Tag | Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Greetings one and all, today on this auspicious day I bring you a tag which you may very well have seen floating around A LOT – the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. The tag was originally created by Ely and Chami, and it does the rounds at this time of year as all us book bloggers, Booktubers, and book enthusiasts alike look back over what we’ve read so far in the year and (maybe) freak out about all the fantastic (and not so fantastic) books we’ve read. I think that’s all the introduction it needs so, without further ado, let’s freak out…

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2018.

This question is never not tricky. If we’re discounting re-reads, then The Language of Thorns, The Power, The Girl from Everywhere, The Essex Serpent, The Lie Tree, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and Genuine Fraud have been my 5-star reads. As far as my favourite goes, that would probably be either The Essex Serpent or The Lie Tree, I read them at a similar time though so maybe I was just in the right head-space to REALLY love what I was reading. Both were full of mystery and definitely NOT what I expected them to be. But I’m not choosing between them.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018.

Despite my commitment to finish series this year (a resolution I have been failing hard), I actually haven’t read that many sequels at all – I can literally count on one hand the amount of sequels I’ve read, and have fingers to spare. So, the choice is limited but, thankfully, I’ve read a pretty good sequel and that was the second book in Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy, called The Winner’s Crime. The stakes were raised so much higher from the first book and this sequel had much more court politics and intrigue and spying so, suffice it to say, I loved it.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I’m really bad at reading things on time, ask my protesting pile of eARCs on NetGalley if you don’t believe me! How “new” is new though? Because I still haven’t read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and that came out back in March. I’m a bad reader, I know.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I’m sure there are many others that I’m forgetting right now as I’m faced with this question but the thing that sticks in my head is the two books we have to look forward to from V.E. Schwab, Vengeful, sequel to Vicious (which I still haven’t read, I know, I need to), and City of Ghosts which is about a girl who can see ghosts and is set in a very haunted Edinburgh. That’s all I need to know, I’m in.

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Tag | Norse Mythology Book Tag

It’s that time of the week again: it’s Tag Thursday. Hold the applause, please.

Considering I’m right in the thick of re-reading (this time via audiobook) Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and I am quite a fan of an MCU character based on a certain trickster god from the Norse pantheon, I couldn’t not do this tag when I saw it over on Zoe’s blog a couple of days ago. Lots of credit must also be given to the creator of this brilliant tag, Kyera and you should definitely check out both of their blogs.

But, for now, onward, to the rules and the tag questions!

The Rules:

  • Link back to my original post on Kyera’s Library so I can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, I don’t get notified if you just tag my URL)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wonderful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

ODIN – FAVOURITE STAND ALONE:
Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse Gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine, and war, among other things.

The problem with reading so much YA fantasy is that very few books actually end up being standalones; in fact, YA fantasy has a habit of claiming to be a standalone only to have a series book deal announced shortly after the publication (and success) of a book. However, thankfully, one of my favourite books of all-time is a standalone and that is The Graveyard Book by the ever-wonderful Neil Gaiman. This book has my heart and soul and it is truly heartwarming and uplifting in the end, which is strange for a book that starts “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”

THOR – A BOOK THAT HITS YOU IN THE FEELS:
Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms, so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful Lady Sif.

Weirdly connected to my previous answer by way of marriage is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, a non-fiction book/memoir exploring the idea of creativity and why we (as creators, as humans, as family members) struggle to admit that we need help and ask someone else for their knowledge, expertise, or (simply) money. Given that I am not a freelancer or busker or performer of any kind, I wasn’t expecting to be hit so much by this book but it ended up speaking so true to life in general and I did tear up at a few points when Amanda Palmer got a little personal.

LOKI – BIGGEST BOOK PLOT TWIST OR CHARACTER BETRAYAL:
Loki is the god of mischief, thieves and thrives on chaos.

