2017 Book Haul #2

I know what you’re thinking, am I really hauling another lot of books so soon after my first book haul of the year? Yes, in short. Amazon is the devil, it encourages me to buy books, and they make it so easy to acquire books that I just can’t say no. Their 3 for 10 paperback offer in particular is especially cruel. It’s a problem. Honest. See also: I have no impulse control. But we all know why you’re here (if you’re still here, wait, no, please, come back), so let us just get onto showcasing the shiny shiny books I have acquired lately…

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
The third book in the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, this is probably my most anticipated book for this year so obviously I pre-ordered it as soon as I could. I re-read the first two books prior to diving into this one and I’m so glad I did because it just made this beauty of a book all the more funny and heartbreaking all in one. I’m sure I don’t need to sing its praises since countless people have done so before me but it features a crown prince who is equal parts Jack Harkness and Prince Harry (not kidding), a magician able to travel into parallel Londons who owns a pretty damn amazing coat (yes, I want one), and a badass girl who has a touch of Jack Sparrow’s ‘now bring me that horizon’ sentiment about her.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wish you didn’t care so damn much about this merry band of misfits. Plus, I mean, just look at that cover design – it’s simply just gorgeous, right?
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The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
Again, The Song Rising is a third book in a series I adore, so obviously when this “collector’s edition” (i.e.  them mercifully continuing to publish editions that match the old cover design) became available to pre-order, I was all over it. Once again, I re-read the previous books before diving into this one and may I just say, as I am currently in the middle of this right now, how dare you Samantha Shannon, you’re breaking my heart here… and I love you for it. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, The Bone Season is the first book and it tells the story of a dystopian London in which a sort of underground community of clairvoyants exist despite the Scion-controlled government’s best efforts to wipe them out, and then the story takes a detour into the beautiful Oxford, as you’ve never seen it before. The Mime Order, the second book focuses more closely on the politics and shenanigans of the syndicates/gangs of clairvoyants within London and it’s an amazing sequel and really ups the games. So, basically what I’m saying is, if you haven’t read it, you really should.
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The Sally Lockhart Quartet by Philip Pullman
If you follow the blog closely, you may have seen my Feature post discussing the books that “made me”, the books that I read as a child and shaped who I was as a reader and as a person, to be honest. This series featured on that list as I adored Philip Pullman’s take of Victorian London via the spunky Sally Lockhart. When I recalled how fondly I used to think of this series, I knew I had to purchase it for myself. A couple of clicks on Amazon and whoops, here we are, no regrets, look at that very apt cover design, it’s wonderful!

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Six Degrees of Separation | Fever Pitch

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve not read unfortunately, it’s Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. What I do know about it is that it was made into a film in the UK, starring Colin Firth and Mark Strong (so obv, I’d know about it)…

Mark Strong also starred in a book-to-film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy by John le Carré which follows retired deputy chief George Smiley’s efforts to uncover a Soviet mole lurking within MI6. One of MI6’s Soviet sources is code-named Merlin…

Merlin, of course, is a legendary wizard who appears in Arthurian legend and many a derivation of that legend, including Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. But of course Merlin is also woven into the society of…

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, in which characters use “Merlin’s beard!” as a form of exclamation, and which features an honour called the Order of Merlin (the wizarding world’s version of an OBE). The series was published by Bloomsbury, who also publish a book often compared (erroneously, I think) to Harry Potter and that is…

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, a YA dystopian/fantasy which takes place in a Scion-controlled London where clairvoyants are considered dangerous and so form a sort of Victorian-inspired gang system within the criminal underbelly within the city (and also I love it a lot ok?). Not to spoil the entire plot but this book also takes place in Oxford (a beautiful place I also love), as is…

Philip Pullman’s Northern Lightsthe first book in the His Dark Materials, a wonderful fantasy trilogy telling the story of Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry and there’s polar bears and parallel worlds and witches but it also has some really dark undertones regarding religion and theology and by god it’s SO good. The title of the trilogy (and the entire trilogy) is inspired by…

Paradise Lost by John Milton, an epic 17th-century poem which retells the Biblical story of the Fall of Man and the Original Sin etc. I studied this in my Renaissance to Restoration class at university and I never did finish it but the lectures and seminars I had about this text were genuinely some of the most amazing I’ve ever had. The poetic style of this text is extraordinarily cinematic and visual and it’s pretty damn impressive and I completely understand why it holds the place it does in the canon of English literature.


And there we have it, folks, from Fever Pitch to Paradise Lost, which are two things I never thought would be said in the same breath! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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Feature | Books That Made Me

As people we are all inevitably shaped by the media and culture we consume. This is especially true of our formative years, especially childhood. I think that’s why any books, films or TV shows that we enjoyed as children hold a strange and special place in our hearts, even as we get older and even if we might notice ‘problematic’ things about them.

This post is inspired by the wonderful Cinzia whose videos I adore and who does a sort of annual favourites video which she titles, for example, Books That Made Me 2015. These aren’t just books that are her favourites of the year; they are the books that contributed a more lasting impact on her life in that given year and whose effect will last many years into the future. This got me thinking about my own favourites, the books that “made me”, and I felt like a wander down nostalgia lane in the form of revisiting some of the books I read as a child that I think contributed into making me the reader, and the person, I am today. I thought it might be an interesting feature post to share with you lovely folks, and perhaps we could start a little discussion about what childhood favourite books made you into the reader you are today?

Even more timely, earlier today I came across Comma Press’ blog from their staff talking about their favourite childhood books in honour of World Book Day today. Today seems like the perfect day to publish my own blog post dedicated to the books that came to me as a child reader and still influence the reader I am to this very day. This is going to be a long one, kids, so buckle up…

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Six Degrees of Separation | Fates and Furies

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my (somewhat belated) efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve actually read (and adored): Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. This tells the story of the relationship of Lotto and Mathilde and their seemingly perfect marriage. As is all too often the case, there are two sides to every story and their marriage turns out to be a little… turbulent.

Speaking of turbulent and not-as-it-seems marriages, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is pretty much the epitome of unreliable narrator. (Or so I’m told, I never actually made it past 50 or so pages when I tried to read it) The 2014 film adaptation of it starred Rosamund Pike as the perfect wife, Amy. She has also previously starred in a 2005 book-to-film adaptation of…

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as directed by Joe Wright, which I love and thought she was the perfect Jane Bennet, but I digress… Pride and Prejudice is considered a classic of the 19th century, just like…

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a story that tells the tale of the eponymous Jane from orphanhood to a position as governess at Thornfield Hall where she falls for the stern Mr Rochester. It’s a book I never “got”, I read it and it was fine but I don’t think I appreciated it as I should have (maybe I should give it a re-read now I’m older?) The bits of it I did enjoy, however, were the Gothic-y elements, as I seem to like my books with a slight Gothic trend. Unsurprisingly, then, this next Gothic-y book is high on my TBR…

Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree, ostensibly a children’s book which won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2015. The main character, Faith, is a young girl with an interest in science (so I gather from the book’s synopsis). Another “Costa” winner (it was previously called the Whitbread Book Award until 2006) from 2001 which was the first “children’s” book to win the Award…

… and featured a strong young lady named Lyra, whose story is told in The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, the third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. The book takes place in cities in parallel worlds, not unlike…

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in her Shades of Magic trilogy which tells of a very unique traveller, Kell, an ambassador to the royal family who is able to travel between parallel versions of a city called “London” situated in very different worlds which have different amounts of magic. I adore these books and am eagerly anticipating the final book in the trilogy, A Conjuring of Light, which is released tomorrow!

And there we have it, folks, from Fates and Furies to A Darker Shade of Magic, as easy as that! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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