TBR: September 2015

Last month it was my target to read six books, and I managed eight, so I’m incredibly happy – even better, five of them were from my TBR for the month. I also enjoyed the vast majority – and I even re-read one of my favourite books of all time: ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ by J.K. Rowling.

This month I’m attempting to get through the pile of books that were on my Summer TBR list (as well as the books I’m currently reading – the top five).

  • Grey by E.L. James
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Gone by Michael Grant
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • 1227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Duff by Kody Keplinger
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
  • Every Day by David Levithan

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I know that I haven’t got a chance of completing the list, but I’m hoping to read at least four books this month (and tick off at least two criteria from the 2015 Reading Challenge). The most important thing is to have fun, right?!

Thirty-three down, seventeen to go. (Forty-seven read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Reading Wrap-Up: August 2015

And with that, the summer is over. By that, I mean August. By summer, I mean wash-out. Regardless, another month is over, and we’re another month closer to the end of the 2015 Reading Challenge. This month was much more productive in terms of the number of books read than the last few months – primarily due to spending the first week of August lounging by the pool in France.

August 2015 statistics
Total books read: 8
Total pages read: 2,800
Favourite book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

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#45 A book set during Christmas – Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn: Christmas in August (#42)
#48 A banned book – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: The Benefits of Banning Books (#40)
#58 A book with a mythical creature on the cover – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: The Most Magical Story Ever Told (#41)
#59 A book set in multiple locations – Tripwire by Lee Child: Tripwire (#43)
#60 A novella – The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas: Reading Prequels (#44)
#61 A book with forbidden love – Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman: Black and White (#45)
#62 A book with alliteration in the title – The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket: Struggling with Series (#46)
#63 A book you were given – Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy: Delving Into New Genres (#47)

Last month I set myself the target of reading six books during August, and I’m so happy that I exceeded that target – and I’m also really happy with the number of pages I read this month, which works out at 90 pages a day! I’m going to be a little more conservative for September, but I want to check off at least two more categories from the Reading Challenge itself (and read at least four books).

Thirty-three down, seventeen to go. (Forty-seven read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

September 1Top Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With
We’ve all read books that infuriated us for one reason or another, but perhaps the most disappointing situation is when you don’t click with the characters personalities, as that can have a negative effect on your perception of a book. Unfortunately it’s happened all too often in my experience.

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1. Hazel Grace Lancaster (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
Hazel felt underdeveloped and largely unemotional – completely the opposite to the storyline. I felt like she was trying to be a martyr in the face of oblivion, which seems thoroughly unrealistic.

2. Paige Mahoney (The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon)
I found Paige to be a thoroughly unremarkable character, with no discernable traits. I’m unsure how she is going to be the heroine of the series, although I’m not sure that I care.

3. Anastasia Steele (Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James)
My main issue with Ana is her naivety – even if one hasn’t been exposed to the world she finds herself in, it seems unfathomable to have no conception of it.

4. Lola Nolan (Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins)
Lola as a character is whiney and self-centred, and I didn’t care for her immature antics. She has her family and friends wrapped around her little finger, and is so moody.

5. Sansa Stark (A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin)
Sansa is one of the most boring characters in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series (although I’ve only read the first two books – no spoilers please) and I find myself groaning when beginning her chapters.

6. Georgia Nicholson (Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison)
Georgia is undoubtedly one of the most annoying characters in literature. She is incredibly immature, and her friends aren’t much better, and I never connected to her “problems”.

7. Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding)
Bridget is the adult version of Georgia Nicholson – she is always moaning about not having a boyfriend, but not doing anything to better herself. I guess that mantra grates on me.

8. Sophie May (Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher)
Sophie was a bit of a pathetic and needy character, and I didn’t care about her story.  She rarely did what made her happy, or what was best for her or those around her.

9. Sloane (Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson)
My main issue with Sloane is that she thinks she’s the centre of the universe, and doesn’t seem to have grasped that friendship works two ways.

10. Rudolf Rassendyll (The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope)
This was the most boring book I’ve ever read, and I didn’t connect to the plot or the main character at all. He had no personality and simply didn’t belong in the fictional world.

It’s interesting that 90% of my issues were with female characters. I can only assume that’s because, as a female, I can (from my perspective) spot flaws in their personalities more easily. Also only 50% of those I had an issue with were from YA – so clearly I can not click with characters regardless of the target audience of books.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Book Haul: August 2015

This months book haul consists of all those books bought from July 22nd-August 31st, since I was away during the latter part of July and wasn’t able to count those books purchased during the last ten days towards the last total, and as a result it’s a slightly larger book haul than recent ones – not that that’s a bad thing.

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Eagle Strike – Anthony Horowitz (Signed)
Skeleton Key – Anthony Horowitz (Signed)
Point Blanc – Anthony Horowitz (Signed)
Stormbreaker – Anthony Horowitz (Signed)
Without Fail – Lee Child
Another Day – David Levithan
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson
The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett
Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee
Hello Life – Marcus Butler (Signed)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling (x2)
The Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson
Gorsky – Vesna Goldsworthy
Life With A Sprinkle of Glitter – Louise Pentland
The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson
Crocodile Tears – Anthony Horowitz (Signed)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness (Signed)
The Wrath & The Dawn – Renee Ahdieh
Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge

I’m very excited about my twenty-three purchases, especially “Finding Audrey” by Sophie Kinsella, and the two books by YouTubers – I’m planning on getting to all three very soon. However, in an effort to curb my spending (and my shelves), I’m aiming to purchase 10 or fewer books in September – wish me luck!

