Hiatus Recap

It’s been two and a half months since I last posted something here, a long time to be away from my blog, but I’m back now and I figured what better way to kick-start my return to Reading Every Night than with a hiatus recap.

ReDesign Hiatus Recap Header

June and July were really busy months, August seems to be slowing down enough so that I have time to devote to blogging again, and honestly my mental health took a little turn for the worse. I had a slump and didn’t have the energy for anything creative, but I’m coming around the other side of that now. This post is likely to be a little longer than my usual monthly recaps, but I have two and a half months of books I’ve read, TV shows I’ve watched, and general life events to cover in just one post.

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April Recap

Where is the year going? The fact that we’re now in May is a shock to my system, but at least I can say I did more last month than I did in March, so it doesn’t feel like April flew by without me noticing it.

ReDesign April Recap Header

I got through six books in April, which seems to be my magic number because that’s how many I read last month as well, and I managed to maintain my blogging schedule and take part in Camp NaNo at the same time. I still took an unplanned mini-break from blogging, and I didn’t win at Camp NaNo but I’m doing better, and that something.

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Women’s History Month Reading Challenge Recap

Last month I took part in the Women’s History Month Reading Challenge hosted by Margaret at Weird Zeal. I’d never attempted a reading challenge before, despite wanting to, so when I was tagged in this one I figured “why not?”. It was like the universe’s way of telling me it was time to take part in a Readathon, and who am I to argue with the universe.

I didn’t manage to cross off all the squares on the board but I managed more of them than I thought I would.

Women's History Month Reading Challenge

I think I knew going into this challenge that I was never going to get a blackout, Classic books are not my thing at all and I rarely read Middle Grade books either, but considering I only read six books in March the fact that I crossed off thirteen squares is pretty impressive.

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March Recap

March seemed to fly by even faster than February did. If you asked me what I did last month (and trying to write this recap post) I’m struggling to come up with anything other than work, sleep, with some reading in between.

ReDesign March Recap Header

I got through six books this month, better than February, and I took part in my first ever Readathon, the Women’s History Month Reading Challenge. I didn’t do much blogging in March though; I felt a little bit burnt out after everything I went through at the end of last year and I needed some time to re-charge. Now though I’ve had that re-charge time and I’m ready to get back into blogging.

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February Recap

February was a month where I didn’t get a lot of reading or blogging done; not as much as I normally do and not as much as I would have liked to. Work took over my whole life, but now February has ended things have calmed down and I’ll be back to my regular reading and blogging schedules.

ReDesign February Recap Header

I only got through four books (five if you could the one I DNF-ed) but I did finally pick up King of Scars, one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and February is a short month so I can’t really be blamed for not getting through as many books as I normally do (which is what I’m telling myself).

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January Recap

January seemed to pass in a flash, and I can already tell the rest of this year will go by just as quickly, but I’m getting ahead of myself now. Overall January was a busy month work and life-wise, but I’m back reading and blogging again, even if I am taking it a little slower than I was last year.

ReDesign January Recap Header

I got through nine books in total; four of which were re-reads, but luckily they still count towards my goal because I’m hoping to do a lot of re-reading this year. Asides from reading most of my January has been spent catching up on blogging and re-organising my life. New year, new start after all.

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2018 End of Year Recap and 2019 Goals

I’m a little late posting this but we’re still in the first half of January so I don’t think that’s too bad, also better late than never.

2018 end of year recap and 2019 goals

Overall 2018 was a mixed year for me. There were plenty of positives – I got promoted at work, travelled to Romania, Dubai, Mauritius, Dubrovnik and Stockholm, and brought a flat in London with one of my best friends – but there were also a fair few negatives. At the end of the year my mental health took a turn for the worse; November and December I suffered from a reading and blogging slump and I just struggled finding motivation to do anything.

Things are getting better now though. I’m back to blogging and reading again, and I’m determined to make 2019 a better year than the last one was, but more on that at the end of this post.

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August 2018 Recap

After going on three amazing holidays over the course of June and July, celebrating my birthday and taking part in Camp NaNo (even though I didn’t get too far) August felt very much like a ‘nothing’ month for me.

Still I managed to get through eleven books, and I’m still ahead on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, so August wasn’t a complete write off. I just had a lot of personal things going on and while it wasn’t all bad it kind of put a bummer on August as a whole.


