Thursday, 9 November 2017

My Hallowreadathon Wrap-Up!

Another year, another Hallowreadathon over! It's always really lovely to see people getting their spooky reading on, and this year was no exception. It's hard for me to believe that this was my fourth year hosting my little readathon! Next year it'll be half a decade of spooks. But what about my reading, eh?

A pile of pumpkins next two two books: Poison City by Paul Crilley and Dracula by Bram Stoker


Poison City by Paul Crilley
As the readathon approached, I wasn't sure if I was going to pick up Poison City or Carrie by Stephen King from my TBR pile. But Poison City won out, mainly because I've read Carrie before and I find re-reads to be a little slower for me. I really enjoyed this, I didn't quite finish it but it's so much fun and I can't wait for the next book. It's a similar type of thing as the Ben Aaronovitch books I've dabbled with in the past, but the world feels more- real. I loved it, and it ended up having ghosts in at as well as a red cover!

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Oh boy. I don't know why I thought I could finish a 20-hour audiobook in 48 hours. Even on 1.25x speed, I didn't even get through half! But even a little Dracula was a relief to me, as I've not really been enjoying the gothic horror classics that I've been reading lately. Frankenstein? Didn't like it. My Jekyll and Dr Hyde? Hated it. Dracula? Loving it so far. Finally, an actual scare with a red cover.

So I didn't complete the challenge of finishing two books, but I'm still really happy with the reading I did and the spooks that came with it! If you want to see a more successful Hallowreadathon Wrap-up, check out Freya, who did great!

What did you read over Halloween? Have you read either of my picks?

Monday, 30 October 2017

Books I Read in September!

September was a good reading month! I feel like I hit a good balance of contemporary and classics, literary reads and genre, and I actually sailed through all of the books I 'read'-read with some cute foster kittens on my lap so that's always a win. So here's what I read and what I thought of them...



The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
I've been wanting to re-read this series for a while. Well, years actually. But I've been actively thinking about it since last year, and I can tell because I took it to Northumberland and Munich!
The main character of this series is Lincoln Rhyme, a quadriplegic, and the disability representation in this book actually really impressed me. The research that Deaver put in shines through, and Rhyme isn't a cliché of a disabled person. There's no angelic patience, he's not there to teach an important lesson and he's not pitied- or at least, when he is, he finds it really annoying. In fact; "It infuriated him when people talked to him through others, through healthy people." Rhyme as a character feels real and it's one of the reasons this series stands out to me. If you, like me, like reading academically styled journals on current literature; here's a really interesting entry in the Disabled Studies Quarterly about this series that I found really interesting.
I love this book, I love the crime scene methods and the way the story unfolds so carefully. And I love that I am always surprised by the ending of this book, no matter how many times I read it. I always remember the ending wrong so I'm always remembering how I'm always surprised, as I'm surprised. It's just really clever.
Jeffery Deaver is one of my most owned authors and a lovely guy, and yet I hadn't read one of his books since last January! I'm so glad to be back on the bandwagon.


The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
It was Stephen Kings birthday in September, and I was already currently-reading a fair amount of books so I picked up my shortest King on my shelves. I could get my fix, then go back to what I was reading. Plus, I'd never actually read The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon before! It was all a new experience, made even cuter with having a foster kitten on my lap.
I enjoy survival books. Give me a girl lost in a forest, a group in the apocalypse, a man lost at sea, I'm there. But I expect spooks from Stephen King. I was a third into the book before I had even a hint of a spook. The spooks were quality, don't get me wrong, they just came too late. Besides that, I did really enjoy it. It hit me right in that soft spot where she's nine, there's no GPS, nobody knows where she is and she's all alone trying to survive.
I'm not a baseball fan, so that part just flew right over my head as well. If you have at least a little knowledge of baseball and you don't mind a short book but a slow burn, you'll probably enjoy this a lot!
How could anyone have such a cold and scary voice inside them? Such a traitor to the cause?


