Tag: monthly wrap up

Monthly Wrap-Up – January 2024

Happy Thursday February 1st, and welcome to my first monthly wrap-up of 2024! How are we one month into 2024 already? As they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

I set myself a chunky TBR back at the beginning of January. I’ve linked to that post if you want to see the full list of books I set myself. I didn’t get to all of them this month, which isn’t surprising given I set myself a list of 10! Saying that, I’ve read more than average this month, setting myself in good stead for the rest of the year (I can only hope!)

Shall we get to the recap of the books I read in January? Strap yourselves in – it’s going to be a longer post than usual!

 

Books Read

 

Gemina

Gemina was the physical read I carried over from 2023. I had only read about 40% of the book by the end of December. A solid start, but there was plenty of progress to make still!

As Gemina is a YA sci-fi written in a mixed media format, I gobbled up the rest of the book in just a couple of days. Like Illuminae, I found it difficult to put down! The way it’s written is easy to read and the different perspectives and data sources that make up this story keep the narrative interesting.

I also loved the characters within the book. There is some small overlap on characters, although broadly we enjoy two new perspectives in the overarching storyline. I can only hope all parties come together in the sequel and last in the trilogy, Obsidio.

It’s safe to say that I started off the year well; Gemina was a great first read of 2024, netting my first 5 star rating.

 

My Sister’s Keeper

In addition to Gemina, I carried over My Sister’s Keeper from 2023. At the beginning of the year, I was approximately a third of the way through this audiobook.

My Sister’s Keeper isn’t a type of book I would pick up very often, but I’m glad I did! I was drawn to it because of the synopsis and the question of morality over Anna and her lifelong role as a donor for her sister, Kate.

I loved how this book played out and the drama within. The end made me teary and I am so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to pick it up. Not everybody loves the ending of this book and I can understand why. However, I think it depends on what expectations you go into the book with. If you go into it looking for an answer to the morality question, then you may not get what you’re looking for. However, I think the book is about asking the question of ourselves – and that I did throughout reading.

 

The Girl in Seat 2A

I downloaded a copy of The Girl in Seat 2A published by Boldwood books via NetGalley. I have reviewed multiple Boldwood books through Rachael’s Random Resources tours before, and this book caught my eye.

The Girl in Seat 2A has an interesting storyline and I enjoyed the wider plot. I confess that I didn’t love the main character Jade, but that is because we are very unlike each other. I struggled to relate to her as a person, and also her circumstances, meaning that I could only invest so much into her.

Hers is not the only perspective in this book though, and it’s that second perspective that made the book for me. I also enjoy how the plot really starts to come together from this alternate perspective and the action and drama was fun to read.

If you’re interested to read my full thoughts on this book, you can find my review here.

 

Betrothal and Betrayal

Another reading obligation to include in today’s monthly wrap-up post is my read of Betrothal and Betrayal as part of a blog tour I took part in mid-month.

Betrothal and Betrayal is a fun and relatively short historical fantasy novel. With a strong, fiery, female protagonist living in a man’s world, I got everything I wanted from this book. I loved the protagonist and her unwavering resolve, despite her circumstances. She is the kind of protagonist to make a great role model for all young women, so it’s great to see represented in fiction.

I’m not going to go too far into the book here as I have already shared my review as part of the blog tour. If you want to go and see that review, I’ll provide a link here.

 

Crime and Punishment

The slowest read on January’s TBR that I include in today’s monthly wrap-up is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

And that’s not surprising. I am always slower with reading classics because I find the narrative styles differ from modern day. Until I’m used to it, there is an adjustment period. Although it took me a little longer to get into than the rest of the books on this monthly wrap-up, I still enjoyed picking it up.

In this narrative we follow the actions and fall-out of destitute student Raskolnikov murdering a moneylender. The booking itself explores mental health as that features heavily in the narrative, but also around morality of killing, and whether such actions can be washed out by any overall benefit to society as a consequence.

That is a very brief and probably not the best summary of the book, but it’s the best I can do with limited paragraph space!

 

Unmasked

The second audiobook I picked up in the month of January was Unmasked by Ellie Middleton. This is also the first non-fiction book I have picked up this year. If the rest are as good as this one, then I’m in for a good year!

The primary focus of Unmasked is about Ellie’s experience of late diagnoses of ADHD and autism. However, the book also takes an objective view of these neurodivergent conditions, as well as others, to educate readers about what it is like to interpret the world differently. Not only that, but the book explores how those who are neurodivergent are often discriminated against, and what steps we can take in society to be more accepting and accommodating.

I picked up this book to understand more about neurodivergence in general. I was surprised to find that I could relate to some of the traits of autism. That’s not to say I have autism, but it helped me appreciate overall how difficult it must be to grow up with these differences… especially if you grow up undiagnosed as most women do.

It was an eye-opening read, and if you’re interested in the subject, I would strongly recommend picking up Unmasked. I especially enjoyed listening to the audiobook as Ellie narrates this herself.

 

Sword of Vengeance

The last reading obligation I picked up in January that our feature on this monthly wrap-up post is Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. You won’t yet have seen the review for this book on my blog as it is going live tomorrow.

To date, I have enjoyed following along with the series and I’ve reviewed 2 out of the 3 prior books in the series as part of blog tours. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this fourth book of the series tomorrow. In summary, the book was everything I expected it to be based on the high expectations from reading the earlier books in the series. Again, there is a lot of action in this book, as well as underlying political intrigue which I love to read about.

I hope you can stay tuned for my review tomorrow!

 

The Black Coats

As of this monthly wrap-up post, I’m currently reading The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes and I’m 40% into the book.

It’s an enjoyable read so far and I’m loving the feminist take. I can see the action only picking up from where I’m up to, so I think I’ll have the book finished within another day or two! If you want to find out more about this book, I’ll be talking about it in more detail in the coming days. 

