December 2017 | Wrap Up

Welcome one, welcome all to my slightly belated Wrap Up post for December. Now I am  back in Liverpool after being at home for Christmas, I am reunited with my laptop and its image-editing software so I can finally bring you my wrap up for how I did with my reading in December. As we got into December, I had quite a few reading challenges left to complete for the Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge but I was determined to complete it because I knew I’d already failed one reading challenge (the Book Riot Read Harder) and I didn’t want to fail another. Therefore, a lot of the books I read in the month were specifically chosen to fulfil the parameters of the prompts I had left in the reading challenge – I even got super serious and devised a December TBR to make sure I’d get it done, look at me all organised!

In December, I read a total of 8 books fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *).

In terms of format: 1 was hardback, were paperback, 1 was an ebook, and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 2 books were thrillerswere YA fantasy, 1 was historical fantasy; 1 was young-adult contemporary1 was non-fiction, and 1 was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

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End of Year Book Survey 2017

Hi everyone! It’s my favourite time of year in the book blogging community- when everyone is reviewing their year, settling on their top books and celebrating how well they did with their reading year. I love doing my two-part wrap up of the year in reading but I can’t finish my posts until I return to Liverpool in the New Year and am reunited with my laptop and it’s image-editing capabilities. So, in the meantime, I’ve decided to participate in the very exciting End of the Year Book Survey! This is organised every year by the lovely Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner so be sure to check out her original post with the survey and join in yourself if you fancy it!

Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: 35
Genre You Read The Most From: fantasy, young-adult

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

I have an entire top books of 2017 post pending any day now (once I stop being indecisive and settle on them already)… is that the way of getting out of answering this question? Maaaaaybe… but watch this space.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Probably Milk and Honey by rupi kaur. It’s not to say that I didn’t like this poetry collection, I did in fact, but I expected to LOVE it and I didn’t quite do that which is a shame.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

In a bad way, The End We Start From by Megan Hunter. So many reviews said this was beautifully written and I was optimistic that the contents would match the absolutely stunning cover but, alas, I just did not get it, I still don’t, and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m still surprised it has such rave reviews to be honest and I surprised myself somewhat too since with this book I’m unable to understand that whilst it might not be to my taste it might be to others. I just don’t get how it could be?? Clearly I’m the one who’s wrong here though, and that’s fine by me.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’ve pushed my housemate and friend Liz to read quite a few books this year but I think my biggest success has definitely been getting her to read Wishing for Birds, a poetry collection by Elisabeth Hewer, because she’s really not one for poetry, especially not free verse poetry, and she enjoyed it and then also gifted it to her TBTB Santa!

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My 2018 Resolutions

Yep, as you can see from the title of this, this is one of those posts – an overly optimistic goal-setting for the year ahead in the form of New Year’s Resolutions.

For the first time in years, I had a pretty good year in 2017 in terms of resolution fulfilling. I finally stopped just saying I’d do things and actually did them. This was all in the spirit of putting my money where my mouth was and a just do it attitude. I think this was the secret to this year’s success, along with a healthy realisation that life is too fucking short and you can’t take it with you, this is it, this is life, so if you have the chance to live it and to do something, do it, before you can’t.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Realising it and enacting it are two very different things though… and in that spirit, I’m going to continue into 2018 and hope that the upcoming year is as successful. Let’s get to these resolutions and goals which, I warn you, are probably far too numerous… buckle in, guys!

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My 2017 Resolutions | Final Review

Greetings folks! Today I bring you the last of my check-ins on my 2017 Resolutions – the final review of how I did with my goals this year. Around this time last year, I set some resolutions or goals for 2017. It’s something I try to do every year and every year, without fail, I forget my goals unless I keep them on a handily placed sheet of paper or, as is this year’s case, in the front of my bullet journal. This year I also did quarterly check-ins to keep myself accountable – click to peek at my first quarterly check-in, my second quarterly check-in, and my third quarterly check-in – and it turns out regularly checking in on the progress of your resolutions might actually help you achieve them. Who would’ve thought it?!?

Before I decide upon my 2018 resolutions, I thought I would do a final review of how I did in the final quarter and for the year overall!

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Happy Holidays

As I sit here, having watched the traditional Christmas film with my mum (the 1994 Miracle on 34th Street obviously), my mind wandered to what topic I should choose for today’s blog post, the post that I’ve decided will be my final Blogmas post of this year.

