2017 Year in Review

2017 book year in review

1) Best 10 books

I have read so many good books this year that it was almost painful having to pick my favourites. It’s taken me ages to decide and I still keep changing my mind!

So before I change it again and in no particular order, I also have 11 because I just couldn’t choose only 10 :

2) For which book did you have expectations that were dashed?

Dark Matter. I’d been looking for this book for nearly 7 years! I forgot the author and the title so couldn’t find it at all, then I came across it in a charity shop earlier this year.

It was nearly as scary or creepy as I was hoping it would be and while it’s still an interesting story I was hoping for a really good chilling ghost tale.

3) Best new discovery, author or book?

Kim & Kim by Magdalene Visaggio. It’s a bright and fun graphic novel that’s basically Jen in space! Also the author Octavia E. Butler – I’m a massive sci-fi fan so I can’t understand why I haven’t heard of her before. I’m enjoying reading through her books, she’s absolutely brilliant.

4) What genre have you read the most?

Fantasy. This genre always seems to outweigh the others for me, even though my favourite genre is sci-fi. I think I find fantasy more comforting and easier to read, I need to use more brain power to read sci-fi!

5) Worst books you’ve read in 2017

Advent by James Treadwell. Kojiki by Keith Yatsuhashi. Both big messes that sound like they should have at least been fun to read, but really weren’t. I couldn’t even finish Kojiki, Advent I did finish but I wish I hadn’t wasted so much reading time on it.

6) What book surprised you?

The Great Passage by Shion Miura . A book about creating a dictionary that’s funny, warm, and engaging? I would never have believed it possible until I read this.

7)The book with the most interesting plot, characters, or structure

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, with an honourable mention for All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Both of these have very odd plots and some brilliant characters.

8)The book that started off slow, but really picked up

I Never Meant to be a Rebel by Jessica Bell. It’s an autobiography and I don’t normally read them but the blurb for this one caught my attention. It took me ages to get into it but once I did I really enjoyed it.

9) Favourite series

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I read all three books earlier this year and absolutely loved it.

Blackbird by Freda Warrington, fantasy series written in the 80’s. I love her writing so much, I think I read about 10 of her books last year. One of the highlights of my year was getting the first book in the series signed by her at the Sci-Fi weekender down in Wales!

10) Favourite stand-alone

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. It was different and fun and unique and like all good books, it’s a little bit daft! Normally I like finishing books so I can start the next one and I rush through them, but with this one, I wish it were twice as long.

11)The book everyone should read

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler. This is one of the best vampire stories I’ve read! Main character Shori has an intelligent, cold, analytical style which I enjoyed reading, and the whole story is quite serious, with no daftness in it. It makes a nice change from the normal over the top emotional vampire silliness!

What Makes you Happy Tag

Today I’m taking part in my first book tag! This is the 5 things that make you happy tag. Thanks Sarah for tagging me, sorry it’s taken me a while to get to it!

5 Things that Make Me Happy

I’ve not put reading on this list because I felt it’s a bit too obvious!

1) Roller skating

moxi roller skates

Something that I loved when I was younger, and I took it up again a couple of years ago when I joined a roller derby team.

2) Making things

Crochet Dragon

Crochet, knitting, baking, websites (my day job is web development). I’ve been working on a crochet blanket since last Christmas, and I’ve had a stripy jumper on the go for well over a year now. I also love baking, especially if it’s a gift for someone. My boyfriend is obsessed with ginger flapjacks so I make them a lot for him.

3) Being at home

cosy at home

Kinda ties into number 2, but I’m a real homebody. I love days where I don’t have to do anything and I can just curl up on the sofa, drink lots of tea, put some roller derby on tv and work on whatever craft project I have on the go. Or those days where I can just stay at home and read all day 🙂

4) Exploring new places

Prague

I’m maybe not the most adventurous person, but I do love mini holidays to places I’ve never been before so I can do a bit of exploring. I like cities so that I can find odd little shops and cafes and visit all the art galleries and museums, and I also love costal breaks so I can go walking on the beach and hunt for sea glass.

