Quote Challenges – Favourite First Lines: Day 9

Hello all! Welcome back to my quote challenge post! In case you haven’t noticed, I’m doing it on a “favourite first lines” theme. And as with a lot of tags, there are rules to break:


  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

Thank you so much to the lovely Anna @My Bookish Dream! I’m so excited to share Anna’s dreamy blog today (see what I did there 😉 ) I love her fantastic wrap up and reviews- she’s such a great voice on the blogosphere that I know you’ll fall for her style as much as I have! Go check her out!

daughter of smoke and bone first line.png

I’ve talked a lot about classics in these first line posts- but not enough about my other love: fantasy. Laini Taylor is, for me, the pinnacle of what I love about the genre. And this line captures everything, everything I love. It tells you the concept, captures the mood and hints at the lyrical style. Basically, I adore it.

I tag:

Jay, a Novel Glimpse and Bibi’s Book Blog

Have you read the Daughter of Smoke and Bones? Let’s fangirl over it in the comments!

Bookish Wanderlust for January Blues

bookish travels.png

Well, I don’t know about you this month, but I’m definitely experiencing the January blues. It’s still pretty grim out, my reading slump is only just beginning to shift and I’ve got another cold (wtf is wrong with my immune system lately?!). Which is why I think it’s the perfect time to start thinking about a quick getaway… and by getaway, for us shall-we-say financially strapped bookworms, I mean rushing to the bookstore and reading about some lovely and impossible farflung places. And to make this even more fun, I’ve picked books with some real world locations you can actually visit. So hold on tight and here we g-o-o-o….

daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– as you might be able to tell from my review the other day, this book has some *wonderful* descriptions of real world places, starting with Prague. What I didn’t mention, however, is that this book has *tons more* locations and the story spins across planets. Yup- that’s right, this book can take you out of this world! (and you won’t have to wait for Virgin’s space programme to get going 😉 )

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the Nightingale– *one day* I will go to Russia (I just want the opportunity to sing “St Petersburg is gloomy, St Petersburg is bleak…”- who’s with me?!) but if you’re like me and can’t exactly do that right now- NEVER FEAR- this book can transport you in both time and place. And the second one, Girl in the Tower, involves far more excursions. This is a trip perfect for the historically minded (fairy tale obsessed) traveller 😉 Speaking of fairy tales…

a song for summer

A Song for Summer– In my opinion, Eva Ibbotson was *the queen* at making history fairytale-esque and transporting the reader to faraway lands. One rather neglected book I’d recommend is A Song for Summer which takes you to the Austrian countryside, at the brink of WW2. It’s a wonderfully romantic story and if you fancy feeling like you’re somewhere else, this is perfect.

shadow of the wind

Shadow of the Wind– ahh Barcelona- one of the most beautiful cities in the world- that’s the glorious setting of Zafon’s remarkable series and boy does he bring it to life! With evocative description, a mysterious story and an eerie sense of the supernatural lurking, this book is what I recommend for anyone feeling restless for some sun, yet doesn’t mind a few chills along the way. But of course, if sun is all you’re looking for…


Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– as the title suggests there’s some different locations in this and some girl friendship and a little bit of magic 😉 I’d recommend this for anyone looking to just rock up on a beach for a book and whose down for a summer fling 😉 Still, if it’s romance you crave, there’s something even better on offer…

return of the native

Return of the Native– one of Hardy’s more romantic works and often his most popular novel. What makes this even more perfect for this list is Hardy’s remarkable ability to characterise the landscape of his Wessex (dubbed after the Medieval term for the area of Southwest England). This is, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of that. What’s even better is if you visit Hardy’s Wessex you can tread a lot of the same paths as the characters and even see where Hardy’s mad wife lived (in an attic, as per her request, she was a bit bonkers- read some of her diary if you don’t believe me 😉 ) Here you can stay with one foot in the real world and another just on the brink of imagination. If you want to go *full on magic*, well then look no further than…


Harry Potter– not only is the wizarding world *amazing* but there’s also some wonderful real life places you can go. I’m not gonna pretend I get the whole “let’s go to King’s Cross and pose by a random wall” thing (sorry, I’ve been there loads to catch a train and don’t find it particularly glamorous) BUT I used to live in Edinburgh and let me tell you, there was clear inspiration for JK up there- everything from Teviot (the student union) to Greyfriars Bobby Cemetery ( ❤ ) with some very famous residents… Side note, if you ever do find yourself up there, do go to the Elephant House cos it’s beautiful and niche (though a little pricey) not for the HP graffitied toilet- please.



