So I had a real talk with myself about whether or not I was going to make this post.
After starting my Amateur Guide series, I had often thought about what other travel related posts I could write. I still feel a bit too amateur to really go into specifics about things, and only feel comfortable telling you what I have learned from travel rather than being the ~travel guru~. That being said, I’ve already learnt so much from the little travelling I’ve done. And so I wanted to share with you my travel essentials; things I’ve realised I need, things that have been so helpful, and things I’ve forgotten in the past and seriously regretted!
When I think about packing for a trip, I just want to have a little cry. It is honestly the most boring thing you can do when it comes to planning a trip. I love figuring out where I’m going, where I’m staying, learning the basic phrases in a new language. But packing? It’s not my cup of tea. I’m bad at it, and I’m very forgetful and often have to buy things while I’m already there. It costs to forget stuff, so before I even think about putting something in a suitcase, I start a list.
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?
This book was intense.
I’ve mentioned before in blog posts about reading habits and tastes, that I really struggle with stories about abuse. Whether it’s depicted in tv, film, or books, I’m not one to watch/read it if I know it has scenes in it that’ll make me feel uncomfortable. But a part of me thinks I might be missing out on a lot of stories because I don’t like leaving my comfort zone. I am not a victim of child abuse, but I think it’s especially important to talk about content that some people may find triggering, even if it’s something you haven’t experienced. So, if depictions of violent, physical abuse does trigger you in any way, I would read more about this book before just going straight in (like I did). I wouldn’t tell you not to read a book, that is your decision to make, but at least you know this now and can make a more informed decision.
I had some idea about it just from the blurb, but I like going in blind to a book if I can; I seem to enjoy content more that way without having so many expectations of what it should be. I think for the most part, I did really enjoy this book’s depiction of the internal conflict of striving to be the best while feeling like the worst. Beck is considered by many (outside of his own family) as one of the best young piano players out there. He has a legacy to uphold since his mother was a world renowned classical piano player and his uncle a famous composer. However he’s constantly beaten and bruised by his mother’s desperation for him to be the best, despite thinking he’s terrible. Beck, because of this, also thinks he’s terrible, and I like how we don’t truly know whether he’s good or not.
I’m gonna assume he is though. When you work hard on something, you get at least a little better at it, even if you’re not ‘born with the talent’.
The book on the whole is so sad as we peer into Beck’s inner lack of self-worth. I really felt for him, and was shouting when he made bad decisions. When you’re looking from the outside in at a bad situation, it’s very easy to say ‘do this! say that! just leave!’, but A Thousand Perfect Notes makes you really think about what you would do, and whether or not that would make the situation any better.
The writing was a bit strange in some places. There were a lot of similes and metaphors that were always taken to the extreme that seemed a little out of place. I can’t really explain without giving some examples:
“She whirls and Beck half expects wings made of frost and longing to sprout from her back and fly her home.”
Most of these strange sentences are either descriptions of August or speech from August. And I get why; she’s a bit of a stereotypical manic pixie dream girl. She’s kind of considered kooky because she doesn’t wear shoes often and has dreadlocks and is vegan. The story overall is a fairly stereotypical story but with more depth. Rather than Beck just being a mopey, alternative guy who needs a bit of colour in his life à la 500 Days of Summer, it’s all a bit more sinister. And rather than rolling my eyes at a lot of the cliches, I was more invested in Beck’s life. Unfortunately though, August still came across as a bit two dimensional.
This is a great debut from someone who has read far and wide about what makes a good book. Seriously, Cait’s reviews are on EVERY SINGLE BOOK PAGE ON GOODREADS. So congratulations Cait and can’t wait to read all your future books!
I’m almost 25, and throughout my life, I have loved, obsessed over, and blindly followed celebrities and shows and films to the point where my life had been consumed by them. It got easier and easier when the internet became more accessible, when I finally was allowed to have a computer in my room, when we could use the internet while my mum was chatting on the phone. It became easier when social media rolled out, when I got a smartphone, when I was so wired into what my faves were doing, where they were going, and who they were dating, that I could literally find out anything I wanted at the swipe of a screen.
