#BookTag – Meet the Book Blogger

Happy Tuesday Bibliofriends,

I hope your week is going well so far. A big thank you and shout out to Amy from A Fangirl’s Opinion who tagged me in this Meet the Book Blogger tag! It’s been quite a while since I’ve last done a tag like this so I was really excited to share all of my answers with you!

This Meet the Book Blogger Tag was created by Samantha and Amber @Bibliomavens so be sure to check out their fabulous blog too!

Here are the rules for this tag:

  • Nominated bloggers can nominate ten other bloggers.
  • Use the same questions from the tag.

Who is your all-time favourite book character?

Oh my, literature has given us so many amazing bookish characters that it’s just too damn hard to pick only one right? I guess, if I had to pick a ‘top selection’ mine would have to be: Gandalf, Severus Snape, Willy Wonka, Addie LaRue, and Manon Blackbeak.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which book would you take with you?

Lord of the Rings (seeing as it is actually one book and not an actual series) – perhaps then I could finally get through the Appendices!
Either that or Les Miserables of the Song of Ice and Fire Series.

What’s your most unpopular book opinion?

Most recently, I guess I am really struggling with how people might react when I say that I still love the Harry Potter series. I will probably always love them for what that series gave me as a reader. I am not in any way, shape or form advocating any personal beliefs or opinions that its author may have, particularly as I have friends affected by those issues, but at the same time I can’t just cancel them out of my life like they never existed. So yeah – that’s definitely an unpopular opinion right?

If that isn’t good enough then here’s another one: Alina Starkov really really pisses me off – and I don’t even know why! (But I am definitely looking forward to the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix and I LOVE the Six of Crows duology – so don’t hate me too much!)

What’s your weirdest bookish habit?

I wouldn’t say that it’s ‘weird’ but I am super protective over my books. I hate spines cracking, bent/folded pages, cover peeling, stickers on the front, photographic covers, people on covers, books in a series not matching – I guess the length of my bookish pet peeves could be classed as weird!

What character would you bring to a family event as your fake partner?

I literally call my mum ‘Mrs Bennett’ from Pride and Prejudice because she’s always trying to play match-maker with ‘eligible bachelors’ therefore if I did end up bringing Mr. Darcy home (without a result of her meddling) the look on her face would probably be hilarious!

What made you decide to start a book blog?

Although many of my friends are readers, we don’t often read/like the same types of books so I guess I did it to try and find other bookish people to talk about fantasy books with! It’s also nice just to have a little outlet of my own to chat about bookish things and make bookish lists. The book community is truly wonderful online haven!

What about reading and books do you love the most?

Escapism – getting lost and swept away into a fictional world is my all-time favourite thing about reading. My bookshelf is also my happy place; there’s something really comforting about sitting amongst the spines of books and even though it can be a place of solitude, any real-life loneliness just melts away. Sometimes I even just sit there staring at the spines and smile…! Perhaps that’s my weirdest bookish habit! 😂

What is your field of study/desired profession/current profession?

By day, I’m a full-time teacher. Even though I studied English Literature and History at university, I always knew that I wanted to go into teaching – I guess I just really loved being at school! To be honest, I don’t see myself ever stepping away from the classroom – I have far too much fun with the children and it truly is a rewarding and inspiring profession to be in!
A dream of mine would be to write my own novel or perhaps create my own SFF publishing company.

What are some book recommendations that became your favourites/obsessions?

So here are a few books on my absolute ‘God-Tier’ of favourites:

The Throne of Glass series – I kept seeing this on social media and randomly went to see an event with Sarah J Maas before even reading any of her books – there were two MASSIVE series spoilers talked about in that event that I had no idea were spoilers until I actually read the books! 🙈

Ready Player One – I bought because it was reduced to £3 in an entertainment store and LOVED it! Easter Eggs are one of my favourite tropes/devices ever so this book was right up my street.

