Top Ten Tuesday #304

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week this week, as usual mine was very quiet, though I have a lot of job applications to get through this week and a few video chats organised for the end of the week, so this week is looking a little busier.

Anyway, since it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we were meant to do Books That Made Us Laugh Out Loud, but I decided to go a slightly different route: as it’s still Black History Month in the US (the UK does Black History Month in October), I wanted to share some Books By Black Authors on My TBR as there are so many great Black authored books coming out this year, and many more that have come out previously that I’m excited to read too:

  1. This Poison Heart-Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella Is Dead was one of my favourite books of last year, so naturally I’m super excited for Kalynn’s newest book, which comes out in July. The cover is gorgeous, and the story sounds great, sapphic love story with plant magic and lots of family secrets? Sign me up!

2. A Psalm of Storms and Silence (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #2)-Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was another of my favourite books of last year, so I’m super excited for the sequel to release at the end of August (it was June, but has been pushed back), especially as the first book ended on a cliffhanger!

3. The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)-Namina Forna

I’ve already heard such great things about this one, it’s about a deeply patriarchal society where women are shunned or killed if they have gold blood instead of red blood. The gorgeous cover was definitely what attracted to me to this one, but it does sound like a really interesting story, so I’m excited to read it.

4. Off The Record-Camryn Garrett

As a journalist myself, I’m always interested when I see books about young journalists, and this one sounds really interesting, a teenage #metoo journalist story. I know that I’ll probably be quite picky around the journalistic details in this one since I have experience in the area but I’m still really looking forward to reading it.

5. Ace of Spades-Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

I was immediately drawn to this one when I saw the Gossip Girl comparison because I was obsessed with Gossip Girl as a teenager, and it sounds so good, I’ve read very little dark academia before, Ninth House and Vicious are the only ones that really come to mind, so I’m super excited to try this one, especially because it centres Black students, and all the dark academia I’ve read before has very much centred white people.

6. Endgame (Noughts and Crosses #6)-Malorie Blackman

Agh, I can’t believe this is the last Noughts and Crosses book we’re ever going to get. I read the first Noughts and Crosses book when I was 11 and by the time one releases I’ll be almost 25! Anyway, I can’t deny I was a little disappointed by Crossfire but I’m still excited to see how this series ends.

7. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race-Reni Eddo-Lodge

Yes, I know, I know, I’m super behind the curve on this one! My sister keeps telling me to read it and that it’s super good, but I just haven’t got round to it yet. I’m definitely hoping to try and get to it this year though, as I want to educate myself more on structural racism, especially in the UK.

8. A River of Royal Blood-Amanda Joy

I added this one to my TBR a while back, but I’ve still not got around to it, since my TBR is huge and ever expanding. It does sound really good though, it’s about a sisterly rivalry which is definitely up my street.

9. A Blade So Black-LL McKinney

This one sounds really great, it’s an Alice in Wonderland retelling with a Black Alice. I’ve not been able to find this one in the UK so far and I’m trying not to buy my books from Amazon, so I’ll just have to see where I can get this from.

10. A Promised Land-Barack Obama

I got Barack Obama’s latest memoir for Christmas and wow is it a hefty tome! I will probably be dipping in and out of this one throughout the year rather than reading it in one chunk as it’s easier to do that with a non-fiction book.

So there we go, those are some of the books by Black Authors that are currently on my TBR. Do we share any? Have you read any of these (of the ones that are already published)? Are you excited for any? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Characters Whose Job I Wish I Had, and honestly I was going to try and do books where the main characters are journalists, but it turns out those are fairly few and I haven’t read most of them. This will be a tricky one to do, since I read mostly YA, but I will I give it a go!

Top Ten Tuesday #303

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week this past week, as always, mine has been very quiet as is usual for life under lockdown. So today is apparently Mardi Gras, which we don’t really do in the UK, the day before Lent in the UK is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day depending on whether you observe the religious aspects or not, we don’t in our family, but we do still eat pancakes because let’s face it, any excuse to eat pancakes!

Anyway, with that in mind, today’s Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, is Mardi Gras themed, so we’re sharing Books With Purple, Yellow and Green Covers, the colours of Mardi Gras. I actually thought this one would be more tricky than it was, but it turns out there are a lot of books with these colour covers. As with my Valentine’s Cover topic last week, these covers won’t necessarily have all three colours on them, but they will have at least one:

  1. The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad Trilogy #2)-SA Chakraborty
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I love the covers for this series so much, honestly I could have used The Empire of Gold as well because it has a purple cover, but I decided to stick to just one from this series. This series has the most gorgeous covers and I highly recommend the series as well, it was one of my favourites from last year.

2. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)-Roshani Chokshi

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This series also has some of the most gorgeous covers, I cannot wait till The Bronzed Beasts comes out and I can see all three of the covers together. Anyway, I love everything about this cover, the green, the purple and the gold work so well together and the leaves and flowers are really fitting as one of the characters is a botanist and gardens play quite a big role in the story.

3. Into The Crooked Place (Into The Crooked Place #1)-Alexandra Christo

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I love the dark purple colour of this one, purple is one of my favourite colours anyway, and this is a really pretty shade. The black and the silver also look really good on this background, and I love the silvery spirals. This book is also really great, I loved the group dynamics, and it had lots of great twists and turns, I can’t wait to read the sequel when it comes out next month as it left off on a serious cliffhanger!

4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0)-Suzanne Collins

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Honestly everything about this book was a let down. The cover itself is pretty ugly, and the story itself was slow and kind of boring. However it does have a yellow and green cover, so it fits the topic!

5. Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship-LM Elliott

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So it’s kind of a turquoise-y cover rather than pure green, but I figured it still counted, plus it also has yellow on it! I really enjoyed this book, I learned a lot about Peggy that I didn’t really know, since Hamilton kind of reduces her down to “And Peggy!” but in real life she was so much more than that. I love the little cameo of Hamilton at the top, the nod to the 18th century setting, and the colours match really well.

6. Daughter of The Burning City-Amanda Foody

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I think this is my favourite of Amanda Foody’s covers, I love the colours, that shade of purple is so nice and I love the way the stripes in the background kind of look like a circus tent. It’s a really cool story as well, it’s basically a circus murder mystery but the murder victims are illusions, who aren’t supposed to be able to die!

7. Rebel of The Sands (Rebel of The Sands #1)-Alwyn Hamilton

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I love this cover so much! The colours are gorgeous (and I’m not usually a fan of either green or yellow but these are really nice shades), the way that it resembles a night sky is so nice and I love the little black silhouettes. I highly recommend this book, it’s a fun, fast paced story and the main character Amani is great. I could have used the second book in the series for this one too as it has a purple cover, but since I used it for my purple covers topic, I decided not to.

8. Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7)-Sarah J Maas

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I generally like the UK Throne of Glass covers, but I was definitely a bit jealous of this US cover for the final book, it’s so vivid, it really looks like the background is flames, and you don’t get the same effect with the UK cover as the background is white. I did generally enjoy the final Throne of Glass book, but there’s no denying that it did NOT NEED TO BE OVER 900 PAGES.

9. This Poison Heart-Kalynn Bayron

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This one comes out in July, and I’m super excited for it, because I loved Cinderella Is Dead last year and this one sounds just as good. It also has all three colours of this week’s theme, the background is green, there’s yellow writing, and Bri has purple flowers in her hair. Whoever designed this cover did a really great job, I love the nature theme, and it’s such a bright and colourful cover!

10. Forest of A Thousand Lanterns (Rise of The Empress #1)-Julie C.Dao

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Look it’s the YA Book Snake! I have to admit, this isn’t my favourite cover, I like the green background, but the flower and the snake definitely seem like stock photos which is not my favourite cover trend. I actually prefer the US paperback, which is a more illustrated cover. Still, it does fit the theme, with the green and the yellow on the cover.

So there we go, those are my Purple, Yellow and Green covers for Mardi Gras! Have you read any of these? Are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic was meant to be Books That Make Us Laugh Out Loud, but I’ve decided to go a little off course and instead talk about Books By Black Authors On My TBR, Leah from Leah’s Books topic last week reminded me that we haven’t ever really done a topic for Black History Month before, so I wanted to take the chance to talk about all of the great Black authored books that I’m excited to read.

Top Ten Tuesday #302

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, as with last week, I’ll be spending this week working on more job applications as usual.

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I’ve got another Top Ten Tuesday for you all courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Obviously Valentine’s Day is this Sunday (as usual, I am doing nothing!) so we’ve got a Love Freebie for this week. I’ve decided to do a cover themed post this week as you guys always seem to really like those, so I’ll be sharing my favourite Red, White and Pink covers in honour of Valentines Day. As with the Red, White and Blue cover topic we did, these books won’t necessarily have all three colours on their cover but they will all have at least one:

  1. The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)-Roshani Chokshi
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This is my current read and I still can’t get over how gorgeous this cover is. White and red always look so great together and I love how much this cover embraces the wintery setting of the book (it’s set in Russia).

2. Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone #3)-Leigh Bardugo

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Another red and white one, I have to admit, I actually prefer the redesigned covers to the originals ones but this one fitted the theme better. I do love the red colour, but I’m not massively in love with the illustration?

3. Girl, Serpent, Thorn-Melissa Bashardoust

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The YA book snake makes a return appearance! In all seriousness though, I really do love this cover, the white and the pink are really complimentary and I think they did something very visually intriguing with the flowers and the thorns wrapped within the snake.

4. Alex and Eliza-Melissa De La Cruz

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I really didn’t like this book, it’s very historically inaccurate and it’s just a slow and rather dull book. However, the cover does fit the prompt as it is pink.

5. A Thousand Perfect Notes-CG Drews

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We have a little bit of all three on this cover, some red, some white and some pink. I love this cover, I think the butterfly wing is a really gorgeous and cool design and I love the simplicity of it as well.

6. Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)-Amanda Foody

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I couldn’t not include this one in a red and white covers list! I really love what they did with these covers, the way they integrated the card suites into the background of the cover in particular I think is really cool.

7. Finale-Stephanie Garber

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The UK hardback covers for the Caraval trilogy are so gorgeous, it makes me so mad how dirty they did the paperback covers! I will admit, I did like the Fairyloot exclusive cover better (and did slightly kick myself for agreeing that my friend could have it when we split the cost of the special edition box as I’d already bought the original edition) but this cover has grown on me.

8. Under Rose Tainted Skies-Louise Gornall

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I couldn’t not have this cover on this list, given that it is bright pink! Very sadly, Louise Gornall died of cancer last year, and this was her only book, but it’s one of the most touching books about mental health that I’ve ever read, so I highly recommend it.

9. Everless-Sara Holland

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The US cover for this one is a little more dramatic, but I actually really like the minimalist approach that they took with the UK cover and I love the hourglass, it’s not a design that you usually see on book covers. Plus obviously the red and white works great for my purposes here!

10. Reign of The Fallen-Sarah Glenn Marsh

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The combination of the light pink and the skull is definitely unexpected, usually skulls on covers tend to be on darker backgrounds but I think it works really well!

