Saturday 2 January 2021

A new beginning?

This last year has been so many ways. For everyone. And, despite desperately trying to keep up with this blog for a number of years, I began to find that doing so was too overwhelming for me.

I was finding it hard to enjoy reading, finding it hard to see this blog as anything but a chore, and putting far too much pressure on myself to complete. reading challenges. My output was becoming quantitative with no real quality. And I was feeling very downtrodden because this blog provided my life with a lot of structure and purpose, and when the enjoyment of that left, it affected my mental health quite badly.

I realised I had to do something drastic, and so that unfortunately resulted in me jumping ship without saying 'goodbye' or 'see you soon'. I am sorry about that. I don't think I expected to be gone quite so long. And I won't pretend that 2020 has been the amazing year that has offered me a fresh perspective on everything.

It has got me to a place where I am ready to return to this blog, and have finally found that I am missing it! What I want to do, and know I can be much better at doing now, is do so at a more relaxed rate.

- I will post not because I have to, but because I want to.

- I want my content to be exciting, different, and worth reading.

- I will not put pressure on myself. Period.

So that said, you may not see a review for every book on here, or an update on any challenges I decide to join. I'm going to ease myself back in. But I am excited to see how this progresses!

Friday 1 November 2019

Planned Reads for November.

I'm definitely going through a bit of a reading slump right now. I'm going to try and set myself some smaller goals to give myself a little less pressure.

I've had so many people recommend 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho that I feel like the time has come to actually read it? It sounds like an awesome read and I've never tried any of Coelho's work before.

'The Love Interest' by Cale Dietrich sounds like a lot of fun! The concept of two boys fighting to date the same girl and falling for each other pokes fun at a lot of common tropes in YA romance.  Also, throw in some spy-action and you might be onto a winning formula!

I read and adored 'Vengeance Road' such a long time ago, that I'm upset that I haven't started 'Retribution Rails' yet! That cover is absolutely stunning and I know that the story will definitely be up my street!

Thursday 31 October 2019

October Wrap-Up.

I was definitely happy to be reading some spookier reads this month! It's one of my favourite genres! I managed four reads, three of which were on my original list.

  1. 'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King. It was good to finally read through something written by King that I really liked! The tension and atmosphere were expertly built, and the concept for this novel was truly horrifying. The quick ending let this one down a little though. 4/5 Stars.
  2. 'Fence [Vol. 3]' by C.S. Pacat & Johanna The Mad. What more is there to say about this series that hasn't already been said? I'm hooked! It's 100% my guilty pleasure and I'm eagerly awaiting the next volume! 5/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Phantom Of The Opera' by Gaston Leroux. Having loved the musical and the film for the longest time, I felt it was finally time to read the classic book. It was a little melodramatic at points, but I really enjoyed the style and reliving the tale. 3.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Wakenhyrst' by Michelle Paver. I've read a ghost story by this talented lady before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This read had some of my favourite elements of horror - old houses, a historical setting, intrigue, and captivating characters. 4/5 Stars.

This month I read three books for the Beat The Backlist Challenge, making my yearly total twenty seven.

- Pet Semetary
- Fence [Vol.3]
- The Phantom Of The Opera

This month I read one book for the New Release Challenge, making my yearly total eleven.

- Wakenhyrst

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

- Fence [Vol. 3]

This month I read two books for the Diversity Reading Challenge, making my yearly total twenty seven.

- Fence [Vol. 3]
- The Phantom Of The Opera
*Mini Challenge: Physical/ Sensory/ Cognitive/ Intellectual/ Developmental Disabilities*

Book Review: Wakenhyrst; Michelle Paver.

The last book I read by Michelle Paver was her ghost story, 'Thin Air' and I really enjoyed it! I was super excited to receive this NetGalley copy of her latest book, 'Wakenhyrst' and read it for Halloween!

SOURCE: NetGalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Wakenhyrst
AUTHOR: Michelle Paver
PAGES: 368
GENRE: Horror, Historical, Gothic, Mystery

RATING: 4/5 Stars

In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father.

When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened.

Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen – and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past.

What I Liked:
  • The setting was so spooky and atmospheric, which is the first part of getting any horror right. I loved the creepy old house that backed onto an even creepier marsh, and watching the wild forces of nature from the fens collide with 'civilised' society was very interesting.
  • I also loved the pacing of this book. Paver switched between Maud's account and the diary entries of her father, whose slow descent into madness was fascinating.
What I Disliked:
  • I have to say it took me a while to get into the actual plot. There's an epistolary-style back and forth surrounding Maud as an elderly woman before we get into the main story and it didn't immediately grab me.
Overall Conclusion:
The first few chapters of this book were confusing and a little hard to progress through, but once I got to the meat of the story I was totally hooked and see how they played a part in building up the mystery. I definitely want to read more of Paver's work in the future, I've loved it so far!

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Book Review: The Phantom Of The Opera; Gaston Leroux.

Having fallen in love with the musical from a very early age, and seen the film a number of times, I couldn't wait to read the classic novel that inspired them both any longer!

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Phantom Of The Opera
AUTHOR: Gaston Leroux
PUBLISHER: HarperPress
PAGES: 305
GENRE: Horror, Classic, Romance

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Living secretly beneath the Paris Opera House, 'The Phantom of the Opera', Erik has haunted those who work there with his demands and shrouded the opera house in fear with the legend of his disfigured face. When Christine joins the company, a young woman with a beautiful voice, Erik is instantly smitten and secretly teaches her to become a great singer. 

He soon develops an obsessive love for his beautiful protege, even though she has fallen for her childhood friend, resulting in her disappearance during a performance and sparking a tragic and terrifying chain of events.

What I Liked:
  • The way that the story was presented was quite cool - as if Leroux was investigating and uncovering the mysterious disappearances and tales surrounding the Palais Garnier, and presenting his findings as a story. I wasn't expecting that, and it was a pleasant surprise.
  • I liked the large amount of context given around Erik too. He felt a little less enigmatic but it also meant that I recognised and understood his life and motivations a bit more. It was nice to see a bit of a nod to some of the key motifs in recent adaptations of this story - the lasso, the monkey, etc.
What I Disliked:
  • The story was originally written as a serial and this became evident in the way that very small, unimportant moments became very melodramatic and drawn out. Especially during dialogue.
Overall Conclusion:
It was really cool to read this and I felt a bit bad leaving it for so long considering how much I love this story in other media. It's certainly a classic for a reason - written well enough with an interesting story and layout, and certainly plenty of suspense and drama. Some plot points took a while to get through, which was a shame. But overall I liked it!