Tag: reading

Monthly TBR – May 2022

Hello and welcome to my Monthly TBR for May! It’s the beginning of yet another month and so it’s time to share what I plan to read over the next few weeks with you! I have some great books on the list and as always, I’m going to try and give myself time to fit in a couple of mood reads. Even just one would be nice. I haven’t managed to get to any over the last couple of months, so I’m setting myself a slightly reduced fixed list in the hope that I can get there this month!

 

Fixed Reads

Crowfall

It feels kind of weird to feature this book in a way, because not only has it been on my last few TBR’s, but also because I am over two thirds through the book as of writing this post. I picked up Crowfall right at the beginning of this month after just finishing Ravencry, its predecessor. We are now a few days into May and I’ve been flying through this book – so much so that I’m hoping to finish this one very very soon!

So yes, it feels a bit strange, because I’m featuring it at a time when I’m about to finish it!

 

The Duke and I

The Duke and I was on my ‘mood read list’ last month, but as you know, I didn’t get round to it. That’s not the end of the world, because what I’ve taken to doing (if I can) is bump my mood reads up onto my fixed list if I still want to read them the following month. And I really do want to give this ago!

I’m still not 100% sure if this will be my cup of tea as it’s more of a romance than I’m used to reading. But, I do enjoy historical fiction and so I’m willing to give it a go for that reason. I have also really enjoyed The Netflix TV shows based on these books, so I’m hopeful that this will be an exception to the rule instead of a DNF! Having not long taken part in a contradictions book tag, that post has reminded me that sometimes we can be surprised by what we like when we don’t expect to, but also vice versa!

 

Empire of the Vampire

Another reason why I am setting a slightly smaller reading list this month is because I am picking up this chunk of a book.

At over 700 pages in its own right, this is going to be a substantial read. Maybe not quite enough to equate to 2 books of average length (for me), but it’s still plenty to be sinking my teeth into. The pun was fully intended!

As a general rule, I’m not big on vampire stories either, but that’s not to say I can’t enjoy them. I have enjoyed elements of them in the past, and frankly, I’m willing to overlook the fact because this is written by Jay Kristoff. I loved his Nevernight series and I autobought this book on that basis – that’s how much I loved them! I’ve also seen reviews that it has a very Patrick Rothfuss-y ‘The Name of the Wind’ vibe about its narration, and I’m all for that too!

 

Mood Reads

Dune Messiah

I just bought myself a copy of Dune Messiah at my local Waterstones the other day (not a spoiler because I’ve already shared it on my Instagram) and I want to read it – soon!

I saw this on a whim, but as I have the first book in paperback, I decided to pick this up, as well as the third book of the series (Children of Dune), with some vouchers I had. Not only have I watched the new film recently, but I did also read that first book of the series earlier this year. And I really enjoyed it, so whilst it’s fresh in my mind I’m thinking this might be my next good book to read. It’s also comparatively short at around 300 pages, so quite digestible. It will be a good one to pick up if I want something more concise.

 

Death of Kings

I’ve started watching the fourth series of The Last Kingdom in the last week, and it’s reminded me that I have the next book in the series yet to pick up. Technically the events in this book cover what occurred at the end of the last series, but I really don’t mind! I want to keep going with the series because I’m really loving the setting, the characters and the overall conflict that keeps rearing its head. As a fan of historical fiction it ticks a lot of boxes for me. And, it’s been awhile since I picked the last one up… so it’s about time I got stuck back in!

 

I may have pencilled in what I think my mood reads are going to be, they are precisely that – mood reads. That means that whilst these are books I want to pick up now, I might change my mind when it comes to it. If I want to pick up something totally different then that’s okay. I find giving myself the time to pick up something on a whim suits me. It keeps my reading motivation up and keeps it fun. It’s only my hobby, after all!

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2022

Welcome to today’s Monthly Wrap-Up for April 2022! We are already a third of the way through the year and honestly, time is flying once again! In today’s post I want to talk about the books I’ve been reading throughout the month of April, as well as provide a little commentary on where I’m up to with my 2022 Goodreads Challenge.

Get yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable!

