Books of 2018, #3: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Hi everyone!

I am slightly behind on my reading schedule of a book per month. A lot of the books I have are actually quite bulky or read slowly and with university studies and work, and the hectic week before Easter, March was almost completely devoid of reading.

I’d been making my way through the books in this post – books that I’ve started but were on pause. All my books sat on the spare desk until Derp came home for the holidays and Twerp refused to give his room back again, so he’s living with me and needed the spare desk. I moved my entire TBR pile back to a corner of my desk where it’s three books away from reaching the G-Dragon poster on the wall… again.

In the re-shuffle, A Thousand Pieces of You ended up right at the bottom of a 17-book reading pile because I didn’t think I would get around to finishing it. So when I suddenly felt like finishing it last week, I almost didn’t bother trying to move it from under the pile. On the other hand, it’d been bothering me that I’d only read half, and I needed my March book…

As I am sure I have mentioned eons ago, this was a birthday gift from my friend Nicole, picked from my wishlist and mostly on the list because of its delectable, breathtaking cover. I thought I knew not to judge a book by its cover but I’ve noticed – in the years since not having my school library and buying my own books – that a great cover really makes me scream ‘take my money!’ But alas, the proverb had to ring true sooner or later, and it certainly did for this.

Or rather, my eyes must have skipped over the romance in the description of the book. That would have made me run in the opposite direction.

My main opinion is that this was utterly and totally ‘meh’. The idea of jumping into alternate universes is super promising and seeing as it’s a romantic sci-fi YA, the story… wasn’t that surprising, if that makes sense? It was quite predictable, and I felt there was so much left to explore that I was a little unsatisfied at the end. It’s full of tropes and stuff that made me go urgh (it’s been a while since I read about a love triangle!) but that my younger self might have absolutely loved. Then again, Twerp has also read the book – she’s the same age of the ‘younger self’ I’m referring to and she doesn’t like the book much either. Maybe it’s just us!

Anyway, once I set my mind to it, this was a speedy read, not too complex, and I finished it in two days. We shall see how long it survives on my bookshelf, too… I’ve already started my April book as well so hopefully, I’ll stay on track now.

Until next time,

X

My Current TBR Pile, as of March 2018

When I first sat down to write this I was thinking that this would end up being a very long post. This was because it seemed like my TBR pile had finally reached the heights of my G-Dragon poster. Then I realised that I could split the pile somewhat. I tend to leave my current reads on top of this pile too, you see, as well as some other stray books.

Anyway, after splitting the pile into my abandoned reads and actual yet-to-be-touched books, I thought I would show you the books in the latter category.

But then after that… This post was originally scheduled for February but my birthday recently passed by and I got a few more books as gifts…. making this a very long post. Whoops.

 

Yes, that’s right everyone, I am experimenting with portrait images and not landscape!
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
About: A group of young boys crash land on an island and have to fend for themselves.
Goodreads

This has been on my TBR for a while. As a lover of the Battle Royale, I think the original plan was to self-study these books together alongside other books of a similar premise, like The Hunger Games and The Long Walk. It never really happened, but I still want to read this again. I’m sure I would at least appreciate it more than my thirteen-year-old self did.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
About: A dreamwalker and clairvoyant hired to break into people’s minds for information.
I’ve heard so much good about this series but wasn’t sure if it was for me. The book itself is pretty stunning, though, and I thought about it a lot. I was really surprised to find it in a charity shop a few weeks ago with an unbroken spine and snapped it up straight away! £2.50, everyone. What a deal!

I spied some Murakami and other big titles that day, too, so it really goes to show that charity shops are always worth checking out. I’ve spotted everything from hardbacks of The Girl On The Train to the entire Song of Ice and Fire series in such stores. Did you know my entire Harry Potter book set was second hand in this way? In fact, I think half my bookshelf is second hand!

