September reading wrap-up and favourites ☕🍂

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Hello There

September has been a weird month for me, so I’m glad to leave it behind to welcome October. As I finished my studies back in June (but only got all my grades back last week), this September was the first time I didn’t go back to school and it made me feel off-balance, so I tried to take it one day at a time. I’m just exhausted by people asking me if I have found a job, because believe me, if I had found one, I’d be screaming it from the rooftops.

Still, September had amazing moments. I went to Disneyland with my best friend, I went to Paris to visit my boyfriend and some of my friends, as well as to see an exhibition that holds a special place in my heart, I stayed up all night to watch the Emmys, This Is Us came back on TV, the Downton Abbey movie came out, so many things still made me really happy.

what i read

I didn’t have a great reading month in September, in the sense that I wasn’t really in the mood to read anything, only one book I read stood out, plus I abandoned two books. Some months are like this I guess. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I still managed to finish five novels and three comics though, so that’s something. Here are the books that I read:

  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer, not rated (reread)
  • Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray, 4/5 stars
  • The Mighty Thor, vol. 2: Lords of Midgard by Jason Aaron, 3/5 stars
  • The Mighty Thor, vol. 3: The Asgard/Shi’Ar War by Jason Aaron, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Mighty Thor, vol. 4: The War Thor by Jason Aaron, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Confession by Jessie Burton, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Wickerlight by Mary Watson, 3/5 stars
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab, 3.5/5 stars (reread)

My favourite was by far Leia, Princess of Alderaan, it has managed to make me love Leia Organa even more than I already did, plus it featured Amilyn Holdo! Ah, I do love my Star Wars books, they make me so happy.

favourites

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MISC. // Friendship anniversary and Disneyland

On September 4th, my best friend and I celebrated our ten year friendship anniversary and we decided to go to Disneyland for that! It was such a perfect day, we rewatched a few Disney movies in preparation, I’m pretty sure I had never done that many rides in one day, we got matching Disney pins in celebration, I finally saw the new version of Phantom Manor, we stayed until the fireworks and I cried during that show, it definitely was the best day of the month. I can’t believe we’ve been friends for ten years, here’s to so many more and to going to Disney World in 2029. 💖

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DRINK // Pumpkin Spice Latte

With autumn, the Pumpkin Spice Latte came back and it made me so happy to start drinking it again! I also finally tried to make some myself and it tastes amazing, I can’t get enough of it. Everyone in my family tried it and they loved it, so I have to make it in huge batches now… Not that I mind. 😅

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TV SHOWS // Anne with an E and This Is Us

I finally started watching Anne with an E in September and I fell in love with it. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s so refreshing, I am so attached to the characters and the setting is stunning! I’m about halfway through season 2 right now and I can’t wait to catch up. I also decided I’d finally read Anne of Green Gables this month, as I never did growing up, and I’m so excited!

On top of that, This Is Us came back for its fourth season last week and it makes me the happiest. I’ve only watched the season premiere so far, but it was perfect, I can’t wait to see where they go this season and I haven’t listened to anything but Memorized for the past week. I’m watching episode 2 tonight and I just can’t wait. Honestly, my mental health has been all over the place recently, but as long as I have This Is Us, I feel like I can through everything, because this show means the world to me. 💖

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MUSIC // When I Wasn’t Watching, Mandy Moore 

I can’t put into words how much I love and admire Mandy Moore. I rediscovered her through This Is Us back in May (you thought you had seen the last of This Is Us for this post, didn’t you?), so of course I started following her on Instagram and was instantly impressed by her, as she was hiking through Mount Everest with some of her friends at that time. I’ve been following her for months and I find her so inspiring, plus she’s been impressing me more and more as Rebecca in This Is Us for months. On top of that, after ten years, she decided to record new music and released When I Wasn’t Watching. I adore this song so much, it speaks to me on so many levels and I can’t wait for her to release more new music.

I don’t think I had quite realized that until September, as she released new music and as she was nominated for an Emmy, but Mandy Moore has inspired me so much over the past few months. She’s the type of person to persist no matter what, who goes back to her passions even if it’s been ten years and it must be terrifying, and she seems like such a strong and gentle soul. Watching her IG stories every day makes me so happy and honestly? I want to be just like her as I go on in life.

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MOVIE // Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is one of my all-time favourite TV shows, so I was beyond excited when they decided to make a movie of it. I watched it on release day and it was all I could have asked for and more. Sure, it was a bit cheesy at times, but seeing the characters all together on the big screen one last time was everything and the perfect closure. I can’t wait to watch the movie again and again.

Looking Ahead

I am so ready for October to be here! It means autumn is settling itself more and that it’s time to indulge in all things spooky, as Halloween is pretty much here. Here are some things I want to do this month:

  • continue job-hunting,
  • participate in the Gilmoreathon,
  • continue learning Spanish,
  • participate in Inktober (it’s my first time participating so I’m a bit scared),
  • register for my driver’s license,
  • learn Hedwig’s theme on the piano

How was September for you? Any new favourite things?

lots of love

My TBR for the #Gilmoreathon ☕🍂

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Hello There

October is finally coming tomorrow and I am so happy, as autumn is truly installed in the northern hemisphere now. The season of fallen leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, rainy days and so much more is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited, as it’s my favourite season. Like a lot of people, autumn also reminds me of Gilmore Girls, one of my all-time favourite TV shows and it is the perfect season to rewatch it (though I already do that all year, but nevermind).

