Book Tag – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Hey Bibliofriends,

Any of my friends will know how HUGE a fan I am of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is one of my all-time favourite TV shows in the entire universe and every galaxy from the Milky Way to Far, Far Away! With that in mind, this book tag was at the top of my list to try and get around to doing.

The BTVS book tag was originally created over at Lauren’s Book Slaying blog and has also evolved slightly through Sarah’s blog at Written Worlds too. I think mine is a mashup hybrid of both of the above but I’m having super fun reliving one of my favourite fandoms! Have a go yourself if you’re a Chosen One / Scoobies fan! ☺️


 

Buffy – A character who lives a double life
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Buffy really is one of the all-time saviours of the fictional world. When they ask you at school what you want to be when you grow up, my first thought was always Buffy, until I remembered that I’d probably get funny looks from all of my teachers…nothing wrong with living in fantasy world every now again! The character that immediately came to mind when thinking of this tag was Professor Severus Snape. He is my absolute favourite Harry Potter character, flawed hero, ultimate double agent and I loved the way J.K. left pondering over his loyalties right until the very damn end!

Xander – A character who mostly just provides comic relief
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To me Xander provides much, much more that just comic relief. Yes he has some corny lines and sometimes you could just eye-roll at some of the things he says, however he plays a vital role within the gang and the way he grows up and matures from season to season is actually quite remarkable. His role in the Adam storyline and his poignant conversation with Buffy about Riley in the middle of season 5 are some of my favourite Xander moments. I really struggled to think of a book character who merely provides comic relief. After trawling through my shelves I settled upon Simon from the Shadowhunters series. I find it amusing that his role within the series happens really by accident. In that way, I feel that he draws several parallels with Xander.

Willow – A bad-ass witch
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I really like Willow’s character arc thoughout the whole Buffyverse. She goes from scared Scooby geek-girl and ends up changing the entire future for slayers all across the world. There’s only one seriously bad-ass witch that could possible rival Miss Rosenberg and that is Manon Blackbeak from Throne of Glass. She puts the scare in scary and is such an awesome character. Like Willow, I feel that her character arc goes through a pretty big shift and that momentous chapter towards the end of Kingdom of Ash just breaks my heart every time.

Giles – A character who fills the role of an absent parent
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There would be no Buffy the Vampire Slayer without Giles. As a teacher myself, I can never really get over the fact that he gets caught so many times just ‘hanging out’ with Buffy and Co. and it doesn’t really seem to raise any eyebrows – imagine the safeguarding if that were to happen in the UK! 😂 The way he looks out for the Scooby Gang brings about some of the most sentimental moments of the whole series and I couldn’t imagine it without him. When thinking of a book character who steps into that absent parent role, my mind came up with one person only…Molly Weasley – the ultimate Harry Potter matriarch. The way she looks out for Harry as if he were her own is enough to melt any Death Eater’s heart.

Oz – Name a book with werewolves
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I don’t think I ever particularly liked Oz in the Buffy series and I can’t really explain why. Perhaps it’s because I’m not really a werewolf fan. The last book I read with werewolves was called Pinnacle and was one I was asked to review by the author Lynn Veevers on Goodreads. It was quite an interesting read however after reading/watching lots of things with werewolves in, I’ve decided that they are just not my cup of tea.

Angel – A character who is extremely broody
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Tall, dark, handsome…hangs out in shadows and dark cemeteries. There’s only one Angel right? His and Buffy’s relationship was like the ultimate forbidden lover’s trope and although he isn’t my favourite of all of Buffy’s boyfriends you can’t deny that he is kinda her soulmate; even SMG herself picked Angel for Buffy over Spike. The broodiest guy I could think of for this character was Cardan from Holly Black’s Folk of the Air series. His attitude throughout both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King just smacks 100% pure brood. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for this series finale in November and I’m hoping that my ‘Cardan-is-secretly-a-good-guy’ theory actually comes off.

