2022 – New Year Goals/Resolutions

2021 was a strange blogging year for me. I tipped everything on its head and tried a completely different approach. Part of this was because I burnt myself out in 2020 and I wanted a break. However, I also wanted to see how taking a less structured approach changed my reading habits. 

I read fewer books last year than ever before, but I knew that was going to happen. Ultimately, I got to read at a pace that suited me and also allowed me time to enjoy and take up new activities. If you follow me you’ll know that I’ve become a bit of a knitter and I’ve had the time to enjoy making so many projects. More recently I have also taken up doing Pilates as a way of getting fitter and a little bit stronger within myself.

Both of these hobbies are going to be carried forward into 2022, so I’ve been thinking about how I can maintain my efforts with all three and what changes I want to make to my reading/blogging in order to make that happen in a consistent way. I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed taking a step back this year, but I am going to be reverting back to some of the methods I used to keep myself on track… But with some modifications for balance!

If you want to find out how I did in 2021 before jumping into my goals for 2022, you can find a link to my year in review post here.

 

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Last year I didn’t take part in a Goodreads Reading Challenge because I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself as to how much I was going to read. It was strange because I’ve set one for several years now, and I’ve decided to bring this back. I’m doing so without setting myself a huge target though, because ultimately I want everything to be kept at a sustainable pace. So, I’m setting myself challenge to read 40 books in 2022! That works out at a few books a month so it’s perfectly achievable whilst still allowing myself time to do all the other fun things I enjoy!

 

Monthly Reading Lists

I took a break from setting a monthly reading list at the beginning of every month so I had to complete freedom in my choice of reading material. It was fun and I enjoyed it, however I also benefitted previously from the structure of setting myself a list and the expectation of what I was going to read in any given month.

Going forward, I’m going to be taking a hybrid approach in order to give myself the best of both worlds. I am going to be setting myself a reading list, but I’m only going to be fixing a couple of books on the list every month. That means I have at least some set reading material, but I also have the time and opportunity to pick up any other books I fancy on a whim. That way I have a degree of choice of what I’m reading or listening to over the course of the month and by reading the fixed books first, I have an incentive to get them read to see what mood reads I can fit in at the end of the month! I think that’s a win-win situation!

 

Blog Post Writing

One of the goals I’m setting myself this year is to get a little bit more organised in terms of creating my blog posts. This is mostly a behind-the-scenes change.

Throughout 2021 I’ve taken a very relaxed approach to blogging and there were numerous occasions when I didn’t get a blog post ready for the expected publication date I set myself. I didn’t beat myself up about it; life happens and the most important thing to remember is that I blog for a hobby. I don’t make any money out of it and I do it purely for fun and the love of sharing all the bookish content; and, hopefully, encouraging for the people to read books I really enjoy!

That said, I do want to try and get myself a little bit more organised. Some blog posts, like my Sunday Summary weekly updates, can’t be written ahead of time. I will however be making an effort to write most of my blog posts at least one week in advance. That way you guys are less likely to be subject to disruption and my posting schedule is more consistent.

 

Are you taking part in the good read reading challenge this year? Have you set yourself any other reading or blogging goals for 2022? I’d love to hear in the comments if you are!

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Reviewing My 2021 Resolutions/Goals

Compared to previous years, my reading and blogging journey has been completely different. In my 2021 Reading Resolutions/Goals post I outlined my intentions to take a very relaxed approach. And that I did. I’ve enjoyed taking the time to enjoy reading and get back into it as a hobby rather than a habit. I’ve also been taking the time to expand my skills in other hobbies, and even take up new ones. It has been time well spent, and upon reflection I’m happy that I made that choice. I needed the break.

If I’m entirely honest I burned myself out in 2019. I’m proud that I managed to read as many books as I did (72), but the timing of it wasn’t ideal. That same year I started studying for a professional qualification, and I was also dealing with some neighbour issues at home that ultimately resulted in me moving in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic. That’s was a whole new kettle of fish of stress, but again, it has been worth it in the long run.

