We somehow find ourselves in December, and the end of another year is imminent. But before that, there is the small matter of Christmas to look forward to as well as lots of books to read and fun blog posts to write!
This is the first of no fewer than 20 posts I have planned this month after my recent mini hiatus, and I am looking back on November, which was so very busy. There were some challenging days, but overall it mostly went well and gradually my life is starting to feel that little bit more organised.
It was certainly my busiest time of the year in terms of work, as we had an important deadline and I spent whole days helping to put exam support in place for students, which is a long administrative process! The job may not be the most exciting at times and that is something I am always aware of, but I think I am doing quite well and the feedback I have received from colleagues is very positive, so I have mixed feelings about that.
The biggest challenge has actually been finding the time to fit in all of my writing, blogging, and other things alongside work. I am still working on it, but I will get there and find an ideal routine. I hate days when I am consumed by tiredness and lack of sleep, so that is motivation enough to make the right choices. Ultimately, it all comes down to being kind to myself.
As for reading, it was a pretty good month. I read a total of six books and have three more currently on the go. Several were buddy reads and there were a multitude of different genres, while I gave one of them five stars.
I cannot name one of the books I read in November as it was for the Book Blogger’s Novel of the Year Award and competition rules state I cannot reveal which ones I am judging until the winner is announced, but here are all the rest!
Girl In The Walls ⭐⭐⭐
I, Robot ⭐⭐⭐.5
The Chestnut Man ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Plot ⭐⭐
The Testaments ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My review of The Chestnut Man will be up this weekend and I can honestly say that while it is very dark and graphic which is not often my thing, it is the best crime thriller I have read for quite some time. It is brilliantly plotted and despite it’s 500-page length, reads very quickly to the extent you just do not want to put it down.
Elsewhere, The Plot was the one real disappointment as a very strong concept is let down by poor execution, and Girl In The Walls did not completely live up to my expectations. Meanwhile, I have just finished listening to The Testaments on audiobook and I ended up really enjoying it, for the superb storytelling and increased development of its dystopian world. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I liked it much more than The Handmaid’s Tale, which I listened to earlier this year.
Looking ahead, I am currently reading an ARC of The Key In The Lock by Beth Underdown, a mysterious and atmospheric historical fiction. I am also over halfway through Karen M. McManus’ latest YA thriller You’ll Be The Death Of Me as part of the ongoing blog tour, and slowly getting through Luck Of The Titanic, which is a really fun read.
Some more historical fiction reads feature on my December TBR, including the fascinating Things In Jars and feminist mystery Dangerous Women. However, by far my most anticipated book of the month is Our Violent Ends. I received my copy recently and am planning to buddy read it – cannot wait!
A few years ago I published a Kindle e-book about the football (soccer) club I support, and I shall be releasing the sequel in December, which documents a period in the club’s recent history. Hardly anyone will read it, but it is good to have actually written something and put it out there. Hopefully during my festive break from work I can return to writing poems again, as publishing a poetry collection is among one of my strongest held ambitions.
This year will be my first Christmas since moving into my new flat, so I am super excited about putting up my decorations later today – accompanied by a few Christmas songs of course! I shall be spending the day itself with my family, and I am really looking forward to it.
One piece of good news is that I have recently started making time again for blog hopping. I have felt really bad this year for not being able to read everyone’s amazing posts, but life has just been so busy. I am determined to get back to blog hopping regularly again, because I love it and also helping to support other bloggers.
To end the post, here are some of my favourite posts from recent days:
- Siena ranked her favourite books by the Bronte sisters, giving some great recommendations for their more obscure work.
- Sabrina listed 13 books with unusual story structures.
- Julie recommended six young adult books with Gothic vibes.
- In honour of National Novel Writing Month, Caro shared a list of eight boos about writers.
- Kristin discussed whether she keeps up with new releases, for last week’s Let’s Talk Bookish.
- In an interesting discussion, Sumedha asked how important social media is for bloggers.
- Sophie shared a list of books set in Scotland, so many amazing recommendations here!
- Pauliina checks in on her 2021 reading resolutions.
- Kaya wrote a review of These Violent Delights which really captured all the reasons why I love it so much.
Have a wonderful December and happy reading! 🙂