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

monthly wrap up

June 2023 Reading Wrap-Up

I had quite the good reading month in June and finished 9 books

Kaleb Cooper – The World According To Kaleb
I am honestly not sure what the point of this book was. Other than to make money.

Like most fans of Clarkson’s Farm, I utterly adored Kaleb but this book was… well, it was exactly what you’d expect of a sheltered young man who’s never left the village he’s grown up in or experienced any kind of life outside of his circle.

There were a couple of points that were really interesting, and the bits of the book where he was talking about farming, the tone totally changed and you could feel his love. But as an overall reading experience, it fell flat

A 1.25 star read

Andrea Penrose – Murder at Half Moon Gate (Wrexford & Sloane #2)
The second of the Wrexford & Sloane regency mysteries and another excellent read. All the characters felt more fleshed out and real, even the secondary ones, and I’m not even hating the flirting between Wrexford & and Sloane, which I normally HATE. The mystery kept me guessing, and the story kept the pages turning

Now to wait ~patiently for the next 15 weeks for the next one to be available at my library

A 4 star read

Tim Marshall – Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics
Not my usual topic of choice when reading non-fiction, but it had been on my radar as something I thought I’d like to read for years. Goodreads kept recommending it, and I’ve picked it up in the bookshop a couple of times but it never made it home. I spotted it on the Libby app and it was checked straight out. Annoyingly, neither of the library services I’m a member of have the rest of the series electronically, but Devon libraries does have them physically.

The book was absolutely fascinating and very information. I swear I learned more about the conflicts in the Middle East in 1o pages than I’ve ever learned in my entire life. I’ve also never been more ashamed to be a white British person – like, I knew colonialism caused a whole bunch of shit and we were responsible for it, but not quite to this extent.

I was also blissfully unaware of quite how close the world is to devolving into entire chaos, and how many different countries either Russia or China have a hand in. It now feels like the slightest hair-trigger could cause what now feels like the entire world to spiral into war – because no matter where it happens, either China, Russia or the US is involved and then India or Japan or the UK would get involved

It actually started to trigger my main agoraphobia symptoms – the one I’ve spent the last two years working on of ‘the world outside isn’t safe – so I had to put it down for a while, which is why it’s lost a half point.

I will, however, still be picking up and reading the next book – but with the proviso it’s going to be alternating read with something a little light and fluffy for the sake of my mental health

A 3.5 star read

Ransom Riggs – Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #3)
I’m really liking the mythology Riggs is building and weaving into the world of Peculiardom he’s created, but the stories themselves are getting repetitive. And I found the ending of this one to be particularly unsatisfying.

A 3.75 star read

Neil Gaiman – The Ocean At The End Of the Lane
My first reaction was ‘well that was bloody weird’, but it’s Neil Gaiman, so you kind of expect it. I’m not usually a fan of Gaiman’s style, which is a shame because I think he’s a fantastic storyteller and this was a wonderful, whimsical, fantastical tale which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think magical realism might have to be a genre I investigate a little more!

A 4.25 star read

Peter Ackroyd – Foundation (History Of England #1)
I have taken my time savouring this book because it is utterly fantastic! Also, hi, special interest, anyone? It covers everything from the neolithic through to the Wars Of The Roses and the death of Henry VII. I was filled with complete and utter glee for most of the reading and loved that even though he covered a HUGE amount of info, he didn’t get bogged down in the details. Straight-forward, to the point and a really good overview of the history of England. Ackroyd has this ability to bring the past to life in his narrative and I loved reading about the bits I didn’t know – and falling back in love with the Plantagenets and the Wars all over again (which, y’know, I always do!)

