Looking back at resolutions from 2019- success or failure?

resolutions 2019

Well here we are at the end of another year. I kind of feel like I’ve sleepwalked towards 2020, cos OOF this last month has been a toughie- sorry I’ve not been as active on here as I’d have liked! Hope to rectify that in the New Year! And speaking of changes… it’s time to reflect on my resolutions. I won’t say this has been the easiest or most exciting year for me, but it’s been better in a lot of ways than many of the years that have gone before and there’s a few things I’m really happy about – SO I’LL TAKE IT! Let’s see how I did with my resolutions…

Bookish:

number 1

10 More Books from My Challenging list

I did pretty well with this, reading 7/10, even though I just wasn’t feeling some of the tougher books on this list this year.

number 2

10 Non-Fiction Reads

15/10 – Knocked this one out of the park! Here’s some of the highlights…

number 3

5 Rereads

5/5 – There were a lot of books I hoped to reread for fun and that didn’t happen- but I still managed to complete this goal.

number 4

5 Poetry Collections

4/5 – nearly made it! Well, that’s if you’re not considering how most of these aren’t poetry collections, but I reckon it counts cos they were all in verse. Plus, I did read a lot of individual poems this year.

Non Bookish:

number 5

Compile notebooks

Soo my last goal was to type up the wolfy notebook… of course I’ve filled up another one since then… Okay I’m always managing to fill up notebooks. This is a never-ending task lol. 5/5

number 6

Complete another language on Duolingo

5/5 midway through the year

(as I mentioned in my mid year’s resolutions I pressed pause on any language learning midway through the year)

number 7

THE DREADED EDITING

monkey typewriter

I finished everything I wanted to do around August, so 30/30, but I will say my writing habits got *weird* after I finished the BIG PROJECT. I did do a bit of tinkering in October, then tried working on something else (big fail), fell into a killer writing slump, had a bizarre surge with a new(ish) project towards the end of the year… only to fall off the wagon with that too. Regardless, this was definitely a win!

Score: 66/70 94%

A

Definitely better than my C from last year!

And for extra credit…

number 8

Art- start painting again and finish sketchbook

orangutan artist0003

I’ve been working on drawings a lot more this year and I even started an Instagram for it- though I’ve been using various sketchbooks, so it’s not easy to tell if I’ve done this or not. Definitely counting this as a win too.

number 9

Yoga challenge x2

Ah this was a late addition I couldn’t complete in time. I managed to squeeze in one yoga challenge, but not two. This is something I’ll have to work on next year!

And that concludes my wrap up! Pretty happy with how that went! How have you done with your resolutions this year? Let me know in the comments! And a ***Happy New Year*** to you all!

My Reading Stats for 2019 – A Bookish Overview

Hello all! I’m doing another of my annual traditions today and sharing my stats from the year! Let’s get to it!

reading stats 2019

number of books 2019

average rating 2019

genre 2019.png

age category 2019.png

ratings 2019

Now forgive me, this is the part where I get really geeky with statistics…

My ratings are a little down (they were 3.55 in 2017 and 3.66 in 2018), but I think this kind of variation is to be expected. I’m still happy I’m not choosing too many 1-2 banana books. When it comes to the types of books I’ve been picking, it’s somewhat of a mixed bag. One of the most interesting things to note this year were the couple of cross-genre books- some worked (Evelyn Hardcastle) others didn’t (Behind Her Eyes). Other than that, however, my tastes have remained quite consistent. Classics have been static (at 13% for the last three years!); fantasy was about the same as last year (34% again). Most significantly, YA is down from 47% last year to 40% this year (which I’d say is more like my yearly average and last year was a bit of a blip). Of course, given I’ve read considerably more books this year (last year I read 165), I’ve technically read more YA books in total 😉 Still, what I’m most excited about is that I somehow managed to read 15 non-fiction books- when I usually have to challenge myself to manage ten!! And while I don’t have the stats for this (I didn’t have the forethought to take note when I only listened to a couple a year 😉), there have definitely been more audiobooks (18 this year!)

shortest book

winning against the odds

A quick read about funny football stories 😊

longest book

atlas shrugged

An absolute SLOG!

worst book

Two this year, because it seems fitting to show a little balance:

favourite book

sadie

no. dnfs

otherworld

I only DNF’d Otherworld- which is ridiculous- I need to get better at this!

no. rereads

Only 5!

most popular

the alchemist

least popular

winning against the odds

highest rated

march 3

Yeah I can understand that.

lowest rating

furies

So undeserved! My goodness- this book deserves more love!

