TTT: Bookish Discoveries I Made in 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is Bookish Discoveries I Made in 2019. I have to admit I seriously struggled with this week’s topic. There were just too many things to choose from, authors, books, blogs, publishers, bookish merch… I’ve therefore gone with a sort of scattergun approach of slightly random stuff that caught my attention during 2019. I apologize in advance…


Authors

Skyward (Skyward, #1)I could quite easily fill the whole top ten with author’s I discovered during 2019 but I really wanted to include some other stuff so I’ll just go with the standouts. 2019 was the year when I finally picked up books by Jay Kristoff and Brandon Sanderson. I’ve had their books on my shelf for ages but with the hype around them kept putting them off. Having now finally read them I can confirm that all of the hype is 100% justified. Both Skyward and the Nevernight trilogy were in my fave books of the year.

Samantha Downing and Beth O’Leary also seriously impressed me with their debut books My Lovely Wife and The Flatshare putting them very squarely on my “must look out for books by” list. Also on that list are Will Carver, Antti Tuomainen, Doug Johnstone and pretty much every author on Orenda Book’s list. Their books are just so original and different.

Genres

The End We Start FromEvery year I make a half hearted attempt at the Popsugar Challenge and every year I probably only manage to fill around half the prompts but it does almost always lead to some kind of discovery and a broadening of my reading. In 2019 that discover was new genres. I seriously had no idea that cli-fi and LitRPG were even a thing but apparently they are. I will admit to not being so keen on LitRPG (I found Ready Player One kind of boring) but I am liking cli-fi (probably due to my love of dystopians and post apocalypse stories)

New Book Festivals

CYMERACapture

I love a good bookish event, particularly when it’s genre fiction so was very excited for the very first Cymera festival in Edinburgh in June 2019. Over the weekend there were around 70 science fiction, fantasy and horror writers including Victoria Schwab, Claire North, Ben Aaronovitch and Adrian Tchaikovsky.

shoe (2)I was volunteering at the event so I didn’t get to see a huge number of authors (I was selling tickets in the box office) but the events I did make it to were brilliant and with it being the first year it wasn’t too crazy. I did get to chat to a few authors, publicists etc as they stopped into reception, and had a fantastic if somewhat stressful time (why do printers hate me). I also discovered that Anna Smith Spark has the best shoes ever.

Also last year was the first ever Capital Crime festival in London. I didn’t manage to make it as it was a little too close to the Bloody Scotland Festival but the programme looked incredible. There’s a strong possibility I’ll be wandering my way down there this year.

CYOA

When I was younger I used to absolutely love Choose Your Own Adventure books so I was very excited to see them making something of a comeback in 2019 with some adult versions. I read a couple of them during the year, mostly would you survive a zombie apocalypse style stories (I would not), and had a lot of fun. The absolute highlight of the year CYOA wise however was Susan Dennard’s Twitter CYOA, the Luminaries. Every day for 6 months hive mind Winnie (aka around 2000 followers) made some incredibly poor decisions in a story full of magic, romance and adventure. It was hands down the best thing on Twitter even if we did spend around a fortnight in a garage trying to decide whether to take a dirt bike or a car.

Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3)Footnotes

I finally picked up the Nevernight trilogy by Jay Kristoff this year and discovered the joy and horror of reading books with extensive footnotes. The footnotes were brilliant and definitely had a lot of the funniest moments but trying to read them in an ebook was just hell. I did manage better with a physical copy of the book but to be honest I had to resort to the audiobook to make it through Darkdawn.

Full Cast AudiobooksIlluminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

I’ve always been a little anti full cast audiobooks, I tried to listen to one a year or so ago and hated it, but this year after listening to Illuminae and Daisy Jones and the Six discovered just how good they can be. Illuminae in particularly completely blew me away with how fantastic it was (I did not think that book could ever work on audio) and I can’t wait to read the other books in the series.

 


So that’s my discoveries from 2019. Did you make any discoveries last year that you think everyone should know about?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

TTT: Most Anticipated Books of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020. I’ve actually been trying to focus on backlist books and not new books coming out as I really want to reduce my TBR not add to it but these ones have been on my radar for a while. The links will take you to the GoodReads page, if you want to check any of them out.


