Blog Posts I Loved This Month | December 2020

What better way to start the New Year off, than by highlighting and celebrating some of my favourite posts from last month! During December many of us, including myself, participated in Blogmas, so there was lots of really good and fun posts to read, but that also made it really difficult to choose which ones I wanted to include this month!

Anyway, here’s a few posts I loved last month! Enjoy!

December is a month of reflection and one of my favourite posts to read is everyones ‘favourite new-to-me authors of that year’ as I love discovering new authors and seeing if any of my favourites have made it on to other readers lists! Both Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books and Mehek @ The Critiques of a Fangirl shared some of their favourites and I couldn’t resist adding a few authors and books to my TBR!

I’ve just finished Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and I’m OBSESSED and am seriously craving some more sci-fi space adventures, so Eliza @ Dusk Angel Reads post about YA Sci-Fi Recommendations was well timed and the perfect read!

As many of you know that I’m in love with everything Sarah J Maas, so when I saw that Marta @ The Monogamist Reader had done The Throne of Glass Book Tag I knew it was tag I had to bookmark for the New Year! I can’t believe that I’ve never heard of this tag! I really enjoyed all the themed questions and reading Marta’s answers, so if your a fan of the series then go check it out!

I also really enjoyed Tilly @ The Biblioshelf’s post on the Six Books She’d Like to Spend the Holidays In! This was such a fun and creative post that got me thinking about which books I’d love to spend the festive season in, and I think I’d have to agree with Tilly and choose either Hogwarts or Narnia!

When buying Christmas presents I made it my aim to try and support small businesses, and even though Christmas is over I still enjoying scrolling through Etsy and discovering independent bookish shops! The lovely Kira @ Kira Jeanette shared some great bookish shops in her post Bookish Small Businesses to Shop From This Christmas and its the perfect read for any book lover! I think I might have to treat myself to a few bits as I don’t think I can resit!

Another book tag I loved this month was The Evermore Book Tag inspired by Taylor Swifts second surprise album! Both Becca @ Toastie Books and Georgia @ Lost in Neverland completed this tag, and as always, I really enjoyed reading their answers.

Last year I discovered the Storygraph and it’s quickly become my go-to website for tracking my reading habits. Siena @ Booksophobia shared her experience with Using The Storygraph vs Goodreads and discusses the pros and cons of using The StoryGraph in comparison to Goodreads. I agree with all of her points and I 100% recommend trying the Storygraph if you’re looking for something a little different!

Fantasy will always be my favourite genre, so when Alex @ PA Reads shared her list of 10 Memorable Fantasy Books You Should Read Today, I knew I had to give it a read! It’s nice to see that some of my go-to favourites (good-old Brandon Sanderson) made it on to her list and I’ve now added Air Awakens by Elise Kova and Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller on to my TBR, as they both some like something I’d love!

There are so many fantasy sub-genres that I’ve yet to fully dive into, and one of my reading goals this year is to explore more fantasy worlds and authors. Jess @ Jessticulates shared a wonderful post about the Desert Fantasy on Her TBR and I couldn’t resist adding pretty much all of the books mentioned on to my TBR! I remember reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh a couple of years ago and really enjoying it, so I’m eager to read more similar adventures soon!

On Monday, England announced it was going back into another full lockdown, so it’s fair to say that these next 6 weeks are going to be a bit of a struggle for me. BUT recently Bertie @ Luminosity Library shared 10 Comfort Reads to Beat Those Winter Blues and I definitely plan to add a couple of these feel-good reads to my monthly TBR, and hopefully they’ll help keep my spirits up!

During December there was also lots of exciting announcements!

Lila @ Hardcover Haven announced her Written in the Margins Travelling Book Club, a book club where a chosen book is sent to eleven readers during which the participant reads and annotates the book before sending it to the next person. This is such a fabulous and fun idea and I can’t wait to follow along! For more information be sure to check out Lila’s post!

And finally, Ahaana @ Windows to the Worlds and Becky @ Dusts of Magic announced the After the Story Writing Project, a collaboration of book bloggers that focuses on writing more and building the confidence to write something you enjoy, while having fun! This is such a brilliant and creative project for any aspiring writer or anyone looking for a unique creative outlet! Be sure to check out their posts for more information!

A Fangirl’s Opinion – A Year in Review 2020

It’s fair to say that 2020 hasn’t been the best year for anyone, but I’m trying my best to look at the positives and celebrate the ‘little’ wins. This post is a little different than usual but I want to take the time to reflect on everything thing that has happened this year and plan out the next step in my blogging journey!