A 4.25 star read

Wendy Jago – How to Manage Your Mammoth: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting Things Done and Bringing Ambitions to Life
I picked this up from the library purely based on the title because it kind of intrigued me – I’m a terrible procrastinator, although how much of that is ADHD I don’t know. Also the cover made me laugh. I found a few useful pointers about figuring out what kind of worker you are, and how to use it to your advantage, and it didn’t feel particularly like it was talking down on me so it was definitely worth picking up

A 3 star read

Susan Cooper – Over Sea Under Stone (The Dark Is Rising #1)
Even though I’ve never read it before, this books reminded me of my childhood. I grew up in the West County, and played a lot of make believe/mystery-solving games, based a lot on Enid Blyton, and this had those same vibes. I also adore Arthurian mythology and the Grail.. so it was a no brainer really. I’m really glad Li recommended the series to me

A 3 star read

Alexis Caught – Queer Up: An Uplifting Guide to LGBTQ+ Love, Life and Mental Health
With the world rapidly turning back against not-straight and not-cis people like myself, it’s nice to actually read a really positive, uplifting, book about being queer. While it was definitely aimed at a younger audience, it’s a book that teen me would have been over the rainbow to read so I indulged. I couldn’t not pick it up from the library, I mean really!

A 3 star read

Looking more at the stats side of things:
9 books, 2608 pages – 56% between 300 & 499 pages long, 44% <300 pages
The main moods were mysterious & informative
78% medium paced, 22% face paced
56% non-fiction, 44% fiction
My most read genres were fantasy, young adult, and history
My average rating was 3.33

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Weekly Wednesday Catch-up

Every time I think I’ve caught myself up and got into a rhythm, life laughs at me. I actually got my ADHD diagnosis yesterday which helps me understand a little why this happens, and I can start to try and figure out things out once we find a medication schedule that helps!

But, for now, it’s another catch-up on the Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge

A famous book I’ve never read, and why, and honestly there are SO many of them. 

The first one that always springs to mind on this sort of question is Lord of the Rings. I don’t enjoy high fantasy, the hero’s journey in high fantasy bores me to tears and I have no patience for Tolkien’s writing style. 

But, like I said, there’s so many of the famous and/or classics books that I haven’t read because they simply don’t interest me or the writing style or narrative voice don’t work for me. And I’ve tried a couple of the popular booktok authors lately, Colleen Hoover & Sally Rooney as examples, and thought they were dreadful, didn’t get past the first page.

Best non-fiction book I’ve read? Can you at least narrow that down into subjects? I read so much non-fiction about so many different things.

I went to my goodreads, selected the non-fiction shelf and sorted into 5 star reads and there’s everything from Derek Acorah – Haunted, Anton Adams – The The Learned Arts Of Witches & Wizards: History And Traditions Of White Magic, The Intimate Adventures Of A London Call Girl, Written in Stone: The Hidden Secrets of Fossils and the Story of Life on Earth, Gods with Thunderbolts: Religion in Roman Britain, Silent Witnesses: The Often Gruesome But Always Fascinating History of Forensic Science, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England, Megacatastrophes!: Nine Strange Ways The World Could End and Diddly Squat: A Year On the Farm – and that’s just the first handful of a shelf of 136 books

Sports I’ve tried and what I thought of them I am not a sporty llama. I have joint issues and have spent most of my life on crutches. Sport is generally not a thing I do. I do love going for a walk, and I’m absolutely terrible at but enjoy playing tennis. And I do love exergaming on the Wii, especially Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, Wii Sports, snowboarding and boxing games.

book reviews

Some drive-by mini reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve done any mini-reviews (and, y’know, actually finished reading any books to write a review of) so here’s a little round-up of what I’ve been reading recently.

I’ve DNFed two books in the last week:
The first one was Kelly Ambers – Her First Collar: A Beginning to Pet Play (Kitten Play BDSM Book 1). I’m not entirely sure how a nice little BDSM erotica could be so flat, but I gave up about 3 pages in. There was no life to it and I was bored.
The second one was Tangled Rhythm: An Anthology. By the time the tense had changed three times on one page, and the guitarist was playing a ‘cord’… nope. Yes, as an anthology by multiple authors, another story in the selection could have been better, but if the editors had let the first one be that bad? I’m not risking it.

