One Year Blogiversary & INTL. Giveaway

 

Guess what January 3rd was?

My Blogiversary

Guess who had no clue until I looked it up on January 3rd?

This girl.

So, I did a Twitter poll, and a few people did it, so it’s been decided that today I’ll do my blogiversary post and celebrate by…

Giving you all a tour of my bookshelves.

Prepare yourselves, we still haven’t really worked out how many shelves we need and we’re still trying to find space to put all this crap that we own so the pictures will be scary in the sense that there’s no sense of order, it’s just chaos. Pure chaos. And mess.

Also, to celebrate my blogiversary I would like to do an international giveaway for a book depository gift card worth £10. It’s not much but I wanted to do something, and I promise there’ll be more giveaways to come this year.

My Bookshelves

First up, my Ikea cube shelf, which, I’m not putting a full picture of because it’s basically blocked by random game consoles and accessories and random pairs of shoes…oh…and a drill. [Looking right at it as I type, shuddering as I realize how messy I am]

 

The Cube shelf is mostly for my YA books as they’re the ones I own the most of, but we also have had to use this shelf for board games and puzzles and videogames which is why everything’s so smooshed in it. Oh and random videos apparently. Yea, that’s right that bottom right corner picture is Star Wars IV-VI on VHS. Boom.

I try to kinda keep it by genre, generally, but this go it’s literally been like ‘if it it fits, it sits’

You’ll note a Harry Potter lego set, may I just say that was a Christmas present to myself and the husband from my sister-in-law? She knows me too well.

I…I can’t get over how messy this all is! I couldn’t even take a picture of one of the cubes cause it was blocked by so much shite. Bahaha. Okay upward and onward [well downward shelf wise]

On the plus side, these shelves are slightly neater? Maybe?

Anyway, I have a whole shelf dedicated to Cassandra Clare cause she turns out books like I eat chocolates. Also, Mortal Instruments holds a special place in my heart as it was the first YA series I really read after the Harry Potter books.

I also have some books I’ve bought for the spawn AND myself, and I’ve kept them here for now such as Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson [not pictured here]. The Worst Teachers book is hers too, spawn prefers humorous books and graphic/comic books, I love seeing her develop her own tastes. Anyway, you’ll also see I have a cube of manga, that’s right, all manga there, and it’s three rows deep of manga lol. [Why does that sound dirty?]  I’m actually surprised by how many books I’ve actually read in these four cubes, go me, but haha the rest is all like 50% read, 50% forgot I owned.

Onto the other shelf in our tiny living room!

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Fortunately, this one is public appropriate to show you the full shelf lol. You’ll notice this is mostly classics, and hey, what can I say, I do love classics, as does the husband so this is more our shelf whereas the black cubicle one is definitely like all me lol.

I also love to collect older books so the first few shelves are the ones I find in charity shops while the bottom shelf as like our B&N pretty editions lol

And now we’re off to the basement/ground level!

 

Here we have historical fiction, ‘chick lit’ and more classics. As well as one set of my HP books and my Tamora Pierce books. ❤ The bottom shelf is like all Agatha Christie behind those other mystery books.

On the right we have….wait for it, nonfiction. There are reference books for musicology studies and the general nonfiction that the hubs and I can both bond over. Except he reads boring things like Napoleon stuff while I’m like ‘hey let’s read about actors and the Romanov dynasty’ lol.

Where will we go next? To our bedroom! [Bookshelves only, pervs]

Now, the bottom right picture is actually a different shelf, it’s a small one we keep our TBR books on, and you know, whatever else needs to go on there. You’ll spy Wolf Light and Curses & Kisses on the top of that shelf, I’m so excited to read those lol. The taller shelf holds signed/special edition books and my husband’s Hemingway and philosophy books as they’re important to him ❤

I know I’ve got multiple editions of some books on there, but, these books really made an impression on me so I have more than one copy.

