My Top Ten Books of 2022!

IT’S TIME!! The one! The only! The best books I read this year!!


(can you tell I’m excited?!???!!?!)

Seriously, I LOVE doing this post every year- because it’s time to celebrate all my new favourites and share them with you lovely people!! So without further ado, here’s my top ten for 2022…

This Woven Kingdom– I’m actually in shock I haven’t been going on and on about this book since I read it! Because this was a beautifully crafted fantasy inspired by Iranian mythology. I was captivated by the romance and absolutely intrigued by the characters. A stunning start to a series!

Cytonic– I was hesitant to continue the series after Starsight, but this swept in and saved the series for me! Largely, this is down to the plot really taking off and getting more and more out of this world. And I’m super keen to continue now! I can’t wait to see where it takes me- hopefully to infinity and beyond! 😉

The Wild Silence– a stunning sequel to the Salt Path, it takes us away from the UK into even more ethereal landscapes of Iceland. Tying itself to time and history, it is clear Raynor has found her voice and has so much more to say.

Gilded– this retelling of rumplestiltskin was pure gold. Focusing on stories within stories and telling tall tales, I loved how this span something entirely new from a well-worn fairy tale. I loved every second of it and can’t wait for more!

Carrie Soto is Back– Reid is always a winner for me. I mean, I knew it was going to be the book for me- it’s set in the nostalgic 90s and it’s about TENNIS for goodness sake! But I still couldn’t get enough of this sports comeback story. The characterisation was raw and on point; the relationships make you want to pump your fist in the air. And of course, Reid has become a master at historical settings. I just want to cheer on everything she does at this point!

The No Show– Beth O’Leary’s best yet. She absolutely turned up with this layered romance! As much about the character’s individual journeys as a romance book, I was still swept up in the ***ADORABLE*** love story at the heart of this. I swear her books get better and better! This was a showstopper!

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting– if you’re looking for an Austen-tatious regency romance, this is sure to get your petticoat in a twist! A delightful romp in regency London, this unconventional love story will have you clutching your bonnet and falling head over heels. With a schemer for a lead and a stiff gent as her foil, we know who we’re supposed to be rooting for… because a schemer’s not supposed to get her way, is she? 😉

An Unkindness of Magicians– the best kind of urban fantasy, this keeps one foot in the real world whilst taking us out of the ordinary. Set in an alternate version of New York, this striking novel was an awe-inspiring adventure, filled with heartache and dark intrigue. A brilliant concept, beautifully executed- I definitely suggest picking up this underrated standalone.

Dark Queens– it’s rare that I find a non-fiction history book that reads like the most thrilling fiction- but this was it. A powerful and timeless tale of murder, revenge and political intrigue, it’s a slice of forgotten history. Obscured through time and mythological retellings, this real story is impossible to forget. A vivid book I cannot stop thinking about and one that I would recommend to everyone!

The Sword of Kaigen– ahh this cut me to the quick! No read has made me more emotional this year. A memorable and sharp fantasy, I was swept up in this epic intergenerational tale. And while the magic system and the world building are both very cool- but it’s the characters and their relationships that burn brightest.

And that’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them as much as me??? Do you plan on giving any of them a go? Let me know in the comments!!

Favourites from 2022!

Welcome to the roaring twenties! This year has been a helluva lot more fun than, well, the years we were locked inside with nothing to do! I’ve been to shows in the West End, the cinema, the Opera House, gotten fitter, been on hikes and even been travelling! Most importantly of all, I’ve had a great time with family and friends and my new doggy pal ❤ I’m so grateful for that above everything else ❤

Here’s a quick whiz through some of the highlights:

And that’s all for now! Hope you all had a great year and wishing you all happy holidays!

My Top Ten for 2021

That’s right- it’s time for the best post of the year because these are the very best books I read!! And as usual, it’s a very different mix! This was the year of historical fiction and big surprises! Okay- let’s not waste any time and get to the good stuff!

Pumpkinhead– some books are just like getting a big, warm hug! This is the kind of story I know I’m going to return to again and again… and now that I have a copy of my own you can be sure that’s what I’m going to do every autumn 😉

Hunchback of Notre Dame– as good as I thought it would be! Far, far from the Disney version, this is a harsh and yet still stunning story. Set in 15th Century France, it is a moving tragedy of good, evil and those who fall in between.

