Books I Read in October!

I’m slowly catching up on these reading wrap-ups and I have to say, October of last year was a pretty amazing reading month for me! It definitely helped having a holiday to Iceland but I was just really enjoying picking up books and reading in October. I think as the seasons change, I’m more inclined to curl up on the sofa with a blanket and enjoy a good book with a cup of cocoa.

Pile of books in front of a patterned background

Dominion by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*
This took me a good couple years to get to. I loved the first two books in this trilogy so much that I got stage fright when it came to the final! I built it up in my head that it felt near impossible that it would reach my high expectations. Despite this, it did.
I cringe from the word ‘banter’ but there really is no other way to describe the charming back-and-forth between the cast of characters. An entire cast who are all fleshed out with insights into their backstories and personalities, no matter how minor. There are no throwaways here. But the thing that stands out the most to me is the use of time. It was impossibly clever but impossible to go into without spoiling the first two books so look out for that in my series review. These books are truly the best YA that I’ve read and I recommend them to everyone.
The clear water still lapped in her mind like all the tears ever shed in the universe, and she found her tears were wet with it.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare*
I decided to re-read the Magisterium series when the fifth and final book came out for a couple reasons; I actually read along with the release dates for the most part so it’s been quite spread out, and I never finished my full review of the fourth book and I wanted to refresh my mind a little before I got to it.
I wrote a full review of this book back when I first read it three years ago and for the most part, I still agree. If anything, I love it more! No longer do I find the tunnel school creepy, but charming and I actually prefer this world to Harry Potter. And the foreshadowing? Incredible.


The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare*
In my initial review of this I wrote: “I think it has great re-readabiliy” and y’know what? I was right! Go read that review because everything I wrote there stands up three years later including for when I found this hard to get into at the start. It was still a little tough for the first couple chapters.
“I always have a plan”, she said, raising her eyebrows. “Sometimes even a scheme. You should take lessons from me.”

Service with a Smile by P. G. Wodehouse
I’m truly so impressed with how the threads of Wodehouse’s plots tangle and untangle over the course of the book. He is a master even if it does get a bit repetitive. At least if he’s self-aware;

-it sometimes seemed to her that Blandings Castle had Imposters the way other houses had mice-

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
I had a go at reading this in Summer last year, but didn’t get very far and moved on to other Austens. However, in October I discovered that Audible had released the audiobook read by Rosamund Pike, who read Pride and Prejudice to me last December which I loved! She really brings the characters to life.
And y’know what? I really liked this! I wish the relationships ended up a different way than they did but it was really funny and I might actually prefer it to Pride and Prejudice as my favourite Austen. I’ll have to re-read both at some point to see. 

-with them, to wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect.


Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
This felt too much like two separate books for me to love it. The Bath section and the Northanger Abbey section felt so distinctly different that while listening to the audiobook, I was convinced I had skipped chapters or something. However, I very much enjoyed the novel-adoring heroine and her paranoia coming from reading too many scary stories reminded me a lot of my personal fears following my reading of It by Stephen King last year. 
Nothanger Abbey has the added benefit of Austen’s comments on writing, which I really enjoyed! She speaks to the reader about common opinions on novels at the time she was writing and maybe it’s the English Lit student in me but it was really interesting.
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not the pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Have you read any of these? What did you think?
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My 2018 Book Haul!

One of the goals I had in 2018 was to buy less books. I wanted to continue the ten-out, one-in thing that I did in 2017 but ended up unhauling only 30 books (here, here and here) and buying 16. Ah well! That’s still a net-loss, right? I totally gave up on it all this year and I’ve already bought ten books so I don’t think a yearly haul will do for 2019. Let’s not think about that, and instead…

I picked up Date With Death by Julia Chapman at a small independent bookstore because it looked so dang cosy and cute! I actually read this a couple weeks ago and it wasn’t my favourite but I have to buy a book whenever I go into a small bookstore!

