July Wrap-Up

July was such a great reading month! Helped along in no small part by the Reading Rush… but even if six of the eight books I finished were in a single week, I’m still very satisfied with how much I got read over the month as a whole, in terms of both quality and quantity 😊 – and I’m especially happy to have finally got around to a few books that’ve been sitting on my TBR forever. Since I was readathoning last month, most of the books I read I’ve already written reviews for, but here’s a refresher, along with everything else!

BOOKS I ALREADY REVIEWED

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OTHER BOOKS I READ

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. [AUDIOBOOK; Narrator: Greg Tremblay]

The second book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, which takes place in a society where humans have learnt how to cure death, and the population is controlled by a group of state-sanctioned killers called Scythes, who are the only people that are allowed to kill people for good. The story follows two young apprentice Scythes, and the very different paths that they take as they enter and learn to navigate the Scythedom, with all its politics and in-fighting.

This second instalment in the series fleshed out Shusterman’s world quite a bit, which I appreciated, and I also enjoyed seeing the world from the Thunderhead’s (the world’s benevolent AI ruler) perspective, but on the whole I didn’t find that I enjoyed it quite as much as I did Scythe… the action certainly ramps up a lot, and I’m excited to see where the story will go next, but there were also a few plot developments that I didn’t care for. For instance, I found the reveal of this book’s main antagonist kind of… cheap? And although I liked our new POV character Grayson, I found it hard to maintain my interest in the parts of his arc that involved the Unsavouries. I will say, however, that the ending of this book was absolutely phenomenal.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

The story of a group of teenagers just trying to make it to graduation without the school blowing up, despite the inevitable supernatural weirdness that constantly follows around their Indie kid classmates… I really loved the concept of this; your usual superhero or paranormal story, but told from the perspective of a group of characters who are completely uninvolved, and would really like to stay that way. And in execution, it was a pretty solid read. Nothing about it really blew me away, but I liked all the characters, and was invested in their struggles, and enjoyed Patrick Ness’ witty writing. Ironically, I kind of wish I’d learnt more about the weird stuff that was going on with the Indie kids, but I suppose that that would kind of defeat the point of the book. 😅

Also, Jared was my favourite. He’s such a sweetheart. 💕

 

#ReadingRush 2020: Update 2 & Review

JUST FINISHED: 1066 & All That by W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman.

This book is exactly what it claims to be: a tongue-in-cheek, half-remembered (or “memorable”) history of England, from Ceasar’s invasion to the so-called end of history (i.e. the Treaty of Versailles). It is absolutely not a serious educational text, and although it contains many facts, they’re so mixed up with the almost-facts and the I-think-someone-told-me-that-onces that it’s impossible to tell the difference.

Warning given, this was a thoroughly entertaining read. I refrained from taking it to work with me today because I was expecting it to be laugh-out-loud funny, which it wasn’t (usually), but I did find myself chuckling under my breath quite a lot. Naturally, my favourite parts were about the bits of history that I half-remember myself (Henry VIII, the Industrial Revolution, Queen Victoria being unamused, etc.), and I would primarily recommend it to people who have had a reasonably broad education in British history – but I really do think there’s something in here for pretty much everyone.

MY READING RUSH PAGE

CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Still working my way through both All the Birds in the Sky and The Healing in the Vine (which are my current take-to-work and while-doing-other-things books, respectively), so my next read-at-home book will be The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya – which is also the last book I need for the challenges! 🎉 Wish me luck!

Books Completed: 2
Pages Read: 420
Hours Listened: 3:01
Challenges Completed: 4/7

#ReadingRush 2020: TBR

It’s Reading Rush time, everyone! 💕 Probably my favourite readathon of the year, and definitely the biggest one on my radar! It’ll be running (or rushing!) from Monday 20th to Sunday 26th July, and although this year I’ll be working through the whole week, I’ll be doing my best to read as much as I possibly can, and not get distracted by anime or video games or real life at all… my apologies to anybody who was hoping to actually see me next week. 😉

As usual, I’ll be shaping my TBR around the new challenges, and I’ve picked out four books that should cover them all:

1) Little Red Riding Hood & Other Stories by Charles Perrault. This is a short collection of classic fairytales, and will be my pick for two of this year’s challenges: first, as by far the reddest book I own, to read a book with a cover that matches the colour of my birthstone (in my case ruby), and second, the challenge I was having the most trouble finding a fit for on my existing physical TBR, to read a book that inspired a movie I’ve already seen – and this book works doubly for this challenge, as it contains both the original versions of Cinderella (the Disney version of which I’m pretty sure I must’ve seen at some point even though I can’t remember it), and Puss in Boots (which I’ve definitely seen 💕)! I actually almost managed to triple-fulfil this challenge, as Sleeping Beauty is also one of the stories in this collection, but as the sole part of the book I’ve already read, I figured that it shouldn’t (and really doesn’t need to) count, even though I will almost certainly re-read it.

2) The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa. This is the fifth book in the Haruhi Suzumiya series, which is a rollercoaster of wacky adventures in the company of a girl who doesn’t know she’s a god, and can never be allowed to be bored in case she accidentally destroys the world… I’ll admit here that I picked this book mostly for its brevity, as this series has been pretty hit or miss for me in the past, but it also manages to tick off two more challenges quite nicely: to read a book that takes place on a different continent (I am in Europe, and Haruhi is far away in East Asia, so… 👍), and to read a book that starts with the word “the”.

