Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon Sign Up

Hi all, I am back with another reading challenge inspired by Pokemon Go. I have recently become quite obsessed with read-a-thons as a way to tackle my TBR, so combining these two things is the natural progression of things.

ReadThemAllThon

Disclaimer: Pokemon belongs to Nintendo. I make 0 monetary profit from my blog, please don’t sue me!

What Is It?

The Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon is a 3 weeks long reading challenge based on the Kanto’s Indigo League. Long-time fans of the series would recognise this as the first set of gyms Ash Ketchum had to conquer in his quest to become the Pokemon Master. Now you, my friends, will also embark on a journey to become the very best. Instead of fighting gym battles, you’ll be reading books instead!


When Is It?

The read-a-thon will run for 3 weeks between Sunday 14th August to Sunday 4th September.

You can sign up anytime between now and the end of the read-a-thon.


How Do I Join?

Create a sign-up post on your own blog/booktube/booklr/etc with the books you will read for the challenge below and title it #ReadThemAllThon TBR or something similar. Then add your link to the link widget below. Please add a link back to this post! Continue reading “Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon Sign Up”

Pokemon Go Book Tag

Pokemon-Go-Book-Tag

Disclaimer:  Pokemon Go belongs to Niantic and Nintendo, please don’t sue me.

By the time I post this, you’re probably already well aware of the global sensation that is Pokemon Go. This blog and other parts of my life have been 100% neglected in the name of catching them all. I thought I should combine my two loves of books and Pokemon in this one tag, and I want you to join me in spreading this across the lands!

Rules:

  • NIL. Link back to my blog is appreciated but optional. Feel free to use my graphics. Tag people, don’t tag people, whatever. Just have fun!

Pokemon-Tag-01Starters

Starter Pokemons have such great nostalgic values. I love all three of the original, but I chose Bulbasaur when I started this game (WHY?! I have not even seen a single Charmander so far, I am CRUSHED!)

For the bookish equivalent, some of my first English language books were by Roald Dahl, I especially love Matilda. I also loved R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series! The first book I ever read on my own, though, was the Vietnamese edition of Dragon Ball volume one 😉 Continue reading “Pokemon Go Book Tag”

Book Review: Smoke by Dan Vyleta

29921910

2stars

Title: Smoke

Author: Dan Vyleta

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Series? Yes. 1 of 3.

Book Depository // Amazon // Dymocks // Bookworld


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.

We all know that feeling when a brilliant premise is bogged down by it execution. The ideas and worldbuilding behind Smoke were excellent concepts. However, the book lost its footing a quarter way through – making the bulk of the novel a sedated, plodding read.

Smoke

There is no more hateful smell in the world than the smell of Smoke.

The book begins at a private boarding school in an alternate Oxford, where all sins are made corporeal in the form of thick, black smoke. Humans are literally stained by their sin in this world. In London, smoke is especially widespread amongst the lower-class. It purportedly clouds judgement, making people of low socioeconomic groups become more susceptible to crime. On the other hand, the upper echelon of society seems to be untouched by sins and the taint of smoke. Our protagonists are Thomas and Charlie, a pair of friends who starts to question Smoke and the foundation of the world they inhabit.

Smoke was off to a riveting start, I loved the dynamics between the boys at the boarding school. Julius, one of the school’s prefects, exacts his cruel brand of justice on students who are susceptible to sins. His own unstained track records are one of the first hints of the corruption within the system of smoke. I also immensely enjoyed the relationship between Thomas and Charlie. I found their friendship genuine and complex – fraught with the tension of class divide.

The laws of Smoke are complex. Not every lie will trigger it. A fleeting thought of evil may pass unseen; a fib, an excuse, a piece of flattery.

Much of Smoke’s successes and downfall lies in the fact that it’s ultimately a mystery. Readers are pulled into the enigma of Smoke and the mechanisms behind it. The hints we get are tantalising and kept me turning the pages for the first third of the book. However, the information we obtain quickly becomes repetitive. While I appreciated Smoke making a commentary on societal divide and prejudice, I also felt that the book was too heavy-handed in its delivery of this theme and would have preferred a more subtle touch. Many of the scenes were Smoke were discussed quickly became uninteresting because of repetition. I was never fully satisfied with the way the mystery resolved (or rather, didn’t resolve) itself.

The other thing I had an issue with were the characters that were introduced in Part 2 of the novel. Initially, it excited me to see two interesting ladies introduced into the mix of an otherwise male-dominated cast. Yet, the book handled their characters poorly. Livia, despite her iron-will and opinionated mind, was quickly relegated to being the third side in an unnecessary love triangle (I have to say though, I really liked how the triangle was resolved). Lady Naylor had the makings of an excellent character: a lady scientist with hidden motives. However, we did not get to see enough of her, and I disliked her characterization later on in the novel.

I also found the pacing of Smoke uneven and especially painful towards the second half of the novel. The endless wandering and walking in Smoke gave me painful flashbacks to the very worst parts of Deathly Hallows – it seemed pointless and bleak. Unfortunately, unlike Harry Potter, it also largely went nowhere at the end. That’s my whole issue with this book, no payoff.

