Top Ten Tuesday #386

Hi everyone! Hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these, I went to see Grease at The Dominion Theatre on Saturday and it was absolutely amazing! My mum paid for us to have the Champagne experience as a belated birthday present which was really lovely and just added to what was a really great night. It’s on until I think the end of October, so if you get the chance to go, I highly recommend it, it’s a really fun night out.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is our annual Autumn TBR list, and I have to admit, I didn’t do as well as I hoped on my Summer TBR, only reading three out of the ten books I listed there (though I read off list as well, so I suppose that’s partially my fault!). I’m hoping this autumn TBR will be slightly more successful for me:

  1. Good Girl, Bad Blood-Holly Jackson

I admit, I started this one over the summer but I did put it on pause as I was feeling more into my audiobooks. I’ve got a few long journeys over the autumn, not least my flight to Australia in December, so I’m hoping I might dive back into this one then.

2. Looking For Jane-Heather Marshall

This is my current read, which I just started last week. I’m not very far through yet, but I’m enjoying it so far. After so many WWII reads, it’s nice to be immersed in a different historical time period for a change, and in a different setting as I’ve hardly read any books that are set in Canada. This one also feels super timely as its focus is on an underground abortion network in the 1970s and 1980s, given everything that has gone on with the rolling back of reproductive rights in the US this year, this definitely feels like an important book to read.

3. The Mad Girls of New York-Maya Rodale

I know this one was on my Summer TBR and I didn’t get to it, but I am really determined to read it before the end of the year as it was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022. I’m so happy that this book exists and that hopefully more people are learning about Nellie Bly and the amazing work she did!

4. Bloomsbury Girls-Natalie Jenner

Apparently book themed historical fiction is one of my new favourite sub-genres! I wasn’t quite feeling anything in the WWII or post-WWII period after reading Life After Life and The Librarian Spy, but I definitely want to get to this one soon as it sounds right up my street. This will also be my second book with a main character called Evelyn this year!

5. Ten Steps To Nanette-Hannah Gadsby

This one’s on the longer side which was why I didn’t get to it over the summer, after reading Life After Life, I didn’t really want to dive into another 15-hour behemoth! I’m really excited to read it though, Hannah Gadsby is so funny and I loved Nanette so much that I can only imagine really enjoying this one.

6. The Night Of Knives (The Steel Prince Vol 7 & 8)-VE Schwab

I’d like to finish the second arc of VE Schwab’s Steel Prince comics this year, they have been so useful in completing my Goodreads Challenges over the past couple of years! As far as I remember, Vol 6 left off on quite the cliffhanger, so I look forward to seeing what happens in Vol 7.

7. The Rebel Army (The Steel Prince Vol 9-12)-VE Schwab

Yes, this autumn is going to be my time for comics! I’ve had VE Schwab’s comics on my list for years, so I’d quite like to finish off the adventures of Maxim Maresh this year, if I can.

8. ExtraOrdinary Vol 0-4-VE Schwab

And if I’m not feeling completely burned out on comics by the time I’m done with The Steel Prince, I also have VE Schwab’s Vicious comics to read, I love The Villains duology so much, so I’m really excited to dive back into this world in comic form.

9. Once Upon A Broken Heart-Stephanie Garber

I’ve been doing terribly on physical books over the past couple of years, but this one is definitely high on my priority list, and I’m even more excited for it after seeing all the excitement over Ballad in the past few months.

10. How To Survive Your Murder-Danielle Valentine

I saw this one on a TTT list a while back, and the title was just so intriguing that I had to add it to my TBR. The whole idea of a girl travelling back in time to solve her sister’s murder sounds really fun and though I’m not usually a horror reader, the mystery of this sounds so cool that it’s worth risking the certain gore.

So there we go, my planned Autumn TBR reads! Once again, I highly doubt I’ll read all of these, but I would like to at least finish all the ones I plan to listen to on audio-which is only five, so that should be fairly doable! How about you? What’s on your Autumn TBR this year? Have read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, we’re doing a cover topic this time, which is exciting, it’s been a while since we’ve had one of those! It’s Typographic Book Covers, and to be honest, I’m not sure how many books with this kind of cover I’ve read, but I guess we’ll find out!

Top Ten Tuesday #385

Hi all! Hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. It was my birthday yesterday, and I had a lovely day, my mum and I went to a spa in Richmond, which was really nice, we had a really nice lunch and then spent the rest of the day using the spa facilities before having our treatments, I enjoyed a very relaxing back pamper!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was supposed to be Book Titles With Geographical Terms In Them but honestly, I’ve not really read many, so instead I thought I’d do a different title themed topic, and share Books With The Something of Something and Something title theme. I thought that being a big a fantasy reader, I would have read way more of these than it actually turns out I have, I had to include a few that are on my TBR because I didn’t have enough that I’d actually read (that weren’t part of the same series!). Anyway here we go:

  1. Children of Blood and Bone-Tomi Adeyemi

This title is definitely one of the most fantasy titles to ever fantasy, with the incredibly common title theme and using both “Blood” and “Bone” which are two of the most commonly used words in fantasy titles. I did really enjoy the book though, it was a really fun read, I loved the characters and the world. Sadly the sequel ended up being a bit of a disappointment, but I have high hopes for the final book in the trilogy (whenever that comes out!).

2. Girls Made of Snow and Glass-Melissa Bashardoust

For once a title including the word “Girl” or in this case “Girls” that isn’t a mystery title as they seem to really love their “Girl” titles! I really wish I’d like this one more than I did, because it was an interesting idea to explore the stepmother/stepdaughter relationship in a Snow White retelling, but the plot didn’t live up to the promise of the premise.

3. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin-Roseanne A. Brown

It’s a pretty title, though I have to admit, it’s been a while since I read the book, so I can’t quite remember what the relevance of the title was to the story! I really loved the characters from this book, particularly Malik, his struggles with anxiety were so well handled, and it’s one of few fantasy books I’ve read that actually deals with mental health (strange for a genre where so many characters go through such trauma) Sadly, much like with Children of Blood and Bone, the sequel didn’t quite live up to the first book for me.

4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes-Suzanne Collins

When I first saw the title, I did think it was a bit of an odd choice, considering that the Hunger Games trilogy titles were all so short. However, now having read the book, it’s definitely very fitting for the characters. Honestly, whilst I didn’t dislike this book as much as some people seem to have, I wasn’t clamouring for a Hunger Games prequel, and wouldn’t have been disappointed if Suzanne Collins hadn’t done one. Having said that, it wasn’t a bad book and there were parts I enjoyed about it, even if it’s probably my least favourite book from The Hunger Games world.