Spike – A character who has a huge redemption arc
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I am such a Spuffy fan and Spike is one of my favourite characters within the Buffyverse. Some of those little moments in season 6 and 7 made me cry…a lot! Can I vote for Snape again?! If not him, then perhaps Lucien from A Court of Thorns and Roses. I don’t feel like his redemption arc is huge but I think he comes through in the end.

Anya – A character you just tried to love, but couldn’t
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Anya definitely grew on me as a character. The bunnies skit from Once More with Feeling is definitely one of my Anya highlights! One of the characters who I just could not love no matter how far through the series I read was Alina Starkov from the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I just found her annoying and strangely whiny – it’s almost as if her power was greater than the character that she was and I didn’t feel that she justified her hero status.

Tara – A book with a LGBTQA relationship

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Tara really grew into her role throughout the Buffyverse. After re-watching seasons 5 & 6 she totally blossomed into becoming a pivotal role within the Scooby Gang. I like the humility and morality that she brings to the group and without discussing spoilers, what happened towards the end of season 6 actually made me quite sad. The book series that immediately came to mind when I read this prompt was Shadowhunters by Cassandra Clare. I think Magnus Bane is utterly fabulous and I wish he could be my gay best friend!

The First Evil – An ultimate book villain

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The First Evil is pretty much the ultimate villain as it’s almost unstoppable. It’s not corporeal, neither can it die…it can really be overcome. There are so many parallels that you an draw between the First Evil from Buffy and the shadow that the Ring of Power brings over Middle Earth. Therefore, as the creator of that evil, Sauron has to be my choice for being the ultimate book villain. To create something so dark which causes a war involving many races of men, elves, dwarves, orcs etc.  almost takes over the entirety of Middle Earth… He’s deliciously wicked but completely got what was coming to his corrupt, evil backside!

Bonus: Sunnydale – A bookish town/city you most definitely would never want to live in

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Sunnydale: in Jonathan’s words, “A lot of weird stuff happens here.” Trying to think of a place where I would not want to live in the fictional world… it would be either be Mordor, as one does not simply walk into it – or it would have to be Morath from Throne of Glass. Both places are hubs of evil and contain countless armies of villains and monsters. I’ll definitely be avoiding those places on my fictional travels.


There we have it, my little tag-ode to one of my all time favourite TV shows. I haven’t managed to get around to buying or reading ‘Slayer’ yet by Kiersten White but it’s definitely on my 2020 TBR. If you’re a fellow BTVS fan then feel free to tag yourself and play along!

As always, drop me a comment to chat! 😊

T xx

 

TTT – Book titles with numbers in them

Hey Bibliofriends,

Another week rolls around again! Downton Abbey is still distracting me, along with a strange addiction to the app game Gardenscapes! 😂 I will get back to reading again at some point… hopefully… wishful thinking?

If you don’t already know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is all about books with numbers in their titles. When I first started thinking of this theme I had a slight panic as I could only think of one book with a number in…! Thank goodness for Goodreads, it definitely came to my rescue in compiling this week’s list. Turns out I’ve read just shy of 20 books with numbers in them (that includes all three Fifty Shades books 🙈), but here are my selections for this week’s TTT.


1984 by George Orwell – it’s a literary classic right…?

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao – Enjoyed it so much, I’m currently reading the sequel.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – This is such a gripping read. I gave it 5⭐️

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I loved this book so so much. It’s so different from anything I’ve read before and will be on my ‘shelf of eternal favouritism’.

Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie – I really like Rushdie’s writing, he has such a unique style and I was lucky enough to meet him at a Literature Festival once.

The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter – Potter’s world of animal tales give me such fond memories of childhood reading.

The Book of Fours by Nancy Holder – I’m a massive Buffy fan and have read lots of the spin-off novels. This one was one of my favourites.

One Day by David Nicholls – This book melted my heart. It was such a page-turner that I think I ended up working all though the night on a university essay because I’d spent all day reading it.

Starter For Ten by David Nicholls – Another Nicholls novel, this one makes the list because I’m such a fan of quiz shows especially University Challenge. It makes me feel slightly cleverer when I get one of the questions right!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling – There had to be one didn’t there…and half is a number right?!


