BLOGMAS| Merry Christmas!

I put Merry Christmas in the title, but if you don't celebrate Christmas I hope that you have a wonderful Monday as we begin our final week of 2017.

I wasn't going to post, then thought 'fuck it'.

I'm going to keep this as short as I can but 2017 has been one hell of a year, am I right?

I'm ending this year worse than I started off.

I've lost many things this year. I've lost friends who I thought would be by my side til the end, I had to give up my cats, I've lost a home, my entire book collection and that's just the beginning.

As I say I've lost all these things, I've also gained a lot too. I've built confidence, met people who are amazing, befriended the funniest of people, learnt what makes me, well, me and I finally feel like we're at the turning point where things will get better, as I strive for better.

I'm spending Christmas on my own this year, partly my fault, and partly on the fault of others, so here is just my small message in the void: Merry Christmas! Let your loved ones know they are loved.

BLOGMAS| The Christmas Eve Book Tag

It's Christmas Eve!? Where has the year gone? What better way to celebrate is with a nice easy tag.

The Christmas Eve tag was created by Sam at Samsnonsense over on Youtube, go check her out. I absolutely love her channel.

1. Christmas Eve morning: what is a book you wake up excited to read? One you anticipate reading or one you read in the past that you want to get back into?


Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1)
Robin Hobb

Goodreads

I really really want to finish this series. I anticipate going back into Hobb's world and reading the ENTIRE Elderlings series. I don't know why I keep putting it off. I loved book one!!

2) Christmas Eve breakfast: what are your favorite treats during the holiday season?
This one is tricky because they aren't exactly traditional hand-baked goods. Nope, just give me some ritz, twiglets and Scottish shortbread.
3) Family Time: What is a book that fills you with happiness and love? the warm fuzzies in general?


Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Laini Taylor

Goodreads

I'm shoving Strange the Dreamer here, not because it's a book that fills me completely with happiness- have you read it?!- but, it is one I adore with all my heart and I get the warm fuzzies for Lazlo Strange.
4) Christmas Carols: What are your favorite Christmas Carols or holiday songs?

I-I-I-I'm dreaming of a White Christmas,
just like the one's I used to know.

5) Anticipation: What is a book release you are very much anticipating?


The State of Sorrow
Melinda Salisbury

Goodreads

Alright, so it's not called "#SorrowBook", but it is one I am highly anticipating in 2018. I read the little sampler given out at YALC and can't wait to see where it goes.

6) You hear sleigh bells on the roof and are so excited you can't sleep!: What is a book that kept you up all night?

Apart from Strange the Dreamer, again, here is a different answer:


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

Goodreads

Honestly, when has there been a Schwab book that hasn't kept me up all night reading? Oh right, the ones she's still writing.

7) It's Christmas morning, and Santa has come!: What is a book on your wishlist that you hope to unwrap?

The Red Knight (The Traitor Son's Cycle #1)
Miles Cameron

Goodreads

I had this a while back, and I am still really interested in reading it. I lost my entire book collection, so I am really trying hard not to splurge and replace every book I've lost.


BLOGMAS| End of the Year Book Tag

I saw this on Jenniely's blog and thought I'd tag myself in and do it, seeing as it is the end of the year. Although, I think this would have been better around September or October, rather than a week right before the new year.

1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

A Game of Thrones by George  R.R. Martin [Goodreads]
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke [Goodreads]
Sightwitch by Susan Dennard [Goodreads]
The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams [Goodreads]

2. Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?


I'm writing this book tag, right at the end of the year, so Autumn is now over and done with. I didn't read any books that helped me transistion in the end of the year. I just read whatever I felt like? Although I've noticed that the longer books are starting to appeal to me more.

3. Is there a new release you are still waiting for?

I have completely lost track of books that are due out for release. Just so I don't feel the itch to go out and buy more books when I'm trying to get my TBR down to size. Either way, I don't think there is any.

4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?


Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo [Goodreads]
Shadowplay by Laura Lam [Goodreads]
Gilded Cage by Vic James [Goodreads]

5. Is there a book that you think could still shock you and become your favourite?


Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell 
Susanna Clarke

I made reference to needing to finish this book by the end of the year in question one, but this is shaping up to be a favourite book for this year.

We shall just have to wait til January, when I post my list.


6. Have you made reading plans for 2018?

Not really, if I don't reach this years reading target of sixty books than I will be aiming for that again, or it will increase to seventy.

Like this year I would really like to focus on reading the books that I have already in my possession and not buying them just because they're cheap. 

