Tag: TBR

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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Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Winter 2021 To-Read List

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post I am going through the books on my winter TBR. Whilst the title does state it is my Winter 2021 TBR, we are already in mid-December and that doesn’t give me very much time until the end of the year. Even with the best will in the world, I couldn’t read 10 books by the end of the year. So, naturally, this list will span into 2022. 

I wanted to take part in today’s post because it’s allowing me to think of the books I want to read in the immediate future, but also those leading into the beginning of 2022 and any goals I have in mind to set myself. This year I have been flying by the seat of my pants are not planning ahead of time. Even when I have made loose plans, I haven’t stuck to them rigidly. I’ve been giving myself the chance to be a mood reader, so as with previous lists set this year it is not concrete, but certainly something I will aim towards over the coming months.

So, want to check out what books are coming up on my winter TBR?


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

With Christmas just around the corner, winter has certainly started. Therefore, I think it’s important to include my current read as the starting point for this list. I have just picked up The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. It is a historical fiction novel, and I’m excited to read this because it’s unlike anything I have read before. It was a recommendation to me by my sister’s boyfriend Chris. The copy I’m reading right now belongs to him – he’s loaned it to me and I’m hoping to return it before he goes home after Christmas. So, there is no time like the present in reading this book!

 

Traitor’s Blade

Along the same lines as above, I think I should also include my current audiobook lesson on this list. I’m most of the way through it now, but I’m currently listening to Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. This is a completely new book, series and author for me but I have had a great time listening to it so far. I can’t wait to reach the conclusion of this book and go on to listen to the rest of the series! Based on what I have listened to so far I have high hopes for enjoying this one.

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I had the idea in my mind that I wanted to re-read the Harry Potter series during 2021. We are fast approaching the end of the year and so it goes without saying that finishing this series will continue on into next year. However, the idea was a loose one and I’m not upset that I haven’t met the goal of reading it by the end of the year. In fact, I have really enjoyed reading the previous books at the pace I have. There is absolutely no rush and the point of re-reading these books is to enjoy them again. It’s not a race and I I know that I will love these two books as I did in the past!

 

Red Sister

I haven’t read a Mark Lawrence book for a very long time and so I’m hoping to rectify this issue within the next few months. I can’t lie, I was tempted to go back and pick up The Broken Empire series again. However, I have been re-reading a few books this year and given that this author has plenty more to offer, I’m going to try his other works before I go backwards. Red Sister has been on my reading list for quite some time now. It will be good to finally get this underway.

 

Dune

Another book that has been on my reading list for a very long time is Dune by Frank Herbert. I have casually started this book a couple of times before. It was more an experiment really; I wanted to get a feel for the book. At the times I picked this up I wasn’t ready to commit fully but this is a classic that I do want to take the time to sit down and read in full properly soon. I’ve been reading a lot more science fiction of light, so I’m in the best place to finally give this a go.

 

The Feedback Loop

One of the themes of this list is that I want to chip away at some of the oldest books on my TBR. Like in the case of Dune, The Feedback Loop has been on my list for a long time and as another example of a science fiction book that I want to read, it’s about time I got around to this one. The Feedback Loop isn’t quite as long as some of the other books on this list, so I think I might reserve this for a time when I’m either in a bit of a slump or just feel like I need the boost of a shorter book.

 

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

Several years ago I requested a copy of Grimm’s original fairytales for my birthday. You may think I’m a bit old to read these, but these are the original stories that modern day fairytales have stemmed from. They are not all fairies and happy ever after is. I wanted to read these original tales to see how they compare with the modern day versions. My understanding is that these are typically a lot darker, but that remains to be seen. The copy I have on my bookshelf waiting is also beautifully illustrated. It’s not the sort of thing I pick up very often so I’m looking forward to reading this for a bit of a change.

 

A Clash of Kings (audiobook)

I plan to listen to more audiobooks within the next few months. I’ve been doing really well with audiobooks of light and I wish to continue that trend. If you read my blog or listen to my rambling enough you will know that I love love love the A Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. I have read the books at least twice and now I am making my way through the audiobooks. So far I’ve only listened to the first one, but I hope to change that in the next two months. A Clash of Kings is next on my list to listen to and given but I am now listening more regularly, this shouldn’t take as long as the first one.

