Bookish Reflections – May 2020

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

A fairly balanced month in terms of reading versus reviews, but I’m still a little bit behind.  Finger’s crossed I’ll make up some ground in June, otherwise these outstanding reviews will not be posted until August.  Why? We have Indie Only Month coming up, followed by Historical Fiction Month…

It’s been a good long while since I was open to review requests on this site, and I’m considering altering that for a short period of time for this year’s Indie Only Month (for those who do not know, that falls in July) and if the genre allows, Historical Fiction Month (August) too.  If there’s any interest please get in touch – you can find out all you need to know on this page.

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

To keep up-to-date with what I’m reading and reviewing, find me on Facebook and Goodreads.

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

  •  None

Favourite read(s) of the month

  •  Circe by Madeline Miller
  • What the Owl Taught Me by Annest Gwilym

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

  • None

Books I’ve downloaded

  •  None

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • Not very much recently as I’ve not been using the platform…

May’s “Read and Review” Goals*

  • Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • The Leper of St Giles by Ellis Peters
  • The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in June

  • The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (read, awaiting review)
  • Death Comes As The End by Agatha Christie (read, awaiting review)
  • The Ancient Curse by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (currently reading)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (currently reading)

Basic Book Review Challenge 2020

To post (at least) one book review a week, to reach a target of 52 over the course of the year.

Month started at: 15 / 52

Month finished at: 20 / 52

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started last year, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • #14 – a book of poetry or short fiction
  • #17 – a book that has been adapted for TV or film

Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20

Total challenges completed in 2020: 6 / 12

Total: 14 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • No change here – Still the letter “I” to go.

Challenge status: 1 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 8 / 20

  • A Plague On Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory
  • Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
  • Circe by Madeline Miller

Bookish Reflections – April 2020

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

I read more in April than I did in March, but with one thing and another, fell behind with my reviews.  That being said, I have one already written for May, and another almost complete, so I am, as it were, a little bit ahead of myself for once!

I spent a day in April going through one of my big bookcases, dusting and rearranging the volumes.  It was a task I both enjoyed and disliked, the former for having the time to spend going through the books and to be reminded which books were on the shelves (it can be hard to keep track sometimes) but it reinforced what I already knew: I have too many books.  One of the upsides to being on lockdown (if one can be flippant about it), is that I’ve not had the chance to acquire anymore…In all seriousness though, I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe 🙂

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

To keep up-to-date with what I’m reading and reviewing, find me on Facebook and Goodreads.

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

  •  None

Favourite read(s) of the month

  •  The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

  • None

Books I’ve downloaded

  •  What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge (audiobook)

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • Not very much recently unfortunately…I hope that changes soon…

Aprils’s “Read and Review” Goals*

  • The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells
  • The Leper of St Giles by Ellis Peters (read, awaiting review)
  • Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
  • What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in May

  • Thornyhold by Mary Stewart (read, review awaiting posting)
  • Circe by Madeline Miller (read, review almost compete)
  • The Leper of St Giles by Ellis Peters (read, awaiting review)
  • The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (read, awaiting review)
  • A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory (currently reading)

Basic Book Review Challenge 2020

To post (at least) one book review a week, to reach a target of 52 over the course of the year.

Month started at: 11 / 52

Month finished at: 15 / 52

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started last year, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • #20 – a book written by an author that has the same initials as you

Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20

Total challenges completed in 2020: 4 / 12

Total: 12 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • No change here – Still the letter “I” to go.

Challenge status: 1 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 5 / 20

  •  Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

Bookish Reflections – March 2020

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

March was a good month for books at Sammi Loves Books.  Six reviews posted, two of which were for books that had been waiting to be reviewed for quite a while!  Not only that, I’ve been reading quite a bit too though I am trying to do it in a measured way (ha!) so that I don’t get completely swamped by a backlog of reviews – that list is long enough as it is! So far so good…

I’ve also started to review the audiobooks I’ve been listening to, which is something I’ve not done before.  I don’t listen to audiobooks all that much as I find I need to be actively reading, especially over a prolonged period, in order to not drift away and give my attention to something else.  What I have found though is that a chapter here and there, when doing easy household tasks or as a break from computer-based work, works very well for me, at least for the moment…

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

To keep up-to-date with what I’m reading and reviewing, find me on Facebook and Goodreads.

