The Mud and Stars Book Blog

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

The ‘Slumps are for Chumps’ Book Tag

Hi guys! Hope you’re all having a lovely Friday! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much recently – I’m going through some stuff, and unfortunately it has put me in a big slump. Seeing as this is the Slumps are for Chumps book tag, I guess that makes me a chump. 😛

Thanks to Emma over at The Book Crunch for tagging me! You should definitely go and check out her awesome blog, right now, and you can read her answers to the tag here.

Which book, most recently, did you not finish?


I started reading All The Bright Places earlier in the week, and after the first chapter, realised I couldn’t carry on with it. I want to come back to it someday, but I’m not in a healthy place myself right now, and I realised that now is not the right time for me to read a book with depressed characters. I need all the happy and fluffy I can get right now, so if you have any suggestions, please share them with me in the comments. I will love you forever. ❤

Which book is your guilty pleasure?


I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures (we should NOT feel bad about loving the things we love!), but if I had to pick one, it would be the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I know a lot of people feel that vampire books are so 2000-and-LATE but I have a real soft spot for these books. I love how sassy and snarky Rose is, and these books are simply a lot of fun. I read the first four a couple of years ago, and I’m hoping to finish the series this year.

Which book do you love to hate?


I LOVE mocking Fifty Shades of Grey. I almost enjoyed this book, purely because it’s so hilariously bad. I sometimes wonder if the whole thing is meant to be an elaborate joke, and the author is rolling in her millions because her trolling paid off. I mean, Ana describes her face as blushing ‘the colour of the Communist manifesto’, and Christian’s peen as a ‘Christian Grey flavoured popsicle’. I CAN’T EVEN.

Which book would you throw into the sea?


Apologies to fans of Shatter Me, but myself and this book did NOT get along. I just couldn’t stomach the flowery, metaphor-in-every-sentence writing style, and don’t get me started on the insta-love. It’s a shame because I really thought I was going to love this one, but I couldn’t bring myself finish it. I appreciate that some people LOVE the Shatter Me series, but it really wasn’t my cup of chai.

Which book have you read the most?


I have read this book (also known as Confessions of a Shopaholic in some countries) countless times. I’ve had my copy for about 13 years, and it’s falling apart because it’s so well loved. Sophie Kinsella is one of the few authors who has managed to make me genuinely LOL. I’m so excited she’s going to be at YALC this year. If I get to meet her, I will probably bow down before her in some variety of worship.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?


I feel like reading War and Peace would make me extremely miserable. I struggled through Anna Karenina last year (it took me an entire month) and I was determined to finish it, even though I wasn’t enjoying it. I have learnt my lesson. Tolstoy is not for me.

Which book could you not live without?


I couldn’t live without the Harry Potter books because they were the first books I ever loved, but I also couldn’t bear it if I didn’t have The Mortal Instruments series in my life. Those books mean the world to me, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so obsessed by a series. TMI made me the fangirl I am today!

Oh, and I don’t think I’ve ever shared this fact about myself, so for the record, MALEC = my OTP. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


Which book made you the angriest?


Asking For It made me angry, not because it was a bad book, but because of the subject matter. It’s about an 18-year-old girl who is raped at a party, and the story follows the aftermath of her attack. The reactions of her judgemental classmates, the victim-shaming press, and basically everything she endured within these pages filled me with rage. Because everything that happens in this book could and does happen in real life. You can read my review of the book here.

Which book made you cry the most?

brightsidewe were liars

A lot of books have made me cry, but I think the two which made me blub the most were Bright Side by Kim Holden, and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. The reason these books devastated me so much is because I didn’t know what was coming  – they both involve the reveal of a secret/twist, and both completely blew me away with emotions I wasn’t at all prepared to handle. DON’T wear mascara whilst reading either of these books. You WILL end up looking like The Joker.

Which book cover do you hate the most?


Anyone else remember when Harper Collins released a ‘Twilight’ edition of Wuthering Heights? Look, it’s ‘Bella and Edward’s favourite book’, guys!

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And that is all I have to say on the subject.

I’m not going to tag anyone specifically, because my brain is tired, so I’m leaving this open… if you haven’t done this one yet and would like to, consider yourself tagged!

Hope you all have a glorious weekend xxx


The Harry Potter Book Tag

Happy Friday everyone! It’s time for a tag.

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I was tagged by Astra @ A Stranger’s Guide to Novels, Fatima @ Noteable Pad, and Lauren @ Just Lauren to complete The Harry Potter Book Tag. Please go and check out all of their blogs – you won’t regret it 🙂

This awesome tag was created by Trang and Lashaan over at Bookitode, as were the amazing graphics below, which they have very kindly said anyone who completes this tag may use!

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The only rule of this tag is that YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE HARRY POTTER AS AN ANSWER. Given that Harry Potter is my go-to answer for most book tag questions, I am going to find this challenging 😛


A book in which you found the theme interesting, but you’d like to rewrite it:

This may be an unpopular opinion, but…


As much as I’ve loved other books by Patrick Ness, and as much as I did enjoy this one, I’m choosing The Rest of Us Just Live Here. I LOVED the concept of this book – the idea that living an ordinary life can be just as thrilling and meaningful as living the life of the ‘chosen one’ and going on some magical, paranormal, crazy adventure. However…

I felt that in order for this book to work, the ‘ordinary life’ plot needed to pack a bigger punch. I found the story a little bit average… I wanted more to happen, and I wanted to feel more. Instead, I was left with the impression that the magical, paranormal, crazy adventure would have been more exciting to read.


