All the fictional royals I don’t like

Because nothing’s more of a pain than a royal pain. As much as I enjoy books that feature kings and queens, sometimes they drive me a bit nuts. Having a crown makes people really entitled- and as true to life as that is, I frickin hate it. So here’s a list of some of the royal characters that I can’t stand:

Princess Diaries– while this is a series I liked for a lot of reasons (I read a helluva lot of them) the titular character kinda grated on my nerves. While the romance in the books is so much better than the movies, I just feel like the book version of Princess Mia lacks the charm of Anne Hathaway’s version. And to be honest, even though I read this as a teenager, I found it irritating to be in the head of this moaning teenage girl. There’s a reason- beyond respecting privacy- that you should never read someone else’s diary.

Selection– speaking of annoying, the character who takes the crown for MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER EVER is America Singer. Oh America, America, why must you be so darn bothersome? She can’t even decide between two equally bland boys, let alone do anything politically significant. And yet what she wears is somehow super important to the future of the realm. Admittedly, she’s the only one here who’s not technically a royal and frankly she’s earned her place on this list.  

Red Queen– again, not technically royal, but (the aptly named) Mare is boring AS HELL. Actually though, while we’re on the topic, I don’t like her royal love interest or the cartoonish villains in the royal family that surround her. So basically, everyone in this series gets on my nerves. No wonder I never finished it.

Vampire Academy– to be fair, the princess isn’t the main character. Because YE GODS she’s not interesting enough to be (at least in the first book).

Red, White and Royal Blue– okay this may be the one that I get in trouble for… ah well, in for a penny… truthfully I can’t stand either of the leads in this. Alex, the president’s son, is a bit too whiny for my tastes. And honestly, Prince Henry reminds me of a certain entitled real royal (who funnily enough shares the same name). And I know duty is a foreign concept, but it doesn’t endear me to characters who think only of themselves.

The Thief– I would’ve loved this series if not for the royalty in it!! They should all have their heads on spikes! Both the Queen of Eddis and (to an even greater extent) the Queen of Attolia are awful. And Gen basically takes the brunt of all their terrible decisions. What makes it even worse is the unearned romance with the psychopathic Queen of Attolia.

A Court of Thorns and Roses– Tamlin is an abusive man child. In case you didn’t already know.

And that’s all for now! Do you agree or disagree with my list? And what royals do you want to see the back of? Let me know in the comments!  

Mid Year Freak Out Tag 2022!

Hello all! Looks like we made it, look how far we’ve come… it’s halfway through 2022!! I’m having a great reading year and frankly I don’t want it to stop- let’s talk about why, shall we?

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2020

Sword of Kaigen– this book was absolute FIRE!! It reminded me why I love fantasy, it reminded me why I love magic, heck it reminded me why I love reading!!

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2020

Cytonic– ever since I finished it, I cannot stop thinking about when the next one’s coming. I’m obsessed with this series. It makes me all starry eyed 😉

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

Gallant is the one I have highest on my list right now!

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Pretty Dead Queens– Alexa Donne’s first YA thriller was killer- definitely looking forward to her next one 😊

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

The Coveit was just so meh. All the characters were bland and moany and boring. And even worse, I didn’t care about the so-called mystery. Not exactly thrilling for a thriller either. The good news is I’ll probably forget it by the end of the year.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

An Unkindness of Magicians– this book was pure magic, in every sense of the word. Dark, twisted and with excellent characters, I fell for this hook line and sinker.

FAVOURITE NEW AUTHOR

Elif Shafak– I’ve read two of her books this year and I could wax lyrical about her writing, her characters and her transporting storytelling. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover her books- so I’m trying to make up for lost time!

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

Ach I think I’d be making stuff up if I said I had one! I will say, in terms of romance, the biggest surprise was how much I loved One True Loves. I just love the concept, exploring how there can be more than one special love in our lives. And really, I also felt like the one she ends up with was the one she was meant to be with, in a way that was (ironically) almost like destiny. And if she had turned him down, I’d have definitely wanted to nab him for myself 😉

 NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER

I’m going to go for a complete curveball here and say Tony Webster from Sense of an Ending. Reading about a washed out retiree isn’t normally my thing, but this played with my expectations and was a fascinating character study. Webster isn’t remotely likeable and his story isn’t groundbreaking- and yet it felt so real and telling. I was surprised by how much I connected with it.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Sword of Kaigen DESTROYED me

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

The No Show– this book really showed up for me and put a smile on my face- which you can always trust a Beth O’Leary book to do! It’s her best romance to date- and that’s saying something!

FAVOURITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

Last Kingdom– I mean, it’s got to be. That was the *perfect* finale to a tv series I’ve seen in a while. Most importantly, it tied up a lot of loose ends and concluded the most important story arcs that have been up in the air since series one. It was emotional, satisfying and dramatic as hell.

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

I’ve not bought that many books so far this year, but I do have this pretty little copy of Galatea (which I still need to read 😉).

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to read anything specific this year. Still, as usual, I have quite a few books from the backlist that I really want to read. I’m not going to make any promises, but I have a few old Sanderson books in my sights.

Since this is an old one, I’m not tagging anyone specific- just feel free to do it if you like! What I wanna know is what’s your favourite book so far this year? And what are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

Truly MAJESTIC Reads Featuring Royalty – Some of my Favourite Books About Kings and Queens!

The Queen isn’t the only cool royal out there- fiction is full of kickass kings and queens. I’m gonna share a few of them with you today!

American Royals– turns out if America had royals, they’d be the biggest drama queens in the world and I’d be first in line to see the show 😉

My Lady Jane– the only way that the Tudors could be more fascinating is if they could all turn into animals at the drop of a hat… and that’s what this alternate history offers! Sit back, throw historical accuracy out the window and enjoy this royal romp.

I Coriander– another take on history that’s *not quite* what really happened… but if you ask me, this version of the restoration is better 😉

Cinder– what list about royals would be complete without a fairy tale retelling or two? And this sci fi retelling of Cinderella is tons of fun 😊 Speaking of retellings…

Thorn– I love this take on the goose girl, particularly because it shows us what truly regal qualities are.

Abhorsen– I just love how this book engages with the topic of legacy and inheritance and titles. Like the others in this series, it explores the coming of age theme in a really original and emotionally deep way.

Prince Caspian– I may have included this more for Aslan than the titular prince 😉 No one is more royal than a lion!!

Stardust– very much in the vein of a classic storybook royalty- and yet because it’s Gaiman it could never be called anything but unique.

Princess Bride– perfect if you’re looking for a classic swashbuckling tale, featuring kings, queens and (evil) princes (and yes, this is me saying I finally read it!! Hallelujah!)

Iron King– this is one of those stories that starts off with the typical “oh you’re secretly the daughter of the fae king”… but then it goes in a *very* unexpected direction. Don’t be fooled, this YA fantasy is tricksier than it lets on.

Cruel Prince– because not all princes are charming 😉 And yet sometimes when they’re cruel, they’re all the more endearing 😉

Prince of Thorns– on the subject of unpleasant royalty, Jorg really takes the crown! But that’s what makes his story truly grab you. 

To Kill a Kingdom– yeah this is the little mermaid, but wayyyy darker. Because in this version, the siren princess has to cut out the heart of princes… So if you want some more cutthroat royals, then this standalone is for you.

Game of Thrones– you win or you die as they say 😉 Frankly I’d rather take a dragon thousands of miles away from Westeros than sit on that very uncomfortable chair- however there’s clearly plenty of people prepared to fight it out for the pleasure. And my goodness is it fun to read about them doing so.  

The Shadows Between Us– this is a book about a girl who knows what she wants- and what she wants is to be queen… at any cost! A Slytherin love story to die for, this takes scheming royalty to a whole other level.

That went in a much darker direction than I anticipated! What books featuring royalty do you love? Let me know in the comments!

(Some of the) Best Quintessentially British Books to Read this Bank Holiday Weekend!

Yes, I did have to make a list like this because of the jubilee. We are all under strict instructions as British people to make a whole song and dance out of it- or we’ll find ourselves up on tower hill for treason 😉 Better jump into it- chop chop! 😉

Wind in the Willows– let’s be honest, this book is why we all think that the countryside is magical 😉 I for one always encounter talking toads when I’m out walking.

The Hobbit– apart from acting as a mythology for Britain, his books are also filled with the oddities and humour of this island.

Mort– Death eating a curry is the most quintessentially British thing change my mind 😉 Seriously though, Pratchett’s eccentric humour makes it a real winner.

Peter Pan– after all, in this country, we never grow up 😉

Harry Potter- because the best boarding school book is a *magic* boarding school book.  

Remains of the Day– reflecting more of a “classic” part of British culture, but either way this upstairs-downstairs drama definitely makes the cut.

Pride and Prejudice– Austen’s books are full of British charm and habits- but most of all she captures all the different types of people you’ll meet at parties over here. And if you think you’ve never met a Lady Catherine De Bourgh, I’m sorry to say you’re her 😉

Sense of an Ending– this is a new one for me, yet it absolutely captures a sense of Britishness (see what I did there 😉). Partly because it talks about class, but mostly because of how much of a downer it is 😉 (just kidding… sort of).