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

  •  None this month

Favourite read(s) of the month

  •  The Spinner’s Child by Crispina Kemp

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

  •  None – woohoo! This makes a change!

Books I’ve downloaded

  •  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (audio book)

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • Not very much recently unfortunately…I hope that changes soon…

March’s “Read and Review” Goals*

  • The Spinner’s Child by Crispina Kemp
  • Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen
  • Blood Queen by Joanna Courtney
  • Dawnthief by James Barclay
  • The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in April

  • The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells (read, review awaiting posting)
  • The Leper of St Giles by Ellis Peters (read, awaiting review)
  • Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear (currently reading)
  • What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge (currently listening to)

Basic Book Review Challenge 2020

To post (at least) one book review a week, to reach a target of 52 over the course of the year.

Month started at: 5 / 52

Month finished at: 11 / 52

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started last year, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • #13: a book you’ve read before
  • #16: a book you didn’t finish on your previous attempt to read it

Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20

Total challenges completed in 2020: 3 / 12

Total: 11 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • No change here – Still the letter “I” to go.

Challenge status: 1 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 4 / 20

  • Dawnthief by James Barclay
  • Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen
  • Blood Queen by Joanna Courtney

Bookish Reflections – January & February 2020

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

As the first of my bookish reflections of the year – I had a very slow start to 2020 blogging-wise – I’ll start with the obvious: once more I am behind with my book reviews (I’m starting to wonder if this is to be my usual state of existence…) I’ve still reviews to post from some of my challenges from last year, though I expect some of them may now be put on hold until those challenges come round again…As such, I’ve decided not to start any new reading challenges this year, meaning no goodreads challenge, and no new Sammi Loves Books reading challenge either.  Instead, I will be aiming to post at least one book review a week and complete the incomplete challenges of last year…

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

Favourite read(s) of the month

  •  The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

So, before I start the list…just so you know, my birthday falls in January! And before you ask, yes I do collect different editions of Tolkien’s works 😉

  • New editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien in a box set
  • Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Blood Queen by Joanna Courtney
  • Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth
  • The Familiars by Stacey Halls
  • The Brontësaurus by John Sutherland
  • Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin
  • A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin

Books I’ve downloaded

  •  None

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • Not very much recently…but soon hope to take a look at some of this year’s ONC entries…

January & February’s “Read and Review” Goals*

Although no blogging was done in January, there was much reading done, so I’m now behind with my book reviews.  These are the reviews I was hoping to get around to writing:

  •  A Woman Unknown by Frances Brody (read, awaiting review)
  • The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells (read, awaiitng review)
  • The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (read, awaiting review)

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in March

  • The Spinner’s Child by Crispina Kemp (read, awaiting review)
  • Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen (currently reading)
  • Blood Queen by Joanna Courtney (currently reading)
  • Dawnthief by James Barclay (read, awaiting review)
  • The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells (read, awaiting review)

Basic Book Review Challenge 2020

To post (at least) one book review a week, to reach a target of 52 over the course of the year.

Month started at: 0 / 52

Month finished at: 5 / 52

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started last year, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • #12: a book that’s sat on your shelf for longer than you care to remember – The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20

Total challenges completed in 2020: 1 / 12

Total: 9 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • No change here – Still the letter “I” to go.

Challenge status: 1 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 1 / 20

  •  A Woman Unknown by Frances Brody

2019 in Review at Sammi Loves Books

I know we have passed the middle of February 2020, but still…This is how my 2019 looked in review…

Favourite Books of 2019

  1. The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland (5 / 5)
  2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (5 / 5)
  3. The Magician’s Apprentice by Trudi Canavan (5 / 5)
  4. The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick (5 / 5)
  5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Hieroglyph Edition) by Beatrix Potter (5 / 5)
  6. Murder in the Afternoon by Frances Brody (5 / 5)
  7. Death at Gallows Green by Robin Paige (5 /5)
  8. The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb (5 / 5)
  9. Kaerou Time To Go Home by B. Jeanne Shibahara (5/5)
  10. Pretty Is As Pretty Dies by Elizabeth Spann Craig (5/5)

