Down the TBR Hole #30

Welcome folks to the thirtieth 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. White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Why is it there? I’ve read many a review of this book saying it’s beautiful and brilliant writing and a dark and disturbing story. But, here’s the thing, I’ve also read the synopsis repeatedly and I still don’t think I’m at all interested in the content of the story at all. Happy to be proven wrong but, until then…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

Why is it there? Everyone says this is a hauntingly powerful memoir about grief, race, and poverty from Jesmyn Ward. It chronicles the death of five men in her life. I know this would be a difficult read. I know this is probably an important read. I know that this would probably be a read that would transport me to an entirely different place and experience so distant from my own. And I feel like the worst kind of person ever for saying this but I just… I don’t see myself honestly reaching for this anytime soon. I know, I know, I’m a terrible person, don’t think I don’t have guilt over not wanting to read this.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse by David Mitchell

Why is it there? This book is one of an assortment I have on my non-fiction humour shelf. You know the sort – the books that you might read on the loo, the books that even non-readers could be persuaded to read if they were gifted them at Christmas, the books that I’ll probably only get to in fits and starts and never actually read cover to cover. Knowing that I have an entire stack of those in my dining room shelves means I don’t really need to have it on my TBR shelf on Goodreads, I’m not likely to forget it exists.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Ditch Continue reading

Tag | Book Blogger Memory Challenge (Take Two!)

Guess what, folks? It’s Thursday which can mean only one thing… time for a Tag Thursday post! (Have I officially made this happen now? Can I call it A Thing?) This time we have a tag enticingly called the Book Blogger Memory Challenge! Unfortunately, I don’t know who originated this particular tag so if you do, please let me know so I can credit them. But I recently saw this over on Stephanie’s blog and thought it looked like great fun so I had to join in!

Rules

You must answer these questions without looking anything up on the internet and without looking at your bookshelves!

Name a book written by an author called Michael

The very first author who came to mind was Michael Bond who wrote the Paddington books. I don’t think I remember actually reading any of them when I was a child but it’s pretty difficult to not know about Paddington even just in passing if you’re from the UK! (Plus the recent film is ADORABLE.)

Name a book with a dragon on the cover

I have so many books with dragons but I shall choose Temeraire series by Naomi Novik and The Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan as they’re both whole series of books with dragons on the cover.

Name a book about a character called George

There’s a book called Arthur and George by Julian Barnes. I have no idea what it’s about but I presume one of the main characters is called George. If not, I’ve been sold a lie.

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Review | Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

throneofjadeTitleThrone of Jade (2006)
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Read: 5th – 16th March 2019
Genre: fantasy; historical fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Captain William Laurence of the British Air Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, begin their slow voyage to China, fearful that upon landing they will be forced to part by Imperial decree. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly-prized of all draconic breeds; famed for their intelligence, agility and most of all for the Divine Wind – their terrible roar capable of shattering the heavy timbers of war ships, shattering woodland and destroying other dragons mid-flight. Temeraire’s egg was captured and claimed by the British at sea, but he was meant to be the companion of the Emperor Napoleon and not captained by a mere officer in the British Air Corps. The Chinese have demanded his return and the British cannot refuse them – they cannot afford to provoke the asian super-power into allying themselves with the French – even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal and inflicts the most unimaginable pain upon Laurence and his dragon. (Synopsis from publisher)

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Discussion | Collecting Books, Hauls and Unhauls, and Marie Kondo

Today, I’m going to do a post that is, probably, a month or so behind the curve. A short while ago book bloggers across the Internet were a mixture of alarmed and flabbergasted by the idea, attributed to tidying-up goddess Marie Kondo, that people should own 30 books in their collection. Of course, as with often everything on the Internet, this was a misunderstood, misquoted, and distorted version of what Marie Kondo actually advocated in her Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up manifesto. But we’ll come to that later…

