Monthly Update October 2021 Review Card

Monthly Check In | October 2021

Hello, lovelies! It feels like a long time since I’ve done a classic wrap-up of what the last month has been like. I’ve been back blogging for a month now, and I swear even in that time I’ve changed my mind about where I want to go with content. So sit back, grab a cuppa, and let’s dive into my monthly check in.

Last month, I thought I was full of new content and different directions. Then I had the insightful moment of realising that wasn’t what I wanted. I’m going back to basics for the time being, and making this a platform purely about books. It stops me trying to be something I don’t want to be, prevents me from spending hours on content, and gives me more time for the whole point of this blog: reading.

And I’m excited! For the fist time in a while, I truly feel I’ve made a decision about the blog that I’m looking forward to, supports my passions and is something I can get behind. My reading buzz is back and I’m reading more than I’ve done in the last 18 months.

Hang on to your hats, lovelies, because I’m going back to what I love!

On a calmer note, let’s take a look at what I’ve been reading in September. About halfway through the month, I started burying myself in books, then I had a week off with glorious weather, so it finally feels I’m reading properly.

September’s Reading

September’s Reading: 5 books

Year to Date: 44 out of 60 (1 ahead)

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Chosen Ones


The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons—and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this far more than I was expecting. Having not had the best track record with the author, I wasn’t sure. I was pleasantly surprised: a new taken on the ‘chosen ones’ genre with fiery characters and an intriguing plot. A full review is coming but I liked this.

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Last Wish


Introducing Geralt the Witcher – revered and hated – who holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in the bestselling series that inspired the Witcher video games and a major Netflix show.

Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers and lifelong training have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin.

Yet he is no ordinary killer: he hunts the vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil; not everything fair is good . . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

Andrzej Sapkowski, winner of the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award, started an international phenomenon with his Witcher series. The Last Wish is the perfect introduction to this one-of-a-kind fantasy world.

Thoughts: I thought I had the first Witcher book on my Netgalley shelf, then found there was a better reading order, so quick trip to the library got me The Last Wish. I loved this: the writing style is far more humorous than I was expecting. The book is sheer entertainment!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin


For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

Thoughts: I’ve had this on my list since last year, and now kicking myself I didn’t get to it sooner. One of the top books for 2021 for me at the moment: I adored everything about this and eagerly awaiting the second instalment. Full review coming soon but a definite recommendation!

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Dragon Keeper


Guided by the great blue dragon Tintaglia, they came from the sea: a Tangle of serpents fighting their way up the Rain Wilds River, the first to make the perilous journey to the cocooning grounds in generations. Many have died along the way. With its acid waters and impenetrable forest, it is a hard place for any to survive.

People are changed by the Rain Wilds, subtly or otherwise. One such is Thymara. Born with black claws and other aberrations, she should have been exposed at birth. But her father saved her and her mother has never forgiven him. Like everyone else, Thymara is fascinated by the return of dragons: it is as if they symbolise the return of hope to their war-torn world. Leftrin, captain of the liveship Tarman, also has an interest in the hatching; as does Bingtown newlywed, Alise Finbok, who has made it her life’s work to study all there is to know of dragons.

But the creatures which emerge from the cocoons are a travesty of the powerful, shining dragons of old. Stunted and deformed, they cannot fly; some seem witless and bestial. Soon, they become a danger and a burden to the Rain Wilders: something must be done. The dragons claim an ancestral memory of a fabled Elderling city far upriver: perhaps there the dragons will find their true home. But Kelsingra appears on no maps and they cannot get there on their own: a band of dragon keepers, hunters and chroniclers must attend them.

To be a dragon keeper is a dangerous job: their charges are vicious and unpredictable, and there are many unknown perils on the journey to a city which may not even exist…

Thoughts: I was in a fantasy mood and thought it had been a while since I ventured into Robin Hobb’s world. The Rain Wild Chronicles are next up for me, and I spent a satisfying week devouring Dragon Keeper while sitting in the garden. Solid, pure fantasy – what’s not to love?

