Top 10 Tuesday: Fantasy/Sci Fi Sequels I Enjoyed More Than the Original *Gasp*

This week’s TTT topic is a genre based freebie so I’m looking at books which managed the impossible – they impressed me more than the original book in their series. Shocking! I know. Here are 10 sequels that made the cut.

Morning Star (Red Rising Saga 3#) – Pierce Brown

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I could have comfortably listed either Golden Son or Morning Star on this list but I’ve decided to go with entry 3 because it’s my favourite book of the original trilogy (before Pierce expanded the series). I’ve mentioned my love of these books quite a few times on this blog, recently even. So, why not mention it again for the zillionth time? I really like Red Rising, it’s fantastic, but it’s always those pages at the beginning which let it down. A 4.5 instead of the full 5 stars. Morning Star is just amazing from start to finish. Action, humour, friendship, THE EMOTION… There isn’t a dodgy sequel in sight with this book. Basically, if the series had ended here, I would have had no complaints.


A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR 2#) – Sarah J. Maas

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This entry will be a shock to absolutely no one. As I’ve said before, when I first read A Court of Thorns and Roses, I liked it, it was fine, but it wasn’t exactly my new obsession. I only continued with the series a good while later (after a re-read of book 1) because of how popular the sequel was. I ended up being so glad I did because I really loved it. The characters are so loveable and the dynamics between them are great. Also, the expansion of the world beyond the Spring Court was a lot of fun. And need I mention the romance? It’s awesome. Fictional ship gold right there. Mutual respect, passion, banter – I’m in love.


Siege & Storm (The Grisha Series 2#) – Leigh Bardugo

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Like ACOTAR, this is another series where I didn’t mind book one but I wasn’t blown away. In the end I decided to keep going with the series because (a) I liked the villain, (b) I loved the Six of Crows duology and, (c) I was determined to meet the famous Nikolai Lantsov. I ended up having a great time with Siege & Storm. There was a good amount of action and the book kicked into gear quickly. I appreciated certain characters a lot more and Nikolai was, well, everything people said he was. This book is easily my favourite of the three.


Legendary (Caraval 2#) – Stephanie Garber

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If you’ve read my re-read review of Caraval, you’ll know that despite liking the setting & atmosphere, and progressing through the book quickly, I had a few issues with the story, characters and world building. I never saw myself continuing the series but after seeing book 3 pop up everywhere on release and hearing that people with the same Caraval problems as me had enjoyed Legendary, I decided, stuff it, I’ll try it out. As it turned out, people were right. I liked Tella as a protagonist much more than Scarlet and the world building in this book was miles ahead of Caraval. Plus the introduction of Jacks was a lovely surprise. I’m almost tempted to read Finale. Almost.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter 4#) – J. K. Rowling

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Everyone who follows my blog will know by now that I’m a major Harry Potter fan. But in a series of seven books there’s, of course, going to be some you like better than others. While I love The Philosopher’s Stone, it’s the book that made me fall in love with the characters and world after all, Goblet of Fire has always been my favourite of the series in all it’s beautiful, chunky glory. A magical competition, dragons & merpeople, more wizard schools, and a Big Bang ending that completely changes the direction and mood of the series going forward. I’ve read it a hundred times and could probably stand to read it a hundred more.


The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air 2#) – Holly Black

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I really enjoyed The Cruel Prince when I first read it and I was certainly one of those people who eagerly awaited the release of The Wicked King before quickly going out and buying it on release day. Book two is definitely my favourite book in this series. I love the sense of momentum, plot twists, romance, and more morally grey characters doing questionable things. This book made me appreciate Jude as a protagonist a lot more which then translated over to my re-read of book one later on. Also, as a writer, if you’re looking for a way to end your novel that basically guarantees your audience will be desperate for the next one – this book is a prime teaching material.


