Sunday 31 December 2017

December Wrap-Up.

I am so proud of my December reading this year! I managed to get through so many reads, some on my original list for the month, and some that I've been wanting to read for ages! I got round to nine whole reads this month! I'll admit a few were pretty short, but I'm super proud of my productive reading month!

  1. 'Ghost Stories' by Whit Taylor. Everything about this book disappointed me. I've read some wonderful graphic novels this year and I wanted the same from this. But the art was not great and the stories felt like they didn't really mean anything or achieve their purpose. 1/5 Stars.
  2. 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens. I actually planned to read this one on Christmas Eve/Day and was only loading it up on my Kindle ready when I started reading and found myself unable to stop. This was every bit the tale that I imagined it would be - a little creepy but full of festive cheer and hope. 4.5/5 Stars.
  3. 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage' by Huruki Murukami. This is the first thing I've read by Murukami (I thought I'd start small to get a taste of his work) and I enjoyed elements of it. The plot was kind of intriguing, and the mystery kept me hungry for answers. But that ending was so disappointing because I felt like it had all been a waste. 3.5/5 Stars.
  4. 'The Gifts Of Reading' by Robert Macfarlane. This short essay was a nice break from longer books and did a great job at making me think and reflect. It's subject, gift giving, was perfect for the time of year too! Macfarlane writes bittersweet anecdotes well and references many other books that I now want to read. 3.5/5 Stars.
  5. 'Renegades' by Marissa Meyer. This has been one of my most anticipated reads of the year, largely because it was written by Marissa Meyer, whose books never fail to blow me away. This was definitely my least favourite of hers - the dialogue felt a bit corny at times and I was a little at odds with the book's pacing. But this was still a rich world with great characters and I'm still excited for book two! 4/5 Stars.
  6. 'The Worm & The Bird' by Coralie Bickford-Smith. I'm definitely collecting these little illustrated tales that Bickford-Smith writes, and as I got some money for Christmas I actually bought this one for myself as a gift! The art is beautiful but the message felt a little hopeless so I didn't quite like it in the same way that I enjoyed 'The Fox & The Star'. 4/5 Stars.
  7. 'The Toymakers' by Robert Dinsdale. This was hands down one of my favourite reads of the month. Mesmerisingly magical, the story captures the wonders of toy shops at Christmas time and expertly contrasts them with the horrors of WWI. Dinsdale writes his characters very well too, I empathised with all of them! 5/5 Stars.
  8. 'The Happy Prince & Other Stories' by Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde's fairy tales have always intrigued me, and it's clear to see from these that he had an enigmatic personality. These read more like political satire and mockery of the format than anything else, but I enjoyed them all the same - even if they were a little dark and slightly hopeless. 4/5 Stars.
  9. 'Fairest' by Marissa Meyer. 'The Lunar Chronicles' series is probably one of my favourite series of all times and I've been dying to get hold of a copy of this novella because it reveals a little more about Levana's life before the series and how she came to be so cruel. I loved the insight into her character and learning more about Lunar itself. 5/5 Stars.

Now it's time to see how I did with my challenges this month!

This month I have read three books for the Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, bringing my yearly total to thirty. My reads were:

- Ghost Stories
- Renegades
- The Toymakers

This month I have read zero books for the 2017 New Releases Challenge, bringing my yearly total to fifteen.

This month I have read zero books for the LGBTQIA Challenge, bringing my yearly total to eleven.

This month I have read three books for the Diverse Reads Challenge, bringing my yearly total to thirty seven. My reads were:

- Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage
- Renegades
- Fairest

And here's my update on this quarter's Bookish Bingo card, courtesy of Pretty Deadly Blog!

2018 Debut: The Toymakers; Robert Dinsdale
Winter Release: Ghost Stories; Whit Taylor
Sci-Fi: Fairest; Marissa Meyer
Freebie: --
Friend's Fave: The Happy Prince & Other Stories; Oscar Wilde
Trees On Cover: The Gifts Of Reading; Robert MacFarlane
Music Themes: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage; Haruki Murakami
Book That Was A Gift: The Worm & The Bird; Coralie Bickford-Smith
Holiday Theme: A Christmas Carol; Charles Dickens
Villainous: Renegades; Marissa Meyer

Book Review: Fairest; Marissa Meyer.

I adore Marissa Meyer's 'The Lunar Chronicles' series so much, and I actually bought this book with gift money as a little treat for myself. I always felt that Levana could do with a tad more development. I wanted to understand what made her so cruel, and with this novella I finally got to!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Fairest
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles (#3.5)
PAGES: 224
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Retelling, Fantasy

RATING: 5/5 Stars

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told...until now.

