Tag: reading

Monthly TBR – February 2023

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

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

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

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

 

Fixed Reads

 

The House of Fortune

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

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

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

 

Africa Risen

 

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

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

 

Becoming

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

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

 

Illuminae

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

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

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

 

Mood Reads

 

The Book Eaters

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

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

 

The Rise of the Dragon

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

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

 

In Every Mirror She’s Black

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

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

 

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

What are you going to be reading?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

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?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Reviewing my 2022 Resolutions!

Hello everybody and welcome to my review of my 2022 resolutions. This week I have shared my monthly wrap for December, my 2023 resolutions, and my January TBR. We are ending the working week with a review of my resolutions set for 2022, whether I succeeded with those goals and if I can do anything better.

At the beginning of last year, I set myself three goals – to take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, to take a more flexible approach with the reading lists I was setting myself every month in 2022, and lastly, to work on the admin side of managing my blog, and being more effective at doing so.

Let’s take a look at how I did over the course of 2022!

 

Goodreads Challenge – Read 40 books

In 2021, I deliberately didn’t set myself a reading goal as I was burned out. I didn’t want to compound that by constraining myself with a target. I had every intention of reading just as much as I would in any other year. Somehow, I was surprised when that didn’t happen. I read approximately 25 books in 2021. Don’t get me wrong, that’s more than a lot of people. But, if I’m completely honest with myself, I knew I could have done more.

With that in mind, I decided to resume taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2022. So as not to overwhelm myself, I set myself a modest target of 40 books. I wanted to give myself a number that I could work towards, but not set so lofty a goal that I set myself up to fail. Ultimately, my aim for this year was to read more whilst maintaining a healthy balance of doing other things I love as well.

As of the end of the year, I had read a total of 47 books. Not only did I meet my target, but I did surpass it slightly. For a brief while, I entertained the notion of pushing it to 50 books, but I’m glad I didn’t. In December, I read some very chunky fantasy that meant that I didn’t get around to the volume of books, even if I was reading a significant volume of pages!

All in all, I got my reading motivation back in 2022, which is what I wanted. However, I didn’t do it at the expense of anything else.  I’ve given myself the time and flexibility for other hobbies and activities. This is exactly what I wanted from this resolution. So, in my opinion, it was a resounding success!

 

Reading Lists

In my 2022 resolutions post, I set myself a goal of being more flexible with my reading list. Historically, I set myself an entirely fixed list for the whole month. At the beginning of 2022, I changed this stance slightly. Instead, I set a mostly fixed reading list, with the option of one or two mood reads at the end of the month. This was a good idea in theory, but more often than not, I was only just getting to the end of the fixed list by the end of the month, if at all, so I never actually got the benefit of allowing myself mood reads. I decided to stick with this approach though to give it a fair chance.

It wasn’t until June that I changed my stance again. When setting my June reading list, I couldn’t decide what to read. I kept changing my mind. In the end, I decided to accept the mood I was in and set just one fixed read on my TBR, keeping the rest as mood reads. Finally, I got to see the benefit of the flexibility I was trying to allow myself. June, in theory, should have been one of my worst reading months, as I sat an exam at the end of that month. However, it was one of my best reading months of the year. Naturally, it was at this point of the year that I took the decision to allow myself more flexibility again, changing my reading lists to just a handful of fixed reads, and the majority being mood reads.

Having looked back at my reading progress throughout the year, I read 23 books prior to the end of June, and 24 more by the end of December. In terms of book count, that’s a fairly even split. However, I read slightly chunkier books in the second half of the year. Whilst the end result may be very similar, I was definitely happier with my reading in the second half of the year. There is no tangible evidence that reading was better in the second half of the year other than my subjective opinion that I enjoyed it more. That’s enough for me!

I’m really happy with the approach I’ve taken throughout the year and the changes I’ve made. What I have learned since starting my blog is that I work differently at different times. In the past, having a totally fixed list has worked for me. There are times when it hasn’t. There are times when I’ve allowed myself complete flexibility, and that has worked. Again, there are times when it hasn’t. More recently, I’ve taken this hybrid approach and that is currently working for me. I need to be flexible with myself and understand what mindset I’m in as to which approach is best at any given time. None of them are wrong. If I need to change the way I’m doing things in the moment, I need to just do it.

 

Blog Post Writing

In my 2022 resolutions post, I set myself a goal to be more organised with writing my blog posts. The aim was to draft blog posts approximately one week ahead of schedule. This would give me leeway to get post out to you on time. In my midyear review, this was the goal I hadn’t made much progress towards, but I was determined to turn this around.

