Thursday, 26 March 2020

Ten Goals for Lockdown


It's a weird time in the world at the moment, and New Zealand has just gone into a four-week lockdown to try and stop the spread of covid-19. My university has also shut down for that period of time and I'm not very good at having nothing to do sooo I decided to set some goals for the next four weeks.

1. Only have ONE book that I'm 'currently reading'

A lot of reading is already on the cards, but more specifically I want to reduce the number of books I have marked as 'currently reading' on Goodreads. At the moment it's at 6. Some of them I haven't picked up in over a year, but they're all books I actually want to get through so this is the time to do it.

2. Be able to do a singular push-up by the end of these four weeks

I'm weak. I have no upper body strength. So this has been a goal for a looong time.

3. Get outside every. single. day.

We're lucky enough to be able to go for walks in our local area and we have a garden at our flat so getting outside every day is totally doable and will most likely make me feel a million times better.

4. Write an essay for my marketing class

It's gotta be done so I might as well get it done while I have some time off to really focus on it.

5. Start a bookstagram!

Okay, so I have a bookstagram account, but I've never actually posted anything on it. It's scaaary and everybody takes such nice photos (does anybody have any tips and tricks to get started).

6. Finally get up to date with Brooklyn 99

I'm halfway there. Noice.

7. Actually catch up on laundry

Why is this so hard? I've been behind since the start of the year. And no, I don't know how this happens.

8. Do all that uni stuff from last term that I got behind on

Oh gosh. I'm a tad behind. Not toooo bad. But there's still a decent chunk of stuff that I need to catch up on. I probably won't think about that until next week though.

9. Read something outside my comfort zone

I generally read a lot of YA fiction and the occaisional adult mystery or romance... I like the idea of mixing it up, so I might use this time to read a non-fiction book that I normally wouldn't or maybe a collection of poems or a book written in prose. Does anybody have any recs?

10. Take some time to chill out

Very important! This is probably one of the few times in my life where I'm going to be forced to stay at home for four weeks so I might as well use the time to catch up on some sleep and relax.

How's everything where you are? Are you working/studying from home at the moment? Do you have any goals for this period of time?

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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

2019 Reading Statistics

For the last two years, at the end of the year I've wrapped up my year by throwing my reading statistics into a couple of graphs. If you want to have a bit of a throwback to my 2017 and 2018 reading statistics (which are more impressive than this years), the post is here. And without further ado, here are some of my reading statistics from 2019.

How many books did I read each month?

2019 was not a big reading year for me at all. I blame the fact that it was my second year of university and things started getting a little bit more serious, but whatever the reason, reading just wasn't a priority and I made it to the grand total of 17 books. I record which I hope to well and truly beat this year.

How many stars?



Although 2019 was a slower reading year, I am happy that the vast majority of the books I read were ones that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have been known to be very kind (sometimes too kind) with my ratings, but I can without a doubt say that I absolutely adored all of the five star reads from last year.

Author gender


A reasonably unsurprising statistic for me. For the last three years, this graph has looked very similar and I am trying to improve this ratio, but for some reason, I always end up similar to this graph. This year it can probably be blamed on the amount of romance I read which in my experience is primarily written by female authors.

Series or standalone?


This graph is mainly for my benefit as I have the habit of starting a series and not finishing it. This continued to be a problem in 2019 and I don't think I'll ever get on top of my unfinished series.

"Age group"


This graph has definitely seen the biggest change in the last three years. It's the first year where young adult hasn't been the majority of what I've read and it will be interesting to see whether 'adult' books continue to be my most-read books this year.

Text type


In the past, the graph above has always been more diverse and has included everything from novellas, to poetry, to screenplays. A goal for 2020 is to read a greater range of text types again (nevermind that this will also help me with my Goodreads target).

Genres


Contemporary has always been one of my bigger genres of reading, but I think the change this year is that in that category there was a lot of romance, I think just because when I did read I wanted something light and fluffy that didn't require as much thought as some of the complex storylines or worlds that are present in the fantasy or mystery genre. I'm also happy that the classics genre is making a bigger appearance than it ever has!

How many pages?


Not a graph I ever draw much from, it's just interesting to look at and see how my reading is spread out. Last year definitely lacked longer books.

A wrap-up

Although 2019 was a slower reading year than usual, it's still interesting to look at how some of my reading habits have changed and it's given me things to focus on and look forward to in 2020. 

What were your reading successes in 2019? Tell me about your favourite reads so that I can check out what I missed out on!

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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

What I've Been Reading


I’ve been a little absent lately, but I have actually been reading for once this year. I’m still thirty books behind on my reading goal which Goodreads keeps telling me, but we won’t talk about that. Here are a few of the books that I have read and loved, felt meh about or been totally conflicted by...

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What can I say? Just ohmygosh!? Ella from Novelly Ella explained the premise of this book to me as a woman being interviewed about her life and the seven husbands she'd had which doesn't sound suuuper interesting, but holy shit, if anyone could make this a gripping, tantalizing read with a twist, it's definitely Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Trust me, the hype is worth it.

Hunted, by Meagan Spooner

Okay, so this one is an older one that I have been meaning to read forever. It's been on my TBR since way back when it was released in 2017 and you know what... I didn't love it. I felt too old for it, and maybe I'm just over the fairytale retelling plot because it just irritated me. Also, I wasn't the biggest fan of the MC and that didn't help.

