8 books I’m definitely going to read in 2018

A few months ago I did a post where I looked at the books that I’ve collected over the years but haven’t yet got around to reading. Inspired by this, this year I really want to start making a dent in my backlist rather than constantly being seduced by shiny new books!

Last year I had the same goal, and so decided to take part in the Beat the Backlist challenge – where I aimed to read at least one book a month that I had owned since pre-2017 (it’s running again in 2018 if you’re interested). I didn’t do too well on this one, so this year I feel like I need to be more specific!

I’ve picked 8 specific books from my own backlist that I’m going to prioritise in 2018. I’m planning to review this after six months and see where I’m at with this list. Hopefully I’ll have made some good progress and will be able to add some more titles!

The books I’ve chosen are from all different genres, and there’s a good mix of page counts too – as I was conscious not to choose too many huge books that might feel intimidating! They’re all ones that I originally bought or acquired, in one form or another, because I really wanted to read them, so I’m really looking forward to starting to work through the list.

So, in 2018 I’m definitely going to read…

  • A Little Life: I was desperate to read this book. Everyone I know that’s read it has told me how great it is. I originally downloaded it in audiobook form and struggled to get into it, but I’m really looking forward to giving it another go.
  • The Stand: This one has been on my TBR for ages, but the size of it has been a bit off-putting! I’m sure I’ll enjoy it once I get started though.
  • Notes from an Exhibition: I’ve actually had this one for years but haven’t yet read it. I recently read and loved Gale’s A Place Called Winter’, so that’s given me new motivation to pick this one up!
  • Six of Crows: I really don’t know why I haven’t read this yet. I’ve heard only good things.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: I picked this one up second hand a while back and I’ve heard so much about it. It sounds absolutely fascinating. I rarely read non-fiction and it’s one of my 2018 goals to read more in this genre, so this is a good place to start.
  • The Blind Assassin: I love Margaret Atwood but I haven’t had a chance to get to this yet. Watching the TV adaption of The Handmaid’s Tale as well as Alias Grace on Netflix has made me really keen to read more of her works.
  • Wrath: This is the final book in a series that I love. However, I left it too long and have forgotten so many details. I could really do with rereading the previous book to refresh my memory, but haven’t found the time. I’m going to have to find a summary online somewhere or a spoilery review before I start this one.
  • All the Light We Cannot See: I’ve actually started this one a couple of times but never got further than the first chapter. I don’t know what’s been putting me off. It got so many great reviews though that I’m going to try again.

What are the books that you most want to read in 2018? Have you read any that are on my list?

Advertisements

Discussion post: Books that I’ll (probably) never read

Books I'll never read
This post is a tough one for me to write, as the fact that I own a large number of books that I’ll probably never get around to reading is never something I would usually admit to.

Looking at the stats…

It’s time to face facts. There are currently 184 physical unread books currently on my bookshelf, along with 109 unread books on my kindle and 11 in my audiobook library. That’s a total of 304 unread books (and yes, counting up all of these was slightly horrifying and took forever!).

Despite the fact that I already own almost enough books to open my own private library, only a paltry 5 of the 50 books that I’ve read so far in 2017 are books that I owned prior to the beginning of 2017. This means that the vast majority of the books that I’m reading are either new releases, review copies or books that have been otherwise bought or borrowed by me in the last six months.

What does this all mean??

These statistics really doesn’t bode well for the piles of books that have accompanied me from house to house for years but haven’t yet got around to reading – some of which I don’t even remember buying! Continue reading

GIVEAWAY: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Giveaway

UPDATE: Thanks so much to all that entered this giveaway! I really appreciate all of your suggestions for new authors to check out. The winner has now been picked – and congratulations go to Bethany (lonelybookwOrm)! I hope you enjoy the book. Also if anyone wants to chat about ACOWAR when it’s released please do get in touch!
Continue reading

Top 5: 2017 releases I’m most looking forward to

American War
Author: Omar El Akkad
Publication date: 6 April 2017

Goodreads summary: Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be.

Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.

Why I’m excited: It’s a dystopian world that’s been described as frighteningly realistic, given the political developments of 2016. I haven’t read a good dystopian book since Justin Cronin’s The Passage series, so hoping this is as good as the critics have made it sound.


City of Circles

Author: Jess Richards
Publication date: 10 August 2017

Amazon summary: Danu is a tightrope walker who is mourning her parents after a disease has ravaged the circus where she grew up. Her mother has entrusted her with a locket that hides a secret.

She begins a high-wire act with Morrie, a charismatic hunchback who wants to marry her. When the circus returns to Danu’s birthplace, the magical city of Matryoshka, she discovers the name of a stranger who may hold the answer to her past. When the circus leaves she stays behind.

