Category: For Fun

First Lines Friday – 06/03/2020

Welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! It’s the end of another week and we can all look forward to a fabulous weekend!

Before that though, it’s time to share the opening lines of another brilliant read. This is a book I read a long time ago. I took the notion when drafting last week’s Sunday Summary post to feature a book that I read before I started my blog. I’ve wracked my brains and I think I’ve come up with a great feature for you today.

Can you guess the book from the introduction?

 

It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed through the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with conversation and laughter, the clatter and clamour one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of the night. If there had been music… but no, of course there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.

Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. They drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing this they added a small, sullen silence to the larger, hollow one. It made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint.

The third silence was not an easy thing to notice.

 

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

Goodreads – The Name of the Wind

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

I loved reading The Name of the Wind as a teenager and I can’t wait for book three, Doors of Stone, to be published. I’ll have to re-read these when it does though – it’s been a long time since I read these.

Did you enjoy today’s First Lines Friday post and extract of The Name of the Wind? Is it on your list to read as well? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Shelf Control #15 – 28/02/2020

In today’s Shelf Control post I am going to be discussing a book that has been on my TBR for literally years. I have previously devoured another series by the same author a long time ago. I couldn’t even tell you when exactly, because it pre-dates my Goodreads account which I set up in December 2014.

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

 

Shelf Control posts allow me to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Red Sister – Mark Lawrence

Goodreads – Red Sister

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

Mark Lawrence is arguably the author that introduced me to dark fantasy/grimdark. His The Broken Empire series is absolutely fantastic. Whilst I can’t say for sure when I read them, I’m pretty sure I read them one after another in a short space of time. My favourite thing of the series is the main character, Jorg. He’s selfish, nasty and lands himself into trouble more often than not. He cannot be described as altruistic in the slightest, and yet I couldn’t help but get behind him. As readers, I think we are drawn to characters with blatant imperfections. Most people are quick to name their flaws than their talents. So, despite the nature of these characters, I think we see a little of ourselves in them and that’s what helps us bond to them.

From what I have read about Red Sister, it does have a different vibe to The Broken Empire series. That said, a nunnery teaching girls to become assassins sounds pretty damn amazing to me! The concept of magic and science combined, as well as the setting of the book, hold a lot of promise for me that this is a fantasy series I will love! I can’t wait to get stuck in!

Have you read Red Sister or any other books by Mark Lawrence? Would you recommend them? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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*** Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger! Thank you! ***

 

First Lines Friday – 14/02/2020

Happy Friday, Happy Valentine’s Day and welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! I’ve chosen today’s featured book as a best fit for Valentine’s Day. I’m not a big romance reader so I don’t have an abundance of books to choose from. However, I remembered this particular book starts with dialogue pertaining to a relationship and it really appealed to my sense of humour! I hope it makes you laugh as it did for me!

Anyway, let’s jump into the opening paragraph. Can you guess what, or who, it is?

 

Prague, early May. The sky weighed gray over fairy-tale rooftops, and all the world was watching. Satellites had even been tasked to surveil the Charles Bridge, in case the … visitors… returned. Strange things had happened in this city before, but not this strange. At least, not since video existed to prove it. Or to milk it.

“Please tell me you have to pee.”

“What? No. No, I do not. Don’t even ask.”

“Oh, come on. I’d do it myself if I could, but I can’t. I’m a girl.”

“I know. Life is so unfair. I’m still not going to pee on Karou’s ex-boyfriend for you.”

“What? I wasn’t even going to ask you to.” In her most reasonable tone, Zuzanna explained, “I just want you to pee in a balloon so I can drop it on him.”

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Days of Blood and Starlight

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

 

Purchase links:   Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s First Lines Friday post and extract of Days of Blood and Starlight? Is it on your list to read as well? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Shelf Control #14 – 07/02/2020

Hi guys – welcome back to my blog and today’s Shelf control post! In today’s post, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR to tell you what it is I really like, or what interests me about it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control posts allow me to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Feedback Loop – Harmon Cooper

Goodreads – The Feedback Loop

Stuck in a virtual dreamworld called The Loop, a man named Quantum Hughes struggles to free himself from a glitch that forces him to live the same day on repeat. His life changes when a mysterious letter arrives one morning from a woman named Frances Euphoria, the first human player he has made contact with in a very long time. Once Frances appears, members of a murder guild known as the Reapers begin surfacing in The Loop, hoping to capture Quantum or worse — kill him. To further complicate matters, The Loop itself is doing everything it can to stop Quantum from finding the hidden logout point by turning everything in the virtual dreamworld against him.