Monthly Recaps - This Month

Books I Read

August Recap (1)

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan – Four stars

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan – Four stars

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan – Five stars

Demigods and Magicians by Rick Riordan – Four stars

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – Four stars

In Time by Alexandra Bracken – Four stars

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken – Five stars

Sparks Rise by Alexandra Bracken – Four stars

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken – Five stars

Beyond the Night by Alexandra Bracken – Five stars

The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken – Four stars

August This Month

The Darkest Legacy


As long as I stay ahead of my Goodreads Reading Challenge I’m happy. I’ve worked out that in order to meet my goal of 125 books this year I need to read 9.75 books each month, and for me that’s an easy goal. Looking back there’s only been more than one month where I’ve read less than ten books.

August GR 2018 Reading Challenge

The best book I picked up in August was The Serpent’s Shadow. Again Rick Riordan has written an incredible series; I loved getting to know Carter and Sadie and loved learning more about Egyptian mythology. Granted I wasn’t a massive fan of the love triangle in the second book but I’m hoping we’ll see more of Carter and Sadie in one of Riordan’s other series one day.

The Serpent's Shadow

The worst book I picked up this month was The Darkest Minds. It wasn’t terrible, I ended up rating it four stars which just shows how good all the other books I picked up this month were if this was the worst, but it didn’t have the same emotional impact the other books in the series had, and even with the love triangle I can never not wholly love Rick Riordan’s writing.

The Darkest Minds


My WIP

There’s not much I can really report on when it comes to my WIP, I’m sticking to the plan I outlined last month and at the moment (to my everlasting surprise) it’s actually going OK.

There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done before the start of NaNoWriMo but at the moment I have a much better idea of where I want my WIP to go, and as of yet there haven’t been a hundred new plot ideas screaming for attention in my mind. Also I’ve found that using what I’ve come up with before, previous drafts, plot outlines, and character templates, as a starting point makes planning a lot easier.


Life in General

My friend and I went to so many flat viewings. It started off being very exciting, but quickly got tiring. Don’t get me wrong I want to be able to move out, and it’s fun viewing possible places we could one day live, but it’s a lot of effort and energy. So far we’ve seen eight places, and while a couple have come close none of them have been quite perfect yet.

I finally got down to the cinema to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. There are some serious timeline inconsistencies, which I caught even not having seen the first film since it was released, but it’s such a fun, feel-good film you can’t help but leave the cinema smiling.

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again

During the August bank holiday I went with my dad to Kew Gardens. It’s a fair trek from where I live so it’s not something I get the opportunity to do every time I’m in London but it’s been ages since I last went and they recently re-opened the Temperate House so why not? Surprisingly my favourite part was actually the Princess of Wales Conservatory, not the Temperate House.

August Recap (2)


Monthly Recaps - Book Haul

I didn’t buy many books this month, but let’s just say I’m going to quality over quantity. Or let’s say I’m saving up for next month when so many pre-orders will be arriving on my doorstep.

August Recap (3)

Books


Monthly Recaps - Last Month

September is going to be all about new releases, and I can’t wait because some of my most anticipated reads of this year are finally coming out. There’s City of Ghosts and Vengeful, which I know are going to be incredible because they’re written by V.E. Schwab, and Wildcard, which I know I’ll love because after the ending to Warcross you can tell it’s going to be an epic story.

August Next Month (1)

I also have a couple of ARCs I need to get around to, both of which sound amazing so both of which I can’t wait to dive right into.

August Next Month (2)

I am going to be changing my posting schedule in September. Previously I’ve been posting on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and every other Friday, but going forwards I’ll be posting on Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and every other Friday and/or Saturday. So one week I’ll post on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and then the following week I’ll post on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

(It should be easier to understand than I’m making it seem when I actually start posting).


I hope everyone else had a good August, and I hope you all have an even better September as well.

Did anyone else have a book-buying slump this month, or do you end up with too many books every month? Has anyone else seen and loved Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again? Who else is really excited for releases like Vengeful and Wildcard, or is there another September release you can’t wait for? Let me know.

Happy reading!

June and July Recap

Bear with me, because this is going to be a long post. At the end of the last month I was still on holiday, so instead of posting my June recap late I decided to combine June and July into one post.

When you add the two months together I was very very busy. I got a lot of reading done but not as much blogging as I’d hoped, and I was travelling much more than I’d planned to be but my writing seemed to fall into a black hole as a result.


Monthly Recaps - This Month

Books I Read

June and July Recap (1)

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – Four stars

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – Four stars

Gilded Cage by Vic James – Four stars
Check out my review here.

Tarnished City by Vic James – Five stars
Check out my review here.

