Reading Year in Review: 2017

We got to do some pretty amazing things this year, all thanks to reading. Here are some of our bookish highlights of 2017! Continue reading “Reading Year in Review: 2017”

Advertisements

Summer Cramathon Wrap-Up | 2015

Bee and I attempted, and that’s the key word, to participate in WhittyNovels’ Cramathon this summer, which happened from the 10th-13th July! There were a number of challenges to complete, but the main goal is to read as many books as possible to contribute to your Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Without further ado, here’s how we did. Spoiler alert: it’s not great!

Read a…:
1. Children’s Book
Bee: ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis (and half of ‘The Horse and His Boy’.) We own all of the books, but I only remember having ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ read to my class in Year 4. About time to read the whole series, nearly ten years later?
Maddie: ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ by J. K. Rowling. I’ve never actually read the whole thing through, with all Dumbles’ annotations too, because I hadn’t finished the HP series during my first read. It was lovely to get to appreciate it again, and seeing how much I love fairy tales, this one was perfect!

2. Hardback
Bee: Attempted to read some of the stories in ‘My True Love Gave to Me’, edited by Stephanie Perkins, but the book is kind of huge (and pink, therefore, cute.)
Maddie: Sneakily, I used ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ for this as well! Haha! There wasn’t a rule against doubling up!

3. Two Books in 24 Hours
Bee: Narnia books and my graphic novel choice. Short books = easy win!
Maddie: ‘Pretty Little Liars’ by Sara Shepard and Beedle again. (Gosh, that guy just keeps popping up!) I really enjoyed PLL, it was the perfect book to read because it was relatively short and the storyline was so addictive, I couldn’t stop! This is definitely a series I’ll continue this year.

4. Graphic Novel
Bee and Maddie: The only graphic novel we own and haven’t read was ‘Marceline and the Scream Queens’, so we both read that one! It was really lovely for Marce and PB to be the main characters for a change. The art style was super simple and the colour palette was adorable. If you like ‘Adventure Time’, would totally recommend!

5. Book in Verse
Ooh, neither of us managed to do this one because we don’t own any. Definitely going to have to look into it though! It sounds so unique!

6. Novella
Maddie: After reading ‘These Broken Stars’, I decided to read ‘This Night So Dark’, which is the prequel to the series, before the Icarus crash. Overall, I was a little disappointed at the ‘extra information’ we were given, or the lack of it! Hopefully, the next book in the series will impress me more!

7. At least 5 books
Unfortunately, I only got to read 4 books over the Cramathon because I only started on the 11th, so was a day behind, and then on Monday was with friends on a day trip, so didn’t have much time to read. However, I really enjoyed the challenges and the Cramathon I did get to participate in, so I hope to participate again fully in the Christmas season.

On Reviewing Books

There has been a lot of discussion on the book blogosphere recently about the purpose of writing reviews (and why we should continue to LOVE it!) and whether writing reviews is something that needs to be done to be considered part of the community. I suppose this post is a response to a whole host of blog posts that I’ve read recently, and there will be a little appendix at the end for those that haven’t read these posts yet. So here are my thoughts on the topic:

Reading and reviewing are basically my only hobbies. I write and I also love filming and editing videos for our booktube channel, but other than that I spend the majority of my time reading (when I’m not revising or panicking for exams, of course.) My hobbies revolve around sharing my love of books and trying to write my own! And I read a lot of books. Maddie and I always get asked how we manage to read so much so we made a video entitled How To Read More where we tried to explain it, but really it’s a simple as reading is my whole life.  You’ve heard of stress eating, right? Well I stress read. I read when I get all freaked out about the future (aka exams), when I’m feeling frustrated or upset, when I’m happy, excited – any time and all the time.

So naturally I have a lot of book reviews to write. Around December 2014 we decided that we wanted to try and post everyday, and somehow we’ve managed to do that for the past four-ish months. I know, crazy! But when it comes to writing reviews, sometimes I find myself putting them off, because I just want to get on to reading something new. I almost feel obligated to review all the books I read, because I’ve set a precedent that I need to be posting something everyday. I may be an insanely dedicated reader, but I do have a life outside of reading (which extends to school work and seeing my best friend Stacks of Sarah, like, twice a week.)

Heart Full of Books has a NetGalley account, which is pretty much where we receive the majority of awesome books we review. Undoubtedly, NetGalley has given us some really greats reads – and some not so great ones – but there always seems to be a time limit on them. Especially for ARCs, because you have to get your review ready for publication. (Not a hard and fast rule, but one I pretty much stick to.) We’re also bloggers that will happily review self-published or small authors, examples being Branded, and Rite of Rejection. Recently, we’ve been getting a lot more requests from independent authors to read their books, which is super great because I think it’s important to promote unknown authors as much as it is to rave about new releases from bestselling authors. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I love working to deadlines for things like blog tours, but other times it can be a real hassle.

