September Wrap-Up & Looking ahead to October

My reading this month was literally less than half of last month’s- you can tell my uni course has well and truly started!  In October things will ratchet up another notch so outside of studying I haven’t really got too much planned yet.  In September I hit my original Goodreads goal of 100 books, so I’ve slightly increased it to 104 – it’s not much, but I think as term goes on, I’ll probably be reading less and less, so I don’t want to set it too high!  I’ll be continuing with the Fall Bookish Bingo, joining in with Dewey’s 24 hour readathon, and blogging as much as I can around all of that!

Reading


Artemis | A Short History of Nearly Everything | City of Ghosts | Brief Cases | The Island | Sadie

Books read: 6 (12 less than August)
Pages read: 2408 (2578 less than August)
Average pages per day: 80
Average book length: 401
Favourite: A Short History of Nearly Everything

Blogging

Challenge Updates

  • Beat the Backlist (49/48) (+3)
  • Finishing the Series (7/15) (+/- 0)
  • Goodreads (100/100) – Goal achieved! Increased to 104.
  • NetGalley % change: +/- 1% (72%)

September Goals

  • -6lbs: EPIC FAIL.
  • 4 blog posts: Exceeded! 6 posts managed.
  • At least 1 cinema trip & 1 date evening: We managed a cinema trip to see Crazy Rich Asians. We didn’t manage a specific date night, but we did have a few evenings at home with a takeaway and some tv, and also quite a few social things with friends so I’m happy enough with that.

October TBR


My Life and Laughing (294) | Audible (started)
Time’s Convert (436) | Audible
Waking Gods (336) | Library (started)

Target pages = 1066

October Goals

  • Weight loss – back into the 11s
  • 4 blog posts, including 2 reviews
  • Take part in Dewey’s 24 hour readathon
  • At least 1 cinema trip & 1 date evening

How was your September?

The Island (M. A. Bennett)

The Island by M.A. Bennett
on January 1st 1970
Pages: 304
Goodreads

Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad - however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others . . .

When a school summer trip is offered, Link can think of nothing worse than spending voluntary time with his worst tormentors. But when his parents say he can only leave Osney School - forever - if he goes on the trip, Link decides to endure it for the ultimate prize. But this particular trip will require a very special sort of endurance. The saying goes 'No man is an island' - but what if on that island is a group of teenagers, none of whom particularly like each other? When oppressive heat, hunger and thirst start to bite, everyone's true colours will be revealed. Let the battle commence . . .

From the acclaimed author of S.T.A.G.S.

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★
Readability: ★★

I thought I would really enjoy The Island; a group of teens, stranded on a desert island, the bullied and the bullies forced together, no one knows where they are… The concept was great, and having enjoyed Bennett’s previous book (S.T.A.G.S.) I had expectations of a fast-paced, twisting YA thriller.  At only 304 pages, I figured it’d be a quick read, especially given that S.T.A.G.S. was so gripping. Ultimately though, I found The Island disappointing; it felt like a real slog to get into and it took me more than 2 weeks to finish.  I remember reading Lord of the Flies at about 16 and really enjoying it, and I figured this would be a bit like a modernised version of that.  While that was true in some respects, it just never hooked me the way I expected it to and it never got as tense as I expected.

Link has been bullied ever since moving to a posh British school, from having previously been homeschooled in the States.  He reluctantly agrees to go on a school trip over the summer but everything goes wrong and he finds himself stranded on a deserted island with the worst of his tormenters.  Link is quite an unlikable character: he has no real empathy or sympathy and he’s quite self-righteous.  He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else – there are some actions in the book which I’d say prove he isn’t half as smart as he thinks he is, but I can’t explain that without spoilers!  The other characters on the island are stereotypical to a fault and while Bennett tries to give them back-stories, have characters grow etc, it’s all just a bit too predictable.  In terms of plot, while there are twists, I thought they were so obviously foreshadowed that none of them were a surprise.

While the pop culture references seem like they could make the book date quickly, I really liked that the Desert Island Discs element was something a bit new and different so I couldn’t resist trying to come up with my own.

My Desert Island Discs: Honestly, I could spend weeks picking these, so I just went on gut instinct. They’re not in any particular order.

  • Linkin Park: One More Light & In the End
  • Moana: How Far I’ll Go
  • The Greatest Showman: The Other Side
  • Nashville: When the Right One Comes Along
  • Mulan: I’ll Make a Man Out of You
  • Blink-182: I Miss You
  • Ed Sheeran: Perfect

My book:

  • Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.
    • This was the hardest decision and I’m still not sure it’s right: should I pick something longer that’ll take ages to read? But this is my go-to re-read. In a slump? HP6. Sad and want something comforting? HP6. Plus, it’d be good for fanfic ideas which might help keep me entertained and ties into my luxury item…

My luxury item:

  • Pen & paper – I’m hoping it’s an endless supply of paper. I could write letters to people I loved and missed (obviously I couldn’t send them but I think it’d make me less crazy to remember there are other people in the world!), I could write fiction/fanfiction/poetry/journal entries, I could doodle, I could make observations on plants/wildlife etc.
One StarOne Star

Top Ten Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl where each week has a specific prompt everyone is welcome to post a list with their own answers. This week’s theme is “Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read“.

