Reading Habits Book Tag

Thanks to the lovely A Reading Writer for tagging me to do this little questionnaire about reading habits. I don’t get tagged very often, so it’s nice to get involved in these kinds of things 🙂

♥ Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
I tend to read mostly in my bed or on the couch, depending on whether or not my mum is in – for some reason reading in bed is apparently more lazy than reading on the couch! However, I’ll be moving down to London soon and when I move into my own place I would really like to pick up a nice comfy reading chair so that I can save my bed for just sleeping.

♥ Bookmark or random piece of paper?
I love bookmarks, I pick up way more than I could possibly use, but I often find myself forgetting to take them and just grabbing a random piece of paper/receipt/train ticket or whatever. It’s not too much of a problem as long as I have something to mark my place. Either that, or if I have nothing, I’ll just update my status on Goodreads with the page I’m on so I can check it when I pick the book back up later.

♥ Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?
It depends on how tired I am or if I’m interrupted. I always try and end with a chapter, but sometimes it gets to the point where I’m so tired I’m not paying enough attention and it would be a waste to carry on reading, there’s also those times where it’s your stop on the train/bus. If I’m travelling somewhere I’ll try and stop at the end of the chapter and then twiddle my thumbs until it’s my stop, so I don’t have to stop right in the middle of one.

♥ Do you eat or drink while reading?
Yeah I do. I feel like I probably shouldn’t but I tend to snack a lot, or I won’t be able to stop reading long enough to eat whatever meal I’ve been making or had made for me (thanks mum!). I also read a lot in Costa, because they do really nice vegan hot chocolates. I’m often posting photos of my hot chocolate & current book on Instagram.

A photo posted by Amy Tunnerz (@litlifeblog) on Aug 6, 2015 at 10:55am PDT

♥ Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
I prefer none at all. I can just about manage to read if someone else is watching TV, or if it’s really loud on public transport and the only way I can drown it out enough to read is by listening to music with headphones. Other than that I prefer silence.

♥ Reading at home or everywhere?
Everywhere. Lately I’ve been reading a lot at home, waiting for my new job to start, but when I’m working I’ll read on the bus/train/tube, read on my lunch break, read in the park, read wherever I can fit the time in.

♥ Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Definitely silently in my head. I feel a bit silly reading out loud, though will admit that some writing and some lines have to be read out loud to get the full benefit of them. I just hope in those moments that nobody else is around to hear me.

♥ Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
Not really. Sometimes I realise that I’m reading so quickly that I’m missing words here and there though and have to go back and read properly, so I end up taking longer to read anyway!

♥ Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I used to be really picky about this and hated breaking the spine, and hated people who broke the spine! Now I don’t mind, I don’t do it on purpose, I just read comfortably and if the spine breaks then it breaks, I try not to worry about it too much.

♥ Do you write in your books?
It depends on the book. Mostly not, but I did pick up the habit at university of writing notes and so sometimes I do. It’s nice to re-read or flick through a book I’ve read before and written in the margins, to see how I felt about things when I first read them.

Now it’s my turn to tag some folks to do this tag!


Liebster Award

So, last week, although I’ve been completely AWOL lately, the lovely Kath from The Last Reader nominated me for the Liebster Award, which is an award created by bloggers to help newish blogs make friends. It’s actually my first blog award, so I’m quite excited about it!

Here are the rules

  • Link back to the person that nominated you.
  • Answer the questions given by the nominator.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers (with less than 200 followers).
  • Come up with 11 questions for them to answer.
  • Notify your nominees.

11 Questions from Kath

1. If you are a teacher, which book would you recommend to your students to read?

I suppose it would depend on what age I was teaching. If it was primary school age it’d be anything by Enid Blyton, timeless classic children’s fiction! 12-14? The Catcher In The Rye. Older? I’d say 1984, but if I was a teacher I’d probably just be recommending that children and teenagers read as much as they can, whenever they can, it’d not be up to me to make them read anything specific as long as they were enjoying it.

2. What is your favorite picture book?

Each Peach Pear Plum! It was my first favourite book, the first thing I bought when I found out my sister was pregnant, and now my niece loves it (even though she can’t read yet).

