Tag: book of books

Monthly TBR – February 2023

We’ve made it through the first month of 2023, and I’m back today to share my monthly TBR for February! Even though it is a short month, I am setting myself an ambitious list. If I want to make it through this TBR by the end of the month, I have to read the equivalent of just over 100 pages a day!

I’m not going to be mad if I don’t get through this list in its entirety. I know I am pushing myself in this monthly TBR. Being honest, if I am reading the last book at the end of the month, I will take that as an achievement.

I have quite the list of exciting books to read in February’s monthly TBR. Whilst I’m not normally one for themed reading, I have decided to pick up certain books on the basis that it is Black History Month. One of my book club reads was chosen around this theme, and it gave me the idea to choose some other books on my bookshelves as they also fit the bill.

Let’s dive into the books on today’s monthly TBR I plan to read in February!

 

Fixed Reads

 

The House of Fortune

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton was an intended read in the month of January. However, it escaped mention in my January wrap-up as I didn’t quite get around to this one before the end of the month. When out in town last week, I decided to try and loan this book from my local library – fortunately, they had a copy!

So, I have moved it to my February TBR, and as I’m writing this post, it is my current read. I am already a third of the way through this book. If I am to be on track, I need to make some significant progress tonight – and that is the plan!

I have read mixed reviews about this book. That’s why I wanted to try and borrow a copy of this book rather than get my own. Especially as the book is only out in hardback at the moment, and the e-book is still quite high in price, I didn’t want to take the risk of not enjoying it. So far, that is not the case. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of the main character, I am enjoying the overall narrative. It is definitely reminiscent of its predecessor, The Miniaturist. It also fits nicely into this month’s theme, although I didn’t know that at the time of adding this to my February TBR.

 

Africa Risen

 

Africa Risen is Ezeekat’s book club pick on Fable for February. It is a little different from my usual reading in that it is an anthology. The stories within are from the science-fiction and fantasy genres – ones I read a lot of and love already. It emphasises minority voices and perspectives, which is why it makes for perfect reading during Black History Month.

I feel like the book being made up of short stories will make this easy to read. Although the book in its entirety is over 500 pages, the fact that it is broken up into 32 distinct stories should make this one fly by – it averages out at just 16 pages per story!

 

Becoming

I have had a copy of Becoming by Michelle Obama sat on my bookshelf for several months. Considering I am trying to read more non-fiction, and based on the author’s heritage, I felt this would be a great read for February.

I am not into politics, however, I still feel like I will enjoy this book. I’m looking forward to seeing what both Michelle and Barack are like behind the curtain, so to speak. We have seen so much of their public life since Barack became the first African-American president. Becoming could offer a completely different insight into who they are. I certainly hope so!

 

Illuminae

The last fixed read on my February TBR is Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Last year, I set up a TBR jar and popped in a piece of paper for each of the books that were on my reading list. The idea behind having this jar is that by selecting a book at random from it, I get little bit of randomness to my reading. It’s also to help me get through some of the books that I might not necessarily pick for myself in a given moment. However, I’m really excited that Illuminae came out for this month!

Last year, I read The Appeal by Janice Hallett, and my understanding is that the book is written in multimedia in the same way that book is. It is not a small book at just over 600 pages. However, with the way in which the story is told, the book is clearly not 600 pages of solid prose. This is what I’m used to reading; the format difference should make Illuminae a much quicker read.

 

Mood Reads

 

The Book Eaters

This next book on my reading list is one and I’ve been hoping to pick up for a couple of months. I recently received a copy of this as part of the Illumicrate subscription. I really like the sound of this book, but I just haven’t squeezed it in yet.

At just under 300 pages, this is the shortest book in my February reading list. It is also quite different in tone and genre. If nothing else, I’m hoping I can read this as a good palate cleanser.

 

The Rise of the Dragon

I was very lucky to receive a copy of The Rise of the Dragon as an early birthday present from mum and dad last month. You know me – I am huge Game of Thrones fan! It is only fitting that this is on my February reading list, as I want to read it in my birthday month!

I have read a significantly more detailed Targaryen history from Fire and Blood previously. I’m excited to see how the illustrated version compares to that book. I’m imagining that it is going to be much more digestible! As much as I enjoyed fire and blood, it is dense!

 

In Every Mirror She’s Black

I’m hoping to squeeze one more minority voice book into my February reading list. I purchased a copy of In Every Mirror She’s Black, having seen a copy on sale in Waterstones after Christmas. It was completely on a whim, but I like the sound of the story and the message I believe it intends to put across.

In Every Mirror She’s Black is more of a contemporary fiction than I would typically pick up. However, I am intrigued by the lives of the three women portrayed, and I’m always trying to read new things!

 

So, those are the books on my monthly TBR that I’m hoping to pick up throughout the month of February. Wish me luck!

What are you going to be reading?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – January 2023

Hello everybody and welcome to a very hastily finished off monthly wrap-up post for January 2023! If you want to refresh yourself on the books I intended to read throughout the month, here is a link to my TBR post. 