The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings – my Grandfather always talked about how much he loved this book and he gave me a copy of the Hobbit which is now completely beyond repair. I never got the chance to talk about Middle Earth with him before his Parkinson’s took over and he passed away but I’ll always be grateful to him for putting me on the metaphorical Ent which transported me to the Shire.

Anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – his writing style is just something else! It’s like sinking into a warm bubble bath at the end of a really long day. His world around the Cemetery of Forgotten Books intrigues me so much.

What is the book you shove down everyone’s throat?

See the list above – but also throw into it The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow and anything by Neil Gaiman!

I guess I have a lot of favourites!


I’m Tagging:

YOU – I really suck at tagging people so if you’re reading this, would love to answer these questions for yourself and you haven’t taken part in this tag before (or even if you have!), feel free to consider yourself tagged!

Again, thanks to Amy for tagging me in this post. I had lots of fun thinking about my favourite books, although now I want to read them all over again and completely abandon my actual TBR!

Have a good week everyone!

T xx

#BookTag – Characters of the Year Book Tag

Happy Tag Tuesday Bibliofriends!

I’ve been running out of inspiration or tags to do lately but I came across this really fun Characters of the Year tag over at Zezee with books.

Characters can really make or break a book for me so this seemed the perfect way to reminisce about all of my reads from 2020 how I felt about some of their starring roles.

FAVORITE MALE CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Crowley from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
I absolutely love Crowley. He’s such a unique character with the coolest car around and great taste in music. I had so much fun reading his parts of the novel.

FAVORITE FEMALE CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

James Juniper from The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow.
She has so much sass, grit and determination. I loved how she could be so wild yet so humble. Such a fun character to read.

MOST RELATABLE CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Addie and/or Henry from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.
The theme of identity lies strongly within this book and I found myself relating to both of the main characters in a way which I haven’t really related to any others in a long while. It deeply resonated with me and I think that’s one of the reasons why I absolutely adored this read.

COUPLE OF THE YEAR

January and Augustus from Beach Read by Emily Henry.
I just loved their chemistry throughout this book!

VILLAIN OF THE YEAR

Nolan Sorrento from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Although he isn’t scary in the mythical beast kind of way – Sorrento is my villain of the year because of the sheer power, money and resources that he has at his fingertips. He can basically do whatever he wants and can get away with it. It’s really scary that I see him as a manifestation of some of today’s world leaders and billionaires who pretty much have all the power they need to exert their will on anyone without being stopped. 

MOST DISLIKED CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Brent from The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice by E.S. Barrison.
Purely for his constant repetition of the word ‘aight’ and the way he sullenly complains that everything is his fault whenever something goes wrong. Unfortunately, Brent and I just didn’t bond which was a shame as the world-building in the novel was really original and quite well-written.

ROYAL OF THE YEAR

Anastasia Romanov (Nastya) from Romanov by Nadine Brandes.
This historical fantasy retelling absolutely captured my heart, as did its leading lady. I really liked the way Brandes wrote and portrayed her character to be sensitive yet determined and strong. A fabulous exiled Royal!

SIDEKICK/NON-MAIN CHARACTER OF THE YEAR

Dustin from Anna K by Jenny Lee.
Talk about championing the underdog! Dustin was one of those gems of a character who was thrust into this wild world of elite New York socialites and basically had to sink or swim. I was a joy to read his character arc with all of the complexities he had to face along the way.

SIBLING OF THE YEAR

Serina from Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2) by Tracy Banghart.
I love the way Serina evolved through this duology and the strength of character she showed throughout this sequel. Without giving away spoilers, the relationship between the two sisters and the choices and decisions made at the end of the novel definitely put Serina as my top choice for Sibling of the Year.

That’s a wrap! Who were your favourite characters, villains, sidekicks, couples and siblings from your 2020 reads? Consider yourself tagged if you want to have a go at this tag yourself! As always, feel free to drop your links or send me a comment to chat!

T xx

#BookTag – The Mystery Blogger Award

Hi Bibliofriends!