I See You by Claire Mackintosh
About: A woman becomes the target of possible horrible crimes after her photo is revealed in a newspaper’s classified ad.
Goodreads
This is a book gift from Tray, and it’s a thriller. I don’t normally read this genre but it sounds good and I’m looking forward to shaking up my reading a bit.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
About: A girl caught in the whirl of a close friend’s death at the hands of a police officer.
Does this book even need an introduction? It’s probably the most recommended book of 2017 as I just did not stop hearing about it, and I picked this up at a The Works store in Colchester, for £3! Only… that was in October or November and I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t touched it.
The Young Elites Trilogy by Marie Lu
About: A survivor of a deadly fever with emerging powers.
This was also picked up at The Works, but one in my city. They do some great discounted box sets and I’ve been mulling over getting the Poison Study (Maria V Snyder) box set for a while, too. I’ve heard lots of good things about Marie Lu so I’m eager to start this series.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens|Goodreads
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte|Goodreads
Two classics here, bought where else but a charity shop? I’m not as hyped to read these but I’ve always been meaning to read them so I expect I’ll get around to it at some point. Not that I hate classics, I’ve enjoyed a few before but they’re just less exciting to pick up, initially!

Morning Star by Pierce Brown (Red Rising Series, #3)|Goodreads

I’ve just finished Golden Son, the second book in the series, and I may leave it a while before I finally finish this trilogy. I am really enjoying it so far, though.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K Rowling)
About: A detective is tasked to solve the apparent suicide of a model.
Goodreads

Another charity shop find from more than a year ago, I simply haven’t found myself in a rush to read this.


Blade Runner (originally ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) By Philip K. Dick
About: A bounty hunter is tasked to retire some rogue androids.
Goodreads

Renamed for the infamous film and recent cinematic remake, I first spotted this in Foyles before meeting a friend, before then finding it in The Works for £2, of all places!
Ink by Alice Broadway
About: A girl’s father dies and his tattoos, his life records, to be made into a Skin Book only there is something missing from his.
Goodreads

Following on from the last book, The Works also often offer 3 for £5 on their books. Normally, the store in Birmingham City Centre doesn’t have a selection to my taste but when I spotted these two books, I was so excited! AT was with me and also wanted a copy of Blade Runner so we were able to pick up the books for £5 together!
The Bees by Laline Paull
About: A bee of the lowest caste in the hive breaks a sacred law.
Goodreads

This was a birthday gift from AT, and is pitched as ‘Hunger Games’ meets ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The concept sounds really interesting and this isn’t just human dystopia with a bee concept – all the characters are bees! The cover of this particular edition is really bright and attractive and adds some much-needed colour to my TBR pile.
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
About: A girl strives to create her own companion out of the mechanical parts that every human in her community has.
Goodreads

This was a birthday gift from Twerp. It went straight on my wishlist after I had seen it floating around my twitter or something and I fell in love with the new paperback cover, with red sprayed edges!


Clearly, I need to make a start on this pile, but I really can’t help myself when it comes to buying books. I’m trying to make more room for reading this year, with the aim of at least a book per month for my Goodreads challenge.

What is your reading challenge goal this year?

Until next time,

X

Books of 2018 #2: Golden Son by Pierce Brown (and also getting to meet him!!)

Hi everyone!

Last year, I was gifted Red Rising by my best friend, Tray, and really enjoyed it. However, I’m really bad with series and often never pick up the next book in the fear that it just won’t be as good. This is often why I reach for standalone books instead.

I heard that Pierce Brown was visiting Birmingham though and instantly snapped up tickets as well as the remaining books in the Red Rising Trilogy. Then it occurred to me that I might want to make a start on the books since the talk and signing were for the first instalment of the second, sequel trilogy, and I might hear some spoilers. Not that it mattered much – I don’t seem to remember them by the time I get around to reading them!

It was on a Wednesday (31st January) that just so happened to be a really, really sucky day. It was one of those days where I could have done everything to lift my mood and still feel awful. But stories about my mental health are for another day…

This particular Wednesday, I trekked off to uni and by the time I hit the city centre I knew it was going to end up a day off. I wasn’t even in the mood to shop and treat myself. I ended up buying a pretzel and cosying up to a corner of the Waterstones Cafe for six hours, reading as much of Golden Son as I could. I had to take regular breathers.

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about a heartless character death that lifts my mood a bit. Flick a page of Golden Son and suddenly someone is dead. It could be anyone and the question is not who, but when? I’d close the book and be two steps from laughing. I was actually feeling a bit giddy by the time I had to actually go upstairs to the event.

