Okay so some years I don’t care about my birthday at all, and some years I get excited. This is an excited year! Cause I’ve already got some of my pressies waiting for me! Caitlyn, the mad woman, sent me my first box in SEPTEMBER. At the BEGINNING of September no less!!! And so she is completely and utterly to blame for this excitement.

My family always flat out refuse to get me books, cause I have “too many” (what is that), so it’s always a struggle to think of things that they can get me. But my friends are wonderful and marvellous and book giving fiends and I have a few boxes from the wonderful human beings ready to open!

My birthday is 13th October, which makes me a Libra. Do I know what that means for me? No! But I am! I’m hitting the big 2 5. Which isn’t actually that big, but I’m now more than halfway to 30 which to be quite honest is just rude.

Anyways. All of this pre-amble is to say that there won’t be a review going up next Wednesday (the 13th, if that wasn’t obvious)! Cause it’s my birthday! So I want to post something a little more fun instead! Hope you don’t mind 😝

What is VEDO and why am I doing it?

Back in April I saw lots of people doing VEDA, Video Every Day in April, and it looked like a lot of fun! My birthday is in October so I thought it would be really fun to do this then. Now when I was planning this I didn’t think that I would be both moving house 100 miles away and moving job at the beginning of the month.

Regardless of this probably being a bad idea… I’m doing it anyways! So if you want to see my daily videos please do go check out my YouTube channel and subscribe!

I know I post here daily, and that I post about my videos when they go up. I won’t just be reposting my videos every day, because I know that would be really boring. But I also am using up a lot of creative energy for this challenge so I may have text versions of my videos as well as some book reviews.

Let me know how much of an idiot you think I am for doing this!!

Trigger Warnings for Books? 🤔

This is a pretty big topic in the bookish community nowadays. Do you give trigger warnings for books or not? And then if you do how do you do it? There are so many different styles!!

I don’t know if people realise, but I actually put the trigger warnings for every book I mention in my videos at the bottom of the description. And I also include them in my reviews on the blog, you have to highlight the text to reveal them. I never want to have recommended someone a book and they trigger themselves when I could have easily warned them.

So you can probably tell I fall into the “yes I give trigger warnings” camp. I’m a “content creator” albeit a small one, and so it falls on me to make sure I’m giving enough information about the books that I’m promoting. And I also fall into the “slightly hiding it category”.

I know some people actively dislike trigger warnings, they don’t personally need them and so for them it falls into spoiler territory. I actually fall into this category! There’s only one trigger that I sometimes need and 99% of the time it can be inferred from the synopsis. So I’m really privileged with that. It means when I see triggers it often spoils me for the content in a book that otherwise would’ve been a twist for me and I prefer to go in blind. Now considering I post my tbr’s and I write out the trigger warnings for all the books… I don’t get to do that anymore 😂 but as I said before, being a “content creator” comes with a certain level of responsibility and so I suck it up! I Me not needing trigger warnings also means that I have to go on, sometimes oddly long, hunts to find the warnings themselves as I never know what needs pointed out. There are some really great databases like Book Trigger Warnings or Storygraph or people’s reviews on Goodreads. But sometimes it takes a lot more searching to be able to find them. But it’s always worth it. And I’m slowly accumulating a massive excel spreadsheet of all of the triggers that I can go back to when I mention a book again! (war and peace I’m looking at you)

Because I don’t want to “spoil” people who don’t like to see them, and because I want to be able to give people the active choice to check out the trigger warnings (and I always want to have them available) I “hide” them away. In my YouTube videos they are at the very bottom of the description box with a little “🔐Trigger Warnings🔐” header so no one gets confused. On my blog I put them in on the review posts, and they’re in white text on a white background. Which means that they can only be seen if you highlight them. Both of these options mean that the warnings are easily accessible whilst not being so in your face that anything is spoiled without warning

Highlight here for an example: this is how I do the triggers in my reviews. See how it works? It’s cool!

I totally stole the idea from Olivia’s Catastrophe (with permission of course) and it works super well! But I do think I need to make some changes in my videos, maybe with a little pop up stating that the warnings are in the description box. Because I don’t always say it while I’m filming and so people don’t always know they’re there!

Let me know how you feel about trigger warnings. Whether you like them, and if you’re a content creator how you make them available to your viewers!