 

Books Read

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My first read of the month, carried forward from March, was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. This is the longest read on my list so far this year; even having started and read a couple of hundred pages in March, I still had around five hundred to go to get to the end of this epic! And epic this story is! I’m glad that I’ve completed my reread of the Harry Potter series; it’s one that I loved as a teenager as I grew up with them. I’m pleased to say that even reading them through the perspective of somebody little bit older, they still have all the appeal they did when I read them first.

 

The Thursday Murder Club

Next, I moved on to something a lot more lighthearted, and a book that I was recommended to read. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman was a completely different ballpark, but I loved every second of this one as well! I say this one was lighthearted, but there was one section in the story really took me by surprise. There are a couple of chapters in the book that take a very sudden turn, and whilst their inclusion in such a generally lighthearted book meant that the chapters had more impact, they made me cry.

This was another fantastic read overall. I loved the characters and the story in general, because I had me questioning everybody and their motive to see if I could get to the bottom of the story before the end of the book. The writing had me questioning pretty much everybody had some point, so it was really good in that respect! I’m definitely going to continue to read more of these books. If you like the idea of a whodunnit, but with a private investigation being led by more geriatric members of society, then you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.

 

Ravencry

Ravencry

Lastly, I read Ravencry by Ed McDonald in the month of April. Having read and loved Blackwing at the end of February/early March, I knew I wanted to continue the trilogy in full. I read these books originally over 3 years ago now and loved them – so much so that I’ve gone on to gift two copies of this trilogy to friends.

Picking this up again has been great for me. I have enjoyed having the confidence in knowing that I’m going to enjoy a book, especially at a time where things aren’t exactly all that great in the world, and a guaranteed pick me up is a blessing. You have probably gathered that my overall reading speed isn’t the same as it was a couple of years ago either, and whilst I’m certainly not trying to break any records or push myself too hard, I would like to be reading a little bit more than I am.

Picking up books by fantastic authors such as Ed McDonald really help motivate me to do so!

 

Ideally, I would’ve liked to have picked up Crowfall, the last book on my ‘set list’ before the end of the month. I set myself another ambitious list last month with the aim of trying to pick up my books. But, the beauty of having mood reads is that it doesn’t matter so much if I don’t get round to them. Naturally, I would like to get to a point where I have a little bit of freedom of choice with my reading (because that’s the format I’m setting myself this year – a fixed reading list and then potentially a couple where I have flexibility if I complete the set list).

At the same time, I’m not beating myself up about it either. You may not know, but I am currently studying for an exam that I’m sitting at the end of June. Whilst it’s not a large one by any means, I’ve been working through the content nice and early so I’ve got plenty of time to iron out the kinks and work out what I need to work on a little bit more. I’ve put in a lot of hours this month towards studying. In reality, if I had put that time into reading instead I would have completed my reading list very early this month. But, priorities are priorities. The fact that I’ve achieved both, as well as continuing to blog, is something I’m proud of!

 

Goodreads Challenge Update

In my monthly wrap-up posts, I am yet to comment on where am I with regards to my Goodreads Challenge for this year. I’ve therefore decided to add this review to this post, and I will also be looking at my progress in my August month-end review, and finally again at the end of the year.

As I say above, I’ve not been reading as much as I have historically, but the great news is I am perfectly on track with my Goodreads Challenge. As of drafting this post I am neither ahead nor behind. At this stage it’s a great confidence booster, because it means I don’t have to put any pressure on myself to catch up, but equally I’ve not set myself a challenge that is too easy. There have been a couple of years where I have set myself challenges and then up to them at a later date as I underestimated my capabilities. So far, it doesn’t look like I have to do that this year.

For a quick recap, here is a list of books I have read so far this year: –

  1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  2. The Feedback loop
  3. Dune
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  5. Clockwork Magpies
  6. Son of Mercia
  7. The Diary of a Young Girl
  8. Blackwing
  9. Keep You Safe
  10. Lean In
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  12. The Thursday Murder Club
  13. Ravencry

What I hope this list also demonstrates is that I am picking up a variety of books. There is fantasy and science fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical fiction and even a couple of non-fiction books. For someone who doesn’t read a lot of non-fiction generally, I’m really happy that I’ve managed to squeeze two into such a short list!

So there you have it – my monthly wrap-up post for April 2022! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and you are looking forward to finding out what I’m going to be reading in May. If you are, keep your eyes peeled for a post going live in the next couple of days!

