Bookish goals for 2018

Happy new year everyone!! 2017 was an interesting year for reading. I succeeded with my goal of reading 20 books during the year despite doing my A-levels and I feel like I found some really interesting books to read. But with a new year there must be new goals, so… what are these goals I’ve decided to set for myself?

For a start my goal is 25 books. I will be doing open uni so that’ll take up a fair bit of time, but hopefully I’ll also have plenty of time to allow myself to read, which is why it’s low still, but a tiny bit higher than last year.

Within this goal of 25 books, I want to specifically read fiction books by Carrie Fisher. I read her memoir books last year and loved them (for those of you who don’t know, Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia and unfortunately passed away from a heart attack at the end of 2016) and I want to read her fiction books, of which there are 4. I do need to buy these books but I wanted to eventually anyway to complete the collection of her books.

Another bookish goal of mine is to read some classics, and I’m thinking of about 5. I didn’t really read many classics last year apart from for school, and I do enjoy them so I want to actually read some for my own enjoyment, and not have to analyse them or anything.

Another goal is to complete at least 3 series of books. I usually avoid them although owning a fair few unread or half read series, so I really need to get on with completing them.

And my final goal is to read at least 5 non-fiction books. I own books on Jack the Ripper & monarchs throughout history (eg. The Tudor’s and Queen Victoria), so I really want to get around to them to complete them and learn more about history.

So in summary my goals are:

1. Read 25 books

2. Read the fiction books by Carrie Fisher (4 books)

3. Read 5 classics

4. Complete 3 series

5. Read 5 non-fiction books

Please let me know your bookish goals for 2018 and I hope everyone has a fantastic year!

– Laura


A Bookish Summary of 2017

I am terrible at keeping track of what I’ve read without Goodreads, so luckily I’ve been using that for around 5 years for book tracking. My goal for 2017 was to read 20 books, and I actually managed to read a total of 27 books! I set the goal so low because this is the year that I completed my A-Levels, so I didn’t think I’d be able to read much during the first half of the year.

According to Goodreads, my total of 27 books is approximately 9,818 pages! My shortest book was Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (at around 162 pages) and my longest book was Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (at around 603 pages). I’m seriously impressed with how I managed to do, and my next post will be about what my bookish goals are for 2018.

This year I didn’t really set myself any specific goals. I wanted to obviously reach my 20 book target, but I also just set myself a mini goal of reading Carrie Fisher’s biographical books, which I did and I really enjoyed them and felt myself learning so much about Carrie (Princess Leia for those who don’t know). You’ll notice a theme with next year’s book goals as well and how they linked to the one goal I completed this year.

Goodreads has also said that my average rating for the year was 4.3/5 stars, which means I read some incredible books this year, and I really did! A future post will be coming up about my top 5 books for this year so you’ll hopefully all be able to see more of what books really amazed me.

Overall, I’m pleased with how 2017 was with books and I’m looking forward to reaching my goal next year. What goals did you guys give yourselves? Did you complete them? I’d love to know!


Pre-Christmas book Haul

So as 2017 is coming to a close, and Christmas is soon on its way, I wanted to do a little pre-Christmas book haul. There are only 9 books here that I’ve accumulated over the last few months (I am trying to not buy any believe it or not!) but I wanted to share them. I’ve only read 3/9 of these new books and I have done reviews of them which I will link to. I will also note now I did not pay more than £5 for any of these books, I tend to search around on the internet and in Charity shops for good deals and I hope this doesn’t come across as bragging!

IMG_1393Out of the 3 I have read, 2 were eBooks from Netgalley so I’ll begin with those. From Netgalley I received ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris and ‘A Taxonomy of Love’ by Rachael Allen. I thought both of these books were really good and interesting and they both get released in January 2018, so actually quite soon!

The other book I bought and have read is ‘Wonder Woman: Warbringer’ by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely love Wonder Woman, so when I discovered this book I did not hesitate to purchase it and read it as soon as possible. I thought it was great and can’t wait to experience more of these DC superhero books. But, before I got my Wonder Woman book, I actually bought a comic/graphic novel too! I bought ‘DC Bombshells Volume 1: Enlisted’ by Bennett Sauvage and although I haven’t read it yet, I am excited about it! And a random book I bought to help finish buying the series before I read them all is ‘Assassin’s Creed: Revelations’ by Oliver Bowden. I keep picking the books in this series up for cheap prices in charity shops and on eBay, and I’m only missing a few of them now, so hopefully, in 2018 I will finish buying them and will read them all!