How are we all coping with Lockdown 3.0? Remote teaching is so intense that sometimes I can’t even bare to look at a screen when I come home – and I completely drafted this Tag then forgot to post it! 🙈

The fabulous Riddhi at Whispering Worlds is definitely holding my tag game up! She tagged me in this post at the same time as publishing her Evermore Book Tag so obviously I had to do that one as well! This is my first ever Mystery Blogger Award so I’m super excited to answering the questions!

Rules:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention Okoto Enigma, the creator of the award.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

Ok so three things about me…

  1. I absolutely love racehorses and am involved in about 5 different partnerships. Nothing beats going for a walk on the gallops to blow the cobwebs away – especially when you hear those hooves thundering up the grass! 😍

2. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t play Pokemon Go! 😂 I’m slightly obsessed with Pokemon ever since I got my first GameBoy Colour as a child and it came with Pokemon Gold. I then had to buy all of the original games but I’m still yet to catch them all! Drop me a chat if you want my Trainer Code! 😉

3. I believe in my horoscopes, read them devoutly and am a proud Taurean and INFJ!

Riddhi’s Questions:

  1. What is one Christmas themed book you want to read this year?

I don’t really read Christmas themed books… eek! And seeing as it’s now 2021 and we are seemingly waaaaaayyyyy past 2020 (putting that firmly behind us – although… hello Lockdown 3.0!) I’ve altered this question slightly to be a book I’m excited to read this New Year – The Poppy War series! I managed to snap-up a copy of the Illumicrate Archive Editions and I can’t wait to read them – I’ve heard all good things – and yes, I realise that I mention this in practically every post I write these days!

2. What is your fatal flaw? (Yes, you can take a quiz to find out)

There are lots! All equally fatal! 😂 I am incredibly stubborn (it comes from being a Taurean bull) and I often procrastinate or catastrophise everything which prevents me from living life properly and gives me ridiculous anxiety – well isn’t that a melodramatic statement if ever you’ve read one?!

3. What is your Hogwarts house?

Proud Ravenclaw over here! 💙

4. Who is your godly parent?

This is such a good question, it’s got me stumped – then I googled it and shame on me for not getting the Percy Jackson reference (at least I hope that’s what it is! 😂). OK, I did have to take a quiz on Epic Reads for this one and I got: Poseidon!
“As a child of one of the Big Three, you’re one of the most powerful demigods around. You must be a natural in water and probably have a sense for the weather, too. But Poseidon isn’t the most boastful father, which means you aren’t arrogant about your abilities. When the world needs saving, we want you by our side—and we’re not just saying that because you’re Percy’s sibling. Mostly.”

5. Name three authors whose books you read this year for the first time.

Ok so in 2020 I read 38 new-to-me authors so it’s super hard just to name 3 but my 3 mainstream favourites would be: V.E. Schwab, Alix E. Harrow and Isabel Ibañez. My two total gems of discovery which I found through my blog were: Rebecca Crunden and Mark Newman.

My favourite post by me:
Back last year I created a series of Original Posts about what types of occupations Lord of the Rings characters would have if they lived in today’s world. It was so much fun to write and sometimes I still can’t believe that I came up with the idea to write something like that! I’m normally just a reviews and tags kind of girl! 😂 You can read them here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

My Nominees!

Hey you…! Tag – you’re it!
I’m so so sorry but I absolutely suck at tagging people to do things and that massive anxiety/guilt comes out that I’m nominating where it’s not welcome, so if you’re reading this and want to take part then please do go ahead! ☺️

My Questions:

  1. What was the last album you listened to on-repeat, non-stop, without skipping a single song?
  2. What are your top three anticipated book releases for 2021?
  3. If you could live in any fictional world for a year, where would it be and why?
  4. Which season is your favourite?
  5. Favourite everyday item you can’t live without?

There you go peeps! Stay safe out there! ☺️
Happy blogging,
T xx

Friday 56 – Circle of Shadows

Happy Friday Bibliofriends,

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.


