Here’s just a little update to say that I’ve finally updated my blog and that I’m absolutely in love with the finished product! I couldn’t help but show it off! As many of you know, I’ve wanted to change the design of my blog for a while now, and it’s about time that put my words into action.
All the signs were pointing towards this new and improved look. Not only do I finally have a week off work, but my friend did a tarot reading for me (with her lovely new Jane Austen Tarot Cards I got for her for Christmas) and all the cards encouraged creativity and change! So for the past two days, I’ve spent way too long on Canva and WordPress, and have channelled all my spare time into creating an entirely new look. I’d like to give a HUGE shout out to my sister who has had to deal with my constant questioning and reassurance over the past couple of days, so thank you, sis!
Not only have I changed my layout, but I’ve also invested in a fancy domain name and have said goodbye to all those annoying WordPress ad’s! Things are finally starting to come together, and this is only just the beginning as I’ve got a few more exciting things planned for 2021.
It might surprise you, but for the past four years, I’ve tried to keep this blog a secret. Some of my family and friends knew I had a blog but I never shared its name, so I think it’s about time that I introduced myself to the world and that I embraced this wonderful platform that I’m so proud of!
Let’s start over shall we:
Hi, I’m Amy, and I’m a 23-year-old blogger and reading enthusiast from the West Midlands, UK. When I’m not adding books to my endless TBR, you’ll either find me curled up in my reading nook or binge-watching some of my favourite shows! I’m publishing hopeful, who dreams of one day sharing my creativity and undying love for books with an industry I adore. If you enjoy reading book reviews and other bookish inspired posts, then don’t be shy and follow along!
I don’t know about you, but to me it doesn’t feel like we’ve started a New Year? It just feels like 2020 part 2! Anyway I’m trying my best to kickstart my motivation and hopefully make a start into achieving some of my goals for this year!
The last three months of 2020, were some of the best months of my entire blogging journey, and I hope to bring that energy and creativity with me into 2021! It was during these three months that I started to discover my ‘blog identity’ and the style of posts that not only I enjoyed writing but others enjoyed reading. One of my main aims this year is to dedicate more time to my blog and content, I want to start investing my time into making the most out of this a platform and connecting more with like-minded people from all around the globe. I’ve already started off the year with a colour co-ordinated spreadsheet that has all my posts planned for both January and February, and it’s working wonders. I’ve never been this organised!
I’ve done this style of post for three years now and it’s great to look back on throughout the year and track your progress. I’m pleased to say that I managed to complete 5/6 goals I set for myself last year, so I’ve once again have high expectations for this year! Anyway, I have BIG plans for 2021 and I look forward to sharing my journey with everyone!
Goodreads Goal of 52 Books – Last year my initial goal was 35 books and one which I later surpassed by reading a total of 42 books. This year I’ve set myself the challenge of reading 52 books which would equal to one book a week for a year, and I’m quietly confident that it’s something I’ll be able to achieve! If you want to follow along with my reading be sure to follow me on Goodreads @ Amy (A Fangirls Opinion).
Read Something Each Month that’s not ‘YA/NA Fantasy’ – Last year my reading habits were not what I expected and I ended up reading a lot more reflective contemporaries and classics, all of which I really enjoyed! I don’t want to overwhelm myself with too much fantasy so hopefully by changing it up now and then will do some good.
Sort Out My TBR – This has been annoying me for a while now, nothing is organised and it’s about time I had a good-old sort out! My plan is to create a TBR for this year of books I really ‘want’ to read and to make it my mission to tick off as many books as possible!
Post at Least Once a Week – This is one of my goals every year as I like to try and maintain a consistent blogging schedule and hopefully my beautiful new spreadsheet will help with planning and scheduling! I definitely plan to show of my spreadsheet in a different post so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that!
Invest in a Domain Name – As I’ve mentioned previously my plan this year is to make the most out of my blog and I think it’ll be really nice to have a proper domain name! I also want to update my theme this year as I’ve had the same one for a couple of years now, so I think it’s time for a change!
Start a Bookstagram? – This is something that’s been on my mind for a while now and I’m still undecided to whether I’m going to give it a go or not? I follow so many wonderful accounts that post stunning pictures and I’m eager to try it myself, so I might trial it for a month and see how things turn out.
Write at least 150 words a day for a year – After failing at NaNoWriMo 2020, I’ve discovered that I don’t cope well with time pressure especially when it comes to my creative outlets, it worked when I was writing essays at university but this is completely different! So the aim from the 1st January 2021 is to write 150 words a day for an entire year which would total to just under 55,000 words by December 31st 2021. And hopefully, at the next NaNoWriMo I should have 46,000 words down and a more detailed outline of this story, so things should be a little easier and more productive. I know it’s not much but hopefully by writing little and often will help maintain my creative juices!
