The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

April Haul and the Broken Book-Buying Ban

on April 30, 2016

I am a big fat failure. Remember when I said I was going on a book buying ban this month? HAHAHAHA.

I started out with such good intentions, and I hauled a load of books from the LIBRARY in the first half of the month. And yes, I felt very self-righteous about all the lovely free books I was reading and shelf space I was saving.

But half way through the month I got ill and I wanted a comforting Kindle read, so I broke the ban and downloaded some fluffy romance (which is better for the soul than chicken soup, one might legitimately argue)… That single moment of weakness was all it took for me to lose ALL MY SELF-CONTROL. I proceeded to buy 12 more books.


***Library goodies***

The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson


I adored this book! As the first novel I’ve read from the perspective of a transgender character, it was an eye-opening read; although I will never experience this myself, I felt I finished the book with a deeper understanding of how hard it must be to be born into the wrong body.

I recently attended an event at the Oxford Literary Festival where Lisa Williamson spoke about writing this book, and I was interested to learn she previously worked in a gender reassignment unit. She felt strongly that trans people were under-represented in YA literature, and she wanted the young people she was working with to be able to see themselves and their experiences in a book.

I loved that this wasn’t just an ‘issue book’ – although the issue of gender identity was explored, being transgender was not treated as the primary aspect of the main character’s personality (a trap many issue-based books fall into). The writing was simple and compelling, with lots of heart. Highly recommend!

The Chaos Walking Trilogy – Patrick Ness


I can’t even begin to describe how blown away I was by these books. I had an ALMIGHTY book hangover after I finished Monsters of Men, and my emotions were all over the place. I’d only read one Ness book previously (The Rest of Us Just Live Here) and I liked it but I wasn’t all that fussed. But THESE BOOKS… let’s just say I’ve bumped Patrick Ness up into my all-time-favourite-authors list!

This is a dystopian trilogy, but it’s not your typical fight-against-an-evil-government-whilst-juggling-two-love-interests fare. Love plays its part, but romance is not a sickeningly annoying sub-plot in these books.

The characters are EVERYTHING. The protagonist Todd is so GOOD and you will care about him DEEPLY. But Todd is also complex… he makes mistakes and he recognises that good and evil aren’t clear-cut; he sees the good in bad people and the bad in good people. The villains in this story are just as layered… you’ll hate them one minute and see the humanity in them the next. The character development is flawless.

I rated every book in this trilogy 5 stars (I NEVER do that). It sounds weird, but the reason I loved these books so much is because Patrick Ness was not afraid to RIP MY HEART OUT over and over again. I cared so damn much about his characters that every time anything bad happened it ENDED ME. I seriously cannot wait to snap up every single one of his other books!

Saving Rafael – Leslie Wilson


I’m not a huge reader of historical fiction, but I really enjoyed this book. The story takes place in Berlin during the Second World War, and follows a girl named Jenny who has fallen in love with Rafael, a Jewish boy she’s known since childhood.

I’ve read WW2 novels before, but the majority were British-centric, and I’ve never read any set in Nazi-ruled Germany. This was a heartbreaking, but fascinating read. I learnt so much from this book, and it really highlighted some shameful gaps in my knowledge about the holocaust and the sickening treatment of the Jewish people even before the concentration camps were opened.

The writing style was fairly simple but I appreciated that; one of the reasons I stay away from historical fiction is because I can’t handle heavy subject matter combined with the dense writing style which usually accompanies it. Reading this book has inspired me to give more historical fiction a go – if you have any recommendations let me know!

***To have and to hold***

PRETTY CLASSICS  – Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, and Dracula

Excuse the crappy photography… #reasonsIdonthaveaBookstagram


I did The Classics Book Tag this month, which put me in the mood for some classic literature. I spent a long time staring at these gorgeous editions in Waterstones and decided I couldn’t leave without them!

Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl


Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with Night Film by Marisha Pessl? That book POSSESSED me – it took over my SOUL. I’ve been wanting to read her other book for a while, especially as it’s been compared to The Secret History by Donna Tartt. We have a bookshelf at my workplace where you can donate your old books and pick other people’s up for the price of 10p (which goes to charity). I obviously donated more than 10p because I’d have felt stingy otherwise, but I still got this for next to nothing and I’m SO HAPPY.

The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton


I love Kate Morton’s books, so when I spotted one I haven’t read yet whilst wandering around Waterstones (which has been re-released with a pretty new cover) I knew I had to add it to my collection.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

IMG_1626 (1)

I read Shirley Jackson’s short stories earlier this year and loved the subtly creepy and unsettling tone of her writing. I’ve never read her novels, but I’m really excited to start this one!

The Woman in Black and other stories – Susan Hill


(Nope, that’s not the Woman in Black lurking in the corner, it’s my own shadow. #morereasonsIdonthaveaBookstagram)

I love the film adaptation of The Woman in Black starring DanRad (although I did jump out of my skin an embarrassing number of times whilst watching it). I LOVE to be creeped the hell out, so I can’t wait to read these ghost stories.

***Digital love***

The Missing – C.L Taylor


C.L Taylor is one of my favourite psych-thriller authors – I devoured her first two books. Can’t wait to get stuck into this one!



Romance is my go-to genre when I need cheering up. Happy, fluffy, angst-free romance preferable. I love a love story, and Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy was the one I broke my book-buying ban for. IT WAS SO ADORABLE and AH&*RJGRIOGJROIG. I’d heard great things in the blogosphere about this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Friends-to-lovers is one of my favourite romance tropes, so I was never really gonna be. ❤

After feelings all the feels over this book, I went on a bit of a Kindle spending spree and picked up 4 more m/m romances. I’ve been in a reading slump this past week because I’ve been so exhausted, but one-by-one these books are pulling me out of it.

So that’s a wrap for April! Have you guys read any of these books? What did you add to your shelves this month? And are you as awful at sticking to book-buying bans as I am? I’d love to hear from you. 🙂


88 responses to “April Haul and the Broken Book-Buying Ban

  1. Oh my gosh! Those covers for the classics are 😍 I want them all!

  2. Ahh Chaos Walking is my fave ❤ So glad you enjoyed them!!

    • mudandstars says:

      They were fantastic! ❤ I'll definitely have to re-read them at some point, but I'm still recovering from all the emotions haha. Have you read any other Patrick Ness books? I can't decide which to read next!

      • I also read The Crane Wife – but it was quite abstract, I definitely preferred Chaos Walking 🙂 A Monster Calls is meant to be really good though!

      • mudandstars says:

        Ahh that’s cool – I haven’t heard of The Crane Wife but I’ll check it out, as I quite like weird abstract stuff 🙂 And I’m definitely going to pick up A Monster Calls soon. I’ve heard so many good things about it!!

  3. Hey at least you tried 🙂 Those classic covers though… be still my heart! I’m a historical fiction fanatic, so Saving Rafael looks like my kind of book! I’ve never heard of it. The Act of Being Normal sounds like an awesome book… I’ve never read a book with a transgendered character!

    • mudandstars says:

      Hahaha thank you, I really did – I got half way through the month without buying any… I think that’s a fair attempt 🙂 Yes it was a great book, although if you’re a fan of historical fiction you might find it more simplistic than most books in that genre. The Art of Being Normal was brilliant too – I’d never read any books with transgender characters either; hopefully this book will pave the way for more 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Oooh and yes, the classic covers – I am sooo in love with them! ❤ I'm kind of tempted to go back to the shop and buy the entire collection – I need to hold myself back!!

  4. Twelve books, hahaha. Well, if you’re going to break your vow you might as well go big! Sorry to hear you were ill, though. Hope your Kindle reading got you through it comfortably.

