Top 10 Books I’ve Read This Year!

 

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Okay so I haven’t done one of these for a while but when I saw on The Broke and the Bookish that the topic for Top 10 Tuesday this week was Top 10 Books I’ve Read This Year, I decided to dive right back in! It’s been an up and down year book-wise for me – there have been some really, truly awful reads that make me wish I could go back in time and not click ‘buy’ on Amazon but I’ve also been lucky enough to read some of the best books I’ve read in a loooong time so looking forward to sharing them with you all!

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

If you’ve read my blog before then you won’t be surprised by this one being in the list! This is by far the book that has made me the happiest this year! Wasn’t expecting to love this one as much as I did but I definitely had a major case of the warm and fuzzies for this book, and its characters from start to finish. I also had a total geek-out recently when I was lucky enough to get tickets to go see Rainbow Rowell talk about Fangirl in July! Woo hoo!!!!

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

A sci-fi re-telling of Cinderella, this one was another one that I really didn’t have high hopes for. Sci-fi and Cinderella? Seriously?? But somehow this really worked and the world-building, and drama totally sucked me in. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book, Scarlet and am currently devouring, Cress!

3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

A total change of direction from numbers 1 and 2, this was a non-fiction read that was, as you guessed it, about introverts like moi. I’m pretty sure that Susan Cain followed me around and has just basically written about my life here! Really valuable insights into the introverted brain but without being all academic and textbook like.

4. Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

Read this and watch Midnight in Paris and I guarantee the first thing you’ll want to do after you’re done is hop on a plane to Paris! A true story, Janice saved up for a year and quit her job to go travelling, starting with Paris. While in Paris she not only fell in love with a Daniel Craig-lookalike but with the city too so she decided to move there. Now you can subscribe (like moi) to receive one of her beautiful hand painted letters about  Paris life every month. They are tres gorgeous!

5. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

I’ll admit if I’d had anything else to read I would’ve given up with this one because at first my reaction was pretty much ‘What the hell is this thing??’ but after persevering it turned out to be one of the most imaginative and unique books I’ve ever read. MI5 meets Harry Potter – go read it!

6. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

I can’t believe I’d forgotten about this thrill ride until this far down in my list – sorry Sarah! The second in the Throne of Glass trilogy this one is truly Celaena unleashed! Some scenes – wow, just WOW!

7. The Circle by Dave Eggers

If you’ve ever thought it would be cool to work for Google (like I did) you might think again after this one! Mae gets a job at the biggest internet company in the world – The Circle (aka Google) – and at first things may seem super cool and sexy but then it really becomes a super scary 1984 for the 21st Century!

8. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Ah, the last in the phenomenal Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, this was a bittersweet experience for me. I absolutely love this world and to get to spend time in again was a gift but then I turned the last page, and it was all over, and then I was blue. :-(

9. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates 

Another non-fiction one here and a total impulse buy, this is a really, really important read for both women and men about the extent to which sexism still exists, and how it affects all of us. Go read it! Now!!

10. Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I’m not usually a fan of WW2 books but after all the glowing reviews on the blogs I couldn’t not give it a shot. A clever, heart-wrenching and eye-opening book about two female military officers shot down in France during the war. You’ll need your tissues for this one!

 

I think this is the first time I’ve actually made it to the full 10 – go me! :-) What about you? What are some of your favourite reads this year? Leave me your link if you’re doing Top 10 Tuesday too!

An Evening with Rainbow Rowell

Now as some of you will know I’m not normally a two posts in the one day kind of girl but I am majorly geeking out right now and who better to share my news with than all you lovely people in the blogosphere! I found out today, totally by chance, that Rainbow Rowell is going to be doing a talk/signing at my favourite bookshop – and I got a ticket!!! Woo hoo doesn’t even begin to cover my reaction and I had to restrain myself from jumping up and down in the middle of the shop, clapping my hands like a school kid when I was handed the ticket. :-)

From time to time we have literary festivals in Scotland but the big name authors, if they come to Scotland, normally can be found in Edinburgh which is on the other side of the country from me. Very rarely do any of my favourite authors come to the West coast and visit Glasgow, so this is even more of a huuuuuge treat for me!

