Friday Reads | 31st March 2017

Well folks, the last Friday Reads I did I was saying that I couldn’t believe it was halfway through February and here we are at the end of March. Yep, that happened. So let’s just remain in a state of denial about the fact three whole months of 2017 have passed and focus instead on what books I’m currently reading and plan to read this weekend. Agreed? Agreed!

Smoke by Dan Vyleta

Imagine a world in which every bad thought you had was made visible. Where anger, hatred and envy appeared as a thick, infectious smoke pouring from your body, leaving soot on your skin. A society controlled by an elite who have learned to master their darkest desires. Thomas and Charlie are friends at a boarding school near Oxford, where the children of the rich and powerful are trained to be future leaders. Charlie is naturally good, but Thomas’s father was accused of a terrible crime, and Thomas fears that the same evil lies coiled inside him. Then, on a trip to London – a forbidden city shrouded in darkness – they learn all is not as it appears. So begins a quest to understand the truth about this world of smoke, soot and ash – and perhaps to change it. (source)

I have no idea what the hell is going on in this book… and I kind of love it for that. I was sold on it in the opening chapter when there was a posh boarding school full of repressed little school boys being “examined” by the prefect for their sins. If that sounds weird, it’s because it is. The academic in me is also super intrigued because it’s doing interesting things with corporeality and fluid bodies and basically the former MA student in me is clutching this book in delight. I’m sure that will continue today and into this weekend.

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

‘Facts alone are wanted in life’: the children at Mr Gradgrind’s school are sternly ordered to stifle their imaginations and pay attention only to cold, hard reality. They live in a smoky, troubled industrial town so entertainment is hard to come by and resentments run deep. The effects of Gradgrind’s teaching on his own children, Tom and Louisa, are particularly profound and leave them ill-equipped to deal with the unpredictable desires of the human heart. Luckily for them they have a friend in Sissy Jupe, the child of a circus clown, who retains her warm-hearted, compassionate nature despite the pressures around her. (source)

You know, I’m mildly surprised by how easy this is proving to be to read. I always find it’s more daunting to look at a Dickens book rather than just getting round to actually reading it. It helps that I picked the shortest Dickens book to read though, there’s no denying that fact. But the fact I can read this comfortably on a sometimes noisy train probably attests to how it isn’t too tricky to follow. I’m intrigued by this Dickens novel because I know very little about it, except for knowing Gradgrind as a character, and I’m being pleasantly surprised. The Northern industrial setting is also my bag… and Coketown is definitely Preston, right?

I’m likely to be doing a lot of reading today/this weekend since Liz is working this weekend and so I won’t be procrastinating by watching Friends with her. I’d also really like to get down to some good blogging and get caught up in all the reviews I need to write because that’s been playing on my mind for weeks now. In between that I’m sure I’ll find time to read, maybe even finish these two books? Is that too ambitious? Probably.

So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts? Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Reads | 17th February 2017

It’s here again, folks, it’s another Friday. Yes, another week has gone by – scary, isn’t it? I just refuse to believe it is more than halfway through February, I simply refuse. The days/weeks are going by far too quickly for my own liking. But, still, the world rolls on and we too must roll with it, and on that very fine note…

abhorsenAs you may have seen in my last Friday Reads post, I was making my way through re-reading the Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix via listening to the audiobooks on my commute. That’s been going really well so this Friday I will be listening to Garth Nix’s Abhorsen, the third book in the trilogy. I’m almost finished and all hell has well and truly broken loose in the kingdom – excellent! The books are still narrated by Tim Curry and they are still equally as amazing as Sabriel.

I have also thoroughly enjoyed this experience of conducting a re-read by getting hold of the audiobook version – I would definitely recommend that to my fellow re-readers if you have the facility to buy or, of course, to borrow audiobooks from your library. It particularly works for me because it means that I can still re-read books without having to feel guilty that I’m spending all of my reading time on nostalgic re-reading instead of trying new books; instead I simply confine the re-read to a different format (whether you would choose ebook or audiobook) so my “main” physical book is a new one and I read that one when I’m not standing cramped on the train or walking to work.

