Hey guys and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To… and if that doesn’t sum up 2020 for me then I don’t know what does! I made ambitious plans last January, ignorant of how the year was going to pan out for me. I’ve already talked about the reasons a lot, but ultimately I didn’t meet any of my goals.
The most important goal in relation to today’s post was my aim to read the 25 oldest books on my TBR. I made a noble attempt and managed to read 7 in full, but I also DNF’d 3. A lot of these were old additions to the TBR… we’re talking 2014/2015 when I first started using Goodreads. That’s why I wanted to get around to them, but also to see if my reading taste has changed. If anything, I think I’m a lot more open to different genres when I was then. Some of the books added were pushing the boat out on what I normally read so I’m happy to accept some of the DNF’s. Others had every right to be firm favourites but just didn’t work for me at all (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett – I’m looking at you!)
So, as you can see I have plenty of material for the Top Ten I didn’t get around to! I also wanted to write this post about it as my new goal for this year is to pick up where I left off and read more exclusively from the TBR… no ARCs, no new review requests etc. So, which ones am I looking forward to the most? Let’s get into it! Rather than a paragraph for each book, I’ve split my ten into genres groups that I’ll talk more generally about.
It’s hardly surprising that a number of books on this list are from the fantasy genre. As a teenager, it was pretty much all I read. These books are all by authors I love. I have already read at least three books by each and I’m confident that I’m going to really enjoy the books listed above. Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King I have read more recently. It has been a number of years since I read a book by Mark Lawrence, so I’m excited to get stuck in!
I think it’s funny that I am coming to this Stephen King novel now having read several of his other books in different genres. I’m pretty sure I added The Talisman with the intention of using it as a ‘step into’ trying his writing before exploring his more extensive horror genre books! Look how that worked out!
Science-fiction is another genre that pops up again and again. I didn’t read a lot of it when I was younger, but I definitely have a healthier appreciation for it now. I added Dune to my TBR after being gifted a copy for my birthday a few years ago. I’m glad it was given to me as I really like the sound of it. I have had an experimental skeet at the first few pages before and I’m hopeful I’ll be enjoying this one too.
The Feedback Loop is quite short compared to my average read, but still, I love the sound of the plot. It will be the first thing I have read by this author too, so it’ll be a completely new experience for me.
If someone had told me ten years ago that one day I would be reading classics by choice, I’d have laughed at you. If you also told me that I’d re-read and come to enjoy the classic novels I hated studying for school, I wouldn’t believe you. And yet, I am reading them. For the most part, I am enjoying them. I’ve only DNF’d one so far and that’s The Catcher in the Rye. I’m not put off by this though and I’m looking forward to trying more classics!
I love historical fiction novels too, so their inclusion on this list shouldn’t be a surprise either! The two locations and time periods for each book’s setting are very different, but I have read similar books before that I’ve really enjoyed them. The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany in WW2 and Hild in 7th century Britain.
WW2 is one of my favourite historical time periods to read about. You could call it a bit of morbid fascination given the atrocities real people lived through in these times. It’s horrible to think about but equally, I think novels set in this period have a lot to tell us. It’s a reminder not to make the same mistakes again.
So, those are my Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To. Have you read any of them, or do you intend to in 2021?
Hi everyone and welcome back to another weekly update in today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have all had a good week? Well, as good as in the circumstances anyway!
We’re still in lockdown 2.0 here on the Island, so it’s safe to say I haven’t been up to much. Aside from dialling in for the 9-5, my days have been spent (mainly) knitting, reading and blogging. I’m making a jumper at the moment and the section I’m doing takes so long as I’m knitting in the round for both the body and the sleeve. It’s over 330 stitches per round, and I need to do this until the section is 15” long. Just over halfway at the moment… but it should speed up once I have that bit done!
I’ve also shared a couple of blog posts with you earlier this week. My first post of the week was a look back at my Top Reads of 2020. I always like to recap my favourites of the year – they are good posts to look back on and I love to share my recommendations. That’s what Reviewsfeed is here for after all! Speaking of recommendations, I also shared my book review for Chimeborn by Daniel Curry yesterday. It’s not very often I feature reviews for children/young adult audiences, but I really enjoyed reading this myself!
