2019 Reading Wrap-Up!

2019 has been my best year of reading so far in 31 years. Partially owing to an 8 week absence from work that saw me hit my highest monthly round ups EVER – see here, here aaaand here!

I’m please to discover that not only did I smash my GoodReads challenge at 127 of 100 books, I also -purely by accident- balanced the scales at 52% books written by women.

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As for genre, I had a total fantasy binge at the beginning of the year thanks to encouragement from the likes of Circe, The Bone Season, The Poppy War and a growing obsession with fairytale re-tellings such as Uprooted, To Kill A Kingdom and more.

Horror remains my top tier as always with Flame Tree Press publisher leading the charge. Thriller almost keeping up and Dystopian falling back due to an influx of similar story lines and too many actual scares in real world current events. I’ve categorised Sci-Fi with Fantasy for the chart below.

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You may remember my Series To Finish 2019- Sign Up & TBR early in 2019, where I pledged to read 34 titles. This included both King’s The Dark Tower, and Harry Potter accounting for 14 of the books and one of my New Year Resolutions 2019 ; to re-read.

Welp, aside from a nostalgic re-read of Goosebumps at Halloween, I completely failed that resolution. Do You Re-read Books?, Once again my aim to revisit Harry Potter and Roland Deschain follows me into the New Year! I did however, complete 7 of the 10 unfinished series I pledged- without beginning the 5 owned.

Speaking of owned- my TBR begins this year in much the same position in 2019; currently over 340 unread, owned titles BUT my spending has decreased thanks to further time investment in Netgalley and a little bookish networking.

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But never mind these stats, you came here to see what I read didn’t you?  Continue reading “2019 Reading Wrap-Up!”

How I Became A Book Blogger

The origin story of An Average Life

I always loved reading as a child. I know most of our stories start this way, but hey! It’s true.

In fact you can read all about my childhood library memories in my newbie blogger spotlight over at Jennie-Ly’s blog HERE 

As I got older, music and socialising became more important to me than books. Please, forgive my blasphemy.
So from the age of 13 to 16 I barely read. I was too busy window shopping, watching angsty local bands and truanting in what my adult self now recognises as the perfect cliche of childhood rebellion. *Eyeroll*

At 17 I was living with my boyfriends family, going to college and working part time. Most nights we were hanging out in your typical teen aged gang at each others houses. I would read books on occasion, but I wanted to spend my money on other things. £8 per book in Ottakars (now a Waterstones) was too steep for the speed I would read them and there was never anything new in our town library- Their fiction section is still tiny and outdated to this day.

I had a handful of mass market authors I would buy at release, namely Gerritsen, Cole, Rose, Slaughter and of course The King– but I didn’t stray much further until…

THE KINDLE.

*Cue angelic singing and heavenly light*

The original Kindle was my first purchase when I obtained a management career and I was immediately hooked back in. Being able to shop for instantly accessible books at any time reignited my love of reading. I had plenty of time on my commute to work and was once again reading myself to sleep at night.

But what about the blogging? That’s why we’re here right?

By 2016 I was in a bit of a pickle. I had raging anxiety, a stressful job and a divorce to finalise.
At the same time my dearest friend had gone travelling and started up a little blog for himself (since shut down unfortunately). I loved reading about his escapades and when he returned he suggested I start my own as a hobby.
It doesn’t matter whether anyone reads it, he said, just having a place to ramble and a creative outlet would do wonders for my mind.

He signed me up to WordPress and told me to give it a try.

And so I did.
And it was awful 😂

I had no schedule, no audience and no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to share this part of myself with my family or friends but I was desperate for engagement.

I took to Twitter next.
I made a new profile with no IRL connections, no personal images and no use of my name. Completely anonymous.
After researching a little about the book community I cautiously reached out and began to join chats, the first of which being the wonderfully welcoming #SundayYA.

Finally, other people that wanted to talk about books! There has never been any bookworms in my family or social circle, seriously, why are they so hard to find?

I marveled at their blogs and traced their tags and memes to more and more incredible sites- realising with green eyed envy that my own efforts were minuscule.

I made the decision then to shut down AnAverageLife. I had charged in completely unprepared and needed a clean slate.
I gave myself 6 months to learn some very basic coding, create simple images and draft several posts- meanwhile cultivating my Twitter account and dropping hints about the upcoming relaunch of AnAverageLife.

This time I was going to be proud of my efforts. I created this About Me page, put up photos of myself and began using my actual name online.

On my 30th birthday in August 2018 I relaunched this site. Since then I’ve increased my online audience to almost 2400 across both platforms. I regularly participate in blog tours, joined Netgalley, made it onto several publisher mailing lists and most importantly have made some INCREDIBLE friends.

I became a blogger to distract myself from anxiety and depression but it has become SO MUCH MORE  than that.

Blogging has led me to a wonderfully diverse and supportive community, kind and caring friends whom I speak to – sometimes more than my real life pals- and a feeling of belonging that I hadn’t known I was searching for.

How did you become a blogger?

What does it mean to you?

Three Bookish Things Tag

I first spotted this on Crystal’s blog Paper Royalty and it looked so fun I had to join in!

THREE READ ONCE AND LOVED AUTHORS

  • Christina Henry- I picked up Alice in 2017 and have auto bought everything she’s written since. I can’t tell you how excited I am for The Girl In Red
  • Robert Mcmammon- After seeing so many other reviewers raving about Boy’s Life I finally picked it up to read last year. Cue me searching and purchasing as much of his backlist as I could find. I’m going with Swan Song next time.
  • C L Taylor- I’ve got quite a few of her books lined up in my kindle now, the first I read The Fear last year and I’m looking forward to Sleep after many other trusted authors have been shouting about it on the Twitterverse.
  • Continue reading “Three Bookish Things Tag”

‘Would You Rather?’ Challenge: Bookish Edition

A big thank you to the wonderful Kelly for tagging me in this challenge with such fun questions! Head over and check out her answers at Paperback Adventures be sure to look around, it’s a fabulous blog ❤

Let’s dive in! Continue reading “‘Would You Rather?’ Challenge: Bookish Edition”

8 Best and Worst Fictional Endings

Happily ever after? What do I look for in an ending and which book finales did I love/hate most?

The most important parts of a fiction book for me are the opening chapter and the last quarter.
I like to be thrown into action or posed a question for the initial hook. I will read a book without these elements, I consider myself a slightly varied reader, but I do prefer them to be there.
For me however, an impactful(!?) ending is non negotiable. I need the pacing to accelerate, big reveals or shocking twists. In my opinion the best books are the ones with plots that are unpredictable but still feasible.

I like to challenge my brain. Untangling a maze of misleads and consequences can tether me to a book for hours on end, just don’t throw in a wild card with no previous ties to characters or story line- that infuriates me, it feels lazy.

A brilliant ending can turn the tide of my favour for any book. I’ll forget all about any moments I spent drifting off or dragging my eyes across the page. An initially bad book can become a decent slow-burner if the pay off at the end feels worth the time invested in earlier details.

I can sacrifice action if the character development is intricate but there still has to be some sort of BANG towards the end. Nothing worse than a book that fizzles out leaving you wondering why you cared. Even predictable but well written reveals or events are preferable to me than none at all.

Here are just a few books with (spoiler free) endings I’ve loved or hated:
Continue reading “8 Best and Worst Fictional Endings”