March 2019 Wrap-Up!

Hello everyone! I’m so sorry for being a bit absent this month; does anyone else feel like they’re constantly playing catch-up? I have had so much going on that I just couldn’t keep up with blogging – I feel like I’m saying this in every wrap-up lately but I promise I’m trying to get back on top of things!

March 2019 wrapup


Review Books

Joe Quinn’s Poltergeist by David Almond & Dave McKean

My first read of the month was this quirky little graphic novel sent to me by Walker Books. I enjoyed the pairing of the straightforward writing style with the mature-looking artwork, but would have liked it to be slightly longer.

 

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

A gripping thriller with plenty of twists and turns, that certainly kept me entertained for a weekend! Not a lot of character development but decently written.

 

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

A humorous portrayal of 1970s Glasgow, I really enjoyed this Tartan Noir! Black comedy at its finest.

 

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

While I would say I enjoyed Spooner’s first book ever so slightly more, this was a fun retelling! There were lots of great found family vibes and heaps of feminism, all portrayed through some great writing.

 

Sunwise by Helen Steadman

The sequel to Widdershins proved to be just as high quality as its predecessor, and I got even more from the reading experience since I was able to interview the author! Look out for my stop on the blog tour tomorrow 😉


Books from my TBR

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

It’s taken me two months to get through the audiobook of this one (it’s 39 hours long!) But I’m glad to have read it after enjoying the tv adaptation last year. I loved the wry humour.

 

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

This sequel was everything I hoped for! The world-building was just as stunning as in the first book and I really appreciated the author’s ability to write realistic dialogue. Even if her endings destroy me!

 

Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman

My final read of the month that I technically haven’t finished yet but that I plan to get through before April hits. This one is so compelling and fast-paced! Look out for my review next month.


Stats

Total pages: 3306

Average pages per day: 106.7

Longest book: Vanity Fair (912 pages)

Shortest book: Joe Quinn’s Poltergeist (80 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Kingdom of Copper/Sunwise

Biggest disappointment of the month: Nothing really disappointed me this month!

Male authors: 5

Female authors: 3


march 2019.jpg

So that was March! I ticked a couple of chunky tomes off my TBR as well as tackling a few review books. How was your reading month? x

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February 2019 Wrap-Up!

Well this is going to be a shorter wrap-up than usual because February was ROUGH. I completely burnt myself out this month, trying to do far too much. And on top of that, I had my birthday to celebrate and I’ve been fighting off a yucky cold for most of the month. But let’s see what I managed to read in spite of everything!

February 2019 wrapup


Review Books

The Last by Hanna Jameson

My first read of the month was this dystopian murder-mystery, which I found highly original and compelling. It was quite ambiguous at times and very open-ended but I was gripped for the entirety and I would definitely recommend this one!

 

A Version of the Truth by B. P. Walter

I really struggled with this one. I was intrigued to start with but then the subject matter became more and more unpalatable as the book went on and I just felt disgusted. The characters were unlikeable and the ending was one of the most dissatisfying I’ve ever read.

 

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

An enjoyable historical fiction based on the 1911 strike at the Singer sewing machine factory. Fergie has a nice writing style and I felt invested in the many characters’ lives. A well-researched novel that I would recommend to fans of family sagas!

 

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

My final read of the month and the one that has caused me the most difficulty! I liked the sound of this sci-fi novel, even though the genre intimidates me at times. Unfortunately, my horrendous reading slump started not long after I’d begun reading this so I feel like that might have affected my opinion of it. I enjoyed it but probably not as much as I could have. Full review coming soon!


Books from my TBR

alice christina henry

Alice by Christina Henry

I only read one book from my TBR shelf all month?! Poor effort, Alex. I did enjoy this one though I think I prefer Henry’s more recent books; I can clearly see an improvement in her writing. Although I found this one a little meandering and anticlimactic, I’m still glad to have read it.


Rereads

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

I continued my reread of the Harry Potter series 10 years on by picking up the third book in the series – which also happens to be my favourite. I adored revisiting this one and remembering what I love so much about it.


