7 Changes In My Reading Life

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about the changes in my reading life. I’ve been around the blogosphere for nine years now, and I feel like my reading life and habits have changed a lot. How has yours changed?

1. I’m a more analytical reader

This is also partly thanks to studying English Literature, and also partly thanks to watching and analysing countless TV shows, but my reading life has also been greatly affected! Since starting blogging, I’ve become much more analytical with my reading because I need to think up things to say about the books I’m reading, whether it’s for a review or to discuss with friends!

2. I have a lot of people to talk to about books

Back before I started blogging, I had no one to talk about books with. That’s part of the reason I – and many others, I’m sure – started a blog. Now I have hundreds of people who are around pretty much every second of the day who will talk about books with me, and it’s an amazing feeling! I’ve made some incredible friends through blogging, but I also really appreciate all the acquaintances I’ve made on Twitter and Booktube. If we’re not considered friends yet, I hope we will be given the time!

3. I read a lot more diversely

Over the years my reading has become more and more diverse. I’m thankful to the people around me for this, because so many people I know are amazing advocates for diverse reads, and without them I don’t think as many diverse books would be on my radar. It also helps that the publishing industry is publishing more and more diverse books every year (although it has a long way to go).

This is irrelevant, I just love Max

4. I can discover books more easily

I used to have such a tough time discovering new books as I lived in a small village and could only shop for books in charity shops (poverty problems!), but now I have access to an amazing community who will recommend me books at the drop of a hat. If I’m not on Twitter, I can find books through Instagram, Goodreads, Booktube… almost anywhere!

5. I have more reading apps on my phone

What did we do without reading apps?!

6. I read less urban fantasy and paranormal romance

Related to the charity shops thing above, I used to read sooo much urban fantasy and paranormal romance books! I first got into the genre at about 16, and I blew through so many series. I think I kind of wore myself out in the genre, because now I rarely find myself picking it up. I’ve moved on to thrillers and epic fantasy now more than anything. This could also be related to the genre trends in publishing changing, rather than just me being different!

7. I read so many more books

Not to brag, but I went from reading about twenty books a year (that was my absolute minimum) to reading about one hundred and thirty. This might be because I’m not at school any more, but it also seems to be related to how much I have going on in my personal life. Is that obvious? I just noticed that when I first started blogging I jumped up to one hundred plus books a year, and then the first couple of years I was with my partner (and had a few rubbish things going on) I was back down to about fifty books. Now I’ve jumped up to over one hundred and thirty again and I don’t know how that happened because I’m still quite a busy person!

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Sky Weaver! I’m really excited to work with Orion Publishing for this tour, because The Sky Weaver is a book that I’ve been anticipating for ages. See below for my honest review of the book (provided for free by the publisher), and make sure you check out the other stops on the tour!

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen CiccarelliThe Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 14th November 2019
Publisher: Orion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Lavish, romantic and magical, The Sky Weaver is a new standalone story set in the world of The Last Namsara - one that fans of Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black and Laini Taylor will flock to. . .

At the end of one world, there always lies another.

Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard-helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.

Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as The Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman ability to move between worlds.

When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?

Then Safire and Eris-sworn enemies-find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara.

From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Sky Isles, their search and their stories become threaded ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they're hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world, and the next.

The Sky Weaver was an utterly addictive read that I spent just three hours on because I was enjoying it that much. As soon as I opened the first page I was swept back into Ciccarelli’s Iskari world, and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m now really sad that the book – and the trilogy – is over, because now that I’m back in this world I want more!

Full disclosure, I only read The Last Namsara prior to reading The Sky Weaver. I haven’t read The Caged Queen yet, partly because I heard bad things, and partly because it kind of flew over my radar. Thankfully, I don’t think I missed out on anything, since Ciccarelli did a good job of recapping everything for me. It seems to me that most of the things that are relevant happened in The Last Namsara anyway!

While this book is being marketed as being full of pirate-y goodness, I wouldn’t say it’s the focus of it. There are lots of pirate-y moments and scenes, but the main draws of the book are Safire, the dragon king’s commander, and Eris, someone who can shadow-walk.

