Monthly Round Up – September

Can you remember in my August Round Up when I said I was going to read more books than ever and absolutely smash my TBR? Yeah, that didn’t happen. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s been a slow month, but I’ve slowed down a lot myself. I’ve decided that from now on, it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to finish a book, as long as I’m enjoying it. I’ve read two and a half books this month, the first two being within the first half of the month, so fairly average speed reading. The book I’m reading at the moment is historical fiction, which I always like to take my time on.

  1. After You by Jojo Moyes
  2. While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green
  3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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WWW Wednesday – 28th September 2016

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday post, a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Please go and have a look at everyone else is reading and make sure you post your own WWW in the comments so I can have a look.

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The premise of the post is quite simple – answer the three Ws:

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

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Fall/Autumn TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Books on my Fall TBR List. As I’ve just started back at uni, I won’t have as much time to read, so it’ll probably take me the rest of the year to get through this, but here you go anyway.


Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglaslocal-girl

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this through NetGalley, so it’s top of my list. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, so I’m really looking forward to getting started. I’ve read quite a few ‘missing’ books recently, some good and some bad, so hopefully this is on the good side.

 

 


the-readerThe Reader on the 6:27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Quite a few people have recommended this to me, so I finally bought myself a copy. I’m not sure when I’ll read it, probably as a filler when I’m getting bored of thrillers, but I am looking forward to it.

 

 


The Lie by C. L. Taylorimg_0279

This has been on my TBR for so long. I received all three C. L. Taylor thrillers as a set for my birthday and I still have this one left. The other two were very quick reads, so I’ll probably read this when I’m busy and need an easy-read break from studying.

 


When the Doves Disappeared by Simg_0224ofi Oksanen

This has been on my TBR for even longer. I’ve been in a very long historical fiction lull, but I’m reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah at the moment and loving it, so hopefully my brain is back into historical mode!


Disclaimer by Renee Knightimg_0277

I bought this on recommendation of the Waterstones shop assistant. After I got it home I sort of regretted my decision, do to the very mixed review on Goodreads, so I’ve been putting it off a bit. I will get round to it though. My main goal for the rest of the year is to finish all the books I have physical copies of, so I’ll get this in somewhere.

 


snow-childThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I borrowed a copy of this from my bestie Juliet (Not Capulet) and haven’t got round to it yet. She had mixed feelings about it so I think that’s what’s putting me off, but again, it will get read this year!

 

 


missing-presumedMissing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

This is another that I bought on a whim in Waterstones after seeing it floating around for a while. It was only when I got home that I realised again the review on Goodreads aren’t that great. Hopefully I’ll be in the few that did enjoy it!

 


Smasmall-great-thingsll Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This is another ARC that I’ve had sitting on my Kobo for a while. I’ve never read any Jodi Picoult, but I’ve always heard good things, and my mum has read most of her books. I’ve heard this book is back to her best, so I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

 

 


img_0271We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

I’ve started this before and it’s been sat on my Currently Reading shelf on Goodreads since then. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read it then, so I put it to one side. It’s one that needs to be read slowly, a bit at a time, so I think it’ll be good when I don’t have much time to read over the next few months. I’ll be able to dip in an out of it and not worry how long it’s taking me to get through.


What’s on your Fall/Autumn TBR?

The Entertainer Blogger Award

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Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (Thanks Juliet @ Not Capulet)
  2. Add these rules to your post.
  3. Answer all the questions below.
  4. Display the award picture in your post.
  5. Nominate twelve bloggers who are funny, inspiring and, most important of all, entertaining!

Why did you start a blog in the first place?

I really just needed a place to get all my thoughts down about the books I’m reading. I was just using Goodreads, and while that’s fine for reviews, I also wanted a place where I could post ongoing thoughts while I read a book, as well as having a platform to post longer, more detailed reviews. I really didn’t expect anyone to read them, I just needed to write down my thoughts somewhere, so thanks to everyone who does read my posts!


What is your favourite book?

