Things That Make Blogging and Reading Easier (Top Ten Tuesday)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book themed meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are listing the top ten things that make life as a reader/blogger easier. This is a different one as it doesn’t involve actual books! Here’s my list:

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1) Goodreads

I’ve been using this website for longer than I’ve been blogging but it’s an excellent help. It helps me to keep track of what I’ve read as well as books I want to read. It’s also a brilliant social site with lots of interesting book clubs to join for inspiration. You can find my Goodreads profile here. Feel free to add me!

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2) Bloglovin

I’ve always used this rather than google reader so it didn’t effect me as much when everyone changed over. It’s a really useful way of subscribing to a huge number of blogs so you never miss a post. I also love how you can categorise the blogs so I can easily keep up with all the latest vegan blog posts as well as Friday Fictioneers and Top Ten Tuesdays.

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3) Top Ten Tuesdays

Is it odd to include the meme in a list for the meme? Top Ten Tuesdays is a really fun weekly community to take part in. I love seeing other people’s lists and I often feel challenged when making my own!

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4) You Are Here Bookmarks

I’ve only had these for a couple of weeks but they’re really useful when you want to make notes about the books you’re reading so it’s easy to review them when you get to the end. They were only £3.95 from Waterstones!

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5) Planning

It might seem boring but the only way I can keep on top of posting on both of my blogs is my fortnightly blog planner. I print a few copies off at a time and when I think of an idea I mark it on the planner. That way I always know my blog will be updated!

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6) Charity Shops

I buy most of my books second hand. It means I can impulse buy any books that look remotely interesting without having to worry about the cost. I get some good bargains!

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7) Waterstones

This is my favourite bookshop. As much as I love second hand books, there’s nothing like the feel of a brand new one!

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8) WordPress

I previously dabbled in blogging and used Blogger. I much prefer WordPress though as it’s easier to use and you have more control.

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9) Pinterest

I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from pinterest as well as being able to pin books I want to check out. I also use it to keep a lot of writing prompts and tips which can be useful. Follow me here.

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10) Friday Fictioneers

I’d never written short stories before this time last year. Friday Fictioneers is a really fun way of writing. Every week a photo is posted and the challenge is to write 100 words of fiction using it as inspiration. It’s good practice and can be the beginning of further ideas!

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What tools/websites make your blogging life easier?

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NOTE – I am currently away at Leeds Festival but I will answer all comments when I return!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Don’t Fit In!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a “freebie” week which means we can choose whatever subject we like for our top ten list! As exciting as that is, it took me a long time to think of what I’d like to choose! I’ve decided to focus on books that don’t tend to fit in on the other top ten lists I usually write. I mostly focus on novels for my Top Ten Tuesday posts so this is a list of books that I love that are not novels.

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1) The Mighty Book of Boosh by Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and others

Last week I posted about Noel Fielding’s 40th birthday and that should have been your clue that I’m a huge Mighty Boosh fan! This book was a brilliant companion to the tv series with parts from all of our favourite characters including Old Gregg’s watercolours and Bob Fossil’s dance moves.

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2) The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton

I’m a big Tim Burton fan and have always loved his gothic style of humour. This book is hilarious and includes stories, poetry and illustrations with some amazing characters. The humour is dark and has some disturbing roots in reality. Stick boy and match girl, for example, shows just how dangerous love can be.

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3) The Art of Tim Burton

This has to be the most beautiful book I own. It’s full of original drawings and artwork by the wonderful Tim Burton. A lot of these images go with the movies he created and give an insight into where the characters came from. Many of the illustrations don’t relate to the movies but are beautiful nonetheless. A truly unique artist.

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4) The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton by Noel Fielding

Another Noel Fielding book! This book gives an amazing insight into Noel’s bright and imaginative mind. It’s mainly full of his artwork but also includes short stories and quotes. This is one of my favourite books on my non-fiction shelf.

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5) Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

I was never any good at art but always wanted to be. This book is a brilliant source of inspiration and a lot of fun! It encourages you to draw all over it, doodle in it and just be as creative as you can be. An amazing book.

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6) The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

I bought this book as soon as it came out and it was a brilliant read. It’s aimed at children but is perfect for adults who don’t know much about physics! I really enjoyed reading this.

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7) Life Stories by David Attenborough

I’m a big David Attenborough fan and his books helped me a lot when I was doing my degree! This book is partly about natural history but it also gives some insight into David Attenborough’s thoughts and experiences. A rewarding read!

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8) Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

This is the best cookbook I own and is brilliant for recipes as well as in depth advice about veganism. You can read my review of this book here.

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9) Wicked The Musical Pop-up Compendium

This book is a must for all Wicked fans. It’s an amazing companion to the musical with pop up bits and interactive pull out bits. I love the letters from Glinda and Elphaba to their parents and the amazing pop up Defying Gravity scene.