The first book in a series that got you hooked:


Pines by Blake Crouch is one of the most original, addictive, creepy, intriguing books I’ve ever read, and I binge-read the rest of the series within a couple of days of finishing it. I don’t know anyone else who has read these books – if you have, let me know, as I’m dying to talk about them with somebody!

If you like books with…

a) Creepy small towns in the middle of nowhere where it’s obvious something extremely shady is going down

b) Weird townspeople who give you the heebie-jeebies with their odd and decidedly sinister behaviour

c) Crazy twists that leave your mouth hanging open

… then you will enjoy this series as much as I did!

Read the Goodreads synopsis here. That’s an order. 🙂


A book you wish you could have right now:


ACCIO EMPIRE OF STORMS!!!! *waves plastic wand from fancy dress shop* …. Damn, it’s not working! 😥 Being a muggle is the worst, you guys.


A killer book. Both senses. Take it as you like:


I don’t tend to read many books which involve lots of killing haha. But as it involves an investigation into a ‘suspicious suicide’, let me take this opportunity to gush about how much I love Night Film by Marish Pessl again! (Like I needed an excuse?!)

This book is killer. It’s just perfection. The writing is dark and compelling and quite probably some kind of addictive substance because it gets right into your veins and possesses you for the entire reading experience.

If you like books with…

a) Surreal, creepy happenings which mess with your mind so much you have no idea what is and isn’t real

b) Elusive, enigmatic characters with sinister reputations

c) Ambiguous endings (I know those aren’t everyone’s cuppa…)

… then you simply must read this book IMMEDIATELY.

Read the Goodreads synopsis here. That’s another order. 🙂


A book that you found really confusing:


I had to study the Endgame, a play by Samuel Beckett, at uni. I’m still confused about what it’s really supposed to mean. But maybe that’s the whole point…

It’s about these people who have no legs and live in dustbins. It’s the end of the world, and they’re living out the rest of their numbered days in said dustbins, talking about random nonsense such as the fact that there are no more bicycles left in the world, and that nothing means anything any more.

It’s super weird, but I actually kind of liked it, because I like super weird stuff 🙂


Your spirit animal book:


Cath from Fangirl is my soul sister. I’m a bookworm, an introvert, fandom is a huge part of my life, and like Cath, I need fictional worlds to help me cope with the real one! Also, after reading Carry On, I’m just as obsessed with Simon and Baz as she is! ❤


A dark, twisted book:


This is a difficult question to answer, because there are so many! Most recently, I’d choose Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid, which gets off to a vaguely sinister start (girl with severe depression moves into lonely house with creepily overbearing mother), but becomes steadily darker and twistier.


A book that surprised you in a great way:


Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, about hiking the Pacific Crest trail on her own, with no hiking experience whatsoever, and a backpack she could barely lift off the ground, isn’t the type of book I normally pick up. I was expecting to find Wild interesting, but I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away emotionally. I honestly felt that this book changed my life – it helped me to put some things in perspective, and showed me that there are always ways to heal yourself, no matter how far you’ve wandered from your path.

I tag the following lovely people:

Anne @ The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange
Charley @ Books and Bakes
Amanda @ Cover 2 Cover Mom
Beth @ Reading Every Night
Ali @ I Wuv Books
Matt @ Ravenclaw Pride
Emma @ The Book Crunch
Magda @ Magini Books

As always, no pressure if you’ve already done the tag/have a million tags on your to-do list/can’t be bothered 🙂

Much love and hope you all have a fabulous weekend! 


My Intimidating TBR tag

Good news, guys! I finally kicked my reading-slump’s sorry butt into last week! Some book reviews will be coming your way shortly, the first of which will be my review of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, which was so good I finished it in a SINGLE DAY. In the meantime, it’s Friday, so I’m kicking back with a book tag, because I’m kinda rock ‘n’ roll if you must know…

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I was tagged to do the ‘My Intimidating TBR’ tag by the lovely Lauren over at Wonderless Reviews. If you don’t already follow her, go check out her blog right now, because it’s awesome! 🙂

What book have you been unable to finish?


The Villa by Rosanna Ley

I picked this book up a few years ago thinking it would make a nice, light, summer read, but I found it really bland, and in the end I just couldn’t be bothered to finish it. I also found myself getting really irritated by the sections of the book told from the POV of the main character’s teenage daughter. The voice was all wrong for a seventeen-year-old, and she kept coming out with really weird exclamations of astonishment at least twice per paragraph, such as “Lolloping Lemurs!”, and “Jumping Jellyfish!” Who speaks like that?! I just found the whole thing a bit cringe.

 What book have you yet to read because you just haven’t had the time?


House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

I borrowed this book from my friend Kat, and today I actually asked her if she wanted it back because I fear it may sit on my bookshelf until we’re both grey and old and the world has come to an end. I’ve wanted to read this book for so long (because the premise is so creepy and intriguing), but the problem is that this book is SO LONG.

It took me virtually an entire day to read 40 pages (it’s about 700 pages in total with fairly small print), because the writing style is so dense (it’s written in the style of an academic text) and it’s one of those books where you have to really concentrate to appreciate.

What book have you yet to read because it’s a sequel?


The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

I’m possibly one of the only people left on Planet Bookblog who hasn’t read The Wrath and the Dawn, so naturally I haven’t even bought myself a copy of The Rose and The Dagger yet. I’ll be reading the first book soon, but I am so nervous I won’t love it as much as everyone else does; these books are more hyped up than a kid who ate ALL THE M&MS.

What book have you yet to read because it’s a new release?


