Mid-Year Book Freak Out!

AKA a mash up of the Mid Year Book freak out tag and a rundown of the best 5* reads of 2019 because what are rules?

I’ve had an amazing year of reading this year so far. The most books I have ever read in a year was 68 but I have already managed to read 58. In just half a year?!?! So I have easily beaten my reading challenge of 52 (I usually set it at a number I know I can reach because I don’t like pressure!). A lot of these books were amazing. So amazing in fact that I only managed to narrow it down to 12 best books for my super quick rundown (Someone save me when it comes to doing my end of year one!)

I’m going to jump straight into it. Partially because I don’t want to bore you when you could be reading about amazing books and partially because I am on holiday and it is sunny outside…. But stick around for the quickfire freakout tag questions at the end and do let me know what you think of these books in the comments!

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Memo Pad: April Wrap-up

I know I keep saying that this ridiculous run I’m on with my reading challenge is going to end soon but this month has been another scarily awesome month for books. Not only did I read the eight books I’ve been averaging a month so far this year but I actually ended up reading….13? Granted not all of them were novels but wow.

One of the things that definitely bumped that number up was taking part in the awesome A-spec April readathon in the first two weeks of the month. It was all about reading books with asexual and aromantic characters and there are so many amazing books that even a mood reader like me had plenty to pick from. I did a wrap up post with all my reviews from it here. But I’ll also list them with my ratings below.

April has also been Autism Acceptance Month. Two of the books I read for the A-spec readathon had autistic characters but I also read Testing Pandora which is a prequel to one of my all time favourite books that has an autistic MC. I also read two non fiction books about autism. I don’t normally mention non fiction books on the blog but as it’s the month for it I’ll review them below.

Away from reading…. We’ve accepted an offer on the house! And everyone’s fingers are crossed that it goes through okay. Right now we’re waiting for everything to get sorted.

Writing wise, I finished editing my short story and I’ve managed to get two thirds the way through my YA Scifi novel. It’s been hard going the last couple of weeks. Lots of doubts and meltdowns about it but I’m still on plan to have this edit done before my birthday in June.

Onto the books for this month!

Read: 13 (6 novels, 1 novella, 4 short stories, & 2 non-fiction books)

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Aspec April Readathon Wrap Up

The last two weeks I’ve been talking part in an amazing readathon hosted by Kitty. Her blog post about the readathon is here but it’s mostly been hosted over on Twitter under the @AspecApril. There are lots of discussions over there and also author interviews over on her blog.

The readathon spanned two weeks, the first of which was all about reading books with Asexual characters and the second all about reading books with Aromantic characters. These can obviously overlap and did in quite a few of the books I read during the last two weeks. In the end I managed to read a whole 8 books!!!! Okay, I’m cheating in multiple ways, a) I actually finished reading my first book the day before the readathon started and b) 4 of the books are short stories. Overall, I still think it’s an impressive amount (for me!).

There were two group reads. The Spy with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke, which I read and loved. And Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman which I didn’t read for the readathon but only because I’d already read and loved it last month!

There were also lots of challenges to attempt and I did manage to mark off all of them (a lot of books ticked multiple boxes!). The challenge card can be found both on twitter and on Kitty’s blog. But for now, onto the reviews…..

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Memo Pad: March Wrap Up

I’m late with my monthly wrap up. Oops. It’s April already. Luckily I am currently still a European citizen so things could have gone worse (although there’s still time!). I read a lot of books in March which is the main reason this post is late. While I haven’t found it difficult to fit reading time in between my editing time, I have found it difficult to find time to write the reviews…. Or, you know, I’m just being lazy. I should really write them as soon as I finish a book but that almost never happens!

Anyway. Other goings on that happened in March include going back to Lanzarote to sort out some minor paperwork and steal some of the sunshine (and the ice cream.yuummmm.) but we still haven’t sold our house. Sigh.

I’ve also managed to edit one third of my #ExcitingSpaceWIP so far. I’m hoping by the end of April I’ll be able to tell you all I’m two thirds through! We’ll have to see.

Next month I will also be taking part in the Aspec April readathon happening over the first two weeks. Which is a readathon focusing on books with asexual and aromantic characters in them. I’ll hopefully be posting a separate wrap up for that at the end of the two weeks. April is also Autism acceptance month so I’m planning on rounding out the month with a couple of autistic books but again we’ll see. I’m the epitome of a mood reader so this much planning may be my downfall!

I probably won’t be posting anything for autism acceptance month even though it’s my first year of being diagnosed. I wouldn’t know what to write! But if anyone has any questions about Autism or my experiences I’m happy to answer them, just leave a comment below.

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Memo Pad: January Wrap up

I’ve had an excellent start to my reading year this month. I finished a whole 6 books and that’s only because I made myself stop reading towards the end of the month so I wouldn’t have too many reviews to write! Four of them were five star reads although towards the end of the month things went down hill a little with a DNF.

Away from reading, I’ve been taking the month off from writing and by that I mean I draft zero’d a 10k short story, started writing myself an edit letter for #ExcitingSpaceWIP and did more planning and plot hole hunting for my next wip…..whoops. (i’m officially naming the new one #ChronicallyWitchyWIP). Anyway, it actually was a lot of time off even if it doesn’t sound like it hence all the reading.

Our house is also officially on the market, so we’ve had lots of people coming and going for viewings. All the waiting is very nerve-racking.

But back to books. I think one of the reasons I had such a good reading month is that I read whatever I felt like at that moment which meant I bought quite a few books but I did read most of them as soon as I bought them which meant I kept my owned books under 50 which is my aim.

