Top Ten Books of 2015



2015: What a year! I managed to complete my task of reading 50 books in one year and as such shall be increasing this to 60 books for next year! Bring it on.

Since it is New Years Eve and today is the last day to discuss what I enjoyed about 2015 I thought I would do a list of my Top Ten Books that I read this year.

So here goesIn no particularly order:

1.   Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 
I was putting this book off and off, for no reason whatsoever, and when I finally picked it up this Halloween I was amazed. The story and the feel of the book was not like I had expected at all and I really enjoyed it! The photos added a meaningfulness, the story flowed well and was gripping. I really need to pick up the second book soon, I don’t want to wait ages and ages to read it like I did with this book.

2.   The Outcast by Sadie Jones

 
This was the first book I had ever read set in the late post-ww2 era of the 1950s and it was really gripping. It was disturbing and raw, but believable which is why it has stuck with me. The writing is perfectly crafted and the characters are very well-developed, in a way that sucks you into their lives. I really enjoyed this story.

3.   Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

 
I have been steadily getting through the Austen collection of books and I was glad to finally get this story under my belt. Not only because it is my favourite story (I have seen the adaption so many times) but because it is actually, I felt, possibly Jane Austen’s best novel. The story is perfect, and I wasn’t at all confused or held back by her writing style, as I was with Sense and Sensibility, I was immersed and just wish I could read it again for the first time.

4.    The C Word by Lisa Lynch

 
Possibly the most moving book I have read this year. It was stunning. Lisa wrote in such a funny, easy-to-emote to way that I was under her spell. The reality of her story was such that it made the book all that more important and all that more powerful and it is brilliant. Highly recommend to anyone.

5.   The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy



I have steadily been gaining some poetry anthologies this year and have made it my task to collect all of Carol Ann Duffy’s because I find her poems so easy to read. The World Wife is my favourite poetry collection, of hers, to date. I found it so funny and cleverly written. ‘Mrs Darwin’ and ‘Salome’ are my favourite poems.

6.   The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

 
When I finished reading this book I immediately took to twitter and thanked Lisa Williamson for writing it, that was how much I enjoyed it. It is the first LGBT book I have ever read and I think it is one of the strongest that I have read to date. Simply brilliant: emotive, well-written, well-researched and lovable. Really enjoyed.

7.  I Truly Lament by Mathias B. Freese

 
I was sent this book for review and I adored it. It is a collection of short stories to do with the Holocaust from many different perspectives including: golems, Nazi doctors, jews in camps etc. It is moving, sometimes disturbing and at other times unintentionally funny but it has left me with such a book hangover that I cannot get it out of my mind.

8.   The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern

 
The only way for me to describe this book is: magic. I get butterflies in my stomach everytime I think of it. It is such a well-envisioned book that I can see the circus now, the hosts inviting me in, the stands with caramel popcorn, the dream room, and the wish tree, all of it! One of the best books ever written in my opinion. (How strong is that opinion!)

9.   Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

 
I had never read a Patrick Ness novel until this year, and whilst this story was developed by Siobhan O’Dowd, it was the most fluid piece of writing for children I have read. The story is gripping, emotive, poignant and powerful and the message is so sad but lovely. I cannot wait to see the film adaption as I think this is going to make a visually stunning, moving film.

10. 100 poems by Jen Campbell

Jen Campbell wrote 100 poems in 48 hours to raise money for the Book Bus, sending buses of books to impoverished areas. I purchased the limited edition poetry pamphlet as I have heard her read some of her poems on her youtube channel, and loved her non-fiction books also. Whilst some of the poems are obviously rushed (that’s a lot of poems in 48 hours) the visual energy and the lessons of some of the poems are just breathtakingly beautiful. If I need inspiration or an awesome quote I go to this pamphlet. Gorgeous.

 

Some honourable mentions:

-      Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

-      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Favourite HP book this year I read them every summer and every summer my favourite changes!)

-      The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

 

So many books and so little time! I cannot wait to get reading in the New Year and wipe my slate clean for the reading challenge. It brings a whole new energy to reading.

I hope that you’re reading year has been successful! Best of luck for the next!

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

See you in 2016!

