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    Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2019 Edition

    I haven’t forgotten, I promise. March has been a month. My poor wittle website got hacked (How? I don’t know?) and I spent what felt like 3,000 years of my life trying to remove malicious code and installing firewalls. But huzzah! It is fixed and I feel like a genius.

    I’ve done a lot of reading this month, mainly because I continued my Harry Potter re-read I never bothered to finish last year, and let me tell you! I forgot how much I love and treasure these books! I’ve read each book a minimum of 15 times at this point and I still get emotional over these characters.

    There have been a few other titles littered amongst the Potter – mainly Thrillers (what a surprise!). Excluding Enchantee which I’ve just started reading I have yet to read a YA Fantasy book this year which, for me, is a bit of a surprise.

    I’ve only read one short story collection this month and that was Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in preparation for Del Toro’s adaptation coming this August. Let me just tell you… reading this in the dark before bed is not the best idea if you don’t want to have series of weird dreams/nightmares.

    1. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz ● rated 4 Stars

    1. Connections in Death by J.D. Robb ● rated 4 Stars
    While I enjoyed the 48th instalment of this series it was by no means my favourite of the series (or the best). Probably one of the most linear storylines Robb has churned out, I want a return to high-stakes, strained relationships and interesting things happening that I can fully invest myself in.

    2. Betrayal by Harold Pinter ● rated 4 Stars
    I get to see this performed in theatre in 2 months time (aaaaahhhhhh!) starring Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton (cue more screaming – aaaaaaaaaaaah)! This play is quite literally a series of shitty individuals lying and deceiving each other in 144 pages. I can’t wait to hate everyone all over again.

    3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling ● rated 5 Stars
    All my little babies – so sweet, so pure, so innocent.

    4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling ● rated 5 Stars
    Excuse me while I get emotional over Remus, Sirius and Dumbledore for the nth time. I just want my precious children to live long happy lives but we all know how that turns out.

    5. Misery by Stephen King ● rated 5 Stars
    Misery was twisted, dark, and to put it plainly… terrifying. King didn’t need to include the supernatural to make the hairs on your arm stand on end. He just needed humanity or the lack of it.

    6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling ● rated 5 Stars
    I’ve forgotten how much of this book I’ve, well, forgotten. It’s been too long. But it was also great because I got to be hella emotional again over the end! Sirius seeing Harry after the third task. Fawkes comforting Harry after the third task. Sirius with his face in his hands after Harry mentions James. I’m not okay, you guys. I’m not.

    7. Lullaby by Leïla Slimani ● rated 3 Stars
    After an explosive opening, Lullaby ended on a lackluster and disappointing note. I was expecting something akin to Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage but was sorely mistaken. This is not a thriller but a character study. Lullaby touched on themes of racism, class, mental health and the loneliness of being a parent. If, like me, you read the blurb/first chapter and expected a book chock full of twists and turns, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

    8. Batman Damned: Book One by Brian Azzarello ● rated 2 Stars
    I’m really not sure what I expected here? But I defintely expected better. A “visceral thrill-ride” that explores the events that take place in the wake of the Joker’s death as Batman is unable to recollect whether he commited the crime or not is not what I got. While the artwork was stunning, the narration dropped the ball and made this a tedious read. Frank Miller can’t be imitated.

    Here I am with the same set of books on my ‘next-to-read’ list for the third month in a row (well, almost the same set). I’ve managed to read Misery (which was A+++ everyone read it) and I’ve made a start on Enchantee (which so far is pretty so-so).

    1. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (ARC)
    2. The Orphanage of Gods by Helena Coggan (ARC)
    3. The Furies by Katie Lowe (ARC)
    4. Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

    How was your bookish March?

