Wrapping Up November & Getting Excited For Christmas!

We can officially get excited for Christmas now!

I have no idea where the last four weeks went, how is it the last month of 2017 already?! It seems that I filled my November with so many different activities that I didn’t notice it passing by at all. Not only was I searching for a new job (which I will be starting next month), my dad also came to visit and I decided to really knuckle down with my writing efforts.

While I didn’t take part of NaNoWriMo, I was writing throughout the whole month and the last week or so is when I really started churning out my novel at a rapid pace. I started the month with rewriting my first 15,000 words, as it was in first person POV and I wanted it to be third person (btw, so glad I made the change) and at this moment I am nearing 33,000 words. I am very happy with that and worked out that I am about a third of the way through writing (I have an ending in mind, it’s just filling in the gaps). So November has been a very successful month.

I also went ahead and deleted my old twitter account to set up a new one, which you can find here. It would be great if I could connect with more people, especially on different platforms. Also, I reached over 100 followers on my blog in less than two months which is great. While the numbers don’t matter too much, it is great to see that people enjoy what I am putting out there into the world.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done a lot of reading this month (but I am currently reading two books that should have reviews up next week if I’m lucky). So, here are the books I reviewed this November.

Books I Read…

Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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It was so easy to give this book 5 stars after I read it. I cannot believe it took me so long to pick up this series and now I am waiting on the second one to be delivered to me. You can check out my review here.

A Darker Shade Of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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Again, another series I had heard so much about and finally picked up. Once again, I gave a book five stars because this was a perfect read and made me fall even more in love with the fantasy genre. If you want to read my thoughts, you can see my review here.

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Like I said, I didn’t read a lot this month and if I hadn’t hit a reading slump I’m sure I could have managed more (or at least finished Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard). Sometimes life gets in the way and I’m learning to accept that it’s okay. I’m just glad that I haven’t had a writer’s block on my novel in a while (I hope I haven’t jinxed myself).

Now that the holidays are coming up (and I’m away at the end of December in Ireland) I should have some more time to get reading when work finishes for the year.

How has your month been? Let me know in the comments below!

What Are You Reading Wednesday

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What Are You Reading Wednesday was created by RhiannaMarissa, and Kendall. The idea of What Are You Reading Wednesday is to create an online space for bookworms to chat, discuss and recommend their current reads. All you have to do is answer a few questions and link up with one of the host’s sites. So easy!

THE NITTY-GRITTY

Share the book/s you are reading with their author, maybe even the cover, and then answer these questions for at least one of them

  1. Why did you decide to pick up this book–cover or content?
  2. Who is your favourite character so far, and why?
  3. Will you finish this one?
  4. Finish the sentence: This book reminds me of…(other books, movies, tv shows…)
  5. What type of read is this one? (slow but interesting, cannot put it down…)

My Current Read

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I decided to give Glass Sword a break, and I finally picked this up. I bought this a few years ago and wanted something that wasn’t overly big to get me back into reading and at just over 300 pages it was a perfect choice!

1. Why did you decide to pick up this book – cover or content? 

For me this is definitely the content and the hype that was surrounding it that when the book was released. It was originally published as an e-book and then picked up by Hodder. At the time I loved books about angels and this offered an alternative spin on the creatures we love.

2. Who is your favourite character so far, and why? 

I’m just over a third of the way through and we haven’t been introduced to many of the main characters yet. Penryn, our POV, is great and she is strong, often having to fend for herself and her family. She definitely acts like an adult even though she is still a teenager. I am also beginning to like the angel she meets, too. He has some funny and sarcastic lines that annoy Penryn.

3. Will you finish this one?

Most definitely! I want to find out what will happen to her sister and as I know there are two more books in the series, I will most likely carry on reading them, too.

4. Finish the sentence: This book reminds me of…(other books, movies, tv shows…)

As it is set in a post-apocalyptic world, it reminds me of dystopian novels I have read in the past, but with a supernatural twists. Of course, we have the angels who are god-like in appearance, something most angels are in books (thinking back to Patch from Hush Hush). I feel that this book is definitely aimed more towards younger teenagers as the language and writing style seems more simple, with less description.

5. What type of read is this one? (slow but interesting, cannot put it down…)

This book moves quite quickly and I am finding it easy to make my way through it. It’s a fun read and I’m really enjoying it, a change of pace from Glass Sword.

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Once I finish Angelfall, I have promised myself that I will finish reading Glass Sword so I can move onto the third book, King’s Cage. What book are you currently reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Winter TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks topic is asking us to decide which books we want to read the most this winter. I class December through to the end of February as winter, so a couple of the books I am going to feature haven’t come out just yet.

