2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals

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: –

 

Goodreads Challenge

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.

 

TBR

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.

 

Review Requests

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!

 

 

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The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

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.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

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Sunday Summary – 20th December 2020

Hi guys and welcome to today’s short Sunday Summary weekly update! I won’t be keeping you too long in this one (for reasons that will become apparent), but I do hope you enjoy catching up with what’s been going on here over the last week.

I’ve shared a few blog posts this week, kicking off with my first post on Monday. In Monday’s post, I shared an extract of Chroma by Oscar Wenman Hyde as part of the blog tour organised with Rachel’s Random Resources. I really enjoyed reading the extract of the book when putting my post together and I hope you do/did too!

Next, I shared my latest audiobook review which was for Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. My review details my thoughts on the second book of the duology. If you haven’t given it a read already, please take a moment to check it out.

Lastly, I shared a Shelf Control post on Friday. This week’s featured book is a classic horror that I think a lot of you will either have read already or also have on your list like me. I’ve read a number of other books by this author and loved each one, so I have no doubt this week’s featured book will be just the same!

 

Books Read

I think it’s the first time in all my Sunday Summary updates I’ve published (ever!) that I haven’t picked up a book all week. As I am sure you can understand, Christmas is just around the corner and so I’ve been busy getting things ready. I’ve also been doing my blog posts in between, so all my evenings have been busy!

I’m taking my last week off work next week, and with most of my preparations done I expect I’ll be back to my usual reading habit next week.

 

Books Discovered

Last week’s addition of a book to my TBR has, blessedly, remained a one-off. Nothing new to see here!

 

Coming Up…

I’m planning on taking another little break from blogging between Christmas and New Year. I’ll be taking the time to reflect on everything I have done and read in 2020 ready for a wrap-up post in the New Year.

Before that though, I have time to sneak in one more post. Since it’s my last of the year, I want to make it something fun… and festive related! I’ve seen a cute post called The Joy of Christmas Book Tag that I want to do.

So, that really is all in today’s update! This is my last Sunday Summary post of the year, but I’ll be back with another update of all my reading news on the 3rd January 2021.

Until then, stay safe, stay home and I hope you have the best Christmas you can in the circumstances!

 

 

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Shelf Control #26 – 18/12/2020

It’s Friday… and welcome to another Shelf Control post. I have a great and popular book coming up in today’s post, so I hope you enjoy today’s post.

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.

Today’s featured book is a CLASSIC horror. You can probably guess the author just from that! I have a copy on my bookshelf waiting (begging) to be read. I very nearly picked it up a couple of months ago but didn’t. Soon, I think I will. Soon.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Shining – Stephen King

The Shining by Stephen King | Goodreads

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

 

My Thoughts…

I have really come to love Stephen King. Just a few short years ago, I hadn’t even picked up a single book of his. I know, hindsight is a wonderful thing and I honestly want to shake myself for that mistake!

I’ve picked up a few of his horror novels in the past and I can’t wait to give The Shining a go. It has so many good reviews from my friends on Goodreads, and knowing his writing style, I trust it’s going to be a good read. Stephen King is the kind of author you can go back to again and again with the confidence that you will like his books. At least, he is for me. A lot of them are very different in style and setting, but he has managed to pull off every single book I have read to date. I have given each book I have picked up a minimum 4-star rating.

Have you read The Shining? What did you make of it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Hi guys and welcome to today’s review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Crooked Kingdom is the second book of the Six of Crows duology. If you haven’t yet read my thoughts on the first book, Six of Crows, you can find a link to that here!

And now without further adieu, here are my thoughts on the second instalment of the series!

 

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo | Goodreads

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
 

 

My Thoughts…

Crooked Kingdom is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to, to date. A charismatic cast accentuates brilliantly-written characters, who together attempted one of the most daring and epic heists of all time in Six of Crows and won. Life should be cosy in this sequel, with all their newfound riches, and yet they find themselves back in the deep end almost immediately. The result? Another exciting, action-packed fantasy novel full of betrayal, backstabbing, and the usual shenanigans we can expect from Kaz and his crew.

