February 2017 Reads

February 2017 Reads

I thought I would write today about a few books I hope to read in the month of February. Naturally, there is Valentine’s Day this month, which I like for the simple reason that Amazon puts lots of romance books on sale. I like this genre anyway, but I also like reading less known authors/books which is often the sort that gets put on sale. So, I imagine I will be reading mostly romance this month but as always, I never know where the month will take me and usually I like to read whatever takes my fancy at the time; but, here are three books that have caught my eye.

  1. The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas

This is a romance set in Italy, and it makes me think of spring and summer. I quite like light hearted romances set in France or Italy but this book also has that classic storyline: a woman comes out of a devastating break up, moves abroad and takes on a rundown building and does it up but naturally a few people pop up along the way to try and stop her. Even though I have read a couple of books like this (A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley and The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts), I picked The Olive Branch up anyway. Although I do wonder how many more books with this repetitive plot I can read.

  1. Thursday’s in the Park by Hilary Boyd

I really hope I enjoy this because the main characters are grandparents. This makes a change since most books I read have young protagonists. I also loved the front cover which is what drew me in… full of autumnal colours. This book is about two grandparents meeting in the park every Thursday walking their grandchildren, and then I guess we see if they have another chance at happiness again.

  1. The Story of Us by Dani Atkins

I am not really sure what to expect with this, besides a love triangle. I don’t really know why I am so drawn into this… it is a very simple blurb yet I am quite intrigued. Again, I loved the cover. I’m hoping it will be a fun enjoyable rom-com.

Like I said, I never have any idea where my reading will take me in the month but these three books have caught my eye recently and so I hope to get to them. I love reading with the seasons/reading with events such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas etc. Maybe this is why I am in the mood for romances. Hopefully I’ll get to a few at least. But then there is also the issue of wanting to try and read more classics!

Advertisements

Books I’ve Read: January 2017 Review

Books I’ve Read: January 2017 Review

The first month of the year has been a success! I recently set a goal on Goodreads to read 36 books this year, which works out 3 books a month on average. Since I have read 6 books in January, I am happy. I have read a few Kendall Ryan series now, and I was in the mood to try more of this author. The trouble with her books is they are so addicting! I tend to go through phases where I’ll read a lot of this author. I also discovered the author Vi Keeland who I enjoyed a lot more than Kendall Ryan.

Screwed by Kendall Ryan

I read this in one sitting which is always a good sign. As always in Kendall Ryan’s books, there is a very confident, beautiful arrogant man that is after one girl who he can’t have for whatever reason. But also as always, I loved it. I wish the ending had been developed more and brought to a better close, but up until then it was great. The book is told in dual perspective which is something I personally love reading and so overall I was happy with this book and rated it 3* on Goodreads.

Monster Prick by Kendall Ryan

This is a spin off from Screwed above. I wish it had been a longer and more developed book. I think it was something under 200 pages and so not much room for character and plot development, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it still. I love when all the characters are intertwined in Kendall Ryan’s series, such as in The Filthy Beautiful series where all the male characters are brothers. Similarly, the males in this sort of series are best friends and so they bounce in and out of the other book. I rated it 3* on Goodreads.

The Gentleman Mentor (Lessons with the Dom #1) by Kendall Ryan

I loved this. After reading the above two Kendall Ryan books, this one is a serious step up. Because there were more pages, this naturally developed the characters and the plot a lot more. This meant I was more involved and drawn in and, so, I read the book in one day. Although all Kendall Ryan books are erotic romances, this one brings sex to a whole new level as it is all about BDSM. However, there was still a love story behind it all which I again loved. I rated this book 4* on Goodreads.

Sinfully Mine (Lessons with the Dom #2) by Kendall Ryan

This is partially related to The Gentleman Mentor above, but could be read as a standalone novel. I feel this one is more focused on the romance, however, rather than the BDSM sex. I still loved it though and I love it when all the characters are connected; the male protagonists in Lessons with the Dom are best friends. It was more developed than Screwed and Monster Prick but it also wasn’t overly amazing; I rated it 3* on Goodreads.

Hard to Love by Kendall Ryan

This was undoubtedly the worse Kendall Ryan book I have read. Annoyingly, it was also the most expensive. I buy all this author’s books on my kindle and they are normally £2- £3. This one was £6 so I was expecting better things, yet it absolutely was the opposite. The characters annoyed me A LOT. I just couldn’t relate in the slightest and found the female protagonist absolutely ridiculously and couldn’t stand her. I thought the plot was repetitive and boring, so much that I started skipping pages. Both the plot and characters could have been developed a lot more, overall it was not worth the price and I rated it 1* on Goodreads.

Bossman by Vi Keeland

This surprised me a lot! I was expecting something very similar to what I had been reading previously… a lot of erotic romance with underdeveloped characters and plots. This, however, was just the opposite. It was still told in dual perspective but it also flicked between the present time and seven years ago meaning there was a lot more background character development and information. I preferred this as I really connected to the characters better. I also didn’t find the protagonists annoying unlike Hard to Love. So, overall I was really happy with this and I will definitely read a lot more by Vi Keeland, who I had never read before this book.  I’ve rated it 5* on Goodreads.

 

Those are the six books I read in January! They were definitely not the books I planned to read but sometimes it is better when you choose spontaneous reads rather than planned books to meet a certain criteria. I am annoyed, however, I didn’t get to one classic this month, which I mentioned recently was something I wanted to start doing. I will have to try harder in February. I think with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Amazon will put even more romance novels on sale for kindles, so I will probably end up reading a few of this genre in the coming month.

Reading Update: Mid January

This is a new feature on my blog where I post what I am reading, either at the beginning, middle or end of the month depending on what I am reading at the time and when I want to post. My last Reading Update was for Mid December but right now is time for Mid January!

In paperback, I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling. I am sure everyone has head of this; it is book #1 in the well loved Harry Potter Series. However, I have never read the books! I said in a recent post that this is just one of the many series I want to read in 2017 so I am already underway. I already love this book and cannot wait to continue.

On my kindle, I am still reading An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I love the individuality and concept of this book but for some reason I am not reading it quickly at all. I will definitely continue this book because I have already received the second one for Christmas in hardback.

Then, I have downloaded audible this month and I am currently on a free trial. I am thinking of writing a post very soon about audible books because it is the first time I have ever used it, but so far I really enjoy it. I wasn’t sure what to download because you only get one credit = one book per month so I wanted to choose wisely. I thought I would go for a completely new genre that I have never tried but I have been interested in for a long time: biographies and memoirs. I have chosen to listen to I am Malala written by Malala Yousafzai and narrated by Malala Yousafzai and Archie Panjabi. I have listened to about 30 minutes so far and I absolutely love it. Perhaps it is because this is a true story, I am completely enthralled.

In case you haven’t noticed, I like to read more than one book at once and all on different formats so there is no excuse and I can always be reading or listening whatever I am doing.

I will also just update you based on my last Reading Update for Mid December: I said I wanted to finish: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward, which I did. However, I did not finish An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and I did not start Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I did mention, however, that I wanted to re-read the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and I have started this. I chose to read them in chronological order so I read The Magician’s Nephew and I have The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe on my reading list for this month.

That is everything I am reading at the moment! I am definitely concentrating more on paperbacks at the moment; I hope to finish Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and start the second one, as well as read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Then, there is also the area of classics, where I said I wanted to read one classic every month and write a review so I am thinking of reading To Kill a Mockingbird for this month.

2017 Goals

2017 Goals

I know we are now 10 days into the New Year, but I have only just finalised my 5 goals for the year. I don’t believe that as soon as it strikes midnight and it’s a new year you must start your resolutions right away, instead, I prefer to spend time thinking what I want to achieve and what I want to change and come up with a list in my own time. I recently posted some general events/things happening that I am really looking forward to in 2017, but I wanted to narrow it down a little bit more and set reasonably specific goals. (All of which are personal goals related to language learning, health and reading!)

  1. Read 36 books

I said I wanted to read a lot more, and after I smashed my Goodreads target of 12 books in 2016, I want to up it a lot more this year. I really don’t know how this year is going to go… I am now in my second year at university so I have a lot more work to do, and I am going to study abroad in September so I don’t know how much reading I will do then. Saying this, I have set a goal of 36 books on the Reading Challenge on Goodreads. That will work out 3 books a month on average.

  1. Revise Spanish vocabulary and grammar a lot more

I just said I was going abroad… well I am spending one semester in Spain very soon and I am not confident in the slightest. I spend so much time at university learning about the history and politics of Spain/Latin America, or about writers and painters, that I don’t actually spend any time learning the language anymore! I know this is ridiculous but it means I have a lot to revise. Despite being super busy with uni work as it is, I plan to revise for at least 1 hour every week, and then from May (when I finished university for the year) I will seriously up this to at least 2 hours every day.

  1. Revise Italian vocabulary and grammar a lot more

Very similar to the above… I will also be spending one semester in Italy, and again I am completely petrified. My linguistic level is nowhere near fluent and so I am quite scared. I plan to do the same and spend 1 hour a week revising, until May when this will be increased massively.

  1. Try new foods! Specifically… Vegan Foods

I absolutely admire Niomi Smart; she is a vegan lifestyle vlogger on YouTube and I have recently bought her cookbook which full of plant based recipes. But besides this, I have been very interested in veganism and the effects it can have on your body and health. I’ve watched and read many people’s stories and journeys with becoming a vegan and I would love to try a lot more plant based food. I’m not sure I know enough or I am brave enough to become a vegan, but I hope to try and eat less animal products this year.

  1. Wake up earlier

My current university timetable gives me Tuesdays and Fridays off, so I have gotten into the habit of treating these days like the weekend. Then, when it actually comes to the weekend, I have still got lots of work to do. So, I want to start getting up early on my days off in the week to actually do my uni work, and work through the day till a reasonable hour so I can actually enjoy me evenings. Whereas normally, I sleep till late, and then stay up late to do work. I want to change this.

 

For the moment, these are my only five goals. I hope I do read at least 36 books because my to-be-read pile is forever growing and there is just so much to read! (I recently posted about this) I hope revising Spanish and Italian every week for a set amount of time will motivate me and improve my confidence in the language to go abroad. I hope looking into and trying more vegan foods will make me more aware of what I am putting into my body and the affects of the foods. Finally, I hope if I wake up earlier then I will be more productive. If I do get into a healthier and better balanced diet, this may even motivate me to exercise more.

So, overall, I am really happy with these goals. Waking up earlier and eating vegan foods are health based, reading is a hobby, and Spanish and Italian are university work based. There aren’t too many goals which make them less intimidating and more achievable.

So many books to read in 2017!

I am very excited to write this post, because it is all about books and what I want to read in 2017. I have been thinking about what sort of genres/ books I want to read in the coming months, and there are some very popular series out there I have never read, so I feel 2017 is the year. A few of these series I have owned for quite a while and some I was very lucky to have received this Christmas just gone. So, without further or do:

  1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

(Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone; The Chamber of Secrets; The Prisoner of Azkaban; The Goblet of Fire; The Order of the Phoenix; The Half-Blood Prince; The Deathly Hallows)

I have never read the Harry Potter books! I know, shame on me. But, 2017 is the year, and I have already started on The Philosopher’s Stone so I am off to a good start.

  1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

(The Lightening Thief; The Sea of Monsters; The Titan’s Curse; The Battle of the Labyrinth; The Last Olympian)

This is a series that so many children grow up and fall in love with. However, I didn’t. And since seeing everyone rave about Rick Riordan so much on BookTube, I really want to read some of his books and they say to start here.

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

(The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King)

These are possibly some of my absolute favourite films. I grew up watching them and have seen them all many times. I have never read the books though and I would love to.

  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is obviously similar to the above since The Hobbit comes before The Lord of the Rings. I am also curious to read the book and see how they managed to draw three films out of one small book.

  1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

(Throne of Glass; Crown of Midnight; Heir of Fire; Queen of Shadows; Empire of Storms; Assassin’s Blade)

This is a series that again everyone loves on BookTube and I have never read. I have also never read anything by this author so I would love to try some of her books. I’m also experimenting with fantasy a lot more, and this seems to be a fundamental must read.

  1. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

(Divergent; Insurgent; Allegiant)

I have seen the first three films; I loved the first two and didn’t care much for the third. However, it is a very popular series and I would love to read it to compare to the films.

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

(The Hunger Games; Catching Fire; Mockingjay)

This is very similar to The Divergent Series, in which it is also a fantasy and I have seen the films but not read the books.

