March Wrap-Up post!

Monthly Wrap Up post Copyrighted

March has been a tough month in my personal life due to my medication changes. It’s hard to get across just how difficult it is to have a condition that requires medication to manage symptoms, and how the medication then causes problems in itself. I’ve been on very strong pain medication since before I was diagnosed and now I know my condition will never improve, and may even worsen over time, I want to make the best of what I’m left with. So I took the decision to try and reduce my pain medication, in spite of the severe pain I live with. This has been a long term reduction programme and it’s been going ok. It was in March that I got to a low enough dose that I’m struggling. I do have other things that I do to help me manage my pain but it’s taken all my reserves of mental strength to cope. It’s only going to get worse over the coming weeks and I just have to prepare myself as best I can. Once I’m off this medication my pain levels will be assessed again and it may be that I end up on a different medication but I just want to see what I can cope with.

Here are the 22 books I read this month:

Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt

Forever Yours by Daniel Glauttauer

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

Willow Walk by SJI Holliday

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

And the Sun Shine Now by Adrian Tempany

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

Hillsborough Untold by Norman Bettison


March Blog Posts & Reviews

I wrote my regular Weekly Wrap-Ups, Stacking the Shelves, and WWW Wednesday posts. Then I also managed to review twelve books, which I’m pleased about. It was my aim from the start of March to post three reviews a week on average and I’ve managed that. Ideally, I’d post more reviews than this but three feels manageable along side the regular posts I do each week (health permitting of course)

Here are my reviews that I shared in March:

Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel 

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris 

The Escape by C. L. Taylor

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman by Mindy Mejia

Sometimes I lie by Alice Feeney

The Best We Could Do by Thi But

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I also shared a great guest post in March:

Mark Stewart, author of The Absence of Wings, wrote a post for my blog all about speaking up for the voiceless in his short story collection


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The state of my TBR:

I’ve had a few people ask my about my TBR recently so I just want to clarify that my TBR consists purely of books that I already own. I don’t count wish list books as TBR. This goes for anywhere that you see my TBR so if you look at my Goodreads the books listed as ‘to read’ are all books that I own. Hence the need to reduce it – if these books were just wish list books I wouldn’t be bothered how big the list was.

The State of my TBR is not great at the moment. I’ve demonstrated a lack of willpower throughout March and my TBR is creeping up, and is now higher than it was at the start of January!

I started this year with 1885 books on my TBR, and was doing well for the first couple of months as in February my TBR was down to 1861. However, in March a combination of a couple of giveaway wins, review copies arriving, a kindle book sale and spending my birthday book vouchers my TBR has now increased to 1913! I was a bit shocked when I realised how much my TBR has grown in the course of a month.

I don’t want to stop buying books but I do think I need to get better at not buying so many books each week. I’d at least like to try and not acquire more than I can read in a month so that my TBR would then remain steady, so that’s what I’m going to try and do in March. Wish me luck (or maybe that should read wish my willpower!!)

I also want to get in the habit of regularly going through my TBR and making sure that I’m only keeping the books that I still want to read. I’m thinking this should be something I do every month, or at least every quarter.


Quarterly Stats!

I’ve been tracking my reading using a spreadsheet since the start of 2017, which is the first time I’ve ever done this and I’m really enjoying seeing how various aspects of my reading are going. So I’ve decided that at the end of every quarter (March, June, September and December) I’m going to add an extra section to those monthly wrap-ups to share some of the things I’ve noticed in my reading patterns.

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I’ve read 71 books from January to March, and that amounts to 23,326 pages. I’m finding it really interesting to track pages read alongside books read as it shows that I’m not just reading short books to get my numbers up. The longest book I’ve read so far this year is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which has 849 pages. My average page count is 326, which is around the length of an average book so I’m pleased with that. 

I’m pleased to discover that in the first three months of this year that 65% of the books I’ve read have been by women. The diversity of my reading in other areas could be improved – I would like to read more work in translation, and also more books written in own voices but I’m otherwise pleased with the breadth of what I’ve been reading.

 

 

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I’ve read from a variety of genres and am happy that of 71 books read, 21 have been non-fiction/memoir so far. I wanted to try and make sure that around a third of what I read this year was non-fiction so I’m not far off being on track for that.

 

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I’ve also kept track of how I acquire my books so thought it would be interesting to show that here as well. Over half of the books I’ve got this year were ones I bought myself, and quite a few have been given to me as gifts. The percentage of review books are the smaller number.

