Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books I Came THIS Close To DNFing'.

I really don't like to DNF. I can't stand the idea of starting a book and not finishing it. That being said, in the case of books I am not enjoying, this can definitely be to my detriment. Here are ten books that made me come way too close to breaking my anti-DNF rule!

1) 'A Red Tale' by Nicola Mar.

The cover of this looked pretty cool when I requested it, and I was particularly attracted by the unusual interpretation of dragons and the idea of global cooling. I was very quickly disappointed by the author's unedited, confusing style that felt more like a stream of consciousness than anything. I didn't get the story or the characters, and really...I have no idea what happened in that book...

2) 'Fractured Dream' by K.M. Randall.

Honestly, this whole book was a mess for me. I was drawn to the idea of fairy tales merged and retold, and navigating a land full of recognisable characters. While I liked some of the diversity inclusion, the characters were badly written and frustrating, the dialogue stilted and the plot pretty much non-existent. The cover's cute though?

3) 'Midnight Crossroad' by Charlaine Harris.

I really hoped that I would enjoy this book because it's written by a pretty esteemed author. I didn't want to get into the 'Sookie Stackhouse' series until I was sure I'd enjoy her books however and I'm glad I started here because I really didn't like it. Her MC was a sexist, creepy fraud who's attitude towards women particularly bugged me. Also, Harris had a really strange fixation on overly-describing physical appearances too which vexed me.

4) 'How To Fly With Broken Wings' by Jane Elson.

This book was just a bit too simple for me. Considering the themes that it is supposed to touch upon, I would have liked to see more. I found that everything felt a little off and two-dimensional - particularly the characters. I hated the dialogue in this book too, as it mostly consisted of CAPITAL LETTERS which is my pet peeve.

5) 'A Whole New World' by Liz Braswell.

I wanted to adore this book, as I haven't read too many retellings and I liked the idea of a re-imagining of Disney's version of Aladdin. Instead, I found myself rolling my eyes through most of this book, as it read like fan fiction. And not good fan fiction either! It pasted most of the film, word for word with just the tiniest dialogue changes in the first half, then went completely off it's rocker in part two. What?

6) 'A Song For Ella Grey' by David Almond.

I couldn't stop laughing through most of this book - and not in a good way. It seriously made no sense! I've seen so many reviews hailing this as a wonderful read but for me, it's overly flowery prose and nonsensical story-line (if it can be called a plot) threw me off completely. I hated the narrator so much and I was so disappointed because the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of my favourite greek myths of all time.

7) 'Going Bovine' by Libba Bray.

I tried reading this during my teenage years but quickly gave up on it. I then tried again while I was on holiday, and while I got through it I still found it completely bonkers. Mixed in with the bizarre plot and annoying characters is some symbolism that I'm sure means something. I can't for the life of me work out what though, and honestly I thought I was high while reading this.

8) 'Hunter' by Mercedes Lackey.

The MC for this book ruined the whole thing because she was every YA trope out there! AKA she was Mary Sue, the chosen one. I adored the cover for this book and wanted to love it so much, especially as Mercedes Lackey is a really popular author. But I felt that it had nothing all that good going for it and I have zero interest in continuing the series, even if the covers are cool!

9) 'Passenger' by Alexandra Bracken.

I was so on board for this book because I've yet to read a really good time travel book and I think this had some potential. I'd also been waiting a long time to read some Alexandra Bracken! I was disappointed therefore that this book did not do it for me. It's pacing was awful and it was filled to the brim with info-dumping. 

10) 'Stealing Snow' by Danielle Paige.

This one was my biggest disappointment. We all know how much I love fairy tales and re-imaginings usually are my favourite genre to read. But this book killed that dead by giving me an awful heroine that fell in love with every character that she met (I'm not kidding), a vague 'fantasy' land and a forgettable plot. Ugh.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (28th May - 3rd June)...

We have had a really lovely week this week because we actually spent a little part of it away in Edinburgh! The first half of it was in London though, and we particularly enjoyed spending Monday evening with friends. Since I changed jobs, I've felt a little freer to do things around work, which has been wonderful! Also, I met with a couple of friends again for what I will start calling our 'book club' in order to work on our exciting, upcoming project some more! It's all super exciting!