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Unfashionably late to the party, I didn’t start reading A Court of Thorns and Roses until the day this book was released. DON’T JUDGE ME. About 100 pages in I knew I was going to love the book (because Sarah J. Maas is a goddess of some variety who simply must be worshipped) so I ordered ACOMAF immediately. It took me two weeks to read ACOTAR because I was in the middle of my weird reading funk, so I had to wait two weeks to actually open my Amazon package for fear of accidental book-cover spoilers! THE STRUGGLE NOT TO OPEN BOOK-POST WAS REAL.

What book have you yet to read because you read a book by the same author and didn’t like it?


Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

A lot of people seem to love this book, and I’ve read a lot of great reviews which really make me want to pick it up, but I wasn’t a fan of Finding Eden by the same author. Finding Eden is a love story about a boy and a girl who’ve grown up in a cult. I wanted to like it, but I found the romance too sickly sweet, the dialogue too cheesy, and there wasn’t enough exploration of the cult itself (aka the reason behind my initial interest in the book). Probably my own fault for expecting it to be something it wasn’t!

What book have you yet to read because you aren’t in the mood?

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is my perennial answer to any question about books I’m never in the mood to read/books that have been on my TBR shelf 5eva. I have such a block about this book, I somehow don’t think I’ll ever read it, even though I know it’s supposed to be amazing. It’s weird because I’ve read the opening chapter so many times, and I like what I’ve read, but somehow I can never get past that chapter, like there’s some kind of Hunger Games style force-field barring me from going any further.

What book have you yet to read because it’s humungous?


A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones has been sitting on my Kindle shelf for a very long time. Somehow I don’t think I’ll ever have the energy or time to commit to reading such a mammoth book. I started it once, but several chapters in I was already confused by the ridiculous number of characters and just knew I was going to struggle with it. Maybe when I’m old and retired and have all the time in the world to sit and read, I’ll finally commit… But right now, the thought of picking it up exhausts me!

What book have you yet to read because it was a cover buy with bad reviews?

I genuinely can’t think of an answer to this question – I NEVER buy books without looking at reviews first. Even when I’m wandering around a bookshop, I’ll have my phone out, just to make sure the gorgeous specimen I’m eyeing up on the shelf hasn’t been totally slated by EVERYONE on Goodreads.

Which book on your TBR is the most intimidating to you?

I think I might have to be boring here and re-use one of my earlier answers. House of Leaves is one of the most intimidating books I’ve ever held in my hands. Mainly because it’s actually TOO HEAVY to hold in my hands!!!

A lot of people seem to have done this tag already, so I’m going to leave this one open… if you haven’t done this tag and would like to, you are most welcome. Feel free to link back here so I can be nosy and read your answers 🙂


The Sunshine Blogger Award #2

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you’re all having…

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I’ve been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by the following lovely people:

Anne @ The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange

Amanda @ Cover2CoverMom

Jesalin @ JBelkBooks

If you aren’t already doing so, GO FOLLOW ALL OF THESE WONDERFUL HUMANS. You won’t regret it ❤

The rules of this tag are:

Thank the person who nominated you. (THANKS LOVELY PEOPLE!)

Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

Nominate some more bloggers and write questions for them to answer.



1. What is your favorite music genre?

I was going to say ‘boybands’ but I think that’s a bit too specific, so I’m going with pop… I love boyband pop, 90s pop, 80s pop, KPOP, and of course Eurovision. Happy, catchy music is my jam.

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2. Team Britney or Team Avril? (2000’s question, I know lol)

Ooh tough question. I love a bit of Britney (who doesn’t?), but when I was going through my angsty teen wannabe phase I was all about Avril. ❤

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3. Do you read comic books? Why/why not?

I don’t… the main reason being that I know virtually nothing about them and have no idea where to start! If you have any recommendations for a newbie, let me know 🙂

4. What’s your favourite(s) movie(s)?

THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It has yodelling, matching outfits made of curtain drapes, and badass nuns outwitting Nazis. What’s not to love?! ❤

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5. What is your Hogwarts house?


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1. How many books do you own?

I have… 266 e-books and 233 physical books, making a grand total of…

499 books!

All the cool kids count their books on a Friday night, dontcha know.

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Being 1 book away from 500, I naturally have to go out and buy another book to smooth this whole thing out, right?! Right! So glad you agree.

2. What is your reading goal this year?  Are you on track to reach it?

I set myself a goal of 100 books in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I’m currently 2 books ahead of schedule, but I kinda regret setting myself a goal in the first place. I feel like I’m competing in some kind of race only I care about and it’s stressing me out. Is anyone else experiencing this?!

3. If you could sit down and have a chat with any author (living or dead), who would it be?

That would be a certain Ms. J.K. Rowling, and I would (after bowing down and professing worship and adoration) spend hours basking in her glorious writerly wisdom. In case it isn’t obvious, I WANT TO BE HER.


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4. What is the last book that made you laugh out loud?


I re-read Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson recently and it was just as laugh-out-loud funny the second time around. If I haven’t gushed about this book to you already, just take my word for it now and READ THIS BOOK. It will make you so HAPPY. Add it to your to-read shelf, you know you want to.

5. If you could erase one book from existence, which book would it be?

I don’t think I’d erase any of the books I’ve read from existence. I guess I could’ve mentioned 50 Shades of Grey here, but it doesn’t offend me as deeply as it does others… Sure, I’m of the opinion that it’s kinda grim and a lot ridiculous. But it’s also fun to mock. I believe all books have a place in the world, even bad ones. Also, just because I think a book’s bad, doesn’t mean someone else won’t adore it.


1. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?

The most difficult thing I’ve had to do was throw myself off the side of a mountain when I went paragliding in Austria… I was all bravado beforehand like ‘yeah whatever, I’m a casual daredevil. Scared? NAH!’ But then when I finally got all strapped into my parachute (which FYI, kinda makes you look like a ninja turtle), I was all but throwing up with the sheer TERROR that suddenly came upon me.


But then I jumped and it was AWESOME. (I *ahem* definitely did not trip over whilst running into the takeoff… #smooth)

2. What is your Zodiac sign? 

I’m a Libra. And whilst I don’t believe in horoscopes, my star sign is an uncannily accurate description of my personality.

3. If you had a brainwashing machine, who would you use it on?

WHAT A GREAT QUESTION! I think I’d actually use it on people who have been legitimately brainwashed to un-brainwash them.

4. Have you ever gotten a tattoo? If not, do you plan on getting one?

No and no! I’m not cool enough to pull off a tattoo.

5. Winter or Summer?

I love Christmas, but I generally hate winter because it makes me really miserable. I love summer, but I get hayfever so I’m a gross, sniffly, itchy, red-eyed person throughout the entire season. Nevertheless, it has to be summer because blue skies and sunshine make for a happy Jess.

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I nominate the following awesome bloggers:

Sammie @ booksandbiros
Emma @ thebookishunderdog
Michelle @ bookadventures
Emma @ thebookcrunch
Raven and Beez @ ravenandbees
Astra @ astrangersguidetonovels
Charley @ booksandbakes

If you’ve already done this award tag, tags aren’t your bag, or you simply don’t want to do this one, feel free to ignore, but if you’d like to have a go… here are your questions:

  1. What is your most detested food?
  2. What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you?
  3. What do you like most about yourself?
  4. If you could marry a book, which book would you marry?
  5. What’s the last book you DNF’d?
  6. If you owned your own bookshop, what would you call it?
  7. If you could live in the world of any book, which one would you pick? (and for the sake of variety, the one rule is you are not allowed to choose Harry Potter :P)
  8. If you could meet one fictional character and ask them any question, who would you pick and what would you ask?
  9. What is your favourite smell?
  10. If you wrote a book, which genre would you write in and why?



The Classics Book Tag

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all having a splendiferous Wednesday!

The lovely Charley over at Books and Bakes tagged me to do The Classics Book Tag back in February. You can check out her wonderful blog here. As you may have guessed, I’m a teensy bit behind with my tags (there’s a backlog of approx. 22). I hope to get to them all eventually, and if I haven’t done yours yet, I still love and appreciate your taggery. ❤

I’m excited to do this tag, because I studied English Lit at university, so once upon a time I was all about the classics. Since leaving uni, I haven’t read many, because I’m mainly about the YA these days, but there are still plenty of classic books on my TBR that I’m hoping to read this year! Here are my answers to the tag…

An overhyped classic you didn’t really like:


I had to study Proust at university, and this book just bored me to tears. It has very little plot, and is basically about a guy who eats a biscuit which reminds him of another biscuit he ate when he was younger. All this biscuity-nostalgia gets him thinking about his childhood, and he begins waxing lyrical about said childhood, and all of the exciting things that happened to him. And by exciting things, I mean, the time he saw some stained glass windows and pontificated about them for 15 pages, and the time he stopped outside a house to look at some flowers for 15 more. The book also opens with what is essentially a 3 page description of somebody rolling over in bed. SNOOZEFEST.

Favourite time period to read about:


I love 19th century classics – my favourites include Wuthering Heights, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Persuasion, and The Woman in White.

Favourite fairytale:

I don’t really have a favourite fairytale now, but when I was little it was all about Sleeping Beauty. I was OBSESSED with the Disney movie and used to watch it over and over again. It was bordering on creepy. I used to think that Malificent was real and that she was coming after me. I also once had a dream that she chopped my legs off. #creepy


These days, however, I’m all about the retellings, and as we’re talking classics, I’d definitely recommend The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, which is a stunningly-written collection of literary fairytale retellings. The title story is a retelling of Bluebeard (which is probably one of the most sinister fairytales I’ve ever read) with a feminist twist. Which is awesome, because let’s face it, that fairytale is all kinds of misogynistic.

What is the most embarrassing classic you haven’t read? 


I’m a big fantasy fan, so I really should have read these books by now. But they’re so mahoosively, intimidatingly long I just can’t bring myself to start them. Even more shameful… I haven’t watched the movies. DON’T HURT ME!

Top 5 classics you’d like to read soon:

I could have listed any of these for the last question, because I really should have read them already. #worstEnglishgraduateEVAR

Favourite modern series based on a classic:

Hmm, let me think about that…

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Nope, definitely can’t beat a bit of Sherlock! ❤

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Favourite movie version / TV series based on a classic:


I have so much love for the BBC adaptation of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (starring Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne). This series introduced me to what turned out to be one of my favourite books of all time.

Worst classic to movie adaptation:


Hands down it has to be the 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights (starring Kaya Scodelario, aka Theresa from The Maze Runner). The dialogue was so stilted, and I felt like they focused too much on being artsy, and not enough on the actual story. Also there was a super-weird scene where Theresa Cathy licked the blood from Heathcliff’s wounds after he got whipped. UMM, CREEPY.

Favourite edition(s) you would like to collect more classics from:

I can’t now remember which blogger drew my attention to Mr Boddington’s Penguin Classics, but ever since I have been lusting over them because they are STUNNING:


Source: Anthropologie

Sadly they’re also extortionately expensive, because they’re sold out EVERYWHERE, and are only available through resellers.

An under-hyped classic you’d recommend to everyone:


You all know I love my books creepy, and this novel I studied in my 19th century lit class at university is one of the most chilling books I’ve ever read. It’s the story of a man who is lured into committing multiple murders, believing his actions are justifiable because he is one of God’s ‘elect’ and is therefore exempt from damnation. I think this is the first classic to ever give me nightmares!

