Blogging Goals for 2019

It’s been one year since I started my book blog and it’s been such a great year. I learned so much, read so much and met some absolutely wonderful fellow booknerds, reviewers and authors from all four corners. I’ve never set myself any blogging targets as such, so thought I’d make a start this year to see what I can stick to and see how much growth I can give my blog if I put that little bit of extra energy in to it.

So, please read my following blog goals for the rest of the year. (Tan this is for you to read at this point next year when you take accountability for everything you didn’t stick to).

At the bottom of this post are some fellow bloggers goals for the year – enjoy! 🙂


  • Scheduling posts!
    Now this might seem obvious, however I did not utilise this as much as I should of last year. Being ahead with posts really helps when I’m working away from home for a couple of months at a time so lesson learned!
  • Post a blogger spotlight at least once a month!
    I always want to engage more with fellow bloggers and help them how they’ve helped me, hence the introduction of this series on my blog! Exciting times.
  • Post About Other Topics, Not Just Books!
    I have made a couple of lifestyle changes this year and would like to share it with anyone who want to hear it! I think that if I blog about them, I will be more likely to stick to them as much as possible.
  • Engage With More Bloggers!
    It’s always fun when you find new blogs to follow and I only want to increase that this year. From books, to lifestyle to fashion and beauty, I’d love to connect with more bloggers in 2019!
  • Collaborate With More Bloggers!
    I’m kind of useless at reaching out to people, I can’t stand rejection! However this year I’m making way more of an effort to engage with people of similar interests. Also, if you’re reading this and want to collab somehow – hit me up!Hopefully I can look back at this post next January and be happy with myself that i stuck to my goals!

Some Goals From Other Bloggers

  • One of Aoife’s goals for 2019 is to break 1,500 followers so go and show her blog some love!
  • @schoolingdiana wants to get her blog up and running this year so good luck to her!
  • @OpenOnABook also wants to get over her anxiety and just set up her blog already! Good luck!
  • Paul over at HalfManHalfBook has quite the list of goals, check it out here!

My Top 5 Books of 2018

Yes, yes…we’re almost in February and I’m only just posting this! I fail.

My list is made up of physical books, kindle books and audiobooks – let me know if you agree and what your favourite books were 🙂 I hope 2019 is as good as 2018 was in terms of reading…so excited to see what it brings!

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins ReidNow, I’m definitely not in the minority when it comes to this book – the vast amount of people I follow absolutely adored it and rightly so.

    Find my review of this book here!

    Buy it here!- https://amzn.to/2CRZg9F

  2. Eleanor Oliphant is Complete Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. If I wasn’t laughing I was crying but no matter what I was doing it made me incredibly happy. Following Eleanor on her daily journeys was absolute hysterical; the author wrote her character so wonderfully she jumped out the page and was a real person.

Find my review of this book here!

Buy it here!- https://amzn.to/2RpTIIx


  1. The One by John MarrsAn incredible read from start to finish, probably my fastest read of last year as I just couldn’t out it down it was so easy to fly through!

Find my review of this book here!

Buy it here!- https://amzn.to/2CQzqmz

the one

  1. Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

The final book in The Themis Files trilogy; not only one of the best series I’ve ever read but my absolute favourite. I think anyone who has followed my blog since I started knows very well how much I love this series. Although I did think this book was the weakest out of all three, it doesn’t say much because the other two are exceptional.

I’m yet to write a review on this book as I was saving all three up for one big series review…I best get to it and so should you! Start the series immediately I implore you!

Buy the first book now and thank me later – https://amzn.to/2HF2J10

only human

  1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Listened to via Audible!

Funnily enough, my only book on Audible all year! An incredible, thought provoking beautifully written novel. Excited to listen to Thunderhead on audiobook this year!

Find my review of this book here!


Blogger Spotlight

#BloggerSpotlight #1

Happy Sunday everyone, hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend! When this is posted I will be deep into the #24in48 reading challenge and hopefully would have finished off a fair few books!

One of my blogging goals of 2019 is to post more consistently and I thought that if I introduce a new series of sorts onto my blog, it’ll hold me a bit more accountable!

Therefore, at least once a month I will be dedicating a post to one of my favourite bloggers. I’ll be including why I like their blog so much, some of my favourite posts by them and where you can find them on cyberspace. By doing this, I hope to let some fellow bloggers know they are appreciated and also let other bloggers and readers find new bloggers to follow. Enjoy! 🙂


My first #bloggerspotlight of the year is…Monika! over at…Lauregalie

One of the first book blogs I followed even before I started mine, I can always rely on her to offer an in depth and thoughtful review. Because her favourite genre is fantasy and that’s still a genre I am tip toeing into, it’s always useful for me to see her opinions of some of the more popular YA fantasy novels that I might have an interest in picking up one day. Also, I thoroughly admire anyone who’s English is this good when it’s not their first language! As well as being an amazing blogger, she’s an awesome person to engage with online 🙂

Here are some of my favourite posts!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book Review

This was a great read for me because this book was my favourite read of 2018. It’s great to find others who you can share your love of a book with!