While this celebrity obsession may have died down for me, it certainly hasn’t for teenagers and many adults across the globe. The internet is now rife with celebrity information and a new type of person who is there purely for you to adore. But of course, with an overexposure of information (and misinformation), comes nowhere to hide. Social media and the internet have created new ways in which people can clash with each other, whether that be in opinions (Twitter) or actions (Youtube). Things you might not have known about your favourite celebrity are surfaced, and thus you are faced with cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive Dissonance has been around since always, and I remember trying to learn about it during a sociology class about cults. It never truly stuck into my head until we all started having conversations about blind faith towards celebrities. Blind faith is usually linked to religion (the reason we were talking about it during a class on cults) but it can easily be adapted to celebrity and fandom culture.
Note: From now on, when I use the term “fandom”, I am not including communities who share their love of television shows, films, books, or fictional characters/couples.
Cognitive Dissonance is is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. People experience cognitive dissonance when someone they love does something that goes against their values. So, you love or ‘stan’ a celebrity. You would do anything for them. You consume all their content whether it be music, movies, or Youtube videos. However, they then go against something you believe in; you find out they take drugs, for example. There are many that would find this behavior to not be against their own beliefs. I mean hey, it’s not hurting anyone but themselves and it’s their body. What’s the problem? You end up justifying it to yourself and continue to believe this person is perfect.
This cycle continues on for a lot of people who blindly follow this celebrity and the celebrity will notice, eventually. For many celebrities, this is as far as it goes. Nobody is perfect, despite what your brain tells you when you look at a picture of Harry Styles. But there are some who will push and push your cognitive dissonance so far that eventually your blind faith will be shattered. And to be honest? This is a minority. If you’re already following someone’s life to this dangerous degree then I believe you’re more likely to let larger things slide… say, watching your favourite Youtuber film the body of a suicide victim in the Japanese forest of Aokigahara?
Celebrity culture, fandoms, ‘stanning’, the whole thing has become a marketable way of making a shit ton of cash for your faves and their team. And while I think it’s great to find friends who have the same interests as you (e.g. I’ve found a lot of friends through blogging and our love of books), I think there is a lot of ways in which celebrities, but more commonly social media influencers, do this.
A collective fan name. The Jake Paulers, The Logang, Cumberbitches, Beliebers. Some of these are created by the fans, for the fans, and that’s as far as it goes. But it’s also a clever way to create, rather than a community, a ‘popular clique that you can only get in to if you buuuuuuy….
Merch. T-shirts, hats, bags. This isn’t the same as a singer who sells albums. This would be if that same musician then brought out like…fidget spinners, or biros. A lot of the time, an influencer only brings out merch because there’s a demand and fair enough. But merch is a great way to influence your fans into thinking that they are a part of this group, but only if they have merch.
Targeted tweets. This one is particularly popular with male viners/music.ly stars. You know the tweets, the one’s by Jacob Sartorius that say ‘You look so good today’ where it comes across that he’s speaking to you personally. While I feel Jacob Sartorius is quite young and maybe has a team of adults who does this for him (I mean he might understand how to exploit his fanbase but I’m not sure), I feel people like Cameron Dallas, Nash Grier and other white boy names I don’t know are especially guilty of it. You can also get targeted song lyrics, One Direction songs are full of them.
So, you are a part of the group, the clique, the fanbase. You have the merch, and you have made friends who are just as obsessed as you are.
And your fave does something horrible.
Of course, being a fan of something/someone is all apart of the experience of entertainment. My dad gets excited when a new Star Wars comes out, my mum is in love with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders and even bought a coaster with his face on. My brother loves watching angry white guys scream at games and use the N and F words liberally and experiences cognitive dissonance constantly. I have had my experiences being obsessed with things and people like Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Glee, Marvel, Disney, the cast of SKAM, you name it.
I am a firm believer of enjoying something you love. Do not be ashamed of listening to music that a lot of people hate, read that book that people have been saying is shit. But please, please be aware of the people you are a fan of. My advice? Don’t become obsessed. It’s hard, the internet is so accessible now that it’s very easy to be whisked up in the madness that is fandom and celebrity culture. But the consequences are dangerous. You’ve seen the defense against Logan Paul from his fans, the way fans of footballers and rockstars send sexual assault victims death threats because they dared speak out about their experiences. The environment is too toxic at this point and I just don’t want to contribute to it anymore.
