books

Sunday Reading Wrapup

What are you currently reading?

M.T. Clanchy – From Memory to Written Record: England 1066-1307 47% read. I’ve said this before – this book was written to be written, not to be read. It’s utterly fascinating but it’s a serious slog
DK Publishing – SuperSimple Chemistry 18% read. I picked this up on the Libby app, I didn’t realise it was a bite-size revision guide LOL but I’ve been on a science kick lately and it looked interesting. It is.
Imogen Edwards-Jones – The Witches of St. Petersburg 65% read. I’m feeling a little meh on this one. It has some good bits but mostly interspersed with blah. I don’t really care about the characters but I’m kinda curious where it goes. Mostly reading to fill the Russia prompt on a Round The World reading challenge.
Claire Heywood – The Shadow Of Perseus 49% read. Picked it up from the library, and I am loving this, y’all. It’s being told from the women in his life, so far I’ve read Danae and Medusa, and moving to Andromeda. So much love!
Stel Pavlou – Decipher 40% read, still absolutely batshit and I fucking love it! grins a bit like Matthew Reilly’s Temple, it has all the best bits of crazy sci-fi & pseudoscience & pseudohistory, with just enough of the actual stuff… kind of Ancient Aliens. LOL
Matthew Reilly – Ice Station 35% read, not loving it quite as much as Temple but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable read. Maybe a little similar plotline-wise in places to Decipher but a very different approach.

I think my goal for the weekend is to finish either Witches Of St Petersburg or The Shadow of Perseus

What did you recently finish reading?

Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone – The Warlock of Firetop Mountain 4/5 Li and I discovered we both loved Choose Your Own Adventure & Fighting Fantasy books when we were kids, so naturally we checked this out of the library and had a super nerdy date night. It took us 4 attempts to get through – Li drawing the map of our adventure while I read the book out.
Raynor Winn – The Salt Path 4/5 This had been on my TBR for ages, I saw one of her other books in the library so checked to see if they had this one, which they did and it was bloody brilliant, I could barely put it down.
Janna Levin – Black Hole Survival Guide 3/5. Like I said, I’ve been on a science kick recently, this was actually one of Li’s library books but I ended up reading it as well. I understood about 60% of the actual science, but could follow what Levin was saying about 90% of the time. Throughly enjoyed my trip into a black hole grins
Kris Hallenga – Glittering a Turd 4.5. I picked this one up on Libby purely based on the title, didn’t look to see what it was about. And I’m glad I didn’t, because I probably wouldn’t have read this, if I’d known it was a memoir of someone living with stage 4 cancer. But it’s amazing and highly recommended!
Angela Kelly – The Other Side Of The Coin 4/5. Another random Libby read (I love the app for that LOL) but I couldn’t resist it. A memoir of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer, filled with so many lovely anecdotes and fascinating details about what goes into dressing The Queen. And lovely never-seen-before candid photos. I thoroughly enjoyed it – and Li knows I did because of how much I read out loud to her LOL

What do you think you’ll read next?

Meik Wiking – The Little Book of Lykke
Katja Pantzar – The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu
Both books I picked up from the library based on how much I loved the Hygge books. I don’t know if I’ll enjoy them, but I’m curious and they’re due back next week so definitely moving to the top of the pile LOL

books

Series I’d Like to Start/Catch up on/Finish

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 prompt isn’t inspiring me, so I’m going for a rewind and using one I missed previously which is Series I’d Like to Start/Catch up on/Finish

