Top Ten Tuesday | Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Welcome one, welcome all, to Top Ten Tuesday! For those who are unaware (or who might need a reminder) Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted fantastically by Jana from That Artsy Girl! Each week a topic is chosen for bloggers to respond to.

This week’s topic is Longest Books I’ve Ever Read. I should point out that, for the purposes of this, I’m not counting any anthologies that I had to read in university, nor am I counting the likes of The Faerie Queene or Les Misérables which I say I’ve kind of read but haven’t really finished properly enough to say I’ve read it cover to cover. Mileage may vary, haha.

But, as far as topics go, this one is a very straightforward one that requires little to no explanation… so shall we just not waste any time and get to the books? These are not ranked per say but listed by how many pages they clock in at.

10) A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab (666 pages)

I’m surprised that this ended up on this list because whilst it was a chunker compared to the other books in the trilogy, I didn’t expect it to reach ‘longest books I’ve ever read’ levels. However, it seems I can’t go one tag or weekly meme without mentioning either Leigh Bardugo or V.E. Schwab so looks like this one will be the token Schwab book this time! I ended up trying to eek this book out because I didn’t want it to end, there was so many highs and so many lows and V, how dare you?

 

9) The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson (748 pages)

Brandon Sanderson is clearly fond of writing a tome or two, and this one is no exception, but such is often the way with writers of epic fantasy series. In fact, you may very well notice that theme running through a lot of the books on this list. Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series books are like 1200 pages apiece (and often split into two parts when published in the UK!) so this one from the Mistborn trilogy is practically a baby in comparison. Still, it’s pretty damn hefty…

 

8) Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) by Stephenie Meyer (756 pages)

I had no idea that Breaking Dawn ended up being so long! I think we can all agree, though, that it would have been immeasurably better had a good editor been allowed to have a crack at it and removed some of the… weirder bits, right? I remember precisely zero about the reading experience of this… I must have blocked it out of my memory, for better or for worse.

 

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Unboxing | Illumicrate Magic & Mayhem

Today I bring you a rare but anticipated unboxing that I am delighted to share. I love a good book box, but I’m often hesitant to subscribe to them – I tend to opt for the ones that offer single purchase options so that I can make sure I’m likely to enjoy the theme and featured book before I buy. So I like some surprises but I also like to be reasonably confident that I’m not going to hate said surprises!

When Illumicrate announced their upcoming special box was themed around none other than V.E. Schwab and her work, I knew I had to have it because there was, frankly, no way in hell that I wouldn’t enjoy the box. I have to say, even though I was confident in Illumicrate’s curation and pretty damn sure that nothing attached to celebrating the fictional worlds of V.E. Schwab could possibly be disappointing, I was astounded by the quality of this particular box. It was well worth the anticipation, the price tag, and the wait. But let’s not tease any more, shall we? Let’s get to the unboxing of the Illumicrate: Magic & Mayhem: The V.E. Edition.

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My 2018 Resolutions | Quarterly Check-in #3

As you may have seen if you’re been around the blog for a while, I do check-ins for my yearly resolutions as a way of keeping me accountable to more people than just myself. At the end of the first quarter of 2018, I posted my first check-in, and at the end of June I posted my second check-in.

For those who care to have an in-depth reminder of my 2018 Resolutions you can find that post here. Even though the fact we’re now in October scares me a little a lot, let’s not panic about the encroaching end-of-the-year feeling and instead let’s see how I did with my resolutions in the months of July, August, and September.

READING GOALS

1. Complete Goodreads 52 Books goal

Verdict: Completed
At my last check-in, I was on-track to complete this goal at 45 books and I am very happy to report that I have smashed this goal and I’m now sitting pretty on 63 books read in 2018. I’m really hoping I can get to at least 75 books by the end of the year but let’s see how it goes, shall we?

2. Complete Around the Year in 52 Books

Verdict: On Track
So, at my last check-in for the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge I had 18 challenges remaining and now I have 15 left to go so it’s safe to say I’ve completely neglected this reading challenge in the last quarter. As we head into the fourth and final quarter, I’ll need to re-focus on this goal if I hope to finish it this year. It would be a shame not to.