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Look at me, getting all ahead of my required reading for university! I wanted to like this book so much. Mary Shelley is so highly thought of, she wrote it at 19 and basically created a genre. And I like science fiction- but in reality, I just didn't enjoy Frankenstein. Hopefully, this changes once I study it but for now; I was dreadfully bored. The writing didn't really blow me away and all of the characters points of view were identical, but more than that, so little of the book was actually action. It was a lot of sitting around being melancholy, and especially in audiobook form, I fell asleep more than once.
Also, I really disagree with that ol' saying; "Knowledge is knowing that Frankenstein is not the monster. Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the monster." For me, a monster is someone that goes around killing people. He's literally a serial killer; having killed three or more people, taking place longer than a month with a break in-between them. I don't know if that's knowledge or wisdom, but it doesn't make me sympathetic...
-for nothing contributes so much to tranquillise the mind as a steady purpose- a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
I really didn't have a great time with classics this month! After adoring The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë, I really wanted to go on and read another book by the sisters. And instead of starting Wuthering Heights like I probably should've since it's one of my required reads, I read Jane Eyre.
Jane Eyre and I don't get on, I'm afraid. I have a lot of thoughts that I'm collecting up in a different blog post, but as far as a review? Eh. I think I've been spoiled by The Tenant of Wildfell Hall because I don't find Jane as endearing, as feminist, or as good as other readers. For me, it reads more like a tale of a woman so mistreated in her youth that she ends up in an abusive relationship. I can't understand the love story aspect. And boy, when Jane tells Mr Rochester about her dreams, that's just boring.
I will say though, when Charlotte aims to spook, she spooks! Listening to the audiobook in the dead of night, I certainly had chills down my spine. I would've much prefered an all-out fearful tale, like the images of Cathy at the window in Wuthering Heights, or an all-out liberated woman like Helen in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. In the middle, Jane Eyre has my attention but not my affection.
"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you."


Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester*
I was first drawn to this book because of the unbelievably beautiful cover. And I wasn't sure what I expected. I don't read a lot of 'literary' type books so it was a new experience and one I enjoyed.
It feels very autobiographical for a story that isn't, written from a first-person perspective looking back at memories. Honest, brutal, it completely benefits from having a relatable main character in a unrelatable experience. Although I'm not sure the vague blurb really prepared me for a story that is, at its core, about sexual assault and the effects on the main character further on in her life. If I was searching for books about that, I wouldn't have found this. If I was avoiding books about that, I wouldn't have known. I was doing neither but it can be quite a tough read anyway.
The writing though. This is a fairly short book at under 300 pages, with a larger than average font. It's simplistic which makes it all the more powerful when it talks about such serious and complex topics. I sailed through it, and I'm going to have to return to this at a later date because I feel it could benefit from a second read when the character development, not the storyline, is my focus.
The nicest man in the world is still a man, and once you're taught that men are circling sharks, you're on the lookout for fins.


Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

My Hallowreadathon 4 TBR!

It's getting close to the Hallowreadathon and I'm getting excited! I prefer Halloween to any other holiday. I love the atmosphere with kids out trick-or-treating and carved pumpkins flickering while I stay in, curled up on the couch with a bowl of candy, a steaming cup of tea and a good spooky book. I've got a few choices for each Hallowreadathon challenge so if you're looking for inspiration, look no further...



1. Read a book with a ghost!
It actually took me a while to come up with a decent list on this one! Especially since I'm the one who set the challenge, I expected it to be easier. The book that prompted the theme was The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell which I won in a Goodreads giveaway and has been tempting me from my shelf ever since. I might not make it to Halloween for this one.
Another option is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I'd have to really get my read on to get through this and another book in 48 hours, but it's one of my required reads for this term at university and from what I've listened to on audiobook, it really captures that spooky spirit.
And finally The Shining by Stephen King! This is the book to fill this challenge in my Hallowreadathon Preparation box and I've never read it. Don't tell anyone. It was on a list of books with ghosts in it and I really really need to get to this soon.




