Let’s Wrap: 2016

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So the strange year that was 2016 has been and gone. A plethora of much-loved celebrities died, the UK voted to leave the EU (terrible decision) and the US voted into office a businessman with no political experience and who is named after a fart (even more terrible decision).

For me personally, 2016 was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. It started with the passing away of my Nan, which was a pretty awful beginning. Then I began this blog (getting a bit better); I came off antidepressants and can honestly say I beat depression (still battling the anxiety though, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was); I managed to get my grades up in third year after a disaster of a second year and graduated with a 2:1 degree in BA Hons English (yay!); my short story was shortlisted for the HG Wells Short Story Competition and published (more yay!); then my hamster Cookie passed away, but not after helping me beat depression; and then, finally, we adopted a cat, Willow, who had been neglected but is on the way to being much happier.

So yes, that was pretty much the main highs and lows, but throughout it all I’ve had this blog and chatted to some amazing people here in the book blogosphere. Thanks to you all for keeping me sane!

In terms of my blog, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come since I started in March. I might not have as many followers as some who started the same time as me (honestly, I don’t know how you do it) but I’m so grateful to everyone who keeps up with this little blog of mine, all 276 of you, so thanks again!

Anyway, what about books? I won’t recap all of my posts since last March because looooong but I will have a look at some of my favourite and least favourite books of 2016 (starting from March because I can’t remember what I read before I started my blog). So, here goes.

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None!

So, those are (almost) all of the books I read in 2016. You can find reviews for all of them here on my blog.

I was quite lucky this year in that I enjoyed the vast majority of the books I read. I’m very picky though and I’ll normally read reviews before I buy a book, which helps to wheedle out any bad ones or ones that just aren’t my sort of thing.

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I have quite a big TBR at the moment so there are lots of books for me to get through this 2017. At the moment, I’m reading Vivian Versus the Apocalypse. I have mixed feelings about this one so stay tuned for my review.

After that, I’m thinking maybe An Ember in the Ashes, or change it up completely and read one of my WWII fiction novels: Where My Heart Used to Beat or All For Nothing. I think I’ll save my Christmas books for a little while to get through the backlog of books I already have.

Alternatively, I might try and finish the Red Rising trilogy as I adored the first two books when I read them last year.

As for what will be happening on my blog, I’m going to try and start posting more. I was doing well for most of 2016, but then it started getting quite busy towards the end of the year and my blog had to go on the back burner. I’ll definitely try and upload more discussion posts, and I have a few other posts planned, so stick around!

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How was your 2016? Did you read any of these books last year? Did you love them? Hate them? Let me know in the comments below!

caitlin

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Let’s Wrap: August

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So, August! I got a part-time job at Lush to tide me over till Christmas whilst I’m still working out what I want to do with my life after uni, and then my boyfriend came to visit twice and last week we went to a maze shaped like a T-Rex (which satisfied my dinosaur obsession immensely).

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Here’s me looking a little too pleased with myself.

Now, onto my August wrap-up.

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This Month’s Posts

Favourite Novels This Month

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Least Favourite Novels This Month

None! I gave them all 4/5 or 5/5, but Girl Detached was definitely the standout novel of the month (and even a standout novel of the whole year).

Coming Up

I’m still reading The Fireman by Joe Hill. It’s a biiiiig book and I did barely any reading last week whilst Mark was visiting. However, I’ve been speeding through it the last couple of days so expect a review by the end of the week, or at least early next week.

After that, I’m going to read Soundless followed by The Stars Never Rise. Hopefully I’ll enjoy them!

I have a couple more tags to get through but some others I’ll be putting on hold. Thanks so much to everyone who’s been tagging me but I’m a bit tagged out now! I’m gonna lay off them for a while and do some more discussion posts etc.

