7 Hints and Tips for Writing a Book Review

I have been reading lots of book reviews lately, and learning as I go along trying to find a formula to writing a fantastic book review.
What makes a book review great?
What makes you want to go out and find that book to read?
These are the questions I found myself asking, and I’m sure there are many of you asking the same. So I have compiled another 7 Hints and Tips post to help us all become better book reviewers and writers. 

These are the 7 tips that I have come up with, along with some hints on what to include in the book review.
  1. As you read the book, make notes as you go along – Write down your thoughts on the authors writing style, add quotes to your lists, that you think would be relevant to your review.
  2. Include the authors name and the book title in the first paragraph – Make sure to mention these so the reader will know exactly who wrote the book.
  3. Describe the book – What is the book about? What genre does the book fit into? What is the main idea of the book and plot structure? Don’t forget to include the theme, settings and the book cover.
  4. Add a paragraph on what made you like the book – Is it a story that kept you entertained? Guessing? How real/believable are the characters? Who is your favourite?
  5. Mention any dislikes – Didn’t like the way the story headed, frustrating ending, slow start, didn’t like the main character.
  6. Summarise your thoughts – What type of reader would you recommend the book to? Is it a book you would read again one day?
  7. Give the book a rating – eg. 3 out of 5 stars

I would love to hear your own thoughts on whether you decide to read a book based on a book review alone.
Rachel xx

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7 Hints and Tips for Photography Beginners

We love to go for walks on Sunday morning’s so it’s a perfect opportunity for me to learn better photography skills. I am an absolute beginner in this area, but cannot wait to learn more to help with my blogging photos. It seems to me nowadays that for most blog posts to stand out they have to have captivating photographs. Being a new blogger everything is a learning curve for me and photography is one of my main areas I would like to work on.
This old house boat down at Malpas in Truro has always caught my eye so I thought it would be a perfect project to learn more camera skills. I have been reading and discovering lots of photography hints and tips along the way and have compiled a list for you.
So here are some basic tips for improving your photos:
  1. Make sure the camera is in the correct mode, e.g landscape, screen shot or shutter priority.
  2. Lighting is very important. Don’t shoot people pictures with the sun behind them.
  3. Understand white balance. This I’m learning more about all the time, it just means that you adjust the balance to get colours in photos as accurate as possible.
  4. The Rule of Thirds: Imagine a grid of 9 squares over your photo, well place the main elements of your photo on one of the lines or intersections. The eye will naturally be drawn to one of those points on the photo, making it interesting and improving the composition.
  5. Angles: Find different angles that are intriguing to you, i.e photos of buildings from the bottom up. This gives your photos different perspectives and fascinating elements.
  6. Photo Selections: Be selective in which photos you want to use.
  7. Apps/programmes: While I am learning and experimenting, I am using apps to help with the editing process. i.e cropping, colour-correct, and exposure. The quality of the photos are very much improved

These are my basic learning photography skills, I would love to hear about your hints and tips for capturing great photos, and where you find the best locations to take pictures.

Rachel xx

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7 Hints and Tips on Caring for Cacti

I love cacti. They are such an easy houseplant to look after. It doesn’t matter if you forget about them, for a week or two. They will still be there when you do remember you have them. 
Here are my 7 simple Hints and Tips on caring for cacti.
These are my cacti and succulents that live in the kitchen. I have grown most of them from other plants over the past few years. I have accidently knocked some of the sprouting parts off at one time or another, and with those parts I have stuck them into a bit of cacti soil from the garden centre and off they grow! They have grown into the most weird unusual shapes.
Cactus
Here are 7 hints and tips on how to care for your cacti:
  1.  If they live inside like mine water them a little once week so they don’t dry out. 
  2.  Cacti prefer well drained soil with a mix of grit, phosphorous and nitrogen.
  3.  Repot them once year if they are getting too big for their pots and to replace the soil.
  4.  When repotting protect your hands! 
  5.  Use small sponge blocks to grip the cacti when removing from the  pot.
  6.  Place them in the sun, for 4-6 hours a day (mine live on the windowsill).
  7. You can then watch them grow and they might even flower occasionally for you! 
I love cacti as they are perfect indoor plants for busy people. There are many different, shapes, sizes and types out there for you to collect, It can get very addictive!. Every year when we go on holiday to see family up in Derbyshire I mostly always end up finding a different type of cactus in one of the gorgeous garden centres up there to bring back home with me. I am running out of windowsill space!
Do you have any Cacti in your house?
 If not do you have any other houseplants?

 

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