With only 2 days left until the beginning of December, I am definitely starting to feel festive. I’ve got my fairy lights up around my room, my cute little tree on my dressing table and tinsel dotted around. It’s getting cosy in here for sure!

Time to show you my top Ten!

1. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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I just ordered this book the other day so it shouldn’t be long before it is in my hands. I love all of Cassandra Clare’s books and I can’t wait to read the beginning of this series and I’m sure it will lead me to buying the second one at Christmas.

2. Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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In my most recent book order I also bought the second instalment in the Throne Of Glass series and this is one I cannot wait to read. I absolutely loved the first (you can check out my review here) and I just know I will be buying the rest very soon!

3. Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

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This book is being released at the beginning of January and as I follow both of the authors on social media, I keep hearing more about this book and I am so excited to check it out. I don’t read many books that feature sci-fi elements so it will be great to give this a go.

4. Keeper by Kim Chance

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Keeper doesn’t come out until the end of January, but I received a copy of it to read from Netgalley. I am looking forward to checking out this book as it seemed great from the synopsis and I will be reviewing it for the beginning of January.

5. A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Mass

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Like her other series, I have heard great things about this one and will be getting stuck into it so I can then go out and buy the rest (there are a lot of series I need to buy). Plus, I love books centred around faeries so I know I am going to love this!

6. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

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While I am still making my way through Glass Sword, I will be getting around to reading the third instalment before the final one is released next year. A lot of people say that this book is one of the best in the series so I am definitely excited to get to it.

7. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

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While I haven’t bought this book yet, it is one that I know I will be buying soon because it sounds amazing. I’ve seen a lot of people loving this book and I am all about the magic! Plus, just look at how amazing that cover is, I love it.

8. Talon by Julie Kagawa

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This book has been sat on my shelf for too long (so long in fact that there are now 4 books in the series with the fifth coming out next year) and I can’t wait to read it. I love a good book that features dragons (my favourite mythical creatures to read about) so I know this will be my cup of tea.

9. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Another book that comes out in the beginning of January, and one that I first saw on Netgalley, and again it is another book about faeries. It’s been a while since I read books on this topic and Holly Black’s take on them has interested me. You can be sure that I will be buying it once it is out.

10. Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this book being praised by bloggers and I am itching to get my hands on it. I have passed it on to my dad in a list to get me for Christmas so I have a little while to wait, but I am sure it will be worth it.

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So there you have it, my top ten books that I want to read during the cold months (any excuse to stay inside). What books are you wanting to read?

Wrapping Up The Week (20th Nov – 26th Nov)

Why do the weekends always go by so quickly? I cannot wait for the Christmas holidays to come around so we can lounge about doing very little and eating as much as we want (food coma anyone?).

Once again I had a very busy week. I heard back from a couple of jobs who offered me the positions, but I am still holding out on one that I’m hoping will contact me within the next few days. Fingers crossed, because that is the job I want (and it pays really well, too, which always helps).

As well as that I have been getting stuck into my writing and I couldn’t be happier. All of a sudden I have these great ideas pouring into my head, I have come up with the ending of my first book (dramatic twist lined up that no one will see coming…check) and I am so excited. Last night I didn’t get to sleep until half 1 because I was typing away and managed to write 3,300 words, way more than the 1,000 I set myself to write each day. My brain is a little tired today so I’m not expecting to write nearly as much as that.

Books I read and reviewed…

If you are looking for a book review…I don’t have any to offer this week and I can only apologise for that. I am still making my way through Glass Sword and for some reason I am struggling. The book isn’t bad by any means, but I’m just not in the right frame of mind to read it at the moment. I might take a pause with it and start something a little lighter.

I am currently reading…

Glass Sword

Like I said in the above section, I am still reading this, but I am going to take a break from it. Maybe letting my own writing takeover isn’t the best thing, but you gotta go with the flow sometimes. I’m sure I will get back into it eventually as I do want to finish these books for when the final instalment is released next year.

Posts from the week…

Having A Huge Book Clear Out

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

What Are You Reading Wednesday And Getting My Writing Mojo Back

First Lines Fridays

Writing And Pinterest: An Epic Love Story

I feel that even though I’ve not read a lot this week, I have still stayed quite productive with my blog. Five blog posts isn’t too bad and I enjoyed writing all of them.

Other Fun Stuff…

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Now that it is less than a week until we can begin to open our advent calendars (mine is a Thornton’s Continental one) and I figured it was time to get my little fibre-optic Christmas tree out. I even bought brand new red and gold baubles, and I still have to head out and buy some tinsel for my bookshelf and mirror. Who else is getting excited? I even changed the background of my laptop to become more festive and I love it!

