Queen of Zazzau (J.S. Emuakpor)

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I received an e-book copy in exchange for an honest review.


Goodreads Link | Author Website

Totally kick-ass!

TL;DR – A smashing tale of war, love, magic and gods, with seriously strong female characters

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Ragdoll Rating: 5/5 Buttons

Recommended For: Fans of historical fantasy, fans of strong female leads

About the Book…

Amina is a princess, heir to the throne of Zazzau and a destiny of war and bloodshed. Amina must prove herself as a warrior and lead Zazzau against hordes of foreign enemies and strange magic. But the god of war has his sights set on Amina, and ruling the nation soon proves to be far more complicated than Amina could have possibly imagined.

Queen of Zazzau follows Amina from her beginnings as the heir apparent, through war and love and impossible bargains. The book takes place over some 80 years, during which Amina becomes a strong military leader, a Queen and the wife of a god. It is full to the brim with battles and magic, gods and romance.

What I thought…

I put off reading this book for a while as it is pretty long, clocking in at 510 pages – and what a selection of pages they are!

My favourite thing about this book is its lead character, Amina. Amina is a wonderful example of well-rounded, strong female lead. She’s powerful, clever, loving, dedicated – she is brilliant. We get to explore so many facets of Amina’s character as the story progresses, from romantic interests, battle tactics, diplomacy…even an unexpected pregnancy. Life throws so much at Amina, and she doesn’t take it lying down, but at the same time, she has this fragile side that feels so real – she struggles to keep going at times, allowing fear and panic to take hold of her. Amina is such a great character for so many reasons, and I’m super pleased to have read her story.

Another thing I loved was the way religion is explored in this book. Strictly speaking, the Zazzauwa are Muslim, but for many, if not most of them the old religion still exists – a host of other gods hold some sway over the workings of the world and I found it really interesting to see how the two quite disparate set of beliefs gelled together into a functioning belief system.

My only complaint about this book was the ending. Now, I need to say before I go further, that I did like the ending – I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with it. Feel free to skip this paragraph as it does contain spoilers and isn’t hugely important.

So an old prophecy has linked Amina and the god of war for years, and when he first appears, Amina wants no part of it. She’s quite happy as she is, she is already in love with someone else but the god of war insists that she will be his eventually. This turns out to be true, but when she finally does go to him, she offers herself in exchange for his influence over a battle that will decide the fate of her kingdom and everyone in it. So Amina becomes his wife, and then the god drops the bombshell that she will now feel intense sexual desire, which he will only satisfy when he feels like it. She is free to sleep with other men, but they MUST die afterwards. I think we can all agree this is beyond creepy and straight up abusive – but that’s gods for you, those guys are jerks. Anyway, because of this, Amina is prevented from properly experiencing love for her entire life – which, incidentally, is spent eternally young, so for 80 years she can’t allow herself to love another man, instead of taking a number of ‘temporary husbands’ and killing them, or periodically having sex with the god of war. Which brings us to the end. Turns out, after all this, she completely loves the god of war and they ride off into the sunset together.

OK spoilers over, on to my point. As I’ve said in other reviews, I’m autistic – I have trouble understanding how other peoples minds work. But to me, the end doesn’t make sense. I’m not sure what I would have wanted in its place, and I’m not begrudging the bitter-sweet ending, but still, it doesn’t sit quite right with me. But that could just be my weird interpretation – don’t let it prevent you reading the book and making up your own mind.

Final Thoughts…

This book is an epic tale with so much to love about it. I’m really pleased I read it and will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for anything J.S. Emuakpor might release in the future.

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Please Note: I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions contained within are my own and have not been influenced by any external entity!

Announcement! 2019 Reading Challenge Category Reveal!!!

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That’s right you beautiful somebodies. The big day is here, the wait is finally over. The categories are being revealed so you can go out and stockpile your books ready for next year.

Before anything else, a request. Please, please, PLEASE spread this about, I’d love for people to get involved. Share it anywhere you like (as long as you link it back here, or to @RagdollReads on twitter). If you or somebody you know decides to take up the challenge, let me know. Now back to what you came here for.

