October 2020 Wrap Up

There was so much I wanted to get done this month, but October just didn’t end up being so great for me. I haven’t done as much blogging or blog hopping this month sadly. I’ve been busier at work, and my fatigue has been worse. It’s been a bit of a struggle. I’m thinking of writing a blog post about my experience of chronic illness at some point, perhaps in December for Crohn’s & Colitis awareness week. I also found out this week that we’re going through a restructure at work. I should have a job for the time being, but it’s quite stressful. I haven’t been told much yet, but it could have quite big implications for my role.

I might not be blogging as much the next couple of months depending how I’m feeling health-wise. The limited time I have when I feel good, I need to focus on writing my novel. But I will still be blogging and reading blog posts when I can!

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I really loved this one and would recommend it even for people who don’t usually go for sci-fi!

The Roommate by Rosie Danan ⭐⭐⭐ – I very rarely read contemporary books, but I’ve read so much fantasy this year that I just needed to read something totally different. I had no idea what to pick but I’d heard this one mentioned a few times so got it on my Kindle. I didn’t write a review for it because this is just not my genre so I wouldn’t really know what to say! It was okay but I didn’t love it. It served its purpose of giving me a break from fantasy. I would like to read more romance books occasionally, so if anyone has any recommendations please share them with me!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir ⭐⭐⭐ – I’ve heard so much about this series and I was so excited to read this book. Sadly though, I just didn’t click with it. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a good book. I can’t even put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy it more. It has all the elements I should love in a fantasy book. I didn’t write a review for this one either because I just didn’t know what to say about it, because I’m not sure why I didn’t connect with it. Perhaps some of it was just down to timing and the mood I’ve been in this month.

Manga Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I read some of these books a while ago as a way to introduce myself to Shakespeare plays I was studying before diving into the play. It can be quite hard to keep track of who is who when reading the plays, and I found these Manga adaptations gave a helpful and enjoyable overview. I realised I had a couple on my shelf I hadn’t read because I didn’t end up studying them.

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – When I marked this as finished on Goodreads, it showed that my start date for this book was September 2019. I cannot believe it took me so long to read it! I don’t generally enjoy short stories that much, so I’ve been reading the odd story from this collection every now and then between other books.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is a brilliant debut! It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai and I really enjoyed it. (although there was a bit too much gore for me in places!)

This month I ended up with only a couple of books. But I have several ordered which are due to arrive in November so I think I will need to go on a book buying ban! I love YA sci-fi and Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer sounds amazing so I just had to get myself a copy. I also bought Illumicrate’s edition of The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo. This book is just so beautiful, the illustrations are stunning!

Although I had a pretty rough month, I still managed to write double the amount I wrote in September. This month I wrote about 12,000 words of my WIP and I’m roughly two thirds of the way through the book. So I am happy with that, but I know I could have written so much more if I’d been feeling better. I don’t think I’ll reach my original goal of finishing it by the end of November. I’d really like to finish it by Christmas.

What have you been reading? What have you been up to? Chat with me in the comments!

August 2020 Wrap Up

So August wasn’t a great month. I had an infection in my eye which got really bad. All one side of my face was swollen and I was in a lot of pain. I also couldn’t see anything. So I had a week off work, didn’t read for a week, didn’t do much of anything actually. Because the medication I take effects the immune system, when I get ill, I get really ill, and it also takes a while for me to recover. So even though my eye was almost better after a week or so thanks to antibiotics, I’m still recovering energy-wise.

I’m really hoping September is going to be a better month because I’ve not been doing great health-wise lately.

Because I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t read. So I ended up signing up for the Audible free trial and trying out audiobooks. I haven’t listened to an audiobook in years. I chose The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, both of which I’ve read before. The Northanger Abbey audiobook had a full cast and I quite enjoyed it as it’s one of my favourite Austen novels. I have to say that I much prefer reading a physical book, though I can see audiobooks having benefits.

When I was able to see again, I read Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee which was amazing. It’s a plot-driven YA fantasy with an intriguing magic system. It ended on a cliff-hanger so I’m really excited for the sequel!

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer was a really anticipated read for me as I loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely, but unfortunately I didn’t like it as much as the first book which was a little disappointing.

Finally, I read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo which just blew me away. It was absolutely brilliant and I loved it even more than Six of Crows.      

This month I shared my book haul as a separate post because I ended up with so many thanks to winning a massive AtHomeYALC giveaway! You can see what books I got here.

Since I couldn’t see for part of the month and have been feeling pretty rubbish, I’m fairly happy with how much I’ve managed to write. I’ve written about 16,000 words for my King Arthur retelling and I’m nearly halfway through the book which is pretty exciting. My goal, so long as I don’t get ill again, is to finish it by the end of October. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to achieve that, but I’d certainly hope to have finished it by the end of November.