Girl With Seven Names– I don’t know how I haven’t managed to talk about this on the blog before now. This was a phenomenal memoir about a North Korean defector. I was simply bowled over by her story- she’s such an inspirational, incredible woman!

Bring Up the Bodies– I finally read the Wolf Hall trilogy and it was genius! My favourite instalment was easily Bring Up the Bodies– where the threads of the story knit together… and where we can also see them beginning to fray apart.

Kindred– this was so much more than a sci fi about time-travelling- it’s about a woman’s journey through history and personal self-discovery. It’s a masterpiece. I can’t wait to read more by the author!

Salt Path– I listened to this on audiobook and that made the experience all the more evocative. Raynor’s voice brought her descriptions to life and made me feel like I was going on the walk with her. Such a surprising story of human endurance, this begins with an ugly situation, but winds up revealing the beauty that is all around us.

House of Hollow– I normally don’t like creepy stories, so this YA horror was a huge surprise. I have to admit, I was initially drawn in by THAT COVER- I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. And once I started reading, it was even worse. I fell under its atmospheric spell with every turn of the page; I was captivated by each and every character. I was taken far out of my comfort zone and blown away by what I found. This is not the kind of book that lets you forget about it either- it leaves you hungering for more and stuck ruminating on everything that happened. By far the best of its kind I’ve ever read. 

Nightingale– this shattered my heart… and now I want everyone to have the same experience! Such a powerful WW2 story- I love how it captured the beauty of the human spirit and managed to stay true to the realities of the time period. 

Code Name Verity– another WW2 book… and yet this is a book unlike any other. Soaring to unbelievable heights and shocking lows, I honestly didn’t expect to fall for it as much as I did.

Where the Crawdads Sing– this was nothing short of beautiful. This book has *everything* I could ever want in a story- a moving story, twists, mystery, love, coming-of-age. All of which flow seamlessly into each other, sweeping you up in the current of a melodically written narrative. Truly, I cannot applaud it enough. 

So, have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2021? Let me know in the comments!

Monkey at the Movies – My Favourite Films in 2021!

Hello all! Seeing as I talk about all my other favourites, it’s only fair to share the best things I watched this year (not including rewatches of course!) I’m going to whizz through them, so get your popcorn out and let’s dive in…

Raya and the Last Dragon– somehow I forgot to say how great Raya and the Last Dragon was!! And it was probably my favourite movie of the year! It’s been a while since I’ve appreciated an animated movie this much 😊 It’s very much its own story, with rich characterisation and fun visuals.

Cruella– this was a lot more fun than I was expecting! Yes, it’s somewhat bonkers… but that’s kind of the point! It had a rocking aesthetic and a killer storyline 😉 I don’t know how, but it actually made me root for one of the most baddies of all time.

A Simple Favour– this was the biggest surprise of the year- it was #MuchBetterThanIExpected. Commenting on social media as much as providing a fun thrill ride, this slick story kept me feeling engaged. And I also loved the French soundtrack!

Karate Kid– I’m counting this as a new movie to me, because I literally didn’t remember anything about it. It’s a good old-fashioned stick-up-for-yourself kind of story! I love the messages in this movie and was on the edge of my seat by the end.

Taken– yes, I’m very late to the party. But wow- this was intense! I don’t think I took a breath the entire movie! This is how an action flick should be!

And that’s all folks! Have you seen any of these? Did you have a favourite film this year? Let me know in the comments!

My 2021 Favourites!