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses-Sarah J Maas

This was the first title to come to mind when I thought of the topic as Sarah J Maas has become so synonymous with this title scheme over recent years (though it probably goes back to A Song of Ice and Fire, and maybe even further back than that, I don’t know), although it seems like the next few books in the series won’t follow the exact same pattern if A Court of Silver Flames is anything to go by. I’m more of a Throne of Glass fan than an ACOTAR fan to be honest, I did really enjoy A Court of Mist and Fury, but I’ve still yet to finish the initial Feyre trilogy.

6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone-Laini Taylor

Another very classic fantasy title, as all the words in this title (Daughter, Smoke, Bone) are really popular ones in fantasy titles. I really enjoyed the first book of the trilogy, I loved the whimsical feel of it, and I really enjoyed the Prague setting. Sadly, Days of Blood and Starlight had me so annoyed that I still have yet to finish the trilogy!

7. A Curse So Dark and Lonely-Brigid Kemmerer

Another very fantasy feeling title, given the prevalence of dark curses in fantasy books! This one sadly didn’t work as well for me as I know it did for many others, but I did appreciate that Brigid Kemmerer did something different with a Beauty and the Beast retelling as so many of them can often feel so same-y. I also really enjoyed Harper as a main character and it was wonderful to see a disabled character taking centre stage in a fantasy novel, as we don’t see it often enough.

8. The Game of Love and Death-Martha Brockenbrough

I’ve not read this one yet, but I do love a book title that does exactly what it says on the tin. Apparently this book imagines “Love” and “Death” as real figures, who have been engaged in a millennia long war using humans as their pawns and that just sounds like such a fun idea. I’m looking forward to seeing if this book is as fun as it sounds like it will be.

9. Queen of Coin and Whispers-Helen Corcoran

This is another one that’s still on my TBR. From the title, I’m imagining a queen that presides over a very gossipy kind of court, though I’m not sure where the coin bit comes in! I’ve heard good things about this one, so hopefully it ends up being one I enjoy.

10. A Shiver of Snow and Sky-Lisa Lueddecke

Honestly, this is one of those fantasy titles that does seem like it’s come out of a fantasy title name generator! Other than the book having a snowy setting, I don’t get much more from the title. Still I was very drawn to the beautiful cover and I’m looking forward to reading the book and discovering more of what the book’s about.

So there we go, those are just some of the many, many books with the Something of Something and Something title scheme! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I will have another TTT for you all next week, it’s another annual one as we’ll be sharing our Autumn TBRs, so you’ll all get to hear about how terribly I did with my Summer TBR and I’ll get to share another overly optimistic list of books I’m going to read!

Top Ten Tuesday #384

Hi all! I hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these. I’ve had a pretty fun one, my mum and I went to a wine tasting at this local bar near us on Wednesday night which was a lot of fun, and then on Friday we went to see Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre, which was absolutely brilliant. I don’t tend to go see plays as much as musicals, but this one was really great, so funny that we were basically non-stop laughing for two hours!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was supposed to be Books I Loved So Much I Had To Buy A Copy For My Personal Library, but honestly, I have relatively few of these: I have such limited shelf space that if I read a book in audio or e-book format, I’m unlikely to buy a physical copy as well, unless I need it to complete a series. So instead, I’m doing one of the topics suggested for the Back To School freebie last week, and talking about my Favourite Banned Books. Personally, I think the whole idea of banning books is ludicrous, and I actually did a whole discussion post on a similar topic a few years back, which you can read here, if you want to. But alas, it seems that some people don’t agree, and so I’ve had a look at some lists of frequently challenged books, and picked out some of my favourites to share today:

  1. My Sister’s Keeper-Jodi Picoult

My Sister’s Keeper has apparently been banned in schools numerous times, for including drugs, violence, suicide, offensive language, sexually explicit behaviours and homosexuality. To all of which I say huh? By the time kids are teenagers, they have been, or will be familiar with all of the things mentioned as reasons for the book being banned, and will quite possibly have experienced a lot of those things themselves. I was 12/13 when I read this one, and had no issues understanding, nor was I disturbed by the content, and I reckon this book would actually be a really interesting one for class discussion as it covers so many interesting moral and ethical issues. Plus it’s just a really great story!

2. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins

All three of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy have been on the ALA banned books list (and I think more than once). Apparently some of the reasons for challenges include it being anti-family (did these people read the book? LITERALLY THE WHOLE REASON THAT KATNISS VOLUNTEERS FOR THE GAMES IN THE FIRST PLACE IS FOR HER SISTER.), insensitivity, offensive language, occult/satanic themes and violence. I have to admit, I don’t really get the satanic complaint. Of course, the books are violent, violence and war are main themes in the books, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything that the teenage audience the books are aimed at couldn’t handle. I think I was 15/16 when I read this one and I absolutely flew through it because it was so absorbing, and again, there’s a lot to unpack that would be really interesting for class discussion particularly when it comes to topics like revolution and overthrowing the government.

3. 13 Reasons Why-Jay Asher

This one came into the top ten challenged books after the Netflix series first came out, so I do wonder if there was a little bit of a crossover with that, as the Netflix series was much more graphic than the book when it came to some of the issues portrayed like Hannah’s sexual assault, and her eventual suicide. The book has mainly been challenged over its depiction of suicide, and whilst I do understand some of the issues with the way suicide is discussed in 13 Reasons Why more now than I when I read it as a teenager, that’s not a reason to ban it, it would be far more helpful to discuss the issues presented by the book than it is to outright ban it.

4. Black Beauty-Anna Sewell

This one is probably one of the most ridiculous ones on the list, in terms of the reasoning for banning it. Black Beauty was banned in South Africa in the Apartheid era because the title included the word “Black”. I truly have no words.

5. Charlotte’s Web-EB White

One of my favourite books as a child, Charlotte’s Web was apparently banned by a school in Kansas in 2006 because “talking animals are blasphemous and unnatural”. REALLY? REALLY?