Mira Grant – Symbiont (Parasitology #2)
4/5, horror, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction, zombies
I really enjoyed Symbiont. I didn’t find it quite as unputdownable as Parasite, and like many a ‘middle of a trilogy’, there were a few points where it felt a little ‘filler’ and I got a little frustrated with the lack of common sense and decision-making abilities of Sal – but then when you consider who and what she is (trying to not spoil anyone here LOL), it’s understandable from a story-telling perspective. Absolutely nothing like I was expecting and I think my current world anxiety stopped me from enjoying a good apocalypse as much as I usually do, but still a bloody good read.

Anne Rice – Interview With Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1)
5/5, gothic, historical-fiction, horror, vampires
I first read Interview when I was a young teenager, I came out of seeing the movie and went straight into WHSmith where I bought Interview, Vampire Lestat, and Queen Of The Damned. I’ve been in love with these books ever since. I absolutely love the storytelling, Anne Rice’s descriptions are so vivid and beautiful. I don’t, however, particularly like Lestat or Louis as characters but as an introduction to them, to the other characters, the world-building, and the beginnings of the mythology, this is a fantastic book and I re-read it regularly. I love Louis’ voice, I love lines like “That morning, I was not yet a vampire. And I saw my last sunrise. I remember it completely, yet I do not think I remember any other sunrise before it I just wish he was… less whiney but when you think about everything that happened to him, it makes perfect sense

Heidi Swain – Summer at Skylark Farm (Wynbridge #2)
4/5, chick-lit, contemporary, romance
I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love the ‘city girl ups and moves to a farm’ kind of storyline and this was a wonderfully fluffy, feel-good example of the genre. I loved watching Amber grow from being completely out of depth and gaining her confidence, her relationship with Jake growing, and making friends with the somewhat eccentric cast of characters that make up Wynbridge. It was nice to catch up with the characters from Cherry Tree Cafe too. I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series.

Sarah Pomeroy et al. – A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture
4/5, ancient-history, classical-studies, history, non-fiction, reference
So this is actually one of the set books for my current university module. But I wanted to read the whole book before I started needing to dip in and out of it – both so that I wouldn’t get distracted by carrying on reading, and also so that I’d have some familiarity with the content when I needed it. I found this to be a really good overview of the topic, it was presented in an easy-to-understand way – and I’ve made notes in the margins on things I’d like to know more about if they’re not included in my course.

Nancy Warren – The Vampire Knitting Club (Vampire Knitting Club #1)
5/5, cozy-mystery, paranormal, urban-fantasy, vampires
I’ve been wanting to make a start with cozy mysteries for a while – I’ve had a few false starts but was still determined to find one. I had no idea there was such a thing as paranormal cozy mystery and let me tell you it was love at first page. I accidentally read this all in one sitting. When I was supposed to have been working. The mystery kept me guessing til the end, I didn’t figure whodunnit, and all the characters are such… characters. I can’t wait to see what happens to them next – I’ve already downloaded books 2-4 as they’re on Kindle Unlimited and have made a note of the other series by Nancy Warren.

Mary Beard – Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town
4/5, ancient-history, classical-studies, history, non-fiction
I have loved all things Pompeii since I first read about it as a child and I was lucky enough to go there in 2018. The place is absolutely mindblowing, magical and wrecked the tyres of my wheelchair – it’s many things but disabled accessible is not one of them. I wish I’d read this book before going because I feel I would have seen it in a whole new light, and I really want to go back and see it again with Beard as guide, even virtually. She really brought the town and it’s inhabitants to life, and I love how she admits what we don’t know, that the evidence doesn’t tell us everything but explains how the theories have come from the traces left behind

book reviews

Book Review: How To Be A Healthy & Happy Submissive by Kate Kinsey

Photo of the book How To Be A Healthy & Happy Submissive by Kate KinseyTitle: How To Be A Happy & Healthy Submissive
Author: Kate Kinsey
Dates read: 17/04/22 – 18/09/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: Nevermore Press
Number of pages: 192
Fiction or non-fiction: non-fiction
Subject or genre: BDSM, sexuality

Book blurb:

Beyond Fifty Shades of Grey, there’s an entire kinky world of BDSM, full of real life dominants and submissives enjoying an intimacy and satisfaction in their relationships that vanilla folk only dream of. Whether you want to explore your own submissive fantasies, or you’re just curious about what BDSM is really like, this book will answer all your questions, plus some you didn’t know you had.