    Read any of the books above or a choosing to in April? Got a book you think I’ll be interested in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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    Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2019 Edition

    Did you think I’d forgotten you? Perhaps you’d hoped I had… and suddenly I’m spiralling into a Frank Underwood monologue but I digress. February has been another slow reading month mainly because I’ve discovered Fortnite and the need to actually be good at this game (which is currently not going very well) and I’ve also been working on a little something something. What is it you may ask? You may find out one day…

    I spent a large chunk of this month trying to slog through Priory which was an A++ read but my god was that book long. I’ve also fallen into a DC Graphic novel shaped hole thanks to my boyfriend who has sparked my obsession with the Injustice series.

    But here’s to March and a hopefully longer read pile…

    I’ve recently discovered this wonderful little gem called the Short Story Project which curates short stories from the literary greats but also from the modern greats. It doesn’t matter if it’s russian, spanish, english… these stories all exist in one place. I’ve read a great selection of short stories this month (looking at The Feather Pillow, Dracula’s Guest and The Red Crown as my February Favourites).

    I can’t wait to see what goodies I unearth in March – here’s hoping I discover more gems from some of my favourite literary greats.

    1. The Lady of the House of Love by Angela Carter ● rated 4 stars
    2. Napoleon and The Spectre by Charlotte Bronte ● rated 2 stars
    3. Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami ● rated 3 stars
    4. Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker ● rated 4 stars
    5. The Red Crown by Mikhail Bulgakov ● rated 4 stars
    6. The Feather Pillow by Horacio Quiroga ● rated 5 stars

    1. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley ● rated 2 Stars (ARC Copy)
    A very dry, slow-paced book about a bunch of people that live to hate each other and talk about themselves. Have I ever met a more insufferable bunch of fictional characters in my life? My god. You can read my full review here. Why this book was so hyped is beyond me.

    2. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ● rated 4 Stars (ARC Copy)
    Set in a crumbling queendom and a world plagued with draconic threats, The Priory of the Orange Tree is a feminist reclaiming of the epic fantasy genre. Complex and rich with detail, Priory leaves no stone unturned. Touching every corner of its world, Shannon explores different cultures, religions, monarchies and histories… each as detailed as the next. My only wish was that this wasn’t a standalone. There were parts I felt I had to slog through and at 800 pages, it felt neverending. Regardless, this was an expertly written beast and will stand the test of time cementing Samantha Shannon as your next go-to Fantasy author.

    3. Injustice: Gods Amongs Us Year 2 by Tom Taylor ● rated 5 Stars
    Superman’s iron grip on the world tightens as Taylor delivers yet another 5 star read with Year 2. No superhero is above corruption or falling prey to the darkness. Moral codes are tested and it’s interesting to see which heroes crumble under the weight and which ones take a stand.

    4. Injustice: Gods Amongs Us Year 3 by Tom Taylor ● rated 5 Stars
    The war between Batman and Superman grows ever more dire with each installation but Batman (being Batman) always has a backup plan to his backup plan. Meet John Constantine, The World’s Greatest Detective, Swam Thing and more… as magic runs rife in year 3. Will it be enough to stop Superman’s tirade?

    Are you surprised that the majority of these titles haven’t changed since last month?
    Ha ha ha… *cries gently in a corner*

    I managed to read Connections in Death at the start of this month which has given me some space to sneakily slide in Misery by Stephen King, gifted to me by my boyfriend. What a sweet and pure angel. It’s going to be my mission to at least from 2 out of 3 of the other books on my tbr list. I’ve got this!

    1. Enchantee by Gita Trelease (ARC)
    2. Misery by Stephen King
    3. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (ARC)
    4. The Orphanage of Gods by Helena Coggan (ARC)

    How was your bookish February?

    Read any of the books above or a choosing to this March? Got a book you think I’ll be interested in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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    Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2019 Edition

    Reading books takes so looooooooooooong. And by long I mean, I decided to start the year with a 700+ page beast and finish the month by starting The Priory of the Orange Tree which is an even bigger beast at almost 900 page. I’m drowning in words and I’m not even sorry about it!
     
    And now… presenting the very small collection of books and short stories that I got to read this month (if you haven’t read Salem’s Lot yet and consider yourself a vampire fan then what are you doing with your life? Read it right now!).