This week I managed to get back to reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. When the news about our circuit-breaker lockdown came nearly two weeks ago, my motivation to read this stalled. The last thing I wanted to read about was a disaster! But, I was able to pick this up again early on in the week. As of this update post, which I’m writing early Sunday evening, I have 40 pages to go until the end. Finishing Midnight in Chernobyl is tonight’s job before bed.
I’m glad I got back into this one. I don’t read non-fiction very much in the grand scheme of things, but I really should. I’ve picked up more in the last year than I ever have done previously and I’ve really enjoyed every single one. I really need to broaden my horizons a bit and try to pick more up habitually.
As well as physical books, I also listened to a bit of A Game of Thrones whilst doing some of my knitting yesterday. Listening to audiobooks when knitting, or painting… things that involve using your hands but don’t require too much thought. Even so, I’m that familiar with the story from reading the book previously (three times) and watching the TV show (I can’t tell you how many times) that I don’t have to concentrate to follow what’s going on.
My TBR can breathe a sigh of relief as I haven’t added any more books to the already crushing weight of the current pile since last week’s Sunday Summary post!
I want to start next week with another Top Ten Tuesday post. Having found out what this week’s topic is, there is no shortage of books that can be put on this list. Remember last year’s Beat the Backlist challenge that I didn’t complete? You’ll probably find a lot of books from that on Tuesday’s “Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To” post. I also want to share this post as I want to tackle these books this year. For definite.
Later in the week, I’m going to share another book review. I have a few review requests to finish up and this week I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the historical fiction novel Rags of Time by Michael Ward.
And of course, last but not least I’ll be back with you next week for another Sunday Summary update.
I hope you have enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary catch-up! What have you been reading this week?
Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s review of Chimeborn by Daniel Curry. You may recall that I read another book by Daniel Curry not long after my blogging adventure began. His first book, The Kitsune in the Lantern, was a really fun novella aimed at children to read. I really enjoyed this, even though I’m not the target audience, and so when Daniel approached me again to ask for a review of Chimeborn, the obvious answer was a resounding yes! If you haven’t read my previous review, I’ve set up a link above so you can check that out of you wish!
Chimeborn is also aimed at a younger audience, however, it is very reminiscent of another certain story about a wizard attending a magic school. You know the one. I’ve actually just read this more famous story only a few weeks ago, and it was reading that book which reminded me that I also wanted to feature this particular review on my blog soon.
So, without further ado, here are the details of Chimeborn by Daniel Curry: –
Welcome to Whitby, the quaint, magical town on the sea. Its ruined Abbey watches over from the East Cliff, broken and long since abandoned. However a magic within watches over Darcy Colben and his friends – the Chimeborn.
Born in the witching hour of midnight and gifted with magical sight, Chimeborn can see the Abbey for what it really is. A centuries old academy for their kind, and home to the Council of Chime. The power of Saint Hilda still resides in Whitby and this power has been shattered among the modern Chimeborn. A battle brews for control of the ancient magic, and sides will need to be chosen by all.
Ideal for strong young readers, and an enjoyable story up to young adult, this tale of power and growing up will leave you desperate to explore the shores of the north-east of England and find the magic for yourself.
The story of Chimeborn is set in a charming English town. Those blessed with the powers of the Chimeborn see quite a different side of Whitby, with the glorious Abbey seemingly transformed from ruins into their home and place of academic study. The descriptions in the book are very vivid – it is easy to imagine you are there and part of the story.
I really enjoyed the magic system introduced, explained and put it to full action in this novel. You know me, I love magic in stories. However, with a young audience in mind, I think it is perfect to spark their imagination. Each of the main characters has their own power, allowing us to experience the magic at their disposal first hand. They also work really well together, especially in the circumstances of being sent away from their families to study. Instead, they form their own family between them and they bond well.
Chimeborn is a fun, fantasy novel for children. The characters are engaging and relatable, and the action within will definitely hold a child’s interest. What I like about this particular book is that it would be a great way to introduce a book series, rather than a one-off story to a child developing their reading skills. I think there is plenty to offer in the Chimeborn universe and that it could be made into a very approachable series.