Speaking of re-reading, who else is still a little happy and overwhelmed that Goodreads have finally (finally) put their brains to good use and given us the re-reading function we asked for? It sounds like it’s such a flippant thing but I’m pretty sure anyone who does re-read understands the pain of trying to accurately track reading without such a function. But now we don’t need to add random editions of the book to trick the system into counting it – there is a function, yay! But, I digress, back to the actual books themselves…

warandpeacecoverCan I really say I’m still currently reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace? I’m not sure. I’ve stalled at 200 pages in because I read until the end of a “part” and then stopped – that was an amateur mistake. Much like how the NaNoWriMo forums advise you to finish a day’s writing mid-sentence so that you have somewhere to immediately pick your writing back up the next day, I should not have stopped at the end of a section of War and Peace and then picked up another book too.

I’m a polygamous reader as it is but I think it only really counts as polygamous reading if you are actually reading the multiple books, not just occasionally staring at one of them with a wistful sort of look as you remember that you haven’t read a word of it since last month. However, since I’m going home to visit my parents this weekend, I may try to force myself to kickstart reading this by only taking this book with me. I am sure this plan has some flaws but, hey, good intentions are all that counts in the end, right? Wish me luck? (I’ll certainly need it.)

So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts? Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Reads | 27th January 2017

Another Friday, another Friday Reads. Another week has gone by, folks, and the world keeps on turning on…

warandpeacecoverAs you may have seen in last week’s Friday Reads post, I foolishly decided to try reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peacebecause I’m a masochist, apparently. If I’m being honest, when I decided to set one of my 2017 Resolutions as ‘read 4 classics’, I wasn’t really intending to tackle long classics, as I know this tends to burn me out. However, I had an odd urge to just get over the intimidating nature of War and Peace and give it a try, so here I am, a week or two later, and only 200ish pages into it, but feeling rather good about myself despite that poor progress! So, needless to say, I’m still reading War and Peace this Friday and this upcoming weekend (and for many more weekends to come I should imagine!) and I’m actually really enjoying the story. Admittedly I am enjoying the “peace” bits more than the “war” bits but I expected that and I think that’s mainly down to my own horrendous lack of knowledge of Russian history, let alone military history, so I can’t really blame Tolstoy for my own failings!

sabrielAside from War and Peace, I’ve got into the habit of having my audiobook on-the-go be a re-read, mainly so that I don’t feel like I’m procrastinating reading new books in favour of re-reading old ones. I don’t know quite how that works considering I’m still devoting quite a bit of time to it, regardless of whether I am physically reading it or listening to it, but on a psychological level it seems to be working for me. (Shhh, don’t question the faulty logic!) So, my current audiobook is Sabriel by Garth Nix. I was delighted to find my library had this on Overdrive and borrowed it immediately. It’s read by Tim Curry who has a fantastic voice for audiobooks, and his voice is especially fitting for the character of Mogget the cat who is funny and condescending but also sneaky and maybe evil under the surface… Tim Curry’s voice just oozes that so the audiobook is proving to be great so far.

audacityofhopeAnd, because having two mediums of reading in-progress simply isn’t enough, I’ve also got an ebook on-the-go, as of lunchtime today. Unsurprisingly, politics is frustrating me lately (two words – Brexit… Trump), and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. I frequently shake my head in despair at the news headlines I’m hearing every single day; I just surreptitiously turned off the reception area’s TV in my workplace because I couldn’t stand listening to it any more. And because I am incapable of letting go, I decided to start reading Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope – one, because Obama; two, because that is an amazing title; three, because he’s a very eloquent writer; and, four because I don’t read nearly enough non-fiction. That seems like plenty of reason to give this a read, finally.