    • mudandstars says:

      Hahaha yes, I really did break it in style! 🙂 Aww thanks, I’m much better now, just a fluey kinda thing which wiped me out for about five days. The good news is that it gave me five days to lie on the sofa and read 😀

  5. Yesssss to Chaos Walking! One of my all time faves. Also fluffy romances are definitely as restorative as chicken soup, no question. 🙂 x

    • mudandstars says:

      They’ve definitely made my all time favourites list too 😀 Will have to re-read them at some point when I’ve recovered from all the emotions!!And ohh yes I’m glad you agree about he restorative properties of fluffy romance 🙂 they’re the perfect antidote to feeling crappy! x

  6. I still need to read The Chaos Walking Trilogy. Patrick Ness is like one of my favourite authors so I don’t know why I haven’t taken the plunge and read his trilogy. They are bricks though actually!

    • mudandstars says:

      Ohh yes please do – they were amazing books! Although they are huge, they’re quite quick to read because they’re really fast-paced and addictive. Which is your favourite Patrick Ness book? I can’t decide which to pick up next!

  7. I really need to read The Chaos Walking trilogy as well, I’ve read almost all of Patrick Ness books…well okay, two, but I loved both. I keep hearing great thing about this series, so I can’t wait! 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Yesss please do, they were incredible!! Ooh which two did you read? I can’t decide which to read next, although it will probably be More Than This as I already have a copy 🙂

      • MORE THAN THIS was incredible. I read that one first, and damn that book was a slap in my face, I couldn’t get over it. It was so, so good ! I read The Rest of Us Just Live here as well, and it was great, maybe a little less mind-blowing, but still very original, I loved it! 🙂

      • mudandstars says:

        That’s exactly how I would describe my feelings towards Chaos Walking – you are going to love it!! ❤ I enjoyed The Rest of Us Just Live here, but like you said, wasn't quite as blown away. I'm so excited to read More Than This now!! 😀

      • I can’t wait to read your review of that book!


    Haha book-buying bans never work. And the world needs more love for Chaos Walking! x

  9. I read Chaos Walking at the start of this year and absolutely loved it so I too am working my way through all of his other books. I’d definitely recommend a Monster Calls (but try to get a physical copy with all of the illustrations). It’s beautifully written, so sad and yet somehow uplifting and hopeful.

    I also tend to go down the romance route when I need a bit of cheering up. I loved Him too. They are just soo sweet together. I’m trying to get my mitts on the next in the series Us 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Ooh yes, I really want to pick up a physical copy of A Monster Calls – I was staring at it for ages in the bookshop the other day but decided I needed to restrain myself from spending more money. But you’ve made me really excited to read it – I’ll definitely pick up a copy this month! 🙂 And I’m glad you loved Him too – Jamie & Wes are all kinds of adorable ❤ I also really want to read the next book in the series! 😀 Which reminds me, I've been meaning to ask you – did you ever get round to reading that novella/sequel to Know Not Why?

      • I did and I hate to say this but I didn’t really like it. Know Not Why was absolutely fantastic but the sequel just didn’t work. I think it’s because it’s not from Howie’s pov and I loved being inside his head 🙂

      • mudandstars says:

        I read it too! I did enjoy it (because there were so many parts that made me laugh out loud, and not many books do that for me!) but I completely agree that it wasn’t as good as being inside Howie’s head. Howie’s rambling thoughts are what made Know Not Why so hilarious! I really hope the author writes more stuff from Howie’s POV in future because I would snap that up. 🙂

  10. embuhlee says:

    I totally feel you about the Chaos Walking trilogy. I read it last year and still think about it. Nice haul!

    • mudandstars says:

      Glad you loved them too 😀 I completely agree, they are going to be books which stay with me for a long time. I definitely want to re-read them (once I’ve recovered from all the emotions haha!) Which was your favourite book in the series?

      • embuhlee says:

        I think I liked the second one the best. It was definitely the one that caused the biggest reactions. Yours?