Burn

Burn by Patrick Ness (May 2020) – It’s Patrick Ness and it’s dragons do I really need to say anymore… OK, his last couple of books haven’t been my favourites but his writing is always wonderful and the stories imaginative and unique. I can’t wait to see what he does with this.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers, #2)

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (Jan 2020) – Technically this came out yesterday but I’m counting it. I absolutely loved the first book in the series A Curse So Dark and Lonely (here’s my review) which was a Beauty and the Beast inspired story and I love Kemmerer’s writing so this has got to be a win-win. Fingers crossed it lives up to expectations.

The Switch

The Switch by Beth O’Leary (April 2020) – I LOVED O’Leary’s debut The Flatshare so have been anxiously awaiting anything by her and this sounds like such a cute story. A pensioner and a 20 something swap places for a couple of months and maybe find love. If it’s anything like The Flatshare I fully anticipate this having a little more depth than the blurb would suggest.

Pretending

Pretending by Holly Bourne (April 2020) – This isn’t out till April but I’ve already been hearing a lot of great things about it. I’m not wholly surprised as Bourne’s first adult novel How Do You Like Me Now? is one of my all time favourite reads. Bourne has an incredible ability to weave current issues into her stories and capture how a lot of women really feel.

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (Jan 2020) – I was absolutely heartbroken when my NetGalley request for this was declined. The Wayward Children series is absolutely brilliant, so I’ve been ridiculously excited about the fifth book in the series particularly as it seems to follow favourite character Jack. I love the world building, the characters and the imagination of the whole thing. Looking on the positive side though a declined request means I can listen to it on audio, which is how I’ve read all of the others in the series.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (May 2020)  – Like a lot of people I suspect I am both eagerly anticipating and slightly dreading this Hunger Games prequel. It has the potential to be either brilliant or terrible. One thing is for sure, I won’t be able to resist reading it.

The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence (April 2020) – Should I really be starting a new series when I have so many others unfinished (Book of the Ancestor included)? Probably not. Am I going to? Most certainly. I love Lawrence’s stories. I do think I should probably finish the Book of the Ancestor trilogy first though.

The Notorious Virtues (The Notorious Virtues, #1)

The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton (May 2020) – Have to confess that cover is a BIG part of why I want to read this book, I mean look at it. That is one stunning cover. I almost don’t care what the stories about. I was however a big fan of Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands trilogy so I have no doubt the content will live up to expectations.

Our Little Cruelties

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent (March 2020) – I really, really love Liz Nugent’s books. Every single one starts with a killer opening sentence and this one is no exception. I am expecting something dark and twisty with absolutely horrible characters doing absolutely horrible things.

He Started It

He Started It by Samantha Downing (April 2020) – Downing’s first novel, My Lovely Wife was one of my favourite books of 2019 so as soon as I heard about her new one it went straight on my TBR. It sounds just as dark and twisted and I can’t wait to read it.


So that’s my 10 most anticipated books from the first half of 2020. Are any of these on your list or is there a book you’re particularly looking forward to that I should really be adding to my TBR?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

Teaser Tuesday: 8th May 2018

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong, a disturbing thriller I received from NetGalley. I read this over the weekend and absolutely loved it. It’s such a dark and chilling read that really takes you into the mind of a very unique character.


My Teaser

I could figure it out. Or at least I could make it make sense. I had always had a gift for reshaping a scene to make it comprehensible, though Mother disparaged this skill, calling it ‘lying’.

~ 12% The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong


BlurbThe Good Son

Yu-jin is a good son, a model student and a successful athlete. But one day he wakes up covered in blood. There’s no sign of a break-in and there’s a body downstairs. It’s the body of someone who Yu-jin knows all too well.

Yu-jin struggles to piece together the fragments of what he can remember from the night before. He suffers from regular seizures and blackouts. He knows he will be accused if he reports the body, but what to do instead? Faced with an unthinkable choice, Yu-jin makes an unthinkable decision.

