Marvel-A-Thon | Progress Report

Well folks, we’ve reached the mid-way point (or thereabouts) for the Marvel-A-Thon readathon so I thought I’d do an updates post, a progress report if you will, to hold me accountable for what I said I’d read and to also try to reassure me that I have read a lot, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Of course, I’ve been doing my usual Twitter updates thread for the readathon but I figured it might be nice to sit down and do a slightly more lengthy post explaining what I’ve achieved so far and why I skipped some challenges etc.

(If you have NO IDEA what I’m talking about, please pop over to my Sign Up & TBR post first because I explain about the readathon and its challenges over there.)

marvelathon_progress

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Friday Reads | 22nd December 2017

Welcome one, welcome all, to quite a late and impromptu Friday Reads. I’ve just got home from a meal with some of my school friends from back home so it’s safe to say that this is going to be brief.

It’s getting to be crunch time with my reading goals for 2017 – there’s not much of this year left and I’m so determined to finish at least one reading challenge, namely the Around the year in 52 Books challenge. So my reading right now is completely dominated by the remaining challenges I need to complete for that, and I’m doing reasonably well in ticking them off. Since posting my December TBR, I’ve made sure to prioritise reading things that will fulfil the challenges, specifically Jo Nesbo’s The Bat and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, the latter of which pleasantly surprised me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the very reason that I like doing reading challenges that persuade me to read outside of my normal genre which, let’s face it, is either fantasy or historical fiction. Speaking of…

At the moment I’m reading (well rereading) Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss, the first book in the Winner’s Trilogy of which I hope to finally get to Books 2 and 3 in 2018. It also handily fulfils the challenge of reading a book recommended by a favourite author because VE Schwab has rated the trilogy highly on Goodreads. I’m currently also reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Again, this is a reread as I’ve studied this before at University, but it’s nice to read it again just for pleasure. Plus it’s definitely the right time of year for it. It’s not very long at all and I’m reading it here and there on my phone so I expect to finish it soon enough. I’m also planning to read Jane Austen’s Lady Susan as this will fit with the epistolary novel prompt and Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns which will fulfil the ‘Read a book from What Should I Read Next’ since it was recommended for lovers of Six of Crows.

All in all, I’d like to think I can still complete this challenges but I have noticed a massive drop in my reading pace since coming home for Christmas. As I’m not travelling into/home from work every day, I don’t have that guaranteed minimum of 30 minutes of reading daily, so I have to sit down and actively plan to read instead. I’m not brilliant at doing this when there’s the distraction of family and Christmas things but hopefully I can pull my socks up this weekend before Christmas and get some good reading done. Everyone loves a trier, right?

What are you reading this Friday and into this weekend? Do you have any festive themed reading plans? Have you completed any yearly reading challenges? Let me know what you’re reading at the moment in the comments below because I’d love to hear it!


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Friday Reads | 8th December 2017

As you might remember from my Taking Stock/December TBR post, I took a look at the remaining challenges I had left to complete for the Around the Year in 52 Books reading challenge and I devised a (loose) TBR for the remainder of the year to fulfil all of the remaining prompts. I’m happy to report I’ve stuck to the TBR, but I’m making less progress than I probably should have, which is a shame. So I thought I’d do a quick Friday Reads post today in order to track where I’m at/shame myself for not having read more of my December TBR yet.

Recently Finished

gravemercyYesterday I finished reading Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and I really enjoyed it! It also fits for week 9’s AtY challenge ‘book in the middle of your TBR’ so that’s a nice bonus, after the initial appealing premise that this is about a convent of assassin nuns who serve the god of death, known as St Mortain. I mean come on who wouldn’t want to read about nuns murdering people? I must admit that, at first, I wasn’t wholly enamoured with it because it’s told in first person present tense which can be quite jarring when you first start to read it and notice that it’s all happening in present tense. However, I quickly got used to the narrative style and started to feel properly immersed in the storyline and the politics of the court of Brittany.

I’m a little sad to discover that the next two books in the series actually aren’t a traditional ‘series’ but are companion novels focusing on different characters which were mentioned in this first book – I wanted to hear more about Ismae and Duval! The jury is still out on whether I’ll bother with the other two books or if I’ll just leave it at this one.

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Currently Reading/Watching | 1st December

You may have noticed, my blogging has slowed down. Why? No real reason, to be honest, apart from the fact that I’m lazy and right now I’d rather consume the culture (be it films, TV, or books) than write content about it. I go through phases, my blogging mojo will undoubtedly (read: hopefully) pick back up again soon but, for now, I thought I would mention a few things I’m currently reading and watching, in case anyone is curious or looking for something new to try!

