March Wrap Up

It’s been a couple of months since my last wrap up post and, predictably, all my good blogging resolutions have gone out the window.

Truth is, at the moment I just don’t have the time or inclination to blog. When I do have some spare time, I really don’t want to be back at my laptop. It’s sad that I don’t feel the same way I used to about it, but that’s how things go, I guess.

I’ve recently been promoted and am going back to working full time. Between that and my own writing and looking after Little Moore (who is becoming quite a handful!) I am struggling to find time to read, let alone blog.

With that said, I’m not going to promise to do better next month. I’ll put out a few reviews for books I’ve been sent, but I’m not going to promise to post regularly. Sorry!

For now, I’ll do a double wrap up post for February and March, just so I can share all the wonderful books I’ve read.

What I Read 

I’ve lowered my Goodreads challenge from 100 books to 80, just to be a bit more realistic. I might get rid of it completely – I feel it’s been pressuring me to read as fast as I can and that’s stopping me enjoying what I’m reading.

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Secrets of a Teenage Heiress by Katy Birchall

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

Just So Happens by Fumio Obata

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

She, Myself and I by Emma Young

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Savage Island by Bryony Pearce

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

As Old As Time by Liz Braswell

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Clean by Juno Dawson

 

Book Post

Again, this is a bit of a catch up from the last few months, but I’ve had some really fab book post in the last couple of months.

She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton

Thanks Nina Douglas PR!

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Thanks Sophie!

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Thanks Egmont!

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Thanks Electric Monkey!

And I’ve also had some wonderful books via NetGalley:

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

Thanks Harper Collins Children’s Books!

We Are Young by Cat Clarke

Thanks Hachette Children’s Books!

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Thanks Macmillan Children’s Books!

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

Thanks Quercus Books!

What I Wrote:

Over the last two months, I have finished my WIP (finally!) I’ve also written a short story for a competition (fingers crossed but not holding my breath) and also started throwing a few ideas around for a new novel.

What I Did

As I mentioned above, I have a new job, which I’m really pleased about. There’s been a lot of changes going on at work and I’m excited for some new challenges ahead (even if it means doing a full working week again!) The bonus side of this is that Nathan is reducing his hours so now we’ll have some time off together, which will be great.

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore is now two and is a right bossy so-and-so! He loves telling me what to do. He had a great time at the Sea Life Centre for his birthday and got far too many toys (mostly cars, he’s obsessed with them!) We also enjoyed an Easter egg hunt with his cousin and the boys loved searching for painted eggs (and some chocolate ones too!)

January Wrap Up

It’s a new year and I’m blogging with a new energy! Well, kind of. I’ve done more than I did in December, at least, and I’m trying to schedule a couple of posts a week. It’s getting there!

What I Read

I’ve read 7 books this year, which is pretty good, but still puts me behind on my Goodreads challenge. Confident I’ll catch up though! I’ve been alternating between review books and Christmas/my own books which is something I want to stick to more this year.

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

The End of Summer by Tillie Walden

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Book Post

As I didn’t do the usual wrap up post in December I have a lot of book post thanks to catch up on so please excuse the long list! I’ve had some amazing post and have really enjoyed the ones I’ve read and am looking forward to the ones on the TBR!

Purple Hearts by Micheal Grant

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

Thanks Electric Monkey!

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

Thanks Scholastic!

Secrets of a Teenage Heiress by Katy Birchall

Thanks Egmont!

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Thanks HQ Young Adult!

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Thanks Gollancz!

And I’ve also had some fab requests accepted on NetGalley:

Clean by Juno Dawson

Thanks Hachette Children’s Books!

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

Thanks Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books Group!

Savage Island by Bryony Pearce

Thanks Stripes Publishing!

What I Wrote:

I started getting up early to write during NaNo and I’m happy that I’ve kept with the habit so far this year. I’ve nearly finished my first draft of my WIP and I’m enjoying getting to the end of it now!

What I watched:

TV

We’ve been watching Brooklyn 99 as there’s a new season on Netflix. I thought it was a little rocky at the start but it feels like it’s getting back into the swing of things now. I’m so in love with all the characters.

Films

Nathan got some great films for Christmas  and we watched most of them over the holiday period. The Ouija prequel was really good (way better than the first film!) and Conjuring 2 was pretty creepy too. We also took a break from the horror and watched Doctor Strange – great origins film – and the Lego Batman movie, which is way better than a film based on toys should be!

What I Did

For our anniversary this month we went out to Chung Ying in Birmingham and had the most incredible meal – they have the most amazing vegetarian food and I’d really recommend it. We’re aiming to go out at least once a month this year and have a little baby-free time!