With time running out, will Quantum break free from his digital coma before he’s captured or killed by the Reapers? Who is Frances Euphoria, and what does she actually know about how long Quantum has been trapped?

The Feedback Loop Series takes place thirty years before the Life is a Beautiful Thing Series. It shares the same world, but is a standalone series that focus on dream-based virtual reality worlds and the people who are trapped in them. The next book in the series will be called Steampunk is Dead, and will be released in the fall.

Purchase Links: – Amazon US     Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

The synopsis of this book reminds me of an ARC I read and reviewed towards the end of last year. Much like The Feedback Loop, it revolves around technology and gaming. Where the two differ is that Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs overlaps the real world and includes augmented reality, as well as virtual. I like the concept of Quantum being broken out of a virtual Groundhog Day and thrown into danger. It makes you wonder what is being kept hidden from him, and what we can discover within his virtual prison. The ambiguity of the synopsis draws me in.

I haven’t read the Life is a Beautiful Thing series, but from the sounds of it, it doesn’t matter. The beauty of standalone novels that link to other books (without being dependent on them) is that they offer the chance to explore a narrative style and setting without the commitment of taking on a longer series. As it happens, this has become a series in itself! So, if you like lots of novels and world development in the same universe, this might just be for you!

Have you read The Feedback Loop? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

First Lines Friday – 31/01/2020

Happy Friday everybody and welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! Today’s featured book is one that I added to the TBR last year, but picked up a copy of just the other day. I had some credit on my membership card, as well as a voucher, so the trip didn’t cost me a penny!

Anyway, let’s jump into the opening paragraph. Can you guess what, or who, it is?

 

If anyone told me I could bring down the president, and the Pure Movement, and that incompetent little shit Morgan LeBron in a week’s time, I wouldn’t believe them. But I wouldn’t argue. I wouldn’t say a thing.

I’ve become a woman of few words.

Tonight at supper, before I speak my final syllables of the day, Patrick reaches over and taps the silver-toned device around my left wrist. It’s a light touch, as if he were sharing the pain, or perhaps reminding me to say quiet until the counter resets itself at midnight. This magic will happen while i sleep, and I’ll begin Tuesday with a virgin slate. My daughter, Sonia’s, counter will do the same.

My boys do not wear word counters.

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Vox – Christina Dalcher

Goodreads – Vox

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

 

Purchase links:  Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s First Lines Friday post and extract of Vox? Is it on your list to read as well? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

First Lines Friday – 17/01/2020

I haven’t shared a First Lines Friday post in just over a month. Wow! What with Christmas and New Year, this type of post has been on hold on my blog. However, for a few weeks at least we are back! Today’s featured book is one that I picked up a good while ago from work, of all places. Someone had a sort through of their books and brought them in to see if anyone else wanted them.

I was good actually in just picking up this one! I have heard great things about this author, for reasons I hope will become apparent. It’s written by a renowned author and I wanted to try one of their books to see if I’ll be interested in the rest!

Anyway, let’s jump into the opening paragraph. Can you guess what, or who, it is?

 

My name is Sebastian Rudd, and though I am a well-known street lawyer, you will not see my name on billboards, on bus benches, or screaming at you from the yellow pages. I don’t pay to be seen on television, though I am often there. My name is not listed in any phone book. I do not maintain a traditional office. I carry a gun, legally, because my name and face tend to attract attention from the type of people who also carry guns and don’t mind using them. I live alone, usually sleep alone, and do not possess the patience and understanding to maintain friendships. The law is my life, always consuming and occasionally fulfilling. I wouldn’t call it a “jealous mistress” as some forgotten person once so famously did. It’s more like an overbearing wife who controls the check-book. There’s no way out.

