August TBR 2016

Last month was the first time ever that I actually completed a TBR (normally I change my mind halfway through the month or run out of time)! This month I don’t think I’ll be so successful for the simple reason that I have two TBR piles. I could have made one (that would have been a more sensible and normal idea), but as I like making things difficult for myself I naturally have two. There is a reason, I promise.

The first is a paperback TBR – I’m away for a few days this month with a couple of friends so naturally paperbacks (or ebooks) are easier. I also have more of these. The second is a hardback TBR, as I’m off to uni in September I want to try and read as many of my hardbacks as soon as possible. I have some that look absolutely wonderful but I won’t have the space to take them with me to uni. So, here goes:

Paperback TBR

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The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book, and as I’m going to Barcelona (this book is set there) this month, I figured it’s the perfect time to pick it up.

Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey

So in September I will be starting at UEA. Emma Healey was, until recently, their most recent new author (UEA is famous for its creative writing courses and is regularly producing new bestselling, award winning authors). I feel like pretty much everyone that I have spoken to on my course has read this book, and so I want to catch up before I start!

The Glorious Heresies – Lisa McInerney 

Considering I originally picked this up hesitantly, unsure of whether I would like it or not, the premise has definitely grown on me and I’m really looking forward to getting to it soon.

Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood

Okay, this is another one that I feel all my uni friends have read! That, and it does look absolutely fantastic and I’ve wanted to get to it for ages, so now is the time.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

This is one I’ve wanted to read for a long time but put off whilst I was at school due to its difficult subject and being in a bad frame of mind anyway due to school. I’ve heard so many amazing things about this novel and I love Plath’s poetry and now I’m in a good frame of mind to read it, I can’t wait to do so.

Hardback TBR

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Uprooted – Naomi Novik

This has suddenly recaptured my attention recently, and I really want to get to it. In July I read A Court of Thorns and Roses, and it reminded me of how much I actually enjoy fantasy novels. This one looks like something I’d really enjoy so I look forward to picking it up, as I definitely want to read it soon, but obviously won’t take a book this size to uni as I won’t have enough room!

The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood

I love, love, love Margaret Atwood’s work, and this looks incredible. It is also a signed first edition, which I fangirl over every time I think of it.

The Rose and the Dagger – Renée Ahdieh 

I loved the first one and I cannot wait to find out what happens next! As it’s a duology I want to finish it before September and find out how it ends.

The Rest of us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness

I love the premise of this one, it just looks so unique! Recently I’ve seen it around on instagram and booktube, and I think this has reawakened my interest in this book.

Every Exquisite Thing – Matthew Quick

This is the only hardback for review that I haven’t yet read (I’ve read two others that I have, though I haven’t reviewed them yet…). I need (and want) to read this before uni as I don’t want to be waiting until christmas to review it, as I was kindly sent it a while ago now.

So that is my August TBR! I’m hoping to maybe get to two or three off each list, especially if I can have as good a reading month as July). Have you read any of these?

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BookTubeAThon Wrap-Up 2016

Okay, so I admit now that I didn’t read as many as I’d hoped, but I was busier than I expected to be. I was on holiday so anticipated a lot of reading time but that time was spent doing other things, so I don’t mind too much! I finished three books and 60% of a fourth, which I’m pretty pleased with, if I’m honest. Here are the books I read and the challenges they completed.

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Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

I read this one first in the readathon, which was probably my downfall as it took me five days as I didn’t want to read it when I was tired. It was a fantastic book, but it required a little more dedication than I could give whilst half asleep, as the writing begs for your attention. It’s weird, but it’s good. 4/5 stars.

Challenges it completed: Read a book older than you.

Broken Dolls – Tyrolin Puxty

I read this as an ebook as I was sent it back in January for review. It was pretty good, though I did have some problems with it (a review should come fairly soon, but I’ve been pretty awful with review writing recently so who knows). 3/5 stars.

Challenges it completed: Read a book after sunset, read a book you found through booktube (from watching Benjaminoftomes).

One – Sarah Crossan

This was so good, and a very quick read. I managed to get it in on the sunday to complete another book, even though it brought me to tears. 4.5/5 stars.

Challenges it completed: Read a book with yellow on the cover.

