Book Vs Movie: 13 Reasons Why

Hi everyone! I know I said in my post last month that I’d be talking about Season 2 of Shadow and Bone this month, but I actually only just started it last weekend (I’ve been very busy!), so instead, I’m going to do one that I said I’d do last year and talk about 13 Reasons Why and its Netflix adaptation, so we’re doing TV again! I’ll just be focusing on the first season for this, as that’s the only one that’s really adapted from the book (and frankly the only season there should have been).

Book Thoughts:

Now I read 13 Reasons Why quite a long time ago, I think I was 15 or 16 when I read it for the first time. And at that time in my life, I really enjoyed it. I found it a gripping, page turning story and I remember staying up most of the night to read it because I was desperate to find out why Clay was on the tapes and what these people had to do with Hannah Baker committing suicide. It was a gripping, emotional read and it left quite the impression on me. As I’ve got older, I’ve realised some of the more problematic elements of the book (the premise in itself is troubling) but I wanted to give you guys a fair account of my thoughts on the book from the time I first read it.

TV Thoughts:

I think the TV show was a good adaptation of the book, like the book, I found it very gripping and watched it in just two days on Netflix. However the TV show did bring to light some of the more problematic elements of the book that I had missed when I was a teenager (like the glamourisation of suicide) and it was unnecessarily graphic in places particularly in the on-screen depictions of both Hannah’s rape and her suicide, which are not described in anywhere near the same amount of detail in the book (though I was glad to see that the graphic suicide scene has now been taken out of the episode it was originally shown in) and it definitely misses the mark on some of the nuances of mental illness.

TV or Book Judgement:

I think I’d definitely go with the book here. Both have their issues and I’m far more aware of them now than I was when I first read the book as a teenager, I don’t think I would rate the book the same way now that I did back then. But the book wasn’t anywhere near as graphic as the TV show and though it was emotional, I didn’t find it anywhere near as harrowing, so it was a more enjoyable experience (though I did still like the TV show).

So there we go, that’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie. I will be back next month, and I will definitely be talking about Shadow & Bone Season 2 then as I anticipate having finished it by the end of April!

Top Ten Tuesday #413

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since my last TTT, as I said in my last post, I went to see Choir of Man with my mum last Thursday and it was such a fun show, if you’re in London and you’re looking for a fun night out (and don’t mind a theatre show that doesn’t really have a whole lot of plot, but is very interactive and you can sing along) then I definitely recommend it. I also had fun at my Spanish conversation night on Friday, I feel like I improved a lot since my last one and was better able to hold a conversation this time, so I hope when I go back for the next one, I’ll be even better. This week is a slightly quieter week for me (which to be honest, I do need because last week was very busy) but I am going to my first play as a member of the press this weekend, reviewing When We Died for The Indiepedent, which sounds like a really interesting play about a woman confronting the dead body of the man who assaulted her (she works as an embalmer) and all the trauma that brings up. It should be very interesting and I’m very excited for my first press invite to a play!

Anyway, today’s Top Ten Tuesday is courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, as ever. Today we’re doing Books To Read If You Loved Author X. Now naturally I had to do VE Schwab as she is my favourite author, although I will admit, I found it slightly harder than I expected because her books are actually kind of hard to compare to other people’s! I got the first five fairly easily and the second five were a little bit more difficult. Suffice to say, these will mainly be based on vibes and some character similarities than on any particular plot similarities to any of VE Schwab’s books! So here we go:

  1. Six of Crows-Leigh Bardugo

This was one of the first ones to come to mind for me because Six of Crows is all about the morally grey anti-heroes and if there is one thing VE Schwab loves, it’s the morally grey anti-hero (or let’s be honest, outright villain). The found family vibes between the Dregs also remind me a lot of the little group of Sydney, Victor and Mitch in Vicious, so I think if you liked their vibe as a group, you would definitely enjoy the Crows. I also just think as writers, if you like VE Schwab, you’ll probably like Leigh Bardugo, their work both tends to lean towards the darker side of things!

2. The Bone Season-Samantha Shannon

I don’t know if this is partly because I just really like both authors, so I kind of assume if you like one, you’d like the other! But I think Samantha Shannon and VE Schwab both fit into that YA/Adult crossover group quite well, they both write adult fiction but their protagonists are on the younger end of the spectrum and there’s a strong focus on plot and character emotion in their work. They’re also both really great world-builders so I think if that appeals to you about VE Schwab, then you’d really like Samantha Shannon’s stuff too as she puts such detail into all of her worlds. They also both have the whole “everyone is queer” vibes going on in their books, so if you want books with lots of LGBTQIA+ characters, then I think you’ll really like Samantha Shannon!

3. To Kill A Kingdom-Alexandra Christo

I mentioned this one as a comp for A Darker Shade of Magic in a post I did a couple of weeks back, and like I said there, this is mainly to do with Lila Bard. Lira in this book, and Lila have very similar “IDGAF if you like me, I am who I am and I will not apologise energy” so I think if you liked Lila, you’ll definitely like Lira. VE Schwab is also very big into the “no one is a hero here” thing and I think Alexandra Christo definitely has that here with Lira and Elian, both are fierce, brutal killers but they’re not all bad either, so firmly in the morally grey category (but leaning slightly more toward the villain side than the hero!).

4. Into The Crooked Place-Alexandra Christo

Again, this one is about a group of crooks, so again heavily leaning into the “no one’s a hero here” vibe that Schwab really likes in her books. They also have that criminal found family dynamic like the characters in Vicious. This one is actually quite similar to Six of Crows in terms of the dynamics of the characters, so it made sense to include it on this list as well since I already had Six of Crows. I think Alexandra Christo as a writer likes to explore a lot of the same things Schwab does when it comes to villains and morally complex characters, so if you like Schwab, I would recommend trying Christo’s books.

5. Not Even Bones-Rebecca Schaeffer

This book actually used This Savage Song as one of its comp titles, so it seemed fairly apt to have it here! Not Even Bones definitely has the “no one’s a hero here” vibes going for it and in fact, I’d say it goes a step further and has “everyone’s a villain here” vibes, much like Vicious. I do get the This Savage Song comparisons as well though because the book is primarily about monsters and what makes a monster, so if you liked This Savage Song, then this one might be a good one to try.

6. Ninth House-Leigh Bardugo

Again, this is largely going of vibes and the fact that I really like both VE Schwab and Leigh Bardugo, Ninth House I would say is darker than anything Schwab has written but I do think there are aspects of this book that would appeal to Schwab readers: the magical lies underneath a real world setting (which is something Schwab does a lot in her books), and Ninth House also has “no one’s a hero here” vibes and there is very detailed, immersive world-building, so if you’re a fan of those things from Schwab, I think you’d like Ninth House. I also just think that as writers, VE Schwab and Leigh Bardugo both lean towards “the weird” so I feel like if you’re a fan of one, you’d probably enjoy the other.

7. Ace of Shades-Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades definitely has a very strong queer element (though perhaps more so in the later books than the first in the series) so if you like that about VE Schwab’s books, then there’s lots of that here. There’s also a lot of the morally grey characters as all the main characters are criminals of some kind or another, and if you like VE Schwab’s villains, then Amanda Foody has some incredible villains in this series: Vianca Augustine may be my favourite villain I’ve ever read. The world building and magic system is also really well done, and one of my personal favourite things about VE Schwab’s books is always the world-building, so if you like that in her books, I definitely think you’d like Ace of Shades.

8. The City of Brass-SA Chakraborty

This one is mainly here for the world building, again if you like VE Schwab’s world building, then SA Chakraborty creates an amazingly detailed world in this series. I also think fans of Lila would really like Nahri, she’s a thief and con artist and I was immediately drawn to her in the same way that I was to Lila because she’s very sharp and streetwise and funny. It also has the same YA/Adult crossover appeal as a lot of Schwab’s books as the characters lean on the younger side and it is fairly fast paced (though slow in places).

9. The Raven Boys-Maggie Stiefvater

Honestly, this one is 100% a vibes thing, Maggie Stiefvater’s books definitely lean towards the weird (perhaps moreso than VE Schwab!) and she definitely has the whole, magic is an undercurrent to the real world thing, they exist alongside each other and that’s something that’s very prevalent in VE Schwab’s books as well.

10. Timekeeper-Tara Sim

Timekeeper takes place in an alternate Victorian London, so if you liked the Victorian London in A Darker Shade of Magic, you get a similar kind of setting here. It’s also very, very gay, so again if you like that about Schwab’s books, Tara Sim absolutely has you covered here. Tara Sim is also amazing at world building, she covers basically every little detail that you could possibly think of for her world, so if you enjoy the world building in VE Schwab’s books, I think you’d love that here.

