Falling for more fun and fluffy books!

Woohoo- it’s Fall!! (or autumn as we call it on this side of the pond)

autumn monkey 2

I absolutely love the autumn. I love getting out my cosy clothes, I love getting ready for winter and most of all I love the excuse to stay in with my books (c’mon, we all do it 😉) And what better books for this time of year than some super sweet fluff!

orangutan list

the flatshare

Flatshare– if you’re after a modern love story then look no further! Cos OMG this quirky romance is the perfect homecoming if you’re still craving something summery 😀

cinder and ella

Cinder and Ella– I know I mention this a lot (because I ❤ cinderella retellings) but man, this book is so good!!

geekerella

Geekerella– yes I am addicted to Cinderella retellings, yes at least one is always bound to end up on this list. And really, you can’t go wrong with this refreshing fandom-themed take on the classic fairy tale! Also, tis the season to get dressed up in funky costumes and pretend to be someone else 😉

kindred spirits

Kindred Spirits– it’s been a long time since I mentioned this adorable novella and it’s very much overdue! This really relatable story features so much geekiness and I am SO HERE FOR IT!

eliza and her monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters– another story that’s super relevant to the modern world, this book is so relevant to the likes of us who like hanging out online… which is everyone here 😉

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– admittedly not modern, this is most definitely a contemporary take on the story of Lady Jane Grey. Hilarious, quirky and with plenty of *magic*- you can’t go wrong with this unique read! (and the next one in the Lady Janies series is good too)

goose girl

Goose Girl– admittedly with sadder aspects, nothing could have a fluffier, happier ending than this Middle Grade retelling. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

ps i like you

PS I Like You– PS I liked this book 😉 Okay don’t let my cheesy joke put you off- this is possibly my favourite Kasie West book because it is SO CUTE!

kiss quotient

Kiss Quotient– I swear Hoang is my new love in the contemporary genre- I can’t count the times I’ve recommended this- and can estimate I’m gonna mention it a lot more in the future!

zenn diagram

Zenn Diagram– with more of a magical realism twist, this book certainly adds up to a good time. And you get a really deep romance and aww-inspiring ending to boot!

And that’s all for now! Have you read any of these books? Do you plan to? And what books do you think make great fluffy reads? Let me know in the comments!

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The Most Successful Books About Failure for Friday 13th!

orangutan list

Often, we shy away from the concept of failure in books. But for me, failure is the means by which we learn and sometimes a tragic ending can have more of an impact than a happy one. So, I thought I’d share my list of the most successful books about failure. And what better day than unlucky Friday the Thirteenth to discuss it? 😉

jude

Jude the Obscure– Hardy doesn’t pull his punches with this devastating tome. I can’t think of many other books which have left me so utterly eviscerated emotionally.

idiot

The Idiot– Dostoevsky often explores the notion of tragedy and failure in his books, but this is my favourite in that vein. Dubbed a failed book about failure, this may not have the most satisfying of conclusions, but it’s very apt for this list.

hamlet

Hamlet– I needed at least one Shakespearean tragedy on the list and what I like about this one is that it’s an individual tragedy of a man we can (more or less) respect.

TheGreatGatsby_1925jacket.jpeg

The Great Gatsby– Fitzgerald’s masterpiece about the failure of the American Dream explores both the loss of a dream grander scale and a very personal tragedy. What I like is that this book can be read multiple ways- it’s not just society to blame for Gatsby’s ending, but also the individual (bad) choices along the way.

never let me go

Never Let Me Go– a more modern/futuristic tragedy, Never Let Me Go doesn’t just examine the way society can rob us of our futures, but also how we can self-sabotage and waste time along the way. For all its dystopic elements, it is ultimately a very human tale.

mockingjay

Mockingjay– I know that some people didn’t love the ending for Hunger Games, but for me it will always be perfect. Dystopias can’t end too happily and thus (despite some of the more positive aspects of the finale) it delivers the intended message well.

between shades of grey

Between Shades of Grey– the topic of Soviets sending thousands of people to die in Siberia is not talked about enough. This book does a fantastic job of representing this important issue.

the woman in black

Woman in Black– in a very different vein, this thrilling and captivating ghost story actually holds at its heart darker and more unsettling tragedies.

game of thrones book

Game of Thrones- kind of poetic that a lot of people fail in this book given where the show ended up… In all seriousness, this is a significant in the modern fantasy realm because it doesn’t just give us the happily-ever-after good guys triumph over evil we all crave. As hard as it can be to read, we need books that show us a darker reality.

sadie

Sadie– I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say this is more representative of a failure in society than with “The Girls”. A part of why I put this on the list is that I think when true crime is discussed, the victims are often ignored. I think this does a great job of starting to redress that balance. Also, if you want to weep buckets, read this book.

