Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my 2021 Autumn TBR

Once again, it’s time for another installment of Top 10 Tuesday (hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl). This week’s topic is ‘Books on my 2021 Spring TBR’. But, as you know, I’m Australian so Autumn TBR it is! Here are some reads I’m really looking forward to starting this season.

Our Year of Maybe – Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Over the last few months, I find that I’ve been gravitating towards more adult reads than I ever used to. However, lately there have been a few YA reads that have caught my eye, one of which is Our Year of Maybe. It’s about two best friends, Peter and Sophie. Peter is a pianist and in need of a kidney transplant, while Sophie, a dancer who has had a crush on him for years, turns out to be a match. Hoping the transplant will elevate their relationship to the next level, Sophie decides to donate. Things don’t exactly turn out as planned when post-operation, Peter finds himself drawn to Chase, a guitarist in his new band. I’ve heard that Solmon’s books read on the older side for YA and that she talks about a lot of topics which aren’t frequently represented in young adult books. I have high hopes for this one so fingers crossed.

She Who Became the Sun – Shelley Parker-Chan

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After finishing the last book in The Poppy War series by R F Kuang earlier this year, I am so ready for some more Asian inspired fantasy x historical fiction, and from an Australian author, too! What I’ve heard of this book so far has been fantastic (pleeasssee don’t be a disappointment). It’s pitched as Mulan meets The Song of Achilles and I’m just like…two of my favourite things? Yes, please! The story is about a brother and sister whose futures are predicted – the boy, greatness, but the girl, nothingness. After their family is attacked by bandits and her brother dies, Zhu takes on his identity to enter a monastery as a male novice and achieve his fated destiny. I was super lucky to receive an ARC of this book and I’ll definitely be getting stuck into it very soon.

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

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It’s time to tick off another classic! I’ve been wanting to read Rebecca for years but always seem to talk myself out of it. I think I’m just worried it won’t be my kind of book because it’s more about the atmosphere and writing than it is about plot but I should really stop underestimating my ability to enjoy different kinds of novels. I was originally hoping to read it before I saw an adaptation but well, that failed…so here we are. As I’m sure everyone is aware, the book follows a young woman who meets and marries a wealthy widower named Maxim de Winter and moves into his large estate called Manderley. There she has to deal with the shadow Maxim’s former wife Rebecca casts over their lives. It’s all very gothic and creepy.

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

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The only Murakami book I have ever read (or attempted to read) is 1Q84 and it was…weird. Very weird. So, I’m hoping for a different result with my second attempt at his work. Norwegian Wood, on the other hand, is supposedly one of Murakami’s more straightforward books (no sci fi or magical realism) and funnily enough, it’s also probably his most popular. Even the author himself is confused as to why. It deals with a 37-year old man looking back on his life 20 years ago and his first love. It’s supposed to be a pretty dark read at times and heavily deals with things like suicide and mental illness. I get the feeling this one is going to hurt but then again, that’s not always a bad thing.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown – Talia Hibbert

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I definitely feel like I’ll be in the mood for some contemporary romance very soon because I’ve yet to read any in 2021. The bright yellow cover for Take a Hint, Dani Brown is definitely calling my name. As is the fact that it’s another faking dating story. I read the prequel, Get a Life, Chloe Brown, in 2020 and had fun so I thought, why not give the second installment a try? This book is about Dani who’s not really looking for a committed relationship right now. However, after she gets photographed being rescued by security guard Zaf during a fire drill, the internet starts shipping them together. Zaf asks Dani to play along to help with publicity for his children’s charity and Dani agrees. As you’d expect, cue sparks. This sounds like a sweet and sexy read so I hope it’s enjoyable!

Layla – Colleen Hoover

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Here I am again, reading another Colleen Hoover book, although one that’s a bit different from her usual novels. This one is about a couple named Leeds and Layla who try to get their relationship back on track after an almost fatal attack by staying at the bed-and-breakfast where they met. But then weird things start happening that can’t be explained and Leeds turns to another guest for comfort. I’m not really sure what to expect with this one other than that it’s a paranormal romance of sorts. Confession though, I’m already about a quarter of the way through and still really on the fence about what to think. Here’s hoping it ends up being a Verity sort of scenario, which I really liked.

This is How you Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

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I’ve never been much of a novella or short story reader. Usually I like books to have more room to breathe in terms of their narratives and characters. However, after enjoying Becky Chambers To be Taught, If Fortunate, I thought I’d give this one a go as I’ve heard so much about it. The novella deals with two time-travelling spies from different worlds, Red and Blue, on opposites sides of a conflict who fall in love via letters. I’ve seen two general reactions to this, 1) it was really confusing and weird and I was not a fan, and 2) This book was so amazing and I will need multiple re-reads to fully appreciate its beauty. My thoughts right now: intimidated. I really hope I like this and it certainly sounds really unique, but at least if it’s not my cup of tea it’s only around 200 pages long.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars – Christopher Paolini

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I’m starting to realise that the books I’m tending to let sit on my TBR for extended periods are the doorstoppers. I’m afraid if I don’t start reading some of them, they’re going to launch a protest, rise up and bury me somehow. So, we’re going to try and tackle To Sleep in a Sea of Stars because it’s the scariest looking one and would probably be the ring leader in such an assault. This is a Sci-fi first contact story which follows a xenobiologist named Kira who comes across an alien artifact on a moon. This has big consequences for her and her crew, and triggers the start of an intergalactic war against humanity. It sounds really intriguing but I’m definitely worried about the amount of world building and whether the book will drag. Guess I’ll have to find out.

The Soulmate Equation – Christina Lauren

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So, this book doesn’t actually come out until May but hey, it’s still Autumn. I’m also including it because I know it’s unlikely I’ll resist reading it for very long after it comes out. As you guys probably already know if you’re regular visitors to my blog, I love a good CLo Romance and this one sounds really good! It’s about a single mum named Jess who signs up for a DNA based match-making service which claims to be able to find your soulmate. She ends up matched with the company’s founder, Dr River Pena, with an unheard of 98% compatibility. The company offers to pay her to give the match a chance as a form of promotion for its stock. It’s an opposites attract type story and I can already partially predict how the plot will play out but I’m still really keen.