Overall, I’ve always been ever so slightly skeptical of the KonMari method. I could say that it’s because I’m not a big “mindfulness” person (and the idea of thanking your possessions for how they’ve served you still is kind of iffy to me, personally) but it’s mainly because I didn’t want to face the fact that, although I don’t consider myself a hoarder, I have stuff. A lot of stuff. And probably a majority of that stuff is stuff I don’t technically need to keep. I am that person who keeps train tickets from fun trips with friends or keeps tickets from going to the cinema or the theatre so that I have some kind of tangible “proof” that I went there (other than the intangible memory of that day). I don’t have that many knick knacks really but, being a bookish person, the knick knacks I do have are all bookish. They’re collected from years of people buying me bookmarks, or me collecting key-rings as souvenirs, or buying several bookish subscription boxes and keeping the merchandise (even if it was themed around a book I hadn’t read, and probably still haven’t). So, the KonMari method was always something I was wary of but, after being prompted again by a work colleague to give her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo a watch, I did that a few weekends ago.

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5-Star TBR Predictions

Welcome one, welcome all! It’s been a few days since my last blog post and you may very well wonder why. Truth be told, it’s because I haven’t finished a book lately and that has been getting me down a little bit. It’s not like I haven’t been reading – I’m currently reading The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (re-read). However, anyone who has read (or even seen) the first book in that little list will understand why it has been a while since I’ve finished a book – it’s HUGE.

The last book I finished was S.A. Chakraborty’s The Kingdom of Copper (I’m still not okay about it) back on 3rd March. For me, not being able to say I’ve finished a book in the last 10 days is… well… it’s not something that happens often. So, although I’ve made progress with all the books I’m reading at the moment, I’m not near finishing anything – Priory is the main reason for that as I’m fairly sure I’m going to LOVE this book, so I don’t want to rush reading it. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it also made me think about how I’m so sure I’m going to love this book that I’ve slowed down my reading pace.

Not only this, I also have a habit of putting off even starting books because I’m SO sure I’m going to love them and don’t want to prove (or, more scarily, disprove) my high hopes/predictions for them. I’ve seen many a Booktuber discuss their 5-star predictions and I thought I’d throw my own hat in the metaphorical ring whilst I was thinking about the topic. So here we have it, here are some books that I’m pretty damn sure could end up being 5-star reads for me:

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Review | The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

startouchedTitleThe Star-Touched Queen (2016)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Read: 26th – 27th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; mythology
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire… But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself. (Synopsis from publisher)

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Down the TBR Hole #29

Welcome folks to the twenty-ninth 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. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Why is it there? This was a product of needing to find a graphic novel over 500 pages for the Tome Topple readathon. It’s the one people always reference when they put together TBRs for it, and it’s meant to be very touching in its own right. The problem is, I rarely read graphic novels, let alone tomes of graphic novels, because I don’t buy them and my library doesn’t stock them. So it seems I’m unlikely to ever acquire this and therefore unlikely to ever actually read it, as much as I might have an inclination some day…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Why is it there? This first came onto my radar through a Booktube video about LGBTQ reads. It stayed on my radar because the main character Emi is a set designer – I love anything that is a sort of ‘behind the scenes’ of a creative industry, such as the film industry. I’ve heard great things about this but I’ve never seen it ‘out in the wild’ so to speak so it may take a little bit of tracking down for me to get my hands on a copy. I’m more than willing to do that though, obviously.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

3. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Why is it there? It’s described by some as a medieval murder mystery set in an abbey in Italy so of course I added this to my TBR at some point. It’s been rated quite highly by a few people I follow on Goodreads which always stands a book in good stead. Apart from that, I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know anything of Umberto Eco’s writing style (though I’m sure the quality of the translation from Italian will play more of a part in my eventual enjoyment or disappointment) nor do I know anyone ‘in real life’ who has read his works so I think I’m going into this pretty much blind, and I’m ok with not knowing what to expect for once.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep Continue reading

Femme FanTale Readathon | TBR

The Femme FanTale Readathon is taking place from 2-10 March and was created by Jean @ Bookish Thoughts and Jill @ The Book Neuk. The core idea behind the readathon is simple: read fantasy written by women!

