Why Am I Always So Behind on Goodreads?

My Goodreads profile is always a long way behind my actual reading. I like my short Goodreads reviews to compliment my more in depth reviews here on my blog, which means I tend to write them at the same time. But…I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty useless at keeping up. I even have a column on my reading spreadsheet reminding me to write reviews, but I still manage to fall behind. It’s just not that easy to write a long, detailed review when life gets in the way, and that means I don’t update my Goodreads either. I’ve been having some struggles recently (and not so recently) that have thrown me way off base, and I’m struggling to know what to do next. I still read but my reading is marred by reality’s ugly head, and having the time and mental energy to review has seemed impossible. While I can think all to well about what I want to say, when it comes down to actually getting it done and dusted I seem stuck. And that blows. A lot.

Just today I moved 6 books from my current list to my read list. I still haven’t reviewed them, but my head seems clearer today than it has in a long time so maybe I can blast some out and get back on track. Just putting a rating and “review to follow” on my books has allowed me to shift them off the current list, and it means I’m catching up to my Goodreads target again. Now I just need to start writing before I actually forget what I thought of the books. For this very reason, I keep rough notes on my phone as I read, so that I can build on them more, but still, it can be hard to remember weeks later what you planned on saying.

We all have our ups and downs, and for the most part reading helps me through mine. I like to review my books so that, later on, I can look back and remember why I enjoyed it (or didn’t), so that I can see whether it’s worth it to reread. It would be nice if my reviews introduced people to books they’d never read too, though reading is so subjective and I always think that it’s better to read and form your own opinion on a book instead of avoiding it because others didn’t like it (or worse, feeling as though you have to enjoy it just because everyone else thinks it’s the best book in the world). Most of the time, writing a review is just part of the reading process to me. It helps me slow down and consider what I’ve just read, rather than running from one book to the next without breath, without remembering what I’ve read or how it made me feel. In these times though, when life itself seems such a chore, reviewing can seem almost impossible. I’m trying though. I hope it picks up. I hope I can get some done before the next wave hits. And maybe this time I won’t fall so far behind.

Book Review: Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly

This review may contain mild spoilers but will not talk in detail about any important plot points. I bought this book second hand from a used book sale sometime last year and just got around to reading it. The book is about a girl called Emma, who is the last person to see her childhood best friend, Abby, before Abby goes missing. The book is centred around Emma trying to find out what happened to Abby while also trying not to let the unsavoury circumstances in her past (that led to her “abandoning” Abby and moving to a different school) bleed through into her present. Check out the Goodreads page here.

missing-abby

Continue reading “Book Review: Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly”

Holidays Book Haul

Every year since I started university I come home for Christmas but this year was special because I got to come back for a whole month!! A month of free food, no exams or uni work and constant DOGS! Utter bliss. I managed to see so many friends (and in fact a friend from Edinburgh came to spend a few days with me and my folks over Christmas which was nice) and I bought some books. In the sales. Because I have very little self control (read literally none whatsoever). I only bought 6 though! So maybe I’m getting better in my ripe old age?

(All book cover images were taken from google because my camera was being mean to me.)

Continue reading “Holidays Book Haul”

We’ve had a face lift!

Hey everyone! I’d been quite sporadic with posting for quite a while (I’ve been having a lot of personal problems and I’ve been in a reading/blogging slump for quite a while) but hopefully that’ll change soon. To commemorate my new ideas and renewed vigour for blogging, I have changed the look of my blog! Woo! It’s still just one of the free WordPress ones (I am but a poor human bean) but I really like the colour scheme and fonts. The blog image of a typewriter is also from the WordPress arsenal and I think it’s both beautiful and does a good job of summing up my blog (and my life if we’re being honest). I may change it to an image that I’ve taken myself in the future, but I’m still undecided. I love this image enough to stick with it for a while yet.

I don’t really know why I’m making this post. I don’t want it to be another “don’t worry I’m back for real” post because they seem to be the death of me. All I can say is that I’m getting on with my life the best I can, I have honestly missed blogging and I’m excited to get back to it, I have more ideas for blog posts now but still no schedule but then, life’s really too short to spend it on a schedule anyway. I want to thank all of you who were here before, and all those who will return. My blog is primarily for myself but when others recognise my work or talk to me about shared interests it really warms my heart. So thank you for that. And here’s to the many productive months ahead.