3) 1066 & All That by W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman. A comic history of England, which is definitely not what I usually reach for, but I’ve had my eye on it for a while regardless (helped along by the fact that I was given this lovely Folio Society edition for my birthday a couple of years ago – thank you, William! 😊) I’m not entirely sure where it sits on that line between history and comedy, but either way it works well for the challenge to read a book from my least-read genre, as neither of these are genres that I really read at all. 😅

4) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. This last book ended up on my TBR by pure chance! I closed my eyes, reached for the top shelf of my unread-bookcase, and alas! with a single touch, my fate was sealed! ✨ … By means, of course, of the challenge to read the first book I touch. I haven’t heard much about this book, but it seems to be a blend of sci-fi and fantasy, and involves both a magic school and a time machine – which sounds like a great combination to me! 😁

5) Okay, so finally, although reading seven books over the week is no longer one of the official challenges, I really, really want to do it this year, and since most of the books I’ve chosen so far are pretty short, I think it might even be achievable! So I’ve picked out a few more (hopefully) quick reads to get to if I have the time: My first choice will be the final three volumes of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, but if I don’t find myself in the mood for comics, I also have the rest of the Haruhi Suzumiya series on standby (most of which are quite short), as well as The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (which I think would be quite fitting, as I read the original Frankenstein for last year’s Reading Rush) and Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer, which is a bit longer than the others on this list, but which I’m hoping will make a great palette cleanser. I will definitely be mood-picking from these, however. Wish me luck! 🤞

MY READING RUSH PAGE

Summer Haul

summer haulYou remember that book-buying ban I was on? Well, it’s failed utterly. I did fantastically in June, and in July I only bought three books (though my birthday was in July, so I also received a few as gifts 😀 ), and then in August I went completely crazy… resulting in the photo above. ^^’ On the plus side, several of these I’ve read already, so the stack of unread books on my bedroom floor hasn’t grown too much…

1) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. A birthday present from my friend Grace, who has (among others) been trying to get me to read it for a while now. And I loved it, just as everyone was sure that I would! 😀 I read this in July, so you can see what I thought of it in my wrap-up.

2) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. Another birthday present, this time from my sister. A thought-provoking novel about a Dominican-American boy who has never quite managed to fit in anywhere… I read this during the Booktubeathon, so I’ve also posted a mini-review of it.

3) 1066 and All That by Walter Carruthers Sellar & Robert Julian Yeatman. A tongue-in-cheek history book that was given to me by my friend William. I haven’t read this one yet, but I’m hoping to get to it soon.

4) The Spy’s Bedside Book by Graham & Hugh Greene. Also a present from William, this is a collection of short spy stories and tips, from what I’ve been able to gather. It looks like another super-fun book, so I’ll probably be picking it up reasonably soon.

5) Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany. The follow-up to the Harry Potter series, in script form! I bought this the day it was released (of course), and read it almost straight away, and despite the misgivings of others, I really enjoyed it. I’m sure that the play itself will be better – and I really want to see it soon – but this was a nice traipse back into the Wizarding World. More detailed thoughts on this are in my August wrap-up.

On the Other Side - photo6) On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher. The new novel by youtuber ItsWayPastMyBedtime, which I couldn’t resist picking up after hearing the song she wrote for it. Unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of the story itself (again, reasons why are in my August wrap-up), but I do feel like I should take the time to point appreciate the fact that someone at Little, Brown must have put a huge amount of effort into making this book as beautiful as it is.

7) The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. The first book in Riordan’s new Percy Jackson-universe series, The Trials of Apollo. I’m not sure when I’ll actually read this, but I wanted to pick it up while it’s still available in hardback, so that it will match the rest of my Rick Riordan books…

8) The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I bought this one solely because it showed up unexpectedly at the second-hand bookshop where I work, and I’ve been looking for a copy for ages. This is another one that I’m eager to read soon, though my eagerness is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that I have no easy access to either of the sequels. 😦

9) A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas. The sequel to A Court of Thorns & Roses, which I liked when I read it, but have had my reservations about since… I wasn’t initially sure whether I was going to continue this series, but so many people have told me that this book is way better than the last, so I’ve decided to give it a try. Also, it (along with the next three books I’m going to list) was buy-one-get-one-half-price at Waterstones, so I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. 😉

10) And I Darken by Kiersten White. An intriguing novelisation of the life of Vlad the Impaler, if he had been a she. This is another book that I read pretty promptly after buying, so my (long, rambling) thoughts on it are all in my August wrap-up.

11) Railhead by Philip Reeve. I’ve not actually read much of Philip Reeve’s work, but I remember really loving his Hungry City Chronicles when I was in school, so of course I couldn’t resist seeing what his most recent book was like. Spoiler: it was fantastic – and I’ve written a full review of it here!

12) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. The first of a new duology set in the same universe as Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, which I binge-read a few years ago and loved. And much to my surprise, Six of Crows was even better – I’m really excited for the sequel! Once again, I’ve talked about this book in my August wrap-up.

13) Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volumes 11-20 by CLAMP. And lastly! Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle is a series I’ve been reading since it was first released in English, but I’ve always had trouble tracking down any volumes after the first 10 (except online, but I’ve never much liked buying manga online), so when the first 20 volumes all showed up at work, I took it as a sign. 😉 I’m looking forward to catching up (at least partially) on this series soon!