A slightly less moral purchase was Ink and Bone and Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine. They both went on sale for £1 on Amazon a couple of months ago and this series has been on my radar for a while so I picked them up. I might not get around to them soon but as a student on a limited budget? A must-buy!

I started listening to a new podcast, Shedunnit, and Dorothy L. Sayers gets mentioned a lot so when I saw a collection of the first three books in her series; Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness and Unnatural Death, for £5.99 on The Book People? I had to!

Face Off by Brenda Novak and Magisterium: The Golden Tower by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare are both series I started reading because I was sent the first couple books by publicists and continued on to buy the rest myself because I loved them so much! I read both of these in 2018 and I really loved both of them.

Kitty Steals the Show, Kitty Rocks the House, Kitty in the Underworld, Low Midnight and Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn are all the Kitty Norville books I have left to finish the series which I started reading in March 2014! I read three out of five in 2018 and I’m so close to the end, I can practically taste it! The UK publisher doesn’t have rights for the last four books, so I had to import the last four and my bookshelf is much less aesthetic now.

I was one of 1576 backers of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman on Kickstarter and it’s now being published by Hodder! Plus, you can still read it for free online. I think Heartstopper is great but I don’t think the art translates as well in print.

Rhianne is an incredible blogger who writes about writing so I picked up her first novel; The Collective as she has really helped me become a better writer. I’m a terrible reader though and haven’t got around to this yet but it’s on my ASAP-TBR, especially with the second book in the series now out.

Charlaine Harris is my favourite author so I, of course, had to pick up An Easy Death. It’s her new series and while the first book didn’t really blow me away, she’s my ride-or-die author and I’ll be continuing the series.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?
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2018 in Reading!

In 2018 I read 54 books, and according to Goodreads, that figured out at 19408 pages. Interestingly, I figured out that while I read less books than I did in 2017, I read longer books so more pages. The longest being It by Stephen King at 1376 pages, which is just obscenely long, but also a lot of 400-500 page books that I wouldn’t have dreamed picking up in the past.

I rated 13 books as 
I rated 14 books as 
I rated 19 books as 
I rated 5 books as 
And 2 books as 

But which were my favourites?

Third place goes to… Autoboyography by Christina Lauren!
I’ll be talking more about this when I finally catch up with my monthly reading posts but I read this in hours, as an audiobook, which is so unlike me. And it’s a YA romance, which isn’t my genre. This just blew me away on so many levels and has me searching for more M/M romance to fill the gap this has left in my heart.

Second place goes to… The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams!
Sometimes a book is refreshing. It reminds you why you like reading in the first place and the real magic of a good story. You can read my full review rave here because I truly need to stop myself before this becomes another post all about how great this book is and how everyone should read it right this second.

My favourite book in 2018 was… The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot!
Of course, my favourite book this year was a classic! It’s wild to me that looking back to when I started this blog, I was truly anti-classic. This was a wonderful book, and the only one in 2018 to make me cry. If classics aren’t your thing, give The Mill on the Floss a try, it’s progressive and charming and heartbreaking and a true English delight.

What were your favourite books of 2018?
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Books I took to Iceland!

I took a trip to Iceland after stressful couple months of revising for some pretty important exams (which I recently found out I passed!). I was sure I was going to get a lot of relaxing and reading done, but my body had other ideas and decided it was time to get poorly. C’est la vie! I took some great books though…



Dominion by Jennifer Ridyard & John Connolly*
I did it! I finally read this gosh darn book and it was as fantastic as I knew it would be. I shut it and was immediately overtaken with a bone-deep need for more that I know will never come. Heartbreaking! But a true YA masterpiece.

Magisterium: The Iron Trial*, The Copper Gauntlet*, The Bronze KeyThe Silver Mask and The Golden Tower by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
I originally planned to take these, then changed my mind. But, as always happens, I ignored my own plans. Two minutes before walking out the door to catch my flight and you could find me shoving these into my, until then, reasonably full backpack. I did get around to starting my re-read of this series though so I don’t feel too bad.