Alright, so have I succeeded or failed with this list? And do you have any books to add? Let me know in the comments!

Best books set in school

 

orangutan list

Well, it’s that time of year again, summer holidays have been and gone (how?!) and many students/teachers are heading back to school… but fear not! It doesn’t have to be all bad because we have books! And in books, school can be a lot more fun… I mean some of them teach you spells for one thing 😉 I decided to take a mixture of different settings and themes and even share some books set in college. Let’s don our freshly pressed uniforms and boldly go where many people have gone before, shall we?

graduating monkey

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_CoverHarry Potter– let’s be real, Hogwarts is absolute *magic* and everyone’s dream school (yes, even with the crazy teachers, deadly activities and Forbidden Forest)

 

 

groosham grangeGroosham Grange– sure, this might not be the happiest take on schools, but you can’t deny it’s a lot of fun to be swept up in this E-V-I-L education system. I know that, as a kid, I’d have rather gone here than my actual school… (dunno what that says about the English education system 😉)

 

 

wizard heirWizard Heir– such an underrated book!! You guys know I love the author, but any opportunity I get to rave about this story I’ll take. This may be a less positive representation of a school… yet it’s no less fun to read!

 

 

naughtiest girl in the schoolNaughtiest Girl in School– I know a lot of people grew up with Malorie Towers, but for some reason, my mum gave me these… I wonder if she was sending me a subliminal message about how I should behave in school? 😉

 

 

wonderWonder– I just love what a life-affirming story about kindness this is- there aren’t enough of these around!

 

 

 

stargirlStargirl– this is such an important book about being different and how that impacts people in a school environment- a must read!

 

 

 

never let me goNever Let Me Go– okay, in a far, far darker vein, Hailsham may seem like an ordinary boarding school, but readers will soon find there’s more to it than there seems.

 

 

anna and the french kissAnna and the French Kiss– on a lighter note, I just love the setting of Paris and this school seems GREAT! (one thing that I didn’t get about the narrator for ages is that she complains about going here?!)

 

 

always-and-forever-lara-jean-9781481430487_hrAlways and Forever– one thing that the finale for the Lara Jean series did exceptionally well was exploring the challenge that is graduating from school and moving on to college. I thought this was such a great representation, because it didn’t just go the *oh look you get the college of your dreams and life is perfect* route- which is perpetuated by a lot of books/movies but is unfortunately unrealistic for most people. Instead, this was about finding your way, in spite of falling just shy of your dreams (and that maybe, just maybe, things can work out when life doesn’t go to plan).

the secret historySecret History– moving up in the education system, this is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read recently. Its portrayal of college and learning really struck a cord with me… apart from the fact I was completely gripped by the murder mystery aspect of course 😉

 

 

unseen academicalsUnseen Academicals– to be fair, this book is more about football (the most beautiful game in the world) but I had to squeeze the Unseen University into this list somewhere, didn’t I? Plus, this book is a lot of fun, so you’re welcome for the recommendation 😉

 

viciousVicious– alright, admittedly not all of this book is set in uni, but one of the most significant parts is and it deserves a shoutout for being an ambitious book about ambition (also did I mention lately that I love it)

 

 

american pandaAmerican panda– even if the germaphobe aspect wasn’t to my personal taste, one of the things I can safely say this book did best was dealing with the struggles of finding yourself.

 

 

FangirlWIPFangirl– another fantastic book about finding out who you are in a modern college setting, Rowell’s story will feel relatable to a lot of young adults.

 

 

 

180 seconds180 Seconds– and finally, I’m off the list with a super sweet and yet emotional rollercoaster of a romance! Set in college, this definitely delivers when it comes to *feels*.

 

 

radio silenceAnd just when you thought “this post can’t get any longer”, I have to add a bonus book I recently finished and was well worth the hype: Radio Silence! What a fantastic story about school, growing up and being creative!!

