29 January 2015

Fairytale Retellings 2015: Challenge 1

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I don’t really have any clear memories of reading fairytales as a child. I still have a book of fairytales that I’ve had ever since I can remember, and I do remember sitting in my room reading it as a kid (or looking at the pictures anyway) but properly reading wasn’t what I did, there were so many words in it and I got bored. I would instead sit marvelling at the pictures and remember how much I loved one story or another. I think, like every other girl in the western world, it was Disney which began my love for fairytales. I remember watching films like Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast and being enchanted by those worlds. I wanted to be a princess and find my prince charming, gaining friends and having adventures. I wanted to believe there was magic and no matter how terrible things may seem there was always a happy ending to come.





I know these films didn’t really promote the best attitudes in life for me, the idea of being a princess and waiting for my princess charming to get my happily ever after, but they were wonderful and magical and I didn’t really care at the time. I didn’t know any better and





That is where I fell in love with fairytales, but then when I became a teenager I fell out of love with them. These perfect worlds where girls were rescued by one person or another and were waiting for their prince, they stopped being something that inspired me. fairytales, but adapted to suit more modern values. But that didn’t come straight away and the fact of the matter is once you reach a certain age it just isn’t cool to like Disney with the magic and the musical numbers. I got over that by the time I was sixteen, but when I began secondary school I just couldn’t embrace the Disney loving.





I ventured off into other genres, watched other films, read different books and grew up a bit. I read a lot of romance when I was at university, because really Disney influenced me way more than I thought, and also romance always has a happy ending, and that’s what gave me the warm and fuzzies in Disney films, so what did you expect? In those romance novels there is always a guy and a girl and some issues and then they end up together with a happily ever after. Then that started to bore me, because we all know what happens when you binge too much on one genre, you get fed up and cynical of it, so I was on a path to find something new.





I rediscovered the YA genre, which could offer me romance, without the sickly sweetness, and it also offered me some action that had been sorely lacking from the books I’d been reading. I then discovered book like Abandon by Meg Cabot and The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter, which are a retellings of a Greek myth, and I began reading YA books in earnest, not realising I was going to become totally obsessed with the genre.





I think it was probably Throne of Glass which is the first fairytale retelling I read, and even then I was not aware it was any kind of fairy tale retelling, because it is an amalgamation of different fairy tales and is so much it’s own story that I could not be expected to recognise the beginnings. I was not quick to read stories like Cinder and the Lunar Chronicles, because I was till wary of retellings, because I have seen them go wrong. When I finally committed, though, it was love and I cannot believe I did not embrace them sooner. Then, slowly, retellings have become a thing, I think they were always a thing. After all, the Disney versions of fairytales are nothing like the stories they claim their origins from. Happy endings were not always a thing that happened in these stories and they certainly weren’t all that light and fluffy. I love that retellings can completely reinterpret what we think we know about a fairytale and turn it on its head, it’s just so fascinating, I think that’s why I love them really.





But, anyway, I slowly came to embrace retellings of all kinds and am now committing to the fairytale retelling reading challenge for the year, which is made all the more challenging by finding the best books to read in the genre (is it a genre?) and also committing to buying or lending them.

28 January 2015

Introducing Author Addiction

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I said at the beginning of the year that I wanted to write something about my favourite authors, a way to feature them in some way, especially as I am a terrible reviewer on my blog. I hadn’t quite thought up the specifics on this idea when I got a tweet from Kaja asking me if I wanted to try and do something together. I was intrigued and so we got chatting and this has all sort of snowballed from there.

I have never worked on anything with a blogger before, unless you include that time I did a post on Oh! The Books, and that was back in my early days of blogging. I was excited, because having someone else enthusiastic about something is always a good motivator for me (in case you’ve failed to notice before, I’m lazy). I was also excited by Kaja’s enthusiasm, my idea had just been something that had been lingering in the back of my mind, but it was her excitement that really got me started on thinking about I actually wanted to do with it.

