Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books On My Autumn TBR List'.

Yay, picking books for my upcoming TBR is my favourite thing to do! Autumn is a great month for reading, it makes me thing of 'back to school', classics, orange book covers and of course Halloween! It's the perfect time for ghost stories!

1) 'The Return Of Sherlock Holmes' by Arthur Conan Doyle.

So I'm kind of in the process of reading these short stories now, and I'm thoroughly enjoying them so far! The cover of this collection is very autumnal and there's something about cosying up in a blanket while reading a good mystery that is very appealing at this time of year!

2) 'Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami.

I have never read a book by Murakami and I wanted to read something a little more 'intelligent'. His work has been recommended to me by a lot of people so it's exciting to be able to try it out, and also this is one of his shorter works so a good place to start.

3) 'The Goblins Of Bellwater' by Molly Ringle.

When I red it at school, I liked Christina Rossetti's poem 'Goblin Market' a lot. This is a retelling of that poem and while Fantasy is normally very 'Spring' for me, this feels a little different. I'm expecting it to be a bit eerie which is the best kind of book for this time of year.

4) 'The Elite' by Kiera Cass.

Just look at that bright orange/red cover! What other month could I possibly read this? I'm behind the world in this series because pretty much everyone else has finished it, but while I had some problems with book one, I liked the competition concept and am determined to find out what happens!

5) 'Lies We Tell Ourselves' by Robin Talley.

The last book I read by Robin Talley was a retelling of Macbeth and I loved it. It was a great read for Autumn! The cover for this also kind of gives me those vibes - lots of yellow, orange and black. While I expect it to not be quite so paranormal, I am interested in the intersectionality of this book and the topics it covers.

6) 'The Woman In Black & Other Ghost Stories' by Susan Hill.

Like I said, Autumn is perfect for ghost stories! While I've already read 'The Woman In Black', I know that Susan Hill has written a ton of classic, spooky tales and I have been dying to get into them for a long time! Having this book could not be more exciting for me!

7) 'The Hawley Book Of The Dead' by Chrysler Szarlan.

Another book on the paranormal, but this time with the focus firmly on witches, a subject that has always fascinated me. I've had this on the Netgalley approval list for a long time and actually consider it a little shameful how long it has taken me to read it. 

8) 'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo.

Oh boy! This book! I'm so excited just thinking about it, and I think that now I've read the entire 'Shadow & Bone' series, I'll appreciate it even more. Having loved a certain roguish prince/pirate in that series, I think the gang is really going to appeal to me!

9) 'The Wrath & The Dawn' by Renée Ahdieh.

Now a desert set fairy tale might not seem the most Autumnal thing ever, but I'm so excited about this book and I liked Ahdieh's writing in 'Flame In The Mist' a lot so I think I'll enjoy this. People have compared it (with mixed reactions) to 'A Thousand Nights' by E.K. Johnston which I loved, so fingers crossed!

10) 'Glimpse' by Kendra Leighton.

Another poem based book, this is a re-imagining of Alfred Noyes' 'The Highwayman' which I also studied and loved at school! It's also another book that has been on the Netgalley list for far too long and really needs to come off. Exciting!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (11th September - 17th September)...

As weeks go, this has been pretty good! Mat's parents came up on Monday for the afternoon to have a catch-up cuppa and help us sort some of the stuff that we need to sell! We're hoping to raise some wedding funds so it was really lovely of them to help us try and get rid of it. I was especially excited about this week because I ended up having a four day period off of work, which was great! On Friday, which Mat and I had off together, we went to the cinema to see It, the new horror film based on Stephen King's horror. We really liked it, there was definitely a sense of humour within the scares and I think Bill Skarsgård did a fantastic job as Pennywise!

On Sunday, my good friend Rosie came down to see me! I spent a really lovely day with her at my flat (which she had never seen before!) playing Oxenfree (great video game) and Telltale's The Walking Dead both of which are very choice based and interesting. This has always been our favourite thing to do together so it was good to relive the past a little.

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Little Red Wolf' by Amélie Fléchais: Approved by Netgalley (15/09/17)


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read & Loved Pre-Blog

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Book Review: O Frabjous Day!; Lewis Carroll.