    1. In The Tall Grass by Stephen King ● rated 4 stars
    2. The Picture in the House by H.P. Lovecraft ● rated 3 stars
    3. Philomel Cottage by Agatha Christie ● rated 5 stars

    1. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King ● rated 5 Stars
    Cunning, relentless and spilling with bloodlust, King delivers an exceptional retelling and homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Set in small-town Maine, Ben Mears returns to his home town to write a book about the infamous Marsten House. Only something seems a little amis with the new owners (that’s an understatement). This is not the tale of a vampire you take to be a lover or a friend. This is the chilling tale of a vampire and his army of the night that will destroy you from the inside out.

    2. Injustice: Gods Amongs Us Year 1 by Tom Taylor ● rated 5 Stars
    Ever wondered what it would be like if Superman was the villain? Inspired by the videogame phenomenon, Taylor poses the philosophical questions: How far is too far when it comes to promoting the greater good? What would you sacrifice for the sake of peace? This comic is everything that Batman vs Superman should have been.

    3. The Last by Hanna Jameson ● rated 4 Stars
    A delicate mix of the locked room ‘whoddunnit’ and a nuclear induced apocalypse, The Last, explores the lives of 20 survivors trapped at L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland. The problem (beside the obvious)? One of them is a killer. Full review here.

    4. Shades of Magic Vol 1: The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab ● rated 4 Stars
    The prequel to Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic series follows Prince Maxim Maresh, long before he ever became King of Red London. Expect lawlessnes, magic and a new enemy with an interesting power. I only wish these comics were a little longer, and perhaps a little more detailed. Everything feels a tad rushed. Nevertheless, you’ll still feel the same Schwab magic.

    In between juggling my reading of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon and The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, I have these four delights to read before February is out. I probably won’t have time to read them all but I’ll give it my best shot. As long as I get time to read Connections in Death then all is well!

     

     
    1. Enchantee by Gita Trelease (ARC)
    2. Connections in Death by J.D. Robb
    3. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (ARC)
    4. The Orphanage of Gods by Helena Coggan (ARC)


    How was the start to your bookish 2019?
    Read any of the books above or a choosing to this January? Got a book you think I’ll be interested in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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    Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

    (This is part of a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl)

    It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote one of these Top Ten Tuesday posts so lap it up while you can, kids, who knows when you’re going to get the next one.

    There were plenty of books I added to my ‘must read’ pile last year that I didn’t get around to reading; and when I say plenty, I mean a whole damn lot. Apparently there just aren’t enough hours in the day. These ten little delights listed below are the poor, abandoned books that I never got to read in 2018 but will squeeze in any way I can into 2019. Consider that a new reading goal.

    Strange Grace by Tessa Graton
    Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all? The tagline that caught me hook, line and sinker and sent this book straight to my tbr pile.

    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
    Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Oh, Shirley Jackson, you wonderful Gothic Queen. I may have read a large amount of her work in 2018 (primarily her short story collections) but sadly didn’t get around to this beaut. I’ll be fixing that this year.

    Dracul by Dacre Stoker
    The greatest vampire tale ever told, my main man… Dracula. Dacre brings us the prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by Bram Stoker. Consider me 132293649% excited for this book and the eventuality that I get to read it at some point in 2019. Please don’t disappoint.

    The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
    A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear. This little Gothic delight has been sat on my shelf for the last few months, whispering to me… “read me, Jess. Read me…” but I will, you hear! I will. I’ll read you this year!

    Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe
    How do you know who to trust… when you don’t even know who you are? You are outside your front door. There are strangers in your house. Then you realise. You can’t remember your name. You received this ARC from the publisher but you forgot about it. You let it slide further and further down your tbr list until… it was too late. The book had been published. This year, you’ll catch up. You’ll read it. Review it.

    The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
    The historical military fantasy novel grounded in the bloody history of China’s 20th century the world has been raving about. I admit I read maybe a chapter of this (which I enjoyed) but somehow I just never finished…

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    The book everyone briefly confuses with The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle aka a book I will shout at anyone to read because it is GREAT! Sadly there wasn’t enough time in 2018 for the woman who has had more husbands than I’ve had broken bones (zero).