That being said, a few weeks ago, Olivia @ Liv’s Library, Desi @ Pastel Pages and Mackenzie @ Mackenzie Lane announced they were hosting a two week long readathon based on Gilmore Girls, so of course I had to join in! This readathon is happening from October 1st to October 15th and there are two ways to join: you can either read books based on challenges or read as many books as possible from the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. On top of that, the hosts chose a group book to read all together, Lauren Graham’s memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can. 

What am I planning to read for this readathon?

Well, I have to admit that I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, so I’m hoping this readathon will help me to get out of it. I decided to plan my TBR according to the challenges created by the hosts and tried to make some of my autumn TBR fit them. So without further ado, here’s my TBR for the Gilmoreathon!

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  • read a book with a school setting: in honor of Yale and Chilton.

For this challenge, I am planning to read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, which I think is the perfect choice, as it is set in Yale. As it is coming out during the readathon, I won’t be able to read it straight away, because I have to wait for my copy to arrive, but I’m so excited about it, as it’s a dark academia novel all about secret societies.

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  • read a mother/daughter relationship book: in honor of our favorite mother/daughter relationship ever.

For this one, I am planning to read Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab, the second book in the Cassidy Blake series. I struggled a bit to find a book that fitted that prompt, but Cassidy travels around the world with both her parents, so it totally works! Besides, I was planning to read it in October anyway, as it’s partially set in the Catacombs in Paris, so it’s perfect for the season. 👻

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  • read any cozy book set during fall/winter: in honor of beautiful Stars Hollow and Lorelai smelling snow.

I started watching Anne with an E this month and I’ve been loving it so much, so I decided it was time for me to finally read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery! I’m sure it’ll make for a cozy read and it has that famous quote about October, so it’s perfect for this prompt. I found an audiobook version of the whole series (I’ll be there for 73 hours I guess 😂) I really liked on Scribd, I can’t wait to get to it. 🍂

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  • read a book with complicated love interests: in honour of Rory, Dean & Jess

In which we will not mention how big my crush on Milo Ventimiglia is (though it started because of This Is Us and not Gilmore Girls). 🙈

I’m not too big on romance, but my favourite romance trope is hate-to-love, so I decided to go with Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. With the release of The Rise of Skywalker in December, I thought I’d try to read at least one Star Wars novel per month and I’ll go with this one for October! It’s set in the Clone Wars era and about one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress, who has to pair up with her former Jedi Master Quinlan Vos to eliminate Count Dooku and they have *quite* complicated feelings for each other (hate-to-love helloooo).

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  • read a book by an Asian author or has Asian representation: in honor of our favorite best friend, Lane.

For this challenge, I’m planning on reading Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, which is a Mulan retelling about a young woman who has to pose as a man to compete for the role of imperial tailor and sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars (doesn’t it sound amazing?). I’ve been in a huge fantasy mood, so I’m really excited to read this one and I know Samantha Shannon loved it, so that’s enough for me!

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  • read the next book in a series you haven’t finished yet: in honor of A Year in The Life.

For this one, I’m going to read A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George R.R. Martin, which is the second half of the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (talk about being in the middle of a series 🙈). As I was saying before, I’m in a huge fantasy mood at the moment, I’ve missed these characters so much and as I’ve planned to read a lot of short books for this readathon, I can allow myself to read one bigger book.

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  • read a book with food on the cover or is a crucial part of the storyline: in honor of Luke’s Cafe.

I struggled a bit for that prompt as well, but I decided to go with Pumpkinheads, written by Rainbow Rowell and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, which is a graphic novel about two teenagers working at a pumpkin patch every autumn. It will be the perfect autumnal read, and it’s about pumpkins, so it’ll be very fitting for this challenge.

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  • read the group book

Last but not least, I’m planning on rereading Talking as Fast as I can: from Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham, which is the group book for the readathon. I read it earlier this year and adored it so much, but I really wanted to reread it via audiobook as Lauren Graham is narrating it herself! It has two chapters all about Gilmore Girls and seeing the pictures always makes me really emotional.

So that’s about it for my TBR. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come, so I can get started on the Gilmoreathon!

Are you participating in this readathon? What are you planning to read in October?
lots of love

The Confession by Jessie Burton | Book review

Hello There

Another Sunday, another book review. It’s currently quite gloomy outside and I’m drinking coffee while writing this post, so truly, it is the perfect time to blog. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, but I recently finished The Confession by Jessie Burton, which I was lucky enough to get an e-ARC of, so I thought I’d share my review of it with you all today!

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The Confession by Jessie Burton

Published on September 19th by Picador

Summary: The sensational new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse.

One winter’s afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.

Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie’s imposing house in search of a confession . . .

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, this is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE CONFESSION

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes used in this review may have changed upon publication.