I’m aware that classics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I’m not going to tag anyone specifically for this. However, if classics ARE your cuppa then please do give this one a go! 😀 I’d love to see your answers.

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Have you read any of these books? What’s your favourite or least favourite classic?



The ‘I Messed Up’ book tag

Happy Saturday everyone! Hope you’re having a glorious one.

I’ve been tagged to do the ‘I Messed Up’ book tag by Ashley over at Fictional Living. You can go check out here wonderful blog here.

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A character appearance that you misread or imagined differently:

Character descriptions always seem to go right over my head. When I first started The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, I initially pictured Magnus Bane as an old Merlin type guy with a long white beard (I guess because that’s the stock image for a warlock I have stored in my brain). Only when I re-read the first book did I realise he’s actually described as looking around 21, half Indonesian, with magical eyes which glow yellowy-green like a cat’s, and no facial hair whatsoever. WHOOPS.


Source: Tumblr (This Magnus is considerably prettier than the one I imagined! ❤️)

A character name that you’ve been pronouncing wrong:

Surely I can’t be the only person who read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone aged 7 and aspired to be just like HER-ME-OWN Granger?! My very own LevioSAR moment.

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An overused trope that is your guilty pleasure:

Ooh, gotta be… best friends suddenly realising they’re made for each other and that they’ve secretly loved each other their whole lives! Sometimes you just need a good old predictable happily-ever-after, y’know?

A cliché character type that you like better on screen than reading about:

100% the brooding-bad-boy on the dark side of the love triangle. I’m so bored of reading about that guy [insert eye roll and heavy sigh here], yet I hypocritically adore the whole angsty Stefan/Elena/Damon thang (Team Damon, obvs) in The Vampire Diaries TV show. It does things to my heart.

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A word/phrase you learned because of its use in a book:

I remember Googling the word ‘quixotic’ whilst I was reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles for the first time. It means ‘extremely idealistic, unrealistic, and impractical’. It’s my favourite word beginning with Q.

Have you ever not read or completed a required reading book for school?

Oh yes. I definitely sat through at least one English Lit seminar at uni nodding and smiling knowledgeably whilst having absolutely no idea what was happening…

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Source: Giphy

Have you ever (or wanted to) skipped a chapter from the point of view of a character you weren’t interested in?

I’ve never actually skipped a chapter of a book (it would feel all kinds of wrong), but I found myself wanting to skip all of the chapters from Glass’s point of view in The 100 by Kass Morgan. I watched the TV adaptation before reading the book, and her character wasn’t included in the show, so I just didn’t really care what she was up to. On the whole, I definitely prefer the TV show to the book in this rare case (although I gave up in the middle of Season 2 because it got really brutally violent and I couldn’t deal.)

Have you ever cancelled social plans to read a book? 

I’m an introvert, so the question you should really be asking is ‘did I make any social plans in the first place’?! 😉

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Source: Giphy

I don’t think I’ve ever cancelled plans specifically to read, but I do cancel plans when I’m really tired (because I can’t cope with conversations when I have no energy), and it’s not unlikely that I’ll spend that freed up time somewhere fictional. I like it when characters do all the talking so I don’t have to. 😊

I tag the following people (no pressure if you’ve already done this one or don’t want to!):

Deanna @ anovelglimpse
Charley @ booksandbakes
Michelle @ ahalfbloodfangirl
Beth @ readingeverynight

… and anybody else who wants to do this tag! 😘


The Wine Book Tag

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse for this book tag themed around wine. I have a love/hate relationship with wine… I love IT, but it HATES me and leads me to do all kinds of mortifying things, cry (hiya, emotional drunk over here!), and generally feel unpleasant the following morning.

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I digress. On with the tag…

Box Wine – a book people will judge you for liking but you like it anyway!


Admit it – you’re judging me for reading this just by looking at that cover (I’m sort of judging me too…)

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Let me be clear: I do find it weird that ‘stepbrother romance’ is now an official genre, but I enjoyed this book. I’m of the opinion that if the characters actually grew up together it’s icky… BUT… if a character’s parent remarries, and they end up with an unwanted step-sibling they so happen to find themselves attracted to…

Okay, it’s still a little weird, but c’mon… they’re not actually related, nor have they spent their whole lives acting as if they were… there are weirder things in the world of forbidden love (I’m looking achoo Jacob and Renesmee.)

Whilst I’m not gonna claim Stepbrother Dearest is ‘literature’, I enjoyed the hot guy/angsty romance combination… so yeah…

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Organic Wine – a book that doesn’t have any added crap in it and is just written perfectly.


I love the simple way this book is written – everything Charlie says is achingly honest, and that’s what makes this book so bloody beautiful.

Gluehwein – a really spicy, wintery read.


Okay, I really drew a blank with this question. The only thing I can think of that fits the bill (ish) is this book… it’s got the wintery setting down, and there’s plenty of bite to the storyline, with twists and dark secrets aplenty.

Side note: I did enjoy this book, but some parts had me almost laughing with the sheer lack of believablity… for example *mild spoiler* this book features the most casual reaction to finding a murdered corpse I’ve ever seen in a book (surely you’d freak out just a little…and y’know, run the hell away!), AND said dead body doesn’t appear to have any kind of odour whatsoever, even though it’s been there for a good while…

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That’s right. Second Damon Salvatore gif of the post. You’re welcome.

Sauvignon Blanc – a really sharp and aggressive read that you couldn’t put down.


I picked this book up expecting your average new adult fare (damaged characters, steamy romance, ANGST) but it completely blew me away – it was so dark and visceral and raw and the characters were so flawed and real – totally addictive reading, and SO MANY FEELINGS.