I did get myself to a point where I was drafting blog posts ahead of schedule. It was really handy if something came up, or I just wasn’t in the mood to blog on a particular evening. My blogging schedule wasn’t compromised by this. What I didn’t foresee, however, is that logistically, some posts can’t be drafted ahead of time. For example, my month-end wrapups have some degree of last-minuteness to them. Even if I was drafting the majority of these posts ahead of time, I was having to finish them off last minute anyway.

Another thing I didn’t consider was that drafting things ahead of time was going to be confusing. Particularly when I was drafting my Sunday Summary posts, I would get confused with what was coming up in the following week compared to what I’d just drafted, as that was for the week ahead of that.

Ultimately, it has its benefits and its drawbacks. I have now reverted back to drafting blog posts in the week they are due to go live. Personally, I find this easier to manage. However, I have started being more forward-thinking to make sure my posts go out with fewer unforeseen changes to the schedule. Rather than drafting blog posts on the night they’re going live, I’m more likely to draft them a day or two ahead of time. It is a compromise, but equally not a perfect approach either. I have had a blog post delayed slightly since going back this way. But, for the most part, things go out as expected.

Overall, I would say that I have made progress towards this goal somewhat, even if it is not in the way I envisioned at the beginning of the year. And, it’s one of those things that will be constantly evolving. Sometimes, it will be a benefit to draft the week ahead of time, and I will do so. Likewise, sometimes it’s not possible and I will just have to manage my time and roll with it.

 

Read more Non-fiction

An additional goal I added to my resolutions in July 2022 was to read more non-fiction. You know me, I am very heavy in the fantasy and science-fiction genres. I really enjoy reading these, as well as other fiction novels. However, I like to learn new things. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself. Naturally, these are the kind of itches I can scratch with a non-fiction novel. When I drafted my midyear review in July, I set up my intention to add at least one non-fiction novel to each month for TBR, which I did.

However, I didn’t always read a non-fiction book in each month up until the end of the year. In a lot of cases, my chosen non-fiction read was downloaded in audiobook format, which is my slowest way of reading. As a result, it often took me longer to finish my non-fiction reads than I anticipated. At the end of the year, I succeeded in reading three non-fiction novels. An additional novel I had started by the end of the year, but not finished, was Queen of Our Times by Robert Jordan.

Admittedly, in the second half of the year, I read as many non-fiction books after setting the goal as I did before I set it. However, I did have more non-fiction books on my TBR; picking them up was a more conscious decision. It was something I was deliberately making time for rather than just allowing to happen naturally.

I wasn’t so successful in completing this goal. If you have read my 2023 resolutions post, you will know I have set myself a similar, but slightly different goal towards this end. This is something I can definitely work on more, and that is my intention in 2023.

 

So, those are my thoughts on how well I did (or didn’t) do in completing my 2022 resolutions! Did you set yourself any resolutions last year? How did you do? Have you set any goals for this year?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Monthly TBR – January 2023

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

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

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

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

 

Fixed Reading List

 

The Secret Library

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

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

 

The Secret History

The Secret History

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

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

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

 

Mood Reads

 

After You

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

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

 

The House of Fortune

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

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

 

The Chimp Paradox

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

2023 Reading Resolutions!

With the beginning of a brand-new year, it is prime time to talk about my reading resolutions for 2023!

With the exception of my blog, I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. Frankly, I don’t stick to them. However, since reading is a big part of my life, setting myself targets within this is a lot easier for me to do rather than begin a new habit from scratch.

I’m going to be talking about my reading resolutions from last year in a post later this week – today’s post is all about what I’m looking to do in the next 12 months!

Let’s dive in!

 

Goodreads Challenge – Read 50 Books

Last year I succeeded in reading 47 books over the course of the year. It’s not the most I’ve read in any one year, but it is significantly more than I read in 2021 (approx. 25 books).

In 2021, I suffered from burnout. When I set myself my reading goal of 40 books for 2022, it was to get myself back into the habit of reading, but at a pace I could sustain. My burnout was in part caused by the pandemic, moving house, changes at work and being overzealous with prior reading goals.

Over the course of 2022, I found that I was more than able to reach that goal whilst not compromising on other things I want to do. I’ve had plenty of time to study and extend my qualification for work. I have enjoyed a number of creative projects, such as knitting and cross-stitching. Most importantly though, I’ve spent time with friends and family. Overall, it has been a very good, healthy balance.

