Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #20: September 2022

It’s has been a patchy reading month, but overall it was an enjoyable one!


Start 2022: 300
1 Sep: 331
Acquired: 4
Read: 6
Balance: 329


Start 2022: 177
1 Sep: 174
Acquired: 3
Read: 3
Balance: 174

I really need to make a conscious effort to make those TBRs go down, down, down!

However, I can’t complain.


I read a total of 10 books in September. I read three books from my Kindle, four in physical format and three audio books, of which two of them I also own in a physical format. I am quite happy with that. At least my buying books did not exceed me reading them, which is all I ask for (though I have a lot of corrective work to do in terms of the two months that went before). Quality wise it was not the best of months. Although there were no books I actively disliked, with 3 books at 4/7*and another 3 at 5/7*, it was a weakish month. Most of my 6 and 7* books came towards the end. All my audio books rated highly. I read two non-fiction (both on audio) and 1 poetry book (also audio). The fiction books were a real mixture with one short story collection and actually two decent contemporary young adult books, which is a bit unusual. Of the six physical books I read, I unhauled three.

  1. Sarum (Edward Rutherford) 5* e-book
  2. Did I Say That Out Loud (Fi Glover & Jane Garvet) 6* audio
  3. A Shot in the Dark (Lynne Truss) 4* hardback
  4. Night Owls (Jenn Bennett) 5* e-book
  5. Shit Cassanda Saw (Gwen E Kirby) 4* paperback
  6. Marriage Most Scandalous (Johanna Lindsey) 5* paperback
  7. Awakening (William Horwood) 4* hardback
  8. Wonderland (Brett Westwood & Stephen Moss) 6* audio/paperback
  9. One of Us is Lying (Karen M McManus) 6* e-book
  10. Four Quartets (T S Eliot) 7* audio/paperback


Well, just read at the finishline, it has to be Four Quartets by T S Eliot. Beautiful poems. Very smart, but not overly complicated. It is definitely a collection I will listen to again (and read).


I actually have a rather ambitious and strict TBR for October, which does not have much to do with it being the spooky month unfortunately. Actually there may be a thriller/murder mystery or two on my list, so hopefully I will get to those.

I am currently in the middle of Kindred by Octavia E Butler, so I have to finish that one before even starting my October TBR.

The main book I want to read in October, which I am hoping I will love, is Ship of Magic, the first book in the Livetraders Trilogy by Robin Hobb. It has been on my tentative TBR for the last few months and I still haven’t gotten round to reading it. It’s a big one though, and may throw off the rest of my TBR completely!

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #19: July & August 2022

I completely forgot to do July and I think I was a bit ashamed about how my books came in opposed to being read! I got over that 🀣. Anyway, let’s combine the two months.


Start 2022:Β 300
1 July:Β 311
Acquired:Β 35 (!!!!!!!!!! – How the hell did that happen? It’s ridiculous!)
Read:Β 15
Balance:Β 331


Start 2022:Β 177
1 July:Β 168
Acquired:Β 11
Read:Β 5
Balance:Β 174

Clearly, something went wrong the last couple of months. I think I need some self control! To be fair, I bought a lot of cheap used books. It’s ok. It’s only books. Still. Compared to last year, I have bought a lot more books this year. I can’t really pinpoint why. I am reading more as well. I think that’s part of it. When I am excited about reading, I tend to read more. The problem is, I am running out of space and I really don’t want to add bookshelves, so my priority will have to be reading and getting rid of books.

I will try and restrain myself the rest of the year. I have two pre-orders coming. The problem is…. I am supposed to go to a charity shop with my friend next week…. Restraint, girl, restraint!


My reading is back to normal after a few slow months, which is nice. August especially was a really strong reading month. Quality of reading was decent as well and I read a good variety of books.


  1. American Gods (Neil Gaiman) 5* e-book
  2. The Reader (Bernhard Schlink) 6* paperback
  3. Wildwood (Roger Deakin) 7* audio/paperback
  4. To Kill A Kingdom (Alexandra Christo) 4* e-book
  5. The Summer Queen (Elizabeth Chadwick) 6* paperback
  6. My Brilliant Friend (Elena Ferrante) 4* paperback
  7. Better Than Fiction (anthology) 5* paperback
  8. Big Panda and Tiny Dragon (James Norbury) 6* hardback
  9. Samarkand (Amin Maalouf) 6* paperback


