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.


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!


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.


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.


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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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.


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.


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!


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 · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite Creepy Settings

Hello bookish friends!

Today I bring you another Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by Thoughts on Tomes, all about our favourite creepy settings in books. I love a creepy, atmospheric setting so this list was a little difficult to get to just five, but I think I’ve picked some great ones! You can join us over at the Goodreads group here.


Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound is a Little Red Riding Hood inspired dark fantasy that takes place in a number of creepy places. My favourite one in particular being a forest. Because who doesn’t find forests creepy? Particularly when the forest is literally alive and trying to claim your soul for itself. This fairy-tale story is dark and twisty and complex and oh so wonderfully creepy.

The Hollow Boy

The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

All of the Lockwood & Co. books take place in a ghost-infested alternate London but this one in particular mainly takes place in a department store after hours and I’ve never been so creeped out reading a book! It had such an eerie, quiet atmosphere. Add to that terrifying ghosts that had such an affect on me that I was covered in goose-bumps and you have one helluva creepy setting!

The Strings of Murder

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

The Strings of Murder has a title that sounds like it’ll be just a tad bit creepy – and it is! It’s set in Victorian Edinburgh and follows two detectives on their hunt for a serial killer who has been killing violinists. This book takes you through satanic murder scenes, asylums and pitch-black tunnels which all make for a great creepy setting.


Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels by Mike Mignola & Ben Stenbeck

This graphic novel takes place in the world of Hellboy, in Victorian London. Sir Edward Grey is an inspector of the occult and must traverse the criminal underworld of London’s back alleys to unravel a deadly mystery. The illustrations breathe life to the creepy setting, making for a very dark, gritty, at times scary, atmosphere. There are demons and ghosts and ancient mysteries for added creepiness.

Through the Woods

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Everything about this graphic novel is extremely creepy. There are a number of short stories that tell the tales of some pretty disturbing, messed up things which all interconnect with the woods. We’ve already established that forests can be very creepy but the artwork here brought a whole new meaning to the word. I loved the vivid colour palette and the dark illustrations. It had a very fairy-tale-esque vibe to it and I’m planning to read it again for Halloween very soon!
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Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Books I’ve Read Because of the Online Book Community 

Hello bookish friends!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve participated in a Top 5 Wednesday so it’s good to be back! Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Thoughts on Tomes and the Goodreads group can be found here.

The Final Empire

1. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

So Peruse Project was one of the first booktubers I came across a few years ago, when I had just discovered the online book community. I’d never read an adult fantasy prior to the Mistborn series but Regan gave it such high praise that I decided to pick it up and I’ve now read all of the Mistborn books, Elantris, Warbreaker, The Way of Kings and a few short stories of Sanderson’s, too! I’ve also gone on to read other adult fantasy books, so this book was an important stepping stone for me. Probably the best recommendation I’ve ever come across!


2. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

I can’t for the life of me remember who exactly recommended this series but I know it was from one of the UKYA authors I follow on Twitter. They asked whether it was wrong that they were attracted to a talking skull which, naturally, had me very intrigued! It’s now one of my favourite ongoing series and I’m so happy to have stumbled upon that recommendation.


3. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

I found out about this book through Emily’s May’s review on Goodreads. A Greek mythology, Beauty and the Beast retelling blend was all I needed to know to want to pick this book up. Add to that the fact that she called it “the latest addition to my favourite YA of all time shelf,” and I absolutely had to have this book. And it really did not disappoint! Although it has a lot of mixed reviews, I adored the beautiful writing, the characters and, most of all, how darn weird it was!

Carry On

4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Although I knew of this book’s existence, I didn’t really plan to pick it up. Until, that is, I watched Katytastic’s review of it. Her excitement over the characters made me feel really excited, too, and I ended up buying it and reading it not too soon after. Aaaand I loved this book. So so much. It was one of the easiest five stars I’ve ever given. I completely understood Kat’s excitement levels after that!!

Six of Crows

5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I first heard about the Grishaverse books from Thoughts on Tomes but wasn’t entirely sold on the original trilogy until Sam talked about the new duology. A story about very morally-grey characters in a crew about to embark upon a heist. Also, ships galore! Leigh Bardugo is now one of my favourite authors and I adore all of the characters she’s created.  Also, it’s just been announced that we’re getting NIKOLAI BOOKS YES YES YES.