 

 

 

 

All in all I’m pleased with how my reading, reviewing and blogging has been in March. I’m aware that I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling during April so I’m not planning too much in the way of reading or blogging goals. I’ll read when I can and review when I can and see how it goes. I am going to be taking part in a couple of blog tours so am already reading those books so I can get the posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ll be using any good spells of health to read and review and write blog posts so I’m hoping to have regular content on here even if I’m not around quite as much in reality.

 

How was your March? I hope you all had a good month and that you read good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

Weekly Wrap-Up (26 March)

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

This week I’ve not done much as I’m physically struggling with the adjustments to my pain medication. I’ve been in need of distraction so have been trying to get some long-overdue reviews posted on my blog, and also have been reading and listening to books.

This week I’ve finished reading five books:

Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a lovely book and I really enjoyed reading all the stories from various people who knew David Bowie. The photos are great too. I’d recommend this to David Bowie fans.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I just finished reading this yesterday and found it such a moving novel. I’ve already written my review so that’ll be up on my blog tomorrow if you’d like to read it.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

I really enjoyed reading this book – it really does bring back so many memories from the 90s. Some great memories and some not so good but it is a journey on how we, as a society, got from there to here. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who is around the age of 40.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I listened to the audio of this book and very much enjoyed it. The narrater was great and I found the book easy to listen to. It’s a novel that really gives you a lot to think about though – every time I stopped the book I found I was thinking about all of the issues and ideas that I’d just been reading about. I can see why this book won the Man Booker last year, and I would absolutely recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

This book is so refreshing to read because it’s such a modern concept – a novel told in a series of podcasts! I enjoyed it and will be looking out to see what the author writes next.

This week I’ve blogged six times:

Sunday: Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday: Review of Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

Tuesday: Review of The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

Wednesday: WWW Wednesdays

Friday: Review of The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves

 

This is what I’m currently reading:

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This is my current audio book and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had the book on my TBR since the end of last year and now I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner because it’s so good. It’s an interesting premise for a novel and has a very strong message throughout.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is such a good read – if it wasn’t such a big paperback I’m sure I’d have read it in one or two sittings but I’m just physically struggling to hold it at the moment. I do keep thinking about it when I’m not reading and when I do manage to read some of it, it feels like a treat. The black humour running through this novel is brilliant.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ve managed to read a few more chapters of this week and am hoping to be able to finish it this week. It’s such a fascinating and horrifying book, the only reason I’ve not read it sooner is because I’ve not had the concentration for heavier non-fiction in recent weeks. I’d absolutely recommend this though.

 

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Update on my TBR…

TBR at the start of January 2017: 1885 (see my State of the TBR post)

TBR in last week’s Wrap-Up: 1882

Additions:

Books bought/received for review/gifts: 15 

Subtractions:

Books read this week: 5

Books I’m currently reading: 3

TBR Books culled this week: 0

Total:

TBR now stands at: 1895

 


 

I’m linking this post up to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Blog Share.  It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

 


 

How has your week been? What have you been reading? Please share in the comments below. If you write a wrap-up on your blog please feel free to share the link. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (22 March) What are you reading?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now:

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

This book is so good. I’m really loving it – I want to try and read it slowly because I’m enjoying it so much but it’s calling to me to just read it all in one go.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

I can’t believe I’ve left this on my TBR for four months before picking it up because it’s such a good read. I started reading it last night and I can’t wait to get back to it today.

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse

This is a book that was sent to me as a complete surprise so I didn’t really know what it was about. I picked it up this week and am finding it a really good read – it’s got a lot of dark humour in it but it’s great.

Now We Are 40 by Tiffanie Darke

This is still such an enjoyable read. It’s covering a wide-range of topics relating mainly to the 90s, some good and some not-so good but it’s really interesting.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I’m still reading this on and off. It’s a good read and I’m finding that I’m enjoying it whilst I’m reading it but when I put it down it isn’t calling me back to it.

A Portrait of Bowie by Brian Hiatt

This is a book that is really lovely to dip in and out of. It has gorgeous photos of David Bowie and recollections of him from various friends and collaborators from various points in his life.

One of Us by Asne Seierstad

I’ll be honest, I haven’t picked this up in the last week so it maybe shouldn’t be in this post. It’s a brilliant book, I’ve just not been in the right frame of mind to read heavier non-fiction but I definitely want to keep reading this as soon as I feel better. Hopefully it won’t be long.