11. Heartless-Marissa Meyer

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I really loved this origin story of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and I think the UK cover is so much prettier than the US one. I particularly loved the way the queen’s face in this forms the shape of a heart!

12. The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)-Samantha Shannon

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I’m so glad they decided to revert back to the original covers for this series because they’re so pretty, I hated the redesign (though now I have one awkward redesigned cover, but that’s neither here nor there). I love the red of this cover, it’s so vibrant, and the little moth details (Paige’s syndicate name is The Black Moth) are really cool as well.

13. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

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I couldn’t do this topic without featuring at least one VE Schwab book, since red, white and black are pretty much her default colour scheme at this point! The Shades of Magic books also work really well for this topic anyway, since Red and White London are two of the Londons in this book.

14. The Scorpio Races-Maggie Stiefvater

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I have to admit that 99% of the reason that I picked up The Scorpio Races in the first place was the cover, it really is just so gorgeous (and this UK cover is still my favourite). In terms of the content, I definitely preferred The Raven Boys to this one, but it was still a fun read.

I know I went super over this week, but it turns out there are a lot of really lovely red, white and pink covers, so I wanted to share as many as I could with you! Do you like any of these covers? Have you read any of these books? What is your favourite red, white or pink cover? Let me know in the comments!

So next week is another cover topic, we’ll be sharing Purple, Green and Yellow Covers in honour of Mardi Gras, which I’m really looking forward to as I love doing cover posts!

Top Ten Tuesday #301

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, mine has been fairly quiet, I’m working on a job application this week, so that’s probably going to take up most of my time.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking about Books Written Before I Was Born, so for me that’s anything that was published 26 years ago or earlier (I’m 24, turning 25 this year). I’ve chosen to go for all books I’ve read (we could have done books on our TBR as well) and these are in order of publication date, so no particular indicator of how much I liked the book:

  1. What Katy Did-Susan Coolidge-First Published 1872

This was actually one of my Mum’s favourites when she was younger and both me and my sister read it too (my sister is actually also called Katy, though I don’t think this book had anything to do with that!). Katy gets up to all sorts of mischief and I remember this book being a lot of fun to read.

2. Black Beauty-Anna Sewell-First Published 1877

Black Beauty is one of only a handful of classic books that I actually really liked, I’m usually not a fan! Of course, the fact that it’s about horses certainly helped but it’s also just a really beautiful and emotional story. If you’re going to watch one of the many film versions, I recommend the 1994 one, the horses are beautiful and it’s really well done.

3. Ballet Shoes-Noel Streatfeild-First Published 1936

For someone who was terrible at dancing, I really did enjoy dance books when I was younger! The sister relationship was definitely my favourite thing about this book, I think that reading about Pauline, Petrova and Posy when I was younger was the start of me loving the “found family” trope!

4. The Enchanted Wood-Enid Blyton-First Published 1939

Okay, I am very aware that Enid Blyton was pretty awful (apparently growing up means learning that all of the authors you liked when you were a kid were horrible people, but the Faraway Tree books, starting with The Enchanted Wood were really my start into fantasy. I loved being able to visit different lands with Jo, Bessie and Fanny (yes, her name has had to be changed in current editions of the book!) and meeting all of the magical creatures who lived in the Faraway Tree. It was always exciting to see whether they’d end up in a fun land (the Land of Birthdays for instance) or a bad one like The Land of Dame Slap.

5. Charlotte’s Web-EB White-First Published 1952

I maintain that Charlotte will remain the only spider I will ever like, and that’s only because she’s fictional. I feel like Charlotte’s Web is one of those that many generations share as a childhood classic? Anyway, it’s a really lovely, if a very sad story about the unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider and it’s one of the first books I can remember being completely devastated by the ending!

6. Flambards-KM Peyton-First Published 1967

When I was younger I was completely obsessed with horse stories (I still love and ride horses now, but horse books don’t tend to be aimed toward 24 year olds so I read less of them!) and Flambards was one of my favourites. It’s been a long time since I read it so I can’t really remember the details but I remember really liking Christina, really liking the horses and enjoying the development of the relationship between Christina and Will.

7. Matilda-Roald Dahl-First Published 1988

Roald Dahl is another of those authors I loved when I was younger that I now know was a pretty awful person. Matilda did mean a lot to me when I was a kid though, it’s one of the first books I remember reading with a main character who really loved books, so obviously I strongly related to her. It’s such a fun read, and Miss Trunchbull remains one of my favourite villains to this day.

8. Good Omens-Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett-First Published 1990

I actually only read Good Omens last year! I didn’t really like the book that much, though I enjoyed the show, it was very much of its time and a lot of the humour relied on sexist, racist and homophobic stereotypes which wasn’t something I enjoyed.

9. Animal Ark-Lucy Daniels-First Published 1994

I was obsessed with Animal Ark when I was a kid, I loved animals so these stories about vet’s daughter Mandy Hope and her animal saving exploits were right up my street. They were really short and there were a lot of them published, there were 12 published before I was born alone, so you can imagine I read a lot of them!

10. Picture Perfect-Jodi Picoult-First Published 1995

This was one of Jodi Picoult’s earlier books, so the writing wasn’t as good, I tend to prefer her post 2000 publications than the books she published early in her career. However, this is my favourite of her earlier published books, though it does rely on one of my least favourite tropes (amnesia), it’s a really interesting look into an abusive marriage.

So there we go, those are some books I’ve read that were published before I was born. How about you? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Next week is our annual Valentines Day Freebie, which is always one of my least favourite topics as I’m not really a romance person, so I’m doing a topic that’s only tangentially related to Valentines Day and sharing my favourite Red, White and Pink Book Covers (similar to the Red, White and Blue covers post we did for 4th July a few years back). I realise this means I’m doing two cover related posts in a row as the topic for the week after is also a cover one, but you guys really seem to like cover posts, so I don’t think you’ll mind!