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore is getting so chatty and I love to hear him burbling all day long. He tells little stories and tells me what to do all day (‘Mama sleep’ ‘Mama chair now’) He’s such a happy chatty boy and I can’t believe he’s going to be two next month!

Best Books of 2017

January

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The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

I started off reading a lot this year and January was an incredible month for books. The Call stood out above the others though as a book I couldn’t put down. It creeped me out but had me hungry for more and I’ve been recommending it all year.

Honourable Mentions: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff and The Yellow Room by Jess Valance

February

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Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy

This was a really raw and powerful book which I, appropriately, read during Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It was difficult to read at times, but in a good way, and the writing and characters were excellent.

Honourable Mentions: Silver Stars by Michael Grant

March

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Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff

This prequel just blew me away. While I loved Maresi, this one sucked me completely into the world and characters and they felt so real to me: their pain was my pain. It’s not the nicest of stories but it’s powerful and there’s hope there too.

Honourable Mentions: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

April 

Waiting for Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill

This was a fun read and I think I really connected with it from my drama days. I can’t wait to read both the sequels next year.

Honouable Mentions: Girlhood by Cat Clarke

May

The Fallen Children by David Owen

I loved this take on The Cuckoos of Midwich -this is one of those books I wish I’d written and I’ve been recommending it to everyone.

Honourable Mentions: Release by Patrick Ness

June

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

This was one of the most hyped books of this year, and with good reason. It was the cutest little romance and I couldn’t help but love Dimple and Rishi.

liHonourable Mentions: Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfiled

July

 

And I Darken by Kiersten White

I completely fell in love with this retelling of Vlad the Impaler as a woman. Lada is now one of my favourite anti-heroes and I can’t wait to see how her story ends.

Honourable Mentions: Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson

August

Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Frozen Charlotte is one of my favourite horrors and I was super excited to read this prequel. It was creepy and atmospheric and didn’t disappoint at all.

Honourable Mentions: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

September

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

I raced through this book and loved every second of it. Space, loneliest, distant love – what’s not to like? It’s made me crave more sci-fi YA, especially ones set in space.

Honourable Mentions: No Shame by Anne Cassidy

October 

Monster by Michael Grant

Despite hacing not read the Gone series, I really loved this continuation of that world. Grnat’s writing can be brutal and I love that – will be checking out the Gone series next year for sure!

Honourable Mentions: Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick

November

Wild Fire  by Anna McKerrow

This was the thrilling end to an amazingly different series. I love the world that it’s set in and loved learning about the different goddesses – and seeing Melz get a happy ending!

Honourable Mentions: Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell

December

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge’s writing makes me marvel and despair: I love reading her books but it makes me feel useless in comparison. She’s just magical with words and I loved this book

Honourable Mentions:  Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

I’ve read some amazing things this year, and am looking forward to doing the same in 2018. I feel like blogging has taken a backseat towards the end of this year as I’ve been focussing on family and writing. While this will probably carry on into next year, I will be making an effort to have at least one post per week.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2018 is wonderful for you all!

November Wrap Up

It’s been a quiet reading and blogging month as I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo… and I completed it! It’s the second time I’ve done it and it’s really motivated me to keep writing. I planned it a lot better this year and think my manuscript really benefited from it.

What I Read

Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman

Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell

Wild Fire by Anna McKerrow

Book Post

I’ve had some really exciting book post this month and need to get back into reading so I can get through them all!

Final 7 by Kerry Drewery

(Thanks Hot Key books!)

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland

(Thanks Walker Books!)

What I Wrote:

As I said, I’m now an official NaNoWriMo winner. I think I owe the success in part to M. G. Leonard: I started listening to her podcasts on writing and was inspired to get up early to write instead of trying to do it after work when I’m exhausted. So I got up at 5:30 most days in November and it’s done wonders for my writing routine! I’d really recommend checking them out.

What I watched:

TV

This month we’ve  watched the latest series of American Horror Story, and it was a struggle. I really wanted to like the series but it just didn’t do anything for me. We’ve moved on to Electric Dreams now and that’s really interesting.

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore has had two trips to the transport museum this month and has really loved it. He just wanders around pointing and saying ‘Car! Wow! Brummm!’ So cute!

October Wrap Up

I feel like I’ve managed to read a lot more this month, and I think that’s because I’m blogging less. I’m not worried about writing reviews for books, just trying to enjoy them. I’m trying to get through all the books I got last Christmas which are shamefully still sitting on my TBR (ready for a new bunch in a couple of months!)

What I Read

Another Beginning by Lauren James

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (Audio Books) by Suzanne Collins

Monster by Michael Grant

The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich

Electric Dreams by Philip K Dick

Book Post

After being really good last month and not requesting any books, I went on a little spree this month. I just couldn’t resist!

