The Disney Parks Book Tag

I love Disney. It doesn’t matter how old I get, the child within will always adore it. I’ve been wanting to take another trip to Disney World for some time now (despite my bank account pretty much screaming at the very idea). There’s just something about the rides, food, fireworks, shows and general sense of happiness wherever you go that’s irresistible. However, with the pandemic making a trip pretty much impossible for the foreseeable future, virtual travel will have to do for the moment. Cue this Disney Parks Book Tag created by Alexandra at Reading by Starlight. I stumbled across this one via Brittany at Perfectly Tolerable and knew I had to do it.

The Rules

  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends
  • Feel free to copy the heading graphics (thanks Alexandra!)

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It may not be a “jungle” cruise, but it’s definitely set along a river (which was a challenge for me to find in itself!) Just a more desert type one. Death on the Nile involves famous detective Hercule Poroit taking a trip to Egypt and, as usual, getting wrapped up in an investigation after a newlywed heiress and socialite is found shot to death in a cabin on his Nile cruise. As you’d expect from a Christie novel, there’s a solid cast of characters, each with mysterious backstories to unravel, and a vast array of clues, red herrings and motives. As far as quick, well crafted mystery novels go, and one from the queen of crime herself to boot, this is a good one.

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Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle 3#) – Jay Kristoff

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I have to say, I haven’t read all that many books which revolve largely around sea based travel. Maybe two? Three if I’m generous? While the majority of Darkdawn doesn’t take place on a ship, part of it does. A pirate ship to be exact, because any other kind wouldn’t be nearly as fun. The time on said ship introduces us to some quirky and memorable characters and gives us both sweet and angsty character moments. It also involves Mia & co. doing their best to stay afloat as they face off against a storm of epic proportions created by angry and powerful gods determined to stop them from reaching their goal. There may be a sea monster or two as well.

Verity – Colleen Hoover

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I’ve read a couple of thrillers now and Verity by Colleen Hoover has definitely been my favourite, part of the reason for which is the creepy atmosphere created by the isolated manor house setting. The book centres around a writer named Lowen, recently hired to finish a series by bestselling author Verity Crawford who has been seriously injured in a terrible accident. Lowen visits the family estate to go through Verity’s notes but ends up finding a autobiographical manuscript which details some troubling revelations about the years prior to Verity’s accident. Next thing you know, Lowen’s questioning what’s real, what’s not, whether she’s being watched…you get the vibe. I highly recommend this one!


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Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 1#) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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YA fan favourite Illuminae will never not be a perfect answer for this type of prompt. It’s gripping from start to finish. I mean, the book opens with the invasion and evacuation of a planet and then later involves a zombie virus, crazy AI, space battles, and twists & turns galore. It’s just ridiculous amounts of fun. The characters are great, the story is super engaging and the writing format is really refreshing. Sitting down and reading this in one sitting is entirely reasonable because once you get stuck in, you have to keep going. Even if you’re not a huge sci-fi fan, there’s a high chance you’ll enjoy it.


The Sookie Stackhouse Series – Charlaine Harris

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The problem with reading a bunch of fantasy novels is that when geographical prompts like this come up, finding a suitable book becomes a tad bit difficult. Even more so when it’s this narrow. Luckily enough, I’ve read several of the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris which are set in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. These are the novels that were adapted to create HBO’s True Blood. Just in case you weren’t already aware, the series is set in a world where humans know about vampires and it follows a telepathic waitress named Sookie who falls in love with a vampire, Bill. They’re not always the best written books but fun as far as paranormal romance goes. Plus, I quite enjoy the mystery elements in them. What’s love without a little murder?


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Not a castle in the traditional sense of the word but hey, that’s what Howl’s magical moving home is referred to, so why question it? The castle is a significant setting in the book. While the outside is held together by magic and has stone walls and turrets which billow smoke, the inside looks more like a welcoming cottage with a hearth and plenty of knickknacks. It also happens to have a magical front door which opens onto several different locations in the land of Ingary depending on which direction the knob above it is turned to. The windows, too, will often look out onto different places. The castle is home to self-absorbed ladies man/wizard Howl, his crabby fire demon Calcifer, Howl’s teenage assistant, Michael, and later Sophie, cursed to look like an old crone.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

I don’t think anyone can debate my answer for this prompt (especially since the ride is the Mad Tea Party). Were you to investigate the themes and subtext in Alice it may bring you to some less than whimsical ideas, but just reading the book for what it is, it’s definitely strange and unusual in a fun and playful way. This is especially so if you’re a kid reading it for the first time. Food and drink which alter your size, babies changing into pigs, a grinning Cheshire cat, a court trial over the theft of some tarts, and a hare who’s somehow always late – it’s certainly magical and mesmerizing. Caroll’s use of parody, poetry and nursery rhymes probably also help its case somewhat in the whimsical department.


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I’m having difficulty thinking of many books I’ve read that would fit this prompt (you’d think there’d be more mountain journeys in the fantasy I’ve read), so I’ll just go with the first thing that jumped to mind, The Lord of the Rings. If you’ve read the books or seen the amazing film trilogy, you’ll know that in the first entry of the series, The Fellowship of the Ring, the eleven members of the fellowship attempt to make their way across the narrow and dangerous pass of the Misty Mountains to reach the elven realm of Lothlórien. Due to a terrible blizzard, they’re forced to turn back. Instead, they take the route through the mountains and into the Mines of Moria which brings them a great deal of trouble and misery.


The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang

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The Poppy War was one of my favourite reads of 2019. The first in an adult fantasy series, the world and story events are drawn heavily from China and its history, particularly the Second Sino-Japanese War including the Rape of Nanjing. For this reason, it can be a brutal read to tackle at times (the author doesn’t shy away from the atrocities of war), but it’s also exceptionally well done. The book follows Rin, an orphan who gets accepted to a prestigious military academy and works her butt off to eventually become a soldier in a long standing war. There’s action, great characters, magic, emotional moments, just an overall fantastic book.


Saga – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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I’m going with a comic series for this one. Saga is 100% one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever read and yes, some of the stuff in it may be for shock value but it’s also a lot of fun to read. The plot has fantastic momentum and is a perfect blend of action, adventure, romance and comedy. The series is narrated by a girl named Hazel who recalls how her parents met, fell in love and escaped with a baby despite being soldiers on two different sides of a never-ending galactic war. In their quest to find a safe place to raise their daughter, the two come up against a host of obstacles including bounty hunters, alien monsters, ghosts, and more.