3. Any favorite theater play?

Regretfully I don’t really watch much theatre, mainly because I’m always broke or busy. The last stage production I saw was Once and I would really love to see Wicked.

4. What do you look for when choosing a book?

A lot of things really, everything from the cover (yes, the cover), the blurb, any review quotes on the cover. I find most of the books I read through reviews, Goodreads and social media in general. If it gets good reviews or catches my eye I’ll generally give it a go at some point in the future.

5. If you will give your best friend a book, what would it be?

I give my friends a lot of books, generally when I’m finished with them but would like to talk about them with someone. I recently gave Martin (among other titles) The Long Earth series, I’m going to give Vic Elizabeth Is Missing when I see her soon, my sister’s reading my copy of A Darker Shade of Magic at the moment, and I’m going to be sending an old friend Bri my copy of Only Ever Yours. Usually when I give books to people it’s because I read them recently.

6. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?

Erm, oh I’m not sure 😦 I’m sure there were a lot of classics that look terrifying that I was scared to start while I was at uni. I suppose the A Song of Ice and Fire series is quite intimidating too, because of its length. I’ve read the first two and I just didn’t enjoy the writing style, so I keep putting off reading the rest, knowing it’ll likely bore me.

7. Any books you’ve been avoiding?

Not really. I found it hard to get into a couple of books I’ve been trying to read so I’m sort of not trying those at the moment and plan to work my way back to them.

8. The longest time you’ve gone without reading?

I’m not sure, but in terms of reading for pleasure it will have been during uni. I just didn’t have time. Weeks, months maybe.

9. Any policy in comes of book lending?

I’ll lend to anyone who’s interested, as long as they don’t let me forget they have my books. I’ve lost a good few favourites over the years and I’m too awkward to ask for them back.

10. Do you have any book bad habits?

I will start books and then forget about them by getting excited about another one, to be honest!

11. What’s your favorite food/snack when you’re reading?

Ummm, I don’t know. Just whatever I have around. Pretzels are good though!

I’m nominating…

  1. Lori
  2. Alina
  3. Fiona
  4. Taylor
  5. Mari
  6. Mallory
  7. Tasmin
  8. Kimberly
  9. Aimal
  10. Amber

My 11 Questions

  1. Where is your favourite reading spot?
  2. How long does it tend to take you to read an average length novel?
  3. Ebooks or hard copies?
  4. Where is your favourite book store in the world?
  5. What is your favourite book to (film/TV/stage/game) adaptation?
  6. What was the last book you found yourself not able to finish?
  7. Have you ever met any of your favourite authors?
  8. If you weren’t a book blogger (or bookish at all), what would you spend your spare time doing?
  9. What was your favourite book of 2014?
  10. What are you most looking forward to reading in the rest of 2015?
  11. If you were (or are) a writer, which genre of books would you write?

Thanks Kath for the nomination. Looking forward to reading those answers!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review

13519397I know, I know. I should have read this years ago. Even months ago, when I bought it. It has since sat on my shelf, completely ignored, for too long.

Part of me thinks that I may have been subconsciously avoiding starting this series. It looks so good, but I might have been worried that I won’t love it as much as everything else, that I’ll end up being too critical.

Like quite a few books I’ve read recently, Throne of Glass surprised me to no end. I’m very happy it lived up to the hype. Read on for my thoughts!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Offered her freedom in exchange for four years of service as the King’s Champion – his personal assassin – eighteen year old Celaena Sardothien can almost feel the possibility of liberty. But first, she must compete against some of the most dangerous and deadly criminals in the land for the role. As the weeks pass by, contestants are eliminated and picked off one by one, and Celaena begins to realise that not everything is as it seems. It appears that magic, supposedly destroyed by the King, is in use – and not necessarily in a good way. Now she has to deal with supernatural enemies, as well as her human competitors in the tournament’s difficult and harmful challenges.

Throughout this journey she is accompanied by her guard and trainer, Captain Chaol Westfall – he finds her interesting, but attempts to keep her at arm’s length, he knows she can be dangerous. Also on the scene is Prince Dorian, her sponsor for the championship, who can’t seem to drag himself away from her, no matter how many warnings Chaol gives him. In true YA style, Celaena is torn between them, but only time will tell who she runs to when she needs someone.