I absolutely loved both of these characters, and I adored spending time with both of them. Their enemies-to-lovers romance made me smile a lot, and I’m so happy that I read their story. I have to say that I felt a bit detached from Eris to begin with, since she has no connection to Asha’s family and she kind of came out of nowhere. That said, she really grew on me, and by the end I was truly invested in her story.

I also have to mention that, as usual, I adored the stories that Kristen Ciccarelli was able to weave (ha!) in there. The interwoven stories were something that I loved the most about The Last Namsara, and I was so pleased to see that they were back in this book. They really help with the world building and the mythology, not to mention the overarching story! I feel like they do spoil things sometimes, but they’re meant to be a sort of low-key build up to the things that are happening in present day.

Not to mention that stories themselves play a massive part in this world, since it’s how humans connect with dragons! I just really love everything about them.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. It was a highly enjoyable read, and while it’s not an all time favourite, I genuinely loved reading about the gods, the dragons, and the dragon riders!

November Goals

I realise that we’re halfway through November already (!) but I’ve been wanting to post a monthly goals post for a while and I had this one sat in my drafts. So while I had a free moment, I thought why not? I’ve got a few small things I want to accomplish in November, so a blog post might help hold me accountable.

I’m trying not to pressure myself too much, because I tend to run away from pressure and ignore everything, so it’s best if I don’t worry about my goals and just kind of hope they’ll happen.

Focus on ARCs

I don’t have many November or December review copies, so these next two months will be the perfect time to focus on both my backlist titles, and my 2020 releases. I’d really like to get as far ahead as I can with my review copies so that when work gets busy again I’ll be able to have a lot of posts scheduled. I’m going to start doing a monthly ARC check-in post so I can put a tiny bit of pressure on myself to get through my ARC mountain. So far this month I’ve only read a couple of review copies, but since I have some days off work coming up I should be able to create some time to really focus on them.

Get through my 5 star predictions

I posted about seven books that I thought I would give five stars at the beginning of the year and I still have three books to read. I’d like to read them by the end of November so I have time to write a wrap up post and a video, and then come up with a brand new list for 2020, however this goal might drag into December as my November TBR is quite ambitious!

Go to the gym three times a week

I’ve been really good at going to the gym lately, as well as to my two fitness classes each week at lunch. I’d like to keep this up, especially as the gym is only a five minute walk from my new house. I’m still getting used to the new gym, and I’ve been a bit anxious about going, but overall I’m really enjoying it. I’ve tried out a couple of different classes so far, and I’d like to give some more a go either this month or next.

Write a Christmas list

I’m not buying for many people this year but I have no idea what I’m going to buy anybody yet! I had a couple of ideas for my mum, but after hinting at them I don’t think she sounded too keen. I’ll probably buy the same Lush stuff for my sister as I do every year. As for Quill, I have no idea! I overdid it a bit for his birthday, and now I’m stuck.

Get ahead with Booktube

I’ve been doing fairly well with Booktube this year, but since moving house I’ve really been struggling finding some sort of routine where I have the time to record, edit, and upload videos. I’m hoping that, with all the time off I have coming up, I’ll be able to figure something out. I want to do Vlogmas again this year, so I need to get a move on with at least recording enough videos for that!

Those are all of them! I’ve tried to keep it as low key as possible in order to not stress myself out. I guess we’ll revisit these in my next goals post in about a month’s time as we’ll see how I did. Do you have many goals set for November? How are you doing with them?

Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta SepetysThe Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 1st October 2019
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence--inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

I am a massive fan of Sepetys’ work, and I have been ever since I read Between Shades of Gray when it first came out. I find her writing to be very emotional, so it was a shame when The Fountains of Silence managed to drag on for me and didn’t evoke many emotions at all.

My main issue with The Fountains of Silence was that it was far too long. At 140 small chapters, the plot both dragged and jumped around from person to person, and I found myself extremely bored in the middle and completely disconnected. I was often just getting used to one point of view before the book switched to someone else’s, and so I had a hard time getting attached to any of the characters. I also found the romance to be really unbelievable, but I’ve also been told that I’m too cynical so who knows? Although I’d like to point out that it wasn’t the YA romance that I had a problem with.