I would normally shared my monthly wrap-up post tomorrow. However, as this month it falls on a Wednesday, the day in which I publish a regular series, I’ve decided to fast track my monthly wrap-up and publish it tonight. To accommodate the change, I prepared most of my monthly wrap-up post ahead of time, and added the last updates on my current read late this evening.

So, buckle up and let’s dive into my January reads!

 

Books Read

 

The Secret Library

The first book I picked up in 2023 was a carryover from last year. As of the end of the year, I had only made a very brief start on The Secret Library (10% ish). I took the decision not to include that book in my 2022 stats, as I felt more appropriate that it be reflected in 2023.

The Secret Library is a nice short read that covers books shared throughout history – those well known, but more importantly, those lesser known. If you like your facts and tidbits of information, then this is the kind of book that will appeal to you. It was really easy to read, well organised with concise chapters, and the pace was just right for the type of book it is.

The Secret Library was a solid start to 2023!

 

The Secret History

The Secret History

Next, I picked up The Secret History – not to be confused with the previous book I just read!

Unlike The Secret Library, The Secret History is a fictional novel with a dark academia theme. In this book, we follow a group of talented language students and the trouble they manage to embroil themselves in. I had really high hopes for this book based on recommendations from other readers (bloggers and in person), but also, because I really enjoyed my introduction to the genre last year.

I really enjoyed this book overall, although I did find a section in the middle to be a little slow-paced… and I’m not sure about the ending. It wasn’t really how I expected it to end. That said, the narrative is compelling and easy to read, if a little graphic in places. That sort of thing doesn’t bother me, but just a disclaimer that if you prefer your fiction to be less… bloody, maybe pick up a different book.

 

After You

I wanted to pick up After You having read and enjoyed its predecessor, Me Before You some time ago. This isn’t the type of genre I usually reach for, so this made a significant change from my typical TBR.

Again, After You was a hit. If I’m honest, I don’t think it was quite as good as Me Before You. However, as I’m sure you will agree, those are very big boots to fill. I enjoyed that book for the difficult topics it handled. That’s specifically why I wanted to pick it up back then! After You isn’t just an airy fairy love story – this one also deals with topics that may be difficult to address. Grief, loss and moving on are the main themes of the book. I enjoyed how well-rounded it was. Despite the themes of the book, there is plenty of humour to lift the mood throughout!

 

The Chimp Paradox

I am ending the month with my current read, The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. As of publishing this post, I am 72% through this one, although I will be taking this book to bed with me and trying to finish it by the end of the night. 

I have already learned some useful information from this book. If you are interested in a basic overview of psychology and how the mind works, this will probably interest you. If I’m honest, I am personally not a fan of the narrative style. That’s not to say it is difficult to read or anything – I would suggest the opposite! Perhaps it is because I’m a former psychology student with some knowledge in the subject, but I find this narrative really oversimplified. That said, the target audience for this book is probably somebody who has very little knowledge at all. I’m not that person.

To me, it reads like the author is talking to a four-year-old. The narrative is repetitive, as well as oversimplified, and it grates on me a little bit. That’s not to say I haven’t been able to take anything away from this book, because that would be a lie. However, I will admit that I am reading this book to get what I can from it and move on.

 

DNF’s

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Another less successful book on my January TBR was Ezeekat’s book club pick, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Thankfully I had grabbed a digital copy of this book from my library!

Having read the small amount that I did before I put this back down, I’m glad I didn’t get my own copy! I didn’t enjoy the narrative style at all. That can be a big make or break for me. Additionally, I didn’t have any great love or interest in the characters, and I thought the opening events of the opening chapter to be bland. All-in-all, disappointing. 

Needless to say, the copy was returned to the library rather quickly!

 

So, those were the books I picked up throughout the month of January. I hope you have enjoyed today’s monthly wrap-up!

What have you been reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 29th January 2023

Good evening all and welcome to today’s catch up post – my Sunday Summary update! As always, I hope you’ve had a brilliant week.

I have been keeping myself busy as usual. I started off the week with a Top Ten Tuesday post, in which featured my top ten new-to-me authors discovered in 2022. It turns out I read quite a few books by authors I haven’t tried before last year. If you want to find out who my favourites were, you can take a look at that post by following the link above.

On Wednesday, it was the turn of my new regular feature, Well, I Didn’t Know That! In this week’s post, I took a look at an article recently featured in New Scientist magazine. The feature of teh article is an experiment in using AI in a courtroom to defend against a speeding ticket.

On Friday, I shared a Shelf Control post. If you are unfamiliar with this series, it allows me to review the books on my to-be-read list and share why I’m excited to read them. This week’s feature is a short sci-fi crime thriller novel that I can’t wait to try.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was coming up to 25% of the way through After You by JoJo Moyes.

Contemporary romance isn’t my typical read. However, after reading Me Before You and discovering it was a series, I knew I wanted to continue. After You is a funny read, even though it deals with grief and loss. I thought the book balanced this out really well to tackle the subject. At the same time, it doesn’t drag the book down. In this particular book, Louisa is struggling to cope. Throughout the narrative, we see her attending group therapy in attempt to move on. But of course, this isn’t the only drama going on. Life doesn’t stop after all.

