2017 Goals

Review policyA new year means time for new yearly goals. I have only a few this year, some will be more easily achieved than others I have no doubt, but I am going to try my best. These are, of course, on top of other goals I have pledged to achieve this year like finishing my numerous reading challenges and trying to absorb every new awesome books that will come out this year that I will probably not get to read until next year or the year after. But it’s a starting point.


Read more books from my own shelf

I definitely keep accumulating books faster than I am reading them so I am making an effort to source form my own shelves more frequently. I started last year but this year I am stepping it up another notch.

Finish half finished series

I am partway through so many series, four at least off the top of my head. I am aiming to finish those and stop leaving characters and moments hanging unread.

Read books by authors with the surname starting with E, Q, X, and Z

I realised last year while looking through my review list I hadn’t read anything by authors with those surname letters. I plan to fix that this year and finish my alphabet collection.

Reread Harry Potter

Because why not, really. I didn’t actually get to complete my reread last year, but I am going to go back to book one work my way through happily and uninterrupted.

Finish reading all the requests I didn’t get to last year

Overwhelmed with shame and guilt I am about not having read these yet, but I am going to work through them one by one and get it done! Sorry, every one!

Start using new blog features I’ve developed

They really aren’t anything special but I have a couple of little features I am going to start including with books and reviews. I’ve had the little logos done for months but never gotten around to implementing them yet.

Don’t stress so much about blogging

Sigh. Let’s only hope. I have already embraced the idea that I don’t need to review everything I read, now I need to stop looking at when I last posted and just focusing on posting something. Always better than nothing at all. Never give up, never surrender and all that.

So that’s the plan. I’m looking forward to a great year of blogging and reading, and judging how past years have turned out blog wise, I know how this year will go, but I am going to keep on doing it any way because I love it. As per usual, thank you all for coming on this ride with me, it’s always a blast. May 2017 be marvellous on all fronts and you read something spectacular!

Explanations Not Excuses

It’s that time of year again where there is an obvious neglect of the blog. It isn’t intentional yet every year there is one, and despite all the best intensions there are gaps between posts that grow from a few days to a few weeks. I’m not even game to check how long it’s actually been because then I’ll be sad. But I am not here to offer an excuse, but to explain the reason why.

I may have mentioned casually somewhere or other that I’d gotten a job as a librarian about six months ago (I know Twitter gets a lot of random posts about it), and then towards the end of May I got a second job, also in a library which is awesome. With the start of this second job came a lot of adjustments, it worked differently than what I was used to and sudden call ups were common and days I thought I had off I didn’t. With my first month of adjusting behind me I think I’m getting into the swing of things. Then of course, job number one offers me a chance at running a branch myself. Don’t get too excited, it isn’t a promotion, but instead for three days a week I am in charge of this one person library. Also scary and a huge change, and also time consuming. With 12 hour days I can basically wipe those days from my week as a chance to do anything. The good news is the audiobooks keep me going in the car so I get to still read (as it were), though my available audiobook selection isn’t vast and doesn’t help my review request pile (a neglect I will offer a strong apology for).

Having thought a lot about it, and now settled in a bit after my first week at the new job, I think I can start sorting out the blog again. I have reviews I really want to write, features I want to start, and a giveaway for all my Facebook fans to organise (more on that soon), and since July has snuck up on me (seriously June went SO fast) I’m terrified it’s going to suddenly be October tomorrow and I’d’ve missed another huge chunk.

So thank you if you’ve stuck around, thank you for still interacting with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram when I get to post on them, and I hope you enjoy the posts I have planned.


Happy Easter!

Easter FB

The Easter bunny has snuck into our homes overnight and delivered some chocolate goodies to everyone. I do like that that the Easter bunny, unlike Santa, isn’t judgemental about how good you’ve been this year and whether you deserve any eggs. That’s quite nice. I’ve gotten a nice little haul which was a surprise, which will help sustain my Easter celebrations for a while. I hope your Easter long weekends are going well and will continue to go well. I’m spending my time relaxing with a few books this weekend, I’m reading Time and Time Again by Ben Elton, I’ve also recently started Founding Father by J. Kenneth Metz. I hope you have a great weekend, whatever and however you may be celebrating, and read something spectacular!


New Month, New Season, New Ideas!

NewsIt’s 1 March, autumn has arrived, and with a new month comes to implementation of all my ideas! I have a few new blog features I am going to try about this year, and I have a few reading challenges I’m participating in that I will be updating you on. I’ve also had a restructure of my review requests and how I manage them. So there’s some of the new plans, all semi-inconsequential in the grand scheme of things but I’m a believer that if I share my plans I have more chance of following through so here we are.

Already with only two months into the year I am again inundated with requests! Thank you all so much for wanting me to review your books, I am properly honoured. I also know how easy it is to become overwhelmed and bogged down with reading requests and become stressed trying to review them and catch up when I fall behind. It’s happened done before and it’s not fun. So as a result, this year I am restricting myself so I can maintain balance. I am going to review a set number of request books a month, leaving enough time for me to read other books and complete other goals like the Australian Women Writers, Book Bingo, or any other book. Nothing else has changed, as usual unless a request is made for a certain date/day for the review to go up it goes in the queue and read in the order I received it. And of course, if I review more than my set number a month that’s great! I just need a limit so I don’t become stressed. Last year was so chaotic with falling behind and promises and the fact I think I read nothing but requested books I don’t want to do that to me or you guys again.

