April TBR Challenge: 30 books in 30 days

After watching a Beyond the Pages video about her current reading challenge, to read 30 books in 30 days, I have decided to also partake. This post will be a list of books that I hope to read this month. At the end of each week I will be doing a wrap up of my reading, I am hoping to stick exactly to the schedule below. Wish me luck!

Days 1-7

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Days 8-14

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Days 15-21

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Days 22-30

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Sophie

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Top Ten Tuesday: Fandoms

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. With my list I am trying to stay away from fandoms that are purely book-related and have instead chose fandoms that have other elements for example if the fandom stemmed from a book it has to have grown since then with the help of adaptations etc in order for it to be included in this list.

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Death note- This is a relatively new fandom for me. I watched some of the anime first and then purchased Vol I and II of the bind-up Black Editions. This is a crime manga which is essentially a cat and mouse chase, only, both the cat and mouse have arguably the smartest minds in existence. It is a supernatural story with two very intelligent and very human main characters. It will entertain you and keep your attention. I love the supernatural world Ohba and Obata depict with the Shinigami; the Gods of Death.

 

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Tokyo Ghoul- Another manga featuring the supernatural. Another thoroughly entertaining supernatural setting that features Ghouls and Ghoul districts. I have yet to read every published volume but so far each volume has been as good as the last. I also haven’t watched the anime.

 

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Game of Thrones- I have watched the books and seen the show and I believe they both have flaws. There are certain perspectives in the books for example Davos that I just found boring, there are so many characters that it is inevitable to find some that you don’t enjoy reading about. The show also went down-hill for a while in my opinion. My favourite series was season 4. I personally enjoyed the arguably cheap-trick of leaving each episode on a cliffhanger. However the momentum is building as you can sense the story coming to its end. I also enjoy watching Thronecast.

 

 

The US Office- I like a lot of TV shows but The American Office is one that I can watch time and time again and not get bored of. This is because of the writing but also how real the characters are, the characters never make any decisions purely for the sake of plot. I am also huge fans of B.J Novak and Mindy Kaling who both had very important roles in the making of the show. I love how creative the cast are, acting and writing. There was lots of impovising and you can tell because the episodes flow naturally.

 

Teen Mom- I have been watching the families in Teen Mom OG and Teen Mom 2 since their 16 and Pregnant episodes. So I have been watching the franchise for a long time. I did also watch Teen Mom UK which was ok but had a far smaller budget. My favourite Teen Moms of the franchise are Chelsea from Teen Mom 2 and Macy from Teen Mom OG.

 

Disney- Honestly this is my one true fandom. I’ve seen all of the animated classics and most of Disney’s other movies. My favourites are The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bambi, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Atlantis, Lilo and Stitch, Wreck-It Ralph, Tarzan, Mulan, Moana and The Little Mermaid. My favourite Disney short-film is Sanjay’s Superteam. I have watched as many documentaries as possible and subscribe to Thingamavlogs on youtube as well as Sarah Snitch. I know all the nine old men as well as imagineers and modern disney artists/producers/directors and have my favourites in all categories. We’ve been to two Disney Parks but hope to visit them all.

 

X-Men- I have loved the X-Men movies for as long as I remember. I much prefer this branch of Marvel to any other. I love the fact that while superheroes, they are mutants. They suffer for being mutants as well as gain from it. It holds more merit than any other branch of Marvel to me. I know that Guardians of the Galaxy is set in space but, personally, it feels as cringey as the Avengers movies in the sense that it tries too hard to be funny. I guess it’s all down to personal taste.  I will admit that The Last Stand was a terrible movie and I refuse to accept certain aspects of its plot. While the X-Men franchise may be selling out and becoming more like the other Marvel movies, I will still watch all of the adaptations to come. I can’t say that for any other branch of Marvel. Although when considering overall superhero fandoms I also love DC’s Batman. My favourite adaptation being the obvious The Dark Knight, I was not a fan of Batman Begins or Dark Knight Rises and actually prefer some of the older movies to those. I also enjoy the series Gotham.

