The Mud and Stars Book Blog

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

The Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2018

Hi everyone, hope you’re all having a lovely week so far! Today I thought I would do the Mid Year Book Freakout Tag, because it’s the middle of the year, I’m freaking out about that, and I want to look back at some of the incredible books I’ve read so far in 2018 to calm myself down.

My reading this year has been a lot slower than usual, and according to Goodreads I’ve only read 40 books so far (although I have re-read a few books that I couldn’t be bothered to add to Goodreads, so it’s probably more like 45). I have soooo many books that I want to get to before the end of the year, but I’m gonna take my time, because there’s no rush.

Here are my thoughts on the books I’ve read so far in 2018. Apologies now for what is going to be a 20,000 word dissertation of a post.

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Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2018

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This is actually the book I *just* finished. I had been holding off on doing this tag until I had read this book, because I had an inkling it would end up being my favourite. And guys, it was so ridiculously good. The story follows a group of five friends who are reunited for this first time since the death of the sixth member of their group, Jim. After getting into a car accident, the group become stuck in a time loop between life and death called a Neverworld Wake, and in order to escape, they will need to find out the truth about what really happened to Jim, and vote unanimously for the one member of their group who gets to survive the wake and live again. The writing was stunning – eerie and evocative, strange and otherworldly, the concept was well executed, and I stayed up late into the night reading in a hazy blur of excitement and energy because I was so sucked into the mystery. And I’m not usually one to sacrifice sleep if I can help it! I was nervous to pick this book up because Night Film by Marisha Pessl is one of my favourite books of all time, so I had very high expectations, but it did not let me down. If you enjoyed the way Night Film was written, but found it a bit slow, and were frustrated by the ambiguous ending, I think you will appreciate this one more; it has the same dark and delicious atmosphere of that book, but it’s pacier, and things wrap up more definitively and satisfyingly. I AM JUST IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK, OK?


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018

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Nemesis by Brendan Reichs was one of my top five books of 2017, so this was probably my most anticipated sequel of 2018. It didn’t disappoint me. I won’t say anything about the plot of this book, but the premise of the first book is that our two protagonists, Min and Noah, have both been struggling in private with the same horrifying predicament: every two years, on their birthdays, a black-suited man hunts and kills them in cold blood. They then wake up several miles from home, unscathed but terrified, and unable to talk to anybody about what’s just happened, because, who on earth would believe them? Set against the backdrop of an impending apocalypse, this series is so tense, thrilling, dark, and unique. Genesis was just as good if not better than Nemesis, and by the end I felt I knew these characters inside out, having been through so much with them. Highly recommend this underrated series.


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Having adored Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch last year, I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book. Love and Gelato was so warm, sweet and emotional, and I’m hoping I feel the same way about Love and Luck, which I believe is set in Ireland and follows Addie, the best friend of Love and Gelato’s protagonist, Lina.


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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This book sounds freaking amazing, and I am dying to read it. It follows two girls who are accused of murdering their best friend in the woods after becoming delusional in their obsession with a dark fantasy novel called The Way into Lovelorn. But what really happened that night? I mean, come on, this book is my ultimate creepy cup of tea and I need it in my life right now.


Biggest Disappointment

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This book follows a boy named River who wanders into a support group for teen addicts after his girlfriend breaks up with him, and finds comfort and connection there. I was really excited to read this book, because several authors I adore had blurbed it saying how good it was, and how loveable and memorable a character River was. But honestly, I found River quite forgettable, and his actions quite offensive. He pretends to have a drug addiction to keep coming to the group, when in reality he just got dumped, which is not even remotely the same thing! He also borderline stalks his ex girlfriend, which is no way to win a girl back, and it made me super uncomfortable to read. This book was interesting, and I didn’t hate it, but it definitely didn’t live up to its praise for me.


Biggest Surprise

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Honestly I wasn’t expecting much from this book, but I was sucked in by the cover (stunning) and the dark circus setting. For some reason I thought this book was fantasy/magical realism, so finding out that it is actually speculative dystopian was my first surprise. This book follows what might happen if the dangerous far-right thinking of groups like UKIP were to gain precedence in the UK. In the near-future England of this book, immigrants (referred to by the government as ‘Dregs’) are denied basic human rights, and immigrant children like our protagonist Hoshiko are taken from their families to perform in The Cirque, a grisly circus where they are highly likely to die whilst performing for the ‘Pures’ who are baying for their blood. This book is dark and disturbing, and I found it pretty powerful. At the same time, I found some aspects of it problematic. There is a love story between Hoshiko and Ben, son of a prominent government minister, and he definitely feels like a ‘white saviour’ kind of character. I ended up with mixed feelings about this book, but the fact that I had so many feelings about a book I assumed was going to be something completely different definitely surprised me.


Favourite New Author

freshers

Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivisson. I read Freshers, my first book by this writing duo, earlier this year, and I adored it. This book made me laugh out loud, which so few books actually manage, and I need more funny in my life, so I’m definitely going to check out more of their work this year. I’ve heard that all of their other books are just as hilarious.


Newest Fictional Crush

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Dante from Legendary!

I didn’t love Dante in Caraval, but he has more of a part to play in the second book, and I found myself swooning a lot whenever he was around. He’s a morally dubious character, and I kind of hate myself for feeling this way, but I just can’t help it!


Newest Favourite Character

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Oren from Scream All Night!

Oren is the older brother of Scream All Night’s protagonist, Dario. Oren is a wannabe B-horror movie writer, following in the footsteps of his famous father, but he’s somewhat misguided about what’s traditionally scary, and wants to make a film about murderous cauliflowers. Oren is a strange choice for favourite character, because for large parts of this book Oren is a total douche. But the thing is, he’s freaking hilarious (even though he doesn’t mean to be), and strangely vulnerable (which he definitely doesn’t mean to be), and I couldn’t help but love him, even when I sort of hated him simultaneously.


Book That Made You Cry

moonrise

This book follows a boy named Joe whose brother is on death row and it’s the most heartbreaking book I have ever read. I was in floods of tears reading this. It’s written in verse, and is so beautifully told, it will remain in my heart for a long, long time.


Book That Made You Happy

leahon

I just adore Becky Albertalli so much. All of her books leave me with a massive soppy smile on my face and this one was no exception. She writes the kind of romance that gives you butterflies in your tummy, her dialogue is on point and hilarious, and her books are packed with diversity. Basically, she is my queen.


Favourite Book to Film Adaptation

love-simon-movie-poster-2018

Speaking of Becky Albertalli, the adaptation of her first book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was PERFECTION. I loved the casting in this movie, especially for Simon, Nick, and Blue, and this was just all kinds of adorable and made me so happy and squishy inside. I can’t wait till it comes out on DVD so I can watch it basically every day.


Favourite Post You Have Done This Year

Probably this one! I like looking back at what I’ve read so far this year and reliving all of my favourites.


Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

illuminae

The Illuminae Files series by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. These books are stunning, both inside and out. They are works of art. This series is another of my favourites, and the first book, Illuminae is definitely in my top five so far this year. The books are so action packed, tense, epic, badass, and glorious. The characters are my precious babies.


What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

ALL THE BOOKS! BUT IN PARTICULAR, THESE:

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If you made it all the way to the end of this post, congrats, and I love you. What has been your favourite book of the year so far? I’d love to hear from you!