Top Ten Tuesday #300

Hi everyone! I hope you had a good week since I last did one of these. I attended the virtual UK launch of The Mask Falling, the latest Bone Season book yesterday (the book is out today so if you’re a Bone Season fan, our time is now!) and it was a really fun event, I do miss in-person book events, but the virtual events I’ve been to so far have been really well run and the authors and moderators have done a great job.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking about our Top Ten New To Me Authors We Discovered In 2020, which is always one of my favourite topics to share as I love raving about new authors I’ve come to love. It’s also a timely topic as it coincides with my 300th Top Ten Tuesday, so it’s nice to have a topic I like doing for this milestone post. So here we go, the new to me authors I discovered last year that I will be reading more from (as always, they are all women because I read basically no male authors these days):

  1. Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves was one of my favourite reads from last year, it was such a fun read and I’m super excited to read the sequel next month and also for the final book in the trilogy later this year. I really enjoyed Roshani Chokshi’s writing and especially her character dynamics, so I will definitely be checking out her work after The Gilded Wolves trilogy ends.

2. SA Chakraborty

I devoured the Daevabad trilogy last year, I loved SA Chakraborty’s lush, expansive worldbuilding and the characters she created in this world. I’m already super excited for her new series, the first book of which is set to publish next year, which sounds like a historical pirate heist, so basically everything I love in one book.

3. Holly Jackson

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in ages, so naturally Holly Jackson is an author I’m definitely going to be looking out for from now on. I’m super excited to read the sequel this year and apparently there’s going to be a third book as well, so lots more adventures for Pip and Ravi to come, which is great! I find it so hard to find mysteries that really impress me, so having found Holly Jackson, she’s definitely an author I’m going to be following well into the future.

4. Roseanne A. Brown

I really enjoyed Roseanne’s debut, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin last year and I’m super excited to read the sequel when it comes out later this year. She’s already a really great writer, so I’m looking forward to seeing how she grows through her career.

5. Madeline Miller

Circe was another of my favourite reads from last year, Madeline is such a beautiful writer and I love Greek mythology so much, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from her. The Song of Achilles is definitely near the top of the list of books I want to read, because I’ve heard so many good things about it!

6. Addie Thorley

I really enjoyed Night Spinner when I read it last year, it was such a creative fantasy, I loved the arctic setting, not one that’s really utilised very much in fantasy. I’m really excited to read the sequel, Sky Breaker and also to read her debut An Affair of Poisons because I love historical fantasy.

7. Laura Bates

Men Who Hate Women was my favourite book of last year, and with one of my goals for the year being to read more non-fiction, I can definitely see myself picking up more of Laura Bates’ books this year, starting with Everyday Sexism which I already have on my shelf.

8. Rebecca Schaeffer

Not Even Bones was a really exciting series starter, so I’m looking forward to read the rest of the Market of Monsters trilogy, I already have Only Ashes Remain, so hopefully I will get around to it at some point this year.

9. Susan Dennard

I read all of the Witchlands books last year, and I’m really looking forward to Witchshadow coming out in June. I really enjoy following Susan on Instagram, she always has great writing tips and talks a lot about craft and process which I really appreciate!

10. Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella is Dead was one of my favourite reads of last year, and I was really surprised because Cinderella is not one of my favourite fairytales, but I loved what Bayron did with it. I’m already excited for her 2021 release This Poison Heart, it has such a beautiful cover and I love the idea of the plant magic.

So there we go, those were my favourite new-to-me authors of 2020. All of these authors have books I’m really looking forward to reading either already out or coming out in the future, so I look forward to hopefully finding even more favourite books from them! Have you read any of these authors? Did you enjoy their books? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, this time the topic is Books Written Before I Was Born, which should be a really interesting one, I’m intrigued to see how all of our lists differ, given the varying ages of bloggers in the book community!

Top Ten Tuesday #299

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these, mine was relatively quiet, I was working on edits for the next two chapters of my novel over the weekend, but I’ve finished those now. Still got a fair way to go, I’m only about a quarter of the way through, but I’m getting there!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is our annual list of shame, the 2020 releases that we were excited for, but didn’t get to and whoa boy, this list is going to be a long one! I actually did read a fair number of 2020 releases last year, but as always there were still some I didn’t get around to. So here there are the 2020 releases I missed reading last year (and would like to try and catch up with this year:

  1. Where Dreams Descend-Janella Angeles

I was so excited for this one, it sounded so good, it had musical theatre comparison titles, which are basically catnip for Jo, but did I get around to it? No. I wanted to, but my reading really slowed down toward the end of last year and I didn’t get to as many books as I’d have liked. Still, this one is one of my #RockMyTBR challenge books for 2021, so I’ll definitely be getting to it this year.

2. The Silvered Serpents-Roshani Chokshi

Again, one I really wanted to get to last year, but because I was reading Seasons of War through pretty much all of November and December, I didn’t get around to any of the other books I wanted. I’m super excited to get to this one next month though, I’ve been hearing such good things and I loved the first book so much, so I’m really excited to be back with the characters from this series!

3. The Lives of Saints-Leigh Bardugo

This one is fairly slim as it’s a short story collection, so it should be pretty easy to squeeze in this year, I really enjoyed The Language of Thorns, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Leigh Bardugo did with this one.

4. Dangerous Remedy-Kat Dunn

I was actually approved for this on Netgalley but it expired before I could download it, so I never got around to reading it. It still sounds super good though, lots of LGBTQ+ sorcerers causing chaos in the French Revolution? Yes please! I may get the audiobook for this later in the year.