So there we have it, those are some of my recommendations of Books To Read If You Love VE Schwab. Do you agree with my recommendations? Have you read any of these books? If you love VE Schwab, what’s your favourite book of hers (I’m always intrigued because her books are all so different, it’s interesting to see which ones people gravitate to most)? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Indie/Self-Published Books but honestly, I can’t say I read a whole load of those, so instead I’m going to do the Spotify Wrapped Book Tag (except with my iPod as I don’t have Spotify!) which I saw on A Book Wanderer’s blog back in January (thanks Dedra!) as it seemed like a fun tag to do!

Quarterly Rewind (December ’22-March ’23)

Hi everyone! How is it time for the first quarterly rewind of 2023 already? This year so far definitely seems to have gone by in a bit of a blur. It’s been a fairly busy winter for me, between getting settled at my new job, quite a few theatre trips, a few book events and my evening Spanish classes but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun!

Anyway, Monday was the Spring Equinox, so the first official day of Spring (though I have to say, it certainly doesn’t feel like it here in the UK!). That means it’s time for another Quarterly Rewind, the feature where I wrap up the current season on the blog and look forward to what’s to come. Today I’ll be wrapping up winter and looking forward to what I have to come this spring (hopefully warmer weather!). This post will cover 22nd December-19th March:

Image From This Winter:

Is this a bit of a cheat because it was taken during Australian summer? Perhaps! But it was our first family Christmas photo for five years, so I couldn’t not share it!

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Winter:

“Sometimes we polish an experience to make facts line up more closely with feelings, or exaggerate moments to make a better dinner party tale. And sometimes, mercifully, details become blurry over time, maybe because the sharp reality is too painful to carry.” -Have I Told You This Already?, Lauren Graham

I could have gone with any number of incredibly hilarious quotes from this book, but there are some quite poignant moments in there too, and I thought I’d share one of those instead (since many of us already know that Lauren Graham is incredibly funny).

This Winter In One Word:


Most Popular Review of Winter:

I will admit, I’m not as caught up on my remaining 2022 reviews as I would have liked to have been at this point in the year, I still have two left to write up from last year, and my first book of 2023 to review as well, so we’re not off to a great start in terms of actually keeping up with my reviews this year. Still I have published two reviews in the time frame this rewind covers, and the most popular of those was The Librarian Spy which I was pleasantly surprised by, although it was the newer of the two books I reviewed, I didn’t think Madeline Martin was as well known an author as Kate Atkinson, so I was expecting Life After Life to get more. Still The Librarian Spy was one of my favourite books of last year, so I’m glad you guys enjoyed my review of it (and hopefully it got some of you to read it!):

Top Two Books I Read This Winter:

In a reoccurring theme, I’ve not read as much as I’d have liked this winter, I read 2 and a bit books (finished one that I was about 3/4 of the way through when I wrote my last rewind) and 4 comics, which isn’t bad but I obviously always want to read more. Anyway in what I think will be a first for this feature, there’ll be one book and one comic here as the other book that I fully read in this rewind period, I didn’t really like enough to count as a favourite. Anyway, here they are:

  1. Have I Told You This Already?-Lauren Graham

I really enjoyed Lauren Graham’s last book of essays when I read it last year and this one was also really fun (if not quite as good as the first one). I’d read quite a lot of heavy books towards the end of last year, so this nice, quick, light and fun read was just what I needed to start the year off on a good note, and Graham tells a lot of hilarious stories that had me laughing all the way through.

2. Night of Knives #4 (Steel Prince #8)-VE Schwab

I binged my way through quite a few of VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic comics in order to meet my Goodreads Challenge goal at the end of last year, and this one was my favourite of the four. It provided a very exciting end to the second arc of the comic series, and definitely had me looking forward to how Schwab was going to wrap up Maxim’s adventures in the final arc (which I will probably finish this December when I am inevitably scrambling to meet my Goodreads goal at the end of the year-again!).

TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To This Spring:

Spring isn’t usually the best time for TV, but there are actually a few really exciting releases that have either come out recently or are coming up in the next few months that I’m really looking forward to:

  1. Shadow and Bone Season 2

We all knew that this was going to be the first one, didn’t we? I’m so ridiculously excited to see what adventures Alina and the Crows get up to in the new season (AND TO FINALLY MEET NIKOLAI), I have managed to avoid spoilers so far and I should hopefully be starting this one tomorrow.

2. Celebrity Bake-Off

Celebrity Bake-Off started back last night and it was brilliant and hilarious and had some of the best fails I’ve seen on Celebrity Bake-Off in a while! Plus, who wouldn’t want to watch David Schwimmer baking? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the next four episodes bring.

3. The Marvelous Mrs Maisel Season 5

The final season of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel starts in April and I’m SO EXCITED. I can’t wait to see how Midge’s journey wraps up and more importantly what fabulous outfits she gets to wear this season (I’m a feminist but though I do enjoy the plot and characters of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Midge’s wardrobe is the biggest draw for me. I feel like Midge herself would agree with this though!).

4. Beyond Paradise

Okay so this Death In Paradise spin-off did technically start last month, but I only started watching it with my family a couple of weeks ago and the rest of the episodes will come out in this rewind period, so I’m saying it counts! I was a little sceptical about whether this would work without the Caribbean setting and whilst I won’t lie, I like the original show better, the spinoff has been much more fun than I thought it would be!

5. Ghosts (US)

The first season of the US remake of Ghosts came out in the UK at the end of last year, and my mum and I just started watching it last weekend. I was a little sceptical initially because I feel like aside from reality TV shows and The Office, US remakes of UK shows don’t generally go that well. However, it’s actually really fun and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I still like the original better, but the US version is still very watchable.

Two New Obsessions This Winter:

  1. MickeyJoTheatre-MickeyJo is a theatre critic and YouTuber and he makes really fun theatre related content which I’ve been enjoying since the end of last year. Since we’ve moved to London and I’ve been trying to see more theatre, it’s been interesting to see what he’s been going to see and learn about shows I might not otherwise have heard of.
  2. Good Boy Tato-The owner of Good Boy Ollie, my favourite Instagram Labrador, got a yellow Labrador puppy called Tato at the end of last year and he’s just the most fun ball of chaos to watch, I now get double the serotonin from watching Ollie’s weekly activities as we now have Ollie and Tato!

Things I’m Looking Forward To This Spring:

  1. Going to lots of theatre

I have many theatre trips planned this spring, particularly in April which has somehow become the month of theatre for me, I’m going to see four shows, all of which I’m really excited for. I love being so close to theatre now, I mean it’s still not cheap but at least the huge cost of train travel to get in London is gone now!

2. My first press invite to a show

Agh I’m so excited for this, I got a press invite for a play called When We Died, which I wrote a news article about for The Indie and it’ll be my first ever time going to the theatre as press!

3. Badminton Horse Trials

We got an invite via my Dad’s work to go to Badminton Horse Trials this year which I’m so excited for as I’ve never been before! I’ve been to Burghley a couple of times in the past and it’s been really great, so I’m very excited to see what the Badminton cross country course is like.

4. Susan Dennard book event

Susan Dennard is doing a UK tour for The Luminaries at the end of May and I’ve booked a ticket for her London event. I’m really excited to hear her talk about The Luminaries in person as I’ve loved following along with the Sooz-your-own-adventures on Twitter in the past few years.

5. Independent bookshop tour day

I mentioned in a TTT post a couple of weeks back that I’m planning to do a little tour of independent bookshops in my area of London in April. I’ve just about decided which ones I’m going to go to and I think I’m going to do it the second weekend of April, probably the 8th.

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Winter:

After a few Rewinds with a more varied bunch of posts, this time we’ve gone firmly back to the expected pattern of this section, with it being mostly dominated by Top Ten Tuesday posts. My Book Vs Movie post for My Sister’s Keeper has once again come out on top this time, and I’m not exactly sure why but I’m glad so many people seem to be consistently enjoying it!

  1. Book Vs Movie: My Sister’s Keeper

As I said, this one was out on top last time and it’s here again this time. For those of you who really like my Book Vs Movie posts, I have started doing them again, and they’re going to be monthly this year, so keep an eye out at the end of the month for my latest one and please keep supporting my new Book Vs Movie posts as well as loving the old ones!

2. Top Ten Tuesday #401

This was my first Top Ten Tuesday for 2023, where I shared my favourite books of 2022. I’m not surprised this one was a very popular one, it’s always a popular topic anyway and I was able to get around many more people’s blogs than I usually do as I was still on holiday at the time, which obviously meant more return visits. I’m glad you guys all enjoyed this one though, it’s always one of my favourite lists of the year to put together (and to visit because I love seeing what everyone else’s favourites are) so it’s nice to see it getting so much love.

