May 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part Two [Books]

May 2020 2

JanuaryFebruary / March Part 1 / March Part 2/ April Part 1 / April Part 2 / May Part 1

Black Dogs, Black Tales – Edited by Tabitha Wood & Cassie Hart

black dogs

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

This is an anthology you should definitely pick up. 17 authors to represent the 17% of people in New Zealand with mental health problems, and with profits going towards a New Zealand Mental Health Charity. Even without that awesomeness, the stories here are brilliant, powerful, moving, and creepy. And best of all, the dogs all survive.

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

american gods

My Review

I read this book years ago, but revisited it via Audible. The version I listened to was full cast, and was really good. Turns out there were some parts I remembered really cleary, and others I didn’t, but it was still great to slip back into this world.

From Twisted Roots – S.H. Cooper

from twisted roots

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

I will never stop talking about good Cooper is. Her work is fantastic. Her short stories are really unique in their style and range, with a lot falling into that strange sub-genre of wholesome horror. From Twisted Roots takes a lot at families, at relationships, some with supernatural horror elements, and some where the horror comes from the humans themselves. Definitely worth checking out.

Devolution – Max Brooks

devolution

My Review

Although I didn’t like this as much as World War Z, I still really enjoyed it. It’s a fantastic book, using that ‘found text’ style, and where WWZ read like a history textbook (in a good, OMG this feels like it happened kind of way), Devolution takes a more singular, personal approach, and presenting it as a journal works really well.

Spider-Man/Deadpool Volume 1: Isn’t It Bromantic

spiderman deadpool

My Review

I love a good graphic novel and this one did not disappoint. Teaming up the wise-cracking Spider-Man with the Merc with the Mouth results in some funny, some heartwarming, and some damn scary moments. The way they riff off each other just feels natural and I’m keeping hope we eventually get to see these two in a film together.

Breakfast at Bronzefield – Sophie Campbell

breakfast at bronzefields

My Review

A woman’s experiences in two British women’s prisons, this is a book I would strongly urge others to pick up. Campbell explains the treatment she received in prison, as well as providing facts and statistics where they are related. It’s eye-opening, and makes the argument for reform really well.

Zombieville – C.V. Hunt

zombieville

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

This was one where I listened to the Audiobook version. It’s an intriguing story with two interesting point of view characters – Chris, who is a zombie, and Raven, a young woman who has just moved to town, and has no idea what she’s really getting into. The only let down in this was the narrator really, but I go into that more in the actual review.

Writing the Other – Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward

writing the other

My Review

Another book I honestly think everyone should read. Everyone with an interest in writing, anyway. This book doesn’t talk down to the reader, explains that yes, when writing outside your experience you will make mistakes, but if you do what you can to mitigate that, it’s better than not trying. I really would urge writers to pick this one up – it’s one of the strongest craft books I’ve read recently.

So there we have it. The second half of my May wrap up. I read 16 books in May, and my current total on Goodreads (at time of writing on 12/06) is 66/75 books read for 2020. I originally set my goal at 50 with the plan being to revisit it this month, but I upped it previously as I’d exceeded 50. If I managed to hit 75 this month, I’ll be amending my goal to 100. Let’s see how that goes.

How did your May go? Did you read everything you wanted to? Anything unexpected you really enjoyed?

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part Two [Books]

April 2020 2

January  / February / March Part 1 / March Part 2 / April Part 1

Welcome to my April Reading Wrap Up, Part 2! Like March, I read a lot in April. 18 books in total. I’ve hit a little bit of a reading slump in May, so hopefully May’s Wrap Up won’t need 2 parts to go through. But anyway, here are the other 9 books read in the second month of lock down.

Bone Harvest – James Brogden

bone harvestMy Review

I really liked this book. Brogden’s novel spans decades, starting with World War I and coming right up to a now alternative 2020 where Covid-19 doesn’t exist. Instead, all these characters have to worry about are the VE Day Celebrations. Or at least they think so. This novel really hit a couple of sweet spots, and I really do recommend it.