I’ve got Goldsboro and Illumicrate editions of Kingdom of Souls, Fairyloot editions of Girls of Storm and Shadow, The Beautiful, The Merciful Crow, and Serpent and Dove on the first shelf. There’s also the Goldsboro editions of The Gods of Jade and Shadow and Aurora Rising. Pan’s Labyrinth is a signed Forbidden Planet edition, and that’s the Waterstones exclusive edition of The Deathless Girls. The rest of the books are regular editions but they’re all signed and most are personalized to me, they’re the authors I’ve been lucky enough to meet!

Second and third shelf are mostly Waterstones or even Barnes and Noble special editions, and more signed by the author/signed bookplate books. There’s also a Faecrate edition of The Red Labyrinth because I really thought that book was awesome and underrated. Finally the bottom shelf, I want to point out my Goldsboro and Illumicrate editions of Blood Heir, man, I thought that book was pretty great.

There we go, I have shown you all my horribly messy bookshelves, and consider these all ‘before’ photos as we are going to be getting wall/floating shelves for the mess that is the living room.

One Year

I’ve met so many amazing people, and read so many equally amazing books, that I can’t imagine my life without some part of the bookish community. I’ve joined street teams, I’ve found friends, met lovely people in publishing, authors, and book reviewers who have influenced my bookshelves.

I could go on and on about what I’ve done, but I already did a year in review, I read a lot, over 240+ books, put up over 174 book review posts, participated in readathons, blog tours, and Book Ending events, and really all that I can think to write about is how happy it’s all made me and how much fun I’ve had. This is all thanks to the people I’ve encountered and without them, there wouldn’t be this post.

Wouldn’t be here without you either.

Sending love and wishing you all the best, let’s see what another year will do on this blog. [Still updating my Patreon stuff, and will be bringing back Comparing Notes, just for starters]

Now onto the important stuff!

Giveaway Information

Giveaway is for a 10 gift card for book depository, it is open internationally, to be entered for it just comment on my blog OR F/RT the tweet about it. That’s it! [If you comment on here but don’t want to be entered in the giveaway for any reason, just state that you’d like to be exempt]

 

 

My Great Reads of 2019

 

So these are books I read, in general, this year, they may have come out this year, they may have come out before, but, I wanted to just give you all a bit of a highlights reel of books I didn’t get to include on the other lists whether because they didn’t fit the genre or because I just loved too many of a certain genre lol, either way, here are some of my favorites.

 

YA Fantasy/Scifi

The Fever King

Shadow of the Fox

Soul of the Sword

Heart of Mist

Reign of Mist

The Phantom Forest

Spin the Dawn

We Hunt the Flame

A Spark of White Fire

Tiger Queen

Realm of Knights

The Deathless Girls

Gravemaidens

Tears of Frost

Girls of Paper and Fire

The Last Namsara

The Sky Weaver

This Mortal Coil

Fawkes

Blood Heir

The Weight of a Soul

Sorcery of Thorns

Reverie

Contemporary

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Postscript

YA Contemporary

Becoming Beatriz

Coral

The Naseby Horses

 

Mystery/Thriller/Crime

Dead Man’s Blues

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

The Devil Upstairs

A Death in Harlem

Starve Acre

Fantasy/Scifi

Anna Undreaming

The Bird King

The Little Snake

The Heart of Stone

The Veiled Threat

Lost Solace

Angel Mage

The Black Hawks

Practical Magic

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Graphic Novels

Horizontal Collaboration

Bloodlust & Bonnets

 

Other

The Art of Taxidermy

Women’s Weird

Foxfire, Wolfskin

Pursuit: The Balvenie Stories Collection

The Company of Eight [MG Fantasy]

Sense and Sensibility

Historical Fiction

The Pursuit of William Abbey

The Crown Agent

The Penelopiad

 

And here are the ones I will be screaming about again and again because that’s how good they are:

Crown of Feathers

[^There’s going to be a readalong of this starting very soon!^]

The Return of King Lillian

A House of Rage and Sorrow

Kingdom of Souls

Girls of Storm and Shadow

House of Salt and Sorrows

The Penelopiad Review

 

 

The Penelopiad

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GoodReads:
Now that all the others have run out of air, it’s my turn to do a little story-making.
In Homer’s account in The Odyssey, Penelope—wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy—is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumors, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and—curiously—twelve of her maids.
In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” In Atwood’s dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the story-telling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality—and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

Canongate feeds my addiction to their Canon myths, and I couldn’t be happier with my dealer of choice lolol.

But honestly, I do love fiction like this, where it’s quiet, where it demands attention to every page, and it reworks an idea that people haven’t dared to touch in centuries. Not to say there haven’t been adaptations of The Odyssey but this was my first read of one and I was so delighted that this was focused on Penelope.

She was held to such a high standard in some myths, the epitome of what a wife should be. But she was also seen in another light as someone who was unfaithful to her husband, and ‘evil’ for it. [Despite the fact that we know that man was the definition of like a man-slut. But hey, double standards…FUCK THE PATRIARCHY, okay back to my review]

Atwood is a fantastic author, I have always admired her, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is such a provocative and important read to me personally, and so I knew she would do this story justice.

It’s not about the plot, it’s not about action or really the Odyssey, this is about Penelope, her background, her life as the wife of someone who was so admired, and what her presence faces in consequence of it all.

Atwood knocks it out of the park with her take of Penelope and the twelve maids who serve as the traditional Greek chorus interspersed throughout the novel.

Penelope is able to speak freely which is representative of our more modern times [well how it should be, but I’ll get off my soapbox] she’s able to present to us how things were seen through such a male perspective and how this cost twelve maids their lives. But she’s not entirely free of persecution in this, she must ‘live’ with her own guilt.

The story is short but it’s a languid read, you don’t have to rush through it, you can take your time on the story, and reflect in what Penelope is laying out our feet.

I adored this, and because of its slow pacing and the fact that the drive and focus of this is just Penelope being able to tell us her side of things, it’s not a novel with a particular plot.

I loved it, it was amazing for me, not for everyone, but amazing for me nonetheless and I gave it four huge cups of hot chocolate. Thank you to Canongate for the copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Boy Next Story Blog Tour

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Synopsis:
The second book in a series where your favorite literary characters come to life, inspired by the timeless classic, Little Women!
There’s no one better than the boy next door. At least not according to Aurora Campbell, fourteen, who has been in love with Tobias May since their very firstsandbox kiss. The problem is, he’s in love with her older sister, Merrilee. And Merri is already dating one of his best friends.
Rory is learning all about pining as her class reads The Great Gatsby, a book she doesn’t find “great” at all. Also not great—her GPA, something she needs to fix, quickly, if she’d like to apply for the chance to spend a week studying art with her hero in New York City over winter break. But when Ms. Gregoire assigns her to read Little Women for extra credit, Rory discovers more than she expected—both about herself and Toby. Maybe she wasn’t in love with the boy next door. . . but the boy next story.
Loveis complicated, and it’s all about to get even trickier for Rory at Reginald R. Hero Prep . . . where with the help of one quirky English teacher, students’ fantasies come true, often with surprising consequences.
BOOK INFORMATION
The Boy Next Story (Bookish Boyfriends #2) by Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks
Release Date: May 21st 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
GoodReads Link

Where to Buy the Book

Amazon  Book Depository  Barnes&Noble  iTunes  Google Books

My Review

For those of you who may have peeked at my blog before, you’ll notice it’s not common for me to have contemporary books at least outside of the thriller or mystery field but when I read the blurb for this book and saw a chance to sign up for the blog tour, I knew I had to read it.

And guess what?

I’m so glad I did.

That will be my only gif use for this blog entry.

Schmidt does such a WONDERFUL job with intertwining a classic novel with a modern-day YA story, I know that 16 years old me would have somehow loved this even more than I’m not telling you my age me did.

While Aurora, or Rory as she prefers, I would say I’m half Merri half Rory of the sisters but I digress, is a freshman in high school and it’s been a while since I was, she was still so relatable! She is an introvert to a T and it was nice and she didn’t act as if she were oblivious to the fact that she was awkward but she also didn’t constantly harp on that fact. She was just a freshman switching to a new school and learning to deal with quite average teenage problems.

Another thing Schmidt does an amazing thing with is that she’s built such a fantastic cast of characters. The parents may not always understand their daughters but it’s clear they love them and are quite supportive, especially their Dad with Rory’s art. Rory’s sisters are loveable and frustrating at times and well, to be honest, they made me miss my sisters a lot haha.

If you’ve read the first book in this series, you’ll know their amazingly fabulous English teacher is the sort of person who knows just what her students need and she gives Rory Little Women and if you’ve read that book, or seen the movie or even just heard about it, you may know that it is not just a book with a love story or two, it’s a book about sisters. And sisters can be an important part of your life, especially when growing up.

Rory begins to discover what loving someone really means, it’s more than just getting what you think you want, it’s about loving them for who they truly are.

The fact that Schmidt seamlessly switches between the parallels of Rory and Amy made the story flow so well I forgot that this was intertwining two different worlds. It’s always really important for me to have something besides romance in a book, and the sisterly love and the trials of Rory’s first semester of freshman year really did the trick for me. More than that…I am a gushy fan girl about this and absolutely adored the romance aspects as well. This never happens, and I’m so excited to go back and read the first book and wait for the next.

Honestly, please go read this if you want a story about love trials, sisters, high school, and learning to let yourself be, well, yourself.

5/5 Cups of Coffee from me, but now onto the next part…

I got to make a playlist!

This is the first time I’ve done one to a book instead of my own writing so I was super hyped.

Without further ado here is my The Boy Next Story playlist!

  1. You Picked Me – A Fine Frenzy
  2.  Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
  3.  Make Me Yours – Beth Crowley
  4.  Gimme Sympathy – Metric
  5. Sinners – Lauren Aquilina
  6. Medicine – Havelin
  7. Slow Fade – The Clicks, Cece Francis
  8.  When I was Younger – Liz Lawrence
  9.  Let My Love Be Heard – Phoenix Chamber Choir
  10.  Night Sky – Matthew Parker
  11.  Every Time We Touch – Cascada
  12.  I Choose You – Sarah Bareilles
  13.  Fidelity – Regina Spektor
  14.  Brave Enough (feat. Christina Perri) – Lindsey Stirling
  15.  Cradled in Love – Poets of the Fall

About the Author

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Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family book 1). She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. You can find out more about her and her books at:

Website  Goodreads  Twitter  Tumblr  Instagram  Facebook

Tour Schedule

[Please click on the picture to be redirected to the full schedule post!]

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GIVEAWAY PRIZE

Win a copy of BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS: THE BOY NEXT STORY byTiffany Schmidt (US Only)

Start Date: 21stMay 2019
End Date: 4thJune 2019

Click Below for Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86368/?

For more entry opportunities check out the Instagram giveaway on my page which you can find your way to through the widget on the right side. ->

 

Charity Shop Finds!

Hey all

It’s Sunday, I’m picking my daughter up from her Brownies trip and yesterday we had an unexpected charity shop spree. We went to one but it was just choc-full of amazing books. So.

We did it. That was our adventurous thing to do while the daughter is away, buy books.

Also, I forgot to show these off last week:

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These are actually from last Sunday, we were dropping off a stack of books, came home with four.
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These are actually from last Sunday, we were dropping off a stack of books, came home with four.

The total from last Sunday was £4.49

Finally, the ones from today

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We were able to pick up a couple of more classics that matched some we already have. Grabbed some great nonfiction reads, and well, went overboard. But we hadn’t really planned on buying books today and the shop was all the way in Edinburgh so we wouldn’t be back to that part of the city anytime soon. We live in Fife and if we go into Edinburgh it’s usually for shows or the museum.

