[TBR] January 2019

Happy New Year!

Wowza, another year gone… but with a brand new year starting, that means more amazing new releases, a fresh start to Reading Challenges and of course, resolutions we’ll probably never stick to!

And here’s something else I’ll probably never stick to… my January 2019 TBR.

I’ve chosen some (I hope) amazing books to kick start the year with and get me started towards the glory of actually completing my goodreads challenge this year…


Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

I started reading this on my commute to work this morning, and boy am I glad I decided to kick off the New Year with this! I’m only 50 ish pages in and it’s already looking to be amazing!

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I’ve also started reading this one already. I’m 80 pages in and throughly enjoying it so far.

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

I had hoped to get to this one before the end of 2018 but that just didn’t work out for me… so here it is at the top of my TBR for 2019. It sounds brilliant and I’ve heard great things – very much looking forward to getting started on this!

The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I swear, if I don’t read this book this month, someone needs to shoot me. I think this may be the 5th time this books has been on my TBR over the course of 2 years… THIS IS THE ONE.


What’s on your TBR this month?

[Book Review] The Binding by Bridget Collins

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

39964740Synopsis: Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Forever.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.


I was incredibly lucky to be sent an advanced copy of this book by the team at Borough Press.

Release Date: January 10th 2019


This book was incredible.
My favourite read of this year, and I can’t wait for it to be released in January so that everyone else can read it too!

It was utterly absorbing and enthralling from beginning to end. I loved everything about it; the characters were vivid, honest and fully rounded, the plot had just the right amount of twists and turns and I loved the premise on which the whole book is set around.

Just as if I were a character in the story, where reading a book was forbidden but sucked you in so that you had no concept of how much time had passed, and could picture their lives so vividly; this is how I felt reading this book. I could not and had no desire to put it down, and it has been such a long time since I’ve felt this way whilst reading a book.

The characters were morally flawed and intriguing, and all went on such incredible journeys. There wasn’t one character that I thought was under-developed. There were characters I hated, ones I loved deeply and I just wanted to stay with them long after I turned the final page of the book.

I have so many words that I just want to shout out about this book; it was utterly spellbinding, hopelessly romantic, moving, captivating, magical and simply wonderful.

A sheer delight to read.

I will be recommending this book to absolutely everyone, and I wish I could read it for the first time over and over again, just to experience that magical feeling that I was left with once more.

An easy 5 star review, there’s no question about it.


 

10 Books I Wish I’d Read in 2018

I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t been able to read absolutely every book they wanted to this year…

Here’s a list of my top 10. I’ve excluded well-established series as they will be coming in a separate post.


Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Although this is a relatively new release, I still wish I could have read it immediately! It sounds amazing and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. It’s definitely top of my TBR for 2019.

The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker

I’ve had so many people recommend this book to me, it sounds right up my street and I’ve owned an ARC for over half a year now… A reimagining of the Iliad told from the women’s perspective – what’s not to love?! Again, this has to be up there to open up my reading for the New Year.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

This is another one which I’ve heard so many people rave about. A diverse Asian-inspired fantasy rooted in history, I really hope the hype is real on this one. It’s a bit of a tome, which is why I’ve been put off a bit so far. Clearly I have commitment issues…

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I have actually read a chapter of this one… I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t continue with it, but there we go.

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

Another Mermaid book here… maybe I need to do “Mermaid March” or something… is that I thing? I might make it a thing. Join me in March for all books Mermaid-y!

Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovik

This is another book which I read a chapter of (and loved!) but didn’t actually continue to read for some unknown, bizarre reason. With the second book now released, I feel like I need to read this asap!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

I have wanted to read this one since before it was released! Again, the size of it put me off, especially seeing as I have had such a hard time finding time to read this year.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Seriously, why have I not read all of these hyped up YA fantasy books that I know I’ll love?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I’ve talked about this book so much, but never actually picked it up…

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

This is one which had been on my wishlist forever, and was gifted in a Secret Santa last year. It seemed perfect for winter. Winter came and left again… so now here we are, another winter later.

Circe by Madeline Miller

This book has been recommended to me by about 5000 people. Another Greek retelling, and a gorgeous cover might I add! I wish I had read this when it was first released so I could rave about it with everyone.