 

The Lord of The Rings- I’ve yet to read the books! Will this be the year?

 

Pixar- My favourite feature length film by Pixar is definitely Wall.E. I am also a HUGE fan of their short films which is why they have made this list, as well as their importance to the Walt Disney Company. My favourites of their shorts are Piper and La Luna.

 

Family Vloggers- Danny and I have been watching two different family vloggers daily for such a long time. We are fans of the SacconeJolys and ItsJudysLife!

 

Sophie

March Book Haul

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Today I picked five books up from the library and bought 6 more. In the happiest of circumstances Danny then came home from work with two more! Here are the books we ordered/bought:

 

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This extraordinary historical novel, set in Medieval Paris under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, is the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that gives full play to Victor Hugo’s brilliant historical imagination and his remarkable powers of description.

This is one classic I’ve always wanted to read. I adore Paris and French Literature. I also, albeit less relevant love the Disney adaptation and am interested in Hugo’s family’s sheer loathing for this adaptation. Obviously I am expecting it to be vastly different from the Disney version, in fact I’m hoping it will be. I cannot wait to get around to this one!

 

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‘We believe in her as in a woman we might providentially meet some fine day when we should find ourselves doubting of the immortality of the soul’

wrote Henry James of Dorothea Brooke, who shares with the young doctor Tertius Lydgate not only a central role in Middlemarch but also a fervent conviction that life should be heroic.

By the time the novel appeared to tremendous popular and critical acclaim in 1871-2, George Eliot was recognized as England’s finest living novelist. It was her ambition to create a world and portray a whole community–tradespeople, middle classes, country gentry–in the rising provincial town of Middlemarch, circa 1830. Vast and crowded, rich in narrative irony and suspense, Middlemarch is richer still in character, in its sense of how individual destinies are shaped by and shape the community, and in the great art that enlarges the reader’s sympathy and imagination. It is truly, as Virginia Woolf famously remarked, ‘one of the few English novels written for grown-up people’.

I read The Lifted Veil at university and it is one of my favourite books of all time. Therefore I’d love to go into this book blind as I know it is Eliot’s most popular novel and hope to enjoy it as much.

 

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For the centennial of its original publication, a beautiful Deluxe Edition of one of Joyce’s greatest works — featuring an introduction by Karl Ove Knausgaard, author the six-volume New York Times bestselling global literary phenomenon My Struggle, which has been likened to a 21st-century Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The first, shortest, and most approachable of James Joyce’s novels, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man portrays the Dublin upbringing of Stephen Dedalus, from his youthful days at Clongowes Wood College to his radical questioning of all convention. In doing so, it provides an oblique self-portrait of the young Joyce himself. At its center lie questions of origin and source, authority and authorship, and the relationship of an artist to his family, culture, and race. Exuberantly inventive in style, the novel subtly and beautifully orchestrates the patterns of quotation and repetition instrumental in its hero’s quest to create his own character, his own language, life, and art: “to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

I have only ever heard one review of this novel and it was terrible, yet it was this poor review that made me want to read it. Maybe there’s something wrong with me? I also decided that I had to buy a James Joyce novel as it’s St Patrick’s Day. I will be reviewing this one.

 

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Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.

Will I leave this one to October? Do I have that much will-power? probably not. I have been wanting to read this one for a while and horror is a genre I want to delve into this year. I am also interested in different depictions of witches and am hoping this one is unique.

 

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On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny? This is the heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that has over million copies in print in Japan!

Sci-fi and Romance are both genres I rarely reach for. This is perfect for me and I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, I assume I first heard of the series through Booktube but I can’t accurately remember.

 

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 Blurb for Vol 1:

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects–and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life?

I love the animé, which I haven’t finished because I want to read the manga. I’ve only watched the animé to the the point where the last volume ended which I read this year and also loved.

 

These are the two novels Danny purchased:

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Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program.

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

We both want to watch all of the Oscar nominated movies and I would like to read more non-fiction. Especially non-fiction about women who were omitted from our History lessons. I also love learning about NASA.

