From My Bookshelf – February 2023 Book Reveal

And February’s book is…

The Prince and The Pilgrim by Mary Stewart.

And the treat to accompany the book for February, hot chocolate and biscuits.

You can find out everything you need to know about the From My Bookshelf challenge, including links to the books as they are revealed, and the reviews once they are written, here.


From My Bookshelf – January 2023 Book Reveal

And January’s book is…

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.

And the treat to accompany the book for January, some incense.

You can find out everything you need to know about the From My Bookshelf challenge, including links to the books as they are revealed, and the reviews once they are written, here.

From My Bookshelf 2023 (challenge)

Happy New Year! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted here. Suffice to say, the end to my 2022 was as bad as the beginning of the year. But it’s now 2023, and I look ahead with optimism 🙂

The first thing I decided to do, book-wise, this year, is another self-set challenge, From My Bookshelf. The idea came to me in December, and was set in motion then, but with one thing and another, I’ve not been able to share it. So here’s what it’s about:

Basically, it’s a faux book subscription box, that will see me read 12 books, picked as randomly as possible from my own bookshelves, one for each month of the year.


  • Because I love the idea of subscription boxes, but I feel like I can’t justify adding 12 new books to the thousands I already own and have yet to read, and I also know I will continue to buy books throughout the year to add to my ever growing TBR.
  • Because I can’t guarantee that I will like someone else’s book choices
  • Because this feels like a free gift to myself and who doesn’t like free things or presents?
  • Because I like book and reading challenges (as you may or may not have noticed), though I might not always be the best at completing them. Don’t forget, I still have a few challenges outstanding for my classic book challenge, as well as my reading challenge from 2019…
  • Because I feel this is a good way to read some of the books I usually overlook when it comes to picking my next read…and some of these books have been gathering dust for years…

So, the books were picked with little more than a glance before Christmas, wrapped in Christmas paper (why not?), and set aside in a designated box. And I’m probably not surprised to admit, I’ve already forgotten which books were chosen, which ensures a sense of surprise should remain with this challenge throughout the year. Once the books were wrapped I wrote a label for each month of the year, and then got Him-In-Doors to select a book for each of the months, to add another layer of mystery to the challenge 😉

Then, each month I will unwrap the book for the month and announce it here. I will also share what treat I’ve set aside for that month’s challenge, because treats go hand-in-hand with books and reading, don’t you think? The treat could very well be anything…cake, biscuits, hot chocolate, tea, a candle, some incense…I think you get the idea. I then have the month to read and share the review.

I’m very excited to begin this challenge, and will use this post as an index for unveiling all the volumes, and for links to the reviews.

Are you joining in with any reading challenges this year?

From My Bookshelf 2023

  • January | Book reveal – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry | Book review
  • February | Book reveal | Book review
  • March | Book reveal | Book review
  • April | Book reveal | Book review
  • May | Book reveal | Book review
  • June | Book reveal | Book review
  • July | Book reveal | Book review
  • August | Book reveal | Book review
  • September | Book reveal | Book review
  • October | Book reveal | Book review
  • November | Book reveal | Book review
  • December | Book reveal | Book review

Challenging Challenges

I’m sitting here, next to my cuddle-monster of a cat (his name is Khepri, if you’re interested) with a big mug of tea, listening to my favourite movie soundtrack of all time, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, pondering the book-related reading challenges I’ve set myself for 2019.  There are more than I first thought; four in total, though thankfully, at least most of them overlap with each other.

Random book cover from my shelf: Arabella: England’s Lost Queen by Sarah Gristwood

Goodreads Reading Challenge

As I’ve mentioned in posts at the end of 2018 and the start of 2019, my Goodreads Reading Challenge is set at the same number of books as 2018: 40.  I found it was a good number, one that gave me something to aim for whilst knowing at the same time I could easily exceed it, and I did.  I’m already one book ahead of schedule, with two books waiting to be reviewed and another being read.  For the moment, I will keep posting a single book review a week, on Mondays, but if I pull too far ahead, I may have to rethink my schedule, or post twice on some Mondays…

Random book cover from my shelf: Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I have yet to tick off any of the twenty challenges.  This, I must say, has surprised me, but I’m finding that I am searching for the perfect book to match the challenge.  I had not expected this, and if I’m not careful, might find myself out of time to complete the challenge, given there are four themed-reading challenges (Indie Only Month, Historical Fiction Month, Halloween Reads and Festive Reads Fortnight) that crop up over the course of the year too, effecting my book choices.

Random book cover from my shelf: Britain BC by Francis Pryor

A-Z Review Index

I started my A-Z Review Index in 2013, and from then on have added each and every book that I’ve reviewed on this blog to the list.  And since about 2014 I have wanted to get at least one book listed under each letter / group of letters.  It was either in 2014 or 2015 that I made some really good progress in this, it being another challenge I set for myself.  Since then, however, it dropped in my list of priorities, but I have resurrected it for this year.

There are only two letters empty: I and Q.  I know for “I” I will turn to the trusted historical novelist, Conn Iggulden – I loved his Julius Caesar books and have a number of his other novels sitting on my shelves too.  I am spoilt for choice.  As for “Q”, no authors came to mind, so after a quick google search, I spot Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in a list, and I remembered seeing his name in the contents of a collection of short crime stories.  Now, to read, review and list them!