So that’s it for this Top 5 Wednesday. Thank you to everyone who gushes about their favourite books! Because of you, I continually find new favourite books! Stark Reviews Logo

Books · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite First Sentences

Hello bookish friends! Here with another Top 5 Wednesday. As always T5W is hosted by the lovely Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group here.

This weeks’ topic is favourite first sentences. First lines in books are very important to me. They pretty much determine whether or not I’ll take a book out of a library or ultimately end up purchasing a book. For me, first lines carry a lot of weight. So I decided to go through a crap ton of my books just to pick out my favourites. Which was so much harder than I thought it would be! But I think I’m happy with the ones I chose […]

The 5th Wave1. The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

“There will be no awakening”

This is probably my favourite first line. When I first read that line I remember thinking: this sounds like a line from a super cool sci-fi film! It felt so powerful to me and it really set the tone for the rest of the book. Which I ended up loving and giving an easy 5 stars to.

234371562. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

“Joost had two problems: the moon and his moustache”

I’d never picked up a Leigh Bardugo book previous to Six of Crows so when I started reading the first few lines in the book shop, I thought it would definitely be my cup of tea. And, you know what? IT BLOODY WAS. It ended up being my favourite book of last year.

158399843. Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hodge

“I was raised to marry a monster”

I love short first lines like this that essentially set up the tone for the entire novel. They always have some kind of effect on me and make me pause to savour what’s actually being said. It felt dark and sexy and that pretty much describes the book!


4. The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury

“Even when there are no prisoners, I can still hear the screams”

One of the few books that I’ve picked up on a whim without researching beforehand. And it was all due to those first few lines which were golden. I’m actually really glad that I didn’t research this book beforehand as it has quite mixed reviews and my life would not have been totally complete without this series in it […] So bless you Melinda Salisbury for your gorgeous writing and your ability to write a kick-ass first sentence!


5.Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton

“They said the only folk who belonged in Deadshot after dark were the ones who were up to no good. I wasn’t up to no good. Then again, I wasn’t exactly up to no bad, neither”

Okay so this one’s a few sentences, but still. Those opening lines immediately had me interested. Again, I picked this one up on a whim, too. Also ridiculously glad that I did. It was so much fun!

What are some of your favourite first sentences?
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Books · Lists · Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Top 5 Books You Wish Had Sequels

As always, Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by the lovely Thoughts on Tomes and the Goodreads group can be found here.

This weeks’ T5W is top 5 books you wish had sequels, so let’s get started!

Eleanor and Park

1. Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell)

I think it’s safe to say that we all want at least a little bit more of Eleanor and Park’s story. I won’t give anything away if you haven’t read it yet but… that damn postcard! I will always want that question answered. It bugs me that it won’t ever be answered. Just a wee novella will do Rowell!Carry On

2. Carry On (Rainbow Rowell)

I loved this fantasy world so much, I could easily read anything set in this world. And I feel like a book of short story’s set in this world would be really awesome. Rowell always seems to leave certain questions unanswered which I understand but, at the same time, it’s so frustrating! I just want moreeee!19547856

3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

I really love the romance in this but we never really got to see the couple together until right at the end of the book and I’d just like to see more of them and their adorable relationship. I’m thinking maybe a companion novel with different main characters but where the original couple make one or two appearances. I’m on to something, right?!


4. Stolen (Lucy Christopher)

I would love to know more of this story. I feel like I can’t really say anything without spoiling it but I think a new book set five years later on would be really interesting. I’d like to see how each of the main characters would feel about the other after some years have passed.7171637

5. The Infernal Devices (Cassandra Clare)

I guess my dreams are coming true a bit for this one because we are getting a sequel series. But it’s not here yet and I’m the impatient type so I’ll have this on the list anyway! The Last Hours takes place in 1903 and follows the next generation of Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, Blackthorns and Lightwoods. And I am so very excited for it! Even though there still isn’t a publication date…

Shatter Me

Honourable mention: Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi)

What I wouldn’t give for an epilogue! Just an epilogue, that’s all I would need! It just didn’t feel like the end; it wasn’t rounded off nicely and I’ve never really felt satisfied with the ending we got.