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

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Little Women is another one of those aforementioned large books threatening to hurt me if I don’t read it soon. I’ve found myself glancing at this one on my shelves a lot lately (probably because of the pretty nature patterned, olive green spine) so I’m sure I’ll probably crack soon and just sit down to read it. The text is quite large in this edition so I’ll take comfort in the fact that it looks a lot bigger than it probably is. As almost everyone knows by now, this is a coming of age story about four sisters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy, in 1860s Massachusetts. This novel is on my classics TBR so I’m looking forward to being able to finally check it off.


I’m feeling good about the next couple of months and hopefully I discover some more books to add to my annual favourites list. If everything could just be a five star read from here on out, that would be great. Thank you.

What books are you most looking forward to reading over the next few months of Spring/Autumn?

Top 5 Tuesday: Authors I Want to Try

Hello, hello, hello, bookish friends! Today I’m looking at five authors who I want to try reading books by at some point soon. Soon-ish. Sort of soon. Okay, at some point before I inevitably die (because isn’t that just bookworm life?). Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm and is now hosted by the lovely Meeghan over at Meeghan Reads.

Tana French

Tana French

In recent years I’ve been gravitating towards the occasional mystery/thriller type read, something I was pretty big on in my later teen years. Tana is one of the major authors in this genre and I seem to see her books pop up a lot because they’re pretty darn popular. I’m keen to read the first few of her Dublin Murder Squad books, especially The Likeness because of my recent interest in dark academia books. I’m not 100% sure whether I’ll like her writing but I guess there’s only one way to find out.

T.J. Klune

T.J. Klune (Author of The House in the Cerulean Sea)

I somehow only found out about T J Klune towards the end of 2020. Flash forward to now and I have four of his books on my TBR. Three of them I’ve heard wonderful things about (they’ve all got like 4.4 average stars on Goodreads, like WHAT?) and one comes out later this year which sounds super cool from the blurb. The word is that he writes really heartwarming, diverse and funny stories, and I really, really hope that they live up to expectations because I’ll be a little bit heartbroken if they don’t.

N. K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin makes history at the Hugo Awards with third win in a row for  best novel - Los Angeles Times

At this point, I think I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve seen rave over the amazing-ness of Jemisin’s books. The fact that she’s won both a Hugo and a Nebula award is pretty damn impressive, too. I’ve definitely had The Broken Earth series on my radar to read for ages but as usual, I keep putting it off. I recently also added The City We Became to my TBR because the concept just sounded so different and intriguing that I felt I had to give it a go. I’m not sure when I’ll finally get around to giving her work a try but it’s certainly on the list for the future.

Abby Jimenez

Abby Jimenez

I’m sure you guys know that I’ve been reading a lot more adult contemporary romances over the last two years and having a heap of fun. Abby Jimenez is an author I’ve seen come up quite a few times during my scouring of the interwebs for some good reads to tackle during my romcom binges and I’m almost positive that one of her books will be included in my next one (whenever it may be). Her 2020 release, The Happy Ever After Playlist, was actually nominated for a GR choice award last year and I’m really looking forward her upcoming April 2021 release, Life’s Too Short, which sounds great.

Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rachel Lynn Solomon

There are a couple of Rachel Lynn Solomon’s books that have grabbed my interest of late and I’m really excited to give them a read. From what I’ve heard, her YA books tend to fall on the older end of the age bracket in terms of themes and characters, something I really like the idea of, plus she has a couple of adult reads which seem interesting too. Right now Today, Tonight, Tomorrow and Our Year of Maybe are the two books at the top of my priority list (as an added bonus they have pretty cute covers, too).


What authors are on your list to try out in the future? Which books of theirs are you most interested in?

And That’s a Wrap 2020: Least Favourite Reads

You win some, you lose some. While I’m generally decent at picking entertaining reads for myself, sometimes I misstep and end up with something not so enjoyable or just not for me. Here are the reads which didn’t float my boat this year.

7. The Honey Don’t List – Christina Lauren

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The only reason this wasn’t included in my surprises and disappointments list earlier this week is that I massively lowered my expectations after seeing a few negative reviews. The Honey-Don’t List isn’t a bad book, it’s just an extremely mediocre one, especially compared to some of CLo’s other great romances. The story revolves around Carey and James who are assistants to a married couple of reality TV stars/home reno gurus. However, the two can’t stand each other so Carey and James are tasked with keeping things under control long enough for them to complete their book tour. While I liked Carey, I found James kind of boring and felt like the development of their relationship was rushed. The plot itself was underwhelming, the ending doesn’t provide a lot of closure, and the overall book was a lot more serious and less charming than I was expecting.


6. The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy 1#) – Marie Rutkoski

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I’m sorry guys, I don’t get the hype on this one. This year I read both the first and second books in The Winner’s Trilogy. While the second book was mildly more enjoyable than the first, as a lot of people said it would be, I just didn’t click with The Winner’s Curse. I’ll admit, the writing was good and, while it could have used more depth, the world building was okay, too. However, I was really apathetic about the story itself. It’s probably because the romance is the main focus and a lot of the bigger plot elements don’t become an actual thing until book 2. I also found that I wasn’t too keen on the characters. Kestrel is kind of a selfish ass and Arin repeatedly frustrated me. The intensity of their romance was far too quick for my liking as well.


5. Jane Anonymous – Laurie Faria Stolarz

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Based on the majority of reviews on this book, I’m in the minority. I was really interested in the concept for Jane Anonymous – a teen who gets kidnapped and held in captivity for 7 months, and then has to try and adjust to normal life again. I really liked the way the book was structured using both past and present timelines and the fact that it tried to look at Jane’s experience with PTSD afterwards. But, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t connect with the characters (some of which behaved awfully) or get into the story. As a result, it started to drag after a while. What didn’t help is that I picked the twist early on and then had to deal with the frustration of the book acting like it wasn’t obvious. I also wish that Jane’s trauma had been explored with some more depth and nuance. Overall, this wasn’t the read for me.


4. The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell

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The Family Upstairs was an okay read for the most part. It deals with a woman inheriting an abandoned mansion which 25 years ago police were called to to find three bodies and a crying baby. What happened and where the other children who lived there went is unknown. The writing style made this book very readable, it was certainly the right degree of ominous and creepy at points, and I quite liked the use of concurrent timelines. However, I also found that the pacing was slow, especially for a thriller, a lot of the characters weren’t fleshed out, the twists were lackluster, and one of the plotlines was entirely unnecessary. The part that bugged me the most though was the ending which just seemed flat, odd, and unearned from a character standpoint.


3. Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con 3#) – Ashley Poston

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I love Beauty and the Beast, I loved Ashley Poston’s first entry in this series, Geekerella, and yet I did not love this book. Massive sad face. Bookish and the Beast is a modern re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast about a high school student named Rosie and an actor named Vance who meet at a convention and are reunited after the accidental destruction of a rare sci-fi book. The two end up re-organising the owner’s library to make up for it. I had a lot of trouble forming attachments to the characters in this one – Rosie was bland and immature, and Vance acts like a dick for pretty weak reasons. I also had difficulty feeling the chemistry between the leads, mostly because they don’t spend enough time together. My other major problem was the book’s attempts to cling to the original story even where it seemed silly or forced in this setting. A bit of a flat and disappointing read in the end.


2. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins

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*sigh* Let it be said that despite questioning the need for this book I went in with an open mind. To be blunt: it wasn’t very enjoyable. Boy, did this book DRAG. It’s over 500 pages long and the story meanders around for ages with very little happening except for a stint in the middle and right at the end. I was so bored by part three that it took me over a week to read the last 100 pages. There’s just so little life in it. The characters are bland, the romance is bleh, there are too many song lyrics, the so called “villain” is half-assed, and if you’re looking for a gradually developed and nuanced villain origin story for Snow, you won’t find it here. The only real positive for me was that it was interesting seeing a much more stripped back version of the Hunger Games and learning about how they developed and would eventually evolve into what we know in the original trilogy.


And my least favourite read of the year was…

1. Dune – Frank Herbert

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Dune is easily my least favourite read of 2020. No contest. The only reason I didn’t DNF it is because by the time it occurred to me to do so, I was already too close to the end for my stubborn self to give in. It took me ages to finish the last 150 pages. I had such little motivation to read that I started another book. I get that it’s a sci-fi classic okay, I do. The world building is great and the actual concept is decent, it’s just that the way it unfolds and is told is so bad. No suspense, the Gary Stu to end all Gary Stus as a protagonist, stereotypical and useless antagonists, clunky ass dialogue, heaps of inner monologues, a boring & meandering plot, rampant sexism, just…no. No, no, no. And to think I’ve been wanting to read this for years.


What were your least favourite reads of 2020? What was it about them that didn’t work for you?

And That’s a Wrap 2020: Surprises and Disappointments

In just a few days, it will finally be the end of 2020. And you know what that means…it’s time to wrap up the year that was! Well, reading wise, that is. First up are the surprises and disappointments I discovered this year among the 60 books I read.

Every year there are books I go into expecting (or hoping) for something amazing, only for them to fall short. Then there are others which I pick up not expecting much at all and find myself very pleasantly surprised. These books don’t always end up part of my favourites & least favourites of the year but I feel like it’s interesting to have a look back on them all the same.

The Dutch House – Ann Patchett

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The Dutch House was my first experience with Anne Patchett and although I’ve heard good things about her novels, I certainly never expected to enjoy this book as much as I did. The story is set over a period of several years and focuses more on characters than plot. It’s a slower paced read which somehow manages to fly by and acts a lot of like a modern fairytale. It’s wonderfully written and I really loved the focus on the relationship between brother and sister, Danny & Maeve. Some of my favourite moments were scenes involving them simply sitting and talking about their childhood home. This was also one of the few audiobooks I listened to this year and I can highly recommend the soothing voice of the lovely Tom Hanks.


In a Holidaze – Christina Lauren

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After a bleh experience with The Honey Don’t List (and hearing not great things about the prior release), I went into In a Holidaze with low expectations. I was really happy to find an adorable, fun Christmas romance perfect for ending a rubbish year. Friends to Lovers isn’t usually one of my favourite tropes but Christina & Lauren are doing their best to change my mind. The story revolves around Mae who joins her family and their friends for Christmas at their usual cabin. She gets stuck in a ground-hog day type time loop after making a plea to the universe to help her find happiness. This gives her the chance to pursue a relationship with her long time crush Andrew. Not my favourite CLo book, and it could have used more of the groundhog day element but an enjoyable ride all the same.


Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney

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As much as I’m trying to avoid using the same books in multiple wrap up posts, this had to be included. I loved Conversations with Friends and was not expecting to at all. I bought it on a whim for something different and went in with low expectations, mostly because I read Sally Rooney’s Normal People in 2019 and only rated it 2.5 stars. For some reason, things that bothered me about Normal People, such as Rooney’s aversion to quotation marks, just didn’t feel like a big deal anymore (perhaps I’m more used to her style?). Weirder still, almost none of the characters are particularly likeable or “good” people and yet, I was so invested in what happened to them. I’m 100% positive that I’ll reread this in the future.

You Deserve Each Other – Sarah Hogle

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You Deserve Each Other was the second book I tackled during my romance binge in September. Before then I had never even heard of Sarah Hogle or this book (it’s her debut). Considering romance reads can be hit or miss, I wasn’t really sure how this would go, but it was so good! It was such an enjoyably fresh take on the enemies to lovers trope (which I love) and I certainly didn’t expect to laugh out loud and get hit with the feels as much as I did. It’s about a engaged couple named Naomi and Nicholas who don’t get along anymore but both are too stubborn to call off the wedding. What follows is a combination of trying to get the other person to back out and attempting to repair the relationship. I’ve already added Sarah’s next book to my anticipated releases for 2021.

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe 2#)- Neal Shusterman

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I love the first two books in this series. They’re fantastic and I rated them 5 and 4.5 stars. So as the last book, The Toll had some big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, it just didn’t get there for me. Behold my disappointed but solid 3 stars. My main issues: the story felt like it dragged and went on for longer than it needed to, I thought the direction of the book was kind of odd, the two main characters barely interacted at all (Rowan’s storyline felt especially pointless), and I was very disappointed with what happened to Goddard’s character. Not what I was hoping for or expecting at all.

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – V. E. Schwab

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You all know how much I love Victoria Schwab, but sadly I was in the minority on this one. I liked TILoAL but wasn’t bowled over. Trust me, the disappointment hurt because it was probably my most anticipated release of the year. For me, this book had so much potential and while I thought the writing was beautiful, the themes it tackled were great, and I appreciated the ending, there were just aspects of the story and characters which were a miss with me. The book follows Addie who makes a deal with a dark god for immortality. The catch is that no one retains memory of her after she disappears from their sight. Two-hundred years later she comes across a bookseller named Henry who somehow remembers her.


Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Ah, Mexican Gothic. The part that kills me the most is that only weeks before reading this, I included it in a 5-star predictions post. I was so deflated. It’s set in 1950s Mexico and revolves around a socialite named Noemi, who, after receiving a troubling letter, travels to a country mansion to check on her newly married cousin. She soon finds that there is something wrong with the house and the family that live there. The atmosphere is fantastic. It’s beautifully eerie and perfect for a Gothic horror novel. I was also quite fond of stubborn & confident Noemi and appreciated the idea of the different mystery elements for her to solve. But it was the flat surrounding characters, lack of chemistry between Noemi and her love interest, and the bizarre direction for the story’s climax that let me down.


Blood for Blood – Ryan Graudin

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Wolf by Wolf was one of my favourite reads of this year – good characters, great balance between action and quieter moments, a dramatic ending… So, as you’d expect, I went into the sequel hoping for something just as enjoyable. Sadly, while I ended up giving it 3 stars, Blood for Blood just didn’t hit the same highs for me. I was disappointed in the direction taken with some of the characters (especially Felix) and not as keen on this book’s version of the journey plot which was mostly a roadtrip back to central Germany. Things dragged at points and there were times where it felt as though very little was happening. Worth reading to complete the story but definitely an easy inclusion on this list.


What were some of your biggest surprise and disappointment reads of 2020? Not necessarily your favourites or least favourites but books that turned out different from what you expected for better or worse.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings

What’s better than new books? Answer: New books that I didn’t have to pay for myself! Woo! Books make up a substantial amount of my Christmas list every year (because obviously you have to give people options, many, many options) so here’s hoping I find a few wrapped up in pretty paper under my tree in 2020. It’s not ten, but these are the ones I’m wishing for:

The Burning God – R. F. Kuang

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Kicking off my Santa list with my most wanted book, The Burning God. I finally read book two in this series, The Dragon Republic, in November and it was just as amazing as The Poppy War. So you have no idea how excited and happy I was to discover that the last book in the series would be releasing just a few weeks later. If you love fantasy and haven’t given these books a try yet, I definitely recommend them, especially if military fantasy is your thing or you adore magic as much as I do. These characters have been through a lot and in every book there’s a new enemy for them to fight. I have a feeling this will be an emotional ride so I better prepare myself.


Pumpkinheads – Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

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I’ve been wanting to read this sweet, autumn-y graphic novel for a good while now but, as usual, just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve heard so many amazing things about it over the years – that the banter and friendship is great, that it’s charming and comforting, and it has snacks in it. At this point, I’m pretty much like: I need this in my life. The general gist is that it’s about two friends, Deja and Josiah, who have worked together at a pumpkin patch every autumn throughout highschool. However, as this year they’ll be graduating, they decide to make the most out of their final shift and have some adventures.

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

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The bookish community has been completely obsessed with this book for the last few months of 2020, and for good reason: The story is supposedly fantastic, it’s full of latinx characters and has a trans lead, it features a queer romance, and Aiden Thomas is the first trans author to hit the NYT Bestsellers list. I really want to be a part of this hype party, okay. The book is about Yadriel who, determined to prove himself to his family as a brujo, sets out to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin and release it to the afterlife. Instead, he summons Julian Diaz, a bad boy with unfinished business. The two agree to help each other with their respective problems so they can both get what they want.


The Two Lives of Lydia Bird – Josie Silver

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I read Josie Silver’s debut novel, One Day in December, a few months back during my week of romance novel binge-ing and really enjoyed it. Anything that can get me to temporarily overcome my dislike of the love at first sight trope gets major brownie points. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is Josie’s 2020 release and it kind of gives me Sliding Doors vibes. It’s about a woman named Lydia (duh) whose partner of 10 years, Freddie, dies in a car accident. To help her sleep, Lydia is given sleeping pills which somehow cause her to fall into a world in which Freddie is still alive. As she lives out the events of both timelines, she has to decide how to move on with her life. It sounds like an odd concept and I can already tell it’s going to be bittersweet, but I’m determined to give it a try.


Ready Player Two – Ernest Cline

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I read Ready Player One back in 2018 and had a blast in all my nerdiness. For this reason, it’s pretty obvious that I’m going to read the sequel. I’ve heard a lot of disappointing things about this book since it’s release last month which is a huge bummer but I feel like I have to read it and make up my mind for myself. I’ll just have to go in with super, super low expectations and hope it exceeds them (hey, it worked when I first watched Justice League). The book involves Wade and his friends trying to solve new riddles and clues in the hopes of finding an advancement for the Oasis.


The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

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This book was a recent discovery for me, mostly due to it being nominated for and winning best fiction novel in the Goodreads choice awards. I had a read of the blurb and knew I had to add it to my TBR. It just sounds…wonderful. A library with an infinite number of books, one for each path your life could have taken depending on the choices you’ve made. The book follows a girl named Nora who, after a suicide attempt, ends up in the library and has the opportunity to read through her volumes to find out what she could have been. Perhaps not a big action packed book full of twists, but certainly something quiet, contemplative and meaningful.

The House in the Cerulean Sea – T. J. Klune

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I’ve seen this book described as “filled with whimsy and enchantment”, “the loveliest story I’ve ever read”, and “sunlight through all the dark clouds”. After the disheartening year that has been 2020, I think we all need this in our lives. It’s about a case worker named Linus who’s employed by the Department in Charge of Magical Youth to oversee the well being of kids in government orphanages. He’s assigned to check on the Marsyas Island Orphanage where six dangerous children (a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist) reside and must decide whether or not they’re likely to cause the end of the world. It’s all found families, sweet kids, humour and learning to belong. Plus that cover is stunning.


What books are you most hoping to receive this holiday season?

I usually end up just going out and buying the rest of the ones on my list that I don’t receive as gifts because hey, nobody said I couldn’t give myself presents. Here’s hoping for some enticing sales. I can hear my bank account and my book shelves crying out in pain already.

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. You can find the upcoming topics here.

Festive Reads: 10 Books To Get You in the Mood for Christmas

I honestly cannot believe there’s only around a week left until Christmas. Mentally, I’m still back in like…July. But that’s just 2020, isn’t it? If you’re like me and in need of a nudge to help find that Christmas spirit this year, here are 10 books bound to bring on some solid holiday vibes:

In a Holidaze – Christina Lauren

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With how popular holiday romances are, expect to see a few in this post. In a Holidaze, follows Maelyn Jones whose life is a bit of a mess. The bright spark of her year has always been the holiday season spent at a cabin in Utah with her family and their friends, including Mae’s long time crush Andrew. However, Mae’s good mood quickly disappears upon finding out that Andrew’s family will soon be selling the cabin. Things get worse when Andrew catches her hooking up with his brother, Theo. In desperation, Mae sends out a silent plea to the universe for help. The answer? A ground-hog day time loop which forces her to live through the trip over and over again. Now Mae will need to find a way to break free of her holiday purgatory and in the process figure out what will truly make her happy.


