TBR| #TheBookieTrials

The last time I participated in a Readathon was the April 24-hour readathon, and although fast condensed readathons are the ones I tend to be more successful at, I really fancy something a little more stretched out and chill. The lack of internet, up until now, has meant that it has been rather difficult to join in on the ones that have been happening since finishing University. 
When Codie mentioned the readathon in her recent Wheel of TBR, I knew that it was something I wanted to check out. 

At once, I made my way over to the announcement video and each of the host's videos. Check out the link below for the thread with all the relevant links:
✨Main Quest Rules✨
  • One Book Per Challenge
  • No book swaps from the declared TBR
  • Read the books in order of the journey
  • Update the Progress Tracker upon each book completion
  • Be kind to the other & to yourself
  • Have Fun!
I decided to take the Personality Test to let that choose which path I should take and this is what I got: Scribe! 
The ability to rewrite their tale.
Their unique ability is to read a book that wasn't on their declared TBR - as long as it still completes the challenge.
As scribes spend so much time documenting their findings, one of their challenges will take MUCH longer than normal. They must read a book over 500 pages.
The Journey:

  1. Dwarf Mount: You spot a fair tavern wench, however, the Dwarf Mines, grimy and dusty, didn't evoke a very romantic feeling. Read a book with a hint of romance to get you in the mood.
  2. Apothecary Tower: Where the wizards dwell. Tricksters. They have blind-folded you and randomized all your books, choose a book a random from a book.
  3. The Great Library: Ahh the great archives, find and read a book that has been on your TBR forever.
  4. The Drowning Deep: The Whirlpool... is so... mesmerizing. Read a book with rich world building that will suck you into its own world, instead.
  5. The Bookie Grail: Here you find a lost manuscript, delivered on the forgotten island by a fallen star. Read the group book: Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
From top to bottom: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury; The Mermaid by Christina Henry; Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu and The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.

The order of reading is set out from top to bottom, as to complete the quest we have to read them in the order as I have set out above.
     The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin     Eater's Daughter #1)
     Melinda Salisbury
     Format: Paperback
     Page Count: 333
     The Mermaid
     Christina Henry
     Format: Paperback
     Page Count:321
     (This one was randomly picked by my younger brother who enjoys   picking my next book to read... when I let him.)
     Twelve Kings (The Song of the Shattered           Sands #1)
      Bradley Beaulieu
     Format: Paperback
     Page Count: 580
     The Priory of the Orange Tree
     Samantha Shannon
     Format: Hardback
     Page Count: 804
     (I will be rereading the first 90 pages that I read in May, so I will be   starting the book again to count this in the readathon.)
Not pictured is the group book, Stardust, which I own on Audible. I reread Stardust last months, but because it is one of my favourite books, I am over the moon to have an excuse to reread it again so soon.
There are a few books that I started last month that I will continue to read as I will have a few journeys to and from North Wales this month, that I would rather not be lugging books like Priory around with me. 
If I complete all the #Scibe quests, then I might slowly pick and choose other quest lines and see where I end up. I need my team to win. Am I too competitive? Maybe so.

Wrap-Up| April 2019

Expect an influx of blog posts, everyone, I just got reattached to my life source - the internet. As explained in the last blog post, I tried catching up after having some time away to complete my degree. However, things got weird and exciting, which resulted in limited access to the internet (which meant plenty of trips to my Nan's and the library).

But I am back. Or as back as I can be whilst looking, and hoping that I am good enough, for my first graduate job. I'm thrilled to be at this point in my life, but it is wholly terrifying!

  Other Words for Smoke
  Sarah Maria Griffin
  My thoughts:
  I am yet to write a review for this one, but every time I do, I can't seem to fathom my love into words that can sum this one up. Sarah's writing is a soul journey that I just couldn't get enough of, and her characters whispered to my heart in a way that is indescribable. 

  All That She Can See
  Carrie Hope Fletcher
  My thoughts:
  There is a great deal of charm to Carrie Hope Fletcher's fiction books that seems to keep grabbing me back for more.

