My classics experience so far

So this year I wanted to get into more classics and I’m not going to lie it has been really hard. I really wanted to expand my reading but so many people decide that has to be through diverse books and that’s fair enough but I think classics are diverse in thought and they’re not like things we get in modern writing.

So due to circumstances I really have been getting sick of American based books – it’s just boring now and I really struggle to relate.

The classics that I have been reading have been England based (I want to branch out to the rest of the UK but they’re less popular) and it has given me a much better understanding of my history (I am Scottish however) and what people went through to get to where I am today. I am currently reading Wurthering Heights and being based in the North West of England currently (travel with my job) gives me a really interesting perspective. There are places being mentioned and I know that if I felt like it I could drive to them and see them. I think it just brings you a really different connection to the books and the stories. I really want to go to the Bronte’s parsonage museum and that’s really pushing me to read their books. I want to go to visit the places that these authors come from and are writing about. I want to go to Bath where Jane Austen spent a portion of her life. I want to go to Sussex, I want to go all the way down to Portsmouth and see the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle museum (he’s Scottish – did not know that until I picked up Sherlock Holmes)

So I struggled to know where to begin with classics so I just picked editions I like (penguin english library) and when I was in a charity shop or seen it for cheap I picked it up. Great way to do it for me. I also am trying (and slightly failing) to do the Bronte book club hosted by LucytheReader. That’s a good way to introduce you to 5/6 books of somewhere else to get started.

The most important thing I’ve found is that they take such a long time and can be really confusing at times. Don’t be afraid to google what it is you’re confused about and it might clear it up. For example while reading Wurthering Heights I could not figure out the narrator and just asked google – total epiphany.

 I big tip I have is read a small amount each day. The Sherlock Holmes books are 100ish pages they’re a piece of cake – loved them! But for books reaching 200-500 pages (not tackled the 800 pages beasts yet) I have found that sectioning off 2 chapters a day is such a life saver. It may take me 2/3 weeks to read them but the important part is that I’m reading them. It also means that I can read the easier books that I enjoy as well.

I understand that maybe you’re not the type of person that can read more than one book at a time so what I would say is that block yourself out more time for them. A 300 pages classic is going to take you twice as long to read it as a normal modern book at least!

You have to allow yourself the time to read them and not beat yourself up. Lucythereader is such a great channel if you’re looking to get into classics. Finding booktubers that focus way more on classics has made me excited to read them.

I would love to talk to people about classics if anyone is interested.


First Impression Friday – Undead Girl Gang

So I’ve seen this a couple of times and think it’s kind of interesting. The idea comes from JW Martin and the ‘rules’ are:

• Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
• Did you think you’d love and ended up hating it? Or did you think you’d hate it and wound up loving it? Or were you exactly right?
• Link back to Storeys of Stories so I can enjoy reading all the First Impression Fridays out there!

So I decided to do a book that I finished and talk thorugh what I thought of it at the beginning and then how it turned out.

So I recently finished Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson as part of the Buzzword Readathon hosted by BooksAndLala.

So I tend to avoid books that are new and people are like really hyping up even before they come out. Each time I heard it mentioned I totally skipped over it. I was then struggling for ‘girl’ books to read and decided – fine, I’ll read the synopsis. I was hooked – I totally judged this book to be something it wasn’t. I think people’s description of the story totally put me off because I kept getting hung up on zombies.

So reading this I first thought that it’s really not my kind of story but I was really loving the writing. The humour and honesty just kept drawing me in and I was think – yeah, if I’m lucky this could be 4 starts.

I was wrong – 5 stars! I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s so different for my style of reading but it just kept me hooked and I absolutely flew through it. I just couldn’t put it down. I loved out main character Mila and then the plot twist and storyline. I cannot recommend this enough. Don’t listen to people describing it because in my opinion they’re not doing it justice. They’re focusing on complete the wrong aspects of the story – read the blurb below.

It’s funny how a book you were so against ended up being one of your favourite reads of the year. If you are a fan of the Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater you have to read this.


The blurb from Goodreads

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

Series Review – Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

So I’m back with another series review. There is maybe a slight spoiler but I wanted to state it because of how the first book was sold to me.

So I tend to try a avoid really hyped books and authors. I think I have tried reading her before but really didn’t like it.

So for This Savage song it wasn’t until the third time that I picked it up before I actually started to enjoy it. I read it as part of a buddy read and I think that’s what really pushed me through it.

This is a story of Kate Harker (why is everything I’m reading a variant of Catherine) in a distopian style America that has Monsters (hence the title of the series).

