#Bookoplathon Update 3 & Review

JUST FINISHED: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.

Journalist Eric Seven comes to the remote island of Blessed in search of a story, but what he finds instead is Merle, who he’s loved and lost again and again, over the course of six different lifetimes…

One of the things I tend to enjoy most about these kinds of multiple-protagonist, multiple-timeline books is picking out the patterns that connect each story together – small moments that don’t make much sense or have much of an impact when they first show up, but become more meaningful with each repetition – and although I haven’t read much of Marcus Sedgwick’s work, I can tell that that’s something that he does very well; I also really enjoyed the persistent spiral imagery in his short story Killing the Dead. Individually, Eric and Merle’s seven lives were a little hit-and-miss for me (my favourite parts were The Painter and The Archaeologist, though some of the others were less memorable), but they all blended together to make an excellent whole.

CURRENT READATHON STATUS: A little indecisive over what to start next. 😓 I’m going to be in the car a lot for the next couple of days, so hopefully I’ll get through a lot more of Exile, and the only other book on my TBR that I have access to at the moment is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle… but right now I really want to read Wolfsong, so I might risk another roll (and pray for a 2 or a 10)…

Books Completed: 3
Pages Read: 962
Hours Listened: 4:02
Challenges Completed: 3

September #Bookoplathon TBR!

Like much of the internet, I’ve been completely obsessed with TBR games recently, and with Becca’s Bookopoly in particular! So for a while I’ve been thinking about trying something similar (though way less complicated), but lo and behold! I was beaten to the chase, as Becca decided to create a Bookopoly-themed readathon! 😁 And with this round lasting for the whole month, I thought it’d be the perfect time to try it out. Here’s a link to all the information and resources for the readathon, in case any of you guys were also thinking of taking part.

THE BOARD:

MY ROLLS:

 
Dark Cover: For this prompt I decided to pick out A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine, a book which I just bought and am ridiculously excited for. To be honest, I don’t know too much about this one, but it was strongly recommended to me by one of my co-workers on the basis of my extreme love for Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it.


Ebook or Audiobook: I’m still undecided on what I’ll read for this prompt, because although I like to have an audiobook on the go at all times, and I currently have two of them queued up for me (or I will do once I’ve finished the last few hours of my current listen), I’m not really in the mood for either of them… I would like to fulfil this prompt with an audiobook, however, so (despite my general reluctance to buy audiobooks while I still have unfinished ones waiting) I may cave and buy a new one… Otherwise, my pick for this prompt will be either The Toll by Neal Shusterman (on audio) or The Loving Cup by Winston Graham (on kindle).


Young Adult: Back to the easy choices! I don’t have a huge amount of YA on my unread shelves at the moment, but one that I’m desperate to get to soon is Loveless by Alice Oseman, which is about the complexities of asexuality, and discovering the possibility of true love in a platonic relationship.


Fire on Cover: I was going to go for The Fire in the Forging for this prompt, but in expectation of having finished (or mostly-finished) it by the time September rolls around, I decided to be strict with myself and choose something else – but not too strict! So instead I’ll be reading Batman: War Drums by (primarily, I think) Andersen Gabrych, which is a graphic novel and therefore short. 😉 Like Loveless, however, it’s not a book I packed to take on holiday with me, so I’ll have to pick it up towards the end of the month.


Community Shelf: Being lazy, I didn’t make any community cards, so I decided to search online for a random prompt generator to fulfil this roll… and I didn’t find any for reading prompts, but I did find a writing-prompt generator which I decided to use instead. The prompt I came up with was “Such a common time, this time of cruelty”, which is nice and vague, and which I’ve decided to interpret as something that I think will contain cruelty as a part of the characters’ ordinary life. So I’ve decided to go for Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, which may or may not embody this. (In any case, I’ve heard that it’s sad.)


Chance Card: Once again, being lazy, I didn’t make any specific cards to use for this square, so I decided to just pick something from my TBR jar (which contains all my unread books, both physical and digital)… and ended up with The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, which is another pretty recent purchase that I’m quite curious about. I’m not a huge fan of thrillers or mysteries, so I’m not sure how this’ll go, but hopefully the time-travel/body-swapping elements will keep me hooked. 🤞


TBR Veteran: And finally, I needed to pick out a book that’s been on my unread shelf for quite a while, of which there are quite a few… Since I’d already picked out my holiday books before deciding to participate in the Bookoplathon, though, and there was one in that stack that I’ve owned for six years already, I may as well go for Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, which is about two lovers searching for one another over the course of several lifetimes, as they’re reincarnated (I believe) over and over again.

… And we’re done! I was originally aiming for five rolls, but those two doubles landed me with seven – but this still feels like a manageable amount for me to be reading in a month. I’m also going to be on holiday for the first couple of weeks of September, so I may even be able to read more than this! (In which case I’ll do some more rolls when the time comes.) 😊 Wish me luck! 🍀

2014 in Review: Some Superficial Favourites

Just to end things on a more positive note than my last post, I thought I’d finish off my “2014 in Review” series by showing you some of the prettiest books that I came across over the course of the year. For the record, I haven’t read all of these (but I certainly hope to!).

Philip Pullman//Four TalesFour Tales by Philip Pullman. This is a bind-up of four fairytale-style stories, & I really love the way this is reflected by the Disney-style castle on the cover. If you look at the details at the bottom, you can see some of the various characters & props from each of the stories: The rat; the scarecrow & his servant; the pair of shoes; &c. The simple two-tone colour scheme is beautiful as well – though the white-looking line art is actually silver – and lends the book the look of a starry night.

David Mitchell//The Bone ClocksThe Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I love the whimsical style of this cover, with all the different objects connected by threads of birds and water and I believe that the spiral in the lower left corner is made up of cards (?). I haven’t read this book yet, so I don’t know what the significance of each item is, but the look of it is certainly striking.

Marcus Sedgwick//MidwinterbloodMidwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. This cover reminds me of the opening scene in the film of Watership Down, though I don’t know how many of you will have seen that. I love the style that the rabbits are drawn in (made up of lots of lines rather than block colour), and the red and purple go well together for the background. The skull-and-thorns motif on the side looks pretty, too, and adds a sinister touch.

Tahereh Mafi//Ignite MeIgnite Me by Tahereh Mafi. This whole trilogy has really beautiful covers, but of the three books (plus novella bind-up), I think Ignite Me is the prettiest. The orange around her eyes and the flowers on her eyelashes really create an impression of spring, making it seem like life must be improving for Juliette (which I very much hope is the case, after the events of the first two books). There’s also the bird reflected in her iris on all three covers, which (as she mentions in the book) represents freedom.

Naomi Novik//Empire of IvoryEmpire of Ivory by Naomi Novik. This is the fourth book in the Temeraire series, which (again) all have really lovely covers, but since this is the only new one I bought this year, this is the one that I will talk about. I believe that this particular book is set in Africa, and at the bottom of the cover you can see a lion and some African elephants, as well as some tribal spears and shields at the sides. The warm colour scheme is nice, too (especially after the cool blues, greens and purples of the previous books), and I really like that the flowers have been done in colour, to contrast the black line art.

Rosamund Hodge//Cruel BeautyCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Generally speaking, I don’t tend to like covers with people on them, unless they’re clearly hand-drawn, but I’ll make an exception for this one, simply because I really, really love the way the rose and the staircase have been blended together. The rose, of course, brings to mind the story of Beauty & the Beast (on which this story was based), while the seemingly never-ending staircase (with Nyx running down it) creates a feeling of entrapment which matches the novel perfectly.

September Book Haul

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I hadn’t actually realised just how many books I’d bought this month until I piled them all up for this photo… Oops. 😦

And there are even more books that I really, really want coming out in October! But after that, I think I should put myself on a book-buying ban. I’m running out of space on my shelves, anyway… 😦

1) This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. I’ve already read this one, and the only reason I hadn’t bought it already is that I wanted to be sure to get this edition (by Hodder). I ended up buying it second-hand on Amazon, so it’s a little battered, but I find myself not minding overmuch.

2) Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. I still haven’t read that other Markus Sedgwick book that I bought last month! But I spotted this by chance in Waterstones & couldn’t resist the beautiful cover (this haul contains quite a lot of books that I mainly bought for the covers…). This is also the book of his which I’ve heard the most about – it seems to be a reincarnation story, and the description reminded me a little of Cloud Atlas (by David Mitchell), which I haven’t finished reading, but am really enjoying so far.

3) The Jewel by Amy Ewing. I actually don’t know very much about this book, & I only really bought it because I kept seeing it all over the place. From the blurb, it seems like it’s a dystopian, along the lines of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

4) Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. I bought these two mainly because I thought my urban fantasy collection needed some fleshing out, and I’ve heard really great things about this trilogy – though, I realise now, I don’t really know what it’s about… I believe it has something to do with demons, though, and I really love the UK covers. I was planning on buying the third book (Dreams of Gods & Monsters) as well, but it doesn’t seem to be out in paperback yet.

5) Night World Volume 1 by L.J. Smith. Consisting of the first three stories in the Night World universe: Secret VampireDaughters of Darkness and Spellbinder. I found this by chance in the Oxfam bookshop when I was dropping off some of my old books that I didn’t want anymore, & thought I’d get it, since it was super-cheap and I already own the other two bind-ups of the series.

6) Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen. I ordered this after reading Boxers & Saints, because I was really in the mood for contemporary graphic novels (as opposed to the DC stuff that I usually read when I feel like reading comics). I really loved it, & will talk about why in my next post (September wrap-up!).

7) Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks. Another contemporary graphic novel, & they both have the same illustrator! I really love Faith Erin Hicks’ art style, which is why I picked these two over all the other books of this genre that’re out there…

8) Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. A Beauty & the Beast retelling! I’ve been on a massive fairytale kick recently, so I ordered this a few days ago, & it arrived amazingly quickly. Apparently in this one, the Beauty-character has been training all her life to kill the Beast, though, so I’m interested to see how it’ll turn out.

9) Jane Austen, Game Theorist by Michael Suk-Young. I mainly bought this on a whim, since I thought the title sounded cool. It’s non-fiction, so I don’t know how long it’ll take me to get around to reading it, but it promises to be interesting! 🙂

David Mitchell//The Bone Clocks10) The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Who wrote Cloud Atlas, which I mentioned earlier. This one looks to be another multiple-storylines-weaving-together-type book, which I love, but to be honest, I mainly bought it for the cover. The US cover looks cool as well, but this one is a thing of beauty… ➟

11) Chineasy by Shaolan. I’ve had my eye on this since the kickstarter campaign, & I finally decided to order it around the end of last month. It’s not exactly the kind of book that you can read the whole way though (since it’s basically a text book), but it has some lovely illustrations, and even the Chinese version of Peter & the Wolf at the end!

And finally, 12) Batgirl/Robin: Year One! I almost bought Robin: Year One on its own a couple of years ago, but decided to wait when I found out that this was going to be released. The Batgirl: Year One story is the most exciting thing about this bind-up, since it’s been out of print for years, and before this book, it was selling second-hand for ridiculous amounts (even the individual issues in the series were expensive!). I’m so excited to finally have them both! 😀