What I recently finished reading:

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

I finished listening to this audio book yesterday and very much enjoyed it. It was easy to read and yet really kept making me pause for thought at what I was reading. I can see why this won the Man Booker last year.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

I was engrossed in this book for most of Monday. I really enjoyed reading a book set out as podcasts. I’m debating whether to review this or not on my blog, I feel like I have a fair bit to say but there are already a lot of reviews of this out there.

The Cutaway by Christina Kovac

I loved this book. It felt refreshingly different to me to have a book set in a newsroom, and to see a news producer investigating a crime. I reviewed this on Tuesday so you read my full thoughts here if you’d like to.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

This was an enjoyable listen but I think I enjoyed it more for listening to the audio with my husband as it was good to discuss it with him. I found myself getting annoyed by Phil Collins’s lack of consideration for each of his wives but the stories he tells of early in his career, and of Live Aid are really interesting.

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub

I really enjoyed this book and found it really opened my eyes to some of my own issues with keeping things. I reviewed this on my blog on Monday so feel free to check that out here if you’d like to know more.

The Trophy Child by Paula Daly

I read this over a couple of days at the end of last week and really enjoyed it. I hope to get my review written and posted soon but in the meantime I do recommend it.

What I plan on reading next:

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

I’ve had a review copy of this on my TBR since the end of 2016 so I think it’s time I started reading. It sounds like a really gripping read.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I bought this at the weekend with my birthday vouchers and I’m really keen to read it so I’m putting it on my up next pile.

 


What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

See my latest book haul in this week’s Stacking the Shelves post! (18 Feb)

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

I got 19 new ebooks this week:

The first ten of these new ebooks are all from the same publisher – the fabulous Orenda Books. Some of these I already own in paperback and others are new to me but I couldn’t resist buying them in the sale earlier this week as all were just 99p each! I’m really looking forward to all ten of these books and hope to start at least one of them during the next week.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb

Epiphany Jones by Michael Grothaus

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

Cursed by Thomas Enger

Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson

Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson

Sealskin by Su Bristow

We Shall Inherit the Wind by Gunnar Staalesen

Where Roses Never Died by Gunnar Staalesen

 

 

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

This was the Kindle Daily Deal yesterday so I snapped it up as it’s been on my wishlist for a while. It sounds like quite a heavy read so I may not read it right away but as soon as my head is in the right space I will be picking this up.

Witness by Caroline Mitchell

This was available as part of Kindle Unlimited so when I spotted it I immediately downloaded it. I’m really looking forward to reading this and don’t think it’ll be on my TBR for long!

Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate

I’d not heard of this book before yesterday but when I read EmmasBookishCorner’s fab review I immediately went and bought a Kindle copy. It sounds like exactly the sort of book I’m craving at the moment so I plan on reading this very, very soon!

 

The following six books are all review books that I received or was approved for this week:

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

I was so excited to be approved for this on NetGalley this week. I love Rowan Coleman’s novels anyway but this new one sounds absolutely wonderful. I can’t wait to read it.

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

I’m really enjoying thrillers and crime novels at the moment so I was thrilled to get a review copy of this book. I’m sure it won’t be on my TBR for very long!

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

I spotted this book in a recent NetGalley email and although I hadn’t heard of it before the premise sounds brilliant and very intriguing. I was so pleased to be approved to read it and plan to read it very soon.

The End of the Day by Claire North

This book sounds like a really good read so when I spotted it on the read now section of NetGalley I couldn’t resist downloading it.

All The Good Things by Clare Fisher

This sounded like a really lovely novel about reminding ourselves of the good things that we still have when life is a mess. I think it’ll be one I read soon.

Rest in Power by Tracy Martin

This is non-fiction about the life of Trayvon Martin. I first heard about it on another blog and thought it sounded interesting. The book wasn’t on NetGalley to request at the time but my wish was granted. I’m reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment so this one will be high on my list to read soon.

 

And 2 new audio books:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I already have the kindle version of this book but when I saw the audio version on the Audible Daily Deal this week I couldn’t resist. I’m really enjoying audio books at the moment so thought this would be a good one to listen to.

The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After by Jenny Colgan

I bought this on another Audible Daily Deal this week as it sounded like a fun, comforting listen. I’ve always had a soft spot for Jenny Colgan’s novels so hope to get to this soon.

 


 

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.