5. All The Stars and Teeth-Adalyn Grace

Another one where it expired before I could download it, it had no archive date set on it and then Netgalley suddenly changed it before I was able to download it! Dark magic, mermaids and pirates? It sounds super fun and I hope that I’ll be able to get around to it this year, again probably through the audiobook.

6. The Foundling-Stacey Halls

In all fairness, I got this one from my friend Hannah as a Christmas present, so I wouldn’t really have had time to read it in 2020. Still, I definitely want to try it this year as it sounds really interesting and I know Hannah really loved it, so it must be good!

7. Good Girl, Bad Blood-Holly Jackson

Ah sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder which was one of my favourite reads of last year, so this one is definitely on the high priority list for this year. I would have been fairly happy with AGGGTM as a standalone, but I’m not going to say no to more of Pip and Ravi and I look forward to seeing what they get up to next.

8. Devil, Darling, Spy-Matt Killeen

I read the first book in this series, Orphan Monster Spy around two years ago, and I got Devil Darling Spy last year but I never got around to reading it, so it’s definitely one I’d like to get to in the not too distant future.

9. Difficult Women: A History of Feminism In 11 Fights-Helen Lewis

I won this in a giveaway last year, but haven’t got around to it yet. It combines two things I love: History and Feminism and I am trying to read more non-fiction this year, so hopefully I get around to it at some point.

10. House of Earth and Blood-Sarah J Maas

I meant to get around to this one last year, I really did, but after reading both of the Daevabad trilogy sequels, I was kind of burned out on super long audiobooks! I will definitely try and get around to the audiobook of this one this year though.

11. A Promised Land-Barack Obama

I got this as a Christmas present, so again, it’s probably not really fair that it’s on this list. It is a hefty beast though, so I may dip in and out of it through the year as it’s easy enough to do that with a memoir.

12. Scavenge The Stars-Tara Sim

This Count of Monte Cristo retelling sounds so good, I just don’t know where to get it from! If I’m able to find it from a non-Amazon source then I might get to it this year. UK PUBLISHERS PLEASE PICK UP TARA SIM’S BOOKS. SIGNED, SAD UK FAN.

13. The Love Hypothesis-Laura Steven

This one sounds like a lot of fun, I just wasn’t really in the mood for contemporary last year! I would definitely like to try and get around to Laura’s newest release this year though, as I loved The Exact Opposite of Okay.

14. The Tower of Nero-Rick Riordan

Technically I still have to read The Tyrant’s Tomb before I can get to this…..I know, I know, I’m super behind, but I’m still really excited to see how Rick Riordan has tied up the Camp Half-Blood universe stories.

So that’s it, that’s my 2020 list of shame! Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? Are you planning to read any of them this year? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, this time it’s perennial favourite, New To Me Authors I Read In 2020, and I discovered a lot of great new authors last year, so I’m really excited to share this one!

Top Ten Tuesday #298

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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I had a big job application due last week so that’s what I spent most of my time on, but that’s all done now so this week looks set to be quieter.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking about our Goals for 2021. I’m not planning on making any life goals for this year, since that just seems doomed to failure, but reading, writing and blogging goals? Those I can definitely do! I always love doing these posts at the beginning of the year, because I like having things to work towards during the year. So here we go, these are my Reading/Writing/Blogging Goals For 2020:

  1. Complete my Goodreads Challenge

As with every year, I will be working towards completing my Goodreads Challenge. Like always, I’ve started it at 24, but I plan to put it up throughout the year, I just like starting with something I know I can achieve and putting it up so that it feels more low pressure. I read 45 books for my challenge last year and I’d really like to make 50 this year if I can.

2. Complete my #RockMyTBR Challenge

Another annual one, I have another 12 books on my challenge list this year and after only making it to 10 last year, I’d really like to complete the full 12 this year. Half of the books I read for the challenge last year made it onto my Best Books of 2020 list so I’m hoping this year will be just as successful.

3. Finish current round of edits on This Is Not A Love Story

Hannah and I are continuing swapping chapters of our novels this year and I’d really like to be able to have mine fully edited by the end of the year. I’m not sure whether I’m going to send this out for querying again or not, but it would be nice to have a fully polished MS by the end of this year.

4. Get Netgalley Ratio to 80%

Ah the elusive Netgalley Ratio. My Netgalley ratio actually ended up going down at the end of last year after I went on a bit of a requesting spree, so I’m hoping this year to read all of the books I’ve requested and hopefully finally reach the elusive 80%.

5. Catch up on 2020 releases

Another annual one. I actually don’t have as many 2020 releases to get to as I did 2019 releases, purely because there were less 2020 releases on my list. I do have some really anticipated sequels to first books that I only read last year to read though: like The Silvered Serpents and Good Girl, Bad Blood.

6. Read more new to me authors

I found so many great new authors last year, so I wanted to bring this goal back again this year as I love finding new authors to support and trying new authors means more potential favourites.

7. Continue reading more by authors of colour

I discovered a lot of great books by authors of colour last year and I really want to find more this year in my continued efforts to diversify my reading.

8. Read more non-fiction

I had this one a couple of years ago, but I decided to bring it back this year as I still have quite a lot of non-fiction books on my shelf that I want to read. I particularly want to try and get to Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism this year after really enjoying Men Who Hate Women last year.

9. Try and have Writing Corner posts more regularly

My Writing Corner posts kind of fell away last year, what with me not really writing fiction for a large portion of the year due to the pandemic and not really being able to get many guest posters (again probably largely due to the pandemic) so I’m hoping to get it started up again a bit more this year.