I’m also a fan of Beauty & The Beast, so I did purchase ‘The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince’ by Serena Valentino and ‘Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book’ by Jennifer Donnelly. Again, these are books I haven’t read yet but am looking forward to reading next year.

The last 2 books I actually got from my dad. I love reading about history and for a very long time I’ve found the Tudor era very interesting and dad had these two books he hadn’t read so I was allowed them. Those books are ‘The Tudors’ by G.J Meyer and ‘Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII’ by David Starkey. They both have tiny text and book by David Starkey is quite big, so I think those books will take a while to go through but I look forward to it. Hopefully they’ll be able to educate me more on the Tudor era.


So there is my pre-Christmas book haul. I am so excited for Christmas right now and although I may want to do a Christmas haul I probably won’t, as sometimes they can come off quite badly as ‘bragging’ and I don’t wanna seem like that! I only shared this because I find these sorts of posts and YouTube videos very interesting.



Book Review – The Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen (ARC)

36523097Book: The Taxonomy of Love

Author: Rachael Allen

Format: eBook

Rating: 4/5

Review: To begin with, I want to point out that this book was an eBook I received as an ARC from NetGalley for free, but all thoughts are still my own. The release date for this book is the 9th of January 2018. This book is from the perspective of Spencer Barton, a 13-year-old boy with Tourette’s Syndrome. This book is in 6 parts plus an epilogue, so we go through the book from him aged 13 to age 19. It revolves around him meeting his new neighbour, Hope Birdsong when they were both 13 (at the beginning of the book) and their developing friendship, but Spencer struggles with the feelings he has developed for her, as well as suffering from his Tourette’s. The book also contains messages and letters from Hope (and her sister) during a very tough and traumatic time in her life, but Spencer wants to support her. At times their friendship was very confusing and the book really did have you feeling for Spencer and Hope. Hope seemed like the only person who truly understood and accepted Spencer, which is a massive thing within this novel, and Spencer just wants to fit in as he is teased because of his Tourette’s and because he knows so many things about bugs and random facts and hope accepts that and even is as ‘weird’ as he is made out to be by other people. This book isn’t just about love, but acceptance, understanding, growing up and friendship and finding a passion for something, which Spencer most definitely does. Both Spencer and Hope go through so much together (and apart) but they remain friends, even though their friendship could be a bit rocky and confusing at times like previously said. They develop as characters and as you would between 13 and 19, and Spencer overcomes so many things to do with his Tourette’s and I felt like you could really root for him and I felt so happy for him at times even though he’s fictional. It was a lovely book and had so much more involved than just love. I highly recommend this when it comes out in January.


Book Review – The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (ARC)

36582334Book: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Author: Heather Morris

Format: eBook

Rating: 5/5

Review: To begin with, I want to point out that this book was an eBook I received as an ARC from NetGalley for free, but all thoughts are still my own. The release date is the 11th of January 2018 and is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, who are survivors of Auschwitz. It begins in 1942 and we follow Lale who is a Jew who works as the tattooist between Auschwitz and Birkenau. It’s in a third person perspective with occasional insight into the thoughts of Lale. I absolutely loved this book and thought it was a powerful and emotional story of survival in such an awful time. I’ve always found books and information to do with the Holocaust and that era very interesting because it amazes me how people could be so cruel and how horrible it must have been to have been punished for being something you can’t help, whether that be your skin colour, ethnic background, religion or sexuality, it horrifies me that people were treated so cruelly but it is so inspiring to see how people survived such terrible events. Lale is such a wonderful, amazing man who uses his power as the tattooist to help others, he is truly an amazing man and Gita is also such a strong woman and they have such a powerful connection. I will say now that this book has themes of violence, bad language, sex, death and love, so it may not be suitable for younger readers, but still, it was such an amazing and interesting book. The dates are frequently mentioned throughout the book, which really gives an insight into how long Lale and Gita have had to deal with what has been thrown at them during their time in the camps and how amazing it is that they have survived so much. The hope of freedom, which is something a lot of us really do take for granted, is something that helps them get through the day, it gives them a reason to survive and wake up and do whatever they can in the hopes of being free. This story is such an emotional one that I found myself really pacing through this book, I found it so difficult to put down. The ending even contains an epilogue for what happened after the book to the real Lale and Gita and how he just wanted to get his story out there and how strong their love was. It was beautiful and inspiring and I hope others pick up this book when it is released next year. I highly recommend this, especially if you find this sort of thing fascinating.


