Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Bout of Books Updates and Challenges

Here's where I'll be gathering my updates and challenge responses for Bout of Books 8.0. For a quick reminder, here are my goals:

- Finish at least 2 books.
- Take part in at least 2 mini-challenges.
- Write at least 1 review.
- Take part in one of the Twitter chats.
- Visit lots of blogs! :-)

Mini-challenge responses are below the updates.

The read-a-thon is now over, and here's what I managed to read:

And I started these:

Day 1- Monday

Sunday night was a bad night for sleeping, so I got a lot read after midnight before falling asleep. Headstart! Thanks to this, I managed to finish one book already. I doubt the rest of the read-a-thon will go that quickly...

Due to working late, I came to the Twitter Chat halfway through, but I'm still counting it towards my goals ;-) The chat was as fun and confusing as they always are! It was nice to meet some new people too.

Read-a-thon snacks: Marks and Spencers scones and strawberry jam with tea. They were very yummy but I have doughnut envy after a Twitter discussion about Krispy Kremes.

Books Read:
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline - Finished!
The Light Between Oceans, by M. L. Stedman - just started

Day 2 - Tuesday

Another good day for reading. Didn't get quite as much read as Monday, but still great progress for me! :-) This book is very different from the last one, and much slower paced than the books I've been reading recently. It's nice to read something a bit different, and I'm really enjoying it so far.

I'm also trying to get in some DVD watching as well as the reading, as I've got series 4 of True Blood out from the library and only have a week to watch it. Got through some today, and I'm not sure so far, but I do love how they've done the faeries. Looking forward to seeing where it goes with them...

Still haven't had a chance to do any of the mini-challenges yet, so I need to get on that on Wednesday!

Read-a-thon snacks: cheese and mushroom pizza, and Mr.Kipling lemon slices! Mmmmmm. :-)

Books Read:
The Light Between Oceans - up to page 178

Day 3 - Wednesday

I'm determined to do both mini-challenges today! Unfortunately, the internet is against me - it keeps coming and going. I've already lost this whole post once, so I'm going to have to try to post it in little bits in the few moments when everything's working!

Not such a great day for reading, but did get a lot of True Blood episodes watched, so I've a chance of making my library deadline for that! ^^

Still enjoying The Light Between Oceans, and it looks like something big is about to happen... I'm genuinely nervous and upset for ALL the characters involved, even the ones who've done some pretty bad things. Great writing! 

Read-a-thon snacks: Cinnamon bun and tea! :-)

Books Read:
The Light Between Oceans - up to page 222.

Mini-Challenges completed: 2 (scroll down to below the daily updates to see them)

Day 4 - Thursday

Wow, two really fun and original mini-challenges today! Looking forward to taking part in those. Also, didn't get the chance to visit many blogs yesterday, so I will have to do better today. :-)

Was having a tired day today, but still managed to get a nice bit of reading done. Approaching the end of this book now and I can't wait to see how it ends. Everything is a bit of a mess for all the poor characters right now!

Only managed one episode of True Blood today, which means I've got about 5 to watch before it has to go back to the library on Saturday. This is the first box set I've borrowed from the library, and getting a whole series watched in a week is harder than I thought it would be...

Read-a-thon snacks: Coffee and a muffin. :-)

Books Read:
The Light Between Oceans, up to page 267.

Mini-Challenges completed: 2 (scroll down to see them)

Day 5 - Friday

Finished The Light Between Oceans, which was very good! I've now read enough to meet my goals, but I'm still hoping to get a good way into a third book by the end of the read-a-thon. Now, I just need to write a review and I'll have completed all my goals!

Also finished True Blood! Hooray, I'll definitely be able to get it back on time tomorrow. I have to admit, I didn't really like the witch storyline that much, and I'm a bit bemused what happened to the faeries. Still a good, fun series to watch. :-) I'll have to see what else the library has...

Oh, and another really fun idea for a mini-challenge! There have been some great ones this read-a-thon. My response is below.

Read-a-thon snacks: Mini-cheddars. :-)

Books Read:
The Light Between Oceans - Finished!

Mini-Challenges completed: 1 (scroll down to see it)

Day 6 - Saturday

Started a new book today. Decided to go with the Diana Wynne Jones one, as those are always quick reads for me. Didn't manage to read much in the evening though, as upstairs were having a VERY loud party.

Managed to get my library books and box set back on time, and even managed to resist filling up my loans list again with more books! Go me! :-)

Not sure how much reading I'll get done tomorrow as it really needs to be a cleaning day (people coming round on Monday), but today was definitely a success, and the read-a-thon is going well. Now, to that review that needs writing...

Read-a-thon snacks: BBQ crisps

Books Read:
The Homeward Bounders, by Diana Wynne Jones - up to page 102

Day 7 - Sunday

Last day! :-( Okay, so I never actually got a review written, but that's what Monday's for, right?