Christmas Book Quotes


 
Christmas is a time of repeated films, re-reads and a lot of childhood memories. I find that over the years I have digested favourite quotes and I’ve decided to share them!

1.   ‘Maybe Christmas’ the Grinch thought, ‘Doesn’t come from a storemaybe Christmasperhapsmeans a little bit more.’ by Dr Seuss, from ‘When the Grinch Stole Christmas’. 

2.   ‘It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in the basement.’ by Marcus Zusak from ‘The Book Thief’

3.   ‘One can never have enough socks.’ Said Dumbledore by J.K. Rowling, from ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’


4.   ‘Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!’ by Charles Dickens from ‘The Pickwick Papers’

5.   ‘I don’t want Christmas season to end, because it’s the only time I can legitimately indulge in one particular addiction: glitter’ by Eloisa James from ‘Paris in Love’


6.   ‘At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.’ By Chris Van Allsburg from ‘The Polar Express’


7.  ‘Miracles happen on Christmas, Pat. Everybody knows that shit.’ By Matthew Quick from ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’


8.   ‘I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year’ By Charles Dickens from ‘A Christmas Carol’

 

Have you got any favourite book quotes from Christmas?? Comment below and let me know!

And don’t forget to check out the giveaway I’m doing! It ends on Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

Tis the Season Book Tag!


 
As promised: a new Christmas-sy post everyday until Christmas! I’m kicking it off with the  ‘Tis the Season Tag!

Who doesn’t love a Tag! J


1.   Do you have a favourite Winter Read?



HmmBallet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. I love this story, it’s short, sweet yet packs a punch. It’s set in the early Edwardian Period and surrounds 3 orphaned girls who becomes sisters in a large boarding house.

Pauline who wants to be an actress Petrova who wants to be a pilot and Posy who wants to be the best ballerina in existence. It’s a really sweet, believable story that I try to read at this time every year!



2.   Find a Book with Blue on the cover

 
OkayI found: The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy. It is a poetry collection with a gorgeous cover and no, it is not about bees, but the theme of bees occurs within many of the poems. It’s not my favourite collection of her’s I prefer ‘The World’s Wife’ but it is still a lovely little book to add to my collection.


3.   Find a book you’d use as the star on a Christmas Tree!

This has to be my old edition ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens. I remember buying this beaten up, 1930s edition of the book, in an antiques store whilst on one of my weird family holidays. It cost me £2 and is still one my favourite books of my collection today! The ultimate Christmas story.

 
4.   Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a winter vacation!


I have to go with Soudha from over at Of Stacks and Cups and go with Hogsmeade near Hogwarts! Oh my God! What I wouldn’t give to try a real butterbeer (not the cream soda kind at Harry Potter Studios) and to shop in Honeydukes and visit the Shrieking Shack!


5.   Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your winter vacation!

 
Can I take Peeta Mellark with meI have a funny feeling he’d carry the bags and buy whatever I wantedhe’s so sweet like that (in my head anyway)

6.   Name one book on your wish list this year!

 
There’s only one massive one and that is the Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone! I really, really, would like to get it for Christmas!

7.  Favourite holiday drink, treat & movie?

 
Holiday Drink: This year it is the Gingerbread Latte from Costa!

Holiday Treat: HmmChristmas Tree Chocolates always taste so good!

Holiday Film: Just because I watched it today: Scrooge: The Musical. ‘Thank you very much, thank you very much, that’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for meLOVE IT!

 

So there we have the ‘Tis the Season Book Tag! Let me know any of your answers to the questions and Merry Christmas!

Check out all of the other bloggers taking part in this Christmas Giveaway Hop and don’t forget to check out the Giveaway on the previous blogpost!

Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams (INT)

Of Stacks and Cups (INT)

My Gorgeous Recipes

Olivia@Olivia’s Catastrophe (INT)

Melanie@Dat Little Blog (INT)

Happy Reading!

Christmas Giveaway Hop: Win a Book of your choice!


First offapologies I haven’t blogged in quite a while due to several things:

1.   University Deadlines! They were a killer!

2.   I was in a Pantomime (Oh yes I was!) Took a lot of rehearsal time and 3 performances!

3.   I had a lot of Christmas Socials over the last few weeks.

4.   Working I’m also interning and this takes a whole week off of my schedule.

Basically: I’ve been busy!

