In my bid to be more active here on the blog, once a month I'll be doing a short wrap up of the books I've been reading with my 5-year-old, Rosie.
I do share a lot of our books on Instagram, so feel free to follow over there for more regular kids book updates.
This wrap up will probably be a little longer than most, as it's the first one, I'll probably feature a few more books.
As always, you can click on the title to visit Goodreads:
So, it's been quite some time since my last review, much to my chagrin but I am working on that.
The first step to this was getting my sister, Sophie on-board with reviews and so, if you haven't checked out her review of The Deathless Girls, you can do that now.
The second step was launching the new My Endless Shelf podcast, Turn The Page, earlier this week. You can listen to our very first episode here, where we also launch our new book club, and please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment on the blog or getting in touch via email.
A lot has happened and is still happening since I last posted here - mass wildfires, a worldwide pandemic, global lockdown, Brexit, protests, rioting, oil spills and more. It's been months of death, destruction and despair for the entire world.
And while I usually steer clear of things like politics, as my book blog and social accounts are places where I go to escape, what's happening in the world right now isn't 'political'. People are fighting for their basic human rights, their rights to be treated as equals and, while I acknowledge my privilege in that I am not suffering, as many are, I want to do what I can, which is why I'm doing my best to speak up, trying my hardest to better educate myself and my child, and using my platforms to share books that I feel or hope can help others.
I do already share diverse books by diverse authors, but I want to try and step up my game and post as much as I can. I took inventory of the books my daughter has and realised that I'm already buying diversely for her and I've been sharing some of those books on my IG account, so if you are looking for kids book recommendations, feel free to take a look there. If you'd like me to include these here on the blog, just let me know. And if you have any rec's suitable for a 5-year-old please let me know!
If anyone wants to and can donate or help, this link has all the info.
In blog news, there are going to be some changes happening on My Endless Shelf and I'm really, really excited to share these changes with you, I hope you love them as much as I do.
The main reason for these changes is me accepting that I cannot do everything myself. I can't work as much as I do, home ed my daughter, work on my writing and keep the blog going as much as I'd like to.
So, hopefully, these new changes will help to keep the blog more active and full of interesting new content:
1. My Endless Shelf is venturing into podcasting! Once a month you can listen to Turn the Page! My sister, Sophie, and I will be hosting the podcast and talking about the books we've read and the books we're looking forward to. We'll also touch a little on current book news/events, ARC's we have, and we'll be running a monthly book club that you're very welcome to join!
2. Children's books are also going to be featured once a month. As I mentioned above, I'm reading A LOT of books with my 5-year-old. We read multiple books a day, picture books, chapter books, audiobooks and she loves to talk about the books we read. So, I'll be writing a wrap-up of some of the best books we read each month and I'll share my review and a few words from my daughter.
3. I WILL be blogging more! I'm committing myself to it right now. I've set up a new system to help keep me on-track and whilst I am finding work and homeschooling pretty hectic right now, I do want to get back to reading and blogging. First up, I'll be sharing a quick review of the books I've read over the past six months. I also intend to share a few snippets from my WIP and some behind-the-book info, which I hope you'll enjoy.
4. To help with the above, my lovely sister will also be writing for My Endless Shelf! So, from now on, you can expect to see her thoughts and reviews alongside my own. I'll also get her to introduce herself as soon as possible.
For now, that's all, but I'll be bringing more news about the Turn the Page podcast very soon.
Until then, happy reading!
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?
Lately, I don’t really feel as though I can still call myself a blogger since I’m barely doing it.
As I’ve said so many times before, I do want to but other things keep taking precedence, so I’m going to cut it with the excuses and just do my best.
So, without further ado, here’s my September Wrap Up!
Don’t forget to let me know what books you read last month in the comments or on Twitter.
You click on the title to see the full review, if there is one, or to visit GoodReads:
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff - Godsgrave was fantastic and a wonderful sequel to Nevernight. I absolutely adore the new characters introduced in this book and following the next leg in Mia's journey of revenge and blood was just as thrilling as book one. I can't wait to see how it all ends in Darkdawn!
Happy for You by Anyta Sunday - I love this series and was lucky enough to receive a free ARC copy from the author. It's a great continuation to a series I can't get enough of and whilst this book was a little problematic for me, I still love Anyta's ability to write adorable characters and sweet, excruciating slow-burn romance.
Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry - This book was lots of fun. The MC is a little ridiculous and hopeless but in the best way and with a real heart of gold. He's eighteen-years-old trying to find himself, struggling against the path set out for him by his parents and rebelling, without really meaning to. His life takes an unexpected turn when he gets tangled up with twenty-five-year-old Jai and things get even more hilarious. If you're looking for a low-angst, fun and easy read, you can't go wrong with Adulting 101.
All Chained Up & Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan - I found myself in the mood for easy-to-read romance this week and dove back into some old favourites. I've read these two books a couple of times in the past and they were just as enjoyable the third time around. These books have strong heroines, sexy hero's and plenty of action and drama.
I’ve also started (but not yet finished):
Bear, Otter and the Kid by T.J. Klune - I started listening to this on Audible the other week when I was sick. I love the narration and the characters, especially the kid who makes me laugh so much. I’m still listening to this one and am around 50% of the way through it. I love the way TJ writes, I haven’t been disappointed yet, and this book is shaping up to be another amazing read.
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – I started this but had to give up because I honestly couldn’t remember enough of Vicious and I just found myself feeling lost and confused. I guess I’m going to have to re-read Vicious before tackling Vengeful again.
Fury on Fire by Sophie Jordan – Continuing with last month’s Devil’s Rock series by Sophie Jordan, I’ve started to read North’s story for the second time. Truthfully, it’s because I picked up book 4 for £2.50 and just got an itch to re-read the series. They’re quick, fun and packed full of heat.
