The Reading Rush | TBR

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Emma, you’re already trying (and failing) to take part in one readathon, adding another into the mix would be stupidity of the highest order’. If you thought that, you’d be completely right, but I must highlight for your consideration that this particular readathon I’m flirting with joining is The Reading Rush (formerly known as Booktubeathon) which has a whole website and BADGES. So you can see why it is so appealing, yes? Us readers are nothing if not predictable and easily swayed.

So, for those who don’t know, The Reading Rush is a week-long readathon that is taking place 22nd to 28th July. It has a whole bunch of challenges, including a bonus one that is a legacy from the readathon’s time as Booktubeathon. I’m hoping that taking place in this will serve as something of a last hurrah for the Book Junkie Trials too and help me finish some books/quests there.

Without further ado here are the Reading Rush reading challenges:

CHALLENGES & TBR

1/ Read a book with purple on the cover
Stardust by Neil Gaiman

2/ Read a book in the same spot the entire time
Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan

3/ Read a book you meant to read last year
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

4/ Read an author’s first book
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

5/ Read a book with a non-human main character
Loki, Issue 1 by Daniel Kibblesmith, Oscar Bazaldua, and Ozgur Yildirim

6/ Pick a book that has five or more words in the title
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

7/ Read and watch a book to movie adaptation
Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Bonus/ Read 7 books!
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

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It’s quite an optimistic TBR but I really need this extra push to avoid sliding into a reading slump (just in time for the NEWTS readathon to start!) and I’m looking forward to a shorter-length readathon too. I’m not sure what challenges (if any) I’ll be able to do on social media but here’s hoping I just participate as fully as possible and enjoy reading (hopefully) seven books in this coming week.

If you’re taking place in the Reading Rush this week please do let me know in the comments below and/or add me as a friend on the readathon website!


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Review | Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

hrhTitleHer Royal Highness (2019)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Read: 20th – 24th June 2019
Genre: young-adult contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools… the farther from Houston the better. Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim… after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale… or is it?”(Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

lesmiserablesTitleLes Misérables (orig. 1862, ed. 1987)
Author: Victor Hugo
Translator: Lee Fahnestock and Norman McAfee
Publisher: Signet Classics
Read: 1st – 31st May 2019
Genre: classics
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean–the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread–Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope–an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart. (Synopsis source)

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Down the TBR Hole #33

Welcome folks to the thirty-third round of Down the TBR Hole! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the previous posts via the tag or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Outside of doing these posts semi-regularly I have also been culling my TBR list at random points when I’m bored – all of this is good in terms of getting my TBR to a reasonable amount of books but it also means that these posts are getting harder for me to do as I’m beginning to really agonise over whether to ditch or keep books on there. Not that any of this is a bad thing! Let’s get going on the 10 books under scrutiny today…

1. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

Why is it there? After reading The Handmaid’s Tale I did that thing we all did of thinking I’d read the rest of Margaret Atwood’s books. It never came to fruition though, and I’m not sure if it ever will because I never prioritise it. What do you think – what’s the Margaret Atwood you’d recommend? In the meantime…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

Why is it there? This is a book that I have no clue how it ended up on my TBR, aside from the fact that the cover is quite pretty? I think it’s focused on life around the Chernobyl disaster which, honestly, isn’t really something I read or watch things about??
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

Why is it there? I hear this essay collection is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s something that I still want to get to eventually. I just haven’t really been reading non-fiction lately so I’ve not picked it up yet… but I’m sure I eventually will!
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

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Tag | Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

That’s right, folks, it’s time for the infamous Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. Originally created by Ely and Chami, this tag always does the rounds of the online book community at this time of year and it’s something of a tradition to take part so this year is no exception for me. We’re a couple of days past the official middle of the year but what’s a couple of days between friends, eh?