I normally adore Sepety’s writing style, but unfortunately The Fountains of Silence was rather bland. I have found that I tend to connect to her WW2 fiction more than her other work.

Having said all of that, I have given The Fountains of Silence three stars because I did really enjoy learning more about post-WW2 Spain. This isn’t a topic that was covered in school here in the UK (at least in my area), and I honestly had no idea that Spain was under fascist rule for so long after the Second World War ended. It’s definitely opened my eyes and it’s now a topic that I’d like to look into more. I had the same experience with Don’t Date Rosa Santos and Cuba, as Cuba vs. the US is another topic that isn’t covered by the curriculum here. It’s always nice when there are gaps in my knowledge to fill (lol).

I would recommend checking this book out if you’re an avid fan of Sepetys, just so you don’t miss out on anything. As I said above, it’s also a good read if you want an introduction to post-war Spain and the issues there. If this is your first Sepetys book, please don’t be put off by it, as her other books are so. much. better.

New Book Releases: November 2019

Here are my most anticipated new book releases for November 2019. There aren’t too many coming out this month that I’m dying to read, which will be nice for my bank account and my overflowing bookshelves!

New Book Releases for November 2019

new book releases november 2019: GOSAS, The Guinevere Deception, Supernova

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
I only gave Girls of Paper and Fire three stars, but I have heard really good things about this sequel from those who have read it already. Some people really enjoyed this one even though they didn’t enjoy GoPaF, so I’m considering giving it a go. If you need a recap of Girls of Paper and Fire before this book comes out, you can find one on Recaptains.
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
I haven’t read a Kiersten White book in soooo long, and I’m ready to dive back in with this one. I don’t normally care much for King Arthur retellings, but this one is specifically about Guinevere.
Supernova by Marissa Meyer
I haven’t actually started this series yet but I’m about to! I’ve had Renegades for a couple of years now, so this is my chance to get into the trilogy and marathon the entire thing.

new book releases november 2019: A Thousand Fires, The Book of Lost Saints, Sisters of Shadow and Light

A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price
Apparently this one is good for fans of Courtney Summers, who is a recently discovered favourite of mine (mostly because of Sadie). This is a story about gang wars, and while I’m not sure whether the author has lived in a city where gangs are a thing, it sounds intriguing and I’m intrigued.
The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older
This is a multi-generational story about a Cuban-American family about ghostly ancestors who visit their living family members.
Sisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. Larson
I’ve not read a book by Larson yet but I’ve been wanting to try her fantasy books for ages! This one is about sisters, powers, and… a magical hedge?

new book releases november 2019: The Toll, Day Zero, Blood Heir

The Toll by Neal Shusterman
I still haven’t gotten my hands on Thunderhead yet because someone had it on hold at the library for ages and just never picked it up(!), so I had to wait in the queue for the longest time until it became available. It should be reaching me this week, and I’m SO EXCITED, because I ended up loving Scythe so much. You can read recaps of the Arc of a Scythe series on Recaptains if you need a refresher before this one comes out!
Day Zero by Kelly deVos
I’ve had my eye on this one all year! It’s about a gamer girl who gets caught in a burning building when violence erupts all over the country. I think it’s going to be a survival story, and I love those!
Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao
Bloggers can probably remember the controversy surrounding this book when it was due to come out earlier this year, but it seems as though the outrage has died down and most people have gotten over themselves. I’m really excited for this, and I’m so glad that the author was able to still publish her debut!

new book releases november 2019: Crown of Oblivion, The Sky Weaver, Eight Will Fall

Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh
This one is about people who have to compete in a deadly race in order to gain citizenship. The main character discovers her powers, and I imagine things kick off from there!
The Sky Weaver by Kristin Ciccarelli
I’m so excited for this one! Look at that cover! This is the third book in the Sky Weaver series, but it’s okay if you haven’t read the other two books because The Sky Weaver stands all by itself. I’m on the blog tour for this one so look out for my post later on in the month!
Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian
This is a fantasy book about a group of criminals who are sent to fight off some Big Bad, and they start getting picked off along the way and eventually realise that they were sent away to die. YES PLEASE.

November 2019 is a bit of a slower month in terms of new book releases for me, but how is it for you? Are you anticipating anything that wasn’t on my list?