21 Books to Read Before I'm 21 // Listopia

So this time of the month I would usually be doing a book wrap-up and TBR but I have to be honestI haven’t finished one book this month! That is a horrible truth!
I hate it but I am still trying to get through the Lord of the Rings and I am reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and the first book is over 600 pages (not to mention the book itself is massive!) I’m loving both but they’re just hard to read. I also have University work that is taking precedence at the moment soinstead I thought I would do a TBR for the future.
I am 20 years old in 6 weeks or so and I thought I would do write a list now for the books to read before I’m 21 the books I’ve had on my TBR for years and never got too, mostly.
These books are tailored to me and not to everyone else although if you like this list feel free to live by it, as I shall!
(WARNING: Not going into detail, merely listingotherwise this post would be huge!)
Without further ado:
1.   Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
2.   A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
3.   Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
4.   Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
5.   Ready Player One by Ernest Clime
 

6.   A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
7.  The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
8.   The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
9.   The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
 

11. The Girl you Left Behind by JoJo Moyes
12. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
14. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
15. Paper Towns by John Green
 

16. The Winter’s Tale by Mark Helphrin
17.Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
18. More Than This by Patrick Ness
19. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
20.Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
21. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
 

That is my To-Be-Read list before I turn 21whether this actually happens well we’ll have to see ;)
Happy Reading!
 



My Favourite Writers // Favourites


Writers are people I deeply respect, not only because of the amount of time they spend on their work but also because they have the patience and the guts to deal with the editing, the publication, the marketing and PR etc that comes with publishing their workthat is a lot of stuff. It is not simply write a book/anthology/play hand it in and see it on the shelf the following day there is a lot of work to it.

That being said, I hope to one day be an author/poet. I have come close already but not succeeded, I won’t say unfortunately as I know that I have time to get there!

But today, in honour of feeling of respect to writers in general, I thought I would do a post on some of my favourite writers.

1.   J.K. Rowling I will start off with one of my favourite authoresses. I am writing this in terms of the Harry Potter series as I have yet to read any of her ‘Robert Galbraith’ novels. In terms of Rowlings work I read it every summer and if that doesn’t constitute to favouritism I don’t know what does. What I love about her work is the simplicity and the characters, they emanate warmth and friendship even when they are annoying or stupid. It’s like a family in a book, it’s simply wonderful.

 
2.   John Keats My favourite poet. I know that he died, tragically, many many years ago but I love his poems. Endymion is my favourite, particularly the first few stanzas, and many of his other poems are gorgeous! If you like classic poetry or fancy reading more classic poetry I would definitely recommend him! He is amazing!

 
3.   The Bronte Sisters I could not choose a single Bronte sister to discuss within favourite writers: they were all geniuses, not just for their work but how they managed it. They were governesses, except Emily who was a spinster who stayed at home, and they wrote in the dark of their dining room once their father went to work. They hardly left Haworth, where they lived, and they had very dull, monotonous lives yet they created such characters, such atmospheres and surroundings and the stories and beautiful woven and writtenand I could gush all day long!

 
4.   Michelle Magorian I have great respect for Magorian who takes difficult subjects and makes them moving, understandable to children and still suitable. Not to mention the poignancy and the beauty of her stores i.e. Goodnight Mister Tom.

5.   Cecelia Ahern I think Ceceila Ahern is the only authoress whose love-stories don’t make me roll my eyes. Yes they can be irritating but I still like them, they ‘warm the cockles of my heart’ to coin the phrase.

 
So there’s a few of my favourite writers, a mix of poets and authors. I was trying to think of a screen/scriptwriter as well but to be honest I appreciate many screenwriters so I might do that as a separate post J

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please let me know who you’re favourite writers are.

Happy Reading!

Outlander: Book Vs TV Series // VS

An odd post today, a ‘versus’ on the television series of Outlander vs the book which I am currently reading.


 
I was first introduced to the Television series of Outlander by a video by BooksandQuills and I am now hooked. Who wouldn’t be by the prospect of the Scottish Highlands, the Scottish accents and a bit of time-travel!

Basically: Claire Beauchamp a married 1940s combat nurse is on her 2nd honeymoon with her husband Frank in the highlands when she visits a set of stones similar to Stonehenge and is transported back in time to 1740s Scotland. She apprehended by a group of Scots, including a young man called Jamie, and over the course of the book/series she is held captive, arrested, tried, has an affair etcand it is brilliant!

Book

I am currently in the throes of reading the book, but since I am up to the bit that the TV series is also currently up in airing time I thought this was a good time to do this post.

