top ten tuesday

Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About and this can be ‘Any emotion! Did a book make you super happy or sad? Angry? Terrified? Surprised?’ so I’ve tried to pick books that gave me a wide range of feels even though my first reaction was books that made me cry (because I’ve just finished Teashop on the Corner which made me BAWL)


Paul Cartledge – Ancient Greece (bored me to tears – how did he make ancient Greece as dull as dishwater?!)
Cathy Glass – Nobody’s Son (broke my heart, I felt so bad for that little boy)
Alix E Harrow – Once and Future Witches (utterly spellbound – I completely fell in love with Harrow’s writing style and the world she created)
EL James – Fifty Shades of Grey (hysterical laughter – apparently it’s not supposed to be a comedy?)
Milly Johnson – The Teashop on the Corner (made me cry like a baby, completely filled with warm fuzzies)


Stephen King – Misery (chilled me to the core and the reason I will never use the phrase ‘I’m your number one fan’)
Jennette McCurdy – I’m Glad My Mom Died (I’m glad her mom died, I went from horrified by what her mother was doing to her, to so proud of her)
Stephenie Meyer – Twilight (disgust – I threw the book across the room)
Matthew Reilly – Temple (joy, wonder, amazement and many many WTAF but in a good way)
Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl (disappointment, I’d been looking forward to reading and didn’t feel it lived up to the hype)

And this will be the first and last time Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey get mentioned here LMAO

TBR

TBR w/c 03.06.24

My reading list for the coming week looks something like:

finish Sharon Blackie – If Women Rose Rooted (currently 42%)
finish Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere (currently 40%)
finish Emily Henry – Book Lovers (currently 29%)

read Ruth Goodman – How To Be A Victorian (currently 7%)
read Neil MacGregor – A History Of The World in 100 Objects (39%)

start Heather Fawcett – Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries
start Carrie Fisher – The Princess Diarist
start Thomas Halliday – Otherlands
start Gabrielle Nevin – Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
start Nancy Warren – Lace & Lies

Do I expect to get to all of these books this week?
No.
But I have ADHD and like to have a variety of books to bounce between reading. I’m probably most likely to focus on A History of the World and I’ll see where the week takes me

monthly wrap up

May Reading Wrap up

May wasn’t a great mental health month, the ADHD flared up and I started so many books but I did still manage to finish 8 of them:

Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: Pigs Might Fly
4 stars
I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first couple of Diddly Squat books – I think it’s because I watched the show first and read the book after with the others. Reading the book first, it fell a little flat because I didn’t feel as connected to the anecdotes Jeremy was sharing and barely a month later I can’t honestly remember much about it, bar a story about going to a slaughterhouse. And Clarksons Farm S3 is still on my list of things to watch because I’m super behind on everything. I don’t think I’m going to want to pick the book back up again afterwards, but who knows?

Austin Kleon – Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
4 stars
This was actually one of Li’s library books but she read out so many excerpts from the book that I wanted to read it myself. We’ve both ended up wanting to own a copy because it was such a good book. I read it in one sitting, and even though the type of art I create is fiction rather than visual media, I still found the advice and ideas really helpful. Some of them validated what I already do, and some of them made me want to try something more. I felt very seen and very supported and I loved that.

Alix E. Harrow – Starling House
5 stars
Absolutely fucking mindblowing! Another gorgeous, eerie, gothic, creepy, southern gothic, dark fantasy, horror story with the same beautiful writing I was hoping for after Once and Future Witches. A fantastic haunted house, which we know I love more than anything, a tangled web of mystery both inside the house and wrapped around it and the characters. I read most of it in one sitting and I still want more, weeks later!

Freya Sampson – The Girl on the 88 Bus
3.5 stars
A random book I picked up on Libby because the title and the cover intrigued me. What I got was an inspiring, uplifting, sweet story about love and loss and family and friendship, and the power of hope. I thought I knew where it was going and it didn’t go there, which I always love when that happens. It wasn’t the ending I wanted, or I wanted for the characters, but it did really work with the story. Basically, a book filled with all the warm fuzzies.