What have you been reading? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Monthly TBR – April 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly TBR for April. I’m really excited to be sharing the books I plan to pick up within the next few weeks! 

I didn’t get through all of my reading list for March. I did set myself an ambitious list and so I’m neither surprised nor disappointed by this fact. I knew when I prepared the list it was very likely I was going to carry some forward through to April – so most of the books on this month’s list have already been shared on last month’s TBR! 

Let’s see what I’m going to be reading very soon!

 

Fixed Reads

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

I will be opening the month with my current read carried over from March, being Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. I’m currently around halfway through this book and I’m excited to complete my reread of the series! I last read this book around nine years ago now, so I am keen to read this book again and experience it from a more mature perspective!

 

The Thursday Murder Club

I have been loaned a copy of The Thursday Murder Club by my sister’s boyfriend, Chris, to read. I didn’t quite get round to this one last month, but I still cannot wait to pick this up! I’ve heard great things about this book, in particular the characters and the humour!

 

Ravencry & Crowfall

I added Ravencry and Crowfall to my ‘mood read list’ last month, but since I didn’t get round to them I’ve decided I’m adding them to my fixed list for April! I have a couple of other ‘mood reads’ in mind that I’d like to pick up, and so the progression onto my fixed reading list felt natural!

Having recently re-read Blackwing, the first book in the series, I got really excited for the series again. So naturally, I wanted to read it all again as opposed to just the first book! I re-read Blackwing in just a matter of days, and I fully expect Ravencry and Crowfall to be much the same in terms of experience!

 

Mood Reads

The Duke & I

This addition to my TBR is experimental. I’m not sure if it’s a book I’m going to enjoy, however having recently enjoyed watching the second season of the Netflix TV show, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t.

If I do enjoy The Duke and I then I will continue with the book series. However, don’t expect me to suddenly start reading romance all the time; my enjoyment of these books, if indeed I do enjoy them, will be the exception instead of the rule.

What I can say, is having featured this book in a very recent First Lines Friday post, the introduction made a good impression on me! Let’s see how the rest of the book pans out, shall we?

 

The Bone Collector

I’ve also been watching the TV series, Lincoln Rhyme, on Now TV recently. I have a copy of The Bone Collector sat upstairs on my bookshelf, and now feels like the right time to pick this up for myself. I believe my sister has read at least some of this book and enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see how it compares!

 

As in previous months, my indicated mood reads are provisional and I might choose to pick up something else at the time! Last month I didn’t even get round to my mood reads, which is perfectly okay too. I feel like this reading list is a little bit less ambitious, though still plentiful enough to give myself a challenge!

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – March 2022

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post for March 2022. I set myself an ambitious reading list in March, and whilst I didn’t get round to all of it I’m happy with my reading progress overall! I’ve read quite a few different books over the month, from varying genres as well! Let’s jump into what I’ve been reading: –

 

Books Read

Blackwing

Blackwing

At the beginning of the month I carried over Blackwing by Ed McDonald. This was a last minute swap out from another mood read I listed in February’s TBR. I had every intention of picking up One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest, but with the breakout of war in Ukraine this wasn’t really going to hit the spot for me. Instead, I wanted to fall back on a book that I knew I was going to love, and I’m glad I made the switch! It was exactly what I needed, and it didn’t take me long to finish this book.

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

I then decided to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest by Ken Kesey, and it ended up being my first DNF of 2022. I’ve got about 40% of the way through the book before I decided that enough was enough. I just couldn’t get into it in the way I hoped I would. I made the decision to stop reading this because I wasn’t enjoying it and I didn’t want it to sap my reading energy and drive me into a slump.

 

Keep You Safe

I promptly moved on and read Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall. I added this book to my TBR years ago, having found out that Rona is a local author. I really liked the sound of this book and I’m glad I finally picked it up! In fact, I wish I picked it up sooner! It came at just the moment I needed. I’ll admit that it was very strange to read a book set so close to home. I could picture the events of the book so vividly, because they took place in places I’ve lived and worked etc. It was so familiar and at the same time, a completely new experience for me! The plot line was fantastic! I really enjoyed picking this book up and I’ll definitely be reading more from Rona in future.

 

Lean In

The next book I picked up varied a lot from those I’d already picked up in March. My sister had recommended Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg to me, after having a copy recommended and given to her by a more senior female colleague. If you are not familiar, Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and through this book, she talks about her experiences as a woman throughout her career, in particular with regards to her advancement into leadership.