Bright Ruin by Vic James – Five stars
Check out my review here.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman – Four stars

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – Five stars

Save the Date by Morgan Matson – Five stars

Always Never Yours by  Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – Four stars
Check out my review here.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren – Five stars
Check out my review here.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber – Five stars
Check out my review here.

Legendary by Stephanie Garber – Five stars
Check out my review here.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde – Four stars
Check out my review here.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo – Three stars

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – Five stars

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo – Two stars

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows – Four stars
Check out my review here.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows – Three stars

LifeL1K3 by Jay Kristoff – Five stars

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White – Five stars

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh – Four stars

Lucky in Love by Kasie West – Two stars

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – Four stars

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West – Four stars

June and July This Month


I’m finally ahead on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, but when you take into account how many books I read in June (sixteen of the twenty-four listed above) that’s not a surprise. When it comes to reading I am a machine when I’m lazing around on beach holidays.

June and July GR 2018 Reading Challenge

The best book I picked up in June was Bright Ruin, and in July Bright We Burn. Both of these were endings to favourite series of mine, and both exceeded my expectations. There was a lot to wrap up in both of these books, but Vic James and Kiersten White both wrote brilliant stories that kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page.

June and July Best

The worst book I picked up in June was I Believe in a Thing Called Love, and in July Lucky in Love. I go into more detail in my reviews for each (which I hope to post soon) but my issues with both of these books were with the main character, and because I Believe in a Thing Called Love and Lucky in Love were told in first person POV it was hard to look past that to enjoy the rest of the story.

June and July Worst


My WIP

I mentioned at the beginning of this recap that my writing fell into a black hole these past two months and wow did it ever. In May I set myself a goal to write 25K words a month, thinking after taking part in last years’ NaNo that would be easy, but it turned out to be anything but. I even tried taking part in Camp NaNo in July but at the end of the month I didn’t get any writing done.

Camp NaNoWriMo

One of my problems is I impulsively edit as I go along; I can never just sit down, write a draft, and stick with one idea from beginning to end. While taking part in Camp NaNo I came up with a new idea for where I wanted my WIP to go which meant I had to dump everything I’d written before (about 5K words) to make it work.

So I’ve come with a new plan, one I am 100% determined to stick to. For the next three months I’m going to carefully plan my current WIP so when it comes to NaNoWriMo this November I can start writing it and hopefully not be lured by the siren call of the new ideas that pop into my head.


Life in General

It was my birthday in June so there was a lot of celebrating and a lot of yummy food. One evening I went out for Japanese with my family, and another day went to the House of MinaLima – which is four floors full of Harry Potter art from the movies – with one of my friends.

June and July Recap (2)

Later we went and got Bubblewraps; I had strawberry shortcake ice cream with Oreos and white chocolate sauce, and my friend had matcha ice cream with hazelnuts. Both were very yummy.

June and July Recap (3)

The rest of both June and July were taken up by my holidays. For ten days at the end of June/beginning of July I was in Dubai and Mauritius with my sister; we spent five nights in Dubai before flying down to Mauritius. It was the holiday of a lifetime, and both countries were incredible in very different ways.

June and July Recap (4)

I also went on a very unexpected holiday to Croatia. My sister had booked this but when her original plans fell through she asked if I wanted to go with her instead. Croatia has always been somewhere I’ve wanted to visit, mainly because it looks like a beyond beautiful country, so I jumped at the chance.

June and July Recap (5)


Monthly Recaps - Book Haul

I did a lot of book shopping in June/July, but I will be cutting back in August and a fair few of the books below were birthday presents so I don’t feel so bad about how much money I spent.

June and July Recap (6)

Books


June and July Recap (7)

Fairy Loot

June and July Recap (8)


Monthly Recaps - Last Month

I have absolutely zero plans for August at the moment, both in terms of what I’ll be reading and what I’ll be doing. I can’t even say there are any new book releases I’m super excited for, although my copy of The Girl in the Tower will be arriving at the beginning of August so I’ll likely try and read that before the month is over.

The Girl in the Tower

Other than that maybe I’ll get some more re-reading done, or pick up some books that have been on my TBR list for ages that I still haven’t gotten around to. Who knows? I’ll very much be taking August as it comes.


I hope everyone else had a good June and July, and I hope you all have an even better August as well.

How have the past two months been for everyone? Did you have any epic trips you went on, or are your summer holidays still to come? Are there any books being released in August that you’re excited for, or will you been going back to old favourites like I likely will? Let me know.

Happy reading!