Through investigating the murder, reading diaries, and looking at his own past and childhood, Yu-jin discovers what has happened. The police descend on the suburban South Korean district in which he lives. The body of a young woman is discovered. Yu-jin has to go back, right back, to remember what happened, back to the night he lost his father and brother, and even further than that.

The Good Son deals with the ultimate taboo in family life, and asks the question: how far will you go to protect your children from themselves?

TTT: Ten books I can’t wait to read

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is Books I’d slay a lion to get early. Given my love of felines of all shapes and sizes I’m probably not going to slay a lion for any book (what did the lion do to deserve that??) but these are 10 books I can’t wait to get my hands on.


King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – Considering my love for all things Leigh Bardugo, the Grishaverse and the fact that Nikolai Lantsov is one of my all time fave characters this book is definitely top of my list (and may even be slay a lion worthy). This is the book I feel I’ve been waiting for ever since Siege and Storm.

And the Ocean Was Our Sky

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness – Again I’m a big fan of anything Ness writes and was particularly excited when I heard this described as Moby Dick from the POV of the whale.

Us Against You (Beartown, #2)

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman – this is due out in June so not really too long a wait but I am keen to find out what’s happening to the residents of Beartown

99 Percent Mine: A Novel by [Thorne, Sally]

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne – The Hating Game by Thorne is probably one of my all time favorite romance reads. I pick it up and read random sections on a fairly regular basis and it never gets old. I’m therefore very curious to see if her second book will become my new favorite.

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Guide, #2)

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee – I adored Felicity’s character in the Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue so I am very excited that she’s getting a book all of her own.

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)

The Wicked King by Holly Black – Cruel Prince was an absolutely brilliant read but honestly that ending was a killer. Part of me wishes I hadn’t read it so I didn’t have the wait for book 2.

Shadow of The Fox

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa – DRAGONS!!!! There’s only around a week to go until Inferno, the final book in the Talon series, is released in the UK and I just know that once I’m finished it I’m gonna need something else to fill a dragon shaped hole. And this new series with a Japanese influence sounds sooo good. Plus ya know, Kagawa books are always exciting reads (and she’s not afraid to bump off characters)

City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab – My kitty cat is on the cover (not really) so I feel like I have to read this. Seriously though, a girl who can see ghosts, Edinburgh setting, Schwab’s writing, I’m in.

Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – You’d think I’d be over my obsession with fairytale retellings by now but nope and this sounds good and dark and twisty.

Big Sexy Love

Worst Girlfriend Ever by Kirsty Greenwood – Yep I know the cover above is for a different book but I there doesn’t seem to be a cover up for this one yet so I’m using it as an excuse to once again plug Big Sexy Love (that book is sooo under appreciated). I think Greenwood is just seriously under appreciated. Every book I’ve read so far by her I’ve loved so looking forward to this, her next one.


So that’s the 10 books I’m very excited about and would love to get a hold of early (although maybe not slay a lion early). Are any of these on your list or is there a book you’re particularly looking forward to?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

TTT: Ten Books I Loved but Probably Wouldn’t Re-Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is Books I Loved, but Will Never Re-read. I do have a small pile of favorite books I’ll re read time and time again but I have to admit the majority of books I loved I’ll probably never pick up again. This may be because it’s too emotional (and I can’t go through that again), there’s a major plot twist or mystery central to the story (which I already know) or just because reading it the first time was such a wonderful experience I’m scared a re read would ruin my memory of it.


Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – This definitely falls into the too emotional to re read category. I’m a big fan of Moyes and this is my all time favorite book of hers but while I’ll watch the film over and over again I just can’t bring myself to read this again.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

 The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness – Like pretty much everything Ness writes this series is an absolute masterpiece. It’s just so wonderfully imaginative and unique but also completely real and believable. It is however far too emotional for me, particularly the first book, and I don’t think I could put myself through it again.

Beartown

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – this is an incredibly atmospheric book, the majority of which is a big build up to a pretty major event. As I know how everything falls out, I don’t think I would necessarily read it again (or at least anytime soon). I’m more excited about the sequel that’s coming out

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – Reading this book about a Count in Moscow who’s sentenced to live out the remainder of his life in a hotel was an absolutely wonderful experience but I think it’s probably a one time thing. I really don’t think it would be as good a second time.