Cathy Glass – Nobody’s Son
4.5 stars
I have been completely obsessed with reading Cathy Glass’ fostering memoirs this year. I have absolutely no clue why but I’ve read 5 of them this year, and have a bunch more reserved at the library or on Libby/Borrowbox. They’re not the best-written books, but they pack a powerful punch, right in the feels. They’ve all been pretty heartbreaking and this was no different, but there was something about this poor boy’s story that reduced me to tears.

Guy Shrubsole – The Lost Rainforests of Britain
3.5 stars
This is a book I’d been wanting to read for a while and it didn’t disappoint. A really interesting investigation into the pockets of temperate rainforest left in Britain, how they’ve survived and what can be done to help protect them, to make them thrive and grow. As a Devonian, I was thrilled at how many of those are down here, across Dartmoor and so many of the pictures reminded me of places from when I was younger. The last bit of the book got a little political and a little lectury but other than that, I enjoyed reading it a lot.

Lex Croucher – Infamous
3.5 stars
I’m still not sure what I think of this book, and it’s not really the book’s fault but it does make it difficult to rate and review. It was sold to me as ‘Bridgerton, but lesbians’ so that’s what I was expecting… only it wasn’t really that. So then I stopped and read the blurb, but it also wasn’t quite what I was expecting based on that either. I enjoyed the story that I did get, although I found it very slow to start with but the ending was utterly fantastic and gave me tears of happiness

Jennette McCurdy – I’m Glad My Mom Died
5 stars
Wow. Just… Wow. I’m glad her mom fucking died, lets be clear. That poor kid. So I’ve never seen iCarly, I was well out of the target audience for the show and had no idea who McCurdy was before the Nickelodeon scandal hitting the news the other year, and I remember the book world exploding when this came out. But even not knowing who she was, I was horrified by what happened to her, I felt so bad but ultimately so proud of her as she went through therapy and started taking control of her life.

Looking more at the stats side of things:
9 books, 2,562 pages – 75% between 300 & 499 pages long, 25% <300 pages
The main moods were emotional, reflective & informative
50% medium paced, 50% face paced
63% non-fiction, 38% fiction
My most read genres were memoir, nature & romance
My average rating was 4.03

top ten tuesday

Books I Was Super Excited to Get My Hands on but Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Books I Was Super Excited to Get My Hands on but Still Haven’t Read and my TBR and I are feeling very called out by this LMAO


Travis Baldree – Legends & Lattes
Mary Beard – SPQR
Stephen Fry – Mythos
Bonnie Garmus – Lessons in Chemistry
Ali Hazelwood – The Love Hypothesis


Dan Jones – Essex Dogs
Judy I. Lin – A Magic Steeped in Poison
Sangu Mandanna – The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
Julia Quinn – The Duke & I
Jonathan Sims – Thirteen Storeys

What books have you been super excited to buy but still haven’t read yet?

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

How I Feel about Staycations

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge question is How I Feel about Staycations

Honestly, I love them!

I’m specifically talking about staycations where it’s spent at home, rather than holidaying in the same country. However, we could also argue that all my trips to Devon to be with Li are technically staycations, even if I’m working during the week. My agoraphobic ass doesn’t have to leave the house unless I really want to. I like my house, it’s safe, all my things are here and even better there are no other people (except Li).

I get to sleep in my own bed. I can spend my time chilling and doing the things I enjoy doing – I can catch up on some TV or movies that I want to watch, I can read, I can game, I can write. If I want to go out, I can do it at my own pace and schedule.

I would like to do more trips within the country or abroad but honestly, with the cost of living right now, I can’t really afford to do anything more than a weekend away – and I’d rather keep those for when I toddle off somewhere random (or just up to Glasgow) to see Raintown.

So yes, a staycation at home, with nothing to do and no plans and I can just properly relax is wonderful. There’s plenty of places to go to for day/mini-breaks if I want but mostly spending chill time alone or with Li is definitely where it’s at.

top ten tuesday

Authors I’d Love a New Book From

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Authors I’d Love a New Book From (These could be authors that have passed away, who have retired from writing, who have inexplicably gone quiet, or who might jut not be able to keep up with how quickly you read their books!)