I recently finished Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye which came in the January Unbreakable Bonds Fairyloot box. It was such a stunning read. Admittedly I was supposed to be reading it as part of a readalong, however I just had to steam along and finish it. I’m hoping to get a review up fairly soon!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.
As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.
Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

“The whole room seemed to pitch. Aki gripped the arm-rest of her chair. The last time Kichona had pitted magic against magic – The Blood Rift – was still raw in her memory. Aki had barely won that time, and she’d known it was coming because it was her brother she’d faced. But now? She couldn’t prevail if she didn’t know her enemy or what they were capable of.”

Thrown right into the action, there’s quite a lot going on which makes for a fast-paced read, a lot of it involves travelling around the world of Kichona, but Skye has created a beautiful Tiger-themed world so I was completely absorbed.

Have you read Circle of Shadows yet? Did you like it as much as I did? Drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

5 Biblioshelf Musings about…Onyx and Ivory [Spoiler Free]

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Series: Rime Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: May 12th 2018

Publisher: Balzer & Bray (Fairyloot Exclusive Edition)

Pages: 512

Rating: 4/5 Shelfie Stacks 📚📚📚📚

Onyx and Ivory is the first in a series of books by Mindee Arnett called The Rime Chronicles.

Synopsis from Goodreads

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

Magists

Ok, we need to talk about the Magists…These guys hold the monopoly on magic in Rime – if you’re not a magist then you shouldn’t be doing magic at all; you’re a wilder and you’re an outlaw. The only way to access magic in Rime is to buy it off a magist. This really struck a cord with me. Somewhere in the World Wide Web is an infographic which shows 10 major companies who supposedly control the world because they own pretty much every other ‘big business’ that’s out there saturating our mass market. Now I’m not going to go on a political rampage here, but I couldn’t help but link the role of the magists in Rime to these top ten companies. The way the magists are able to control everyone, including the royals who run the country, really pulled me into the story. I was immediately suspicious of them and quite incensed to be honest.

Horses

If you have read some of my recent posts then you’ll be getting to know that I love horses. 🐎 I am massively envious of Kate’s wilder ability to talk to them! The horse theme and Arnett’s love for these wondrous creatures definitely came through in her writing and really appealed to the horse-enthusiast in me.

Supporting characters

The band of supporting characters in this novel are absolute gold. Bonner’s loyalty; Signe’s sass; Dal’s dark humour; Raith’s mysterious-ness; Corwin’s Princely charms… I loved them all and they complement Kate perfectly! Each of them had their own role to play in the story and I found myself wanting to learn more and more about all of their backstories. A truly fabulous cast of characters.

The Relay

‘Running the gauntlet’ is the phrase I would use to try summing up what the Relay Riders have to do every day whilst delivering things around the world of Rime. And perhaps it’s my mischievous side coming through but this sounds like such a cool job! You get to ride your horse all across the country whilst trying to avoid the dangerous nightdrakes that come out in the dark…only to find that you then have to start dodging the daydrakes too – Royal Mail eat your heat out, these guys are the badass, tough-nuts of the Postie world! I’m definitely adding Relay Rider to my list of ‘fictional jobs I wish I could do’.

Storytelling

It didn’t take long at all for me to become engrossed in this story. The world building, characterisation and plot devices were everything I wanted from a fantasy story. I liked the suspense of trying to guess who the villains were (and whilst I guessed some of it, I definitely didn’t get all of it). I was rooting for the romance between Kate and Corwin. I was intrigued by the types of magic both from the magists and the wilders. I was thrilled by the fight scenes.

All in all, this made for a brilliant series starter which is why I gave Onyx and Ivory 4 Shelfie Stacks and put the sequel, Shadow and Flame, straight onto my TBR.

Have you read Onyx and Ivory? Did you love it as much as I did? Drop me a comment and let me know! ☺️

Txx

Greek Mythology Tag

To me, myths and legends form the absolute baseline for the tradition which today we call storytelling. I recently listened to Stephen Fry’s Mythos audiobook and it has reignited my love all things mythical. I was so excited when Umairah @Sereadipity tagged me in this Greek Mythology Tag that she found Lau Reads’ blog, that it didn’t take me long to get started – choosing the books was obviously a lot harder, there’s so much great literature out there!