May 2018 Recap

May was a much better month for me. There’s still a lot going on in my life at the moment that isn’t so great but after April it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Reading wise though, May was another brilliant month. I managed to get through twelve books, which is again a 2018 personal best tied with last month, and I’m catching up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge too. Give me another month and I may even be ahead of my 125 book goal for the year.


Monthly Recaps - This Month

Books I Read

May Recap (1)

End of Days by Susan Ee – Four stars

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas – Four stars
Check out my review here.

Circe by Madeline Miller – Five stars
Check out my review here.

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury – Three stars
Check out my review here.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh – Five stars
Check out my review here.

Ōkami by Renee Ahdieh – Three stars
Check out my review here.

Yumi by Renee Ahdieh – Three stars
Check out my review here.

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh – Four stars
Check out my review here.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi – Five stars

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – Five stars

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning – Five stars

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake – Four stars

May This Month


I’m very steadily catching up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. After getting through 12 books in April and another 12 in May I am 100% confident that by the time we come to the end of June I’ll not only be on track but ahead of my goal for the year.

May GR 2018 Reading Challenge

The best book I picked up in May was Circe. There was a lot of competition this month because I got through some incredible books, but Circe was a tiny bit ahead of the rest. The development Circe went though over the thousands of years she was exiled on Aiaia was wonderful to explore, and Madeline Miller is the queen of Greek mythology retellings in my mind.

Circe

The worst book I picked up this month was Ōkami. It wasn’t terrible but what counted against it were the facts that it was a short story that didn’t add much to either Ōkami’s character or the overall story arc for the Flame in the Mist duology. Granted it didn’t take long to read at all, but you don’t need to pick this one up to understand what’s happening in Smoke in the Sun.

Untitled-4


My WIP

I’ve finally started writing again. This is a big moment for me, and while I can’t really say I’ve written a lot this month I have got something down on a Word document, and that’s more than I could have said previously this year.

One of the things I’m doing, and this is something I’ve always done no matter what I’m writing, is editing as I go along. So far I’ve written just under 5K words, but every single one of those words has been re-written at least once because when I finish a paragraph I go back and re-write it, and then when I finish a page or scene I’ll go back and re-work sections of it.

This was something I was doing even while working towards 50K words last November for NaNo. What I’m doing going forwards is setting myself a goal of 25K words a month, because maybe that will force me to cut down on my ad-hoc editing until I’ve finished the second draft of my WIP.


Life in General

There were two bank holidays in May, and they were sorely needed. During the first my mum and I took part in Southend’s Great Pier Walk. It’s something we do every year, walking up and down the longest pier in the world (and the pier that’s burnt down the most times as well).

May Recap (2)

I went to see Hairspray live on evening, again with my mum. I’d seen the movie before when it was first released, but it was something special being able to see it live on stage.

Hairspray the Musical

During the second bank holiday I travelled up to London and went to the V&A exhibition Fashioned From Nature. I took a fashion-related course while at university so it’s always something I enjoy learning more about. The exhibition focused on the way nature contributed to fashions of the past, and the affect fashions of the present are having on nature now.

May Recap (3)

I started talking to one of my friends about us potentially moving out and buying a place together, just as a first step to get us both on the property ladder. Granted we’re still at the very beginning stages of everything, but I’m very excited about potentially getting to live with one of my best friends again.


Monthly Recaps - Book Haul

A lot of books were released in May, so a lot of pre-orders were arriving on my doorstep. All I can say is it’s a good job I carefully budget each month.

May Recap (4)

Books

May Recap (8)


May Recap (5)

eBooks


May Recap (6)

Fairy Loot

May Recap (7)


Monthly Recaps - Last Month

In terms of what I’ll be reading in June I’m still going to be catching up with some of the May releases I haven’t gotten around to yet. One June release I am so excited to get my hands on though is My Plain Jane, and I expect a lot more YA contemporary will be moving over to my ‘read’ list next month. Now that summer’s here and the weather is reflecting that I’m in a very “YA contemporary” mood.

My Plain Jane

TTT Kasie West

I will also be taking a mini-break from blogging mid-June. I’m heading off the Dubai and Mauritius with my sister this month, so from June 20th I’ll be away from WordPress until July 5th when I get back home again and have recovered from the jet lag I’ll no doubt be stuck with.


I hope everyone else had a good May, and I hope you all have an even better June as well.

Does anyone else have any exciting summer holidays coming up, or do you plan to stay and enjoy the sun you have at home? Who else is really excited for the release of My Plain Jane, or is there another June release you can’t wait for? Let me know.

Happy reading!