Now you have the context you can probably understand why I needed to take a step back. But equally, I’m ready to start challenging myself again and get back into a routine of reading more regularly. If this year has proven anything to me is that I need a little bit of structure. I still did reasonably well and have probably read more than the vast majority of people despite this, but I’m ready to read more again. If you want to find out what my plans are in order to make this happen then you will find this outlined in my 2022 resolutions and goals post being published tomorrow.

But now, it’s time to recap the goals I set myself in 2021 and share with you how I got on!

 

Goodreads Challenge

In my 2021 reading resolutions/goals post I didn’t set myself a Goodreads Challenge for the first time in six years. It was strange and yet liberating at the same time. The point of this was to not feel like I was forced to read and it certainly worked! If anything I’d say it worked a little bit too well because my motivation to read did drop quite a lot. Whether that was because of the circumstances or because I didn’t have a regular reminder that I was on track or not, I couldn’t say.

That’s not to say I’ve done badly however. Having removed all the structure and pressures to read I have still managed to read 22 books this year. That’s still a decent number and that’s not even counting the 4 books that I started and decided to not finish as well. It’s reasonable and given that the point was to step back and take a break I think it’s fair to say I still managed that whilst still enjoying reading as a hobby.

Here is a list of the books I managed to read in 2021: –

  • A Remedy in Time
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • The Toll
  • The Book Thief
  • Fire and Blood
  • You Are Not So Smart
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Clarissa
  • Ruabon
  • The Cockroach
  • A Clash of Kings
  • The Taking of Annie Thorne
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Consistent Creative Content
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  • Red Rising
  • Million Eyes II: The Unraveller
  • The Warden
  • Traitor’s Blade

As well as the above I’m ending the year with partial progress on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. This was loaned to me by my sister’s boyfriend Chris, and I was hoping to have this read by Christmas. However, this hasn’t happened. Sorry Chris, I’ll have to get this back to you next time you visit!

 

TBR

One of the goals I set myself at the beginning of last year was to try and chip away at the old books on my TBR and to try and clear some of the backlog. Given that I haven’t read anywhere near as much as I usually do it’s obvious to say that I haven’t made as much of a dent in the list as in previous years. I did however make an effort and I did read some of the older items on my list. I’ve also been doing the shelf control series and whittling down that list in that way; as and when I have a come across a book that I no longer wish to read I have take it off the list.

Combining both of these efforts I’m happy that I made some progress towards this goal. Needless to say I still have a long way to go and the list is always growing (although this year I have managed to maintain it at around the same level).

 

Review Requests

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wasn’t really going to take on review requests in 2021. I knew that I was going to be reading a lot less than usual and along the lines of not signing up for the good rates challenge, I didn’t want to commit myself particularly. I have however read some amazing books as a result of requests and so I set myself the rule that I was only going to take them on if I really wanted to read them… say, if I had already worked with an author and started a series.

I ended up reading five books as part of blog tours over the course of the year. The first of those was A Remedy in Time and I had already committed to it prior to setting my goals for the year. I then took part in a couple of blog tours in July and another two in November. All the books were written by authors I had read previously; only one of the five didn’t follow on a series I had already started. I enjoyed taking part in the block doors however some of the timing wasn’t great as they were very close together. If I take anything forward into 2022 it’s to try and space out any commitments if I take them on.

 

Re-read Harry Potter

Whilst I didn’t manage to re-read the entire Harry Potter series this year, I have managed to read five out of the seven books. To my mind there has been a nice mix of picking these up but also reading others so that I benefitted from variety. The last two books are fairly substantial in size but as I found with reading the series to date, they are really easy to pick up. I may not have finished this in 2021 but I will be carrying these last two books forward and reading them in 2022. I’ve gotten this far, so I’m not giving up the re-read now!

 

All in all I’m happy with the progress I made this year. I’ve given myself the break I needed whilst taking part and reading things that I loved. My real emphasis for 2021 was to get back to the love of reading and back to my grassroots which I’m satisfied I’ve done. I’ve also given myself the energy to get back into reading and blogging more. The batteries have been recharged so to speak, and I’m ready for taking on a bit more in 2022. If you want to find out what my plans are then check out my blog tomorrow as I will be sharing my new year resolutions and goals for the year ahead.

How many books did you read in 2021? Have you read any of the books I picked up? Let me know in the comments! 

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Sunday Summary – 19th December 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update! I hope you’ve had a great week? I cannot believe that in a week’s time Christmas will be over – it seems to have flown again this year! Are you looking forward to it?

This week I have shared a couple of blog posts with you already. On Tuesday I took part in sharing my Top Ten books on my Winter TBR. As with every TBR list I’ve shared this year it is subject to change (depending on my mood), but it was also a fun way to have a think about the books I’ll be reading within the next few months.

Later in the week, I shared a First Lines Friday post. Given that we are on the approach to Christmas I set myself a challenge of featuring a book set it winter. I’m really happy with my choice. It didn’t occur to me straight away when I set myself the challenge, however, in hindsight it should have. It’s a book I read not that long ago and is an absolute classic; can you identify it from the introduction?

 

Books Read

Progress this week has seen me reading a little bit more of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I read a little bit of this during my lunch hour this week for the first time in a long time. It may sound daft, but I am proud of myself for doing that. I’ve slipped into the habit of spending my lunch hour either going out, knitting or playing on my phone and not doing much productive. I definitely want to make an effort to read a little bit more at work; it’s a great way to unwind a little and make a habit of reading regularly.

I have also listened to a little bit more of Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. I am so close to the end now! I have around 30 minutes left to listen to and that is all. I have loved listening to this audiobook and it has been refreshing to be able to make quick progress with something and also get back into the habit of listening regularly. I will be finishing this audiobook very very very soon, so my next update you can expect to see this ticked off the list.

 

Books Discovered

Nothing to add here once again, I’m pleased to report!

 

Coming Up…

As I’ve already mentioned we are fast on the approach to Christmas. I have decided that I will be taking the next week and a half (just over) off to enjoy making final preparations and also spending time with family. I’m also going to be taking the time to reflect on what I have achieved this year and make some plans for the coming year.

So, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I will be back in the New Year!

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First Lines Friday – 17/12/2021

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a multitude of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about.

For today’s post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a book set in winter. I must admit at first I was wracking my brains trying to think of one interesting enough to share. It’s a bit of a bizarre topic to go hunting for books around, but having gone back to the subject it almost hit me at once. It was not a hard choice and if I think it’s one that you have a good chance of identifying straight away from the introduction.

Can you guess what today’s featured book is?

 

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old professor who lived in the heart of the country, 10 miles from the nearest railway station and 2 miles from the nearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a very large house with a housekeeper called Mrs Macready and three servants. (Their names were Ivy, Margaret and Betty, but they do not come into the story much.) He himself was a very old man with shaggy white hair which grew over most of his face as well as on his head, and they liked him almost at once; but on the first evening when he came out to meet them at the front door he was so odd-looking that Lucy (who was the youngest) was a little afraid of him, and Edmund (who was the next youngest) wanted to laugh and had to keep on pretending he was blowing his nose to hide it.

 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis

Goodreads – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

 

My Thoughts…

Why it didn’t occur to me to feature this book for today’s First Lines Friday post when I set myself a challenge last Sunday is beyond me. I read this book fairly recently (and in one sitting too) so it should have popped into my head straight away! Granted, it doesn’t all take place in winter… however Narnia is iconic for its wintery setting and so I felt it an obvious choice for today’s post.

I really enjoyed this short story. It’s probably more targeted and suited to a younger audience, however since I didn’t actually read it in my childhood (insofar as I can remember anyway) I wanted to rectify that now that I’m older. It was nice to read because it was a little bit simpler and shorter. It made a break from the usual reads I pick up and it was a refreshing change.

Were you able to identify today’s featured book from the introduction? Have you read this book and any others in the series? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Winter 2021 To-Read List

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post I am going through the books on my winter TBR. Whilst the title does state it is my Winter 2021 TBR, we are already in mid-December and that doesn’t give me very much time until the end of the year. Even with the best will in the world, I couldn’t read 10 books by the end of the year. So, naturally, this list will span into 2022. 

I wanted to take part in today’s post because it’s allowing me to think of the books I want to read in the immediate future, but also those leading into the beginning of 2022 and any goals I have in mind to set myself. This year I have been flying by the seat of my pants are not planning ahead of time. Even when I have made loose plans, I haven’t stuck to them rigidly. I’ve been giving myself the chance to be a mood reader, so as with previous lists set this year it is not concrete, but certainly something I will aim towards over the coming months.