 

 

So do you agree with any of my choices? Do you have any books set in school you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments!

Gateway Sci Fi Books

 

When it comes to sci fi, I hardly consider myself an expert. I’ve just not been reading it all that long and haven’t ventured that deep into this space yet… which is (funnily enough) why I do think I’m in a good position to tell you what worked as gateway books to get me into the genre! Here are some of my first forays sci fi and the books I think newbies will get the most out of:

the martian

The Martian– this was one of the first books I ever read in the genre where I thought “huh I could really get into this”. Led by a strong voice and plenty of humour, this “oh shit I’m stuck on Mars let’s plant potatoes” book was a very pleasant adventure into outer space. While it will satisfy diehard sci fi fans with its scientific accuracy (or so I’m told), I personally was blown away by this character driven story and fell head over heels for the protagonist Mark Watney. From there, there really was no going back!

ender's game

Ender’s Game– after that I realised I had to try this classic bad boy and I wasn’t disappointed. If you’ve not read much of the genre, this classic is a great place to start. It definitely helped me find my footing (which is pretty hard to do when there’s less gravity about 😉 )

war of the worlds

War of the Worlds– okay I’m not exactly going in order of when I read them now, cos this might have been the first sci fi I picked up. Admittedly, I think this is very light on the scientific elements, but it more than makes up for that in its (rather advanced) philosophical musings.

shades children

Shade’s Children– going back in time further to a childhood favourite, this futuristic setting features kids just trying to survive in a bleak landscape… annnnd I don’t want to tell you anything more than that, because the twists and turns of the plot really make this story magnificent. But of course, it’s by the master himself, Garth Nix… so who’s surprised?!

scythe

Scythe– speaking of great concepts, the world building for this series has totally blown me away. I always appreciate a good dystopia and this is a particularly interesting take. Aside from great characterisation and plot, this does the job all speculative fiction should do by really making you think!

cinder

Lunar Chronicles– on a lighter note, these retellings are perhaps more in the fantasy realm… which is why I think they make the perfect gateway drug for more YA fans. Plus, there’s loads of adventure and romance- can’t go wrong!

illuminae

The Illuminae Files– I think this series is single-handedly responsible for opening up the YA doors to a lot more sci fi- which is fantastic! Writing duo Kauffman and Kristoff really knocked it out of the park with this one- the layout alone is one of the most unique and brilliant experiences I’ve ever had with a book series. Totally worth the hype!

aurora rising

Aurora Rising– at this stage, I can’t really talk about one series without giving a mention to the other. For me, the more traditional format allows for some *out of this world* characterisation- I ended up completely digging the new gang! Plus, the story is action packed and explosive and everything you’d want in a space opera!

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– on the topic of space adventures, you can’t go wrong with Brown’s series! Also, gonna point out it’s ROMANS IN SPACE- what more could you ask for?! I live for this series and cannot wait to read the next one!!

skyward

Skyward– this is one of the newest books on the list and I’m SO EXCITED to talk about it! I loved the first instalment and have such high hopes for where it’s headed! I also can’t stop singing the praises of the lead- Spensa is one of the best protagonists I’ve read in a long time- she’s such a knockout character! After this, I think it’s high time I read more Sanderson!

one word kill

One Word Kill– this is another newer series- but fortunately (for us fans) there are two books out already (and another set to come out in autumn- *squeeess*!!!) I’m loving every second of this dungeons and dragons themed time travel romp- not just for the characters and plot but for the complexity! It’s definitely opened the portal for greater interest in time travel books!

dark matter

Dark Matter– now this is quite similar with its time travel theme- and yet it’s handled so differently- it really does represent how multi-versed this subject is! And that leads me onto why sci fi is so great in the first place: there’s endless potential for something new out there!

So, what do you think about this list? Are you tempted to try any gateway sci fi? Have you got any books of your own to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

My favourite fictional friendships!

 

Hello all! Today I thought I’d dedicate a post to something I haven’t talked about much on this blog: friendship! I’ve done loads of posts on romance and even on sisterhood, but this is something I’ve been sorely neglecting. Though not as celebrated, I realised as I started thinking about this that there are SO MANY MORE fictional friendships than I realised. Here are just some of my faves:

big little lies

Big Little Lies– while essentially a murder mystery, one of this book’s greatest strengths is the focus on female friendship. It not only ties in strongly with the storyline, it also does a fantastic job of creating believable bonds between very different people. For some reason, that just warms my heart!

Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban

Prisoner of Azkaban– for many, the most obvious friendship in Harry Potter is obviously the Golden Trio. And I’m not trying to take away from that. It’s just, I can’t help but be intrigued by the Marauder’s story and how they haunt the pages of these books. Speaking of ghosts…

raven boys

Raven Boys– I love the friendship between the raven boys. Again, these characters are totally unlike each other and yet that’s what makes their connection to each other so compelling. They like each other because of their differences (even if one of them is quite literally dead).

iron gold

Iron Gold– there are lots and lots of different kinds of relationships in Red Rising (for better or worse) but my favourite by far has to be Darrow and Sevro. Remarkably, it’s still going strong, despite all the trials and tribulations they’ve been through.

daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– though this trilogy is very much centred on the romance, it doesn’t mean the theme of friendship is neglected. In fact, for me personally, Zuzana and Karou’s friendship sometimes steal the spotlight. 

six of crows

Six of Crows– again, Bardugo’s books are full of romance, so you won’t be missing out in that department. However, what I also adore about these books is how the Dregs, led by the indomitable Kaz Brekker, would do anything for each other (legal or illegal). On a slightly more conventional note…

the-lord-of-the-rings-book-cover

The Fellowship of the Ring– I mean, doesn’t every fantasy fan love the moment when the Fellowship declare they will take the Ring to Mordor? With Gimli and Legolas coming together despite their differences, the gap between men and hobbits being bridged, this one was a no-brainer for the list (have to admit that I was a little torn over whether to put this or Thorin and Company… so here’s me giving that a sneaky mention too 😉 )

red sister

Red Sister– as you might gather from the title, these books feature sisterhood… well technically speaking they’re killer nuns… Regardless, these books powerfully reflect the bonds of friendship and I am *here* for it.  

aurora rising

Aurora Rising– yet another gang of misfits for the list! This is one of my more recent reads, but no less deserving. Once again, Kristoff and Kauffman teamed up for an incredible saga, giving us multiple voices and a bold new cast. Yet here, I felt the focus on friendship was even greater than its predecessor. One thing’s for certain, if you liked the Illuminae Files, I can assure you, you’re in for a treat!

skyward

Skyward– something about space operas makes for the perfect friendship-forming environment, because this is the third of its kind on the list! Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen 😉 Either way, this sensational sci fi does a lot to build up the bonds of the crew, drawing us into their circle and making us take every heart-plummeting step with them… until by the end I felt like I’d befriended them too!

And that’s all… for now! (I swear, I have so many more!) Do you agree with any of my picks? What are some of your favourite fictional friendships? Let me know in the comments!

Series I won’t be finishing… probably… maybe… #2

 

orangutan list

Despite being a massive mood reader, as I mentioned the other day, I’ve always been pretty clear on one thing: I’m a series finisher. Much like my inability to DNF, I will happily/unhappily casually continue even the most meh of series (which I proved to myself the other day when I read a less-than-average sequel to a pretty mediocre book). It doesn’t matter how many times I promise myself I won’t read rubbish, I somehow can’t help doing this… especially if it’s oh-so-temptingly available on overdrive… But I’ve decided to do something about this horrendous habit and do a sequel to my post about series I possibly won’t finish! (if I can manage to have shelf-control lol)

enchanteeEnchantee– I’m starting with the most recent book (and easiest to announce) series that didn’t wow me. Though I haven’t talked about it much, Enchantee left me less than enchanted and I can’t see any reason to continue. That was easy, so let’s move onto the next one…

 

last magicianThe Last Magician– ohhh this is painful. I loved the first one, but I was so underwhelmed by the sequel that I told myself it wouldn’t be worth investing in the next one. Let’s see if I can actually keep to my rule of not reading things I don’t like and hope I can resist the urge to go back to this series. The way I’m talking, it’s like I have a toxic relationship of books or something, speaking of which…

 

wizard's first ruleSword of Truth– this used to be on my “to finish” list, but it’s like I’m punishing myself at this point cos I got zero enjoyment out of the last two. I’m still tempted to read a couple more, but I don’t see myself going the whole way.

