Monthly Archives: January 2019

January Roundup

I can’t believe it’s the last day of January. I swear it was only just New Year. I am apparently losing all ability to keep track of time, and therefore slipping into a terrible mire of constant panic as deadlines pass by. But let’s be cheerful about it. I’m still finding time to do the things I love, and my gorgeous nieces and nephew are getting bigger every month. It’s wonderful to see them grow! Reading-wise, it’s been a struggle this month. I’ve been super, super busy at work, and am strugglignt o fidn the time to even wash my clothes. But I’ll get back on the wagon soon. Hopefully.

Books

  1. His Christmas Bride – Lara Van Hulzen
  2. Circe – Madeleine Miller
  3. Fierce Fragile Hearts (Beautiful Broken Things #2) – Sara Barnard
  4. The Songbird – Marcia Willett
  5. I Owe You One – Sophie Kinsella
  6. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
  7. Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoats #1) – Sebastien de Castell
  8. In the Frame – Dick Francis
  9. Descendant of the Crane – Joan He
  10. Those Other Women – Nicola Moriarty
  11. The Book of Love – Fionnuala Kearney

Cover Art

 

Favourite Book This Month

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Easy one this month. I absolutely adored Sara Barnard’s followup to her debut novel, and positively devoured it. The Brighton atmosphere is so vivid, the characters so real, the experiences of Suzanne and her friends so believable, and the emotion just seeps off the pages. Sara Barnard is an artist, a poet, and an incredible author.

Least Favourite Book This Month

His Christmas Bride – there was nothing wrong with it, it was just the one I liked the least of this month’s reads. It was a fluffy Christmas freebie I read on the plane home, and it had no real depth, but I didn’t really want it to have depth either. It did exactly what it was supposed to, and I have no complaints about it – it just wasn’t my favourite.

Favourite cover art

This was really tough this month. There are so many great covers in my relatively small month of reading – FFH is absolutely stunning in person, with foiled birds and text. Circe is also fab, and catches the eye in a stunning way. Descendant of the Crane is breathtaking and so evocative of the culture that the book is steeped in. But in the end I went for Traitor’s Blade, partially because of the stark colour contrasts, but also because of the consistency of covers within the series. Is that cheating? I’m not sure. It probably is. But I’m doing it anyways. Looking forward to picking up Falcio’s next adventure already.

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Other…

I definitely think I’m getting old, because every time I look at the date, I think ‘no, that can’t possibly be right!’. Time passes at the same rate as it ever did, yet I’m constantly stunned by it. I used to think that was something old people did, and now I’m doing it, which means I must be old. That’s a bit of a depressing thought.

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I Can’t Hear You

I’m having an audiobook slump. I’m actually having a general reading slump, but it’s more profound in the audiobooks specifically.

I don’t really know why. I just don’t seem to be listening to any audiobooks. When I’m in the car, I listen to the radio. When I’m at home, I put music on spotify instead of playing an audiobook.

Something is off at the moment – I just don’t have any inclination to hear stories. Every time I think about putting on an audiobook, my immediate reaction is just ‘nah…’

And it’s strange, because I have loads of audiobooks lined up that I really want to read, and I got a new phone mount for my car, so I’ll be able to hit play without doing anything illegal, and I recently got an Amazon Echo Dot, so I can play Audible books just with my voice. So really, all these things should add up to audiobook city.

But since I went home for Christmas, six weeks ago, I’ve only listened to three audiobooks. That might seem like a lot, but it’s actually only one every two weeks, which is absurdly slow for me.

Who knows. I downloaded King of Scars yesterday, and I’m definitely interested in that, so perhaps it’ll kick me out of my slump. Then I can start working my way through that backlist which is piling up.

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Top Ten Thursday – Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but, uh, didn’t.

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I’m two days late with this Top Ten Tuesday tag from That Artsy Reader Girl, but I don’t care. After I saw that Aoife and Jenn had both done it, I knew this is a bandwagon I wanted to get on.

Those Other Women – Nicola Moriarty

Currently reading – feeling good about ticking this one. off the list!

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Watermelon – Marian Keyes

Currently reading – but have been doing so since before the end of 2018. Not feeling so good about this one.

35105833The Girl King – Mimi Yu

Been carrying it around in my bag for a week now. Still has not seen the light of day.

