Tag | Fall Book Tag

Can you smell that? It’s the smell of encroaching crispy leaves falling off trees and Starbucks churning out PSLs. That’s right, it’s Fall – or, Autumn, as we English people say. And in celebration of this transitional season into the best of the year (Winter, obviously), I’ve found a book tag, the aptly names Fall Book Tag. No messing around with fancy names here, no sir. This tag was created by Bionic Book Worm and I saw it over on Stephanie’s blog so I couldn’t resist giving it a go.

Crisp Fall Air – A Book That Felt Fresh and New

The first thing that came to mind was Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart. I know other authors have written stories in reverse order but this used that device in a really interesting way so it started with, say, chapter 20, and worked its way back to chapter 1 so you understood the motivation behind what brought the protagonist to the situation she was in at the start of the book/end of the story. It didn’t feel gimmicky either, it completely fit the tone of the story being told, which was quite refreshing, like that sweet, sweet fall breeze.

Howling Winds – An Ending That Blew You Away

I could pick so many series enders for this. I mean, shall I be typical and mention a certain duology by Leigh Bardugo? Or perhaps a trilogy by V.E. Schwab?

But if we’re talking about real ‘makes you gasp with surprise’ ending that made me frantically turn over the pages expecting (nay, needing) more story right this second, then I guess that would be the thing that happens at the end of The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. I don’t know if I’ve ever quite recovered from it.

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Catharsis | On “Friends’ Weddings”

Catharsis: noun  ca·thar·sis  \ kə-ˈthär-səs \
1 a : purification or purgation of the emotions (such as pity and fear) primarily through art

b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
2 : elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression

I’ve always been the person who over-thinks things. The person who is indecisive because of this. The person who worries about whether what she has to say is worthwhile, or whether it’s whiny, or problematic, or just plain self-indulgent. Over-thinking is not a bad thing. But it does lead to a tendency to bottle things up and to let them fester, not expressing them, and thereby not releasing any tension they cause. My “cure” for this is a form of catharsis, my own personal brand of therapy, you might say, and since we live in a digital age it looks like I will be making the utterly foolish decision to put said thoughts onto the Internet instead of telling them to a licensed professional. But I’d like to be honest on this blog and I’d like this blog to be a true and accurate reflection of who I am… and who I am is sometimes self-centred and in dire need of a means of expulsion. So here we are, a new series of blog posts called Catharsis. I don’t know how frequent they will be, I don’t know how worthwhile they will be for anyone else reading them, but I know they will help me. And that’s kind of the point.


This past weekend was the start of what will surely be a lifetime of “friends’ weddings”.

Being at a friend’s wedding is… strange. It’s filled with the usual traditions, the usual obligatory “do you take this woman” and “do you take this man” etc., the usual toasts at the reception and inevitable drunken dancing that follows. But there’s something different about realising you’re at your very first “friend wedding”, as opposed to “family wedding”. There’s something different about realising someone your own age, someone you were at school with, someone who you joked around in English class with, is old enough and mature enough to not only consider committing to someone else long-term but also following through on that promise in front of a whole chapel full of people.

It comes from a place of genuine happiness – a sense of delight that your friend has found someone they love so much that they’re willing to enthusiastically vow to stay faithful for for the rest of their life. Words can’t express how amazing it is to see a friend you love dearly be so happy and settled in their relationship and their life. To catch their eye after the ceremony and witness how overwhelmed and startled, but also happy, they look.

But then, there’s the inevitable off-note as the concern starts creeping in. Wait. How on earth did we get here?! How did we get to the age and place in life where weddings are happening? When did I blink and miss the start of my transition into being an allegedly functioning adult? Oh… wait… I didn’t miss it because I’m not “there” yet, wherever “there” is. But my friends are and, as ever, it looks like I’ll be living vicariously through them as they get “there”.

“There” is where “we’ve moved in together” doesn’t sound weird.
“There” is where a “we’re having a baby” doesn’t sound weird.
“There” is where “we’re getting married” doesn’t sound weird.

My friends are “there” and I couldn’t be more delighted for them. But I can’t truthfully (even in my wildest dreams) imagine a time when I’ll be “there” so, instead, I guess I’ll be over “here”, watching from the sidelines – and, I presume, often from the pews of churches.


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September TBR

You all know I don’t consistently post TBR lists, but this month I feel like I need to, because it’s already 12 days into September and I haven’t made enough progress on my hastily scribbled TBR list. I actually always draw up a monthly TBR in my bujo at the end of the previous month, but I rarely share it here, unless it happens to coincide with a readathon I’m doing, but this month should be an exception otherwise I won’t get anything read at this rate. Accountability and all that jazz.

If you saw my recent Choosing My Holiday TBR post you might have a little inkling already of some of the books I want to knock out of the park this month, but let’s look at the rest, shall we?