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I am a self-declared foodie and will try anything as long as it is tasty! Indian is one of my favourite cuisines (nothing beats Italian though) and my boyfriend decided to treat us to my favourite Indian takeaway from MaCh. It is a little out of town, but it is definitely worth the trek! We will often eat at the restaurant itself, but as we were a little tired from our late night we settled for eating in. My favourite dish is Sag Aloo, a mixture of spinach and potatoes which is just divine!

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I hope you enjoyed reading about what I’ve been getting up to and that you are getting into the festive spirit as well!

Writing And Pinterest: An Epic Love Story

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I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend so far. Personally, the weekend is the best time for me to really get to work on my novel as I am not up to much else (apart from doing a bit of shopping here and there). Last night I was up late typing away at my keyboard and I was so deep into it that I didn’t want to stop. In fact, I ended up writing a total of 2,700 ish words in total, which is way more than the 1,000 that I set myself to reach every time I sit down at my laptop. So you can say I was ecstatic, especially after feeling weighed down with writer’s block for the week beforehand.

Me and writers block don’t get along. Whenever it sets in I can find it very difficult to escape and let the creativity flow again, something I have mention in my previous posts. I don’t have a lot of ways to get around it, that is, until I watched a video by Sasha Alsberg on her YouTube channel abookutopia and she mentioned that Pinterest really helps her when it comes to receiving inspiration.

I created a Pinterest account a while ago, but it was mainly to look for images that I could use to draw from or even some workout ideas (I do a lot of at home workouts), but I had never thought to use it for my story. So, the other day I set up a secret board that only I could see and I got to work searching for images that reminded me of what I had created in my mind.

In the screenshot above you can see a few of the images that relate to the town that my main characters lives in and the type of landscape that surrounds it. It’s very rural, with a giant forest and mountains, lots of cobbled stones and beautiful scenery. Of course, I have multiple boards for different places that will be in my story (but they would give away some key details so I’ll keep them to myself.)

When it comes to actually writing the descriptive scenes, Pinterest and these images, have been particularly helpful. While I am not writing exactly what I see in the pictures, there are elements of all in my story. And it is obviously working because I have been on a role!

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Inspiration is all around us and we only have to look to find it. So for me, writing and Pinterest work together perfectly and I can’t wait to explore it some more!

Do you like to use Pinterest as well? Let me know in the comments below.

First Lines Fridays

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It’s everybody’s favourite day of the week and that is definitely something to be happy about! I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend after all the stress I’ve been feeling this week and to get on with writing my novel. It’s coming together nicely and I’m laying the foundations down in so many notes (they’re on my laptop, sticky notes, my phone and a notebook).

I love taking part in First Lines Fridays because the books I choose are ones I probably haven’t paid much attention to before and this feature definitely makes me want to read them.

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? It’s pretty simple really, the rules go like this…

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

So here are the lines from the book I have chosen…

“My mother thinks I’m dead.

Obviously I’m not dead, but it’s safer for her to think so.

At least twice a month, I see my Wanted poster flashed on the JumboTrons scattered throughout downtown Los Angeles.”

First Thoughts

Straight away I’m intrigued and I want to know why it is better for people to think our main character is dead. Of course, it could be to do with the fact that they are a Wanted man, but that only leads to more questions. What did they do that was so bad? I really like the start of this book and it makes me want to read on.

And the book is…

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What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

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Fun fact, I actually have this book and the sequel sitting on my shelf…I just haven’t gotten around to reading them. But after featuring the first one, I feel that I might be starting it fairly soon!

Would these lines make you want to read the book?

What Are You Reading Wednesday And Getting My Writing Mojo Back

We are halfway through the week already and I hope you are all having a great one so far. I know that I definitely am, as I’ve had a couple of job offers. Before I make a decision on which one I want to accept, I have to wait to hear from one more (the one I actually want). Fingers crossed that it is before Friday as that is my deadline for telling the others my choice.

My other good news is that I have my mojo back! For a little while my writing was struggling. I was rewriting my story, changing it from first person POV to third person and it was draining me. Then, the other night, all these light bulbs went off in my head and the ideas just kept coming. I managed to write a full document detailing the beginning, middle and end of my novel with a total of 2,000 words. I have to say, I felt very productive afterwards and now that I have finished the rewriting part, I can get to the fun bit.

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What Are You Reading Wednesday was created by RhiannaMarissa, and Kendall. The idea of What Are You Reading Wednesday is to create an online space for bookworms to chat, discuss and recommend their current reads. All you have to do is answer a few questions and link up with one of the host’s sites. So easy!

