Wrap Up | April 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my April Wrap Up! April saw the dawning of the first bit of the Magical Readathon for 2019: the OWLs Readathon. Because of the readathon I got a lot of books read and I’m actually really proud of everything I managed to read this past month because I enjoyed pretty much all of it. Taking part in this readathon is always fun because G, the host, is SO extra and puts so much extra little bits and pieces into the readathon to make it feel truly magical and bring all the participants together as a community. Speaking of readathons, I also found out late in the game about the Avengers Readathon so obviously I’m taking part in that too, in a more low-key way.

Speaking of the Avengers, April was also important for one very good reason – Avengers Endgame, the culmination of over 10 years of the MCU. To be honest, I’m still processing what happened in the film and I’ll probably need to rewatch it a good few times before I can decide what I thought about everything. I wish I could write a blog post about it but, to be honest, it’s hard to sum up that many years of films and emotions even slightly concisely. It sounds like an exaggeration but when I thought about it, the MCU films have been basically the main/only films I’ve seen in the cinema for the past 8 or so years so, you know, it’s been an important part of my consumption of culture and entertainment and that’s a lot to take in.

May brings the very first readalong I’ve ever hosted: we’re reading Les Misérables in a month (hopefully anyway) so be sure to check out #MiserablesMay and join in if you’re interested! But before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s take a look at my reading in April:


In April, I read a total of 13 books 13 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 4320 pages in total.

In terms of format: 4 were hardbackwas a paperbackwere ebooks, and was an eARC.

As for genre, was fantasy, 4 were YA fantasywere contemporary/romancewere graphic novels1 was drama, and was historical fiction.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | March 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my March Wrap Up!

Two important and entirely unrelated events happened in March – Captain Marvel was released and I went to hear V.E. Schwab speak at Waterstones in Liverpool. Both of these things were awesome and experiences that I wish I could repeat. On the one hand, Captain Marvel was amazing – from its nineties-heavy soundtrack to Brie Larson kicking ass and doing it FOR HERSELF (not to prove anything to anyone, let alone a dude), I loved everything about it. And, on the other hand, hearing V speak about her writing process was great – she’s always so inspiring and this talk/signing was no exception. I made sure to get my unsigned books of hers signed too and let her pick her favourite of the Illumicrate ADSOM character tarot cards to sign – she picked Holland, for those who are curious!

Moving onto other bookish things, how did March’s reading go? Well, it was an odd sort of reading month as I felt like I was in something of a slump even though I know that, deep down, I was doing pretty well, I just happened to be reading reasonably long fantasy books. Considering the ratings I ended up giving these books I read, it’s clear to see that I was reading some really brilliant books too so I couldn’t be too disheartened by how long it seemed to take me to finish a couple of them. I was also very aware that the Magical Readathon and Camp NaNoWriMo were both on the horizon in April so I didn’t want to tire myself out with reading and writing too much in March.

But before looking to the future, let’s look at March in more detail, shall we?


In March, I read a total of 4 books 4 fiction and non-fiction – and was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 2267 pages in total.

In terms of format: 2 were hardbackwas a paperback, and was an ebook.

As for genre, were fantasy and was a historical fantasy.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | February 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my February Wrap Up. February has been a bit of an odd month. It felt like the month where not much happened, all in all. January is always a bit of a struggle with the winter blues and post-Christmas come down, but February is meant to feel a little bit more hopeful and cheerful. I’m still torn on how I actually felt about the month, looking back on it now, but it was the month where I tried to get my arse back in gear with a bunch of lifestyles and admin stuff, mainly: culling my room (finally clearing some clothes and books), properly cataloguing my books (FINALLY), getting back into a semi-regular schedule of gym-class attending, and feeling more motivation to get better at my blogging and social media game. The highlights of the month were a visit from the girls from university (we mostly just low-key hung out and also went to see Rhod Gilbert’s comedy gig which was very good) and the new/recent releases I got to coo over, namely King of Scars, The Kingdom of Copper, and The Priory of the Orange Tree.

In terms of my reading, after last month’s participation in many a readathon (ok, three, but that’s a lot for one month!), February was a month which was relatively low-key. I didn’t participate in any readathons or readalongs and instead I just read what I wanted to and that, unsurprisingly enough, consisted of fantasy. I didn’t read nearly as many books as I did in January but that’s more than ok because I’m still slowing chipping away at the prompts for the Around the Year in 52 Books reading challenge, and well on my way to completing my 52 books read in 2019 Goodreads goal.


In February, I read a total of 4 books 4 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 1734 pages in total.

In terms of format: 3 were hardback and was an audiobook.

As for genre, were YA fantasy and was a fantasy.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | January 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my January Wrap Up. January is, quite rightly, often portrayed as either THE BEST or THE WORST – there’s nothing inbetween. Some people see January as that arbitrary annual start of the ‘new you’. There are entire industries that depend on (and feed into) this constructed narrative and, hell, I fall for it every year when I make yearly goals and resolutions. Even so, it’s easy to feel slumpy, cold, isolated, sad, or all of the above, during January. It feels like the longest month for many of us paid monthly (when did the 28th feel so far away???) and, for students, it often feels like you’re just slumping around the house for term to start again (I remember the feeling well).

