These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A Month In Retrospect.

My first official ramble post of the year. Oh my, where is the time going? So much time has gone by since I last wrote up one of these.

I’ll try to keep it short, though. Despite how there is a lot to say. That being said, however, I wouldn’t quote me on the whole ‘short’ thing. We all know things never go as planned. After all, I did promise quite a few things. I guess it will be a list-like post.

I’ll start off with the non-book related stuff.

Iceland was wonderful. It is such a beautiful country. Snow. Mountains. Waterfalls. Aurora borealis. Everything you could wish for in a beautiful country. It was well and truly worth the visit. I could bombard you with pictures (I have around six hundred, I believe) but I won’t. Just know it was lovely.

Also on the non-book topic, classes start up again on Monday. We’ll see how much time university cuts out of my reading this semester. We’ll know how many books a week to expect of me soon.

Now, with that out of the way, the book stuff.

I’ll begin with last year. I completed my reading challenge. I upped it far too many times and ended up with a challenge of two hundred books. I admit to reading quite a few short stories, but they made up a rather small percentage of my reads. If you are interested here is my year in books. Two hundred and nine books. Over seventy-three thousand pages. Quite a list.

Following on from that, I really need to get up to date with my reviewing. I’m pretty sure I have around thirty reviews to write up, as I put reviewing on hold during exam period and over Christmas. This means the links at the end of this post may not contain actual reviews for a couple of days. I’m going to work through them, but I’m not quite sure when they will all be up. I plan to be done by the end of the week, though.

One thing you will not have to wait for (well, you will, but not in the same way), is the weekly features. I’m starting back up again this week. Expect me to start a new feature tomorrow, and for the usual Tuesday and Wednesday posts to start up again this week.

Up next, we have my reading challenges for the year. I have set the Goodreads reading challenge at one hundred and eighty. There will be no increase this year. Hopefully. I’m participating in this here genre challenge. I’ve also spliced together a couple of other random challenges to create a challenge of my own. It was hard to find a single challenge that appealed to me (a lot of them made references to things I read anyway, and I wanted an actual challenge) hence the splicing. My crazy challenge goes as follows.

1.     A book becoming a movie this year.
2.     A book more than seven hundred pages long.
3.     A book published this year.
4.     A book released the year you were born.
5.     A book written by an author sharing your first name.
6.     A book written by an author sharing your initials.
7.     A trilogy.
8.     A book with a blue cover.
9.     A book published the month of your birthday (any year).
10.  A book originally published in another language.
11.  The first book in a series you have never read.
12.  A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize.
13.  A book currently on the New York Times list of bestsellers.
14.  A book with a one-word title.
15.  A book with alliteration in the title.
16.  A debut book.
17.  A book by your favourite author that you have yet to read.
18.  A book with an ugly cover.
19.  A book banned at some point.
20.  A book picked solely because of the cover.
21.  A book by an author you have never read before.
22.  A book with a colour in the title.
23.  A book more than two hundred years old.
24.  A classic romance.
25.  A book with a number in the title.
26.  A popular author’s first book.
27.  A book turned into a TV show.
28.  A book with food on the cover.
29.  A book with a place in the title.
30.  A book set in your city.
31.  A book with a two peoples names in the title.
32.  A book written by two authors.
33.  A book mentioned in another book you’ve read.
34.  A book written under a pseudonym.
35.  A book set on a different continent.
36.  A popular book from last year that you did not read.
37.  A book written by an author who has published less than ten books.
38.  A book that has someone’s first and last name in the title.
39.  A book with your favourite colour cover.
40.  A book a family member enjoyed.
41.  A book published the decade your father was born.
42.  A book with a country in the title.
43.  A book with a musical instrument on the cover.
44.  A book with a watch, clock, or timepiece on the cover.
45.  A book with birds on the cover.
46.  A book with all the vowels in the title.
47.  A book with ‘good’ in the title.
48.  A book with ‘bad’ in the title.
49.  A book rated 4.5 or higher on Goodreads.
50.  A book with a family relationship word in the title.
51.  A book you never read at school.
52.  A book written by a woman that features a male protagonist.
53.  A book with an orange cover.
54.  An independently published book.
55.  A book ‘everyone’ has read but you.
56.  A book you have owned for over a year but have not read.
57.  A book you borrowed from a friend.
58.  A book with five or more words in the title.
59.  A book you won.
60.  A book that was cheap to buy.
61.  A science fiction book that is not dystopian.
62.  A book featuring a crime other than murder.
63.  Read a book published under more than one title.
64.  A book with a time, day, or month in the title.
65.  A book by an author who has died in the last ten years.
66.  A book by your mother’s favourite author.
67.  Read a book after seeing the movie.
68.  A book you have seen someone reading in public in the last three months.
69.  A book you received as a gift.
70.  A book with an element in the title.
71.  A book with the letter ‘x’ in the title.
72.  A book with a fruit on the cover.
73.  A book with an animal in the title.
74.  A book with a non-human main character.
75.  A book you got for free.