As far as this weekend in general goes, I cannot wait to be done with work for the week, it’s just been strangely busy with lots of little bitty things to get done, and that hasn’t left that much time for anything else. I am looking forward to closing the office door this afternoon and not thinking about it for a couple of days. Myself and Liz are gym-ing this afternoon after work so we’ll see if I can truly close that door and not think… hopefully being so knackered from the gym will aid that utter lack of thought!

My weekends are low-key as a rule but since Liz is off too (yay) we have a couple of outings planned – this weekend should include a Tavern breakfast and a trip to the cinema to finally see La La Land, both of which will be amazing. I’m hoping to get caught up on blog posts and reviews I need to upload too, so hopefully I can productively use my weekend and do those. We’ll see, though, I am notorious for doing next to nothing, if given the chance – watch this space…

So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts? Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Reads | 20th January 2017

Yes, I’m doing 2 Friday Reads posts in a row. Why? Well, to be honest, this week has been a bit just bitty… low level stuff has happened that made me not get the opportunity, or desire, to post. Also, mostly, I’m lazy. But here we are, another Friday, another weekend looming so let’s try and get life and blogging back on track, shall we?

In fact, whilst I’m here I’d like to mention a few very good things I’m excited about that happened this week.

Firstly… and let me take a breath to try not to scream in your face in excitement…

WE GOT HAMILTON TICKETS FOR THIS YEAR!

87fa8c29-3a5b-4098-9255-b28008789785Yes, my friends, I get to see Hamilton when it comes to the West End and I’m super excited that I can say I am officially seeing Hamilton in 2017. 2017 is already so much better than the shit show that was 2016. Needless to say, myself and Liz are now diligently memorising every single damn line. We’re tackling CD 2 and, let me tell you, CD 2 really teaches you political history, like relentlessly hits you in the face with it. But it also contains the room where it happens (the room where it happens… the room where it happens…) so, you know, we’re good.

The second good thing – Wicked is going on a UK tour again, so there’s a chance for me to finally see it, and it to not be a big trek to see it because, handily, it’s coming to Liverpool. I’ve never managed to see Wicked (not even illicitly on YouTube) but it’s a musical that I really want to see done, and done properly. I’m not really in a position to go to London to see it so the touring production will definitely do rather nicely. I haven’t managed to nab tickets yet since it’s only just been announced but I’m crossing my fingers and I am quietly hopeful.

So, yes, two very nice musical-related things have happened, which brightens up 2017. And now onto the present, and the very near future…

As Friday dawns I am wilfully ignoring The Event which is happening today, which is quite the feat given that rolling BBC News is constantly playing, right in my eye-line, at work. But I simply refuse to acknowledge it and instead will move onto better things – namely books.

You might have seen in my last Friday Reads post that I was reading Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds and listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on audiobook as a way of re-reading the series. The latter is still ongoing because that book is bloody huge. The former… well… let us just say me and The Darkest Minds did not get along. In fact, it was a DNF for me, and I did a review of it for Cuckoo Review which explains why I was so disappointed in this book. If you have any interest in that, you can read it over here, but be pre-warned, it is a critical review since I didn’t like the book.

Moving on… this week I decided, for no apparent reason, that as part of my Read More Damn Classics mission, I would tackle perhaps the most intimidating of classics first. Because that obviously makes complete logical sense for a girl who used to read such books at university but hasn’t really since as some kind of weird form of rebellion and liberation after graduating.

warandpeaceSo, I am currently reading (and I anticipate I will be for a long time) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. No, I’m not sure what moment of madness lead to this. But it’s happening. And do you know what? It actually isn’t that difficult, so far. I mean, true, I’m only 160 pages in, and it has taken me a week to get to that point, but I’m quietly optimistic I will stick with this one. I’ve put together a character list and have given it a tracker page in my bullet journal and everything – I’m all prepared.

(PS- A post regarding bullet journalling is in the works, obviously, because a person can’t just bullet journal and not take photos of their page layouts. I’m fairly sure it’s the law so stay tuned for that.)