Find the post here!

City of Ghosts Book Review

After reading this review, I immediately downloaded the audiobook version on Scribd! Excited to get to it as soon as possible! a brand new fantasy story to add tomy slowly growing list.

Find the post here!

You can find Monika on…

Her blog: http://www.lauregalie.wordpress.com

Twitter: @lauregalie


Instagram: @m.lowkis

Can’t wait to continue these posts on my blog this year 🙂


Bared to You – Sylvia Day


I must’ve wished for you so hard and so often you had no choice but to come true.

Eva Tramell, tired of her turbulent and traumatic past, starts a new life in New York. Living in a luxurious apartment with her best friend and starting a job she know she’s going to love, she’s excited for the future that looks easy and peaceful. All of that becomes much more complicated when she stumbles into a handsome stranger in a hallway.

I actually enjoy Day’s writing style a lot. It’s very light and easy to read, but something about makes me unable to call it “simple”. It’s very eloquent. Also, she manages to write sex scenes in a very erotic way, that’s at the same time not cringy at all. Which is very, very hard to accomplish.

This is definitely a character driven novel. And I am totally…

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Book Spotlight

#BookSpotlight – The Willow Woman – Laurence Westwood



Chengdu: a teeming, modern metropolis.
Yet China’s painful turbulent history still leaves its mark on the
minds of all who live there.
Philip Ye, half English, half Chinese, is a homicide detective with the
Chengdu Public Security Bureau who suffers his own anguish from a
life blighted by tragedy and the unsettling appearance of ghosts that
often intrude in on his investigations.
On a misty grey morning one such apparition leads him to a busy
street corner during the rush hour where he bears witness to a
shocking event. Against his better judgment, Phillip is drawn into the
search for a missing, vulnerable boy. His investigation brings him
into contact with Xu Ya, a brilliant and beautiful public prosecutor.
She is new to Chengdu, determined not only to make her mark but to
also leave behind her own personal heartbreak. They have crossed
paths before. He has no memory of her, but she remembers him very
well indeed….
Soon enough Philip Ye has a vicious murder on his hands, and then
another – the boy’s disappearance seemingly sparking a chain of
violent events. With the help of Xu Ya – dedicated to upholding
făzhì, the Rule of Law, in China ‒ and her indefatigable and worldly-
wise assistant Fatty Deng, Phillip Ye is quickly on the trail of a
mysterious figure known as The Willow Woman. But, unbeknownst
to them all, there are secretive and subversive forces at work within
the dark heart of the city and tremendous danger awaits….


Purchase Links!

AMAZON: https://amzn.to/2AYt9VQ

BOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/Willow-Woman-Laurence-Westwood/9781916456945?ref=grid-view&qid=1548278105382&sr=1-2

WORDERY: https://wordery.com/the-willow-woman-a-philip-ye-novel-laurence-westwood-9781916456945?cTrk=MTI2MDA5OTk2fDVjNDhkOWIxNzkzMzY6MToyOjVjNDhkOWE2YjQ3M2YxLjMyMDI4MDU4OmEzMGE0Nzg4

Read an extract below!

Chapter 1

In the near distance Philip Ye saw her, plodding toward him on the other side of the road, a giantess, a veritable woman-mountain, not an ounce of fat on her, at least a head higher than most everybody else. The mass of people, travelling directly to work or first taking their children to school, flowed about this woman – a slow-moving river around a large boulder. Few made eye-contact with her. Those who did looked away quickly, not liking what they saw, wanting nothing to do with her. She moved closer, seemingly not in any hurry, her eyes flicking this way and that. She scrutinized everyone and everything about her: the pedestrians, the street-vendors and road-sweepers; the cars, buses, mopeds, and cargo tricycles driving by. She reminded him of a very old story told by the Venetian traveller, merchant and arch-fantasist Marco Polo. The story concerned a Tartar princess named Aiyaruk, which means ‘Bright Moon’. The princess, so the story goes, had such physical strength and possessed a mind of such independent bent that she had agreed only ever to marry that rare man who could best her in a bout of wrestling. There had been many contenders but Philip Ye was at a loss to recall if any had proved worthy. He smiled at his remembrance of this remarkable tale, wondering if indeed any part of it was true. That Marco Polo had actually reached China, he thought possible (if not necessarily probable), but which of Marco Polo’s many stories were actual reportage, or hearsay, or downright fantasy, he was not knowledgeable enough to say. What he did know was that the woman moving toward him was most unusual. He also knew what she was, and that it was she he had come to find.

