Tag: goodreads

2022 New Releases I’m Excited About!

In today’s post, I’m going to be talking about six 2022 new releases that I am excited to pick up and read for myself! There is a diverse range of books on this list, and even more besides out there in the big wide world.

The six books I list in today’s post are books that are already on my TBR; some of which I have copies of already. I’m looking forward to today’s post and telling you why I can’t wait to read these new releases… so let’s just get to it!

 

Babel

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 560

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 23 Aug 2022

 

 

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel.

Babel is the world’s center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel’s research in foreign languages serves the Empire’s quest to colonize everything it encounters.

Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?

Babel — a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal response to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell — grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of translation as a tool of empire.

I am really looking forward to receiving my copy of Babel. Not only does the plot sound dark and twisty, but one of my favourite BookTubers (Ashleigh @ A Frolic Through Fiction) absolutely adored reading this.

Through one of Ashleigh‘s discussions of this book, it became clear that this isn’t strictly just a fantasy. There’s a lot of depth and detail into the translation side of things. As somebody who nearly went to university to study linguistics, this focus on language and the detail put into it also appeals to me.

Not long ago, I signed up to the Illumicrate book-only subscription, and this is going to be the first book I receive!

 

Elektra

Genre: Greek Mythology

Pages: 291

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: 3 May 2022

 

 

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra

The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra

Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra

The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?

I find that I want to explore more books about Greek mythology of late. Having read and enjoyed Pandora’s Jar just last month, I am continuing with reading about Greek mythology. I have also added a few to my TBR of late, including both Ariadne and Elektra.

I’m also enjoying the emphasis of female narratives in Greek mythology. As Natalie Haynes points out in Pandora’s Jar, Greek myths as we know them today have been warped considerably from their original tellings. Sadly, it is a more modern change in which we see women’s roles changed to make them insignificant, or altogether evil. I enjoyed how this book put the stories to rights, and I want to read more. I can only hope that I get this, and more, from Elektra.

 

The Blood Trials

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 448

Audience: Young Adult/New Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 5 Apr 2022

 

 

It’s all about blood.

The blood spilled between the Republic of Mareen and the armies of the Blood Emperor long ago. The blood gifts of Mareen’s deadliest enemies. The blood that runs through the elite War Houses of Mareen, the rulers of the Tribunal dedicated to keeping the republic alive.

The blood of the former Legatus, Verne Amari, murdered.

For his granddaughter, Ikenna, the only thing steady in her life was the man who had saved Mareen. The man who had trained her in secret, not just in martial skills, but in harnessing the blood gift that coursed through her.

Who trained her to keep that a secret.

But now there are too many secrets, and with her grandfather assassinated, Ikenna knows two things: that only someone on the Tribunal could have ordered his death, and that only a Praetorian Guard could have carried out that order.

Bent on revenge as much as discovering the truth, Ikenna pledges herself to the Praetorian Trials–a brutal initiation that only a quarter of the aspirants survive. She subjects herself to the racism directed against her half-Khanaian heritage and the misogyny of a society that cherishes progeny over prodigy, all while hiding a power that–if found out–would subject her to execution…or worse. Ikenna is willing to risk it all because she needs to find out who murdered her grandfather…and then she needs to kill them.

Mareen has been at peace for a long time…

Ikenna joining the Praetorians is about to change all that.

Magic and technology converge in the first part of this stunning debut duology, where loyalty to oneself–and one’s blood–is more important than anything.

I heard about The Blood Trials when watching another BookTuber, Becca and the Books. She had been sent a copy of the book to read and review, and the synopsis caught my attention straight away. It reminded me to a certain extent of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.

I also love that this book has diverse representation. It sounds like it has a classic fantasy structure, detailed world-building and complex inter-character relations, so this is full of promise.

 

Stolen Focus

Genre: Non-fiction

Pages: 357

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY)

Publication Date: 25 Jan 2022

 

 

Our ability to pay attention is collapsing. From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections comes a groundbreaking examination of why this is happening–and how to get our attention back.