Pinot Noir – a book you didn’t expect much from but ended up getting blown away.

Oh damn, I should’ve looked at this question before answering the previous one. Instead I’ll choose…


I had to read this as part of my European Modernist Fiction module at uni, and the other two books I had to read as part of that course (Swann’s Way and Zeno’s Conscience) were a total drag, so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book in the slightest. But I LOVED it. As you’ll probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of creepy and surreal fiction, and this book is one of the weirdest and most unsettling books I’ve ever read. The plot centres around a man named Joseph K. who is arrested for a crime he hasn’t committed… the jarring thing is, he doesn’t know what that crime is, because nobody will tell him what he’s supposed to have done. And of course he believes he’s innocent… but is he really? Nothing makes sense in this story, which is what makes it so terrifying.

Chardonnay – a good summer read that was super zesty.


This book was refreshing and the dialogue was brilliantly witty. Also it’s mainly set in a doll shop, which was fun (there’s a lot of doll-based humour in the first chapter…) and quirky (but not in a try-hard way.) It’s contemporary with a kick.

Rosé – a book that has a little bit of everything in it.


The Harry Potter books have something for everyone… they’re not just about magic, adventure, and good vs. evil, but about growing up, forming deep for-life friendships, and becoming the person you’re supposed to be.

Shiraz – a full-bodied book that is dark and juicy.


Words cannot express my obsessive infatuation with this book. It’s Sovereign. Deadly. Perfect. (that’s a quote from the book, I’m not being creepy.) Night Film is one of those books where you’re never quite sure what’s real and what isn’t… and you will lose your mind trying to work it out one way or the other.

Merlot – a smooth, easy read with a soft finish.


This was the perfect light read – angst-free and just plain lovely. You can read my review here.

Champagne – your favourite book.

I don’t have a favourite book of all time, but this is probably my top ten (in no particular order):

This lazy Saturday I am tagging anybody who wants to take part in this book tag… Have a lovely wine-filled weekend everyone! xxx

Gif source: Giphy (here, here, here and here)



The Infinity Dreams Award


Happy Saturday everyone! I’m back from my two week hiatus, which I didn’t actually tell anyone I was taking… In case you were wondering, I went to New York last week (more on that in my monthly wrap up post ❤️) and I’ve spent all of this week recovering from the jet lag (aka sleeping and binge-watching Gossip Girl because I want to go back to NYC so badly!)

I’m doing my best to catch up with my tags and nominations, and over the past few months I’ve been nominated for The Infinity Dreams Award by the following lovely bloggers:

Deanna @ anovelglimpse

Codie @ paperbackbookaddicts

Laura @ lalasbookreviews

Alyssa @ theultimatebookgeek

Michelle @ thereadingbelle

Please go check out all of their splendiferous blogs, if you haven’t already! 

I’m not 100% sure what the Infinity Dreams Award means, but it sounds rather mystical and magical, and I am very grateful to all of you for bestowing it upon my little blog 🙂

The rules:

  • Thank and link the blog that nominated you
  • Tell us 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the questions that were set for you to answer
  • Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them

My 11 facts (don’t worry, I won’t bore you with 55…):

1) I buy way more books than I have time to read.

2) Despite the crappy final season, LOST remains my favourite TV show of all time. And weirdly, despite his obvious and severe personality flaws, Benjamin Linus remains my favourite character.

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Source: Giphy

3) I very rarely wear makeup, unless I’m going somewhere nice. I’m not making a statement, I’m just too lazy to put it on in the mornings.

4) I am always tired. I can’t remember what not being tired actually feels like.

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Source: Giphy

5) My favourite song of all time is Just Like Heaven by The Cure. However, my most played song on iTunes is Time to Pretend by MGMT.

6) Ever since I started working in marketing, I can’t stop noticing improper use of grammar, and I can’t stop thinking in puns.

7) I am always spilling food or drink down myself, to the extent that my friends actually say ‘I Jessed myself!’ anytime they accidentally do the same thing…

8) I am 99.9% sure I have misophonia (a condition where you have an intense hatred of sound). People with misophonia have certain noises that severely distress them, and mine is the sound of eating. Ughhhh. I. can’t. deal.

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Source: Giphy

9) I keep an emergency packet of Lovehearts in my bag at all times, because I sometimes get this weird thing where if I haven’t eaten for several hours I get all shaky and almost pass out because I need sugar.

10) I will eat almost anything, but I can’t stand beetroot or hard-boiled egg. #vom

11) I am happiest when in pyjamas.

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Source: Giphy

My answers to the questions…

Deanna’s questions:

What is your favourite romance novel?


I desperately want more people to read this book, so I have somebody to fangirl with! Howie and Arthur’s romance was so adorable, and managed to keep me engaged without resorting to angst or melodrama. This book made me so HAPPY.

Who is your least favourite fictional love triangle?


Cassia/Xander/Ky in the Matched trilogy. I found the romance in this series bland. I read to the end of the trilogy because I was interested in the dystopian setting, but I really couldn’t have cared less about the love triangle.

Codie’s questions:

Least favourite genre?


Erotica. I don’t have a problem with sex scenes in books, but I do have a problem with cringey writing (I’m looking at you 50 Shades!)

Biggest pet peeve in books?

When a female character intensely hates another female character just because she’s pretty. C’MON, we’re above all of that in this enlightened day and age.

Alyssa’s questions:

Favourite book of 2015?


I wasn’t expecting to fall so hard for this series, as it’s not the kind of thing I usually read, but BAM – I was blown away. This series gets better and better with every book, and the character development is flawless.

Least favourite book of 2015?


