T5W | Top of Your TBR

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 Top of Your TBR. I think we can assume this week’s topic is pretty self explanatory: pick the top five top priority books from your TBR. Considering my TBR is in the hundreds, you’d think this would be pretty easy, but I’ve been floundering over picking my next read as of late partly because of the agony of choice and also partly because there are quite a few of my anticipated releases of 2019 that are happening very soon so I don’t want to start too many other books as their release dates are creeping closer and closer. You might notice that theme in this list actually…

5. These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Since you’ll be hearing a lot of my anticipated 2019 releases in the rest of this list, I decided to include a title from last year that is absolutely top of my TBR. I didn’t manage to get to These Rebel Waves when there was the initial buzz around this book’s release and, even though I got a pretty edition in a Fairyloot box, it probably still wouldn’t be priority TBR if my housemate Liz hadn’t recently read it and said encouragingly that she thought I’d really like it. That kind of recommendation is enough to make me prioritise this.

 

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T5W | Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

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 Most Disappointing Reads of 2018: these are books you read in 2018, not only ones released in 2018. 

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Obviously there’s a huge disclaimer that I should state before we even get into this post: these are reads that, for one reason or another, slightly disappointed me. That’s not to say that these books are bad books and that’s not to say that I necessarily disliked them; rather, it’s just that because of a multitude of possible reasons (a big one likely being hype in the bookish community), the books just felt a little short of the expectations I (maybe wrongfully) placed upon them. So it’s not the book’s fault necessarily – it’s not you, book, it’s me, I promise.

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Winter Biannual Bibliothon 2019 | TBR

Hello everyone! As you can probably tell from the title of this post, this is a TBR post for the upcoming Winter Biannual Bibliothon. As I’m subscribed to one of the readathon’s hosts, LittleBookOwl on YouTube, I always see videos relating to this readathon but I’ve never taken part… until now! I’m finding out about this readathon a little late but still in enough time to get together a TBR and participate, even if it does overlap slightly with Bout of Books. Still, let’s see if we can start off 2019’s reading strong, shall we?

(I need the kick up the bum; I’ve only finished 1 book and it’s already 10th… who am I?)

For those who don’t know the Biannual Bibliothon takes place (yes, you guessed it) twice a year, there’s a summer and a winter edition and this is the Winter edition! It’s taking place between 12th until the 18th January – head over to the readathon Twitter for more info.

As well as fun Instagram and video challenges to keep you busy during the readathon, there’s a set of Reading Challenges to help choose your TBR:

Reading Challenges

1. Read the Group Book: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Providing my order on Amazon comes through in time, I’ll try to get to this one which has been on my radar but not necessarily top of my TBR. I don’t know anything about Japan, to be honest, so maybe reading a Japanese-inspired fantasy could be the first step in broadening my horizons?

2. Read one of the hosts’ 5 star reads: Pivot Point by Kasie West, Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choy
Ooo the temptation to re-read The Graveyard Book is SO strong! It’s one of my favourite books too and I’m well overdue a re-read. However I am going to resist (barely) and instead choose to read Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choy which is a book I know precisely nothing about. However, it’s available as an audiobook on Scribd and from its Goodreads reviews, I reckon it might be something I enjoy, especially if it is as cynical/bitter as one reviewer said it was!

3. Read a book that got you into reading
Matilda by Roald Dahl. Not only were Roald Dahl’s books some of the first I read, the entire spirit of Matilda champions reading so it’s the PERFECT book to read during a readathon.

4. Read an adult genre
Based on how Christina Lauren’s other books are I’m going to go ahead and assume that Dating You/Hating You is an adult contemporary/romance. It’s also a book I’ve been meaning to read ever since my friend Liz read it and said I’d probably really like the setup of the (inevitable?) couple who are both high-powered agents at competing Hollywood firms that end up merging, meaning they go up against each other for the same job. Sounds fun!

5. Combine your favorite genre with your least favorite format or the opposite
Well, my favourite genre is probably YA fantasy and my least favourite, I guess, would be ebook, so I’m going to pick… hmmm… let’s be prompt and read Enchanteé by Gita Trelease which I was just approved an eARC of and should get to sooner rather than later. It had the magic words in the synopsis “French Revolution” and I was instantly hooked.

6. Read a book with a cover you don’t like
You know, I’m not overly fond of the cover of Emergency Contact, from what I’ve seen of it on Goodreads. The pink and gold thing isn’t really working for me (though I’m sure it could be other people’s jams) so I’ll double-up on challenges with this book, I think.

7. Read a book by an author you’ve never read before
I’ve never read anything by Gita Trelease before… mostly because this is her debut novel but shhhhh, it’s not really cheating to double up on this challenge.