I’m just going to say it: Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys. In hindsight, it’s SO fucking obvious, and WHY didn’t I see it… it’s literally said right there on the page but I skipped over it on first read and chalked it down to banter. I can’t tell you what or who this answer pertains to because HUGE SPOILERS but, yeah, bit of a plot twist really…

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Tag | The Shakespeare Book Tag

You may remember that a few weeks ago I did a guest post all about Coriolanus and the body on the lovely Rosie’s blog for her Simply Shakespeare feature. This week Rosie’s post for Simply Shakespeare was a themed tag and it would feel downright rude of me if I didn’t join in with the tag for today’s Tag Thursday – head over to Rosie’s blog to see her tag post or keep reading to see my response below!

1. Much Ado About Nothing: Your favourite bickering couple whom everyone knows really care about each other (can be romantic relationship or friendship)

Considering I’m definitely of the Harry Potter generation could I ever say anyone but Ron and Hermione? They are the ultimate bickering couple, for me it’s on a level with Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice or, indeed, Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing. For me, growing up, Ron and Hermione were just constantly arguing and Harry was the linchpin that held that trio together somehow despite the moments of genuine falling out.

Can I also do a quick shout out for Matthias and Nina from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology? I’m not sure they quite “bicker” because it’s more Nina constantly pokes and prods at him and he refuses to rise to it because it’s undignified or whatever, but we all know they do bicker really… or at least they do in fanfics, and I LIVE for it.

2. Measure for Measure: A book whose plot or genre is really hard to explain to other people

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – I have literally no idea what happened in the plot of this book, but I have utmost confidence that Neil Gaiman knew what he was doing at every point. As long as you have faith in the author’s ability to plot, I think it’s ok if you don’t know what happens at every stage!

On a less confusing note, I still also struggle to explain the plot of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater to a satisfying degree. Yes, it’s about a group of kids who go to a fancy school searching along ley lines for a dead Welsh king, that might be the “plot”, but it’s also not really what the book is “about”. It’s weird and inexplicable.

3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Your favourite book featuring fairies or elves

Unfortunately,  I don’t much like this resurgence of sexy/dangerous fae that seems to have become a fad as of late – I totally blame my dislike of Sarah J Maas’ writing for putting me off anything that now mentions ‘fae’ or ‘faerie court’ in the blurb! So I’m going to have to reach back into the depths of my childhood for one…I used to love the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer which told the story of the eponymous pre-teen criminal mastermind as he kidnaps for ransom one of the fairies who live in the core of the Earth – not kidding. It was amazing and I actually really want to re-read it this year to remind myself just how great it was and maybe this time I’ll actually finish the series too.

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Tag | Reading Habits Book Tag

Evening all! I bring something slightly out of the ordinary today – I bring you a tag. But, Emma, I hear you say, this isn’t Thursday so surely this isn’t a Tag Thursday?!? No, you’re right, it’s not, but my tentative posting schedule no longer sees me post on Thursday so we’ll have to make do with today. A nice easy tag to start off the week. Everybody on-board? Good, let’s begin. This is the Reading Habits Book Tag! I stumbled across this tag on the ever-reliable Thrice Read, so be sure to check out Jenn’s answers if you’re curious. For now, onward to the tag…

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Yes, my armchair. I can read elsewhere, but this is my chosen spot. I’ve wanted an armchair like that for years and after living with Liz in Liverpool for over a year I went back to IKEA to finally claim the chair (and footstool) of my dreams, in a rather fetching dark grey colour. It’s probably too big for the living room really but it’s super comfy and I can sprawl in it or I can sit cross-legged in it whilst I read so it’s pretty much #readingchairgoals. Yes I am very definitely in love with this chair, what can I say? I take my reading spots very seriously.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I have tonnes of bookmarks so I will always say bookmark. However, if I’ve not had the foresight to bring a bookmark with me and I start a new book when I’m out and about then I’ll most likely use a receipt or train ticket to mark by place until I get home when I will replace the temporary excuse for a bookmark with a nice shiny proper one.

Can you stop reading anytime you want or do you have to stop reading at a certain page, chapter, part etc.?

like to stop reading only at a page break or a chapter break but I’ve had to develop less of an animosity towards the alternative due to reading on my train journeys to and from work when the train very rudely often pulls into the station when I’m smack-bang in the middle of a page. To be perfectly honest, I think it’s just rude and inconsiderate of the train to interrupt my reading like that!

Do you eat or drink while you read?

