The ‘Mid-Year Book Freakout’ Tag

How are we already well over halfway through 2017?! This is one of those times I wish I had a magic watch that could pause time but that’s another story for another time… To celebrate this terrifying milestone, I’ve been scouring my GoodReads account to try and answer these questions (note to self: you’re 2 books behind your 50 book target, PICK UP THE PACE PLEASE ELLIE!)

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017?

Straight in there with the difficult questions, I see…

My initial answer was ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’ by Benjamin Alire Sáenz*. A beautiful coming of age story about two teen boys discovering their friendship and sexuality. Whilst it is a strong contender for my favourite book so far, that title has to go to ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr*. Partly because my premature dislike for the book made my eventual enjoyment took me by surprise but because after reading it, I felt so inspired to start writing again after struggling with writer’s block for so long. This is the book that stands out to me as being one I could read over and over again.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017?

I’ve just started reading ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’ by Helen Fielding* but have yet to finish any sequels. It’s been a long time since I sunk my teeth into a really good series so I welcome any recommendations.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

‘How To Stop Time’ by Matt Haigand ‘Moxie’ by Jennifer Mathieu*. Matt Haig is one of my favourite authors so I know I’m missing out by not reading his latest release and I’ve heard so much about ‘Moxie’ I’m willing to overlook my self-inflicted YA ban to read it!

4.  Biggest disappointment

It’s a tie between ‘1984’ by George Orwell* and ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon*. Two very different books, I know but both recommended to me. I don’t want to say too much about ‘1984’ because I think it deserves a second chance, there were elements I really enjoyed. However, ‘Everything, Everything’ felt like a real let down to me because of its attitudes towards disability.

5. Biggest surprise?

Easily, ‘Yes Please’ by Amy Poehler*! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but I came away from it with an itching to read more autobiographies and a new found respect for that incredible woman.

6. Favourite new author (debut, or new to you)?

Megan Hunter, author of ‘The End We Start From’*. This novella is so unlike anything I have ever read before and renewed my love for dystopian fiction.

7. Newest fictional crush?

‘The Reader’s of Broken Wheel Recommend’ by Katarina Bivald* was the first book I read this year so I’d almost forgotten about my love for Tom. Yes, the love story was a little predictable and cheesy at times, but who doesn’t love a bit of cheese every now and then?

8. Newest favourite character?

Never before have I seen myself in a character so much as I did with Ari from ‘Aristotle and Dante’. He’s a brilliant example of a well rounded, imperfect yet likeable character. A lot of the traits I found myself internally screaming at him for, like the way he distances himself from people instead of talking to them about how he’s feelings are things I definitely do!

9. Book that made you cry?

I have a confession to make… books don’t make me cry… I KNOW! I consider myself a cryer but for some reason very rarely cry whilst reading a book. The only example I can think of is when I finished reading the entire ‘Harry Potter’ series for the first time.

10. Book that made you happy?

SO many! One book that filled me with joy inspired me and taught me so much was ‘Hamlet: Globe to Globe’ by Dominic Dromgoole*. I’ve reviewed this book on my blog but once again, if you have an interest in Shakespeare and theatre, please, read this book.

11. Favourite review you’ve written this year?

It’s not so much of a review but more of a critique of ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes and the representation of disability.

12. Most beautiful book you bought or received this year?

‘Swing Time’ by Zadie Smith is one of the most aesthetically pleasing books I’ve seen all year. Although, books are like babies – there’s no such thing as an ugly one!

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I have to read the follow up to ‘Sofia Khan is Not Obliged’, ‘The Other Half of Happiness’ by Ayisha Malik as well as Dodie Clark’s first book, ‘Secrets For the Mad’* which is coming out in November!

If you do this tag, please send me your posts! I’m looking for some more recommendations!

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That’s a Wrap!

Usually, on the first Wednesday of the month, I would be posting my monthly wrap up of all the books I read in May. However, I have decided to stop this style of post as I have noticed it was having a negative effect on my reading.

Wrap-ups are a great way to track your reading progress as well as being a quick and concise way to share recommendations. Often a review of only a couple of sentences is enough to have me itching to pick up a copy of the book for myself. Many of the books on my ever-growing TBR list came from the snippets of reviews I  have read in wrap up posts.

Despite this, after a few months of regular wrap up posts, I was beginning to feel an increasing pressure to read more just so I could show off on my blog at the end of the month. This completely defeats the purpose of reading and was starting to turn a hobby into a chore. If the end of the month came around and I hadn’t read what I deemed to be ‘enough’ books, I would scramble to find the shortest book for me to skim read just so I could add it to my total. Each month, I started my wrap up with an excuse as to why I didn’t read more, even though, this is my blog and I don’t have to make apologies or excuses for reading too little or too much.

One of my reading resolutions was not to get so bogged down in numbers and keeping a tally of the books I’ve read. When I start my degree in September I will have considerably less time to read what I want, when I want so I’m trying to make the most of this pressure free reading time.

