August Wrap-Up

Last month ended up being something of a reminder to me not to try to read too many books at the same time; I end up feeling like I’m not making any progress, even when I am, just because I end up going for such long stretches without finishing everything… All of the three books I read, I finished within the last week, and I’m still not even halfway through Now I Rise (which, you may recall, I put aside “momentarily” in order to concentrate on the Booktubeathon – which was a whole month ago)… 😓 But it’s quality over quantity, right? Here are the amazing books I read in August:

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. A fantastic novel about a fragment of a sentient starship who has been violently cut off from her main body, and is on a mission to expose the truth of how and why this happened to her. This is a very difficult book to sum up in any king of succinct manner, but since it was my Library Scavenger Hunt pick for August, you can find my more detailed review of it here. Spoilers, though: I loved it, and can’t wait to read the sequel.

Warleggan by Winston Graham. The fourth book in the Poldark series, which follows the lives of Ross Poldark and his wife Demelza, along with their family and friends (and an enemy). Obviously I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling things, but for those of you following the (remarkably faithful) TV series, this book covers the second half of series two… And of course I’m still loving these books, with all their melodrama and misunderstandings. As has been the case with almost all the books so far, Demelza was the highlight of Warleggan, though I did also enjoy all of Caroline’s antics, and getting the chance to know her better; Ross’ character arc, on the other hand, has become increasingly frustrating, but I’m hoping that this book will have got us through the worst of his pig-headedness. (The ending seemed promising, at least.)

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. The third Harry Potter book, which I have been (mostly) reading along with the third season of the Harry Potter & the Sacred Text podcast. This is my favourite book in the series (and probably always will be), and re-reading it was a joy, especially with the extra food for thought that the podcast offered… It’s something of a shame that (unlike season two), this season didn’t coincide with the release of the Prisoner of Azkaban illustrated edition, but I guess that just means I’ll be due for another re-read in the very near future – and that’s hardly a chore! 😊

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Upcoming Releases: Autumn 2017

The next few months seem to be choc-a-bloc with great new books I could mention here… but in the interest of not letting this list go on forever, I’ve picked out a few that I’m most excited for, or intrigued by that will be released in September, October & November

[All dates are taken from Amazon UK unless stated otherwise, and are correct as of 28/08/2017.]

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken (5th September)

This might seem like an odd choice, since although I like Alexandra Bracken’s work, I’m not a die-hard fan… but something about The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding just sounds incredibly charming to me. It seems to be about an unremarkable boy from a family with a history of being anything but, who finds out one day that he’s sharing headspace with a demon. The impression I’m getting is a mix of Naruto and A Series of Unfortunate Events, which would make for an interesting combination! I’ll have to wait and see, however; the early reviews for this book have been somewhat mixed… Excitement level: 6/10

Provenance by Ann Leckie (28th September)

I only read my first one of Ann Leckie’s books recently (Ancillary Justice), but I was so blown away by it that I couldn’t help but add this to my “most anticipated” list as soon as I found out that it was going to be a thing… What I can tell about it so far: deep space and thievery. What I assume about it from my experience with Leckie’s writing thus far: complicated politics, rich world-building and great characters and plot. What I haven’t been able to discern: whether or not this is set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch books… 😓 So I likely won’t be picking it up until I’ve finished those books first (which will hopefully be very soon!). Excitement level: 8/10

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (3rd October)

The Prisoner of Azkaban has been out for years, of course, but Harry Potter fans (who seem to make up the majority of the world’s population) are bound to know already that Bloomsbury has been re-releasing new, beautifully-illustrated (by Jim Kay) editions of all the books… and this year is the turn of my favourite book in the series! The art for the last two books was amazing, so I can’t wait to see what this one will look like! 😆 Excitement level: 10/10

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (19th October)

The first of the three-volume Book of Dust, which takes place in the His Dark Materials universe, though it follows a new set of characters. I don’t know much more about this book than that; I really don’t need to, as I am sure to buy it anyway, and I doubt very much that I won’t enjoy it. Like many others, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book for years, so naturally, I’m very excited that it’s finally (almost) here! Excitement level: 10/10