3. Finish off the books in a series I have yet to read

Verdict: Failing
So, since my last check-in, I’m not sure I even thought about finishing any series. I really need to get back on this reading challenge too. I’d really like to think I could at least finish off the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater by the end of the year, but I’ve been putting off finally finishing the fourth book since it was published so I’m not holding out too much hope.

4. Finish War and Peace and read another Russian classic

Verdict: Failing
Sooo I still haven’t finished War and Peace or another Russian classic, but I have read The Count of Monte Cristo if that at all counts. I don’t think it does but, even so, let’s all take a moment to celebrate the fact I actually managed to finish a huge (French) classic instead!

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Charms Extra Credit | Sign Up & TBR

Have you heard, Hogwarts students? Professor Flitwick will be accepting extra course work for Charms between the 8th and the 14th October. This means getting a little extra credit and a helping hand towards the Charms examinations coming up later in the academic year. Doesn’t that sound sensible to put in a little work now?

For those who have zero idea what I’m going on about (and possibly think I’ve gone a little barmy), Gi of the Book Roast has decided to run a week-long readathon to accompany her (hopefully annual) OWLs readathon and NEWTs readathon, both of which I took part in (with varying degrees of success) earlier this year. You can watch her extra credit announcement video to find out more about the readathon and its challenges, or check out Professor Flitwick’s announcement, or just take a look at my TBR below to get a sneak peek of what I’m planning to read in order to hopefully score some (much needed) extra credit.

The Challenges & my TBR

Alohomora: read a book that’s first in a series
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen

Accio: book that’s top of your TBR
Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Incendio: words ‘fire’ or ‘flame’ in the title/series name, or flame picture on the cover
Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray

Rictusempra: book that ‘tickles you the right way’ (exciting trope/theme/genre)
Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince, Issue 1 by V.E. Schwab, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Andrea Olimpieri

Lumos: book with a light cover
Captain Marvel, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez

 

I’ve kind of not really cheated a little bit by making sure that these books are principally graphic novels/comic bind-ups, to make things easier on myself, but hey I am doing Victober throughout the month of October so I have to make sure that this readathon doesn’t jeopardise that readathon either. It’s a hard life being a reader, isn’t it? Still, I have included one “proper book”, as you might say, on this TBR so I’m hoping that trying to read that next week won’t distract me too much from Victober reading. Let’s see…

Are you taking part in the Charms Extra Credit – what are you planning to read for it? Or have you taken part (or want to take part) in the OWLs or NEWTs readathons? Let me know in the comments below!


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Wrap Up | September 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my September Wrap Up. As a month, September was pretty great for one key reason – I started off the month with a quick jaunt to Barcelona, a city I’ve never been to before despite having frequented coastal Spanish towns for yearly family holidays since I was 18 months. How I managed to reach almost 26 years old having never visited Barcelona, I don’t know. But I’m SO glad I finally got to see it because it was beautiful and I loved the city and it’s a place that I know I will be visiting again in the (hopefully near) future.

September also brought my friends’ wedding which was a whole experience. The trip meant a long weekend spent in the ever picturesque Cambridge and having that city as a backdrop for your wedding makes for a rather lovely day indeed. I’m so incredibly happy for my friends and it made me realise suddenly that yep, we’re now officially all grown ups and I should expect many more of these sorts of events in the future. (Also, side note for Future Emma in case she somehow miraculously ends up getting married: have a ceilidh at your wedding reception, they’re so much fun.) Since I was spending time with school friends (some of whom I haven’t seen properly for a sustained period of time for years), reading wasn’t exactly a priority. So that was a good portion of September taken up by, you know, going outside and doing things and socialising.

Because of all this, you will see from the statistics below that my reading pace took a sharp nose-dive this past month. I don’t know what it was – being on holiday for the first week and spending too much time eating paella to think about reading whilst there, or having fun at a friends’ wedding, or just not really finishing as many books as I started this month. On which note, I am halfway through the audiobook for V.E. Schwab’s latest release City of Ghosts and I’m reading A Discovery of Witches which is taking… a while to get through. What’s more, I’m not sure when I’m going to finish either of these current reads because with the dawn of October comes Victober and thereby a restricted monthly TBR. Still, before I turn to October, let’s break down September, shall we?