Have Sword, Will Travel – Garth Nix & Sean Williams42920849

How could I not read something by my favourite author and another author I really like? I don’t know, but it’s still sitting on my shelf, judging me.

Nightblood – Elly Blake

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The third in a trilogy, I keep meaning to read it, but I keep just… not. Even though I really liked the first two, and definitely do want to read this!

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The Towering Sky – Katharine McGee

The third in a trilogy, I keep meaning to read it, but I keep just… not this either. Even though I really liked the first two and want to find out how the story ends. Apparently I have a type.

37901428A Reaper At The Gates – Sabaa Tahir

The third in a quadrilogy, I keep meaning to read it – I even preordered it! – but it hasn’t made it off my shelf. Awks.

Even more awks because I totally LOVED the first two books in this series, so there’s literally no reason for me not to have actually picked this up and read this. My brain just refused to be in the mood to read it.

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Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken – The Secret Barrister

Bought because I thought it might be relevant to my life of work, it has sat staring balefully at me from my shelf for, oh, six months now.

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Devoted – Jennifer Mathieu

A YALC ARC, I was really excited for this, and definitely intended to read it. And here we are, long after publication, and it’s still untouched. Rats.

The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green

I love the sound of this! So exciting! And the book itself is BEAUTIFUL, with gorgeous purple sprayed edges and a supremely gorgeous cover. Yet I have barely looked at it.

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So that’s my (small) snippet of my TBR from last year that’s been carried over. Maybe one or two of them will be done by the end of 2019… Maybe.

Argh! I really do want to read all of these books! Why do I not do it? It’s some kind of useless gene in my brain maybe? It tells me to buy more books because I don’t have enough, conveniently glossing over the mountains of backlist I have to catch up on. That’s why I set myself this year’s challenge!

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Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

I received a copy of this book from the publisher on NetGalley.

My introduction to this book was actually through Leigh Bardugo’s Goodreads interview to promote King of Scars. Given how much I loved the Six of Crows duology, I thought anything that Bardugo was recommending was definitely worth a look, so I requested this on NetGalley and was chuffed to be approved.

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

36430989.jpg“Deep world-building, magical family secrets, and intricate palace politics—Descendant of the Crane soars from page one. Its twists and treacheries kept me guessing until the very end.”

—Rachel Hartman, New York Times bestselling author of Seraphina
Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

There is so much great stuff going on in this book – Joan He draws a richly detailed world based on Chinese culture, seen through the eyes of newly crowned queen Hesina. Packed with court intrigue and banned magic, the atmosphere really oozes out of the pages of this book, and the imagery is rich with evocative scenery and sumptuous descriptions.
The pacing is a little choppy and uneven – some scenes rocket by, months passing as we gallop across the country on horseback, and some plod ponderously past, lingering on seemingly unimportant details. Hesina also has a lot of siblings, for reasons I can’t quite understand – one full brother, also an Imperial royal sibling and a general of the army, two adopted siblings, twins, who she seems closest to, and one half-brother, child of the Imperial consort and with whom Hesina has a fraught relationship. All these different elements mean that her family relationships are massively fractured – and this isn’t to even mention her mother, who hates her for completely inexplicable reasons, and her dead father, whose murder is the catalyst for the whole story.

There were elements of this book that I wasn’t so keen on – I know that YA is based around teen characters, but the fact that Hesina’s whole team of investigators is made up of her siblings and a convict, and they’re all under the age of twenty, is stretching the bounds of imagination a little, especially when you think that this is an investigation into the murder of a king.
As well as that, the final chapters of the book – and especially the epilogue – were choppy and unfinished, and didn’t actually wrap up the story. The author pegs this as a standalone, but by the end of the book, nothing has been resolved, which I hate. The characters are poised on the brink of great change, but that change isn’t coming in this book.
I knew that was going to happen as I sped towards the climactic ending, because there just wasn’t enough time left to resolve everything satisfactorily. I can see why the author did it, and definitely the action cuts off at a natural breaking point, but there is just so much unresolved in this book I can’t in all honesty see it as a fulfilling ending.

I did really like the style of writing, thought Hesina was a great main character, and loved the depiction of sooths and their magic system. I also really liked the blind hatred of the populace and Hesina’s slow unpicking of her long-held beliefs. Nothing in this book was resolved easily, and there was court intrigue to beat the band. And with so many siblings running around, Hesina had a whole host of complex relationships to unpick. But the book as a whole left me slightly unsatisfied.
I’ll definitely read a sequel, if there is one, but I don’t know how much I can really classify this one as a standalone.
That cover, though? Stunning.

