2019 Reading Resolutions: Results

2019 Reading Resolutions: Results

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Last year I made a post with some resolutions for my reading in 2019. I thought it would be fun to do a little follow up post just to see if I managed to reach my goals (spoiler: I did not) – so let’s dive in!

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Resolution #1: Read 150 Books

My original Goodreads goal for 2019 was to read 150 books. I read 142 in 2018 and thought this was a pretty reasonable goal. Near the end of the year I had to lower it to 100 books and I ended up reading a total of 108. I started a new job and started driving to work rather than getting the train so I ended up reading less. I’m still pleased with reading 108 and hope I can read even more in 2020.

Resolution #2: Catalogue my TBR and make it smaller
So this is a sort of completed goal. I have begun the process of cataloguing my TBR. I find it quite painstaking to sit and collate everything but I’ve done two bookcases and I’m working on the others. I’ve gotten a lot better at unhauling and it has made a massive difference to both my TBR and the amount of books in my house. I’m definitely hoping to continue this into the new year and get rid of the books I won’t read again or am no longer interested in.

Resolution #3: Get better at scheduling posts
I mentioned this already but I started a new job in 2019, a complete change of job that I found quite hectic and it meant I didn’t have as much spare time for blogging and reading. It has meant my scheduling has gotten better, but I’ve been posting less frequently. Hoping to be a bit more consistent in 2020!

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Resolution #4: Improve my Netgalley score

I think this is going to be my eternal struggle. When I did the original post my score was sitting at 40%. For a while I was doing really well and it was increasing but it has once again fallen by the wayside and I am sitting at 46%. This is definitely one I’m really going to try and work on this year.

Resolution #5: Read outside my comfort zone
I think I’ve done quite well at reading outside my comfort zone last year. My predominant reads were still fantasy and science fiction but I also read quite a few crime novels as well as some historical and literary fiction. I would like to try and incorporate more non-fiction, so if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them.

Resolution #6: Participate in more readathons
This was definitely a success for me. I find readathons really help me to challenge myself, participate in something fun and also read things I might not consider picking up. I participated in tons of readathons last year and I definitely want to continue that this year as well.

So those are the results of my 2019 reading resolutions! A pretty mixed bag, but I’m hoping I can improve this year. How did you fare with your reading resolutions? Let me know below!

Favourite Books of 2019!

Favourite Books of 2019!

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Today I’m back with my favourite books of 2019. I always find it quite hard to whittle it down to only 10 books, but after some deliberation I’ve managed to pick them. I managed to read 108 books in 2019, so in no particular order here are my favourites!

Copy of book cover (90)1. The Queen of Nothing – Holly Black
The third and final instalment in The Folk of the Air trilogy, I couldn’t put this book down. I loved every second of this magic series.

book cover (41)2. The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang
I’m a bit late to the party with The Poppy War. I know the sequel The Dragon Republic is already out but I finally got around to picking up book one and I completely loved it. Book two is one of my top priority reads for 2020.

Copy of book cover (40)3. Sanctuary – V. V. James
This supernatural mystery/thriller had me hooked from the very beginning and I never wanted this story to end. I definitely had a few sleepless nights while I stayed up late reading this one.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.2504. The Furies – Katie Lowe
This dark and eerie tale of obsession, revenge and murder was so brilliant I still think about it even though I read it months ago. I’ve been recommending this book to pretty much everyone I know and it’s definitely going in my all time favourites.

Copy of book cover (56)5. Night Film – Marisha Pessl
I picked this up on the recommendation of someone else and it was genuinely one of the creepiest, most spine tingling books I’ve ever read. This was my first book by Marisha Peshl, but I can’t wait to read more from her.

Copy of book cover (27)6. An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass
An Illusion of Thieves was a book that completely took me by surprise. I expected to enjoy the story but I didn’t expect to get completely wrapped up in this vivid tale of magic and survival. Book two is definitely one my most anticipated releases for 2020.

Copy of book cover (12)7. Limited Wish – Mark Lawrence
The second instalment of Mark Lawrence’s Impossible Times series is just as action packed and exciting as book one and some of the twists completely blew me away. The third and final book Dispel Illusion is going to be one of my first reads in January.

book cover (48)8. Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan
I know this book received some mix reactions but I really enjoyed the unique magic system and the exciting plot. I’m really intrigued to see where the series will go next.

book cover (45)9. Aurora Rising – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
For some reason I didn’t get around to reading that many science fiction books in 2019 but Aurora Rising was one of the stand out ones. I loved this action packed space adventure with unique characters and witty banter.

