Top Ten Tuesday: My Autumn 2018 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that’s all about books! Each week, we are asked to list ten bookish recommendations that can be based on anything from fictional worlds and characters, to colours on book covers.

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This Week’s Prompt: 10 Books on my Autumn 2018 TBR

For the past few weeks, I have found that none of the Top Ten Tuesday prompts have particularly grabbed my attention, but I’m really excited for this week’s theme. I’m starting back at university around the end of this month, so I’m obviously going to be reading a few more classics over Autumn, but there are also a few pleasure reads that I am really excited about. So, here we go with 10 books I’m keen to read in Autumn 2018:

#1 – The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.

I am so excited to start reading this book. I received a free review copy a couple of weeks ago but haven’t got around to reading it yet. It’s another mythological retelling, this one based on Homer’s The Iliad, and sounds fantastic! I have read Pat Barker’s Regeneration before, and she is a fantastic writer, so there’s no real reason why The Silence of the Girls shouldn’t be one of my favourite reads in 2018.

#2 – The Pharmacist’s Wife by Vanessa Tait.

I feel as if I have been talking about this book for an exceptionally long time, but I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. Set in the Victorian period, this novel really appeals to me, and it’s frustrating that I’ve been putting it off for so long. I’ve also received quite a few recommendations for it, so I’m really keen to find out what all the fuss is about!

#3 – Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs.

Here’s another book that I’ve had sitting on my shelves for a little while now. I picked it up when I was searching through a second-hand bookshop. I’ve read a few of Kathy Reichs YA books in the past and really loved them, but that was quite a few years ago, so it’s going to be interesting to see whether her writing still pulls me in.

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#4 – We That Are Young by Preti Taneja.

This book is one that I’m going to be studying this term, but it sounds super interesting. It’s described as “a modern-day King Lear” set in India, so it’s all about family feuds and the young vs. the old, and as King Lear is possibly my favourite of all of Shakespeare’s plays, I’m really interested to see how this story goes.

#5 – The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza.

This book has one of the most unusual premises that I have ever heard. It’s a complex narrative that, on the surface, is a horror one. Yet this book also promises to be about confused gender roles and the human body. It’s certainly unusual, and I’ve heard that the way that it’s written is truly mesmerising, so I’m excited to start reading it this Autumn.

#6 – Iraq +100: Stories from a Century after the Invasion by Hassan Blasim (editor).

Here’s another book that I’m going to be studying. It’s an anthology of ten short stories from Iraqi writers who consider what their country may be like in 2103, one hundred years after the British/American invasion of 2003. It looks like it’s going to be a real mix of genres, from science fiction to magic realism, and sounds quite fascinating.

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#7 – A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir.

I’m bending the rules of the challenge here a little, because I’ve actually already finished reading A Torch Against the Night. I finished it last weekend, but I’m pretty sure that this counts as Autumn already; it’s certainly cold enough to be! (If you’re wondering, I absolutely loved reading this book!)

#8 – A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir.

Following on from A Torch Against the Night, I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series, A Reaper at the Gates. This recent release has been all over my social media for the past few weeks, and I’m really eager to see whether it will live up to the rest of the series or not. From what I’ve heard, it certainly will!

#9 – The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Over the past couple of months, I have been attempting to read the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, and I hope to be soon moving onto the third full-length novel in the series, The Hound of the Baskervilles. This is probably the Sherlock Holmes story that I am the most excited to read, as, from what I’ve heard, it’s excellent.

#10 – The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

I’m not sure whether I will be able to start this book in Autumn, but I would love it if I could. After I have finished reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I plan on moving onto the third short story collection in the series. After that, I will have very nearly finished all of the Sherlock Holmes books, which I think is going to feel like a real achievement.

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Well, that’s it! Thanks for stopping by to read this Top Ten Tuesday post! By this time next week, I should have another book list posted. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts for me, please do leave a comment below. I’d love to know which books you are planning on reading in Autumn this year!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

Top Ten Tuesday is a challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that’s all about books! Each week, we are asked to list ten bookish recommendations that can be based on anything from fictional worlds and characters, to colours on book covers.