I'm at it again with the poetry! Having tried Neil Hilborn, a modern-day poet, I thought I'd go with something classic. I love Penguin's 'little black classics' too, such a great idea!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: O Frabjous Day!
AUTHOR: Lewis Carroll
GENRE: Poetry, Classic

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

'I cried, "Come, tell me how you live!"
And thumped him on the head.'

Conjuring wily walruses, dancing lobsters, a Jabberwock and a Bandersnatch, Carroll's fantastical verse gave new words to the English language.

What I Liked:
  • I liked that I recognised a lot of these poems! Readers or watchers of 'Alice In Wonderland' will be thrilled to find 'How Doth The Little Crocodile', 'You Are Old Father William' and 'The Walrus & The Carpenter' (among others) because they will bring back fond memories of Carroll's more famous work!
  • One poem that I really enjoyed was 'The Hunting Of The Snark'. It was long but it perfectly embodied what Lewis Carroll's writing is all about: clever word-play, light-hearted fun and oodles of imagination!
What I Disliked:
  • Some poems were less impressive. I didn't really appreciate 'The Dear Gazelle' (which felt very unfinished), 'The White Knight's Song' or 'The Two Brothers' because they were so nonsensical that they were pretty confusing.
Overall Conclusion:
I really did like this little collection and Penguin did a great job with it's presentation. These little black classics are so worth the small price because they give you another glimpse at very well-known authors through some of their less popular, shorter work. I recommend this collection who want a little more of Lewis Carroll's work in their lives, but also want to evoke strong memories of 'Alice In Wonderland'.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Book Review: The Little Red Wolf; Amélie Fléchais.

Yay, another quick illustrated novel to tick off the list! I saw this book on someone's TTT list a few weeks ago actually, so I'm really glad I stumbled upon it on Netgalley to read!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Little Red Wolf
AUTHOR: Amélie Fléchais
PUBLISHER: Diamond Book Distributors
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Retelling, Children's Book

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Lose yourself in in the dark forests of Amélie Fléchais' spectacular artwork. 

A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him... but nice is not the same as good. 

A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

What I Liked:
  • The art for this book was great, and definitely unique! That's my favourite part of reading graphic novels of course, especially when they retell classic fairy tales and folklore. A lot of thought and hard work had gone into making it stand out. Bravo!
  • I liked the different direction that Fléchais took with the story-line, and the plot was fully realised too. The wolves were actually 'the good guys' and it was the hunter and his daughter we needed to be wary of. The way it was all explained was great too. 'Little Red Riding Hood' is my favourite fairy tale, and I loved this adaptation!
What I Disliked:
  • There was nothing really to dislike about this book. It was a little hard to find admittedly, as the illustrator is French, so I'd really like to see it gain more exposure. Also, I had to read it on a computer (it wasn't a Kindle read) which was a little irritating. Still, neither of these things are a problem with the book itself.
Overall Conclusion:
This was a cute, quirky little read that didn't take me too long to get through but did put a big smile on my face. Amélie Fléchais is a very talented lady and I'd love to try and get hold of her other work to read as her art style is gorgeous! I hope she does more fairy tale retellings!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read & Loved Pre-Blog.

This week's running theme is old favourites, so it got me thinking about books I read before starting my blog. Basically, the books that got me into reading in the first place!

1) 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak.

If anyone ever held a gun to my head and told me that I had to pick a favourite book, this would be it. I love this book. Narrated by Death, it tells the story of a young German girl who goes to live with an old couple after her Mother is unable to look after her anymore, and aids them in hiding a young Jewish man in their basement. She steals a few books along the way too, and it's a heart-achingly beautiful tale, that's told in a very unique way.

2) 'The Magician's Guild' by Trudi Canavan.

I loved this fantasy series for a long time and even though the ending was spoilt for me, it was still awesome. A lot of the reads I pick for this list will be fantasy but this one really stuck out to me as being the first time I really, majorly shipped a couple, and also the first time I cried at the ending because it was sad and not what I wanted. Worth it for the gorgeous writing talent though!

3) 'Eragon' by Christopher Paolini.