  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This one is not a series, but rather a standalone novel I picked up at the end of last year and haven’t read yet. It looks a little intimidating right now because I prefer to read short books, but I will tackle it in the summer, and I am looking forward to it.

All of these books named above are well loved by many. Throne of Glass is raved about a lot on BookTube, The Lord of the Rings are some of my favourite films, Harry Potter is just an absolute must…and the rest are all well known film adaptations or just very popular. But, as I mentioned in a post recently, I am going to try and read more classics this year, hopefully one every month! So, there are even more books to read!

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is a very popular book that many study in school or just love in general. Everyone I know that has read this book then reads it again at least one or two more times. I really hope I like this book as I would love to read Harper Lee’s later published book Go Set a Watchman, as these two are meant to be linked.

Then, there are lots more classics I want to attempt this year, particularly the Brontë Sister’s works such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights etc. But that could be for another blog post.

I think this is long enough as it is so maybe soon I will write more specific reading aims such as particular books in a genre I want to try, or particular authors. We shall see. Right now though, I am very excited for the year ahead.

 

What I am Looking Forward to in 2017

Happy New Year! Today is the second day of 2017, so, I thought I would write about all the exciting things I am looking forward to this year!

The first thing is definitely the most exciting and scary part of this year… I am going to study abroad. I currently study languages at university, which means I go abroad in my third year for one whole year, in order to experience the culture and practice my language skills more. This means I am going to Spain for one semester and then to Italy for one semester! (I don’t know if it will definitely be in that order yet as it isn’t confirmed.) This will be huge for me as it will be a huge test of self-confidence and my linguistic level. Obviously there are a million things I am scared about, but, it is an experience I will never forget and I need to take every day of it in my stride.

The second thing I am looking forward to is completing year 2 at university! In year 1, I did very well and I got a First which I was so over the moon with, however, so far this year I have been doing a lot worse. I have definitely noticed a step up in the quantity and level of work this year and I haven’t been keeping up very well. So, I know I have a lot of hard work ahead but I really hope to achieve the same as year 1.

The third thing is I am turning 20! I don’t celebrate my birthday a lot, but I feel like this is a turning point as I am no longer technically a teenager.

The forth thing is I am currently planning on learning to drive this summer. I started to do this two years ago and then stopped but it is something I really need to get done and I think it would give me a huge confidence boost before I move abroad on my own for a year.

The fifth thing is hopefully I will get a lot of reading done! I am going to do a post very soon on a list of books I would love to read this year. I have been really into reading recently, and although I am not a fast reader, there is so much I want to read! I have a long to-be-read list and would love to get through it a little bit this year.

The sixth thing links to the one above… I have been thinking about creating a BookTube channel for a long time now and it is something I really want to try and do this year. I have been looking into it recently, watching a lot of advice videos, but it is a confidence issue I need to overcome. I really think I will enjoy making videos about books so I need to stop worrying and just do it!

And the final things I am looking forward to, which are probably the most important, are to spend time with friends and family, to do what makes me happy, and try to make every day count. I know this sounds terribly cliché but I really do think life can turn at any minute, you have no idea what the next day will bring for you or a family member, and so it is important to cherish the time you have with them and never take anyone in your life for granted.

Talking about things I am excited for in the close future makes me a lot more motivated and inspired for the year. Although these are just some very broad and big things that are/might be happening to me in 2017 and I am very excited for them all!

Books I’ve Read: December Review 2.0

Books I’ve Read: December Review 2.0

I know I posted my December Review yesterday, which you can check out here, but since uploading that, I managed to finish another book late last night and so I want to add it to December’s Review!

At long last, I have finally finished The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

the-potion-diaries

I started this book way back in the summer, and have only just finished it yesterday…the last day of the year. I found the first 200 pages quite slow and the book dragged to be honest. However, in the last 150 pages I found it really picked up the pace and the adventure was well and truly under way, and then a little romance occurred. When I finally got into it, I did really enjoy it. I thought the book was extremely unique and I have never read anything so imaginative and quirky-such as all the names of the potions and the ingredients and the different lands they travel to. I really liked all of the characters, and loved the close family relationships presented. I will definitely read on with the series. I gave this 4* on Goodreads because I did love it, but the beginning was far too slow for me and didn’t grab my attention till near the end.