 

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What is the difference between friendship and love? Or between neutrality and commitment? Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s childhood is spent in lonely isolation, his only toy a tin train with painted passengers staring blankly from the carriage windows.

As time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav’s life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined.

Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender, Rose Tremain’s beautifully orchestrated novel asks the question, what does it do to a person, or to a country, to pursue an eternal quest for neutrality, and self-mastery, while all life’s hopes and passions continually press upon the borders and beat upon the gate.

If you want to know my thoughts on this novel check out my first impressions of the blurb and free e-book sample here.

Sophie

My Year in Books: 2016

How many books did you read this year?

93 books which was pretty good considering my reading dramatically decreased after April.

What was your number one TOP FAVORITE of them?

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The Magician’s Nephew by C. S Lewis, fantastical and hysterical, what’s not to love? Also I actually forgot I read it last year until doing this post so my 2016 favourites post is factually inaccurate, I apologise.

Favorite new-to-you author that you discovered this year?

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Best new-to-you book by an author you already liked?

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I love Hemingway’s writing and was surprised to find this novel a romance! It made me cry on its last page and I’m a huge fan, he also remains one of the only writers to make me care about setting.

 

What book were you surprised to like?

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I was surprised to like this novel simply because I didn’t know too much about its plot, ultimately I’m glad this was the case and I’d like to watch the movie this year.

 

What was the funniest book you read this year?

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I love Mindy Kaling’s humour and how down to Earth she remains. I did a review of this audiobook which you can read here.

What book made you cry?

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It is far too easy to make me cry. In the end it was the relationship between the sisters Rose and protagonist Eilis in Brooklyn that made me cry.

What was the most beautifully written?

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I loved Dostoyevsky’s writing, I also have a review of this novel that you can read here.

 

Most thought-provoking or life-changing?

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Sky Burial by Xinran which also has a beautiful cover.

 

Most unputdownable?

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Fruits Basket was far too charming and lighthearted to want to put down.

 

Most shocking or disturbing?

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And not in a good way.

 

Most imaginative?

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This made my top 10 reads list for last year. Ness’s novel is about a group of teens at a local high school who are not ‘the chosen ones.’ It’s hilarious.

 

Who was the most memorable character of the year?

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People are probably tired of hearing me talk about this fictional character but Leo Denton was my favourite character of the year.

 

Most memorable friendship or romance?

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The Six of Crows gang!

 

What genre or subject matter did you try that you normally don’t read?

Celebrity Autobiography.

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I own more autobiographies and they are mostly by musicians. Bruce did not disappoint!

 

What book can you not believe you waited this long to get to?

1984

 

What books did you read based mostly on recommendation or peer pressure?

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Which of your reads did you recommend most to others?

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Did you start or finish a series?

I started and finished A Song of Ice and Fire, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games. I finished The Mortal Instruments at the beginning of the year and started reading The Infernal Devices at the end of the year and the latter was quite frankly a waste of my time. I also started Tokyo Ghoul which is AMAZING, Fruits Basket which is good though I prefer Ishida’s series. In addition I began The African Trilogy by China Achebe, The Poirot Mysteries and The Richard Hannay series by John Buchan. As previously mentioned I also started re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia. Clearly it was a year of series for me in 2016.

 

Shortest book?

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Longest?

Probably one from Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series if not an instalment in Clare’s The Mortal Instruments. 

 

Favorite cover of the year?

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What was your favorite reading spot?

The Scottish Highlands on Honeymoon.

 

Did you read anything published within the year?

No

 

Did you watch a movie based on a book you’d read?

I watched all of The Hunger Games films as well as The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. I also watched the film adaptation of Cirque Du Freak and although I LOVE John C Reilly it left me underwhelmed, if only they put as much time into this series as they did with Harry Potter.

 

Which books were re-reads?

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What are you most excited to read next year?

So many Classics!

 

And lastly… THE LIST! All of your reads from this year, ready, go!

