10 books I’m excited to read soon

Hi lovelies! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is ’10 books on my Fall 2018 TBR’, which is perfect as I had already planned a post talking about upcoming releases and books I’m excited to read soon! Some of these are books I’ve been saving ALL YEAR to read during the dark cold nights and others are sequels I’ve been dying for over the last few months.

[Top Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, and now lives over at That Artsy Reader Girl.]

 

New releases

 

Muse of Nightmares

Pretty sure this is most people’s most anticipated read of the year?! And rightly so. Strange the Dreamer was such an absolute masterpiece with a totally killer ending and I just know that Queen Laini is going to deliver once again with this conclusion to the duology. I’ve got it preordered and fully intend to read it as quickly as possible when it arrives.

 

Fierce like a Firestorm

Lana Popovic’s debut Wicked like a Wildfire was one of my favourite books of 2017 and I have been going out of my mind waiting for this sequel! The first book was so magical and full of the most divine purple prose; I can’t wait to flail over this one.

 

A Storm of Ice and Stars

It seems like this is the year of the duology’s end. All three of these anticipated releases are the second and final books in duologies! A Shiver of Snow and Sky was another book I really loved last year, though I initially thought it was a standalone. I’m delighted that Lisa Lueddecke has written another book set in the same world and can’t wait to get back to the snowy land of Skane!

 

Autumnal reads

 

Sweet Pea

I got this book for an absolute steeeal recently – that, combined with Zuky’s praise, bumped it right up high on my TBR list!

 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Everyone RAVES about this book. It’s something I liked the sound of but resisted buying… until last week when I saw yet another glowing review and decided on impulse to get it!

 

The Halloween Tree

In 2016, I read Fahrenheit 451 and in 2017, I read Something Wicked This Way Comes. So I decided to continue my tradition of an annual Ray Bradbury with this October-appropriate story which comes highly recommended!

 

The Witchfinder’s Sister

This is a book that I wanted to read last year when it came out – but I couldn’t justify spending the money on the hardcover. I was then really shallow and refused to buy the paperback because it wasn’t as pretty (I know, *shame*). As luck would have it, my shallowness actually paid off because I found the hardback in a charity shop for £2! I’ve been saving it for October for a witchy-themed buddy read with an Instagram friend!

 

Rebecca

I bought this edition of Rebecca in a January sale and have diligently saved it until now because I wanted it to be a really atmospheric read on cold dark nights! I love Gothic literature so I’m really hoping this will become a new favourite.

 

Bonus reads I’m excited for

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

This is a book that has been on my TBR for years and I am finally going to read it! I know it’s one of those that divides opinion but I’m hoping to fall into the love camp. Either way, it’s time to see what all the hype is about!

 

Water for Elephants

Another book I’ve been aware of for years but never picked up! It actually fits one of the PopSugar 2018 reading challenge prompts (a bestseller from the year I graduated high school) so I’m delighted to finally have an excuse to make time for it!

 

What are some books you’re excited to read this autumn? x

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Take Place in Another Country

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday but when I saw the prompt for this week, I jumped at it! Books set in foreign countries are some of my favourites, especially if they conjure their settings so vividly they make me want to go there for real. I mentioned in a recent post that reading is my escapism so until I can afford to take a world tour, the likes of the books on this list will have to suffice!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

So here are ten books I love that take place in other countries…

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Prague

Prague has been high on my travel wishlist for a long time but this book cemented it in first place. As soon as I have the time/money/courage, I will be jumping on a plane to the Czech Republic for some goulash at Poison Kitchen or the nearest I can find to it.

Love and Gelato – Italy

Italy is another destination I’ve been dreaming of visiting for years. This book is a super sweet contemporary and it was one of the first books I read with my bookclub so I have a real soft spot for it. It’s full of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, cute characters and of course, amazing-sounding Italian food. What more could you want?

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The Bear and the Nightingale – Russia

Wintery books totally appeal to my aesthetic so anything set in the Russian tundra wins major points with me. Ever since seeing Anastasia when I was little, I’ve been obsessed with Russia but I don’t feel it’s likely that I’ll get there anytime soon. So I’ll have to make do with gorgeous books like this!

The Shadow of the Wind – Spain

This book is an absolute treasure. Set in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, it is a real love letter to literature and I defy any book lover not to adore it.

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Wolf by Wolf – Europe & Asia

Wolf by Wolf is one of the most original books I’ve ever come across, mixing an alternate version of history with elements of sci-fi and high action. It centres around a motorcycle race which spans across Europe to end in Japan. It’s both brutal and brilliant.

The Tea Planter’s Wife – Sri Lanka

This was the first book I read by author Dinah Jefferies and it made her an instant favourite and auto-buy author. She stunningly evoked the setting of Sri Lanka (known by its original name of Ceylon in this book) and her attention to detail made for a wonderfully immersive reading experience.

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Even the Darkest Stars – Tibet/The Himalayas

This may be a fantasy but its setting is inspired by Tibetan culture and it’s BRILLIANTLY done. I rated this one 4 stars when I read it last month but it’s stayed with me since then and I’d consider bumping it up to 5 stars as a result.

The Snow Child – Alaska

Magical realism at its finest, this one is set in the harsh wilds of Alaska and is a perfect wintery read. The writing was beautifully lyrical and I was completely enchanted by it from start to finish.