Books to Finish This Month

  1. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
    I started this during the NEWTs Readathon but unfortunately didn’t finish it, despite it being quite short, beautifully packaged, and a children’s book. I didn’t get too far into the story, all I know so far is that a young girl has gone missing on the island. That’s it. I need to get back to this, it’s been on my shelf for MONTHS.
  2. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    This is due back to the library any day now and I’m only little over halfway through it. Honestly? I’m not loving it. I don’t really feel connected to the characters at all. I feel like I’m definitely missing something key because everyone else I’ve seen reviews from seems to love this… I just don’t seem to be one of them?? Even so, I feel like I need to keep giving this a chance and finish it. Wish me luck? If you’ve struggled with this book too, can you let me know in the comments if you pushed through, and if it was worth it?
  3. Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
    I’m a broken record but I started this for NEWTs but didn’t manage to finish the audiobook before August ended. I’m finding the story a little hard to follow but I think that might be because I listened to a large portion of it on audiobook at work when I was multitasking – I’m sure if I give it my full attention, I’ll get more into the story.
  4. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
    After finishing the NEWTs  at the end of August I realised I rather randomly felt like re-reading The Bone Season so I foolhardily picked it up, knowing fine well I was going on holiday for a week at the start of the month and wouldn’t be able to take it with me as it’s a hardcover. So I still need to finish this re-read soon because I LOVE this book series.

Books to Read This Month

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    This was one of the successful choices in the Try a Chapter post I did to choose my holiday TBR for Barcelona and I cannot WAIT to get started on this one. I’ve heard so many great things about this and I am here for it.
  2. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
    This book is a risky choice for holiday because I want to love it SO badly. It’s frequently described as The Secret History but with Shakespeare students and I’m like… that’s me in a book, I want it, I need it, let me love it. But I’m also ever so slightly worried in case I don’t end up loving it because it will be SUCH a disappoint. Is that likely? Yikes, let’s see…
  3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    Everyone and their mother has read this… apart from me. Let’s change that in September, shall we? People told me it’s complicated but I read the opening chapter and it… seems ok? Promising! I’ll report back in October (hopefully).
  4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
    If you’re at all a V.E. Schwab fan, you’ve probably read this by now. am a V.E. Schwab fan so I should have read this by now, especially as I follow her on social media and the past months have been full of watching her revise and get ready to publish the long-awaited and anticipated sequel, Vengeful. So I need to jump on this bandwagon before the second book is released and FINALLY read Vicious.
  5. City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab
    This is Schwab’s latest release and this, along with Vengeful, has filled her social media. It sounds SO good and is set in Edinburgh which I adore, and I know V does too, so I’m sure her love for the city will come through in this story.

I think we should leave it at that, shouldn’t we? Because, let’s face it, 9 books is quite enough to be getting along with!

What are you hoping to read this month? Do you line up books in a TBR or do you prefer to completely mood read? Let me know what you’re reading at the moment in the comments below and let’s chat books!


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Review | Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

sixofcrowsTitle: Six of Crows (2016)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group/Orion
Read: 2nd – 6th June 2018
Genre: young-adult; fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone. A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction – if they don’t kill each other first.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

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Down the TBR Hole #24

Welcome folks to the twenty-fourth 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. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Why is it there? As is typical of most classics on this list, I’m not entirely sure when or why this was added. However, having had a quick glance on Goodreads at the verdicts of my fellow readers, they said it’s a must read for fans of Jane Austen so I probably should give it a go.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

2. Love in a Cold Climate and Other Novels by Nancy Mitford

Why is it there? Once again, I have little to no recollection of how this ended up on my TBR. I likely decided that I knew nothing about the Mitfords so should give this a go. The thing is, so little time, so many books I want to read…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

Why is it there? For some reason, I’ve decided I’ll quite like Evelyn Waugh books. The thing is… I’ve never read one. However, I’ve seen enough synopses to reckon out that I will probably indeed enjoy the likes of Brideshead Revisited and this book too.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep Continue reading

Try a Chapter | Choosing My Holiday TBR

Folks, I’m (what feels like) finally heading off for a little bit of a summer holiday. I’ll be heading to Barcelona, somewhere I’ve somehow never visited before now despite holidaying in Spain with my family since I was 18 months old (!), and I cannot wait, it’s going to be so much fun! We don’t have too much planned – the only thing we’ve booked in advance is the tickets for La Sagrada Familia so we’re mainly planning to take it easy and wander about, soaking up (hopefully) some sun and all Barcelona has to offer. As I type this, I am deep in the midst of packing, but I’ve taken time away from my suitcase to address something very important in the packing process for a bookworm: deciding which books to take with me.

I don’t know how much reading time I’m going to get, but I do know I am holidaying with people who understand wanting to read, regardless of where you happen to be in the world. So, I need to pick out my holiday TBR. As we only have hand luggage, I’m trying to limit my book selection, and rationalise the fact that we’re only away for 5 days so I don’t actually need to take more than 2 books. I saw Ashleigh from A Frolic Through Fiction do a “try a chapter” challenge in order to pick her holiday TBR, and I thought it was a brilliant idea to pick out what books you’re actually in the mood for, rather than the ones you just think you’re in the mood for. So, with that in mind, here are the contenders that I’m going to try out…

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Wrap Up | August 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my August Wrap Up. Life wise, August has been a bit of a non-month. Nothing terrible happened, nothing amazing and new happened. It’s very much the month of transition, as summer has its last gasp and we begin to head into Autumn. For me, August has been the month of trying not to spend too much money because we’ve started to pay off a lot of the holiday to Disney and saved for our upcoming trip to Barcelona at the beginning of September.