In the United States, teenagers can focus on one task for only sixty-five seconds at a time, and office workers average only three minutes. Like so many of us, Johann Hari was finding that constantly switching from device to device and tab to tab was a diminishing and depressing way to live. He tried all sorts of self-help solutions–even abandoning his phone for three months–but nothing seemed to work. So Hari went on an epic journey across the world to interview the leading experts on human attention–and he discovered that everything we think we know about this crisis is wrong.

We think our inability to focus is a personal failure to exert enough willpower over our devices. The truth is even more disturbing: our focus has been stolen by powerful external forces that have left us uniquely vulnerable to corporations determined to raid our attention for profit. Hari found that there are twelve deep causes of this crisis, from the decline of mind-wandering to rising pollution, all of which have robbed some of our attention. In Stolen Focus, he introduces readers to Silicon Valley dissidents who learned to hack human attention, and veterinarians who diagnose dogs with ADHD. He explores a favela in Rio de Janeiro where everyone lost their attention in a particularly surreal way, and an office in New Zealand that discovered a remarkable technique to restore workers’ productivity.

Crucially, Hari learned how we can reclaim our focus–as individuals, and as a society–if we are determined to fight for it. Stolen Focus will transform the debate about attention and finally show us how to get it back.

There are distractions all around, and when I saw the title and focus of this book, it resonated with me. There are times when I am really distracted. Sometimes, it manifests as the need to multitask and my brain constantly flits between multiple things at once. Inevitably, the job would probably get done better and maybe even quicker if I dealt with one at a time. That’s the thing with our modern world – we have countless information inputs that we ingest constantly. We always need to be doing more… and better.

Other times, I can just drift and lose my attention to something completely meaningless. It is easy to think of a lack of attention as a personal failing, but I’m interested to see the psychology behind it and also how I can take back control and improve my focus.

 

Pandora

Genre: Historical-fiction

Pages: 432

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harvill Secker

Publication Date: 27 Jan 2022

 

 

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

This historical fiction novel dips into Greek mythology that I was talking about earlier. However, it is just an introductory foundation to a completely different story – one that I can’t wait to read. This blend of a mystery and historical fiction novel has a lot of components to it.

I believe there are also elements of romance. By and large, I don’t read a lot of romance or focus on romance in a book. Naturally, it happens, but it’s not something that I actively seek out. At the same time, if it’s not a huge pivotal element to the story, and it’s more of a sideline, that’s easier for me to read. It will be interesting to see just where this book is on the scale, and how much I enjoy it in comparison.

 

The First Binding

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 832

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Tor

Publication Date: 16 Aug 2022

 

 

All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first.

I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I’ve stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I’ve called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster.

My name is Ari. And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.

The First Binding is released later this month, and I have been excited about this book since January. I am really fortunate to be taking part in the publication blog tour for this book – at the time of writing this post, I am currently reading it!

At around 250 pages, I can say this is living up to my expectation. Grand in nature, The First Binding is truly an epic fantasy. Full of magic and deceit, with themes of prejudice and racial discrimination, The First Binding is a narrative of one man who has gone to the ends of the world, loved and lost, made mistakes… and paid for them dearly.

The book is heavily inspired by The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and it’s for this reason that I have been really excited to read this book. I read The Name of the Wind as a teenager, and I adored the way in which the story was told from the very beginning. Told candidly from the perspective of our main character in hindsight, both of these books do not glamourise the deeds these men have done. In fact, they shed light on how their tales have been altered in the telling by others, and setting right those wrongs.

I can’t wait to finish this book and share my thoughts with you later this month!

 

So, those are my top 2022 new releases that I can’t wait to read! Have any of these caught your eye? Have you read any of these books? Are there any other 2022 new releases I didn’t feature in this post that you think I should have? Let me know in the comments or on social media. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Feel free to follow me, and let’s have a conversation!

