Tome Topple April 2017 – Wrap Up

The last two weeks have played host to the Tome Topple Readathon. This is a readathon in which readers take on the big books, the long books and the all-round daunting books on their book cases. Any book goes, so long as it’s over 500 page and isn’t a bind-up.

As someone with over 150 books on my to-read list, 106 of which are physical copies, this was a chance for me to actually clear some space on my to-read bookcase, and take on the books that do take longer to read.

I posted my TBR for the readathon back when it first started, so now I’m going to talk about the books I managed to read in my two weeks of dedicated big-book reading, and a bit about the experience of it.

So, to start off with, the two weeks turned out to not be as dedicated to big books as I would have liked. I started and completed only one book which was over 500 pages in the course of those two weeks, completed two other previously-started books (only one of which was 500+ pages), started and finished a 200-odd page book, while also starting and getting most of the way through a 700-page book.

In clearer form, the two weeks started off with a bang. I decided to start with Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor as it was top of my list with regards to anticipated books of 2017, and just sounded amazing. It did not disappoint. From the beginning I was captivated, the words flowed and the pages seemed to turn themselves. I read most of this book in the first few days then, unfortunately, work and Easter happened, and I only managed to finish it at the beginning of the second week. Still, slipping back into the story was incredibly easy and I finished the book in one sitting. It received a resounding 5/5 stars from me.

As Strange the Dreamer was not only a tome, but a hard-back as well, I ended up reading two other books while travelling on both the work commute and also on the train home for Easter. The first of these was The Forever Court by Dave Rudden, which I had started reading before the readathon began and is the sequel the Knights of the Borrowed Dark. I did not have much of the book left to read (much to my disappointment) and finished it in the first few days of the readathon, giving it 4.5/5 stars.

After finishing The Forever Court, I moved onto New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (the review for which you can find here). New Boy provided a nice break for the fantasy theme of the week and was a very enjoyable read, even if it was retelling of a Shakespearean tragedy – 4/5.  Both of these were read on my kindle and neither of which met the criteria for the readathon as they were both under 500 pages long.

The next book I finished, however, did meet the criteria and so became my second tome to topple. This was American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Admittedly, I did start this book before the readathon began and I was listening to it as an audiobook, but I’m going to say it counts. I was determined to finish this book before the television adaption was released and finish it I did. As with New Boy, this received 4/5 stars.

The majority of the books mentioned above were completed in the first week of the readathon and, for those that weren’t, most of the reading was still done in that first week. After Easter weekend, I found myself in a bit of a reading slump with little energy to read. It was in this period that I read my final book of the readathon The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. I did start it at the beginning of Easter weekend and tore through the pages. On returning to my house, however, with 200 pages to go until the end, I found I was just too tired or not in the mood to read it. And so, in the final week of Tome Topple, I only read 100 of those pages, and I’m still working through the rest today. This was particularly disappointing, not just because I didn’t complete Tome Topple on a high, but also because I really enjoy the Scott Lynch’s books and have adored the previous two in this particular series. Unfortunately, I just ended up reading this book at the wrong time which has hampered my enjoyment a little.

So, that’s it for my Tome Topple wrap up. It started strongly, but I couldn’t keep the pace throughout the whole two weeks, not even with a bank holiday to read through. I did enjoy it for the most part, particularly having that little bit of extra incentive to read some of my larger books, especially as I have a few.  Hopefully, next time I will have a little more success!

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Tome Topple April 2017 – TBR

At midnight on 7th April, the Tome Topple readathon begins, continuing on until midnight on 20th April, two weeks later. Unlike other readathons, Tome Topple isn’t about reading as many books as possible. Instead it’s for tackling those large, daunting books on your bookcase, just waiting to be read.

Tome Topple was created by Thoughts on Tomes on YouTube and the main goal is to read books that are over 500 pages long (not including bindups, although graphic novel bindups do count). It’s a fairly relaxed readathon where there is no pressure to finish a book; if you just make a head start on that 800 page novel you’ve been putting off for a year, that’s fine.

However, there are a few reading challenges for those who are interested in a bit more of a challenge:

  • Read more than 1 tome
  • Read a graphic novel (graphic novel bindups count)
  • Read a tome that is part of a series
  • Buddy read a tome
  • Read an adult novel

I’m only going to try and attempt three of those challenges: Read more than 1 tome, read a tome that is part of a series and read an adult novel. This is mostly because I’m focusing books that I already own, none of which are long graphic novels. I’m also not doing any buddy-reading with anyone because, while I will have a TBR list, I’m going into this with an open mind and, if I’m not feeling in the mood for a book during the readathon, I’m not going to read it as I won’t enjoy it as much.

