Bout of Books 21 (January 2018) – Final Summary

Bout of Books

The latest Bout of Books is over, and I had a good final day of reading.
I’m at the point where I can’t tear myself away from Into the Drowning Deep, I just keeping saying ‘one more chapter’, ‘one more page’, but then I don’t want the book to end either.

Number of pages I’ve read today: 100

Total number of pages I’ve read: 660

I usually set general readathon goals (Original goals posted HERE).
As always updating my blog daily and visiting other blogs has been an enjoyable part of the readathon.
I managed to complete one book and start another, and I even found time to write and post a Top Ten Tuesday entry in the middle of the readathon, which is a first.

Thank you to everyone who visited and commented on my blog during the event. I hope everyone had a great week of reading.

The Week’s Progress Revisited…

Continue reading

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Top Ten Tuesday: A Few Titles I Never Managed to Read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in with their own top ten list.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:   Ten Books I Meant to Read in 2017 (and will hopefully read this year!)


Ah, all those books I really meant to read, and which I want to read still, right now, all of them, straight away. You know that feeling, right? So many books, so little time?
This of course means I had no trouble writing my Top Ten Tuesday post this week; the only difficult thing was limiting my list to ten books!
Here’s hoping that I manage to read at least a few of these titles in the next few months:

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant – Killer mermaids. I’ve been reading reviews online which say this book is scary. How am I resisting picking this up right away? I have no idea, but as soon as I finish my current read this will be next on my list. I want to give it my whole attention.

I fancy trying a little more sci-fi in my reading, so the next two on the list will hopefully satisfy that:

Artemis by Andy Weir – A new-to-me author (I still haven’t read The Martian).

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – A prequel to the next book on my list this week.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – I’ve seen the movie, so now it’s time to experience the book.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – Added this one to my TBR list after I watched the recent movie adaptation. It was really good, and kept me guessing right to the end. I want to see how the book compares.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence – I saw this on a few ‘best of 2017’ lists, so I really need to find time to read it this year.

The Remnant by Charlie Fletcher – The last book in the Oversight trilogy, and it’s a great oversight on my part that I still haven’t managed to read this one yet.

Year One by Nora Roberts – This sounds like an end-of-the-world with a twist type story as humanity is wiped out by a virus but some of the survivors gain powers they never had before. Am really looking forward to starting this, but so far I’m still waiting for my library copy to arrive.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – I just finished watching the tv series based on this book and it left me really wanting to read the story as well.


Have you read any of the books that my list this week?  Which would you recommend?  And what are you hoping to find the time to read this year?

Book Review: The Watcher by Ross Armstrong

Name:  The Watcher
Author:  
Ross Armstrong
Number of Pages:
  384 (Paperback)
Published:
September 21st 2017 by HQ
Genre:  Thriller

Goodreads

She’s watching you, but who’s watching her?
Lily Gullick lives with her husband Aiden in a new-build flat opposite an estate which has been marked for demolition. A keen birdwatcher, she can’t help spying on her neighbours.
Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars and soon her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead. Lily, intrigued by the social divide in her local area as it becomes increasingly gentrified, knows that she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat.
But can Lily really trust everything she sees?    – from Goodreads

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

Here’s something a little different from the type of book I’d usually choose.
I picked this one up totally by accident; I had time to kill at the library and didn’t have my current read with me so picked this up off the shelf.
It pulled me in right away, and I finished it in only a few days, so I must have enjoyed it.

Lily is something of an unreliable narrator, and her viewpoint is quite fascinating.
It leaves us questioning what is real, because as the story plays out with a first person narrative the reader only experiences Lily’s own viewpoint, and Lily seems to be a fairly troubled woman. I really felt for her by the end, although in the first place I found myself wondering how on earth someone could go to the lengths she was. There’s definitely some fairly questionable behaviour, but then this also shows her driven nature.
Lily is convinced that one of her neighbours has murdered another resident of the estate across from her own apartment block, and she has a direct viewpoint from which to make her observations and find out who committed the murder. And so she finds her binoculars and trains them onto the people across the way, often making up narratives for each person she encounters whilst watching.