6. Nineteen Minutes-Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s books are apparently quite frequent targets for bans in schools in the US! This one has been targeted due to the subject matter of school shootings, offensive language, for containing a date rape scene amongst other complaints. Considering the prevalence of school shootings in the US, it seems like that’s actually quite a relevant topic for teenagers and again it seems ridiculous that books are challenged for swearing and sexual content, like many teenagers haven’t experienced either of those things in their own lives! I can’t remember how old I was when I read this one, but I know I read it before I turned 18 as I took it to my first Jodi Picoult book event back in 2014.

7. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

Unwind has been challenged for various reasons, including the fact that it contains offensive language and includes topics such as sex, child abuse, suicide and drug abuse and is not intellectually challenging enough. I’ve already covered a lot of the topics raised as issues for this book for many of the other books in this post but I also have to thoroughly disagree on the last point as I thought Unwind was a really thought-provoking book. It covers a lot of really interesting topics about life and death and the right to life, organ donation, abortion, bodily autonomy etc, so in terms of the topics raised, I definitely found it an intellectually challenging book and think it would raise a lot of interesting discussions in a classroom setting.

8. A Court of Mist and Fury-Sarah J Maas

This was on a list of books banned by Walton County Public School Libraries in Florida earlier in the year, and apparently a Virginia legislator tried to ban Barnes and Noble stores from selling it without parental consent. I’m assuming this one came under fire due to sexual content, and whilst yes, I would agree that it should be shelved as an Adult book rather than YA, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with teens consuming sexual content if they choose to and sexual content is no reason for censoring a book. The whole idea of children and teens needing parental permission to buy books is something that makes me very uncomfortable, seems like a very slippery slope to not allowing kids to read any content that their parents may disapprove of: eg banning books with any LGBTQ+ content due to homophobia.

So there we go, those are some of my favourite books that have been banned or challenged (largely in the US, I did look to see if I could find any UK banned books lists but it seems to be less of a thing here, which I’m very glad about!) and what I thought about them. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I will have another TTT for you all next week, but once again, I’m going rogue as I wasn’t feeling the Books With Geographical Terms In The Title, it turns out I’ve not read many of those! I’m still sticking along the title theme, and choose Something of Something And Something Book Titles as that still seems to be an incredibly popular title scheme for fantasy books!

Top Ten Tuesday #383

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, mine was once again fairly quiet, but I did have my first riding lesson at my new stables in London which was really nice, it’s taken a while to find somewhere and the last time I rode before last week was back in June, so it was nice to be back on a horse again.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is a Back To School Freebie, so I’m doing a follow-up topic to the Best Books I Read In My First Two Years At Uni at few years ago, and today will be sharing the Best Books I Read In My Last Two Year of Uni. As with the previous topic, I’m only counting books I read during the academic year, so this will cover books I read from September 2017-May 2018 (3rd year) and September 2018-May 2019 (4th year). So here we go, the best books I read at Uni in my last two years:

  1. Chainbreaker-Tara Sim

I love the Timekeeper trilogy so much, and will be banging the drum about how incredibly underrated and brilliant it is, probably for the rest of my life. It amazes me that if I wasn’t a book blogger, I probably would never have read this series, as it was never released in the UK, I only had the chance to read it through Netgalley and Edelweiss. I powered through this one towards the end of the autumn semester in 2017 and was slightly miffed that I’d done my Best Books of 2017 just a couple of days before I finished it as this was without a doubt my favourite book of 2017.

2. The Exact Opposite of Okay-Laura Steven

This book was my company on my commute to and from Dundee when I was doing my work experience at DC Thomson during February reading week 2018. I zoomed through it and had finished it by the end of that week, it was such a joy reading Izzy’s story that I was always looking forward to the train journey at the beginning and end of each day so that I could join her again.

3. The Language of Thorns-Leigh Bardugo

This was the perfect book for exam season as I was able to dip in and out of it between revising and it was nice and short. I’m not usually a fan of short story collections, but Leigh Bardugo is obviously a master, and I loved her take on the Grishaverse’s version of fairytales. The illustrations in this book were also just gorgeous and really added to the stories!

4. Vicious-VE Schwab

It’s me, of course there would be a Schwab book in here somewhere! Honestly, Vengeful definitely would have made the list too if I’d read it after it came out, but I didn’t get to it till the summer after I graduated Uni. Vicious was such a fun read, Schwab really excels at writing villains and this book and Vengeful shows the height of her powers in that area, nearly everyone in this series is heinous, but I LOVE THEM ALL. I read this book coming off of two quite chunky ones, and it was just what I needed as a refresh at the start of a new academic year.

5. Firestarter-Tara Sim

When I read the final book in the Timekeeper trilogy, I was coming off a run of a couple of fairly mediocre books, I hadn’t read a book I’d really enjoyed since Vicious and I hadn’t had any five star reads at all in 2018, so I was desperate to find something I really loved! Thankfully, Firestarter was just what I needed, it was a heart-wrenching, gut punch of a final book in a trilogy and honestly one of my favourite series finales of all time.

6. A Spark of Light-Jodi Picoult

This is one of my favourites of Jodi Picoult’s more recent novels, I’ve had a bit of a mixed bag with her books since Small Great Things, I really enjoyed that one and this one but I wasn’t keen on The Book of Two Ways and I didn’t read Wish You Were Here because of the subject matter. This one I really enjoyed though, I felt like the reverse timeline worked much better than the confusing timeline in The Book of Two Ways and it was a really emotional but nuanced look at reproductive choice. Abortion is always going to be a timely topic, but I actually think this book is probably even more relevant now than it was in 2018, given what happened with Roe V Wade this year.

7. Enchantee-Gita Trelease

This is kind of a cheat one as I think I read most of it during the Christmas break from Uni, but I definitely read at least a little when I returned for the Spring semester, so I’m still counting it. It was one of my favourite books of 2019, I loved Camille and her dedication to her younger sister Sophie, and Trelease created such a wonderful atmosphere, it felt like you really were in 1789 France. I have to admit though, I’ve still not read the sequel, I did start it, but I’ve not really been in the mood for e-books, so I’ve yet to finish and I can’t find it on audiobook, which is quite annoying!

8. To Kill A Kingdom-Alexandra Christo

I loved this one so much, it’s one of my absolute favourite enemies to lovers romances and Lira was just the kind of unapolagetically brutal woman that I absolutely adore and the story kept me engaged from beginning to end, so much so that when it was over, it felt too short because I’d loved it so much I didn’t want it to end. That’s the perfect kind of book for me!

9. Becoming-Michelle Obama

I’d actually not read any non-fiction (that wasn’t school or Uni related) for years before I read this book, and this was the book that got me back into reading a bit more non-fiction, especially memoirs. I was worried I’d find it a little dry, but Michelle writes in such a candid and engaging way, that the almost 500 pages flew by! I’ve got Barack Obama’s most recent memoir too, but I’ve yet to read that one as it is A BEAST. Between To Kill A Kingdom and this, March 2019 really was one of my best reading months!

10. King of Fools-Amanda Foody

The second book in a trilogy is almost always the worst book, the bridge between the beginning and the end, the sticky middle, is always so hard to get right. Amanda Foody absolutely nailed it though, it’s a behemoth of a book, almost 600 pages and yet it never felt like it lagged, I never felt bored because there was always something happening. The female friendships in this book are something else, and I love how great Foody is at creating nuanced female characters, especially her female villain. Lengthy fantasy books usually take me ages to read, but I flew through this one in about a week and a half because I was so gripped and then cursed myself because of the cliffhanger ending and the fact I then had to wait over a year to find out what happened in Queen of Volts. I had this one as an e-ARC and left it as a treat to myself for finishing my Journalism project at the end of fourth year, and oh what a treat it was!

So there we go, those are the rest of the amazing books I read whilst at Uni (and that’s not even counting the books I read in my summer breaks, as I read some really great ones in the summers of both 2017 & 18 that definitely would have made the list otherwise!). Have you read any of these books? Do you have any favourite books you read whilst at Uni? Let me know in the comments!

I will have another TTT for you all next week, the topic is meant to be Books I Loved So Much I Had To Get A Copy For My Personal Library, but to be honest, I have very few of these, so instead I’m going to take one of the suggestions Jana put for this week, and do my Top Ten Favourite Banned Books as that seems like a fun idea to do.

Top Ten Tuesday #382

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. It’s been a fairly quiet one here, I’ve mostly been watching the European Championships on TV, it’s been a great summer for sport, and so nice that sport that I actually like has been on!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today we’re talking Completed Series We Wish Had More Books and I have to admit, this one stumped me a little. I don’t generally finish a series thinking I wish that there were more, and if I do, a lot of authors that I’d want more books from in the same world have either already announced a sequel series, or already done one! So in a change from last week’s list, this one will actually be quite short, as there weren’t too many I could think of:

  1. The Diviners Series-Libba Bray

I was generally quite happy with how the series wrapped up, but the epilogue with them listening to Hitler on the radio, definitely suggested that Libba Bray was maybe leaving the door open for a future 1930s/WWII era Diviners story and I would so love it if she did that, because I really don’t want to have to leave the Diviners behind completely!

2. The Pure Trilogy-Julianna Baggott

There were a lot of questions left open at the ending of Burn, the final book in the trilogy, and I don’t much like open endings, so I’d really like it if Baggott came back to this world one day. It’s been a while since I finished it, but there was a lot left up in the air about what happened to the Dome and the people inside, and whether they were able to survive outside it or not, so I would really love it if Baggott would come back to this world one day and answer some of my burning *pun most definitely intended* questions.

3. Breathe duology-Sarah Crossan

I wish this duology had actually been a trilogy, as there was a lot crammed into this second book and it felt like it would have been given more room to *sorry for the pun* breathe if it had been three books. It’s still a really good duology and I would definitely recommend it, but I would love it if Sarah Crossan decided to come back to this world one day to tie up some of the loose ends, and just so I got to be with Bea, Quinn and Alina again.

4. Heist Society series-Ally Carter

It feels like there have been rumours of Heist Society 4 for YEARS and yet nothing ever seems to come of it. It’s not that the third book leaves off on any major cliffhanger or anything, so the three books could work well as a completed series, but I definitely want more. For one thing, we need to know what the W.W. in Hale’s name stands for! For another, I just need more of Kat and her crew in my life.

5. The Shadow Game series-Amanda Foody

Amanda Foody has said Queen of Volts is the end of Levi and Enne’s story, and that’s fine, it definitely felt like a very completed arc for them. However, there are so many other characters in this series that could definitely star in their own books, and I would love it if Amanda decided she wanted to some standalone books in this world following different characters in the series. I am dying for books about Lourdes and Vianca, I would love stories following what happened during the Revolution and downfall of the Mizers, there are so many possibilities of different characters whose stories she could follow. Maybe a set of short stories in the world like SA Chakraborty did for Daevabad would be fun? I don’t know but if she decided to return to New Reynes in any form, I would be THERE for it.

6. The Crown’s Game duology-Evelyn Skye

This was another duology that I really felt should have been a trilogy, the second book just didn’t feel like a finale. Duologies I find are really hard to get right: trilogies generally have a very clear beginning, middle and end whereas duologies, I tend to find authors try to cram so much into the second book in order to have it end in two that it usually feels very rushed. The Crown’s Fate didn’t really do enough in the first half of the book, and then packed it all in towards the climax and everything was wrapped up far too quickly, it was like Evelyn Skye suddenly realised she only had a couple of chapters to end the book! I would have much preferred it if Skye had made this a trilogy, because as a duology, it felt very underwhelming.

So that’s it for today, it’s a short and sweet one! Have you read any of these series? Do you agree that you’d like more books in their worlds? What books did you have on your list this week? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week for another Top Ten Tuesday, this time it’s a School Freebie, and I thought it would be a fun time to do a sequel to the Best Books I Read In My First Two Years At Uni topic I did about five or so years ago, so I’ll be doing Best Books I Read In My Last Two Years At Uni.

Top Ten Tuesday #381

Hi all! I hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these. I went to see Prima Facie, the new Jodie Comer play in the cinema (it was a screening of a filmed performance) on Sunday and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE, I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it, everyone was so awestruck by the end that we all just sat there for a good ten minutes afterwards!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today we’re talking Books I Love That Are Over Ten Years Old and this is a great one for me as a lot of the books I’ve really loved are over ten years old, so be warned, this is going to be a LONG LIST. I did institute one rule: whilst I do have multiple books by the same author on this list, I decided to only feature one book per SERIES of authors I love with long running series, otherwise this entire list could just be Percy Jackson and Skulduggery Pleasant. These are in publication order, from oldest to newest, so the order is no indication of how much I loved the book:

  1. Black Beauty-Anna Sewell (published 24th November 1877)

I don’t read many classics, honestly studying them in GCSE English kind of made me lose any interest I once may have had in them but this is one that I absolutely love. I feel like every reader kid has the book that they got told off for reading under the desk in class, and this one was mine! What can I say? Eleven year old me was more interested in horses than she was in Oliver Twist!

2. Ballet Shoes-Noel Streatfeild (published 1936)

Weirdly, despite the fact that I gave up ballet fairly young, I really loved dance books when I was a kid. I think it was a wish fulfilment thing, I’ve always wanted to be good at performing, but I never was so I lived vicariously through books. I think what I most loved about this one though was the sister relationship at the heart, I’ve always loved books that feature close relationships between sisters and this was one of the first books that made me fall in love with the found family trope.

3. Matilda-Roald Dahl (published 1st October 1988)

Roald Dahl was a huge part of my reading life as a child and though I’ve since learned he wasn’t the greatest as a person, Matilda still holds a special place in my heart as I naturally massively related to the young girl who was completely obsessed with books.

4. The Pact-Jodi Picoult (published 22nd April 1998)

Generally I much prefer Jodi Picoult’s post 2000 published books, but The Pact is one of the few of her earlier books that I really loved. I can’t remember if this one or My Sister’s Keeper was the first one of hers I read, but I know I borrowed both from the library and I remember being absolutely engrossed with this one, frantically turning pages to found out what brought Emily and Chris to the point we find them at the beginning of the novel.

5. Plain Truth-Jodi Picoult (published 1st May 2000)

There’s a few more Jodi Picoult books to come on this list, so be warned! I was absolutely obsessed with her books as a teenager, I’ve liked her recent books (barring The Book Of Two Ways which I wasn’t so keen on) but I really loved her older stuff. I learned a lot about the Amish community from this one and I found the mystery of what happened to the dead baby very engrossing.

6. Noughts and Crosses-Malorie Blackman (published 15th January 2001)

I can honestly think of few books that have impacted me emotionally as much as this one. It’s been a good 14/15 years I think since I first read this one and the ending hasn’t left me in all that time, I reread it about five or six years ago and that ending was still just as much of a gut punch. It’s one of the first books I ever read that really addressed racism and I remember it being really eye-opening. I highly recommend the BBC series too, it’s a really good adaptation of the book.

7. Blind Beauty-K.M. Peyton (published 16th February 2001)

I read this one on a coach to Switzerland when I went on a trip there with Guides when I was 11, and it definitely made the long hours go much faster! I really wish there were more horse novels for adults, because I so loved these kinds of books when I was a pre-teen and a teenager, and yet publishing just seems to assume your interest in horses goes away once you get past your teenage years! I loved the relationship between Tessa and Buffoon and it was just such a lovely heart-warming story (if a little sad in places!).

8. My Sister’s Keeper-Jodi Picoult (published 6th April 2004)

As I said earlier in this list, My Sister’s Keeper was one of the first Jodi Picoult books I read and it retains a special place in my heart. I was drawn in by the sister relationship between Anna and Kate, and was so crushed by the way the book ended, though having watched the film version, I do maintain that Picoult’s ending was the more emotionally impactful one. Anyway, the book brings up so many interesting issues, the family dynamics are just wonderful and I remember being gripped by each and every page. I don’t remember if this was the first Jodi Picoult book I read, or if that was The Pact, but it was definitely the one that made her an auto-buy author for me!

9. Nineteen Minutes-Jodi Picoult (published 5th March 2007)

This the last Jodi Picoult book, I promise! I could have had way more, 4 is very restrained on my part, I decided to go for the four that I took to get signed by her when I met her back in 2014 as those remain my favourites of her books. Nineteen Minutes was such an intense read, I remember being completely gripped by it and wanting to know exactly why Peter did what he did and she did an excellent job of allowing you to understand him as a reader but never condoning his actions. It’s probably the one of Jodi Picoult’s books that has the most contemporary relevance given how prevalent school shootings still are in the U.S.

10. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak (published 1st September 2007)

I first read this one I think just about ten years ago, it might have been a little over that but it was a while after it was published and I think I was about 15/16, so ten years ago seems about right. It remains one of my favourite WWII novels, and one of the most emotional books I’ve ever read, I was so close to crying towards the end. If anyone ever asks me what my favourite book is (please don’t, I hate that question with every fibre of my being!), this one is always close to the top of the list.

11. Unwind-Neal Shusterman (published 6th November 2007)

This is still one of the most memorable stories I have from reading a book as it kept me company for three hours in the back of our car in France whilst my mum was shopping! I also read practically none of this book (or series to be honest) in the UK, as I started it whilst on a German exchange and finished it whilst out on holiday in France, and I read at least some of all the Unwind series books whilst in France. Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent, the main point was meant to be that I was super engrossed by this book and it started my journey of being a massive Neal Shusterman fan. I am very glad that I read in 2014 though and not 2007 when it came out because it would have been way too dark for 11-year old me!

12. Percy Jackson and The Battle of The Labyrinth-Rick Riordan (published 6th March 2008)

I could have picked any of the five Percy Jackson books for this list as they were all published over ten years ago, but I decided to go with The Battle of The Labyrinth as my favourite of the five. This book has my favourite quest, the Labyrinth is such a fun and exciting setting and there is SO MUCH Percabeth build-up so that alone puts it to the top of the pile for me. I seriously hope the new Disney+ series does well because I desperately want to see The Battle of The Labyrinth on screen.

13. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins (published 14th September 2008)

This is one of those memorable books that I had that “just one more chapter” feeling with and stayed up long into the night to finish because I was just so engrossed. Every time I got to the end of a chapter, something new and exciting would happen and I’d have to read more. Much like Unwind, I’m glad I didn’t read it till a while after it was published as it was published when I was 12, so I think if I’d read it then, I would probably have been quite freaked out by it, but at 16, it was just the kind of action packed, thrilling read that I loved.

14. Dark Days-Derek Landy (Published 23rd April 2010)

I think this is the only book on the list that I read in the same year it was published, everything else was anywhere from a few years to a few decades to in the case of Black Beauty, a few centuries after! I remember my dad bought me this one whilst we were at the airport, so we must have been going somewhere, though I can’t remember where! It would be hard to pick my favourite of the whole series, as I love so many of the books so much, but as we were going for over 10 years old, only the first six or seven books were published, and of those, the fourth one definitely stands out for me. It was a real turning point in the series, where the books start to get a bit darker and the stakes are really raised, and those kinds of books are always my favourites in long running series.

15. Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein (Published 6th February 2012)

I’m pretty sure that Unwind and this one are the only books from this list that whilst they were published more than ten years ago, I read them a lot more recently. Code Name Verity I read during my first year of Uni and I remember reading it on the train back from my Uni reading week and consciously trying to stop myself from crying! It’s such a beautiful, emotional read and my favourite portrayal of female friendship in any book ever. I just love that the friendship between Queenie and Maddie is the centre of this book over any romance, and I wish more books could prioritise meaningful friendships over romantic relationships because I relate to that so much more.

So there we go, those are just some books that I read and loved that are over ten years old, I know it was a long one, but believe me this is the trimmed down version, I could have included 30+ books on this list EASILY. Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What books did you have on your list this week? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, this time we’re doing Completed Series I Wish Had More Books. I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to come up with for this one, generally I’m either pretty happy with how many books a series has, or the author announces once it’s over that they’re going to do a sequel series (see VE Schwab with Threads of Power), so we’ll see if I can come up with enough to make a list, or if I have to change the topic.

Top Ten Tuesday #380

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. I had a lovely time at my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, she looked gorgeous of course, the food was AMAZING, particularly the wedding cake (I think Champagne and Strawberries may be my new favourite flavour) and it was really nice to see everyone. I also had my first ever manicure which we did for my sister’s birthday as that was the day before the wedding, and it’s definitely an experience I’d like to repeat, turns out getting your nails done is really fun! We also went out for a really nice meal for my sister’s birthday so that was lovely too. All in all, a very busy, but very fun weekend. I’m glad this week is going to be much quieter though!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, my 380th (how mad is it that I will have done exactly 400 of these by the end of the year???!) is meant to be Hilarious Book Titles, but as I don’t read a huge number of books with particularly funny titles, I’m doing a slight spin-off and creating a sequel to a Top Ten Tuesday topic I did last year: Funny Percy Jackson Titles. As with the previous post on this topic, I’m implementing a spoiler warning here, as the titles may be spoilery for those who haven’t read the series, so if you haven’t and you want to, stop reading now. Here we go:

  1. Three Old Ladies Knit The Socks of Death

This definitely makes the Fates sound both terrifying and a lot more friendly than they actually are!

2. We Hail The Taxi of Eternal Torment

Definitely not a taxi I ever want to be getting in.

3. We Visit The Demon Dude Ranch

From the fourth book of the series, where Percy has to undertake many of the labours of Heracles, including mucking out the stables of some man-eating horses. Not my idea of fun.

4. I Learn How To Grow Zombies

Not a skill many people usually need, but hey, this is Percy Jackson, demigods need some weird skills!

5. Nobody Gets The Fleece

It’s one of my favourite Greek mythology jokes (if you’re familiar with the story of Odysseus, you’ll understand) so I had to include it here.

6. We Meet The Sheep of Doom

Do not sign me up for meeting the sheep of doom. I’m very happy with non-doomed sheep, thank you very much!

7. We Meet The Dragon of The Eternal Bad Breath

I wasn’t aware dragons could have good breath, but evidently, this dragon’s breath was particularly bad.

8. We Play The Game Show Of Death

This is Percy Jackson, of course it couldn’t be a regular game show, it has to be the game show of death.

9. I Wrestle Santa’s Evil Twin

Percy wrestles the God Nereus who looks just like Santa but meaner, for information.

10. We Take A Zebra To Vegas

During their quest to find Zeus’ lightning bolt in the first book, Annabeth, Percy and Grover hitch a ride in a zoo transport truck.

So there we are, those are some more funny titles from the Percy Jackson books, there are so many, that I could probably do a third instalment of these if the funny book titles topic ever comes up again! Have you read the Percy Jackson books? Are you excited for the new Disney+ series? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, this time we’ll be talking Books I Love That Were Written Over Ten Years Ago, which should be a fun one to do, although it’s going to make me feel quite old because the most recent books on that list will be from 2012, and I can’t believe that was ten years ago!

Top Ten Tuesday #379

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these. I had a really great time at the Commonwealth Games on Friday, and the English men’s team won a gold medal in the gymnastics, so that was the icing on the cake. I’ve got another fairly busy end of the week coming up as my family is going up to Yorkshire for my cousin’s wedding, so it’s going to be a very busy weekend for all of us.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I decided to go completely off-book with this week’s topic as I’ve done several variation of places from books I’d like to visit over the years. Instead, as I’m almost done with my umpteenth Gilmore Girls rewatch, I thought I would finally do an official list of my Top Ten Gilmore Girls Episodes. I’m going to do this a little differently than my regular Top Ten Tuesdays, which generally have no particular order, and do this as a countdown from 10-1. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Gilmore Girls, so stop now if you’ve never seen it and don’t want to be spoiled. Here we go:

10. Written In The Stars (Season 5, Episode 3)

You won’t see many Season 5 episodes on this list, as Season 5 is generally where I feel like the show started to go downhill in quality. However, the best part of S5 (before they decided to completely ruin them in S6) is Luke and Lorelai finally getting their act together and starting to date. This episode is their first date, and it’s one of my favourite TV first dates ever. HE KEPT HER HOROSCOPE FOR EIGHT YEARS! How cute is that?!

9. The Bracebridge Dinner (Season 2, Episode 10)

A trend I’ve found in my favourite episodes is that they’re usually ones that revolve around the big town events as the quirky Stars Hollow events are always so much fun! The whole Bracebridge Dinner is a riot, the Elizabethan style costumes, Jackson as Squire Bracebridge, Lorelai trying to get Kirk to break character……so much to love. There’s also the turning up of the Rory/Jess romance, the build-up of which was much better than the payoff, I have to admit. I also love seeing Richard and Emily interact with the townies, as you don’t get that very often throughout the series.

8. The Big One (Season 3, Episode 16)

Does it feel a little unrealistic that Rory would get into Harvard, Princeton and Yale? I mean I’m not American, but I feel like it would be like someone from the UK getting into both Oxford and Cambridge (though people don’t tend to apply for both here). But anyway, this episode isn’t on this list because of that: it’s on this list because of Paris’ meltdown. Her rant on live TV after she doesn’t make into Harvard is a classic, and Rory comforting Paris on the stairs afterwards is one of my favourites of their friendship moments.

7. Last Week Fights, This Week Tights (Season 4, Episode 21)

LUKE CAN WALTZ. The whole build-up to Lorelai and Luke’s romantic relationship towards the end of S4 is done so well, and this episode really encapsulates that. Their dance at the wedding is probably one of my favourite moments of the whole show, but this episode is just packed full of great moments aside from that. There’s quite a few lovely Luke/Jess moments, particularly when Jess tells Luke how much he means to him after reading the self-help books that Luke gave him. Liz and TJ’s wedding is just as wild as you would expect and watching Luke and Lorelai try and keep straight face through it and failing miserably is brilliant. It’s just an all around great episode in what at times was a fairly uneven season.

6. A Tisket-A Tasket (Season 2, Episode 13)

The bid-a-basket festival is one of my absolute favourite Stars Hollow town events. Is the whole idea of women having to make a picnic lunch and men having to bid on it to win their company for lunch a little sexist? Absolutely. Is it an extremely fun episode anyway? Definitely. There’s just so much to love in this episode: Lorelai getting Luke to bid on her basket to avoid Miss Patty’s blind date setup and them having a picnic in the gazebo? So cute, and I swear every time I watch it and Dean interrupts them, I want to shake him! Lane trying in vain to have a first date, and actually having a really sweet moment with her mum when it doesn’t work out (ironically because she was trying to keep it secret from her mum, even though her mum would have actually approved of the guy!). Rory and Jess’ date is also really sweet, though the whole Jess/Dean trying to one up each other bidding on Rory’s basket definitely reeks of toxic masculinity. And Jackson’s marriage proposal to Sookie is also really sweet.

5. Lorelai’s Graduation Day (Season 2, Episode 21)

The moment where Lorelai walks across the stage and graduates and the camera pans to Richard and Emily and they’re obviously so proud of her and Lorelai is genuinely glad to have them there to share that milestone that they never got when she was younger, is one of my favourite moments of the entire show, hands down. For a show that is very wordy, and is know for its dialogue, sometimes the non-verbal moments are actually the most powerful. I hate that Rory missed her mother’s graduation, but I definitely don’t think that moment between Lorelai and her parents would have hit the same way if Rory had been there. Plus, I really enjoyed Rory’s day with Jess in New York. I’m not a big Christopher and Lorelai fan, but even I have to admit, the basket of gifts he sent her was really sweet. Honestly, the only thing I really missed in this episode was a moment between Lorelai and Luke because I know he would have been really proud of her for graduating and we don’t get to see that.

4. A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving (Season 3, Episode 9)

So much good stuff here! Lane’s first kiss with Dave was so well done, Drunk Sookie was an absolute riot. Lorelai and Rory doing four Thanksgiving dinners in one day because they realise how much Luke enjoys having them come to Thanksgiving. The only downer of this episode is the really awkward dinner at Emily and Richard’s where Rory reveals that she applied to Yale and Lorelai flips out, it’s not one of Lorelai’s finer moments. Kirk adopting a cat that turns out to be vicious is a classic Kirk move. This one is definitely the better of the two Thanksgiving themed episodes that they do.

3. Raincoats and Recipes (Season 4, Episode 22)

Do I really need to expand much beyond Lorelai and Luke’s brilliant first kiss to explain why I love this episode so much? I do? Okay. It’s great to see Lorelai, Sookie and Michel finally open the inn after building to it all season. Kirk and Luke have some great moments in this episode too, theirs is an underrated friendship. The Rory/Dean stuff is obviously awful and I really don’t understand why they decided to go down that road again, but thankfully it’s limited enough in the episode that it never detracts from my enjoyment of it.

2. Those Are Strings, Pinocchio (Season 3, Episode 22)

Gilmore Girls generally always did hit the season finales out of the park, and this is my favourite one. After building to Rory’s high school graduation throughout the first three seasons, this episode 100% delivers. Rory’s valedictorian speech and her dedication to her mum is so lovely, one of my absolute favourite moments of the entire show, and I love that she even breaks Luke with it (we all know that Luke is a softie really).

Before we get to the number one spot, I have a few honourable mentions for you:

Like Mother, Like Daughter (Season 2, Episode 8: Lorelai and Emily at the Booster club fashion show is one of my favourite moments for them), There’s The Rub (Season 2, Episode 16: some great Lorelai and Emily bonding moments again, plus the cold open is one of my favourites of the whole series), The Lorelais First Day at Yale (Season 4, Episode 2: Rory’s moving into college), You Jump, I Jump Jack (Season 5, Episode 6: Rory and Logan at the first Life and Death Brigade of the show is such fun) and Wedding Bell Blues (Season 5, Episode 13: They definitely pull out all the stops for the 100th episode and this episode is definitely Gilmore Drama at its finest).

And finally in the top spot….

1. They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? (Season 3, Episode 7)

Yes, it’s the dance marathon episode! Everything about this episode is pure perfection for me: you have the 1940s style costumes which is 10000% up my street, I love that kind of fashion and Lorelai and Rory’s outfits and hair are just gorgeous. You have cute Lorelai and Luke bonding, the love triangle between Rory and Dean finally comes to a head, Lane and Dave make strides towards getting together and there’s so much town madness packed into the episode, it’s hard to know where to start! All in all, it’s a perfect episode of Gilmore Girls and if I had to pick one episode to go back to again and again without watching any of the rest of the show, it would be this one.

So there we go, those are my Top Ten Favourite Gilmore Girls Episodes. It was definitely difficult to narrow down over 150 episodes to just my favourite ten, but I managed it! I’ve actually noticed a couple things through this latest rewatch: I already knew S2 and S3 were my favourites, but this list has definitely confirmed it. In what may be a controversial opinion, I also realised I hate Season 6 more than Season 7, everyone is just so sad for so much of S6, it’s a really depressing watch. Season 7 is not my favourite, but I actually think they do a decent job with what the Palladinos left them. I also specifically paid attention to the writers of each episode this time around, and all my favourites are written by one or other of the Palladinos, which I guess isn’t a surprise since they were the main writers on the show and wrote the majority of the episodes!

Have you seen Gilmore Girls? What are your favourite episodes? Do you agree with my choices? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, we’re supposed to be doing Hilarious Book Titles, but I don’t know that I’ve read that many books with funny titles, so instead I’m going to do a Part 2 to a topic I did in 2021 (actually as a twist on the same topic it turns out!) and sharing more Funny Percy Jackson Chapter Titles.

