Goodreads Challenge 2019: January

Well, I suppose I can say the year has started well…

I made the resolution to read 52 books this year, one for each week. And I’m very pleased to say I’m already ahead of schedule! Yes, somehow despite getting The Bean Jar published on Amazon (why yes, you should indeed go and check it out) and tying myself into absolute knots over it, I’ve managed to get a decent chunk of reading in, too.

I’ve so far read seven books this year, and reread two. Let’s have a cheesy breakdown…

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The Bean Jar: eBook AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

Here it is here it is here it is!

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(click on that big old book cover there to be taken to the pre-order page)

Yes, that’s my eBook there all ready to be pre-ordered: buy it now and it’ll arrive on your devices bang on midnight, February 1st. That’s this Friday!

Do I sound hyper? I think I’m about to bounce right through the ceiling. That, or fall through the floor with utter anxiety at the fact that real, actual, human people will be able to read all the words I’ve written. And there are quite a lot of them.

Oh, I’m losing my mind over here. Losing. My. Mind.

Publishing a book has been my dream as long as I can remember: it’s the only vaguely career-related thing I’ve ever been bang-on certain about. And now it’s coming true.

It’s actually happening… SO GO FORTH AND BUY IT!

A Sit Down and a Cuppa, Part 1

I’ve got half an hour to kill before I have to head for work – I’ve just had my nails redone after my original ones disintegrated last night (bad batch of gel polish, by the looks of things – pure bad luck and the lady who does my nails was an absolute sweetheart) and it’s time to sit in a coffee shop for a brief sneeze of time. I’ve got myself a cup of tea with a slightly odd flavour to it – I have a horrible feeling I’ve actually ordered oat milk instead of proper milk. It’s not unpleasant. It’s not entirely pleasant either.

Why not have a little rambly ramble while I’m here?

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A cup of tea, in a Starbucks cup, with a Christmas sleeve, at Caffè Nero. Yeah, OK.

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Goodreads Challenge: 2018’s Best And Worse

Last year, I declared myself done with new year’s resolutions. I’m not the kind of person who vows to exercise more, or eat better, or go on any kind of spiritual journey.

Just like life, all I want to do is read.

So I set myself up with a Goodreads challenge, with a modest goal of reading fifty new books in 2018. I knew full well I read far more than that in a year… but the problem was, I’m a chronic rereader. Case in point: I can probably do a one-woman performance of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, at least the first half of it. I find something that I love and I read it over and over and over again. I also wanted to read a bit more non-fiction; it felt a bit like my brain was being neglected and was slowly but surely turning into a puddle of mush sloshing around inside my skull.

A puddle of mush that could recite the opening paragraphs of I Capture the Castle, at any rate.

I’m pleased to announce that I did complete my challenge; in fact, I surpassed it, with 54 new books read in total. Oh, there was a lot of rereading too, something I might actually try and track this year. The vow to read a bit more non-fiction fell a bit by the wayside: out of 54 books, only 8 were non-fiction. Though, I suppose, that’s probably a step up from the year before.

Let’s have some numbers, while I’m at it. In those 54 books, there were 19.542 pages; the shortest was only 84 pages long (probably a bit of a cheat, that one) and the longest clocked in at 850 pages. I gave an average rating of 4.1 stars, but that doesn’t mean a great deal – even books I didn’t really like, I still ended up giving three stars (I’m a sucker for finding at least SOME good points). Only 8 books came from the library, 24 were on Kindle, and 24 were my own physical books (some I bought myself, some were gifts, and some had been languishing on my shelves for months). Ooh, I do enjoy a good stat. I could go on – if I’d done this at the end of the year, like proper bloggers do, I could have done a full statistical analysis…

Anyway.

Let’s have a look at my highs and lows of 2018!

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Happy 2019!

Big things are coming.

Oh, look, I’ve been neglecting my website again. For a good half of 2018, in fact. That happy little post I did a few months back about getting all disillusioned with blogging? Yeah, turns out that stuck. And for all my good intentions of going back to basics, having a good little ramble from time to time… that went out the window.

I suppose I didn’t think I had anything useful to say. I was just getting on with life, revving up for some big big things coming my way.

And now it’s time for those big things to get underway.

Firstly, you might have noticed that this website has had a bit of a revamp – my own domain name is back, for a start! And, er, my name has changed back. Don’t worry, I’m still happily married. But I’ve always said that I want my pen-name to be my maiden name. It’s far more memorable than my married one, for a start, and my feminist side has always stridently proclaimed that any big achievements I, er, achieve, should be done in my own original name.

And the achievements are coming.

Finally, finally, finally…

Meet the cover for The Bean Jar.

The Bean Jar by Jessica Leather
Oh yes. Oh yes oh yes oh yes.
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Let’s Go Back To Basics

You might have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet on here for a month or so.

To be fair, you probably didn’t. I’m notorious for my ‘on and off’ attitude towards blogging. Random bursts of wild enthusiasm followed by months of silence.

This latest little blip has come because I’ve just felt a bit, well, disillusioned with blogging in general. I’ve spent the last few months trying to be quite targeted with my posts: they all have a Point. A Theme. A Topic. Capital letters intentional.

It’s as if I’ve been trying to be a ‘proper’ blogger – some kind of amateur lifestyle guru with a highly photograph-able life. Potentially with an eventual goal of a curated Instagram feed using a focused palette of pastel colours.

Hmm. That doesn’t sound much like me, does it?

I’ve blogged for well over a decade now – since before blogging was really a thing. Back in Year Eight at school (ahh, crap, getting closer to two decades now) we were tasked with creating a website (an exercise in leaving us to our own devices so the IT teacher could get on with surfing the Internet in peace). Most people in the class diligently tried to create happy fan pages for their favourite things. I created “The Cow Pat Page’ where, under the alias ‘Cow Pat’ (don’t ask) I rambled away for lesson after lesson, unintentionally creating my first rudimentary blog.

I’ve not really stopped since: across several different platforms, until I finally arrived at WordPress a couple of years ago.

Here’s where my ‘back to basics’ comes in. I’ve always done my best, most consistent blogging when I don’t have a particular focus. When I can just rattle on about nothing in particular, perhaps reaching a point, perhaps not. Maybe occasionally throwing in a Post With A Purpose, but more often than not, treating my blog as a diary rather than some sort of ‘lifestyle’.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself; if I feel like a train-of-thought ramble, then I’ll do one. Be honest and let the ‘real me’ come out, rather than some ‘mum blogger’ I think I should be.

I’ve always been terrible at keeping my thoughts inside my head, and right now, having moved to the North East and not really made any friends outside work, a lot of my standard oddness is getting a bit jammed up. It’s time to let it free.

…or, at least, frighten the people of the Internet instead of my poor, long-suffering husband.