My all time favourite book is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s the one book I don’t think I could ever review. I really find it impossible to fully and accurately express my extreme love for this book. It is one that brings tears to my eyes just by thinking of it, and one that will stay with me forever. I can’t imagine anything ever being better than it. On my usual book rating system of 1-10, it would be somewhere in the millions! Aside from The Book Thief, I rarely rate books 10/10 or 5 stars, but a few I have given that savoured accolade to include The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak and The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman.


What do you dislike most?

This is a really tricky question. I can’t really think of anything big that I really dislike, but I do get annoyed by small things like rudeness. I’m from Yorkshire where everyone talks to everyone and it’s considered rude not to chat to the old lady sat next to you on the bus, so I suppose I have pretty high standards. It takes absolutely no effort to say thank you to the shop assistant/waiter/bus driver. I notice this whenever I visit London or other big cities and everyone is too busy with their lives to consider others. Manners cost nothing.


What’s your favourite food in the mall?

My go-to food court restaurant is always Wagamama. I know it’s not properly authentic and it is slightly overpriced, but I love it. I’ve never had a bad meal there and their peach iced tea is to die for. I normally go for itame or ramen; I love noodle soups! Failing that, I’d probably go for something Mexican with lots of guacamole.


What’s your favourite past-time?

Well, reading obviously! I pretty much spend all my free time reading. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.


I’m nominating anyone who hasn’t already been nominated, as I think quite a lot of the blogs I follow already have. So please, consider yourself nominated!

Top Ten Tuesday – All About Audio (Top Ten Classical Music)

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is All About Audio. I don’t listen to audio books at all. Whenever I’ve tried, I just get distracted by other things, or end up falling asleep and missing several chapters. Instead I’ve decided to do a list of my Top Ten Pieces of Classical Music in honour of my Masters in Musicology that I started yesterday. I’ve spent the last year just listening to popular music, and I now really need to focus back on classical, so hopefully this will inspire me, and give you all some lovely music to listen to.


Shostakovich – Piano Concerto No.2 in F major

Anyone who know me, knows that Shostakovich is the absolute love of my life, so here he is at the top of the list. This whole piano concerto is great, but if you don’t have much time, I’d recommend just listening to the second movement (at 6:30 in the recording below). You will never have heard anything as beautiful, I promise.


Vaughan Williams – Symphony No.5 in D major

There’s nothing so quintessentially English as Vaughan Williams (ok, maybe Elgar!), and this, in my opinion, is one of his finest. I’ll probably include a few more of his works in this list because his music is just so stunning.


Butterworth – The Banks of Green Willow

Another wonderful English piece. This was included in this year’s Last Night of the Proms and I adore it. Butterworth was killed in the Somme before he had the chance to write more stunning pieces like this one. I originally discovered this when I played a flute choir arrangement at university. (Please ignore the cheesy video!)


Head – Sweet Chance, that Lead my Steps Abroad

I spent a lot of my university life singing Michael Head. My favourite is his Elizabeth’s Song, but it’s a bit obscure and I can’t find recording, so have this instead.

 


Vaughan Williams – Silent Noon

While we’re on the subject of English Song, Vaughan Williams’ Silent Noon is possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of singing. Of course, I sang it in a higher key than this recording, as I’m not a man!


Tippett – A Child of Our Time

Inspired by the treatment of Jews by the Nazis in the late 1930s, this oratorio is truly haunting, thought-provoking and really rather unique.


Shostakovich – Symphony No.10 in E minor

This is my favourite of Shostakovich’s 15 symphonies, as I imagine it is for most people. Again, if you’ve only got time to listen to a bit of it, I’d recommend the really powerful second movement (23:25 in this recording).


Vaughan Williams – Fantasia on the Theme by Thomas Tallis

I think a lot of people would say The Lark Ascending was their favourite Vaughan Williams, but I think this is better. Please take 20 minutes out of your day to turn the volume right up and enjoy this absolutely incredible recording by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Gloucester Cathedral.


Beethoven – Symphony No.7 in A major

Judging from this list, you’d think I only listen to 20th Century British composers and Shostakovich…and you’d be right. So to add a bit of variety, I’ll include my favourite Beethoven symphony.