Three Stars (Three and a half, probably)
***

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2019 Reading Plans

It’s hard to believe it, but we’re already more than halfway through January – this year is starting to fly by just as fast as the one before. I need the world to just slow down so I can catch my breath and figure out what’s going on, because I feel like I’m falling behind, and I’m not even sure what I’ve fallen behind on!

In any case, I’ve thought about what challenges I want to set myself for 2019, and I’ve settled on this one: I want to clear at least 30 books off my backlist.

Part of the problem of being a bookworm with relatively free access to money is that I spend a huge amount of time browsing amazon and ibooks, as well as bricks and mortar bookstores, and I end up with far more books at hand than I ever have time to read.

So while I’m not committing to not buying any more books – that would be ridiculous! – I am going to try this year to tick a good few books off my list which I’ve been meaning to read for years. Plus it will mean I can actually hand back the ones I’ve borrowed from my sister, clearing space on my shelves for me to buy more books – win/win!

These images are by no means ALL of the books on my TBR – they’re just a selection of books on my kindle, bookshelves, and ibooks account. I thought about listing all of my owned-but-unread books, but decided that, actually, I need to do some real work today (I have stacks of essays to mark…), and listing out probably upwards of a hundred books wouldn’t be the best way to do that.

 

This is almost 80 books currently owned but unread, and I haven’t even looked at my iBooks, and the physical books are mostly from memory… I can definitely do 30 of these, right?

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I Owe You One – Sophie Kinsella

I delayed Tuesday’s blog post by a day so that I could make this point at the beginning of it – my blog is ten years old today! Happy Birthday, blog!

I was delighted to be approved on NetGalley for Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel. I love Kinsella, and think her trademark wit and awkwardly hilarious protagonists never fail to make for a great story. This standalone story of Fixie Farr and her incorrigible need to fix things was a solid – but not inspiring – entry into Kinsella’s catalogue.

43462784.jpgThe irresistible new standalone from Sophie Kinsella is a story of love, empowerment and an IOU that changes everything . . .

Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.

That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.

Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.

Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?

***** EVERYBODY LOVES SOPHIE KINSELLA: *****

‘A shot of pure joy.’ JENNY COLGAN

‘Left me giddy with laughter. I loved it’ JOJO MOYES

‘Life doesn’t get much better than a new Sophie Kinsella novel’ RED

I love Kinsella, and think her trademark wit and awkwardly hilarious protagonists never fail to make for a great story. This standalone story of Fixie Farr and her incorrigible need to fix things was a solid – but not inspiring – entry into Kinsella’s catalogue.
Fixie is a fairly normal protagonist by Kinsella’s standards. She’s actually unusual in that she actually really likes her job, although she has some career skeletons in the closet, and she has a tendency to end up in the most overwrought and awkward situations which are, to be fair, highly entertaining. The story here was good too, with a focus not on romance, but rather on family, and finding your voice, which was refreshingly honest. Fixie has a poor relationship with her siblings, and when she’s suddenly left to deal with them both alone, her anxiety about being the youngest makes it hard for her to speak up. But her growth over the course of the book is endearing, and very satisfying to watch.
I don’t know what it was about this book which failed to make it brilliant. Perhaps it was the lack of Kinsella’s humour? There were very few laugh out loud moments in this book, which is something I normally expect in a Kinsella novel, so this was a little disappointing. As well as that, Fixie in the beginning was, well, a bit wet. She’s seriously bad at standing up for herself, and lets her siblings walk all over her. And this goes on for so long, I actually got kind of annoyed at her. She did grow as a person, but very late in the book, and I had almost lost hope in her entirely by then.

Nonetheless, these criticisms are only possible because I expect such great things from Kinsella. As an entry in the chick lit canon, this is a thoroughly entertaining, and heartwarming experience, and definitely worth reading. I thoroughly enjoyed I Owe You One, and Fixie’s journey, and would definitely recommend it.

