Top 5 Wednesday| Characters You'd Like to Cosplay

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

Cosplay and Halloween have certainly come hand in hand with one another as time has progressed. This week we're celebrating that by talking about the top 5 characters we would love to dress up as.


1. Sarai
Strange the Dreamer
Laini Taylor

Goodreads

Who doesn't want to cover themselves in blue? 
I am absolutely in love with Laini Taylor's world and characters, how could I not want to cosplay?


2. Mia Covere
Nevernight
Jay Kristoff

Goodreads

I just want to be a badass for just one night. 



3. Moist Von Lipwig
Going Postal
Terry Pratchett


Goodreads

Moist Von Lipwig is up there with one of my favourite Pratchett characters, Death only just beating him. 
I'd love to dress head to toe in gold and deliver people some letters. That sound like something drunk me would have a lot of fun with.

4. Lila Bard
A Darker Shade of Magic
V.E. Schwab

Goodreads

Please just let me live out my coat and badass fantasies in peace?



5. Coraline
Coraline
Neil Gaiman

Goodreads

To dress up as Coraline, you would have to go with the iconic blue hair and yellow coat that was given to us by the film team behind the movie. I think she would be fitting to dress up as around Halloween too. 

On that note, did anyone see Sharon Needles' (Drag Queen) Other Mother look? I'm obsessed.

Book Haul| Oct 2018

University is really hotting up, books are coming into my possession and all is fine. 
*Cue the visual representation of my life*





A Discovery of Witches
Deborah Harkness

Goodreads

UK Publisher: Headline
UK Release Date: September 29th, 2011

**Bought because I went on a day trip, finished a book and didn't bring a second one with me, whoops?**


Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2)
Laini Taylor

Goodreads

UK Publisher: Hodder&Stoughton
UK Release Date: October 2nd, 2018

**Pre-order**
The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1)
Katherine Arden

Goodreads

UK Publisher: Del Rey
UK Release Date: October 5th, 2017

**Bought on a day trip with Jenn and Faye, how could I not?**


The Blue Salt Road
Joanne M. Harris

Goodreads

UK Publisher: Gollancz
UK Release Date: November 15th, 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **



The Dark Vaults: Unlock the Archive (The Archived #1-2.5)
V.E. Schwab

Goodreads

UK Publisher: Titan Books
UK Release Date: November 13th, 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

REVIEW| Goodbye, Perfect

Goodbye, Perfect
Sara Barnard


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UK Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
UK Release DateFebruary 8th, 2018

Synopsis:

When I was wild, you were steady . . .
Now you are wild - what am I? 


Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a complete shock when, five days before the start of their GCSEs, Bonnie runs away with a guy Eden knows nothing about. And it's the last person she would ever have expected.

As the days pass, and her world begins to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her best friend and herself.


Review

What I admire most about Sara Barnard's books is that they tackle topics that I've not really come across in YA and tell it in the most realistic way possible. They're raw and are tied in many complications that closely replicate the lives of young people across the UK, if not in other places too. Goodbye, Perfect is not any different.

Barnard's choice in her perspective of Eden lent a hand to break down the romanticization of teacher and student relationships. She's the outsider looking in, pulled in by the coerced decision of her best-friend that tests how far a teen is willing to go to blindly support their best friend.

I really appreciated the family dynamic and exploring what it means to be adopted. Those fears, the problems faced, the emotions that can occur if there is already existing family dynamic (Eden has an older adoptive sister). 

I appreciated what this book is doing, and the need to do it, however, I just wasn't emotionally tied to the story unlike I have been with Barnard's other two novels. The pacing slowed a little bit in the middle and overall I felt rather frustrated with Eden's conflicts. 


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Top 5 Wednesday| This Post Sucks

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

We're reusing a topic this week and exploring another of our favourite paranormal creatures. Trying to pick one is tough but I feel like going with a classic creature - the Vampire.

1. Mitchell
Being Human
As portrayed by: Aiden Turner

This show was my first real introduction to the world of the paranormal. If you haven't seen it, it follows a best-friend vampire and werewolf duo who move into a haunted house and the struggles they face trying to live as close to a human life as possible. I should also warrant that you should only watch the UK version because the US one was a bit naff.

2. Tormalin the Oathless
The Ninth Rain
Jen Williams

Goodreads

Okay, so strictly speaking Tor isn't a vampire but consumes human blood as a substitute for a kind of sap that his people used to have before drying up. 


3. Claudia
Interview with the Vampire
Anne Rice

Goodreads

I could've picked Lestat, or Louis, or all three, but I went with Claudia. Trapped in her immortal life as a five-year-old, she becomes increasingly more agitated with her maker. 