  1. Jan 4th City of Bones- Cassandra Clare
  2. Jan 7th City of Ashes- Cassandra Clare
  3. Jan 10th City of Glass- Cassandra Clare
  4. Jan 10th City of Fallen Angels- Cassandra Clare
  5. Jan 13th City of Lost Souls- Cassandra Clare
  6. Jan 13th City of Heavenly Fire- Cassandra Clare
  7. Jan 17th A Game of Thrones- George R R Martin
  8. Jan 21st The Magicians Nephew- C.S Lewis
  9. Jan 21st A Clash of Kings- George R R Martin
  10. Jan 24th A Storm of Swords 1- George R R Martin
  11. Jan 27th A Storm of Swords 2- George R R Martin
  12. Jan 29th A Feast for Crows- George R R Martin
  13. Jan 3oth A Dance With Dragons 1- George R R Martin
  14. Jan 31st A Dance With Dragons 2- George R R Martin
  15. Feb 1st My Antonia- Willa Cather
  16. Feb 8th Notes From Underground- Dostoyevsky
  17. Feb 11th The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey
  18. Feb 17th The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
  19. Feb 17th A Farewell To Arms- Ernest Hemingway
  20. Feb 18th Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins
  21. Feb 20th Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins
  22. Feb 21st The Maze Runner- James Dashner
  23. Feb 22nd The Last Summer of Us- Maggie Harcourt
  24. Feb 24th The Revenant- Michael Punke
  25. Feb 25th Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling
  26. Feb 26th A Tiny Feeling of Fear- M. Jonathan Lee
  27. Feb 26th Sky Burial- Xinran
  28. Feb 28th A Spool of Blue Thread- Anne Tyler
  29. Feb 29th Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud- Andy Lane
  30. Feb 29th The Old Man of The Moon- Shen Fu
  31. March 4th Paper Towns- John Green
  32. March 7th Oryx and Crake- Margaret Atwood
  33. March 10th The Invention of Wings- Sue Monk Kidd
  34. March 12th The Purgatorium- Eva Pohler
  35. March 15th The Mysterious Affair at Styles- Agatha Christie
  36. March 15th The Scorch Trials- James Dashner
  37. March 15th The Death Cure- James Dashner
  38. March 21st The Year of the Flood- Margaret Atwood
  39. March 22nd The Pilgrims- Mary Shelley
  40. March 26th Scarlet- Marissa Meyer
  41. March 29th Tokyo Ghoul 1- Sui Ishida
  42. March 31st Tokyo Ghoul 2- Sui Ishida
  43. April 1st The Radio- M. Jonathan Lee
  44. April 1st Tokyo Ghoul 3- Sui Ishida
  45. April 4th Cirque Du Freak- Darren Shan
  46. April 4th The Vampire’s Assistant- Darren Shan
  47. April 5th Tunnels of Blood- Darren Shan
  48. April 5th Through the Woods- Emily Carroll
  49. April 5th Fairest Vol 1, Wide Awake- Bill Willingham, Phil Jimenez, Adam Hughes
  50. April 6th Vampire Mountain- Darren Shan
  51. April 7th Trials of Death-Darren Shan
  52. April 8th American Vampire Vol 1- Scott Snyder, Stephen King, Raphael Albuquerque
  53. April 9th Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell
  54. April 13th The Vampire Prince- Darren Shan
  55. April 14th Gate7 Vol 1- CLAMP
  56. April 21st Wolverine and the X-men Vol 1- Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw
  57. April 21st We Need New Names- NoViolet Bulawayo
  58. April 24th The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo Graphic Novel – Denise Mina, Andrea Mutti, Leonardo Manco
  59. April 27th Hunters of the Dusk- Darren Shan
  60. April 28th Allies of the Night- Darren Shan
  61. April 28th Killers of the Dawn- Darren Shan
  62. April 28th Tokyo Ghoul 4 by Sui Ishida
  63. May 4th The Lake of Souls- Darren Shan
  64. May 4th Lord of the Shadows- Darren Shan
  65. May 6th Sons of Destiny- Darren Shan
  66. June 2nd Tokyo Ghoul 5- Sui Ishida
  67. June 7th Six of Crows- Leigh Bardugo
  68. July 11th Tokyo Ghoul 6- Sui Ishida
  69. July 13th Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks
  70. July 14th Wolf- Ales Kot, Lee Loughridge, Matt Taylor
  71. July 19th More Than This- Patrick Ness
  72. July 20th Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café- Fannie Flagg
  73. July 20th Catch 22- Joseph Heller
  74. Aug 6th Throne of Glass- Sarah J Maas
  75. Aug 6th The Man in the High Castle- Philip K Dick
  76. Sep 22nd And the Mountains Echoed- Khaled Hosseini
  77. Nov 8th Brooklyn- Colm Toibin
  78. Nov 8th: Me Before You- JoJo Moyes
  79. Nov 9th: Poison Study- Maria V. Snyder
  80. Nov 15th: Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe
  81. Nov 22nd: Born to Run- Bruce Springsteen
  82. Nov 25th: The 39 Steps- John Buchan
  83. Nov 30th: The Art of Being Normal- Lisa Williamson
  84. Dec 1st: The Pact- Jodi Picoult
  85. Dec 7th:The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult
  86. Dec 13th: A Little Princess- Frances Hodgson Burnett
  87. Dec 14th: 1984- George Orwell
  88. Dec 14th: We All Looked Up- Tommy Wallach
  89. Dec 20th: A Possible Life- Sebastian Faulks
  90. Dec19th: Clockwork Angel- Cassandra Clare
  91. Dec19th: The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness
  92. Dec 20th: Fruits Basket- Natsuki Takaya
  93. Dec 23rd: Clockwork Prince- Cassandra Clare