Do I think I could have read a little bit more? Well, obviously. I have done in the past without causing harm or burnout. This year, my reading resolution is to stretch myself a little, but maintain the exact same balance that I am enjoying right now. If I can read anywhere near this amount then I’m happy… whether that’s over or under. Obviously, I prefer it to be a little over – I’m trying to stretch myself just that little bit. But, not so much that I burn out again. It’s not worth it.

 

Read >15 non-fiction books

This resolution is probably the greatest stretch of this year. In the second half of 2022, I set out to start reading more non-fiction. I was aiming for one book a month, but I didn’t quite achieve that.

This year, rather than committing myself to one a month, I am being a little bit more flexible in when I can read the books. But, I still want to make a commitment to read them. So, I’ve set myself a challenge of reading a minimum of 15 non-fiction throughout the year. I have a number on my TBR that I really need to get around to and read. It is the genre (that I consider myself to read) that gets the least attention from me. I want to change that.

The non-fiction books I have read so far are useful and insightful. In 2022 I enjoyed the change from reading the same or similar genres all the time. I’m hoping by committing myself to read non-fiction more that I can learn a lot of new things that I don’t know already. You never know, these facts might come in handy for future pub quizzes I end up in. Probably not knowing my luck…

 

Read 30 Minutes Daily

This is a goal I am setting, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t do it every single day. The purpose of setting this goal is to help build up and maintain a regular reading habit once again.

I used to read pretty much every day without fail. More recently, I am more likely to read for slightly longer sittings, but only 3/4 days a week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that’s a lot more than most people do. However, I want to try and get myself back in the habit of reading on a daily basis – even if I can only commit to 30 minutes. This is what I used to do back in the days when I was just getting back into reading. I was taking a book with me before bed.

It all adds up!

 

Finish Book Series

Another of the larger commitments I am making to myself about my reading is that this year, when I’m not reading non-fiction, I’m going to chip away at book series I have already started but I’m yet to finish.

Previously, I have read what I liked, when I liked. This has meant that to date, I have approximately 30 book series which I’ve started but not finished. For a handful of these 30, I am up-to-date. However, I know there is going to be a future book or books and so the series is staying on the list, even though I can’t make progress right now. That’s more because I don’t want them to get forgotten about. And if I’m painfully honest, it’s not that many (4?).

So, you will find that this year, I am going to be spending more time reading sequels than I am ‘new’ books. That’s not to say I’m not going to let myself start anything new at all this year. However, before I allow myself to start a new series, I have to take at least one series off the list (be that by completing a series in full, or by reading all the books published to date). Maybe even at this starting point, I’m going to say that I have to take two off for every new one I start to make sure it starts going down!

I can work out the logistics of how I manage this as I go. However, for the purposes of this reading resolution post, my resolution for the end of this year is to have fewer than 30 ongoing series as I have right now. No pressure Rebecca!

 

So, as of the 3rd of January 2023, those are my reading resolutions for the upcoming year. As in previous years, I will review these goals on a regular basis to measure my progress against them, and also decide if any of them are no longer relevant, or if I want to add anything!

No matter how big or small, setting yourself a goal can be all the motivation you need to try something different.

Have you set yourself any reading resolutions or goals for 2023?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

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!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Monthly TBR – December 2022

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

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

Let’s take a look at my picks!

 

Fixed Reading List

 

Daughter of the Moon Goddess

 

 

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Pages: 512

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 11 Jan 2022

 

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

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

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

 

TBR Jar Pick – The Secret History

 

The Secret History

 

Genre: Dark Academia

Pages: 559

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 16 Sept 1992

 

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

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

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

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

 

Mood Reads

 

The Keeper of Lost Things

 

 

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 288

Audience: Adult

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2017

 

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

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

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

 

The Secret Library

 

 

Genre: History / Non-Fiction

Pages: 256

Audience: Adult

Publisher: O Mara Books Ltd

Publication Date: 29 Sept 2016

 

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

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

 

Ship of Magic

 

 

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 897

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 01 Mar 1998

 

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

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

 

Queen of Our Times

 

 

Genre: Non-fiction / Biography

Pages: 690

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Pegasus

Publication Date: 05 Apr 2022

 

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

Fingers crossed December is the month of steady progress!

 

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

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

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Monthly Wrap-Up – November 2022

Somehow we are already into the final month of 2022, and that can only mean that it is time for my monthly wrap-up post for November!

