Sunday, 31 December 2017

Books I Took to Cancún, Mexico!

This is a strange post to be writing while there's literal snow on the ground but I went to Cancún! The trip had been about five years in the making with my best friends from school and it was so fun. I saw one of the new seven wonders of the world, Mayan ruins, cenotes, and so many turtles! Plus, I packed up a bunch of books and even read a couple...

Pile of books on the beach

The Coffin Dance by Jeffery Deaver
I got about twenty pages into this before I left so I couldn't leave it behind, but I didn't read any more of it while I was away. I just wasn't in the mood for a good detective novel, but I do like to always have one with me.

The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
Ever since I didn't read this after failing the A-to-Z-readathon terribly, it's been on my mind as a series I might want to pick up sometime soon. I've been missing urban fantasy in my life! While I didn't end up reading it, one of my friends did and she liked it so that bodes well!

Night Shift by Charlaine Harris
This book has officially been to three countries with me; GreeceNorway, and now Mexico! Plus, I actually read it this time so it seems third times a charm! I am now officially caught up on all of Charlaine Harris's series- what the heck do I read now, eh?

Hello Again by Brenda Novak*
I started this while I was away, and have since finished it. Because nothing is better to read about on white sandy beaches in the sunshine then serial killers! This series is so good, I'm already waiting impatiently for the next instalment.

Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
Another one that I read! Or at least got most of the way through. By sheer bad luck or bad planning on my part, I actually had an essay due on Oroonoko three days after I got back from my trip. Super relaxing! So, while I had to bring this, it was an interesting enough read.

Candide, or Optimism by Voltaire
If I had finished my Oroonoko essay (I didn't, but just in case) the next book I have to read is Candide so I packed it. It's pretty little so it wasn't a huge deal though.

Empire and Dominion by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*
Yeah, I'm the worst. These books are still unre-read/ unread despite travelling the globe with me this year. GreeceNorway, Mexico and I still haven't got through more than 50 pages. 2018 is going to be the year!

Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Bérubé
I've been meaning to read this since I got it for Christmas last year but it's a very tough and emotional read. Too much for this kind of holiday but hopefully I'll get back to it in the next couple of months.

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

Friday, 22 December 2017

Books I Read in October!

October was a great reading month! I feel like in September, I really managed to get a nice balance of genres that I was reading and although I didn't quite read as much as May or July, I'm much happier looking at this pile of books! Admittedly, writing about them was a little bit harder because while I read widely, I didn't always enjoy what I read...

Sleep like a Baby by Charlaine Harris*
I can't believe I have to go through the pain of saying goodbye to this series again. It was so hard last time and now I've had two extra books just to extend the joy and pain. I think next year I'm going to do a full read-through of all ten.
Unsurprisingly, I liked this book. I love the world and the characters and I love stories with babies so it was everything I wanted. It wasn't quite as gripping as I've found past books in this series, I did put it down and pick it up quite a few times whereas I normally read them right through. But I still enjoyed it and it was a good second final to the series. As a final book, it still held its own with a good mystery and one that called back to past books without being predictable.
There was one slip-up about the colour of Aurora's glasses, which I only noticed because she makes a big deal about matching the colour and shape to her mood. Is there a job for being particular about these things?
When a coroner says you look bad, that's pretty dire.

Magisterium: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Full review to come! But seriously, wonderful as always.

Othello by William Shakespeare
Othello was one of the books I had to read for my new university module and I hated it. I'm not a fan of storylines that rely on people not communicating in relationships, and that is really all this is. I love some Shakespeare but this one was a real disappointment. It's okay to study though, the storyline might not be great but I mean- it's Shakespeare, the language is always complex.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
I'm starting to feel a little downtrodden when it comes to Gothic horror type books, I didn't much rate Frankenstein and I didn't really like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde either. Seriously- one murder? Boring! Told from the point of view of an outsider? Not really that mysterious, just missing all the terrifying details. An analogy for this, that and the other? Too painfully obvious for words.
I wanted a good spook in October and this disappointed all around. I did like that Mr Stevenson knew when to stop though, this was short and... well, it was short.
"-if ever I read Satan's signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend."

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
I was never a person who said their favourite Harry Potter book was the third one. I was strictly a number one is number one person, but this re-listen was a game-changer for me.
This is so densely plotted without the need for an extra 300+ pages... Seriously, I know the popularity of the Harry Potter books exploded and the plot was growing with the audience but I can't help but think the next books could've done with a ruthless editor to get them to the tightly packed goodness of this book. Hermione taking extra subjects, the whole time-turner section, Black on the loose, Buckbeak on trial, "serious" being said 10x more than past books- so much going on and still managing the magic that is descriptions of Hogwarts and the weather.
And I'm so glad people seemed to feel me on my tweets about how Harry is the least self-aware person ever.
"I'm not going to be murdered," Harry said out loud.
"That's the spirit, dear," said his mirror sleepily.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Again, I have a Twitter thread on my thoughts which I think sums up my descent into 'oh no, this isn't as good as I remember'. Like- seriously, 2/3rds of the tournament for the onlookers is staring at the top of a lake or the wall of a hedge for hours. Wizarding World, why would you bother?
It's not even the length that turned me off this book, its that I could tell that so much of my enjoyment relied on the fabulous work of Stephen Fry as narrator. When I sat down to actually look at the quotes I liked, without his particular reading, it fell flat for me. The magic was dulled.
I find myself blown away by how much things have changed in YA in the past 17 years since this book has been published. The ableism in this book would've been called out in a second; "Loony Lovegood" and "Mad-eye Moody" being quite jarring to hear as a grown-up, Fred and George being slightly less charming when they're accusing Harry of being "mental", and many more...
"- If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Finally, I've officially read a book by all three Brontë's this year! And I finally got around to reading the one I actually had to read for university. Now I can officially give my order of the Brontës; Anne, Emily then Charlotte.
Wuthering Heights wasn't what I expected at all, despite all its notoriety, I didn't know the storyline at all and spent a good portion waiting for more ghosts to show up. Despite its disappointing lack of ghostly visitors, I did enjoy it by the end. We had some ups and downs together but when all was said and done, I do like a good unlikable character. Although Heathcliff is still a hundred times better than the monstrous Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre. Plus, the writing was truly beautiful.
I'm really looking forward to studying it!
"-Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same-"

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these?

Friday, 8 December 2017

My Christmas List!

I normally pop up my Christmas list on December 1st but since I was in Mexico, there's been a little delay! I really enjoy looking back at my old lists (2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) and I love reading other peoples. It's so interesting to see the different things that different people want, and get ideas from them for what I'm going to get my friends and family.

I'm a big podcast person and some of my favourites have some really great merchandise. Like the My Favourite Murder 'Toxic Masculinity Ruins the Party Again' mug, an 'All Hail the Glow Cloud' pin from my favourite episode of Welcome to Night Vale, and a Vermilion Minotaur pin from Hello from the Magic Tavern. You can never have enough mugs or pins, right?

I tend to ask for a DVD box-set of Christmas of something that's older because they're generally not on Netflix and are super expensive to buy digitally, so over the years I've received absolute gems like FrasierMonk and Home Improvement. This year I have my eye on Golden Girls. A true classic!

I've never put books on my Christmas list while I've been book blogging because it would make for a very long list, but I was looking for a hardcover copy of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome over Summer and found that The Folio Society has a truly beautiful copy. And I'm a sucker for having nice copies of my favourites.

This year is the year that I've started fostering kittens and while the charity I volunteer for is great at providing everything you need, I keep a list of things I think will make the kittens as comfortable as possible at a pretty traumatic time. Things like a Snuggle Kitty, a heating pad, various scratching toys, and plastic toys that keep them entertained while being easy to sanitize between litters. I also really want some new kittens to foster over the season to banish those holiday blues by feeling helpful so if Santa could hook me up, I'd love that.

What's on your Christmas list this year?

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