You’re all so brilliant, and you’ve got so much going for you. And if you haven’t got to where you wanted to get by the time you’re twenty-five, you should probably thank your lucky stars. Seriously. Because if getting there is hard, holding on to your dream is possibly even harder. Nothing ever stays the same.

— Jessie Burton, The Confession, p. 345.

When I got approved for this e-ARC, I was absolutely thrilled, because I adored the author’s previous novel, The Muse, and I was so looking forward to reading more of her words.

The Confession is a historical fiction novel built on one of my favourite tropes of that genre: alternating between points of view from different eras, which will eventually come together to resolve a mystery, so I loved its storyline. It is a compelling narrative about family, love, loss, relationships, motherhood and embracing who you are, which I really enjoyed. Be warned that there is a trigger warning for abortion in this book, so be careful if it’s something that triggers you.

I know historical fiction can be a bit daunting for some readers, as it means going to a different time and place, it can be complicated to read, but I feel like historically speaking, The Confession was easy to get through. The historical setting is immersive and easy to picture, as it was set in 1980s Hollywood, which doesn’t feel that far away, so it could appeal to readers who aren’t used to reading historical fiction.

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The Confession is mainly about three women: Elise, Connie and Rose, and their paths through life, which I really enjoyed reading about, though the characters weren’t always likeable. On one hand, my favourite to read about was Rose, a 35 years old woman, whose storyline was set in 2017. Her story was about self-discovery, as she is aching to know the truth about her mom who left her when she was littl, since she believes it will fill a void inside her. She was a relatable character and I could see a lot of myself in her, as she hadn’t figured herself out just yet.

On another hand, the book followed Elise, whose storyline was set in the 1980s, and I really didn’t like her, but was still curious about her story. While she was really flawed and I felt like her characterization wasn’t always as in-depth as Rose’s, the author managed to keep me interested in her story and secrets. To be honest, I didn’t always get her, I don’t really know what drove her nor what she wanted in life, so that was a shame.

Last but not least, this novel was about Constance, a writer whose book is about to be adapted into a movie in L.A. in the 1980s and a secluded writer in 2017. Connie wasn’t a very likeable character either, she was cold and heartless at times, but she was so authentic and she shone through way more than Elise did. I also adored reading about her as she was older, as well as reading about her writing.the-confession-aesthetic

The Confession‘s main romance is about Elise and Connie, which I loved reading about, though they definitely didn’t have an healthy relationship. I loved that it was about two women falling in love with each other in the 1980s, but it wasn’t about them realizing they loved women, nor coming out. They already knew they were queer, it wasn’t made a big deal and it went from there. I love reading about coming out stories, they’re so important, but love stories about queer people without this storyline are really important as well.

Just like in The Muse, Jessie Burton’s writing style was engaging and beautiful, making me highlight so many quotes and always being excited to get back to it. Every time I picked up The Confession, I couldn’t stop reading it, especially in the second half, when we were starting to get answers and so many chapters ended on cliffhangers. The novel finished on an open-ending, which I thought was fitting to the story, though I felt like the last chapter was unnecessary, as I don’t think it added much to the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this, though not as much as Jessie Burton’s previous novel, The Muse. Most of the characters feel authentic and while they aren’t always likeable, the author kept me interested in them. I really enjoyed this story overall and I’m looking forward to reading more of Jessie Burton’s works in the future.3-5-stars.jpgAre you planning on reading this book? Have you read Jessie Burton’s other works?lots of love

 

My most anticipated book releases of this autumn 🍂

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Hello There

Autumn is right on the corner and with that, so many new books are being released. Like I usually do, I wanted to share my most anticipated book releases for these next three months (October-December), so that’s what I’m doing today. My Goodreads shelves will soon be overflowing, but well, I’m really excited to get to all of these books!

Writing this post, I remembered how there was this new trend of putting snakes on book covers and I’m deadly terrified of snakes… I can’t wait for this trend to wear off because I don’t like it at all, especially when it concerns some of my most anticipated releases. *sigh* But anyway, let’s jump right into it!

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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Published: October 1st 2019 by Flatiron Books

Genre: adult fiction

Leigh Bardugo releasing new books is always exciting, so of course this one is on my list! Ninth House is her adult debut and is about Alex, the sole survivor of a multiple homicide, who is offered a second chance at life and starts attending Yale, where she has to monitor the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Now, I’m a bit wary of going into this one as I’ve seen there are many trigger warnings for it, but nonetheless, I’m so ready for a book set at Yale AND about secret societies (it makes me think of Gilmore Girls, but oh well, it definitely won’t be lighthearted like that).

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys 

Published: October 1st 2019 by Philomel Books

Genre: young adult historical fiction

I read Between Shades of Gray by the same author a few years ago and I really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to this one! All I know is that it’s set in 1950s Spain, under the dictatorship of General Franco. I haven’t read anything set during that time period, so it got me curious, plus I recently got back to learning Spanish and would like to learn a bit more about Spanish history, it’ll be a good one to read for sure!

Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo 

Published: October 1st 2019 by Onwe Press

Genre: young adut fantasy

I discovered this one when they released the latest version of the cover, and oh my, is this stunning! 😍 This fantasy novel is set in the ancient Nigerian Kingdom of Nri (!!) where a war resulted in the old gods’ departure from earth and the only remnants of their existence lie in two girls. These twin sisters were separated at birth, goddesses who grew up as humans, as they embark on a journey to discover themselves and to be together again.