I’m one of those people that Sheryl describes, in that before reading this book I wouldn’t have necessarily described myself as a feminist. However, people get tied down with the negative connotations of being called a feminist and are often frightened to use the word. I’m not just about championing women, as is so often erroneously ascribed to the word, but a champion of equality for both sexes. That is what being a feminist truly means. As Sheryl points out in her book, that means women being given opportunities to step up in the workplace… and men being given the opportunity to step up at home.

It was very different to the sort of book I would have picked up myself, but I’m glad I did. I have definitely taken away snippets of advice and it has given me food for thought both widely and also in terms of how I see myself in the workplace.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My last read of the month, and the book I’m carrying forward into April 2022 is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. As of the end of the month, I was around a couple of hundred pages through this last instalment of the Harry Potter series. I’ve already made a good amount of progress in the first few days of April, and as of writing this post I’m around halfway through! I can’t wait to continue this re-read this month and to complete my re-read of the series at last!

 

There were a few books I didn’t get round to picking up in March, but I’m still happy with the reading progress I’ve made. Those books that I didn’t get round to reading will be carried forward into April. If you want to check out my full list of books on my April TBR, stay tuned and I will be sharing that post very soon…

What have you been reading this month? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Monthly TBR – March 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Monthly TBR for March. Somehow we are in the third month of the year already and I honestly have no idea where it’s gone!

Last month I decided to combine my wrap-up post for January and my February TBR. And it does make sense, to a degree. However, I thought the post was too long and I didn’t get the chance to include all the content I wanted. So, I’m experimenting with splitting these back out and if you have any feedback on which you prefer I’d love to hear it!

I’m really pleased with last month’s reading progress and I’m keen to keep the momentum going. Therefore, I’ve decided to avoid all historical fiction and non-fiction reads that I’ve had on my radar, mainly because they focus around war. It’s not a particularly pleasant topic at the moment in light of current events, so I’m putting these on hold for a little bit in favour of picking up some alternative topics. I have also chosen books of varying lengths. As some of these reads are a bit shorter, I have more titles on the list this month. 

So, shall we dive into what I am going to be reading?

 

Fixed Reads

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

This book was on my mood read list for February, however I decided to swap it out in favour of a fantasy book at the end of the month in order to experience some escapism. It’s for this exact reason that I make time for mood reads now; I’m glad I made the change!

However, I do still want to read this book and as of writing this post I’m currently around 20% through. I’m interested to see where this book is going to take me. Where I am at the moment, I am feeling pretty neutral about it. It’s perfectly readable, but equally it hasn’t grabbed a hold of me in the same way that some of my recent reads have. I’ll continue reading to give it a chance in the hopes it picks up; even still, if it stays the way it is it’s probably going to be a three star read.

 

Keep You Safe

I’ve had this book on my radar for a few years now. Not only does it sound great in its own right, but I also want to read it as it is written by a local author! I am intrigued by the mystery behind the synopsis and the potential for there to be an unreliable narrator, which I think is hinted at. What I also like is that it’s a very approachable length – it’s long enough to invest into but also not so long that I risk getting bogged down in a detailed and convoluted story. Sometimes that’s fine too, but lighter reads are my preference right now. 

I can’t wait to read this and share my thoughts with you!

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I want to conclude my re-read of the Harry Potter series this month. I’ve been enjoying making progress with the latter books in the series and I am looking forward to picking this last instalment up again.

I last read this book 8-10 years ago now. That’s a scary thought for me! I loved it then and I have every confidence that I will again. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a ‘lighter’ read, as it’s fairly chunky and the subject matter quite dark for a YA fantasy, but I’m looking forward to it all the same! I still find these books engrossing!

 

Lean In

I want to try and read some non-fiction this month, and my sister recently loaned me a copy of this book. It was recommended to her through one of her more senior work colleagues for the purposes of development and I would also like to take something from this. I find myself in the middle in that I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a career woman, but I definitely care about my job. I don’t just turn up to get paid.

I’m sure this book has plenty of content and something that I can take away from it in order to develop myself and maybe even progress further!