The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, Volume 1

twilight zone

My Review

This was a very enjoyable listening experience. These radio dramas are fully casted, and contain multiple stories, all of which had that strong Twilight Zone feel to them. I only came to this show fairly recently, but I absolutely love anything to do with it (Tower of Terror is a ride I refused to go on when we went to Florida, because I was five and terrified, and was my second favourite ride visiting Disney Paris) including this audio production.

The Seven Endless Forests – April Tucholke

seven endless

My Review

This had all the makings of a book I wanted to love. Female led fantasy based around the King Arthur legend, I was sold. Unfortunately, the book itself wasn’t that great. It rambled, a lot, and there was little to resemble King Arthur’s story found in the pages. This one definitely wasn’t for me.

Catalyst – Tracy Richardson

catalyst

Review Coming Soon

This was a book I read for one of the Write Reads blog tours. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy this one. It took some really interesting ideas and felt like it simplified them too much. And presented simple ‘solutions’ to the main crises’ we’re facing today. Was a little disappointed, but keep an eye out for the blog tour, as I’m sure other bloggers felt differently from me.

Shades of Magic, Volume 1: The Steel Prince – V.E. Schwab

shades of magic steel prince

My Review

I don’t know which situation I would prefer: always having a few Schwab books to read, or being completely caught up and eagerly awaiting the next one. Either way, just like with Vicious, I knew picking up this graphic novel I would love it. I haven’t come across a Schwab book I didn’t like. If you’ve read the Shades of Magic trilogy, I highly recommend jumping into The Steel Prince.

Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds: The Musical Drama – H.G. Wells

war of the worlds

My Review

Another great listening experience! Though sadly there is no singing in this one. It was still very enjoyable though, and the cast involved was excellent. I definitely recommend this one, as the soundtrack is amazing.

Tiger Queen – Annie Sullivan

tiger queen

My Review

I enjoyed this one. It was a fun, easy read that had be completely hooked. A good YA novel, that maybe leans a little too much on various tropes, and could have done with stronger female characters, but overall, like I said, it was enjoyable.

Dark Ends – Edited by Clayton Snyder

dark ends

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

This is an absolutely brilliant dark fantasy anthology, and one I really suggest picking up. This anthology is made up of novelettes, many set in worlds already created by the writers. Which is great because with every story I definitely found myself wanting more.

The Deception of Kathryn Vask – Mark Steensland

the deception
My Review

My final book for this month. The Deception of Kathryn Vask is a fantastic, tight play that I can easily imagine on stage, and will hopefully one day get to see on stage, too. My review is nothing but glowing praise for Steensland, and recommendations to keep an eye out for this one.

And that is it for April! How did your month go? I seem to be going through books faster than I realise at the moment, though it has calmed down for May. I’m also reading slightly longer stuff this month, and listening to American Gods on Audible which is really long. I amended my Goodreads Goal to 75, after hitting the 50 mark, and I’m currently on 55 so I’m pretty happy with that.

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part One [Books]

April 2020 1JanuaryFebruaryMarch Part 1March Part 2

I am not doing great at getting these up in a timely way. Ah well. April was another month in which I finished a lot of books, which means this is going to be another two parter. April also saw me complete my 2020 Reading Goal, which was set at 50. I’ve now increased it to 75. And it seems May is a bit of a reading slump month for me. So far I’ve finished 5 books this month, which is still good for me but I doubt it’ll exceed the 18 I read in April.

Doctor Who, The Tenth Doctor Adventures, Volume 1

doctor who tenth doctor adventures

My Review

2020 is the year I started listening to audiobooks. After a rocky start with DisneyWar, I’ve found myself enjoying them a lot, especially full cast productions. The Tenth Doctor Adventures contains three stories starring my favourite doctor and Donna, who though not my favourite of the companions, is still one I really like. This audio production was absolutely great to listen to, and I look forward to checking out more in the future.

Dead Daughters – Tim Meyer

dead daughters

My Review

Poltergeist Press are an absolutely fantastic indie horror publisher, putting out great books. Dead Daughters was slightly more thriller than horror for me, but I still really enjoyed this one. It’s got an intriguing premise and interesting characters able to carry the reader through. Definitley worth checking out.

