top ten tuesday

Books On My TBR I’m Excited To Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is a freebie and I’m going with Books on my TBR I’m excited to read

Catharine Arnold – Necropolis: London and It’s Dead
Travis Baldree – Legends and Lattes
Jared Diamond – Guns, Germs & Steel
Mira Grant – Feed
Emily Henry – Book Lovers

Seanan McGuire – Rosemary and Rue
Julia Quinn – The Duke and I
Matt Ridley – Genome
Rosie Talbot – Sixteen Souls
Nancy Warren – Stitches and Witches

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Something I’m Proud Of Doing

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge asks something I’m proud of doing and honestly I’ve got so much recently. 

For a little background, I have agoraphobia, GAD and various other anxiety issues. I leave the house as little as possible, and over the last 3 years, it’s been much worse. I have been in and out of therapy for 30 years, my most recent was last year and it was incredibly helpful. I’m also medicated for my depression and anxiety, although not my ADHD. Please don’t offer any medical advice. 

Just after Christmas, Li and I caught the train to Exeter. I have not been on a train in maybe 6 or 7 years. I got very panicky as the train was late and more people arrived at the station, I was terrified to start but the train was relatively empty and I started to relax.

Our first stop was into a Waterstones. Because of the sale, when I stepped in I got a bit panicky due to the sheer number of people at the entrance, but once we passed the sales tables and up to the first floor… OMG WOW. I was in book heaven y’all. We grabbed a drink and a cake from the cafe then set about exploring the shop. As you may recall, between this Waterstones (and the second one we found at the end of the day), around £200 on books and it was amazing!

The main reason we were in Exeter though was to have a meal at Yo!Sushi. We both love sushi and neither of us had been for far too long – although my Tesco now has a Yo! counter. I had pre-booked us a table and bought a gift card in the sales, so we had a budget of £100. The menu had changed slightly so a couple of my favourites weren’t available, which was a bit sadly and while I mostly stuck to things I knew I liked, I actually tried a few new things… and only didn’t eat one of them because it was a weird texture. 

We wandered around for a bit, had a quick look in Bird & Blend, CEX, and Game… then discovered the second Waterstones before catching the train home.

A couple of weeks later, we went back to Exeter to go to the museum – there was an exhibition on the history of medicine that we both wanted to see and was finishing in January. So back onto the train, into Exeter and this is where I’m super proud of myself. See, one of my Big Goals when starting therapy was that I wanted to go to a museum, because I love them but too many people, closed spaces, etc. We managed to walk around most of the museum, even though there was a school party of very wee ones in there as well. We had to skip one room because of them, and at one point I had to run away out of another because I was feeling closed in but other than that… I had a very happy nerd. And they had a mummy which was so cool!

We still had some money left on the Yo! voucher, so we had some more sushi for lunch. We went into Build-A-Bear because Li wanted her Yoshi to have more stuffing in it. We ended up back in Waterstones (don’t look at me like that!) where I bought… more books. Another £100 or so worth. Because books. Our last stop was Bird & Blend where we spoke to the mixologists, and talked about what I did like, they recommended a few things to try, and I bought a few sample packs. By this point, I was hurting, so we limped back to the train station in time to miss our train – sat in Costa with a hot chocolate and a cake before the train home

So yeah, super proud of myself for that and hoping to try and continue the momentum into 2023!

top ten tuesday

New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is ‘ New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022

Taylor Jenkins Reid – The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo
I have now bought Malibu Rising and have checked Daisy Jones & The Six out of the library

Matt Haig – The Comfort Book, Notes on A Nervous Planet, Reasons To Stay Alive, How To Stop Time
I’ve preferred his non-fiction stuff so far, but I did buy Humans on Kindle for 99p, and The Midnight Library has been on my radar to read for a while

Sarah Penner – The Lost ApothecaryI am so excited for London Seance Society that I have pre-ordered it. I can’t remember the last time I pre-ordered a book. Possibly… Harry Potter

Sarah J Maas – A Court Of Thorns & Roses
I got the first couple out of the library but fell in love so much I ended up buying the whole series on Kindle. Haven’t actually finished them though, but they are in my goals for this year. 