 

The Atlas Six

My next ongoing read at month-end is The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. As of writing this post, I’m just over 2 hours into this nearly 17 hour long book. For the stats nerds, that’s about 13%. Unlucky for some, but not me!

I’ve only really gotten introduced to the characters and basic premise so far, but I’m intrigued. There’s definitely a lot to be explored in the narrative. I’m also glad I went for audio; each character is separately cast, making it easier to follow who is who. I love the different voices and styles as well – it adds a layer of interest.

Given that I’m not too far into the book, there isn’t really much I can say right now. This is one to stay tuned to my blog for!

 

Summary

I needed to read 5 books to stay on target of 60 books by the end of the year. I let the new year excitement get away with me in setting 10 books. However, I think having a longer reading list has encouraged me to read a little more this month. It doesn’t always work this way, but it’s working at the moment!

Next month’s TBR is going to look much the same – there’s always more to read! If you’re interested to see that list, I’ll share my February TBR on Saturday! Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, what are you reading?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – December 2023

Happy New Year gang – welcome to my final monthly wrap-up post relating to 2023! In today’s post, I recap the reading progress I made over the month of December. Tomorrow, I will be publishing an overarching review of 2023 as a whole, so if you’re looking for that content keep your eyes peeled!

With festive plans and lots of catch ups, reading progress naturally slowed down a little in December. However, as I had already met my official reading goal of the year, I wasn’t too bothered about this. I did set myself an unofficial goal, however, to try and get to books before the end of the year. Did I achieve that? Find out more below!

 

Books Read

 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

I started the month of December carrying forward The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. At the end of November’s monthly wrap-up, I was just over 25% into the book.

It was refreshing to pick up a mood read for a change. If you recall that post, I picked up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes after DNFing another read on November’s TBR. I had just been to watch the film at the cinema, and I loved it.

It’s fair to say that I enjoyed the book every bit as much as the film, even if there did turn out to be those usual minuscule differences between the two. I also think knowing the ending impacted the speed of which I read this book… combined with the festive period, of course. That’s not to take away from my experience of the book though! I really enjoyed this prequel, and following on from this, I will be looking to re-read The Hunger Games trilogy this year.

 

The Success Code

With my non-fiction reading goal in mind, I picked up two non-fiction books in December. The first of those was a physical read of The Success Code by John Lees.

This book is great as it is made up of multiple short chapters. It outlines small steps we can take in order to represent ourselves as best we can, put our best foot forward and promote positive image of ourselves to others.

It’s content should be worked through sequentially, as some of the latter chapters build upon framework outlined earlier. I think that’s useful though, as this framework gives you a model to work around, rather than giving you some generic advice and expecting you to be able to implement it without any guidance. The baby step nature of it as well, stop you from getting intimidated and falling over at the first hurdle.

I’ll definitely be looking to take away some of the points brought up in this book, so it was definitely a worthwhile read!

 

Order and Chaos

My next physical read, was picking up Order and Chaos, a short story anthology. I read another anthology, contributed to by the same author that approached me, earlier this year. Having enjoyed the experience of reading that first book, it was easy to say yes to the second.

I’m not going to go too much into the details of why I enjoyed the anthology, because I have a review live on my blog that you can check out instead. In summary, though, the anthology is a fun and diverse collection of stories that all revolve around the themes of order and chaos. But, from there, are vastly different from each other! It was a nice short read that fit in perfectly around the busy Christmas period.

 

Gemina

The last book I picked up physically in the month of December is Gemina. As of the end of 2023 and this monthly wrap-up post, I have read 266 pages of Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.

Yesterday, I was under no illusion that I wasn’t going to get through this book before the end of the year. I had read just over 200 pages at the start of the night. There was no way I was going to get through the final 450… even with the best of intentions! It doesn’t matter though. Through my reading to date, I did indeed meet my unofficial (larger) goal of reading 60 books by the end of the year. There wasn’t a massive push to get this finished. I’m also happy to take this through into January and set my reading year off right!

I read the first book of the trilogy, Illuminae, earlier this year and I fell in love with it. I love the way in which the books are written, the characters (different between both books, but that doesn’t matter one iota) and the overarching story. It’s a different format to what I usually pick up, but it’s working really well for me!

 

Audiobooks

 

November Insta Poll Pick – The Minders

I left off my November monthly wrap-up post having listened to half of The Minders by John Marrs.

I listened to the second half of this audio when making gifts for Christmas. Although not a festive read, I found it compelling to follow along with whilst doing something mindless. The narrative of this story is interesting. As it’s a conspiracy thriller, we’re always pondering what we don’t know or what is going to happen next.

I liked how this audio was cast. We had a couple of different narrators (one for each gender), and the characters were differentiated well enough that we could easily follow who was who.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Minders, and for sure, it won’t be my last John Marrs book!

 

How to Win Friends and Influence People

The second non-fiction book that made it onto December’s reading list was How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

I confess I went into this book with a preconception that it was going to be a little trickier compared to The Success Code. In comparison, the second book is more modern and considerably shorter. How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1936 and the audio was around seven hours long.

In reality, How to Win Friends and Influence People was a very easy listen. Despite the age of the book, I still find a lot of the points raised in it to be relevant today. Well, some people may resent being told to smile more. But, there is definitely argument for why this can help you. Don’t worry ladies, this isn’t targeted at just us!

 

December Insta Poll Pick – My Sister’s Keeper

I ended the month of December having listened to just less than a third of My Sister’s Keeper. I wanted to pick up this book for the moral debate that makes up the vast majority of the story. Now and then I will read out of my comfort zone for a specific reason. For example, I read Me Before You in 2019 as it deals with the topic of euthanasia.

My Sister’s Keeper is about a 13-year-old girl, Anna, who was conceived as a donor match for her sister. Kate was diagnosed from a young age with an aggressive form of leukaemia. Throughout her childhood, Anna has undergone multiple procedures and surgeries in order to donate to her sister. However, the nature of her illness means more invasive treatment is required each time.

At the opening of My Sister’s Keeper, Kate is suffering from kidney failure and is in need of a transplant to save her life. Anna‘s parents expect her to undergo the surgery and give her a kidney, but she has ideas of her own.

I enjoy reading stories that take a look at some of the more difficult topics in life. It’s more than just a story to enjoy, but one to think about as well. Although I am only a third of the way through the book so far, the set up is giving me everything I was hoping this book would be, and more! It’s a nice easy listen and I hope the narrative going forward explores the issue in as much depth as it can.

 

Summary

I trust you can tell from this monthly wrap-up post that I enjoyed each and every read I picked up in December, whether I finished it or not. I’m taking forward some great books into 2024!

I have briefly mentioned that I met my unofficial goal of reading 60 books. If you want to see what other reading goals I set myself, and how I did with those, check out tomorrow’s blog post in which I take a look at my 2023 year in review.

I hope to see you in that post. But until then, thanks for checking out today’s monthly wrap-up… and happy reading!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – November 2023

Happy first of December folks and welcome to my monthly wrap-up post for November! Before that, are your Christmas decorations up yet? I confess I put up my tree and some outside lights today. The rest is to follow tomorrow.

I usually put mine up the first weekend of December. However, as I have been on leave from work this week, I decided to make my life a little bit easier tomorrow and do some of the bigger jobs. Although I say that, the outside lights only took me 10 minutes as I packed them in the same way I strung them up last year – I just had to clip it all back in place!

Anyway, let’s stop talking about the c-word and start talking about the books I read in November. I had a great month of reading! I’ve also varied how I split my reading this month, making the list more manageable. Shall we get into my monthly wrap-up post and take a look at what I picked up?

 

Books Read

 

The Shining

At the start of November, I left off from my last monthly wrap-up having only read 30 pages of The Shining. I’d wanted to read the book around Halloween, but it transpired that I only started the book that night.

So, I read the vast majority of this nearly 500 page book in November. Whilst the timing didn’t quite pan out as expected, it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book at all. On the contrary, this book was everything I have come to expect from Stephen King. Although I am not a big reader of horror in general, I will always make an effort to pick up his books.

The Shining is a classic novel, and I’m glad I finally got around to it! It was every bit as good as I expected it to be, and I can’t wait to read more of his classics in future.

 

The Vikings in the Isle of Man

It feels like many moons ago, although in reality it is not, that I featured my Norsevember post. As part of my research for that post, I read a couple of books around Vikings and their presents in the Irish Sea, including and surrounding the Isle of Man. I read the majority of The Vikings in the Isle of Man in November. I had to prioritise reading this at the beginning of the month, so I technically completed this book before The Shining.

The Vikings in the Isle of Man was an informative read and touched upon topics and themes I had also read in Vikings of the Irish Sea. It’s quite a niche topic if we’re being honest. It is only because it relates closely to home that I wanted to pick it up and share a little bit of knowledge. I appreciate it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

 

Lost Solace

Lost Solace has been on my reading list for quite some time. I’ve attempted to get round to the book for the last two or three months as well, and failed. That is, I’m pleased to say in this monthly wrap-up, until this month. At the beginning of November, I told myself that this month was the month I was going to pick it up. I’m glad I did!

If you enjoy science-fiction, and want a relatively short but action-packed novel, this would be perfect for you. Having read some related books by Karl Drinkwater before (Tales of Lost Solace), some of the characters were already familiar to me. I don’t think that specifically contributed to my enjoying the book anymore, but it was nice to go in with a degree of familiarity.

I won’t be leaving it so long to continue with this series!

 

November TBR Jar – The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz

Historical, whether fiction or non-fiction, is a genre I will enjoy going back to time and again. When I pulled The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz out of my TBR jar at the end of October, I was excited! Although a morbid subject, I have enjoyed multiple books that centre around characters and experiences around the concentration camps in World War II. Heather Morris’ books, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey, are great examples.

Every bit is harrowing,The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz is a true story of a son who could not bear to be separated from his father, and opted to go to Auschwitz with him. They had already spent a good deal of time in captivity before they were transferred to the infamous camp. Shockingly, the treatment there is not the worst they received. Towards the end of the book, I was just begging that the both of them survived. They had already been through so much.

Well researched and written, this is one of the easiest non-fiction books I have picked up in terms of readability this year.

 

Ashes of Guilt

One of the last books I picked up to physically read in November was Ashes of Guilt by Isabella Steele. I had downloaded a copy of this book through Reidy discovery in order to provide a review by the end of the month. If you haven’t yet checked out that post, you can see my thoughts from Wednesday’s review here.

Ashes of Guilt is another relatively short, but equally compulsive, read. The synopsis was a great hook into the narrative, but quickly we worked through that and found ourselves in uncharted territory.

This is the kind of book that would be a great palette cleanser, or if someone wants to dip that to a genre for a reasonably short time before moving onto something else. I read Ashes of Guilt in just a handful of days. At 222 pages, it has to be one of the shortest books I’ve read this year.

 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

For the first time in months, I have a mood read to share with you in this November monthly wrap-up. You’ll see why below.

Picking up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is absolutely because I went to watch the film on Tuesday. It’s been a long time since I went to the cinema and I had a great time watching this film. After spending over 2 and a half hours in a cinema seat, I can remember why it’s not a regular occurrence… But I had a good time nonetheless.

I’ve been threatening to pick up this book since I started re-watching the hunger games films. After watching and loving the film, I literally couldn’t wait. Often, films deviate from content in the books, and I was curious to see what extent this does. As of this post, I am just over a quarter of the way through The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and there isn’t too much variation, which is good!

 

Audiobooks

 

October TBR Jar – The Flood

Carried over from October’s monthly wrap-up post, I still had half of the audiobook of the flood to listen to this month.

I was a little late starting this considering I had already made progress with the book. I only really made progress in the last week of November. That’s because I’m not very good at listening to audiobooks in and around my normal routine. I started listening to The Flood when I was on leave from work last month. This week I have been on leave again (using the last of my holiday, can you tell?). Because I’ve been out of routine again, I’ve been able to make time to listen to the audio.

Overall, I had a good experience with The Flood. I strongly recommend listening to this book as the audio went along way towards my enjoyment of it. I didn’t anticipate the ending and I enjoyed seeing the mystery on full to reveal the truth right at the end.

 

Insta Poll Pick – The Minders

Given I had quite the number of books on this reading list, I decided to pick up the audiobook copy of The Minders. This book won my Instagram poll that I posted at the end of October. I was lucky in that I didn’t already have a copy of the book, so I had my pick of the format I went with.

This book would be great in any format, although I am again enjoying the audio. The book is told through multiple perspectives and these are told through two narrators.

As of this monthly wrap-up post, I am about halfway through The Minders. I still have just over 5 1/2 hours left of listening time, and I hope that time that I start to get some explanations as to what is going on. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is kind of a conspiracy thriller. I’m deliberately not meant to know too much about what is going on, and I am hooked to find out how the plot evolves and ultimately resolves itself.

As experiences go, this is the first time I have picked up a John Marrs book and I doubt it will be the last!

 

Books DNF’d

 

The Witches – Salem, 1692: A History

We have a rare feature in today’s monthly wrap-up post – a DNF. It was quite a decisive one at that too. I ultimately made it through 30 pages of The Witches before I threw in the towel.

The writing style at the beginning was fine. The opening chapter is an introduction to events as they happened, including the numbers of people who died as a result of the witch trials, and a summary of the evidence available to the author, when putting together the book. In short, not much. It was the next chapter that threw me off completely.

I cannot help but feel that in the absence of tangible information, the author, then decided to fill in the gaps with pure fantasy and presented as. For example, the scene describes how two women flew on broomsticks to a given meeting location. This may be what they have been accused of, but presenting it as fact really didn’t sit well with me. It felt like filler and already had me questioning the information I’d been told.

The book is a reasonably lengthy one for a non-fiction, and I’ve already made my mind up at the 30 page mark that I wasn’t a fan. Had I struggled on, I wouldn’t of enjoyed the experience and could well have put myself in a readings lump because I didn’t want to pick it up. Frankly, life is too short… and my reading list is too long. So, onwards we go. Now you know why I picked up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes instead – the timing of this DNF coincided with me watching the film!

 

Summary

In all, I had a great month. I picked up some varied and interesting reads. That was one miss two, but I didn’t let myself dwell on that one for too long!

In addition to reading some great books, I also met my Goodreads reading challenge of completing 50 books this year very early this month, which is cause for a pat on the back. Last year I read 47 books, so to be going into December having read 55 already is a great achievement. Am I unofficially pushing for 60 by the end of the year? Absolutely!

Here’s hoping for some great reads to get me there. If you’re keen to find out which books I will be picking up in December, I will be sharing my reading list early next week. Stay tuned!

Until then, happy reading!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – October 2023

Good evening readers and welcome to this monthly wrap-up post for October! I had a pretty good month with reading progress, and I have plenty to share with you in today’s post.

In October, I had a few reading commitments towards the end of the month. That gave me plenty of time to read those books first and then make it to my chosen mood reads later on.

Shall we dive into my recap for October in earnest?

 

Books Read

 

Priest of Bones

My first read I feature in today’s monthly wrap-up post is actually a carryover from September. I started Priest of Bones at the very end of September, and ended up reading all but the first three chapters in October!

I had high hopes for Priest of Bones. I feel like it is one of those books that got a lot of hype. Do I feel it lived up to expectation though? Not particularly. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book. It was a decent read and I ultimately rated it three stars. I may continue on with the series, but I’m undecided as of right now.

 

The Puppet Maker

After reading Priest of Bones, I started making headway into my ‘fixed reads’ on October’s TBR. The Puppet Maker is the first of the blog tours I was taking part in during October, with my review due on the 20th.

The Puppet Maker was an opportunity to read a genre I haven’t picked up in a while. I have read mysteries, but not so much with a police procedural element. I enjoyed this change of scenery, so to speak. The book is also uniquely enjoyable for its representation of life as a new wheelchair user. Alana is the protagonist to this story, and she has to navigate multiple complex cases whilst personally coming to terms with her own personal tragedies.

If you want to check out my full review of the book you can find that here.

 

Warrior Prince

My next read, also for a blog tour, had me reading something new again. I’ve enjoyed multiple historical fiction novels featuring Vikings, but not outside modern-day England.

In Warrior Prince, we adventure along with exiled Harald Sigurdsson and his men throughout modern Eastern Europe. This new setting and political landscape made for a complete change to what I’m used to, and I loved that. There is a lot of conflict (not to be unexpected really) and complex character arcs/relations that drive the plot well.

Again, if you like the sound of this book and want to read my full thoughts, I’ll pop a link to my review here.

 

Cinderella’s Crimes

The last of my obligations for the month was to provide a review for Cinderella’s Crimes by the 31st October. Cinderella’s Crimes is a fairytale retelling with a lot darker nature than the traditional and well known version of the story.

Instead of sitting at home and hoping to attend the ball, Cinna takes matters into her own hands. In competition with her best friend Johann, she conducts a heist and aims to come out the better off of the two. She’s ruthless and cunning in pursuit of her revenge.

Cinderella’s Crimes is a fast paced tale and I liked how the events unfolded. As I’ve reviewed the book, you can check out my thoughts using this link.

 

TBR Jar – The Flood

My final ‘fixed read’ of October was my TBR Jar pick for the month. I have picked up The Flood by listening to the audiobook version. The narrator’s style is really lending itself to the book and genre. The story is compelling and the characters are clearly hiding things from us at the moment. I’m enjoying the dual timeline and I’m curious to see how this will come together at the end.

I’m carrying The Flood over into November to complete it. As of this monthly wrap-up post, I am coming up halfway through the book.

