Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: December 2015

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

 

Spectacles Bridget Jones Bridget Jones Midnight Never Come Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas Will Grayson An Ice Cold Grave The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde At Home Half Bad The 100 The Dinner

 

Last month I read a total of twelve books: Spectacles by Sue Perkins, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Bridget Jones #2) by Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’ Diary (Bridget Jones #1) by Helen Fielding, Midnight Never Come (Onyx Court #1) by Marie Brennan, Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green, An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connolly #3) by Charlaine Harris, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson, Half Bad (Half Bad #1) by Sally Green, The 100 (The 100 #1) by Kass Morgan and The Dinner by Herman Koch.

December saw three re-reads, two because I just fancied re-reading them when I was at my parents’ for Christmas (both Bridget Jones books), and the other in preparation for my Throne of Glass readalong! In terms of a standout book for December, I’d have to go for Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life. I’ve always loved Bryson, he has a fantastic way of writing that makes just about anything interesting – proven once again by this book, where I was entranced by the history of everyday objects such as the lightbulb or the staircase…

 

Challenge progress:

  • The DC vs Marvel Challenge is now done and dusted, although I didn’t manage to complete it entirely! 2016 sees another version of the challenge, run once again by the wonderful Michael.
  • I beat my Goodreads goal – originally 52, then 75, then 100 books! 2015 saw me read 102 books.

 

Currently reading:

Cress
How was December for you?

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Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: February 2014

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

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Last month I read a total of eight books – less than January, but no novellas or graphic novels this time. Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash (with Patrick Carr), Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick, Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, Paper Towns by John Green, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson and The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris.

Standout books include The Final Empire, The Gospel of Loki and Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash – one of my favourite musicians ever, his life was absolutely fascinating to read about. I’ve now read twenty-three books towards my goal of fifty this year, but I’m unsure about raising it just yet.

Challenge progress:

  • I read four more books towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge, and managed to beat this month’s boss – Crimson Dynamo! Gooooo X-Men! *waves mutant flag*
  • Another one ticked off of the Dragons & Jetpacks Ultimate Booklist Challenge, which handily also happened to be February’s Fantasy Book of the Month!
  • I’m slowly finishing off my TBR Pile 2013 Challenge – I achieved my goal for the year last year, but I had a list of thirty books, and aimed to read at least fifteen in 2013. Now I want to read the rest throughout 2014.
  • And finally, the Review Copy Clean-up Challenge! I read three review copies this month, which isn’t quite as many as I’d hoped to – but my Netgalley ratio is now 55.5%, which is a bonus. I still have to review one of the books, although that one was from Goodreads.

Currently reading:

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Reviews on the blog this month:

Other posts:

Upcoming:

  • A couple of reviews, including She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick and The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.
  • A post about my time at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which I visited on 19th February!
  • The usual discussions and features will return, minus Weekly Roundup which has become rather infrequent as I’m trying to not buy books. CRAZY, I know.

Off the blog:

Well as I mentioned, I was ill at the end of February… I had really bad tonsillitis in November (during Sci-Fi Month!) so I was really worried it would be another case of that – but luckily it was just a throat infection and cold. Earlier in the month I visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour with one of my best friends which was amazing, but more on that in another post! I then had another best friend to stay for a few days, and it was so lovely to see her – we met up with another friend from uni and had a lovely day out at a National Trust place nearby, then went out for tapas in the evening. I’m really quite scared at how fast the year is going, see as I’ll be moving to the Netherlands in mid-August and I have a LOT to sort out before then. Better get on it!

And that was my February! I remember writing up the Review Copy Cleanup post quite clearly, so I think it’s gone a *little* too quickly for my liking. How was your month?

Misc.

A to Z Bookish Survey

 
When I saw this great bookish survey created by Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner, I knew I had to join in. Credit also goes to Jamie for the image above.
 
Author you’ve read the most books from:
Natsuki Takaya, due to reading all of the Fruits Basket manga – after that it’s Jacqueline Wilson. I loved her when I was younger. But if we’re talking about authors I still read, then it’s Terry Pratchett.
 
Best sequel ever:
I’m going to cheat and say sequels, with the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series. I really can’t decide which of the books is my favourite, they’re all amazing and build perfectly upon each other.
 
Currently reading:
The Returned by Jason Mott (for a blog tour) and The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett. The latter is taking me far too long to read since I don’t tend to like reading on the Kindle too much. But I better get used to it…

Drink of choice while reading:
Tea. Duh. Though I have been known to indulge in the occasional Southern Comfort and lemonade. Often whilst reading The Southern Vampire Mysteries.
 
E-reader or physical book:
I guess I already answered this one. Definitely a physical book, but I really need to get used to using an e-reader. I’m planning on going to university abroad for my Masters, and I can’t really take my books with me…
 
Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
Errmmm. Maybe not in high school/secondary school… but I’d quite like me a bit of Eric Northman, thank you please.
 
