Sarah Waters

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The Intimidating TBR Book Tag

Published October 25, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hi everyone and welcome to another book tag on bibliobeth today. I like to participate in a tag each month to mix things up a bit and always find them a lot of fun. I’ve seen this tag going around the blogosphere and book tube and thought it was about time I gave it a try. My TBR is VERY intimidating but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m in a very fortunate position as a book blogger to be offered books for review from publishers and even though I have a ton of my own books still waiting on my shelves to be read, I’m always grateful for the chance to read something new and exciting!

I’m sorry I couldn’t find the original creator of this tag but if anyone knows let me know in the comments below and I’ll amend accordingly.

1.) Which book which was on your TBR recently have you been unable to finish?

Gosh this is such a hard question. I’ve had a few DNF’s recently and have got a lot more brutal about putting a book down if I’m not really getting on with it. I used to labour through books that I wasn’t enjoying then get into a major slump and wonder why I put myself through it! No longer. If I’m not enjoying a book by about 50-100 pages in, I’ll put it down and declare it’s not for me. I also have a policy not to review anything I DNF as I don’t think it’s fair to the author or publisher to review a novel that an author has put so much blood, sweat and tears into. Also, I didn’t finish the novel so how can I give a fair review of a book when I didn’t even make it to the end.

But….I digress! The book I had to give up on recently was A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James. This was particularly sad for me as Mr B (my other half) chose it for my September TBR after he really enjoyed the audiobook. I tried guys, I really did but this book wasn’t for me. About 50 pages in I knew if I pushed myself any further I was just going to start resenting it and I didn’t want to do that. It’s obvious the author is hugely talented, his style just isn’t my cup of tea unfortunately.

2.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you haven’t had the time?

Pretty much all of my current TBR, haha! I’ll give a few examples that I’m really cross with myself about and that I honestly meant to get to this year. Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse, A Song Of Fire And Ice by George R.R. Martin, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters, Bonk by Mary Roach, Pop Goes The Weasel by M.J. Arlidge and Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly. I could go on. You see my dilemma? What to read FIRST?!

3.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s a sequel?

This is quite an easy question for me to answer, hooray! I’m going to go with The Amber Spyglass, the third in the Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I know, I know, I’m awful. I read Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife a little while ago and just never got round to the third in the series. Then The Book Of Dust came out and I thought I should go back to the beginning of the series and start again, read all three and then read The Book Of Dust. HELP! What should I do??

4.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s brand new?

I have a few books I could choose for the answer to this question but I’m going to go with The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I pre-ordered it after seeing some rave reviews (because pre-orders don’t count in a book ban, did you know?!) and it dropped through my letterbox a couple of days ago so I’m very excited to read it. Eventually.

5.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

This is tough! *looks through bookshelves…* I’m going to go with Water Born, a YA novel by Rachel Ward. I read the first book in the series, The Drowning, a little while ago and wasn’t that impressed with it so to be honest, I’m not in a huge rush to get to this, if I end up reading it at all.

6.) Which book haven’t you read yet because you’re just not in the mood for it?

I don’t really count myself as much of a mood reader, I don’t feel like I have to be in particular “mood” to read a novel however I’ve had The Wonder by Emma Donoghue on my shelves for quite a while now and so far, haven’t been compelled enough to pick it up yet even though I absolutely adored her novel, Room. I will do at some point but I’m just not sure when.

7.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it’s humongous?

This one is staring at me right now and has been for quite a while. Eek. It’s A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 by Orlando Figes. In its paperback form it’s 1024 pages and an absolute beast. I’m fascinated by Russian history, particularly around this time period and the period of the Second World War so I am intrigued to read this but am SO very intimidated by the size of it!

8.) Which book haven’t you read yet because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

This question has taken me so long to answer. I am a “cover lover” but normally the pretty books I buy have quite decent reviews too. Although I do believe opinions are very subjective, what one person might not connect to in a novel another person might love! I’m going to go with Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee which has a beautiful hardback cover but as I’m sure you’re aware, came with a giant share of controversy. Still haven’t read it to make up my own mind!

9.) What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

Apart from the Orlando Figes? Okay, I’m going with a rather odd choice but I shall explain. It’s the hardback copy of In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, her latest adult novel. If you saw my Kid-Lit post Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing you might remember that I’m a massive fan of Blume and when I got to meet her, royally embarrassed myself in front of her! Literally. I curtsied to the woman for goodness sake. This is the most intimidating book on my TBR because I haven’t read anything brand new from her since I was a child and I’m scared of my own super high expectations!!

