Friday, 22 November 2019

Books I Read in February & March!

I didn't finish a single book in January, which is actually the first month in five years that I haven't. 2019 in general has been a slow year for reading and blogging, but I finished seven books in February in March and some of them were pretty good! And some of them weren't for me, so lets talk about that!



Date With Death by Julia Chapman
This was one of the few books I bought last year but I actually ended up listening to the audiobook from the library for this one! It had all the makings of a good cosy crime; a small town, a few brutal murders, a tall, dark and mysterious gentleman and a main character with an interesting job (a dating agency!) but in the end, this wasn't for me. I just can’t quite put my finger on it, but I didn't click with the main character and that's a really important part of cosy crime for me.

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout*
This was a good YA thriller, which is not a genre that seems to excel when aimed at that age. However, the only take away I had from it was that there were a lot of opinions on therapy and mental health that didn't feel good. In fact, there are at least six terrible takes that I noted on how embarrassed and angry the main character is when her family thinks she needs help (after she gets amnesia and her friend goes missing). I was truly surprised when I found out that this was only published five years ago because it all seemed very early-2000s. It was a shame because the actually thriller aspect was well thought out and pretty clever.


Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson 
This is required reading for my university module and while I didn't enjoy it, I can see why we're studying it. It's a strange mix of life-writing and fiction, and I did find the perspective of being a gay woman with a very religious upbringing quite interesting.


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Cassandra Clare co-wrote my favourite middle-grade books; the Magisterium series, so I was pretty willing to give her original solo series a try. I did and this was quite a fun romp into the 2000s, and it is very 2000s, complete with shaming a girl for wearing a thong. I think if I read it as a teen, I probably would've loved it, but I'm 25 now and without nostalgia, this was just alright. I thought it would appeal to me more since I love urban fantasy but hey, not everything is for everyone.
I was initially interested in continuing the series, especially because they do apparently get better, but I think I'm going to wrap it up and unhaul the three books I have. I'd rather continue series that I really want to read.
"If there was such a thing as terminal literalism, you'd have died in childhood."


Regeneration by Pat Barker
I'm going to have to do a full blog post on this one as it is a truly incredible book. A fictionalised account of real people in WWI dealing with shell-shock. I wanted to pick this up and read it again the second I finished, and I still want to re-read months later!


Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall
I found this while trawling Amazon for more books like Autoboyography by Christina Lauren because I needed more M/M romance in my life. This appealed and luckily I didn't have any kind of book buying ban on myself this year because I don't think I'd have got out of my slump without it!
It's a very cute, 200-page fluff-fest. I just wish there was more depth to it. I think the main issue for me, apart from how short it is, was that the narrative is split between four characters and chapters were often split between two or three of them. It was a lot of flipping from one point of view to another.
On the other hand, there is an openly bisexual character, with mentions of pansexuality and how sexuality can be a spectrum, which I really appreciated in a book aimed at younger teens. And it was dang cute.
"-If your life were a teen comedy, tonight would be your night. It would be the climax of your young life."


Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
This is a book that has been on my radar for a couple years, I even mentioned it in a blog post way back in 2015! In the end though, I'm glad I didn't buy it and just borrowed it from my library because it just didn't end up being what I expected. Despite the name being a pun, the funeral home aspect barely played into the narrative. It was an interesting read but I'm not going to search it out again.



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

Monday, 28 October 2019

My Hallowreadathon TBR!

The nights darken, the sweets are ready for the trick-or-treaters and the sixth Hallowreadathon approaches. So I've piled up truly too many books that fit the challenges so I have lots to choose from! Hopefully if you're taking part, this might give you a few last minute ideas. Don't forget to follow the official Twitter and use the #Hallowreadathon to be in with a chance of winning a spooky care package!



1. Read a book with witches!
This challenge was inspired by the amount of amazing witch books on my TBR and I absolutely wanted an excuse to buy some off my wishlist. I've covered my bases with adult fantasy books; Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanA Secret History of Witches by Louisa MorganThe Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag and The Witches Daughter by Paula Brackston. A couple young adult; Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan (I met her at the Edinburgh Lit Festival and really loved her talk about the book) and Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson. And even a historical reimagining with Her Kind by Niamh Boyce*.

Honourable mentions of books about witches that I've read and enjoyed: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (my review here), Sanctuary by V.V. James(my review here) and Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett.




2. Read a book with black on the cover!
When I picked this challenge I didn't realise that pretty much every book has black on the cover! So I scanned my shelves for books that were almost all black on the cover. These are the ones that stick out and gave me a halloween vibe! Again I've got some young adult books; The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout* and Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy. As well as some adult: The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli*, Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso, Murder by the Minister by Helen Cox* and The Craftsman by Sharon J. Bolton*. All suitably spooky in my opinion!



3. Read two books!
I always add some shorter books to my TBR for readathons because I'm not a particularly quick reader and two book in two days, especially weekdays, is a lot! I apparently read a lot of witch books as a kid and I'm very tempted to re-read some of my old favourites! So I have a separate pile of these like; Witch Child by Celia Rees, Gobbolino the Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams and Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson.


What will you be reading this Halloween?

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Required Reading Haul Again!

It's been almost two years since my first Required Reading haul and here I am again! I found a great deal from a fellow student wanting to declutter and thought, since I'm always interested in what books other universities study, that this might be interesting to do again.



The module I've decided on is Literature in Transition: from 1800 to the Present and I started last week which is why it's been a bit quiet on the blog!



The 'Realities' texts are: Bleak House by Charles Dickens, which I already had. London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew which my mother is really excited for me to read. I know nothing about Henry Thoreau's Walden so that'll be fun. And Mill on the Floss by George Eliot which I've actually already read and absolutely adored. I love looking at the contexts within a book is written so I'm really looking forward to learning more about one of my favourite books!



'Movements' includes: the play Playboy of the Western World by J.M. SyngeShort Stories by Katherine MansfieldThe Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford which I have since found two copies I already owned on my shelves, the poems Four Quartets by T. S. EliotBetween the Acts by Virginia Woolf and Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys.



And finally 'Futures', which collects books published in the last 80 or so years. This includes: Under Milk Wood by Dylan ThomasThe Complete Cosmicomics by Italo CalivinoOranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson which I read on audiobook and unfortunately didn't get along with, Season of Migration to the North by Tayib SalehStuff Happens by David Hare and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Have you read any of these? Anything I should be looking forward to?

Sunday, 22 September 2019

#Hallowreadathon 6!

It's my favourite time of year again. The leaves are turning orange, there are little black kittens scampering around as I type and pumpkin spice is being added to every food you can imagine. This is the sixth year I'm doing my little readathon and I'd be thrilled if you spent some time reading with me this holiday! The Hallowreadathon will run for 48 hours, from the 30th to the 31st of October and there are a few challenges too if you feel like creeping up your TBR.



1. Read a book with witches!
There are a lot of really great books about witches coming out lately and I'm hyped about this publishing trend. Whether it's fiction or a how-to guide, there's a lot to choose from and a perfect way to honour Samhain!

2. Read a book with black on the cover!
In honour of bats, cats and rats, pick up a book with black somewhere on its cover.

3. Read two books!
It can happen! We can do it!

I'll be tweeting the whole two days with the #Hallowreadathon hashtag (you can follow me here) and I'll be giving away a book and some halloween candy to a random person who uses the hashtag over the weekend.

See you October 31st!

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