Cirque Des Freaks and Other Tales of Horror – Julián López

cirquwMy Review

I had really high hopes for this one, and unfortunately it didn’t match up. I go into more detail in my review, but these felt more like doomed love stories than actual horror. Not to mention the plot for one story is ripped straight out of the horror film Waxwork. If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ horror anthologies, I recommend Black Rainbow instead.

The Devil’s City – Sara Tantlinger & Matt Corley

the devil's city

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

Talking to friends who have read this, The Devil’s City works much better as a companion to the game currently in production, rather than as a standalone novella. I didn’t really get on with it, but I can see the appeal for others. For me, it moved too fast and didn’t feel like it had enough space to breathe, but many horror lovers have throughly enjoyed it.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling

tales of beedleMy Review

I gave this a listen on Audible as it was a freebie. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it hadn’t been free anyway, but I was still glad I didn’t spend money/credits on it. The narration is great, with some fantastic actors involved, but parts of the book smack of self-righteousness. I read this originally at university, but returning to it now, I really wasn’t fussed.

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

vicious

My Review

I really liked this. Of course I did, it’s a Schwab novel, and I know I’m always getting interesting characters, intriguing plots and wonderful settings with Schwab’s books. Vicious asks what it really means to be a hero or a villain, and who actually decides who is who. If you’ve not checked this out, I cannot urge you enough to do so.

The Corpse Garden – S.H. Cooper

the corpse garden

My Review

I will shout this from the rooftops: S.H. Cooper is a bloody fantastic writer. Her short stories are excellent at combining heartbreak with horror, and reinforce an idea I will bang on and on about until someone tells me to shut up – horror is at its best when it is about love. If you haven’t checked out any of Cooper’s work, why not? For horror fans, there’s her two short story collections and the novella, The Festering Ones. If horror isn’t your thing or you also love YA Fantasy, go read The Knight’s Daughter.

Ghostland – Duncan Ralston

ghostland

My Review

Unfortunately I wasn’t really fussed on this one, and I absolutely love stories with multiple ghosts focused around an interesting setting. But this just read a bit superficial to me. There was no real character development, the book didn’t know if it wanted to be YA or Adult, and there wasn’t anything really new to it. It felt much like Jurassic Park with Ghosts. Which is an awesome premise, just not pulled off very well here.

Beauty – Sarah Pinborough

beauty

My Review

I already really miss this series. After reading all three, I can safely say this is a fantastic, interesting take on fairy tales, giving them modern twists while creating a new fantasy world around them. I really enjoyed all three books, but they definitely got better with each one. And I got through all three really quickly. This is a trilogy definitely worth checking out.

So there we have the first 9 books I read in April. Part Two coming as soon as possible!

March 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part Two [Books]

March 2020 2JanuaryFebruary / March Part 1

Here we have part 2 for my long March reading wrap up, a month in which I read 16 books. So here are the last 8 I read in that strange, strange month. I thought April would be a lot less, but checking what I’ve read so far about halfway through the month, I’m currently on 11. So maybe I’ll be hitting my 50 books 2020 goal a lot sooner than expected.

Esme’s Gift – Elizabeth Foster

esmes giftMy Review

This is proving to be an absolutely delightful series. The first book set up the world and characters, and it was a joy to dip back into it and explore it more. It’s a lot of fun to read, and puts the characters in enough danger to keep readers completely engrossed.

Black Mountains: The Recollections of a South Wales Miner – David Barnes

black mountainsMy Review

This was a really interesting book about a Welsh man’s life at the start of the Twentieth Century. Easy to follow, with some fascinating snippets of his life during that time, it’s told a very conversational tone, which made it that much more enjoyable.

Shallow Waters, Volume 3 – Edited by Joe Mynhardt

shallow waters vol 3My Review

This is a fantastic series of horror flash fiction, put out by Crystal Lake Publishing. The fifth is due for release soon, so it’s a great time to pick up the first four and check them out.

Ghost Mine – Hunter Shea

ghost mineReview coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

This was the second Hunter Shea novel I’ve read (the first being the absolutely amazing Creature) and this one didn’t disappoint. I’m not normally one for literature Westerns, but Shea really does something different with the settings and characters, and this book pushed him, for me, from ‘author I like’ to ‘one of my favourites’. I really hope I get to read Slash some point soon, as I’ve heard fantastic things about it.

DisneyWar – James B. Stewart, Narrated by Patrick Laylor

disneywarMy Review

This is a book for people interested in the world of business, not a book for Disney fans. It’s interesting in some parts, but a lot of the boardroom politics got frustrating at points. It felt like listening to a rundown of bickering children. I can see why people would be interested, and it covers turning points in one of the world’s biggest companies. The narration from Laylor also stops it being absolutely boring, but it wasn’t something I particuarly enjoyed.

Charm – Sarah Pinborough
charm

My Review

This is a series I have absolutely fallen in love with, and now I’m upset because I’ve actually finished the third book and there is no more. Charm takes the tale of Cinderella in a really interesting direction, and I love the way Pinborough tells the original story with her own personal twists. My review for the third book Beauty will hopefully come up soon.

Harrow Lake – Kat Ellis

harrow lakeReview Coming Soon

I am so excited to share this review with you. Harrow Lake is an absolutely fantastic YA Horror, and Ellis is clearly a very talented writer. Keep an eye out for it – I’m on a blog tour for this one, so don’t forget to check out my review and the other blogs who will be participating, too.

Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie (Audible Original Drama)

peter panMy Review

The last book I finished in March. I actually finished listening to this on the last day in March, so that was good. It’s a drama version of Peter Pan, and for me it just didn’t hit the mark. There are changes made to the original story, but those changes don’t really affect anything, and the female characters are badly written. The performances, however, were absolutely fantastic.

So there we have it! My March wrap up. And now I have a lot of reviews to write up for April before we get April’s wrap up sometime in May. Look out for reviews coming up on some great books, both here and on Dead Head Reviews.

March 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part One [Books]

March 2020 1

January Wrap UpFebruary Wrap Up

I read 16 books in March. It was a very strange month – GP advised me to remain isolated for 2 weeks, which meant I missed the last two weeks of my workplace being open. There was then a gap where they didn’t know if we’d be able to work from home or not, and they decided from April 1st we would. So my reading time from March has disappeared. I doubt April’s wrap up will be a two-parter, but this one will have to be.

A Touch of Death – Rebecca Crunden

a touch of death

My Review

Crunden’s novel is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale set in a world ravaged by disease, where the rich are protected and the poor are stepped on, where one wrong step can result in someone being tortured or put to death. When the two main characters pick up a strange disease, the fear of infection ensures those in power won’t just let them escape. They run, searching for safety and, if possible, a cure. A fantastic story, I really enjoyed reading this one, though I am a little glad I finished it at the start of March instead of a bit later.

Generation X – Scott Lobdell

generation xMy Review

Generation X is essentially a X-Men graphic novel, but focusing on a new generation of heroes. It was an enjoyable, fun read, and I really enjoyed it, despite having very little knowledge of most of these characters. But it’s well worth a look.

Into the Drowning Deep – Mira Grant (Narrated by Christine Lakin)

into the drowning deepMy Review

I’m relatively new to audiobooks, but I’m a longtime listener of podcasts, so it wasn’t that hard to start listening to these. That said, the other audiobook I finished in March I didn’t find to be that great. Into the Drowning Deep, on the other hand, is a brilliant sea-based horror, and the narration for this was fantastic. It proved to be completely and utterly engaging. Definitely worth checking out.

The Corruption of Alston House – John Quick

alston houseMy Review

If you’re interested in horror, you definitely need to be paying attention to Silver Shamrock. These publishers are consistently putting out fantastic horror novels, ranging from haunted house tales like Alston House, to more thriller based stories, to tales about creepy cults. Alston House is a really good story about a woman who moves into the place after a divorce. She’s looking to start a new life, and like many haunted house stories, she finds she gets more than she bargained for. Quick really created an intriguing, gripping tale here, and it’s well worth a read.

The Fourth Whore – E.V. Knight

the fourth whoreMy Review

With a title like The Fourth Whore, you know this book has something to say. And damn, it did not disappoint. This is E.V. Knight’s debut novel, and it is powerful. It’s a gory, violent, feminist tale, tackling the story of Lilith through the eyes of a young woman struggling to make something of her life. We’re currently only in April, and I can already see this as one of my top books of 2020.