Purple Hearts by Michael Grant

(Thanks Electric Monkey)

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard

I Am Thunder by Muhammas Khan

Renegades by Merissa Meyer

(Thanks Macmillan Children’s Books!)

Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

(Thanks Puffin!)

Minority Report by Philip K. Dick

(Thanks Gollancz!)

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Luedecke

(Competition win – thanks Lisa Luedecke!)

A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen

(Comeptition win – thanks Walker Books!)

I also had my beautiful, limited edition of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage arrive. I can’t bring myself to start it yet, it feels it needs a special occasion/hours to sit down and binge read!

What I Wrote:

I slacked off a bit on the writing front at the beginning of the month and slowly brought myself back into it by deciding to do NaNoWriMo again this year. So I’ve planned in detail and am hoping to get the bulk of the novel written in November (fingers crossed) So if it’s a bit quiet on here in November then that’s why!

What I watched:

TV

This month has been all about Louis Theroux. We started off watching his new series on the BBC, and then binged some of his older ones on Netflix and Prime. I could watch him go just about anywhere, I love all his shows.

Films/What I Did

This month we watched The Autopsy of Jane Doe which was super creepy and fun – I’d definitely recommend it. We also got my sister to babysit and had our first date night in months. We went to see It and loved it – that perfect mix of creepiness and gore and laughs. I need to rewatch the original now, as I only have vague memories of being terrified of that when I was a tween!

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore is growing far too fast! He’s really into speaking at the moment and his vocabulary is growing by the day. He loves to say ‘car’ still, and now has a wide range of animal noises he can do, from camel to elephant to giraffe! He’s teething at the moment, which seems to be a never-ending trauma – I can’t wait for him to finally have his full set of teeth!

September Wrap Up

This has been a bit of an odd month. Once again, the amount I’ve read has really dropped off, though the books have been brilliant, and I’ve barely been blogging. I think I’m getting out of this funk now so we’ll see what October brings!

What I Read

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

The Huntress: Sky by Sarah Driver

We See Everything by William Sutcliffe

No Shame by Anne Cassidy

Book Post

Because I’ve been so behind on reading and blogging I’ve not requested any Netgalley books this month – very restrained for me! I did have 3 gorgeous pieces of book post though:

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

(Thanks Walker Books!)

Monster by Michael Grant

(Thanks Electric Monkey)

Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick

(Thanks Gollancz!)

What I Wrote:

I’ve written about a chapter and a half of the latest pass at my novel, which is basically a complete rewrite. I’m really into it but progress has been slow due to busyness/stress/illness. I’m making myself commit to just 10 minutes of writing a night – and then any more is an added bonus for now!

What I watched:

TV

The Defenders was as amazing as I imagined. I’m so in love with Luke Cage and Daredevil – such amazing characters and actors! We also watched A Series of Unfortunate Events which I had mixed feelings about. The style and actors were all amazing but I found it a bit repetitive, like the books really.

Films/What I Did

We didn’t watch any films at home this month, but I did take a trip to London to see The Room – if you don’t know it, it’s widely known as the best bad film ever and is absolutely hilarious. I took my best friend as a birthday present and we met Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero too, which was awesome.

 

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore is about to change rooms at nursery now and loved his settling in session – apparently he cried when he had to go back to his old room! He also had an allergic reaction this month and looks like he won’t be able to eat lentils for the foreseeable future – very sad for us as lentils are a staple in this house!

July Wrap Up

Once again, it’s been a slow month, but I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read, especially the two from The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White. This month also marks my first audio book, which is pretty cool.

What I Read

Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson

S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

A Change is Gonna Come by various authors

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

 

Book Post

Absolutely no book post this month, which hasn’t happened in a while but has given me some much needed catch up time! And I’ve still had some awesome books from NetGalley:

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

(Thanks Bloomsbury Children’s Books!)

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow

The Princess and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

(Thanks First Second Books!)

Sky by Sarah Driver

(Thanks Egmont!)

Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence

(Thanks Hodder Children’s Books!)

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

(Thanks Macmillan Children’s Books!)

What I Wrote:

Still chipping away at the editing. I’m trying to focus on the story structure and have made a timeline that zigzags across my study, and I think that’s really helping to visualise the story.

What I watched:

TV

Pretty Little Liars finally ended, and after watching the finale I’ve gone right back to the start to see it all again. There’s so much stuff from the earlier seasons that I don’t even remember!

Films

I can’t think of anything significant we’ve watched this month, other than a god awful horror on Amazon called Slaser.com It’s badly shot and badly acted, with a terrible, nonsensical story. Good for a laugh if you like those ‘so bad it’s good’ horror films though!