Books Read: 6 DNF: 1 Books Acquired: 7

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New Year, Same Me

I hope everyone has been having a happy holiday and I’m wishing you all a very happy new year. I got a load of yarn and books for Christmas, no surprises there, right? I love them anyway and I had a very exhausting but happy Christmas. I’m not going to show you the yarn, you’ll have to wait and see what I make with it (Hint: Blankets, it’ll all be blankets!)

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I kind of hate resolutions. Especially the ones that say to do something different. New year new you. Those never work for me but I do like seeing goals. Things I want to achieve which are normally a continuation of what I’m already doing. I guess my biggest struggle is to keep doing things not start (anyone who knows me know I start too many things!!). And goals help to keep me motivated and not give in.

But before we get onto 2019 I’m going back for a quick look at last year. I’m not actually going to go through the goals I wrote last year (they’re here) as I didn’t stick to most of my small goals instead I’ll focus on what happened. I did set one big one though and that was to focus on writing which I’m going to put a big tick next too even if the goal morphed throughout the year.

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2018 Happenings:

  • Finished writing my first ever proper book and edited it
  • Got feedback on my writing for the first time and learnt so much
  • Shelved that book which is an achievement for me to step away from something that was not making me happy
  • Wrote and edited a whole new book that I love so much (I’m getting feedback on it at the moment)
  • Moved back home (goodbye beautiful guernsey) and made our house ready to be put on the market (26 years worth of clutter and Wear and tear) but now we are just waiting for it to go live.
  • Got my autism diagnosis. The understanding it brings has already made such a difference to me
  • Read 67 books (I’ll go into this in my next post) 
     

So that’s my 2018 over. To be honest I’m really proud of myself. I’ve learnt so much and endured where it came to my writing without giving up. The feedback and doubts are hard. And I’ve also learnt where I should step back for my own sake. A lot of it hasn’t been easy but I wouldn’t trade other parts for anything!

Goals and Happenings for 2019

Again my main goal is going to be too focus on my writing. To keep going. To keep growing and not let myself give up. I love it so much but parts of it can be so very hard. I want to edit #ExcitingSpaceWIP based on the feedback I get. I want to get more feedback, edit it again and see where I end up. I want to also at least write a draft zero for my next story idea at some point during 2019 too. I’m not going to say I’ll write the first draft though as, while that may happen, it’s too far away to predict.

I’ll also be setting reading goals as always and also, as always, I won’t be setting it so high that is difficult for me. I like enjoying reading! My reading goal will be 52 books again and I want to keep the books I own on my kindle under 50. (Cross your fingers for me!)

The biggest event this year will be moving again. Only this time the plan is to move to Lanzarote. Finally. After so many years of planning. Which is all very scary right now with brexit happening so soon and so badly.

Linked to this is making ANOTHER attempt at learning Spanish (I think I’m on attempt 7 now? Edit: I just worked it out and this is attempt 8) I’ve downloaded a new app and am going to try to keep at it (again).

This year is going to be scary I think with the move and with brexit happening but it’s also very exciting. I have no idea what my look back at this year will look like!



So what about you? What are the biggest events of 2018 for you and what are you most proud of? I’d love to hear about them! I find that sometimes it’s the small things that we can be happiest about. My diagnosis is definitely up there for me. And what about next year? What plans and goals are on store for you?

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Memo Pad: October Book Wrap Up

Phew. It’s been such a busy month for me! And I cannot believe it’s almost Christmas already. I am not prepared. Somebody press pause, please!

Probably the biggest thing that happened this month is that I got diagnosed as autistic. I’ve discovered so much out about myself and I still am finding and figuring out things. So much of my life makes more sense now! This journey has been wild and I am so happy to have the certainty and confirmation of a diagnosis. The whole process was extremely nerve-racking but the actual appointment was very calm and it was actually really lovely to talk to someone who got it.

The timing of the appointment however wasn’t great. I had just one chapter left to write of #ExcitingSpaceWIP and two weeks later I still have one chapter left. Between recovering from the appointment and a load of forms that have suddenly landed on my lap, I just haven’t had the time to write the final chapter! But hopefully things will calm down soon and the plan is to get that chapter written by the end of the week. (Fingers crossed please!) Then I can give my autistic MC some closure too!

These things have meant that I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. This is just my third post this month compared to my normal 7 or 8. But more importantly I’ve been struggling to find time to read all your amazing posts. I have tried to make sure I’ve interacted and commented on posts of people who have interacted with me. But if I haven’t been around lately this is why

Reading wise I’ve had a bit of an average month to be honest. A couple of books I thought would be amazing were simply good (I’m hard to please I know, but last month had three 5* books so my expectations were high). Although a book I was expecting to only be average for me was amazing and my favourite book of the month. I did DNF one in there too.

But on to some stats on my ongoing book buying ban and attempt to get through my owned books.

Monthly stats:

Unread Owned Books at start: 59

Bought/Acquired: 0 / 2 earcs

Read: 5 (+1 DNF)

Unread Owned Books at end: 55

I couldn’t resist those two arcs, whoops. But I’m still doing really well…. Kind of. I mean that number is continually coming down so that’s a good thing. When I started this quest at the end of June I had about 75 books on my kindle. In four months that’s now down to 55 (damn those irresistible arcs!) and it looks like I’ll definitely be reaching my target of getting it below 50 before Christmas. (ready to buy more. Shhhhhh) No. But seriously I think my main goal next year will be to keep that number below 50. I’ll allow myself to buy some of the books I’m currently dreaming of but only so long as I don’t break that mark. And hopefully it will come down even more too. Continue reading