Thursday, 18 January 2018

Shelf by Shelf

Shelf By Shelf

Let me start by saying this: I love shelf tours.
I could spend hours and hours watching people on YouTube do tours of their shelves, getting inspiration for organisation tips, book recommendations etc. I've been wanting to do a blog version for a long time now but there's always some excuse or other. Well NO MORE! I'm going to do a mini series showcasing each shelf but there is a note to add to this. I am well aware that the books are in no particular order. You might well find book 5 showing up before book 1. My shelves are ALWAYS a work in progress and it's been less than 24 hours since the books all even made it to the shelves. Bare with me!

I'll be posting these on Thursdays and i'd also love to know what else you'd like to see here! Give me some content ideas, guys :) So to introduce this mini series, i'd just like to share what they look like as a whole. See you nextThursday for a more indepth look!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Top Ten Tuesday | Bookish Resolutions/Goals

So! This is the first week of That Artsy Reader hosting TTT - hurrah! It's sad to see the demise of Broke & The Bookish but onwards and upwards. This weeks topic is: Bookish Resolutions/Goals. I already posted a little about this so i've tried to think a bit more about my long term goals. As usual, I couldn't actually make 10, so here are 5 Resolution/Goals I have for 2018!

1. Organisation
The organisation that I had for my books works really well for me, but over the weekend i've tried to mix it up a little. So until now I had bookshelves for those i'd read and bookshelves for those I hadn't or wish to re-read. The unread/re-read books have taken over my house in the last couple of years for various reasons and it just looked....well....awful. So i'm trying out a new system and fingers crossed it works out.

2. No purchases in 2018
I've mentioned it a couple of times but it seems worthwhile to say it here as it's my biggest bookish goal this year. Throughout 2018 I'm attempting to purchase no new books! So if they are free, netgalleys, gifts or one of the few pre-orders I made in 2017, they're all good to go! I haven't struggled at all yet but there are a few books coming out this year (MAUREEN JOHNSON!) that might push me over the edge. Fingers crossed I can hold off and get things as birthday presents etc. Wish me luck!

3. What I Want/When I Want
Having struggled to read, well, anything over the last few years i've decided to take a What I Want When I Want approach. All I want to read is comics and graphic novels? Fine. Want to re-read 60 books rather than 10 new ones? Fine. No more putting pressure on myself for anything. I'm easing back into the blogging world and trying to find my own entertainment from it rather than providing entertainment. If I start and half read 50 books this year, well that's an accumulative 25 "read". I'm focusing on the actual reading part rather than the finished products.

4. Not Just Reading
This links into the last one a little. I'm realising that having a bookish blog doesn't just mean I review books. If I don't post a single review in 2018 but there's regular content discussing all kinds of bookish things then i'll consider that an achievement too.

5. More Non Fiction
This is probably going to be the most challenging for me. I want to read more Non Fiction, particularly the books that I already bought as part of Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf so as not to breach goal #2. I've had some of these books for a long time and ALWAYS choose Fiction over them. I WANT to read them, so i'll try and set aside some time this year to get through a couple of them.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To (and totallyyyy plan to get to in 2018!!)

Narrowing this list down to 10 is the most taxing thing i've done so far this month. I was a huge slacker in the reading sense last year and i'm hoping I can do a lot of making up this year. Here are just some of the books I missed out on but definitely plan on getting to soon!
  1. Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu
  2. Carve The Mark - Veronica Roth
  3. Caraval - Stephanie Garber
  4. Wonder Woman: Warbringer - Leigh Bardugo
  5. Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
  6. Wintersong - S. Jae-Jones
  7. Stillhouse Lake - Rachel Caine
  8.  Strange The Dreamer - Laini Taylor
  9. The Creakers - Tom Fletcher
  10. All That She Can See - Carrie Hope Fletcher

Monday, 8 January 2018

Letters Between Friends: Dear Holly

Holly from The Arts Shelf and I decided that this year we're doing a mini series 'Letters Between Friends' in 2018! Holly sums it up better than I could so honestly I just want to dive in!

Hi Holly!
By the time you read this we've officially finished the first week of the new year and it's been one week since I saw you in person. I hope you had a blast bringing in the new year with your family. Parties with my future in laws are exactly as you would imagine, and so we were still up celebrating at 4am *yawn* i'm still crazy tired.

Your goals for 2018 sound wonderful and achievable. I wrote a post about my own goals here: 2018 Goals. For the first time in ages i'm incredibly excited for the upcoming year. As the clock struck midnight, I could finally start shouting that i'm getting married next year! So many things to organise and plan. On that note, i'm considering starting a bullet journal. I'm doing a lot of research at the moment and have drafted a few ideas but either way, it's almost time to go shopping and pick out this years organising tools. We do share a love of Paperchase after all....<3

I'll admit, i'm writing this a little early as it wont be posted until Monday but this weekend i'm having a gorgeous, lovely and quiet weekend with Alex (we're going to see Jumanji!) and I don't want to have to rush anything. You're going to see Les Miserables in London this weekend - i'm crazy jealous! I can't wait to read all your tweets. One of my favourite things is seeing my friends in their happy places and I know how much fun you're going to have. We don't have much booked in this year but i've still got a theatre hangover from seeing The Addams Family in August. As you mentioned in your post, we share a love of Carrie Hope Fletcher - rightly so! She was an astonishing Wednesday Addams, I wish you could have seen her. Hopefully Alex and I will make it to see Les Miz one of these days, we're both big fans of musicals.

I'm easing back into my diet this week but i'm finding it really difficult with so many temptations still around from Christmas. I know it's just a matter of getting back into a routine so i'm trying not to feel so disappointed in myself! I'm hoping that by next week it will have settled down and I just go back to having treats on Sundays. Maybe next time i'm down your way we can go to Nandos or Frankie & Bennys. There are many upsides of living in such a beautiful seaside town but the biggest downside is being so far away from places to go out for dinner! It always feels like a real treat when we get to go further North.

As for reading challenges, i've set myself a goal of 50. I'm doing a lot of shifts by myself at the moment as my team have opted for earlier hours which has meant i've snuck in a little reading and i've already finished 1 book, albeit a graphic novel. Have you read the Locke & Key series? I'm completely addicted. I'm not too far off finishing volume 3, maybe tomorrow night at work ;)

That's all from me this week, it's just been a quiet one of enjoying the calm of January and making the most of getting things organised.

Cazz xxx

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Top Three New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017

First off, I haven't done these in FOREVER.
Secondly, I know it's supposed to be 10 and i've only picked 3 but give me a break! I spent the majority of the year crying and re-reading old books =P 

1. Joe Hill
I'm not sure if this counts but as it's my list, I say it totally does! Locke and Key was recommended to me and I was hooked instantly! As I write this, i'm almost done with Volume 3 and i'm so mad it took me so long to actually read! Excellent content, incredible art work and just all around great stuff.

2. Matt Haig
2017 was a bad mental health year for me and I received one of his books LAST Christmas. I've actually got a couple of his books on my never ending TBR but in 2017 I finally picked one up and devoured it. Looking forward to seeing what else he's written!

3. Giovanna Fletcher
I've been watching Tom, Giovanna & Carrie for a long time on YouTube and knew she was an author but honestly just didn't think it would be my kinda thing. However, I spent a LOT of 2017 following the Fletcher family (in a non creepy way....!) and finally dove in and loved her writing style. I actually met her recently too!

Monday, 1 January 2018

2018 Goals

2018....nice to see ya!

Like the majority of people reading this I am TERRIBLE at keeping up with resolutions & goals etc but it doesn't stop me trying. I find it a really healthy way to go into a new year with something to aim for. I personally use the term "goal" because it really is a target to aim for and not something to be upset about not achieving. Every step taken towards a resolution is worth celebrating! With that said, several of my 2018 goals are not for the long term; just a short boost to the new year. So here's what i'm working towards this year, both bookish and none bookish!

I actually started this one a little earlier - 30th to be exact! I spent SO MANY HOURS in 2017 endlessly scrolling through facebook over and over and over get the point. I failed my reading challenge and though i'm not blaming it entirely on facebook, I can count just how many hours I wasted LAST WEEK on it instead of reading, and I definitely could have finished a couple more books. My mental health often suffers for it too. With everyone so excited to share every bit of both good and bad news, it can become a bit of a nightmare with the constant comparisons between my life and theirs. Though I fully expect it to only last a couple of weeks, i'm truly looking forward to the app being deleted for a while and just focusing on what I'M doing instead of everyone else!

I struggled with this one for a while and what to do. I know a lot of people have started setting their challenges on goodreads to 1 so that the pressure was off for the rest of the year. I could do that, I guess but it just wouldn't be as exciting to me. I love checking how far ahead I am or how far behind. Getting that little bit of a rush when you're slacking a little bit and having to binge read over a weekend! So I needed to find a balance between the two. Eventually I decided that i'm just sticking to the original 50 book challenge. 2018 is set to be a busy year for me and 50 will definitely be challenging - I only just made it last year! (53/65)

Buying Books
This is another one that definitely isn't achievable for an entire year but i'm excited about nonetheless.  For as long as it lasts - NO BOOK PURCHASES IN 2018! Oh yeah, you read that right. At some point in the new year i'm going to do some shelf tours - probably in the form of photos because it's less anxiety ridden for me, and you'll start to see the problem I have. My shelves have gone WAY past loaded now. With help from my fiance (did I mention, i'm getting married...;)), we decided that pre-orders don't count as i've had some in the bag for months now and that if anything MAJOR comes out (i'm talking series that i'm already invested in) then he will buy them as gifts for birthday/anniversary/valentines/christmas etc throughout the year so that I don't have to wait too long. As I said, one Waterstones trip with Holly and i'm sure that will all go out of the window but i'm going to try! As a little side note - it's been a LONG time since i've actually bought any books already and i'm SUPER proud of myself. 2018 is the year of slaughtering that TBR!

Weight Loss
I know this is probably at the top of everyones list after all of the gorgeous christmas food but i've actually been working on this already (i'm on week 8!). Granted i've put on 4lb over the last 2 weeks off plan but i've still lost over half a stone already and i'm excited to get back on plan after NY dinner with the in laws.

Enjoy Our Home
This sounds crazy, right? But after almost a year of being homeless and saving for our 2019 wedding, my fiance and I are looking forward to spending a lot of time at home. We've got so many box sets, films and books to get through, plus we've started a growing board game collection (Would anyone be interested in board game reviews on here?! Let me know!). We're hoping to have friends over for film and games nights and just generally get cosy and make the most of our home & save money. Don't worry, we won't become complete hermits - we got a weekend away & concert tickets for Christmas!

So those are my goals - some more difficult than others but i'm genuinely looking forward to seeing what happens! I'll also try and keep you updated on them as and when. You'll notice i've not made any goals to keep blogging & post reviews etc - 2018 is about putting less pressure on myself. Of course i'm hoping these last few posts are a sign of great things to come, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Happy new year!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Books Read in 2017

In 2017 I failed at many, many things and that includes both blogging and my reading challenge. Last year went so well that I decided to up to my target to 65 instead of the regular 50. Clearly that was a mistake as I only managed 53/65. I ain't mad tho'. 2017 has been horrendous for a multitude of reasons, some of which I have elaborated on in the previous post. However, i'm trying not to dwell on that and looking forward to whatever 2018 brings. Here's my mostly annual list of the books I read over the last year. 

  1.  The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  2. Talking As Fast As I Can - Lauren Graham
  3. All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher
  4. The Queen of Zombie Hearts - Gena Showalter
  5. The Adventures of Supergirl - Sterling Gates
  6. Forever Geek - Holly Smale
  7. Gwenpool - Christopher Hastings
  8. Demon Hunters: Trinity - Olivia Chase
  9. Happy Mum, Happy Baby - Giovanna Fletcher
  10. Incomplete Shakespeare: Macbeth - John Crace
  11. City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare
  12. Alice In The Country of Hearts - QuinRose
  13. See How They Lie - Sue Wallman
  14. Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan
  15. Pushing Perfect - Michelle Falkoff
  16. Alex Approximately - Jenn Bennett
  17. Girlhood - Cat Clarke
  18. Cinder & Ella - Kelly Oram
  19. On The Other Side - Carrie Hope Fletcher
  20. Highly Illogical Behavior - John Corey Whaley
  21. Reasons To Stay Alive - Matt Haig
  22. Cinder & Ella: Happily Ever After - Kelly Oram
  23. A Seven Letter Word - Kim Slater
  24. Tyranny - Lesley Fairfield
  25. Beginners Guide To Astronomy - Patrick Moore
  26. Supergirl: Girl of Steel - Jeph Loeb
  27. Glass Houses - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  28.  The Dead Girls Dance - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  29. Midnight Alley - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  30. Noah Can't Even - Simon James Green
  31.  Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher (re-read)
  32. Feast of Fools - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  33. Illuminae - Kaufman & Kristoff
  34. Lord of Misrule - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  35. One Of Us Is Lying - Karen M McManus
  36. Preludes & Nocturnes (Sandman) - Neil Gaiman
  37. The One Memory of Flora Banks - Emily Barr
  38. Almost Adulting - Arden Rose
  39. Faceless - Alyssa Shienmel
  40. Carpe Corpus - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  41. Girl, Missing - Sophie Mckenzie
  42. Fade Out - Rachel Caine (re-read)
  43. All The Bright Places - Jennifer Niven
  44. Who Runs The World - Virginia Bergin
  45. Turtles All The Way Down - John Green
  46. The Silver Mask - Black & Clare
  47. Ill Wind - Rachel Caine
  48. Some Kind of Wonderful - Giovanna Fletcher
  49. Scott Pilgrim Vol 1 - Bryan O'Malley (re-read)
  50. Locke & Key Vol 1 - Joe Hill
  51. Locke & Key Vol 2 - Joe Hill
  52. It Only Happens In The Movies - Holly Bourne
  53. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Saturday, 30 December 2017

It's been a while | Reponse post to The Arts Shelf

!!!IMPORTANT NOTE!!!: This blog post was written a LONG time ago but my phone died and I never got around to posting it. It's still super relavant and important to keep the discussion going so i've decided to post it anyway.

** Holly's Original Post: Love or Hate TBR **

It has been a long time since I've even logged into this website, never mind actually post something. I've talked about it before but the last 12 months of my life have been some of the most difficult things I've ever had to deal with. I don't know if I'm ready to commit to blogging again but I really wanted to respond to The Arts Shelf post about TBRs. I'm using my phone for this so I'm not sure if I can link to it but I'll certainly try.

Holly talked about the mixed emotions she has regarding her TBR and although I've talked about it previously, it's now more pertinent than ever to bring that topic back to life. As I said, I've been gone from the blogger world for a long time now and with that has come a lot of emotions. Like Holly, I get so much happiness and satisfaction from walking into a book shop and taking in the environment, the feel of a book in my hand, the little burst of excitement from picking out a new read, a new world to explore and new characters to befriend and fall in love with. All of those things are a part of who I am and the parts of me that I love the most. However, the anxiety of that is also very real. For the first time in my life, my TBR is larger than my Read books. Something I swore would never happen to me. I've always been concerned about it but nothing has made me feel worse than taking a hiatus from blogging.

I didn't stop buying books but I did stop reading. Ok that's not entirely true but compared the last year? It's a very small portion of books I've read. I've never been a popular blogger but I often got book mail and was that girl who squealed when a package arrived on my doormat in the morning. Until that started filling me with dread. Review books always come first and they were piling up around me. I was so upset all the time over not being able to read anything and enjoy it because my TBR was dictated by what book had been sent that week. I stopped reading altogether at that point and I stopped blogging too. Granted, there are other reasons I dropped off the face of blogger but it's the one reason I have not returned until now.

I've probably read around 40 or so books this year and I haven't reviewed them at all. Why? That guilt and anxiety. I still have books to read & review from over a year ago and I'm so terrified of NOT doing it that I just didn't do, well, anything. I stopped one of the most joyful parts of my weeks because I didn't know how to deal with a ridiculous TBR.

And that needs to end.

I am not employed by any publisher. I make NO money from blogging. It doesn't pay my bills and it doesn't feed me. So why the hell should I let it matter to me? This anxiety over what book to read isn't healthy and it shouldn't dictate how I enjoy my free time away from the responsibilities of life. So my TBR is hundreds of books? Big deal. I'll either read them or I won't. Publishers no longer send me books and I no longer request them. Sure I hope in the future, if this thing kicks off again, that will change. But in the mean time I am concentrating on the most important thing of all: my enjoyment of reading.

I don't know if I'll come back and blog full time again. I still have no access to a computer and it's REALLY hard to do this now the app doesn't work on my phone. But I do hope that maybe someone reads this and keeps the conversation going. By the nature of or hobby, readers are fairly solitary. So we need to give ourselves a break and just let us enjoy our quiet time. I for one am pledging that from this day forward, my TBR is of no concern to me and I'm going to enjoy possessing every single book, whether it gets read now or never.

Who's with me?

Another post about nothing after FAR too long.

If you're interested, I posted about a terrible event that happened in my life here: Where I've Been.
I posted a handful of times after that, always attempting to get back my routine and normal life but in a moment of complete honesty (because this blog is always my honest space), I haven't been doing well. My mental health has suffered dramatically and even now, 13 months later I am struggling. The last 3 months i've started to feel better, started to slowly get back into reading (albeit with a mass of Morganville re-reads but hey) and by a miracle & saviour - we have a beautiful home that is truly ours and day by day, we are getting our shit together.

Today I turned my laptop on in over a year.

I wasn't even sure it would work to be honest, it's not exactly new (7 years old to be exact - eep) and wasn't in a great condition even before the event happened. However, it loaded up and I clicked on the browser to find this... Blogger was the last tab I had open before everything changed. It made me happy to remember how much joy I got from this. Just simply having a place to rant and rave about books! I realised that now, the only thing stopping me is me. I have some goals I'd like to achieve in 2018 (post coming soon!) and almost all of them are for the sake of my mental health, because it's time to allow myself to admit to it, and work on it.

So hopefully for the last time, i'm sorry i've been AWOL.

Cazz x

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Review // All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher

Published - 14th May 2015
Publisher - Sphere
Format - Hardback
Synopsis - 'I pushed and persevered through the crap all teenagers go through - the bullying, the boys, the peer pressure, the friends, the enemies, the frenemies... Now I'm here, watching you guys go through almost identical experiences; trapped on the wrong side of a computer screen. Helpless... Until now.'

Is there anyone left on the internet that isn't a Hopeful? Well this 28 year old is! *throws out all of the love*

Confession time: I was incredibly sceptical about reading this book. You can probably tell that by the sheer amount of time it has taken for me to read it. Alex bought me this on a new year book shopping trip because he'd also gotten me Carrie's first novel as a Christmas present. I'd not really been interested before then because i'd just assumed it was aimed at her younger audience. At 28 years old, how was advice on boys and first days at school going to help me in any way? A lot, apparently.

For SURE it is aimed at a younger audience, but as i've always championed before - what you get out of a book is what you put into it. So I may not have a first day at school in my future but i'm sure there'll be first days at work, first days in a new team, first day...etc etc. You get the point. There are so many great anecdotes and general information in this book that you really can apply it to every day life. I'm a naturally socially anxious and awkward person and so advice is something I'm always happy to listen to.

I really appreciated the 'props' section at the back of the book that was filled with TONS of usual and helpful information for people who need it. It would have been instrumental to my teenage self and i'm so glad that this kind of thing is out there in the world and is so easily accessible.

One of Carrie's biggest personality traits (and is why so many people LOVE her) is her ability to make you feel like you're talking to a friend. When you sit and watch her videos (or read this book!), you truly feel like there is someone out there who cares that you're ok. She has an amazing quality that makes you think that if you knew her IRL, you would be friends. She's an incredibly rare and special personality in this world and I'm SURE that we'll be seeing a lot more of Carrie in the future.
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