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

This question is always difficult and I never answer with a single book title so get ready to hear a list: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

As seems tradition with this question, it makes me realise just how badly I’m doing at continuing series I haven’t yet finished. But without even thinking about it the best sequel I’ve read has to be The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. All of these characters are absolute idiots and I love them.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I have a bunch of new releases to catch up on, including Kingsbane by Claire Legrand, Romanov by Nadine Brandes, and Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. I still need to buy the latter two so pray that the book guilt gods are on my side long enough to let me buy them without feeling bad about how big my TBR is.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Easy: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Next question…

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Review | Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter

ghostlyTitleGhostly Echoes (2016)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Read: 26th – 27th June 2019
Genre: YA fantasy; historical; mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the services of her detective-agency tenants to solve a decade-old murder— her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all. Soon Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her down to the mythical underworld and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced..” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Wrap Up | June 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my June Wrap Up! June was a bit of a mixed bag month. Reading wise, I ended up deciding to take part in two readathons – A Game of Booksathon and Simsathon – despite the fact that I knew full well that I had a couple of holidays booked over half of the weekends in the month. You would think I would have realised that, for all I aspire to read on holidays such as these, I never do. And I was true to form and didn’t. That put me a little behind where I originally hoped to be with the two readathons but I won’t beat myself up about it too much because I made up for it a little bit in the second half of the month when I read, read, read to try to get some more challenges done for both of the readathons and I really did have such fun on both my holidays.

Firstly, me and Liz (and our other friend Cathy) visited our university friend Sarah in the town she now lives – Cardiff. Despite the fact I now live in Liverpool (and am therefore not far at all from the Welsh border), I’d never been to Wales until then. I know, I know, it’s crazy to think but I hadn’t ever had the reason or opportunity to do so. It was a lovely long weekend, we mostly just chilled out and hung out and we went for a walk in the Gower Peninsula which is just… stunning. Then, for my second little holiday, I went to the Scottish Highlands with my group of friends from school and it was just lovely. Our Air BnB was wonderful and so huge and my friends Kate and Tom brought along their gorgeous dog Daisy so many a petting of Daisy was had – and it made me feel a lot better. (Guys, I need a dog.) We went on a couple of walks, visited a castle (it was the place they filmed that Highlands episode of Downton Abbey for any Downton fans in the house), and generally just hung out and played a lot of boardgames (Obama Llama, Chameleon, and Scrawl now firm favourites). It’s also made me realise that I really do actually like going on longer walks and I should make an effort to get out more and do it more often, especially considering I don’t live far from arguably one of the most stunning National Parks – the Lake District.

But enough about me realising I hope to someday genuinely fulfil my aesthetic of walking boots, a dog, and the Lake District, let’s see how my reading went in June!


In June, I read a total of 8 books 8 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 3272 pages in total.

In terms of format: 2 were hardbackwas paperback, and were audiobooks.

As for genre, were fantasywas middle-grade/children’swas romancewas YA contemporary, 1 was YA fantasy/mystery, 1 was YA fantasy/paranormal, and 1 was historical fantasy.

Onto the books themselves…

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A Game of Booksathon & Simsathon | Progress Update #4 aka Wrap Up

If you’ve seen my TBR post, my first progress update, my second progress update, or my third progress update, you’ll be well aware by now that in June I was taking part in two readathons this: A Game of Booksathon and Simsathon, based on A Song of Ice and Fire and The Sims respectively! This is by fourth and final progress update aka a wrap-up of how I did in the weeks gone by.