Currently Reading

 

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

In November, I read quite a fair bit (my monthly wrap-up will follow shortly) and I’ve recently finished (re)reading The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, which consists of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. Since I read and adored Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, I knew I wanted to re-read the original Grisha trilogy to revisit the world of Ravka and see if reading the later duology enhanced the reading experience of the first trilogy and so on.

I’m happy to report that it did, a lot, in fact, and I really enjoyed my re-read of the series. Book two, Siege and Storm still remains my favourite because of reasons (cough Nikolai cough) but I ended up enjoying the whole thing a lot more than I did the first time I read it. In fact, I find Alina less unbearable of a narrator now, and I don’t hate Mal himself nearly as much as I did on my first read (I still hate the ship, though). My love for the Darkling endures, naturally.

Although I’m going to try to read something else now, I am very, very tempted to use this as an excuse to re-read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and maybe then I’ll be able to read The Language of Thorns, to perfectly finish off my re-reading of the Grishaverse and to get excited for The King of Scars, even though that book’s release is some way away still! We shall see…

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Currently Reading | 18th November 2017

Although I am quite the fan of the ‘Currently Reading’ style post, it has been a few weeks since my last reading update so I thought I’d let you guys know what I’ve been reading lately. Also contained therein: the reason I’m not participating in Tome Topple for the first time since it started… I know, I know, it kills the completionist side of me that I won’t have “the full set” of Tome Topple rounds for the year but it must be done.

So you may or may not have noticed that my reading lately has been a bit… scatty, I think would be the best way to describe it. This is also why my blogging has been less than consistent, to say the least. As it draws to the end of the year, the nights are getting darker, and on most weekdays by the time I leave work at 5pm, it’s already dark so all I want to do is get home safely and snuggle up in my chair and do… not a lot, really. I love winter, I really do, but it definitely knocks my productivity. I spend more time indoors, I find myself making more excuses not to go outside (or to the gym), but does that mean I get more books read or more TV shows/films watched? Not necessarily. I can’t explain why but my productivity overall always seems to dip around this time of year. I have no scientific explanation for why this is, I just know it does, I feel lower and more sluggish and even my love for the holiday season can’t really change that. That’s why my reading is probably the most unpredictable when it gets to October, November, and December. That being said, I am now actively reading again, so I thought I would take a closer look at how my reading has ebbed these last couple of weeks as well as a peek at what book I’m reading right this second… well ok, not right this second because I’m typing but, believe me, if I could do both, I would!

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Currently Reading | 26th September

As you might have seen from my last ‘currently reading’ sort of post, I recently came back from a holiday to a crisis as I was, by that point, very behind with the War and Peace Newbies Readalong. Well, folks, I’m still very behind, to the point that I think everyone has finished the book and I haven’t. Not even close.

However, I have re-evaluated my reading plans and decided I need to clear a few more things from my ‘currently reading’ shelf in order to fully focus on finishing that mammoth of a book. Because I can’t give up now, otherwise I’d never forgive myself. (Plus I want bragging rights, I’m petty like that.)

So here is a little look at what I’m currently reading aka a general plan of attack because, if War and Peace has taught me one thing, it’s that it’s probably advisable to have a decent and realistic battle plan.

A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast (Volume Two) – George R.R. Martin

I am so damn close to being caught up with the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series that I’m determined to speed through this final volume and have done with already. However, it’s not easy to “speed through” a 500-page book so we’ll see. In an effort to make sure I can always dip into this when I have a spare moment I’ve checked out an e-book copy via my library’s Overdrive system so it’s now available to read on my phone even if I forget to take the physical book with me when I leave the house. Hopefully this should mean I get through more of it than I otherwise would, but I’m only two chapters into it thus far so we shall see what the future brings.

Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

I really wanted to re-read/read His Dark Materials before the publication of La Belle Sauvage in October. I even went ahead and pre-ordered a beautiful but far too expensive limited edition of that new book, to reward myself. I say re-reading, I never actually made it through the third book, The Amber Spyglass, even though I really loved Northern Lights, so I need to get on that, stat. I needed an audiobook to stick on in work whilst I did spreadsheet stuff so I ended up starting to listen to Northern Lights – I’m going to try to continue this tactic this week, so long as the spreadsheets hold out. One slight bug-bear I’m having is that the audiobook description said it was read by Philip Pullman but he doesn’t do the voices, they are pre-recorded with different voice actors and then have been edited in, but I’ve found that the difference in audio quality, and the slight delay in that track starting after Pullman pauses to allow for the change of speaker, makes the dialogue really quite jarring. I’m really not enjoying that element of it which is a shame because I didn’t realise there were other narrators or I probably wouldn’t have plumped for the audiobook at all. Maybe I’ll switch back to the paperbacks of the trilogy after this.

