A Summer Half Gone Update

So I guess this is an update post of sorts, haven’t done one of these in a while.

I missed YALC this year, for those from the land across the pond whom may have no idea what it is (although I am aware that some people make their way here for it) , it’s basically the British equivalent of BEA, but it’s YA galore. So I missed that, mainly because I currently have a lot of dates with trying to persuade myself that it’s not worth giving up on the medicine dream, and trying to study for the upcoming 2 hour hell that I’ve booked to sit on the 18th of September; the hell is called the UKCAT, and is basically the test that most universities look for when distinguishing between candidates… And let me tell you, I do not want to see more circles and squares in my life or Venn diagrams for that matter.

But also because I just didn’t think I would be up for it life and self-wise – I’m generally struggling a wee bit when it comes to motivation, and I think the lack of posts on this blog illustrates that very well. I will, however, try to at least keep the Saturday posts going – I know I missed a weekend, but it was a busy weekend so I hope I’m forgiven.

Book wise, I actually haven’t felt the need to buy books in a while. I think the last title to appear on my shelves was Lord of Shadows which I didn’t even buy for myself… But I did receive City of Circles by Jess Richards courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton/ Sceptre which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

Overall, I can’t say this summer feels much like a summer at all, with various trainings, courses and now regular shifts at a local-ish hospice – I think that’s something I’m going to have to get used to as I transition out of the routine of school and enter “the real world” as some people like to call it.

So yeah,  this blog will not be abandoned – fear not. i'll be back.gif

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Mini Series Review: All Souls Trilogy – Deborah Harkness

 

Synopses:

A Discovery Of Witches: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. 

Shadow Of Night: Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realize that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

The Book Of Life: After travelling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.


So I need to get back into the swing of things, and I thought that starting with a mini review would be best for that particular purpose – especially given that my thoughts on this series can be summarised quite easily. As this is my first mini review, I thought I’d try the: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE VERDICT format – and see how that is received and if it actually works for both you and me. 

THE GOOD:

  • The story wasn’t quite your typical romance, it actually felt informative in terms of its content – I found the prominent historical aspects really enjoyable to read.
  • Book 1 and 3 moved at a comfortable pace, I felt like the storyline flowed nicely.
  • The characters were, for the most part, padded out – although I have to say that neither Diana nor Matthew were my favourites of the lot – I just found the rest so much more compelling.
  • scienceLike okay, if I looked more deeply into things, I’d probably find some problems with some of the concepts, but I think all in all these books were rather well researched.

    THE BAD:

  • THE SECOND BOOK….. Literally all my problems with this series lie within the second book. It was slow, there were too many bloody characters, it spent too much time in places which didn’t deserve it and just overall irked me.
  • (THE NOT SO BAD BUT STILL ANNOYING) Diana got on my nerves at some points, but then really – most of that occurred yet again during the second novel. Middle book syndrome anyone??

    THE VERDICT:

    Overall, I’d definitely say that this series is worth a read, books 1 and 3 make a compelling argument to oppose the crimes committed by the middle novel, so as long as you can actually get through Shadow Of Night – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars 

The Book Smell

Whether old or new, we’ve all probably smelled a book at some point or another… I mean, who can help themselves when they just smell so darn good? book smell

And I do mean all books, despite the fact that they’re all quite distinct in their scent – whether it be an old book, new book, library book or textbook (and you cannot tell me that textbooks don’t have a particular scent of their own, they do, and often I associate it with long, long, depressing hours spent pouring over them the night before exams) people seem to have different opinions over which smell they prefer.

And then there are the people who are adamant that books either smell of nothing or don’t smell good at all… and I guess it’s a free world and they’re welcome to have that opinion. But I think that we can agree that products such as the Book scent by Commodity and the Paper Passion perfume just wouldn’t exist and people wouldn’t spend exuberant amounts to smell of a mixture of paper and ink if there wasn’t something enticing about the smell.  Of course, if you want to smell of book but don’t want to spend such amounts on a bottle of liquid – there are more affordable scents such as this one by The Library of Fragrance which do the job just as well.

And of course being the overly curious nerd that I am, I have actually researched the reason behind one of my favourite smells to find that the difference in smells is caused by the varying chemicals given off by books as they age, older books tend to have more lignin (a chemical which reinforces the structure of the tree) which produces the slightly vanilla-like smell that accompanies the muskiness that we relate to old novels. New books differ more in their scents as the development in book printing has meant a greater range of chemicals can potentially be used – meaning that not all new books will have the same smell.

The science aside though, the scent of books can also be changed by the people they have been in contact with – library books being a great example of that, and I think it’s almost like they carry a part of their owners in themselves which is a quite nice notion really.

Do you have a favourite book smell? Or do books not smell like anything to you, or maybe, just maybe you haven’t lived and smelled a book before? Is there a book scent that you do not like?

Tell me in the comments below 🙂

“I stepped into the bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that strangely no one had ever thought of bottling.” 

– The Angels Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

SO I WENT ON A TOO LONG HIATUS

So this post is an apology of sorts I guess, at one point during the last few months I went through a period of just not wanting to post – I would use the excuse of exams, I really would, but my real AS level exams totalled to a small number of 3; and started and were over with before I even knew it… As for mocks, they did add a bit of stress to the whole ordeal, and they’re not over yet – and yet I’m still writing this post so clearly… I really can’t blame school for my hiatus. shame.gif

At points I wished to have a slightly psychotic nun above me forcing me to do a metaphorical blogging walk of shame, but I didn’t and so  I dragged my absence out a little more than I intended to.

And honestly, at the start of it all I didn’t expect it to last so long, but I’m also not going to lie – at some points I didn’t expect to be returning at all. It seemed as though all the joy was sucked completely out of reading and blogging followed suit. And voilà! It resulted in a very demotivated Ola and no new content on the blog…

 But with time I discovered that I didn’t have to limit myself to the books I had been given to review (and often prioritised over books which I actually wanted to read for my own personal satisfaction, because y’know – logic) and discovered a new genre that it turns out I actually really like reading,  which is not only good because it helped me get back into reading, but because it involves medical and scientific books it will also help me with my chosen career path – so it basically did a very good job at killing two important birds with one stone.

Speaking of medical books and medicine, I might post a review of the books I come across from that genre here and there from now on, and I might start documenting my own journey into the medical world, as long and as complicated it may get – but who knows, maybe someone out there will relate to it, maybe it can help someone. But most importantly, I’d like to have something to look back to.

But of course, I am not about to forget the real reason for which this blog was created, to share my passion for reading – and now to share my journey to refinding and refueling that passion. I did come up with some ideas for an original series of posts that I might do at one point or another which will allow me to get my creative juices flowing – which is also something I’ve greatly missed during my leave.

In basic terms, I want this blog to feel like something that I actually created again, and not something pieced together from posts I was in a way, obliged to do. I think I’m ready to come back to this blogging thing, but this time – it will be on my own terms.

A huge thank you to those who stuck around during my little blunder – I will try my very very best to not disappear without a warning again.

“Per Aspera Ad Astra”

Red Rising, Pierce Brown

Joining The Pre-Ordering Wagon

I have never been hyped about a book enough to warrant even thinking about preordering it…

 I know. I know. Awful, flawed human being that I am I have just never sat and thought “hmm, that book is going to be absolutely amazing, I can tell already let me just go on Amazon/TheBookDepository/Waterstones.com and….” yeah, no – that has never happened.

I mean, of course, I do read ARCs that are at times incredibly amusing and I can tell that the proper edition of the book will be amazing, and I can tell that it will eventually end up in my little collection (by little I mean spanning approximately half of my bedroom wall) and yet I was never tempted enough to pre-order it early, even when there were numerous mentions of SWAG and other benefits… Pre-ordering? Not for me.

Or so I thought…

Until this mother trucker came along:

strange the dreamer

Image credits to Hodder & Stoughton

 

Could I resist the blue sprayed edges? The gold foil? The premise of the book?

Absolutely not. I didn’t even try – I knew I had to have it the moment I first lay my eyes on it, and I was going to do anything to get it too (and I mean anything).

This sudden newfound resolve to acquire the book by any means necessary wasn’t helped by the fact that I found out I’d have the opportunity to meet the author on her UK tour, this just fueled my excitement even more, because I’d get to meet the creator of some kick-ass books. I’m currently on a re-read of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and am planning to read the other two in the trilogy as well as Strange The Dreamer before seeing her – perhaps big goals for someone who barely reads anymore, but we can dream – eh?

So yes, I have finally gotten rid of my prejudice towards pre-ordering books AND I’m going to an author event (which is a rare occurrence, usually happening somewhat biannually?) both of which I’m really excited about, so that’s something I wanted to share.

Have you read any of Laini Taylor’s works?  Better yet, have you been one of the lucky few to read Strange the Dreamer early? Are you also going to meet her (I’ll be going to the London event if anyone is going too) or have met her in the past? Drop me a comment 🙂

10 Things You Should NEVER Say To A Bookworm

So quite a while back now I had a rather unpleasant encounter with one of my teachers at my old school… Quite ironically, the little witch (that word would usually start with a different letter) taught me English… And although I usually respect my elders, and of course teachers belong to that ‘category’ – she evokes a feeling of hatred and apathy for all things English related when I see her wonderfully sickening bright green coat appear on the horizon (although this year the coat seemed to have been replaced with a slightly toned down grey one – my eyes are thankful for whatever happened for her to make that change).

During a meeting of this particularly rude individual with my father and I, she seemed it was entirely appropriate to say that I am by far too studious, and reading (and blogging) is not a hobby I should not be doing as it “is not relaxing and you should think about doing sports such as tennis or swimming”.

i beg your pardon julie andrews

I couldn’t help it, I got defensive and proceeded to tell her that blogging and reading are perfectly good hobbies which are more beneficial, and potentially life-saving (seeing as I have yet to master the art of swimming) than her choices off pastime whilst making a mental note to ignore her future “advice”.

But the moment I got back home, I was somewhat inspired So I guess sometimes good things do come out of awful situations, go figure.


So here are 10 things you shouldn’t say to a bookworm based on my own experience…

10. “Ew, you read? Isn’t that like, boring?” 

Yes, yes, I do – and your invalid opinion will do nothing to change that. Also, since when is visiting other countries or maybe even dimensions boring?

09. “Don’t you have enough books? No more books for you.” 

If you try to stop me from placing 12 new books on my TBR…. well, good luck to you my friend because you’re in for a quest and a bit… it’s not going to be a fun one either. Please just don’t try, for your own good and my sanity.

08. “What’s your favourite book?”

You mean my favourite 20? You do not understand I cannot pick just one. That’s almost like  much worse than picking a favourite child. I can give you maybe a top 3-5 from each genre? That will have to suffice. Buckle up, we’re gonna be here for a long while.

07. “Oh that title, I watched the film instead/ prefered the film…”

Whilst you get a bit of credit in my eyes if this particular title is one of my favourites it is unlikely that I am going to applaud you for not realising that the book is most probably much, much better. Or that a book existed to begin with. Or denying the fact that the book might be better because films tend to miss out the best bits and generally don’t tend to convey everything the book does in a satisfying way? (Honestly directors and casting crew, I beg you… get your crap together – I’d much rather watch a perfect adaptation after waiting a long time for it, even if it meant sitting in the cinema for a solid four hours and paying an exorbitant amount, that’s the sacrifice I’d be willing to make to watch my favourite titles come to life before me.)

06.

this is so long, i decline to read it.gif

I mean yes, we all get intimidated by big books sometimes. But that sort of reaction? Nu uh. We see a big book, we conquer it and move onto the next one – it’s like a mountain you see, you don’t just plonk your ass down half way and be done with it. You climb that mountain to the bloody peak and take in the view (even though in the bookworm’s case the view is the TBR pile which has slowly taken over all the floor room in every room of the house…)

05. “Wait… wait, you skipped that party on Friday to read?”

You mean you skipped reading time to get wasted and have a hangover the next day? Yeah… not my idea of fun. Thanks but no thanks, you’re dismissed.

04. “I prefer *insert book format here*”

Well isn’t that great, now consider this: I read all of them…. I know, I know. A wild concept that may be. But ebooks are great to take everywhere with me on a daily basis, my Kindle is my child and I actually cried real tears when my old Kindle broke. Paperbacks, well I have so many of them it seems like I like them, they smell good and are generally an alright substitute for the kings of the book formats (or at least in my opinion) the HARDBACKS. If I could afford it (but then who can when they’re broke and going to stay that way for the foreseeable future given the fact that they’re departing into studentland in the next two years) I would have an entire library full of just hardbacks. But we can’t always have what we want, so we make do. Now shh and consider the fact that not everyone is you.

03. “I want you to read *insert title here* chapters 1-whatever for homework, due next week”

DON’T. Please I beg you, don’t torture me so. School has ruined so many books for me like that, starting with The Woman In Black and ending with Tuck Everlasting and Private Peaceful from good ol’ Year 7 Reading Lists – this is the primary reason I dropped English when going to study A-Levels… other than the fact that it’d be useless in the areas I want to go into in the future.

02. “Uhm…I don’t know where the book you let me borrow is / I’m sorry, it’s a bit ripped/stained/bent/crinkled.”

Honestly at this point just keep it, unless it has been ruined by the tears of baby Jesus and the blood of a pegasus (yes, both are required) just don’t bother returning it. Also, do not expect me to let you borrow another book ever again, not after I misplaced my trust in your abilities to not ruin them – especially if this is one of my signed editions. When I let you borrow a book – just know that this is probably one of the utmost levels of trust I could give you, don’t make me regret it.

01. “IT’S JUST A BOOK”

Yeah, no. That’s where you’re wrong my friend. books are adventure.gif

And no, I will not stop crying, or smiling like a slightly crazed mental asylum inhabitant from the 1800s whilst reading. That’s how I tell the good books from the great books, okay? You’re going to have to accept that. And book hangovers are a thing too, let me experience them.


So this post was a result of a slightly annoyed me, but it also allowed me to vent my anger and channel it into my reading/bookworm pet peeves so that was actually quite nice of it.

Do you have any bookish pet peeves or have you been on the receiving end of any of those phrases? How do you deal with annoying people who don’t understand your love for reading? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

The NetGalley Book Tag

Hello, hello – I think it’s time to take a wee break from reviews so here’s something a little different – even though it may be a tadddd late from the original creation of the tag.

I was (slightly indirectly, but tagged nonetheless) tagged by Kayla @Kdrewthebookworm so a big thanks for that, I do like these questions. And this tag is the original property of Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads  -make sure to check out both their blogs if you get the chance!


The rules:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

 Autoapproved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

From my all-time, long-running favourites most probably Jennifer L. Armentrout, although I will also read anything that Pierce Brown writes and honestly cannot wait until the release of their next books.

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on Netgalley?

I’mma say something that will probably hurt a lot of bookworms out there – I judge books by covers and titles… if a book doesn’t have an impressive title and an even worse cover, chances are I will not pay it attention. So I do have to agree with Kayla on this one. These are necessities for me to actually notice a book in the first place. Of course, I will then read the synopsis to see whether it sounds like something I might like to read… but the preliminary actions sort of take priority here.

Oh, I might also check if it is something written by an author I loved previous works of, of course – that tends to be the case more often than not nowadays.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

I definitely do try to review everything that I am given the opportunity to on NetGalley, but unfortunately, sometimes some reviews tend to end up a lot shorter than others mainly because I may not have been able to get into the book enough to be able to form any more solid thoughts. I also, for the most part, review everything on my blog as well (or at least the longer, better reviews that is). However, my actual feedback ratio has only just hit 53% because I made the mistake of requesting too much when I first signed up to NetGalley – so a little tip to anyone starting out… don’t do this, you’ll most probably lose interest in a lot of the titles before you actually get the chance to read them. 

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

Um… ummm….. Can I get an effort badge? Like an A++ for effort sort of thing? That’d be quite nice.

There_was_an_attempt.png

(this question is actually horrible to answer)

Wish For It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

iron gold cover

I need it, and I need it now… Right now – take my soul and I’ll bake you cookies on top of that.

 2017 Netgalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?

The newest ARC that I reviewed was definitely A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, but the latest ARC review that I wrote was A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij because I am backlisting reviews back to like 2015 … because y’know, mistakes were made at the beginning and now I have to fix them.


I tag:

Anyone who wants to do this tag, because I know I’m quite late to the party and a lot of people have already done it – so if you do feel like doing it feel free to say that I tagged you!