Stats

Total pages: 2229

Average pages per day: 79.6

Longest book: The City in the Middle of the Night (482 pages)

Shortest book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (320 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Biggest disappointment of the month: A Version of the Truth

Male authors: 1

Female authors: 5

february 2019


I feel like I should also point out that I listened to 100 pages of the Vanity Fair audiobook – but considering that’s not even a quarter of the book, can it really count?! Here’s hoping March is a better reading month! xsignature (2)

January 2019 Wrap-up!

January 2019 wrapup.png

January is finally over! I’m not one for wishing time away but this has been one LOOONG month. And sadly, I didn’t read as much as I had hoped to in all this time. Going back to work and uni took its toll on my reading time, plus I’ve had a lot of headaches that have stopped me from reading even when I’ve had time. But the books I did read were, on the whole, fantastic!

Let’s take a look!


Review Books

The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins

My first read of 2019 was this delightfully feminist middle-grade book. I loved the vivid descriptions and, of course, the musical subject matter was right up my street. There is some great diversity here and some surprisingly dark moments. A great start to the year!

 

Cuckoo by Sophie Draper

The first thriller I read this year is one of the best I’ve ever come across. This is a slow-burning and mysterious book, with heaps of atmosphere and plenty of twists and turns. I particularly loved the inclusion of the dark fairytales throughout the book.

 

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

A slow-burning, Gothic read, this one was incredibly absorbing. Mazzola did a great job of portraying a moment in history and all the misogyny that accompanied it.


Books from my TBR

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

I read this with the Dragons and Tea Book Club and I’m so glad I did. This is a fascinating book focusing on a mental health topic that is not often explored. I loved the format of the book and found the whole thing so clever. And getting to ask the author questions on Goodreads made it an even more special reading experience!

 

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I felt such a connection with this quiet little book. I’m still thinking about the characters long after finishing it. Brunt tackles the subject of the AIDS epidemic with such tact. She has created a work of beauty in this book and I want everyone to read it.

 

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

I read this book with my own book club this month and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I had been nervous about it as Beauty and the Beast retellings are starting to get a little overdone, but I loved the wintery Russian vibes in this one!

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This was one of the books I read for the 24in48 readathon and I really enjoyed it. It’s classic Gaiman, both dark and whimsical, with fantastic characters and moments of real wit.

 

Your Turn to Die by Sue Wallman

Another book I read for 24in48, this was the only book I read in January that I didn’t enjoy. It felt extremely juvenile and there was nothing memorable about it, other than the animal cruelty.

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My final read of the month was certainly a powerful one. I’m glad I finally picked this one up. I felt much more of a connection to it than I expected to, thanks in part to the author’s skill at writing dialogue. So deserving of the hype.


Rereads

curious incident.jpg

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

I only managed one reread this month and it was this book that I haven’t read since my school days. It was fun to go back and remember what was so good about this book, as well as seeing how far we’ve come in the discussion about autism in the last few years.


Stats

Total pages: 3385

Average pages per day: 109

Longest book: The Hate U Give (438 pages)

Shortest book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (268 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Biggest disappointment of the month: Your Turn to Die

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 8

january 2019.jpg

Well, that was January! How many books did you manage to read this month? What was your favourite? Let me know in the comments! And thanks for reading xsignature (2)

December Wrap-Up! (Including some 2018 bookish stats!)

December was a much slower reading month for me, with all the business of the festive season and the fact that I was working right up to Christmas Day. But that’s ok because reading is not a competition 🙂 Plus it gives me more room in this post to talk about my stats for the year!


Review Books/Books I was sent

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

This feminist reimagining of The Iliad was a powerful and visceral read. The narrative voice was compelling and painted a harrowing picture of the reality of the Trojan war for women.

 

The Dark Vault by V. E. Schwab

This bind-up of two of Schwab’s earliest novels, The Archived and The Unbound, was darker than I was expecting and a little confusing at first. However, once I got into the flow, I found the story very enjoyable. Book two might just have the edge over book one for me, thanks to it’s exploration of PTSD (I love it when a fantasy novel incorporates mental health topics!)