 

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Mid-Year Review of 2022 Goals/Resolutions

Hello everyone and welcome to my mid-year review post for 2022. In this post I’m going to take a look at the goals I set myself at the start of this year in my 2022 New Year Goals/Resolutions post. I’m going to evaluate where I’m up to so far, amend if necessary, and maybe even add another…

At the beginning of the year, I set myself three primary goals. After a year off, I wanted to take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge once again. I enjoyed my break, however, I felt that taking part in the challenge provides me with some much-needed motivation. I also set myself a challenge regarding how I structure my reading. In previous years I have gone from one extreme of setting a static list for the month, to setting no list at all. I found that neither approach works perfectly for me, and so I challenged myself to take a more hybrid approach. Lastly, I set myself a challenge to get more organised with my blog post writing.

Of all the challenges set so far, I feel like the last of those is the only one where there is a lot to be desired. But, more on that below!

 

Existing Challenges

Goodreads Challenge – 40 books

40 books isn’t an overly ambitious target (for me), but it’s one that I felt I could reasonably achieve. When you consider that last year I only read about 25 books, it’s a step up. Equally, my record has been reading 72 books in one year.

That is a lot, and I don’t think it’s an amount I will ever achieve again. It’s partly because I went so hard at this that I ended up slumping last year. I’d rather take a slower and steady approach, and this is how I got to my target of 40.

At the end of June, I had completed 23 books and only DNF’d one! I’m pleased with this progress, as not only am I on track, but I’m also not so far ahead that I’ve made the challenge too easy. In previous years I have upped my goal because I had underestimated myself.

Here are the details of the books I’ve read in the last six months: 

Obviously, things can change in the next six months. I will be doing another review at the end of August with regards to my Goodreads challenge, but for now, it’s staying where it is!

 

Reading Lists

I have definitely been taking a more flexible approach to my reading list, although I don’t think I found the balance just yet. It may be that this is a constantly moving target and I just need to be a little bit adaptable with myself.

At the beginning of the year, I was setting myself a monthly TBR that was approximately 2/3 fixed and 1/3 flexible. I thought I would benefit from having more in the way of structure, with the opportunity to pick up anything I like at the end of the month if I get through those books. There are months where this worked, and there are months where this didn’t work quite so much.

It is only more recently that I have allowed myself a little more freedom. I was finding that a lot of the time, I wasn’t really getting to my mood reads, or I was only just getting to them towards the end of the month. That doesn’t really give me what I was setting out to achieve.

Quite by chance, I tried a different approach in June. When trying to set myself a TBR, I kept changing my mind as to what I wanted to read. I only had one real reading commitment, and so in the end I decided to set this as my only fixed read and to allow myself the flexibility with everything else during the month. As it happens, I did end up sticking with the books I’d penciled in, but I think the mentality that allowing myself the flexibility gave me motivation. This was also during a time when I had an exam to prepare for, and in theory, it should have been one of my worst months. But in reality, I think it was my best!

I want to continue with this more flexible approach in future.

So, in the meantime, I’m going to set myself a limit of only setting half of a monthly TBR as ‘fixed books’, although if I can be more flexible with myself then that is what I will try to do. This is dependent on reading commitments, so I’m not going to sign myself up for too much so that I can’t fulfill this goal.

 

Blog Post Writing

At the beginning of this year, I set myself the challenge to be more organised with writing my blog posts. Primarily, I wanted to pull my finger out and get my posts scheduled at least a week in advance. That way, if there are any unpleasant surprises, or I’m not in the mood, I had some leeway to get post out to you on time.

This is the only goal that I haven’t done so well with. I am still writing posts pretty much as and when they are scheduled to go up. This very post itself is already delayed from my original intended posting date, so that illustrates how I’m still struggling with this!

I’m going to make a concerted effort to start preparing my posts in a more timely fashion. It won’t take that much effort, but I just need to be a little bit more disciplined with myself in order to make this change a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’ll be golden.