There’s not much I can argue with 2019’s top ten favourite books, except that there’s no Ellis Peters or Lindsey Davis in the list which is a surprise. Yet it can be explained by the fact that I read no Falco last year, only a standalone novel from Davis (Master and God), which I did enjoy but only rated 4 out of 5, and though St Peter’s Fair, a Cadfael mystery by Ellis Peters, was read and rated 5 out of 5, clearly other stories bumped it from the top ten.  It was, overall, a great year for books – and many titles I read and reviewed could have easily made it on to the list above. I was pleased by the number of new-to-me authors I came across too.

Lowest Rated Book

  • The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon – 3 / 5

If my lowest rated book comes in at three stars, I think that proves that I had a really good year for reading!

Goodreads Challenge

  • Goal 40
  • Read 39 (41 including titles not on Goodreads)

In actual fact, I read probably ten books over this total, but since I hadn’t got around to reviewing them, which I do before I update goodreads, my numbers have worked out lower 😦

Book Buying

The past few years, one of my goals has been to read more of the books I already own rather than downloading or purchasing more. This forms the basis of one of my personal book challenges: “Read, Review and Rehome,” the goal being to make room for future book purchases.  How did I get on?  Not great…sigh…

I had been doing really well, at least in terms of keeping track of my books, if not in terms of reducing the number of new books that have made it into my home.  With the feature “Books I’ve Bought (or been given)” on my Bookish Reflections posts, I have managed to make a record of these new acquisitions…that was, until I ran out of blogging time towards the end of 2019.  So here are my rough numbers:

  • At least 81 books acquired…I lost track
  • 95% were physical books
  • Leaving 5% as ebooks, which were read online or downloaded in digital format
  • Of these new books, I only read 15 of them

To repeat what I said in 2018’s recap post: “To be honest, if half of the new books had been digital, I don’t think I would have considered these figures that bad.”  But they’re weren’t, and so they are…What I can say is that on the positive side, I met my “Read, Review and Rehome” goal, which was 20 books.  I’ll just have to try harder overall in 2020…

Random Sammi Loves Books Figures:

  • 14,894 total views
  • 10,818 visitors, with most visitors (4277) from India
  • 74 posts published
  • Average rating for a book in 2019 was 4.3 / 5
  • I gave 5 / 5 ratings 15 times, and 4 / 5 ratings 17 times!
  • The book review that had the most views in 2019 was The Black Veil by Charles Dickens (maintaining the top spot for a second year in a row)
  • The book review published in 2019 that had the most views was the updated version of They Never Get Caught by Margery Allingham

Bookish Reflections – October 2019

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

I’m a little late in posting this, thanks to a combination of having a dreadful cold and attempting to do NaNoWriMo.

October was a month of posting reviews for books I’d read the previous month, which I managed to do.  However, what I didn’t get around to doing was posting the reviews for the books I had read in October.  That is now November’s task.

The end of October was focused on “Halloween Reads”.  This year, I read three stories for this: one was light-hearted (Agatha Raisin and The Haunted House by M. C. Beaton), while the other two were from my favourite type of Halloween Read: gothic, Victorian ghost stories (two short stories by Mary Braddon: The Cold Embrace and Eveline’s Visitant).  Keep an eye out for those reviews soon!

In terms of this blog, I’ve decided there are too many pages for me to keep track of – and keep updated! – especially in terms of my themes and challenges.  And so, I’m planning on condensing these down; each year’s challenge for any given theme etc, does not require its own page.  Over the next few months, I’m hoping to work through this site systematically, updating / changing / deleting as I go in a sort of blog housekeeping activity, so if things look different, that’s why!  I’ve already started with the Halloween Reads page…

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

  •  None

Favourite read(s) of the month

  •  Murder in the Afternoon by Frances Brody

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

  • Death at Glamis Castle by Robin Paige
  • The Big Four by Agatha Christie
  • The Mystery of The Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  • The Leper of St Giles by Ellis Peters
  • The Pilgrim of Hate by Ellis Peters
  • London by Edward Rutherford
  • Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
  • The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland by Steve Roud