Have you ever been to Disney World or Disneyland? If so, what was your favourite part? Mine was definitely Space Mountain and the Mickey ice cream sandwiches!

If you haven’t, and you had the chance to go, what would be the thing you’d be most excited to do/try?

Top 10 Tuesday: Books that Should be Adapted for Film or TV

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday involved picking characters you’d swap places with. Now, that just wouldn’t do for me because I honestly don’t want to swap places with ANY characters from the books I read. Why? Because if the story is semi-decent, there’s stuff happening to that character and you can bet that stuff is BAAAAADDDD. So nope, nope, nope. I will just happily read from the sidelines as they deal with their various fictional woes.

Instead, this week I’ve decided to go with books I’d like to see adapted for TV or film. As it turned out, it wasn’t as easy as I thought because while I absolutely love some books/series (*ahem* ADSOM), they’re likely to prove difficult to adapt well. I’ve also tried not to include books that I know are actively making their way to the screen already e.g. Six of Crows, The Hating Game. However, books that have had their rights acquired and then been sat on for YEARS are free game. Let’s get a move along studios!


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Medium: Film

I absolutely love this book but that aside, even as I was reading it, I was thinking about how good a movie it’d make. Provided it had the right script and a fantastic cast, as a movie about the darker side of the film industry itself, I believe it’d translate perfectly to screen. There’s meaty roles, strong conversations that’d translate well into visually powerful scenes, and moviegoers happen to love a good period piece. Plus, it’s always wonderful to see more LGBTI romances in film.

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

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Medium: Either

This is another book I could see playing in front of my eyes like a film as I was reading. The battle sequences in this would make for fantastic action on screen with good CGI techniques. I mean the climax of this has ALL the necessary components for a winning movie moment. It’s basically sci-fi Top Gun. However, at the same time, the book’s also got some solid character moments to stop an adaptation feeling like a giant explosion fest.

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

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Medium: Film

While I absolutely love the ADSOM series, their scale might make it very difficult to showcase decently on screen. Vicious isn’t a huge book and it focuses on some interesting characters, which is likely to make for a good adaptation. One of the most compelling parts of the X-men franchise is the Magneto-Xavier dynamic and that’s somewhat present here in a much more grey-scale kind of way, which I think people would enjoy. Plus, who doesn’t love superpowers?

Warcross – Marie Lu

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Medium: Film

If there’s one thing the Ready Player One adaptation showed me, it’s that entire CGI sequences can work and be exciting. I would love to see the Warcross matches played out on screen for me to see in real time. But other than that, I also think the story’s modern, tech-savy, and would appeal to a lot of people. It’s got a little action, a little mystery, some romance, and also, go Asian representation!

Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli

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Medium: Film

After the success and adorableness of Simon in 2018 I feel like it’s only natural to adapt Leah as well. The actors in Simon were all very well suited to the original book characters and I feel like Katherine has the acting chops to take centre stage in a follow-up. I just want more gushy, marshmallow sweetness, okay? And as if this thing would not make some decent cash at the box office.

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Medium: TV Series

So technically the rights for this one have been sold but considering we haven’t heard anything since 2015, it seems fair to include it here. The story for Illuminae is so out there, and so much fun, that I think it’d be a blast as an adaptation. What would be cool is to see how they manage to incorporate the changes of style to the screen – show scenes through ship cameras, have typed conversations, it’d be very interesting.

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

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Medium: TV Series

There seems to be a lot of sci-fi on this list somehow? This is another book that’s already had the film rights sold and then disappeared off the face of the earth. The scale of this series is enormous, and it’d likely be a challenge to do, but it’s so fantastic, it’d be worth it. The action sequences would be amazing. I think the first book as an adaptation would do particularly well due to its similarities to The Hunger Games (with many differences of course). There are also some great plot twists throughout the series which always do well in adaptations.

I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

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Medium: Film

Studios seem to have been on a bit of a YA contemporary streak lately. Both The Sun is Also a Star and All the Bright Places are scheduled for release this year, and I feel as though this would be another good pick in that vein. The key is to make sure the script doesn’t end up reading sappy. With this one, I’d love to see the two different time periods play out with different sets of actors. My favourite part of the book is the fact that the relationship at its heart is a sibling one involving two messed up people who make some big mistakes but ultimately come back to each other.

Cinder – Marissa Meyer

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Medium: Film

Now, I can hear you crying: Ashley, no more sci-fi! BUT NO. THERE’S ALWAYS MORE. The Lunar Chronicles is another fun series which takes something people love (fairytales) and turns them into something else. I mean, the series pretty much has everything necessary for a good movie – a kooky cast of friends on the run, an evil queen determined to take control of the universe, multiple super shippable-ships, a sassy ship AI, solid ethnic diversity, political intrigue, mystery and some badass women. Honestly, I bet everyone would be along for the ride on this one. They’re also the kind of books where they’d be able to cut down for time without damaging the story too much.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

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Media: TV Series

Okay, I know I said I’d be avoiding ones that’d be too difficult to do, but eh. This one would need a hell of a scriptwriter and an absolutely fabulous director, but if they managed it, boy, would it make an interesting mini-series. Shot in the style of an Agatha Christie mystery (but of course, with the fantasy element), I think this would work really well. I’m just imaging the large, talented cast (much like the And Then There Were None adaptation) and the beautiful cinematography to show off the crumbling manor house.


Which book would you most like to see as a TV series or movie? Why do you think it’d work?

Top 10 Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic, courtesy of host Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, is ‘books with sensory reading memories’. I struggled to come up with selections for that topic so I’ve decided to bump up the top for next week to this week instead, which is popular books that lived up to the hype.

We all know how hit and miss the hype train can be so it’s always nice when you find books that actually manage to live up to expectations. The results are different for everyone so here are 10 books that I found myself agreeing with the positive (and very loud) book community consensus on.


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Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles 1#) – Marissa Meyer

I’ve mentioned this one as a welcome surprise a few times since I read it last year, so I won’t bore you with the same info over again. I expected mediocre and cheesy but ended up having a lot of fun.