At the beginning of the year I set myself a few blogging and reading goals that I wanted to achieve, and I thought now would be a good time to reflect on my progress so far! This year has been far from normal, and these past couple of months have been a bump in the previously peaceful road but I pleased to say everything is starting to get back on track and into a new routine! Anyway, here is my updated reading and blogging goals for the rest of 2020!
A New Goodreads Goal of 40 books – That’s five more books than I originally planned and at the rate that I’m reading, I hope to increase it even more! Every year the aim is to read 52 books (one book each week), so maybe this will be the year I finally achieve my goal.
Read Every Book Club Book – I’m surprised that my university book club is still going, I was convinced that come the end of March we would have all given up! We’ve read everything from highlander romance to music biographies and war fiction, it’s been an interesting mix and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them!
Clear Out My Bookshelves – Done! I’ve just posted a new blog post about unhauling books and my gorgeous new bookshelves, so I’ll leave a link to it here! All I need to do now is to start selling them on ebay!
Read More Books By Diverse Authors – I want to actively explore and change my reading habits, as out of the 25 books I’ve read this year only 3 of them have been written by non-white authors. So, for the rest of the year I want to read at least one book a month written by diverse authors in order to broaden my understanding and celebrate different and successful representation in literature. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is definitely on my list for this month but any other recommendations would be fab!
More Active Role in the Blogging Community – This is one I really want to work on, as I feel that recently my activity and role in the blogging community has taken a backseat. I also want to apologise profusely to anyone who has recently commented on any of my posts, lately I’ve been terrible at replying and checking my stats! It means the world to me whenever someone comments and interacts with my posts so please don’t take it personally.
Post at Least Once a Week – My posting rate isn’t perfect but its defiantly better than last year and up until lockdown I was posting twice a week and had a clear schedule. I’m slowing getting back to my usual routine, it’s just difficult finding that new work/life balance, but I’m confident that by the end of next month I will be posting twice a week again!
Reach 600 Followers – At this moment in time I’ve got 551 followers which is amazing and I want to firstly thank every single one of you for supporting me on my blogging journey! I would love to end the year with 600 followers so if you like what you see then please give us a follow!
I am terrible for sticking to New Year’s Resolutions but I’ve reached the point now where it’s frustrating me so much that this year I really really want to achieve them and prove to myself that they are worth making. Reading and blogging have both taken a back seat this year and that’s something I want to change in the New Year as they’re two things I really enjoy doing. So I’ve decided to set myself an array of different goals some of which are realistic and some which are more challenging…
Goodreads Goal of 35 books – Last year my goal was 26 books which worked out to be a book every two weeks, but this year I really want to gradually increase my goal until I reach 52 books! I also want to maintain some sense of organisation with my Goodreads profile, and try to keep up with my reviews.
Read every book for my ‘Reading between the Wines’ bookclub – At the end of last year my university friends and I set up a bookclub as a way of staying in touch and catching up each month. We’ve got a mix of trashy highlander romance novels and academic texts to last us the whole year.
Clear out bookshelves – This is an easy one and something I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time! I’ve seen so many people on Booktube doing book un-hauls and I know if I want to make room for new books on my shelves then I’ll need to donate some either to different charities or even children hospitals. I want to pass on the joy I had from reading these book onto someone else.
More active role in the blogging community – This is something that is really important to me, I love blogging and I really want to play a bigger part. I want to get involved in more discussions and comment more on posts and tags!
Post at least once a week – Like I’ve said blogging took a back seat last year and is something I do enjoy doing. I love sharing my opinions on books and films and also reading other peoples posts and discovering new books.
Incorporate a blog plan into my bullet journal – I’ve finally started a bullet journal and I really want to create a dedicated page to my blogging and post ideas. I’ve been spending far too much time searching ideas on Pinterest and Instagram.
I had been accepted to work with the team at Michael Joseph, a department that specialises in women’s fiction, crime, thrillers, cookery, memoirs and lifestyle books and has published authors from likes of Jojo Moyes, Clive Cussler and Stephen Fry.
I’m a very organised person and don’t tend to do well with being thrown into unknown settings where I have no idea what I’m meant to be doing, so to say I was nervous is an understatement. But everyone there was so lovely and welcoming and I instantly felt like I was apart of a team. I had the added bonus of starting alongside a lovely woman who was starting her new job as an editor and was someone who was the literal embodiment of a ray of sunshine! She made my experience so memorable and by the end of it I didn’t want to leave, (and just between you and me, I may have shed a few tears!).