That’s my Top Ten books I’ve read with a number in the title. What would make your list? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

 

 

September Review / October TBR

Hey Bibliofriends,

A brand new month is upon us…well it will be tomorrow.

What I’m Reading

I’m still currently reading ‘Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix‘ which I started earlier this month but have now also begun ‘These Wicked Waves‘ by Emily Layne which is an e-arc from Netgalley due to be released on October 22nd. What will really kickstart my reading again is when my copy of ‘Into the Crooked Kingdom‘ by Alexandra Christo arrives in the post. I won a copy of it from Readers First which is a website I’d recommend to any book lover. You can get a first look at selected upcoming releases and if you write a brief review you get entered into a prize draw to win the book. I have previously won copies of ‘Wicked King’ and Alexandra’s first novel ‘To Kill a Kingdom’ from them – to be honest, the three book draws I’ve entered have all been successful. There aren’t a huge amount of YA/Fantasy novels that come through but it’s a great way to win a book!

October TBR

To be honest, with the current state of my reading, my October TBR will probably consist of the three books I’ve mentioned in the above paragraph. With half term towards the end of October, I’m hopeful to start ticking a few more off my list. You can read about what those books are in my previous TTT post here.

Films I’ve Seen in September

  • IT: Chapter Two – based on the Stephen King novel this thriller didn’t scare me as much as the first instalment of this movie reboot. Don’t get me wrong, the clown is still super sinister, but there’s just something about blowing it up to Godzilla size that just took the scariness away.
  • Downton Abbey – As if I haven’t talked about it enough already I loved seeing the Downton Abbey film this month. I’m normally hit and miss with period dramas, I either love them or hate them but this was definitely a LOVE. I’ve even completed my TV series DVD collection this month just so I can watch all of the episodes all over again!
  • Ready or Not – This movie was like a horror version of Downton. Young bride gets initiated into a rich board-game family by being made to play a game of hide and seek…only problem is, if the family find you, they have to kill you due to some devil pact that an ancestor made. It has some pretty strong gore and violence but I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and it was worth a watch.
  • The Goldfinch – I read this Pulitzer Prize winning novel as part of the Between Two Books Book Club which is a book club created by Florence + the Machine Fans. It really captivated me so I was thrilled when the movie was announced. I love the way the painting runs throughout the main character (Theo’s) narrative and the film was a wonderful way to remind me how much I loved this book.

(A few of the) Things I’m Looking Forward to in October

  • Cheltenham Literature Festival – October is one of my favourite months for the very reason that this Literary Circus rolls into town! Honestly, the line-up doesn’t seem as great to me as previous years however I’m immensely looking forward to it.
  • Rugby World Cup – The RWC continues throughout October. The only downside to it being in Japan is the time difference and being able to watch the matches, however the contest has already been so thrilling that I’m really looking forward to see how the teams end up after the pool stages. Any fellow bookish rugby fans amongst us?
  • The Cheltenham Races Showcase – Jumps season kicks off again towards the end of October and I can not wait!
  • My childhood friend gets married! – This will be my fourth wedding of the year to attend and I am so excited. Hannah is one of my friends from primary school so it will be so wonderful to see her walk down the aisle.
  • Half-Term! – I’m still really enjoying my new job, but any chance to get a holiday and get the chance to breath is always welcome.

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? What has been your favourite September read? What are you most excited about for October both bookish and non-bookish?

As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

TTT – Books on my Fall TBR

Hey Bibliofriends,

Another Top Ten Tuesday has rolled around again so quick. I absolutely love Autumn. It brings about the new beginnings of so many things. At work, we start a brand new school year quite often teaching new children and it is so much fun getting to know them. Autumn also sees the start of two of my favourite sporting seasons; jumps racing gets underway properly around the middle of October, but this weekend the Rugby Union world has been catapulted into the beginning of their seasons with the start of the Rugby World Cup! Here’s hoping England can make a better performance than last year!

