Top Ten Tuesday #85

Hey everyone! I’m sorry about my absence over the last week or so, I’ve been buried in end of semester deadlines and any time I have had for writing has been devoted to finishing my NaNoWriMo project (only 3k from the end now!) and working on my assignments! Anyway, enough about my life, onto today’s topic, which is a Holiday Gift Guide for the book lovers in your life. I’ve chosen to do Top Ten Etsy Gifts For The Book Lover In Your Life as I’ve been doing a lot of Etsy scouring recently, for Christmas gifts for my friends, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite things with you (obviously the examples will be from my favourite books, you would have to adjust for the book lover in your life’s own favourites). So here they are, my Top Ten Etsy Gifts For The Book Lover In Your Life:

  1. Bookish Prints

Cartaban Cards (based in Ireland) does some amazing bookish prints, they are book covers printed on a recycled page of an old encyclopaedia and they’re absolutely beautiful. Here are the ones that I love of my favourite books, but they aren’t just YA book prints, they also do classic books prints as well, if your book lover friend likes those:

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Print on an antique page, book cover artThe Raven King

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Print on an antique page, book cover artA Darker Shade of Magic

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell Print on an antique page, book cover artBlack Beauty

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Print Wall Art on an antique page, book cover artThe Book Thief

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult Print on an antique page, book cover artMy Sister’s Keeper

These are my personal favourites but there are many lovely prints in this shop, so if you are looking for a bookish print for your book loving friends, Cartaban Cards is definitely a great place to go! There are many other great prints on Etsy of course, but Cartaban Cards is my personal favourite shop for them.

2. Bookish Jewellery

I don’t have a specific favourite shop for jewellery on Etsy yet, but I have found lots of lovely little pieces when browsing on Etsy that I’ll share with you now. Again, these are obviously based on my favourite books, but I’m sure you will be able to find things that fit the book lover in your life’s tastes too:

Adam/Ronan [The Raven Cycle] Inspired Charm BraceletA Raven Cycle Themed Charm Bracelet

Harry Potter J K Rowling Marauders Map Solemnly Swear Large or Small Bronze or Silver Cameo Necklace JewelleryThis gorgeous Marauders’ Map themed pendant

Throne of Glass Quote Necklace - You could rattle the stars," she whispered. "You could do anything, if only you dared.This Throne of Glass quote necklace with my favourite quote from the series on it.

This beautiful Percy Jackson themed necklace.

3. Bookish Candles

My favourite shop for these is OldGlowCandles, the candles look beautiful and smell amazing! These are my personal favourites:

Vintage Bookshop - Scented Soy CandleThis one smells like old books!

This one has a scent of baked deserts and crackling fire apparently.

4. Bookish Clothes

There are many bookish themed clothes around on Etsy but this is my personal favourite, Harry Potter T-Shirts each with a design inspired by one of the books, I’m going to share the one for my favourite book, The Goblet of Fire:

Harry Potter Tri Wizard Cup Shirt | Geek T Shirt | Gift for Book Lovers | Harry Potter T Shirt | Bookworm Gift | Potter Head | Geek Stuff |

I also really love this shirt, because this quote has become kind of an in-joke with me and my friends:

No Post On Sundays. Movie Quote. Ladies fitted t-shirt.

This is quite expensive but if you have deeper pockets, I’m sure any Harry Potter fan in your life would love it:

Adult Harry Potter Inspired Marauders Map Full Skater Skirt

5. Bookish Handbags

These are incredibly beautiful, though admittedly not the cheapest gifts you can buy on Etsy from a shop called Bookarelli. Basically, they’re handbags, made from upcycled books, so the outside is an actual recycled harback book cover. These ones are my favourites:

A Christmas Carol Book Handbag by Charles Dickens - Christmas Story Book - Book Purse - Book Cover BagI’ve never actually read A Christmas Carol, but I thought this bag was beautiful, so I had to share it!

This one of To Kill A Mockingbird is also rather beautiful.

 

Book Clutch Purse - Alice's Adventures in WonderlandThis beautiful Alice In Wonderland Clutch is a great gift for any book lover.

Bookarelli does several Harry Potter themed purses, this one is my favourite.

The Arabian Nights Book Handbag - Book Cover Purse - Aladdin Bag - Ali Baba Story BookI’ve never read Arabian Nights, but this bag is gorgeous!

6. Bookish Mugs

There are many amazing bookish mugs to be found on Etsy, my personal favourites all happen to be Harry Potter ones, but I’m sure you will be able to find the perfect mug to fit the book lover in your life’s bookish tastes:

Harry Potter Everyday I'm Hufflin'  MugAs a Hufflepuff, naturally I love this mug!

Harry Potter Mug,Harry Potter Funny Qoute Mug,Harry Potter GiftsHarry Potter and humour? Gimme!