 

 

Annual Reading Challenge

This year we are once more taking part in the annual reading challenge. We started doing this challenge last year and really enjoyed it. This year two people close to me have each chose five books for me to read during 2017. I will go through each set of recommended reads starting from least to most anticipated.

The first set of books are as follows:

1. The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn

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I read Gone Girl a couple of years ago and I really disliked it so this one is not top of my list but the point of this reading challenge is to read books that you wouldn’t normally pick up or haven’t got around to reading. This one is definitely one I wouldn’t pick up. Although I do like to read at least two works by an author before I pass judgement.  The GrownUp is about:

A Young woman making a living faking it as a cut price psychic (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side.) She makes a decent wage mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke.

Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15 year-old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural. However when she enters the house for  the first time, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time…. 

 

2. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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This one I’m looking forward to although I would probably never get around to buying it myself as there is just so many books higher on my list. I will most definitely watch the movie after reading the novel. I am a little apprehensive about the issues touched upon in the novel, more specifically Early-Onset Alzheimer’s as it will be difficult to read about. This also makes me dubious about the quality of the novel as it is a very challenging subject to write about in fiction. Blurb…

Alice is just fifty when she finds herself in a downward spiral, increasingly disoriented and forgetful. A university professor, wife and mother of three, she has books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But now a tragic diagnosis early-onset Alzeimer’s disease is set to change her life- and her relationship with her family and the world- forever. 

Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short-term memory is hanging by a frayed thread. But she is still Alice.

3. Angelfall by Susan Ee

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I am intrigued by this novel about an angel apocalypse. A rare hardly-talked-about YA dystopia. I have little to go on with this one so here is the blurb…

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen year old sister, Penryn, will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-straved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in SanFrancisco where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister, and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

4. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

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Another book with its own movie, so its safe to say I’m excited for this one. It’s also the only classic novel recommended to me this year. As I’m hoping to read more classics this year than ever before therefore I am grateful for this recommendation. Sophie’s Choice is a very famous story though I am not aware of any of the details so I am still expecting a few surprises.

Stingo, an inexperienced twenty-year-old Southerner, takes us back to the summer of 1947 and a boarding house in a leafy Brooklyn suburb. There he meets Nathan, a fiery Jewish intellectual; and Sophie, a beautiful and fragile Polish Catholic. Sting is drawn into the heart of their passionate and destructive relationship as witness, confidant and supplicant. Ultimately, he arrives at the dark core of Sophie’s past: her memories of pre-war Poland, the concentration camp and-  the essence of her terrible secret- her choice.

5. Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw

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I am really looking forward to this novel. Interestingly, four of the five authors recommended to me here I’ve never read before. I am expecting another emotional novel and simply can’t wait for this one:

In the hustle and bustle of sixties Indonesia, two orphaned brothers are adopted by very different families: Johan, by a wealthy Malaysian couple living in Kuala Lumpur, and Adam, by a Dutch painter, Karl, from a simple coastal town in Indonesia. As they grow up, Adam often wonders about his older brother, while Johan is wracked with guilt at the memory of leaving him.

In Indonesia itself, the shadow of colonialism is causing civil unrest; and foreigners are treated with increasing hostility, especially the Dutch. When Karl is arrested, Adam vows to do everything he can to find him.

This extraordinary tale perfectly captures the turmoil of a country teetering on the brink of war; and the experiences of the two young men in an exotic yet turbulent and often frightening world.

The second set of recommended reads are:

1. Half Bad by Sally Green

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Out of this selection of recommended reads Half Bad is my least anticipated novel. Simply because, yet again, I do not know much about it and have not heard many reviews. Also, I have only just noticed that the red pattern on the book is actually a face, I thought it was blood/smoke before but that’s a whole other story, I am really not observant. Blurb…

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.

2. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

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Similarly to the Gillian Flynn novel I have previously read a novel I did not enjoy by Maggie Stiefvater. I read Lament a couple of years ago and was not a fan. However my sister is a big fan of Stiefvater and I am more than willing to give Sinner a fair chance. This is a companion novel to the Shiver, Linger and Forever Trilogy. I have taken the blurb from Goodreads and am not expecting to be blown away, I am going into it with an open mind nevertheless…

found.
Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.

lost.
Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes…but what’s the point? What is there to win?

sinner.
Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to save each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go. 

3. Monster by Naoki Urasawa

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As previously mentioned I started reading Manga last year and I am eager to read more. I have heard that the Monster series is like Deathnote minus the supernatural elements. I’ve yet to find out for myself but it’s fair to say this is a highly anticipated read! Blurb…

Everyone faces uncertainty at some point in their lives. Even a brilliant surgeon like Kenzo Tenma is no exception. But there’s no way for him to know that his decision to stop chasing professional success and instead concentrate on his oath to save peoples’ lives will result in the birth of an abomination. The questions of good and evil now take on a terrifyingly real dimension.

Years later, in Germany during the tumultuous post-reunification period, middle-aged childless couples are being killed one after another.
The serial killer’s identity is known.
The reasons why he kills are not.
Dr. Tenma sets out on a journey to find the killer’s twin sister, who may hold some clues to solving the enigma of the “Monster.”

4. Rumi

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I have also been challenged to read poetry! I couldn’t be happier with this choice especially because I have not read Rumi (Other than a few lines) before. I will without a doubt be writing a posted dedicated to Rumi’s poetry.

5. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

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Marlowe is a familiar figure to me due to my English degree and I’m really really excited to read another play this year. Every time someone recommends a play to me I read it, unfortunately, this rarely happens. Hopefully that will change and hopefully I will be recommending this play to people soon. The blurb (as it’s a play) is short but attention-grabbing…

One of the glories of Elizabethan drama: Marlowe’s powerful retelling of the story of the learned German doctor who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power.

Have you read any of the novels/poetry or the play mentioned above? If so, what did you think?

Sophie

 

Reading Update

Throughout February we have both started reading again. I give Mervyn Peake credit for this, as it is Titus Groan the first book of ‘The Gormenghast Trilogy’ that I’m currently reading and adoring.

(S)

Thus far in February I have read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov which you can find my opinion of here, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding  and Deathnote by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba.  I recently featured Deathnote in my Top5Wednesdays post. I hope to do a review or perhaps a Movie Adaptation review of The Lord of The Flies soon. I am currently reading Titus Groan as previously mentioned, I have 100 pages left so hope to finish this within the next 24 hours.