 

New Challenge

Read more Non-fiction

I am well on the way with two out of three of my existing challenges. I have been considering adding an additional challenge for myself this year, and I have plenty of books that will allow me to do this.

As an avid learner, I would like to pick up more non-fiction books. Be it memoirs/biographies, histories or books aimed at personal development, I would like to explore the genre in more detail. It is one of the least read on my blog overall, and I would like to change that.

With this in mind, I am setting myself the challenge of reading/listening to at least one non-fiction book a month. I can either include this as part of my fixed TBR, or I can pick it up on a whim. Tying in with my existing challenge regarding reading lists, I’m going to make this fit within that. In June I listened to Hell by Jeffrey Archer, one of his prison diaries published in 2003. I have another non-fiction book ready for my July TBR, so this is a good start to this brand-new challenge!

So, that is where I am up to with my 2022 goals, and what I would like to make progress with in the next six months.

Have you set yourself any goals for 2022, and are you on track?

 

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Goodreads Book Tag

Welcome to my edition of the Goodreads Book Tag! I found this tag on Stephen Writer Blog and I thought it would be a lot of fun to do! It’s been a little while since I’ve shared this kind of post, and it’s a great way to learn a little bit more about me, how I read and how I operate my blog and all that business in general.

I hope you enjoy today’s post and either learn something from it, or even take something away.

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS READ?

The last book I finished and marked as complete on Goodreads is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This is an interesting one to kind of feature here in today’s post, because it’s not something I would describe as a typical read.

This was a recommendation from my sister, after it was recommended to her by a work colleague. It’s about women in the workplace… And in particular in leadership or more senior roles. It discusses various problems that women come up against throughout their careers, including barriers set by other people and themselves!

 

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

My current read is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! I last read this book at around the age of 17/18 – I distinctly remember I was doing my A-levels at the time, but I’m not sure which year. My gut instinct is my first year. I wanted to pick up this series again because I loved it as a teenager. In addition, I wanted to see how reading the series as an older and more widely read person to see if my opinion has changed over time.

The crux of it is no, it hasn’t. I’m still loving every minute of it. I have perhaps a slight preference bias towards the later books in the series. The storyline is more sophisticated and a bit darker, which leans away from being a middle grade/YA series in my opinion. Those aren’t genres I read much of.

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS TBR?

The most recent book on my TBR list is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I’m actually going to be reading this book very shortly, as my sisters boyfriend Chris has loaned me a copy. That’s on March’s TBR, however as of sharing this post I haven’t quite got round to it yet. You can expect that to be carried over and read very soon!

 

WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO READ NEXT?

The above question answers this one as well, so I’ll expand a little bit to talk about the next couple books I plan on picking up after The Thursday Murder Club. In addition, I would also like to finish re-reading The Raven’s Mark trilogy. I read the first book on a complete whim last month and I have the urge to re-read the series now. They’re just so good, and the best news is that Ed McDonald has a new book being published in June this year.

I’ve also been watching the Lincoln Rhyme series on Now TV recently, which makes me want to pick up The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver.

 

DO YOU USE THE STAR RATING SYSTEM?

I do use a star rating system, although I’ll admit I’m a very emotional reviewer. I’m very flexible with it; I don’t have set criteria and I firmly believe that you cannot judge every book by the exact same rules. Every narrative is very different and you can’t possibly apply all categories to every book.

I tend to go by feeling more than anything. If I absolutely love a book and physically can’t put it down, then it’s going to get a better rating than one that was perfectly readable at the time, but also a bit forgettable. Obviously there’s going to be some significant differences between what makes a book okay and what makes it great, but I like not to constrain myself too much when deciding on a star rating based on these criteria.