The best thing is to remind yourself that this person is a human. It may seem ridiculous to say it, to even think it because of course you know that. Don’t talk down to me Hollie! (I know I’m sorry). But reminding yourself of this small fact is such a powerful tool to combat this blind faith.
Person is a human.
Person may say and do things I do not like.
Person is a someone I do not know. (As much as you think you know Person, you really do not know them).
You have to know when to stop supporting someone, when to identify what they did was wrong, and not to change the rules because it’s Person. I’ve started to really embrace this new way of thinking about celebrities. I used to see them for the first time in a film, and then Google them for the rest of the night. This sort of came to a halt after SKAM ended, and people started doing the same to the actors, some of whom were underage. I began to feel uncomfortable knowing so much about these kids. I didn’t want to know the names of their siblings, or what school they went to, or if they were out shopping right this second (???).
Maybe I just don’t care about it all anymore, maybe I’m not cool anymore. But I do love stuff, and I love supporting artists on Patreon and ‘liking’ Youtubers videos when I’ve genuinely enjoyed their content. I will support and enjoy being entertained by actors/musicians/Youtubers. But I cannot be a ‘big fan’ of a person anymore. And if a person who’s work I have enjoyed in the past turns out to be awful, I will remain critical and mature in my decision to stop supporting them or not.
I hope this post does not come across as a preachy way of telling you not to like things, or to stop liking someone because they’re a bit of a dickhead. Stan whoever you want, buy all the merch, do whatever makes you feel happy. But don’t fall down the rabbit hole. They see what you do, and if they truly are a horrible person, they will use your love to their advantage.
So I get tagged in a few posts and I hate so much that I ignore them. I get so overwhelmed, and then they disappear in my mentions. So, if you’ve ever tagged me in something and I haven’t responded, I apologise. But this year, everything changes.
I was tagged in the A-Z Bookish Survey by Natalie over at Teen Literati, and I’m gonna do it! It’s long but I’m gonna do it! So thank you Natalie and here we go:
Author you’ve read the most books from:
I checked Goodreads, not realising they had a function where you can do that, and it’s Holly Black! I’ve read The Curse Workers Trilogy, The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and The Cruel Prince.
Best Sequel Ever:
Honestly, if I’ve fallen in love with a book, the sequel will probably tear me to pieces. But, I always find sequels magical when I like it even more than the first one. That crown will always go to Now I Rise by Kiersten White. While I enjoyed And I Darken in hindsight, straight after I’d read it I wasn’t sure whether I was happy and excited or confused and annoyed. I had fallen in love Radu, but he was making horrible decisions that pissed me off throughout the whole book. But then the sequel came and everything became so epic, so much bigger that I decided that this was gonna be one of my favourite series.
Tin Man by Sarah Winman.
Drink of Choice While Reading:
Literally any soft drink, but if I’m feeling fancy, chocolate milkshake.
E-reader or Physical Book?
I flip flop a lot. I love the feeling of a physical book; curling up on the couch and turning the pages. However I also do a lot of travelling and I like to keep my baggage nice and light – can’t really do that with a physical book. Having an e-reader means I can read a 100 page or 900 page book and my bags don’t get any heavier. So I can’t answer this.
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
At the moment, I am loving soft boys, and I would like to think that when I was younger, I would have fallen in love with them and dated them. But no. I was knee deep in the Harry Potter fandom during the majority of my teen years, so Draco Malfoy had my heart entirely. I don’t think I had a crush on any other character; even when Twilight came out and I became obsessed with that, I still didn’t waver from my favourite blonde Slytherin.
Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla. My non-fiction shelf is non-existent, save for this book. I used to try and read non-fiction when I was younger, trashy autobiographies that made me realise I was not a big of a fan of these celebrities as I thought I was, and some memoirs during uni as required reading. But I’ve never picked up non-fiction of my own accord, as an adult, until I was recommended The Good Immigrant.