Anne Rice
Poppy Z Brite
Dan Brown
Bill Bryson
Michael Cordy
Michael Crichton
Belinda Jones
Richard Laymon
Stel Pavlou
Andrea Penrose

top ten tuesday

Books with Flowers on the Cover

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is May Flowers and so these are 10 books from my TBR with flowers on the cover


Jaimie Admans – The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove
Lex Croucher – Infamous
Kiley Dunbar – The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday
Sarah Hawley – A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon
Talia Hibbert – Untouchable


India Holton – The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
Freya Marske – A Marvellous Light
Holly Martin – Spring At Blueberry Bay
Ali McNamara – Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood
Julia Quinn – The Duke & I

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Villains I’d Root for instead of the Protagonist

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge question is Villains I’d Root for instead of the Protagonist

Polyphemus – the Cyclops from Homer’s Odyssey

Now, I’m not saying he was innocent or completely faultless in his own downfall, but I do root for him over Odysseus. This statement can and does also apply to Circe in regards to her interactions with Odysseus and his men. And, really, I don’t think we’re supposed to be rooting much for Odysseus – so much of the poem is a cautionary tale against breaking the custom of xenia; of the importance of honour and respect; and of the consequences of not abiding by the guidelines of proper social interaction between a guest and a host.

Homer specifically uses this story as an exaggerated example of the dangers of assuming who deserves respect. The episode takes the concept of hospitality and distorts it, showing both Polyphemus as a bad host, and Odysseus and his men as bad guests. Odysseus judges the cyclops as being uncivilised, and therefore unworthy of being granted respect (Homer, The Odyssey, 9.187-9.192). While he does not let his men steal any of Polyphemus’ flock, they do disrespect his property by entering his home without invitation, lighting his fire, and eating his food. (9.224-231). Polyphemus breaks the custom in return by questioning Odysseus as soon as he finds him, rather than feeding him first as xenia dictates (9.252-255). Then, not only does he not offer the crew a meal, but Homer further distorts the concept for his audience by having Polyphemus make a meal of Odysseus’ crew (9.287-293).

So, yes, while he’s certainly not an innocent victim, I’d root for Polyphemus over Odysseus because was protecting both his home and his livelihood from invading strangers, he was force fed alcohol to make him drunk, then brutally stabbed in his one eye – how is he now supposed to care for himself and his sheep?

top ten tuesday

Reasons I’ve DNFed a book

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is Petty Reasons You’ve DNF’d a Book.

I’m still learning to DNF books – I’ve always been a bit of a Magnus Magnusson “I’ve started, so I’ll finish” but over the last 18 months or so, I’ve started learning that it’s ok to stop reading a book I’m not enjoying for any reason. It doesn’t matter if I’m 5% or 65% of the way through – it’s not fair on the author, on the book, on me and life is too short/my TBR is too big to read a book I’m not enjoying.

Although I do find, especially with Libby and Borrowbox where I try more different variety of book than I otherwise would, that there’s a lot of books I stop reading somewhere in the first parag/first page and they don’t even get logged as started in order TO DNF – I basically class them as not started. But I will be including them here.

So, in no particular order – and I don’t know petty some of these are per se:

Layout/formatting issues or choices
If there’s no paragraph breaks and I’m facing just a huge wall of text, that’s an instant nope for me. The same goes for no speech marks when characters are talking – It just gives me the ick.

Lack of editing
I once DNFed a book because the tense had changed three times on one page and the guitarist was playing a ‘cord’. It’s a lack of care, and I’m not reading something that hasn’t had even the most basic of editing.

Short chapters
I HATE short chapters – when they’re just two or three pages long. It feels like I’m being constantly thrown out of the story, especially when the POV or scene changes every time. It feels like the author doesn’t know how to finish a scene so just… stops. I refuse to read James Patterson because of it.