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I have been making a conscious effort to read more in the way of classics over recent years. One of those on my TBR pile that is definitely coming up due for a read is this book. I really like the sound of the synopsis and so it makes sense to pick this up shortly and tick it off the TBR. It’s also the only classic on this list and having the diversity in the books I choose to pick up can only be a good thing. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Top Ten Tuesday post and that you like the sound of the books coming up (fingers crossed) within the next few months. Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your list to read at any point? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

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Discussion Post – Structured or Mood Reader?

How do you read best? Are you a mood reader, or do you like to have a set list? There is no wrong answer to this question and in today’s discussion post I talk about the pros and cons of each. Having done both for a prolonged period of time I have a good deal of experience in both. I started with one several years ago but have recently transitioned into the other.

 

Structured Reader

When I started reading and blogging regularly I opted for the latter of these methods. I like to be organised and so setting myself a list at the beginning of the month gave me an idea of how much I have to read to meet that goal.

This works for people who like a sense of order in their lives. It’s particularly good if you have a longer-term reading goal as it can help you keep on track. It’s not foolproof because ultimately what matters is how much you actually read rather than what you plan. However, it gives you the opportunity to split your reads out in such a way that you can manage the load. You can plan to read a longer book in several shorter in a month, for instance.

I also found it very handy for blog tours and organised posts in which I had to schedule a post on a certain day. Doing a monthly TBR post ahead of time gave me a deadline in order to read the book and also to get the post prepared. It also serves as a good reminder that I had to do it! Whilst I like the pretence of being organised I will admit to being forgetful! Writing these posts made sure I couldn’t forget!

 

Mood Reader

Over the last year I have switched to being a mood reader. For 2021 I haven’t set myself a reading goal and neither have I set myself definitive lists that I have to read in a given month. As and when I finish a book I can decide what I feel like next. It might sound daft but that freedom is liberating when you have spent so long structuring your reading! There are times when a book just isn’t right for your mood, and that can make the overall experience more difficult and less enjoyable. Given that someone like me spends so much time on the hobby, why should I force myself to read something that I’m not in the mood for? I’ve done it before and it doesn’t pay off. Maybe that’s a topic for another discussion post. 

That’s not to say the being a mood reader means that you cannot meet your reading goals. You absolutely can – but it’s just not quite so easy to visualise your progress. And if you’re in the mood to read quite a few longer books in succession, then progress is going to seem slower than if you spread them out over the course of the year, or read a series of shorter books.

 

There is no right or wrong way to do it. There isn’t even any harm in blending these methods. If you wanted to read four books a month for example, you could ‘set’ two of them and leave the other two to be decided at the time (i.e. your mood read picks).

But even then, do the numbers really matter? Yes, it’s nice to have a reading goal to keep you motivated. But, does the number of books you read in the course of a year decide how much you’ve taken from them? Is quality not better than quantity? That’s what I’ve taken away from my year of mood reading. It doesn’t matter how many I read; it’s the fact that I pick up a book and read at all, and enjoy that book that matters!

Everyone is different and we all have our own strengths and weaknesses to play to. I have enjoyed becoming a mood reader though. Do you have a favourite method? Is it mentioned in today’s discussion post? How do you manage your reading list, or don’t you bother at all? I’d love to hear from you in the comments to see how diverse our methods are!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Summer TBR

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s subject is all about my Summer TBR. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will know that I have taken a bit of a step back with reading this year. I don’t particularly anticipate getting through ten reads throughout summer, but I will certainly do the best I can!

Therefore, this list is going to be the books that I will choose my TBR from, rather than a definitive list of ALL the books I’m going to read in summer.

Does that make sense? I certainly hope so… But without further ado let’s get into the books on my list!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series this year and this is the next instalment on my list. I recently finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I really enjoyed that one, and I love that the books are starting to get a bit chunkier! I love a big book and I’m excited that some of the grittier aspects of Harry Potter are going to start creeping in soon. I can’t wait to pick this up!

 

Clarissa – Karl Drinkwater

This book is definitely going to be read very shortly as I am reviewing it for an upcoming blog tour next month. These are only short stories in a universe I’m already familiar with, having read other shorts in the series. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one compares and I have no doubt that I will enjoy it!

 

Ruabon – Karl Drinkwater

As with Clarissa, I am also reviewing the second short story around a week later than the first one. So, again, I will be reading this very very soon!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

I intended to pick up Dune earlier this year, however, for one reason or another, it didn’t come to pass. I am determined to pick this up properly though, and so I imagine this will be among the next few books I decide to read.