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner*
I’ve been looking into reading more female-written fantasy after some big disappointments from male writers and Ellen Kushner is one of the heavy-hitters. This was first released in 1986 and then rereleased in 2016 and I really want to get to it soon. But new fantasy worlds are not a friend when you’re not feeling well!

Weight by Jeanette Winterson*
One of the books I need to read for my next term of university is a Jeanette Winterson so in true Imogen-fashion, I didn’t bring that, but brought another one of her books. This is a retelling of theAtlas story and my mum actually nabbed it off me on this trip and loved it.

A Hero Born by Jin Yong*
Everyone and their mother seems to rave about these books. There have been unofficial translations for years and I was super stoked when I heard of the official translations finally being put out. Again, new fantasy worlds are not for reading when you’re poorly but I’m desperate to start this soon.

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams*
I loved The Ninth Rain so much. So much! But I decided after a couple chapters to leave this to next year when the third and final book in the trilogy is coming out. I don’t have the best memory so I’m thinking a good 1000+ page binge of the end of this series is for the best. I can’t wait.

Have you read any of these?
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Written by the Elves!

Santas Elves spend their year making the presents for all the good girls and boys, but what about the very good girls and boys? Could they, perhaps, request that the elves whose toy production has been outsourced to factories all over the world, write a book personalised to the receiver. So, here are the elements that would feature in my dream book…

Urban Fantasy and Cosy Crime
These are my absolute favourite genres and I’d love to see them mixed together to make a cosy crime investigation in an urban fantasy world. I’m thinking a spree of vampire murders or werewolf bank heists solved by a main character that knits or volunteers at her local library. Heck, maybe she stumbles upon a skull while picking herbs for her witchy tinctures.

Remote Locations
Give me a small town in the middle of nowhere and I’m happy. Cosy crime needs a little bit of distance from big city policing and areas where everyone knows everyone are both claustrophobic and comforting.

Radio Hosts/ Pawn Shop Owners/ Motel Staff
There are some professions that I’m always interested in reading for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the influence of Frasier as a child but radio hosts are a must. Whereas pawn shop owners and small time motel staff probably have the most interesting stories from interacting with a random selection of the public that they rarely see again.

LGBTQ+ Romances
Sometimes I just want a cute lil romance with queer characters without having to read homophobia or transphobia. There’s enough of that in real life. Give me a chill relationship development that isn’t the focus of the story, but is treated like all the Hallmark-style straight romances.

What would your ideal book be?
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Books I Want to Buy and Why #15: 2019 Releases!

2019 is lining up to be a great year in book releases with a couple debuts, some final books in series and more that I can’t wait to get my little paws on. I’ve read all the 2018 releases I was interested in, and ended up being released. These posts seem to be my good luck charm when it comes to follow-through. So, in order of release date…

The Coldest Blood by J.S. Law
This is the final in the Lieutenant Danielle Lewis trilogy that started with Tenacity (now called The Dark Beneath) which I loved. I didn’t like the second book, The Fear Within, as much. But I have high hopes for the final book and I’m really excited to find out how the story ends.
Release date: 24th January

A Bond Undone by Jin Yong
I’ll admit, I haven’t got very far into the first book in this series; A Hero Born, but the little bit I have read and the fame of this series has me convinced I will enjoy it enough to want the second book. They’re releasing one book a year of this twelve book series as they translate which is torturous though, I’ll be 36 by the conclusion!
Release date: 24th January

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
I went to a publishing event in Summer and was absolutely in love with how Candice Carty-Williams described Queenie. It sounds absolutely fantastic, and different from what I generally read since I’m not much of a contemporary person unless there’s been a murder.
Release date: 11th April

Six Tudor Queens: Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir
Y’all know I adore this series and have done since the first book! I’m so so excited about the Anna of Kleve instalment as she’s one of the few who went on after Henry VIII to live- and live a life that I know almost nothing about.
Release date: 2nd May

