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!

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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.

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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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A Game of Booksathon & Simsathon | TBR

As we’re coming to the end of May and I’m (hopefully) coming to the end of reading Les Misérables I decided to look to the future outside of long French classics. However, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve decided taking part in two readathons immediately afterwards is clearly the sensible thing to do. Luckily in June there are a couple of really great sounding readathons with challenges that (thankfully for my sanity) overlap quite well – A Game of Booksathon and Simsathon.

As you can probably guess from the title of the first one, A Game of Booksathon is based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series and is hosted by Noura and will be taking place from 1st June to 1st July. For this readathon the challenges are based on houses and places from Game of Thrones so you have reading prompts such as ‘Westeros’ or ‘House Stark’. You also pick a house to belong to during the course of the readathon and each book you read wins points for those houses. I found it a little tricky to choose a house because any personality quiz I do online tells me I’m a Targaryen. Whilst trying not to be alarmed by that fact, I was watching the Blackwater episode of Game of Thrones earlier and exclaimed “ooo WILDFIRE!” so perhaps I’m not not a Targaryen after all. So I’ll be reading for them during this readathon.

The second readathon is taking place between 1st and 30th June, the Simsathon, hosted by Bianca Reads, and is clearly based on the computer games series The Sims. I have a confession: I’ve never really played The Sims properly or for any length of time. I never really got the point of it much. Sorry/not sorry. (If it’s a saving grace I did enjoy comparable games like Theme Hospital?) However, regardless of how much I do or don’t like the game itself, the idea of a readathon based around its challenges sounds fantastic so I’m taking part.

Let’s see what books on my devised TBR will do for what challenge, shall we?

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Review | The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

flatshareTitleThe Flatshare (2019)
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Quercus Books
Read: 30th April – 21st May 2019
Genre: contemporary; romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Tiffy and Leon share a flat. Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met… Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Les Misérables Readalong | Week Three: Marius #MiserablesMay

Bonjour mes amis et bienvenue à la troisième 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

Despite the fact that “week two” ended up extending into quite a lot of the third week, I knew that we were reaching a part of the book that I had read (and studied) before so I was hopeful that this would be a saving grace when it came to catching up to my (in hindsight, rather optimistic) reading schedule for Les Misérables. This week I also went to see a couple of shows at the theatre and whilst you think that would mean I struggled more to keep up, in fact, it helped; I went to see Ian McKellen’s tour when he swung by Liverpool on Friday night and I had a good two hours to kill between work and heading over to the theatre so I camped out in Pret and read some of the Brick. I’m glad I did because it meant I’m here, on Sunday afternoon, not as stressed as normal whilst I frantically try to catch up with my reading.


Recap of Volume Three: Marius

The last volume finished on a potentially optimistic note: Valjean had firmly become a Fauchelevent and he and Cosette were semi-safely cloistered (literally) in a convent, so it wouldn’t be ridiculous to presume that we’re setting up for Valjean to have yet another miraculous transformation in Paris. Speaking of Paris, the volume opens with ‘Paris Atomized’, that is to say, Victor Hugo explores the city of Paris of the time through the figure of the gamin, the street urchin, which he says expresses the city and the city expresses the world. Although these semi-digressions have absolutely nothing to do with the story itself, I kind of love getting lost in Hugo’s prose when he talks about Paris.

Hugo refocuses his attention to one particular gamin, Gavroche, whose parents deserted him to the streets but whom he still goes home to visit, at number 50-52, the Gorbeau building. Because Hugo never reveals a number of a prisoner or house without it being important, it’s safe to assume the building and its occupants (the wretchedly poor Jondrette family and a very poor young man named M. Marius) will be vitally important to the rest of the tale.

This is where the narrative takes a detour, however, to the character of M. Gillenormand who is one of those “grand bourgeois” sorts that this section of the book is named after. Basically he’s very rich and pompous and he doesn’t bother to let his servants have their own names – he calls all the female servants Nicolette, presumably so he doesn’t have to bother remembering more than one name. I think saying that tells you everything you would need to know about the man. He had two wives by whom he had a daughter each, one of whom remained unmarried and kept his home for him and the other of whom married (for love) a soldier who had served at Austerlitz and made a colonel at Waterloo, something Gillenormand considers a disgrace to his family. Despite all this, he took in his grandson from this union and the quiet little boy could often be seen trailing M. Gillenormand at church.

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Avengers Readathon 2019 | Wrap Up

If you saw my previous sign up & TBR post, you will have seen that, despite taking part in the month-long OWLs Readathon in April, I decided last-minute to also take part in the Avengers Readathon. Taking place between 14th April to the 14th May, the readathon was hosted by Noura from The Perks of Being Noura. I was a little sad to realise that I only discovered the readathon just before it started otherwise I would have tried to better calibrate my two readathon TBR to fully commit to this readathon too. Still I was determined to at least complete one of the Avengers’ character missions, and set out my TBR in my sign up post to focus on the prompts for Thor. Even though I devised this TBR with all confidence, I ended up actually changing a few of the books mid-readathon. Quelle surprise!

avengersreadathon_thor

Norse Mythology: mythology book
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell

Thor: Book with one word title
Jackaby by William Ritter

Thor & Loki: book with siblings
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

(1 of Iron Man’s assignments) Tony’s Suit: book with a red cover
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

(1 of Doctor Strange’s assignments) Master Sorcerer: book with magic/symbols
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Personally I’m quite surprised I managed to organise it to read enough to fulfil the challenges for the Avengers Readathon after already having fixed on a TBR for the OWLs Readathon. Although I wished I could have taken part more in the readathon (especially on social media and interacting with other participants), I’m still glad I managed to take part in a small way. Plus, I got to read some fantastic books too and that’s all that matters in the end!

Did you take part in the readathon? Or is it something you’d like to take part in if it happened again? (I know I would!) What have you been reading lately?


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