3. Top Ten Tuesday #404

This was another of the perennial annual favourites, the new-to-me-authors list of 2022. I split my list again this year into favourites of 2022 and ones I want to try in 2023, but as I’ve made it a goal for this year to try and read more new to me authors, maybe I’ll have enough for a full list of new favourites next year, we’ll see. I always love doing this one, as it’s fun to share my new faves and I love seeing who other people have discovered as well, so I’m glad you guys seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

4. Top Ten Tuesday #402

Another of the annual favourites, this was my anticipated releases for the first half of 2023 list. I always love these ones as I love seeing what everyone else is excited for and adding more books to my TBR, so I’m not surprised that this one has made an appearance here since it’s something I enjoy on other people’s blogs! I’m currently reading the first of my books from this list, The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi and hopefully I’ll be able to read more of them throughout the year.

5. Top Ten Tuesday #403

It is just a coincidence that my four popular TTT posts are four consecutive ones, I think everyone always enjoys the start of the year TTT posts the most as it’s all the looking forward and looking back posts. This was my goals for 2023, and I think I have made some progress on some of these, thought there are others that I’ve not even cracked a dent in yet. I always enjoy making these lists though, even if I don’t complete all the goals, it’s nice to have something to work towards throughout the year!

Three Posts I Enjoyed This Winter:

  1. Nadia Khomani did this great post for The Guardian about the increasing number of women opening independent bookshops with their friends and it was just such a lovely and wholesome article! One of my favourite independent bookshops in Scotland, The Book Nook, a second hand bookshop and cafe was opened by two women who were University of Stirling students (graduated a few years before I did) so it was fun to read the stories of other women who’ve also opened bookshops together.

2. Kate Padley did a really interesting piece on the legacy of Titanic for The Indiependent (a site I also write for) and the ethics of using the real life tragedy as the basis for a love story.

3. Rebecca Reid wrote this great piece for Glamour about the Channel 4 drama Consent, and the difficulties of navigating life as a modern day teenager. If you’re in the UK and you’ve not seen Consent, I highly recommend it, it’s a very well done drama and I have to admit, I agree with the author, when I was a teenager, social media was just starting to take off really, I’m very glad I didn’t have to navigate the same pressures at school as teenagers now do!

Five Shows I Enjoyed This Winter:

  1. Call The Midwife Series 12

January for me always means the return of Call The Midwife, and once again, they knocked it out of the park with this year’s series, it was as usual incredibly emotional and poignant and the finale was the best payoff for Trixie’s arc over the series thus far, it was so wonderful to see her find happiness with Matthew. I was also really glad that the show was back to normal in terms of social distancing this year, it was quite distracting in the previous two series and did take me out of the plot a little!

2. Death In Paradise Series 12

Death In Paradise is my go-to happy show during the winter months and this year’s series was fabulous as ever, I liked that they tried something a little more ambitious this series with a mystery that actually tied into multiple episodes, culminating in a two-part conclusion in episodes 6 & 7, it’s nice to see a long running show that tends to be incredibly formulaic, pushing the boundaries with the formula slightly whilst still being the same show we love. It was also nice to get a bit more of Naomi’s backstory this season too.

3. Emily In Paris Season 3

Yes, Emily In Paris is terrible, I know that it’s a very trashy show, but it’s also a lot of fun and brought a smile to my face in the cold depths of January! Not every show has to be high brow, serious drama, sometimes you want a frothy, silly, comedy that’s slightly ridiculous but very easy to watch. I look forward to seeing what ridiculous drama and ridiculous outfits Season 4 brings!

4. Wednesday Season 1

I’ve actually never watched any Addams Family stuff before, but I saw everyone talking about Wednesday on Netflix and I thought I’d give it a try. It was really fun, I enjoyed the characters and the story a lot and I look forward to the second season, whenever it comes out.

5. One of Us Is Lying Season 2

I was completely hooked by the second season of One of Us Is Lying, it was the kind of show where I was like “just one more episode” and before I knew it, I had finished the whole season. I’m so sad that it got cancelled because it left off on such a cliffhanger and I really wanted to know what happened to Bronwyn and where the whole graduation day mystery was going to go. Still unless it somehow gets picked up by another streaming service, I doubt we’ll ever know!

Three Things That Happened This Winter:

  1. I started Spanish evening classes here in London

I started Spanish evening classes back in January, and it’s been so much fun, and I really feel like my Spanish has improved a lot over the last ten weeks! I’m excited to continue on with the next course up (Pre-Intermediate 1) when it starts in a few weeks time.

2. I went to see a lot of theatre

I’ve been to quite a few shows over the past couple of months, I saw one right at the end of December (Newsies), three in February (Wicked, Dirty Dancing & Sylvia) and one in March (Choir of Man on Thursday) and I’ve got loads lined up for April that I’m really excited for. One of the best things about being back in London has been being so close to all the theatres and getting to go and see shows I want to see far more often than I was able to when I was living in Cambridge.

3. I went to a few book events

Again, living in London has meant I’ve been able to go to a lot more book events as pretty much every author doing a UK tour usually does a stop in London, and I only have to get the tube now rather than getting the train in from Cambridge. In just the last few months, I’ve been able to see Leigh Bardugo, Samantha Shannon & VE Schwab, three of my favourite authors! I’m also going to see Susan Dennard on her tour for The Luminaries in May.

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Winter

  1. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life-Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

I went to see Dirty Dancing last month and of course this song has been permanently stuck in my head since then.

2. Watch What Happens-Newsies

There are a lot of catchy songs in Newsies but this is the one that has been stuck in my head the most since I went to see it back in December.

3. If I Had My Time Again-Groundhog Day

Okay this one I’ve actually not listened to all the way through, but the ads for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic have been coming up whenever I’ve been watching YouTube videos and the chorus is very firmly (and rather annoyingly for a show I don’t imagine I’ll go and see) stuck in my head!

4. champagne problems-Taylor Swift

My favourite evermore song has been coming up on my shuffle a lot over the last few months and I’m not sad about it.

5. Mein Herr-Cabaret

Okay so after Helen & Gorka’s routine to this song on Strictly last year, I went down a little bit of a rabbit hole and found the Miscast video of Aaron Tveit doing this song and let’s just say I became a little obsessed……

6. You Belong With Me-Taylor Swift

Again another one that pops up pretty frequently when I put my iPod on shuffle.

So there we go, that was Winter! It’s been pretty busy but really fun, and I have so much that I’m looking forward to doing in the next few months which is really great. What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Winter (or Summer for my Southern Hemisphere readers)? What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday #412

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I had an awesome time at VE Schwab’s event on Friday, it was so fun to get to hear her talk about Addie in person and so lovely to see her finally get the chance to do a tour for it since all of her original tour events for Addie had to be virtual due to the pandemic. I loved the little cards they had for us to write a note to V, it was a lovely little personal touch given that she wasn’t doing a signing this time, and it was nice to actually have time to think about what I wanted to write rather than incoherently babble something in the moment like I usually do when I meet authors! I’ve got some fun things planned this week as well, my mum and I are going to see Choir of Man at the Arts Theatre on Thursday, the last of our Official London Theatre Sale shows, so hopefully that will be fun and I’ve got another Spanish conversation night on Friday so hopefully that will be just as fun as the last one. It’s actually my last Spanish evening class this week as well (for this course anyway, I’ll be starting the next course in mid-April) so that should be good fun too.

Anyway, today’s Top Ten Tuesday is courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, as always. This week’s topic is a TTT Rewind, so we could pick any old topic that we’d like to do for the first time, or update. I’m picking one I missed the first time around and sharing Books I Wish I Read As A Kid. I read a lot as a kid, but there are plenty of books I missed out on that I wish I’d read, and some (okay well one) that I read when I was older but think I would have enjoyed more back then. So here we go:

  1. Coraline-Neil Gaiman

The only one on this list I’ve actually read. I read Coraline back in 2020, and whilst I did like it, I think I probably would have found it scarier as a kid and therefore enjoyed it more? I would like to read more of Neil Gaiman’s books, he’s so well loved and I’ve yet to find one of his books that I really love, but I’ve only read a couple, so I feel like the Neil Gaiman book for me is just sitting there waiting in his extensive backlist.

2. Inkheart-Cornelia Funke

My sister actually has a copy of this book (well had, I don’t know if she still has it, probably not) so I don’t know why I never borrowed it? I borrowed quite a lot of my sister’s books as a kid, and this sounds like exactly the kind of book I would have been obsessed by, I mean book characters than can actually leap off the pages and come to life? Yes please! I do have a copy of this book now and it is still something I’d be interested in reading, so hopefully one day I will, but I’m still slightly bummed that it passed me by as a kid.

3. My Friend Flicka-Mary O’Hara

I was one of those kids that was completely obsessed with any and all horse stories, so it’s actually quite a surprise that any passed me by! I’ve watched the film version, but I know they changed quite a lot, so I would like to read the original book one day, but I do think that this is one that I would have devoured as a kid and I’m not sure I would in the same way now.

4. Anne of Green Gables-L.M. Montgomery

This just feels like a bit of a gap in my reader knowledge, I see so many other bloggers talking about Anne of Green Gables and whilst I’m vaguely familiar with the character, I never read the books. I’m not really sure why it passed me by, I guess it just wasn’t something I was interested in as a kid, but now I wish I’d read so I didn’t have that gap in my reading knowledge!

5. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret-Judy Blume

Honestly, I could have put any Judy Blume book here, because much like Anne of Green Gables, it feels like a lack in my reading knowledge. I feel like this is a British Vs American thing because I don’t really remember Judy Blume’s books being available in my school libraries when I was a kid. Granted I did read mostly fantasy, so it is highly possible that her books were there and they just completely passed me by. It also could be an age thing to be fair, as Judy Blume’s books pre-date me by several decades. Either way, I never got into her books as a teenager and from what I’ve heard of them, I don’t think I’d really relate to them as much now!

6. Northern Lights (The Golden Compass)-Philip Pullman

For some reason, I was dead set against reading Philip Pullman when I was a kid, and I cannot remember why! My sister really enjoyed his books, but I just didn’t want to know. I started watching His Dark Materials when the TV show came out on the BBC but I found it hard to follow without the knowledge from the books. It sounds like an interesting story though, so maybe I will finally get around to reading the books, a decade or so later!

7. Ella Enchanted-Gail Carson Levine

I have seen the film version of this and I did *hides before people start throwing things at me because I know book fans have quite strong opinions about the film* actually really enjoy it. I’ve heard a lot about how different the book is to the film and I would like to find out for myself one of these days, but I do think it’s something I potentially might have enjoyed more as a kid.

8. White Boots-Noel Streatfeild

I really enjoyed Noel Streatfeild’s books as a kid, but a lot of them were out of print, so they were really hard to find and I didn’t read as many as I would have liked. I would have loved to have read this one as I love ice-skating (even if I’m only okay at it!) but it was one I was never able to find as a kid. I know some of her books have been reprinted now, so maybe I would be able to find it now, but I don’t know if I would enjoy it as much as I might have when I was a kid.

9. National Velvet-Enid Bagnold

Another horse book that somehow passed me by as a kid. The synopsis kind of reminds me of Lauren St John’s The One Dollar Horse, so I wonder if this was one of the stories that she took inspiration from! Would it be something I’d love now? Maybe. But I know for sure that 9-year old Jo would have gobbled a book like this up!

10. The Babysitters Club books-Ann M Martin

This is another one that it feels like everyone else has read but me, and again, I feel like this might be the same sort of thing as Judy Blume, that they just weren’t available in the UK to the same extent as the US, or that I just wasn’t really looking for them when I was a teenager. They kind of remind me of the Sleepover Club books which I was obsessed with as a pre-teen/teenager, so I’m pretty sure if I’d read them back then I would have liked them. They’re not something that appeal to me now, sadly!

So there we go, those are some Books I Wish I’d Read As A Kid! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Did any of these surprise you that I hadn’t read them (other than Coraline, as I have read that one!)? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Books For People Who Liked Author X, and so in a surprise to no one, I’ll be doing Books For People Who Liked VE Schwab.

Samantha Shannon Event Recap

Photo Credit: @Lucy_Saxon (I managed to take absolutely zero pictures at this event so I had to rely on Twitter to find one!)

Hi everyone! This recap is super late given that this event was almost three weeks ago, I’m sorry about that, I’ve just been super busy recently. I booked tickets for Samantha Shannon’s A Day of Fallen Night London launch event pretty much as soon as they went on sale (which turned out to be a good thing as they sold out incredibly quickly!) as I really enjoyed Priory and was very excited to hear Samantha talk about the prequel. This was also the first event of Samantha Shannon’s that I’d been to since Priory, as obviously her event for The Mask Falling had to be virtual due to Covid, so I was very excited to get to hear her speak live again.

Doors for the event were open from 6, with the event starting at 7 and I have to admit, I did have a slight panic at home when I realised that the event was starting at 7 rather than 7.30 as I had expected, I clearly had not really read the event information properly when I booked the ticket back in November of last year. I rushed through dinner and left the house at around 5.45, walking down to Clapham Junction station. I got the next train to Waterloo, and once there, headed for the Bakerloo line to get the tube to Piccadilly Circus.

Despite having been to St James’ Church, where the event was being held before, I will admit, I was slightly confused when I left the tube station as to which way to go-the last time I went, I got the bus from Kings Cross to Piccadilly as I was still a little nervous of the tube following the pandemic, and the bus stopped right outside the church, so I’d not had to walk there before. Luckily, I fairly quickly oriented myself and found which street to go down and it was only a short walk from the tube station to the church. The queue when I got there wasn’t too long, so I didn’t have to wait all that long to get in. Once I did so I headed over to the table of books, where a Waterstones staff member scanned my ticket and gave me the copy of A Day of Fallen Night which had been included in my ticket (don’t get me wrong, I plan on reading the book in audio form as that size of book is simply not practical to cart around, but I did still want a pretty copy for my collection). I was hoping that since I had arrived slightly earlier this time, there might be more options to choose from when it came to where to sit, but alas, once again, the middle aisle with the best view had all the seats taken and I was left with the choice of either the left or right hand side aisles, which had slightly obscured views due to pillars. After wandering around slightly confused for a few minutes, I ended up picking a seat a few rows from the front on the left hand side, which didn’t exactly have the best view, but at that point, I really just needed to sit somewhere!

I was behind a couple of rows of the reserved seating, for guests of the author and funnily enough, I ended up sitting right behind Alwyn Hamilton who had also been at the Leigh Bardugo event I’d been at in January (I swear, if she’s at the Susan Dennard event in May, it’s going to really feel like we’re following each other around London!). It turned out we were sitting behind all sorts of important publishing people and I definitely had to hold in a gasp when one of the Waterstones booksellers introduced a guy to the other guests in the reserved seats as the frickin’ managing director of Bloomsbury! I chatted a little to the other women on my row as it turned out we had all come alone to the event (and one of them had even come over from Ireland). There was also a photo booth where you could get pictures taken with your copy of A Day of Fallen Night, but I waited a little too late to be able to take advantage of this as by the time I attempted to join the queue, they were closing it to new people.

It wasn’t long after that the event started. A Waterstones bookseller came out and introduced C.L. Clark, who was going to do a reading from her new book The Faithless, sequel to The Unbroken. I’ve not read The Unbroken, so it meant little to me but she read well and it was nice that she had the opportunity to promote her work at the event. Once the reading was over, the Waterstones bookseller came out again and introduced Samantha and Saara El-Arifi who was moderating the event.

The event was really enjoyable, Saara and Samantha are clearly good friends and had a good rapport with each other, and both were very funny. Saara asked about the new protagonists for A Day Of Fallen Night and Samantha talked us through them: princess Glorian, sister of the Priory Tunuva, Dumai who has been attempting to wake the dragons of the East for many years and Wulf who according to Saara is a “soft boy”. It was fun to hear about all the new characters that we’re going to be introduced to in this book and I think from their first introductions, I’m most intrigued by Glorian and Tunuva, especially Tunuva because you hardly ever get to see older women in fantasy stories, but we’ll see if that changes once I’ve actually read the book.

Saara asked about the order in which you needed to read the books, if it was better to read Priory or A Day of Fallen Night first and Samantha said that either way would work, Priory was a more gentle introduction to the world, A Day of Fallen Night assumes that the reader does have some knowledge and throws you right in there but that if readers wanted no spoilers of what was to come then it was better to read A Day of Fallen Night first.

One of the absolute funniest moments of the night was when Saara asked about what had inspired Priory and Samantha was talking about the legend of St George and the Dragon and the various incredibly misogynistic and racist parts of that legend and how she had wanted to upend the “damsel in distress” version of the story. Anyway, in expounding upon some of the misogynistic parts of the legend, she mentioned how the princess died in the legend by falling into a bush of metal spikes. Anyway, obviously the entire room burst out laughing at the word bush because we clearly all have the same immature sense of humour and poor Saara could not keep a straight face at all whilst asking questions during this part. It took a good five minutes before everything got back on track and the entire room was in stitches laughing at the whole thing (I’ve probably not described this in a way that sounds as funny as it was in the room, but trust me it was hilarious!).

Saara also asked about how chunky the book is and if Samantha always intended to write such huge books for this series. Samantha laughed at this and said that she never sets out to write massive books, the books always end up the size they’re supposed to be, noting The Song Rising, the third book in The Bone Season series, which is a relatively thin volume. She also said that the book was much slimmer than its initial draft, which I think she said had come in at around 345,000 words (I do not think I could have coped if the end product had been that huge), where the final copy was around 297,000. It was also very funny hearing her talk about how the book was so large that she actually broke Word and has since moved to writing on Scrivener because I remember following along with that saga on Instagram when it was happening, so it was funny to hear her talk about that in person (I still find it incredible that it’s possible to write something so big that you can break Word!).