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The ‘What Cats Do’ Book Tag

HAPPY FRIDAY everyone! I hope your week has been…

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Mine has! I’m currently slap-bang in the middle of a two week break from work and I am enjoying life immensely. I’ve been participating in all kinds of joyful thangs such as sleeping in until 10am, spending the majority of my Christmas money on the majority of Waterstones, and drinking my body-weight in cups of tea.

Today, I thought I’d do a book tag, because it’s been a while! Thank you to Tiana from The Book Raven for tagging me in the ‘What Cats Do’ book tag, which I’m embarrassed to say actually happened back in March last year. Better late than never! Please do go and check out her wonderful blog, asap! 🙂

I’m excited to do this tag, and not only because it gives me an excuse to spam you all with a bunch of cat gifs… but mainly because of that. #sorrynotsorry

Anyhoo, here are my answers to the tag…


1) PURR…

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Purr – As cats do this when they’re happy or relaxed, what is the book that makes you happiest or relaxed?

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The Princess Diaries books were my favourite fictional retreat from the world during my crazy mixed up teenage years, and I find the series just as warm, safe and comforting today. Whenever I re-read these books it feels like coming home and catching up with old friends who I still get on with like a house on fire, even if I haven’t seen them for a long time.


2) SLEEP…

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Sleep – What is a book that put you to sleep or was just boring?

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Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. I had to read this book for my European Modernist Fiction module at university, and it was achingly dull. The writing is so flowery you want to be sick, and nothing happens; it’s just this guy waffling on about all the beautiful things he remembers from his childhood, like the taste of a particularly memorable biscuit, the architecture of his local church, and other fascinating things like that. It made me want to claw my own eyes out, and I don’t even mean that in a cat-pun kind of way.


3) CLAWS…

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Seems to Play Nice…Until the Claws are Out – Which book had the biggest plot twist?

pepp

The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden. Oh, this book played so cutesy-cutesy, nicey nicey… and then it stuck in its claws and tore out my heart with its brutal ending. This book made me so ANGRY with its unnecessary cruelty, and I will never not be bitter about it.


4) CUDDLES…

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Cuddles – Which book character would you give a hug to?

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Eeyore is the character in Winnie-the-Pooh who most needs and deserves a cuddle. Eeyore is my mopey and mourngeful little spirit animal and I love him to pieces. (Sidenote: I’ve been using the word mourngeful for years, but my laptop has put a squiggly line under it. Did I just make this word up?! I swear it’s a thing.)


5) CATNIP…

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Catnip – What’s a book that made you have warm and fuzzy feels?

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A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Oh gosh, this was just adorable. If you are in need of a hug in the form of a book, read this one. Reading from this dog’s perspective is just so pure, and his naivety is so sweet and amusing, yet Bailey is also gifted with bags more wisdom than most humans possess. I cried so many times while reading this book (and mainly from joy).


6) CAT BREEDS…

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Cat Breeds – What are your favourite books?

My favourite classic is Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

My favourite YA book is Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

My favourite thriller is Night Film by Marisha Pessl. I’m planning on re-reading all of these books this year.


7) GETTING THE CAT…

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Getting the Cat – How did you find your favourite book(s)?

 

I discovered Tess because I started watching the BBC adaptation with Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne, and I decided I wanted to read the book itself before I got to the ending. The BBC adaptation is brilliant, but the book is everything.

I discovered Before I Fall through first reading the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver (when I was going through my post-Hunger-Games-Dystopian-phase). I loved these books and desperately wanted to read more from their author.

I discovered Night Film because a friend with similar reading tastes recommended it to me, and I’m so grateful, because I’ve never been so utterly obsessed with/possessed by a book. Marisha Pessl is bringing out a YA book later this year and I am so ready.


8) THE VET’S OFFICE…

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The Vet’s Office – Your least favourite book:

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The Book of Margery Kempe by Margery Kempe. I had to read this book for my Medieval Literature module at university, and whilst I loved everything else I studied for that unit, I detested this with a fiery passion. It’s basically a religious autobiography about this woman who wanders around weeping uncontrollably because she’s so overwhelmed by how much she loves God. It was boring and repetitive and basically agony to read.


9) BEING PLACES THEY SHOULDN’T…

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Being in Places They Shouldn’t – Least favourite cliche:

The ‘chosen one’ trope (with HP being the only exception). Ugh. Ugghhhh. Whenever I read the back cover of the book and it mentions “So-and-So: the one and only super-special teenager who can save the world from crumbling into a million irreparable pieces”, a part of my soul shrivels up and dies.


10) THE GOOD OLD CARDBOARD BOX…

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Final Question: The Good Old Cardboard Box – Most underrated book series:

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The Diving In trilogy by Kate Cann. I haven’t read this series in many years, but I remember these books being fantastic when I was a teenager. They follow a girl named Coll through her first serious relationship, but they essentially tell a coming-of-age story. They are all about the intensity of first love, but have some really healthy things to say about sex and relationships, the importance of friendships, and identity too. The characters were well-developed and memorable; fourteen years later, I still remember Coll’s feisty best friend Val, and her cool feminist mum. I would love to re-read these books and see if they live up to my memories.


As I was tagged to do this literally ten months ago, I am not sure who has done this one already, so I’m throwing this one out to all my followers… if you haven’t done this and would like to, consider yourself tagged!

Love to you all and I hope you have a gooooorgeous weekend full of books, pillows, and possibly pizza! ❤

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2017 End of Year Book Survey

Hello everyone! Hope you are all having a lovely holiday and have eaten your weight in cheese/pistachio nuts/chocolates/your outrageously fattening food of choice. I personally have eaten thrice my weight by opting for all three of the above.

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I did the End of Year Book Survey last year, and really enjoyed it. This tag was created by The Perpetual Page Turner, and I find it a great way to review my year of reading!

Without further ado, let’s get started…


2017 READING STATS:

Number of books you read: 85
Number of re-reads: 3 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Rebecca)
Genre you read the most from: Contemporary, closely followed by horror/thriller


Best book you read in 2017?

the hate u give

ABSOLUTELY THE HATE U GIVE BY ANGIE THOMAS. A phenomenal book inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, with a hugely memorable narrative voice, characters I adored to pieces, and some powerful things to say we could all do with sitting down, shutting up, and listening to.


Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

thissavagesong

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab was a big disappointment for me. I know this is a beloved book, but I found it kind of slow and boring, and I felt the world-building in particular was lacking. I wish I could have loved it as much as everyone else, but I just didn’t get the hype.


Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

sladehouse

Slade House by David Mitchell was a total mindf**k for such a tiny little book, and I loved how complex and creepy it ended up being. Definitely in my top 5 favourite books of the year.


Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

The Hate U Give! And I will keep on pushing. Everyone should read this book.


Best series started in 2017:

diviners

The Diviners series by Libba Bray! I fell for these books so hard. I loved the 1920s New York setting, and the paranormal elements made them so creepy and compelling. Libba Bray has put so much research into these books, and every detail comes together to create something luxuriously rich and believable; I couldn’t help but be completely sucked in.


Best sequel of 2017:

lordofshadows

That would have to be Lord of Shadows (despite the traumatic ending). I think the Dark Artifices series is some of Cassandra Clare’s best writing, although I will always hold The Mortal Instruments dearest in my heart.


Best series-ender of 2017:

mafiosa

Mafiosa, the final book in Catherine Doyle’s Blood for Blood trilogy ripped my heart to pieces and remade it again. This YA mafia romance trilogy is such an emotional rollercoaster full of danger, passion, and intrigue. I am 100% obsessed with it and will definitely be reading it again soon.