Ben Aaronovitch – Rivers of London I’m like 3 books, 2 novellas and a short story collection behind. Hanging Tree is actually top of my TBR
Kelley Armstrong – Women of The Otherworld I don’t think I’ve ever read further than about 6 or 7 books through the series. Bitten is back on my TBR to restart – and finish the series.
Christie Barlow – Love Heart Lane I own pretty much the whole series on Kindle but haven’t even started it yet. Love Heart Lane is on my Spring TBR to resolve this
Patricia Briggs – Mercy Thompson Absolutely loved the first 2 or 3 books, but for some reason never carried on.
Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files I’ve read Storm Front, book 2 has been on my TBR for years and I’ve never carried on.
Sarah J Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses I’ve read the first 2 books, got the next 2 on my Kindle, I think I’m invested enough that it won’t take long!
Chloe Neill – The Chicagoland Vampires Some Girls Bite has been on my TBR for years.
Anne Rice – The Vampire Chronicles Even though these have been my favourites for years, I’ve not actually read the last couple. I’ve started a re-read recently and Vampire Lestat is on my TBR
Ransom Riggs – Miss Peregrine I read the first book years ago, recently finished the second and the third is near the top of my TBR. Turns out there’s a lot more in the series than I realised!
Nancy Warren – The Vampire Knitting Club I accidentally read the first book in one sitting, bought the next couple… and didn’t read them.

The more I started looking at these, the more and more I realised there are SO MANY book series that I’ve started and not finished, so I think once I’ve whittled a little away at my TBR, I need to go through the history of my goodreads and work out all the series I have in progress. I sense a new spreadsheet in my future!

books

TBR Reorganisation

You know those 5-minute jobs that end up taking over a day? Yeah, I had one of those over the weekend.

I’d finished a book and couldn’t decide what to read next, Li mentioned something about wondering if there was a random TBR generator or one that suggests items on your TBR based on what you were in the mood for and I remembered that Storygraph can actually do that. Li asked why I didn’t utilise that and so I explained that my Storygraph TBR was copied over from my Goodreads want-to-read and wasn’t just the books that were physically on my TBR/kindle.

A quick realisation that the storygraph one is literally called TBR and I decided to use it as such. I deleted the whole TBR from storygraph and started manually adding books back onto it. I added the whole Waterstones haul, the books I have out of the library, the books I have on Libby, all the books currently downloaded onto my Kindle and the first pile of my physical TBR (which while I don’t have all the books with me, I do have a spreadsheet). It ended up taking… much longer than expected but also because I ended up doing a lot of librarian-ing on Storygraph, correcting detail information, uploading cover images etc etc.

I’m going to keep using the goodreads want-to-read as being a huge long list of books I would love to read. Does it need sorting through at some point? Yes, yes it does but that’s a worry for Future Cassie.

But what I do now have is a TBR on Storygraph that accurately reflects my TBR. and there’s only 99 books on it

books · music monday

My route around the library + Music Monday

I’ve been told that the way I choose books in the library – and in the Libby app – other than collecting reservations is a little bit… well.. odd. So I thought I’d write about it and see what y’all think!

My first stop in the library is the ‘quick choice’ or recommended reads section. There’s usually a good selection and I can usually pick up a chick lit there. Though lately there’s been some good historical there too.

Then, I’ll have a look at the returns cart, I find it interesting to see what other people have been reading and it’s a good way of finding something I wouldn’t necessarily normally pick up.

From then, a lot of it depends on the book/s I’m returning – if I’m returning non-fiction, I’ll pick up another non-fiction on the same topic, plus a fiction book by an author whose surname is alphabetically similar.
So, for example, when I return David Attenborough’s Adventures Of A Young Naturalist, I’ll pick up:
– another auto/biography
– another nature book
– and a fiction book by someone whose surname starts ‘Att’.

If I’m only returning fiction, it’ll be another book by someone’s who name starts with the same letters

I then pick up fiction from the start of the fiction section, one horror or sci-fi, and one history or science non-fiction.

With the Libby app, I’m more likely to have placed a reservation but I also work through the newly added titles, I’ll pick a book from one of the advertised curated collections, and I’ll choose one of the categories that have the lowest number of books available and pick something from there.

Like I said, kind of odd but I find it works and it keeps me reading a wide variety of books.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music while I study again this last week, and on my old blog always used to post a Music Monday where I basically share something I’m really love right now. It’s usually my most-played song of last week and I’ve been listening to a LOT of Peyton Parrish recently – his voice gives me ASMR like fucking crazy, my entire scalp is tingling and it feels like someone’s just taken my brain out of my skull and given it a good massage. I’m purring

For those of you who use the library – do you have a particular route around it or way of choosing the books you’re going to check out? And what music have you been loving lately?

books · stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves

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!