1 STAR – honestly if I really feel a book is this bad, I haven’t finished it and therefore I won’t rate it.
2 STAR – also a very rare rating for me to give, as I’m very likely to have given up on this book before finishing it as well.
3 STAR – three star reads for me are ones that are ‘okay’. They may not have the best flow or engage me in the best way, but are still readable.
4 STAR – A four star rating would typically be given for a book that I really enjoyed, but maybe I had a slight niggle with it. Maybe I don’t quite like something in the plot, or characterisation could be a little bit better etc. Basically, it’s good, but it’s not quite perfect.
5 STAR – five star reads for me a ones that I either can’t find fault with, maybe have the smallest, tiniest little niggle. These are books that I love completely and would definitely re-read them again in a heartbeat!

 

ARE YOU DOING A 2022 READING CHALLENGE?

I am doing a Goodreads challenge this year! And I’m enjoying it too; I didn’t set myself a challenge last year and honestly I felt a little bit lost.

Goodreads challenges are great for motivation. At the moment I’m currently one book ahead of schedule, so I’m on track to read my target of 40 books this year. Even if you don’t necessarily set yourself an official challenge, it’s nice to have an end goal in my opinion.

 

DO YOU HAVE A WISHLIST?

Other than my TBR, no. Let’s face it, I want all the books! Well, not quite… but you know the kind of girl I am!

 

WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO BUY NEXT?

I don’t have a set book in mind, because I’m trying to read more of the books I already have and to work on reducing my reading list. I’m of the opinion that if I don’t put myself in a position of temptation, I can’t be tempted! It’s a simple as that!

As a more general goal, I am trying to collect some of the clothbound classics. This is a long-term goal, however. And, if prices of everything keep going up the way they are, then it’s going to be a loooooooonnnnnnggggggeeeeeerrrr  term goal.

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE QUOTES?

I mark all sorts of favourite quotes, and I really like Goodreads because it gives you the option to share them. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many I have recorded on there and the range of books I have them for years quite significant.

From classics to fantasy, no genre is safe from my highlighting! On my Kindle, of course! I wouldn’t do anything so sacrilegious as to physically mark a physical book. You can find these on my Goodreads profile with this link here

 

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHORS?

If I had to shortlist my favourite five authors, the list looks like this: –

  1. George R. R. Martin
  2. Brandon Sanderson
  3. Laini Taylor
  4. Ed McDonald
  5. Stephen King

A bit of an eclectic mix I know, but that is only testament to the variety of books I read!

 

HAVE YOU JOINED ANY GROUPS?

I don’t think so no. I used to be part of a Goodreads group, but I never read or contributed to it and so I think I left. I’m not part of any other group of any other kind (social media or in person).

I hope that you have learned a little bit about me in today’s Goodreads Book Tag post. I hope you enjoyed it and if you would like to take part in it yourself and consider yourself tagged! I’d love to see your answers so please link back to me so that I can take a look at your answers!

 

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Book Review: Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Since it has been about a month since I last shared a book review I’ve decided it’s time to get my thinking cap on and share my thoughts with you on a previous read. When perusing through the list of books I’ve read I discovered that I hadn’t yet reviewed Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I confess that my first thought was along the lines of ‘where do I even begin reviewing this?’. But, I’m going to do my best to do the book justice!

Since classic novels are typically taught in school I think a lot of people have the misconception that they’re going to be dry, dull or that no one in a million years would want to spend their free time reading them. After I left school I said the same thing. I have a whole host of opinions on how the education system doesn’t promote reading, but that’s for another day. However, they do need to be given their due. Classic novels can be great reads. I’ve even gone back to books that I read and hated at school and I enjoyed them. I wish they were given more of a chance, and if I were to suggest you pick up any, Brave New World is a great one to start with!

And, if you’re not sure, there is a TV series based on the book on Now TV. You could always give that a try first? Although it’s not 100% true to the book (but covers the main topics and concepts well), I still enjoyed it regardless!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Goodreads – Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society that is challenged by only a single individual: the story’s protagonist.