It just didn’t really live up to my expectations. The premise was so intriguing (two strangers are stranded on a desert island together for 2 years… when they’re finally rescued, they make a pact to lie about what really happened while they were there.) This idea had so much potential, but I was left unenthralled and disappointed by the reveal of Lilian and Dave’s secret. I guess I was just expecting something a bit more shocking.

Laura’s questions:

Do you think negative reviews are useful? Or just hateful?

I think it depends on the tone of the review. It’s okay to be constructively negative, because I think it’s worse to pretend you loved something you hated, but we should also be respectful, because negative comments can be hurtful. I think it’s also important to make it clear we’re just expressing our opinion; just because it didn’t float our boat, doesn’t mean it won’t float someone else’s.

Do you like short stories? Which one is your favourite?


I love short stories. I’m not sure if I have a favourite, but I’m a huge fan of Daphne du Maurier’s; I love the way she writes. Don’t Look Now is one of her best, and the ending scared the crap out of me because it was so unexpected. It’s rare for a book to be able to make you jump in the same way a movie can, but I swear that story did it for me!

Michelle’s questions:

What classic books do you like?


Tess of the D’Urbervilles was the first classic to make me cry, and Wuthering Heights has such psychologically interesting characters – both were intense reading experiences for me.

If you had to choose a dystopian society to live in, which one will it be?


Well, preferably none, but if I HAD to, I think I’d choose the world of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. Although the characters have to deal with some pretty scary stuff (Grievers! WICKED! AHH!), I like the community aspect of the Glade, and how they all manage to work and live (fairly) amicably together.

My nominees:

Anne @ anneliselestrange

Faith and Sarah @ sublimereads

Raquel @ rakioddbooks

Alicia @ hashtaglovebooks

Evie @ justanotherbelle

Asmaa @ thechroniclesofabookworm

Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks

Giselle @ utopianboulevard

Astra @ astrangersguidetonovels

Ashleigh @ afrolicthroughfiction

T.K. Lawrence @ readitornotreviews

If you’ve already done this tag/tags aren’t your thing/you can’t be bothered, there is no pressure to do this one, but if you do fancy giving it ago, here are your questions:

  1. Which fictional character is most like you?
  2. Which books have made you cry?
  3. Has a book ever filled you with rage?
  4. Who is your favourite fictional couple?
  5. Has there been a book which has genuinely scared you?
  6. Favourite fictional animal/fantastical creature?
  7. Favourite fantasy world?
  8. Which book completely exceeded your expectations?
  9. Are there any books you’ve disliked from an author you usually love?
  10. What’s your favourite book in a genre you don’t normally read?
  11. If you had another blog, what would you write about it instead of books?

The Desert Island Book Tag

I’ve been tagged to take part in The Desert Island Book Tag by the lovely Deanna from A Novel Glimpse! You can check out her fabulous blog here.

The weather is pretty grim in little old England at the moment (the wind is literally HOWLING like a funfair haunted house outside my window), so I’d give anything to be sprawled out on a tropical island somewhere right now. Obviously in a luxury-beach-resort-with-cocktails, rather than a Tom-Hanks-in-Cast-Away, kind of a way…


1. Water: a book you simply cannot live without.

I always find the favourite book question impossible to answer! In an ideal world I’d cheat and say my Kindle, which is full of books I’ve loved, and unread ones I’m dying to start, but if I were legitimately stranded on an island, having to get my basic-survival-skills thing on, finding a power source to charge up said Kindle could prove tricky…

To save my battery dying, and me being left all alone without even a fictional friend to my name, eventually losing my mind and drawing a face on my Kindle, calling it Wilson, and screaming his name into the void when he drifts out to sea and finally abandons me forever, I’ll be sensible and answer the question properly. Sort of…

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If I were stuck on an island, I’d honestly get bored reading the same thing over and over again (and being bored of a book is the saddest thing), so I will choose my notebook, and I’ll make up my own stories to pass the time. A blank page is an endless source of possibilities…

2. Food: a book that is a close second on your favourites list.

before i fall

As I gave such a cop-out answer to the first question, I’ve now given the incredibly pompous impression that a notepad full of my own writing is my FIRST FAVOURITE BOOK, and whatever I choose in answer to this next question is second best. Oops! Must stop cheating at book tags!

I don’t have a favourite book of all time, but if I had to assemble a desert island top 5, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver would certainly make the cut! It’s a powerful novel all about the impact our actions can have on other people without us even realising, and I cried AN OCEAN OF TEARS at the ending. I’ve read this book several times, and I notice new things every time I open it, so I’ll gladly re-read this one until the end of my desert island days.

3. Shelter: a book that makes you feel at home and safe.


The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot was my comfort-blanket growing up! As my awkward-and-geeky-book-soulsister, Mia Thermopolis UNDERSTOOD the sheer horror of being a teenager and going to school, and she gave me hope and reassurance that the best way to survive all of that and come out of it a) alive and b) self-actualised, was to keep on being myself and nothing less!  I will always have a special place for this series in my heart.

4. Flare gun: a book you would recommend to a person that doesn’t read.


I’d choose Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, because it’s a quick, fun read, with characters who feel like people you’d want to hang out with in real life. I re-read this book recently to get me out of a reading slump (a really bad one where I didn’t have the energy or inclination to face books at all), and it totally worked, because this book is so easy to get into.

I defy anyone who reads this book not to finish it with a massive smile on their face, and a mushy-melty bundle of feels where their heart used to be!

You can read my review here.

5. Fire-matches: a book that warms your heart.


A book I fell in love with last year was Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson. If you love Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you NEED to read this book! Slightly older characters and it’s obviously different plot-wise, but there are so many similarities with Simon vs… including an adorable LGBT romance and extremely loveable characters, plus lots of banter, pop-culture references and LEGIT laugh-out-loud moments.

This book was the literary equivalent of a giant squishy hug, and I was basically doing a happy-dance something akin to this throughout my entire reading experience:

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You can read my review of Know Not Why here.

6. Compass: a book that directed you towards your love of reading.

Oh man, I didn’t want to be predictable, but I’d be lying if I told you any different…


I’m feeling lazy today, so I’m tagging anyone who would rather be on a beautiful sunny island right now than hugging their laptop for warmth like I currently am… aka EVERYONE!

If you were trapped on a desert island, which books would you want to keep you company?





Around the World in YA Books Tag

(in which I cheat and use books that aren’t YA at all…!)


A fantastic blogger, theorangutanlibrarian, tagged me to do this one many moons ago (November – I know, I know, I am shameful!) and I am finally rising to the challenge! Before you read on, please go check out her blog, because her reviews are excellent, and her blog is one of my favourites!

The rules of this tag are to choose a selection of countries, and pick your favourite YA book set in each country.

I had a mosey around my bookshelves and concluded that my YA library was pitifully undiverse (is that a word? My laptop doesn’t seem to think so!), so I’ve decided to break the rules (naughty) and complete this tag using a mixture of books, some YA, but mostly not, so I can imaginarily (apparently that one IS a word) travel to further flung corners of the globe!

So, without further ado, I’m off on an adventure. First stop…. India!

Gif source: Giphy 

India: The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter


If you’re looking for a total escape read, this book is a good place to start.

Recently heartbroken Ruby takes a spontaneous trip to visit her sister in India, but when she arrives, Ruby finds her sister has run off to marry her yoga instructor, a man she’s known for all of five minutes! Desperate to stop her sister making a big mistake and getting her heart broken too, Ruby sets off across India to track her down and stop the wedding, with the help of a crotchety but handsome American man she meets on the train.

We get to travel all over India in this novel, and it’s portrayed with so much vibrancy and colour that the descriptions will make you want to drop everything and run away this minute!

Nepal: The Lie by C.L. Taylor


This is a fantastic, twisty novel about a group of women who go travelling in Nepal.

They arrange to spend several weeks at a remote retreat up in the Himalayan mountains, run by a charismatic man named Isaac they can’t help but be instantly charmed by on arrival. Everything seems blissfully idyllic for the first few days, but Emma, the protagonist, quickly starts to realise something isn’t right about the place, and that Isaac may not be as perfect as he seems…

The way the tension and creepiness builds in this novel made it unputdownable, and the location descriptions were breathtaking.

Romania: Follow You Home by Mark Edwards


Another creepy book on my list: this is the story of a couple who, whilst travelling in Eastern Europe, have their passports stolen, and are thrown off their train by the Romanian Authorities in the middle of the night. They plan to walk through the forest until they reach the nearest town, but something happens that night in the woods that leaves them utterly traumatised; when they return to London, they refuse to ever speak of the incident again.

What happened to leave them both so afraid? This novel will keep you guessing (and up all night!)

Turkey: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova


This book takes you on an adventure through a number of different countries including France, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, but the place painted most vividly in my mind was Turkey.

The story follows a young woman who finds a curious book in her father’s library, containing no words, but simply a woodcut emblem of a dragon at the centre. We soon discover that the book (which mysteriously made its way into her father’s possession one late night at the library) has a connection to Vlad the Impaler (also known as Dracula) and that her father is not the first person to have discovered such a book!

All of the characters who come across these rather menacing books seem to become fixated by the idea of finding out more about Dracula, and one by one, their research leads them off to Instanbul, and all over Europe, in pursuit of the man himself, whom they are convinced is still alive… in some sense of the word! But as each character takes this journey, somebody is following in their footsteps, and it seems the deeper they become embroiled in Dracula’s story, the greater the threat posed to the people they care about most…

This book was atmospheric and sinister throughout. My only criticism is that it dragged in places and could benefit from some serious pruning down – it took me almost a month to read! Kinda like this super-long summary, you’re probably thinking!

Canada: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney


I read this book a long time ago, but I remember absolutely adoring it.

The novel takes place in 19th Century Canada: in a small town called Dove River, a man is found murdered in his home, and a 17-year-old boy becomes the number one suspect when he disappears shortly after the body is found. His mother refuses to believe her son is a murderer and, determined to prove his innocence, sets off across the harsh snowy landscape of the tundra to find him and bring him home.

I enjoyed the murder mystery aspect of this book, and the descriptions of the tundra are stunning. It’s also an emotional read, so be prepared to blub your eyes out at the ending!

Morocco: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor


I had to include at least one YA book on this list, and this seemed like the perfect choice because technically it’s three 😉

Most people remember the Czech Republic when they think of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, because the first book opens in Prague and brings it so magically to life, but for me, the sections of the series set in Morocco spring to mind. Laini Taylor conjures the chaos and liveliness of the market towns, full of chattering and bartering, perfectly, and she is one of the few authors who truly makes me feel I am right there in the middle of it all.

As this is a trilogy, attempting to summarise it will probably result in an essay, but if you haven’t read these books, check them out here!

I tag the following people:

*** But there’s no obligation to do this tag if you’re busy, or have already done it, or just don’t want to! 🙂 ***

Annelise @ Anneliselestrange


Codie @ Reader’s Anonymous

Tanaz @ Bookish Freaks

Laura @ Lala’s Book Reviews

Ellie @ Belle Infini

Ariana @ The Quirky Book Nerd

Have you read any of these books? What are your favourite books set in other countries?