After tweets were exchanged and a series of emails were sent, we came up with the idea of doing a monthly feature on our favourite authors. This will not be any old feature, though, but it will be a feature which could include anyone that is interested. We were thinking a book meme of sorts, but mostly it’s just a monthly post for us which we want to encourage others to get involved in. We will propose the author and we will chat about why we love them so, and why you should be interested too, and if all goes well we would like to encourage you to give it a go as well.

We spent a long time, like a couple of weeks, thinking up a name for this little feature, and finally we settled on Author Addiction, because the whole point of this monthly feature is to highlight our love of authors and our immense love for them.
You may all be thinking, how on earth will it work as a meme if you’re doing about your favourite authors, and what do I say to that?
simples
Yeah, sorry if you don’t the gif reference, it’s a British thing I think.
It really is simple what we are proposing. Each month we will do a feature on out favourite author, with a few questions posed to get your thoughts going and direct your post, and we will announce who we plan to feature each month, so if you see an author you love you can get writing and tell everyone you know why you love them.

We will, obviously, be open to suggestions on how this feature should work, and we will do months where it’s a freebie week open to whatever author you may choose, because our tastes do vary. On the first Monday of each month we will doing the feature, so please come back on Monday where we will talking about our love for: Jennifer L Armentrout.

The questions for February are:

  1. When did you first discover this author?
  2. What's your favourite book by them?
  3. Which book by this author would you recommend to others and why?


Both Kaja and I will be doing our own posts, so don’t forget to go visit her over at Of Dragons and Hearts on Monday to see what she has to say. I hope you’ll come back and see the feature, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

27 January 2015

Ten Books I'd Love to Read With My Book Club…If I Had A Book Club

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I am continually amazed at the topics proposed for the weekly meme that is Top 10 Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I have to question how they keep coming up with new ideas, and whilst I know they often get recycled, a lot of them are new and interesting, and this one is definitely a different one for me.

I've never been part of a book club so I'm not really sure how book choices would go. I mean surely you can just read whatever? But, then I have seen before at the end of a book questions for book clubs so maybe you have to choose good books to discuss. I think if I ever joined a book club I would try and read adult books as I don't read as many in that category as I would like. If I was to ever join a book club I’d want one which would help encourage me to read outside my box  and I think having to read it to discuss with others might motivate me to read and finish the books. I also would want to read books I've not read in a while and new books to keep things interesting. I would try and introduce books I love to others whilst also trying to get them to introduce books to me to help expand my horizons. This means I will split my choices in two, those books I’ve read and would love to read again, and those I haven’t, for whatever reason, and would like others in the book club to help motivate me to read.

First the books I’ve read and would love any excuse to read again and force others to enjoy.

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When I was first introduced to this book it was as a romance, and it is a romance, but it is so much more than just that. I’m hoping the series will be so much more as well. I would love to get others to fall into the blackhole that is this series with me, and because I picture myself being in a book club with women, so what better than a time-travelling romance to bring us together? Although, I have only just finished this books, and it is a very long series, so maybe wait a while before having it as a book club read.

I think I would encourage my book club to read anything by Neil Gaiman, but especially this books and Good Omens, they are both books I would like to read again, and I think they would be improved by being able to discuss them with others afterwards. I also think it could easily be followed with a reading of Anansi Boys, which I’ve not read yet, but my brother told me good things, so it would be a good excuse.

I’ve not exactly been quiet in my love for this book series, even though I’ve yet to read the third book, but I would love to force others to read it too. This may possibly be to motivate me to read the third book. I know it’s a romance, so I would probably need a book club filled with women to pull this one off, but still, it’s a great series, and vampires are so much cooler in this book, and there are witches and history. It’s like all the things I loved when I was younger in one awesome book series.
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Because it is a book about people that like to read and can do cool and weird things with it. It’s like Inkheart for adults, but better. And because I can only vaguely remember what happens, so it would be nice to reread.

I read this book when I was at uni and I loved it. I love a good mystery crime thriller type book, I think this is motivated partly by my mothers reading choices. She loves them, and back at school I had a very limited reading budget, so if I had not been to the library it was her books I had to read. Thus I have a love of a good mystery. I would love to reread this book, and read the second one, which is unread on my shelf. My mom bought the second and sent it up to me in a care package at uni, I never get around to reading it. It’s probably been three years since I first got it, I would love to remedy that.