 

My Thoughts…

Not only is the plot of Brave New World interesting, but it’s one of the shorter classic books I’ve read at just over 260 pages. This is why I think it’s a great place to start; it’s not intimidating and it has plenty to offer despite the reduced page count.

Some of the undoubtedly futuristic elements in Brave New World (considering it was published in 1932) are not so wild in the present day. One of the groundbreaking elements of the book is that humans are not born traditionally, but are genetically modified for desirable qualities, fertilised in vitro and are effectively incubated until birth. Whilst we don’t exactly have a designer baby thing going on, treatments such as IVF are now available and can involve an element of this.

Equally, the clinical aspect of birth control was in its infancy in the 1930s. Yes, for thousands of years there have been home remedies and techniques to prevent it. Even giving birth control advice was only allowed in Britain in 1930. It’s strange to consider because prescriptions for it now are so commonplace.

I find it fascinating to compare the ideas that authors had decades ago as to what was futuristic to them at the time and what similar theories we as a society have now about the next few decades. What I wonder the most about is whether the ideas written by these authors have given birth to the reality, or whether they did have an inkling of human capabilities and technological advancements that were within reach of mankind. Kind of like the chicken and egg argument.

There may be similarities between the societies of Brave New World and the modern-day, but there are also very distinct differences. For example, Brave New World has a completely different social class system, based on intelligence, to the one we used to. Citizens are effectively controlled by the use of ‘feel-good’ drugs and activities. There is no such thing as sadness or lack of purpose. Everybody has their role and they fulfil it to the best of their ability. They don’t have to think, they just have to do as they’re told. On the surface that might sound good, but I think it would be hell.

I’ve read plenty of other reviews that suggest this is a good read for anyone who has or has suffered from depression. It emphasises the point that feeling good all the time isn’t where it’s at. To appreciate the highs, sometimes you need to take the lows that go with it. And I can see that. It makes sense. If you always had the same thing you have nothing to compare it against.

Have you ever read Brave New World? Would you recommend it or would you be prepared to read it based on recommendation? As always, you can let me know in the comments or via social media.

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2022 – New Year Goals/Resolutions

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

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

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

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

 

Goodreads Reading Challenge

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

 

Monthly Reading Lists

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

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

 

Blog Post Writing

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

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

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

 

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

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Reviewing My 2021 Resolutions/Goals

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

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

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

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

 

Goodreads Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

 

TBR

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

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

 

Review Requests

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

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

 

Re-read Harry Potter

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

 

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

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

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Book review: The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

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

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

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

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Top Ten Tuesday – Online Resources for Book Lovers

I hope that today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is as informative for one of my readers as I know it would have been for me as a fledgling reader/book blogger. I like today’s subject matter, as not only is it a good way to highlight potentially useful resources to you that you don’t know about, but it is a good way to compare how other people manage their reading hobby!


Goodreads

Whilst I feel that this is an obvious place to start in today’s top ten Tuesday post, it is one of the main online resources I use.

If, on the off chance, you aren’t aware of what this site offers, it is essentially a huge database online in which you can not only discover new books, read (and leave) thousands of reviews, but you could also sort books into lists and record those you have read, want to read and are reading right now using some of their preset options. Your shelves are completely customisable however so you don’t just have to sort them by these criteria. I know people who have shelves set by genre or record it down as the year they read them… The options are endless!

Goodreads also hosts an annual reading challenge. So if you need some motivation, it can be a good way to push you to your next reading goal.

 

Audible

If you are the kind of person who doesn’t have time to sit down and commit to a book, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy one anyway. I subscribed to Audible a couple of years ago and I haven’t looked back! It’s not my main way of consuming books, however they are great for times when you can’t necessarily sit down and pick up a book in the conventional way.

I personally enjoy listening to audiobooks while knitting or crocheting, but they are also a great companion when doing household chores, decorating (I can attest from experience) or any physical activity. I have a friend who listens to audiobooks whilst she is out looking after horses. There really are no rules and I enjoy the change in medium from time to time.