  1. Malibu Rising (Taylor Jenkins Reid) 5* e-book
  2. The Turn of the Key (Ruth Ware) 4* e-book
  3. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) 5* audio/paperback
  4. The Hero of Ages (Brandon Sanderson) 7* paperback
  5. Don’t Look Now and Other Stories (Daphne du Maurier) 4* paperback
  6. Our Wives Under The Sea (Julia Armfield) 6* hardback
  7. The Jasmine Throne (Tasha Suri) 5* paperback
  8. A Bookshop in Algiers (Kaouther Adimi) 6* paperback
  9. Skin Deep (anthology) 5* hardback
  10. Love is a Mix Tape (Rob Sheffield) 6* paperback
  11. One Summer in Nashville (Mandy Baggot) 4* e-book
  12. No Time Like The Future (Michael J Fox) 6* audio


JULY: I adored Wildwood. I listened to it, but it’s a great combination of travel writing, part memoir and nature writing. It was right up my street. Hence I ended ordering another (earlier) book by the author.

AUGUST: My favourite read was The Hero of Ages, the last book in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I enjoyed it start to finish, which is good cause it was a big one!

September Reading Plans:

I am hoping to continue as I was. I am reading Sarum by Edward Rutherford. It’s a big one, so it might bring my final tally down. I am 250 pages in with 3/4 still to go. It’s commitment!

I have a few books I’d like to read this month. There’s a few left on my Summer TBR. We’ll see how it goes.


Happy reading!

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #18: June 2022

June was a terrible, terrible reading month, but it was definitely quality over quantity. I just had a lot on. I had some beautiful experiences this month. I saw one of my favourite musicians live for the first time, which was just an incredibly magic experience. That was also the first time I went to a concert by myself. Imagine that, I have been going to gigs/concerts for over twenty five years and this was the first time I went by myself. Crazy! It just happened to be one of the best gigs I have ever been to, so I am glad I did. It took me a good week to come down from that!

Anyway, reading time was few and far between. I did not feel slumpy at all – I was just busy. I wrote last month that I thought June would be a more settled month. Boy, was I wrong! I won’t make any such promises for July. I can hope though!


Start 2022:Β 300
1 June:Β 314
Acquired:Β 0
Read:Β 3
Balance:Β 311


Start 2022:Β 177
1 June:Β 169
Acquired:Β 0
Read:Β 1
Balance:Β 168

So no books acquired this month – that’s good!


I only read five books in total, which is not much at all for me. I read three physical books, one e-ARC and one audio book. Two of the physical books were longer and one was only 70 pages. I did not listen to much audio either, so I only managed one shorter audio book, which I did enjoy.

  1. A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons (Kate Khavari) 6* e-ARC
  2. We Are All Made of Stars (Rowan Coleman) 7* paperback
  3. Revelation (Russell Brand) 6* audio
  4. Music & Silence (Rose Tremain) 5* paperback
  5. In Praise of Shadows (Junichiro Tanizaki) 7* paperback

That’s it. Just those.


I had two 7* books, which were very different from each other. Maybe I will go with We Are All Made of Stars. It was just a lovely story and it warmed my heart. It’s a bit of a tearjerker, but so well done. I loved it!

July Reading Plans

I have two books in progress. I am a third into American Gods by Neil Gaiman on my Kindle. I read this one on the train whilst I was travelling. I am enjoying it…. I think. The other one is Wildwood by Roger Deakin, which I am listening to on audio. This is a non-fiction book about trees and I am enjoying it a lot. I am almost halfway into that one.

I don’t want to make too many plans for my reading, as the last couple of months have been slow. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink is part of my plans and I would like to finally finish the Mistborn Trilogy, but that’s as far as I want to plan right now.

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #17: May 2022

May was a very odd month for me. I had a lot of messy house maintenance stuff and weekends with friends and family, which took up a lot of time. I also ended up watching far too much of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial (don’t ask!). Beside that, I was also writing quite a bit. Between all of that it took away precious reading time. So, this month was a month of few books and mainly a bunch of short ones. I wouldn’t quite call it a reading slump, as I just had a lot of stuff on. I am confident June will be a more settled month.


Start 2022:Β 300
1 May:Β 313
Acquired:Β 6
Read:Β 5
Balance:Β 314


Start 2022:Β 177
1 April:Β 172
Acquired:Β 0
Read:Β 3
Balance:Β 169

I read the two shortest books I acquired this month, but that did not help me much. Any normal month I would have easily read more than I acquired this month, but not this month! At least my digital TBR went down!


I read 8 books in May, which is not to be sniffed at, though admittedly one was a relatively short poetry collection and there was a children’s book as well. That was kind of cheating, but it doesn’t matter really. Overall the books I did read were good, but there were a couple that stood head and shoulders above the others.

