Tag: 2021

Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s monthly wrap up post for April! I can hardly believe it is May already – where is this year going?

This month’s post is only a short one by comparison as I’ve been focusing on some different things this month. Still, I really enjoyed the books I have been picking up – and more of those below: –

 

Books Read

 

This month has been a bit of a reading and listening fest for A Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin. I’ve been reading Fire and Blood which is the prequel to the A Game of Thrones series and I’ve also been listening to A Clash of Kings, which is the second book of the main series.

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I’ve not read as much as I would’ve liked to this month. Instead, I’ve ended up working on a lot more knitting. I had been making a birthday present for my dad at the beginning of the month and I finish this a few days ahead of time. After that I moved on to a project that I started in November last year and put on hold. I ended up getting a lot more done of this than I expected initially and in the last few days of April I was so close to finishing it that I just couldn’t leave it.

Still, Fire and Blood is a long book. I think when I picked it up this month I was about 250 odd pages in and as of the end of the month I had around 150 left (out of 700). If I’ve been reading shorter books and maybe I could be saying that I’d read a couple this month, but it is what it is and this is the only book I’ve been making progress on. Once I get this finished I’m going to try a lot harder to get more read.

In terms of progress with A Clash of Kings, I was around 20% through the audiobook in March is monthly wrap-up post. I’m now about 55% through and making good progress with this one. I definitely listen to audiobooks a lot less than I physically read and these are long ones as well. I’m actually really pleased with this progress and I look forward to carrying on with the book in the next month.

 

Blog Posts

Blogging has definitely been a lot more fun and enjoyable since I switched up my way of working last month. Posting is a lot easier as I’m not struggling with an ageing laptop and all in all, I’m just enjoying the process of it a bit more.

In case you missed any of my posts over the course of the month, you can find a list of what I’ve shared below: –

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s wrap-up post! Apologies it is only a short one, however, I feel like I’ve had a good break and the opportunity to enjoy some different things. I’m definitely looking to start picking up more books and get back on the reading bandwagon more next month. However, until then, I hope to see you around on the blog.

What books did you read in April?

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Monthly Wrap-up – March 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to my March wrap-up post. When drafting my Sunday Summary post yesterday I completely forgot to mention this post coming up this week!

I’m enjoying writing these retrospective posts rather than a TBR post upfront. It means I can work at a more relaxed pace without the pressure of a list. So, without further pre-amble, here are the books I’ve been reading this month! 

 

Books Read

Most of this month has been spent reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on and off. It’s a long book at around 550 pages and I will admit that my reading did taper off in the early stages of this month. I think in part that has to do with some other hobbies, as well as the new lockdown. However, I did pick up more later on and I went on to finish this near the end of the month.

I picked up Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin again in the very last few days of the month. Having finished The Book Thief and in general just getting back into reading a bit more habitually, I have taken this to bed and have also gotten out into the garden to enjoy a bit of a read. This is also a large book and taking on such a big read when you’re struggling with being in the mood for it is a challenge. That said, I’ve thrown myself back into it and I’m really looking forward to reading more of this in April!

I have been a bit better than usual on the audiobook front, as I have listened to The Toll by Neal Shusterman this month. Normally my audiobook progress is a lot slower than reading, however spending increased periods of time at home, I am able to play audiobooks on various devices I have around the house. Listening to them whilst I’m doing other jobs is very accessible. It’s also a good alternative I find to watching television if I am working on some craft – it means I can focus on my project and not the TV.

Once I finished listening to The Toll I must admit I felt a bit bereft that night. It was such a good audiobook and series and I had no idea what I could follow up with that would be just as good. I ultimately decided to listen to A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. Not only are these books firm favourites, I also haven’t actually listened to them yet. I read them in every other format so far so why not complete the set? I listened to about 20% of the audiobook throughout the course of March and I will definitely be continuing this through into the next month.

 

Blog Posts

In the second half of March I feel like I have done better and certainly enjoyed blogging more. Without going into specifics I was having some technical issues with the laptop I’ve logged on and I’ve ultimately decided to change the way I block. That has been working out for me very well and I say they’re probably has been a slight increase in the number of posts I’ve been sharing. I’ve certainly been enjoying doing it more, if nothing else. In case you missed any of my posts over the course of the month, you can find a list of what I’ve shared below: –

 

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s wrap-up post! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will have plenty of news to share with you in next month’s wrap up post. However, until then, I hope to see you around on the blog.

What books did you read in March?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – February 2021

Welcome to today’s second monthly wrap up post for February 2021! It’s a bit later than I anticipated originally. You may have heard that the Island is now back in lockdown again, just a month after the last one. As a result, I have been working from home. I must confess the last thing I feel inclined to do is spend my time sitting at a laptop in the evening to blog when I am spending my days staring at a laptop for work! Never mind, it is what it is. 

If you read last months wrap up post, you will know that I’ve recently changed the way in which I’m writing my blog for this year. Instead of setting a monthly TBR at the beginning of a month, I am instead writing a retrospective review of what I’ve done at the end of the month. That way it takes the pressure off and I can really get back to my roots of enjoying the books I pick up, rather than feeling obliged to complete a certain number of books which at times takes the enjoyment out of it!

