Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 in Books | What I Read

Hi, Another year is drawing to an end and for once I'm not in a mad panic to finish my Goodreads challenge. I've actually started on next years challenge already. I've not blogged at all this year and I'm posting this reading round up as I do enjoy looking back at these posts. It's been four years since I first found and joined Goodreads. In that time I've completed my pledged challenge of 35 books per year, that's a staggering total of 140 books. Without further ado here are the books I read in 2018.

 2018 Pledged Books

1. A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) - V.E. Schwab ★★★★☆
2. A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) - V.E. Schwab ★★★★☆
3. The Art of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson ★★★★☆
4. A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) - V.E. Schwab ★★★★☆
5. Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu ★★★★☆
6. Seven Days - Eve Ainsworth ★★★☆☆
7. Going Viral (Potion, #3) - Amy Alward ★★★★☆
8. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood ★★★★☆
9. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher ★★★★☆
10. The Memory Book - Lara Avery ★★★★★
11. Calling Major Tom - David M. Barnett ★★★☆☆
12. Monsters - Emerald Fennell ★★★☆☆
13. Tender - Eve Ainsworth ★★★★☆
14. Caraval - Stephanie Garber ★★★☆☆
15. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas ★★★★☆
16. One of Us is Lying - Karen McManus ★★★★☆
17. Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) - Amie Kaufman ★★★☆☆
18. Read Me Like a Book - Liz Kessler ★★★★☆
19. Salvage - Keren David ★★★☆☆
 20. Goodbye, Perfect - Sara Barnard ★★★☆☆
21. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1) - Becky Albertalli ★★★★☆
22. Truth or Dare - Non Pratt ★★★☆☆
23. Ink (Paper Gods, #1) - Amanda Sun ★★★☆☆
24. How Not to Disappear - Clare Furniss ★★★★☆
25.The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven ★★★★☆
26. The Nowhere Girls - Amy Reed ★★★★☆
27. The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood ★★★★☆
28. Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales - Margaret Atwood ★★★☆☆
29. The Next Together (The Next Together, #1) - Lauren James ★★★★☆
30. The Last Beginning (The Next Together, #2) - Lauren James ★★★★☆
31.The Fandom (The Fandom, #1) - Anna Day ★★★☆☆
32. Truly, Wildly, Deeply - Jenny McLachlan ★★★☆☆
33. The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon ★★★★☆
34. Rain (Paper Gods, #2) - Amanda Sun ★★★★☆
35. Storm (Paper Gods, #3) - Amanda Sun ★★★☆☆



See previous years: 2015 Challenge, 2016 Challenge and 2017 Challenge

Please let me know of any book recommendations, I'm always looking for new books to read.
Sam 

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Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 in Books | What I Read

Hi, I managed to finish my Goodreads challenge and as per normal it was down to the last few days before I completed my pledge of 35 books. That doesn't sound like much but when I look back I'm in awe of just how many stories and worlds that I've been able to explore. Doing the math it works out at 10 and a half days per book, based on how slow I know I read some of these books, I'm really surprised I hit my goal this year.

 2017 Pledged Books

1. Riot - Sarah Mussi ★★★★☆
2. Seed - Lisa Heathfield ★★★★☆
3. Radio Silence - Alice Oseman ★★★☆☆
4. The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir - Lesley Allen ★★★★☆
5. Nerve - Jeanne Ryan ★★★☆☆
 
6. Solitaire - Alice Oseman ★★★☆☆
7. Beautiful Broken Things - Sara Barnard ★★★☆☆
8. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins ★★★★☆
9. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick ★★★☆☆
10. Feed - Mira Grant ★★★☆☆

11. The Potion Diaries - Amy Alward ★★★★☆
12. Royal Tour - Amy Alward ★★★★☆
13. Monster - C.J. Skuse ★★★☆☆
14. The Sky Is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson ★★★★★
15. The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer ★★★★☆

16. Paper Butterflies - Lisa Heathfield ★★★★☆
17. If I Was Your Girl - Meredith Russo ★★★★★
18. ...And a Happy New Year? - Holly Bourne ★★★☆☆
19. This Savage Song - Victoria Schwab ★★★★☆
20. Luckiest Girl Alive - Jessica Knoll ★★★☆☆
21. A Quiet Kind of Thunder - Sara Barnard ★★★☆☆
22. Who Runs the World? - Virginia Bergin ★★★☆☆
23. How to Love - Katie Cotugno ★★★★☆
24. Elizabeth Is Missing - Emma Healey ★★★☆☆
25. How Hard Can Love Be? - Holly Bourne ★★★★★

26. Nina is Not OK - Shappi Khorsandi ★★★★☆
27. The Apple Tart of Hope - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald ★★★★☆
28. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion ★★★★☆
29. It Only Happens in the Movies - Holly Bourne ★★★★★
30. The Bone Dragon - Alexia Casale ★★★☆☆

31. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler ★★★☆☆
32. Damage - Eve Ainsworth ★★★★☆
33. The Young Elites - Marie Lu ★★★★☆
34. The Rose Society - Marie Lu ★★★☆☆
35. The Midnight Star - Marie Lu ★★★★☆


This year I only gave four books five stars. I feel a bit mean about this as looking back there were so many books I really enjoyed but at the time of reading can't have blown me away. The four books that I awarded five stars where; If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, How Hard Can Love Be? and It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne.