The book itself is actually called: Cross-Stitch in Britain and Outlander everywhere else, I don’t know why the name changed as ‘Cross-Stitch’ doesn’t seem that appropriate to me, but still. The book is large and only number one of many...! Diana Gabaldon wrote it back in the early 1990s and it has received critical acclaim and I can see why!

Not only is it incredibly to read it is also high-paced, well-written, exciting and just generally great! The plot moves very well with the characters being not only relatable but wonderful. You will fall in love with Jamie Fraser, let me just tell you that now!

The dialogue is the best thing about it as I don’t even need to think about the Scottish accent to hear it in the way that it is written.

 


Television Series

The TV series began last year and aired 10 episodes as a part 1 to the series, and part 2 is currently airing.

I have to say that this is one of the best Book to Television adaptions I have watched in a long-while (probably since the first Game of Thrones adaption) the dialogue is practically the same because it flows so well and the acting is superb, not to mention the cast: Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser is the best piece of casting I think I may have ever seen. He is a whole-hearted Scottish man by blood anyway, he is incredibly handsome which also helps but he is Jamie in all but name it seems.

Sam Heughan
 
The actress who plays Claire, Catriona Balfe who is in fact Irish plays the kind of stuck-up Claire very well, and goes for it in most scenes.

Pre-Warning! This show is pretty much the Scottish version of Game of Thrones with the nudity, the graphic violence and the foul language, so not really a series to watch with your Grandmother. That being said the book is equally as graphic.

You can watch the series on Amazon Prime in the UK or on television in America and I would heartily recommend it!

Now, as for the VS and which one won the ‘contest’ as such, I say it isthe Television Adaption simply because it is pretty much the book on screen which just increases my enjoyment of the book and the series. I love it and I heartily recommend it if you like a good love story, time-travel, history or just want something similar to Game of Thrones in your life! J

Happy Reading!


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The Disney Princess Book Tag // Tag

For once I actually have been tagged! Thanks very much to Soudha over at ‘Of Stacks and Cups.’ It is also her tag, being her first original one so good on you Soudha! Great fun. The basis of the tag are the Disney princesses that we all know and love.

Here is a little Disney Q&A I also thought I’d answer:

1.   Who is your favourite Disney princess: Mulan. She is feisty, loyal, doesn’t really care about getting married and making a family-home, she just wants to be herself. I respect that.

2.   Favourite Disney Princess movie: Tangled. It is the only Disney Princess movie that I will watch again and again, I love the songs the animations and the colours!

Right, moving onto the tag. Here are my answers to the questions:

1.   Snow White - Name your favourite classic 

My favourite classic changes all the time, mostly due to the amount of classic books that I love! But today I am going with: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I read this story every Christmas as it is such a beautiful story, more light-hearted than the rest of Dickens novels and simply enjoyable!

2.   Cinderella - Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime

 
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher. I didn’t have such a great relationship with this book but I remember staying up to read the last 100 pages all in one go as the intensity of the story and the realisations became too much to put down.

3.   Aurora - Name your favourite classic romance

 
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Mr Tilney and Catherine Morland are my dream romantic counterparts as such. I love that they argue and forgive, have and share secrets, read and simply enjoy being in each other’s company. It feels comfortable, which is what I feel love should be.

4.   Ariel - Name a book that's about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams

 
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor and Park are both incredibly different people who just happen to fall in love, I really enjoyed this book and I found the ending in particular to justify answering this question. Because it is the ending I won’t spoil it but what they sacrifice in order to have a good life is immeasurable.

5.   Belle - Name a book with a smart and independent female character

 
Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Arya the elf is a clever character who does not form to normal female ‘romance’ characters in series. She is intelligent, brave and very independent. Whilst some of the readers may have thought the ending of the series and the relationship between Eragon and Arya a shame, I wasn’t too disheartened and appreciated the difference she held in the literary world.

6.   Jasmine - Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world

 
The Art of being Normal by Lisa Williamson. If a teenage boy can go to school and say to everyone ‘I want to be a girl’ or at least imagine that he had the courage to do so they are challenging the norms that society live by, currently.

7.  Pocahontas - Name a book whose ending was a roller-coaster of emotions

 
The Fault in our Stars by John Green. Whilst I wasn’t such a great fan of this book there is no denying the rollercoaster of feelings that it brought to many fan-girls across the world!

8.   Mulan - Name a book with a kick-ass female character

 
Cinder by Marissa Myer. Cinder has got to be one of the most kick-ass characters in YA at the moment. Whilst she is, of course, based on Cinderella she has a great spirit and self-determination to her that Cinderella’s, such as Lily James’s portrayal in the recent movie, don’t have. Rather than be soft and sweet as we know of Cinderella she is angsty and prepared to protect her secrets and her loved ones.