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce (31st October)

It’s been so long since I read anything new from Tamora Pierce! So even though this seems to be a dossier-style book (along the lines of The Artemis Fowl Files or The Demigod Files), rather than a whole new novel, I will undoubtedly devour it. Hopefully, like the other two books I mentioned, there will also be a short story or two in the mix… Excitement level: 7/10

Summer Holidays ~🎶

This Friday my family and I will be heading off on our annual trip to Skye. I’m looking forward to escaping from the heat and humidity of Cambridge for a while, and (I confess) to having a break from work – but most of all, I’m excited for peace and quiet, and lots and lots of time to read books. ☺️ For the sake of not taking up too much car space, I won’t be taking more than a couple of physical books, but with them and my kindle, I hope that I’ll have enough to keep me going… Here’s what I’m currently planning on reading:

1) Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. I’ve been reading this along with the Harry Potter & the Sacred Text podcast, but I still have a lot of catching up to do, and long car trips are perfect for at least the listening part of the process, so I’ll definitely be bringing this book along. 😊

2) Now I Rise by Kiersten White. The second book in The Conquerors Saga (which started with And I Darken), which is going to be released on Thursday. Obviously, I haven’t got a copy of this book at the moment, but I do have a credit saved up at the moment from my book-buying ban (/restriction), and I’m planning on using it for this book, which I’m super-excited to pick up as soon as I can. Barring unexpected circumstances, I’ll head into town on Thursday to purchase a copy…

3) There really are a lot of Evil Spirits! by Fuyumi Ono. The second book in the Akuryou series, which hasn’t officially been released in English, though fan-translations are available online. Recently, I’ve been re-reading/re-watching/finally reading the sequel to to Ghost Hunt manga and anime, and since I’m enjoying it so much, I thought I’d also pick up some of the novels it was based on… I read the first one quite a while back (though I may decide to re-read it; they’re only short, after all), so I intend to start again from volume two this time.

As for the rest, I’m still undecided, but there are a few books on my kindle at the moment that I might give a go… They include: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, or perhaps the second and third books in Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy (which I started during the Anti-Bullying Readathon in 2015 and loved)… Or I might cave in and finally buy A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir; it will likely depend a lot on my mood. 🤔 However, as has become the usual when I post one of these TBRsI will be trying to do a proper review of everything I read on my trip, so whatever I decide to read, expect to be hearing about it! 😆

Summer Reader Book Tag

Summer is almost over, but there’s still time for me to post this before it becomes irrelevant! 😉 This tag was created by islandOFbooks, I believe, and I was (for once! 😀 ) actually tagged for it – by the lovely Cátia from The Girl Who Read Too Much! Now on to the tag:

Amy Tan//The Kitchen God's Wife1) Lemonade – a book that started off bitter but then got better

Since I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, I’ll once again take this chance to mention The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan. I really didn’t enjoy the first few chapters, but once the story got  going, it was an incredible read! I’ve written a full review of the book here, if you’re interested in checking it out. 🙂

Natasha Allegri//Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake2) Golden Sun – a book that made you smile beyond compare

Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake by Natasha Allegri makes me smile like a lunatic. It’s just so colourful and fun! I don’t know why I love the genderswapped Adventure Time universe so much, but I do, and this comic is Fionna & Cake at their best! 😀

Kim Thúy//Mãn3) Tropical Flowers – a book set in a different country

I have a lot of books that are set in countries other than England (especially America, China & Japan), but for this one I wanted to pick a book where the setting is a very prominent part of the story, so I decided to go with Mãn by Kin Thúy, which is set within a Vietnamese community in Montreal – and which is another book I’ve written a full review for (one of the first reviews I wrote)! You can read it here.