What I Liked:
  • Meyer did a really good job expanding her already fantastic universe here. We got to see more of life on Lunar, and how it got to the state it was in. I loved watching not only Levana's rise to power, but also more about Sybil Mira, Selene and her mother and even Winter. I loved that expansion, loved seeing that Channary really was horrible and that wasn't a lie. Meyer is so good at this.
  • I mean really, what else did I expect from Meyer's universe? Or her writing? It was exquisite and I was hooked from page one. I loved the way that every revelation came about, and the amount of times I said 'Oh! That explains so much!'. These were nuggets of information I didn't know I needed!
What I Disliked:
  • Really, there was nothing. This book was so good. I kind of wish it had been longer? I'd have definitely read another 100-200 page prequel to 'The Lunar Chronicles'.
Overall Conclusion:
I loved this prequel novella, and placing it between 'Cress' and 'Winter' is perfect because it gives insight into the characters we already know while introducing us to new ones that will be met in the next book. However, it doesn't really matter too much when you read this. It's still insightful and well-written, and really helps to develop one of the best book villains of all time!

Book Review: The Happy Prince & Other Stories; Oscar Wilde.

Being the last day before the end of December, I decided it would be nice to read a couple more, shorter books. I've always been intrigued by Oscar Wilde's fairy tales, especially after my fiancé read them for his course and recommended them to me.

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Happy Prince & Other Stories
AUTHOR: Oscar Wilde
Wordsworth Editions Ltd
GENRE: Short Stories, Classics, Fantasy, Fairy Tales

RATING: 4/5 Stars

In these delightful tales, Oscar Wilde employs all his grace, artistry and wit. The Happy Prince tells of the statue of a once pleasure-loving Prince which, with the help of a selfless Swallow helps people in distress. 

As well as The Nightingale and the Rose, The Devoted Friend and The Remarkable Rocket, this collection contains The Selfish Giant, a remarkable story of the redemptive power of love.

What I Liked:
  • Everything I know about Oscar Wilde points towards a lively personality. So do these stories! You can't miss the satirical, cynical nature of them all and I actually really liked it. They were funny. Wilde clearly had a great sense of humour and I loved the way the he mocked his characters.
  • Some of these reminded me a little of Hans Christian Andersen's tales. Pretty stories with dark endings most of the time. I liked the way that they were written, that is to say, cleverly. Wilde's writing is beautiful at times too, and completely immersive.
What I Disliked:
  • As I said, a lot of these stories were dark and cynical. As a result, there wasn't much in the way of happy endings! That was the point of course, but it meant I didn't enjoy stories like 'The Devoted Friend' as much because absolutely no one learnt anything from it. The 'bad guys' won as it were. There was a point to those stories of course, but they were a tad dreary.
Overall Conclusion:
These were five, well-written little fairy tales that each focused heavily on themes of selfishness and self importance. They were political more than anything, but I still rather liked them! My favourite, despite the rather hopeless ending, was 'The Nightingale & The Rose'. The message behind it was harsh but thoughtful and I liked that a lot.

Saturday 30 December 2017

Book Review: The Toymakers; Robert Dinsdale.

I didn't expect this book to make me feel the way that it did. I was totally blown away. I have been wanting to get hold of one of Robert Dinsdale's books for some time, namely 'Gingerbread' because it's based on a fairy tale, but I was glad to grab a copy of this one. Thank goodness I did!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Toymakers
AUTHOR: Robert Dinsdale
Ebury Digital
PAGES: 320
GENRE: Adult, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

RATING: 5/5 Stars

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical...