There’s considerable pressure to make such posts perfect and reflective, wrapping the project up with some kind of retrospective of how the experience has changed your blogging and also provide a nice sense of closure to the affair.

Right now, I’m saving those thoughts for New Years, for 2018. Because the year isn’t quite over yet, and Christmas isn’t the end of anything. For me, it’s a time for friends and for family, a time to appreciate what you do have, and to remember those you no longer have in your life. It’s a time to just take a much-needed moment to just… be.

Obviously, my Christmas and family aren’t a perfect holiday card image of the day, and what I prioritise in the festive season might not be what you prioritise. But I’m grateful for what, and who, I do have in my life and Christmas provides a stark yearly reminder of just how lucky I am to feel safe and loved every single year. To have somewhere to call home and, soppiness be damned, to have somewhere to return to where I know I’ll always be welcomed back for Christmas.

For those of you who celebrate something during this holiday season, I sincerely wish health and happiness to you and your loved ones. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. And thus “ends” my Blogmas…


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London Trip 2017 | Day Two aka the snow taketh with one hand and giveth with the other

Welcome to the second post in my wrap up on my recent trip to London – take a look a day one here if you haven’t already.

After a double musical day of emotional musicals, I think both Liz and I were happy at the prospect of getting out of theatres and heading out of London for our planned activities on Sunday but, as you will see, things didn’t go quite as planned. I know how to do suspense, don’t I?

We woke bright and (reasonably) early, excited for our day at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Watford, and donned our Harry Potter related clothing, also bundling up with scarves and gloves after a quick peek at the snow (!) falling outside. Sunday mornings in London are weird, to say the least, because there are so few people on ordinarily busy streets and the snow was also good encouragement to stay indoors if you could. Even so, the snow wasn’t settling as the ground was already wet, so we decided to walk the twenty-minute walk to Euston. I wouldn’t presume to speak for both of us but I believe that we quickly regretted this decision to walk when Liz discovered her Vans weren’t quite as waterproof as we first hoped and my Chelsea boots, whilst pretty, had no grip to speak of on the soles. This makes for a very interesting walk on slippy streets.

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Friday Reads | 22nd December 2017

Welcome one, welcome all, to quite a late and impromptu Friday Reads. I’ve just got home from a meal with some of my school friends from back home so it’s safe to say that this is going to be brief.

It’s getting to be crunch time with my reading goals for 2017 – there’s not much of this year left and I’m so determined to finish at least one reading challenge, namely the Around the year in 52 Books challenge. So my reading right now is completely dominated by the remaining challenges I need to complete for that, and I’m doing reasonably well in ticking them off. Since posting my December TBR, I’ve made sure to prioritise reading things that will fulfil the challenges, specifically Jo Nesbo’s The Bat and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, the latter of which pleasantly surprised me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the very reason that I like doing reading challenges that persuade me to read outside of my normal genre which, let’s face it, is either fantasy or historical fiction. Speaking of…

At the moment I’m reading (well rereading) Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss, the first book in the Winner’s Trilogy of which I hope to finally get to Books 2 and 3 in 2018. It also handily fulfils the challenge of reading a book recommended by a favourite author because VE Schwab has rated the trilogy highly on Goodreads. I’m currently also reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Again, this is a reread as I’ve studied this before at University, but it’s nice to read it again just for pleasure. Plus it’s definitely the right time of year for it. It’s not very long at all and I’m reading it here and there on my phone so I expect to finish it soon enough. I’m also planning to read Jane Austen’s Lady Susan as this will fit with the epistolary novel prompt and Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns which will fulfil the ‘Read a book from What Should I Read Next’ since it was recommended for lovers of Six of Crows.

All in all, I’d like to think I can still complete this challenges but I have noticed a massive drop in my reading pace since coming home for Christmas. As I’m not travelling into/home from work every day, I don’t have that guaranteed minimum of 30 minutes of reading daily, so I have to sit down and actively plan to read instead. I’m not brilliant at doing this when there’s the distraction of family and Christmas things but hopefully I can pull my socks up this weekend before Christmas and get some good reading done. Everyone loves a trier, right?

What are you reading this Friday and into this weekend? Do you have any festive themed reading plans? Have you completed any yearly reading challenges? Let me know what you’re reading at the moment in the comments below because I’d love to hear it!