What have you been up to this month? What books have you enjoyed? Chat with me in the comments!

July 2020 Wrap Up

This month I should have been going to YALC! I was so looking forward to it so was really disappointed it had to be cancelled because of coronavirus. Instead there was a digital version of the event called #atHomeYALC which was fun! There were giveaways and panels and lots of other fun bookish things on Twitter and Instagram. Hopefully we will be able to attend YALC in person next year!

I had a great month for reading as I loved all the books I read! My first read of July was Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim which I really enjoyed. Next, I read Burn by Patrick Ness which was just so creative and unique. I never knew quite what was going to happen next. Plus it had dragons!

I read the third book in Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series – Heir of Fire. This series just seems to get better and better! I love her writing and stories.   

I just finished reading an eARC of The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow. I’ll be posting a review of that soon!

I received copies of Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee and The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna in Fairyloot’s June box which arrived a few weeks late. My Fairyloot edition of The Damned by Renee Ahdieh also arrived. The Beautiful was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

This month I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo with my King Arthur retelling and I smashed my goal of 16,000 words! I wrote 18,552 words in July which I am super happy with. I’m loving working on this project so I’m excited to continue writing it.

How had your July been? What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!

June 2020 Wrap Up

This has not been a very good month unfortunately. A couple of years ago I hurt my back, it took months to recover, and a couple of weeks ago I managed to twinge it again. I’m in pain all the time and had to take a few days off work because I just couldn’t sit at my computer. That also means I’ve not been able to do as much blogging as I had planned and missed several posts that I had planned to write. It’s slowly getting better and I am able to spend some time at my computer now so will be back to blogging a little more regularly again, though I am still in pain.  

At the beginning of the month I finished The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, a prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy. I was excited to return to this world and it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. While it was good, I didn’t love it as much as the original trilogy.

I also read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which I have had waiting on my shelf for several months, as I don’t read much contemporary fiction. I’m very glad I finally read it as it’s a very powerful novel. I had no hesitation giving it 5 stars.    

Fear is the fifth book in Michael Grant’s Gone series. I have been working my way through this series quite slowly, though that’s more a reflection on my reading than enjoyment of the books! This book was good but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous ones. I’m still excited to read the final book though.

I just had to read The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White as I love King Arthur legends. This retelling has a really interesting concept that Guinevere is not the real Guinevere, but has taken her place as fiancé to King Arthur so that she can use her magic to protect him. Although I enjoyed it, I only gave it 3 stars. I think perhaps the style was not quite to my taste and there were a lot of unanswered questions still at the end of the book. But I liked it enough that I will definitely be reading the sequel.  

I absolutely adored Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of Emma, so decided to read the book. I’m only a little way in but loving it so far.

This month was quite a quiet book buying month for me, which is probably a good thing as I have many already on my shelf that need reading! I received a Word Cloud Classics edition of Emma for my birthday. And bought The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle as part of my research for my next novel. It’s a lovely leather-bound edition with illustrations.

My back pain also put my novel planning on the back burner for a bit unfortunately. But I am still ready to write my King Arthur retelling for the July edition of CampNaNoWriMo! I’m excited to get writing as I am so excited for these characters and this story.  

What books did you enjoy reading this month? Let me know in the comments!  

May 2020 Wrap Up

This month has been really warm here in the UK. It’s felt like summer not spring! I’m still working from home full time which provides some structure to my days. I’m happy with the amount of reading and writing I have managed to do this month during my down time.

Reading

My first read of the month was The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This book was okay but I didn’t love it. I don’t think it was for me. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas was such a good conclusion to the original ACOTAR trilogy and I’m excited to read more books in this series. I took part in the readalong for Fairyloot’s delayed March box which was for Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie. It’s a really imaginative YA fantasy but I didn’t love it as much as some other YA fantasy I have read. 

I’m currently reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins which I had pre-ordered! The Hunger Games is one of my favourite series so I couldn’t wait to return to that world. I won’t say more until I’ve finished reading it, expect a review in the next few days!

Book Haul

My copy of Illumicrate’s special edition of Aurora Burning arrived and it’s gorgeous. The original cover is orange but their edition has a blue cover and edges and it looks amazing. The other exclusive edition I received was Bone Crier’s Moon in Fairyloot’s March box. Burn is one of my anticipated books of the year. I’m really curious to see what Patrick Ness does with dragons! I also got A Darker Shade of Magic on my Kindle because I’ve been meaning to try a V. E. Schwab book for ages so now I’ll hopefully actually get round to reading it.