The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver
Jeffery Deaver is my favourite crime writer. And finding out that he was starting a new series with a new main character? I need it. He’s a ‘reward-seeker’, rather than a detective and it focuses in on the video-gaming industry. The whole thing just sounds like it’s going to be a good read.
Although I’d love another Kathryn Dance book…
Release date: 16th May

The Poison Song by Jen Williams
If there’s one author whose work I fell in love with in 2018, it’s Jen Williams. The Ninth Rain was incredible. The Poison Song is the final book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy and I’m waiting as long as I can to read the second book so that the wait isn’t so terrible!
Release date: 16th May

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
If there’s a combination I’ve never been more interested in, it’s witches and LGBTQ+ characters. This is a debut, part-mystery, part-romance, that I can’t wait to get in my hands.
Release date: 28th May

Missing Person by Sarah Lotz
This was originally going to be released in March 2018 and I was really excited for it earlier this year. Almost 12 months hasn’t dimmed that excitement, Sarah Lotz writes some great books like The Three and I’m looking forward to what she does next.
Release date: 25th July

What books are you looking forward to in 2019?
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Audiobooks for the Sleigh!

Through the magic of Christmas cheer and children’s wishes, Santa somehow delivers presents to all the good little boys and girls in one night (although Popular Science did some maths and we’re looking at relativity clouds and six ‘Santa months’). Personally, I love listening to audiobooks when I’m driving, or wrapping, or doing literally anything so these are my recommendations for Father Christmas himself to keep his night/months interesting.

Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection by Arthur Conan Doyle
Clocking in at almost 72 hours and read by Stephen Fry, I feel like this is a must for any long-haul journey. The stories are rarely predictable, plus, Santa is a bit of a detective himself! He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good. I feel like he’d appreciate a fellow investigators methods.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Since Santa is a bit of a pilot, and he has 16 hours to kill, I think he’s really like Catch-22. I loved it. It’s funny and amazingly plotted, I wanted to start it over as soon as I finished and Santa actually has the time!

It by Stephen King
At 44 hours long, if Santa decides to go a bit more contemporary, then It is a good pick. It’ll keep him awake from fear at the very least! I read it in August and I wish I had been in a sleigh, way above ground and away from any clowns when I read it. Although, I definitely wouldn’t want to visit anyone’s house after this and that is Santas main gig.

Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse
When the night starts winding down and Santa is ready for bed, nothing will help him relax more than the slow drama of a Wodehouse book. I started P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle series back in January and have since listened to six because they’re perfect for easy bedtime listening. Let a posh English accent lull him to sleep after the busiest night of the year!

What do you think Santa would listen to on the big night?
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My Holiday Season TBR!

I don’t tend to get a lot of reading done around the holiday season- it’s busy! There’s cleaning, cooking, decorating and general panicked shopping to be done while family is swarms the house. Plus, I’m a themed reader. I want my reads to have that vibe about how I generally feel about the holidays. I also don’t want anything to dark and heavy since SAD is in full effect these days. So these are the few books that pass the test…

I recently read And Then There Were None and now I really want to get to Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. I find that cosy crime is better for the colder months and more realistic crime are Summer holiday reads. Plus, I got this for Christmas last year so it’s about time I get to it!

From my 18 books I wanted to read in 2018 list, there are a few left that I’d like to get around to as the year winds down. I have Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen in audiobook format which is super convenient for making cleaning/ decorating/ wrapping much less boring.

I also have my two non-fiction picks; Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Bérubé and Please Take Me Home: The Story of the Rescue Cat by Clare Campbell. I don’t think I’ll get both finished because I read non-fiction very slowly but I’ve started both and should be able to get a good chunk read. They’re fascinating!

And lastly, The Faber Book of Christmas is a gorgeous anthology I’ll probably dip in and out of for a Christmassy boost when I need it. I love having a collection that I can read bits from in the quiet moments of the festivities.

What will you be reading this Holiday Season?
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Books I Read in August and September!