The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle 2#) – Maggie Stiefvater

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After reading three books in The Raven Cycle, my response to this series is still somewhat apathetic but I’ll willingly admit that The Dream Thieves was the entry I enjoyed the most. I feel like I got to know the characters much better in this one which was nice. My favourite element of the novel, however, was Maggie’s inclusion and development of Ronan’s dream based abilities which made for some interesting plotlines and an exciting climax in seeing those powers tested against that of someone else’s. Overall, I liked the book enough to want to continue to book three and was a little sad I didn’t have the same level of engagement going forward.


A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes 2#) – Sabaa Tahir

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In all fairness, this is only the tiniest bit higher than book one but we’ll take it because I love it when a sequel does well. Book two is fairly different to book one. It really feels like a proper adventure and I enjoyed the cat and mouse dynamic between Elias and Helene. As Helene is probably my favourite character, I loved getting to see her given more presence & independence with her own challenges and plotlines. There’s a great level of political drama with the new emperor in charge and the Commandant pushing for power. Also in its favour is an exciting prison break sequence and a few major things happen with big consequences in book 3.


City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments 3#) – Cassandra Clare

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I was obsessed with this series in high school. I wanted all of my friends to read them and almost jumped out of my skin when I finally got to hold City of Glass on release. Back in the day, this book was my favourite of the bunch mostly because of the high stakes of it all and the fact that some of the other characters got more of a chance to shine. After re-reading the first four books in recent years, while books 1 & 2 have slightly diminished with time (we don’t talk about City of Fallen Angels…), City of Glass hasn’t and it’s still my favourite of the series (later additions included, even though I still haven’t read book 6. But let’s face it, there’s no way it’d be better than City of Glass).


The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & The Olympians 5#) – Rick Riordan

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Percy Jackson is another one of those super popular series. It’s also happens to have quite a few books, ergo there’s always a favourite among the bunch. As a whole, I liked PJ&O – they were fun, creative novels full of adventure, mythology and likeable characters. Yet, being intended for a middle grade audience, they did feel on the young side for me in my mid-twenties. However, I really, really liked The Last Olympian. In fact, many of my reasons for this are similar to City of Glass – action packed & dramatic battles, real stakes, and more characters in the spotlight. With the characters around 16 at this point, the book also read much older, which I appreciated. Major points to an author who can grow with their audience.

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my TBR I Predict will be 5 Star Reads

I’ve never done a post like this before. Why? It’s simple, I don’t give out many 5 star ratings. Check my Goodreads ‘read’ shelf and you’ll see that books with those five shiny things after them are in short supply. Remove all 7 Harry Potter books, and the list gets even shorter. The reason for this is that I don’t often read books that I absolutely crazy adore and have very few negative things to say about. I know I sound like a snob, and perhaps I have too higher standards, but unfortunately, it’s just the way I am. Because of this, posts like these have always seemed unrealistic for me. However, today we’re making an exception and attempting to be optimistic! Okay, not over the top optimistic which is why there are only 8 books on this list instead of 10. As far as final ratings are concerned, I’ll still consider it a win if any of these books manage to get a 4.5 star rating.

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War 2#) – R. F. Kuang

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The Poppy War was one of my favourite reads of 2019. I even gave it one of my rarely awarded 5 star ratings. With sequels is always hard to know whether they’ll live up to the original and before TDR was released, I was very nervous. After the ending of book 1, I wasn’t sure where the story could go but I now have a good feeling about this one! The average Goodreads rating is high, reviewers I trust have said super positive things and the blurb sounds great. So I’m pegging this for another 5 star read and I think the odds are high.


A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

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I’ve only just started this book but I’m willing to make a bet that A Little Life will crack the big five stars. Now, this is in no way a short read – it’s over 700 pages long, and I’m fully aware of the fact that the story is supposed to be emotionally grueling (majorly so). Yet, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it – the writing, the realistic and wonderfully crafted characters, the fact that it doesn’t leave you until long after you’ve finished it. I’m looking for something that’ll worm its way into me and stay there. I really hope this is it.