It’s a collection of essays written by BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) bloggers, actors, writers, teachers, singers etc discussing life in Great Britain as a person of colour. Not only was it insightful, it was funny, sad, heartwrenching and anger-inducing, and has not only opened me up to many more books on the topic of race in the United Kingdom, but to also appreciate non-fiction more.
Hidden Gem Book:
No one talks about The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes enough. NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT AND I DON’T GET IT. IT WAS FABULOUS.
Important Moment in your Reading Life:
When I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was the first book where I decided to take a picture of it, put it on Instagram, and write a review on my tumblr book blog. It was the catalyst to starting my whole online adventure of book blogging.
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I’m just not a fan of horror, in any aspect. Thrillers and things I’m not bothered with, but I hate horror films and jumpscares, so if a novel has those, I’m not for it. Non-fiction books that talk about child abuse and sexual abuse are also books I just cannot pick up. A friend from school used to read them all, and while they were all quite similar, they were so harrowing that she was traumatized. Just…not for me.
Longest Book You’ve Read:
I don’t know how to find the longest book I’ve ever read, but the longest one I read in 2017 was A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab at 666 pages.
Major book hangover because of:
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I think this was one of the largest hangovers I’ve ever had. It was a night or two before my birthday, I was home alone, and just bawling my eyes out. I’m not great with tragedies but I still read them in a masochistic sort of way.
Number of Bookcases You Own:
Just the one! With three shelves. I tend to put books in cupboards as well but I’m very good at unhauling and getting rid of books I didn’t like or don’t care about anymore.
One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
I’ve never read a book more than once, but I plan on reading Song of Achilles again (see above) and maybe some that I felt luke warm about and should try again!
Preferred Place To Read:
We have a large armchair in the conservatory that can almost fit two people on – but I like to spread out. It’s got the perfect lighting during the day, and it means I’m not reading on my bed (which I don’t like to do unless I’m about to go to bed).
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
I rarely find quotes that I give time to. Usually I just can’t remember them, but I do like this one from Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff:
The heavens grant us only one life, but through books, we live a thousand.
Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
I have the last book in The Lunar Chronicles called Winter, and I STILL haven’t finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters from The Daughter and Smoke and Bone trilogy…I fear I’ll never read it because it’s so big and I can’t remember what even happened in that story.
Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I hate questions like this! This is only three of my fave books, not my three faves! I have more!
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
I am very, very excited for Bright We Burn by Kiersten White, the third and (I think) final chapter in the The Conqueror’s Saga. I’m on edge thinking about it, we were left on such a cliffhanger I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to my babies!
Worst Bookish Habit:
For me, learning too much about a book is my worst habit, because it puts me off bothering with reading it. I’m the same with shows and films I want to watch; I’m not sure I’ll like it, so I look it up, then read the whole plot. Rinse and repeat. I read way too many reviews too, spoilery ones, to the point where I know I won’t pick it up. A lot of books have been ruined because of my impatience.
Your latest book purchase:
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren!
ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Publisher: Little, Brown Books / Hot Key Books
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Goodreads
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
This book gave me two very different feelings; indifference and complete investment.
I was thankfully gifted The Cruel Prince as an ebook from Hot Key Books, and wasn’t surprised at how much attention it got when I ran a poll with what books I should read while making the long journey to visit extended family over Christmas. It won by a landslide, and while Holly Black books are usually a hit or miss for me, I got excited at the thought of being whisked away to a faerie land where fairy is spelled like ‘faerie’ and the creatures of the land are not cute with magic wands and wings.
Unfortunately, that’s not what I got in the first 67% of the book.
The Cruel Prince, to me, could not decide what kind of book it wanted to be. At first, it seemed like a self-aware novel; a faerie land living alongside the human realm, where the protagonist felt apart of both. She would shop with her sister at Target, say stuff like ‘lighten up, jerk!’ when in conflict with magical creatures, but then she would also ride a giant toad with a saddle around it and wear dresses made of leaves and feathers. Her step-father has green skin and her baby step-brother can glamour her into slapping herself until she’s red in the face. I kind of liked it; Holly Black’s novels always have the mundane and the strange walking side by side. It was the same with The Darkest Part of the Forest (which I adored) and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (which was a bit meh) – like I said, Holly Black’s books are a hit or miss.