Writing

I’ve been doing more research and planning for my King Arthur retelling. It’s going well so I will be continuing planning in June with the idea of hopefully taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, but more on that nearer the time.

What books did you enjoy reading this month? What have you been getting up to? Let me know in the comments!  

April 2020 Wrap Up

April has been a strange month. Adapting the way we live has been a challenge. It’s been strange getting used to working at home all the time and not being able to meet and see people. NHS and key works are all doing such an amazing job right now keeping us alive and keeping the country moving. These are hard times but we will reach the other side eventually.

Since I’ve not been able to go anywhere, I have found more time for doing things I enjoy like reading and writing, which is one plus of this situation. Always look for the positives!

Reading

I finally started Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices series. Lady Midnight was such a good book. I just loved getting to know this new cast of characters. I was one of the lucky people to get an eARC of The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant which was one of my anticipated reads for this year. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. It was a good read but I didn’t love it. Since I loved Illuminae, I decided to pick up Aurora Rising, the first book in Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s new series. I adored this book so much. It was fast paced and I was hooked all the way through. Finally, I just finished reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber and will be posting my review for that soon. Sadly, this is another book I found a tad disappointing. I think perhaps this book just wasn’t for me.

Book Haul

I’m so missing being able to go into bookshops and browse! I pre-ordered The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman. The Devouring Gray was one of my favourite books from last year, so I had to get my hands on the sequel. More people need to read this book, so if you haven’t picked up The Devouring Gray yet, I’d recommend it! I also received my Fairyloot and Illumicrate copies of Chain of Gold. I won’t post photos of their exclusive editions here as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn’t had their box yet!

Writing

It’s been full steam ahead for my Arthurian legend retelling idea. I’ve been doing lots of research around the legends and also getting to know my characters through making character charts. I’m having lots of fun planning this one!

What have you been getting up to? Are there any books you read this month that you absolutely loved? I hope you’re all managing to stay safe and well!

March 2020 Wrap Up

This has been a weird month hasn’t it? I’m now working from home. I’m lucky that I have that option and still have an income. A lot of people and businesses are struggling right now. I’m still kind of in this state of shock almost. It just doesn’t seem real. Things seemed to get bad really quickly. And it almost hasn’t sunk in that this is actually happening.

But on to more positive subject matter – reading!  

Reading

I finished reading The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas at the beginning of March. It’s a collection of prequel novellas for the Throne of Glass series. I enjoyed it and I’m glad I read it, because it did fill in what happened before Throne of Glass. But I am looking forward to getting back to the main plot, the next book in that series for me to read will be the third book, Heir of Fire.

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller was Fairyloot’s pick for their February box. As I was on holiday during the readalong, I actually had time to stick to the reading schedule and read the chapters on the scheduled days which was quite fun! Next I read A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer which I loved more than I was expecting to!

I decided I wanted a little break from reading YA, so I read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. This is the third Agatha Christie novel I’ve read and I liked it, but didn’t love it. I do want to read more of his books though, as I liked the other two books I’ve read better. Her books are quite short, easy reads, and I do love a good mystery!

Book Haul

So, yeah, I bought a few books this month… I ordered some online from Waterstones as I had filled up my stamp card and wanted to spend it while I still could…

King of Scars finally came out in paperback (the hardback was massive and heavy so I decided to wait for the paperback) and I managed to get a copy signed by Leigh Bardugo! Having only just finished A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I ordered A Heart So Fierce and Broken because I just knew I wanted to continue reading this series.

Since I didn’t have any more Agatha Christie on my shelf, I decided to order And Then There Were None so I have one lined up for the next time I fancy a mystery. I remember watching the adaptation BBC did a few years ago and thinking it was very good.

I also bought a book on Arthurian literature and legend as part of research for a new series I’m planning at the moment. It will be a retelling of the legends, so I also bought The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White as I want to read a few retellings as part of that research (plus, you know, I’ve had my eye on this book since it came out…)

Writing

I finished the second draft of the YA fantasy book I finished writing last year. I’ve sent it to a couple of writer friends to read to get some feedback before I do another draft. I’ve also started planning the aforementioned Arthurian legend retelling which I’m really excited for! All the ideas have just grown in my mind over the last few weeks. I’ve got a rough idea for a trilogy in mind, but want to do some more research around the legends themselves before I start making more detailed plans.  

January 2020 Wrap Up

The start of 2020 could have gone better. I began the new year and the new decade with a cold. The rest of this gloomy month hasn’t been great either, but on the plus side I have managed to do quite a bit of reading.

