Saturday, 31 December 2016

MY 2017 BOOKISH RESOLUTIONS

I had a pretty good reading year in 2016; I managed to get through 60 books (up to the 30th December as I'm writing this!) which were a mixture of a few different genres. I thought I'd start 2017 with good intentions by setting myself some bookish resolutions. Whether I'll succeed is another story, but this is a good start.


Read 65 books: Reaching around 60 books in 2016, after setting an initial target of 25, I want to aim higher in 2017. I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself though, as I'm in my final year of uni and of course that's (sadly) my first priority.

Document every book: So, I already do this on Goodreads, but I received the super cute book above as a Secret Santa present this year (it's from Waterstones), and I love the idea of writing each book down, and keeping track of any that I want to read in the future. There's also plenty of room for it to last well over just one year, and I think it'd be a cool little keepsake for years to come.

Read more non-fiction: I own so many different genres of books but tend to stick to YA fantasy. I've got lots of non-fiction books on my shelves, on some really interesting topics so I'm going to aim to read at least one each month.

Keep my bookcasess organised: So, I tend to reorganise my bookcase every couple of months. Then I buy more books and just plonk them on the shelves wherever they will fit. I'm planning on buying another bookcase in the New Year, and keeping both of them organised is definitely going to be an ongoing mission.

Finish series: I have a seriously bad habit of reading the first, or first few books in a series. The Mortal Instruments and The Raven Cycle, I'm looking at you. I want to break this habit in 2017!

Set up my bookish shelves: I've been planning on setting up some dedicated shelves for a while now. For example, I want one Sarah J Maas shelf and one J.K Rowling shelf to begin with. I've been buying different trinkets and pieces of merch to accompany my books on the shelves, but I think actually putting the shelves on my wall will be a good first step.

I'm feeling pretty optimistic right now, and looking forward to 2017. I'm not a huge fan of the whole "New Year, New Me!" thing that floods social media around this time of year, but you can't deny that a brand new year brings with it a sense of hope and opportunity, and I love that feeling.

I'd love to know if you are setting any bookish resolutions!


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Thursday, 29 December 2016

BOOK REVIEW: THE MEMORY BOOK


So I'm writing this about ten minutes after finishing The Memory Book* by Lara Avery. I needed a little time to gather my thoughts and pick up the pieces of my heart, but wanted to get all of my feelings out straight away. Well that got intense. Seriously though, this book is heartbreaking but so so beautiful, and I urge you to read it.

From the cover: 

Sam McCoy is 17.

Sam McCoy was going to be someone - and then she became ill.

Now, she must figure out who she is... 


Thoughts:

So first of all, I have to say that I would never usually pick up this kind of story. Books or films about terrible illnesses tend to kickstart my anxiety: "omg that happens to me" or "I have three out of those four symptoms!" So I almost always avoid them. However, when the lovely people at Books With Bite asked if I wanted to review The Memory Book, I didn't hesitate to say yes. I'd seen so many fab things about it on social media, so I was super intrigued. I do not regret my decision in the slightest.

At first, it took me a while to get into it, around 100 pages in fact. Tonight I started reading from page 100 and finished the whole thing - I was hooked. The book is written in a sort of journal style, for Sammie to document her days to help out "Future Sammie" as she is known. The way that Sammie writes becomes increasingly different as the disease progresses, and this hit me hard.

There was something I found so endearing about Sammie. She's quirky and a little bit awkward and I loved it. Now I don't know how much of that comes from the illness (which obviously I do not love!), but she does mention that she's always had trouble with social cues, and it was a nice change for me to read about a female character who isn't always super cool, doesn't always have masses of friends and isn't always calm and collected around boys. 

While I found Sammie 100% believable and had a really solid image of her in my head the whole way through, I didn't really relate to any of the other characters. This being said, the story definitely focuses on Sammie's battle with her disease, so I can't say I mind not loving the other characters too much. 

This story is not just emotional, but seriously inspirational too. Sammie doesn't ever give up on her hopes or dreams, even in the face of a terminal illness. I feel like everyone could use a bit of that inspiration, even just for small things in day to day lives. I giggled, I smiled and my heart was broken. I loved it.

I don't want to say much more, as I feel like this is the kind of story that it is best to go into without much prior knowledge. The Memory Book is released on the 26th January 2017. I advise that you grab a copy, and some tissues while you're at it.

*this proof copy was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review

Monday, 19 December 2016

MY NEW FAVOURITE PLANNER: KIKKI K THRIVE 2017

I'm pretty chuffed with myself, you know? In 2015 I posted a review of the Bando "I Am Very Busy" planner, which you can read here if you want to. Since then, I have for the first time managed to stick to one planner. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but I'm pretty fickle when it comes to planners. Anyway, it became an essential part of my day to day life, especially with work, my final year of uni, blogging and personal appointments. Coming to the end of the year, I just knew that I wanted an equally as cute but practical planner for 2017. Which was when I found the Kikki K Large Weekly Planner: Thrive.





The quality of this planner is unbelievable; it's extremely sturdy and feels much more expensive than the £18 it costs. I absolutely love the design. It's minimal yet attractive and functional, with the gold foil 2017 print on the pink marble inspired cover. I particularly love the spiral binding as it means that I can lay it flat while writing inside,

The planner starts as all planners do, with space for personal details such as name, address and contact information. It then moves on to quick year overviews for both 2017 and 2018 which is handy for dates at a glance. The Thrive planner also includes international public holidays split out by country; I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of this but it's a great added feature.