This is actually one I really struggled with because I’m up to date with quite a few of my favourite authors (Maria V. Snyder, Sarah J. Maas, Pierce Brown, Becky Chambers).

Robin Hobb

I’ve loved every book I’ve ever read by Robin Hobb, but so far I’ve stuck to the Realm of the Elderlings books.  I’d like to actually go back and read her other series, even if they’re not necessarily something I would normally pick up; the Megan Lindholm series isn’t fantasy but I’m curious because she wrote them and I just love Hobb’s writing!

J. K. Rowling

Well of course J. K. Rowling was going to feature on this list! I’ve read the first Cormoran Strike book and while it was enjoyable enough, I still haven’t picked up the second book despite the fact it’s been on my shelves for an embarrassingly long time. I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually, I just keep being drawn in by new additions to my shelves. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is one I really do want to get to eventually.

Laini Taylor

So I’d never actually come across this book until I discovered it at a book sale earlier this year. Of course I picked it up: I absolutely loved both the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and Strange the Dreamer so I have high hopes for this too!

Matt Haig

I really enjoyed The Humans and Reasons to Stay Alive but I haven’t read Notes on a Nervous Planet yet – I don’t feel too bad because it hasn’t been out that long, but I definitely intend to get to it pretty soon! How to Stop Time is probably a book I wouldn’t pick up apart from the fact I know it’s by Matt Haig, so it’s one I’ll grab if I see it at the library but probably won’t rush out and buy.

Jodi Picoult

I always know what I’m getting with a Jodi Picoult read: multiple points of view, ethical/moral dilemmas, shades of grey, all in easy-to-get-lost-in prose with characters I’ll relate to, hate and love in varying degrees.  There’s a few of hers I haven’t read yet but as I do have a copy of The Storyteller that’s highest on the priority list.

David & Leigh Eddings

David & Leigh Eddings are what got me into fantasy to start with and I think this is the only series of theirs I haven’t finished. I picked up book 1 and 2 too long ago to be able to jump straight back in with Crystal Gorge and at the moment, I can’t bring myself to step away from all the other books I want to read long enough to re-read both of those followed by the last two books.  I’ll get there one day!

Mira Grant


I love Mira Grant’s books so having exhausted her novel backlist I’ve started moving on to the stories she writes under Seanan McGuire instead. I haven’t started the October Daye series yet – partially because there are so many of them – but I know people love them so I definitely will do.

Any thoughts on which of these I should pick up first? And which books are on your TBR by your favourite authors?

Binge Watchers #1: Legend of Korra, Flash & Arrow

It’s been a year since my last update somehow but then I saw Michelle’s latest update and remembered how much I enjoyed taking part, which led to a refresh of my to be watched (TBW?) list a couple of weeks ago.  This first real update will have some pretty big jumps in terms of my progress below, but I swear it’s not that I watched a billion hours of TV this month or anything, it’s just that this is a year’s worth of updates!

What I was binging last time…

Attack on Titan season 2.

In six words or less: Humanity is threatened by people-eating Titans.

Progress since last time: Literally none. I came to a standstill because only episodes as far as 6 had been dubbed, and I have a tendency to multi-task when watching which obviously I can’t do if I’m trying to read subtitles. That hasn’t changed, sadly and I keep finding myself picking up something I can multi-task with over this.

Grey’s Anatomy season 8.

In six words or less: Medical Drama filled with twisty relationships.

Progress since last time: All of seasons 8-14. This has been my biggest binge-watch over the last year for sure! I can’t wait for it to re-start, though it looks like we won’t be getting it here in the UK until November at the earliest.

Marvel’s The Defenders season 1.

In six words or less: Slightly damaged super-powered humans saving NYC.

Progress since last time: All of season 1…. and yet I can barely remember any of it. Sadly, a bit forgettable!

 

Currently Binging & Binge-stats:

I love Goodreads for a whole bunch of reasons but at least one of them is because I can keep track of where I’ve got to with each book or series.  A search for something similar for TV led me to TrackSeries and Trakt, both of which I’m still exploring.  Both let me see my percentage progress on a series so far, give a calendar of what’s up next in terms of new episodes/series (the dates don’t line up for me here in the UK but it gives me a rough idea and let me mark a series as to watch (Trakt) or follow (TrackSeries) even if I haven’t started it yet.  So far I like the idea of Trakt more as it has a lot more features: tells me how many hours of watching I have left to catch up with a show, accommodates rewatches and can also hold movie information.  The downsides for Trakt so far are that I haven’t managed to get any of the auto-tracking features working (no big loss as TrackSeries didn’t offer it at all) and it has a lot more adverts.