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The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Published: October 8th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genres: young adult historical and paranormal fiction

I am so excited about this one, as it is set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight. This setting sounds amazing and I’ve enjoyed some of Renee Ahdieh’s previous books. I’ve been longing to read vampire books as I somehow miss them (not the cheesy and unhealthy ones, though) and this one is releasing not too far from Halloween, so it’ll be perfect for the season! 🧛

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern 

Published: November 5th 2019 by Harvill Secker

Genres: adult fantasy

It’s been such a long time since The Night Circus came out, so I’m really intrigued to read something new from Erin Morgenstern. This one is about a graduate student who discovers a mysterious book… which tells a story from his own childhood. Trying to understand, he uncovers a series of clues that lead him to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth. I also know there are pirates and ships, I’m always there for a story that has something to do with the sea, so I’m really excited!

Girls of Storms and Shadows by Natasha Ngan 

Published: November 5th 2019 by Jimmy Patterson Books

Genre: young adult fantasy

I read Girls of Paper and Fire earlier this year, so I’m excited to read its sequel! The first book was about a young woman chosen to become a concubine, but ended up falling in love with another girl and getting involved in a rebellion. I loved the main characters so much and I can’t wait to read about what they’ll be up to next!

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Supernova by Marissa Meyer

Published: November 5th 2019 by Feiwel & Friends

Genre: young adult science-fiction

Supernova is the conclusion to the Renegades trilogy, so I’m curious to see how the author will wrap it up! I really enjoy how it is about superheroes and supervillains, how it discusses whether the way they’re acting is right and how political it has gotten. The previous book was a little bit too heavy on the romance for me, but I have faith in this one, bring on all the conflict instead!

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black 

Published: November 19th 2019 by Little, Brown

Genre: young adult fantasy

Another conclusion I’m impatiently waiting for! Holly Black’s Folk of the Air is such a gripping trilogy, I adore how she writes faeries, it is full of terrible characters and I’m living for it. The previous book ended on quite a big cliffhanger, so I really need to get my hands on this one (thankfully it’s released sooner than it was supposed to). I can’t wait to go back to Elfhame, its politics and of course Jude and Cardan.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Published: December 3rd 2019 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Genres: young adut fantasy

Children of Blood and Bone was one of my favourite books of 2018 and I’ve been anticipating its sequel for quite a while now, as they’ve been pushing it back again and again. It is about a land where magic disappeared, as the king decided to kill everyone who had magic. Years later, Zélie has the chance to bring magic back and there the story begins. I just reread my review for it and I’m even more excited now, I might reread the first book, we’ll see. In any case, I can’t wait to finally know what’s next for these characters.

Are you excited for any of these books? What are your most anticipated Autumn releases?lots of love

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave | Book review

Hello There

As I am beyond excited for autumn and Halloween, I started on my Halloween reading… In August. One of the books I was eyeing the most for Halloween was The Deathless Girls, which is a f/f reimagining of the brides of Dracula. I was lucky enough to be approved for an e-ARC of it and read it as soon as I could (I was so excited!). It’s coming out next week in the UK, so I thought I’d share my review of it with you all today!

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The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Published on September 19th 2019 by Orion Children’s Books

Summary:  Gothic, intoxicating, feminist and romantic – this is the breathtakingly imagined untold story of the brides of Dracula, by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave in her much-anticipated YA debut.

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

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MY THOUGHTS ON THE DEATHLESS GIRLS

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Deathless Girls sounded like such a promising read, perfect for autumn: who wouldn’t want to read a f/f reimagining of Dracula, which gives a voice to the voiceless? In Dracula, it is mentioned that the vampire has three brides, two dark, one fair. The Deathless Girls is the story of two of them.

From the first few words, The Deathless Girls is a brutal story and doesn’t shy away from the realities of history. It follows Lil and her twin sister Kizzy, which see their family and community slaughtered and burned to the ground on the eve of their seventeenth birthday, before they are enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, ruler of the land. They are then taken away to his castle, where they become serving girls and eventually cross paths with Dracula.

As expected, this novel is full of gothic elements and I really enjoyed reading about them. It goes from the darkness in humans’ hearts, which can be filled with hate and prejudice without any reason, to the more supernatural gothic elements, exploring the myth of the vampire. All in all, the setting was believable and was great for a book you’d read during autumn or near Halloween.

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At its core, The Deathless Girls is a character-driven story, but I unfortunately didn’t connect much with the main character, Lil. I liked reading about her enough, but it never went beyond that, which is a shame. I was also really looking forward to reading about her relationship with her twin sister Kizzy, but their relationship was more told than showed, so I couldn’t understand the love they had for each other. Speaking of Kizzy, I didn’t like that she was depicted as the almost perfect, always right, almost superior to everyone else,prettier twin that everyone has to follow! It was really cliché and didn’t help me to connect with the characters either.