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The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

This book deserves its hyped reputation and awards. It’s fantastically crafted with great attention to detail, lots of emotion, and wonderfully written characters. A romance for the ages with enough war, gods, and political squabbles to interest anyone.


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Scythe (Arc of a Scythe 1#) – Neal Shusterman

One of my favourite reads of 2018 so far. The world is so well constructed and very unique. Although the plot is slower than some people might like, it’s definitely entertaining and there’s a lot of big moral questions.

Review


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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

One word: Love.

Review


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Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Absolutely beautifully written. The world and characters are compelling, the prose is gorgeous, and it ends on a major screw you cliffhanger.

Review


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A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses 2#) – Sarah J Maas

You guys don’t need to hear me sing this one’s praises. It’s been done. The first book was massively mediocre and almost stopped me reading the rest of the series. The hype got me to try this one and thank goodness, because I loved it. It’s great.

Review


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Illuminae (The Illuminae Files 1#) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I picked this one off the children’s wall at the bookstore after seeing fabulous things about it (admittedly, this was still pretty early on, even before Gemina) but I was very nervous about the variations in style. I shouldn’t have been. The book is action-packed, with great characters, some big twists, and just generally so much fun to read.


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The Princess Bride – William Golding

The movie adaptation of this book is one I’ve watched several times. I always laugh and it’s just so endlessly quotable. The book is no different. It’s spoofy, humorous fun and I’m sorry it took me so long to finally read it.


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Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

It’s a classic crime book for a reason. Christie really knows her stuff. This and And Then There Were None are regarded as two of her best novels and they live up to their reputations. I definitely recommend reading this one if you like period crime books and if you don’t already know how it ends.


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Red Rising (Red Rising 1#) – Pierce Brown

I was ready to write this one off as a victim of the hype train but once I got past the first 100 or so pages, I was hooked. The book and rest of the series are a rollercoaster of action, backstabbing, plot twists, and emotional upheaval.

Review

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Which hyped books lived up to your expectations? Help me navigate the minefield!

Love Ashley

 

The End’s Not Near, It’s Here: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files 3#) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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And just like that chums, The Illuminae Files come to a close.

Our characters have faced bombs, zombie viruses, crazy AIs, trained mercenaries, brain sucking alien worms, the potential collapse of the time space continuum, and in this installment they now come face to face with the scariest thing of all…

People.

Desperate, stubborn, follow orders blindly, people.

So, let’s get to it.

The Gang’s All Here!

After the events of the first two books, all of our major characters are now in the same place at the same time. *Cheers* This means that we get to see some nice little interactions between familiar faces. Are you in need of some Kady and Ella bonding time over their technical wiz skills? We got that. How about Hanna and Kady boosting one another’s moral in adorable ways (hint: there may or may not be sketches involved)? Yep, that too. Or, what about Ella turning her famous sass on a certain confused AI? Check. But I’m telling you, the best part, the thing I never even realised I needed in my life until now, was:

An Ezra-Nick bromance.

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OH, YEAH BOYS AND GIRLS. We have a winner.

I don’t want to get into specifics because spoilers (okay just one little spoiler: Parachute. Have fun with that one). However, one thing I should note about Obsidio is that there felt like a lot less fun character interactions than we saw in Gemina or Illuminae. While those books seemed to balance their plot’s oh-shit-we’re-all-going-to-die elements against character development and humour equally, this one doesn’t manage to do so as much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s there, just bogged down a bit by the accumulation of all the crap that’s happened to the characters. Part of me wonders whether it’s because the roster of characters has gotten too large now to showcase individuals in depth or simply because these characters have already had their respective books to shine and it’s now our new characters’ time in the spotlight.

New Faces

Aside from our existing fan favourites, in the series’ usual fashion, Obsidio introduces two more central characters to the roster – Asha Grant and Rhys Linden. So it turns out that after the evacuations from Kerenza, a whole bunch of people were left behind on the planet under BeiTech occupation and, as you can probably imagine, life pretty much sucks down there. Low food, freezing cold, BeiTech soldiers locking up families as motivation for the miners, and shooting civilians for even the most minor infractions. This place is in desperate need of a resistance. Good thing its got one.

If Asha’s surname sounds familiar, it’s because she’s Kady’s cousin. She’s a pharmacy student and a member of the Kerenza resistance. Like the other Illuminae women, Asha is smart, brave and good-hearted, but still manages to feel distinct from the previous MCs. She isn’t amazing with computers, doesn’t know martial arts, but damn, girl can take a punch and is still brave enough to whack a soldier in full armour with a chair when it matters. Twice.

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Rhys, in true star crossed fashion, is a tech specialist recently reassigned to Kerenza as part of the BeiTech invasion force and also happens to be Asha’s ex-boyfriend. How do ya like that for coincidence? Or as writers like to call it: PLOT. Upon arrival, Rhys is horrified to learn exactly what he’s ended up a part of but soon comes around to assisting the resistance. Rhys is definitely likeable – he’s ace at cards and never without perfect hair, but perhaps overshadowed slightly by the male characters that have come before him. Still, both Rhys and Asha have a great dynamic and are worthy additions to our crew.

Let’s Get Serious

When Jay and Amie spoke about the book at launch, they said it was the one they were most proud of. No aliens, no viruses, just people doing what they genuinely believe is right. This explanation certainly fits when applied to the conflict between the crews of the Heimdall and Hypatia. Each side strongly believes they know the right course to take and despite their dodgy actions, deep down, both are coming from a place of good.

Where our authors’ explanation falls down a little is the BeiTech soldiers. Obsidio gives a decent amount of page time to these guys– they play cards, share stories, and go about their duties, all in an effort for us to say: hey, these guys are human beings just doing their jobs. They didn’t ask to be here, their survival is now at risk, and to them, these Kerenza civilians are criminals.  These are the explanations offered to validate their side of things and make this a shades-of-grey equation. The only problem is, it’s not very successful. Instead, their protestations come off as either: (a) I will kill a whole bunch of people as long as it helps me up the career ladder or off this damned planet, or (b) I will cling to whatever explanation will help me remain in denial and live with myself. While the BeiTech soldiers may not be moustache twirling villains, they’re most certainly the bad guys here. Why? Because there’s always a choice: to stop, to question, to act. And nearly all of them failed.