 

Red Sister – Mark Lawrence

It has been several years since I read a book by Mark Lawrence, however, I really enjoyed his Broken Empire series when I was a teenager! So, as I’m sure you can imagine, I’m really looking forward to trying something new of his and seeing if it lives up to my recollection of The Broken Empire trilogy.

 

The Talisman – Stephen King & Peter Straub

I haven’t picked up a Stephen King book for a little while, and this is the oldest one on my TBR. It’s my mission to get through some of the oldest books on my list this year and so this one is definitely in scope. I’m reading The Dark Tower series at the moment and I love how Stephen King dabbles in a little bit of fantasy. This is completely different, to the best of my knowledge, but I’m willing to give anything a go…

 

The Feedback Loop – Harmon Cooper

The Feedback Loop is another reasonably old item on my TBR. Given that I’m really enjoying more in the way of science fiction at the moment, this is definitely one to consider picking up soon. I think it’s quite a short one compared to my typical average, so it shouldn’t take too long to read once I do pick it up.

 

The Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

The Keeper of Lost Things is a lot more contemporary than I typically pick up, however, I love the premise. As a sentimental person, I can see the appeal of the book and the narrative! With this one I was wanting to push my boundaries and try to read something new… so I hope I can get round to this before too long!

 

Hild- Nicola Griffith

It feels like an absolute age since I read a historical fiction novel. I’d say it’s my go-to genre that I haven’t picked up the longest. I’ve definitely been reading more in the way of science fiction and fantasy instead. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to getting back into historical fiction as it is one of my favourite genres. Having taken the break, I think reading Hild will be refreshing.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson

A summer TBR isn’t complete without a dash of humour, and this is what I expect and more from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I read a similar book recently, which blended psychology and humour. This also dabbles in a bit of self-help, which isn’t something I read much of, but I think this appeals to me for a lot of reasons!

Not giving a **** sounds like a plan to me!

So, there you have my Summer TBR (or at least the books I will be choosing my Summer TBR from). Have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations? Please let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Spring 2021 TBR

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about my Spring 2021 TBR.

If I’d have been writing this post this time last year, I would’ve been picking the ten books that I absolutely would be reading during spring. However, now I have changed to a more relaxed approach, today’s list is my top ten books that I will be choosing from rather than just reading the lot. It could well be subject to change. If there’s one thing I am enjoying this year it’s having the freedom to choose what I read when I want rather than setting rigid reading lists that I didn’t always stick to.

So, which ten books on likely to appear on my Spring 2021 TBR? Read on below to find out!

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Easter is around the corner and the daffodils are out in force, despite the cold weather persisting. So, I suppose I should count now as spring and in that vein, I am featuring my current read on this list. I’m about halfway through The Book Thief right now and I’m really enjoying it so I hope to have it finished soon!

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

Fire and Blood is also a current read. I’m a couple of hundred pages in at the moment and I’m intending on picking this up again as soon as I have finished The Book Thief. It’s a heavy read in case you haven’t seen it before. If you have you’ll know it weighs in at about 700 odd pages. It’s a big one but you know me – I love the realm of Westeros and all the history that goes with the Game of Thrones series.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K Rowling

I’ve read the first couple of Harry Potter books this year to date. If you follow my blog you’ll know that I committed to doing a re-read of the series this year! The first couple of books have been really easy to pick up and get back into the story from the start. I haven’t read these books since I was a teenager so going back to them is truly a blast from the past. I’m keen to keep up the momentum with this and so I’m fully intending on reading this next instalment very shortly!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

And following on from my last book on this list, depending on how quickly I get around to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I may just get around to reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before the summer. Maybe, we’ll see.

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Similar to my featuring The Book Thief and Fire and Blood, it’s only fair that I feature my current audiobook as well. I really love the Game of Thrones series (as I’m sure I have established by now) and so I have been listening to this audiobook as a way to touch base with the series. This is also a long one and so I don’t really expect to get this listen to too much. I don’t want to commit to it just in case I don’t!