Faure – Requiem

Although 20th Century, Faure is French so still some slight variety here! The whole requiem is beautiful, but I particularly love the In Paradisium (32:16).


So there’s ten. I hope you all enjoy this list as much as I do. I’m now blasting the Tallis Fantasia and trying not to cry happy tears. I’ll be back to books next week!

WWW Wednesday – 14th September 2016

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday post, a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Please go and have a look at everyone else is reading and make sure you post your own WWW in the comments so I can have a look.

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The premise of the post is quite simple – answer the three Ws:

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

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Favourite Thrillers

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten ALL TIME Favourite Books Of X Genre. I tend to read a variety of different genres rather than just sticking to one, but the one I probably read most is thrillers. I’ve read a lot of thrillers this year in particular.


img_0234Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

It seems everyone in the world has now read this book, but in this case, it’s worth the hype. This book is just so well written and so twisty. If you saw the twist coming, you’re lying. I love Gillian Flynn’s writing, along with her flawed and unlovable characters. So many books are marketing themselves as ‘The Next Gone Girl’ recently, and none have lived up to the real thing so far.


img_0171I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

This is probably the only thriller I’ve read this year that actually did almost live up to it’s ‘Gone Girl’ comparison. The story is completely different, but so cleverly written. It’s difficult to talk about without giving anything away, but it’s very gripping, very twisty and very well written. (My review here)


img_0232Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

This was the second Flynn novel that I read, and it didn’t disappoint. If you like books that are a bit weird and very creepy, then this is for you. Once again, you get wonderful, unlovable, flawed characters and really clever writing.

 


img_0269The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

I suppose it’s questionable whether or not this belongs in the ‘thriller’ category, it is more Crime/Mystery, but I think both those genres overlap into Thriller, so I’ve included it here. Although the first book is my favourite of the three, I’ll include all of them here as a set. They really are J. K. Rowling back to her best, waving clues and hints through each chapter and then shocking us at the end for not picking up on them.


cover85491-mediumMy Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this a couple of months ago, and I absolutely loved it. It’s a really original, gripping and well written story, with just the right amount of creepiness. It was released towards the end of last month, so I’d really recommend looking out for it. (My review here)

 


img_0212Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

The last of Gillian Flynn’s books. I enjoyed this the least, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It is a much more conventional thriller, veering away from the psychological aspect of the other two, but it is written with Flynn’s wonderful creepiness. It’s also incredibly gory if you like that sort of thing.


img_0775The Sister by Louise Jensen

This is another new release. It starts off a little slow, but the shock ending really makes up for it. Again, I’d recommend looking out for this if you haven’t got a copy already. (My review here)

 


img_0283The Accident by C. L. Taylor

(My review here)

 This was a surprise for me. I wasn’t very keen on her most recent novel The Missing, so I didn’t have very high expectations for this one. I was proven so wrong! It’s such a gripping story and highly recommended.


img_0273The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

(My review here)

 This was nowhere near as good as its hyped up to be, but I’ve still deemed it worthy of being on this list. It’s a very decent thriller, it’s just not the ‘book of the century’ it has been marketed as.


img_0165The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

(My review here)

 This was an unexpected read. I was wary as it had quite mixed reviews on Goodreads, but it ended up being great. So fast paced and excting, it’s only after you’ve finished it that you realise it perhaps wasn’t quite as good as you’d originally thought. 

 

 

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award

First of all, thank you to Caitlin @ Words and Other Beasts for nominating me, how exciting! I’m now going to try ad answer some pretty tough questions. All book covers taken for Goodreads.


Who are your three favourite protagonists?

4327066I always thought I preferred female protagonists, but thinking about my answer for this question, I’ve ended up picking three male characters. I’ve never really think about having favourites, but if I had to choose three, in no particular order, I’d go for:

Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This whole book is just special. It’s not my favourite book by a long stretch, and I only gave it 4 stars, but there is something just subtly real and raw about both the story and Charlie. He’s wonderful and honest, and sort of reminds me of myself in his intorvertedness.19057

The second protagonist is Ed for I am the Messenger, which I’ve just finished reading (review here!). He is just such a nice person with a wonderful kind heart. But not in an overbearing way. Throughout the book, he is shown that he has the power to make a difference to other peoples lives, not by being anything special, just by being kind.

