A Game of Booksathon & Simsathon | Progress Update #3

If you’ve seen my TBR post, my first progress update, or my second progress update, you’ll be well aware by now that I’m taking part in two readathons this month: A Game of Booksathon and Simsathon, based on A Song of Ice and Fire and The Sims respectively! I’m not doing as well as I hoped which means I have no time for chit chatting so let’s see how I did this past week, shall we?

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

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Since last week I have finished my re-read of The Raven Boys (LOVED it, again, obviously) and I’ve also started Kingsbane (100 pages in) and Her Royal Highness (66% in), on top of the books I was already in the middle of (Ghostly Echoes, Fragile Things, A Princess in Theory). Because why try to finish books one by one in a sensible and logical fashion when, instead, you could be spreading yourself thin in trying to finish all the books at once?

I’ve done some quick calculations and realised that, at this rate, I need to finish off a book a day (plus an extra book on one really good reading day) to complete the readathons. Yeah… so… that’s fun. I’m REALLY hoping that my usual tactic of reading multiple books in multiple formats will pay off and I will somehow manage to get all of this finished in the final week of the month. Clearly this is no small feat but my housemate Liz is off to Russia on Tuesday so I’m thinking that being home alone for the rest of the month will be very conducive to reading. Let’s hope I’m proved right on that count because I think that’s the only way I’m finishing off this TBR!

Have you been taking part in Simsathon or A Game of Booksathon? How have you done so far? Even if you’re not participating, let me know what you have been reading this week because I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!


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Review | Beastly Bones by William Ritter

Ritter_BeastlyBones_jkt_COMP.inddTitleBeastly Bones (2014)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Read: 21st – 25th May 2019
Genre: YA fantasy; historical; mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Some girls work in shops or sell flowers. Some girls find husbands and play house. I assist a mad detective in investigating unexplained phenomena. My name is Abigail Rook, and this is what I do. In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First vicious shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt–for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Discussion | Assigning ‘value’ to genre books

This is going to be something of a discussion post, but also something of a wake-up call for myself. It is all spurred on by one particular book: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.

(Before we start this: I know this is an incredibly privileged position to be in. The fact that I have the means to buy books at all is a privilege I am grateful for every day. I am fortunate enough to live in the UK, making book buying much easier than those living in countries that don’t have huge book markets. This is an extremely ‘first world problem’ to have. Disclaimer over.)

Me and my friend Liz have both wanted to read Christina Lauren’s newest release since it started making the rounds in the online book community pre-publication. It’s safe to say the hype train on this one has definitely left the station. We’d love to jump on that train too but, like so many other readers, we’re not based in the US, therefore we need to wait until the UK publication date of 2020 which, right now, seems like aaaages away. (We still have our fingers crossed that they’ll push up the UK pub date.)

Now, the ebook is available now via Amazon Kindle, but it’s a whopping £9.99 to purchase. I’ll be honest: ebooks being the same price, or in some cases more expensive than the print version, has always got my back up a little bit for no apparent reason. I think it’s down to the fact that I am stubborn and set in my ways and so I still prefer the tangible ‘pay money for physical product’ strategy as opposed to the whole digital download situation that is happening in all entertainment industries right now. (You can keep your digital copies, thanks, you will need to pry my DVDs from my cold, dead hands.)

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A Game of Booksathon & Simsathon | Progress Update #2

If you’ve seen my TBR post, or my first progress update, you’ll be well aware by now that I’m taking part in two readathons this month: A Game of Booksathon and Simsathon, based on A Song of Ice and Fire and The Sims respectively! Let’s not waste any time and just jump in to seeing how I did with my reading this past week, shall we?

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

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Since last week I have finished Nevermoor (which I ADORED and promptly bought the sequel to read) and I’m still reading/listening to A Princess in Theory (54% listened to), and Ghostly Echoes (11% listened to). I’ve also started reading Fragile Things (I took the book with me to Scotland but read maybe 80 pages total?) and The Raven Boys (which is a re-read so will fly by quickly). Although I know I should just focus my attention on one book and finish it off, multitasking my reading is what has always helped me succeed with reading challenge in the past so I’m hoping that proves true this time too.

