Hi all! I hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these, it is boiling right now here in the U.K. so that is of course all we can talk about because we are a nothing if not a nation obsessed with the weather! It’s been getting up to 36-38 degrees Celsius here though, which is very warm even for summer in the UK so I have been hibernating in my house in a dark room with a fan on for the last day and bit waiting for the heatwave to pass. I genuinely do not understand people who love summer, it’s my least favourite time of the year weather wise, I say bring on the autumn!
Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a freebie, so as I’m still feeling a bit of a comedown from YALC a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d keep the YALC love going and share some of my favourite books I’ve bought at the convention over the past six years I’ve been to the event. I have to admit, I’ve definitely made some mistakes with books I’ve bought at YALC and ended up donating a lot of the books I bought “on a whim” there, but I have also found some really great ones, and those are what I’m sharing with you today:
- The Song Rising-Samantha Shannon
When I went to YALC in 2017, I had recently read The Bone Season and was towards the end of The Mime Order, so naturally, I bought The Song Rising as it was the next book in the series, and meant I could get all three signed by Samantha Shannon. It can be a little dangerous to get a book signed that you haven’t read yet, I have been burned before and ended up not liking some books I’ve had signed before reading them (Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor). But thankfully that wasn’t the case here as The Song Rising ended up being my favourite so far of The Bone Season books (I’ve yet to finish The Mask Falling, but I don’t think it’s going to knock TSR off the top spot). I completely devoured it in around 5 days which is very fast for me, as it was such an exciting, pacy read.
2. To Kill A Kingdom-Alexandra Christo
Hannah, Hannah and I all bought a copy of this book at YALC in 2018, I think the only time ever that we’ve all got a copy of the same book! Anyway, both Hannahs had already read the book and loved it by the time I got to it at the beginning of 2019, so I felt like there was quite a lot of pressure to enjoy it too, so I wasn’t the odd one out. Thankfully I really, really loved it, it was one of those dark, funny, full of anti-hero characters books that are always right up my street.
3. The Exact Opposite of Okay-Laura Steven
Hannah and I both managed to get an ARC of this at YALC in 2017, she ended up not being so sure about it, but I was completely obsessed. I flew through this during the February reading week of my third year of Uni and it was great company on the train to and from my work experience at DC Thomson in Dundee during that week. It’s so funny and fierce and feminist and Izzy O’Neill is probably up there with characters I’ve most related to in fiction, so yeah, suffice to say, I really loved this one (sadly the sequel, not so much).
4. Into The Crooked Place-Alexandra Christo
Naturally after both loving To Kill A Kingdom, when Hannah and I saw that Hot Key Books were running a competition at YALC 2019 to win an ARC of Alexandra Christo’s upcoming release, we had to have it! We never usually have much luck with these things, but Hannah managed to win the bat she needed in order to get the ARC. I didn’t manage to find one, but Hannah lent me the ARC when she was done and I read it in September of 2019. To Kill A Kingdom is still definitely my favourite Alexandra Christo book, but I really enjoyed Into The Crooked Place, it had a great gang of morally grey characters at the centre with a really interesting group dynamic and some really cool twists throughout. I haven’t read the sequel City Of Spells yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.
5. Daughter of The Burning City-Amanda Foody
I already had a digital ARC of this from Netgalley, but I think it expired before I got around to downloading it, so when I saw the HQ stand was selling early copies of this book at YALC in 2017, I naturally leaped on it. Of course, because I’m me, I didn’t actually get around to reading it until 2018 but when I did read it, I really enjoyed it. It’s such a creative little story, it’s a murder mystery set in a circus but the victims are illusions created by the main character’s magic, they’re not real, so they shouldn’t be able to be murdered and yet they are. I did enjoy Amanda Foody’s Shadow Game series a bit more than this one, she’s obviously improved a lot since her debut, but it was a solid and enjoyable introduction to her work that made me want to go on and read more!
6. Under Rose-Tainted Skies-Louise Gornall
This is one of the few books I bought on the Sunday at YALC in 2016 that I actually ended up keeping, be very wary of the discounts on the last day of YALC, you will end up buying stuff that you later wonder why you did! Anyway, I have quite a good story when it comes to reading this book as I read quite a lot of it on a horrendous overnight ferry trip from Athens to Crete whilst I was on holiday in Greece with my friends in 2017. It’s probably the most realistic and raw depiction of mental health I’ve ever read and though Norah’s anxiety and intense intrusive thoughts made the book hard to read at times, it was definitely a very powerful read.
7. Frozen Charlotte-Alex Bell
Straight horror is not usually my genre, but I do enjoy dark books as long as they’re not too gory and this one fit the bill perfectly. It’s really more light horror with mystery vibes so if you’re not a big horror fan, I reckon this would still work for you. Basically, it’s all about these creepy dolls in this former schoolhouse on the Isle of Skye in Scotland and these dolls basically influence people to do horrible things. It’s a very creepy and mysterious story, and the author does a great job at creating an eerie atmosphere.
8. Rose Under Fire-Elizabeth Wein
I loved Code Name Verity, so when I was at YALC in 2017, I picked up Rose Under Fire for Elizabeth Wein to sign too as I wanted to read more books by her and had heard really good things about it. Rose is technically a companion to Code Name Verity, but they are very different books, Rose is more straight historical fiction, where CNV was more of a spy/thriller/mystery/historical hybrid. I found Rose Under Fire to be a very emotional read, a large part of the book takes place during the main character’s time in Ravesnbruck concentration camp and Wein definitely does not shy away from the horrors of the camp. Rose also suffers with PTSD throughout much of the book due to her experiences in the war, so it’s definitely not an easy read, but I think a very necessary one.
So there we go! Not quite a Top Ten this week, but I didn’t want to include two more books just to make up the numbers and I have read quite a few books from YALC that I didn’t enjoy. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Any on your TBR? Has anyone been to YALC? What’s your favourite book you’ve ever got there? Let me know in the comments!
I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, this time we’re talking Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts That I Still Haven’t Read. I’m feeling slightly judged by this topic as I’m notorious for not finishing all my seasonal TBR books, but it should be a fun one to do!