Personally, I don’t know quite where I stand on January as a whole. A few baltic cold days have meant that getting to work has been a headache, being in work has been bearable only because I have a hot water bottle clutched to my body 80% of the time, and time after work has mostly been spent getting warm again and snuggling up without wanting to go outside for any reason. My one thing I intended to do this month (see the Kaiser Chiefs play) ended up being cancelled due to illness so I’ve mostly just worked, ate (way too much), ignored the gym calling out to me desperately, and (luckily enough for this post) read a bunch of things.

Although I felt like I was reading quite slowly throughout the month, I somehow managed to read quite a few things. I cannot deny that some of those things were comic book issues and graphic novels/bindups but, hey, they still count. I took part in three readathons (with varying degrees of participation and/or success), Bout of Books, Winter Biannual Bibliothon, and 24in48. I’m also very pleased that I managed to tick off quite a few challenges towards my Around the Year in 52 Books reading challenge, as well as making a serious dent in my usual annual Goodreads goal of reading 52 books. I’m hoping that such a productive and positive start to my reading year will mean that once this momentum inevitably runs out, I have a little room to slow it down if need be and/or take the time to read some longer books if I wish. (I’m looking at you Les Misérables and War and Peace.)

But I’m getting somewhat ahead of myself, let’s re-focus and have a look back over how the bookish stats for my January look…


In January, I read a total of 12 books 12 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 3323 pages in total.

In terms of format: 7 were paperback, were ebooks, 1 was an eARC, and was an audiobook.

As for genre, were YA fantasy, 2 were contemporary/romance, was children’s fantasywere fantasy graphic novels, 2 were fantasy/horror comic books, and was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | December 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my December Wrap Up. After a reasonably slow reading month in November, largely due to concentrating my efforts on NaNoWriMo instead, I was back with a vengeance in December and determined to finish the year on a high. I’ve long since surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of reading 52 books in the year but I still had a fair few prompts from Around the Year in 52 Books to address and, as you might have seen in my December TBR, I became determined not to end the year without having at least tried to catch up at the eleventh hour and finish the challenge. So how did I do? Let’s see that, and which books I read in December…


In December, I read a total of 11 books 9 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 3144 pages in total.

In terms of format: 2 were paperbackwere hardback, and were audiobooks.

As for genre, were fantasy, 3 were classics, 2 were non-fiction/memoir1 was a contemporarywas YA historical fiction, and was gothic.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | November 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my November Wrap Up. As mentioned in my previous wrap up, I was writing the post from Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort, and the holiday did affect my reading pace quite dramatically. Then, November rolled around, and I was trying to focus all my efforts on NaNoWriMo. It turns out working full time, trying to write 50,000 words in a month, blog at least sometimes, and also read is a bit of a difficulty to juggle. I’ve never felt that more so than during NaNo this month. Even so, I still think I didn’t do too bad of a job in maintaining a steady reading pace (although said pace was quite slow) throughout the month and I’m glad I managed to read a few things- all of which I really enjoyed! Let’s have a look…


In November, I read a total of 4 books 4 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (go me!). This amounted to 1544 pages in total.

In terms of format: 4 were paperback.

As for genre, 2 were contemporary, 1 was a historical fantasy, and 1 was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

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V.E. Schwab’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College

Last week, I was fortunate enough to have friends who would indulge my blatant fangirling over one of my favourite authors enough to plan an entire trip to Oxford to indulge this whim. What am I talking about, you ask? Why, V.E. Schwab’s Tolkien Lecture given at Pembroke College, Oxford. Of course. An annual lecture, Pembroke College’s J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture series is organised by students of the college and based on the topic of speculative fiction (often, fantasy and sci-fi), it invites an influential person within the field to speak on the topic. Previous speakers have included Lev Grossman and Susan Cooper and, this year, it added V.E. Schwab to its growing ranks.

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Feature | The Bookish Savings Jar

Whilst taking part in my very first #SundayYA Twitter chat, I stumbled across a brilliant idea via Charlie (@charlieinabook), originally courtesy of Aoife (@prettyPPD) and Steph (@eenalol) , whereby you put £1 in a jar for every book read. ‘My oh my,’ I thought, ‘even if I only just about reached my Goodreads goal, that would be fifty-two whole English pounds extra to spend!’ You can imagine my delight; I love saving money and forgetting about it so you end up with a nice little pot of surprise at the end of the year.