I read quite a few books in November. All in all, it has been a very productive month. I took part in a couple of blog tours early on, and then went on to work my way through my whole reading list. That is something I haven’t achieved for a long time!

Let’s dive into the books I read in November!

 

Warrior and Protector

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

My first book of the month was Warrior and Protector by Peter Gibbons.

This was the first read as I had a fairly imminent blog tour deadline to meet. That said, it was an incredibly easy read to pick up and enjoy. I read this in just a handful of days. If you enjoy books like Bernard Cornwell’s the Saxon stories, or anything set in 10th century England, I’d recommend this one highly.

I really enjoyed the character development in this particular book. It has a perspective that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a book of this kind. If you want to find out more, you can check out my full review here.

 

Warrior of Mercia

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

The next book I picked up was very similar in setting but was part of a series that I started earlier this year. I have been really enjoying the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles by MJ Porter.

When I received the invite to take part in the tour for Warrior of Mercia, I knew I would be daft not to take it up! The plot lines of these books are full of action, but equally do not script on character development either.

For entirely different reasons to Warrior and Protector, the protagonist of his book makes an interesting character in terms of his motivations. He is a dutiful young man, but his heart isn’t really in being a warrior. If you want to find out more, again, I have a full review where you can find out more.

 

Babel

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

It was nice to pick up and be able to stick with Babel by R.F. Kuang. With my ongoing blog tour commitments, I was picking up and putting this down quite a bit. However, once all my obligations were over and done with, I read this book very quickly.

I really enjoyed how this book delves into language and translation. Although it is a fantasy fiction novel, it reads quite academically. The story is cleverly interwoven with the fantasy element, but also combines more serious topics including racism, colonialism, and even classism. To an extent, Babel was everything I expected it to be – however it was also so much better!

 

Malice

Rating: DNF

Goodreads

Malice by John Gwynne is the one disappointment in my monthly wrap-up for November. I have owned my copy of this book for a very, very long time. I attempted to pick it up once somewhere in the region of 2016. However, as this pre-dates both my blog and my Goodreads account, I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started it.

Unfortunately, the fact that I didn’t make it much further than the third chapter back then should have told me everything I needed to know. I gave this a solid attempt, but I just wasn’t getting into it at all. After three days of pushing through the first 50 odd pages, I decided to hang this one up. There was absolutely no point in trying to struggle on with it. I knew I was onto a good reading streak, and I didn’t want to spoil it.

It’s not the end of the world. Yes, it is a shame when you don’t enjoy a book as much as you would like. However, thinking on the bright side, I have enough ongoing series as it is without adding another one!

 

Dear Child

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

Next, I decided to pick up a genre that I haven’t read very much of lately – psychological thriller.

I had wanted to read a book like this in my October TBR. However, I didn’t get around to it. I recently featured Dear Child in my Autumn TBR post. The synopsis has been playing on my mind ever since. Given that I already owned a copy of the book ready to pick up, it was a no brainer decision.

And this was a fantastic psychological thriller. For me, I determine a book like this to be a hit if I’m thinking about it even when I’m not reading. If I’m trying to work through who the characters are, and determine what potential motives and hidden plot twists there are yet to unveil, that’s a very good sign! Of course, I was doing it with Dear Child.

Another good indicator is how quickly I managed to read this book. I started it on a Sunday morning and finish it by Thursday the following week.

 

The Motivation Code

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Goodreads

Having worked my way through my November TBR at this point, it took me a while to decide what to read next. I hadn’t even considered my December TBR at this point, so I was at a bit of a loss. In the end, I turned to my recent TBR additions for some inspiration. I found The Motivation Code.

I recently took the online assessment that accompanies this book, and I wanted to find out what my results really meant. And in that way, this has been an insightful read. Some of the results I got were to an extent, a surprise. However, having read about these different motivation codes, I can see myself in them 100%. They go a good way to explaining why I like to work in certain settings, and equally importantly, how I like to work. I don’t necessarily just mean employment. I mean as in how I operate. How I do things. 

The book is also useful in that it highlights where there may be gaps in your skill set. For example, one of my top three motivators is to explore. That means I am good at delving into new things and starting many projects (hardly shocking news to anyone who knows me). However, one of my downfalls is that I might try to take on too many things and lose focus on what I’ve already started. I am the kind of person who, at times, needs to be re-focused away from the ‘new and interesting’. I can do this myself, but it is something I need to consciously do.