  • The Diary of Anne Frank £2.00
  • The French Revolution, Christopher Hibbert £2.00
  • The French Revolution £4.00
  • The Russian Revolution 1917-1932 £2.00
  • Naming Jack the Ripper £4.00
  • Bletchley Circle £2.00
  • The World According to Garp £2.00
  • The Way of the Flesh £2.00
  • Usher Hall £2.00
  • Lenin £2.00
  • The Happy Prince and Other Stories £1.50
  • Count Karlstein £1.50
  • Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut) £2.00
  • The Little World of Don Camillo £2.00
  • The Wife of Bath £2.00

A total of £33.00 for today

Come about October/November I’ll probably have donated at least a 1/3 of everything I’ve been buying lately.

Anyway, that’s it, not much of a post but I’m always excited to share our finds.

Charity Shop Finds!

It’s time for another Charity Shop Fiiiiiinds!

I know it probably seems like these are weekly, the truth of the matter is that it probably is a regular occurrence for us, but, when you have a family of three and are trying to save but still want to be able to go out and not spend a fortune, this is what ends up happening.

On the plus side, I’ve made it my goal to tackle my donate TBR after pushing through my eARCs which, I’m doing okay with my pace, so, I’m hoping this summer will be the tackling of my physical TBR! [*laughs at self, knowing I’ll keep requesting on NetGalley*]

Hubs had a day off this week and we went out to buy me a jacket, but popped into a couple of charity shops to kill time, we ended up with these finds:

  • James Stewart Biography (3.25) [He is my favorite actor. Ever.]
  • Ben-Hur .50P
  • The Lady Midnight .50P [This has some faded sprayed edges but in otherwise good condition, but I’m too lazy to put photos of these as they’ve already been put away]

Then this weekend we got:

  • The Alienist [I had borrowed it from the library when I read it, but it was part of a sale, 3 for 1.50]
  • Sparkling Cyanide 3 for 1.50
  • And Then There Were None 3 for 1.50
  • Artemis Fowl 3 for 1.50
  • Kidnapped 3 for 1.50
  • Little Women 3 for 1.50 [This one completed my daughter’s set of classics!]
  • The Bear and the Nightingale 1.00
  • Gulliver’s Travels 2.00 [We liked this copy better and will donate our other copy next weekend!]
  • Ever After High 2.00 [Daughter fled with that one so no pic of it lol]
  • The Good Women of China 1.00
  • A History of Scotland 1.00
  • Frankenstein .50P
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea .50P
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes .50P
  • The Secret Garden .50P

So, we spent about 12.00!

It’s going to be a long March Haul post when I get to it…

Charity Shop Finds!

I swear this will not be every Sunday, in fact, we’re swearing off the High Street until next pay period and even then we’re not going crazy again.  [Or so we say pahaha]

So what did we grab this past Saturday??

 

Mini-Spawn also got two books of her own, a mini guide to Venice [My Mother is Venetian and she is a very proud Nonna at the moment lol] and her free book for World Book Day which I’ll be talking about more this week.

So instead of having full sized pics like the other times, I thought this might be a bit less scrolling for you all! So! We did not spend more than 1.50 for any of the books you see here! Overall we spent about 12 pounds.

Mary Stewart writes the Merlin series I’m tackling this year (Arthurian Saga technically) but she also wrote mysteries and I really wanted to check them out. Probably about 2-4 of these will go back to donation!.

The ones where there’s no title that you can see are: The one with the geometric cover is The LIght and the Dark, the one next to it is War and Peace, we own this but the cover’s too pretty to pass up lol, and the faded blue one is part of a favorite saga of mine, The Forsyte Saga; In Chancery. There we have it! Books, books everywhere! I have no idea where I am supposed to put them all??? Not to mention I have my books from Amazon coming [This is not the usual, I haven’t bought new books in like years on my own lol].

Anyone read any of these or score any deals of your own you wanna share??

**Also, when is a good time to do a first giveaway, should it be here or on Instagram, should it be after a certain number of followers? I’m asking because I’m most likely about to have two copies of Priory of the Orange Tree and if that happens I might save it for a giveaway.**