T5W | Characters You’d Cosplay

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Characters You’d Cosplayfeature some characters you’d like to cosplay as or you think would make a fun Halloween costume.

I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween, truth be told, never have been… but in my time I’ve dressed up as the requisite witch or two when I was younger. In fact, I think my Mildred Hubble costume from The Worst Witch is still lurking in my parents’ house somewhere! I can’t deny though that there are a few characters I’d love to cosplay as if I got the chance at an event or convention purely because I love their costumes.

Continue reading

T5W | Summer Reads

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Summer ReadsWith summer finally kicking off, now is the time to recommend your favourite summer reads, whatever that means to you! I think we all know what, for a lot of people, this question calls to mind many a YA contemporary or a romance to consume over summer. I wouldn’t say I’m immune to this phenomenon but I will say I am also the girl who read Bram Stoker’s Dracula sitting beside the sea in Spanish heat whilst on a family holiday. So… you know… I’m not the most consistently summer-y of readers in actual summer. That being said, I’ve covered this topic in some capacity quite a few times since I’ve started this blog (my Top 5 Wednesday Summer Reads from 2017, for example) so I’m just going to go ahead and recommend you some new, fun YA books that I’ve read since chatting about the topic around this time last year.

Honourable Mentions

Since I seem to have read sooo many great things that fit the bill since I last did this topic in May 2017, I’m going to just go ahead and list all of the ones that didn’t quite make the Top 5 but are still really great summer reads because, hell, why not? Are you ready for it?

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven (my review)
Royals by Rachel Hawkins (my review)
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (my review)
Sourdough by Robin Sloan (my review)
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (my review)
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (my review)

Phew. Now onto the actual Top 5 Summer Reads.

5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Kicking this off with something not quite as fun and summery as some of the other reads but I stand by my choice all the same. Big Little Lies is certainly a page turner, which is what we all need during the summer, don’t we? This would be a perfect book to take on a relaxing summer holiday – the topics in it aren’t exactly sunshiney and cheery but I guarantee you it will suck you into its story and not let go until the final page.

Continue reading

T5W | Auto-Buy SFF Authors

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is a Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic: Auto-Buy Sci-fi and Fantasy Authors! As a mostly fantasy reader, it’s unsurprising that there are a fair few SFF authors whose work I will always read, regardless of the synopsis, so this topic is pretty perfect. Let’s not waste any more time, let’s get into it…

Honourable Mention: J.K. Rowling

Before you start to throw things at me, I should explain: Rowling’s presence on this list as an “honourable mention” is simply because, nowadays, she has well and truly diversified beyond SFF. The Harry Potter series may have been her debut (and a pretty spectacular debut at that, I think we can all agree) but she’s since written contemporary and crime, as well as expanding the Harry Potter Wizarding World even further. So is she really mainly a SFF author anymore? Only time will tell, but that’s also why she’s “only” an honourable mention on this list.

5. Maggie Stiefvater

Ever since reading The Raven Boys I knew I couldn’t ever not buy something that Maggie Stiefvater has published since those books. (I say “since” because I’m not so fussed about the The Wolves of Mercy Falls series if I’m honest, oops!) I find her writing incredibly vivid and compelling, it just has a vibe I can’t quite explain, but it makes me want to live in the world she creates in her stories. So it’s safe to say I’ll definitely be buying her forthcoming books.
Continue reading

T5W | Favourite Book Spines

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is a Freebie which means we get to invent our own topic or to pick a previous one from the Top 5 Wednesday archives. I decided to go way back to August 2014 for this one and I’m going to talk about my Top 5 Favourite Book Spines.

As a disclaimer, this will not include any book spines that are a publisher’s edition of a particular series. For example, Penguin consistently knock it out of the park with their recognisable cover and spine designs and they have many ranges of classics which are instantly recognisable and beautiful in their simplicity- e.g. Penguin English Library, Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions, Penguin Clothbounds, Penguin Great IdeasPenguin Little Black Classics, and their recently released Penguin Modern series. Like I said, they are consistently excellent at cover (and particular spine) design. But this post isn’t about them, this is about all the other beautiful spine designs that I love…

(I also do hereby apologise for my terrible photos which completely lack white balance and will not do any of these spines justice!)

5. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

img_0242

Ok mostly I enjoy the cover as a whole when you lay out the jacket flat but the point still stands that the gold foiling embossed against the black background is very eye-catching and stunning. I haven’t read this book so I couldn’t tell you if the spine matches the content but it makes it seem quite royal, decadent, and luxurious somehow.
Continue reading

T5W | Books I Didn’t Get To In 2017

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is 10th January: Top 5 Books You Didn’t Get To In 2017. It’s pretty self-explanatory – this is the top 5 books that I didn’t manage to get to last year and that I want to prioritise this year. I am the queen of putting off reading books, especially sequels in a series that I never want to end, so this list was pretty easy to write since I never get to the books I mean to. Without further ado, let’s see the books…

5. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

hownottobeaboyI’m not a big fan of Robert Webb. I’m not not a fan of Robert Webb. I’m mostly neutral. I’ve never been hugely into Peep Show but I’d also never turn it off on TV so I’ve seen episodes here and there. But aside from Peep Show, I know precisely zero about Robert Webb. And yet I bought this book because I hear some very promising buzz about it on Twitter just before it was released. As you can guess from the title, it deals with gender and expectations and, especially (I think), about how we tell boys to be boys (and, I assume, girls to be girls) and how that’s damaging to our children. I’m looking forward to it having heard from reliable sources that it is, in fact, ‘one of the good ones’ when it comes to books about gender. I have this on audiobook and in hardback form so hopefully that will work in its favour. Continue reading

T5W | Top 5 Books of 2017

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is December 20th: Top 5 Books of 2017 and, as Sam says, “I know most people have a longer list than this, or post theirs at different times (like I’ll be waiting until January for example) but if you want to make a list of your absolute faves of the year, now is the time!”

I generally do a post at the beginning of January to wrap up all my reading from the year with some statistics and accompanying graphics and also a definitive list of my favourite books of that year. This year I’ve really been thinking about how I choose my ‘top books’ (I even did a discussion about that here)so it’s safe to say I’m trying to be more discerning about how I pick my top books. This Top 5 Wednesday topic comes at a great time because it gives me the opportunity to ‘test run’ my new thoughts on picking the best books I read in the past year before that final post in January!

As I re-read a lot of favourites (looking at you Leigh Bardugo, Samantha Shannon, V.E. Schwab, Maggie Stiefvater), I’ve made sure to restrict my list to just those books that I read and loved in 2017 for the first time.

5. Wishing for Birds by Elizabeth Hewer

I’ve said many times before (including in my gushing review) that this collection was, simply put, absolutely stunning. I’ve known of Elizabeth’s writing for some time due to following her on Tumblr but this debut poetry collection was just incredibly written and there are a lot of turns of phrase which will stay with me for many months to come. I mean, put it this way, I read it in January and I still remember it.

Continue reading

T5W | Characters on the Naughty List

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is December 13th – Characters on the Naughty List: these can be villains or just characters you don’t like! As you might have guessed if you saw my Top 5 ‘Problematic Faves’ post a few Wednesdays ago, I have quite the soft spot for a good old fashioned, morally grey villain. They always seem to have so much fun in their villainous ways and the devil really does have all the best tunes. That being said, I’m trying not to just repeat the same ol’ same ol’ all over again so I’ve gone for more mischievous ‘naughty’ characters rather than just flat out villains.

5. Henry ‘Monty’ Montague from A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

It’s safe to say that Monty is a bit of a devilish rogue, and I choose that phrase very deliberately. Everyone’s favourite ruffled, rumpled rake, he’d be the sort to break hearts but also charm every susceptible man, woman, or beast so that you’d forget how negligent he’d been towards you because that’s just Monty and Monty is so very, very charming and dashing. It helps that overall Monty is, in essence, an in-love little squish but I think Santa might very well put him on the naughty list for some of his more (ahem) illicit affairs.

Continue reading

T5W | Bookish Things You’re a Grinch About

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is… Bookish Things You’re a Grinch About: since being a grinch is a funny thing, try not to make this serious topics that make you angry (like lack of diversity or abusive relationships in fiction, etc) as this is supposed to be more of a petty bookish things you hate. This can be stuff about covers, dumb tropes, etc. Have fun with it.

5. “Exclusive”/collector’s editions 

I am something of a hypocrite on this one because I am a sucker for alleged special editions of my favourite books but it bugs me when you get “Waterstones” or “Barnes and Noble” exclusive editions that don’t really add anything to the story itself but just have an excerpt from the next book or an author interview or something. I have fallen prey to many an enticing Waterstones’ exclusive edition whose only exclusive feature is sprayed edges or a slightly different coloured foiling on the cover. I’m a sucker and they take my money every single time so I’d like them to not exist anymore, please and thank you.

4. Dumb “inner voices” of characters

I’ve been reminded how much I hate this by casually coming across an excerpt from Darker on Twitter (seriously, trying to make cooking a chicken stir-fry erotic is not going to happen, stop trying to make it happen, E.L. James) but I despise dumb inner voices. I understand the point of first-person narrative; it’s a device that facilitates storytelling because as the narrative character learns about things, the reader learns too. I get why it’s used, but what I hate is when it is used unnecessarily and when the inner voice of the character is so mind-numbingly dense that you wonder how they are the one you have to root for.

Continue reading

T5W | Problematic Faves

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Problematic Faves: characters you don’t want to love, but you can’t help liking. I’m a sucker for a good morally grey character, and I do like my villains too, so this is actually great category for me. I think we can all agree that, generally speaking, villains shouldn’t be loved or supported, but they do seem to have so much fun being wicked that you can’t help but liking their style. I’ve tried to mostly stick to books because otherwise I’m sure my Top 5 list would just end up being a recitation of all my fave film villains but one did sneak in there because I couldn’t stop him!

(Please note: slightly spoiler-y for relationships in the Grishaverse and The Bone Season books – do not read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.)

5. The Darkling from The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Is the Darkling problematic? Let’s face it, he was always going to be the villain of the Grisha trilogy, there was never any doubt about that, and even the revelations within the story that add some shades of grey to his shady morals are still a little villainous. If I’m perfectly honest, I haven’t re-read this book and my memory is a little hazy so maybe I need to do a re-read, just to check I still like the Darkling. (I’m sure I do.) In the meantime, anyone who says things like this wins my vote:

“Fine, make me your villain”
Continue reading

T5W | Vampires!

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Books Featuring [paranormal creature of your choice] here is the previously mentioned paranormal creature topic. This topic will revolve around one type of paranormal creature of your choice. So books featuring vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, demons, fae, zombies, etc.  

This week I’ve decided to base my post around my favourite depictions of vampires who, let’s face it, don’t have the best showing in literature nowadays – they mostly peaked with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the general genre has been downhill ever since sparkly vampires became a thing. This observation has also been made by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes in her brilliant video and, just like Sam, I’ve decided to widen my source from just books to media in general – books, TV shows, and films. It’s safe to say there’s a wide range of vampires here, from the serious to the silly, but I enjoy every single one of these vampiric representations.

darkdaysclubHonourable Mention: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

I had to give this book/series an honourable mention because it’s basically Jane Austen crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – our genteel young lady, Lady Helen, trains how to fight demons which, let me tell you, isn’t easy in layers of crinolines. The reason this gets a look-in is because it features a token appearance from Lord Byron and just the suggestion that Byron could have something vampiric about him makes me giggle like an idiot.

Print5. Soulless by Gail Carriger

Much in the same fun vein as The Dark Days’ Club, Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series tells of young lady Alexia Tarabotti who consorts with vampires, werewolves, and demons but is especially horrified by the lack of manners from some of these beasts. I love that vampires and werewolves are an integrated part of the social and political system in Carriger’s steampunk England. Plus her flamboyant vampire friend Lord Akeldama is hilarious – definitely a more ridiculous representation of vampires but entertaining all the same.

Continue reading