The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton, illus. by Jan McCafferty

I’ve been searching for this book for years. Ever since I decided to start collecting books, I’ve wanted to add the books responsible for making me a fan of the fantastic and peculiar. They are three: the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and a series of books I couldn’t recall the title or author of…until now.

My interest in fantastical stories was piqued by fairytales, but these three books cemented my interest in it. I borrowed them constantly from the library as a kid and read them over and over again, never getting enough and wanting more. But my library in Jamaica was limited on such stories.

Over the years since childhood, I’d forgotten about Enid Blyton and her books. I started collecting books in college starting first with the books I love: the Harry Potter series, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Neverending Story. I knew there was another book I should get, one that I cherished as a kid, but try as I might to remember it, I couldn’t. For years I wracked my brain about it and mentioned it often on this blog hoping someone would be able to tell what I was talking about from the few clues I could remember: It’s an old children’s fantasy book with pixies and elves and there’s sometimes a mention of a garden.

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Characters of the Year Book Tag | 2018

Yep, I’m doing this again (did it last year) to reflect on the characters I read about in 2018. Characters deserve some love too. After all, they are part of the reasons why we love or hate a story. This tag was created by Amanda, A Brighter Shade of Hope.

Favorite male character of the year

Ahh…no male character stands out as a favorite from the books I read; but from the movies I watched last year, this dude was a fav:

Peter Parker a.k.a Spider-Man from Spider-Man: Homecoming

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“Shadow’s Edge” by Brent Weeks

I love me an exciting assassin story filled with lots of fighting and hidden plots. It’s why I enjoy reading Brent Weeks’s Night Angel trilogy. Well, the main reason is friggin DURZO badass BLINT!! But I also like the fights and the other stuff that happens. Despite how dark the story is and how sordid the lives of the characters are (it’s a depressing world to me), these books are very entertaining to me because I read for the fight scenes — the Night Angel fight scenes.

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

Night Angel, book 2

Pubbed:

2008

Goodreads summary:

Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

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2019 Reading Plans

Time to look forward and make plans for the new year. I’ve already started doing so for my personal life, so now I’d like to focus on my bookish life.

I anticipate being a bit busier this year, so my reading plans will be tailored to that expectation. My Goodreads reading goal will be something manageable for me, about 40-50 books (still deciding), and I won’t participate in as many year-long reading challenges as I did last year (so goodbye to Book Riot Read Harder Challenge and Library Love Challenge.) I will also try to ignore the temptation to participate in readathons that pop up throughout the year. I kept making TBRs for them in 2018 but failed miserably at them all. I don’t want to go through that again.

So no readathons, no Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and no Library Love Challenge (though I’ll continue to visit my library). My top-most goals will be:

to spend less
to read more of my own books
to complete some series

But here are the other stuff I plan to do:

Goodreads reading goal
50 books

I keep increasing my annual reading goal by 5 books. I know I can hit this despite being busy because 40-50 books in a year seems to be my average. (But I have my fingers crossed that I’ll surprise myself by reading double this amount.)

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Reflecting on 2018: Reading

I was hoping my reading in 2018 would surpass what I did in 2017, but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Once again, I set a manageable reading goal, this time at 40 books, which is five books less than last year’s 45, but I ended up reading 10 books less than I did in 2017 and ended 2018 with 64 books read. I was hoping for more.

I was secretly striving for that 100 books goal, and I thought I would have hit if the year hadn’t turned sour toward the end of summer and stress and a bout of bad luck (because I believe in such things sometimes) threw me into a reading and blogging slump that persisted for a few weeks. By the time I crawled out the funk and slump of that difficult period, life became too busy to read as much as I wanted. The last quarters of 2018 were just a murky, twisty time for me. I learned a lot from it in my personal life, but my blogging and reading suffered.

But there is a bright side — I managed to read 64 books in 2018: I surpassed my Goodreads goal! 😀 I’m plenty proud of myself, especially since I managed to start and complete a series — the Fairwick Chronicles — in the year (something I never do) and continue with a series — the Night Angel trilogy — that I’m interested in (also something I never do, unless it’s a Robin Hobb series). I think I’ll continue this trend in 2019: set a reading goal in the 40s but secretly strive for the 100s, and complete a series I began.

Like the previous year, 2018 was not spectacular reading-wise. I rated 13 books 5 stars, but four of them were rereads and about half of the nine books I rated 4.5 stars were rereads too. Most of the books I read were average, but the ones that stood out and grabbed the 5 stars were great. I HIGHLY recommend them all and suggest you check out my Favorite Reads of 2018 post to see what they are. I’ll include the top five below.

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I Heart Characters! #14: Playing Catch Up

I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani at Perspective of a Writer to share our love of great characters. Each week, Dani will assign a topic/type of character that we must find examples of in the various media we consume (books, TV shows, movies, comics, podcasts, etc.).

GAH!! I haven’t done one of these since November, right around the time life got too crazy to continue blogging semi-consistently, so now I’m playing catch up. I’m gonna do all the prompts I missed since then in this post and then see if I can select one character who fits them all together. Let’s go!

November 29 topic:

A Redo Character

Use or reuse a prompt from the past

Heeby

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2018 End of Year Book Survey

Hey y’all!! 😀 It’s that time of year again when I do the End of Year Book Survey. It’s long. It takes forever to do and to read, but I love doing it and reading other bloggers’ responses. So shout out to Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, for creating it and updating it every year!

2018 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 64

Books: 29

Audio books: 10

E-books: 15

Comics/graphic novels: 10

Number of books reread: 11

Number of books I did not finish: 8

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

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Reflecting on 2018: Life

Believe it or not, self-discipline is something I still need to work on. 2018 was dedicated to improving my self-discipline, but I stated the goal and immediately forgot about it. I did try to curb my appetites and refrain from overindulging in things I love, but I wasn’t very successful. I was unable to prevent myself from succumbing to immediate gratification and my bank account often hurt because of it.

Looking forward, I plan to continue working on my self-discipline in 2019. My progress is slow, but I made small achievements toward the later part of 2018 and I’d like to build on them and go further in 2019. However, self-discipline will not be my theme for 2019. Instead, 2019 will be about making major Movements — that is, taking leaps that I’ve been fearful of to achieve my topmost goals.

I foresee, well, hope, that by the end of 2019 I will have achieved at least 2 of my topmost goals, which are huge goals that I’m anxious about. I don’t know what I’ll do with myself once I’ve achieved them.

So, cheers to making major Movements in 2019!

Happy New Year,

Z