Top Ten Tuesday

This Week’s Prompt: 10 Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

This week’s challenge is a curious one. I’ve been in quite a few reading slumps over the past few years and it always seems that I need a really good book to pull me out of it. I’ve had a look at some other posts about reading slumps, and people mention books that reminded them why they love literature and books that changed the way they view the world. I can understand these views, but I honestly think that all you really need is a well-written book that really draws its readers in. So, here are some quality books that I really believe will be able to pull you out of a reading slump.

My Top 10 Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

#1 – Circe by Madeline Miller – My Review.

I’ll warn you now – I’m going to be talking about this book a lot over the next few weeks. As I have already said, I think you need a genuinely good book to pull you out of a reading slump, and Circe is most certainly a good book. The standard of writing is absolutely incredible and the story is simply mesmerising. This has fast become my new favourite read, and although I wasn’t in a slump when I was reading it, I do think that it would have really helped me if I had of been.

#2 – The Shining by Stephen King – My Review.

Here we have another favourite of mine. Stephen King’s greatest talent lies in his ability to create very real characters. This is really evident when you read The Shining; despite the supernatural events unfurling around its characters, everything remains believable due to the way that they respond to them. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, and even though it can be considered a slow burner, the power of its characters, along with the fantastic writing, could really pull you out of a reading slump.

#3 – The Odyssey by Homer – My Review.

As I’ve already mentioned Circe, it only seems fair to talk about The Odyssey. This is a book that I’ve read twice, and have thoroughly enjoyed each read through. It’s a spectacular story filled with love, adventure and murder. At the same time, though, the main reason that this book can pull you out of a reading slump is that it is one of the oldest stories that we have access to. Considering that age, this is a story of true inspiration.

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#4 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – My Review.

No list of mine would be complete without the mention of some of the classics. I believe that this particular novel would be a fantastic way to get you out of a reading slump. It may be a classic, but it’s also a children’s book and, as a result, isn’t too difficult to read. More importantly, though, the raw power of Carroll’s imagination is something that could inspire absolutely anyone. This is a fantastic book that should never be forgotten.

#5 – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – My Review.

Here is my favourite classic. It’s an incredible story that really demonstrates the amazing mind of Oscar Wilde. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a fantastic story that is written in such a mesmerising style that it can almost be considered poetry. This is a book that should not be underestimated, and I believe that the pure beauty of its writing is enough to pull anyone out of a reading slump.

#6 – The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare – My Review.

This is the final classic on this week’s list. I realise it’s a play, but it’s an amazing play. Out of all of Shakespeare’s works, I would argue that The Taming of the Shrew has aged the worst, yet, at the same time, it remains the most interesting play for a modern audience. It’s all about female suppression, meaning it would be exceptionally interesting from a feminist point of view. The writing is not overly complex and the story is captivating!

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#7 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – My Reread.

If you’re in a reading slump, then surely the best decision that you can make is to reread (or read) the entire Harry Potter series? This is my favourite book series of all time. I absolutely love the franchise, and adore the books. I own the audiobook versions and must have listened to them 30+ times in my life. I never get sick of them and honestly cannot think of anything to better pull you out of a reading slump.

#8 – Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel.

This YA book made my childhood. It is one of the most original books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Told from the perspective of a bat, Silverwing is a surprising novel that takes its readers into the heart of the animal world. This is a great story for animal lovers, YA readers and anyone who wants a simply un-put-down-able book. Seriously, do not underestimate this book. It sounds odd, but it’s incredible.

#9 – Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant – My Review.

Here is another book that I have read quite recently… and when I say read, I mean listened. This story reminded me just how wonderful audiobooks can be. It’s a thriller told from the perspective of a somewhat despicable character. The narration really brought this story to life and encouraged me to start listening to a lot more books.

#10 – Perfect Match by D. B. Thorne – My Review.

Here’s a book that did get me out of a reading slump. This was one of the first books that I read this summer and it inspired me to read a lot more. I had just finished my exams and really didn’t feel like doing much at all. Then I read Perfect Match, and although it was by no means perfect, this book reminded me of how gripping a story could be. Towards its end, I was literally tearing through it; it’s a fantastic story!