Here’s what my dashboard looks like:

So you can see at the top that I’ve so far watched 68 days worth apparently (I’ve only done a very quick add of films though so that might spike significantly as I keep using it!) and then a snapshot of what I might watch next. That’s taken from my progress page, and I’ve got it set to sort by most-recently watched though you can organise by recently aired/number of episodes watched/number of episodes left to watch/time left to watch or a whole bunch of other settings if you’d prefer.  For a bit more detail in terms of stats (which I love!) my progress page itself shows that I’ve watched 52% of my watchlist (hovering over that number tells me I’ve watched 739/1418 episodes), for a total of more than 15 days. Eek! I’ve hidden my 100% completed shows, and at the moment have 17 shows on the go apparently.

Currently Watching

Legend of Korra

In six words or less: Teenage girl with magical elemental powers.

Why I’m watching it: I really enjoyed Avatar: The Last Airbender, so I recently suggested that we watch it as a couple, as my other half had never seen it.  He ended up loving it too, so now we’ve started Legend of Korra which neither of us have ever seen. It’s very different to A:tLA as it feels a bit older and has quite different visuals but we’re enjoying it anyway.

Where I’ve got to so far: We’ve so far seen all of season 1 (12 episodes)

Arrow

In six words or less: Bow-and-arrow wielding vigilante.

Why I’m watching it: I meant to watch Arrow when it started but – prepare to laugh – it really irritated me that Oliver McQueen lived in the same house that Lex Luther did in Smallville. Totally jarred me so I didn’t make it past about 2 episodes… I’ve now gone back, at least in part because I see so much about The Flash on Twitter but I know they interlink.

Where I’ve got to so far: Season 3, Episode 7 – everything has slowed down for me now that the shows all interlink, because I feel like every time I sit down to watch it I have to look up whether I should be watching Arrow or The Flash!

The Flash

In six words or less: Super fast crime scene investigator.

Why I’m watching it: I’ve now got to the point in Arrow where the shows start crossing over!

Where I’ve got to so far: Season 1, Episode 4.

What’s up next?

I’d really like to re-watch Riverdale before season 3 comes out, but other half refuses to mix shows we’re binging, so I don’t know if it’ll happen! My solo watching will probably continue with the Flash/Arrow, and maybe some anime.

Fall Bookish Bingo

Bookish Bingo is a seasonal challenge hosted by Pretty Deadly Reviews, and while I always love the idea, I’ve never actually taken part.  This round runs for September – November and I’m finally joining in!  My reading is definitely going to take a hit for this final quarter of the year thanks to my new uni course, so I love the idea of still feeling like I’m working towards a challenge even though I’m not reading as much as I normally would (5 books for a bingo seems possible!). Plus, this season’s board has SO many prompts that I love (Witches, Space/Stars, Scares You, LGBT+, Dual-POV….)



Possible TBR:

I’m definitely not going to get through all of these but I’ve chosen a variety of books I’m interested in picking up soon and just had a look to see where they could go on the board. Of course, an impulse purchase or library haul could throw these plans out the window, but they’re just a starting idea!

Made into a Movie: A TV adaptation can also count for this one, and as I’ve still never read The Handmaid’s Tale (or see the TV show) this seems like a perfect opportunity to rectify that.
Middle-Grade: I don’t really reach much Middle-Grade/9-12 fiction, but I’ve really enjoyed the Victoria Schwab books I’ve read so far (Vicious, This Savage Song/Our Dark Duet), so I’m intrigued to read more by her.
One Word Title: Artemis – this is actually my current read, highly anticipated because The Martian is one of my favourite books ever.
Fire in the Title/On the Cover: New Sarah J. Maas = auto-buy! Can’t wait to read this one!

History With a Twist: A Short History of Nearly Everything is all about science, which I’m hoping is enough of a twist!
Set in a School: The Island is split between a school in Oxford and the mysterious island of the title.
Space or Stars:
Absolutely loved Sleeping Giants so I’m hoping I can get Waking Gods, with it’s star-filled cover, from the library.

September, October, or November Release: Strange The Dreamer was one of my favourite reads of 2018 so I’m eagerly awaiting Muse of Nightmares.
Scares You: Creepy possibly-haunted subway? This sounds both addictive and slightly terrifying (I’m a huge wimp, hate horror films but love creepy book concepts).
Legend or Myth: Rick Riordan’s books are always fun, with loveable characters and addictive storylines. I’m hoping to get caught up on the Magnus Chase & Trials of Apollo books soon!
Features Animals: The history and founding of London Zoo. I know a bit already, but it’ll be interesting to get a bit more depth!