Harry Potter Marauder Map Color Changing Magic black heat sensitive Coffee MugBecause who wouldn’t want a magic Marauders mug?

7. Bookish Key rings

Etsy also has a number of adorable bookish themed key rings if like me, you want to display your nerdy pride on your keys (I personally have a Deathly Hallows key ring). These are my favourites:

Mischief Managed Keychain - Book Lover Gift - Harry Potter Keychain - Potter Christmas Gift - Geeky Key Ring - Nerdy Christmas GiftThis is just adorable!

Accio Keys Key Ring, harry potter fan, hogwarts express, handmade, silver keychain, hp keychain, hp keyring, gift for her, gift for himThis is a nice little humourous key chain for the Harry Potter lover in your life!

Book Lover 'til Death / Lemony Snicket quote keychain / Great gift for avid readers, bookworms, librarians, book collectorsThis is the perfect key ring for the book lover in your life!

Harry Potter Mini book keyring charmThis is an adorable mini book key ring for the Harry Potter lover in your life.

Percy Jackson the lightning thief mini book keychainA cute mini book key ring of one of my favourite books.

8. Bookmarks

Something that every book lover will inevitably need (to avoid the dog eared pages), here are my favourite book themed bookmarks:

This is one of my favourite book quotes, so naturally, I love this bookmark.

Fictional Boyfriend BookmarkThis gorgeous bookmark celebrates one of the book lover’s favourite things: our book boyfriends!

This gorgeous bookmark (both front and back side shown) is perfect for the Harry Potter lover in your life.

The Dream Thieves Fabric BookmarkPerfect for the Raven Cycle lover in your life!

Books Are Proof Humans Can Do MagicBecause how true is this?

9. Bookish Notebooks

Because what book lover doesn’t want to write in a notebook that proudly displays their book nerdiness? These are my favourites:

J.K Rowling Quote Notebook. Magical. Wizarding. J.K Rowling Quote. Magic. Literary Gifts. Book Gifts. Literary Quote. Wizardry. WitchcraftHow beautiful is this? And who doesn’t want to read JK Rowling’s wise words whenever they go to write?

Writing journal, spiral notebook, bullet journal, sketchbook, black white, blank lined or grid paper, Harry Potter - Mischief ManagedVery simple looking notebook, but I’m sure any Harry Potter lover would delight in having this famous Harry Potter quote on their notebook.

New - Quote Notebook - Alices Adventures in Wonderland  - Lewis Carroll - Stocking Filler (N04b)This is a beautiful looking notebook and one of my favourite quotes to remind myself that it’s okay to embrace my weirdness!

Notebook | Writing Journal | Stardust Quote | Galaxy | Literary Gift | Gift for her | Book Lover Gift | Bibliophile Gift | Neil Gaiman QuoteI’ve never read Stardust (where this quote is from) but I think this would be a great gift for any writer or reader.

Writing Journal - We're all stories in the end. Tell yours-5 x 7 Journal, Writing journal, Doctor Who quote, Notebook, Spiral notebookThis is a very basic looking notebook, but I love the sentiments expressed on it and I think other book lovers would agree.

10. Christmas Themed Book Gifts

And if all else fails and you are still struggling to find that special book lover in your life something for Christmas, you can always get them something explicitly Christmas themed (yes I realise these all fit into the categories above as well, but I was running out of ideas, so just go with it!). These are my favourites:

Book Soy Candle Christmas at Hogwarts Harry Potter themed, jar candle, scented soy candle, book lover gift, bookish candle,Because let’s face it, we’ve all wondered what Christmas at Hogwarts is like, and this candle could get the Harry Potter lover in your life a little closer to that!

A Christmas themed bookmark, perfect for the Christmas loving book nerd in your life.

Christmas Belle Candle - Anthology Candles, Disney Candles, Scented Soy Candle, 8 oz JarBecause who wouldn’t want a Christmassy candle based off a fellow book lover?

Hogwarts Christmas stocking - Harry Potter luxury padded stocking with black cotton innerIt’s a Hogwarts Christmas stocking, what more could you want?

Harry Potter Inspired Crochet Baubles (Set of Four)You could get these adorable Harry Potter house inspired crocheted baubles, for your Harry Potter loving friend’s Christmas tree! How cute are these?

That’s all for me from this week (yes I am aware a lot of my gifts are Harry Potter themed, no I do not care). Do you like any of these gifts? What are your favourite bookish themed items on Etsy? Let me know in the comments! Next week’s topic is Top Ten New To Me Authors I Read In 2016, I don’t actually have ten but I’ll be very happy to share with you the ones that I have read for the first time and loved. That’s next week, I’m not sure if I will have anything else for you guys this week as I’m going to be extremely busy (not an exaggeration, I have two deadlines and a test this week!) but I will definitely try to get my #RockMyTBR Update for November up by the end of the week, if I have the time!