Inkheart series– okay when it comes to trying to make this real world setting, this one is pushing it. HOWEVER I think this is such a fun book to put on the list, because it’s a book about stories coming to life and as the series progresses it becomes about entering stories. How awesome is that? If you fancy a trip somewhere completely unique then book your ticket today 😉

six of crows

Six of Crows– again, this is stretching the rules a bit, because this isn’t a real world destination. BUT it is based on Amsterdam and that certainly comes across in the books. I loved the way Bardugo brought the location to life in her books, incorporated elements of the trading and canals and generally made it feel true to the real world, but with a twist. It also involves a heist in Scandinavia- which is probably more dramatic than a lot of book travellers are expecting. More for the adventurous tourist I’d say 😉 Speaking of more daredevil types…

city of masks

City of Masks– VENICE, HISTORY, ADVENTURE- need I say more? I think this is a pretty underrated series to be honest and the first is one of my favourite books set in Venice. Well, an alternative Venice 500 years before our time, where silver is more valuable than gold- interesting right? Not exactly for history buffs, but you’ll get more than you bargained for out of this- it’s quite the journey.

Now we’ve come to the end of the road 😉 Do you fancy a trip to any of these bookish worlds? And do you have any bookish locations to recommend me? Let me know in the comments!

Resurrecting Daughter of Smoke and Bone

So as you may gather from my title, this was a reread for me last year. And OH WHAT A REREAD IT WAS. Not only was this a stunning book, but I also buddy read this with the lovely Being a Book Nerd. She’s such a sweet person and I had so much fun discussing this as I went along- be sure to check out her blog!

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

daughter of smoke and bone

Anyway, I figured a chill review was in order. From that perfect opening line I was completely in love again. In fact, I highlighted the whole first page on my kindle, cos it was just so unbelievably gorgeous!!  Heck I highlighted whole chapters, even, it was just so quotable. It’s lyrical, surprisingly witty and sucks you right in.  Laini Taylor is a MASTER at her craft. There’s no doubt about it. I couldn’t actually believe how stunningly well written this is (even though I already knew that 😉 ).

“Sketchbook,” Zuzana commanded, holding out her hand like a surgeon for a scalpel.

I had forgotten so much, but the second I started reading I was practically punching the air with a “THIS IS WHY I LOVE IT!” More than anything, this was exemplified by the brilliant characterisation. I was cheering every time a hero character turned up and booing all the baddies- it turned into quite the panto in my bedroom 😉 What’s wonderful about the characterisation here is how simply Taylor builds an entire image in a single sentence. Right from the start, we learn that Karou, for instance, is not easily scared and can handle herself. Even more than that, there’s so much loaded into single sentences, that it creates a picture within seconds:

“Zuzana arched an eyebrow. She was a master of the eyebrow arch, and Karou envied her for it.”

In the above quote, you get two-for-one characterisation- it is a stroke of brilliance! Forgive my geeking out, but one thing I love about rereads is how much more you can appreciate the details and artistry the second time round. And my goodness there is so much to dissect here. Because there are so many subtle things, subtly woven into the fabric, you could not notice the first time round. Of course, they give an impression, but if you want to get the most out of this book, it’s worth another look.

“Oh, good, Pestilence is free,” said Karou, heading towards the sculpture. Massive emperor and horse both wore gas masks, like every other statue in the place, and it had always put Karou in mind of the first horseman of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, sowing plaque with one outstretched arm.”