BLOGMAS| T5W Archived: Book Series I want to start in 2018

Top 5 Wednesdays is a book meme that was started by Laini from GingerreadsLaini and is now hosted by Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes.

If you ever want to join the fun, join the Goodreads group- here.


This is an archived topic from back in 2015. I wasn't apart of the group then. And I really liked these topics, so I'm going to do them this month, as part of Blogmas.


1. Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats #1)
Sebastien de Castell

I bought this with the intention of starting this series in 2017, but you know the saying: too many book, so little time. The series is now complete and ready for my enjoyment.

2. The House of Shattered Wings
Aliette de Bodard

The final book in the series comes out in 2018, so there's one reason I should finally pick this one. I've heard a few mixed things about this trilogy, hence why I am so apprehensive about starting it. I heard it "dark", though. 3. The Falconer
Elizabeth May

I love Elizabeth! Her twitter account is fantastic and I got to meet her at YALC this year, so my copy of The Falconer is signed and dedicated. I just hope that I fall in love with her fictional worlds too.

4. A Natural History of Dragons
Marie Brennan

Dragons. Of course, I want to read it.

5. The Young Elites
Marie Lu

I was gifted the entire series for Christmas last year by an ex-friend of mine. I wasn't bawled over by Marie Lu's Legend trilogy, I thought I'd try out with her fantasy series, instead.

BLOGMAS| Favourite Book Covers [2017 Edition]

Going to keep this one short, I love book covers. We say never judge a book by its cover, but if they all looked like this- how can we not?


A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris [Goodreads]

The Never King by James Abbott [Goodreads]

Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb [Goodreads]

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff [Goodreads]

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge [Goodreads]

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor [Goodreads]

Windwitch by Susan Dennard [Goodreads]
Godblind by Anna Stephens [Goodreads]

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke [Goodreads]

Show Stopper by Hayley Barker [Goodreads]


What about you guys, is there any covers that have just made you knees weak with its beauty? Let me know in the comments!

BLOGMAS| Wrap-Up: November 2017

I know. This wrap-up is highly over-due, but it seems that November has ended up just like October. I barely read anything!

Books carrying into December:

  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  • The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
  • A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
  • Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

Books I finished:

Animal Farm
George Orwell




BLOGMAS| T5W Archived: Favourite Retellings

When looking and brainstorming some topics for me to do over Blogmas, this year, I came across a Youtube channel that was going back into the archived discussions from Top 5 Wednesday and doing them. This was Sylwia from Wish Fulfillment.

1. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
Cassandra Clare

Retelling: A Tale of Two Cities

2. The Bloody Chamber and Other Short Stories
Angela Carter

Retelling: French and German Fairy tales

3. The Sleeper and The Spindle
Neil Gaiman (Author) Chris Riddell (Illustrator)

Retelling: Sleeping Beauty and Snow White

4. Uprooted
Naomi Novik

Retelling: Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel and Eastern European Fairytales

5. The Wrath & The Dawn
Renee Ahdieh

Retelling: A Thousand and One Nights


Are there any retellings that I haven't mentioned that you love? This list is rather condensed, so I've managed to miss a rather large chunk.

BLOGMAS| Review: False Hearts

False Hearts (Pacifica #1)
Laura Lam
⭐⭐⭐

Add on Goodreads


Synopsis:


Orphan Black meets Inception: Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult. 

One night Tila stumbles home, terrified and covered in blood.

She’s arrested for murder, the first by a civilian in decades. The San Francisco police suspect involvement with Verve, a powerful drug, and offer her twin sister Taema a chilling deal. Taema must assume Tila’s identity and gather information – then if she brings down the drug syndicate, the police may let her sister live. But Taema’s investigation raises ghosts from the twins’ past.

The sisters were raised by a cult, which banned modern medicine. But as conjoined twins, they needed surgery to divide their shared heart – and escaped. Taema now finds Tila discovered links between the cult and the city’s underground. Once unable to keep secrets, the sisters will discover the true cost of lies.


Review


The Cover


In it's physical form the cover is much prettier than the image I have used of the cover. The gradient of silver into a darker charcoal colour contrasted with the pink metallic foiling over the thumbprints. Mine were even sprayed with pink edges. Stunning book design by Pan Macmillan, again.


I really think the crossing of the fingerprints was a great evoking choice by the cover designer. The merging of two identities and why? For the love and bond of sisterly love.