Reading Challenges & TBR

✓ Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand
The Game of Thrones: first book in a series/trilogy
Take a bubble bath: Read a book over 400 pages

Black Powder War (Temeraire #3) by Naomi Novik
House Targaryen: book with mythical creature or dragons
Make a friend: read a book that features friends

Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand
Daenerys: book featuring a strong female character
Meet the Grim Reaper: read a book featuring death

✓ Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend
Westeros: book set in a fictional place
Create-a-sim: read a book that is first in a series

– Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
House Tyrell: book with plant or green on cover
Get a promotion: Read a book you think will be 5 stars

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
House Stark: book that has family dynamic or siblings
Fall in love: read a book with a romance element

– The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter
House Lannister: book with red cover
Reach the top of your career track: read a finale

The Assassin’s Curse (The Ananna Duology) by Cassandra Rose Clarke
House Greyjoy: book with pirates or story set at sea
Gain a fishing skill: randomise your TBR

A Princess In Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole
House Baratheon: book with king or queen or royalty
Woo hoo: read a smutty book

Her Royal Highness (Royals #2) by Rachel Hawkins
A Clash of Kings: a sequel
Buy a house: read a contemporary or book set in our world

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter
Wildlings: paranormal
Get a job: Secret agent – read a mystery book

junereadathons4

So this week was something of a rush when it came to reading. I finished up a whole bunch of booksand I’m really proud of myself for that – I finished Ghostly Echoes, A Princess in Theory, Her Royal Highness and Kingsbane (this one literally was eleventh hour as I finished it at 11pm on 30th June!). If only I’d had that same ‘let’s finish ALL THE BOOKS’ ethic throughout the month, eh? I’m annoyed at myself for not finishing up The Dire King and Fragile Things, to be honest. I’d started both of them and could have finished them in time if I’d just foregone watching Gilmore Girls and Parks and Recreation on Sunday afternoon but my brain clearly needed the break and I wasn’t about to deny it that.

But, let’s put that behind us, and what did I achieve?

A Game of Booksathon – 8 books, 8/11 challenges completed = I’m a Queen!

Simsathon – 8 books, 3272 pages, 34 points

All things considered, I’m pretty damn pleased with that! Thanks to the lovely hosts for creating such fun and creative readathons – I hope Simsathon will happen again and I will be continuing onto Round Two of A Game of Booksathon so it’s not quite over yet!

 

Did you take part in Simsathon or A Game of Booksathon? How did you do? What was your favourite book you read in June? Leave a comment below!


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The Book Junkie Trials | Scribe Sign Up & TBR

What’s this, Emma has decided to participate in yet another readathon because she’s forgotten how else to pick what she wants to read next when she doesn’t have a set of challenges to fulfil? Yes, that’s alarmingly correct. For the next month I will be taking part in the Book Junkie Trials.

This month-long readathon is the brain child of Rachel Marie and she has gone above and beyond in terms of theming so I can’t pass up the opportunity to join in on the quest to find the bookie grail. For more context and to learn about the readathon in full, check out Rachel’s announcement video or head over to the readathon Twitter.

For this readathon you join a team (I love it when readathons do that), and I have taken the personality quiz provided by the readathon host and discovered that (surprise, surprise) I belong to the scribes, who will be lead by Sophie, Duchess of the Scribes! I will be following a certain quest path along with my fellow scribes. You have to do the challenges in order (which will be a struggle for me is I am a polygamous reader at best) and then you can decide to be extra and do other challenges from the quest map if you want. Although I might do that, I won’t decide on my TBR for those right now, because once you pick your TBR, you’re locked into it! For now, let’s just see what my Scribe specific journey includes, shall we?

About Scribes

Scribes are professional chroniclers who write accounts of important or historical events. They follow where the action is. However, they have been known to give rather conflicting accounts of battles, depending upon which side they favour.

ABILITY: The ability to rewrite their tale. Their unique ability is to read a book that wasn’t on their declared TBR.

WEAKNESS As scribes spend so much time documenting their findings, one of their challenges will take MUCH longer than normal. Read a book over 500 pages.