Oliver Twist– this list wouldn’t be complete without a Dickens book. And, don’t be fooled by the musical version, this one has some particularly gritty and grim elements.  

The Woman in Black– there’s got to be a hint of the gothic on this list- and what more fun than the spooky spectre of this story? 😉 Plus it makes me think of every small town I’ve visited after dark 😉

Armadale– mysterious, evocative and above all fun, this is perfect if you need an intense classic to sink your teeth into.

And that’s all I have for now! But of course, there could be so many more books on this list- what book is most quintessentially British for you? Let me know in the comments!

Great Reads Featuring the Great Outdoors – Travelling the World in Books!

Because we all love travelling vicariously through books 😉 And these are just some of the books that made me feel like I lost myself in the wilds of their pages.

Wild Silence- Iceland– evocative and steeped in history, this treads ancient paths from Cornwall to Iceland. And no one is quite like Winn at bringing landscapes to life. I could practically feel the earth beneath my feet as I went on a journey with this book.

Where the Crawdads Sing- North Carolina– here setting does more than providing backdrop for the plot, it elegantly becomes a part of the narrative, intrinsically linked to the mysteries, romances and character growth.  

East of Eden- Salinas Valley– there’s no disputing the beauty of Steinbeck’s descriptions. Personally they have always made me want to drop everything and see the landscape he speaks of for myself.

Return of the Native- Wessex– because no list about landscapes and the outdoors would be complete without a quick diversion into Hardy’s Wessex.

Island of the Missing Tree- Cyprus– Shafak is a recent discovery for me and I find her writing deliciously vivid. The way she captures the sights, smells and tastes of Cyprus made me long to go there.  

Journey to the River Sea- Brazil– captivating and fairytale-esque, Ibbotson’s writing can transport me anywhere- from Europe to Brazil… which is exactly what this book did.

Snow Child- Alaska

if you’re looking to cool off, this book is perfect. An enchanting tale set in Alaska, it draws on Russian mythology and creates a world of its own. A world you can step into merely by turning a page.

That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed that quick jaunt! What books make you feel like you’re transported into the great outdoors? Let me know in the comments!

Books Set In Libraries!

Hello all! I have a really fun post today about books set in libraries- because you should all know by now that’s my happy place 😉 And I cannot resist picking up books set there!

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library/There’s a Lion in the Library/Library Lion/The New LiBEARian– okay let’s start off by talking about the *amazing* trend of picture books set in libraries- cos I AM HERE FOR IT! Obviously libraries are just as fun and colourful and full of animals as these books make out 😉

Unseen Academicals– I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t also mention a Pratchett book. And while this is technically mostly set on a football pitch, it does feature the infamous library Unseen University and its library (and my favourite character the Librarian 😉).

Matilda– every book starring a bookworm character has to have a library in it somewhere, so of course Matilda’s lifelong love of reading and her journey to independence from her horrible family begins in a library.

Neverending Story– naturally, all good stories begin in a library- and so it is the case with the Neverending Story. This isn’t a typical fantasy- it is a quest to fall in love with reading.  

Sorcery of Thorns– an adventure in a magical library? YES PLEASE! This such a fun, escapist read for fans of YA fantasy 😊

Lirael– quieter than its predecessor, this coming-of-age fantasy is focused on a heroine who works in a library. And perhaps this is what makes it a more contemplative read.

Midnight Library– this life-affirming, soul-searching story features a very special library indeed. For every book in this library is a life the heroine could have lived if she’d made different choices. Written in Haig’s trademark poignant style, this is a unique exploration of what it means to have a life well-lived.  

Fahrenheit 451– perhaps this doesn’t have a library in the traditional sense, yet what is a library other than a collection of books? Especially when such a collection is strictly banned. This firecracker of a novel is a testament to the importance of books (and indeed libraries 😉)

Book Thief– another unconventional “library” that bears mentioning is the stolen collection of books in this story. Snatched from book burnings, these books become a lifeline in the face of death and destruction.  

Dear Fahrenheit 451– this collection of a librarian’s love letters and break up notes to books doesn’t just give you advice on what books to pick up (and which ones to avoid)- it is full of wonderful library anecdotes and gives the reader an insight into what goes on behind the scenes in the house of books. Plus, it’s also a double whammy for this list, as it’ll give you some more great books set in libraries to check out! (I may be planning to read some of them myself 😉)

That’s all… for now! I definitely want your suggestions- what are your favourite books set in libraries? And are you a fan of any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Confessions of a Library Assistant

Working in a library for a couple of years now has been a real eyeopener. There are so many things that I’ve learnt and really enjoyed doing- so I thought I’d share some of my trade “secrets” with you today 😉 Let’s take a peek behind the scenes and I’ll tell you some of the things I love (and don’t like so much) about working in a library.