***New category***

best audiobooks

And, to reflect my new reading habits, I had to include this new category, just so I could recommend these audiobooks…

And that’s a wrap! Do you keep track of your stats? How have your ratings been this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

My Top Ten Books for 2019

top ten 2019.png

As ever, I’m tremendously excited to talk about my favourite books from this year (pretty much bouncing off the walls!!!). And as ever, this is a really mixed list in terms of genre- though all of them are top quality! Of course, not all of these were released in 2019, though there are a few! And of course, I’m not including rereads. All book covers link to reviews as well. Okay, I think I’ve covered all my bases- let’s just jump into it and talk about some *brilliant books*!!!

number 10

skyward

Skyward– here’s a joyous read to kick off the list. Spensa has stolen my heart and become one of my all-time favourite heroines. This was so much fun and drama from beginning to end- really recommend this space opera and can’t wait to continue with the series!

number 9

wolf in the whale

Wolf in the Whale– this deliciously dark and highly unusual captured my imagination. A wintry fantasy, where Vikings meet Inuit culture, has been a bit of a divisive new release this year. And I get why- some of the events were pretty chilling, so obviously it’s not going to be for everyone. Yet, I found this completely absorbing and was impressed that it wasn’t afraid to show the past as it really was.

number 8

wayward son

Wayward Son– this very late addition was another book that brought me joy (though not always joyful). Really though, given how I’ve carried on about Carry On over the years, is it any surprise I had a soft spot for this second Simon Snow story? Guaranteed to satisfy long term fans and make you smile- even through tough times.

number 7

radio silence

Radio Silence– this book just meant so much for me. I know that there a lot of people who say “this book spoke to me”, but guys, this book really felt like it was speaking to me. That’s the magic of a truly relatable story- somehow it connects with so many different people, from all different backgrounds.

number 6

Impossible Times trilogy– aka One Word Kill/Limited Wish/Dispel Illusion– yeah, yeah, I know I’m cheating by counting this as one book, but I do it every year, so are you surprised? 😉 Also, you can whizz through them so fast you may very well feel like it was one book/you have a time machine 😉 To be honest, every book in this series earned its place here. No other book series has entertained me as much as this in 2019! And I was blown away by the cleverness. I know that in the future, I’m gonna look back on this with nothing but happy memories 😊

number 5

winter of the witch

Winter of the Witch– Arden *one hundred percent* managed to stick the landing. The Winternight series has easily become one of my favourite series of all time. A perfect ending to a perfect trilogy. What’s amazing is how good the other books were to beat this out of the top three. Any other year and this easily could’ve taken the number 1 spot, which is just my way of telling you to get excited about the books that are above this on the list 😉

number 4

beowulf

Beowulf– I loved every second of this. I’m so happy I finally picked this up- but even more grateful I read the Seamus Heaney version, thanks to Joelendil, because it truly was a masterclass in translation.

number 3

in order to live

In Order to Live– now we’re getting to books that made me emotional. I don’t have a full review for this one, because I just struggle to find the words, so I’m gonna try my best to describe how poignant, powerful and important this book is. This memoir was a memorable portrayal of life in North Korea. I learnt so much from it and was moved to tears. It’s just one of those *must-read* books, so you must read it if you haven’t already!

number 2

the man in the white sharkskin suit

Man in the White Sharkskin Suit– this is another book which made me cry. It’s the story of the 1950s Jewish Exodus from Egypt, told in a very personal way, where Lagnado really showcases her relationship with her father. Rather sadly, Lagnado passed away this year, after a lifelong struggle with cancer. Her voice survives in this beautiful book.

number 1

sadie

Sadie– ahh this book- I can’t seem to stop recommending it! Beautifully told and immensely powerful, the reason this book is so good is because too often serials/podcasts/true crime focuses on the perpetrators. I think it’s time we gave the victims a voice and no book could have done a better job than this. It also introduced me to the wonders of a well-done audiobook- for which I am immensely grateful. And yes, it made me cry (a lot).

So, have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2018? Let me know in the comments!

Just *Some* of the Incredible Books I Read in 2019…

Before we get to my top ten, I always like to do a little teaser to share some of the other amazing books I read this year. All of these are TOP BANANA- so they deserve some love and attention! Here are just a few of my reading highlights from the year…

Aurora Rising and Cruel Prince were excellent series openers. Soul of the Sword got me excited to read more! Holy Sister and Crowfall were both excellent ways to wrap up a series. Daisy Jones has been playing on my mind ever since I listened to it on audiobook. I got tried Laini Taylor’s delectable Night of Cake and Puppets. Woman in Black was *freaky*. Evelyn Hardcastle was one of the most unique books I’ve ever read! Woke made me laugh out loud! And I fell in love with Cait @Paper Fury’s books this year as well. And, of course, Secret History has been making reminisce ever since I read it.

And that’s all for now! Feel free to get excited about the top ten, because they rock!!

My Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

most disappointing 2019

As you may well see in my next few posts, I have had an *amazing* reading year. Thanks to blogging (and possibly growing up 😉) I’m getting better at picking reads I’ll actually enjoy. That said, there are always a handful of stinkers… though that’s not what this list is about (for the most part 😉). I’d say about half of these aren’t bad books by any stretch of the imagination. Most of these aren’t even the worst books I read this year- cos a couple of those I’ve forgotten by now- these are, as the title suggests, the ones I was most disappointed by. And the biggest change this year is that I only have 9 books for the list– I just didn’t see the reason to squeeze extra books on that didn’t deserve a spot (that’s right, I’m not just being a negative Nancy for the sake of it! 😉 ). These books could’ve been great, yet all ended up as misses for me… and that’s enough of the preamble- let’s just get into it!

number 9

behind her eyes

Behind Her Eyes– this started out so well… and then nosedived in the last few chapters. Here’s the thing, it’s really not fun to read a psychological thriller that flips the switch at the last second and becomes a paranormal thriller. I’ve read a few other genre-bending books this year- and they all worked because there was proper set up for the payoff! It all felt like it was done to say “betcha didn’t see that coming!”- and no, obviously I didn’t see that coming, cos I’m not a psychic.

number 8

gentleman's guide to vice and virtue

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue- this may well be the most unpopular choice for the list- but here’s the thing, this is a list of books I was disappointed by and I was enormously disappointed by this book. I had really high expectations going in because it was so hyped and it’s the kind of thing I really love- but it just fell so flat for me. The main issues for me were that I didn’t fall for the characters and wasn’t convinced with the supposed “18th century” setting. So, not for me, though I do feel there’s enough potential in the idea that I could enjoy the upcoming adaptation.

number 7

immortal reign

Immortal Reign– again, this was by no means the worst book I read this year- BUT I’ve been reading this series a long time and I just wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out. Part of this could be that I fell out of love with it a couple of books back, yet to be honest, not enough was done with the story to elevate that ending. Everything was resolved a little too easily and the emotional payoffs just didn’t land.

number 6

queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness– the more I think about this, the more disappointed with it I am. While I liked parts of it when I was reading, it’s the kind of book I like less and less over time. I think as I wrote the review I realised quite how dissatisfied I was with it (hence the disjunct between my rating and my thoughts). I had an existing fondness for the series… but I feel like all that was thrown away here. As cool as some of the concepts were, a lot of it was recycled from other series and the rest was just set up for another. I can’t get behind a book of this length that merely exists to sell another book. So yeah, I was disappointed with this, to say the least.

number 5

wonder woman

Wonder Woman– I pretty much summed it up in my review: this is a cashgrab. I don’t recommend this for anyone- whether you’re a fan of superheroes or not. It’s not worth your time and not worthy of the author’s talent. Highly recommend you read anything else by Bardugo instead!

number 4

bridget jones's diary

Bridget Jones– this isn’t something I was anticipating or had high hopes for in any way, so I’m breaking my own rules putting this on here, but I just hated the writing style so much that it earned its spot here 😉 It’s full of fragmentation. All the time. Every. Single. Sentence. Ugh.

number 3

conversations with friend

Conversation with Friends– ah one of those massively acclaimed books… that I didn’t get at all. I should’ve guessed from the shite title it’d be wanky and a waste of time- cos that’s exactly what it was. It was so boring that I’m already bored talking about it again… so I won’t bore the rest of you and I’ll move on!

number 2

an inspector calls

Inspector Calls– ooh this came so close to winning the top spot- because there are a lot of reasons Priestley’s pretentious garbage deserves it! It’s badly written, filled with crap characters and moralising to boot! Don’t expect deep philosophy from this though- you’ll get more depth out of a toddler’s toys.

number 1

atlas shrugged

Atlas Shrugged– it’s kind of fitting that out of my two worst reads this year, one is left wing and the other right. This one edged out Priestley’s preachy play by a whisker. The reason this “won” top spot was twofold: 1) from what I’d heard of it (only that it was a seminal work of American literature) I had higher hopes for this and 2) it made me suffer longer. Boy did I make a huge mistake (a-1168-page long mistake) reading this! I guess now it’s time to shrug it off and move on!

So- dare I ask- what do you think of these? Have you read any of them? And what were your worst books of 2019? Let me know in the comments!

Bookish (and Some Non Bookish) Resolutions for 2019

It’s that time of the year again! You know the drill- I’m gonna say a bunch of resolutions I plan to do this year and then spend the whole year not doing them 😉

resolutions 2019.png

Bookish:

number 1

10 More Books from My Challenging list

challenging books 2019.png

I considered making this less because I didn’t manage to read 10 in 2018, but then I thought, where’s the fun in that? I figured it would be more of a challenge this way 😉

number 2

10 Non-Fiction Reads

non fiction 2019.png

Again, I didn’t make it to 10 non fic reads in 2018, but I figure I have a whole year to try and hit this goal!

number 3

5 Rereads

Because I had so much fun doing this last year! I have some really fun books lined up for this one!

number 4

5 Poetry Collections

Cos, why didn’t I read any last year? It’s gotta be the first year where I didn’t even pick up *one* collection- FOR SHAME!

Non Bookish:

number 5

Compile notebooks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another old ‘un but a good ‘un. Not only does the weird part of my brain that likes organising get a kick out of it, but it’ll make my life so much easier in the long run if I do this annually. There aren’t that many for me to go through this year, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

number 6

Complete another language on Duolingo

This is probably the most challenging one on the list and I could easily fail this due to lack of time… but no pain, no gain, right? I have previously completed two languages on there, yet the only way I ever seem motivated to go back and practice is if I’m learning a new language at the same time. I actually enjoy doing this (even if I’m still far from fluent in the ones I’ve tried 😉 ) so why not? Plus, Duo keeps sending me messages saying it misses me:

duolingo sad
I probably shouldn’t pay attention, because it’s a bit like a needy ex at this point, but I MISS WHAT WE HAD TOO 😉

number 7

THE DREADED EDITING

Okay, you got me, I’m exaggerating for comic effect 😉 I not-so-secretly actually like editing. HOWEVER, I’ve never undertaken *so much* editing at once. In fact, I’m a little scared about reading my last WIP (it’s not in good shape!!) I have so much to do in this regard, that I figure all the remaining points can be for this one!

And that’s all I’m doing this year! I decided to have some self-control and not add a bunch of resolutions I don’t plan on doing. Maybe I’ll add more goals as the year goes on instead of taking them off the list!

What do you think of my resolutions this year? Do you have any resolutions you plan not to do? Let me know in the comments!