am i in a reading slump?

I hear lots of readers on You Tube and Twitter complain of being in a reading slump and not having read much at all that week/month etc

I have only read 3 books this year!! Yes this year all 5 months of it!

And one of those was basically a novella!

I dont really know what the symptoms of a reading slump are, i guess it different for each person but in case you are feeling like me I’ll list mine here.

  1.  I desperately want to read a good book, to lose myself in a story with great characters etc
  2.  I have the devil of a time choosing a title from the old TBR that makes me feel excited
  3.  Once a title is chosen I then feel some anxiety about opening and beginning the novel
  4.  If i’ve got past that then it feels like an effort to engage myself with the characters, plotline, world building etc
  5.  If i’ve got into the story and am really enjoying it i begin to relax a little
  6.  but then… the thought of wading through the rest of the book, enjoyable or not exhausts me and I tend to give up and so the cycle begins all over again.

Does this sound like you?

How can i change things?

i think maybe book blogging and my book buying addiction are at the root of all this.  When faced with such a wonderful choice of books; and i do have some amazing books on my shelves, look

its just exhausting to imagine reading them all and which ones i should go for first.  Life was so much easier when i had a few books to read only.

Wow, dont i sound a whingey old wind bag?

I hope I shake this slump off soon.  Do let me know if youve had this problem, please?

 

A book haul did you say? dont mind if i do!

Just a quick post to share with you some of the splendiferous books that I appear to have acquired recently. They seem to magnetically attach to my hands! No idea how it happens but hey, whos complaining?

First we have some rather lovely books i was sent by those splendid folk called publishers

I am especially excited to have New Boy by Tracy Chevalier as its part of the Hogarth Shakespeare re-imagined series. I now own almost 4 (one is in the post to me as i type) out of the 8 books they are publishing where modern days authors re-imagine a selection of  Shakespeare plays.


I also bought a few books myself (well I am a bookaholic so no excuses needed eh?)

What a stack!

I am so excited to have a copy of Replica at last plus The Hate You Give and you can see another two books in the Hogarth Shakespeare series here; A Gap in Time and My name is Shylock.

I’ll be doing a post on all the books in the series later in the month.

Anything you fancy here?   Or do you have any book recs for me? (they are always welcome)

 

debut authors and Booktuber spotlight

I wanted to do a post about a couple of things today, still booky related of course.  I should have a fabulous book haul post for you next week but this is about two things as it says on the tin.

  1. debut authors and
  2. i want to shine a spotlight on some of my favourite booktubers

so lets begin at the beginning shall we?

Debut Authors

I’d say 90% of all books i either get offered for review or I request via Twitter turn out to be debut authors.  Now in many ways this is exciting. I mean one of these authors could turn out to be the next Margaret Atwood or Stephen King or John Green or even David Levithan and you will have been right there reading a proof copy of their first novel long before the rest of the world!

Exciting yes?   YES   but….

as ive said before on my blog a debut author is untested and untried. I wont have read anything by them so I cant know if i will like their writing style.  A books blurb can only go so far in telling us the plot and without a ‘look inside’ feature its all one big leap of faith right?

Whereas an establised author gives us much more confidence that we will like their new novel especially if they are already a favourite.

I am always, always grateful to receive proofs of course, its such a thrill but I do reserve the right to dislike them more because of it.

BookTuber Spotlight

right i want to begin a (fairly) regular spot on my blog whereupon i celebrate some of my favourite booktubers and there are quite a few i follow, some of whom are so passionate about the books that they have made me go out and buy the book myself!

Damn! they are good like that.

My first booktuber i want to spotlight is Louise from The Big Haired Bookworm

Ive only been watching her channel for a few months but i feel like ive known her forever. She is lovely and chatty and warm and so funny and witty with her reviews. We read fairly similar books and i have bought a couple based on her recommendations.

She even makes cakes for us viewers! I mean how dedicated  is that right?

Check out her video above and see what i mean.

What do you think of debut authors?  better or worse than an established writer?

lets chat!

A Life Discarded – I wish i’d found them

This is my current read

Its about 148 diaries found thrown away in a skip back in 2001 i think it was.  How i’d love to have found those!  Its my dream to find old diaries, documents, journals and photos at bootfairs and the like.  I am such a nosy parker into the past and peoples lives, its true.

But look at the cover, especially the quote on the top right.

Yes! Benedict Cumberbatch says he couldnt put it down! What more incentive do i need to read it than this?

Incidentally, I am gripped so far!

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Well i finally finished it!

Anyone would think it was a 400 page chunker not an 80 page novella its taken me so long but, the truth is… I didnt really enjoy it!

It was fascinating from the African/Namibian heritage side of Binti’s character but the actual plot in space with the aliens was PANTS!  I never cared about any of the characters, they were all 1 dimensional and boring. The plot was hard to follow and disjointed and I feel a bit sad about the whole thing.  I really wanted to love it but its taken me 2 months to read 80 pages! Ive done it in fits and starts over that time which just proves that its not my thing.

I bought the sequel Binti Home at the same time as Binti so who knows what i’ll make of that but I can’t say I really like Nnedi’s writing. Its nothing special, but maybe she improves in the next book.

I’ll report back.

The Female Man by Joanna Russ

I got fed up waiting for a special book to arrive (which should be here today) yesterday and began reading this instead

Its one of three books from the SF Masterworks collection of classic Science Fiction that i was uber kindly sent by Stevie over at Orion/Gollancz books. This was first published in 1975 and i just adore the old style, almost cheesy covers of all the books in this set.

