20 Books of Summer

Cathy of 746 books takes on a challenge every year: to read 20 books over the summer.  This year she’s inviting everyone to join in and there’s just no way I could pass up, since I love a good reading challenge!  Plus, the challenge works out as 7 books a month, and to hit my goodreads goal I need just over 8 books a month, so I’m hoping it’ll help keep me motivated over the summer when I think my reading could go down a little thanks to the nice weather and my other half being off work!

The challenge runs between June 1st and September 5th, and any book started after the 1st of June counts.

My list (subject to change!) currently includes:

  1. Remade (Alex Scarrow) ✓
  2. The Crown (Kiera Cass) ✓
  3. This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab)
  4. And I Darken (Kiersten White) ✓
  5. The Last One (Alexandra Oliva)
  6. Truthwitch (Susan Dennard)
  7. Salvation in Death (J.D. Robb) ✓
  8. The Novice (Taran Matharu)
  9. The Fire Sermon (Francesca Haig)
  10. Blame (Simon Mayo)
  11. Nod (Adrian Barnes)
  12. Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake)
  13. The Sin-Eater’s Daughter (Melinda Salisbury)
  14. Magonia (Maria Dahvana Headley)
  15. Aerie (Maria Dahvana Headley)
  16. Wolf Children (Mamoru Hosoda) ✓
  17. An Unwelcome Quest (Scott Meyer) ✓
  18. Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) ✓
  19. Forever (Maggie Stiefvater) ✓
  20. Death Masks (Jim Butcher)

The Weekly Recap

Incoming

The Dream Thieves (purchased)
Forever (purchased)

Total spend: £1.75

My Week

This week has actually been reasonably quiet but has somehow still felt busy. I spent two of my days off trying to get some blogging and reading done, and another getting some real life preparations done, all in readiness for a few busy weeks coming up… For the next two weeks (hopefully more!) I’ll be doing 6 days a week, so that’ll keep me plenty busy.  I’m excited about everything but I have to admit I’m not quite so looking forward to it all cutting into my reading/blogging/Grey’s Anatomy time!  About the only things I have planned for next week (aside from the aforementioned work) are an evening out to celebrate my other half finishing his course, and hopefully finishing And I Darken!

Finished: Salvation in Death

Currently Reading: An Unwelcome Quest, And I Darken

How was your week?

Review: Remade

Review: RemadeRemade by Alex Scarrow
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on June 16th 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: From the publisher
Amazon
Goodreads
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Leon and his younger sister, Grace, have recently moved to London from New York and are struggling to settle into their new school when rumours of an unidentified virus in Africa begin to fill the news. Within a week the virus hits London. The siblings witness people turning to liquid before their eyes, and they run for their lives. A month after touching Earth's atmosphere the virus has assimilated the world's biomass. But the virus isn't their only enemy, and survival is just the first step . . .

When I read it…

I read this in 24 hours, across June 2nd and 3rd.

What I’d heard before I read it:

Less than nothing – I’ve never read any of Scarrow’s other works, and none of my friends have either so I knew nothing going in.  The blurb on the proof copy was suitably vague, so basically I knew: scary virus.  And that was enough for me to know I had to pick it up!

What worked for me:

  • The pacing: From the second I picked this up, I was absolutely hooked.  The story picks up steam pretty quickly, and it keeps an intense pace throughout that made it pretty much my priority for every free second I had while I was reading it.
  • Leon: I found Leon really easy to relate to: his awkwardness, his frustration, his obsessive googling and anxiety… I connected with Leon straight away.
  • The atmosphere: Remade was eerie.  It made me want to take up running, learn survival skills and build an underground bunker.  Scarrow has painted perfectly a picture of today’s world, which made the spread of the virus and the media suppression of details so much more tense and disturbing.

What didn’t quite work for me:

  • The supporting characters: I’m big on characters, and the nature of the virus means this is a book with a rather small cast.  Aside from Leon, who I adored, Grace, who I alternated between liking and hating, and their dad, who I liked, I didn’t really connect with any of the other characters.  The small cast in Remade meant it wasn’t as big a deal as it could have been in say a book with multiple points of view or a huge cast, but as a character-focused person it’s still a little disappointing.

Remade was an addictive, intense book that I just could not put down.  A great start to the series, and you can bet I’ll be looking for a copy of book 2 when it comes out!

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Fandom Mashups: bar-hopping

Fandom Mashups is a great feature hosted by Micheline.  Every week, a unique fictional scenario is proposed, and everyone then builds their personal dream team of five fictional characters from five different fandoms to complete the task!  Anyone is welcome to join in, just make sure to link back to Lunar Rainbows.