In September, I read a total of 3 books 3 fiction and non-fiction – and was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 1195 pages in total.

In terms of format: 1 was hardback and were paperback.

As for genre, 1 was historical fictionwas YA dystopian; and was fantasy/sci-fi.

Onto the books themselves…

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Discussion | When Childhood Favourites Are Republished

This post comes to you from nostalgia, which I’ve just been hit full in the face with, due to seeing the Matilda at 30 marketing. For those unaware, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the book, Puffin have teamed up with illustrator Quentin Blake to produce special editions of Roald Dahl’s Matilda with brand new covers, each reimagining the eponymous protagonist as a 30-year old women and defining her by her career.

When I initially saw the marketing, I was (oddly) a little horrified… and confused, and mainly horrified because of this confusion. You see, I misread the publicity and thought that Quentin Blake had written some kind of new story of “Matilda at 30”, imagining her in turn as Chief Exec of the British Library, a World Traveller, or an Astrophysicist. I thought these were original/new stories featuring a beloved character. When I thought Quentin Blake had written 3 different stories about Matilda’s career at 30 I was confused why the illustrator was suddenly turned author but I thought, ok, maybe they’ve dug up notes from Roald Dahl or they’ve ran with a really great idea, and I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to get an idea what her life might have turned out like, even if I would mostly prefer to think of a beloved childhood character locked in time, at that childhood age, and not a year older. I might have aged, but she doesn’t, she remains a child forever. (I have the same feeling when I see the likes of Nicholas Hoult or Macauley Culkin as grown adults – no, how dare you age, you should stay the ages of your About a Boy and Home Alone characters!)

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Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

evelynhugoTitle: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2017)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Read: 3rd – 10th September 2018
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.”
(Synopsis from author’s website)

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T5W | Favourite Covers

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Favourite CoversWe’ve done this topic in the past, but with so many new, beautiful covers, it is time for an update! 

As Sam has pointed out, this has been a popular Top 5 Wednesday topic in the past and I’m sure I’ve gushed about my favourite covers countless times in the past. So, for this Top 5 Wednesday, I’ve decided to focus on more recent favourite book covers, specifically my Favourite Covers from 2018 Reads. These might not necessarily be from books published in 2018 but they’re all books I read this year. So, without further ado, let’s see my favourite covers…

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books By My Favourite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Welcome one, welcome all, to Top Ten Tuesday! For those who are unaware (or who might need a reminder) Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted fantastically by Jana from That Artsy Girl! Each week a topic is chosen for bloggers to respond to.

This week’s topic is Books By My Favourite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read. You might know the feeling: you’ve read an amazing top ten best of all-time book by an author so you call them one of your favourite authors and you enthusiastically track down, buy, or put on your TBR all of their other books. Then, time passes, and you realise you still haven’t read that book by them. Can you still consider them your favourite author? The guilt spirals…

But to bring it back to an optimistic tone, just think of how great it is that you still have books left by your favourite author to experience reading for the first time! Let’s see my list, shall we?

I should point out I only managed to think of 8 for this “Top Ten”, which is pretty good going… but I did only pick one book for each author as sort of stand ins for the ones where I have multiple books as of yet unread. Clearly, I need to get reading!

wonderwoman8) Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve read everything else Leigh Bardugo at this point so what’s one more book? I’ve heard mostly mixed reviews about the DC Icons series which is probably why I haven’t picking this one up yet. I’m also much more of a Marvel gal than a DC one. However, I did enjoy the recent Wonder Woman film so clearly I’m not completely adverse. Plus it’s Leigh Bardugo and I trust Leigh Bardugo with most things, so I’m sure this is wonderful.

 

notesonanervousplanet7) Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

I’m a big fan of Matt Haig and I enjoy his fiction (though, again, I’ve only read The Humans and How to Stop Time, both of which I loved) but his non-fiction is what I often keep an eye on. Despite this, and despite buying a signed edition of this as soon as it was released, I still haven’t got to Notes on a Nervous Planet which is a little bit silly considering it’s a short, easily digestible book.