  Black Venus
  Angela Carter
  My thoughts:
  I can't seem to quite grasp my feelings on this collection of Carter short stories. I think nothing will quite impress the way her Bloody Chamber collection will, but these were still an interesting read and reimaginings surrounding historical figures, both real and literary.
  Game of Thrones
  Dir. David Nutter, Michael S, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

  April gave us the long-awaited the beginning to the conclusion to the Game of Thrones franchise. It shouldn't come to no surprise that I am a massive fan of both the show and the book series, as I have mentioned them plenty of times. 
The final week leading to episode 1 airing was a bittersweet one. It was the last time that I would feel that anxious zeal of unknowing where the story would take me or the length of time that I could spend spewing mad theories. And I think that is what I am going to miss most. Since I am writing this in June, it means that I know what happens and have feelings of how the series concluded; but I will hold onto these until I finish a post I started after episode 5 aired. All I'm going to say is hurry up George, I have never need a book written faster.
Starter for 10  
Dir. Tom Vaughan  

I think this is one of the very few Benedict Cumberbatch films that I had not seen until recently. I was searching my Amazon Prime account and discovered that it had been added to their selection of films, and so, I curled myself into my blankets and pressed play.
It definitely felt dated and hasn't aged well, but I found that was part of its charm. 
  Dir. Anna Dakoza

  Special is an 8-part Netflix comedy, written and starring Ryan O'Connell. I feel like this one hasn't been spoken about nearly half as much as it should have been because I thought it was fantastic! As well as incredibly important and hilarious.
It deals with a gay man who is living with cerebral palsy and the qualms of feeling like your disability are misunderstood which leads to the protagonist lying about what it is that causes his limp. Funny, heartwarming and an integral first step to seeing more stories like this in mainstream media.
Not to sound like I'm exaggerating, but April might have been one of the most stressful months of my life. One thing for sure, I have written my dissertation and pushed it to be the best it could have been within the time frame that I had to work within. My project, which centered on homelessness, was the hardest thing I had to ever write. Not because it was ten-thousand words, or because I lost momentum, but because the story of Pen was one of the most personal things I ever had to write. 
Because it showed a lot of personal emotions and ideas towards how it feels to be homeless. My family and I have all been through that and have on-and-off spent the last five years trying to find our footing again. 
A couple of weeks ago (at the point of editing, we are now talking months) I sent out a tweet about receiving the best personal news of my life. I tweeted about it and said how much I wish I could shout about it from the rooftops, yet never truly elaborated by what I meant. 
What is this news? 
We have found our footing, right back onto London concrete and we have never been so happy. 
After being evicted from our temporary accommodation, which resulted in having to give up my cats and losing my entire book collection, moving from one-bedroom flat to one-bedroom flat, s0fa to sofa, none of which were ours.
It might not be the most exciting news in the world, or particularly bookish, but it means I have somewhere we can start again. Rebuild ourselves. 

Wrap-Up| March 2019

Long time, no see. I'm going to try to catch up as much as I can, as I wait for my last essay and dissertation grade to drop. I've been gone a while; it's been about a month since I last posted on this blog and two months since I started writing this specific blog post. 
I've missed doing this. I missed talking about what I'm reading and sharing it with a community. 

 The Old Nurse's Story
  Elizabeth Gaskell
  My Thoughts:
  For a module, I had to respond to a Victorian source with a creative outcome and a commentary exploring why I responded the way I did. For this, I choose Gaskell's short story The Old Nurse's Story. I really enjoyed it, very typical of the Victorian 'ghost story' so I gave it three stars.
Heartstopper: Vol 1
Alice Oseman
My Thoughts:
Thank you, Hachette, for my copy, which I won in their Valentine's Giveaway.  I read this back when Alice first started posting this on Tumblr and unfortunately haven't been able to catch up, but I'm hoping that will change as they keep publishing them as volumes.
If you want soft gay vibes, this is one for you.

The Near Witch
V.E. Schwab

My Thoughts:
If you don't have a moment to spere to look at my review, here is The Near Witch in summary, 
A feast of atmospheric and beautifully crafted writing, characters that leap of the page and somehow perfects the strange and quiet storytelling that suitably fits this modern fairytale. 