The Content


I find it extremely frustrating that people are constantly looking for more books that are representative of bi protagonists, as well as PoC, and overlook Laura Lam, who does exactly that. So, please, give her some more love and support. 

Anyway.

At its core, this book is more than just a sci-fi thriller, but a book on sisterly love and the bonds show strength in how we would try and protect our own. And I think this is where Laura Lam really excels in her writing. I was rooting Taema on, in her covert mission to prove that the allegations against her sister were untrue. It elegantly focuses in on the relationships between characters, that builds on the foundations and makes this plot work.

I am very intrigued by the futuristic world in that Lam has set up. Of a world that seems so utopic, but finding a grotty underworld, that is integral to unpick in order to keep these two sisters together.

This was a well written novel, that I will be going on to read Shattered Minds by Laura Lam, that is set in the same universe, a companion novel.  

BLOGMAS| Ranking Doctor Who Companions- No.5-1

Yesterday, I spoke about my least favourite companions (ten through to six). Check it out here.


NUMBER 5- Mickey Smith
Mic- Mic- Mic- Mickey!

I know he's irritating to start with but, then he grows.

One of the reasons I love Mickey is because, of his character arc throughout the progression of RTD's era. He starts out as this annoying clingy boyfriend that is dependent on Rose and that dynamic that he remains reliant upon. Even though, it's hinted at the different points through the show- for example, S1X04 that he could be so much more.

NUMBER 4- River Song


River Song... Or, hush now, spoilers.
Yeah. Uh.. Not a big fan of River Song. Another one of those characters that began as an enigma for the Doctor to fizzle his brain over. And overall, I didn't like her the progression of her storyline in Moffat's paradigm.

But, unlike Clara, River has a personality that I love dearly. She's endearing and a lil' bit flirty. She is willing to put her foot forward and in a way keeps the Doctor in check. As well as Alex Kingston's great chemistry with Matt Smith. Which, in a way, makes her more excepting.

However, I am yet to see her in the show with Capaldi... I know. I know. I am behind so for that-River's place is only tempory.

NUMBER 3- Donna Noble
Doctor? Or, Donna?

There is something about the Doctor and Donna that just work together. They are just fantastic friends, and teach other a great deal.

From the moment we meet her, we meet that redhead that beats us around the head with how fiesty and loud she can be.

And then we got then RTD fleshed her out to being a strong and determined force of nature, that I can't help but feel was one of the more human, of the Doctor's human companions. That's expressed in her compassion, and even her desire to go home after events of the Ood.

NUMBER 2- Jack Harkness
<insert innuendo>
Captain Jack Harkness is here purely for the innuendos.

Fight me.

What?!

He is what made the 2005 series camp, and flirty. I remember being really young and watching Torchwood when the spin-off launched in 2006 (I'm laughing about the fact that there was a time when the BBC made Doctor Who spin-offs that actually drew viewers in).

NUMBER 1- Rose Tyler
tenROSE tenROSE tenROSE
Out of every Doctor Who companion, its Rose that captured my imagination as a kid.

I grew up in South-East London, and if you zone in to the SE15 postcode, given to the Powell Estate in Army of Ghosts, that makes Rose a Peckham girl. I won't elaborate too much, but let's just say: I saw a lot in myself, in Rose growing up.

She was my first companion. TenRose was and remains my first ship. Its her overall growth of character that keeps her firmly in prime spot, on my top ten companions list.


BLOGMAS| Ranking Doctor Who Companions- No.10-6

If you don't follow me on Twitter you might not have seen that I have been keeping myself all snuggly and warm with nostalgia goodness. Mostly Doctor Who and Harry Potter. It has been a great joy, this year, to learn that I will forever be David Tennant trash and Bill Weasley is still my favourite Weasley.

I've always wanted to talk about things other than just books, especially when I'm going through these long bouts of not reading anything. Other than academic texts, which I don't think anyone would be too interested in.

Anyway, what better way to start than by listing my least and favourite Doctor Who companions? Well, from 2005 and onwards.

I want to start on defining what makes a Doctor Who 'Companion':

For me, the definition of a Doctor Who companion is someone who is asked by the Doctor, or vice versa, to travel in the TARDIS and permits to do so over a stretch of time. By that, I mean for longer than one episode.

And yes. I will be including Wilfred Mott in this list.

Are we clear?

Shall I begin?

NUMBER 10- Clara Oswin Oswald

Clara Oswald
Our most recent companion. And my least favourite.

I saw Clara as the Doctor's enigma, someone who he must figure out, and fill in the missing link.