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Well, that’s it! Thanks for stopping by to read this Top Ten Tuesday post! By this time next week, I should have another book list posted. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts for me, please do leave a comment below. I’d love to know which books have gotten you out of a reading slump!


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Harry Potter Revisited: “Hallowe’en”

I am taking part in a Harry Potter reading project, where, each Saturday, I talk a little about each chapter of the Harry Potter books. You can view a full list of these chapter rereads here.

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This week, I am reading chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, “Hallowe’en”:

Chapter Summary

The events of the following chapter seem to have worn off a little; Harry and Ron very much enjoyed their adventure down the forbidden corridor, whilst Hermione and Neville simply refuse to talk about it. Then, a few days later, they are all sat in the Great Hall, eating their breakfast, when a Hedwig drops a package in front of Harry. Inside, and to Ron’s intense jealousy, there is a Nimbus 2000, Harry’s first ever broomstick.

1 - audioAfter an evening of flying practice with Oliver Wood, Harry awakes on Halloween morning. He and Ron set off to Charms class where, to Ron’s displeasure, he is partnered with Hermione, and as they practice the levitation charm, “Wingardium Leviosa”, he begins to lose his patience with her. By the end of the lesson, he is furious, and mutters to Harry, “it’s no wonder that no one can stand her”.

Unfortunately for Ron, Hermione heard him. She races past them, tears running down her face, and isn’t seen for the rest of the day. Ron is just beginning to feel extremely guilty, when he and Harry enter the Great Hall for the Halloween feast. Not long after they have sat down, however, they are interrupted by Professor Quirrell, who runs into the room, declaring that a troll has broken into the dungeons. The school is dismissed to their common rooms, but Harry grabs Ron’s arm as they are leaving. He tells Ron that they need to warn Hermione about the troll, and rush off towards the girls’ bathroom, where she is rumoured to be hiding.

There, they see the enormous, stinking troll. They rush forwards and lock it into a room at the end of the corridor, before realising, to their horror, that this room is the girls’ bathroom. They rush inside to find a furious troll and a terrified Hermione. A fight then ensues, and Harry ends up grabbing the troll around the neck, his wand shooting up its nostril. Ron, meanwhile, shouts the first spell that comes into his head: “Wingardium Leviosa”. He raises the troll’s club out of its hand and lets it drop on the creature’s head with a loud smack. The troll falls unconscious and a large group of teachers come rushing into the bathroom. They award the trio five measly points for Gryffindor and, at the chapter’s very end, it is very clear that Harry, Ron and Hermione are now friends.

The Most Annoying Moment

I really don’t like how cruel Ron is in this chapter. I realise this tension between Ron and Hermione is an important part of the trio’s relationship, but he is even reluctant to warn Hermione about the troll; if it wasn’t for Harry, he would have abandoned her.

The Best Moment

There is no competition here. The moment when Hermione speaks up, defending Harry and Ron in front of the teachers is a truly glorious moment. Perhaps even greater, is the boys’ reaction as they realise, with delight, just how hard it would have been for Hermione to lie to a teacher.

Some Further Thoughts

  • Can we just take a moment to think about how insane Quidditch is? I don’t mean the idea of teenagers flying around on broomsticks; I mean the bludgers. Who on earth thought that it was a good idea to host such a dangerous sport in a school? I mean, it is literally the bludgers’ job to hurt the players!
  • Surely the sound of the troll walking about the castle would have told the teachers exactly where the troll was? Or, even more likely, surely the teachers possess some spell that can track it down? It seems absurd to me that these great witches and wizards take so long to find the creature.
  • I still get goosebumps when I hear that Harry, Ron and Hermione are now finally friends. This chapter marks the beginning of something truly wonderful.

A Quote

There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Websites

Top Ten Tuesday is a challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that’s all about books! Each week, we are asked to list ten bookish recommendations that can be based on anything from fictional worlds and characters, to colours on book covers.

Top Ten Tuesday

This Week’s Prompt: Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge is really asking for two different things, so I’m going to list five of each: five of my favourite bookish websites, followed by five of my favourite book blogs!

My Top 5 Bookish Websites

#1 – Goodreads.

