Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Frozen Tides

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Frozen Tides

I’m currently reading Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes. This is the fourth instalment in a fast-paced, addictive YA high fantasy series. Whilst I’ve enjoyed Frozen Tides for the most part, quite a few of the perspective characters irritate me and I’ve found myself trying to get through their chapters to get to the more interesting ones like Cleo and Magnus. It’s still a highly enjoyable read and I’m still invested in this series overall. It’s just sadly not my favourite one so far (I do still have 50 pages left though, so who knows – the ending could blow me away completely!)

“The flames engulfed his mouth and face until his entire body, head to toe, became a torch.”

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Books · Lists

All the Series…

Hello bookish friends!

One of my very first posts on this blog was about the series I was either currently reading, had finished, or had planned to start. Since that post is over two years old (where does the time go!?), I thought it was the right kind of time to update so I can look back at this in another couple of years time and see my progress. Be warned, this is going to be a very long post!!

Ongoing Series:

In total, I am currently reading 24 series (31 if we’re counting graphic novel series which I personally don’t!)

Incomplete:

These are all the series that I am in the middle of reading but not all the books have been published quite yet.

  • The Folk of the Air – read: to read: 2
  • Wayward Children – read: 1 to read: 2
  • The Diviners – read: 1 to read: 2
  • Murder Most Unladylike – read: 1 to read: 5
  • Magisterium – read: 4 to read: 1
  • Throne of Glass – read: 6 to read: 1
  • Frey & McGray – read: 1 to read: 3
  • The Stormlight Archive – readto read: 9
  • The Dark Artifices – readto read: 1
  • Strange the Dreamer – readto read: 1
  • Falling Kingdoms – readto read: 3
  • Mistborn (era 2) – readto read: 1
  • Rebel of the Sands – read: to read: 2

Unfinished:

These are all the series that I am currently reading and all the books have released, I just haven’t gotten around to finishing them quite yet. Because I’m terrible at starting series and never finishing them.

  • Heroes of Olympus – readto read: 2
  • Chronicles of Narnia – readto read: 3
  • Shades of Magic – readto read: 1
  • Skulduggery Pleasant – readto read: 9
  •  Snow Like Ashes –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • The School for Good and Evil –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • His Dark Materials –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • The Young Elites –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • Shadowmagic –  read: 1 to read: 2
  • The Girl At Midnight –  read: 2 to read: 1
  • The Raven Cycle –  read: 1 to read: 3

Graphic Novels:

As I’m sure you can see from the heading, these are all the graphic novel series I am currently in the middle of. Most of these are series that are incomplete.

  • Giant Days – read: 3
  • Locke & Key – read: 1
  • Monstress – read: 1
  • The Sandman – read: 1
  • Lumberjanes – read: 6
  • The Wicked and the Divine – read: 5
  • Saga – read: 5

Finished Series:

This list is (thankfully!) a lot longer than the one I wrote two years ago where I had only completely finished 12 series in my entire lifetime!! I’ve now read 27 which means I’ve completed 15 more series in 2 years which is actually so much better than I thought. Go me!

  • Lockwood & Co.
  • Jackaby
  • The Winner’s trilogy
  • Harry Potter
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians
  • The Lunar Chronicles
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • Penryn and the End of Days
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Six of Crows
  • Mistborn (era 1)
  • The Mortal Instruments
  • The Infernal Devices
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Shatter Me
  • Starcrossed
  • Dark Heart
  • Fallen
  • Hush, Hush
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Wolves of Mercy Falls
  • Trylle
  • Books of Faerie
  • Noughts and Crosses
  • Twilight
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles

DNF Series:

Most of these series I’ve only read the first book and either felt very meh about it (Firebird series), I’ve heard bad reviews for the rest of the series and don’t want to ruin my enjoyment of the first book (Rebel Belle/The 5th Wave), left it too long to read the sequel (Legend) or I just plain did not like the first book (Age of Legends series). These aren’t all definitely DNF’s though and I might get back around to reading them… someday!

  • The Wrath and the Dawn
  • Firebird
  • Rebel Belle
  • Black City
  • Age of Legends
  • Red Queen
  • Legend
  • The 5th Wave
  • Watersong
  • Goddess War
  • Divergent

Series to Start:

There are possibly in infinite number of series I want to start as I hear about new ones  practically every day, so I’m keeping this list relatively short to the top 20 I’d like to get to the most, preferably this year.

  • The Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch
  • Timekeeper by Tara Sim
  • Lady Helen by Alison Goodman
  • The Witchlands by Susan Dennard
  • Nemesis by April Daniels
  • Summoner by Taran Matharu
  • The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
  • Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Bartimaeus by Jonathan Stroud
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Monsters of Verity by V.E. Schwab
  • Legacy of Orïsha by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  • The Kane Chronicles/Magnus Chase/The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of series! Although I’m in the middle of quite a few different series, I’m really glad that I’ve finished more than I’m reading. Of course, I’ll be starting many more series during the course of the year, so here’s hoping I can keep my completed series list higher than my ongoing series list!

How many series are you in the middle of reading?

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Books

My New Years’ Bookish Resolutions 2018

Hello bookish friends!

This year I’ll be (or I *should* be) taking things a little easy reading-wise as I’ll be finishing up my masters (and writing my dissertation – help!) for the first three quarters of the year and then (fingers crossed!) I’ll be busy in my full-time library job after that.

1. With that in mind, my first resolution will be to set my Goodreads goal at 65 books this year. I’ve recently gotten into audiobooks so I think, based on this and the fact that I’m in the middle of a few graphic novel series, I’ll be able to accomplish this goal. I’ll have to read 1.25 books per week so it should be quite doable!

2. My second goal of the year is to read a Rick Riordan book each month. I started the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series this time last year and I’m almost halfway through the Heroes of Olympus series. I’ve loved reading Riordan’s books in 2017, so I’ll like to carry that on and read all his books: The Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase and The Trials of Apollo (all that are currently released). Riordan’s books are light-hearted, fun adventure stories that I love to escape in, so I cannot wait to get to all his books this year.

3. I would also like to read more diversely this year. By this I mean a couple of different things. First, and most importantly, I would like to read more books about marginalised characters and more books by marginalised authors, especially own voices books. Double especially if they’re own voices aro+/ace and pan books! And I would also like to read different kinds of books or stories in different formats – e.g. plays, poetry collections, e-books, audio books, non-fiction books, etc.

4. My next resolution is to try to complete 10 series again. I nearly managed it last year with 7. Since a few of my favourite series are ending this year, I think I’ll be able to complete this goal quite easily. I’m hoping to finish the following:

  1. Jackaby (1 book)
  2. Lockwood & Co. (1 book)
  3. Shades of Magic (1 book)
  4. Throne of Glass (1 book)
  5. Magisterium (1 book)
  6. The Dark Artifices (1 book)
  7. Shadowmagic (2 books)
  8. The Heroes of Olympus (3 books)
  9. The Kane Chronicles (3 books)
  10. Magnus Chase (3 books)

I also might try to finish: His Dark Materials (2 books) and The Young Elites (2 books) but we’ll have to see how I’m doing! Also, I might have already finished Jackaby and Lockwood & Co. so I am already excelling at this challenge!

5. If you saw my post looking back at my bookish resolutions from last year, you will have seen that I only read 3 books of the ones I had to get to in 2017. So I failed completely for that goal. This year, a few of the same books will be making an appearance and I’ll be choosing one each month out of my TBR jar to motivate me! The ones I’d like to get to that have been on my shelves a while are:

  1. The Darkest Minds
  2. The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting
  3. The Lies of Locke Lamora
  4. The Bone Season
  5. Wide Awake
  6. Ready Player One
  7. A Game of Thrones
  8. The Knife of Never Letting Go
  9. I’ll Give You the Sun
  10. Proxy
  11. Neverwhere
  12. Ink and Bone

If I don’t get to the ones in bold this year, I’m going to unhaul them. They’ve been on my shelves for years and they’re starting to bug me! So I really need to focus on these books.

6. My last goal for the year is more to do with blogging in general. I’d like to keep posting three times a week – this timetable really works for me at the moment. I think I’ll change my schedule slightly to Mon, Weds, Fri (instead of Sun, Weds, Fri) since that just makes more sense to me. What I really would like to do this year is put more effort into reading and commenting on other people’s posts. I feel like I focus too much on what I’m writing and I miss out on other people’s content (and constantly make excuses for doing so). So this year, I need to make a conscious effort to get more involved in the book blogging community!


And I think that about covers my main reading/blogging goals for 2018. I don’t have that many life goals this year, except to complete my masters, get a full-time library job (preferably in a university library) and continue saving up money to move out (eventually!)

What are some of your reading/blogging goals for this year?

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Books

My 2017 Bookish Resolutions – How Did I Do?

Hello bookish friends!

It’s time to reflect on all the bookish resolutions I made at the beginning of last year. I think I did pretty well overall so I’m happy with what I managed to achieve this year!

1. My first resolution was the Goodreads challenge. I planned to read 75 books and, in fact, I read exactly 100! I changed my challenge to 100 books towards the end of November which, looking back, was a terrible idea. Yes, I read 100 books (YAY) but wow did I knacker myself out doing so!

2. My second goal was to read 5 particular classics. Which I failed at completely.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • 1984
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey
  • Lord of the Flies
  • A Tale of Two Cities

I read two more Narnia books in 2017. I don’t really like them that much. I’ll finish this series at some point this year hopefully though. Just to say that I have. I did also read A Midsummer Night’s Dream and an assortment of fairy tales so I did read some classics – just not the ones I was planning on!

3. My third resolution was to read eight contemporaries which I did so yay.

  • Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven
  • The Baking Life of Amelie Day – Vanessa Curtis
  • Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • All About Mia – Lisa Williamson
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertelli 
  • The Hate U Given – Angie Thomas

I did have to switch up which contemporaries I read, but that doesn’t matter so much – I still read 8!

  1. I also planned on finishing 10 series this year, which I nearly managed, but not quite!
  • The Winner’s Trilogy – Marie Rutkoski
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy – Melinda Salisbury
  • Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling (re-read)
  • Penryn and the End of Days trilogy – Susan Ee
  • ACOTAR – Sarah J. Maas
  • The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians – Rick Riordan
  • The Girl At Midnight trilogy – Melissa Grey
  • Shadowmagic trilogy – John Lenehan
  • The Young Elites – Marie Lu

7 out of 10 ain’t terrible! And I do plan to finish these series this year anyway (fingers crossed!)

5. My next goal was to read 10 specific books from my TBR. Frustratingly, I only ended up reading 2 and unhauling 1. So I think it’s safe to say that I failed at this one!

  • Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch
  • Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  • The Manifesto On How to be Interesting – Holly Bourne
  • I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
  • Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
  • Afterworlds – Scott Westerfeld (unhauled)
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Proxy – Alex London
  • The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

6. My last resolution was to be more consistent with my blog and my Bookstagram. I had a bit of a wobble for the first half of the year but I think I’ve managed to be fairly consistent for the second half, so I’m really proud of myself for that. But I’ve totally failed with my Bookstagram. I’m just the worst at being all artistic and taking really pretty photos! So I think I’m just going to stick to my blog for 2018.


I know all these looking back over 2017 and looking ahead to 2018 posts are a bit late to be going up considering we’re nearly in the middle of January but I’ve been stressing over my essays which are due next Friday (eek!) so still expect to see my favourites, least favourites, resolutions, most anticipated reads, etc over the next couple of weeks whilst I’m focusing on uni.

How did your year go? Did you manage to reach all your goals?

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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Mark of Athena

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Mark of Athena

I’m currently reading The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan. Obviously I’m having a whale of a time reading this – I love this rollercoaster world. These books are so much fun. This one, in particular, is quite stressful! I’m about three quarters of the way through and the action has been pretty non-stop so far. It’s so intense but I can’t seem to stop reading it!

“‘Arion can’t fly,’ Hazel said. ‘But he can run across just about anything. Water, vertical surfaces, small mountains – none of that really bothers him.'”

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Books · Tag

End of Year Book Survey 2017

Hello bookish friends!

I somehow managed to read my increased goal of 100 books last year so I have plenty to talk about in this post! This wee survey was created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Note: Although some books will fit multiple categories, I’m not going to mention books more than once, otherwise it could get pretty repetitive!

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Number of Books You Read: 100
Number of Re-Reads: 3
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (in particular, urban fantasy)

Best in books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I’ve been banging on about this book since May so I’m sure this answer came as no surprise! I’ve never been on more of a rollercoaster during a book.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman. I did still largely enjoy it – aside from the dense writing style – but I thought I was going to fall completely in love with it. I am still excited to finish this series though, particularly since I already know what the overarching plot is about.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

I had quite a few surprising reads this year but I think the most surprising for me was The Diviners by Libba Bray. I thought it sounded liked an intriguing premise but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. This book ended up blowing me away. I loved everything about it. The atmospheric setting, the gorgeous writing, the larger-than-life set of characters. I. Loved. It.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Probably two of my favourite series: Jackaby by William Ritter and Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud. I’m not sure if I managed to tempt anyone online but my Mum has read the Jackaby books and is currently reading the last one (which she also recommends!)

