Alex’s Alphabeticals! ‘D’

Hi friends! It’s been quite a while since I did one of these but I want to get back into it so, without further ado, it’s time for the fourth instalment of my blog series ‘Alex’s Alphabeticals’! Before I get started, I want to thank everyone who has shown so much interest in this series – I’ve had a few people asking if they can make their own posts and that’s amazing! Of course you may! I’d love to see them. All I ask is that you credit me for the idea/link back to me in the same way you would with a Top Ten Tuesday/Waiting on Wednesday post. Post at your own pace, do as many or as few letters as you want; the idea is just to post your favourite authors, books and characters (ABCs) for a particular letter of the alphabet. We’ll call it the ‘Alphabetical’ tag. One lovely blogger who already got on board is Rita – you can check out her ‘A’ post here. Any other questions, drop me a comment at the end of this post!

And now, onto my ‘D’ favourites!

 

Authors beginning with ‘D’

Charles Dickens

I don’t know if I can call Dickens a favourite when I’ve only read 2 of his books… but I really enjoyed Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol and I’d like to read more from him in the future. It’s not just the books he wrote himself either; I find him a fascinating subject to read about and always enjoy picking up works inspired by his life or reimaginings of his stories.

 

Roald Dahl

No-one can deny the everlasting appeal of Dahl’s children’s stories. My favourites were always George’s Marvellous Medicine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and, of course, Matilda. I haven’t read a great deal of his books for adults but they’re on my list!

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Books beginning with ‘D’

The Diabolic

I read this book with my book club in 2017 and I was really pleasantly surprised by it! I tend to be a little intimidated by sci-fi books but the premise of this one was interesting enough to catch my attention, and I thought it would be easier to handle as it was YA. I ended up really liking it; it was a twisty story with a badass protagonist and I’d definitely recommend it to others who, like me, are a bit scared of sci-fi. Just treat it as a standalone though; the sequel kind of ruined things for me!

 

The Dress Shop of Dreams

Another read from last year, this was an adorable little book that was so much more than I thought it would be. At a time when I was feeling burnt out by heavier reads, I was admittedly looking for a ‘bit of fluff’ – but what I got was a meaningful story filled with great characters and sprinklings of magical realism (my favourite). This book came into my life at the perfect time and I now definitely want to read more from the author!

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

My introduction to the goddess that is Laini Taylor! I love the stunning setting of Prague and the fantastic characters. This series is even more special to me because I actually went to a signing event where I got to meet Laini as well as one of my favourite people from the bookstagram community, @ab_reads! Special memories.

 

Daughter of the Burning City

I loved the rich and complex world-building in this story and could totally see it being made into a Tim Burton movie! Dark and atmospheric, this wasn’t a straightforward fantasy novel but a murder mystery too. And you guys know how much I love a circus!

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The Dollmaker of Krakow

I read this in January this year and absolutely adored it! I already know it will be on my favourites list for 2018. This is a completely magical read and, in case you missed it, you can read my full spoiler-free review here.

 

Characters beginning with ‘D’

Death

Many authors have provided their own take on a personification of Death. There are two in particular that I love. The first is Markus Zusak’s incarnation in The Book Thief; having a book narrated from the perspective of Death is such a unique concept and made for such a compelling and beautiful read. And the other representation I love is from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Pratchett’s version of Death is more satirical and definitely gives me a giggle!

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Daenerys Targaryen

Dany is one of my favourite characters in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Her character development is superb and she is a truly FIERCE queen. I’m not holding my breath waiting for The Winds of Winter but I’m definitely curious to see where Dany’s story goes.

 

Diana (Wonder Woman)

So I still haven’t seen the DC movie but I really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s take on this character! Like Daenerys, Diana is a badass woman who fights for what she believes in, and is definitely the kind of role model we need more of in YA literature.

 

Dobby

And finally, a special mention for the absolute hero that is Dobby the house elf. He is brave and selfless, and I’ll never be over it.

 

I forgot how fun these posts are to write! I seem to love a lots of books beginning with ‘D’ but not many authors!

Who are some of your favourite authors/books/characters beginning with ‘D’? Let me know in the comments or feel free to make your own post and link me to it so I can read it! 🙂 

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Alex’s Alphabeticals! ‘C’

It’s time for the third instalment of my blog series ‘Alex’s Alphabeticals’! For those of you who are new to this, I’m doing a series of posts where I list my favourite authors, books and characters (ABCs!) for each letter of the alphabet! If you missed the first two instalments, you can read them here and here.

Authors beginning with ‘C’

John Connolly

I feel a little weird including John Connolly on this list when I’ve only read one of his books – but it was such an amazing book! (Plus I forgot to include the book itself on my ‘B’ list, ahem). After the magic of The Book of Lost Things, which is a bit of a mashup of a number of fairytales, I’m always on the lookout for more of Connolly’s books when I can get them cheap; I’m sure they are just as fantastic.

