Top Five Tuesday – Books from my childhood

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This week we’re looking back at books from our childhoods, I have always loved reading, especially as a child so this is a great topic for me!

1. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

I used to love these books so much, it’s a series of adventure stories with four children and their dog who always spend their summer holidays together. They were written in the 1940s and set in that time too, I used to love pretending to be one of the Famous Five with my sisters.

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban by JK Rowling

The whole series shaped my childhood but I think this one was always my favourite, maybe because it’s the only one without Voldermort in it? Or maybe because Remus Lupin is a gem.

3. The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson

I used to read as many Jacqueline Wilson books as I possibly could, she’s a fantastic author and The Lottie Project is definitely one of my favourites. It’s about a girl Charlie who has to do a history project about the Victorians and ends up writing a diary as a girl from that era, it’s so good and it set me up for my obsession with historical fiction!!

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

This series is genius, it’s dark without being too much and I love Snicket’s writing style, I learnt a lot of words from him! I still enjoy reading these books now.

5. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl is about being yourself no matter what and not bothering with what bullies say. Stargirl starts at a high school after 15 years of being home schooled, she was shunned for her differences but she didn’t really care. It’s a beautiful book and I think it really helped me realise how irrelevant other’s opinions of you are.

Top Five Tuesday – Series I want to start

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This week we have to choose five series that we want to start.

1. Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown

Blurb: Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

I want to read more sci-fi and this series looks perfect, I’ve had it on my TBR list for ages so I should probably get a move on!

2. Dorothy Must Die Series by Danielle Paige

Blurb: I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road—but even that’s crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy.
They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.
I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I’ve been trained to fight.
And I have a mission.

A twist on the classic tale, yes please!

3. Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard

Blurb: This is a world divided by blood—red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

I’ve had this on my list for ages as well, I’m excited to explore another new world.

4. The Earthend Saga by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin

Blurb: Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is a single mom trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lackluster dating life. Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India’s ambassador to the United Nations, starts speaking in tongues and having violent visions. Caitlin is sure that her fits have something to do with the recent assassination attempt on her father—a shooting that has escalated nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan to dangerous levels—but when teenagers around the world start having similar outbursts, Caitlin begins to think that there’s a more sinister force at work.

I was mainly drawn to this because Gillian Anderson co-wrote it but it genuinely looks really good. I reminds me of The Power.

5. When Women Were Warriors Series by Catherine M. Wilson

Blurb: In Book I of the trilogy, Tamras arrives in Merin’s house to begin her apprenticeship as a warrior, but her small stature causes many, including Tamras herself, to doubt that she will ever become a competent swordswoman. To make matters worse, the Lady Merin assigns her the position of companion, little more than a personal servant, to a woman who came to Merin’s house, seemingly out of nowhere, the previous winter, and this stranger wants nothing to do with Tamras.

The title alone has me hooked, a while trilogy about female warriors, I’m in!

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski Review

The book begins two years after the war with Nilfgaard, Geralt has been keeping a very low profile and keeping Ciri safe. Yennefer and Dandelion haven’t set eyes on him during this time. They are all in trouble because they know what most of the world does not, that Ciri is still alive. She is important, dangerous people are looking for her. Dandelion was captured and tortured, he would have died had Yennefer not come to his aid. I was immediately drawn in at the beginning, it’s very atmospheric and I felt that the whole way through, the writing is much more detailed than the collection of short stories that come before it, I like this style much more.

“The Time of Contempt will come, when the trees lose its leaves, the bud will wither, the fruit will rot, the seed turn bitter and the river valleys will run with ice instead of water. The White Chill will come, and after it the White Light, and the world will perish beneath blizzards.”

I was very excited because we got to see the ruined castle that the witchers call home. There aren’t many of them left after a terrible massacre that happened at the castle long ago. But it was nice to see Geralt almost settled. The group quite often spend their winters together at the ruined castle.