Reading The Motivation Code has helped me understand who I am and why I think it act the way I do. It is one thing to know it subconsciously, but to read this book and bring it to the forefront enables me to work on the elements of my personality that aren’t necessarily positive.

 

Queen of Our Times

Current Read

Goodreads

I haven’t really made much progress with Queen of Our Times this month. I started the month with every intention to pick up and listen to this audiobook more regularly. However, I will be completely honest and say that I haven’t done it.

Quite often, I’m in the mood to listen to music. Especially so this month, as Dermot Kennedy released his new album and I’ve been listening to it on repeat since it was released mid-month. I have no shame.

Also, I have been making more of an effort to watch more TV this month. As you are probably aware, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here has just been on and I really enjoyed watching it! However, for me, watching a show like that is a commitment. My TV doesn’t go on that much, and certainly not as regularly as I’ve needed to keep up with the show. That’s also impacted on my time to listen to audiobooks.

This is a book that will rollover into December.

 

So, those are the books I’ve been reading throughout the month of November. Technically, I also started the first book of my December TBR on the 29th of November. However, I’m not giving any spoilers as to what that book is. Instead, you’ll have to check out my TBR going live on Saturday!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my monthly wrap-up post. Have you read any of the books on this list? Have any of them caught your eye?

Let me know in the comments, and until next time, happy reading!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Fable

Monthly TBR – November 2022

It is the penultimate month of the year and I cannot believe we are here, sharing my monthly TBR for November already! The good news is, the reading pressure is off. I’ve officially met my reading goal of 40 books in 2022! I’m not overly interested in numbers or pushing this figure out as far as I can. Instead, I’m going to spend my time enjoying good-quality books.

For November, I have a couple of ‘fixed reads’ as I have signed up to a couple of blog tours. The remainder of my reading for the month is ‘mood reads’. 

Let’s jump into my monthly TBR for November!

 

Fixed Reads

Warrior and Protector

Goodreads – Warrior and Protector

My first read of the month is one that I’m going to have to get on pretty quickly, as I’m taking part in the upcoming blog tour on the 5th of November. I signed up for this tour relatively last minute to help out the organiser, Rachel, in a pinch. I really enjoy historical fiction novels of this kind and have read multiple this year already. With that in mind, taking on such a read at short notice is a pretty safe bet and I can’t wait to try out this new author.

my Blog Tours post needs to go live early in the month, it’s about time this month with your post is out, I should have read it (or nearly) already!

 

Warrior of Mercia

Goodreads – Warrior of Mercia

Along a similar theme, I am taking part in another blog tour later this month (15th November) for a similar book. This is not a new author to me, however; the book is the third in a series that I have already started and enjoyed this year.

One of the things I really like about this series is the unique perspective it offers in what is by no stretch of the imagination, a violent setting. Icel is a warrior, but not by choice. He is the kind of person who would rather heal rather than harm. However, he also has a sense of duty. These different aspects of him result in some internal conflict, and this is really interesting to read. I can’t wait to see how this comes into play in this third instalment of the series.

 

Mood Reads

Malice

Goodreads – Malice

Malice is the oldest book on my physical TBR to date, and it’s finally time I ticked this one off the list. I made a very cursory start to this book a good number of years ago, however, I never really got into it. That’s not to say I particularly tried, because I didn’t. It was at a time in my life (pre-blog) when I wasn’t reading much.

I have heard brilliant things about John Gwynne and this series. I cannot wait to give it a try and see if it lives up to the hype and expectations I have!

 

Dear Child

Goodreads – Dear Child

I featured Dear Child in my Top Ten Tuesday Halloween Recs post. I really like the sound of it and so I’ve decided to pick this up even though Halloween is now over.

It has been a little while since I last picked up a psychological thriller novel (that didn’t crossover with science-fiction, anyway) and I’m looking forward to getting back into the genre. It is one I enjoy, even though I don’t read it quite as much as I used to.

 

Queen of our Times

Goodreads – Queen of Our Times

I was originally supposed to read Queen of Our Times last month. I had ordered a copy of this book from Amazon for the occasion. However, their shipping has been absolutely terrible of late. Although they appear to offer free shipping for books over a certain value, in reality, they don’t seem to actually ship them out. Instead, they state that they are going to let you know when they’re going to ship it, but then don’t for a good length of time! In the end, I decided to cancel the order of this book, and instead, I got an audiobook version as an instant download.