The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia 2#) – C. S. Lewis

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It would be impossible to forget this British classic about four children entering a magical land through means of an upstairs wardrobe. Upon arriving in Narnia, the siblings discover that it is ruled over by the tyrannical White Witch whose powers keep it locked in an eternal winter but without Christmas. Yet, once the witch’s powers begin to weaken and The Great Lion Aslan’s (the true king) grow, the children are greeted by Father Christmas who gives them each gifts to assist in the uprising to free Narnia.


A Christmas Carol and Other Stories – Charles Dickens

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A Christmas literary classic which has remained popular since 1843. Even if you’ve never read A Christmas Carol, I’ll bet that you still know the story or have seen it adapted in one form or another. It’s the tale of stingy, miserable grump Ebenezer Scrooge who on Christmas Eve is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come which encourage him to become a kinder, better man. As a story which promotes the idea of the Christmas spirit and importance of generosity, it’s easy to see why it’s a favourite at this time of the year.


Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot's Christmas - Special Edition, Poirot by Agatha Christie |  9780008328955 | Booktopia

Just like romances, crime books also frequently feature holiday settings because there’s nothing like a bit of death to go with your pudding and presents. This mystery from the Queen of Crime features Detective Hercule Poirot trying to solve the murder of a wealthy patriarch. Simeon Lee is found dead after inviting each of his adult sons and their families home for Christmas with the intention of playing tricks on them. Clearly his plan backfired. This is classic Christie – an isolated location, set number of suspects each with a motive, a couple of red-herrings, and Poirot having to use his little grey cells to put it all together.


One Day in December – Josie Silver

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Another romance, don’t say I didn’t warn you. One Day in December is about Laurie and Jack who lock eyes through a bus window on a snowy December day. It’s love at first sight although the two never speak. Laurie spends ages looking for her bus boy but only finds him when he’s introduced to her at a Christmas party as her roommate Sarah’s new boyfriend. Cue 10 years of heartbreak and missed opportunities. While the story isn’t limited to December, a lot of its bigger events tend to happen at Christmas time, making it a good pick for this time of the year if you can handle the emotions.


The Afterlife of Holly Chase – Cynthia Hand

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For a twist on the traditional A Christmas Carol tale, The Afterlife of Holly Chase gives us the story of a girl named Holly who, unlike Scrooge, failed to change her ways after being visited by the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future. Now she’s dead, frozen at the age of seventeen while her family and friends go on with their lives, and stuck working as the newest Ghost of Christmas Past. Five years later she’s assigned a teenage boy whom she has a lot in common with. It’s a light, kind of silly, fun, and feel-good read for the Christmas season.


Letters from Father Christmas – J RR Tolkien

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As a kid, it’s pretty common to write letters to Santa Claus. However, in Tolkien’s household every year the children received a special letter from Father Christmas in return, detailing the many adventures of him and his friends at the North Pole. Pesky goblins, a polar bear who falls through a roof, wandering reindeer, Tolkien details it all in loving detail and beautiful calligraphy. This book collects each of the letters written over a period of 20 years and, one again, showcases Tolkien’s creativity and attention to detail as well as his immense love for his children. As far as sweet, heart-warming Christmas reads go, this is a solid one.

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

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Little Women isn’t a Christmas book exactly but it’s often associated with the holiday season due to volume one being book-ended by it. The novel opens with the March girls experiencing their first Christmas without their father (who is fighting in the American Civil War), bemoaning that they can’t have a big celebration due to lack of funds. But in generous Christmas spirit, they end up using what money they do have to buy gifts for their mother and donating their breakfast to a family in need. The first part of the book ends with their father’s return on Christmas day a year later and them finding happiness in each other’s company. It’s a sentimental, selfless and innocent view of Christmas which people find comforting.


Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon – James Lovegrove

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Okay, it’s not Conan Doyle but if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan and looking for a Christmas themed mystery, James Lovegrove has one for you. Days before Christmas, Holmes and Watson are visited by a new client, Eve Allerthorpe, who claims that she’s being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit called Black Thurrick (a dark inversion of Father Christmas). Suspiciously though, Eve is soon to inherit a fortune but only if she’s found to be of sound mind. So is she actually being harassed by a frightening creature or simply someone seeking to have her institutionalized? Its up to our dynamic duo to find out.


10 Blind Dates – Ashley Elston

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This particular YA contemporary is a holiday two for one as it covers both Christmas and the New Year. After her boyfriend breaks up with her, Sophie takes refuge at her grandparents house where her large Sicilian family is gathered for the holidays. To brighten up her mood they devise a plan to set her up on 10 blind dates each devised by a different family member. And so begins a week and a half of ugly sweater parties, living nativities, and other surprises. It’s fluffy, sweet and all about that spirit of togetherness which many of us love so much about this time of year.


No matter where you are in the world right now and what may be happening in your lives, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season full of good food & laughter, and surrounded by those you love.

Top 5 Tuesday: Favourite Characters O-Z

It’s time to finish what I started! Last week for Top 5 Tuesday, I began my character countdown through the alphabet up to the letter N. This week we’re running through the remaining (and more challenging) letters of O-Z. If you missed part 1, you can find it here. It also explains why my ‘top 5’ is not even close to being a top 5 numbers wise (spoiler alert – I’m always late to the party and somewhat disorganised).

FYI, Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shannah at Bionic Book Worm and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads. If you’d like to participate next week, you can find the October topics here.

O is for Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games Series)

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Finnick, Finnick, Finnick, you charming bastard. I’ll be forever mad at Suzanne Collins for what happened to you. Reasons Finnick is on this list: He 1) wields a trident like it’s nobody’s business, 2) adores his girlfriend/wife Annie, 3) has sugar cubes on hand for awkward meetings, 4) hasn’t let his treatment by the Capital and President Snow kill his sense of humour, 5) will happily walk around in his underwear, and 6) would die for those he loves.