60% of Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut is definitely one of my all-time favourite authors. He’s just such a skilled writer and his work is so satirical and ironic. I highly recommend anything by him (though I’ve only read Slaughterhouse 5 and Breakfast of Champions so far – I finished BOC today on Tuesday). 5/5 stars.

Challenge it went towards: Read a book by your favourite author.

I pretty happy with the amount that I managed to read. I would have loved to have read more, but I’m not too fussed as I’m now back on track with my goodreads goal (finally!). Did you participate? How many did you read?

 

BookTubeAThon TBR 2016

My internet is still rather appalling, so apologies for the missed posts and screwed up schedule.

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So another readathon. I’m pretty pleased with how my last one went, and though this week is fairly busy too, I think I should (hopefully) have even more time to dedicate to books, so I’m going to aim to finish four in total. Here are the books that I have chosen for the challenges (though obviously, knowing me, these may change):

Read a book with yellow on the cover – One by Sarah Crossan
This may look lengthy, yet it is written in verse so I believe that it will be a very quick read. This, I think, may also be used for the second task if it is nearing the end of the readathon, as there are others on this TBR I will definitely be picking up first.
Read a book only after sunset – A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler
This is really short, and the man who sold it to me in Waterstones (who was absolutely lovely and likes George Orwell – which automatically makes me like him) said it made him cry. I look forward to getting to this at some point.
Read a book you discovered through booktube – The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
Thanks to Jen Campbell’s (and others’) coverage of the Baileys Prize and the nominated books, I discovered this, which was the winner. It looks so good, though unlike something I’d normally read, but I’m looking forward to picking it up nonetheless.
Read a book by one of your favourite authors – Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
After reading Slaughterhouse 5, recommended to me by a friend’s dad, I fell in love with his writing, and I cannot wait to pick up another by Vonnegut (and gradually work my way through everything he has written). This can also count for the next challenge.
Read a book that is older than you – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
I’m so desperate to read this, everyone on my university english group chat raves about it, and I read a little snippet of it and fell in love with the writing. This was first published in 1959 and I was born in 1997, so well, it’s older than me.
Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Okay, I’m going to be honest and say that I rarely watch movies. The only movie that I’m interested in seeing is Me Before You, and I’ve only just finished reading that. I have, however, picked a book that I know has a movie adaptation, though I know now that I won’t watch it.
Read seven books – Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
This is on my July TBR and I have yet to pick up one of the three Morgan Matson books that I haven’t yet read. It’s fairly long, but I’m sure I’ll read it very quickly, as I did with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.
Are you participating in the BookTubeAThon this year? Which book are you most looking forward to getting to? Personally, I’m most excited for Lolita, but also The Glorious Heresies.

Biannual Bibliothon 2016 Wrap-Up

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This was supposed to go up yesterday but I had no internet so today it is.

I managed to finish three books and most of fourth during the Biannual Bibliothon, which I’m really pleased with as I have been fairly busy this week. I did have to change around my TBR slightly as I never finished the book I was reading and wanted to finish it. Here are the books that I read and the challenges I completed:
A book you’ve been putting off picking up – Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov
This book was absolutely fantastic and there is a review to come (I just need to write it first). I’d been putting this off as I stated it just before exams but the plot is extremely intricate and I just couldn’t cope with all of the information and revision! It’s set in Bulgaria too, which was so interesting as I knew nothing about the place. 4.5/5 stars.
Free choiceMoonstone by Sjón
This again, was really good. I did find it a little confusing at times, especially the ending, but overall I enjoyed it. It was really short and fascinating as it is set in Iceland in 1918, so something completely different from anything else I’ve read. 4/5 stars.
By an author you’ve never readMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This received the lowest rating of them all, yet I still enjoyed it. Whilst I was reading it I found parts to be quite slow, yet it has left me thinking about it and looking forward to reading the next instalment, which obviously shows that I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars.
Favourite mythical creatureA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Oh wow. Now I see what the hype is about, and Sarah J. Maas writes such wonderful characters. I can’t wait to get to the sequel and the Throne of Glass series to delve into her worlds again. 4 / 5 stars.
Different formatThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Okay, so I only listened to two chapters of this (I’m struggling to get through it, so I figured I’d try listening) but I thought I’d include it anyway. I’m enjoying it a bit more now I’m listening to it, and even better, I found an audiobook app that is free and with all the classics on (which are what I prefer to listen to).
So that’s my Biannual Bibliothon wrap up! I’m pretty pleased with the amount that I managed to read. If you took part, how many did you manage?