      • mudandstars says:

        Me too actually! I loved all three books, but The Ask and The Answer impressed me so much because I never usually rate middle books so highly and it really was just as strong as the others. Also the character development was amazing in this one, especially with Davey (who I was not expecting to grow to like at all!) And I cried buckets (but then I did that in all three books haha…)

      • embuhlee says:

        Agreed, definitely. I really, really liked book one, but but two, I looooved. And yes: tears, bawling, the whole shebang. xD

  11. Ayunda says:

    I don’t blame you for buying that edition of Frankenstein, it looks gorgeous! And hell yeah for the Chaos Walking trilogy!!! Todd is my absolute bae 💖

    • mudandstars says:

      I know, I totally fell in love with the cover ❤ I had to restrain myself from buying the entire collection! And aww I know, Todd is adorable. It's honestly been a while since I cared so so much about a protagonist! Such a fantastic trilogy.

  12. I just got Special Topics in Calamity Physics this month as well! You edition is way nicer than mine, though. So excited to read it!

  13. After Knife: fuck you Ness.
    After Answer: whyareyoudoingthistomeagain?
    After Men: dead. i am dead.

    But I’m glad you enjoyed the trilogy and gave it a shot considering Rest of Us was your initial foray into his writing (which I often choose not to recommend as a first Ness story mainly because it’s kinda out there and something I personally appreciated if you follow Ness on social). Anyways, I hope you continue onto his More Than This/Monster Calls (for which there is a movie coming out in a few months!)

    • mudandstars says:

      Hahaha, yep you pretty much summed up my exact emotional process whilst reading these books. Now that I’ve read this trilogy, I’d definitely agree that The Rest of Us Just Live Here wasn’t the best one to start with (although I still enjoyed it, and I think I’d get more out of it if I were to re-read it). I’ll definitely be reading More Than This and A Monster Calls (I had no idea there was going to be a movie, but that’s awesome!) – I’ve got More Than This on my bookshelf waiting to be read, so I’ll probably start with that one 🙂 Which is your favourite Ness book?

  14. Michelle says:

    I also scored ALL the books in The Chaos Walking Trilogy 5 stars, I mean they are just that good! And I totally get what you’re saying about him ripping your heart out again & again & again…
    And it seems totally legit to buy books when you’re sick, obviously they’ll make you feel waaaaay better 😊

    • mudandstars says:

      Exactly – I was basically a sobbing mess in every single book haha! Glad I’m not the only one! Which was your favourite book in the trilogy? And yes, books are the best medicine ❤

      • Michelle says:

        That’s so hard to choose! I really liked The Knife of Never Letting Go and then Monsters of Men because of the Spackle 😊 and you?

      • mudandstars says:

        It is a tough question isn’t it?! I loved all three books so much, but I think I’d actually say The Ask and The Answer was my favourite, because I’ve never given 5 stars to a middle book before! And the character development in that book was amazing, especially with Davey (which I was so surprised by!)

  15. Oh my gosh! we have the same reason for breaking our ban! 😂 I just bought a book the other day to comfort myself from being sick for 2 weeks and a half. ✌️

  16. […] MudandStars […]

  17. Annelise Lestrange says:

    I cried a little everytime I read the word “Waterstones” in this post because it makes me think of that beautiful blac ad white edition of Carry On that I was so cowardly denied at home LOL (okay, we both know this is totally not how it went, but still lol)

    Loved your books of the month, both read and bought! ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      OMG! I totally forgot, I saw that cover when I went into Waterstones the other day and I forgot I promised to send you a picture! I will remember for next time 🙂 Gives me a good excuse to go back hahaha!

