Thursday, 30 June 2016

5 Things I Want to Do this Summer!

Despite the weather, it is Summer! Although Summer is a little different when you're a distance learning student, because my last assignment is handing in on the 8th of September. The same day my acting classes start up again. No rest for the wicked, eh? But I do have some things I want to do this Summer even if I'll spend it with my nose to the grindstone...



1. Read so many books!
The number of books I've read this year is actually pretty low. I'm not one to get stuck on numbers but I feel like I haven't had one of those hardcore reading moods where all you want to do is devour book after book this year, yet. When I posted My Summer TBR I challenged myself to read 1000 pages/ 3 books a week, I haven't quite done that but I got to 750 pages last week!

2. See my family!
I don't see my extended family all that often since we're pretty spread out over the UK, but this Summer there's a plan to get together in Northumberland and spend some time together. Even though I will have to take my uni work with me. And of course, I'll be making my usual trip to Barter Books!

3. Get ahead with my university work!
One of the reasons my blogging has been a bit sporadic lately is that I'm juggling a couple more things than usual on top of being poorly. Time management has never been my strong suit anyway so when things knocked my schedule off, I got behind on degree work. I need to get ahead, or at least catch up. I miss Summer holidays.

4. Enjoy blogging!
Lately I've been feeling like at some point I started taking blogging too seriously. My photos were never good enough, the words weren't coming easily, everyone seemed to be getting further with their blogs and I felt at a stand-still. So this Summer I want to enjoy blogging, whether it's blogging more, less, better, worse, I don't know. But at the end of the day I just want to love my hobby again.

5. Get some balance.
Things have been getting a little hectic in my personal life lately. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. And not just for me but my circle of friends, and even my country too. The past couple months have not been fun and I've never felt more out of sync. So this Summer, I want to focus on getting back on an even keel, as much as I can control.

What are your plans for this Summer?

Thursday, 23 June 2016

5 Things I look for when Book Shopping!

Book shopping is one of my favourite things to do. Online, in store, it doesn't matter. I love looking at covers, reading blurbs, flicking through, scanning a page, looking at reviews, buying it, walking out of the store with my shiny new books or waiting patiently my the post box. But what do I look for when I'm book shopping? Here's 5 things...

Barter Books is wonderful!


1. Radio hosts
I have a weird love for reading about radio hosts, specifically late night radio hosts. Maybe from my love for Frasier, and the feeling of quiet in the night. It's the main reason I picked up Eleven and the Kitty Norville books. Show me a book with a radio host and I'll probably buy it, they're unsurprisingly rare though.

2. My favourite authors
I posted about the authors where I own most of their books and when I'm book shopping I do find myself drifting towards them to fill out the gaps in my collection. When you're buying books, it can be comforting to know you like an authors writing style when you lay down the cash.

3. A recommendation
Recommendations come from all over the place; friends, family, bloggers, youtubers, the media. It can be tough to know who shares your taste until you've tried out a couple of their favourites. And I can't be the only one that sees a book while browsing and is like, 'Yes! Whoever loved this!' It's a slippery slope when you follow a lot of book blogs!

4. A good cover
I know. I know. Don't judge a book by it's cover and all that but really- those covers are the first thing you see when you look at a book. They're meant to represent the book inside so when I look at a book, I want a nice cover. I've loved books with ugly covers too but I don't actively seek them out when I'm shopping.

5. The next in a series
I love series. I think there's something wonderful about getting to visit the same world without the repetition that comes with re-reading. I love fresh plots while I spend time with my favourite characters and seeing how they change and grow over three, eight, even thirteen books. So if I have the beginning of a series and loved it, then I'll pick up the next book.

What do you look for when you book shop?

Monday, 20 June 2016

My Summer TBR!

According to the internet it is officially the beginning of Summer today! Happy Summer! Fun fact: Last time I wrote a blog post about books I wanted to read in Summer, I read one of the ten. Hopefully this will be more successful. I decided to do seasonal TBR's this Spring and really enjoyed it. No matter how unsuccessful I was. So here are my Summer picks...



There were a few books I didn't read in Spring that I still want to read; mainly The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Dominion by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*, and the last two books in the Harper Connolly omnibus by Charlaine Harris. So they jumped from my Spring TBR to my Summer TBR.

In Spring I said I wanted to read the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, but after my Most Owned Authors post I decided it was time to re-read The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I can't wait to revisit the world that was home when I was younger, and find out how it all ends.

I've been invited down to London for a pretty cool event and Jennifer L. Armentrout is going to be there! Problem: I've never read any of her books. But I do have one. So Obsidian is top of my list. I've actually been looking for a sign to pick this up so I have high hopes.

After re-reading most of The Walking Dead comics in Spring, I want to finish them and move on to re-read the novels. I've got Rise of the Governor and The Road to Woodbury, and after I read these I'm going to treat myself to the rest of the series. There's six books now, I feel like a bad Walking Dead fan for only having read two.

Speaking of zombies, World War Z by Max Brooks and Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier are both begging for a re-read. People named Max do seem to write the best zombie books!

I still have four books of the Princess Diaries series to read before I finish. I may be getting a little too old but I'm a completist and I never finished the series as a kid so I don't know how it ends. So Seventh Heaven, After Eight, To The Nines and Ten Out of Ten by Meg Cabot are going to be marathoned this Summer.

Gorilla Beach by Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi is probably the most mentioned un-read book on this blog. I wished for itgot ittalked about ittook it to Italy, but I've only read the first book in this duology. This Summer I'd like to actually read and review this book. It's getting a little ridiculous that I haven't.

I'm hoping (and I'm sure I'm going to kick myself for this when it comes to me Summer TBR wrap-up) to read at least 3 books/ 1000 pages a week over Summer. I love a challenge.

What's on your Summer TBR?

*I was sent this to review!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

My Spring TBR: End of the Season!

At the beginning of April I wrote a long ambitious Spring TBR. Unfortunately a lot of things got in the way of my reading over the season so I didn't get through as many of them as I wanted to. Some are going to be moved to my Summer TBR (coming Monday) but some are back on the bench. Let's have a look...



Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is still on my mind but I've been thinking about re-reading a different series and I don't like to have too may series on the go. I'll get to it! Maybe in Winter? I still need to figure out the order either way, so if anyone knows I'd love some help!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is definitely joining my Summer TBR. I just bought the audiobook with Stephen Fry and Martin Freeman (haul coming soon) since I've been kind of getting back into audiobooks lately. So a friend and I are going to listen/ read it together!

The Blandlings Castle series by P.G. Wodehouse is back on the shelf for now, although I am really enjoying historical fiction lately... And don't even ask about Dominion by Jennifer Ridyard & John Connolly* though. I'm so ashamed I haven't got around to hit yet. Soon! I promise!

The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood* and This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell* were both picked up and I got about ten pages in before putting them back down. I could just tell they weren't for me, not at this moment in my life. But y'know, I thought the same about Tenacity this time last year so we'll see.

I did read Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir! And boy, it took me over a month to get through. I loved it, don't get me wrong, but it was an intense read and took time. I'm definitely glad I don't have a big Goodreads reading challenge because I'm only at 29 and 7 were graphic novels/ comic books.

After my Books I 'Paused' in 2015 post I wanted to pick up Kit by Marina Fiorato* and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planey by Becky Chambers* again. They sat on my bedside table but I haven't got around to them yet. I still want to, they might not both join my Summer TBR though. 

The Harper Connolly Omnibus by Charlaine Harris** was actually the first from my Spring TBR that I picked up and I read two of the books before putting it back down. I'm liking them, I just took a break to read other things. I plan to finish them real soon and do a lil' giveaway too.

After finally getting over the truly awful Season 6 finale of the show, I picked up 5 hardcovers of The Walking Dead comic in Spring. I love The Walking Dead and after revisiting the comics, I think I prefer them to the show! At least dumb cliffhangers are resolved in a month.

Overall, I've seen more successful TBR's. I think 11+ books were too many. Hopefully Summers (coming Monday) will be better.
How was your reading in Spring?

*I was sent these books to review. I am not obligated to talk about them.
**I won this from Gollancz on Twitter

Friday, 17 June 2016

A Little Paperchase Haul!

I don't know a stationary addict that doesn't love Paperchase. So when I got an email through about a sale, plus my student discount and free shipping over £25- I bought a few things I had been eying up for a while! Who can resist? This is what I ended up with...



And how about a little more detail?



These fruit push pins are adorable! I love fruit and I really want to have a cork board above my desk, when I get a new one, for inspiration. There's 12 in the set and they're rubber so for the sale half-price of £2.50 for 12, I'm happy! I can't find these on the website but I bet there's still some in-store if you're lucky enough to live near one.



I use sticky notes a lot in my degree work for making new terms I've learned stand out or when I write something down that would be good in an assignment. So I picked up the on-sale Nordic Nights set and the Mystic Rose box which I can't find online, both at £3.50. I like to have options!



My next module has six parts so I ordered two sets of these Raindrops A6 exercise books- not realising that A6 wasn't half of A4 but I'm hoping they'll still work! If not, I always have a use for cute notebooks and at £5 for 3, they figure out at like £1.66 each.



Almost every best friend I have has a name beginning with A, which fits because they are A+ people, but it's pretty weird. I just seem to collect them. My own version of the A-Team. Either way, I saw this card and I actually have someone in mind for it so- Who is A? They'll know when they get the card.
Am I the only one that thinks that paper tapes are going to be writeable-on? Well, unfortunately these Spectroscope pastel paper tapes are not...



Kind of a bummer, but I'll find something to do with them. Any creative people or DIY gods with ideas, I'd love if you left a comment of what to do with all this tape!

Have you bought anything from Paperchase lately?

Monday, 13 June 2016

Currently Reading #1

I've been thinking about doing posts like this for a while, telling you what I'm currently reading and what I think of it so far. Partly because unless you follow me on Goodreads, these books just pop up in my monthly wrap-ups or reviews and partly because I love posts like this. I get to be less polished then I am in my full reviews. So what am I currently reading...

Picture taken in my new book nook! Post coming as soon as I find the perfect cushion!


The New 52 run of Catwoman
I decided to re-read some old comics after Nailbiter revived my love for single issues last month, starting with my favourite comic book character; Catwoman. I'm loving it so far and really regretting my lax attitude for picking up monthlies because I'm missing a couple around the #30 mark. Time to hit up eBay!

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
In an attempt to really ramp up my audiobook reading, I downloaded another book from my mothers Audible account (thanks mum). This story about historians jumping back in time to check out important events and fact check is pretty easy listening, and the narrator is soothing as heck. Plus, it's a series so if I like it then there's a bunch of others on audiobook that I can listen to.

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
After my Instagram post blew up I got a lot of recommendations of what Stephen King book to pick up next and I settled on 'Salem's Lot. Although so far, I'm only 34 pages in. It's not gripped me yet but I've decided to not pick up another novel until it has because I know how distracted I can get! Just hook me in already!

If you liked this, Beth does a great '19 thoughts when reading' series and I love vicariously reading through them!

What are you currently reading?

Saturday, 11 June 2016

My 'Big Books' TBR!

I like big books and- I apparently can lie because I don't. I really don't like big books most of the time. They scare me. But, there are big books that I want to read and I've really enjoyed writing TBR posts lately so here are my top ten picks from my TBR over 600 pages. Starting with the biggest...



It by Stephen King - 1376 pages
I attempted to watch the movie of this book but my friend was scared of the clown so we never finished it. I am really interested in reading the book though. It took Stephen King 5 years to write which is some serious dedication and it gets a lot of love over on /r/books.

The Talisman by Peter Straub and Stephen King - 992 pages
I finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman in May and it's re-kindled an interest in cross-country road trips and America. And The Talisman mixes that with some fantasy elements that makes me almost not notice the 992 pages and the fact this is book 1 of 2

Insomnia by Stephen King - 902 pages
Another King! I struggle with sleep, not to the point of insomnia but enough that I picked up Insomnia by Stephen King without really reading what it was about. From what I gather from the vague Goodreads blurb it's about a guy who is sleeping less and less, then stuff goes down. But I like Stephen King and I do want to read it, I just think I'll reach for a couple of his shorter books first.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - 838 pages
I quite enjoyed how I have 20+ Goodreads friends with this on their TBR as well and only 5 who have read it. It's one of those books you see on the lists. You know like- 100 books to read before you die, 820 books to read, 100002 classics we can't believe you haven't read yet. Those kind of lists.

If This Is A Woman: Inside Ravensbruck - Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm - 768 pages
One of the more interesting parts of history to me is the second World War and just the inconceivable thought process that happened. If This Is A Woman is a huge detailed account of the only female concentration camp. I did try to pick it up earlier this year but put it down. It's a super heavy read, but I think I'll get to it one day.

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson - 763 pages
I tried to read this one last year and talked about that in my post of Books I Paused in 2015 but this is definitely still a 'to be read' for me. People love this series. I loved the first book. This 763 page monster will be conquered!

George VI: The Dutiful King by Sarah Bradford - 668 pages
I love George VI. I'm not a big Royal Family person because they cost the country so much money and realistically we don't need them now we have a government that has taken over all their roles, but that's neither here nor there. I love George VI and I think Britain did need him during the war and he was an all round good guy. So I want to read his biography because he's interesting.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - 662 pages
I hauled this way back when and despite being published in 2007, it's started to pick up a second wind on booktube. I've been wanting to read something magical lately as well so this might be picked up sooner, rather than later.

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas* - 620 pages
I won this on Goodreads a while back and haven't got around to it yet. It's so big! And it took the author ten years to write which is really something. I want to give it the attention it deserves and it's rare I'm in the mood to read a character driven book set in 1940s America. I've read it's slow going and that, mixed with the page count makes my inner-reader tremble.

Advent by James Treadwell* - 612 pages
Another magic series I've been meaning to start. This is about a 15 year old boy Gavin and there's a lot of mythology in the world- but it's one of the lowest rated overall books on my shelf which has put me off from starting it. I know reviews and ratings aren't always indicative of how I'll personally feel but it casts a shadow.

What are the biggest books on your TBR?
*I won these from Goodreads!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Comic Books I Read in.. April and May!

One of the things that affected the amount of books I read in May was the amount of comics I was reaching for. And snapchatting about (imogenrose20 if you're interested). I only read one hardcover in April, so I thought I'd save you a very short post and put the two months together...



The Walking Dead, Hardcover 2 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
I feel like they upped the gore in this one. At one point, a zombies guts were trailing behind it, got caught on the ribcage of a dead zombie, and it fell over. I felt bad for laughing. If they put that in the show I wouldn't be so mad about the season 6 finale cliffhanger.
Hardcover 2 covers the beginning of season 3 pre-Governor for those show watchers out there. It also introduces my favourite character; Michonne. This series continues to pull no punches and test out apocalyptic scenarios. What's it like being in a prison surrounded by zombies?
"Yeah, hopefully it's just full of flesh eating monsters and our baked beans are still intact in there."


The Walking Dead, Hardcover 3 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
The Governor is a thousand times more terrifying in the comics than in the show. This hardcover especially needs to come with a warning sign for some pretty hefty triggers because damn. Everything the Governor threatens in the show, he actually does in the comic and more. Up until this point it was more humans vs. zombies, this issue the humans vs. humans part of the apocalypse comes into full effect. Prepare to be terrified.
"I don't consider paying attention to be something special just because most other people don't do it."


The Walking Dead, Hardcover 4 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
And we finally reach the end of season 3 in comic form. I love how they spent six comic arcs really fleshing out the time at the prison, because the show rushed through the time there. Think about how perfect a prison is in this situation; three layers of fences, towers that you could see for miles around from, weapons, prison cells to lock yourself in if it was over-run, food, space to grow vegetables. If I was in a zombie apocalypse, a prison is where I would go and that was really fleshed out.
Also- this ends with the most brutal death. I may have cried.
"I could if I wasn't fuelled by testosterone and stupidity."


The Walking Dead, Hardcover 5 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
The characters went through some major transformations in these arcs. It was nice to get to focus on them separately rather than one big group, however briefly. Especially dealing with last issues death, I don't think I've ever wanted to reach into a comic and give a character a hug so much.
And Abraham is one of my favourite characters in the TV show, so I was pretty excited when he showed up in the comics. I kind of forgot when he came in. He's a strange dude.
"I never liked reading before. I never did it. It's been a long time... But it might be more fun than video games."




Nailbiter #1-10 (Single issue version of Volume 1 and Volume 2, or Hardcover 1)
Most of my single issue comic books are packed up and out of reach because of the redecorating so when I got that urge to pick up a comic, the only ones I could get my hands on were these. And boy am I glad for my disorganisation because I flew through these in an evening.
This is a horror comic that really plays on a lot of the horror genre clich├ęs. And it works. A town that somehow creates serial killers then releases them on the country? An FBI agent who disappears while researching why? A failure of the justice system releasing one of the serial killers back into the small town? Drama!
Brian Michael Bendis (writer of a lot of comics including some at Marvel) shows up as himself in issue 7 which was amazing as well. Very meta.
I think this is kind of a niche interest- serial killers, horror comics, that old school vibe, but if you're into that then this is a must. I'll be picking up the next issues when I can!


Since I love a weird coincidence- the whole time I was reading Nailbiter (the day of Scream season 2 coming out) I was thinking about how it reminded me of the show, then I watch the new episode and...



Have you been reading any comics lately?

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Books I Read in.. May!

Oh man! This was a weird reading month. Mainly because I started a book on the 1st and only finished it on the 31st. And another, I've been 'reading' as an audiobook for two months. I've been reaching for more comic books this month but I did get through three novels, which were...



American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This was the audiobook I was listening to, and it was the prompt for my Getting Back into Audiobooks post! I liked it more in the beginning than I did towards the end. I think a book managing to stay good for 20 hours, is a real test, and this just didn't cut it for me. I'm thinking Neil Gaiman just isn't my kind of author because The Sleeper and the Spindle wasn't for me either.
I loved the travel aspect, the murder mystery aspect but the Gods part just fell flat for me. Twenty hours later, I just felt shortchanged by the whole thing and don't have much to say for my experience!


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena*
This isn't being published until July 14th so look out for a full review closer to the release date!


Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir*
This book really needs a full review because it was just incredible. It's rare that- as a poor student- I want to buy hardcovers, especially when I have a copy of a book in whatever form, but the idea of this six book series on my shelf in matching covers just makes me the human equivalent of the heart-eyes emoji.


What did you read this month?

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