5) Going to the gym

gym checkin

Yes, I’m one of those people that loves exercise. There are more of us then you might think, hands up if you also love those days that you get to go to the gym? To make it even worse I also have an instagram dedicated to gym checkins and food photos. #sorrynotsorry.

5 Songs that Make Me Happy

Bif Naked – Everything

Le Matos feat. PAWWS – No Tomorrow

Sia – Chandelier

Nina Simone – Ain’t Got No, I Got Life

Weezer – Buddy Holly

I Am Tagging

I tag The Dreamland Bookshelf, Sucker for Coffee, The Craft Fantastic

And You

What are some of the things that make you happy?

Where to Find Cheap Books

Couple from the film Up reading books

I very rarely pay full price for a book, in fact only if I’m buying a Kindle book or if I’ve been given a gift voucher will I actually pay the cover price.

If I really want a specific book I might pay up to £4 for it, but most of the books I buy I only pay 50p – £2.50.

This is a list of places I find cheap books. Proceed with caution though, this is one of the reasons our house is so full of books we have piles of them on the floors!

Market stalls

Books on a market stall

Our local market has a second-hand book seller with a really decent selection.

There’s always a few new books every time we go, it’s part of our Saturday routine now to have a quick look around after we get lunch.

Car boot sales

Books at a car boot sale

Car boot sales are where you will find the cheapest books, usually 50p but sometimes you can find them for 20p, or 3 for a pound.

There will be a lot of the same books, and endless copies of Dan Brown and Fifty Shades of Grey, but keep going back and keep searching because there will be good books there sometimes.

I managed to get nearly the full set of Trueblood books for about £4 – £5.

Charity shops

Books in a charity shop

One of the best places to find books, alongside the best sellers that everyone’s read you will find some gems.

I once found a charity shop with 5 or 6 Margaret Atwood books!

They will usually be a bit more expensive than buying at car boots or at markets, but normally they are less than £2.50.

The money goes to a good cause so you get to feel good about spending money for a change!

Second-hand bookshops

Second hand bookshop

These are few and far between but if you can find one they are good places to find popular authors or pick up something new to try.

Prices vary in these places, but if it’s over £3 then it’s expensive!

eBay

Most books are for sale on eBay a bit cheaper than full price.

If they’re popular or a bit rarer they might be closer to full price, but it’s worth a quick search if you’re after something specific.

Amazon

Can be slightly cheaper than eBay, but often about the same because they have a lot of the same sellers. It’s easier to find books and compare prices on Amazon though.

Giveaways

Book bloggers often have giveaways – follow a few to get notified when they are running these. Don’t forget to check they will ship to your country!

Goodreads giveaways have hundreds of competitions to win free books going on all the time. It seems to be a popular way to promote new book releases.

I won a book the first time I entered some giveaways on here. They’re easy to enter so enter loads, then just see what you end up with!

It’s asked, but not expected, that you leave a review for books that you get through the giveaways.

Be careful with Goodreads though, it’s very easy to find new books you never knew about but now you just have to read. I have a list of books to read about 200 long saved on there and it’s going up instead of down.

Book swaps

Organise book swaps with your friends / family or at work.

Where I work we have a set of shelves in the canteen, any books we’ve read and what to pass on we can just leave in there. Every so often it gets cleared out so any books that have been there for a long time get taken to charity shops.

It works well, though I do get a bit sad if I leave any books that I think are amazing, and they just get ignored.

This is a good way of getting newer books or specific books that you’ve been looking for, just ask around!

Bookbub

Bookbub is a service that gathers together Kindle or eBook books that are on offer.

You tell it what kind of genres you like and it will email you daily with the best offers in those categories.

There are a lot of self-published or lesser known publishers on there which means that the quality isn’t always great. I have found a couple of new to me authors I like through this service, and there is occasionally a well-known author with a book on offer.

Netgalley

Netgalley is a website where book reviewers and book bloggers can download free copies of books before they have been released. But, in return for the free book, you have to write and publicise a review.

When you request a book, the publisher can check your profile, and look at where you publish reviews before they approve you. It helps if you have built up a bit of a following and have been reviewing books for at least a couple of months first.

It’s a bit of extra work over the other options, but there are a lot of big names on here, and you get to read a free copy before anyone else!