 

 

chain of goldChain of Gold– I’m kinda cheating by putting Clare’s next series on here, cos I have actually come to the end of her last series, but I consider all the Shadowhunter books to be one gigantic series. Plus, I promised myself I was done with her books and I have to stick to this. I’ve completely outgrown these stories and I just know reading another one will make me miserable.

 

wonder womanDC Icons– I don’t know if any other book this year has made me quite so bored and disappointed. This series is a shameless cashgrab and as much as I love the authors involved, I won’t be wasting my time with anymore of them #sorrynotsorry

 

 

monstrumologistMonstrumologist– here’s my monstrous opinion: despite all the monsters and mayhem, I found the first book boring. So I’ve no desire to continue with it.

 

 

girl of nightmaresAnna series– Anna Dressed in Blood was excellent, but girl of nightmares didn’t do it for me. Personally, this could’ve been left as a standalone and although I’ll gladly read more by the author, I’m done with this.

 

 

crazy rich asiansCrazy Rich Asians– this one might not be such a popular choice, so *don’t hate me*, but I feel like I enjoyed the film version more?! Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book, but I LOVED the movie. If they do adapt the sequel, I think I’d rather just watch it instead… although I am curious about what changes they make. Gotta admit I’m being a bit more tentative about this decision, unlike…

 

foxhole courtFoxhole Court/All for the Game– I found out about this book from a negative review and I LEARNT MY LESSON. Or lessons as the case may be: don’t read books your friends hate, be wary of free ebooks and if the first time you hear about a book someone is saying “I don’t get the hype” then you should run! (or else be doomed to be like me wondering WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT?!?!?!) (seriously though, why is this abuse-filled-nightmarishly-structured-nonsense-sports book a thing?!?!) (can anyone explain?)

red queenRed Queen Series– this should be harder for me to put on the list, but it’s super easy (barely an inconvenience 😉 ) I actually read THREE books in this quartet. That’s usually too many for me to give up on a series. And yet, I’ve had zero desire to check out how it ends… which should give you an idea of how I felt about the last two.

 

Okay- I’ve been decisive with a few of those- annnnd we’ll see about the others! Do you have trouble giving up on series? And what series have you decided to quit read? Let me know in the comments!

*All the Bananas* predictions update (with new forecasts!)

orangutan list

Eons and eons ago, I did a post talking about some of my five star predictions… now I’ve finally read all the books and can tell you what I thought of them! (of course I wrote the original so long ago that this follow up post might seem irrelevant- maybe just play along and pretend this isn’t coming from left of field 😉) Let’s not waste any more time and get to it!

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer– success! In fact, I’ve since completed this duology and considered it perfection! Though it doesn’t come as a surprise- I’ve rated every. single. one of Taylor’s books 5 bananas- and that’s cos they deserve ALL THE LOVE!!

book of dust

Belle Sauvage– this came very close with 4½/5 well deserved bananas. This was a little on the slow side and it didn’t quite live upto the original trilogy. Having said that, this new series has an exquisite fairy tale feel and I got the sense it was building towards something big and beautiful in the next book- we shall have to wait and see when the Secret Commonwealth comes out in October.

wolf by wolf

Wolf By Wolf- I’ve read this entire series now and am happy to say it ended up with an average rating of 4/5 bananas- which is not to be sniffed at! There were aspects I liked less than I expected, but obviously glad I read it.

iron gold

Iron Gold– oh so close: this got 4½/5. I’m counting that as a win though- because I loved the bloodyhell out of this book and it was fantastic to have the gang back together. As with Belle Sauvage I had the sense that the series is *going places*.

girl in the tower

Girl in the Tower– we have a winner! Arden, like Taylor, has never let me down and it’s completely unsurprising that I gave this 5/5 bananas. This is another one where I’ve since read the sequel and given that 5 bananas as well!

Alrighty then- I’d say that went pretty well! And obviously, cos this was so successful, I want to see if I can do it again. Here are some upcoming releases/future reads I reckon I’ll be giving all the bananas:

Some of these could go either way, but I have high hopes for them all!

I’ll probably update you about how this went in a few years 😉 For now, I want to know what upcoming books you think will be 5 star reads? Let me know in the comments!