If you don’t already know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week is all about books on our Fall TBRs. My new job has made finding time for reading a little challenging and to be honest, with the release of the Downton Abbey movie, I’ve been binge-watching all of the series over again hence the lack of time for reading. Nevertheless, I still start out with the best of intentions so, in the aim of being realistic, here are the Top Five books on my Fall TBR if I get my ass into gear and find myself some time to pick up these books! 😂 [all synopses from Goodreads].


1. Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

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Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

2. These Wicked Waters by Emily Layne

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A centuries-old curse plagues the island of Viaii Nisi and an ancient enemy lurks beneath the depths of the surrounding water.
Annie Mayfield has heard all the stories and rumors about the island that is now home to the brand new Mayfield Villa resort, and she is definitely not psyched about having to spend her summer working there. The island’s name alone—Viaii Nisi, or violent island—is enough to make any sane person seriously reconsider it as a vacation destination. Then there are the mysterious deaths of every previous owner! It’s a history Annie’s mother is quick to shrug off, but when a guest goes missing on opening night, Annie really starts to get the creeps.
And then Annie makes a truly terrifying discovery: ruins filled with bones and one skeleton that seems to be half human and half fish. Intrigued by the strange remains and determined to help find the missing guest, Annie channels her inner Nancy Drew—minus the skirt and pearls, of course—in an attempt to uncover the truth about Viaii Nisi. But that truth is beyond anything she could ever have imagined. With her mother in complete denial and local officials unconcerned, Annie finds she’ll have to face her biggest fears if she’s to attempt to save everyone she loves.

3. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

4. Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

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Magic rules the city of Creije Capital and Tavia Syn knows just how many tricks she needs up her sleeve to survive. Selling dark magic on the streets for her kingpin, she keeps clear of other crooks, counting the days until her debt is paid and she can flee her criminal life.
But then, one day, with her freedom in sight, Tavia uncovers a sinister plot that threatens to destroy the realm she calls home. Desperate to put an end to her kingpin’s plan, Tavia forms an unlikely alliance with three crooks even more deadly than her:
Wesley, the kingpin’s prodigy and most renewed criminal in the realm
Karam, an underground fighter with a penchant for killing first and forgetting to ask questions
And Saxony, a Crafter in hiding who will stop at nothing to avenge her family
With the reluctant saviours assembled, they embark on a quest to put an end to the dark magic before it’s too late. But even if they can take down the kingpin and save the realm, the one thing they can’t do is trust each other.

5. The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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In this unforgettable final volume of Ruiz Zafón’s cycle of novels set in the universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history. Nine-year-old Alicia lost her parents during the Spanish Civil War when the Nacionales (the fascists) savagely bombed Barcelona in 1938. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars of that violent and terrifying time. Weary of her work as an investigator for Spain’s secret police in Madrid, a job she has held for more than a decade, the twenty-nine-year old plans to move on. At the insistence of her boss, Leandro Montalvo, she remains to solve one last case: the mysterious disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls. With her partner, the intimidating policeman Juan Manuel Vargas, Alicia discovers a possible clue—a rare book by the author Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’ office in his Madrid mansion. Valls was the director of the notorious Montjuic Prison in Barcelona during World War II where several writers were imprisoned, including David Martín and Victor Mataix. Traveling to Barcelona on the trail of these writers, Alicia and Vargas meet with several booksellers, including Juan Sempere, who knew her parents. As Alicia and Vargas come closer to finding Valls, they uncover a tangled web of kidnappings and murders tied to the Franco regime, whose corruption is more widespread and horrifying than anyone imagined. Alicia’s courageous and uncompromising search for the truth puts her life in peril. Only with the help of a circle of devoted friends will she emerge from the dark labyrinths of Barcelona and its history into the light of the future. In this haunting new novel, Carlos Ruiz Zafón proves yet again that he is a masterful storyteller and pays homage to the world of books, to his ingenious creation of the Cemetery of Forgotten, and to that magical bridge between literature and our lives.’