    The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    The sins of one generation are visited upon another in a haunted New England mansion. The literary nerd in me sings. I never got around to reading this during my disseration or last year but it’s part of my all-time favourite genre: the gothic.

    The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
    I haven’t touched a Holly Black book since the last Spiderwick Chronicles hit my library bookshelf at the age of 11. Since then I’ve had very little interest in anything she’s written. Until The Cruel Prince. The entire YA community hasn’t stop raving about it so I’m going to give it a shot so don’t let me down, Holly.

    Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
    Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire. I got this wonderful book as an ARC from the publisher but after a very hectic end of 2018, I never got around to reading it. I’ve heard so many good things so I’m itching to read it this time round.

    What are some of the books you didn’t get to read in 2018?

    Have you read any of the above? Want to read any of the above? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

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    2019 Reading Goals and the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

    Greetings, my children.

    It’s that time of the year again (very late I might add) for me to set myself some reading goals and embark on my next reading challenge. As the most unsurprising person ever… I am taking part in the Alphabet Soup Reading challenge for the third year in a row (maybe this time I’ll actually complete it). I’m kind of madly in love with this challenge because it gives me the flexibility I want without setting myself limits, although some of those letters are forever tricky to cross off.

    Click the below links to check out my previous years’ progress:
    Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge 2018
    Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge 2017
    • Read a minimum of 50 books: The goal that never changes. Between work and adulting there’s not always a lot of time to read especially not as much as I’d like so I always keep my minimum goal to 50. That’s pretty much a book a week with a little time to spare. Once I hit 50 I always enjoy seeing how far over that goal I can go.
    • Read the books on my must-read shelf first: I have a bad habit of dithering through my tbr, never sure of what I want to read next and just adding books/requesting ARCs for the sake of it. Late last year I decided to split my tbr into “want to read” and you guessed it “must read”. Unless I desperately need to read something it might just end up sitting on my “want to read” shelf, collecting dust.
    • Write reviews for at least half of what I read in 2019: I am the absolute worst when it comes to putting my thoughts to paper (or in this case screen) about the books I’ve just read. The worst. I’ve found that I absolutely love and prefer the ‘mini review’ which I’ll include in monthly wrap-ups. Longer reviews I’ll save (and hopefully write) for any ARCs I read over 2019.
    • Read a minimum of 5 Classics/Gothic/Fantasy/Thriller/Horror/Historical novels: If there’s one thing I hate, it’s sticking to one genre and reading nothing else. I get bogged down in the repetitive storylines and copy-cat characters but maybe I’m just reading books that are too similar to each other, I don’t know? Reading as widely as possible makes things a little more interesting. Major props to anyone that can read nothing but one genre. I don’t know how y’all do it but it’s some type of magic.
    Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge: A recap of the rules
    Hosted by Escape with Dollycas

    Read one book that has its title starting with a letter of the alphabet. That’s 26 books. A’s and The’s can be dropped from the beginning of titles. The first main word needs to be the letter you are counting, except for Q, X AND Z titles then the word that starts with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.

    A
    Betrayal by Harold Pinter, rated 4 stars. Read March.
    Connections in Death by J.D. Robb, rated 4 stars. Read March.
    D
    E
    F
    G
    Hunting Party, The by Lucy Foley, rated 2 stars. Read January.
    I
    J
    K
    Last, The by Hanna Jameson, rated 4 stars. Read January.
    Misery by Stephen King, rated 5 stars Read March.
    N
    O
    Priory of the Orange Tree, The by Samamtha Shannon, rated 4 stars. Read February.
    Q
    R
    Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, rated 5 stars. Read January.
    T
    U
    V
    W
    X
    Y
    Z

    Do you think you can read a book for each letter of the alphabet? Try it out. Create your own blog post or if you don’t own a blog, create a shelf on your goodreads account. 52 weeks. 26 books.

    You’ve got this.
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