 

Surrounded by Idiots

Whilst reading the physical/ebook fixed reading list above, I also listened to Surrounded by Idiots.

I wanted to pick up the book as the content closely correlated to a work course I took recently. The two ended up complementing each other well, and now I feel I have some practical tips to take away. Taking the time to progress with the audiobook has also meant that it’s a subject I’ve gotten used to paying attention to and actively thinking about… which you have to if you want to make the most of the content!

Surrounded by Idiots was really informative and I’m glad I took the initiative to follow up on the content of the course through that audiobook when I did.

 

September’s Instagram poll runner up – Killing for Company

The last book I completed pretty much in full in October is Killing for Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen by Brian Masters.

I added the book to my reading list three years ago, and it came up as the contender against Priest of Bones in my Instagram poll pick in September. It was always my plan to read the winner in September and the runner up in October; it’s ironic that I ended up reading both in October, but there we go!

Killing for Company is a grisly non-fiction about the life of Dennis Nilsen, who in adult life went on to murder 15 men and attempt taking the lives of several others. It’s not a book for those sensitive to grisly detail. It’s an intimate account of what happened for each of the men, as well as exploring the life and psychology of the man who fully admitted to and provided full accounts to the police about perpetrating the crimes upon capture.

 

The Shining

It was my intention to pick up and read The Shining late on in the month for Halloween (or Hop Tu Naa here). As it happens, I picked up the book to read the first 30 pages or so after visiting family that night.

Naturally, I’m currently continuing with my read of the book and I’ll be in a position to tell you more in my next monthly wrap-up!

 

Summary

Whilst I have carried a couple of reads over to November, I have managed to pick up everything on my October TBR, and a little more besides. I haven’t included that in this post, but you’ll see the fruit of that labour on my blog soon!

I’m looking forward to an equally productive November! Stay tuned for November’s Monthly TBR going live on Saturday.

Thanks for checking out today’s monthly wrap-up and until then, happy reading!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2023

Pinch, punch, first of the month! Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly wrap-up post! It’s the beginning of a new month, so I’m excited to recap what I’ve been reading with you.

At the beginning of next week I’ll be sharing my September reading list with you. I hope you can join me for that on Monday. In the meantime, let’s take a look at my reading progress compared to last month’s TBR! I had high hopes of completing this TBR even though I put more on it in anticipation of reading more in my time off work. I did read more, but I had a good number of books on the list… and a few chunky ones as that.

Let’s recap my reading progress throughout August!

 

Books Read

 

The City of a Thousand Faces

August’s TBR was a mix of genres, mediums and book lengths. I started the month with my ‘fixed read’ that fell in middle ground in terms of length.

The City of a Thousand Faces is not your typical fantasy in terms of setting. We explore a city in a fantasy setting that reminded me very much of real life cities like Istanbul. Think arid landscapes, powerful sultans etc.

At 560 pages, this fantasy made for good exploration of a new world. The book can only be titled The City of a Thousand Faces as each character seems to have at least two – metaphorically of course! The characters and the plot are political in nature, and there was an awful lot of backstabbing!

The City of a Thousand Faces made for an okay read. It wasn’t my favourite book of the month, but I was interested to see how events concluded. It’s the most neutral review in this monthly wrap-up; the experience got better from here on out. 

 

Spike

The first a non-fiction book I picked up throughout August was Spike. If you think it is a little early to pick up and read books about the pandemic, then maybe hold off this one for a little while. If you do decide to pick it up, then I hope, like me, you find this an interesting and insightful read.

The book offers insight into the handling of the pandemic. We start looking at events from a global scale before narrowing its focus to the UK’s handling of the pandemic from the point at which it landed on our shores. There were insights in this book that are both shocking and in equal measure unsurprising. That may sound contradictory… but hear me out. What is shocking is how lackadaisical some of the approaches were when the pandemic was in its early phases. In ways, it is unsurprising based on who those individuals are!

I quite enjoyed this read, even when you take into consideration the topic and the consequences of this event has had our lives as we know it. The pandemic has impacted us for a number of years already and will continue to do so. This book only touches on a relatively short period of time and there may well be more to add to this at a later date. Should such a book come out, I would definitely read this one as well.

 

Ship of Destiny

The longest book on my August TBR that we’ll talk about in this monthly wrap-up was Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. I’ve been looking forward to this conclusion to The Liveship Trader trilogy – and for very good reason! These books are very quirky in their fantasy set up, and at last we see the events over the prior 1800 odd pages lead characters into their destinies.

With prior Hobb books, I have on occasion felt the length and depth of the storylines. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed them. However, I am very conscious of the fact I’m reading them, and that I’m having to read quite a lot in order to get through the page count. That wasn’t the case with Ship of Destiny at all. I was so invested in the narrative that the pages flew by, despite the dense storyline and events to take in. I’d go so far to say that I think Ship of Destiny is my favourite Hobb book so far!

 

A Brief History of Time

My second non-fiction read of the month was A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. This book pushed me out of my comfort zone because it is quite technical (and I am not). I enjoyed the concept of science and space despite not being so versed in complex, physical and mathematical equations and concepts. This book has those in abundance, although Stephen Hawking does do his best to explain these in simplified and practical examples.

Even though I’m not technically minded, I was able to read A Brief History of Time on a relatively superficial level and still find it interesting. I’m sure there is plenty more that other readers could get out of the book. However, I will save that for them. Although it is a science book, you don’t have to be too scientifically minded to understand the theories, principles, and discussion points that Stephen Hawking brings up throughout.

 

Leadership and Culture

Non-fiction isn’t a genre I read a whole lot of, although you know by now that I am trying to read more it. My third and last non-fiction on my August TBR and for inclusion in this monthly wrap-up is Leadership and Culture. I read this book whilst I was off work and managed to read it quite quickly. As someone who is invested in improving office culture and would be interested in a management position in future, I wanted to read this book ahead of that time to effectively set myself up.

This book has a lot of practical examples of do’s and don’t’s when it comes to management versus leadership. These are all examples I have seen in the workplace and felt their effects as well. I’m sure everyone has! For anyone who currently is in a management position and wishes to make improvements, the book is full of practical tips in order to identify or work on sticking points. Although I’m not necessarily in a position to adopt any of these now, I am in a position to encourage the healthy habits that some of these tips try to adopt. I can help encourage others to speak out by speaking out for myself, for example.

 

Wizard and Glass

The last book to feature in today’s monthly wrap-up is my final read of August, Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. I was determined not to leave it another four years before I returned to The Dark Tower series. It’s not even been four months… I’m sure you’re proud of me! On a serious note, I really enjoyed going back to the series and exploring the narrative and history of the world in a little bit of a different way. Whereas previous books hint at prior events and leave a lot to the imagination, this book seems to have more of a focus on building up that backstory.

It’s no wonder I didn’t get to the end of this before the end of the month, all things considered. This book is nearly 900 pages in itself as well! 

 

Summary

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to Lost Solace. It was ambitious to try and tack this onto the end of what is already an extensive reading list. It’s not going away though. As I didn’t get to it in August, expect this to feature on September’s TBR coming out on Monday next week.

Over the course of August I read in excess of 2,500 pages. That’s an average of 80 pages a day, so not insignificant at all. I needed to read 107 pages a day in order to get through my reading list. That was quite an ambitious target! If I had no other plans for my time off work, this may have been a possibility. The fact is, I did use that time off for other things as well. I still made fantastic reading progress and I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved!

That concludes this monthly wrap-up post. What books have you been reading recently? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – July 2023

Happy August friends and welcome to my monthly wrap-up post for the month of July! As always, I set myself a colossal TBR and didn’t get around to all the books on it, but that’s okay. I still read a decent amount. I’ve also taken time out to enjoy doing other things as and when I wanted.

Let’s take a look at what I read in the last month!

 

Books Read

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

I started off the month of July by finishing one of the last reads I picked up at the end of June. The House in the Cerulean Sea was a heartwarming read that I didn’t know I needed, but I was a big fan of. I talk about that book a little bit more in my June wrap-up, if you’re interested.

I was pleasantly surprised by the narrative, characters, and how invested I got in the book. It’s an experience that I’ll be looking to repeat when picking up more books by T.J. Klune.

 

Death at the Caravan Park

My next priority in terms of reading for July was to pick up Death at the Caravan Park by Susan Willis. I agreed to provide a review for the recent blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

In part, I decided to pick it up because it has been a little minute since I picked up a cosy crime. It’s not a genre I read a lot of, but it was a change that was well received. The setting of the book was quite relatable to me in that it was set in a seaside town. Living on a small island, I’ve never really far away from the sea myself! I’ve also stayed at a caravan park before, and I have known characters very similar to that in the book.

If you want to check out my full thoughts on that book, here is a link to my blog tour review post.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Having read and enjoyed another work of fiction that largely features mental health recently, I was excited for this book to come out of my TBR Jar. If you’re not familiar, I have a jar on my bookshelf, full of scraps of paper with book titles from my reading list to pick from randomly.

July’s pick ended up being Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I was also quite pleased that this book finally made it onto the reading list as it has been on my radar for the last five years. It was probably one of the oldest books on my reading list at that point, so it was about due to come up!

Whilst I had an idea that the book revolved around mental health, I didn’t really know much more about it. Aside from that, it has a gripping plot with intriguing characters and takes you on a journey you don’t expect. I enjoyed this book so much that I read pretty much the second half of it in one day! I’d ended up arriving early for a hospital appointment (just a routine check, nothing sinister) so I started my reading that day while sat in my car waiting. I continued to read all that evening until I was finished. Just don’t ask me how late to bed I was that night…

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is it very easy, five-star rating for me, and arguably, it was one of the best books I read in July!

 

Storm of War

Although not strictly for a blog tour itself, I picked up Storm of War by Peter Gibbons as I am reviewing the next book in the series later this week. With this in mind, I had to catch up on that first.

The events of Storm of War follow on quite nicely from Warrior and Protector. I was able to pick up the story and characters very easily, and the action packed narrative we saw in that first book definitely carried through!

If you enjoy historical fiction set in 10th century Britain, then the series is definitely one I’d recommend picking up. The narrative style is nice and easy to get on with. I also enjoy the amount of action and political machinations in the book. I feel there is a perfect balance to feel authentic for the period, and keep us guessing what happens next.

Storm of War set the foundation nicely to be able to pick up my current read, Brothers of the Sword.

 

Cytonic

Drawing with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson was also one of my favourite reads of the month. This third instalment in the Skyward series is, in my opinion, the best so far! That’s not to detract from the previous books, because they have laid down a lot of the groundwork that enable us to get stuck in with Cytonic.

Each of the books so far have been quite different in terms of the setting and plot arc. I’ve enjoyed each of them for different reasons, but I really invested into this latest narrative. Spensa is finally discovering who and what she is, and more about the universe around her. Having spent her life previously as an isolated young woman, there is only so far Sanderson was able to take the world building. There has been a lot of teasing and unveiling in order to keep us interested, but in Cytonic, everything blooms!

Also, I’m happy to have read the book and be caught up with the series, although I’m even more excited about the fact that this won’t be true for long. The next book in the series, Defiant, comes out in November!

 

Brothers of the Sword

As of the end of July, I just finished up my read of Brothers of the Sword by Peter Gibbons. As I’ve already mentioned above, I am due to be reviewing the book very shortly for the upcoming blog tour.

Even though I enjoyed Storm of War, I can very happily say that I enjoyed Brothers of the Sword even more. Without giving anything away, the author definitely isn’t pulling his punches on the events of this third book in the series. Set in a brutal time period where Vikings and Saxons clash amongst each other, there is always lots of action and plenty of risk to have us questioning the safety of characters we have come to love. In my opinion, the action scenes are written very well in order to balance action with detail to make for a vivid experience.