The action is fast paced, and towards the latter stage I couldn’t put the book down, I had to know how it was all going to end as Lily put herself directly in danger time and again in her bid to uncover the truth. The Watcher has a violent and exciting conclusion, and I’d probably be tempted to read more in the way of psychological thrillers in the future after enjoying this one.

Bout of Books 21 (January 2018) Goals and Daily Progress Updates

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team


As always I’ll be using this blog for the majority of my updates during the read-a-thon, but you can also find me on Twitter.

Time Devoted to Reading

I’ll say my usual half an hour as a minimum, but hopefully a LOT more.

My Goals

  • To finish reading at least one book
  • And maybe start another one
  • Keep track of my reading progress via daily blog updates
  • Visit other blogs and comment regularly

Books to Read

  • The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
  • Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Updates

Monday

What better way to start a new year of reading than by joining in with Bout of Books? I do love a good read-a-thon, so I’m looking forward to the next week of reading and blogging.

Tuesday (Monday’s Progress)

I’m reading The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan. My festive reading has spilled over into the new year – oops! It’s got a very festive looking cover but so far the story isn’t actually overly Christmassy, so it’s one to read at any time of year. It’s set in December, but that’s about it so far.
Oh, and I am enjoying it; it’s a different theme from the type of book I’d usually pick up.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  100
Total number of pages I’ve read:  100

Wednesday (Tuesday’s progress)

I haven’t managed to read as much today. I wanted to write a post for Top Ten Tuesday, and I think it’s the first time I’ve done that during Bout of Books.
As you may see from that post I’ve suddenly developed a really strong urge to read about killer mermaids. Am going to try really hard to finish my current read before picking up something new though.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  50
Total number of pages I’ve read:  150

Thursday (Wednesday’s progress)

I finished a book!
Don’t know how I managed it but I read so much today. I don’t think I’ve managed 200 pages in one day in years. I just couldn’t seem to put my book (The Christmas Secret) down, and I’m also really looking forward to starting Into the Drowning Deep.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  200
Total number of pages I’ve read:  350

Friday (Thursday’s progress)

I’m really enjoying Into the Drowning Deep. The thing is, I don’t want to read it too fast because I want to make it last, but I also want to know who will survive and what’s going to happen to all these characters.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  88
Total number of pages I’ve read:  438

Saturday (Friday’s progress)

I didn’t have much opportunity to read today, so I snatched a few times where I could. There’s always time tomorrow though, right?

Number of pages I’ve read today:  46
Total number of pages I’ve read:  484

Sunday (Saturday’s progress)

Such a good reading afternoon and evening. Into the Drowning Deep is SO GOOD!
The mermaids have made their presence known for the first time and… it was so tense. I imagine the crew of this ship are about to get into real trouble, and I can’t wait to get back to my book to find out what happens next!
Who knew mermaids could be so scary?!

Number of pages I’ve read today:  76
Total number of pages I’ve read:  560

Monday (Sunday’s progress and final thoughts)

Final Summary posted HERE.

 

Book Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Name:  Strange Weather
Author:  
Joe Hill
Number of Pages:
  432 (Hardback)
Published:
November 2nd 2017 by Gollancz
Genre:  Short Stories

Goodreads

A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill.
“One of America’s finest horror writers” (Time magazine), Joe Hill has been hailed among legendary talents such as Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, and Jonathan Latham. In Strange Weather, this “compelling chronicler of human nature’s continual war between good and evil,” (Providence Journal-Bulletin) who “pushes genre conventions to new extremes” (New York Times Book Review) deftly expose the darkness that lies just beneath the surface of everyday life.    – from Goodreads

My Rating:

 

My Thoughts:

Strange Weather is a collection of four short novels. I read and enjoyed The Fireman by Joe Hill earlier this year, so I wanted to pick up his next read.
I don’t usually read many short story collections, but I was glad I gave this book a try. It was so varied and unusual that I’m sure there’s at least one story most people will love.