On Friday, Mat and I set off to Kings Cross station to start our journey towards Edinburgh. After amusing ourselves for a four hour train journey, we arrived mid-afternoon and were very happy to start exploring straight away! Honestly, we've had a lovely time and got up to a great many things while here. Friday involved meeting up with a few friends at a nearby pub, having a lovely walk along Princes street and planning our trip. Saturday was the reason that we went in the first place - a friend's wedding! It was a beautiful venue and ceremony and I have to say it got me a little bit emotional! I'm now very excited for my own wedding next year. On Sunday, Mat and I went to Edinburgh zoo! We were so excited for this trip for a number of reasons, and particularly to see the Panda! I'm so glad that we got to!

I Read...

I Received...


I Posted...

May Wrap-Up
Planned Reads For June
Bookish Bingo Sign-Up

Friday, 1 June 2018

Bookish Bingo (June 2018 - August 2018) Sign-Up Post.

Oh my goodness, it's already Summer? That means it's time for another round of Bookish Bingo! The hot weather is finally coming, after a ton of thunderstorms, and I'm looking forward to seeing more sun and filling in this card! The Bookish Bingo challenge is, as always, run by Pretty Deadly Blog.

There are some exciting categories here. I'd best get started!

Planned Reads For June.

I have so many great reads planned for this month and a newfound determination to get out of the rut and start reading some more!

'Warrior Witch' by Danielle L. Jensen is a book that I seem to be putting off! Every month I plan to read it and don't! This time however, I have actually started it. So now, I have no choice but to finish it!

I'm also really looking forward to reading 'Out Of The Blue' by Sophie Cameron, alongside a couple of my friends! It's a YA urban fantasy that has been on my list for a while, and I've heard really cool things about it! It's also been a really long time since I've read a book with angels in it.

Yes, a lot of these reads are pretty much going to mirror last month because I read so few of them in May! 'Wonder Woman: Warbringer' is another book I've been accidentally putting off for months and I want to read it so badly! I loved the film a lot and can't wait to read a re-imagining of Wonder Woman's story!

I really want to read this book, and that front cover is everything. It has magic, diversity, and a really intriguing plot-line about external beauty vs. internal ugliness. 'The Belles' by Dhonielle Clayton looks REALLY good and I can't wait to get to it!

'The Astonishing Colour Of After' by Emily X.R. Pan is high on my priority list because it involves a country I've never been to - Taiwan. The cover is so beautiful and I would love to know more about the culture!

I haven't read 'A Dance With Dragons: Dreams & Dust' yet? But it's been so long since I last read from George R.R. Martin's series, and seeing as I have to wait until next year for Season 8 of A Game Of Thrones, I guess this will help to fill in the gap.

I absolutely loved Erin Bowman's 'Vengeance Road' and so I can't wait to read the next book in the series! 'Retribution Rails' will be a sequel but also a totally different story. I'm looking forward to plenty of rootin' tootin' action!

Lastly, I was recently sent a physical ARC of 'Ash Princess' by Laura Sebastian, and I'm so happy about it! It's one of my most anticipated reads this year and it's also a Cinderella retelling!

Thursday, 31 May 2018

May Wrap-Up.

Ouch! What a horrible reading month I've had! I only managed three reads altogether, which is probably the worst I've ever done in a month. I had a fair bit of time off this month too which makes it even more disappointing!

  1. 'The Power' by Naomi Alderman. I borrowed this read as a couple of friends of mine were also reading it, and I've heard such mixed reviews about it! Some people loved it, and some really didn't. For me, it didn't really blow me away or fill me with rage. It was well-written and filled with a lot of subtle, clever parallels with reality. I never really felt that it had much of a plot though, and there was a lot of build with very little climax. 3.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'The Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns' by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson. This was a good little guide to something that a lot of people find inexplicably confusing. Pronouns. I have misgendered people in the past and felt absolutely terrible about it, so it's definitely necessary for books like this to exist. I liked the dynamic between Archie and Tristan too, though I think it was a little repetitive at times. 3.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Hound Of The Baskervilles' by Arthur Conan Doyle. I loved this next installment in the Sherlock Holmes series because not only was it mystery, but there were a few supernatural elements to make things interesting! In fact, I think this was my favourite story so far! Yes, I already sort of knew what was going to happen, but it was nice to see Watson play a more pivotal role in the story that wasn't observing Holmes. 4/5 Stars.