  1. When We Found Home (Susan Mallery) 4* ebook
  2. The House with the Golden Door (Elodie Harper) 6* NetGalley e-Arc
  3. Gold Dust (Ibrahim al-Koni) 5* paperback
  4. Exit West (Mohsin Hamid) 5* ebook
  5. The Horse That Swam Away (Walter Farley) 5* hardback
  6. The Life of Olaudah Equiano (Olaudah Equiano) 5* audio & paperback
  7. The Island of Missing Trees (Elif Shafak) 7* hardback
  8. Open Secret (Rumi, Moyne, Barks) 5* paperback


Although I loved The House with the Golden Door, my favourite read of the month was The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. She’s an author whose books I tend to love and I plan to read other books by her sooner rather than later. There is just something about the way she crafts her characters and their stories. It just works.

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #13: January 2022


Start 2022: 300
Acquired: 11
Read: 11
Balance: 300


Start 2022: 177
Acquired: 5
Read: 6
Balance: 176

Well, that’s a balance for the physical books, I suppose. Actually, I am quite impressed with myself that I managed to balance that one out. One my purchases is a “Complete Works” by Kahlil Gibran, who I have already read a few works from. I will dip in and out of that one and I did think about not adding it to my official TBR. I counted it anyway. Apart from that, I purchased three novels for my Russian Classics TBR, a few poetry books and there were a few more random (but well considered) purchases. Four of the books are used books, the others new.

I read one more e-book than I bought. I am currently on a trial of Kindle Unlimited, which I started as I wanted to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I wanted to read it at the same time as my nine-year-old and since it was on Kindle Unlimited, I started a three-month trial for 99p, knowing I would also read the final Harry Potter that way. That way my daughter can read my hardback copy. But once I had it, I did use it for some lighter reads along the way. I expect to use Kindle Unlimited whilst I have the trial going, but I don’t think I will extend my membership. It does not really add that much value to my reading for me personally. However, while I have it I may as well make use of it. I managed to read one more book that I acquired, so I am happy with that.


With 18 books read this has been my best reading month for a long long time and it feels good! Not only was the quantity there, but the overall quality was pretty good too in the end, which is the most important thing. I am very happy with the type of books I am reading. I read short story collections, memoirs, poetry, fantasy, romance, classics, contemporary and historical books and even one sci-fi! It’s a rather eclectic bunch, just the way I like it. I read quite a few smaller books, but I also read two books that were 600+ pages, so I feel pleased with that for sure. I ticked two books off my 2022 TBR and I read four books I purchased in 2021.

So, these are the books:

  1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J K Rowling) 5* HB (E)
  2. The Shack by the Bay (Lea Davey) 4* E
  3. Blacklands (Belinda Bauer) 4* PB
  4. Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) 6* audio/PB
  5. Dark Matter (Blake Crouch) 6* E
  6. Autumn Rounds (Jacques Poulin)5* E
  7. Sex & Love & Rock&Roll (Tony Walsh) 4* PB
  8. Palestine As Metaphor (Mahmoud Darwish) 7* PB
  9. When The Moon Is Low (Nadia Nashimi) 6* PB
  10. The Dangers of Smoking in Bed (Mariana Enriquez) 4* PB
  11. Radiance (Grace Draven) 5* E
  12. The Overcoat and Other Short Stories (Nikolai Gogol) 6* PB
  13. Touch (Natalia Jaster) 4* E
  14. The Storyteller (Dave Grohl) 7* audio
  15. Reasons To Stay Alive (Matt Haig) 6* audio/PB
  16. Selected Poems (Pablo Neruda) 6* PB
  17. The Final Empire (Brandon Sanderson) 6* PB
  18. Torn (Natalia Jaster) 3* E

I think the main reason why I had such a good reading month was because I was reading a nice variety of books. I don’t like reading two books of the same genre in a row, so that definitely helped. I listened to Americanah, Reasons To Stay Alive and The Storyteller on audio, eventhough I do own physical copies of the first two. I will be purchasing a physical copy of The Storyteller. I am unhauling Blacklands and The Dangers of Smoking in Bed. I won’t re-read them.

My average page count per book this month was only 326. There were a lot of shorter books, but also two books of over 600 pages.


Although it was close, I think I will have to go for The Storyteller, Dave Grohl’s memoir. It was just such a joy to listen to. He reads the audio book himself and honestly, I was looking forward to listening every day so much. I guess I just did not expect to like it as much as I did, not being a massive Nirvana or Foo fan. Now I would definitely invite Dave as a dream dinner guest!