Top Ten Tuesday #378

Hi all! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, and that all of my U.K. readers made it through our heatwave without melting! I’ve got an exciting week coming up, my mum, one of her friends and I are going to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this Friday, we’re going to watch the Gymnastics, the Men’s Team Final, which should be really fun, we went to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 (we saw the Athletics that time) and that was great, so I’m really looking forward to this. My sister is also coming over from Australia for the first time in FOUR YEARS, and I’ve not seen her since she left, so I’m super excited that she and her partner are going to be staying with us for a few weeks!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I’m feeling very judged by this week’s topic as we’re talking about Books From Our Seasonal TBR Lists We Still Haven’t Read. This topic was suggested by Dedra at A Book Wanderer, so thanks Dedra! I always have the best of intentions when I make my TBR lists, and I genuinely do want to read everything I put on there…..but then shiny new books catch my attention and the TBR list goes bye! These are the ones I’ve not read from the lists yet, that I do still really want to read:

  1. The Silence of The Girls-Pat Barker (appeared on Winter 2021-22 TBR and Spring 2022 TBR)

Honestly I’ve kind of gone off this one after my friend told me it was quite similar to The Song of Achilles which I didn’t really enjoy that much. However, I have heard good things about it and I did buy it, so I’m willing to give it a chance, it’s just slid slightly further down my TBR than it was when I originally bought it.

2. Ace of Spades-Faridah Abike-Iyimide (appeared on Summer & Autumn 2021 TBRs and Spring 2022 TBR)

Yes, I know, I know, three TBR appearances and still not having read the book is BAD. I am really excited for this one and I do keep meaning to read it because I’ve heard such good things but I’ve been in such a rut with physical books over the past couple of years that I haven’t read nearly as much of my physical TBR as I intended to. I’d love to say this is one I’ll get to before the end of the year, but it’s seeming very likely it probably won’t be until 2023.

3. The Fair Botanists-Sara Sheridan (appeared on Summer & Autumn 2021 TBRs, and Spring 2022 TBR)

Another one with three TBR appearances and still not read! I think the format is the problem for this one, I’ve just not had the concentration for e-books recently, and it was one I requested from Netgalley and then downloaded on my Kindle app, so I think I’m going to try it on audiobook and see if that works better for me as it’s one I do really want to read, I think the format is just hurting me here.

4. Where Dreams Descend-Janella Angeles (appeared Autumn 2020 TBR, Winter 2020-21 TBR & Spring and Summer 2021 TBRs)

I really want to love this one because it just sounds so up my street (the author used Moulin Rouge as a comp title and that’s my favourite movie of all time, and the little bit I have read of it has the main character descending from the ceiling on a chandelier, very reminiscent of Satine’s first entrance in the film) but I just wasn’t feeling it when I picked it up to read in Spring of last year and I still haven’t really got back in my groove with physical books yet so it’s one that I’m planning on coming back to when I’m feeling more in the mood for my physical books. I feel like appearing on four separate TBR lists and still not reading a book has to be some kind of record!

5. These Violent Delights-Chloe Gong (appeared on Autumn 2020 & Winter 2020-21 TBR)

I started These Violent Delights at the end of 2020 but I ran out of time before the Netgalley copy expired, so I only read the first chapter, maybe the first two. Anyway, I’ve heard such good things about this book and it’s sequel that I do still really want to read it especially as I couldn’t really give it much of a chance the first time around. When I will read it is a different question, but it’s definitely an option on my never ending TBR!

6. Scarlet-AC Gaughen (appeared on Spring and Summer 2021 TBRs)

I’ve had this book for ages but somehow just never seem to get around to reading it, even though a Robin Hood story with a gender-swapped Will Scarlett sounds right up my street. I didn’t have much luck with Sherwood, the last gender-swapped Robin Hood retelling I tried (with Marian fulfulling the Robin Hood character there) but I’m hoping I will do better with this one.

7. The Last Magician-Lisa Maxwell (appeared on Summer 2021 TBR)

I thought this had been on more than one of my TBR lists, but it turns out it’s only been on the one! I really do want to read this one as historical fantasy is something I’ve been really enjoying in the past few years, but it’s a bit of a chonker and I’m not really feeling chunky books at the moment! Hopefully soon as I have a lot of very chunky books waiting for me on my shelves (being a fantasy reader not in the mood for chunky books is quite difficult!).

8. Liberte-Gita Trelease (appeared on Spring 2022 TBR)

I loved Enchantee when I read it back at the beginning of 2019 so you’d think I’d be all over the sequel right? Right? WRONG. I have tried starting this one but it’s not available on audio, I’m not enjoying the e-book (the format, not the story) and I have so many books piling up on my physical TBR, even if I bought a copy, it would be years till I got to it. I’ve also forgotten basically everything from Enchantee because it’s been so long since I read it. I will probably get to this one eventually, but it’s fallen down the priority list.

9. City of Spells-Alexandra Christo (appeared on Spring 2021 TBR)

I really enjoyed Into The Crooked Place, and I pre-ordered City of Spells so I had it as soon as it was out, but I’ve still not read it. In my defence on this one, I’ve lent it to my friend Hannah as she liked the first book too and I knew I wasn’t going to read it for a while, so I don’t actually have it at the moment (and even if I did, it would just be sitting on my shelf!).

10. Mina and The Undead-Amy McCaw (appeared on Spring 2021 TBR)

Vampires aren’t usually my thing, but as Amy was my secret sister pen pal when we both did the #otspsecretsister project, I really want to read this one and support her. This definitely feels like one that I should read in the autumn though, so I think I’m going to save it till then.

So there we go, those are ten books from my previous seasonal TBR lists that I still haven’t read yet, though I could have included way more than these! It was quite funny looking back through my old seasonal TBR posts and seeing how many books appeared two or more times before they finally dropped off the lists because I’d actually read them at last. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Are any of them also on your TBR? Do you do well on your seasonal TBRs or are you notorious for going off list? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, but I’m going completely off-piste with this one as the actual topic, Books Set In A Place I’d Love To Visit, is one I’ve done a few times before. Instead, I’m veering away from books altogether and talking about my Top Ten Favourite Gilmore Girls Episodes as I’m doing another rewatch at the moment and felt like it was the right time to finally do an official list of my favourites!

Top Ten Tuesday #377

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:

  1. 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!