I’m struggling to think of a third. I’m not usually too drawn to particular characters, so I’ll leave it at these two.


 What’s your favourite book cover?

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I couldn’t pick between Our Endless Numbered Days and All the Light We Cannot See. They don’t come across as well on pictures as they do in real life, but Our Endless Number Days is shiny silver, with the border and lettering all embossed. All the Light We Cannot See is made of a strange matte card type material, that actually sparkles in the light. They’re both beautiful.


Half Blood PrinceIs there an antagonist you’ve ever sympathised with? Or even liked more than the protagonist?

This is a tough one. I suppose I could say Draco Malfoy, and perhaps the entire Malfoy family in the Harry Potter series, particularly in Half Blood Prince onwards. Although he isn’t a ‘good’ person, and I’m not sure he ever will be, you can’t help but sympathise with him during his quest to kill Dumbledore. He proves that he and his family aren’t quite as evil as they’d like to think themselves to be, and they are actual humans, with the ability to love.


Do you write books as well as read them?

I’ve always liked the idea of writing books, but I’m just not creative enough. I used to try to write short stories when I was younger but could never really get past the first page. I don’t have the patience for planning, or the ideas to start the planning process. I much prefer academic writing, where I know exactly what I need to say.


Hunger Games

Do you prefer Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Or do you not like either?

I tend to stay well away from both genres. I adore Harry Potter, but I feel like I’ve only got the space in my head for one fantasy world! I suppose you could sort of slot The Hunger Games somewhere in between the two categories, but despite being dystopian and futuristic, it doesn’t contain anything unrealistic. Everything that the world has become could actually happen, and I think that was one of the reasons I liked it so much.


Do you like books being adapted for film/TV, or do you hate it?

Room

We all know that film versions are never as good as the books, and I always resent people slightly who have only seen the film. I invested several days into a 500 page novel, and you invested 2 hours into the film version film. You don’t know how good this story actually is. Maybe that’s petty, but I just don’t get why people would want to read the book! If there’s a film coming out that looks good but I know it’s been adapted from a book, I’ll always try to read the book first.

I also find that watching the film ruins the image I have in my head of certain places. For example, when I read Room, I had a very vivid image of what Room looked like, and it was completely different in the film. I still enjoyed the film, but as usual, it just wasn’t as good.


Do you prefer paperbacks or hardbacks?

I’d love to only read hardbacks, but I just can’t afford it. I now only read paperbacks (unless it’s a book I’ve borrowed), simply because they’re much cheaper, and they all look nice and uniform on my bookshelf. There have been a few new releases recently that I’ve considered buying in hardback, but I just can’t justify the £12.99 price tag. That being said, I did buy a hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but that does match all the rest of my Harry Potter books, which are hardback too.


If you could compete in any Olympic sport, which one would you choose?

I’m not a very sporty person at all, and being the lazy person I am, I can never understand how people actually run marathons or ride bikes up mountains for fun.  I’d rather do something like gymnastics or trampolining. I did trampolining when I was younger, but was never any good. It’s amazing to see what people can do with their bodies.


If you could be friends with any character (book, film or TV) who would you pick?

This is a difficult one. I read a lot of thrillers, where the characters are either really flawed, or murderers. I’d probably have to go with someone from Harry Potter, simply because I can’t think of anything else.


THe Light Between Oceans

Is there a book or series you think is underappreciated?

The one book that is in my Top Ten Books that I don’t really hear much about is The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. It’s such a beautiful, heartbreaking story in a stunning setting. I believe it’s being made into a film, and I can see it working well. I just wish that M. L. Stedman would hurry up and write another book!

 


If you could be a superhero, what powers would you have?

I’d love to be invisible. Too often I have days where I just don’t want anyone to bother me. In a similar vain, I’d love to be in two places at once, so I can go to work, but also stay in bed at the same time!


 

I’m not very good at coming up with questions, so I’m just going to tag anyone who wants to do this, and I hope that Caitlin @ Words and Other Beasts won’t mind me stealing her questions!