So that’s it for this weeks’ Top 5 Wednesday. What are some books or series you wish had sequels?

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Books · Lists

Top 5 Wednesday – Characters You Defend


I haven’t done one of these in a while so it’s about time I got back on the bandwagon! The Goodreads group for Top 5 Wednesday can be found here and the moderators here and here.

This weeks’ topic is Top 5 characters you defend. I’m interpreting this topic as top 5 characters I would defend if I saw any negative comments thrown at them. I’m a very loyal person so I’d jump to defend basically any character I love. But the following five most of all!

heart divider

1. Nyx from Cruel Beauty

Before reading Cruel Beauty I’d seen quite a few mixed reviews on Goodreads and a lot of the hate seemed to be directed towards the MC, Nyx. So I was a tad stand-offish when I started the novel but, whilst reading it, I got increasingly confused by people’s opinions of her. I thought she was a wonderful character. She was practically everything I look for in my strong female protagonists. I loved how flawed she was – and she was flawed. I liked her bitterness, I liked her unapologetic, unforgiving nature and, most of all, I liked her unrelenting drive. But I also liked how, underneath her prickly exterior, she was kind and warm-hearted. She felt intensely realistic to me and I just love her and yes, I will defend her till people get bored of me droning on about how awesome she is 😊

2. Twylla from The Sin Eater’s Daughter

Similar to Cruel Beauty, I’ve seen many reviews that criticised the book for its MC, Twylla. At the beginning of the series, yes, Twylla is quite a weak character – she isn’t remotely assertive and she is unable to stand up for herself. But she is written in such a way that, I feel, invokes great sympathy, not criticism.

It does really bug me when people expect others to be strong and unwavering in that strength. It’s okay to be scared and act cowardly. And it’s definitely okay to be selfish (in regards to self-care). You don’t owe anyone anything. And I hate it especially when female characters are expected to act selflessly because it reflects how society believes women should act. That we should always be doing things for other people at the expense of ourselves and our own hopes and dreams. Um, no. You’re alright. Oops, impromptu rant. My bad.

But, anyway, back to Twylla. She goes though some crazy character development over the course of both The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince. But, particularly, in the last chapter of the first instalment of the trilogy. She goes through a lot and, I won’t give away what happens but, what I will say is that she most certainly finds her voice and, as a result, her strength. And I just bloody love her okay?

3. Harper from Rebel Belle

I haven’t really seen much criticism for Harper but, for reasons I’ll explain, if I saw any comment that would diss her in any way, I will clearly explain to the person in question how and why they are wrong 😂 No, but seriously, Harper is one of my all-time favourite heroines and I adore her so much. I loved reading from her perspective. She’s witty, charming, highly intelligent, no-nonsense, extremely level-headed and unapologetically always herself.

In a world that seeks to criticise people who take pride in their looks and expresses that pride in a multitude of ways, Harper is a very important character, especially for younger readers. Too often the popular, ‘girly,’ overtly-feminine types are villainised by writers with deep-seated personal issues who seem to harbour within themselves a great deal of internal misogyny. Which is why we need more characters like Harper proving to people that you can wear heels and also kick a lot of butt, whether that be literally kicking butt or just outsmarting everyone around her. You got a problem with Harper, you got a problem with me 💁

4. Jem from The Infernal Devices

I have only read the first two in this trilogy (so no spoilers please!) but I am already totally and unequivocally in love with a certain Mr. Carstairs. He is special and delicate and must be protected at all costs. How anyone could ever say a single bad word about Jem or even go so far as to dislike him is completely beyond my comprehension and I don’t think I’m compatible with anyone who would feel such horrid things. I’m only half-joking 😂 To meet a real-life Jem Carstairs is at the top of my bucket list. No shame.

