2017 the year that was | Reflecting on the blogging year

I do enjoy looking back on my blogging year and 2017 was no exception.

Colour seems to be as important to you as it is for me because the most popular post for the year was Brighten your Life with SS17 Colours.  Other popular posts were my Reading Challenge and my Stationery Love series.  I’m still working on my reading challenge so I’m going to carry it over (if you have any recommendations for the open challenges I would love if you left me a comment).  The book review you loved the most was for Dorothy Koomson’s When I was Invisible (which I reviewed in June and I still get views on today) and out of my Q&A sessions,  Graham Minett in my hot seat proved to be the most popular.

In years gone past my top audience throughout the blogging year was on Twitter but for the first time since 2011, Twitter has been pushed off the top spot by search engines.  Google has seen many changes over those years and I’m hoping this is a reflection of those changing algorithms and the focus now on quality content.  But it has to be said, however you arrived here, I’ve loved engaging with you throughout the year!

This year I’ve made it to a couple of bookish events.  Choc Lit on Tour was awesome!  I got to meet my blogging mate Kate (for real) for the first time and the lovely Jan Brigden.  Another highlight of the blogging year was making it to Mandy Baggot’s launch in Salisbury.  Such a great evening with friends.

This blogging year I’ve enjoyed

  • chatting to you via email, comments and on social media
  • posting less and spending more time with my family and friends
  • reading for pleasure rather than a deadline (less prescriptive and more mood reading!)
  • sharing my crochet projects in amongst the bookish and lifestyle posts

Talking of crochet, I am intending to add some of my completed projects for you to buy on The Rose Petals.  Some of you have been waiting for this (sorry, it’s taking me a while).  Keep a look out as the new year progresses.

crochet crochet crochet

I’ve listened to your feedback about emotional health and intend to continue sharing free tips/strategies for helping you to live mindfully on Positive Mind Positive Lifestyle (I’m aiming for at least once a month!).   Starting in January you can join me in my 30 day Mindfulness Challenge – beat those blues while having fun!

mindfulness challenge

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

Ending the calendar year wouldn’t be the same without my top reads.  This year I have 6 out of the 74 books I’ve written reviews for that had something special for me.  We all know how subjective reading is but if you read fantasy, romance, YA or historical fiction and haven’t read any of my top 6, I think you’ll love them too.  Before I do though, I have a question.  I use Goodreads as a way of tracking my reads.  I always enjoy the stats that are shared with us near the end of a year.  Here’s the shortest and longest book I’ve read this blogging year.

blogging year

I was interested in the average.  I know readers/publishers went through a phase of less words in-line with what was happening in the world.  Are books getting longer again?

So in no particular order, here are my top 6 reads from 2017:

The Silent Fountain Victoria Fox

I liked the contrast between the settings.  You can feel the past of Castillo Barbarossa seeping out of the walls and into your pores.  So much darkness. It’s a living and breathing entity and in a way, a supporting character looking for resolution.

There’s no way you can finish The Silent Fountain without tears in your eyes.  Poignant.  The end.  The beginning.

Lies, Obsession and Betrayal | The Silent Fountain by Victoria Fox


Breath of Fire Amanda Bouchet

The Agon Games …  my hands have never been as cold and clammy as that while reading a book!  The fights were so visual for me and of course I’m so invested emotionally in the Beta Team I wanted to protect them myself.  Mythical creatures and beasts, magic and mayhem.  Fabulous scenes.

Fantasy | Breath of Fire (The Kingmaker Trilogy) by Amanda Bouchet


The Ninth Rain Jen Williams

The Ninth Rain isn’t just about a quest.  It’s about people and interaction, friendships formed, love in all its guises and the unexpected.  My need for an emotional connection was fulfilled with several of the characters.  The dynamics between Hestillion and brother Tor/Tor, Vintage and Noon/ Tor and Noon/Aldasair and Bern are entertaining and in some, subtle undertones running beneath the facade.

Fantasy | The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams


The Thousand Lights Hotel Emylia Hall

Emylia Hall’s writing is powerful – not the words themselves but how she uses those words.  They give a reader everything they need to build that image, to become that person, to experience whatever it is alongside the characters.  Effortlessly it seems I become involved with the story from the beginning until I am the story.  That’s powerful.  That’s what I call magic 🙂

Contemporary Fiction | The Thousand Lights Hotel by Emylia Hall


The Disappearances Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances started in 1907 when their mum was born but she’s not the only one in the running for the Catalyst.  This community finds a way around some of them with the invention of Variants although there are strict rules to the use of them (and as you can imagine there is also a darker side).  One of my favourite scenes is Aila at the Variant market with Will.  There was so much tension leading up to the Harvest Fair and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would be lost next.  Inspired!  This added so much to the story and I could just imagine the impact it had in some homes.

The Disappearances is a book of opposites.  Light and dark, strength and weakness, love and hate, life and death, myself and others. I felt such sadness that it had ended.  My first bookhangover for a long time!

YA Fantasy | The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy


The Last Hours Minette Walters

I was emotionally invested in the characters from the beginning.  Lady Anne’s daughter Eleanor with her petulance and high born ways with plenty of chances of redemption yet still persists in alienating herself; kick-ass heroine Lady Anne who leads her people with strength and humility, knows when to talk and when to keep quiet; Thaddeus, outer strength but inner turmoil; the leading serfs and their families who have already suffered much loss before the Black Death and have much respect for Lady Anne empowering the serfs; Hugh de Courtesmain who has never seen a demesne being led like Develish in his life and doesn’t know where he fits.

Historical Fiction | The Last Hours by Minette Walters


Want the chance to read one of my top reads from 2017? I’m running a giveaway! One winner will be able to choose a book from my top 6.  Easy entry, just comment on the Rafflecopter which book you want and why.  If you are already signed up to receive my newsletter then don’t forget to opt for the extra free entry points.  The giveaway is open Internationally but please check that The Book Depository deliver to your destination before entering.  Good luck!

I’m excited for 2018 and the opportunities it brings!

blogging year

Thank you for your support this year.  Happy New Year!

Married with two sons in their early 20’s, I love my day job as an Inclusion Lead. I am passionate about early help, expressed not only in my setting but also as a member of Bournemouth’s Early Help Operational Board. It’s an honour to be working alongside others to instigate change and growth.

I’m also passionate about my love of reading, being out in nature and creating with crochet.

I’ve been blogging for seven years at Jera’s Jamboree.


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