Educated – Tara Westover

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As I’ve mentioned a few times over the last couple of months, non-fiction reads have started to grow on me and Educated is a book I’ve had on my TBR for a few months now. I actually started it a little while back and got distracted but I’m determined to go back. A story about a young woman from a survivalist family, who with little education at all, managed to teach herself enough to be admitted to university and eventually earned a doctrate sounds like the kind of story I need in my life. I’ve seen some rave reviews of this book so I’m hoping it lands 5 stars with me also.


The Toll (Arc of a Scythe 3#) – Neal Shusterman

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This is another book where I’m basing a five star prediction on the fact that I rated previous books in the series highly. Scythe was a 5 star read and Thunderhead a 4.5 star read so the chance of another high rating seems likely here. I really love this series so it would be heartbreaking for it to stumble at the final hurdle. Book two ended in a major cliffhanger and I’m super excited to find out what happens next (well, after I re-read books one and two to refresh my bad memory). I’ve seen some amazing reviews and some disappointed reviews. I’m desperately crossing my fingers hoping I’ll be in the former camp.


The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

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Another enormous book and another one I’ve started and will have to return to at some point. While the few pages that I’ve already read of Priory weren’t exactly grabbing me in a choke-hold of engagement, with a book this big I’m willing to put the time in to reach a point where I’m sure things will pick up in a major way. I still have a good feeling about this one being an amazing read. I’m trusting the hype train to be right here. It has everything I need – dragons, a badass female ruler and warrior, magic, a good verses evil battle. Don’t let me down Samantha Shannon!


The Wise man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

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Time for another sequel. In 2019 I finally, FINALLY read The Name of the Wind and to my immense relief, I thought it was fantastic. It ended up being a 5 star read and got a place on my top 10 list of the year. Now, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll enjoy the sequel. I’m guessing another 5 star rating is likely but the problem is, the third book is still nowhere in sight and it’s already been YEARS. Who knows if it’s ever coming??? As a result, I think I’ll be putting TWMF on hold for a while even though I know it’ll be good. Don’t worry Kvothe, I’ll come back for you eventually.


Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Now, Mexican Gothic hasn’t even been released yet so with this one I’m going entirely off a great blurb, good feeling in my gut and gorgeous cover. It’s a little scary though because these days I’m such a Goodreads rating snob. I’m really hoping that this book is what the movie Crimson Peak could have been if it had actually lived up to its potential and not gone…well, off the rails. A haunted house, creepy family, debutante heroine, suspense, mystery, and all in 1950s Mexico. I’m super excited. Please be gooooooooodddd.


Empire of the Vampire – Jay Kristoff

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Jay’s Nevernight series is one of my favourites and I’m hoping that lightning strikes again with EotV. Teenage Ashley was majorly obsessed with vampires and I’ll admit, I still have a guilty pleasure love of them so I’m super keen on the idea of a darker, more adult fantasy approach. If anyone can pull it off, Jay can. As with Nevernight, this seems like another historical based world which is also really exciting. Basically bring on the violence, blood, romance, witty dialogue and emotional trauma. And GIVE ME A 5 STAR READ, PLEASE.


What do you think of my 5-star predictions? Way off base or likely to hit the mark. I’m crossing all my fingers and toes.

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Reads of 2019

It’s that time again. The one where I somehow pick 10 books out of the piles I’ve read over the past year to crown my favourite reads. Choosing favourites of anything has always been a tough ask for me, but I’m going to do my best anyway. This year I’ve read 73 books. While it’s not as many as last year, it’s still a sizable amount to narrow down from. To ensure variety I’ve excluded re-reads from eligibility. Now, in order from 10 to 1, here are the books I enjoyed the most this year.