I finished The Homeward Bounders, which was great, and started The Lives of Tao. I also listened to a fair bit of Retribution Falls while cleaning. :-)

It's been a great week, and I've had a lot of fun with the read-a-thon. There have been some fantastic mini-challenges, and the twitter chat was as fun and confusing as ever! And I'm pretty pleased with the goals I did manage to meet. Hope everyone else did well and had fun too!

Read-a-thon snacks: Cheese scone :-D

Books Read:
The Homeward Bounders - Finished!
The Lives of Tao, by Wesley Chu - up to page 34
Retribution Falls, by Chris Wooding - about an hour

Mini Challenges

Friday Mini-Challenge - Hosted by The Space Between

For this challenge, we were given a set of words to look for from books or in book titles. Then, after we've chosen them, we put them into a pre-made story, replacing each letter with our corresponding word.

A) A place in a book title - ZOO, from Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
B) A villain from a book - KING JOFFREY, from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
C) An adjective from a book title - AMERICAN, from American Gods by Neil Gaiman
D) A number from a book title - 23, from Best New SF 23
E) A noun from a book title - CAT, from White Cat by Holly Black
F) A favourite character from a book - THE WIZARD HOWL, from Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
G) A dessert from a book title - CHOCOLATE, from Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Okay, at this stage I have no idea where this is going... Now it's time to take a look at the story.

Help! I'm being held captive at the zoo by King Joffrey!
It is very American here!
He is demanding 23 cats to set me free!
I have just discovered that the Wizard Howl was captured too!
On second thought, please send chocolate, and don't worry if you don't hear from us for awhile!

Much Love

Thursday: Mini-Challenge 1 - Hosted by In Wonderland

Road Trip Challenge - match places you want to go with books that are set there.

Okay, my dream holiday is visiting places around Italy and Greece - particularly ancient sites, but also modern cities, romantic getaways, and more.

1) ROME - I've read quite a few books set in Rome, but would recommend Imperium, by Robert Harris, which is a great telling of Cicero's life. One I would really like to read is I, Claudius by Robert Graves, because it is so well-loved, and I think it actually might be a crime to have studied ancient Rome but never read that book! And, for a fun and more modern book, Goodreads lists tell me that Heist Society, by Ally Carter, is partly set in Rome, and is a series I've been wanting to try for a while.

2) BAY OF NAPLES - There's some wonderful things to see around the Bay of Naples, including beautiful islands and coastline, Pompeii, Vesuvius, Herculaneum, Naples, Sorrento, and more. I desperately want to visit this area! A wonderful series that sometimes takes place in the Bay of Naples is the Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. In fact, she's even written a travel guide to help you find places that are mentioned in the books - From Ostia to Alexandria with Flavia Gemina.

3) VENICE - Beautiful and romantic, and full of history, this is a place I would love to visit. I haven't read many books set here, but one is The Vampire Armand, by Anne Rice. One I would like to read that's set here is The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke. Goodreads also tells me that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, is set partly in Venice, and I've heard a lot of amazing things about that book.

4) GREECE - I'd like to travel around Greece a bit, visiting the little islands as well as places on the mainland. A book that travels around Greece is The Odyssey, an ancient Greek epic by Homer, though no-one is really sure of exactly where Odysseus is during many of his adventures. A wonderful book set on Cephalonia (one of the islands near Odysseus' home) is Corelli's Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres. A book I would like to read, set in Athens and other places in Greece, is The Last of the Wine, by Mary Renault.

5) CRETE - There are a lot more places I want to list, but I'm only allowed five, so my final one is Crete. This is a fascinating island that was home to one of the most interesting cultures - the Minoans. For a fantastic book set there, read The King Must Die, by Mary Renault, which re-tells the story of the Greek hero Theseus.

And that's the end of my road trip. Thanks for the fun challenge!

Thursday: Mini-Challenge 2 - Hosted by Paperback Dreamer

I-Spy challenge - we have to find a list of things on the covers of our books. This is A LOT harder than it sounds...

Snowflakes - Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett.

Flames - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling

A City Skyline - The City's Son, by Tom Pollock

The Moon - Life As We Knew It, by Susan Pfeffer

A Sword - Babylon Steel, by Gaie Sebold

A Wedding Dress - The Man From Pomegranate Street, by Caroline Lawrence (that's a Roman wedding dress and veil - they wore flame coloured veils and shoes when they got married)

High Heels - Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett (Nanny Ogg's shoes)

Fog - The Whitby Witches, by Robin Jarvis (there's fog all over the front and back covers, but it's easier to see on the back cover)

A Christmas Tree - Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories, by Washington Irving (I have NO Christmas trees anywhere, not even on my copy of A Christmas Carol! So here's a picture of a fir tree. Imagine a star on top and some baubles on it. There you go.)

Sunglasses - Cinema Year by Year (yeah, this is the best I could do. I can't believe I don't have a single fiction book with sunglasses on! Sorry about the fuzzy image.)