 

Perfect Silence by Helen Fields

The fourth and most recent book in the Perfect series, this one was definitely the most gruesome! The character development was superb and I was 100% invested. Bring on book five!

 

Books from my TBR

the toymakers

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

My last read of 2018, I deliberately saved this one for months and months because I thought it would be perfect to read over Christmas. While it was indeed full of festive magic, it was very slow in pace and not quite what I expected. It was still an enjoyable read! Just not the 5 star book I had hoped for.

 

Rereads

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

My first reread of Harry Potter in ten years was nothing short of magical 😉 I loved being back at Hogwarts and remembering all the little details that were left out of the film.

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

The second book in the Harry Potter series is my least favourite but it is still full of great stuff! Plus Rowling’s foreshadowing is first class.

 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The quintessential Christmas story that really does stand the test of time. You can’t beat this one during the festive season.

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Stats

Total pages: 2551

Average pages per day: 82

Longest book: The Dark Vault (697 pages), though technically it’s a bind-up of two books so longest standalone was The Toymakers (468 pages)

Shortest book: A Christmas Carol (144 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Biggest disappointment of the month: I didn’t really have any major disappointments this month! If I had to pick, I’d say The Toymakers just because it wasn’t what I expected.

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 5 (though technically two Schwab so you could say 6)

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 0. I decided not to push to finish the challenge because I’m fed up reading books just to hit challenge prompts.


2018 Stats!

Total books read: 146

Total page count: 51,023

Average page count per day: 139.8

Shortest book: The Castle of Otranto (125 pages)

Longest book: Middlemarch (912 pages)

Average Goodreads rating: 4.1 (wow, I thought I was harsher than that!)

Female authors: 94

Male authors: 52

Audiobooks: 29

Books from my backlist: 44

Rereads: 15


And that all but concludes 2018! All that’s left is to say a big thank you to everyone who has joined me on my blogging journey this year; your support means more to me than you can ever know! I have big plans for this blog in 2019 and I really hope you’ll all stick around to see it. Have a wonderful evening if you’re doing anything and all the best for the new year! x

My favourite books of 2018!

Hello bookies! I have been so excited about posting this – I love seeing everyone’s favourites of the year 😀

A note before we start: not all of these books were published in 2018, I just read them for the first time this year. Also, I’m listing them purely in the order I read them from earliest in the year to most recently; there’s absolutely no way I could rank these!


The Dollmaker of Kraków by R. M. Romero

the dollmaker of krakow

What I loved about it

  • Some of the most powerful imagery I’ve ever read
  • Characters that were precious and pure
  • Shattered my heart into a million pieces
  • Perfect for all ages
  • Magical and beautiful

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

strange the dreamer

What I loved about it

  • Absolutely STUNNING writing
  • Incredible immersive world-building
  • Complex and fascinating characters
  • Realistic dialogue and SNARK
  • One of the most original stories I’ve ever read

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

the seven sisters.jpg

What I loved about it

  • The start of my new favourite series!
  • Superb character development
  • Sumptuously evocative descriptions
  • Intricate and clever plot
  • Captivates you and doesn’t let go

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

city of brass

What I loved about it

  • Superb attention to detail, including religious and political history
  • Cinematic descriptions
  • Perfectly paced
  • Gorgeous writing that sweeps you off your feet
  • Morally grey characters

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

the winter sea

What I loved about it

  • Instantly likeable protagonist
  • Took me through the whole spectrum of emotions
  • Seamless blending of timelines
  • Scottish accents written perfectly
  • History, romance, even psychology – this book had everything!

