*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!

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Bookish parties I’d love to attend

 

orangutan list

Back when I did the fictional places I’d like to visit, the lovely Isobel Necessary @Literally Literary requested that I talk about fictional parties I’d like to attend. This is such a *fab* idea, cos everyone loves a good party (even if their idea of a good party is drinking hot chocolate and reading with friends in their pyjamas this… although I may just be talking about myself 😉). Before I get to it, I have to recommend checking out her site- cos it’s like a full-on rave over there! I’ll wait for you back… okay hope you didn’t get too drunk on books while you were over there… now, get your glad rags out and let’s go to town!

celebration monkey

 

Gatsby’s Party– there ain’t no party like a Gatsby party! I’ve always had a bit of a penchant for the roaring 20s, but Gatsby goes to a whole other level, so naturally this tops my list.

Yule Ball– there are so many get-togethers and feasts in the Wizarding World, but nothing compares to the Yule Ball. Give me half a chance and I’d be dusting off my dress robes and dancing along to the Weird Sisters with the best of them!

A Court of Frost and Starlight– I just really want to go to the Night Court, is that so much to ask? And the best time seems to be the Winter Solstice- the festivities and magic in the air seems stronger somehow…

Bilbo Baggin’s Eleventy First Birthday- Tolkien really does know how to set things off with a bang- and I’m not just talking about Gandalf’s fireworks. This is one of my favourite book openers- and for good reason. I think we all feel like we’re a part of the action when we’re instantly thrown into this fun, Hobbit tradition.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party- of course, as a British person, I have to throw in a tea party 😉 Now, this may not be your traditional fare, but no one could argue against the sheer entertainment value of your hosts. This bonkers fare will (probably) put you in a good mood (or else drive you crazy). Just don’t expect to get any more tea…

Macbeth’s Banquet– rather an inconvenient time for a haunting, but this is precisely the moment Banquo’s ghost picks to turn up, making murdery Macbeth look a little mad. Granted, I’m not sure this is the kind of party you necessarily want to attend… but imagine the tall-tales you’d have to tell afterwards.

Fancy dress ball at Manderley– I won’t say what happens- because it’s spoilery- but it’s a little bit of a shocking moment in the book where *drama goes down*. It’s such an iconic moment and I urge you to check out the book to know more… 

Victor’s Party– not just because the setting and costumes are elaborate, but also because of the schemes. The real reason it’s so good is… (highlight for spoilers) any party where Hitler gets shot- even if it’s not a real Hitler- is a good party.

ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball- moving into the (sort of) real world, this modern take on a traditional tale makes me want to attend a real con someday, because this sounds such fun. Plus, I get to say: Geekerella shall go to the ball!

The Party at Blackheath– this whole book is centred around a party- though I shan’t say more than that because there’s more to it than it seems…

Well that’s all for now! I’d love to hear some recommendations from you guys- what fictional parties do you think are worth attending? Let me know in the comments!

More Endings That I LOVED!

 

orangutan list

A while back, I did a little piece about some of my favourite endings and I thought it was right about time for part 2- because everyone loves a sequel 😉 Which is why I’m kicking this off with…

carry on

Carry On– speaking of sappy endings, this one makes my heart melt!! I don’t have much more to say about it than I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SURPRISE SEQUEL COMING OUT THIS AUTUMN!!

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Emma– I mentioned Persuasion last time, but Austen deserves another shout because she is the queen of happy endings. The reason I chose Emma this time is because it culminates in the perfect character journey- Emma has changed so much from the beginning, but in a completely organic way that stays true to her generous heart.

secret countess

The Secret Countess– let’s be real: Eva Ibbotson = ultimate wish fulfilment. With her fairy tale style stories, it is entirely appropriate that she gives all her heroines the happily ever after they deserve- and none more so than the lovely Secret Countess!

daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– I absolutely adore the twist at the end!! And it sets up the rest of the trilogy perfectly.