Favourite new author you discovered in 2017?

invisiblechild

Tove Jansson (author of the Moomin books, a Finnish children’s series about cute troll-type creatures that live in a valley.) I loved the Moomin television show as a child, but I had never read any of the books until this year. There is something so lovely about them; they are quiet, quirky, and packed full of meaning and wisdom. I also picked up a collection of Tove Jansson’s short stories for adults this month (The Winter Book) and loved the stark poetry and subtle charm of her writing style. Can’t wait to read more of her work.


Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

nimona

I read my first graphic novel this year – Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – and I loved it to pieces. I’ve never rooted for ‘villains’ so hard; these characters made me laugh on every page and rendered my heart all squishy.


Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

nemesiscover

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs was one of the most addictive books I read this year. The premise of a girl who is killed over and over again but never dies drew me in, but all of the mystery and conspiracy and weird things going down in her town kept me reading and reading, desperate to know what it all meant. The word unputdownable was designed for books like this.


Book you read in 2017 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

caraval

I found quite a few new favourites this year, but I will almost certainly re-read Caraval next year in preparation for the sequel. I know opinions are split on this book, but I fall into the camp that adored it; it was so atmospheric and strange and dreamlike and I ate it up like the most decadent box of chocolates.


Favourite cover of a book you read in 2017?

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The cover of The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell is so gorgeous, and I will treasure this book of short stories forever because it is SO aesthetically pleasing, both inside (with the word-pictures it paints) and out.


Most memorable character of 2017?

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Eleanor Oliphant from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This book probably ties with THUG as my favourite book of the year. I related to Eleanor in ways I can’t even explain, and found her narrative voice so authentic and distinctive.


Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

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The Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle. Her writing is mesmerising and otherworldly. It took me completely away from myself.


Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2017?

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Esther the Wonder Pig. This is a memoir about two men and their pet micropig… who grew up to be not so micro after all. Not only was this book adorable, hilarious, and heartwarming, but it also got me thinking much more seriously about vegetarianism. This year I gave up pork, lamb, and beef, and in 2018 I will be going completely meat free. I have Esther to thank for my shift in world-view and I am very grateful 🙂


Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?

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Murder on the Orient Express. How have I only just read my first ever Agatha Christie novel?! Madness! This book was fabulous and I intend to read many more of her novels in 2018.


Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2017?

It’s not the most profound passage from the book, but this oddball line from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, for some reason, made me crack up laughing:

“If I’m ever unsure as to the correct course of action, I’ll think, “What would a ferret do?” or, “How would a salamander respond to this situation?” Invariably, I find the right answer.” 


Shortest and longest book you read in 2017?

Shortest: The Invisible Child and The Fur Tree by Tove Jansson (80 pages)

Longest: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (720 pages)


Book that shocked you the most?

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The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden. Whatthedamnhell was that ending?! Read my rant review if you want to know more…


OTP OF THE YEAR? (You will go down with this ship!)

I’ve not read many romance-centric books this year, but I do adore the pairing of Emma and Julian in the Dark Artifices series. Cassandra Clare is Queen of the Forbidden Romance and theirs is so agonisingly, heart-wrenchingly shippable.


Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?

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I loved the relationship between Peter and his fox Pax in Pax by Sara Pennypacker. This is the story of a boy who gets separated from his pet fox and sets off on a journey across the country to find him again. The connection between these characters was so pure, and melted my heart into a pile of gooey slush.


Favourite book you read in 2017 from an author you’ve read previously?

upside

I loved The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, just as much as Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Everything about it turned my insides to warm and fuzzy, and I loved the cameos from Abby and Simon. I can’t wait for Becky’s next book, Leah on the Offbeat.


Best book you read in 2017 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?

bone-gap

I finally read Bone Gap by Laura Ruby this year after so many fellow bloggers recommending it to me. I’ve decided that I need more magical realism in my life because this book was so weird and disorientating and fabulous.


Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Luca from the Blood for Blood trilogy. He’s the underboss of a prominent mafia family, but he’s secretly desperate to leave his family’s way of life behind. And he’s all sexy and Italian and stuff. *fans self*


Best 2017 debut you read?

I would have to say The Hate U Give or Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – my two favourite books of the entire year, and both, unbelievably, debuts!


Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?

The worldbuilding in the Diviners series is some of the most impressive worldbuilding I have ever encountered. I’ve never been so immersed in a setting.


Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?

esthercute

Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter; I laughed so much whilst reading this book, and all of Esther’s antics left me with a big soppy smile on my face. If you’re interested, she has a Facebook page, and it is glorious. Warning: you will fall in love with her and may decide to give up bacon for the rest of your life like I did.

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Also, shoutout to Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch which I read on my summer holiday. It was so light and fluffy and sweet, with a cute romance, and a lovely estranged father-daughter relationship. I also adored the setting (Florence, Italy). It was the perfect happy-making summer read.


Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2017?

The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden.

Me upon finishing this book:

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Hidden gem of the year?

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The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt. This creepy book is about a boy who gets the wrong train in the middle of the night. He gets off at a station which isn’t a station in the middle of nowhere, where he meets a strange old man who proceeds to tell him a bunch of horrifying stories. Although this was YA horror, it was actually extremely unsettling. The weirdness of this book gives it a feeling of ‘wrongness’, and that feeling of wrongness makes you want to shut all your curtains and block out the night. In other words, it was my favourite kind of book and I ADORED it.


Book that crushed your soul?

To re-use an answer (again), The Peppermint Pig. I don’t understand why a parent would read this to their child. It’s devastating.


Most unique book you read in 2017?

Slade House, which I’ve also already mentioned, was creepy and confusing and I would describe the reading experience as akin to walking UP a staircase only to arrive on the ground floor. It was a head-twisting masterpiece and like nothing I’ve read before.


Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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Did I Mention I Love You?  by Estelle Maskame. Ugh, the love interest in this book was toxic, and the main character was an idiot, and they were both selfish, and I just didn’t want them to succeed at all, y’know?


New favourite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I’ve been terrible at blog-hopping this year, but I have spent a LOT of time watching Booktube over the past 12 months. If you’re looking for recommendations, my favourites are Duvet Day Devours, Francina Simone, Peter Likes Books, and Hannah Tay.


Favourite review that you wrote in 2017?

I’m pointing you at my review of The Hate U Give, not because I think my review is anything special, but simply because I want EVERYONE to read this book!


Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I’m really proud of my ‘Self-care tips for book-bloggers’ post, and I was so happy with the response it received, as a lot of people seemed to relate to it. 🙂


Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) at London Film and Comic Con was so much fun this year. I saw lots of awesome author panels, bought 22 books, and even spotted Benedict Cumberbatch wandering around the building (so much fangirling!)

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Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

thehazelwood

Getting approved to read The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert on Netgalley was SO FREAKING EXCITING! And it absolutely lived up to the hype.


Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Posting… you may have noticed I haven’t done a whole lot of that these past few months. My mental health has been up and down, and it has been so hard keeping up, but don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere – this blog and all of you guys mean too much to me, and I don’t want to let my anxiety win!


Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Apparently my most popular post was The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag… Because we all love throwing a bit of good ol’ fashioned shade!


Post you wished got a little more love?