Four Stars
****

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Fierce Fragile Hearts – Sara Barnard

It’s no secret that I really loved Beautiful Broken Things, so I was really delighted when I realised that Sara Barnard’s next book is a sequel to that. As usual, the cover design is fabulous. I read a NetGalley copy of this, so didn’t get to see the beautiful foiling in person, but I might just have to buy a copy because it’s so gorgeous, inside and out.

Fierce Fragile Hearts (Beautiful Broken Things #2) – Sara Barnard

imagesFierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning companion novel to Sara Barnard’s YA bestseller Beautiful Broken Things. It is about leaving the past behind, the friends who form your future, and learning to find love, in all its forms.

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind?

 

I was super stoked for this book before I even saw the cover or the plot summary. Beautiful Broken Things was one of my best reads of 2018, so finding out that Sara Barnard was returning to those three beautiful girls was like Christmas coming early for me. Once I was approved for FFH on NetGalley, I knew the book deserved my attention, so I saved it until I had the time to properly appreciate it, and wouldn’t read it in snatches. This actually meant, bizarrely, that it waited until I was back home after Christmas, but having finished it, I know I made the right decision.
Fierce Fragile Hearts is a thing of beauty. Returning to the story of Caddy, Rosie, and Suze, three years after they first met, Suze is leaving care, and returning to Brighton, while Caddy and Rosie are heading off to uni. taking place over about six months, the book follows the three girls as they transition into this new stage of their lives.
While BBT was told from Caddy’s perspective, FFH is from Suze’s, and this transition really marks a change in tone between the two. Suze is almost nineteen, leaving care, striking out on her own, and trying to forge her own path in a world which is much more difficult for her than many other girls her age.
This book was beautiful. Gorgeously written, thoughtfully structured, interestingly developed, and so heartbreakingly real. Suze as a care leaver is struggling with complex PTSD, on top of the normal issues that nineteen year old girls have, and she really is the focus of this book. Her growth over the course of the book is so realistic, so frustrating at times, but so heartbreakingly true is wonderfully done.
I absolutely love Barnard as an author. I think she writes brilliantly. It was really interesting for this book to be about girls who are a little older – they’re eighteen and nineteen, and facing very different issues to the protagonists in her other books. But this step out of her normal zone isn’t a bad thing. It was brilliant to see how these three main characters have developed, and shows the breadth of Barnard’s skill. The older sisters in her other books have been really well-drawn, and having older girls as main characters was a great experience here.
There are old characters returning here, notably the three girls and Suze’s family, but also some new faces. I particularly liked Kel, who played a bigger role than I expected, and Clarence was really lovely. Plus, Clarence highlighted Suze’s naivete in her experience, and how the odds are stacked against girls like her.
Lots of this book explored Suze’s relationship with her family and her friends in relation to her being a care leaver and abuse victim, and it was really well-drawn. Suze’s natural reluctance to let others in is drawn out and explained, and although there are no perfect solutions in this book (there never are), it was really gratifying to see her growth as a person both from who she was in BBT, and who she was at the beginning of FFH.
I LOVE these three girls, and seeing how they grew and changed from when we met them first in Beautiful Broken Things to the young women they’ve become by the end of Fierce Fragile Hearts was a hugely valuable experience. Ten days into the year and I’ve already read what I know is going to be one of the best books of 2019.

Five Stars
*****

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books of 2018

As ever, it feels like life is a wheel that I’m inside, frantically trying to keep up and save myself from rolling away entirely. So while most people are full of their looking forward to in 2019 posts, and reading resolutions, I’m still stuck on trying to assess how 2018 went and what I did. For the first Tuesday of this year, I’m looking back at what my top ten books of last year were, and a few thoughts about them. Hopefully there’ll be some equally as cracking books in my repertoire for 2019, if I have the time to read them!

I’m excluding re-reads from my top 10, because, well, I feel like it. I also excluded non-fiction, although I did rate two really excellent non-fiction books at 5 stars in 2018. In fact, I’ll just mention those here, and then I’ll talk about my top ten fiction.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Written in 2016, I read this mostly for work but also because I wanted to get a tiny insight into the lives of people of colour in the UK. This was a really interesting and phenomenally well-written primer on the experience of systemic racism which is entrenched in the lives of non-white British people, which opened my eyes even more to the privilege which I was faintly aware I hold, but often am reluctant to acknowledge. To suggest that we live in a post-racial society in 2018 is to arbitrarily dismiss the experience of millions of people who are systemically discriminated against, and this book was a hugely enlightening – although I wouldn’t necessarily say enjoyable – experience, which I would recommend to anyone.

Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men by Lundy Bancroft

I read this one because I often see it recommended on forum sites or relationship advice, especially where the poster is in a controlling or abusive relationship. Written with a very American and confusingly male-focused gaze, this book was really very interesting, but also very hetero-normative. That said, acknowledging its weaknesses, it was a fascinating and deeply disturbing insight into the mindsets of abusive and controlling men, how society reacts to them, and just why it can be so difficult to get out of a relationship which, from the outside, seems to be unrelentingly horrible for the victim of that abuse. Definitely worth reading, especially if you are struggling to understand the mindset of someone who is trapped in an abusive relationship.

With that said, onwards to my top ten (fiction!) books of 2018!

These are in no particular order, by the way, because I’m actually terrible at picking favourites. They’re just all equally ranked as ‘best’, and numbered only so that I can make sure that I’m actually talking about the correct number of books.

1. La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1) – Philip Pullman

I was so stoked to read this. I LOVED His Dark Materials, even though neither of my sisters was half as keen on it, and I was so excited to return to the world of Lyra’s Oxford. Although very different to HDM, La Belle Sauvage was no less brilliant, and I cannot wait for the second and third books in this trilogy to drop.

2. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars – Michael Dante DiMartino, Irene Koh

This graphic novel in three parts is the followup to the illustrated series The Legend of Korra, which in itself is the followup to the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. I really loved how the creators ended the series, with a fledgling romance between Korra and Asami. Constrained by the limits of creating a PG-7 series, it was very heavily implied, but not explicitly stated, that this f/f relationship was becoming a thing. The graphic novel from Dark Horse doesn’t have those same constraints (as an aside, I don’t see how a f/f relationship depiction which is every bit as chaste as the many m/f relationships on the show would be skirting the bounds of child-appropriate, but that’s a discussion for another day), and so it allowed the relationship between Korra and Asami to flourish, against the backdrop of Republic City trying to deal with a new spiritual portal which appeared in the middle of their city. I LOVED this. It was beautifully drawn, a really engaging story, and I absolutely adored the romance between the two lead characters, because it was so supportive, and very much a relationship between equals. Even Mako’s coming to terms with his two ex-girlfriends being in a relationship was wonderfully done. I am so excited for Ruins of the Empire, the first part of which comes out in May this year, to continue on with Korra’s story.

3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

I wrote a full review of this, so there’s not much more I need to say, but I can just reiterate that I absolutely adored this epistolary novel set in and around post-war Guernsey. The relationships between the Guernsey residents, the developing interest that Juliet has in the island, its residents, and the unfolding story of how they coped with occupation during the war was beautifully done. I knew very little about the Channel Islands before I read this book, not even realising that they had been occupied, and this was a really interesting and heartfelt depiction of life there. I heartily recommend. I also have been meaning for months and months to watch the film version of this, but have yet to actually get around to it.

4. Far From the Tree – Robin Benway

Again, I wrote a full review of this, so I don’t have too much to say here, but I really loved this as well. A deserved spot in my top ten, this lyrical investigation of family, love, and what ties siblings together was heartbreaking and heartwarming, and I cried buckets reading it. I only bought it because it was on special for 99p, but Robin Benway is now On My List, and I’m going to start looking at her back catalogue as well.

5. The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

I loved this too, but because it was an ARC, I can’t share too much about it. My full review will go up on publication day, so in the mean time I just have to reiterate that this was fun, funny, sweet, and had two such distinct narrative voices that I really loved. Definitely one to watch out for.

6. Save the Date – Morgan Matson

I’ve read a few Morgan Matsons, and while they’ve been enjoyable, I don’t think I would have rated her as highly as, say, Sarah Dessen. Well this book might have changed that. Save the Date blew me away by being the perfect YA contemporary. Set around weddings (I love!), including a big family (I love!), with a quirky love interest (yes please!), and just so much heart, this was an absolutely entrancing escapist read. With cute little comics at the start of chapters! I didn’t even know that’s a thing I loved in books, but I love it now!

7. Sadie – Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers write such unflinching books. Everything she writes reaches into my heart and twists it and makes me look at things I’ve been trying to avoid. Sadie is one of those books. Starkly brilliant, it dives into the consumer culture of true crime, girls as victims, and the podcast industry, and it’s brill. It also, in a bizarrely and intriguingly meta twist, has a podcast – The Girls. Which is just wonderful. And chilling.

8. Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard

I adored this book. It hit me right in the heart and made me cry (which, okay, not particularly difficult, but whatever) and lingered in my brain for ages. When I found out Sara Barnard was writing a sequel I was thrilled! I’m actually reading Fierce Fragile Hearts right now, and it’s every bit as good. So gorgeously written. So wonderfully tender. Such a great exploration of friendship and support, and how sometimes even that isn’t enough.

9. The Nowhere Girls – Amy Reed

Every time I think about this book I wonder why I didn’t review it in full. It was so wonderful. The story of three girls tackling rape culture in their school, this investigation of female sexuality and the constraints that are placed on it was so delicately drawn I loved every word. Amy Reed is another author whose back catalogue I’m going to have to investigate!

10. Charmcaster/Soulbinder – Sebastien de Castell

I’m cheating with this entry, because it’s actually two books, but I don’t care, I’m doing it anyways. Books three and four in Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger series are every bit as snarky, witty, gross, magical, and filled with sarcastic, magical squirrel cat as the first, and I am loving them. I can’t wait to see how the story ends, as Kellen’s development from wannabe mage to outcast, outlaw, and Shadowblack has been so fraught with difficulty but still so endearing. I’m on my knees waiting for Queenslayer, the last in the series. Who is the queen being slain? Who’s doing the slaying? What’s going to happen? I’m so excited.

So those are my top ten (uh, thirteen) books from 2018 – hopefully 2019 will have as many gems in there! What should I read next, based on these beauties?

 

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December Roundup

Last roundup of 2018! I can’t believe the year is over. I spent the last ten days of December at home in Ireland, and although I thought I would get LOADS of reading done, that was totally not the case. Instead, I cuddled babies, made jigsaws, played videogames, and saw lots of lots of people. And ate delicious brownies. But rounding out my year was December’s list of books, which brought my total for 2018 up to 240 – the most I’ve ever read. So I’m pretty delighted overall.

Books

  1. If We’re Not Married By Thirty – Anna Bell
  2. Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty
  3. The Day She Can’t Forget – Meg Carter
  4. Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay – Jill Mansell
  5. The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary
  6. A Cotswold Christmas (Willoughby Close #1) – Kate Hewitt
  7. Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) – Cassandra Clare
  8. One Day in December – Josie Silver
  9. The Brands Who Came For Christmas – Maggie Shayne
  10. Girlhood – Cat Clarke
  11. Blame the Mistletoe (A Marietta Christmas #2, Love in Montana #2) – Dani Collins
  12. Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men – Lundy Bancroft
  13. One Day in December – Shari Low
  14. Vicious (Villains #1) – VE Schwab

Cover Art

 

Favourite Book This Month

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I LOVE love loved this book. Because I got an early copy of it, my full review isn’t scheduled to go up for another few months yet, but once this is available, I whole-heartedly recommend that you read it, because I really, really enjoyed it. It was just very sweet, very enjoyable, and atmospheric, and had a surprising depth to it which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Least Favourite Book This Month

The Brands Who Came for Christmas. I mentioned this in my Christmas Crackers post – it was just full of such judgemental attitudes, it was really jarring to read.

Favourite cover art

Everything about this Shadowhunters cover is so ethereal and gorgeous, it has to be my winner for this month. It fits really well with the previous books in the trilogy, evokes the seaside setting of The Dark Artifices, and is very eerie-looking, reminiscent of Thule from the book itself. I keep meaning to write a post about QoAaD in full, but I just have so many questions it would be terribly spoiler-filled. I might have to go onto Tumblr to ask all my questions. In any case, great cover art!

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Other…

I can’t believe 2018 is over. I’m sitting at my desk at work on January 3rd, 2019, and insisting on writing the wrong year on everything (my diary, mostly…), while in my head I’m convinced it really was 2016 only a few weeks ago. It’s very quiet in the university today (largely because the campus was closed until, uh, yesterday), and I’m thinking about planning out what I’ll be doing for 2019, both in work and blogging (and life in general). The freshness of the new year always gives me pause for thought. But I don’t think anything shocking will come in 2019. We’ll see how that thought pans out, though!

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