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Yet, the story and characters still work very well on a different level because of their ability to act as a reflection of the real world. Were you to look for similarities in the present day and throughout history, you’d find them easily and that’s why the story is so believable, horrifying and well-written.

Not a Bang, Not a Whimper, Somewhere in Between

We all know Illuminae is fond of its bang, crash endings and massive, screw you plot twists (I’m still not over book one. I died a little and never recovered). However, Obsidio doesn’t really have anything to match the twists found in the first two books. There’s a moment in the middle of the story which is pretty awful (emotionally, not plot wise) but because of the character it concerns, it’s not unexpected (plus it’s foreshadowed). There’s another similar ‘oh no’ moment towards the end of the story but by this point it’s kind of like, I ain’t falling for that again, folks. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me and er…fool me three times, nuh uh. Not happening, you big kidders.

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You know these books are full on when even a big space battle with nukes feels like a tame way to climax the series, but I understand Jay and Amy’s need not to go too big this time around because they needed to be able to pull it back far enough in order to provide nice resolution. Speaking of which, there is a nice resolution. Cuteness and joy abounds, emphasised by a lovely final image by Marie Lu. Don’t you dare go flipping for it though!

To sum up, while Obsidio may not have been my favourite book of the trilogy, it was most certainly an exciting, well-crafted and amusing read, and a worthy conclusion to an absolutely fantastic series. I can’t wait to read Amy and Jay’s next collaboration and if you haven’t read any of The Illuminae Files books yet, now’s the time to start. Get moving!

4 Stars

Q: Have you read this one yet? If so, what did you think?

Love Ashley

Top 10 Tuesday: My Favourite Series

Recently I stumbled upon an old video by book vlogger, Christine Riccio, in which she was talking through her top ten favourite book series. Suddenly I thought, you know what, why don’t I do that as a Top Ten Tuesday topic? (I mean, I never seem to do the set topics like I’m supposed to anyway…)

Of course, then I realised that picking my favourite series is actually ridiculously hard and involves a lot of questions of ‘would I rather read this or that’? And, ‘is it how I feel about the series now or are we going retrospective here’? Decisions, decisions… *shakes head* Anyway, so these are the ten I’ve ended up with and to my surprise there’s actually a lot of books I’ve only discovered in the last two years.

So the rules are simple:

  1. The series must consist (or will consist once they’re all released) of at least three books. That means no duologies – sorry, Six of Crows.
  2. I must have read at least two books in the series for it to count.

Sounds simple enough right?

Of course it’s not bloody simple. Being a bookworm is NEVER simple, I tell ya. But regardless, here they are, in no particular order (because having to do it like that might actually kill me):

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As if you didn’t see this coming. HP is my favourite series of all time. I could read these every year until the day I die and still not get sick of them (…probably). I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with them but they’re still just as good as the first time. Every time I read them, I laugh, fall into the pits of sadness, and experience that strange sense of wonder that only the magic of Harry Potter can provide. These are the ultimate comfort books and one day, if I ever have kids, I’ll be cracking out my illustrated editions to hopefully instil the same love and appreciation in them.

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Ah, VA. You have such a terrible name and teenager-y covers and yet, the wonders you hold inside… I’ve read this series so many times and I love it. Love, love, LOVE it. So many vampire books from this period slowly became cliché or lost their “sparkle” as I aged (get it? I made a terrible Twilight joke) but these ones are still gold.  Rose remains one of my favourite protagonists, I adore the friendship between Rose and Lissa, there’s an adequate amount of kicking ass, and the dialogue is still hilarious. Plus, I’ll likely ship Rose & Dimitri til the day I die. In other words, it’s the perfect recipe for a great series as far as I’m concerned.

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My discovery from 2017 and I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT IT. Book three doesn’t come out until later this year but good things come to those who wait. The series has a unique, amusing and sometimes brash narrator, world building based on ancient Rome, an absolute bad-ass main character in Mia, and really interesting magical elements.  Godsgrave was the first sequel in a while that I was desperately keen to get my hands on the day and minute it came out (and I wasn’t disappointed!), and I feel like that adequately sums up my love for these books.

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Ah, Schwaby. Your novels make my little bookish heart sing. I adore the characters, world building, magic, and storytelling. Her writing is fantastic and I love it so much that I can’t wait to read them all again without having to wait in between novels.  This series has parallel universes, powerful magics, charismatic pirates, a thief, racially and sexually diverse characters, and an exciting plot in every book. Adventuring with Kell, Rhy, Lila and Alucard is where it’s at, guys.

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I fell in love with this series when I was about ten years old and it’s still one of my favourites. Sure, it has a lot of stuff I now know to be fantasy tropes but I don’t really care. Alanna is the definition of a strong female MC – willing to spend years as a boy just to become a knight. There’s a love triangle with a prince and a thief, a war,  a conniving magician after the throne, quests to far off places, magical artefacts, goddesses, and well, everything my fantasy loving heart desires. Better yet, the books are super short and perfect for reading in an afternoon when you’re stuck at home.

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Yep, I’m a cookie cutter YA fantasy fan. I ain’t ashamed  of it. You guys know all about this one, I’m sure. This series re-interested me in faerie stories. While book one was a bit average, books two and three are fantastic. The fantasy world is well developed, all of the major characters are fleshed out and loveable, there’s a strong and emotionally realistic female protagonist, and the romance is gradually built up and balanced. There’s magic (which I’m always a sucker for), battles, betrayals, many, many couples to ship, and emotional turmoil. Definite winner.

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The newest addition to this list. I actually had to make some modifications to my original draft because I knew I needed this one on here. For the first 50 or so pages of RR I was so bored but then we hit Darrow’s transformation from red to gold and I was hooked. Space battles, squabbling and politics between powerful families, revenge vendettas, a group of rebels determined to overthrow a cruel regime, friendships and betrayals, gasp worthy twists, just everything really. Impossible to put down sci-fi.

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Okay, I’ll admit, I still haven’t read the last book in this series – I WILL GET THERE! I’ve read book 3 once and I’ve read books 1 & 2 a bazillion times. Once again this is another series I now know has a lot of fantasy tropes in it but don’t care. I love it. It’s the definitive dragons in fantasy series for me. Eragon and Saphira make the perfect team and I love nothing better than following them around Alegaesia in their quests to overthrow the evil  Galbatorix. There’s also amusing dwarf sidekicks, MORE magic and an awesome warrior-elf princesses. Just don’t talk to me about that travesty of a movie.