      • Annelise Lestrange says:

        That’s okay, haha! I still haven’t been to a bookstore since I promised you that picture of holographic cassandra clare’s novels lol And I cried a little again to see “waterstones” LOL I need theraphy lol

      • mudandstars says:

        Hahaha! Come to England and then you can visit Waterstones!!! (Sorry if the references brought more tears lol)

      • Annelise Lestrange says:

        HAHAHAHA MORE TEARS LOL I think I’ll arrive in England, come across a Waterstones (tears) and start sobbing HAHAHAHAHAH

      • mudandstars says:

        Hahaha omg, if you have that kind of reaction to Waterstones, one look at Foyles is going to destroy you with emotions haha. Foyles is my favourite bookshop in England ❤

      • Annelise Lestrange says:

        Do they also sell pretty and collectable editions of Carry On? Because if they do, I’m afraid England will get all my tears stock of all life times LOLOLOL

      • mudandstars says:

        Haha! Sadly it looks like they don’t 😦 Actually, that’s one major point for Waterstones, they do do awesome limited editions. That’s where I got my special edition of Lady Midnight! Maybe Waterstones do win after all ❤

      • Annelise Lestrange says:

        TEARS TEARS TEARS TEARS hahahahaha! Then it’s settled, Waterstones wins this round LOL

  18. Oh those editions are beautiful- I’ve seen them about- definitely worth breaking a book buying ban for!! And *high fives* about breaking book bans (ok, I probably shouldn’t be so proud of that) :/

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you! I’d actually never seen them before, I haven’t ventured into the classics area of Waterstones in AGES because I’m usually just buying all the YA haha. I’m so in love with them though ❤ Definitely worth the book buying ban failure! And hahaha, did you break a ban too this month? Don't worry, I'm kinda feeling that pride too. Buying books is ALWAYS better than not buying books 😀

      • You’re welcome! haha I do love that section too! hahaha definitely! yup! big time- I went on a bit of a kindle buying spree and bought a couple of physical books too- whoops! But I feel no shame haha- like you said BUYING BOOKS JUST FEELS SO GOOD!

      • mudandstars says:

        IT REALLY DOES haha! Ooh which books did you buy in your spree? 😀

      • Well since you asked…. Gone Girl, the first two in the Red Rising series, War and Peace, Wild Swans, The Orphan Queen, the hit list, before hadley (mostly-they were kindle books and all of them were cheap- but it’s still a lot!)

      • mudandstars says:

        Oooh nice haul! I have been hearing a lot about the Red Rising series recently, I think I’m gonna have to check it out soon. Look forward to seeing what you think of Gone Girl 🙂 And good luck with War and Peace – that is one mammoth book!!

      • Oh my gosh it is ridiculously good!! I haven’t stopped reading the series for three days straight- I’m now nearly finished the second one- I haven’t even stopped to blog about it! Ah I read gone girl pretty much straight away- it was sooo good!! Better than the film!! Yeah- I’m still scared about that one!!

      • mudandstars says:

        That sounds amazing!! You’re really making me want to read it 😀 And I agree – the book of Gone Girl is much better than the film. Ben Affleck’s mumbling annoyed me haha. And I like Rosamund Pike but I wasn’t a huge fan of her as Amy. She also was rather mumbly in Gone Girl.

      • It’s great!! haha yeah the film had flaws- I was sad I read the book after the film cos the ending was so good- I would’ve enjoyed the book more if I’d read it first

      • mudandstars says:

        Ahh that’s a shame – there are so many good twists, and I agree the ending was amazing. Have you read any other of Gillian Flynn’s books?

      • No I haven’t yet- but I’m really looking forward to reading more of her stuff in the future- particularly dark places- it sounds so good. Have you?

      • mudandstars says:

        I started trying to read Sharp Objects but I hated it and really couldn’t get into it. I was planning on giving it a second try, but then I just caved and asked my friend who’d read it what happens haha. Dark Places looks really good though, and I definitely want to read that one sometime!

      • Ahh that’s a shame :/ hahaha I understand- I’ve done that before. It does!! Me too 😀

  19. […] Mud and Stars […]

  20. This happens to me every time too! 🙂

  21. TodayWeDid says:

    Ahhh, I haven’t got the self control to place myself on a book buying ban! I admire you for trying 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks! 🙂 Turns out I don’t have any self control either though haha! Although having said that I’m doing fairly well this month… I’ve only bought one book. Maybe May is the month I succeed at this!

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