Bookish Adventures in Moving

Did you know the Billy Bookcases from Ikea are perpetually out of stock right now? Cannot buy. No stock. My library dreams have been temporarily put on hold.

I’ve not fully moved into my new house yet, the bed won’t be delivered until early October so I’m still living with my parents for now, but yesterday I went down and moved some of my things. Including some of my books!

Mostly I took down my read books, they’re all packed away anyways (cause my parents are moving too, it is a time in the Pellinor household) but I took down a couple of unread books as well. Just so that if I do end up needing something to read I can pick from a reread or a new read!

At the moment my books are all just… sat on the floor. Which isn’t fab. We have plans to buy 5 full sized Billy’s, because my partner reads too so he’ll take up 2 of them and I can double stack for now. So we’re just keeping our eyes peeled on the Ikea website and hoping we can nab some as soon as they drop!

Do you have Billy bookcases? Or have you went for something a little more unique? Let me know!

What do you want to see from me?

I’d been trying an experiment over the past few weeks and months of posting something on here each and every day. And it was fun! But I can’t lie, posting each and every day needs a lot of ideas to think of.

Truth be told it’s difficult to keep this up each and every day, and also I don’t think you guys are particularly loving it. At least not any more than my usual schedule. I do enjoy the roughly two book reviews each week, and the occasional tag, discussion piece, and fun posts here and there that I post.

Did you even notice that I was posting each day? Probably not! So thank you for reading and interacting over the past weeks and I hope you can give me some good ideas to post about! Cause ya girl is moving house and she needs the brain cells for all of that

The End of the Paralympics

Okay so this is totally un-book related. But have you been watching the Paralympics? My family love sports and so we’ve been glued to our screens for both the Olympics earlier this year and also the Paralympics!

The UK is doing pretty good! We’re decently high up the medal table methinks and we should be proud of ourselves.

I do wonder how much of that is privilege. Disabled people in the UK struggle to get basic rights and we’re supposedly a first world country. Disabled people can’t even get married without losing their benefits. There are so many places completely inaccessible without using steps, and sometimes many flights.

Just something to think about at the end of this weekend.

Let me know if you watched the Paralympics and how your country did in the event!!

10 books, 10 countries

Whilst we’re stuck in *current situations* travel seems like a distant dream to most of us. Especially international travel. So I thought it could be fun to talk about travelling the world in books!! Here are 10 books which take place outside of England and the US, which are the most common places for books popular on the internet to be set. (there’s also no Aussie books on this list because I HARP on about my Aussie faves enough as it is!)

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Kawaguchi, Toshikazu,  Trousselot, Geoffrey: 9781529029581: Books

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi – translated

This book is set in Japan and written by a Japanese author!

We rotate around a coffee shop which has the ability to sent you back in time, but only within limited confines. This is such a beautiful and heart wrenching book and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra: Baby Ganesh Agency Book 1  (Baby Ganesh series) eBook : Khan, Vaseem: Kindle Store

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

This book is set in India and written by a British Indian author!

This is such a fun cosy mystery and I adore this series. Our main character is a retired police officer who is bequeathed a baby elephant in his uncle’s will! And that elephant of course has a big part in the plot!

The Silver Mine by Selma Lagerlöf

The Silver Mine by Selma Lagerlof – translated

This book is set in Sweden and written by a Swedish author!

This teeny tiny book follows a mining town which discovers a seam of valuable minerals and how they react to this. It’s delightful.

The Stone of Destiny: A Four Treasures Novel (Book 1) (The Four Treasures)  : Caroline Logan: Books

The Stone of Destiny by Caroline Logan

This book is set in Scotland and written by a Scottish author!

This book focuses around the Scottish folk lore of Selkies, seals who can turn into human beings, and a rough and gruff young girl who is isolated from the rest of society. It’s delightful!

Skulduggery Pleasant #1: Skulduggery Pleasant - Scholastic Kids' Club

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

This book is set in Ireland and written by an Irish author!

A skeleton detective and a teenage girl run around Ireland, solving magical mysteries and being completely badass. As we all know, I adore this series more than life itself. How could I not include it?!

Long Walk To Freedom Book Summary (PDF) by Nelson Mandela - Two Minute Books

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

This book is set in South Africa and written by a South African author!

This is Mandela’s memoir, so it is deep and it’s long, but it’s a fantastic read. I actually read 500+ pages of this book all in one day. Don’t ask me how. I don’t know. But I’m not complaining! A wonderfully written memoir.