My Salinger Year – Joanna Rakoff

This is a book I shouldn’t even be reading; I swore to myself I wouldn’t pick up any new books before I’d finished what I had on my currently reading shelf and yet here we are. I looked back at my hastily scribbled TBR in my bullet journal and discovered that in a moment of madness I had said I wanted to read this in September. Well, October looms so I need to get to this before the month ends – shouldn’t be too difficult as it’s only 250ish pages and it’s a memoir of the author’s time working at a literary agency in New York so it’s something I’m super interested and invested in.

War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

I hope to make significant progress with the above three books above in the next week, and then I plan to devote most of my reading time/attention to finally finishing War and Peace – I’m so determined that I came up with 3 plans of attack, one of which is highly optimistic and two that are a little more realistic.

So, I am currently at page 1037, with 317 pages left to read, as follows:
Volume IV, Part I and II – 108 pages (p. 1037-1145)
Volume IV, Part III and IV – 110 pages (p. 1146-1256)
Epilogue I and II – 99 pages (p. 1259-1358)

And here we are with the rundown of my plans of attack:
Plan A: Starting 2nd October – read 45 pages per day, will finish by 8th October
Plan B: Starting 2nd October – read 22 pages per day, will finish by 15th October
Plan C: Starting 2nd October – read 15 pages per day, will finish by 22nd October

Obviously I would like to have this book finished sooner rather than later, but I definitely want it finished before my birthday which is on 24th October. Maybe I should aim for the middle, though, with Plan B even if I suspect, in my heart of hearts, that I will slip into Plan C. Let’s see, shall we? Oooh the suspense is killing me…

What are you reading at the moment? How are you finding it? Do you have any recommendations for books you’d read and loved and/or that you think I might like? Please do leave your comments below as I’d love to hear them.


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Currently Reading | 11th September 2017

Howdy folks, how is everyone? Long time, no post. I say long time, what is ‘long’? What is ‘time’ for that matter?

You may have noticed my slight absence, you may have not. For the eagle-eyed among you, you’ll have figured out the reason: this past week I was on holiday in Washington DC and NYC. It was SO MUCH FUN and it was my first time visiting the US so it was very much a Big Deal for me. I saw a lot of the sights and thoroughly took my mind off work and I loved every minute of it (except perhaps the minutes I spent on the subway).

All of this is to say that I’ve returned to England now but I feel a bit off-kilter with my reading and blogging at the moment. My suitcase is still full and I have yet to unpack or do any laundry or grocery shopping and I’m existing in a post-holiday state of denial – procrastinating by blogging seems to be the only solution to this so here I am. I’ll undoubtedly be writing up a word vomit/wrap-up of my holiday (for posterity’s sake, not bragging, I promise!), but in the meantime I’d like to take stock and get my reading back on track, for the sake of my own sanity, if no one else’s. So here we are…

At the moment I have quite a few books on the go, most of which I semi-abandoned when I went to the US because I didn’t want to take them along with me, but now I’m back I really ought to return to them with a renewed sense of purpose.

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24in48 Readathon | Sign-Up & TBR

Hello, welcome on this rather gloomy Friday, I bring you an exciting readathon sign-up/TBR post. For those unaware, the next round of the 24in48 Readathon is happening this weekend – that’s right,  for the 22nd and 23rd July, for those 48 hours, the ultimate goal is to try to read for 24 hours out of that time.

(For more information, you can check the readathon website or see my previous 24in48 post.)

Last time, back in January, I really enjoyed the readathon and managed to read what seemed like a ridiculous of amount of books, even if I didn’t manage to read for the full 24 out of 48 hours. This round, I’m hoping to do better than last time. I’m still skeptical I’ll be able to make it to 24 because I need to leave the house on Sunday afternoon and that eats into valuable reading time, buuut I’m going to try my hardest anyway.

(Side note: last time the 24in48 readathon happened I was trying to get through War and Peace and completely failed to do so because the 24in48 readathon reminded me how nice it was to actually, you know, finish books instead of slaving away at a tome for weeks on end. Now it’s the second 24in48 of the year and I just so happen to be trying to read War and Peace at the same time again – weird conincidence but I really hope this readathon doesn’t kill my progress with it!)

