Compared to January, which was a really good reading month for me, February was definitely a bad month! I managed to read just three new books.
One of these was the latest book in the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch. I was really looking forward to reading this one as I loved the first few in the series, but even though I did enjoy this one, I feel like after six books the series is getting a little repetitive and might need a bit of something different to give it life again.
I’m blaming this on the fact that February was a shorter month, and the days just seemed to fly by. I had a lot on at weekends in February as well, so my reading time was eaten into. I’m also struggling at the moment to find a really good book to get into. I’m finding myself reading the news or browsing social media instead of picking up a book on my commute – which is usually prime reading time for me – so that might have something to do with my lack of productivity!
As well as the new books that I managed to read though, I did re-read the first five books in the Throne of Glass series, as I’d completely forgotten what happened and wanted to catch up before reading the latest one. If you count these into my stats, February actually wasn’t that bad. But in general, I don’t include re-reads in my Goodreads totals.
I feel like other people might have different views on this though – does anyone else include rereads? I don’t reread books that often and when I do, I tend to read them faster and skim read sections that don’t interest me, so they don’t feel like ‘proper’ reads.
Even though I’ve been blogging on The Stacked Shelf for years, I recently realised that some of my favourite book series are ones that I’ve never reviewed here. Even though I might have mentioned them here or there in comparisons or top lists, I’ve never got around to writing full reviews.
From experience, I find it much harder to review books that are part of a series than standalone books. With books that are part of a series, I’ve found that if I’ve missed reviewing the first book it’s much harder to write reviews of the rest. By the time I’ve realised this, it’s almost impossible to go back and review the first one, either because I’ve forgotten the details or because subsequent books have changed my opinion. Plus it’s always so tough to avoid spoilers for earlier books in the series while still writing a full and useful review.
So here are some of my all-time favourite book series that I’ve never reviewed on the Stacked Shelf…
Do you have books that you love but that you’ve never reviewed on your blog? What are they and why haven’t you ever reviewed them?! Continue reading →
2017 was the first year that I’ve consistently tracked and recorded every book that I read over the twelve months through Goodreads, and so it’s also the first year that I’ve been able to look at how my reading habits break down in any great detail
I’ve been a bit lax in posting my monthly round ups lately, so today I’m doing a look back at 2017. (And yes, I know that 2018 started almost two weeks ago and I’m pretty late with this round up – posting on schedule is one of my goals for this year!)
Renowned fiction author Anthony Horowitz is approached by an old acquaintance, a jaded and disagreeable investigator, with an idea of a new, true crime novel. A particularly perplexing murder has just been committed, and Hawthorne is convinced the story could be a big hit, providing they can solve the case.
This book has one of the most unique concepts of all the books I’ve ever read. Even now I’m still slightly baffled by it. Leaving aside the story for the moment, the idea of having Horowitz write himself as a character in his own novel is very odd. There are so many personal details in the book that must be autobiographical – for example, detailed descriptions about his own past as a scriptwriter for TV programme Foyles War. In addition to this, the fictional murder storyline is entwined into these real life details. At least, I assume that this storyline is fictional – even now I’m not quite sure. Continue reading →
As book bloggers, writing book reviews is a core part of what we do. However, I’ve heard from lots of people who say that review writing is the most challenging or least fun part of blogging.
I’ve written posts in the past that set out some of the reasons that I personally find writing reviews difficult. There are a lot of times where I’ve gone to write a review but put it off – sometimes I can’t seem to get the thoughts in my head down on the page in a way that makes sense or think of the right phrasing, or sometimes just I draw a blank and can’t think of anything interesting to say.
Assuming that at least some other people out there also suffer from the same issues – I thought I’d share some of my experiences, processes and tips for writing book reviews.
I know that everyone writes their reviews differently and I’m by no means an expert! If you’ve been blogging for a while and already have your own style for review writing, this post might not be so useful for you!
However, if you are at all interested in hearing my thoughts and top tips for writing book reviews, please read on! Continue reading →
Books read: 7 In July I finally got around to reading A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson – which might just be my favourite read so far this year. I don’t know why I waited so long to read it, but it definitely lived up to expectations. I also really enjoyed The Heart Goes Last. I wasn’t at all sure about The Butcher’s Hook though.
A God in Ruins, Kate Atkinson
The Owl Always Hunts at Night, Samuel Bjork
The Butchers Hook, Janet Ellis
Frostblood, Elly Blake
The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood
The Good Daughter, Karin Slaughter
The Diabolic, S. J. Kincaid
Books acquired: 24 This month I made the mistake of looking through the Kindle books selection on Amazon, and there far too many deals on books that I wanted to read. I also received a number of ARCs that I’m looking forward to reading this summer and took some out of the library – which given how many books I’ve acquired this month wasn’t a very sensible idea! Continue reading →
Today I’m going to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while – whether not focusing a specific genre for a book blog is a positive or a negative, or whether it can be both.
I read a lot of different genres depending on my mood and what I’m feeling like at the time – and my blog has evolved naturally as a result of this. I quite often have a few different books on the go at once. For example at the moment I’m listening to a crime/thriller audiobook while I’m out and about, reading the latest fiction release as an eBook while on my commute and reading an epic fantasy in paperback at home. Continue reading →
We all know that sometimes reviewing books can be hard (I’ve written a post on this here), and that finding the right words to express yourself clearly and coherently is sometimes a struggle!
I’ve recently noticed that I tend to fall back on many of the same words and phrasing in many of my reviews because I know they work and help me to get from one part of a review to another more easily. At the risk of all of my reviews sounding the same, I have to actively try and not use these phrases when I’m writing.
Looking back over my posts from the last three years, these five expressions have popped up more times that I can count and stand out as being some of my most overused fall-back phrases…
‘It soon becomes clear’ – This is the perfect way to round off a plot summary with a bang and get onto the actual analysis of what I thought about a book, and I seem to be able to use it while talking about literally every book!
‘That said’ or ‘having said that’ – If I’m trying to write a balanced review that looks at both positives and negatives, this is a quick way to get from one to the other. I write it in every review and then have to force myself to go back and rewrite!
‘I wasn’t overly keen on…’ – Usually to be read as ‘I didn’t like this at all but I’m trying to be polite’.
‘Kept me gripped’ – If I’m scrambling to explain exactly why I was so absorbed in a book, this phrase inevitably pops up. It says nothing but hopefully conveys there was a certain something that kept me reading!
‘Ultimately though…’ – I sometimes struggle with ending a review. You can’t just stop, you need a way to round it all off nicely. This is my go-to last sentence starter.
Not using these phrases is harder than you’d think. My fingers type them automatically out of habit. As writing is literally what I do for a living (not the exciting creative writing kind though unfortunately), I feel like I should be better at finding alternative ways to express my opinions about books.
How do you write book reviews? Are there certain words you come back to time and time again? What are your most overused expressions?