The reading challenge is in three parts. Light ReadingRegular and Serious Book Dragon editions.

cooltext30352622618610012 categories – one book for each category. (Plus a special WILDCARD category for the holidays)

That’s one book per month, and one bonus book for the holiday season.

Follow this link for the full write-up: The 2019 Ragdoll Reading Challenge (Light Edition)

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Track your progress with this nifty, downloadable chart: The 2019 Ragdoll Reading Challenge – Light Chart PDF

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24 categories – one book for each category. (Plus a special WILDCARD category for the holidays)

That’s one book every two weeks. Or two books per month if you prefer. Or roughly 0.00204918 books every 45 minutes if you want to be completely absurd about it! (I think!)

Follow this link for the full write-up: The 2019 Ragdoll Reading Challenge (Regular Edition)

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Track your progress with this nifty, downloadable chart: The 2019 Ragdoll Reading Challenge Chart PDF

 

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52 basic categories

4 ‘free read’ categories

3 ‘Wildcard’ categories

That’s 59 books for those of you who can’t be bothered to work it out. 1 read a week, plus a few extras thrown in. Finish this, and you can consider yourself a Serious Book-Dragon!

Follow this link for the full write-up: The 2019 Ragdoll Reading Challenge (Serious Book-Dragon Edition)

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Track your progress with this nifty, downloadable chart: The 2019 Ragdoll Reading Challenge – Serious Book Dragon Edition PDF

Please enjoy the challenge. I hope you’ll spread it around (remember to tag me here or @RagdollReads on twitter). Enjoy your reading ❤ Much love all!!!

 

 

Announcement: 2019 Reading Challenge!!

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That’s right you beautiful somebodies (especially the beautiful somebody who has been checking back pretty much every day for this news, I super love you), in 5 sweet, sweet days, I will be revealing the categories for the official Ragdoll Reads 2019 Reading Challenge!!

In case you don’t know about the challenge, here are some deets!

There are three levels;

  • Lite Reading
  • Regular
  • Serious Book Dragon

The level you choose will depend on how many books you think you can manage.

The Lite Reading edition contains 12 categories plus a special bonus category. That’s a book a month, and one for luck!

The Regular edition contains 24 categories plus a special bonus category.

The Serious Book Dragon edition contains a whopping 52 categories, 4 ‘free reads’ and a super special bonus category.

The editions build on each other, so if you completed the Lite Reading challenge, you would have completed half the categories from the Regular edition. You see? Fun!

I would loooove it if people got on board with this, and if you do plan on doing the challenge, please let me know in the comments or hit me up on twitter (@RagdollReads)!

Weekly Roundup

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About my week…

Apparently it’s been 2 weeks since I did on of these, the reason being that the last two weeks have been all kinds of horrible. I’ve been ill, my brain has been fighting against me and not a lot got done. BUT I started my new degree and managed to get some studying done, so I’m calling it a victory.

This weeks reading

This week I’ve been reading (links to Goodreads)

This weeks posts

New acquisitions

Books added to the collection this week (links to Goodreads)

Soundtrack to the week

3 songs that had me hooked this week (Links to YouTube)

Weekly Roundup #7

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This week I’ve been suuuuper busy. I’ve reworked my entire WIP into a format closely resembling it’s original outline, and shunted the trimmings into a separate project, and I’ve written something like 20 pages in the last couple of days which is pretty good for me. I also semi-accidentally wrote a worship song with my little sisters, which for a non-christian was a pretty strange experience, but there you are.

This weeks reading

This week I’ve been reading (links to Goodreads)

This weeks posts

 

New acquisitions

Books added to the collection this week (links to Goodreads)

 

Soundtrack to the week

3 songs that had me hooked this week (Links to YouTube)

 

Reading Challenge Complete (#3)

OK, so far this year I’ve actually completed FIVE reading challenges:

  • 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge by MeHawkins.com (#1) – see the write up here: Reading Challenge Complete (#1)
  • 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge by MeHawkins.com (#2) – see the write up here: Reading Challenge Complete (#2)
  • 52 books read in total
  • 80 books read in total, and finally
  • 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge by MeHawkins.com (#3) which you are now reading about!

