Tag: reading

Autumn Cosy Reading Night Vlog

Cosy Reading Night is a seasonal three-hour readathon hosted by Lauren and the Books. There are no tasks or challenges involved, you just have a nice evening reading and can chat with other people on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #cosyreadingnight.

Autumn Cosy Reading Night took place on Friday, November 2nd from 7 – 10pm.

For my night I planned to read an hour each of an ebook, a paperback and an audiobook. I set up my sitting room nice and cosy with candles and made some nachos. Watch my vlog above to see how my night went 🙂

My Books

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

BelindaBelinda by Maria Edgeworth

The lively comedy of this novel in which a young woman comes of age amid the distractions and temptations of London high society belies the challenges it poses to the conventions of courtship, the dependence of women, and the limitations of domesticity. Contending with the perils and the varied cast of characters of the marriage market, Belinda strides resolutely toward independence. Admired by her contemporary, Jane Austen, and later by Thackeray and Turgenev, Edgeworth tackles issues of gender and race in a manner at once comic and thought-provoking. The 1802 text used in this edition also confronts the difficult and fascinating issues of racism and mixed marriage, which Edgeworth toned down in later editions.

The English PatientThe English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Haunting and harrowing, as beautiful as it is disturbing, The English Patient tells the story of the entanglement of four damaged lives in an Italian monastery as World War II ends. The exhausted nurse, Hana; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless burn victim who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. In lyrical prose informed by a poetic consciousness, Michael Ondaatje weaves these characters together, pulls them tight, then unravels the threads with unsettling acumen.

Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?


Did you join in Cosy Reading Night on Friday? Have you joined in before or will you for the next one?

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Thank You!

This blog reached 2000 followers today so I just wanted to thank everyone who follows 🙂 You’re all awesome and amazing and I love you!!!

I’m so happy to have found so many amazing people who love books and reading as much as I do through this blog and Instagram (#bookstagram 😉 ).

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Expressing your gratitude at work can make you a more effective leader. Lead with gratitude.
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5 Interesting Articles from the Booksphere

It’s almost as enjoyable to read about books as it is to read books (almost). Here are some interesting articles I read during the month about the books and reading. The article from Goodreads about killing the ‘dead girl’ in crime is particularly interesting and Signature’s article on haunted houses in literature has some great books for Autumn.

Elaine Howlin Book Blog Review

Book Bloggers Are Real Readers

Bloggers do it for their love of books. No agendas, no bias and no pay. If  bestselling authors can see the benefit, why can some readers not?

“On Saturday, February 4th, Chocolat author Joanne Harris started a hashtag on Twitter: #tentweetsaboutbookbloggers highlighted some of the misconceptions that surround the world of book blogging and online reviews.” – Margaret Madden, The Irish Times

Killing the ‘Dead Girl’ Theme in Crime Fiction

dead girls

“It’s long been my observation that a lot of crime writing, even very good crime writing, can be summed up this way: a beautiful girl dies, and a man feels bad about it. Maybe he’s a mourning husband/father/brother/lover. Maybe he’s falsely accused. Maybe he did it, but he has, you know, REASONS. And now we’re seeing more and more female writers asserting for their ownership of crime fiction, and it’s very exciting. ” – Cybil, Goodreads

The Future Isn’t Female—It’s Feminine

women power

“How is feminine different? Because as with all labels, categorizations divide us. Evolving means being all-encompassing rather than exclusive. Men are just as capable of being feminine as females are. Therefore, this change isn’t solely to be championed by females. But championed by those in tune with and embracing all things feminine. A balanced approach to both masculine and feminine energy. Not one or the other. Remember from the Goddess Manifesto: Unity is a source of our power.” – Emma Mildon, Tips on Life & Love

Beyond Haunted House: Fictional Houses in Novels that Jump off the Page

“Whether English country houses, Gothic Manors, or simply the classic haunted houses, writers have long had a fascination with making homes the centerpiece of stories. Some are so memorable and integral to the narrative as to essentially become characters themselves. They stick with us, captivate and terrify us, and provide a level of metaphorical depth that lifts a novel to another level. From horror and suspense to literary fiction and everything in between, these are few of my favorite houses in literature.” – Keith Rice, Signature

Everything We Know About the ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ Movie

“With Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Witherspoon adds another female-authored debut novel to her list of book club picks. The book stars Eleanor, a lonely 30-year-old who spends her weekends nursing a bottle of vodka and a pop-star obsession. Throughout the novel we see Eleanor slowly widen her circle of interaction, both intentionally and unintentionally. However, Honeyman didn’t want Eleanor to be portrayed as a victim. The result is a humorous, yet thought-provoking story.” – Vicki Lindern, Bookbub


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Organise Your Library with these 4 Websites

With a book buying addiction and all the different deals out there on various sites and in different formats, I have a messy collection of books. I wanted something to list everything (ebooks, audiobooks, and print) together and be able to tag each item with searchable information.

These websites help to keep ALL of my books satisfyingly organised so I can view them based on genre, author, series, tags, collections, reading status and more.

Organise your Library with these websites Elaine Howlin Literary Blog


Image result for goodreads icon Goodreads

Goodreads is probably the most popular literary social media site. It’s formatted in a slightly similar way to FaceBook in that there is a newsfeed where you see updates and activity from your friends. You can also join groups focusing on many many different topics, share photos and follow authors.