But that’s all folks, that behemoth of a book up there is all I plan to read. Undoubtedly, when I am hit with the enormity of how many words War and Peace actually consists of, I’ll seek immediate gratification and mix up my reading by also picking up something like the A Series of Unfortunate Events books (my review/discussion of the Netflix series is in the works too!). But, until that point, it’s me and Tolstoy, that is my Friday Reads.


So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts?

Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Or a new film release? (I haven’t seen La La Land yet but it’s happening soon-ish hopefully!) Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Reads | 13th January 2017

Another week, another Friday, another Friday Reads. This one is a little special, however, since it’s my first of 2017. Happy 2017, here’s to (probably inevitably) more of the same… at least in terms of reading!

gofOn that note, I’m still reading/listening to the audiobook I was listening to in my previous Friday Reads back in December 2016 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling. This is making many a morning train ride bearable, but it’s also a bloody long book, so progress seems quite slow going (and it feels it at times, too!). I’m about 58% of the way through and I’ve just experienced the hilarity that is The Yule Ball chapter. (Ron and Hermione’s argument is my favourite thing ever, ngl.) So onwards and upwards into the trials and tribulations of The Triwizard Tournament and I’m actually really looking forward to the second half of the book because, although I watch the film quite a lot, I don’t very often re-read Goblet of Fire, for obvious length-based reasons.

darkestmindsI’m also reading The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I requested and was sent this to review for Cuckoo Review, a writing programme/website I’m part of (in my own small way), and my review is due on Monday so I really, really need to get cracking with finishing this book. I’m… enjoying it reasonably so far, I think. Actually, a lot of the reasons I’m not wholly invested in the story aren’t really the book’s fault so I’m not sure where I will stand on it in my review, to be honest – is it the book’s fault that I am kind of over the whole heroine-of-book’s POV in a dystopian world narrative? I’m not sure. And it’s going to make completing my review a little tricky but, hey, that’s sort of a challenge in and of itself. And it’s good to be challenged when reading/reviewing.

asouenetflixHaving said both of those things… I’m also very aware that today is the darkest of days – the day that Netflix drops A Series of Unfortunate Events! I haven’t been this excited for a TV show in a while (well, since the Gilmore Girls specials) and whilst it would be nice to sit here and pretend this weekend will be dedicated entirely to reading… I’d be lying through my teeth – I fully intend to carve out a large block of time to snuggle up and not move for (hopefully) hours whilst I watch ASOUE. Likewise, me and Liz keep putting off going outside after work in order to go to the cinema and see Assassin’s Creed, but it’s now showing at a small local cinema and its proximity and cheaper price makes it an appealing offer ahead of the Odeon in town, and we should be seeing it sometime this weekend. And that sounds like a pretty damn ideal weekend to me!


So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts?

Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Are you excited for A Series of Unfortunate Events like I am? Or perhaps a new film release? Let me know in the comments!


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Friday Reads | 23rd December

As you might have seen from the last time I did a Currently Reading sort of post back on 10th/11th December, I was reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and I’m happy to report that I have finally finished both those books! I’m especially pleased that I’ve finally completed All the Light We Cannot See as it’s a book that I’d spent way longer reading than I ordinarily would. However, given the content of the narrative and how beautiful the storytelling is, I am quite glad I took my time with it, especially since I went into the book with such high expectations and being told by practically everyone that it’s amazing. I’m glad that I can now say that I agree – All the Light We Cannot See is indeed beautiful and it has made me rethink my Best of 2016 list which I’d already compiled before I had finished it.