The 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge was from a book blog I found – mehawkins.com18 unique categories. Doing this challenge actually inspired my to write my own challenges for next year (and the Around the World 2018 Reading Challenge you can try out already!!)

So here is the rundown of my progress through the challenge. (Please note: I read these in no particular order)

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Graphic and content from mehawkins.com

The 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge (Run #3)

A book published in 2018.

ButtonAn Argumentation of Historians by Jodi Taylor (2018)

Think ‘Female Indiana Jones’ + Time Travel and you’re pretty close to the premise of this book. A real fun read.

See the full review here: Book Review: An Argumentation of Historians (Jodi Taylor)

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A book published the year you were born.

ButtonMattimeo by Brian Jacques (1990)

Book 3 in the Redwall series. The young mouse, Mattimeo and his friends are captured by an evil fox, and must be rescued. Exciting fantasy for young and old.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A classic book or a book published over 100 years ago.

ButtonThe Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (1874)

Four men and a dog find themselves stranded on a deserted island after a mishap with a hot air balloon. This is the story of how they survived.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A book that you’ve started before and never finished.

ButtonRing for Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (1953)

The continuing hilarious adventures of everybody’s favourite valet, Jeeves..

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A book you should have read in school, but didn’t.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

Another short story collection, featuring the worlds most famous detective duo.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A Book you’ve already read – time for a re-read!

ButtonStonehenge by Bernard Cornwell (1999)

A tale of war, betrayal, murder and temples. An epic novel worked around the building of stonehenge.

Rating: 5/5

 

A book that you’ve put off reading.

ButtonThe Stonehenge Legacy by Sam Christer (2010)

An ancient cult, and a murderous conspiracy. Can Gideon expose the cult that murdered his father, or will they get to him too!?

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A banned book.

Button1984 by George Orwell (1949)

“Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality.” (Goodreads)

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A book by an author you’ve never read.

ButtonFoundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (2018)

Sancia is offered the job of a lifetime – steal one item for more money than she could ever hope to see in her lifetime. She takes the chance, and then her world falls apart.

See the full review here: Book Review: Foundryside (Robert Jackson Bennett)

Rating: Exceptional (Book of the Month August 2018)

 

A popular author’s first book.

ButtonThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)

“Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.” (Newspaper clipping…do I really need to tell you what this is about?)

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A book turned movie you’ve seen but haven’t read.

ButtonThe Maze Runner by James Dashner (2009)

A group of boys are trapped in a colossal maze, filled with murderous machines. One day, a girl is dumped in their midst and then everything goes wrong, fast!

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A book turned TV show you’ve seen but haven’t read.

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Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie (2012)

 If you like the whole “Sleepy little town has more murders than small countries” genre, and you like priests you’ll probably like this book.

See the full review here: Book Review: The Grantchester Mysteries – Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (James Runcie)

Rating: 5/5 Buttons (Book of the Month May 2018)

 

A funny book.

ButtonThe Pirates! In an Adventure with Romantics by Gideon Defoe (2012)

The Pirates head off on a quest to find a lost manuscript on how to woo the ladies, with Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelly in toe. Hilarity ensues.

See the full review here: Series Review: The Pirates! In an Adventure with… (Gideon Defoe)

Rating: Exceptional (Series)

 

A book that will make you smarter.

ButtonMindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana (1992)

A useful guide to the practice of Vipassana (insight) meditation.

See the full review here: Book Review: Mindfulness in Plain English (Bhante Henepola Gunaratana)

Rating: 4/5 buttons

 

An award-winning book.

ButtonAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)

A book about Gods, their dwindling power and the coming war. This book is cleverly crafted, brilliantly written and endlessly entertaining. Once again Gaiman delivers a cracking read! A must have for fans of fantasy and myths.

See the full review here: Book Review: American Gods (Neil Gaiman)

Rating: Exceptional

 

A book based on a true story.