Regardless of my issues with the latter parts of Smoke, I still found the worldbuilding commendable in both its scope and details. Dan Vyleta has obviously given this world great considerations, and I love the questions that he managed to pose with this concept. The motivations and historical reasons behind the conception of Smoke were intriguing, I am disappointed it was not explored in more details. Instead, we got an endless litany of morality lessons, along with some truly bewildering character arcs.


What do you prefer? A great premise with poor execution, or an unoriginal premise with good execution? Of course, we would love to have both, but if I had to pick, I’d pick the second in a heartbeat.

TBR Takedown: The Pile

TBR Takedown is a readathon running on twitter from 20-26th of June. The challenge? To read 6 books fitting into 6 different categories.

My book hauls in the last couple of weeks have been absolutely out of control. I will opt to blame my wanton indulgence on the fact that it’s my blogoversary month. With hauling comes the responsibility to read all of the books, so I’ve decided to partake in TBR Takedown this week in an attempt manage my pile.

TBR-Takedown.png

I will mostly be trying to knock off library books this week. I am still extremely mortified about my previous set of fines and I cannot look at the local librarians in the eyes.

A Book Out Of My Comfort Zone: Gossip From The Forest by Sara Maitland

13467405_1214412971916122_947555904_o

Non-fiction is something I rarely ever read, but this book sounded too excellent to pass up. Sara Maitland visits the woodlands of Britain, rediscovering their intrinsic links to fairy tales we love. For each forest she wanders through, she tells us of its natural and social history – as well as how aspects of the forests guided humanity’s imagination and oral storytelling traditions. She also concludes each story with a retelling of a well-known fairy tale.

I am about two-third of the way through this one, and it has been simultaneously enchanting and fascinating! However, I do find that it is a very personal indulgent piece of writing, the author often relying on conjectures and assumptions to get her message across. Continue reading “TBR Takedown: The Pile”

Read at Midnight 1st Blog Anniversary & Giveaway

ReadatMidnight-One-Year.png

I can hardly believe it, but it’s been one entire year since I started Read at Midnight. Thank you so much to everyone who has visited, interacted, and supported this blog in these twelve months. Every day, I wish that I started blogging sooner and found all my like-minded bibliophiles a little bit earlier!

OneYearLearned

  • Never be afraid to interact with new people, even that super uber popular blogger you admire from afar is a person, and they would love a chance to connect!
  • I blog best when there are no schedules or demands, it’s OK to not read for a week, or to disappear and not post for a month or so – people will understand.
  • Social Media is a black hole, as much as I love twitter and Instagram, sometimes it’s good to step back. I don’t have to comment on every single *~drama~* of the day.
  • It’s incredibly rewarding to give back to the community. Recommend a new blog, rave about a lesser-known book, comment on a post you love, donate some books, create fan work, it will open doors to so many opportunities!
  • Don’t stress too much about those ‘guides’ or ‘how-tos’ about blogging, if what you’re doing feels right – then keep steaming full force ahead.
  • The people is always my favourite part. I have loved talking to you all, meeting some of you in person, and fangirling over books with you these past months.

Continue reading “Read at Midnight 1st Blog Anniversary & Giveaway”

Potterhead July: Blog Festival Schedule

“Welcome to Potterhead July!”

PotterHeadJuly-Blog.pngThank you so much for the overwhelming and enthusiastic response to Potterhead July! Below is the schedule for all of July, and as you can see there are heaps of exciting posts ahead. For readers, you just have to kick back and enjoy the awesome as it rolls out. We have around 85 magical and thrilling posts coming your way!

For bloggers participating: please note the day you are scheduled and have your post ready on that date. I will be linking your post back to this masterpost, and help you promote it on Twitter as the month goes along.

Because I am bad at saying No: If you are still interested in joining us, I have a couple of slots left on dates in Week 4-5 with only two posts scheduled each, so if you message me, we might be able to work something out!

POSTING GUIDELINES:

  • Please post on your blog on the date specified on this schedule, if you are after any changes, message me via my contact form or twitter!
  • When you promote your post on social media, please use the Hashtag so your post will be visible to me and everyone following the tag.
  • I have provided some graphics template you can use on your blog post below! Click image for full size. You can edit them on Canva to add text e.g. your post title/blog name, I have a tutorial for Canva here. Four are in House Colours, and the other two are Purple for Magic & Rainbow for Diversity – or for anyone feeling Divergent 😉
  • There will me a  twitter chat on July 31st to celebrate the release of the Cursed Child (spoilers are apparently already out for this, but please resist!)

Continue reading “Potterhead July: Blog Festival Schedule”

Potterhead July Blog Festival Sign Up

As the release date for the Cursed Child draws closer, I wanted to write some blog posts focusing on Harry Potter and what it means to me. I asked around on twitter and several others wanted to join in, so I declare it Potterhead July Blog Festival Time!