The Gilded Ones (Gilded, 1) : Namina Forna: Books

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

This book is inspired by West Africa and written by an author from Sierra Leone!

The first book on this list that I’ve not read yet. Blood that runs gold or red. An unequal society. Girls and woman fighting for equality. Yes. Just yes.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi | Waterstones

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This book is set in Ghana and written by a Ghanaian author!

This book follows two sisters on different paths and how their descendants live. One stays in Ghana living in luxury, and the other is enslaved and shipped to America where her children and grandchildren are destined to be raised in slavery. I definitely need to read this.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

This book is set in Botswana and written by a Zimbabwean author!

I feel it is important to point out this book is written by a white man. But he’s born and raised in Zimbabwe and Botswana. This appears to be a cosy mystery vibe and I’m very excited to get around to this series at some point! I love cosy mysteries with a twist!

The Star of Kazan : Ibbotson, Eva: Books

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

This book is set in Austria and written by a British author who was born in Austria!

This last book goes back to one I have read. I adored this book as a child following a young girl who was abandoned at a church as a baby. She’s raised lovingly in the slave quarters of a house but one day her birth mother returns for her. But things in her new-found family aren’t quite as they seem. I love it so much and as always with Ibbotson’s writing it’s beautiful.

And there you have it! 10 books set in countries that you might not read as much from! Have you read any of these? And what books set outside of the US and England do you recommend?!

How To Read More

Everyone is a little different when it comes to reading, so not every tip will work for everyone. But here is how I’ve found myself able to read as much as possible and still enjoy myself!

A quick little background about my reading. On average I can read 100 pages an hour, although of course that goes up and down for younger books/smaller writing/difficult texts. I also read mostly fantasy books, although I do dip my toes into almost every genre. I read mostly adult, although again I do still read from the YA (young adult) and MG (middle grade) age brackets.

So. Now you know a little bit about me and my reading, let me tell you how I can read the most without feeling bogged down!

My first “tip” is to start a book as soon as you finish the one before. Now I don’t necessarily mean within 5 seconds of it! But within the same day, and ideally within a few hours, of finishing a book I want to pick up my next one and read a chapter or two. This keeps me in the swing of reading and whilst I’m still in the mindset of being invested in a story switches my brain over to a new one.

Secondly, I want to read the first 50-100 pages of the book pretty quickly. So within the first few days I want to have read at least 100 pages of this new book. Again this is about keeping me in the story, this keeps my mind within the fictional world and gets me wondering about what is happening within the book. I’ve found that for me around the 100 page mark is where I know that I’m invested, but of course it could be higher or lower for you!

These, when I’m not struggling or am not busy with other life things, work great on their own to keep me reading consistently and getting through a lot of books while enjoying them. Sometimes, though, things get in the way and I need little extra kicks to get me going.

My first little kick is to tab up my books. I’ll put tabs in for [x] number of pages, or [x] number of chapters and then aim for that amount each day. It means I can physically see my progress (this of course only works with physical books) and it encourages me to keep reading as it doesn’t seem like too much more to read.

Second up, read a chapter a day. There are certain books where that is all I’ll do. I’ll limit myself to one chapter a day (that’s a story for another day). But with your standard novel, what this actually is, is a minimum. At least one chapter a day. If worst comes to worst, I’ve “only” read one chapter but that’s still progress! But ideally I’ll realise that I’m actually invested in the book after that one chapter and read a few more!

My third tip is to set a timer. Reading sprints are super popular and there is a reason for that. If you set a timer where you force yourself to sit down and read you’re going to get through more pages than if you didn’t! Even if it’s just half an hour, at my reading speed that’s 50 pages. That’s totally do-able! Set whatever time/page goal works for you!

Accountability can work like a charm. Buddy reading is fantastic for this because you “have” to read your pages each day. But even just letting a friend/family member know that you’re reading something and that you want to get it finished can keep you moving! You know they’ll ask about it, and you want to be able to tell them that you’ve made progress, so you’d better get moving!

There are also some tips that can work really well for people that I don’t use. But I want to mention one here cause it could be quite helpful for you.

And this is to listen to the book on audio either instead of reading with your eyes or whilst you read with your eyes. Now of course this is only helpful to those who don’t use audio as their primary reading method, but people find it can help them focus, and if you’re doing other tasks a lot that don’t require too much thinking it can be a great way to squeeze more reading in.