I think every book club ever has probably already read this book, but I should think that m book club should read it, mostly because I picture being a part of a book club with my best friend and I know she hasn’t read this book. I would abuse the power of choosing books for book club and force her to read it just so we can talk about it.

Now for the books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t and would like my supposed book club to help force me to.

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That best friend I mentioned earlier, she gave me a book to read about six months ago. SHe said it was a bit weird and not what she expected, but a really good read. SHe then gave it to me and told me to enjoy it. I have not looked at that book beyond moving from one of books to another when it was in the way. I am a terrible friend, but if i read this book as part of a book club there is every chance i would be motivated to read.

I saw this film when I was younger and adored it. I’ve always adored Sandra Bullock though. When I found out it was based on a book I knew I wanted to read it. My mom got me Ya-Ya’s in Bloom from the livarary when I was younger, and I devoured that, but I still have yet to read this one. I’ve read Little Alters Everywhere, as well, which is like a collection of short stories about the family, and I loved it, yet still this book sits unread on my shelf.

A friend of mine recommended this. She said that she simply could not put it down, the story drew her in. I’ve tried reading it once and could not say the same. I was reading it in pieces though. I would love to try reading it again and see if I experienced the sae struggle. I think it may be a book which you read with others to urge you on.

I have nothing but good things, and I think a light-hearted read like this would be needed with my book club. Also, I am really curious to read it but simply have not begun the book because I have not been in the mood to.

And those are the books I would love to read as a part of my fictional book club. I think they all would be suitably interesting enough to fuel discussion.

24 January 2015

Sunday Summary: 25.01.2015

Sunday Summary
I’m going to be honest and say I have reading fatigue. I read one book that I was enjoying but anytime I thought about reading I didn’t fancy it. Then I binge read a book series and adored it, but then was left with a bit of book hangover. But even then, I could not take a break from reading as it is my entertainment during my commute and lunch break, so I had to force myself to read another book, and what book did I choose? Outlander by Dianna Gabaldon. Have you seen that book? It’s a beast, and I keep stopping my reading and think to myself I can’t be bothered, but I keep going back to read it. It’s a book that is incomparable, but reminds me a bit of the All Souls Trilogy with the fact it’s an adult book and the denseness of the writing, but still being totally intriguing. Does that make sense? No? Oh well, I tried. So yeah, I’m feeling a bit book fatigued and I’m struggling to focus on things lately. I get bored half way through writing a blog post. I get bored part way through a TV series. I’m even struggling to stay focused during films. Who knows what it is, but I’m hoping it will pass swiftly in any case.

Despite my general life fatigue I have been reading and keeping busy. I’ve started watching the Outlander TV series along with reading the book. I’m only a couple of episodes in, but it’s good. I’m pacing myself because I know it had a mid-season break until April. I’ve also been buying things that aren’t books, something I love to do, but don’t often indulge in. For some reason I can easily indulge in buying books, justifying the expenditure with ease, but when it comes to clothes and other things I am continually questioning myself and asking do I really need it? Even when I do, I normally decide not to because it costs more than I’m willing to spend. I’m quite proud, though, this week I’ve only bought a couple of ebooks, that’s really restrained for me.

New To Me

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What I’ve Been Reading

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Anyway, love to hear from you guys, tell me about your weeks. Also, any advise on how to remedy my fatigue and general sense of restlessness would be appreciated. Next week can only be better, right?

Bout This Blogger

Rachel over at Confessions of a Book Geek tagged me in this back  during Christmas and I have been answering the questions on and off for ages, then the entire thing has just sat in my drafts getten a bit forgotten about... oops? I like getting a bit more personal with you guys but I am awful about thinking up stuff that’s interesting for answers. I’m really quite a boring person.

