Uprooted

The Finally Fall Book Tag

Who doesn’t love a seasonal tag! I think the Finally Fall tag was created by Alina Melena on YouTube (not 100% sure as the original video no longer exists) and I saw it over on Bookables channel.

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!
I didn’t like the book a lot, but I won’t deny that Uprooted by Naomi Novik has a very vivid setting and it’s the main thing I remember about it.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne has such good writing that’s powerful and sad and is about a teenage girl trying to understand how her relationship wasn’t OK and it was actually emotionally and sexually abusive.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.
I work at a university and while my job is all year round, there is a sense on new beginning when the students come back at the end of September. I’ve read a lot of non-fiction thanks to my Read the World Project and I’ve learnt a lot about different cultures and countries. I think The Wife’s Tale: A Personal History by Aida Edemariam was one of the ones where I learnt the most though as I knew nothing about Ethiopia’s history.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.
It’s so easy to say the Weasley’s and while they’ll be an honourable mention, I’m going to say Izzy’s small but awesome family/friend unit from The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. I love her relationship with her grandmother and her best friend Ajita and they’d be an awesome, fun and supportive group to be a part of.

5. The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-coloured spines!
Good job I was at my mum’s when I was drafting this post as I don’t have any TBR books that have autumnal colours on their spine. So all but one of these (A Keeper) I’ve read.

From top to bottom we have:
The Door in the Tree by William Corlett
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
A Keeper by Graham Norton
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.
This was a hard one to think of a book for, I’ve definitely read books that were like a story inside a story, but it took me ages to think of one. In the end I remembered The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet, in that a creature tells a story of a fantasy world.

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a dark and creepy book. Thinking back, I’ll mention The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro. It’s a creepy story with vampires and conspiracy theories and from what I remember there’s some really eerie moments.

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heart-warming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.
I wouldn’t say it’s short or even heart-warming, but it is a lot of fun and it’s set somewhere warm and sunny – Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book I’d call “heart-warming”, but fun contemporary stories are always a good shout on dark nights.

9. Fall (luckily, it’s my favourite season) returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.
There are so many books I’d like to reread but I think I’m going to go with The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin. I’ve still not read the last book in the trilogy, The City of Mirrors, so I’d love to reread the series and finally finish it and see what happens to this huge cast of characters. I’d also like to revisit The Magician’s House quartet by William Corlett, of which The Door in the Tree is the second book, as that was a childhood favourite series.

10. Fall is the perfect time for cosy reading nights: share your favourite cosy reading “accessories”!
Definitely my blue fuzzy blanket. Well, technically it’s a Slanket (a blanket with sleeves) but I don’t often use the sleeves, instead I just have it on my legs as I read.

11. Spread the autumn appreciation and tag some people!
I think this tag has been around for a while so no doubt a lot of you have done it before but consider yourself tagged if you want!

REVIEW: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home and her quiet village, even though it’s close to the Wood, a corrupted place full of malevolent power. Close to her village in a tower lives the Dragon, every ten years he chooses a girl and keeps her for that time. The next choosing is fast approaching and Agnieszka, just like everyone else, knows the Dragon will take Kasia, her best friend who the most beautiful and talented. But events don’t go how everyone predicts and when the Dragon arrives it’s Agnieszka, not Kasia, he chooses.

Uprooted is a fantasy story with magical creatures and a beautiful magic system. How the magic worked for different characters and how different magic users would craft spells was always interesting to me. The Dragon is a wizard and he likes things in order and logical, especially when it comes to magic and spells. Agnieszka on the other hand, is more chaotic and organic when it comes to weaving spells. Her learning about her abilities and how it differs from so many traditional wizards and witches was both fun and interesting.

The Wood is such a unique villain as it were. It’s something that is alive and has thoughts and goals that are sometimes beyond what people could imagine. It’s an unsettling presence throughout the story and when someone is taken by the Wood, it won’t give them back easily. It corrupts creatures, people and the land around it. There’s not only the Wood to worry about, there is also political intrigue with Kings and courts that Agnieszka and the Dragon have to deal with.

The problem I had with Uprooted was I never felt the urge to pick it up and continue on to the next chapter until I hit the 300-page mark – that was almost three quarters of the way through the book! I think that was down in part to the writing style, it paints a very eerie yet beautiful picture, and while stuff did happen before page 300, it was all building to that moment but it hadn’t really pulled me in. I mainly read Uprooted for my A-Z Reading Challenge. It’s a few days before 2019, the only letter of the alphabet I hadn’t completed was the letter U, so I did persevere with Uprooted when under normal circumstances I would have probably put it down.