So this is my official sign-up post and also I thought I’d mention a few books on my TBR because that seems relevant:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom 
by Leigh Bardugo

The Art of Asking 
by Amanda Palmer [audiobook/PB]

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue 
by Mackenzi Lee [audiobook]

& I’ll probably completely stray from that TBR and end up reading something completely different too.

I’d like to say that I will try to keep my blog updated at various points during the weekend but, since I enjoy sleep, I really do need to be reading for every moment of my weekend in order to try to get to 24 hours. The upshot of that is that blogging takes up too much valuable reading time and I’ll likely forget to update here with my progress. However, I’ll definitely be periodically posting status update tweets on Twitter and annoyingly frequent page count updates via Goodreads though, so be sure to follow me over there if you’re at all interested in seeing how I do! And until then, I’ll see you on the other side, folks…


Are you talking part in the 24in48 readathon? Then please do pop in and say hi below and we can cheer each other on in this weekend of reading!
If you’re not taking part, what are your plans for this weekend? What book are you planning to read and/or currently reading? Let me know below and let’s chat books!

WWW Wednesday #3 | 24th May 2017

You’d be forgiven for not remembering the last time I did a WWW Wednesday (it was back in March, fyi) because I’ve been on the Top 5 Wednesday bandwagon for a little while instead. However, this week, I’ve decided to plump for a WWW post and talk a little about what I’m reading and planning to read soon.

WWW Wednesday is currently hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words so do head over to her blog if you want to see more readers’ WWW Wednesday posts.

The Three Ws are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

 

1. What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading a couple of books because I’m incapable of being a monogamous reader. The first is Changeless by Gail Carriger, the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series, a paranormal fantasy series in which vampires, werewolves, and ghosts are accepted as part of Victorian society and indeed form part of Queen Victoria’s Secret Council. It’s steampunk-y and it’s overly “British” (in that sort of inaccurate, stereotypical way) and it’s jolly good fun, you guys. However, I wasn’t completely feeling it one day when I wanted to read something before going to bed so I’ve also recently started reading Howards End by E.M. Forster, after a pleasantly successful time reading another of Forster’s novels, A Room with a View. Howards End tells the story of three different middle-class English families (the Wilcoxes, the Schlegels, and the Basts), all of whom represent a particular “grade” of middle-class life at the time. Their lives obviously intertwine in interesting ways and I’m enjoying it so far!

 

2. What did you recently finish reading?

As mentioned above, I recently finished reading A Room with a View by E.M. Forster and was very pleasantly surprised by not only how quick of a read it was but also how enjoyable it ended up being. (I did a review on it, if you’re curious!) Likewise, unsurprisingly, I also recently finished (re-)reading Soulless by Gail Carriger, the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series. I re-read that one so I could pick up the later books in the series as I never did got around to continuing onward with the series the first time that I read Soulless. And, lastly, I finished reading The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill, a book set in Depression-era Montreal, about two creative and imaginative orphans who grow up in the underworld of the city but reunite eventually to put on a show involving clowns and chorus girls and their special talents. It’s disgusting and spellbinding all in one, I loved it, and (though I will struggle to articulate it) I’m going to be putting up a review for it soon so stay tuned!

  

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Providing I manage to finish both of my current reads, then I hope to pick up the third book in (yes you’ve guessed it) the Parasol Protectorate series, Blameless by Gail Carriger to continue on with the roll I’m on with that series. However, I’m sure that at the same time I’ll want to have another book on the go so, if I’m brave/stupid enough, I’ll possibly pick up the next ASOIAF book, A Dance with Dragons: Part 1 by George R.R. Martin. I want/need to keep going with the series, whilst I still remember what happened in the previous volume. If I’m not quite brave/stupid enough to start that tome, though, I’m inclined to pick up another non-fantasy (just to balance things out), maybe Decline and Fall or Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. We shall see!

  

Ok, that’s all the time we’ve got, folks  I hope you enjoyed this insight into my current reads. Do you have a WWW Wednesday post of your own? Please link it below if so (or answer in the comments), I’d love to hear your responses.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned – how did you like (or not like) them?
Until next time – happy reading!


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Friday Reads | 19th May 2017

Another week, another Friday rolls around. You may remember in my last Friday Reads, I was still absorbed in the weird and wonderful world of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (a review of which will be up later today) and having quite the run of longer books.

