πŸŽ‡I’ve FINALLY read it!πŸŽ‡

It’s slightly ridiculous that it’s taken me this long, but I finally read The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, the first of three parts of The Lord of the Rings. This is a classic high fantasy that defined the genre, and for some reason I never read it when I was younger. Well at least I’m starting to fix that now.

I had been worried that I wouldn’t get on with this book. I’ve been told there’s excessive descriptions of the environment, and as a character driven reader that can be pretty boring for me. But I actually ended up really enjoying the reading experience. I think part of this is because I listened to it via audiobook. I got to have someone telling me these details, and in that way it felt like less of a chore and more of a story.

Tolkien was able to lay so much foundational work in this first third, with emotions set and plotlines started for stories that I know continue throughout the next two thirds. It was also a delight, as someone who enjoys reading high fantasy books, to see the inspiration that so many of my favourite authors had drawn from this book. From the music and the taverns, to the monsters and the hero’s.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 7, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 8, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 7, and Enjoyment: 7, giving an average of 7.57 and a 4* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: child abuse, kidnapping and captivity.

I’m so pissed that it took me this long to get around to these books! I enjoyed The Hobbit too (also via audiobook) and to think I could’ve read these years ago! I just need to finish up the books and delve into the movies now!!

Have you read these? And if not do you plan to or are they not on your tbr? I’d love to know your thoughts on this classic high fantasy story!

Back Into Reading! My July wrap up and stats!

I’ve had a big dip in my reading lately. Life came up on me and so reading had to take a back seat, but by the end of the month I seem to have gotten back into my stride. Despite that, I did “only” manage 7 books (I was averaging around 13 books before, 7 books is still a great number!).

I read 2410 pages this month, with 18 hours of audiobook listening. Which is the most I’ve done in any month so far. Despite that, I read mostly physical books, 6 in fact. With only the 1 audiobook (The Fellowship of the Ring). And surprising nobody, 4 out of the 7 books were fantasy!

I started out the month by reading Pompeii by Salvatore Nappo. This is a guide book to Pompeii that was published in 1998 and gifted to my family then. None of us ever got around to reading it, and seeing as I was in Pompeii last month now seemed like a good time! Despite it being a little old the information in here was still mostly accurate (what’s been excavated being the most inaccurate – obviously) and super interesting.

Then I finished Rivers of London by Ben Arronovitch and I couldn’t stop thinking about this book after I finished it! A Met Police PC discovers the occult and supernatural and ends up joining the department of the Met that deals with magical crimes. I did have a few issues with this book, but honestly I can’t get it out of my head and I’m definitely carrying on with the series.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen was my next read. This is my fourth book by her (if you include Lady Susan) and yet again I really enjoyed it! I like how it played on the gothic tropes and made fun of them a little whilst also advocating for reading and having some great quotes. I don’t know why I like her books so much, because I wouldn’t think of picking them up if they were contemporary now. But I’m not complaining!

A translated piece of fiction from Japan, The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa made me sob. Honestly my face was not fit for public consumption. Christ. I was red as a tomato and sniffling like a child who just finished throwing a tantrum. This book is so beautiful, and so heartwrenching. I don’t want to tell you much, because it’s learning about the events themselves that give the impact of the book. But the general plot is that it’s a road trip across Japan with this man and his cat, as he tries to find a new home for the cat. 5 stars!

Goldsboro did it once again with their amazing GSFF box pick, Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro. Think Peculiar Children but for adults. The magic system in here was amazing, I loved the conversation about taking children from their homes and their loved ones. I loved each and every side plot in here and wish that we could have them all fleshed out. It was just an amazing experience and this is another 5 star read for me. Read it.

Unfortunately, my next book wasn’t so great, and that’s Book of Night by Holly Black. This was the Illumicrate book for last month, but because I wasn’t reading this month’s book (cause it’s racist) I thought I’d catch up on my missed reading from my holidays with this one. It’s fine? The magic is interesting but I just couldn’t get along with Black’s writing style. And given this is supposed to be an adult title it felt incredibly YA.

Luckily my final book puts things on an upspin with The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein finally being on my read shelves! I listened to this via audiobook, which was a fantastic experience, and I’m so mad that I didn’t pick these books up sooner! I need to read the next two! I’m so glad Lizzie is hosting the MiddleEarthAThon to kick me into gear to read these!

And those are my reads! I seem to be getting back into my books now, fingers crossed (touch wood, and every other superstition available), and I’m looking forward to all the new stories I can get to next month! If you’d like to see how my balancing of the books went in July? Well you’ll have to subscribe to my BookTube channel so you get notified when that video comes out! (soon!)