1. Why did you start blogging?

I can’t really remember, I’ve had to go back to my introduction post to remember my initial motivation. I remember I’d toyed with the idea for a while, but not ever really committed to it because I’m quite shy and I was a bit wary about writing things on the internet for anyone to see. I started it because I was hoping it would help with my reading, giving me an opportunity to voice my opinions on books and write my reviews and potentially help me remember what I’d been reading because I have the worst book amnesia.

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

It’s actually from a quote by Douglas Adams
A common mistake people make when trying
I love quotes, I always have. I write them in random places, I save word documents with so many of them, and I will always love them.

My biggest challenge in starting my blog was trying to find a blog name and I knew immediately that I needed to turn to my lists of quotes. I looked at quotes about reading, quotes about books and none of them seemed right, and then I saw this quote and loved it. I loved it when I first saw it and I loved it even more when I was looking for my blog name.

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging? (Pictures! We demand pictures!)

I can’t really claim to have had many designs, even when things change it’s more I switch out my header and change the layout a bit, no mega changes. I’ve recently switched my header again because I got a bit bored.

I don’t actually have pictures of my blog, is that bad?

4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven’t ever changed…why?

I haven’t ever changed blog platforms, I began my blog on blogger and here I shall stay. I know wordpress has a lot of positive things going for it and self hosting and all that but that costs money and is more than I want for my blog currently. I like blogger, I know some people have had issues with blogger, I know there are plenty of problems with it, but for me it works. I don’t actually write my posts on blogger, I write them somewhere else and post them there. I always make sure I back up regularly and therefore my blog works for me, in the future that may change, but for now I’m happy.

5. How long does it take you to write a post? What’s your postly process like?

It depends, normally it takes an age because I am a major procrastinator. I’d say on average about an hour to write and then there’s editing and adding pictures and those type of things.

When I’m writing a post I’m normally have my general idea of what I’m writing about, be it a review, or a discussion or a TTT post. I start with my general plan, I ramble, I type out my immediate thoughts and I’m generally pretty incoherent. I then go through and organise my thoughts. I make everything make sense and create structure for the post. I end it with adding images, sorting out any hyperlinks. I don’t always read through what I’ve written, so more often that not there are mistakes which I haven’t noticed.

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why?! What was it?

I used to be nervous about all posts, especially discussion posts. I’m nervous about what people think about my opinion about something. With discussions, writing what you think and your opinions, and generally picking a topic people might care about, there is a risk that someone won’t agree with what you say. Hopefully, that generates an interesting discussion with what people have to say, but it could upset people, and I don’t want to do that.

I’ve gotten less nervous as time has gone on as I’ve come to accept that those visiting my blog will not judge and I’m not really posting anything divisive, but it’s easy to be nervous still.

7. Do you have a blogging schedule?

I used to try, I try to post a Top Ten Tuesday post, then post something of my own on Thursday or Friday and then another posts on the weekend. I try and aim for about three or four posts a week  but often that is too much for me to handle. I essentially just try and blog when I can. I feel like I should have a schedule, and I’ve tried to develop one before, but I never remember to schedule my posts so then it all goes a bit wrong from there. If I don’t remember to schedule a post I must then remember to actually post it and often I don’t.

8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?

I have never told any in-real-life people about my blog. It’s not so much I’m embarrassed about my blog, it’s more that I’m shy, and the idea of the people that I know being able to see my thoughts on a screen just fills me with dread. I know that wouldn’t care, they would be supportive and happy for me, whilst also teasing me

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most! Go! Go!

I have loads of blogs which I follow, they all appear on my bloglovin’ feed, which I go to daily. I’ll list the blogs I visit most frequently below, but there are so many more that if I haven’t mentioned you it’s simply that I was limited by 10 blogs. I would also like to say that these blogs and the bloggers behind them are probably the ones that have influenced me the most while blogging with my often looking to them for both blogging inspiration and visiting their pages when searching for a new book to read.
I’m sure there are others, I’ve probably missed out one of my favourites, but I hope you’ll understand if I’ve overlooked you.

