Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February Wrap-up

February is the Loki of months. The end of it creeps up on you. You're thinking you have plenty of time until your March hand-in, and then your brain catches up with the world and remembers that February ends two days too early.
To the library!

News from the Reading Front

I finished five books this month -

A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle

Fantomina by Eliza Haywood

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

And two graphic novels.

Reading Challenge Check-in

Short stories don't count for most of the challenges I've taken so, since Fantomina and A Scandal in Bohemia are both short stories, I haven't made a lot of progress this month.

2018 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge: 0/5

Science Fiction VS Fantasy Bingo 2018: 1/25

  • Fantastic Beasts - All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
The 2018 Swords and Stars Reading Challenge: 1/20
  • Read a Book with Magical Realism in it - All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Back to the Classics Challenge 2018: 2/12 
  • A classic written by a woman author - Agnes Grey by Anne Bront
  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater 
 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge: 0/5

Ivyclad Bingo (2018 Reading Challenge): 1/16
  • Historical - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Yes, even at the time it was published.)
News from the Blogging Front

You may have noticed that there haven't been a lot of posts this month. That's because I'm in my final term of uni and I have a lot of coursework and a lot of reading to do. Between now and May, it's likely there'll only be a few posts a week. This could go on longer too, depending on what happens after that.

News from the Net
 February is over. Who else feels betrayed?

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Ivyclad Ideas - Over 500 Pages

This is the fourth in a series of posts aimed at helping anyone joining my reading challenge to fill the board. Ivyclad Bingo permits basically any type of book: novel, ebook, audiobook, comic, manga... 

The following are not recommendations, they are suggestions.

(What's the difference?)

If I haven't read it, it's a suggestion.

If you want to sign up for the Ivyclad Bingo 2018 Challenge, there's still time! Just click here and follow the instructions.

Welcome to the danger zone.
Middlemarch by George Eliot

I'm reading this classic at the moment and it. Is. Huge. I'm enjoying it, but at almost 900 pages it's at the longer end of the spectrum. Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Almost as big as Middlemarch, The Mysteries of Udolpho is a gothic novel in which the heroine famously faints TEN times.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Narrated by Death, The Book Thief follows Liesel, a young girl living in Nazi Germany. This is on the shorter end of the list, the edition I read coming in at just 554 pages.

(Shorter, she says.) Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Once you hit the Heroes of Olympus series, I'm pretty sure all Riordan's books surpass 500 pages. Again, this is at the shorter end of the list. Superman, Human Torch, and a competent child of Aphrodite go on an adventure with a giant metal dragon. by Joanne Harris

Just squeaking in at 504 pages (so make sure to check your edition), Runemarks is a fantasy novel based on Norse mythology. It has a plot that will spin you round in circles and the best interpretation of Loki ever. Joanne Harris is definitely the author who shaped my perception of this character. by Stephen King

At over 1000 pages, this is far and away the longest book on the list. The same people take on an evil clown twice, first as teenagers, then as adults.


Any idea what you're tackling for this mammoth book box?

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Ivyclad Ideas - Contemporary

This is the third in a series of posts aimed at helping anyone joining my reading challenge to fill the board. Ivyclad Bingo permits basically any type of book: novel, ebook, audiobook, comic, manga... 

The following are not recommendations, they are suggestions.

(What's the difference?)

If I haven't read it, it's a suggestion.

If you want to sign up for the Ivyclad Bingo 2018 Challenge, there's still time! Just click here and follow the instructions.
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

In beautifully artistic prose, one twin recounts the past whilst the other explores the present. the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I've been meaning to read this since it first came out in 2015. Finch and Violet meet on a ledge and essentially pull each other back from it. Whether or not they both make it to the end of the novel is something you'll have to find out for yourselves. Stella Etc. Series by Karen McCombie 

I read these as a teenager (some Ally's World, too) and I remember that they were brilliant. They're about a girl who moves from London to a seaside town and follow her through the weeks before school starts up, making friends and dealing with the drama that comes with them.

A contemporary debut about sisters, love, and mental health. of Faith by Ellen J. Green secrets come out in this contemporary thriller about a woman who finds a photo hidden in a crawl space after her adoptive mother dies.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Probably the biggest YA contemporary of 2017. Certainly the one I've heard the most about. The Hate U Give tackles race relations in the United States. It's won a whole host of awards, and came first in two different categories in the Goodread's Choice Awards last year. 

Check out the debut authors post for more contemporary recommendations, but remember you have to use a different book for every box.

Superhero | Debut Author |

What are you reading for the contemporary box?

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Dear Ivy...

Dear Ivy,

I was a little concerned when my sixteenth birthday passed and he had yet to show, but it's finally happened. I've met the one. He's not like the other boys I know. The room doesn't fill with deodrant fumes when he walks in. Instead, I smell pomegranites, honey, cinnamon. 