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff – My partner has FINALLY finished reading this after stealing it from me a few weeks ago, so now it’s my turn to delve in and discover the end to Mia’s story. I’m only just about to start chapter two but it’s started thick in the middle of all the action at the end of Godsgrave and I am ready for answers!
Frostheart by Jamie Littler - I spotted this on my last book shopping trip to Waterstones and thought it looked perfect to read to my 5-year-old. She loves books but still prefers lots of pictures and since this book is packed full of amazing illustrations, I figured it's the perfect segway towards the more traditional novel, and we're both having so much fun reading it!
And that’s a wrap!
Let me know your recommendations in the comments below and feel free to chat about any of the books above too!
Until next time, happy reading! x
Pride Month might be over now, but I will never stop reading all of the amazing LGBT+ books that keep on coming!
So, whilst this is my pride month book wrap-up you can still, as always, expect to see plenty of LGBT+ content on my blog.
I'm also thinking of posting reviews of the LGBT+ children's books that I keep buying for my offspring, so if you'd like to read those and hear more about our finds, just let me know in the comments!
Right, onto the wrap-up. For those of you who haven't joined me for one of these in the past, this is a post where I quickly list and mini-review the books I read this month. It's also one of the only places you'll see me mention any books that I reviewed below 3 stars or DNF.
Please note that any trigger warnings are in my full reviews so do feel free to check those out.
Here goes, (you can click on the title to see the full review, if there is one, or to visit GoodReads) I read 15 books this month (somehow!) so this might be a long one:
Mud & Lace (Rainbow Place Book 4) by Jay Northcote - In my attempt to find more own-voices books for Pride Month, I stumbled across this whilst browsing Amazon. Featuring a gender fluid protagonist and written by a trans author, I was intrigued, especially as the main character moonlights as a drag queen. The relationship pairing was unique, as was the kink, which worked. I also loved that this was a British story and I do like the author's writing style and pace, it's certainly not the first book I've read by Jay that had me chuckling aloud.
How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton - I was drawn to this one because it sounded a little like Wolfsong by TJ Klune, which is a truly stunning book. How to Howl at the Moon is a shifter book with a bit of an unexpected twist and truthfully, one that felt a little cringe-worthy at times but there were plenty of heartfelt moments and I adored the two main characters.
Within Ash and Stardust by Chani Lynn Feener - This wasn't a Pride Month read but it's a book that I read as part of a blog tour, so the full review for this is coming later this month. I won't give much away except to say that I love this trilogy and so I was interested to finally see how it came to an end.
Stuck With You by Jay Northcote - not too sure why I decided to read a Christmas novel in the middle of June, but hey, the weather in the UK was so utterly rubbish at the start of the month that it may as well have been the middle of winter. Sadly, this book just didn't do it for me. It started off really well with an enemies-to-lovers romance that was fun but then it took a turn for the far too predictable and whilst I did read it to the end, I found myself skipping pages just to get it over with.
Light Years by Kass Morgan - I really hadn't expected to love this book as much as I did. Think Hunger Games/Divergent but in space. It has a fantastic 4-way split narrative with a really great plot, distinct and diverse characters and LGBT+ rep! It was my first 4-star+ read of the month and I'm really excited for the sequel.
Bite Me by Beth Bolden - I'm not sure what went wrong with this book. I was enjoying it at first, it was funny, it's an enemies-to-lovers style trope (which I love) but then it fizzled out. It got so predictable and boring that I just couldn't read another word. Maybe it was me and my mindset at the time but I just didn't feel any chemistry in this book.
Blind Beauty by K.M. Peyton - This wasn't a Pride Month read but it was a book I loved as a teenager that I just desperately wanted to re-read. It's such a powerful book full of hope, determination and pain and it wrecked my emotions. It's one of the few books I've read that felt as though I was reading it for the first time all over again.
Heartstopper Vol:One by Alice Oseman - I read two graphic novels this month which is a complete first for me as I've never really read any before. Heartstopper was a re-read as I'd forgotten to review it last time. I adore this boy meets boy love story, the characters are the absolute sweetest, the art is gorgeous and the storyline is perfectly mushy. I cannot wait for Volume Two to come out next week!! I'm so excited!!
Fence Vol 1-3 by C.S. Pacat - Sadly, I didn't really enjoy this graphic novel. 1.) It didn't have as much LGBT+ rep as I'd hoped for and 2.) The plot was pretty limited, in that I felt there was hardly any. So, suffice it to say, this one just wasn't for me.
Shrewd Angel by Anyta Sunday - Gah! I LOVED THIS! I don't care that it's a Christmas novel, it was so so so so good! So much cuteness, witty banter and adorable, clueless dorks. Anyta Sunday writes the most amazing slow-burn romance!
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson - I love it when a book that isn't tagged as LGBT+ turns out to have some rep, especially when that rep is your own!! Readers of all ages with love this story - it's full of magic, deception, danger, demons and above all, books.
The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes - I struggled with this graphic novel. I almost didn't feel qualified to read it. It uses magic and adventure to clearly illustrate racism in a way that's completely uncomfortable to read, which is exactly the point. It was a difficult one to digest.
Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green - My favourite book of the year so far and my favourite pride month read, Alex in Wonderland deserved a spot on its own. This wonderful book made me laugh right from the very beginning. Alex is the perfect character - so awkward, romantic and downright hopeless at times. This book was such a pleasure to read and I can't wait to see what the author does next!
And that's it!
What did you read during Pride Month? Let me know your recommendations in the comments below and feel free to chat about any of the books above too!
Until next time x
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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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