Good Me, Bad Me

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land – this mystery/thriller is fantastically dark and twisty but while I found the main characters voice so intriguing I know where the story goes so don’t think I need to read it again.

The One Memory of Flora Banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – This is another story about a young woman with a very unique voice. She suffers from a kind of amnesia which means she can’t hold on to memories for more than a few hours. She is a wonderful character and the book is so inspirational in a lot of ways but I kind of feel like I’ve been there and read that. I would maybe read little bits here and there but probably not the whole thing again.

Soldier (Talon, #3)

Soldier by Julie Kagawa – What I absolutely loved about this book, the third in the Talon series, was the ending. OMG, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such an edge of the seat finale. I was literally bouncing up and down, wanting to read but not wanting to read because I had a bad feeling. Given I have now finished it and read sequel Legion so know what happens I don’t think it would have the same impact if I picked it up again. I’m now anxiously awaiting Inferno as I want to know how it all ends.

Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake, #1)

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine – This is a classic murder mystery brought right up to date. It’s fast paced, exciting and really keeps you guessing but now I know who did it I don’t need to read it again.

Ginny Moon

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig – This story is completely unique as it’s told from the pov of a 14 year old girl with autism. It’s emotional, frustrating as hell and for me a one time experience that I don’t think I’d repeat.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – I’m not going to say much about this as it’s impossible to avoid spoilers but I’d probably not re read it now I know what the main character can’t remember in the beginning (is that suitably vague)


So that’s my 10 books I loved but probably won’t re read, or at least not for a long time. You could probably add to this most sci fi and fantasy series, thriller/mystery and contemporary as I don’t tend to re read many books, only certain favorites. Do you have a stack of books you like to re read? Are there any books you would never re read?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

Ten Books Set In Another Country

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is Books That Take Place in Another Country. It’s been a while since I took part in TTT but couldn’t resist this week. I do love travelling and learning about other countries through my reading so thought I would fairly easily make it around the world but as it turns out most of my reads seem to be set in the UK or US. I have however tried to find 10 great books from around the world where the setting is a big part of the story.


The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1)Broken Harbour (Dublin Murder Squad, #4)Beartown

  • The Dry/Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Australia) – Very atmospheric thrillers, that show a different side to Australia. The Dry in particular, which is set in small town rural community during a drought, was completely alien to someone from a very wet Scotland.
  • Broken Harbour by Tana French (Ireland) – Every book in Tana French’s Dublin murder squad series paints a realistic picture of modern day Ireland but I think this one set in a ghost estate outside Dublin was the one that struck me the most.
  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman (Sweden) – set in a small dying community, this may be in a very different country but was extremely relateable.

A Gentleman in MoscowThe AlchemistThe Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide, #1)

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Russia) – little bit cheaty as it’s historical and is mostly set within a hotel but it does have a real sense of time and place (and I love it)
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Spain, Egypt, Sahara Desert) – follows a young shepherd who follows his dream to find treasure in Egypt so is probably more of a fable but it gives you a taste of the different cultures and beliefs.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (France, Spain, Italy) – this is historical again, following Monty on his Grand Tour of Europe but seems pretty realistic in its portrayal of Europe around this time.

The BorderSaint DeathNot If I Save You FirstDash and Lily's Book of Dares

  • The Border by Steve Schafer (Mexico) – four teens try to make it across the border from Mexico to the States after their families are killed. I had no idea how treacherous a journey it is and how desperate you have to be to attempt it.
  • Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick (Mexico) – also about a couple of teens who fall foul of drug gangs in Mexico but has a much bigger focus on culture and beliefs.
  • Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter (Alaska) – funny and action packed story about a girl trying to save her ex-friend from trained assassins in middle of nowhere, Alaska.
  • Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (New York, USA) – I love this book so much, mostly because of all the different sides of New York it shows you as Dash and Lily challenge each other to a series of dares around the city.

