Celebratory Book Haul!

Remember how in August I wrote a blog post where I went over my 2015 reading goals? Remember how I said that I was doing well with my only buying half as many books as I read goal? Remember that post? Well… That post might read a little different if I wrote it today. I finished a module for my degree and what better way to celebrate completing a Creative Writing module than books. I sent in my formal assessment today so I’ll be blogging more too!

Well- What did I get?

First, the one thing that was a gift rather than something I bought myself, the collection of all 80 Penguin Little Black Classics. I’ve been wanting these for a while but I’m a massive completist so I waited for a box set, and before I could buy it for myself, my mum got it for me. It’s cheaper to get the set then 70 of the 80, if my really poor maths is right. And you can get the box set here!

I had a refund on my Waterstones card that just needed to be spent so I took some time online and found four books I wanted to buy. But Imogen! You’ve only photographed three! The fourth book was sent in a really awful condition, I sent it back, they sent me another also in awful condition, I sent it back. I can’t say I’m impressed with the service if I’m honest. Anyway! The books I bought that arrived in decent condition were Dead Reckoning and Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris, the 11th and 12th books in the Sookie Stackhouse series that I’ve been reading for the past year. And The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, the final book in the Mistborn series.

And lastly I made a neat little comic book and graphic novel order. I’ve been reading more of them this month as I’m in a bit of a reading slump and I’m always looking out to add more Marvel to my collection. So I picked up two Captain America trades: Captain America: Man Out of Timecontaining the five issues that cover when Steve Rogers is woken up after 60 years. And Captain America: Rebornwhich is set way later in the whole confusing time scheme but was too cheap to pass up. I’ll get to it eventually.

I had always wanted the Castle graphic novels after seeing them on the show and I finally got around to picking all three up on sale. The website was a little confusing so I ended up with Deadly Storm in paperback rather than hardback which is a bummer, but Storm Season and A Calm Before Storm are both hardback and beautiful. I’ll just give Deadly Storm to a buddy and re-buy in hardback.

Lastly, I added Marvel Zombies Destroy! because I’m a sucker for anything with zombies in it. It’s based in an AU where Nazi zombies are a thing and Dum Dum Dugan with Howard the Duck have to fight them. Pretty crazy and a total last minute purchase but I think it’ll be fun.

What do you think of my book haul? Have you read any of these?
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Books I Want to Buy and Why #1

By my count I have 150+ books on my Amazon wishlist and the thing is- half the time I can’t remember why I put them there. So here is my new series where I show some books I want to buy and say why. Then if you, my dear readers, have read them and think they should be bought right away then consider me enabled. If you want to see a review then I’m sure I can be easily convinced. And if you think they should be struck from the list then better I find out now then after spending money!

So here are some of the books I want to buy and why…

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron wrote my all-time favourite movie; You’ve Got Mail. So when I found out that she had written books, I immediately wanted them all. I added Heartburn because the story sounded like something I’d really enjoy reading. Love? Betrayal? Loss? Revenge? All things that make a good read for me. But it’s not a huge priority right now.

Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II by Allan Berube
This is the most expensive book on my entire wishlist at £27.95, but also the book I want most. I saw this referenced on some website and gay people in the military is just one of those things I find myself wanting to read about. Especially since WWII was pre-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I’m fascinated by the time in general. Consider this top of my Christmas list, I don’t really want anything else but this book.

Naked Heat by Richard Castle
The first Nikki Heat book; Heat Wave was the book that really started it all for me back in January 2014 and although I wasn’t blown away, I’d like to continue the series eventually. I may or may not have just bought the Castle graphic novels (haul coming soon) so they might rekindle my love for the books and convince me to add this to the cart.

The Fall of the Governor, Part One by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
The Walking Dead is a huge part of my life. I met some of my best friends through the show, the comics were some of the first comic books I ever read and the books were some of the few books that I read when I wasn’t really reading at all. But I only have the first two in the series; Rise of the Governor and The Road to Woodbury so after I re-read those I’m sure I can convince myself to buy this.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
As someone who has struggled with OCD since I was young and has gone through recovery periods and relapses aplenty, I’m interested to read a YA book about it. Knowing that Lauren loved it makes me pretty sure that I’ll love it too.

Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Everyone and their mother seems to be reading Saga lately. I got my volume 1 trade way back when it first came out, added the second volume to my wishlist and since then it’s kind of fallen off my radar. But lately I’ve been reading more of my comics and I trust Brian K Vaughn’s writing a lot since he wrote my favourite comic book; Y: The Last Man. I’m going to re-read Volume 1 and finally buy this soon.

Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences by Cordelia Fine
I’m fascinated by gender and its role in society. I have a few gender neutral and gender fluid pals and I’m always up for learning more about things like this. You hear a lot of unbacked statements about the differences between the sexes so actually learning the science is going to be my way of staving off ignorance, developing my own opinion and making sure I can back up my thoughts with actual facts.