Snapshot sees a young man take on a formidable adversary in the form of The Phoenician, a sinister character with an apparently memory-stealing Polaroid camera.

Loaded deals with a shooting in a shopping mall where a security guard is hailed a hero, but following him further he becomes increasingly disturbed, especially when journalist Aisha Lanternglass becomes interested in his past and bringing the reality of this ‘hero’ to light.

Aloft features Aubrey, a young man willing to undertake a skydive to impress a girl, even though he’s absolutely terrified and tries to back out. Circumstances mean he is forced to jump anyway, so imagine his surprise when he finds himself stranded on a cloud that is more than it first appears. This was such an unusual and memorable story.

And now for my favourite – Rain. This story offers a post-apocalyptic scenario as a storm of nails pours down in Boulder, killing thousands of people, and leaving Honeysuckle Speck determined to go and visit her girlfriend’s father, to tell him what happened to his daughter.
From the comet cultists across the street, to the young boy whom Honeysuckle sometimes looks after, and Honeysuckle’s risky journey to deliver a heartbreaking message, Rain is definitely the story that will stick in my mind for the longest now I’ve finished the book.

Strange Weather was a varied and enjoyable read, and I’m now wondering which Joe Hill book I should try next.

Reading Resolutions 2018

Welcome to my 2018 Reading Resolutions post.

As usual I will be participating in the Goodreads challenge, as I’ve done for a number of years.
I’m also joining in with the Beat the Backlist challenge again, as I enjoyed that in 2017 and managed to read a few titles from a TBR list that seems never-ending.
I’m also creating my list of Reading Resolutions again, which is a general list of reading hopes and goals for the coming year.
I’ll continue my monthly progress updates.

General Goals

  • To participate in reading events and readathons and keep my blog regularly updated with progress.
  • To continue making an effort to give some attention to the books that I already own.
  • To read a variety of genres, but to carry on indulging my love of fantasy/dystopia/post apocalypse stories.
  • Maybe try another audio book.
  • To continue my monthly update posts to record how I’m doing in keeping up with my challenges.

Reading Challenges:

The Beat the Backlist Challenge

Goodreads

I want to read 20 books during the year

Possible Books to Read:

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (re-read)
Misery by Stephen King
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden ?BL?
Artemis by Andy Weir
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Year One by Nora Roberts
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Remnant by Charlie Fletcher
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

 

Beat the Backlist 2018

Overview

The Beat the Backlist Challenge is hosted over at NovelKnight

Welcome to the 2018 edition of Beat the Backlist!
This reading challenge is focused on knocking off titles that have been on your TBR for a while, or even ones that get pushed aside for new releases. While we LOVE new releases, we also want to show some of those older titles love too.

YOU set your own reading goal. YOU pick the books. YOU read at your own pace.

Whether you’re a casual reader looking to work on your TBR list with a bunch of people, or a competitive reader seeking a bit of extra motivation this year, Beat the Backlist is for you.

Guidelines

The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. You have an ENTIRE YEAR to complete your goal!

Books must be released prior to 2018 to count for this challenge. Although we love new releases too, this isn’t the challenge for them.

That’s it!

Potential Reads

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (re-read)
Misery by Stephen King
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
Artemis by Andy Weir
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Year One by Nora Roberts
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Remnant by Charlie Fletcher
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

This is my second time participating in Beat the Backlist. Last year doing the challenge really encouraged me to make a (tiny) dent in my backlist TBR list/pile, so I’m certainly up for another try in 2018.
I’m going to set myself a target of 10 books to start with, and have made a list of a few potential reads. I’m looking forward to tackling my endless TBR list again.


Monthly Progress

January

COVERS

The Watcher by Ross Armstrong

The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Year One by Nora Roberts