Christmas Book Haul

Last year I tried sharing my books wishlist on Twitter. I wasn’t really expecting anything from it, but I saw some people do it and thought, why not? Maybe I’ll be surprised and I was. It was an unusual holiday season for me, the first ever that I did not spend at home or with family of any kind. After a tough year, and while I love the holiday season, it felt a bit sad to know that it would be a very quiet, sort of lonely Christmas. No, Christmas is not about the presents, but the gesture counts and, especially in this case, they made it a little better.


Paul from BnT was kind enough to get me not one, but three books from my list, especially one that I had wanted to read for a while.

The Test is a rather short sci-fi story that I sort of heard about thanks to Paul. I was his Secret Santa some time ago and that’s when I heard about Sylvain Neuvel. All Rights Reserved is another sci-fi book that had caught my eye some time ago. Both of these have really interesting premises and I can’t wait to read them. On the other hand, How Music Got Free is a non-fiction book about the changes the music industry went through when MP3 files and other digital formats entered the scene. I saw a documentary about this while on a flight and I’ve been very interested in reading this ever since then so I’m super glad I get to do soon.


Oz, also from BnT, got me a copy of All Systems Red, the first book in the Murderbot Diaries series, which is exactly the kind of book I like to read and I love that show binging Murderbot! I tried listening to the audiobook some time ago and I liked it, but I don’t do well with audiobooks, my mind keeps wandering off topic. I really wanted to have a physical copy of this book to be able to take it all in and I have to say the physical book looks absolutely stunning.


My mom also got me a book. Die App, a book that I’d seen on stores for a while and had caught my eye, but wasn’t able to afford. I wasn’t able to visit my mom for the holidays this time because of the pandemic, but she still wanted to get me something for Christmas and since I really wanted to read this one, she got it for me. This has been my first read of the year and I absolutely loved it! It’s a great, fast paced and suspenseful thriller that I enjoyed a lot.


So, in spite of these holidays being different, they still managed to happily surprise me. I am so very grateful for these books and I am very thankful to both Paul and Oz, you guys really put a smile on my face and really made a difference. I really appreciate the gesture from both of you, you’re both awesome and I promise I’ll send you something too once I get a job.

How about you? Did you get any books or bookish gifts this past Christmas?

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2021 TBR & Challenges

Happy New Year! Hope the year has started well for you and I really hope this year will be better for all of us. With a new year ahead, I’m trying something I haven’t done in the past, which is to plan and maybe organize my reads ahead of time. I decided to challenge myself a little with my reading goals and in a way, I hope I’ll fail because I got a job at some point soon and don’t have as much time to read as I do right now, but let’s see how it goes. Who knows? Maybe I can manage to reach my reading goals even with a new job. Let’s stay optimistic.


January’s Upcoming Reads

Alright, for those of you who don’t know, I’m taking a German course, so I decided to include a few more German books in my TBR for this year. I find it’s always easier and better to learn something when one can have fun doing so. Therefore two of the three books I have chosen to read this month are in German.

Die App (The App) is a book that was released in late 2020 and that I’ve been wanting to read since it came out. My mom got me a copy for Christmas and I am already reading it and loving it. It’s fast paced, intriguind and I can’t wait to see where the story goes.

The Loop is an early 2020 sci-fi release that I’ve owned for a few months already, but somehow haven’t read yet. I don’t really know what to expect of this one to be honest, but I have a feeling I’ll really enjoy it.

Tödlicher Fake (Deadly Fake) is another 2020 release, as you might have guessed. This time a thriller that I borrowed thanks to Kindle Unlimited. I decided to try that service and I’ve found quite a few interesting books and definitely many to help in my mission of including more German reads.


2021 Reading Challenges

As for Challenges for this year, I am taking part of two challenges: Books & Tea’s 2021 Reading Challenge and the Book A Week challenge, which is a self-descriptive goal oriented challenge also on BnT.