Erotic author Kate Kinsey (“Red,” and “The Totally Uncensored Kinky Adventures of Chloe St. Claire, Sex Slave”) brings over a decade of experience as a submissive and kinky educator to this practical step-by-step guide to being a healthy and happy submissive.

Topics covered include: the differences between dominants and masters, submissives and slaves, and tops and bottoms; the different dominant styles; the truth about “training” to be a submissive; how to find like-minded folks in your area; how to negotiate scenes and relationships; what to expect at your first dungeon party; why some people actually enjoy pain; and the warning signs to look out for when talking to potential partners

How I discovered or acquired this book: It was recommended to me by Amazon after reading The Topping Book & The Bottoming Book, and I got it through Kindle Unlimited

Notable quotes The power actually goes both ways because the dominant, by controlling and caring for the submissive, actually empowers the submissive to be who and what they truly are

My thoughts Before we go any further, I feel it is relevant (but also possibly TMI for some) to note that I am a submissive, have known it since my early 20s WAAAY before terrible horrible things like Fifty Shades happened (and that’s a whole ‘nother rant for another day! LOL). Continuing in the TMI thread, neither my Dominant or I have any recent experience and have been doing what all good nerds do, and reading up to refresh ourselves.

This is a really well-written, informative beginner’s guide on what it means to be a submissive. It’s very informal, peppered with anecdotes of Kinsey’s own life/experience and feels like she’s sitting and chatting with you. It doesn’t assume any former knowledge, and is aimed at educating the reader without lecturing.

Part of me wishes I could have read this 10 years ago – I would have found the information on communities and red flags when it comes to Dominants and online behaviour to have been invaluable. But it was also nice to almost have confirmation that the way we’re currently doing things now is ‘right’ – we all need a little external validation from time to time, after all .

4/5, I really loved it, wouldn’t necessarily read the whole thing again but would dip in and out of it as/when needed

book reviews · life

A Quick Catch Up

So, the news in brief and some reading roundups are

The not-COVID I had at the beginning of the month? Yeah, it turned out to actually be COVID. Li and I were both pretty sick for about 10 days, and completely exhausted for about another week. I still get fatigued pretty quickly but thankfully we were both triple vaxxed and survived in once piece.

I got my module result for this year of my degree – for A112 Cultures I received a distinction. 86%! As you can imagine, I am over the freaking moon. So that’s my first academic year complete, 120 credits. Only another 4 modules to go, starting in October with A229 Exploring The Classical World

I’ve been playing a lot of Stardew Valley, and Star Trek: Timelines. Li managed to bring home a Wii the other day, I rediscovered my Game Boy Advance, and we’ve also set up my old SNES. There has been much retro gaming and it has been wonderful.

Of course, a lot of gaming, a slight complete addiction to Pointless, and introducing Li to the Bridgerton Netflix show has meant I haven’t done a huge amount of reading lately. The bookx I have read recently:

Matt Haig – Reasons To Stay Alive
3/5, memoir, mental health, non-fiction, psychology
Bizarrely, as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the other couple of Haig’s books, this one didn’t gel with me. I found it a little too self-help-y, a little too twee. I didn’t connect with it and felt it bringing me down, rather than uplifting me.

Mary Beard – How Do We Look / The Eye of Faith
4/5, art history, history, non-fiction, philosophy, religion
Very interesting, would have liked it to have gone a little more in-depth in a couple of places but I do love her descriptions of the art and places she’s visited and writes about, and it helps bring it to life for me. Her passion also shines through

Mira Grant – Parasite
5/5, horror, medical, science-fiction, thriller
OMG y’all, I could not put this down. It had been on my TBR for ages, finally got it out of the library and sat and read the whole thing in one afternoon. I was reacting outloud and flailing and squeaking at Li… who picked it up as soon as I finished it, also read it in one sitting – falling asleep at like 1am!