2. Read a book with red on the cover!
My immediate thought on this one was my beautiful copy of Carrie by Stephen King that I haven't read since my teens. But red is a popular colour on my book covers so I tried to pick some other spooks...
I love cosy crime, but I've never read an Agatha Christie book. Terrible. So I might pick up The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie, it's a standalone thriller but introduces Colonel Race who features in some of her other books.
Poison City by Paul Crilley has splatters of red and I've been meaning to read this since summer, it's an urban fantasy type of book that I normally fly though so a good pick!
One book that my dad recommended that I shouldn't read because it freaked him out, was The Collector by John Fowles. So obviously I have to read it, right? Reading about a woman kidnapped is true horror.
Since reading Jane Eyre in September, I've been eying up Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye*. A homicidal retelling that's a little on the long side for a readathon (418 pages) but looks so good!



3. Read two books!
I always like to throw up a couple shorter options because I know two books in two days is a real challenge.
Starting with my last mention of Stephen King; American Vampire, written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King and drawn by Rafael Albuquerque. I've read this before but it's been a while and it's really great. A super fun 1920s vampire read with red on the cover. 
I mentioned in my post about Teen Creeps, a podcast I adore about YA pulp that I wanted to read one of those types of books! The only one I have is The New Year's Party by R.L. Stein, which might be better saved for New Years, but it has red on the cover.
Wailing Ghosts by Pu Songling is one of the Penguin Little Black Classics so it's around 60 pages, and 'ghosts' is right there in the title. Perfect for if you're cramming your second read in right at the end.

The winner of the Hallowreadathon Preparation Box has been announced so don't forget to check to see if you won here


What's on your Hallowreadathon TBR? Have you read any of my picks?

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Podcast Love #2: Teen Creeps!

I've never read a Christopher Pike book in my life. But boy, I know a lot about his body of work! I started listening to Teen Creeps over the summer and I haven't really stopped since. When I finally finished the backlog of over a year's worth of episodes, I just started right back at the beginning!



I love this podcast for a whole host of reasons; firstly, I never read teen YA pulp as a teen, I skipped right over it and terrified myself with some Stephen King so it's nice to actually experience that. One of my Hallowreadathon reads is probably going to be the only R. L. Stein book I own; a never-returned-to-the-school-library copy of The New Year's Party, because I'm starting to feel like I missed out. Although, I never had to read about a perfume bottle that possesses you with some sort of evil twin from ancient Egypt. So- you win some, you lose some.

The hosts are great. Kelly Nugent and Lindsay Katai are the kind of people you want in your earholes, on your Twitter feed and just generally around the internet. They don't just talk about the books. They go off on tangents, prompted by the plot or characters, about their past, feminism, love, depression, politics, relationships, racism, a little bit of everything! There are times when they will say something like; I can't believe I'm about to say this then share something super personal that totally resonates, or I'm crying laughing.

Teen YA pulp from the 90's can be a real mix of the good and the bad. There are teenage clichés, a lot of rape culture and so much incest. And Kelly and Lindsay don't shy away from critiquing the books they read. Which led to my favourite sentence from the podcast ever (not including all Kelly's creepy baby talk):

"There is that story out there, there is that story somewhere, but that needs to come from someone who has experienced it."

I started listening to this podcast because I love listening to people talk about books they're passionate about even if I've not read them. But what I got was so much more. It's like listening to two people become best friends over hours of conversation, like eavesdropping but you're welcomed in to listen. Kelly and Lindsay are my favourite hosts of all the podcasts I listen to, and Teen Creeps is my go-to when I'm having a hard time and need to laugh.

So check Teen Creeps out! Start at the beginning, or if a lot of swearing endears you- try the episode with Jackie Johnson. It's my top pick episode with a guest. You can listen on iTunes, they have a website and a Twitter. And keep it creepy.

Did you read YA pulp as a teen? What did you think of it?

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