Do you remember how back in May I said I was going to stop getting new to me books, stop checking books out on Libby, stop going to the library and focus on my current physical TBR that’s taking over my flat?
HAHAHAHAH that’s gone about as well as could be expected. I currently have a pile of books akin to Mount Everest. And then I ended up in the library again this week (in my defence, it’s part of my therapy homework to keep practising leaving the house, and the library is generally safe!)

Well the books that came home with me this week are:

I’m particularly looking forward to Adventures Of A Young Naturalist. Bird Summons isn’t one I would normally have picked but it something about the colours and patterns called to me.

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Thanátou (The Blood Witch Saga Book 1)

Happy Publication Day to Natalie J Case whose latest book Thanátou (The Blood Witch Saga Book 1) is out today.

Thána Archer thinks she knows what her life is about. A mid-level manager at a manufacturing company, Thána is good at what she does. She doesn’t believe in magic, witches or ghosts, because those things just aren’t real.

One day, a strange man appears with a strange box and an even stranger story about a family Thána has never known. After him there are others seeking to kill her because she is Thanátou, a Blood Witch. Trying to stay one step ahead of the would-be-assassins, she has to race against time to find the mother who abandoned her all those years ago.

To get to safety, Thána will have to sacrifice her freedom. But can she come to terms with the truth about her past, and the magical powers she doesn’t yet understand?

Doesn’t it sound fantastic? I accidentally just bought it, breaking my ‘new new books, for the love of Zeus will you finish something already Cassie!’ rule because I can’t wait to read it!

books

I Ate’nt Dead

You know what’s really funny? I’ve been meaning to write a post for about a week or so where I say ‘I’m not dead, just distracted’ because…. well because after submitting my essay on the Sanctuary Of Zeus, I fell down the rabbithole of playing Stardew Valley and barely picked up a book in over a month.

Today, I’m finding the time to sit and write this post… because I’m off work sick and feeling pretty dead-like. Li is also sick, but we tested negative for COVID last night so just A.N.Other virus – we’re both fatigued, aching muscles, coughing, fevery so we’re curled up on the couch and I decided now would be the perfect time to move my book blog to it’s new domain

Welcome to bibliollama.uk 

I’m very excited. At some point over the summer, a new llama-themed layout will get created but for now, the only thing different is the background.
Also coming soon, because I am SERIOUSLY rediscovering my love for video games is ludollama.uk

Bookish content to resume shortly!
But for now I shall tell you that I’m currently reading:

books · weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

Benedict Cumberbatch, Fictional Mothers & WWW Wednesday

I finished reading This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch last night and it left me feeling quite disappointed. I was really looking forward to reading this, the subtitle of the book professed it was about ‘the joy of loving something – anything – like your life depends on it’, and I am a shameless fangirl who has always passionately loved their fandoms. So this seemed like it was going to be my kind of book

However, I found that the author spent far too much time being angsty, ashamed and guilty over their love for Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch. She didn’t know how to reconcile herself with her random obsession and honestly I found myself feeling SO sorry for her. Imagine not allowing yourself to love something? But I do recognise that I’ve been in fandom – both on and offline for the best part of 25 years, and pretty much everyone I know is also likewise engaged. I can’t wrap my head around the concept of not passionately and unashamedly loving the things I love (seriously – never ask me about Raintown, Riley Smith or Stargate or you will never get me to shut up. Just ask Jaimie LOL) so I struggled to empathise with Carvan’s point of view. She got there eventually, but I spent a lot of time thinking ‘the muggles are not ok, are they?’

I give it 2.5 out of 5, a cross between ‘meh and ‘it was…alright’ with a side of thinking how much better it could have been

Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge this topic is Best Mother in a book, movie or TV show and my answer to this is Molly Weasley from Harry Potter who is a quintessential mother figure, practically adopting Harry even though she has seven children of her own. She’s kind, stern, forgiving, patient, loving, protective and to me was a really good role model.
Li suggested Janet Fraiser from Stargate SG-1 but looked slightly deer-in-the-headlights when I asked her why. Although I do agree with her: Janet adopted an alien child who was the lone survivor of a virus, even though Cassie actually turned out to be a bomb designed to blow up the SGC. But Janet still did everything in her power to save Cassie, and oh did she go mama-bear when that girl was threatened!