My reserves of Symbiont and Chimera have just come in and oh yes, I will be starting Symbiont tomorrow!

Holly Black – Tithe
3.5/, faeries, paranormal, urban-fantasy, young-adult
This one is very much a case of ‘I liked it, but…’ – I was disappointed, really. It was enjoyable enough but there was something missing. It was a little predictable in places, the characters needed a little more rounding and the pacing was… hmm… uneven. And even though there are more books in the series, I don’t care enough to see if the library even has them.

Melanie Cantor – Life and Other Happy Endings
3/5, chick-lit, family, friends, library, read, romance

Such a weird read, and literally lost starts with every section of the story. So it started off as this great 5-star read about a woman who found out she had 3 months to live and was telling people the things she wanted to tell them etc… only then she wasn’t dying because of a test result mix-up, and she was back to being trodden over… only then she was pregnant and yawn. She was way more interesting when she thought she was dying!

Joanna Hickson – First Of The Tudors
4/5, historical-fiction

We’ve covered my love for all things War Of The Roses, yes? And this was no exception! The story centers around Jasper Tudor, his wardship of young Henry Tudor and his relationship with Margaret Beaufort, and the intricacies of the Yorkists, Lancastrians, Tudors, and Warwick The Kingmaker. I will be checking out more of Hickson’s work – she has other stories set in the time period.

Which brings me on to what I’m currently reading:

book reviews

Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Photo of the book Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig on an orange backgroundTitle: Notes on a Nervous Planet
Author: Matt Haig
Dates read: 01/05/22 – 07/05/22
Rating 4.5/5

Publisher: Canongate
Number of pages: 310
Fiction or non-fiction: non-fiction
Subject or genre: health, mental health, philosophy, psychology

Book blurb:

The world is messing with our minds.

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.

Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.

How I discovered or acquired this book: I picked it up off my betrothed’s bookshelf after reading The Comfort Book.

Notable quotes “Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.”

My thoughts I have anxiety, I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember and for the second time in a decade it has tipped into agoraphobia. Pretty much the whole world is making me anxious. So what better to pick up and read?

I read Haig’s ‘The Comfort Book’ the other month and found it really calming, so picked this one up off my betrothed’s book shelf because it seemed quite fitting. And I found it very helpful. It’s not preachy or claiming to know how to ‘fix me’, like so many mental health memoirs can be. Again, I found it very calming, little nuggets of wisdom about the world, about Haig’s experiences, suggestions on ways to work with the world, with technology and social media because these things are needed but with ways to stop them stressing us out. I find his voice soothing and there were so many great ideas that I’ve made a note of to try, to remember… to be.

4.5/5, I really loved it, wouldn’t necessarily read the whole thing again but would dip in and out of it as/when needed

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
book reviews

Drive-by Mini-Reviews, the second

I keep telling myself I’m going to get better at writing proper reviews as and when I finish a book but… it’s not going very well. I’m still not completely confident at writing them, if I’m being honest, but I can already tell I’m improving when I look at the difference in my post about The Lost Apothecary compared to some of my earlier reviews.

And, once again, my habit of reading too many books at a time (back up to 15 again!) means I’ve finished a bunch all at the same time. So you get another round of mini-reviews of them

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
4/5, fae. fantasy, romance, young adult
This… this is not my normal sort of book. I hold up my hands and say I don’t like fantasy. But this is one of those books that EVERYONE loves. It’d been on my TBR for a while, probably a couple of years, but I wasn’t prepared to buy it, in case I didn’t love it. But then this year I’ve started using the library again, signed up for Libby and was able to get the book that way. And… and OH! Yes, I can absolutely see why everyone loves this book. The world-building didn’t feel all encompassing but actually just part of the story, we discovered the world as Feyre did and because we were seeing it through her eyes, there weren’t 7 pages about a blade of grass, y’know? I loved how the vivid and tangible Prythian feels and the characters are very real – interesting, annoying, frustrating, with genuine interpersonal relationships. It didn’t go where I was expecting it to and I ended up loving it more because of it. I got A Court Of Mist and Fury straight out of the library!