P is for Patroclus (The Song of Achilles)

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Patroclus is one of those quiet characters that, despite the story being told from his perspective, is easy to dismiss as a side kick at first. But as the story unfolds you come to recognise his bravery, compassion, and awareness of his own strengths & weaknesses. Honestly, he has the purest heart and is basically my sweet, little, ancient Greek cinnamon roll.


Q is for Quan Diep (The Kiss Quotient Series)

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Quan is pretty much a favourite of everyone who reads The Kiss Quotient books. He’s a side character but a super memorable one. While he seems like this bad boy player complete with tats and a shaved head, he’s actually a massive sweetheart. Quan is super supportive of his autistic brother, Khai, very conscious of other people’s body language and feelings, and even offers to marry Esme, the female lead in The Bride Test, to allow her to stay in the United States. He also makes me laugh. I’m so keen to read his love story, The Heart Principle, in 2021.


R is for Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy Series)

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It’s an extremely rare occurrence for me to be able to say that my fave character in a series is the main protagonist. Rose is one of those special cases and I love her dearly. She’s immensely passionate, a caring and dedicated friend, a hell of a fighter, wonderfully snarky, and so enjoyable to read from the POV of. She grows so much over the series and no matter how many times I read VA, there’s nothing like being back inside her head.


S is for Spensa Nightshade (Skyward Series)

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Ah, Spensa. On my first read of Skyward, Spensa definitely took some getting used to. Overconfident, a flair for the dramatic, and a massive chip on her shoulder, as far as characters go she’s…a lot. Over time though I came to love her for her unwavering determination to achieve her dreams in the face of a lot of hardship and obstacles. She’s also funny, very hardworking, and unwilling to leave a teammate behind. What can I say? I’m a sucker for an underdog.

…and also for Sadie (Sadie)

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Sadie is another one of those characters that has been through so much awfulness that I want to wrap her up in a blanket, hold her and tell her everything will get better. But I can’t. She’s such a broken and vulnerable character with so much darkness and pain her life. At the same time, she has this amazing determination, strength and courage in the face of doing something so destructive and dangerous. While I didn’t always agree with her choices, Sadie was definitely a fighter and I rooted for her all the way to the very end.


T is for Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

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Hey, don’t say I didn’t warn you about my weakness for attractive male characters with slight bad boy streaks and a sarcastic sense of humour who are actually good guys. Because here we have another one. Thorne is probably my favourite character in TLC books. He’s a massive flirt with a decent sized ego and I get so much enjoyment out of reading about his interactions with other characters, especially innocent & sweet Cress.


U is for… I am Useless at Finding a Character starting with ‘U’


V is for Virginia “Mustang” Au Augustus (Red Rising Saga)

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There are a lot of amazing and loveable characters in the Red Rising saga but I’ll always have a soft spot for women who can kick serious butt with both their bodies and minds. Virginia is a person that others underestimate at their own peril. She’s cautious, cunning, well spoken, and highly intelligent. However, she also loves fiercely, is loyal and empathetic, and has a strong sense of right and wrong. The perfect balance to our lead, Darrow.


X is for…Xylophone

I’m kidding. Sorry guys, I tried. I really did, but I came up empty.


W is for Willem Ragnarsson (A Little Life)

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This book permanently damaged my heart and soul. It’s full of so much sadness but Willem, for the most part, is a little spark of happiness. He’s such a kindhearted and beautiful person who doesn’t allow fame and success to change him into something he’s not. Also, the relationship between Willem and Jude is one of my favourite parts of the book. *SPOILERS* I was absolutely devastated after what happened to him and haven’t cried so hard reading anything in years.


Y is for Yael (Wolf by Wolf Duology)

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As a survivor of Auschwitz and a shapeshifter, Yael certainly has a lot of emotional baggage and identity issues to deal with. But as far as characters go, she straddles the line between strong and vulnerable perfectly. She’s highly capable, smart, and hasn’t let her painful and loss filled past completely close her off to others. Although her mission to kill Hitler does require tough decisions, her underlying kindness frequently shows through.


Z is for Zoya Nazyalensky (The Grisha Trilogy & King of Scars)

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There was no way I was leaving my girl Zoya of this list. Who cares if it might as well be called the Leigh Bardugo character list. I was definitely far from Zoya’s biggest fan when she was first introduced in The Grisha trilogy. I mean, she was kind of a bitch. But then as the books progress and we move into King of Scars, she undergoes so much growth and development, and gets a chance to really shine. I love how sassy, strong, powerful and resilient she is. Plus, her rapport with Nikolai is perfection. Can someone just crown her Queen of Ravka already?


We made it! We survived! Wooooooooo!

Okay, chill out Ashley. It’s not like you just wrote War and Peace.

If you had picked favourite characters for these letters, who would have made the cut? (Plus, any suggestions for my missing letters? First names, surnames and nicknames all count. Let me know!)

Top 5 Tuesday: Favourite Book Characters A-N

No, that is not a typo you see in the title. This week, instead of doing my usual, but infrequent, Top 10 Tuesday, we’re joining in the fun of Top FIVE Tuesday with the lovely Meeghan Reads! You may also be asking: Ashley, if you’re doing favourite characters from A-N, shouldn’t it be top fourteen Tuesday? Okay…you have me there.

To make a long story short. each of the T5T topics for this month have broken down the alphabet into groups of 5 letters (except for the last six). Me, being super late to the party, only discovered this at the point of K-O. Now, because I am (a) super disorganised and (b) stupid, I didn’t just join in for the remaining weeks. Instead, I’ll be breaking up the alphabet into two parts starting with A-N (Truth: I was going to do all 26 in one go, but I almost had a mental breakdown).

For this list, first names, last names and nicknames all count towards allocating characters to specific letters. Let’s begin!

A is for Alex Claremont-Diaz (Red, White & Royal Blue)

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Alex could have made this list purely on the basis of his ability to make me laugh with his dialogue and shenanigans. Smart-mouthed, slightly too overconfident, immense potential to drive me up the wall were he ever to become real, and yet, I absolutely love him. Well-developed characters who are both sweet and hilarious? Irresistible. Also, yay for diverse romantic leads!


B is for Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)

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Elizabeth is the 19th century version of a badass. This is a woman from a large & not particularly wealthy family, living in a time in which marriage is essential for young women, and she turns down not one but TWO proposals to men of a higher class than herself. Why? Because she knows what she’s worth and refuses to accept anything less. She’s also witty, protective of her family, speaks her mind and accepts her own failings. You go girl.


C is for Cassian (A Court of Thorns and Roses Series)

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I have so much love for Cassian as a character. Despite experiencing loss, hardship and rejection, he still brings such levity to the lives of people around him. He’s constantly aware of everyone’s emotional states and is always doing his best to take care of them, even at his own expense. On a less serious note, he’s also a massive shit stirrer and is banned from one fey court because he destroyed a building.

…and for Cardan Greenbriar (The Folk of the Air Series)

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I knew from the first moment I was introduced to Cardan that here was a character I shouldn’t like but I was darn well going to love anyway. He’s definitely an asshole at several points during the series, yet he has this annoyingly sympathetic backstory, fantastic chemistry with Jude, and enjoyable path of growth and self-reflection. Like, stop it already! It also doesn’t hurt that he has that dry, sarcastic sense of humour that’s like catnip for me in male book characters.


D is for Declan Murphy (Letters to the Lost)

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Oh, Declan. On the outside, he’s this hardened, aggressive bad boy but on the inside there’s so much bottled up pain and grief about past family trauma. Letters to the Lost slowly peels back the layers to reveal the caring and intelligent person underneath. There were parts of Declan’s journey that hit me super hard. I just wanted to wrap him up in cotton wool and protect him from the world. But it was so wonderful to see him make progress by the end of the novel.


E is for Emika Chen (Warcross Duology)

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Emika is ballsy, curious, quick thinking, creative and not afraid to be different. Although she may not be physically kicking ass like other characters on this list, she’s just as strong by virtue of her awesome hacking abilities. I love that she begins the duology as a very independent, can’t-rely-on-anyone-but-myself character who evolves to form meaningful friendships with people she can trust. Also, rainbow hair. Always rainbow hair.

…and for Evelyn Hugo (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)

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TSHoEH is one of my favourite books and as the strength of it rests on Evelyn herself and the events of her life, it’s no surprise she’s listed here. Evelyn is a beautifully complex, imperfect, ambitious and feminist character. She knows exactly what she wants out of her life and works her butt off in any way she can to get there. Evelyn evolves beautifully over the span of the novel and you can’t help but root for her, despite her flaws, through all the pain and heartache.


F is for Francis (Conversations with Friends)

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Francis is another character that I really shouldn’t like (she’s often selfish, childish and spiteful) and yet, she seems to have taken up residence inside my head and refuses to leave. With her mess of flaws, she just feels so real to me and I can’t help but sympathise with her. Through all her loneliness, self-doubt and hurt, I so badly wanted her to be safe, happy and loved.


G is for Georgina Kincaid (Georgina Kincaid Series)

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There’s something about snarky, strong, independent female leads in Richelle Mead books that I can’t help but adore. With her love of shoes & vodka, and the high level of importance she places on her appearance, Georgina doesn’t seem like the kind of character I would normally gravitate towards. But her winning dialogue, love of books, sense of humour, and fighting spirit are what hooked me.

…and for Ginny Weasley (Harry Potter Series)

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To say that Ginny got shafted by the Harry Potter film series is putting it mildly (it makes me so mad!). Although she starts out shy, awkward and naive, Ginny grows into a super independent, quick witted, assertive, brave, and magically talented young witch. She takes zero of Harry and her brothers’ crap and can always be counted on in a sticky situation.


H is for Helene Aquilla (The Ember Quartet)

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir: 9780448494517 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

When it comes to The Ember Quartet, Helene is officially my girl and she’s ridiculously underrated. She’s easily the most interesting of the protagonists and even though she’s technically on the side of the “bad guys”, she’s still generally a loyal and honorable person. I mean, awesome warrior, stands up to sexist, tyrant assholes, makes tough decisions but still questions the why of them, vulnerable and caring…just EVERYTHING. Basically Helene for empress, okay?

…and also for Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series)

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Hermione was my childhood idol, plain and simple. I’ve gone to many a costume party dressed as her. To kid Ashley, she was both like me and everything I wanted to be – bookish, brave, kindhearted, a star student, supportive friend, and all of it without having to be drop dead gorgeous. As we all know, Harry and Ron would have been entirely lost (and very dead) without Hermione and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for her.


I is Adrian Ivashkov (Vampire Academy & Bloodlines Series)

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While I was definitely a Rose x Dimitri shipper, as far as characters go, Adrian is one of my favourites. He’s another one of those seemingly arrogant, sarcastic, bad boys who aren’t really bad boys and use humour to hide their emotional baggage. It’s my type, okay? I love his fabulous one-liners, flirty nature, good heart, and the depth/conflict that comes with him being one of a select few spirit magic users.


J is for Jude Duarte (The Folk of the Air Series)

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Jude is a character that I took a while to warm up to but after re-reading The Cruel Prince and getting stuck into The Wicked King, the fangirling began – pretty much just stab ’em all, girl. I love that she uses both her mental and physical strength to get what she wants. She’s smart, cunning, and will happily cut people down if they get in her way. There’s something fun and freeing about a character who’s morally ambiguous.


K is for Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows Duology)

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As if I could forget old, dirtyhands Brekker. You can’t go past a good anti-hero and Kaz is certainly that. I adore Kaz’s fast working brain – constantly one step ahead, working through the different scenarios. The other fantastic thing about him is that you never know exactly what he’s going to do in a given situation – will he be a decent human being or just hightail it out of there with the money? I’m also a sucker for a tragic backstory.

…and for Kady Grant (The Illuminae Files)

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The second hacker character on the list with colourful hair, Kady is one of the highlights in a wholly amazing book. She’s stubborn, independent, great under pressure and comes up with some enjoyable zingers (my weakness when it comes to favourite characters). Despite danger and fear, Kady doesn’t let anything stop her from doing whatever she can to protect the people she cares about. Bonus: she’s also the reason we got to enjoy more of AIDAN’S antics beyond book one so points for that, too.


L is for Lazlo Strange (Strange the Dreamer Duology)

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Lazlo – my sweet, innocent and curious librarian. He must be protected at all costs. The thing that I like most about Lazlo is the beautiful, almost childlike way he sees the world. To him, everything is full of possibility & magic, and although evidence may be to the contrary, he always tries to see the good in people. The world would be so much better if more people were like him.

…and also for Lila Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic Series)

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by V.E. Schwab

Thief, pirate, magician – Lila pretty much covers all the most interesting types of characters you find in a fantasy novel in one. She’s daring, proud, a bit devious, and highly adventurous, making her an exciting character to follow around. I mean, upon acquiring an object of immense power, the first thing she did was create a clone of another character purely to make it do a striptease. If that isn’t list worthy material, I don’t know what is.


M is for Mia Corvere (The Nevernight Chronicle)

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Mia, my badass, shadow assassin bitch. How I love her and her amazing one liners. Mia comes off as cold, highly venomous and consumed by her quest for revenge. She’s calculating, manipulative when need be, and will brutally murder you without a second thought if you deserve it. Under the surface though, she has a hidden vulnerability, sense of honour and degree of goodness. I may also love her because her magical abilities are freakin’ awesome & she uses sword blades like a boss.


N is for Nikolai Lantsov (The Grisha Trilogy & King of Scars)

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Isn’t Nikolai pretty much everyone’s favourite character? He was kind of legendary before I even read The Grisha trilogy. Then I read it and got what all the fuss was about. Cocky, flirty, unwilling to be deterred by bad odds, and just overall a fun character, Nikolai brightens up almost every scene he’s in. I love his rapport with Alina and Zoya, and the different layers Leigh Bardugo reveals of him as you progress through to King of Scars.

…and also for Nesta Archeron (A Court of Thorns and Roses Series)

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I admit, it took me a good while to warm up to Nesta but I am now 100% on the love Nesta train and cannot wait for her starring role in the next ACOTAR book. She comes off as this stuck up, selfish, rude and bitchy person but once you actually understand her, you realise just how emotionally complex, hurt and traumatised she is. I am so excited about how much potential for growth and healing she has, and her back and forth with Cassian brings joy to my life.


Fourteen letters down, twelve more to go (including a few very tricky ones!). Would any of these characters feature on your alphabetised favourites list? Who else would you most want to include?

Okay, I need to go take a nap now. Lists are hard….

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers that Make me Happy

Let’s be real – 2020 has been a dumpster fire of a year. Every time I watch the news, I’m hit with a constant stream of misery and awfulness occurring somewhere in the world. Considering the mental health stats at the moment, everyone is having a rough time. So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to use this week’s TTT cover themed freebie (hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl) to showcase some book covers that bring me joy and elevate my mood. Sometimes it’s the colour and others it’s the imagery. Ten seems pretty short for this post (especially since I’m literally just copying book covers like the lazy person that I am) so I’ll do 12 this week.

I hope that this post lifts your spirits just the tiniest bit (and yes, there are quite a few YA contemporaries here).

What book covers give you a burst of joy just by looking at them? Spread the happiness around.

Bookish Fun: 16 MORE Book, Reading and Author Related Facts

That’s right, it’s time for some more fun, bookish trivia! You guys seemed to enjoy my original version of this post back in January so much that I thought, hey, why not go for round two (it may or may not also be because I’m running low on posting ideas at the moment…but we’ll keep that just between us). Besides, who doesn’t love learning fun, useless facts perfect for bringing up during long, awkward silences?

Bookish Facts

  • ‘Tsundoku’ is a Japanese term which refers to a person who acquires reading materials with a tendency to let them pile up unread. They know me, they really know me!
  • While we’re on the topic of bookish language, ‘Bibliosmia’ means enjoying the smell of good or old books. I have to say, the smell of books is definitely one of the reasons I prefer physical books to e-copies. Gimme that mustiness.
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  • The Harry Potter books are some of the most banned novels in America due to religious complaints. Can’t have none of that nasty witchcraft potentially infecting the minds of the young now, can we?
  • According to the NOP World Culture Score Index, the countries which read the most on average per week are India (10.42 hrs), Thailand (9.24 hrs) and China (8 hrs). I think that’s more than even I usually read in a standard week! Go Asia!
  • Slate magazine conducted a study which revealed the most commonly used sentence in The Hunger Games trilogy is “My Name is Katniss Everdeen”, in Harry Potter it’s ‘Nothing happened’ and in the Twilight series it’s “I sighed”. The more you know, I suppose.
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  • The longest title of a book has over 26,000 characters (!) and was published in Kyrgyzstan in 2019. If you’d like to see the full title (it is LONG, man), you can find it here.
  • Where the Wild Things Are was originally supposed to be about horses but when author Maurice Sendak began to draw the illustrations he quickly realised he couldn’t actually draw horses (I can relate – horse are hard!). As you can imagine, these eventually changed into the wild “things” we’re familiar with. Horses, can you even imagine?
  • The first draft of Lolita by Vladamir Nabokav was written on notecards. They had the entire text of the novel plus edits, additional notes and drawings. I don’t know about you, but I can feel the eye strain from here.
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  • I don’t know if I should label this a fun fact or a horrifying one, but Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James is the third bestselling book in the UK (it falls short only to The Da Vinci Code and, you probably guessed it, Harry Potter).
  • Back in 2008, the first ever Kindle sold out in less than 6 hours and stayed out of stock for 5 months. Also interesting to note, it only had about 250MB of storage. To put that into perspective, a Kindle Paperwhite today has 8GB. That’s certainly a lot more book space.

Author Facts

  • Sadly, Jane Austen’s novels were published anonymously until after her death. She was only identified as their author for the first time in a eulogy written by her brother Henry which was included in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously. Ah, the trials of being a female author.
  • Mary Shelley first wrote Frankenstein as part of a ghost story competition proposed by English poet Lord Byron while they were stuck in Switzerland following a volcanic eruption in Indonesia. The idea apparently came to her in a nightmare. Ahem, where is my literary gold dream, huh?
  • Danish fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen used to bring a coil of rope with him whenever he stayed in hotels, just in case a fire emergency required him to flee out the nearest window. Amusingly, if you visit his museum in Denmark they actually have some rope on display. I guess you can never be too prepared.
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  • George RR Martin still writes his books on a DOS machine using word processing software that was popular during the 80s. No wonder his fans have been waiting so long for the next book…
  • C.S. Lewis and J RR Tolkien became friends after they met at an Oxford English faculty meeting and each encouraged the other to produce their most famous pieces of literature. Tolkien even helped convert Lewis to Christianity, the themes & imagery of which are quite prominent in his Narnia works.
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  • Last but not least, Shakespeare can be credited with over 1,700 words in the English language. A few of them are addiction, courtship, bloodstained and assassination. And people think millennials come up with a lot of new terms!

Hopefully you picked up at least one new interesting thing. Got any fun bookish or author related facts to share? I want to hear them!