As a love interest to the MC, I haven’t seen many ‘Jem’ types in other novels. He is good and kind and gentle and probably one of the loveliest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. In YA novels it’s usually the archetypal highly masculine (in a toxic way), bad boy that tends to treat the MC like crap for whatever unbelievable, unforgivable reason that is the usual love interest. Suffice to say, those kinds of immature little shits don’t get my pulse racing in the slightest (why on Earth would they?!?). So the fact that Jem is one of the few truly nice male love interests out there – and I mean actually nice not fake nice guy that turns into a massive douche canoe the moment you turn him down – means I will forever defend him. Come what may. Until my last dying breath. Points if you understood that reference 👏

5. Chaol from Crown of Midnight

HOW COULD ANYONE HATE CHAOL!?!? Is a question I ask myself daily. Most of the time that question is directed towards none other than Ms. Maas herself. Unsurprisingly. Similar to Jem, I feel as though Chaol is quite a different male love interest than all the others. I love how uptight and stubborn he can be and I find his unwavering loyalty towards his friends really admirable. He’s just so swoon-worthy 😍 How people ship Aelin and Rowan together, I will never understand!

Thanks for reading this very long Top 5 Wednesday! Which characters would you always defend?

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Books · Lists

Top 5 Wednesday – Books You DNF’d


Top 5 Wednesday was created by Ginger Reads Lainey and you can find her booktube channel here and the goodreads group here.

This week’s topic is books you have DNF’d. Now, I’m no stranger to refusing to carry on with a book if I’m not enjoying it – I’ll happily give it up. Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often with me – I think I manage to do enough research to avoid it. But a few books have managed to sneak their way in and make me very unhappy whilst reading them. So here they are:


1. The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas
By far, the worst book I have ever read (well, read 85% of).  I wanted to start reading more adult novels so thought I’d give this one a go and, my God, it was absolute shite. I mean, it was completely ridiculous. The MC was stupid, selfish, very self-centred. There was a terrible case of the insta-love. And the plot was so unrealistic it was borderline offensive to the intelligence of its readers. I honestly don’t know why I bothered to read so much of it. I think maybe it was because of the scientific elements that were discussed but, it came to a point where, I just realised, if I wanted to read/learn about science, I’ll just pick up a non-fiction. The crazy thing is, I only had less than 100 pages to go and I’m actually a little bit tempted to finish it, just to say that I have. One day, maybe I will but, for now, when anyone battleaxes YA fiction and says that adult fiction is so much better, I’ll just go ahead and refer them to this excruciating mess of a novel.


2. Shadowmagic by John Lenahan

I think this was probably my biggest disappointment on this list. I honestly thought I would love this series before I started reading the first instalment. But it just fell very flat for me. Both the world-building and the plot was highly underdeveloped and the characters felt kind of one-dimensional and didn’t feel particularly realistic to me at all. I only read about 50 pages of this and it wasn’t as though I hated it; I was just really saddened by how much I didn’t adore it. So this is probably the only book on this list that I might seriously give another go of reading. And that’s mainly because my parents accidentally bought me the entire omnibus of the series and I feel bad if I don’t read at least the first one (which is only less than 300 pages long anyway!)


3. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I found myself enjoying this novel up to a point where I just thought: oh my God, I am so ridiculously bored and I simply do not care. I even managed to get over halfway through! Mainly, I just found it tough reading from a perspective where the MC had social anxiety – it hit a bit too close to home and I’m not interested in being in the head of someone who suffers from that in my fiction.


4. Paper Towns by John Green

Nothing against this book or any John Green book really, I just completely lost all interest in reading it. I read about 50 pages and sort of got a bit bored, decided to read something else to reinvigorate my desire to continue reading this but… I just never managed to get that desire back. I think I’ll probably give this book away as I honestly don’t see myself reading it in the next few years or so. If I do ever get the urge (*muffles laughter*), I’ll just pick it up at my local library.


5. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I mean, the less said about this one, the better, right? I’ll just give you a few chosen phrases: terrible writing, awful characters, weak female protagonist, rapey/deeply abusive male love interest, romanticism of unacceptable behaviour… I think you get the jist. Obviously, this book/series was not for me. Or anyone that has enough brain cells to figure out how damaging this book could be for young girls/vulnerable women. I mean, each to their own but… Jeez.

Wow, this was a pretty negative post/rant. Here’s a picture of a cat to make you feel better:


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