2 Readathons, 2 Book Boxes – My August ’22 TBR!

It’s tbr time again! This month I’m going to be taking part in two readathons, as well as wanting to read my book box choices and starting up the tbr jar again! Let’s start with the books that aren’t for any prompts.

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi is the Goldsboro GSFF book. This is apparently the first book in a trilogy, a high fantasy with Lesbian rep and the praises of Samantha Shannon. Simply just being the Goldsboro book would’ve been enough for me to be excited but with all those other points? So excited to dive in!

The Illumicrate book for this month is The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones which is a Welsh based mythologically inspired read with faries and fae. I’m usually not a big fan of fae, but I actually really enjoy them when in a Celtic and native British setting so I’m hopeful for this one. It’s only 350 pages so I may as well give it a shot!

Then, my tbr jar book. Yup, I brought it back! And this time I pulled out Fire by Kristin Cashore, the second book in the Graceling series. I’m really excited to continue on with these books because Graceling was such a fun read. I’ve been told that this isn’t a direct sequel, but is within the same world, so I’m really curious!

Now onto the two readathons I’m taking part in this month! The first I’ll mention is one that’s covering the whole of August, and that is the Mary-Shelley-A-Thon hosted by Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit. This is in celebration of Shelley’s birthday on the 31st of August, and so of course the prompts were all inspired by her! The second is taking place from the 28th August until the 2nd September, and this is the MiddleEarthAThon, this one celebrating the new Lord of the Rings series coming out on the 2nd. Neither of these require you to have read things in their respective areas before you join them, so please do consider joining us!

Mathilda by Mary Shelley is a short story, according to Goodreads it’s 79 pages. I picked this one for the prompt of reading something by Shelley, as I don’t own anything unread by her and thought that I may as well go for something short if I’m adding another book!

Then for the prompt of reading a poem or poetry collection, I’m using The Complete Poems of Robert Burns. I’m hoping I can read the whole thing this month. But if not as long as I read one it technically counts for the prompt so I’m all good!

This next book hits two Mary-Shelley-A-Thon prompts and one MiddleEarthAThon prompt. The book is All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a historical fiction set in WWII France following a blind girl trying to survive Nazi occupation. For Shelley the prompts are a book outside of your comfort zone and a tbr veteran. I’ve had this book since 2016 and I really don’t get on as much with historical fiction anymore. For MiddleEarth it’s the oldest book on my tbr.

Then Demon Road by Derek Landy is my pick for the shiny book, the whole cover is so bright! This is by the same author as Skulduggery Pleasant and I’m nervous, because I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m excited to dive in myself.

The last book I’ve put on my tbr is the biggest, at 1100+ pages, and that’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is for the short story collection prompt, and because this one is so big (and I only have a week to read both it and the other two books – which are both 500+ pages) I’ll count the prompt as complete as long as I read a minimum of 5 stories. But I’m going to try and read them all!

And that’s my tbr! Definitely a challenging one, specifically at the end of the month, but I’m excited to dive into all of these and enjoy some new worlds and stories! What’s one book on your tbr for this month?

Wuthering Heights, a review

I only picked up Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, because Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit is obsessed with the book. It’s one of her favourites and to make sure that I would actually pick it up… Caitlyn bought me it 😂

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2021 was the year of the classics for me so I ended up enjoying the reading experience a lot more than I had expected, so thank you Caitlyn!

This is quite an odd book. I’ve of course heard things about the general story over time, as happens with most classics but I didn’t expect just how weird it would be!

Another thing I hadn’t expected was related to how Heathcliff has been portrayed in every adaptation I’ve seen ever. He’s always portrayed as white? He isn’t! It’s made pretty clear that part of the reason people hate him is because he’s not white!

Anyways, a very odd and very interesting book with the most toxic relationship I’ve seen in a book in a long while. Let’s check my CAWPILE ratings!

Characters: 7, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 8, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 7, Enjoyment: 8, which gives me a 7.43 rating equalling a 4 stars!

Look, I went into 2021 expecting to have to force myself to get through classics. And instead I found amazing books that I enjoyed? That’s growth as a reader folks!

A Torch Against the Night, a review

So Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit finally made me pick up the second book in the Ember series because I thought she might come down and murder me quietly in the night if I didn’t pick it up. So I read it!

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Of course, I did enjoy the book but that’s besides the point! This was quite a different vibe from book one, with that being set in a “school” environment and this one being travelling across the world that Tahir has built. This let us learn so much more about the characters as they’re challenged in different situations.

This book has so many twists and turns!! I never quite knew where to look. And the end?! The end. So it doesn’t leave you on a cliffhanger, but it does leave you on a cliffhanger and I’m really excited to get my mitts on book three and carry on with this series!

