Tuesday, 1 August 2017


I disappeared for a couple of weeks there. Oops.

Hello! So if you saw my last post you'll know I went to Disneyland Paris last month and I had an amazing time. 

At least I had an amazing time the first two days I was there, the last two days I was there I was ill. I continued to get worse once I was back in the UK until I ended up spending the night in hospital because, lucky me, I got quinsy again.

It's just typical that I fell ill while on holiday, I'd been looking forward to going all year, but never mind! Worse things have happened and I'm much better now.

Sadly, though, being ill and trying to catch up at work at the busiest time of year has meant I didn't complete the Camp NaNoWriMo project I was hoping to finish - which is particularly frustrating because I was making such good progress at the start of July! - and I also haven't read anything in way too long and I'm just feeling a bit wrung out and not in the mood to blog. So instead of worrying about not populating my blog, I'm going to go ahead and take a step back and come back in September refreshed and (hopefully) ready to write a ton of new content. I miss the book blogging world, I just haven't been reading enough to join in properly.

I may pop up later this month if Top Ten Tuesday takes my fancy, but if not I'll see you all in September!

Friday, 14 July 2017

My Top 10 Disney Songs!

Happy Friday!

When this post goes live I'll be on my way to Disneyland Paris! I'm so unbelievably excited, so to get into the mood I thought I'd share my top ten Disney songs with you. I dare you to try not to sing along...

Number Ten: I'll Make a Man Out of You from Mulan (1998)

Number Nine: I Am Moana from Moana (2016)

Number Eight: Substitutiary Locomotion from Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Number Seven: Be Prepared from The Lion King (1994)

Number Six: Prince Ali from Aladdin (1992)

Number Five: Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid (1989)

Number Four: Zero to Hero from Hercules (1997)

Number Three: This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Number Two: Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Number One: Out There from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Enjoy! I'll be back next week after a Disney-filled weekend!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Five Great Books Set Outside the UK and USA

Let's face it: when you're from the UK or the USA, you're pretty lucky in how much fiction, and non-fiction, is set in  or  is about your country. It's not hard to find settings you can relate to on a personal, nostalgic level, as well as all the people who inhabit those familiar spaces.

One thing I really enjoy, however, is when I come across books that aren't set in these typical places, especially if they're set on a completely different continent. My reading habits still have a lot of broadening to do, I still find myself reading mainly books set in the UK or the USA written by white authors from the UK or the USA, but I'm constantly trying to read more books set in places that are completely foreign to me in all the best ways. So today I thought I'd share five books with you that aren't set in the UK or the USA and, if you haven't already, hopefully you'll want to read them, too! (I've also just realised that all five of these books are debut novels...)

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

The novel I've read most recently from this selection, Adébáyọ̀'s debut was released earlier this year and was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. I loved it. Set in Nigeria, where the author is from, the story follows a married couple desperate for a child whose relationship begins to unravel when a second wife is brought into the family. It's fantastic, so worth reading, and I'd recommend it for fans of Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Set in Amsterdam, this book was EVERYWHERE when it was released a few years ago. As much as I love historical fiction I was wary to pick this one up at first because I was worried it had been over-hyped, but when I read it I thoroughly enjoyed it. 17th century Amsterdam came to life for me in this book and Jessie Burton writes exquisitely. A three-part adaptation of The Miniaturist is coming to the BBC later this year, so now's a great time to read it if you haven't already!

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This is such a good book to pick up during winter, Kent captures the barren yet beautiful Icelandic landscape wonderfully, but as this book is a novelisation of the final days of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland in the 19th century, it'll probably make you cry. I'm actually going to Iceland in December, so I might have to give this one a re-read.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

If sci-fi retellings of fairy tales aren't something that interests you then I don't understand you these books aren't for you, but personally I love this series - it's so fun! One thing I also really love about it, though, is that none of the books are set in either the UK or the USA (the final book, Winter, is set on the moon!) with Cinder being set in a futuristic version of China, in New Beijing to be exact. I have lots of other books set in Asia on my TBR, and if you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them!

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

If a month goes by where I haven't mentioned this book on my blog, assume I'm ill. I think you all know by now that this is one of my favourite novels and its originality is a huge part of that. Not only is this book set in Mexico City, but it focuses on witchcraft in the 1980s where our protagonist, Meche, learns to cast spells with her vinyl records. How can you not want to read that?

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favourite books set outside the UK and USA?