Goodreads My Books Page Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Goodreads focuses more on the social aspects of reading and sharing books but there are a lot of organisational tools available as well. On the My Books page, you can organise your books into Bookshelves. You start with the basic All, Read, Currently Reading and Want to Read shelves but you can add more by clicking (Edit) next to the title Bookshelves at the top of the list. The shelves you create can be used in a similar way to tags and you can add a book to several shelves. You can also create more exclusive shelves like the Read and Currently Reading shelves at the top. When a book is on one of these shelves it cannot be on another exclusive shelf but can be added to any of the others.

Goodreads Edit Shelves Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

When adding your books you can set the format (paperback, ebook, etc.), ownership, where you purchased it, condition, recommend it to people, and the dates you read it.

Goodreads Shelf Settings Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Goodreads Reading Activity Elaine Howlin Literary BlogOne of my favourite features is the column settings on the shelves. You can have different settings for each shelf containing whatever information you want such as read count, dates, number of pages, etc.

At the lower part of your My Books page, you can view some limited stats about your reading such as most read authors, how many pages you’ve read this year (reading stats) and if you’ve synced your kindle you can view any notes you’ve made in your books.

 


Image result for librarything icon LibraryThing

LibraryThing has so many fields for metadata it makes me giddy at all the ways to organise my books. There is functionality for setting the format, condition (including weight!), tags, collections, and notes for your books. It is a must for any collectors. I’m dreaming of cataloguing Folio Society books… that I don’t have

LibraryThing Home Page Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

LibraryThing Stats/Memes Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

 

I have only skimmed the service of everything you can do with this site but my main love is the Stats/Memes section. Here you can view a tonne of information about your books. Which ones have won what awards, what lists they’re on, how many members read the same books as you, what books you’ve read set in certain places, major events that occur in your books, where the authors are from and so much more!

 

LibraryThing Stats Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

 


 

Image result for fictfact icon FictFact

FictFact is specifically designed to help you track your series. On your profile, you have a list of your series broken into Next Books, Coming Soon, To Be Read, Reading, and Read. Coming Soon lists the next releases in all the series you are following.

FictFact Profile Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Visiting the My Series page which is listed in the dropdown menu under Profile shows you the full list of series you’re reading, your progress and the next book you need to read.

FictFact Series Traacking Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Visiting a books page gives you details about that specific book, shows you all the books in the series and where you are in it. You can skip certain books, add information such as tags, ownership, format and a rating.

FictFact Book Page Series Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

I use FictFact to track my progress in a series including any short stories or novellas that have been released.


LibraryCat LibraryCat

I adore this site! LibraryCat uses the information from your LibraryThing account to create a catalogue of your books. It is so beautiful and streamlined I love looking through my books on it.

LibraryCat Elaine Howlin's Library Literary Blog

As with a real library, you can set patrons and mark books as available or checked out. I created a profile for myself and my husband (which he’ll never use) and marked my current read as checked out.

LibraryCat Book View checked out Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

LibraryCat’s format is very simple but gives you a more interesting way to browse your personal library. It’s free to join for personal use.

LibraryCat Contemporary Search Elaine Howlin Literary Blog


Do you use any of these websites to track your books? What’s your favourite function on them?

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The 4 Books I dnf’d this Year (so far)

Since I posted the 5 Books I Loved This Year I decided to post the ones I disliked enough to abandon. Thankfully there were only 4.

the 4 books I dnf'd this year Elaine Howlin Literary blog

Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

Hot and Badgered (Honey Badger Chronicles, #1) I got an ARC of this from NetGalley to review. I can’t remember how far I got into the book but it was far enough. I thought the story was a mess and didn’t connect with the main characters who were meant to be having the romance. Not something you want in a paranormal romance book. There were too many character introductions and way too much going on. I also was not into the honey badger shifter thing. I think there were weasels in it too…

It’s been highly rated by a lot of my friends on Goodreads so maybe I will come back to it at some point… It probably sorts itself out after the first few chapters.

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

The Third Policeman is Flann O’Brien’s brilliantly dark comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where, through the theories of the scientist/philosopher de Selby, he is introduced to “Atomic Theory” and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and de Selby’s view that the earth is not round but “sausage-shaped.” With the help of his newly found soul named “Joe,” he grapples with the riddles and
contradictions that three eccentric policeman present to him.
The last of O’Brien’s novels to be published, The Third Policemanjoins O’Brien’s other fiction (At Swim-Two-BirdsThe Poor MouthThe Hard LifeThe Best of MylesThe Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland’s great comic geniuses.

The Third Policeman This book confused the hell out of me. I had no clue what was going on. In fairness, I was listening to an audiobook and I kept getting distracted, missing bits and rewinding. In the end, I gave up and returned it to the library. The looming due date on library books usually pushes me to finish a book but this time it was to drop it.

Judging by other Goodreads reviews it seems like a bit of a pretentious book so it’s unlikely I’ll pick it up again.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders

In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent, and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other—for no one but Saunders could conceive it.

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices—living and dead, historical and invented—to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

Lincoln in the Bardo This was another audiobook that I kept drifting away from. I only picked it up because everyone was talking about it. Seriously couldn’t escape the dang book! I’m not particularly interested in Abraham Lincoln’s life which is probably why I found it hard to pay attention.

It has been highly rated by many Goodreads readers though few people I know have read it. A heck of a lot of people have added it to their TBR though.

 

 

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother’s dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn’s dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls — or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions … tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.

Jamaica Inn

This one I will definitely get back to at some point. I think I just wasn’t in the right mindset for this type of book at the time. I’ve loved the other books by du Maurier that I read and want to give this one a proper try.

It’s been highly rated by several of my Goodreads friends.

 

 

 


Hopefully, this list won’t grow too much in the last few months of the year.

Think I should give any of these books another try? What books have you struggled to finish so far this year?

Synopsis and book covers from Goodreads. Photo from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

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