The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown
3/5, health, memoir, non-fiction
I picked this one up from the library because the title and summary intrigued me – a memoir of a doctor working in some of our most infamous prisons. I mostly liked it. Some of the anecdotes and stories she told were moving and heartbreaking – and some funny. But I was getting a sense of ‘holier than thou’ from her tone, she felt a little preachy in places and there was a lot of time spent reiterating how wonderful all these hardened violent criminals thought she was.

Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook by Liv Albert
4/5, history, mythology, non-fiction
I love Greek Mythology. I have loved Greek Mythology for well over 30 years at this point, and I’m currently doing a Classical Studies degree. I also have friends who love mythology and recommended Liv’s podcast to me. I’ve listened to a few episodes but sadly podcasts and I are not friends – I think it’s my ADHD, I just zone out when people are talking at me. But when I heard she had a book, based on what I’d heard, I knew I had to have it. I was right. It’s a great overview of the characters and stories that feature in the mythology – just enough information to give a good feel for each one but without being overwhelming. The art is stunning (seriously, I want a print of the Zeus artwork) and the book has a informal, friendly tone.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
5/5, biology, health, history, non-fiction, science
I don’t know where to start with writing about this book. I fucking loved it. I adore Bill Bryson’s style of writing and human biology/anatomy/physiology has been a fascination of mine since school biology lessons. I definitely wasn’t let down. It wasn’t a deeply scientific book but it also didn’t talk down to the reader and was filled with fascinating anecdotes and trivia that I had to share with my betrothed as I was reading – and our tagline became ‘but we don’t know why’. It’s both fascinating and horrifying how damn much we don’t know but at the same time, I loved re/learning the history of how we discovered what we do know.

I am still trying to read about 15 books (trying to get it down to 8) but mostly focusing on 5 of them:
Holly Black – Cruel Prince
Sarah J Maas – A Court Of Mist & Fury
Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Certain Dark Things
Heidi Swain – Summer at Skylark Farm
Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled

top ten tuesday · weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

Classic Literature, Mythological Creatures and What I’m Reading Wednesday

So, yesterday’s Top Ten On Tuesday asked 21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics and honestly, I don’t have an answer to this, mostly because the kinds of books I read aren’t ones that would be considered for that status. It did, however, inspire quite the conversation between me and the betrothed about what it takes for a work to be a classic, what makes a work a classic and what it means when something gets awarded that status

That makes two thinkythought posts brewing:
One about fantasy
One about the nature of classic works
Are you interested in reading these, and if so – which one would you like to hear first?

Now, moving on to today’s link-ups:
Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge asks What mythological animal you’d like to have as a pet and knee-jerk reaction is a unicorn. 
But then… there’s dragons and chimera and mermaids and sphinxes and griffins and phoenixes and cerberus etc etc and that doesn’t even begin to cover Pegasus! 
No, I’m totally not a mythology geek. No, I’m totally not studying Classical Studies because of my love of mythology… why do you ask? LOL

And last, but by no means least, we have WWW Wednesday asking:
What are you currently reading? I’m trying to focus on finishing three books right now: Dr Amanda Brown – The Prison Doctor; Bill Bryson – The Body; and Sarah J. Maas – A Court Of Thorns and Roses
What did you recently finish reading? I DNFed Rainbow Rowell – Eleanor & Park at the beginning of the week. I read the first 30 pages of it about 10 days ago, wasn’t really feeling and just couldn’t be bothered to pick it back up again. I think a mixture of not being the target audience and being very frustrated with how information was being drip-fed too slowly – I had no reason to care, and not enough interest to read enough to find out. 
What do you think you’ll read next? I think it’ll either be Matt Haig – Notes On A Nervous Planet and finishing two other in-progress books Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl and Liv Albert – Greek Mythology