10. The Boy Who Steals Houses – C. G. Drews | ★★★★.5 | Review

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I read several young adult contemporaries during 2019 and this little, Aussie gem was easily one of the best. I’ve found that, most of the time, the best books in this genre are the ones that are somehow able to bring you both joy and heartbreak and TBWSH does this perfectly. The book definitely has some sad and dark moments but it’s also a story about found families, brotherly love, and plenty of waffles. The characters are loveable, the autism and anxiety rep wonderfully done, and (despite some loose ends and minor problems with the writing style) it’s just generally a lovely read.


9. Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson | ★★★★.5

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After a so-so reaction to An Enchantment of Ravens, I went into Sorcery of Thorns with low expectations. Next thing I know, I’m having a great time! While I loved the characters – librarian, Elisabeth, sorcerer, Nathaniel, and his demon companion, Silas – it was the world that really hooked me. Monster books, library magical hot spots, deals of demonic servitude, historical battles won through the use of necromancy, I’d gladly read another book set in this universe. My only real gripe was some pacing issues, mostly around the middle. However, bonus points for a well-developed romance, sword fights, decent magic system, Nathaniel’s banter, and Silas shape-shifting into a cat.


8. Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee | ★★★★.5

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2019 was a year for broadening my reading horizons. In the search for something different I tried a couple of non-fiction reads. Eggshell Skull was one of them and I was shocked by how engaging it was. From the moment I picked it up, I had trouble putting it down. Learning about the Queensland court system’s approach to sexual assault cases from someone who has experienced it on two different sides – judge’s associate & complainant – was both fascinating and horrifying. It was extremely informative and I wish I could smush it in the faces of everyone who asks why women don’t report assault. The writing style may not always be smooth but the content is spot on.


7. Josh + Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating – Christina Lauren | ★★★★.5 | Review

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Sometimes all you need is a sweet, romantic contemporary to brighten up your week, and Josh & Hazel were the ticket for exactly that. This is the perfect read for those who gravitate towards a good friends to lovers story with a solid dose of humour and adorableness. I loved Josh and Hazel as characters and their opposites attract friendship, which eventually evolved into something more, was immensely enjoyable. Unfortunately, I had to deduct half a star for a not so great ending but it wasn’t enough to severely damage my overall positive feelings. This book is definitely the gateway drug to reading the rest of Christina & Lauren’s adult romances.


6. Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer | ★★★★.5 | Review

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LTTL feels like it came out of nowhere and stole my heart. I read a few YA contemporaries these days and most of them are enjoyable but not as many are really memorable. This book dealt with some heavy themes and it did so with such heart and honesty. The characters are wonderfully written, even the smaller ones, and the relationship between the two leads, Juliet and Declan, was beautifully done. I don’t often get emotional reading books but LTTL was very close to getting me there. The sense of catharsis I felt upon reaching the end of it is hard to put into words. The story may be a little melodramatic for some people but if you can get on board with it, it’s an enjoyable (if sad) read.


5. The Wicked King – Holly Black | ★★★★ .5 | Review

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In 2019, I can say that I binge-read this book not only once, but twice! And I loved it just as much the second time as the first. While The Queen of Nothing may have been disappointing, The Wicked King certainly wasn’t. This book was full of twists, devious characters, addictive romantic tension and political machinations. It expanded on the world building of the series somewhat, made me fall more in love with Jude & Cardan, and just generally had me glued to the page from start to finish. The book hangover was strong with this one!


4. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss | ★★★★★

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Say hello to the largest book I tackled in 2019. It may have taken me months to get there but the adventure & effort were worth it in the end. Sure, the writing can be a little wordy at times and there’s some issues with the story (e.g. female characters), there’s just something about this book! I’m not sure if it’s the witty, talented protagonist, the phenomenal world building (magic, currency, history, lore!) or just the general journey that the story takes you on from start to finish. Regardless, I really enjoyed this brick and I understand why it’s considered a fantasy masterpiece. I’ll surely read book two, The Wise Man’s Fear. Well, maybe when I know that book 3 is actually in sight.