She also asked about Tunuva and the representation of older women in A Day of Fallen Night and how Samantha went about writing a character significantly older than her. Samantha spoke about asking the older women in her life about their experiences and how it was really important to her to represent older women on the page as they are so often invisible in much media, and she doesn’t want to feel like she’s going to become invisible as she gets older. I really loved this because it’s true that it’s very hard to find representation of older women in books especially in fantasy, I think I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of female book characters over the age of about 30 that I’ve read in fantasy books, so it’s very cool that this one has a woman in her fifties as one of the main characters.

Samantha also spoke about how certain things in A Day of Fallen Night were different to Priory because of the 500 year gap between the two and how A Day of Fallen Night covers a long time span (4 years compared to just one) so you get to see the characters grow over a longer period of time. It was cool to hear how the spellings of different places on the map had changed due to language changes in 500 years meaning that the place names in A Day Of Fallen Night were earlier versions of names that could be found in Priory, and I love it when authors put that much thought and detail into things in their books. She also mentioned how there were certain places that don’t exist any more in Priory that are on the map in A Day of Fallen Night, like The Republic of Carmentum which in Priory has been absorbed into the Queendom of Inys.

I loved hearing that the Priory is going to play a bigger role in this book than it did in the actual Priory because there was surprisingly little Priory action in that book considering its name! She said that the Priory sequences were some of her favourite to write in this book, so I’m really looking forward to reading that and seeing how the Priory is different from the Priory we were introduced to in the original book. She also said that we going to get to spend a lot of time in the North in this book, which I’m super excited for as it did seem to be a major part of the world missing from Priory-there were a few good jokes at the event at Samantha not really knowing her compass directions because the events in Priory only take place in the South, East and West. She said she particularly enjoyed getting to explore the Kingdom of Hroth (which Glorian is a descendant of).

As with any Samantha Shannon event, Saara asked about etymology (and everyone laughed when she mock groaned about how long Samantha was able to talk about etymology) and it was cool to hear how she approached the names differently in this book given the 500 year gap between this book and Priory and how much the languages would have changed in that time (this woman’s brain, I swear! I could only dream of thinking about as much detail in my worldbuilding as she manages to get in there) so the names came from older, more medieval languages than Priory which was more Elizabethan inspired.

Given when the book is set (during the Grief of Ages), grief is a big theme in A Day of Fallen Night and it was really interesting to hear how Samantha’s own family bereavements during the writing of A Day of Fallen Night as well as the collective grief experienced during the pandemic influenced the writing of the book.

She also talked a little about her upcoming projects, obviously the next instalments of the Bone Season series are going to be the next ones to come out but she also talked a little bit about the possibilities of what she might explore for the future Roots of Chaos books (all of which sound very exciting) and a little about the Iris book that she has planned which I have to admit, I think is the one I’m most looking forward to of her upcoming projects because I love Greek mythology!

After the talk part of the event was over, the floor was turned over for the usual audience Q&A. One person asked Samantha about battle scenes and how she approached those given how much she dislikes them, does she leave them for the end and come back to them, or does she do them as they come up in the book (writing in chronological order). Samantha said that whilst she does try to avoid them for as long possible, she does generally write in chronological order as this is the easiest way to follow the character’s arcs throughout the books. She said she just has to push through them in order to get to the scenes she enjoys writing more: quiet character focused scenes where they decompress from all the action.

Someone asked about the anniversary edition of The Bone Season and whether they should read The Bone Season now or wait until the anniversary edition comes out. Samantha said whilst obviously it was up to the person what they wanted to do, that she thought the anniversary edition was the stronger version of the story and that she was really grateful that Bloomsbury had allowed her to do the edits and release this stronger version of the story now as she feels she has gained so much more experience and is a better writer now than she was at 19 (very understandable!). Someone else also asked if there would be anniversary editions of the other books in The Bone Season series, and Samantha said she didn’t know yet but she’d very much like there to be.

Once the Q&A was over, one of the Waterstones booksellers came out to explain how the signing was going to work and then they started making their way round with post it notes. As has become tradition for me when I go to these events alone, I got to chatting with the two women next to me, Ell who had come over from Ireland, and Jess. I definitely feel so much better going to book events alone now than I used to because I know that no matter which one I go to, there’s always going to be at least one other person who is there alone and we seem to gravitate towards each other! We’d been given these cool biscuits with the A Day Of Fallen Night cover iced on them, and I was quite peckish by this point in the evening, so I was very grateful for the food (I did mean to take a picture of the biscuit for you guys but my stomach was bigger than my eyes and I forgot!) even if the blue food colouring on the biscuit did slightly stain my fingers. The bookseller came round and gave us our post-it notes with our names for the signing, and it actually wasn’t too long to wait before we joined the queue as we were only a few rows from the front. It may not have been a benefit during the talk as we couldn’t really see Samantha, but it was of some help now!

Jess, Ell and I continued to chatting whilst waiting in the queue and it definitely made the wait pass quicker, though it wasn’t too long anyway as the queue wasn’t all that long when we joined it. When it was my turn, I went up to the desk and Samantha asked if I’d enjoyed the event which I said I had. I wish I could tell you that I’d said something nice about her books or asked her a question, but I’m always a little nervous when it comes to meeting authors and I can never really think of what to say, so I just complimented her outfit! In my defence it was really nice, and I hadn’t really been able to see it from where I was sitting. I completely forgot to ask for a picture, but it didn’t seem like anyone else had been getting photos so they might not have been doing them, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by asking in case they weren’t!

Ell and I waited for Jess when we were done, and we all headed out together, as we were all getting the tube back from Piccadilly station. Once there we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways….or so we thought! It turns out that Jess and I actually live quite close to each other and so were taking the same route home, so we actually ended up heading back together! It was really lovely to get to chat to her a bit more on the way home and to have someone to head home with when I usually go to these events by myself.

Once we arrived back at Clapham Junction, we headed our separate ways (having exchanged numbers so that we can hopefully meet up again at some point) and I headed back home. It was a much earlier night than I was expecting, I think I made it back home just after 10, but I really appreciated that, having had quite a late night the night before going to see Sylvia at The Old Vic.

Has anyone else been to one of Samantha Shannon’s A Day of Fallen Night tour events (or to another of her tour events for a different book)? Have any of you read A Day of Fallen Night yet? What did you think? (No spoilers please!) Let me know in the comments!

There’s actually not going to be too long for you guys to wait for my next event recap as I’m going to VE Schwab’s London event for her Addie LaRue paperback tour tomorrow, so that should be up before the end of March!

Top Ten Tuesday #411

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. I really enjoyed the Spanish conversation night I went to last week, it was really nice to meet some new people and I think I did a reasonably okay job at speaking (though attempting to chat in Spanish for an hour and half is not easy!) and obviously the food as always was incredible. This Friday, I’m going to VE Schwab’s London event for the paperback release of Addie LaRue which should be really fun, I always love hearing her speak. She’s not doing a signing this time which is a shame, but completely understandable given how large her signing queues have become over the last few years and I do actually have all my copies of her books signed at this point anyway from various signings over the years (and buying signed editions) so I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything, I’m just happy to get to see her speak about Addie in person!

Anyway, today’s Top Ten Tuesday is as ever courtesy of Jana at That Arsty Reader Girl. We’ve got another annual topic this week, the Spring TBR topic. I actually did better on my Winter TBR than I was expecting to, I finished 5 of the 10 books on my list, though if we’re being pedantic, a couple of the entries were groups of comics and I read 4 of those, so it was actually 9 books total! Either way, my Winter TBR was a moderate success and I definitely think putting less pressure on having to read those particular books and just thinking of them as options I had available to me helped, so I’m going to try and do the same with this list. So here we go, this is my Spring TBR, which I may or may not read all of this Spring:

  1. The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi-S.A. Chakraborty

This is my current read and I’m enjoying it so far, though I’m not all that far in. I love Amina already, it’s very cool to see a woman in her forties as the protagonist of a fantasy novel and she’s just such a fun character. I’m looking forward to seeing where her adventures lead her in the rest of the book.

2. The Luminaries-Susan Dennard

This is a carryover from my Winter TBR, I just haven’t got around to it yet and a few of the women in my Goodreads book club were reading Amina so I decided to do a buddy read with them and put this one off till after. I’m definitely prioritising this one as my next read though as I’ve got a ticket to Susan’s London tour stop for The Luminaries in May, so I want to have actually read the book before then.

3. Killers of A Certain Age-Deanna Raybourn

Another carryover from my Winter TBR (you’ll be seeing quite a few of these!), I still really want to read this story of almost-retired female assassins being brought back into their network for one last job. Hopefully I’ll get around to it before the summer, but we’ll see!

4. The Demon In The Wood-Leigh Bardugo

Yet another carryover from my Winter TBR, I’m really feeling in the mood for Grisha content with the release of the second season of the Netflix show imminent so I think this is one I’m going to read either before I watch the new season or after depending on how that works out timewise (I have a couple of Netflix shows to catch up on so I’m not sure when I’m going to get to Shadow & Bone).

5. The Last Tale of The Flower Bride-Roshani Chokshi

Yup another carryover from my Winter TBR (this is the last one though!). The hype for this book has only been getting bigger since its release and I really want to see what all the fuss is about. I am still a little concerned that this may be all pretty language and very little plot, so it’s not absolute top top of my TBR, but it is one I’m still intrigued by.

6. City of Nightmares-Rebecca Schaeffer

I’m so excited for this one, Rebecca Schaeffer’s imagination comes up with the wildest, weirdest and grossest things and I can’t wait to see all that in her new book (Only Ashes Remain is still sitting on my shelves despite being super excited to read it and buying it as soon as I finished Not Even Bones, but I digress). I’m also super excited for this one because my absolute favourite audiobook narrator, Saskia Maarleveld narrates this one and I just know that means I’m in for a great time.

7. A Day of Fallen Night-Samantha Shannon

Okay, so this one may be a bit of a stretch as it is MASSIVE, and the audiobook comes in at almost 39 hours so it’s a big time commitment. But I am really excited for this one as it sounds so great and going to Samantha’s event a few weeks ago made me even more excited for it, so I’d like to try and at least start it before the end of Spring, but we’ll see what I’m in the mood for.

8. The Librarian of Burned Books-Brianna Labuskes

This has been a quite fantasy heavy list, in a change from what I’ve been reading over the last couple of years, but I am still very heavily into my historical fiction and there’s a lot I’m really excited for this year. This one came out in February and it sounds so good, three women fighting against the censorship of books in multiple different locations over different years and it’s inspired by an actual American organisation called the Council of Books In Wartime who wanted to use books to help influence how Americans thought about the war. It was also cool to find out that these Libraries of Burned Books were an actual thing and that there really was one in Paris as the blurb describes one of the characters working in. Hopefully this will be another great one to add to my favourite niche of WWII fiction about books!

9. Death of A Bookseller-Alice Slater

This one just sounds like so much fun, and it’s written by an actual former Waterstones bookseller, so that’s cool! Basically this follows a true-crime obsessed bookseller who becomes dangerously interested in her new colleague and it just sounds like it could be a really fun, addictive read, so I’m looking forward to giving it a go!

10. Homecoming-Kate Morton

Since visiting Australia for the first time last year, I’ve found myself drawn towards more books set there and this one sounds like it could be a really intriguing mystery. Plus I always love it when the main character of a book is a journalist!

So there we go, those are my planned Spring TBR reads! As I said, I’m going to be fairly chill about my TBRs this year, I think again, I’d be happy if I read half of these by the summer, but if not, I just want to enjoy what I do read and these all sound great, so I’m sure I’ll get to them at some point, even if that’s not in the next three months. How about you? What’s on your Spring TBR this year? Have you read any of these (of the ones already out)? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, next week’s topic is a TTT Rewind so we can pick any TTT topic that we’ve missed before or that we’d like to redo/update. I’m going to do Books I Wish I Read As A Kid, as though I read a lot as a kid, there are so many books out there and there are definitely some I missed that I don’t think I’d like as much now, but know I would have loved back then.

Top Ten Tuesday #410

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I had quite a quiet week last week but to be honest that was sorely needed after how busy the week before was. I am going to a Spanish conversation night at the place that holds my Spanish classes on Friday though, and I’m looking forward to that, it will be nice to meet people from some of the other classes and get to chat in a slightly less formal environment than the classroom.

Anyway, as always today’s Top Ten Tuesday (my 410th!) is courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Now this week’s topic was meant to be Bookish People I’d Like To Meet but I feel like I’ve done that in various forms over the years (authors, characters etc), so instead I’m going to be talking about Indie Bookshops In London* (*my local area anyway, London is huge and it will probably take me years to even scratch the surface of all the indie bookshops here*) I’d Like To Visit. I actually have a slight ulterior motive for this post, as I’m planning something fun for my next Jo Talks post in April, I’m going to do a Indie Bookshop tour day, very similar to the one I did in Edinburgh a few years back. Anyway, I’m going to do a similar thing in London next month, only just with independent bookshops, and I’d love your input about where you’d like to me go, if there’s any of the bookshops on this list that you’ve been to and really don’t think I should miss out on then please let me know. I have a provisional list of about five or six shops that are basically the ones that are the closest to me to get to, but pretty much all of the shops on my list are within a 15-40 minute walk/bus/train/tube journey from me, so if there’s any that you would really like to see me go to and talk about in that discussion post then do let me know! That’s enough of my rambling for the time being though, here are my potential bookshop tour options:

  1. BookMongers (Brixton)

BookMongers is based in Brixton which is fairly close to where I live, it’s about a fifteen minute bus ride away. It’s a second-hand bookshop which I love and don’t go to nearly enough of and it just looks really lovely and cosy with a whole lot of books to choose from! It’s also been there for a long time, they celebrated 30 years last year which is so cool and definitely seems like one I’d like to check out.

2. Round Table Books (Brixton)

Round Table Books is also based in Brixton (actually quite close to BookMongers so I could hit both at the same time!) and it’s a bookshop run by the publisher KnightsOf who focus on diverse and inclusive children’s books. There obviously would probably be less of interest for me here given that it’s a children’s focused shop, but it would still be cool to go and see what they have, maybe some YA that could be of interest and obviously would love to support their work of getting diverse books to kids if I can.

3. Herne Hill Books (Herne Hill)

Herne Hill Books looks like such a lovely, cosy little bookshop and it’s the sister bookshop to a local bookshop that I’ve been into after work before, Clapham Books which was really nice so I’d love to visit their sister shop. I love supporting small bookshops where I can and it’s not ridiculously far for me to get to (about twenty minutes on the bus) so I can definitely see myself visiting here one day.

4. Backstory (Balham)

Backstory is based in Balham which is again really close to me, just over twenty minutes by bus or about a thirty minute walk (not that I would!). I love how vibrant the shop is, the blue really stands out, and it looks as if they have quite a wide selection of books. I also really love that the owner is a former journalist who started his own bookshop, you never know, could be a future career path for me! They also do events at Backstory which would be really cool to go to if there was one that interested me as I wouldn’t have to go into the centre of London.

5. Battersea Bookshop (Battersea Power Station)

Battersea Bookshop is based in the new Battersea Power Station which I have been meaning to go to for ages (well since it opened last year!) and it looks really great, so big and like there’s a decent selection of books so I’m looking forward to going there and checking it out for myself. Again, it’s really not too far to get to, 21 minutes by bus, or I can get the bus from where I live to Nine Elms and then it’s only a five minute tube journey from there.

6. Goldsboro Books (Westminister)

One I’m sure many of you will be familiar with, they of the gorgeous special editions, Goldsboro Books! I’ve been wanting to visit Goldsboro Books for a while, but when I’ve been in London, I’ve just not been in that particular area and it’s never really worked out. Now that I live here though, I definitely want to go and see all the pretty special editions in person. It might be a little awkward to do on my Indie Bookshop tour as very few of the bookshops on my list are in Central London, they’re either in SW or SE London, but I’m thinking I may actually do a separate day of just touring the bookshops of Cecil Court because apparently there are like twenty just on that one street. Who knew?!

7. London Review Bookshop (Bloomsbury)

This is another one that’s potentially slightly out of the way for the bookshop tour as it would require going into Central London and coming out again so would just be a little awkward to fit on a route where I’m mainly in South London, but it’s one I definitely really want to check out. For one thing, it has a cake shop and if there’s anything that will get me even more excited than books (sorry books), it’s cake. But aside from the cake, it does also seem like it has a huge range of books which I would love to go and check out.

8. Hurlingham Books (Fulham)

I mean this just looks incredible, there’s nothing that can pull me in quicker than seeing stacks upon stacks of books in a bookshop’s window! It’s a second-hand, family run bookshop that’s been there since the sixties and looks like the kind of place that you could absolutely get lost in which I love. It’s a little further out of the way for me, about thirty minutes on the bus, but it looks like it would be worth the trip!

9. South Kensington Books (South Kensington)

I so love the front of this shop, it looks like one of those really charming old bookshops (which apparently it is, as it’s been around since the 1940s!). From the picture on the website, it looks like they have quite a wide range of books and I think it’s cool that the books they stock reflect the areas of interest of the museums in the local area, that’s quite a nice tie-in. South Kensington is fairly close for me to get to, it’s around 25 minutes on the bus and I’ve been up there a couple of times since we moved to go to the museums, so maybe next time I’m there, I’ll stop in here too (if I don’t go to it on my Indie Bookshop tour in April).

10. The Riverside Bookshop (London Bridge)

This is another one that’s slightly on the longer side for me, takes about thirty minutes by tube to get to from where I live (which admittedly is not that far, longer here is relative to the fact that all of these bookshops are relatively close!). However it does look like it has a wide array of choice of books and looks really lovely inside from the pictures on their Instagram so I would definitely love to get down there at some point and see what they have to offer.

11. Belgravia Books (Victoria)

Belgravia Books is based in Victoria, which is very easy for me to get to as it’s only a five minute train journey from Clapham Junction. I love the look of this shop, I think it looks really lovely and from the pictures of the interior I’ve seen online, it seems like they have a fair selection of books. I also love that they have their own publisher attached to the shop as well, Gallic Books, I think that’s really cool.

12. Nomad Books (Fulham)

Nomad Books looks like a really lovely shop with a wide selection of books. Again, it’s a little further out of the way for me, but I suppose if I did a trip to Fulham I could hit both this one and Hurlingham Books in one fell swoop.

13. Housmans (Kings Cross)

We’re getting into the ones that I’m probably unlikely to visit on my Indie Bookshop tour just because they’re quite far out from me and really not in the right area that I’m generally going to be sticking around when I do that (generally South London), but that I’d still like to visit. Housmans is not far from Kings Cross, so I may stop in there next time I’m going to the get the train as it does sound like a really cool place, open since the 40s, they’re a radical bookshop stocking books on all kinds of topics from feminism, Black politics, LGBTQIA+ politics, pacifism, environmental justice and anarchism so it does sound like there would definitely be some books of interest for me there.

14. Gay’s The Word (Camden)

Again, I don’t think Gay’s The Word is one that I’ll visit on the Indie Bookshop tour I’m planning for April, just because it’s kind of far out of my way, but the next time I’m up at Kings Cross, this will be on the list as well as Housmans! I’ve heard such good things about this place over the years and I’d really love to see their selection of books. I also think the history behind the place is just really cool, it’s the oldest LGBT bookshop in the UK and for a time was the only one and was opened by a group of gay socialist activists in the 70s.

So there we go, those are just some of the many independent bookshops in London I’d like to visit! Have you been to any of these? If you have, which ones do I absolutely need to prioritise on my indie bookshop tour in April? Would you also like to visit any of these shops? And let me know what your favourite indie bookshop is in your area (if you have one!).

Next week’s topic is the first of our annual TBR lists (or second I guess since the Winter one covers both the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023?). Anyway, it’s our first one to make this year, the Spring TBR list. My Winter TBR actually went far more successfully than I was expecting so I’m hoping the Spring one will be the same!

Book Vs Movie: Good Omens

Hi all! I did not mean for this to go out on the same day as Top Ten Tuesday but since February is a blink and you’ll miss it month, suddenly we are here at the end of the month and I haven’t done one of these posts yet, so you’re getting it today! Anyway, once again for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’m actually talking TV and sharing my thoughts on the Amazon miniseries Good Omens and the book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

Book Thoughts:

Now I will admit, I read this one after I watched the TV series, so again I’m not sure how that affected my opinion as obviously you do tend to cling to whichever one you consume first. But anyway, I read this back in 2020 and I was really expecting to love it, because I so enjoyed the show. However I was wrong! I found it very hard to follow what was actually going on in the book (a problem I didn’t have with the show) and in fact if I’d not watched the show first, I’m not sure I would have had any clue at all because the story keeps going off on these random tangents that don’t really make sense and end up having little relevance to the plot as a whole. The humour also felt incredibly dated, I mean I would have been surprising if it hadn’t given that the book came out in the 90s but just because it was the 90s, doesn’t mean that the sexist, racist and homophobic observations in the book should have been tolerated then. I also found the characters, aside from Aziraphale and Crowley oddly flat. You can read my full review of the book here.

TV Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the TV show. From my later reading of the book, it was clear that a lot had been streamlined and that made the plot so much easier to follow and engage with. I loved Aziraphale and Crowley, Michael Sheen and David Tennant were both excellent in their roles and I found I connected with the characters really easily, and it was funny without a lot of the more dated humour from the book. My mum and I watched it together during lockdown and we were so hooked by it that I think we finished it in about two days. I have to admit, though I’m excited to see Season 2, I’m not entirely sure if it was necessary? But anything for more David Tennant and Michael Sheen!

TV or Book Judgement:

I’m going with TV here. The main thing I liked about the book was Aziraphale and Crowley but aside from that, I found watching the TV show to be a much more pleasant experience, largely because it was less confusing! I definitely think the streamlining needed to bring the book to screen worked in its favour to remove some of the more irrelevant tangents that were present in the book. I would definitely recommend consuming the show in TV version first because I found my prior knowledge did help me somewhat in understanding what was actually going on in the book, without it, I would have been completely lost!

So there we go, that’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie. I will be back next month (hopefully a little earlier than this time!), talking about Season 2 of Shadow and Bone (just over two weeks to go guys!) and the book it is primarily based on, Siege and Storm.

Top Ten Tuesday #409

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these. I had a great time seeing Sylvia at the Old Vic on Thursday, it was a really fun show and despite thinking I knew quite a bit about the Pankhursts from studying the women’s suffrage movement both at school and at uni, I still learned quite a lot that I didn’t know before and went down a serious Wikipedia rabbit hole when I got home, always a sign of success after seeing a historical musical. It’s on at the Old Vic until the beginning of April, so if you’re in London before then, I definitely recommend going to see it. I also had a really great time at Samantha Shannon’s event on Friday (you’ll be hearing more about it in my event recap post which I hope to get up this week) and actually met a really lovely woman called Jess at the event who turned out to live in the same area as me, so hopefully we’ll see each other again!

Anyway, as always, today’s Top Ten Tuesday is courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl and today is a genre freebie, so I’ve decided to do a If You Liked This Book……Try This Book post, after having so much fun doing my If You Liked This Book…..Try This TV Show post a few years ago, despite all the headaches dealing with the WordPress block editor gave me. We’ve had time to make friends now, me and the block editor, so hopefully this will go much more smoothly. I will admit, the links between some of my choices did get more and more tenuous as I went through the list, so some of these may definitely be more of vibes thing than any actual plot similarities, but hey, I did the same thing for the TV shows post and it worked quite well so hopefully this will too. Anyway, here we go:

  1. If you liked Percy Jackson and The Olympians……Read Skulduggery Pleasant

Skulduggery Pleasant is always my go-to recommendation whenever there are any parents on Twitter saying that their kid loved Percy Jackson and asking what they could read next. Part of it is probably that I read both series at around the same time, and they both lasted through my teenage years (well the original Percy Jackson didn’t but the Heroes of Olympus series did) but there’s also a fair amount of similarity between the two: they’re both urban fantasies, they both have heroes of around the same age who grow up as the series progresses and the humour of the two series is fairly similar and they’re both exciting, action packed series with lots of magic (or I guess godly powers in the case of Percy Jackson) so there’s a lot for fans of Percy Jackson to like in Skulduggery Pleasant.

2. If you liked Caraval by Stephanie Garber……Try By A Charm And A Curse by Jaime Questell

If you liked the setting of Caraval, I think By A Charm And A Curse would appeal to you as well as they both have that kind of magical circus sort of vibe, though By A Charm And A Curse is in a more contemporary setting. It’s sad that Jaime Questell hasn’t published more books since this one as I really enjoyed it.

3. If you liked Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo…..Try Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

If you liked Leigh Bardugo’s gang of mismatched crooks, I definitely think you’d find a lot to like about Wesley, Tavia, Saxony and Karam in this book. There’s the same kind of found family vibes and interesting (and sometimes combative) group dynamics between the four of them. There’s also a LOT of witty banter so if you liked that aspect of Six of Crows, then there’s plenty of that to be found in Into The Crooked Place. They also have the whole “no one’s a hero here” vibe going for them as well.

4. If You Liked Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult…..Try Hate List by Jennifer Brown

The main similarity here does come from the subject matter, both tackle a school shooting and the aftermath of that. But if you liked Nineteen Minutes and you wanted to read something that dealt more with the trauma aspect of the aftermath of a school shooting rather than the legal aspect (that’s not to say that Nineteen Minutes doesn’t deal with the trauma aspect but I wouldn’t definitely say that the legal aspect takes precedence) then Hate List would be a good one for you. Valerie in this book actually reminded me a lot of Josie in Nineteen Minutes in terms of the guilt that both feel around their involvement in the respective shootings at their high schools.

5. If you liked A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab, Try To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

These two don’t have much in common in terms of plot, but if you loved Lila from A Darker Shade of Magic, I know you will love Lira from To Kill A Kingdom (the name similarity is not why I chose these two, I swear!). Lira has a similar confidence and fierceness as Lila and the same energy of “I am who am, and I will not apologise for it” that I think those who really loved Lila would find a lot to like about Lira in this book.

6. If you liked Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein……Try Cross My Heart by Carmen Reid

Again, the two don’t have all that much in common in terms of plot, but both main characters have a role in the war connected to espionage/resistance, so I think that those who enjoyed Queenie’s story as an SOE agent, then you’ll definitely find a lot to like about Nicole’s story as a spy for the Belgian Resistance. Also I just love recommending Cross My Heart because it’s a really great and seriously underrated book.