Poison – Sarah Pinborough

poisonMy Review

Poison is a retelling of the story of Snow White, and Pinborough masterfully takes the original story, sprinkles elements from other fairy tales, and creates something that feels new and fresh. I’m currently on the third book of the series, and honestly, these books get better with every installment. I’m going to be sad when I finish Beauty, the third and final book.

Happy Hour and Other Philadelphia Cruelties – Tony Knighton

happy houtMy Review

This was a collection of crime/noir stories I wasn’t really fussed on, but it would be impossible to love every book I read. There was one standout from this book I really liked, a story with more of a sci-fi bent.

Shallow Waters, Volume 1 – Edited by Joe Mynhardt

shallow waters vol 1My Review

Shallow Waters is a series of flash fiction anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing, and the books contain some brilliant stories. Volume 1 was a great, interesting read, and if you like horror flash fiction, I definitely recommend picking this one up.

So there we have the 8 books for Part 1! Have you read any of these? Any books you read in March you really enjoyed? Look out for part 2, coming soon.

February 2020 Reading Wrap Up [Books]

February 2020 Reading Wrap UpAs with my January Wrap Up, I’m a little behind with this. Since the start of the year, I feel like I’ve been playing a little catch-up with reviews. But I’ve had a bit more time this week, so I’m able to get this up now, and hopefully start really catching up with reviews for books I’ve read in March so far.

Happy Writing – Jenny Alexander

happy writingA book about working through the various blocks that might be stopping you from writing, I found this book to be a little simplistic for me. It might, however, be excellent for those starting to write, or who haven’t put time into studying the craft previously.

My Review

The Cult Called Freedom House – Stephanie Evelyn

cult called freedom houseI’d heard great things about this book, so when it appeared as an ebook on Amazon for free, I grabbed it. It was, however, a bit of a disappointment for me. It was too fast-paced, rushing from one scene to the next, and the actual appeal of the cult wasn’t clear to me. See, I can see how some people could enjoy this first installment in the Sophia Rey series, and it hasn’t put me off checking out the next one.

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

Bottled – Stephanie Ellis

bottledBottled is a really interesting take on the haunted house subgenre, and follows the main character as he tries to spend a single night in his deceased grandfather’s home, the setting for his childhood abuse. Definitely one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume Two – Alan Moore, Kevil O’Neill

league vol 2The second volume for Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen takes on War of the Worlds, with a familiar cast of characters back to lead the charge. I enjoyed this one, except for the novel inserted at the back, and if you’ve read and enjoyed the first volume, I can’t think of a reason not to continue with it.

My Review

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal

we hunt the flameIf you haven’t yet checked out this YA Fantasy, the debut novel from Hafsah Faizal, you really should change that. It’s a fantastic book with utterly engaging characters and a setting most readers won’t be used to. I cannot wait for the second installment in the series.

My Review

Straight on Till Morning – Liz Braswell

straight on till morningThe latest in the Twisted Tales series, Straight on Till Morning follows Wendy at age 16, when she gets fed up of waiting for Peter and arranges her own passage to Neverland. This has quickly become my second favourite of the series (Reflection, the Mulan story, still tops the list for me) and it’s a fantastic tale, sprinkling in some good messages about stories, growing up, and women looking for their place in a male-dominated world. Definitely recommend this one.

My Review

I only managed to read six books this month, but any I started during February were all written by women, which I’m quite happy with. This post will be coming out after the reviews for We Hunt the Flame and Straight on Till Morning have been posted, but I’m writing it on 15/03/20, and so far in March I’ve already finished four books. Though I expect a lot of people might have higher read counts for this month and next!

How did your February go for reading? How does March compare so far? And how are you doing with those pesky Goodreads goals?

January 2020 Wrap Up [Books]

January 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

This wasn’t something I did month by month last year, mainly because I was only reading a few books a month. But I managed to start the year by reading nine books in one month, so I thought a wrap up would be a good idea! And I know this is fairly late, but hopefully I can get ones up earlier throughout the year.

