September Wrap-Up! (In which I alternate between historical fiction and terrifying visions of the future)

I cannot actually believe it is October. Where has this year gone?

I read 13 books in September (unlucky for some) and really enjoyed all of them which is such a rare experience for me! Seriously, I did not rate anything under 3.5 stars this month (and that was only one book, everything else was a solid 4 or higher!)

 

Review books/Books I was sent

 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

I was delighted to take part in the blog tour for this book at the start of the month. I went into it blind and was really pleasantly surprised. My full spoiler-free review of this poignant story can be found here.

 

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

With a 4.5 star rating, I would say this was my favourite read of the month. Reminscent of Station Eleven, it paints a haunting picture of a future where people lose their shadows and subsequently their memories. I definitely recommend it. Check out my full thoughts here!

 

Her Hidden Life by V. S. Alexander

This was a fascinating historical fiction about a woman who tasted Hitler’s food for poisons! I found the narrative voice very compelling, even (or maybe especially) when the story took a darker turn. Here is my full, spoiler-free review.

 

Books from my TBR

 

City of Ghosts by V. E. Schwab

I loved Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology but this is my first time trying her middle-grade stuff. I did have some issues with it but, overall, it was an entertaining read with some nice Scottish history/legend thrown in.

 

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

This upside-down retelling of Moby Dick was a strange little read but one which raised some really interesting moral questions. And the artwork was absolutely stunning.

 

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

I won this book earlier in the year from the lovely Tina and I finally got round to reading it! I really enjoyed it; I found the characters endearing and loved the way past and present tied together.

 

The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron

This was my book club’s pick for the month, a historical fiction set in 1920s America in the world of the Ringling Brothers’ circus. I love circus books and this one was no exception. You can find my full thoughts here.

 

 

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Of course I had to celebrate Roald Dahl day! I never read The Witches as a child but I decided to grab it this month for a fun and quick read. And I believe I was totally justified in avoiding it as a kid because it would have terrified me!

 

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

I’m finally getting back to reading Pratchett! And this reminded me how much I enjoy his writing. This one was a satire of old Hollywood and all the movie references really made me giggle.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Yes, I finally did it. After this sat on my TBR for years, I finally committed to seeing what all the hype was about. I can’t call it a new favourite because it really did make me uncomfortable but it made me think a lot and I’m glad to have read it.

 

Eclairs for Tea and other stories by Julie Blake

I’m friends with Julia on Instagram and have been meaning to read one of her books for a while now. I decided to start with this collection of short stories to get a feel for her writing and I wasn’t disappointed! There is something for everyone in this collection. Look out for my review coming soon!

 

Rereads

 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

I reread this book for the September BookBum theme – ‘Back to School’. It was great to go back with a less critical eye and I was pleased to discover that I still loved the book. For five reasons why you should read it (if you haven’t already), click here.

 

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

During a bout of insomnia, I decided to pick up this old favourite. I’ve been wary of rereading it, in case I didn’t love it as much the second time around, but I needn’t have worried. This dark and twisted reimagining of classic fairytales is a wonderful read.

 

 

Stats

Total pages: 4231

Average pages per day: 141

Longest book: The Book of M (496 pages)

Shortest book: And The Ocean Was Our Sky (160 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Book of M

Biggest disappointment of the month: I wasn’t really disappointed by anything this month!

Male authors: 5

Female authors: 8

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 4

 

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And there we have it, another month gone! I hope you all had a fantastic reading month and that you all have some spooky reads planned for this month! Tell me your favourite book of September or something you can’t wait to read in October? x

 

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#NEWTsreadathon2018 wrap-up!

Hello my lovelies! As promised yesterday in my wrap-up, I have a post for you now all about the NEWTs readathon that was hosted by Book Roast during the month of August.

The basic premise of the readathon was that there was a category for each subject on which Hogwarts students could sit a NEWT exam. There were three subcategories for each subject, making up the grades Acceptable, Exceeds Expectations and Outstanding. So if you read one book for a subject, you’d get an acceptable grade, two books would get you Exceeds Expectations and three books would get you an Outstanding. All in all, you could read a potential 36 books (3 books for 12 subjects).

I don’t know how well I’ve outlined all that so please do refer to Book Roast’s video for a better explanation! 😀

Anyway, I managed to read 16 books gaining myself 3 ‘outstandings’, 1 ‘exceeds expectations’ and 5 ‘acceptables’! Read on to find out what subjects I completed….

 

Arithmancy

A book that is at least 300 pages – The Forgotten Guide to Happiness

A book that ends on an even number – Notes on a Nervous Planet

A book that is not the first in a series – Perfect Prey

 

Astronomy

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A book with stars on the cover – Hold Back the Stars

The other prompts for this subject were: a book with the word ‘sky’ in the title and a book that takes place on another planet. I had hoped to achieve at least an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ grade by reading A Sky Painted Gold but time didn’t allow for it!