You might be able to tell that after last week’s slow start, this week has followed much the same pattern. I mentioned in my last progress update that I had a trip away planned and, true to form, I did very little reading on the holiday because I was too busy wandering around the Scottish highlands, hanging out with friends, and petting their adorable cockapoo puppy. Priorities, eh? This upcoming week should be quieter though and I don’t have much planned outside of the house so I’m hoping to catch up and get back on track with these readathons in the next few days.

Have you been taking part in Simsathon or A Game of Booksathon? How have you done so far? Even if you’re not participating, let me know what you have been reading this week because I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!


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Review | Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

daisyjonesTitleDaisy Jones & The Six (2019)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher/Imprint: Cornerstone/Hutchinson
Read: 3rd – 7th April 2019
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“They were the new icons of rock and roll, fated to burn bright and not fade away. But on 12 July 1979, it all came crashing down. There was Daisy, rock and roll force of nature, brilliant songwriter and unapologetic drug addict, the half-feral child who rose to superstardom. There was Camila, the frontman’s wife, too strong-willed to let the band implode – and all too aware of the electric connection between her husband and Daisy. There was Karen, ice-cool keyboardist, a ferociously independent woman in a world that wasn’t ready for her. And there were the men surrounding them: the feuding, egotistical Dunne brothers, the angry guitarist chafing on the sidelines, the drummer binge-drinking on his boat, the bassist trying to start a family amid a hedonistic world tour. They were creative minds striking sparks from each other, ready to go up in flames. It’s never just about the music…” (Synopsis from publisher)

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A Game of Booksathon & Simsathon | Progress Update #1

As you may recall if you saw my TBR post, I’ve decided to take part in a couple of readathons this month: A Game of Booksathon and Simsathon, based on A Song of Ice and Fire and The Sims respectively! I thought I would update for these two readathons every Monday, but there wasn’t much point in me updating you last Monday as I’d barely read anything… so here we are with the first progress update for how I’ve been doing in the readathons so far this month.

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

junereadathons

As you can see I’ve completed one book so far which is… good, but not where I need to be if I plan to finish all of these books in June! However, i have also started a bunch of books; as you can tell I’m partway through Nevermoor (181 pages read), A Princess in Theory (35% listened to), and Ghostly Echoes (10% listened to) so I’m hoping that will work in my favour since multitasking reading usually works out well for me. Fingers crossed!

I will say that, overall though, it has felt like a bit of a slow start to a readathon. I guess that’s what I get for participating in a readathon when I have weekend trips away planned and I choose to read chunky books at the start of the month. I actually have another trip away planned for the end of this week/into this weekend so it’s highly unlikely I will make up for my lack of reading progress this week – however, you never know, maybe those 4 hour train journeys will be smooth enough rides that I can read without feeling sick. Here’s to hoping, right? I’ll update you on how that goes next Monday!

Have you been taking part in Simsathon or A Game of Booksathon? How have you done so far? Even if you’re not participating, let me know what you have been reading this week because I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!


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The Les Misérables Book Tag (Original Tag) | #MiserablesMay

‘But Emma,’ I hear you say in earnest, ‘#MiserablesMay is over, you can stop trying to make it a thing!’ But I am nothing, dear readers, if not insistent. (Plus when I wasn’t frantically reading the book I was thinking about what other fun posts I could write other than my recaps. I just didn’t get around to it before the month was out.)

I’ve wanted to create my own book tag for a while and today I thought, hey, whilst I’m nursing my wounds from the battle that was reading Les Misérables, why not make it even harder to let go and/or move on by posting up a book tag inspired by the book that I’ve just been fighting? (All this fighting talk, the barricade would be proud.)

So, I present to you: The Les Misérables Book Tag!

Rules

Unlike the book itself, the rules of this book tag are very simple:

  • There are 13 questions, each of which ask you to pick either a character or a pick a book (answer whichever you’d rather) based on a prompt which is related to the characters from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. (There’s also one based on the book itself because I couldn’t resist!)
  • Please credit me as the creator of this book tag by linking back to this post when you do the tag yourself.
  • Tag your friends!

miserablesmay_tag

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Les Misérables Readalong | Week Five: Jean Valjean #MiserablesMay

Bonjour mes amis et bienvenue à la cinquième (et dernière) semaine de #MiserablesMay! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, long story short: I decided reading Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables in the space of the month of May would be a good idea. (I was wrong.) If you’re curious about the intended weekly schedule and organisation of this, be sure to check out my announcement post or the post of my co-host Liz.