Ciri isn’t able to control her powers yet, she can predict things and almost read people’s minds. But doesn’t remember her visions afterwards. The prophecies she recalls are terrifying and dark, Ciri goes into a trance when she tells them, the witchers discovered her power by accident and didn’t know what to do to help her.

“Death has cold blue eyes, and the height of the obelisk does not matter, nor does the writing engraved on it matter.”

I love how the book shows us that living for hundreds of years is not necessarily a good thing. The sorcerers and witchers are all low-key miserable or feel nothing anymore.

We don’t see a lot of Geralt in the first couple of chapters, it focuses on Ciri and her training with the Witchers. Same with the last couple of chapters where Ciri trains with the magicians instead. I did really enjoy seeing Ciri and Yennefer’s relationship develop. Yennefer is trying to teach her how to channel her magic. It’s nice seeing her in a caring role.

“A witcher doesn’t use light or fire as a weapon because it makes it harder to see. Every light creates a shadow and shadows make it harder to get your bearings. One must always fight in darkness, by moon or starlight.”

War and destruction follow both Ciri and Geralt. They can’t escape the fighting. A man is trying to hunt them down for his own gain, somehow he knows Ciri is alive and about her powers. The man has also crossed Yennefer before and has a burn on his face to show for it.

“The tactic of terror. Violence breeds violence. Hatred has grown into hearts and has poisoned kindred blood. Hard times are upon us.”

The jumps to different characters were slightly confusing towards the end because I didn’t know who anyone else was, but I figured it out eventually!

“Magic is Chaos, Art and Science. It is a curse, a blessing and progress. It all depends on who uses magic, how they use it, and to what purpose.”

The book leaves us on a cliffhanger, war again threatens the land as well as the end of everything, the dark prophecy that haunts them all. I’m very excited to read the next book.

Top Five Tuesday – Books I will definitely read this year

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This week we have to choose five books we’re definitely going to read this year:

1. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

I have been waiting to start this series for ages, I have the first few books, they’re all massive so I’m excited to get into them!

2. The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley

I finally have my hands on the fourth book in the Seven Sisters series, I’m really intrigued to see if I’ll like CeCe after reading from her point of view.

3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I got this for Christmas as a hardback with red on the edge of the pages, it’s so cool! It’s such an acclaimed book so I can’t wait to read it.

4. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I’ve had this series on my TBR for ages and it’s finally made it’s way almost to the top! I love twists on classic tales and the title alone is enough to reel me in!

5. The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

This is the second full book in the Witcher series, I’ve just started reading the first one so this book won’t be far behind.

What are some of your must reads for this year?

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski Review

This book is another prequel to the main Witcher series, similar to The Last Wish it’s a collection of short stories following Geralt’s adventures.

The Bounds of Reason: This story was my favourite from the first season of The Witcher so I was excited to read it. Geralt is asked to join an expedition to follow a dragon. Geralt makes it clear that he will not hurt the creature. We get to see much more of Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship, they are no longer a couple and Yennefer is still furious with him. Dandelion is also part of the party, he makes me laugh so much! Most of the other people on the expedition want to kill the dragon for its treasure. I love the reveal at the end of the story and how once again Geralt is more moral and kind than the humans that hold him in such disregard.

“If dragons didn’t have treasure hoards, not a soul would be interested in them; and certainly not sourcerers.”

A Shard of Ice: The beginning sees Geralt and Yennefer living together in bliss, it’s really sweet. Geralt goes out to fight the monsters in the city and when he comes back Yennefer makes sure he isn’t severely injured, the elixir he has to take to get into fight mode means Geralt can’t feel anything until they wear off which could be too late. It’s a miracle he’s lasted this long without a person to look out for him. A rival for Yennefer’s affections tells Geralt that witchers can’t feel any emotions but I don’t think that’s true, maybe I’m projecting but I think Geralt does feel things. He cares about Yennefer and Dandelion as well as the people he protects. The ending to this one annoyed me and I’m not keen on the way Yennefer acts in this one.