Since I read a lot of YA fantasy anyway, and a lot of those authors tend to be female, it seemed ridiculous not to be participate in this celebration of female fantasy! There is a readathon challenge/prompt board to help shape your TBR (and Jean has been posting some incredible recommendations for each challenge on her Twitter in the run up to this readathon) but you can double-up on challenges I think. There’s no way I’ll read 12 books during the readathon but, hey, it helps to have choices, right?

femmefantale.jpg

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Challenges fulfilled: queer, inspired by myth (George and the Dragon), standalone, adult

Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Challenges fulfilled: queer (?), historical fantasy, adult

Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2) by Naomi Novik (audiobook)
Challenges fulfilled: historical fantasy, adult

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (audiobook)
Challenges fulfilled: BAME author, historical fantasy, adult

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Challenges fulfilled: YA, BAME author, fairytale retelling

As you can tell, that’s quite enough books to be getting along with, and there’s no way I’m going to finish all of them (or, likely, even the majority of them) but God loves a trier, right?

If you’re taking part in the readathon, let me know on Twitter, as I’ll probably be hanging out there and on the hashtag for most of this upcoming week.


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Wrap Up | February 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my February Wrap Up. February has been a bit of an odd month. It felt like the month where not much happened, all in all. January is always a bit of a struggle with the winter blues and post-Christmas come down, but February is meant to feel a little bit more hopeful and cheerful. I’m still torn on how I actually felt about the month, looking back on it now, but it was the month where I tried to get my arse back in gear with a bunch of lifestyles and admin stuff, mainly: culling my room (finally clearing some clothes and books), properly cataloguing my books (FINALLY), getting back into a semi-regular schedule of gym-class attending, and feeling more motivation to get better at my blogging and social media game. The highlights of the month were a visit from the girls from university (we mostly just low-key hung out and also went to see Rhod Gilbert’s comedy gig which was very good) and the new/recent releases I got to coo over, namely King of Scars, The Kingdom of Copper, and The Priory of the Orange Tree.

In terms of my reading, after last month’s participation in many a readathon (ok, three, but that’s a lot for one month!), February was a month which was relatively low-key. I didn’t participate in any readathons or readalongs and instead I just read what I wanted to and that, unsurprisingly enough, consisted of fantasy. I didn’t read nearly as many books as I did in January but that’s more than ok because I’m still slowing chipping away at the prompts for the Around the Year in 52 Books reading challenge, and well on my way to completing my 52 books read in 2019 Goodreads goal.


In February, I read a total of 4 books 4 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 1734 pages in total.

In terms of format: 3 were hardback and was an audiobook.

As for genre, were YA fantasy and was a fantasy.

Onto the books themselves…

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Tag | The ‘I Should Have Read That Book’ Tag

Welcome one, welcome all, to another Tag Thursday! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a tag and I wasn’t really seeing many around. Luckily, however, I recently stumbled across this particular tag on Beth’s blog. She created it and, ok, so I wasn’t tagged to do this tag but when have I ever let that stop me? Let’s jump straight into it…

Rules

Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post
Answer the questions below
Tag 10 others to take part
ENJOY THE TAG!

The Questions

  • A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read 
  • A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up
  • A book in a series you’ve started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing yet
  • A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read
  • A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read
  • A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet 
  • A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

My Answers

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

Liz is forever telling me that I will enjoy The Masked City, the second book in Genevieve Cogman’s series. I’ve read the first book and quite enjoyed it – the irony being I read The Invisible Library before Liz did and yet she continued with the series and I didn’t hurry to do so! Although she didn’t give it a rave review necessarily, she thinks I will really like the second book because, as you might be able to tell from the title, it’s set in Venice and I am a sucker for anything involving Italy.

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up

Ignoring all the classics that have definitely been on my TBR way past their due, I think I’ll say Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things. That one has been on my TBR since 2012, or so Goodreads tells me, so it’s kind of ridiculous that I haven’t picked it up yet given how much I LOVE Gaiman’s work and this is short stories so surely wouldn’t take as long to read as a full-blown novel (looking at you, American Gods).

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