So to make up for it I am going to be publishing a new post everyday up until Christmasincluding this one!

The reveal of my Book Blogger Christmas Giveaway, as I am a part of the ‘Of Stacks and Cups’ Christmas Giveaway Hop this holiday season!

My giveaway includes:

The prize shall be:

-      Bookish Badges

-      A Harry Potter Bookmark

-      A Book of your choosing up to £10!

ONLY UK BASED ENTRANTS PLEASE!

The deadline for the giveaway is Christmas Day and I shall choose a winner at random.

Make sure to complete all the tasks to give yourself the best shot! And definitely head over to the following blogs to enter into their giveaways too!


Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams (INT)

Of Stacks and Cups (INT)

My Gorgeous Recipes

Olivia@Olivia’s Catastrophe (INT)

Melanie@Dat Little Blog (INT)
 

Merry Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christmas Giveaway Hop


 
So this year, for the first time, I am participating in a Christmas Giveaway Hop created by Soudha over at 'Of Stacks and Cups'.

The hop is lasting from the 10th until the 24th of December and anyone with a blog can participate - they just need to add their blog to the list before the 10th!  It'll will be fun as at the end of the hop there will be a...giveaway!

Another first for me!

I reveal what the giveaway includes later into the hop, but will be starting Christmas themed posts from now until then. So check those out and let me know if you have any suggestions for any posts.

I love Christmas and I can't wait to share it with all of my Blogger friends.

Merry Christmas & Happy Reading.

 

Here are the links for all the bloggers involved:

Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams (INT)

Of Stacks and Cups (INT)

My Gorgeous Recipes

Olivia@Olivia’s Catastrophe (INT)

Melanie@Dat Little Blog (INT)


November Wrap-Up



November was a busy, yet successful, reading month for me. I wish I could have read more, I certainly have had a lot of books recommended to me this month, but I succeeded in finishing some books that I wanted to get read.

 
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

***
I had to read this book for my creative writing course. It is set in the 1666 in a small village in Derbyshire. They were forced to quarantine when the plague came to the village. The story takes it time to build but when it does there are a lot of harsh and dramatic moments that come out of nowhere and reminded more of Game of Thrones than a Philippa Gregory novel. But it was still exciting and a good read.


Lord of Rings: Return of the King Part 1 by J.R.R. Tolkien

****
I’ve been making my way slowly through the Lord of the Rings series and I was sad to say that this book has taken me six months after a brief break from university and travelling on trains which was when I generally read it but after I started commuting recently it was the perfect size book to take and read on the train with me. I will finish this series..! Eventually.

 
Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy

****
I have slowly been collecting the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy over the last year or so and I came across this collection in a charity shop in London and read it on the train home. A lot of the poems were from her other collections which I had read before but it was still a little sweet book full of beautiful poems.

 
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

*****
I recently had the urge to re-read this novel after watching the movies and seeing some images of the next movie that will be coming out some time in the future. I forgot how easy it was to get through the diary with amusement and pleasure and I read it in a matter of hours. I do love the character of Bridget. Whilst the story is timeless the reference are a bit out-dated, but it still an enjoyable read.

 
Downton Abbey Scripts Season 3 by Julian Fellowes

****
I was suffering from Downton blues, now that the sixth and final series, has finished airing (at least until Christmas) so I decided to go ahead and read this monumental book of the scripts from season 3. The last episode is still awful to read, in the sense that it give that feeling of being punched in the gut every time, but I do like seeing the deleted and edited scenes and how/why Julian Fellows came up with the plotlines. I worthy read for any Downton Abbey fan.


So they were the books I read this month. I have also started to read:

-      Bridget Jones’s Diary: Edge of Reason I had to read the second book of the series, (I am skipping the 3rd, I really hated it)

-      Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel It’s about time I read this. I’ve had on my shelf for at least a year now and it is one of those books that people still like to talk about now, even after the hype has died down slightly.

 

Next is my Christmas TBR! I can’t wait to read some lovely little Christmas books!

Happy Reading.