Wednesday, 30 November 2016

TOP FIVE WEDNESDAY: Top five favourite villains

(Top Five Wednesday was created by GingerReadsLainey. Find out more at the Goodreads group!)

I recently discussed my ten favourite comic book villains, so even though I'd really like to include all of those they're disqualified.

5) Crowley
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Crowley, demon and King of Hell, is my favourite character from Supernatural, but it's not the only representation of his character that I've loved - his character is the best thing about 'Good Omens', and even though he's supposed to be evil his heart is too pure to succeed at that. 

4) Sebastian Morgenstern
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I loved Sebastian because he added such an interesting dynamic to The Mortal Instruments series. Whereas the first couple of books were the gang versus the demons and the big bad Valentine, adding in the mysterious and equally dangerous Sebastian really ramped things up. 

3) Damon Salvatore
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I can remember Damon being a veritable bad boy in the novels, but in the TV show he's the character that everyone loves to hate and hates to love. 

2) The Darkling
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The Darkling was my favourite thing about the Grisha trilogy, and I felt like he was extremely misunderstood. I didn't think of him as a villain, but as a victim: of himself and of his circumstances.

1) Negan
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Last year, I fell out of love with 'The Walking Dead'. Everything was cliched and predictable, the characters were standard and none of the developments were exciting. Then Negan - and Lucille - arrived on the scene, bringing life back to the show and making it my favourite thing on TV once more. Jeffrey Dean Morgan has made me fall in love with the man that I should rightly hate, and that proves what an amazing actor he is. 

I hope you enjoyed this Top Five Wednesday! Who are your favourite villains? 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten YA novels for your Christmas list

(Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish!)

This week, Top Ten Tuesday is a holiday gift guide freebie. But why should you buy other people books when you can ask for books for yourself instead?
These are the ten YA novels that you really need to put down on your Christmas list, and that you definitely shouldn't be disappointed to find under your tree on Christmas day.

10) 'Everything Everything' by Nicola Yoon
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With the film of 'Everything Everything' being released in 2017, you're going to need to read this book fairly soon: why not ask for it for Christmas and save yourself a few pounds?!

9) 'Nothing Tastes As Good' by Claire Hennessy
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If you like difficult reads and loved 'Wintergirls' by Laurie Halse Anderson, Claire Hennessy's Hot Key Books debut will tear at your heart strings and quickly become your new favourite book.

8) 'Radio Silence' by Alice Oseman
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'Radio Silence' was so much fun that I laughed out loud at multiple points. The storytelling is unique, and I love Alice Oseman's writing style - I'm hoping to get 'Solitaire' for Christmas, so I can read her other novel.

7) 'Paper Butterflies' by Lisa Heathfield
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I read 'Paper Butterflies' with the #SundayYA book club, and it broke my heart. If you'd like to feel emotional and thankful for your family this Christmas, don't look any further than this extremely difficult read. 

6) 'Snow Like Ashes' by Sara Raasch
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What's better to ask for at Christmas than a book with Snow in the title? This trilogy finished recently, so now's the perfect time to start it if you haven't already.

5) 'One' by Sarah Crossan
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Winning the YA Book Prize earlier in the year, 'One' is a slightly different story - it's told in prose, so it's not your typical novel. If you don't read often, you'll like this one: the structure means it's a very fast read, but it's still descriptive and you can't help but fall in love with the characters.

4) 'Am I Normal Yet?' by Holly Bourne
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Are you a feminist? Yes? Read this book, you'll love it. No? Well, read this book and you'll realise there's no reason not to be! It's also a wonderful portrayal of OCD, and shows the power of strong female friendships.

3) 'The Lie Tree' by Frances Hardinge
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'The Lie Tree' won the 2015 award for Costa Book of the Year, and it definitely deserved that accolade. The tale is ridiculously creepy, but Frances Hardinge's lyrical writing will be easy for everyone to fall in love with.

2) 'The Sin Eater's Daughter' by Melinda Salisbury
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Melinda Salisbury's trilogy is wrapping up in 2017, so it's time to catch up on the first two books in the series!

1) 'Beautiful Broken Things' by Sara Barnard
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Sara Barnard's debut is magnificent. With her second novel coming out at the start of 2017, you should definitely read 'Beautiful Broken Things' first - then you know what to expect from her brilliant writing, which focuses on friendship in this book.

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday and put some of these books on your Christmas list! What books should I ask for?