Scribes Challenge Path

1. Dwarf Mount: You spot a fair tavern wench, however the Dwarf Mines, grimey and dusty, didn’t evoke a very romantic feeling.
Read a book with a hint of romance to get you in the mood.
2. Apothecary Towers: Where the wizards dwell. Tricksters. They have blind-folded you and randomised all your books.
Choose a book at random from your bookshelf.
3. The Great Library: Ahh the great archives
Find and read a book that has been on your TBR forever.
4. The Drowning Deep: The Whirlpool… is so…. mesmerising.
Read a book with rich world-building that will suck you into its own world, instead.
5. The Bookie Grail: Here you find a lost manuscript, delivered on this forgotten island by a fallen star.
Read the group book: Stardust

My TBR

1. Dwarf Mount – The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
I’m determined to methodically re-read these books so I can finally pick up the fourth book and finish off this series. I never want it to end which is why I’ve been putting it off, but I really need to get past that and just READ IT ALREADY.

2. Apothecary Towers – The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
I haven’t read as many classics this year as I hoped to (especially considering I’m taking part in the Classics Club) so I’m hoping to re-ignite my desire to do so by including a classic on this unchangeable TBR.

3. The Great Library – Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I’ve been umming and aahing about reading this one ever since I first heard about it and put it on my TBR. I’ve always been hesitant because I actually DNFed Novik’s Spinning Silver which was a book people seemed to love and I just didn’t get the same feelings from it. However, I’ve been enjoying her Temeraire series so clearly it’s not her writing style that’s the problem, I just didn’t get on with the plot of Spinning Silver. I’m hoping that Uprooted will be a hit with me rather than a miss.

4. The Drowning Deep – The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
This is a series I’ve been meaning to start for so long. Is it foolish to pick such a long book to read during a readathon? Probably, but that’s a good way to make me prioritise reading it! (Plus I need a 500+ page book to match with my scribe weakness.) I’ve heard SO MANY good things about this fantasy book that I will be sorely disappointed if I don’t end up getting sucked into its world.

5. The Bookie Grail – Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Although I’ve read this book before and thoroughly enjoyed it, it might be nice to re-read it with a huge group of people. Plus, Neil Gaiman narrates the audiobook so, hey, any excuse to listen to Neil Gaiman telling me a story is always welcome in my world.

 

So there we have it, that’s the quest I will be doing over the next month. I’ll likely keep a Twitter thread of updates as usual so be sure to pop over to my Twitter if you’re curious as to how I’m doing on my quest during July. Otherwise, I’ll see you once I’ve successfully hunted down the Bookie Grail!

 

Are you taking part in the readathon? Which team are you on? (Any fellow scribes around?) Which books are you planning to read? Let me know in the comments!


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My 2019 Resolutions | Quarterly Check-in #2

Sometimes, I make resolutions/goals for the year. Mainly so I have something to write in the front of my bullet journal. Sometimes I succeed at them, sometimes I fail (spectacularly), but it’s always nice to have something to aim for and work towards. In recent years I’ve found that doing quarterly check-ins helps to keep me accountable to these aspirationally-set resolutions throughout the year, rather than just panicking and trying to do everything in December. So this is what it says on the tin, folks, this is a check-in of how I’m doing at my 2019 Resolutions after the second quarter of the year. If you want to know how I did in the first quarter, have a gander at my first check-in.

ENTERTAINMENT GOALS

1. Read the 5 books on my ‘Books I Didn’t Get To In 2018’ list

I’m not going to lie to you, chief, I’ve made zero progress with this since the last check-in when I’d done precisely nothing either. BUT I have started a re-read of the Raven Cycle so that I can remind myself of what happens in the first three books before I read the fourth and final one (finally). I know, it’s little consolation but, hey, I have to take what I can.

2. Read at least 1 classic each month from my Classics Club list

At my last check-in at the end of March I’d read 1 classic in 2019 and since then I’ve read 1 more which… isn’t good. Yeah, I need to get back on these monthly goals because I am just failing at them.

3. Read at least 1 non-fiction book each month

Remember I mentioned the whole ‘failing at monthly goals’ just now? yeah, I’m failing this one too; I still haven’t read any non-fiction books. At this rate, I’m going to have to just read 12 non-fiction books during Non-Fiction November.

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