10. Don’t buy any physical books from Amazon

Now, I’m not really under the illusion that I’ll be able to cut off all my Amazon usage completely, since I’m pretty attached to Audible and I like using Goodreads, plus Amazon Prime has a lot of great shows. However, what I can do is make sure that I’m supporting actual bookstores over Amazon, so this year, I’m going to make sure that all physical books I buy come from either Waterstones, Blackwells or independent bookstores.

So those are my Reading/Writing/Blogging goals for the year. Do you set goals for the year? If not, then why not? What are your goals for 2021? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, talking about Books I Meant To Read In 2020 But Didn’t Get To.

Top Ten Tuesday #297

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Hi everyone! I wanted to be able to say Happy 2021, but with the UK going back into full lockdown, it doesn’t really seem appropriate, so instead I’ll say, I hope you’re all okay, especially my UK followers. I know that it’s necessary, but honestly, I’m feeling very frustrated, and sad, and tired by the whole thing. The thought of being locked down for another seven weeks, possibly longer, is something that I’m massively struggling with especially since I know how hard it’s going to be this time.

This sucks, and it’s ok to admit that, we don’t have to be positive all the time. If you are also having negative feelings about this new lockdown, then you aren’t alone. I just wanted to say that at the top of this post, because social media seems to get flooded with “positive vibes” whenever a new lockdown is announced, so if like me, you’re not really in a “look for the positives” place right now, then that’s fine and valid, and you’re not the only one who feels like everything sucks right now. 

Anyway, sorry for that super lengthy intro, clearly had a lot to get off my chest! It’s Tuesday, the first Tuesday of 2021, and that means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. As with last year, we’re starting off 2021 talking about our Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2021. The first half of this year is jam packed with a lot of great new books coming out, and these are the ones I’m most excited for (in release date order, so number is no indication of level of excitement!):

  1. Lore-Alexandra Bracken-Releases 7th January

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You know me, obsessed with Greek mythology, so obviously this new release from Alexandra Bracken is right up my street. It sounds very Hunger Games-esque, with Greek heroes teaming up to try and kill Greek Gods and that just sounds like an awful lot of fun, so I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

2. Tales From The Hinterland-Melissa Albert-Releases 14th January

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I have an e-ARC of this from Netgalley, though I’m not sure when I’m going to get to it as I’m still behind from last year! I wasn’t a massive fan of The Hazel Wood, and I didn’t read the sequel, but I’m really looking forward to this book as the snippets of the Tales in The Hazel Wood were my favourite parts, so I think the whole book of them will be really great.

3. The Mask Falling (The Bone Season #4)-Samantha Shannon

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Ah my most anticipated release of the year. We’ve been waiting for The Mask Falling for A LONG TIME and I can’t wait to see what happens to Paige and Warden next. I have an e-ARC of this from Netgalley so I should be reading it very soon!

4. Muse (Muse #1)-Brittany Cavallaro-Releases 2nd February

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I’m not entirely sure when or if this is releasing in the UK, but it releases in the US in February. An alternate history American monarchy sounds super fun, and I’ve definitely been on a historical fantasy kick in recent years, so I’m hoping this will be another one I enjoy.

5. A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4)-Sarah J Maas-Releases 16th February

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I do hate the cover, but thankfully, I’m going to be reading Sarah J Maas’ books in audio from now on as they’re simply too large to consume in physical format! I’ve still got ACOWAR and ACOFAS to read before I get to this but I’m hoping to finish both of them this month before this book is released.

6. Liberte (Enchantee #2)-Gita Trelease-Releases 18th February

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Enchantee was one of my favourite books of 2019, and I’ve been desperately waiting for Liberte for two years, so I’m super excited that it’s almost here. I can’t wait to see what Camille gets up to next and to dive deeper into the French Revolution. 

7. Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3)-Victoria Schwab-Releases 4th March

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I’ve got to admit, I don’t love this cover, I think it’s a little crowded and prefer the US one. But I’m super excited for this book, I really enjoyed City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones last year, and these small books are the perfect palate cleansers in between a lot of my chunkier fantasy books!

8. Phoenix Flame (Havenfall #2)-Sara Holland

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I wasn’t massively in love with Havenfall when I read it last year, but I did think it had potential and wanted to see what happened next, so I’m cautiously looking forward to the sequel. I just hope it’s more exciting than the first book!

9. City of Spells (Into The Crooked Place #2)-Alexandra Christo

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Into The Crooked Place was one of my favourite books of 2019, and I’ve been waiting over a year to find out what’s going to happen next to Tavia, Karam, Wesley and Saxony, especially as the first book ended on such a cliffhanger! 

10. Rule of Wolves (Nikolai Duology #2)-Leigh Bardugo-Releases 30th March

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It sounds like this is going to be the end of the Grishaverse for a while, as Six of Crows 3 doesn’t seem to be on the horizon for a while, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Leigh wraps things up in this book. I was a little disappointed by the first one, I’m hoping more of the Crows might appear in this one and that it’s a little more exciting than King of Scars.

11. Dead or Alive (Skulduggery Pleasant #14)-Derek Landy-Releases 1st April

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The penultimate Skulduggery Pleasant book! I’ll admit, I didn’t love the 13th book as much as I would have liked and this new “phase” of the series has been a little uneven, but I always love spending time with Skulduggery and Valkyrie so of course I’m excited for their next adventure. It’s going to be so weird when this series is over, I’ve been reading Skulduggery Pleasant books for half my life!