Personally, After You wasn’t quite as good as Me Before You. However, those were very big shoes to fill. After You was still a solid four star read. For the type of book I don’t pick up very often, it left me a satisfied reader.

I then went on to pick up my current read as of this Sunday Summary post – The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is a non-fiction about mind management that deals with some of the psychology behind how and why we do things (or not), experience inner conflict, and how this can be managed effectively.

As of this update, I am 27% of the way through this book. It is proving an interesting read so far. I think there are elements I can take away from it. If I have one small gripe, it is that a lot of the psychology is oversimplified. For the average reader, I would say this is fine. As a former psychology student, I would personally prefer to see less simplification and a little more of the technical side. But, that’s a personal preference, and it’s certainly not going to make me put the book down.

 

Books Discovered

All is quiet on the reading list front this week –there have been no new additions to the mountain of books I already intend to read!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post next week will be a monthly wrap-up for January. In order to fit this in with my usual schedule, I will be sharing this post late on Tuesday evening, so I can fit in as much progress as I have made as possible!

Then, on Wednesday, I will be sharing the third instalment in my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! For that post, I’m taking a look at an article I recently read online. From this article, I discovered several potential reads that I would not have discovered anywhere else.

On Friday, I will be sharing my February TBR. Some of the books on February‘s list are slightly shorter, so I’m being ambitious and sharing six reads I hope to pick up throughout the month. I hope you can check out that post when it goes live.

Then, last but not least, I will be back with another Sunday Summary update to catch you up on all the books I’ve read over the last week, in the usual format.

For now though, that is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post.

What have you been reading recently? Do you have any recommendations?

 

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Sunday Summary – 22nd January 2023

It is the end of yet another week already – and so it can only mean that I’m back with a Sunday Summary update post for you. I have plenty of content for you this week.

Firstly, let’s recap the blog post I shared throughout the week. The first post I shared this week was a book review for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I re-read this series between 2021 and 2022. My primary aim was to see how my experience of the books compared between reading them as a teenager, and then again as an adult. If you want to check out my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is a link provided here.

The next post I shared in the week went live on Wednesday. That post was my first of my brand-new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! The point I’m emphasising that all reading is reading. It’s not just books that count. As I am trying to read more non-fiction, this series also gives me a space to talk about things I read and learn from the genre.

The last post I shared was my First Lines Friday regular feature. I had a grand plan to pick this week’s feature in a new way. However, it backfired on me a little. The plan was to select my next book from my TBR Jar (an owl mug) and feature that book. It turns out I’ve featured the book I pulled out already. The odds were ridiculously slim for that eventuality happening, but I’m not mad. I’ve pulled out a fantastic book, and I can’t wait to read it next month! If you want to check out the book, I eventually did feature, again, there’s a link here to that post.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update post, I was 425 pages into The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I made quite a push with this last week, and that continued into this week. I read the remaining 200 pages over the course of Monday and Tuesday alone. Overall, The Secret History was a good read. I’m not entirely sure about the ending, but it was still entertaining. I was mentally comparing this to another read in the genre I enjoyed last year – Babel. I still think that book was better, but The Secret History is certainly a complement to the genre.

The next book I picked up was Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I must confess that I didn’t pick it up for very long though. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was on this month’s reading list as it is the book of the month in ezeekat’s bookclub on Fable. I didn’t even get through the first chapter. I wasn’t a fan of the writing style in the slightest. That’s a big dealbreaker for me. If I’m struggling to read a book based on the way it is written, even if it has a fantastic plot, I can’t jive with it. That’s what I found with this book, and so I promptly returned my library loan.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is my first DNF of the year. Whilst it is a shame, I would much rather spend my time reading books that I do enjoy, rather than trying to force myself through ones I don’t!

I was a little down heartened to have to give up a book so quickly. However, I decided to jump straight into my next read with a change of genre. A few years ago, I read Me Before You. I am not a contemporary romance girl, but I wanted to see how the book dealt with the themes it does. If you know, you know. After a discussion about the sequel to that book with friends recently, I decided to pick it up for myself.

I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to jump back into the mess of emotions the book left me in. However, it has been long enough. This particular book deals with the grief of what happens in the first book. Even despite the difficult topics, these books have an effortless writing style and plenty of humour throughout. I picked up After You yesterday morning, and I’m already 22% through with hardly any effort whatsoever. I’m looking forward to continuing with this read over the next few days.

 

Books Discovered

I have two books to share with you this week – one I added to my reading list having seen it online, and the second I received as a gift today from my mum and dad.

The first book is called Don’t Fix Women by Joy Burnford. This particular book is about gender equality at work. It is obviously on my mind at the moment that I’m trying to read more non-fiction, and this appeals to me. Having read a book called invisible women last year, which dels with this topic to a limited extent, I would like to build upon them. I’m hoping Don’t Fix Women will do that for me.