Monday, 28 November 2016

WTF Did I Miss This Week? #8 (w/c 21/11/16)

The YA world:

There were some extremely beautiful new releases this week:
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I've had 'Of Fire and Stars' on my TBR since January, and I can't wait to get hold of a copy.

Yet more cover reveals, yet more books added to my TBR!
A Glimmer of Hope (Magic Incarnate Book 6) by [Zoltack, Nicole]

I'm particularly excited about 'Following Ophelia', a pre-Raphaelite YA romance.

In other news:
  • Tess Sharpe FINALLY announced her second novel - and it's her adult debut! YES YES YES!
  • Macmillan Children's acquired Laura Sebastian's debut novel, 'Ash Princess', which will be released in 2018.
  • Renee Ahdieh's novels are going to be published in the UK through Hodder! 
The music world:

A couple more new releases this week - better start adding them to your Christmas list:
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Bad Rabbit's 'American Nightmare' was actually a surprise release and you can download it completely free on their website.
I'm not quite sure when Bradley Walsh started singing...

Quite a lot of new music was released this week too:

Pierce The Veil released a video for 'Dive In':

While She Sleeps premiered their new song 'Hurricane' on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show on Sunday, quickly following it up with the official video:

Music video legends OK Go (you know, the ones that played with the treadmills!) have done it again on 'The One Moment':

And You Me At Six finally released 'Swear', the song they've been playing live for the last couple of months:

Meanwhile Panic! At The Disco covered 'Starboy' by The Weeknd and Daft Punk for the station (also performing new renditions of 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies' and 'Hallelujah') and fourth episode of The Maine's 'Miserable Youth' was released.

Sound the klaxon, it's tour announcement time!
  • With Confidence will be playing 'Better Weather' in full throughout the UK and Europe in February and March, with support from Milestones, Safe To Say and Broadside (UK only).
  • Wednesday 13 has announced a UK acoustic tour, visiting in February and March.
  • Deaf Havana are headlining shows in Europe throughout March and April.
  • Real Friends have announced their rescheduled UK and European dates, now taking part at the end of March and throughout April. Replacement support is yet to be confirmed, but With Confidence will no longer be a part of the tour (hence their headline tour announcement, above). 
  • The Menzingers are touring with The Flatliners throughout April.
  • The Kooks announced their 'The Best Of The Kooks' tour, running through April and May and ending at Alexandra Palace.
In other news:
  • Mike Bell, one half of Lymbyc Systym, sadly passed away.
  • As Lions have announced their debut album, 'Aftermath', will be released on January 20th. 
  • You Me At Six have pulled forward the release of 'Night People', which will now be hitting stores on January 6th - a week earlier than previously scheduled...
  • ...while Josh Franceschi announced live on stage that the band would be playing 'Take Off Your Colours' in full in October 2018.
  • Waterparks have been added to All Time Low's extensive UK tour in March - WAHOO! 
  • The next wave of bands playing Slam Dunk was announced, including Bowling For Soup, Cute Is What We Aim For and Don Broco! I'm definitely getting my tickets - have you bought yours yet?
  • Bad Cop/Bad Cop were robbed twice in one day.
  • Balance and Composure cancelled their recently announced UK tour
  • A Day To Remember won their lawsuit against Victory Records. I don't really know enough about the situation to pass judgment, but I hope this doesn't spell the end for a label who have done a lot for the scene over the years.
  • For the first time there's going to be a Download Madrid! View the first announcement here.
  • But T In The Park will be taking a break in 2017. Boo :( 
  • Decade announced their second album, 'Pleasantries', will be released on February 24th via Rude Records. It's about time!
  • The Bombpops have been signed to Fat Wreck Chords and will be releasing their debut album on February 10th. 
  • twenty one pilots won two awards and performed at the American Music Awards...
  • ...and were then announced as the next AltPress cover stars!

Friday, 25 November 2016

November book haul

I know I'm having a bad month when my book buying goes completely out of control. Unfortunately, November has been one of those months. All of the stress from Blogtober and NaNoWriMo have combined, and it's resulted in what I think might be my biggest book haul of the year.
Buckle up, this might take a while:

Highly Illogical Behaviour by [Whaley, John Corey]The Bone Dragon by [Casale, Alexia]Lies We Tell Ourselves: Shortlisted for the 2016 Carnegie Medal by [Talley, Robin]
I actually bought 'The Bone Dragon' and 'Lies We Tell Ourselves' at the very end of October, but I'd already posted my haul, so thought I'd showcase them here instead! I hadn't heard much about Robin Talley's release before, but I've been seeing some very problematic comments about it on Twitter, which has made me a lot less excited to read it.

