Event Review: #SexMeUpReadathon & #Sunathon

Today (Sunday) sees the culmination of seven days of wonderful reading time. Firstly with #SexMeUpReadathon running Monday to Friday and (at the same time) #Sunathon running Monday to Sunday.

I have to say, apart from the craziness of having both running at the same time I’ve really enjoyed both of them. I haven’t read nearly as much as I have wanted – work, darn! – but I have loved sitting back in the evenings with a good book and the motivation to read instead of watching telly.

The two readathon’s were run by different groups/individuals and came across completely differently. Both were based on/in Twitter which made following and interaction easy and quick – at least until I managed to be a complete idiot and take Twitter off my phone; my usual method of following. After that it was back to the PC when I was able.

Although I had put together a list of TBR books at the beginning of the challenges, I didn’t end up following it. Instead I read (or began to read):

The Right Side of Mr Wrong by Jane Linfoot (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Reviewed 21st July 2014
The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam (#Sunathon) – Reviewed 25th July 2014
The Story of O by Pauline Réage (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Still reading
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (#Sunathon) – Complete but not reviewed
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Still reading
Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie (#Sunathon) – Complete but not reviewed
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (#Sunathon) – Still reading

 

#SexMeUpReadathon:

The #SexMeUpReadathon was a fantastic way to ‘big up’ erotic fiction and to really talk about it with other readers and the authors themselves – having an itinerary to follow also helped! I will admit that it did get a little confusing in the end with things like blog posts going on through different platforms (many of which didn’t seem to get a great deal of interaction unfortunately from those involved) and three different hash tags to follow. Two of the hash tags were in use generally on Twitter so following via those was near impossible. The two were: #StaySexy and #LetsGetItOn. I did enjoy the #SexMeUpReadathon takeover on the last day (Friday) by The Hot Bed; a group of 4 women with a love of erotic fiction who all work at the publishers Simon & Schuster. Unfortunately this partially involved using another platform; Tumblr – one I don’t tend to use at all.

I had been hoping to extend my #SexMeUpReadathon over the weekend but gave this idea up in favour of savouring my last two days of #Sunathon. I think the general consensus by those involved to extend their reading over the weekend rather confused matters so the end of the #SexMeUpReadathon was very up in the air. Despite the things mentioned however, I did love taking part and would do so again in a heartbeat. The TBR pile of erotic fiction I have waiting is still rather large and only getting larger thanks to freebies on Amazon!

 

#Sunathon:

#Sunathon was very different and fantastic in it’s simpleness – Tweeting about what you’re reading and posting the odd picture. Retweeting, favouriting and conversing! I loved that #Sunathon went over the weekend too – I don’t know a great number of people with the leisure time needed in the week to really get their teeth into a book. The only thing that would have been better would be the readathon starting the Friday evening beforehand to include 2 weekends! I look forward to the chat going on at 8pm tonight to see how that will work.

 

I loved that the two weren’t races to read. They were designed to encourage people to read and to share their love of the books they had encountered. Overall, the two very different readathons were a fantastic introduction for me as my joint first.

I greatly look forward to joining more in the future.

 

 

 

A final note: These are my honest opinions of events as I have experienced them. They are in no way meant to be attacking or condescending, merely my thoughts and memory for the future.

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Review: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

21443281 Source: Goodreads First Reads
Format: Paperback ARC
Publish date: 28th August 2014 by Penguin
Price: N/A
Date Read: 24th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam for free through Goodreads First Reads. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

I was delighted to receive this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House through the post as it was one which greatly appealed to me. I was shocked to discover on it’s arrival that it is an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC), so I am not allowed to post any quotes from it – much as I may wish. At a little over 500 pages, this paperback book is rather thick but surprisingly lightweight with reasonably sized but not overly large text. I especially enjoyed the floppiness of the pages – it was a joy not to have to wrestle to open a book! The cover is somewhat sedate and rather dignified but striking – I adore it.

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is a story set in two different time periods. The scene is set in the seaside town of Helmstone, a place with sharp cliffs, holidaymakers, day-trippers, a fairground and a hotel – among other things. Chapter one begins the story in 1965 with the main character of that period Rosie Churchill. She is a young woman in her late teens and run away from home and sixth form to rent a bed in the rundown yet still beautiful Castaway House in Helmstone. Castaway House though has its secrets. Rosie is soon set on discovering who the mysterious ‘R.C’ is; a drawing of a man with the initials ‘R.C.’ is found wedged behind some skirting boards, a mysterious message is discovered carved and inked into the frame of a window and whispers of trouble years ago come to Rosie’s ears.

In 1924, a young and somewhat naïve nineteen year old Robert Carver makes his way to Helmstone to stay with his wealthier, older and more exciting cousin Alec at his beautiful home, Castaway House. He arrives to find that Alec has married, walking straight into the lives of a damaged, un-loving couple with far-reaching secrets. Little does Robert know that his summer at Castaway House will change his life and the lives of all he comes in contact with.