Top Ten Tuesday #84

Hi everyone! NaNoWriMo is winding down now, with only about a week to go and I’m pleased to say that I’m on track to finish, with only 15k more to write, so I’m very happy about that. The next week or so is full of deadlines though, so whether I’ll be able to finish on time or not is another story, but I am going to do my best! I also finally managed to get a dragon into my story, which made me very happy! Anyway, enough about my writing, back to today’s blog post, I have a new Top Ten Tuesday for you guys, as always courtesy of the lovely ladies over at the Broke and the Bookish, and this week, we’re talking Thanksgiving. Now, obviously I’m British so I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but I do like the idea of sharing things that I’m thankful for and it was such a nice topic to do last year. Anyway, for this week’s Thanksgiving themed freebie, I’ve decided to share my Top Ten Authors That I’m Thankful For This Year:

  1. Maggie Stiefvater-Because whilst I may have had to wait far too long for The Raven King, when it finally arrived it was pure genius and everything I had wanted it to be. Plus she’s writing a Ronan-centric trilogy that I didn’t even know I wanted and now cannot wait to read and also because I finally got to meet her at YALC this year and she was lovely and gave the most hilarious author talk that I’ve heard in a long time. And her Twitter just gives me life. Basically, Maggie Stiefvater is amazing and you should all go read her books!
  2. Sarah J Maas-Despite the pain that I endured with Empire of Storms, it’s still one of the best books that I’ve read all year and completely made up for the disappointment that was Queen of Shadows. I also got to meet her for the first time on her UK Tour in October and it was such a wonderful event and she was so lovely, so I’m very grateful that she came here this year, as well as for her wonderful writing!
  3. Alwyn Hamilton-Because Rebel of The Sands was my first five star read of the year and it was so incredible, and she was just so lovely when I met her at YALC (and remembered me and my friend from the previous year which we really appreciated) and I’m so happy that she’s done so well.
  4. VE Schwab-The Shades of Magic books have been among the best books that I have read this year and I am so thankful for her for this wonderful series with one of best fantasy worlds and magic systems that I have ever read. I am also thankful because she was so lovely at YALC and even signed a book for me to give to my best friend for her birthday which I really appreciated.
  5. Derek Landy-Because his books never fail to make me laugh and he’s giving us a new Skulduggery Pleasant which makes me far too happy.
  6. Rick Riordan-For much the same reasons as Derek Landy, his books provide a bright spot for me when everything in the world is going to hell (so his books were much needed this year) and never fail to make me laugh. I’ve read three of his books this year and they’ve all come just when I needed something happy, either because of reading lots of deep books or because of bad things happening in the world.
  7. Tara Sim-Because Victorian settings and clocks and adorable clock spirits and gay guys, Timekeeper was a wonderful surprise and one of the best books I’ve read this year, so I’m very thankful to Tara Sim for it and cannot wait to see what she has in store for the next instalment.
  8. Jodi Picoult-She’s one of my favourite authors anyway, but I’m especially grateful to Jodi Picoult this year for Small Great Things, not only because considering everything that’s happened in the last few months, it’s a very timely book, but also because it’s incredibly powerful, extremely well written and just an all around thought provoking book which I’m incredibly grateful that I had a chance to read.
  9. Elizabeth Wein-I’m grateful to her for Code Name Verity because it’s one of the best historical fiction books that I’ve ever read. Heartbreaking sure, but incredibly beautiful and powerful.
  10. JK Rowling-Because whilst there has been mixed reactions to Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts, I am so grateful that JK Rowling has allowed us back into the Wizarding World this year (and that she created this amazing world for us in the first place). Plus I will be eternally grateful to her for Newt Scamander, aka the cutest character to exist ever. And Nifflers! I love Nifflers.

That’s all for this week, thought I would restrain myself and keep to ten after last week’s movie extravaganza! Do you like any of these authors? What authors are you thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments! Next week’s topic is a Holiday Gift Guide freebie, so I think I’m going to do 10 Best Etsy Gifts For The Book Lover In Your Life, since I’ve been doing a lot of Etsy scouring of my own for Christmas presents this year. That’s next week, I may be MIA this week as I have a lot of work to do, but if I get any free time, then I will try and get something up for you guys, if not, next week’s Top Ten Tuesday will be the next time you hear from me. Stay tuned!

Jo Talks Books: My Dream Conference Panel

Hi guys! I had something different planned for my first discussion post of November, but thanks to life getting in the way, I never managed to finish it (hopefully I will at some point even if I don’t get it done for this month). However, luckily for you guys, I was approached by Eventbrite to do a post about my dream conference panel, so I thought why not kill two birds with one stone, do this for them and have at least one discussion post up for you guys before the month is over (hopefully I will be able to do one more for you, but I have a lot of deadlines coming up, so I make no promises). I thought this was a really fun idea anyway, to imagine who would be on my dream conference panel, and since there are no limits on this, I thought I’d choose two dream conference panels for you guys, one made up of authors and one made up of fictional characters, since we all know that we’d love to meet our favourite fictional characters (if only that was a possibility!).