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Started: Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
Sequel: Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Ender: Winter by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

This is probably V.E. Schwab. All of her books’ plots appeal to me and I’ve really enjoyed her writing so far (I’ve read the first two in the Shades of Magic trilogy). Hopefully I can get to more of her works this year.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don’t really believe in ‘comfort zones.’ I read books from genres that I know I like and I doubt I’ll ever pick up a book from a genre that in no way appeals to me. Over time, I might be attracted to different genres. But, for now, it just doesn’t make sense to read something I probably won’t enjoy, just to say I read outside of my ‘comfort zone.’

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I was glued to these pages. I finished reading it a few days ago and I still can’t get it out of my head. I thought I’d love it but, somehow, I loved it EVEN more. I took note of so many quotes/pages – I literally loved every word.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’m joining in with emmmabooks’ Shadowhunters readalong this year so I will be re-reading all of the Shadowhunter books, including Lord of Shadows (gods help me).

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. No contest. Gorgeous at every angle you look at it. Inside and out. I can’t begin to imagine the gorgeousness of the sequel too!

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Monty from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was quite the character! He was arrogant and selfish yet completely lovable. He also had some great one-liners. I’d love to read more from his perspective – fingers crossed we get more of him!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. These fairy tales were so well-crafted. I love that, with every book Bardugo puts out, her writing somehow gets better and better.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Okay, I know I said no doubling up BUT The Hate U Give has to go here, too. This book packed a lot of important topics surrounding race and class, including police brutality, racial micro-aggressions, white privilege and many more. Even if you’re not a huge contemporary reader (like me), chances are you will still love this book. Starr is an amazing character – she’s smart, she has a wicked sense of humour, she’s very close to her family and always feels comfortable enough with them to be vulnerable and I just really, really loved her character arc. Please read this if you haven’t already!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. To be fair, it is a MASSIVE book and I was catching up on all his other Cosmere books but I do still wish I read it sooner. I’ll be reading Words of Radiance in March and cannot wait!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

I really don’t think I could pick! Probably something from Lord of Shadows, The Hate U Give or Strange the Dreamer though. I loved each and every word from these books.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen at 4 pages
Longest: Winter by Marissa Meyer at 823 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Okay, I’m going to have to break my own rules again but LORD OF SHADOWS. Those last 10 pages. RUINED. ME.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Abigail and Charlie from the Jackaby series are one of my all-time faves. They’re just so cute and adorable with one another and they’re always caring and respectful and encouraging of the others’ passions and beliefs. They’re just so great. I love them.

Honourable mention: KITTY.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Lucy and the Skull from Lockwood & Co. Their back-and-fourth is probably one of my favourite things about this series. They both kind of love/hate each other and are rude to each other and are sassy af. I’m currently reading the last book in the series right now and I’m already missing them and their one-liners.

Honourable mention: Starr and her parents.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge was just as great as Cruel Beauty. I love Hodge’s imagination and world-building. Her settings are always so creepy and atmospheric and I love how she always writes about morally-grey characters.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I don’t really read books solely because of recommendations. I might be interested in a person’s recommendation, but then I’ll go research the crap out of something to make sure I have a good chance of enjoying it. I do remember, however, hearing about Monstress from Sam from Thoughts on Tomes first. And it’s probably my favourite ever graphic novel. So thanks for introducing me, Sam!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Literally the entirety of the Kholin family from The Way of Kings. I feel very protective over them. Which makes me quite terrified for Words of Radiance.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury. Each book in this trilogy got five stars from me which is very rare. I love Salisbury’s writing style and I fell completely in love with this fairy-tale-esque fantasy world.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I really enjoyed the world of The Young Elites by Marie Lu. I haven’t read that many Mediterranean-esque fantasy settings so it was really interesting to read about. I’ll also be reading The Rose Society next month which I am very excited for! I really miss this world.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Definitely My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. This book is exactly my type of humour. I knew from the very first paragraph that I would be laughing my head off whilst reading this and I did! From the concept, you wouldn’t think this story would work but the authors really pulled it off. I love that they’re doing more books like this too!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Honestly, I tear up at most things. Anything remotely moving, I’ll cry. I’m in love with the characters, I’ll cry. I’m ridiculously happy reading, I’ll cry. So I don’t really pay attention to the books that make me cry, cause that’s a lot of them!

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Probably The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig. I read this in one sitting on Boxing Day and enjoyed it so much. It was exactly what I was in the mood for – it was heartwarming, funny, Christmassy and cosy. An all around fun read that I picked up on a whim.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Honestly, quite a few books destroyed me this year. But, yep, you guessed it, Lord of Shadows crushed me the most. What a surprise!!

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I honestly don’t know how she manages to come up with the worlds and stories she does. I’m always amazed at the scope and the creativity of her books but this one was so special to me. I think Lazlo being a fellow librarian might have helped with that!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Definitely The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. Since it was written by a white man in the 50’s, I did expect it to be a little misogynistic and racist (as a lot of classics are) but WOW was it bad.

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I feel like I haven’t been the best blogger this year. I struggle to find the time to think of anything that creative and new to write and I find it so much easier to just make the same repetitive content with how my schedule has been since September. Hopefully this can change late June this year as I won’t have work or uni for the summer, just my dissertation (haha, ‘just’). I would really like to find this time somewhere though. I’m typing this up at work as I speak, so that’s something!

looking-ahead-books-2015-900x244

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. I actually started this too and was loving it but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to put it down!?!? No idea why. I absolutely MUST read this one this year. Without fail!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Alice Oseman’s books! I’ve recently read Oseman’s webcomic, Heartstopper (the softest m/m queer romance you’ll ever read – and also the healthiest) and loved it! So I’d really like to read her two novels, Radio Silence and Solitaire. In fact, I plan to purchase them as a well-done for handing in my essays next week, which is a great motivator!

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann! It’s a story about a biromantic asexual black woman in college, working in a library and this will be the very first biroace romance story I read and my wee panroace heart is READY FOR IT. Apparently it’s really cute and adorable which is the only kind of romance I enjoy reading about. Sadly it doesn’t come out until March in the UK but I will (not so) patiently wait for it. OH AND IT’S OWN VOICES. My excitement levels are truly though the roof!!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

I’ve actually already read two of the three I was most anticipating this year and gave five stars to both. I have finished the Jackaby series and the Lockwood & Co. series which, if you’ve been following me for a while, you will know that these are two of my favourite series of all time so I am very sad that they’re over but they are so worth investing in if you haven’t already.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Make friends! I’m actually the worst at commenting on other people’s blogs and I really need to find the time to sit down and read a few posts in one go and interact with people. I’m really bad at talking to people online. So I’d like to work at this for the next year.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire!! I think everyone’s already read this one, but if you haven’t WOW. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the world asexual on a page in a book (and a fantasy at that!) and an explanation that doesn’t conflate romantic attraction with sexual attraction and, honestly, it was perfect. Also, these characters are perfect. And the story-world is perfect. Everything was perfect. Please read it!

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Books · TBR

January TBR | 2018

Hello bookish friends!

We’re already a week into the new year, so I’m a little late posting this. I have four essays due in 1 & a half weeks!! And I am stressing!!! So my blogging has been virtually non-existent but, thankfully, my reading hasn’t been. These are all the books I’m hoping to get to this month.

The Dire King

The Dire King by William Ritter

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA mystery
Type: Last novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Murder mystery, supernatural, witty, finale!!

The Empty Grave

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA paranormal
Type: Last novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Ghosthunters, an incredibly sarcastic skull, mystery, finale!!

Fantastic Beasts

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

Author: Read previously
Genre: MG urban fantasy
Type: Audio-book – library book
Reason: Narrated by Eddie Redmayne… that’s literally it

Every Heart A Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Author: New to me
Genre: Adult urban fantasy
Type: First novella in a companion series – owned book
Reason: School for ‘lost’ children, asexual MC, murder mystery

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Author: Read previously
Genre: MG urban fantasy
Type: Third novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Adventure, light-hearted, funny

Frozen Tides

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: Fourth novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Fast-paced, angsty, addictive writing

Monstress #2

Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

Author: Read previously
Genre: Adult fantasy
Type: Sequel in graphic novel series – owned book
Reason: Beautiful artwork, creative story-world, morally-grey characters, TALKING CATS

Timekeeper

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Author: New to me
Genre: YA urban fantasy (historical)
Type: First novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Victorian era, queer characters (m/m romance), adventure about TIME

The Dark Days Club

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Author: New to me
Genre: YA urban fantasy (historical)
Type: First novel in a series – owned book
Reason: Shadowhunter vibes, regency London, secret world

A Conjuring of Light

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Author: Read previously
Genre: Adult fantasy
Type: Final novel in a trilogy – library book
Reason: Magic, multiple Londons, finale!!

City of Bones #2

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Type: First novel in a huge series – owned book
Reason: Re-read (see emmmasbooks annoucement video here)!!


And that’s it for this month’s TBR. I like to save my most anticipated owned books for January so I think I’m just going to be a ball of emotions throughout the month! What are some of the books you’re most excited to get to in January?

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Books · Wrap-Up

December Wrap Up | 2017

Hello bookish friends!

And a very happy new year to you!

I ended up reading a whopping 23 books in December! I definitely won’t be talking in depth about all of them. Not gonna lie, a few of these I just read to get to my goal of 100 books (shh, don’t judge). I’ll talk about all the novels I read in December, then just rate the graphic novels and the fairy tales/short stories.

Narnia #4

Prince CaspianC.S. Lewis – 🌟🌟.5

I’m only reading this series for the sake of reading it. It isn’t anything special. I liked this one a lot better than the previous one which was a racist mess. But it’s just really sub-par. Not going to stop me reading the last three though! And it did remind me of the amazing film adaption, which is mainly all I thought about during this book.

The Boy, the Bird...

The Boy, the Bird and the Coffin MakerMatilda Woods – 🌟🌟🌟.75

I fancied listening to something on audio-book so I found this one on my library catalogue and ended up really enjoying it. It was such a touching story and it really tugged at my heartstrings. It has a similar relationship to that of Carl and Russell from Up so you can probably imagine the level of emotions involved in this story.

Doctor Who Christmas

Doctor Who: Twelve Doctors of Christmas – 🌟🌟🌟.75

As with most short story collections by various contributing authors, I enjoyed some stories and wasn’t that keen on some stories. My favourite stories were ones that involved characters or aliens we have seen relatively recently on the show. Jacqui Tyler makes an appearance in one of the stories and she was written perfectly. It made me miss the good ol’ times. I also listened to this one on audio-book and highly recommend you read it that way too.

Grave Matter

Grave MatterJuno Dawson – 🌟🌟🌟.5

This was my first Juno Dawson book and I have kind of mixed feelings about this one. I liked how atmospheric it was and I liked what the story was trying to do. I also really loved the writing style aswell. My main issue was the pacing. It felt like it needed to be a whole full-length novel, rather than a novella. More time needed to be spent with the characters to get a better picture of who they were. But, overall, I still enjoyed this one. I just wanted more from it.

Night of Cake and Puppets

Night of Cake and PuppetsLaini Taylor & Jim di Bartolo – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

This was the cutest, most romantic novella. Zuzanna and Mik were always my favourite characters from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and seeing their romance blossom was magical! I loved being back in Prague, especially since it was SNOWING. And the illustrations were just beautiful and… I’m gushing aren’t I? This is one of my all-time fave series so, of course I was going to love it!

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

The Girl Who Saved ChristmasMatt Haig – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was such an unexpected delight. I picked this up on a whim (and didn’t realise till I was a third of the way through that it was actually the second book in the series – oops!) and couldn’t get enough of this wonderfully-imaginative story-world. It takes place in Victorian London and in the North Pole, specifically in Elfam. It was hilarious, sad, fun, emotional. I ended up reading this in one sitting on Boxing Day and I’m so glad that I did – it was such a cosy, magical, ridiculously Christmassy feeling book. I’ll definitely be picking up the first one next year.

The Son of Neptune

The Son of NeptuneRick Riordan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Obviously, I loved this. I missed Percy whilst reading The Lost Hero so I was really glad to have him back in this one. And we got NICO ❤ Him and Leo are my favourites. That ending was really mean though. Which is why I’ll be reading The Mark of Athena this month!! I just love these characters so much and I’m so happy that I have so many more Riordan books to go!

The Hate U Give

The Hate U GiveAngie Thomas – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Wow. Somehow this book was EVEN BETTER than I thought it would be. And I had the highest of expectations going in. Thomas is an incredibly talented writer – I was completely sucked into the story. It was intense, it was emotional. I laughed, I cried. My god, this book made me feel so much.