Hmm, I don’t really have an answer for this one. I’ve learned to stop worrying so much about numbers, and it’s very freeing 🙂


Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

This year I started buying books from charity shops and it’s so worth it! I scan the shelves specifically for books on my TBR, and it’s so satisfying when you manage to find, for example, a hardback copy of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor for £1.50. BARGAINS ARE MY NEW FAVE.


Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

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#boom

 


Book you are most anticipating for 2018 (non-debut)?

These please:

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2018 debut you are most anticipating?

Most definitely this:

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Series ending/sequel you are most anticipating in 2018?

Squealy-excited about these:

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One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2018?

I want to try and post more regularly in 2018, but not put pressure on myself to review every book. That will hopefully mean lots more book tags and other bookish content as those are the posts I enjoy writing the most. 🙂 I also want to do much better at keeping up with all of YOUR wonderful blogs. ❤


A 2018 release you’ve already read and recommend to everyone:

thehazelwood

Of course my answer to this one has to be The Hazel Wood. It has everything I want in a story… mystery, intrigue, weirdness, creepiness, and fairytale magic. Absolute perfection! I can’t wait to pick up a physical copy when it comes out in February, and I can’t wait for you guys to read it too. Review coming soon.


If you’ve done the End of Year Book Survey too, please link me to your posts down below as I’d love to see which books you loved and hated in 2017.

Much love to you all and a very Happy New Year; I hope your 2018 is a happyful one! ❤ xxx

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The A-Z Book Tag

Hi guys! Hope you’re all having a lovely week, and enjoying the season of pumpkin-spiced-everything as much as I am.

I haven’t done a book tag in 5eva, so when I saw this one over at YA Allegiance, I couldn’t resist giving it a go, because apparently I am never going to get around to doing any of the tags I have actually been tagged in. I’m the worst.

If you want to give this tag a go, feel free lovely people. Link me to your answers down below if so. Here are mine (and in case you couldn’t tell, I’ve made them as Autumnal as possible because October is my life):


Author You’ve Read The Most Books From:

animalark

Lucy Daniels. I read approx. fifty gazillion of the Animal Ark books when I was little, and I was obsessed with them, even though they were all basically the same story but with a different animal. I recently discovered that ‘Lucy Daniels’ is not a real person, but a bunch of different authors writing under a pen name. My childhood imploded.


Best Sequel Ever:

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This is such a difficult question, but I think I’m going to have to steal YA Allegiance’s answer and go with A Court of Mist and Fury. It was my favourite book of 2016, and Rhysand is bae. I mean, I really f***ing hate the word ‘bae’, but let’s be real, he is bae.


Currently Reading:

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I’m currently reading The Diviners by Libba Bray. I’m in the mood for paranormal reads at the moment because I live and breathe the month of Halloween, and I am enjoying this book SO MUCH. I love the creepy, occult vibes, I love the 1920s New York setting, I love how outrageous and fun the main character is, and I’m very impressed with Libba Bray’s writing.


Drink of Choice While Reading:

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I love cosying up with a mint hot chocolate and a good book.


E–Reader or Physical Book?

I much prefer reading physical books. There’s something so satisfying about turning pages; swiping on a screen is just not the same.


Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

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Michael Moscovitz from The Princess Diaries, my very first fictional crush, obvs.


Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

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A Game of Thrones. I put off reading this book for the longest time, because I thought it would be too violent for me, but when I finally got around to reading it, I adored it. I really need to read the rest of the series, but those books are so intimidatingly long, and the TV show has Kit Harrington, so…


Hidden Gem Book:

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Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson. Why do people Not Know about this book? It is the most adorable gay romance with the most hilarious narrator of ever. It will make your heart so HAPPY.


Important Moment in your Reading Life:

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I guess that would be the moment when, at the age of 17, I fell unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Edward Cullen. I was SUCH a Twihard teenage fangirl. Just to clarify, I fell out of love with Mr Sparklypants eventually, but I still give Twilight and Stephanie Meyer credit for igniting my love of reading, and turning me into the bookworm you see before you today.


Just Finished:

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I’ve just finished reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. This is a very short, very strange book, with very odd characters, a cat called Jonas, and a mass-murder involving blackberries. Right up my alley, basically.


Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I’m not the hugest reader of historical fiction, unless there are paranormal elements involved, or the characters are LGBTQ+.


Longest Book You’ve Read:

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The longest book I’ve ever read is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I enjoyed parts of the book, but on the whole, I was bored to tears, especially the part where there was a ten-page description of some characters mowing a field. TEN F***ING PAGES, PEOPLE!!!!


Major Book Hangover Because Of:

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I don’t often get book hangovers, because I’m usually excited to start another book, but when I binge-read a series I tend to struggle to get into something else straight afterwards, because I’m still wrapped up in the characters I’ve been spending all my time with.


Number of Bookcases You Own:

I have three bookcases at my flat in London, and two bookcases at my parents’ house in Oxford, although not all of them are full yet. Why helloooo, Waterstones, I haven’t bought anything from YOU in a while!


One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

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I’ve read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone over and over and over. It’s not my favourite book in the series (although of course I adore it), but I’m really bad at finishing the full re-read, so I always end up going back and starting at the beginning again. The beginning is pretty magical though, tbh. 🙂


Preferred Place To Read:

Probably on the sofa, because when I get into bed, my eyes automatically get sleepy, and my book gets neglected. This sounds like sacrilege but I think I like sleep more than books, you guys. Don’t throw things at me!


Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:

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I adore this quote from Wild by Cheryl Strayed (one of my favourite books of all time):

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”


Reading Regret:

That I’ve never, ever read a graphic novel. So many people seem to be into them. I feel like I’m missing out!


Series You Started And Need To Finish:

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I seriously need to finish the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, because I really want to read Six of Crows. I enjoyed Shadow and Bone, but I’ve been reading Siege and Storm for ages now and I’m finding it a bit boring.


Three Of Your All-Time Favourite Books:

I’ve already mentioned Wild by Cheryl Strayed, so I’ll go with Night Film by Marisha Pessl, Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.


Unapologetic Fangirl For:

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I’m trash for Malec, Rhysand, and Damon Salvatore.


Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

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I have no idea what this book will be called, or when it will be released, but I can’t wait to get my hands on Moira Fowley-Doyle’s next book. I read and loved The Accident Season in 2015 (which, btw, is the PERFECT Autumn read, if you’re looking for recs), and I recently finished her second book, The Spellbook of the Lost and Found. If you love magical realism and atmosphere with a capital A, I highly recommend her books.


Worst Bookish Habit:

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I’m sure everyone can relate, but definitely buying books and then not reading them, then buying more books, and reading them instead of the ones I already owned, and then buying even more books. And repeat, forever.


X Marks The Spot: Start At The Top Left Of Your Shelf And Pick The 27th Book:

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The 27th book on my shelf is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, which I am ashamed to say has been sitting on said shelf since before I started this blog. I am, however, planning to finally read it this month, because it feels like an October kind of book, and I’m trying to read as many of those as possible this October.


Your Latest Book Purchase:

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I ordered Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury from Amazon yesterday. It’s a story about a dark carnival, set around Halloween, so it’s top of my TBR for the last week of October.


ZZZ-Snatcher Book (The Last Book That Kept You Up WAY Late):

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I don’t often stay up late reading these days, because I get hella cranky without my beloved bed, but when I read I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid, I sacrificed sleep because that book was just too damn addictive. It was also very creepy and legitimately scared me, so I may have struggled to nod off after finishing it too…


Have you read any of the books I mentioned? I’d love to know what you thought of them! 🙂

35 Comments »

The Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag 2017

Hello everybody! I hope you’re doing well. Today I thought I’d do the Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag, because I’ve had so much fun doing this tag in previous years.