Whilst I was there I was reading submissions, sending books out to authors and agents (including Diana Gabaldon who wrote the Outlander series!), and lots of other secret projects! Here I was able to gain an insight into the world and process of publishing as well as trying my hand at everyday tasks. After spending two weeks in such a stimulating and creative environment, it was clear that publishing was an area which I could see my future-self thriving in. Fast forward 18 months and I’m still constantly applying for lots of graduate schemes and entry level jobs in publishing, and the drive and ambition to fulfil my career aspirations still hasn’t faded. Those two weeks taught me so many different skills and was an experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it is one that I’m endlessly grateful for.
If you have any questions about work experience at Penguin or my experience then please feel free to leave them in the comments!
You didn’t do work experience at a publishing house if you didn’t come home with as many books as you could fit in your handbag, so here’s a mini book haul!
The Chalkman by A.J Taylor – When I was working down in London I kept seeing so many posters on the underground advertising this book so I thought it would be fitting if I took this one home with me. Now every time I see it on my shelf I’m reminded of my wonderful experience. Plus I’ve also just realised that its a signed copy!
McMafia by Misha Glenny – I picked this book up because I remember watching the trailer for the BBC series and thought I could read the book before I started watching; how wrong I was! The book/tv series follows Alex, a legitimate businessman, who tries to evade his family’s dark past. However, a murder exposes his family’s mafia ties and he has to enter the world of crime to protect his loved ones.
The Greatest Love Story of All Time by Lucy Robinson – I couldn’t resist picking this one up, I’m a sucker for a romance novel and this one sounded like a good laugh. It’s Fran’s thirtieth birthday and things are good…She’s bluffed her way into a very posh job and her outlandishly handsome and talented boyfriend Michael is escorting her to the Ritz with a bulge the shape of a ring box in his pocket. But something has gone wrong. Very wrong. By the end of the evening Fran is howling in bed with a bottle of cheap brandy and one of Michael’s old socks.
For years my Goodreads account has been an unorganised embarrassment and a platform which I have failed to used to its full potential, but recently I’ve been trying to organise and update everything (including my life)! My account was so disorganised that I had to delete my account and start afresh, but that meant that I had to loose all of my friends/followers! I always enjoy discovering new reads and seeing what other people are reading and I particularly enjoying looking at different peoples reading challenges! I would love it if you could leave your Goodread’s account in the comments below so I finally start playing a more active role in the bookish community!
My Reading Challenge – 26 Books. I only started this challenge half way through the year so I wanted to set a realistic goal. But by the looks of things I hope to pass this goal fairly soon, so I might bump my target up to 36!
Currently Reading – Muse of Nightmares by Laine Taylor
Hello! After far too many months, I’m back on the blogging scene and ready to get back into the swing of things. These past couple of months I’ve been completely overwhelmed with work and applying for different internships, which is super exciting and scary at the same time. Yet it’s even scarier to think that in two weeks time I will have finished my degree and that I’ll have to start being a fully functioning adult! I also finally completed my dissertation in which I explored the representation of trauma in the works of Ian McEwan. His book Atonement is one of my all-time favourite reads, so I thought that my dissertation was the perfect excuse to explore more of his novels. To celebrate finishing my three years at Chester, myself and some course mates are jetting off to Rome with hopes of fulfilling our Lizzie McGuire fantasies, so any recommendations would be fab!
Before Easter, I also ran a film festival at the Chester Storyhouse, which involved the coming together of a group of individuals who all share a passion for film to organise a three day take-over weekend. As expected my group focused on book-to-film adaptations and chose to show Paddington 2 and Life of Pi as well as planning different activities that linked to the theme. Not only did this programme helping me learn more about the different areas of film and its career paths but it has also provided me with some useful contacts for the future! This was such a fab experience that I truly enjoyed and one that I highly recommend to anyone living in the Chester area.
My hope for the rest of the year is to try to post at least three times a week and to experiment more with different features and topics. Recently, I had to create a mini portfolio of creative pieces which I’m thinking of sharing as I had so much fun writing them and it would be cruel for them to just sit unread in the depths of my laptop. Now I’ve got more free time, I plan on tackling my ever-growing TBR list so keep your eyes peeled for lots and lots of reviews! I also really want to get more involved with the blogging community as everyone is just so lovely and I’m all for meeting new and like-minded people!
Thank you to all my followers for your patience, support and for sticking with me over these past years. Happy blogging!
It’s been far too long since we’ve posted on here or even been on WordPress to check our stats and other blogs posts, but that’s because we have both been super busy doing some exciting things! Both of us are studying hard and are currently in our second year of university, so our main focus has been on that, however, we both really want to get back into reading and writing interesting posts. Eleanor is still studying Midwifery and has been spending most of her time on a work placement which has involved her delivering lots of lovely babies. As for myself, I was lucky enough to get work experience at none other than Penguin Publishing, which was incredible and there will definitely be a post soon about my wonderful experience!