Chimeborn is a fun, coming-of-age tale perfect for young readers. I’m a twenty-something-year-old fantasy fan even I enjoyed it as a light-hearted read. I hope to see more adventures with Darcy and his friends follow on from this book!
We’re well underway into January, and I’m hoping to read as many great books in 2021 as I did last year – if not more! Today’s post is all about sharing the book love and talking about my favourite reads of 2020.
I shared a similar post last year and I enjoyed having the opportunity to feature all my top reads in one place. It’s also a great way for you, readers, to get a lot of recommendations all in one post. I hope your TBR’s can handle it!
I’ve picked my top 5 books/book series of 2020 and I list them in descending order:-
He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability comes from within him. It is a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel.
To be restored to the kingdom of light, the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but this requires the corrupt souls of the living!
With the help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill.
Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gathers pace, a pattern emerges. When Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion now feels all too real…
Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him, or will she be lost to realm of the Dark Chorus?
I really enjoyed the characterisation and themes of The Dark Chorus. It’s rare to find stories with children/young adults as the main characters that also have sophistication to the narrative. The Dark Chorus alludes to themes that some people might not like to read, but if you’re not shy then I definitely recommend this book!
Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.
A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.
Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.
As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.
But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?
In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…
This is an intense psychological thriller and it was that good, I read it in a matter of days!
For me, the best indicator of a good psychological thriller is how obsessed you become about trying to work everything out. If it occupies your mind even when you have to put down the book to do the mundane things, you’re on to a good start. Find one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing until all is revealed, and you are onto a winner!
The Dead Tell Lies is definitely one of these books – if you love a thriller this might just be something you would like to read.
The epic conclusion to the internationally bestselling Nevernight Chronicle from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.
The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.
Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.
But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.
Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?
New York Times and internationally bestselling author Jay Kristoff’s writing has been praised by critics and readers alike and has won many awards, including four Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, and David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards.
I had no idea how this series was going to wrap up. Nevernight and Godsgrave were amazing… so good I was worried Darkdawn would let me down with the ending.
It was fantastic – I needn’t have been worried. I did have quite a book hangover for a day or two though. I didn’t know what I could pick up next because there was no way it was going to be able to compete!
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.
I couldn’t pick just one of these books, so I have all three books of this second Mistborn series on my Top Reads list. Mistborn was the series that introduced me to Brandon Sanderson. Since reading that trilogy I have gone away and read more of his books and loved them all.
Revisiting the universe of the Mistborn with this follow-up series was like meeting up with an old friend. There are a lot of aspects of the original trilogy that are touched on in these books. Equally, they also have a bit more of a modern touch which I enjoyed. The update to the magic system originally constructed in the first series is very clever but also very feasible; it adds to the overall concept of progress/development we see across the two series.
I think I actually prefer the setting and characters of this second half of the series. It’s one I’m sure I’ll re-read again in future.
The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller and Humour Book of the Year Winner of the Books Are My Bag Book of the Year Winner of iBooks’ Book of the Year
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
This is Going to Hurt is one of those rollercoaster books. It had me howling with laughter one minute and crying the next. It’s also reaffirmed the respect I have for the staff in the NHS and just how much we owe to them for keeping us all going.
This is Going to Hurt was actually recommended and loaned to me by a work colleague. I hadn’t planned to pick it up last year at all, but I’m glad I did. I also went on to read Adam Kay’s later published novella, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas too. As soon as I had read This is Going to Hurt I planned reading the novella in December. It’s a book you end up thinking about long after you’ve finished reading it. Well, if you’re me at least.
It’s fair to say from this list that I really did pick up some great books last year… and from a diverse range of genres too! If you haven’t read these already, I am sure any one of these books could appeal to you!
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Top Reads of 2020 post! If you have read any of these books, let me know in the comments! Alternatively, what was your favourite read of 2020? Please let me know!
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary weekly update post! I hope you are all keeping well?
This week has been… unusual, to say the least. In fact, no, that’s an understatement. This time last week everything was normal here on the Island. This weekend, we’re back in full lockdown. It’s crazy how quickly it’s happened, but fingers crossed the decisiveness of the Government is the right decision to eradicating it again. So, aside from a food shop, I’ve been home since Wednesday.