I have to be honest though, as this book is about the brides of Dracula, I had huge expectations on how the author would deal with the vampire myth. I think she did a great job… for the little bits we got. I expected most of the book to focus on the vampire myth and to pick up on Dracula’s story soon enough, but it wasn’t the case. The Deathless Girls is a slow-paced book and sure, it focuses on the backstory of two of Dracula’s brides, but you have to wait about two thirds of the way through before the vampires are mentioned. That being said, the last hundred pages of the book were amazing, as they were gripping and finally focused on the myth of the vampire. It was chilling and exactly what I expected from this book, but I’d have liked to read about that before.

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The Deathless Girls is much more of a backstory book that doesn’t involve vampires that much, and while I didn’t expect that, there are some parts of that I enjoyed. Indeed, Lil and Kizzy came from a traveller community, I really liked how it was explored. I find it to be a very interesting topic, as it is rarely touched upon and the author discussed the prejudice people from settled communities can have towards the traveller ones. The novel also mentions folklore of the travelling communities, which was great to read about, but I’d have liked to know more about that. I understand that in part, as the girls are ripped away from their homes and in a way of their identity, but it’s only a very small part of the story when you consider the summary, and that was a shame for me.

To be honest, most of the book felt abrupt and rushed to me. I found the romance really sweet and I really liked Mira, but would have liked more build-up for some scenes to make it believable. Like I said, the vampire elements come into play only in the last third of the book, and so do The Deathless Girls themselves. This novel felt like such an interesting idea, but I didn’t really like its execution: I found the final decision of the main character to be barely explained and anticlimactic, plus the final bride of Dracula was barely mentioned in the epilogue, getting two lines and not even a real name, which I found a bit ironic.

Overall, I liked this book, but am a little frustrated. I wish this book had been longer, so it had gotten more build-up, because it ended up being underwhelming. This story was such a great idea, had a diverse cast of characters, but I felt like everything was rushed to go to the end, but because of that, I didn’t have time to get invested into the characters, the story or what was at stake for them. Still, I think readers will enjoy it more than I did and that it works well as a Halloween read.

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Are you planning on reading this book or have you read it already? Do you have recommendations for books with vampires?

lots of love

My Autumn bucket list 🍂

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Hello There

It might be early September, so it’s still technically summer, but I’m all set for autumn. It’s a Sunday afternoon, it’s raining outside, I’m curled up in a blanket and our kitten Peter is sleeping next to me, so it certainly feels like autumn already.

Autumn is by far my favourite season and I’m so happy it’s coming back in the northern hemisphere. We got a quick temperature drop over the past few days and I’m not sure how long it’ll last, but I’m loving feeling colder and slowly switching to my autumnal wardrobe. Because of that, I already started thinking about my autumn bucket list and thought I’d share it with you today!

This autumn, I want to…

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  • go on walks
  • have cozy reading parties while it rains
  • go to a pumpkin patch
  • have a Harry Potter marathon

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  • do a Halloween-themed 24 hour readathon
  • have an autumnal picnic
  • make my own pumpkin spice latte
  • watch spooky (or not) movies and TV shows

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  • decorate the house for autumn
  • go apple picking
  • organize a Harry Potter-themed party
  • rewatch Charmed

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  • start a new knitting project
  • walk on fallen leaves
  • take part in Inktober
  • carve a pumpkin

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  • dress up for Halloween
  • reread The Diviners series
  • drink hot cocoa outside
  • bake Halloween cookies

That’s it for me today! I shall now make myself a cup of coffee and go back to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina… see, someone is definitely in the mood. Have a lovely Sunday!

Do you have anything on your bucket list for autumn or spring, depending from where you are in the world?

lots of love

Wrapping up the #NEWTsReadathon2019 ✨ | August wrap-up

magical-readathon

Hello There

HAPPY BACK TO HOGWARTS DAY!

source

Everyone is on board the Hogwarts Express, getting excited for a new school year in the most magical school and I’m not among them… Because I have graduated from Hogwarts and am now a Magizoologist! 😱

In August, I participated in the Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast, a month-long readathon based around the exams students take at Hogwarts. I was studying to become a Magizoologist and managed to pass all my exams! I thought that I’d wrap it up today and of course, share my passing grades. 😉

To become a Magizoologist, I needed to get an Outstanding in Care of Magical Creatures and an Exceeded Expectations in both Charms and Herbology. I *really* wanted to get an Outstanding in everything though, and that’s what I did, so here are the books I read to pass these exams!

♡ Care of Magical Creatures

  • Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, 3/5 stars
  • Thor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron, 4/5 stars
  • Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield, 2/5 stars

♡ Charms

  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, 5/5 stars
  • Thor, Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer? by Jason Aaron, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Door by Magda Szabó, 3/5 stars

♡ Herbology

  • King Lear by William Shakespeare, 4/5 stars
  • A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood, 2.5/5 stars
  • The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, 4/5 stars

I am so happy to have passed all these exams, I was quite the reading machine in August and that’s how… I finished my required reading on August 15th. After that, I studied a bit harder to get an Outstanding in everything (see above), but also decided to pass additional exams (can you tell I’m a Ravenclaw, studying for exams I don’t even need to pass?!).

hermione-library.gifSo anyway, I also got an Outstanding in both Astronomy and Divination, plus an Exceeded Expectations in Ancient Runes.