MCM haul:

I had no self-control at MCM this year, so I bought all of these beautiful graphic novels and books. The Throne of Glass novels and the two Marie Rutkoski books were all in an offer - buy 3 for £5 - so they were the cheapest I was ever going to be able to get them. 
I actually bought the third volume of 'Gotham Academy' the week after MCM, but was easier to showcase it here. My precious! 

Library book sale:

Lots more library books that I've bought to keep forever. I worked in a couple of libraries I'd never worked in before this month, so I had to scavenge through their book sale books. Particularly happy to get hold of a copy of 'Born Wicked' - I loved it so much and want to reread the first two novels before I dive into the third book in the series.

Charity shopping:

My best friend started volunteering in a charity shop, and she gave me insider info: they had a sale on, and all books were 3 for £1. I grabbed a load in there, but also explored the rest of the charity shops around Swindon, where I found three SIGNED proofs! Tell me that's not a lucky day of shopping!

Just one book from bookbridgr this month - the conclusion to J.P. Smythe's Australia trilogy. I really enjoyed 'Way Down Dark', but was waiting for this third installment to be released before I read the second book in the series: now I'm looking forward to finishing this series off.

I managed to win My Kinda Book's Worlds Collide swag competition, and in that package came two - not one, but TWO! - signed Rainbow Rowell books! Thank you MKB, you rock <3


When Owlcrate announced that the box theme in November was going to be Alice In Wonderland, I knew which book was going to be included. What could it be, other than Marissa Meyer's highly anticipated 'Heartless'? 

This month, my Illumicrate had two books - a special thank you from Daphne for being one of the first Illumicrate subscribers, way back when the first box was released. I'm looking forward to many, many more of these boxes in the future.

Of course, Illumicrate was still stuffed with all of the usual goodies as well, including beautiful Jennifer Niven double-sided postcards advertising both of her novels! I only wish I had a second pack so that I could stick them all up. 

I'm disappointed in myself because I acquired 52 books this month - the most I've bought at any time this year, if I'm right - but I'm also proud at what I acquired: most of these are super awesome, and you can't deny that. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

TOP FIVE WEDNESDAY: Top five books I should reread

(Top Five Wednesday was created by GingerReadsLainey. Find out more at the Goodreads group!)

5) 'New Moon' by Stephenie Meyer
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I've read 'Twilight' many times, but I could never get through rereading the rest of the series. I'd like to, because I really enjoyed it the first time I read it: in fact I read the entire series in a week, which is the fastest I've ever read a completed series!

4) 'City of Bones' by Cassandra Clare
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I've been told that the reading order for the Shadowhunters Universe - to get the least amount of spoilers - should be The Mortal Instruments books 1-5, then The Infernal Devices trilogy, then the sixth book in The Mortal Instruments, then the recently released 'Lady Midnight'. (I have no idea where the Magnus Bane and Shadowhunter Academy short stories fit in this order). 
Because I would eventually like to catch up, I think it's high time I reread 'City of Bones', and then reread the other four books in the series that I've already experienced. It just feels like so much effort...

3) The Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter
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I loved the Warrior Cats books when I was younger, and I definitely read the first thirteen: further than I'd ever gotten in to any other series. With more being released every year, I'd definitely like to revisit this series, but I'll need to start from the beginning because I can't really remember anything that happened!

2) 'One Day' by David Nicholls
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'One Day' is one of my favourite books of all time, and while I've wanted to reread it for a while I've been scared to. After reading Grace's post about her reread, it's made me even more excited to revisit Dexter and Emma's story: I'm definitely going to pick this up again in the New Year. 

1) 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' by J.K. Rowling
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I reread the first and second books in the series, and watched both films... And then I got stuck. I need to reread the third book so that I can finally read 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' for the first time (and then, you know, eventually read the others I guess).

I hope you enjoyed this Top Five Wednesday! Are there any of your favourite books that you really should have re-read by now?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten things I'm thankful for

(Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish!)

I'd been planning on writing this Thanksgiving freebie about all of the books I was grateful for - titles that I'd read in the last year or so which had helped me feel better or brought me great joy.
But instead I've decided to write a slightly different post today.
I think it's high time I publicly thank all of the people that I'm thankful for, and acknowledge the things that I'm thankful for. I often find myself taking things for granted and not respecting the fact that I've got so much more than a lot of people in the world will ever be able to have, but the last couple of weeks have really hammered home to me that I am an extremely lucky person.