My Author Panel:

Obviously I would want to do a panel of fantasy authors, since fantasy is my favourite genre. I’m not entirely sure what my panel would be called, as it would probably be made up of writers of various different sub-genres of fantasy, but these are the authors I would want on my panel:

  1. JK Rowling-This may be kind of for selfish reasons, since I would love to get the chance to meet JK Rowling (a childhood dream of mine) but at the same time, how could I do a fantasy panel without the Queen? I’d love to hear her talk about Harry Potter (and now Fantastic Beasts, since I’m in love with that entire world,especially Newt).
  2. Rick Riordan-Kind of a long shot, since he never comes to the UK, but hey, as this is a dream panel, anything goes. I would love to hear Rick Riordan speak about his various mythological worlds and ask him questions about Percy and the gang. And why he likes to torture his readers with awful cliffhangers all the time? (Seriously, I will never forgive him for the cliffhanger at the end of MoA, even if Percabeth turned out to be okay).
  3. Derek Landy-Because a panel with both Derek Landy and Rick Riordan on it would be hilarious. Plus I have all the questions about the new Skulduggery (he’s such a jammy dodger for sneaking another Skulduggery series in there)  and both times I’ve met him, he’s just been so funny so he would be a great addition to any panel.
  4. Sarah J Maas-She’s the biggest fangirl of her own characters and I just love that so much. It would also be nice to have an author who does High Fantasy on the panel to add some variety, plus she seemed like such a sweetheart when I met her on tour in October, so I’d love to go to another event with her (and fangirl about her characters with her some more).
  5. Maggie Stiefvater-I’ve never laughed so hard at an author’s talk before as I did at her one at YALC. She also writes a different type of fantasy to the other authors on my list as hers has a much more paranormal focus, which would be an interesting contrast. And I just love her books!
  6. VE Schwab-I have questions. Many questions about the world and characters she has created in the Shades of Magic trilogy. Plus how could she leave AGOS on a cliffhanger like that? And what will happen in ACOL? I need my questions answered dammit!

My Character Panel:

  1. Percy Jackson-Because we all love Percy (me especially) and any panel with him on it would be hilarious. We could ask him all the embarrassing questions about Annabeth and see if he brought any blue food to share with the group. We could see if he ever plans on living a quiet life without all the excitement of being a demigod or if he just can’t live without it.
  2. Aelin Ashryver Galathynius-She would bring the Sass (okay well, Percy brings the Sass, but she would bring extra sass) and see if she could give us any tips about fighting like a pro. And assassining (all for research purposes of course).
  3. Hermione Granger-So that all of us fellow bookworms could fangirl with Hermione over our favourite books. And ask her about hers. Because who hasn’t ever wanted to talk books with Hermione?
  4. Lila Bard-Mostly because I’d like to see everything that would go down with Aelin and Lila in the same room.
  5. Skulduggery Pleasant-How cool would it be to have a skeleton on the panel? Plus if it was even possible just to meet Skulduggery (and maybe have him teach me a trick or to), that would be pretty awesome.
  6. Connor Lassiter-Because Connor is awesome and I would love to see him and Percy meet, I think they’d get on quite well.
  7. Hayden Upchurch-Hayden is hilarious and we all know how much I love sassy characters (hence why I have created the sassiest panel in the history of sass).

So those are my dream panels, what would yours be? Would we share any authors/characters? Would they be completely different? Would you want to come and see anyone on either of my panels? What questions would you ask them? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks to Eventbrite for approaching me to do this and if you are looking to plan/go to a conference in your local area, please check out their conference management software (these are the people who do the tickets for YALC, one of the most awesome events in the UK bookish calendar):

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/l/conferences/

I don’t know when or if I will have another November discussion post for you, the likelihood is probably not with all my essays and NaNoWriMo to finish this month, but you never know, so keep an eye out, just in case another Jo Talks post comes your way. In the meantime however, I will have a new Top Ten Tuesday post up tomorrow, so make sure to check that out.

 

Small Great Things Review (e-ARC)

small-great-things Book: Small Great Things

Author: Jodi Picoult

Published By: Hodder and Stoughton

Expected Publication: 22nd November 2016

Format: e-book

I received this book for free via Netgalley, this in no way affected my opinion of the book.

First of, as always, I must thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me to read this book, I am a big fan of Jodi Picoult’s writing and so I am highly appreciative that I got the chance to read her new book early.

This book is about a nurse, Ruth Jefferson, who becomes the subject of a lawsuit when the baby of a white supremacist (Turk Bauer) dies whilst left in her care after she has been banned from touching him by his father, since he believes in the superiority of the white race, and Ruth, is black (this is highly simplified and the plot is obviously a lot more complex than this, but you get the basic idea).

The structure of the book followed much the same structure as Picoult’s other books, multiple POV and split into different parts (each part reflecting a different stage of labour, as Ruth is a Labour and Delivery Nurse) but the similarities ended there really, the entire book felt totally different to anything that Picoult has ever written before, probably because the subject matter is so prevalent given what is happening in America right now.

I found the medical terminology a little confusing and be warned, there is a lot of it at the beginning (so I had to do a lot of googling whilst reading), but it became more understandable (ie was slightly better explained), the more you read of the book.

Turk was (as I was expecting), a complete and utter asshole, and it both saddens and frightens me that there are real people out there who feel the way he does. I found it quite difficult to read his chapters, but I did learn a lot about the Skinhead movement which was something I never knew about before. It seemed like one incident in his past (his brother being killed by a black drunk driver) had motivated his entire way of thinking, but I thought that was quite realistic, as often extreme views can stem from something like that. I found it quite interesting how my opinion of Turk and his wife Brittany changed throughout the book, initially Turk seemed more extreme than Brittany but as the book goes on, Brittany felt like the more intense of the two and I found it interesting to see how they both developed as characters through the book, although I did feel that Turk’s character development in the epilogue seemed to have happened a little too quickly given the events of the book (although time had passed so I guess most of his character development happened off page). I did feel bad for them that they lost their baby (especially Brittany), but that doesn’t excuse their actions. I was very surprised when I found out how young Turk was because he seemed way older!

Ruth on the other hand, is a character that you can really root for (though I did want to shake her at the end for being so stupid, but I digress) because it is so clear that she is being discriminated against, and it’s made very obvious that she did not kill the Bauer’s baby. She’s a hardworking, intelligent woman who is clearly very good at her job which makes it easy to empathize  with her when everything goes wrong, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a character to be acquitted so much in Jodi Picoult book before. I also really liked Kennedy, she was such a good lawyer and I found all the scenes with her in court very impressive and she just seemed like a genuinely nice person who really wanted to make sure Ruth was acquitted. Her husband Micah was also the complete sweetest (I would like a Micah!) and her daughter was so cute.

This book is not an easy read, there were many things that made me angry (mostly all the white Supremacy stuff, Turk and Brittany’s wedding was a particularly angering moment, it’s like White Supremacists haven’t even heard of feminism, it was totally barbaric), but also all the casual racism was really hard to read and it made me think about myself and wonder if I’ve ever said anything like that without meaning to. It was also quite hard to read Ruth’s interview with the police because it’s so infuriating that the officers’ don’t believe her. I can also say that before this book I’d never thought of The Lion King in racial terms, but I will now!

I love Ruth and Kennedy’s relationship and seeing it develop through the book, because there was a very interesting dynamic between them. I particularly loved the scene when they first meet up about the trial because you get to see it from both of their POVs and it’s interesting to see the differences in the way that they perceive each other.

I really liked that there were a few current news issues brought up in the book because I was like “Oh I remember that happening”!.

I also really liked seeing Ruth and her sister’s relationship because they are such polar opposites and it’s quite interesting to see the different paths that the two sisters have taken and how different they are, plus I just love how Picoult writes sisterly relationships, she always seems to write the sister dynamic really well.

I never knew before this book that race isn’t talked about in courts in America, to me it seems logical that when a case is about race you talk about it, so it was very frustrating when Kennedy said she wasn’t going to talk about it, since Ruth’s entire case was about race. I also really enjoyed seeing the jury selection process as that’s something I never really knew about before reading Jodi Picoult’s books.

I really liked Howard, Kennedy’s co-counsel on Ruth’s case, though I wondered if it was maybe slightly racist to hire him to help her because he’s black, although it seemed like it was maybe a nod to Chris Darden on the OJ Simpson case who was put on the case for the same reason. I found the research on implicit bias that he found really interesting because I’d never heard of that before (one thing about Jodi Picoult’s books is that I always go away having learned something, which I really like!).

There were some uncorrected proof errors, but there were surprisingly few (I’ve read e-ARC’s with more before) and I’m sure these will have been corrected in the published version and generally, Jodi Picoult’s writing was as gorgeous and infinitely quotable as ever, I can’t wait to get my print copy so I can write my favourite quotes in the front cover as I always do with her books.

I wish Ruth’s relationship with Christina (the daughter of her mother’s employer who she basically grew up with) had been explored more, because they had some really sweet moments and I just would have liked to have seen more of them.

As usual, there were the classic Picoult twists, although where she usually has one big twist in each of her books (and normally at the end), this time, there seemed to be lots of twists and turns (admittedly all in the last third) rather than just the one big one. They were coming quite fast at the end, I wasn’t quite sure where to turn!