 

Care of Magical Creatures

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A book with an animal on the cover – Pax

The other prompts for this subject were: a book under 160 pages and a book featuring dragons but again, I didn’t have time for these.

 

Charms

A book with magic – The House at the End of Hope Street

A book with a cover that charmed you (i.e. a cover buy) – Autoboyography

The final prompt for this subject was a book that you think will leave a mark.

 

Divination

A book set in the future – Tell the Machine Goodnight

A book under 200 pages – The Reason I Jump

A mythology book – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

 

Herbology

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A book with a green cover – The Roanoke Girls

The other prompts for this category were a book with illustrations and a book with the word ‘light’, ‘air’, ‘sun’ or ‘water’ in the title. I had hoped to read The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford and Thin Air by Michelle Paver for these prompts.

 

Muggle Studies

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A book by a favourite author – More Than This

The other prompts for this subject were a biography and a retelling, but I never really planned to hit these categories.

 

Potions

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A book with a colour in the title – White Fang

I never really planned to do Potions but then I thought I might as well listen to my audiobook of White Fang. The other prompts were a book with a male lead character and a book over 350 pages.

 

Transfiguration

A book with a grey cover – Do No Harm

A book from an author you’ve never read before – The Thing About Jellyfish

A book with royals/kingdoms – Heart of Thorns

 

The other three subjects which I didn’t tackle are as follows:-

Ancient Runes

– A book set in the past

– One of the books that has been on your shelves the longest

– A book translated from another language

 

Defence Against the Dark Arts

– The last book in a series

– A book with foil on the cover

– A book with the word ‘dark’ in the title

 

History of Magic

– A book that would look at home in the Hogwarts library

– A book published at least 5 years ago

– A book that’s at least 400 pages long

 

This readathon was so much fun and really helped me to tick a lot of books off my TBR (especially ones that I might not have read any time soon!) I’m also delighted that I managed to make some of my review books fit prompts. I already can’t wait to participate again next year!

Is anyone else a fan of readathons? If you took part in this one, how did you do? What was your best subject? 

 

 

August Wrap-Up! (In which readathons help me smash it)

Time for another monthly wrap-up! This month, I took part in the #NEWTsreadathon2018 hosted by Book Roast, which was a magical Harry Potter-themed readathon! It was so nerdy and awesome, and really helped me to get through more books than I might otherwise have done. I’ll have a detailed post about the readathon up in the next day or so but, for now, here’s everything I read in August!

 

 

Classics

White Fang by Jack London

Thankfully, this one was nowhere near as harrowing as The Call of the Wild. I’m still not convinced that these kinds of books are for me but I did find this one slightly more enjoyable and the ending was precious.

 

Review books/Books I was sent

Do No Harm by L. V. Hay

This was a gripping thriller with lots of misdirection which made for a fun read! Some of the dialogue felt a bit forced but it was fast-paced and exciting.

 

Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

This was a well-written and entertaining literary debut, building a fascinating story around an intelligent concept.

 

The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins

Sadly, I was disappointed by this one. The protagonist made some infuriating decisions and I found her very unlikeable. The plot was wishy-washy and ultimately forgettable (ironically).

 

Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

Another lukewarm read. This had a very generic feel to it, with bland characters and a distinct lack of world building. There’s definite potential from this author but the execution here wasn’t the best.

 

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Elsie Chapman and Ellen Oh

Like all anthologies, this was a mixed bag. Thankfully, there were more highs than lows. I’m so glad I got the chance to read this as it’s definitely a valuable book.

 

 

Books from my TBR

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

This one didn’t have enough depth for me. There was no real sense of drama or tension and I didn’t particularly like the characters.

 

More Than This by Patrick Ness

One of my favourites of the month. I listened to the audiobook and it was so well done. It was just so tender and sweet, and the characters filled my whole heart. I was 100% invested from start to finish; I never wanted it to end.

 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I was wary of this one as I’d heard mixed reviews but I found it enjoyable. I wasn’t at all shocked by it but I did find it compelling and I loved the claustrophobic feel that the author created.

 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

This was a sweet middle grade that tackled some heavy themes but it lacked the emotional punch that I was looking for. I found it hard to connect with and thought the ending was far too abrupt.

 

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

This was a strange little book but one that I found intriguing and poignant. Suzy’s family was wonderfully portrayed.

 

 

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Matt Haig really gets humans. I loved Reasons to Stay Alive but found this book, which focuses more on anxiety, SO relatable. I want to give a copy to all of my loved ones so they know exactly what I battle on a daily basis.

 

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

I’ve wanted to read this account of autism for a few years now but, for some reason, never got round to it. Then my friend lent me her copy this month so I had no more excuses! It was a quick read but one that offered a lot of insights and I recognised a lot of the things that I see in my job as a support worker.

 

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

Another book by this author was one of my favourite reads of 2017 but unfortunately, I didn’t love this one as much. It felt much more ‘chick-lit’ which isn’t really my thing. However, I can allow for the fact that this was the author’s debut and she has obviously improved since then.