On a more positive note, I have been able to put my time to good use both here and in terms of reading. On Thursday I shared my 2020 Wrap Up post, in which I looked back at my reading goals for last year and how I did with them. I’ll give you a spoiler – I didn’t do great… but for good reasons. Hop on over and check that post out if you haven’t already!
Yesterday I took part in a blog tour and provided a promo spotlight post for When the Children Come by Barry Kirwan. It’s a sci-fi novel suitable for young adult and adult readers. I read a thriller by the same author last year (under the pen name J. F. Kirwan) and honestly, it’s up there as one of my top reads of the year! I have no doubt When the Children Come is just as good, so it was a pleasure to be able to take part in the tour.
As of last week, my current read was Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. It’s still a current read, but I must confess I have shelved it for a few days having only read 12-13 pages or so since last week’s update.
When the news hit on Tuesday evening that we would be going into lockdown, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I tried to pick up Midnight in Chernobyl as a distraction but didn’t get very far at all. Then, I tried knitting, but my heart wasn’t in that either. I put on an episode of A Game of Thrones (I’m re-watching the last season, slowly) but after 20 minutes I gave up on that too.
In the end, I went up to bed quite early for me and started to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling. Re-reading these books is one of my goals for this year, and I needed something light-hearted. It worked, and I managed to read about 50 pages or so that night before going to bed. I’ve carried on reading it over the course of the week, and I actually finished the book yesterday evening.
I still wasn’t quite in the mood to return to Midnight in Chernobyl yesterday, although I think I’ll be able to pick this up again now. So, after much debate and telling myself that no, I couldn’t do another re-read of A Game of Thrones 1) again and 2) as well as Harry Potter, I picked up Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin instead. Fire & Blood is a book about the history of the universe A Game of Thrones is set in, covering the 300 years before events of the main series. I felt it was a good compromise and I’ve really enjoyed what I have read so far. I’m 61 pages into this 700-page behemoth, but I love it!
There aren’t any new books on the TBR this week, I’m pleased to say. I have been reading more blog posts by other bloggers again (a habit I got out of), so this might change in the weeks to come. But for now, no news is good news!
In an effort to get through some of the backlog of reviews I have, I am going to be sharing another book review with you next week. This particular book is a copy I received in exchange for a review. It’s very reminiscent of Harry Potter. My reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this week has reminded me that I still haven’t reviewed Chimeborn, written by Daniel Curry. So, I think it’s time I share my review with you all!
As it’s the beginning of the year and we are still thinking about the progress and such I made last year, I also want to share a post about my favourite reads of the year. I hope you can tune in for that one too!
As always, I’ll conclude the week with another Sunday Summary post.
That’s all from me for now though! Have a good week, stay safe and I’ll hopefully see you around!
Hi guys and welcome to today’s promo post for When The Children Come by Barry Kirwan. You may recall I read another book from this author, The Dead Tell Lies, (under the alternative pen name of J F Kirwan), last year and I loved it! It’s for that reason that I knew I wanted to feature him back on the blog again and share the details of his new book in the hopes that you are interested in picking this book up. At around 300 pages, this is a pretty approachable length for anyone no matter how often you pick up a book normally.
As always, thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! Be sure to check out the posts also being shared by my fellow bloggers in the days to come. Details of those participating in the tour can be found at the end of the post.
And now, here are the details for When the Children Come!
Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.
Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…
“A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb
“A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter
“Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown
I was born in Farnborough and grew up watching the Red Arrow jet fighters paint the sky at airshows. I didn’t get into writing until years later when I arrived in Paris, where I penned The Eden Paradox series (four books) over a period of ten years. My SF influences were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, but also David Brin who writes about smart aliens. Iain Banks and Alistair Reynolds remain major influences, as well as Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton and Jack McDevitt.
My main SF premise is that if we do ever meet aliens, they’ll probably be far more intelligent than we are, and with very different values and ideas of how the galaxy works. As a psychologist by training, that interests me in terms of how to think outside our own (human) frame of reference.