On a much more fun note, I received an early birthday present today. Whilst in Waterstones having a browse, my mum pointed out The Rise of the Dragon.This is an illustrated history of the Targaryen dynasty. You guys know me – I am a huge, huge Game of Thrones fan. I also really enjoyed the written history of the Targaryen’s, Fire and Blood. Well, when my mum saw my face when she pointed this out to me, she very quickly connived with my dad to distract me while she bought it. And I have to say, they pulled it off very well. They did this right under my nose and I didn’t even have a clue!

I seriously can’t wait to pick this up!

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post planned for next week is a Top Ten Tuesday post.This week’s theme is a list of new-to-me authors of 2022. I read quite a few books by authors I hadn’t picked up before last year. I’m excited to feature them in this post.

On Wednesday, I will be sharing the second instalment in my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That. This week’s topic is about artificial intelligence, and and upcoming experiment in artificial intelligence being used in court to defend a plaintiff.

On Friday, I will be back with a Shelf Control feature. In this series, I review the books on my reading list, picking one in particular, and telling you all about why I’m excited to read it.

And, you know the drill by now. I’ll be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you.

This evening, my plan is to continue making more reading progress with After You by JoJo Moyes, whilst resisting temptation to pick up The Rise of the Dragon!

What are you currently reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 15th January 2023

Hello my lovelies, and welcome to another Sunday Summary update to round off this week. As always, I hope you’ve had a fabulous week whatever you have been doing! I have been spending my free time reading, knitting, and blogging.

The first blog post I shared this week featured my favourite reads of 2022. When I planned that post, three books stood out immediately as favourites. I also added an honorary mention to this post, as another book was very high on my list. But, there was just one small factor that detracted from my experience – and it was no fault of the book. If you are looking for some reading inspiration and want to check out that post, I’ve provided a link above as usual.

My next post of the week went live on Wednesday. I’ve decided to start a new series on my blog called Well, I Didn’t Know That. I have two aims with this series – to encourage myself to read more non-fiction and to encourage reading of any kind. By this, I mean I will shine the spotlight on reading from other mediums, such as magazines, news articles, online blogs… anything! It doesn’t matter how much you read – it’s all reading! This week, I shared the introduction post and what I want to achieve with this series. I will regularly update this page with an index of the posts shared as the series develops.

My next post of the week was a Shelf Control feature. I added this week’s featured book on a whim after discovering it. The main character is one that I am familiar with through a TV series I used to watch. Admittedly, I have very little knowledge about the plotline of the book. But, I want to see how it compares with the actor’s portrayal of this character in the popular TV series from a good few years ago. If you’re curious as to what, and who, that is, take a look at the post I shared on Friday.

 

Books Read

The Secret History

As of my last Sunday Summary update, I was 130 pages into my current read of The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This book had already made a good impression on me by this time last week. I’ve only read a little of the genre so far (The Secret History is the second book), but I’m really enjoying it.

This week, I have made progress to the tune of a few hundred pages, so I am now 425 pages in. In my opinion, the story slowed down a little bit in the middle, but it has just started to pick up again and gain momentum. Knowing what I know about the story so far, I’m eager to see what happens next.

Despite being a book about very intelligent students with an emphasis on their classical learning, The Secret History is an easy book to pick up. It may be academic in its setting, but it is by no means a challenge for a reader. You don’t have to know too much to enjoy the story as it is. I am not knowledgeable on classics, and there may some clever references in here I’m not getting or appreciating. But, that doesn’t matter! I am really enjoying this book at face value, and I can’t wait to finish it and see what happens.

 

Books Discovered

Once again, I have no new additions or book purchases to report in this week’s update!

 

Coming Up…

Over the course of the coming week, I plan to share a total of four blog posts with you.

The first blog post of the week is a book review. It’s been a few weeks since I shared my last review, so it’s time to feature another book I have read and share what I thought of it. This week, I am going to be sharing my review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. I re-read this series in 2021/2022, having not read these books for a long time. I wanted to see how these books compared when reading them from a more mature perspective. From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we start to see the wider storyline open up and these are the books I enjoyed the most. Check out my review this week for all the details.

The next blog post I will share will be going live on Wednesday. That post will be the first of my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That. In this post, I am featuring an article I read in Writing Magazine’s October 2022 edition. That article is all about how recently developed finance technology may be implemented in the publishing industry.

On Friday, I will share a First Lines Friday feature. I am going to choose the book I feature in a new way – I’ll pull a book out of my TBR Jar to read next month, (and that will also be the feature for this post). I hope you can stay tuned for that.

As always, I will be back at the same time next week to share my reading updates and for us to have a general catch-up in my Sunday Summary post. I hope you can join me for that!

For now, that’s all from me today. Tonight’s plan is to continue weaving in a multitude of yarn ends on pair of socks I just made, and then take The Secret History and a cuppa to bed with me.

What are you reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 8th January 2023

I have a lot to catch you up with in today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you are sitting comfortably with a cup of tea for this one.

Having just crossed the line of a brand-new year, I have been publishing a flurry of posts this week. On Monday, I shared my monthly wrap-up post for December 2022. In that post, I took a look at the books I read throughout December and catch you up with my thoughts on those. This post was the first of many this week!