So, now we’ve got the background covered, here are the books I’m planning on reading:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 532 pages

This book was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year, as I loved Laini Taylor’s previous series Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It follows a daydreamer, Lazlo Strange, who longs to discover what happened to the lost city of Weep. A hero called the Godslayer appears and Strange realises it’s his chance to fulfil that dream, or lose it forever. At least, I think that what’s the book’s about based on the summary. It sounds really intriguing and is the first book in a new duology so fulfils the challenge to read a tome that is part of a series.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch – 722 pages

This is a long one, but also one I’ve been desperate to read for a while. It’s the third book in Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard Sequence and, with the fourth book coming out later this year, it’s about time I get caught up. I won’t give away any plot-points, but this series follows Locke Lamora, a highly skilled con-man, who ends up getting on the wrong side of the Bondsmagi of Karthain. I love this series, however have only listened to it as an audiobook. I have this book in both paperback and audiobook format, so I do have options on how I will read it during the readathon. I would, however, like to see how I enjoy the printed version of this series in comparison to the audiobooks. This book will, hopefully, fulfil the read more than one tome challenge. It will also fulfil the two other challenges I’m doing – read a tome that is part of a series and read an adult tome (this is an adult fantasy novel).

As well as the two books above, I have the following back-up books. These are there for if I find I’m not in the mood for fantasy or if, by some miracle, I finish the two books above and have time to spare.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – 635 pages (although I only have it on audiobook). I’ve already started this book and will be listening to it in the background throughout the two weeks as I want to be ready for the tv show at the end of this month.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – 554 pages. I’m surprised by how long it is taking me to get started on reading this book, and I would like to read it soon, although I know it’s probably going to be quite intense.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – 534 pages. Of all the books listed, this is the one I know the least about but is also one of the most intriguing. I’ve enjoyed the Margaret Atwood books I’ve already read and am looking forward to reading more.

I could go on – I have a lot of books that are over 500 pages long that I would like to read, but I think by including them all, my choice on what to read might be too impossible to make. That being said, I did find it difficult to initially start deciding what books I wanted to read for this readathon. As, while I do have a lot of books over 500 pages long, I also have a lot of books which are just under 500 pages and nearly impossible to tell them apart just by looking at the book on the bookcase.

Let me know if you’re going to be taking part in this readathon (or if you’re going to be taking part in any others) and what you’re planning on reading. I know I’m looking forward to having an excuse to do nothing but sit and read long books for two week (when I’m not working of course).

The Books I Read in March 2017

March has been a really good reading month for me. While I didn’t read the books I had initially planned to read, I thoroughly enjoyed those I did read and all of them are ones I will likely read again. I did stray away from my goal of reading a greater variety of books – those I read this month were mainly fantasy novels, but those were varied in themselves (from urban fantasy to alternate reality to high fantasy) and I did read one mystery novel to break things up a bit.

 

As ever, for reference, the way I rate is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

 

Audiobook

The Many-Coloured Land by Julian May – 5/5

 

Hardback

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza – 4/5

 

Kindle

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken – 4/5

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – 5/5

Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine – 4/5

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence – 5/5

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden – 4/5

 

Interestingly, compared to February, the majority of the books I read this month were read in eBook format. This was mostly due to the time I spent on trains and travelling, which is where I normally read my kindle. Things have also been quite busy in the evenings, so I’ve not had as much chance to read any print books.

In April, I think I’m going to try and read more print books. I’ve not made as much of a dent in my TBR book case as I would like and there are so many books on it that I really want to read. I also have the month to finish listening to American Gods by Neil Gaiman in preparation for the t.v. adaption, so that will be my audiobook of the month (although I am hoping to listen to a few more).

 

Top 3 Anticipated Reads -Q2 2017

We are fast approaching the end of March and I would have to say that I’ve done pretty well on my book-buying ban in the last few months. Aside from what I’ve received in FairyLoot boxes, I’ve managed to stick to buying only one book a month (although, to be fair, that’s not really helped with my massive to read pile).

Today, I’m going to look ahead at the months to come, and what books there are on offer. In keeping with the one book per month theme, and to stop this post being rather long, I’ve selected one book released per month.

April

4th April 2017: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

  • I have only read one book by Mark Lawrence, but that book was enough to make me thoroughly excited about the release of Red Sister, the first book in his new series Book of the Ancestor. Set in a different world to his previous trilogies, Red Sister follows a female lead with a violent past who is brought to a convent to be trained as an assassin. It sounds thrilling and one I am very excited to read.
  • Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25895524-red-sister

May

16th May 2017: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

  • I have heard nothing but praise for Renee Ahdieh’s books, despite not having yet read one. That praise alone has me highly anticipating the release of her next book Flame in the Mist. Set in Japan, it is about the daughter of a Samurai who, on her way to an arranged marriage, gets caught up in an assassination attempt. Mariko decides to take things into her own hands and infiltrates the clan that had set out to kill her. Everything about this plot calls to me and, if the hype is anything to go by, it will be an amazing read.
  • Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23308087-flame-in-the-mist

June

13th June 2017: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

  • As this is the sequel to This Savage Song, there is not really much I can say with regards to plot without spoiling the first book. That being said, my anticipation for this book stems from my high regard of anything Victoria Schwab writes. I have yet to read a book of hers that I have not enjoyed, and so I have very little doubt that this book with survive the ‘curse of the second book’ and be brilliant in its own right.
  • Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32075662-our-dark-duet

So, those are my three anticipated reads for quarter two of 2017. What are your anticipated reads for the months ahead?