The decision to do this was twofold; on the one hand, I wanted to take a bit more relaxed approach to blogging given that I had such a busy year personally last year. On the other, it gives me the freedom to pick up books as and when I want to, so I have more flexibility in my choice of reading at any given time. This way I am more likely to pick up books of different genres on my TBR and so make more progress with clearing the backlog! And boy is there a backlog…

 

Books Read

This month has been a bit of a strange one. I started it by actually taking a very short break from reading whilst I did some last-minute revision for an exam I sat. It’s weird to think about that actually; I sat the exam on the 3rd of February but it doesn’t feel like it was a month ago… I would actually say it feels like a lot longer!

After that short break, I picked up Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin for a few nights before bed. Still, I haven’t made much progress on this book this month. Why? Well, because I started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling on impulse. Yes, it is part of my re-read, but I picked it up because I really felt like I wanted to. I really enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone last month and I was eager to continue with the story. Since picking this up I have taken a break from Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin. Rest assured, it’s still sitting on my bedside table and I plan on picking this up again soon!

I then moved onto my current read, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s a funny coincidence that I picked this up when I did; about a day after I started reading it I was channel hopping for a film to watch (it was a Friday night and I wanted something substantial to watch). Lo and behold, what film did I find on Film4? You guessed it – The Book Thief!

I’m still chipping away at this, I towards the end of the month I actually deviated towards listening to my audiobooks than actual reading. As of last month’s wrap-up update, I was listening to A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I don’t know why particularly but I caught the bug for this and I managed to finish the audiobook this month! I will definitely be continuing with listening to series over the course of the year. It’s going to be a long one as I can testify by how long it took me to do a physical re-read, but what can I say… I just can’t stay away!

Last but not least I moved onto one final audiobook before month-end. I have started listening to The Toll by Neal Shusterman; I can’t wait to see how this final book in the trilogy ends. Of course, I have gone on to listen to this more over the past few days, but more on that in next month’s wrap-up. As of month-end I had only really just started this.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the amount of reading I have done this month. I’m also making more of an effort to enjoy other hobbies, as well as reading and blogging. I have made a good deal of progress but equally, I haven’t forced myself into doing it when I really fancy doing something else. It’s a lot healthier balance that I was achieving last year and I feel a lot better in myself for it.

 

Blog Posts

As I did last month, I’ll be sharing the posts I published last month in case you missed any! Here are the posts: –

 

That’s all my updates for February! I hope you have enjoyed today’s post! If there is anything else you would like to see in my monthly wrap-ups, please let me know!

What books have you read recently?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – January 2021

Hello readers and welcome to today’s first monthly wrap up post… well, ever! At the beginning of this year, I decided to change up the way I was running my blog and my reading. Previously, I was setting myself monthly reading goals at the beginning of the month with the aim of completing it by the end. That works reasonably well if you like the structure, which I did for a very long time. I like knowing what I had to read, but I had left in the month and it helped me organise my time accordingly.

However, within the last six months, I found that format not really working for me anymore. I’ve had a lot of other things on, and all in all my reading pattern and time spent on reading and blogging, in general, has declined slightly. That said, my ambitions hadn’t really changed and as a result, I was setting myself unrealistic targets when setting myself a new TBR every month. It’s a shame, but ultimately I decided I needed to change what I was doing in order to not feel bad about what I was not doing instead of celebrating what I was.

I have enjoyed the more relaxed pace this month even more than I expected. It gives me the freedom to read what I want when I want. When I read now, it’s because I want to and not because I feel I have to in order to get to the end of my list for the month. It’s definitely something I’m going to be continuing for the rest of the year.

And so onto today’s wrap-up post for January!

 

Books Read

I read a total of three books this month; these books being midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham, Harry Potter and the philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling and a remedy in time by Jennifer Macaire. In addition, I have also read just over 100 pages of fire and blood by George R.R. Martin and I have listened to around half of the audiobook for a Game of Thrones, also by George R.R. Martin.

From non-fiction to historical fiction and epic fantasy, I have enjoyed a broad range of genres in this month‘s book selection. I’m finding myself enjoying a range of genres far more so than in my younger years. Really it’s something that has come to pass within the last couple of years more than anything. Are used pretty exclusively read fantasy only, and that did come with the drawback of eventually burning out and growing bored of reading the same tropes all the time.

I’m pleased with this months progress. Whilst it isn’t anything like the amount of reading I was doing this time last year, it should be noted that I have been studying for an exam this month as well. I haven’t neglected other hobbies either; the point of taking the more relaxed stance to reading and blogging was that I could enjoy all my hobbies without feeling like I had to sacrifice one for another. I think it’s done me good!

 

Blog Posts

Since I’m going to the effort of writing a monthly wrapup post, it makes sense to take the time to summarise the posts I’ve shared within the month as well! That way, if you’ve missed anything, I can give you links to anything you might be interested in so you can go back and take a look.

Of course, my blogging year began with my goals for 2021, or the lack of as is the case this year! I published … reviews in the month, some of which have been on my list to do for some time. In addition, I also took the liberty of having some fun and sharing some more lighthearted books content, such as my Top Ten Tuesday posts.

Here are the posts I shared last month: –

 

That’s my January summed up for you! I hope you have enjoyed today’s post! If there is anything else you would like to see in my monthly wrap-ups, please let me know!

What books did you read in January?

 

 

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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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