Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Top Ten Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I am a bit of a wimp so I don't read much horror at all, but I guess there's more to Halloween than being scary these days. My choices are 10 books to get you in the Halloween mood with varying levels of fright. I'm tempted to also do a Halloween film list later this week too. Stay tuned!

Bird Box by Josh Malerman
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Say Her Name by James Dawson

HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

The Three by Sarah Lotz
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Sunday, 23 October 2016

#Readathon: The End

Local time: 13:00
Hours spent reading: 19
Pages read since last update: 430
Total pages read: 1164
Books finished: 4

Books read: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Pyongyang by Guy Delisle, Ten by Gretchen McNeil, The Divine and the Wicked volume 1 by Kieron Gillen + Jamie McKelvie + The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Since Scully didn't let me have a lie in yesterday, I did struggle a bit more with tiredness. She did sleep for a lot of the time she was with me during the event though and helped keep my legs warm. I think I struggled a bit with getting into books; I really enjoyed The Raven Boys by the end but I was very slow starting and I have also not been taking enough of The Road in this morning. I'm definitely glad I had some graphic novels on hand.

Don't forget I'm leaving my mini-challenge open for another couple of hours.

End of Event Survey

Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hour 14 I gave in and went to sleep for four and a half hours.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Books by Sarah J. Maas, Holly Smale, Holly Bourne, Laini Taylor and Jojo Moyes are all good options.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?
Nope, I think it went swimmingly. I mean I did try and visit a bunch of blogs from the participants list and around half didn't seem to be participating but there's not much organisers can do about that.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The no official cheerleaders cheering was a great idea. I felt more people, myself included, put effort in to interact with others, whatever platform they are using.

How many books did you read?

What were the names of the books you read?
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Pyongyang by Guy Delisle, Ten by Gretchen McNeil, The Divine and the Wicked volume 1 by Kieron Gillen + Jamie McKelvie + The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Which book did you enjoy most?
The Raven Boys but I also really liked Pyongyang for different reasons. Both on par for enjoyment.

Which did you enjoy least?
Ten *but* it was a really easy read and kind of what I was expecting so I wouldn't dismiss it as a readathon read.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
99.9% sure I'll be doing it all again in April. Mostly reading but I will offer to help with other things again. It takes a lot of effort behind the scenes to organise and I'm more than happy to help.

#Readathon Mini Challenge - Draw It Out!

Welcome to Hour 23's Mini Challenge!

You're still with us! Good job! So what's your current book about? No, don't tell me in words, I want to see a picture. Please draw a scene from your current read (or any other book you've read during the readathon).

You can get simple drawing apps for your tablet or smartphone, or use whatever software's on your computer. Draw on paper and take a photo or scan it in. Use whatever is nearby, even if it's snack-based! It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, stick figures are encouraged! Please note, I will need to see your picture if you want to enter to win a book BUT you can just join in anyway, as it's a good break for your brain.

Leave a comment with a link to your picture here, or you can tweet or Instagram me your picture @patchworkbunny.

#Readathon: Hour 18

Local time: 06:00
Hours spent reading: 12.5
Pages read since last update: 22
Total pages read: 734
Books finished: 2

Currently reading: Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Books read: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater + Pyongyang by Guy Delisle

So the keeping eyes open wasn't working. I've had about 4.5 hours sleep and desperately need a coffee but worried about waking Josh up with the coffee grinder. Why didn't I grind beans yesterday?! Maybe I'll eat a caffeinated biscuit instead.

Do check back in a few hours for my mini challenge!

#Readathon: Hour 13

Local time: 01:00
Hours spent reading: 12
Pages read since last update: 238
Total pages read: 712
Books finished: 2

Currently reading: Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Books read: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater + Pyongyang by Guy Delisle

I enjoyed Pyongyang; it was much lighter than I was expecting! I'm pretty tired now as it's past my normal bedtime. I thought Ten might keep me awake but I'm not sure... I'm gonna try and read another hour and then grab some sleep. Then I'll see you again around hour 18.

Mid Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
Ten by Gretchen McNeil (YA Thriller)
2. How many books have you read so far?
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Hrm, I'm not sure looking forward to is the right term by Josh has been trying to get me to read The Road for ages so I might start that in the morning.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Not too many, I've had to keep an eye on the puppy for a bit but she's been pretty good!
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I'm surprised at how more social it feels now we don't have official cheerleaders and everyone is doing a little bit themselves.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

#Readathon: Hour 10

Local time: 22:00
Hours spent reading: 9
Pages read since last update: 236
Total pages read: 474
Books finished: 1

Currently reading: Pyongyang by Guy Delisle
Books read: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Yay, I finished a book! My second book is a graphic novel as a bit of an eye break. We were going to have takeaway but after all the snacks we were really hungry, so just scavenging dinner from bits and pieces in the fridge. Scully is very put out that no sausage rolls magically appeared on the floor for her to eat...

Snacks eaten: Cheese and bacon sausage rolls

#Readathon: Hour 6

Local time: 18:00
Hours spent reading: 5
Pages read: 238
Books finished: 0

Currently reading: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

It's taken me a while to get into The Raven Boys, there seemed to be a lot of characters to get to grips with right at the start but I'm starting to enjoy it more now. Scully has spent a while lying on top of me, keeping me warm and trying to stick her head in my book. I'm going to spend a few minutes cheering and then plough on to finish this book before my next update.

If you need a dose of cute puppy, there are plenty more pics of Scully on my Instagram.

Snacks eaten: Pulled pork quesadillas, M&S American snack mix, coffee & walnut shortbread.

Woohoo! It's #Readathon Time!