Books I’ve downloaded

  •  None

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  •  Circle Wright by KC Farrar
  • Other NaNoWriMo projects by various authors.  You can check out my dedicated reading list for this over on my Wattpad profile – the link can be found in the sidebar

September’s “Read and Review” Goals*

  • Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M. C. Beaton
  • Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate by M. C. Beaton
  • Miss Tonks Turns to Crime by M. C. Beaton
  • Murder in The Afternoon by Frances Brody
  • A Woman Unknown by Francis Brody
  • Dawnthief by James Barclay

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in October

  • A Woman Unknown by Francis Brody (currently reading)
  • Dawnthief by James Barclay (currently reading)
  • Crossing Places by Ellie Griffiths (currently reading)
  • Eveline’s Visitant by Mary Braddon (read, awaiting review)
  • The Cold Embrace by Mary Braddon (read, awaiting review)
  • Agatha Raisin and The Haunted House by M.C. Beaton (read, awaiting review)

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 40.  I’ve read 37.  93% complete.  3 books ahead of schedule. Woohoo!

Other reads (books not on Goodreads): 2

  • They Never Get Caught by Margery Allingham
  • The Taking by Stan Nicholls

Total books read so far this year: 39

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • None – eek! 😮

Total challenges complete: 8 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • No change here – Still the letter “I” to go.

Challenge status: 1 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 21 / 20 – Woohoo! I hit my goal!!!

  • Agatha Raisin and The Murderous Marriage by M. C. Beaton
  • Agatha Raisin and The Curious Curate by M. C. Beaton
  • Miss Tonks Turns To Crime by M. C. Beaton

Bookish Reflections – September 2019

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

September was a very slow month, book review-wise.  Only one book review posted. :-/  However, I have been reading – and, unsurprisingly, been buying books too.  So October will be a month of catching up.  And, towards the end of the month, it will be time to look towards one or two Halloween reads for my reading challenge.  I have an idea of one or two books / stories to read, but if you have any spooky recommendations, please leave them in the comments 🙂

I need to spend some time this month organising my reading challenges.  I’m on target for my Goodreads challenge but the Sammi Loves Books 2019 Reading Challenge is not looking good…  November is NaNoWriMo, and I need to think carefully if I’m going to take part this year – if I am, I usually cut back on the blogging, so I need to get Sammi Loves Books in order before I can make my decision…

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

  •  None

Favourite read(s) of the month

  •  N / A

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

Are you ready for the list?

  • Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie
  • Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
  •  The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
  •  Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen
  • Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear
  • A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear
  • In The Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear
  •  German Myths and Legends
  • The Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland
  • Spartacus The Gladiator by Ben Kane
  •  A Woman Unknown by Frances Brody
  • Forever by Maggie Stiefvatar
  • Death at Whitechapel by Robin Paige
  • A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody

And these are only the ones I can remember!

Books I’ve downloaded

  •  None

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  •  Circle Wright by KC Farrar

September’s “Read and Review” Goals*

  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M. C. Beaton
  • Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate by M. C. Beaton
  • Miss Tonks Turns To Crimes by M. C. Beaton
  • Murder In The Afternoon by Frances Brody

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in October

  • Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M. C. Beaton
  • Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate by M. C. Beaton
  • Miss Tonks Turns to Crime by M. C. Beaton
  • Murder in The Afternoon by Frances Brody
  • A Woman Unknown by Francis Brody (currently reading)
  • Dawnthief by James Barclay

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 40.  I’ve read 33.  83% complete.  3 books ahead of schedule. Woohoo!

Other reads (books not on Goodreads): 2

  • They Never Get Caught by Margery Allingham
  • The Taking by Stan Nicholls

Total books read so far this year: 35

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • None – eek! 😮

Total challenges complete: 8 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • No change here – Still the letter “I” to go.

Challenge status: 1 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 18 / 20

  • Dying in The Wool by Frances Brody
  • A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody