Weekly Recap – 04/07/16-11/07/16

What I’ve Been Reading:

This week (starting Saturday) I decided to participate in Cram-a-thon (hosted by the lovely WhittyNovels and SaraWithoutAnH) and I’ve managed to complete a couple of the challenges already.

The Shadow Hour

I finished reading The Shadow Hour (Melissa Grey) for the ‘read a book you have never finished’ challenge and it was so good! I gave it a 4.25 stars. It built really well upon the first instalment and had all the great elements of the first book, such as the characters and the humour, but mixed with a plot that was much darker in tone. Also, we learnt a lot more about the characters, particularly the MC and her backstory which I felt grounded them and overall made the story much more believable. My only issue was that I felt the pacing was a little slow at times, especially during the second quarter. But, other than that, a solid sequel to a solid series. I’m so sad that I have to wait another year until I can read the final book in the trilogy 😭 I’ll be writing a full review of this one, so stay tuned for that!

The Magician's Nephew

I’ve also just finished reading The Magician’s Nephew (C.S. Lewis) which is the first (chronological) book in The Chronicles of Narnia for the ‘read a book under 200 pages’ challenge. I enjoyed it so much better than I thought I would! I’ve always wanted to read this series and, for some reason, I’ve just been putting off reading it (as I tend to do with a lot of books/series – woops). But I am so glad this read-a-thon made me pick it up. It basically centres around the creation of Narnia and sets up the story for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I always love to read creation stories and all their different interpretations of how worlds came to be so I really found myself liking this story and thought it was a great introduction the magical world of Narnia. I very much look forward to carrying on with this series and, in particular, reading the instalments which have film adaptations to see which medium of the story I prefer.Saga Volume 3

For the ‘read a graphic novel’ challenge, I’ll be finishing off Saga Volume 3 (Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples). I’m already half-way through so I’ll probably finish reading it tomorrow sometime. Sadly, I’m not enjoying this volume as much as I did the previous two. I feel like nothing has really been happening so far but hopefully it gets more action-y towards the end. But definitely my least favourite.

As I won’t be attempting to complete the ‘read a book of verse/poetry’ challenge because I have no desire to do so, I’ll be instead completing the ‘read a short story/novella’ challenge twice. I’ll be continuing on with The Bane Chronicles (Cassandra Clare) and reading The Runaway Queen and I’ll also be reading another short story from Time Lord Fairy Tales (Justin Richards & David Wardle) called Frozen Beauty which sounds intriguing!

Finding Audrey

This week I’ve also DNF’d Finding Audrey (Sophie Kinsella). I honestly have no desire whatsoever to read it. I thought I did when I started reading it, but no, I really can’t be bothered with it 😂 It was fun and light-hearted so I’m sure loads of people would enjoy it but I’m just really not in the mood for it. Also, I had issues with the stereotypes of the ‘useless’ father and the ‘bossy’ mother. So it’ll be going back to the library (amongst a few others I’m no longer in the mood to read, e.g. The Dream Thieves and An Ember In the Ashes) later today. Which will feel like a weight off my shelves!

My reading goals for this week: I’d really like to finish reading The Bane Chronicles because I’m finally giving in and ordering Lady Midnight but even if it arrives I’m not allowing myself to read it until I’ve finished TBC so I seriously need to get reading it!

What I’ve Been Watching:

I decided to re-watch one of my favourite films that I hadn’t watched for quite some time: The Fault In Our Stars. I’ve seen it so many times but this was definitely the most I’ve cried watching it this time around. I don’t know why it struck me as it did but UGH it got me. It got me right in the feels. I wasn’t even crying a little bit, I was full-on ugly crying. Don’t think I’ll ever watch this film with anyone else. Unless I fancy feeling very embarrassed 😂

My watching goals for this week: I’m in a real Christmass-y mood right now (weird, I know) so I fancy watching a few films that make me feel nostalgic and gooey inside. So I think I might watch Stardust, the Narnia films and a few Disney films because why not?

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Weekly Recap – 20/06/16-04/07/16

What I’ve Been Reading:

I’ve decided to combine two weeks worth of reading together again because I haven’t really read all that much lately unfortunately.

My reading goal was to pick a  book and stick to it but I kind of failed completely with that one. I just can’t seem to settle! So I’m actually reading six books at the moment because clearly I have issues 😂

Animal Farm

I did, however, manage to finish reading one book: Animal Farm (George Orwell) which I really loved. And it’s my second classic of the year! And I’m really proud of myself for reading it. My Mum read it over a year ago and she adored it so she’d been bugging me ever since to read it. I’d been putting it off for ages because I have this weird fear about reading classics apparently! But, as I said, I loved it. It was just so clever and so well written. I definitely will be picking up 1984 at some point, hopefully soon.

The Shadow Hour

I managed to pick up The Shadow Hour (Melissa Grey) this week (which hasn’t even been formerly published yet – BLESS YOU WATERSTONES). I had so much fun reading the first book in the series, The Girl At Midnight, and I’m about halfway through this one and I’m  enjoying it just as much. I’m slowing down reading this one though because I don’t want to have to wait a whole year for the final book to come out. So who knows when I’ll actually finish this… or any of these books!Finding Audrey

I’m also about 100 pages into Finding Audrey (Sophie Kinsella) and it’s alright. I picked this up wanting to read it since I’ve never read a Sophie Kinsella book before but I forgot how much I hate being in the mind of someone suffering from social anxiety, since I have to deal with enough of that in my own mind. Completely my own fault! It’s quite light-hearted though so maybe I’ll end up liking it. I’ll definitely keep reading it; it’s a very quick, easy read.

The Phantom of the Opera

Since I’ve read two classics recently, I thought I’d try to carry on with my flow and pick up another one. This time The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux). I adore the musical so much so it made sense to see if I’d like the original story. Only a few chapters in so not much to say on it yet, but I’m really liking the writing style.

In between these two main reads, I’ve also been reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Bane Chronicles (Cassandra Clare) and Saga Volume 3 (Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples). Loving all of these, particularly HP. I’ve never read 4 or 5 so I’m having a really great time experiencing all of it for the first time. There’s so much more to it than the film – more than usual, I mean. I love all the little details of magic we get.

I wanted to read The Bane Chronicles this month because I’m not letting myself buy Lady Midnight until I’ve finished it! I’ve read the first short story and, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I don’t think that was it. Maybe it’s because it’s co-written? I don’t know. But I need Lady Midnight ASAP and I might enjoy the other authors writing styles a little bit better. Hopefully.

Wow, that was a very long reading wrap-up (which consisted of me only finishing one book – oops!).

My reading goals for this week: My goal is to read. That is it 😂

What I’ve Been Watching:

Guys I left it too long to watch Me Before You and now it’s not in cinemas anymore. So I guess I’ll wait a little bit longer to see it. But, to be honest, I’m not too bothered. The book wasn’t that great and I was only gonna go for Sam Claflin anyway 😂

GAME OF THRONES. AHHHHHHHHHH. My heart. For some stupid reason I didn’t catch up on the whole season until the day before the finale and, oh God, I had way too many emotions to process at once. HOLD THE DOOR. Literally destroyed me. I swear I will break down if anyone ever utters that phrase in my presence. Also, R + L = J. YAAAAS. My fangirl heart is happy.

My watching goals for this week: There aren’t any good films out/coming out any time soon I don’t think. So I’ll probably just binge-watch a few TV shows.

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Weekly Recap – 13/06/16-20/06/16

What I’ve Been Reading:

So I’ve had an incredibly frustrating week of reading this past week. You know when you have your heart set on reading something so you start a new book and then it turns out that, nope, you’re not actually in the mood for it? This happened to me a few times over the past week.

I think maybe one of the main reasons why I’m feeling a bit reading slumpy is because of how hungover I still feel after having read Carry On last week which was a 5 star read for me. And before that I read City of Heavenly Fire and Clockwork Princess which were, again, both 5 star reads for me. So maybe it’s because lately I’ve read some incredible books and have my expectations set so high that I haven’t been able to really get into a new book.

The Wrath and the Dawn

So, I started off trying to read The Wrath and the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh) and I just couldn’t get into it. I’m hoping it’s because I wasn’t in the mood for it because I really want to like this one – it’s had such amazing reviews! But I just really wasn’t feeling it and was honestly a little bit bored reading the 68 pages that I did manage to read. So I’m definitely going to wait until I’m in the mood for this one and probably try to lower my expectations, too.

I also tried picking up  a graphic novel – Artifacts: Volume 3 (Ron Marz and Jeremy Haun) – to see if that would do the trick of bringing me out of my book hangover. But I couldn’t even get into a graphic novel either and I put it down after just 10/15 pages.

So then I thought I’d try reading something similar to Carry On and picked up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But then I was like ‘nah, this is really long,’ so put it back down again after only a chapter!

The Dream Thieves

So you can see I’ve been slightly frustrated with myself this week! But I think I’ve managed to finally settle on a book now – The Dream Thieves (Maggie Stiefvater). I read The Raven Boys back in March and thoroughly enjoyed it so I hope I like the sequel as much as I did the first one. And I hope I bloody stick to it!

My reading goals for this week: The goal for this week is to stick to the book I’ve picked and not put it back down again. If I accomplish that, I will be happy enough!

What I’ve Been Watching:

I re-watched one of my favourite films from childhood this week – Singin’ in the Rain. I hadn’t watched it for years and years and, honestly, I forgot how hilarious it was! It was so well done and the songs are so memorable and my face was aching a wee bit from smiling so much whilst watching this. If you’ve never seen this please give it a go – you won’t regret it!

I’ve also been watching a lot of BookTube this week (well, more BookTube than usual!) and I’ve found some really great channels that I thought I’d share with you guys:

RJ@The Secret Stacks 

RJ has some really great discussion videos and always brings a unique perspective to a debate. He has a really calming voice and puts across his points fairly, reasonably and always very eloquently.

Peter@Peter Likes Books

Peter just cracks me up! He is completely, unapologetically himself and, because he doesn’t edit his videos, you see his entire personality always and, I have to say, he’s incredibly infectious!

Francina@Francina Simone

I have learnt so much from watching Francina Simone’s videos. I actually feel smarter for watching them 😂 She is very level-headed and brings a different kind of critiquing style to the way she reviews books.

I’ve really enjoyed the content these lovely people have put out so far so I’m looking forward to following them in the future on their BookTube journeys!

My watching goals for this week: Still haven’t watched Me Before You. Shocker, right? Oops. I WILL WATCH IT THIS WEEK.

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Weekly Recap – 09/05/16-16/05/16

What I’ve Been Reading:

Another week done and I still haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked to. I’m out of my reading slump now but it was life that got in the way of my reading this time. If it’s not one, it’s always the other!

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I’m so close to finishing A Court of Mist and Fury (Sarah J. Maas) – about 100 pages left to go – and it is so so good! And I was right about Feyre becoming a strong character  over the course of the book. I feel like she’s a character I can really get behind now and cheer on. Also, the world-building in this instalment is fantastic. The histories and the lore are really nicely imagined and we get strong, vivid impressions of the Fae Courts and more detailed information of the Fae themselves. Speaking of, I’m finding this instalment to be highly character-driven (which I LOVE). I won’t go into any detail here but all of the newly-introduced characters have added so much more to the overarching story and I’m finding myself quite attached to them, too!

I’ll have a full-length review up of all my more detailed thoughts once I’ve finished reading it, but I think I can safely say that this series in no way suffers from second-book-syndrome. If you weren’t keen on the first instalment because you weren’t a fan of Feyre, I highly suggest you pick this one up anyway. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised!

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And I’ve finally finished reading The Wolf in the Attic (Paul Kearney), a review book I requested a while back. In fact, I believe it took me well over a month to finish. I ended up giving it 2.5 stars which I’m quite disappointed by. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book with its beautiful writing and highly compelling MC, the second half was a bit of a let down. The world was very under-developed with many questions being left unanswered and the plot was pretty non-existent. So I definitely had mixed feelings about this one! You can find the rest of my thoughts here.

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I also decided to read a few fairy tales this week after my obsession with OUAT. I read a couple of Neil Gaiman ones (Hansel & Gretel and The Sleeper and the Spindle) which I both enjoyed. Particularly The Sleeper and the Spindle – I found it to be a very interesting take on two different fairy tales combined. And the illustrations for both books were simply stunning. Again, particularly The Sleeper and the Spindle.

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I also read a few fairy tale retellings from Carol Ann Duffy’s Faery Tales. I say I only read a few because I wasn’t all that impressed with the stories that I did read. I’m not sure what I expected when I picked this collection up from the library but it definitely didn’t do anything for me. It felt like I was reading a bunch of classic fairy tales but just with modernised language and I guess I wanted something a little bit more unique.

My reading goals for this week: Finish A Court of Mist and Fury and start (and possibly finish) Clockwork Princess. I think I’ll want to take my time with CP but I also think I won’t be able to resist reading all of it as quickly as possible which I shouldn’t do because I know it’s going to leave me a blubbering mess afterwards! 😭

What I’ve Been Watching:

I’ve just finished watching the Once Upon a Time season 5 finale and I’m not sure how I’m meant to survive until September without it. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil you but there is a very interesting new character/storyline that I love watching retellings of and I’m very excited to see which direction the next series will take. The last series wasn’t my favourite – it was a pretty depressing series, really. I do miss the light-heartedness of the previous series. And the humour, too. Think everyone needs to just chill out a bit and take a holiday or something 😂

I also managed to watch The Jungle Book which was just wonderful. It’s not my favourite classic Disney animated film so I’d sort of forgotten what happens. But watching it made me very nostalgic for my childhood, especially when Mowgli and Baloo started singing The Bare Necessities! The CG was incredible, too. It was just a really lovely family film that I’d recommend to pretty much anyone.

My watching goals for this week: I’m not sure I should start any new TV series yet since I have a habit of getting a little obsessive when I find something I like 😁 So I’ll just try to catch up on a few of the series I’m currently watching.

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