Sangre: The Wrong Side of Tomorrow – Carlos Colon

received_2714049208646313I read this as part of a blog tour, hence why the review isn’t yet up. But it is a book I definitely enjoyed, with interesting takes on the vampire mythos. The story is told in two strands – the MC’s past, entwined with his present, as he tries to avoid the attention of the authorities after a few too many murders. It’s a good book, and I can’t wait for you to see the blog tour in May!

Yuri – Steve Stred

yuriMy Review

Yuri is a short, tightly packed read. It was really enjoyable, had me absolutely gripped, and is definitely worth checking out. Stred creates a really interesting world here, and I’m really looking forward to checking out more by this author.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance – Tomi Adeyemi

COV&V_JKT_Trade_032819.indd

My Review

I was really looking forward to this, after having thoroughly enjoyed Children of Blood and Bone. I maybe didn’t enjoy this installment as much as the first, but I still liked it and am now eagerly awaiting the third book in the series.

Slay My Love – Lee Colgin

slay my love

My Review

This book reminded me of my love for paranormal romance, and for vampires. And the vampires presented here are fairly different from those in Sangre, so it was great to get the different genres and different views of them. I’ve always loved vampires, and I absolutely devoured Slay My Love.

Devil’s Creek – Todd Keisling

devil's creek

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

This is a fantastic release from publisher Silver Shamrock, and if you’re not paying attention to them yet you really should be. They are seriously putting out some amazing horror into the world, and I’m always thrilled to get one of their releases. Devil’s Creek was no exception, an intriguing, gripping story based around a cult and the children of cult leader Jacob Masters. Keep an eye out for this one.

Will Haunt You – Brian Kirk

will haunt you

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

I was kind of in two minds about this, but in the end it was an enjoyable book to read, and fairly twisted. If you like books that are a little off the rails, definitely worth checking this one out. And keep an eye out on Dead Head for my review, too!

The Roo – Alan Baxter

the roo

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

Tell me what’s not to love about a demented kangaroo terrorising an Australian outback town? Baxter did an absolutely fantastic job with this, and just look at that cover! It’s a really engrossing novella, hard to put down, and if you like any sort of creature features, I cannot recommend this one enough.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken – Brigid Kemmerer

a heart so

My Review

This was another book I was really looking forward to, having absolutely loved A Curse So Dark and LonelyAgain however, it didn’t quite live up to the first book in the series. Grey and his new love interest just weren’t as gripping as Harper and Rhen, and I think I preferred the more limited view of Grey we got in the first book. But Kemmerer’s writing is absolutely fantastic all the same, and I’ll still be reading the third book when it comes out.

Magic Unleashed – Devri Walls

venators

This is another blog tour book, so keep an eye out for the blog tour with some amazing bloggers coming in March. This book was really enjoyable, combining so many different elements I thoroughly love. I’m really excited for the review to come out, and hopefully a few more people will pick this up on the back of the blog tour!

So there we have it, the wrap up for January 2020. Any books you read in the first month of this year you really enjoyed? Any of these you’ve picked up and liked? And yeah, hopefully I can get the February wrap up out much quicker!

Blogmas #6: 2019 Wrap Up & 2020 Goals

Blogmas #6One: I know I skipped day five. Two: This will possibly go up late. Re the first point, I couldn’t think of much for the prompt (gifts) and I said at the start I wasn’t going to push myself to post every day. I’ve been feeling under the weather this week, so I avoided rushing something yesterday, and I won’t rush this to get it out before midnight. But we’ll see how that one goes.

So. 2019.

What a year.

And I mean that in a really good way.

yay.gifSo I started the year off kind of…lonely, I guess. Like, I have my BF, who is amazing, but in terms of networking, and connections to communities, I struggled. I was querying stories, but had very few published, and I didn’t seem to making many connections with the #WritingCommunity on Twitter. I’d see bloggers interacting, getting ARCs, doing blog tours, and had absolutely no idea how to actually be a part of all that.