 

The Psychology Book

This book is one I have picked up previously and made a degree of progress with, however, I ultimately ended up putting it down and I haven’t read it in its entirety. It has been on my TBR for a number of years now and so I want to set aside the time to pick this up. As a former psychology student, I do find the content quite interesting and I like the diversity within this book!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

I was gifted a copy of Dune years ago for my birthday by work colleagues and I think it’s about time that I get around to giving it a go! I love the sound of the premise and given that I’ve been reading more science fiction in recent years, I’m hoping that I really get on with this one. Only time and picking up the book itself will tell, but I’m optimistic.

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

I first read Magician, the first book of the series, as a teenager. A couple of years ago I revisited this first book in an attempt to make a more serious go off reading the series. As with my first attempt, however, I didn’t really follow through and pick up this next book. I do plan on doing the shortly though, although I won’t be picking up the first book a third time – at worst I will have to try and recap the events of the first book online.

 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and a reading list wouldn’t feel right without a book of his on it somewhere. I read The Way of Kings, the first book of this series (that is ultimately going to be around ten books long), a couple of years ago. Since then I have been deliberately putting off delving into this series further, despite the fact I really want to do having loved the first book. Brandon Sanderson has only published four of the ten at the moment I don’t want to be disappointed by catching up and having to wait for the last few to be published. As it stands book five scheduled for publication in two and a half years time! With that in mind, I think I have left at a decent time to be able to pick up the next book and halve another break before the next; it gives him a chance to keep writing the series so I don’t catch up before he finishes it!

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

I’ve owned a copy of this book for quite a few years now and it’s one of the older books on my TBR. So, this is another book that I intend to read shortly. Realistically, being at this end of the list, it is more likely being a summer read. That’s not the end of the world though, as it’s quite a nice manageable length it could make for quite an easy light read! Maybe in the garden –  although thoughts like that whilst it’s a tropical 8°C currently feels a little optimistic…

 

So, these are my top ten books I’ll likely be choosing from for my Spring 2021 TBR! Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments. 

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

Hey guys and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To… and if that doesn’t sum up 2020 for me then I don’t know what does! I made ambitious plans last January, ignorant of how the year was going to pan out for me. I’ve already talked about the reasons a lot, but ultimately I didn’t meet any of my goals.

The most important goal in relation to today’s post was my aim to read the 25 oldest books on my TBR. I made a noble attempt and managed to read 7 in full, but I also DNF’d 3. A lot of these were old additions to the TBR… we’re talking 2014/2015 when I first started using Goodreads. That’s why I wanted to get around to them, but also to see if my reading taste has changed. If anything, I think I’m a lot more open to different genres when I was then. Some of the books added were pushing the boat out on what I normally read so I’m happy to accept some of the DNF’s. Others had every right to be firm favourites but just didn’t work for me at all (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett – I’m looking at you!)

So, as you can see I have plenty of material for the Top Ten I didn’t get around to! I also wanted to write this post about it as my new goal for this year is to pick up where I left off and read more exclusively from the TBR… no ARCs, no new review requests etc. So, which ones am I looking forward to the most? Let’s get into it! Rather than a paragraph for each book, I’ve split my ten into genres groups that I’ll talk more generally about.

 

Fantasy

 

It’s hardly surprising that a number of books on this list are from the fantasy genre. As a teenager, it was pretty much all I read. These books are all by authors I love. I have already read at least three books by each and I’m confident that I’m going to really enjoy the books listed above. Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King I have read more recently. It has been a number of years since I read a book by Mark Lawrence, so I’m excited to get stuck in!

I think it’s funny that I am coming to this Stephen King novel now having read several of his other books in different genres. I’m pretty sure I added The Talisman with the intention of using it as a ‘step into’ trying his writing before exploring his more extensive horror genre books! Look how that worked out!

 

Science-fiction

 

Science-fiction is another genre that pops up again and again. I didn’t read a lot of it when I was younger, but I definitely have a healthier appreciation for it now. I added Dune to my TBR after being gifted a copy for my birthday a few years ago. I’m glad it was given to me as I really like the sound of it. I have had an experimental skeet at the first few pages before and I’m hopeful I’ll be enjoying this one too.

The Feedback Loop is quite short compared to my average read, but still, I love the sound of the plot. It will be the first thing I have read by this author too, so it’ll be a completely new experience for me.