I adored Starr so much. She had a wicked sense of humour – like I was cackling at the things she came out with. Starr’s family was what stood out most for me. They were the most supportive, most encouraging, most loving family I think I might have ever read about. Their kind words to Starr had me tearing up throughout. Thomas discusses racism, police brutality, micro-aggressions and white privilege seamlessly throughout the novel and, seriously, everyone needs to read this. I cannot wait to see what else Thomas puts out – I will definitely be reading it. And definitely be re-reading this one. A new all-time favourite.

The Language of Thorns

The Language of ThornsLeigh Bardugo – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I adored all of these short stories/fairy tales. Bardugo took the elements from fairy tales that she wasn’t comfortable with (e.g. evil step-mother) and spun them completely on their heads. These were fairy tales that centered around misfits and those who dare to dream and I just really loved them. The illustrations as well were just INCREDIBLE. It’s such a well-crafted book. One that you can re-read over and over again.

Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales from the Shadowhunter AcademyCassandra Clare – 🌟🌟🌟.75

Similar to The Bane Chronicles, I enjoyed most, loved a few and was bored by a couple. ‘Born to Endless Night,’ ‘The Whitechapel Fiend’ and ‘Nothing But Shadows’ were my absolute favourites of the collection.

Locke & Key #1

Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to LovecraftJoe Hill – 🌟🌟🌟

This was an enjoyable first instalment. Not too sure about the art style but I like the story.

Giant Days 1

Giant Days Vol. 1, 2 & 3John Allison – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really liked each of these instalments. I’ve never read a-day-in-the-life type of graphic novel series so these were refreshing reads. Fun and cute and loads of female friendship.

Lumberjanes #6

Lumberjanes Vol. 6: Sink or Swim – Shannon Watters – 🌟🌟🌟

I think I might be losing interest slightly in this series. It’s a nice light-hearted read but I kind of want the story to go somewhere now.

Ravina the Witch

Ravina the Witch?Junko Mizuno – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was such a strange tale. The artwork was MAGNIFICENT. I really don’t know how to describe this story – it’s unlike any graphic novel I’ve ever read. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for something a little different.

Saga #5

Saga Vol. 5Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I love this series. It has the perfect balance of humour and excitement and it never fails to surprise me.

The Snowman

The SnowmanRaymond Briggs – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was as heartwarming as I remember it from my childhood. I really liked that it was a picture book – it didn’t need any words to tell the story.

Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New ClothesHans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a fun little tale. Also kind of scary how appropriate it is to reality.

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟.75

I’m not too sure what to make of this one. I feel a little indifferent about it.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟🌟

I have a love-hate relationship with this fairy tale. The title character makes so many ridiculously illogical decisions. But I loved the writing and the idea itself.

The Little Match Girl

The Little Match Girl – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I loved this tale as a child and I still love it now. It’s so sad and moving.

The Snow Man

The Snow Man – Hans Christian Andersen – 🌟.5

This was just a really pointless story. I was hoping for something Christmassy and warm but it was just… completely pointless.


This is by far the longest wrap-up I’ve ever done so if you got to the end – well done!! I won’t ever be reading this amount in a single month again. It was just too much. But I got to 100 so I don’t feel like I need to achieve that number again. Only relaxing reading for 2018!

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Blogmas · Books

Deck the Halls – DIY Bookish Decorations #blogmas

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This is the last of my DIY #blogmas posts for this year! And I think this was my favourite one to do. I was sat down in front of the TV watching A Christmas Carol (the Jim Carey one) and feeling very festive!

 1. Materials 

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I used some plastic fillable baubles from Hobbycraft, some of my trusty twine that I’ve been using throughout this month for festive creations, glitter, typed-out quotes and some decorative snowballs.

2. Quotes

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First of all, I had to type out some of my favourite quotes from books and print them out. I then cut them into two or three line segments and ran the scissors down the long strips of paper, as you do with ribbons, creating a curly effect.

3. Filling the baubles!
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I filled each of the three baubles with the ribbon-paper, some festive decorations, the snowballs and lots and lots of glitter! And yes, a lot of it went all over the floor!! Finally, I tied some of the twine to the top to stick on my tree and voila! I think these are by far my favourite creations – they almost look like they belong on my tree!

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I hope you’ve all enjoyed these DIY festive posts. I’ll definitely be doing some more next Christmas and, who knows, maybe some DIY during the year too!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

DIY Bookish Festive Treats #blogmas

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I’m back with another DIY post, this time BAKING! I had a lot of fun making these treats,  even if they are very basic!

1. Ingredientsdsc_0197104703925.jpg

I used a pre-made mix for the cake mix ’cause I’m lazy! With that mix, I also needed 2 medium eggs and semi-skimmed milk. For the decoration, I used ready-made icing (again, lazy), some X-Mas themed sprinkles and cake pens (which are so cool!)

2. Cake mixdsc_02001810842331.jpg

The instructions were very easy to follow on the pack, so that even I couldn’t mess this bit up!! Just a case of mixing all of the ingredients together – simple. They only took 20 mins in the oven, so it’s really time-saving, too.

3. Icing_20171221_18093582192487.jpg

I then rolled out some of the icing and used a cookie-cutter to mold the icing into the perfect shape to fit onto the cakes. Using butter icing (that I actually did make myself (!) by mixing butter and icing sugar together), I glued the icing onto the cakes.

4. Finishing touches!

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Finally, I used the cake pens to draw on the icing, creating some bookish-themed and x-mas themed cakes. I also used the remaining butter icing for the rest of the cakes and added some holly sprinkles to them. They definitely taste a lot better than they look – I promise!


There are two that I didn’t end up using in the final photos because they went horribly wrong!! I attempted to draw the Deathly Hallows symbol and, apparently, I can’t seem to draw triangles all that well! I hope your holiday bakes are going better than mine!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Top 5 Wednesday – Top 5 (New-to-Me Author’s) Books of 2017 #blogmas

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I have a top 5 books of 2017 post in the works for later this month and it is a LOT longer than 5 books so I thought I’d concentrate on the new-to-me authors I’ve read this year. There will be a little bit of overlap so apologies for that!

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.Gentleman's Guide

1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

Gentleman’s Guide had everything I wanted in a queer historical fiction adventure story. I loved that Lee was able to frame important commentary about her character’s marginalisations, whilst also managing to keep the story hilarious and somewhat light-hearted, yet dangerous and, in places, heart-breaking. This book did so much and I cannot wait to check out what Lee puts out in the coming years (a canonically-queer Loki!! And aro+/ace Felicity in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy!!)

Monstress

2. Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

This was an instant favourite of mine that I read this year. I read about 20 pages and thought, ‘yep, this is the graphic novel series for me.’ The illustrations are, by far, the most beautiful, the most SPECTACULAR illustrations I have ever had the pleasure of setting my eyes upon. The characters are so morally-grey and realistic, Kippa is a precious little fox and the commentary on what makes a monster was so intriguing! I’ve asked for the sequel for Christmas and it’s definitely going to be one of the first books I pick up next year!! CANNOT WAIT. PLEASE READ.

The Diviners

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray

I’d heard some mixed things before going into this but I absolutely fell in love with it. The Diviners was so atmospheric and creepy. I also really appreciated its slow build, allowing for more character moments and mounting tension. I particularly enjoyed the writing style so I’ll definitely be continuing on with this series in the new year and will be seeking out different books of Bray’s as well.

A Darker Shade of Magic

4. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I’ve read the first two of the Shades of Magic trilogy now and I adore Schwab’s writing style. She just has this kind of magical ability to make words flow off the page and drag me into her stories. I’m a little bit annoyed with myself for only just getting into Schwab’s books since she’s been on my radar for a while and literally every single one of her books appeal to me! After I finish the Shades of Magic trilogy, I’ll be picking up Vicious, which I am SO excited to read.

The Strings of Murder

5. The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

I love a good murder mystery, particularly ones set in Victorian times with paranormal-ish themes, so this story was right up my alley. I usually go for children’s fiction when it comes to my mysteries so this was a really interesting take on the genre. I loved the characters, the mystery itself and, in particular, the setting. We usually only read about Victorian London, so having a mystery set in Edinburgh was a fresh take. I already have the next book in this series out from the library so I’ll definitely be getting around to that one soon!


Writing up this post has me really excited that I can add all of these authors to my new favourites list and authors to watch out for. Hopefully next year I’ll discover just as many, if not more, new and interesting stories by authors I haven’t previously read from!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Dashing Through the Snow Book Tag #blogmas

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I’m back with another tag for Tag Tuesday. This one is from: A Stranger’s Guide to Novels.

1. Name a book you would like to see under the Christmas tree

I always know what I’m getting because I do lists. I HATE surprises and no one knows what I want better than I do, so they’re very logical to me. One of the books I’m most excited to own is the 10th anniversary edition of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Whilst City of Bones isn’t my fave, I am Shadowhunter trash. So, naturally, I could not resist getting this gorgeous specimen! Plus, it was only £7!!! For a hardback!?!? It would have been wrong not to ask for it, you see.

2. Name a book you’ll be reading during the Christmas season

One of the books I’m currently reading is The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. It’s a collection of short stories set in the Grishaverse that feel reminiscent of myths, folktales and fairy tales. I’ve read two so far and I loved everything about them. They’re a very interesting take on existing fairy tales and I love the way Bardugo turns stereotypes on their heads. It’s beautifully-written as always and the book itself is gorgeous! It’s an incredibly well-made book, with lovely illustrations that bring the tales to life. I have four more stories left!

3. Name your favorite Christmas movie

Oooh I have a few! I always watch the first two Narnia 2000’s films whilst I’m wrapping presents. They’re just so nostalgic to me. Stardust is another one I love watching this time of year. It’s such a cozy film and I’m reading it for the Holiday Adventure A Thon this year so that’ll be interesting to re-watch. I also always watch Love Actually when my best friend comes round for a day of food and exchanging pressies.

4. Do you like snow?

I do! We had snow in the UK recently so that was exciting. It usually never snows down South (and in London!) before Christmas so it was pretty magical to wake up to England’s version of a snowstorm! Sadly it didn’t last for very long and was gone within the week. Hopefully it can snow again next year though – fingers crossed!

5. Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with

I’ve mentioned Jem Carstairs in a similar question, so I’ll answer with someone else (although the answer is definitely Jem!). I think it’d be incredibly fun to spend Christmas with Iko from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. She would easily match my levels of excitement for Christmas. We’d listen to Christmas songs all day long, whilst dancing and singing at the top of our voices. And everything would be sparkly and magical!

6. To give or receive

As fun as it is to receive gifts, there’s no feeling quite like seeing the excitement in someone’s face when they unwrap your carefully-chosen, thoughtful presents! But presents for me are great too 😂

7. What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?

I actually recently made an entire post dedicated to this very subject, which you can go see here. But, to make an addition to that list, I would also like to spend a Christmas in the TARDIS. That way, every day is Christmas. And you get to visit different places in the world to see how they spend the holiday season and also travel in time to see which traditions are still practiced and which ones are no longer practiced today.

8. Fondest Christmas memory?

I actually have a pretty bad memory, so Christmasses tend to blur all into one for me. Any Christmas spent with my Nana and Grandad (who are no longer with us) was pretty great. I remember the time my Grandad completely ruined my brother’s belief in Father Christmas after my Mum and Dad had spent ages reassuring my brother that he existed! My Nana was trying to get my Grandad’s attention to stop him, so was subtly kicking him, but he clearly didn’t get the message and, very loudly, said “why are you kicking me?” Good times! 😂

9. Can you say Christmas tree ten times fast in a row (pronouncing it correctly)?

Yes. I. Can. (Although I did very nearly screw it up!!)

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

DIY Bookish Christmas Bookmarks #blogmas

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I’m back with another DIY Christmas post today, creating some festive bookmarks. Again, not a creativity expert – just a bit of festive fun!

1. Materials

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I used red and green card for the bookmarks’ base, some twine, paints, wooden decorations and cut-out pictures of books.

2. Painting

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I used red, green and white paint for the wooden decorations, then used an existing bookmark as a template to cut out one bookmark from each piece of card.

3. Last touches

Lastly, I glued on the wooden decorations and the pictures, then put a hole in at the top of the bookmarks and threaded through the twine and this is what I ended up with!


I’m pretty happy with them! Christmas tends to be the only time of year I get creative like this but I’m having such a good time making these posts that I think I might have to see if there is other craft things I could be doing during the year too.

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

The Holiday Adventureathon! #blogmas

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I am officially free from uni and work for the next two and a half weeks! Yay!! I’ve been meaning to write up this TBR but haven’t had the time. But now, I have ALL THE TIME. I’m not being overly ambitious with my TBR and I did start reading some of the books here from the 13th but just haven’t had the chance to document it yet, so I have actually already finished reading two of these books! Go me!

The Language of Thorns

1. Presents – read a book you got as a gift – The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I recently received this for my birthday back in October and have been itching to read it ever since, so now is the perfect time to get to it!

Grave Matter

2. Santa – read a book with red on the cover – Grave Matter by Juno Dawson

How beautiful is this cover!? This will be my first Juno Dawson so I’m excited to see if I like her writing style.