I had a slow couple of reading months in August and September due to my exams and the general panic that surrounds revision! So I thought I’d combine the two into a much more pleasing pile o’ books. Although I actually read 4/5 of these by listening to the audiobook- 2018 has definitely been the year of the audiobook for me…

It by Stephen King
I flew through this- well, as fast as you can fly though a 44 hour audiobook of a 1200+ page novel. In reality it was about ten days that It consumed me. Stephen King is a really complicated writer for me to pin down because at some times I was scared to death, literally hiding under my blankets and flinching at every sound… But at other times I was wondering how long there was left and when it was going to switch to a more interesting point of view. King writes amazing stories, but he never quite lands the ending for me. I definitely need to get around to my teenage favourite; Carrie, soon.
And yeah, about that scene? It made sense in the context of what was happening. Probably wouldn’t get published now but, as Bill says; “-politics always change, stories never do.”

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
It’s been three years since I read the first book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Although I also read it as a teen so this might be my third or fourth re-read. I listened to the audiobook which wasn’t great, but I was feeling so nostalgic for this universe that at the time, it’d do! When I next decide to visit Bon Temps, I’ll just pick up my physical copies.
“My mind scrabbled around like a squirrel trying to get out of a cage. It couldn’t light on anything or be comfortable anywhere.”

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
During my exam season I was super super stressed and needed an audiobook that would be easy listening. The Hobbit was perfect for that. I’ve read it before, the narrator is so calming, and it’s pretty short. I started reading it physically in 2015 and didn’t enjoy it that much so I think audiobook is definitely the way to go with Tolkien!
“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
I’m writing a full review on this because I have a lot of feelings.


Empire by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*
I did it! I finally re-read Empire after wanting to for two years. And it was just as good as I remembered it, I completely agree with my original review and had an absolute blast revisiting one of my favourite series.
No knowledge could really be described as useless; there was simply knowledge that could be applied, and knowledge that had not yet found its application.

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these?
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Book Review: Christmas with the East End Angels by Rosie Hendry!

The ‘Saga’ genre isn’t featured very much in my reading, despite the appeal of the covers with their pretty distinctive style and quantity of them at my local library. So, when I was offered a book in the genre that also focused on two of my big interests in fiction; Christmas and WWII, I was ready to read Christmas with the East End Angels*!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the East End Angels are working hard to keep Londoners safe.

Frankie is trying hard to keep everything together. She can count on the support of the East End Angels, even in the face of family trouble.
Winnie’s beloved husband, Mac, is putting himself at risk every day in the bomb disposal unit and she’s finding it hard while he’s away.
Bella is growing in confidence and happiness. Her friendship with Winnie’s brother, James, is getting closer all the time.

Christmas on the Home Front is a hard time with loved ones far away – but the women of the Auxiliary Ambulance service are making do and mending.

The books I lean towards are very suspenseful and action-packed so this was a change. It focuses on London post-Blitz and feels very calm and away from the action of war, despite their readiness! With this came a focus on character and feeling that, despite not reading the previous two books in the series, meant that I was emotionally invested. It was so relatable that I felt their grief and even found myself getting a little teary eyed!

It was also quite cheesy. It’s definitely part of the charm of this genre but the dialogue isn’t always super realistic with everyone saying every little positive thing they think out loud. There are lots of declarations about doing what they need to do for the war and keeping calm and carrying on!

This is balanced out by the amount of research and background knowledge that Rosie Hendry obviously has on the time period. It isn’t overdone as some historical fiction is, where the authors are trying to shove every bit of information they have in. Hendry writes like people living at the time with her characters revealing interesting tidbits: like the lack of rationing on sprouts!, in a realistic way that I really appreciated.

Since it is Christmas of the East End Angels, the book covers two Christmases and the year in between. This is a nice way to ease you into the season since I know not everyone is as keen as I am to get their decorations up as soon as the last trick-or-treater has taken their candy. Personally, I would’ve preferred a bit more of a festive vibe, but I have been singing carols since September so I’m not sure I can be trusted…

Are you a fan of the Saga genre? Have you started reading your Christmas themed books yet?
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