Next, I shared my 2023 Resolutions with you on Tuesday. As you have probably gathered by the title, I share what my reading resolutions are for the upcoming year. Some of them are similar to those set in previous years, but I also have some new ones. If you haven’t checked out that post already, there’s a link for you to do so.

I was back on Thursday with my January 2023 TBR. Similarly to last year, I have set myself both fixed and mood reads so I have flexibility with my TBR. This month’s list has worked out approximately half and half. Normally I have fewer fixed reads on my list. But, since I’d already started a book on my December TBR, I wanted to carry forward another, and I wanted to take part in a book club read, it’s just the way it’s panned out this month. I’m excited to pick up everything on my list. Again, if you haven’t checked that post out yet, there is a link provided above.

My last post of the working week was shared on Friday and was my review of my 2022 resolutions. Overall, success with these resolutions was mixed. I can safely say that I had a good go at absolutely all of them. One was a resounding success, and two others were achieved differently from how I envisaged it at the beginning of the year. There is one last goal that I have carried forward into 2023 because it is one that I didn’t quite achieve in 2022. If you want to find out what worked and what didn’t, you can find out by following the link.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary post, I was 11% through my read of The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle. I had just started this book at the end of 2022, knowing I wasn’t going to finish it to count towards those stats. I picked it up because I was in the mood to read non-fiction. If you like books about books, especially about lesser-known ones, then The Secret Library is definitely one I would recommend to you. 

I really enjoyed the structure of the book and how each chapter tackles a different setting or time period. Literature goes right back to ancient times. It may have only experienced a boom since the invention of the printing press and books becoming more widely available, but that’s not to say that literature hasn’t always been a big part of history – from ancient times to modern. The book covers its full history. 

Each section is also broken down nicely into a certain topic or featuring a certain author. This makes it really easy to pick up and put down as it’s cleverly organised and each section is relatively concise. We cover 99 topics across these 250-odd pages – if that gives you any idea as to how short each section is. Naturally, I made my way through this book quite quickly, finishing it on Friday.

Next, I moved on to my current read, The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I appreciate the titles are incredibly similar, but they are very different books. I picked up and loved a book in a similar genre to The Secret History last year – Babel by R.F. Kuang. Given that I enjoyed that book so much, I am optimistic that The Secret History will be just as much of a hit.

One of the elements I really enjoyed about Babel is the focus of language. In that way, The Secret History is working for me because classics and in particular, learning Greek, is prevalent throughout the narrative. We also have the same kind of setting – a very small but incredibly talented group of students. Whilst I can’t really comment on the events the narrative focus on at the moment and how it compares, it is promising. As of this Sunday Summary update, I am 130 pages into my 628-page edition. Given that I have read this much already and just a couple of days is good, and I will be further along by the time I go to bed tonight.

The Secret History is a book that I look forward to picking up and reading. I can only hope that it makes up to the expectations I have!

 

Books Discovered

This section is going to be short and sweet because I haven’t added anything to my reading list. Given that I added three books the week before, I certainly don’t need any more!

 

Coming Up…

I’m looking forward to a slightly more relaxing week next week; the blogging schedule is going to be more manageable than this week has been! I’m still going to be posting one more blog post but I would typically share in an average week, but I’m looking forward to drafting every single one of my features!

I am beginning the week with a post sharing my favourite reads of 2022. I’m all about encouraging reading, so I’m looking forward to talking about the best books I picked up in the year.

On Wednesday, I am introducing a new series on my blog. The crux of this series is to help with my goal of reading more non-fiction this year. Also, I’ll pass on tidbits of knowledge I pick up along the way that I find interesting. However, the point of this feature is to address that all reading is reading. For a number of the features I’ll share in future, I will be including reading material other than books, such as magazines etc. I will of course also be sharing books from time to time too, but I won’t be restricting myself to them either!

On Friday, I will be sharing my next Shelf Control regular Friday feature. If you are unfamiliar with this feature, I share a book on my reading list and go into some details as to why I’m interested to read it!

Lastly, I’ll be back with my typical Sunday Summary post to round up the week!

That was a bit of an epic Sunday Summary post, so if you’re still with me, thanks for reading!

What is your current read?

 

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Monthly TBR – January 2023

I’m very excited to be sharing my very first TBR with you of 2023! January is always a good month for reading as I’m excited by the clean slate.

This year, I’m starting my January TBR with a book I’ve carried over from December last year. It’s quite a short read and one that I’m making good progress with already despite the number of blogging hours I’ve put in this week! And, there are plenty more to come.

As I started doing last year, I’m going to set myself a few fixed reads that I would like to get through in the month. I’m also going to set some mood reads that will be a reflection of what I want to pick up when I draft my TBR, but I can change in the month if I wish. I’ve found this approach really works for me, as it focuses me on the things I need to read, but also allows that bit of flexibility if and when things change.

Enough preamble – let’s get into the books I plan to pick up in January!

 

Fixed Reading List

 

The Secret Library

The Secret Library was on my December 2022 TBR, but I only got around to it right at the end of the month. As I have done in previous months, I underestimated the amount of time it takes to make progress with books in the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb. As a result, I didn’t get anywhere near finished with my December TBR.

