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March Wrap Up and April TBR

I’ve finally managed to get out of my reading slump! It feels so good to be able to say that.

Despite this month being pretty busy with travelling around for Easter and my birthday (someone reminded me that this was my last year of being a ‘teen’, and now I’m having a small crisis), I’ve read more this month than I have in a while. I managed to read everything on my TBR and then an extra, and I’ve started both Outlander and The Talented Mr. Ripley as well.

April’s TBR shouldn’t have any shortage of possible material, because I’ve bought so many books (darn you Amazon and your book sale!). Now it’s just a matter of deciding which to read first.

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As mentioned, I’ve started this one today. I did read it a few years ago and remember really enjoying it. I watched the film the other day (hello young Jude Law) and got a sudden urge to reread it. It’s actually better than I remember, so if you haven’t read it and enjoy thrillers I would highly recommend it.

 

71I’m reading this one on the recommendation of a work friend, who I actually bonded with over Marvel films and men with beards. I was assured that this contained men with not only beards but also kilts, so I was sold.

More seriously though, I’ve been informed that this is a great piece of historical fiction and that it’s incredibly well written. I’ve read the first couple of chapters already and I’m loving the style, and the protagonist’s husband is absolutely adorable, so I’m looking forward to more.

Also, men in kilts.

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I can’t believe I’m so far behind the bandwagon on this one. When I first heard about it I wasn’t enamoured with the idea and dismissed it as just a space book, but the more I’ve heard about the humour and the emotion the more I’ve been worn away, and seeing clips from the film that I really enjoyed finally broke me to the point where I’m actually really looking forward to this now.

 

 

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adore Alan Bennett. He’s the ultimate sarcastic Yorkshireman, The History Boys is one of my favourite plays ever (which reminds me, I need to watch the film again…) and his prose is just as good as his plays. The recent film brought The Lady in the Van to my attention and I honestly can’t wait to read it.

 

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Having finally rectified the tragic state of affairs where I didn’t own my own copies of the Harry Potter books, it’s far past time for my at-least-yearly reread of the series. If anyone would want to do a read along with me just let me know and I’ll see what I can organise!

 

 

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I’ve read the first two books in the Mortal Instruments series before several years ago. I remember liking the ideas but being a little disappointed in the execution, and one particular development made my put the series down. I’ve been watching the new Netflix series though and have really been enjoying it, so I decided it was time to give the books another go. If anyone has any hints about what order I’m supposed to read them in it would be much appreciated, because I’m clueless. Mortal Instruments first? Infernal Devices? Some combination of the two? Help!

 

If anyone has any recommendations for next month’s TBR I’d be more than happy to hear them (although my bank account might not). Has anyone read any of these before? And can anyone please help me with these Mortal Instrument books?!

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YA Frenzy Tag

I was tagged in this by the lovely Jemima at The Bookaholic to do Icebreaker 694‘s YA Frenzy tag!

  • Respond to this new tag in comments (so I know if you can participate).
  • Read through my Q&A.
  • Answer the questions I posted for my Q&A in your own post.
  • Choose at least 3 to 5 other bloggers to participate!

1. What book got you started on the path of YA?

I adored the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy (I still do), and, while the first three are more ‘older children’s fiction’ they mature throughout, and I would definitely say that they gave me my first taste of YA.

My first proper YA book though was probably John Green’s Looking for Alaska, which I threw across the room twice. Surprisingly, that meant that I loved it.

2. List 3 awesome book related gifs, add your own captions.

Trying to get your friends to read your favourite book/series:

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Trying to stay calm when everything is going to hell in the final chapters:

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This just sums up reading in general really:

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3. What was the latest series you finished?

I haven’t read a YA series in a long time, unless you count Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and Carry On as one series, which I sort of do. I’m about to start reading the Mortal Instruments though, as soon as I’ve worked out what order I’m supposed to read them in (original or prequels first? And where do these prequel-sequels fit?!)

4. What is one thing that you hate in YA? What is one thing you love?

I hate love triangles. Hate them. I always want to shake the protagonist, because they always have better things to do than mope around, like, I don’t know, saving the world! For me it detracts from the plot, and half the time the final choice is obvious anyway. Also, one of the love interests is always a ‘bad boy’ (or other gendered equivalents), which is basically shorthand for ‘genuinely terrible person’.