The epilogue seemed to wrap things up a little too neatly, as I said earlier, Turk seemed to have done a complete 360, but I did appreciate that for once the ending to a Jodi Picoult book did not make me incredibly depressed and was actually quite happy for a change (well as happy as a Jodi Picoult book ending can be, what happened to Brittany was kind of depressing, I mean she’s a horrible human being, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for her).

Overall, I thought this was an extremely powerful, thought provoking, well written novel and that it’s something that everyone needs to read because we never think about our own unconscious prejudices until we are confronted with them and this book certainly doesn’t shy away from doing that.

My rating: 4.5/5 (couldn’t decide between a 4 and 5!)

I don’t know what my next review is going to be as I’m writing this months before it’s going to be published, but I’m sure you’ll find out soon!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #83

Hey everyone! I’m nearing the halfway stage of NaNoWriMo and loving it! It’s amazing to see this story that started as a little idea based on a prompt we were given in the Creative Writing society that I’m in at Uni, come to life. It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago my story was nothing and has now grown to what it is. Anyway, that’s my little update for you on my writing exploits, but back to the topic at hand, I’m back with a new Top Ten Tuesday post for you guys this week, thanks to the lovely ladies over at the Broke and The Bookish. We’re taking a break from books this week and talking about one of my other favourite topics: Movies! We were given free choice of what movie related topic we’d like to do, so I’m going to share some of my favourite movies with you guys (do not be surprised if I go over ten for this!). Here are my favourite movies:

  1. Moulin Rouge!-Yes, this is my absolute favourite movie of all time ever. It has Ewan McGregor, incredible music, beautiful costumes, Ewan McGregor, a beautiful story, oh and did I mention Ewan McGregor? (I may have a small crush. Okay not entirely small, we have a cardboard cutout of him in our University flat). I’ve actually lost count of how many times I’ve watched this movie, it’s that many. And I’ve forced all of my friends to watch it, because I’m just a lovely friend that way (luckily my two Uni friends love it almost as much as I do).
  2. 10 Things I Hate About You-A quintessential 90’s rom-com, this film is hilarious and Heath Ledger is beautiful and the scene where he sings Can’t Take My Eyes Off You is right up there with Ewan McGregor singing Your Song in my list of romantic fantasies. Warning though, you will be singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off You randomly in public the entire week after you watch it.
  3. The Lion King-My favourite Disney movie. Refer to Jack Whitehall’s joke about it if you want to know why it’s the best. It’s Shakespeare with fur. And Elton John music. Do I need to say more?
  4. Beauty and The Beast-This film! I am basically Belle, so obviously I relate to it very strongly (THAT LIBRARY IS GOALS!). It’s such a beautiful film and I’m so excited for the live action remake next year.
  5. Hairspray-The songs are so catchy and it’s cheesy and glorious and it just cheers me up every time I watch it.
  6. Definitely, Maybe-This is a lovely romantic comedy and whilst part of my love for it may be due to my crush on Ryan Reynolds (can you blame me?), it’s also a lovely story & a really enjoyable watch.
  7. The Proposal-Yes, another Ryan Reynolds movie, but it’s hilarious and always cheers me up when I am in a bad mood.
  8. Spirit: Stallion of The Cimarron-One of the ultimate horse lover movies, it’s sad at times, but ultimately beautiful and the music is just incredible. I think this might be on Netflix? If it is and you have it then you should check it out.
  9. The Holiday-This is my favourite movie to watch around Christmas, it’s just lovely and great for getting you into the festive spirit.
  10. The Parent Trap-Remember when Lindsay Lohan was actually good? I think this is definitely her best work, it’s just such a great film and I really love it. It’s amazing how they managed to do the whole twin thing considering special effects weren’t that great when this came out (though the first one was in 1961, so I’m sure if I’d seen that, I’d be even more impressed).
  11. Mean Girls-A teen classic. This is one of my favourite films to watch with my two best friends.
  12. Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire-I could have put the whole series on here, but this was my favourite movie (and book) of the series, so I thought I’d choose this one. I couldn’t do a list of my favourite movies without including at least one Harry Potter!
  13. Black Beauty-It’s such a sad story but also a beautiful one and as a horse lover, it’s one of my favourite horsey films.
  14. 102 Dalmatians-The film that started my love affair with Dalmatians, it’s hilarious and every time I watch it, I’m reminded of how badly I want a Dalmatian!
  15. 13 Going On 30-It’s cheesy and cute and basically just an hour and a half of pure fun.
  16. She’s The Man-I love modernised Shakespeare retellings and this one is one of my favourites.
  17. The Devil Wears Prada-It’s hilarious, Meryl Streep is just awesome and this is the film where I discovered how funny Emily Blunt is.
  18. Legally Blonde-It’s funny and sweet and completely feminist so naturally this makes my list of favourite movies.
  19. Matilda-This was one of my favourite childhood books and also one of my favourite childhood movies.
  20. Ella Enchanted-It’s cheesy and glorious and yes, I know completely different from the book, but I think having not read the book, I appreciated it for just how enjoyable it is.
  21. The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride-I love the original, but I actually grew up with the sequel, the songs are amazing, and it’s one of the few sequels that actually holds up to the first movie.
  22. War Horse-This movie is sad, yes, but so beautiful. The stage show is even better.
  23. Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers-One of my favourite childhood films, it’s a short movie, only half an hour long, but it’s complete genius and so funny!
  24. Enchanted-It’s a celebration of all things Disney so naturally it’s one of my favourites!