A Trip to Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Over the past couple of years I have begun to fall in love with Shakespeare’s work. Now, as I have grown a little older and mature and I’ve been studying English Literature at a much higher level (A level), I seem to understand the message and wit in his plays and enjoy them so much more.

I live around a 45 minute drive from Stratford-Upon-Avon, which I know is lucky, and it wasn’t my first time visiting (in fact I’ve visited many times before as I absolutely adore it). Just last April I was there with my Dad to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company’s performance of Hamlet, which was incredible.

Now that I’ve finished my A levels, we decided to take a trip to Stratford again to have a look around his birthplace (and of course, visit the book shop) before it gets too busy in the summer holidays. It was lovely, and though it was small and didn’t take long to go around, it was really interesting. My ticket also covered entrance to his daughter’s house (you can’t buy a ticket to just his birthplace) so we had a look around there too, and it was a lot grander but still interesting.

It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a while now, having become such a lover of Shakespeare. The bookshop is amazing; there are so many editions of his plays to choose from and I bought way too many, which I’ll show in a moment. I also bought an amazing mug with Shakespeare’s insults on (I do believe that the world would be a much better place if everyone used Elizabethan insults instead). I thought I’d post a mini-haul on here, and share with you which books I got. They had some special editions which were absolutely gorgeous, and then I bought three of the Royal Shakespeare Company editions too.

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The Penguin Special Birthplace editions:

The Tempest (blue), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (green), Romeo and Juliet (pink) and The Sonnets and A lover’s Complaint (patterned).

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Royal Shakespeare Company editions:

King Lear, Hamlet (which is my all-time favourite play) and Othello.

If you’re ever near the area, I’d definitely recommend stopping by and having a look, as it was fascinating to see where Shakespeare grew up and lived before he became famous. Stratford-Upon-Avon is such a gorgeous place as well, it’s absolutely worth a visit.

Top 3 June Reads 2016

Considering I had exams from the 9th – 21st June, I managed to finish five books. I’m pretty pleased with this, despite the fact that I am still 4 books behind schedule for my goodreads goal, though I’m hoping to make this up over summer.

I enjoyed all of the books that I read, I must say, with my lowest being three stars (I think Murakami is just a little too strange for my taste, though it was still enjoyable).

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BronzeThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

This book was so much fun. Tom is an adorable character who is always in trouble and I guess could be irritating, if he weren’t so entertaining. This is a children’s classic and so was fairly easy to read, but it was perfect to read during exams to relax and forget about stress for a while.

SilverMe Before You – Jojo Moyes

I think I may do a full review of this book at some point, though don’t hold me to that! I really enjoyed this book, though there were a couple of things that I did find a little disappointing. Mainly that I guessed the ending about halfway through, so I didn’t find it as emotional.

GoldA Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare

This play was absolutely fantastic. Shakespeare is wonderfully witty and this is definitely one of my favourites by him. I read this as I listened to it as an audiobook and I would definitely recommend doing this, as it makes it easier to follow with all of the different characters etc. It’s lighthearted and entertaining, so if you want to try Shakespeare but don’t fancy the tragedy that is found in Hamlet and Macbeth, for example, this is a great place to start!

July TBR 2016

I’m hoping, now that I have a lot more free time, that I will be able to read 10 books (if not more – at a push) this month. However, as I’m such a mood reader I will only list 5 that I definitely want to get to as if I list 10 I can guarantee my mind will change!

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Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson

If I’m honest, I want to read all three of hers that I haven’t read, but this is the one I’ve had the longest and therefore my desire to read it has grown the most!

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

I never used to want to read this but apparently it’s nothing like I thought, so I really want to find out for myself.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Need I explain? Just look at the awards it’s been nominated for and the good reviews it’s had (though I realise there are a fair few negative ones as well, I want to find out for myself).

Moonstone – Sjón

I only received this recently but it’s super short and set in Iceland, which is one of my favourite places, and the story looks so intriguing.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

There is a very good chance that I will binge the whole trilogy in probably three days, but there is an equally good chance that I will read the first one and put the rest off.