Book Blogger Confessions Tag

 

orangutan tag 2

It has been a while since my last confession… I mean tag 😉 So I figure I should just jump straight to the good bit! Thanks so much to the lovely Sophie for tagging me to do this one! She runs a brilliant book blog with such varied content- from reviews to writing to crafts! Definitely recommend you check her out 🙂

RULES:

  • Answer these questions truthfully.
  • Once you’re done, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer these questions next.

1. Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

otherworld

I actually find it really hard to DNF, so I was proud of myself for giving up on Otherworld. It was a very, very average ripoff of Ready Player One. And I’m not sorry for giving up on it!

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

Hmm I don’t know that I ever feel guilty, so I’m going for something that is more pure pleasure…

kiss quotient

3. Which book do you love to hate? 

fifty shades of grey

Hard question, cos I kinda hate hating things most of the time. I’ll admit I do enjoying hating on Fifty Shades of Grey from time to time- there’s just a lot of entertaining stuff out there making fun of it.

4. Which book would you throw into the sea? 

old man and the sea

I’ll admit I trawled through all my lowest rated books on Goodreads, looking for something that sounded appropriate, so I guess I’m giving The Old Man and the Sea a watery death because it sounds punny! I feel a bit mean about this, because it’s not a fate it truly deserves, given it’s actually a good book and the only justification I have is that I don’t click with Hemmingway’s writing style… which isn’t really a justification at all. Ah well- I guess I’ll just have to drown in my own guilt 😉

5. Which book have you read the most?

Easily, the Hobbit.

Hobbit_cover

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a gift? 

I don’t know that there’s anything… beyond Mein Kampf. I think any scenario where you receive this (or anything in this vein) as a gift would be pretty disturbing. Like, the thought process behind this would either be “Happy birthday- I think you’re a Nazi!” or “Happy birthday- from your friendly neighbourhood Nazi!”

mein kampf

(I realise there is probably a perfectly sensible answer to this question and I’ve just gone off the deep end, haven’t I?)

7. Which book could you not live without? 

Well, I’ve already mentioned The Hobbit, so I think I’ll have to go with another of my most formative reads: The Idiot. Not necessarily Dostoevsky’s best, but it’s left a deep impact on me ever since I read it.

idiot

8. Which book made you angriest? 

as i lay dying

I can safely say that As I Lay Dying makes me so hot under the collar that I might spontaneously combust. Now, I’ve been told that I don’t get this book’s brilliance. Apparently, writing 56000 words on why language is insufficient to convey meaning is a stroke of genius and not the pretentious bilge I took it for. Silly me. Granted I do understand that I was supposed to buy into the post-structuralist “everything is meaningless so we might as well all curl up and die” view a long time ago- alas I am too “foolish” to have taken that to heart 😉 I must therefore issue an apology to the intelligentsia powers-that-be who like to pontificate on whether chairs are indeed chairs/whether dogs are dogs/whether language is a useful tool to communicate: I guess I couldn’t have been more wrong. Clearly I am a grunting-cave-dweller for thinking language fulfils its function pretty well. Clearly it is smart to obfuscate meaning in order to make the point that meaning is impossible to find- that’s not a manipulative tactic at all and TOTALLY proves there’s no meaning… in this work at any rate 😉  (Wow- that got more sarky than I intended- see what I mean about this making me sizzle with rage?)

9. Which book made you cry the most?

sadie

Recently, that would be Sadie. I can barely talk about this without getting emotional, so I’m just going to suggest listening to the audiobook version if you can and move on before I tear up…

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

I don’t know why, but I feel so so bad picking out ugly covers. Still, I have to admit, I’m not crazy about the original City of Bones cover.

City_of_Bones

That’s all for now- I tag: Journey into Books, Hammock of Books, Kristin Kraves, Meltotheany, Literary Latte, CJR Brit and the Book Prescription

And I want to know- do you agree or disagree with any of my answers? And what books makes you sizzle with rage? Let me know in the comments!

My Top 5 Austen Adaptations

I’ve been in a really romance-y mood lately… which has led me down an Austen adaptation rabbithole. Watching and rewatching a crazy amount of these has got me thinking about which ones are my favourites and I thought it would be fun to share them with you lovely people. Quick note: it’ll be glaringly obvious to fans that Mansfield Park is missing- that’s not cos there aren’t any good versions, it’s cos (as is no secret) I’ve never liked the story. Now that’s out of the way, onto the list!

 

BBC Pride and Prejudice- to my mind, this is THE BEST adaptation of anything, ever! Yes, this is my completely biased view 😉 I tend to rewatch this every. year. (thank you Beebs for including this in your boxsets!) This is, in every sense of the word, PERFECTION. The acting, the first class writing lifted from the book, the wonderful choice of locations… this is always going to be my favourite.

