Wrap Up | August 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my August Wrap Up! You may have noticed that this wrap up comes to you a little late. We’ll just ignore that fact, ok? Ok! At the start of September I went for a much-needed holiday to Mojacar in Spain with my parents – it was just a week of nice weather, walking along the beach, and eating food which is basically all I wanted out of a holiday, to be honest! It did mean, however, that I’m now woefully behind on blogging. I had already hit something of a slump in terms of inspiration in the latter half of August – it was only really NEWTs check-in posts that kept me going at all – but now I’m back I feel refreshed and hopefully ready to be excited about blogging again. But before we can move on we need to look back at August and see what I read!


In August, I read a total of 7 books 6 fiction and 1 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 2366 pages in total.

In terms of format: 2 were hardbackwere paperback, 1 was an audiobook, and was an ebook.

As for genre, 1 was a graphic novel, 1 was YA fantasy, 1 was YA romance1 was a thrillerwas fantasy, 1 was contemporary/romance, and 1 was non-fiction/memoir.

Onto the books themselves…

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Review | Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood

underadancingstarTitleUnder a Dancing Star (2019)
Author: Laura Wood
Publisher: Scholastic
Read: 1st – 3rd July 2019
Genre: young-adult; historical fiction; romance; retelling
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“In grey 1930s England, Bea has grown up kicking against conventions. There are so many rules. She must marry. She can’t choose. She must keep the family estate safe. But when Bea goes to spend summer in Italy, a dazzling new world opens up. There are moonlit nights, and beautiful vistas – and Ben. A cocky young artist who just happens to be infuriatingly handsome too. One night, under the stars, their friends set them a challenge. It’s a duel of kisses. The rules: sparks must fly. Dreams must come true. Neither party may fall in love. A long hot summer of kisses and mischief unfolds. But storm clouds are gathering across Europe. Is their perfect summer ending? Or is this just the start?” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Summer Cosy Reading Night | TBR

Hello, folks! I come to you today with a TBR for the upcoming Cosy Reading Night. This is the Summer round of the Cosy Reading Night and will take place tonight, during the hours of 7:00-10:00pm GMT on Saturday 17th August. But I’m getting ahead of myself so let me explain for those unaware: Cosy Reading Nights are an evening dedicated to snacks and reading, hosted by the lovely Lauren from Laurenandthebooks from YouTube. You can check out her announcement video here.

This Cosy Reading Night handily coincides with the NEWTs Readathon which is running throughout August. I’m doing reasonably ok with this month-long readathon but there’s no harm in having a night solely dedicated to reading as encouraging to keep going with the readathon.

TBR

  1. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (paperback)
  2. The Furies by Katie Lowe (audiobook/ebook)
  3. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (eARC)

 

Even though there are three books on my TBR, I’m not under any illusion that I will finish any of them; rather, I’m just hoping to make some kind of progress with them. In fact, I’ve probably put more thought into the snacks I’ll buy from M&S this afternoon for our smorgasbord of breads, meats, and cheeses. But the main point of the Cosy Reading Night is just to bring people together for an evening of reading and snacking and hanging out! The twitter hashtag is sure to be active, as is hostess with the mostest Lauren on her Twitter and Instagram so be sure to check out all her links because she is fab! I’ll probably be doing updates (if I remember) over on Twitter so follow me on there if you want to know how the reading goes. Otherwise, happy reading!

 

Are you joining in with the Cosy Reading Night tonight? Have you participated in a Cosy Reading Night before? Let me know in the comments!


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Review | The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

liesoflockelamoraTitleThe Lies of Locke Lamora (2006)
Author: Scott Lynch
Publisher: Orion Books
Imprint: Gollancz
Read: 21st – 28th July 2019
Genre: fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count. Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich – they’re the only ones worth stealing from – but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

nevermoorTitleNevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (2017)
Author: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group
Imprint: Orion Children’s Books
Read: 5th – 11th June 2019
Genre: children’s; fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city and confront her deadly fate once and for all. “(Synopsis from publisher)

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Down the TBR Hole #34

Welcome folks to the thirty-fourth round of Down the TBR Hole! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the previous posts via the tag or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Outside of doing these posts semi-regularly I have also been culling my TBR list at random points when I’m bored – all of this is good in terms of getting my TBR to a reasonable amount of books but it also means that these posts are getting harder for me to do as I’m beginning to really agonise over whether to ditch or keep books on there. Not that any of this is a bad thing! Let’s get going on the 10 books under scrutiny today…

1. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

Why is it there? I added this to my TBR when Obama was still in office because I liked Obama (obviously) but I could hold anything about US politics at a distance, since I’m from the UK. Even so, I knew I wanted to learn more about his life. And yet I didn’t get around to reading this. Especially in the last few years I think reading anything about America has become a bit of a downer, given the current administration, so I haven’t feel the urge to pick this up. Even so, I’m sure I eventually will be in the mood to read this… maybe I’ll try to pick up an audio version if that’s an option?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

2. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Why is it there? This sort of memoir did the rounds on Booktube a few years ago – books about death, and how we react to it as a culture and the industry that’s built up around it. I am morbidly fascinated by these aspects of society, not the death itself but about how we as people deal with it, and how that differs from culture to culture. So that’s how books like this end up on my TBR despite the fact I’m really not a big non-fiction reader at all. My local library has a copy of this though so I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually and it would probably be for the best for me to keep this book on my TBR so I don’t forget its name!
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

3. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Why is it there? See above, basically the same story with this book!
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

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Wrap Up | July 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my July Wrap Up! July was an interesting month. There was an important conference I had been building up to at work for months which turned out to be not as terrifying as I worried it would be but it was still A LOT, especially when it came to getting over it (I came back with definite conference flu). As a result, my reading was quite disrupted in the first half of the month whilst I worried about that conference and whilst I attended it. The conference was held in Edinburgh so me and Liz made a weekend of it before it started up and I got to show her some of the sights of a city I love visiting (and maybe one day wouldn’t mind living in).

Thankfully, my reading picked up in the latter half of July when I realised I needed to get reading or I would fail The Book Junkie Trials spectacularly! I am pleased to report I did reach the Bookie Grail but, as for the Reading Rush, I slightly failed that since I was a day late with finishing my TBR. Even so, I’m glad I took part in both of these readathons, and they helped to pull me out of what could have been a reading slump post-conference/Edinburgh. Let’s get onto the books themselves…


In July, I read a total of 12 books 11 fiction and 1 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 2998 pages in total.

In terms of format: 1 was a hardbackwere paperbacks, 2 were audiobooks, and were ebooks.

As for genre, 5 were graphic novelswere fantasywas YA paranormal, 1 was YA fantasy, was contemporary/romance, 1 was a classic, and 1 was non-fiction.

Onto the books themselves…

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NEWTs Readathon 2019 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello witches and wizards, it’s that (dreaded) time of year again – the exam season is upon us… but that’s ok because these are exams I actually might enjoy studying for! That’s right, it’s time for the second round of the Magical Readathon- the NEWTs Readathon 2019 which is taking place for the entire month of August.

For those unfamiliar with the readathon, this is a Harry Potter/Hogwarts themed readathon – it has two main readathon rounds, the OWLs and the NEWTs, which correspond with the sets of wizarding examinations that Hogwarts students face in their fifth and seventh years respectively. For each round of exams, the wonderful creator of this readathon, Gi from the Book Roast, circulates a list of revision topics (read: readathon prompts) from Professor McGonagall herself which you need to swot up on if you hope to pass all your exams!

hermioneexam

Because Gi is incredible and completely extra she has put together incredible materials that detail the ins and outs of the Magical Readathon (seriously, I’ve not seen detail like it before), so be sure to check out the NEWTs prompts and the Wizarding Careers Guide to see which prompts you need to complete during the readathon if you’re interested in taking part! There’s also a Twitter account and hashtag dedicated to the readathon so any questions you might have probably been answered there.


As with the OWLs I took in April, I’m still striving for that coveted position as a Hogwarts Professor, teaching Charms! This means I have to study specific revision topics and pass specific exams aka fulfil some challenge prompts! As their name suggests, these tests could be nastily exhausting so let’s waste no more time and take a look at what’s on my revision schedule aka TBR:

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Review | Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

hrhTitleHer Royal Highness (2019)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Read: 20th – 24th June 2019
Genre: young-adult contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools… the farther from Houston the better. Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim… after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale… or is it?”(Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

lesmiserablesTitleLes Misérables (orig. 1862, ed. 1987)
Author: Victor Hugo
Translator: Lee Fahnestock and Norman McAfee
Publisher: Signet Classics
Read: 1st – 31st May 2019
Genre: classics
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean–the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread–Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope–an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart. (Synopsis source)

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