♡ Astronomy

  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 3, by Naoko Takeuchi
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  • The Mighty Thor, Volume 1: Thunder in Her Veins by Jason Aaron

♡ Divination

  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 4, by Naoko Takeuchi, 4/5 stars
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, 4/5 stars
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 5, by Naoko Takeuchi, 4/5 stars

♡ Ancient Runes

  • Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Deathless Girls by Karen Millwood Hargrave, 3.5/5 stars

August was probably my best reading month so far this year in quantity, but my ratings went from 2 stars to 5 stars, so it was quite a mixed bag. My highlights of the month in terms of reading were The Kingdom of Copper, my first five-star read since March, but also Nevernight, which I had been putting off for the longest time but adored! ❤️

All in all, this readathon was a lot of fun once again. In the end, I passed everything I needed to, I graduated from Hogwarts and am now free to be a Magizoologist and wanders the world with magical creatures! I sure will participate in the Magical Readathon next year!

What did you read in August? What was your favourite book of the month?

lots of love

July 2019 Reading Wrap-Up + Favourites

july-2019

Hello There

Ah, July. July was the first month of my holidays/after I finished everything and it’s been a tough one. My mental health was all over the place for most of the month and while it improved a bit, I still struggle a lot with it. It’s been a really weird month, but I’ve tried. I’ve been more creative like I wanted, I went to the sea many times, which made me feel better and I created myself a new routine, which helped a bit as well. Here’s to hope that August will be better!

what i read

July wasn’t off to a very good start when it came to reading, but I started using a reading tracker a week into the month and it helped a lot. I love tracking how much I read each day; it motivates me to read every day and to read a lot again. I haven’t read as much as usual this year, so I haven’t turned to reading as much as I used to, which made me a bit sad. Last month, I went with the flow of what I wanted to read the most because I needed to be all excited about reading again, I’m starting to feel that way again, which is amazing. Here are the books that I read in July:

  • Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier, 4.5/5 stars
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, 3.5/5 stars
  • Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier, 4/5 stars
  • The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon, 4/5 stars
  • Sailor Moon, vol. 1 by Naoko Takeuchi, 3/5 stars
  • The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • Sailor Moon, vol. 2 by Naoko Takeuchi, 3/5 stars

I’m glad I reread some of my favourite books, because it’s what I needed, plus reading more of Juliet Marillier’s works was everything, she’s becoming one of my favourite authors for sure!

favourites

this-is-us

TV SHOW // This Is Us (NBC)

For the third month in a row, my absolute favourite of the month was This Is Us. After two months and a half of binge-watching the show, my best friend and I are finally caught up with This Is Us, which breaks my heart a little bit, as it means I have to wait until September 24th for the next season (thank God I follow the cast on Instagram and they’re currently filming). At this point, I have embraced the fact that I cry during every episode of the show and that it means the world to me. Considering how tough the past few months I’ve been, I don’t know what I would have done without this show, it teaches me so much and always gives me hope. Truly one of my all-time favourite shows. 💛

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BOOKS // Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series

I absolutely adored Daughter of the Forest when I read it back in May and I was so excited to get to the rest of the first trilogy. I read Son of the Shadows and Child of the Prophecy in July and fell in love with them as well: Juliet Marillier’s writing is magical, I adore how she weaves folklore into her novels and her main characters are so memorable. I barely ever binge-read book series (the last time I did it was for Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy), but I really didn’t want to leave Sevenwaters behind and I’m happy I read these books almost back to back. I am longing to go back to Juliet Marillier’s medieval Ireland, so I’ll probably get the Blackthorn & Grim series or the rest of the Sevenwaters books soon.

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MISC. // Lemons 🍋

I’ve been all over lemons for the past few months or so, and it’s all because of… This Is Us (yeah, sorry for mentioning it again). There is a quote in the show about how there is no lemon so sour that you can’t make something resembling lemonade and I’ve been trying to live by it every day (truly, I live by so many things I hear in this show). Because of that and because I’m obsessed with yellow anyway, I’ve been putting lemons in everything in my life, whether I’m actually making lemonade, wearing clothes with lemon patterns, baking lemon cake (my favourite, it was meant to be!) or sewing a lemon tote bag (see above, I can’t wait to finish this project!). Lemons remind me that everything is going to be okay and I’ve really needed it lately.

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TV SHOW // Las Chicas del Cable (Netflix)

I started watching Las Chicas del Cable in June to help improve my Spanish and I ended up binge-watching it quite quickly, I love it so much. This Spanish show, set in the 1920s-1930s, follows four women working as cable girls in a phone company and it’s so addicting! They always get caught up in big dramas and it talks about so many important issues. One of my favourite things about this show is the friendship linking the main characters, they have each other’s backs through every situation and it makes me so happy. It even has queer characters, which I feel is still rare in period dramas and makes me love it even more. I totally recommend it, the fourth season is coming out on August 9th and it’s going to be everything!

six-the-musical

MUSIC // Six the Musical

If you know me, you probably know that I mainly listen to musicals or music I hear in movies, so of course, I had to fall in love with a new musical in the past few months. This one is about Henry VIII’s six wives, so as I’m a history nerd and am really interested by this era, of course I adore it! It was recently announced that it was coming to Broadway and Australia and it makes me so happy, it deserves it so much. I’d love to see it live someday. 💜

Looking Ahead

I am hoping that August will be a better month than July for me, I am looking forward to many small things, so fingers crossed that will be the case. Here are my goals for August:

  • participate in the N.E.W.T.s readathon
  • finish to rearrange everything in my room
  • continue to be more creative
  • practice Spanish every day
  • start learning Danish again
  • it would be great if I registered for my driving license, but we’ll see about that…

What about you? How was July? Any new favourite books?

lots of love

Magical Readathon 2019 — N.E.W.T.s TBR

magical-readathon

Hello There

I am beyond excited that August is around the corner, because with August, the Magical Readathon is coming back and it is time to sit for my N.E.W.T.s!

The Magical Readathon was created by Book Roast on YouTube and it is a month-long readathon based around the exams students take at Hogwarts, which happens twice a year, once in April for the O.W.L.s and once in August for the N.E.W.T.s. You can even pick a wizarding career and choose your O.W.L.s/N.E.W.T.s depending on it, which is so much fun. I already participated in April for the O.W.L.s and adored it, so I’m really excited to pass my N.E.W.T.s. I’d recommend to check G’s video announcement for the N.E.W.T.s, it has all the information you need.

Without any surprise, I am studying to become a Magizoologist and I need to study Care of Magical Creatures (I need an Optimal to pass), Charms (I need an Exceeded Expectations) and Herbology (I need an Exceeded Expectations as well). Overachiever as I am, I really want to try to get an Optimal in everything, so we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, here’s my TBR for the N.E.W.T.s!

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A: book title that starts with a letter AArchenemies by Marissa Meyer

I read Renegades last year and absolutely adored it: I loved that it was about people with superpowers and the two main characters are amazing. I had been aching to read its sequel, but hadn’t found the perfect occasion to do so yet (so many books, so little time), so when I saw this prompt, I knew I had to finally get to it. I am so looking forward to going back into this world and well, at least I won’t have too long to wait until Supernova‘s release.

♡ E: book under 300 pagesThor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder  by Jason Aaron

I’ve been planning to read these comics for the longest time, but now that they have announced that Natalie Portman was coming back to the MCU to become the Goddess of Thunder, I have to. In this 2014 comics run, Thor is unworthy and Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted, until… a mysterious woman grasps it and takes Thor’s mantle! It sounds so good and I mostly read comics about superheroines, so it’s perfect for me!

♡ O: read a book with a bird on the coverOnce Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale is one of my favourite books of this year and I am so looking forward to reading more by Diane Setterfield. Once Upon a River is her newest release and follows the discovery of a girl’s lifeless body, who later returns to life and is claimed by three families. It seems to be quite dark and atmospheric and it combines folklore and science, so I’m really intrigued about it.

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♡ A: read a book that you think has a gorgeous coverThe Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass was one of my favourite books of last year and helped a lot to get me into a huge fantasy slump, because I loved it too much. This fantasy book is inspired by Middle East folklore, set in 18th century Cairo, and follows Nahri, a con woman who accidentally summons a djinn. The Kingdom of Copper is the second book in the trilogy, its cover is stunning (it’s the UK cover if you’re wondering, it wins!), and I’ve been rereading the first book to be able to get to it, so I’m really excited!

♡ E: read a comic/graphic novel/manga — Thor, Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer? by Jason Aaron

Of course, after reading The Goddess of Thunder, I will have to finish reading this comics run, as there are only two volumes! It is perfect for a month-long readathon, as I have longer reads like The Kingdom of Copper to get through.

♡ O: read a paperback book — The Door by Magda Szabó 

I won this book in a giveaway hosted by my friend Anna @ AnnaofBookingham on Instagram and I’m so curious to read it, because I know she adored it! This Hungarian novel follows Emerence, a domestic servant, that young writer Magda takes in, and the relationship they develop for the next twenty years. I can’t wait to discover it and to chat with Anna about it!

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A: listen to an audiobook — King Lear by William Shakespeare

I’ve been trying to read one of Shakespeare’s plays every month this year (I’m two plays behind though, oops), so I definitely have to read one of them in August and I adore to listen to them via audiobooks, as they have entire casts and sometimes background noises. They also are really quick to go by, as the audiobooks usually last three hours, so it’s perfect for a readathon. This time, I’m giving a try to King Lear and I’m really excited, I’ve heard amazing things about it!

♡ E: read a book between 350-390 pagesA Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

To be honest, the second I heard this book was set in Cornwall, I knew I had to read it. I’m fascinated with Cornwall (thank you for that, Daphne du Maurier) and I’m always really excited to read books set there. A Sky Painted Gold is also set during the 1920s and is about Lou, a young woman who stumbles into the world into the glittering world of the Cardew family. Lucy @ Lucy the Reader has been raving about it for months and she said it was perfect for summer, so I’m all about that!