What I Liked:
  • The characters are so complex and those are my favourite kinds of characters. Kaspar and Emil were particularly important in this sense because despite loving each other, they are bitterly fighting a 'long war' to be the favourite son and inherit the Emporium. I could empathise with them both: I found Kaspar irritating, selfish and arrogant to begin with while I felt sorry for downtrodden, forgotten Emil. But as time went on and Cathy came into their lives fully, I grew more attached to the upbeat, magical Kaspar and found Emil's obsessive and sulky nature less endearing.
  • Cathy was a great 'neutral' POV. She was feisty, strong and even as a pregnant sixteen year old girl I loved her relationship with her daughter. She became a great way of tracking the status of the Emporium itself, very much another character in the book, and seeing all of the wonders (and horrors) through her eyes was perfect for this kind of story.
  • The story itself was wonderful. Papa Jack's emporium was very much what every child sees when stepping into a toy shop. Magic and adventure in every aisle, and wonders that have never been seen before! The magical realism is nicely handled in this book too. I liked the way that Dinsdale perfectly encapsulated the horrors and sentiment of WWII too, as well as Papa Jack's experiences in Siberia. It became a richly laid out historical piece as well as fantastical.
What I Disliked:
  • To be honest, nothing in this book really struck me as something to dislike, except a slightly vague ending. The plot twist just before it was fantastic and totally unexpected. But what followed didn't really feel like a resolution of any kind. Nothing was really ironed out fully, which was mildly disappointing.
Overall Conclusion:
This book was wonderful, the perfect read for the festive season! The characters were well-crafted, the story full of great twists and turns, and everything about the setting was magical and well-researched. The whole reading experience was a warm, fuzzy feeling and took me back to my childhood when everything about winter was enchanting and exciting! Dinsdale's writing is exquisite too, and I'm looking forward to reading more of it in the future!

Thursday 28 December 2017

Book Review: The Worm & The Bird; Coralie Bickford-Smith.

A Christmas gift...sort of. I was given money this year, and decided to spend some of it on books that I've wanted to own for some time now! This was one of them, as I read and loved 'The Fox & The Star' and am looking to collect anything and everything by this talented artist!

SOURCE: Present
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: The Worm & The Bird
AUTHOR: Coralie Bickford-Smith
Particular Books
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Children's Fiction, Short Story

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Digging through the ground day in and day out, Worm dreams of a better life. Despite having endless paths of dirt to plough, other burrowing creatures to befriend, and underground treasures to discover, Worm wants more--more space to be alone. Too busy to see the world around it, pushing everything aside, Worm learns a hard lesson in appreciating what you have and where you are.

What I Liked:
  • Just like Bickford-Smith's previous work 'The Fox & The Star' this story was beautifully drawn. I've really enjoyed reading more graphic novels and sequential illustrations because I find art fascinating and soul-soothing, and I read this a few times so that I could look at the pictures again and again. The attention to detail is exquisite!
What I Disliked:
  • I guess my main problem with this one was the ending, or lack thereof. I kind of got the message that the story was trying to convey, but I also felt that it was all a bit vague. I would have liked something clearer, especially in a book aimed for children.
Overall Conclusion:
This was a stunning book. It's easy to see why Bickford-Smith's work is so revered! I love her art style, and that she draws so much inspiration from fairy tales and the natural world. I foresee that Bickford-Smith will release many of these and I'll certainly be happily collecting them all! I might be a little on the negative side though when it comes to what I took from the message: that we should make do with a bleak lot in life and not risk change because otherwise it probably won't go our way. Yeah.

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for '2018 Releases That I'm Looking Forward To Reading'.

The lists that come along around December/January time are always my favourite because they are either reflective on the year gone by or, as in this case, allow me to look to the future! 2018 promises some great releases, be it sequels to books I've enjoyed before, new stand-alones/series from my favourite authors, releases by authors I'm yet to discover, or even fresh debuts from new talent! I can't wait to get stuck in, and seeing as it's Christmas, my list will have TWENTY picks! Phew!

1) 'The Cruel Prince' by Holly Black.

Expected Publication - 2nd January 2018.

I have read a lot of Holly Black's books. Some I've adored and a few I've not, but I'm a really big fan of her imagination, and in particular, her ideas of the world of the fae. 'The Cruel Prince' focuses on these tricky creatures, and I'm hoping it's as good as 'Tithe' and 'Valiant' because I enjoyed those immensely. 

2) 'The Curses' by Laure Eve.

Expected Publication - 9th January 2018.

I read 'The Graces' a little while back (October 2016 I think?) after attending YALC and becoming really excited about this book. It has traces of that southern gothic charm that is popular in stories about witches, but this book kept me guessing throughout and I loved the use of an unreliable narrator. Eve definitely freshened the genre up and I can't wait to see how she finishes the series.

3) 'The Sacrifice Box' by Martin Stewart.

Expected Publication - 11th January 2018.

There's something about the synopsis for this book that's caught my eye. I've really wanted to get into a few spookier reads this year, and I like the idea behind this: a pact, a mysterious box, and a mystery to solve before it's too late. I love the cover too, so glad to have received this one on Netgalley!

4) 'The Chalk Man' by C.J. Tudor.

Expected Publication - 11th January 2018.

This year has been great for horror themed around the late 1900s - the new release of It and the second season of Stranger Things were two of my favourite watches. I think there's something about the idea of kids banding together to face evil that I just love! Set in the eighties, this looks to be running along a similar theme and I'm excited to see if it meets my high expectations

5) 'Love, Hate & Other Filters' by Samira Ahmed.

Expected Publication - 16th January 2018.

It makes me so happy to see so many #ownvoices releases being published in 2018! And so many ethnically diverse covers and characters! 2017 was a great year for Contemporary YA too, so I'm hoping 2018 will beat it. I like the idea of seeing a different culture's perspective, and bigotry will be a big theme in this one.

6) 'Reign Of The Fallen' by Sarah Glenn Marsh.

Expected Publication - 23rd January 2018.

There are not enough zombie books in my life. Especially those revolving around necromancers! This is Fantasy but not only that, it's an LGBT read too! I love that I haven't seen a synopsis like this before, and why wouldn't I want to read a book that has a skull wearing bling on the cover? I'm getting such good vibes about this one!

7) 'I Am Thunder' by Muhammad Khan.

Expected Publication - 25th January 2018.

Like I said, #ownvoices is really important and I'm glad to see so many works coming out this year. Muslim protagonists are so rare, so I'm particularly excited about this one - especially as it's set in London! I always like seeing books set in the city I currently live in, it makes things feel so much more relatable. 

8) 'The Hazel Wood' by Melissa Albert.

Expected Publication - 30th January 2018.

This might be my most anticipated debut set for 2018 release. Maybe. Fairy tales are kind of my thing, and this has it's own set! I love the spooky, dark fantasy vibe this book gives me and have heard so many good things about it. It's definitely travelling comfortably on the hype train, let's hope it deserves to be there.

9) 'Tempests & Slaughter' by Tamora Pierce.

Expected Publication - 6th February 2018.

I love Tamora Pierce. I spent pretty much the whole of secondary school with her books to be honest, and finished every series set in Tortall except the Beka Cooper series. My favourite was always the Immortals series with Daine and Numair (swoon) so imagine my excitement to discover that this series on Numair's student life is being released so soon

10) 'The Belles' by Dhonielle Clayton.

Expected Publication - 6th February 2018.

The cover is definitely what drew me to this book, but it's backed up by an intriguing synopsis. I've heard this title and Clayton's name flying around the blogosphere, and it appears to be for good reason! I love the PoC MC, and the synopsis sounds very fun and a little bit different! People being grey is certainly not something I've come across before!

11) 'Goodbye, Perfect' by Sara Barnard.

Expected Publication - 8th February 2018.

I recieved an ARC of this in the post, and I'm so excited because I've read and adored both of Sara Barnard's books so far and have high hopes for this one too! This includes a controversial topic - an illicit teacher/student relationship and the impact it can have on the people around them. I'm not sure how that will make me feel but I'm looking forward to finding out.

12) 'Children Of Blood & Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi.

Expected Publication - 6th March 2018.

Yes to the cover. Yes to the synopsis. YES TO THIS BOOK. This is another of my most anticipated reads this year because everything about it looks STUNNING. I love the sound of the world-building too, Orïsha sounds like a magical place! I can't wait to read this!

13) 'The Beauty That Remains' by Ashley Woodfolk.

Expected Publication - 6th March 2018.

*Drools*. Look at that cover. I have a soft spot for rainbows, it's true, and there's something about this Contemporary release that really draws my attention. Whatsmore, it gives a heavy focus to social media, which is amazing because you would be surprised how little YA includes it. This promises a heartbreaking, powerful tale.

14) 'The City Of Brass' by S.A. Chakraborty.

Expected Publication - 8th March 2018.

I've been eyeing up this release for some time now, and though it has actually been released in some places, the UK won't see it until March 2018. Everything about the synopsis sounds like my sort of thing and that cover is stunning. Plus, it's a mish-mash of folklore along the same vein as One Thousand & One Nights, which we all know I love.

15) 'Out Of The Blue' by Sophie Cameron.

Expected Publication - 22nd March 2018.

I received a copy of this from Netgalley a while back, but I have to say that it was Lucy Powrie's review that really sold me on it. I'm generally not a huge fan of books with angels in them but this promises to be more than the usual paranormal romance/urban fantasy vibe. I look forward to seeing what all the fuss is about!

16) 'Furyborn' by Claire Legrand.

Expected Publication - 22nd May 2018.