Which started out as an interesting character arc and sub-plot- so many sub-plots- it just got a bit exhaustive.

As for her character and personality- she seemed a bit too... perfect? I found her bland. Not to mention she stayed a bit longer than necessary. I think if she had left a series earlier than maybe, just maybe, she would have been higher on the list. Maybe.

Or, not.

NUMBER 9- Wilfred Mott
Wilfred Mott

Yup. I am including Donna's grandfather in this.

Even though, he remains as a very minor character he does have a significant role in the Tennant's final episodes.

He still stands by the Doctor even after the events of Journey's End. Really I would even go as far to say, Wilf became the nation's Grandad.

He is warm and supportive towards his granddaughter's choices. And I can't help but feel sorry for Wilf, having to put up with Donna and her mother. The only reason he is this low is because I hold others higher or they have a larger part to play.

NUMBER 8- Amy Pond
Amy Pond

I... I... I don't even have a proper opinion on our Amelia? The thing is for me Moffat's characters just don't stick. I know who they are. Know their story, but all I remember is if I liked them or not.

I do remember that I grew rather frustrated with Amy. Perhaps, it was her headstrong nature that often left me groaning?

Or the fact I often felt that sometimes she held herself to an account of knowing the Doctor better than anyone else ever could- no one REALLY knows the Doctor. I don't even think that the Doctor, himself, knows half the time.

But, what stood out for me was her boldness. Although, there is a real fine line between boldness and just plain recklessness.

NUMBER 7- Rory Williams


Rory Williams or The Boy who waited. I liked him a bit more than Amy.

Just, you know, the titles just brush over Moffat's characters and make them generalized and cliched: The Impossible Girl, The Boy who waited, The Girl who waited and The Raggedy Man.

I always thought Rory brought good humour to the show:
Did he just bring them back? Did he just save the world from aliens, and then bring all the aliens back again?”
Maybe it's my own sarcastic humour that made him a joy to watch.

NUMBER 6 - Martha Jones

I thought Martha would be lower down in the list, Apparently not. I think re-watching her time as a companion years later, has helped shape my view.

She is intelligent. Strong. And that is what I like about her.

BLOGMAS Top 5 Wednesday| You're a Grinch!

Top 5 Wednesday is a book meme that was started by Laini from GingerreadsLaini and is now hosted by Sam over at Thoughts on Tomes.


If you ever want to join the fun, join the Goodreads group- here.

This week is supposed to be a more petty 'things that make you angry' blog post, rather than focus in on things that really make us angry. For an example, 

1. The Lack of the Oxford comma.

This is a silly one. People's annoyance of the Oxford comma. I love it when I read something and realise just how much that sentence 

2. Girls in Ball Gown Dresses.

Remember back in 2012 when this was a consistent trend on YA book covers. Yeah, aren't we glad that that's over and done with. 

3. Cover Changes Mid-Series.

I'm writing about this, whilst looking at my new copies of the The Bone Season series. They're so generic!

4. Friends to Lovers.

Unless it's forbidden, please stop. 

5. "She's not like other girls"/Manic Pixie Dream Girls

She's quirky. Bit nerdy. A little sarcastic. Not you're average teen.

Oh, fuck off.

BLOGMAS| The Christmas Song Book Tag

1. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch”: Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

All of them? 
The Darkling- 

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone #1)
Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads



2. “All I Want for Christmas is You”: Which book to you most hope to see under your Christmas tree?

A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens

Goodreads

I would really love it if this edition- from the Vintage Dickens Series- would appear under my Christmas tree this year. Seeing as it is one of my favourite classics.


3. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.



A Shiver of Snow and Sky
Lisa Leuddeke

Goodreads





4. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”: a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list?
b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?


Naughty list:

Osaron -

A Gathering of Shadows
V.E.Schwab

Goodreads



Nice list: 

Makepeace - 

A Skinful of Shadows 
Frances Hardinge

Goodreads



5. “Frosty the Snowman”: Which book just melts your heart.

Strange the Dreamer
Laini Taylor

Goodreads

Wow. It took five questions before Strange the Dreamer turned up as an answer.


6. “Feliz Navidad”: Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor

Goodreads





7. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens

Goodreads





8. “Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)

Bill Weasley - 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J.K. Rowling

Goodreads



9. “Baby it’s Cold Outside”: Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

The Shadow of What Was Lost
James Islington

Goodreads





10. “Do you hear what I hear”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

There is a lot of books that I think everyone should read.


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