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This series is just so much fun. It’s funny, ridiculously action packed, and has actually managed to successfully get me with multiple plot twists. I mean, a hacker with pink hair, crazy AI, zombie-like outbreak, and an interstellar war. Who could say no to that? I’m really excited to get my hands on book three in March because I know it’s bound to be awesome. I also love the variations in writing style which are so different from the things I normally read and give the books a little something extra.

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Everyone needs a guilty pleasure series and this is mine. Richelle Mead is one of my favourite authors. She writes complex, witty female characters (which Georgina is, for sure), and she’s always able to make me laugh out loud. I’ll admit that this series does have a bit of a weak point around book four but overall it’s fun, sexy and really entertaining. But then again, what else would you expect of a series about a succubus?

Bonus

This was HARD okay. I just love too many books. AHHHH!! So two more bonus series just for fun.

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This isn’t a series for everyone – there’s a lot of information to take in about the world itself but if you can get past that, it’s fab. The story evolves quite a bit over time with different elements of the world and characters being fleshed out as you go along. Paige is a solid protagonist in her balance between strong and vulnerable, there’s an interesting magic system, and a good blend between the bigger stakes of the dystopian world with the issues of the criminal underworld.

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The good old Hunger Games. What can I say about this except that it’s a fantastic dystopian YA series with good world building, a strong protagonist, and a great concept. I’ve read these through several times and they’re still exciting reads that manage to drive knives through your gut (repeatedly) whilst still managing to give you some hope for the future.

Let’s Talk:

What are some of your favourite series? Are any of these in your top 10 or are you thinking about reading them some time soon?

Love Ashley

The Stranger Things Book Tag

I love Stranger Things and haven’t done a book tag in a while. I’ve seen this one pop up a few times over the last few months so I thought I’d give it a whirl.


EPIC INTRO

THE OPENING SEQUENCE OF STRANGER THINGS IS AMAZING AND REALLY GRABS YOUR ATTENTION. NAME A BOOK THAT GRABBED YOUR ATTENTION FROM THE FIRST PAGE.

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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie doesn’t start off with a bang, it’s actually quite a subtle and slow build up to the action, but because you know where the story is going, you hang off every detail and word.

Illuminae by Amie Kauffman & Jay Kristoff – I can’t explain why, but I was hooked from the start. There’s a break up, a planet gets attacked and evacuated, and then the fleeing ships are being chased down by a villainous corporation. Pretty good start if you ask me.


DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

NAME A FANTASY WORLD YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXPERIENCE YOURSELF.

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I wish I could be unpredictable, I really, really do but…I’m not. So let’s just say I want to go to Hogwarts and move right along (I’d also take Diagon Alley or Hogsmead too if they’re up for grabs).


 SQUAD GOALS

WHEN ELEVEN MET MIKE, DUSTIN AND LUCAS IT WAS A *MOSTLY* PERFECT TEAM. NAME YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKISH GROUP OF FRIENDS.

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To go for something other than Six of Crows or ACOTAR, I’m going to pick the shadowhunters of the London Institute in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. Tessa, Will, Jem, Charlotte, Henry and Jessamine each have their own quirky personalities but they work really well together and never fail to make me smile.


ABC’S & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

JOYCE BYERS GOES MAD WITH GRIEF AFTER WILL GOES MISSING. NAME YOUR FAVOURITE MENTALLY UNHINGED CHARACTER

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Let’s go with Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs for this one. He’s nuts, a cannibal, and yet also intelligent and charming. Hmmm….


THE UPSIDE DOWN

NAME A BOOK THAT WAS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU EXPECTED.

Geekerella

I’m actually going to pick Geekerella by Ashley Posten for this one. Not because it was different from what I expected story wise but because I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. As you guys know, I don’t read much YA contemporary and I read this after being disappointed by When Dimple Met Rishi, expecting another bleh book. To my surprise it wasn’t, it was fun!


MAD SCIENTISTS

BRENNER LIKES TO GET FREAKY WITH HUMANITY. NAME THE FREAKIEST DYSTOPIAN GOVERNMENT YOU CAN THINK OF.

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Gilead of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Hands down. There are a lot of crazy governments in dystopian books that I’ve read but this one actually terrifies me. It’s because it’s so much more believable as Atwood drew only on practices that have actually happened at some point in some part of our world to create it.


DEMOGORGON

NAME A SCARY BOOKISH CREATURE THAT YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO COME THROUGH YOUR WALLS.

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So, I forget entirely what it’s called but there’s a giant worm in Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff which vomits up its own stomach to trap people before sucking it back in. I vaguely remember there being some kind of acid involved too.  In other words, no thanks…


CLIFFHANGER ENDING

NAME A BOOK THAT LEFT YOU WANTING MORE.

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Everything definitely went to crap at the end of A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab (for the characters that is, not in terms of story quality). So I was definitely super keen to get my hands on book three but unfortunately had to wait several months.


As always, if you feel like engaging in a little book tag/Stranger Things fun, go for it and tag me so I can see your answers!

The Six of Crows Book Tag

No Mourners, No Funerals

I’m sure there have been a whole heap of these already (including the booktube one which honestly didn’t really float my boat) but I’ve decided to do it anyway.  It’s been on my mind for ages to create my own Six of Crows tag. I’ve never made a tag before and I really love Six of Crows, so why not just go for it? The characters in Six of Crows are so diverse and fantastic that they just scream book tag so here they are – 6 characters, 6 questions. Sounds easy, right?

Rules:

  1. Link back to my blog, The Infinite Library, so I can check out your answers!
  2. Thank the person who tagged you.
  3. Answer the questions
  4. Tag as many or as few people as you wish to spread the fun and Six of Crows love

The Thief

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KAZ BREKKER: A LAYERED OR COMPLEX CHARACTER

Holland – A Darker Shade of Magic Series by V. E. Schwab: Holland’s an interesting character in that you’re unsure for quite a while as to what his nature truly is. A Conjuring of Light was great in that we learnt more about Holland’s history and how he came to be where he was when we first began the series. He’s a character far more on the grey scale than Kell due to the nature of the life he’s led. Although Holland’s means aren’t always the purest, deep down his intentions are good.