If you’ve done this tag recently, let me know down below, as I’d love to see all of your answers, and find some more books to add to my TBR. (I’m not supposed to be buying books right now, but w/e).

Before I get started, I just wanted to let you guys know that The Mud and Stars Book Blog officially turns TWO YEAR’S OLD this week! Thank you so much to everyone in the book-blogging community for your support and general awesomeness over the past two years. I love you guys so much, and I couldn’t have made it this far without you.

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Without further ado, here are my answers to the tag…


Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2017

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My favourite book of 2017 so far has been Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This book was so well written, so hilarious, and so deeply moving. Eleanor was such a memorable character, and reading from her perspective was a delight. This book completely blew me away and I can’t believe it’s a debut! You can read my review here.


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017

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Hands down this has to be Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. The ending may have ripped my still-beating heart out of my chest, causing a great big bloody mess, and I may be ever-so-slightly pissed off that I have to wait until 2019 to find out what happens next, but this book wowed me on so many levels. It’s one of the best books Cassandra Clare has ever written. My full review can be found here.


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book, and the subject matter (racism and police brutality) is so important and relevant. It’s one of those books which everybody should read, and now I finally have a copy, that’s exactly what I’m going to do, asap.


Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

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I was going to say The Treatment by C.L. Taylor for this question,  which comes out in October, but I managed to land an ARC of this book at YALC, so THE WAIT IS OVER (for me). I am SO excited to read this book. I love C.L. Taylor’s adult thrillers, so imagine my delight in finding out she has written a YA novel about a creepy reform school brainwashing its students. SO DOWN.


Biggest Disappointment

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After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry. The writing in this book was beautiful, but the plot was such a let-down. When I bought this book, I thought it sounded AMAZING and creepy and intriguing. The premise is that a man’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere… he goes in search of help, and stumbles across a house. When he knocks at the door, he finds that the strange people who live there all know his name, and have been waiting for him… WHAT A CONCEPT, RIGHT?

Unfortunately, instead of something sinister and cool, the whole thing ends up being a coincidence caused by their actual expected guest having a similar name. The rest of the book is very slice of life, not much happens, and the ending had very little impact on me (in fact, I can’t even remember how it ended.) Basically, yawn.


Biggest Surprise

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised by how much I enjoy romance books. I only ever reach for them when I’m so tired my brain is mush, and I just want something fluffy to escape reality with. I never expect to be bowled away by books like this one, but I ended up giving The Hating Game four stars. I loved the characters, the publishing house setting, the enemies-to-lovers romance, and the unbearable sexual tension. UGH, SO GOOD.


Favourite New Author

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Catherine Doyle. I binge-read her Blood for Blood trilogy (YA mafia romance, FYI) and I completely fell in love with it. I loved her writing style, her characters, ALL THE DRAMA AND ACTION AND DARKNESS, and, most importantly, the swoony, swoony romance. Highly recommend this trilogy if you’re looking for some excitement. You can read my mini review of the first book here.


Newest Fictional Crush

That would have to be Luca from the Blood for Blood trilogy. He’s the (stunningly attractive) underboss of a mafia clan, but deep down, he hates his family’s way of life, and just wants to be good. No YOU’RE lustfully fanning yourself at the thought of him!

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Newest Favourite Character

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Eleanor Oliphant; a lonely person, a bit of an oddball, and utterly, utterly herself. Her voice was so distinctive, and she felt so real. I loved her to pieces.


Book That Made You Cry

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I haven’t read many sad books this year, but the ending of Lord of Shadows, as you know, destroyed me, and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, dear God, had me weeping from chapter one. I haven’t written a review for this one because I’m not really sure what to say about it other than it caused me to expel a lot of liquid from my eyeballs.


Book That Made You Happy

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That would have to be The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. Molly was an adorable main character with really cool creative hobbies, her romance with Reid was super-cute, and basically this book was FULL OF RAINBOWS. You can read my review here.


Favourite Book to Film Adaptation

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I recently watched the movie adaptation of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver on Netflix and I thought it was fantastic. The actress who played Sam portrayed her so well – she was exactly as I had imagined her – and the ending of the movie had me sobbing just as hard as the book’s final page.


Favourite Post You Have Done This Year

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I think the post I am most proud of is my ‘Self-care tips for book bloggers’ post. I wrote it initially because it was something I needed to hear myself, but I was also so happy that other people managed to find something helpful in what I wrote. ❤

Here’s the post if you’d like to take a look. It contains lots and lots of Pusheen gifs and it was made with love.


Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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I am still very in love with the cover of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It’s STUNNING. My review of this book can be found here.


What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

So, I bought several books at YALC…

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Ahem. I need to read all 22 books I hauled, because I am on a book-buying ban until I have done so. I don’t think I need to explain why. ^^


What’s been your favourite book of 2017? I’d love to hear from you. Much love to you all and I hope you have a fantastic week! xxx

35 Comments »

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag is one of my favourite tags to watch on BookTube, and one of my favourite tags to read on WordPress. I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve always wanted to, so I thought I would give it a go today. I’ve done way too much gushing over 5 star books recently, so I think it’s time for a bit of balance around here, y’know?

Apologies in advance if I trash your favourite book or character. These are just my opinions, and if you loved these books that’s totally okay, they just weren’t for moi! 🙂

Without further ado…


A popular book or series you didn’t like.

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I actually DNFd this book 100 pages in because I hated the writing style SO much. Everything was described using nonsensical, douchey metaphors that were so jarring to the narrative, and the romance was just nauseating. You know when there’s a gross couple on the bus eating each other’s faces on the seat in front of yours? It felt like the literary equivalent of that.


A book or series everyone hates but you love.

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My answer to this question has to be Twilight. I know, okay, I KNOW that Twilight is shit. But… I will always have a soft spot for it. Twilight was the book that made me fall in love with reading again after spending the majority of my teenage years barely picking up a book. If I hadn’t gotten back into reading, I probably wouldn’t have studied English Literature at university, so, if you think about it, Stephanie Meyer is the reason I have a degree.


An OTP you don’t like.

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I’m not going to name names as I don’t want to spoil anything for the very small percentage of people on this planet who have not yet read Harry Potter, but I’m not keen on any of the pairings in this series. Perhaps it’s because I was way more invested in all of the Voldy-dramz, or perhaps it’s because all of my OTPs were non-canon 😉 but I just didn’t really care about any of the romantic subplots in the later books (unless we’re talking “always”.)


A popular genre you never reach for.

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I’m going to have to say historical fiction for this one. I own several historical fiction books, but they are gathering dust on my shelves and have been for a good while. I had The Book Thief for approx. a decade before reading it (though I ended up loving it), and I have a feeling it’ll be another ten years before I reach for All the Light we Cannot See; I’ve had it for two years already, and I’m just never excited enough to choose it next.


A beloved character you do not like.

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Sorry Chaolaena shippers, but I’m really not a fan of Chaol Westfall from the Throne of Glass series. From the very beginning, I felt like he had his priorities all wrong (what with the whole fierce-loyalty-to-a-barbaric-conquering-dictator thing), and he only continued to disappoint me. The man is a hypocrite because everything he struggles to accept in Celaena, he turns a blind eye to in the King. I hated the way he thought he could pick and choose which parts of Celaena to love. Not cool, man. It’s not love unless you accept a person in their entirety.