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The Obsession – USA

While The Snow Child takes place in a very specific part of America, Nora Roberts writes books encompassing the United States more widely. I’ve only read one of her romantic thrillers so far but I have another couple on my shelf and I believe they all follow a similar formula (one I happen to love!) The thing I love most about her books is the small-town setting she often uses – she portrays these so well and they are always perfect for her stories.

The Seven Sisters series – The World!

I only recently discovered this series but it is definitely a new all-time favourite. I’ve read the first two books so far and rated both of them 5 stars. Lucinda Riley is taking her readers to all four corners of the globe and she conjures all of her settings so vividly that I almost feel as though I’m there! So far, the first two books have visited Switzerland, France, Brazil, England, Greece, Norway and Germany! Apparently the upcoming fourth book is going to be set in Australia so I’m hugely excited for that; I just know Riley is going to do an amazing job yet again. I also love that she actually relocates to write each book so as to fully immerse herself in the culture she is trying to encapsulate in her books!

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So there you have some of my favourite books that take place in other countries! Has anyone read any of these? What are some of your favourite books set in foreign countries? Do any of you happen to live in any of the places where these books are set?! 

 

 

 

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??

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?

 

 

 

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?!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Intimidate Me!

We’ve all got that list. Those books we have the best intentions of reading but keep putting off because we’re SCARED. Because they’re either so famous they’ve become mythic or because they’re absolutely gigantic (or sometimes both). The ones you may already have sitting on your shelf but that cause you to break out in a cold sweat every time you catch them staring at you.

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Well for my first Top Ten Tuesday post, I thought I’d round up the ones on my eternal list that I would love to read someday. I am hereby making a promise to you. I am holding myself accountable. I will read them eventually. I WILL.

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1. Les Miserables

This is one of those pesky blighters I mentioned that already possesses a space on my shelf. A rather hefty space at that. Seriously, anytime there is an Instagram prompt/tag looking for ‘big books’, this is my go-to. It’s 1000+ pages of enormity. However, I saw the movie adaptation that came out in 2012 and I loved it. I know the book won’t be the same because it won’t have Hugh Jackman serenading me; but at least I have an idea of what to expect from the story. So that *should* take some of the fear out of reading it. Right?! Alex logic.

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2. Anna Karenina

This is another one that of those gigantic classics that scares the life out of me. However, I feel like I’m more likely to get to this one sometime soon! I love all things Russian in literature and I’ve heard nothing but excellent reviews.

3. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

This book has sat on my shelves for a LONG time. At over 900 pages, it so often gets overlooked in favour of something shorter. And it’s a real shame because, based on the premise, I’m sure I will love this! I hope to devote some time to it in the summer.

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4. American Gods

I honestly can’t explain why I haven’t read this one yet. It could be that I’ve put it up on a pedestal and kinda forgot about it up there… oops.

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Neil Gaiman is one of my absolute favourite authors and even readers who don’t adore him like I do have said how much they love this book; so why haven’t I read it yet?! I think I’ve built it up so much in my mind that any time I do consider picking it up, I shy away in case it doesn’t live up to my huuuge expectations. Which is nonsense, because I know it will. Gaiman would have to do something seriously awful for me not to love it.  And he won’t. HE WON’T, I tell you.

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5. Strange the Dreamer

As with American Gods, I have built Laini Taylor’s latest offering up to ridiculous heights. After reading her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy earlier in the year, and then meeting her in person at a signing in Newcastle, I am completely enamoured with her and her books. Maybe the reason I haven’t read this one yet is because, after I do, my life will be a gaping black hole of NOTHING until her next book is published. I know I’m going to love Lazlo Strange so much that life will be meaningless when this one is over.

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6. Gone with the Wind

Another classic that I really feel I should have read by now. But have you seen it?! If the movie is 4 hours long, how much time is it going to take me to get through the book? It makes me anxious thinking about it.

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7. War and Peace…

…and 8. Crime and Punishment

For some reason, these two books are always lumped together in my mind into one big scary monster of wordiness. I feel like a terrible bookworm because I can’t even put into a single sentence what either of these books are about, I know so little about them. But they’re on just about every list I’ve ever seen of ‘books to read before you die’ or ‘100 classics everyone must read’, etc. You know the ones. Maybe getting the Vintage Russian Classics series will encourage me to finally read them? I mean, book-buying for educational purposes can never be considered a bad thing, right?

9. Moby Dick

Ever since I watched Matilda as a child, I have been curious about this book. I feel I owe it to the little girl inside me who was nicknamed Matilda at school to someday read this book.

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Seriously, I looked just like this as a child.

However, Moby Dick is one of the few books on this list that I’ve heard negative things about, so I’m especially apprehensive and probably won’t be reading it ANYtime soon.

10. The Winds of Winter

This one isn’t even out yet but it makes the list because omg, George R.R. Martin is going to kill everyone I love who he hasn’t already bumped off and I can’t handle the stress. This is one of the books I alluded to in my introduction, that is SO highly anticipated it’s becoming a mythical beast with 3 heads and it’s entirely likely we will be on our deathbeds wishing that Martin had just got his finger out and finished the series so we could rest in peace and know who reigns triumphant in Westeros. Do you see how long that sentence was? That is the stress I’m feeling. Seriously George, please. I need the next book.

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So there you have it. Ten books that frighten me half to death but that I genuinely want to read at some point. When I have a million hours on my hands and no adult responsibilities to deal with.

 

What books intimidate you? Do you (truthfully) think you’ll ever get to them? And what did you think of my first TTT post?!