Now, enough of the past, let’s move on to the present and the future, namely what I’ll be reading today/this weekend. I’m sure it’s impossible to escape the knowledge that this weekend happens to contain Christmas Eve/Day. So, reading might be a little intermittent because Christmas and because Christmas films. Likewise, I’m at home visiting my parents so I don’t have any of my books with me (believe me, realising I should probably not pick out a book to bring home was torture) but I do have an Overdrive account, my phone, and my Kindle. So, really, I’m not at all bookless. With that in mind, I have a couple of books lined up…

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Weekend Reads | 10th and 11th December

This weekend ought to be a very Christmassy weekend – I have an advent calendar, our decorations are finally up in the house as of last night, and Liz and I plan to visit the Christmas markets in Liverpool today. I desperately need to get going on the Christmas shopping and card writing because, even though I’m always a little bit behind, it’s getting ridiculous with the amount I still need to buy for people. So this weekend will (hopefully) remedy that.

So, aside from all that, what will I be doing this weekend? Well, hopefully, nothing but reading and/or watching Once Upon A Time (let’s face it, there’s gonna be some OUAT watching because I’ve just met Hook). ‘What will you be reading this weekend’ I hear you ask. Well, dear readers, that is the entire point of this post so let’s see…

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (x)

poaI’m not sure why but Christmas always seem like the time to dig up childhood nostalgia and Harry Potter definitely fits in that category. I’ve recently been working my way through the audiobooks on my train journeys to/from work and I’m now onto the third book, the Prisoner of Azkaban which remains my favourite film in the series and also contains one of my favourite character – Remus Lupin. (Although I’ve never quite forgiven him for the almost abandonment of Tonks though, if I’m honest. We need to have words, Remus.) I’ve also got my hardback copy of the book down from its pride of place atop my bookshelf so I’ll probably revert to reading, rather than listening, in the next couple of days. I should definitely finish it this weekend.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (x)

allthelightI’ve been reading this one for what feels like weeks at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, and the writing really is as beautiful as everyone said it was. However, the “problem” with this book is its subject matter. It’s not exactly the lightest or easiest to read so, because of that, I find it quite difficult to read casually on my train journey home. Blessedly, the alternating POV chapters are very short, which means that it’s easy to think ‘I’ll just read a chapter or two’ and then accidentally end up reading some 50 pages. I’m still only halfway through this book but it’s getting mildly ridiculous that I haven’t finished it yet because I really am enjoying the story, for the most part, so I’ll try to make this one a priority this weekend.

So, those are my weekend reads and my plans. What are you up to this weekend? Do you have any bookish plans, or specific books you’re planning to read? Comment below, I’d love to hear about them!


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Friday Reads | 14th October

Another Friday dawns, and I cannot believe how quickly this week has gone by. I swear I blinked on Monday and then somehow it was Friday already. For some unknown reason, early this week I was sat on my bed, fully dressed, ready to leave, staring at my bookshelves. Now, admittedly, I have recently furnished my room so my shelves are looking rather nice to a person who previously used the ‘stack and hope they don’t fall’ method of book organisation. However, the reason I was staring was because I realised I wasn’t really in the mood to read Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on my morning train journey, nor did I really fancy lugging around A Feast For Crows, nor was I in the mood for any of my on-loan audiobooks.

I should have already left the house, I was running late, but I had a sudden and bewildering draw to pick up Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, a book I have read before but was vaguely interested in re-reading “at some point”. “At some point” turned out to be on that morning’s train journey, apparently. I don’t know why, but it happened. So now I’m about 200 pages/a third of the way through and I fully intend to read it today and going into the weekend.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (x)

The Secret History is essentially the story of a group of clever, but eccentric students at an elite New England college. When I say “clever” and “elite”, I really mean it – the group isolate themselves from other students, studying as a group of five with their charming Classics professor Julian. All of their classes are taught by Julian and their studies focus around ancient history and philosophy (along with language-learning Ancient Greek and Latin). Because of their intent and intense focus on their studies, it’s unsurprising that the philosophy and practices they discuss actually start to creep over into their life outside of the classroom.

As a book, it’s weird – I mean, come on, it opens with the line “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation”. It’s also incredibly elitist in its references and whether that comes across as annoying or compelling depends entirely on the individual reader, I think. However, on my first read of this, I adored hating these weird and flawed characters. I’m sure that feeling will continue on this re-read!