This year the UK has experienced various national lockdowns, which meant that I’ve had all this extra time on my hands and to keep myself busy I’ve been investing this time into my blog and reading goals. By channeling all this additional time and energy I’ve finally (for the first tine in years) managed to maintain some sort of consistent blogging schedule! At the start of the month I created a spreadsheet to help stay organised during Blogmas, and it’s been so helpful that it’s something I’m going to adopt permanently, I’m already so organised for January 2021 and have got lots fun posts planned!

Over these past three months I’ve also seen a huge surge in my views and engagements and I’d like to think that’s down to my content and the fact that I’m starting to see blogging as fun escape again rather than a ‘job’. All this time has also helped me reignite my own creativity and publish a range of unique posts that I’m proud of. I’m starting to discover who I am as a blogger and I’m eager to see what 2021 brings!

Some of my favourite posts of this year include:

Reading Like Rory Gilmore for a Week (TBR & Wrap Up)

7 Books Written During NaNoWriMo

Blog Posts I Loved This Month | October

My Favourite Book Covers of 2020

It still amazes me that this little blog keeps on growing in size! I started the year with just over 500 followers and I’m ending the year with 648 of us! I’ve managed to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world and I look forward to discovering more bloggers next year! I also want to use this as an opportunity to thank EVERYONE for their continued support, it’s so rewarding hearing that people are enjoying my posts and I’m honoured to be apart of this incredible blogging community!

Not only has this been one of my best blogging years but I’ve also managed to read a total of 42 books, surpassing my original Goodreads goal of 35 books!

I’ve also discovered StoryGraph this year, and it’s the perfect platform for any reader. I love all the different graphs it creates based on your reading habits and it’s a great way to reflect on all your different reading styles and genres. It’s not a surprise to see that my top genres for 2020 was young adult fantasy but it’s nice to see more classics, memoirs and contemporary fiction making an appearance!

It’s clear that I like my reading moods like I like my fictional boyfriends, dark, mysterious and emotional as well as always being up for an adventure! Also it did make me giggle that ‘reflective’ was another one of my main reading moods this year, which was completely unintentional but one of my favourite styles of the year.

I wish you all the best for the New Year and lets hope 2021 is a good one!

Happy Reading!

Amy X

My 2020 Favourites – Books, TV Shows and Films

Last year, I celebrated the new year by declaring that it was going to be ‘my year’, fast forward 12 months and it’s a statement that I’m starting to regret. This year hasn’t been anyone’s year to say the least but hope is on the horizon and I pray that next will bring a degree of normality. I know that 2020 hasn’t been easy for anyone, but seeing communities unite by celebrating the little things and our own resilience towards this new and unique way of life is one thing to take away from this year. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve become a lot closer with family, friends despite living hundreds of miles away from them and have used time to reflect on myself and my plans for 2021. I’m eager to start a new year and begin putting my plans into action! Anyway before we bid goodbye to this year, I thought it was only fitting that I’d share some favourite books, TV shows, films and albums!

Books

This has been a heck of a year for book lovers, with lockdown and quarantine bringing us all the time in the world to dive into fantastical worlds and magical adventures as well as loads of epic new releases.

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E Schwab – I envy Schwab, and her beautiful ability to craft memorable and magical masterpieces that readers, like myself, will cherish for a lifetime. I’ve still yet to gather my thoughts and opinions into a comprehensive review but it’s easy to say that I loved it.
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – I read a bit of Wilde whilst studying at Univeristy and there’s always that worry when reading ‘a classic’ that I might not ‘get it’ or enjoy it as much as others, but this one surprised me greatly! I found it super easy to read and I certainly wasn’t expecting the intrusively personal thoughts it left me with. This is a true masterpiece that was the perfect read during Halloween and is filled with beautiful quotes that will stay with you long after finishing!
  3. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – I won’t go on about this book anymore and I’m sure that none of you are surprised that it’s on my list of 2020 favourites. If any book makes it on your TBR for the new year then makes sure it’s this one!
  4. Crescent City by Sarah J MaasCrescent City is a perfectly crafted masterpiece. Once again, Maas excels at creating a unique fantasy world filled with an equally fantastic cast of characters and an unexpected storyline that is never once predictable. Like I’ve said before, I could read Sarah’s shopping list and I’d love it, there’s just something wonderfully magical about her writing that sends me head over heels and into her captivating worlds and adventures.
  5. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas – A fitting conclusion to an epic series and one which left me with a major book hangover, I thought I was ready to say goodbye to these characters but I was wrong and those last chapters wrecked me.
  6. Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber – The magic, adventure, and mystery are what makes this story difficult to put down, and just like Caraval it sucks you in and invites you to lose yourself in its wonderful world. Garber makes it easy to fall in love with her characters and I can guarantee that it will have you on the edge of your seat through the entire story.
  7. Aurora Rising by Amie and Jay Kristoff – Another new favourite that I’m obsessed with and the only sci-fi that I read this year!
  8. The Holidaze by Christian Lauren – I wanted something fun and romantic to read over the festive season and this one was perfect!
  9. Little Women by Lousia May Alcott – I adore this story and how heartwarmingly wonderful its characters are, everything about it just makes me so happy. This is a beast of a book but I can assure it’s worth it!
  10. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson – Now it wouldn’t be a favourites post without an appearance from Brandon Sanderson! This is what you call an epic conclusion, and one which left me with the worst book hangover I’ve ever experienced! It truly left me speechless and in awe!