Both of us have really missed writing and posting on here so we’re planning just to ease ourselves back into our routine but this might mean one post a week rather than our previous three. We’ve also got exams and assessment deadlines coming up, but after those, we plan to start reading more of our own books, instead of textbooks and set reading. There are so many books that have been released, that I’m desperate to read so there won’t be a shortage of reviews when our exams are finally over. Instead of reading, I have been watching lots films and binging far too many TV Shows so you might be seeing lots of film reviews and TV recommendations to start off with while we catch up with our reading!
Anyway, we can’t wait to get back to regular posting and to getting back involved with the blogging community!
You may argue that I haven’t experienced enough to write a post like this and at the young age of twenty, I have nothing important to share however I completely disagree. I’ve experienced and struggled with a few of life’s bad cards like mental illness, bullying, wavering relationships, however, I’m lucky enough to have been dealt some seriously good ones too. I’ve been blessed with a network of support and love from friends and family, and with a solid plan for the present and the future. I’m currently studying one of my passions at university, all whilst living with five flatmates who I adore and who all put up with my bad jokes. Back home, are my family, high school friends and childhood memories all of which welcome me with open arms and a warm hug whenever I decide to visit.
I’ve learned a lot over the years whether its lessons from my parents or things I’ve discovered on my own and I wanted to share a few of them with you. I hope these words of wisdom can inspire you and encourage you to create your own list that you can look back on in years to come as a reminder that we’re always growing and to never stop learning.
Everything happens for a reason and things might not always go to plan but don’t panic.
Be Kind to everyone, sometimes the smallest of acts can brighten someone’s day.
Time alone is time well spent.
It’s okay to cry, we all have our down moments.
Hard work pays off but don’t overwork yourself.
Celebrate and appreciate the little things in life.
Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish and to put yourself first.
Confidence is key.
Loose lips sink ships (that’s one for you dad!).
Don’t ever give up on something that means the world to you.
Love. Love with all your heart. Love yourself, love your family and love your friends.
You’re not going to be the best at everything and that’s okay.
Never be ashamed of the kind of music you listen to.
Be spontaneous, sometimes the things that aren’t planned are the best.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Say yes to new experiences – adventure awaits you.
Don’t rush love. It’ll happen when it happens.
It’s okay to have high standards, especially when it comes to boys.
Take as many pictures as humanly possible.
Laugh as much as you can because laughter is the best medicine.
Tomorrow I’ll turn 20 and I’ll admit it’s scary how fast time has gone, and as my friends keep reminding me, that twenty is only halfway to forty. However, I can’t wait to see what the next twenty years have in store. I see my twenties as an open book, a blank page, a new chapter and I’m excited and intrigued to see where it leads me, fingers crossed it’s a place where I’m happy.
I can’t believe how quickly a year has gone and how I’m already about to start my second year at University. For those who don’t know, I’m currently studying English Literature at the University of Chester and for my second year, I was able to choose all of my modules! There were so many to choose from and I was only able to choose five, however, I’m really happy and excited with all of my choices. If you’re also studying English Literature then I’d love to know what modules you’re taking this year, so please leave a comment below!
Romantic Literature – I’m a sucker for Romantic Literature so there was no way I wasn’t taking this module. I love all the novels and poetry as they are all just so beautiful and a treat to study! I’ll be studying works of Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats and one of my favorites Austen.
The Gothic – After reading Northanger Abbey in my first year, I began to fall in love with Gothic Literature and I can’t wait to read and study more short stories, poetry, and film from the late-eighteenth century to the present day.
American Literature – I’ve always loved American Literature especially anything to do with the roaring 20’s *cough* The Great Gatsby *cough*! The module will concentrate on a variety of important American writing, considering both the context of its production and the influence it has had on American life and thought. As well as this the module will offer me the opportunity to explore the themes and preoccupations of American literature, and will also place them in specifically American historical, social, and ideological contexts.
Alternative Worlds – This is the module that I’m most excited for as it’s everything I love and the books I get to read are some that I’ve been dying to read for ages or are among some of my favorites! The module is designed to develop my understanding of fictions that explore alternative universes and to provoke a response to the challenges such fiction pose and I’m hoping that it’s also going to help me develop the skills to creating a successful fictional world. Some of the texts and film/tv adaptations I will be studying include Game of Thrones, Cloud Atlas and The Man in the High Castle, are you jealous yet?
Varieties of Writing – Sadly I won’t be studying this module till April next year but I am so excited for it as I really want to develop my skills by writing and experimenting in different forms. Typically, students will study and try their hands at writing: magazine adverts; newspaper reviews of books, plays, TV, films, and albums; book blurbs; autobiographical and travel pieces; plays for the stage; poetry; and short-short stories. Hopefully, by the end of this module, I will be more confident with my writing and that I’ll also have a successful portfolio which will aid my efforts into finding work experience.