Which books do you wish you had read this year?

Winter Book Recommendations

Winter.

Warm nights by the fire with a good book and cup of hot chocolate…

But what to read?!

Here are a few recommendations of books with a wintery setting that will whisk you away this jolly season:


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

A re-telling of Rumplestiltskin, this fantasy re-telling follows three young women all of whom are trapped in some way by the men in their life. Empowering and beautiful, this story will inspire you and move you. It’s truly beautiful.

(I went to link to my review for this book, only to realise I never wrote it… FAIL! I will post a full review of this very soon as I loved it!)

 


Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

img_2396

This is a middle-grade fantasy adventure story, loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. It’s a wonderful tale of acceptance, belonging and self-love. I adored this book and highly recommend it! Perfect winter reading.

See full review here.

 


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

img_2462

With “Winter” in it’s title, you can’t really question is suitability for this list! Full of music, romance, goblins and magic, this whimsical tale will warm those winter nights. I couldn’t put this one down; I found it to be very fast-paced with gorgeous, lyrical prose.

(Another one it turns out I never wrote a review for… SHAME ON ME.)

 


There are obviously many more books which would fit into this post, but I decided to limit it to ones which I have read and enjoyed this year.

Have you read any wintery book this year which I should read this season? Let me know in the comments!

5 Top Tips for Busy Bloggers

I’ve been asked a few times now how I juggle blogging, reading and working full-time. The truth is, with great difficulty! I’m yet to suss out a fool-proof way of being amazing and keeping on top of all three, but here are some top-tips you might want to try if you’re struggling to fit everything in too:


Draft Blog Posts Whenever You Can… Plan Ahead!

This is the main one. I very rarely have time to sit down at my laptop and write out full posts, especially if I’m wanting to blog regularly. I have the WordPress app on my phone, so if I ever have a quiet moment when I’m out and about, I’ll quickly type up some bullet points or draft a post to come back to later.

The key to this is to plan in advance what you want to blog about. Set up some draft headers that you can just keep dipping in and out of.

Scheduling Blog Posts

If I have a day or a weekend off, I’ll type up some posts and the schedule them to be posted automatically throughout the week. This way, I know that even if I can’t physically blog, I’ve got some posts going live and keeping my blog active.

I’ve made the mistake in the past of writing a few posts and then posting them one after the other, only to the not have anything going up for several weeks after that. If you only get chance to write a couple, schedule them for one per week. Blogging is still blogging; no matter how infrequently you post people are still going to enjoy reading your content.

Type Up Reviews ASAP, or Make Notes

I’m the worst for this one… The amount of times I have read a book and then left it weeks, or even months before writing my review, and then realising that I’ve totally forgotten everything about it. I remember I enjoyed it… but why?

Top-tip for this one is to do it as soon as you can, or if you know you won’t be able to write the whole thing then at least make a few notes to remind yourself of specifics.

Find Out What Works For You

Everyone’s schedule is different. Don’t think that you won’t be a successful blogger if you don’t post everyday. Remember: quality, not quantity! What works for me might not work for you, so just figure out what time you have available and then work around that.

Don’t Panic!

This is key. Don’t stress yourself out about not posting enough. Blogging should be fun! Most of us do it as a hobby, so the worst thing we can do is add even more stress to our already hectic lives – that takes the fun out of it and goes against why we started in the first place, so just do what you can and do it for you, because you love it, not for anyone else.


Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Do you have any tips that might help me and other busy bees make the most of our limited blogging time? Let me know in the comments below!

 

[TBR] December 2018

December, December, December…

OH MY GOD IT’S DECEMBER!

I’m ultimately failing at my reading challenge this year, but do I care? NOPE.

I’ve come to accept that I won’t complete it this year, and that is absolutely fine. There are much more important things in life and overall I’ve had a very successful year in other ways.

That being said, I’ve set myself an ambitious TBR for this month to go out with a bang, but I also have a fair few unfinished books on my shelves which I’ve started reading throughout the year but never actually finished.


Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

I have less than half of this HUGE book to finish… let’s hope it doesn’t destroy me. Who are we kidding? I’ll be dead after this book, nice knowing you all!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Again, less than half to go! I started reading this book in the summer but could feel myself slipping into a major slump so I put it down. Id really like to finish it though and I reckon I can do that this month!