Random book cover from my shelf: At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie

Read, Review, Rehome

This has been in operation in my home for a number of years, in an attempt to declutter every available surface of piles of books.  The problem is (and, it’s not a bad problem to have 😉 ), when I read a good book, I find it hard to part with it. I’m trying very hard to take a stern approach to this in 2019 and hope to rehome at least 20 books – almost 2 a month when I’m aiming to read 4 books in that timeframe.

Random book cover from my shelf: Death Song by Jorgen Brekke

So there we go.  Four challenges to keep me occupied throughout 2019.  I think it will be interesting to add updates to my monthly bookish reflections post, to ensure I stay on track…


Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I thought this would be a fun and entertaining challenge for the year ahead.

If you would like to join in, please feel free to do so.  Grab the graphic if you want to, download the PDF checklist (at the bottom of the page, optional), and if you post book reviews to a blog or website, feel free to tag your post with: Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019 so others can find what you’ve been reading for the challenge in the WordPress reader:

It’s up to you whether you complete all the challenges or just some of them. I recommend allocating only one book to each challenge, rather than using one book to complete multiple challenges, but the final choice is ultimately yours to make.

The Challenges
  1. A book you read as a child / young adult
  2. A book you would class as one of your favourites
  3. A book set in a place you’ve lived / visited
  4. A book set in a place you would like to visit
  5. A book by a favourite author that you’ve not yet read
  6. A book with a girl’s name in the title
  7. A book you would class as a classic*
  8. A book you would class as an educational read*
  9. A book you’ve not read but one you really should have by now
  10. A book you wouldn’t usually read
  11. A book you received as a gift
  12. A book that’s sat on your shelf for longer than you’d care to remember
  13. A book you’ve read before
  14. A book of poetry or short fiction
  15. A book that was recommended to you
  16. A book you didn’t finish on your previous attempt to read it
  17. A book that has been adapted for TV or film
  18. A book that promotes happiness or well-being, or one that has an uplifting message
  19. A book by an indie author
  20. A book written by an author who has the same initials as you

*How you interpret “classic” or “educational read” is up to you

If you would like to download a handy list of the challenges so that you can tick them off as you go, here’s a PDF checklist (it’s only one side of A4): sammi loves books reading challenge 2019

Wishing you lots of book fun!

The unexpected break at Sammi Loves Books is over…(updates)

Wow – I can’t believe it’s March already!  That was a surprisingly long and unexpected break from Sammi Loves Books (and everywhere else where I blog and write online, for that matter).  Anyway, now that the break is over, I can wish you a Happy New Year! 🙂

Goodreads Challenge 2018

Just because I haven’t been posting doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading.  After cramming all those last minute reviews in at the end of 2017 to hit my Goodreads challenge goal (which I did – Yay!), for 2018 I’ve lowered my target from 57 to 40 and I’m already about 15 titles in.  All I have to do is now start reviewing them and adding them to my Goodreads ‘read’ shelf and we’re away…

Blogging Schedule

I have a new schedule for posting on this blog in 2018, which comes into effect this week.  Tuesdays and Thursdays will be the days I publish book reviews and other related posts.  Of course, this is only a rough schedule; some weeks I may have to deviate from it but I am going to try as hard as possible to stick to it.

One Turn of The Wheel

Since last posting, my copies of my first book arrived in the post.  The book is called One Turn of The Wheel and is published by Three Drops Press.  You can find out more about the book by heading over to the publisher’s website (click the link below) where you will also find one of the tiny tales, The Goblin Dance, available to read.

One Turn of the Wheel by Sammi Cox

Review Requests

If you are waiting for a response to a review request, I hope to get back to you by the end of the week.  If you don’t hear from me by the start of the weekend, feel free to send me a gentle reminder to make sure I got it 🙂

Happy reading!

Looking Ahead to Festive Reads Fortnight 2016

festive reads fortnight

I know it might seem a little early, but we like to plan ahead here at Sammi Loves Books.  Well…sometimes 😉

This year’s Festive Reads Fortnight begins on 11 December 2016.  I have a few stories that I have been putting to one side for this reading challenge, but I am always eager for more. 😀  If you have any recommendations or review requests for stories that centre on the Christmas / Winter Solstice period (no matter the length or genre, whether self-published, or posted on a blog or Wattpad, etc), I would love to hear from you!  Comment below or contact me through my ‘Contact Me’ page.

To see what I read for last year’s Festive Reads Fortnight, click here.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

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. 🙂

Festive Reads Fortnight at Sammi Loves Books

festive reads fortnightI love Christmas but a few days ago, I noticed that whilst book-shopping (a favourite past time of mine 🙂 ) there seems to be a huge number of Christmas reads in the shops.  And this got me thinking…I don’t think I have ever read that much Christmas fiction.  Off the top of my head I can only recall reading a book of Charles Dickens Christmas stories.

So, that is set to change.  For the two weeks running up to Christmas Day, I will be setting myself another reading challenge.  This time I will only be posting reviews of Christmas fiction.

If you have any recommendations, I am all ears…comment below or contact me via the form on the ‘contact me’ page.  Don’t forget that I welcome suggestions that include short works of fiction published on blogs and websites, for any budding authors out there.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Sammi x