I work in a call centre, from home, and we’re in a pandemic. So I don’t go out much, therefore I don’t have much time in my life for audiobooks. And because I read at a decent speed it is a lot slower for me to read via audio, even sped up. This means that this isn’t a trick for me. But if you’re a slower reader, or one who doesn’t have hands free but who can listen to something whilst doing other tasks? This could be a great option for you!

Tell me, do you use these tips already? How do you make sure you keep the motivation to read and to not slump? I’m sure we can all do with some more tips down in the comments below!!

When you don’t want to read…

This month hasn’t been the one for me. I thought I would start out with the biggest book on my tbr to get it “out of the way” and instead it has just slumped me SO BAD. I’ve barely read anything at all. Nothing. Nada. Ziltch.

Weirdly, I am liking the book. I really am. It’s super interesting. And yet here I am… not reading. I think I need to “give up” on this one. I even took it on a train ride from Newcastle to Portsmouth (a solid 7/8 hours of train travel) and back, and read maybe 20 pages. So clearly I don’t want to sit down and read this at the moment. I’ve “discovered” this a little late in the month to catch up on my tbr. But at least I know!

I think I’m going to either stop reading Labyrinth all together (for now) or just read a chapter a day to keep myself in the story. So now I have…4 days to read the other 7 books on my tbr…. I don’t think I’ll be managing that this month. But I’m really going to aim for 4 of them. I know that’s a bit much, but I just really want to get back into reading! And if I don’t manage it, it’s not the end of the world.

How do you feel with big books? Do they put you into a slump? Or do they get you out of them?! Let me know!!

Non Fiction Books on my TBR

Non fiction isn’t talked about much on the bookternet, and truthfully I don’t know why! There are some absolutely wonderful non fiction texts across so many subjects, and they range from textbooks to stories! So I thought today I would put the spotlight onto non fiction and mention 5 books that I’m really wanting to read!

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex: Angela Chen: 9780807013793: Books

Ace by Angela Chen is a book all about asexuality that I really want to pick up! As a demisexual (on the ace spectrum) this is something super interesting to me and I would love to learn more. And it totally doesn’t hurt that the cover is absolutely gorgeous. This one is sitting on my Amazon wishlist, waiting for the day that I’ll treat myself!

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold | Waterstones

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold tells us about the lives of five women killed by Jack the Ripper. Whilst he became infamous these women faded into obscurity. Historian Rubenhold brings their stories back to the forefront where we can focus on Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Mary-Jane and the lives they lived. This on I was able to find on a supermarket shelf for quite cheap and I couldn’t resist! So it’s currently sitting on my tbr and I’m having to use all of my willpower not to read it at once!

Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies:  Barrister, The Secret: 9781529009941: Books

Fake Law by The Secret Barrister is one that I regret not picking up when it was published in hardback, and I really need to get a hardback edition! (another one sitting on my Amazon wishlist) This is the second book published by “The Secret Barrister”, a practicing barrister in the UK who remains annonymous in order to provide real life insight into our laws and court systems. Their first book was so interesting and definitely an easy read (so don’t worry if you’re not keen on legalese) so I’m excited for this one.

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class - Owen Jones; | Foyles  Bookstore

Chavs by Owen Jones is one I spotted whilst sat in a bookshop one day for a job interview (I didn’t get it 💔) and ever since I’ve wanted to read it! Classism is a big thing here in the UK, and I have feet in both ends given my unusual upbringing (don’t ask, it was a total mess) so this is something that I would love to learn more about and I think it’ll be such an interesting and enlightening read! One day I’ll buy it from my wishlist haha.

Natives by Akala is last but not least. As I mentioned above classism is a big thing here, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have racism as an issue too. This is another book on my Amazon wishlist (there seems to be a bit of a theme here, I need to buy the books on my wishlist!) and it sounds as though this is going to directly face the issues in a very non-British way that I am totally here for and I can’t wait to get stuck in!

And those are the non fiction books I’m most excited to read! I’m kinda mad that I only own one of these!! Please give me some recommendations down below and add more non fictions to my tbr! I’m always interested in learning more, and as you can kinda see from this list (a little) I have very varying interests! So shout out your fave and I’ll see if it’s up my street!!