WWW Wednesday
What are you currently reading? Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig, A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, Ancient Greece by Paul Cartledge, Summer At Skylark Farm by Heidi Swain and A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax.
What did you recently finish reading? This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan
What do you think you’ll read next? I’m really hoping to finish some of the books I’m currently reading, and then work on finishing Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Cruel Price by Holly Black and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
books

Reading Intentions

For the last couple of years, I’ve been in a serious reading slump – combined with the guilt, I suppose, that every time I picked up a book to read for fun, there was a little voice in my head saying I should be studying (I’m doing part-time distance learning, Feb-Sept 2020 was my foundation year, Oct 2020-May 2021 was my first level 1, 60 credit module, and I’m just now coming to the end of my second level 1 60 credit module). In 2021 I read 14 books, in 2020 I read 12. Compare that to the 70-80 I used to read and it’s been quite the drop!

This year, I knew I wanted to read more. I’d also discovered booktok, bookstagram and the rest of the online book community at the end of last year and people sharing their love for reading definitely inspired me. I rejigged my TBR (it had gotten a little stale), dusted off my library card, downloaded Libby, set myself a goal of 25 books… and dived in!

I’ve already read 24 books. I’ve increased my reading goal for the year to 50, and tracking still says I’m like 8 books ahead of schedule, so may need to increase it again. And yet… my TBR hasn’t moved. I haven’t read a single book off it. If anything, it’s grown. If I’d read 24 books off my TBR, that would have cleared one of the two piles of books on my coffee table.

And so I’m setting myself some firm goals/intentions for my reading for the rest of this year:
1) Finish the books that are on Libby and don’t check any more out – unless they’re the next in a series I’m reading
2) Finish the pile of books I have checked out of the library and don’t check any more out – unless they’re the next in a series I’m reading
3) Spend the second half of the year focusing on my TBR – both physical and electronic. My physical TBR is one bookcase, another shelf and 4 or 5 piles of books on the floor/tables. There’s also almost 3000 books on my Kindle and my Goodreads ‘to read’ shelf has over 2000 on it.

Wish me luck?
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2022 Adjusted Goals

I am still trying to read far too many books. I’ve got it down to 17 on the currently reading pile, 10 actively reading and 3 that I’m focused on. I blame having the ADHD brain but sometimes, like now, I get really frustrated with myself. Especially when I’ve just gone and downloaded a whole bunch of freebie kindle books, placed holds on like 10 books through Libby, another 6 or 8 physical library reservations AND checked 5 books out of the library this morning.

I had a goal for this year. I was going to tackle my physical TBR. We are three months into the year and do you know how many I’ve cleared off that pile? Not a single one. I got distracted with trying out the books everyone says I should be reading, with getting ARCs to read and review, with worrying about what I thought I ought to be reading to write about here. And what happened? It took the shine off. I wasn’t reading what I loved to read.

So I’m readjusting back to where I was. Sort of. I want to keep finding and reading new things, because that’s exciting. I’ve found new things I’ve loved, and new things I haven’t.
I have a whole thinkypost being drafted about fantasy books and why I don’t like the genre, and I’ve stumbled across a video on TikTok of books that serve as an introduction to things that aren’t Tolkien, Eddings, Pratchett, Feist, etc which are the main contributor to what’s now on hold/reserved.
But I really want to keep working through my TBR before it topples over and kills me in the middle of the night.

With that in mind, I want to get down to where I’m actively reading about 8 books:
One Kindle
One Kindle Unlimited
One Libby – Telford
One Libby – Honiton
One physical library fiction
One physical library non-fiction
One physical TBR
(I live in Telford, betrothed lives in Honiton, I’m a member of both libraries)

I will check in again in another couple of months to see how I’m getting on… wish me luck?!