The Book A Week challenge, if successfully completed, would take my yearly read books to 52, however, in order to take some pressure off myself, I have set my Goodreads challenge goal to 25. As I said, I’m not gonna lie, I hope I fail this weekly book challenge due to finding a job at some point, hopefully soon, but I’ll do my best to complete it any way and time will tell how close I get to it.

As for the BnT reading challenge, there’s 12 prompts and some of them are really fun like the Hexed with Colour, that requires you to ask a friend for a coulour and read a book with a cover to match or Opposites Attract, which makes you swap a TBR entry with someone else. You can read more about the challenge and how to take part by clicking here. I’ll update my progress on this challenge here and maybe even snap some photos and post them to my Instagram.


What are your reading goals and plans for the year? Are there any books in particular you’re really looking forward to reading?

2020 Year in Books

This year has been tough for everyone, but we’ve almost made it to the end! With just a few days left to this year, I thought it’s a great opportunity to talk about my year in books. Being unemployed, lockdowns and staying home most of the time has given me an opportunity to read more, so here’s my recap of how my year went in terms of reading.

Challenges

Coming from a long reading slump during 2019, I thought it was a good strategy to take it easy on challenges, so I set myself the goal of reading 10 books during the year. During the first few months of 2020, this proved to be the right choice as I barely had any motivation to read, even though I had the time since I was unemployed, but then the pandemic hit. I joined a readalong of The Night Circus on Books & Tea and to my surprise, I enjoyed that book so much that I finally felt like reading again. However, it wasn’t until a few months later, after I read Forever on the Mountain by James M. Tabor that I remembered just how much I loved reading and so I started reading more books, more often and now, as we approach the end of the year, I’m proud to say I’ve read a lot more books than I had originally planned. Some months ago I actually set myself a new goal and increased the target to 21 books read during the year. Even that, which was more than twice the original goal I’d set for myself, has been now surpassed. As of today, I have finished 32 books. So I’d say it’s been a very successful year in terms of reading!


Top Favourites Read in 2020

There were a lot of books that I enjoyed this year, so it’s hard to pick just a few. The two book I mentioned above are two of my favourite reads of the year, but I don’t want to get repetitive, so I am going to highlight some other books I also really enjoyed.

This book about a girl, Romy, who’s the only surviving crew of a spaceship on its way to establish a second home for humanity who learns of another ship being launched with a single passanger that we know as J, to join her on this planet. They can only communicate with Earth and with each other via email, but the messages take a long time to get to transmit. The loneliness of being alone in space seems to make Romy and J fall in love, but things are not what they seem and the messages get more and more mysterious.

I got this book a while back during a book exchange and I don’t know why it took me so long to get to it, but when I started it, I just couldn’t put it down. I actually read the whole book in a day. I loved everything about this one, I loved the cover, the title, the description, the characters, the story, the world. I definitely recommend this to any sci-fi and mystery fans. I’ll probably re-read this quite a few times because it’s really good.


In a future where a company called Sycamore seems to control everything, Kurt inadvertently gives them the tool they were missing to gain complete control in the form of an implantable microchip that works together with augmented reality lenses and can record and edit everything a user sees. Sycamore sees great surveillance and control opportunities in this technology and Kurt watches scared and almost powerless, how his great invention get used for nothing but profit, ignoring privacy and security concerns.

This is quite an eerie read because you can see it happening not too far in the future and you can’t help but wonder if people would really fall for it. Another book that’s been on my TBR for a long time, Sycamore was exactly my type of book. I read all 4 books in this series and they’re all amazing. The first two belong to the core story and the other two books are a collection of stories about other characters in this universe, which really help develop the world further than just one group of people’s point of view and gives it quite a bit of depth.