Doctor Who Christmas

3. Wonder – read a book based on a holiday – Doctor Who: Twelve Doctors of Christmas

I’ve started reading this one already via audio-book. They all take place around Christmastime and follow 12 different Doctors and companions getting up to their usual shenanigans.

Ravina the Witch

4. Cookies – read whilst eating festive food – Ravina the Witch? by Junko Mizuno

I finished reading this one on the 14th and adored it! It’s one of the strangest graphic novels I’ve read plot-wise but the illustrations are absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous.

The Hate U Give

5. Nice – read a recommended book – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I have been recommended this book by literally everyone in the book community so I am so incredibly excited to finally read it for myself!

The Snowman

6. Jack Frost – read a book with the word ‘snow’ in the title – The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

I’ve already finished reading this one, too, on the 13th. I grew up watching the animated film but never actually read the picture book. Plus, it was pretty much the only thing with snow in the title I could get my hands on in time for the readathon!

Stardust

7. Snowman – read a historical fiction book – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Okay, I know I’m cheating slightly with this one. But some of the story does take part in Victorian England, I believe, so I’m counting it! Plus, I still have never read a full-length novel by Gaiman and I adore the film so I’m hoping I like this, too.


So that’s it for my #holidayadventurethon TBR. I’m on team #holidaysnowman! This will be a nice, fun way to close the year and get ready for another year full of readathons!!

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

The Friday 56 – Steelheart

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Steelheart

I’m currently reading Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve loved everything written by Sanderson so far but I’ve only read his fantasy, Cosmere stuff so I’m still a little bit iffy about this one. I really like the concept but the characters feel quite basic and the writing isn’t anything special, either. I’m hoping I enjoy it more as I go on but I don’t have the highest of hopes!

“I strode from the room, heedless of the warnings. Let them shoot me.”

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Fictional Worlds to Spend Christmas In #blogmas

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There are so many wonderful fantasy worlds and imagining spending my time in all of these worlds during Christmas would be simply magical!

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Hogwarts from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Obviously I would love to spend my Christmas in a magical castle! Who wouldn’t!? I think the best thing about Christmas at Hogwarts though, without a doubt, has to be the food. So much delicious, never-ending food. Just thinking about it makes me hungry! It also always seems to snow during Christmastime, so I’d open my presents in the morning, eat the equivalent of my body-weight, then build snowpeople, have snowball fights and take a creepy, midnight walk in the forbidden forest. Perfect!

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The Rampion from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Spending Christmas in space with a bunch of dorks would be amazing! I can just imagine Thorne in his apron and somehow burning the turkey and Iko getting too excited for Christmas and opening all of the presents at the break of dawn. Winter would be singing some Lunar carols and Scarlet would be rolling her eyes at everyone. Ahhh, it’d be so much fun!

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21 Auger Road from Jackaby by William Ritter

Christmas in New Fiddleham would be a little wild. Jackaby would be sharing tales of interesting festive creatures and traditions from around the world and the whole team would inevitably have to postpone their dinner in favour of a case coming from a grumpy resident. On the way, they would run into some members of the community alone for Christmas, so they would bring Christmas to them and take their food and have a party. Abigail would introduce Jackaby to the wonderful Christmas cracker hat tradition and Jackaby would end up wearing everyone’s hats. Okay, I actually really need Ritter to write this short story for me!!

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The London Institute from The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

Any party that involves Magnus would be nothing short of magnificent. Could we all just take a second to imagine the amount of sparkle that would be involved? Beautiful. Given that Victorian London is one of my absolute favourite aesthetics, I feel like this would be the best timeline of the Shadowhunter world to visit. There would be a roaring fire, Will would tell some silly jokes, Jem would be playing his violin and Tessa would be curled up with Church reading a good book. It’d be a very cosy Christmas!

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35 Portland Row from Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

Ah my wee ghost-hunting team. Christmas would be a bit of a small affair. They would probably be working on Christmas Eve so sleep in till early afternoon, then crawl out of bed and eat chocolate and sweets for the entire day. George would be in heaven. The Skull would be mocking everyone even more intensely than usual to make sure no one is cheery for Christmas. It’d be like a modern-day A Christmas Carol!


Which fictional world would you love to spend your holiday season in?

Merry #blogmas 1

 

Blogmas · Books

Top 5 Wednesday – Characters On the Naughty List #blogmas

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This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday is all about the characters that are on your Naughty List this Christmas. Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.

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1. Ron from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I know I moan about him often but that’s just because he’s so well loved and I don’t quite grasp why. He’s a Nice Guy™ that is ridiculously mean to Hermione and constantly mocks her and her passions and can’t (or won’t) understand anything from anyone else’s point of view. Ron, as always, you suck.

Since You've Been Gone

2. Sloane from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Sloane is a horrible friend. She’s also the type of person who I despised growing up. There were a few occasions in the book where she would get mad at Emily because her social anxiety would prevent her from doing something and that’s something I dealt with a lot as a teenager. Having friends that have no comprehension of how social anxiety works was really tough. Also, Sloane would try to get Emily to do things she didn’t feel comfortable doing (like going to a club) and would guilt-trip and be horrible to Emily for saying no. I hated that Sloane kept wanting Emily to change to be more like her. Some people just don’t like going out! This was just a really unhealthy friendship and I’m glad I no longer have any Sloanes in my life.

Throne of Glass

3. Rowan from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

What’s a list of characters that irritate me without the velvet-wrapped-steel ‘alpha’ male himself? Ew. There is nothing about him I like. And I’ve tried. He’s possessive, aggressive, controlling and I’m really hoping he gets killed off in the last book. Slowly. Gruesomely.

the-upside-of-unrequited

4. Cassie from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli

I know this is probably a really unpopular opinion but I did not like Cassie. Like, at all. It was mainly due to her aromisic comments. At one point she calls Molly ‘childish’ because she has never been in a relationship and apparently she just doesn’t get what it’s like to be in one *rolls eyes* Similar to Sloane, I feel like Cassie was pressuring Molly into doing things she didn’t want to do in relation to her love life. She kept trying to get Molly to go out with this guy she very obviously was not interested in. Honestly, this book in general is just really amisic, I’m surprised it’s so popular (no I’m not, no one cares about amisia/notices it when it occurs).


Thankfully, most characters I read about are on my Nice List so there are only four characters I needed to talk about today. Which characters are on your Naughty List?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag #blogmas

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I’m here with another Christmassy tag for Tag Tuesday. I found this one over at: Falling Down the Book Hole.

Unboxed

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree
The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favourite stand alone?

One of my favourites is Unboxed by Non Pratt. It packed so much emotion into a such a short 150-page book. The characters felt so real to me and I felt everything they felt. I’m not usually one for contemporaries so when they have this kind of affect on me, I know they must be good!strange-the-dreamer

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two turtle doves
Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

One of my more recent OTP’s are Lazlo and Sarai from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. They’re my favourite kind of couple: sweet, romantic, thoughtful, caring. There are outside forces keeping them apart which just makes me want them together even more!The Final Empire

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Three French Hens
In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

Probably the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. It has everything I want in a fantasy: excitement, intricate plots, compelling characters and some of the best world-building and magic systems I’ve come across. This trilogy is never far from my mind.

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On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four calling birds
Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favourite series?

I’m only counting series I’ve completed in this and one of my favourites that I’ve finished recently is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. It’s such a fun, light-hearted series full of humour, adorable romances and interesting world-building.

The Diviners

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: five golden rings
One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?

Naughty John from The Diviners by Libba Bray is probably the creepiest, most disturbing villain I’ve come across recently. He’s a serial killer so he’s already terrifying. But, before he kills he sings this really sinister song and hearing this via audio-book made it all the more alarming.Monstress

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six geese a laying
Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favourite world/world-building?   

Good world-building for me tends to be a world I can imagine myself in and fill in any gaps myself. I think Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda had some masterful world-building in it. For a first volume I already feel like I have a deep understanding of the world. It’s such an interesting world, too. I mean, a matriarchal steampunk fantasy with an Asian-setting and talking cats and monsters and witches? Hell, yes! The Gates

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven swans a swimming
Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favourite animal sidekick?

Boswell, an adorable dachshund from The Gates by John Connolly, is one of the sweetest animal companions. He’s the main character’s best friend and is there for him throughout all of the outrageous goings-on in the book. 13/10 would noggin pat.

The Girl At Midnight

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight maids a milking
Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level?

The Girl At Midnight trilogy by Melissa Gray has the most gorgeous descriptions of food. The food is mostly cakes filled with cream and doughnuts and mmmmm. I am always hungry when reading these books!

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On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine ladies dancing
Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favourite kickass female lead?

Definitely Abigail Rook from the Jackaby series by William Ritter. She has a great sense of adventure – she left her home in England to follow her dreams of archaeology which didn’t exactly work out the way she thought it would. But, she ends up becoming a part of a detective agency that specialises in the supernatural. She’s uses her wits and her bravery to solve crimes and I ADORE her. She’s kind and good and I love her a lot.

strange-the-dreamer

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten lords a leaping
How about your favourite leading lad?

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor! I mean, we’re both librarians with a great sense of curiosity for the unknown so he’s incredibly relatable to me. But he, like Abigail, just has this great sense of adventure that I find very endearing in my main my characters. His character arc was wonderful, too. I cannot wait to see where he ends up in the next book!The Strings of Murder

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven pipes piping
What is your favourite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc)

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel is the first book that comes to mind. The murder mystery revolves around violins and the devil which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. Violins played a very big part in this mystery which was very interesting to read about as the mystery unraveled.lord-of-shadows

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 drummers drumming
Drum roll please…what is your favourite read of this year?

It has to be Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I can’t quite put into words how much I love this series. My favourite characters exist in this story-world and that climax at the end!!! Was!!! Everything!!!


So that’s it for today’s tag! It’s my last week of work/masters for the year so I’m sorry I’ve been a little flaky with my blogmas posts lately! I will be posting a couple a day for the next few days hopefully. My own fault entirely for thinking working part-time, doing a masters full-time and posting every day would be a good idea! 😂 Hope you’re all having a good December so far 💜

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Festive Reads #blogmas

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I’m starting to properly get into the festive spirit so I thought I’d share with you some of the books I enjoy reading over the holiday period that get me in the mood!

My True Love Gave to Me

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

There were some stories I absolutely loved in this but also some I really wasn’t that big a fan of, so it might be a little hit or miss for you, too. Personally, I still think it’s worth reading as it definitely got me into the festive spirit. I particularly enjoyed:

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: 4/5
Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena: 4/5
Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: 4.5/5
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: 4/5
Krampuslauf by Holly Black: 4/5
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: 5/5

I think there’s a story for everyone in this collection. They’re mostly super cute, adorable stories from a bunch of talented authors that will make you smile.

Let It Snow

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle

I adored the first two stories in this but really disliked the third. But my love for the first two definitely outweighs my dislike in recommending this book. The first story was probably my favourite out of the two and followed a girl who decided to brave it in a snowstorm after leaving a broken-down train. It was so wintry and Christmassy and adorable. And I’m not sure if I’ve shared this on here, but I BLOODY LOVE TRAINS. And Christmas trains are twice as good for me!

Dash and Lily #1

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

I really enjoyed the concept of this. It follows our two main characters who trade challenges in a notebook found on a shelf in a bookstore which takes them all over a very Christmassy New York. I found this story very adorable and sweet and I loved Lily’s passion for the holidays! She was very relatable to me.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This is one of the few classics that I genuinely enjoy reading. Which is definitely saying something! It’s a story that’s been with me since I was a child, watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol. I love the atmosphere and the overall message of the story. And I especially love that it has ghosts in it. I do love a creepy Christmas tale!

Doctor Who Christmas

The Twelve Doctors of Christmas 

If you’re looking for a little something different to read over the holidays this year – and you also happen to be a huge Doctor Who fan – then I have found the book for you! I’m actually currently reading this via audio-book (recommended!) and really enjoying it. It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from Doctor Who and it’s really getting me into the festive spirit! The stories are a little odd and timey-wimey and the narrators were wonderful. Highly recommend this wee fun collection!


Are there any festive stories you like to read around this time of year?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Night of Cake and Puppets

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The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Night of Cake and Puppets

I’m currently reading Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor. This is a novella that’s recently been published in hard-copy format that takes place in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone world and follows two of my favourite characters: Zuzana and Mik. I absolutely adore these two and reading something new in this world is making me feel nostalgic for the original trilogy! Jim di Bartlo’s illustrations are gorgeous, too. They are found on nearly every page and they bring the story to life so well. I’m so glad to be reading this – I definitely didn’t expect to see a copy of it at my local library!

“I don’t believe in prayer, but I do believe in magic, and I want to believe in miracles.”

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · Uncategorized

Books to Read Beside An Open Fire #blogmas

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Otherwise known as cosy reads! For me, cosy reads are books that centre around magic and make me want to be a part of that world. So we’ll start off with the most obvious:

Harry Potter/The Shadowhunter Chronicles/The Hobbit

These are some of my absolute favourite worlds to get lost in and cosy up to, but they’re talked about so much here that I’ll just leave it as an honourable mention!