The Books I Read in November

Despite going into November with a positive feeling about the books I would read, I really haven’t read as much as I wanted to. The month itself was pretty busy, and at one point I really wasn’t in the mood for reading. Luckily, I did manage to get a fair amount of reading done, so here are the books I did complete in November:

As ever, for reference, the way I rate is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

 

Paperback

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – 3.5/5

The Petrified Flesh by Cornelia Funke – 4/5 (Review to come)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff – 5/5

Hardback

The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket – 4/5

 

Kindle

Elora of Stone by Jaime Lee Mann – 4/5 (Review)

In Coraira by Jaime Lee Mann- 3.5/5 (Review)

Audiobook

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5

 

So, as you can see, I only read seven books in November. That being said, the majority of those books were brilliant, with Illuminae by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff taking a clear lead. December will be an interesting time – I have not actually read that much in the first seven days, but I do have a holiday and then a break for Christmas so there is plenty of time for reading ahead.

Deciding what to read first does continue to be a struggle, however. I am currently reading An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris. Next up will likely be Uprooted by Naomi Novik, as it’s been recommended by numerous people, as well as the last two books in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I guess we will just have to wait and see how it goes.

Until next time, happy reading!

Author Event: Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed

This time last week, I was on my way to the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, gripping my handbag in anticipation and barely able to contain my excitement. I was on my way to see Margaret Atwood give a talk about her new book Hag-Seed.

Hag-Seed was written for the Hogarth Shakespeare’s series, where authors take a Shakespeare play and writes a book based on it in a contemporary setting. This book in particular was based off of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Having studied this play at school, my interest in the book was certainly piqued, and to have Margaret Atwood be the author was just the icing on the cake. I have actually only read two of her books previously but was thoroughly impressed by both (her writing definitely lives up to its reputation) and now have a couple of others on my shelf to read, including Hag-Seed.

This was my first time seeing Margaret Atwood talk, but I am hoping it won’t be the last. I found the entire event fascinating. Margaret Atwood is one of those authors who is very intelligent yet is able to put that across in a manner that appeals to everyone. Whenever she spoke, there was a hush around the room and her words, spoken slowly and carefully, kept the majority of the room enraptured.   

As Hag-Seed had only just been released, and part of the ticket included a copy of the book, the discussion was very much aware that not everyone in the audience would have read the book, so very little about it was revealed. What they did discuss was the translation of The Tempest into a modern day settings, both in story and character, as well as Margaret Atwood’s career as a writer and some of her other projects, including the Future Library of Norway (which made me tragically realise that there would be a number of books written in my lifetime which I will never have the opportunity to read).

All in all, it was a brilliant event. The only way it could have been even better was if the person sitting in front of me, who kept moving and looking at his phone for the entire time, hadn’t been there. But, you can’t have everything.

If you are thinking of going to a book event, especially one with Margaret Atwood, I highly recommend it. They’re great fun and I’ve enjoyed each one I’ve been too.

Hag-Seed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29245653-hag-seed

Hag-Seed on The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Hag-Seed/9781781090237/?a_aid=rosienreads (I get a small commission if you use this link)

The Books I Read in October

October did not start off as a great month for me in terms of reading. I did not read as much as I would have liked and found myself struggling to get through the books I was reading. Oh, the joys of a reading slump. Fortunately, a trip to Prague in the final weekend resulted in a large surge of reading and I was able to bring my total number of books read this month to 12 – not bad for a slumpy month.

Here are those 12 books:

As ever, for reference, the way I rate is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

 

Paperback

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick – 3/5

The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron – 4.5/5

Hardback

The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket – 3.5/5

 

Kindle

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – 4/5 (review)

Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers – 3.5/5 (review)

Initiate by Laura L. Fox –  4.5/5 (review)

The Ill-Kept Oath by C.C. Aune – 4.5/5 (review)

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – 4.5/5

A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom – 3.5/5 (review to come)

Darkchylde by R. Queen – 4/5 (review)

Audiobook

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (dramatization) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos – 4/5

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – 5/5

 

Those are the books I read in October. I’m quite pleased, especially after the slow start, as now my to read pile is starting to show a dent (although it is still nowhere near less than 100 books long) I am finally able to read books that have been on my list for a long time. I can already feel November is going to be a bit of a better month for reading, so hopefully that reading with come to fruition.