Ideally, yes. I like to have a cup of coffee or tea by my side when I’m sitting down to read. However, as previously mentioned, most of my day-to-day reading throughout the week is done on my train journey to/from work so sometimes a cuppa is out of the question. I like to snack on things if I’ve purposely sat down to read too, mostly biscuits if I’m being totally honest!

Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

can but I have to be in the right mood to do it. If my concentration isn’t quite there then I don’t even try to do both. I’d probably listen to music I’m very familiar with, or that is instrumental/droning vocals (i.e. Daughter, Bon Iver). I struggle more with reading whilst watching TV, and can only really do it if I’m not actually watching the TV show but I just happen to be in the same room as someone who is watching TV so it’s basically just background noise to me – the classic example is when the football is on since I don’t give a flying fuck about football and I will happily let it become just background noise to me whilst I read something.

One book at a time or several at once?

I couldn’t tell you the last time I was “reading monogamously”, as I like to call it. I’m a polygamous reader through and through, mainly because I like to have an option in each format on the go at any given time – so I’ll listen to an audiobook and have a hardback/paperback novel on the go as well as an ebook on my phone in case I get stuck waiting somewhere. It just maximises my reading time and makes sure I don’t waste any “dead” moments in my day.

Reading at home or everywhere?

I think I’ve preempted this question in my responses above but basically I will try to read anywhere. The one kind of place I struggle to read though is in a crowded coffee shop; as much as I would like to be that kind of reader, I just find it hard to concentrate when conversations are going on around me.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

I generally read silently in my head, and I haven’t read out loud for years at this point. I have nothing against it though; in fact, I guess audiobooks are a bit like reading out loud!

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I have never intentionally read ahead. I have completely accidentally read ahead in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when the book fell open on the page with that death, no lies, and I then was devastated and had to read a bit of the preceding and following chapters so I could understand the context because it would have killed me otherwise. However, I never skip full pages…but I wouldn’t say I’ve never skim-read some of the more boring of my required reading. Sorry/not sorry.

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I like books to look like they’ve actually been touched, you know? So I really don’t mind about breaking the spine. In fact, it’s kind of a necessity if you don’t want to have to read a paperback very carefully.

Do you write in books?

I certainly used to happily scribble notes in the margins in pencil when I was studying texts at university, and I do love a good bit of marginalia so you can see what the reader was thinking when they were reading it, but I don’t really do it anymore as I read. Nowadays I tend to takes notes or just take a photo of the page I like using the Notes app on my phone, mainly because I like to have the option tor review the things I’ve read on this blog, but I don’t feel the need to scribble a lot of notes in the book itself anymore because I won’t have to sit an exam on it at some point in the future like I used to.

That’s all, folks, that was the Reading Habits Book Tag! If you haven’t yet done this tag I hereby tag you (yes, you) to do the tag yourself and please do link me to it below because I’d love to see your responses to the tag questions!


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Tag | The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

Welcome to another Thursday and another Tag Thursday! As we’re in the middle of Blogmas I thought I’d bring you another festive-themed book tag to stay in the Christmassy mood. I can’t believe we’re a mere four sleeps away from Christmas Day, that seems so crazy to me since I feel like December only just stared but, alas, here we are. Before I need to go away and have a semi-panic about the presents I still need to get, let’s get to the business of the day, the tag.

I found this via (and considered myself tagged by) the girls over at Thrice Read so let’s just dive on into the tag which is called The Joy of Christmas Book Tag!

1) Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?

I really should look at new book releases because I honestly have no idea what’s coming out soon, I’m so out of the loop. But how far in the future are we talking? Because I am highly anticipating Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars though I’m not sure when it’s released. Likewise anything and everything V.E. Schwab and Samantha Shannon are scheduled to release, as per usual.

2) Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing it’s praises?

Well I think if you look at the answer above you will see some authors whose praises I cannot sing enough, in fact I’m rarely able to get through a book tag without alluding to a book written by one of them! Also this year I’ve been singing the praises of more non-fiction than I expected, specifically Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking and Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt.

3) Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building?

I’m always spoilt for choice with these kinds of questions because so much of what I read is fantasy-based but I’m going to have to say George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. He does an amazing job of juggling so many characters and settings and every single one is unique and distinct so you can immediately picture what the landscape is like of, say, Winterfell or Highgarden.