9.   Tiana - Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character

 
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This is a fictional work of the life of Thomas Cromwell, lawyer to Henry VIII and one of his good friends for a time it shows what Cromwell lost and gained in order to fulfil his ambitions. Bearing in mind he was a blacksmiths son and ended up having the ear of the King he was clearly good, if not as good as Mantel says, at his work.

10. Rapunzel - Name a book that features an artist

 
Love Lessons by Jacqueline Wilson. Prue and the teacher she ‘befriends’ are both art-enthusiasts, and art is a major arc in this story helping to push the plot along and also make the ‘love’ that Prue holds for her teacher less serious but still not discountable.

11. Merida - Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship

 
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. The relationship between Bridget and her mother is superb in this novel. Not only is it hilarious but it is scarily true and likely to occur to many of us. The time when the mother tries to set you up or has a mid-life crisis which somehow seems to impact your own lifethe list is endless and the relationship is wonderful!

12. Anna and Elsa - Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings 

 
Little Women & Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott. One of my other favourite classics and undoubtedly my favourite sibling story (although Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe clan come in 2nd!) The relationship between the sisters, particularly Beth and Jo is simply one of the most beautiful and heart-breaking relationships in literature. It makes me want to cry, smile and laugh and I simply love it.

 

There we have it: the Disney Princess book Tag. I really liked this tag, the questions were easy to follow and sometimes humorous and I hope that you enjoyed my answers. I tried to vary it a little but I think my bookshelf is getting to seem rather monotonous to some of my more dedicated readers!

I tag everyone, as usual, maybe I’ll tag some specific people later but have a go and let Soudha know if you do!

Happy Reading!

Books to read in Sunshine // Themed Post

So in honour of the beautiful weather that I experienced today up in London I actually wore shorts and was never once cold! I thought a themed post was required. Books that are best enjoyed in sunshine!

1.   Harry Potter & the Philosophers Stone

 
Whether by the knowledge that it is one of my favourite books, or simply because I read the series every summer so associate them with sunshine, this is definitely one of those books that I would happily sit and read whilst sunbathing in the garden!

2.   Where the Rainbow Ends by Cecelia Ahern

 
A simple love story that spans an age, easy to read and easy to put down and pick up. I think I would enjoy reading this book whilst lounging at the beach or relaxing with some friends!

3.   The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

 
There cannot be a more suitable book to read in the garden when it is sunny and all you want to do is relax yet at the same time you really want to make your garden into a relaxing paradise! A motivator as well as an enjoyment.

4.   Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

 
I am a little vain in thinking that when I am reading a book in sunshine or outside a coffee shop I would like it to be sophisticated and intelligent-looking, what better choice that Austen! Sense & Sensibility not only sounds smart but is also an equally pleasing book.

5.   Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

 
This is not only in terms of sunshine but also in honour of the TV series beginning again yesterday. First off if you love the series but haven’t read the booksread them! Secondly, being such a large book it gives you a reason to spend more time sun-bathing whilst reading it!

Five books to read in sunshine! Love them all and love the excuses I can build with them! I don’t know about you but I never leave the house without a book not unless the book I am currently reading is huge and nothing else takes my fancy and I find nothing is more pleasurable than sitting down in any spot on the steps of a museum, against a fountain, a coffee shop or sea-front bench and reading a few pages! Lovely.

Let me know what books you would like to read in the sunshine, or books that inspire you to enjoy the sunshine!

The Art of Being Normal // Book Review


The Art of Being Normal
Review

Author: Lisa Williamson was previously an actor before writing The Art of Being Normal, her debut novel. She now lives in North London.

Rating: *****

Review:

Wellfor any of you that have read my last few blog posts you would know this was coming. I was absolutely enthralled with the idea of this book and it did not disappoint. It was brilliant. The theme of transgenderism was not at all avoided but at the same time it was not handled, as some might assume, with the stigmas that are attached to it.

David Piper, one of the two protagonists of the book, spent most of the book as any typical teenager feeling lonely, different and hankering after another person with deep feelings of unrequited love which is really just curiosity and pressure. He was entirely believable and to top that off with his desire to become a female makes for a wholly interesting and equally as moving character!

Leo Denton, the other protagonist of the book, is slightly different: he moves from an unprivileged area to a new school in a ‘posh’ area, growing up alongside a shambolic family pretty much destined to fail. It his story and his first love that I found really emotive alongside David’s will.

The story itself is set over a matters of months and is beautiful written, easy-to-follow and at a pace that makes it easy to put down and pick up or read in one sitting.