3. The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang | ★★★★★

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On first glance, I was intimidated by the size of The Poppy War but in keeping with my resolution to read some bigger books in 2019, I gave it a go. I’m so glad that I did because it was absolutely fantastic. This was an emotionally intense ride full of violence, death and pain, and every time I thought I knew how things would progress, I was completely wrong. It’s beautifully written (drawing from Chinese history to shape it’s narrative), has a strong, well developed protagonist, great world building, and engrossing action. It also happens to include a few of my favourite fantasy tropes like training academies and mentorship. The fact that this is a debut novel is crazy to me and I’m looking forward to getting around to reading the sequel, The Dragon Republic.


2. Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston | ★★★★★ | Review

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I knew the moment I started reading RW&RB that it’d be on this list. I’m somewhat stingy with my five star ratings (I should work on that!) but had no trouble handing one out here. Much like Simon or TATBILB in 2018, this was a breath of fresh air- fun, romantic, great characters, diverse, and laugh out loud funny. The US first son falls in love with the Prince of Wales. That set up alone is pure gold. Throw in some potentially murderous turkeys, a bit of polo, a few Star Wars references, and some major queer positivity, and you have a winner! There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll re-read this down the line.


And here we are, at my number one read for 2019. If you’ve read through a few of my blog posts this year, you’re not likely to be surprised by this particular choice. It’s not only a great book but written by a fantastic author.

* Drumroll*

1. Skyward – Brandon Sanderson | ★★★★★ | Review

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The first half of 2019 was full of great books but looking back, Skyward was my favourite. I totally get the Sanderson magic now. This book had me completely gripped and made it so difficult to put it down (getting off my morning train was a sad moment). As someone who doesn’t usually visualise books as I read them, I was surprised at just how fantastically this novel played out in my head, much like an action packed movie. I fell in love with the characters, especially Spensa and her sassy talking ship, M-Bot, laughed at the dialogue, absorbed every bit of detail about the world, and overall just had an amazing time. If you enjoy science fiction with heart, this is the perfect read for you. I cannot wait to dig into Starsight!


What do you think of my 2019 top 10? And which book came out on top for you this year?

** Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl but which originated on the now retired blog The Broke and the Bookish. **

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Hope to Find Under my Christmas Tree (Or Will Just Buy Anyway)

It’s pretty much a guarantee that any time I’m ever asked to write a Christmas list, it’ll include books. A bunch of books. Let’s face it, I definitely won’t get everything on this list but that won’t stop me going out to buy a stack for myself on Boxing day.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Illustrated Edition – J. K. Rowling & Jim Kay

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Goblet of Fire is my favourite book in the Harry Potter series so I am beyond excited that the illustrated edition releases have finally reached this point. Normally I race out and buy these editions myself but this time around I’ve exercised some self control and added it to my Christmas list instead. Hopefully come x-mas I’ll be happily flicking through and looking at all of Jim Kay’s gorgeous illustrations and seriously considering a Harry Potter re-read.


The Toll (Arc of a Scythe 3#) – Neal Shusterman

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I’ve been eagerly awaiting the final book in the Arc of a Scythe series for a little while now, especially after the cliffhanger that was the ending to Thunderhead. Ordinarily I would have gone out and bought this on release week (I almost did, in fact!) but I thought holding off and requesting it as a Christmas present might give me enough time to do a re-read of books 1 & 2. As you can probably guess, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way but fingers crossed I still find a copy under the tree come December 25th. If so, 2020 will 100% feature a full series read.


Starsight (Skyward 2#) – Brandon Sanderson

Skyward was one of my favourite reads of this year, so you can bet I had this sequel added to my to-read shelf before you could blink. I actually planned to buy this on the last day of November and even added it to my purchased books in the wrap up for that month. However, schedules changed and I didn’t have time. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, add it to her Christmas list, of course! This is a book I’ll be guaranteed to go out & buy right away if it doesn’t show up under my tree. Then I’ll have to deal with the agony of waiting until 2022 for book three! Ugh!