miserablesmay


Recap of Volume Five: Jean Valjean

When we left the last volume Cosette had written a note to Marius to tell him the date and time of her and Valjean’s planned departure for England but Valjean had found the impression it had left on the blotter she wrote it. What did he do next? Well, obviously he loaded his musket and sought out the place where the lad was and… joined in with his revolution?? (I’m only half joking.) The fifth and final volume is entitled ‘Jean Valjean’ which is a pretty telling sign – it probably means he’s likely to be dead by the end of it. Considering we’ve been following his life for some 1000 pages it wouldn’t be unreasonable that the reasonably aged man would now be on his way to meet his maker; he’s been through a lot of shit (quite literally by the end of this volume) so if there’s anyone who deserves a peaceful death surrounded by his loved ones, it’s Valjean. Obviously though, this is Victor Hugo, so he can’t just let characters chill for a minute.

What actually opens this volume, though, is a digression is typical Victor Hugo form – just related enough to not actually feel irrelevant but removed enough from the real meat of the book’s plot that you start to question whether you would lose any comprehension of the novel if you just skim-read it. This time it’s a piece about barricades, but not the barricade we’re reading about, oh no, a different one entirely. (These sections mostly just make me miss university because you can bet all your money that I would be close-analysing the shit out of it, if I were writing an essay on the subject.) Thankfully, however, Hugo manages to bring it back around to the ‘present’ before I lose the will to live and compares the barricades he’s just mentioned to the current one of Enjolras and pals. He calls it barely an embryo in comparison which doesn’t exactly bode well for its longevity, especially when we’re quickly told the food is running out. As anyone who’s ever organised a sit-in protest knows there are two important considerations: access to toilet facilities and adequate provisions of food and water.

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Wrap Up | May 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my May Wrap Up! May brought with it the very first readalong I’ve ever hosted, of Les Misérables which I called #MiserablesMay (aptly, I think). As always with these long readalongs (see: War and Peace and The Count of Monte Cristo), I was behind pretty much every day of the month, but I still enjoyed reading and writing weekly progress posts. Plus, it’s nice to be able to tick off a book that, for years, I’ve said I’ve practically read because I’d skimmed a bunch of it and then closely analysed various passages for my undergraduate dissertation. It’s nice to be able to definitively say I’ve read Les Misérables from cover to cover. I’m sure I’ll do a proper review of it at some point but, for now, I’m just revelling in not having to read 60+ pages of a long French classic every day to keep up with my own readalong. Of course, true to form, June brings me participating in two readathons at the same because, apparently, I never learn. But, first, let’s see how May’s reading looked (spoiler alert: I’m pleasantly surprised I managed to read anything else on top of Les Misérables):


In May, I read a total of 7 books 7 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 3278 pages in total.

In terms of format: 1 were hardbackwere paperbackwere audiobooks, and was an ebook.

As for genre, were YA fantasy/mysterywere contemporary/romancewas fantasy, and was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

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Les Misérables Readalong | Week Four: Saint-Denis #MiserablesMay

Bonjour mes amis et bienvenue à la quatrième semaine de #MiserablesMay! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, long story short: I decided reading Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables in the space of the month of May would be a good idea. (I was wrong.) If you’re curious about the intended weekly schedule and organisation of this, be sure to check out my announcement post or the post of my co-host Liz.

miserablesmay


Recap of Volume Four: Saint-Denis

When we left Les Misérables at the end of the volume three, the Jondrettes aka Thénardiers’ little shady gang had been caught by Javert and, in the ensuing confusion, the would-be victim of their trick had himself escaped by jumping out of the window and we also saw Gavroche, their gamin child, return to the house to find his family gone.

Volume four opens with a book called ‘A few pages of history’ – at this point of the novel, any reader might treat the title with some small amount of skepticism and not unfairly so. Victor Hugo spends some time discussing the particular social, political, and cultural climate of the historical period in question, between 1831 and 1832, particularly with regards to revolutions. For anyone curious about discontent surrounding the production of wealth and its distribution of the time (or any time, to be honest) this is a fascinating polemic… it just happens to be shoved in the middle of a fiction book so it’s a bit disconcerting if you’re not used to it. Thankfully, almost 900 pages in, by this point we’re certainly used to the author going off on a not-unrelated tangent.

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