TV Shows

When I’m not reading it more than likely that I’m binge watching a new TV Show, I dare to think of how many hours I’ve spent watching TV this year!

  1. Bridgerton (Netflix) – Hands down my favourite series of the year (a bold statement considering all the other hit shows I’ve loved this year), so much so that I’ve just finished my second re-watch and have order the entire book series to binge in the New Year! I’ll definitely be writing a ‘7 reasons to watch’ post soon so key an eye out for that.
  2. Gilmore Girls (Netflix) – Like many people during lockdown, I used my time accordingly and started a new TV show and have now ultimately fallen victim to the heartwarming wonder that is Gilmore Girls. Every episode feels like a coffee date with your favourites characters, as we follow them on their journeys filled with life’s ups and downs. I can guarantee that your mood will be instantly improved after just one episode!
  3. Schitts Creek (Netflix) – I found this show just at the right time, it lifted my sprits and bought me so much joy and kept me company whilst I was in self isolation. This charming and light-hearted comedy is the perfect binge-worthy show and follows the Roses and their fall from grace after going bankrupt, their only remaining asset, a small dysfunctional town called Schitt’s Creek.
  4. The Mandalorian (Disney+) – As many of you may not know, I’m a huge Star War’s nerd and even have my own lightsaber! This show is successfully filling my sci-fi void and captures everything I love about George Lucas’s masterpiece.
  5. Normal People (BBC) – I read Sally Rooney’s Normal People earlier this year and fell utterly and unexpectedly in love. The story and its characters are so raw and complex, creating a narrative that is more than just a romance. And thankfully the TV adaptation is just as good, the entire show is crafted with the upmost accuracy and care, the producers have done a wonderful job at bringing this story to life!

Films

It breaks my heart to admit that I don’t remember the last time I went to the cinema and I’m really struggling to think of any new release that I’ve watched this year! Some Oscar’s favourites included Jojo Rabbit and A Portrait of a Lady on Fire, both of which were brilliantly clever and are just incredible films I always recommend.

I also finally gave in and subscribed to Disney+, and it’s been one of my best purchases of 2020! My go-to film will always be Captain America: The Winter Solider, in my opinion it’s one of the best Marvel films ever! Also Chris Evans, that man is beautiful! *swoon*! I’ve also particularly enjoyed both Onward and Soul, both are wonderfully emotional films that explore lives we live and our relationships with the people around us, be sure to have the tissues at the ready!

Music

I don’t usually include a music section in my 2020 wrap up post but it wouldn’t be doing it justice if I didn’t mention the Queen herself! This year we were blessed with not one but TWO new albums from Taylor Swift. Like most of the world, I am OBSESSED with this album, it’s everything we’ve been waiting for, especially after the disappointment that was Lover. Both albums are perfect for those cosy autumn afternoons and winter walks! My favourites at the moment are The Last American Dynasty, Illicit Affairs, Betty, Champagne Problems and Tis The Damn Season.

Books I Didn’t Get To Read This Year

Welcome back everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you’re all looking forward to the New Year! Now before I post my 2020 favourites, I thought I’d share the books I sadly didn’t manage to read this year with the hopes of reading them in the first couple of months of 2020! These are books that are either on my yearly TBR list or ones that I’ve picked up throughout the year and have been sitting on my shelf ever since!

The Priory of the Orange Tree: THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER: Amazon.co.uk:  Shannon, Samantha: 9781408883464: Books

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – I couldn’t resist buying this book when I saw it in Waterstones, and I’m gutted that I didn’t get round to reading it this year! This beast of a book is quite intimidating but I’m not going to let it get the better of me!

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by Robin LaFevers

His Fair Assassin’s by Robin LaFares – This was on my list of series I wanted to start in 2020, but sadly it was forgotten on my long TBR list. The first book in the series follows Ismae who after escaping an arranged marriage is trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. That sounds pretty kickass, doesn’t it?

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern | Waterstones

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – As many of you know ‘The Night Circus’ is one of my favourite books of all time, there’s such an enchanting and captivating quality to Morgenstern’s writing that I’m eager to experience again. I know nothing about this book and despite the all the mixed review, I plan to go into this book with zero expectations!