What where your favorite book this year?
Sam 

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | December

Hi, It’s December the last month of the year, I’ve been excited for Christmas since the beginning of November so unlike normal I’m going to put my tree up today (I've got the day off work Yay!). I’ve still got four books to read to complete my Goodreads challenge but I’m feeling optimistic about that. I've only just started to think about what presents to buy and I haven’t found a wrapping paper I’m happy with, so I'm feeling a little behind in the gift area of the Christmas prep. I did however open the first door on my Lindt advent calendar and as I’m not normally a massive fan of chocolate it’s made a nice change to have a better quality one but still at a very reasonable price (only cost £5 and comes with a Lindt mini reindeer and Santa).



Goals for December
  • Buy something Snow Fairy scented from Lush
  • Go to a Christmas Market
  • Drink mulled wine
  • Buy and wear a Christmas jumper
  • Go to a pantomime
  • Find a winter read
  • Do some baking
  • See family and friends
  • Go for a wintery walk (in the snow would be nice)
  • Continue to build my Christmas decoration collection

I went to London at the end of last month and visited the Lush Oxford street store but I didn't really buy anything from the Christmas range so to correct that I want to pick up some snowfairy scented goodies. I like giving myself some super easy goals so the seeing friends and family is more of a reminder of the point of the month ahead. I want to have lots of fun days out so I'd love to visit at least one Christmas market and going to a pantomime would be really fun. Mulled wine will be drunk at some point this month the question is do I buy a premade bottle or make my own.

With four books left for the year I have room to pick out something seasonal (any suggestions please let me know). My good old Christmas jumper has fallen apart (so sad), I need a new one so the hunt is on. I've gone a little mad on buying baubles for my tree but I might still need more, either way I'd still like to pick up some more festive pieces. I want to do some baking so I'm thinking of making something that can also become homemade presents.

Are you excited for Christmas, when are you putting up your tree?
Sam

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

November In Review

Hi, What a month, it's been so busy. I'd say this month had two very defined events which would be the Bonfire weekend and my trip to London last weekend. In between these two events I got some serious reading done and I'm now on track for my Goodreads challenge (I hope it stays that way).



Goals for November 8/10
  • Give my car a check before Winter hits
  • Read, read and do more reading
  • Go to a bonfire
  • Continue enjoying blogging
  • Start planning for Christmas
  • Eat Bonfire food
  • Buy an Advent Calendar
  • Plan a trip away
  • Go to the cinemas
  • Make my home cosy for Winter

Bonfire night this year was so much fun. I went to an organised bonfire and firework display which was great, the bonfire is so big you don't feel the cold. On the big night I had my family round and ate all the yummy food over our incinerator bin and set off some really tiny rockets, it was so fun. I planned a trip to London with my bestie to go see Young Frankenstein (which was very good, highly recommend) and while we were there we got tickets to see Phantom of the Opera. So I didn't go the cinema but I saw two London shows so I'm crossing that goal off.

I've had to de-ice my car so many times this month and the temperature has definitely dropped so I'm glad I've sorted out my car. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't do more blogging this month but I have been busy doing other things. I bought a Lindt Advent calendar which I can not wait to start opening tomorrow. After last year and my very bare Christmas tree I've gone a bit mad buying baubles. I haven't made much of an effort to change anything around the house but I think the house will be much more festive in the next few days!

What did you do this month?
Sam

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

7 Tips To Get Your Car Winter Ready

Hi, If you read my goals for this month you'll know that I'm planning on sorting out my car before the winter weather really kicks in. Having a car and being able to drive yourself about is great but also comes with responsibilities. To make sure that you keep yourself and others safe, in the months to come, it makes sense to make preparations. Below are some tips and reminders so you can make sure you and your car is winter ready.


Tips To Get Your Car Winter Ready


Check Your Tires
During the winter months the roads can become dangerous if your cars tires aren’t up to scratch. Check the depth of your tires tread, make sure to replace worn out tires. In the UK the legal tire depth requirement is 1.6 millimetres on 3/4 of the most central part of the tires.

Under the Bonnet
Check your oil level and make sure that everything is topped up and add anti freeze where required.

Clear Your Car Before Driving
Whether your clearing misty windows or a nights down fall of snow, make sure your car is clear and you can see before setting off on a journey. Make sure all your windows, license plates, mirrors and lights are visible to other road users.

Stock up on Winter Supplies
Stock up on de-icer for those cold mornings when you need a quick solution. Get yourself a ice scrapper and other gadgets that will make the winter months more manageable.