Book Review – Tarkin by James Luceno

25614845Book: Tarkin

Author: James Luceno

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

Review: This book is basically about how Wilhuff Tarkin (known in the book as Governor Wilhuff Tarkin and Moff Tarkin) and how he became Grand Moff Tarkin, as we know him in Star Wars. It’s in a third person perspective and most of the time is focalised through Tarkin himself, as it contains an insight into his childhood/teenage years and how it shaped him into the man we know in Star Wars. It did jump from past to present quite suddenly at times which could be confusing but it was nice having that insight into his younger years. The writing was both detailed and straight to the point. It was very factual as you’d expect from a Star Wars book to do with Tarkin but I did at moments find it to drag a bit. I also couldn’t help but picture Tarkin as Peter Cushing (as he is portrayed on the cover) and just imagining that made it enjoyable as I am a fan of Peter Cushing. Both Darth Vader and Palpatine are involved in this book and it’s interesting to see how the relationship, particularly between Vader and Tarkin, develops, especially as Tarkin is somewhat intrigued by Vader and has his suspicions that Vader is indeed Anakin Skywalker (who he once fought beside). The book is pretty much a Vader and Tarkin adventure and is filled with action in places and can be quite suspenseful! Although some places, as previously said, are a tiny bit confusing and are very heavy on the descriptions. Overall, I did still enjoy this book and I do recommend it to Star Wars fans as getting to learn more about Tarkin was very interesting and it does kind of give insight into why Darth Vader actually listens to Tarkin. It was nice to see a book about the evil side without necessarily portraying it as such.


Thoughts on the Kindle Voyage

For a few years I had the Kindle Paperwhite but I missed the press of buttons (or kind of buttons) that I experienced with my first Kindle (the Kindle 4), and I wanted a screen with a higher PPI, so I upgraded to the Kindle Voyage (kindly donated by my dad who didn’t use it as he prefers the fire tablets).


In all honesty, the Voyage isn’t much different from the Paperwhite, but even when setting up the Kindle and transferring my books over, I noticed a significant difference in the screen. I’m not sure of the PPI in the Paperwhite as I have an earlier version of it (I think), but I know the PPI of the Voyage is 300. Whether they are the same or different, to me the writing on the Voyage looked more crisp and clear, therefore making it a much more enjoyable reading experience.

I love the little ‘buttons’ to turn the pages. It’s much more reminiscent of what I remember from the Kindle 4, where you could turn the pages forward or backwards one handed and you didn’t need to touch the screen. With the Voyage, it is a one-handed experience because of that and because it is so light. The Kindles have never really weighed much and have always been comfortable for me to hold one-handed (even with my dodgy wrists). This is much better than the Paperwhite, which although is very light, requires two hands, as you press on the left of the screen to go back a page, and right of the screen to go forward a page. I know this is a very lazy thing for me to make a comment on, but for a lot of people, it makes multitasking easier. People can eat their food or drink something or stand up on the bus/train and still read. If you travel and are on a train and have to stand up, you’ve got one hand supporting you while having the other hand able to turn the pages no matter which way you need to go.

wpid-kindle-voyage-00f-us-thin-780x840Another thing I really love about the design of the Kindle Voyage is the bezel being flush against the screen. It makes the Voyage thinner and if anything I think it makes the words sort of pop out at you more, so even if the Paperwhite has the same resolution, because the screen is flat with the bezel and not further into the Kindle (like with the Paperwhite), it makes the screen look nicer and crisper.

Although both the Voyage and Paperwhite have a light, there has definitely been a significant improvement since the Paperwhite with the addition of auto-brightness. Although during the day this may not be particularly useful, at night it’ll mean it slowly adjusts to the brightness around you, meaning your eyes will slowly adjust to the darkness and the light of the screen will be suitable for your eyes, meaning it’s not too bright or too dark for you, making it a comfortable experience. The light of the Kindle is, of course, my favourite feature because back when I had the Kindle 4, I struggled to see the screen properly in dimmer lights, and I caused my eyes to strain in darker lighting (like when travelling).

Overall, I do recommend this Kindle, yet I still recommend the Paperwhite too, although the Voyage feels like more of a premium experience. The price for the Paperwhite as of writing this is £109.99 vs £169.99 for the Voyage, and although the functions do not differ much, I do prefer the Voyage. The pagepress sensors, auto-brightness and overall sleek look and feel are worth the extra money, but if you want an e-reader with a light, I see no problem with anyone purchasing the Paperwhite, and it is up to the budget of the potential purchaser as to whether they think the features and slightly more premium build are worth the extra £60.