4. Shori
Fledgling
Octavia E. Butler

Goodreads

A 53-year-old woman who wakes up with abilities that closely resembles to that of a Vampire. This takes a figure of the paranormal and spins it on it's sci-fi head.

5. Allison Sekemoto
The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa

Goodreads

I remember reading this a really long time ago. So long ago that I only remember the impression that it left of me and one scene in particular. It must have been seven years ago, but I still think about it and would one day reread it.

REVIEW| Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology
Written by Neil Gaiman; Read by Neil Gaiman
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

UK Publisher: HarperAudio
UK Release Date: February 7th, 2017

Synopsis:
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin's son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of a giant, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Review

The book begins with an introduction from Neil Gaiman, a brief explanation of how Gaiman found himself researching into the various translation of Nordic myths and legends and giving the Gods their voices. It was a brilliant way in which to draw me into the book, find my footing with Gaiman's narrative voice and gave me the little backstory that I didn't know I wanted until I had heard it.

Would this be an audiobook review if I didn't mention Neil Gaiman's exceptional narration? He's already up there as one of my favourite authors, but the more I listen to his books (which I should mention all have Gaiman narrating at least some aspect) he's making his way into a favourite audiobook narrator. 

If you rememeber, a couple of months ago I read and reviewed Joanne Harris' Runemarks, but lacked the heart to give it a raving review. Now, I'll let you into a little secret - I read this alongside Runemarks, and while I usually struggle to read two books set in the same area of myth and legends at the same time, the complete stark difference on the taking of the stories made it easy for my brain to grasp them as individual stories rather than merge them in my mind.

What has that got to do with this review? 

Well, I thought a little comparison might help with the actual review process. Norse Mythology is written in the style of a short story anthology, that all weave together to create a timeline of the Gods before Ragnorak. And I really liked that. I could dip in and out of the stories as I pleased and makes for a great touchstone and valley into Norse Myths.

I really liked how Gaiman fleshed out the characters of the Gods, bringing them to a contemporary audience. Sometimes retellings of myths, like this, can fall a little flat and left to only be characterized by their name and what they're the God of. 

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REVEIW| Friendship Fails of Emma Nash

Friendship Fails of Emma Nash (Emma Nash Series #2)
Chloe Seager
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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UK Publisher: HQ Young Adult
UK Release Date: August 9th, 2018

Synopsis:

Emma Nash is back….and determined to work out the world of friendships and relationships once and for all (…ish).

Now she’s in the sixth form, Emma’s expecting life to be a breeze but when her best friend Steph suddenly has a boyfriend who she’s spending more time with Emma’s not sure what to do with herself.

So Emma’s got a mission in mind: making new friends. Signing up for the school fashion show seems like the perfect opportunity. Although soon, through a series of mishaps that are absolutely not Emma’s fault (well, sort of), her world is teetering on the edge of disaster again.

Would going back to creating a life for herself online reaaaaaallllyyy be so bad?

Review


Oh my God, this was just bloody brilliant! Fantastic! Hilarious! 

I swear I was snorting with laughter on every other page, which made for an awkward Q&A session with my Nan. 

Friendship Fails starts briefly where things left off at the end of Editing Emma, things are settling back to normal, only her best friend has got herself a boyfriend and Emma begins to worry that she has no friends... and so we embark on Emma's misadventures. 

I think my favourite thing about this book is how Seager switches course and Emma focuses on friendship and finding her feet with that, rather than being another book on romantic relationships. Its so important that we get more books like this is YA. What do I mean by that? Funny, engaging, and valuing the importance of teen friendships.


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Top 5 Wednesday| Don't Look Under Your Bed

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

If we define the Monster as a noun, the dictionary gives us:
Monster, n.
1. a large, ugly and frightening imaginary creature.
2. a thing of extraordinary or daunting size.
I think for this weeks topic we need to take this into account, but also all of the supernatural and mythical beings that we can encounter on our reading journies. 


1. The Bone Carver
A Court of Mist and Fury
Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads

Sarah J. Maas introduces many different types of Fae in her ACOTAR series, but one that I was most creeped out and intrigued by was The Bone Carver. 



2. Sea Foxes
Truthwitch
Susan Dennard

Goodreads

They sound like they would be monsters of the big and cuddly kind, right?
They serve as mythical beasts, that aren't quite as mythical as originally thought. 


3. The Jabberwocky
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
Lewis Carroll

Goodreads

I just love the nonsensical poem. The Jabberwocky isn't really in the books other than Alice reading the poem in the mirror. However, in Tim Burton's The Jabberwocky becomes the creature that Alice must face to defeat the Red Queen in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.