 

 


So that’s my 10 books set in other countries. I kind of feel like I’m missing something major (which will no doubt come back to me after I post this) but hey ho. Looking at this I also feel like I should be reading wider, and travelling further so I’m open to any and all recommendations. Have you read any of these? Anything you think I’m missing or that you’d recommend?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

Bookish Things I Hope Santa Brings Me

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish is top ten books I hope Santa brings but I couldn’t limit myself to just books so instead I’m pretty much just posting my bookish Christmas list in the hope that Santa stumbles across it 🙂

These are all things I would be happy to receive or that I would recommend for the bookworm in your life.

A book from my wishlist

I have loads of books sitting on my Amazon and Book Depository wishlists so I would be more than happy to receive any or all of them. These are typically the books I really want but are kind of expensive so can’t justify buying them for myself when I already own about 300 other books I haven’t read yet. Obviously if someone else buys me them it’s totally fine. These four are probably the ones I’m closest to caving on and just buying.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide, #1)Eliza and Her MonstersWarcross (Warcross, #1)Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)

A Collectors Edition Classic

I can never resist the collector editions and will quite happily spend hours drooling over them in the bookstore. Waterstones do a really lovely leather bound set with pretty patterns on the covers which I love. I already own Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre but I would love to collect the others. I also have my eye on an illustrated edition of The Princess Bride and Murder on the Orient Express.

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas WritingsGreat ExpectationsMurder on the Orient Express - Poirot (Hardback)The Princess Bride

Book Vouchers

This may seem kinda boring but most of my friends and family refuse to buy me actual books (apparently I have all the books and am therefore difficult to pick for) so this is the next best thing. I usually request Amazon vouchers so I can load up my Kindle but Book Depository is also good. I usually use them to pre order all of those sequels I desperately need. Like these ones…

Legendary (Caraval, #2)Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands, #3)War Storm (Red Queen, #4)

Bookmarks

If you read a lot of books you need a lot of bookmarks (or is that just me). I have a bit of a tendency to leave bookmarks in books so I need one for each book. OK maybe not need but you know what I mean. I have quite a few bookmarks I’ve received in book subscription boxes and the ones I’ve loved the most have come from Ink and Wonder (Australia based woodmark company) and Happy Hello Co (Canada based & make magnetic bookmarks)

Magnetic Bookmarks • Faeries of the NightIt Floats Woodmark

Bookish Candles

As someone with an asthmatic cat scented candles aren’t always the best idea (unless I fancy a trip to the vets) but I do love bookish candles and currently have about 20. My favorite shops are Meraki Candles (UK based) and In the Wick of Time (US based).

The Night Court

Bookish Mugs

Who doesn’t need a mug (or twenty)? I personally am completely addicted to Evie Seo’s designs at the moment, I currently own four mugs I think but have my eye on about another half dozen.

Reading is Beautiful - Splash Coffee MugA Court of Thorns and Roses book quote design Coffee Mug

Prints

Again I have a lot of prints (maybe a whole wall but don’t tell anyone) but I’m always happy to get more of them, especially prints with quotes. I won’t recommend any shops as I’ve never bought directly from any.

Jewellery

I absolutely love bookish jewellery particularly pendants and steampunk style necklaces and rings. Oh Panda Eyes have some very cute little pendants although I have to admit the one necklace I did get from them was a pendant with a quote which was a little squinty. I still love it though.

Handmade Bookish Terrarium

A Dragon

I haven’t been fast enough yet but Julie Kagawa (author of Iron Fae, Talon and Blood of Eden) makes the cutest little dragons and sells them occasionally on Etsy. They are not exactly the cheapest but sooo adorable that I want them all. Unfortunately they usually sell out in minutes but one of these days I will get one.

Image may contain: 1 person, shoes

Anything else book related

OK I could probably go on forever but I’m starting to look a little bit greedy so I’ll just sum it up by saying pretty much anything else book related, doorstops, tote bags, laptop sleeves, pillow covers, duvet cover, shower curtain, coasters (which I need for all of my mugs), badges, tea towels and stickers. There’s probably more I’m missing but mostly i just want this Hodor Wooden Doorstop 🙂


So those are some of the things I would love to get as a gift either at Christmas or any other gift giving event. Would you be tempted by any of these or is there something else sitting on your wishlist that you’re hoping for?

Let me know in the comments below and I hope whatever you get and whether you celebrate Christmas or not you have a great time.