ButtonDragon Teeth by Michael Crichton (2017)

A team of pioneering paleontologists set out to discover new and interesting fossils. But William Johnson gets separated from the group and is left to fend for himself in the wilds of the west.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A book chosen for you by a friend.

ButtonBuddhist Meditation by Kamalashila (2013)

This book is a great guide for any meditation practitioner – from the absolute beginner to the more advanced users

See the full review here: Book Review: Buddhist Meditation: Tranquility, Imagination and Insight (Kamalashila)

Rating: 4.5/5 Buttons

 

A book set during Christmas.

ButtonThe Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (1992)

A sort of backwards look at the history of Christianity…also a kidnapping…this book made me insanely irritated.

See the full review here: Kwik Review: The Christmas Mystery (Jostein Gaarder)

Rating: 1/5 Buttons

 

So there we have it. Badass Books Reading Challenge #3 is complete. I’m only 8 books away from completing  Reading Challenge: Around the World 2018, and 16 books away from 100 books total, which I reckon I should manage by the end of the month.

Last thing before I go:

Top 3 of the Challenge:

You gotta pick a top three, so here are mine (Drum roll please):

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You should go out and read these books immediately!!

Finally, a big thank you to mehawkins.com for writing the reading challenge in the first place.

Book of the Month (August 2018)

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This just in!!

The Ragdoll Reads Book of the Month pick for August 2018 is:

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Foundryside

by Robert Jackson Bennett (2018)

TL;DR – In a world controlled by magical enchantments, only a small-time sneak thief and her associates can prevent a world-ending catastrophe!

See the full review here: Book Review: Foundryside (Robert Jackson Bennett)

See the full Book of the Month list here: Book of the Month

 

Book Review: Coraline (Neil Gaiman)


Goodreads Link | Author Website

I cannot overstate how much I adore this book.

TL;DR – A truly creepy tale.

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RAGDOLL RATING: Exceptional

Why I read it…

I got this book signed at a talk Gaiman did at Ely Cathedral years ago – it’s the pride of my book collection! I read it again today (all in one sitting) because I’ve been trying to read books aimed with a younger audience in mind (as I am trying to write a book for younger audiences) and this is probably my favourite of them all.

The Story…

Coraline Jones is bored. She has just moved house, her parents are busy working, her toys are not fun anymore and there is nothing for her to do. Until she discovers a doorway to another world – a world full of colour, with attentive parents, delicious food and excitement by the bucket-load.

But all is not what it seems, and Coraline must learn the a lesson in the hardest way possible. The grass ain’t always greener on the other side – and if it is, it’s probably poisonous!

Why I love It…

I freely admit I am biased. I adore Gaiman’s work, but there is a reason for that. I like the way the man writes. It dances merrily between serious and silly, formal and informal. Behind it’s sometimes playful wording, lies a seriously creepy tale of terror. It’s the kind of thing I wish I’d been read as a child, or alternatively, wish I had a child to read it to.

I love Coraline (the character). Her motivations are so believable, boredom, curiosity, and a vague sense that nobody is really interested in her or her thoughts lead her to dive into this new and exciting world. But she is also clever, brave, resourceful and ever so caring. It would be so easy for her to have just stayed in the Other world (except, perhaps, for having buttons sewn onto her eyes), but instead she risks her own safety to save the souls trapped by the Other mother.

I also love the supporting characters. Gaiman has a knack for making characters interesting in as few words as possible. It’s a skill I infinitely admire, and am super jealous of. Characters such as Mr Bobo (Bobinski in the film), and his all-mouse circus.

‘The reason you cannot see the mouse circus’ said the man upstairs, ‘is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed. Also, they refuse to play the songs I have written for them. All the songs I have written for the mice to play go oompah oompah. But the white mice will only play toodle oodle, like that. I am thinking of trying them on different types of cheese.’

One paragraph and Mr Bobo and his world have come instantly to life. I can’t think of many authors who can make me so interested in the inner workings of a supporting character in so few words – heck, many can’t do it in a whole book.

I would also love to talk about how much I love the ending of this book – specifically the part about the picnic – but I can’t think of a way to do so without spoiling the ending for those who haven’t read it, so you’ll just have to trust me that it is wonderful.