I had a couple of short stories published at the start of 2019, and I updated the blog more and had a handful of followers, and, as I still do now, I mentally cheered whenever I had a new follower, on Twitter or the blog. It was just constantly amazing to me that someone would be interested in the words I wrote.

thank you.gifJust before the summer, my BF and I talked about going to Disney. Basically, he remembered me saying how much I wished I could spend my 30th birthday in DLP, or at least one birthday, and how it was probably the closest theme park open in the middle of November, and it sucked because theme parks/amusement parks for my birthday were not really a possibility.

See, I love rollercoasters, and on a trip to Blackpool a couple of years ago, we discovered Rich does too, even if he was terrified while we queued for The Big One, the moment we stepped off he turned to me with a grin and said, “Can we do it again?”

emperors new groove.gifWe booked the trip. And shortly after, I decided to try beta reading through freelance website Fiverr. Turns out, that was an absolutely fantastic decision. Through doing this, I have met some fantastic writers, and they’ve now gone on to have stories published or to self-publish books, receiving amazing feedback. It feels great, to be doing something constructive, and to help other writers along their journeys.  Because of this, I am now considering looking at joining The Society for Editors and Proofreaders next year, and maybe taking a couple of courses, as editing is something I really enjoy, and judging from the consistent 5* feedback, apparently something I might actually be good at.

Around the same time, Dead Head Reviews posted asking anyone would be interested in joining their team. Apparently, I was one of the first. And it’s been really exciting. If you”re a horror fan, you should definitely check out the site. Through Dead Head, I’ve been introduced to some amazing indie publishers and authors, and have got to fantastic horror books, from anthologies to novellas to full novels, it really has been amazing.

This year, I also joined TheWriteReads gang, with my mid-year wrap up post being featured as a blog of the day. This has not only increased my views and followers, but also introduced me to some amazing people, allowed me to participate in the blog tour for the fantastic The Devil’s Apprentice, and I am also a panelist for the upcoming BBNYA.

Talking of blog tours, I’ve been invited onto a few now, so look out for them in the New Year! And I’ve started getting a few review requests thanks to my review policy page, and it’s always exciting to see an e-mail come in for that dedicated account.

anna excited.gifWith my own personal writing, things have been a little up and down. I’ve had a couple of short stories published, but many rejected. But I will keep trying and, of course, keep writing.

But one thing this year has taught me is that even though I am in an early stage in my own writing career, that doesn’t mean I can’t help other beginner writers. Whether it’s through the beta-reading/editing work I do, or reviewing books, I feel really happy when I can give another writer feedback to make them smile, and when I do come across a really good book, you can bet I’ll shout about it from the rooftops.

And of course, we went to Disneyland Paris in November. It was amazing and magical and an absolute dream come true – I cried during Illuminations, because I was standing next to my fantastic, wonderful boyfriend, in Disneyland, on my 30th birthday, and it was everything I could have wished for and more. And Illuminations is just…it’s emotional, okay? Here’s hoping we get to go back soon!

mickey and minnie

2020 Goals

So here we are. It’s coming up to the end of the year and we are approaching 2020. I’m not a big fan of setting ‘goals’ as such, as if I don’t hit them, I tend to feel a little bad. But I do try to set myself small, achievable goals. Things I know I can do, and if I exceed them, I can feel really, really good about it.

One thing that happened this year I didn’t mention about was I hit 100 blog followers (and hoted a giveaway to celebrate!). So this year, maybe I can double that. Hitting 200 would be fantastic.

I’ve exceeded my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal (set at 50, currently on 65) and would like to do the same next year. I am definitely reading more, so I’m going to up the amount to 55. Still a small number, but if I can read over 50 in a year, I’m happy.

Have short stories being queried at all times. This year, I set myself to have five out on submission every month, and I’m going to try to keep that up. If I don’t achieve that, it’ll be because I’ve had stuff published, so even if I don’t hit that goal, it’s not a bad thing.

Other than that, I’m going to keep doing what I’m currently doing. Helping writers, whether it’s improving their writing or promoting their books via reviews, updating the blog regularly, and working on my own writing when I can.

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Huge thanks to Jenn for pointing me towards her Blogmas list.

Blogmas #1: Christmas TBR  /  Blogmas #2: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year  /  Blogmas #3: Christmas Reads  /  Blogmas #4: Bookish Naughty or Nice List