I don’t like the narrative voice
Sometimes, you just don’t like the ‘sound’ (I don’t listen to audiobooks so I mean the written voice as it were) of the narrative – often for me it’s because it feels flat or boring and leaves me not caring. I also don’t have a huge amount of patience for an unreliable narrator.

Multiple perspectives/POV but they sound the same
Following on from that, when a book is being told from multiple characters’ perspectives, but the narrative voice doesn’t change and sounds exactly the same. I should be able to tell without your header telling me that this is a different person narrating this bit of the story because no two people sound the same.

Story/topic just doesn’t grab me
I have ADHD and all the related attention-span fun that comes along with that. If a book doesn’t grab my attention within the first couple of pages then chances are, I’ll put it down to do something else and never pick it back up again.

It started off well but lost my interest
Sometimes, a book will get past that initial attention-grab, I’ll keep reading it and it seems like everything’s going well. Only then I’ll realise I haven’t picked it up in 6 months, I don’t actually care about the characters or the story, I pass over it every time I’m picking what I’m going to finish/read next, and I just don’t want to read it. And so it gets DNFed.

Unlikable characters
I prefer plot-based stories to character-based ones, I like books where something happens but at the same, I have to care about the people that the plot is happening to. If I don’t care about them or the things happening to them, there’s no point in continuing to read.

Jumping the shark
When a story hits the point where its just throwing in random ideas out of completely nowhere that have nothing in common with anything else in the story, I end up just rolling my eyes and being completely DONE. There was one book I was reading last year that I DNFed at 46% because out of the blue the narrative just went ‘oh, BTW, main character’s secretly actually a hellhound’ and NOPE.

Hyperfixation over
This is more for non-fiction books but quite often I’ll have a hyperfixation on a particular topic and start reading All The Things. But then that hyperfixation can disappear as quickly as it starts and I have absolutely no interest in finishing, for example, the random chemistry/geology/astrophysics (to name a few examples from the last year or so) book that I started months ago.

What are some things that will make you DNF a book?

stacking the shelves

Stacking the Shelves #13

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Reading Reality all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I’ve been intentionally not picking any new books up for a couple of weeks, because I once again got overwhelmed by my currently-reading and TBR piles. I’ve been working on bringing down the number of books I’ve started – I’ve now only got 13 books in the currently-reading – and I’m figuring out what the best number of ‘actively reading’ is, which seems to be about 6-8.

This week, however, books came home with me from various places. We’re not even going to think about the number of free books from the Stuff Your Kindle romance and cozy mystery Book Blast.

I picked up one book on Kindle – it was actually advertised to me on Facebook, it sounds ridiculous and it only cost 99p so what was I meant to do?

Julia Golding – The Persephone Code

WH Smith had two paperback books for £14 offer on – and since The Earth Transformed was £12.99 on its own, Happy Place was practically free

Peter Frankopan – The Earth Transformed
Emily Henry – Happy Place

Then Freckles, Finders Keepers and The Marks of Cain came from a charity shop, so it doesn’t count as ‘buying books’ – it’s essentially philanthropy!

Cecilia Ahern – Freckles
Stephen King – Finders Keepers
Tom Knox – The Marks of Cain

I’m also continuing my one-llama mission to fund Libraries Unlimited £1 at a time (reservation fee) and had three reservations come in

Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: Pigs Might Fly
Ruth Goodman – How To Be A Victorian
Milly Johnson – The Teashop on the Corner

My reading goals for the coming week look something a little like:
finish Juliet Ashton – The Sunday Lunch Club (currently 44%)
finish Sharon Blackie – If Women Rose Rooted (currently 42%)
start Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: Pigs Might Fly
finish Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere (currently 40%)
start Alix E Harrow – The Starling House
finish Emily Henry – Book Lovers (currently 29%)
finish Milly Johnson – The Teashop on the Corner (currently 57%)
finish Matthew Reilly – Scarecrow (currently 59%)
finish Stacey Solomon – Happily Imperfect (currently 34%)
start Nancy Warren – Lace & Lies
(to be fair, I’m spending over 6 hours on trains on Tuesday so it’s not as daunting as it seems!)