vicious

Vicious– I mean, this was the book that sold me on Schwab!! Originally a standalone, this has all the right twists and turns and surprises to bring everything to an epic conclusion. What’s even better is that it closes off the story, whilst still working as a series opener.

one word kill

One Word Kill– I really feel like Lawrence sticks his landings, just sayin’. I chose this one, because while I love his series enders, I am also a massive sucker for mushy endings (and I just love the last line!!) It definitely got me excited for the sequel as well!

crooked kingdom

Crooked Kingdom– now, this is what I’d call “bittersweet”. But somehow the fact it’s not entirely happy suits the story Bardugo was telling better- after everything the characters went through, there’s often a temptation to give them everything they desire, and yet it makes so much more sense that not everything is smooth sailing. It’s the proper finale for an wickedly dark duology.

1984 book

1984– because truthfully I think dystopias should end on a dark note. Sure, this depresses the hell out of me, but what do you expect from a book about a totalitarian government?

sadie

Sadie– I am going to sing the praises for this book (and audiobook) forever! Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say you will be simultaneously satisfied and heartbroken.

words in deep blue

Words in Deep Blue– this is such a powerful novel about grief and recovery. Admittedly, I spent most of this book’s journey in tears (a trend for some of the books on this list) but the part about this book that really worked is how everything comes together at the end and the reader is given the catharsis they truly deserve.

A thousand perfect notes

A Thousand Perfect Notes– on a slightly lighter note, this was a tough book to get through for all the dark subject matter, BUT stick with it because the way it plays out in the end is its own reward.

circe

Circe– this is one of my favourite new endings- there is no ending more beautiful, more poignant, more powerful. It takes my breath away how perfect this is.

a thousand splendid suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns– this is one of those books written on such an epic scale, it’s hard to know if everything will come together by the end. And yet, for all this made me cry, by its final pages it had my heart uplifted and that cemented it as one of my favourite modern reads.

So have you read any of these? What did you think of these endings? And do you have any favourite endings of your own? Let me know in the comments!

 

Summer lovin’ – fun (& sometimes super emotional) beachy books to read in the sun!

 

It’s that time of the year again- time for us bookworms to be packing up our books to take on picnics/beaches/park benches. Although I gotta admit that the title is a little misleading- cos I don’t know about you, but I love something with a bit of an emotional edge for summer holidays. Something, like, say…

the boy who steals houses

The Boy Who Steals Houses– I. can’t. even. with this book- such an emotional rollercoaster. Read it. Read this incredible Goldilocks retelling. That’s it. That’s all I have to say- this book steals the words right out of my mouth.

words in deep blue

Words in deep blue– if you don’t mind being a blubbering mess in public, then this is the book for you! Seriously though, I absolutely loved this romance about second chances, loss and books!

sisterhood of the travelling pants

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– it’s not all sad- I invite you to read this and be terrifically happy! (and then sad again when you get to the last book)

lucky star

Lucky Star– another emotional read, only this time it’s more of a middle grade/younger YA style book. Cassidy is known for her sweet books, but this one always stood out to me as the one that packs the biggest punch. I loved this when I was younger (and, if I’m honest, I still do)

kiss quotient

The Kiss Quotient– moving onto a more mature romance- I read this recently and have been looking for any excuse to recommend this more!!

far from the madding crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd– there had to be a classic on the list and of course this is one of the most romantic. Now, be warned, this is Hardy- it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. BUT I did pick one of his few books with a happy ending- you’re welcome 😉

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– it’s not all doom and gloom though- if you’re looking for a laugh, this will certainly do the trick. An alternative Tudor England (with magic!) this hilarious book is guaranteed to put a smile on your face 😀

wizard heir

Wizard Heir– of course I had to squeeze some amazing fantasy onto the list- and who better to promote than Cinda Williams Chima? I absolutely love her books and this happens to be my favourite. This one’s more of an urban setting than her high fantasy series and I don’t believe gets the praise it deserves.

song of the lioness

The Lioness Quartet– oh and what a surprise- more fantasy! I did actually take this to the beach once and it was exactly the ticket!

charmed life

Charmed Life– okay, let’s be honest, you all knew I’d start stuffing as many fantasy books as I could onto this list 😉 And this is just the epitome of cute and fun and inventive that I couldn’t resist!