Before you get into the first month, there is space to write your priorities for the next 18 months. I think this is a lovely touch as it really gets you to think about what the main things you want to achieve are. I was a little confused though, as this is only a 12 month planner, but it isn't a problem.

The months are split by good quality dividers, each with a different inspirational quote (love this!) The monthly tabs are also laminated which is such a small touch but one that I find really useful, as it's easy to quickly get to the month you need. 

Though I've never owned one myself, the month on two page spreads remind me a lot of the way that Erin Condren planners are laid out. Each block is big enough to write in the important details of any appointments and follows the super cute colour theme of pinks and whites. This is then followed with a week on two pages. These spreads are possibly my favourite part of the whole planner. Not only is there enough space to make notes for each day. there are also places to note your focus for the week, the top priorities for that week, "something for me" which I think is lovely, and also a visual aid for tracking your water intake (I'm awful at drinking enough water so this will definitely be a big help!) On the left, there is also a section called "the list". I'm thinking of using this for either books or films that are being released that particular month, maybe books that I've been recommended or tasks that need completing but aren't a priority and don't have a particular date attached to them.

After the 12 months, there is a "thanks" section, where you can note three things you're grateful for each day. I'm so happy that this is included within the planner; I've alternated between writing my gratitude logs on my phone and in another notebook, so I'm glad that I can keep everything together now! There is also a notes section which is useful for jotting anything down while you're out and about.

I absolutely love this planner and have been excited to start writing in it ever since it arrived on my doorstep (figuratively, of course, it was actually handed to my mum by the postman but that didn't sound as cute). If you're looking for a practical but aesthetically pleasing planner, I think this may be the one!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

THE ULTIMATE BLOG PLANNER BY DOT CREATES

I'm determined to stay organised in 2017. Blogging organisation is something I sorely lacked in 2016, but I'm hoping that The Ultimate Blog Planner by Dot Creates will sort me out.

I opted for the grey design and am in no way disappointed. It's such a minimal and classy design and I love it! I have to mention first, that the quality of this planner is incredible. The paper is nice and thick, meaning you can't see your pen on the other side of the page which is a huge bug bear of mine. The spiral binding also feels super secure, which is great because I've got a bad habit of accidentally breaking these!

The planner is undated, which I love, as you don't have to waste any months as you might do with a dated planner! Each month starts with a lovely inspirational quote, before moving on to the blogger planning pages. First, there is a page with space to note any upcoming events and to record any sponsored content which is great for keeping track on any agreed posts. There are then 16 pages of blog content planner pages for each month, which for me is more than enough. For each post, you can write the post date, title, plan the actual content and complete the checklist to make sure you've done everything you need to before publishing.

I think this is such a handy little tool for any blogger. I'm a huge fan of the old pen and paper method of planning rather than using technology, so I'm sure that this planner will become an everyday essential for me.



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Thursday, 8 December 2016

A (MINI) DECEMBER TBR

I have bought a lot of books recently, which you can read about in my haul post, but with lots of university deadlines coming up along with Christmas, I'm only planning on reading a couple of books this month.

I'm currently reading Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, the second book in the Grisha trilogy, on my Kindle and I'm really enjoying it so far! I can't wait to finish the series so that I can move on to the well loved Six of Crows, but I'm planning on doing that in the New Year.

After Siege and Storm, the first book on my list is The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Now this doesn't actually come out until March, but I was very kindly sent a proof copy by Hodder Books and I'm so excited to read it that I just can't wait that long! The Roanoke Girls "shocks and tantalizes" and "explores the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart". How good does that sound?

I'm feeling pretty ambitious, so I'd also love to tackle Nevernight by Jay Kristoff this month too. Aside from this book being super beautiful (and big!), I've also heard a lot of fab things about the story. I saw a review which talks about a shadow cat, and well, I love cats sooo this is a definite yes.

I'd love to know what you're planning on reading this month!

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Monday, 5 December 2016

HUGE AUTUMN AND WINTER BOOK HAUL

I've bought an obscene amount of books recently. Not that I'm complaining, but I think I really need to invest in a bigger bookcase. Even though I know that I have 60 plus unread books on my shelves that I should really get to, I just can't stop buying more. I actually ordered more just before writing this post, and I'm expecting another delivery any day now... Anyway, back to the books I bought over the past few months.

 So with the arrival of Crooked Kingdom (on my Christmas list!), I thought it was about time I delved into the Grisha world. I picked up Six of Crows, but then my lovely friend Aisling of Aisling's Beauty Bytes advised that I should probably read The Grisha Trilogy first to get an understanding of the world first. I've already read the first and am halfway through the second, so you'll be able to read about them in my wrap up. Spoiler: loving them.

After watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I couldn't help but order the screenplay. I also decided to buy The Tales of Beedle the Bard to go on my 'Harry Potter themed shelf', once I get around to putting it up!

The Raven Cycle series is now complete after I purchased The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Funny story: I found a signed copy of The Raven King in my local Waterstones, so for a while, I only had the first and last book in the series.

I finally picked up a load of books that have been buzzing around the book blogging world for a long time that sadly, I'm yet to read: The Night Circus, Illuminae, the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy, This Savage Song and Lady Midnight. I've seen and heard so many amazing things about Nevernight too, so I just had to get my hands on it. Nemesis, which I received in the November FairyLoot box (read all about it here), sounds so exciting so I'll definitely be reading that soon too.

Last but by no means least, I'm so excited to have received a proof copy of The Roanoke Girls from Hodderscape. It sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it.

Keep an eye out for my December TBR which will be posted soon!


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