What I Did

My best friend and I did a breakout room at ClueHQ in Coventry and were their fastest two person breakout. Yes, I’m bragging, but we thought it was pretty cool! Still going with the driving lessons and starting to get nervous for my test. Hoping that by this time next month I’ll be able to drive!

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore is finally getting more confident with his walking. He’s taking more steps between us now, and will happily potter about a little on his own between toys and furniture. He’s also got a Cozy Coupe – you know, those big red and yellow cars everyone had as kids – and is obsessed with getting in and out of it.

June Wrap Up

I’ve had a bit of a slower reading month than usual this month, but I’ve read some amazing books and am getting back into the swing of things again now.

What I Read

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Day 7 by Kerry Drewery

The Hundred Names of Darkness by Nilanajana Roy

Lumberjanes Volume 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Book Post

I’ve realised I’ve not been including my NetGalley books on this list so I’m adding all my NetGalley TBR onto this month’s new books.

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

(Thanks Gollancz!)

And on NetGalley…

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

(Thanks Hodder and Stoughton!)

A Change is Gonna Come by Various

(Thanks Stripes!)

We See Everything by William Sutcliffe

(Thanks Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

What I Wrote:

Ugh I’m stuck in editing hell at the moment. It feels like there’s a billion things to do and I don’t even know where to start. Any tips appreciated!

What I watched:

TV

I finished watching AMS: Roanoke and I think it’s actually been my favourite season so far. Super creepy and gory and I loved it. They still don’t know how to end things though: I feel let down by each final episode, though this season wasn’t as bad as previous ones.

Films

We watched Beyond the Gates, a film that’s been on our radar for a while and I finally bought it for Nathan for Father’s Day. It’s got a great retro board game horror thing going on, a bit like an adult Jumanji (though not as scary in my opinion!) It was good but I think we were expecting more from it.

What I Did

I finally did my theory test – and passed it! I’ve been revising like mad each evening for the last month or so and it paid off in the end. There were a few questions I had to guess but it all worked out in the end. Plus I aced the hazard perception (69 out of 75!) so I’m clearly very perceptive 🙂 Now I just need to practice and get the practical test done. Watch this space!

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore still isn’t walking, though we think he’s getting close. He’s more stable on his feet now and will walk holding just one of our hands. Think he just needs the confidence to do it now. He’s been enjoying the hot weather in the daytime, playing in the garden and paddling pool with his cousin, but not so much at night. 30 degrees is way too hot to sleep in!

May Wrap Up

I’ve stuck to my word this month and been alternating between my books and review books. I like reading a mix of new and older books and it’s nice to see each pile finally going down!

What I Read

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy

The Sign of One by Eugene Lambert

This Careless Life by Rachel McIntyre

Release by Patrick Ness

The Fallen Children by David Owen

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy

The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

Book Post

I’ve realised I’ve not been including my NetGalley books on this list so I’m adding all my NetGalley TBR onto this month’s new books.

Release by Patrick Ness

(Thanks Walker YA!)

This Careless Life by Rachel McIntyre

Monster by Michael Grant

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

(Thanks Electric Monkey!)

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

(Thanks Rock the Boat!)

And on NetGalley…

STAGS by M. A Bennett

(Thanks Hot Key Books!)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

(Thanks Hodder and Stoughton!)

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

(Thanks Penguin Random House!)

What I Wrote:

I’m still reading through my first draft and making scene notes. While the beginning was better than I remembered, the end is just as terrible as I thought and the amount of work needed there makes me dizzy! Slowly starting to chip through it though and I’m looking forward to making some big changes.

What I watched:

TV

Tragedy struck our Green Wing rewatch when I found one of the discs missing 😮 I was so gutted we stopped and went on to Kimmy Schmidt instead, in preparation for the new series (which is excellent). We’ve also started watching The Office (US) boxset, which I got for my birthday and is one of my favourite series. I’ve also finally started watching American Horror Story: Roanoke. It’s been on my to-watch pile for ages and it’s pretty creepy so far.

Films

I don’t think I watched a single film this month, which is not like me! Planning a horror film sleepover with my sisters for June though so should be watching some interesting things soon.

What I Did

This month I’ve finally plucked up the courage to start driving lessons again. It’s been a while and I’m pretty rusty, but it’s not as horrendous as I feared and I’m hoping to take my test this year. My little sister turned 17 this month and has also started lessons and I’m determined to pass before her!

What Little Moore Did

Little Moore now has six teeth and is still toddling around using his walker/various parts of the furniture. He’s not confident enough to walk on his own yet, and while I can’t wait to see him do it, I’m trying to enjoy the time we have left of him only being able to crawl! He also got his first bike this month and he loves going for a walk around the block before dinner in these warm summer evenings.