I started January having read the first of nine chapters in The Secret Library, and this is my current read as of drafting this post. I am already just over halfway through the book and it is a compelling read. If you like books about books (especially little-known books), then the tidbits of knowledge in this book will appeal to you as they do to me.

 

The Secret History

The Secret History

The Secret History was also on my December TBR, as a TBR Jar pick. I decided to set this jar up as a means of randomising my reading list a little bit and to encourage me to pick up books at times when I wouldn’t necessarily do so by choice. It’s a means of broadening my horizons.

So, I didn’t get around to it in December for the same reasons above. That is why The Secret History is on the fixed side of my January TBR. I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time, as I have heard great things from multiple sources about it. Having read other books within the same genre last year and really enjoyed them, I’m excited to see what this book holds.

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a fixed read on my reading list as it is the featured book in Ezeekat’s online book club this month.

I joined this club in time for last month’s read of Daughter of the Moon Goddess, and that proved to be a fantastic read. Whilst it wasn’t on my reading list as yet, it was on my radar and I probably would have read it at some point anyway. I really enjoyed this book, so naturally, I’m excited to see what this next read brings.

Having read the synopsis of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, I really like the sound of it. As someone who enjoys gaming as well as reading and crafting and everything else I do, I have something in common with the main characters. I’m hoping that relatability will add to my enjoyment of the overall book.

I have seen this book around on social media, but I wouldn’t have picked it up unless it was part of the club. It will be interesting to see what my perception of the book is after I’ve read it, as this is a true test of using online book clubs to push my reading boundaries… because this is exactly the scenario I’ve been looking for.

 

Mood Reads

 

After You

It was a conversation with my friends before Christmas that inspired me to read this book in January. I threw myself a curveball a few years ago and picked up Me before you by Jojo Moyes. It is not the kind of book I would normally read, however, it was great. It made me cry bucketloads, but it was a really, really good book.

I didn’t know much about this second book of the series, After You. It was the discussion amongst my friends that enlightened me as to what this book is about. It’s a difficult one to talk about without letting on the events of the first book, but to explain as briefly as I can, this book deals with the aftermath and the conclusion of the first book. Given the way that it ended, and how this second book has been explained to me, I feel like reading this as a follow-up will be a good way of resolving my feelings about the first book. It also ties in nicely with my goal this year of finishing series!

 

The House of Fortune

Speaking of that goal, here is another book towards that end! One of the open series I have at the moment is The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I read the first book a good few years ago now (and if I recall correctly, it was around Christmas/New Year as well). I have been aware that there has been a follow-up book to pick up, but I just haven’t gotten around to it since its publication last year.

This month, I am making that effort. Once I’ve read this book, I can happily tick a series off my list!

 

The Chimp Paradox

I’m also working towards another reading goal in this last pick for my January TBR. The Chimp Paradox will be my second non-fiction read of the month, making for a very good start towards my goal of reading more than 15 non-fiction books throughout the year.

I have seen this out and about quite a few times of late. I even considered picking up a copy of this book during my recent trip to Waterstones. However, as it is a new book by a new author, I ultimately decided to either borrow the book or get a copy on my kindle instead.

Based on the synopsis and flip through in the bookstore, I’m interested to see what angle this book takes and whether I find anything in it useful in terms of personal development. I’ve seen recommendations for it, so I am optimistic that it will be an insightful read!

 

So, those are the six books on my January TBR! A few of the books I picked for this list are on the shorter side, so I’m optimistic to make good progress in this TBR.

Have you read any of the books on this list, and would you recommend? What are you reading right now? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – December 2022

Today begins the start of a very busy week, catching up with my month and year-end reviews for 2022, as well as introducing my 2023 goals and reading list! Today’s post is my monthly wrap-up for December 2022. As usual, I’ll be recapping the books I read throughout the month.

Whilst I was hoping to have read around five books in December, it didn’t pan out that way. I should’ve known when I put a Robin Hobb on my TBR that it was not going to be a quick read. I always underestimate how long these are going to take!

Let’s dive into my monthly wrap-up in earnest and check out which books I read in December.

 

Books Read

Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan

The first book I read in December was Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. I read this as part of Ezeekat’s online book club hosted via Fable. I had been considering joining one for some time as I want to stretch my reading and start picking up books I wouldn’t necessarily choose myself. Having followed his Instagram for a while, there are plenty of overlaps with the books I read, but also enough variety that I get the stretch I’m looking for.

As it happens, this month’s pick – Daughter of the Moon Goddess – was already on my radar. It wasn’t on my TBR as yet, but I think it would’ve ended up being on it.

I’m glad I picked this up! I read a lot of fantasy, however, it tends to be very westernised fantasy. Daughter of the Moon Goddess is entirely different in that the fantastical world behind the events are based around Chinese mythology. It was a completely different setting that I was used to, and a lot of the characters and their development was very different. It was a refreshing change to read a book from a completely different setting and it’s something that I am going to try and do again!

 

Ship of Magic – Robin Hobb

The next and last book I completed in full in December was Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. I really enjoyed this first instalment of The Liveship Traders trilogy. Having read and enjoyed the Farseer trilogy earlier this year, I knew I wanted to keep up the pace with reading the Realm of the Elderlings series.