 
Glad you gave this book a chance:
Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. Quite unexpected!
 
Hidden gem book:
Incarnation by Emma Cornwall. I’m afraid that this might get lumped in with all the other YA vampire stuff, when in actual fact it’s a wonderfully written semi-retelling of Dracula, from the point of view of one of his victims. 
 
Important moment in your reading life:
The same as Jamie, and probably many other bloggers: discovering Goodreads. It made it so much easier to keep track of what I was reading/had read, find new books, work out what to read next, and most importantly of all: find fellow-minded book lovers!
 
Just finished:
Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries #4) by Charlaine Harris. For the third time. I recently discussed the series after reading the twelfth and penultimate book, bought the entire five seasons on DVD and started re-reading the series again. As if I don’t have enough to read already without re-reading!
 
Kinds of books you won’t read:
Erotica, pure romance (it’s okay mixed with another genre, and as a minor part of the book, but otherwise I just find it pretty dull), paranormal romance (or rather, I’m more selective), overly graphic books (squeamish), any sort of fiction that pushes religious views on the reader. I’m also not a massive fan of poetry (unless it’s Ovid. Ovid is awesome).
 
Longest book you’ve read:
Hmm… if you count The Lord of the Rings as one volume, then that maybe? One book I’m currently reading – but currently have on hold – is Shogun by James Clavell, which clocks in at around 1200 pages. But most recently, I think it was probably IQ84 Books 1 & 2 by Haruki Murakami, which was amazing and very, very odd – true to his style. Oh, and I can’t be forgetting A Song of Ice and Fire – each book is at least 500 pages long. I’ve read plenty of thick, door-stop books: it comes with being a fan of the fantasy and science fiction genres.
 
Major book hangover because of:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I received a free copy a while ago, but was preparing myself for it because of all the reviews I’d read, people saying they bawled and bawled. Well I finally got round to reading it a few months ago, and I started off like this:
 
 
“Oh I’m so happy to be reading this book, I’ve heard such great things about it from everyone; it’s easy to read and actually quite funny – I was not expecting that. And yeah, it’s quite sad but there’s a lot of humour injected into it, why were people bawling their eyes out?”
 
Then, about three quarters through, just one tiny little moment did this to me:
 
 
“Oh. That’s why.”
 
And from there on out, I was sobbing and bawling until the end of the book, and after. Thanks, John Green. Thanks. (but seriously though, it was amazing)
 
Number of book cases you own:
I myself own two, plus a big shelf for archaeology/ancient history related books, and now the books are escaping onto the mantelpiece… but as for my family – well… look here.
 
One book you have read multiple times:
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. I’ve read it at least once every year since I was eleven (apart from last year actually…). So around ten times, I think.
 
Preferred place to read:
 
Quote that inspires you:

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

This is something that Jojen Reed says in A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. 

Reading regret:

Not reading much at all during the first two years of university. I felt kind of guilty for reading non-archaeology related books. But I had so much free time! Think of all the books I could have crossed off my ‘to read’ list

Series you’ve started and need to finish (all books are published):

The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons and The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. I just need to read the last book for each of them!

Three of your all-time favourite books:

Ah, this is a hard one! Okay… I’ll pick each from different genres. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (fantasy), Hyperion by Dan Simmons (sci-fi) and The Secret History by Donna Tartt (thriller/mystery). There’s so many more I wish I could add to that.

Unapologetic fangirl for:

J.R.R Tolkien and anything to do with Middle-earth. My first foray into website creation was at the age of 13, and I owned several Lord of the Rings related fansites from that age until I was about 17 or 18. I would quite happily live in the Shire.

Very excited for this release more than others:

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding, because of the wonderful feelings the first two books give me. I hope it lives up to the hype!

Worst bookish habit:

Reading several books at once because I want to hurry up and review them, and thinking that reading several at once will help that. But it doesn’t. Because I flit between them constantly and often pick up another book.

X marks the spot: go to the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

Your latest book purchase:

Wards of Faerie (Dark Legacy of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks.

ZZZ-snatcher: book that kept you up WAY too late:

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. I read it for my book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, and we pretty much all loved it. I kept thinking ‘one more chapter…’ but it has really short chapters, so I felt cheated and would read one more… then rinse, and repeat.

Challenges

Challenge: TBR Pile 2013 Challenge Progress

 
I am currently taking part in the 2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, and as of yet have not written any progress posts, so I’m taking the chance to make one now! My goal was  to read 15 books over the year, from a list of 30. You can view my original post here, which includes the list.
 

So how have I done so far?