 

The Thursday Murder Club

As well as Lean In, I’ve also been loaned a book by my sister’s boyfriend Chris. Not only did The Thursday Murder Club get a great review from him, but I’ve also been hearing great things about it in the wider community and it was already on my radar to add to my TBR and read.

I’m looking forward to picking this up because the protagonists are not from the generation you would expect to be sleuthing. I’ve also heard it’s incredibly funny and I hope it will be as intriguing and lighthearted as I’m expecting it to be.

 

The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm

I am also carrying over The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm again. Whilst I did pick this book up a couple of times in February, I didn’t really make that much progress with it. I stand by my decision to chip away at this one again this month, but I need to find more balance between my current reads and also picking this one up regularly. I will continue to read this into March and even if I don’t finish it, I hope to make a lot more progress with it this month.

 

Mood Reads

Ravencry & Crowfall

I started reading Blackwing, the first book of The Raven’s Mark trilogy, on the 26th February. This was the book I decided to swap with One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest. Three days later, I’d read all 370ish pages. I devoured this book. It was exactly what I needed at the time; an epic fantasy that I could throw myself into and love all over again.

I read this book back in June 2018, so it’s been a while. Given that I loved it so much, I’ve decided that I want to re-read the rest of the trilogy again. Therefore, these are my mood reads for March! It’s not very often I’ll binge read a series like this – but if it’s good enough, I can engage and I’ll love every second of it!

 

As in previous months, my indicated mood reads aren’t set in stone and like last month, so I might choose to pick up something else at the time! Unlikely, given how much I loved Blackwing in February… but never say never!

Have you read any of the books on my monthly TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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Monthly Wrap-up – February 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up for February. Up until just yesterday I was planning on combining this post with my March TBR (as I combined my wrap-up and TBR last month), however I feel like that post got a little long. I also didn’t have the full opportunity to say what I wanted, and so I’ve decided to experiment with splitting these out again. If you have a preferred format I’d love to know what your preference is.

 

Books Read

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I carried over two reads from the end of January – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. I continued reading Harry Potter at the very beginning of February until I finished the book on the 3rd February. This book was every bit as fantastic as I remember!  Whilst it is about 600 pages long, I didn’t feel like it take took me that long to get through. I love the tone of the books later on in the series. I enjoyed this even when I was a teenager, but the added complexity and darkness to it just appeals to me. 

 

Clockwork Magpies

My next read was Clockwork Magpies by Emma Whitehall. The publisher, Northodox Press, advertised advance reader copies of this book on Twitter in January. I fell in love with the cover and the concept straight away, and given that it was published on the 28th January, I wanted to pick this up, read and review it quite quickly whilst the launch was still fresh. I picked up Clockwork Magpies on the 3rd of February and finished it by the 7th. It was a brilliant read and the genre and length of the book made for a great palate-cleanser read. I have also shared my full review of the book already, so if you haven’t checked out that review yet you can find out my thoughts on Clockwork Magpies here!

 

Son of Mercia

I took part in a blog tour for Son of Mercia this month, and with that deadline fast approaching this was my next read of February. I picked this book up immediately after finishing Clockwork Magpies on the 7th, and I finished this on the 16th of the month. Reading progress was a little bit slower at the time as I had family over visiting. As a result, I was spending a lot of time with them and less time at home (aka reading) than usual. Given that I was reading this for a blog tour post on the 21st, I’ve already shared my thoughts on this historical fiction novel as well! If this is your cup of tea, in particular if you like Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom series, I recommend you take a look at my review here.

 

The Diary of a Young Girl

The last book I finished in full this month was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, which I read between the 16th – 24th February. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this particular book is her diary and documents her life living in hiding during the Second World War. It’s not the easiest subject to read, but I found it really interesting to see the dynamics between the individuals stuck in a very limited amount of space together. Reading this book was made slightly more difficult by the ongoing current events; I finished this book on Thursday last week, which is the day Russia first invaded Ukraine. I have a lot of interest in history revolving around war, particularly the Second World War or the Cold War, but it’s a lot harder to read when it’s not an abstract idea and it’s playing out on the TV screen – it makes you realise it’s real.