But, as with all Hobb books I have read to date, they are quite the marathon. They are not small books in any case, but they are also very dense. There is a lot going on, and you cannot race through them. With every single book so far, I have underestimated the amount of time it was going to take me to read. Ship of Magic is 880 pages long, and in the average week I was reading somewhere between 200 and 300 pages. I think the only reason I succeeded in completing this book before the end of the year is because I had the week off work prior to Christmas. In that week, I read the last 360 odd pages – quite substantial! In context, I could be reading that number of pages as a whole book in itself!

 

The Secret Library – Oliver Tearle

The last book I started in December was very late to the party. I started this on the evening of the 31st of December, more because I was in the mood to pick it up more than anything. I knew I wasn’t going to be finishing the book for my December wrap-up or have it count towards my end-of-year reading total. But, that doesn’t matter. I only read a small amount of this book as a means of introduction to it – the first chapter, or approximately 10%.

So far, it’s an interesting little book. If you, like me, or a fan of books and are interested to learn a little bit about literature itself, then I’d recommend this book to you already. It’s one of those books that will be a very quick read, but there’s still plenty to learn from it!

 

So, that’s the end of my monthly wrap-up post – you’re up to date with my December reading! Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be back again tomorrow with another blog post all about my 2023 resolutions – I hope you can join me for that!

Until then, happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 1st January 2023

Happy New Year friends! Welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas and New Year as I did.

In previous years, I have taken the time off between Christmas and New Year from blogging. However, I decided not to do that this year as I didn’t feel like I needed it. So, business was very much as usual.

On Thursday (slightly later than the planned date of Wednesday), I shared my review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling. As I said, I was hoping to get this out on Wednesday. However, by Wednesday evening I felt the review needed a little bit more work and polish before it went live. In the grand scheme of things, I thought it was more important to allow the extra day for that to happen. If you’re interested in my review and haven’t checked it out, there’s a link above for your convenience.

On Friday, I shared a First Lines Friday post. I featured the sequel to a young adult fantasy series I started in 2018. The motivation behind this post was to get excited to pick up this sequel later this year. Having read the opening lines and the synopsis, that is definitely the plan! If you want to check out what that feature was, you can find a link to that post here.

 

Books Read

Despite having family over a couple of days after Christmas, and then going back to work, I’ve still made really good reading progress. Last week I was just over 500 pages through Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. For the most part, progress with this book has been slow but steady. In my opinion, these aren’t books that you can ingest at high speed. They are dense, and there is a sizable page count to go with that.

This week, I had just over 360 pages to the end of this book, and I read every single one of them! It’s the most progress I’ve made on this book in any one week since I picked it up; I’m really happy with myself for that. Overall I really enjoyed the book. If I had one comment, I would say that it doesn’t need to be 880 pages long.

Then, yesterday, I started The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle. I already knew that I wasn’t going to be finishing this book in 2022. Although it is relatively short at 250 odd pages, that’s too much to read in one evening. Not impossible, but not likely either. Nevertheless, I decided to start it anyway as I was in the mood.

As of this Sunday Summary, I am one chapter in, equating to 11% and I am enjoying it so far. It’s full of interesting tidbits of knowledge related to literature, and I’m intrigued as to what I will learn from the rest of the book. Given that I managed to read this small section in a relatively short amount of time, this will be a quick read. Compared to Ship of Magic, it will be a very quick read! And, my first read of 2023!

 

Books Discovered

I was a very lucky girl and received a book voucher for Christmas from my mum and dad.

Needless to say, I was down at the bookshop at (almost) the earliest opportunity to spend it. As I was coming to the end of Ship of Magic by this point, I knew I wanted to try and get my hands on the next books in the series – The Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny. Thankfully, Waterstones had both of these books in stock for the first time since I started looking for them. Needless to say, I promptly whisked them both off the shelf.

On my way down from a browse of the self-help section upstairs, I came across a few sale items they had left. One book in that section caught my eye. It’s a contemporary novel, which as you know, isn’t really the sort of thing I pick up on a regular basis. It was the title that grasped my attention; In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström. After picking it up and reading the synopsis, I knew I wanted to give this a try.

 

Coming Up…

The first week of January is always manic for a blogger like me, and this week coming is no exception!

Tomorrow, I will be posting my monthly wrap-up for December 2022. As usual, I will recap the books I read throughout the month and share links to the blog posts drafted and published in that period.

On Tuesday I am back with another post – I will be sharing my reading resolutions for 2023. With the exception of reading, I’m not one for setting resolutions. However, I prepared a list of things I would like to achieve in my 2023 reading about a month ago and I haven’t changed my mind on any of them. So, those are going to be my reading goals and I look forward to sharing them with you on Tuesday.

Thursday’s post will be my January 2023 TBR. We are already a few days into the month at that point and I may well have finished my first book at the time I share this post. However, I have a number of fantastic books on the reading list and I’m excited to share them with you!