So that’s all the questions answered, I hope you enjoyed this post and finding out a bit more about me and my intimidating TBR. If you’ve done this post before I’d love if you left a link in the comments so I could check out your answers. Also, if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned and want to persuade me to pick them up a bit quicker, I’m ALWAYS open to a little bit of gentle prodding!

Lots Of Love

Beth 

xxx

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Bookish Resolutions And Goals For 2018

Published January 8, 2018 by bibliobeth

Image from: http://msbookish.com/2015-goals-bookish-goals-for-the-new-year/

Hello everyone and welcome to a post that I don’t normally do but for some reason, I thought it might be nice to do for 2018. I don’t normally like to make too many rules and regulations for my blog but due to the sheer volume of the books that I own, the back-list of reviews I still have to write etc. I thought it might be time to set some things down, just to give me some sort of direction for the year ahead. I’ve written down TEN major resolutions and then I’ve slotted in another FIVE general ones (just because once I started I found it quite difficult to stop…oops!) So, here we go!

1.)  Put less pressure on myself to blog every day.

I came a little way to doing this last year when I was ill. I did get to the stage where I just thought: “Oh *%$* it!” but there was still that residual guilt when I didn’t get a post done every day. 😦

2.) Gradually reduce review back-list by continuing to do mini-pin it reviews.

I came a long way doing this last year – to date I’ve done 16 mini-pin it reviews which means sixty-four books that were originally on my review back-list are GONE! Definitely will continue this.

3.) Use notebook to make notes on titles “currently reading” so when I come to review them, things are fresher in my memory.

I recently bought a lovely notebook from Faye at Daydreaming Designs and used it to compile this list and a few other things already this year in the attempt to make me a little more organised!

4.) Be honest with myself if I’m unable to take on a review title especially those requested by authors directly that are not really my cup of tea.

When I first started blogging, I used to love that authors requested me to read their books and used to accept EVERYTHING. Then I realised how stupid this was and that I couldn’t possibly do this and read the things I WANTED to read as well. I have got better at refusing review requests but need to stop feeling bad about it too.

5.) Be better about commenting on other bloggers reviews.

Again something I have got a little better with last year but I still perhaps don’t comment as much as I should. Sometimes I think I’ve got nothing else to say except “Great review!” but even if I just say that it’s letting the blogger know I enjoyed their post.

6.) Attend more bookish events/author talks.

I love doing this and unfortunately chronic illness slows me down in this A LOT. I work in London and there is the potential to attend events after work however if I do that and get home late I’m likely to knacker myself for work the next morning. However, once in a while wouldn’t hurt!

7.) Continue with “Shelfie by Shelfie” meme and hopefully encourage others to participate.

I’ve really enjoyed developing my little meme last year, something I thought I could never do. I have a lot of shelves so there are many, many more shelfies to come and hopefully I can inspire someone else to join in too.

8.) Experiment with making reviews a little “fresher” i.e. use of images relevant to post.

I love bloggers that use images/GIF’s which highlight their content and break up the text a little bit. I’ve been thinking of doing something like this myself but we’ll see how it goes…

9.) Read some of those books I’ve been meaning to get to for years.

For example, A Song Of Fire And Ice by George R.R. Martin, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty and Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters. Some of these books have been on my shelves/Kindle for FAR too long!

10.) Start doing some buddy reads/join an online bookclub.

I’ve never done a buddy read before and it looks like such fun! I already have tentative plans with the lovely Janel from Keeper Of Pages to read The Fireman by Joe Hill this year so I’m really hoping that takes off. Just saying it right here, right now, if I mention a book and you’re open to a buddy read with me – let’s do it!

OTHER CHALLENGES:

  • Increase NetGalley ratio to a more acceptable level. – you don’t want to know my ratio…it’s shameful.
  • Participate in Mount TBR challenge. – I saw this on Jo’s Book Blog and it looks like a lot of fun!
  • Continue to enjoy Banned Books and Kid-Lit with Chrissi. – this should be easy, I’ve done this every year since I started blogging.
  • Read and review Richard And Judy book club picks. – also something I’ve done every year since I started blogging.
  • Read and review Daunt Books from annual subscription each month. – my wonderful boyfriend got me a Daunt Books Annual Subscription for Christmas so I get one new paperback each month. I’m determined to read and review them each month they come in. Let’s see how I do.