☆ ZeusFavourite book

Of all time?! If I was forced to pick just one, I would probably say The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Záfon as it is so beautifully written.

☆ PoseidonA book that drowned you in feels 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling– I’m one of those “I-grew-up-with-Harry” types of people and reaching the end of this series was like reaching an end of an era in bookish-life terms. The chapter The Prince’s Tale breaks my heart and makes me cry every damn time.
Always.

☆ HadesFavourite dark book 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – there’s just something about the realness of it that I find perturbing.

☆ Hera: Cutest couple

Rhysand and Ferye – ACOWAR Chapter 55; need I say anymore?!

☆ AthenaFavourite intelligent heroine 

Celeana Sardothian from the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas. I know that some people may not class her character as ‘intelligent’ necessarily but she is quite cunning and savvy. She always seems to have a plan for everything and if she doesn’t then she makes a point of finding out. She also loves her books.

☆ Gaea: Favourite world building book

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien – I consider it to be one of the true greats in fantasy literature. To create a world like Middle Earth, base an entire collection of stories, poems and histories in it, then inspire someone like Peter Jackson to bring it to life on the big screen – that is some seriously epic world-building power right there!

☆ Aphrodite: Most gorgeous cover

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. The cover was design by a paper-cutting artist called Rob Ryan and I adore his work, it’s so intricate and pretty.

☆ AresMost violent book you’ve read 

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – without a shadow of a doubt.

☆ HephaestusHottest book you’ve ever read 

Sex and the City by Candace BushnellI guess. I don’t tend to read that much fiction that I’d define as hot so this was difficult! 😂

☆ ArtemisA heroine who doesn’t need a man to save her

Manon Blackbeak from the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas. I didn’t really like Manon that much at first, but then Queen of Shadows happened! Manon’s journey in Kingdom of Ash nearly killed me, I was in floods!

☆ ApolloA book that is an exception to a genre you don’t usually like

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I’m not really interested in spaceships / artificial intelligence / futuristic planets etc. but I loved Illuminae. (Like a lot of books, Gemina and Obsidio are on my TBR!).

☆ HermesA book that stole your heart 

One Day by David Nicholls. The ending played with my heartstrings far too much!

☆ HestiaA book you go back to for comfort 

Harry Potter – every time! Whenever I visit the Warner Brothers Studio Tour my eyes always well-up when I get to wand shop at the end and I read the quote on the big screen: “No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” 💙

☆ DemeterFavourite book setting 

Anything that takes place in the sea/ocean or underwater. I don’t know why but I’m just drawn to water worlds; perhaps I was a fish in a previous life!

☆ DionysusA book you are most anticipating in the next year 

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal for a 2019 release; however, if we are talking about the next chronological year until March 2020 then I would have to say Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. After the ending of The Wicked King, I’m desperate to know what happens!

☆ HecateFavourite magical read

Harry Potter (again!), it brought the magic back into my love for reading!

☆ NemesisFavourite revenge story

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. The way Bardugo weaves all of the different characters and their stories/motivations together in one thrilling heist narrative was brilliant!

So there’s my list. Have a go if you like the sound of it and you’re a fellow Greek myth fan!

Happy listing!

T xx

Happy World Book Day!

It’s World Book Day everyone! Working as a Year 6 teacher in a primary school we get to have loads of fun by dressing up as our favourite book characters. I always dread the drive to work, just in case you get pulled over or have an accident and end up having to explain your weird outfit to strangers.

Today I went as Wally (Where’s Wally) which ended up being a bit of a Plan B as I originally intended to go as Luna Lovegood, purely because I own a pair of Spectrespecs! 😂 We took part in a BBC Live Lesson this afternoon which featured authors including Malorie Blackman, Cressida Cowell and Rob Biddulph.