Uprooted is a good magical story that somehow manages to feel whimsical and haunting at the same time. The setting feels like a fairytale but it has a darker undertone too. On the whole, the characters and their relationships were compelling, but the story never did enough to enthral me. 3/5.

Tis The Seasonathon TBR

Tis The Seasonathon is a week-long holiday themed readathon that takes place from midnight on Monday 3 December to 11:59pm on Sunday 9 November, whatever your time zone. The hosts of this readathon are Bookables, A Court of Crowns and Quills, Super Space Chick, Between Chapters and Chelseadolling Reads.

I’m using this readathon to get me back in the reading zone. Last month I read three books, which isn’t as many as I’ve usually read a month, so I want to get more reading done over the next week and finish my 2018 reading on a high. To be honest my TBR is isn’t that festive but I have chosen some books that go with some of the optional challenges below.

1. Read a book with red or green on the cover.
2. Read a book while listening to holiday music.
3. Read a warm & fuzzy book
4. Read a short book (200-250 pages)
5. Read a holiday themed book
Extra/Bonus Challenge: Read the Buddy Read, Snow in Love.

Uprooted by Naomi Novak
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
A Fortune Foretold by Agneta Pleijel
The Fox was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller

Uprooted is going to be my main focus of this readathon. It’s been in my possession for years now, plus I need to read a book with a title beginning with the letter U to complete the A-Z Reading Challenge.

Uprooted, Frankenstein in Baghdad and The Fox was Ever the Hunter all complete the first challenge as they have either red or green on the cover (I don’t have the dust jacket of Uprooted to hand at the minut). A Fortune Foretold and The Fox was Ever the Hunter are both under 250 pages long so they class as a short book. Not sure which book I’ll read while listening to festive music but I’m sure I can cross off that challenge too.

So that’s my TBR for the Tis The Seasonathon! Wish me luck! We all know that readathon’s can be hit or miss for me, but I do really want to read these books so hopefully that’ll help. There’s a Twitter and an Instagram for the readathon and you can use the hashtag #tistheseasonathon to follow all the action.

Are you taking part in the Tis The Seasonathon? Or any other end-of-the-year readathons? I think it can sometimes feel like a mad rush at the end of the year so we can hit our reading goals but I hope everyone’s still having fun with their reading and remember – goals aren’t that big a deal.

Just going to take this moment to give you all a heads up – I’m planning to challenge myself with blogmas this month! So that’ll be a blog post a day on the run up to Christmas, there’s going to be the usual film and book reviews but there’s going to be a whole host of other stuff too. I think I have ideas for all 25 days, but if you want to suggest anything to me, feel free!

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. As the title suggests, this week is all about those books we bought and totally meant to read them and still haven’t. Oops!

In no particular order, here’s the ten books that have been sitting unread on my shelves for the longest.

The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker
Thanks to an Instagram pic of a bookhaul I can tell you when this book came in my possession – August 2015! And I still haven’t read it. it’s a non-fiction book and I’m not always in the mood for that so I think that’s one of the reasons I just haven’t got to it yet.

Truthwitch by Susan Denard
I got this in an Illumicrate box in early 2016 and I still haven’t read it. I did try it when I first got it, but I didn’t make it past the first 20 pages. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for it? I do want to give Truthwitch another go as I’ve heard nothing but great things about the series.

Uprooted by Naomi Novak
I’ve got Uprooted in the hardback, and I think I got it for either my birthday or Christmas so that means it came to me late 2015. I think this was another book I wanted because everyone was talking about it and then because of the hype I put off reading it.     (more…)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books on my Autumn TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. This week the topic is, as the title suggests, the ten books we want to read this Autumn. For me this is not just going to be my Autumn TBR, but it’s more like my Books-I-Want-To-Read-Before-The-End-Of-2017-TBR as these are the books I’ve been meaning to get to for ages and it’s about time I just read them.

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
I got this in a subscription box earlier this year and there was so much hype around it before it came out. I like that it’s got a Mulan-esque angle to it and the lead sounds great and I like stuff with assassins so this sounds like a book for me.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I think I got this for either my birthday or Christmas last year so it’s definitely about time I read it. I’ve heard nothing but great things and the cover’s gorgeous so I really don’t know what’s taken me so long.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is another book that there’s been so much hype over so when I saw it was cheap on kindle I bought it but I just haven’t read it yet. Admitedlly I have phases of reading my kindle and it’s about time I had another kindle reading binge.    (more…)