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Angela Carter

Another author who does fairytales REALLY well is Angela Carter. Last year, I read The Bloody Chamber and other stories, and I loved Carter’s darker spin on the classic tales of Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast. I have another book by Carter on my shelf, Nights at the Circus, and I’m really looking forward to it (I mean, c’mon, it’s set in a circus, I’m guaranteed to love it).

Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger represents my introduction to the world of steampunk. Her Parasol Protectorate series is humorous and original, and features some of my favourite supernatural characters ever. I’ve still to read her Finishing School series but definitely plan to dive back into her steampunk world at some point.

Agatha Christie

I read my first Agatha Christie in December (and then went on to read a second one soon after!) and I loved it. Murder on the Orient Express was fabulous and I was completely swept up in the mystery and the opulent setting. I then read They Came to Baghdad which I didn’t love as much due to its espionage subject matter but still enjoyed. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey through Christie’s works and I’m sure she will become a firm favourite.

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Books beginning with ‘C’

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

One of the biggest books of 2017, I loved the magical world of Caraval. Every word was captivating and I adored the carnival-esque setting (no surprises there). I was even able to forgive that the protagonist was a little annoying and silly because everything else was just so fantastic. The hype was well-deserved. I can’t wait for the sequel!

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

One of my favourites since childhood, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of the most imaginative books of all time. Who doesn’t love all those descriptions of sweeties?! Incidentally, I wrote a blog post about similarly yummy books – you can check it out here. Shameless self-promotion there, hope you all caught that 😉

 

Characters beginning with ‘C’

Celia Bowen (The Night Circus)

I’m going to be completely honest: I want to BE Celia. She wears beautiful dresses and does magic, and I just love her, ok? That is all.

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Cathy (Wuthering Heights)

Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite classics and I loved its flawed characters. Some people hate it for exactly the same reason but not me. Cathy is wild and tempestuous, and passionately emotional, which makes for a great read.

Charlie (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Charlie is one of the most precious cinnamon rolls in all of literature. I adore him. He reads books and is a loyal friend, and I just want to protect him from the evils of life. I have a full review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower here (spoiler: I flail).

Cath (Fangirl)

I feel such an affinity with Cath. She starts university and spends weeks living off snack bars because she is too anxious to go and find the cafeteria. RELATABLE. University was a horrible time for me so I really feel for Cath and don’t judge her at all for wanting to lose herself in her fan-fiction.

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So that’s it for the third instalment of ‘Alex’s Alphabeticals’! Do we share any favourites this time around? Which Agatha Christie do you recommend I read next? Let me know in the comments!

Alex’s Alphabeticals! ‘B’

It’s time for the second instalment of Alex’s Alphabeticals! I loved chatting with you all last month about my favourite authors, books and characters beginning with ‘A’ so be sure to leave me a comment this time with your favourites beginning with ‘B’!

Authors beginning with ‘B’

The Brontë sisters

Who else could I start with than the Brontës? My first introduction to these sisters was in sixth form when I studied Wuthering Heights during my Gothic literature module; straightaway, it became one of my all-time favourite books. I then read Jane Eyre the following year and loved it too (though not quite as much as Emily’s masterpiece, first loves and all that). I only recently read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Anne is seriously underrated – she can totally hold her own against her sisters! I still need to read the lesser-known novels but I’m also reluctant to do so anytime soon because I don’t want to run out of material from these three fantastic ladies.

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Leigh Bardugo

A more modern example of girl power is the inimitable Ms. Bardugo. Swiftly becoming one of my auto-buy authors, I absolutely love her style and sense of humour. I’m still to read the Six of Crows duology (I know, I know, I’m behind the times) but I love the Grisha trilogy and her recent take on Wonder Woman is phenomenal. And as for the news about the Nikolai duology – I am BESIDE MYSELF.

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Enid Blyton

Had to mention a childhood favourite! Some of the first chapter books I ever read were The Magic Faraway Tree and The Runaway Clock, and I loved them so much. I wish I still had the hardbacks because they were absolutely gorgeous and fully illustrated; the book collector in me hates that I ever had to get rid of any books. However, my future children will definitely be owning a set of Enid Blyton’s stories whether they want to or not; she is an absolute staple of any child’s library.

 

Books beginning with ‘B’

The Book Thief

Wow, already two of my all-time favourites have made the ‘B’ list! I have read The Book Thief countless times and think it has some of the most beautiful images in all of literature. I love how original it is, with Death as the narrator, and Liesel is so incredibly endearing. Seriously, go read it if you haven’t already.

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The Bear and the Nightingale

Katherine Arden already received a mention on my ‘A’ list but I want to specifically mention my love for her debut novel The Bear and the Nightingale. It came out at the start of this year and since then has steadfastly remained as one of my top reads of the year. It’s wintery and magical and Russian-inspired, and I am dying for the sequel over here.

Before the Rains

I’ve been trying to read more historical fiction this year because I always seem to really enjoy it but never actively seek it out, if that makes sense? After reading The Tea Planter’s Wife and loving it, I just had to get my hands on Dinah Jefferies’ newest book offering this summer. Before the Rains is a story of forbidden romance in a gorgeous Indian setting; I felt totally transported!