Meh, would pass on this.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite

What. The. Heck. How do I explain that I loved this book so much that I couldn't put it down, but also it left me feeling so deeply unsatisfied, but also if it had gone any other way I would have been annoyed about it. It took me a week to rate this on Goodreads after I finished it because I was so conflicted. I'm still conflicted.

I need a support group for this book. Someone, please talk to me.

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of the books I talked about above? What were your thoughts?



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Thursday, 14 November 2019

There's Someone Inside Your House, by Stephanie Perkins || WARNING: NEGATIVITY


I am so conflicted about Stephanie Perkins latest release. I was excited when I heard that she was writing a new novel because I love the Anna and the French Kiss series and I was even more excited when I found out it was horror themed, but now I'm not really sure what to think... There were parts that completely pissed me off and there were parts that were okay(ish). Luckily I tweeted as I read so I can break everything down for you with the help of my tweets!

WARNING: SPOILERS AND RANTING AHEAD

Things started out well... Not. Maybe it was because I decided to tweet as I read, but I got two pages in and I was already totally distracted. Okay.. Maybe that is because Twitter is a huge distraction no matter what you're reading, but still! Page two!


Anyway! Moving on. So this book started from the point of view of a girl called Hayley (I think it was Hayley?) who was basically a theatre geek, but don't worry too much about her because wait for it... She's dead less than ten pages in.


Rightio, now that we have Hayley out of the way (Stacey? Her name definitely might have been Stacey..) we can move onto the real star of the show. Makani. Let me set the scene for you; Makani is the new girl in a small town. She's been shipped off there by her parents to live with her grandmother because something awfully strange happened in her past. Although of course we're not quite sure what that is yet. At this point I was definitely assuming that Makani had actually killed someone... But more about that later.


So this Hayley/Stacey girl was brutally murdered and now the whole town is freaking out trying to figure out who it is. Pause again, this time because a character mentioned flip-flops and I care more about finding out what everyone calls those in different countries.


Back to reading. Only to find out that Makani's grandmother sleepwalks. For some reason I just could not get into this book. I kept getting distracted! But that might just be because Twitter is damn distracting.


I stopped reading because I was "too tired to concentrate" and then didn't pick it up again for a couple of days (actually more like a week) because I just wasn't feeling it.


I finally managed to read a bit and was actually starting to like it a bit more... During this time Makani and Ollie got a lot of screen time and I realised that maybe I like reading Stephanie Perkins more in the contemporary genre than the horror genre.

A second person is murdered this time by having their brain taken out and chopped up and then shoved back in. Creative. I'm back to not really enjoying this book, but determined to finish it.


Another death. (This one had his ears chopped off)


Makani (of course) is the next victim, but she gets away and we find out who the killer is and what a BORING killer?! It's just some random quiet kid from Makani's school (lol it's always the quiet ones). I had to wait until the end of the book to find out why he was murdering people and how he was choosing them, but I'll spare you the wait for nothing... Turns out he was killing people that had potential and might one day have a life outside of the town they were from.... And that list included his best friend... Yeah... What? I don't even know! This 'grand reveal' was at the end of the book and it was such a let down. It didn't even really make sense to me!


What else happened between finding out who the killer was and finding out why he was killing people? Oh yeah, we found out about Makani's mysterious past. Another let down. The reason she had to move to a tiny town to live with her grandmother was because she was a messy drunk at some team initiation thing and chopped off someone's ponytail. I get that high school kids can suck, but this was built up to be a HUGE reveal and it would have been waaaaayyy more interesting if Makani actually killed someone.


By this point I gave up on tweeting. So how did it end? Happily ever after of course. There were a couple more deaths, but in the end, the killer was caught and the boy and the girl got together. Blah blah blah. That's it.


I'm sorry, but I'm actually pissed off about this book. My last tweet pretty much sums up the entire experience for me. I'm disappointed because I wanted to like this, but I really didn't. Ah well, I'm about to start Radio Silence so I'm hoping I'll like that better!

Have you ever been excited for a book that just let you down? Tell me what you thought of this book if you've read it.. Disagree or agree with me?? I want to know! Tell me your thoughts.


Love hurts... 

Makani Young thought she'd left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She's found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn't far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.


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Monday, 14 October 2019

Wild Beauty, by Anna-Marie McLemore || Just Wildly Beautiful


I have never read a book that so perfectly matched it's cover. I could stare at this cover all day and kudos to whoever it was who designed it because they did an absolutely amazing job of capturing the story. Sorry, I could fully spend this whole review just talking about covers.

Onto the actual book! I have to start by saying that the writing, was absolutely beautiful. It's been so long since I've read a book with such stunning prose that the writing itself actually distracted me a bit from the story... You know how the cover is distracting? You just want to sit there and stare at it, right? The writing is like that too. Am I even making sense right now...? And the more I think about it the more I'm unsure what to even rate this book.

To me, the actual plot of the story dragged a bit in the middle (although it definitely got more interesting towards the end) and it was generally a pretty slow read because more time was taken for the flowery descriptions than any actual moving forward of the plot. So if you're looking for something fast paced, maybe look elsewhere. It's been a couple of weeks since I've read this now and I'm actually struggling to remember a lot of what happened, all I remember is the beautiful writing.. okay I'll shut-up about that now 

In amongst the almost lyrical writing, the author touched on some important topics. And also, I loved the diversity and the LGBTQ+ rep in this book.

"Hearts that loved boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits."

Read this for the beautifully distracting writing and the beautifully distracting cover.

Have you ever read a book in which the writing was so beautiful that it was distracting? If you've read Wild Beauty let me know what you thought! I'd love to know.  


For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They've also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he's even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.


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