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

This is a short story collection based in the Grishaverse which I’ve been dipping in and out of throughout the year. I’m exactly 50% through this one, and it’d be great to finish it before King of Scars is released in January.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kauffman

I’ve been listening to this one on audiobook alongside the physical book as I’ve found I enjoy it much more that way, although I haven’t listened to any in a couple of months. *Hits play…*

Pages and Co: Tilly and The Book Wanderers by Anna James

This is actually a super fun, quick read. Again, I’m over halfway through so it shouldn’t take me long at all to finish. Hopefully I can get this one ticked off in a day as soon as I finish KoA.


What are you going to be reading this December?

Christmas Gift Guide for Book Lovers

It’s almost Christmas… WOOPEEE!

I love the lead up to Christmas; buying gifts for all my friends and family is one of my favourite parts, along with wrapping them up in pretty paper and ribbons, and of course Christmas Dinner! Who doesn’t love to stuff their faces with yummy roast potatoes, pigs in blankets (unless you’re a veggie?!) and gallons of gravy. Being a Yorkshire “lass”, I’m also impartial to a perfectly formed Yorkshire pudding…

But enough about food.

What do you buy for a bookworm who devours books for desert and who’s shelves are stuffed with exciting worlds?

Aside from books, that is?

Here’s my gift guide for the bookiest of bookworms!


Bookish Candles

We all love candles. Especially ones that don names of our favourite characters and smell exactly how we imagine our imaginary worlds would smell.

There are some fantastic small business shops which create incredible bookish candles. Here are some of my personal favourites:


Mugs… Bookish Ones.

For all of those nights when you need copies amounts of coffee, tea or hot chocolate to gulp whilst you tensely read battle scenes in the hope that your favourite character survives…

There are some incredible designers out there who print onto mugs. I’m obsessed and I know a lot of other book dragons are too! And not only can these designs be printed on mugs, but you’ll also find cushion covers, coasters, phone cases and more! Here’s a selection of some amazing designers:


Bookmarks

There’s nothing better than a super cute bookmark to mark your progress in your current read, especially if you can get it to match your book!

There are several different types. Standard paper/card ones, magnetic clip bookmarks and gorgeous woodmarks. I personally love and collect all of them!

Magnetic Bookmarks:

Woodmarks:


Enamel Pin Badges

These are super cute and I’m pretty sure 99% of book lovers love them, even if, most of the time, we have no where to display them..! There’s such a variety of styles and fandoms out there, but these three stores knock it out of the park in my opinion:


Subscription Boxes

Bookish subscription boxes are such a great idea, particularly if you have a slightly higher budget. For an average of £30 ($45) you get a box filled with amazing goodies based on bookish fandoms, and in most cases, a brand new hardback book which often comes as a special edition with sprayed edges, exclusive covers or even signed by the author.

Again, there are so many out there to choose from, but being based in the UK where it seems significantly harder to get hold of one for a decent price, here are some UK curated boxes that I love:

Illumicrate:

Illumicrate was one of the first ever boxes I subscribed to, and I haven’t turned back since! It’s such a well curated box that gets better each and every month.

This box is quarterly, so you only get one every 3 months. In my opinion, this makes the box much more affordable and the items are incredibly well thought through and of amazing quality. Plus, Daphne is a real gem!

Illumicrate also do special edition boxes, which tend to be quite a bit more expensive but so worth it if you have the budget! The next upcoming box is for the highly anticipated King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo!

FairyLoot:

FairyLoot is one of the most popular boxes out there, and for very good reason. It’s a monthly, auto-renewing subscription but you can also do single purchase if there are any boxes left after subs close each month. The themes are such good fun, and perfect for fantasy lovers with the occasional sci-fi theme thrown in from time to time.


Other Ideas

Still at a loss of what to get the book lover in your life? Why not see if you can find a special edition of their favourite book, or keep it simple and get a gift card for their favourite book store? There’s always something; whatever you decide to get them, they’re going to love the thought you’ve put in anyway!

Have you got any favourite small business shops? Add them in the comments below and let’s make this the Ultimate Book Lovers Gift Guide!