 

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Goodreads – Rogue Lawyer

On the right side of the law. Sort of.

Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He works out of a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, fine leather chairs, a hidden gun compartment, and a heavily armed driver. He has no firm, no partners, no associates, and only one employee, his driver, who’s also his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddy. He lives alone in a small but extremely safe penthouse apartment, and his primary piece of furniture is a vintage pool table. He drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun.

Sebastian defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult, who is accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house.  Why these clients? Because he believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, Sebastian, has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice, doesn’t like insurance companies, banks, or big corporations; he distrusts all levels of government and laughs at the justice system’s notions of ethical behavior.

Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

 

Purchase links: Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s First Lines Friday post and extract of Rogue Lawyer? Is it on your list to read as well? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Top Reads of 2019!

I really enjoyed writing my Year in Books post, which looked back at my reading progress, resolutions and achievements in 2019. Today’s post is going to reflect to last year’s reading as well. It’s the perfect time to talk about my favourite reads of the year – why I loved them and why I hope I can persuade you to read them as well!

I have read a number of similar posts by bloggers and enjoyed them. Some have even written worst book posts, although I have decided I won’t be writing one of those posts. I didn’t read a bad book at all last year and none were unfinished. It wouldn’t be fair to a book on that list to label it as the “worst” just because it was “okay” instead of “great”.

So, instead, let’s spread some book positivity and talk about my best reads in 2019! Unfortunately, I can’t feature all 30 of my 5* reads of the year, so I have narrowed it down to the best of the best, and most likely, the books I’ll want to re-read in the future! I take that as the best measure of which books made the biggest impression on me throughout the year. So, let’s dive in!

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK     Amazon US    Waterstones

I cannot tell you how excited I was for the publication of The Testaments by Margaret Atwood last year. It’s rare that I pre-order books in anticipation of their publication, but this was a notable exception. That actually worked out in my favour too, as I was entered into the prize draw held by my local store to win a signed copy – and I won!
It’s funny, because the first time I read the prequel, The Handmaid’s Tale years ago, I hated it. I put it down about a third of the way through. I was only a teenager then; the appetite for this kind of narrative has come with maturity, I think.
I’m glad that The Testaments wasn’t written too similarly to The Handmaid’s Tale. I think trying to mimic the style of the original 30 years later would have been a mistake. I like the fresh perspectives that we get in The Testaments from multiple characters and backgrounds within and around Gilead. It’s a lot more modern and consequently, more applicable to readers in today’s society!

 

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Chalk Man

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK     Amazon US      Waterstones

After reading The Chalk Man, I was surprised to be reminded that this is the debut novel by C. J. Tudor. I already had my eye on other books written by her, but I will certainly be reading them now! I mean, I’ve even recommended this to my mum to read; she has my copy at the moment.

The Chalk Man is the kind of book that has you guessing until the end. It’s cleverly written, entwining two timelines 30 years apart to unravel the truth behind the identity of the chalk man and the murder of a young woman that has remained unsolved for 30 years.

The characters are something else as well! There is so much depth to them that they are very real and easy to invest into. They are also portrayed cleverly and I think the author has written them in such a way as to suggest what your perception of them should be. It’s so subtle but it’s all part of maintaining the suspense and mystery.

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK     Amazon US      Waterstones

There was no way I was going to be able to pick just one of these books to feature. Individually and collectively they are brilliant fantasy novels. I wouldn’t describe myself as a binge reader particularly. I like the variety. All the same, I devoured this series! I read the first book on holiday in October and finished the series with a matter of weeks until the end of the year!
The combination of a unique premise, fantastical characters and creatures, magic and humour worked really well for me! I’ll play the devil’s advocate and say that I did not expect to like the whole relationship element between a couple of the main characters. Yet, I did. Their relationship, in my opinion, is a lot less sexual than most. Both characters have grown up without a real sense of family, so their union is emotional; it’s about belonging and trust.
As always, Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful. The narrative is effortless to read. These books may be several hundred pages each, but the pages sail by as you get lost in the story!

