Wrap Up | October 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my October Wrap Up! October proved to be a strange sort of month. I’d hit something of a slump, life-wise, reading-wise, blogging-wise, and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve climbed out of that slump and got back on track. (The fact that I’m only just posting a wrap up and it’s already nine days into the next month speaks to that idea.)

October was also my birthday and I celebrated in a relatively low-key, but typical, way by going to eat food (yum yum Mowgli Street Food was a hit) before watching Les Misérables as the musical is touring the UK and stopped by Liverpool. Having already seen Killian Donnelly’s Jean Valjean in the West End, me and Liz jumped at the chance to see him reprise the role on the tour, and we’re SO glad we did as the musical was fantastic. They’re trying out new orchestrations and staging on the tour and I’m pretty sure those are the changes they will be making to the musical when it reopens in the West End in the newly refurbished and renamed Sondheim Theatre. (Let’s be real, no one is going to refer to it as that who has known it as the Queen’s.)

So, for all October felt a bit slump-y there were definitely things of note in the month. I also managed (somehow) to get a few books read.


In October, I read a total of 4 books 4 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 1289 pages in total.

In terms of format: were paperback and were hardbacks. As for genre, 1 was a graphic novel, 1 was dystopian, 1 was literary fiction and 1 was fantasy.

Onto the books themselves…

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Non-Fiction November | Sign Up & TBR

Shall we talk about the elephant in the room? The fact I haven’t been around on the blog or in the online book community much over the last month or so? Ok well, in short, I ran out of mojo; my reading and blogging was affected by it and I don’t think I’m actually back to my usual self yet. However, I am trying. And we all know the best way to get yourself back into reading is to take part in a readathon, readalong, or reading challenge, right? Enter: Non-Fiction November.

Non-Fiction November takes place (funnily enough) throughout the month of November and is hosted by the lovely Olive from Abookolive. She is a voracious non-fiction reader and, to be honest, I envy her knowledge of the genre. You can find out more about the initiative in Olive’s announcement video or watch her TBR and recommendations video. It’s primarily run on Booktube but there is a Twitter account, a Goodreads group, and an Instagram challenge, if you’re so inclined. There are challenges to help you pick your TBR if you need some guidance and, of course, checking out the #NonfictionNovember hashtag on any social media will be sure to return a wealth of fellow participants and recommended reads alike.

Non-fiction is always something I intend to read more of – I even put it in my resolutions this year – but I inevitably forget it exists, unless I hear that a particularly compelling memoir has been released on audiobook. In fact, the only non-fiction I’ve consumed all year was Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally’s The Greatest Love Story Ever Told (audiobook gold, to be honest) and Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell’s Art Matters (gorgeous presentation and Liz bought me a signed edition last Christmas!). So, since I’ve pretty much entirely failed to read non-fiction thus far in 2019, I have decided to take part in Non-Fiction November to try to rectify that neglect. But ‘what will you be reading?’, I hear you ask – wonder no more…

 

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
Notes: Will likely listen to audiobook. Also fulfils Around the Year Week 2 challenge.

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
Notes: Also fulfils Around the Year Week 33 challenge.

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Pérez

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Notes: Will likely listen to audiobook. Also fulfils Around the Year Week 48 challenge.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Notes: Will likely listen to audiobook.

 

So, that’s my TBR for Non-Fiction November. Are you participating? Let me know what you’ll be reading! Or, if you’re not, do you read non-fiction regularly? Got any recommendations? Comment them below, I’d love to add them to my TBR!


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Review | The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Book cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. HarrowTitleThe Ten Thousand Doors of January (2019)
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Publisher: Little, Brown
Imprint: Orbit
Read: 2nd – 5th September 2019
Genre: historical fiction; fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place. But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Down the TBR Hole #35

Welcome folks to the thirty-fifth 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. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault

Why is it there? Back when I was taking a critical theory course at university, Michel Foucault’s work always seemed accessible, more so than other theorists at least (hello Derrida, I’m talking about you), so I added the full-length text to my TBR of something I’d only studied extracts from during the course. Fast forward several years and it’s still sitting on my TBR, unread, so I think it’s safe to say that it won’t be getting read anytime soon.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Why is it there? Neil Gaiman’s novels are some of my all-time favourites but I am yet to really fall in love with his short stories. This is one of the few short stories collections of his that I have on my TBR and I do hope to get to it sometime soon because, like I said, he’s one of my favourite authors and I feel kind of bad I haven’t read any of his shorter works.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

3. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

Why is it there? I love Chris Riddell’s illustration style, especially when he collaborates with Neil Gaiman. (Odd and the Frost Giants is adorable and beautifully drawn!) I really need to get to this one as I have a hunch I’ll really enjoy the story too.
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

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Review | My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

sister

TitleMy Sister, the Serial Killer (2018)
Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Read: 21st – 23rd August 2019
Genre: thriller
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“Korede’s sister Ayoola is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead, stabbed through the heart with Ayoola’s knife. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood (bleach, bleach, and more bleach), the best way to move a body (wrap it in sheets like a mummy), and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit. Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Wrap Up | September 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my September Wrap Up! As you may be able to tell from the dismal amount of blog posts on here and the books I read below, September was not the greatest of months. I can’t really pinpoint why this might be, it just was a bit… flat for me. I was on holiday for the first week or so of the month (which is actually when I read the books I did read in September) with my parents and that was chill and mostly fun but then when I got back to Liverpool, I just didn’t really want to blog or read. It coincided with me rediscovering the joy that is forum roleplaying, so any words I was consuming or writing was mostly in that arena.

Then, at the very end of September, Liz and I met up with our good friends from university in London as we went to see a couple of shows I had really been looking forward to – Waitress and the Les Miserables Staged Concert. Both were INCREDIBLE, for very different reasons, and I now have both of their soundtracks stuck in my head pretty much constantly. Let me tell you, having both I Dreamed a Dream and Bad Idea rolling around in your head makes for the weirdest of mashups ever. (I also now have a huge crush on the Dr Pomatter we saw, David Hunter, who reminded me of John Krasinski a little. No one is surprised by this crush, least of all me.) Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend but now that I’m back, the fact that it’s October (WTF?!) is sinking in, slowly but surely. Expect all the panicky ‘it’s almost the end of the year!’ posts to follow in due course… But, for now, let’s see what I read in September, shall we? (It won’t take long to recap!)


In September, I read a total of 2 books 2 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 736 pages in total.

In terms of format: were eARCs. As for genre, 2 were historical fantasy. (This might be the simplest set of stats I have ever had to put together. Maybe I should have reading slumps more often? I jest, please do not repeat.)

Onto the books themselves…

 

 

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Review | Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

godsofjadeTitleGods of Jade and Shadow (2019)
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Quercus
Imprint: Jo Fletcher Books
Read: 5th August – 1st September 2019
Genre: historical fiction; fantasy; mythology
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather’s house to do more than dream of a life far from her small town in southern Mexico. Until the day she accidentally frees an ancient Mayan god of death, who offers her a deal: in return for Casiopea’s help in recovering his throne, he will grant her whatever she desires. From the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City and deep into the darkness of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, Casiopea’s adventure will take her on a perilous cross-country odyssey beyond anything she’s ever known. Success will make her every dream come true, but failure will see her lost, for ever…” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Currently, I’m… | September 2019

Hola all! You may have noticed a slight lack of posts in the last fortnight or so. Truth be told, I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated to blog. The combination of going away on holiday (and needing to organise things before then), hitting something of a (dare I say it) reading slump, and trying to feel more organised generally at work after returning from holiday has meant that I’ve not hugely been feeling the desire to blog. And, as anyone who has experienced something of a rough patch will know, once you start sliding down that slippery slope, the climb back up (and the perfunctory posts you have to write to catch up to present) seems all the more difficult.

Still, I’m finally feeling like I have maybe a modicum of motivation to write something of what I’ve been up to whilst I’ve been mostly incommunicado on here, so I’ve decided to do a Currently, I’m… post, which might well be something of a rarity for this blog.

Currently, I’m reading… 

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

This isn’t going to be an easy confession but here goes: guys, I’m not loving this book. I started this when I was on holiday in Spain last week because I was lucky enough to be granted an eARC by the publisher. However, I don’t know whether I’ve just not been paying enough attention, or I’ve been too distracted by general holiday things, or I’ve just read it too sporadically, but I don’t really feel like I’m into the story… and I’m 50% of the way through so… that’s not exactly the most glowing review, is it? I’m SO torn on what to do about this – do I persevere, do I give up, do I restart reading it? Every review I’ve seen has been gushing and glowing so I’m quite sure I’m in the minority here which makes me think its my problem, not the book’s, but I still find myself in quite the dilemma.

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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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