The Ash-Born Boy (The Near Witch #0.5)
V.E. Schwab
My Thoughts:
This added to the backstory of Cole, whom we meet in The Near Witch and the events that have to lead him to be in Near. I wasn't particularly blown away by it, but really enjoyed it, all the same.

The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe

My Thoughts:
Another one of those stories that I had to read for class - this one was in relation fo Del Toro's Crimson Peak. It was everything I would expect from Edgar Allen Poe, but I think I still prefer his Gothic poetry. 
The Essex Serpent
Sarah Perry
My Thoughts:

I ended up reading this on audiobook - which I really enjoyed! I'm really fussy about audiobook narrator, but I really liked Juanita McMahon and what she brought to the story. Not my typical cup-of-tea, The Essex Serpent still managed to have my attention whilst I tried to speed read before class. 

Big Bones
Laura Dockrill

My Thoughts:
A review was meant to go up for this at the start of April, but I just never got around to posting it due to a rush of deadlines that I hadn't prepared for. One will appear as soon as I start finding a sense of normality again. As I have quite a few thoughts on this one.
Hotel World
Ali Smith
My Thoughts:

This book inspired quite a bit of my dissertation, or at least the first 70-ish pages or so as it follows a homeless protagonist. I really loved the way that all these character's lives all interlinked with one another as we went from tense to tense. It was a wonderfully crafted story.

Vampire Academy (2014)
Dir. Mark Waters

This film literally sucks. And not just because it is a film about vampires. For a film that is actually quite close to a being a truthful adaptation based on plot, it does somehow miss the mark completely.  That being said, I still find myself going back to the story as a little blanket of comfort when things are not going to so well. 

American Gods (2017)
Dir. David Slade; Crobel Zobel; Vincenzo Natali; Adam Kane; Floria Sigismondi

March saw the return of the Amazon Prime/Starzz adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. 
This month I ended up rewatching Season One before heading into the week-by-week watch of Season 2. 
I really love Neil Gaiman adaptations, and this one is no exception. It adds a lot more to the original source material and adds to the multilayers of characters of human and Gods in a way that makes sense of who the characters are, and as we know them from the book. This one is definitely stylized and takes a lot to keep with it. But, if you do, you're sure in for a treat.
I went to some really interesting places, in the month of March, and even got to go home for a few days before spending the entirety of the Spring holiday on my own at University in April. 
You'll have to excuse how vague I'm about to be due to the nature of writing this up three months afterward. 

Chester Zoo
Flamingos!! They 
I barely even remember the last time I went to a zoo. I might have been three/four and all I remember is the journey back with my mum on the Tube.
This trip was courtesy of Abi giving me her Campus Life ticket for the mighty price of £15 (thank you!) and a day in the rain (not
so thank you). 

You bet we got on the soaking wet boat cruise.
From Lions to Penguins to Elephants to Bats flying over my head (it's as terrifying but incredible as it sounds). 


I didn't get much time to recover from our trip to Chester Zoo, as we were going straight on another Secret Adventure Society trip to Penmon Point. 

However, things didn't go the way that they had been planned and we ended up getting to Castell Aberlleiniog, spending some time totally not doing anything even remotely dangerous. 

Why didn't we get to Penmon Point? 

Rain! Typical UK weather. 

So we ended up heading straight back round and waited for a bus to Beaumaris to try and make the most of the day whilst we were already out of Bangor.

But, luck wasn't on our side. We were stranded for a solid 40 minutes while we had to wait for the next bus. 

I finally went to go see HAMILTON!

I came home for three days, risking a deadline on Thursday after I had to travel back to University. 

I booked my ticket maybe nine months in advance, and even though I only had a Slip ticket - the view was still brilliant!
I might have lost count of how many times I teared up watching the performance. Seriously, just hearing the opening lines brew tears. 

On my way to the Victoria Palace, I decided to take a detour due to how early I was. First heading to Covent Garden and Fopp, where I finally picked up a copy of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet for £2 and then walked back to Trafalgar Square and through the Mall to pass Buckingham Palace. Considering I have lived in London for my (almost) whole 20-years of my existence on this planet, it is so very rare for me to witness Buckingham Palace in all its glory, to which I cannot deny it's beauty.

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