Mira Grant – Parasite, Symbiont & Chimera
SO much love! Feed is on my Kindle waiting for me to read. I’ve also got Every Heart A Doorway and want to read more of her work too

Holly Black – Tithe, The Cruel Prince
Not quite as much love for Tithe, didn’t care to finish the series.  A fair amount for Cruel Prince. I’ll finish the series, not sure I will actively seek out any more of her books, but won’t turn them away if I come across them. 

Joanna Hickson – First OF the Tudors
How am I supposed to resist someone who writes Wars Of the Roses historical fiction? And I definitely want to check out more of her work

Nancy Warren – The Vampire Knitting Club
One of my favourite reads of the year, I have the next couple of books in this series on my Kindle, and the first books in a couple of others of her series as well!

Alexandria Bellefleur – Written In The Stars
OMG so much love, another contender for best book of the year. I had it out of the library, returned it then bought both books! 

V E Schwab – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
I am on the wait-list at the library for Gallant and A Darker Shade of Magic, but they’re so popular right now. I’ll hopefully get to read another one at some point. 

top ten tuesday

Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023 and, I have to admit, I generally don’t pay much attention to what’s upcoming and genuinely have no idea what’s out there right now. So I took a look at the new releases on GoodReads and Waterstones and the following have all caught my attention and given me grabbyhands

Guy de la Bédoyère – Pharaohs of the Sun: How Egypt’s Despots and Dreamers Drove the Rise and Fall of Tutankhamun’s Dynasty
Alexandria Bellefleur – The Fiancée Farce
Kate Clayborn – Georgie, All Along
Talia Hibbert – Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
Sarah Penner – The London Seance Society

Jennifer Saint – Atalanta
Benjamin Stevenson – Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone
Susan Stokes-Chapman – Pandora
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex – Spare
Alison Weir – The King’s Pleasure


TBR Reorganisation

You know those 5-minute jobs that end up taking over a day? Yeah, I had one of those over the weekend.

I’d finished a book and couldn’t decide what to read next, Li mentioned something about wondering if there was a random TBR generator or one that suggests items on your TBR based on what you were in the mood for and I remembered that Storygraph can actually do that. Li asked why I didn’t utilise that and so I explained that my Storygraph TBR was copied over from my Goodreads want-to-read and wasn’t just the books that were physically on my TBR/kindle.

A quick realisation that the storygraph one is literally called TBR and I decided to use it as such. I deleted the whole TBR from storygraph and started manually adding books back onto it. I added the whole Waterstones haul, the books I have out of the library, the books I have on Libby, all the books currently downloaded onto my Kindle and the first pile of my physical TBR (which while I don’t have all the books with me, I do have a spreadsheet). It ended up taking… much longer than expected but also because I ended up doing a lot of librarian-ing on Storygraph, correcting detail information, uploading cover images etc etc.

I’m going to keep using the goodreads want-to-read as being a huge long list of books I would love to read. Does it need sorting through at some point? Yes, yes it does but that’s a worry for Future Cassie.

But what I do now have is a TBR on Storygraph that accurately reflects my TBR. and there’s only 99 books on it

reading challenges

My 2023 Reading Challenges

I was not going to sign up to any reading challenges this year. Well, other than the goodreads/storygraphs ‘read [x] books a year’ one. And I’ve got the Novel Companion which has a couple of challenges in it.

Then on like the 2nd, I ended up browsing the challenges on storygraph and signed up for a couple. And then Wendy at The Bashful Bookworm posted about a couple of challenges she signed up for and… now I’m signed up for a bunch of challenges.

Which leads me to making this post for some challenge accountability – and to have them all in one place!