This was one of the first Fantasy books that I read. I remember my Mum buying it for me because I fell in love with the eye-catching cover and embossed gold lettering. It had such a richly built world and I really liked watching Eragon build such a close relationship with his dragon, Saphira. Lots of people loved this book at the time, though I'm irritated that I never got round to reading the final book in the series...

4) 'Pride & Prejudice' by Jane Austen.

I read this in school, and it was such a good reading experience. I had a good teacher, but it was the first school read that I remember actually enjoying! I used to read and like doing so, but I reread this many times and really got into the story. Considering the fact that I'm not into romance, that's awesome! I shipped Darcy and Elizabeth so hard!

5) 'This Lullaby' by Sarah Dessen.

Again, romance is not really a genre I like. But this was one of the few YA contemporary reads (pre-blog) that I liked! Dexter was an adorkable book boyfriend and though I didn't really like Rey, I empathised with her story. Many people really like Sarah Dessen - I'm actually surprised I didn't read more of her books.

6) 'The Name Of The Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss.

Another fantasy that I adored during my teenage years and it remains my biggest regret that I haven't got to the other books yet! The writing is absolutely phenomenal, and after Hogwarts 'The Name Of The Wind' contains my favourite magical educational establishment: the university. The structure of this story is really cool as well, and starting with an older Kvothe makes you really want to understand how he got to where he is now!

7) 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee.

This is another school read of mine that I loved, and I think it's the first read that really opened my eyes about some of the wider issues in the world. It's the book that made me realise my own privilege: that's something really big! I loved the way that prejudice is analysed in this novel, and I love picking apart the symbolism of it all too!

8) 'Lionboy' by Zizou Corder.

Oh my, this is going back to my early teens, so quite a while ago! This series was so good. Maybe it felt like it lost it's way in the later books, but I loved watching Charlie running around trying to find his parents, being chased by thugs and corporation big-shots alike and I think the inclusion of a circus really appealed to me. Especially as Charlie's special power was being able to talk to big cats, which I loved the idea of!

9) 'Inkheart' by Cornelia Funke.

I adored the cover design of this book and that's originally what drew me into reading it. Fantasy was something I loved to read during my teenage years and I borrowed most of my books from a very dear friend of mine. What makes this book stand out as a favourite is one character: Dustfinger. He was probably my original 'book boyfriend' because he was so charming, had a dry sense of humour and made every cool (and slightly bad) thing he did sound a little sexy. Also, his pet Marten Gwin was awesome!

10) 'Alanna: The First Adventure' by Tamora Pierce.

This book is one of those fantasy adventures that I believe every lover of the genre should read. After reading this, I lapped up every one of Tamora Pierce's books set in Trebond because she'd built the world so nicely! Fans of Mulan will love this tale of a young girl who swaps places with her twin brother in order to become a Knight rather than a lady of the court. She has so many great adventures!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (4th September - 10th September)...

And so began my week of horrible chest infection and cold. Seriously. I felt it coming on Saturday, but it really hit me on Monday. I was supposed to be seeing my lovely sister that day but she herself was ill, so instead I dropped her a lengthy video call and asked her to be...my Maid Of Honour! It was inevitable really, I'd been looking forward to getting my sister more involved in the wedding planning! It's all getting very exciting! I took the next few days off of work because I felt that horrendous but I still haven't fully recovered.

I'll give you a quick catch-up of the TV watching. We are all caught up with Game Of Thrones obviously, so Mat and I have started watching Gotham Season 3 as it's now on Netflix! I'm also getting into Grimm and finishing Elfen Lied which are both great shows for totally different reasons!

I Read...

I Received...


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Book Review: Our Numbered Days; Neil Hilborn.

Yay, poetry! 2017 has very much been about me revisiting genres I never really got into before and trying new things! Poetry was on the list for quite a while. I watched the viral video of Neil Hilborn's 'OCD' and adored it, even buying this book for my fiancé because he was a big fan too. I thought it would be a great place to start! 

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Our Numbered Days
AUTHOR: Neil Hilborn
PUBLISHER: Button Poetry
GENRE: Poetry

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

In 2013, Neil Hilborn’s performance of his poem “OCD” went viral. To date, it has been watched over 10 million times. 