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10) Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

I was recommended this book by my tutor when I started my Zoology degree. I bought the book but didn’t get around to reading it for a couple of years. I’m glad I got around to it though because it’s a fascinating read. You’ll never trust the media to report scientific stories again.

Do you tend to choose novels over non-fiction and coffee table books? What are your favourite books that often get overlooked?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are looking at books that deal with tough subjects. This was a difficult list for me as I always avoid books that touch on subjects too close to my heart. My list therefore only contains seven books.

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1) Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

This is a brilliant book that everyone should read. Unlike a lot of animal rights books this one is not written in a biased way. It goes behind the scenes in factory farms and looks at the effect the meat industry is having on the world.

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2) When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

This is a beautiful story which includes a lot of historical events including 9/11. Very moving.

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3) The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

An extremely emotional and moving novel which explores the loss of a child and the magical properties of snow.

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4) Room by Emma Donoghue

This book goes into the difficult subject of kidnapping and is told through the innocent eyes of a child who doesn’t have any idea what is going on.

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5) Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

This is so much more than a ghost story. It explores the death of a family member and mourning.

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6) The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I found this a very emotional read. Imagine what it’d be like to know that the end was coming but not know when.

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7) Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

This book deals with an abusive relationship and the darkness behind the lights of showbiz.

Which books would make your list?

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Words That Make Me Pick Up A Book

040213_0955_TopTenTuesd1.jpgTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish which invites us to make top ten lists of a bookish nature! This week the topic is “top ten words that instantly make me pick up a book”. An interesting topic! I always read the same types of books so this one isn’t too hard.

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1) Witches

I’ve always loved stories about witches. I’ve got the obvious ones like Harry Potter and A Discovery of Witches but my to read shelves are also full of novels about the Pendle Witches and Witchfinders.

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2) Vampires

I think my love for vampires started with the likes of Dracula and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I loved Twilight too and now pick up anything which involves vampires! Most recently I’ve loved Marked (the first in The House of Night series) and True Blood.

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3) Circus

My circus obsession started with Water For Elephants and then I found The Night Circus. I’ll read the back of any book that involves a circus of some kind.

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4) Coming of age

I write for young adults and so books from a teenage perspective really appeal to me. I only recently tried novels from a young child’s point of view and loved them! The words “coming of age” on a book definitely deserve a better look.

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5) Fairy

I’ve always loved fairies and I’m currently working on a big writing project involving them so I love reading books about them.

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6) Retelling

I love retellings of classic stories with a twist. Wicked was my first introduction to this and I’ve since enjoyed Splintered too.

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7) Time Travel

It’s always interesting when a novel includes time travel. Some brilliant examples of this are The Time Traveller’s Wife and 11.22.63.

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8) Movie

When I see a trailer for a film that looks good and find out there was a novel first then I always have to read the novel. It’s usually better! This is why I read The Hunger Games and it was 100% better than the film.

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9) Werewolf

Wolf books are working on being the next big thing I think! I usually check out a book if it contains werewolves.

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10) Gothic

My attention is always caught when a book is described as gothic, especially not so obvious gothic like Jane Eyre.

What catches your eye when book shopping?

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Disappointed or Exceeded Expectations

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are listing our top ten books that we thought we would like more or less than we did. Interesting topic! Here are my picks:

Books I Was Expecting More From…

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1) The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

I am a huge Stephen King fan and bought this book a few years back. I took it with me on holiday as it’s only a thin book. However it took me ages to read it and I just found it boring! The ending I found really disappointing too. It’s the only King book I’ve ever read and not liked.

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2) The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

As a huge Potter fan I was disappointed with this book. It was probably my own fault though as it was never marketed as being similar to Harry Potter. My full review is here.

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3) Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

I still don’t really understand what I didn’t like about this book. It has everything that I would like but I just couldn’t get into it!

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4) The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

I remember seeing the description of this and falling in love with it. I love stories that use food this adds magical properties. I think it was the writing style that got me this time. I just didn’t like it.

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5) The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

I rushed to the library to find this book. Victorian gothic? Yes please! The start of the novel was very slow going though and I ended up giving up.

 

Books That Exceeded Expectations…

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1) The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

It’s difficult choosing a book to take to a festival. I have to take one for late night reading in my tent before I go to sleep. It has to be not too thick, interesting enough to keep me occupied on the train but not so interesting that it makes me want to sit on my own and read it all week! This book ticked the boxes. It was a brilliant read though and my train journey (from Liverpool to the Isle of Wight!) sped by.

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2) Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green

This was an impulse buy that sat on my shelf for a while before I read it. It’s not my usual kind of story at all. I adored it though. I’ve become a huge fan of novels written from a young child’s perspective.

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3) Room by Emma Donoghue

Similar to the one above really! Everyone raved about this book but I wasn’t sure. I got hold of a copy and it sat on my bookshelves for ages. When I did finally get to it, I read it within a couple of days.

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4) The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

The good thing about the library is that you can pick up books that you would probably never buy but look vaguely interesting. If you don’t like it you can take it back and you’ve not lost anything! I’ve always looked at Cecelia Ahern novels as boring chick lit. Let me tell you though that if this is chick lit then I’ve been misinformed about quality!

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5) When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

Another library book! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and used it in the recommendation  part of my interview for my Christmas job at Waterstones 2 years ago!

Thats all! I probably could have come up with a lot more than ten books here. Novels are constantly surprising me. The two things I’ve learnt are:

1) If you don’t like a book then stop reading it! I used to commit myself to struggle through a book if I’d started it. I now know not to!

2) Try anything. If there’s a book that looks interesting but you don’t usually like that genre/author then try it anyway!

Are there any novels that you thought you’d like more or were disappointed in?

 

Top Ten Tuesday (rewind!) – Top Ten Childhood Favourites

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme ran by The Broke and the Bookish. I always felt like I’d missed out on loads of good top ten Tuesday topics having started so late so this week’s theme is a brilliant one. This week we can choose any of the past topics we like. I’ve chosen the Top Ten Childhood Favourites as reading was a huge part of my childhood. This was maybe the easiest top ten list I’ve ever written.

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1) The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Probably my all time favourite book when I was younger. Enid Blyton is a classic children’s author and I was enthralled with her different lands at the top of the magical tree!

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2) The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This had to be on everybody’s list. I’ve never met a child who disliked this book.

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3) The Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling

I’ve probably said enough about this series whilst this blog has been going. I was addicted to it when I was younger (down to queuing for the final installment dressed in a cloak and wand!). I still love it now in fact!

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4) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

I loved the first few books in this series when I was younger. Unfortunately they can’t have been that great as I never got any further!

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5) The Borrowers by Mary Norton

These little guys used to fascinate me! I read this book so many times that the cover fell off. I think I’ve still got it somewhere actually!

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6) Matilda – Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was by far my favourite author when I was younger and Matilda was my favourite character. I always thought of her as similar to me because she was addicted to reading like I was.

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7) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

Owning a chocolate factory was every child’s dream. There was more to this book than that though. Willy Wonka was an extremely disturbing character and this book is quite dark when you think about it!

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8) Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

I remember being absorbed in this for a few weeks when I was at high school. I used to carry it around with me constantly and read it whenever I got a chance.

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9) The Witches by Roald Dahl

Yep another Roald Dahl book! This was another of my favourites that I reread over and over again.

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Another of my favourite series’ from my childhood. As you can tell, I was obsessed with fantasy and magic!

What were your favourite childhood books?

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

040213_0955_TopTenTuesd1.jpgTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at the Broke and the Bookish where each week we list our top ten of a certain topic which is always book based! This week’s topic is the “top ten books I read before I was a blogger”. I haven’t been a blogger for very long so this is a very easy list for me!

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1) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I think this will always be my favourite book. I’m sorry that it seems to be on my top ten list every week but I can’t help it! It’s a beautiful love story and is so much better than any film or tv adaptation.

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2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Another one that is probably on this list every week! It’s up there at the top of my list of favourite books with Wuthering Heights.

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3) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

I wanted to be more specific than just saying “the Harry Potter series” but I did love them all! The Deathly Hallows had to be my favourite though.

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4) Christine by Stephen King

This was the first Stephen King novel I read and I adored it. I couldn’t put it down at all. We were on a family holiday at the time and I was the most anti-social big sister ever! After this I started reading other Stephen Kings and he is one of my favourite authors.

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5) Mort by Terry Pratchett

Still my favourite of the discworld series and one of the first I read! My favourite discworld novels are all the ones about Death so I also love Hogfather and Reaper Man.

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6) Dead to the World – Charlaine Harris

Eric was always my favourite character in the True Blood series but in this book he is just so loveable! Definitely my favourite True Blood novel.

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7) Room by Emma Donoghue

I read this just before I started blogging and it was an exciting novel for me as it encouraged me to branch out and try new genres! I bought it because everybody was raving about it but I was never really sure if I’d like it. I loved it!

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8) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I read this in about 48 hours when I was ill. I’m pretty sure most people have read it by now but if you haven’t you need to try it! I spent the whole Christmas season working at Waterstones a couple of years ago encouraging people to buy this book for their kids but I still hadn’t read it myself. I’m glad I did!

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9) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I remember staying up really late every night reading this book. The concept drew me in but it sat unread on my shelves for a while. When I finally got around to reading it I couldn’t put it down!