My TBR

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (#1)
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choy (#2, #6)
Matilda by Roald Dahl (#3)
Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren (#4)
Enchantée by Gita Trelease (#5, #7)

 

There we have it, there’s what I will be attempting to read during the Winter Biannual Bibliothon. Are you taking part? Share your TBR below! Otherwise, tell me which book you’re planning on picking up next, I’d love to hear about it!


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TBTB Secret Santa 2018

If you’re an avid reader, you may remember that in 2017 I took part in the 8th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa as ran by the lovely Jamie and Jana. Well, it was back for 2018, and I had to take part, even when the announcement and sign-up period happened when I was enjoying a holiday at Disney World in Florida. So, I dusted off my sign-up email all about me from last year, added a couple of things, and sent it off almost immediately. Then came the waiting game until I got my Santee and got to see their email/letter to Santa.

For those unaware, every year Jamie and Jana host a brilliant Secret Santa event for the online bookish community. The aim of the game is to act as someone’s Secret Santa and send them some presents based on the letter they send to their “Santa”. It’s a super fun way of getting all the community together – book bloggers, bookish tweeps, Bookstagrammers, readers alike – and getting in the festive ‘giving and receiving’ spirit.

After the success of last year, in 2018 I decided to go hard (or go home) and chose option C: 2+ books and goodies, because I knew from my first experience of TBTB Santa that I liked shopping for a fellow book lover and making their gift as brilliant as possible. I always go overboard once I start, so I thought I might as well state from the beginning that I would and let the inevitability happen!

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Bout of Books 24 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello all and welcome to this, the first of the ‘Emma signs up for a readathon with an overly ambitious TBR she abandons almost immediately’ posts for 2019! This is fun, isn’t it? Exciting. Will it be more of the same in 2019 or will Emma actually follow through on the readathon aspirations she has this year? Who knows… only time will tell.

Quite handily for me, however, the first readathon I’m choosing to participate in this year is the Bout of Books readathon, a firm favourite of mine because of its low-key setup and challenges. In fact, there are no reading challenges or prompts that you have to fulfil with you TBR; rather, the main aim of Bout of Books is simply to read. I can get onboard with this. For those of you who haven’t come across Bout of Books before, here’s the schtick:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
– From the Bout of Books team

When it comes to Bout of Books, you are encouraged to be as low-key or ambitious as you like, it really is what you make of it. This potentially comes at quite a good time for me as I’ve been struggling these first few days of the month/year with what to read – sometimes, when you have SO MANY options to choose from, you actually end up struggling to decide on one. (Seriously, it’s a legitimate Thing.) At the suggestion of housemate and friend Liz (you may know her by my frequent mentions of Travel In Retrospect, I’m sure) I’m reading a kinda so-bad-it’s-good romance novel and it’s working as something of a palette cleanser. But I’m still eager to start my reading of other things too which is where Bout of Books comes in as it has forced me to confront the issue of my indecisiveness head on and pick a (albeit tentative) TBR for the upcoming week’s readathon.

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Best Books of 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to the downright obligatory Best Books of 2018. As is often the case with these ‘best books of the year’ posts of mine, the top 10 that make the list may not necessarily be the books that I gave 5-stars when I finished reading them. Because I make my ratings’ decisions immediately after finishing a book, they can be impulsive and would, on reflection, be altered. I make a point of not altering ratings once I’ve set them, but this annual best books list is a good way to “reassess” the ratings I’ve given books in the past year and decide, once and for all, which books were actually deserving of that moniker. The results is that these books are the ones that have stayed with me, for one reason or another, and were, completely subjectively, the “best books” that I read in 2018.

(If you’re looking for my more stats-based wrap up of 2018 then please do pop over to my 2018: A Bookish Year In Review post!)

Without further ado, let’s do this like the music charts, in reverse order, shall we?

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2018 | A Bookish Year In Review

As you can see from the title of this post, this is my ultimate monthly wrap up – it’s my year in review for 2018. This means I’m going to look back at the stats for everything I read in 2018, month by month, and there’s some nice visual representations of the books too. If you want to see what my top books of the year were, please see the companion blog post: Best Books of 2018.

But, first things first, let’s take a good look at every single book I read this year, because even the simple graphics and basic statistics are deeply satisfying to me.