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

I would love a new blog design, something clean and pretty like I’ve seen on other blogs. I get mega blog design envy, and I know part of my issue is that I’m silly trying to do it all myself, but I’m just not willing to give money to someone else to design my blog because I wouldn’t know how to explain what I want and I am vaguely capable of doing the basic myself. I guess it’s just a control issue, I may now know what I’m doing but what I do know how to do I’d like to do myself.

I also wish I had a bit more time to blog, I always feel like I have so little time with all my working hours and actually reading things that I never feel like I can put as much time as I would like into my blog. I normally try and spend my weekends writing blog posts, but I can’t always make the time since I want to have a life as well. It’s difficult to be able to make the time I want to be able to so sometimes I feel like I’ve done half a job when posting something as I’ve not checked it before presenting to you all.

I also wish I could review more, I may not get as many comments for reviews, but I wish I was better at writing them at least. Also, more pictures, I would love to post more pictures for you all, but my ability to take pictures is shocking.

20 January 2015

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

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It’s a freebie week this week for Top Ten Tuesday, I normally take these weeks off and focus a bit more on my blog and catching up with things, but I thought I’d take advantage this time and choose my own topic for Top Ten Tuesday. I didn’t actually end up posting a year end post on my blog, mostly because I simply hadn’t kept track of enough stuff throughout the year to be able to answer half the questions, also because I took a bit of a blogging break for the holidays. That means I’ve not told you about my favourite books of last year, and so what better post to do in my freebie week than to tell you about my favourite books of the past year, not necessarily released in 2014, but read by me last year. Just to warn you, there are a few more than ten.

Young Adult Favourites

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New Adult Favourites

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Adult Favourites

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And these are my favourite books I’ve last year. What I’ve extrapolated from creating this post is that I love books very easily. I like that about myself, though. Sure, maybe I should be more critical about what I read, but I enjoy myself when reading so who cares?

18 January 2015

Sunday Summary: 18.01.2015

Sunday Summary
My week has been really slow because I’ve not seen any of my friends really, it’s cold and flu season and we’re all dropping like flies. Since everyone has had the lurgy I’ve been chilling at home, so you would assume I’ve done loads of blogging and been really productive with my life.
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Don’t be silly, of course I haven’t been productive with my free evenings. Sure, I’ve read a lot of books, but actual productivity has been at an all time low on the blog front. I think it’s because in contrast to my non-existent social life things have been really hectic at work. I’m being trained on another area of the accounts and it all makes complete sense, but there is so much to do and I feel a bit like I’ve been thrown into the deep end and I’m only just starting to get to grips with things. Each day I feel a bit all up in the air because my normal working routine has had to change and I feel like I’m a bit of a mess at work. I know as soon as I’ve properly gotten to grips with things and developed a new routine I’ll be fine but currently I’m continually telling people I’m far too bust to do anything else. Which is probably why I’ve just been coming home and zoning out with a good book, it’s been a welcome relief to be able to just switch off at home.

I’ve also done a little bit of book shopping this week, more so than usual. I’m a bit of a stress shopper I think. If I’m feeling under pressure and need to cheer myself up I always buy something, it’s a terrible habit to have but it is so good at cheering me up. I also have some online credit at a couple of places, so I’ve been taking advantage and spending.

New To Me

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Biggest Flirts – Jennifer Echols (I bought a hardback copy, only £2.52!)
The Selection – Kiera Cass (It’s currently free for Kindle)
In Between – Jenny B Jones (another Kindle freebie, no clue if it’s any good)
The Shape of my Heart – Ann Aguirre (I’ve got some credit on blinkbox books and bought this, then discovered this is the third in a series)
The Luckiest Lady in London – Sherry Thomas (my historical romance binge is coming to an end I think)

What I’ve Been Reading

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It’s been a good reading week, all the books I really enjoyed, they may not any of them become my favourite books ever, but they were enjoyable reads I’d be willing to revisit when the mood takes me. I’m hoping to get back on top of blogging next week, whilst I have plenty of posts in my drafts, I haven’t written anything new in a little while, not even a quick a review, I don’t want to find myself unable to think up anything new. I also need to get on top of my reading challenges, I’ve not looked at them for the past couple of weeks. In fact, I’ve barely given them a second thought, that must be rectified.