Copy of book cover (80)10. Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
Last but certainly not least, Leigh Bardugo’s newest book about secret magical societies at Yale was definitely one of my favourite reads in the last half of the year. I can’t wait for the sequel to this one and I’m sure it’s going to be just as intense and unputdownable.

So those are my favourite reads of 2019! Which books were your favourite reads this year? And if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought!

Blog Tour: Storm of Ash – Michelle Kenney

Blog Tour: Storm of Ash – Michelle Kenney

Series: Book of Fire #3

Release Date: December 11th 2019

Publisher: HQ Digital

Pages: 384

Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.

Source: The publisher kindly sent me an E-ARC via Netgalley.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

The brand new novel from Michelle Kenney, author of the Book of Fire and City of Dust! As Talia treks back through the treacherous North Mountains, she knows only three things: Pantheon has stolen nearly everyone she loves; Her blood is the only control over the Voynich’s oldest secret; And Cassius won’t stop hunting Arafel until every last outsider is destroyed. Will Talia finally face her legacy and defeat Cassius before it is too late?

Review

The Book of Fire series is fast becoming one of my favourite series of all time. I fell in love with the world and the characters in Book of Fire and I absolutely adored City of Dust. I was so excited to pick up the third instalment in the series and had incredibly high expectations. I of course loved every second of this fast paced and exhilarating story that I didn’t want to end.

As this is the third and final instalment in the series I won’t say too much about the plot of the book as I really don’t want to spoil this brilliant series for anyone. Storm of Ash probably could be read as a standalone but you’re definitely better off catching up on the first two books before setting off.

Talia is a fantastic protagonist, she’s such an interesting character and I’ve loved seeing her on this adventure, growing as a character as she battles Cassius and the pantheon. She’s a strong and determined character and you’ll be rooting for her right to the very end.

I really love Michelle Kenney’s writing style. It’s vivid and addictive and it’s so easy just to get swept along in this epic tale of good versus evil. The world building is also exceptional, everything is well fleshed out and you’re given plenty of opportunity to understand the world.

The Book of Fire series is everything I love about YA fantasy. It’s a strong compelling series that I can’t recommend highly enough and I’m so looking forward to read more from Michelle Kenney.

Blog Tour: Black Summer – M. W. Craven

Blog Tour: Black Summer – M. W. Craven

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Series:
Washington Poe #2 (Read my review of book one here!)
Release Date: December 12th 2019
Publisher: Constable
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

Review

When I picked up The Puppet Show (book one in the Washington Poe series) I had no idea what to expect. I finished up with my mind completely blown and The Puppet Show racing to the top of my favourite crime books. My expectations for Black Summer were incredibly high, I couldn’t wait to see what was next in store for Poe and Tilly and honestly if it’s possible, Black Summer is even more brilliant.

This book pretty much consumed my life while I was reading it. I had a few bleary eyed days because I stayed up way too late reading it and I almost missed my bus stop on more than one occasion. Black Summer is a fast paced, addictive read. It’s a wild ride of a book, and you definitely won’t want to get off. This instalment follows Poe as one of his cases comes back to haunt him. Jared Keaton is in prison for murdering his daughter, he’s there because Poe helped convict him. But when a young woman announces she is Jared’s daughter alive and well, Poe finds himself mixed up in the investigation once again but this time it could be the end of his career.

I won’t say too much more about the plot because it’s definitely best left for the reader to enjoy. It’s a gripping story, with plenty of twists and turns that I definitely didn’t see coming. Black Summer could also be read as a standalone if you haven’t picked up The Puppet Show, but they are both highly addictive and well worth the read.

One of the things that really makes this story for me is the characters. Poe and Tilly are a brilliant partnership, it’s fascinating to watch them interact and I loved seeing their relationship develop over the course of a second book. They’re both vivid, well fleshed out and great protagonists. Tilly is definitely one of my all time favourite characters, there’s no puzzle she can’t solve.

Black Summer is an exhilarating read and if you’re looking for the perfect books to binge read over Christmas, the Washington Poe books are a must buy. Your only problem is going to be waiting for the release of book three in 2020!

5 stars

Blog Tour: The Boy with Blue Trousers – Carol Jones

Blog Tour: The Boy with Blue Trousers – Carol Jones

Release Date: November 14th 2019
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

On the goldfields of 19th-century Australia, two very different girls are trying to escape their past.

1856, China.
In the mulberry groves of the Pearl River Delta, eighteen-year-old Little Cat carries a terrible secret. And so, in disguise as a boy in blue trousers, she makes the long and difficult passage to Australia, a faraway land of untold riches where it is said the rivers run with gold.

1857, Australia.
Violet Hartley has arrived off the boat from England, fleeing scandal back home. Like the Chinese immigrants seeking their fortunes on the goldfields, Violet is seduced by the promise of a new frontier. Then she meets Little Cat, a woman who, like her, is trying to escape her past.

As their fates inextricably, devastatingly entwine, their story becomes one of freedom, violence, love and vengeance, echoing across the landscapes of two great continents.

Review

Copy of book cover (89)The Boy with Blue Trousers is the captivating tale of two young women fleeing the world they left behind. The story follows Little Cat, an eighteen year old in China, disguises herself as a boy and boards a ship to Australia, carrying with her a terrible secret and the desire to seek her fortune. Similarly Violet Hartley boards a boat in England bound for Australia, attempting to run away from the scandal surrounding her. When Violet and Little Cat meet, their fates become woven together as they attempt to make new lives for themselves.

This is a really ambitious tale, one that spans different continents and cultures. I became really engrossed in the story of our two main characters and loved seeing the differences between the two women. They are both fascinating and well fleshed out characters and although I enjoyed both their stories, Little Cat was definitely my favourite. She’s strong willed and stubborn, doing anything to survive. I loved the way the stories were weaved together, it’s a heartwarming tale of love and family – one I think lots of people will completely adore.

I was fascinated to learn that the story is in part based on the life Chinese people immigrating to Australia, something I didn’t know very much about. The story is quite slow paced, giving you the chance to really get to know the characters in alternating POVS. The story is beautifully told and I really enjoyed the authors writing style. If you’re looking for an engrossing tale with vivid characters, The Boy with Blue Trousers should definitely be on your wishlist.
4 stars

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Blog Tour: Ghoster – Jason Arnopp

Blog Tour: Ghoster – Jason Arnopp

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Release Date:
October 22nd 2019
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.

Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realises just how little she really knows about the man she loves.

Review

Copy of book cover (88)Ghoster is the kind of book that hooks you in right from the very beginning, and absolutely does not let you go. The story follows Kate, a young woman who is moving in with her boyfriend Scott. When Scott mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing behind but his mobile phone, Kate has no choice but to start looking through his social media and online profiles. Strange things start to happen that Kate can’t explain and the deeper she digs into Scott’s past, the more she begins to realise she didn’t really know him at all.

Ghoster is a smart and engaging tale and one that I found difficult to put down. It’s incredibly well paced, heightening the tension as Kate attempts to uncover the mystery behind Scott. Ghoster really felt like a brilliant fresh perspective on the mystery genre and I found myself thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it. The story is one of obsession and the effects being so present online can have on us. It’s a really fascinating read and there are some moments that will definitely send a shiver up your spine.

The story has a really realistic and plausible feel to it, and I think that’s part of what makes this story so chilling. I really liked Kate as a main character and I enjoyed watching her unravel this puzzle. I also enjoyed seeing the relationship between Kate and Scott and how it has changed over time. As always with a mystery/thriller I love it when I’m completely surprised by the turns it takes, and I definitely felt that way with Ghoster. It was an intricately woven tale, and I didn’t want it to end.

Ghoster is the perfect read for a dark and chilly evening. It’s intense, exciting and unforgettable. But be warned, it will have you reading well past bedtime and you might just need to sleep with the light on.
4 stars
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Waiting on Wednesday: Dispel Illusion – Mark Lawrence

Waiting on Wednesday: Dispel Illusion – Mark Lawrence

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Synopsis

Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.

Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.

Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.

Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover (86)Today’s waiting on Wednesday is for Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence. This is the third and final instalment in the Impossible Times trilogy, and I am honestly dying to read this so I can know how it all ends. This action packed series has had me on the edge of my seat quite a few times and I honestly have no idea what direction the final book is going to take. Lawrence has delivered some shock twists in this tale and I’m sure the final instalment will be just as brilliant. The story features a group of Dungeon’s and Dragons playing teenagers (think Stranger Things) as they end up on a crazy time travelling mission to save the world. It’s brilliant fun and the first two books have been quite short fast paced reads. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this series up yet, I’d highly recommend them, they’re definitely the kind of books you could curl up and binge read on a snowy weekend. Dispel Illusion is publishing in ebook on November 14th, and then later on in December in hardback. I was planning to wait on the hardback release to match my copies of One Word Kill and Limited Wish, but I’m not sure I can hold off that long!