Will she and Morrie ever be reunited, or will something unexpected be waiting for her in the mysterious heart of the city of circles?

Why I’m excited: I loved Snake Ropes, Jess Richards’ first novel. Her writing is beautiful and dream-like. This has also been billed as one for fans of the Night Circus, which I also loved. Continue reading

I’m Travelling Alone – Samuel Bjork

I'm travelling aloneThe story: The body of a young girl is found, with the number 1 etched into her fingernail and a sign around her neck that reads ‘I’m travelling alone’. Baffled, the police turn to detective duo Holger Munch and Mia Kruger to stop the killer before any more girls are murdered. As the case progresses, things turn more personal, and with no solid leads, it soon becomes clear that more people will suffer before the perpetrator can be stopped.

My thoughts: Holger Munch and Mia Kruger are the archetypal troubled detectives, a version of which you can find in many other books in the genre, and they each come with their own set of personal issues and past mistakes to overcome over the course of the case.

Despite being slightly cliched, I thought Mia in particular was a really interesting character. We first meet her as a suicidal drug addict, and when she’s pulled into the case she struggles to cope. She’s clearly gone through a major trauma and is finding it difficult to reconnect to the person she once was. This not only affects her relationships with her team and superiors, it also affects the way that she works and her natural ability to read people and situations.

Mia’s personal story and recovery is interwoven with the main case, but in my opinion takes up too much page space. The same goes with the other key characters that we meet. I’d have preferred more of an emphasis on plot and less on backstory, especially as this is clearly intended to be the first in a series, so we have plenty of time to get to know the characters.

While the story was a little bit long winded in points and could have done with more focus, there were plenty of twists and turns and it kept me interested. The plot was complex and there are a few big red herrings. This helps to give a rich picture of events and police procedure, although some of the storylines did feel a little far-fetched.

Overall, I think there’s better Scandinavian crime fiction out there (Lars Kelper’s Joona Linna series is great). However, I did enjoy it and will be continuing with the series.

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Red RisingThe story:
Set in the distant future, where the human race is divided by a rigid class system of colours, colonies of Red miners toil under the surface of Mars, harvesting natural elements that will terraform its surface and make it an inhabitable environment in the future. Sixteen year old Darrow is one of these Reds, born underground and raised to risk his life on a daily basis. Food is scarce and life expectancy is short. The rules are enforced by a strict hierarchical class system that’s preceded over by the Gold’s – supposedly superior to all other colours both physically and mentally. When Darrow discovers that his life is built on a lie, he’s given a dangerous mission to integrate himself into the very heart of Gold society.

My thoughts:
Darrow is sent to the Institute, where young Gold’s play deadly games to win power. It’s a trial by fire that is designed to push them to the limits and teach them how to wage war and become the leaders of tomorrow. Weakness isn’t tolerated and not everyone will make it through. Parallels could be drawn to the Hunger Games, but it’s a very different type of competition. The aim here is for power and ultimate victory – achieved through intellect and strategy and the ability to command their peers.

Darrow is a great character. He’s definitely not perfect – he’s reckless, angry and overly bold. He’s smart but he also shows that he can be ruthless and brutal. This means that he’s not always a particularly likeable character, but you still end up rooting for him all the same. Throughout the book he goes through some intense challenges, questioning his own identity, who to trust and what actions can be justified for the greater good. Continue reading

Reading Resolutions for 2015

As it’s a new year, I thought I’d kick off 2015 with a few of my reading resolutions for the next twelve months…

1. Read more non-fiction books. I very rarely read non-fiction books, but I’d really like to try and change this. Currently sitting on my bookshelf are The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Kraus Project, but I’d love any more recommendations.

2. Read more classics. Again, my bookshelf and kindle library are groaning under the weight of all the books I’ve bought with good intentions and never read. Top of the list for 2015 are Anna Karenina, The Grapes of Wrath and Heart of Darkness.

3. Review more of the books I read. I’ve been a bit slow on the reviewing front recently. I’ve been reading tons of books on my kindle at the moment going to and from work on the train, but haven’t had the time to properly sit down and write down all my thoughts.

4. Try and read the books I already own. I have an entire bookcase filled with books that I’ve not read. Some of them have been sat there for years. But still I keep finding myself buying new books, both in hard copy and on my kindle. I’m rapidly running out of space – so something’s got to give!

5. Lots of people seem to be setting reading targets for 2015, aiming to read more than they’ve managed to get through in 2014. Mine is actually the opposite. My final resolution is to stop reading so many quick reads in my favourite genres, and try and focus on some more challenging, and probably more time consuming reads.