The Wraith

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INEJ GHAFA: A BOOK WITH A TWIST YOU DIDN’T SEE COMING

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – There’s a twist about two thirds of the way through which I really wasn’t expecting. It turned out not to be true later on but at the time, I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe I’d been so easily manipulated for so many chapters, much like one the main characters. Pesky AI…


The Sharpshooter

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JESPER FAHEY: AN AUTHOR THAT NEVER MISSES THE MARK

I’m going to cheat a little here and say Richelle Mead for this because until I read Soundless, I absolutely loved every book of hers I’d ever read and trust me when I say that her books take up a good shelf and a half of my bookcase all on their own.


The Heartrender

Nina

NINA ZENIK: A BOOK THAT BROKE YOUR HEART OR GAVE YOU ALL THE FEELS

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult: This book was a roller coaster emotionally. The characters are written so well that you feel everything they do as if they were your own family. And just when you reach the end and you think it’s all over, the story punches you in the gut with the most devastating moment ever. I cried, massively. Then I re-read the book a few years later, and cried again. The final chapter was an absolute sob-fest.

Also special mention to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: So many character deaths plus having to deal with it being the end to one of my favourite series ever. * cries*


The Convict

Matthias

MATTHIAS HELVAR: A CHARACTER CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Two for the price of one for this question.

Simon Lewis – The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: Simon is a vampire and thus a downworlder. This makes things a little tricky as the members of his close circle of relationships are nearly all shadowhunters who don’t always have the best interactions with the downworlder community. Finding his place in between the two sides and working out where to stand on certain issues is a constant challenge for him but it also adds interesting conflict to his storylines.

Eugiene Markham (Dark Swan Series): Eugenie is a shaman, which means she’s paid to deal with troublesome fey who make their way into the human world. However once she becomes queen of a fairy dominion, things become very messy. She often faces difficulty reconciling the needs of her fey subjects with what she knows to be the right thing to do for humans. And of course, the fact that her two potential love interests also fall on different sides of the equation makes it even harder.


The Explosives Expert

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WYLAN VAN ECK: A BOOK THAT WENT OUT WITH A BANG OR A CLIFF-HANGER

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – It was all happening at the end of this book. We had a massive lightning bolt blow up an arena, Katniss being rescued by the resistance, finding out about the existence of District 13, Peta’s capture, and a whole host of other things. Definitely a bang.


And there you have it!

If you feel like engaging in a little bit of Six of Crows tagging fun, I tag you! Go forth and enjoy! Otherwise, here are nine lovely people I tag to share in the fun. As usual, if you don’t want to or don’t usually do these, I completely get it.

Nadwa @ Painfully Fictional

Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews

Raven @ Dreamy Addictions

Jackie @  Too Much of a Book Nerd (Maybe this will push her to actually read it!)

Nicole @ Live Life Reading (Same for you, Nicole!)

Judith @ Chain Interaction

Emma @ A Dreamer’s Library

Kawther @ The Villain Library

Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books

The Disney Princess Tag

I had so much fun doing the dim sum book tag last week that when I saw Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books had done this particular one, I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself. I absolutely love Disney so why not blend it and books together? This wonderful tag is the product of a collaboration between the lovely Zuky from BookBum and Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews. Great job guys!

Rules:

  1. Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you
  2. Tag Mandy & Zuky so they can track the tag fun across the blogverse.
  3. Play a game of tag at the end!

So without further ado, let the tag begin!

Snow White

 This Book (Like the Movie) Started It All: Favourite Debut Book from an Author

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J. K. Rowling): Yes, it’s a super cliché and obvious answer but I don’t think I’ll ever love a debut from an author as much as I did HP when it was read to me at age six.


cinderella

Cinderella

A Diamond in the Rough: Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of this Character in the Beginning but they Turned Out to be a Total Gem 

Gilbert Blythe – Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery): When we’re first introduced to Gilbert he’s a typical, annoying schoolboy. He calls Anne names, tugs on her hair, and becomes her biggest rival at school. Eventually though he ends up being one of the best and most loveable characters in the series. Anne ❤ Gilbert forever basically.


aurora

Aurora

Sleeping Beauty: A Book that makes you Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention

Unearthly (Cynthia Hand): I just couldn’t really get into this one. I did manage to finish it but unfortunately I found the characters kind of boring and the story lacking. Today I barely remember anything about it, it was that unmemorable.


ariel

Ariel

Under the Sea: A Book with a Water/Ocean Setting

Voyager (Diana Gabaldon): Okay, I seriously struggled with this one because basically nothing I read is set on around the water/ocean. Note to self: read more pirate and mermaid books. However, in this book Jamie and Claire spend some time travelling across the ocean to Jamaica and then eventually to America.


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Belle

Beauty and the Books: Name a Book with the Best Bookworm/Book Lover

Irene – The Invisible Library (Genevieve Cogman): Ordinarily I’d answer Hermione for this one but just for something different, I’ll say Irene. Irene has devoted her entire life to books, so much so that she’s actually lived inside a magical, interdimensional library. This is a woman who’ll fight off fey, dragons, werewolves and God knows what else just to get a rare copy of a particular book. Not only is she awesome but she seriously loves books!


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Jasmine

The Thief and the Princess: Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either In Terms of Romance or a Book You didn’t expect to Love So Much)

Illuminae (Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff): I’m usually not much of a fan of books that like to play around with writing styles. I was super nervous when I bought Illuminae because I’d heard wonderful things about it but even just flipping through I could see that it had some weird things going on. I ended up loving it and have recommended it to people ever since.


pocahontas

Pocahontas

The Real Life Princess: Name a Book that is based on a Real Life Person you Want to Read/Have Read

The Princess Diarist (Carrie Fisher): I don’t usually do non-fiction, however, I really love the Star Wars films and Carrie was always someone who really didn’t seem to give a damn what people thought of her. She was strong, sassy, and very intelligent. I think this would be a really fun and interesting read.


mulan

Mulan

The Princess That Saved Her Country: Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know

This one was so hard because I’ve read about so many amazing heroines, I even did a post about them a little while back. So I’ll just mention two super awesome ones.