Prepare for Emergencies
You can easily get stuck in traffic so make sure your phone has enough charge and a spare battery pack incase. During the winter months it’s a good idea to keep a blanket or warm clothing in your car. A drink and snacks are also a good idea.

Check the Weather Forecast
It might be fine when you leave for the day but checking the forecast gives you a heads up of that strong wind or heavy rain due for your evening commute. Knowing what’s ahead means you can prepare and make your journey safer.

Drive Carefully
Even with all of the checks and pre-planning your journey may well still be dangerous so be careful. When roads are wet braking time is increased so take it steady.

Do you have any tips to add?
Sam
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Friday, November 3, 2017

Reading Roundup | October

Hi, Last month I struggled to find the time to read which looking back is annoying but means I had a very social month. I have every hope I can read more in the months to come and I have the Goodreads challenge to push me to do more reading. I've been lazy on making notes on these books and pre-writing these reviews so they are a little lacking, I still want to document what I've been reading and I hope that I'll introduce you to some books you didn't know about.


Reading Challenge 27/35

Nina is Not OK

Author - Shappi Khorsandi
Page Count - 352
First Published - 2017


I picked this book up on a whim in my local library, I popped in to return a book just before closing so I picked a book I'd marked as available in my library on goodreads and I couldn't remember the synopsis.


The book starts on a night out where seventeen year old Nina thinks her drinking is normal but ends with her not remembering why she's holding her knickers in her hand. She has first hand experience of alcoholism growing up with her father, who eventually died from his addiction. While she doesn't openly use this as an excuse for her own reliance on alcohol she can't deny that it might be a contributing factor. She thinks she has control over her drinking but who's really controlling who?
 

This was an interesting book as I haven't read anything about alcoholism before. It was a hard read to see how alcohol can effect someones life so subtly but so destructively. I always find it so hard to write these posts without giving spoilers. This book maybe triggering as it does cover rape.
 

How Hard Can Love Be?

Author - Holly Bourne
Page Count - 480
First Published - 2016


I enjoyed reading this book so much but I knew I would because I haven't not liked anything by Holly Bourne. This is the middle book in the spinster club story but you can read them out of sequence (as I have). Honestly if you haven't read anything by Holly Bourne go correct that as soon as possible.


Amber is finally going to see her mum for the first time in two years since she left Amber behind to start a new life in America. From the start Amber's reunion with her mother doesn't go as well as she'd hoped and a lot has changed in two years. The plan is to help out at Summer camp and spend time with her mum in the evenings but that soon becomes apparent it isn't going to happen. The redeeming factor of being so far away from home is the friends she makes and the fact that she can still take part in the spinster club from across the globe.

Amber is a lovely character who just wants to be loved, her mother is a recovered (no relapse) alcoholic. As a result Amber has a very weird relationship with her mother as she's seen her at her worst. This plays a big part in this story and it's weird that I've read two books about alcoholism this month.

The Apple Tart of Hope

Author - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Page Count - 209
First Published - 2015


I read this book in a day, one day, that never happens. This was a smaller book but I really enjoyed it. I actually got my sister to pick me out a short looking book and this is what she picked. I now want to go and read more of Sarah's titles.
 

Meg and Oscar have grown up living next door to each other and sharing everything while chatting from there bedroom windows. Megs parents plan a six month trip to move them from Ireland to New Zealand, which makes Meg realised she's going to miss Oscar as more than just a friend. The book starts on Megs arrival back in Ireland to attend a remembrance service for Oscar who is missing presumed dead. Meg seeks out Oscar's younger brother Stevie to try and piece together what happened in her absence and hopefully find him.
 

This is such a good little read, there's elements of misunderstandings, bullying and untold feelings. It was such a great short story and I think everyone should try this book.

What have you been reading?
Sam

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | November

Hi, We're into the eleventh month of the year, we're so close to the end of 2017 now. I've started buying Christmas presents and I really want to get out the decoration so I know what to buy to match my growing collection. Bonfire night is in just a few days and I can't wait to go to a firework display.

Goals for November
  • Give my car a check before Winter hits
  • Read, read and do more reading
  • Go to a bonfire
  • Continue enjoying blogging
  • Start planning for Christmas
  • Eat Bonfire food
  • Buy an Advent Calendar
  • Plan a trip away
  • Go to the cinemas
  • Make my home cosy for Winter
I've got a trip to the bonfire we've attended for the last few years planned but I'm also inviting my parents and sister round for some bonfire night food (Jacket potatoes, chilli and hotdogs) on the 5th. I'm really looking forward to Christmas and I feel it's allowed now. I want to get a nice advent calendar and I need to start thinking of gift ideas. We've already had a few days where I've had to defrost my car in the morning so I want to make sure my car is sorted before it gets really cold. I really need to get reading if I want to complete my goodreads challenge.

Are you going to a bonfire this year?
Sam

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