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

bone gap

What I loved about it

  • Seriously brilliant cast of characters
  • Stunning writing with beautiful metaphors
  • SO many levels to the story
  • Reads like a fable
  • A genre-bending masterpiece

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

language of thorns.jpg

What I loved about it

  • GORGEOUS writing
  • Subverts every fairytale cliché
  • Dark and twisty
  • Speaks up for women and minority groups
  • The physical book is an actual work of art

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

the mermaid

What I loved about it

  • Brilliant activist protagonist
  • Multi-layered plot that defies categorisation
  • Fast pace
  • Beautiful writing
  • Gorgeous message of acceptance

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews

a thousand perfect notes

What I loved about it

  • Cinnamon boys and sassy girls
  • Great sibling relationship
  • Brutally shredded my heart
  • Retells the life of a classical musician!
  • Cait’s voice was delightfully clear

More Than This by Patrick Ness

more than this

What I loved about it

  • So tender and sweet, it filled my whole heart
  • Brilliantly realistic characters
  • Romance, tragedy, drama – even a sci-fi element!
  • One of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to
  • Honestly, it spoke to my very soul

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

autoboyography

What I loved about it

  • Amazing realistic banter
  • The sweetest and most heartfelt romance
  • Hottest first kiss I’ve ever read
  • Handles a controversial subject with tact and respect
  • Positive and uplifting message

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

muse of nightmares

What I loved about it

  • Phenomenal character development
  • Exploration of mental illness in a fantasy novel!
  • Such a satisfying sequel/conclusion
  • Stunning STUNNING writing
  • Potential for an extended Laini Taylor universe?! YESSS

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

small spaces

What I loved about it

  • Such an intelligently crafted middle grade
  • Wonderful protagonist whom I connected with on a deep personal level
  • Fabulous exploration of childhood grief
  • Some genuinely creepy scenes!
  • The resolution is perfect

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

rebecca du maurier

What I loved about it

  • Creepy house setting
  • Symbolism EVERYWHERE
  • The characters are works of art
  • Unreliable narrator
  • A Gothic masterpiece!

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

the queens of innis lear

What I loved about it

  • Incredible world-building
  • Fantastic use of flashbacks and multiple POVs
  • Amazing levels of diversity
  • A setting that is almost a character in itself
  • A fantastic, faithful reimagining of King Lear

I genuinely found so many new all-time favourites this year and I urge you all to read any and all of the books on this list!

I was going to do some honourable mentions but it would honestly be like another 20 books so I’ll leave it hehe. But know that I am just so thankful for all the amazing stories I got to read this year and I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds!

Did any of these titles make it onto your favourites list this year? x

November Wrap-Up! (In which I tackle my review pile)

Hi everyone! Sorry this wrap-up is a couple of days late; I’ve not been feeling well over the last week and it was a struggle to bring myself to blog or Instagram. Anyway, let’s look at what I read in November!


Review Books/Books I Was Sent

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

I pretty much hated this. I feel like it has scarred my brain. Heavy-handed writing aside, it was disgustingly misogynistic and had some of the grossest imagery I’ve ever come across.

 

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

I really connected with this one and thought the author gave a sensitive portrayal of teenage grief that didn’t come across as frustratingly angsty. I read this one in a single day and really enjoyed it.

 

The Promise by Katerina Diamond

This was a fun thriller that hooked me from the first chapter. It was a little open-ended for my liking but I did enjoy how all the seemingly-disparate plot threads were connected.

 

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

The third book in the DC Icons series, I didn’t love this as much as Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman but I liked it more than Marie Lu’s Batman. I’ll be reviewing this one in full very soon but, overall, my opinion is positive! I was pleasantly surprised.

 

The Lingering by S. J. I. Holiday

I read this one for a blog tour and it was majorly creepy! The author did a great job creating a Gothic setting and the tension was palpable from start to finish. A great spooky story.

 

Love is Blind by William Boyd

Another one that I’ll be reviewing soon but, sadly, I feel quite ‘meh’ about this one. I didn’t hate it, I just feel a bit apathetic towards it. It didn’t do anything for me and I feel like it will be easily forgotten.

 

Books from my TBR

Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft 

This was a great anthology of witchy stories. As with all collections, there were some hits and some misses; thankfully, I enjoyed a good percentage of the stories.

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I seem to be in the minority with this one but I didn’t love it. I found it very confusing and it just didn’t hook me like I wanted it to. I think listening to the audiobook was the problem.

 

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

This adult fantasy was incredible and everything I never knew I needed. The writing was absolutely gorgeous and the use of flashbacks was masterful. There were just so many levels to this and I recommend it with my whole heart.

 

Rereads

the scorpio races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Of course, I had to reread this one; it is the quintessential November book! I loved it just as much the second time around.

 

Non-fiction

hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy: A Practical Guide by Hellmut W. A. Karle & Jennifer H. Boys

Like a good student, I read a book related to my diploma course. I found this introduction to hypnotherapy to be very informative and, on the whole, clear and concise.

 

Stats

Total pages: 4324

Average pages per day: 144

Longest book: The Queens of Innis Lear (568 pages)

Shortest book: The Lingering

Favourite read of the month: The Queens of Innis Lear

Biggest disappointment of the month: Damsel

Male authors: 3

Female authors: 9

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 1

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How many books did you read in November? What was your favourite? x

October Wrap-Up! (In which significant life changes hinder my spooky reading)

Hello all! I can’t believe it’s wrap-up time again. October ended up being a much busier month than I had expected as I got a last-minute invite onto a diploma course (and obviously, I jumped at the chance!) So I’m now back studying as well as working full-time and, unfortunately, that leaves less time for reading. But I still managed to get through some good books. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what I read in October!

 

Classics

rebecca du maurier

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This was one of my most anticipated reads. I bought this book back in January but wanted to save it for the dark Autumn nights as I just knew it would be so atmospheric. And I was not disappointed. This is a Gothic masterpiece and the characters were absolute works of art.

 

Review books/Books I was sent

The Black Prince by Adam Roberts

I struggled a little with this one as it felt quite disjointed and the battle scenes were very visceral, but it was an interesting take on a period in history that I knew virtually nothing about.

 

Perfect Death by Helen Fields

The third instalment of this thriller series was just as fantastic as its two predecessors and kept me up reading far too late. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of gender roles that the author tackled in this one.

 

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

A strange but compelling story that was quite dark at times, I really liked this powerfully feminist read. Some of the descriptive writing was gorgeous and the rep was awesome.

 

Books from my TBR

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

By far my favourite read of the month, if not the year, Muse of Nightmares didn’t just live up to all of my gigantic expectations but surpassed them. Laini Taylor is a true queen of words and I will be eagerly awaiting news of her next book.

 

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

This was a great little coming-of-age story about the origins of Halloween. My only complaint was that I wanted it to be longer!

 

Sweet Pea by C. J. Skuse

This thriller written from the perspective of a female psychopath was absolutely hilarious. Its twisted humour had me laughing out loud at every page and I will definitely be picking up the sequel at some point.

 

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

I thought this was a really gripping and original dystopian. The author got across some excellent points about birth control, sex positivity, sexuality and consent, while painting a terrifying picture of a world where 99% of the female population has been wiped out.

 

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

This book had the unfortunate position of following Muse of Nightmares; I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I could have because I was in the biggest book hangover! I thought it was an interesting premise but it was very slow in pace, though it was still impressive for a debut and I genuinely think it was just a case of bad timing.

 

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

I adored this spooky middle grade with a heart. I felt a real connection with the protagonist, Ollie, and was so invested in her story. Arden’s portrayal of childhood grief was superb.

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

This was an interesting story but not really what I was expecting. I can’t honestly say that I liked the protagonist but I still found it to be compelling, and I’d like to maybe revisit it in the future to pick up on all the foreshadowing I undoubtedly missed this time round.

 

Stats

Total pages: 4001

Average pages per day: 129

Longest book: Muse of Nightmares (528 pages)

Shortest book: The Halloween Tree (145 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Muse of Nightmares

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Black Prince

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 9

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 1

 

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Those of you who are eagle-eyed might notice that Toil and Trouble features in this picture. Unfortunately, I overestimated my ability to get through it in time! So just pretend that it’s The Book of the Unnamed Midwife instead, since I didn’t have a physical copy of that 😉

Have you read any of these? What was your favourite book that you read in October? x

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

 

september 2018 reading wrapup paperbackpiano.jpg

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

 

#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

hold back the stars

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

pax

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

the roanoke girls

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

more than this

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

white fang

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

 

august 2018 reading wrapup

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