I listened to Six of Crows back in 2019, finishing the audiobook in September. I then moved on to Crooked Kingdom reasonably quickly. I’m not a big listener of audiobooks, however, completing crooked kingdom within six months of listening to the first audiobook is quite speedy for me. It’s not my main way of reading! I enjoyed the first book so much that I wanted to jump into this sequel and experience the action and adventure I knew I could expect, and I wasn’t disappointed!

As in the first book, I enjoyed the narrative being broken down into chapters narrated by different characters. This gives variety to the story and provides different perspectives at different times to add depth to the narrative. Each character has their own distinctive personality, quirks and traits. Some are definitely better (as individuals) than others but this is also something else I enjoyed. More often than not, fantasy novels are littered with altruistic characters. So, to come across some more devious, nefarious or just downright out for themselves is a refreshing change. Many of the characters have developed since the first instalment of this series. Some who have grown on me most include Kaz, Mattias and Nina. Each character has their flaws, but this makes them all the more relatable to us as listeners.

The dynamic between sets of characters adds intrigue to an already tense situation. They have already pulled off the impossible and yet further trouble looms; rising tensions and conflict between them threaten to jeopardise their lives.

You know me, I am a huge fan of magic systems within fantasy novels, and Crooked Kingdom did not disappoint in this respect either. Crooked Kingdom is my second read by Leigh Bardugo, and I sense that there is a whole range of novels also set in the same universe as this book. Despite not having read these, I didn’t find it made any difference to my understanding of the universe and the magic systems involved in this series. If anything, it has made me want to pick these up all the more!

I really enjoyed listening to this duology, and I have high expectations about reading other books by Leigh Bardugo. Sometimes that can be a risk if the books don’t live up to expectation, however, from my experience of the six of crows trilogy I don’t think I have any reason to doubt her writing style and the stories not working for me. This is why it is good to listen to recommendations and try new authors. These are the first two books I have read/listened to by this author and I am very grateful to have had the chance to read other reviews before taking the plunge. I hope others can find my review useful and please, if you have not read these books already, you won’t regret it!

 

 

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Blog Tour: Extract of Chroma – Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post! Today I have the privilege of sharing an exclusive extract of Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde with you. I really liked the sound of the book but unfortunately didn’t have the time to read and review the book myself. Instead, I am sharing a small snippet of the book with you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

If you want to read more after the extract, I’ll provide the details of the book for you.

Happy reading!

 

Extract

The following extract is from Chapter One of Chroma. Before the chapter, the book starts with three opening monologues on the Roberts family, Jean, Paul and Riley. Chapter One is the first time you get to meet Riley’s best friend Eli, and he tells you just as much about Riley as he does himself. These moments were heavily influenced by my childhood shenanigans, especially the description of the school and the low hung back packs!

Riley stands in the entrance of Lydean Junior School with his best friend Eli. They are both wearing the cutest rocket designed backpacks, with the shoulder straps lowered all the way down so that the bag hangs at the back of their knees. They still think this is how the cool kids do it, but if you take a good look around the playground, this phase seems to have worn off. Maybe their parents finally told them off for bad posture. Sadly, Riley and Eli didn’t get the memo and continue to rock the look like it’s two thousand and fifteen.

Riley’s mother Jean has just dropped him off and due to the rural nature of Lydean, it is not unusual to drop off an eight-year-old before the bell rings. In this town, everyone knows each other and looks out for one another.

The school itself has been built inside an old chapel, originally by the name of Christ Church in the eighteen hundreds. It has brick walls, moss growing around the edges, and a large dungeon looking wooden door which the children enter through. There are several teachers and playground assistants patrolling the playground, as dozens of kids already start to use their energy on football, tag, and for the girls, a gossip, they’re never too young! But Riley and Eli are different from the other children, they stand alone, just the two of them, whilst the other children all mingle with much larger friendship groups.