Goodreads/storygraph 2023 reading challenge
1/50 books read

The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge 2023
1. A contemporary or literary fiction novel with disability rep
2. A nonfiction book about start-ups
3. A sapphic romance novel
4. A biography about someone you don’t know much about
5. A children’s book you never read as a kid
6. A popular science book
7. A fantasy novel written by an author of colour
8. A nonfiction history book about an LGBTQIA+ issue or person
9. A horror or mystery novel written by a woman or nonbinary author
10. A travel memoir

The StoryGraph’s Onboarding Reading Challenge 2023
1. Read a book with more pages than the longest book you read in 2022
2. Read a book you discovered via the Community page
3. Read a book from your StoryGraph Recommendations
4. Read one of the first 10 books you added to your To-Read Pile Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
5. Read a book in your least read format
6. Read a book published in the last three years that fits your reader profile

A to Z Challenge
Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange – Jenny Kane

2023 Genre Reading Challenge
1. Fantasy
2. Historical
3. Science Fiction
4. Contemporary Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
5. Poetry
6. Romance
7. Mystery / Suspense
8. Non-Fiction
9. Horror / Thriller
10. Classics

2023 Reading Rainbow Challenge
1. Red
2. Orange
3. Yellow
4. Green
5. Blue Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
6. Indigo
7. Purple
8. Pink
9. Grey
10. Brown
11. Black
12. White
13. Pattern
14. Pastel
15. Rainbow/Multi-colour
16. Your favorite colour

2023 On The Cover Reading Challenge
1. A crown
2. A book or paper
3. Something broken
4. A house Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
5. A flower
6. A cityscape
7. Clouds
8. Something gold
9. A suitcase or bag
10. A person facing away
11. Stars or planets
12. A piece of furniture
13. A sword
14. A window
15. Trees
16. A mask

2023 Around The World Reading Challenge
1. North America
2. South America
3. Europe
4. An Island Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
5. Africa
6. Antarctica / Arctic
7. Russia
8. Asia
9. Middle East
10. Australia / New Zealand

And then there’s the challenges hosted by different book blogs:
The 2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by The Intrepid Reader
0/15 history/historical books read

The 2023 Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Book’d Out
0/6 books, from any 6 listed categories
Crime & Punishment
Social Media
The Arts
Published in 2023

2023 Library Love Challenge hosted by Book Of My Heart
0/24 library books read

2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge hosted by Bloggin’ Bout Books
0/10 bookish books read

Now, this seems like a lot. And not going to lie, having them all typed up in one place, makes me meep a little. But I also know lots of them will crossover and I’m excited to find books that cover allas many of the prompts as I can fill! Wish me luck?

Are you taking place in any reading challenges this year?

book blogger hop

My first book of 2023

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the meme on February 15, 2013. Check out the hop here!

Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

The Question of the week is: What was the first book you read this year? and while I haven’t finished either of them just yet, this week I have mostly been reading

I’m about 70% of the way through Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange and absolutely loving it. It’s a nice, easy to-read, pretty feel-good book.

Thea Thomas needs to get away from her old life… and the interfering ex who won’t leave her alone. When she lands a job heading up the restoration of Mill Grange, a stunning Victorian manor in Devon, it feels like the perfect opportunity to start afresh.

What Thea didn’t anticipate was how hostile the volunteer team, led by the formidable Mable Hastings, would be about accepting new leadership. And with the deadline looming before the grand opening, Thea is in desperate need of more volunteers.

A broadcast appeal on the local news attracts the interest of arrogant but undeniably attractive celebrity historian Shaun Cowlson, who wants to make a TV programme about the restoration. It’s hard enough adding one more big personality to the mix – but then her ex turns up as one of the volunteers! What seemed like a dream come true is fast becoming a total disaster! Can Thea find a way to save the manor?

I’m liking the characters and while I do love the relationship stuff, I would actually like to be seeing more the restoration of Mill Grange as well, but then, as you know, I’m a history nerd. I’ve already bought the second book in the series and will definitely be checking out more books by Jenny Kane.

I’m 35% of the way through The Atlas Six, still enjoying it but finding it a bit more heavy going.