BBC Sense and Sensibility- so, confession time: I’m not hugely fond of the movie version- though it has some sensational performances from the likes of Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant, I feel like the story could’ve done with a bit more space to breathe. Which is why I was so excited to check out the new(ish) BBC adaptation- and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed! I watched this for the first time recently and almost felt the need to rewind and watch it all again. The acting and writing was brilliantly done- but most importantly this hit me right in the *feels*!

Emma 1996- this might be an unpopular opinion, because I think most people prefer the TV version (which is understandable, because that’s a great version too). In truth, I don’t know why I love this version so much- especially since I often prefer the TV serials for Austen, given they allow the stories to develop over a greater time span. That said, I simply LOVE the performances in this- particularly Jeremy Northam who is my definitive Mr Knightley (who, yes, just happens to be my favourite Austen love interest).

Northanger Abbey– even if this wasn’t the only Northanger Abbey version that I’ve seen, it’d make the list, because it’s a lot of fun! It’s completely different to a lot of other Austen adaptations, playing on some of the themes in quite a hilariously modern way, upping the imaginative gothic levels and heroines’ fantasies… and for some reason this rather tickled my fancy.

Persuasion 1995- I watched this most recently and I was delighted with it. I’d seen a more recent version and wasn’t quite blown away (especially disappointing because at the time I watched it I probably would’ve classed this as my favourite Austen). I was so happy with this version however and would definitely recommend it for those looking for an Austen fix! 

Have you seen any of these? Which are your favourite Austen adaptations? Let me know in the comments!

Mid Year Resolutions for 2019!

 

resolutions 2019

Hello all! It’s time to check up on my resolutions for the year *DUN DUN DUNNNN*. I’ve never done this on my blog before, though I’m a big fan of mid year resolutions in general, but I figure this was better than doing my usual mad-dash-to-the-end panicked check up around November. So, let’s see how I’m getting on with it now, shall we?  

Bookish:

number 1

10 More Books from My Challenging list

Ermm yeah, this isn’t going that well. I have only managed 4. Frankly, this is cos I haven’t had much luck with the ones I have picked up. The first of the year was Atlas Shrugged… and we all know how that one turned out for me. Then there was Maps of Meaning, which contained interesting ideas, but the writing style was flawed (I recommend sticking to the lecture series for this one). Finally, I tried Vanity Fair, which was superbly written, however I didn’t connect to because the characters are AWFUL people. So yeah, excuses aside, I have a long way to go with this goal. Lastly, I recently finished Faust, which sadly ended up being a plodding “poetic” translation and I preferred Marlowe’s version. 

Updated goal: 6 to go!

number 2

10 Non-Fiction Reads

Well, I can say I’m on track for this one- I’ve managed 5 so far this year- most of which have been good. The highlight of these was definitely the Man in the White Sharkskin Suit– a random find that was super emotional and well worth the read (review to come). I’d better not be complacent though- there’s still 5 to go…

Updated goal: 5 more non-fic

number 3

5 Rereads

I’ve knocked this one out of the park! I’d actually like to try and read more, but we’ll see. 

COMPLETED!

number 4

5 Poetry Collections

Oh wow, I suck. I have completely failed this. To be fair, I’ve been reading a lot more poetry- but collections? I’ve managed just the one:

poems to live your life by

I’m also counting Faust again, because I had to get through 350 pages of verse!

Updated goal: 3 more to go!

Non Bookish:

number 5

Compile notebooks

I’ve managed to do a lot of this. In fact, I did all the ones I thought I had… then finished another notebook, which I’m gonna save for the second half of the year. I’ll calculate that as 4/5.

Updated goal: type up wolfy notebook

number 6

Complete another language on Duolingo

Soooo this one is weird, cos I did go through all the lessons in the first few months of the year- and what have I learnt: nada 😉 Okay maybe I learnt something, but I don’t remember it now. I do think I’d benefit from trying to do some grammar practice- but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to do this- until I have time to reassess, I’m gonna give myself 5/5 and say…

TENTATIVELY COMPLETED

I do feel like I might be letting this guy down though…

duolingo sad

number 7

THE DREADED EDITING

monkey typewriter

I have done so much of this! I’ve edited books 2 and 3 of my #OverlyAmbitiousWIP and am nearly finished with 1. The problem with editing, though, is that it’s not the most straightforward of processes. I have a lot more edits for the second and third books now. Still, they’re pretty straightforward and I have high hopes for finishing this on target (if not before!). I’ve calculated this as 25/30 in terms of how far I am.

Updated goal: nearly there!

Which means I’m 71% done and my current grade is…

C-

Not fabulous, but I have time to rectify that.