Don’t forget to follow me if you’d like, read my latest post (a spoiler-free review of the film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), comment on my posts (I do so love hearing from you guys) and follow my new (and hopefully more active) book instagram secretlybeautifulbooks (you can also follow my personal instagram – alliej_xoxo – for sporadic selfies and food porn). See you in the next post .

Bout of Books 17 – Sign Up and TBR

Hello all!! Yes, I’ve been away for months now. I didn’t choose to abandon you all – I had a few personal problems I was trying to focus on and blogging took a back seat (an understatement really – blogging was being dragged along on a piece of string behind the car really). But things are better now and to celebrate I’ve decided to throw myself into reading with my first ever read-a-thon!! This is super exciting for me. I chose the Bout of Books read-a-thon because it seemed less intense than some other read-a-thons (which is good for my first one) and because it’s starting tomorrow, 22nd August 2016! If you don’t know what Bout of Books is, here’s the official blurb from their website:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Sounds fun, right? I’m very excited for this, and I’ve set up a little TBR to share with you guys. I might not get through all of my list (in fact it’s really highly unlikely) but I’m going to try my best! My TBR is split into three sections: physical books, kindle books, and audio books. Continue reading “Bout of Books 17 – Sign Up and TBR”

What Will I Be Reading While Travelling? Carnegie Prize 2016

I love reading and I love stories, and as most people say, nothing can ever quite match the feeling of holding a book in your hands, feeling its weight, hearing the crinkle of a turning page (bonus points if the book has beautiful pictures or something else that enhances the reading experience even more). However, they can be a bit…unwieldy, and never more so than when you’re going on holiday. I suppose they’re a bit hard to store if you have so many books and not enough spare shelves or corners. With this in mind, kindles (and other e-readers, although I’ve only ever owned and used a kindle) are also awesome. I’m taking a kindle with me to Paris this week, and in preparation I bought some new books (because I didn’t have enough or anything…) – sticking to a theme, I bought the Carnegie Prize 2016 shortlist. The entire shortlist. Let’s all say a quiet prayer for my poor bank account, eh?

There are 8 books on the shortlist, and they cover various different themes. I’m aiming to have read them all by the time the winner is announced on the 20th June. Here’s a brief description of all 8 titles – the link to the Carnegie Shortlist 2016 web page is here. Continue reading “What Will I Be Reading While Travelling? Carnegie Prize 2016”

I’m Back!

Sooooo…it’s been a while, huh? Almost half a year if we want to be specific. I’ve been so busy and stressed the past few months, but now that everything has died down for a while, I realised just how much I miss blogging. It’s been so long but now I’m back and (hopefully) I’ll be around for a very long time yet.

So what’s happened since I last posted? I went to London for a few days (which was amazing), my birthday was in February (which was also amazing) and I had my end of year exams (which were…exams). I bought myself a new camera for my birthday – a Nikon D3300 – which I’ve been getting to grips with. It’s my baby and I love it so much. I think I’m getting rather good too!

This summer’s exam period was one of the worst, most stressful I’ve ever been through – makes sense seeing as the stakes are getting steadily higher. I really hope I’ve done well though – I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

And now for the most exciting news of my year – I’M GOING TO PARIS!!! On Friday, actually. I’ve never been to Paris before (in fact, I’ve never been to France unless you count docking at Calais on a school coach trip to Germany) and I could not be more excited. I’m going with one of my best friends, and we’re spending the weekend at the Bite Me I’m Famous convention in Paris, for the TV show The Vampire Diaries. Then we have until Wednesday to sightsee. We want to go to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, and the Notre Dame cathedral. I want to go to the Shakespeare and Co bookshop and the graveyard where Oscar Wilde is buried, and my friend wants to go to the huge department store. It’s going to be so exciting!!

I leave you now with promises that I will return shortly, and a plea for help. I’ve compiled a little list of cheap-to-cheapish cafes and restaurants that we can eat in when we’re in Paris, but if any of you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!! Comment below with suggestions. Speak soon!