I didn’t end up doing this until quite late on in October, so consequently, I haven’t started it yet! I’m looking forward to listening to this one. If I do enjoy it as much as I imagine, I may decide to try and pick up a physical copy again at a later date. But probably not from Amazon.

So, that concludes my Monthly TBR for November! Even though I have read 40 books this year (my target), I would like to keep up with the reading and most importantly, enjoying the experience!

What are you planning to read this month?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Monthly Wrap-Up – October 2022

I cannot believe I am writing my monthly wrap-up post for October. We are now most of the way through the year, and I have no idea where it’s gone!

The one good bit of news is that in October, I completed my Goodreads goal of reading 40 books this year. It was also quite a special one, as it was from an author and series I have both discovered this year and come to love fiercely!

Before I go ahead and spoil anything for you, let’s just dive into the books I read in October, and share with you my reading progress!

 

Assassin’s Quest

Usually, I start the month with any ‘fixed reads’ on my reading list. This month I decided to change things up and pick up Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb first.

I had originally wanted to pick this up in September, but there was absolutely no way I was going to fit it into my Bookoplathon TBR. I’m glad I didn’t even try, as this month I spent the majority of my time reading Assassin’s Quest. Whilst extremely good, Robin Hobb’s fantasy is not something you can pick up and devour quickly. There is a lot of detail, world-building and character development that intertwine and make for a world that requires investment. Equally, you want to savour every moment.

I started Assassin’s Quest very early in the month, but even so, I didn’t finish this until around about the 20th of the month. Even then, I only managed to achieve this feat by reading over 400 pages during a week off work. Without that, I would probably have taken the whole month to read the book, and that is no exaggeration!

I’m really happy with the way the storyline panned out, and how poor Fitz is struggling to find his place. The ending was absolutely fantastic and everything I hoped for. It makes me look forward to revisiting these characters and places later on in the Realm of the Elderlings series.

 

Blink of the Sun

If I’m entirely honest, I’m glad I didn’t start this month with my ‘fixed read’, as it ended up being a bit of a flop. It is not a promising start to reading list, so thankfully I avoided that by not picking it up first!

I was hoping Blink of the Sun would be a captivating urban fantasy that was right up my street (excuse the pun). It has a lot of good elements, but it just wasn’t quite doing it for me. I gave it a good chance, as I was intending to read this book and review it for the author and to give the book some publicity. As it stands, I have given some private feedback to the author via the site I downloaded it from (BookSirens), and I will not be sharing a public review.

 

Babel

Moving onwards and upwards, I next picked up Babel by R. F. Kuang.

I was hoping I was going to make faster reading progress that I did at the start. I can’t say whether it is because I needed to take the time to properly set up the book and characters in my head, or whether it is because I also happened to catch the winter lurgy at the same time and it affected my attention span. Probably a combination of both, in all honesty.

As of the end of the month, I made it to just over 100 pages through this novel. It is a decent amount of progress, but nothing groundbreaking. I am really enjoying the book and the more academic content. As somebody who considered pursuing a career in languages (albeit the English language), I am enjoying the arguments and commentary about how English interacts with other languages.

 

Warrior and Protector

The last book I picked up this month wasn’t on my TBR at the beginning of October. This is because I have stepped in to assist Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources a bit last minute with providing a review for an upcoming blog tour.

Unfortunately, it came to light that somebody who was due to take part in this tour originally was plagiarising other people’s reviews. Big no-no, obviously, so Rachel was looking for an alternative reviewer. As somebody who really enjoys this genre and setting, I was keen to help out in a time of need.

I started this book on the very last day of the month and read a third of it in two sittings over the course of the day. Compared to Babel, this is a much lighter read, and so progress is a lot swifter. What I like about this book, and the setting of the novel, is that I am familiar with it to an extent already. Some of the characters referred to in this book are key figures from that period of history. As a result, I’ve already come across them through other the books. The particular character we are living this narrative through, however, is a new one. That keeps the narrative fresh, even if the setting and theme are known to me.

I am enjoying this particular book and I can’t wait to share my full thoughts with you in my blog tour post on Saturday.

 

I’m resisting the urge to close this monthly wrap-up post saying I haven’t made as much progress as I would like. The truth is, I have read a solid number of pages this month. The books I have picked up are just, in their nature, more dense. They take more time to read. Page count is not the point. I read for the enjoyment of it, and I cannot say that I haven’t achieved that this month!

That’s all for me in today’s monthly wrap-up post. Have you read any of the books on my October TBR? What have you been reading this month?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads