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?

 
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Review

Review: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

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5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

This is one of those few books that I’d heard was good, seen on a lot of blogs, but never really knew what it was about. Even when I ordered it from the library, I still didn’t quite have a clear picture of the story. And to be honest, I’m glad that I picked this one up because of the reviews and ratings rather than the blurb – it sounds like a typical, Young Adult paranormal romance, but it’s so much more than that. In fact, the romance barely comes into it.

Blue’s family – all female – are psychics, or have some sort of supernatural powers, except for Blue herself. Instead, she is like an amplifier, making the gifts of the rest of her family stronger. While this doesn’t seem like much, it plays quite an important part later in the story.

Through a series of events, Blue ends up hanging out with some of the ‘Raven boys’ – the nickname for boys from a local private school, so called because of the Raven on their school crest. The characters are all very different from one another, and work together nicely. There is Adam, from a poor background and who has worked incredibly hard to get where he is, privileged Gansey, who doesn’t think about money at all but concentrates all his efforts on the search for Glendower, and Ronan, an angry, misunderstood boy with family problems. And then finally Blue, the protagonist, who is a bit quirky, and despite a supernatural family, very much with her feet firmly on the ground.

The weaving of the Welsh mythology into the story was a nice touch, but I would have preferred more information on it, so perhaps that will be something for the next book. I am a little afraid that the tagline – ‘If you kiss your true love, he will die‘ – might put some readers off, as it implies the sort of insta-love many of us have come to hate in Young Adult books, particularly as this one is of the paranormal persuasion. But that was one of the things I really liked about this book – Blue’s first impression of the boys is not love, lust or even any sort of interest. She dislikes them instantly, because of their flashy ways and arrogant manners. It is this, that despite the book’s paranormal theme, makes the story all the more believable.

Finally, the book ends far too abruptly. It doesn’t even really feel like a cliffhanger, more like a chapter got cut in half. Which of course means I will be reading the next one – and I encourage you all to read the first!

Past Features

Weekly Roundup #15

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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

  • The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett – I’ve spoken about this book a lot – you can read my review here. Waterstones were doing a special edition paperback for £2.99, so now I finally have my own copy!
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King – this one from the charity shop, practically brand new and only £1. It’s all about time travel and trying to prevent the assassination of JFK – which occurred on the eponymous date.


Library

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman – described as ‘Harry Potter for grown ups’. Yes. Yes, and yes!
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I have actually never really read the blurb for this one… I just kept seeing it everywhere and it has a pretty cool cover. That is quite honestly the only reason I ordered it.
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner – I added this to my TBR list when looking through the Dystopian genre on Goodreads. It claims that if you loved The Hunger Games, you’ll love this – but I think they say that for every YA Dystopian novel these days. We shall see!
  • Ready Player One by Robert Cline – this one sounds so cool – like a mix of Tron and Blade Runner!

What have you received to read this week?

Challenges

Challenge: 2013 TBR Pile Challenge


I am continuing this challenge throughout 2014, as I hope to have read all 30 books by the end of the year.

I have decided to join the 2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, which runs from 1st January – 31st December 2013. You can read the rules and join the challenge here. There is also a handy Goodreads group for the challenge, which will track your challenge books for you, as long as you shelf them correctly.

I have almost 300 books on my TBR list, and some have been sitting there for years. One of the rules of this challenge is no books published after 2013, and no ARCs – which rules out a lot of my review books. This means I can read the books I want to, and have been meaning to read for some time – which means they’ll most likely be ones that I already own. I have set a goal of 15 books (considering that I also have to read review copies), any from this list:

1. The Odyssey by Homer
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (read 2014)
3. Endymion by Dan Simmons
4. The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (read 2014)
5. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
6. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
8. Redhead by Ian Cook
9. Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliff
10. The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
11. The Ice Storm by Rick Moody
12. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
13. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
14. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
15. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
16. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
17. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
18. The Sun in my Eyes: Two-Wheeling East by Josie Dew
19. The Weeping Empress by Sadie S. Forsyth
20. A Walk in the Wood: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trial by Bill Bryson
21. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
22. Dear Fatty by Dawn French
23. Gone by Michael Grant
24. Virals by Kathy Reichs
25. Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
26. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (read 2014)
27. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (read 2014)
28. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
29. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
30. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Keep track of my progress or take a look at my tbr-pile-challenge shelf!

 Just under half of my list…