HELLO TWENTY EIGHTEEN | CHALLENGES AND BLOGGING PLANS

It takes me a week to properly think about my New Year’s resolutions, or challenges (I don’t do resolutions – they’re too resolute and solid and therefore impossible!).  It takes me a few days to feel the year out, I think. The first week of the new year hasn’t been anything particularly spectacular or different. Other than a step-up in my dissertation research, and more exams and study, the first half of my 2018 looks like it’s going to be much like 2017 in it’s day-to-day-ness. (And then we don’t think about the after-graduation half). When I make goals before the new year has even begun, I run the risk of creating a list of goals that don’t fit into my year. ‘Write a blog post every week’ doesn’t fit into my year. I’ve trialled writing a little bit of my novel in a journal every day so far this year. I wanted to write a couple of pages a day. ‘A couple of pages’ doesn’t fit into my day, every day. A few lines, however, does.

So these are the goals I have settled on. The ones that feel like they can be carried along with me through the day-to-day of my 2018:

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☆ Write every day – I plan to write something each day towards my novel, in a little notebook. Be that one sentence, or one piece of dialogue, a description, or a character’s thought. This is more manageable some days than opening up my laptop and following a chronological outline. So far, I’ve managed to write at least something each day all week. One day that was a few pages, another day it was three sentences. I’m hoping that this will keep me in my characters’ heads and their stories all year, even if I don’t get the chance to finish a typed-up novel.

☆ Read a broader range of genres – I don’t have specifics for this. I just want to give anything and everything a try, rather than my usual go-to’s

☆ Post on my blog at least twice a month – Twice a month doesn’t sound a lot, but posting even once a month has become a challenge for me over the last few months. I posted a lot less on here over November/December due to some intense deadlines (final year problems!). So I’m making a plan to post at least twice on here each month this year. And in the months where I’m not suffocated by essays, hopefully that will be much more!

☆ Combat feeling guilty for relaxing – By this, I mean that, rather than working 9am-11pm (that’s seriously what I was doing Monday-Saturday for the last few weeks of last term), I’m going to stop after dinner and read for an hour, or write for fun for a few minutes, or even just make myself a hot chocolate and listen to music. And I’m going to challenge myself not to feel guilty for doing it!

☆ Read my Bible more – my goal every year is to read my Bible every day, which is still my goal, but I am very bad at doing this. So I’m just going to carry on trying to read it more.

Those are my five challenges for the new year, bookish and otherwise.

Have you set any challenges or New Year’s resolutions this year? What are you hoping to achieve/challenge yourself to do?

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FAVOURITE READS OF TWENTY SEVENTEEN

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Autumn by Ali Smith
review
Sometimes, a book comes along that simply, unexpectedly, blows you away. Other than a beautiful cover, and my favourite season for a title, I knew very little about the content of this novel before reading it. Never having read an Ali Smith book before, I was unsure of what I would think of her writing style. After closing the final page of this book, Ali Smith’s entire works found their way into my TBR! This is a melancholic, yet hopeful examination of post-Brexit Britain, and it was done thoughtfully and with just the right amount of wit. It was easily my favourite read of the year.

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber
review
Caraval was pure fun to read. It felt like a Night Circus meets Professor Layton mash-up – in the best possible way. Not often do I finish a book and want to open it up and start again immediately, but this was one of those books. I’ve already planned my re-read to prepare for the release of the sequel in 2018.

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Magic with Skin On by Morgan Nikola-Wren
review
2018 has been a year of discovering lots of modern free-verse poetry. I think I’ve read seven or eight new collections (much more than my usual one or two poetry books a year). So I’m saying a lot when I say that Magic with Skin On was my favourite poetry collection of the year. This collection of poetry and prose was moving, lyrical and utterly breath-taking in its crafting of language. It has become the poetry book I recommend to all, whether poetry reader or not.

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A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray
review
This was one of the first books I read in 2017, so it clearly stuck with me
throughout the year. A Million World With You is the conclusion to one of my recent favourite sci-fi series, and it was so refreshing to read a final book that satisfied every loose end, character arc, relationship and still kept me on my toes.

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Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
The sequel and conclusion to the Of Metal and Wishes duology; a steam-punk Phantom of the Opera retelling (yes, it is very cool). I enjoyed the first book, but the sequel made these books into some of my favourites. The characters were wonderful, and their development in this second book was brilliant. The exploration of culture and war was so interesting when set against a steam-punk backdrop.

What were your favourite reads of the year? Let me know in the comments!

CHRISTMAS BOOK HAUL

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Books usually make up a large proportion of my Christmas gifts. This year, I had asked for only one. Which turned into two. Which turned into five. You can relate, right!?

At least I’m putting some new shelves up soon, and will be able to fit all of the extras into my little room without doing the annual book clear-out (don’t make me give away any more books!).

I thought I’d share which books I received with you, and tell you why I asked for each one.

Continue reading “CHRISTMAS BOOK HAUL”

the skin of my land

I’m a runner with my feet firmly planted.
I’ve trekked miles but no surface.
I love without the skin of new lands to touch.
I’m hiking across a squeezed-up flesh earth;
grass, mountain and river,
overshadowed by lyric and verse.
I’m uprooted, moving daily from place to place
in the secluded parts of myself
covered in skin and skull bone.
I’m home, in the ink and the browning paper
I’m home, in the windowsill’s potted plants green
I’m home. All I need is to see.

BOOK REVIEW: Autumn by Ali Smith

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Title: Autumn

Author: Ali Smith

Published: 20th October 2016

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

Format: Paperback

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

 

“And whoever makes up the story makes up the world, Daniel said. So always try to welcome people into the home of your story.”

 


The first in a quartet of seasonally-themed novels, Autumn sets off with a clever, witty, warm, cold, clever, melancholic, hopeful look at the current state of Britain. 

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Autumn by Ali Smith”

BOOK REVIEW | A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy, New Adult

Published: 2nd May 2017

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Format: Paperback

Rating:  3/5

“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.” 

 

Synopsis (from back cover):

She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW | A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas”

POETRY MINI-REVIEWS #2

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Title:
 I Am More Than A Daydream
Author: Jennae Cecelia
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Jennae Cecelia’s newest poetry collection, I Am More Than A Daydream, is so beautifully uplifting. I flew through the book, feeling so positive and motivated as soon as I had finished. I’ve picked it back up and flipped through my favourites a few times already, and I’m certain it’s a collection I’ll come back to for pick-me-ups in the future! The illustrations are also such a nice addition, and I loved how they complimented the mixture of both shorter and longer poems. Another beautiful collection from a wonderful poet. Continue reading “POETRY MINI-REVIEWS #2”