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Aussie Book Tag

G'day mates! And now it's time for me to apologise to literally everyone in Australia. Cass @ Words on Paper very kindly tagged me in the Aussie Book Tag and, as you know, I'm always up for  a tag. You can find Cass's answers here and the original, created by Ngoc @ Happy Comes First and Julia @ Picnic Readshere!

I've never been to Australia but I'd love to go (the only thing that really puts me off are the spiders because I am severely arachnophobic) and the more I thought about it the more I realised I've read barely any Australian writers; Markus Zusak, Garth Nix, Geraldine Brooks and Hannah Kent are the only ones who immediately spring to mind. You don't have to talk about Australian books and authors for this tag, but doing this has definitely made me realise it's a country that I seem to neglect in my reading. That's something for me to rectify.

If anyone has any recommendations, particularly about/written by Australia's indigenous population, please let me know!

That has to be Maia from Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor, not only is it one of my favourite novels of all time, but Maia is one of my favourite fictional characters, too. He's such a good egg and I adore him. You can check out my review of The Goblin Emperor here!

This is a tricky one because I'm usually the grumpy one who hates what everyone else loves, but for this I'm going to go with Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë. I don't think everyone hates it by any means, but I do think Anne is forgotten next to her sisters and she shouldn't be. Of her two novels Agnes Grey is probably the lesser known, but I really enjoyed it when I read it and I'd love to see more people reading Anne's work.

I can't possible talk about a fictional squad without talking about Harry Potter. If I wanted to be part of any gang, it'd definitely be Dumbledore's Army because I am all for students standing up to bad teachers.

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, which I reviewed here. I can't wait to read whatever Adébáyọ̀ brings out next and I highly, highly recommend this debut!

It'd be pretty easy to mention Harry Potter again here but I think Harry Potter gets enough love as it is, so instead I'm going to go with Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman which is one of my favourite books from my early teens. It's the first book I can remember crying over and it's still very special to me and so worth reading if you haven't already.

Isabel Greenberg's The One Hundred Nights of Hero (reviewed here) is a gorgeous graphic novel but it's so huge which means it can be quite difficult to read comfortably - it's worth it, though!

George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is super depressing but it's such an iconic work of dystopian fiction and it's definitely worth checking out if it's on your radar. Is it the best piece of dystopian fiction out there? No, not necessarily, but it's a really interesting novel and I think it's worth a bit of your time.

I know I keep saying it, but no novel has surprised me more than Sarah Waters' Fingersmith (reviewed here). It's one of the twistiest, turniest novels I've ever read and it's so much fun - if you haven't read any of Waters' work, Fingersmith is a great place to start!

I adored Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (reviewed here), especially because I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did, and Becky Albertalli has quickly become my favourite YA author following her equally excellent sophomore novel, The Upside of Unrequited (reviewed here). Yet again, I recommend reading her if you haven't already!

I'm a big mood reader so the books I reach out for when I'm feeling slumpy usually change depending what I'm in the mood to read - sometimes it's YA, sometimes it's a thriller, but it's usually something I don't tend to read a lot of - but this year I find myself turning more and more towards Fantasy of Manners books when I'm feeling slumpy, particularly Gail Carriger's work. It's so fun!

Thanks so much for tagging me, Cass! I'm going to go ahead and tag some people below, so:

consider yourselves tagged!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

This Week in Books | 28/06/17

This week I'm joining in with Lipsy @ Lipsyy Lost & Found to talk about the books I've been reading recently!

Now: Yep, I'm still reading The Obelisk Gate and I'm really enjoying it and I'm determined to finish it soon. Work's been pretty hectic this month so I haven't had much time to read in general, hopefully that'll change soon!

Then: I finally read one of Maya Angelou's collections! 'Phenomenal Woman' is a favourite poem of mine but, despite owning my copy of And Still I Rise for a couple of years, I'd never read one of Angelou's collections until now. I really enjoyed it, and it's definitely a collection I'd read again.

Next: I swear I'm going to get to The Beautiful Ones soon. I just want to read The Obelisk Gate because it's frustrating me that I should have read it by now. The Beautiful Ones is definitely on my radar to read next, as well as The Song of Achilles, When Dimple Met Rishi, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and Shades of Milk and Honey. There's so much I want to read, I just need some more hours in the day please!

What are you reading?

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday | Best Books of 2017 - So Far!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week's theme is 'Best Books You've Read In 2017 So Far', and while I feel like I'm having a more positive reading year, and more positive year all-round, than last year, I'm still not reading as much as I'd like to be and I haven't read many amazing, blow-my-socks-off books which is a little sad considering it's June. I can't believe it's June.