#1 Whenever someone takes out a book like A Thousand Splendid Suns, my heart gives a little squeeze and I think “good choice”. I just love seeing great books go out and always think how lucky the person is to get to experience them for the first time!

#2 I love the process of suggesting a book, putting it on display and seeing it go out! The most recent “victim” of this was Ivies by Alexa Donne- it just made me so happy to see that teens are actually taking it out 😊  

#3 Of course, as much as I am inclined to promote books I like, I do (shocker) put books on display that I don’t like because I know other people will like them (I may be biased but I’m not that biased). The blog is where I show my personal taste.

#4 Let’s be real though- a lot of the time books just end up on displays cos they have a pretty cover 😉

#5 I have not read all the books. Ergo I cannot actually help you with all your super specific requests 😂 Especially if it’s horror- I’m gonna struggle to find you a recommendation there! Honestly, I think that the reader is the expert in their own taste, so I’m not keen in pushing people to read things they probably won’t like. And on that note…

#6 Please for the love of god be more specific when you ask for suggestions. Saying you like “anything” is never actually true- and I can tell when you wrinkle your nose at what I then suggest that you didn’t actually mean it.  

#7 As much as I enjoy conversations with readers, sometimes it is hard to be diplomatic! Often they can suggest things to me that I already know I didn’t like… and it’s hard not to tell them so (particularly when they’ve just told me they hate a personal fave). I (hope) I have mastered the art of smiling and nodding (though I doubt it 😂).

#8 Literally every job involving books is dangerous to bookworms. I am tempted by the new books. I am tempted by the returns. I am particularly tempted by the long waiting lists. So yes, even if I never thought I’d read a book, seeing a long queue of people reading it will pique my curiosity. The great thing is that I’ve found many great (and unusual) books this way… the only problem is my book addiction is getting out of hand!!

#9 Weeding (the process of deleting books) is simultaneously the saddest and most interesting jobs. I still haven’t quite been able to come to terms with saying goodbye to tatty, old books- even if it does help to know that this means making way for new books! Still, there are perks! Not only do you come across all kinds of weird and wonderful books that you might never have read (think Crap Days Out), but you get to put on your detective hat and find out what people are actually checking out over the years. Oh, and in my down time, I have read an entire book I wasn’t sure about deleting, before inevitably deciding that it totally made sense no one wanted to read it.

#10 Most of us prefer the bustle of a busy library and do not spend our days shushing people! Times have moved on a little bit 😉

#11 If you don’t have OCD before working in a library, let’s just say there’s a strong chance you will develop it… annnd I’m just gonna leave that statement at that 😂

#12 Annnd this one is just a “me” thing- but I like looking at people’s names. I won’t put any examples here (for obvious reasons) just know that if you have a cool name, I’ve probably clocked it 😉

#13 Picture books are the best. Obviously new books are one of the greatest joys of working in a library- you get to discover what’s new and of course borrow a ridiculous amount of them. What I didn’t expect, though, was the secret delight of finding colourful and playful new picture books in the pile. Because of this, it really opened up my eyes to what a delight picture books really are. Just look at these bad boys:

And that’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed that little insight into the inner-thoughts of library staff!  

Deliciously Dark Thrillers

As the sun comes out, I can’t help looking for darker books 😉 Psychological thrillers and sunshine are an odd delight. Of course, it’s hard to talk about these without spoilers, so I’m going to be light with my descriptions. Just know that if you’re looking for a good thriller to read this summer, then look no further.

What Lies Between Us– a locked in thriller, featuring a mother and daughter relationship gone *really* wrong. The warped perspectives and endless twists had me on the edge of my seat. I actually walked away from this one a little bit disturbed- you have been warned!  

The Family Upstairs– Jewell knows how to delve into the truly disturbing- and this one is the creepiest by far. Honestly, the family dynamic gets a little sick and twisted. I don’t recommend this for the faint of heart.

The Maidens– this takes dark academia to another level. The secrets in this one leave you feeling the cold.

The Ice Twins– it’s not just the location of this one that’s moody- but themes of loss that will chill you to the bone.

Sharp Objects– frankly, this one is graphic to the point where I felt queasy. This small town secrets story has a dark edge.

Home Before Dark– exploring the bleak truths of childhood trauma, this book won’t let you rest easy. It’ll keep you up long after dark.

Rock Paper Scissors– sometimes marriage is made in heaven… other times it’s made in hell. This one is the latter. If you’re looking for a romance that’s all sunshine and rainbows, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Sometimes I Lie– I didn’t know where I stood with this book. Getting stuck inside the narrator’s brain took me to a very dark place indeed. 

Exquisite– there’s something so intense about this book that made me obsessed… much like the stalker in this book 😉

You– speaking of stalkers, this unsettling read freaked me out all the more because the set up reminded me more of a rom com than a typical thriller… and that’s just horrifying!

What do you think of these books? Do you plan to read any of them? And what deliciously dark thrillers can you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

I Lied to You – All the Books I Promised I’d Give Away… But I Actually Kept!

Nearly two years ago I did my harshest unhaul yet and was really proud of myself for getting rid of a ton of books… Annnd then I decided to keep a bunch of them! 😅 While I was spring cleaning this year, I discovered a lot of them were still in storage and (clearly) I have little-to-no-intention of actually giving them away. I do think there are some in this secret stash I might get rid of some day… but it is not this day! 😉 Let’s discuss why I went back on my word, shall we?

Kingdom of Ash– okay I’m still pretty torn about this one. On the one hand, I didn’t like the lacklustre ending in this book and have consequently fallen out of love with the series. On the other hand, I do like a nice signed copy and the memories I have of going to the book event where I got it still excite me on some level. I’m just so undecided over whether I will get rid of this one day!

Apocalypse– again, this is a case of “it’s signed and I remember getting it signed”. Even if I never loved this book (heck I don’t even like it) I just can’t bring myself to get rid of it right now. Also, as I was going through these books, I had a weird urge to reread it and see if it has any merit that my teen-self missed… Although- with that in mind- I may actually need to get rid of this book to prevent myself from doing anything stupid 😉  

Blood Bones and Body Bits– yeahhh this is definitely a case of being overly sentimental with this one. HOWEVER, in my defence, it was my first ever signed book!! And let’s face it, the Horrible History/Horrible Science series still slaps (I may just give it to my nephews).  

Deenie– I kept for sentimental reasons. I LOVED Judy Blume books as a teen and I still have so much respect for her as a YA writer, doing so much to normalise what it’s like to go through puberty as a girl in particular. I’m holding onto the fond memories I have of reading all her books, so I won’t be letting go of this book for the time being.

Nemesis– I don’t feel remotely guilty about keeping these books (okay, maybe a little bit). At the time of the Great Unhaul (That Wasn’t Quite So Great) I said I was unsure about these ones. Turns out, I didn’t want to part with this series. I LOVED these books back when I read them. And sure, I might be older (though sadly not wiser), but I can’t seem to outgrow my love for this completely underrated YA series! I just had way too much fun with it!

And that’s all for now! I’m going to go and hang my head in shame and think about what I did! But I want to hear your thoughts before I hide away from the world. Have you ever changed your mind about an unhaul? Or do you think I’m being overly sentimental here? Let me know in the comments!  

Recent Reads That Fill Me With Joy!

Because we all need a little burst of happiness sometimes!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown– this is the book that inspired me to make this post! It’s the kind of fun, funny and sweet story I will always gravitate towards (just like how I like my love interests 😉).

Tweet Cute– I don’t talk about this book enough!! This hate-to-love YA is full of friends, family, romance… And most importantly: it comes with EXTRA CHEESE!

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry– okay yes, that title doesn’t sound joyous, but it’s filled with positive messages about hope and love and being truthful. I loved the way the characters come together as a family and find their place in this messy world of ours.

Anxious People– this may seem like an antsy novel about a bank robbery- and it’s a story that speaks to the intrinsic value of humankind. Believing in the basic humanity and goodness of us all, this inherent optimism is what makes this book memorable.

House in the Cerulean Sea– quirky and fun and uplifting, this is more than just a fantastical romance. It’s about finding and creating an oasis of love in the world- and picking up this book transports you there!

The Salt Path– a memoir about homelessness is perhaps not the kind of book you think of when you want something joyful… and yet a story about finding the drive to persevere, even in the toughest circumstances, is truly awe-inspiring. This, coupled with the descriptions of nature, fill me with a quiet kind of wonder and delight. A book like this gives me such a hunger for life.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse– speaking of hunger, I’m putting this on the list just for the cake 😉 Plus, reading this book was like getting a great big hug from the universe!

And that’s all I have for today! What do you think of these books? And what books fill you with joy? Let me know in the comments!