If you’ve read the blog before you’ll know that Fangirl has been one of my favourite reads of the year! Not normally my kind of book I came across it one day, in the very same bookshop where I’ll be meeting Rainbow Rowell, and after reading all the rave reviews on here decided to take a chance – and boy, was I glad I did! This book just made me so uber happy at a time when I was feeling pretty low so I can’t wait to get it signed and hear her speak about it!

I read a lot of YA, and now thanks to Fangirl, read New Adult books too and I’m in no way ashamed of that. Everyone I know, knows I read them, I read them in the train and don’t care who sees and I write about them on here. And I know I’m not the only person my age (recently turned 32) who reads these kind of books but what I’m wondering is will I be the oldest person at the signing or will there be a bit more of a mix of ages? What do you all think? If you’ve been to a Rainbow Rowell event was it mainly teenagers and people in their early 20s or were there some older (slightly!) people there as well? It’s not going to stop me going or ruin it in any way for me, I’m just curious!

Have any of you met Rainbow or a favourite author?

WWW Wednesday: Whatcha reading?

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We’re now halfway through the week – yaaaayyyyy!!!!! – which means it is the perfect time to look back on what literary lovelies have been gracing us with their presence this week, what books we’ve said goodbye to and what we can’t wait to get our grabby reader’s hands on next! So without further ado, I give you my WWW Wednesday list! (I do love a good list! :-) )

1. What are you currently reading?

That would be Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong. A new YA supernatural series from the queen of supernatural series, this one is about twins, Ashyn and Moira, who have the not-so lovely task of being stationed next to the Forest of the Dead so they can perform their destined roles – to calm the spirits of the criminals etc exiled there. Usually the rituals go to plan but, of course, it wouldn’t be a very interesting read if that happened this year! Things go very wrong and get very bloody, very fast! So far it’s not proving to be just as good as her Otherworld series but I’m intrigued so I’ll persevere!

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I finished The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway. This was a time travel meets period drama romance kind of book and if you’re thinking about reading it, particularly the paper version, be prepared because this is an epic tome! Back in 1812, Lord Nicholas Falcott is just about to be killed during a battle in Spain when he mysteriously jumps forward 200 years in the future. There he is introduced to The Guild, a creepy organisation of people who all have the ability to travel in time and claim to have the responsibility of guarding ‘the river’ aka time. For 10 years, Nick is quite happy just going with the flow in modern times but then he is tasked with going back to his time and trying to stop a major event that could mean the end of time! Dramatic, no? And, of course, back in the past he is reunited with the woman he’s been obsessing over for a decade! Overall, I enjoyed this book and the ending certainly was unputdownable but I have to admit to finding sections of this one a bit slow, and the characters could be a bit irritating at times!

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Well, if you read my last WWW Wednesday post, you’ll know that I’m expecting a lovely book haul to arrive in the post any day now. As we all know the decision on what to read next is usually not an easy one but this time I cannot wait to get started on Roomies, by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando! I first saw this one on the blogs and it sounded right up my alley – especially given how much I LOVED Fangirl and the fact that this one features my beloved San Francisco and University of Berkeley. Like Fangirl, this focuses on college-aged students and in this case, two future roomates who are getting to know each other online the summer before they start Berkeley. I’ve heard nothing but good things and I’m sure I’ll love it too!

 

Spoilers – Friend or foe?

Now I don’t know about you but I’ve never been the kind of girl who’s gone looking for Christmas or birthday presents. I don’t interrogate people trying to trick them into giving me hints about what they’ve bought me and even if I get a present early, I prefer to keep it until the day itself because I love to be surprised. I love to get caught up in the moment and not know what’s coming next. And that’s the way I’ve always been when it comes to books, tv shows and movies too. Much as I enjoy reading articles about my favourites, I never intentionally go looking for spoilers and if there’s even the slightest chance that I might find out something before I want to know, then I’ll shut down the website and back away from the machine.