I have read some books I've really enjoyed, though, and this is the best of the bunch so far - I'm hoping the latter half of the year is even better! So, without further ado, here are my top ten eight books of 2017 so far...

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla: This is such an important book given our current political climate and the kind of book I want to throw at every person I meet. If you haven't read this yet then you must, especially if you're British or currently living in the UK. Check out my review here.

The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg: A lesbian retelling of The Thousand and One Nights is everything I didn't know I wanted until I came across it in this charming graphic novel. I loved it.

The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark: Quite possibly one of the most disturbing books I've ever read, it left me feeling the same way I felt the first time I read Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, and I loved it. It's not a new favourite, a book has to be pretty special to be a new favourite, but it is deliciously dark and short enough to be devoured in one sitting, which I think is what it deserves.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin: This is one of those really unexpected books; I wasn't planning to read it, I hadn't even heard of it at the beginning of this year, but I was on the lookout for some high fantasy and my lovely friend Natalie @ A Sea Change recommended Jemisin's work to me. I picked up a copy of The Fifth Season after seeing how many brilliant reviews it had on Goodreads and I loved it. It's so fresh and new compared to the other high fantasy I've read and I had such fun reading it.

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I was determined to read some of Adichie's fiction this year, so I decided to dive into her short story collection and I really, really enjoyed it. There weren't really any stories I didn't like and even now, with the book nowhere near me, I find myself able to remember a lot of them. I can't wait to read her novels. Check out my review here.

Final Girls by Riley Sager: I don't read thrillers often but I tend to enjoy them when I do, and this one, which plays on the horror trope of the 'final girl', was so much fun to read; I read it in two sittings because I couldn't put it down. It's being released next month, I believe, so make sure you pick up a copy! Check out my review here.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: My favourite book of the year so far, which really surprised me. I loved Albertalli's debut, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (reviewed here), but with this book Albertalli has become my favourite YA author. I wasn't sure I'd be able to love this book as much as I loved her debut and I'm always nervous when a book is marketed as having a fat protagonist - so often the plot will revolve around them losing weight or they won't really be fat - but I read this in one sitting, I didn't move at all, and I adored it. This book and Signal to Noise are the only books I've read in recent years that have reminded me of what it was like to be a teenager, and have spoken to the experiences I had in a very personal way. I loved it. Check out my review here.

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀: I haven't been this surprised by a debut novel, in all the best ways, since I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I was really hoping to enjoy Stay With Me and I ended up loving it; it's such a well-crafted and cleverly plotted story and I can't wait to see what Adébáyọ̀ writes next! Check out my review here.

Which books made your list this week?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Fandon Mashup | Those of Wit and Learning

Fandom Mashup is an original featured created and hosted by the lovely Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews. Each week she proposes a unique fictional scenario and then invites you to build a dream team of five fictional characters from five different fandoms to help you to complete the task. Make sure you check out Micheline's blog for more info!

This week we're choosing five characters whom we think belong in Ravenclaw! Ravenclaw's my Hogwarts House, so this was a lot of fun...

Evelyn 'Evie' Carnahan from The Mummy (1999)

I will never, ever be bored of The Mummy; it's one of my favourite films and a lot of that is down to this lady. She's bookish and scholarly and learned, but also adventurous and brave, and she isn't mocked for her enthusiasm by the people who matter. Evie wants to be an academic, so she'd definitely be in Ravenclaw.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Any woman who can get as excited about a library as this woman does belongs in Ravenclaw. The 2017 Belle also belongs in Ravenclaw, especially being an inventor, but I prefer the original and the 2017 Belle looks an awful lot like another Hogwarts student...

Cosima Niehaus from Orphan Black

Cosima is a proud nerd and super smart, and while I'm sure Ravenclaw is full of bookish people I think the kooky, more Luna-esque people are sometimes forgotten about. Ravenclaw will have as many scientists as more artsy lovers and I think Cosima would find a lot of like minds there willing to help her with her experiments.

Samwell Tarly from Game of Thrones

He and Belle can nerd out over the Hogwarts Library together, and if Samwell could go to boarding school it'd mean having time away from his horrible father.

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

We know Elizabeth loves books, but that's not the reason I'd put her in Ravenclaw. For me Elizabeth is a character who encapsulates 'Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure'. She loves to play around with speech, is constantly verbally sparring with other people even when, like Mr. Collins, they don't realise it. She'd definitely be at home in Ravenclaw.

Who would you put in Ravenclaw?