I read 'Winterspell' by Claire Legrand a long time ago, and though I was a bit disappointed by how she dealt with that series, I'm willing to give her another chance with this one. It promises strong female characters, legends and myths and a full-on cosmic war! Who wouldn't be drawn in by that?

17) 'Final Draft' by Riley Redgate.

Expected Publication - 12th July 2018.

I have a bit of a soft spot for books about writers and I have to say, that Riley Redgate's work just really speaks to me. 'Seven Ways We Lie' reminded me of life in my own school sixth form. 'Noteworthy' really made me think of my Performing Arts course at Uni. Now I hope to become a writer and that's exactly what this book is about! I can't wait to read this.

18) 'Sea Witch' by Sarah Henning.

Expected Publication - 31st July 2018.

Every so often I get a hankering for a good 'villain origin story'/books about 'villains'. Here's my 2018 pick - the origin story of the sea witch! Most people have watched Disney's The Little Mermaid based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale, but not much is known about Ursula so I'm hoping for some depth here!

19) 'The Winter Of The Witch' by Katherine Arden.

Expected Publication - 14th August 2018.

There was never going to be a situation where this book wasn't on the list. I read both of the first two books in this trilogy in 2017 and adored them, so I have high hopes for a fantastic finish! Arden's ability to write folklore and fairytales into a good fantasy story is almost unmatched, I'm really excited! Though...August is a really strange release month for this book...

20) 'The Boneless Mercies' by April Genevieve Tucholke.

Expected Publication - 2nd October 2018.

It's been a long time since I've been exposed to Beowulf but this retelling of a similar vein looks really interesting! It focuses on not one but four warriors, all of which are female, and I'm keen to see how that plays out. I've read only one of Tucholke's books before but I enjoyed it, so have high hopes for this one!

Monday 25 December 2017

Last Week's Shenanigans (18th December - 24th December)...It's Christmas Time!

Well friends, it's that time of year! I can't believe that Christmas is here already! It really does feel like 2017 has flown by. I had to move my shifts around this week so that I would have the 21st onwards off, and when that time came around, Mat and I made our way home to see our families! First we went to mine, where we stayed for almost two days. It was nice, as it always is, to get some time away from London and the madness of work, and it's the reason that I love the festive period so much!

After spending time with my parents and sister, we got to then go to Mat's family's house and see them! We had a lovely time, despite a few bumps along the way and were so grateful to get to see our family. We came back on the evening of the 23rd, and spent the 24th with one of our friends in London who sadly had to work Christmas day (boo!). Ice skating in Canary Wharf was as terrifying as I expected, but a lot of fun too! We played the Game Of Thrones LCG too, and watched a few Christmas movies to round Christmas Eve off!

I Read...

I Received...


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year

Sunday 24 December 2017

Book Review: Renegades; Marissa Meyer.

I really can't get enough of Marissa Meyer's work. So much so that I was delighted when I received a copy of this one! I love superheroes just as much as I love fairy tales, and novels about them have really become popular recently.

SOURCE: ARC Sent By Publisher
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Renegades
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
SERIES: Renegades (#1)
Macmillan Children's Books
PAGES: 576
GENRE: Young Adult, Action, Dystopian, Science Fiction

RATING: 4/5 Stars

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

What I Liked:
  • As usual, Meyer has her world-building totally down. I loved the way that she explained the history, political and social contexts when it came to the Renegades and the way that 'normal' people went from fearing Prodigies to being 100% dependent on them. The layout of the city, the villainous factions and the heroes, and most impressively the Renegade headquarters were all very cool and interesting to read about!
  • I really liked the characters! Nova was my favourite, I loved her outlook on both her fellow 'villains' and the work of the Renegades. It was good to see her learn and develop as the book progressed too, though she remained badass, intelligent and funny. Adrian's POVs I liked less, but still found them interesting - especially when talking about the Sentinel. The whole 'secret identity' thing added an extra something to the book as well, making it easy to see why so many misunderstandings happened. Props to Meyer for, as usual, putting so much thought into her side characters. They were complex and necessary, without taking over.
  • Meyer always does a great job at making her characters and work diverse. Of the two POVs, one MC is an Italian-Filipino protagonist and the other is adopted with two Fathers. These kind of family situations and distinct heritages are rarely found in literature. I loved the inclusion of a disabled character too. Other Authors should really take notes on this for diversity done right, it didn't feel like a checklist. It felt like the world is: diverse.
What I Disliked:
  • I have to say, while I still really liked this book, it's probably my least favourite of Meyer's. The prologue was a perfect introduction, but after that the first third was a little difficult to get into. It felt so slow! Once things started to get more interesting, I really enjoyed it but I can definitely see that this book could have been a little shorter. I'd say that this was more of a long introduction than anything else, and the end kind of felt like the start of an actual plot, if that makes sense?
Overall Conclusion:
This book was everything I wanted from a novel about superheroes! It had plenty of action, so many twists and turns (especially at the end, which made me gasp and yell 'WHAT?!' repeatedly) but a few pacing kinks to be worked out. Meyer builds a rich world in everything she writes and I adored the creativity and originality found here. I want to call it now, this book would be SO good as a movie or TV series. And I volunteer as tribute to write the script!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me This Year'.