“Truth is a shard of ice.”

Eternal Flame: Geralt and Dandelion find themselves up against a shape changer in a busy city. The Temple of Eternal Flame has an issue with the monster that is loose in their city, according to their beliefs, no monster can come close to their temples but it appears they were wrong. The head of the temple asks Geralt to rid them of the monster despite preaching that it doesn’t exist, if Geralt refuses they could end up in the dungeons or worse. Once again Geralt fights to protect the ‘monster’ they haven’t harmed anyone so why would he want to kill them? He has a conscience, he’s not a cold-blooded killer.

A Little Sacrifice: A reverse of the Little Mermaid where the mermaid refuses to become human but suggests the Duke who is in love with her becomes a merman instead, she’s frustrated that he expects her to make a sacrifice for him but won’t consider changing himself. The morale is of course that you shouldn’t have to change yourself for anyone. Geralt is then sent out to find a sea monster who consumed an entire ship’s crew. But witchers were not made to tackle sea creatures, they were made to clear the land of monsters, a very different skill set is needed.

The Sword of Destiny: Destiny is definitely the theme of this story! Geralt meets Ciri in some strange woods which are full of danger, only dryads can make their way safely through them, they live secluded from society and I think they have some magical powers, I low-key want to be them. Geralt is accompanied by a dryad to help him through and they save Ciri from a creepy snake-like monster. Geralt doesn’t realise that Ciri is his destiny until the dryads show him the truth. The reason Geralt pushes everyone away is because he thinks he’s going to get them hurt, his life is filled of endless dangerous situations, it makes me sad!

The only thing that everyone is destined for is death. Death is the other blade of the two-edged sword.

Something More: At the beginning Geralt was severely injured and had a fever dream where he remembered Yennefer told him to go to Cintra and find his destiny. In another memory Geralt meets with Queen Calanthe to tell her that he doesn’t want to take the child away from her, Geralt assumes it’s a boy but we know he’s wrong while Calanthe had assumed Geralt would want to turn the child into a witcher. There’s no way Geralt would put anyone through the horrible torture he had to endure to gain his powers. War is approaching and Geralt needs to act if he’s going to find Ciri and fulfill their destiny. This one had a beautiful and emotional ending, I’m really excited to get to the main series.

“The circle is closing, the snake is sinking its teeth into its own tail. That is how it must be.”

I think I enjoyed the first collection of stories a bit better. We saw a lot more of Geralt and Yennefer in this book and I’m not keen on their dynamic. All these stories are guiding us towards Blood of Elves, they’re more connected and centred around destiny, I think it’s set up the story really well, we get a real sense of Geralt’s character and his ties to the other main characters, I’m really looking forward to the next book!

Top Five Tuesday – Most anticipated releases of 2021

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This week we’re looking ahead to see which 2021 releases we’re looking forward to.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken – January 2021

Every seven years the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the Earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.”

Girl A by Abigail Dean – February 2021

“Lexie Grace doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about her parents’ house of horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister Evie, Lexie intends to turn the house of horrors into a force for good.”

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – March 2021

A female apothecary dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them – setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Rule 1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman. Rule 2: The name of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.”

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – May 2021

“Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate last chance mission and if he fails humanity and the Earth itself will perish. Except right now he doesn’t know that. He doesn’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.”

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard – May 2021

“Who is left when the heroes fall? Corayne lives at the end of the world. Year after year, she watches her pirate mother sail away to adventures she’ll never share. So when a mysterious immortal and deadly assassin appears on Corayne’s doorstep telling her she is the last member of a dying bloodline, and the only one who can save the world, she seizes the chance to have her own adventure.”

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin – ????

This is nowhere near confirmed but I’m holding out hope that George will save the year by releasing this much awaited book!!