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Characters beginning with ‘B’

Beatrice and Benedick

I don’t often shout about it but I’m a big fan of Shakespeare! While you can’t beat a good tragedy, Shakey can also be hilariously sarcastic at times. His comedy Much Ado About Nothing is fantastic and the two main players Beatrice and Benedick are comedy gold.

Mrs Bennett

More comedy gold comes in the form of one of Jane Austen’s most beloved characters. Elizabeth Bennett’s mother is wonderful and cracks me up with her ‘nerves’. I giggle every time I picture Mr Bennett rolling his eyes at his wife’s antics.

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Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo is another absolutely beloved character who just had to feature on this list. I feel a definite affinity with him and his armchair-loving ways. He values food and home comforts but is also a loyal friend, and that makes him pretty special in my opinion.

Bellatrix Lestrange

This might seem like a strange choice and maybe calling her a favourite is too strong a phrase, but I find Bellatrix such an interesting character! Not excusing all the horrible deeds she commits (I’ll never ever forgive her for those), it’s undeniable that she’s fun to read about! Plus, she has pretty cool hair. She’d be a great choice for a Halloween costume.

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Belle

Ok, I’m cheating a little because I’ve only ever seen movie adaptations but how could I justify a list of favourite characters beginning with ‘B’ that didn’t include Belle?! I’m sure she’s just as great in the original story of Beauty and the Beast, and I will read it at some point to confirm that fact. I WILL. Someday.

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And that brings us to the end of the second instalment of Alex’s Alphabeticals! What do you think of my choices for the letter ‘B’? Which authors/books/characters would feature on your ‘B’ list?

 

 

Alex’s Alphabeticals! ‘A’

Hey everyone! Today, I’m starting a new series of blog posts where I will be exploring my favourite books, authors and characters beginning with each letter of the alphabet! I have charmingly titled this ‘Alex’s Alphabeticals’ (because who doesn’t like alliteration?) I hope you’ll join me on this fun exploration of my bookshelves!

In the words of the inimitable Julie Andrews, “let’s start at the very beginning…”

Authors beginning with ‘A’

Jane Austen: I couldn’t compile a list for the letter ‘A’ and not include Jane Austen! I’ve now read three of her books and it’s no wonder she is so revered. Of course, everyone loves Pride and Prejudice but I actually think I liked Northanger Abbey just slightly more! I’ve also read Emma but I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time, and may be due a reread.

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Katherine Arden: Arden’s debut novel The Bear and the Nightingale came out in January this year and is one of my favourite books of 2017! It is set in magical Russia and it has a gorgeous wintery aesthetic, so it’s basically everything I live for in a book. The sequel, The Girl in the Tower, comes out in January 2018 and I am dying from the anticipation over here.

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Books beginning with ‘A’

Anne of Green Gables: I only read this for the first time this year but I loved it! It’s such a heart-warming story full of wonderful characters and featuring some of the loveliest quotes in all of literature.

The Ask and the Answer: This is the second book in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy and it is SO good. The whole trilogy is utterly brilliant and there is no second book slump as we usually see with trilogies. Set in a world where everyone can hear what you are thinking, it’s a really gripping dystopian story that got its claws in me and would not let go!

 

Characters beginning with ‘A’

August Flynn: August is one of the main characters in V. E. Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology and he is one of the sweetest cinnamon rolls to ever exist on the pages. He’s a monster who can steal your soul by playing his violin but he’s morally conflicted about the whole situation and just wants everyone to get along. Precious creature.

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Alex Woods: The protagonist of one of my favourite under-rated books, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, is another precious soul. He forms a friendship with his elderly neighbour and the two embark on some pretty crazy adventures together. There are some serious issues at the heart of Alex’s story but it’s ultimately one of hope. I can’t recommend it enough!

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Anne Shirley: I know I’ve already mentioned the book, but Anne herself gets her own special place on this list. She is one of the most endearing characters in literature and it’s no wonder she is beloved by so many readers. Anne’s outlook on life is so lovely and reading about her put the biggest smile on my face. If you haven’t yet read this book, go do it!

Auggie Pullman: There’s a theme developing here… I definitely have a thing for precious boys who need wrapping up in blankets and feeding mac ‘n’ cheese. The protagonist of R. J. Palacio’s Wonder is an adorable young boy with a facial disfigurement who is entering the mainstream school system for the first time. Auggie’s story made me laugh and cry, and was one of my favourite reads of 2016.

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Amani: The heroine of the Rebel of the Sands trilogy is feisty and sassy, and really holds her own in a male-dominated world. I can’t wait for the final instalment in this trilogy next year!

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Aragorn: Another person without whom no ‘A’ list would be complete! Aragorn is an absolute stud. I love his ‘rising from the ashes’ story and just root for him the whole time. He can join any fellowship of mine.

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Well, there you have it – the first in (what I hope is) a fun new series of slightly different posts! There will undoubtedly be books, authors or characters I’ve forgotten but in the interest of keeping things rounded, I’m sticking with 10! I really enjoyed creating this post and I hope you all enjoyed exploring my bookshelves with me. Tune in soon for the next instalment!