What’s your favourite read of July? Mine has to be a tie between The Travelling Cat Chronicles, and Ordinary Monsters!

Jane Austen July TBR! 2022

Thank you for baring with a little post break. I might have gotten back from my hols on Tuesday but that didn’t mean I was recovered! (We got in at about 3am, boy was I tired) But that isn’t what you’re here for. It’s tbr time!

I chose not to pick something from my tbr jar this month. I clearly just need a bit of a break and so I’ll leave that for now. If you want to see my tbr in video form then please check that out here!

Considering just how badly I did in June (seriously, just wait for the wrap up, it’s bad) I tried to keep this tbr on the smaller side, as well as transferring over some books from last month.

The first book I transferred over was The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien which I want to read via audiobook. I’ve never read the Lord of the Rings book, and I’m determined to change that sooner rather than later!

Secondly I transferred Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch which is a high fantasy following a DC in the Met Police in a magical London. I took this all the way to Italy with me, and didn’t read a single page. But I did see that the font was pretty big, so this should actually be a nice and easy read.

The final transferred book is Book of Night by Holly Black which is another one that I just didn’t have time for. This was the Illumicrate book for last month and it kind of works out that I’m reading it this month, as I don’t intend on reading We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo because of the racist issues that some have highlighted. So I can read last months instead.

The first of my “new” tbr books is Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro which is the Goldsboro GSFF book I got last month. I knew nothing about it until I filmed my tbr, and I read the first paragraph of the synopsis and fell in love. So despite this being around 600 pages I’m really excited to dive in! Goldsboro seems to know my reading taste so damn well!

Pompeii by Salvatore Nappo is a non-fiction all about the buried Roman town. Possibly this is one I should’ve read before we went and had a tour by an active archaeologist… but regardless I think it’ll be fun. It is quite out of date, as it’s technically been on my tbr since 1997. When I was 1… So it’s not the most up to date but hey, it’ll be interesting nontheless!

The prequel to Pet, Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi is a short little book that arrive at the very end of June and I’m hyped for. It’s a fantasy that follows Pet’s mum when she was younger. I don’t want to say too much in case it spoils Pet!

And then finally, onto the title of this post. Jane Austen July.

The book that is definitely on my tbr is Northanger Abbey (by Jane Austen of course) because it’s the shortest one left of Austen’s that I’ve not read yet! Look I’ve been having a time and I need to make things easier on myself.

And the second Austen book, and final book on my tbr, is Sense and Sensibility which is the next shortest, and is also (I’m simplifying massively here) like a first draft of Pride and Prejudice. So I won’t be mad if I miss this one, but I think it should be one I can get through without too much trouble. We’ll see 😏

And that’s my tbr! 7 books in total, smaller than my usual tbr’s, but I hope I can actually get through them all and make a good dent. And if I read them all? Well then I can get through some of the books I’ve gotten so far this year that I’ve not read yet!

What are you wanting to read in july? Will you be reading any Austen? Please let me know!!

The Hobbit, a review

Considering I’m one of the co-hosts for MiddleEarthAThon in August I thought it might be a good idea for me to actually, ya know, read the Lord of the Rings books. Just maybe? And of course, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, being so short and being (I think?) a prequel. Well that was the best place for me to start.

I decided to go the audiobook route for The Hobbit, read by Nicol Williamson, because it’s actually available free on Spotify! It’s only 4 hours long so I got to enjoy it over a couple days whilst at work.

Straight away I thought Gandalf seemed like a massive pain in the arse… and I maintain this standpoint 🀣 poor Bilbo was put through so much despite just wanting a peaceful life! I did get a little confused at one point, when there was spider fighting, I had to rewind it a few times just to make sure I understood everything going on. I do think I’ll have to reread this physically at some point, because I absorb more that way.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 7, Plot: 6, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 7, and Enjoyment: 8, giving a score of 7.29 and a 4* rating.

I’m not sure why but this was definitely not how I expected the story of The Hobbit to play out! It was so unexpected and I’m glad I didn’t know too much about it going in. I could also see all of the influence that so much of modern fantasy (and non-fantasy!) has taken from this classic. Reading this has gotten me super hyped to read the Lord of the Rings. I know it’s quite a different book but I’m excited to dive in!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: spiders, war, kidnapping, whipping.

Have you read The Hobbit or the LotR? Let me know what you thought in the comments, and let me know if you’ll be taking part in the MiddleEarthAThon in August!!