Finally, we have another lengthy list. The list of what I have read since my last update. It isn’t as long as it could have been (I have skipped the education related books) but there are still a few books to be mentioned.

·          Curtsies & Conspiracies. As with the first one, I really enjoyed this book. It is a great steampunk read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre.
·          Blowback. Not the best book in the series (I’m going to be honest, there were quite a few inconsistencies) but it was another fun read for the series. I really hope it continues on at some point in the future, as I’d love to know how it all ends.
·          It’s a Punderful Life. Truthfully, the puns were a bit of a let down. I giggled a couple of times, but it was not the amusing book I had hoped it would be.
·          Waistcoats & Weaponry. As you work through the series, the books seem to mature more – allowing you to enjoy them more and more. To put it simply: I loved it.
·          Manners & Mutiny. Overall, I loved the entire series. It is well worth a read and I want to go on to read the other work by the author.
·          Fighting Dirty. I was rather disappointed with this one. I wanted more story than we were given. It seemed too forced for my liking.
·          Fighting Dirty Too. I found this one to be much better than the first. There was much more storyline to it. It felt like a real story, rather than a mere collision of characters for a short period of time.
·          Kitty and the Midnight Hour. One of those books where I’m left sitting on the bench. I didn’t hate it, yet at the same time I didn’t love it either. It simply exists in my world.
·          Lima Oscar Victor Echo and The Truth About Everything. Another disappointing quick read. It was far too much of a teenage angst read. A book of clich├ęs that failed to excite.
·          Kitty Goes to Washington. Whilst better than the first book, this one failed to leave me with any real lasting emotions. It is another book that simply exists.
·          The Philosophy of Furniture. Not at all what I was expecting of Poe. It was interesting, but it is not what he is known for.
·          A Tale of Jerusalem. Another surprise from Poe – and not the good kind. I’m planning to work my way through all of his works, unfortunately it seems as though the least entertaining is at the start of the collection.
·          Kitty Takes a Holiday. I’m not sure I like where the series is going. It seems to be going in an interesting direction… yet everything seems too forced. I’m not getting enough answers. Things are being combined that shouldn’t be. I doubt I’ll go out of my way to complete the series.
·          The Shunned House. An interesting short story from Lovecraft. It was my first dealing with the author and it has certainly left me willing to go back for more.
·          IT. Yes, I finally made it to this one. It is a wonderful story, although it is not my favourite King book. Honestly, it is quite slow at stages. It drags. There is a lot more to the book that to the movie… but some of it could have been cut and it would have been just as good. I wish it had been more terrifying, though.
·          Solomon Creed. Whilst not as good as his other series, this first book has me interested to see where the story will go. I’m glad I managed to win a copy of this (I should mention at this point, the copy I won is a beautiful black stained pages edition) and I will be carrying on to find out where we head next!
·          Ashley Bell. I was so excited for this one. I won a copy of my favourite author’s book. I’m sure you all remember my excited post from a couple of months ago. Whilst it was not my favourite Koontz book, it certainly packed a punch. It is the Inception of books. In fact, this book has the impact Inception was supposed to leave me with.
·          A Witch in Winter. This is your typical teenage fantasy book. The supernatural. The romance. The yawn factor. It is enough to keep you reading, but mainly so you can see how it pans out. You want to know if it is going to go in a different direction to the rest of the books in the category.
·          The Girl With No Past. This one sat on my Kindle waiting to be read for so long. I’m not sure why I kept procrastinating on it… but whatever the reason, it was not what I expected it to be. I was expecting so much more from this one. It was all rather boring. Characters I could not relate to and predictable plot moments.
·          A Witch in Love. This was much the same as the first. It is what you expect of the teenage books in the genre. Whilst slightly more enjoyable than the first, it wasn’t anything to write home about.
·          A Witch Alone. As a whole, the entire series focused too much upon the love factor for me. It has all been done before and I merely went along with it. I’ve finished it, and that’s about it.
·          Everything, Everything. I had been so excited for this one. After winning it (and having a lot of trouble getting it to arrive at the house) I wanted to jump straight in. When I finally got around to reading it, I failed to understand the hype. It was nothing new. It seemed to be trying too hard. It was an okay read, but I cannot understand the hype.
·          Six of Hearts. This one really surprised me. I needed something to read on the flight home and this was what I needed. Iceland to Scotland isn’t that long of a journey (it takes about two hours), add in coach journeys to the city centres of the two locations I flew between and you have the length of time it took me to read this book – all in all, a very short time period. I was so engaged. It was hilarious. It wasn’t what I was expecting – it was more of a romance than the thriller the description on the Apple store had me believing – but I loved it. It is more than worth the read. 

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