When I’m not writing, I’m either working (my day job), which is preventing mid-air collisions, reading, or doing yoga or tai chi. When I’m on holiday I’m usually diving, looking for sharks. Most times I find them, or rather, they find me.
2020 was a crazy year. I don’t think that’s a stretch of the imagination for absolutely anybody at this point. It also, strangely, ended up being one of my busiest years personally. Unfortunately, not as much in terms of blogging and reading as I had hoped, but that’s okay. I’ve come to the realisation that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.
Before I get into my blogging and reading progress of the year, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the other things I ended up doing in 2020 as well. Ultimately, this played a part in the amount of time I had to commit to blogging and reading.
At the end of 2019, I decided that I wanted to move house. I’m not going to go into the ugly details, but let’s just say they were external forces that drove me to that decision. Moving house is a huge undertaking at the best of times, but I ended up moving in May 2020, during the middle of lockdown here on the island. We were delaying the move as per guidelines, but unfortunately again, other factors meant it had to go ahead. That meant my family couldn’t help me as they had planned to, and whilst I was able to use a removal firm on the day, the rest was up to me. There were many tears on the day and my parents had to watch me bawl my eyes from the doorstep (unable to come in but dropping off some food) once I got here, but with the help and advice of my mum and dad I got it together and within a couple of weeks of moving in I had everything straight.
But that’s where the rest of the work began. The house I ended up moving into had some very interesting decoration, to say the least! Pretty much none of it was to my taste, so within a couple of months of moving in I started redecorating. What can I say, I had holiday to take from work and nowhere to go with it!
Whilst I had anticipated moving, I hadn’t really considered that I’d end up spending so much free time working on the house after I moved in. It’s not a problem, and ultimately I’m happier because I’ve spent the time making this place mine. It does mean, however, that it ate into my free time for reading and played a part in my not reaching my goal of 80 books last year.
What I also didn’t expect was how lockdown would affect me. When it was first announced, I was obviously upset that I couldn’t see anyone. But, I stupidly thought to myself, right I’ve got all this time to kill – I’ll read more. How I can laugh at myself in hindsight. What I didn’t expect was how much of a distraction lockdown would be and actually… I couldn’t concentrate on reading all that much. At least, not to start with. Some days were better than others.
So you see, there were multiple factors that contributed to my not reaching my already very ambitious goal of 80 books last year. I thought I would be disappointed with myself if I didn’t, but strangely I’m not. I know I read at every opportunity I could and wanted to, and equally, I didn’t force myself to read things I didn’t want to either. When I wanted to do something different I enjoyed other hobbies… saw my friends and family (sorry, feel bad for saying it but it’s true) and did the things I wanted.
My other challenges also flopped a little. Whilst I started off well, reading less also took its toll on my attempt to read more of the older books on my TBR. I was still signing up for blog tours and such, and so these took priority and my challenge fell off the radar. My final challenge was to read more from my local library. Ha! With covid, that went down the pan too. I did check to see if I could borrow electronic editions, but most of the time they weren’t available at my library. Maybe I’ll be better at this throughout this year (once it re-opens again)?
Anyway, there’s the background. And now, onto the books I read last year! My final end of year stats are:
I think I DNF’d the highest number of books I have ever recorded in a year in 2020. I think this is in part because I started to go through my TBR and my reading tastes have changed since I added the books several years ago. That’s not always the case… in fact, some of the best books I read last year were added to my TBR four or five years ago!
There were definitely more hits than misses. All in all, I think there was a pretty good proportion of books that I knew I was going to love and some more adventurous read that I want to try. Some of those worked, but those I put down definitely fall into that category.
To summarise this year wrap up post, here is a list of all the books I read last year and their star ratings: –
Have you read any of the books on this list? Or any of them on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!
It’s my first Sunday Summary post in a couple of weeks and I’m glad to be back and sharing my regular updates with you all. I had a lovely break over Christmas and I’m grateful for taking the step back for a week or so. I’m feeling refreshed and ready to get back into it, so let’s jump in and talk about what I have been up to in the last couple of weeks since my last Sunday Summary post!