So everyone….

Image from: https://www.appbrain.com/app/wish-me-luck/com.Starlab.WML

 

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

Published September 17, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The “volcanically sexy” (USA Today) bestseller about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London.

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction.

What did I think?:

I first came across the wonderful Sarah Waters in her novel Fingersmith that I read in my pre-blogging days and remains on my bookshelves as one of my favourite books. Goodness knows why it took me so long to get around to another one of her novels, I’ve had them on my TBR for ages! However, when The Paying Guests was short-listed for the Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction in 2015 and I had heard nothing but rave reviews for it, I knew it was time to pick it up. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’ve come across a book for a long time that is so incredibly close to that five star, perfect read. The Paying Guests was a heady mixture of gorgeous writing, tantalising characters and a plot that shook me to my core with the unexpected nature of it all.

I’ll just briefly describe what the book is about and I’ll try to be as vague as possible as frustratingly, there’s a lot about this novel that I simply can’t tell you and I do very much hate spoilers in a review. It is the 1920’s, post war in Britain and Mrs Wray and her daughter Frances have realised that times have changed. They have lost all the men in their family – three sons to the war (their deaths having a daily, ruinous effect on the household) and Frances’ father who recently passed away and left the family in terrible debt. As a result, they are forced to take in lodgers or “paying guests” hence the title of the novel. The arrival of married couple, Lilian and Leonard Barber makes an enormous impact on both Frances and her mother and has dire consequences for the rest of their lives.

I simply can’t say anymore than that, I really want you to discover it all for yourself. There are twists and turns in the narrative that I have to say, I did not see coming and was absolutely delighted to discover a story with so much convoluted detail, both in plot and with Sarah Waters’ endlessly fascinating characters. Frances at first comes across incredibly prickly, bitter and difficult but as we get to know her better she becomes so intriguing and she still plays on my mind long after finishing the novel. Lilian too is beautifully drawn and just as captivating to read about, especially in the second half of the story where certain incidents precipitate a thrilling and tense situation where I had no idea how on earth Sarah Waters was going to wrap it up. The sheer allure of the writing, the atmosphere of post war London which the author captures to perfection, and these amazing characters means Sarah Waters is instantly pushed onto my list of favourite authors and I’ll certainly be getting to another one of her novels as soon as I can.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

February 2016 – Real Book Month

Published February 7, 2016 by bibliobeth

bookstack

Every other month I set myself a little challenge to complete which alternates depending on the month from Chrissi Cupboard Month and Real Book Month to Kindle/NetGalley/Review Copy Month. This February it is the turn for real books, which is one of my favourite months. I have a HUGE backlog of books just itching to be read and its a way of trying to get that pesky TBR and my own book collection down to er…more manageable levels, if at all possible! This February I shall mostly be reading : –

The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

Wolf Winter – Cecilia Ekbäck

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

The Shut Eye – Belinda Bauer

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) – Ransom Riggs

The Farm – Tom Rob Smith

Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes

The King’s Curse (The Cousins’ War #6) – Philippa Gregory

I think this must be one of my most exciting real books months to date. I literally cannot wait to read ALL of these books. Some have been languishing on the TBR pile for far too long, like Heart-Shaped Box, the debut novel from Stephen King’s son Joe Hill. Others are relatively newer additions, like The Sparrow which was recommended to me from one of my favourite podcasts, Books On The Nightstand. I have heard so many great things (also from BOTN) about the Man Booker short-listed novel A Little Life and having loved her debut novel The People In The Trees, I’m so so excited to get to this one, hence why it’s nearer the top of the list.

Other novels I’ve been meaning to get to is Hollow City, the second in the fabulous Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series – please see my review for the first book HERE. Lauren Beukes novel, The Shining Girls was one of my top reads for 2013 and I cannot wait to read her most recent novel, Broken Monsters which has been staring at me from my bookshelves for quite a while now! The Paying Guests will be my first novel by Sarah Waters and I’ve heard amazing things. I know my blogger friend Cleo over at Cleopatra Loves Books loved it and it will be quite exciting to compare thoughts with her once I’m done. Finally, I’m looking forward to a bit of historical fiction and one of my favourite authors, Philippa Gregory with the final book in her Cousins’ War series.

This is going to be a great month, I just know it!