J.K. Rowling//Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban4) Tree Shade – a book where a mysterious or shady character was introduced

Sirius Black in Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling! He was such a suspicious character when he was introduced! And, actually, Remus Lupin was pretty shady, too, when we first met him (in the same book). Naturally, these two are some of my favourite characters now. 😛

Tahereh Mafi//Shatter Me5) Beach Sand – a book that was grainy, and the plot barely developed

The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi had its strengths, but the plot was definitely not one of them. This trilogy is nominally a dystopian series, but you can only tell that it’s a dystopian because the characters keep telling you it is – the society and the problems it faces barely come in to the story, while it focuses instead on angsty romantic drama. I’ve written another full review of this series here, if you’d like to take a look.

Jane Austen//Emma6) Green Grass – a character that was full of life, making you smile

Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s novel Emma. She’s an incredible snob, and she always thinks that she knows better than everyone else, but I love her – partly because of those qualities. She just ends up in so many hilariously awkward situations throughout the book, and it never fails to get me smiling. 😀

Cassandra Clare//Clockwork Princess7) Watermelon – a book that had some juicy secrets

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare! The mystery of Tessa’s entire existence is something that will baffled me for the entire Infernal Devices trilogy – until I got to the end of the last book, where all was revealed. And it was absolutely worth the wait! One of the best conclusions to a series that I’ve read in a very long time.

J.R.R. Tolkien//The Fellowship of the Ring8) Sun Hat – a book with a vast universe/setting

It only makes sense to pick an epic fantasy for this question, and – though it’s an obvious answer – the biggest, most in-depth setting I’ve ever come across is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the setting of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (as well as a vast mythology, which is published in various places).

Jennifer L. Armentrout//Obsidian9) BBQ – a book in which a character was portrayed as a hunk

Almost every romance novel I’ve ever read! 😛 It was a difficult choice, but for this one I’ve decided to go with the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Damon is the hunk in question, and his relationship with Katy – the main character – is a whole load of fun to read~ ❤

10) Summer Fun – pass the tag on

I pass. 😛 Since it’s very nearly the end of summer, I won’t be tagging anyone else specifically. If you’d like to do this tag despite the incoming cold, rainy weather, then feel free to consider yourself tagged by me! 🙂

Thematic Recs: Time Travel

The other day I put up a new window at Oxfam – the theme? Doctor Who! So naturally I’ve been thinking about time travel ever since~ 😉 Not being a huge sci-fi fan (at least where reading is concerned), there are obviously a lot of famous time travel books that I just haven’t read, but there are still a fair few that I’d recommend, even to non-sci-fi-fans like me. 😀

Alison Uttley//A Traveller in Time1) A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley. One of my favourite books as a child, this story follows a young girl called Penelope who goes to visit some relatives in the countryside, in a house where her ancestors were once household servants to the Babingtons. And while she’s there, she somehow finds herself slipping back and forth between her present and the 1580s, in the lead-up to the Babington Plot – a scheme to put Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne of England.

J.K. Rowling//Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban2) Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. Harry returns to Hogwarts for his third year, but the Wizarding World is rife with rumours of Sirius Black – a supporter of Voldemort who has recently escaped from the magical prison, Azkaban, and who is thought to be coming after Harry! To say how would be a huge spoiler for what is probably my favourite Harry Potter book, but time travel plays a big part in this instalment in the series.

Diana Gabaldon//Outlander3) The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. A series of adult novels that follow a World War II combat nurse called Claire, who, on her second honeymoon in Scotland, finds herself flung back in time to the eighteenth century, where she falls in love with Jamie – a Highland warrior. The series begins with Cross Stitch (simply called Outlander in the U.S.), and is an epic-scale time travel adventure/romance – though I should warn you that there are a few pretty explicit sex scenes in the book, so it’s not one for the kids~! 😉

Ursula K. Le Guin//A Fisherman of the Inland Sea4) Another Story, OR A Fisherman of the Inland Sea by Ursula K. Le Guin. A short story set in Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle, which deals with perceived time travel as a side-effect of inter-planetary travel: Time passes differently for those on the spaceship than it does for everyone else, so at the end of each voyage, the timeline has become slightly out-of-sync (Wikipedia explains this better in the Hainish Cycle article). This story was originally published as part of Le Guin’s anthology, A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, but it can also be found in The Time Traveller’s Almanac – a massive compilation of time travel short stories that any fan of the genre should definitely try to get hold of. 🙂