Which is why I was NOT a happy bunny a few weeks ago when Daniel Gillies who plays the oh so dreamy and noble, Elijah in The Originals, totally gave away one of the major, most shocking and emotional twists of the season finale on his Facebook page. Yes, it was after the finale had been shown in America but as the many, many complaints on his post showed, this was weeks before it had been shown in quite a wide range of other countries around the world, including here in the UK. So when it came to the finale while I was still able to enjoy the drama, the emotional punch that should have been there, wasn’t.

Obviously America is seen as the big audience for these shows but the studios and the actors all know they are also extremely popular elsewhere. Surely us international fans deserve the same chance to be shocked and emotional wrecks as those in America? Other actors with shows broadcast around the world, like uber hot and super-human, Stephen Amell from Arrow, manage to get the balance right between teasing fans about what’s going to happen next without revealing actual spoilers and ruining the show for fans.

The fear and dislike of spoilers also applies to my reading as well and I always appreciate when you lovely bloggers take steps to either avoid revealing any big twists all together or at least warn people at the start that your review contains spoilers that could ruin the reading experience for us. Sometimes it can be hard to write a review without revealing too much so I appreciate the heads up!

So basically my feelings towards spoilers can be summed up, as so many things in life can, by a Friends episode. In this particular case when Joey and Rachel are reading each other’s favourite books and get caught up in revealing one spoiler after another!

What about you? Do you like to read the spoilers or do you prefer to be surprised?

 

 

WWW Wednesday – Reading, reading and more reading!

WWW is a great weekly meme run by Should Be Reading and every week when I read people’s lists and immediately run off to add to my wishlist, I tell myself that I should really be taking part in this. I somehow never seemed to get around to it though – until now…

Okay, so we’re asked to share with all you lovely people our answers to what we are currently reading, what we recently finished reading and what we’re going to read next, so here it goes!

1. What are you currently reading?

I just started The River of No Return by Bree Ridgeway last night and while it’s too soon to tell if it’s going to sweep me off my feet and take me to reading heaven, I have been dying to read this one for a while. It’s one of my recent birthday books and I was lucky enough to get the pretty hardcover version. Not that appearance matters. I can’t even write that with a straight face! :-) It’s a time travel story with some romance and period drama-ness thrown in and I’ve heard nothing but good things on the blogs so I don’t think I can go wrong with this one!

2. What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, another birthday book and the second in the amazing Lunar Chronicles series. For the first half of this book, although I was enjoying it, I could see what some of the mixed reviews I had read meant. After the first book, Cinder, I was so caught up in that world and was dying to know what would happen to her next so to jump back and forth between her story, and that of Scarlet, lost a teeny bit of the momentum for me. But the second half – wow! It was non-stop action and by the end I was dying to get home and order the next book in the series, Cress!

3. What are you going to read next?

Next I’ll be reading Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong, the first in a new supernatural series by the author of the amazing Otherworld books. And Friday, already a good day as it’s the start of the weekend, is my favourite day of the month as it’s payday and that means it’s book buying day! Not that I don’t buy books other days but that’s the official day that I try (and usually fail!) to stick to. This Friday’s purchases will include:

  • Cress by Marissa Meyer – No surprise there!
  • The City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare – I’ve said before this series ran out of steam after the original 3 books but I can’t not know how it ends!
  • Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr  – I have been dying to read this after I first saw it mentioned on the blog but the only version available in the UK that I could find was a large print! Now, I can get my hands on just the right copy!
  • Archetype by M.D Waters – Another one I’ve seen mentioned on the blogs and I’ve been looking to get my hands on. I’ve heard this is an un-put-downable book so I’m uber excited to read it!
  • Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella – Because sometimes after battles against evil alien queens, dystopian futures and supernatural forces threatening to destroy the very fabric of the world, all you really want is a nice no-brainer romantic comedy! :-)

 

What about you guys? What are you/were you/will you be reading???

Birthday haul!