During the middle of the broadcast they had a random fact montage and as soon as a word and it’s definition popped up on screen, I just had to write it down:

Tsundoku – It’s basically the Japanese way for describing the never-ending TBR pile! It’s their word for buying loads of books and never having the time to read them.

So in honour of World Book Day and my new-found knowledge of the word Tsundoku, I would like to list 3 books that have been on my never-ending TBR pile and pledge to read them before the end of 2019.

  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

What do you do to avoid Tsundoku? To be fair I should probably stop buying so many books…but let’s face it, hell may freeze over before that happens!

Feel free to post your own Tsundoku list in the comments! I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with.

Happy World Book! Enjoy celebrating one of the greatest days of the year for us book-lovers!

T xx

Bookish Adventure Tag!

Umairah @ Sereadipity celebrated reaching 100 followers with a special Bookish Adventure Tag. This is my first tag and I had such a lot of fun!

Here are the rules:

Write about one place mentioned in a book you wish you could visit and why.

  • List 3-5 things that you would do there.
  • Mention which souvenirs, if any, you would bring back with you.
  • Then tag some more literary explorers and please link back to the creator

To be honest I had to condense it loads as I could ramble on forever about my Dream Bookish Destination! Here goes…

Dream Bookish Destination:

When someone says ‘Ultimate Bookish Destination’, Middle Earth is the first thing that pops into my head. I know it’s not exactly one destination but I can’t thing of a single place that I’d love to visit more. There’s just something so magical and unforgettable about Tolkien’s world. Trouble is, if I ever got to visit, I don’t think I’d ever want to leave!

Things I would do:

  • Rent a room at the Prancing Pony and drink pints with hobbits.
  • Attend one of Gandalf’s famous firework parties in the Shire then eat breakfast, second breakfast and elevenses the morning after.
  • Sit and read books by the waterfall in Rivendell.
  • Go horse riding with the Rohirrim across Rohan.
  • Visit the Lonely Mountain and try and steal a bit of Smaug’s treasure.
  • Have tea with Radagast the Brown and his amazing menagerie of animals.
  • Wander through the streets of Gondor and see the famous White Tree.
  • Steer well clear of Minas Morgul and the creepy spider lair.
  • Go on a walk with the Ents.

Souvenirs:

  • The Light of Eärendil – because it would be way cooler than using my phone as a torch…
  • If I couldn’t bring back a horse from Rohan, I’d make do with a Rohan flag that I could use as a throw-cover or something.
  • A piece of treasure from the Lonely Mountain; just to say that I, like Bilbo, could pass for a thief and because I like shiny things! 😂

Tag! You’re it! Feel free to have a go at your own Dream Bookish Destination.

Thanks again to Umairah for creating the Bookish Adventure Tag. I had a blast!

T xx

Top Ten Tuesday – Places in Books I’d Love to Visit

After a year’s hiatus I’m finally getting back to the blog!  These last twelve months have been one hell of a bumpy ride and reading dropped off my radar so much that I didn’t even meet my reading challenge target for 2018 which I usually always exceed.
So now, after getting to grips with the stuff that has gone on, I’m finally getting to grips my mental health and anxiety, am coming out the other side and taking more time out for me by getting back to some of the things I love… reading! To mark the fresh start, the blog has a new name ‘The Biblioshelf’. I wasn’t particularly happy with the old one anyway so hopefully this will give me renewed motivation to keep going, starting with one of my favourite Book Tags ‘Top Ten Tuesday’.

Top Ten Tuesday by That Artsy Girl Reader is the ultimate tag for the bookish list-lover amongst us and I always look forward to seeing the different prompts and responses people have. It also helps by making me have a stern talking to myself to read more widely as most of my lists end up being from the same ten books just in a different order!

This week’s theme was ‘Places in Books I’d Love to Visit’. Hyperlinks of titles link to Goodreads.