A Court of Thorns & Roses Collector’s Edition – Sarah J. Maas

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I have no idea what it is about special editions, but whenever they’re released I’m suddenly overcome with the desperate need to own them. The first book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series wasn’t my favourite, but there’s no way I can resist that beautiful, gold embossed hardback designed by Charlie Bowater. Clearly I was a magpie in another life – I’m just hopelessly attracted to shiny things. At least it’s a good excuse to re-read the series.


Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

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I’ve been thinking about reading Little Fires for a while now and have yet to get around to buying and reading it. Knowing that the adaptation will be coming out next year has certainly given me a push to get my butt in gear. I’ve heard amazing things about this novel, it even took home the 2017 Goodreads choice award for fiction. Here’s hoping for something dramatic and enjoyable (and also that it’s currently wrapped up in paper with a bow somewhere!)


Know My Name – Chanel Miller

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This year I’ve read several books both fiction and non-fiction which have dealt with sexual assault. It’s an issue I’m very passionate about and one that breaks my heart. I remember following the Brock Turner case back in 2016 and I also remember being disgusted by how it played out. The fact that Chanel Miller was willing to not only sit down and write a memoir about her experiences but put it out into the world under her own name is incredibly brave. I know it’s likely to be a tough read but it’s one that I want to do to support her.


The Whisper Man – Alex North

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Keeping with my ‘try to read more widely’ vibe in the wake of my book burn out woes, I’m really interested in giving The Whisper Man a go. This is a crime/thriller read, something I’ve started to take more of an interest in of late. The book has a heap of great reviews and the word on the street is that it’s gripping and a teensy bit scary. I’m really craving something creepy that’ll keep me hooked until the end. It’s been a while since I read something unputdownable. Pretty please, with a cherry on top.


10 Blind Dates – Ashley Elston

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It’s summer time, so I couldn’t write out a Christmas book list without asking for at least one YA contemporary! This book looks both super cute and fun, and the reviews I’ve seen so far have been really positive. I even love the cover with the title done up in gold balloons. The fact that it’s set at Christmas time also makes it a perfect read for this time of the year. It’s only a bit over 300 pages long so if I do happen to find it under my tree come Christmas day, maybe I’ll be able to squeeze it in before new years?


Sword of Destiny – Andrzej Sapkowski

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Adaptations. They always get me scurrying for the book/s. I read the first collection of The Witcher short stories, The Last Wish, back in 2018. I’ve always planned to continue with the series but haven’t gotten around to it. At the time I wrote my x-mas list, the Netflix series was only a few weeks away from release and my keenness to read Sword of Destiny was in full force. Now that I’ve watched all 8 episodes, it’s even more so. I’ve heard some of the stories in this collection aren’t as good as others but as it features Ciri’s introduction and her meeting with Geralt, it’s pretty important. Plus, one of my favourite episodes in the series is drawn from a short story in this collection.


Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

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Okay, so I haven’t read the last Morgan Matson book I bought yet (The Unexpected Everything) but that hasn’t stopped me from adding Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour to my Christmas list anyway. A road trip story with diners, cheap motels, meeting interesting people, Graceland, and two characters getting to know one another. From the sounds of it, it’s a solid summer read with some emotional baggage involved as well. I really loved Since You’ve Been Gone so I hope that Morgan’s debut is just as enjoyable.


Christmas is just one sleep away! I’m definitely looking forward to stuffing my face with amazing food, playing board games, and seeing my family open their gifts. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and that a couple of great books end up coming your in your direction.

**Top 10 Tuesday originated at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Were Outside My Comfort Zone

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a freebie! So I’m using it to do a topic from a few months back that I missed during my blogging hiatus – books I enjoyed that were outside my comfort zone.

Saga Vol. 1 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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This one may be a comic rather than a book but it’s too perfect for this list not to include it. I never read comic issues – the art is gorgeous but they go by so quickly! However, after seeing the Saga series pop up around Goodreads and on bloggers’ reading challenges repeatedly, I decided to give it a go for myself. It ended up being so much fun and has pretty much everything I need in a good series – action, humour, adventure and romance.


Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee

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Up until late 2018, non-fiction had never really been something I was particularly interested in reading. I’d always seen reading as a way of escaping reality. Nowadays I’ve started picking up the occasional one that interests me and been pleasantly surprised. Eggshell Skull is an example of that. Reading about how the state of Queensland (AUS) handles sexual assault cases as well as the author’s own experiences in bringing her case through the system was heartbreaking but absolutely fascinating. It was informative and the perfect example of why so many women don’t bother to press charges against their rapists.


Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman

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I’m not usually one for poetic, artsy books riddled with deep prose that people tend to label literature and spend long periods of time lovingly highlighting. They usually bore me to tears. Still, I gave this book a go after falling in love with the film. To my complete shock, I really enjoyed it. Better yet, I thought the writing was so beautiful at points that I even highlighted a couple of passages myself! There’s just something about this book that I can’t put my finger on – it’s emotionally a lot, but gosh if it isn’t a good reminder for me to try things outside my usual types of reads more often.

IT – Stephen King

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This book was a little out of my comfort zone for a few reasons. While I love a good fantasy novel, I don’t usually read horror books. Also, in recent years I’ve started to move away from larger sized novels and yet, here this was, in all its over 1000 page glory. Still, something about it made me take it off my parents bookshelves that day. Despite a not so great ending, I had a great time reading the rest of it, even though it successfully managed to make me a little anxious for a while. The characters were great and the writing was enjoyable as well.


The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

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Another genre I don’t usually read much of – sci fi! While fantasy and science fiction are usually shelved together, I pretty consistently stick to books in the former rather than the latter. Yet, after hearing some good things about this novel, and in search of some lovable, diverse characters, I decided to try TLWTASAP (what an acronym!). While I can see it not being for everyone, I thought it was a nice change of pace to read something that was more about the people and the journey rather than the destination. It’s definitely encouraged me to think about trying out some other sci-fi books in future.


Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews

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My decision to pick up Red Sparrow can very easily be attributed to me watching the film shortly beforehand and wanting to see how the book differed. This was a very out of field choice for me reading wise as I don’t think I remember ever reading another spy/espionage type book before in my life. I’ll repeat, I should really read more books outside my usual genres because I found this super engaging and illuminating at the same time. It’s kind of odd at points (there’s recipes randomly included) but at the time it was a refreshing change of pace.


The Lightning Thief ( Percy Jackson & the Olympians) – Rick Riordan

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The majority of the books I read during the year fall within the young adult classification. Middle grade, however, is something I generally stay away from (it’s a little hard connecting with characters that young as a 26 year old woman). But as Percy Jackson is generally put up on a pedestal as the Harry Potter of the generation below me, I thought it was important that I give the series a try. In the end, while it did read a little young (as I’d been expecting), the story and characters were so charming and fun that I ended up having a great time and continued through all five books in the series.


The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

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Looking at it, The Night Circus seems like a book that would fall very squarely within my comfort zone – a fantasy novel with magic and a bit of romance. At the same time though, it’s not something particularly known for its plot or characters, two things that are usually extremely important to me. It’s more about setting and gorgeous writing. This is actually why I put off reading it for so many years because I was worried I’d find it tedious. While I’m not obsessed or completely in love with it like some other readers, I did like it and really appreciated its beauty.


It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover

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I’m not typically a big romance reader (although that has changed a little recently) and when I do read it, it’s usually the fun, fluffy type of romance rather than the series and dramatic kind. Colleen Hoover was an author I’d been interested in trying out for a while and after hearing such positive things about this particular book, I decided to start with It Ends with Us. It was quite different from what I’d been expecting but ended up being a great read because of it. Colleen handled some super difficult issues in a really fantastic way and it’s because of this book that I ended up reading and loving one of her other works, Verity.


Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

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As I’ve mentioned repeatedly on my blog, I’m not a classics reader. At all. Either they bore me (I’m somewhat of an impatient person) or frustrate me. Despite being very much aware of this, for some reason, in high school I was curious about Jane Austen and wanted to give her books a go. I’d seen the mini-series Lost in Austen (it’s fabulous, by the way) and loved it so I thought Pride & Prejudice would be the right choice. Going in, I was fully prepared not to enjoy it but like other books on this list, it surprised me. The characters were engaging, some of the dialogue witty, and who doesn’t like a good slow burn romance?


Over the last year I’ve come to realise how important it is to try different types of books once in while in order to stop yourself ending up in a reading rut or a slump. After all, you never know when something will end up being fantastic and open you up to a whole new range of stories. I definitely think I’ll aim to add to this list in the future.

What are some reads that were outside of your comfort zone which you really enjoyed?

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Literary Names

This week’s TTT topic is actually a freebie to do with being thankful but because (a) we don’t do Thanksgiving here in Australia and (b) I’m weirdly coming up blank on potential topics, I’m going to do something different. Back in early 2018 I did a TTT post on literary names that I thought best suited their characters. It’s been a little while since then so I thought it might be fun to try my hand at another names based top ten, this time on character names in books that I just generally love (and would name many The Sims babies after). Just to state up front, this isn’t a comment on any of the characters these names belong to, only their names.


The Ember Quartet (Sabaa Tahir)


Aurora Rising (Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman)


The Bone Season (Samantha Shannon)


Ash Princess (Laura Sebastian)


A Curse so Dark and Lonely (Brigid Kemmerer)


Call Me By Your Name (Andre Aciman)


Arc of a Scythe (Neal Shusterman)


Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Rick Riordan), The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue (Mackenzie Lee)


Throne of Glass Series (Sarah J. Maas)


Sorcery of Thorns (Margaret Rogerson)


Do any of these also float your boat? What are some of your favourite literary names?

WWW Wednesday | 20.11.19

I realised recently that the last time I did a WWW Wednesday was back in June so it seemed like a good time to change that. As always, this meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and asks you to answer the three Ws – what did you recently finish, what are you currently reading, and what’s up next?

I feel as though I waited forever for this to come out. The Nevernight Chronicle is one of my favourite book series so I had high expectations for the final entry. In the end, it wasn’t what I expected. For the first time since the beginning of book 1, I feel as though the pace dragged quite a bit, maybe because of the travelling? There was also more repetition than I would have liked and I’m still questioning certain plot choices. Overall though, it was alright – still Nevernight with the usual amount of violence, drama, romance, magic, gore and sass. I enjoyed the introduction of some new characters, the bonding between Mia and Jonnen was cute, and the ending was mostly satisfying. Could it have been better? Probably, but ah well.

Another book I’ve been eagerly awaiting like a kid on Christmas morning, and I somehow managed to score it the night before release day (woo!). At this point, I’m about 30 or so pages from the end but for something that’s only just over 300 pages, it’s not saying much. Why is the damn thing so SHORT??? I’m not even trying to read it quickly and yet, here I am already. The Queen of Nothing hasn’t felt as twisty, dramatic, and exciting as The Wicked King did, and the major plot complication did kind of make me kind of go, well, okay…Still, I’ve mostly enjoyed myself.

After two fantasy reads, it’s time for a YA contemporary to break up the stabbing (as fun as it is). I’ve been wanting to read this follow up ever since I finished Letters to the Lost a few months ago and now it’s finally the time. I’ve only got a few more books left until I reach my revised reading goal and I think I’ll breeze through this one. It won’t be a light & fluffy type of contemporary if the first book is anything to go by, but I’ve heard some great things. Some people have even said that they liked More Than We Can Tell better than LTTL. Excitement!


How’s your reading been going lately? Finished anything exciting or is there something you’re dying to jump into very soon?