Once & Future reimagines the story of King Arthur, the Excalibur and Merlin, with sci-fi elements and a lot of LGBT+ rep. Set in a future where humanity had to abandon Earth and is now spread throughout different planets, dependent on group (Mercer) who controls everything and everyone because they manage basic resources, like water, and they kill anyone who stands up to them. This time Ari, a girl, is revealed to be the reincarnation of Arthur. Her mission is to fight against the domination of Mercer and unite mankind. Easier said than done.

As a big fan of Arthurian legends, this one caught my eye immediately. The cover is also absolutely beautiful and the story was so much better than I could have imagined. It takes some elements of the story of King Arthur, but it adds so many new original ideas that it can stand on its own. The characters are engaging and intriguing. The story has layers that reveal themselves to create a lot more depth and if there’s anything I’d change about this book, I’d make it longer! There’s a second part to this story that I’ll be reading in 2021 and I’m really looking forward to see how this continues.


So, what about you? How did 2020 go for you in terms of reading? Did you read more or less? Did you try any new genres? What were your favourite reads of the year?

Reading really helped me get through this year and I’m incredibly glad I got the chance to read so many nice stories this year. Here’s hoping there’ll be more amazing books in 2021 and hopefully a better year overall for everyone. Happy Holidays!

“What makes me pick up a Book” Tag

One of my favourite bloggers, Kristina at Books and Dachshunds, posted this recently and I loved reading her answers so I thought I’d jump in.


Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

1. Do you judge a book by its cover?
I try my best not to. I don’t think I’ve ever bought or read a book just because of the cover. However, I do tend to judge those books with great descriptions, but overly simple or, dare I say, cheap covers, but not in a bad way, more in a “I feel bad that this cover is not attractive enough that some people might not even look at it and miss out on it” kind of way. Please, don’t throw tomatoes at me, I know some authors don’t have the means to get amazing cover art and I will never judge anyone for that.

2. Focusing on just the cover, what attracts you to pick it up?
I look at the overall design, I tend to prefer colourful covers with a somewhat abstract concept, more than covers that include faces, those that focus on a specific object or give away elements of the story. I’m okay with landscapes for the most part, but some of my favourite covers are those that make me imagine stories or intrigue me in some way. I don’t know if anyone knows what I mean but if you check my post about my favourite covers, you might get a better idea.

3. Do you read the synopsis first, or do you prefer to go in knowing nothing about the book?
I’d say 99.9% of the time I read the synopsis. Unless the title is an obvious giveaway of the type of story or I know the author very well, I need to know at least what kind of book I’ll be reading.

4. Do you have any auto-buy authors?
Not really. I know that Thomas H. Cook, for example, writes books that I enjoy in general and I know his style, I know what to expect, I know I like them. However, even for him, I still need to check the description and make sure that it’s a story I am interested in.

5. Are you more likely to buy a book if it has specific elements/themes?
Yes, I’m very interested in reading technothrillers, anything biotech, bioinformatics and genetic engineering is probably gonna catch my eye. Time travel used to be something I read without questioning, although it’s been done to death and it’s hard to find an original take on it these days, but I’ve read some pretty good ones that were refreshing.

6. Do you ever read a book that has generally negative reviews just to form your own opinion on it?
No, I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I do look at ratings and reviews for some books I’m interest in reading, but if one of them has generally negative reviews, it doesn’t put me off reading it nor do I feel like I have to prove anyone wrong.

7. Do you ever buy a book just because another booktuber/blogger has talked about it a lot?
I want to say no. I don’t just buy a book based on any one person’s love for it, but sometimes it happens that a lot of bloggers are talking about one book and it makes me curious, so I might take a look at it even though it’s not something I would have considered on my own.

8. Is there anyone who’s book recommendations you always trust?
Not really. At least nobody I can think of right now. I don’t know a lot of people who share my likes and dislikes in books, a lot of the people I talk to most often are huge fantasy fans, which is not a genre I read a lot, so while I don’t doubt the books they recommend are good and I might check them out, I don’t have any one person whose recommendations I follow.


I’m curious to know what your answers are, so tag me if you decide to take part on this.