The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…

– Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them

I’m fairly sure I’m the last person to actually get around to reading this but it’s feeling like it’s been worth the wait – I’m already intrigued enough and unless something goes terribly wrong in the next 200 or so pages, will definitely be getting the next one. The main issue I have is keeping the characters and their powers straight, but that’s generally a me thing and not a mark against Olivie Blake’s writing (I can watch an entire season of a TV show and still struggle with people’s names)

weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

My 2023 Goals and What Are You Reading Wednesday

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge asks my goals for 2023

Reading-wise, my goals are
Read 50 books
Complete A-Z reading challenge
Clear one pile of the physical TBR
Try to only read 3-6 books at a time
Finish Bill Bryson bibliography

Non-reading goals include
Blog 3x a week
Pass my current university module
Play all the Super Mario games in order
Watch more TV
Fall back in love with fandom
Do the shit I love and have fun doing it

Next up we have WWW Wednesday which asks
What are you currently reading?
Olivie Blake – The Atlas Six
Frederick Joseph – The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
Jenny Kane – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange
Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl

What did you recently finish reading?
CS Lewis – The Magician’s Nephew
QI Elves – Funny You Should Ask
Alison Weir – Richard III & The Princes In The Tower

What do you think you’ll read next?
Peter Ackroyd – History Of England: Foundation
Marian Keyes – Rachel’s Holiday
CS Lewis – The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
Madeline Miller – Song Of Achilles

top ten tuesday

Favourite Books of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is ‘Favorite Books of 2022‘ and I am super proud of myself for hitting my reading goal of 60 books. I’ve been struggling to hit 15 or so books lately, and back 5 years or so ago I could easily read 70,80 books. I’d been missing reading and made a conscious effort in 2022 to read more. I set my goal at 25, which I’d hit by Easter, upped it to 50 and then again to 60 and completely fell back in love with reading again.

And my favourite books of those are

Taylor Jenkins Reid – The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo
Matt Haig – The Comfort Book
Sarah Penner – The Lost Apothecary
Sarah J Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses
Bill Bryson – The Body: A Guide for Occupants

Mira Grant – Parasite
Joanna Hickson – First Of The Tudors
Nancy Warren – The Vampire Knitting Club
Alexandria Bellefleur – Written In The Stars
V.E. Schwab – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves #4

I am feeling so fucking proud of myself right now y’all. I did a whole bunch of HUGE things in the week. Admittedly, I’m still exhausted and hurting but like beaming with pride.

Wednesday, we drove back down to the retail park just outside of Exeter and went into Currys. Li had been stealing my Switch and she’d moved onto my island in Animal Crossing, but she really wanted her own Switch. Because I’m an amazing Llama, I said that as long as she can afford/transfer me the monthly payments, we’d get her one on my Curry’s credit account. We sensibly waited for the Boxing Day sale, and there was an amazing bundle with 3 games and a memory card but the check-out process was just Not Working. We spoke to various customer service people but couldn’t get it to work. So we toddled to an Actual Store. Fucking annoyingly, that bundle wasn’t on sale anymore, and it was back up to well over £400 which we couldn’t quite afford. But she did get a Switch, a memory card and Animal Crossing.

Thursday was the biggest day. So I’d pre-booked us a table at Yo! Sushi in Exeter for 2pm, and we’d decided we were going in on the train a few days ago because of the noise Eliot had been making. And we’d decided I was going to have a treat in Waterstones because I legit cannot remember the last time I went to an actual bookstore. Way before the pandemic. To say I had a bit of a shopping spree would be an understatement. I spent close to £200 on books. I bought SIXTEEN books – though one of them is a guided journal and one of them was a drawing book for Li. And without trying, I managed 7 fiction and 7 non-fiction!

My poor credit card is curled up in the corner crying. And I earned enough Waterstones points that I had £20 credit so I maaaaaay have just also ordered

I’d grabbed a Yo! Sushi gift card in their sale – it was 20% off and I’d already said to Li that there was no budget for sushi, we could eat as much as we want to. We both love the place, neither of us has been to one in like 5 or so years. I got a £100 gift card and… well let’s just say that we earned enough bonus points in that one trip that dessert was free! LMFAO We ate about £60 worth of sushi and I tried a whole bunch of new dishes – and only one of them I didn’t eat because it was a weird texture. We will definitely be going back again, and I want to go to the Exeter museum as well so I think we’re planning on pencilling that in before I head back home at the end of January.

And then, because that apparently wasn’t enough books or something, I’ve also been to the library and checked out:

Although, to be fair, these were all reserved before Christmas.

I’ve had a bloody brilliant week, even though I’m still hopped up on co-codamol and naproxen a couple of days later. But I have all the books to read, my reading journal for 2023 is set up, and I’m super excited!