Our Numbered Days is Neil’s debut full-length poetry collection, containing 45 of Neil’s poems including “OCD”, “Joey”, “Future Tense”, “Liminality”, “Moving Day”, and many, many never-before-seen poems.

What I Liked:
  • There really were some fantastic poems in here with lines that were very quotable and relatable for a lot of people. 'OCD' was of course one of them, and reading it proved to be just as powerful and heartbreaking as hearing it performed. Anyone who says they have OCD because they had to tidy up should read this poem and face the reality. Other great poems included 'Dust Mop' (that last line actually hurt), 'Bystander Paralysis' (I so relate), 'Little Poems' and 'Joey'.
What I Disliked:
  • There were always going to be poems I didn't 'get' first time around. Neil Hilborn suffers heavily with mental illness himself, and most of these are clearly random musings that come upon him every so often. He even states in one poem that he's afraid to take medication because he feels he won't be able to write poetry under it's effects. There were poems here that were a little nonsensical, but in all honesty, that was also part of this book's charm!
Overall Conclusion:
I honestly see Button Poetry's books becoming my new favourite thing because this was really good. I only found a few of the poems really spoke to me, and the rest didn't make a whole lot of sense in the first reading (plus they had this strange sense of not quite being finished) but I still loved this book a lot and will definitely delve into it time and time again.

Book Review: The Geek Feminist Revolution; Kameron Hurley.

I'm definitely trying to read more non-fiction this year, and this book was one I really wanted to read because I consider myself to be a very 'geeky' girl. I used to get bullied over it, now I embrace it. But while I did like aspects of this book, I didn't end up taking from it what I wanted to, which was a shame.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Geek Feminist Revolution
AUTHOR: Kameron Hurley
PAGES: 288
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Essays, Auto-Biography

RATING: 3/5 Stars

A powerful collection of essays on feminism, geek culture, and a writer’s journey, from one of the most important new voices in genre.

The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by double Hugo Award-winning essayist and science fiction and fantasy novelist Kameron Hurley.

The book collects dozens of Hurley’s essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including “We Have Always Fought,” which won the 2014 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume.

What I Liked:
  • Hurley's passion and raw anger was truly stirring in this collection. It carried through from beginning to end and it's my favourite 'type' of feminism because, as she puts it, trying to constantly be civil and educational in your approach doesn't always get you anywhere. The swearing, the rage, the opinionated but logical mindset. I loved it.
  • I really worried about a lack of diversity in this book written by a white woman, but I needn't have. Hurley does a tremendous job of acknowledging her privilege and seeing how PoCs (and the LGBT+ community) have it one hundred times worse. She looks at her own past mistakes when it comes to being diverse and her constant desire to do better, which is something we all want in the end.
What I Disliked:
  • I really felt that while I expected a collection of essays on the titled topics, what I got was more autobiographical. This would have been fine, but it was so repetitive. I didn't feel that Hurley had connected them very well, and she treated each one as an individual meaning I got the same facts about her over and over again (yes, I get it, you loved 80s lone wolf action heroes...). It was pretty frustrating.
  • Hurley mentions (numerous times) that while she's a writer, she also works in advertising. This clearly came through, as she spends a lot of the book advocating her own work. It felt, at times, like an advertising campaign and self promotion rather than the 'revolution' I was expecting. Confidence is good, but this was pretty arrogant a lot of the time.
Overall Conclusion:
Meh. This was a promising book with a good message: Geeks, feminists, unite and fight against the oppressive patriarchy! The anger and emotion that Hurley wrote into her essays, as well as her referenced works and sources (though those footnotes were messy) were impressive and the best parts of the book, that's for sure. However, the constant self-promotion, repetition and 'look how my hardships I've suffered' attitude did wear on me a little bit. I wasn't expecting an auto-biography or reviews for various media and that's what I got from this more than anything.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (28th August - 3rd September)...

This whole week has been so wedding focused! On Monday, I travelled down to my hometown to meet up with friends from school that I haven't seen for ages and we went to the Wedding Reception of someone we knew during our school years! It was a lot of fun to meet up with old friends and have everyone together in one place. It was also nice to see my family, though Mat and I quickly returned to London the next day to watch the Game Of Thrones Season 7 finale! Wow! It was everything I'd hoped for and more!