So, instead of wrapping up everything I’ve read each month, I’ll be tweeting about my favourite book of the month, you can follow my twitter account here.

What are your thoughts on wrap-up posts? Do you enjoy them or do you find the pressure is just too much? Let me know in the comments!

April Wrap – Up

Over the past month, I’ve really felt myself picking up the reading pace. It’s good to gain a bit of momentum after a couple of slower months. Although, I need to keep reminding myself that reading is about enjoyment, not keeping a tally.

1. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

This definitely one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read this year, if not ever. Harris’ use of language is captivating, however, the way religion is used and portrayed throughout the novel made me uncomfortable. Throughout the novel, it was made very clear that religion = bad and atheism = good. That’s not to say all religious people are perfect but the distinction between the characters and their roles was very black and white.

 

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The first few weeks of April were so warm, I spent so much time reading in my back garden!

 

2. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

My favourite read of the month and certainly my favourite YA book for a long time. Read my full review here.

3. The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

If I’m being honest with you, I picked this book up because it had a cat on the front cover. I know, that’s not the best way to choose which book to read next but I have a great love for cats and just couldn’t help myself. However, this book didn’t live up to my excitement. The novel has been translated from Japenese so there’s a good chance the author’s intention was lost in translation. Or maybe, this just isn’t the book for me. Either way, I ended up marking it as DNF…

 

What have you been reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

February Wrap-Up

Despite being the shortest month, February always seems to drag on. I’ve only read a total of three and a half books this over the past twenty-eight days. I wish I could tell you it’s because February is such a short month and I’ve been really busy but, truth be told, I’ve just not been reading all that much. Hopefully, March will be different!


1. The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne

I’ve already written a review for this book so if you want to know what I thought, you can read that here.

Rating: 3/5


2. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers

(This is the ‘and a half’ I mentioned earlier – I didn’t finish this book) This was given to me a long time ago and I’ve only just got around to reading it. It was a very stereotypical self help book and didn’t really give any practical advice for overcoming fear and anxiety.

Rating: 1.5/5


3. Selected Poems by e. e. cummings

I love poetry but never seem to read much of it. E. E. Cummings is fast becoming one of my favourite poets so I was really excited when I saw thise little collection whilst browsing through Waterstones. It’s a lovely little collection, I reach for it if I’m ever feeling stressed and need to unwind.

Rating: 5/5 


4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I must be one of the last people to hop on board this bandwagon but I really enjoyed this book. It was quietly gripping, in such a way that you don’t realise you’ve been reading for almost an hour and have barely moved. There’s nothing like a thriller to bring you out of a reading slump!

Rating – 4/5

What was your favourite book that you read in February? Do you have any books you’re excited to read in March? Let me know in the comments!

 

January Wrap-Up

My reading year has got off to a pretty good start. I read a total of four books this month. It may not seem like very many to some people but for me that’s pretty good, although reading is about quality not quantity of course!

This book was a lovely way to kick off the reading year. A nice, relaxing story, perfect for those times you need to escape from the stresses of reality! It’s about trying to leap outside of your comfort zone, a story that’s perfect to start the year with. If you’re a fan of Gilmore Girls, you’ll enjoy this, the town this book is set in, Broken Whee,l reminds me of Stars Hollow! The story was a little slow at times but overall, a really enjoyable read.
Rating: 4/5
 
This book was a Christmas present from my Dad. It’s part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series and is a retelling of The Winter’s Tale. Besides a little background information and that infamous stage direction, I knew very little about the story. It was a really interesting concept to bring to a more modern, at times futuristic setting. I got a little lost at times but Jeanette Winterson writes in an almost lyrical way, I enjoyed the challenge!
Rating: 3/5
I have to be honest, I didn’t read this book but listened to it on Audible instead (that still counts though, right?). Apart from being a little bit obsessed with Parks and Recreation, I wasn’t really aware of what kind of person Amy Poehler was. I’d heard good things about this book and thought it would be something easy and light hearted to listen to whilst I was getting ready each morning. It ended up being my favourite book of the month! Amy is hilarious, that’s not news to anyone, but what took me by surprise was the insight she gave into life, love and work. Her beautiful way with words took me completely by surprise and I loved hearing the words in her own voice (and the voices of her special guests!). To fully appreciate Amy’s wisdom and comic brilliance, you should listen to the audiobook.
Rating: 5/5
Lorelai Gilmore is one of my favourite female characters, so when I was given this book for Christmas I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into it! I sped through this book, it’s witty and heartfelt and full of behind the scenes tales from the set of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. Graham’s writing style reminded me of Miranda Hart’s, so if you enjoyed her autobiography, I’m sure you’ll love this too!
Rating: 4/5

5. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin *

I don’t want to say too much about this book because I’m planning to post a more in-depth review in a couple of weeks time. All I will say for now is that I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
Rating: 4/5
What have you been reading in January? Did you have a favourite book this month?