Saturday, 29 April 2017

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon (Master Post)

Today I'm taking part in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - one of my favourite events in the book community - and thought I'd kick of the day by sharing my TBR for the event. This will also be my master post, with updates noted here and on Twitter throughout the readathon.

This time around I'm keeping my books, as well as goals, pretty simple: I want to make good progress with Perfect by Cecelia Ahern. This is Ahern's newest release, and the sequel to her first YA book, Flawed. I have actually read Flawed, however I am rereading it in the run up to Perfect as a bit of a memory jogger (I have to do this with any series I read).

Due to time zones, the readathon officially starts at 1pm here in the UK, but I decided to get a bit of a head start this morning by beginning my reread of Flawed... At the time of writing this, and most likely the start of the readathon also, I am just under half way through this. If I could finish both of these titles today, then that would be amazing, but we'll see how it goes.

I don't read for the full 24 hours of the readathon, but I do block out solid chunks throughout the day itself and read, read, read. It is unlikely that I'll read right up to 1pm on Sunday, to make the full 24 hours, however I will go to bed normal time here and wake up with a little extra reading in the morning.

So those are my plans!

UPDATE ONE: 4.00pm (End of hour 3 / Start of hour 4)
I started the readathon on page 185 of Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, and by the start of hour 3 I had completed it... Meaning I read 217 pages in the first two hours. For the third hour I actually took a reading break, because I had been reading a lot longer than just two hours of the day so far. We're at the start of hour 4 now and I'm back in the reading zone... Although I may be deviating from plan slightly!
Hours read: 2
Pages read: 217
Books complete: 1 (Flawed by Cecelia Ahern)

UPDATE TWO: 9.45pm (9th hour)
I'm calling it quits for the day, with hopes of reading more upon waking up tomorrow. Ending the day on page 159 of Perfect by Cecelia Ahern. I did hope to read a bit more today, however I have a nasty dry cough at the moment, and I'm at the point of day now where I can't focus on anything but the pain in throat. Lame excuse, right?! Anyway, I mentioned deviating from plan in update one, and that's because I dipped into Pride & Prejudice, which I've been rereading all month long. I managed just 30 pages there though before my family returned from the tabletop gaming event they had been at. I stopped reading for a good chunk of the evening once they returned, and got back to books when my son went to bed.
Hours read: 5
Pages read: 406
Books complete: Still 1 (Flawed by Cecelia Ahern)

I finished my participation in the readathon at 11.00am UK time - having read for 8 of the 22 hours that had passed. Overall I'm really happy with how the readathon went; I finished both Flawed & Perfect by Cecelia Ahern.
Hours read: 8
Pages read: 834
Books complete: 2 (Flawed & Perfect by Cecelia Ahern)

If you also took part in the readathon, then a big bookish congrats to you!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

Going into The Breakdown, I didn't know too much about the book itself but not long had passed since reading B.A. Paris's debut novel. I was blown away with the first book, and keen to read the second, actively avoiding spoilers and the such like. I went into The Breakdown blind plot wise, but had heard a couple of people say it wasn't as good as the first... And I came away with that exact experience myself.

After driving by another car in a lay by on a rainy night, Cass feels terrible the next day when she learns that the driver of the car had been murdered that night. To make the situation even worse, Cass had just been getting to know the murder victim in the weeks prior. This in itself is a big situation, but Cass also has other issues going on, including the possibility of early on set dementia. The book itself follows Cass as the tries to lead her life with a sense of normality, all while struggling with the stress and worry of these circumstances.

For the first half of the book, I felt very underwhelmed by the unfolding story, and wasn't able to form a full opinion on all that was going on as it felt like as a reader we weren't privy to everything... And we weren't. Once I reached the 70% mark, the plot really picked up and I found myself furiously page turning; as with her debut novel, the author knows how to write a captivating conclusion!

As with all my reviews, I try to keep them spoiler free, however I will say I did guess a part of the storyline right from the very beginning which kind of disappointed me a little, as it seemed pretty obvious. There were parts of the ending that I didn't see coming, twists at every corner, but also a part or two where I had to suspend my disbelief.

Overall I enjoyed my reading experience of The Breakdown. I would recommend this book to others who enjoy thriller reads, and I'll be on the lookout for future works written by B.A. Paris.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

UPDATE | Where I'm At With Reading & Blogging

It has been almost two weeks since my last blog post... It seems a lot longer. This has been an unintentional break; with my reading not being very consistent at the moment, naturally my platform to talk about all things bookish has gone a similar way.

There isn't a real purpose behind this update other than to let the readers of my blog know what is happening here currently, where my head space is at, and of course, what I've been reading.

As I mentioned in my March reading wrap up, reading is all over the show for me at the moment. I'm having trouble concentrating, I go days without picking up a book, and for the most part I've been in an on and off reading slump for well over a month now. It sucks! I miss reading. I miss blogging. I miss interacting about books. I miss the stories.