Of course, this being me, I’m never be satisfied with not being a little bit of a masochist too so I decided to make it harder for myself. Thus the Bookish Savings Jar was born. Capitalised letters mean business. Do you see the jar? Does it look scary? Maybe I should decorate it accordingly…

bsj

This seemingly innocuous little jar is going to be my windfall come the end of the year (/when I go to Disney World because, let’s be real, I’ll probably use this money anyway to pay off the bills I will rack up when I’m there). The reason for this? Observe the 3 simple rules of the Bookish Savings Jar:

  • For every book read, £1 must be surrendered to the jar.
  • For every book that is reread, an additional £1 supplement must be surrendered to the jar.
  • For every book purchased, £1 must be surrendered to the jar.*

* Exceptions: eARCs and audiobooks do not incur charge, since they’re not adding to my physical TBR. (May revise this ruling if my audiobook buying goes off the charts!)

Reading these rules, you may well think I was trying to read less this year, since it seems as though I’m basically punishing/fining myself for reading. I did worry if that would be the case, whether I’d purposely not read as many books or else not read shorter books or graphic novels and instead opt for long tomes like War and Peace and A Dance with Dragons because then I could put off the inevitable £1 surrendering until a much later date. However, based on January’s progress thus far, I can safely say I needn’t have worried about that being the case at all. As of 19th January, this is how the humble jar looks:

Purchased: Artemis Fowl series (8 books)  = £8
Purchased: Down and Out in Paris and London = £1
Purchased: Fragile Things = £1
Purchased: Saga, Volume 8 = £1
Read: The Wicked Cometh = £1
Re-read: Princess Diaries, Take Two = £2
Read: The Winner’s Crime = £1
Read: The Fandom = £1
Read: Sourdough = £1

Already, I stand at a healthy £17 for and we’re only 19 days into the year. Imagine if I kept up this pace and averaged £20 a month – that would be £240 for the year which is definitely nothing to be sniffed at. I already save a portion of my monthly paycheck (I set it up so that it leaves my current account and pings into my savings account on pay day, before I’ve even had a chance to check my balance) but this will make a nice little bonus pot of money that I fully intend to spend on fun treats. A little reward at the end of the year. A fund with which to ‘treat ma self’, you might say… Let’s see how it fares over the coming months, shall we?

Do you have any savings tactics related to reading? Or maybe you have a plan to help you limit your book buying this year? Let me know in a comment, I’m curious!

Also, would you guys be interested in hearing how the savings jar is going periodically, each month maybe, in my wrap up posts? Let me know!


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End of Year Book Survey 2017

Hi everyone! It’s my favourite time of year in the book blogging community- when everyone is reviewing their year, settling on their top books and celebrating how well they did with their reading year. I love doing my two-part wrap up of the year in reading but I can’t finish my posts until I return to Liverpool in the New Year and am reunited with my laptop and it’s image-editing capabilities. So, in the meantime, I’ve decided to participate in the very exciting End of the Year Book Survey! This is organised every year by the lovely Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner so be sure to check out her original post with the survey and join in yourself if you fancy it!

Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: 35
Genre You Read The Most From: fantasy, young-adult

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

I have an entire top books of 2017 post pending any day now (once I stop being indecisive and settle on them already)… is that the way of getting out of answering this question? Maaaaaybe… but watch this space.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Probably Milk and Honey by rupi kaur. It’s not to say that I didn’t like this poetry collection, I did in fact, but I expected to LOVE it and I didn’t quite do that which is a shame.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

In a bad way, The End We Start From by Megan Hunter. So many reviews said this was beautifully written and I was optimistic that the contents would match the absolutely stunning cover but, alas, I just did not get it, I still don’t, and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m still surprised it has such rave reviews to be honest and I surprised myself somewhat too since with this book I’m unable to understand that whilst it might not be to my taste it might be to others. I just don’t get how it could be?? Clearly I’m the one who’s wrong here though, and that’s fine by me.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’ve pushed my housemate and friend Liz to read quite a few books this year but I think my biggest success has definitely been getting her to read Wishing for Birds, a poetry collection by Elisabeth Hewer, because she’s really not one for poetry, especially not free verse poetry, and she enjoyed it and then also gifted it to her TBTB Santa!

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Discussion | Marking Up Your Books

Today’s discussion post was brought to you by this tweet which I saw whilst scrolling aimlessly through Twitter. Yes, this is a discussion all about marking your books, specifically by dog-earring the pages. Please do not shrink away in fear or brandish the sign of the cross at me, I assure you I am not evil. The vehemence with which some people on Twitter were categorising readers who does this as HEATHENS really got my back up… until I remembered, I used to be one of those people. However, nowadays, oh boy… *deep breath* my name is Emma and I dog ear the pages of my books. No, please don’t back away, please I’m not a terrible person, I swear!

Don’t get me wrong, I used to be just like those people on that tweet who are jokingly (or not so jokingly) calling people who mark their books as EVIL. I used to think that anyone who would dare to despoil a book in such a cruel and callous way deserved the fieriest of deaths. Alongside those who purposely crack the spine of paperbacks and take some joy in the sound of the binding crying out in pain. And those people at the back? Those readers who not only annotate in the margins in pencil but in pen too – evuuuuul!

Yes, I am being dramatic. And I am being dramatic in order to present my change in thinking.

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