That’s what I’m hoping to read this Autumn. What books make your Fall TBR? As, always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Friday 56 – Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix

Hi Bibliofriends,

The weekend is finally close to starting. I hope you’ve got lots of wonderful things planned. Rugby Season finally kicks off again and I’m looking forward to cracking on with my current read ‘Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix’ which is my Friday 56 choice for this week.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


‘Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix’ is the sequel to ‘Forest of a Thousand Lanterns’ by Julie C. Dao. The story sees Jade, daughter of the late Empress Lihua head back to the court of Evil Queen-esque Xi-Feng.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This fairy tale retelling lives in a mystical world inspired by the Far East, where the Dragon Lord and the Serpent God battle for control of the earthly realm; it is here that the flawed heroine of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns finally meets her match. An epic fantasy finale to the Rise of the Empress novels.

Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with breathtaking pain and beauty, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is filled with dazzling magic, powerful prose, and characters readers won’t soon forget.

Fans of Stealing Snow, Red Queen, and The Wrath and the Dawn will hungrily devour this page-turning read.


The moment had come. Jade had envisaged meeting her father many times during the journey. but now that it was about to happen, she felt a sudden powerful urge to run. What would he be like? Would he be kind and indulgent? Would he apologise for throwing her away?

I’m so excited to be returning to this world in the Rise of the Empress series. I can’t wait to find out what happens to all of the wonderful and wicked characters and to see how it all ends!

Have you read this series or is it sitting somewhere on your TBR? What are your rating plans for the weekend? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

Enjoy your weekend!
T xx

Biblioshelf Musings Topic: Fanfiction…friend or foe?

Hi Bibliofriends,

How has your week been going? A slightly different post from me this week all about Fanfiction. Do you love it, hate it or have you yet to try it? I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot since the beginning of September since re-downloading the Fanfiction.net app and it’s come to my mind that it’s quite a marmite one. I’m intrigued to know your thoughts on whether fanfiction has its place in today’s reading community.

I can’t remember how long it’s been since I first discovered Fanfiction, but I know it must have been at least ten years ago. It all started after the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows –  one of my ultimate book hangovers of all time… to be honest, I’m probably still not over it! I was not ready to part with and say goodbye to a series which had absolutely stolen my heart. When my friend mentioned Fanfiction to me, I initially had no idea what she was talking about until I delved a little deeper onto the internet and discovered the absolute treasure trove that was fanfiction.net! Here, all of my Harry Potter continuation dreams came true with community upon community dedicated to writing their own versions of events or creating the world after The Battle of Hogwarts ended but before 19 Years Later had ever happened. I quickly became addicted and read story after story after story.

So why do I find Fanfiction such a marmite topic?

The Loves

  • For a start it’s such a guilty pleasure – it’s almost like sinking into a massive beanbag with a great big duvet, the ultimate comfort read.
  • I can revisit some of my favourite storylines of fictional worlds and get a brand new take on them, which falls just slightly short of reading the book again for the first time. Like all of my fangirling dreams coming true!
  • tenorYou soon start to develop favourite writers, reading communities or “-ships” that you end up gravitating towards.
  • The stories are often updated a chapter at a time and you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for the next one – which can sometimes takes years… #imstillwaiting!
  • Some of our most well-known fantasy series and other books are all said to have begun life as a fanfiction type of story: Throne of Glass, Shadowhunters, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies …even 50 Shades of Grey. Surely this is where the retelling/fractured fairytale genre comes home to roost?
  • I can read more about my favourite series and even though it’s all unofficial, some of it still feels like reading the next chapter in the actual story – it’s amazing how some of the plotlines that fans have written almost became like a canon of their very own.
  • It’s one way to guarantee that I will resurface from my reading slump!