At 500+ pages, The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House rather intimidated me upon first glance. Once I started reading however I was hooked. The story is written in the first person, from the viewpoint of either Robert or Rosie depending on which year the chapter was set in. I think the span of time covered in both 1924 and 1965 was only a few months; the summer of 1924 and sometime from September in 1965 although there were links between the two. The story was brought to life by the author’s words. The characters were wonderfully flawed and exquisitely human. No one was perfect and each had characteristics and traits and got into situations that you could easily understand, feel and relate to.

This book was very much set in the UK – Helmstone sounded  to me like the seaside town of Brighton on the south coast of England. There were also many mentions of the 1st and 2nd world wars. In 1924 and 1965, both would still be very near memory to the population. Many would have lost parents, bothers, cousins, uncles or sweethearts in the fighting. There would still be reminders, especially on the coast – shops previously used as lookout posts and maybe a pier destroyed so it couldn’t be used to land enemy planes.

The story of Castaway House and its inhabitants in both 1924 and 1965 were linked wonderfully, with little tendrils of knowledge and hits at answers – and even more questions – coming throughout the story. The way the author intertwined the characters throughout the book and between 1924 and 1965 was magnificently done and I am completely in awe. I was kept guessing throughout the majority of the book until the full story was told and the characters truly unveiled. I will admit to making a few guesses which ended up evenly split between right and wrong!

The mystery of Castaway House and its inhabitants was one which touched many lives. I was completely enchanted and thrilled with the story and characters and didn’t want to finish reading. Unfortunately I had to in order to find out what had really happened.

This book is one I will keep going back to and will loudly praise to all who will listen. Why? Because it’s bl**dy brilliant.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Events: #SexMeUpReadathon and #Sunathon 2014

This week is going to be fun and busy with two exciting events going on this week. Along with a normal week of work I shall be joining other twitterati and book bloggers to celebrate books and reading… By reading! I’m so eager to start that I’m up at 6am on a Sunday writing this blog!

 

#SexMeUpReadathon : Monday 21st – Friday 25th July 2014

First up, running Monday to Friday we have the #SexMeUpReadathon. You can follow on Twitter with that hashtag, along with #LetsGetItOn and #StaySexy. Even better is that I have written a guest post for it; my very first! My post, titled ‘The Taboo of Erotica’ will be going live at 5pm on Wednesday 23rd. Definitely a *squee* moment going to be going on there!

There is so much else to be looking forward to during the week including Q&A’s, other guest posts, short stories, authors (including J Kenner!) talking sex and a very exciting amount more. You can find a (nearly) finalised schedule for the week over at the #SexMeUpReadathon blog here. I shall be printing a copy to keep with me!

 

#Sunathon : Monday 21st – Sunday 27th July 2014

The second event runs from Monday to Sunday and is #Sunathon. Again, follow on Twitter with that hashtag. You can read Emma Louise’s fantastic introductory blog post about it here.

 

The object and idea of both readathons is to encourage people to pick up their books and read. They aren’t races to finishing lines or competitions to see who can read the most- a view I absolutely adore. As I joined up first to the #SexMeUpReadathon my book choices have mainly been for that, although all books will also count for #Sunathon. Maybe I am being a little hopeful in the amount I will be reading but no matter as I will enjoy reading all I can!

So, my list of Erotica for #SexMeUpReadathon:

#SexMeUpReadathon

Sources: The Story of O – My Bookshelf // Bound to Danger – BookBridgr // Crazy About the Baumgartners – NetGalley // Heated – Goodreads First Reads // Claimed By the Alpha Dolphins #1 – NetGalley // The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty – Library 

And my list of other books to include for #Sunathon:

#Sunathon

 Sources: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House – Goodreads First Reads // Don’t Fall – Giveaway Prize by Mily @TheYANightstand // Good Omens – My Bookshelf // Do or Die – NetGalley

All in all a lot to look forward to, although some of the books with rather large numbers of pages (such as ‘The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House’ – which I will eagerly admit to having started already – with 504 pages and ‘Do or Die’ with 577 pages)  are starting to worry me. Fortunately these are offset by some with very few! I keep reminding myself though, it’s not how much I read that matters, only that I am reading! I’m also excited to be mixing physical copies of books and e-books. It will be interesting to see which I prefer.

So, will you join us this week in celebrating reading? It doesn’t matter at all what you read or which Readathon you join in with – if you join in at all. Just read. Visit your local library or pick something dusty off your shelf. Give it a glance, give it a read. Browse Amazon for free books to try on Kindle or computer/phone app or buy a dozen which catch your imagination.

Give it a go.  I certainly hope you do and invite you warmly to join, watch and take part.