This site is surely going to be at the top of everyone’s list this week. It is the number one site for books, whether you want information or you want to share your reviews. I signed up for Goodreads quite a long time ago, but I really didn’t get on with it. The format and layout of it can sometimes seem a little outdated and I did find it a little hard to navigate. Earlier this year, though, I deleted my old account and tried again; now, I’m really getting on with it and can thoroughly recommend signing up!

#2 – Audible.

I am a massive fan of audiobooks. They make reading so much easier when you are on the move, and can also be useful if you need a little bit of extra help when it comes to concentrating. What I mean by this, is that you can simultaneously read a physical book and listen to its audio version, which can really help you to focus on the story. Audible is a fantastic site for audiobooks; I subscribe to its monthly scheme which means that, for £7.99, I can purchase any book, regardless of its actual price.

#3 – Amazon.

Amazon itself is a really useful site when it comes to books. I love looking at the new releases, as well as what the site recommends me to read. As well as purchasing books through Amazon, you can leave reviews and even link your account to your Goodreads page, enabling you to easily review the books that you have recently bought.

#4 – The Literary Hub.

I don’t use this site as much as I use the first three on this list, but it is still a very useful resource. You can visit Lit Hub for book news, updates and general posts. I particularly like their “bookmarks” section, where you can learn all about popular books, seeing various book lists and reading reviews of these works.

#5 – Book Riot.

I consider this to be more of a website than a blog, even if it is still technically a blog. Like Lit Hub, Book Riot is a great site to visit for bookish updates. It is filled with recommendations, book lists and reviews. It’s another site that I don’t use very often, but I still consider it to be a very useful resource.

 

 

5 of My Favourite Book Blogs
(There are so many more than this – I just picked five for the sake of this list).

#1 – The Belgian Reviewer.

#2 – Diary of a Bookfiend.

#3 – The Fictional Reader.

#4 – Anacskie’s Book Musings.

#5 – The Bibliophagist.


Well, that’s it! Thanks for stopping by to read this Top Ten Tuesday post! By this time next week, I should have another book list posted. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts for me, please do leave a comment below. I’d love to hear all about your favourite bookish websites/book blogs!


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Book Blogger Hop – 10/08/18

I am a part of the Book Blogger Hop, a weekly blogging exercise that is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer! This is a chance for like-minded book bloggers to reach out and find each other by answering a weekly question.

 

This week’s question (Elizabeth from Silver’s Reviews) is…

Q: Can you say this about yourself? Nothing makes me happier than sitting down with a good book.

Well, I know that I probably should be able to say that about myself (I am a book blogger, after all, and I do study English at university, where I have to do a whole lot of reading just to pass my degree). I’m not sure that I can, though. Sure, there are times when nothing can make me happier than sitting down with a good book… but that’s only sometimes.

Sometimes, a box of chocolates would make me happier than anything else, or sometimes I would rather just snuggle up under a blanket and watch a film. It all depends on my mood, and that’s just me being honest.


Well, that’s it for this challenge (I can’t seem to find a link to sign up to or anything). So, thank you for reading and please do let me know your thoughts on this question!

 

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Book Blogger Hop – 03/08/18

I am a part of the Book Blogger Hop, a weekly blogging exercise that is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer! This is a chance for like-minded book bloggers to reach out and find each other by answering a weekly question.

 

This week’s question (Maria from A Night’s Dream of Books) is…

Q: Have you ever had a bookish, nocturnal dream? If so, please share the story. If not, have you ever had a daydream related to books? If so, please tell us about it.

I suppose that the closest I’ve come to an actual nocturnal dream about books was when I was quite young. My favourite film always used to be Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – Belle was such a strong female lead and an inspiration to any child bibliophile. Well, there’s a couple of libraries in this film, but I used to dream, not about the mansion-sized library provided by the Beast, but about the one right at the beginning of the film. It is old, rickety and falling down in parts, but there are books everywhere, stacked up against the walls and falling over the desk.

So, yeah. I used to dream about that library and imagine that I was there. It may not be the most exciting dream, but it was most certainly real.