THE NITTY-GRITTY

Share the book/s you are reading with their author, maybe even the cover, and then answer these questions for at least one of them

  1. Why did you decide to pick up this book–cover or content?
  2. Who is your favourite character so far, and why?
  3. Will you finish this one?
  4. Finish the sentence: This book reminds me of…(other books, movies, tv shows…)
  5. What type of read is this one? (slow but interesting, cannot put it down…)

My Current Read

Glass Sword

This is the second instalment in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard.

1. Why did you decide to pick up this book – cover or content? 

Definitely the content, as I read the first book not that long ago. Although, the covers of this series do look beautiful as well (especially the fourth book, War Storm).

2. Who is your favourite character so far, and why? 

After having read the first novel, I still think that Mare is my favourite character for lots of reasons. She is stubborn and witty, getting stronger every day even when others would have crumbled.

3. Will you finish this one?

I wasn’t so sure in the beginning because I was struggling to get into the story again. But I’m only 100 pages in and I have to give it a chance to get better. After the last chapter I read, I will definitely be trying to finish it (I have the third one of my shelf, one that a lot of people liked).

4. Finish the sentence: This book reminds me of…(other books, movies, tv shows…)

In a way it reminds me of lots of dystopian books (The Hunger Games and Divergent for example) with the different factions, how people are separated and the war stricken world. They have a lot of the same features, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

5. What type of read is this one? (slow but interesting, cannot put it down…)

I am finding the second book a little slower than the first and it definitely seems more serious to me. I don’t want to give away too much in case someone hasn’t read it, but I am hoping that there will be more action later on as it started with a couple great chapters.

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What book are you currently reading at the moment? #whatareyoureadingwednesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This weeks topic is all do with the American holiday, Thanksgiving. While I don’t personally celebrate it as I live in the UK, I hope all my American followers will have a great day when it comes around. There is always something to be thankful for in life and I have a lot at the moment.

When it comes to choosing the books I am thankful for I had to think long and hard about it. I had to ask myself why am I thankful for them? Once I asked myself that question it became relatively easy to rattle them off. So here we go…

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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I have chosen this as my first book because without them I never would have gotten into reading YA. They were so new and different to anything I had read before and it was a turning point for me, especially when it came to growing up. You can read more about it in my blog post The Book That Made Me A Reader.

2. The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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This series of books is by far my favourite and I am so thankful that I read them. They are all incredible in their own way and the characters are so easy to fall in love with. I am actually planning on re-reading this series in 2018 at some point because it has been a while, but I will never forget the way they made me feel (I even cried at some points).

3. The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan

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I am thankful for this series in particular as it was the first that I read which was purely fantasy. While it is definitely not the best fantasy book I have read, it was the one that opened my eyes to a genre that has become my favourite. I may revisit these in the future and see it with some new perspective.

4. The House Of Night Series by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

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There seems to be a lot of vampire books on this list, but I am thankful for these in particular as they introduced me to other P. C. Cast books. The Goddess Summoning series were some of the first Adult novels that I read and I remember loving them, especially because they were based on Mythology.

5. Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Speaking of mythology, I am thankful to this series because it made me fall more in love with Greek mythology and books to do with them. They were so different when they came out and that was what I loved about them. Although, I never did finish off the series so a re-read may be in order so I can buy the rest.

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Ever since I picked this book up, it has been one of my favourites and I am so thankful for that because it made me aspire to be that amazing at writing. It was magical, with the most breathtaking descriptions and I just know I will be reading it again now I am older. It seems to be the perfect book to read around Christmas time.

7. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

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This book deserves a place on my list because it introduced me to thrillers. I had never thought much of them before reading The Girl On The Train, but it hooked me from the beginning and didn’t let me go. Hawkins is an incredible writer and knows how to keep you guessing, definitely worth reading!

8. Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

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I chose this book due to the fact that it showed me you can have a male POV and it can work, really well might I add. It was the first book I read where there wasn’t a female protagonist POV and it was a horror too, something I don’t normally read (but I do love horror movies). As well as this, it also made me love Kendare Blake’s writing and her latest series, Three Dark Crowns.

9. The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith

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I read this series after I started Twilight (I was into vampires at the time, but, having been published in 1991 it was around long before Twilight) and it was way before it was turned into the TV show that everyone loves. My reason for being thankful for this is that it led me to watching the show (even though there are so many differences between the two) and it is easily my all-time favourite show. Reading these books were an introduction, although I only read this series in full and the first in the Return series (There are 5 different series in total).