So there we have it, that was my rather short Friday Reads.
Do you have any books lined up for today and into this weekend?
What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below!


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Friday Reads | 7th October

Well, it’s that time of the week again – Friday Reads! The time when I realise I haven’t done quite as much reading as I would like in these past few days and so I foolishly try to claim I’m going to make up for it by reading, reading, reading this weekend. I inevitably won’t but, hey, good intentions are the best kind of intentions. Or so I hear.

This weekend will mostly be filled with furniture… by which I mean my IKEA order finally arrives today (hopefully anyway) so tonight/tomorrow could well be spent trying to dutifully follow along flat pack instructions before throwing them away, trying in vain to freestyle it, before realising confusing instructions are actually the best way forward. So, there’s some reading comprehension happening there. But aside from that? Well, audiobooks might well be the way to go.

I realised this week, whilst standing uncomfortably on a train, wedged against the person stood next to me, that I wasted a lot of potential reading time every single day. My walk to the train station is about 10 minutes, my standing journey on the train is about 20 minutes, and I then walk a further 20 minutes to work. That’s 50 minutes each way, 1 hour 40 minutes each day, Monday to Friday – easily enough time to shift through audiobooks, especially if I listen to them at faster than 1x speed. (Although I do tend to only go for 1.5x speed though, otherwise I get way too on edge because the sped up narration makes me feel like every book is a high octane thriller!) So I’ve finally reopened the abandoned Audible app on my phone and started listening to some books I’ve really been meaning to get to, mainly:

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Friday Reads | 30th September

Well, it’s that time of the week again – the time when I realise I haven’t done quite as much reading as I would like in these past few days and so I foolishly try to claim I’m going to make up for it by reading, reading, reading this weekend. I inevitably won’t but, hey, good intentions are the best kind of intentions. Or so I hear.

Today and into this weekend might potentially be very busy with very boring tasks – the arduous process of unpacking the rest of my belongings which are being brought over to my new abode by my parents this evening. They’ll only be staying with me tonight and they’re off early tomorrow morning so whilst I doubt that will dissuade me from reading, I probably should immediately unpack the (many) boxes they bring with them rather than procrastinating that task by reading. Still, if I get that done early then I’ll have a lot of the weekend for reading… whilst I’m waiting for the coats of paint I’m painting my room with to dry. Fun, fun, fun.

Yesterday I finished my re-read of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, a re-read which I did because I had fallen into kind of a funk with only reading (YA) fantasy recently. I picked up a book I was sure to love and wouldn’t be too hefty to carry with me on the train to/from work. I really enjoyed the change of pace/tone that reading this classic this week provided – but now I’m hoping to try to get back to the fantasy I’m in the middle of with some kind of renewed vigor.

So, in the same vein I intend to read some of the following:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I’ve been re-reading this one in preparation for picking up A Torch Against the Night which has arrived since I started the re-read but I have yet to get to it because I seem to be taking forever to read the first book! I intend to remedy that this weekend. I even made a start on the train this morning since I happened to have my Kindle with me which, luckily, had An Ember in the Ashes loaded onto it. I hope to continue reading on my train journey home and maybe I’ll pick up the physical copy again this weekend. I really want to try to finish it asap so I can move onto the sequel!

A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin

I’ve been reading this one for waaaay too long. I was meant to have it finished this month, as part of the #readasoiaf readalong. I highly doubt that will be happening, since I have some 600 pages to read and the end of the month is today! Still, I hope to finish it sometime next week so I’m not too far behind with the readalong – we’re meant to be moving onto A Dance With Dragons in October. I really don’t want to crash and burn out of the readalong since I’ve got this far and I know if I tried to pick up the series again sometime next year instead, I would have to re-read the volumes I’ve already read because I undoubtedly would have forgotten what had happened. I don’t have time for that, so I need to continue. Yes, it’s a need.


So there we have it, that was my Friday Reads.
Do you have any books lined up for today and into this weekend?
What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below!


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