12. Mina and The Undead-Amy McCaw-Releases 1st April

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I’ll admit, I’m not usually a horror reader (I know Skulduggery has horror elements, but it still fits pretty firmly into Urban Fantasy), but Amy was my Secret Sister for the #otspsecretsister project in the August-January ’17/’18 round and she was so lovely, so I’m super excited that she’s releasing a book and really want to support her as an author! I have this on Netgalley and am super excited to start reading it closer to the release date.

13. Ariadne-Jennifer Saint-Releases 29th April

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Can I just take a second to say how gorgeous that cover is? Because WOW. Anyway, as already established, I’m a massive Greek myth nerd, so naturally, this Ariadne and Theseus retelling is right up my alley and I really enjoyed Circe last year, so I’m looking forward to reading another Adult Greek mythology retelling. 

14. Sky Breaker (Night Spinner #2)-Addie Thorley-Releases 4th May

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Night Spinner was a really lovely surprise from last year, so I’m super excited to find out how Enebish’s story wraps up in the final book of this duology. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to get hold of it, since I got the first book on Netgalley and I’ve not actually seen the first book in the UK, but we’ll figure that out closer to the time!

15. Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy #2)-Maggie Stiefvater-Releases 18th May

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Ha ha is anyone at all surprised that I’m excited for the new Maggie Stiefvater book? You shouldn’t be. Call Down The Hawk didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I’m hoping now that the groundwork for the series has been laid, this second book will be more fun with a less messy plot!

16. A Psalm of Storms and Silence (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #2)-Roseanne A. Brown-Releases 1st June

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I really enjoyed the first book in this duology last year, and it definitely left off in a super exciting place, so I’m looking forward to seeing where this second book takes Malik and Karina and how it wraps up their stories.

So that’s my most anticipated releases for the first half of the year! What books are you looking forward to this year? Any of these on your list? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday post, this time we’ll be talking about our Resolutions/Hopes For 2021, though I prefer to frame them as Goals, so my post will be my Goals For 2021.

Top Ten Tuesday #296

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Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good Christmas, mine was very quiet, as always, my family mostly spent the day eating and watching TV (I mean what else are you supposed to do at Christmas!). Cambridge is now in Tier 4 lockdown, so we won’t really be doing anything for New Year, just staying in and waiting for 2020 to be over! 

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s the last Tuesday of 2020, and as always on the last Tuesday of 2020, I’ll be sharing my Top Ten (really twelve) favourite books of 2020. 2020 has been a dumpster fire year for almost everything else but I have read some really great books this year, so it will be fun to share them with all of you:

  1. Men Who Hate Women-Laura Bates-5 stars

My only 5 star read of this year (I’m super picky so don’t read too much into that, I’ve still had a lot of books I really enjoyed this year), I will definitely be reading more of Laura Bates’ books in the future, it was a really insightful, interesting and honestly kind of terrifying read. I mean you know that men on the internet can be creeps, but I didn’t realise the full extent of a lot of these extreme misogynist groups until reading this book.

2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue-VE Schwab-4.5 stars

Would it be an end of year favourites list without at least one entry from VE Schwab? I don’t think so, she’s appeared on every single one of these lists since I started doing them in 2016 (incidentally the same year I started reading her books). Addie LaRue is a gorgeously written story, so emotional and I can honestly say it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I cannot wait for Schwab’s next adult book, she always knocks them out of the park and I’m super excited to see what she does next (I’m hoping for Threads of Power!). 

3. A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder #1)-Holly Jackson-4 stars

I’m so hard to please when it comes to thrillers, I rarely find myself being actually surprised by them? Basically Dangerous Girls set the bar way too high for truly shocking thrillers! But anyway, A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder was a really pleasant surprise for me, it was really well plotted out, the twists worked well and it was generally a fast and gripping read. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel, hopefully next year.

4. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)-Roshani Chokshi-4 stars

Found family? Historical fantasy? Heists? This book ticked all of my boxes! The world building and the magic system were a tad confusing (which is why it’s not a 5 star) but I LOVED THE CHARACTERS SO MUCH and they had the best group dynamic. It also had a lot of humour and the plot with all the heists was really enjoyable. I’m so excited to read the sequel, it’s my #RockMyTBR challenge read for February and I’ve heard such good things already, I can’t wait to be back with Severin, Laila, Enrique, Zofia and Hypnos.

5. The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1)-S.A. Chakraborty-4 stars

I tore through all of the Daevabad books this year, but the first one was definitely my favourite, the world in this is super immersive, it definitely allowed me to forget about lockdown whilst I was reading it. The characters are also awesome, I loved Nahri and Ali so much. Also YES FOR CHARACTERS IN THEIR LATE TEENS/EARLY TWENTIES IN FANTASY, I NEED MORE OF THESE PLEASE.

6. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1)-Roseanne A. Brown-4 stars

The characters really made this book for me. Malik and Karina were really well drawn, especially Malik and his anxiety was so well handled and such an important part of the story which I really loved. Karina was messy and complicated and I really liked how Brown handled the “bratty princess stereotype” because she was so much more than just that. The magic system and world building were a little confused, and the plot actually moved a little too fast in places, but overall it was a really engaging story and I can’t wait for the sequel next year.

7. Cinderella Is Dead-Kalynn Bayron-4 stars

I’m not usually a Cinderella fan, but I loved what Bayron did with her retelling, I liked that she created something completely new with the Cinderella tale rather than just directly telling the same story with different characters. It was a really engaging story, I flew through it in less than two weeks (that’s fast for me!) and I can’t wait to read her next book, the cover looks gorgeous!

8. The Dead Queens’ Club-Hannah Capin-4 stars

Surprise, surprise, Tudor nerd Jo loved this book! It was super funny and filled with lots of wonderful Tudor Easter eggs and nods. Transplanting Henry VIII into a high school setting worked super well since the Tudor court probably had even more drama than your average teen drama show!