Eldest by Christopher Paolini



Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.

Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. . . .

Thoughts: What can I say? I’ve been dipping into this for about a month by having it as a before-bed book. Reaching a point when I needed to catch up on writing reviews, I thought I’d buy myself some time by indulging in this. To be honest, I needed the comfort.

What have you been reading lately? Let me know!

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Returning to Blogging Review Card

Returning to Blogging | September 2021 Update

Um, hello? Look who’s dipping her toes in the blogging waters and figuring out if this will be sink or swim. I’m slowly returning to blogging, and curious more than anything where this journey will take me.

So… first post since early June. Oops? I have my reasons though. Mainly being…

I quit blogging.


Okay, I didn’t.

But I came close. There were several times during this break where I’d no intention of coming back.

I know how dramatic that sounds. There were several factors – both personal and blogging – that played a part.

I moved house

Not only that, I moved into my first house, on my own. It meant a wild couple of months sorting everything, followed by a crazy few months adapting to being alone and all that comes with it. I was barely reading, let alone anything more.

I had no inspiration

Nada. As mentioned, I wasn’t reading: I had nothing to review.

I also struggled finding content that inspired me after falling into the trap of reading loads of (very well-written) posts about taking your blog to the next level. As a hobby blogger, it started to feel I’d gone stagnant and was left behind with what I wanted to do.

Returning to Blogging Image

Too time-consuming

While related to the first point, this is also on me. When I’m in the blogging mood, I spend all day every day on it. Around work and adulting, I’d be commenting, setting up promo’s, creating graphics… For no return. I saw no rise in numbers, no increased engagement, nothing. And missed out on a lot of reading/writing/other hobbies time. I had nothing to write about because all I was doing was back-end blog admin. Vicious cycle, huh?

All of the above?

Short on time, no enjoyment, and not inspired?

That, my friends, is why I disappeared for nearly three months. This isn’t a living. It’s not even a side-hustle. It’s a place for me to shout about books and other things, and if I wasn’t having fun doing it, there didn’t seem to be much point.

Returning to blogging

It was about here where I honestly didn’t see myself coming back to it. But now real life has started to settle, my attitude is changing. I still want to shout about books. I found myself editing old posts, and taking great satisfaction in doing so. At the end of the day, I still liked being a blogger.

 I can’t say numbers don’t matter because I just proved to myself they do. But what matters more is knowing where my line of being satisfied is, and how much time I’m prepared to spend getting to it.

So, I’m back. I’m taking a slightly different approach in terms of how I engage etc, protecting my own time and well-being rather than letting this exhaust me. I’ve got a few different things planned which I’m excited for, and have some reviews lined up for some great books.

Let the blogging commence…

Have you ever lost all motivation to be a blogger? How did you get yourself out of it?

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Welcome 2021 | Goals and Ambitions

I’m sure I’m not the only one more than happy to bring in a new year. So, without further ado, let’s welcome 2021!

Here we are.

A new year.

A new start.

2020 was – to use everyone’s favourite word – unprecedented. The pandemic that wiped out the world; the black lives matter movement… There were times of extreme darkness but also times where we saw unity, empowerment and hope. We can only hope change is coming, and change for the better in all cases.

I looked back at last year’s goals when writing this out of curiosity. They were the usual things you’d expect. But it made me realise that my new year’s post has been full of the same content for several years now. The fact I’m setting the same goals each year clearly shows it’s not working.

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Monthly wrap up: February

January was a good start to the year. February let me down a little. I thought the monthly and weekly goals I was setting myself were realistic. But once I came down in a cold, gradually slipped behind and had a mini-burn-out trying to juggle everything, I realised that wasn’t the case.

I admit I gave up. I was pushing myself too hard and figured it was better to check in with myself, do what I needed and not worry about it. It’s frustrating: I hate giving up! But it was what I needed and – you know what? – that’s okay.