Northern Lights #1

Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman

I’ve only read the first instalment of the His Dark Materials trilogy so far but this one takes place in Oxford and the North Pole and there’s daemons and armoured polar bears which is exactly as cool as it sounds. It has a very cosy, wintry feeling and very believable world-building. I would definitely recommend you read it with a cup of tea!

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Jackaby by William Ritter

This is one of my favourite series and it’s about as magical as you can get! It’s a mystery series that takes place in an 1800’s New England city and incorporates many interesting creatures from folktales, including redcaps, vampires and a human turned duck named Douglas. It’s whimsical and witty and charming and my perfect idea of a series to cosy up with.

Wollstonecraft #1

The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency by Jordan Stratford

This is the only non-magical series on this list but it still gives me the cosy feels! It’s a children’s series that takes place in Victorian London that follows re-imaginings of Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley as very resilient, resourceful crime-fighters. It also contains appearances from many other people from history, such as Charles Dickens. It’s a very sweet series that centres itself around female friendship and bravery. For me, mystery books are the best kind of cosy reads!

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is one of my favourite graphic novels and I wish Stevenson would write more in this world! The characters are wonderful – they have interesting backstories and are very well developed. Also, the illustrations are the cutest, most adorable I’ve ever seen. There’s also kind of a queer m/m romance that’s so subtle that I couldn’t help but ship the hell out of it!


So those are some of my cosy reads. What are your go-to books for the warm fuzzies?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · Uncategorized

DIY Bookish Christmas Cards #blogmas

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I will preface this by saying that I am not the greatest at DIY but I love the process of creating something, particularly this time of year. So, I wanted to make some bookish Christmas cards and I think it went pretty well all things considered!

I’ll show you the finished products at the end, but here is what I did, step-by-step:

1. Materials

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First I decided which materials I wanted to make the cards. I used card (red, green & white), twine, cookie cutters, wooden decorations and cut-out pictures of some of my favourite reads of the year.

2. Card and stencil

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Next, using the craft knife I tried to cut around the cookie cutters on the white card. This bit didn’t go entirely to plan and looked a little scruffy, but hey, I’m not an expert :’)

3. Bookish collage

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I then decided to stick onto the red/green card collages of some of my favourite books of 2017, then stuck the white card on top.

4. Festive it up!

 

 

After adding glitter and twine and some painted festive wooden decorations, these are what I ended up with. I’m actually so proud of myself for these. I know they’re not the greatest DIY you’ve ever seen but I made them so I love them!!


Have you guys been doing any Christmas DIY’s yet this month?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Top 5 Wednesday – Bookish Things You’re A Grinch About #blogmas

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When I saw this topic, I got so excited! It’s meant to be a list of light-hearted, petty things in (or about) books that irritate you. I’m a wee bit of a petty person, so this topic is perfect for me. Warning: extreme pettiness ahead!

1. Sappy romance 

Okay so there is a very fine line between cute romance and sappy romance for me. I love characters being all cute and adorable with each other but cannot stand when they go too far. It just makes me want to throw up. I don’t mean to be grumpy (I definitely am) but can you just stop being so sickeningly happy all the time? Just.. ew.

2. Americanisms 

I was reading something recently that was meant to be set in the UK and be from the point of view of British characters. So I was kind of annoyed to see very blatant American phrases rather than British phrases. It’s really very petty, I know, but wow did it bother me to see the word underpants rather than underwear and refrigerator rather than fridge! Brits don’t use those words. And it took me out of the book and made it feel less realistic. If you’re going to write about people from different countries, even if you speak the same language as them, you need to still put in the research to understand how we says things and what words we generally use. I’m sure this applies to an even higher degree in other countries/cultures.

3. Matching covers 

I. Hate. Cover. Changes. As someone who needs patterns and logic to make sense of the world, this is such an irritatingly pointless occurrence! Especially where the books are the same covers but just different lengths. WHY. Sometimes cover changes are for the better, like An Ember in the Ashes series now having POC on their covers – a good, much needed change. But, mostly cover changes make no sense and just stress me out. I’m feeling stressed just thinking about it!

4. Acts implied, not stated outright 

Sometimes, authors do this thing where they allude to something but they do it so vaguely that I have no idea what just happened. This happens most commonly in sex (?) scenes. Did they have sex? Did they cuddle? No one knows! I end up re-reading those scenes a few times over just to understand what exactly happened. It’s usually not until further into the book (or sometimes even the next book!) where I’m like ‘OH, they DID have sex.’ Just tell us!

5. Gross sex scenes

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the over-explanation of sex scenes. Now, I’m not talking about any author in particular (Sarah J. Maas) but these types of scenes are usually described in such a ridiculous and unrealistic way that they’re more amusing than anything else. But, as someone on the ace-spectrum, I really don’t want or need to know about your partner’s ‘velvet wrapped steel’ or ‘length’ *shudders*


Well that was an extremely enjoyable Top 5 Wednesday! It’s fun to be a Grinch sometimes but thankfully I don”t often come across these oh so annoying occurrences too often. What bookish-related things make you feel like a Grinch?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · Uncategorized

Christmas Song Book Tag #blogmas

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Today I thought I would share with you a tag I’ve created! It revolves around some of my favourite Christmas songs of all time, so put on some Christmas music and enjoy!

The Dire King

1. Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson  A book you hope to find under the tree this Christmas
“You’re all that I need, underneath the tree”

I actually already know everything I’m getting for Christmas since I’m a big believer of lists! But the book I’m the most excited to have in my hands is The Dire King by William Ritter. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know this is one of my favourite series which will sadly come to an end once I’ve read this book in January. I’m very nervous for my babies but so excited to see how it all ends.

The Alloy of Law

2. Last Christmas by WHAM – A book that broke your heart
“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart but the very next day, you stole it away”

As relatively lighthearted as The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson is, the fact that it takes place 300 years after the events of the original trilogy means that the characters I loved are no longer alive in this series which is just so sad to think about. That being said, I loved finding out how the characters in the original trilogy shaped the current world which was still sad, but more bittersweet than anything.

Aristotle and Dante

3. One More Sleep by Leona Lewis – A book you stayed up all night reading
“If I can make it to Christmas Eve then it’s one more sleep until it’s Christmas”

I stayed up until gone 3 AM reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This book is the very definition of ‘unputdownable.’ It had such beautiful writing and the chapters were really short so I just had  to carry on reading to see what happened next.

The Diviners

4. Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Glee Cast – A book that gives you the creeps
“I’ve got to go away. But baby, it’s cold outside”

The Diviners by Libba Bray was a very creepy book. It’s a murder mystery set in 1920’s New York that follows multiple perspectives, including the murderer. It had an incredibly atmospheric setting and had me chilled to the bone in places. It’s the perfect book for Halloween reading.

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5. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard – A book you could read over and over
“Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday, let the bells ring out for Christmas”

I’m really not that big of a re-reader. In fact, I’ve only ever re-read the Harry Potter series, so I guess I’m going to have to go with that! The great thing about re-reading Harry Potter, though, is that you can read it in various different ways. You can read the original books, you can read the illustrated editions, or you can listen to the audio-books. So, really, it’s a different experience every time!

lord-of-shadows

6. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams – The most wonderful book you’ve read all year
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s the happiest season of all”

Okay. I’ve read so many wonderful books. But. If I absolutely had to choose just one. I think it might have to be Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I’m basing this purely on emotional value. I loved a lot of books this year, but this one made me feel the most. I would be swooning one minute and majorly stressed out the next and I love feeling that involved with a book and being that affected by it.

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7. Don’t Shoot Me Santa by The Killers – A book that doesn’t fit in
“Don’t shoot me Santa Clause, no one else around believes me”

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough is a book that I find quite difficult to place. It’s essentially a historical fiction novel that takes place in 1930’s Seattle that discusses racism, sexism and homophobia but also has a really interesting fantastical element – a personification of Love and of Death. It’s also a beautifully written book that doesn’t get anywhere near enough praise. I highly recommend it!

Little Red Riding Hood

8. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – Your favourite original fairy tale
“We kissed on the corner then danced through the night”

I have so many! I think one of my favourites has to be Little Red Riding Hood. I love the atmospheric setting of the creepy forest. I also love how it feels like the classic fairy tale that everyone knows and loves!

Timekeeper

9. I Wish It Was Christmas Today by Julian Casablancas – A book you wish you could read ASAP
“I don’t care what anyone says, Christmas is full of cheer”

All of them. All of the books. But, particularly the ones I have planned to read in January. For some reason, January just always seems to be a great reading month for me. One of the books I’m planning to read then is Timekeeper by Tara Sim. From the synopsis, it seems to incorporate all of my favourite things – Victorian era, queer romance (m/m) and a world ruled by time!? It sounds perfect and I cannot wait to read and gush about it!

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10. You’re All I Want for Christmas by Frankie Laine – A character you wish you could spend Christmas with
“I’ll awake on Christmas morning and find my stockings filled with you”

Obviously Jem Carstairs. Take a moment to imagine how wonderful that would be. I’ll set the scene. We’re out in the country, Jem’s just got the fire going. It’s snowing and howling outside, Nat King Cole is playing in the background and Jem is making you your favourite hot chocolate whilst giving you the most thoughtful, kind-hearted gifts. Ahh, blissful. Could Christmas get any better? Oh, there’s a knock on the door. It’s Magnus and Will and Tessa and the gang! Wow, what a great Christmas. Thanks, Jem 🙂


This was my first time creating a tag and it was so much fun! Feel free to do this tag yourself if you fancy it and, if you do, let me know. I’d love to read your answers 🙂

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books

Gift Ideas for Bookish People #blogmas

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I don’t know about you, but I love doing my Christmas shopping, especially when shopping for fellow book-lovers – we’re just so easy to buy for! In particular, I love finding independent sellers on Etsy and Red Bubble to buy more personalised gifts for my family and friends (and sometimes if I’m feeling generous, a gift for myself!)

For the bookmark-lover:

If there’s one thing I am always searching for on Etsy, it’s bookmarks. Given that I’m a little bit of a read-10-books-at-the-exact-same-time kind of gal, it’s always helpful to have some bookmarks to hand. In particular, I am a little bit in love with magnetic bookmarks of book characters.

Magic Bookmarks

Magicbookmarks

HappyHelloCo

HappyHelloCo.

I mean, look how adorable they are! Who doesn’t want a book buddy to keep you motivated whilst you read? I’ve ordered a few bookmarks from both of these companies and the products have always been really high quality and exactly what I wanted. They both have a wide variety of characters available to choose from, too, so I’m sure there’ll be something for everyone!

For the tea-lover:

My best friend is an English teacher who never leaves a bookshop without buying at least one thing. So over the years of our friendship, I’ve gotten her quite a few bookish-themed gifts! One of which was bookish-themed teabags. Specifically, Jane Austen-themed teabags. Being a huge Jane Austen fan, my friend adored these!

Jane Austen Teabags 2

Victoriamedesigns

This shop sells all sorts of themed teabags. There’s Shakespeare teabags, Alice In Wonderland teabags and even a festive advent calendar of teabags. The designs are all very pretty and the quality was thoroughly decent too. Definitely a great present for your tea-loving bookish friend!

For the writer:

As well as reading, a lot of bookish people also love to write and there are many a decent writing guide to aid you through the writing process. One of my favourites is the Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer, Jeremy Zerfoss & John Coulthart.

Wonderbook

It takes you through all of the fantasy/sci-fi writing basics whilst using beautifully-crafted illustrations to help you visualize. I found all of the illustrations in themselves to be quite inspirational, so I would really recommend this for aspiring writers.

For the collector:

If you know your bookish friend is a bit of a helpless (or shameless!) collector of books, it might be an idea to find for them a special edition of their favourite book. These books will usually be hardcover or leatherbound and always look absolutely glorious on a shelf.

The Hobbit

One of my favourites that was gifted to me was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It takes centre stage in the middle of my bookshelf and I adore it. Gifting a book-lover a beautiful book is never really a bad idea, is it? I’ve already gotten a couple of my bookish friends/family special editions of books ready waiting for them to open at Christmas!


So that’s it for this mini gift-giving recommendations. If you have any go-to gift ideas for bookish friends, let me know! I’m always trying to think of new things 🙂

Merry #blogmas 1

 

Blogmas · Books · Uncategorized

Winter-Themed Bookish MASH #blogmas

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Who remembers that good ol’ game we used to play as kids? During my school years, MASH was one of many sources of entertainment in my friendship group so I thought it’d be fun to make it bookish and winter-themed for today’s blogmas post!

So, here are the rules:

1. Pick four options per category (partner, best friend, transportation, occupation, animal companion & location)
2. Draw a random number – preferably odd
3. Start counting down the list – the option you end up on, you must cross off
4. When you’re left with only one option per category, that is your future life!

I ended up on 7 so let’s see what my life will be!