The plot twists are inspired! The characters are so realistic and set in such a realistic setting that when these plot twists occur not only does it feel entirely without melodrama but is also very believable.

The best thing of all about the book is the ending which of course I cannot spoil, but it is just as the rest of the novel is: realistic. It is perfect, at least in my opinion. Some young adult novels can go towards the ‘happy-ever-after’ ending of the fairy tales we all love, but whilst the ending was not all ‘riding off into the sunset’, it was also not gloomy, it was simply authentic.  
Overall, a fantastic book which I am very happy I have read! A strong contender for my favourite book of the year!

Top Ten Historical Novels // Listopia

Whilst it is a ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ day I thought I would do my own this week, as I haven’t done a listopia post in a while either! Today’s list is:

TOP TEN HISTORICAL NOVELS

Without further ado, here goes:

1.   The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Set during the 1930s, a beautiful, yet vain, British woman, Kitty, is near her marriage sell-by-date so quickly marries a shy doctor before embarking on an affair with another man. As always, the affair comes to light and her husband, who is a doctor, forces her to travel with him to a small village off of Shanghai to study the effects and cause of cholera knowing full well the likelihood that they will both catch it and diequite a book, short and concise with a lot of drama and a great writing style!

2.   Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

 
A lot of people dislike this Austen book, but since I have only fully-read two, and I have featured Sense and Sensibility before, I thought I would choose Mansfield Park for a change. The story is typical of Austen a kind of Cinderella protagonist Fanny - down on her luck and treated badly, falls in love with the rich man in this book it is her cousinapparently this was normal back then! The largest of Austen’s book, but the easiest to read I’ve found!

3.   Outlander by Diana Galbadon

 
I am currently reading this novel and I just cannot get enough! I came to know this book, as always, through its television series which is currently airing in America. Originally set in the 1940s a young woman, Claire, is transported back in time to the 1700s in the Scottish Highlands. There she encounters many different dramas, becomes a healer and falls in love with a wonderful Scottish man Jamie Fraser. Anyone that likes a bit of romance, time-travel, history and fighting will love this and definitely the series! Think Scottish Game of Thrones but with less people and gore!

4.   Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

 
My favourite book of all-time! Set in 3 parts before World War One, during World War One and in 1979. A brilliant story revolving around the life of Stephen Wraysford, his friend Jack Firebrace and his descendant in 1979. Beautifully written and a beautiful story anyone interested in World War One should read this novel!

5.   The Reader by Bernard Schlink

 
Another war, or post-war, novel you will notice there is a theme to my historical novels! This is an easy, short-read set around a young man, Michael, and his interactions with an older lady, Hanna, after the Second World War.  Michael first meets Hanna when he becomes ill on her door-step and what ensues is a teenage love affair, a coming-of-age theme and a deeply moving and thought-provoking story regarding the Holocaust and forgiveness.

6.   The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

 
Another firm favourite of mine. Anne Boleyn is notorious for the being the second wife of Henry VIII but this novel illuminates Mary Boleyn as the fat kings mistress, pre-Anne. Whilst it is a little far-fetched and obviously some of the plot is taken from imagination it is still a fascinating and enjoyable read!

7.  Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

 
For anyone interested in History, World War two particularly, this is always the book I would recommend it. It is a graphic, honest and bitter but at the same time aimed at children so has the innocence and the beauty that only children can truly understand! A great read, about a young lad evacuated to the countryside during the Blitz who finds his feet before being unceremoniously sent back to London to face his abusive mother.

8.   Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

 
From a short, easy-to-read book to one of the longest books around! Gone with the Wind is a wondrously vivid story about the American Civil War and the effect it had long-after. The protagonist, Scarlet O’Hara one of the best women in Fiction is a manipulative and powerful woman in a time when there was really no such expectation. She marries several times, keeps up her feelings for another am all the while and also has feelings for another man at the same timevery complicated but ingenius and wonderful!

9.   Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield

 
I love this little story it is a very ‘girly’ tale about three orphans who are taken in by a fossil collector and his ward, and then grow up alongside two lecturers, a dance teacher, a handyman and spend time at a Performing Arts School in an attempt to earn a living. I love it! It’s every little girls dream: happiness, friendship, family, fun and lots of little adventure.

10. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

 
Finally, another firm-favourite of mine and the book-blogger circuit! A little girl grows up in Nazi Germany with a foster family and a Jew in her basement. It is incredibly moving and fast-paced with some very important messages and reminders of the innocence of children and their hunger for knowledge!

So there we have it. My top ten historical novels what are yours? Let me know and enjoy the sunshine, if you have it!

Happy Reading!