October Wrap-Up

Well, I’ve did a terrible job of keeping to my blog schedule in October! Don’t worry – I’m still alive! 😛 I’d like to blame work, but although things are still pretty hectic on that front (though not as bad as a few weeks ago), the actual reason for my long absence is that I’m trying to write a review for The Lumatere Chronicles, and every time I decide to work on it, my brain goes blank and my fingers freeze up. ^^’ So, writer’s block, I guess. But – review or no review – I’ll try to do better this month.

On a more positive note, I have managed to do quite a bit of reading, and most of what I’ve read lately has been really great! 😀 Here’s what I thought of them all:

Holly Black & Cassandra Clare//The Copper GauntletThe Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. The follow-up to The Iron Trial, which I read a couple of Christmases ago. This sequel follows Call and his friends in their second year (or their Copper Year) at the Magisterium, where they’re trying to find out about a mysterious magical artefact called the Alkahest. I enjoyed The Copper Gauntlet, though I didn’t feel that it was quite able to live up to my expectations after reading The Iron Trial (which was fantastic); it just felt too rushed. The entire book seems to take place over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first book took an entire year to build up to the climax… I’m still having a lot of fun with this series, but I’m not quite as excited for the third book as I might otherwise have been.3 starsRae Carson//The Shadow CatsThe Shadow Cats by Rae Carson. A novella set in the Fire & Thorns universe, and telling the story of Alodia – Elisa’s older sister, and heir to the throne of Orovalle – on an official visit to a region on the border of the kingdom, where the locals have been being terrorised by a creature that they call Espiritu… An interesting insight into Alodia’s character, since she was a bit of a mystery in the main series, and it was odd to be reminded of where Elisa started, considering how much she’s grown by the end of the series. The story itself was good, too, though it was lacking the thing that I like most about the Fire & Thorns series – Elisa’s fully-realised self! 😉3 starsRae Carson//The Shattered MountainThe Shattered Mountain by Rae Carson. A brief but powerful look at Mara’s life just before she was introduced in Fire & Thorns, as she tries to lead a group of children to safety after her village is attacked by Inviernos. This story was incredibly intense and emotional, which is particularly remarkable when you consider how short it is. I became very attached to all the children in Mara’s group, and the one major character death that I already knew about (because it’s mentioned in the main series), was agonisingly built-up to, and then heartbreaking when it finally occurred. 😥 A must-read for anyone who liked the main series.5 starsRae Carson//The King's GuardThe King’s Guard by Rae Carson. The last of the three novellas in The Girl of Fire & Thorns Stories, which follows a teenage Hector as he begins his first year in the Royal Guard, and has to prove himself all his superior officers and his fellow recruits, who believe he’s only been allowed into the Guard because he’s friends with the new king. This story wasn’t as emotional as The Shattered Mountain, but it was much more plot-driven – and that plot was excellent! I won’t say too much about it for fear of spoilers, but it was truly shocking in places, and it sheds a really interesting light on some of the events of the main series (which I believe I may be re-reading soon, now that I have this new perspective. 😀 ).4 starsLesley Fairfield//TyrannyTyranny by Lesley Fairfield. A short graphic novel about a girl with an eating disorder. This was my Library Scavenger Hunt pick for the month, and again (and this seems to be becoming a disappointing trend), I wasn’t hugely impressed by it – but you can read my mini-review of the book here. 🙂2 starsAndrzej Sapkowski//The Last WishThe Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. The first book in the Witcher series, which is actually a collection of short stories – not usually the greatest way to be introduced to a new world or protagonist, but in this case it really worked; the way that the stories tied together made them read very much like a single novel (though admittedly one with several different storylines). As for the stories themselves, a couple of them were a little confusing (but still enjoyable), and all the others I really loved, especially A Grain of Truth and The Witcher. I wasn’t a huge fan of Yennefer, which surprised me, since I’ve really liked what I’ve seen of her so far in the game-verse, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see how she’s developed in the later books…4 starsRae Carson//Fire and ThornsFire & Thorns by Rae Carson. A re-read of the first book in the Fire & Thorns trilogy, which lived up to, and even surpassed my first experience of reading it. I remember finding the first part of the book quite slow before, but this time I was able to enjoy spending time with Elisa’s more naive side, since I wasn’t so impatient for the story to develop. Otherwise, my feelings haven’t changed much; this is still a brilliantly-written book, with wonderful characters and a fantastic story to tell.5 starsAndrzej Sapkowski//Sword of DestinySword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski. The second book in the Witcher series, and another short story collection, though this one was a bit more of a mixed bag; I really enjoyed the final three stories in the collection – A Little SacrificeThe Sword of Destiny, and Something More – but I found that the first half of the book dragged quite a bit… This is probably partly because the first couple of stories concentrated more on Geralt’s relationship with Yennefer, which I’m not entirely on board with (I still don’t like Yennefer much, and nor do I really like the way Geralt acts when he’s around her/moping over her). On the whole, this was an interesting collection of stories, but they didn’t flow together in the way that made The Last Wish so enjoyable, but instead felt quite disconnected from each other (with a couple of exceptions). This is obviously not entirely unexpected, but it’s one of the main reason I don’t get on that well with short stories in general – they’re just too short for me to really get invested in them! ^^’3 starsAndrzej Sapkowski//Blood of ElvesBlood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski. The third Witcher book, and the first full novel in the series, in which Geralt finds out that there are dangerous people looking for his adoptive daughter, Ciri, and sets out to find them – and to stop them, while Ciri herself begins training in magic with Yennefer. As I expected, I’m beginning to like Yennefer (and also Dandelion) more, now that she’s a more prominent character, and Ciri only got more and more wonderful as the book went on, though I would’ve liked to have seen more of her and Geralt together. The plot was a bit disjointed in places; it jumped between characters and story-threads a lot, and there was a very abrupt time-skip halfway through the book (in which Triss disappeared from the story completely, without explanation), but overall, this was a really enjoyable novel, and I’m looking forward to reading more of this series.4 stars

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The Bookish Alphabet Tag

This tag was created by Mariana at fireheartbooks, and I was tagged by the wonderful Loreva from La Book Dreamer, whose blog you should all definitely check out! The goal is to pick out a book for every letter of the alphabet, and the only rule is that you need to own (or to have previously owned and read) every book on the list. You also don’t need to include articles, e.g. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess would count for “C” rather than “A”.

So, without further ado:

MY BOOKISH ALPHABET

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Daughter of Storms by Louise Cooper

Emma by Jane Austen

Fire by Kristin Cashore

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Half Wild by Sally Green

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

River Daughter by Jane Hardstaff

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

xxxHolic by CLAMP

Young Blood by Meg Cabot

Zombie-Loan by Peach-Pit

Phew. That was a lot of books! ^^’ But I’m pleased to say that I have read all of these books, and I still own them all except for Unravel Me, which I gave to one of my cousins, and River Daughter, which I donated (it was a good book, I just couldn’t imagine myself reading it again). And I did have to break out my manga collection for “X” and “Z” – something I’d been hoping I wouldn’t have to do – but I regret nothing. 😎

I tag:

 

October Haul

Once again, I managed to accumulate quite a lot of books in October – and most of them were new releases, which is unusual for me. There’ve just been so many books released recently that I really, really wanted to read… 😳 Hopefully my book-buying will slow down for a while after this, but for now, here’s my October haul:

October haul

1) Magnus Chase & the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. The first book in the new Norse mythology series, Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard. I’ve been excited for this book since I heard it was going to be a thing, and although I’m not really in the mood for more Percy & co. at the moment, I’ve heard really fantastic things from those who have already read it. 😀

2) Percy Jackson & the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan. A book I put off buying because of my (now failed) book-buying ban… I was thinking of waiting for this to come out in paperback, simply because I don’t have all that much space left on my bookshelves, but eventually I decided I’d rather have it match my (hardback) copy of Percy Jackson & the Greek Gods

3) Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. The new illustrated edition! 😀 Need I say more?

4) The Princess & the Captain by Anne-Laure Bondoux. The only book in this batch that I bought on impulse, and don’t really know anything about. I believe it’s a pirate book, and since I found it second hand, it was super-cheap. I was mostly drawn to it because of the swashbuckling that I assume it contains. Who doesn’t love swashbuckling? Not me. 😛

5) The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. The second book in the Magisterium series, which I’ve been excited for since I read The Iron Trial this time last year. This one follows Cal and his friends in their second year of magical schooling, but I know little more about it than that.

6) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. A kind-of companion novel to Fangirl (the characters in this are the ones that Cath was writing fanfiction about in that book), in which Simon Snow returns for his last year at Watford School of Magicks, and is tasked with having to save the magical world. I’ve already read this one – you can read my review of it here.

7) Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. The first book in the Lumatere Chronicles, a YA high fantasy series that I’ve heard really incredible (but vague) things about. I picked this up mostly as a pick-me-up on a particularly rubbish day, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet… 😦 Soon, hopefully.

8) Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan. The most recent instalment in this amazing space-odyssey graphic novel series, and (in my opinion) the best one yet. I will say no more, because spoilers.

9) Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton. A second collection of short comics from Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant web-series. I’ve finished reading this one, too, and it may even be better than the first book (which is a difficult thing to achieve)… There was a little less history in this volume, though (or at least, less history that I didn’t understand), and a bit more literature, so that probably accounts for it. 🙂


And now, as a little extra, I have an additional mini-haul for you, since on Halloween morning, my cousin and I decided to drop in on the Cambridge Comic Art Festival at my local library. As per usual, I bought more than I probably should have (and most of it from the same artist’s stall), but I regret nothing. I’ve read all of these already, so if you’re curious about my thoughts, then you can take a look at my October wrap-up, and, when it’s up, my November one.

Cambridge Comic Art Festival haul

1) Adventure Time 2015 Spoooktacular by Hanna K. A short one-shot comic that follows Marceline from the Adventure Time cartoon series, and an adorable dog.

2) The Fabulous Adventures of a Gallant Gentleman by Emma Vieceli. Another one-shot comic, this one about an Antarctic explorer who wanders off in search of tea (as one does). A really, really fantastic read.

3) Dragon Heir Reborn, Volume 1 by Emma Vieceli. A high fantasy comic that follows a group of young men who carry inside them aspects of the dragon Spiratu’s soul.

4) The Avalon Chronicles, Volume 1: Once in a Blue Moon, & Volume 2: The Girl & the Unicorn by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir. The first two books in a(nother) fantasy series, about a girl from our world who one day gets sucked into a book that her parents used to read to her as a child. The art in this one is also by Emma Vieceli, and it’s beautiful.

Finally, since I spent so much money at Emma Vieceli’s stall ( 😳 ), she also gave me a sampler of her new webcomic (with Malin Ryden), Breaks, for free. And it may only be a sampler, but it’s pretty high-quality, and I’m really liking what I’ve read of the story so far, so I’ll be hanging onto it. 🙂 If you’ve a mind, you can read the webcomic here – it’s a not-so-cute contemporary romance series.

October Haul

In terms of book-buying, this month actually ended up being even more extravagant than last month… 😦 I think I may have a problem. On the plus side, though, I have now bought all but one of the books on my new list of books that I’m allowed to buy this year, so there probably won’t be a November or December haul (unless I get books for Christmas. Or lose control of my book-buying impulses…).

October HaulAnyway, here goes nothing:

1) Throne of GlassCrown of MidnightHeir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. The first three books in a series about an assassin called… Caelena? Forgive me if I’ve misspelt her name. :/ Anyway, I’ve been in the mood for assassin books recently, & I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series (and they were in the buy-one-get-one-half-price offer at Waterstones!), so I couldn’t pass them up.

2) Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik. The fourth book in the Temeraire series. I really love these books, though I’ve only read the first two. I also really love the covers, so I thought I’d pick this one up before all the copies get replaced by the new, much uglier ones. The series basically centres around the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons.

3) Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while – since  I heard about it when it won the Costa Novel Award for 2013 – and I finally decided to pick it up since it was on special offer (& I haven’t been able to get hold of a copy from my library). As far as I can tell, it’s about reincarnation… Or else repeating the same life over and over. I’m not entirely sure, but it sounds pretty interesting.

4) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I decided to pick this up after reading The Jewel by Amy Ewing, since it’s been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale. I don’t know much about this book – despite the fact that it’s a classic – except that it’s set in a dystopian future where the birth rate has gone way down…

5) Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. An apparently sad contemporary road-trip book that I don’t know much about, but have heard is good. I will probably be reading this soon.

6) The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss. A novella set in the Kingkiller Chronicle universe. I have the two main books in this series on my kindle, so I was actually planning on getting this one in ebook form, but then I walked into Waterstones & found that they had signed copies! So this is signed, & beautiful, & I will probably read this pretty soon, too. 🙂

7) Clariel by Garth Nix. The Old Kingdom prequel. I have been waiting for this book for almost 10 years, & it is so good to finally have it on my shelf. 😀

8) The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. The final Heroes of Olympus book. I’ve actually already read this one, & written a mini-review, which you can find here.

9) The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. Another book I’ve already finished reading, & loved. The first book in the new Magisterium series, which follows a boy names Call who decidedly does not want to go to the Magisterium & become a mage. Unfortunately (for him, but not for us 😛 ), it seems that the universe has other plans.

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

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: 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

dewey-300x300

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!