2021 has been and nearly gone- so I thought I’d revive a post I did last year and share some appreciation for some of the great things I’ve discovered this year! I’m going to keep this nice and short- because as usual most of my faves are BOOKS. So, without further ado, here are some non-bookish faves (*ahem*, okay, there will be some bookish things 😉)

#notspon (obviously 😉)

Ariel Bissett– yes, yes, I know where the hell have I been?? But the thing is, I’ve been *obsessed* with her videos this year… and not just for the books. Ever since her “I bought a house video” I’ve been living vicariously through her- because I LOVE watching people do up their houses! I like when people rescue a wreck and give the old birds the TLC they deserve! I’m enjoying seeing everything she’s doing with her home 😊

Lululemon Yoga Mat– this is one of the best purchases I made all year. I was using a really old, thin thing and this has been a gamechanger in terms of comfort (and I’d say performance, but I’m still not great and a mat isn’t going to make that much difference haha!) Anyway, if you’re in the market for a mat, I recommend this one. It’s got two sides for different styles of yoga, it’s easy to clean and I love the style! The only downside is that it has an odd smell to start with, but that fades.

Meditation– this is more of a vague one, because I haven’t settled on an app or style of meditation that I like just yet. I’ve tried Headspace and quite like it, but am usually equally happy with a Youtube selection for whatever I’m feeling. Regardless, I think this has powerfully helped me shift my perspective and get into a better head space 😉 People have been suggesting this to me for years… and what can I say other than they’re right! I’m still a novice and hope to continue practicing (I’m gonna need it 😉)

Diary 2021– this is some fine Waterstones stationery. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s taken me such a long time to get one of these. It really changed my life- to think I used to write Things To Do lists and just scatter them across my desk 😂

Borrowbox/Audible– this was the year of the audiobook for me! Not only have I gone a little wild with Borrowbox, but I also decided to treat myself to an Audible subscription. I kept thinking it was just a temporary thing- however I ended up addicted… and I’m not sorry?! Audiobooks are a gamechanger! They’re fun, they’re entertaining and they mean I can read while I’m on the move/doing other things! 

And finally my sister has a tiger who came for tea…

Annnnd that’s all I have for now! (because most of my faves this year consist of *books*!) What have you enjoyed this year? Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite Soundtracks… All of Which are Bookish

This is going to be a quick list! I just thought it might be fun to share some of my favourite inspirational and bookish soundtracks! All pics link to clips! Enjoy!

Hook– I love this soundtrack, not just because it captures the mood of Peter Pan, but because it makes me feel like I’m flying!

Game of Thrones– no matter what I feel about how the show ended, it always did have great production values, especially the music.

Lord of the Rings– it’s even good in the Hobbit films- and that’s saying something! (seriously though, this is perfection!)

Outlander– this is another one where I didn’t love the story- but I adored the way this soundtrack had such a Scottish and mystical feel to it!

Last Kingdom– speaking of historical-sounding music, I like how this has such an ancient feel to it. I don’t know much about the music from the time period, yet I can say that the music creates an incredible atmosphere.

Wolf Hall– I haven’t actually read the book for this one, even if it’s one of my favourite soundtracks. I really admire how this captures the essence of Tudor music. 

Atonement– I don’t even love the book, but I think it’s a fantastic adaptation. And the soundtrack always gets me in the mood for writing!

So, do you enjoy any of these soundtracks? What soundtracks are your favourites? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

Favourites for 2020!

2020 has been… odd. While some good things have happened in my personal life, I haven’t done much or discovered a whole lot of exciting things or been one of those people that’s learnt new skills in lockdown… But let’s not dwell on that. Today is about celebrating the things I have enjoyed in 2020! While I don’t normally do *favourites* posts, I decided to make an exception this year, because we could all do with more good stuff in our lives! So, I’m going to be recommending some non-bookish things I’ve liked this year (don’t worry, the book wrap ups will come soon enough!) It won’t be a tremendously long list, cos about 95% of the things I enjoy are book related 😉 Let’s hop to it!

Love Wedding Repeat– yes, I’m mentioning this again 😉 This was the movie I had most fun watching this year. And (I can say from experience) it’s also the kind of film that I can happily rewatch!

The Queen’s Gambit– I was surprised by how much I loved this. I hardly thought that a TV show about being a chess champion could be so gripping and emotional! And when I look back on all the TV I watched this year (and I watched a fair amount 😉) it’s the one that stands out to me most. It’s a real winner.

