TBR | Series Scaredown and Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon

Lauren attempts another readathon? More likely than you think.

I don't know how or why, but I always forget about Dewey's Readathon until it's about an hour before starting. I literally have it penned on my phone's calendar. Thankfully, my cider-addled brain preemptively thought of buying snacks before the 10pm curfew a fantastic idea.

I haven't been reading as much as I was at the start of the year, and already know there is no way I'm going to be able to read all of these in the next 24 hours, so what I don't finish will be continued through the week for TheBookMoo's Series Crackdown - Scaredown edition

  • Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare; Sarah Rees Brennan; Maureen Johnson; Kelly Link and Robin Wasserman (I need to finish the last two short stories in this collection)
  • The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner
  • The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Harman
  • Wychwood by George Mann
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. 

Series Scaredown 2020 is running from October 23rd - November 1st. Run by TheBookMoo, the goal is to get to those series that we always say we're going to read and never do. However, as it's Hallowe'en, this round has a spoopy twist. You can still sign-up, here.

Depending on how much I get run during Dewey's, in the best-case scenario, I will be adding these to my TBR:
  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • Time of Contempt by Andrezj Sapkowski
What have you been reading whilst I've been away from my blog? Will you participating in Series Scardown or Dewey's? Let me know! 

This post was fun - why don't I blog more often? 

Book Review | The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Suzanne Collins

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UK Publisher | Scholastic Books

UK Release Date | May 19th, 2020

Format | Hardback

Page Count | 517

RRP | £18.99

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-almighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He's been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined -- every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favour or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute... and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

The Hunger Games were not always the revered spectacle the Capitol annually celebrates; but rather we see them as the stark, cruel reminder of the cost of war, and the way in which people in power use it to exert control over freedom of will. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follow Corialanous Snow, later to become President of Panem, as he embarks on a mentorship to District 12's 10th Hunger Games tribute, Lucy Gray Baird.

Let's start with: I'm not as bitterly disappointed as I was anticipating; three stars is still a good rating.

I touched on this in my Heartless review, but books of 'villain origin' just don't interest me. I don't find them interesting as someone who loves well-written antagonists, as they often leave me feeling like they are redundant stories or whatever the inverse of creativity is. Especially with scenarios like this one, in which the crying out for a prequel has always been there. But, as they say: "be careful for what you wish for".

I thoroughly enjoyed how Collins engaged in worldbuilding, especially over the allusive start to the Games that gets glossed over in the original trilogy as it is expanded upon in this book. Suzanne Collins’ has a gift for creating a vision of a government that is struggling to enforce a totalitarian regime and regain strength after an act of people’s rebellion. This dichotomy between control and chaos makes for an engaging read, drawing the reader in to pay attention to the political landscape and form a discourse to current affairs.

Here are my problems with Ballad: I didn't think this book benefitted from being from Coriolanus's perspective AND I thought this book was too long.

Coriolanus Snow grated on me for being everything I despise, which I knew we were going to get, but his background story didn't make for a compelling or necessary read. I feel like I would've gained more insight into this era of politics in Panem without Snow, by giving me a protagonist to connect with. Furthering on from this, Lucy Gray Baird felt nothing more than a manic pixie dreamgirl and would have benefitted from having her perspective, giving her agency in the story other than the writing songs and being a love interest.

Overall, this is a novel of contemporary making, forming a commentary on capitalism and the current political landscape. For this, I still think The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a worthy read, however, I think it could have benefitted from a different angle.

August TBR | Series Crackdown & Tome Topple

For someone who finished one book in the entirety of July, I'm really being overambitious for August. Two of my favourite readathons are coming back and I'm determined to go for more than the 10 pages I managed last month. For two weeks of the month-long edition Series Crackdown, I will be focusing on the Tomes on my TBR, so I get to do both. I told you. I'm gunning for it in August.

Series Crackdown

Series Crackdown is the brainchild of Mel over at TheBookMoo. We all do it; we read the first books in a series never to pick up its sequel, or worse, we buy all the books in a series and never start them. The goal for this readathon is to dedicate a period of time to tackle those books. Usually, this readathon is 10 days long, however, this round just so happens to be the 10th incarnation, and to celebrate, Series Crackdown will be going from the 1st - 31st August 2020

Teams are back for this round; I will be joining Steph's (@eenalol) Team Duologies and reading the group book: State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury. 

What I love about this readathon is how chill it can be - I just like making things difficult for myself apparently.

For more information on who Team Captains are, or for just more information, check out TheBookMoo's blog post here, and follow the official Twitter and Instagram account.

Tome Topple

Created and hosted by Sam over at ThoughtsonTomes, TomeTopple is a readathon for all those big books that we all buy and then giggle nervously over. It is THE readathon for fantasy lovers and bibliophiles everywhere.

Starting August 8th - August 21st, the goal is to read books 500 pages or longer. And like the Series Crackdown, Tome Topple is just as chill. There are challenges that you can participate in, but because I am aiming for all of the challenges in the other readathon, I'll be focusing on reading big books and having fun.

Those books include:

  • Blood Upon the Sands by Bradley Beaulieu
  • The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
You can find out more by checking out the announcement video, here, and the official Twitter account.

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