10) My health
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Okay, this is the lowest because I've struggled with being thankful for this over the last week or so: I've had a bad cold that's been making me feel exhausted and has made it almost impossible to concentrate on the smallest tasks, a super painful ear infection and a huge resurgence of my anxiety that's left me physically shaking more times than I can count. But even with these things I'm still grateful: there are people out there struggling with debilitating and life-threatening conditions every moment of the day, people who have terminal illnesses that they can't survive, so a little bit of pain in my ear is nothing.

9) My blog
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I've also been struggling to be thankful for the blog recently. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle: I'll have a really good week in which all of my posts get shared, my pageviews go through the roof and I get loads of comments and conversations starting, and other weeks it's a complete tumbleweed with hardly anyone exploring my site. In the New Year I'm going to make an effort to feature more exclusive content - I really want to stand out from the crowd and learn to love my blog again, rather than fading into the background and tolerating it like I am at the moment.

8) My colleagues
We have a little group of friends called the Coven, and we have a Dungeons and Dragons group, and I love all the people who are part of those groups: so much so that I think of them as friends, rather than colleagues. I'm thankful for their unquestioning acceptance of me and my crazy - and sometimes irritating - personality, because when I got my job I cried all night the day before my first shift, so certain that everyone was going to hate me and I wasn't going to fit in at work. I couldn't have been more wrong!
The team that I work with is just so great, even if some of them do drive me crazy on occasion!

7) My friends
I have so many friends, and I value each and every one of them. I have friends that I can help when they're in trouble, friends that I know I can always go to when I'm upset, friends that are talented and awe me with their skills and friends that are hilarious and always make me laugh. I actually miss being at school, because it was brilliant to be able to see them all together on a regular basis: with everyone being off at their various universities, it's nigh on impossible to get the whole group together for one meeting any more - the picture above was taken last Christmas, and that's only half of us!

6) My best friends
Alyce Hunt
I know you're not strictly supposed to have more than one best friend, but I count myself lucky: I have four! Two of them are my closest female friends, and two of them are my closest male friends, but I genuinely couldn't live without any of them. Lexi, Lauren, Tom, Kieran: you all rock, and I value your friendship so much. Here's to many, many more years of adventures and wonderful memories. Those four deserved thanking separately from the greater friend group, but I love all of my friends equally.

5) My boyfriend
I know this is soppy, but I'm so, so thankful for him. Our relationship feels like a movie so far - the way we met, the crazy antics that happened before we officially got together - and I wouldn't change a thing about our relationship. I wrote a letter of thanks to him during Blogtober, and since I wrote that I have so many more things I want to say: he constantly surprises and delights me, just by being him. I didn't know what love was until we got together.

4) My family
I don't have a big family - I'm an only child, and I don't know my father - but I'm grateful for that, because it means the bonds between me, my mum and my grandad are much closer than they otherwise would be. In fact, I live with both of them: can't get much closer than that! They support me through everything, even if I do act ungrateful sometimes - particularly when my anxiety is kicking in to high gear - but no matter how much we upset each other we always forgive each other.

3) My job
I'm very lucky to have a job that I love, even if it's not the most secure form of employment: there are going to be redundancies made in the New Year, and I'm terrified I'm going to be one of them. The reasons I love my job are almost endless: I love my colleagues, classing a huge chunk of them as extremely close friends, and being able to play (I mean, uh, work...) with books is the most exciting part of my day. I also like being able to help customers - even the ones that are very difficult and ungrateful - because the ones that are thankful and genuinely appreciate my help bring joy to my day.

2) My life
This might be cheating, because my life is all of the other nine things added together, but it's true!
Recently I've been made aware of just how privileged I am to be who I am: I'm white, I'm cisexual, I don't practice religion and I have a job so I don't need to worry about money. I'm bisexual, but I'm currently in a relationship with a man, so from a distant I would seem straight. Being a woman can be difficult, but there are so many fighters for the feminist cause which makes it much more bearable.
Compared to all of the people I see online getting persecuted daily for their sexuality, gender, race or religion, and those who are being discriminated against for their class or for having a disability, I'm extremely lucky. I'm never going to take that for granted again, and I'm going to use my position to fight for those being targeted.

1) You!
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I'm so thankful that you checked out this blog post, even though it's so different - and much soppier - from my usual content. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving (if it's something you celebrate: if not, have a great last weekend of November!).

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! What things are you grateful for?