The Poppy War - Wikipedia

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – Another beast of a book that escaped me this year! I’ve heard a lot of people call this ‘one of the best fantasy reads ever’ so its only right that I see what all the hype is about! I’m already getting serious Ember in the Ashes vibes from the synopsis as it involves a military school and a rich world based on Chinese history.

Illuminae

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I recently read ‘Aurora Rising’ by this duo and I’m in LOVE and I’m eager to explore more of their sci-fi adventures. I really love all things sci-fi but I haven’t read anything from that genre in a while, so maybe its time to take a break from all my fantasy worlds and dive into something different.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - Wikipedia

The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – When I heard there was a Hunger Games prequel being released, I was really excited to discover more about The Games and Panem, but when I heard it was about President Snow I was instantly disinterested. Why do they tease us like that? Anyway, after vowing not to bother with it, I found it on ironically on sale and couldn’t resist buying it! Now as much as I don’t want to read it, I can’t help but be a little curious…

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha, 1): Amazon.co.uk: Adeyemi,  Tomi: 9781250170972: Books

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – I swear this book has appeared on at least six of my monthly TBR’s and I’m embarrassed that I’ve yet to read it! Mark my words, I will read this book at some point next year!

The Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag

Happy Blogmas Day 12!

And Merry Christmas Eve! Today is the final day of blogmas and I can’t believe that I’ve managed to compete my 12 days of blogmas challenge! I’ve discovered that the key is to get organised, and if it wasn’t for my colourful spreadsheet I don’t think I would have made it past day 1! I’m fully obsessed with my spreadsheet now and planning things out so much so that I’ve already planned out my scheduled posts for January! Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed blogmas this year and I’ve especially loved reading everyone else’s posts, they’ve all helped me get in the festive mood and ready for the big day!

I want to once again thank all of my readers and followers for all their support and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Lots of love and socially distanced hugs,

Amy X

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE.

The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favourite stand alone?

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren. I read this during my festive 24-hour read-a-thon and it was exactly what I needed, it was lighthearted, it was adorable and most importantly it had everything I love about Christmas. I’ll 100% be checking out more of Christian Lauren’s books next year, so any recommendations would be wonderful!

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: TWO TURTLE DOVES.

Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

Azriel from A Court of Mist and Fury! Everyone else in the series has managed to find their mate and I’m very happy to fill that position for Azriel!

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: THREE FRENCH HENS.

In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I’ve just finished the Caraval series and I’m OBSESSED and also embarrassed that it took me so long to continue with this series! You’d think I was used to all the twist and turns after the first book, but no! Each book held me in it’s grasp and took me on a whirlwind journey of magic, mystery and manipulation…

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FOUR CALLING BIRDS.

Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favourite series?

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. The series starts as an innocent treasure hunting adventure between friends but concludes as something much deeper, darker and emotional. There’s so much hype around this series that I went into it with high expectations, all of which were surpassed. Stiefvater’s writing style is magically unique and has the power to create peacefully unnerving and impressionistic scenes that are equally beautiful and haunting. The complexity of her storylines and the way in which her characters intertwine with each other, adds another layer of intimate adoration for this series, that left me wishing for more.

ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FIVE GOLDEN RINGS.

One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favourite Villain/Antagonist?

I’m loving Jacks from Legendary. I love it when an author makes to battle over whether or not you’re meant to hate a character or start falling slowly in love with them! And I wonder why I have trust issues, especially after being betrayed by so many beloved characters!

ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SIX GEESE A LAYING.

Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favorite world/world-building?

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve always struggled to find a ‘good’ sci-fi and intergalactic adventure that explores the vast expanse and possibilities of space. The possibilities are endless and I think it’s easy for authors to get carried away, but the Kaufman and Kristoff duo manage to create a universe that is limitless yet believable!

ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SEVEN SWANS A SWIMMING.

Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favorite animal sidekick?

Mr Kindly from Nevernight or Saphira from Eragon. Not only would I give ANYTHING to own a dragon but both of these sidekicks are great at what they do, they’re always supporting our protagonists, giving them key advice and always have the perfect witty remark at the ready.

ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: EIGHT MAIDS A MILKING.

Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes food to a whole new level?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone – those feasts!

ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: NINE LADIES DANCING.

Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favorite kickass female lead?

Bryce Quinlan from Crescent City. Sarah has the ability to perfectly craft an imaginative and compelling storyline that is enhanced by her breathtakingly attractive and witty cast of characters that you can’t help but instantly love. Bryce is strong-willed, quick witted, emotionally raw and has her fair share of flaws and problems; everything about her was quintessential Maas and I loved her. Crescent City is ultimately her journey of self-discovery and acceptance, and it was a privilege to have been able to share it.

ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: TEN LORDS A LEAPING.

How about your favorite leading lad?

 Ronan from The Raven Boys. For me Ronan was the standout character in this series, his character development and witty interactions are among some of my favourites.

ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: ELEVEN PIPES PIPING.

What is your favorite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

My writing playlist has been getting a lot of love and attention this year, it’s now my go-to playlist if I ever need to get anything done! If you read my NaNoWriMo Wrap Up post then you’ll know that one of my aims for 2021 is to write more and my plan is create ‘scene/mood’ playlists to suit what I’m writing about!

ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING.

Drum roll please…what is your favorite read of this year?

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I know I keep going on about this book but it is truly the perfect read that shattered my heart. The something deeply romantic and delicately secret about Miller’s prose, it’s so beautifully enchanting and has the ability to transcend our characters emotions straight off the page. Those last five chapter torn my heart from my chest, leaving me empty and alone, and for that I am thankful. If Song of Achillies isn’t on your TBR for 2021, then I would 100% suggest adding it ASAP!

Books on My Christmas Wishlist 2020

Happy Blogmas Day 11!

When my family ask me what I want for Christmas the answer is always books, books and more books! It’s got to the point now that they refuse to buy me anymore books because I’m running out of room on my bookshelves! Nevertheless I still like to make a list, just in case they change their minds! I also thought I’d share my list of books I’ll be giving as gifts this Christmas, just incase anyone needs any last minute ideas!

Books on My Wishlist

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout – Ever since I heard about this series, I had to have it! For the past month however I’ve been on a book buying ban so I’m praying that my sister gets me this series for Christmas! I’ve never read a JLA book but I’ve heard nothing but praise for her action packed storylines and alluring characters!

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout – From what I’ve heard, I’m going to want to have the sequel ready and waiting for me when I finish!

The Bone Criers Moon by Kathryn Purdie – I always say that I’m going to buy this book next but then something else catches my eye and I vow to buy in next time, it’s a vicious cycle! Even if I don’t receive this book it’s 100% going to be on my shelf by the end of January!

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – As many of you know I’m obsessed with Brandon Sanderson and I’m eager to start another series! After looking through all of his series I decided I was craving more high-fantasy rather than sci-fi and settled for the epic that is the Stormlight Archive. I can’t wait to dive back into the wonderful world he creates and to meet a new and exciting cast of characters!

Books I’m Giving as Gifts

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I had no idea that this story was inspired by Fleetwood Mac so I had to order it for my friend Amy! Between us there has been many karaoke renditions and bad dancing to some of their greatest classics so I’m hoping this book will bring back some good memories! Plus I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and I’m secretly hoping that she chooses it for Book Club next year!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Every time I have a Zoom call with my friends they always ask me if I’ve managed to unhaul any of my copies of the Hunger Games, as I’ve got three copies of the series all with different and special covers! It’s not even my favourite series but teenage Amy clearly had an obsession! I’m now down to two copies of the trilogy (which according to my friends is still two too many) so I thought I’d share the love and send them a personalised copy to keep of their shelves FOREVER!

Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph edited by Kate Moore – This is a go-to gift for my Dad, and a perfect way to reflect on this disaster of a year. This is a collection of unpublished and refreshingly witty letters that The Daily Telegraph receive each year and provide a typically British take on the year.

In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks – And finally it wouldn’t be Christmas without gifting a steamy highlander novel to my best friend, Grace! I’m always on the hunt for a trashy historical romance and I think I’ve hit the jackpot with this one, I’m even a little jealous and might have to grab a copy for myself! Maya Banks’ beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

24 Hour Christmas Read-a-thon & Watch-a-thon

Happy Blogmas Day 10!

We’re nearing the end of blogmas and I’m still not fully feeling the festive spirit! It might be, because I work in the chaos that is retail and that the festivities started all the way back in early November, so I thought I’d take action and have a day dedicated to getting in the Christmas spirit! First things first, let’s get that playlist on! Usually I’m one of those people who breaks out the Christmas anthems all the way back in November but this year it’s been pretty quiet, so I think its only right that I start the day with a good-old sing-a-long!

After I embarrassed myself in front of the postman with my awful signing (and dancing) I thought it was best that I took myself upstair to decorate my little reading nook before settling down. I keep seeing pictures of everyones bookshelves covered in cute fairy lights, they all look so magical and it’s definitely something I’m going to have to do to mine too! I did think about getting myself a tree for my room but I managed to talk myself out of it, maybe next year!