Recommended For…

I recommend this book to everyone. Everybody should read this book at some point. It’s fun, it’s creepy and it’s brilliantly told. It is a beautiful example of the art of writing. Although I should point out that it could scare the impressionable youngsters (depending on their temperament), but they should read it anyway and just accept that being scared is a price well paid for such excellent and fun reading.

Final thoughts…

I love this book. The children I used to work with (primary school) loved this book. My sister saw the film this book inspired, and was completely (and hilariously) traumatised by how scary it was. It is truly excellent. Read it. Immediately.

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Please note: I am in no way affiliated with the author or publishers. I bought this book with my own money for my own reasons. The opinions contained within are my own and have not been influenced by any external entity!

Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet (Matt Haig)


Goodreads Link | Author Website

Insightful, thought provoking, and very, very real.

TL;DR – This book takes a good, hard look at anxiety, grabs it by the collar and yells “Not today!”

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RAGDOLL RATING: 5/5 BUTTONS

Why I read it…

My mum used to read my chapters of “Reasons to Stay Alive” at night, during one of my worst periods of mental ill-health, I’m not sure how much of it I took in, but it just seemed that reading Haig’s latest offering would be a good idea during my most recent mental health crisis.

The Book…

I suppose you could call this book a self help book, but that doesn’t cover it. More accurately, I supposed it is a collection of ‘anxiety things’, bunched together into a really helpful little manual.

The purpose of the book is to take a good hard look at anxiety, it’s effects on society, and societies effects on it. Through personal stories, quotations, lists and data, Haig takes us through the world of anxiety and offers us things we can do to combat it.

I suppose the big take-away from this book is that modern society is a breeding ground for stress and anxiety, and human beings have not had time to adapt to it. BUT, there are ways to make things feel that little bit better.

This book isn’t going to be a one-stop cure for anxiety disorders, and it isn’t supposed to be. It’s just a collection of useful information and tips, to make something really bad, a little easier.

What I liked…

I suppose the thing I like most about this book (and “Reasons to Stay Alive”) is the fact that Matt Haig doesn’t hold back on his personal experience. He’s not afraid to stand up and talk about his mental health, and to talk about it in detail. One of the parts that stuck out most for me, was when Matt talks about having a panic attack in a shopping center – being surrounded by crowds, being in tears and feeling like the worst has happened. It stuck out for me because I’ve been there, but also because outside of a group therapy session I’ve never heard anyone talk about that before. It’s one of those things that are really hard for people to understand, because they don’t necessarily make sense. These stories of his personal struggles – and the distinct lack of pointless psycho-babble and other rubbish – make the book really relatable, and help to make the rest of the book easier to engage with.

The problem with a lot of books on anything mental health related, is the tendency for them to be written by people who have never personally experienced the things they are talking about, written using a whole bunch of technical sounding terms that tend to just come off as annoying. THIS BOOK DOES NOT DO THIS. The whole book is written in really simple language – as if Haig was sitting in the room telling you his story, instead of you reading it. It’s comforting, and much more approachable. But he also only gives you advice he has tried, and more importantly, he admits the bits of advice he finds hard to follow himself, or that he isn’t very good at doing. It is infinitely easier to follow the advice of someone you  just know understands how overwhelming the advice seems. Someone who freely admits they should be doing something, but they aren’t good at it. Stuff they are trying to get better at.

I also love the way that the book puts focus on the way modern society affects us and can cause us considerable stress and anxiety. Haig explains how elements of society, for example shops or social media or news rely completely on people not feeling content. Feeling they need more, or that something isn’t ‘quite right’. How social media is designed to reward extremes of opinion. Or how the constant stream of camera-phone footage of horrible things happening, can make us feel more involved but also more scared of current events than we ever have been before. He also talks about how many of the things we do day-to-day, are like an addiction. Compulsively checking social media, or taking quick email breaks instead of focusing on one thing at a time. It’s hard to take in frankly. But it is true – I didn’t realise how many random marketing emails I saw every single day until I started unsubscribing from them as a result of reading this book.