I’m going into March full of determination. I’m going to get myself organised: get posts planned, catch up on some reading and work towards some more realistic goals (I hope!).

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Monthly wrap up: January

Last year, I took the attitude that January was a trial month and didn’t count. Starting the year with sinusitis meant I nearly took that approach again. But once the headaches cleared up, I changed my mind.

This is the first time I’ve set monthly goals – and it worked. I broke them down into weekly targets and then, because I love a list, further broke those down into daily aims so I could consistently work towards what I wanted.

Last month, I read 7 books, wrote 5 fanfiction chapters and edit 2 chapters of my novel. I also spent tried to learn how to knit (and failed) and made it to the gym twice a week. Having a target to aim towards and a job to tick off certainly worked for me!

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New Year’s Resolutions: Welcome 2020!

Can I really call myself a blogger if I don’t write at least one post on new year’s resolutions? I’ve done it every other year, after all.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted how I tackled a major anxiety issue and the inspiration it left me feeling. While I had plans to start making changes last year, I was hit with that horrible cold that wipes you out and takes weeks to get over. Determination be damned – getting out of bed was hard enough.

For a while, I didn’t plan on having set resolutions this year. But chasing a feeling doesn’t work for being productive and I’ve realised that I’m much better when I have something solid to strive towards. Give me a to-do list any day of the week!

New Year's Resolutions: Welcome 2020
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Monthly Wrap Up: November

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these. As it is, I almost forgot this one. I’ve been so busy trying to schedule reviews and figure out what should be done when it was only chance I remembered this needed to be written. It’s fair to say that between going away for a couple of weeks and re-finding my inspiration, November passed in a blur of there not being enough time.

It’s been an interesting month for reading. One of the reasons I wanted the break was because I had a lot of books I wanted to re-read because of final books in series/trilogies coming out. Luckily, all the re-reads have been worth it so far and reignited my passion for some of the reads I stumbled across a few years ago.

After spending all year being on track for my Goodreads challenge, I’m slipping behind at the moment. I’m hoping for some good books to grip me again as I’ve had a couple of disappointing ones recently.

Monthly wrap up: November
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Up and Coming: November

I was going to apologise for the gap in posting. Then realised I don’t need to apologise: it was what I needed.

I love blogging. I love reviewing. Diving into a new adventure, then sharing my thoughts, still gives me a thrill even after a few years of doing it. I’ve had the pleasure of discovering new authors who have quickly become favourites thanks to access to novels I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of. I’ve had the thrill of comments saying they would check out a book because of my review.

I’ve seen the blog really grow this year, which is why I put off having a break for so long. I’ve really got to grips with the community and promoting my own work.

Monthly wrap up: November
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Monthly wrap up: July

I’m late writing this. But, you know, I’m glad. If I had written it when initially planned, it would have been me moaning that July didn’t go according to plan: illness killed all productivity and left me frustrated.

Instead, I’m writing it at the beginning of August, feel pretty positive about everything. There are a few changes happening making me feel inspired and positive about the future. I am trying to put writing first, making it a part of my life again, and I’ve had a couple of really strong days. The blog is doing well, I’ve had a good reading spree and basically feeling in a good place right now.

I fully intend to make the most of it!

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Monthly Wrap Up: June

I commented last month how much things can change in the space of a few weeks, and the same thing occurred in June. Despite starting it on a high, it’s ended in such a way that I’m glad to leave the month behind and start fresh in July.

I’ve got my goals and I’ve got a plan of action: this is going to be my month for focusing on what I want to achieve this year. We’re over halfway through 2019 (how?) and I realised just the other day that I’m still in the same place I was at the start of the year.

It’s time to start prioritising the things I care about. After neglecting the novel for the entirety of June, it’s top of the pile for things to tackle in July. I completely ignored the blog last week in a way I’ve never done before, so back to content, promotion and engagement. No more waiting for things to happen: July me is going to take control!

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