But you know who builds a great setting not necessarily in terms of physical place but in terms of tone? Maggie Stiefvater in her The Raven Boy’s quartet. I can vividly “feel” her books which is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

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Tag | Christmas Cracker Book Tag

Welcome one, welcome all, to a festive edition of Tag Thursday! This week’s tag is the aptly named Christmas Cracker Book Tag and it was apparently originally created by Lucy from Queen of Contemporary but I think her original video has unfortunately been taken down now?? (If I can find the original video later, I’ll be sure to link it here!) I found this through my good friend Liz over at Travel In Retrospect so be sure to have a peek at her blog if you want to see her answers. Now, without further ado, let’s get right into the tag…

dancewithdragons2Pick a book with a wintry cover

Pick a book you’re likely buy as a present

 

If I were buying a book as a present I’d be likely to check a person’s wishlist out or their bookshelves to see what kind of novels they read. However, if I couldn’t do this and I was judging it blind then I’d probably buy them a nice edition of a classic – the Penguin Clothbounds, the Penguin Classic Deluxe Editions, and Penguin English Library paperbacks are beautiful books to gift, as are the Vintage Russians and Brontes series. Basically, there are some beautiful editions of classics out there specially designed for gifting to a book lover and I fall for them (hook, line, and sinker) every single time.

penguinclothbounds

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Tag | The Christmas Song Book Tag

Welcome one, welcome all, to another Tag Thursday. This Tag Thursday is somewhat special as it’s the first Tag Thursday taking place during Blogmas, which means I made sure to pick a Christmassy book tag for today. It is fortuitous that I didn’t have to look very far to find something fitting the bill! And, yes, I am a broken record by now but I found this tag over at Thrice Read so be sure to head over there to check out Eden’s answers too! Let’s not waste any more time – let’s just get straight to it!

1. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch”: Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

I wonder how many Leigh Bardugo and V.E. Schwab books I can mention in the course of this tag…

… let’s start, shall we? He wouldn’t think he’s a villain by any means (and the best villains never do) but the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy fits the bill nicely, I feel. Also the Dane twins from V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic because they’re just horrifying but they have SO much twisted fun with it (“hello, flower boy”).

2. “All I Want for Christmas is You”: Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree?

I purposely didn’t buy this as soon as it was released just so that I could be gifted it at Christmas – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition. How can I be so sure I will see it under the Christmas tree? Well, I bought it on my parents’ behalf for them to gift it to me – it’s fine, they came up with this arrangement with me a couple of Christmases ago and it seems to be working out quite well for us all! If I don’t see this under the tree this year then something has gone spectacularly wrong.

3. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

Can we talk about the character development and growth of Paige Mahoney in Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season series? It’s going to be a seven-book series but the growth of her character from book 1 to book 3 is already astounding. I’ve loved Paige from the start but I can’t help but love how strong she has become over the course of The Bone Season, The Mime Order, and The Song Rising – the latter in particular made her grow up and fill some boots very quickly and under pressure and she did it in very trying circumstances and I can’t wait to see where she ends up by book 7 of this series.

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Tag | The End of the Year Book Tag

Welcome everyone to another Thursday and (that’s right) another Tag Thursdsay! This week’s featured tag is The End of the Year Book Tag. As November quickly slips away from us and December looms, the end of 2017 is coming ever closer – where has this year gone ? Seriously though. Now seems like a good time to have a little freak out and then take stock of the time I have left in the year and what I can realistically read in what remains of 2017 so this tag comes at the perfect time. This tag was originally created by the ever-wonderful Ariel Bissett, but I actually spotted this over at The Pewter Wolf so be sure to go check out his blog and his responses as well as Ariel’s!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

*glances wearily at War and Peace*
Yep, that’s a pretty significant one.