A few hours before, Philip Ye had woken, the sky still dark and the air about him gone chill. He had fallen asleep while reading, the lamp at the side of his bed still illuminating the room with a dull yellow glow. There was fresh smoke in the air: an aromatic tobacco,
fruit-scented, seeping under the door. As always during the night, his father was up and about, smoking his pipe, wandering the great house. He could hear his father’s voice, just a faint murmur; speaking, he presumed, on the telephone. But it was not his father who had disturbed his sleep. With the familiar feeling of the hairs rising on the back of his neck, Philip Ye rolled out of bed, drew a silk dressing-gown around him and took a seat in his favourite leather armchair. He closed his eyes and began to breathe. He held it to be a truth that the rate at which thoughts cross the mind is directly proportional to the rate of respiration. If the breathing is slowed and regulated, so the mind is slowed and
regulated. And when the mind is regulated, so the emotions are diminished, and the fear that lurks within is brought under control. Inhale, counting eight heartbeats; hold for four heartbeats; exhale for eight heartbeats.
He repeated the cycle.
And then again.
He whispered to himself, “In breath, there is life; in breath,
there is serenity; in breath, there is clarity.”
He opened his eyes.
In the centre of the room stood a translucent figure, a ghost, an old man, blinking, as if surprised by this encounter with the physical world, unsure, it seemed, not only of his whereabouts but also about what he was doing here. Philip Ye pushed aside all thought
of the Chinese unwritten rule of millennia – the living were the living, and the dead were the dead, and never the twain should meet – and opened his mouth to speak.
“I am Philip Ye, a superintendent of the People’s Police, how may I be of service to you?”
The old man frowned, more definite in form and in purpose now. He pointed toward the north. “Wukuaishi…you must go to Wukuaishi…that is where you will find her.”
The old man disappeared then, still pointing toward the north as he faded from view. Wukuaishi was an area in the north of the city, in the Jinniu District, famous for its tea market but little else.
Philip Ye telephoned his friend Zuo. “Any trade tonight?”
“Not that I’ve heard. Bad dreams? Can’t sleep?”
“Something like that.”
Philip Ye terminated the call. He checked the clock. It was a few minutes after four. He showered and shaved quickly. Was time of the essence? He didn’t know. He selected a dark blue wool suit, cream silk shirt, and crimson tie with handmade black patent leather shoes that he had polished to a brilliant shine. A pale grey raincoat to finish, he briefly examined his appearance in the tall mirror before exiting his rooms. His father was nowhere to be seen. But he found Night Na lounging in a comfortable seat in the main sitting-room, some kind of investment magazine open before him.
“Where’s the fire?” Night Na asked. In fine humour, he showed almost every one of his teeth.
“Wukuaishi,” Philip Ye replied, not stopping to chat. It was pointless trying to explain.
He closed the front door behind him and, with the night mist swirling around him, jumped into the Mercedes. As he steered out of the long driveway and headed north, he picked up his phone and dialled, a sense of dread in his heart, a feeling that a tragedy was imminent, impossible to divert.
“Wukuaishi Police Station!”
“This is Superintendent Ye, Homicide – any trouble?”
“No sir, but if you wish to speak to—”
Philip Ye dropped the phone on the seat and concentrated on his driving. His destination was a long way off, the other side of the city. He pushed the car onward, the early morning traffic not yet heavy enough to slow him down. Wukuaishi was not exactly a small area. Once there he would have to make a decision about where to go, where to park up and wait. And, if his intuition gave him nothing at all, then…well, he’d cross that bridge when he came to it. No ghost had ever misdirected him before.
After what seemed an age of driving, and of gnawing indecision, he finally parked up on the Yusai Road, happy at least to find a space, somewhere to be still for a while, to breathe, to think, to contemplate just what it was the ghost had said. He was to look for a woman…or maybe a girl. But what was she: victim, witness or criminal?
Briefly he stepped out of the car to look about him, to stretch his legs, to get a feel for the area. It had been some time since he had been in this part of the city. However, he soon got back inside the car, disliking the exhaust fumes in his nostrils and the clamour of the
awakening city around him. He closed the door, happier in his mechanical cocoon. He rubbed his tired eyes and settled himself down to wait.
It was after seven, his patience almost at an end, when he spotted in the distance across the road, through the gaps in the passing traffic, the largest woman he had ever seen. It offended him that she was dressed so poorly: faded smock, ill-fitting jeans, knock-off Nike training shoes that looked as if they had already walked a thousand miles. But, while he was reflecting on her lack of care for herself, a commotion caught his eye across the road from him. He twisted in his seat to get a better look, wrenching his neck in the
process. An old man was holding a long knife aloft while clasping a young girl to him, trapping her in the crook of his free arm. The girl, in a pretty school uniform, at most eight or nine years old, was hysterical, screeching, struggling to get free. Nearby, a young woman, just as hysterical, whom Philip Ye took to be her mother, cried out to the passers-by to help.
Philip Ye had time to move, to intervene. He could have jumped out of the car and run across the road in seconds. But he recognised the old man. He thought him already dead, the exact physical likeness of his ghostly visitor from only a few hours before.
And that recognition gave him pause, glued him to his seat.
How was this possible?
Had his ghostly visitor an identical twin?
The old man was shouting. Philip Ye couldn’t hear him above the din of the traffic and from within the safety of the car. Frozen in his seat, his neck twisted around at a painful angle, Philip Ye could only watch the violence unfold, the old man waving the knife around like a crazy man.
Then, pop! pop!
The old man fell, his face contorted in mid-shout, bright-red arterial blood pumping from wounds that had blossomed suddenly on the side of his head. The young girl, still screaming, disentangled herself from the old man as he fell, to be caught in the waiting out-stretched arms of her distraught mother. Then the giantess was there, leaning over the old man, pistol in hand, staring down at the now lifeless body, her expression blank, puzzled even, seemingly devoid of any emotion. A truck pulled up to a halt beside the Mercedes, obscuring the scene. Not that it mattered. Philip Ye had already closed his eyes and settled back into his seat to ponder all that had just transpired.