MASH

Partner

The Snow Queen

Peter Pevensie

Sansa Stark

Neville Longbottom

Best Friend

Lucy Pevensie

 Olaf 

Tormund Giantsbane

Lyra Belacqua

Transportation

Broomstick

Ice dragon 

Snowportation

Wolf-led carriage

Occupation

Queen of Narnia

 Server in the Hog’s Head 

Lady of Winterfell

Witch

Animal Companion

Sven

Aslan

Iorek Byrnison

Ghost

Location

North Pole

Hogsmede

Fjerda

Winterfell 

Narnia

Okay, so I live in a shack in Narnia with my partner, Neville Longbottom. My best friend is Olaf, I’m the Queen of Narnia, Aslan is my animal companion and I get around on a broomstick! I’ll definitely settle for that life. I think I’ll be a bit more of a benevolent Queen though since Aslan will be constantly following me around! The results ended up being quite unintentionally Narnia-themed, too!


This was a lot of fun! Let me know if you end up creating your own MASH game too – I’d love to see all of your answers!

Merry #blogmas 1

 

Blogmas · Books · TBR

December TBR #blogmas

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So I’ve made the rather unwise decision to attempt to read 100 books this year. My Goodreads goal has officially been changed to 100 also, so I’m 14 books behind! So I have 22 books to read on my TBR this month. Most of them will be short stories or graphic novels or audiobooks so it should be quite doable. Wish me luck!

Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Prince of Hazel and Oak

 

Prince of Hazel and Oak by John Lenahan

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Doctor Who Christmas

Doctor Who: The Twelve Doctors of Christmas by Jacqueline Rayner

The Savage Dawn

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Gray

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein

Alex, Approximately

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Steelheart

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Narnia #4

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Sixth of the Dusk

 Sixth of the Dusk by Brandon Sanderson

Night of Cake and Puppets

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

Grave Matter

Grave Matter by Juno Dawson

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson

Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

The Language of Thorns

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Saga #5

Saga Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples

Sandman volume 3

The Sandman Volume 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman

Giant Days 1

Giant Days Volume 1 by John Allison

Ravina the Witch

Ravina the Witch? by Junko Mizuno

Lumberjanes #6

Lumberjanes Volume 6: Sink or Swim by Shannon Watters & Noelle Stevenson

Watchmen

Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd


And that’s it for my ever so slightly ambitious December TBR! I won’t be reading all of the graphic novels but these are the ones I currently have out from the library. I’ll see which ones take my fancy closer to the time. And I’ve also started quite a few of the novels so hopefully they won’t take me too long to get through. What are you reading this month? Any festive reads planned?

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Son of Neptune

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Son of Neptune

I’m currently reading The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. It’s been too long since I’ve read a Rick Riordan book (September!) so I thought it was about time I picked one up. I’m glad to have Percy back in this instalment – I’ve missed his narration! I really like all the new characters we’re being introduced to and I think I might even prefer this series to the previous Percy Jackson one? It’s just so much fun and Riordan’s writing is a pleasure to read.

“He nodded to the inscriptions on the marble floor. Percy stared at the lines of words, not really expecting to understand them. He almost choked.”

Merry #blogmas 1

Blogmas · Books · Wrap-Up

November Wrap-Up #blogmas

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

Welcome to the first official day of my blogmas! I’ve been planning blogmas for the past few months so I hope you’re all ready for some festive fun. Grab a mug of hot chocolate and put some Christmas tunes on, we are ready to go!

TWATD #5

The Wicked and the Divine Vol. V: Imperial Phase IKieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie – 🌟🌟🌟

I think I might be losing interest in this series. It started off so strong and now I just feel a bit disappointed by it overall. The story isn’t really going anywhere I particularly care about anymore. There was, however, a really great conversation about a character being ace. And they actually used the word asexual instead of just alluding to it which was a breath of fresh air. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue on with this series though as I’m just not as invested in it as I used to be.

Murder Most Unladylike

Murder Most UnladylikeRobin Stevens – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a thoroughly enjoyable middle grade murder mystery. I really liked Hazel but I felt like Daisy was kind of mean to her and only thought about herself and what she wanted which annoyed me. Hopefully she gets more bearable as the series goes on. The plot, though, was intriguing and kept me guessing till the end. I also loved the boarding school setting and that the vast majority of the characters were female. A very promising start to a (hopefully!) fun series.

Stars Above

Stars Above – Marissa Meyer – 🌟🌟🌟.75

I enjoyed some of these stories more than others. Some of them I found a little pointless as they were just filling in gaps of the original series, rather than adding to it. My favourites were: The Little Android and Something Old, Something New. This was my first ever audio-book read. I’ve tried to get into them in the past but just haven’t been able to for some reason. But something obviously clicked because I loved reading the stories in this format. It definitely made it an overall more enjoyable read for me.

Gentleman's Guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and VirtueMackenzi Lee – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

I’d been waiting to get my hands on it for months so, by the time I got to it, I’d really hyped it up in my head. And I’m so glad to say that it didn’t disappoint. This was the perfect adventure story that was most of the time fun and actually quite hilarious. But Gentleman’s Guide definitely had its dark moments, too. The m/c, Monty, is bisexual and has to suffer the physical and emotional abuse of his father. There’s also Percy, his best friend (who he also happens to be hopelessly in love with), who has to deal with both racism and ableism. I loved that Lee incorporated so much into this book – it was everything I imagined it would be. I cannot wait to read the companion novel.

The Diviners

The Diviners – Libba Bray – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I loved this so much more than I thought I would. It’s a slow build up whilst we’re being introduced to all of the characters and to the 1920’s New York setting but the plot unravels beautifully. I loved how creepy and atmospheric it was, yet glamorous and addictive. All of the characters were great. They were flawed and very well fleshed out. The writing itself completely transported me to the setting. It was a very visceral read. I also listened to this one on audio-book and the narrator was perfect. They really brought the story and characters to life. I cannot wait to read the other two books in this series!

Poets, Artists, Lovers

Poets, Artists, Lovers – Mira Tudor – 🌟.5

Sadly, this was the only book I didn’t enjoy this month. I had quite a few issues with it – lack of directed plot, unnecessary details, unrealistic characters and, worst of all, the fatphobia. I reviewed this one recently and ended up writing over 1,000 words on it, so if you want practically every thought I had whilst reading this, check it out here!

A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.25

Although this was a bit of a slow start, I could quite happily read anything Schwab writes. Her writing is so addictive and magical and I love this world and these characters. I liked how they were still dealing with the fall out from the end of the last book and I especially liked all of the new characters we were introduced to. I’ll be reading the finale in January so I’ll be really interested to see how it all ends.

Sandman #2

The Sandman: The Doll’s House – Neil Gaiman – 🌟🌟🌟

I’m still not convinced of this series. It’s fine but with all the critical acclaim I expected to fall in love with it. I’m still going to continue on as all 10 volumes are available at the library. If anyone else has read this series – does it get better?

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way DownJohn Green

Temporarily DNF’d

I got about 50 pages into this before putting it back down. Nothing really sucked me into the story. I loved the representation of anxiety and that was definitely the most interesting thing Turtles had going for itself. But, the plot itself just wasn’t doing anything for me and some of the language used was quite amisic. I’ll try to pick it back up at some point but I’m just really not in the mood for it right now.


So that’s it for my month of reading! I’m really happy with what I managed to get around to this month – 8 books! Particularly since three of the books here are over 500 pages long! What was you favourite read of the month?
Merry #blogmas 1

 

Blogmas · Books

Merry #blogmas!

Ho, Ho, Ho (2)

This is just a quick post to let you all know that I’ve decided to participate in blogmas this year!! This will be my first blogmas so I’m very excited to get involved in all of the Christmassy goodness! I will be posting tags, recommendations, DIY’s, games, amongst many other fun, cosy, Christmassy things.

Let me know if you’re taking part too! I can’t wait to read all of your blogmas posts – I am so ready to start counting down to Christmas!

Merry #blogmas 1

Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Authors You’d Want to Write Like

Hello bookish friends!

This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday is all about the authors we crave to be as talented as. I’ve focused more on writing style than writing ability, so these are authors whose writing just seems to flow off the page!

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.

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Laini Taylor

Immediately, when I saw this topic, I thought of Laini Taylor. Literally every sentence she constructs is beautiful. I’ve often found myself in awe of the way her words seem to glide and dance on the page. I like the slow-build of her stories, too. They always start small and personal and somehow, by the end of the book, the plots and relationships between the characters are so intricate, I’m honestly amazed by how we got there!

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Cassandra Clare

If you’ve been here a while, you know that Cassandra Clare is (probably) my favourite author. I don’t know how exactly to describe how I feel when I read her books. It kind of feels like she’s telling a story which I realise sounds silly (aren’t they all stories!?) But Clare’s writing just makes me feel warm and cosy and a little nostalgic, I guess. I love everything about her writing.

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Rosamund Hodge

Rosamund Hodge is a real hit or miss author for most, but I personally love her writing style. I find it very atmospheric, kind of eerie at times, and always enthralling. Hodge’s imagination never ceases to amaze me. How she manages to come up with the worlds she does, I do not know.

Winter

Marissa Meyer

I adore Meyer’s light, fluffy narrative. Her writing brings me joy and always manages to make me feel something. Plus, the way she writes romances makes me swoon. Every. Damn. Time. I also really loved the relationships between characters in general. They were so funny and I just adored each and every one of them.

Crooked Kingdom

Leigh Bardugo

Bardugo is the kind of writer where you can clearly see her writing gets stronger and stronger with each book she publishes. Particularly with the Six of Crows duology. Bardugo is a great storyteller – her characters and the Grisha world feels so real to me. I could never tire of reading her beautifully-woven stories!

A Gathering of Shadows

Honorary mention: V.E. Schwab

I’ve only read one book (and I’m currently in the middle of another) of Schwab’s so I feel like I can’t put her on this list quite yet. But I already know that I love her writing. It feels so magical and I find myself tearing through the pages – it’s a very addictive style.


So that’s it for this weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday. What are some of your top authors you’d like to write like?
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book review · Books · Review · Uncategorized

Book Review – Poets, Artists, Lovers by Mira Tudor

Poets, Artists, LoversTitle: Poets, Artists, Lovers
Author: Mira Tudor
Pages: 255
Genre: Adult contemporary
CW: Fatphobia, cheating, lying, betrayal
Rating: 🌟.5

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“PAL is a fast-paced yet poignant character-driven novel riding waves of romanticism, drama, and wit in a manner reminiscent of David Nicholls’s books (One Day)—and set in the exciting world of several vibrant Romanian artists and musicians.

Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, seems to find more joy in her feminist-inspired work and her piano playing than in the people who care about her. Ela, a piano teacher turned book reviewer, hopes to discover the key to happiness and a more meaningful life through studying the workings of the mind and crafting poems about emotions she trusts will lead her to a better place. Joining them in beauty and blindness is Pamfil, a violinist who dabbles as a singer and lives mostly for the moment and his monthly parties. As they follow their passions, they find themselves on treacherous journeys to love and happiness, and are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things.”

My Thoughts (Minor Spoilers):

I received money to purchase the book via Amazon from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Poets, Artists, Lovers follows the interconnecting lives of a group of friends and presents a snapshot of their messy relationships with one another, with their glamorous parties and their philosophical conversations.

Unfortunately I had a few issues with PAL but I’ll start with what I thought was handled well.

The story takes place in a colourfully-described Bucharest and the way the author illustrated the setting really brought it to life. The descriptions of food made my mouth water throughout. There was a relatively large cast of characters and I liked how they were all tied together in one way or another. I largely enjoyed the first 30% of PAL, despite its issues, but from there on I found myself a little disappointed with the story.

I found that PAL read more as a series of conversations than a cohesive story. It had a strong beginning but seemed to lose its way in the middle and, when it came to the end, I was quite shocked to turn the last page and realise it was finished. I kept wondering throughout what the purpose of some of the discussions were between the characters. Some seemed entirely irrelevant to both the plot and the development of characters. For example, there was an entire paragraph on the process of how to make coffee. Also, there were a few unnecessary details thrown in, too, such as how tall a mountain range in exact metres (with a conversion of feet) was. There were a few instances where the author would tell and not show. I think this was largely due to how fast-paced the plot was. The story moved on so quickly that we barely had a chance to understand how the characters were feeling.

Some of the characters were fleshed out with interesting internal plots driving them. They were heavily flawed and very unlikable. Personally, I’m not particularly fond of characters that lie and cheat and betray their other halves but that might be something you don’t mind reading about.

There were other characters, however, that seemed a little one-dimensional. The partners of Henriette and Ela felt like they existed purely to please them. It didn’t seem like they had their own agency and, even after discovering the affair, Henriette’s partner didn’t seem to mind as there were no arguments between them which seemed pretty unrealistic.

Furthermore, there was one character in particular that I absolutely despised. Four of the female characters were infatuated with him so you would think he’d be portrayed as someone very charming and swoon-worthy. Instead, he just came off as incredibly creepy and a borderline sexual predator considering he went for two separate sixteen-year-old girls when he was around a decade older. Particularly when the girl in question clearly feels deeply uncomfortable with him:

“Pamfil turned to face Maria and hugged her tightly. Maria froze again, as she had a habit of doing in Pamfil’s overpowering presence.”