 

Spreadsheet

The resources used don’t necessarily have to be anything fancy, and this is one of those. I use Goodreads to manage my reading list, however the CEO at my work uses a spreadsheet to mange his list!

I use them for more blog orientated things, such as recording the books I have yet to review and keeping a calendar of any blog tour dates. I appreciate these don’t apply to every reader, but as mentioned above they can be used by anyone. Ultimately, the most important thing is to use resources that work for you.

 

Notes app

It’s no secret that I enjoy sharing my thoughts on the books I read of love. You don’t have to be a blogger to do this as there are plenty of available places to share your thoughts on a book without hosting your own site. Be it Goodreads, Amazon, or any known bookstore, there are plenty of sites in which you can review or recommend a book to others.

I like to jot ideas down for a post before I write it. It helps give me a little bit of structure, and if you’re writing a review then you’ll probably want somewhere to write that down. Again, going back to the fact that it doesn’t have to be fancy, any note taking app on your phone will do. I say this because most people probably have a smart phone nowadays and it’s the kind of device you’ll have on you at all times. It’s accessible and easy to use and it’s what I use to plan and draft my book reviews (and blog posts in general).

 

Netgalley

Books cost money, and not everyone can afford to read as much as they physically want to. The good news is there are plenty of free books out there, but there are also sites that will provide you with a copy of the book in exchange for a review.

Netgalley is probably one of the biggest of these and most well-known to bloggers certainly. It’s great if you are of a mind to provide a review anyway. But if that’s not your bag then this isn’t for you. Whilst you can get away with not reviewing the odd book, the idea behind giving you one is that you do share your thoughts. Even then you can’t access anything and everything. Certain publishers will put books out there for review without any particular stipulation on who can get a copy. However, books by household authors or larger names in general do have criteria you’ll have to meet in order to stand a chance of getting a copy, so keeping that feedback ratio up is crucial.

 

Blogs

Obviously I’m a little biased when I say this, but blogs are a great resource. Not only can they provide you with book reviews and recommendations… but they can even provide useful resource posts like this one!

 

Social Media

Social media is a great resource. It is “THE” place to share your opinion on the internet and you won’t find many other sites that give you access to so many different opinions in one place.

The different platforms also allow you to do you bookish material in different ways. Let’s be honest, we do judge a book by its cover, so social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are great as they’re very photo-content orientated. Twitter on the other hand is traditionally more word-based so it’s a good place to get more in the way of opinions.

Don’t get me wrong, social media has its downsides too. Whether you choose to use it or not is entirely up to you. Generally if you want to avoid any potential drama that goes with sharing your opinion online, I suggest you stick to the likes of Goodreads.

 

Kindle app

I typically read either a physical book or on my kindle, however the kindle app has come in useful. Sometimes I end up reading somewhere unexpected, or on a tablet as my kindle has run out of battery. Whatever the reason, the accessibility of being able to have a book on your phone or tablet is great! Although, I have the habit of starting or sampling a book on it and never quite getting round to actually reading the whole thing…

But that’s just me! There are plenty of people out there who read exclusively using the kindle app and that’s fine too!

 

Libby/OneDrive

Both of these apps are great. A lot of libraries (and my local included) may use either of these sites, or equally an alternative, to host their e-book library. I’ve used these apps in order to access books I’m borrowing rather than buying for myself and they are very user-friendly. Using Libby as an example, I know they can host both audiobook and e-book, so if you like having both of those in one place then it may just be worth seeing what your library has to offer.

 

Local Library!

And of course, at last but not least, check out what your local library has online! Even if you like physical books rather than an e-book library (as above), your library may have a database online of what they have available and whether it’s on loan or not currently. I know mine certainly does, and if ours can do it then I’d be very surprised if yours doesn’t!

You may have a lot more services than I do so it’s hard to tell you to use something when I don’t know it’s available. The best thing you can do if you are unsure is to have a go and look for it. You’ll never discover anything new unless you try!