What I love about YA is that it’s the only genre I’ve found that really takes modern topics seriously, particularly those affecting young adults. Themes like LGBTQA issues, mental illness and the pressures of growing up do all appear in other genres, but are often badly handled (I’m looking at you Ian McEwan) The vast majority of YA fiction treats these topics with great sensitivity and insight, which is wonderful because I think that teenagers and young adults really need to see their lives properly represented. And then placed against a backdrop of magic and world-saving, because everything’s better with magic.

5. Take this Buzzfeed quiz and post your results. The quiz is “Are You Able to Identify the Real YA Cover From the Fake?”

You got 10 out of 10 right!
You did better than 100% of those who took this quiz!
Golden Bookworm
You’re a gold-standard bookworm! You can definitely identify your YA covers like a BOSS. Never stop getting your read on.
It took me forever to even work out what the difference between the Divergent covers was…
Comics, Other Stuff

Envelope Comics

I realise that I promised new content in my last post, and have since been hit by an incredibly busy time at work, as well as having to travel around a lot. So in lieu of an actual book-related post (which is coming soon, I swear), have some crappy comics I drew at work when I was bored because I’ve been reading too much xkcd and Hark, a Vagrant and thought that I could do the same with a biro on the back on an envelope (spoiler: I can’t). I might redraw some of these on better paper with a working biro and a non-sleep deprived brain in the future, if anyone out there likes them for some strange reason. Or at the very least I’ll find a way to scan them in rather than using my terrible phone camera.

So enjoy my attempts to be funny!

 

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This one actually started out serious and cute, I swear.

 

 

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A Portal and a Magritte reference in one? Never let it be said that this blog isn’t cultured.

 

 

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For some reason this was the funniest thing in the world when I first drew it.

 

 

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A History A-Level based entirely on his reign and this is still the main thing I know about Henry VIII.

 

 

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Oh, and this.

 

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March TBR and Other Things to Come!

I know this is a few days late, but I wanted to finish my last read, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, before even thinking about what I was going to read next. Those damn Physics books really take it out of you, but I’m back in my comfort zone with fiction and ready to throw myself completely back into reading!

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I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the next book in The Firebird Chronicles series by Daniel Ingram-Brown, The Nemesis Charm (if you haven’t already, check out my review of the first book in the series, Rise of the Shadow Stealers). I’m already about a third of a way through this and am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s a little darker in tone than the previous book, but includes the same heartwarming whimsical fantasy that I loved in the first one. Keep an eye out for my review of this one!

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I’ve had Carry On since Christmas now, and despite having been incredibly excited for its release, I just haven’t read it yet and I really don’t know why. I’ve heard only good things about it, and I adored the Simon Snow segments in Fangirl (along with the rest of it). Also, Harry Potter-esque fantasy with meta-commentary on the Chosen One trope and a well-written LGBT romance, which you practically never see in this kind of fiction? Yes please!

 

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Well written LGBT fiction seems to be a theme this month, because I’ve heard nothing but amazing praise for The Song of Achilles. Which is great because, as a massive Classics nerd, this is right up my alley. Also, as a massive Classics nerd, I know exactly what happens, so I’m preparing to have my heart ripped out and stomped on, which is exactly what I want…for some masochistic reason.

 

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And finally, The Edge Chronicles. I grew up on these books; I always associate them with family holidays to a tiny bungalow right on the coast – possibly the last place in England that ran entirely on gas – where my Mum would read them to us just before bed. I’ve been meaning to re-read them for years but haven’t got around to it until now. I remember the stories being equal parts fantastical and gruesome, and the illustrations were darkly beautiful. The Gloamglozer, a shapeshifting demon who held terrifying grudges, particularly scared me as a child. I haven’t spoken to very many other people who have read them though, so if you enjoy gory fantasy then I cannot recommend these enough.

In other news, I’ve spent the weekend completely revamping the blog (do you like it? Please say you like it.). I’ve decided to start dedicating more time to this, so I’m hoping to introduce some new post styles, a wider array of material and at least some kind of regular post schedule! So keep an eye out for not just more reviews but things like writing tips from an enthusiastic amateur, book recommendation lists and posts about my experiences working in a library (hopefully!) arriving soon.

So that’s my round up for what’s to come in March. Has anyone else read any of these? Or do you have any recommendations for next month’s list? I’m always open to suggestions, even if I do have a TBR pile taller than I am…

 

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I was nominated for the Liebster Award!

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I was nominated by the lovely Jemima from thebookaholic. Her blog is wonderful, so go check it out!

Here are the rules:

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
  • Answer 11 question that the blog gives you.
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.
  • Let the blogs know you have nominated them.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

And these are the questions Jemima asked:

How many pages do you read in a day?

This varies wildly depending on how busy I am. On a good day it’ll be over 200. On a bad day it’ll be none. Those are dark days. We do not speak of them.

How do you start your day?

Reluctantly! I hate getting out of bed, so I usually leave it until the last minute before rolling out from under the covers and dashing out of the door for work. I’m not really awake until I get into the library, when I use my bullet journal to plan my day out before getting down to business.

What popular book (or series) have you (shamefully) never read?

I’ll completely lose my nerd cred for admitting this, but I’ve never finished the Lord of the Rings series. I’ve read Fellowship and the first half of Two Towers, but I haven’t got any further. It’s been on my TBR for years, and I’ve made myself promise to read all three by the end of 2016!

Who is your book crush?

I’ve been through so many, but my one true love that has never died is Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. I just want to wrap him in a blanket, make him tea and fight anyone who tries to hurt him.

Who is your favourite artist?

I adore Noelle Stevenson, aka. Gingerhaze. Her doodles and fanart are adorable, and her webcomic-turned-graphic-novel Nimona is one of my favourite things ever. I highly recommend it if you like knights, science, sharks and having your heart stomped into tiny pieces.

What is your favourite meal?

When I was little I refused to eat everything except macaroni cheese. I’ve broadened my tastes a bit since then, but I could still happily return to those days.

What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep?

Because I’d lose them if I didn’t keep them on at all times I’m not sleeping, the last thing I do is take my glasses off (if I were being super pretentious, I could call that a History Boys reference. But I won’t.)

What is your favourite bookshop?

There’s a wonderful shop in Oxford called The Last Bookshop (spoiler: it’s not actually the last one, there are multiple stores in Oxford and Bristol) which sell new books for £3 or 2 for £5. How can you say no to that? I also have a frankly dangerous University staff discount at Blackwells, and a soft spot for Waterstones, if just because there was one next to the train station where I used to live and whenever I was waiting for a train I’d go in and they’d let me rearrange the Terry Pratchett books.

Where do you want to travel?

I’d love to go to Italy. I was a Classicist at school (and have also played a ridiculous amount of Assassin’s Creed), so the history and culture combined with my ability to point at pretty much any building and say “I’ve climbed up that” makes it pretty much my dream destination.

What is your favourite place to read?

I really like reading on trains. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent a lot of time on them, what with travelling to school on one every day and now using them to travel home and visit friends a lot, but a long journey and a good book are a perfect combination for me.

What do you like most about blogging?

I like being able to write down my thoughts about what I’m reading and discuss them with other bloggers. There’s a really lovely sense of community in the book blogger community that makes it really easy to slip into a conversation with someone.

 

11 facts about me:

  1. I actually forgot how to ride a bike (seriously).
  2. I play the flute and got my Grade 8 before I left school.
  3. The only reason I read George Orwell’s 1984 was because I lied to a teacher about having read it.
  4. I took Irish Dancing lessons for 14 years.
  5. The highlight of my year is The Great British Bake Off.
  6. I was the first person in my family to read the last Harry Potter book because I stole it from my parents and hid it until I’d finished it.
  7. My party piece is singing the entirety of the song Secrets by Sammy J and Randy with my friend (I’m Sammy J, she’s Randy).
  8. All of our family dogs have been named after Harry Potter characters. So far we’ve had Dumbledore, Luna and Ludo Bagman.
  9. I have been asked multiple times in my life if I plan on becoming a nun just because my Dad’s a vicar.
  10. I can’t wake up in the morning until I’ve had at least one cup of tea.
  11. The first thing I ever remember writing was Lord of the Rings fanfiction. Very little has changed since.

 

I’m nominating adoptabookaus, Wield Words, abookaccount, Outright Book Review and My Novel Thoughts. Here are your questions:

  1. What’s your favourite reading drink?
  2. Where would you most liketo live?
  3. Paperback, hardback or ebook?
  4. What made you want to start a book blog?
  5. What’s your favourite genre?
  6. Do you prefer borrowing from libraries or buying books?
  7. What was the first book you remember reading?
  8. How do your organise your bookshelves?
  9. What author, past or present, would you most like to meet?
  10. What is the last book that made you cry?
  11. What book is next on your TBR?

 

I think this award is a great idea to help smaller blogs (like me!) get to know each other and find a place in the community. Thanks again to thebookaholic for nominating me!