In the last couple of weeks, I have shared two posts with you. On Christmas Eve I shared The Joy of Christmas Book Tag. I had a lot of fun writing this particular post and it was a nice way to wrap up blogging and get into the festive spirit for the holidays! I then took the planned break and shared my next post with you just a couple of days ago, on New Year’s Day. It’s customary to create and share New Year goals, and that’s what Friday’s post was all about.
If you haven’t checked out either of those posts, please follow the links and have a look!
I’ve had to go back as far as the 13th December to give you an update on what I have read recently, as I didn’t have any reading progress to report at all in my last Sunday Summary post. I’ve made a lot more progress since then!
In the last couple of weeks, I managed to finish Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which was the book I was currently reading at the time of my last update. The book wasn’t entirely what I expected based on the TV series, but I can see what it has drawn from. Book lovers everywhere might dislike me for saying this, but I think I preferred the TV series. It had a bit more of a plot behind it if you ask me.
At the same time as reading Brave New World, I also picked up Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay. Whilst I wasn’t intending to, I actually managed to read this in a couple of hours one night. It was saddening and hilarious and everything I expected based on his previous book, This is Going to Hurt. Honestly, if you haven’t read these books I really think you should. You’ll discover a newfound respect for the NHS and what they have to put up with. Now more than ever, I think this is important!
Lastly, I have picked up a third read in the last couple of weeks. I am currently around 38% through with the book. Goodreads says it’s only 26%, but given that pages 373 to 538 includes the acknowledgements, glossary, index etc, they aren’t part of the story.
A couple of days after Christmas I went into our local chain store bookshop and happened across a book called Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon by James Hibberd. The book itself is about the filming of A Game of Thrones and all the backstage business. I’ve enjoyed reading some non-fiction novels recently and I think this will be an interesting read. Plus, you know, it’s Game of Thrones related. Of course I’ll love it!
Next week I want to take a look back at my reading progress and blogging in 2020. It became my busiest year in my personal life, which contributed to not meeting some of the goals I set myself last January. I hope you can tune in to my end of year wrap up post.
On Saturday I’m sharing a promo post for When the Children Come by J. F. Kirwan. You may recall I read one of this particular author’s books last year, The Dead Tell Lies. This year I’m not really signing up for many blog tours and offering reviews, but since I really enjoyed his last book I still wanted to feature him again on my blog.
In addition, I’ll also be back with another Sunday Summary post to end the week as usual.
That’s all from me this week! Have a good one and I’ll see you in the next post!
Hi guys! Happy New Year! I can’t believe I’m writing my first post of 2021 already. Last year seems like a bit of a blur. I’ve enjoyed a lovely break over Christmas and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my goals for 2021 and today’s post.
Before I get into this year’s goals, I’d like to take a quick recap over 2020. I’ll probably be writing a more detailed post on this in the next few days, but I think it’s only appropriate that I briefly talk about last years goals. This is the first year that I’ve not met my reading goal, but to be perfectly honest, I’m still proud of the number of books I managed to read in the circumstances. I ended up taking on far more than I ever imagined when I set my goal in January. Yet despite this, I still managed to complete 55 books last year, as well as ending the year reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I also DNF’d a surprising number of books this year. It’s rare that I give up on a book, but this year I’ve DNF’d a total of 5 books.
Inevitably, I have been thinking about my goals for this year. It’s funny because as a person I’m not a huge celebrant of New Year. Call me miserable if you wish, but I’m just the kind of person who is all too aware that the 1st of January is just another day. And most likely, it’s just like the last. Obviously, things are a little bit different with my blog, as setting new goals is kind of ‘the done thing’. If I’m honest, I started thinking about the goals I’m setting back in November and over the last couple of months I’ve convinced myself that this is the right thing to do. So, here are the ‘reading goals’ I’m setting myself for 2021: –
I have taken part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last six years. Granted, 2014 and 2015 were distinct flops. This was before I started blogging and getting into reading full time, and so I only read 10 books out of the target 55 I set myself over the course of the two years.