Well, it was the big day yesterday – my birthday – and I not only got to spend a really nice day with my parents (and off work! Yaaaayyyy!!! ) eating lots of sweets and cakes, but I was also lucky enough to get some of the books I’ve been dying to get my grabby hands on for months!

Birthday haul

Sorry for the poor photo quality but in case you can’t make them out I was gifted with these bad boys -

  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – I loved the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, and while I’ve heard some reviewers say this one isn’t just as good, I’m still uber excited to get stuck in!
  • The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway – Time travel meets period drama. I’d never heard of this one until I read about it on the blogs but it sounds amazing!
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – The third and final instalment of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy hardly needs an introduction! This has been one of my favourite series of recent years and I’m dying to know what happens next! On a side note, both this book and The River of No Return are actually pretty massive so while I would in no way condone violence to books, it’s handy to know if I’m attacked while out reading somewhere they’ll double as an attacker smasher! :-)
  • Austenland – Well I have to come up for air sometime so when I’m not reading I’ll be stuffing my face with chocolates and watching this little gem. A rare example of a film that I not only much preferred the second time I watched it but was also actually better than the book!

I’ve been lucky enough to get this whole week off work – after YEARS of exams or studying for exams on or around my birthday, I vowed that when I started work, I would turn it into a holiday if I could, and that is exactly what I’m doing. :-) Today was my penultimate training run for my Race for Life this Sunday followed by an afternoon of shopping where I tried to pretend I was genuinely  looking at clothes and not just casually working my way closer to the bookshop. I’d just got 3 new books after all. I didn’t need any more.

Yeah right! If you can’t treat yourself on your birthday week off, when can you treat yourself? ;-) I bought Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong – I loved her Otherworld series so I’m excited to see what’s in store in this new series from the author. Got up some random romantic comedy on special offer as well and if I’m honest, I’m probably going to order Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo later (would you believe the shop didn’t have it in??)!

So what are you all reading this week?

Hello. My name’s Jan and I’m a compulsive book buyer!

The inability to walk past a bookstore without going in and buying books when we know we really shouldn’t, is something that all of us bookaholics suffer from. It’s just part and parcel of being a bookaholic really and to be honest,  I’ve never really felt that bad about it. I mean, I don’t drink that much, I don’t smoke or do drugs, I can still make rent and buy food, so what harm am I really doing if I buy an extra book here and there?

Well, that’s normally my attitude anyway because normally I’ll buy my payday bookstash and it’s really just a case of one or possibly 2 extra books a month on top of that. Nothing too excessive. These last few months though it seems to be the case that if I haven’t bought a book in a couple of days there’s a voice in my head saying ‘Must buy more books! Must buy more books!’ I might think something along the lines of ‘I really shouldn’t – I just bought books/it’s my birthday soon and I’ll be getting more books/I have a ton of books I could re-read etc’ but those thoughts are always gone in a flash. I can always justify the purchase – ‘I only have a few books left and I’ve got about a week till my birthday. What if they’re terrible or I finish them quickly? I’ll be bookless!!!’

I really have no idea what’s fuelling this compulsive need to attack my bank balance so viciously through book buying either! It could be the weirdly up and down weather – sunny one minute (perfect weather for reading at the beach so I need a book for that) and peeing it down with rain the next (perfect weather to curl up on the couch with a book so better make sure I have enough). Or it could be that with various personal stresses going on I’m using my love of reading as an escape more and more. Of course, it could also be that I am my mother’s child and can’t resist a special offer! Who knows!

They say that the first step is to admit there’s a problem so that is what I’m doing here today in front of all you lovely people. My name is Jan and I’m a compulsive book buyer! I’ve been book buying free for one week and I am trying really, really hard not to buy anything else until after my birthday. I’m sure that I can make it. Honest. I can be good.

But then I’ve only really got the book I’m reading now, some of the Throne of Glass novellas and a few extras that I’m just not feeling right now at all. Will that really last me until Monday? And there is still that special offer on at Waterstones bookshop…

 

How about all of you? Ever gone through a spell where you just can’t stop buying books? Or any tips on how to stay strong?

 

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