 

Classics

 

If someone had told me ten years ago that one day I would be reading classics by choice, I’d have laughed at you. If you also told me that I’d re-read and come to enjoy the classic novels I hated studying for school, I wouldn’t believe you. And yet, I am reading them. For the most part, I am enjoying them. I’ve only DNF’d one so far and that’s The Catcher in the Rye. I’m not put off by this though and I’m looking forward to trying more classics!

 

Historical Fiction

I love historical fiction novels too, so their inclusion on this list shouldn’t be a surprise either! The two locations and time periods for each book’s setting are very different, but I have read similar books before that I’ve really enjoyed them. The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany in WW2 and Hild in 7th century Britain.

WW2 is one of my favourite historical time periods to read about. You could call it a bit of morbid fascination given the atrocities real people lived through in these times. It’s horrible to think about but equally, I think novels set in this period have a lot to tell us. It’s a reminder not to make the same mistakes again.

 

So, those are my Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To. Have you read any of them, or do you intend to in 2021?

 

 

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2020 Wrap Up Post

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

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

 

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2020 Books

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

 

 

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2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals

Hi guys! Happy New Year! I can’t believe I’m writing my first post of 2021 already. Last year seems like a bit of a blur. I’ve enjoyed a lovely break over Christmas and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my goals for 2021 and today’s post. 

Before I get into this year’s goals, I’d like to take a quick recap over 2020. I’ll probably be writing a more detailed post on this in the next few days, but I think it’s only appropriate that I briefly talk about last years goals. This is the first year that I’ve not met my reading goal, but to be perfectly honest, I’m still proud of the number of books I managed to read in the circumstances. I ended up taking on far more than I ever imagined when I set my goal in January. Yet despite this, I still managed to complete 55 books last year, as well as ending the year reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I also DNF’d a surprising number of books this year. It’s rare that I give up on a book, but this year I’ve DNF’d a total of 5 books.

Inevitably, I have been thinking about my goals for this year. It’s funny because as a person I’m not a huge celebrant of New Year. Call me miserable if you wish, but I’m just the kind of person who is all too aware that the 1st of January is just another day. And most likely, it’s just like the last. Obviously, things are a little bit different with my blog, as setting new goals is kind of ‘the done thing’. If I’m honest, I started thinking about the goals I’m setting back in November and over the last couple of months I’ve convinced myself that this is the right thing to do. So, here are the ‘reading goals’ I’m setting myself for 2021: –

 

Goodreads Challenge

I have taken part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last six years. Granted, 2014 and 2015 were distinct flops. This was before I started blogging and getting into reading full time, and so I only read 10 books out of the target 55 I set myself over the course of the two years.

Since getting back into reading and then beginning my blogging adventure, I’ve had a lot more success. I have met my reading goal every year until 2020. Admittedly, that goal of 80 books was very ambitious when I set it. I did that deliberately because I’ve always underestimated myself in the previous years. If I hadn’t taken on things that I ended up doing in 2020, I might just have reached it. I don’t beat myself up for not reaching it though. Towards the end of the year, I burned out. I am fully prepared to admit that to myself now. Between all the different things I ended up juggling, it all became a bit too much for me. Something had to give, and ultimately it was the reading aspect of my blog that ‘suffered’.

I worry that if I were to carry on in this manner, I’d end up not reading at all. Of course, I don’t want that to happen, so I’m doing something I never expected I’d do as a book blogger. I’m going against the grain and not setting myself a reading goal in 2021. That may sound a bit odd to you, but it’s the right thing for me. I’ve decided that I need to get back to my grassroots, and that’s reading what I want, at my own pace, and doing it for the enjoyment of it. It’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a hobby, as blogging ends up becoming like a job. It’s a full-time commitment, and when you’re trying to do other things like hold down actual paid employment, study and complete renovations on your home (to name just a few examples), it’s a lot of work. There are so only so many hours in a day.

The point of setting a Goodreads challenge is that it is supposed to be that – a challenge. This year, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself and risk a prolonged burnout. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see any point in setting myself a ‘challenge’ that isn’t going to be a challenge… hence why I’m not setting myself a goal at all.

 

TBR

Last year‘s goal of trying to chip away at the TBR ended up being a bit of a flop. I started off well, reading a couple of books a month. However, my problem is that I keep adding new ones as quickly as I read others. I was also taking on blog tours last year, which meant that I wasn’t reading enough of the TBR to counteract the books I was adding.

