Hello, hello, hello!
How is January treating you so far?
It's okay here, trying to get back in the swing of things and I'm mostly succeeding, except for Instagram, which unsurprisingly has fallen to the wayside a little as things become busier with work and home-ed commitments.
However, I have been keeping tabs on a couple of bookish things this week and so I decided to do a little news style post. Here goes...
Goodreads Challenge Update
I've officially begun my Goodreads challenge this year, thanks to my daughter because we read an adorable little chapter-book called, The Pug Who Wanted to Be a Unicorn by Bella Swift. It is a Christmas book but it's incredibly sweet and has great morals.
I'm also still reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I think that I started this book back in November so it's been really slow-going but I love it so much. I'm about 100 pages from the end and I'm still waiting for all of the pieces to connect which is something I adore about the way that this author writes.
What are you reading right now?
I am determined to get to a book festival this year and since YALC is out of the question for me, I'm really hoping to get to the Northern YA Literary Festival i.e. NYALITFest especially since they're having a day dedicated to children's books this year, which is going to be a great way of finding books to read with my daughter.
If you've been following @nyalitfest over the past week you'll have seen their steady announcements for guest authors and panellists.
The list is extensive and I'm so excited to meet all of these fantastic authors. I've made a list of all of the authors and a few of their books below to help you make an NYALitFest TBR - I think more authors are due to be announced but this is the lineup as it stands today.
Wow, that's quite a lot of authors and I'm pleasantly surprised to see so much diversity, in the YA category at least. It's also great to see so many empowering children's books with girl leads.
So, what do you think of the lineup so far? Will you be at NYALitFest this year?
If you know of any other book festivals taking place around the midlands, let me know!
I received an email yesterday letting me know that BookRiot have started a new podcast called Novel Gazing. Truthfully, I hadn't realised that they had another podcast series simply called The Podcast.
It probably sounds really stupid of me but I've never actually thought to search for book-related podcasts before so I want your advice, what bookish podcasts do you listen to and what would you recommend?
I did enjoy the first episode of Novel Gazing although it wasn't hugely my cup of tea. I'd prefer something a little more fantasy/YA based, so I might check out the general BookRiot podcast tomorrow if I have time.
I'm also toying with the idea of starting my own...but I should probably try to manage the commitments I already have a little better before I start taking on new ones.
Anyway, that's all for today. If you have any thoughts on anything above, feel free to comment below!
Okay so, #bookstagram didn't go anywhere, I did.
Life got in the way yada, yada, yada and I lost track BUT the other night, I found time to take a few photos and it got me itching to keep at it. So, I'm going to try carving out an hour or two each week to take a bunch of book pics.
If you're already on Instagram and you love nothing more than fawning over all of the pretty books, I'd love for you to come and join me @myendlessshelf.
My Instagram feed has changed a bit since I first started #bookstagram. I'll be sharing one of my posts each day using either my own prompt/idea, or I might sign up a for a #bookstagram challenge depending on where the mood takes me.
If you've read some of my other blog posts, or you follow me on IG already, you might know that I'm a home-ed mum, homeschooling my 5 year old. We read a LOT of books together and are currently taking part in #abookandagameaday home-ed challenge where the idea is that we read a book and play a game together every day. These photos aren't as polished as my other bookish photos but I do recommend some fantastic children's books (we're always on the lookout for diverse kids books, so let us know if you find any) and games. So, if you have a young child in your life and want ideas for future gifts, feel free to follow along with these daily posts.
We're also big explorers and usually find somewhere new to explore each week, so you'll probably see a few photos from our adventures cropping up here and there alongside mini-book hauls now and again.
And that's all for now. A short post today, but I've included a slideshow of some of my IG photos below so you know what to expect and some behind-the-scenes shot from the other night.
If anyone's interested, I'm using a Radiance Ring Pro for my lighting (this thing is monstrously powerful but so easy to use and has a really handy dimmer) and my phone to take the photos. I have a few backdrops and some props but it's mostly quite simple or just improvising with things I find lying around the house.
I don't typically set New Year Resolutions but I'm trying be more productive (and more accountable) this year.
2019 was a bit of a struggle in terms of finding time to read and write between work, homeschooling and family commitments, but I'm really hoping to achieve more in 2020.
My Goodreads challenge is 50 books, which may be a tad over zealous because I do want to focus mainly on my writing - more on that later.
My reading goal this year is to read more of the books on my actual bookshelves instead of binge-reading so many books on my Kindle. To help, I've made a TBR jar that contains all of the unread books on my shelves (I think!). We'll see how it goes!
Do you have a TBR jar? Have you found it useful?
I'm also reconsidering starting bookstagram, but instead of trying to take a new photo each day I'm going to try and take a batch each week to save on time. I also figured it'd be a fun home-ed lesson of sorts for my daughter to help out with the photos and practice her own photography.
So, if you're on Instagram, feel free to follow me @myendlessshelf - if you do bookstagram I'll follow back!
Now, onto those all important writing goals!
This year I HAVE to finish my book! I've been working on it for almost three years now and I so badly want to complete it.
Editing is kicking my butt - I'm clearly awful at it and I'm just finding it really overwhelming BUT, I have made some progress lately and I'm determined to keep at it.
On top of this, I want to upload an edited version of my LGBT short, The Midnight Cab to Wattpad (which is done, I just need to update it) and keep working on my other Wattpad WIP, The Witch and the Dragon's Sister, which is a children's book/short.
When I'm not writing or reading, I keep being drawn back to another idea that I've had for a while now. I keep making notes on it and I'm almost ready to start writing it, which I can't wait for - it feels like a YA right now so we'll see how that one goes.
I'm currently working on my new author website which I'm hoping to have live in a month or so. I really love the design and layout so far and I can't wait to get that published.
On the blog, I'm not going to set a specific goal because truthfully, it can't be a priority with everything else going on in my life BUT I do want to blog more this year and, if I can stick to my reading goal, I should hopefully get out at least one review each week (fingers crossed!)
In other news, my daughter and I are approaching six months since we started our home ed journey and it's going great so far, she's reading so much she's putting me to shame! I'll also be celebrating seven years of being in business as a VA in February which I'm really excited about.
And, that's it.
What about you? What are you planning or looking forward to in 2020?
I absolutely LOVE audio books, I love how they can make the story come alive and some of my favourite books are the audio versions.
What I really, really loved about Audible was the ability to return books, something that Audible promoted to me as a feature. Something along the lines of:
"Don't like a book? Just return it and get another!"
"Want another book but you don't have any credits? Just return a book in your library and we'll refund your credit!"
I loved it! I had access to a vast audio-library that I could use much like a real library, swapping and exchanging books as I saw fit.
That is, until I came across a recent tweet by @howlinglibrary who was highlighting another tweet by @MikeH5856.
Here's the tweet:
Safe to say, that I felt pretty shitty after reading this tweet.
It turns out that when you return a book on Audible, Amazon will refund your credit (that you've paid for), but they'll also bill the author for the book - so in effect, they're being paid TWICE for every returned book! WTF!
I mentioned this to my sister, another fond Audible user, and she had the same reaction of shock followed by guilt as she realised that we had, unintentionally, been costing some of our favourite authors money.
Money that they should NOT have to pay.
Following the tweets above, I've seen differing opinions including readers saying that you should only return a book if you didn't enjoy it. But, let me ask you this, if you bought a book from your local bookshop and finished it, or even read a few chapters, would you then return it and ask for a refund saying that you hadn't enjoyed it?
I know I wouldn't, so why is Audible any different?
Maybe it's the lack of a physical book that makes us feel like we're somehow getting something 'less' than we would if we bought a hard copy but then think about the additional work of the voice actors who spend hours upon hours bringing your favourite characters to life.
Is that book really less valuable than a physical book? I don't think so, which is why I'll no longer be returning ANY book on Audible whether I like it or not.
What about you? Did you know about this? What's your opinion on returning Audible books?
Happy New Year!
I hope you've had a wonderful festive season and that you enjoyed lots of reading time and bookish gifts.
I've had some fantastic bookish gifts this Christmas and birthday (also in December) including; a gorgeous Harry Potter moleskin notebook (not a book to read, I know, but a great writing gift), a Harry Potter - Magic of the Movies book (yes, there's a Harry Potter trend here.) I was also really grateful to receive a Waterstones voucher which I used to buy Children of Virtue and Vengeance (with its gorgeous blue sprayed pages) and Queen of Nothing. I also picked up The Pug Who Wanted to be a Unicorn for my daughter, which we're both enjoying.
Then, as a further treat, my lovely sister took me out for my birthday to the bookshop where I picked up a gorgeous sprayed edges and signed edition of Deeplight by Frances Hardinge which looks and sounds incredible, Infinity Son by Adam Silvera which I spotted and completely freaked out as I had no idea it was out already - I honestly CANNOT wait to dig into this book, and Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar because the blurb grabbed me and thanks to my current read (The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern) I'm a little obsessed with bees.
I've added these to my TBR jar (more on that in my next post) and I can't wait to start reading them.
I've decided to use Goodreads for my 2019 review as I love looking back at all of the fun facts/info about my reading year.
In 2019, I read 50 books, less than in previous years but I wanted a smaller goal to coincide with my heavier workload and homeschooling my daughter.
This totalled 13,398 pages with my shortest read being Fence by C.S. Pascat, which I didn't enjoy half as much as I'd hoped, and the longest being M/M time travel romance, Downtime by James Allen, which truthfully, I didn't even remember when seeing it listed and had to re-read the blurb and my review, but I did enjoy it. It's strange how you can really enjoy a book but then forget almost everything about it....
The most popular book (on Goodreads) that I read was The Deal by Elle Kennedy which incidentally, I really did NOT enjoy.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman (which is absolutely incredible by the way) was the highest rated book that I read in 2019.
I've read so many amazing books this year, and some not so great. I've enjoyed books by new-to-me authors alongside some incredible re-reads.
My favourite LGBTQ+ book of the year HAS to be Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green because it was just so wholesome, British and downright hilarious that I couldn't stop reading it - it even inspired an impromptu trip to the seaside that I just loved.
My favourite re-read of the year was, without a doubt, Blind Beauty by K.M. Peyton, a story I loved as a teen and almost dreaded re-reading in case I didn't enjoy it again, but I did and it was perfect.
My favourite new-to-me book of the year was easily Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson which I devoured and fell in love with.
So, there you have it, my 2019 year of books in review, alongside a few recommendations for your own TBR.
What about you? How was your year of reading in 2019?
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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