 

Blackwing

Blackwing

I decided to change my last mood read of the month. In light of current events I wanted something a lot lighter and I wanted to guarantee picking up something I loved. I needed that pick-me-up and I decided to read Blackwing by Ed McDonald. This is exactly why I allow myself time for mood reads now. I do still want to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was my intended read initially, but the end of last week just wasn’t the right time for it. As I said, I wanted a pick-me-up and I’m glad I made the decision to swap it out. I’ve absolutely loved revisiting this first book of The Ravens Mark series and it’s been just what I needed – to immerse myself in abstract fantasy and gain a sense of escapism.

This is the main book I am reading and carrying over into the very beginning of March, but only just. As of the end of the month I had just less than 100 pages left to read; I read more of the book in my lunch hour today and expect to finish it tonight!

So, those were my reads for the month of February. What have you been reading? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

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January Wrap-Up & February 2022 TBR!

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s January Wrap-Up and February TBR post. I’ve decided to combine these two posts so I can briefly talk about what I have read in the last month, and also share what I plan to read over the next month. More often than not there is some degree of overlap and so I think it makes sense to share both of these. I’ll try to keep it concise so it’s not too long!

 

January Wrap-Up

I’m pleased with the last month’s reading progress. At the beginning of January I was around halfway through The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I was kindly loaned this by my sister’s boyfriend Chris to read and I’m glad he shared it with me! It has a great diversity of genres and topics and it was a really interesting read because I probably wouldn’t have picked it up myself. That’s the good thing about recommendations; it encourages you to push the boat out sometimes.

Next I picked up a fairly short read, The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper. I deliberately picked up The Feedback Loop next because it is a reasonably short book at just under 200 pages. I’m really glad I did this as it kept up my reading momentum. I read The Feedback Loop in just a couple of evenings – a record for me in the last few months!

After that I went on to read Dune by Frank Herbert. This particular book had been on my TBR for just under five years. I had casually picked it up once before, reading the first 20 odd pages as a means of trying the book out. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to be a light read and I think that’s why I haven’t picked it up since. I’m glad I did in the end however. I was right in that there was a lot to take in at first and I didn’t start off particularly quickly. However, once I got about a third of the way in and I had gotten all the foundation information laid out, I was flying! It was definitely worth the investment and I really enjoyed this book in the end – all 529 pages of it!

I concluded the month of January with two ongoing reads – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm. At the end of the month I was just under half way through Harry Potter and about third of the way through the folk and fairytales. I discovered that The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm was not a book to read on its own and was better to read concurrently with another book. So, this is why I started Harry Potter at the same time.

So, that’s that I got up to in January! And now onto the important bit – what am I planning to read this month?

 

February TBR

Fixed Reading List

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Naturally I’m starting the beginning of this month by finishing off my January reads. I’m currently just over halfway through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Although it’s a chunky book it’s proving really easy for me to pick up and read. So, I’m hoping to get this wrapped up in the next couple of days!

 

Son of Mercia

As a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell, I was really excited to receive an invite for the blog tour for Son of Mercia. It is set at around the same time period and given that I’ve loved Bernard Cornwell’s series so much, I thought it would be great to read something similar but from a slightly different perspective. I really like the sound of the synopsis and I can’t wait to give you my thoughts on this book on the 21st of February!

 

Clockwork Magpies

Last month I saw a promotion for review copies of Clockwork Magpies and I fell in love with a synopsis immediately. Although I’m not reading too many advanced reader copies at the moment, I decided to make an exception for Clockwork Magpies. It’s a steampunk style of fantasy novel with a strong female protagonist that I think I can get behind. It’s a little bit different and I hope I love this as much as I expect to! It’s also quite a short novel as well at just over 250 pages, so it shouldn’t take long for me to devour at any rate!

 

The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm

Originally I had planned to sit and read throughThe Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm as it is last month. However, I’m finding that it’s easier to pick up in small bursts. A lot of the stories are very short and so in my opinion it makes good companion reader. It’s great if you fancy a little bit of a change of pace, or just fancy something different. So, I will be reading this throughout the month alongside my other reads.

 

Mood Reads

Diary of a Young Girl

I am a big fan of historical fiction and in particular, one of my favourite topics is World War II. Having said that though, I regret to say that to date I have not read the diary of Anne Frank – not in full. Something in the back of my mind tells me I read an extract from it in my history lessons a long time ago. It’s a harrowing story but it’s one that I want to take the time to read. I’ve added it to my list for reading this month as I’m hoping to start reading a lot more. It’s definitely becoming more of a habit again. If I don’t get to it however, it’s not the end of the world.