The Hates

  • There’s only one of my friends who I know indulges in it like me. It isn’t always the biggest conversation starter when you’re talking to the bookish community, especially when people have absolutely no idea what you’re going on about.
  • Sometimes a writer will get your favourite character completely wrong and not how you envisage them at all. This leads to major reader angst! 😂
  • It becomes addictive – quite frankly this month, my little fanfiction addiction has majorly distracted me from my September TBR. I’ve read nothing…but…fanfiction!source.gif
  • Writers may end up abandoning stories that you became strangely invested in and years down the line, you’re no closer to finding out whatever did happen at the end.
  • Even though some stories are novel length, I can’t count them towards my Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal!

 

I’m keen to find out your views about Fanfiction.  Do you read it, love it, hate it, have a secret passion for it? Do you write it or ship it? It has definitely become a little faddish obsession for me from time to time, although the ever-growing TBR pile could do with not being neglected for so long.

What are your thoughts? As always drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

TTT – Favourite things to eat/drink whilst reading

Hi Bibliofriends,

TTT was pretty hard work this week, compared to last week’s one. If you don’t already know, TTT is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I don’t tend to eat anything whilst reading. I’m normally always reading a physical book which makes it fairly difficult to eat anything as I’m trying so hard to hold the book up without bending the spine – yes, I’m one of those people…! Also, snackish items that I’d want to eat whilst reading like crisps, chocolate etc. always tend to leave little marks all over the pages which I can’t stand. Therefore, my TTT this week is compiled of drinks only and has been reduced to just 6! As I said, this week’s TTT was hard work!

  • Tea – a good strong brew with a small amount of milk and one sweetner. I’ve weaned myself off having two sugars as I drink so much tea nowadays.
  • Coffee – black with one sweetner. The above note about sugar also applies here.
  • Hot Chocolate – especially in the winter! Galaxy s probably my favourite as I don’t have a proper milk frother and that’s the one that tastes the best when you just add hot water.
  • A Java-Chip Frapuccino from Starbucks – my all-time favourite Starbucks drink ever!
  • Wine – a white sauvignon blanc or any rose, especially when reading in a sunny garden.
  • Gin and Tonic – I don’t need any specific reason to drink one of these!

What do you like to eat and drink whilst reading? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

TTT – Books on my TBR I’m avoiding reading.

Hey Bibliofriends!

Top Ten Tuesday was so easy for me this week! Having such a mammoth TBR list also helps. If you don’t already know, TTT is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. My summer holiday project was to try and finish some of the series that I had already started but hadn’t got around to finishing. I managed to tick off quite a few but there are still a couple left that I have to get through before I want to begin any new ones. Additionally, by finishing some of the more hyped book series earlier this year (Caraval, Throne of Glass and Illuminae), I don’t think I’m entirely ready to put my little bookish heart out there again whilst it is still in recovery mode from these epic endings! Therefore my entire TTT list this week is compiled around the books on my TBR that I’m avoiding as I’m not ready to start a new series yet!


Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Nocturna by Maya Motayne
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Odeyemi
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Beholder by Anna Bright


There we go – ten series which are on my TBR, sat right here next to me as I type…that I am actively avoiding because I’m not ready to start a new series yet. 🙈
Which one do you think I should start with when I finally get around to it? Have you read any of these? What books from your TBR are you side-eyeing and avoiding too? As always drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

TTT – Books outside my comfort zone I actually enjoyed

Hey Bibliofriends!

Top Ten Tuesday this week is all about the books we actually enjoyed which were outside of our comfort zones. If you don’t already know, TTT is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Looking back through my shelves to try and compile this list, it became pretty clear that I don’t tend to read outside of my comfort zone an awful lot nowadays. I wonder if this is one of the contributing reasons the infamous ‘reading slump’ seems to take hold every now and again. Most of my list is made up of compulsory books from reading lists of my English Literature High School and Degree Courses. Perhaps it should be my 2020 resolution to read more widely and get my head out of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy clouds for a while!


The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – I don’t normally tend to read crime fiction or detective novels that much, despite one of my English Literature degree modules being crime fiction 😂. If I’m being perfectly honest, the only reason I picked this up in the first place was because it was J.K. Rowling who wrote it, however I soon grew to love the characters and the story that she wove together and now I am a massive fan of this series.

Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles by Clare Balding – I was gifted this book by one of my students after telling them that I really wanted to read the new Clare Balding book. They bought me this for Christmas and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the book I actually meant was her children’s book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. Nevertheless, I read it over that holiday and absolutely loved it. The way she merged discussions about walking routes, her experiences with various different groups of people alongside how walking is an outlet/escape from real life was actually quite inspiring and I enjoyed reading it a lot more than I expected to.

The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black – This book has quite a lot of pages and the font is so tiny that I almost never wanted to put the effort into reading it. At times, all of the esoteric and theological references were a little heavy going too. But when I finally did get into it, it was actually more intriguing and interesting than I’d originally given it credit for.

All My Sons by Arthur Miller – I don’t tend to read playscripts out of choice, other than the Shakespeare plays or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which I saw for the first time last month 🙌), but after reading this once upon a time as part of my school coursework I found that it is actually quite a powerful piece of writing with some really memorable and compelling quotes.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks – I can’t even remember how or why I read this book. All I do remember is that it was a type of storytelling and subject matter that I hadn’t come across before and it was weirdly fascinating to read.

Once in a House on Fire by Andrea Ashworth – This was suggested to me by one of my teachers for a piece of English coursework I was writing. Memoirs are also not really a genre I would typically chose to read, unless it’s either a person or subject matter which really interests me. Ashworth’s writing was so poignant and gripping that I couldn’t put it down and still have my copy on my bookshelf to this day.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks – Yet another one from the days of High School English Literature classes! I don’t read books set in war history from our time but Faulk’s tale moved me to tears.

The Girls by Lori Lansens – When I relocated, this was the first book which I bought from my local bookshop. It is a story about two conjoined twins and how they are on the verge of becoming the oldest living conjoined twins in history. It’s not something I’d normally buy but it was a really endearing tale.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – This book always gives me fond memories of my school days. It’s one of those American classics that I don’t normally go to but I really enjoyed reading it.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake – I like reading poetry but sometimes I find it difficult to become a fan of a poet’s whole works. William Blake was the first poet that made me want to read his entire collection. The Songs of Innocence and of Experience are famous for so many lines and references and they definitely contain some of my favourite poems of all time.


Have you read any of these? What books would make it onto your own TTT list this week? As always drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

5 Biblioshelf Musings about… The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen

Series: The Magicians of Venice
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: 19th September 2019
Publisher: BHC Press
Pages: 324
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

The Immortal City is an adult fantasy novel set in Venice from Amy Kuivalainen. The story revolves around Dr. Penelope Bryne who is on the trail of finding the Lost City of Atlantis. There are some pretty awesome magicians, stunning scenery and a captivating alchemical mystery rooted in the mythology and folklore of a lost city which has baffled generations of academics and history lovers alike. Huge thanks to BHC Press and Netgalley for providing me with a complimetary eARC in an exchange for this honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the heart of Venice, a woman is sacrificed to a forgotten god, sparking a mystery lost for thousands of years.
Dr. Penelope Bryne is ridiculed by the academic community for her quest to find the remnants of Atlantis, but when an ancient and mysterious script is found at a murder site, she flies to Venice determined to help the police before the killer strikes again.
Penelope has spent her entire life trying to ignore the unexplainable and magical history of Atlantis, but when she meets the enigmatic Alexis Donato, everything she believes will be challenged. Little does she know, Alexis has spent the last three years doing his best to sabotage Penelope’s career so doesn’t learn the truth—Atlantis had seven magicians who survived, and who he has a duty to protect.
As Alexis draws her into the darkly, seductive world of magic and history, Penelope will have to use her heart as well as her head if she is to find the answers she seeks.
With the new MOSE system due to come online, and Carnivale exploding around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to stop the killer and prevent dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea.


