October Wrap-Up

Happy Halloween! (Or not. I know it’s not Halloween anymore, but it was technically still Halloween when I started writing this…) This month has been a little slumpy, reading-wise (mostly because there were a couple of books that I was putting off, even though I knew I had to read them…), so I’ve only got eight nine (!) books to show to you, but there are definitely some good ones in there…

William Golding//Lord of the FliesLord of the Flies by William Golding. Slow at the start, but it picked up after the first couple of chapters. I was surprised by how much I liked this one (but perhaps I shouldn’t have been, since my expectations were pretty low after reading the beginning). It was somewhat similar in feel to I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill, a book that I read (and loved) when I was in school… Very chilling.4 stars

Diana Gabaldon//Dragonfly in AmberDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. The second Outlander book! The first part of the story lent a slightly bittersweet undertone to the rest of it, but it was really wonderful to see Jamie and Claire’s relationship develop further. The plot was very engaging and the characters were wonderful, and there was lots of Jacobite drama, which I enjoyed immensely. There was also a slight cliffhanger at the end, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book soon.4 stars

Skye Jordan//RebelRebel by Skye Jordan. The first half dragged a bit, but it picked up towards the middle. Unfortunately I didn’t really manage to connect with either of the main characters, which I think is the most important thing when reading a pure romance novel. Not exactly bad, just kind of disappointing (especially since I was so pleasantly surprised by the first book in the series)…2 stars

Rick Riordan//Blood of OlympusAmy Ewing//The JewelAt this point in the month, the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon came ’round, and the two books I managed to finish for that were The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan and The Jewel by Amy Ewing. I’ve already written separate mini-reviews of both of these, so if you’d like to know what I thought of them, then click on the images to the left!5 stars4 stars

Holly Black & Cassandra Clare//The Iron TrialThe Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. The synopsis reminded me a little of the Harry Potter series, but the tone was very different – it actually reminded me more of the Percy Jackson books (Call and Percy had somewhat similar voices). I loved both the story and the characters (and I desperately want my own Havoc!). I’m really excited for the next book, even though it’ll be almost a whole year before it’s released… 😦5 stars

James Dashner//The Kill OrderThe Kill Order by James Dashner. This was the second book (the first being Lord of the Flies) that I’d been putting off reading. It was kind of interesting at times, but ultimately unsatisfying. Once again, too many questions were posed and too few questions were answered, and it had surprisingly little to do with the main trilogy. There was very little character development, and the only characters I felt that I got to know were Mark and Alec… Trina, although it seemed from the blurb that she was going to be a main character, really did very little in the book, and was absent for a large part of it. Also, I assumed that the epilogue would wrap up Deedee’s storyline, but instead it jumped back to Thomas… so what happened to Deedee? Are we supposed to already know from the main trilogy? ‘Cause I don’t remember her showing up in any of the other books… :/2 stars

Cassandra Clare//Clockwork AngelClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. This was a great pick-me-up after reading The Kill Order… I was kind of expecting to enjoy it, since I liked The Iron Trial so much, but I ended up liking it even more than I thought I would. I really liked the romance developing between Tessa and Will, and Jem was such a sweet character (he’s definitely my favourite)! The plot was great – I didn’t see that twist coming at all! – and I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

5 stars

Jon Klassen//This is Not My HatThis is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. I picked up this book randomly at Waterstones, & though I didn’t buy it (it was tempting!), I did manage to read through the whole thing there… It’s very short (mostly pictures), but it’s the funniest book I’ve read in ages, and it’s also adorable. 😀5 stars

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Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: Wrap-Up & Ending Meme

So I finally crashed at about 5am this morning, after making it through 16 hours. Or rather, I decided to take a short nap, and when I woke up (at 7am), I felt sick enough that I just went straight back to sleep. So my first 24-hour readathon wasn’t a huge success, but I’m pretty happy with my progress anyway: After finishing (& reviewing!) both The Blood of Olympus and The Jewel, I managed to get through about half of The Iron Trial (by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare) before sleep became a necessary thing, so my final page count was 1001 pages. Not bad for a single day (well, technically 2 days, since I only started at 1pm…)!

Anyway, to finish up, I thought I’d answer the End of Event Meme questions, so here goes… 🙂

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
When I hit midnight, I knew that tiredness was oncoming, but I wasn’t sure when it would hit, so that was pretty daunting…

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I think the best tactic is just to read books that you’ve been really looking forward to. That way you can avoid any dreaded reading slumps… For specifics… I think The Blood of Olympus was a great book to start with, because it’s a new release, & part of a series that I really love. Hopefully there’ll be more exciting books being released around this time next year. 🙂

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Erm… no, not really.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The hourly posts on the website kept me really motivated, which I didn’t expect (having never taken part in a 24-hour readathon before). 🙂

5. How many books did you read?
2 & 1/2.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, & The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Definitely The Blood of Olympus, though I really enjoyed all three.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Erm… none of them, really. I guess if I have to pick, then The Iron Trial, since I didn’t manage to finish it… (but that will change soon!)

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
N/A.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Oh, I’d definitely like to be a reader again next time. This was really fun! 🙂

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: Update 2 & Mini-Review

Amy Ewing//The JewelJUST FINISHED: The Jewel by Amy Ewing.
[Finished at ~1:20am, & 362 pages long.]

A surprisingly quick read. This also slightly restored my faith in impulse buys – they’re not always a bad idea! I only bought this book because it kept taunting me from the special offers table at Waterstones. 😉 Anyway, post-buying it, I found some good reviews, so I wasn’t exactly expecting to dislike it, but I also didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

Reasonably fast-paced, with likeable main characters, wonderfully awful (but still occasionally sympathetic) villains, and an engaging (& suspenseful) plot. The only real complaint I’d heard about it before was that it was kind of insta-love-y, & I definitely get where that was coming from, but it felt pretty natural to me: girl grows up secluded from the opposite sex, then meets a guy who’s both kind to her and incredibly attractive, and becomes infatuated. It felt to me as though Violet & Ash’s relationship took a little while to get to the love-stage.

Downside: An annoying cliffhanger at the end, especially since the sequel doesn’t have a projected release date (or even a title) yet. :/4 stars

CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Drinking a refreshing energy drink… in juice form!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: Info & TBR!

So, the Dewey’s 24-hour readathon is scheduled to take place on October 18th, and I actually managed to find out about it in time to sign up officially this time! 😀 The readathon will last for a whole day, & there will be hourly challenges/giveaways/other such things. The coolest thing about it in my opinion, though, is that it starts at the same time all over the world – in the UK, where I am, it’ll be starting at 1pm (which is convenient), but in Hong Kong, for instance (I’m looking at you, Chloë 😉 ), it’ll start at 8pm & last until the same time on Sunday – so everyone will be reading together!

If you’re interested in participating, there’s still time to sign up as a reader here, but there are lots of other ways to participate if you don’t want to be a reader… For more information, be sure to check out the following links:

1) Official site

2) FAQ

3) List of start times (by time zone)

4) Goodreads group

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Now for what I’m planning on reading – here’s a short list (& this may change, depending on how much reading I get done before the readathon starts…):

1) The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. The final Heroes of Olympus book! This is the one I’m most likely to have read before next Saturday, as I’m ridiculously excited about it. I’m not even sure why I haven’t already read it…

2) The Jewel by Amy Ewing. A dystopian romance (so far as I can tell). I don’t know too much about this one, but it looks exciting, & I’ve heard that it’s good. 🙂

3) The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. But only if I still have time after finishing the other two, since there’s only so much reading I can do in one day.

I’m excited for this, as I’m sure you can tell. Are you excited, too? Let me know in the comments if you’ll be participating, &, if so, what you’re hoping to read!

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! 😀