Lightning - Pellucidar, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (it's actually really hard to find covers with proper lightning on them, rather than electricity forking around an object, which isn't really the same thing. In the end, I found some proper lightning on one of the old sci-fi books my dad gave me)

A Tattoo - The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester

Combat Boots - The Lives of Tao, by Wesley Chu

Hand-Cuffs - Rule 34, by Charles Stross (I wanted to do a list of physical books only, but this one defeated me. I had to go to ebooks for this one.)

A Road - The Mad Scientist's Daughter, by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Ta da! Found everything, sort of, with only a little bit of cheating! :-D

Wednesday: Mini-Challenge 1 - Hosted by Musings of a Bookshop Girl

Question 1: Which 5 books are at the top of your TBR pile at the moment?

The Lives of Tao, by Wesley Chu - This is the Fantasy Faction sci-fi book club read for August, but my library only just got it in. I need to catch up quick!
The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch - There's a readalong going on for this book at the moment, and it's one I've been wanting to read for ages.
The Homeward Bounders, by Diana Wynne Jones - This one's been sitting on my shelf for a while, since I found it in a charity shop. I love DWJ, and this one looks really intriguing.
The Fade, by Chris Wooding - Library book. Looks great, and have heard a lot about it too.
Renhala, by Amy Joy Lutchen - A review book, looks really good.

Question 2: If I gave you a wad of cash to go to a bookshop right now, which 5 books would you add to the stack?

Some Kind of Fairy Tale, by Graham Joyce - I've heard a lot of good things about this book!
The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, by Ursula le Guin - I love Ursula le Guin, but I haven't read many of her short stories.
The Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan - I adore this series and really need to catch up!
The Machine, by James Smythe - Another one I've heard amazing things about.
Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson - This looks so good!

Wednesday: Mini-Challenge 2 - Hosted by Such A Novel Idea

It's book spine poem time!

Prophecy, the way of shadows.
Voices, moving pictures,
the truth perfectly reflected across the face of the world


  1. I want to read both of those books you read yesterday even though I don't know what they're about. I just always see them on everyone's blogs lol. Great job so far!

  2. The Light Between Oceans has been featured on many blogs and I have been thinking about adding it to my tbr pile.. Do you like it so far? :)
    And thanks for visiting my blog earlier!

  3. Scones?! Oh I am so jealous!! How was Ready Player One? I really want to read it but I'm not sure whether or not I'd like it. Well done on finishing a book yesterday! :D

  4. Yay for one book already finished! Did you like it?

  5. Yay! You're definitely on your way to completing your goals! How was Ready Player One? I've been looking at it in my library, but haven't pick it up yet.
    Mmm, those scones sounds lovely! Krisy Kreme donuts are awesome! I want some now...
    Good luck for the rest of the week! :D

  6. Haha we are all obsessed with the snacks. It should be a readaeatathon.

  7. Nice poem! I like the fantasy theme of your poem. I have also found some new books to add to my TBR now.

  8. This poem is amazing! I love it. :)

    Thanks for participating in the challenge and good luck!
    -Jess @ Such A Novel Idea

  9. I like the poem a lot Vicky! Well done on your reading so far. I loved Light Betwen Oceans, hope you enjoy it too.

  10. Great job on the I Spy Challenge today (love your covers) and I really like your spine poetry from yesterday! Here's my challenge response (on my update post): http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2013/08/bout-of-books-progress-update-3.html

  11. I like your choices for the Road Trip challenge. That would be an amazing trip! Also, I like the cover you have for Hogfather. I love that book.

  12. Isn't True Blood amazing!?! Is that a different cover for The Light Between Two Oceans? I thought it's usually a dark blue cover with a light house on it? Or maybe I'm thinking of another book lol. Great job so far!

  13. The challenges have been great this time, just the right balance of fun and easy. I'm usually pretty slack at doing them but they have been nice lunch time distractiosn now I work from home!

    2) You should definitely visit the Bay of Naples. We visited Sorrento, Pompeii, Capri and the Amalfi Coast and I can honestly say it's the most frickin' beautiful place I've ever seen in my life. Just... keep an eye on Vesuvius. Just in case. :)
    3) I really want that Graham Joyce book too. I read 'The Silent Land' a while back and found it bizarre and thought-provoking, and I found a tatty copy of 'The Tooth Fairy' at the shop too. Yay Rick Riordan! :)
    4) Nice going with the treasure hunt I Spy! I started but most of my books are packed now so I floundered after about 2!

    Soooo, thanks for entering my challenge! I've slowed up a bit sorting entries out because I tried some new painkillers yesterday and they left me doubled up with stomach pains for several hours, but TODAY I'M ON IT! Also, you're such a familiar face around Twitter and the blog that I didn't realise I wasn't subscribed over here yet. I AM NOW. :D