Alanna – Song of The Lioness (Tamora Pierce): Alanna disguises herself as a boy for several years so that she can learn to become a knight. She fights in a war, recovers magical artefacts, saves the royal family from a wicked sorcerer, and wins the hearts of both a prince and a thief.

Lila Bard – A Darker Shade of Magic (V. E. Schwab): She’s a thief, an adventurer, a pirate, and a magician. Doesn’t get any more amazing than that.


tiana

Tiana

The Princess with the Coolest and Most Diverse Crew: Name a Diverse Book whether it is a Diverse Set of Characters (Like Tiana’s Group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, And More) Or Just Diverse in General

The Dregs – Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo): I know, I use this one a lot in my lists but I just love it so much! Each of the members of the Dregs are so different and yet they work together super well – a calculating thief, a silent spy, a religious convict, a gambling sharpshooter, an aristocratic runway, and a witch with a love for waffles. Such a wonderful cast of characters.


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Rapunzel

Let your Longggggg Hair Down: Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read

I’ve read quite a few long ones but try to avoid doing it too often. They take a lot out of me! Here are some of the biggest:

George RR. Martin: A Storm of Swords – p.1177

Stephen King: It – p.912

Diana Gabaldon: Drums of Autumn – p. 898


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Merida

I determine my Own Fate: A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed

This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab): Okay, so I haven’t actually read this one yet but I definitely have plans to get to it very, very soon. From what I’ve heard it focuses on a friendship between the two main characters rather than a romantic relationship which is kind of a nice change with all the romance you find in YA these days.


Anna/Elsa

Frozen Hearts: A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting

Shiver (Maggie Stiefvater): I feel like this one speaks for itself just from the cover and title.


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Moana

How Far I’ll Go: A Character that goes on a Journey

Rose – Blood Promise (Richelle Mead): I love the VA books and I’ll admit that this one grew on me a lot more the second time I read it. Perhaps being older helped. Rose heads over to Russia in search of Dimitri. She travels across the country meeting new people and dealing with the fallout from the previous book.

Hurrah! All done. There were some really hard ones in there that I wasn’t expecting to be challenging when I decided to do the tag. Apologies for the lack of book covers, they just kept completely messing up the layout. divider

Tagging:

Seeing as this is a bit of an older tag, I tag whoever wants to have some Disney Princess and bookish fun. Go for it!

Top 10 Tuesday: Kick-Ass Female Characters

Today marks the beginning of June, a new season, and the second half of the year. Woo! However, today is also the day that the DC comics’ movie, Wonder Woman, opens in cinemas. This is the first big comic book movie ever to focus on a female protagonist. In other words, it’s a pretty big deal! I’m super excited to see the film and it’s got me thinking about the many other wonderfully strong, brave, determined, and just generally kick-ass women who have their origins on the page. There are so many amazing women that come to mind that limiting my list to 10 is a crime, so for now, here’s fourteen:

Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter Series)

It’s impossible to leave Hermione off any list of this nature. She’s kind, courageous, and incredibly smart. While Harry may have been the chosen one, without Hermione both he and Ron would most certainly have died (many times) over the years, and failed a heap of school assignments along the way. Whether she’s solving riddles, crafting massively complicated potions well beyond her years, or erasing someone’s memory, Hermione is most certainly the best person to have in any magical situation.

Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)

If there’s one thing you can say about Sarah J. Maas, she knows how to write strong, bad-ass women. As a trained assassin, Celaena knows just about every which way to make a person hurt and yet, still takes a great deal of pride in her femininity. When someone can kick your ass wearing a dress and high heels, you know they’re definitely not someone you want to piss off.  Having lost her family and spent several years as a slave, Celaena hasn’t let her suffering slow her down. This is a girl who knows how to best serve revenge: ice cold.

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

Katniss goes through quite a bit over the course of her life – the death of her father, extreme poverty and almost starvation, risking a lifetime of slavery to hunt for game, and that’s all before the books even begin! She’s agile, strong, and a wiz with a bow and arrow, but more importantly, she’s not afraid to throw herself into danger to help the people she cares about or fight back against those who prey on the weak. Even through all of her suffering, Katniss never loses her exceptionally kind heart and it’s from this that she draws her enduring strength of character.

Delilah ‘Lila’ Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic)

A thief, a pirate, a magician, is there anything Lila can’t do? Having been on her own for most of her life, Lila has had to keep herself alive on the rough streets of London. An adventurer at heart, Lila is willing to throw herself into new languages, skills, lands, and experiences without so much as batting an eyelash. Where she finds herself at a physical disadvantage, she relies on quick and creative thinking to get out of tough situations. In doing so, she proves that size and strength are no indication of the trials one may overcome and the enemies they can defeat.

Feyre Archeron (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

My most recently discovered kick-ass protagonist. With her varied and powerful magical abilities, strong will, and determination to protect the human race, she most certainly belongs on this list. Feyre isn’t afraid to speak her mind and call someone out when they’re being a prick. She’s also constantly working to better herself and improve her usefulness to others. Most importantly, she can kill a giant worm utilising only some mud and a couple of old broken bones. If that isn’t kick-ass, I don’t know what is.

Lisbeth Salander (The Millennium Series)

Having grown up with an abusive father, been admitted to a psychiatric facility as a teenager, and survived a sexual assault as an adult, Lisbeth’s life is not a happy one and it’s sometimes difficult to understand how she remains as strong as she does. An exceptional hacker with a photographic memory, Lisbeth is intelligent, calculating, and unafraid of personal expression, even where it makes others uncomfortable. No matter how bad the situation, she never stops fighting. As someone who ties up and tattoos her rapist, sets a man on fire, and even survives being buried alive, Lisbeth is most certainly a kick-ass heroine.

Inej Ghafa (Six of Crows)

Inej, or The Wraith, is the right hand woman to thief extraordinaire, Kaz Brekker. Reserved, spiritual, and honest, Inej has the balance and flexibility of an acrobat, and the strength and knife skills of a warrior. Often filling the role of spy, Inej spends much of her time traversing the roof tops of Ketterdam. Kidnapped and sold into prostitution at fourteen, Inej somehow manages to retain an underlying belief in the goodness of others. As someone who is able to move through the night without making a noise, defeat trained assassins, and scale heated metal chutes with only a pair of rubber soled shoes to assist her, Inej is in good company on this list.