Also, this isn’t something to look out for in September, but just a reminder that my review of Goldenhand by Garth Nix will be going live in the first week of October, a week before its official release date. So keep your eyes peeled! I’ve written it so that people who are new to the series can still read the review without stumbling upon any major spoilers. So, if you’re thinking of getting into the Old Kingdom series, my review should hopefully convince you!

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What have you got up to this August? Has it been a good month for reading? Let me know in the comments below!

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Let’s Wrap: June

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June has been such a hectic month for me. I officially finished university, got my degree results (2:1!!!) and moved out of my student house. I’m now sat at home wondering what on earth is next. And admiring that adorable photo I got of my boyfriend’s notoriously camera-shy dog.

However, it’s also been a good month for my blog! It’s slowly growing, so thank you to everyone that’s followed, and I’m really enjoying running it. I have about 100 followers overall now if you combine my WordPress, e-mail and Bloglovin followers so thanks again! Now, without further ado, here’s my June wrap-up.

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This Month’s Posts

I’ve had a few problems with Bloglovin not displaying my posts recently so, if you’ve missed any, you can catch up here!

Favourite Novels This Month

Least Favourite Novels This Month

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Coming Up

I bought a fair few books this month so look out for reviews of books such as: The Girls by Emma Cline, Nightfall by Jane Halpern & Peter Kujawinski, The Next Together by Lauren James, Illuminae by Jamie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff and Nod by Adrian Barnesjust to name a few.

I also have a guest post coming soon where I’ll be reviewing Golden Son, the second novel in the Red Rising series, over on Ellie Maloney’s blog. Like I’ve said before, I’ll post a link to it here when it’s up!

And lastly, I’ll hopefully be posting more discussions on books and writing, so look out for those.

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Are there any novels in my TBR you’d like me to review first? And how has June treated you? Let me know in the comments below! 

Caitlin (1)

Let’s Wrap: April

LET'S WRAP- APRIL

So this is a little late, but that’s because I’ve just handed in my final essay to university. That’s it. 3rd year done. I’m a free elf.

It’s really surreal that my education is over. But I urge anyone who’s still undecided about university to go for it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. You have to care for yourself whilst you get lectured by some of the greatest minds in your chosen subject. It’s a strange balance, but a unique one. And if you also want to experience the world of work, get a part-time job (which, like me, you’ll probably need to get one anyway just to have money to live).

But either way, university is an amazing experience that I haven’t once regretted. Now to put my BA English degree to good use (if I actually pass with a degree…) and kick-start my career.

And so, here’s my wrap-up for April.

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This Month’s Posts

I posted a lot this April in an effort to up my follower count, which I’ve achieved, so thank you for following and keeping up with my posts!

I also went to New York, which was an amazing experience, so I made a post of some of my favourite places to see and restaurants to eat at.

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Favourite Novels This Month

Least Favourite Novels This Month

Coming Up

Reading and (hopefully) reviewing:

  • Champion by Marie Lu – I’m finally getting round to finishing this series! I’ve enjoyed it but found after finishing each book I’ve quickly forgotten about it. Let’s see how good the third novel is.
  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders – Been eager to read this relatively new release but just haven’t got round to it.
  • Half Way Home by Hugh Howey – I really enjoyed Howey’s Silo series so hopefully this’ll be up to scratch
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown – Finally starting this much-loved series!
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller – I’ve heard good things about this so fingers crossed!

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Is there a novel listed here you’d really like to see reviewed? Let me know and I’ll get round to reading it ASAP (now that I’m a free elf). Thanks for reading!

Caitlin (1)

 

Let’s Wrap | March

Let's Wrap MarchI’m currently sat in bed watching my boyfriend and his best mate play Call of Duty non-stop. It’s been like this for the past couple of nights. Why do I subject myself to this, you may ask? Good question. It’s because I have the flu and I want company, and this is the only way to get it.