♡ O: read a book with a flower on the cover The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

I read The Bone Season earlier this week and I really liked it, I found the world to be fascinating and I can’t wait to get back into it, because the second book, The Mime Order, sure sounds promising. This series is about Paige Mahoney, who is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, in 2059. Her job is to scout information by breaking into people’s minds, a power… which is illegal. I am so excited to get more into this series!

So that’s it for my TBR for the N.E.W.T.s! My Optimal reads for Charms and Herbology aren’t my top priorities, but fingers crossed I can get to them and maybe other books. In any case, I’m so motivated to prioritize reading in August.

What are you planning to read in August? Are you participating in this readathon?

lots of love

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

mid-year-freak-out-book-tag

Hello There

Just like that, it’s already July and we’re halfway through the year! I thought that to reflect on what I’ve read this year so far, I’d do the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag just like last year, because it is such a fun tag to do! This tag was originally created by Chami and Ely. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

♡ Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

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Without hesitation, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, which also made it to my favourite books of all time! My words can’t do it justice, but from the very beginning I fell in love with it and it has everything I love. It’s a diverse fantasy novel with a queendom and dragons, does one need more? I also adore these characters so much, it has one of my favourite couples ever (and probably my favourite f/f romance) and I miss them so much, there is a 99% chance that I’ll reread it before the end of the year.

♡ Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

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I haven’t read a lot of sequels to be completely honest, but I adored The Wicked King by Holly Black so much! It was such a strong follow-up to The Cruel Prince, it made me discover more of the world, it had such compelling politics, I adore Jude and I finally made up my mind: I do love Cardan as well. I am so excited for The Queen of Nothing to be released in November, I can’t get enough of this series.

♡ New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

the-kingdom-of-copper

Honestly, I can’t believe I still haven’t read The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, what have I been doing? The City of Brass was one of my favourite books of last year and I’d really love to reread it before moving on to its sequel, hopefully it’ll happen this summer!

♡ Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

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I already mentioned it in a recent blog post, but I have been anticipating The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier for so long now! This one is the first in a trilogy about warrior bards, which is the coolest thing ever, I am so hyped for it! I love how Juliet Marillier weaves folklore into her stories, I’m sure it’ll be beautifully done here once again.

♡ Biggest disappointment

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Unfortunately, I didn’t really like The House at Riverton by Kate Morton and I’m still so mad to have been disappointed that much. It was blurbed as perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and as I had loved The Lake House by the same author, I was confident I’d love this one too. Well… That wasn’t the case at all, I was so underwhelmed and rolled my eyes too many times.

♡ Biggest surprise

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, which is my second favourite book of the year! While I was reading this book, I couldn’t put it down and read way past my bedtime. It is a gothic novel about stories and uncovering the truth, no matter how bad it can be. Diane Setterfield’s writing was spectacular and it had such a gloomy atmosphere I adored. I have yet to watch the movie adaptation, which stars Olivia Colman, Vanessa Redgrave and Sophie Turner (what a cast!), I am so excited.

♡ Favourite new author

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I wouldn’t say I have a new favourite author just yet, but I might feel differently about it in a few months. However, I feel like Juliet Marillier could make it to this list in the near future. I adored Daughter of the Forest so much, it was splendidly written and it’s one of those books that I feel will stay with me for a very long time. I started reading the follow-up to Daughter of the ForestSon of the Shadows, a few days ago and while I’m not far into it, I adore her writing and it makes me feel at home. Her upcoming book is also my most anticipated release for the second half of the year, so yes, I do believe she could become one of my favourite authors!

♡ Newest fictional crush

As a matter of fact, I don’t really have any new ones? That’s a bit weird for me, but okay. 🤷🏼‍♀️

♡ Newest favourite character

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I don’t have any new fictional crushes, but wow do I have a new favourite character! I adore Eadaz uq-Nāra from The Priory of the Orange Tree with all my heart. She’s such a clever, loyal and strong character and I can’t help but admire her. I even named one of my cacti after her, that’s how much I love her (okay, now I want to reread Priory even more).

♡ Book that made you cry

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Definitely Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Once again, I was a little bit too invested into this story and characters, so I cried during the book, but also for quite some time after finishing it, because I couldn’t believe that it was over and that Daisy Jones & The Six weren’t actually real people. Taylor Jenkins Reid is such an amazing writer.

♡ Book that made you happy

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Gilmore Girls is one of my favourite TV shows ever, so I was so happy to read Lauren Graham’s memoir Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between). Reading her book felt like catching up with a friend and I adored reading about so many of her experiences. My favourite parts were of course the chapters dedicated to Gilmore Girls, what was it like to film it through the years and what was it like to go back to it years after it ended. It was also full of pictures and seeing Lauren through the years and the cast together was everything.

♡ Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

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These two beauties, The Priory of the Orange Tree and Spinning Silver (and I loved them both, so that’s a win), I could stare at them all day long.

♡ What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are so many books I want to get to before the year ends, but my priorities are to read more of Juliet Marillier’s works, to finally get to The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and to continue reading Robin Hobb’s series, The Liveship Traders being the next one I’ll get around to reading.

So that’s it, so far I’ve had an amazing reading year and I’m so happy I’ve discovered so many *books, especially The Priory of the Orange Tree and The Thirteenth Tale, which are my newest favourite books.

What are your favourite book(s) of the year so far?

lots of love