So, this year’s goal is to only read books on my TBR. I already know I’m not going to religiously stick to this one. I’m sure there will be new shiny books and catch my eye and I want to fast track them and read them there and then. The sentiment behind this goal is that I want to read exclusively off my TBR as much as possible and bring the number of books on that list down – significantly more than in previous years!

With this in mind, I’ll also be taking part in fewer blog tours – at least the number I provide reviews for. I will probably still take part, but I’ll be providing promotional posts or extracts as opposed to reviews. This means I can spend my time actually reading the books on my TBR without distraction or deadline. For the most part, I have deliberately not been signing up to them this year. There is one exception, and that is for a book by an author I have read a lot of historically. I have really loved her books to date and I didn’t want to miss out on providing a review for the second book of a series I’ve already started. I’ll be taking part in that tour this month, but aside from that, I have no obligations to review for a blog tour.

 

Review Requests

Technically, I haven’t really been taking many review requests over the last few months. Although, being the person I am, if someone approaches me with a really good book and say there is no time deadline, I can’t help myself to say yes. I love a good book – what can I say!

Well, now I’m saying this. I’m not taking any review requests in 2021, no matter how good the book sounds or whether there is a time deadline or not. I ended up taking on a couple of books towards the end of last year that were ‘non-time-sensitive’, and yet I still ended up getting chased on them. This is exactly what I was looking to avoid when I initially closed myself off to new review requests. My lesson has been learnt, so for this year, I won’t be taking any at all. I’ll honour the ones I have, and that is all l. At least, until next year.

 

Re-read: Harry Potter

My last goal of the year is to re-read the Harry Potter series. 

I had said to myself that I was going to do this sometime after I finished my re-read of A Game of Thrones. Now feels like the perfect time to do so. Harry Potter was one of my favourite book series’ growing up. I read Harry Potter throughout my teenage years, and they have a huge part to play in my developing a love of reading. As I am taking the opportunity to re-capture that essence and love of reading without the demands of competing against myself, or trying to reach that next target, it feels like the right time to re-visit one of the very series’ that kindled my love for reading in the first place. 

 

Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? What are your ambitions for 2021? Please let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – December 2020

Hi guys! Today I’m sharing my last reading list of 2020. Literally, where has this year gone? In some respects it isn’t a bad thing… but still. It doesn’t feel like Christmas should be just a few weeks away.

You may have noticed that my reading pace has dropped off the last few months. I’m not reading as much as I need to for a variety of reasons. I started the year planning to move, which I did in May. Since then, I’ve been putting in the work on the new place to redecorate, fix up and make it my own. In amongst all this, I’ve been studying for work-sponsored exams too. That in itself is quite a bit to juggle, but my blogging on top of that too? It’s a handful.

That’s why my reading and blogging has had to slow down a bit. I was getting a bit burned out with it, but I didn’t want to give it up. I still really enjoy reading and putting in the time to sharing my thoughts with you all, but I’ve had to find a more sustainable pace. Up until this month, I have been pretty ambitious in setting my reading lists and just carrying over what I don’t read. This month, that changes. I’ve come to accept that I am now reading less than I was… and that it’s okay. Maybe that will change again in future, and maybe not. It just depends on what else I’m doing.

This month’s list has a couple of carryovers from last month, plus one seasonal addition. Have you read any of these books?

 

Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter | Goodreads

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

I’m already a few chapters into Auxiliary and I can tell it’s a read I’m going to get on well with. I like the premise of the book and the narrative style is easy to read. The chapters are also nice and short so it’s easy to pick up. If you enjoy mystery and science-fiction genres, this might be one for you!

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley | Goodreads

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

 

Brave New World has been on my TBR for a number of years, and after watching the TV series recently, I decided it was the right time to pick the book up! I didn’t get around to reading Brave New World last month, so I will be reading the book this month instead.

 

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay | Goodreads

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas will be fully illustrated (as tastefully as possible) and will delight all of Adam’s fans throughout the festive period of Christmas 2019 and for many years to come.

 

I was introduced to Adam Kay earlier this year with This Is Going To Hurt by a colleague. The book was both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. I found out around the time I read it that there was a Christmas themed book also by him, so I have been planning on reading this book in December since then! If it’s every bit as good as This Is Going to Hurt, which I expect it will be, then this will be a great read to end the year.

 

So, that’s my reading list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What did you make of them if you have, or do you like the sound of them if you haven’t? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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