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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I, like everyone else, loved this series when it came out and couldn’t get enough! My reason for being thankful is that it introduced me to the dystopian genre, something that had an influence over one of the novels I wrote when I was younger. It was so different and unique, as well as daring and original. While I may not have agreed with who they chose to play the characters in the movies (they weren’t like the ones in my head) I will always love these books.

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I really hope you enjoyed reading my top 10 this Tuesday and if you have your own then leave a link below, I would love to check them out!

Having A Huge Book Clear Out

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After having moved out of my mum’s house a while ago and then moving back in recently to save for some money, I decided it was time to sort through all the books I had packed away in the garage. My decision to get back into reading and blogging spurred me on to look at all the books I had accumulated and decide if I really wanted to keep them all. Did I even need them all?

The answer to that question was no and as I stared at hundreds of books dotted on my floor, I knew it was going to be hard. I had no idea how hard though, because it was bloody tough! At the moment I only have one shelving unit to put my books on until I buy another and only being able to have so many meant I have to de-clutter.

Some were relatively easy to get rid of, such as those that I had bought years ago and when I read the blurb had no desire to read. I knew that someone else might feel differently so I added them to the charity bag. Others were because I had read the first book, disliked it, but had unfortunately bought more in the series (always a bad mistake, you should always wait to see if you like the first).

When it came to making a decision on what series to keep, I went with the ones that I had loved the most. Even though I don’t read them now, I had to keep the House Of Night series (for nostalgia), all the hardbacks I had bought (because they look gorgeous on my shelf) and there are a few that I want to re-read such as The Iron Fey series (because I can’t remember them now).

I know what you’re all thinking, how can I just get rid of them? My thinking is that if I am never going to read them, then what is the point in having them on my shelf? I let my sister have a browse to see if she wanted any of them and the rest will be sent to different charity stores. Not enough people read and if they can pick up a new book for cheap then why not help that happen?

I must say that my book shelf is looking lovely now, that much better that I might even consider showing it off in a blog post soon. Especially after Christmas when I can buy so many more (and a new shelving unit too)!

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When was the last time you unhauled a load of books from your life?

Wrapping Up The Week (13th Nov – 19th Nov)

Sometimes a week can go by at lightning speed and at other times it barely seems to move. This week was definitely the latter for me. It was jam-packed with job applications, meetings and interviews (sometimes multiple ones on the same day) and it involved a lot of waiting around. It wasn’t fun in the slightest. I feel like that has been reflected in the creative aspects of my life, with my writing at a standstill and feeling uninspired to pick up the book on my nightstand.

That’s the negatives, the positives of my week are that the interviews went relatively well and I have a feeling that one of them will want to hire me. It’s not everyday you have someone say “That was a really good interview” when you’re all done! I also managed to post quite a bit, finding a little spare time to draft up some posts and schedule them in.

Books I read and reviewed…

A Darker Shade Of Magic

I finally managed to post my review for A Darker Shade Of Magic, which you can check out here. This was a fantastic read and worthy of 5 stars. I’m already itching to go out and buy the rest, but I might just wait and ask for them at Christmas.

I am currently reading…

Glass Sword

I am still making my way through this, but I’m not into it. So I am very close to starting another, possibly Talon by Julie Kagawa, which I’ve heard some great things about. Plus, it’s the first in a season which means that if I like it, it’s an excuse to buy more books.

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Posts from the week…

Sherwood Forest: The Home Of Robin Hood

Being Nominated For The Sunshine Blogger Award

The Writer’s Tag

When Life Gets Stressful And The Writing Halts

I had a lot of fun writing these blog posts, especially The Writer’s Tag, and I even managed to get a little personal in the last one. Whenever I manage to pour my thoughts out it acts as therapy and hopefully it can help me in the long run. Don’t worry though, I’m not a fan of writing ranty posts, unless of course, you like that sort of thing.

Other Fun Stuff…

I am still making my way through Outlander, which I started a couple of weeks ago and I am still loving it. Not going to lie, I am definitely planning a trip to Scotland in the future, possibly next summer if possible! And the Scottish accent is growing on me too and is fairly easy to understand (but I am half Irish so I find it easy to understand accents).

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Fun fact about me is that I do enjoy a bit of gaming as well. It is actually something that my boyfriend got me into a while ago and with the release of Call Of Duty: WWII we have been playing it quite a bit. I wouldn’t say I’m the best but I do have good aim (according to him at least). I’m actually about to go and play a bit after I have finished writing this blog post.

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So, that was my week, but how has yours been? Hopefully it was full of some incredible books and creativity!