Sammi Loves Books – Year in Review 2016

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2016 has been a great year for books.  The over-riding theme for the year was “read, review and recycle,” (by recycle, I mean donating to charity or giving away to friends and family).  The reason for this: I have finally realised I have an addiction to books; when you have bookshelves in front of bookshelves and piles of books on each step of the stairs, you know you have a problem…That’s not to say that every book I read and review was removed from the house, only the books I couldn’t imagine reading again.  It’s a start at least, and something I will carry with me into 2017.

I’m once again surprised that I only read and reviewed 56 stories / books this year, exactly the same as last year, which I am more than a little disappointed with.  Next year I am determined to have written at least 57 reviews.  However, my Goodreads reading challenge only reckons I’ve read 8, but then my goal was 72.  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get to grips with updating Goodreads on a regularly basis, something I have failed to do since I signed up there years ago…

A Few Highlights

  • Getting a signed paperback copy of Vastian Lore by S.C. Gregory from the author via a giveaway on her blog.
  • Receiving a paperback copy of The Devil’s Chalice by D.K. Wilson from the publisher.

Top Ten Favourite Reads of 2016

This is how my top ten list stands at the end of the year:

  1. The Ambassadors’ Mission (Trudi Canavan)
  2. One Corpse Too Many (Ellis Peters)
  3. The Devil’s Chalice (D.K. Wilson)
  4. Venus in Copper (Lindsey Davis)
  5. The Raven’s Head (Karen Maitland)
  6. A Clash of Kings (George R. R. Martin)
  7. Just Breathe (Sarah Doughty)
  8. Glass Houses (Rachel Caine)
  9. The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
  10. Death of a Cad (M.C. Beaton)

Reading Challenges

Indie Only Month 2016:

My favourites were “Just Breathe” and “Vastian Lore” – I adored them both.

Historical Fiction Month 2016:

My favourites were “The Devil’s Chalice” and “Venus in Copper”, closely followed by “The Raven’s Head” and “Dissolution”.

Festive Reads Fortnight 2016:

So that is my year in books summarised.  I hope you all had a great 2016, and wishing you a 2017 filled with good books!

Would you be interested…?

UPDATE: the anthology “Winter Magic” is now going ahead.  Yay!  Check out the submission guidelines for this project and to learn about future projects, by following this link.  Can’t wait to read what you’ve come up with.

I posted this on my writing blog (Sammi Scribbles) yesterday, but thought I should post it here too, for anyone who missed it that might be interested 🙂


This week has been a whirlwind of ideas.  Sometimes it feels like having too many ideas is just as bad as having writer’s block.  Or is it worse? 😉

So, I thought before I go any further and get carried away (which may or may not already have happened), I might put one of these ideas out there and see what kind or response it gets.  And my!  Am I nervous about doing it.  Take a big, deep breath, Sammi!

So what is this idea?  I was thinking of launching a little side project that would release multi-author anthologies out into the e-world.  And the first of these projects would be an anthology of short stories, flash fiction and poetry inspired by the theme of…wait for it…”Winter Magic”.

Now, all the details are not finalised and what follows is not set in stone, but if you think this might be something that interests you, please read on to see what I have already come up with:

  • The most important point to note is that the primary purpose of this endeavour is to help get writers work seen by as many people as possible.  After all, that’s what we as writers want isn’t?  No, it’s what we need if we are going to get anywhere in this industry.
  • The deadline for submissions would be around 17 November 2016
  • The proposed release date for the anthology would be around 1 December 2016
  • The anthology will be posted online – probably on Wattpad via an account set up specifically for the anthologies.  Yes, I have ideas for many, many others 🙂  This way I won’t be taking credit for anyone else’s work.  You will need a Wattpad account (they’re free to set up and it only takes a matter of minutes) but you are not required to be active on the site.  This is so that I can link your work with your own account / profile as well as having the work attributed to you within the anthology. (Why Wattpad?  Because there is already a strong, supportive readership in place, and work that is posted there is protected.  Also anthologies and collaborations are quite popular on the site too).
  • Unfortunately, you won’t get paid, but all authors will get a PDF copy of the anthology – which won’t be available anywhere else, to anyone else (one small exception might be for book reviewers not on Wattpad as part of the promotional side of the anthology).
  • All genres will be accepted except fanfiction.
  • Reprints will be accepted as long as you hold the rights to the work.
  • Rights remain with the authors at all times.

So those are the bare bones of it.  There are more details, but I thought they could wait until the submission call is released, if it is released.  This will depend if anyone is interested in submitting something for consideration.  The question is, are you?  If yes, please let me know by commenting below or contacting me – don’t worry, you are not committing to anything, only giving me an idea as to whether this little endeavour would be worth my time and effort, and yours.

Thanks so much for reading.  It’s appreciated 🙂

Sammi Loves Books – Year In Review 2015 Part 2

In Part 1 I looked over the reading themes and challenges I set myself for the year.  In Part 2 I shall look over the books I read and reviewed in 2015…

2015 stats

The figures were less than I was expecting…

  • I read and reviewed 56 stories this year – which is less than 2014, whose total was 63 😦
  • 35 of the reviews were for full-length novels
  • 21 of the reviews were for short stories

My Favourite Books of 2015

This is how my list of favourite reads of the year ended up:

  1. Shadows In Bronze (Lindsey Davis)
  2. The Silver Pigs (Lindsey Davis)
  3. A Morbid Taste for Bones (Ellis Peters)
  4. The Vanishing Witch (Karen Maitland)
  5. The Apothecary Rose (Candace Robb)
  6. Cocaine Blues (Kerry Greenwood)
  7. Except the Dying (Maureen Jennings)
  8. The Devil in the Marshalsea (Antonia Hodgson)
  9. Nefertiti (Michelle Moran)
  10. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) / The First Horseman (D.K.Wilson)

I must say that towards the end of the year it became harder and harder to add books to this list because I hated the idea of displacing other titles that were already there, and I do believe a number of them also deserve a mention:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Aberystwyth Mon Amor by Malcolm Pryce
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn
The Duchess and The Doll by Ellis Peters (Short Story)
Death of A Gossip by M.C.Beaton

Books I read but have yet to get around to reviewing…

I read much quicker than I review, so there are always books that slip through my review-net.  There is no reason for it, only that there are not enough hours in the day.  That being said, the books will remain on my desk until I have reviewed them…no matter how long it takes…

So which books are still waiting to be reviewed:

  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  • Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwall

The most popular reviews of the year were:

  1. The Sphinx Without A Secret by Oscar Wilde – Short Story Review
  2. The Black Veil by Charles Dickens – Short Story Review
  3. The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side by Agatha Christie – Book Review
  4. The Judges House by Bram Stoker – Short Story Review
  5. The Necklace by Guy du Maupassant – Short Story Review

Hope you all had a good 2015, and wishing you all a 2016 full of good books!

Sammi Loves Books – Year in Review 2015 Part 1

So, with my final reading challenge concluded on Christmas Day, I thought it would be apt to begin a look back over 2015 by reviewing the themes and challenges I set myself…

Quoting the Classics

This was supposedly a year-long challenge, the aim of which was to find 52 quotes from classic books that I really liked or found inspiring.  Posting every Monday was the plan, but it slipped.  I think I was all right until I hit the three month mark, where I fell behind and began posting the quotes to play catch-up.  I finally gave up in October after posting week 32, which was of course, late…

So, out of the 32 quotes I posted, here are my top five favourites:

(To see the full list, click here)


Wuthering Heights Quote


The Wind in the Willows


Dracula quote


Peter Pan quote


Eleonora quote


Shall I be setting myself such a challenge again?  I am not sure.  Certainly not for 2016.  This year has made me realise that I need to be smarter with the time I have available for this blog, and the most important thing is that I write book reviews.  Perhaps when I have more time on my hands…

Indie Only Month

I really enjoyed some of the books that I read for 2015’s Indie Only Month.  July is a time when I allow myself to only read Indie authors and review Indie books.  This year I posted seven reviews for this challenge, my favourites being:

Xoe: or Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My! by Sara C. Roethle

Lost Cause by JL Simpson

These were two great reads, one being a paranormal YA and the other being a modern murder mystery staring a woman sleuth.

(To see the complete list of titles that were read and reviewed during Indie Only Month 2015, click here)

Historical Fiction Month

Hot on the heels of Indie Only Month is a month completely dedicated to historical fiction.  This year, although I read all the books during August, a number of the reviews were not posted until September…

For this challenge I posted seven reviews, and I can honestly say I loved each and every one of those books, hence it would be difficult for me to name by favourites.  Five of the books were written by some of my favourite authors, Karen Maitland, Ellis Peters, Lindsey Davis and Candace Robb.  However, the other two books were written by authors I had not read full-length novels by before, Elizabeth Elgin and Edward Marston, and I was not disappointed.  The majority of these books found their way into my top ten reads of the year.

(To see the complete list of titles that were read and reviewed during Historical Fiction Month 2015, click here)

Festive Reads Fortnight

To end the year, I realised that I hadn’t read that much festive fiction and I decided to remedy that and I am really glad I did.  I think this challenge was a great way to end the year, and makes a great addition to my yearly read and review schedule.

In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, I read five festive reads, ranging from historical fiction to modern romance to a Christmas classic.  Again I was introduced to authors I had never come across before, which is one of the reasons I love these reading challenges so.

My favourite festive read was definitely Home for Christmas by Melissa McClone as it just inspired such festive feelings as I read it.

(To see the complete list of titles that were read and reviewed during Festive Reads Fortnight 2015, click here)

And so, that brings to a conclusion my reading themes and challenges for another year, and I can’t wait for them to come around again. 🙂

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!…and a quick update

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

After an impromptu break from Sammi Loves Books, I’m back, and playing catch-up!  The reason for the break…I have been working on a few writing projects.

I’m currently in the process of answering emails and messages, replying to comments and of course, writing posts.  So, if you have contacted me over these past few weeks, please don’t think I have been ignoring you, and thanks so much for your patience,

Sammi

Musings…Short Stories and Flash Fiction

I love short stories at the moment.  Flash fiction too.  I love both reading them and having a go composing my own.

I never used to be such a fan, but over the past couple of years that has changed dramatically.  Now I can’t get enough of them.  I think it has something to do with accomplishing something in a smaller amount of time…  I also think it is a great way to begin exploring a genre you wouldn’t necessarily normally read.

Do you have a favourite short story or a favourite short story author?  Do you enjoy writing short stories or flash fiction?  Are there any out there that you would recommend I search out and review? Or perhaps you yourself have written something that you would like me to review?  Feel free to contact me if you do…

To see some of the flash fiction I have written, including the new one I wrote last night, please visit my writing site.

Have a great weekend!