I finished Brothers of the Sword just in the nick of time for this monthly wrap-up! Well, I finished it at about 12:10am this morning, but that was before I slept for the night. In my eyes, that counts!

 

Summary

Once again, I didn’t get to the end of my ambitious reading list. I’m okay with that though! I set the list as a way of trying to push myself, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t finish either. The truth is, I’ve enjoyed the reading experience I’ve had this month. Yet, I’ve still allowed for other hobbies and things I need to do.

It’s not going to stop me from setting another ambitious reading list in the next couple of days… let’s be honest! At least I have some time off during August to make a considerable attempt at it.

So, here concludes my monthly wrap-up for July 2023! Have you read any of the books I have featured in today’s list? Have any of them caught your eye to pick up for yourself? As always, I’d love to have a natter in the comments or on social media, so let’s chat!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – June 2023

Hello friends and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post for June! Overall, it has been a very good month of reading. All the books I completed were five star reads. One blip I had in the month resulted in a book going on hold. It’s not so much that there is anything wrong with the book. However, I just found that trying to read it when I did wasn’t the right time. I’ll explain more about that later.

In my June TBR, I set myself an ambitious goal. I didn’t get around to one of the books at all, but that’s okay. It will still be waiting for me whenever I am ready to pick it up!

Shall we dive into this monthly wrap-up and take a look at what I read in the month of June?

 

Books Read

 

A Clash of Kings

I started off with a re-read of a favourite book. As I mentioned in a few other posts on my blog this year, there are rumblings about the next book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, (a.k.a. Game of Thrones), coming out in the near future. With that in mind, I wanted to start a re-read of the series this year, so I can pick this next instalment up whenever it comes out.

I really enjoyed going back to this second book in the series. Whilst I’ve read the first book more times than I have continued with the series, that’s not to say that they are any less good. I ended up making progress through this book in a variety of different ways. I predominantly read this book using my paperback copy, however, there were occasions where I dipped into my kindle version, and also the audiobook copy I have.

It’s rare that I will read a book like this. However, given the size of the book, and the effective time constraint I had set myself to read it (so I could get to the rest of my books in June), this ended up being a good way of helping me progress at times when I couldn’t physically pick the book up.

 

The Lost Metal

The next book I picked up in the month was the final instalment in the Mistborn second era, The Lost Metal. This book came out in November last year. Being a reasonably recent publication, getting copies of this book isn’t exactly the cheapest right now. Fortunately for me, my library had a copy. So, I decided to borrow this one.

Reading and finishing this book was a bittersweet experience. I absolutely love the book, the storyline, and all the characters we’ve come to know and love over this four-part series. The ending was great, even though it made me very mad. No spoilers, but the ending was incredibly clever, high-stakes and heartbreaking! Me being me, I ended up finishing this book quite late on one night as I couldn’t possibly put it down with just 50 pages left. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night as I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

I really hope Brandon Sanderson comes back to this series and writes a third era. Personally, I loved how he built upon his already established world. He created the brilliant first era trilogy, and then advanced upon it for the second era. If he can do the same thing again, then I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

 

The Midnight Library

Next, I decided to pick up a relatively short read. At just under 300 pages, this has to be one of the shortest books I’ve picked up in the year so far. It was no less impactful despite its size. The Midnight Library is a book that puts a strong lens on mental health and gives us readers a chance to explore what it might be like to feel as if you have nothing left to live for.

I would definitely recommend it to anybody to read at some point in their lifetime. Through this short narrative, we explore ideas of what it would be like to live different lives. How would our lives be different if we made a different decision at a given time? I went into this book knowing this was the concept and with some ideas of themes the book would explore. In reality, it ends up doing a lot more than that. When I purchased my copy of this book, the bookseller told me that it had changed his outlook on life. I would also agree.

Although the narrative follows of one character and her vast exploration of alternative lives she could have lived, and what she learns about herself in the process, I found myself thinking about myself in that same way. In a way, this book taught me about my fundamental beliefs. It taught me what was important to me, the things I would never change about myself, even if I had the chance. It taught me that I should, and can, appreciate even the smallest things… because they can make all the difference.

This was the first time I had ever read a book written by Matt Haig, and it definitely won’t be the last!

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The last book I picked up in the month was The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. Much like The Midnight Library, the author of this book was a new one to me. It is an author I had also heard great things about, so I went into the book wondering if I could live up to the hype. It definitely did!

I had initially started this book after recognising that Children of Dune wasn’t really working for me. I ended up starting the first couple of chapters, and then putting it down to try and push through Children of Dune, before ultimately coming back to it.  Whereas that book wasn’t working for me because it is a very serious, political science-fiction narrative, The House in the Cerulean Sea is quite the opposite. It is lighthearted and fantastical.

In this narrative, we experience the life of Linus Baker, a caseworker who was sent on a special assignment to a classified orphanage way outside of his normal life. The orphanage is classified because it is home to potentially dangerous magical children… and one of the residents in particular makes the governing body nervous.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is really a heartwarming read. It also ended up being an apt book to pick up in June (albeit I finished the book in July), as it contains a number of queer characters. I really enjoyed the relationships that built up throughout the narrative. Although that’s not something I actively seek out in a book, it ended up working really well in this narrative. It wasn’t forced or shoehorned in for the sake of inclusion. Rather, it felt very natural.

Based on my experience of this book, I will definitely be reading more of T.J. Klune.

 

DNF / Hold

Children of Dune

As I briefly mentioned above, I attempted to pick up and read Children of Dune this month. In the end, I only made it to around 150 pages before I decided that this particular read isn’t working for me right now.