10) The World of His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
I remember being hooked on Northern Lightswhen I was a child on holiday in Greece; so much so that the only part of the holiday I can actually remember is sitting by the pool and reading this book… That said, I haven’t actually read the remainder of the trilogy so one of my 2019 reading goals is to go right back to the beginning and immerse myself back into this glorious world that I remember loving but can’t quite remember why…

9) The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey
So this one isn’t really a place from a book – it’s more a place to visit an object from the book…if that makes sense?! The Chemistry of Tears is centred around the creation of a gorgeous silver swan automaton. The Silver Swan which was created in the 18thCentury and is kept at the Bowes Museum in County Durham (England). It sits on a little pool of glass and eats up tiny silver fishes. I’d love to go and visit this incredible piece of clockwork one day, but for now I’ll just have to settle for watching people’s YouTube videos of it!

8) Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Who doesn’t want to crawl through the back of their wardrobe and end up in a magical place? I imagine Narnia as being one of the ‘must-see’ locations from the worlds of fantasy literature. I’d love to explore it with one of those passports that you stamp when you get to a different area.

7) Berk from How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Let’s face it, I’m only going here to see the amazing dragons!

6) Carcassonne from Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Kate Mosse’s books based in the Languedoc region of France always made me want to visit and due to this book Carcassonne is definitely one of my ‘to visit’ places in France. I love how she brings such a historical place to life and fills it with such mystery and intrigue. I’m also a sucker for a maze!

5) Kotor (Montenegro) from Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
I loved this book so much and the way Lana writes about Old Town Catarro just seemed to appeal to every single one of my senses. I’d love to take a little boat trip to visit Our Lady of the Rocks which sits on a tiny island and I’d definitely have to find the little confectionery where Iris and Malina’s mother bakes delicious sounding cakes and pastries. I tried to convince my friend that we should go there on holiday, but we went to Walt Disney World instead!

4) The Cemetery of Forgotten Books from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Pick one book from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books then look after and protect it for the rest of your life…what book lover would turn down this opportunity? Zafón is one of my all-time favourite authors and is such a genius story-teller. Everything he writes is so lyrical and his character Daniel Sempere is probably one of literature’s greatest bibliophiles. I believe Barcelona, where the books are set, now has a trail dedicated to the Zafón’s stories and it’s definitely on my travel bucket list. I only wish that there was such a place as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books!

3) Terrasen from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
I know it’s incredibly hyped but I fell head over heels in love for this series! To pick just one place in Erilea to visit was tricky but I knew as soon as I read the final book in the series (Kingdom of Ash) it had to be Terrasen. Obviously I’d be making sure to pack my forest disguise to try and hide in Oakwald in the attempt at spotting the elusive Little Folk and the Lord of the North!

2) Rivendell from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Let’s be real, I’d visit any place in Middle Earth (yep, even Mordor!) but seeing the elves in Rivendell would probably be the place I head to first. Or Gondor to see Aragorn, or to the Green Dragon to have a pint with the Hobbits, or to Fangorn to chat to the Ents…I could go on but then my list would probably be as long as the book itself!

1) Flourish and Blotts from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Once, a student I teach bought me a mug that says ‘Hogwarts wasn’t hiring so I teach muggles instead’. If the Wizarding World were a real place, I’d probably have emigrated there already. Similarly to Middle Earth, I couldn’t possibly just stop off at one place then head back home, but somewhere I have always wished I could step into was Flourish and Blotts. Surely it’s the ultimate bibliophile’s pit-stop in the amazingness that is the Wizarding World!

This was such a fun theme to explore for Top Ten Tuesday so thanks to That Artsy Girl Reader and Georgia @justreadthemm – now to try and curb that building wanderlust! What would make your list? Drop me and comment and let me know.

Until next time Bibliophiles, have a great week!

T xx

[Book Review] To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.
There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.

If this book were a portal to the world it’s set in then I would immediately dive straight into it right now!