A few things stood out to me that I hadn’t noticed before. Like the understated hints of magic, the biblical references and the absolute attention to detail. One line in particular of Karou appraising the decor had me chuckling in context: “An angel, of all abominations!”(which I realise now is only funny to people who’ve read it). More than that, I adored how the real world history of the setting blended into the world of Taylor’s creation. Having been to Prague now, I could appreciate the way Taylor captured the atmosphere even more (actually this book is the reason my friend and I went to Prague in the first place 😉 )

DSCN1970 (2)

“Fairy-tale city. From the air, red rooftops hug a kink in a dark river, and by night the forested hills appear as spans of black nothing against the dazzle of the lit castle, the spiking Gothic towers, the domes great and small. The river captures all the lights and teases them out, long and wavering, and the side-slashing rain blurs it all to a dream”

Now, here’s one of the *biggest* differences. The first time round I thought it was instalove, until right at the end of the book. Highlight for spoilers: obviously, knowing about Karou’s former life this time round, seeing breadcrumbs for that scattered throughout the text, I could only think of it as ingenious this time round. In short, for those that haven’t read the book and are scared off the second they see the word “instalove”, it really, really isn’t. The romance is actually one of the biggest selling points of the series.

“We dreamed together of the world remade.” 

In terms of plot, there’s a lot going on, whilst also being a slow burn. I do think it picks up the pace later on, but the best thing about this book is actually the flashback sequence at the end- without spoilers, that twist *was not* something I saw coming the first time round. Like I said however, for the rereader, there are enough clues to see how perfectly the story has been laid out. I did think it ended rather abruptly- which explains why I sped through the series the first time cos leaving it there and *not knowing* is painful- so the one downside is not having time to complete the whole series again.

“Once upon a time, there was only darkness, and there were monsters vast as worlds who swam in it.”

All in all, there’s a reason why this is one of the rare series I’ve given a perfect rating:

5/5 bananas


Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

5 Book Series I Gave 5/5 Bananas

So I mentioned in my last post that I very rarely give books 5 bananas. Now, since I rarely give books 5*, imagine how much rarer it is for me to give an entire series 5*- in fact I’ve had a look through my goodreads and there are only 5 complete series I’ve given this too. Often I’ll like one book in a series more than others, sometimes the series will go downhill and from time to time I’ll end up loving a series I didn’t initially enjoy. Even though there are loads of series I’ve absolutely adored, very few series have actually made it onto this list. (I’m beginning to think I’m just a tad too strict about giving out bananas- maybe it’s the covetous monkey in me- I don’t know) Shockingly there are just *5* series on this list- and here they are:

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– Okay, so this is the most recent one. You can read all about my insane love for this series here, here and here. (this is me trying- unsuccessfully- not to ram it down your throats anymore than I already have :p )



daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– I read this wayyy back in 2014- and it is the last time I rated an entire series 5*. And boy was it deserving of that. Not only was it phenomenally well written, but it was so damn clever! I loved the world she created and all the characters in it. All those books were pure poetry and I am delighted to include it on this list- or any list!


wind singer

Wind Singer– I feel like I’m going back in time by mentioning this series. It is so long since I read it, that I can only remember the emotions it provoked in me and just snippets of the plot. But what a riot of emotions I remember getting from this- it moved me to tears and got me reading at a pace akin to Usaine Bolt running the 100m. I recommend this to everyone- including me- note to self: this is due a reread!



Sabriel– I’m cheating with this one, cos I thought I did give all the books 5*, but when I checked my goodreads apparently I didn’t give the second one 5*. I don’t agree with that rating at all- this series is so legendary and I have such fond memories of the Abhorsen trilogy as a whole that I *had to* include it in this list.


northern lights

Northern Lights– gosh- here’s another one that makes me ridiculously nostalgic. I’ve reread this series so many times- and it never ceases to amaze me. It is exquisitely written, so beautifully drawn, and the world building is beyond compare- if you haven’t read it then you *need* to check it out. I give it all the bananas!!


all of the bananas

And that’s it for now! I’m holding out hope that more book series will join this list soon (V E Schwab- I’m counting on you!!) and I would be happy for your suggestions! What book series have you given all 5* to? Let me know in the comments!