And for extra credit…

I’ve decided to add a few new goals to the roster:

number 8

Art- start painting again and finish sketchbook

drawing

I’ve been working on drawings a lot more this year and I kinda want to start an Instagram for it (but I’m super nervous and not sure about it). I do want to start doing more painting (beyond Watercolours).

number 9

Yoga challenge x2

orangutan and monkey baby disco0003

Thanks to my sister dragging inviting me to disco yoga earlier in the year, I’ve actually started doing yoga (it surprised me as much as it probably does you 😉 ) I’ve been doing it a few times a week and managed one 30 day yoga challenge. So, quite simply, this is to do another two of those challenges. I think there’s enough time before the end of the year to get this done… hopefully… wish me luck!

And that’s it for now! I have made a note of some tentative goals I might add later in the year, but you won’t have to hear about them till I have my *freakout* at the end of the year 😉 I want to know if any of you have goals this year? How have you been getting on with them? Let me know in the comments!

The Kiss Quotient and the Bride Test add up to a marriage made in heaven!

 

booklove orangutan

Well, I have something to confess: I had a bit of summer fling last month and discovered a new favourite romance author. We’d better dive straight into these mini reviews, before I get all hot and flustered about this (now-not-so) secret love affair…

kiss quotient.png

The Kiss Quotient– wowee- this was love at first line! I read this in one sitting and let’s just say I was more than simply satisfied! Not only was this super steamy at times, it also made me unreasonably emotional. Because this was more than a top-notch romance: it delivered time and again on so many other levels. I think it’s the first time I have ever read a romance featuring an autistic lead and that aspect to the story blew me away. Added to this, I really liked how the family aspect and friendships were developed. This enjoyment was multiplied by exciting themes like the fake dating trope and even touched on the pressures of being single. The only reason this wasn’t a full-length review was that I was too absorbed in it and forgot to take notes. Happy to report, this one definitely lives upto the hype!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

bride test

The Bride Test– obviously once I was done with Kiss Quotient, I bounced to the next available book in this loosely connected companion series. Now, while I didn’t love this quite as much, I can safely say this gets really romantic!! Perhaps more so even than its predecessor. It was emotional. It was heartwarming. And it ended in squeals, lots and lots of squeals. And I LOVE-LOVE-LOVED how these books aren’t just about the romance- they are also about character growth. These are such well-rounded books centred around wonderful characters. As well as this, I have to say that I love how personal these stories are for Hoang- I appreciated reading these in the acknowledgements and it certainly shines through in the writing. All in all, you can’t go wrong with either of these. If you’re into romance like me and you pick these up- well you’re in for a treat!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

So romance fans- have you read either of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Summer lovin’ – fun (& sometimes super emotional) beachy books to read in the sun!

 

It’s that time of the year again- time for us bookworms to be packing up our books to take on picnics/beaches/park benches. Although I gotta admit that the title is a little misleading- cos I don’t know about you, but I love something with a bit of an emotional edge for summer holidays. Something, like, say…

the boy who steals houses

The Boy Who Steals Houses– I. can’t. even. with this book- such an emotional rollercoaster. Read it. Read this incredible Goldilocks retelling. That’s it. That’s all I have to say- this book steals the words right out of my mouth.

words in deep blue

Words in deep blue– if you don’t mind being a blubbering mess in public, then this is the book for you! Seriously though, I absolutely loved this romance about second chances, loss and books!

sisterhood of the travelling pants

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– it’s not all sad- I invite you to read this and be terrifically happy! (and then sad again when you get to the last book)

lucky star

Lucky Star– another emotional read, only this time it’s more of a middle grade/younger YA style book. Cassidy is known for her sweet books, but this one always stood out to me as the one that packs the biggest punch. I loved this when I was younger (and, if I’m honest, I still do)

kiss quotient

The Kiss Quotient– moving onto a more mature romance- I read this recently and have been looking for any excuse to recommend this more!!

far from the madding crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd– there had to be a classic on the list and of course this is one of the most romantic. Now, be warned, this is Hardy- it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. BUT I did pick one of his few books with a happy ending- you’re welcome 😉

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– it’s not all doom and gloom though- if you’re looking for a laugh, this will certainly do the trick. An alternative Tudor England (with magic!) this hilarious book is guaranteed to put a smile on your face 😀

wizard heir

Wizard Heir– of course I had to squeeze some amazing fantasy onto the list- and who better to promote than Cinda Williams Chima? I absolutely love her books and this happens to be my favourite. This one’s more of an urban setting than her high fantasy series and I don’t believe gets the praise it deserves.

song of the lioness

The Lioness Quartet– oh and what a surprise- more fantasy! I did actually take this to the beach once and it was exactly the ticket!

charmed life

Charmed Life– okay, let’s be honest, you all knew I’d start stuffing as many fantasy books as I could onto this list 😉 And this is just the epitome of cute and fun and inventive that I couldn’t resist!

