’s not like my Kindle was in any way threadbare before adding those, I think I’m going to have to have a couple of weeks of head-down reading to slim down my TBR pile before I let myself through the door of Netgalley again. Can my self-discipline take the strain? You’ll find out here first!

Cover of Olivia Wildenstein's The Masterminds
More from the Masterpiecers universe

Anyone else a Netgalley reader? Let me know your experiences. Anyone got lost in there for days?

Free reading challenge: When FREE isn’t free

So, I’ve now been satisfying my reading urges with only free books for two weeks.

Philippa Fusspot

My chief learning point for the past fourteen days is what a very fussy reader I am (actually, I already knew that; this exercise has just confirmed the fact). I often find it hard to discover books I enjoy because there are just so many out there, and so very many of them (I’m sorry to say) are absolute junk (imo; tastes may vary). Now that a big chunk of potential reading material has been cut off, I’m finding it even harder to find books I want to spend my time on – and I’m appreciating the Look-Inside feature even more than before.


I have also confirmed that there’s very little point to trawling through Amazon’s FREE lists to fill my kindle. I was very surprised given Amazon’s customer focus and their much-vaunted (if esoterically obscure) logarithms which I thought were intended to deliver exactly what the customer wanted, to discover how random the free lists were. I don’t mean the quality, which I was expecting – but rather, when I search for YA fiction I don’t really expect to find that a notable number of titles were actually erotica.

When free isn’t free

And then there’s the FREE element. A large proportion (like 8 out of 10 of the top ten) weren’t, in fact, free. It always winds me up when authors promote their books as FREE … on Kindle Unlimited, because that’s not free, it’s included in the cost of subscription. Quite how authors had managed to get their £3.99 books listed in the free category was a puzzle. Maybe it gets the books seen more widely, but I couldn’t help thinking a lot of readers, like me, would be annoyed by seeing books, in effect, shelved wrongly.

Pay it back with a review

A more positive development is that I’m jumping more firmly down the read-for-review route to free books. I’ve requested a couple with YA Bound and Xpresso Book Tours, and I even approached an author directly to ask for a review copy, which she was happy to send (that’s Laura Diamond’s Under My Skin, which I’m loving).

So, at present: On-line browsing- 0; Reviewing – 1. We’ll see if that changes over time. I’ve signed up for a couple of Free book Newsletters to see if they can help narrow down my options. I’ll keep you posted – can I actually make it to Christmas without buying any books for myself?