December Wrap-Up

I can’t believe another year has passed and we’re entering the 20s! I’ll always remember 2019 as the year that I re-discovered my love of reading, and found a new hobby/passion in writing my blog which I’ve enjoyed immensely, even though writing reviews takes up more hours than I care to mention, but at least they’re hours I’ve decided to spend doing something I love – and something for myself!

I never imagined that there would be such a fantastic community of supportive book bloggers who have introduced me to some fantastic books, tags and discussions. I’ve also discovered NetGalley and Blog Tours this year and I’ve been lucky enough to get some physical book proofs – things I never even knew existed! Blogging really has opened up a whole new world to me, and one I’m very glad I’ve found and, to think, it all started with me re-igniting my love of reading.

December has been another busy month for me, but I must say, I’m loving the down time between Christmas and the New Year! I spent Christmas with my sister and her family in Northern Ireland which was just wonderfully relaxing – and sometimes hectic!

Not sure how good my reading and book purchasing month has been – I’m about to find out!

Books read:

I took part in my first two Blog Tours this month and really enjoyed both of the books: Starchild Book Two: The City of Souls by Vacen Taylor and The Relic Hunters: Wild Sky by Lexi Rees. I will be taking part in another couple at the start of next year.

I was sent an e-copy of Esme’s Wish by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I really enjoyed this portal magic story which, although graded as Young Adult, I think would be fine for upper middle-grade. My review is here. I’ve now bought the next book on my Kindle, Esme’s Gift as I am completely intrigued by where this story is going – and there’s dragons!

I really enjoyed both of these. The Snow Dragon is by one of my favourite author’s and is a heart-warming and utterly gorgeous story filled with magic, hope and courage – and perfect snowy illustrations! After reading The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson, I asked her to recommend some other books of Russian tales and she recommended two, one of which was Koshka’s Tales by James Mayhew which is a delightful set of stories told by Koshka, the cat.

I read three books which I was approved to read on NetGalley this month. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is her first adult book. It is such an incredibly powerful and engrossing story: brutal, heart-breaking and earthy with characters who endure so much, yet show incredible strength. Nicola Penfold’s Where the World Turns Wild is an ecological dystopian adventure with two truly wonderful characters, Juniper and Bear, who face many dangers but whose courage, resilience and love for each other helps them face their fears. A Sprinkle of Sorcery is Michelle Harrison’s return to Crowstone and the wonderful Widdershin sisters. It is just as gorgeous as I expected and completely engrossed me. These are both being published on 6th February, so I will post my reviews closer to publication date.

Books bought/received as Christmas gifts

I went to meet Ruth Morgan, the author of The Comet Thief, Ant Clancy Games Detective and Alien Rain when I was in Cardiff. She was really wonderful to chat with and I discovered that she teaches part-time at the school my husband went to when he was in primary school – the world really is a small place!

I bought The Girl Who Stole an Elephant and The House on Hawthorn Road when I was in Ireland for Christmas. I’ve read so many fantastic comments about the first one that I’m desperate to read it soon. The second one is a time-slip story which I love, but don’t see a lot of in middle-grade fiction. I’ve read lots of good reviews of The Boy Who Grew Dragons so thought I’d give it a read.

I was given The Stone of Destiny, Irish Trees and Rise of the Dragon Moon by my husband (and, of course, there was prompting from me!); The Unexpected Find and The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone were gifted to me by my mother-in-law and I was given The Snowman as my school Secret Santa.

I was sent a proof of Orion Lost by the publishers to read and review for a Book Review site. It will be published on 9th January.

Goodreads Challenge

I only started using Goodreads at the start of this year, and set myself a reading challenge of 60 books as I was just starting getting back into reading so thought this would be manageable. I’m really pleased that I managed to surpass my challenge by reading 117 books.

I think I’ll set myself a higher goal next year, maybe 120 books!

Stationery

I absolutely LOVE buying/receiving new stationery. I found the first set of notebooks in Paperchase and thought they’d be perfect for making notes for my reviews. The second notebook was given to me by my husband. It’s taken me a while to decide what to use it for, but I think I’ll use it to keep a record of books I buy, and books I’ve read, for the 20s although I am very tempted to include 2019 as it has been such a good return to reading year for me!

Finally, I’d like to wish everyone who finds their way to my Blog a Happy New Year, and I hope all your wishes for 2020 come true.

5 thoughts on “December Wrap-Up

  1. Wow!! So many things to celebrate and look forward to- and those notebooks wow!! I’m trying to take notes this year too!! Though definitely won’t be as pretty as my MMU casebook -which I may have to copy into a new one as I don’t have room for the last and final book and it will BOTHER me if I have just one not fitting in 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your MMU casebook was gorgeous – in awe of the amount of time you must have spent on it. If I’m reviewing for my blog, I still have to take notes. Only downside is that it can take me a while to write reviews as ‘I have the notes!’ I’d love to have the commitment and focus to read a book, then review before I read another book!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, it was a Labour Of love!!
        I tend to read the book then I open a note and blitz off my thoughts straight away into it- even if it’s just random words like ‘Space Welding!!!’ then I give it a little time to brew in my mind go back and start teasing out a review from it then go back into the book and grab quotes relative to what I’ve written. Taking notes as I go MAY streamline this process!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wouldn’t it be a fab discussion with bloggers to find out how we all review, and how long it takes to write them, and our processes. I don’t do a lot of discussion posts, but I’d be really interested in this.

        Liked by 1 person

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