These two are clearly the outcasts and prefer to stand by the entrance of the school. They aren’t eager to go in, but they know that if anyone tries to pick on them or make fun of Eli’s weight, like they so often do, then most likely, a teacher will see it and give that so-called child a detention.

A detention in junior school doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because all they miss is five minutes of lunch time, but for a child that’s an eternity, because the other children have already adapted the hierarchy and decided who will be tag first. If a child misses even five minutes, then how do they know who to run from? They don’t. They’d be walking onto the playground, tiptoeing out onto the gravel as if they were coming out onto the German frontline, which is an even scarier thought for year fours who have just started learning about world war two.

For some children, this instils a sense of bravery, the ones that thrive in this situation are the ones most likely to go into a life of fighting, whether that be the military, pro-wrestling or just a back-alley brawl, after they’ve got hammered down the pub.

Eli and Riley want none of it, they just want to be left alone and live freely without the aspect of war and junior school politics, they don’t even want girlfriends, girls are gross! The two of them just want to nerd out on movies, tell each other stories, and eventually, without even meaning to, grow up without any damage. A difficult path to go down with the brutality of school.

Eli is a very unique person, and even though he acts like a movie buff try hard in front of Riley, he hasn’t seen half the movies Riley has because his mother isn’t as willing to bend the rules of cinema certificates, and we can’t blame her, a movie is an eighteen for a reason and Eli is only seven. However, that doesn’t stop him from further fuelling Riley. The thought of someone that knows much more than him is exhilarating, because every day is a surprise, and without even watching a zombie film, he already knows all the ways to kill one. The easy option is to stab it straight in the head, or if you want a bit of fun, you chop off all its limbs and then do it, but that would take skill and bravery, a job more suited to Riley.

However, much like Riley, none of these images or thoughts change Eli, he knows it’s all just part of his best friends’ imagination. Plus, if the apocalypse that Riley always goes on about does happen, Eli is sure he’ll be safe because he’ll have the most experienced and knowledgeable best friend in Lydean to look after him.

Eli’s mother Cecilia isn’t as keen on the Roberts family, but there’s not much she can do about it. Similar to Riley, Eli has no other friends. He is constantly being bullied for his weight, that his mother seemingly keeps encouraging with fish finger or turkey dinosaur dinners, with cheesy chips and beans. In her eyes, that is the perfect meal for a child, and Eli agrees, you can’t get much better than turkey dinosaurs!

But the real reason is that she just can’t cook, she’s tried again and again but always ends up coming back to the effort lacking, frozen food option, and anyway, if it makes Eli happy and fuels his appetite then it can’t be that bad.

One of the reasons why his mother Cecilia lets him continue to hang out with Riley, and let him be influenced by his madness, is because she knows how alone Eli has been since his father left their house a couple of years ago. She knows she can’t get him through it alone, and she believes that it is important for Eli to have a strong male figure in his life, even if that is an eight-year-old boy. Also, with the current circumstances of Riley’s family, she knows that Riley needs Eli just as much. Two boys with big imaginations need a big level of distraction from all the sadness they feel inside, and luckily for them, two brains are better than one.

 

 

Chroma – Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde | Goodreads

When Riley watched Chroma, the latest movie by Armani Manora, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Riley’s parents, Jean and Paul, are currently getting divorced, and they have managed to keep the situation hidden from Riley, until now.

They were unaware of the effects this was having on Riley’s emotional and mental well-being, and as tensions rose at school and at home, he was visited by a voice in his bedroom. Before too long, he began a journey that was not only dangerous, but eye opening.