 

I hope today’s Top Ten Tuesday post has been useful for you and perhaps you’ve discovered a new resource that you’d like to try. Do use any of the resources I’ve mentioned today? Let me know in the comments, and if you have any alternative recommendations please share them here so we can all learn something new!

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2020 Wrap Up Post

2020 was a crazy year. I don’t think that’s a stretch of the imagination for absolutely anybody at this point. It also, strangely, ended up being one of my busiest years personally. Unfortunately, not as much in terms of blogging and reading as I had hoped, but that’s okay. I’ve come to the realisation that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.

Before I get into my blogging and reading progress of the year, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the other things I ended up doing in 2020 as well. Ultimately, this played a part in the amount of time I had to commit to blogging and reading.

 

Background

At the end of 2019, I decided that I wanted to move house. I’m not going to go into the ugly details, but let’s just say they were external forces that drove me to that decision. Moving house is a huge undertaking at the best of times, but I ended up moving in May 2020, during the middle of lockdown here on the island. We were delaying the move as per guidelines, but unfortunately again, other factors meant it had to go ahead. That meant my family couldn’t help me as they had planned to, and whilst I was able to use a removal firm on the day, the rest was up to me. There were many tears on the day and my parents had to watch me bawl my eyes from the doorstep (unable to come in but dropping off some food) once I got here, but with the help and advice of my mum and dad I got it together and within a couple of weeks of moving in I had everything straight.

But that’s where the rest of the work began. The house I ended up moving into had some very interesting decoration, to say the least! Pretty much none of it was to my taste, so within a couple of months of moving in I started redecorating. What can I say, I had holiday to take from work and nowhere to go with it!

Whilst I had anticipated moving, I hadn’t really considered that I’d end up spending so much free time working on the house after I moved in. It’s not a problem, and ultimately I’m happier because I’ve spent the time making this place mine. It does mean, however, that it ate into my free time for reading and played a part in my not reaching my goal of 80 books last year.

What I also didn’t expect was how lockdown would affect me. When it was first announced, I was obviously upset that I couldn’t see anyone. But, I stupidly thought to myself, right I’ve got all this time to kill – I’ll read more. How I can laugh at myself in hindsight. What I didn’t expect was how much of a distraction lockdown would be and actually… I couldn’t concentrate on reading all that much. At least, not to start with. Some days were better than others.

So you see, there were multiple factors that contributed to my not reaching my already very ambitious goal of 80 books last year. I thought I would be disappointed with myself if I didn’t, but strangely I’m not. I know I read at every opportunity I could and wanted to, and equally, I didn’t force myself to read things I didn’t want to either. When I wanted to do something different I enjoyed other hobbies… saw my friends and family (sorry, feel bad for saying it but it’s true) and did the things I wanted.

My other challenges also flopped a little. Whilst I started off well, reading less also took its toll on my attempt to read more of the older books on my TBR. I was still signing up for blog tours and such, and so these took priority and my challenge fell off the radar. My final challenge was to read more from my local library. Ha! With covid, that went down the pan too. I did check to see if I could borrow electronic editions, but most of the time they weren’t available at my library. Maybe I’ll be better at this throughout this year (once it re-opens again)? 

Anyway, there’s the background. And now, onto the books I read last year! My final end of year stats are:

I think I DNF’d the highest number of books I have ever recorded in a year in 2020. I think this is in part because I started to go through my TBR and my reading tastes have changed since I added the books several years ago. That’s not always the case… in fact, some of the best books I read last year were added to my TBR four or five years ago!

There were definitely more hits than misses. All in all, I think there was a pretty good proportion of books that I knew I was going to love and some more adventurous read that I want to try. Some of those worked, but those I put down definitely fall into that category.

To summarise this year wrap up post, here is a list of all the books I read last year and their star ratings: –

 

2020 Books

Have you read any of the books on this list? Or any of them on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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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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