stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves #9

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!

My Amazon first read selection was:

Susannah Nix – The Love Code

I picked up one Kindle book:

Matthew Reilly – Scarecrow

I checked 8 books out of the library:

Jeremy Clarkson – What Could Possibly Go Wrong
Sarah Gibbs – Drama Queen
Hannah Gold – Finding Bear
Philippa Gregory – Normal Women
Matt Haig – The Midnight Library
Prince Harry – Spare
Katherine May – Wintering
Jennette McCurdy – I’m Glad My Mom Died
(all my reservations came in at the same time, because of course they bloody did! (and yes, I know I’m supposed to be focusing on my physical TBR – don’t look at me in that tone of voice LOL))

My reading goals for the coming week look something a little like:
Finish Grace Dent – Comfort Eating
Finish Ben Aaronovitch – Lies Sleeping
Start RF Kuang – Babel
Keep reading Sarah Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin

top ten tuesday

Books I Meant to Read in 2023 but Didn’t Get To

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 Meant to Read in 2023 but Didn’t Get To and I am feeling VERY called out right now, because oh there are SO MANY

Ben Aaronovitch – Lies Sleeping (Rivers Of London #7)
Travis Baldree – Legends and Lattes
Becky Chambers – A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Bonnie Garmus – Lessons in Chemistry
Ali Hazelwood – The Love Hypothesis

Talia Hibbert – Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
Emily Henry – Book Lovers
Sarah J Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin
Emily St John Mandel – Station Eleven
Tamsyn Muir – Gideon The Ninth

top ten tuesday

Books that defied my expectations

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 That Defied My Expectations and I’ve got five books that exceeded my expectations, and five that failed to live up to them.

Starting with some books that disappointed

Paul Cartledge – Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction. It takes… a certain amount of skill to take a subject as exciting as Ancient Greek history and make it as dull as dishwater to read. Cartledge has that skill in bucketloads!
Olivie Blake – The Atlas Six. Booktok raved about this book for months. It was queer, it was dark academia, it was beautifully written. It had magic and mystery… yeah no. I found it boring, nothing happened, I couldn’t tell the characters apart, didn’t touch it for months because I Did Not Want to pick it up.
Kerry O. Ferris & Scott R. Harris – Stargazing: Celebrity, Fame, and Social Interaction. There was nothing wrong with it, it was very interesting but it all felt a little surface level on how fans interact with celebrities, and nowhere near enough of the sociology/psychology/social anthropology (not sure which is the right ology LOL) behind it. I wanted… more.
Tabitha Carvan – This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch. Considering the tagline is ‘the joy of loving something like your life depended on it’, there was a decided lack of joy in Carvan’s fannishness and far too much angst about it instead. It could have been so good but, sadly, didn’t quite work for me.
Kaleb Cooper – The World According To Kaleb. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know what the point of the book was, other than to make money. He has no life/world experience, the whole book fell flat – except for the few times he talked about farming.

And now we move on to 5 books that exceeded my expectations.

Sarah J Maas – A Court Of Thorns and Roses. I started coming out of a huge mental health breakdown/reading slump at the end of 2020, which is also when I discovered the online book community. I was feeling a little floundery, didn’t know what I wanted to read so picked it up to see what the fuss was about. And fucking loved it!
Jeremy Clarkson – Diddly Squat: A Year On The Farm. I knew I was going to like it. I did not expect that I would find it completely unputdownable and finish it in one afternoon!
Juliet Ashton – The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen. I was expecting chick-lit, and based on that assumption, I thought I knew how the story would go. I was wrong on both accounts. It was so much more filled with mystery and surprise and heartbreak and family and found family and was just amazing
Matt Haig – Notes On A Nervous Planet. I read this in the midst of going through therapy for agoraphobia, and it turned out to be just the thing I needed to read, exactly when I needed to read it. It wasn’t preachy, and Haig didn’t try to ‘fix’ me, he just understood, and felt very soothing and calming.
Nancy Warren – The Vampire Knitting Club. I had no idea that paranormal cozy mysteries were a thing. I’d been trying to get into cozy mysteries for a while but having no luck. I found this on my Kindle, having checked it out on KindleUnlimted at some point and completely fell in love, read it in one afternoon and introduced me to a whole new subgenre which I LOVE!

weekly wednesday blogging challenge · www wednesday

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge & WWW Wednesday

I am so discombobulated right now. Time is definitely doing that whole ‘wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-stuff’. I blame the Bank Holidays. As much as I love having that long weekend off work over Easter and two short weeks, and there’s another Bank Holiday and short week next week, and then the week after that I’m off work… but at the same time, I do not know if I’m coming or going!

But! I got a 96% on my most recent university assignment – and it was a pro-forma plan for my end of module assignment so I’m feeling pretty confident going into that. Although struggling a little with motivation and procrastination – it’s due on the 19th, so ADHD brain is all ‘nah, we don’t need to start yet, it’s not due for aaaages yet’. It’s my first extended essay and first long deadline and I’m not quite sure how to handle it. So I’ve got a call with my tutor tomorrow where I’m going to ask her for some help!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge this week asks Book, movie or TV show you can’t wait for and oh… please allow me flail in a fangirling manner over my sheer nerdy excitement for Jurassic World Dominion. I was 12 or so when I first saw the original Jurassic Park, got the book and fell even more in love. I think I saw JPIII in the cinema like 3 times in 48 hours. I still grin like a fucking insane person at just the theme music, my jaw still drops when we first see the dinosaurs in the park and I will randomly blurt out ‘we have a T-Rex’. I am actually having to pause typing this to stim, because thats how excited I am. I am completely spoiler-free which is my preference, I know nothing about it going in other than that Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum are in it. I have cried with joy at the trailer.
Did I mention that I’m a complete geek? LMAO

WWW Wednesday
What are you currently reading? A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan and Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
What did you recently finish reading? The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson
And I DNFed Crocodile On The Sandback by Elizabeth Peters
What do you think you’ll read next? Notes On A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig, Summer At Skylark Farm by Heidi Swain or A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax.
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