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

I’ve got the urge to pick up a classic this month and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest particularly catches my eye. I really like the idea of the synopsis; it’s been on my list for a long time (along with plenty fo other books). Again, if I don’t get round to this by the end of February then I’ll carry it through to my fixed reading list in March. If I can take off another book from the TBR then I will be very happy though!

As with last month, my designated mood reads aren’t fixed and I might choose to pick up something else entirely! And, you are always welcome to change my mind; if you have a book recommendation I’d love to hear it!

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know!

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Monthly TBR – January 2022

It has been a long time since I drafted a TBR post but I’m really excited to be here and sharing my TBR for January 2022 with you today! If you have checked out my 2022 New Year Goals/Resolutions post you’ll know that this year I am back with sharing TBR’s at the beginning of the month, but with some tweaks. Not only do I anticipate reading less than previous years (my goal is 40 books in 2022), but I’m also going to be incorporating the element of mood reading that I enjoyed in 2021. So, as a result, I will be setting a couple of fixed books on my monthly TBR, but I will also be leaving myself time and flexibility to pick up any mood reads.

So, what am I planning to read this month?

 

Books

Dune – Frank Herbert

Goodreads – Dune

I have tried to pick up Dune casually before but not really taken the time to invest and start it properly. It is probably fairer to say I’ve sampled it. That changes this month! I received a copy of it for my birthday back in February 2017 and given that I’ve owned it for so long and not read it, its way overdue!

I’m also really excited to pick this up. From what I have sampled I think this is one I’m going to really enjoy. It’s a science-fiction classic, and if you have read my blog you’ll know that I’m have been picking up more science-fiction. I like the concept of the synopsis and with the new lease of life I’ve found within myself I think it’s the right time to challenge myself to this one.

 

The Feedback Loop – Harmon Cooper

Goodreads – The Feedback Loop

Whilst I haven’t officially set myself the goal of clearing down my TBR, it makes sense that I continue this endeavour. I have nearly 200 books on my list, and unless I read them or take them off they are not going away!

The Feedback Loop is one of the oldest on my list and at around 182 pages, this is a another science-fiction that should be very easy for me to digest. Depending on how I get on with Dune, I may even end up reading this at the same time or as a little bit of a break. Equally, I might not. I’m not ruling anything out. If I have learned anything from 2020 and 2021 it’s that if I’m not in the mood to read something then there is no point in forcing it. I’ll go with the flow… but I fully expect to enjoy both of these.

 

Audiobooks

A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Storm of Swords

I’ve decided that I will also be adding the audiobooks I intend to listen to onto my monthly TBR posts. I quite often find myself in a position where I will binge-listen to audiobooks and then I’ll completely fall off the wagon and not listen to any. So, I making it a regular feature to include these in order to regularise my habits.

I started listening to A Storm of Swords right at the end of December and my goal is to listen to as much of this as possible in January. A Storm of Swords is over 47 hours worth of audio, so I’m not going to beat myself up if it takes me a while. However, I will be making a deliberate effort to start listening to these on a more regular basis.

For example, I probably spend about an hour every weekday commuting, so this would be a good opportunity to pop an audiobook on. One of the other activities I have taken up fairly recently and will be doing in 2022 is Pilates. Again, it’s a great time to be able to listen to something – especially as I’m sure I’ll be desperate for a pleasant distraction whilst I’m doing it! But honestly makes it sound like I don’t enjoy it, which isn’t the case at all, but man does it hurt when you don’t have any abs…

Having done some maths I think I can get through most of the audiobook just by listening to it when doing these activities. However, if I can put in some extra time to get it finished then I’ll be a very happy bunny!

 

Mood Reads!

Whilst this section of the TBR is very much fluid and subject to change I have a couple of ideas in mind as to what I think I would like to pick up later in the month. It also depends on how I go as to how many I fit in; I may get round to both of these if I have a good month.

I’m currently torn between continuing my Harry Potter re-read with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, or alternatively reading The Original Folk & Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. They are both very different choices and I’ll leave it until I finished both of my ‘set’ reads before I decide fully. I may even change my mind completely in between now and then, but I think it’s a good idea to give you an indication of what I think I’d like to read.

You are always welcome to change my mind; if you have a book recommendation you think is absolutely fantastic then I’d love to hear it!