4. The "Green Man"
A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness

Goodreads

The monster in Ness's book is rather a sad one. He becomes the mechanism for coping with grief and loss throughout the book.




5. The "Beldam"/ Other Mother
Coraline
Neil Gaiman

Goodreads

The Other Mother might still be one of the scariest monsters on this list. There is something unnerving about something that looks like the person you are meant to find the most comfort in, but with things slightly different everytime you come into contact with you, or that wants to eat your soul.

REVIEW| Runemarks

Runemarks (Runemarks #1)
Joanne M. Harris


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My Edition:

UK Publisher: Gollancz
UK Release Date: April 17th, 2017

Synopsis:

Seven o’clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the end of the world, and goblins had been at the cellar again. . . . Not that anyone would admit it was goblins. In Maddy Smith’s world, order rules. Chaos, old gods, fairies, goblins, magic, glamours–all of these were supposedly vanquished centuries ago. But Maddy knows that a small bit of magic has survived. The “ruinmark” she was born with on her palm proves it–and makes the other villagers fearful that she is a witch (though helpful in dealing with the goblins-in-the-cellar problem). But the mysterious traveler One-Eye sees Maddy’s mark not as a defect, but as a destiny. And Maddy will need every scrap of forbidden magic One-Eye can teach her if she is to survive that destiny. 

Review

It took my a month to push through this one. I sped through a hundred and fifty pages one day and the next I could get through twenty. 

My biggest problem is with the protagonist and the pacing. Maddy Smith is a seemingly ordinary teen, but one born with a runemark. In a society that has come to despise everything that depicts and as far as her personality goes, that's it. She's is very much so a self-insert character, and I had no interest in that.

My issue with the pacing was that so much was going on. Harris uses all these short fast chapters to build and build to these revelations, but it still felt like nothing was happening. It was highly frustrating, and gave me no motivation to pick back up the book as soon as I put my bookmark back in, a chapter later.

I debated about whether to give this two or three stars, but ended up settling on three. Runemarks did offer complex and flawed interpretations of the Norse Gods, that really made this book stick out and left me wanting to get to the end. They felt as close to human as a God could be and it was an interesting aspect of the narrative.

I don't think I will be picking the sequel (companion?), Runelight, but perhaps I'll enjoy her The Testament of Loki.

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Top 5 Wednesday| I've Been Expecting You, Reader

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

This week we are looking at Villains. These often are the antagonists of our stories, the physical entity of conflict and what our fear of outcome could be. The best villains are the ones that have strong motivation behind their ideas and desires, that evoke emotions into the reader.


1. Victor Vale and Eli Cardale
Vicious (Villains #1)
V.E. Schwab

Goodreads

I promise this is the last time I mention a Schwab novel in a Top 5 for a few weeks. 
Neither one of the protogonists in Schwab's Vicious are predominately good people. Eli is motivated by his belief that his power is a gift from God, to do his work and Victor falls into the bracket of sociopathic tendencies. What this brings is an interesting mix of inner conflict as you realize you are rooting for someone who is still rather "bad". 
2. Dolores Umbridge
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix (Harry Potter #5)
J.K. Rowling

Goodreads

Dolores Umbridge is a worse villain the Voldemort. There I said it. She abuses kids (Harry's detention - I Must Not Tell Lies), but what makes it worse is how people can't justify her actions, but can justify Snape's actions towards his students.
3. The Master
Doctor Who
As portrayed by: Robert Delgado (1971-73); John Simm (2007-9, 2017)

I grew up with John Simms as The Master, so for me he is my version that I love the best. The Master is a little bit mad, insane even, but that's what makes him a dangerous 
  However, I had to give a little shoutout to Robert Delgado who I have since enjoyed immensely.

4. Regal Farseer 
Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3)
Robin Hobb

Goodreads

Regal is such a **** isn't he? Like all of Robin Hobb's characters, he is a byproduct of upbringing and a set of beliefs that they become ingrained into his entitled viewpoint.

5. Kilgrave
Jessica Jones
As portrayed by: David Tennant

Kilgrave was the only thing keeping me going through series one of Jessica Jones. And I'm going to leave it at that.

REVIEW| The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles
Madeline Miller
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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My Edition: 

UK Publisher: Bloomsbury Modern Classics
UK Release Date: September 21st, 2017

Synopsis:

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. 

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.


Review

This is one that I had a lot of expectations in, but at the same time, I had no clue what I was getting into with this one. 