Obviously Haig isn’t the only person ever to have spoken about this kind of thing, but he is the only person I’ve come across who managed to put it so clearly, and so obviously that I felt compelled to do something about it.

One final thing I loved about this book was the format. This book has no consistent structure. It is, as Haig puts it, ‘intentionally disorganised’. Each chapter starts with a quote or two, and then the chapter is broken up into seemingly random segments. There are lists, personal stories, data from psychological studies, advice, analysis of society, anxiety and stress…and so on. The reason I love this formatless format so much, is because it makes the whole thing so much easier to take in. You don’t get pages and pages and pages of advice from someone who doesn’t care if you follow it or not. You don’t get long explanations of complex quotations from someone who cares more about coming across intellectual than a ‘real’ person. You get little bits and pieces. Here a story about panic attacks, there a list of things that have gotten faster in recent years, here a bit about addiction and social media, there a little happy thought or bright idea. Mental health is hard to read about, especially when every story can trigger memories of your own – but this quirky little format experiment breaks it all up, and makes for a peculiar, but brilliant read.

What I disliked…

I didn’t dislike anything about the book. I disliked how I felt reading it at times, but that is obviously not Matt Haig’s fault.

One thing you should note, is that Matt does talk about suicide at times so if that’s a trigger for you, be aware.

Final thoughts…

This book made me feel a little less alone. I think everyone should read it, just to get a real, pure look into mental health problems.

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Please note: I am in no way affiliated with the author or publishers. I bought this book with my own money for my own reasons. The opinions contained within are my own and have not been influenced by any external entity!

Reading Challenge Complete (#2)

Technically speaking, that’s three reading challenges complete so far this year. 52 total books and two different runs of the Badass Books Reading Challenge detailed here.

The 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge was from a book blog I found – mehawkins.com18 unique categories. Doing this challenge actually inspired my to write my own challenges for next year (and the Around the World 2018 Reading Challenge you can try out already!!)

So here is the rundown of my progress through the challenge. (Please note: I read these in no particular order)

Pinterest-Graphic-1
Graphic and content from mehawkins.com

The 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge (Run #2)

A book published in 2018.

ButtonHead On by John Scalzi(2018)

Another fast paced science fiction crime/conspiracy novel. Scalzi’s work makes for excellent reading.

See the full review here: Book Review: Head On (John Scalzi)

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A book published the year you were born.

ButtonGood Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (1990)

Two of my absolute favourite authors writing a book about the end of the world. What could be finer? Funny, clever and entertaining.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A classic book or a book published over 100 years ago.

ButtonRound the Moon by Jules Verne (1865)

After being blasted into orbit around the moon in Journey to the Moon, our intrepid heroes find themselves stuck – never to hit the moon, never to fall back to Earth. To orbit until their death. It sounds far more dull than it actually is.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A book that you’ve started before and never finished.

ButtonThief of Time by Terry Pratchett (2001)

“The construction of the world’s first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time, for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone’s problems.” (from Goodreads). Probably my least favourite Pratchett book – it’s telling that I remember so little that I had to steal a summary rather than write my own – I may owe it a re-read.

Rating: 2/5 Buttons
A book you should have read in school, but didn’t.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arther Conan Doyle (1902)

After the suspicious death of land-owner, Holmes and Watson must solve the case of the mysterious devil-dog that has been reported to curse the Baskerville family, before the last of the great line meets a grizzly end. One of my favourite Holmes stories.

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A Book you’ve already read – time for a re-read!

ButtonThe Pirates! In an Adventure with Napoleon by Gideon Defoe (2004)

This story finds the Pirate Captain giving up piracy and going to become a beekeeper on the island of Corsica, which he bought from the dastardly Black Bellamy. But PC’s dreams are shattered with the arrival of Napoleon, which sees the pair become locked in a battle for supremacy – and popularity – over the Island and it’s inhabitants.

See the full review here: Series Review: The Pirates! In an Adventure with… (Gideon Defoe)

Rating: Exceptional (Series)

 

A book that you’ve put off reading.

