Behind the Bloggers – Sarah Hardy from By The Letter Book Reviews

Tell me about the person behind the blog?

My name is Sarah. I am a forty something old wife and mother. I live in Leeds, West Yorkshire though originally from Durham. Myself and my husband run a small carpet shop and more recently I have started doing a few hours for Bloodhound Books as a submissions advisor. When I haven’t got my head stuck in a book, I’m either working or spending time with family and friends.

When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging nearly 2 years ago after joining an online group, TBC. You might have heard of it 😉 The group really opened my eyes up to so many new authors and also how important reviews are. I also came across bloggers posts in there and decided to take the leap into setting my own up as I felt so passionate in wanting to share my love of books with other readers.

What are your proudest moments or achievements todate as a blogger?

I think the fact that I have set up my blog and stuck with it is an achievement in itself as I tend to give up on things quite easily, I really struggled setting it up as I am rubbish on computers and don’t understand them at all, so am very proud with myself for doing it and not giving up. I’ve also won a couple of awards at the Bloggers Bash for my blog which still leaves me speechless that people voted for me. Being quoted is something I will never tire of and seeing my reviews used for publicity banners always gets me excited. I’ve also been quoted on a couple of books which totally blew me away as never thought that would ever happen. My main achievement has to be Betsy from Bloodhound Books approaching me and asking me to join their team. Since starting my blog and getting more involved in the book world, my dream job has been to work in the book industry and now that dream has come true, I still need to keep pinching myself to see if it’s really true!

If you had to breakdown the components of your ideal perfect book what would they be?

A perfect book to me is one that engages with me straight from the start. It has to have some characters that are likeable or ones that I can relate or have empathy for. I have to admit it can spoil my enjoyment of a book if there isn’t at least one character I can connect to. The story really needs to hold my attention throughout and has to have a strong ending that will leave me thinking about it for days after.

What is your favourite genre to read?

I enjoy quite a few genres but my absolute favourite without a doubt has to be psychological thrillers. I just love the feeling you get from them. I especially love the ones that seriously mess with your head and I am a big lover of twists that totally shock you.

Can you tell me your favourite 3 books?

Clovenhoof by Heide Goody and Iain Grant I absolutely loved this book. It isn’t my usual type of read at all but had me laughing out loud in so many places. Clovenhoof is a Lambrini drinking and Findus pancake eating devil. Now if that doesn’t grab your interest then i don’t know what else will. It’s totally bonkers but an absolute gem of a book.

Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling by Mark S Smith For anyone interested in the Holocaust, this book is an absolute must read. I thought this was one of the best insights into prisoner life in the camps as well as living with the aftermath and trying to come to terms with it. A harrowing but excellent read.

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone This has to be a book that rocked me to the core. It took me on an emotional roller coaster of a read and had me feeling things I’ve never ever felt before from a story. It makes for uncomfortable reading due to the story line of domestic abuse but was very skillfully written by the author and one that will stay with me for many years to come.

Finally, tell me more about your blog and why we should subscribe

My blog is called By The Letter Book Reviews. Even though I read mainly crime and thrillers, I still read and enjoy quite a few other genres so hopefully followers will find a good mixture of books on my blog. I am always honest in my reviews and tend to only share reviews for books that I either liked or loved.

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