Mid-Year Freakout Tag 2019

This year has been a little slow on the blogging front, as we could all have all surmised from my two-month hiatus, and then the slow dribble of monthly wrap-ups. I promise I am working on catching up with book reviews and fresh content, but at the moment, it is all about finding a job, graduating and working out a new pace. I'm almost there.

Thank you to the original creators of this tag: ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books
1. Best book you've read so far in 2018?
Other Words for Smoke
Sarah Maria Griffin

Reading one book in a single sitting in near-on impossible for me to do, but with Other Words for Smoke, I pretty much sat for six hours and read cover to cover.
I still am due to write my review,

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2018?

Ravencry (Raven's Mark #2)
Ed McDonald

I think this might actually be the only sequel I have read this year, so by default, it is the best.

That being said, it was a fantastic sequel and a real ride.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to?
The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame #3)
Jen Williams

I love this trilogy with all my heart, which I think plays a massive part in the picking up required to read this one, as well as the constant lack of time or moments of being left alone for long enough to read more than a page. 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2018?
Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicles #3)
Jay Kristoff


5. Biggest disappointed?
The Electrical Venus
Julie Mayhew

I don't know what I had expected when I read this one, but I felt like I wasn't entirely convinced by the romance, nor did I greatly connect with any of the characters. It was enjoyable, but perhaps just wasn't for me.

6. Biggest surprise?

Hotel World
Ali Smith

I got recommended to read this one when I first began my venture to writing my dissertation. I'm not one for 'literary' fiction like this, so when I fell in love with the experimental elements and how Ali Smith approached the homeless narrative - I fell in love!

7. Favourite new author?

All The Lonely People
David Owen

I haven't read a lot of sequels this year, and with that, not a lot of new-to-me authors either. 

David Owen is one that I have heard around the UKYA community and his The Fallen Children (that perhaps one day will fall into my possession), so when the offer to come up to read and review his next release came up, I jumped at the opportunity. I can't wait to read his past books, and what his wonderful mind will come up with next.

8. Newest fictional crush?

The Dark Vault (The Achieved #1-2.5)

“Wesley Ayers is the stranger in the halls of the Coronado. He is the Keeper in the garden who shares my secret. He is the boy who reads me books. He is the one who teaches me how to touch.” 
Wesley isn't technically a new character that I came across, seeing as I read these books when they first were published in the US, however, Wes is just the kind of boy I would have been head over heels with a crush on growing up. Can't believe I didn't realise how much I loved him until I'm just slightly too old to have a crush on him.  

9. Newest favourite character?

Ravencry (Raven's Mark #2)
Ed McDonald

When coming up with an answer to this question, the first response was to ask myself: who didn't I get to see enough of? And to that my brain instantly reached for Valiya, from Ravencry.

I hope that she's a character in Crowfall because she's incredibly smart, kind and all levels of brilliance.

10. A book that made you cry:

Being Miss Nobody

Tamsin Winter

Cry? No.
Tear up? Yes.

11. A book that made you happy:
Heartstopper: Vol 1
Alice Oseman

Adorable cute illustration style, Charlie and Nick's story has always warmed my icy heart. Knowing that this story is now out there in a printed format has almost, and I repeat, almost, defrosted my heart.

12. Favourite book to movie adaptation?
Good Omens
Dir.  Douglas Mackinnon

I feel like I have been waiting years for this adaptation, so I can only sympathize with readers who have waited since the book was originally released.
All I have to say is: it was as perfect as an adaptation could be.  

13. Favourite review you've written this year?
All The Lonely People
David Owen

I wrote this review for the blog tour right at the beginning of the year. Here is the link.

14. Favourite beautiful book you have bought so far?
The Priory of the Orange Tree
Samantha Shannon
The City in the Middle of the Night
Charlie Jane Anders

15. What books do you need to read before the end of the year?
All of them?

The Priory of the Orange Tree
Samantha Shannon

A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow
George R.R. Martin

A Storm of Swords is a complete reread for me, but after Season 8, I needed to cleanse my pallet and remind myself as to why I love the world of Westeros so much.
I will not be tagging anyone, as it has become a staple on my blog. 

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. 

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