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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April 2017 | Wrap Up

Well, well, well, yet another month has passed – does anyone actually remember April happening? Because I sure as hell don’t know how it’s May already (cough it’s gonna be May cough) and yet here we are. I think a large part of that is due to the fortnight-long readathon that I took part in in the middle of April. The Tome Topple readathon meant that I focused more on getting through some hunkers of books rather than the amount of books read this month… which is my way of saying I didn’t read many books so there’s my excuse. Plus, with finishing up at my job, this month has seen me be a little bit preoccupied with one thing or another – that will change as we head into May and I (hopefully) get settled into my new work place with no huge problems. Mostly though, I am glad I got round to a couple of books that I was really long overdue to finish and I hope to continue this kind of finishing spirit into next month as I still have some A Song of Ice and Fire to catch up with. But, for now, let’s look back at how April’s reading went…

In April, I read a total of 4 books – 4 fiction and 0 non-fiction, amounting to 2036 pages in total, and, of these, 1 book was a re-read.

In terms of format: 2 were paperback, 1 was an e-ARC, and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy and 1 was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

Continue reading

T5W | Best Recommended Books

top 5 wednesdayAfter a few weeks of no-shows for Top 5 Wednesday, I am firmly back on the bandwagon. For those who are unaware, Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge organised by the wonderful Lainey, in which participants devise their Top 5 books based on a given topic – because who doesn’t love a good list?

This week’s topic is ‘Best Suggested Books You Loved’. So, this week, I will be choosing the top 5 books that other people have recommended to me, either personally/directly or indirectly through videos and blogs.


71pV9PPv-ML5. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I’d heard a little buzz about this throughout booktube but I believe the one video that really recommended it to me was Lily from lilypad’s wonderful review about the book. And it truly is a wonderful book too! It doesn’t shy away from discussing serious and somber life-changing topics but it likewise also seeks to capture the beauty and fulfilment in even the smallest things about living life with a mental illness. Were it not for Lily’s indirect recommendation I might not have read this yet (if at all) so I’m certainly glad her video review showed up in my Subscriptions feed one day.

61rYKiTaObL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_4. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

After seeing a Bookbreak episode dedicated to this book’s release, I knew I needed to check it out for myself. Besides that promotion of it, I’d also seen it mentioned by Max from welldonebooks – and, often, it’s that final push from a booktuber’s review that will get me to actually pick up a book. True to form, Jenny Lawson’s second book is a funny memoir about the darker side of living with mental illness. It doesn’t sound comedy gold but any book that features a taxidermied raccoon riding a very confused pet cat is certainly funny, if in a slightly off-beat but wonderful kind of way.

51-70e0UrTL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_3. Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre

I don’t know who hauled this book on Booktube, I just know someone must have, otherwise I wouldn’t have casually picked this up in the library one day. Since then I haven’t seen many reviews (video or otherwise) which really makes me sad because I adore this book and I wish more people did too. My gushing review attests to that level of love so I suppose since I can’t recall who indirectly recommended it to me I must recommend it to you!

 

51sBkm4QZOL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

This was a recommendation from my English teacher who taught me (in some capacity) from when I was 12 until I was 18. So, when she discovered I was partial to be a bit of Austen, didn’t mind getting stuck into a good ol’ Victorian novel, and loved Richard Armitage (he stars as the hero, Mr Thornton, in a BBC miniseries adaptation of the novel). I’d say those prerequisites mark out the tone of the novel, as well as the people who will probably enjoy it. It is a 19th-century novel so it can be quite a trudge at times, but the main characters of John Thornton and Margaret Hale clash perfectly, representing the values of the industrious, industrialising, emerging north and the established, middle-class sensibility of the south respectively. It’s not all about poverty and class politics though, there is a romance amidst all the mills and the smoke!

rebeccavirago21. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This was a personal recommendation from my English teacher and probably not a surprise on this list since I mention it on this blog all the time. She heard I liked a bit of Gothic-y influences and had recently read Jane Eyre, so she recommended me du Maurier’s books. Not only this, I own a beautiful Virago Modern Classics edition of Rebecca and, although my memory fails me on this, I’m 90% sure it was gifted to me from both my English teachers as one of their parting gifts to the class at the end of sixth form. For that reason the edition will always have sentimental value but when I then picked up Rebecca, I adored it! Definitely an apt recommendation from Miss Colabella since it turned out to be one of my favourite books of all-time.


And on that very high note, I shall end my Top 5 Wednesday post for this week. Do you have a Top 5 Wednesday list for this week? Share below, I’d love to check it out. If not, perhaps comment below with either: which book have you loved that was a recommendation from someone else or (more controversially) which book have you hated that was recommended by someone else?

 

Friday Reads | 4th December

Another week goes by, another Friday rolls round with the promise of a weekend’s worth of reading. For most people this Friday Reads trend (tag? Meme?) is especially relevant because they work hard 9-5 at jobs during the week so Saturday and Sunday represents 48 hours of blissful freedom from the office. 

However unemployed graduates like myself who are seeking work find that Friday is just another day, Saturday and Sunday are only a little different because the majority of those around us are also not in work either for those two days. Which is why I find stating my intentions to read a lot over the weekend to be ironic, to say the least, because weekends are the time when more people, more distractions (lovely though they are), are all around me. Still, everyone loves some good intentions…

 So mine for this weekend are to finish the following two books which I’m currently reading: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson and Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig. Finishing the latter seems immensely doable considering I only started reading it this afternoon and I’m already a third of the way through. It’s very readable, if emotional, so it seems like I will fly through the rest. The former book, on the other hand, is very readable and brilliant but it’s a fantasy book therefore it demands more concentration (something which is more difficult on weekends, as I mentioned) and more commitment (since it’s a 600-page chunk of a book). So we’ll see how that goes.

What are you reading this weekend? Any seasonal or festive reads? Do you find you actually read less on weekends, as I seem to?