Since getting back into reading and then beginning my blogging adventure, I’ve had a lot more success. I have met my reading goal every year until 2020. Admittedly, that goal of 80 books was very ambitious when I set it. I did that deliberately because I’ve always underestimated myself in the previous years. If I hadn’t taken on things that I ended up doing in 2020, I might just have reached it. I don’t beat myself up for not reaching it though. Towards the end of the year, I burned out. I am fully prepared to admit that to myself now. Between all the different things I ended up juggling, it all became a bit too much for me. Something had to give, and ultimately it was the reading aspect of my blog that ‘suffered’.
I worry that if I were to carry on in this manner, I’d end up not reading at all. Of course, I don’t want that to happen, so I’m doing something I never expected I’d do as a book blogger. I’m going against the grain and not setting myself a reading goal in 2021. That may sound a bit odd to you, but it’s the right thing for me. I’ve decided that I need to get back to my grassroots, and that’s reading what I want, at my own pace, and doing it for the enjoyment of it. It’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a hobby, as blogging ends up becoming like a job. It’s a full-time commitment, and when you’re trying to do other things like hold down actual paid employment, study and complete renovations on your home (to name just a few examples), it’s a lot of work. There are so only so many hours in a day.
The point of setting a Goodreads challenge is that it is supposed to be that – a challenge. This year, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself and risk a prolonged burnout. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see any point in setting myself a ‘challenge’ that isn’t going to be a challenge… hence why I’m not setting myself a goal at all.
Last year‘s goal of trying to chip away at the TBR ended up being a bit of a flop. I started off well, reading a couple of books a month. However, my problem is that I keep adding new ones as quickly as I read others. I was also taking on blog tours last year, which meant that I wasn’t reading enough of the TBR to counteract the books I was adding.
So, this year’s goal is to only read books on my TBR. I already know I’m not going to religiously stick to this one. I’m sure there will be new shiny books and catch my eye and I want to fast track them and read them there and then. The sentiment behind this goal is that I want to read exclusively off my TBR as much as possible and bring the number of books on that list down – significantly more than in previous years!
With this in mind, I’ll also be taking part in fewer blog tours – at least the number I provide reviews for. I will probably still take part, but I’ll be providing promotional posts or extracts as opposed to reviews. This means I can spend my time actually reading the books on my TBR without distraction or deadline. For the most part, I have deliberately not been signing up to them this year. There is one exception, and that is for a book by an author I have read a lot of historically. I have really loved her books to date and I didn’t want to miss out on providing a review for the second book of a series I’ve already started. I’ll be taking part in that tour this month, but aside from that, I have no obligations to review for a blog tour.
Technically, I haven’t really been taking many review requests over the last few months. Although, being the person I am, if someone approaches me with a really good book and say there is no time deadline, I can’t help myself to say yes. I love a good book – what can I say!
Well, now I’m saying this. I’m not taking any review requests in 2021, no matter how good the book sounds or whether there is a time deadline or not. I ended up taking on a couple of books towards the end of last year that were ‘non-time-sensitive’, and yet I still ended up getting chased on them. This is exactly what I was looking to avoid when I initially closed myself off to new review requests. My lesson has been learnt, so for this year, I won’t be taking any at all. I’ll honour the ones I have, and that is all l. At least, until next year.
Re-read: Harry Potter
My last goal of the year is to re-read the Harry Potter series.
I had said to myself that I was going to do this sometime after I finished my re-read of A Game of Thrones. Now feels like the perfect time to do so. Harry Potter was one of my favourite book series’ growing up. I read Harry Potter throughout my teenage years, and they have a huge part to play in my developing a love of reading. As I am taking the opportunity to re-capture that essence and love of reading without the demands of competing against myself, or trying to reach that next target, it feels like the right time to re-visit one of the very series’ that kindled my love for reading in the first place.
Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? What are your ambitions for 2021? Please let me know in the comments!
Hi guys and welcome to today’s book tag post. Today I am taking part in The Joy of Christmas Book Tag, and I hope you enjoy the festive-themed post today – on Christmas Eve no less!. I imagine all the hustle and bustle is now over and done with, so sit back, relax and enjoy today’s read on all matters bookish and Christmassy!
Anticipation: the Christmas excitement is real, what book releases are you most anticipating?