In wanting to break away from that I decided to pick up what I thought was the most fun and fluffy of the books I felt like reading – Gail Carriger’s Soullessthe first book in The Parasol Protectorate, her steampunk paranormal series in which vampires and werewolves are part of Queen Victoria’s society and, indeed, her government. The heroine, Alexia Tarabotti, is “soulless”, an individual whose touch can reverse supernatural states, so, if say, she touches a werewolf, their fur disappears and their eyes become a little less wolfish. The hero of the piece? Well, he’s an Earl, Lord Connal Maccon, a gentleman (kind of), he occasionally slips into his Scottish burr, and he’s obviously an Alpha of a werewolf pack because this part paranormal romance so of course he is. He’s also gruff and he and Alexia argue a lot so we can all see where that’s headed from the moment of their very first tiff in the book.

But, hey, it’s a fun romp, it’s very diverting and it’s steampunk so I am all over that … the one thing that slightly disrupts my otherwise easy reading pace? You can kind of tell it’s written by someone who isn’t, themselves, English. There are very subtle differences between British English and American English that most people don’t realise until they write with someone from the other nation – by which I mean, I myself have come to terms with this only through writing forum roleplay with an American who found it forever amusing that I would say things like “fortnight” (apparently that’s not used generally as a word in America??) and “half an hour” instead of “a half hour” as others might say. Little nuances like that that are difficult to handle correctly (mostly because you’re not aware of them being nuances) and you’re bound to slip up.

Although, one stonker of a mistake in the first few pages: “jelly” was used to describe what we English call “jam” (you know the stuff you spread on toast and scones?)… I just cringed at how glaringly obvious it stood out. (I bought the book used and the previous owner had angrily circled the word “jelly” in pencil – they clearly took issue with it too!) The more I re-read this book the more I notice them, and that’s what probably means I’m struggling a bit with this book. Lord Maccon, in particular, says things that just… no – even if he’s meant to be Scottish, they’re not Scottish, they’re not even English, couple of case in points:

“How on earth did you finagle that?” (Um excuse me, what’s “finagle”?)

“What in tarnation is that?” (We don’t say tarnation, sorry Lord Maccon)

Of course, really, it’s a book about vampires and werewolves so I mean if I’m already suspending disbelief for them then I can let a few language issues go and just enjoy it. Or, I hope I can let it go anyway because the whole point of re-read the first book was so that I could swiftly continue on with the series ahead and get to Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless in quick succession. I’m also kind of hoping that after the first book someone might have pointed out the more blatant Americanisms and they were corrected. We shall see.

(Wow ok I didn’t realise how long this post is getting… apparently that rant about British English needed to be expressed or I would have burst.)

But, aside from everything that is The Parasol Protectorate, I also have a digital pile of eARCs to get to as soon as possible. Yes, my friends, I finally discovered NetGalley and was astounded to learn that I did have enough online presence to be approved for some titles after all. (Is it weird I find that strangely flattering?) I’ve already took advantage of that and got my grubby little mitts on Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time and bloody loved it – I have such love for Matt Haig’s writing in general, to be fair, so it wasn’t a hard sell – but I think I’ll be re-reading it before writing a review for it, since it doesn’t come out until July. Aside from that I also have these titles to choose from this weekend:

  

  • Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
    This just sounds odd and mysterious and I’m all for that. I hear it’s a bit Victorian and a bit Gothic in its tone, and that’s plenty enough to intrigue me. The cover is intriguing and Hilary Mantel has praised it. That’s all I know, that’s all I want to know.
  • Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
    I’m 17% through this and I’m not really old enough to appreciate the topics it covers, I think, but I’ll still try to finish it for the sake of reviewing it because it’s an easy enough reading experience. There are 4 and 5-star reviews of this on Goodreads so clearly I’m in the minority here.
  • Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
    ‘Magic is a con game’ – that’s quite enough of a PR selling phrase to grab me, hook, line, and sinker. Yes, I am that easy.

Yeah, I have a lot of reading to do, especially since 2 out of 3 of these books have been already released so I’m definitely behind. But I have little to no plans for this upcoming weekend currently so hopefully I can breeze through a couple of the books from this list – fingers crossed anyway! The galleys really ought to be my priority and they will be, provided I don’t get distracted by whatever shenanigans Alexia and Lord Maccon get up to in The Parasol Protectorate books!

That was my Friday Reads for this week but enough of me – what are you currently reading going into this weekend? Are you planning much for the next couple of days? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear it!


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