On Friday, I will be publishing my review of 2022. In that post, I’ll be talking about the reading goals I set for myself this time last year and how I feel I completed them. I will also be talking about what worked and what didn’t so well so that I can take that feedback on board for a better reading year in 2023.

And as if that’s not enough already, I’ll be back at the same time next week with my Sunday Summary update! I’m hoping to make some reading progress amongst all the blogging, but we’ll have to see. Join me next week to find out!

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary.

What are you currently reading? Have you set yourself any reading goals for 2023?

 

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Monthly TBR – December 2022

We are in the final month of 2022, and I can hardly believe that I’m sharing my Monthly TBR for December! It barely seems like two minutes ago since I was setting my 2022 goals and resolutions for the year. And now, here we are, nearly at the end of it all.

It may nearly be the end of the year, but we’re not quite there yet! There is still one monthly TBR left in me for this year, and I am now striving to exceed my reading goal by 10 books by the end of the year. That means I need to read another five books throughout December.

Let’s take a look at my picks!

 

Fixed Reading List

 

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

 

 

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Pages: 512

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 11 Jan 2022

 

This month is a month of firsts. That may be an unusual thing to say in my last monthly TBR post of the year, but, you’ve got to try it sometime. New experiences aren’t just for January. The reason I say this is because I am taking part in my first online book club read!

I have decided to read Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. Somebody in the bookish community I discovered through Instagram (@ezeekat) has recently started hosting a book club through Fable. It’s the first time I’ll use this app and take part in a group read in this way.

However, if I really enjoy it, this is something I would like to continue with. I have always liked the idea of book clubs because they encourage you to broaden your horizons. It is through such groups that you’re encouraged to read things out of your comfort zone.

 

TBR Jar Pick – The Secret History

 

The Secret History

 

Genre: Dark Academia

Pages: 559

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 16 Sept 1992

 

A second first in today’s Monthly TBR for December is that I have decided to add a pick from a TBR jar.

The first reason I set up my TBR jar was to help out during times when I don’t know what to read. When I’m feeling indecisive or really open-minded, I would like to be able to select a book out of my dedicated owl mug at random and go on and read my selection.

The second reason I wanted to set this up was so it encourages me to pick up books when I wouldn’t necessarily choose them for myself. Whilst I will never force myself to read a book, the use of my TBR jar will allow me to overcome any bias I have at a given time.

My first TBR jar pick is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I have actually been looking forward to picking up this book, and it’s crossed my mind since reading something similar – Babel. I’m also looking forward to it because I know another reader who has picked it up, enjoyed it, and recommended it to me this year.

 

Mood Reads

 

The Keeper of Lost Things

 

 

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 288

Audience: Adult

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2017

 

The Keeper of Lost Things is one of the oldest books on my TBR now. With that in mind, I would like to try and pick it up in December.

Along the lines of broadening horizons as mentioned above, The Keeper of Lost Things is more contemporary than I would usually pick up. However, I really like the sound of the synopsis. As a very sentimental person, I think I can understand the motivations and plot line behind this particular book.

It is a little bit different from my typical read, but this can be a good thing. Often, I need a break in routine. I have been reading a lot of fantasy of late, and so The Keeper of Lost Things will give me the chance to read something different during December.

 

The Secret Library

 

 

Genre: History / Non-Fiction

Pages: 256

Audience: Adult

Publisher: O Mara Books Ltd

Publication Date: 29 Sept 2016

 

I am really looking forward to picking up The Secret Library. In summary, it is a book of books. It explores some lesser-known literary tidbits from history that will sate my curiosity to learn.

On the one hand, I may find the odd one or two hidden bookish gems that I will want to pick up and read as a result of reading The Secret Library. Equally, my TBR pile may just explode. I can’t predict it. Either way, The Secret History looks to be a short, fun read full of history and literature.

 

Ship of Magic

 

 

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 897

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 01 Mar 1998

 

Now that I have recovered from reading Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb, I am looking forward to jumping into the next series within the wider realm of books. I have read the first trilogy out of a total of 16 books in the Realm of the Elderlings series. In that first trilogy, the universe is introduced (in reasonable depth) through the perspective of FitzChivalry Farseer.

Already a lot has happened in the first three books, but what I’m looking forward to in this next series is a complete change of perspective. It will be interesting to see if they ‘standalone’ well, add to my overall enjoyment of the universe, or whether it serves as filler for a main series.

 

Queen of Our Times

 

 

Genre: Non-fiction / Biography

Pages: 690

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Pegasus

Publication Date: 05 Apr 2022

 

As my audiobook listen of Queen of Our Times by Robert Hardman is still ongoing, I’m going to try and make further progress with this audiobook this month. This originally featured on my October Monthly TBR post. I have a lot of progress to make, as I have been a little lax on audiobooks in the last couple of months. 

Fingers crossed December is the month of steady progress!

 

So, that is my monthly TBR for December! I’m sorry if you’re a little disappointed that there aren’t any seasonal reads in this list. If I’m entirely honest, it’s not something I would generally pick up. Plus, by the end of the month, I’m going to be all Christmassed out anyway!

Have you read any of the books on my December TBR?

 

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