Alright, now that I’ve overloaded my book bag, I have to ask what kind of books do you like to take on summer holiday? Let me know in the comments!

Chill thrills for hot weather!

 

I don’t know about you, but when the summer weather hits, there’s nothing I like more than chilling out with a good book. And what better than a good thriller to keep the shivers running down my spine when it’s hot outside!

ice twins

Ice Twins– of course the clue as to why I picked this is in the title 😉 Evoking the cool atmosphere of wintry Scotland, this book definitely provides a thrill… or two!

gone-girl-PB

Gone Girl– betcha you saw this one coming! Unlike everyone who read this book, cos that was quite the twist! 😉

woman in the window new

The Woman in the Window– on the topic of dark and twisted reads, this book, with its echoes of Hitchcock, will certainly keep you up at night.

big little lies

Big Little Lies– I especially appreciate the slow burn mystery when I’m feeling all lazy from the sun. 

all these beautiful strangers

All These Beautiful Strangers– I do love my summer mysteries and this one deserves some more love 😊

broken things

Broken Things– grim and tragic and utterly brilliant- this mystery will keep you on your toes!

sadie

Sadie– if your version of “chilling” is sobbing your heart out- cos it’s mine! 😉 I especially recommend the audiobook. Speaking of heartbreak…

we were liars

We Were Liars– I mean, I feel a little cruel putting this on here, cos it’s akin to kicking sand in your face and running off- that ending stings. Moving on to the last book of the list… 

the secret history

The Secret History– at the time of writing this list, I’ve just finished this book. And *wow*. I have to talk about this right away, because despite knowing the outcome from the start, it somehow managed to be one of the most riveting reads I’ve experienced in a while. A chilling story of elite students up to no good, this’ll have you breaking out in a cold sweat, even on the hottest of summer nights.

Alrighty then, that’s all for now! What do you think of these? And do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

Favourite Fantasy Worlds I’d Love to go on Holiday To…

 

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So, this isn’t the first time I’ve thought of packing it all in and going off to fantasy land- I was feeling the wanderlust last month and went on a jaunt a couple of years ago in January 😉 With that in mind, I’m gonna try my hardest not to repeat too many destinations (and if there are any shockers missing from the list feel free to check out my other posts). Also, these are places I actually want to go- so no Panem or Westeros for me! I’m gonna try and play it safe- starting with…

Faerieland– okay perhaps not the safest first choice. However, I’m often captivated by faerie realms, but few are more intriguing to me than Holly Black’s take in Cruel Prince. I’ll just make sure I take some iron and rowan berries for protection!

Iwagoto– aka the world from Shadow of the Fox. I mean, I really want to go to Japan, but a fantasy version of Japan *with* Kitsune?! YES PLEASE! This mythical creation by Kagawa has set my imagination alight and I’d whizz off tomorrow if I could.  

Discworld– well, obviously 😉 My first stop would be the Unseen University, to say hello to say hello to my bestie and stock up on some books/bananas!

Lyra’s Oxford– let’s be fair: real Oxford is a very pretty city. But I have always wanted to have my own daemon and meet Gyptians and witches and armoured bears… so yeah I need to take a trip here. If only I could get my hands on a Subtle Knife…

The Night Circus– I think when people talk about fantasy worlds, this nearly always comes up. And there’s a good reason for that! The Night Circus is a whole other level of captivating magic- and I think most of us would give an arm and a leg to be able to go!

Ravka– oh Russia would be amazing to go to- but how much more so would Grishaverse Russia be?! Preferably with the Darkling as my guide 😉 (he’d be good for tourism, really sells the place 😉)

Narnia– I have to admit, I have checked many-a cupboard looking for Narnia. Alas- to no avail! One day though, I’m sure I’ll stumble into the land that is always winter and meet a friendly lion who will eventually crown me queen monkey… what? It could happen! (also, I wouldn’t say no to a few Turkish Delights- yum!)