Our main content on this blog is book reviews, although we do have a Wider Reading page for our non reviews. This is because we’re predominantly YouTubers, with our blog working as a complimentary site to our channel, rather than the other way around. Therefore, the majority of our discussions and topical ideas are posted in video format. I think generally reviews are the least viewed content on both platforms. We give minor reviews in our monthly wrap-up videos and that’s pretty much it, because, realistically, I don’t think people want to dedicate more than 1-2 minutes watching a book review, especially for something they haven’t read. And so reviews are put on our blog, because it’s a lot quicker to read a written review than watch an eight minute long video review of a book that, at the end of the day, you might not even enjoy.

I will never stop writing reviews. Even if I have to work to deadlines, or if my review takes an hour to write(!) because when I’ve finished, I’m really happy with what I’ve written. I’m proud of every post on this blog, even if some of them took longer to write than it took to actually read the book!

I don’t write reviews for anyone except myself, because I get such a kick out of it! So I don’t really care if my reviews are only seen by two people. Maybe my review impacted how they saw the book, or whether or not they’re going to pick it up. Really, no matter how much effort it takes to upkeep a blog, I’m going to continue, because sharing your opinions matters more!

If you have written something similar on the topic, feel free to share it in the comments so I can add it to the Appendix!

Appendix

1. Queen of Contemporary announces she’ll no longer be writing reviews.
2. Thirst for Fiction explains why book blogging is hella great.
3. Writing From The Tub writes about publishing houses and deadlines.
4. Author Anthony McGowen’s misinformed tweet rant about book bloggers.
5. Day Dreamer’s Thoughts on…Book Blogging.

Reading and Blogging Goals 2015

Reading:
1. Read every day.
2. Try and read at least one classic a month.
3. Use the library more!
4. Don’t neglect the Kindles (Sorry, Roger and Amy)
5. Finish 10 series!
6. Read a new author.
7. Give something old a second chance.
8. Do more read-a-longs with Sarah!
9. Complete TBR
10. Read over 100 books.

Blogging:
1. Try and post at least 15 times a month!
2. Continue to write more ‘not reviews’.
3. Start a recommendations series.
4. Start ‘Student Reviews’ on the classics we read.
5. Blog about creative writing.

Writing:
1. Complete Camp NaNoWriMo 2015
2. Complete Taylor Swift Anthology on secondary blog SongTitleStories
3. Finish a novel

Wish us Luck!
Maddie and Bee x

Would You Rather (Book Edition)

We already have a post for December 1st and 2nd, so Maddie and I decided to try and do Blogmas! So without further ado I have been tagged in the Would You Rather Tag that has been going around booktube and the blog-o-shere. I was tagged by Diary of a Booklover and I do believe that this tag was created by RayKayBooks on YouTube. (Original video here!) Would you rather…

1) Read only trilogies or stand alone novels?

I love a good stand alone novel, and I think it’s so amazing that an author can create a complete set of characters, perhaps in a new world and make us fall in love with the story over the course of only 300 pages. As much as I like trilogies, more often than not there tends to be the trend of the ‘not-so-great sequel.’ There are quite a few series/trilogies that I definitely would’ve happily left at book one. So stand alones for me!

2) Read only female or only male authors?

I don’t think the gender of the author matters when I pick out books. I am interested in women’s fiction, and would like to study it critically at university, but that won’t stop me from picking out books written by men – it’s important to read a mix of both. I know I’m supposed to come down on one side, and I’ll admit that the majority of the books on my shelf are written by women, so even though  this question is super tough, I’ll go with read only female authors because I read to read every single thing that Morgan Matson publishes.

3) Buy books online or in store?

I’m all for supporting book shops, but there aren’t any book stores closest to me, so I find myself buying online more. But that doesn’t stop me from being in bookshops as often as I can, even if I can’t afford to buy anything!

4) Have books made into movies or tv shows?

I don’t actually watch a lot of TV shows, and there is nothing I hate more that something being dragged out for a ridiculously long amount of time, so it really depends whether it’s a stand alone or a series. I’d like to see more book series being made into TV shows (I’m super excited for the TMI TV show, but I am NOT excited for the re-casting) but I live in the UK so even if they did make an AMAZING series adaptation of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, I’d have to wait, like, a million years before it became available for my region.

5) Read five pages a day or five books per week?

I’m off to university next year so five books a week would be great!

6) Be a professional reviewer or author?

AUTHOR. I have my ten year plan set out for how I’m going to get myself into the publishing industry and becoming a best-selling author is stage three. But I don’t think I’ll ever give up reviewing books as a hobby.

7) Read only your top 20 books over and overread only new books?

Here is a list of my Top 20 books. There’s no way I could give them up, but I would chose to only read new books so I could find new favourites, but have Maddie read my favourites to me. There, that’s not cheating.

8) Be a librarian or a bookseller?

A librarian, without a doubt. Unlimited books whenever I want? Yes, please!

9) Only read your favorite genre or all genres except your favorite?

YA is my favourite genre in broad terms, and I don’t have a favourite sub-genre, so I’ll cheat and say I’ll be forever reading YA. Because I will be. It’s stage two of the publishing plan.

10) Read only physical or only ebooks? If I had the money and space I would read only physical books, if I didn’t have unlimited funds or storage then my Kindle – called Roger – will suffice.

Thank you so much to Alma for tagging me! This was a really fun tag, and if you haven’t thought about these questions yet, then you definitely should!