I think the following paragraph sums his disgusting thought processes up pretty well:

“[He] just looked at Ela, at her modestly covered cleavage and the incipient pouches under her eyes. He used to love her breasts. Pear-shaped, pert, with bold nipples, beautiful in the halter tops and surplice necklines she used to favor when she fell for him. Now she hid them under a padded bra, which did nothing except divert attention, for a very short while, from the weight on her stomach.”

Speaking of weight, I’m not sure what happened, but the second half of PAL was obsessed with diet and weight. There were so many occasions that clearly amounted to some pretty bad fatphobia. Here are just a few examples – obviously, CW:

“I wouldn’t laugh if I were you. I think you have the body mass index of an overweight person.”

“Reducing calories is a mistake. If you need 2,500 calories, and you reduce your intake to 2,000 calories, your body will first use your fat reserves, and then it will start to use only 2,000 because it learns that you give it only that much. So you will stop losing weight.”

This quote also relates back to what I was saying about the unnecessary details. I’m not sure how or why this speech was relevant to the plot.

“My mother says that young healthy women with strong willpower should make sure they’re slim, or else they send the message that they don’t have enough willpower, or that they’re not healthy.”

There were so many other examples interspersed throughout the narrative but what baffles me most is that there was no mention at all of weight in the first half and then it seemed as though there was a massive onslaught of attacks against fat people in the second half!

Moving onto the conversations shared between the characters, there were times when I had no idea what they were talking about. They shared a passion for music and made quite a few references that went over my head. If you’re not familiar with the topics they discuss, I can imagine you could feel a little out of the loop and, therefore, a little frustrated as there are no explanations to help guide you. At first I found these conversations interesting but I found them quite pretentious towards the end. And, again, I’m not entirely sure of the relevance of a lot of them to the overarching story.

The writing itself flowed very nicely. It was a very readable book with some beautiful descriptions at times, such as the following:

“[C]rystals of snow crunching under their feet like so many tiny jewels; the warp and weft of post-and-rail fences surrounding log cabins and haystacks; and the sunlight flaring through scattered fir trees, whipping the snow, making it look as if it were sprinkled with diamond dust.”

There was a little confusion, though, as the perspective would change without much of a warning and all of a sudden we would be in someone else’s head. It often felt quite jarring and pulled me out of the story.

Overall, Poets, Artists, Lovers had an interesting beginning but lacked a direction and purpose after the initial first few chapters. I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book as there are various issues that clearly need to be ironed out and the fatphobia made me feel deeply uncomfortable.
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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – A Gathering of Shadows

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

A Gathering of Shadows

I’m currently reading A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I read A Darker Shade of Magic back in March and really enjoyed it. I find Schwab’s writing really addicting and I love the world and characters she’s created in this series. I’m hoping in this instalment the plot picks up a little more than in the last one. But I’m liking it so far!

“With a flick of his hand, metal spikes slid from the sheath at his wrist and into his palm. They rose into the air and shot forward, burying themselves in the specter’s throat, his heart, his head.”
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Books

Childhood Faves

Hello bookish friends!

I fancied taking a trip down memory lane for today’s post so we’re going to talk about a few of my childhood favourites. I plan on doing a Teen Faves as well so these are just some of the books I loved up until the age of 12!

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1. The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony Diterlizzi & Holly Black

This was the first series I ever became obsessed with. Me and my friends would hunt for faeries in our back gardens and print out recipes for faerie food and faerie clothes. I remember loving the idea of a secret, magical world that surrounds us but we can’t see it. These books were my Harry Potter growing up (which, for some reason, I wasn’t fond of as a child!).

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2. The Darren Shan Saga by Darren Shan

I’ve always been into vampires and the occult and this was one of the first series that introduced me to that particular fictional world. I think I started reading this series when I was 7 which is pretty young to be reading a book about blood and gore but there you go! My parents always let me read whatever I wanted instead of censoring things they didn’t agree with which is definitely something that helped me to develop as a kid.

The Olympic Conspiracy

3. The Olympic Conspiracy by Katherine Roberts

I was thoroughly obsessed with mythology as a kid. It started off with Egyptian mythology, then went onto Greek mythology, then Roman and nowadays I just love them all (although mostly Greek because I’m basic like that!). It’s interesting to me that I still love reading about all things mythology-related and will naturally be more inclined to pick up a book if those themes are present. The best thing about this book I remember, was taking it on holiday with me to Greece, where we visited Ancient Olympia. There was a map at the front of the book and I remember showing my parents where all the sites were and feeling really proud of myself that I knew!

The Thieves of Ostia

4. The Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence

This series was so much fun to read. It had everything I still love today – intricate mysteries, interesting characters and a cool historical backdrop. I really enjoyed reading about the four friends and I remember there was a lot of depth to the characters as well. I never quite managed to finish the series though, which is a shame. But I definitely would like to re-read all of these books on this list to see how I feel about them now.

Noughts and Crosses

5. The Noughts & Crosses series by Malorie Blackman

I read the first book of this series when I was 11 and it still makes me emotional even now at 24. These books were incredibly important reads for me as a kid. They were not only very well written with intriguing plots and three-dimensional characters, they were also important for my understanding of racism as a kid. Malorie Blackman is still one of my favourite authors today and I’d like to one day read everything’s she’s written.


So that’s it for my childhood favourites. It’s really interesting to look back and see that the kinds of things I was interested in reading about as a kid would still really interest me as an adult. The fact that these are predominantly series is also very reflective of my current reading habits. What were some of your childhood favourites? Do you still have the same reading tastes nowadays?
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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – The Diviners

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Diviners

I’m currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray. It’s essentially a murder mystery that takes place in 1920’s New York and follows Evie who has recently moved there and is on the case. I’ve picked this one up for the Tome Topple readathon as it has just over 500 pages (508). I haven’t actually made it to 56 pages quite yet so I don’t have too many feelings about it but it’s enjoyable enough so far! I’ve heard pretty great things about it so I’m hoping it can live up to my expectations.

“Don’t pay any mind to the odd sounds or sights you might experience. It’s just the Bennington, dear.”

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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Nostalgic Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends

Hello bookish friends!

This weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday is all about the fictional characters we used to crush on way back when. Now, for me, I rarely experience romantic attraction so when I say I fancy someone, it usually just means I like them platonically and affectionately. And that I think they have a great face and want to hang out with them all the time and cuddle. Hope this makes sense!

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.

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1. My first ever fictional crushes were the Grace kids from the Spiderwick Chronicles. I loved all of them for very different reasons. Simon loved animals and was a sensitive soul, Jared was brave and kinda reckless and Mallory was just a total badass. This was one of my favourite series as a child and me and my friends would all hunt for fairies down the back of our gardens like the cool kids we most definitely were.

Avatar

2. Okay so I haven’t actually read any of the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics but I’m still going to count Zuko on this list because, oh my, my wee young heart loved him. I’ve recently re-watched Avatar and wow Zuko is such a phenomenal character. His development is fantastic and I was rooting for him the whole way through. He’s just so complex and so interesting and you feel everything he feels and, yep, I definitely feel like re-watching it all over again!

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3. What’s a nostalgia list without a Harry Potter character? I always loved Draco growing up. Like, I knew he was Not A Great Person but I also found his character arc so interesting. Also, watching the Cursed Child play last year made me feel vindicated in my love for Draco. He just needed a chance away from his manipulative family to flourish and now he’s such a great parent to Scorpius which makes grown-up me love him even more. Although grown-up me definitely prefers Neville in re-reads. I think when I was little I had a thing for rogues but now I just like the nice, kind, polite types that are respectful and appreciative of you.

New Moon

4. Okay so I’m a little (lot) embarrassed by this one but I was a moody 15 year old so I’ll cut me some slack. I was properly in love with Jacob from Twilight. I think more so because all of my friends at the time were so into Edward so I was really stubborn about liking Jacob just to prove a point. Not entirely sure what point I was proving, but there ya go. Plus, I’ve always just preferred werewolves over vampires so…


I think that’s it for this list! Not quite a top 5, but close enough. I internalised a lot of homisia when I was growing up – and if I’m honest, still deal with a lot of it now – so that’s why the list is predominately male. What are  some of your nostalgic book boyfriends and girlfriends?
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Books · Tag · Uncategorized

Reader Problems Book Tag

Hello bookish friends!

I have a tag for you today that was originally created by About To Read – you can watch their video here.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

I’m definitely a mood reader so I do tend to just go with the flow. This can be quite difficult at times though. Sometimes I have no idea what kind of mood I’m in until I start reading something and realise ‘nope, not this one.’ I also tend to read more library books than owned books since there’s a time limit on those and they motivate me to read faster too.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

Oooh this depends. If I’m finding it problematic and potentially harmful, then yes I put it down straight away. But, if it’s just a meh read, it depends on how fast I think I can finish it. Also, if I bought the book, I tend to want to at least try to finish it. I’ve already wasted my money on it, might as well waste my time, too!

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Yes I absolutely do! I crazy read. I’ll read multiple books at once so I don’t get bored and set myself easy targets each day. If it’s 30 pages of each book I’m reading it makes it seem so much more doable than 200 pages of 1 book in a day. Also, I’ll tend to reach for more graphic novels and short stories at this time of year, too.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

Ugh I don’t. It’s not that I’m being shallow, it’s that it causes me anxiety when things don’t match. Like, I can’t stand things that aren’t logical. I really struggle with things that don’t make logical sense and they can stress me out aswell. Which is why it irritates me when people downplay others’ reactions to cover changes. Just because you personally aren’t affected, doesn’t mean that people that need patterns and logic to make sense of the world are superficial or snowflakes. Never downplay anxiety.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?  

My Mum, usually. Since we have different tastes, she probably hasn’t read the same book as me. Which means I can rant to her and she’ll just agree with me and join in with the ranting!

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I just cry. Honestly, I’m such a huge crier. The most ridiculous things make me tear up. If I try to keep it in, my face will go all red and puffy and I’ll get a headache. Better out than in! Crying can be really healthy for you.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!  

See, this is actually a huge problem for me. I forget books so easily. I know how they made me feel but I’ll forget everything else. I try to look up my notes or review if I have one and just go straight into the sequel, hoping for the best. I don’t have time to re-read with all the other books I want to get to.

8. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?  

I just keep reading until I find something that sticks. At the moment, I’m kind of in a bit of a slump, so I’ve started listening to audio books for the first time in my life! And I’m actually really enjoying them. I’m bad at retaining information by just listening so I never thought I would have the attention span for audio books, but I think I’m managing so far. And I’m actually listening to one as I type which is great! Yay multitasking!

9. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

That really depends. I get a Waterstones voucher at Christmas every year that has to last for the following year so I tend to look at all the new books coming out and decide which ones I absolutely must buy ASAP. I also take into consideration which ones might be so popular that they’ll become available at the library and think about which ones might be available in cheaper stores that sell books, like The Works or Asda or Tesco.

10. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

Out of all the new releases I’ve bought myself this year, I have read 5 out of the 6 so that’s pretty good going. I’m usually quite good at reading new releases as soon as I get them but if they’re not new releases I’m buying, the books do tend to stay on my shelves for a while – oops!
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Books · Lists · Uncategorized

Books to Throw In the Bonfire

Hello bookish friends!

Since it’s the fifth of November, I thought it appropriate to talk about some of the books that have frustrated me to the point that they deserve no better end than the fire. I rarely get so annoyed by books, but when I do, boy do I!

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The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

This book was my first ever DNF. It’s a 500(ish) page book and I had less than 80 pages to go but I just couldn’t force myself to read another word. The plot was so far-fetched and ridiculous and, honestly, kind of up itself. The main character was very pretentious and it felt like the author was just using this book to show off all their knowledge. Also, this contained possibly the worst case of instalove I’ve ever come across. I hate that I wasted so much time on such a ridiculous book. And you know what the funniest thing is? The author teaches Creative Writing at the uni I went to for my undergraduate! I’m not sure if she’s still there but, wow – teaching students how to write? The irony!

Candy

Candy by Kevin Brooks

CW racism.

This book was an immediate DNF for me. I talked about this book recently, in my unhaul. It was horribly racist. It used, twice, the ‘scary Black man’ stereotype. The following quote is what made me want to throw this book into the fiery pits of Hell:

“The big black guy who sat down between us had the emptiest eyes I’ve ever seen – empty of feeling, empty of heart, empty of everything but himself. […] His face was a death mask.”

The main character thinks this literally as soon as he sees him and, honestly, there just aren’t any words. This is disgusting and I can’t believe this pitiful excuse for a book got published. BURN IT.

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Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

CW amisia.