That’s all for this week, otherwise I’ll be writing this all night (I have far too many favourite movies!). Have you seen any of these? Did you like them? Would you like to see any of these? Let me know in the comments! Next week’s topic is a Thanksgiving freebie, so although I won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving (since I’m English and live in the UK!),  I’m going to be doing Authors That I am Thankful For to spread a little love for my favourite authors. That’s next week, but in the meantime, I’m hoping to get a new discussion post up for you guys very, very soon, so stay tuned for that.

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard #2)

27904311Book: The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and Gods of Asgard #2)

Author: Rick Riordan

I absolutely loved the first Magnus Chase book when I read it over the summer and so when I got this book as part of my October #otspsecretsister package (thanks Lorelai!) I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I think I preferred the first book to this one, but this one was a very good and enjoyable read in it’s own right and it was exactly what I needed, the last few books I’ve read have been either been feel crushing (thank you Sarah J Maas), depressing (thanks to Challenger Deep) or rage inducing (thanks to No Virgin) so being able to read a funny book like this was such a refreshing break. I still loved the characters, both ones from the last book and new ones introduced in this book, the humour and the pop culture references, it was the plot of this one that I didn’t like so much, it was very……..the only word I can honestly think of to describe it is zig-zaggy and a lot of the stuff that the characters did just seemed like filler in order to get to the end. Don’t get me wrong, this was still a joyful romp through the Nine Worlds and I really enjoyed reading it, I just felt like some parts of it could have been better. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

First off, I need to talk about the characters because I loved them. As in the last book, Magnus was sassy and awesome and hilarious, although he was kind of outshone in this book by the new character Rick Riordan introduced, Alex Fierro. Alex was definitely the star of the show in this book, I absolutely loved him/her (and yes I say, him/her because Alex is gender-fluid so goes by both. It’s confusing at first, but Alex states his/her preference for pronouns throughout, so as long as you follow that, you will be fine). Alex was smart and sassy and fierce and I just loved his/her character so much! This is actually the first book with a gender fluid character that I’ve ever read, so I found that really refreshing. It also worked really well because Alex’s dad (well mum technically, but that’s a whole another story that you’ll have to read about yourselves) is Loki and since Loki is a shapeshifter, it makes perfect sense that one of Loki’s kids would be gender fluid. I really loved the friendship between Alex and Magnus, they bounced off each other and worked together really well and I sense that Magnus might have a little crush, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that progresses. I also enjoyed seeing Sam’s development in this book, we got to see more of her family and were introduced to her boyfriend for the first time and it was interesting to see how she handled her two worlds merging and also how she continued to handle her struggle with her identity as a daughter of Loki and a Muslim. I appreciated how sensitively Sam’s faith was handled as well, and that Magnus as an atheist was shown as respectful to her religion (as an atheist, it really bugs me when we’re shown as insensitive to religion, we’re not, we just don’t happen to have one ourselves). Jack (the Sword of Summer) was a particular delight, especially his crush on the Skofnung Sword, I found that far too hilarious. I also still love Otis the goat, though I’m pretty sure that’s just because every time I read his name, I think about my dog!

Whilst I appreciate that Riordan has clearly tried (and succeeded) in including more diversity in his new series, there were moments in this book that were kind of PSA-like and I didn’t love that because it felt like it kind of took away from the tone of the book.

I loved that we got to see Alfheim in this book and got more development of Hearth’s character and got to meet his dad. I swear Hearth’s life was so sad, I just wanted to give him a big hug! Blitz and Hearth’s friendship is also so cute (I ship it a little, shhh don’t tell). I get the sense that we’re not done with Hearth’s dad so I’ll be interested to see if he pops up in the next book.

The plot did seem like it jumped around a heck of a lot. I get that everything was building up to the big fight at the end, but it did seem a little unfocused through the book, like the characters were going on all these mini quests and you’re like “okay this is fun, but when do we get to the Hammer and the whole thing that this book has building up to?”. Don’t get me wrong, the mini quests were fun and they were all necessary to the plot in the end, but at the time, they did mostly feel like distractions. The Sword of Summer’s plot felt a lot more linear, whereas this one was kind of jumpy. I still enjoyed the ride and there were lots of hilarious moments and great fight scenes along the way, but I felt like there could have been a more focused way for our protagonists to reach their end goal and I couldn’t help but feel that in the end, the whole quest for the hammer was sort of pointless since it was basically all a trick by Loki.