February Reading Plans

I have already started Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks on audio and I am 10 pages into Around The World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. I will probably start Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this evening, so I can close out my first series of the year.

I also plan to read Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky this month plus two books from my 2021 TBR – I am pretty sure Beartown by Fredrik Backman will be one of them.

I did also want to read a book for the Buzzwordathon and with the theme being me/I/you/he/him/her, etc words, I chose You Then, Me Now by Nick Alexander to read. That one has been sitting on my Kindle for a while and this seems the perfect excuse! I have read one of his novels before and liked it, so I hope I will like this one as well.

I have some other books in mind, but I will see how the month goes. There are only 28 days in February!

Balancing My Books · Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

Balancing My Books #11: November 2021

Physical TBR:
Start 2021: 330
1 Nov 21: 304
Acquired: 7 (read: 1)
Read: 9
Balance: 302

e-Book TBR:
Start 2021: 183
1 Nov 21: 180
Acquired: 2
Read: 3
Balance: 179

Despite the fact I bought seven books this month and received two NetGalley ARCs (I am not requesting anymore anytime soon!!!), both TBRs went down, even if it is not by much. I am not planning on buying any books in December, so fingers crossed the final month of the year will be a good one for bringing down those TBRs.

I read one of last month’s NetGalley ARCs and one that I requested this month. The other I requested is not coming out until spring, so I have some time. The physical books I bought are a mixture of ones that were on my radar already (most of them) and a couple of impulse buys.


November in the end was a very good reading month, both in quantity and quality. It started a bit unspectacular, but out of the 12 books I read there were four 6* books and I even read two new favourite books (7*), which is such a treat! The book I liked least was 4 stars out of 7, so I honestly enjoyed all my choices this month.

I read a good amount of non-fiction for Non-Fiction November, which were all good or amazing!

  1. The Witch Collector (Charissa Weaks) NG e-Arc (4*)
  2. The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead) e-book (5*)
  3. Fake Blood (Whitney Gardner) paperback (5*)
  4. Look Again (David Bailey) audio/hardback (5*)
  5. The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran) hardback (7*)
  6. Crying in H Mart (Michelle Zauner) hardback (6*)
  7. The House in the Cerulean Sea (T J Klune) paperback (5*)
  8. Autumn (edited by Melissa Harrison) paperback (6*)
  9. Noor (Nnedi Okorafor) NG e-Arc (5*)
  10. The Nature of Witches (Rachel Griffin) hardback (6*)
  11. Leap of Faith (Frankie Dettori) audio/hardback (6*)
  12. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Hanif Abdurraqib) paperback (7*)


Man, this is hard. There were two books that made a big impression on me and I am finding it too hard to choose a favourite, because they were so different. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran was published in the 1920s. It is short, but provoked big questions about life in general. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib made me question myself, but especially the way we perceive each other in terms of race and social background. In a way both were philosophical, just in very different ways, asking very different questions.

Maybe I don’t need to pick and I can have a favourite fiction and a favourite non-fiction book this month. Let’s go with that. Both were great, great books!


I have two books left on my 2021 TBR and one extra on my autumn TBR I haven’t gotten to yet. Those are The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years by Bernard Lewis and The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak. I have to say I am a little bit intimidated by the Middle East book, because it’s a history book and I am a bit afraid it will be dry, but I also think it will be very interesting.

Besides that I have some Christmas romances on my Kindle ready to get me in the mood for the festive season. I have already started one!

Finally, I want to get to as many 2021 buys as I can, both digital (actually not that many) and actual booky books.

That’s it! I hope to finish the year at a physical TBR under 300 and a e-TBR under 175. That’s what we’re going for anyway.

Happy reading in December!

Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

November 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

November was not the best of reading months, but it was not that bad either. I read a couple more books than in October, though one off those was a novella and another a poetry book. Overall the standard of reads was pretty decent! I read two new favourites(7-star books)!

Seven of these books I owned physical copies of, though I listened to one of them on audio. The other two were e-books.

  1. Truly, Madly, Greekly (Mandy Baggot) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†
  2. The Forty Rules of Love (Elif Shafak) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  3. Call Me By Your Name (Andre Aciman) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
  4. The Broken Wings (Kahlil Gibran) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  5. The Power (Naomi Alderman) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†β˜†
  6. Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass (Lana Del Rey) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
  7. In Lucia’s Eyes (Arthur Lapin) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
  8. I Wanna Be Yours (John Cooper Clarke) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜† (audio)
  9. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (Theodora Goss) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

It is a close call between The Forty Rules of Love and the novella The Broken Wings. I have to go for The Broken Wings, as for such a short story it had quite an impact on me. I cried my eyes out! It was so beautiful and tragic. I have The Prophet by the same author on my shelf. I want to read it soon, but if it is as emotional as the The Broken Wings I am not sure I am ready!