Local start time: 13:00
Hours spent reading: 0
Pages read: 0
Books finished: 0

Yay! If you haven't noticed me tweeting about it, it's Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon this weekend! I'm just about to make myself some tasty pulled pork quesadillas for lunch but I thought I'd get started with the Opening Event Questions.

I added a few sneaky extra books onto my TBR this morning, but below is what I intend to pick from unless I am really struggling. Scully woke us up pretty early this morning so I'm not sure how long I'll cope before a nap is needed. She's gone out with Josh for a few hours so I get some alone time to really get stuck in.

I'm hosting a mini-challenge at Hour 23 so please check back and I'll be updating and having a cheering break about every 4 hours. Hope you enjoy your readathon!

Follow my progress on Instagram + Twitter

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Empire of Storms

Empire of Storms is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.

Hey, I reckon Empire of Storms has been out long enough that I can blog about my thoughts. It's a testament to how much I loved this book that I never thought it was going on too long, and at 693 pages that's pretty unusual for me.

One does not deal with Celaena Sardothian. One survives her.

Manon is becoming increasingly reluctant to follow the Matron's orders, especially now she knows how little respect they have for witchlings. Abraxos the wyvern continues to be one of the best fantastical beasts ever. I like to think he has helped Manon to rethink her situation. She’s become one of my favourite characters.

Elide is growing up and developing quite the fiery personality now she is free. But danger is never far behind in the form of the creatures created in Morath. These unnatural creations are actually pretty sinister and I feared on many occasions for her safety. She’s really growing into herself. Hoorah for Sarah including a character getting her period in a fantasy book.

I was sad we didn’t get to see Chaol again. He is mentioned but he is off recuperating and not involved in this instalment at all. I think there are a few characters that are from the novellas, which I haven’t finished reading but I did recognise the Pirate Lord.

The lap of waves was barely audible over the roar of wyverns and the innocents screaming for help that would never come.

As certain things are revealed by the ghosts and memories of Aelin's ancestors, I was almost certain I knew where things were going to go but I am happy to admit I was wrong. What an ending! I keep thinking I'm reading the final book but obviously not. How long do we need to wait to find out what happens next?

After reading Charlotte's review, I was reminded of some things that weren't perfect, but still didn't detract from my overall enjoyment. I think the sex scenes were pretty awful, lots of mystical amazingness and no resemblance to the real thing. Something a lot of fantasy romance suffers from but it's a shame to see it here. You could argue it's magic sex I suppose. Fortunately skim reading them doesn't do any harm to the rest of the plot.

It's also a bit too convenient that everyone pairs off however I actually loved all the relationships in their own right. I mean I’ll never love Rowan due to my loyalty to Chaol but their relationship is growing on me. I liked Lorcan loads, he’s not a straight forward character, much like Manon but we see a good side to him.

I also liked getting a bit more background on Maeve who has a huge influence over the fae warriors. I have a feeling we will learn a whole lot more about her in the next book!

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery

Book Source: Purchased

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A Closed and Common Orbit

A Closed and Common Orbit is the sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book. If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?

Newly installed into a body kit she never chose, the former AI of the Wayfarer is at a loss to her new purpose. She feels wrong in the kit, it isn’t her body, it isn’t a ship. Left in the capable hands of Pepper and Blue, she must learn who she is. Pepper knows a thing or two about recreating yourself; she never knew the sky existed until she was ten years old.

AIs aren’t supposed to be left alone. They need people.

Common Orbit is just as good, compassionate and lovely as Angry Planet. I'm just overflowing with love for these characters; despite everything they go through they remain good people.

The story uses two timelines, one following on from the end of the previous book and the other is 20 years earlier and focuses on Pepper's past. Pepper feels she is the ideal person to introduce Sidra to the world because she was brought up by AI. Which AI is not as obvious as it first seems. Pepper’s early life was in a factory sorting scrap, with all the other genetically engineered Janes. I loved her story of how she got to be where she is now; full of true bravery and friendship. Insanely gripping too, I often forgot I knew the outcome.

No matter what the sims said about the power of a single solitary hero, there were some things just too big to change alone.

I love how Becky tries to view the universe in other than human eyes. Sidra doesn't experience her environments as one would expect a human to, despite the form of her body kit. She is meant to be installed in a ship not in a human and the novel explores the challenges of that and how she overcomes them. It's partly about hiding her true identity but I liked that it didn't linger too much on the illegal aspect.

Sidra’s thirst for knowledge helps the story introduce and explore some of the amazing world-building started in Angry Planet. Whilst the Lovelace programming prevents lying, Sidra befriends a species who also has difficulty withholding the truth, btu for biological reasons. It also uses the species’ gender fluidity to show how gender identity doesn’t change the person, just the pronouns used change.

She looked up again, up at the big soft galaxy, and after a bit, she felt okay. She felt good. Somehow, outside, looking at the stars, everything was a little better.

So often there are plot devices used in novels that end up putting the character in a negative situation, but Becky does the amazing thing of writing positive outcomes out of things where the reader might expect something else. It's hard to explain but Josh described it as cosy when I was trying to explain to him. And these books are cosy, but not in an overly simple way.

It is described as a standalone sequel and for once I do think it could be read and fully enjoyed by itself. Although it would obviously spoil Lovey's storyline in Angry Planet. It isn't about Lovey though, as Sidra is a completely new AI, learning and forming her personality from scratch.

She was built to serve, just as this one was, and while she might feel awfully special for being able to ask questions and have arguments, she was no more capable of skipping protocols than the little mind before her.

I've never known any other books that do so much to humanise AI. Whilst laws mean an AI can just be turned off or overwritten, Common Orbit explores the morals of doing that to a sentient being, even if they are made with code.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery

Also reviewed @ For Winter Nights

Book Source: Purchased