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10) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Definitely my guilty pleasure. I know it’s badly written and that Bella is not a very good female lead. I know that vampires are supposed to be scary and not sparkly. Nevertheless I adored this series and I still do!

What books did you used to like before you were a blogger? Has blogging encouraged you to try different genres?

Top Ten Tuesday – Characters I Would Crush On!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks theme is the top ten characters from books that you would crush on if you were also a fictional character. Not a problem for me as I crush on them when I’m not! Here’s my list:

Heathcliff – Wuthering Heights

By this I mean the young Heathcliff rather than the older, slightly psychopathic Heathcliff! I can totally understand why Cathy fell in love with the young and wild Heathcliff and the love between them was amazing.

Sam – Wolves of Mercy Falls

Sam is cute and just lovely. Exactly the type of guy I’d have fallen for!

Eric – True Blood

While I do like a bad guy I think it is worth mentioning here that the Eric Northman from the books is a very different character to the vampire in the TV series! His love for Sookie is truly unbreakable and he’s not as arrogant either!


Fiyero – Wicked

I loved Fiyero (who again is not identical to the character from the musical!). This is a guy who can see past the fact that Elphaba has bright green skin. He’s also very political which I like!

Neville Longbottom – Harry Potter Series

Neville often gets forgotten while readers fantasise about Draco Malfoy (YES) and Harry Potter. He is one of the most brave and loyal characters in the series and he is the one that saved the day in the end!

Severus Snape – Harry Potter Series

I don’t think I need to say anything here apart from “Always…”

Morpheus – Splintered

The less obvious choice here I think. Morpheus would do anything for the women he loves and his dark side just adds to his charm.

Jeb – Splintered

I’ve made the obvious choice as well though! Jeb again would do anything for Alyssa (lucky girl!) and is exactly the type of guy I looked for when I was her age.

Finn – The Magic Toyshop

A little known book I think but one I found through an online book club. I fell in love with the cheeky Finn.

Yul – Magus of Stonewylde

Ahh Yul was perfect in the first few books. Brave, loyal and a total hippy!

Who are your book crushes?

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books To Read In Spring

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is the top ten books I want to read in Spring. I want to get through quite a few books that I already have on my shelves rather than buying new ones but there are some I need to get!

New Books

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The Art of Wishing – Lindsay Ribar

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a novel about a genie. Vampires yes, werewolves yes. Genies? I’m fascinated!

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Phantom – Laura DeLuca

This looks amazing. It comes out at the end of this month and I need to acquire a copy ASAP!

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Broken – A.E. Rought

I want this one for similar reasons as Phantom. This is based on Frankenstein and looks amazing.

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Cinder – Marissa Meyer

It seems that everyone is reading this one. I know it’s either going to be amazing or I’ll hate it. I think it’s the cyborg aspect that puts me off a bit but I need to try it.

Already On My TBR Shelf

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Splintered – A.G. Howard

I now have a copy of this so I think it will be my next read! I love anything Wonderland and this has received a lot of good reviews!

 

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The Understudy – David Nicholls

I loved One Day and Starter For Ten so this is next on my TBR list.

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The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe – Douglas Adams

I read A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy a few months ago and loved it. It’s definitely time to read the next in the series!

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Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

Another book that everyone seems to be reading! I’ve had this on my TBR shelf for a while and love the look of it.

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What On Earth Evolved? 100 Species That Changed The World – Christopher Lloyd

I started this last year and it’s a fascinating read. I seem to pick it up every so often and then put it back again so I really want to finish it.

Something to Re-Read

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Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

I’m desperate to read this again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. It’s my favourite novel of all time and sometimes I just need to read it!

What are you reading this season?

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Series I Want To Read!

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is top ten series that I want to read but haven’t yet. My list contains some series that I’ve started and some that I haven’t got around to yet!

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1) A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin

Everyone raves about this series so I think I should at least give the first one a try!

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2) The Dark Tower Series – Stephen King

Another one that every other Stephen King fan has read but me. I actually have these books on my shelves so I’ve got no excuse!

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3) The Vampire Chronicles – Anne Rice

I am a huge fan of vampire novels but I still haven’t read these yet! I started Interview with the Vampire when I was a lot younger and got bored but I’m definitely going to try it again.

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4) The Chocolat Series – Joanne Harris

I loved Chocolat but it has been a while since I read it. I recently bought the sequel to this (The Lollipop Shoes) and apparently there is a third one coming! I need to catch up!

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5) Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams

I’ve only read the first novel of this series but I loved it. Again, I’ve got the whole series on my shelf so no excuse!

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6) Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett

I think I’ve mentioned this before but I’m totally confused about where I’m up to in this series! I think I need to reread from the beginning!

Are there any series you need to read?