Dune by Frank Herbert
I’m pretty embarrassed that I haven’t read this one. It’s constantly mentioned on /r/books and sounds right up my alley. Science-fiction is my favourite genre but it’s the hardest to get right, in my opinion, so a classic like this is probably the way to go for a decent sci-fi read. And it just hit it’s 30th anniversary so there’s a very pretty new cover out.

So those are some books I want to buy and why! What do you think of my picks?
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5 Things to do in Autumn!

Summer is over! And with the season change comes a cold that has knocked me out for the week, thus the lack of blog posts. Despite this, I’m personally breathing a sign of relief. Autumn is my absolute favourite season as you get Halloween, the best holiday, the run up to Christmas and all the good TV comes back on air. So here are 5 things to do now the season is here…

1. Go back to school!
I used to hate going back to school but now as a degree student I am so upset that I can’t start my new module until January. Learning! I love it! And I’m in a pretty fortunate situation where I live in a country where education is so easily obtained. I think that’s pretty easy to forget under all the- wishing homework was outlawed and Summer lasted forever. Plus, new stationary.

2. Autumn clean!
Spring cleanings less popular sibling. Not only have I been dusting and polishing, I’m slowly starting the process of moving everything out of my bedroom for it’s redecoration and going through various collections to see what can be tossed. Make-up, clothes, half-finished projects, books, and even my finances are getting a good going over so I can settle into the end of the year feeling lighter.

3. Flip your mattress!
While looking on the Martha Stewart website for tips to clean and de-clutter I found out that apparently you’re supposed to flip your mattress twice a year. Please tell me I’m not the only one that didn’t know this. And if you, like me, was unaware that this was a thing- flip it. It helps it last longer and as someone who is getting a bigger bed soon and is researching new mattress prices, extending their life seems like a good thing.

4. Dust off the Candles!
I’m not one for burning candles in Summer, preferring fresh flowers but Autumn is when I pull out my candles. Certain makes have been giving me headaches though so I lean towards soy and beeswax ones now. And I might be going to America in a couple months, Bath and Body Works best prepare.

5. Start getting excited for Halloween and Christmas!
This year I’ll be hosting the Hallowreadathon again and I’m so hyped. This year has challenges and a giveaway and I’m really looking forward to it, and Halloween, and then as soon as that’s over I can go full blown Christmas and nobody can stop me.

What are things you do when the seasons change?

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Blog Love #2

You may remember my first Blog Love post way back in November last year. I had no idea it had been that long until I looked it up and I feel bad, the blogging community is great but sometimes it feels very competitive and I’m not about that. I want to show off all the amazing blogs I read, like look! So Blog Love posts will be coming more often. As well as my new blog roll that I’m still adding to.

First, one of my favourites and an insta-click if I’m scrolling twitter/bloglovin’/facebook/etc and see she’s put a new post up, Lauren from What Lauren Did Today! Lauren just has such a lovely personality that shines through her posts and social media. She writes about books, cruelty-free beauty and mental health with a smattering of life posts for good luck. You really can’t do better than her blog.

I met Siobhan from Rock and Roses a couple years ago and she is an absolute sweetheart and helped put me at ease at my first blogging event. Since then I’ve met her once more and have been following her blogging progress and just generally spent a lot of time on her blog. She even guest-posted for me last year and I’m dying to have her back next time I go away.
[Edit: I’m afraid she deleted her blog!]

Next is Amber at The Amber Spyglass. Recently I went through the blogs I was following and  unfollowed a lot of inactive blogs, but I couldn’t bring myself to unfollow Amber and I’m glad I didn’t because about 3 days later she was back! Talk about a spooky coincidence. She writes one of those blogs that just read so easily and calmly that you want to jump in. Perfect for relaxing Sunday afternoons.

And last but definitely not least, Bethan at Bethan Likes who reads so many interesting books that I just can’t keep up. She reviews the kind of books I have on my to-buy list but I’m too scared to pick up, and she does it brilliantly. More and more books get added to the list if she likes them. I completely trust her opinion and her weekend updates are my favourite Monday morning reading.

What are your favourite blogs?
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Book Review: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill.

I’ve never needed to add a trigger warning to a blog post before but I feel I should to this one. This book talks about rape and sexual assault and I’m going to address that in this post.

Asking For It by Louise O

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma. 

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does. 

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

Asking For It* was an incredibly difficult book to read. I don’t personally have triggers about the subject matter but I found myself increasingly uncomfortable, sick to my stomach, and anxious. I even needed to call a friend of mine half way through to talk about what I was reading because of how it was making me feel and in search of comfort. I think it hit me quite hard because I went to an all girls school like the characters, I’ve known girls exactly like this, and the first person narrative just gets under your skin.

The story is also familiar because it’s happened. The story is a pretty direct copy of several cases that have been well publicised over the last few years, but set in Ireland, rather than America. However, reading about it in the news and reading it in first person are two very different experiences.

The focus is very much on Emma and I think the other characters fall a little flat because of this, I struggled keeping all of her friends and family, even the rapists straight in my head because the narrative doesn’t give them much personality beyond- this girl is rich, this girl has a boyfriend, this guy plays football, this guy has a crush on Emma. And even that was confusing. Like school on the first day, you don’t know these people and you spend a lot of time putting faces to names.

The writing was very simplistic and direct, and while this put across the message very clearly, it made the whole book feel a little lacking. I missed beautiful sentences and turns of phrases that almost every other book I’ve read has managed, no matter the subject. There were lines where the same thing would be said over and over that I would skim whereas normally I’m not a skimmer at all.

I remember when I first picked up a copy of this book and saying to Daisy, “This is either going to be really well done or an complete nightmare.” Now I’ve read it, I don’t think it was either. I liked it well enough and I think it’s going to be an interesting way of getting teens to think about sexual assault, rape culture and victim blaming but I wasn’t blown away like some other readers were. Want to buy it? You can get a copy here!

Are you going to read Asking For It?

*I received this at the Dodocon event. I am not obligated to talk about it on my blog.

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Books I Read in August!

I read eight books in August, despite a reading slump, and it’s strange because I didn’t love a lot of what I read either. There were two stand-out books; Magisterium: The Iron Trial and The Copper Gauntlet, but the rest didn’t blow me away. And I’m in a reading slump now where everything I pick up, I just hate. I need a really good book to blow me away, recommendations always welcome!

Books I Read in August including From Dead to Worse, Dead and Gone and Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris, Magisterium: The Iron Trial and The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf, Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty and Asking For it by Louise O

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
After All Together Dead I was so hyped about the Sookie Stackhouse books. I was excited about Quinn, and the action, and the consequences. But after that explosive book, this felt like I was wandering around the world with ringing ears. This book had about four plots that were going on at the same time but weren’t truly gone into. Normally Harris can balance multiple plot lines at the same time and go into both in detail but I think there was just too many going on. It felt like they were all just skipped over where there was potential for real drama.
“Okay, you’re right. It would hurt me if you died. Also I would have died, too, most likely, so it wouldn’t have hurt for long.”

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
And we bounce back. A little. I think I liked this book more as I read it than I do now as I think it over for my review. It’s bouncing between three and four stars. As far as the plot went, it was a fleshed out idea with Weres and shifters of the world coming out with their existence. But I wanted way more of that and way less of the whole fairy thing. I wanted more reactions and repercussions to the reveal, but we got enough I guess. If this is something that interests you then the Carrie Vaughn Kitty Norville books are probably more up your alley.
It ended on a pretty uneven note for me too and I was a little- oh. That happened. Okay.
It was too late. I was on my high horse and I was riding it out of Merlotte’s.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Sookie is in a bad place in this book. The whole ‘oh’ ending in Dead and Gone not only came out of nowhere, but had some serious repercussions. Amelia leaves too who was one of my favourite characters and that sucks. There is a really lovely couple of chapters with Sookie’s nephew who is absolutely adorable. It’s just a shame there wasn’t more of the little guy. Harper saved this book for me and I hope we see more of him.
I’ve heard repeatedly that the Sookie Stackhouse books get worse as they go on. There’s only three left and I’ll finish the series but if I re-read, I’ll probably stop a book seven unless there’s a major turn around.
“I thought you might enjoy knowing before you buy their clothes. You colour-code babies, I believe.”

The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf
You can read my full review here!
The were reluctant to take this new to their homes, for they did not want to pour new grief onto old misery.

Magisterium: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare*
You can read my full review here!
His whole life, he had managed not to make pieces of paper fly around classrooms.

Magisterium: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare*
You can read my full review here!
“If that doesn’t work, then, like they say, ‘If you love someone, set them free. Don’t lock them in an underground cavern.” 

Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty
I wrote about this very briefly in my 5 Books, 7 Days readathon wrap up but basically I’ve owned this book for a long long long time. I’m not sure why I even picked it up because it doesn’t sound like a book that younger Imogen would like, which might explain why I never finished it as a child. Ever a completist, I picked it up because it was short and I was curious how it ended.
The problem with the book is that it was written 25 years ago and it feels like it was written 25 years ago. What should be a relatable story about a teenage pregnancy and the consequences, isn’t, because it just hasn’t aged well. The description is shoved wherever it will go, long flowery sentences that don’t match the subject matter or the audience.
There’s barely any difference between Chris’s internal monologue and Helen’s letters to the baby. But this won the Carnegie Medal, I’m just not sure what I’m missing.
She has terrible handwriting. It’s like unravelling a tangle of inky knitting.

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill*
My full review is here!
The morning is creeping under the curtains like it is hunting for me.

What did you read this month?

*I was sent/ given these books for review. I am not obligated to talk about them.

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