Neverland– speaking of the classics, I’d quite like to pop off to Neverland sometime soon. I rather fancy going somewhere I can never get older (even if I’d probably fit in more with the pirates than the lost boys at this stage 😉)

Wonderland– this one might be more of a risk, what with the crazy queen shouting “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” Even so, I think it’d be worth it to say hello to the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter. Plus, I could always make a beeline for the mushrooms of course…

Ingo– I haven’t seen nearly enough underwater worlds- and none are done as well as this. It’s the kind of story that has an utterly unique feel and I would love to explore it more for real!

Howl’s moving castle– Wynne Jones always had a magical way with her settings- and none more so than Howl’s Moving Castle. She (literally) brings it to life and I couldn’t think of anything more fun than bouncing round the globe in this awesome travel home.

Alright, I didn’t go to deep into the danger zone there 😉 What do you think of my list? Would you like to go to any of these worlds? Is there anywhere else you’d rather go? Let me know in the comments!

Books for Gryffindor/Ravenclaws/Slytherins/Hufflepuffs- *ULTIMATE EDITION*

 

Hello all! I have a *huge* bumper post for you all today! Over the last few months, I’ve seen so many fantastic posts recommending books based on your Hogwarts houses- most recently on the wonderful Weird Zeal‘s blog (do check out her brilliant version for more recs!)- so I thought I’d do it myself.

gryffindor

Gryffindor– Well, this wasn’t too tricky to choose for, since it’s no secret that Gryffindors make excellent leading ladies and gents!

Alanna: The First Adventure– let’s face it, Tamora Pierce is the *QUEEN* of kickass heroines. And who better than the one, the only, the original: the Lioness!

I Coriander– this may be more of an unusual choice, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of finding your courage.

Last kingdom– something about this book screams GRYFFINDOR! I guess it’s all the fighting 😉 Admittedly, Uhtred gets by on his wits just as much as his sword, so this could be suited to brainy-but-still-brawny-Hermione types.

Hunger Games– I mean, I’d be remiss not to mention this, wouldn’t I? Katniss personifies so many of the Gryffindor traits, speaking of which…

Northern Lights– Lyra is the epitome of fearless! Again, this book would easily have broader appeal, but I think Gryffindors will get a kick out of this wild adventure. Be warned though, by the time the series ends, you may end up cowering in floods of tears. Which reminds me…

The Book Thief– I’ll admit, I get almost too emotional thinking about this book. But it’s such a beautiful story about bravery in the darkest of times.   

ravenclaw

Ravenclaw– You’d think that since this is my house it’d be easy for me to choose- not so! I oddly found it more of a challenge to just think beyond what I like to read and pick things with more House-wide appeal- you’ll be the judge of whether I succeeded 😉

Red Rising– this book was a bit of a hatstall to be honest, cos I could easily have put it in any of the houses. It has a similar bravery aspect to Hunger Games, the heroes are all super ambitious, and there’s the incredible Darrow/Sevro friendship at the heart of it… buuut in the end I thought all the strategizing and Ancient-Rome-based world building made it a great fit for us Ravenclaws (to be fair, this could easily have been me being totally biased as a Ravenclaw that loves this series 😉)

Shadow of the Wind– not only is this an excellent mystery for us Ravenclaws to scratch our heads over, but it’s also a story about the love of books. Let me say that again: it’s a story about BOOKS. And we all know how much we love books 😉

Turn of the screw– going the more traditional route, this is a classic, thrilling tale. Even better than a regular scary story, there’s no correct answer here and you’ll be left wondering what just happened? Was the narrator reliable? Who can I trust? Which, you know, is exactly what us geeky types want.

The Waste Land– so. much. intertextuality. You’ll need *all the footnotes* to get every single one of the references. And that works out really well for those of us who love an intellectual challenge!