9. The King of Crows (The Diviners #4)-Libba Bray-4 stars

The King of Crows was a largely satisfying series finale book, the pacing was a little off in places and I would have liked to have seen more of the whole gang together but I do love the characters a lot and I was ultimately pleased by how things turned out (and I’m seriously hoping that ending means that there will be more Diviners books in future!).

10. The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy (Monatague Siblings #2)-Mackenzi Lee-4 stars

I loved Gentleman’s Guide last year and was really excited for Lady’s Guide. I did really enjoy it, though not quite as much as the first one, the pacing wasn’t quite as good and I think Monty was just more funny as a narrator. Still there was a lot that I really did love about this book, female friendship was central, internalised misogyny was explored in a really interesting way, and it was super fun to read. I’m looking forward to reading the final book next year.

11. Night Spinner (Night Spinner #1)-Addie Thorley-4 stars

I’ve never read a Hunchback of Notre Dame retelling before, in fact I’ve not read the original, only seen the Disney film, but I really liked what Thorley did with it, she definitely made the story her own. The world is super unique, a kind of arctic tundra-esque setting and I really loved the main character Enebish and her development throughout the book.

12. Circe-Madeline Miller-4 stars

I’m a massive Greek mythology fan so obviously this one was great for me, Madeline Miller’s writing style is super gorgeous, I loved how she interwove different Greek myths into Circe’s story and at its heart, this is a story about women and power which is always something I’ll love. I definitely want to read Song of Achilles at some point soon because I’ve heard such good things about it.

So that’s it, my favourite books of 2020! What were your favourite books this year? Have you read any of mine? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week for my first Top Ten Tuesday of 2021, it’s our annual Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2021 which is always a fun one to start the year with.

In the meantime, I’ll have more of my annual end of year posts over the next couple of days, my End of Year Survey should be up tomorrow and I’ll be posting my End of Year Check In on New Years’ Eve. Some of the stuff I’d planned to post this year will probably be transferred into January now, but that’s okay, I needed the Christmas break!

Top Ten Tuesday #295-Christmas Songs Book Tag

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Hi all! I hope everyone’s okay after the UK Government’s most recent announcement and that however you are now spending your Christmas that you still manage to have the best Christmas possible under the circumstances. I will spending Christmas at home with my family, thankfully we had always planned to spend Christmas just the three of us, but I know not everyone is lucky enough to be able to spend Christmas with their families (or friends) this year, so if that applies to you and you are now finding yourself spending Christmas alone, I’m sending you all the love and hope that you still manage to have a good Christmas.

Anyway, after that slightly sombre note, onto happier things, it’s the last Tuesday before Christmas, and so that means it’s time for the annual Christmas TTT topic, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. As with last year, instead of talking about Books I Want Santa To Bring, I’m doing another Christmas Book Tag! This time it’s the Christmas Songs Book Tag, which is a book tag created by our host Jana, so it actually fits very well. You can check out Jana’s original tag here: http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/2020/12/2020-christmas-songs-book-club/

So here we go, the Christmas Songs Book Tag:

  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You-Favourite Bookish Couple
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Percy and Annabeth

My answer for this is always the same, I love Percy and Annabeth so much and they’re my favourite slow burn, friends to lovers couple ever!

2. I’ll Be Home For Christmas-Name a book where a character is away from home (school, vacation, etc.)

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The main characters in the Chestnut Hill series (which I loved when I was about 12/13), all live at a boarding school with a big focus on riding.

3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas-Name your favourite “little” book (children’s book, short story, novella etc).

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The copy of Black Beauty I have is only 183 pages long, so a very short book, but that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much, classics are usually so chunky! Also it’s a beautiful story, if very sad.

4. Santa Claus Is Coming Town-What book (s) do you hope Santa brings you this year?

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Santa tells me all year round that I have too many books so I’m pretty sure that I’m not getting any books for Christmas, but if I was, I would love this one to complete the series and so that I have it ready for when I’ve read Book 2!

5. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer-Which book turned your nose red (made you cry)?

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This is one of only two books that have ever made me cry (the other is Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys if you’re interested). It’s truly so horrific what so many people went through under the Nazis during WWII and reading about the Rabbits (Polish women who were used for medical experiments in Ravensbruck), I couldn’t stop crying.

6. The Most Wonderful Time of The Year-Your favourite kind of book to read during the holidays

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I don’t really read Christmassy books, so I decided to share one of my favourite Wintery books instead. Ironically, I read Six of Crows at the height of summer 2017 when I was in Amsterdam visiting my sister!

7. We Three Kings-Your Favourite Trilogy

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I mean is anyone surprised? I’ve made no secret of how much I love the Shades of Magic trilogy, and it will take some beating for another trilogy to surpass it.

8. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow-A Character You’d Love To Be Snowed In With

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I reckon Izzy O’Neill and I would have a ridiculous amount of fun being snowed in together, I can picture ridiculous amounts of junk food and movies!

9. Last Christmas-A Book That Seriously Let You Down

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I was so excited for this one as I loved the first book when I read it two years ago, but this sequel was a massive letdown. I hope the final book is better!

10. White Christmas-An Upcoming Release You’re Dreaming About

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I’ve been waiting almost four years for this one, so I’m super excited to finally read it. I got approved for it on Netgalley, so should be getting to it soon!

So that’s the Christmas Songs Book Tag, thanks to Jana for creating it, it was a super fun one to do!

What books are you hoping to get for Christmas? Any other presents people are hoping for? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with my final TTT for 2020, talking about my favourite books of the year. In the meantime, I should have my review of Good Omens up for you guys tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.