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Successes and Failures: Top Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

On May 26, I wrote a post entitled Top Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer, which featured the following novels (in no particular order):

  1. The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
  2. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  3. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
  5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  6. The 100 by Kass Morgan
  7. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  8. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
  9. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan
  10. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

These were ten books I intended to read over the course of the summer – some I had loaded on my Kindle, some on my iPhone as audiobooks, and some in traditional paper, and the plan was to read them by the pool in France.

Unfortunately it did not go to plan. At all. I only read one of the ten books, which thankfully was enjoyable enough. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, it’s just that I’ve picked up different books, and I’ve mostly really enjoyed them – so that’s the main thing.

August
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (6/10)

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Despite failing abysmally on this occasion, I do still want to read the remaining nine books on the list, especially “The Isle of the Lost” because I’m completely obsessed with all things fairytale at the moment.

My next Successes and Failures post will go live on September 22nd, when I will be doing my wrap-up of ‘Top Ten Books On My TBR For Summer 2015’. Here’s hoping for better luck at sticking to my TBR next time.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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#63 Delving Into New Genres (#47)

Earlier this month I had a very interesting meeting with an individual who works in the publishing industry, and he kindly gave me a book: “Gorsky” by Vesna Goldsworthy. I had heard of neither the book nor the author, but I delved straight into what would become my 47th read of the 2015 Reading Challenge: #63 A book you were given.

My Goodreads Review
“Based on ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘Gorsky’ follows Serbian-born, London-based bookseller Nikola (Nick) Kimovic, who is commissioned by billionaire Russian Gorsky to build him the best private library for his lavish new home. Nick, for need of money and love of art, agrees.
Nick has another regular client, Russian Natalia, whom he plies with art history books for her collection. Natalia is married to wealthy Englishman Tom Summerscale, with whom she has a daughter, Daisy.
It later transpires that Gorsky and Natalia were old friends in Russia, when Gorsky holds an event in Nick’s bookshop with the implicit intent of bumping into Natalia.
The book revolves around money – old money, new money – and how relationships are formed when money is involved. It is also political as it considers the wealth of the English, Russians, and Europeans in general, and how the two are intricately tied together.
This book is filled with themes including prostitution, adultery, and latterly, murder – all of which largely revolve around money and politics. The characters were interesting – particularly Nick, Gorsky and Gery (Natalia’s friend and personal trainer) – and, having not personally read ‘The Great Gatsby’, I was shocked at the direction the novel took.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised. It was an interesting read from beginning to end, although I felt that the pace towards the end increased too quickly, and as a result the conclusion was rushed.”

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This was a really interesting read, and isn’t something I would usually pick up for myself. I’m a fan of re-tellings in general, but having not read “The Great Gatsby” and not being aware of the story, it was an entirely new world to me. I also loved the setting in London, with a poor character surrounded – inadvertently – by the rich.

Whilst I don’t believe that I confine myself too strictly to any one genre with regards to my reading preferences, reading “Gorsky” has opened my eyes to a new genre of suspenseful political thrillers, which I endeavor to explore further in the future.

#63 A book you were given – Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy (7/10)

Thirty-three down, seventeen to go. (Forty-seven read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

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Two More Days At Disneyland Paris

Last month my family and I went to Disneyland Paris for the third time. We last visited two summers ago, and we decided to experience the Disney magic once again.

This year was rather different from our previous visits, since we brought our dog with us. Disney do have kennel facilities, so we were able to leave Molly whilst we explored the magic of the parks, but we couldn’t leave her for hours at a time.

On our first day we headed straight for Walt Disney Studios, intent on tackling some of the bigger rides before the heavy queues began.

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Our first stop was Crush’s Coaster – a roller coaster all four of us go on, if not willingly in the case of my Mum. It provided me with my first opportunity to try out my newly purchased UMove (cheaper version of a GoPro) to record the action – unfortunately I’d forgotten just how much takes place in the dark, and so only the first few seconds of footage were useable (you can watch the vlog of our trip down below, or click here).

With Mum feeling decidedly sick, Dad and I took off for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, where unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to film – not that there would have been much to see, considering it’s rather dark. Oddly it felt slower than I’ve experienced it before (with the exception of the first 15 seconds, which was great) and we didn’t enjoy it half as much as usual.

We then had a quick wander around the park and the shops, before heading to the main Disney park, bound for Thunder Mountain Railroad. When we arrived there was a mass of people congregating outside the entrance, as the ride had just broken down, but we hung around for a few minutes and managed to end up with only a 15 minute wait to ride it. It is, unquestionably, one of our favourite rides, mainly because it is actually lasts for a reasonable length of time – unlike so many others!

Our next stop was to pick up Fast Track tickets for Buzz Lightyear, and then grab some lunch – but not before an obligatory snap in front of Cinderella’s castle.

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Unfortunately one of the few rides Dad and I wanted to go on – Space Mountain – was shut for refurbishment, and one Joe wanted to go on – Star Tours – had its usual 80 minute wait, which is totally not worth it, so we skipped some of our favourites.

After lunch we went on Buzz Lightyear. My family are incredibly competitive and as usual we were in it to win it. I lost – although I’m convinced there was a fault with my laser gun.

We then decided we’d left Molly for long enough and left the park for the day.

On our second day, which happened to be my Mum’s birthday, we decided to forgo the parks in favour of exploring the shops, for me to have a ride on the hot air balloon (the other three were too scared to come on with me) and to have a celebratory lunch in The Rainforest Cafe.

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We had an absolutely magical time at Disneyland Paris – despite only going on a handful of rides. Now I just need to get back to Florida!!

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