Chroma explores the rapidly changing family dynamic throughout divorce, and how a child’s imagination can take them to unknown places. It is emotional, insightful and a moving story which not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chroma-Oscar-Wenman-Hyde-ebook/dp/B08H5S1JTZ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Chroma-Oscar-Wenman-Hyde-ebook/dp/B08H5S1JTZ

 

Author Bio

Oscar Wenman-Hyde is a writer living in Gloucester, UK. Born and raised in the quiet towns of North Devon, Oscar would spend the majority of his time as a child writing and directing short films with his brother and neighbours. From here, Oscar’s passion led him to explore all aspects of his creativity, by graduating with a BA Hons in Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. He now finds joy in all mediums of writing and although he has worked and trained in many areas, he is always inspired by film and remains grounded in storytelling.

Social Media Links –

 

 

Sunday Summary – 13th December 2020

Hi guys and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary (aka weekly update) post! How are you all keeping? Well, I hope?

I have shared a couple of posts with you this week, which I hope you have enjoyed reading. On Wednesday I shared a tag post, called Are You a Book Snob. All in all, I don’t think I come out to be a snob… but I think it’s interesting to see how other people’s answers compare!

Then, on Friday, I shared a First Lines Friday post. For a good while, these posts were a regular feature, but in the latter half of this year they dropped off a little due to other blogging commitments, such as tours. This week’s First Lines Friday post was the first in a couple of months, put it that way!

 

Books Read

When I was thinking about what to write in this section earlier on today I was a little concerned I’d be lacking for content. I don’t want to say too much and come across as rubbing it in, but as things are pretty much normal here at the moment I’ve started with the usual plans and stuff coming up to Christmas. I don’t recall getting much reading done, but clearly, I’ve made the most of the time I did!

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was 38% through Auxiliary by John Richter. This week I managed to finish the book in its entirety. I really enjoyed the narrative and the science-fiction element of the storyline. It was intriguing and a little bit unnerving at the same time!

I’ve also managed to start and read around a third of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley this week. So far it is every bit the dystopian novel I expected and I can see just how much the TV series has drawn from the book. I’m looking forward to reading more of this over next week.

 

Books Discovered

For the first time in weeks, I have an addition to my TBR! It feels like ages since I have written anything of note in this section of my weekly update post.

I was browsing Goodreads the other day and I happened to see a post or a recommendation about The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I’ve seen the film… but I literally had no idea that it was based on a book series! So, I’ve added the first book of the Hannibal Lecter series to my TBR to read!

 

Coming Up…

Next week I am going to share another book review with you all. I have a bit of a backlog of books to review and I want to make sure I continue to chip away at them and keep giving you the content I hope you are here for most – reviews! This week I will be sharing a review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

Later in the week, I will be sharing another Friday feature post. This time, I’ll be taking another look at the TBR and sharing a book on my list and all the reasons I can’t wait to read it!

 

I hope you can join me for those posts, but for now, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post and I look forward to seeing you around!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 11/12/2020

Happy Friday everyone and thank you for joining me in today’s First Lines Friday post! This is supposed to be a regular feature, but since my last First Lines Friday post was published two months ago now, it’s fair to say I’m not doing so well on keeping it regular!

When I shared that I was doing another of these posts last Sunday, I had no idea which book I was going to feature this week. I have combed through the books on my shelf and I think I have found a good one for you.

Can you guess what it is?

 

Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, God-like Achilles… How the epithets pile up. We never called him any of those things; we called him ‘the butcher’.

Swift-footed Achilles. Now there’s an interesting one. More than anything else, more than brilliance, more than greatness, his speed defined him. There’s a story that he once chased the God Apollo all over the plains of Troy. Cornered at last, Apollo is supposed to have said: ‘you can’t kill me, I’m immortal’. Ah, yes,’ Achilles replied. ‘But we both know if you weren’t immortal, you’d be dead.’ Nobody was ever allowed the last word; not even a God.

 

The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker | Goodreads

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman—Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman—Briseis—watches and waits for the war’s outcome. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.