For those who get daunted by the Iliad and the Odyssey, I'd say that this is a good introduction to some iconic names that get thrown around in classical studies. It was accessible and embellished the story rather vividly. 

However, I did find it difficult to finish. I knew the ending, and I feel like you can guess the ending from the beginning anyway. Because of this, I didn't connect to the characters as emotionally that I had hoped to, or maybe I'm just a heartless bitch, I didn't have any strong reaction - like I had thought I would have. For that, I couldn't quite give it the five stars I had thought I was going to give it.

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Sunshine Blogger Award 2.0

Didn't you just post this last month?
Yes, dear reader, I did.


The Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions sent by that person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 11 new blogs to recieve the award and write 11 new questions.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

The lovely Abby from AJ's Pages tagged me, a little while back (but, you know, Uni) - please, go check out her blog! She's absolutely wonderful!

1. Where is your ideal reading place?

In bed. Imagine this: its the middle of winter. You're curled into the corner crook, a quilt and throw wraps you into a burrito style, hot water bottle, pillows propping your neck, the sound of purring cats playing through your headphones, and a big chunky fantasy in your lap. 

2. Does your environment affect the way you read, e.g. weather, noise, temperature?

Yes. If its too hot, I can't concentrate on a book at all and would rather watch a TV show instead. I tend to read more if its raining, or during the winter. When I'm at Uni, I will find it hard to find the time to read or if that's the flat really busy, I find it hard to try and read.

3. Where do you get most of your book recommendations?

Twitter? Or browsing the shelves of Waterstones. Or my University lecturers.

4. What are some tips you would like to give other book bloggers?

Be you. Yes, it's cliched and nothing new, but by just being "you", people will gravitate and get to know you through the things you say and how you say them. 

5. If you could go back and speak to yourself while you were writing your first blog post, what would you say?

Don't stop. 

6. Which books are you most excited to read this year?

This doesn't specify new releases, so I'll list a few books that I'm hoping to get to before the end of the year.

  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu
  • Tarnished City by Vic James
  • Shadowplay by Laura Lam
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

7. If you could change one thing about the way you read, what would it be?

I used to be a tenacious reader, and could read for hours at a time... until I got into my teens and my mum started relying on me more to help out. Every ten-twenty minutes she would call for me and since then I've never been able to concentrate longer than half an hour at a time. 

I would love to be able to get back to that place, where I could read for longer. 

8. Do you prefer new releases or backlist books?

I get so stressed out by trying to keep up with upcoming releases and getting swept up by the hype of them, that its just easier to focus on my backlist and the books I know I will like.

9. Where do you acquire most of your books from?

I try to keep the amount of books I am requesting from publishers down to a minimum, and often to tend to buy my books physically from Waterstones. That's just because they had a good loyalty scheme for students (I used to get 10 points to every £1, that I spent), but they've changed it so I might see if there is any local indie stores I can support a little more often.

10. What's important to you that decides whether or not you pick up a book?

This is tricky. I guess if it comes highly reccommended by people who I trust and know that we have very similar reading tastes. I am a bit of a cover snob, I can't help it. 

11. If you could invite any five characters to a house party, which would you invite?

I, both, absolutely love and hate this question. I had to restrain from just putting every literary cat I could remember, because, ew, house parties are not my thing. 

  • Magnus Bane (I'd pay him to help set-up and get booze)
  • Rhy Maresh (he'd just be fun to be with?)
  • Bill Weasley (Imagine the stories he'd have a curse breaker?!)
  • Kizzy (Long Way from a Small Angry Planet)
  • Rose Tyler (and the 9th/10th Doctor, I'd give her a plus one)
My turn:

1. What has been your top three books you have read this year, so far?
2. If you could interview one author, dead or alive, who would it be? Why?
3. Where did you get your blog name from? Was there any specific inspiration?
4. Do you prefer to read new releases or books from your back list?
5. Do you read first thing in the morning or last thing at night?
6. Do you have a reading companion?
7. What one book would you love to see adapted into a TV show?
8. What's the weirdest thing you've read in a book, without naming the book?
9. Do you know how many books you have on your physical TBR pile?
10. If you weren't blogging about books, do you think you would still have a blog? If so, what else do you think you would be blogging about?
11. Is there any book tropes that you never seem to tire of?

I tag:

Laura @ Bookish Laura

Emily @ YesWhale

Holly @ The Writing Finch

Lilly-Beth @ iambookmad

Kate @ Infinity Reads

Dorine @

Jorine @ jorie story

Cerys @ 

Aimee @ aimee always

Shirley @ shirley cuypers

Ash @ For the Love of Books
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