7. If you liked Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, Try 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

As well as both being mysteries with seriously good twists, both Dangerous Girls and 13 Minutes have toxic teenage girl friendships at their heart. If you liked the twisted dynamic of Anna and Elise in Dangerous Girls, then I think you’ll really enjoy the incredibly twisted dynamic that Tasha and Becca have in 13 Minutes because it definitely reminded me of Dangerous Girls when I was I reading.

8. If you liked The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty……Try Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I’ll admit we are getting into quite tenuous territory now, but if you enjoyed the Djinn in The City of Brass but are perhaps looking for something a little less politically dense, then Rebel of The Sands might be a good one for you as it also includes Djinn but is slightly faster paced and has less complex political machinations.

9. If you liked Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman……Try Split Second by Sophie McKenzie

If you enjoyed Noughts and Crosses for the dystopian version of London and the various political machinations, then you may like Split Second. Split Second is also set in a future version of London and follows what happens after a terrorist attack on a London market. The EFA, one of the main political groups in this book reminded me quite a lot of the Liberation Militia from Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses.

10. If you liked The Diviners by Libba Bray…..Try The Medusa Project by Sophie McKenzie

Again these two don’t have much in common in terms of plot or setting, but both follow characters with supernatural abilities, and the genesis of these powers is very similar, both come about because of scientific experiments carried out before the characters were born, so if you liked the various different powers that the main characters of The Diviners had, I think you’d enjoy the various psychic abilities that the main group in The Medusa Project have.

So there we go, those are my If You Liked This Book….Try This Book recommendations! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my recommendations? What books would you recommend for fans of the books I’ve listed? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is meant to be Bookish People I’d Like To Meet but I’ve done both Book Characters and Authors before so instead, I’m going to share Indie Bookshops In London I’d Like To Visit, which may be a little teaser for the Jo Talks post that I have planned for April!

Top Ten Tuesday #408

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. I’ve got a really busy week coming up, or a busy few evenings anyway, as I have my regular Spanish class tomorrow night, then I’m going to the theatre on Thursday (I know it seems like I’ve been doing that a lot lately, this is definitely not a regular occurrence, I’ve just found quite a few good deals this month on things I want to see!) to see the new musical at the Old Vic, Sylvia. Being a big history nerd, I’m always very happy when I hear about new historical musicals and I’ve been hearing really good stuff about this one so I’m excited to see it. Then on Friday, I’m going to be at Samantha Shannon’s launch event for A Day of Fallen Night which I’m super excited for as the last event of hers I went to was for Priory back in 2019 (in-person anyway, and when she was the featured author, I went to her virtual launch of The Mask Falling in the pandemic and she was the moderator for VE Schwab’s London Gallant event last year). If any of my UK followers are also going to be at the London event on Friday, then let me know, I’d love to meet you and I’ll be there by myself, so I’m always eager to chat to other fellow book lovers.

Anyway, as always, today’s Top Ten Tuesday is courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl and today we’re talking Favourite Heroines. I was quite surprised when I searched the archives to see that this wasn’t a topic I’d done before as it seems like one I would do for a freebie or something, but I guess not! As you’ll all know if you’ve been following me for a while, I love female characters in books, so this was a pretty straightforward list for me to put together and in a surprise to exactly no one, I have more than ten:

  1. Hermione Granger-Harry Potter Series-JK Rowling

I do try not to use Harry Potter very often on my lists anymore as I prefer not to give JK Rowling anymore spotlight than necessary these days due to the trash fire that she has turned out to be, however I couldn’t do this list and not include Hermione given that she’s always been one of my favourite book characters. Hermione made young nerdy book loving Jo feel very seen, although I have to say I don’t think she’d like me very much if she was real and we met because though I did fine at school, I wasn’t particularly studious!

2. Katniss Everdeen-The Hunger Games trilogy-Suzanne Collins

I love Katniss, she’s so brave and strong and loyal and I can definitely relate to her sarcastic sense of humour. But the thing that definitely endeared me most to her was her love for Prim, I’ve always loved sister stories, having an older sister myself, so it was that more than her skills as a fighter or anything else which really made me fall in love with her character.

3. Matilda Wormwood-Matilda-Roald Dahl

Much like Hermione, I could massively relate to Matilda. I wasn’t read Dickens or anything when I was five, but my favourite thing to do was go to the library every week and come back with massive stacks of books to read and escape into fictional worlds.

4. Liesel Meminger-The Book Thief-Markus Zusak

Surprise, surprise, yet another fictional bookworm on this list. What can I say? I read about other readers and I instantly wish I could be their friends. Her relationship with Hans was massively endearing to me, I loved reading about him teaching her to read and seeing her fall in love with words. I also loved how she was able to use her love of books to rebel against the Nazis in both small and larger ways.

5. Annabeth Chase-Percy Jackson and The Olympians-Rick Riordan

I know I always talk about how much I love Percy but I really do love Annabeth too, as I said, I’ve got a soft spot for the bookworms! I love how smart and brave she is, and how she’s always quick to put Percy in his place and she’s got quite the biting wit too especially when bantering with Percy. Also if I could have one demigod item, I would totally steal her invisibility hat as it seems incredibly useful.

6. Queenie-Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein

I always wonder about what name to use for Queenie as she has several throughout the book and any one could potentially be spoilery, but I’ll go with Queenie as that’s what Maddie knows her by. Queenie is the exact kind of female character that completely grabbed my whole heart from the first second I read about her, she’s brave, she’s incredibly funny, she’s smart and fiercely loyal and her friendship with Maddie is absolutely everything. I was so thrilled that Wein wrote more about her in The Pearl Thief and The Enigma Game because I was not ready to let her go by the end of the book.

7. Lila Bard-Shades of Magic Trilogy-VE Schwab

Lila Bard has the kind of confidence that most of us could only dream of, and that I will definitely admit, I’m a little envious of. I fell in love with her pretty much as soon as she was introduced in A Darker Shade of Magic as she’s the kind of female character I’ve always had a soft spot for: fierce, brave, funny, slightly reckless and does whatever she wants regardless of the consequences, and she’s just so much fun to follow as a character. I absolutely cannot wait to see her in Threads of Power, VE Schwab posted a little teaser on Instagram recently, and when I tell you I was SQUEALING when I read it…..yes I have missed Lila Bard!

8. Nina Zenik-Grishaverse-Leigh Bardugo

Nina is 1000% my favourite female Grisha in the books, she’s incredibly funny, she has that wonderful confidence, her Grisha powers are incredibly cool and loves all the sweet treats, so definitely a woman after my own heart! I really loved how Danielle Galligan played her in Shadow and Bone Season 1 and I can’t wait to see her back in Season 2!

9. Nahri-The Davebad Trilogy-S.A. Chakraborty

Nahri is another of those characters who I loved the second she strolled onto the page. She’s clever, funny, incredibly fierce and brave and I was absolutely rooting for her from the very first page. I would absolutely steal her ability to speak to any language-it would make learning Spanish a heck of a lot quicker!

10. Amani Al’Hiza-Rebel of The Sands Trilogy-Alwyn Hamilton

Honestly I loved Amani for the same reasons as I love a lot of the characters on this list (I definitely have a type when it comes to favourite heroines it seems!). I loved how strong and smart she was, how feisty she was, how determined and compassionate and how much she was willing to fight to get what she wanted. I definitely found it incredibly easy to root for her!

11. Felicity Montague-The Montague Siblings Trilogy-Mackenzi Lee

Felicity is definitely my favourite of the three Montague Siblings, her dry and sarcastic sense of humour is quite similar to my own so I could relate on that front. She’s also really smart, and determined to get what she wants and is absolutely done with 18th century sexism (I mean who wouldn’t be? I’m also very done with 21st century sexism) and if Monty and Percy hadn’t had her with them on their trip then they absolutely would have died. Many, many times.

12. Izzy O’Neill-Izzy O’Neill duology-Laura Steven

Izzy’s sense of humour had me in complete hysterics throughout the entirety of The Exact Opposite of Okay and immediately endeared me to her because I could relate a lot, both to her style of humour (it’s quite dry and sarcastic and a little immature) and the way that she used humour as a shield against the difficult things in her life. She’s also completely obsessed with food, and yup, I also really love my food. Basically I think Izzy and I could be really good friends if she was a real person!

So there we go, those are some of my favourite heroines, I think I can basically narrow my favourite kinds of characters into these categories: smart/likes books, funny, obsessed with food, brave or has serious self-confidence, or any and all combinations of these things! Have you read any of these books? Did we share any of these heroines on our lists today? What kind of heroines do you like? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is a Genre Freebie, and since I had fun doing If You Liked This Book…..Try This TV Show a couple of years ago, I’m going to do If You Liked This Book……Try This Book recommendations list and try and recommend some similar books to some of my favourites!