It happened on the way home from school in October. I was walking alone in the dark when I came across him, leaning against the wall in his beat-up leather jacket. His eyes were like the sun. Just one look and I was dazzled. It's all a blur, but we must have gotten to talking because the next thing I knew we were outside my house, his hand touching my neck. He leant in, his teeth grazed my throat, and I know he would have kissed me if it hadn't been for my father appearing at the door.

Every night since I've met him on the road to Castle Street. In the moonlight, he seems carved from marble, shaped by the hands of one of the greats. We kissed beneath fireworks on the fifth of November, the sparks catching on his midnight hair, and in a snowstorm on New Year's Eve. We've had our hiccups of course - he was impervious to hints that he should sneak in my bedroom window when I wanted to show him my prom dress, and the first time I cooked him dinner he had a terrifying allergic reaction and fled into the night - but I truly did believe that things were going well. Now though, he tells me that when March comes he will no longer be able to meet me on this road. I've begged and pleaded for him to explain, to tell me what it was that I did wrong, but he just runs away, disappears into the shadows. Sometimes, he suggests I try another route, down past the cemetery. He swears it'll shave half an hour off my journey, but I like sticking to the lit streets. Do you think if I compromise he'll stay?

Yours sincerely,

Unwitting Protagonist

(Dear Unwitting Protagonist,

You are aware that boys aren't supposed to be edible, right? To be fair to you, loverboy is definitely labouring under the same misconception when it comes to girls. 

A compromise will not save your first love. In fact a compromise will most likely leave you a bloodless husk on a dark street. He's not leaving you because he wants to, he's doing it because he has no other choice. Think about it, you met him when the nights were drawing in, and he's leaving you just as it gets light again. There's no way to sugarcoat it: the boy's a vampire. I don't know how you could possibly have missed this. It's YA heroine 101. Let's start with the obvious, nothing human has eyes that colour. If they're not brown, blue, green, or grey, you should be asking some questions. Then there's the fact that most guys - let me rephrase that, most human guys - aren't going to try and stick their teeth in your neck ten minutes after meeting you. If they are, you should be running. As for your hiccups, I think you'll find that a mere hint doesn't qualify as permission to cross the threshold into your home. Shocked? You should meet some of the vampires I know down south, they want it in writing. On the allergies front, I'm going to hazard a guess here and say that dish included a substantial amount of garlic. 

My advice? Put some garlic near your window, start wearing a crucifix under your clothes, and forget him.

Yours sincerely,


P.S. What do pomegranites even smell like?) 

Dear Ivy,

In hindsight, I think my marriage was a mistake. It's not his average looks, or advanced age, or impressive bank balance. It's his (very large) house. At first, I thought it would be a joy to live in. My family was disinherited, you know, so I grew up in almost a shack with only two maidservants and a cook. This, I thought, was my kingdom come at last.

As it turns out, I'm not cut out for mansion-life.

I just can't seem to find my bearings. The garden stretches for miles between us and the road - God forbid we ever have to run for help - and, whilst the gardeners keep it gorgeous, there are far too many rhodedendrons. They're so easy for one to get lost in. Then, once you've found the house, you have to navigate the hundreds of passageways. If I did not know better than to indulge such a fancy, I would suggest that they moved daily. You cannot imagine how often I have opened a door expecting to enter my own quarters, only to find the library, or the dining room, or, on one occasion, a broom cupboard. It was in this way that I stumbled across it. The locked door.

Now before you tell me to ask my husband, I'll have you know that I brought the matter up over afternoon tea. He was infuriating! Dillying and dallying over excuses you wouldn't believe! Perhaps I'd been mistaken? Perhaps I hadn't applied enough pressure to the handle? Perhaps I'd gotten so turned around I'd ended up outside by the sheds? The nerve! 

Anyway, he went away this weekend and, before he left, he handed me a set of keys. There's one on there that I haven't seen before, one that he forbid me to use. If I could find that room again, do you think I should try it?

Yours Sincerely,

Help! I Married a Byronic Hero!

(Dear Help! I Married a Byronic Hero!,

I don't suppose you can get a divorce, can you? That would definitely be the best thing to do in this situation. Still, I suppose we should deal with the immediate situation first. 

You want to know whether or not you should try that key? No. Oh God, no.. You won't like what you find and he'll know - he'll have his ways. My advice would be to stick to your normal rooms. You should try to contact any family you have. If he's away long enough, you could even try to arrange somewhere to escape to, but do everything you can to ensure that the letters pass through no one's hands but your own. In a house of that size, anyone could be a spy.

Yours sincerely,


P.S. By the way, you might want to check the attic. Make sure to keep an eye out for hidden rooms!)

Happy Valentine's Day!