Before settling down for any movie/reading marathon you need to be in something cosy, and in my case it was my new Christmas pj’s, cosy socks and giant fluffy blanket, (I take this whole comfort thing very seriously!). Now you need to make sure you’re fully stocked with lots of snacks! On a day like today it’s okay to eat your body weight in chocolate, and it’s not Christmas themed day without a tube of Smarties or Terry’s Chocolate Orange. I also tried one of those ‘hot chocolate bombs’ that are taking the internet by storm, and it’s fair to say they’re worth the hype! When I make a hot chocolate I always like to go full out, and I mean whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate flakes, the whole shebang! It was so GOOD!

Now would it be a read-a-thon without an overly ambitious TBR?

The Holidaze by Chritsina Lauren – If you google ‘best Christmas reads’ then this one is always number one so I thought it was only fitting that I gave it a go! Turns out this book was just what I needed, it’s lighthearted and just a bundle of fun that I managed to devour in a couple of hours. I was gutted when it finished, I need MORE. I’ll 100% be checking out more of Christian Lauren’s books next year, so any recommendations would be wonderful!

Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas – This is our Book Club book of the month for December and it was only fitting that we chose a trashy festive romance! I love a good-old Christmas market and it breaks my heart that I’m missing out on them this year so I just had to settle for my imagination! As expected I really enjoyed it and it was the perfect addition to my day!

One Day in December by Josie Silver – Although I didn’t get round to reading this one, it’s definitely on my December TBR and I think it’ll be nice to curl and read over the holidays.

When I’m reading I like to enjoy a bit of background noise and it’s not a Christmassy day if some festive films aren’t involved. Plus with all that reading, I needed a break now and then!

Christmas with the Kranks (Netflix) – This is one of my all time favourite Christmas films, as someone who’s grown up in a close village community this film tends to hit home. That final scene when everyone comes together to create the perfect Christmas Eve for Blair never fails to make me smile.

Noelle (Disney+) – A new Disney Christmas film, yes please! This film is a combination of Elf and The Santa Clause and is just some lighthearted fun that is packed full with festive spirit.

A Christmas Prince (Netflix) – Now is it really a Christmas themed day if you don’t watch The Christmas Prince? This film is so bad that it’s good!

The Santa Clause (Disney+) – And finally one of the greatest Christmas films ever, a perfect contemporary and highly imaginative rendition of the Santa Clause story! The wonder and child-like innocence that surrounds this film reminds me of my childhood and the magic of Father Christmas.

It’s fair to say that I’m definitely feeling a little bit more festive now and I even managed to get some online Christmas shopping done! The lead up to Christmas is always a stressful one and I think that everyone needs a day now and then to just relax and enjoy the magic of Christmas!

Surprising and Disappointing Reads of 2020

Happy Blogmas Day 9!

No matter how hard I try, I always start a book with expectations and it is through these expectations that I either end up falling utterly in love, being pleasantly surprised, or disappointed with my reading experience. It is from these expectations and bookish hype that has enabled my to create this list and it’s not guaranteed that all my 2020 disappointing reads will be low ratings and vice versa, it’s purely down to whether it reached or surpassed my predicted ratings. I’ve tried my best to pick books that actually unintentionally surprised me rather than some staple favourites, I’ll leave those books for my 2020 favourites/wrap up post!

Surprises

The Song of Achillies by Madeline Miller – Don’t get me started on my thoughts about this book, I ADORE IT! I’m still trying to fully comprehend my thoughts and I don’t think I’ve experience a book-hangover like this since I read The Final Empire two years ago! This book just left me in awe and I just want to re-read it again and again. I knew the story. I knew what was going to happen. But the enchanting quality in Millers prose lures us into the comfort of caring for these characters. The emotions shared between Achillies and Patroclus are profoundly physical, and those last five chapters tore the heart from my chest, leaving me empty and alone.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – I read a bit of Wilde whilst studying at Univeristy and there’s always that worry when reading ‘a classic’ that I might not ‘get it’ or enjoy it as much as others, but this one surprised me greatly! I found it super easy to read and I certainly wasn’t expecting the intrusively personal thoughts it left me with. This is a true masterpiece that was the perfect read during Halloween and is filled with beautiful quotes that will stay with you long after finishing!

Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning – If your new to this blog then you probably don’t know about my obsession with trashy highlander romance novels, they’re so bad that they’re good! You may be think Amy, why on earth is this book on your surprise list? Well, its because I truly love this book! I’m just as surprised as you are, everything was great from the plot to the characters (it was an enemies to loves relationship and we all know I’m a sucker for one of those). So if you’re ever struggling to find something to read then I highly recommend anything that has a shirtless man in a kilt on the cover!