For my CAWPILE rating I gave the book:

Characters: 8

Atmosphere: 7

Writing: 7

Plot: 7

Intrigue: 7

Logic: 8

Enjoyment: 8

Which gives me an overall score of 7.43 which is a solid 4 star read!! Unlike my last review, I think this one is pretty accurate! I did really enjoy the twists and turns of the book, but it didn’t quiiiite hit that all time favourite mark for me.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: Character death, emotional abuse, fade to black sex scene, gaslighting, genocide, ghosts/spirits, manipulation, panic attack, rape (mentioned), slavery, torture, violence

I do have to say it’ll probably be a little while before I read the next book in the series, just with the way I’ve been reading lately. But I am excited for when I pick it up. And I’m sure Caitlyn will keep the series fresh in my mind!!

Have you read this series? What do you think of it?!

The Mary Shelley-a-Thon!

The amazing and wonderful Caitlyn from Mad Cheshire Rabbit is hosting the Mary Shelley-a-thon once again in 2021! Her favourite book is Frankenstein but she also loves the rest of Shelley’s works and wants to promote more people to read them! But you can read modern books to fit most of the prompts!

I definitely recommend checking out Caitlyn’s video below, but I’ll post the prompts below that and the books I’m thinking of reading!

Here are the prompts!!!

1. Read a book by Mary Shelley

2. Read a poetry collection or a book by a poet

3. Read a book that was published in 1818/1831 or a book by an author who was born in either of those years (+/- 5 years)

4. Read a book you keep saying you will get to but still haven’t

5. Read a book set in the late 1700s or the early 1800s

6. Read a book in a country the author was not from/a book that features travel

7. Read a horror/gothic

Now the only one I’m going to struggle with is to read a book by Mary Shelley, cause the only one I own is Frankenstein and I read that earlier in 2021! So I may just have to reread it…. hmmm

I don’t have any books by poets on my shelves as well, but I would love to listen to more by Elizabeth Acevedo after loving The Poet X in 2020!

For a book that was published within those years, Caitlyn gifted me Wuthering Heights cause she loves that book and wants me to read it, and that would work so I’m probably going to pick that up! And I think it’ll work for prompt 5 too!

I’ll pick any tbr vet for prompt 4, that’s probably the easiest for me to get to!

The last two prompts are a little more difficult for me, I think I have a good option for travel but I want to check more of my books. And I don’t think I have any horror or gothic books! Look I’ve been trying not to add to my tbr! I’ll have to ask Caitlyn for some recommendations!

Are you going to join in with the Mary Shelley-a-thon? Have you read any of her books? Let me know!!

First Lines Friday #6

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Hosted by Wandering Words!!

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover or its author, we judged the book by its opening lines?

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

Ailsa tilted her head towards the sky and let the rain wash away the blood from her face and arms. The sun still had an hour before it would sink below the horizon. It had been a fortuitous day. Not only had she managed to get a fire started in the damp cave-mouth in less than two minutes, she had also stumbled upon a deer that had fallen to its doom over the cliff edge; its neck twisted.

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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The Stone of Destiny: A Four Treasures Novel Book 1 The Four Treasures:  Amazon.co.uk: Caroline Logan: Books
The Stone of Destiny by Caroline Logan

Gifted to me by the wonderful Caitlyn J Bolton at Mad Cheshire Rabbit for my birthday, this middle grade fantasy is one that she has been hyping to the skies and I can’t wait to see what I think of it! It is over 400 pages but with quite a large font and a middle grade target audience I’m hoping it won’t take me too long to get through!

My First Buddy Read Was Amazing!!!

I had never buddy-read a book before, I had just never had the opportunity. But me and Caitlyn got chatting and we both really wanted to read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir so why not!!

An Ember in the Ashes - Ember Quartet 1 (Paperback)

A YA fantasy, we follow from two different perspectives throughout this story. One is from the subjugated race, a Scholar, the other is from the Martials. The race which overthrew them and maintains control. As you can guess, we get a good rounded viewpoint of the story!

There were so many times me and Caitlyn were messaging each other in CAPS LOCK BECAUSE WHAT THE ACTUAL F*** IS HAPPENING!?!?! So that should tell you some of how amazing this book is! It completely draws you in and Sabaa Tahir has managed to write the characters so beautifully that they really come alive on the page and you’re changing your allegiance and routing for different sides and different scenarios!

This is an amazingly written fantasy and I also think that the book is the perfect length. You finish just at the perfect point, and I am really looking forward to when I pick up A Torch Against the Night. I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here! If you’re at all interested in fantasy reads and/or YA I really do recommend this beautiful book. I’m so glad I’ve finally read work by Sabaa Tahir and I look forward to delving in again in the future!