Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2018: Reading Resolutions

I'm going easy on myself in 2018.

This year I've read the fewest books since 2011, and I'm actually okay with that. I've removed the stress of review copies, taken away any semblance of a schedule, and I'm finally, finally reading on whims and fancies. 

So here are my (scarily relaxed) reading resolutions for 2018.

  • Read 52 books. 
One book a week. I can do that, and anything more than that? GO ME!

  • Get back into classics again. 
As my reading petered out and I reached for quick and easy reads the classics fell off my TBR. It's time to bring them back, regardless of whether they take me a little longer than others. 

  • Start going to book events again.
I miss my bookish friends. A 3-day binge at YALC just isn't enough to last me a whole year.

What are your reading plans for 2018?


Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017: A Year in Review


I celebrated my eighth blogoversary in January.

I launched a brand new website, The Copper Boom, with one of my faves. 


I re-read the 'Harry Potter' series for the first time in around 7 years. 

I visited the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library. 

I read 'War and Peace'!

I went to Andersen's first ever #AndersenYA blogger event

I went to Scholastic's #BloggerBookFeast in January. 

Bookish Stats
(as of 'Call Me By Your Name')

I read 100 books in 2017:

17 contemps, 

27 adult novels,


12 UKYA novels,

short story collection,


LGBT novels,

non-fiction books,

18 series openers, 

26 fantasy novels, 

30 audiobooks, 

poetry collections, 


graphic novels. 


I swapped my job at Maximum Pop! for an office job. 

I visited Berlin, New York City, Malta and Amsterdam

I saw School of Rock, Kinky Boots and The Christmasaurus on stage. 

I saw Don Broco at Alexandra Palace in November.

I went to the launch of Derren Brown's 'Rise of the Demon' ride at Thorpe Park. 

How was your 2017?


Thursday, 28 December 2017

2017: The Best Books of the Year

Well, it's been a while hasn't it?

I don't think I've ever left my little corner of the internet for so long before, not since I launched So Many Books, So Little Time in January 2009. 

2017 has been an interesting. Lots of changes, new things, and new priorities. I've decided that I'm not going to completely abandon this little 'ole blog entirely, but I doubt I'll ever come back in the same. I am going to try and aim for a few posts here and there though, starting with my traditional end of year wrap ups. I couldn't not!

So without further a do, my favourite books of 2017.

My reading has really changed this year. I've focused less on volume and review copies and the latest releases, instead I've gone for what I fancy. And I've read some incredible books. 

For the first time in years and years, YA hasn't been my reading focus in 2017. But I've still read some stunners. 

'This Beats Perfect' by Rebecca Denton

One of my first reads of the year and still one of my favourites. Sweet, fun and full of heart, it's the kind of book that you'll be reading long past your bedtime. I've fallen a bit in love with boy band lit this year and Rebecca's debut kicked it all off. I am so ready for book two. 

'A Court of Mist and Fury' by Sarah J Maas (re-read)

I re-read the first two books in the series ready for the final and I loved it even more, but especially 'ACOMAF'. The romance, the sexytimes and the danger are an intoxicating combination. I couldn't get enough of it. 

'Once and For All' by Sarah Dessen

Queen Dessen strikes again. Sarah's books are like coming home and Louna's story is no exception. I loved the back drop of weddings and romance and happy endings, plus the drama and stress of wedding planning. And of course, the insane characterisation and romance to die for. Sarah is my forever fave. 

'The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue' by Mackenzie Lee

Oh, this book. I kept hearing wonderful things about this historical romp and I eventually broke and read it on holiday. How I fell in love. Monty and Percy are adorable and I was championing them from the start. if you want a romance you make you feel a little swoony, look no further. 

'The Cruel Prince' by Holly Black

Holly Black going back to the dark and dangerous world of faery was always going to be a dream. Man, I loved it. Holly makes the deadly appealing, the terrifying intoxicating and the magical real. I'm so looking forward to going back to this world. 

YA took a bit of backseat for me this year and I got to sample some incredible literary and general fiction novels. These were the ones that I was shouting about from the rooftops.

'The One We Fell in Love With' by Paige Toon

A mish-mash of timelines and POVs, 'The One We Fell in Love With' feels a little different for Paige Toon but it had everything I've come to expect from Paige Toon: warmth, emotion, flawed and lovable characters and always, always ready for her next story. 

'The Parasol Protectorate' series by Gail Carriger 

This SERIES. I devoured all five books over the summer in a bit of frenzy. I loved Gail Carriger's YA series, but this topped it. Alexia is total brilliance, Conall is swoony and every character has a little something something that I couldn't resist. Love. 

'All Our Wrong Todays' by Elan Mastai

This epic, romantic, sci-fi novel is my Book of the Year for 2017. I couldn't get enough of it. 'All Our Wrong Todays' is just utter brilliance and I almost don't want to say anything about it because I don't want to spoil it. The opening line hooked me and I hope it does the same for you:

"So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have."

'Sweetpea' by SJ Skuse

I love CJ's YA novels, but I didn't quite know what to expect from her first adult thriller. Violence, sex, language and I loved it. Dark, twisted and generally bloody brilliant. I can't wait for more.

'The Last Piece of My Heart' by Paige Toon

Yep, another Paige Toon book. I love Paige and her novels and this is one of my very favourites of hers to date. Bridget has been a side character in a few of Paige's books and I'm so glad she finally got her own story. This book made my heart smile and ache and cheer. Gorgeous. 

'Exit West' by Mohsin Hamid

I devoured 'Exit West' in a single sitting. It's an important, engaging and gorgeous written book about immigration, love, life and the people that make up your world and I think everyone should read it. The audiobook is completely wonderful too. 

I've done a lot of my 2017 reading via audiobook this year, and these are the best of the best. 

'Harry Potter' series by JK Rowling (re-read, obviously)
Read by: Stephen Fry

This was my first full re-read of this years in about 6 or 7 years and my first audiobook listen of the series. It was a pure delight. What a way to return to a world I know so well and love so very much. I'm already tempted to go back for round two...

'The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue' by Mackenzie Lee
Read by: Christian Coulson

The narration of this sassy, funny, swoony historical romp was pitch perfect. I didn't ever want to stop listening. 

'His Dark Materials' trilogy by Philip Pullman
Read by: full cast recording, narration by Philip Pullman

I know, I know, I'm shamefully late to the party. But I really fell in love with Lyra, Will, Pantalaimon, Iorek and the rest of the characters. Philip Pullman's narration was magical and the rest of the cast were equally as wonderful. 

And the non-fiction and graphic novels. I didn't read many of these in 2017, but what I did read blew me away. 

'Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life' by Samantha Ellis

Oh, Anne. She was my favourite Bronte before I read 'Take Courage', but after? Now she's one of my heroes. If you think there's a reason Anne is the least popular Bronte, read this book. There is a reason but it's definitely not that she's the least talented or the least impactful or the least powerful. It was all Charlotte's doing... Brilliantly warm, clever and impassioned. 

'Shrill' by Lindy West

I actually listened to this on audio read by Lindy and it was brilliant. I'm pretty sure I devoured it in a few days. Lindy is bold, funny and completely unapologetic about it - I totally fell in love with her and her voice. 

'Paper Girls: Volume 1' by Brian K Vaughan

A fierce, fun and nostalgic start to what I'm sure is going to be one of my new favourite comic series'. If you like 'Stranger Things' (and who doesn't) then this is right up your street. This is from the guy who wrote 'Saga'!

What were your favourite reads of 2017?


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Books I Couldn't Finish (14): The Girl on the Train, Good Me Bad Me & My Cousin Rachel

I used to finish every book I started, whether I was enjoying it or not. But life is short. I’ve realised that I don’t have time for books I’m not fully involved in any longer so if I don’t like something or don’t connect with it as much as I want to, I’ll put it aside. It still makes me feel guilty though, especially if I received them for review so I still want to talk about them, explain why I didn’t like them. Here are the most recent books I DNF-ed.

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins
This is one of the most hyped books of the last few years and I eventually caved in to the pressure, but I was totally unmoved by it. I was so surprised by how slow this was. SO SLOW. I got so frustrated that I ended up Googling what happened so I could DNF it and be done. Whoops. I really, really wanted to like this and buy in to the hype, mostly so I could watch the film, but I think I'll just watch the film instead.

Good Me, Bad Me, Ali Land
After reading and loving CJ Skuse’s Sweetpea I was desperate for something similar, and sadly this wasn’t. I was suitably horrified by the things going on, but I also felt no compulsion to keep reading or really find out what had happened and what was going to happen. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t just finished something I really, really loved.

My Cousin Rachel, Daphne du Maurier
I am officially gutted that I didn’t fall in love with this. I picked it up so I could see the movie, but i just never found myself wanting to get back to the audiobook - I was perfectly happy to do my chores and walk around town without it. That for me is a sign that my audiobook just isn’t working. I’ll be giving this another go when Autumn hits and prime du Maurier weather is back again.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

47 Once and For All, When It’s Real & Built

I rated Once and For All 4.5 stars, When It’s Real 4 stars and Built got 3 stars.

Once and For All, Sarah Dessen
368⎟ Penguin ⎟ 8th June 2017

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna spends her summers helping brides plan their perfect day and handling every kind of crises: missing brides, scene-stealing bridesmaids and controlling grooms. Not surprising then, that she's deeply cynical about happy-ever-afters, especially since her own first love ended in tragedy.

When handsome girl magnet Ambrose enters her life, Louna won't take him seriously. But Ambrose hates not getting what he wants and Louna is the girl he's been waiting for.

Maybe it's not too late for a happy ending after all?

Mini Review
Sarah Dessen is my hero and that’s definitely not a secret.

Once and For All has everything I’ve come to love and expect from a Sarah Dessen novel, but it also had that extra feeling that made it feel like my favourite of her novels. Even when I wasn’t reading this my mind was in Lakeview and wanting to dive back into Louna and Ambrose’s story. I fell head over heels for them. If you’ve still not read anything by the Queen, seriously, do yourself a favour.

When It’s Real, Erin Watt
313⎟ HQ ⎟ 30th May 2017

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.

There's nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star's got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he's settling down–and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley's image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She'll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there's no telling what your heart will do…

Mini Review
I’m a huge fan of Erin Watt’s Royals trilogy so I pre-ordered this beauty as soon as I knew it was a thing and i gobbled it right up.

I did the whole, ‘I’ll read a chapter or two before bed’ and ended up reading 75% of the book! Then I finished it before i got out of bed the next morning. It is THE perfect weekend reading and I loved it. Sweet, sassy, funny and completely swoony - I really enjoyed it. I’m so glad there’s only a few months until Erin Watts’ new book. Bring. It. On.

Built, Jay Crownover
353⎟  Harper⎟ 5th January 2016

Sometimes you have to tear everything down to build something new…

Sayer Cole is frozen inside. At least, that’s what it’s felt like for as long as she can remember. She’s yet to let anyone past her icy exterior – and the one guy she thinks might melt her heart couldn’t possibly be interested in someone so uptight.

Rough, hard and hot-as-hell, Zeb Fuller has rebuilt his life and his construction business since protecting his family sent him to jail all those years ago. His elegant client, Sayer, makes him feel like a Neanderthal in denim, but despite the many hints that he’s been dropping to get to know her better, she seems oblivious to his charms.

Just as things finally start to heat up, Zeb’s past comes back to haunt him and he needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. As these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, fire and ice collide in an unstoppable explosion of steam…

Mini Review
Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series is light, fun and easy to read and that’s exactly what you get with this new spin-off series. But sexy and swoony with tough topics woven through the middle wasn’t quite enough this time. It was fine, but I had very little attachment to the characters themselves. It just didn’t do it for me, unfortunately.

I do have book two in the Saints of Denver series so I may pick it up and hope it gets better - we’ll see!