 

scapegoat6) The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca is one of my favourite books of all-time and whilst I have re-read that a fair few times, and also tried out some other du Maurier for size (Jamaica Inn, Frenchman’s Creek, and My Cousin Rachel), I somehow haven’t read this novel which is silly because it sounds so intriguing.

 

 
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Victober 2018 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello lovely people! Can you believe that next week it will be October?? I know, I know, take a minute to really let that sink in – the tenth month of the year is dawning. Finished reeling from that realisation? No? Me neither, but let’s distract ourselves from the horror of time passing too quickly by talking about a month-long readathon that will be returning in October, namely Victober! As it says on the tin, Victober is the month of reading (you guessed it) Victorian literature, that is any book written or published by British or Irish authors (or a writer living in Britain or Ireland) between the years of 1837 to 1901.

If you want to know more about the readathon, please do take a look at the Booktube channels of the hosts – Katie (Books and Things), Kate (Kate Howe), Lucy (Lucy the Reader), and Ange (Beyond the Pages) – or visit the Goodreads group for more information!

I’ve previously “participated” in Victober (you’ll see what I mean), back in 2016 and in 2017, but I didn’t do the crucial thing of actually finishing any of the books I wholeheartedly pledged to read. This year will be different, this year I swear I will actually finish what I set out to read, this year I will combine Victober with knocking a couple of books off my Classics Club list (and participate in the #CCdare too) and hopefully this ‘kill two birds with one stone’ approach will persuade me to stick with it. Also, ‘third times a charm’ and all that rot? Let’s jump straight into taking a look at the challenges and my TBR whilst we’re being so optimistic about how well this is going to go this year!

Challenges

  1. Ange’s challenge: Read a book by one of the hosts’ favourite Victorian authors (Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell or Thomas Hardy).
  2. Kate’s challenge: Read a Victorian book with a proper noun (i.e., a place name or person’s name) in the title .
  3. Katie’s challenge: Read a book from the first ten years of the Victorian period and/or a book from the last ten years of the Victorian period (i.e., 1837-1847 or 1891-1901).
  4. Lucy’s challenge: Read a Victorian book written by a woman anonymously or under a pseudonym.
  5. General challenge: Read a Victorian book and watch a screen adaptation of it.
  6. Group readalong: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

TBR

  1. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell [challenges 1/6]
    Not only is this the group readalong book and fulfils Ange’s challenge to read some Gaskell, it’s also on my Classics Club TBR and will qualify for the CC Dare because it is well and truly a book that “scares me” due to its massive size and how much I’m expecting to love it given how much I enjoyed North and South – I so hope it doesn’t prove disappointing!
  2. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell [challenges 1/2/5]
    This is on my Classics Club TBR too! I got like 60 pages through it a couple of months ago but then put it down for more action-packed reads, so I never did finish it. I was actually really enjoying it so I need to get back onto it and start from the beginning and finish it this time. Plus, I really want to watch the miniseries of it (and bought the DVD this summer with the intention of doing just that) so I shall take these Victober challenges as a sign that it’s meant to be.
  3. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde [challenges 3/5]
    I have a collection of Oscar Wilde’s plays as I had to read one of them (I can’t for the life of me remember which one, possibly A Woman of No Importance) back in first year of university. I’m still yet to read the other plays in the collection but I do want to give it a go so I’ll plump for Wilde’s most famous, I think. If all goes wrong with Cranford I could also watch a screen adaptation of this play!
  4. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte [challenges 2/3/4]
    I very much enjoyed Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall which (rightfully) deserves all the praise it gets, in fact I vastly preferred Anne’s novel to Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights so I’m hoping her debut will be the same. I’ve just downloaded the audiobook of this, as read by Emilia Fox (whose voice is SO compelling), so hopefully I’ll be able to make my way through this as it fulfils quite a few challenges!

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I’m unlikely to keep an updates post up-to-date on here for a whole month’s worth of reading so I won’t even pretend like I will – however, I likely will be updating a Twitter thread so please do follow me on Twitter and say hello if you’re also participating and we can cheer each other on with Victober!


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