After a (probably ill-advised) degree in Theoretical Physics, Laurence commenced upon a varied career in law enforcement and information security consultancy.
He regularly lectures at the University of Warwick on computer law and IP enforcement.
He has had a long-standing fascination with the political, military, social and legal history of China.
He lives just outside of Stratford-upon-Avon, England.



Quick Reviews, young adult

Quick Review – The Book of No Worries – Lizzie Cox @Netgalley


A well written, beautifully illustrated little ‘self-help’ book designed for kids going through middle school. The book focuses on dealing with mental health, how to get help for anxiety and depression and really puts an important focus on reaching out to people who can help you if you’re struggling. I particularly emjoyed the chapter about how social media can skew your views on others and especially yourself.

Unfortunately, due to the formatting of the ARC, it made it hard to read some of the chapters especially when there was illustrations which was a shame. It would be good if ARC’s were checked before being sent out as it can put a downer on the readin experience if it is hard to read.

I recieved a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


How Audiobooks Changed My Reading @Scribd #mentalhealth #blogger

For some reason, I always grew up thinking that audiobooks weren’t ‘real reading’ or ‘cheat’ reading and if I was seen to be listening to audiobooks I wouldn’t be seen as a ‘real reader’. I’m definitely ever thankful that my opinion did a complete 180 in 2018 because it turned out to be my best reading year to date and I definitely attribute a lot of that to my new found love of audiobooks.

I started out with audiobooks by using Audible, but quickly came to realise how expensive the service was for what you actually received. I only ended up listening to one book using Audible before cancelling my subscription and that was definitely the right decision. After a quick scroll through the app store, I found Scribd and didn’t look back. For those of you who don’t know about this service, it’s an app with a monthly subscription fee of $9 and you can access unlimited books – it’s basically perfect and I cannot recommend it enough.


My Mental Health & Exercise

After many struggles I experienced last year, 2018 was the year I had to take my mental (and physical health) seriously and I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for audiobooks I wouldn’t have been so successful. I was making sure I was incorporating enough long walks and cycling into my weekly routine as possible to lower my anxiety levels (doctor’s advice and let me tell you…it worked for me!) and audiobooks became such a necessity for me when doing this. It gave me all the more motivation to persevere and continue to get better. It’s amazing what the simplicity of a long walk and a beautifully narrated book can do for the brain.

Discovering New Books & Authors

Audiobooks allowed me to read so much more last year and allowed me to read books which I may not have otherwise picked up. The app is constantly updated with new reads and the lists provided offer a new idea of what might interest you that month!


I can’t speak for anybody else, but I always feel a twinge of guilt when I’m sat down reading my book. I always feel like there’s something else I should be doing…is there washing that needs to be done? Cleaning? TIDYING!? Well luckily I can now get rid of some of that anxiety and read and to things at the same time! I definitely think this contributed to me smashing my reading challenge of 108 books last year!

A Rest From Eye Reading

Reading is by far my favourite hobby and I love to do as much of it as I possibly can, but sometimes I just don’t even have the energy to pick up a book after a long day! Audiobooks allow for you to immerse yourself in a story whilst just lying back with a glass of wine and a face mask on….what more could you possibly ask for!

The Narration

Sometimes when the narration is great on an audiobook, it can add a completely new dimension to the story which you are reading and it can be beautiful. An example of this for me was the first two books in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater – the narration added so much to the atmosphere of the book it still sticks with me to this day how I felt whilst listening to it.

I really hope 2019 is filled with more amazing audiobooks and more magical stories. I can’t wait to see what kind of reading year I have in 2019! Happy reading everyone!