This month I would also like to finish reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, a contemporary dystopia that I’m enjoying so far. As previously mentioned in my February TBR post, I would like to get around to reading my first novel by Daphne Du Maurier and my second Steinbeck novel. Other than this fairly optimistic goal I would like to read Greenmantle by John Buchan on recommendation from an Instagram friend. I read the previous novel The 39 Steps last year and am looking forward to the next instalment. I would also like to read a short story from the collection Legoland by Gerard Woodward.

If, on the rare chance I get through these novels, I have some other books high up on my TBR list- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Dead Poets Society: A Novel by N.H Kleinbaum and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.

(D)

I have most recently finished Tokyo Ghoul 2 by Sui Ishida, I am looking to complete On the Road by Jack Kerouac in the next couple of days and then I will move onto the 5 books I have previously mentioned that I have been challenged to read as well as continuing with the Tokyo Ghoul series.

Top 5 Wednesday

I have been part of the Goodreads group Top 5 Wednesdays hosted by Lainey for a long time. This week’s Top 5 list interested me enough to write a blog post about it. The category for this week is confusingly titled ‘Top 5 Non-Written Novels.’ Last year was the first time I challenged myself to read other formats. I read Graphic Novels, Manga and listened to a couple of Audiobooks. I hope to read many more books of each format this year.

  1. Coming top of the list is the manga series Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida. I think I started reading these at the beginning of last year and was instantly a huge fan. The main characters and setting remain the same throughout the series despite the focus of the plot changing. Each volume tends to centre on a different character but they are always a part of, or at least introduced in, the previous volume. This is done so naturally that you feel no loss over any of the other characters who are always present. The world and character building is original as Ishida’s Ghoul’s live among us spread out in Districts and most are unaware of their existence. Here is the blurb taken from Goodreads: Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.  I couldn’t recommend the series enough, it’s intelligent, gritty and thoroughly entertaining. 81NRlW3pEWL
  2. In second place is the Graphic Novel The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Denise Mina with illustrations by Andrea Mutti and Leonardo Manco. This is based on the first novel (of the same name) in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. I have yet to read the novels having accidentally received the final novel as a gift a few years ago and having never got around to buying books one and two. Having previously heard reviews of the novels and seen the trailer of the movie adaptation, I was intrigued by the plot. In my opinion it definitely has more of an edge to it than other books in the crime genre. I was therefore thrilled when I came across this Graphic Novel version in my local library last year. I read this very quickly while taking time to enjoy the wonderful illustrations that match the story perfectly. I will definitely be picking up more of the Graphic Novel series and I would also like to read the original trilogy. Hopefully there will be a movie adaptation review of the trilogy on the blog within the year.41ER04S8koL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_
  3. In third place is the audiobook Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling of which I have a full review here. 41s5qgj0z8l-_sy344_bo1204203200_
  4. In fourth place is another Manga Volume titled Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. I ordered this manga expecting it to be nothing more than a fun, easy read with little substance, it appealed to me because I wanted to read manga of a different genre to Tokyo Ghoul. In this respect I was not at all disappointed, where Tokyo Ghoul is dark and gritty, Fruits Basket is light-hearted and charming. The writing is witty and the artwork is beautiful. The two manga series are worlds apart and yet both were on my top ten reads list of 2016. What surprised me most about Fruits Basket was how funny it was, the plot also had more to it than I expected. Without giving too much away it weaves its fictional narrative from the Chinese Zodiac.
  5. In all honesty it was difficult to think of my final choice for this list and I decided to cheat a little by choosing my current read which I have obviously not finished reading. I actually saw the anime first and then picked up a copy of book 1 in the Deathnote series. Tsugumi Ohba wrote the series with art by Takeshi Obata. Deathnote is extremely popular and it truly lives up to the rave reviews. The plot features a wonderfully eccentric and weirdly loveable Shinagami death god?! While at the same time uses the cat and mouse trope we all enjoy (when done well, which it is here) Deathnote keeps you on the edge of your seat. Coming fifth on the list purely because I have yet to finish reading it, Deathnote is also a new obsession. The blurb is as follows…

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects–and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life?

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I genuinely love all of the entries on this list and could not recommend any of them enough,

 

Happy reading!

 

Sophie