I've been trying all my 'pull yourself out of a reading slump' tips and tricks, however none of those are succeeding greatly at the moment. I've picked up a reread (Pride & Prejudice). I've turned to short stories (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King). I've picked up a book I'd usually breeze through, in this case a psychological thriller (The Breakdown by B.A. Paris). And I still have bookmarks in all of these books... And then some!

I'm in a bit of a reading pickle really.

At the end of the month I will be taking part in Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon, which I was super excited for and now I'm worried it'll be a total failure! I've already got my books picked out and I'm excited to read the books, but I don't know how the readathon will pan out still being in this place with reading.

As well as missing reading, and the enjoyment I once got from it, I'm also missing blogging. I haven't been posting here consistently for a while, and I also haven't been reading other blogs within the community either.

I don't really have much else to say update wise. I want to read, but I'm not enjoying it. I want to blog, but I'm not reading so have nothing to share. I want to be active in the book blogging community, but the other two points are stopping me for some reason.

I wish I had something positive to end this update with, but bookish wise, there really isn't anything. So instead, please share what you've recently enjoyed reading in the comments below!

Friday, 7 April 2017

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

The Tales of Beedle the Bard have been favourite bedtime reading in wizarding households for centuries. Full of magic and trickery, these classic tales both entertain and instruct, and remain as captivating to young wizards today as they were when Beedle first put quill to parchment in the fifteenth century. There are five tales in all: 'The Tale of the Three Brothers' Harry Potter fans will know from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune', 'The Warlock's Hairy Heart', 'The Wizard and the Hopping Pot' and 'Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump' complete the collection. These narrative gems are accompanied by explanatory notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore (included by kind permission of the Hogwarts Headmaster's archive). His illuminating thoughts reveal the stories to be much more than just simple moral tales, and are sure to make Babbitty Rabbitty and the slug-belching Hopping Pot as familiar to Muggles as Snow White and Cinderella.

Perhaps best known for playing host to 'The Tales of the Three Brothers', The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of five short stories written by J.K. Rowling as an accompaniment to the Harry Potter series. The tales found inside can be likened to the fairy tales we would hear during childhood, however these have a magical twist to them.

Alongside 'The Tales of the Three Brothers', you'll also find inside: 'The Wizard and the Hopping Pot', 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune', 'The Warlock's Hairy Heart' and 'Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump'. All of the stories are well written and remain in my mind weeks after reading, with my two favourites being 'The Tales of the Three Brothers' (obviously) and also 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune'.

The book itself isn't too long, just over 100 pages, and I read through it quickly. I felt immersed in the wizarding world once more, and was full warm fuzzies whilst reading - the kind of feeling you get when you return home from a holiday.

Something I really enjoyed, besides the stories, was the fact that each story has commentary by Dumbledore at the end of it, with some insight into the perception of the story and how they have changed over time etc. I thought this a nice inclusion. The same can be said for the illustrations in this particular edition - they are just stunning!

This book is a much needed addition to the bookshelves of any Harry Potter fan. I can't believe it took me so long to buy!


Sunday, 2 April 2017


I started the month of March by finishing off my reread for February: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I thoroughly enjoyed rediscovering the story of Henry and Clare (the main characters), and I fell in love with the book all over again.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz was my next read... I didn't enjoy this title as much as I expected to, and I've definitely read better thriller type reads this year so far. The Passenger isn't a bad read; I had a very 'meh' reading experience - the kind of book you don't recall a whole lot from once you've moved on to another title.

From here in on, my reading picked up greatly, which was really nice as I have been having on and off slumpish moods throughout the entire year so far. The next three titles I picked up all turned out to be five star reads for me.

I decided I needed a book short in length to read next, and so I opted for a new book purchase of mine: The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I've been meaning to read these accompanying books to the Harry Potter series for a long time now, especially this title, and I'm glad I now have it in my book collection. I see myself picking this collection of short stories up every now and again in the future. I did hope to review this book, and another title from this month, however I've yet to write any words on them. It's currently up in the air as to whether a full review will be written or not.

Up next was a review book I'd requested on Netgalley: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. This was such a good book - I was totally gripped and blown away by the fact that this is a debut novel. I saw on Twitter (confirmed by the author) that the book has been commissioned for a TV series, and I'm excited to see how it translates to screen. If you're interested in my full review, you can read it here.

The last book I finished in March was Strange Star by Emma Carroll. I'd been all over the show with my reading since finishing my review book, and all I wanted to do was get lost in a book. Emma Carroll is my favourite middle grade author, and I'd had her newest title on my shelves unread for a while waiting for the perfect moment to delve in - this was that moment. I loved so much about Strange Star, but especially the way in which Mary Shelley and her novel Frankenstein was incorporated in the unfolding story.

Whilst I ended the month having read five books, I do still have bookmarks sitting in a couple of titles. Most notably, I have a bookmark sitting in our book club pick for the month of March, and I also wasn't able to pick up my reread for the month either.

I'm going into April with the aim of reading just the one book at a time, hoping that this will help me with the on and off reading slump, and fall back in love with the act of reading again.

Happy reading in the month of April!
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