I read this book over a year ago and it still boils my blood thinking about it. It contained horribly amisic language (offensive to both aros and aces) and called people who hadn’t had sex by the time they were 18 “some kind of freak,” amongst other things. If you’ve grown up ace, chances are you’ve probably grown up feeling broken and like there’s something wrong with you. Bullshit books like this make you feel even shittier about your existence. So I would definitely take great pleasure in burning this arsehole book. Page. By. Bloody. Page.

I actually wrote a review on this one (gasp!) if you want to know more of my in-depth thoughts. It’s a little outdated in the style I use nowadays, but goes into more specific detail, using quotes.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

CW ableism.

This has to be one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever read. First of all, this book is ableist and it really annoys me that no one had really mentioned that in their reviews before I bought it. I kept reading it to try to find out why people loved it so much and, honestly, I still have no clue. It’s the most predictable story. Everything was so obvious, I don’t get how people could actually be surprised by the ending. I also really, really disliked the main character. I hated how she believed that ‘love could conquer all’ and nothing else mattered. That’s not how life works. Also, that’s not how depression works. Which is another thing that annoyed me! Depression was completely glossed over. It was rarely considered by any of the characters. This book failed on so many levels – I really don’t get why it’s so popular. Each to their own, I guess!

Rivers of London

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

CW sexism.

I’ve temporarily DNF’d this book after reading 12 pages a couple of weeks ago. In those 12 pages, there were 4 instances of misogyny. And, I mean, shit got real creepy, real quick. First of all, the main character fancies his co-worker. But it’s not just that he fancies her, it’s the language he uses to describe her. He refers to her as “angel” and wishes he could wake up next to her which is creepy at the best of times but when you’re co-workers? Nope. Don’t ever think that way about your colleagues. Ever. It’s disgusting. Also, he has a poster of Estelle on his wall?? If you’re a teenager, okay, this is sort of understandable. But he’s a grown-ass man! Again, so very creepy. Then I finally decided to give up when he was thinking about how he’d never let his daughter marry someone with a certain occupation (I can’t remember for sure which one now – I’ve already returned the book to the library), which just sums up his general feelings about women really. He sees them as things he can control, that exist purely to please him. And all of this is contained in just 12 pages. 12!! It’s such a shame because I’ve been looking forward to this series for so long and I’m just so bitterly disappointed. To the point where I might end up forgetting about what annoyed me and picking it up again in a couple years’ time. I just really wanted to like it. 


Thanks for sticking with me in this post! I know I’ve ranted and let out quite a lot of feelings but I feel like this exercise was quite therapeutic and I feel tons better!! What are some books you’d like to cast in the fire?
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Books · The Friday 56

The Friday 56 – Murder Most Unladylike

Hello bookish friends!

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda’s Voice. You can find her here.

Friday 56

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Murder Most Unladylike

I’m currently reading Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. This takes place in 1937 in an all-girls boarding school, following Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, members of the Detective Society. A murder has just been committed and the girls are on the case.

So far, I’m really enjoying the first book to this popular children series. I absolutely love that it’s set in an all-girls school – so many female friendships! I love the lingo the girls have created around their school – it’s incredibly realistic of a group of friends to have these fun, quirky ways of saying things and generally going about things.

I also really like that the story is told from Hazel’s perspective. She’s Chinese (born and raised in Hong Kong) and, unfortunately, has experienced quite a bit of racism from some of her fellow schoolmates. I like that the author doesn’t back away from addressing the racism and discusses it freely – especially since this is a children’s novel, too.

Overall, I’m really excited to continue reading this and can’t wait to discover who the murderer is!

“”Why ever would he kill Miss Bell? It’s not as though he’e even interested in her any more. Really, it ought to have been her killing him, and of course that didn’t happen.””Stark Reviews Logo

Books · TBR

November TBR | 2017

Hello bookish friends!

As always, I’m planning to read an obscene amount of books. I definitely won’t be getting around to all of them, so this will be in order of priority. That being said, I am really excited to read each and every one of these!

Murder Most Unladylike

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Author: New to me
Genre: MG mystery
Type: First in a series – library book
Reason: Murder mysteries, female friendships, boarding school

The Diviners

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Author: New to me
Genre: YA mystery/historical
Type: First in trilogy – library book
Reason: Murder mystery, 1920’s New York, paranormal

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA contemporary
Type: Stand-alone – library book
Reason: Own voices OCD rep, childhood fave

Frozen Tides

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: Fourth book in series – owned book
Reason: Fast-paced, addictive, angsty

The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Type: Second book in quartet – library book
Reason: Atmospheric, creepy, ancient secrets

A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Author: Read previously
Genre: Adult fantasy
Type: Second book in trilogy – library book
Reason: Multiple Londons, magic, pirates

The Rose Society

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: Second book in trilogy – owned book
Reason: Dark, X-Men vibes, anti-hero

The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Author: Read previously
Genre: Urban fantasy
Type: Stand-alone – library book
Reason: Dark, twisty, fairy-tale

The Novice

The Novice by Taran Matharu

Author: New to me
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: First book in a series – library book
Reason: Magic, demons, Orcs

Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Author: Read previously
Genre: YA fantasy
Type: First book in a series – library book
Reason: Sister queens, matriarchal society, political intrigue

Sandman #3

Sandman: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman

Author: Read previously
Genre: Urban fantasy
Type: Graphic novel – third volume – library book
Reason: Dark, gritty, gods


That’s all the books I want to pick up this month. What are some of the books you’re excited to read?
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Books · Lists

Monsters, Ghosts and Witches. Oh My!

Hello bookish fiends!

I wanted to dedicate a post to talking about all my favourite Halloween-y type creatures and characters in books so here are some of my faves!

Ghostly Echoes

Vampire

By far my favourite vampire so far in books has to be Pavel from Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter. He’s an old school vampire who is actually terrifying to the point where I found myself fearing for the main character’s life. I’m really not fond of the whole sexy vampire trend so it was very refreshing to see such a great, classic representation of what I feel a vampire should be – scary and monstrous!

Lady Midnight

Faerie 

I adore the faerie lore found in the Shadowhunter novels, particularly in The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare. The faerie world is so vivid in my mind – it’s so well constructed. I really like how it mixes classical elements of faerie folk tales with Clare’s own twist of her imagined faerie world. I also like the different kinds of faeries – the Wild Hunt, the Seelie, the Unseelie. And I like how we get to explore all the different sides to faeries – mischievous, straightforward and cruel. I think my favourite thing about the Shadowhunter faeries is that it feels like there is so much more to know about them and their lore. They’re definitely one of the most intriguing elements for me in the series.

Heir of Fire

Witch

For all the things I find annoying about Sarah J. Maas, she is very good at developing worlds, especially Manon Blackbeaks’ coven of witches. One of the best things about witches in fiction is getting to read about the beautiful female friendships between them. And the Throne of Glass witches have such great, powerful relationships between them. I also really love the history of the Ironteeth witches, how cut-throat they are and how loyal they are to each other. The witches’ politics and law is particularly interesting to me.

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Ghost

My favourite apparitions will always have to be from the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. The Problem, as it is known, features ghosts of varying types. From the easily dealt with shades, to the powerful and destructive poltergeists, to the unpleasant, bloody raw-bones. Also, the most sarcastic talking skull you could ever meet! Each case with each ghost is completely different and they all have their backstories from when they were alive – some just plain disturbing. 

The Gates

Demon

Nurd, Scourge of Five Deities, from The Gates by John Connelly is probably the least terrifying demon you could come across but he is hilarious and made me laugh an awful lot whist reading about him. He also has demon brothers which include Graham, the Demon of Stale Biscuits! This book is a cross between Stroud and Pratchett levels of humour, so you can imagine what Nurd the demon, who gets sucked up by a hoover when he makes his first appearance on Earth, is like!

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Local folklore creature

Shadowmagic by John Lenahan predominantly takes place in Tír na nÓg, Land of the Young, which features a multitude of creatures from stories from around where I was brought up. Celtish legendary creatures such as brownies, banshees and púcas exist in this storyworld. Celtish mythology and legends is one of my absolute favourite things to read about and I will probably pick up any book containing these kinds of folklore creatures!
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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Non-Horror Books that Scared Me

Hello bookish fiends!

Back again with another Top 5 Wednesday. The host, Thoughts on Tomes, can be found here. And the Goodreads group can be found here.

Before we start, you should probably know that I am a huge scaredy cat and find a lot of things scary that I’m assuming most people normally wouldn’t!

The Hollow Boy

1. The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

This is my go-to book for being scared! It’s a book series about ghost-hunting so it’s scary at the best of times. But there was this one scene in particular where one of the ghosts was described to move really funny, kind of like a spider and it just really freaked me out. I’m getting a little freaked out just thinking about it, if I’m being honest!!

Monstress

2. Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda

This graphic novel is pretty disturbing. It’s set in a war-torn world where slavery and torture are pretty common so I felt very uneasy throughout. I think what makes this story so scary and unsettling, though, is its artwork. It certainly doesn’t shy away from showing anything, which worked to its advantage, but did also manage to scare me quite a bit!

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3. The Wolf In the Attic by Paul Kearney

Chase scenes always seem to scare me but this one was extra scary because of the vivid way it was described. We’re in the main character’s head when she’s being chased by men with knives and the author goes into a lot of detail about how she’s feeling in that exact moment. It was quite the visceral experience!

Northern Lights 1

4. Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman

Okay so I know this is a children’s book but there are some seriously disturbing moments in it! There were many moments when I felt my heart racing, particularly in relation to the experiments and some of the adults had very skewed views of morality which created an atmosphere of distrust and fear.

Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

5. Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson

This is a short story about ghosts who come alive in the dark, set in a fantasy world. So naturally, I found it pretty darn scary. I loved the lore centered around the ghosts, too – how they would rile up if they could smell or see blood. For only 50 pages, I spent quite a few of those sitting on the edge of my seat!


That’s it for this weeks’ top 5 Wednesday! What are some of the books you’ve read that have scared you?
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Books · Tag

The Halloween Book Tag

Hello bookish fiends!

Halloween is near so I thought it’d be the perfect time to give this tag a go. It was created by Naomi the Book Lover and you can watch her video here.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

1. Carving pumpkins- what book would you carve up and light on fire?

A few spring to mind but in the interests of fairness, I’ll stick to just the one! Probably the book I’ve read most recently that genuinely made me want to throw it across the room was The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. In particular, The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’s amisic-coded language had my blood boiling it was so bad. The book overall was completely pointless. It felt like not much effort at all went into it and was a pretty poor attempt at fairy-tales. I would definitely get a lot of pleasure out of carving this book up into ribbons and setting the remnants on fire!

2. Trick or treat- what character is a treat, what character is a trick?

The Skull from Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud is an absolute treat. The Skull is by far my favourite character of the series. So much so that I continue turning the pages purely to get more hilarious, witty, rude remarks from the Skull. I rarely find myself laughing out loud from reading but literally everything the Skull says makes me snort-laugh. So definitely quite the treat!

For me, Ron Weasley is the worst kind of trick. For starters, he’s a Nice Guy so, initially, you think he’s actually a pretty alright guy. Until he slut shames you, mocks your passions and is overall just incredibly moody and rude and entitled. I know this is an unpopular opinion but I do wonder if more people read Harry Potter for the first time nowadays, if they’d find Ron’s behaviour acceptable or not. Either way, I’ll continue intensely disliking him!

Winter

3. Candy corn- what book is always sweet?

I finished reading The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer this year and I bloody loved them! They were full of adventure, wit and, most of all, adorable cuteness. The romances were some of the sweetest I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about and I just thoroughly enjoyed each instalment of the series. So very sweet!

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4. Ghosts- what character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

Obviously, SPOILER WARNING for this one.

I’m going to say Raphael Santiago from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare for this one. I rarely see people as distraught as I was in their reviews for City of Heavenly Fire about Raphael’s death, but I loved this guy so much! I love him even more now that I know he’s ace (and hopefully, but yet to be confirmed, aro). We’d have such fun together if he came back to visit me. He has the best sense of humour.

The Way of Kings Part Two

5. Dressing up in costume- what character would you want to be for a day?

There are so many worlds I’d like to walk around in but I think one of the most interesting experiences would come from being Shallan from The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. She has a very curious mind and is on the verge of discovering something incredibly important, probably changing the course of history. Plus, discovering the secrets of the universe with Jasnah Kholin sounds like a pretty great way to spend a day to me!

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6. Wizards and witches- what is your favorite Harry Potter moment?

Anything to do with Neville! His character arc throughout the series is the most pure, beautiful thing to come out of it. He’s so brave and he tries really hard and he’s just so endearing that I want to pick him up and put him in my pocket. Bless Neville.

The Hollow Boy

7. Blood and gore- what book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for awhile?

I’d hate to be basic and say Lockwood & Co. but…. I’m going to be! I’m not the biggest fan of scary things so Lockwood & Co. is about the creepiest I can deal with. The Hollow Boy in particular was terrifying to me. Never has a book given me literal chills and made my eyes water from fear. Honestly, it wasn’t even that scary – I’m just that big a wuss!


That’s it for the Halloween Tag! How are you guys celebrating Halloween this year? Stark Reviews Logo