Potterhead-July-Sign-Up.png

The Event

Each day between the 1st to 31st of July 2016, we will host a series of blog posts across all the different blogs, each discussing an element of Harry Potter that is near and dear to our heart.


How To Join

  • Sign up via the Google Form below, choosing your preferred dates of posting.
  • SIGN UP NOW CLOSED as we already have 80 people onboard. If you really want to be squeezed in please shoot me an email readatmidnightreviews at gmail dot com OR DM me on twitter (@readatmidnight).
  • Full schedule to be posted shortly after.
  • Anyone can join, as long as you have a blog to host your post on! I do not care whether you’re new or veteran, young or old, as long as you’re interested in Harry Potter.
  • I will maintain a directory of all the different posts somewhere on this page.

The Topics

I can write Harry Potter discussion prompts for days, but here’s a couple to get you thinking. You can obviously write your post on anything to your heart’s content.

Blog Post Prompts example:
1. Hogwarts Houses: Do they create division or unity?
2. Fandom-Created Shipping: What drives fan interpretations?
3. Snape: Villain or Hero? Thanks Rita Skeeter
4. Your head-canon of Maurauder days or new gen kids
5. How has HP shaped your reading experience.
6. House Pride Post: Which house are you in? Why do you love it?
7. Character Appreciation Post: write all about your fave!
8. New readers: experience on reading an instant classic of our time after it’s all over.
9. Hopes and Fears on HP spinoffs such as Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts
10. Collector’s Showcase: let us see your book collection (we all know you have multiple editions of HP) and merchandise.
11. Diversity in Harry Potter: how do you feel about the post-series additions.
12. From Book To Screen: how do you feel about the movie adaptations and which was your favourite of the films?
13. Fanfiction Recs/Fan Art or Fan Graphics post.
14. Your journey with Harry: memorable life events revolving the book e.g. Release nights, signing, events, visiting Universal Studios.
15. From Muggles to Wizard: why do all muggleborn children like Hermione choose the wizarding world, can you imagine one that won’t?
16. Wizard VS Muggle bigotry and how the book dealt with it.
17. Slytherins & Their Portrayal in the book.
18. Sirius Black: Good Godfather?
19. Remus Lupin: the last of the Maurauders & his insecurities
20. How HP series deals with bullying: from the outright eg Snape to Harry & co. to the more subtle.
21. The Family Dumbledore made: his relationship with Hagrid and Harry.
22. Dumbledore’s Choices and Mistakes.
23. The Sorting: assign all your fave characters from other series to a House
24. Parallels: Between Harry/Voldemort, Harry/Neville, and all the other characters.

I would love to see varied posts but of course, you can choose whatever you’re most passionate about, I don’t mind double ups on post ideas!


Google Sign Up

Please fill this out if you’re interested in joining!


Hope to see you all there, I am already so excited to see everyone’s post! Let me know of any comments or questions on the form or in the comments below ❤ It would be a fantastic chance to meet some new bloggers and relive the magic before the release of Cursed Child!

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

25526296

5star

Title: Every Heart A Doorway

Author: Seanan Mcguire

Rating: 5/5 stars

Series? No.

Goodreads

Book Depository // Dymocks // Booktopia


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review.

EveryHeartADoorway.png

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Every Heart A Doorway is a charming, dark, and wistful tale about the children who are dumped back into reality after their adventures in otherworldly lands. I absolutely adored it, and I think anyone who grew up reading about doorways hidden behind wardrobes or within rabbit holes would feel the same. This review will be a bit on the shorter side, as the book itself is not very long and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. Continue reading “Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway”

Discussion: Why Shipping Is Important To Me

Discussion-Shipping.jpg

Divider-ArrowsI have always been a shipper, and will always proudly admit to that. My first reading experience was manga such as Detective Conan – where I began rooting for Shinichi and Ran to get together, even at the tender age of 6. Similarly, I became overly invested in the mysterious and thrilling romance between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask. It seems that whenever I care about a work of fiction, my emotional investment lead me to root for these characters and their relationships. Continue reading “Discussion: Why Shipping Is Important To Me”

Audibook Review: A Tale For The Time Being

15811545

5star

Title: A Tale For The Time Being

Author: Ruth Ozeki

Rating: 5/5 stars

Series? No

Goodreads

Audible

Book Depository // Dymocks // Booktopia


A Tale For The Time Being is an audiobook I picked up on a complete whim. I have been hearing about the novel over the past year, and was intrigued by its premise: alternating between the life of a teenage Japanese girl and an American woman, separated by both space and time. Utterly unique, intelligent, and moving – this book has climbed onto my Top of 2015 list, possibly Top of All Time – for it’s a tale I’ll remember for not just the time being, but for years beyond this.TaleForTheTimeBeing

You need to be a little bit crazy. Crazy is the price you pay for having an imagination. It’s your superpower. Tapping into the dream. It’s a good thing not a bad thing.

Continue reading “Audibook Review: A Tale For The Time Being”