 

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

My other favourite this month, I am so thankful this book exists. It is such a special, heart-warming story and it also kind of broke my heart. I’ll be reviewing this one in full soon – but in the meantime, I urge everyone to read it!

 

Perfect Prey by Helen Fields

My last read of the month was the second book in the Perfect series. This is fast becoming my favourite crime thriller series; it is so gritty and I love everything about it. Can’t wait to read books 3 and 4!

 

Stats

Total pages: 5364

Average pages per day: 173

Longest book: Heart of Thorns (464 pages)

Shortest book: The Reason I Jump (192 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Autoboyography/More Than This

Biggest disappointment of the month: Hold Back the Stars/The Forgotten Guide to Happiness

Male authors: 4

Female authors: 12

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 3

 

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How many books did you read in August? What was your favourite read of the month? If you did a wrap-up post, link up to me in the comments below! x

 

July Wrap-Up! (In which normal functioning resumes)

So after the whirlwind reading month I had in June, things returned to a more normal pace in July! Not only did I return to work after my time off, I was then informed that I was going to be relocated within my job (cue anxiety). I had family members visiting for four days to celebrate a special birthday in the family (cue more anxiety). My grandmother has been unwell and I’ve been taking care of her (anxiety overload!) Overall, there has just been a HECK of a lot going on. So I’m delighted that I managed to not only stay afloat but also read 9 books in my spare time 🙂

 

 

Classics

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I only read one classic this month as I think I’ve sickened myself of them a little bit! I didn’t want to force myself through them just for the sake of reading more books. So while it took me longer than it normally would, I did enjoy this one and the interesting issues it raised. I found the story surprisingly poignant and much less dull than I had anticipated!

 

 

Review Books/Books I was sent

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

I didn’t connect with this one as I’d hoped, finding the timeline confusing and the narrative voice very young in tone. If you’re interested, you can read my full spoiler-free review here.

 

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper

There was a stark beauty to this book that reminded me of The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The dreamlike quality of the narrative will probably not work for everyone but I enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing this one in full within the next couple of days!

 

 

Books from my TBR

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

This was my first read of the month and it certainly started July off on a positive note! Henry created a multi-layered story with a wonderful protagonist – I highly recommend this one! You can find my full spoiler-free review here.

 

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Having reread Caraval in June, I felt ready to dive back into Garber’s magical world. Legendary actually had quite a different feel to the first book and I’m not sure I loved it quite so much, but it was still an enjoyable and magical read with divine purple prose and I will certainly be picking up the last book in the series!

 

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

This was gorgeous magical realism that tackled a heavy topic with sensitivity and grace. I loved Leno’s writing and her diverse cast of characters. For more of my thoughts, see my full spoiler-free review.

 

The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley

You may remember me gushing about this series earlier in the year. I’m trying to drag it out as long as possible because the next book won’t be available to me until next Spring (screams into the void) but, this month, I couldn’t resist picking up the third instalment. I am so fully invested in this story it hurts and, as usual, Riley’s attention to detail was superb. Now I only have one book left before the excruciating wait begins…

 

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews

This book could not be more at home than on my blog. The music nerd in me was flailing continually and I had an abundance of feels for the characters. For more of my fangirling, here is my spoiler-free review.

 

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

A couple of months ago, I read Scythe with my book club and we all really enjoyed it so we decided to pick up the sequel. This was a great final book of the month, as it was action-packed and had a crazy ending! I can’t wait to see where things go in book three.

 

 

Stats

Total pages: 3464

Average pages per day: 111.74

Longest book: The Shadow Sister (682 pages)

Shortest book: The Scarlet Letter (203 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Mermaid/A Thousand Perfect Notes

Biggest disappointment of the month: Monday’s Not Coming

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 7

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 1

 

 

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So that was my July! I hope you all had a wonderful month and discovered lots of new favourites. Wishing you all loads of 5-star reads for August! x

June Wrap-Up! (In which I devour the most books I’ve ever read in a single month)

Hi lovely friends! Brace yourselves because this is the most insane wrap-up I’ve ever written. I managed to read 22 books in June! I’ll try to keep my thoughts on each book short so that I’m not keeping you here all day haha.

 

 

Classics

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

I’ve been loving the classic sci-fi lately. This one wasn’t a new favourite, feeling a bit more farcical, but I am still determined to make my way through Wells’ catalogue as I enjoy his style.

 

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Definitely not a book for dog lovers! I’m sure there are some valid themes in here but the degree of animal abuse was just too much for me to overlook.

 

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

As a huge fan of all things Gothic, I’m glad to say I’ve read this, the first of its kind. However, I can’t say it was an enjoyable read. It really hasn’t aged well. The dialogue felt completely ridiculous and I really had to force myself to get through this one.

 

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

A charming story reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables, with one of the best catalysts for action I’ve found in a children’s classic. A bit too sweet to become a new favourite but a lovely read with a valuable message at its heart.

 

 

Review Books/Books I was sent

The Spirit Photographer by Jon Michael Varese

A really interesting read with some fantastic historical detail. Though it felt a little slow at times, the quality of this debut was excellent. My full spoiler-free review is here.

 

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

There was a good story here but the execution disappointed me. The pacing felt off and I found the book very tame compared to other Scandinavian thrillers I’ve read. You can find my full thoughts here.

 

Song by Michelle Jana Chan

I was honoured to be part of the blog tour for this book. The writing was superb and I loved the characters. The book tackled a lot of heavy topics but, overall, had an inspiring message at its heart.

 

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

This was a crazy twisty read that had me flying through the pages to figure out what was going on! I’ll be reviewing it in full within the next couple of days.

 

 

Books from my TBR

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

I read this as part of #translatedjune which was hosted by Abbie on Instagram. I’m glad she hosted this, as this book could have sat on my shelf for years otherwise. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did; it was hilariously clever and one of the most ‘meta’ things I’ve ever read!

 

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

This book really seems to be dividing people and, unfortunately, I landed on the negative side of things. I really didn’t like how sensitive topics were handled. In case you managed to miss my scathing review, you can find it here.

 

Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Another fun read from one of my favourite contemporary series. It made me giggle on numerous occasions.

 

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

I spent a few days in June visiting family, and my young cousin (who knows I’m a huge Gaiman fan) left his copy of this book on my bed the night I arrived. Too sweet. I managed to read the whole thing in less than an hour and definitely found it to be one of the more childish of Gaiman’s works but it was fun and I loved Chris Riddell’s artwork.

 

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

This was my second read from Sarah Addison Allen but, sadly, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Garden Spells. I didn’t really feel a connection with any of the characters, it was very slow to get going, and it felt much more twee. ‘Nice’ is the strongest word I have for this one.

 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

This was perfection. A new all-time favourite! I loved everything about it. For more details, check out my gushing spoiler-free review here.

 

Boy Underwater by Adam Baron

This was a sweet middle-grade with a very strong narrative voice. It was incredibly fast-paced and I read it in one sitting! I’ll have a review of this one coming your way soon.

 

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read this one! This is how you write feminist fairytales (side eye for The Surface Breaks haha). The writing was seriously gorgeous and I loved how Bardugo subverted all the usual fairytale clichés.

 

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Another sweet middle grade, this one was an interesting and original take on Baba Yaga. I found it a little repetitive at times but enjoyable overall. Like Boy Underwater, I plan to review this one properly soon.

 

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

I love stories about creepy old houses and this Southern Gothic mystery was so atmospheric! The author created a constant sense of tension and made good use of red herrings to keep me guessing. And this was perfect to read during the heatwave we’ve been having!

 

 

Rereads

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I reread this one in preparation for the sequel, Legendary, as I couldn’t remember very much about it. It was nice to come back to it when the hype wasn’t at its peak and I felt I was able to be more objective about it this time around. I still loved the magical world that Garber has created but I could see this time why it might not work for everyone.

 

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This was my choice for the BookBum bookclub theme, ‘Movie Nights’. Rereading this one reminded me of what I love about classic Gaiman. You can find out for yourself here 😉

 

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Having struggled a lot this month with my mental health, I reread this one to get a little perspective. It was a more difficult read this time round due to the headspace I was in but I still think it’s a hugely valuable book and I think everyone should read it.

 

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

A pure comfort read, this is one of my favourite books of all time. I can’t even put into words how much I love it.

 

 

Stats

Total pages: 6288

Average pages per day: 209.6

Longest book: Song (464 pages)

Shortest book: The Castle of Otranto (125 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Bone Gap

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Surface Breaks

Male authors: 9 (2 books by Gaiman)

Female authors: 12

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 7

 

june wrap up

Well done you if you made it all the way to the end! This was definitely not an average month for me but I’m delighted to have ticked so many books off my TBR. While I had a few disappointing reads, I also found some new favourites. I can’t wait to see what July brings! 

May Wrap-Up! (In which buying a house takes a serious toll on my reading productivity)

Hey guys! I find it unbelievable that it’s the end of May – I feel like it was January 2 weeks ago? Yet, at the same time, this has been a looong month. Moving into my house was way more stressful than I’d anticipated and my mental health took a real hit which meant I wasn’t reading as much as usual. However, I’m pleased to say I still managed to get through 8 books – and my mood is also improving so I’m hopeful for a great reading month in June!

 

Classics

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

I only read one classic this month (the audiobooks took one of the biggest hits because anytime I was in my car I was moving boxes and couldn’t concentrate on ‘reading’). Widely credited as the first detective mystery, there was a lot to enjoy in this novel. It’s wry humour had me laughing out loud at times and it rarely felt dull or long-winded like a lot of other literature of its time! I gave this one 4/5 stars.

 

Review Books/Books I was sent

Life Lessons from Remarkable Women

This anthology of mini essays from 25 female celebrities was sent to me by the lovely people at Penguin Life. It’s a really valuable resource that I can see myself dipping in and out of in years to come; there really is something for everyone in there. I found something personally relevant in many of the ‘lessons’. 4/5 stars.

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The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet

This was an enjoyable and compelling domestic drama with a really interesting mental health vein. You can read my full spoiler-free review here! A solid 4/5 stars.

 

Guilt by Amanda Robson

I had quite a few issues with this book but still found it an addictive read! It was super fast-paced and really gripping. If you’re interested to see exactly what I didn’t like about it, click here. 4/5 stars for enjoyment.

 

Ill Will by Michael Stewart

I requested this book due to its link with Wuthering Heights (one of my all-time favourites). There is a period in the original classic where Heathcliff disappears and returns having mysteriously educated himself and become a gentleman. This book is basically the story of what happens in the time he is away. I should have known that it couldn’t possibly live up to my adoration of Brontë’s masterpiece. There were some things I liked about it but it’s definitely not a new favourite. I’ll be reviewing this one in full soon but I gave it 3/5 stars.

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Books from my TBR

Scythe by Neal Schusterman

My book club’s pick this month was a novel that has been on my radar for a while now but that I might not have been inclined to pick up anytime soon. I’m really glad we chose this one as it has a really intriguing concept at its heart and will make for an amazing moral discussion! I’ll be reading the sequel Thunderhead soon too. Scythe was a strong 4/5 stars.

 

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I won this book in a giveaway by Reading Between the Pages (thank you again!) and it ended up being my favourite of the month. It was full of sassy characters and amazing world-building, which are two things that almost always guarantee I will love a book. Check out my spoiler-free review here! 5/5 stars!

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Lips Touch by Laini Taylor

Everyone knows by now that I am Laini Taylor trash. The woman is a queen. I got the urge to try this short story collection and I’m pleased to say it’s just as gorgeous as everything else I’ve read from Laini so far. She continues to combine buckets of imagination with the most sumptuous writing, and it just blows me away every single time. All the stars for Laini!

 

 

Stats

Total pages: 2837

Average pages per day: 94.5

Longest book: The Moonstone (512 pages)

Shortest book: Life Lessons from Remarkable Women (188 pages)

Favourite read of the month: To Kill a Kingdom

Biggest disappointment of the month: Ill Will

Male authors: 4

Female authors: 5

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 1 (oops!)

 

And that’s my wrap-up for May! My worst reading month of the year but I’m still well ahead on my Goodreads goal so I’m not worried.

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How did your month go? Leave me a comment telling me the best thing that happened to you in May! x

 

 

April Wrap-Up! (In which I show how reading slumps can be overcome with a little determination)

This month, I read 12 books. I’m unbelievably happy with this as I felt like I was battling a huge slump for the majority of the month – I just didn’t feel like reading (this never happens?!) And then when I did feel like reading, I didn’t have time because (in case you haven’t heard) I bought a house! So it’s been a crazy month. I would have liked to have got through even more books but I’m really pleased with what I did manage.

 

Classics

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

I’ve wanted to read this classic sci-fi novel for a long time and I finally took the plunge this month! I was pleased that it counted as a book under 200 pages for the BookBum bookclub run by Zuky. I really enjoyed this read and you can check out my full review here!

 

Wuthering Heights by Wuthering Heights

I joined the Bronte BookClub on Instagram for their group read of this classic. I have already read this book multiple times but this was my first time experiencing it as an audiobook. The Librivox narrator was fantastic, distinguishing between every character with a different voice, and the innumerable haunting quotes really reminded me why I love this book so much.

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Review books/Books I was sent

The Skincare Bible by Dr Anjali Mahto

I took part in a blog tour for this non-fiction release and I found it to be a really helpful resource! I don’t really have a skincare routine at present but I’m hoping this book will help me to implement one (I’ve already found myself employing some of Mahto’s tips since reading it!) If you’re interested, you can find my post from the blog tour here.

 

The Fear by C. L. Taylor

I was sent this book for an Instagram tour and, while I found it a fun and fast read, I wasn’t blown away by it. My full spoiler-free review is here.

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In for the Kill by Ed James

Another thriller I was sent for a blog tour, this one was very enjoyable! I found the plot very interesting and gritty. Check out my full spoiler-free review!

 

Raven’s Cry by Dana Fraedrich

This dark retelling of Swan Lake comes out tomorrow (May 1st) and I was really impressed by it! Keep an eye out for my review!

 

Books from my TBR

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I finally picked up this beast of a book and really enjoyed it! It was wonderfully original as I’ve come to expect from Gaiman, with only a few bits that were so weird they prevented me giving it the full five stars!

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it didn’t disappoint! Check out my gushing spoiler-free review here!