So there’s that. But that’s just one tiny thing I have happening! I’m going to be posting ongoing updates once a month about my Book Bingo process and my AWW challenge (and sticking to this plan). I’m also looking at a new feature called “From the Shelf” where I pick a book from my bookshelves and read it. That way I can also address my unread book collection and share all the awesome books I have.

In fun actual news, I have two big events planned for this year: the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the 90th anniversary of Winnie the Pooh. Like my July block out for His Dark Materials, I will be doing something similar in April and October for these events so look out for those. The Newcastle Writers Festival takes place early April so there will be a lot about that as well.

In the near future, I have a few reviews coming up this week for some amazing books, and I am heading to a book launch this weekend so I’ll be posting a wrap up of that too. The event is for YA author Kaz Delaney’s new book The Reluctant Jillaroo, if you’re in the Newcastle/Hunter area and want to head to Cardiff library this Saturday come and join the festivities. Details on booking here. I’ll also be drawing the winners from my Loved Loot giveaway. I’m pretty sure every entry is going to win so congrats, but I will post about that soon too.

This is a very brief update because I have so much to do I can’t spend all the time talking about it and not actually doing it! I look forward to sharing my new features, and hopefully share with you some amazing books and book content! Don’t forget to like the Facebook page and Twitter for a bunch of other content like articles and fun book things I don’t share on the blog.

Happy 1 March and hopefully you are all reading something spectacular!


2015: A Year in Review

NYEThis has been an enjoyable, busy, and strange year both on the blog and not. Through book club, Book Bingo, review requests, and book events I read so many great books and discovered many great authors. With mere hours left on the 2015 clock, I read my last Book Bingo book which was also my 80th book of the year. Having met both my Goodreads Reading Challenge and my Book Bingo was a great feeling. I look forward to starting new challenges for both of them.

In January this year I celebrated my two-year blogiversary which was amazing. I gave away so many great books to people all over the world which was pretty great, especially when they email me and tell me how much they love the book and what it means to them. I also attended numerous writers festivals and book events where I got to meet some of my favourite authors for the first time (or for the third or fourth time), adding their books to my signed book collection.

A highlight of the year was my month dedicated to the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Northern Lights. Rereading those books and getting to share it with you all was amazing, and it allowed me to immerse myself in everything about that series I adore. I participated in NaNo again, which resulted in a few quiet weeks on the blog. Though writing every day and focusing on making a word count makes November fly by and the holiday season hit pretty hard, hence the prolonged scarcity of posts and reviews.

I did learn a few things this year though. This is my third year writing this blog and each one has been different from the other. I’ve had overseas holidays, university, family commitments, and varying levels of busy that take up my time. I am (slowly) learning how to pace myself and what reviews I take in, I am learning that perhaps November and December should be intentionally quieter months to prevent guilt over an unattended blog. I am also learning that as much as I think I can take in dozens of reviews at a time, I just can’t. So next year I am prepared for a tighter system and more structure, more so than what I attempted to do this year at any rate.

Despite how neglected and behind I became towards the end of the year, the more I think about this year the more I realise how fun it was. In some ways the year seems so much longer than it was too. Books I read in June or May feel like a lifetime ago, and events early in the year feel so distant. Quite a surreal experience but good in a way, it makes you realise how much you have actually achieved this year, especially when it doesn’t feel like much.

One of the big changes late in the year was that I got myself a job; in a field I wanted and trained for no less. At the beginning of December I got a job as a librarian which was fantastic. Working in a library has been a dream of mine, so to actually be able to work with books and interact with people who read books is pretty exciting. It is scary and intimidating at times but having visited libraries my whole life it also feels familiar. So that is going to really kick off more next year so I’ll see where it takes me!

Thankfully this end of year wrap up hasn’t become too reflective. It is different than the last two years and that is ok. Rereading those I realise how different I am now, how different the blog is and sometimes you don’t need to be overly reflective. It was a fun year, exciting things happened and I achieved a few new things. I really enjoyed doing my first Book Bingo, it widened my reading and made me read things I may not have picked up. I look forward to doing another next year. Even outside Bingo my reading took a new direction; I took chances on books and read uncomfortable things, I also reacquainted myself with book I’ve loved.

As I enter my fourth year (oh my gosh!) it will be interesting to see what comes up and what 2016 has in store. April marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death so prepare yourself for a lot of Shakespeare. As anyone who has been on Facebook or Twitter when it is Shakespeare Week knows I have a thing for Shakespeare. No doubt I will be attending the NWF and SWF again, hopefully being introduced to a myriad of new authors once more. Other than that I welcome whatever the New Year brings and with my insights, experience, and lessons learnt hope to give you a blog that is better than what it was the previous year.

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