Meanwhile, reading-wise, August was the month I finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo – let the hallelujah chorus begin… I’m so glad I managed to finish that beast of a book and, despite some rocky patches where I considered throwing in the towel, I did end up having a tonne of fun doing weekly updates for it as part of the Full Monte readalong, hosted by Laura of Reading In Bed. Aside from finishing that tome, August was mostly dedicated to the NEWTs Readathon, as hosted by Gi of the Book Roast. I was very excited to take part in this and I immensely enjoyed the theme of the readathon. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan my TBR with enough care or realistic idea of what I could actually get read in the space of a month. I think if I’d been better at planning, and putting in some shorter books for the first grades, I would have done much better than I ended up doing. Still, it helped me to read a bit more than I would have, and it did tick off some books I’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also meant I’ve half-read quite a few other books which isn’t ideal considering we go into September with a trip away looming during which I can’t pack hardcovers, so most of these half-read books will have to wait until a week or so into the month to be completed. Such are the troubles of a reader, eh?

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves with what I’ll read in September without first taking a look at what I read in August…


In August, I read a total of 9 books 8 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 4181 pages in total.

In terms of format: 3 were hardbackswere paperback2 were ebooks/eARCs and 2 were audiobooks.

And as for genre, 2 were fantasywere YA fantasywere YA contemporary; and were classics; and was an autobiography/memoir.

Onto the books themselves…

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Discussion | My Relationship with Exercise (inspired by Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel)

eatsweatplay.jpgThis is a post I didn’t ever think I’d have cause to write, particularly not on a bookish blog, but I suppose it’s been bottled up inside of me for long enough for me to need to get it all out of my system. And, as you will see by the time you (/if you, I wouldn’t blame you for not) reach the end of this post, this has been many years of pent-up feeling on the subject. As you can probably see from the title of this post, it is time for something completely different and a bit more of a self-indulgent personal post – it’s time to talk exercise. However, my thinking on this was inspired by a book which I (unfortunately) DNFed recently, Anna Kessel’s Eat Sweat Play. I didn’t DNF the book because it was a bad book – in fact, there were many interesting points raised by Kessel in even the little that I did manage to read of it in order to give it a fair chance. However, I found her way of talking about sport to be entirely at odds with my own view on it.

You see, I have a confession that might not be so surprising to anyone who knows the littlest thing about me: I’m not a sporty person, either in terms of participation or spectatorship. In fact I’d state that I have very little interest in it. I’m pretty much ambivalent towards football which unfortunately seems to be England’s preferred sport, I don’t get the point of rugby, I can tolerate cricket, I quite like tennis (bizarrely enough, I love Wimbledon when it rolls around), but the Olympics and Athletics Championships mostly bore me to tears (special exceptions made for Winter Olympics which are a whole different kettle of fish). So much for spectatorship… but when it comes to participation in sport and exercise, oh boy, this one’s a complicated one.

For me, exercise is something mainly relegated to some of the worst of school memories. Trudging unwillingly into PE classes, then the horror of the changing room, the constant embarrassment of knowing you weren’t ~good at sport~ so therefore you were put in the “mixed” PE group instead of the “boys” and “girls” groups… I could go on. Thankfully, some of my friends were also in my PE group so we stuck together and, whenever we were playing a team sport where they allowed the boys and girls to play against each other (i.e. non-contact sports), we had a couple of boy friends who would make sure we played against each other. The other girls in the group were… not nice to me, but I counted myself lucky because I heard horror stories from the “girls PE group”, of cattiness, bitchiness, and flat-out fights. When our PE teacher was off one day our group ended up being dissolved and we joined our respective “boys group” and “girls group” for a lesson – it was one of the single most embarrassing lessons of my life, we were made to feel like we were shit, and not given any kind of instruction from the PE teacher.

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Review | Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

theatricalTitle: Theatrical (2018)
Author: Maggie Harcourt
Publisher: Usborne
Read: 13th – 16th August 2018
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume-designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool…and her secret.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

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Review | Giant Days by Non Pratt

giantdaysTitle: Giant Days (2018)
Author: Non Pratt
Publisher: ABRAMS Kids/Amulet Books
Release Date: 21st August 2018
Read: 3rd – 4th August 2018
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Based on the hit graphic-novel series from BOOM! Studios, the publisher behind Lumberjanes, Giant Days follows the hilarious and heartfelt misadventures of three university first-years: Daisy, the innocent home-schooled girl; Susan, the sardonic wit; and Esther, the vivacious drama queen. While the girls seem very different, they become fast friends during their first week of university. And it’s a good thing they do, because in the giant adventure that is college, a friend who has your back is key—something Daisy discovers when she gets a little too involved in her extracurricular club, the Yogic Brethren of Zoise. When she starts acting strange and life around campus gets even stranger (missing students, secret handshakes, monogrammed robes everywhere . . .), Esther and Susan decide it’s up to them to investigate the weirdness and save their friend.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

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