I’m not actually looking at any new releases at the moment. I set myself a goal in the beginning of 2020 to read more of my existing TBR, however, this didn’t really come to pass. At least, not as much as I was hoping to. I’ve deliberately not been actively looking for anything new to read because I’m already aware my list is over 200 books long, and that it’s just a ridiculous amount of reading to get through.
Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing it’s praises?
Are you seriously going to make me only pick one?! I don’t actually think I can. There are so many brilliant authors I have come to discover since blogging, and those I’ve read across the years but it’s impossible to pick just one. The purpose of my blog is to sing all of their praises!
George R R Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Laini Taylor, J R R Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Adam Kay, Bernard Cornwell and Ben Aaronovitch… they’re just a shortlist of all favourite established authors.
As for indie or lesser-known authors, I have come to love Jennifer Macaire, Jo Wesley, J F Kirwan and K J McGillick. Jennifer McCaire and KJ Mcgillick are authors I have gone back to again and again having been introduced to them during blog tours. Joe Wesley and J F Kirwan have wowed me with one-off, outstanding reads!
Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world-building?
I love my world-building, so this is something I look at in every single book I read. I think the best world-building I have read in the last year or two has to be Ed McDonald’s Raven’s Mark trilogy. It’s a fantasy trilogy with a completely unique world, magic system and set of characters to boot. I’ve already decided it’s a series that I’m going to re-read at some point. I knew that as soon as I’d finished it. What does that say about how good it is?
A Christmas Carol: Favorite classic or one that you want to read?
I’m actually reading a classic at the moment, although not particularly Christmas themed. The classic I’m reading is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I’m just about halfway through at the moment. It has been on my TV are for several years now, so it was about time I got round to it.
I did pick up another Christmas read, which I read last night. Whilst it’s not a ‘classic’ or heralded read at the moment I really think it should be in time. I was introduced to Adam Kay and This is Going to Hurt this year and after reading that book, I discovered there was a Christmas novella. I have just read this And it really highlights the pressures placed on the NHS at any time of the year, but particularly Christmas. If you haven’t read that book yet, honestly I recommend you do! It is absolutely hilarious and equally thought-provoking at times. It could be upsetting to son as some of the stories are heartbreaking, but it’s all part of what NHS staff are expected to deal with day in and out. It’s an eye-opener.
Christmas Sweets: What book would you love to receive for Christmas?
Getting books for Christmas is always exciting, so to be honest anything would be well received. If I’m completely honest though, I’m not particularly focused on what is under the tree this year. If ever we needed a reminder about what Christmas is truly about, this is the year. Buying and receiving gifts is lovely, but ultimately it’s the people around the tree that matter. Our Christmas will be a little bit strange this year as due to travel/border restrictions, my sister is unable to spend it with us. That’s all I’m thinking about this year.
Candles in the Window: What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling?
This is a hard one. I wouldn’t say any particular book gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, but perhaps more genre and circumstance combined. I love being sat at home, in a warm house, curtains drawn, a cup of tea in hand (probably a biscuit or two as well!) and a crime/thriller/mystery book. that is the perfect combination for me.
Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favourite book covers?
I really like the simplicity of the covers for Laini Taylor’s strange the dreamer duology. For more complex artwork, I really like the covers on Edward Cox’s the relic Guild trilogy.
I also really like the covers for The Raven’s Mark trilogy by Ed McDonald. Like the relic Guild covers, they all tie together well across the series. They look cohesive, whilst having their own unique cover for each individual book too.
Christmas Joy: What are some of your favourite things about Christmas And/Or some of your favourite Christmas memories?
My favourite things about Christmas are: –
being around family
the food (can’t lie!)
Watching people open gifts I have bought for them
The food – did I mention this already?!
I’m sure that Christmas of 2020 won’t be the Christmas that a lot of people are hoping for. I know this is certainly the case in our family. Having said that, the situation could be a lot worse. We all have our health, and the ability to speak to each other across the distance and so whilst it’s not the same, we can all be a part of each other’s Christmas this year.
Wherever you are, I hope you can make the best Christmas you can out of the circumstances we are living with and I wish you all the best of starts for 2021. I’m going to be taking a brief break from blogging until the new year, And so I will see you at the beginning of next year with my reading list for January as well as setting out my 2021 goals and reviewing my reading journey of 2020.