The Dune series is a very serious and dense political science-fiction. It’s not the type of book that I can or will pick up every day. Whilst I have enjoyed the series so far, and to an extent, I did still enjoy what I read this month, I just didn’t have the mental stamina for it. The 150 pages I did read was done over the course of a week. As far as my reading speed goes, that’s terrible! I was also finding that I wanted to read, but I wasn’t reading very much of this book at a time (and that’s if I did my persuade myself to pick it up – there are plenty of times I distracted myself with other things deliberately).

In the end, I decided to own up to the fact that it wasn’t working, and I have put this book on hold for now.

 

Summary

I may not have gotten to all the books I intended to pick up in June, and although I have one book that I put on hold, I’ve had a good reading month otherwise. It’s rare to have read so many books that have been so highly rated and made such a profound effect on me. I’ve also discovered two new authors this month that I want to read more from in the future!

So, here concludes my monthly wrap-up post for June 2023! Have you read any of the books I picked up in the month of June? Are any of them on your reading list?

Check in on my blog later this week, as I will be sharing the books I intend to pick up throughout July. I hope you can join me for that!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – February 2023

Good evening and welcome to my wrap-up post for February 2023! I set myself a lofty goal for February, which equated to attempting to read around 107 pages a day.

This was ambitious and I’m not surprised that I haven’t achieved it. However, I am really happy with the reading progress I’ve made. I’ve picked up the majority of the books I set out to, and I have read books from a diverse range of authors in line with it being Black History Month!

Let’s take a look at the books I picked up throughout the month!

 

Books Read

 

The Chimp Paradox

When I drafted my monthly wrap-up post for January, I was 72% into The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. If you want to know my feelings on the book, then it’s probably best to go and check out that post. In short, I decided to whip through to the end of this book relatively quickly. This last little push on progress didn’t take too long and I swiftly moved on to my February TBR!

 

The House of Fortune

Next, I picked up the last book I had hoped to read in January. I picked up a copy of The House of Fortune from my local library.

Having read mixed reviews on the book, I didn’t want to commit to buying a copy if I didn’t enjoy it all that much. As it happens, this was a fairly decent read. I didn’t enjoy all of the characters individually, but the overall story comes together really well. I managed to read and return my copy to the library in just over a week. Not bad going really!

 

Illuminae

For my next read, I decided to change pace and genre completely.

Illuminae is written in a mixed media format. The story is told through messaging exchanges between characters, as well as interviews, logs, and other mixed written accounts. If you are a fan of books written in this style, such as The Appeal by Janice Hallett, then this will definitely suit you. I enjoyed the sci-fi setting in combination with this writing style. The different ways in which events are recounted really fit in with the storyline and the events that take place.

Although Illuminae is one of the longer books on my February TBR, it didn’t take that long to read. It being written in the style it was made it really easy to digest, and, in some cases, the word count per page is a lot less than you’d expect if you were reading traditional prose.

 

Becoming

In my next read, I change genre and pace yet again. Going back to a more traditional written format, I picked up a memoir by Michelle Obama – her first book called Becoming.

Becoming was the perfect book to read in fitting with this month’s theme of black history month, and also ticking a box towards my goal of reading more non-fiction. It also turned out to be a brilliant read. Although I’m not overly invested or interested in politics, I felt that Becoming struck the right balance of incorporating the struggles Michelle and Barack experienced in the early chapters of their life, up until their days in the White House. This book is not really political and doesn’t push too much of an agenda.

I expected to enjoy it, but I thought it was going to be more political. I’m glad that it wasn’t as it suited me perfectly.

 

The Rise of the Dragon

I went back to a favourite world in picking up The Rise of the Dragon by George R.R. Martin. I was very lucky to receive a copy of this book as an early birthday present, and it was only fitting I read it this month. The Rise of the Dragon covers the early history of the Targaryens, but in a way that is approachable to all readers. I have read Fire and Blood, the first detailed book of the Targaryen history. This is written more like a chronicle, with a lot of information, analysis and opinion.

That’s absolutely fine if you enjoy that style and are a big fan of the series. However, if you want an overview of the history and the events that run up to the main series (or the history featured in the TV spin off – House of the Dragon), then The Rise of the Dragon is better suited. It is also full of beautiful and detailed illustrations. I really enjoyed going through these as I was reading the stories and enjoying the varied artistry styles.

 

Africa Risen

My last read of the month is my current read, Africa Risen. This is a short story anthology, featuring speculative fiction written by black authors. This book is my book club read with Ezeekat’s book club. Whilst I haven’t completed the book in time for the end of the month, I can still offer some feedback on what I’ve read so far.

I am enjoying this collection of short stories. There are similar themes throughout these tales which are from a completely different perspective I never thought of before. There are some more obvious themes, including identity, racism, slavery, and mistreatment. But there are plenty others. For example, water features repeatedly in the stories in a completely different way to western novels. Whereas in the latter, it is a very basic, mundane and uninteresting element, that is not the case in the stories. Water is revered as life-giving, revitalising, and something special.

To a society that has an abundance of it, there is definitely a completely different attitude to it. And that’s something I’ve never thought of before, even though it is obvious in hindsight.

As of this monthly wrap-up post, I am 68% through Africa Risen. I’m hoping to finish this book very soon; my intention is to finish it within the next day or two, so then I can move onto my March TBR!

 

DNF’s

None to report this month!

 

Unread

I had hoped to pick up another couple of books throughout the month.

The first of these two as a relatively short book at just under 300 pages – The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean. I’ve been looking to pick up this book for a couple of months, and I was hoping it was going to be a good and short palate cleanser to help keep momentum going. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to this one. However, I would like to try and pick it up soon.

The second book on my list is a fairly recent acquisition – In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Aketstrom. I would have been extremely happy if I’d made it to the end of the month having started the book. It’s obviously not quite panned out the way I had hoped, but never mind! I have still read plenty throughout the month and pushed myself to do so, whilst still balancing my time. That was what I set out to do.

 

That’s *all* for today’s monthly wrap-up post for February.

Have you read any of the books featured in this post? What have you been 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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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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