Top Five Tuesday – Bookish Resolutions

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! It’s the New Year, hooray! Here are my book related resolutions:

1. Listen to more audiobooks

I have really enjoyed listening to audiobooks in the past but I’ve got out of the habit recently. I tend to listen to non-fiction audiobooks because I struggle to read them as I get too bored. I want to learn more things!

2. Read more on my train journeys

I’ve done well with this so far, I used to read a lot on my way to and from work but I got out of the habit last year so I want to restart it. My journeys are only about twenty minutes but that could add up to a lot of pages!

3. Read more poetry

I read some poetry by Rupi Kaur last year and really enjoyed it. I think school had put me off poetry but her work is so beautiful and clever that I want to try reading some more.

4. Stay on track with my tbr list

Last year I felt I struggled a bit to keep up with my reading targets, maybe because I wasn’t concentrating as well, I’m not sure. But this year I want to try to focus on reading all my unread books that I physically have.

5. Improve my reviews

I haven’t been very motivated to write reviews for the past couple of months, I think because I’ve been so stressed I just couldn’t think of what to say. Hopefully I can turn it around a bit this year.

What are some of your bookish resolutions?

2020 Wrap Up

What an insane year this has been, I have read a lot but no more than usual. I’m very glad to see the back of 2020 although I’m still terrified at what next year will bring, but I know I’ll be able to read some brilliant books no matter what!

Total books read: 50

A nice round amount! The list includes 7 books by Terry Pratchett and 6 rereads.

Favourite book: Circe by Madeline Miller

Least favourite book: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Shortest Book: The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald (144 pages)

Longest Book: Rogues (collection of short stories) edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois (913 pages)

Genre I read the most of: Historical Fiction or Fantasy

Favourite series: Tudor Legacy by Laura Andersen and A Song of Ice and Fire (of course!) by George R.R. Martin

Audiobooks: I listened to 12 audiobooks in total, I’ve definitely listened to less this year, I lost my motivation for them a bit and during lockdown I preferred to read physical books!

Favourite audiobook: The Time Travellers Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer, narrated by Mike Grady

I hope you all have a lovely New Year even though we can’t go out and celebrate! Here’s to a less strange 2021!!

Top Five Tuesday – Best reads of 2020

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This week it’s time to pick our favourite reads of the year. This year has been completely mad and very stressful, I have cherished reading and the escapism it provides more than ever.

1. Circe by Madeline Miller

I absolutely loved this book, it’s so cleverly written. I related to Circe’s lonely witch vibes and loved seeing her grow in strength over the course of the story. I learned a lot about the Greek gods and goddesses and if you’re a fan of that era then I strongly recommend it. My full review is here.

2. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

I read this and my third pick in the middle of lockdown in the UK in my warm sunny garden. I actually didn’t mind spending so much time at home because I was lucky enough to have outside space but this book also helped me travel all the way across Europe with Lyra. I’m so glad we have more stories set in this world so similar to our own but so different. It definitely gave me comfort, despite the tension and brilliant pace of the book. My full review is here.

3. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I was excited about this book as soon as I heard about it and I was not disappointed. I was surprised though at how relatable Collins managed to make some of the Capitol children and seeing the Hunger Games taking shape was truly chilling. My full review is here.

4. The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz

The last in the Millennium series, I’m still sad we won’t get to see anymore dangerous adventures from Lisbeth and Mikael but this book is a fitting finale. It’s really intense and as clever as all the others in the series. My full review is here.

5. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

This is a very clever book, I really enjoyed finding out about all the complex characters. All the twists and turns were brilliant and unexpected. If you enjoy psychological booksI would strongly recommend it. My full review is here.

What are your favourite reads from this year?

Top Five Tuesday – Best book covers of 2020

It’s Top Five Tuesday which is hosted by Meeghan Reads, every week we’re given a book related topic and we choose our top five! This week we’ve got to pick our favourite book covers of the year:

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy


2. We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet


3. Sanditon by Jane Austen

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4. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

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5. Maskerade by Terry Pratchett


What are some of your favourite covers from this year?