I’ve always been a major fan of any stories set by seas and oceans or involving pirates, mermaids and the like. I’ve read stories of sirens in mythology but nothing contemporary has ever hit the mark…that is until To Kill A Kingdom came along.
I knew I had to read it straightaway and couldn’t resist the lure of it when it came up as part of the Readers First draw. Readers First is a website that releases first looks on upcoming releases from a wide range of genres. If you write a first impression of the first look then you get entered into a prize draw to win a copy of the book pre-publication in exchange for a review. This was my first time actually entering for anything and I jumped for joy when I had the email telling me that I had won a copy and it was already on its way in the mail to me.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy? [Synopsis from Goodreads]IMG_7774

Admittedly, from the blurb alone, my expectations were incredibly high and thankfully Alexandra Christo pulled it out of the bag with this brilliant debut. It’s clear from the first few pages that storytelling is a massive strength within this novel. Christo has such a lyrical way of writing that the story is almost like a siren song transcending off the pages straight into your mind.

Under the sea, it’s never so serene. There’s always screaming and crashing and tearing. There’s always the ocean, constantly moving and evolving into something new. Never still and never the same.

From the outset, the world building in this book is far from watery (pun intended)!  The rich vocabulary and exquisite descriptions immerse you headfirst into the world Christo has created. Seriously, I would happily hop on the first pirate ship I see on a quest to find the Diávolos Sea. I love descriptive books which is why I think this appealed to me so much but if you’re not into all of that then there’s plenty of swashbuckling action and entertaining banter to counteract it.

And the ocean, calling out to us both. A song of freedom and longing.

The story is written in alternating chapters following Lira – a siren princess known as the Princes’ Bane due to her passion for targeting and murdering princes, and Elian – a Midasan prince known as the siren-killer because of his commitment to sailing the seas and ridding humanity of the threat of siren monsters. When Lira’s callous and cruel mother, the Sea Queen, sends Lira on a quest to kill Elian the paths of the two main characters merges and takes them on an adventure which neither one was truly expecting.

Could it really be such a bad thing, to become a story whispered to children in the dead of night?

Raised by brutality, Lira is one true bad-ass. She’s witty, determined and filled with sass to the brim. A fantastic protagonist who conveys her story and her conflicting feelings effortlessly. I really liked the fact that she dared to be different to the other sirens, even if it meant going against someone as powerful as her mother. As for the prince…well, give me Elian over Eric any day! The balance between both him and Lira made for a brilliantly believable pairing despite their initial differences.

Although To Kill A Kingdom comes across as a retelling, it really is an original tale in its own right. I enjoyed the influences of Greek myths as well as spotting the various nods to both the traditional and Disney versions of the The Little Mermaid – the Sea Queen throws some serious shade on Disney’s Ursula; Lira’s transition from siren to human echoes both Ariel’s and the Anderson mermaid’s fates; and of course the subtle romance between prince and princess reiterates themes from both versions of the tale.

The storyline itself, deviates drastically from the well-known fairy tales. Christo has created an interesting narrative which weaves myth, fairy tale and fantasy together. The characters embark on a fairly simple retrieval quest which then branches out into variously wicked twists and turns to keep you on your toes, finally culminating in an epic battle of mankind and monsters to determine the fate of their world. I enjoyed the way that the action was interspersed with different settings and dialogues between the characters. Refreshingly, as a standalone fantasy novel, the plot is neatly wrapped up at the end of the story but there’s the snag…I wanted more! At times during reading I found myself doubting that this was actually a standalone. I couldn’t quite believe that the whole story could be wrapped up as I crept closer and closer to the end of the book. Whilst I wasn’t left with any burning questions which felt as though they hadn’t been answered, I do feel that the ending came about rather quickly compared to the level of build-up that there was to get there. I really hope Christo revisits this world that she has created, not necessarily to continue the stories of Elian and Lira, but just to see more of it come to life on the page.

If you’re looking for a stunningly enchanting standalone to absolutely lose yourself in, then this is the book for you. To Kill a Kingdom had everything I wanted in a YA fantasy novel – adventure, mysticism, humour, magic, a touch of romance and a kingdom that I actually wished was a real place. This novel will definitely stick in my mind for a long time to come and I can’t wait to see what Christo writes next.

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Published: 6th March 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781471407390
Rating: 5/5 Princes’ Hearts