The Witchling’s Girl by Helena Coggan – Another complete surprise! I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review but I got so much more. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m usually a read driven by plot rather than character but this book completely subverted that. Coggan’s beautifully evocative prose and world building surrounds a battling story of love and death that will break readers hearts. The characterisation and development is what makes this book truly stunning, Haley’s succession to becoming the Witchling is one heck of a journey that I’m thankful to have experienced.

Out of Love by Hazel Hayes – There’s that stigma behind YouTubers writing books, and although I fully trust Hazel and her ability to create beautiful and meaningful prose as seen through her Time of the Month series and short film Happy, there was always that element of doubt. This was on my list of most anticipated reads for 2020, so I had all my fingers crossed that it would live up to my expectations, and thankfully it did!

Disappointments

The Cup and the Prince by Day Leitao – This is probably one of my biggest disappointments of 2020 and it breaks my heart to admit that because I was hooked by this book’s synopsis but sadly this is one of those rare cases of a great premise but not so great execution. Nevertheless it was still a fun and easy read filled with a unique world that I’d love to learn more about.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer – Please don’t hate me! It’s not that I don’t enjoy this series but I don’t think that this book lives up to the hype. It’s a solid Beauty and the Beast adaptation with a intricate storyline and good characters but I swear if I read another Beauty and the Beast adaptation I’m going to DIE, there’s a whole world of untold fairytales than need updating so pick something else! ACOTAR will forever be my favourite adaptation because Maas cleverly uses it’s framework to build a greater and more complex story. I will probably continue with this series because I’m curious to see where Kemmerer takes these characters and her storyline!

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – One of my reading goals this year was to start and finish this series, and although I was hooked with the haunting concept and world of book one, sadly book two didn’t have the same effect! I remember really struggling to finish this book and I probably couldn’t even tell you what happened! I do hope to pick up this series again in the future but right now it’s not at the top of my TBR.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – What is it with sequels? I think my problem is that I fall utterly in love with the first book and I’m so eager to start that second book that my expectations creep higher and higher. I knew it was going to be difficult for this book to top its predecessor but I just felt like something vital was missing. I felt like we were missing the camaraderie and brotherhood of the first book, I understand that it’s good for each characters to have their own time and storyline but it just felt a little empty. 

Fictional Items I’d Love to Find Under My Christmas Tree

Happy Blogmas Day 8!

This is probably one of my favourite posts of this year! I loved going through all the of the books on my bookshelf and picking out all the fictional item’s I’d love to find under my tree on Christmas Day! I tried my best to avoid the obvious choices (e.g. EVERYTHING from Harry Potter) and pick something a little different! Let me know what items are on your fictional wishlist in the comments below!


Caraval (Caraval, 1): Amazon.co.uk: Garber, Stephanie: Books

Scarlett’s Dress from Caraval – A dress that changes with your mood? Yes please! I loved watching her dress change throughout the series and enjoyed the fact that it had a mind of it’s own and could change at any time! The possibilities are endless and I don’t think I’d ever want to take it off.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2)  eBook by C. S. Lewis - 9780007325054 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

The Wardrobe from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – I already have too many clothes and am in desperate need of more wardrobe space so a wardrobe that would help with storage issue and also allow me to step into the wonderful world of Narnia would be perfect! I’d constantly be going on adventures or just for tea with Mr Tumnus!

Eragon: Book One (The Inheritance cycle 1) eBook: Paolini, Christopher:  Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

A Dragon Egg from The Inhertitance Cycle – I’d honestly give ANYTHING to have a Dragon Egg under my tree!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling | Waterstones

A Jumper from Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – There’s so many things I could have chosen from Harry Potter but this one is the most sentimental. Just imagine Mrs Weasley taking the time to knit you one her famous initial jumpers!

The Night Circus: Amazon.co.uk: Morgenstern, Erin: 9780099554790: Books

A Ticket to the Le Cirque des Rêves from The Night Circus – As many of you know, The Night Circus is one of my favourite books so the opportunity to experience the circus first hand would be a dream come true! There’s so much to do and I could see myself becoming apart of the magic and fulfilling my parents worst nightmare by running away with the circus!

Always and Forever, Lara Jean, Volume 3 To All the Boys I've Loved Before:  Amazon.co.uk: Han, Jenny: Books

Lara Jean’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies from Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Lara Jean makes it her baking mission to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and as someone who has a small addition to biscuits, this would be the perfect gift to unwrap and devour!

House of Earth and Blood: Winner of the Goodreads Choice Best Fantasy 2020 (Crescent  City): Amazon.co.uk: Maas, Sarah J.: 9781408884416: Books

Bryce’s Amulet Necklace from Crescent City – I’m a sucker for a bit of jewellery, and Bryce’s necklace is perfect! Not only does it protect against the influence of various magical objects but it’s gorgeous and simple enough to wear everyday, nothing too extravagant.