The week went by fairly quickly, though little did I know that the tight-chested feeling I felt through Friday night was going to be the start of a monstrous chest infection/cough/cold. Still, I went to visit two of my closest friends here in London and I'm really pleased to say that they've agreed to be my bridesmaids! Ahhhh! Mat and I are really getting into the whole wedding planning thing so we're in the process of putting together our 'team' for the big day. I'm very excited!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'Trans Mission' by Alex Bertie: Approved by Netgalley (29/08/17)
- 'Godsgrave' by Jay Kristoff: Approved by Netgalley (01/09/17)

Note: The next two books were actually received in my Illumicrate Box a little while ago but there was a problem with one of the items that I'm currently trying to sort with Daphne! I wanted to wait until it had all been resolved before doing a full unboxing (which I will still do) but I'm so excited about the books I received that I'm going to add them on here now!

- 'Wonder Woman: Warbringer' by Leigh Bardugo.
- 'Nyxia' by Scott Reintgen.

I Posted...

August Wrap-Up
Planned Reads for September
Bookish Bingo (September 2017 - November 2017) Sign-Up

Friday, 1 September 2017

Bookish Bingo (September 2017 - November 2017) Sign-Up Post

I love Bookish Bingo! It really makes me excited every time a new one is released because I get to think of a ton of books I'd like to read to fit the categories!

I managed two bingos on my last card, and this one is themed around Autumn! Anyone who likes a bit of fun while reading, should definitely take part in this challenge hosted by Bekka at Pretty Deadly Blog.

What a lot of cool categories! Plenty of school-themed and Halloween related choices for September and October, I'm excited to see how well I do.

Planned Reads for September.

No matter how badly I do the month before, I always aim to go into the next month with a positive attitude. I'm focusing on smaller reads for September in the hopes that I'll get through more of them. There are some really cool ones too!

'The Geek Feminist Revolution' by Kameron Hurley: So I started this month a little way through this non-fiction read, and I'm liking it. It's angry and passionate, and has women at it's heart. It's not quite what I expected, but I'm sticking with it because it's still a good read that puts me in a motivational mood.

'The Girl From Everywhere' by Heidi Heilig: After reading something so grounded in the real world, I think it will be nice to read something a little more magical. I have not read any books about time travel recently, and it seems like such an awesome concept that I want to find a good one! It's well-reviewed and will fit the bill nicely I think!

'The Return Of Sherlock Holmes' by Arthur Conan Doyle: Time to delve into more of the Sherlock Holmes series of books! This time I'll be reading a collection of short stories, which is very exciting! I love murder mysteries, especially if they're written by Arthur Conan Doyle! I have high hopes. I'm going with a school theme seeing as September is 'back to school' month, and Sherlock Holmes can be found on any curriculum.

'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas. This book has had my attention for a while. In fact I bought it almost as soon as it came out, but never got to read it. Until now. It's held the top spot in the NYT bestsellers list for such a long time and from the sounds of it, that record is well deserved. I can't wait! This is a book a lot of people would like to see on the curriculum I think.

'Our Numbered Days' by Neil Hilborn: Poetry? When do I ever read poetry? Not since school is the answer, but I do enjoy it. Neil Hilborn is a particular favourite of mine and I've watched a few Youtube videos of his work. I bought this book, for my fiancé who loves this guy and I really want to see how they look on paper.

'Holding Up The Universe' by Jennifer Niven: I'm going with a bit of a school theme this month, as it was school that evoked my love of reading. This book is set in a school and I have been putting off reading it for too long. I really enjoyed 'All The Bright Places' so I'm hoping this second book from Niven will be equally as good, maybe even better!

'Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage' by Haruki Murukami: I have never read Murukami. Ever. He's one of those classic authors who everyone tells me to read and I've just never got round to. Nevertheless, it's also set in a school and I like the concept of this book. It's not as long as some of Murakami's other works either so it will let me get a good taster of his style.

'Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education' by Malala Yousafzai:, by the author of the same name, is certainly a biography I'd be interested to read. As a girl who 'stood up for education' it fits the school theme very nicely. I want to read this book so badly, it has been on my TBR for an absolute age, and will hopefully be my second non-fiction read of the month!