Crime and Punishment– Dostoevsky is nothing if not thought provoking and this philosophical exploration of a murder really gets to the heart of the human condition. While perhaps some might see this as good for Slytherins looking to (not) get away with murder, I think this will appeal even more to Ravenclaws with a penchant for psychology.

Phantom tollbooth– it’s not all tough classics and mindbendy books for us Ravenclaws! Sometimes we like the quirkier things in life- not least children’s books with jokes about grammar… like this one!

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Slytherin– Despite my earlier banter about this house, I have a deep love for Slytherins (and reckon it’s where I’d have liked to end up if I wasn’t a Ravenclaw through and through). Often misunderstood and definitely underappreciated, I’ve got your back with some *wicked* reads:

Game of thrones– duh. I mean, I think most people in these books (who survive) are hardcore Slytherins. I feel like sometimes this comes across as a How To Be Cunning Guide- which is no doubt handy for a lot of Slytherins 😉

Six of crows– loads of people said this but that’s cos it’s perfect. Kaz and the whole gang are an *awesome* set of Slytherin-style heroes- sure, they may be willing to break the law to get what they want, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about each other! (and will use all their Slytherin wiles to protect each other!)

Prince of Thorns– another obvious one. Prince Jorg is by far one of my favourite Slytherin-types. He is sharp as a blade- in more ways than one- and pretty good at getting what he wants 😉

To Kill a Kingdom– Lira definitely has an edge to her, making her a great fit for this list. Plus, this is a twisted retelling of the Little Mermaid, which is perfect for this house!

Vicious– well, Schwab had to make it onto the list, one way or the other, didn’t she? 😉 And what better pick than my FAVOURITE of her series- the Villains books are complex, different and bold. Also, Victor Vale is *the best* anti-hero imaginable- just sayin’.

The Godfather– anyone that’s read this or more likely seen the films (no judgement! They’re excellent!) will know that the saga of the Corleone crime family is something that will very much appeal to the cunning reader- if only to live out the fantasy 😉

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Hufflepuff– This was such a fun house to choose for- perhaps because Hufflepuffs are easy-going, easy to be around and easy to love!

The Hating Game– it may seem surprising to include a book that has “hating” in the title for Hufflepuffs, but appearances are deceiving! Even enemies can become friends and this book shows the benefit of getting beyond first impressions. On that note…

Carry On– Rowell’s parodic vision of Harry Potter provides a very Hufflepuff take on Hogwarts- in the best possible way. Not only does it show that the very best of antagonists can become something MORE, but its cherry-scone-sweetness is a delight for all the mushy hearted people of the world.

Night of Cake and Puppets– one Hufflepuff trait I don’t see mentioned enough is a healthy love of FOOD! (boy, I can relate 😉) and for that reason alone this had to be on my list. But also, I just adore the fact that Taylor went out of her way to award the loyal best friend in Daughter of Smoke and Bone with her own swoonworthy story 😀

The Princess and the Fangirl– what better way to make friends than at a fan convention? In more ways than one, this is about coming together despite differences and I am HERE for it. Also, there’s great romances! (yup, romances, plural!)

Wonder– this could easily be a great fit for Gryffindors, however I felt with its focus on friendship, acceptance and kindness that this was a book that typifies Hufflepuff’s finest qualities.

Hitler’s Canaries– it’s very rare for a book about the Holocaust to be uplifting- but this is exactly that. In fairness, the tremendous (and true) acts of bravery by the Danish could easily make this a fit for Gryffindors, but I think the unifying humanity of this story really speaks to lengths people will go for each other, and that reminds me more of Hufflepuff’s unwavering sense of right and wrong. It is one of the most life-affirming books I have ever read and I can’t recommend it enough.

And that’s all for now! This was more fun than I expected! Plus, I had so many more books up my sleeve that this easily could’ve gone on a lot longer! Do you agree with any of these? Do you have any additions I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!