This is quite a dark atmospheric story where you just imagine that there isn’t enough light and you can’t really see the detail in things. This series really was great for the setting and being able to vividly imagine it. The first book really wasn’t dark enough for the premise but the second book really picked it up.

So this first book was portrayed as not having a romance and I was so in for that because YA really does have a lot of romance. She first book no romance but it still feels like it would lead to it.

Slight spoiler but not really – second book – romance – completely ruined it! I was just so mad at it. There was absolutely NO NEED for it!

So the characters and the story in this were pretty good. You did get hooked into it as soon as you got actually into the story rather than the . It was a little bit slow to begin with and I would say that for both books. It did feel like a little bit of padding but I think it was more so for introducing our characters and their backstories and personalities.

So Kate is quite a brunt and harsh character and I wouldn’t say you grow to love her in all honesty. She’s really rough around the edges and I do like that in characters so I can appreciate that.

August on the other hard is WAY more likable. And I think that’s the irony of this since he is meant to be the monster. He’s just devoting his life to try and be good. I also really like his family in this – the side characters really bring it all together.

The musical element in this is also interesting however, I’m not quite sure how relatable it is. I didn’t really connect to how August felt about music. It just didn’t feel that authentic to me. It sort of seemed really surface level.

The most unique element is the monsters and the different types that we have. The different names of our monsters are really confusing to remember what they do but as soon as you encounter them you sort of figure out what type they are.

So the ending to this was really really good. I liked where the direction went and it was a type of ending that we don’t really get to see from YA.

I would recommend this duology especially as it is only two books and it is pretty quick to get through. I would recommend it because I like dark gritty books and it’s probably a 4 star from me.

p.s. is anyone else really sick of attending school in books? I especially struggle because it’s an American school and they’re just so foreign to me.

Author Portfolio – Jay Kristoff

So back at it. I’ve actually read quite a few of Jay Kristoff’s work and was first introduced to him through the Illuminae series. I have had some mixed feelings about his writing and books but that’s sort of what drives me to reading his works.

Illuminae – 3 books – 1876 pages

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

This is a collaborative work that I absolutely love and because of that it’s sort of hard to truly see each authors writing. This is a really good si-fi written in a really unique format.

The Nevernight Chronicles – 3 books – 1325 pages (incomplete)

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

So I had some issues with this. This doesn’t seem like as short a series that the page count would suggest. The first two books took me ages to get through. It was a really dark and gritty series but some of the elements in here I was pretty apprehensive about. I am looking forward to the final book that’s coming out.

The Locus Wars – 3 books – 1598 pages

Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.

Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire?

So I’ll be honest I didn’t realise that this was such a long series. I am really wary about this because I was not particularly fond of the way different cultures were portrayed in Nevernight. However, that being said it doesn’t have bad ratings on GoodReads so I feel that I should maybe give it a go.

Lifelike – 1 book – 416 pages

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

So I am really looking forward to this but unfortunately I live in the UK so it’s not due out for a while. I don’t know if this is a series but I’m hoping that it will be good.

If you have read The Locus Wars let me know what you thought.

Snapshot review – The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

So again I’m trying to write just really short snappy reviews and try and write them in less than 10 mins to just get the key points and thoughts out.

So I really enjoyed this but overall it felt really disjointed. I would call this middle book syndrome but it’s the second out of five. It felt like Rick was trying to get it from where we were in the first book to actually where he wanted the story to go. In this book it’s sort of the turning point to getting to the nitty gritty of this series plot.

The major thing that I loved about this book was getting to see a lot of Apollo’s past. We really got to see way more about Apollo’s history and the things he’s gone through, it definitely gave his character a lot more substance. Reading this as an audiobook is so good because the narrator does a really good self-indulgent self-centered, egotistical Apollo.

As with the rest of Rick Riordan’s work the characters are always the best. The plot and story were pretty thin in this compared to his other works and it just felt like it wasn’t coming as naturally to him.

The third book has recently come out and I always want to read them but I always put them off because not having any of Rick Riordan’s works left – big reason why I haven’t read the Kane Chronicles.

Fun fact – Rick Riordan is my most read author. I think it would be fun to actually sit down and look at my most read authors.

Giving Up Reading Series As They Come Out

So, my reading tastes have changed a lot in the last 6 months. I have a full time job as well as studying for a professional qualification – there’s just not enough life to live.

What I’ve found is that I have less time and with that I am kind of in limbo with my reading. I have been thinking about reducing (or giving up) reading books as they come out. This is mostly aimed toward series.