Now, is it just me, or does anyone else want just one series where the main female protagonist is entirely badass and attractive and important to fighting whatever world-threatening problem there may be, who doesn’t get distracted by men? I mean, really. I do enjoy the back and forth between Chaol and Dorian in this book, I can’t deny that. I ship her so hard with both of them. I want them to get married and have awesome little babies. I’m distraught I’m only so far into this series that I can’t seek out the fandom and fan art and fan fiction created because of this love triangle… That doesn’t stop me from wanting her to be entirely aloof and uninterested in either of them because she is just too damn busy, and unromantic, and in complete control of herself around men. If a girl wants to fall in love with a guy, that’s totally fine, but for once I’d love a depiction of a young woman who is just entirely un-wooable. Is that so much to ask?

I still want them to have babies.

So other than that little feminist rant I may have veered off towards… I have little to complain about with this first instalment in Maas’s very popular series. The world building is pretty descriptive, but not over-bearing. I feel like I know wthat I need to know about Erilea, and the further I get in the series I imagine I’ll learn more about the world as and when it’s necessary.

Celaena is a complicated character, but I love her flaws, her loyalty, and her wit. She’s sort of the exact representation you’d expect of a young woman, orphaned at eight and trained for ten years to be an assassin, who was then locked up in a salt mine after betrayal. She’s sarcastic but considerate, intelligent, brave in the face of her fears (which I am appreciative that she has been written with fears). She’s bookish, which is a quality that definitely comes at an advantage when she is faced with a need for intense research. I am always hyper-aware of bookish characters however, as I worry they’re written in such a way to appeal to those reading the stories. Either way, I like her all the more for it.

Throne of Glass is quite fast-paced. There was no part of it that bored me, only propelled me on to find out what happens next, or why particular scenes were relevant. There’s not a terrific cliff-hanger at the end of Throne of Glass but the extended plot slowly revealed throughout is enough to have made me run out the day after I’d finished it to pick up the rest of the series.

Four stars is pretty apt for this book, I think. I have been giving out mostly 4 stars lately. I think that’s because I’ve just been reading such great books, I’ve been picking the ones I’m most excited for from my TBR rather than the ones I’m unsure of. I’ve not been getting on with galleys/ARCs. I’ve also not found something I feel is perfect recently. I think I’m pretty stingy with the 5 star ratings. 4 means something’s exemplary and a definite recommendation, but could have been better. Hopefully the next in the series will hit it out of the park and achieve 5 stars from me. Only time will tell!

My personal rating: 4/5. Amazon average: 4.3/5. Goodreads average: 4.19/5.

Buy from: Amazon/Book Depository/Hive/Your Local Indie Book Store (why not call up and ask them to order it in for you if they don’t have it?) ♥

Pages: 416

Publishers: Bloomsbury.

Publication Date: August 7th, 2012.

Follow the author on Twitter: @SJMaas

It has been far too long…

It has been far too long…

So I did a thing! I got a job. A crappy, minimum wage, back-breaking, full-time job. I hate it, but it’s keeping food on the table and I’m slowly paying off the debt I owed to my sister and her boyfriend.

The thing is, I’m working 40-50 hours a week. It’s really quite physically demanding work, and I spend my days off looking after my niece. I’ve barely read a thing, and I’ve not had a moment to write anything about what I have been reading. Nor even to write about how I wish I had the time to read. So, to the few people who follow this blog… I’m sorry I haven’t updated! Three whole months, wow. I didn’t realise it was that long.

I’m currently job hunting. I keep talking about getting into publishing, but never make the move. I was convinced that the path for me was to stay in this job, saving up a little money, and then starting a Masters degree in September. However, after looking at my student loan balance (bad idea) and the news that the government will be offering graduate loans from September 2016, I can’t justify putting this off any longer. It’s such a waste of time and money, and my energy and strength. I’d rather be putting all of that into something that feels fulfilling and will impact my future career! The hard part is finding paid work experience, I can’t afford to do unpaid WE, unfortunately. So here we go, job hunt.