When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and coolly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position, able to observe the two men driving the Greek army in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate not only of Briseis’s people but also of the ancient world at large.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war—the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead—all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis’s perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker’s latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives—and it is nothing short of magnificent.

 

Historical fiction is one of the genres I read most of, and the sound of the book excites me. So much so, I actually bought a physical copy of the book with a voucher I had this year. I tend to reserve buying physical copies of books so that I’m only buying books I am confident I will love. I do spend vouchers on some new reads now and then, with anything I decide to sort and get rid of myself later going to a charity.

The book includes Greek Mythology, which intrigues me. So far I’ve had a bit of a mixed experience with mythology books, so I can’t wait to see what I make of this one!

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? Do you like the sound of The Silence of the Girls based on the first paragraph? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Are You a Book Snob Tag

I’ve decided to share a bit of a fun post today. I saw the Are You a Snob tag over on Drew’s blog (The Tattooed Book Geek) a couple of weeks ago and I knew I wanted to share my own answers to the questions. It has been a little while since I’ve shared a post of this type, so I hope you have fun reading it. Most importantly though… I want to know what your answers are!

If you want to take part in the tag, please share your post with me so I can see your answers, or drop a comment below with your thoughts!

 

FORMAT SNOB: You can only choose one format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose: physical books, eBooks, or audiobooks?

This is a bit of a toss-up between two formats. Whilst I listen to audiobooks, and they have their conveniences, they aren’t the main way I consume books.

The thing I love the most about books (new ones) is the smell. E-Readers can never replace that. My fellow book lovers will understand that one, but I remember some of my work colleagues having a bit of a giggle at the idea of smelling books. I also love physical books because that was how I learned to read. I didn’t get a Kindle (other e-readers are available) until I was a teenager and so up until that point, I had been a physical book reader.

But I love my Kindle. I love the convenience of having a library at your fingertips. Almost weightless. No taking up half the weight in your suitcase with books (although admittedly, last time I went on holiday I did take two physical books with me as well…). I probably read the most on Kindle overall.

That said, I think if I had to restrict myself to one for the rest of my life it would be physical books. Tapping a screen to turn a page isn’t much of an experience, and I think I would miss the feel/smell of actual books more.

 

ADAPTATION SNOB: Do you always read the book before watching the film/TV show?

No, I don’t. I am currently reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which has been on my TBR for a few years. What’s prompted me to take it off the pile now? Watching the TV show a month or so ago.

I think I did the same with A Handmaid’s Tale (ignoring my first attempt and DNF at the book as a late teen) and A Game of Thrones after the shows caught up and surpassed the books.

I feel like reading is the better experience of the two. Is it better to watch the show first and then read the book after, therefore letting the book ‘enhance’ the overall experience of the story? Perhaps yes. It seems to be a subconscious decision I’ve made. After all, who wants to have a sub-par TV show spoil the image and experience of the book you already have? No one.

 

SHIP SNOB: Would you date or marry a non-reader?

Absolutely. I’d like to think they would have hobbies of their own and I wouldn’t judge them for theirs.

If they did judge me negatively though or didn’t like it to the point where they tried to make me stop completely, I wouldn’t stand for it. I understand that relationships involve compromises and spending time with each other too, but I do need a bit of ‘me’ time to recharge my batteries. Me time is reading time. Even just 20 minutes here and there would be all I needed. Like it or leave.

 

GENRE SNOB: You have to ditch one genre – never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

I’m with Drew on this one – if I never read anything Romance-y for the rest of my life, I’d be happy. I don’t really read the genre, although it overlaps in some other genres I do. If I’m honest, I try to avoid anything too sappy as much as I can. I don’t enjoy it, I find it cringy, and I’m about as romantic as a pet rock. Do I want to read mushy narratives with typically indecisive female protagonists? Nope!