Likewise, I’d like to have finished the A Song of Ice and Fire series by the end of the year so I’m all caught up with that – I just have A Dance with Dragons: Volume 2 to get through, I say “just” but it’s a hefty book in its own right.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

ravenboysaudiobookNot particularly, since I don’t tend to “read with the seasons” (I even did a blog post about that!) but I definitely find myself reading more atmospheric/evocative things in the autumn. For some reason I think The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater makes for a great read in sort of September/October because it’s slightly hazy and spooky, especially if you listen to the audiobook as read by Will Patton.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

poaillustratedI’m still waiting to buy the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which was released a little while ago now but it’s the sort of book people like to gift at Christmas so I’ve held out until now for it. I’m pretty sure my parents are going to gift me it for Christmas and when I say pretty sure I’m 100% sure because I buy books on their behalf and they wrap them up and I try to act surprised on Christmas morning… it’s just how we do things.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Apart from the ones I mentioned in answer to the ‘books I’ve started’ question, there are quite a few others I’d like to get to. Off the top of my head, though, I’d like to read The Good Immigrant, an Austen re-read (maybe Persuasion?), and Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster. I’m sure once I move on from this question several more pressing titles will pop into my head but, for now, those are the ones I can think of.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

At this point in the year, it’s highly unlikely, to be honest, since most releases that I was excited about have already been and gone, and I’ve have a pretty stellar reading year already… but I’m happy to be proved wrong!

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Assuming I do actually finish Tolstoy’s War and Peace then I’d like to make a point of picking one classic “big book” a year (at least) and making a little reading project out of it. I’ve started to think about what my next one will be – I’m thinking either Anna Karenina or Doctor Zhivago (if I haven’t tired of Russians) or maybe Les Miserables. Does anyone have any particular opinions about any of these? I’m leaning towards Les Mis because I did my undergraduate dissertation on it but never actually read it cover-to-cover, so I’d like to correct that!

That’s all, folks! If you haven’t done this tag and would like to, please feel free to consider yourself tagged by me – and be sure to leave your blog post in a comment below if you do the tag because I’d love to see your responses!


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Tag | Finally Fall Book Tag

Welcome to another Thursday and another Tag Thursday! Lately I’ve been struggling to find newer tags to do but this one in particular felt timely when it saw it in my sub box on YouTube since I spent today watching a storm outside as it whipped crunchy golden leaves from the trees – this is the Finally Fall Book Tag! I saw this on Amy aka shoutame’s channel, originally created by Alina aka Tall Tales – please do check out their videos if you have time because they’re both delightful!

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!

I’m going to have to name Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – it is so atmospheric and evocative that it was as though I could feel the biting Icelandic winds roll across me as I was reading it. The setting is definitely a central character of the story in its own right and I think it will be a long time until I read something that is quite as vivid as that novel.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

I’d say All the Light We Cannot See is pretty damn heavy in its topic and beautiful in its execution.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

I don’t read much non-fiction really, and the non-fiction I do read tends to be more of the memoir sort than straight-up non-fiction. However, I suppose both My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff and In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park opened my eyes in different ways – the first to the literary agency/publishing scene in 1990s New York, a world away from my own job at a university press in England, and the second to a completely different world that is North Korea. I can’t get over some of the horrific things contained within In Order to Live and I still think about passages from it, even though I read it a good couple of years ago now.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

I have three answers for this because I just refuse to narrow it down. I’d love to be part of the Weasley family from Harry Potter, or to hang with Blue and her Raven Boys in The Raven Boys, or to be a member of Kaz’s gang of merry misfits from Six of Crows – I’m not sure if I have any sort of criminal skill to be a useful member of the Dregs though!

5. The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

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Tag | Burn, Rewrite, Reread #2

Guys, guys, another week has passed, including another Thursday so welcome to this week’s Tag Thursday. This week is a little different because I’m going to do the Burn, Rewrite, Reread tag. This is just like the Kiss/Marry/Cliff game (cough Shag/Marry/Kill for the older among us), but book-related! I did this tag a while ago but I was reminded of how much fun it is to do when I saw Kelly’s Rambles do this tag recently. So I’m doing it again and I’m calling it Burn, Rewrite, Reread #2.

Rules

  • Randomly choose 3 books (Tip: Use the “Sort > Random” option on your Goodreads’ Read shelf.).
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread (a lot like Kiss, Marry, Kill).
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds (or six).

Round One

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