I enjoyed that Loki formed a big part of this book, because his job is essentially just to mess everyone around and it’s kind of fun to see that, plus he’s a genuinely evil villain who you can really hate and I love having one of those around (though I think Hearth’s dad kind of ties with Loki as to who I hate more).

I noticed quite a few spelling and grammar errors in this book, which is unusual for a Rick Riordan book (or at least I’ve never noticed many before). It didn’t detract from the story much but it was a little jarring every time I came across one!

The pop culture references throughout the book were hilarious and on point and I love that Riordan has kept the trend of the funny chapter titles from the last book. I also liked that there was good mix of longer and shorter chapters. The Norse Gods are just hilarious especially selfie taking Heimdall and it was great to see even more of them in this book.

I liked that we got to meet Amir in this book and I thought him and Sam were really sweet and it was nice to see an arranged marriage that’s not portrayed as a bad thing (especially since the main plot of this book involves an unwanted arranged marriage as part of a Loki scheme).

There were a lot of times in this book when I wanted to scream at the characters for being stupid because some of the things that happened seemed so damn obvious to me and they never see any of them coming, but I love them anyway!

I’m hoping that in the next book we get to see even more of the Nine Worlds, we got Asgard and Alfheim this book, I’m hoping for Niflheim, Muspellheim & Helheim in the next book, then we will have seen all of them!

That ending! That ending! Rick Riordan is the king of the cliffhanger ending. I’m not sure I can wait a year after that. I’m mean that last line was everything but at the same time, I’m still like, damn you Rick!

I did enjoy this book, the characters, humour and pop culture references were on point, even if the plot was a little unfocused and I’m very excited to see what the finale of this book has in store!

My rating: 4/5

My next review will be of my current read, Snow Like Ashes.

Top Ten Tuesday #82

Hi everyone! I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for the last week and it’s been going well, though I have hit a sticking point with my story, I’m hoping after a break to refresh yesterday, I might be able to look at my story with new eyes today! Anyway, enough about my writing exploits, as usual, I have another Top Ten Tuesday post for you guys this week, courtesy of the lovely ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is all about our TBRs, specifically the books that we have recently added to them. So these are the books I have added to my TBR recently (I’m only going to include books that have both titles and release dates, since otherwise my list would be entirely unreleased, unnamed Sarah J Maas books!):

  1. The Ship of The Dead (Magnus Chase #3)-Rick Riordan-Added 22nd October

I’ve almost finished the second book right now and I’m really excited to see where these characters go next!

2. A Shadow Bright and Burning-Jess Cluess-Added 10th October

I heard a lot of good things about this book back when it was released, and I’m always looking for exciting new fantasies to read, so I added it to my TBR.

3. The Pearl Thief-Elizabeth Wein-Added 22nd September

I added this to my TBR as soon as the news of it’s release was announced. It’s a prequel to Code Name Verity, one of the best books that I’ve read this year, so I can’t wait to read it when it’s released!

4. The Graces-Laure Eve-Added 14th September

I bought this one a few months ago, because I love witches and this book just sounded so cool!

5. A Conjuring of Light-VE Schwab-Added 24th August

I added this before I even finished A Gathering Of Shadows because I was so excited for the ending of this series. I need this one right now because that cliffhanger ending was just evil!

6. The Archived-VE Schwab-Added 28th July 2016

I basically added all of Victoria Schwab’s books to my TBR after finishing ADSOM, I loved it that much!

7. The Dark Prophecy (Trials of Apollo #2)-Rick Riordan

I loved the first book in Rick Riordan’s new Apollo based series, so I can’t wait for the next one to be released next year, and added it before I had even read the 1st one (because anything Rick Riordan writes is immediately added to my TBR).

8. Frostblood-Elly Blake-Added 26th August

I added this one because it sounded incredible and there seemed to be a lot of buzz around it, plus the cover is so beautiful.

9. A Shiver of Snow and Sky-Lisa Lueddecke-Added 15th October

I added this book because I follow the author on Twitter and it actually sounded really good!

10. Children of Icarus-Caighlan Smith-Added 4th September

I added this because I am a total sucker for anything Greek mythology related!

That’s it for this week! Have you read/have any of these on my TBR? Would you like to rad any of them? Let me know in the comments. Next week’s topic is a movie freebie which I’m really excited for as I love movies almost as much as I love books, so I’m going to be sharing my Top Ten (will probably be more) All Time Favourite Movies, but in the meantime, I will hopefully have a new discussion post for you guys this week so stay tuned for that!