First Chapters – Deciding My Holiday TBR

Book spines - The Magicians by Lev Grossman, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, And I Darken by Kiersten White and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Way back in January, I was shocked to find myself part of a family-holiday-booking process, something I’ve never done before. And as of right now – the very day this blog post goes up, in fact – I will be on my first holiday abroad. Who’d have thought?

So of course my biggest dilemma for the past couple of months has been trying to decide which books to take with me.**Β I very rarely read the “typical” holiday reads – contemporaries, romances, crime novels etc – and so there wasn’t a particular mood to go for when plucking books off my shelves. So I decided to follow Hannah’s idea (A Cup of Wonderland), and decided my reads based on the first chapters. I vastly underestimated how long it would take me to read the first chapters of 10 books and started cheating a little by not reading the entire first chapter of some (I mean, some book chapters can be a solid 50 pages long! No thanks), but either way I eventually whittled it down to 6 books, which is hugely ambitious considering I’m a slow reader and will only be there 10 days. But better to be prepared, right?

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(A little bit later than) Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

pile of books thrown down

This is what happens when you’re an indecisive human. You’re at first adamant you won’t be doing any mid year reading updates on your blog or booktube, but then suddenly, somehow, you end up doing two – one on each. I’ve been loving reading/watching everyone else’s updates, so I couldn’t resist really. I was tagged to do this one by Jess over at Read By Jess, and also the Mid Year Check In Tag by Jasmine over at Jasmine’s Reads, so I decided to spread them across the two platforms. Since the Freak Out tag is the longer one, it’s making its appearance on my blog! If you want to check out the other one too – some of the questions are similar but there are some different ones too! – you can click here. But, anyway, let’s have a lil mid year catch up!

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Fantasy & Myths | My favourite books of 2018 so far

High angle showing an assortment of my favourite books of 2018 so far - the covers hidden - and my travel journal for decoration

Apparently, I’ve become a harsher reviewer in 2018. I say this because now we’re in the 7th month of the year, and I haven’t rated any books 5 stars yet. None. Zero. Zilch. Why?? It’s true, I’m reluctant to give anything less than a newfound all-time fave 5 stars, but you’d figure that somewhere in the 35 books I’ve read so far this year, I’d have found one. It seems not.

Despite this, there are a few that have still stood out to me this year and have gotten close to those treasured 5 stars. I don’t think anyone will be surprised to see there’s a theme of fantasy and ancient history. But these four books are the ones currently in the running for my favourites of 2018…unless I miraculously discover a whole suitcase full of new favourites in the next 5 months between now and the end of the year. But here, (a little over) halfway through, we have my current highlights!

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Stratford-Upon-Avon // Visiting Ol’ Shakespeare

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Though not being the most prolific reader of Shakespeare, I couldn’t resist a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon when offered. As always, my love for literature and history found themselves closely tied, and walking around what used to be a medieval market town fascinated me to no end.

The town itself is stunning, full of beamed buildings for even the most standard shops, something I was glad to see because lord, how I hate modern buildings in comparison. Quaint, cobblestoned streets bustling with people going about their day to day lives, we probably couldn’t help looking like the tourist types the locals are no doubt used to by now.

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Favourite university reads | What a mix of eras

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“Canonical writing is born of an originality fused with tradition.”

– Harold Bloom

At long last – but seemingly all too soon – I’ve reached the end of my first year at university. A long summer awaits, and so it’s time to bid farewell to the reading list of first year and anticipate the list for next year. But before doing so, the favourites of the bunch await their highlight.

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Haworth ~ Bronte Country

I’ve wanted to visit the Bronte Parsonage for years. Though I’ve read a pitiful amount from the infamous Bronte sisters so far, the history and literature lovers inside me bound together and willed me go. And so after all those years of waiting, I went.

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‘…when the setting sun shone on it and the topmost heights, and the whole extent of landscape besides lay in shadow.’ {Emily Bronte}

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The books I gave a home, but not a read (yet)

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“How many books do you have on your shelves that are unread?” is probably a question that’s better left unanswered (although, I’ll have you know it’s not as many as I thought…it’s bad, but not as bad). And when it comes to my good old phrase of “I’ve been meaning to read this one for years!” you can guarantee I’m not exaggerating. But it had me thinking – which books have I been meaning to get round to the longest?

I actually loved doing this post and unearthing the lost treasures on my shelves. Not that they were ever hidden…they just became vastly overshadowed by at least 3 or 4 years worth of shiny new books (yikes). But since I log all the books I own on Goodreads, I managed to trace back the ones I’ve had on my shelves the longest quickly enough. And so here’s the books I gave a home to all those years ago, but have still yet to read…

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Book Haul Spotlight | Plucking out my priorities from one heck of a haul

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A few days ago I uploaded a huge collective book haul to my channel – and while it’s just so much easier to fawn over all the books in actual speech form over there, I also figured...hey, why not spotlight some of the ones I’m really looking forward to reading on my blog? There’s so many books listed in that video (it’s linked at the end if you’d like to see them all!), but some really stand out to me as top priorities for the upcoming months and I basically just want another reason to chat about them all the more.

This list is…a varied one. Honestly I should probably stop giving that warning before any form of book list I provide, because it’s starting to get repetitive πŸ˜† BUT if you want to see everything from the myth retellings and freak cosmic events I’m eager to pluck from my shelves – well, here they are spotlighted

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Reading Update: How could this possibly be more sporadic?

sporadic reading

The last couple of months or so have been odd for my reading routine. Usually, things run pretty smoothly. I read one or two books per week, either morning or evening – sometimes both, if things are especially slow. I trundle through each month at the same pace, very happily so.

But the exact opposite seems to have happened through August and September. And since my “update/random” blog posts have been more general life based lately, I figured it was time for a reading update. And the sporadic pacing only makes a fab story, I suppose *shrugs*

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An Update: The way reviews are done around these parts

review update

So. Another update.

As you might have seen in my most recent Sunday Status post, I’ve been gradually converting this blog into something more relaxed, more personal. As I said there, I’m not going to post if I don’t have anything worth writing about – I’m not going to keep myself on a schedule. Especially with the looming event of university starting.

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