A popular author you can’t seem to get into.

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Neil Gaiman. I’ve read several of his books now, and, although I think he writes well, and his concepts are always intriguing, I’ve never been able to find an emotional connection with his writing. His books are reasonably entertaining when I read them, but they never leave a lasting impact on me. I finish them, then forget everything I’ve read.


A popular trope you’re tired of seeing.

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I am so sick of characters in YA novels who don’t understand how to breathe. How can you hold your breath so many times per chapter without realising you’re doing so? Unfathomable!


A popular series you have no interest in reading.

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So many! I have no interest in reading the rest of the Red Queen series (because the first book was just riddled with dystopian and love-triangle clichés.) I also doubt I’ll ever finish the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. Let me clarify: I LOVED the first half of the first book, because it was all mysterious, atmospheric, and creepy… But as soon as we had met the peculiar children, all of that tension fizzled out, and I got bored, because there was nothing to anticipate any more. I enjoyed the build up so much more than the reveal, and I’m not all that interested in the story without all that awesome suspense from the beginning.


A movie or TV series you like better than the book.

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The Vampire Diaries TV show is infinitely better than the book series. I think it’s partly because the books feel very dated, but mainly because the characters have so much more depth in the TV series. Plus, book-Elena is precocious, irritating, and shallow, but TV Elena is an actually-likeable person. Also, and most importantly, the TV adaptation has Ian Somerhalder. Anything involving Ian Somerhalder wins.


Do you share any of my unpopular opinions? What are some of yours? I’d love to hear from you!

79 Comments »

The Ben & Jerry’s Book Tag

Hi everyone! Sorry for my (unannounced) hiatus of approx three weeks. I’ve missed you all lots, and hope your days since we last spoke have been filled with good books, snuggly blankets, and gigantic tubs of ice-cream. You deserve those things! ❤

I’m struggling to keep up with blogging (and reading) at the moment due to good old anxiety, so I’m not going to make any promises about posting more regularly this month… But for now, I thought I’d do a book tag, because book tags are fun, and I haven’t done a single one so far in 2017.

I was tagged for this one by The Orangutan Librarian, and I’m ashamed to say this was actually over a year ago! Better late than never, I guess 😊 Please go check out her fantastic blog immediately – she’s one of my favourite book bloggers, and if you’re not already following her, you are very silly 😝


 VANILLA CARAMEL FUDGE: PICK A LIGHT, FLUFFY CONTEMPORARY

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I’ve loved all of Stephanie’s books, but Anna was by far my favourite. I loved the Paris setting (Paris being one of my favourite places on this planet we call Earth), I loved Anna (because she was dorky and funny and relatable), and I loved Etienne (because I couldn’t help but make swoony eyes whenever he appeared on the page).


MINT CHOCOLATE COOKIE: A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU WISH EVERYBODY WOULD READ

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. I just finished reading this book, and I could NOT put it down. I have been getting a bit bored with psych thrillers recently because they’re all so samey and predictable, but this one surprised me, and had some very interesting, very screwed up, characters. It’s narrated by a woman in a coma, so it also has a creepy, claustrophobic feel, which made the reading experience unbearably tense, in the best possible way. And, most importantly, I DID NOT PREDICT THE ENDING.


CHERRY GARCIA: AN ENDING THAT WAS BITTERSWEET

 deathly hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. There’s an overwhelming feeling of triumph, but an undercurrent of loss. I knew not everyone would make it out alive, but some of those deaths still SLAY me today.


STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: A BOOK CONTAINING YOUR OTP OF OTPS

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It’s a toss up between City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (because I just can’t with all my fluffy Malec feels) and Carry On (because I also have pretty intense Simon and Baz feels). #dilemma


MILK AND COOKIES: TWO AUTHORS THAT IF THEY COLLABORATED, THEY WOULD GO PERFECTLY TOGETHER

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Sara Barnard and Holly Bourne. These ladies are two of my favourite UKYA authors, and both prioritise female friendship over romance in their books, which I think is just FABULOUS. Both have also written about characters with anxiety issues, which is something I relate to, too hard, and both did so in realistic, poignant, yet often humorous ways. I think these two authors would write a wonderful collaboration, filled with smart, funny, and extremely relatable young women.


BOSTON CREAM PIE: A BOOK THAT HAD YOU TURNING YOUR PAGES LATE INTO THE NIGHT

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The Magpies by Mark Edwards. This was the first thriller I ever read, and I remember finishing it in a single sitting. It’s about a couple who move into a new flat, and start getting harassed by their next-door neighbours. The harassment gets worse and worse, creepier and creepier, and, let’s just say, there’s a scene involving spiders mid-way through the book that legit gave me nightmares. So many thrillers fail to be SCARY, but this one nailed it. I highly recommend all of Mark Edwards’ books. He always has such original concepts, which stand out in the overcrowded thriller market.


CHOCOLATE THERAPY: A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER AFTER A LONG DAY OF LIFE

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This book only came out in 2015, but I’ve already read it several times. It’s my go-to book when I’ve had a rubbish day because Simon and Blue’s adorable romance never fails to make me feel all happy and fluffy inside.


COFFEE, COFFEE, BUZZBUZZBUZZ!: A BOOK NOT YET RELEASED THAT YOU CAN’T WAIT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I absolutely adore all of Cassandra Clare’s books, and Lady Midnight last year was no exception. I’m so excited to read the sequel – I picked up a free sample of the first chapter in Waterstones the other day, and I may or may not have squealed. I’m planning on re-reading Lady Midnight over the next month in preparation. I’m so excited for more Emma and Julian, more cameos from Malec (pretty please?), but mainly more Mark Blackthorn. #swoon


I’m not going to tag anybody, because, as I mentioned, this tag has been floating around in my shameful list of tags-I-haven’t-done-because-I-suck for over a year. However, if you feel so inclined, feel free to give this tag a go, and link me to your answers, so I can find bookish inspiration, and spend further time fantasizing about ice-cream. ❤

10 Comments »

2016 End of Year Book Survey

Hi lovely people! I can’t believe there’s only one day left of 2016! As we all know, it hasn’t been the most fabulous of years, but I’m sure we can all agree we’ve at least read some fabulous books during 2016.

I saw this tag over at Ann’s Reading Corner and thought it looked fun. The survey was created by The Perpetual Page Turner, who also created the graphics for this tag. Make sure you go check out both of their blogs, asap.


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Number of books you read: 104
Number of re-reads: 10
Genre you read the most from: Contemporary, apparently! Which is news to me because I swear I hardly ever read contemporary…


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Best book you read in 2016?

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This book blew me away with feelings (many of them lustful), Feyre’s character development was epic and inspiring, and the worldbuilding was flawless. A Court of Wings and Ruin is going to RUIN me. #punintended


Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

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I thought I was going to fall in love with this book, but the beautiful cover had me infatuated. I liked it, but I didn’t love it, and it was way, way too long.


Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

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I love horror, so I expected to enjoy this book, but I had no idea it was going to hit me so hard in the feels; it totally blew me away.


Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

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Hmm, I don’t really have an answer for this… But I have been gradually buying The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices books for my friend Tash over the past few years (a couple books at Christmas, a couple more at birthday, etc.) She now loves them as much as I do!


Best series you started in 2016? Best sequel of 2016? Best series-ender of 2016?

Best series started in 2016:

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Lady Midnight was one of my favourite books of 2016. I will never get bored of the Shadowhunter world. As far as I’m concerned, Cassie can keep on writing spin-offs 5eva.


Best sequel of 2016:

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Gotta be ACOMAF again.


Best series-ender of 2016:

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Such a fabulous ending to the Spinster Club trilogy. Thoroughly recommend this wonderful series centered around friendship and feminism.


Favourite new author you discovered in 2016?

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Jennifer Niven! Technically I’ve only read one of her books (Holding Up the Universe) but I loved it, and can’t wait to finally read All the Bright Places which I already own a copy of. Her characters are so authentic and relatable.


Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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I don’t read much historical fiction, but I finally finished The Book Thief this month and thought it was outstanding. And yes, I did weep a million tears. 5 stars, no question.


Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things was unbelievably tense and creepy (possibly the creepiest book I’ve ever read) and I finished it in a single sitting.


Book you read in 2016 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

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There was so much meaning and wisdom packed into this tiny little book, and I feel like The Little Prince is the kind of book you’ll gain even more from the second time around.


Favourite cover of a book you read in 2016?

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My special edition of Lady Midnight. *swoon*


Most memorable character of 2016?

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Libby Strout from Holding Up The Universe. Libby is smart, funny, kind, brave, and completely herself. She’s everything I aspire to be.


Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

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This book was written with a lovely, magical, storyteller kind of voice which stirred my imagination and filled it with wonderful pictures.


Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2016?

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I mention this not because it’s a good book (it isn’t, I detested it), but because I disagreed with it’s approach to anxiety so fundamentally that it helped me realise I know far better what’s right for me, and I’m going to ignore the advice of this crappy book.


Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?

the book thief

It honestly sat on my shelf for about 10 years. Why did I wait so long?!


Favorite passage/quote from a book you read In 2016?

This comic strip from Sarah Scribbles’s Adulthood is a Myth spoke to me on many a level:

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Shortest and longest book you read in 2016?

Shortest: The Little Prince (83 pages)

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Longest: Four Past Midnight (930 pages)

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Book that shocked you the most?

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THAT TWIST though. I can’t even EVEN.


OTP OF THE YEAR? (You will go down with this ship!)

FEYREANDRHYSFERYEANDRHYSFEYREANDRHYS *faints*


Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?

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Ollie and Moritz’s friendship in Because You’ll Never Meet Me was EVERYTHING.


Favourite book you read in 2016 from an author you’ve read previously?

I can mention ACOMAF again, right?


Best book you read in 2016 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?

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So many people recommended and raved about this book. and it totally lived up to the hype. What a fabulous book!


Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

C’mon, y’all must know the answer is Rhysand by now?!


Best 2016 debut you read?

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This was such a brutally honest depiction of agoraphobia, and the descriptions of Norah’s anxiety really resonated with me.


Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?

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I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter books, and tbh I don’t think wordbuilding better than J.K Rowling’s exists 🙂


Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?

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Sounds like a weird choice, but I have so much fun reading ghost stories. Creepy things excite me!


Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2016?

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Me upon finishing this book:

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Hidden gem of the year?

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This is only really “hidden” because it hasn’t been released yet. My review is coming soon, and you’ll get to discover this gem for yourselves from 12th Jan.


Book that crushed your soul?

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Every single one of the books in the Chaos Walking trilogy DESTROYED me.


Most unique book you read in 2016?

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The Vegetarian was bizarre and intriguing and disturbing and like nothing I have ever experienced before.


Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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Me upon finishing this book:

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New favourite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I discovered so many incredible blogs this year, but a special shoutout goes to Sammie, Lauren, and Amanda. These ladies have fabulous blogs you should all be following, and are also fabulous humans themselves.


Favourite review that you wrote in 2016?

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My review oHarry Potter and the Cursed Child. I had much fun reliving the memories of watching this magical piece of theatre. Wish I could go and see it again!


Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I’m proud of my post about Book Blogging with Anxiety. I was nervous about posting it, but the responses from fellow bloggers really helped me feel less alone.


Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

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I MET SARAH J. MAAS AT BATH CHILDRENS LITERATURE FESTIVAL. IT WAS GLORIOUS.


Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

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I was so excited to discover that a quote from my review of Frozen Charlotte was chosen for the praise page in the new Zoella Book Club edition of the book!!!! I jumped around and squealed A LOT. 🙂 🙂


Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Keeping up with reading, blogging, and replying to comments in my lowest moments. It can feel so overwhelming sometimes.


Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

I wrote a post about Why Adults Need YA and was blown away by the number of people who took the time to comment and join the discussion.


Post you wished got a little more love?

My review of Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough because I’m dying for you guys to pre-order this book! I DESPERATELY need to talk about that ending.


Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Jesse drew my attention to BOOKBEAU book-sleeves on his post about bookish gifts, and I need one of these in my life. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful book getting battered inside your handbag.


Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

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#boom


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One book you didn’t get to in 2016 but will be your number 1 priority in 2017?

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This was my most anticipated book of 2016, so I have no idea why I haven’t read it yet! Getting on that ASAP.


Book you are most anticipating for 2017 (non-debut)?

You know the drill:

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2017 debut you are most anticipating?

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This book sounds so magical and intriguing, everyone is saying the hype should be believed, and the cover is stunning. I NEED IT LIKE NOW.


Series ending/sequel you are most anticipating in 2017?

Hmm, let’s see if you can work that one out for yourselves based on the series I have namedropped the most in the post… 😛


One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2017?

I want to spend more time chatting with you guys and reading all of your wonderful blogs!

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Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2017 is a fantastic one! 🙂 xxx

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The Narnia Book Tag

Hi lovely people! Today, I thought I’d do The Narnia Book Tag, which Diana over at Diana Prince Reviews kindly tagged me to do back in October. I know, I know, I’m very behind on my tags (and this isn’t even the oldest on my list… the shame!)

Please make sure you go and check out Diana’s fabulous blog here.

The Narnia books make me feel Christmassy (well, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe does, at any rate) so I thought this would be the perfect book tag to get me in the festive mood.


NARNIA – A magical world you would like to visit

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Is it cheating if I choose Narnia itself? All that lives at the back of my mundane wardrobe are some squished old clothes I never wear… it would be far more exciting if said wardrobe were carpeted with snowflakes, and enabled passage to a magical frozen forest filled with talking animals and enchanted Turkish Delight.


THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW – A book you think is underrated

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All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

I don’t know anyone else who’s read this quirky, strange, and lovely little book. It’s about a man named Tom whose wife, a superhero known as “The Perfectionist”, has been hypnotised by her ex boyfriend “Hypno” into believing Tom is invisible. As she can no longer see or hear him, The Perfectionist assumes Tom has abandoned her, and this story follows Tom’s final attempt to convince his wife he’s still there before she gives up on him forever. I read this at least ten years ago, but I can still remember how much I adored this small, but satisfying love story.


THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE – A classic that you love

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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

This classic could probably also be classed as a YA novel. It’s a coming-of-age story about a girl named Cassandra who writes a diary about her experiences when her family go to live in a falling-to-pieces castle in the middle of nowhere. I remember loving the descriptions of the family and their everyday lives in the castle (which were a lot less grand than you might expect). The castle was given so much personality in the story it could almost have been a character itself. I must re-read this book soon!


THE HORSE AND HIS BOY – A book you picked up without knowing what it was about

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This is what was written on the back cover of my edition:

 “Not everyone has to be the chosen one.

What if you were Mikey? And just want to graduate and go to prom before someone blows up the high school again?

Patrick Ness’s bold and original novel shows how ordinary lives can be extraordinary and that there are many different types of remarkable.”

How vague and intriguing is that blurb though? If you’d like to know more, you can read my review here.


PRINCE CASPIAN – A sequel that you loved

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I feel like I mention this book at every opportunity I get, and I’m sure you’re all sick of my unintelligable blathering about it by now, but how could I have chosen anything else for this question? This book enthralled and obsessed me (well, more specifically, Rhysand enthralled and obsessed me.) I’ve never read a 600-page book so speedily, and I’ve never shipped two heterosexual characters so hard before. I need A Court of Wings and Ruin like air, and the wait is going to be torturous.


THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER – A quest you’d like to be a part of

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From what I can remember of A.A. Milne’s wonderful books, Winnie the Pooh spends a not insignificant amount of time on quests to find food. That’s definitely something I can see myself getting involved in; I’m only really valiant when a mission involves breakfast.


THE SILVER CHAIR – A book you didn’t expect to love

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A book I was pleasantly surprised by was To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I’m not a big reader of YA contemporary romance, and I couldn’t get into this book the first time I picked it up, but I revisited it when I was in the mood for fluffy feelings and I ended up adoring it. Minimal angst, and full of warm fuzzies, this is the perfect book to read when you’re in need of a literary hug.


THE LAST BATTLE – A perfect ending to a series you love

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Will I ever have a different answer to this question?

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THE PEVENSIES – A siblinghood of friendship you’d love to be a part of

The Weasleys, obvs.

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I so desperately want to live in The Burrow, y’know.


EUSTACE SCRUBB – A character who grew on you

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Sam Kingston, the protagonist of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, was something of a ‘mean girl’ stereotype to begin with, and I found her shallow and difficult to like. But, as the story progressed, she went through an incredible character arc and by the end I had connected with her so strongly that this book found a permanent place in my (shattered) heart.


MR. TUMNUS – Your favourite mystical creature

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I really love the idea of the daemons from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. In the world of these stories, your daemon is a talking animal which remains by your side throughout your life, and is supposed to be representative of your spirit/soul. Lyra, our heroine, has a daemon called Pantalaimon who is constantly shifting into different forms (moth, wildcat, mouse, etc.), and I adored the bond between them.

I love the idea of having a constant creature companion like Pantalaimon by my side, but if I had my own daemon, I’m pretty sure he’d look something like this:

(Yes, yes, those ARE pictures of my stuffed pig in various locations around the city of Edinburgh. I’m a real adult, I swear.)


CASPIAN – A character with regal qualities

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Fan art found here.

Princess Nehemia from the Throne of Glass books by Sarah J. Maas embodies every quality needed to be a strong leader of her people; loyalty, integrity, and courage being the most important, and the reasons why she is one of my favourite characters in the entire series.


THE WARDROBE – Your favourite hideout/place to read

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I really wish I had an actual hideout because I’m anti-social af, but my warm, snuggly bed is a pretty good alternative, especially when accompanied with hot chocolate and Christmassy scented candles.

All GIFs sourced from: Giphy


I am tagging the following lovely ladies who have all been there for me in some way this year, even if they don’t realise it. No worries if you don’t fancy doing the tag – I just wanted the opportunity to let you all know that I appreciate you muchly and think you are wonderful human beings! ❤

Anne @ The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange

Sammie @ Bookshelves and Biros

Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews

CW @ Read Think Ponder

Amanda @ Cover 2 Cover Mom

Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books

32 Comments »

The (Belated) Halloween Book Tag

I’m unfashionably late to the Halloween Book Tag party, but if Christmas can last for approx. three months of every year, I think I can just about get away with doing a Halloween tag on November 1st.

I was tagged for this one by the fabulous Eve over at Eve Messenger’s OtherWORDly Endeavors. Go check out her awesome blog, around about now.

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Image credit: Giphy

I was planning to do this tag yesterday, but I was rather late getting back from the creepy Halloween tour of Oxford Castle I went on last night. (I’m ever-so-slightly disturbed-for-life by the experience of our tour guide wrapping up the evening by saying ‘this is where I leave you’ and then abandoning us all to find our own way out of the pitch-black castle, with creepy figures in ominous hoods lurking all around and jumping out at us as we stumbled around in the dark… definitely not for the fainthearted!!)

I didn’t dress up last night, nor did I have any kind of pumpkin placed outside my abode, but this morning, in continuation of the festivities, I dressed my stuffed pig (“Piggly Puff”) up as a gothic fairy, and he’s kinda pumpkin shaped, so at least I *tried*.

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Anyhoo, here are my answers to this belated holiday tag…


Carving Pumpkins: What book would you carve up and light on fire?

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I think that would have to be the frightfully bad Fifty Shades of Grey. My *Inner Goddess* would get out her maracas and do a samba dance as she watched those pages burn.


Trick or Treat? Which character is a treat and which character is a trick?

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I’m going to choose two characters from The Lunar Chronicles for this question. Queen Levana is undoubtedly the trick, because her hypnotizingly beautiful face is an illusion she has chillingly manipulated an entire populace into perceiving as reality. Carswell Thorne is certainly the treat – loveable rogue and frighteningly handsome captain of the Rampion (the only fictional spaceship I have ever given a damn about), he is all kinds of swoon and was my first book-crush of 2016.


Candy Corn: What book is always sweet?

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I haven’t fangirled about this book in a while, but Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson fits the bill so well; it’s the cutest, fluffiest, funniest, and shippiest M/M romance I’ve ever read. I adore this book, and in keeping with the festive spirit, there is also a sequel Halloween novella – Toil and Trouble – which is just as witty and warm-fuzzies-inducing as the first book.


Ghost: What character would you like to visit you as a ghost?

HARRY POTTER SPOILERS COMING UP




I’d love to have a visit from Dumbledore’s ghost. I can just imagine him offering sage advice and spirit-lifting sentiments from beyond the grave in a whimsical, twinkly-eyed manner.

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Image credit: Giphy


Dressing Up in Costume: What character would you want to be for a day?

I would love to be Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments for a day. I’d have a fabulous wardrobe full of flamboyant clothes, and a head fully of sassy, witty, quips at my disposal. I’d open portals and travel the world, and at the end of the day, after all my magical adventures, I’d get to snuggle up with Alec Lightwood, aka the fairest Shadowhunter of them all.

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Image credit: Giphy


Wizards and Witches: What’s your favorite Harry Potter moment?

Basically every single time Neville Longbottom was a total badass and Gryffindor-to-the-core.

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Image credit: Giphy


Blood and Gore: What was a book that was so creepy that you had to take a break from it?

So, this probably isn’t what you were expecting, but…

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When I was 9, I read the beginning of The Goblet of Fire and got so frightened by the callous murderyness of a certain Mr He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named that I stopped reading the book. I actually didn’t pick it up again until Deathly Hallows came out, when I binge-read all 7 books in one week of sleepless, magical awesomeness.


As Halloween has been and gone, I won’t be tagging anyone, but if you would like to carry on the pumpkin party, you are unofficially tagged to do so.

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Image credit: Giphy

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