Quite a lot of the series that I have been reading will be finishing up this year and I’m wondering if I take this as an opportunity to make a commitment to just wait until the full series is out before reading them and just binge read them. I’ve found that I’ve been neglecting the TBR books I’ve got – especially my unfinished series (there aren’t that many).

I think the main problem I’ve found is that I’ll pick up the first book in a series that is just ok and because by the time the next book comes out I no longer care about it I don’t continue with it. However, there’s quite a few of these books that I would have picked up the sequel had it been there and just finished the series. I’m missing out on seeing a full view of what an author aimed to achieve from their story, plot, and characters and I’m judging them solely one one book – especially problematic when it’s a debut. Alwyn Hamilton is a classic example of an author that just grew so much with her Rebel of the Sands books and I know that I’ll be missing out of authors like that that I could love!

I do worry that I am not supporting authors by doing this but my reading tastes mean that I do read a lot of pre-2018 and even pre-2017 releases. I already normally wait till book two in a series is out before picking it up because then I’ve only got a year till the conclusion and I can space out the first two books in time for book three. The world is full of trilogies so I end up just thinking that all books are like that and then suddenly there’s 6 books in the series and I’m then there waiting for 4 years for it to be complete and I don’t end up finishing it (Falling Kingdoms, I’m looking at you).

The thing that has prompted me more towards actually doing this is that I am not reading the ‘old’ books that I want to in favour of the new ‘shinny’ book. My love of Terry Pratchett is not being satisfied! Agatha Christie is also not being read. And my big books are just sitting there because I have ‘too many’ books to read that month.  I can’t get into new genres because I’ve read fantasy for the last 4 years and I have a series that I’ve been reading since I was 15 still going (I’m 21) – My life around me is growing up but my reading isn’t coming with me. I’ve made the decision also to give up Middle Grade/Children’s except for Rick Riordan. I’ll finish the ones I have on my TBR but after that I’m done with it.

I am also reading classics (or trying to – it’s a learning process) and they take longer and when I’m reading them I’ve got this constant thing in my head telling me I’m not reading enough books in a month! It’s ridiculous – i work a stressful and hard job and I’m 200 miles away from home – I’m constantly travelling. I’m constantly coming home at night knowing that I shouldn’t pick up that book because that’s a waster 2/3 hours that I could use to study to pass that next exam. Reading isn’t a competition but it’s so hard not to see it that way when you’re life and how successful in your career your going to be and your ‘peers‘ are meant to be this friend to relate to but at the same time are the ones you have to beat to get that next best role.

I sort of gave up making content because I did book reviews and I did one a week and I would be panicking that I wouldn’t be able to achieve one one week or I would have to read 2 in one week to give me time to read a 500/600 page book. And that’s insane! I have been more inclined to write series reviews and frankly I enjoy that so much more. I am completely obsessive about things – it’s such a problem, has been my entire life and it’s hard not to turn writing book content into that mindset.

Do you read books as they come out or do you wait till all (or most) are release before picking it up?

p.s. picture is a highland cow because I’m homesick and they’re awesome ginger cows!

Author Portfolio – Alison Goodman

So if you haven’t seen my previous post Author Portfolio – Brandon Sanderson then you can check it out. This will be a little bit less intense than Brandon Sanderson as there’s less of her works. So let’s get started.

Lady Helen – 3 books – 1474 pages (incomplete)

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

So this was the first book by Alison Goodman that I picked up and I loved it. It’s so dark and gritty and set during a really interesting time period in history. I’ve been waiting on the third book for ages! and it’s due out (hopefully) at the end of this year. Not having this series has sort of made me want to pick up her other works.

Eon – 2 books – 1168 pages

Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. 

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.

So I have thought about picking up this up but have always been really unsure. I really like dragons but I’m not really a fan of the female hiding as a male trope. So yeah… don’t know about this. I might really have to when the Dark Days Deceit is out and I’ve read it.

Singing the Dogstar Blues – 1 book – 272 pages

Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel, and a student of time travel at the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. This year, for the first time, the Centre has an alien student? Mavkel, from the planet Choria. And Mavkel has chosen Joss, of all people, as his roommate and study partner. Then Mavkel gets sick. Joss quickly realizes that his will to live is draining away. The only way she can help Mavkel is by breaking the Centre’s strictest rules . . . and that means going back in time to change history.

This sounds like a really si-fi focused book but I’m really worried because of how short it is. It doesn’t have the worst rating on goodreads at 3.68 but it has less than 1000 reviews. I do really love the premise of this though.

And there’s another one done! If you have any recommendations please let me know.