It's unbelievable how quickly Christmas is approaching! And, for that matter, 2018! Despite the fact that I get through so many reads a year, I still end up wanting more books for Christmas, usually those on the backlist that I didn't quite ('quite' being a loose term dating back to when I started this blog in a lot of cases) get to. Hopefully Santa will hear my plea for these!

1) 'The Worm & The Bird' by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Oh, I sense a collection starting here! I have 'The Fox & The Star' by this ultra-talented artist, which I actually received for Christmas a couple of years ago! She's now releasing another one and I'm very excited because these little fairy tales are so pretty!

2) 'The One Hundred Nights Of Hero' by Isabel Greenberg.

While we're on the topic of illustrated books, here's a graphic novel I've had my eye on for some time. It received a gushing review from Lucy Powrie, one of my favourite Twitter people, and ever since I've been making grabby hands ever time I've seen it in a shop. I almost bought it the other day but stopped myself upon realising that it's on the Christmas wish list! Here's hoping!

3) 'A Crown Of Wishes' by Roshani Chokshi.

So this is actually a book that was released this year! I've been hankering for it ever since finishing 'The Star-Touched Queen' because this world is everything I'd ever hoped for in a YA fairy tale set around Hindu folklore and mythology. The writing is stunning too, and I really want to read this companion novel!

4) 'Stars Above' by Marissa Meyer.

I finished 'Winter', the last book of The Lunar Chronicles, quite a while back! I loved it, naturally. This collection of short stories feels like a good progression because it has a further ending, some origin stories, and some general, added world-building onto the main series! I'm also hoping for 'Fairest', another short story that reveals a little more about the motive of the villain of the series!

5) 'Retribution Rails' by Erin Bowman.

If ever there was a book that attracted me to a whole new sub-genre it would be 'Vengeance Road', the first book in this series. I never in a million years would have thought that YA 'wild-west' would be my thing until I read that. As soon as I heard this book was coming out, I didn't even read the blurb. It went straight onto my TBR.

6) 'The Dark Days Pact' by Alison Goodman.

I received and read this ARC so long ago now, but I still remember the feels. For those that are fans of 'Pride & Prejudice' by Jane Austen, but would perhaps like a supernatural twist, this is definitely a series to consider. I consider Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett to be my guilty pleasure and original OTP, and these two gave me the same feels.

7) 'Warrior Witch' by Danielle L. Jensen.

I read 'Stolen Songbird' an absolute age ago, and 'Hidden Huntress' more recently. Now, I'm hoping to finish this cracking series off without leaving too long between books. What makes this one special is the inclusion of trolls, which I don't ever remember seeing in Fantasy YA before, and I love the way they are depicted too. Books about sinister fae are often the best, and book two dropped one heck of a cliffhanger so I'm excited about that too!

8) 'The Seafarer's Kiss' by Julia Ember.

So this book has a number of things that make it top priority on the list. (1) Mermaids. I don't read enough books about these creatures. (2) Loki. I have a bit of a fascination with this particular mythological deity and will greedily devour any kind of media representation of him. (3) LGBT love! I want to read more LGBT+ fantasy and here is the perfect opportunity to do so!

9) 'Norse Mythology' by Neil Gaiman.

Ahh Neil Gaiman. I love his imagination and his passion, and though sometimes I find his books a little hard to get into, the darkness of them thrills me. I can always guarantee he'll write a story I've never read before. So his retelling of Norse Mythology? This should be interesting. 

10) 'Bad Feminist' by Roxane Gay.

I wanted to include at least one non-fiction book on here because I'm trying to read more of it! Especially on my favourite topic: feminism. I've read a couple of books on the topic so far, some I've loved and some have been less impressive. But I'm excited to try more!