This week: In an uncharacteristic move, you’re going bar-hopping tonight! Which fandom party people are dragging you away from a night curled up with a good book?

Ginny Weasley

I feel like Ginny would be great fun on a night out, and having magic on our side would definitely help, both for getting ready and for hopefully not suffering too much the next day too!

Ronan Lynch

Well, this one just seems like a no-brainer.  Ronan is my favourite of the Raven Boys and definitely knows how to party.

Caroline Forbes

Another girl who would be great fun for a party, and I also feel like if anyone could pick out the perfect outfits, perfect make up, perfect hair etc, it’d be Caroline.  She’d be the giggly, boy-watching, compliment-giving element of the night out, the one suggesting the shots and the one dancing on tables (without me for that bit though, dancing is totally not my thing!).

Roarke

A lot of fun-loving party people in our night-out team so far, but it’d be nice to also have a vaguely responsible individual on our team.  Roarke is the sophisticated, suave type: while he’d definitely be up for having fun, and buying everyone’s drinks, he’s also the type to make sure everyone makes it home safely, and that’s equally important.

Natasha Romanov

So I suspect she could drink the rest of us under the table, but she’d also be plenty of fun.  She’d be the sarcastic, dry counter to Caroline’s giggliness and the kick-ass who could keep Ronan in his place if a few drinks made him obnoxious – or back him up if needed!

Who would you want to party with?

Top Ten Tuesday (#82): Reasons I love Bullet Journaling

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week’s theme is “Ten Reasons I Love X“.  I’ve gone with bullet journaling, my current obsession, and I’ve got 8 reasons why I love it.

It keeps me organised

I got through both my university courses by using a diary religiously, and although I don’t have deadlines and different courses to juggle, I’ve discovered I still need a diary to keep on top of things.  Even though I only work a couple of days each week, those shifts aren’t regular, and so a diary keeps me organised.

It’s flexible

Some weeks I have lots on, others (like on holiday!), I might have nothing to plan out at all.  The beauty of the bullet journal is that I can switch my layouts up: maybe using dailies for a busy weekend, or different weekly layouts depending on how many social events or work shifts I’ve got on.

It lets me be creative

I like to think of myself as creative, but aside from writing, I’m just not – I can’t draw, I can’t play an instrument, I don’t paint or anything like that.  Bullet journaling lets me be creative but knowing that in a few days I’ll have moved onto a new page takes away some of the pressure – I don’t mind messing up because it’s not anything important or that’s going on display.

It makes me want to be productive

I’m a big fan of the to-do list – it lets me get to the end of the week and see that I at least got (for example) a couple of blog posts done, or went to the gym, even if I didn’t manage to achieve everything I wanted to. Ticking off little goals, like tracking my food, or reading makes me want to be productive: how many more things can I tick off? What else can I get done?!

I can use it for all kinds of different interests

From review copies and their publication dates to TV trackers to weight loss, if I have an interest, guaranteed I can find a way to work it into my bullet journal!

The community is FULL of awesome inspiration

From instagram to blogs to Pinterest, there is SO much awesome inspiration out there.  Nine times out of ten, if I come up with something I think would be great in my bullet journal, someone else has done it, and beautifully!  I love browsing instagram and getting inspiration from the amazing community.

I get bored easily

I’ve been through a fair few planning set-ups, some of which I’ve truly loved: the dodo-pad in my filofax, the plannerisms planner, the adorable undated piyo diary, a moleskine diary & the Palgrave student planner to name just a few.  For pretty much every one, I LOVED it…for a while.  Then, after a while I get bored, I want to mix things up. I no longer love the cuteness, or the minimalism, or whatever look I was so obsessed with, because I’m in a phase of loving something else.  Bullet journaling mean that’s not a problem: I can have a totally plain, black and white layout one week, followed by a decorative one the week after, followed by one filled with Harry Potter, all in one notebook, without having to start over.

It’s reasonably cheap

I’ve kept my bullet journalling supplies pretty minimal: a leuchtturm 1917, and some coloured pens.  It cost me about £13, which is less than any of my filofaxes (£20-£100 each + inserts).  I know the idea is that a filofax lasts a lot longer – apart from inserts which need replacing each year, the binder itself has a long lifespan.  Unfortunately, because I get bored easily, I end up wanting a new filofax by the end of each year at least.  In comparison I estimate I’ll get through 2 bullet journals a year; I started my current one in January and could probably drag it out to the end of the year, but I know I won’t – back to the boredom 😉 Either way, a new notebook at approximately £13 is cheaper than swapping filofaxes!