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Tag | The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

Welcome to another Thursday and another Tag Thursday! As we’re in the middle of Blogmas I thought I’d bring you another festive-themed book tag to stay in the Christmassy mood. I can’t believe we’re a mere four sleeps away from Christmas Day, that seems so crazy to me since I feel like December only just stared but, alas, here we are. Before I need to go away and have a semi-panic about the presents I still need to get, let’s get to the business of the day, the tag.

I found this via (and considered myself tagged by) the girls over at Thrice Read so let’s just dive on into the tag which is called The Joy of Christmas Book Tag!

1) Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?

I really should look at new book releases because I honestly have no idea what’s coming out soon, I’m so out of the loop. But how far in the future are we talking? Because I am highly anticipating Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars though I’m not sure when it’s released. Likewise anything and everything V.E. Schwab and Samantha Shannon are scheduled to release, as per usual.

2) Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing it’s praises?

Well I think if you look at the answer above you will see some authors whose praises I cannot sing enough, in fact I’m rarely able to get through a book tag without alluding to a book written by one of them! Also this year I’ve been singing the praises of more non-fiction than I expected, specifically Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking and Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt.

3) Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building?

I’m always spoilt for choice with these kinds of questions because so much of what I read is fantasy-based but I’m going to have to say George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. He does an amazing job of juggling so many characters and settings and every single one is unique and distinct so you can immediately picture what the landscape is like of, say, Winterfell or Highgarden.

But you know who builds a great setting not necessarily in terms of physical place but in terms of tone? Maggie Stiefvater in her The Raven Boy’s quartet. I can vividly “feel” her books which is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

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T5W | Top 5 Books of 2017

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is December 20th: Top 5 Books of 2017 and, as Sam says, “I know most people have a longer list than this, or post theirs at different times (like I’ll be waiting until January for example) but if you want to make a list of your absolute faves of the year, now is the time!”

I generally do a post at the beginning of January to wrap up all my reading from the year with some statistics and accompanying graphics and also a definitive list of my favourite books of that year. This year I’ve really been thinking about how I choose my ‘top books’ (I even did a discussion about that here)so it’s safe to say I’m trying to be more discerning about how I pick my top books. This Top 5 Wednesday topic comes at a great time because it gives me the opportunity to ‘test run’ my new thoughts on picking the best books I read in the past year before that final post in January!

As I re-read a lot of favourites (looking at you Leigh Bardugo, Samantha Shannon, V.E. Schwab, Maggie Stiefvater), I’ve made sure to restrict my list to just those books that I read and loved in 2017 for the first time.

5. Wishing for Birds by Elizabeth Hewer

I’ve said many times before (including in my gushing review) that this collection was, simply put, absolutely stunning. I’ve known of Elizabeth’s writing for some time due to following her on Tumblr but this debut poetry collection was just incredibly written and there are a lot of turns of phrase which will stay with me for many months to come. I mean, put it this way, I read it in January and I still remember it.

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Hope Santa Brings

Welcome one, welcome all, to this rare appearance of Top Ten Tuesday! To say I’ve been somewhat lax about participating in TTT would be a generous way of putting it… the last TTT I did was Best Books You’ve Read in 2017 So Far which was aaaall the way back in June so, yeah, it’s been… a while.

(“How long have you been seventeen?” “A while…” Anyone find remembering that Twilight scene as funny as I did just now? Nope? Ok, moving on…)

For those who are unaware (or who might need a reminder) Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to. This week’s topic is festive-themed and it’s Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings! (Obviously, substitute your holiday of choice if Santa is not your bag.)

For the past few Christmases, me and my parents have come to an understanding that, since they rarely keep up with my reading enough to know what books I’m wishing for at any given moment, they will give me some money to buy myself books from them for Christmas and they get them delivered to home and wrap them up and everything and then I obviously do a whole bit on Christmas morning like ‘omg what could this possibly be?’ for the obviously book-shaped presents. It has become something of a tradition. All of this is to say that I am quite assured that I will actually be receiving some of these books, providing Santa doesn’t decide I’ve been a naughty girl and take them all away! Other ones were on my gift wishlist so if Santa doesn’t miraculously bring them then I’ll definitely be treating myself to them after Christmas!

 

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