Viva Venezia – There were two words that made me hit that Request button as soon as I read the blurb of The Immortal City – one of them was ‘magicians’ and the other was Venice. Having been lucky enough to visit this stunning city, I’m always longing for a novel which is going to instantly transport me back to those canals and bring about the nostalgia of spending time there. Not many books have been able to do that for me, but The Immortal City definitely invoked my inner wanderlust and transported me back to that wondrous place. The detailed ways Amy describes the Magicians’ palazzo and local landmarks of Venice creates an absorbing setting which makes me want to hop right on plane and head back over to Italy. Incorporating the MOSE system (a design to try and protect Venice and the Lagoon from flooding) into the storyline adds a realistic and poignant edge to many of the topical news stories currently surrounding this famous city such as the rising water-levels and protection of the city and its heritage from mega cruise ships and mass tourism – preventing it from becoming our own modern-day Atlantis.

Lost civilisations – Atlantis has inspired countless stories and conspiracies across the generations. Don’t be duped, The Immortal City is not a quest to find the physical location of The Lost City of Atlantis – the author takes a different thread of this well-known myth by making it so that Penelope ends up finding the heart of what Atlantis left behind – the last guardians and magicians from a place lost to the sea. In my own opinion, I felt that one of the main messages here was trying to highlight that it is the stories and remnants of places which end up forming its heritage and keeping them alive, not necessarily physical places. The way the mythology of a lost civilization is tied together with a plot-line filled with forgotten languages, alchemical symbology and the one of the most amazing historical archives literature could ever imagine all makes for a fascinating plot which kept me turning page after page.

Move over Christian Grey…
…There’s a new hot guy in town and his name is Alexis Donato. This fantasy novel is definitely one for the adults out there. Alexis Donato, the dark and brooding magician at the centre of the story is HOT! The romance and relationship between him and Penelope tastefully fits into the story without bordering on seedy or distracting away from the plot and changing the tone of the novel to something more “chick-litty”. I definitely wouldn’t say no to being pulled out of a Venetian canal by him!

 The Atlantean microcosm – gimme more! – Amy Kuivalainen has created such an intriguing bunch of immortal characters. Packed with romance, banter, tension, tragedy and friendships, I quickly grew attached to each and every one of them. The events that happen towards the end of the story left me on a cliff edge waiting to see where this story goes next. Amy has created a little world of characters who I want to find out everything about. Having seen two listings for this book on Goodreads, I’m slightly unsure as to whether or not this is a standalone or part of a series as it’s listed as both but I would instantaneously be adding a sequel to my TBR should one be written… *hint hint* 🙏🙏 

More than just watery – There is a whole sunken city’s worth of different elements to like within this story that it could appeal to many readers. When I first requested it, I didn’t really know what to expect and at the start of reading it was clear this story didn’t really fit into just one bracket: there are murders and violence, but this doesn’t feel like a typical crime novel – the murders are filled with alchemical symbols and mystery which are used as plot devices throughout the story; there are magicians, but they are not your typical Dumbledores walking around in stuffy castles wearing cloaks – they are the last immortals left over from a lost civilization who are now living in our modern world; there is romance which varies from zero to all-consuming within mere pages but didn’t distract me from the main story; there is fantasy, history and magic that feels totally realistic, even though you know it’s just fiction.  Either way, there’s plenty to entertain!


Overall thoughts –
For the past few years, the books I’ve read have tended to be the ones which have been hyped about all over Goodreads or Bookstagram. I took a chance in reading The Immortal City and it was a breath of fresh air to my reading pile – this is the adult fantasy novel I have been waiting for! If you’re a fan of some of the things mentioned above, then I definitely recommend you try this book. It’s a little whirlwind of a ride and like all stories there are some points which don’t always flow or which may make you roll your eyes internally, but this book has definitely left me wanting to find out more about the captivating world of the Magicians of Venice and I’m positive I’ll be rereading it at some point in the near future. There is magic, gore, lust, danger, passion and a whole load of Italian/Atlantean goodness packed into every page. Yes this is a work of fiction, but holy gods do I wish it were real! Get me to those Palazzo archives right away!

T xx