Its about 4 different versions of the same women from 4 different/parallel universes sort of thingy. It makes for damn confusing reading at times, there are paragraphs of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing like Virginia Woolf which is really hard to get into the groove of.

I had about a million questions and I was only 23 pages in!

I dont think im the target audience this book is intended for and certainly with it having been published over 40 years ago it reads very old fashioned, but…

…having said all that I really did quite enjoy it! Yay!

The humour in it is wonderful, very tongue in cheek in places. Full of sarcasm and wit and with a very strong feminist message. I tabbed quite a few pages as you can see. I wanted to remember some of the classic lines.

I’m not sure it was the perfect SFF starting point for me but I cant wait to read some more of the wonderful Masterworks series.

Have you read this? what did you think?

 

 

 

 

5 books i’m eagerly anticipating this year

Set in the near-distant future, Spaceman follows a Czech astronaut as he launches into space to investigate a mysterious dust cloud covering Venus, a suicide mission sponsored by a proud nation. Suddenly a world celebrity, Jakub’s marriage starts to fail as the weeks go by, and his sanity comes into question. After his mission is derailed he must make a violent decision that will force him to come to terms with his family’s dark political past.

There is so much buzz about this right now and i cant wait to get a copy and dive in

Published in hardback 9th March 2017

Turn REPLICA one way and read Lyra’s story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma’s story! Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects – Lyra, aka number 24, and the boy known only as 72 – manage to escape. Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven Institute. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions. While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. REPLICA is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.

This is such a clever idea to have two stories and make it a flip book. Anything a bit out of the norm and i am hooked.

Published in paperback 6th April 2017

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories — of parents, children, love, life, and self — are lost. Unless they have been written. In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because she is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten. But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence — before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

What a cool concept this sounds and that cover is stonkingly beautiful too.

Published in paperback 25th July 2017

Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must. As the seasons unfold there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together or break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals. Bats hang in the eaves of the church and herons stand sentry in the river; fieldfares flock in the hawthorn trees and badgers and foxes prowl deep in the woods – mating and fighting, hunting and dying. An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger’s tragedy refuse to subside.

Mystery, thriller and what sounds like some gorgeous descriptive skills. Whats not to like here people?

Published in hardback 6th April 2017

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world. Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible imagination of Becky Chambers and has been nominated for any number of awards and accolades, including the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction, the Tiptree Award, the Kitschies Golden Tentacle and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

another book that has had people talking for months now, i just need this in my life!

Published in paperback 15th June 2017

I am so, so excited for all these books, the first one being available in just 5 days and the last making me wait 4 whole months! (agony)  Three of them being SFF which is my latest book passion too!

What books are you looking forward to reading this year?  Do you like any of my choices?

 

Planetfall by Emma Newman

For some reason 2017 wants me to read more Science fiction/fantasy books, dont ask me why but it does!  I’m not arguing though when Planetfall is so bloody good!

In their search for a new and better life than the one that they had on the overpopulated Earth, Suh lead a group of 1000 people – including her partner and lover Ren – to another planet. Then Suh mysteriously vanished, and only Ren and the Ringleader know the truth behind her disappearance. Now, two decades later, a stranger who looks suspiciously like Suh wanders into the colony, flooding Ren with memories of the traumatic event she fought so hard to bury. And if she reveals the secret she has kept for so long, it could ruin everything the colonists built…

 

I reckon that this is an excellent book to begin with if you are just starting to read SFF. It has just the right amount of excitement, suspense, thrills and emotions to keep you reading but not too much technical spacey stuff to put you off.

Renata or Ren is such a great character, flawed but ultimately so realistic. I felt for her on so many occasions which i why i loved the ending so much (read it and see if you agree, well i defy you not to really)

Beautifully written, the pace never slackened off for a second and for someone who hates all the world building in fantasy novels, Emma made this world come alive for me in such a short space of time I was sure I must be reading book 2 or 3 about these characters, so comfortable did i become with them.

Slowly the tension builds and builds until you just cant put the book down for a second or you’ll miss something. I read the last 80 pages in one gulp just to find out what would happen. Oh boy it was just great!

I ‘ve just bought the next book in the Planetfall series which is this baby

and im so looking forward to diving into it.

As i’m new(ish) to SFF what books would you recommend I read to keep my interest going?

What are you reading right now?

Lets chat.

 

Are you taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch?

One of my favourite things to do when im not reading or researching is just watching the birds that come and go in the garden.  Im convinced its very theraputic and good for the soul.

I spend far too much money on feeders and  food for them to help them through the winter until they can find food themselves again.

So, this year i’m taking part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch which is happening right now 28th, 29th and 30th January 2017. Im doing my hour tomorrow, 30th January. The weather looks to be drier then and i should see more birds hopefully.

So in honour of this I’ve expanded the menu at my bird cafe (a selection of feeders i hang in the bushes outside the front window and on the bird table in the garden)

Depending on their size and breed they can choose from mixed seed, fat balls, plain suet blocks, bugs and berry suet blocks, sunflower seed hearts, peanuts and dried mealworms in the front cafe and in the back they have almost the same plus some cheese crumbs and an old apple.

Should be enough to satisfy any birds fancy.

I’ll report back my one hour’s findings tomorrow.