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

Goodreads – Simon Says

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK      Amazon US

Now we get to my second-best rated book of the year and it was a tight contender for the top spot! I was blown away by this book. The subject matter is dark and gritty and it drew me in immediately. Simon Says is also a dual timeline narrative – one of my favourite formats. As a reader, we get to experience events spiralling to their feared, inevitable conclusion in Cindy’s childhood and live through the aftermath and her confronting those demons in her adult life.

All of the characters are very true to life and reflect the different ways in which people react to such a traumatic event. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me too. From feeling sick to sad and then rage at how a young girl has had to go through something so awful, I felt it all.

I read Simon Says back in September 2019 and to this day I still think about it occasionally. It’s stuck with me. I can’t tell you why, but it has.

Crowfall – Ed McDonald

Goodreads – Crowfall

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK      Amazon US     Waterstones

Finally, a shout out to my favourite read of 2019 and of course, it would be a fantasy novel! The world, the magic and fantasy setting of Crowfall is truly unique. I have loved the series from day 1 and I was very happy, but equally sad to have finished it! It’s definitely very high up on my list of books to re-read.

Ryhalt is an anti-hero you cannot help but invest into. He’s a flawed, unlucky in love drunk at the beck and call of a deity essentially as powerful as a God. He’s been corrupted by magic poisoning a land known as the Misery… for a very good reason! In an epic battle between the Nameless and the Deep Kings, humans are no more than collateral damage – and they want to unleash a magical weapon just like the one that corrupted the Misery in the first place!

Grimdark is a genre rapidly going up in my good books. I also really loved reading Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series. Between Mark Lawrence and Ed McDonald, they have set a VERY high bar for the genre.

So there you have it! These were my best reads of 2019! Have you read any of these books or added them to your TBR? I’d love to know what you make of them in the comments.

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

My 2019 Year in Books

In today’s post, I want to take a look back at my progress and achievements against my goals in 2019. If you didn’t see my goal setting post last year, here’s a link to my … post so you can check out what goals I set for myself this time last year.

Of course, if you are also interested in checking out my goals for 2020, I’ve also shared those details and you can find that post here.

 

Goodreads Challenge

Initially, I set myself a goal of 50 books in 2019, but I managed to reach this reasonably early on and so upped it to 70. I’m pleased to say that I managed to beat this target and read 72 books, which is great in its own right. What makes it better, however, is that it’s a new personal best! I’ve beaten my record of 60 books set in 2017 and honestly, I am over the moon!

Across those 72 books, I managed to read a little over 26,000 pages, which is pretty mental when you think about it! Want to make things even crazier? If you work on the assumption that each page has an average of 375 words on it, then I’ve read approximately 9.8 million words… yikes!

Here’s a very quick glance at the 72 books read in the last year: –

 

Read more non-fiction

Last January I set myself a target to try and read a few non-fiction books. 5, in fact. Not many… should have been totally achievable, but no. I’m just not a big reader of non-fiction and so I totally failed this one.

 

Star Ratings

If you are also interested in my review breakdown, keep reading! I had a really good year for reading with no real major disappointment with books. During 2019, I rated my reads as follows: –

5 stars – 30
4 stars – 36
3 stars – 6
2 stars – 0
1 star – 0

To be honest, if I categorise a book as having a two-star rating or less, then I probably won’t even finish reading and reviewing it. Okay, so maybe I am a little biased on my ratings. Even so, there are only a few “it’s okay” 3-star ratings. I’ve had a look back though, and I can’t find any books I didn’t finish.

I plan on publishing a Top Ten Reads of 2019 post at a later date. I feel like that’s a topic that will need its own post entirely just for the amount of content it’ll have!

So, that’s my 2019 in books! I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to seeing you again soon!

 

 

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My 2020 Resolutions

A new year and a new decade are upon us! 2020 is finally here, and with a new year comes new opportunities. I’ve been considering my New Year Resolutions for a few weeks now… it’s time to share my plans with you all!

I’ve decided I want to take part in a few challenges this year. I have taken part in one of these challenges since 2017, the year my blog began. That’s not the only challenge I am setting myself, however.

 

Goodreads Reading Challenge

As I mentioned above, this will be the fourth year I take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I will be going into the challenge with a larger goal than previous years though. Every year so far I have massively underestimated myself and set myself a goal that I achieve easily.

Year Original Goal Revised Goal Total Read in Year
2017 20 60 62
2018 40 50
2019 50 70 72

Fair enough, in 2017 I went from reading rarely to almost every day, without fail. Naturally, that goal ended up being really unrealistic and I revised it to 60 books at the end of April that year. That doesn’t really excuse the fact that I have underestimated myself in subsequent years though.

This year, I am going to be more ambitious and set myself a target that I have not reached yet. I came pretty close to it in 2019, but it means trying to set a new personal best.

In 2020, I want to try and read 80 books.

Up until the last couple of days of 2019, I’ve had 75 in my head. However, I think it’s too close to 2019’s final count to pose as a challenge. I don’t want to go too much higher than that; I don’t want to put myself in a position where I feel inclined to deliberately choose shorter books just to complete the challenge. That’s cheating a bit. This is where my second challenge will come into play and prevent that, to an extent…

 

Beat the Backlist

My TBR (To Be Read) list is seriously out of control. Often, I find myself swept up in new releases, blog tours and the like. Consequently, the older books on my TBR get neglected, and they really need some love right now. I’ve been hovering at around 200 books for a long time now and I need to work on that.

That’s why I am taking part in the Beat the Backlist challenge this year. As part of that challenge, I want to take on my TBR by reading, at the very least, the oldest 25 books on it. Sounds very abstract as it is, so to quantify it, here are the 25 books that I am challenging myself to read this year:-

  • Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
  • Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
  • Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Talisman by Stephen King
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  • The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by Catherine Collin
  • Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
  • The Thief Taker by C. S. Quinn
  • The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper
  • Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
  • The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
  • Hild by Nicola Griffith
  • The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

If I can squeeze in some more recent TBR additions as well as the above list, then that’s great. I want to have a lot fewer than 200 books on the TBR this time next year!

 

Borrow From my Local Library

Despite having a library membership, I’m not that good when it comes to making the most of it. I’ve only borrowed three books/e-books from the library in 2019. Dreadful right?

I want to step up on this in 2020 for two reasons. Firstly, I’m conscious that I am going to have to be mindful of my finances this year. There are some pretty big (and expensive) changes planned for this year and I don’t really want to be careless with my money. I won’t begrudge myself the odd book, but don’t be expecting mass book haul posts because it’s not going to happen.

Secondly, the advantage of using the library is that you can branch out of your comfort zone. I’m only really happy to buy books that I really like the sound of, or those by authors I have read before. However, if you’re only borrowing books you can try something new. There’s no obligation to like it and if you really don’t, you can take it back!

Those are my resolutions for the new year! Have you set yourself any resolutions? I’d love to compare them with mine!

 

 

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Shelf Control #12 – 20/12/2019

Hi guys – Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

By using these Shelf Control posts I can look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Women’s Room – Marilyn French

Goodreads – The Women’s Room

The bestselling feminist novel that awakened both women and men, The Women’s Room follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives. A biting social commentary on an emotional world gone silently haywire, The Women’s Room is a modern classic that offers piercing insight into the social norms accepted so blindly and revered so completely. Marilyn French questions those accepted norms and poignantly portrays the hopeful believers looking for new truths.

 

Purchase Links: – Waterstones     Amazon UK     Amazon US

My Thoughts…

I wouldn’t describe myself as a feminist; I don’t talk about it very often either, but it is a subject that interests me. I think there is a real misconception of feminism now – I almost get the impression that some “feminists” pursue female interests so hard that they promote inequality as a result. By definition, that isn’t true feminism. Feminism is all about equality. I’m of the opinion that if women want to be CEO’s, politicians, or firefighters… great! If men want to be dancers, make-up artists, hairdressers or nurses, that’s great too! You should be able to do whatever you want to do.

As a prominent work of feminist fiction, I can’t wait to read it and learn more about the history of feminism, as well as compare some of the topics covered and compare it to modern-day.

Have you read The Women’s Room or any other feminist fiction? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

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