Paige Mahoney (The Bone Season)

Paige, also known as the Pale Dreamer, is a member of one of the rarer clairvoyant categories in Scion. She’s powerful enough to enter dreamscapes and push people’s souls out of their bodies. This would be badass on its own but on top of her magical abilities, Paige is also a part of the Seven Seals, one of the more powerful gangs in Scion’s criminal underworld. Her time with such a group has made her very capable of protecting herself, skilled in picking up on small details, and unwilling to give up when the going gets tough.

Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

Clarice is a student at the FBI academy and determined to prove herself in a field largely dominated by men. Despite her inexperience and extreme discomfort, Clarice constantly throws herself into each stage of the Buffalo Bill investigation. While others doubt her investigative efforts and hunches, it is through careful questioning, reviewing of the evidence, and persistence that Clarice digs up the necessary clues to identify Bill. With no back up and only her side arm to protect her, Clarice takes on Bill in a final showdown, her success resting on quick thinking and smart use of FBI training.

Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy)

A trained dhampir guardian, Rose is direct, witty, protective, and kicks a lot of ass. Over the course of six books, she decapitates strigoi, overcomes death (repeatedly), fights back against bullies, discovers a way to retrieve her boyfriend’s soul, and travels half way across the world to fulfil a promise. At first a little arrogant, Rose grows and develops, and eventually comes to realise that protecting Moroi isn’t as simple as she’d once thought. She’ll make you laugh, make you cry, and in the end you’ll believe, with a little help from her friends, there’s almost nothing she can’t do.

Kady Grant (The Illuminae Files)

The second hacker on this list, Kady is stubborn, extremely tech savvy, and not afraid to bend the rules from time to time. She’s a bit of a flirt, a little snappy, and likes to go in guns blazing. But when your planet gets attacked, your AI goes psycho, and a zombie outbreak hits your ship, this is the girl you want on your team. She reboots entire computer systems, tracks down even the most secure information, can survive a ship full of murderous infected people, and somehow stays on the good side of the crazy AI. Definite kick-ass protagonist material there.

Irene (The Invisible Library)

Irene is a librarian. An awesome librarian. One who jumps between different universes, fights fey, makes deals with dragons, and solves mysteries with Sherlock Holmes like detectives. She’s level headed, articulate, and yet still able to deliver a beat down to pesky werewolves if need be. Irene is the kind of heroine who will bravely rush in to save a friend but she’ll damn well do her best to plan it out beforehand. If that’s not possible, she’s an expert in improvisation. Plus, you can’t help but love a character with the same appreciation for books as the reader.

Daenerys Targaryen & Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire)

It seemed unfair to pick between these two wonderful female characters. Martin’s women are all well-developed, complicated, and just as strong as the men (in many cases even stronger). Both Dany and Arya have suffered great personal losses and been forced to leave their homes because of them. However, both have also worked extremely hard to reshape themselves into people who can claim what they are due, by force if necessary, and will get revenge for those they have lost. Dany and Arya are determined and resilient characters, and although one may show strength through dragons, and the other a “needle”, each is set to accomplish big things in books to come.


Who are some of your favourite kick-ass heroines?

Let’s Talk: Judge a Book by its Cover

Over the years, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been told, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s just one of those classic idioms parents and teachers seem to delight in driving home to children. When considered metaphorically, it’s very sound advice; we should all try to consider hidden beauty, place greater importance on people’s personalities over their appearances, and try to avoid jumping to quick conclusions about things. The world would likely be a much nicer place were we to do so. However, when I think about it literally, this is one piece of advice which really doesn’t work so well in practice. I don’t know about you, but all I ever seem to do is judge books by their covers. Okay, not entirely, the blurb does play a significant role as well as the book’s Goodreads score; but, the truth is: I’m a pushover when it comes to a gorgeous cover.

In the modern world we’re lucky enough to have mountains of books available to us – fiction, non-fiction, short, long, adult, picture, it’s never ending. And much like a spectacular smorgasbord at a breakfast buffet, they’re all laid out for us shelf upon shelf at our local bookstore. We walk the aisles, scan the rows until…pause. Something catches our eye. Is it a brightly coloured spine? A bold, mysterious title? A well-known author? Regardless of the reason, we reach over, slide the book out and rest our eyes upon its cover. What we find there will either send us flipping to the blurb, curious for more, or awkwardly trying to shove it back where we found it and feeling silly we’d ever gone there. While this is definitely the most commonly played out scenario in my book store travels, there’s also the case of the forward facing cover. You know, the one you can’t help but lock onto from several meters away and find yourself drawn towards, people in your way be damned.

Okay, it may sound like I’m placing an exaggerated level of importance on covers here, but ebooks aside,  it’s true, the cover of a story really does mark the beginning of your relationship with it. It’s the mild flirtation, the questionable side eye. It’s what gets you to make your way to the first date, the blurb, in which you get just enough information to work out whether you’d like to see more – could you be compatible? Is this the one? Until finally, you seal the deal and begin the adventure with chapter one. It could all end up being a massive disappointment, promises made and left unfulfilled, but you’ve committed now. And it all started with that first glance.

Clearly I’m not the only one who recognises the value of a great cover, particularly in the social media era. Publishers spend thousands finding the right cover, sometimes even multiple right covers where US vs UK releases are concerned. People post photos of their bookshelves organised in brightly coloured cover rainbows that give even me some serious envy (I attempted my own books according to colour shot above – turned out extremely average, think I’ll leave it to the professionals). Bookstagram accounts show thousands of images of a single, eye-catching cover, influencing tens of thousands of others to run out and buy it (I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin cover in the last fortnight).  Yet, there’s so much variety in what people consider to be striking – clever, brightly coloured, intriguing, minimalist, shiny, cute, photographic, it’s almost mind boggling in its diversity.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

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They’re all completely different and yet, they’ve each done something right for me. Although, I do have to note that just because I loved these covers, doesn’t mean I’ve also loved every book. Just goes to show that no matter how amazing the cover is, in the end it truly is the inside that counts. But, making people on the train jealous of your awesome looking book cover? Great added bonus.

What are some of your favourite book covers?

Love ash