July 2017 | Wrap Up

Where has July gone, am I right? (I seem to be saying that for every single month of this year but seriously, I mean it this time.) How is it August? Where did the first half of the year go?! Enough incredulous questions, let’s just get onto what we’re all here to do, and that is to take a peek at what I read in this past month, ignoring the fact that we’re almost a week into August… cough… let’s just move on…

In July, I read a total of 6 books – 5 fiction and 1 non-fiction, amounting to 2009 pages in total, and, of these, 4 books were re-reads.

In terms of format: 1 was paperback, 2 were hardback, 1 was an e-book, and 2 were audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy, 1 was non-fiction/memoir, 1 was comic-book/superheroes.

Onto the books themselves…

july2017

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Tag | The “Friends” Book Tag

It’s Thursday, folks, and you know what that means? It’s time for another Tag Thursday!

*cue reasonable amount of applause and cheering*

And this week’s tag is the “Friends” Book Tag. As Liz and I are finally coming to the end of our Friends rewatch, this seemed an all too timely tag and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join in when I saw it over on Thrice Read last week. This tag was created by Haley of Fangirl Fury so head on over to her blog to show her some love!

Friends is intrinsically part of my personality – there is never a situation in which I will not be reminded of a Friends quote or joke and I learnt a surprising amount of life lessons from this TV show… the main one being that Ross is kind of a dick? And you don’t really realise that until you get older and rewatch the show and suddenly it dawns on you how entitled his relationship with Rachel is. Anyhow, my point is, Chandler is life, Joey is an adorable teddy bear, Monica has the focus and drive I wish I had, Rachel is someone I sorely misjudged when I used to watch this show as a teen so I’m sorry for all the mean thoughts I had about you Rachel you’re wonderful, and Phoebe has a confidence in who she is that I aspire to on a deep level. In the meantime though, let’s just have a look at this tag, shall we?

Rachel: A character whose wardrobe you want to steal

This will surprise precisely no one given my well publicised penchant for coats but… I want (nay, need) Kell’s coat from V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy. I NEED it, guys, the thirst is real.

(Disclaimer: this is not Kell’s coat but Nick’s joy at this coat would be my joy of Kell’s coat.
Although it must
 have a light, beige trench in it somewhere, surely, along with a heavier, wool version a la Sherlock. Duh.)

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T5W | Book Covers You’d Live In

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Book Covers You’d Live In: we all love a good cover but what are some covers you’d like to be transported into? As this is a very self-explanatory Top 5 Wednesday topic this week, let’s not waste any time and just jump right on in to my list…

salinger5. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (x)

I’ve surprised myself with this choice but I think I would love to have the opportunity (/the means) to live in New York City for a while. I’ve never been and I know zero about actually living there that isn’t just TV’s rather fanciful portrayals (i.e. Friends, Gossip Girl), but this book charts Rakoff’s year working as an assistant to J.D. Salinger in the 1990s. I’d love to get a glimpse into the New York literary scene, with all its ups and downs. I’m like 80% sure I’d actually feel claustrophobic and insignificant if I did live and work in NYC but what is this if not hypothetical – I’m sure hypothetical Emma could get over the feeling.

4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (x)

Confession: I didn’t actually enjoy this second book in the companion novel trilogy anywhere near as much as I enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss. Regardless, I’m sure I would love the chance to live in San Francisco. Just as with New York, I’ve never even visited San Fran, but having the means to live there for even a short period of time would be so freaking cool. The Californian weather is not something I’ve ever wanted to experience but I hear San Fran has cool winds, fog, and is relatively cool in summer compared to other US cities so maybe me and its climate would get along. Mind you, we’d see how long I’d last there with all those hills!

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Tome Topple | August 2017 | TBR

It’s that time again – it’s Tome Topple! Apparently this is my fourth Tome Topple?!? Where does the time go? Seriously though, guys, where does it go? And how did I manage to participate (loosely) in all three previous rounds of Tome Topple? Yay for consistency!

If you don’t know already, Tome Topple is a fortnight-long readathon created by Sam aka Thoughts on Tomes and this round of the readathon is taking place from midnight in your timezone on 4th August until 11:59pm on 17th August. The aim of this readathon is to read big books aka books over 500 pages aka “tomes”. What is unique about this readathon is that it’s all about the number of pages read rather than the number of books read – this is something that greatly appeals to me as I don’t tend to have small books to read, as are favoured by a lot of other readathons. What is brilliant about Tome Topple is that there’s an incredibly supportive community all getting together at the same time to read and cheer each other on as we make our way through intimidating books. Because we all know big books can seem a chore sometime, but it feels so much better if people are recognising your efforts and cheering you on to finish that tome that’s taking you so many weeks to read. It’s so great, you guys!

If you haven’t been around these parts long enough to see my previous forays into the readathon, with varying levels of success, then please do check out my Tome Topple tag to see my previous successes/failures! Likewise, if you need more info, you can watch Sam’s announcement video or check out the readathon Twitter page and/or the Goodreads group. If you’re considering doing the readathon, I’d definitely recommend you give it a go, what have you got to lose?

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War and Peace Newbies Read-Along | Week Four

Welcome one, welcome all, to the fourth of my weekly progress reports  for War and Peace. You may have seen my previous weekly post summarising my week 3 progress, if not please do pop on over to it to see how it went. And for those who have no idea what I’m going on about at all, you may want to head on over to the blog of the War and Peace Newbies Read-along host Laura from Reading In Bed.

Every week I’m doing a short progress post or wrap-up of my thoughts so far on the book, all very low key, probably in the form of bullet points, and likely not always coherent. So don’t expect eloquence or a comprehensive guide to the novel is what I’m trying to say – at best, my approach is scatter-gun and what catches my eye probably isn’t the most important detail in the text. Expectations lowered accordingly? Ok, then let’s see how Week 4 went, which covered Volume II, Parts I and II of War and Peace…

  • After a few days’ break from War and Peace so that I could properly take part in the 24in48 readathon, I’m picking it back up with pleasant surprise at the realisation that we’re not in a ‘war bit’ at the moment, at least not in the opening chapter – yay!
  • Ok Natasha has just casually said that to prove her love for Sonya she held a heated ruler to her arm like they used to when they were kids to prove their love… um… what kind of strange sadist practice is this? And Nikolay just nods and goes along with it like it’s the most normal thing ever, duuuude.
  • Apparently we’re not being subtle now about the fact that Sonya is in love with Nikolay but he seems to have precisely zero interest in her when there’s the prospect of manly gatherings and clubs and a certain someone (I presume prostitute?) he pops off to see of an evening. Aaaah the high life of a young man in Moscow, lovely and charming.
  • Pierre is so out of his depth with society and having a wife and it’s funny as hell but also kind of sad. Poor Pierre, he didn’t ask for a potentially adulterous wife having it off with a well-known cad when he innocently stared at her boobs. This is what you get for being a wealthy count, Pierre, are you happy now?
  • Ok that escalated quickly. Pierre challenged Dolokhov because… reasons/rumours. Now it seems that they’re having a duel. (Anyone else humming Ten Duel Commandments from Hamilton throughout this section? No? No takers?)

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Tag | How I Choose My Books

It’s Tag Thursday guys, and look, I remembered! This week’s tag is (you must know this one by now, say it with me?) brought to you via the lovely girls over at Thrice Read and it’s called the How I Choose My Books Tag. Booktube and the book blogging world has had such a lasting impact upon my general reading habits, how I buy books, and how I read books, so I’m sure this tag will prove that without a shadow of a doubt. Let’s jump right on in…

Find a book on your shelves with a blue cover. What made you pick up that book in the first place?

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – I saw someone (can’t remember who) reviewing it on BookTube and they said how wonderful and touching this memoir is – they weren’t wrong, it was a truly heartbreaking and weirdly uplifting book too. I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

I mean as a rule, I don’t generally read books I don’t think I’m going to enjoy – and if I do read them, I’m rarely proved wrong (cough A Court of Thorns and Roses cough), so this question is difficult. I suppose The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare counts? I still don’t really think Clare’s writing or plotting or characterisation is as great as the hype suggests, but I enjoyed Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess in large part because they moved the Shadowhunters focus back into Victorian England and I liked that slightly steampunk vibe a hell of a lot more than the time I attempted to read City of Bones.

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?

Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven – I discovered this due to the very positive recommendations of it via the lovely Jen Campbell. She described it as a post-apocalyptic fiction where swine flu has wiped out most of the population and a travelling theatre troupe travels across the United States, performing Shakespeare plays in exchange for food. She had me at ‘Shakespeare plays’ to be honest. Guess what though? I still haven’t actually read this. Much like M.L. Rio’s If We Were Villains, I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this book because it purports to be everything I love, but I’m SO scared that it’s going to be a disappointment that I keep putting it off. That’s silly, isn’t it? Does anyone else do this?!?

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24in48 Readathon | Wrap Up

As you may or may not have seen from my sign-up post, this past weekend I took part in the 24in48 Readathon and I had a blast. Well, tradition requires me to wrap-up my weekend of reading like a good book blogger and let you know how I did generally, as well as what I thought of the books I read during that time. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can!

Let’s start off with the Big One – did I read for 24 hours? Nope. Not even close, to be honest. But I did get closer to 24 hours than I managed the last time I participated in this readathon back in January so I’m calling that a success. I read for 16 hours which is way more than I anticipated and I’m very happy with that! I’ve come to realise that for me, a person who likes sleep and WILL NOT sacrifice that unless it’s for a very, very good cause on her weekends off, I simply don’t prioritise reading enough to make myself sleep deprived. I also like to do sensible things like take a long shower and get dressed. So I don’t full commit enough to really squeeze every moment of reading out of the 48 hour period – so it’s no wonder I don’t make it to the 24 hour target but, you know what? I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m proud of my 16 hours.

Let’s take a look at what I intended to read:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer [audiobook/PB]
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee [audiobook]

And what I actually read was the following:

106 pages of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
315 pages of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
78 pages/23% of The Art of Asking [audiobook] by Amanda Palmer
224 pages, Stardust by Neil Gaiman
120 pages, Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

= 843 pages

Not too shabby at all! All in all, I’d say that’s a success. I was very aware going into this readathon that I needed to make sure not to burn out during it because I’m currently participating in a War and Peace Newbies Readalong which, whilst only having a low page count to read each day, does require you to read every single day. I didn’t want to burn out and then end up falling behind with War and Peace because I’d over-read books during the weekend. But I think I’m good! This past weekend helped me to realise that I can read ahead with the W&P schedule and use my freed-up time to read some other books too, so that I don’t feel too disheartened with not having completed many books this month. Definitely something I’ll do more often during this readalong.

As far as the books I read during 24in48 went, I thoroughly enjoyed everything I read. I suspected that I’d deviate from my TBR and I did – I know myself well! I blame The Art of Asking entirely for that because I was listening to Amanda Palmer and she mentioned her husband and then that got me thinking that I really wanted to read something Neil Gaiman soon – a few minutes later and I’d picked up Stardust. The other outlier, in the form of Ms Marvel was  picked up due to necessity – I was out of the house at a BBQ on Sunday afternoon but I downloaded Ms Marvel Vol. 1 onto my phone via Amazon’s Prime Reading service so I read that in fits and starts during the afternoon. How’s that for maximising your reading time? All in all, a resounding success, huzzah!

(I am yet to find a situation I cannot illustrate with a Parks and Rec gif. Sorry/not sorry.)

Did you participate in the 24 in 48 Readathon? How did you do?
Comment below or link progress posts if you have them – I would love to hear about your weekend’s reading.


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War and Peace Newbies Read-Along | Week Three

Welcome one, welcome all, to the third of my weekly progress reports  for War and Peace. I am happy to report that I have officially now read further than I did on my previous attempt to tackle this mammoth of a book – if nothing else, that’s progress, and we can call it a success even if I don’t read a word more. I mean, obviously I’d prefer it if I did read significantly more words and finish the entirety of the book but still…

You may have seen my previous weekly post summarising my week 2 progress, if not please do pop on over to it to see how it went. And for those who have no idea what I’m going on about at all, you may want to head on over to the blog of the War and Peace Newbies Read-along host Laura from Reading In Bed.

Every week I’m doing a short progress post or wrap-up of my thoughts so far on the book, all very low key, probably in the form of bullet points, and likely not always coherent. So don’t expect eloquence or a comprehensive guide to the novel is what I’m trying to say – at best, my approach is scatter-gun and what catches my eye probably isn’t the most important detail in the text. Expectations lowered accordingly? Ok, then let’s see how Week 3 went, which covered Part I, Volume III of War and Peace…

  • If you want an added level of difficult to your already difficult read, try reading on a Monday morning train ride into work when you’ve not had any coffee yet, feel like crap because periods, it’s hot and you’re uncomfortable, and then three chattering Scouse women sit down next to you and talk at a volume best described as “loud enough for the entire train to hear them”.
  • It’s Tuesday morning. I opened my book happily on the train – the SAME GROUP of loud women got on again in the carriage I was in. I swear this is a conspiracy so that I can NEVER concentrate on War and Peace. How dare people do such heinous things as talk to each other on public transport, ughhhhh.

ughrolleye

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24in48 Readathon | Sign-Up & TBR

Hello, welcome on this rather gloomy Friday, I bring you an exciting readathon sign-up/TBR post. For those unaware, the next round of the 24in48 Readathon is happening this weekend – that’s right,  for the 22nd and 23rd July, for those 48 hours, the ultimate goal is to try to read for 24 hours out of that time.

(For more information, you can check the readathon website or see my previous 24in48 post.)

Last time, back in January, I really enjoyed the readathon and managed to read what seemed like a ridiculous of amount of books, even if I didn’t manage to read for the full 24 out of 48 hours. This round, I’m hoping to do better than last time. I’m still skeptical I’ll be able to make it to 24 because I need to leave the house on Sunday afternoon and that eats into valuable reading time, buuut I’m going to try my hardest anyway.

(Side note: last time the 24in48 readathon happened I was trying to get through War and Peace and completely failed to do so because the 24in48 readathon reminded me how nice it was to actually, you know, finish books instead of slaving away at a tome for weeks on end. Now it’s the second 24in48 of the year and I just so happen to be trying to read War and Peace at the same time again – weird conincidence but I really hope this readathon doesn’t kill my progress with it!)

So this is my official sign-up post and also I thought I’d mention a few books on my TBR because that seems relevant:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom 
by Leigh Bardugo

The Art of Asking 
by Amanda Palmer [audiobook/PB]

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue 
by Mackenzi Lee [audiobook]

& I’ll probably completely stray from that TBR and end up reading something completely different too.

I’d like to say that I will try to keep my blog updated at various points during the weekend but, since I enjoy sleep, I really do need to be reading for every moment of my weekend in order to try to get to 24 hours. The upshot of that is that blogging takes up too much valuable reading time and I’ll likely forget to update here with my progress. However, I’ll definitely be periodically posting status update tweets on Twitter and annoyingly frequent page count updates via Goodreads though, so be sure to follow me over there if you’re at all interested in seeing how I do! And until then, I’ll see you on the other side, folks…


Are you talking part in the 24in48 readathon? Then please do pop in and say hi below and we can cheer each other on in this weekend of reading!
If you’re not taking part, what are your plans for this weekend? What book are you planning to read and/or currently reading? Let me know below and let’s chat books!

Tag | The Candy Book Tag

It’s Tag Thursday and, guess what? I kind of completely forgot to do this for a couple of Thursdays – oh no, the chain is broken! But it’s ok because I’m back today, on this very fine Thursday, to bring you another book tag.

I found this tag via Beth at Reading Every Night and she said we could consider ourselves tagged by her if we wanted to join in – so here I am, joining in with the Candy Book Tag.

Mmm candy, no, stop it, you said no more sweets. More books…

Apples: Ah. Healthy food. It is deep, meaningful, and probably won a lot of awards but, um, it really isn’t your thing.

Ok but I really like apples.

Back to the actual tag question: I’m still confused about why The End We Start From is getting so much buzz. Like… it’s just… ok? I don’t get it. I know I’m in the minority here but ah well, I’ll stay here by myself and there’s more room here for me to stretch my legs, thanks.

Also whispers Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Really don’t get the fuss. It’s fine for the sake of talking about it’s social/political commentary on women’s roles etc. etc. but, as a novel, I find its pacing kind of off. Plus I don’t like Rochester, or Rochester/Jane, at all so that tends to ruin things a bit. Sorry/not sorry.

Milk Chocolate: This is a book you’d recommend to absolutely EVERYONE.

Right now I’m really feeling Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo because I BLOODY LOVE this book. It’s Oceans Eleven style heist meets fantasy Amsterdam setting – what more could you want?

Aside from that, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is one of my all-time favourite books so I always try to get more people to read that if they haven’t already. You there, if you haven’t read it, go read it!

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