This month I read two books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total so far fifteen.

- The Power
- The Hound Of The Baskervilles

This month I read one book for the Finishing The Series Challenge, making my yearly total so far one.

- The Hound Of The Baskervilles

I read one books for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total so far five.

- The Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns

I read one book for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, making my yearly total so far eleven.

- The Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns

Here is the end result for Pretty Deadly Blog's Bookish Bingo card.

Part Of A Series: The Novice; Taran Matharu
Made Into A Movie: The Hound Of The Baskervilles; Arthur Conan Doyle
Spring Release: Children Of Blood & Bone; Tomi Adeyemi
New To Me Author: Milk & Honey; Rupi Kaur
Freebie: --
Intersectional Diversity: bone; Yrsa Daley-Ward
Animal On Cover: Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them; J.K. Rowling
Epistolary: The Power; Naomi Alderman
Family: Spectacle; Megan Rose Gedris
LGBT+: They Both Die At The End; Adam Silvera
Multi POV: The Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns
Second Chance: The Magician's Nephew; C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Book Review: The Hound Of The Baskervilles; Arthur Conan Doyle.

I'm slowly working my way through these Sherlock Holmes books, and I'm glad that I am getting to read these as they are very enjoyable! Often I find that classics are less fun to read than watch (unpopular opinion alert) as they can be so heavy! But I think that Conan Doyle has hit the nail on the head here!

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: The Complete Sherlock Holmes (The Hound Of The Baskervilles)
AUTHOR: Arthur Conan Doyle
SERIES: Sherlock Holmes (#6)
PUBLISHER: Barnes & Noble Classics
GENRE: Mystery, Classics, Historical Fiction, Horror

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Could the sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville have been caused by the gigantic ghostly hound that is said to have haunted his family for generations? Arch-rationalist Sherlock Holmes characteristically dismisses the theory as nonsense. And immersed in another case, he sends Watson to Devon to protect the Baskerville heir and observe the suspects close at hand. With its atmospheric setting on the ancient, wild moorland and its savage apparition, The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the greatest crime novels ever written. Rationalism is pitted against the supernatural, good against evil, as Sherlock Holmes seeks to defeat a foe almost his equal.

What I Liked:

  • Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned, chilling mystery set on the moors of England? With most of the Sherlock Holmes cases, it is usually clear that a human is behind it all. I liked that Doyle took a spookier route with this one and decided to add a sprinkle of the supernatural to keep the reader guessing.
  • The characters are just as well-written as I remember. We get to see a lot less of Holmes himself this time, but more of a solitary Watson doing some digging of his own. This made a nice change, as it sometimes feels that Holmes keeps him around more to add to the decor than for anything particularly useful. Doyle gives a lot of flare and personality to every character he writes, no matter how prominent in the story they are.
What I Disliked:
  • Okay, so I guess Doyle has dropped Watson's wife Mary for good? How...disappointing. Also, one of the problems of this being the most famous of Sherlock Holmes' cases? I kind of knew what was going to happen. It made the ending a tiny bit anti-climactic.
Overall Conclusion:
This was a really enjoyable story. Possibly...my favourite so far? Wow, a bold statement I know, but I really liked how Doyle changed things up a bit. Everyone knows I like a good dash of horror every now and then and this was actually really tense to read at times! I wish that Doyle had done a little more with his previously introduced female characters and I also wish that I hadn't already known so much about the story. But overall, I liked this a lot!

Monday, 28 May 2018

Last Week's Shenanigans (21st May - 27th May)...

Honestly? Pretty much nothing happened this week. I really hate unproductive weeks, but this has certainly been one of them. The weather has very much been matching my frustrated mood too, as it's been pretty thundery, particularly at the end! Something that I did do this week was go and see Solo: A Star Wars Story with Mat in the cinema, which we'd been hoping to do from the moment it came out! It's had some mixed reviews but we both really enjoyed it and the way that it expanded upon the lore in the Star Wars universe!

I Read...


I Received...

- 'Sea Witch' by Sarah Henning: Netgalley (25/05/18)