Alright, now that I’ve overloaded my book bag, I have to ask what kind of books do you like to take on summer holiday? Let me know in the comments!

Chill thrills for hot weather!

 

I don’t know about you, but when the summer weather hits, there’s nothing I like more than chilling out with a good book. And what better than a good thriller to keep the shivers running down my spine when it’s hot outside!

ice twins

Ice Twins– of course the clue as to why I picked this is in the title 😉 Evoking the cool atmosphere of wintry Scotland, this book definitely provides a thrill… or two!

gone-girl-PB

Gone Girl– betcha you saw this one coming! Unlike everyone who read this book, cos that was quite the twist! 😉

woman in the window new

The Woman in the Window– on the topic of dark and twisted reads, this book, with its echoes of Hitchcock, will certainly keep you up at night.

big little lies

Big Little Lies– I especially appreciate the slow burn mystery when I’m feeling all lazy from the sun. 

all these beautiful strangers

All These Beautiful Strangers– I do love my summer mysteries and this one deserves some more love 😊

broken things

Broken Things– grim and tragic and utterly brilliant- this mystery will keep you on your toes!

sadie

Sadie– if your version of “chilling” is sobbing your heart out- cos it’s mine! 😉 I especially recommend the audiobook. Speaking of heartbreak…

we were liars

We Were Liars– I mean, I feel a little cruel putting this on here, cos it’s akin to kicking sand in your face and running off- that ending stings. Moving on to the last book of the list… 

the secret history

The Secret History– at the time of writing this list, I’ve just finished this book. And *wow*. I have to talk about this right away, because despite knowing the outcome from the start, it somehow managed to be one of the most riveting reads I’ve experienced in a while. A chilling story of elite students up to no good, this’ll have you breaking out in a cold sweat, even on the hottest of summer nights.

Alrighty then, that’s all for now! What do you think of these? And do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

As Predicted, Good Omens was More Than Just “Good”

Well this was a thoroughly enjoyable read… about the apocalypse. Yup- you read that right. This a comedy about the end of the world. The likes of which only the combined genius of Pratchett and Gaiman could have come up with. Melding their equally sharp wits and sense of humour, they created one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long while. And obviously, it’s packed full with lots and lots of laugh out loud moments!

Brilliantly written, chock full of hilarious and colourful characters and with a great story to book- it’s no wonder this became a cult classic. Happily, there’s a great story as well. In an elegant fashion, we move from the beginning of the universe, right up until the point when it’s doomed to end. As you might expect, it’s an incredibly complex story, with a lot of layers, and the absolute worst thing you could do as a reviewer for such an ineffably multifaceted work is lose one’s notes… which is exactly what I’ve gone and done. Either that or I was too distracted by the book to write anything down, cos it’s just that good 😉

So, I’m working on the fly here, which is a little tricky when we’re talking about such EPIC scale things like god, global catastrophes and intriguing philosophies. Because of course this is more than just surface-level entertainment. As I’ve come to expect from these two powerhouses, this is a fascinating approach on the nature of good and evil, the shades of grey in between and whether angels can indeed dance on the head of a pin.

Ultimately, this small book packs a punch and is one I’ll more than happily reread (maybe next time I’ll manage to take notes 😉). Fortunately though, the fun didn’t stop there, because I managed to catch the adaptation on Prime!

Now, you’ve probably heard about the (patently absurd) scandal around this, which spectacularly backfired, so you might have already heard more sane people rising to the show’s defence and raving about how good it is!

Visually stunning and with a lot of great performances- especially from Tenant and Sheen (no surprises there)- this managed to both fully reflect the qualities of the book, whilst not being the exact same thing. There were changes- as expected- but nothing that was detrimental to the original. Some parts were streamlined and there were brilliant additions (I’ll get to in a moment), but most importantly, this captured the spirit of the original.

Speaking of parts not in the book (told you I’d get there), the opening to episode three, which explored Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship in full was beautifully done. While taking up half the episode’s run time, it was so seamlessly integrated that I almost felt like I must have read it. What I liked best about it, however, was how it felt like a tribute to Pratchett and Gaiman’s friendship- and it felt all the more poignant for that. In fact, the whole backstory of how this show ended up being made makes me pretty emotional.

So, let’s hop skip and a jump to that final showdown before I tear up again! And gosh, it was done well. While a little different to the book, I did love the show’s twist ending and it certainly did its job of keeping me on my toes.

Gotta give these both 5 bananas- meaning ten in total- after all there’s no need to be stingy since they saved us from the end times…

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

Have you read or watched this? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments!