Top Ten Tuesday: Yummy Foodie Books!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is the absolute best because it’s all about FOOOOOD. My second favourite thing after books. Sometimes it even edges into first place. So books that feature yummy foods are amaaazing. Here are some of my favourites.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

My mouth waters just thinking about this one. This Queen of Hearts origins story features Cath (before she starts chopping off heads) who dreams of opening her own bakery. One of the delights frequently mentioned is the lemon tarts and, oh my word, they sound divine. And the fact that we now have an abundance of candles based on these very delicacies only serves to increase the mouth-watering joy.

Wicked like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

One of the best books I’ve read this year, WLAW features magical women with the ability to manipulate beauty. One such woman is able to translate emotions and memories into taste and, as such, creates the most GORGEOUS sounding foods. For my full spoiler-free review of this book including an extract full of deliciousness, click here. 

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I feel like I mention this on every list post I write but it just applies to so many topics! The Night Circus is one of the most sensory books I’ve ever read and the foodie details in particular are stunning. I’m not even a big fan of popcorn but I crave it every time I think of this book!

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Ok, I’m cheating a little as I… haven’t actually read this one yet! But the title is a foodstuff so it has to fit on this list, right? I have no doubt that this will feature some amazing deliciousness and that it is absolutely NOT the book to read whilst trying to diet.

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

While a lot of readers were disappointed with this instalment of the ASOIAF series, I actually really enjoyed it. It offered insights into much more of the world of Westeros and one of the best aspects of any world-building is FOOD. I love knowing what foods are considered delicacies in different cultures and it’s no different with fantasy worlds. What they eat in King’s Landing is not what they eat in Dorne is not what they eat in Braavos. I love all that detail.

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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Is there anything more homely than the image of Bilbo Baggins’ well-stocked pantry? Answer: NO. All that bread and cheese, ugh. I could live very comfortably in the shire. Second breakfast was made with me in mind.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

No list of foodie books would be complete without this one. This book features some of the most imaginative creations in all of literature and it’s no wonder children and adults alike adore it. Chewing gum that provides a three-course meal? Rivers of chocolate and lollipop trees? ALL OF THE YES.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake; Love, Luck and Lemon Pie; The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

Oh look, more books I haven’t read! These have been on my wishlist for months now but they never seem to materialise in my life?? Weird, I know. I’ll have to make sure they’re on my Christmas list. They all have foodie themes and that, combined with the magical realism, makes me 100% sure that I will love them.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

I couldn’t talk about food in books and not mention Hogwarts! Harry must have thought he’d died and gone to heaven the first time he sat down to a feast in that place. Every day in there must be like Christmas. Not to mention the trips to Honeydukes; it’s probably a good job I never got my letter because I’d have gained 53 stone from the chocolate frogs alone.

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The Obsession by Nora Roberts

You wouldn’t think a thriller would fit on a foodie list but, in between all the murder and mystery, this one actually features some delicious-sounding meals! It made me very hungry at times. The main character’s uncles are chefs and they can cook for me any day please and thank you. Though I do make mean scrambled eggs myself.

 

What are some of your favourite food-centred books? Do we share any favourites? Are there any you can recommend that I absolutely MUST read??

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‘The Beast is an Animal’ spoiler-free review!

I recently won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and I was so excited as I had been dying to read it! Before I jump into my review, check out the blurb:-

 

Alys was the only one to see the soul eaters when they came to her village. The others were sleeping. They never woke up…

Now, an orphan, Alys knows the full danger of the soul eaters. She’s heard the nursery rhymes the children sing about the twin sisters who feed on souls. She’s seen people disappear into the fforest and never come back. So why, then, does she find herself mysteriously drawn to the fforest? Is she what everyone around her says she is? A witch?

Alys soon finds herself on a journey that will take her to the very heart of the fforest. There she must decide where true evil lies. And face the thing they call …
The Beast.

 

The Beast is an Animal was a creepy and very enjoyable read! The style makes it feel like an old fairytale, which I absolutely loved; it was like one of the classic Grimm stories where there is real danger and darkness, and happy endings aren’t always guaranteed. There was a great sinister atmosphere for a large portion of the book; it did make me sad that some of this tension was lost in the last 100 pages due to a bad case of insta-love but, for the most part, it was dark and eerie, and I was hooked.

I loved all the Welsh influences that were included. This is not something we get to see very often; I love that YA authors are being more adventurous with their settings lately! I always enjoy books set in forests and Peternelle van Arsdale successfully created a really claustrophobic feel in this book, with monsters lurking just outside the safety of the village gate.

I really liked the growing relationship between Alys and Mother in the book; it felt natural and believable, with Alys feeling isolated in a new village but gradually finding her place. The presentation of the sisters was also fantastic and I loved the snippets of their story that we got to see.

Things did get a little repetitive at points and, as I previously mentioned, there was a bit of annoying insta-love but, overall, I really liked this one and it was a great start to my month of spooky October reads!

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The Beast is an Animal came out at the end of September and it’s a perfect read now that the nights are getting longer! Has anyone else read this one??

Top Ten Tuesday: Autumnal books!

I think many bookworms would agree with me when I say that Autumn is the best season for curling up with a good book. (I know we could say that about any of the seasons but there’s just something so cosy about snuggling under a blanket while the rain lashes against the window, with a candle burning and big mug of something hot. Have I got you in the mood now?)

Autumn has always been my favourite season so I absolutely had to link up with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic: 10 books with Autumn covers/themes!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is the quintessential autumnal book, in my opinion. It is a slow-burning and atmospheric read, full of magic and intrigue. Morgenstern’s writing is GORGEOUS to the point that you can almost smell the bonfires and taste the caramel popcorn. I literally can’t put into words how much I love this book and just mentioning it now has me wondering if I can squeeze in a reread before the year is over!

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Incubus by Carol Goodman

I read this recently and it was another great, atmospheric book! It’s about (surprise surprise) an incubus, so it is good and Gothic with loads of dark faerie happenings. The forest setting is almost a character in itself and the book absolutely brims with pathetic fallacy – everything you could possibly want in an autumn read.

The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Isn’t Autumn just the perfect time to set out on an epic quest? I certainly think so. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”. I adore this quote. It encapsulates what I love about the changing season, that sense of magic and possibility that comes along with the changing colour of the leaves. This time of year always makes me want to drop everything and head off an adventure with Bilbo; I guess, since adulting makes that an unrealistic life choice, I’ll have to settle for losing myself in an epic fantasy novel in my downtime.

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(Not gonna lie, I hate that I have the movie covers of these books. But they were all I could get at the time and now I can’t justify getting the lovely leatherbound set I’ve got my eye on. Santa??)

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

It’s been years since I read this book but I distinctly remember it being full of atmosphere (are you sensing a theme in this blog post?) Atmosphere is one of the key components of my Autumn reading list. This book is another slow-burner with a great mystery at its heart.

Slade House by David Mitchell

I have only read two of David Mitchell’s books so far but they were enough to make him one of my auto-buy authors. His stories are so brilliantly original and complex that, as soon as I see his name, my interest is piqued. Plus they’re all set in the same universe! There are nods in each of his books to characters or places mentioned elsewhere. I LOVE THAT. Slade House was the second book of his that I read and it’s perfect for Autumn because… you guessed it… atmosphere!! It’s a brilliant new take on the traditional haunted house story making it perfect to read around Halloween.

The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge

Probably the most popular of Hardinge’s books, The Lie Tree is a fabulous exploration of Victorian social customs which is clearly well-researched and has so many subtle nuances. There is a clever balance between the fantastical and the logical, and, like David Mitchell, I am intrigued whenever I see this author’s name.

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Incidentally, Hardinge’s latest offering, A Skinful of Shadows, would also fit this week’s TTT prompt. It sounds gorgeously dark and WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER.

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Books about books are the best thing in the world, especially ones set in Barçelona’s Gothic Quarter. This is an absolute must-read for all bookworms so, if you haven’t got round to this one yet, now is the perfect time!

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Never has a book been more well-matched to a season. The driving rain and howling wind of the Yorkshire moors will make you feel unbelievably cosy as you snuggle in your lovely reading nook. This is one of my very favourite classics and I always want to reread it when this time of year comes around.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline may be a children’s story but it’s wickedly creepy and a great story for all ages! It’s pretty short (I read it in a couple of hours) but it reads like a deliciously dark fairytale making it perfect for October. Plus, Chris Riddell’s illustrations are gorgeous.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Actually, anything by Shirley Jackson is perfect for this time of year. I recently finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle and both that and The Haunting of Hill House are wonderfully creepy. Jackson is an absolute master of the genre and, as a result, she is my Queen of Octobers.

 

Well, there you have it: my picks of the best books for Autumn! Do we share any favourites? Which books scream ‘Autumn’ to you?

 

 

 

September FairyLoot Unboxing!

Yay, FairyLoot unboxing time! I love bringing you guys these posts. September’s theme was ‘All That Sass’ and it was an absolutely jam-packed box!

September’s featured book was Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett. It’s set in a Himalayan-style fantasy world and apparently contains ghosts, witches and dragons to name but a few! I can’t wait to read it. What’s more, for the first time, FairyLoot featured an exclusive cover! Our edition has exclusive foiling on the title which makes it absolutely gorgeous. Give me all the shiny things.

Once again, this box contained seven items! Anissa definitely knows how to spoil us.

Rattle the Stars beanie by Reverie and Ink

For the first time ever, FairyLoot featured a hat! I love getting useful/wearable items; this Throne of Glass beanie will be perfect for the upcoming colder weather.

Percy Jackson hot chocolate by Brontie & Co.

This hot chocolate blend sounds absolutely delicious! It’s really fancy too; dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan – so it’s suitable for everyone! I can’t wait to snuggle up with a huge mug (after taking a multitude of photos for bookstagram, of course).

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Clockwork Angel tote bag by Miss Phi

I mentioned in a previous unboxing post that I hoped FairyLoot and Miss Phi would collaborate again and I’m so glad they did! This bag inspired by Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series is gorgeous. (Maybe I should finally read this series?!)

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High Warlock Candle by In the Wick of Time

This mini candle is inspired by Magnus Bane (another character I’m yet to meet) and smells like sandlewood, incense and lavender. The creator has also made a full-size version of the candle which is only available to FairyLoot subscribers!

Harry Potter magnet by Ink and Wonder Designs

This is the second time FairyLoot have included a magnet and, let me tell you, I’m going to have the best looking fridge in the world. It’s so pretty!

Artwork by Taratjah

This box included 2 prints: Lila from the Shades of Magic series and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles (yet more characters I still have to meet. This box has certainly made me aware of how many popular books I still haven’t read!) I can’t wait to get my own place with a home library so I can display all of this beautiful bookish artwork properly.

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Sturmhond notepad by Alexis Lampley

The founder of Nerdy Post created this Nikolai-inspired notepad (finally a character I know!) I absolutely love it! I’ll definitely be making plenty of lists on this beauty and will smile every time remembering Nikolai’s sassiness.

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This month’s box also contained some cool extras, namely a sampler for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and a Tower of Dawn bookmark. Plus there was the usual signed bookplate (I always love that FairyLoot includes these, it makes the book that little bit more special!)

Here’s a full unboxing:

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Once again, an amazing box!

 

I’m so excited for the next two months of FairyLoot. October’s theme is ‘Villainous’ and I’m 99% sure of the book that will be included. Once again, it’s one I can’t wait to read. But wait! Anissa also revealed that the box will include an EXCLUSIVE edition of The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo!! Much flailing ensued.

November’s theme is ‘Ladies that Slay’ and I’m quite sure I know what that book will be too; once again, it’s going to have an exclusive cover! I love that FairyLoot have started doing this. We’re also getting an ARC from 2018 and a book sleeve!! Excitement for days.

 

Did anyone else get this month’s box? Or are you getting any of the upcoming boxes? What did you think of Even the Darkest Stars if you’ve already read it??

‘Wicked like a Wildfire’ spoiler-free review!

Happy book birthday to Lana Popovic and Wicked like a Wildfire! I received an early copy of this in my August FairyLoot box and couldn’t have been happier as it was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017! Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:-

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever? 

This book was an utter delight and has jumped straight into my favourite reads of the year! The writing is absolutely gorgeous, with stunning imagery and beautiful descriptions that I just wanted to curl up and live in. It reminded me a little of Practical Magic but it was also highly original; I mean, how often do we get to read fantasies set in Montenegro?! I felt totally transported and could visualise the small mountain town very easily.

The whole of Wicked like a Wildfire is literally a sensory ASSAULT but in the most amazing way. It appeals to all of the senses but especially smell and taste, which I absolutely loved! You need to read this for the cakes alone. Just listen to this:

“My mother’s café was a confectionery more than anything else. Some days she baked doe’s back cake, a roulade of airy hazelnut dough and chocolate ganache dusted with ground hazelnuts… Other days, she made floating islands, fluffy lumps of spongy unset meringue bobbing in creamy zabaglione and laced with orange syrup, violet preserves, and a powder she ground from bee pollen, so that every bite tasted exactly like late spring sunshine. She churned her own gelato too, but her chocolate stracciatella was always streaked like a sunset with other things, marmalade and rose hip jelly and crystallised chips of honey, and somehow it put you in mind of the sky – the held breath of twilight, the sanctity of dusk, and the final slippage into night.”

WOW. Are you salivating yet? I mean, this is writing at its absolute best and I wanted to savour it but, at the same time, couldn’t feast my eyeballs enough.

I really liked the direction this story took. The dialogue was realistic and I was super happy not to see insta-love (SOOO bored of that). Though I did enjoy the sexy Viking guy; he was delightful. There was a good level of diversity that felt natural and was nice to see.

I will admit to getting a tiny bit confused at times due to the number of character names – but I totally accept responsibility for this being a result of my late-night reading! On the whole, I completely adored this and recommend it to fans of Laini Taylor and other such gorgeous magical realism! I’m giving this a huge 5/5 stars and can’t wait for the sequel!

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Anyone else love this one? Can you recommend me some more books with similar gorgeous writing?

‘A Shiver of Snow and Sky’ spoiler-free review!

“It takes one flurry to start a storm” – Lisa Lueddecke, A Shiver of Snow and Sky

A Shiver of Snow and Sky is the debut novel by Lisa Lueddecke and let me tell you: she is definitely one to watch! This book was brilliant. Before I start flailing, take a look at the blurb:-

 

On the frozen island of Skane, the sky speaks. Beautiful lights appear on clear nights, and their colours have meaning: Green means all is well, and the Goddess is happy. Blue means a snow storm is on the way.

And then there’s red. Red is rare. A warning.

Seventeen years ago, the sky turned red just as Ósa was born, unleashing a plague that claimed the lives of hundreds of villagers, including her own mother. This time, when the night sky once again bleeds crimson, she must discover how to stop the onslaught before so many lives are lost again.

 

How good does that sound?! As soon as I heard of this book, I knew I’d have to read it. It sounded right up my street and I’m pleased to say I wasn’t wrong. The concept of this novel is amazingly original and unique, and I was hooked from the very first page.

The pacing of the story was perfect and it was a struggle to tear my eyes away! There was a lot of action interspersed with slower, more atmospheric passages, so there really is something for everyone. The world building here is excellent; the book is set on a Nordic-inspired fantasy island and I just loved the mythology that the author created, with the goddess and the Aurora Borealis. It’s no secret that I adore books with wintery settings and this one was especially gorgeous. Everything felt really well fleshed-out and I would visit Skane in a heartbeat if I could (though preferably when the lights are green please).

Lueddecke’s writing is beautiful and the comparisons to Leigh Bardugo and Laini Taylor do not feel unwarranted. There were some GORGEOUS quotes in this book that really spoke to me. One of my favourites was “sometimes, when the world seemed shrouded in darkness, words could offer light” – utterly stunning and SO TRUE. That is exactly how I feel about books and the solace they can offer in hard times. THIS AUTHOR UNDERSTANDS ME.

I love that this book is a standalone; I always find it really refreshing when a book is not just setting up for a series and hands us the whole fantastic story in one serving! However, I was also really pleased to find out recently that Lisa will be writing another book set in the same world; I’ll definitely be checking that out.

If you hadn’t guessed from the amount of adjectives and ALL CAPS I’ve used in this post, I’m rating this one a huge 5 stars. I can’t wait to get hold of a finished copy so I can reread this again and again!

A Shiver of Snow and Sky comes out tomorrow and I recommend grabbing it as soon as you can!

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Did anyone else manage to read an ARC of this one? Any recommendations for books that are similar? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends

Today, I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday and posting a list of my favourite book boyfriends (and a couple of girlfriends too!) Firstly, a disclaimer: I don’t often find myself enamoured with book characters, as that would be a little weird and creepy. However, I do occasionally come across fictional gentlemen who embody qualities I like in REAL BOYS (no Pinocchios allowed, sorry), so we’ll think of this more as a list of guidelines for any handsome princes looking to woo me. Hahahaha. Hahahaha. HA.

Ron Weasley (The Harry Potter series)

Ok, so I’m getting this one out of the way first because it doesn’t really apply these days. But, when I was a more youthful human, I did have a small crush on Ron Weasley. Judge all you want but I thought he was the bees knees. (What does that phrase even mean anyway?) I pretty much grew out of it but I will always have a soft spot for that red-haired, chess-playing wizard. It really upsets me when people think of him as the ‘dumb sidekick’.

Nikolai Lantsov (The Grisha Trilogy)

Now, this one is not something I’ll grow out of and I’m not ashamed of that. Nikolai is the king (literally) and his sass knows no bounds, which would make him a perfect match for me. A sense of humour is a huge positive in anyone, but particularly the male species. I literally flailed when Leigh Bardugo announced recently that she was giving Nikolai his very own duology (and judging from what I saw on Twitter, I wasn’t the only one!)

Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings)

I say this frequently, but Aragorn is a STUD. Despite being THE KING (wow, two kings in a row, I clearly have a type), he is humble and actually a really down-to-earth guy. He is a true hero who is loyal to his friends, plus he is completely devoted to Arwen. *sighs*

Ivar (A Shiver of Snow and Sky)

This guy is a sweetie and more boys should be like him. He’s strong-minded and protective but also gentle and considerate, and able to let the girl he loves do what she has to do. #respect

Henry Tilney (Northanger Abbey)

Everyone is always drooling for Mr Darcy but you can all keep him. Tilney is much more my type. He’s kind and charming and loves books (#priorities). No man of mine will ever progress to the level of husband unless he likes to read (or at the very least appreciates my love of it. No none-readers for me).

August Flynn (Monsters of Verity duology)

My precious cinnamon roll. August has very strong morals (despite being a monster) and, as my moral compass is something I pride in myself, I find it very attractive in others. As much as a bad boy can be extremely hot, I’ll take a nice guy over that ANY DAY.

Jest (Heartless)

Ok, this one is an actual hottie. His character descriptions just make him sound absolutely gorgeous and his dialogue oozes charm. And now I want to reread Heartless.

Levi (Fangirl)

Levi is another total sweetheart who cares for his girl, respects her and gives her space but also gently pushes her when necessary. These are definitely relevant qualities to my highly introverted life. Plus those pumpkin mocha breves sound divine (and I don’t even like coffee!)

Fjolar (Wicked like a Wildfire)

This was a last minute addition to the list, as I recently finished this book and found the super hot Viking guy utterly delightful. He sounds seriously beautiful. Go read about him.

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And, for the sake of equality, I’m including some ladies who could ALMOST make me consider a serious change of direction in life 😉

 

Diana (Wonder Woman: Warbringer)

Is there anyone in the world who isn’t a little bit in love with Wonder Woman? I mean, she’s a 6-foot, bronzed and toned Amazonian GODDESS. She’s also a complete badass, super strong and fiercely loyal to her friends. I certainly wouldn’t mind having her on my side.

Zuzanna (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

The rabid fairy is definitely my kind of girl; I love her sassy spirit and wish she was my real-life best friend. Plus she’s incredibly creative and I would actually love to see her artwork made real. I’m so glad Laini Taylor gave us the novella Night of Cake and Puppets so that I could have more Zuzanna in my life.

Sam (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

‘Perks’ is one of my favourite books and every character is absolutely precious. Sam is a bit misunderstood but she’s completely sweet and also has GREAT taste in music. It’s no wonder Charlie adores her.

 

So, who are your book boyfriends/girlfriends? Any crushes you had in your younger days that now make you cringe? And did anyone else flail when they heard the news that Nikolai is getting his own series?!

September Wrap-Up!

September was another great reading month for me! I read fewer books than I did in August but some of them were longer so I probably averaged a similar number of pages. I don’t know where the increased reading speed has come from but I’m not complaining!

 

Classics

I have been continuing to use my daily commutes to tick off classics from my list by listening to audiobooks!

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

I’ve seen so many adaptations of Peter Pan but this is the first time I’ve actually read the original story! I really liked it and thought that many of those adaptations stayed relatively true to the original. Tinker Bell was a bit obnoxious but the rest of the characters were exactly as I’d imagined them, and I’m glad to have finally read this sweet story.

Silas Marner by George Eliot

There was a sweet story here too but it was buried under a lot of waffle! I loved the growing relationship between Silas and Eppie, and the ending was very satisfying. I just struggled with an information overload, being given too much detail about minor characters in whom I had little interest.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

I adore Emily and Charlotte’s work but this was my first experience with Anne. I’m pleased to say she holds her own alongside her sisters! While nothing will ever overtake my love for the Gothic masterpieces that are Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, this was a great story and had some really interesting feminist notions.

 

ARCs and books sent to me for review

Once again, I was very lucky this month to get hold of some ARCs and review books from publishers!

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

I’m always a little nervous of sci-fi but I’m pleased to say, I loved this one! While there were a lot of concepts we’d seen before (earning Nyxia comparisons to big name books such as Divergent and The Hunger Games), I found myself completely gripped. One of the best things about this book was the level of diversity; the characters were all fabulously developed and I can’t wait for the sequel so I can read more about them! Fast-paced, with some shocking twists, I definitely recommend this one! You can read my full spoiler-free review here!

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke

This is another one I really recommend! The concept of this novel is amazingly original and unique, and I was completely hooked from the very first page. The writing was gorgeous, with an exquisitely-realised Nordic fantasy world and accompanying mythology making it hard to believe this was a debut. This book releases on October 5th and I will be posting a full review nearer the time so keep an eye out for that!

Wicked like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

I feel like I’m just gushing now but so many of the books I read in September were amazing! This one jumped straight into my list of favourite books of 2017. It’s absolutely sumptuous and I kind of want to curl up and live in it. Sequel now please! Again, look out for my review nearer to the release date!

Warcross by Marie Lu

I was initially a little nervous about this one because I’m not much of a gamer – but I really enjoyed it! Marie Lu has created a super fun and imaginative world, with a diverse group of characters and an original, fast-paced story. Already looking forward to the sequel! For more of my thoughts on this book, click here.

My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood

I was thrilled to be able to participate in the Instagram tour for this book – you can check out my related blog post here. This was a brilliant, multi-layered, literary thriller that sensitively deals with lots of difficult topics. It’s compulsively readable and I absolutely flew through it, reading the last 80 pages open-mouthed! Definitely recommend.

 

Other Books I Read

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

This month, Abbie and I decided to pick this one for the Around the World in 80 Books challenge. Unfortunately, it was another disappointment! It had an interesting premise but was sooo dense and there were pages and pages of descriptions of paintings that didn’t really hold my attention. I did enjoy the multiple perspectives and there were some interesting ideas but ultimately, it was a bit too philosophical for me.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

I’ve had these books on my shelf for over a year so I thought it was about time I got to them. I found the first book a little disappointing but the second one was great! This is one of those rare times when the sequel is FAR better than the first book. I did hope to get through the whole trilogy but unfortunately, time got away from me and, with all the other great books I ‘had’ to read this month, I just didn’t get round to it. Hoping to finish the series in October!

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Another new favourite! So many people recommended this book to me and I can see why; it’s magical and gorgeous and COLD. Give me all the wintery books. The author conjured such a vivid image of the Alaskan wilderness, and it was utterly beautiful. Plus I loved the whimsical fairytale of a story. Read this now if you haven’t already!

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

This month’s book club read was a retelling of Aladdin with a female jinni! I liked the concept and there were some things I enjoyed about it but ultimately, I felt it could have been better. There was a little too much telling and not enough showing for my liking, and I didn’t really enjoy the romance. However, it was an interesting premise and I really liked the backstory with Queen Roshana.

 

Well, there you have it! Another month gone (can you actually believe it’s October? ‘Cause I can’t). I’m planning on reading a few spookier books this month and really looking forward to it!

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How many books did you get through in September? Does anyone else have a darker TBR planned for October?

‘My Sister’s Bones’ spoiler-free review!

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the book tour for My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood! I’ve been really in the mood for thrillers recently so when the lovely Elke reached out on Instagram, I jumped at the chance. Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

 

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never left.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her?

 

It’s actually hard to believe this is a debut. Ellwood’s writing is of a superb quality and she has crafted a brilliantly multi-faceted story. The book tackles a LOT of heavy subjects (you can see trigger warnings at the end of this post) but it does so sensitively; Ellwood’s portrayal of PTSD in particular was very well done. I will admit that it’s a bit depressing at times and there were a couple of moments when I was on the verge of tears, so I wouldn’t advise reading this if you’re not feeling mentally strong. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling good recently so I was able to handle this without feeling completely drained of hope!

The author expertly created an atmospheric read, with the coastal setting adding to the sense of danger and uncertainty. There is a constant undercurrent of tension that hooks you in and really adds to the thrilling nature of the read! The descriptions of war zones felt accurate and they, too, added to the feelings of danger and suspense.

Ellwood’s characters were all really well-developed, even if they only had a minor role in the story. I felt like I was reading about real people and was rooting for Kate the entire time.

I absolutely flew through this book – the short chapters make it really easy to read and Kate’s emotional journey is so compelling that it stays with you even when you put the book down. I read the last 80 pages open-mouthed! Ellwood has the reader constantly doubting themselves and questioning whether what Kate is ‘seeing’ is real or a hallucination. I was completely gripped from start to finish; I was actually reading this on a break at work and the break ended right at the point of a big twist! It was unbearable having to put the book down!!

Overall, this is a compulsively readable book that I would definitely recommend, especially to fans of more literary thrillers. Ellwood has created a refreshing addition to the genre and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her next book!

[Trigger warnings: horrors of war, ptsd, dementia, domestic violence, child abuse, alcoholism and substance misuse, miscarriage, rape, death, and mental illness in general. So, as you can see, quite a lot that could potentially upset the reader. Just some things to bear in mind if you’re thinking of picking this one up!]

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Has anyone else read this one? Or has my review maybe tempted you to pick it up? Can you recommend me some more thrillers?

‘Warcross’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today, I’m reviewing Warcross by Marie Lu which was sent to me by the lovely people at Penguin UK. The only Marie Lu book I’d read before this was The Young Elites and this book is definitely different in tone!

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The book is based around the virtual reality game ‘Warcross’ and follows hacker and bounty hunter, Emika Chen, who glitches into the opening ceremony of the year’s championships. From there, she is set on a path she would never have expected, travelling to Tokyo to meet the game’s founder and joining the tournament itself.

The first thing I have to say is: what an imaginative book! The virtual reality elements in this allowed Marie Lu to be incredibly creative and it made for a really fun read. I really enjoyed the different game worlds that were presented and I can imagine Lu had a lot of fun writing them. There were also lots of really cool gaming references that made my little nerd heart very happy.

Emika is a feisty character and I was glad to see Marie Lu showing us what she was capable of, rather than just telling us. The challenges within the game forced Emika to be resourceful and it was great to watch her dealing with different situations.

I don’t know if I’ve just been really lucky in the books I’ve been reading recently but I feel like young adult books are getting a lot more inclusive? There was so much diversity in this book! There were characters of all different nationalities, as well as gay characters and a character in a wheelchair. YAY Marie Lu. It’s so much nicer to read about diverse groups.

I’m really pleased with this book, especially as I was initially concerned; the wicked-smart hacker girl trope down on her luck felt a little overused to me. However, the story felt original enough that what I thought would be an issue for me was actually not too bad. I would like to know how Emika kept her rainbow hair looking so good all the time, considering how difficult the upkeep of dyed hair is! (Pretty sure she had the rainbow hair in real life, not just the virtual game world but someone please correct me if I’m wrong?) I suppose roots and fading hair dye are insignificant things when there is so much plotting and scheming going on!!

Overall, this was a fun, twisty, read, and it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here!

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Warcross was released on September 14th and is definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of YA or anything nerdy.

Has anyone else read this one? What did you think? Do you think YA books are getting more diverse?