I have three books left on my 2020 TBR, one of which (Lab Girl) I am reading at the moment. I hope to finish those books. I am really in the mood for poetry, so a bit of that may turn up this coming month as well. Apart from that, I am happy to mood read!

Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

October 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

Another slow reading month, but I enjoyed most of my reads. I read 7 books in total, three of which were audio books. All three were non-fiction and narrated by their authors. I bought the physical books for the Lenny Kravitz book and the Patti Smith book. They were both really good and I wanted to check out the pictures!

I tried to pick up lighter reads for actual active reading. My choices were pretty good. The only real dud was China Rich Girlfriend. which was pretty meh.

  1. Just Kids (Patti Smith) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (audio)
  2. The Guest List (Lucy Foley) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
  3. Jack of Hearts (L C Rosen) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
  4. The Templars (Dan Jones) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜† (audio)
  5. China Rich Girlfriend (Kevin Kwan) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†β˜†
  6. Let Love Rule (Lenny Kravitz) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜† (audio)
  7. Good Omens (Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaima) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†


Easy. It was Just Kids by Patti Smith. I loved it so much. She is such a beautiful writer. As a result I bought a physical copy of this book, but also two of her other books. My favourite fiction is a close call between Good Omens and Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts), which I both enjoyed a lot. .


I have no fixed reading plans, but I have about four or five books left on my 2020 TBR, so I would like to get to those. Apart from that I will be concentrating on books I purchased this year, either on my Kindle or booky-books.

Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

February 2020 Reading Wrap-Up (& March Plans)

February was such a good reading month for me. I simply felt really motivated and to be honest, the weather has been so bad, that all my outside jobs have been put on hold and I have been curling up on the sofa with a ‘good book’ far more often.

I ended up completing 11 books, which is pretty amazing considering February had only 29 days (the extra day did help)!

The standard was pretty high and I read no books under 4 (out of 7) stars. I read 3 books for the Contemporary-a-thon. I did help myself by choosing shorter books (under 300 pages) and it paid off. On the flip-side Towers of Midnight and Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix were both over 900 pages. Both were really good reads though!

I read 8 physical books from my shelves and one other (H is for Hawk) on audio, but which I also have a physical copy of. That makes me very happy indeed! All of those will be remaining on my shelves.


Althought I had two 7-star reads I am going with The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. I also adore Callanish, but that’s an old favourite and was a re-read.

Poet X

I loved the format in which The Poet X is written. It was such a clever way of telling this particular story, which maybe would have been far less interesting in a conventional format.


March Reading Plans: MOOD MARCH!

Jackson, Mary Cecilia - SparrowI am planning to do a ton of mood-reading in March.

I have a single NetGalley ArcΒ  I need to read, which is Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson (out on 17 March), which sounds like a hardhitting contemporary centered on a young ballerina. Apart from that, I have free play this month! Yay!

So I have decided to base the rest of my reads, one at a time, on my Random Book Game, which has 40 quite broad book prompts to then choose a book for. It is basically structured mood reading! It saves me from dawdling too long in front of my bookcases! Complete free choice scares me πŸ˜‰

Random Book Game

Lunde, Maja - The History of BeesRossi, Veronica - Riders #2 SeekerI use a random number generator to choose the category. My first number was 9, so I had to pick a book from my black shelf. I chose The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. It is a book I tried to read before, but I could not get into it and put it back down again. I am 50 pages in and I am enjoying it much more this time. This is a gorgeous hardback and I prefer to read a paperback or my Kindle in bed in the evening, so I have generated another number for that. This time I got 27, which is ‘Series Sequel’. Perfect! I would like to complete a series so I will go with Seeker by Veronica Rossi. I read the first book, Riders, but did not like it that much, but since I have the second book in this duology I might as well read it!

We will see how the rest of the month goes!

Have a great reading month, lovely people πŸ™‚


Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

January 2020 Wrap-Up

I finished 9 books last month, which is simply amazing to me, since I had a few very slow reading months at the end of next year and even into January. I am especially pleased that I read three non-fiction books, which were all really good!

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 12 The Gathering Storm (with Brandon Sanderson)BOOK OF THE MONTH:

It is a tricky one this month, because I loved all three of my six-star books. I think I will go with The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I love how you can feel the tension building in this book with two books of 14 still to go.