You know when authors talk about their favourite dead characters and we either laugh or stare at them in horror? Pierce Brown is another kind of writer. He’ll have whole character arcs ready before deciding to kill one off at the pick of a hat. Literally. I know, it’s EVIL. Pierce Brown is the kind of writer I want to be when I’m all grown up… let’s ignore the fact I’m not a teenager anymore!

By the time I made it home, my mood did a total 180 and I ended up back where I was in the morning. Then I spotted this photo on my camera.

(In the words of my friend, AT: “Pierce Brown is sorta hot – in the redneck kind of way…” and that, I do not disagree with…)

It’s now almost a month later as I type this last bit. I’ve finally finished the book and it was relentlessly death-filled and emotional. I think I even enjoyed it much more than Red Rising! Even though I didn’t have much to read to finish, I need to take a break before I start on book three, Morning Star. I can imagine that it will just as action-packed.

Until next time,

X

 

 

Books I’ve Started and Will (Eventually) Finish

Recently, I was putting all my TBR pile together to take photos and it was looking to be a very long post, but then I took the opportunity to split my pile up a little and it ended up like this. I currently am actively reading two books, so they aren’t included here. The books in this post, I was actively reading at one point but had to put down for various reasons. I do fully intend to get back into them as I’m not really a DNFer (DNF = Did Not Finish) as of yet.

I’d been really itching to take blog photos for a bunch of book-related posts (my beauty photos were all mostly done weeks ago) but there seemed to be a storm passing through, the weather had otherwise been terrible, and the lighting was a pain to work with.
Battle Royale: Remastered by Koushun Takami
About: A class of 15-year-olds picked to fight to the death by a government program.
I can’t remember how I picked this up! I finally have a copy of the first translated edition and re-read it last year, and I thought it would be interesting to compare it to this second translation. I might have mentioned it sometime last year. Anyhow, Battle Royale remains the top of my favourite books ever but it’s not one I recommend easily due to the subject content.

So far it reads more fluently than the first one but my favourite choice phrases have changed wording, therefore changing the impact they have which is a bit less for me.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
About: A girl has to hop through alternate universes to avenge her dead physicist parents who invented a hopping-through-universes device.
I admit this was purely on my wishlist because the cover is really quite delectable. I received this for my birthday last year. In fact, on my Goodreads its one of my current reads but I picked it up and read a bit whilst in Vietnam last year and well… Didn’t realise it was romantic (well done, Swanna, you idiot). Like I’m all for the sci-fi plot here but girl if you nearly died you should not be thinking about how close he is to your face. So I haven’t picked it up since June.
The Night Manager by John Le Carre
This… has been on my TBR for a year and a half now since I picked it up at Penguin’s JobHack event. I put it with books like The Handmaid’s Tale because it’s a bit difficult for me to read and takes a bit of dedication and focus. Unfortunately, I haven’t had that sort of time to put aside which is why it’s still here. I’m going to have to make some time eventually because that’s the only way I am getting my reading done – you can’t just find blank bits of time, you have to make them!

Are you a serial DNFer? Or in my case, a serial Book Starter? Let me know! Next week, I’ll be sharing my proper TBR.

Until next time,

X

Books of 2018, #1: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (The Illustrated Edition)

Neverwhere was probably my first Neil Gaiman book.
Either that or The Graveyard Book. I read it years ago and I can’t remember what I thought of Neverwhere only that there was a London Below and a Door and an Angel and that the book was Good and somewhere on my positive scales and that I always meant to reread it and never got around to it.
I was so excited to hear that a new edition was coming out Illustrated by Chris Riddell, but at the time I was too broke to pre-order it. My sister bought a copy for me eventually for Christmas.
I’m a fan of Chris Riddell’s illustrations (especially paired with Gaiman’s stories, as with ‘The Graveyard Book’, ‘Coraline’, ‘Fortunately, the Milk’ and ‘The Sleeper and the Spindle’) so I was definitely going to get it eventually.
20180124130812_IMG_7150-02.jpeg
I’m playing around with Snapseed a lot, recently. I’m not sure what I think of this kind of editing. I’m not sure what I think of anything these days, to be honest, haha.
This is going to be ever so slightly probing into the characters but I haven’t spoiled anything so feel free to read on if you haven’t read it.
All the characters are incredibly intriguing. They all have strong motivations and never really deviate from their goal but because of the unorthodox world of the Underground, their methods, reasoning, and their idea of normal* are very curious to me. I found something to love in each and every one of them. I have a soft spot for Hunter, personally.
*I think that’s something I don’t take into account enough, really. How a character’s experiences affect what they think is normal. Some of the characters have questionable morals but it makes perfect sense given the context of the novel.
My favourite part of the novel is actually a particular section at the end of the first chapter, where Jessica, a well organised, well put together person who likes things going to plan, does something that to me is both very out of character yet completely in the moment. Even now after finishing the book, that part left an impact on me. I vaguely remember thinking this when I read it the first time too, and it really ended up being the moment that convinced me to finish the book. There was not quite a moment like that throughout the rest of it, but many came very close.
The world building is something I always admire when done well. The pieces of myths and legend and stories are planted into the narrative so that every plot twist is still quite plausible within the rules of this world. It’s the kind of world-building I really admire.
It’s not the kind of book that ends with me being overwhelmed in a puddle of feelings. However, I do feel like I’ve just experienced a momentary adventure and am ready to resume normal… things. I feel calm, and satisfied.
The last point I want to make is that I haven’t been to London enough to really feel the connection between this book and the city, but it makes me want to visit all the Above Ground spots mentioned here.
Is this one of my favourite books? Yeah, I’d say so. I don’t have a top ten (more like a top four) but I think even as time passes this will retain a spot in my top ten as I have such a soft spot for it.

Until next time,

X

Winter Holiday Reading: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

I finished a book as the winter holidays began. (Over a month ago, I know!)

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is, by far, not the most appealing title, and the blurb reads like a supernatural rip-off of the Hunger Games. Seriously, I hate YA blurbs these days. I thought marketers wanted the book to stand out, not make it the same as every other plot out there.

Remember to ignore the blurb, people.

Anyhow, this book was pleasantly good. My standards were low as usual anyway, but this was a great read.

In Holly Black’s Coldtown world, vampires run rampant worldwide, but walls have been built around the towns with major vampire outbreaks to keep the two places apart. The main character, Tana, wakes up from a weekend party to find that she is one of very few survivors of an attack, and suspecting that she had turned Cold (as in, got bitten) she begins her adventure to a Coldtown with her ex boyfriend and a vampire.

My favourite part about this universe is the integration of social media, blogging, and their role in the story. The glamourous Coldtown parties are broadcasted nationwide, and people devote themselves to the journey into a coldtown, make money from it, seek fame from it. Of course, it’s never all that great. What’s so good about this is that somehow, I can imagine it happening in our world if vampires and coldtowns actually became a thing.
image

On the other hand, some character decisions don’t make too much sense but I’m letting that pass, because it’s the heat of the moment and we can’t all make the perfect decision in these situations.

All in all, an unexpectedly satisfying vampire read.

Until next time,

X

 

Summer Reading 2015: Atypical Behaviour by Linda Turner

This is going to be a boring reading post – it’s a textbook. I know, I know, but I did say I would include the textbooks as technically I am reading.

  
This counts as ‘reading around my subject’ because it seems we don’t do any more atypical behaviour throughout the rest of my Psychology course. It does go over a few things we’ve already gone through in relation to anxiety disorders with lots of helpful extra information.

But then again, it is a textbook and I find it really hard to keep my focus on non-fiction. Actually, the same could be said for fiction as I unintentionally skim-read every word. So what really happens is that my reading style doesn’t work for non-fiction which is why it’s so difficult to read and I avoid it. When I do skim read, I must read several times back to front for more absorption of information. 

Basically, textbooks and I don’t get along.

Thankfully, it’s thin, which makes this experience less painful, and I also came across some interesting studies that I hadnt read about before. 

One textbook down and another regular sized, thick one to go though. Wish me luck, y’all.

X