Until then, I’m planning on being more disciplined with my time. So far in 2015 I’ve managed to start reading three books! I’ve just not finished any of them. However, reviews may be on the way. At the moment I’m reading Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, The Three by Sarah Lotz, and Funny Girl by Nick Hornby. Although Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies and Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries both arrived today, so they’re next on the list. Or more like top of the pile. My sister’s boyfriend has decided to buy a proper book case, because all of my books are taking up too much space on their shelves. And my sister bought me a book journal for Christmas. I plan on using it as well as this blog! Whether I do or not is another story.

In non-bookish/jobbish news, the veganism is going great. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here in the past, but I transitioned from an eleven-year-vegetarian diet to a fully vegan lifestyle back in September. I’m feeling really good and healthy. I’m also working on weight-loss too, ahead of my friend’s wedding in November 2015, I’ve lost ~16lbs since October 15th. Smashing it!

So… back to the world of books. What should I be reading next? What have I missed? Which reviews should I be reading? What books are coming out this year that I need on my radar? I feel so behind.

My week of work experience. [1/?]

My week of work experience. [1/?]

Last week I was fortunate enough to undertake a week of work experience within John Murray Press, specifically the publicity and marketing department. I don’t want to say too much about it, or the specifics at least, as I think that’s rather unprofessional.

I just feel like noting down how much I enjoyed the opportunity. I wish I’d been able to help out there for longer than a week, and I did actually get the feeling that my presence was somewhat useful rather than in the way. I got to do everything: from the important-but-less-glamorous stuffing of envelopes, to going out and finding presents for an author to celebrate publication, and of course… putting toppers on mini-cupcakes. I carried out tasks for quite a few people on the team, from the publicity, communications, and marketing managers, to editorial assistants. They were all really appreciative as well, I wasn’t expecting so many ‘thank you’s, as far as I was aware all of the work I was doing was only going to be helping me, as something I could put on my CV. In fact, I learned just how integral work experience (‘workies’) can be to the office environment, I suppose having me there freed up a lot of valuable time in others’ days and they could get on with the bigger tasks. There’s a real sense of satisfaction in that, knowing you’re helping other people, even if it’s only for a few days. I also got to sit in on a couple of meetings, a team meeting and acquisitions meeting, and they really shone a light on how the different departments gel together, and how a book can go from pitch to publication. All in all, I feel much more aware of the process, online research doesn’t do the actual thing justice.

Before this week I was pretty dead-set on going into the editorial side of publishing. I was intending on trying to get as much experience in as many departments as possible anyway, but I assumed that was the way I was always going to lean. I think now that publicity is definitely something that might suit me. There’s a good balance between the behind-the-scenes making-everything-work jobs and the exciting things like book-launches and author events, festivals, signings, that kind of thing. There’s also the fact that a lot of the job is being enthusiastic and talking about how amazing books are over and over again, in order to get press, interviews, reviews, author feature articles. The whole point of publicity is to create a (positive!) buzz around the titles and drive sales, and I think I’d really enjoy that. Not only am I pretty chatty and love to talk to people but, if it wasn’t obvious, I love to talk about books. Quite the perfect role for me, don’t you agree?

The plan is to keep on doing work experience, hopefully for longer periods, in all departments, if I can. I might find something else I could be good at, but publicity is looking rather good from where I’m standing (sitting, with a blanket around me). Hopefully soon I’ll be able to find paid work experience/internships, but until then, I’ll be as broke as I am now. Oh well! The things you do for love your dream career.

Before I finish, I also really should mention how generous everyone was with copies of John Murray books they were all too happy to hand me. A few times throughout the week I showed interest in some of the titles and they just handed me a copy for free, I wasn’t expecting such generosity at all. At the end of play Friday, I was taken around the office and allowed to take home so many books (it was like carrying two bags of bricks, getting them home from the book launch that night, but obviously worth it!), it was probably the happiest I’ve felt in a good few weeks. Now I have more great books I can’t wait to get into, and of course – less shelf space.

Now, I’m off to apply for more work experience! And to read, obviously.