Well, that’s it for this challenge (I can’t seem to find a link to sign up to or anything). So, thank you for reading and please do let me know your thoughts on this question!

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Top Ten Tuesday: The Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that’s all about books! Each week, we are asked to list ten bookish recommendations that can be based on anything from fictional worlds and characters, to colours on book covers.

Top Ten Tuesday

This Week’s Prompt: 10 Popular Books that have Lived up to the Hype

Unfortunately, this week’s challenge doesn’t really appeal to me. Most books that I read (although I’m hoping to change this), are either classics or really new releases that haven’t yet had a chance to become popular. So, until I’ve expanded on my reading habits and some of the books I’ve recently read become a little more popular, I am unwilling to do this challenge. So, instead, I’m going to talk about my favourite classics!

My Top 10 Classic Books

#1 – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

This is a book which deserves to be in a constant spotlight. I read it at the start of this year and absolutely adored it. It’s exciting, thought-provoking, and contains some of the most beautiful writing that I have ever read. The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite books of all time, regardless of period and genre.
You can read my review here.

#2 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

I read Frankenstein a couple of years ago and hope to be rereading it soon. It was one of the first classics that I was able to properly enjoy, and that isn’t without reason. Mary Shelley crafts the perfect story, full of excitement, fear and magic. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone – it’s simply too good to not read.

#3 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland isn’t just a children’s book! It’s a wonderful, timeless story all about the importance of childhood. I read this book, cover to cover, in one day and really enjoyed it. The story is actually quite different from how I remembered it as a child, and although it’s a little crazy, the ideas and characters are incredibly memorable.
You can read my review here.

#4 – The Odyssey by Homer.

I have read this epic poem twice in my life; once during my A-Levels, and once during my first year at university. It’s an amazing story and it is difficult to believe, when reading it, quite how old it is. It has been suggested that the poet, Homer, was born somewhere between the eighth and twelfth centuries (BC). Yet The Odyssey really doesn’t seem as ancient as it is. It’s honestly timeless!
You can read my review here.

#5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker.

I reread this gothic masterpiece quite recently. The first time I read it, when I was studying it, I enjoyed it, but nowhere near as much as I did the second time around. The story of Dracula is really quite wonderful, but its biggest strength lies in how it is written. Broken up into several different narratives, this is a book of mystery and adventure.
You can read my review here.

#6 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

Here’s another classic that is written in a really beautiful way. Emily Brontë excellently alters words and spellings to create the impression of a Yorkshire accent. It’s probably the most romantic story on this list (apart from maybe Villette) and is one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It’s a little slow, but I can still definitely recommend it.
You can read my review here.

#7 – Villette by Charlotte Brontë.

Villette was another book that I read this year. It’s a great story, if a little slow in parts. Personally, I really loved the narration in this book. Lucy Snowe is one of the most interesting characters that I have ever read about; she is cool, calculating and strangely detached from her own life. This narration is what makes this story so great!
You can read my review here.

#8 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

This is a classic that we all know, but haven’t necessarily read. It’s a charming story all about the love of Christmas that highlights the importance of giving. It’s short, easy to read and provides such an inspirational message to us all. I read this one earlier in the summer and can honestly say that I fully enjoyed the experience.
You can read my review here.

#9 – The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle.

The second book in the Sherlock Holmes story, The Sign of Four is a fantastic story. It’s essentially a fantasy novel, all about secrets, broken promises and one, very valuable treasure. I enjoyed this story a fair bit more than I enjoyed the first book in the series, A Study in Scarlet, mainly because the story was just so captivating.
You can read my review here.

#10 – The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.

A lot of people don’t really take to this novel; they argue that the writing is too simplistic, and that the story is a little too strange. Yet it is generally regarded as the first ever gothic novel and I absolutely loved it. There is drama, tension, and a whole lot of family arguments. It’s all about inheritance and takes place in a somewhat haunted castle.
You can read my review here.


Well, that’s it! Thanks for stopping by to read this Top Ten Tuesday post! By this time next week, I should have another book list posted. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts for me, please do leave a comment below. I’d love to know about your favourite classics – or, if you responded to the actual challenge, I’d love to hear about that, too!

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