JANUARY

jan2018

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin | 3/5 stars | Review
* Princess Diaries: Take Two (Princess Diaries #2) by Meg Cabot | 3.5/5 stars | Review
The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski | 4/5 stars | Review
The Fandom (The Fandom #1) by Anna Day | 3/5 stars | Review
Sourdough by Robin Sloan | 4/5 stars | Review
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert | 4/5 stars | Review
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo | 5/5 stars | Review

Read: 7 books | 2236 pages
Fav: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

FEBRUARY

feb2018

* Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | 5/5 stars | Review
The Power by Naomi Alderman | 5/5 stars | Review
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli | 4/5 stars | Review
How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb | 4.5/5 stars | Review
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig | 5/5 stars | Review
Carol by Patricia Highsmith | 3/5 stars | Review

Read: 6 books | 2292 pages
Fav: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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Wrap Up | December 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my December Wrap Up. After a reasonably slow reading month in November, largely due to concentrating my efforts on NaNoWriMo instead, I was back with a vengeance in December and determined to finish the year on a high. I’ve long since surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of reading 52 books in the year but I still had a fair few prompts from Around the Year in 52 Books to address and, as you might have seen in my December TBR, I became determined not to end the year without having at least tried to catch up at the eleventh hour and finish the challenge. So how did I do? Let’s see that, and which books I read in December…


In December, I read a total of 11 books 9 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 3144 pages in total.

In terms of format: 2 were paperbackwere hardback, and were audiobooks.

As for genre, were fantasy, 3 were classics, 2 were non-fiction/memoir1 was a contemporarywas YA historical fiction, and was gothic.

Onto the books themselves…

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T5W | Books You Didn’t Get to in 2018

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 Books You Didn’t Get to in 2018: discuss the books you didn’t quite get around to this year but are at the top of your list for 2019! I think this is pretty self-explanatory so let’s waste no time and get straight down to the books, shall we?

5. A Dance with Dragons, Vol. 2 by George R.R. Martin

There was a readalong many moons ago for the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series and I managed somehow to make it as far as this book before I properly faltered. At this stage, I’ve got book and TV show mixed up, and I’m not sure where either of them are up to for each of the characters, which makes the idea of picking this book up less and less appealing as time passes and I forget even more.

 4. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Often compared to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, this is precisely why I’ve successively put off reading this book from M.L. Rio. The Secret History remains one of my favourite books of all-time so anything that’s compared to it has rather large shoes to fill. However, this has its own merits because it is heavily focused on Shakespeare – rather than students of classics, as they are in Tartt’s novel, the students in If We Were Villains are at an elite conservatory for drama. I’m sure that it’ll be a case of life imitating art imitating life with its Shakespearean themes but I’m just nervous to try it out in case it proves to be disappointing – I have such high hopes.

3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Can you believe I still haven’t finished the sixth and final section of War and Peace? No? Well neither can I. I did so (/reasonably) well back during the War and Peace Readalong but many months have passed and I still haven’t managed to finish that final elusive section. It’s starting to get to the point where it’s been so long I barely remember anything that happened in the first 800 or so pages and that’s a dangerous place to be if you hope to pick it back up to finish soon. Maybe 2019 will finally be the year?

2. City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab

Basically, it’s surprising that there’s a V.E. Schwab book that was released this year that I haven’t immediately read upon its publication. This and The Dark Vault (which was a bind-up/re-issue of The Archived and The Unbound) were both released in 2019 and yet I haven’t finished either of them. At least I’ve picked this one up, via the audiobook that I was surprised to find on Scribd straight after it was released, but I haven’t yet finished listening to it. I really need to fix that.

1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I think this is going to be on every single one of these lists until the end of time. I love this series, I don’t want it to end, therefore I constantly put off reading the fourth and final book, so it never has to be over. To this day I am astounded I’ve not been spoiled for its ending (or, in fact, anything at all that happens in it) but it feels like, as more time goes by, the more likely it is that I will be by a random blog post. So I should probably read The Raven King at some point, to avoid that happening by mistake but I do wonder if this will be a running joke of a book I just can’t (or won’t) read.

 

What books did you want to read but not get to in 2018? Do you have a Top 5 Wednesday post for this week? Be sure to link me below if you do!


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Down the TBR Hole #27

Welcome folks to the twenty-seventh 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. Shakespeare And The Loss Of Eden: The Construction Of Family Values In Early Modern Culture by Catherine Belsey

Why is it there? As you might have gathered from previous Down the TBR Hole posts, sometimes in the past I have gone through weird phases of suddenly adding more academic books to my TBR – this is one of those. That’s not to say that I’m not not interested in the book nowadays, it’s just that now I’m out of education, it’s harder to both get hold of the book (no more university inter-library loans) and to find the motivation to actually read it.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic by Elisabeth Bronfen

Why is it there? Much like the previous title, this is an academic title that I added whilst on a roll at university. I’m still interested in the concepts this book undoubtedly addresses but it’s not something that I can foresee casually picking up of an afternoon, you know?
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

Why is it there? Last year I read A Room with A View and Howards End and was really very pleasantly surprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. I didn’t know anything about E.M. Forster or his writing before I’d picked them up – and I think that was probably why I ended up being so positively surprised by what I found. I’m hoping that will continue to be the case sometime in the future when I get round to this one…
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep Continue reading