A Darker Shade of Magic: 1: Amazon.co.uk: V. E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab:  9781783295401: Books

Kell’s Coat from A Darker Shade of Magic – Red is one of my favourite colours and although I already have a red jacket, I’d love one with a bit more magic. Like Scarlet’s dress, I love the fact that the coat has it’s own individual personality and limitless possibilities when it comes to its style!

The Raven Boys: Amazon.co.uk: Stiefvater, Maggie: Books

Gansey’s 1973 Chevrolet Camaro from The Raven Cycle – This gift is quite big so I don’t think it would fit under my tree! I mean who wouldn’t want this beauty of a car as a Christmas present? I’d 100% use this car to go on my own adventures with friends, and discover more about Welsh/English folklore!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay eBook:  Rowling, J.K.: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Newt’s Suitcase from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – My handbag at the moment is a bit like Mary Poppin’s iconic bag, it’s never ending and it has everything you’d ever need, from first aid kits to to emergency sewing kits! So it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of an over-packer! With Newt’s suitcase not only could pack everything and more, but like Newt I could also keep a few furry friends inside.

And finally…

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses): Amazon.co.uk: Maas,  Sarah J.: 9781619634466: Books

Azriel from A Court of Mist and Fury – A girl can dream, can’t she?

Authors I’ve Discovered in 2020

Happy Blogmas Day 6!

This year has been a year of old favourites and new discoveries especially when it comes to my reading habits. I recently wrote a post discussing all the books I’d discovered through blogging and its through blogging that I’ve also discovered some new favourite and go-to authors, so I thought I’d share a few that I read this year. Most of these authors had been on my TBR for a while now, but there are a few new faces that I’m eager to read more from!


Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) by Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard – Dennard has been on my radar since all the way back in 2016 and I just kept pushing her Witchland’s series further and further down on my TBR list, not because it was bad, but because there were so many other series that I wanted to read! This year however I finally picked up the first book and I’m already obsessed with all the characters and the unique elemental magic system. I’ve only read the first book in the series but I’m eager to learn more about the wonderful world Dennard has created!

Helena Coggan – An unexpected favourite of the year and one I discovered through NetGalley! The Witchling’s Girl is a truly heartbreaking story that focuses on the battle between love and death and one that features beautifully evocative prose and magical world building. I’m usually a read that it motivated by plot rather than character but this book completely changed that, the characterisation and development is what makes this book so stunning.

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (Aurora Cycle 1): Amazon.co.uk: Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Amie Kaufman – I’m only 100 pages into Aurora Rising but I’m in love. I needed a new series to fill the sci-fi/Star Wars void and this one is perfect, the characters, the world, the writing, it’s everything I wanted it to be! Kaufman has earned her place as a new favourite and I’m eager to continue this series and read more of her work!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Brigid Kemmerer – A breakout author from last year that I’ve only just discovered! Her Beauty and the Beast retellings are fun, easy and action-packed reads that everyone can enjoyed.

Maggie Stiefvater – I’m not surprised that Stiefvater is on this list because her Raven Cycle Series has received nothing but well deserved praise from her readers and it’s about time that I hopped on the bandwagon. Stiefvater’s writing style is magically unique and has the power to create peacefully unnerving and impressionistic scenes that are equally beautiful and haunting. The complexity of her storylines and the way in which her characters intertwine with each other, adds another layer of intimate adoration for this series, that left me wishing for more.

Normal People: Amazon.co.uk: Rooney, Sally: 9780571347292: Books

Sally Rooney – I read Rooney’s Normal People and Conversation with Friends and haven fallen in love with her writing style and ability to create complex and real characters and a narrative that is more than just a romance. I loved her characters from Normal People so much that I based an entire weekly read-a-thon around them, so if you haven’t checked that out yet, then I’ll leave a link here!

Out of Love by Hazel Hayes | Waterstones

Hazel Hayes – For the past five years I’ve followed Hazel on all her creative journeys, her short-film Happy and Time of the Month series being a stand-out favourites and videos I continue to re-watch, always with a box of tissues at the ready. So, when I heard she was writing a novel, I knew I was in for a treat. Hazel posses the rare ability to craft an effortlessly real and raw narrative and the way in which she talks about love and heartbreak are truly moving. I hope I get to experience more of her writing in the future.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Hardback, 2017) for sale online | eBay

Laini Taylor – This book was refreshingly unlike anything I’ve read before, the limitless scope of Taylor’s world and perfect strangeness of her characters makes this such a memorable and enchanting read that left me eager for more. Admittedly at times Taylor’s heavily detailed writing was a challenge to get through but it was 100% worth it!