 

Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you reading this month? Let me know!

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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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Discussion Post – How I Manage my Blog

How does someone like me manage my blog, as well as all the reading that goes along with it and day-to-day life in general?

That is the subject of today’s post. If you want a blogger and you’re looking for some insight (maybe you are considering becoming a blogger yourself), or even if you do and you curious about how I manage things compared to you, then you’re in the right place! There is always something to learn and I hope today’s post can give you some insight into what it’s like to be a book blogger.

 

Time

The first piece of advice I can give anyone considering starting a blog is that you have to really enjoy your subject. Having the knowledge to share in the first place is going to take time to learn. Even if you are already well-versed in a subject, there’s always going to be changes that you have to keep on top of.

From a book blogging perspective, it means that you’re going to spend a lot of time reading. If you enjoy it and already partake in the hobby then it’s okay – it doesn’t feel like a chore. If, however, your subject is not that familiar you could end up spending a lot more time on it. If you don’t enjoy it that much then it’s definitely going to be boring. What is the point in spending your time on something you don’t enjoy? The answer is none.

Aside from reading, you also have to manage a blog and draft content on a regular basis (note that by regular I don’t necessarily mean frequency – the emphasis is more on consistency rather than how many times you post a day/week/month). That of course takes time. To give you an indication, I typically post three times a week. I would say on average I spend around an hour to an hour and a half per post. This includes drafting, compiling any relevant information, editing and finally publishing it. That in itself is a decent amount of time to be spending on one post, never mind any pre-requisite reading/research etc. It’s not a ‘quick’ hobby, per se, but it’s very rewarding.

Personally, the speed in which I can create a blog post has increased over the last year. Previously, I drafted each blog post by typing it out on my laptop. Combining the time taken to do this with the rest, I would usually spend between two and 2 1/2 hours on a blog post. Things got a little bit quicker for me when I invested in a tablet. Instead of typing out a post manually, I have employed the use of the dictation function on my tablet to be able to draft my post instead. This makes drafting a lot quicker, but there is a trade-off that a slightly heavier hand is needed on the editing side. I didn’t think I had a weird accent, but some of the word combinations my tablet comes out with suggests otherwise!

If the prospect of spending an hour to an hour and a half on a blog post was already daunting, then you should know that in certain circumstances it can take longer! Honestly, the best advice I can give to anybody is to invest in a device or software that can make use of dictation and then learn to be able to use it. It didn’t come naturally to me when I first started creating posts this way. I often had to spend a lot of time thinking about each sentence before I dictated it. There wasn’t any kind of natural flow. This is something I’ve developed over time, so realistically I can dictate a post now in about 15 minutes tops. It used to take me a LOT longer.

Being organised helps. Having a scheduling plan, even if it’s just a loose one, can help you plan out your posts effectively. Readers know when to expect content from you and it can also help your statistics, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

However, sometimes life does just get in the way. I was originally planning on sharing this post early on Wednesday evening this week. However, we had a brief power cut that ate into the free time I had and put an end to that plan. It just goes to show you can’t control everything; but doing everything in your power will help you manage your time and blog effectively.

 

Resources

Time is probably the most important consideration, but there are other factors at play that need to be considered when you start a blog. In particular reference to having a book blog, you need to have access to books! Sounds obvious I know, but this is the most basic example. Another is having access to the tools to share a blog. There are plenty of websites online that you can use for free to start a blog, but there are other options available, such as self-hosting. You will need to look into and consider in-depth if it’s something you’re interested in. There is little bit more to it than just using an online site, but at the same time I operate a self-hosted site and I’m no expert. I’ve got it set up and it works. I try not to touch any of the settings or play around with it beyond that.

Sometimes the resources you need to run a blog cost money. Whilst you can have a free blog run from a website such as WordPress, and you can access books from the library, there may be some costs need to take on. Self-hosting a blog costs money; the antispam protection costs money. And obviously, buying books cost money. What I’m saying here is that sometimes you have to be prepared to invest in your hobby; if you ask yourself that question and the answer is no, then I would really suggest you consider taking it on at all.

I hope I’ve been able to share something of interest with you and that you have learned something from today’s post. Are you considering setting up a blog? Do you have any further questions that I can help you with? Equally, are you already a blogger and have you got any tips you would like to share with others?

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