 

UBER GENRE SNOB: You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

This is a difficult one. I read a lot of different genres, mainly because reading too much of the same thing gets boring after a time. I used to read a lot of fantasy (and stopped when I got bored of reading the same things over and over (and over) again. But still, it’s a go-to genre for me and probably the one I read the most… so that would be my choice.

I just wouldn’t read as much as I do now as I’d take more breaks.

 

COMMUNITY SNOB: Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

Again, I’m with Drew on this and agree that it’s the young adult (YA) genre.

I have read a few titles published in recent years, but it’s not a circle I’m in. I definitely get that impression though… that YA readers deem themselves a bit of an exclusive community within the wider reader group. You’re in or you’re not. I’m not, and that suits me just fine. I’ll read the odd book, but as a whole YA isn’t something I read a lot of.

 

SNOBBERY RECIPIENT: Have you ever been snubbed for something that you have been reading or for reading in general?

Not to my face, but that doesn’t mean anything really. On the whole, the feedback I’ve received has ranged from indifferent to interested. I can imagine a few people I know that probably judge me for spending my time with my head buried in a book. I don’t particularly care though. It’s my time and effort that goes into it, so it’s my opinion that matters and not theirs.

On the other hand, I do appreciate the support I get from my friends and family. I enjoy being able to talk to them about it (even if it’s just a bit)… and I also have a very good boss. He is a bit of a reader himself and regularly chats to me in the kitchen about a book either of us is reading at the time… and he even lends me books which is lovely!

 

Am I a book snob? I’m not sure. What do you think?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 6th December 2020

Hey guys! It’s Sunday, so you know I’m back with another Sunday Summary update post. I hope everyone is keeping safe and well?

This week has been a lot busier than last… that’s for sure! I’ve already shared three posts with you this week, making this Sunday Summary my fourth! My first post of the week was a blog tour post for Glimmer of Hope by J A Andrews. If you haven’t read that post yet, please do, as I have taken the time to share my thoughts on the book. Fans of thrillers, this one is for you.

My second post of the week was published the following day and was yet another blog tour post. That review was for The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt and this one is a big recommendation for fans of psychological thrillers to read. I honestly loved this one, so make sure you take a look!

Yesterday I ‘penned’ my Reading List for December… the last one of the year. I can hardly believe it, but it’s true! I only have a small handful of books on this month’s list because December is a bit of a busy month anyway, but also because I’m not reading as much as I used to at the moment.

 

Books Read

I’ve been taking some more time off work this week in an effort to use up my allowance. In previous absences, I’ve been undertaking larger home improvement projects, like painting and decorating. This week, however, I haven’t done any of those things. I’m nearly done with the larger jobs and it was time to take the time for myself. And so I did. I dealt with a few little jobs on a couple of days, but I also took the time to do some fun things, like meet with friends, put up my Christmas decorations etc.

My reading progress was a little light considering I had a lot more time on my hands than usual. That said, I did have a few plans and appointments too, plus all the blog posts to draft… so I don’t mind. I quickly finished off Rags of Time by Michael Ward at the beginning of the week, but then didn’t move onto my next read for a good few days.

I started reading Auxiliary: London 2039 last night and read up to 38% in one sitting – I can’t grumble at that. I’m also going to pick it up again tonight and have a read in bed, so by the end of the night I should have a good deal more progress to that.

 

Books Discovered

 

Once again I’ve been good and not found any books to add to the TBR! I’m sure it’ll thank me later!

 

Coming Up…

I saw a funny tag post over on The Tattooed Book Geek’s blog a couple of weeks ago and I knew then I wanted to do my own take of the post. So, at the beginning of next week I’ll be sharing my own Are You a Book Snob post!

Later in the week, I’ll be bringing back my regular Friday posts. This week, it’s the turn of a First Lines Friday post. I haven’t decided which book to feature yet, but I’ll have something picked by the end of the week and ready to share with you on Friday.

That’s all in today’s Sunday Summary post. Have a good week and I hope to see you around on the blog!

 

 

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