However, being ill has given me time to think back over the books I read last month. Granted, most of them have been for university, so I’m actually excited to share some oldies but goodies with you guys that you might not have previously heard of. The list ranges from YA to 1930s prose, so there’s something for everyone. Let’s get started…

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Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

My Rating: 4/5

Genre: New Adult

Synopsis: Amid the harsh landscape of the Ozark Hills, sixteen-year-old Ree is taking care of her mother and two brothers. Her father has put their house up as bail and if he doesn’t show up at court it’ll be sold from under them. To save her family she needs to track him down but in a community riven with long-running feuds getting answers isn’t easy.

Why I loved it: I’d watched the film adaptation of Winter’s Bone a few years ago, but surprisingly had never thought of reading the book. Then it turned out I needed to read the novel for my ‘The Girl in the Book’ course. I actually really loved the novel much more than the film. Whilst the film was good, it missed out some of the raw emotions that the book was fraught with. It’s a harrowing read, but Ree is the epitome of a strong, female lead and the dynamics between the men and women of the novel is an interesting one in terms of feminism and misogyny.

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The Years by Virginia Woolf

My Rating: 5/5

Genre: Modernist

Synopsis: As the Pargiters, a middle-class English family, move from the oppressive confines of the Victorian home of the 1880s to the `present day’ of the 1930s, they are weighed down by the pressures of war, the social strictures of patriarchy, capitalism and Empire, and the rise of Fascism. Engaging with a painful struggle between utopian hopefulness and crippled with despair, the novel is a savage indictment of Virginia Woolf’s society, but its bitter sadness is relieved by the longing for some better way of life, where `freedom and justice’ might really be possible.

Why I loved it: I am a huge huge HUGE fan of Virginia Woolf. She is the master of character over plot, showing the literary world that all you need are some fleshed-out, spirited characters and emotional writing to produce a truly good novel. This was Woolf’s most popular novel in her lifetime, and her biggest, so newbies to Woolf might prefer to start with Woolf’s shorter (but no less popular works) of Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. But for me, The Years trumped them both in terms of its cast of characters and its lyricism.

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Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth

My Rating: 5/5

Genre: Contemporary (somewhat YA)

Synopsis: Goodbye, Columbus is the story of Neil Klugman and pretty, spirited Brenda Patimkin, he of poor Newark, she of suburban Short Hills, who meet one summer break and dive into an affair that is as much about social class and suspicion as it is about love.  

Why I loved it: I read Goodbye, Columbus as part of ‘The Great American Novella’ half-unit and everyone in my seminar, me included, absolutely loved it. Roth is brilliant at making the words on the page seem effortless. The story itself is a somewhat YA contemporary novella set in the 50s with exceedingly interesting characters, yet it doesn’t feel dated in the least. Both Neil and Brenda are heavily flawed but very likeable. Heart-breaking and life-affirming, it’s a really enjoyable and easy read.

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Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

My Rating: 4/5

Genre: Modernist, Thriller

Synopsis: London, 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a drunken hell, except in his ‘dead’ moments, when something goes click in his head and he realizes, without a doubt, that he must kill her. In the darkly comic Hangover Square Patrick Hamilton brilliantly evokes a seedy, fog-bound world of saloon bars, lodging houses and boozing philosophers, immortalising the slang and conversational tone of a whole generation and capturing the premonitions of doom that pervaded London life in the months before the war.

Why I loved it: If I had to describe this novel in one word, it would be: WEIRD. This novel is so weird but so interesting. Like how intriguing is that synopsis? Man absolutely infatuated with a heartless girl, until he blanks out and carries on with his plan to murder her. The novel takes a little while to get into, but once it gets going you’ll most probably be awkwardly finding yourself rooting for George in his ‘dead’ moments like ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE GEORGE JUST KILL HER’. Whirlwind read with the unsettling backdrop of the encroaching Second World War.

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Let me know what you enjoyed reading this month! I’m currently still trekking through The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. It was a daunting read to begin with, but now I’m really into it. Review coming soon.

Thanks for reading!

Caitlin (1)