This concept of Jude feeling out of place in both worlds went on for quite a long time, and didn’t in fact stop. This, thrown in with being severely bullied by Carden (the cruel prince in question) and his awful friends also goes on for so long that I started to feel really uncomfortable. It got to the point where I felt like a bystander just letting it happen. I’ve never been bullied this severely, but I think I have a responsibility to say that if you’re affected by seriously and severe bullying in entertainment you consume, and you’re going to read this book, now you know.
This goes on for most of the book, and I found myself wanting to DNF it a few times. When I’m reading a book and I can feel myself wanting to put it down, I know it’s not going well. I don’t like to waste my time, and it felt like I was doing exactly that. But THEN, as it read 67% on my Kindle, when my mother was calling me in because the Sunday roast was ready, I couldn’t stop reading!
The story completely turned around and the drama started, the political intrigue, the distrusting of characters all reared their beautiful heads. And it was like, where the hell were you all when the grip of my kindle was getting weaker and weaker? It’s not a plot twist or anything, I’m not spoiling it when I say it got interesting, but it’s a bit weird that I have to say that. The whole book should be interesting!
After tweeting about it a few times, I saw that I wasn’t alone. Many felt like it was worth sticking to until the end where it leaves you wanting the next book as much as how you just wanted any other book when you began reading The Cruel Prince. So, if you’re just starting out or even a third into it, keep going, there is something about this book that’s meant for it to blow up in popularity come the second one.
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
I have a lot to say about this book, but it’s really hard to not just pack it all in with a ‘fantastic!’ and then move on.
I’ve been reading this book for a long time, or at least picking it up and putting it down again. If you haven’t heard the story which I go on about constantly about how I got my hands on an early copy of The City of Brass, then I talk about it in detail in on my post about 2017’s YALC which you can read here (don’t forget to come back to this review!) but I’ll just say this. While I didn’t technically get handed this or sent this by someone from Harper Collins, I want to thank them no less for this glorious advanced copy that I will be telling everyone to read when it comes out!
The City of Brass was a hard one to rate just because it’s largest pitfall was the characters. Our main characters, Alizayd and Nahri, I absolutely adore. They’re sweet, smart, passionate, and they both go through so much development from their humble beginnings as a religious soldier and a conwoman and hustler, respectively. What I can’t wrap my head around are the rest of the characters.
The story, for the majority of the time, takes place in the city of Daevabad, once a beacon of industry, diversity and development, has had it’s history of tribes and people overthrown to what it is now; a mixture of different people who live separate from each other and can’t stand one another. For a lot of the book, I was confused as to who was who and ultimately, who are the ‘good’ guys and the ‘bad’ guys. I assumed this is supposed to be the case and to show that no ‘tribe’ (the term they use for each community of people) is better than the other in our eyes. The city is mainly divided into three quarters (I think?), the Djinn, the Daeva, and the Shafit. The Daeva and the Djinn are pretty much the same people, except that many years ago a group of Daeva began calling themselves Djinn because the Daeva were too religious, puritanical, and hated humans. Djinn began calling themselves Djinn because it’s what humans called them, and they actually like humans, often ‘interfering’ with their lives and reproducing with them, creating a new form of Djinn, called the Shafit who are hated by everyone and have no rights.
This is how I see it: Daeva – Upper middle class, Djinn – Lower middle to working class, Shafit – The underclass. However, the ruling class (the monarchy), are a mixture of Daeva and Djinn, and the family that wear the crowns are Djinn but from a different country. They hold their history and prejudice against the Daeva, yet still accomodate them to the point where they neglect their own people and ruin the lives of Shafit…all for the Daeva. However, the Djinn are also horrible to Daeva, who are often outnumbered by the Djinn and Shafit who make their lives Hell. It’s…a lot to take in.
So when I say that different characters belong to different tribes, I found it difficult to find who I should root for and who I should want to see fall. This was especially the case with Dara, a Daeva Ashfin (soldier) who I consider a main character despite not having a POV. He is with Nahri for the whole book, being the only lifeline she has most of the time, and yet his views on the Shafit and the Djinn are so horrible I would reel my head back from looking at the book and just wish he would fuck off. And it was made worse when our hero, Nahri, one of two characters I actually liked, liked him and believed the things that he said. But, as the story progressed, I began to see that Nahri felt the way I felt, and it made me realise that Chakraborty purposefully wrote these characters this way to show that humans (or in this case, Djinn and Daeva) are morally grey, and yet that gret morality can affect others in devastating ways (the Shafit).
While this dominated my reading time and was a true mind-fuck (brought upon by myself), I genuinely loved this book. Any historical fantasy set in the middle east is going to catch my eye anyway, but The City of Brass is the cream of the crop. It’s political (as you can see from my word vomit above), beautiful in it’s setting and description of the culture, the food, fashion, and grand temples you can see from the horizon. At times it made feel warm and cozy, and other times I felt cold and my skin was riddled with goosebumps. A book that can make your body react like that is powerful. And that’s exactly what this book is.
The City of Brass comes out in the UK 8th March 2018, but is already out in the U.S. It doesn’t have enough buzz in my mind, and so I will be thoroughly raving about it this March.
2017 has been a great year for books. I haven’t read as much as last year, and I think that’s partly due to not setting myself a reading goal, which was kinda nice and relaxing. Plus, the amount of books you read doesn’t matter, it’s about what makes you happy. And what makes me happy the most is getting way too excited about the books that aren’t even out yet.
So, without further ado, here are the books I’m most excited for in 2018!
I’ve been trying to get my hands on an early copy of this for a few months now – but it seems that our fates are not aligned and I will have to wait patiently…a word not in my vocabulary. The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s debut novel, is one of, if not my ultimate favourite books of all time. I absolutely adore it with all my heart, and I believe it’ll happen again with Circe.
Bright We Burn by Kirsten White
So, this has become one of my favourite series of all time. Unbelievable, because I remember reading And I Darken, which I bought on a whim, passing the Penguin stand at YALC back in 2016, and enjoying it but also being super frustrated by it. It hadn’t much hype, and maybe that was part of why I bought it, but what some of the characters did for the people they loved, tearing themselves apart for nothing in return, grinded my gears. But actually, looking back, and then reading Now I Rise as an e-arc made me fall head over heels for this historical story which is a RETELLING OF VLAD THE IMPALER BUT AS A TEENAGE GIRL. This story is fantastic, and I cannot wait for the finale. Blurb for And I Darken (so you’re not spoiled) is here!
I read Uprooted on a long car drive from Bavaria, Germany back to England in one sitting. I was told by people that it’s generic, that it was boring, that it was formulaic. I can’t argue that it wasn’t a typical fairytale like fantasy, but boring it was not. It was fun, interesting, and I’ve come to realise that I love fantasies set in places that aren’t generic woods. I like my fairytale to have it’s setting and worldbuilding rooted in real countries and old stories with culture. Uprooted was set in an Eastern European/Polish feeling place, and I assume Spinning Silver will be a new place but with the same writing I hold dear.
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
Look, all future V.E. Schwab novels should be on this list, but the next one up that actually has a set date is Vengeful, the sequel to Vicious, that tells the story of two best friends from college who gain powers; one becomes the hero and one becomes the villain. SOUNDS AMAZING DOESN’T IT? And finally, we are getting a sequel and I’m so excited to return to this world after giving my heart over to The Shades of Magic series. The blurb for Vicious is here!
I seem to have a pattern here. All the books I’m excited for are either sequels, or novels by authors I already love. It seems there’s no difference here, but there’s a good reason for it.
All of Becky Chambers novels are standalones. It means that her last two books, while set in the same universe, you do not have to read one to understand the other. You can go into Record of a Space Born Few without listening to me harp on about how I’m excited for ‘this installment’ without spoiling anything for you. Becky Chambers’ books delves into the understanding of humanity as another species with their human-like customs, as well as unpacking what we know as humans through fictional non-humans. It’s incredible and such an interesting way to question ourselves.
What books are you excited for this year? Let me know in the comments!