ButtonThe Bodhisattva Ideal by Sangharakshita (2000)

A brief introduction into what it means to be a Bodhisattva – someone who strives to attain enlightenment for all beings . A fascinating read. Don’t read this unless you have at least some idea about Buddhism beforehand.

Rating: 4.5/5 Buttons

See the full review here: Book Review: Bodhisattva Ideal: Wisdom and Compassion in Buddhism (Sangharakshita)

 

A banned book.

ButtonAnimal Farm by George Orwell (1945)

The animals take over the farmyard in the interests of seizing the means of production so they can all live a better life. Until the pigs take over. A weird, but enjoyable read.

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A book by an author you’ve never read.

ButtonElla Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

The very strange tale of the land of Nollop, where words are treasured and linguists are deified. A weird but brilliant look into the world of religious totalitarianism. A word lovers dream (or indeed nightmare).

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

See the full review here: Book Review: Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters (Mark Dunn)

 

A popular author’s first book.

ButtonThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (1950)

A collection of tales about the colonization of Mars. I tried SO hard to like this book. Bits of it were interesting but mostly it just bored me. If you’re not a serious Sci-fi fan, give it a miss.

Rating: 2/5 Buttons

 

A book turned movie you’ve seen but haven’t read.

ButtonAround the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (1872)

Phileas Fogg sets off on an impossible journey, in order to win a wager. A delightful tale of round the world travel in the shortest possible time. Well worth a read.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A book turned TV show you’ve seen but haven’t read.

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Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864)

When an ancient clue, written in runes, is discovered and translated a journey is made to discover what lies beneath the Earth’s surface. A tale of peril and adventures – fanciful and wonderful.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A funny book.

ButtonThe Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists by Gideon Defoe (2006)

The Pirates – for reasons that escape me – find themselves in London and have to solve a mystery involving the Opera, and see’s the Pirate Captain mistaken for Karl Marx, and become a Philosopher himself. Probably my least favourite of the series – it’s a great book, but the story doesn’t stand out in my mind as well as the rest.

See the full review here: Series Review: The Pirates! In an Adventure with… (Gideon Defoe)

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

A book that will make you smarter.

ButtonThe Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Nanh (1998)

This book is a basic introduction to the foundations of Buddhism, taught from the point of view of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Absolutely recommended. This is definitely one of the most important books I have ever read.

See the full review here: Book Review: The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Rating: Exceptional (Book of the Month June 2018)

 

An award-winning book.

ButtonThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)

The unlikely, and indeed impossible, tale of Arthur Dent – sole survivor of the destruction of Earth. What can you do when you discover your best friends an alien, your planet has been destroyed to make an interstellar bypass and you’ll never get a decent cup of tea ever again? Hilarious – one of my all time favourite books.

Rating: 5/5 Buttons

 

A book based on a true story.

ButtonBuddha by Osamu Tezuka (1972)

This is the first book on a graphic novel series detailing the events of the life of the Buddha. It’s interesting, but I can’t help but feel that if you didn’t already know the story you would be completely lost almost immediately.

Rating: 4.5/5 Buttons

 

A book chosen for you by a friend.

ButtonPirate Lattitudes by Michael Crichton (2009)

Most of the story was really good, and with a few small changes could have been amazing. Still recommended. It’s exciting and entertaining and a little bit racist which is super annoying.

See the full review here: Book Review: Pirate Lattitudes (Michael Crichton)

Rating: 3.5/5 Buttons

 

A book set during Christmas.

ButtonLost Christmas by David Logan (2011)

This is the story of the boy whose life falls apart on Christmas eve. The book reads like that list of ‘really bad metaphors’ that surfaces on the net every now and then – and I LOVE it.

See the full review here: Kwik Review: Lost Christmas (David Logan)

Rating: 4/5 Buttons

 

 

So there we have it. Badass Books Reading Challenge #2 is complete. Only a handful of books left to read before I make run #3 and the second total books challenge (80 books).

Last thing before I go:

Top 3 of the Challenge:

You gotta pick a top three, so here are mine (Drum roll please):

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You should go out and read these books immediately!!

Finally, a big thank you to mehawkins.com for writing the reading challenge in the first place and getting me reading again!