 

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Finally, I’ve read a Sarah Addison Allen book! And I really enjoyed it. The magical realism was absolutely perfect and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. Yet another review can be found here!

 

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

It took me a really long time to get through this one as I picked it up during the deepest part of my reading slump. However, it was really good and I know that I would have flown through it at any other time!

 

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

I was gifted this one by a work colleague so I had no excuse to keep putting off beginning my Atwood journey! This was a great place to start. Even Atwood’s very first novel is so clever and forward-thinking, I can only imagine how fantastic her later works are going to be!

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Re-Reads

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

I read this debut last year and fell in love with its aesthetic. I got the urge to reread it this month and just ran with it! I still haven’t read the sequel but I’m more likely to pick it up soon having refreshed my memory of the first book.

 

 

Stats

Total pages: 4422

Average pages per day: 147.4

Longest book: American Gods (722 pages)

Shortest book: The War of the Worlds (186 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Wicked Deep

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Fear

Male authors: 4

Female authors: 8

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 2

 

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So that was my reading month! Can you believe we’re a third of the way through this year already?! How many books did you get through in April? What was your favourite read of the month?

March Wrap-Up! (In which I fangirl about some new all-time favourites)

Hey everyone! Well it’s that time again – where are the months going?! I’m delighted that I managed to read 9 books in March. I’m happy with this because one of the books was 700 pages and another was over 900 (!!) so that’s like two and three times the size of an average book! So I’m not at all worried about my final number.

 

Classics

Middlemarch by George Eliot

This absolute giant of a book was the only classic I managed to get through this month. I joined in with the #middlemarching readalong on Instagram and I’m really glad I did as I think I would have struggled with this one if I just tried to read it on my own. There are some rather dull parts about hospital policies and the like, but the winning aspect of this novel is its characterisation. Eliot is a master. 4 stars.

 

Review Books/Books I was sent

Swimming Lessons by Clare Fuller

I don’t know what I expected from this one but it wasn’t what I got. I feel like my unrealistic expectations have affected my rating of it so I would still suggest reading it if you’re interested because friends of mine have loved it! It ended up feeling quite average for me. 3 stars.

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The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford

I was sent an ARC of this one but, sadly, I didn’t really connect with it. I don’t enjoy giving negative reviews so I’ll just say that it wasn’t for me and leave it at that. 2 stars.

 

Hold My Hand by M. J. Ford

I had mixed feelings about this one but overall I enjoyed it thanks to its crazy ending! The end of the book is definitely its strongest point so it’s worth persevering through the slightly slow start. I have a full spoiler-free review here. 3.5 stars.

 

The Friendship Cure by Kate Leaver

This non-fiction read was sent to me by Duckworth Publishing and I really enjoyed it. It explores the dynamics of friendships (including those we make online) and I found it fascinating. My full review is here. 4 stars.

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Books from my TBR

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

This was a fantastic debut adult fantasy with some exquisite world-building! I was completely captivated by it and absolutely raced through it. Check out my full spoiler-free (fangirling) review here! 5 stars.

 

The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley

The sequel to The Seven Sisters, which was my favourite read last month, was equally as brilliant. This one took place in the frozen fjords of Norway as opposed to the sultry heat of Brazil but the storyline was just as gripping. I loved the focus on music also. Even though this one was 700 pages, it could have continued on and I would never have been bored – can you tell I love this series?! 5 stars.

 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

This evil queen origins story was a buddy read with my good friend Jen on Instagram. It was surprisingly dark! We both agreed that there was some nice world-building but the author could have taken it further (give us the purple prose!) The plot was a little slow in places but the last 100 pages were action-packed! 4 stars.

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The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

This book has been on my TBR for years and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long because I LOVED IT. I was so emotionally invested and can’t wait to read more from this author. Anyone of Scottish descent or interested in Scottish history needs to read this! I’m so glad my book club chose this as our March pick. 5 stars.

 

Stats

Books read: 9

Total pages: 4336

Average pages per day: 140

Longest book: Middlemarch (912 pages)

Shortest book: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter (301 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Winter Sea

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

Male authors: 1

Female authors: 8

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 4

 

So the books from my TBR were the clear winners this month! I participated in #readforwomen for the second month in a row (apart from one male-authored book which I had to read to review) and I loved reading from so many talented female authors.

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How many books did you read this month? Tell me your favourites!

February Wrap-Up! (In which Girl Power rules)

February was a slightly slower reading month for me. I started the month with an incredible read but I then had such a hangover from it that I struggled to keep up the pace for the rest of the month. I also worked more shifts in recent weeks which took away from my reading time. However, I’m still thrilled with what I managed to read! (I don’t know why I’m trying to justify ‘only’ reading 10 books – I guess I’m feeling insecure today haha).

This month, I took part in the #readforwomen initiative which is run by Sara’s Reading Diary over on Instagram. The idea is to read only female authors in February and March to celebrate 100 years of some women getting the vote in the UK and International Women’s Day! I don’t know if I’ll participate again in March but I enjoyed getting involved this month and reading some amazing books by female authors.

Classics

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. It’s incredible. Mary Shelley created a masterpiece of a story that is just as powerful 200 years on. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The fourth Austen book I’ve read, I was actually a little disappointed by this one. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good but I found it lacked the humour I’ve come to expect from Austen’s writing. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace for this one? Or maybe I should have read her works in chronological order so that I could see the progression towards the superb quality I’ve come to expect from her.

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Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson

I’m glad to have finally read some Emily Dickinson, though I won’t deny that there were some of her poems that went over my head. I wish I had got the opportunity to study her in school because I feel like I would love her work if I only understood it more. I’m pleased to say I tried and will definitely return for another attempt in the future, as I found some real gems in this collection.

 

Review Books

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

The first in the D.I. Callanach series, I really enjoyed this gritty thriller set in Scotland. The book’s chapters alternate between the viewpoints of the detective and the killer, which I found morbidly fascinating. I’d like to continue the series and see where the author takes the characters. Check out my spoiler-free review here!

The Light Over Broken Tide by Holly Ducarte

I’m proud to say I was a member of Holly’s ARC tribe so I got to read an early copy of her debut novel, publishing soon! I loved the raw beauty of her writing and the small-town Canadian setting. I’ll be reviewing this one soon (I’m so behind, oops). Holly has also been kind enough to agree to an interview so look out for that in the near future too!

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Books from my TBR

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

This was my first read of the month and it SLAYED me. I spent 6 days completely immersed in the world of this novel and really struggled to let it go after it ended. I can’t wait to read the second book. My full spoiler-free review of The Seven Sisters is here.

A Shining in the Shadows by Beverly Lee

After reading and loving The Making of Gabriel Davenport, I took far too long to get round to this sequel! However, I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it and loved the direction Lee took the story in. You can check out my review here.

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Lost Boy by Christina Henry

This reimagining of Peter Pan is the darkest fairytale retelling I’ve ever read and I loved it. Gritty and fast-paced, I definitely recommend this one for fans of the tv show Once Upon a Time and those who like their fairytales a little darker.

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

I picked this up on a whim one night and ended up reading 100 pages in a single sitting! (This rarely happens.) The world building was absolutely incredible, with witches, shamans and a whole mythology inspired by Tibetan culture. While the story itself was slightly predictable, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it and I will definitely be picking up the sequel when it comes out!

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

My final read of the month was my book club’s pick, this Gothic novel set in the Victorian times which was voted Waterstone’s Book of the Year in 2016. I loved the writing style and, while some readers have complained that it is too slow in pace, I found it enjoyable and immersive with some very interesting points for discussion raised.

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Monthly Stats

Books read: 10

Total pages: 3836

Average pages per day: 137

Longest book: The Seven Sisters (626 pages)

Shortest book: The Light Over Broken Tide (250 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Seven Sisters

Biggest disappointment of the month: Tie between Sense and Sensibility and Dickinson poems (though they were by no means bad!)

Male authors: 0

Female authors: 10 – all of them!

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 6

 

I need to read more review books next month as I focused a bit too heavily on mood reading this month! But I’m pleased with the books I read and already have some great picks lined up for March!

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How many books did you read in February? What was your favourite read of the month? And did anyone else take part in #readforwomen? 

January Wrap-Up! (In which I introduce a snazzy new stats section)

Hey everyone! Can you believe the first month of 2018 is over already?! I love this time of the month, seeing what everyone has been reading.

I managed to read 17 books in January! If this is the rate I’m going to be reading all year, I’m more than happy.

 

Classics

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston LeRoux

This was one of my first rereads of the year. I adore the story of the Phantom and the 2004 movie adaptation is one of my favourite ever movies, so I was definitely due to revisit the bowels of the Paris Opera House. It was fun to listen to this as an audiobook for a change and I loved it just as much, if not more, than the last time I read it! I recommend this to readers who loved Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, or anything else with misunderstood anti-heroes!

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The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Can you believe I’d never read The Jungle Book before this month?! I decided it was about time but, silly me, I didn’t realise it was actually an anthology of stories! Mowgli and co. do feature heavily but there are also stories about other jungle animals. A decent enough read, nothing amazing.

Five Children and It by E. Nesbitt

A childhood classic I’d never read but that I absolutely fell in love with! This is an utterly charming story and I found it completely endearing. It made me feel nostalgic for those stories I loved as a child and it was a lovely adventure.

 

Review Books

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

This was my first read of the year, kindly sent to me by Penguin Random House. After reading Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo last year, I was excited to continue my foray into the world of the DC Icons. Sadly, I didn’t love this one as much, finding it harder to suspend my disbelief. You can read my full review here.

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Shadows by Paul Finch

This was the second book in the Lucy Clayburn series which I am loving! Sent to me by the lovely Elke at Avon Books, I really enjoyed both this and the first book, Strangers. I have a double review here if you’re interested. I’d definitely recommend this series to fans of gritty thrillers!

Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Sent to me by Harper 360 YA, I sadly didn’t love this one as much as I’d hoped to – however, I still found it an entertaining read! There were a few too many tropes for my liking, but I did like the protagonist and the wintery aesthetic was to-die-for! My full spoiler-free review is here. Not a 5-star read for me but still worth a try if you feel at all interested in it!

 

Books from my TBR

This is the most important section of my wrap-up this month since my main bookish goal this year is to vanquish my TBR! (Or at least as much of it as possible). I’m delighted to say it’s going well so far.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

I picked this one up on a whim one night and read the whole thing before going to bed! I read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series last year and fell in love with Laini Taylor’s writing. Zuzana was one of my favourite characters of the series so I was certain I would enjoy this novella focusing on her first date with Mik! And I wasn’t wrong. It was completely adorable and a lovely bit of fluff in between more serious reads. Plus the artwork is gorgeous and really added to the whole experience.

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero

I was desperate to read this book when I heard about it at the end of 2017 so I was overjoyed when my bestie Mia gifted me it for Christmas! It was as beautiful and magical as I had expected and has already earned itself a place on my favourites list for this year! You can read my gushing review here.

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Everless by Sara Holland

I received this book in my last (*cries*) FairyLoot box in December and had heard a lot of hype about it on Instagram. Thankfully, it lived up to the hype for me! I really enjoyed the story and liked the protagonist. I would have actually raced through this much faster than I did but I left it at work one day!! Here’s my spoiler-free review.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Oh my goodness, this book! Serious heart eyes. After Night of Cake and Puppets, I was in the mood for more of Laini’s gorgeous writing so I finally picked up Strange the Dreamer – and I adored it. Lazlo and Sarai are two of my new favourite characters and the world-building is incredible. I cannot WAIT for Muse of Nightmares. For more of my flailing, check out my review here.

Alice and the Fly by James Rice

I didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect from this book so I went in pretty much blind – and I would suggest you do the same! Police interviews scattered throughout the book hint at something shocking and kept me racing towards the end! It’s a fascinating look at mental illness and was much darker than I expected. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe

This book had been on my wishlist since last year – African magical realism with a circus setting? Heck yes! So when I saw it on sale after Christmas, I snapped it up. Sadly, something just didn’t gel for me. The book couldn’t seem to decide what genre to be and there were jarring modern images that didn’t fit with the Ghanaian folklore side of things. Consider me disappointed.

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All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

After buddy-reading The Scorpio Races with my lovely friend Jennifer in November, we decided to pick up Stiefvater’s latest book, All the Crooked Saints. We both agreed that, though the prose was gorgeous once again and Stiefvater’s imagination is wonderful, we didn’t love this one quite so much. It’s very slow-paced and character-driven, and I wouldn’t recommend it for readers who are just starting out on their Stiefvater journey. Don’t get me wrong, I still really liked it – but The Scorpio Races is still the winner for me.

The Empress by S. J. Kincaid

This was my book club’s pick for January, after we all read The Diabolic last year and it pleasantly surprised us all! I think I probably liked the first book more (but that just seems to be my way, I love first books!) However, this was still an enjoyable final read of the month.

 

24-in-48 Readathon Books

Angelmonster by Veronica Bennett

I really enjoyed this fictional account of the life of Mary Shelley. Definitely recommend to fans of Frankenstein, which incidentally I’m thinking of rereading next month!

One by Sarah Crossan

Brutal and beautiful, this book written in verse took me by surprise and absolutely ripped the heart out of me. A great quick read – but have some tissues handy!

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

An all-time favourite, The Hobbit has been calling to me to reread it for MONTHS. I finally let myself pick it up again and enjoyed the adventure just as much this time round.

To read more about the 24in48 readathon, I wrote a post about it that you can check out here.

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(Some of these books were so hard to photograph! So much foil, my gosh)

 

The Snazzy New ‘Stats’ Bit!

I want to be more mindful of what I read this year so I’m going to add this little analytical section into my monthly wrap-up posts to track things like my male:female author ratio and the lengths of books I’m reading.

Books read: 17

Total pages: 5662

Average pages per day: 182.6

Longest book: Strange the Dreamer (536 pages)

Shortest book: Angelmonster (199 pages) 

Favourite read of the month: The Dollmaker of Krakow

Biggest disappointment of the month: A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars

Male authors: 5

Female authors: 11 (though 2 books were from the same author)

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 13

 

And that’s it for this month guys! Well done you if you made it all the way through this post – it took me so long to write this wrap-up! But I’ll happily do it every month if it means I’m reading so many amazing books. Here’s to a fantastic February!

 

How many books did you read in January? What was your favourite read of the month? Link me up to your wrap-up posts if you have them!