About & Review Policy

My name is Margaret. I live in the north-east of England, not far from the border with Scotland. This blog is my personal blog, mainly about the books I’ve been reading and those I’m considering reading.  Writing about the books I read, first of all, helps me to remember  what I have read and then what I liked (or didn’t) about a book. I like to read a variety of book genres and I enjoy fiction of most types (I don’t like horror) and non-fiction, mainly history, philosophy, religion, biography, diaries and letters. I rarely read YA fiction, or poetry.

Favourite authors include Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, S J Bolton, William Brodrick, Agatha Christie, Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid, Martin Edwards, P D James, Ian McEwan, Karen Maitland, Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Carol Shields and Virginia Woolf.

But this blog is not just about books. Now and then I also write about art, pets, places I’ve visited, personal anecdotes or thoughts, cookery, walking, travels and holidays, and about crafts, such as knitting and cross-stitch – and well, anything else that interests or pleases me.

My Reviews

When I began this blog I intended to write something about every book I read, but I have never managed to do that and so now I don’t attempt to review or even make a few notes about every single book. Sometimes even though I may have liked a book I just don’t feel I want to write about it. My reviews are purely based on whether I enjoyed a book or not.

I occasionally accept books for review, but only if I think I’ll like the book and I cannot guarantee to review any book I am sent, even if I’ve expressed interest in it as I’d rather not review books that I’ve not enjoyed reading. My reviews reflect my opinions of the books, whether it’s a book I received free or have borrowed or purchased. 

I receive no payment for reviews. I do not review self-published books, or accept books directly from authors. I do not accept sponsored/paid guest posts from external organisations, nor do I take part in blog tours, or host giveaways.

My Ratings

When I began writing this blog I didn’t give star ratings for the books I read.  I now base my ratings on the Goodreads system as follows:

  1. I didn’t like it or didn’t finish it – there won’t be many of these as I’m quite picky about what I read.
  2. It was OK – I thought it was nothing special, but not bad.
  3. I  liked it – not at all a bad rating but generally not a book that had me rushing to finish it. Still a good, enjoyable book.
  4.  It was very good – I really liked it and wanted to get back to it each time I had to stop reading.
  5. It was excellent – or as Goodreads describes it ‘it was amazing’ – often a brilliant combination of plot, characters and description with a great sense of location. I like books that make me think or introduce me to new ideas or a new way of looking at things, so these will get a 5.

And then because often books do not quite fit into one of five categories some have a .5 added to my rating.


BooksPlease is affiliated to the Amazon EU Associates Programme. So, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which means that if you purchase a book from a link on this site, I will receive a tiny percentage (eventually).

I welcome your comments and thoughts.

14 thoughts on “About & Review Policy

  1. Like you, I read and loved “Cider with Rosie”. I lived for many years in Gloucester – my brother actually lived in Slad for a time. I enjoyed your comments on the book, particularly Lee’s musings on the fact that came just at the end of a long, and now lost, tradition. I recently read Thomas Hardy’s “Under the Greenwood Tree” which, if I may, I’d like to recommend to you. Like “Cider with Rosie” it evokes a vanished England of small villages and traditions. Thanks again for the blog.
    Ken Hall


  2. Hi Margaret
    Came across your wonderful blog while searching for reviews and comments about “Remember me”, by Melvyn Bragg and have just spent a nice afternoon reading through it. Have now added many books on my TBR list. Re “Remember me”, I first read it as a stand-alone novel, not realising that it was the last one of a series of four. I found it so moving that I read the rest of the series (Return of the Soldier, Son of War, Crossing the Lines) and then read it again. A sad story but definitely worth reading. Thanks for sharing your blog.


  3. I have an almost identical tiny, greenish stone, speak no evil monkey to the one you included in your book review for The Good Thief€™s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan, and I too have no idea where it came from, and if it was ever part of a set. Does anyone out there know anything of the history of these little mysteries?
    I’ve had mine since I was a small child, and would love to find out more about it.
    Please feel free to email me if you have any clues 🙂


  4. Hello, Margaret! I just wanted to drop a note since I’m here visiting. I saw you recently posted on Pride & Prejudice. If you haven’t read it yet, I very much recommend Sense & Sensibility.

    Cheers, and good reading! 🙂


  5. This is a very, very long shot, but I thought I would dare to ask your opinion on the first of a four-book series of Edinburgh-based puzzle/antiques-themed crime novels.

    Simple question: would a blurb like this entice you to read on?

    Julia Flowers€™ First Casebook: The Sorrowful Woman
    By Alan M.A. Friedmann

    She is not a detective, a private investigator, or a pathologist. Julia Flowers, 50, divorced, and happy, is a specialist in Oriental antiques. And yet without her expertise the brutal murder of a former diplomat would remain unsolved. Set in Edinburgh and North East Scotland, this is the first of four original investigations introducing the enigmatic Inspector Bland. Will Julia survive her first impact with crime and intrigue? The ending will both surprise and move you, the plot will take you on an unexpected journey.

    If it does (warning: The Sorrowful Woman is not so much Scandinavian Noir, more like Scotch Blanc …), I would be delighted to send you an advance PDF copy [the book is being printed and will be available on Kindle at the end of October].

    But probably you are too busy, in which case thank you for having read thus far.

    Kindest regards,

    Alan M.A. Friedmann


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