Reading

I finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas at the beginning of the month and loved it! Her stories just really manage to draw me in; I’ve totally fallen for her books. I gave my first 5 stars of the year to Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s so creative and visual, and I enjoyed reading something that used such different storytelling techniques. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao came in Illumicrate’s December box. Although I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it as much as other YA fantasy books I’ve read. Finally I finished reading Claudia Gray’s Defy the Fates, the final book in the Constellation trilogy. It wasn’t as good as the first book, but I still loved returning to the characters and seeing how their story ended. Now I’ve just started reading Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

Book Haul

I got two books this month from Illumicrate. The first is an exclusive edition of The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag with sprayed edges, which is absolutely gorgeous. The other was a bonus book – Infinity Son by Adam Silvera.

Writing

Having finished the first draft of my YA fantasy book at the end of December, I decided to have a few weeks break from writing so that I could come back to edit it with fresh eyes. Over the last week or so I’ve been making notes of things I need to work on or change, and am now ready to start work on the second draft! I’m excited to return to working on it, as I’ve really loved building this world and being immersed in the story.

December 2019 Wrap Up

It’s the start of a new year and a new decade! And I’m seeing it in with a horrendous cold… I’ve spent most of the last few days in bed and not left the house since Thursday, so I’m feeling a tad fed up at the moment.

I can’t believe it’s the end of a decade. So much has happened in the last ten years, good and bad. In 2009 I had major surgery. I’ve had two flare ups in my Crohn’s disease since then but have been well for the last two and a half years thanks to some new medication. So my health has been very up and down. I finished high school, did A Levels, went to uni, got a degree, passed my driving test and got my first full time job. In this decade I’ve also written five novels and one novella which is absolutely amazing. All I need to do now is get editing so I can start querying and pursue my publishing dreams!

I’m still feeling really rough so I’ll just focus on December 2019 in this post, rather than doing a whole year or decade wrap up!

Reading

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman ended up being one of my favourites from this year. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did, but the spooky atmosphere and interesting characters really drew me in.

I don’t read short stories very often. I much prefer novels. So I’ve been reading bits of The Bane Chronicles here and there rather than all in one go. I’ve also been reading The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas which is a collection of prequel novellas. I’m about halfway through those.

Currently I’m reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas so there’ll be a review of that to come soon!

Book Haul

At the beginning of the month I got a set of 10 stamps on my Waterstones card thanks to buying Christmas presents, so that was a great excuse to buy books for myself! I bought Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m not sure why I didn’t pick this book up sooner. It looks really unique and totally up my street. I also bought A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I’ve heard a lot about this book this year so I’m hoping it lives up to the hype.

I got two books for Christmas – the Collector’s Edition of Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas which is absolutely gorgeous, and Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao.

Writing

This month has been a great month for writing! I finished the first draft of the YA fantasy novel I’ve been working on this year! I wasn’t sure I was going to finish it by the end of the year but I just managed to finish it before I got struck down with this horrible cold. The task for 2020 will be to work on editing it. I already have a list of things in mind that I need to go back and develop so I’m actually quite excited to begin working on a second draft.

Thanks to everyone who has read my blog this year. I hope you’ve been enjoying the content I’ve been posting. If there’s anything different you’d like to see, I’m always welcome to suggestions of how I can develop and improve my blog!

Happy New Year!

November 2019 Wrap Up

This month has been fairly quiet so I’ve managed to get a decent amount of reading and writing done, and also wrote several blog posts for this month too. I’ve made a start on Christmas shopping but still have quite a few things left to buy. It’s my choir’s winter concert next weekend so I should probably do some more practicing this weekend!

Reading

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was a little disappointing. I didn’t love it and I just think it wasn’t the right book for me. I finally got round to reading Defy the Worlds, the sequel to Claudia Gray’s Defy the Stars, which I absolutely loved. Although I didn’t like it quite as much, the sequel is still thrilling and a great read! I requested one eARC from Netgalley – A Throne of Swans by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. The world building is great, but other aspects weren’t so strong, and I ended up being disappointed by this one too.

Book Haul

This month I only bought one book and it’s due to arrive in the post today! When I was looking at Black Friday deals on Amazon I discovered the 10th Anniversary edition of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare at half price so made an impulse purchase. I love Cassandra Clare’s books and City of Bones will always be special as the first of her books that I read.

Writing

I only have a few chapters left to write in my current WIP and I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the year! I’ve been a bit stuck on another novel that I’ve been redrafting for the last couple of years. Something about it just wasn’t gelling, but I randomly had a massive idea last night that would radically change it, but might just make it work. It’s a story I love so I would really like to try and get it published one day once everything clicks into place. It’s nearly there, it just needs something.  

I can’t believe there’s only one month to go in 2019. This year seems to have gone really fast.