Folklore– Taylor Swift’s surprise album drop just about made my week/month/year. As I predicted when I ranked the songs, my favourites have mostly changed (other than Invisible String, which is still my number one, cos it just continues to make me so happy). My new order is: Invisible String, Mad Woman, Illicit Affairs, Exile, Cardigan, Hoax… then it’s pretty much the same. Love this album- still my favourite from Swift! (And I’m writing this just as I find out she has another album out this year- SQUEEEEEE!!!)

Wizard of Oz Bookmark from Bookworm Heaven– yes, I’ve showed this off before. And yes, I said I wouldn’t show off any bookish stuff in this post. However, this is the exception to that rule, because isn’t it pretty?! You can check out the Etsy here for more designs (notspon).

Philips IPL device– this was my sister’s idea to include, cos as you may have noticed, I’m not really one that knows a lot about beauty products (though if you want *much* better tips in that department, check out her blog!). In fact, it was also her idea to take advantage of all the months in lockdown to do something practical for the future and try out these hair removal devices. I’m not as far along in the programme as she is (having only started in our second lockdown) but I can say the results are looking really good so far! If you’re interested, the Philips device I’m using is not only super easy to use, quick and painless! It’s pretty revolutionary!

Yoga with Adrienne– I don’t know if this counts as something from last year, but we gotta take the wins where we can get them! And one thing that has just been more and more vital to me this year is yoga. While there are a lot of online yoga classes and apps to try, the one I consistently come back to is Yoga with Adrienne, because she just has the loveliest, most encouraging, fun personality. I can’t recommend her channel enough if you’re already into yoga, do a little bit of it, or just want somewhere to start! 

Merphy Napier– I have no idea if I’ve mentioned Merphy Napier before, though I certainly should have! She’s my favourite booktuber (and youtuber overall). Her content has been consistently awesome all year long! (Love this video in particular cos it shows you how creative her lists are and gives you a good idea of her taste at the same time)

Foil Arms and Hog– I actually discovered this last year… but who cares? This comedy channel consistently gets me chuckling. They’ve a huge back catalogue to get through- which I’ve made a reasonable attempt at 😉 Plus, even in the pandemic, they’ve been putting out sketches weekly!

Holderness Family– finally something *great* that I found in 2020! Thanks to By Hook or Book, I discovered their spoofy songs (a lot of them on Covid). And my favourite of the bunch is easily they’re hilarious takes on Hallmark Christmas movies!!

And finally… THE PLAGUE!!

With his best bud Tiptoe the Rat… Yeahhh I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for faves in 2020, but to be fair, I was really delighted that my friend sent me this (rather cute version of the) Bubonic Plague (also known as Hugo the Bubo 😉 ).

Annnnd that’s all I have for now! (because most of my faves this year consist of *books*!) What have you enjoyed this year? Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite Discworld Characters

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Just a quick post today, cos I like to mark this time of year with some *book love* and I always feel like a Pratchett post is in order. Now, this was a tricky one to do, because I’ve found my opinions have shifted over the years the more I’ve read, and I plan to reread all the books before I finish the series- so I’m guessing this is by no means definitive! Which I suppose makes this kind of an odd post… but who can blame me for wanting to share some Discworld joy? 😉

unseen academicals

The Librarian– well, obviously 😉

mort nice edition

Death– I fell in love with Discworld the moment Death ate a curry.

equal rites 2

Granny Weatherwax– Granny’s one whose grown on me- she gets better with every book!

night watch

Vimes– what’s not to love about Vimes?! Also, he really reminds me of the friend who introduced me to the series 😊 (my friend also could do with some new boots 😉)


Vetinari– best benevolent dictator ever!

Honorary Mentions: I also have a soft spot for Greebo and Death of Rats 😊

And that’s all for now! Do any of you have favourite Discworld characters? Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite Fantasy #2

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I’m so excited for this post, cos it’s been *ages* since I talked about my top ten favourite fantasy, and I’ve been wanting to do a follow up for years! Now I’m finally doing it and *bonus* I’ve added in some sci fi this time round (yes, I could have done a separate post, but I don’t have such a long list for it). I feel like this will be a bit like my favourite classics and romance lists- I’ll just keep adding to it more and more 😊 Without further ado, let’s talk about some of my *new and shiny and glorious* faves:

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the Nightingale– I mean, you all knew I was going to include this, didn’t you? This sumptuous Russian fairy tale retelling stole my heart from the second I stepped into Arden’s world. Atmospheric and so-darn-beautiful, I will never cease to be amazed by how magnificent this book is.

strange the dreamer

Strange the Dreamer– well, duh, Laini Taylor had to be on this list! Her writing is exquisite, her worlds sensationally unique and her romances to die for!


Circe– this is by far and away one of the most exquisite books I’ve ever read. And on top of that, it’s a perfect retelling of the Odyssey. I. am. in. awe.

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– another book I have endless admiration for. For me, what makes this so special is how it balances the gothic and fairy tale elements just so. As a lover of both genres, this book bowled me over, transporting me far away into the Hinterland.


Neverwhere– bringing me closer to home, Neverwhere tells the story of a hidden London, steeping the streets in mythological imaginings. A truly magnificent work.

charmed life

Charmed Life– I know there are probably a lot of other Diana Wynne Jones’ books with more renown, however, this one for me brings me such joy. Perhaps I’m being a little sentimental, it’s just this one hits all the right emotional notes.

poison chris wooding

Poison– I had to triple and quadruple check that this wasn’t on my last list- because I ADORE THIS WONDERFULLY WEIRD BOOK. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it may make you feel like you’ve hopped down the rabbithole in terms of plot, yet it’s undeniably a unique read.

warrior heir

Heir Series– I read this fairly recently and it still manages to make me oddly nostalgic- because the characters and relationships and stories have a way of clinging to your soul. Yes, Chima Williams is another author making a repeat appearance on this list- that’s just because she’s another author who never fails to knock it out of the park.

red sister

The Book of the Ancestor Series– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the kind of series that reminds me why I got into fantasy in the first place. There’s so much to love about this- from the world to the sense of sisterhood to the romance. I just adore this series and can’t wait to read more from the author!

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– well, when I mentioned sci fi faves, I bet you all guessed this would be on here. Many of you will already know my love for this *prime* series, so I’ll be quick in saying for the millionth time: this is gorydamn good! I mean, it’s Romans in space- need I say more?!

shades children

Shade’s Children– I’m never quite sure what genre this is- but it doesn’t matter, cos I will always love this twisty standalone.

the martian

The Martian– who’d have thought that a book about a guy stranded on Mars would be so much fun? That’s because Mark Watney rocks. Funniest protagonist I’ve ever read- and he makes this race-against-time sci fi so spectacular.

And that’s all for now! I have a few more I’d like to add, but I like to give it some space after I read books before declaring them *favourites*. Are any of these your favourites? Do you have any favourite fantasy books you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

All-Time Favourite Classics #4

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Wahey we made it to part 4!! As I said in the first week, I’m going to pause this series after this post, though I’d like to continue it someday. For now though, I’m working with a more “realistic” (*ahem* mostly) theme to round off these favourite classics:

canterbury talesCanterbury Tales– I was endlessly surprised to find how realistic the characters in this were- not least because this was written OVER 600 YEARS AGO! And yet the fundamentals of human nature haven’t changed. What is also incredible is how complex and layered each of the stories are, how they tales interplay with their role in the prologue and how this all builds up the character study even more.


great expectationsGreat Expectations– ahh the king of realism- Dickens. And this happens to be my favourite I’ve read so far. A part of this comes down to how much I adore the story- and yet I find that somewhat imperfect- not intentionally so (I just prefer Dicken’s original ending where *spoiler alert* he doesn’t end up with Estella, it made more sense from a narrative standpoint). But mostly, because I cannot get over that image of Miss Havisham, sitting in her wedding dress. It’s both tragic and horrifying.


catcher in the ryeCatcher in the Rye– this one will surprise people straight off the bat, because it is such a Love-it or Hate-it book. I for one won’t pretend that I liked Holden Caulfield- in fact I spent a good deal of time disliking him- and yet… there was something so compelling about him. I could not deny the realistic tenor to his character. Nor could I say that I didn’t grow sympathetic to him over the course of the book. That change struck me and took me by surprise- it felt like getting to know an actual person. Yes he may be whiny and difficult on the surface- however strip away the layers and there is so much more to him. So feel free to love him or hate him, but you can’t deny that this book captures something very real.


to kill a mockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird– I genuinely do not have any words for this book. The realistic characters, the finest fictional father figure of all time, the story, the beautiful writing, the message- ah it makes me speechless. If you do not know why it is on this list, then quite simply you haven’t read it.



king learKing Lear– okay, yes I’m following with a shall-we-say less good fictional father? (yes, I will admit I didn’t know what book to put next). But on the positive side this play made me cry… wait a second… JK- what I mean is this is a deeply moving play (not that I’m a masochist who seeks out stories that will make me cry… okay I totally do that- whatever 😉 )


brothers karamazovBrother’s Karamazov– speaking of dysfunctional families (gosh I ought to make a “favourite dysfunctional families” list) In all seriousness, this book is magnificent- not least because this has some MAGNIFICENT characterisation. I have to say that I love the intellectual tussles between Ivan and Alyosha (#teamAlyosha… which is weird because I should rightly pick Ivan… whatever I’ll psychoanalyse that comment later 😉 ). Incidentally, anyone that knows me might be surprised to have found no Dostoevsky’s my favourites so far- never fear, this part has three- pahahaha!


hamletHamlet– but if what you’re looking for is philosophical questions, why not get to the crux of the existential issue. To be or not to be– damn I get shivers from that speech every time. There’s a reason it’s quoted a million times. And sure, Hamlet might procrastinate for half the play about whether to avenge his father, but all his romps through faux madness and his eventual spurts of violence are so worth it… err… sort of. Stay in school kids.


waiting for godotWaiting for Godot– well since we’re on the subject of existential despair, we may as well go in for a penny in for a pound. And okay, this slightly surreal play is kind of the opposite of the realism theme I’ve been leaning towards here. Despite the strangeness of the play, however, it’s very clear that the themes it plays with- the passage between life and death- are very tangible issues. Some could say the most real of all. And of course, I could give any number of reasons for this being on the list- but what I will say is that what makes this play special is how it makes you feel alive with laughter one minute, and then, all of a sudden the warmth fades away, and you are left with nothing but a chill.


notes from undergroundNotes from the Underground– I actually studied this for a “Novel and the Collapse of Humanism” course (I know, cheery stuff). Here Dostoevsky explores the paradoxical nature of man- both alien and atypical of his society. It is a work of pure genius- exhibiting the internal chaos of humankind- as we struggle to find our place in the world (and if you’re in any doubt as to how seriously cool this book is, this 19th century book smashes through the fourth wall, like a Deadpool comic)


idiotThe Idiot– and yet it is The Idiot which probably takes the spot as my favourite Dostoevsky. I’ve mentioned time and again how I love the hero, Prince Myshkin (#relationshipgoals), because he is one of the most saintly characters ever written… and that’s his greatest failing. Which leads me onto my rather bizarre favourite thing about this book- it kind of fizzles out at the end- yes, it’s unintentional, but that’s what I like about it- it’s a failed book about failure.


judeJude the Obscure– okay, let’s be honest, if we’re going to talk “doomed from the start”, Jude really takes the biscuit. I’m not saying that this is a dark book, I’m saying THIS IS THE MOST DEPRESSING THING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE. I really don’t blame people for not liking this one to be fair- nonetheless, for me, this is one of the most memorable books I have ever read. I can never shake the images it has planted in my brain. So I guess all that’s left to say is: hey Jude, don’t be afraid… watch out for women who try to trap you in marriage, just sayin’


richard iiiRichard III– okay to leave off on a more positive note- let’s talk about someone who actually deserved to get their comeuppance. Cos let’s face it, from the opening speech, we can be certain Richard’s the baddie. And I know, I know, some historians and novelists have tried to rewrite the character in a more sympathetic light BUT there’s no following Shakespeare. He is “determined to prove a villain”- and what a villain he is! Too bad he couldn’t get hold of a horse.

Previous Posts:

All-Time Favourite Classics #1

All-Time Favourite Classics #2

All-Time Favourite Classics #3

I will admit that over the course of these posts I did add to this list, but I’ve decided to give it a rest for now. Anyway, have you read any of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!