 

  1.  An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – my first John Green book (The Fault in Our Stars is waiting for me…) and such a sweet read.
  2. Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliff – I just finished this one. A bit disappointing really. This was meant to be the ‘romantic’ version, rather than Tristan and Iseult falling in love because of a love potion, but it really didn’t feel it.
  3. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Beautiful and so, so moving.
  4. The Maze Runner by James Dashner – Fantastic dystopian YA story, and I also recently read the second book in the series, The Scorch Trials.
  5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – This one caught me by surprise, it was original and interesting, and rather different from what I was expecting!
  6. The Magicians by Lev Grossman – Definitely accurate in the ‘Harry Potter for adults’ description, with some C.S. Lewis thrown in for good measure.
  7. The Sun in my Eyes: Two-wheeling East by Josie Dew – I love Josie’s travel writing, she’s so witty and has some amazing experiences.
  8. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – This book was so sweet, especially compared with many of today’s characters.

 
Eight out of fifteen, and only (basically) four months into the year – I think I will achieve my target, perhaps I could even read all thirty!
 

And now, my readers, how are you doing with the challenge if you’re taking part? What have you read this year so far that you loved?

 
Review

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
When you frequently use Goodreads or Tumblr, or are part of the book blogging community, it is hard to escape John Green. I have heard nothing but pure unadulterated praise for his books, and now I am beginning to understand why.

The main protagonist of An Abundance of Katherines is Colin, a former child prodigy who loves to learn, but doesn’t feel as if he’s done anything with his life – and that it’s too late to make a difference. Every single girl that Colin has even gone out with or kissed has been called Katherine – with that exact spelling – and he can’t explain why. And every single Katherine has dumped him – nineteen in total.

At the beginning of the novel, Colin has just been dumped by Katherine number nineteen, the one with which he has had the longest and most serious relationship. In an effort to stop his best friend spiralling down into depression, Colin’s friend Hassan encourages him to take a road trip, as they have the whole summer ahead of them. And it is this road trip which changes everything.

Somehow, whilst Colin is a very self-centered person who is completely and utterly fixated on Katherines, he is still very likeable. I think this is due to his intelligence, his constant anagramming – making him a very interesting character. He is also, whilst being a little selfish, a good person at heart. He just wants the girl he loves back and doesn’t understand why things ended, so you can’t help but feel a little sorry for him. His best friend, Hassan, is another great character – partly comic relief, partly a shoulder for Colin to cry on. Both boys might seem like they’re taking the easy way out at times, but they certainly prove themselves at various points throughout the book.

It’s funny how a story about heartbreak can be such a delight to read. John Green has a lovely, fluid writing style that is both easy to read, and gets a lot across. The book felt so unique with its frequent anagrams and mathematical formulas – I hate maths, I can’t do it to save my life but I found Colin’s Theorem and the maths behind it fascinating. And that’s when you know an author is doing something right – they draw you into something you normally wouldn’t care about.

I would most definitely recommend this book, and will be reading more of Mr. Green’s work, starting with The Fault in Our Stars. But first I need to emotionally prepare myself. Wish me luck.

Past Features

Weekly Roundup #17

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My ‘Weekly Roundup’ is where I share the books I have received in the past week, whether bought, gifted, borrowed etc.
 

Bought

  • Doctor Who: Night of the Humans (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures #38) by David Llewellyn – I absolutely love Doctor Who. And this was 15p in a local charity shop. Why would I not buy it?!

From the publisher

  • The Fault in our Stars by John Green – I applied for a free copy of this from The Reading Room and received a parcel from the publisher the other day. Thank you Penguin Books! I want to read this one soon, but I don’t want to read it on my long bus journey tomorrow – I don’t really want to cry in public.

 

And that’s it for this week! What have you received to read?

Past Features

Weekly Roundup #14

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My ‘Weekly Roundup’ is where I share the books I have received in the past week, whether bought, gifted, borrowed etc.
 

Bought

 
I used my Waterstones gift card at Waterstone’s Cirencester on Saturday. It was really hard to choose, since there were so many books that I wanted, but I finally settled on these two.
 
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – I don’t remember when I first heard about this book, but I do know that I was purely drawn in by the cover at first. It’s received some very positive reviews, and there is a massive waiting list for it at the library – so I thought why not?
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – I’ve been wanting to read some John Green for a while (he is a god on Tumblr). I know The Fault in Our Stars is the big one that makes everyone cry, but I thought I’d ease myself in to his books…
 

Edelweiss

 
  • The Daylight War (Demon Cycle #3) by Peter V. Brett – The Demon Cycle series is one of the fantastic fantasy series I discovered last year. This is the third and final book, and it is due out in February – however I spotted an ARC on Netgalley in November. I got rejected on Netgalley, then saw it Edelweiss. What I like about Edelweiss is that you can write why you want that book in particular, so I posted links to my reviews of the other two books, explained how much I loved the series and have recommended it to others – and I got an ARC! I am so excited to read this one!

What have you received to read this week? Have you read any of these?