So, want to check out what books are coming up on my winter TBR?


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

With Christmas just around the corner, winter has certainly started. Therefore, I think it’s important to include my current read as the starting point for this list. I have just picked up The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. It is a historical fiction novel, and I’m excited to read this because it’s unlike anything I have read before. It was a recommendation to me by my sister’s boyfriend Chris. The copy I’m reading right now belongs to him – he’s loaned it to me and I’m hoping to return it before he goes home after Christmas. So, there is no time like the present in reading this book!

 

Traitor’s Blade

Along the same lines as above, I think I should also include my current audiobook lesson on this list. I’m most of the way through it now, but I’m currently listening to Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. This is a completely new book, series and author for me but I have had a great time listening to it so far. I can’t wait to reach the conclusion of this book and go on to listen to the rest of the series! Based on what I have listened to so far I have high hopes for enjoying this one.

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I had the idea in my mind that I wanted to re-read the Harry Potter series during 2021. We are fast approaching the end of the year and so it goes without saying that finishing this series will continue on into next year. However, the idea was a loose one and I’m not upset that I haven’t met the goal of reading it by the end of the year. In fact, I have really enjoyed reading the previous books at the pace I have. There is absolutely no rush and the point of re-reading these books is to enjoy them again. It’s not a race and I I know that I will love these two books as I did in the past!

 

Red Sister

I haven’t read a Mark Lawrence book for a very long time and so I’m hoping to rectify this issue within the next few months. I can’t lie, I was tempted to go back and pick up The Broken Empire series again. However, I have been re-reading a few books this year and given that this author has plenty more to offer, I’m going to try his other works before I go backwards. Red Sister has been on my reading list for quite some time now. It will be good to finally get this underway.

 

Dune

Another book that has been on my reading list for a very long time is Dune by Frank Herbert. I have casually started this book a couple of times before. It was more an experiment really; I wanted to get a feel for the book. At the times I picked this up I wasn’t ready to commit fully but this is a classic that I do want to take the time to sit down and read in full properly soon. I’ve been reading a lot more science fiction of light, so I’m in the best place to finally give this a go.

 

The Feedback Loop

One of the themes of this list is that I want to chip away at some of the oldest books on my TBR. Like in the case of Dune, The Feedback Loop has been on my list for a long time and as another example of a science fiction book that I want to read, it’s about time I got around to this one. The Feedback Loop isn’t quite as long as some of the other books on this list, so I think I might reserve this for a time when I’m either in a bit of a slump or just feel like I need the boost of a shorter book.

 

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

Several years ago I requested a copy of Grimm’s original fairytales for my birthday. You may think I’m a bit old to read these, but these are the original stories that modern day fairytales have stemmed from. They are not all fairies and happy ever after is. I wanted to read these original tales to see how they compare with the modern day versions. My understanding is that these are typically a lot darker, but that remains to be seen. The copy I have on my bookshelf waiting is also beautifully illustrated. It’s not the sort of thing I pick up very often so I’m looking forward to reading this for a bit of a change.

 

A Clash of Kings (audiobook)

I plan to listen to more audiobooks within the next few months. I’ve been doing really well with audiobooks of light and I wish to continue that trend. If you read my blog or listen to my rambling enough you will know that I love love love the A Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. I have read the books at least twice and now I am making my way through the audiobooks. So far I’ve only listened to the first one, but I hope to change that in the next two months. A Clash of Kings is next on my list to listen to and given but I am now listening more regularly, this shouldn’t take as long as the first one.

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I have been making a conscious effort to read more in the way of classics over recent years. One of those on my TBR pile that is definitely coming up due for a read is this book. I really like the sound of the synopsis and so it makes sense to pick this up shortly and tick it off the TBR. It’s also the only classic on this list and having the diversity in the books I choose to pick up can only be a good thing. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Top Ten Tuesday post and that you like the sound of the books coming up (fingers crossed) within the next few months. Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your list to read at any point? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

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Sunday Summary – 12th December 2021

Hello and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. As always, I hope you’ve had a great week! If you are unfamiliar with my blog, my Sunday Summary posts are a chance to talk about what I’ve been doing and genuinely catch you up with what I’ve been reading and sharing on my blog over the last week.

Earlier this week I shared a book review that has been outstanding for some time. I read the book back in August of last year, so needless to say it was time to share my thoughts with you! I really enjoyed reading The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell, which is a historical fiction based on the Viking invasion of Britain. If you want to check out my full thoughts, I’ll provide a link to the review above.

Later in the week I shared a Shelf Control post. In these posts I review my TBR and take a look at the next book on the list – if I’m still interested I will feature it on my blog and share with you just why I can’t wait to read it! It is also a good opportunity to clear out my list of anything that I no longer want to read. Goodness knows it could do with a bit of trimming… writing this series has definitely enabled me to do this, but this week’s featured book was not going to be written off under any circumstances. In fact, I’m so confident that I’ll enjoy it I went ahead and bought myself a paperback copy in advance. If you know me, you know I only do that for books I love; I don’t have all the bookshelf space in the world so I tend to keep favourites in physical copy.

 

Books Read

I’ve concluded that I’m not in the right frame of mind to continue reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love his works, but I think this is just too big of a beast for me at the moment. I’ve been trying to read this for a number of weeks now and I’m just not making much progress with it. I’m not DNF’ing it per se, but I’ve decided I’m going to go back to it at a later date. Hopefully, I can get my reading mojo back and then take this 1000+ pages book on!

Instead I have chosen to pick up The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. This is actually a loan from my sister’s boyfriend and I’m hoping to return this to him when they come over for Christmas. So, I’d best get cracking! I’m currently only a couple of chapters in, but my decision to set aside Words of Radiance temporarily came very late on in the week. This book is still a solid read (probably around 500 pages) but it’s a lot shorter… and I set myself a deadline to get it read, so I’m sure I will!

I’ve also listened to a few more chapters of Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell this week. I’m now about 80% of the way through this audiobook, which is really good considering that I tend to listen to them on and off. I have definitely gotten better in recent week in terms of listening to audiobooks more regularly. All I can say is long may it continue!

 

Books Discovered

You are probably going to think me really boring with this addition, however I have added a book to my TBR this week that is kind of work-related. I don’t really talk about it much because that’s not what you’re here for, but I work in an investment based role. One of the books I’ve added this week is in relation to financial markets. I recently watched a program on television which was about the 2008 recession and it’s causes. I found it really interesting because I didn’t really know much about it; I was reasonably young when this happened. Along a similar vein I think I will enjoy The Asian Financial Crisis 1995-98: Birth of the Age of Debt by Russell Napier. It’s not something I really heard about until earlier this week when I read some articles about it. I appreciate that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea so I’ll probably read it but won’t review it here. 

 

Coming Up…

I fancy taking part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. The topic is Books on My Winter 2021 To-read List. I like the idea of taking part because I think it might help with getting excited about reading again and give me a little burst of motivation that I think I need. Also, it’s a means of starting to plan into next year and get some ideas together about what my reading plans for 2022 are. I hope you can join me to find out what’s on my list!

Later in the week I will be back with a First Lines Friday post. I’m really looking forward to this post because I’m setting myself the challenge of featuring a book set in winter. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to pick yet but that’s half the fun! I hope you can take a look and find out which book I choose to feature later in the week.

For now though that is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post. Have a great one and I’ll catch up with you this time next week.

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Shelf Control #39 – 10/12/2021

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here and 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.

The next book on my list is one that is sat on my bookshelf upstairs. I have a weird kind of morbid fascination with the subject and having read a number of great books also of the same ilk, I had every confidence that I was going to enjoy this one and so bought myself a physical copy in advance. I haven’t read anything by this particular author before but I don’t think that matters!

Do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads – The Librarian of Auschwitz

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

 

My Thoughts…

I don’t particularly know why, given that the subject is incredibly unpleasant, but I really enjoy historical novels about Auschwitz. I have read and listened to a good few books by now but this is one still currently sat on my TBR… and on my bookshelf ready to go!

The books I’ve read to-date give me high expectations, but I have every confidence that they will be met. I have a lot of interest in the subject and that goes a long way with books like this. The premise is about preserving literature in the camp and as a self-confessed bookworm myself, I can appreciate that any day!

I can’t wait to finally read this and see how it compares to the other books I’ve read and listened to on the subject in recent years. Probably the one that stands out to me most is The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. I listened to the audiobook versions of these novels and they were absolutely fantastic. I can only hope that The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe adds to my list of brilliant works of fiction on the subject.

Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz? Let me know in the comments!

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Book review: The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

In today’s book review I am sharing my thoughts on The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell. The Burning Land is the fifth book in the Saxon stories series and follows one of my favourite characters to date. Having not explored much in the way of history of the period prior to picking up these books, it has been an education to say the least! Bernard Cornwell has a fantastic way of blending characters and narrative and action in a way that draws the reader in and makes his books nearly impossible to put down!

In addition to the books I’ve also been enjoying the TV series, The Last Kingdom. I’m actually a little bit further ahead with the TV series as series 3 covers both this book and the next one. However, that didn’t hamper my enjoyment in the slightest. Shall we get on with today’s review?

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

At the end of the ninth century, with King Alfred of Wessex in ill health and his heir still an untested youth, it falls to Alfred’s reluctant warlord Uhtred to outwit and outbattle the invading enemy Danes, led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair. But the sweetness of Uhtred’s victory is soured by tragedy, forcing him to break with the Saxon king. Joining the Vikings, allied with his old friend Ragnar—and his old foe Haesten—Uhtred devises a strategy to invade and conquer Wessex itself. But fate has very different plans.  

Bernard Cornwell’s The Burning Land is a new chapter in his story of the birth of England and the legendary king who made it possible.

 

My Thoughts…

All my expectations from the previous books were met in The Burning Land. What I really like about these books is that they’re very easy to pick up even if you haven’t read the previous one for a while. The narrative almost recaps itself in a way that refreshes your memory, but also doesn’t insult your intelligence by going over every single thing again. I personally find it to be really nice balance of bringing you up to speed again and then swiftly moving on to the action.

As I’ve said before in my reviews of the previous books, I really enjoy the conflict our main character trait has within himself. Born an Englishman but raised as a Dane, he is constantly warring within himself between these two sides and the loyalties each expect from him. Whilst at heart I feel Uhtred would love to retain his Danish side, apart of him always drag him back to the loyalties of the English and the King Alfred. I feel like this is a conflict we are going to see again and again throughout this series, which suits me just fine! I really enjoy now he is perfectly positioned to inform, educate and entertain us via his unique perspective in the midst of the real history of the Viking invasion of Britain.

This conflict plays an even more integral part in this narrative than the previous books. Pushed the furthest he has been yet, Uhtred defects to the Danes after killing a Christian priest. The people he had just saved turn on him within an instant and he is forced to flee. His resentment causes him to defect to the Danes and reunite himself with his childhood friend.

Bernard Cornwell is exceptionally good at creating and maintaining dynamics between characters. They are consistent between books and also reflective of the events that have happened so far. It’s very immersive to be able to read; it’s naturally free-flowing. Not only that, but the vastly different characters in the book test the ability to be able to juggle all these pieces at once, as well as incorporate new characters and conflicts alike. I have great admiration for authors who are able to do this, especially spanning distance and time – which is certainly done in this book.

As a huge fan of historical fiction I can testify that it is books like these that keep me coming back to the genre again and again. I really can’t wait to continue this series and find out where his loyalties find him next, and what turmoil results.

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Sunday Summary – 5th December 2021

Good evening and welcome to tonight’s Sunday Summary update post. As always I hope you’ve had a really good week wherever you are!

It’s been a good one here, even if it didn’t quite go to plan. Mid-week I shared my monthly wrap-up post for November 2021. In that post I talked about the books I’ve been reading and listening to over the last month, in addition to recapping the posts I shared as well. If you haven’t checked out that post already you can find a link here and find out what I’ve been up to!

I was supposed to share a Shelf Control post on Friday, but as I’m sure you guessed that didn’t quite pan out the way I intended. I was out with friends on Friday night and I ended up being out later than I expected. And we went out to pottery painting, in case you’re interested. Anyway, I didn’t get back home until well past 10 o’clock; having not started the post yet I decided that I was going to postpone it instead. I’ve spent the weekend putting up my own Christmas decorations and helping out at my parents. So it’s been a busy one without even factoring in catching up.

 

Books Read

I promised this week that I be better on the reading front and pick up more of Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. However, I have a confession to make and that is that I didn’t really. I read a few more percent of the book but that’s about all. Some reading is better than none I suppose, but it’s definitely fair to say that I’m reading a lot less than I used to. That’s okay, because I enjoy it when I do it! I will try and make more of an effort to pick this up again next week though. I keep going at this pace I’ll still be reading it next Christmas!

I’ve also been listening to more of Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to this whilst I’m doing Pilates exercises in the evening. It’s a good accompaniment to doing it because it’s a great distraction from what I’m doing and so I often find I’m doing more than necessary for each exercise. In my last Sunday summary update post I was about halfway through this audiobook; now I am approximately 2/3 of the way through. It’s something I’ve gotten into the habit of doing and so I’m sure I’ll have more progress to report on this very soon.

 

Books Discovered

Once again I’ve been good and I have no new additions to my reading list or my bookshelves this week!

 

Coming Up…

This week I plan to share a book review with you. It’s been a long time since I read this book and indeed carried on with the rest of the series by this author. However, I really enjoyed reading this one and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you. The book I’m featuring is The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell.

Later in the week I’ll be back with my postponed shelf control post on Friday, and then I’ll be rounding up the week with another Sunday summary update as usual.

Until then, I hope you have a great week and I’ll see you around.

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Monthly Wrap-Up – November 2021

Good evening and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post!

It’s official – we are in the last month of the year! How crazy is that? Much the same as last year, this one seems to have flown even quicker than normal. I don’t exactly know how that is but I won’t question it.

However, at the end of the month means it’s time to go over what I’ve been reading and sharing with you throughout November. So, let’s get into it!

 

Books Read

At the end of my previous monthly wrap-up post I was part way through reading Million Eyes II by C. R. Berry. I had signed up for a couple of log tours that both coincided in November. Million Eyes II was the first of these tours. Given that my post was due quite early in November, I started to read this in October. Needless to say, I finished this at the beginning of November in anticipation of my blog tour review.

Next I picked up and read The Warden by Jon Richter. This is the second book I had agreed to review as part of a blog tour and this post or shared roughly a week after the first. I had a reasonably quick turnaround to get this read but honestly, it was so easy! I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of these books and even taking part in the blog tours. Some people don’t like reviewing to a deadline and whilst I don’t have it all the time, it did make a change for me. There are links to both of those posts down below if you want to find out more about the books!

Finally, I returned to Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. I had started reading this prior to having to put this down in favour of my blog tour reading. But I had only just started this, mind you, so it wasn’t a hardship in the slightest. I have since gone back to this day and I have read around 20% of the book. It doesn’t seem like a lot I know… but that and equates to around 2/3 of one of the previous books again. Words of Radiance is over 1000 pages long end so you can see I have made some progress, but I also have a long way to go!

I have been far more successful in terms of listening to audiobooks this month than I am generally. As of last week’s monthly wrap-up post I only had a couple of hours worth of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch left. I really enjoyed going back to this series (as it had been awhile since I listened to the previous one); this didn’t take long to get through!

A short time later I started to listen to Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. This is the first book I’ve picked up from this author and can I say I’m glad I have! I’m really enjoying the narrative and the audiobook is a nice easy listen. Whether I’m knitting or doing some Pilates (a reasonably new venture for me to try and improve my health a bit), I can listen to this at the same time and it is a wonderful accompaniment/distraction! I have listened to a lot of this towards the end of the month and I feel sure that in next months monthly wrap-up post I’ll be telling you that this is finished.

 

Blog Posts

I like to recap the blog posts I’ve published over the course of the month in my monthly wrap up posts. That way, if you have missed any of my content and see something you like the look of, you will find a handy link here!

That’s all from me in today’s wrap-up post for November; What have you been reading, or do you have any recommendations for me? I’d love to hear from you if you do!

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