Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday | Best Books of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week's theme is 'Top Ten Best Books Of 2016'! Now as many of you may know, 2016 hasn't been a great reading year for me at all. I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a bit of a crap year in general, and unfortunately a busy job and generally feeling low have meant I haven't been reading as avidly as I'd like to. I read half the amount of books I read last year, and so many books were a lot more underwhelming or disappointing than I would have liked them to be, so I have a top eight rather than a top ten. I could have picked another two, but I decided just to go with the books that have actually stuck with me this year in some way or another!

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: This one's a re-read after I read it for the very first time last year, in fact I re-read it twice this year: I read the paperback and also listened to the audiobook and I loved every minute of it. It's still one of my all-time favourite books, and I'm confident I'll be reading it again in 2017, too.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: This one was such a pleasant surprise. I loved the sound of the premise so I was sure I was going to like it, but I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I was going to. It was a real adventure, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on The Ship Beyond Time.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: I think we all know by now that I adored Moreno-Garcia's debut Signal to Noise, so her second novel was my most anticipated read of this year and I really enjoyed it. It's the first vampire novel I've read in a while that felt fresh and new, and I can't wait for her next novel!

Soulless by Gail Carriger: I'm glad 2016 was the year I finally read some Gail Carriger and it was so much fun. I'm planning to finish this series and then I'm looking forward to reading Carriger's other work.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: This was a strange one in that I finished it I was a little disappointed with the ending, but I also haven't been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it and the more I think about it the more I appreciate just how brilliantly plotted it is. I didn't care for Flynn's debut, Sharp Objects, but I think this is a fantastic thriller.

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney: I had a very similar experience as Dark Places with this one, too. After I finished it I felt a bit underwhelmed, but like Dark Places I haven't been able to stop thinking about it and I think it's actually a really well put together novel and a perfect read for those cold winter months.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: Probably the best book I read this year. It's heartbreaking but it's so, so beautiful and another one that's plotted so well. I can't recommend it enough!

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik: One of the best adult contemporary novels I've read in a long time. This was so much fun to read but was also really thought-provoking in places and just a really good book. I'm looking forward to The Other Half of Happiness!

Which books made your list this week?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Book Haul!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're all having a wonderful day, and if you don't celebrate Christmas I wish you a very Merry Sunday all the same!

I've been treated to a bunch of lovely things today, but I thought I'd share with you the pile of shiny new history books I received this Christmas. I'm so excited to read all of them!

The Witches by Stacy Schiff

The Astronomer and the Witch by Ulinka Rublack

The Lives of Tudor Women by Elizabeth Norton

Crown of Blood by Nicola Tallis

Game of Queens by Sarah Gristwood

I'm especially pleased with this pile as #HistoryBooksByWomen was trending on Twitter earlier this month, and I love my women's history and my women historians. I can't wait to get stuck in!

Did Santa leave some books under your tree? Whatever you're doing today, I hope it's wonderful. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday | All I Want for Christmas...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week's theme is 'Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree'. Merry Christmas, everyone!

A Visitor's Companion to Tudor England by Suzannah Lipscomb: I'm a big fan of Suzannah Lipcomb's documentaries and what I love about the sound of this book is its interactivity. Lipscomb has compiled a list of places to visit which have a connection to the Tudors that are available to visit, and I think it'd be so much fun to explore Tudor Britain with a copy of this in my bag.

Red: A History of the Redhead by Jacky Colliss Harvey: I love books like this which look at something very particular and explore its history, and there's something really interesting about the history of people with red hair; Mary Magdalene and Lilith were often depicted as redheads in art, and having red hair was one of the signs that a woman was a witch according to the Malleus Maleficarum, one of the most evil books ever written. This sounds like a really interesting read and the cover's gorgeous!

The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla: I saw Nikesh Shukla speak at the London Book Fair this year - he made the news by sending a porkchop into space to promote his first novel - and he was fantastic. Given our current political climate, that I still can't quite believe is real, I think this is such an important book and I've heard fantastic things about it.

The Witches by Stacy Schiff: Perhaps you've noticed, but I'm fascinated by the history of witchcraft. Shocking, I know. As a British person I grew up learning an awful lot about the witch trials in Britain and Europe, but the Salem Witch Trials are probably the most well-known trials in the world. Yet I know absolutely nothing about the Salem Witch Trials. This book is essentially a history of the trials, one that was written fairly recently too, so I think it'll be a great introduction for me.

The Astronomer and the Witch by Ulinka Rublack: Yet more witches. This little book tells the story of Johannes Kepler, a famous astronomer, astrologer and mathematician, whose mother was accused of witchcraft. When it came to her trial it was Johannes himself who stepped up to defend her and I'd love to learn more about this moment in history.

Crane Pond by Richard Francis: The only novel on my list (I've got my eye on a lot of non-fiction this year) and one that could happily be read alongside one of the above books. Crane Pond is a novelisation of the story of one of the judges from the Salem Witch Trials, the only judge who later admitted that hanging those women had been a mistake. Colour me intrigued!

Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis: Poor Lady Jane Grey. I've always had a soft spot for her and yet everything I know about her I've learned through documentaries where she's been given a brief mention or through her Wikipedia page, so I'd like to get to know her a bit better with this book.

Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe by Sarah Gristwood: I love my women's history and I love my 16th century history and I love Europe, so this is ideal for me!

The Lives of Tudor Women by Elizabeth Norton: What I love about the sound of this book is that it looks at the lives of Tudor women across the spectrum, using four different Elizabeths to explore women's lives from the nobility to the peasantry. I'm a huge Tudor nerd so this sounds great to me.

Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Beauty and the Beast by Charles Solomon: I'm 100% positive this isn't going to be under my Christmas tree because it's not longer in print and second hand sellers tend to sell it for about £250, but a girl can dream. Beauty and the Beast is my favourite film so I'd love to own this one day!

Which books made your list this week?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday | Anticipated Releases of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week's theme is 'Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017'. I usually don't like doing these because, despite working in publishing, I'm not that great at keeping up with what's coming out in the coming years that I'm going to love. If there's a favourite author I follow or a series I'm keeping up with, I'll know, but otherwise I'm fairly useless.

Nevertheless there are some books I'm really looking forward to in the first half of 2017, so, without further ado, here are my top ten twelve most anticipated books being published between January and June!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: Despite not being much of a YA reader these days, I adored Becky Albertalli's debut Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (reviewed here!) so I'd like to check out her second novel not only because I loved her debut so much, but also because The Upside of Unrequited features an overweight protagonist. We need more such protagonists in YA!

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik: The sequel to Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (reviewed here!), which is probably one of the best adult contemporary novels I've read in a long while.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal: If that title doesn't catch your eye, I don't know what will. I just love the sound of this novel.

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀: I read about Adébáyọ̀'s debut in The Bookseller and loved the sound of it. Anyone who's had Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Margaret Atwood for mentors has to be fantastic so I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence: I don't read much high fantasy - I wish I read more than I do - but this sounds so cool. Assassin nuns are the best kind of characters.

The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember: A Norse, LGBT+ retelling of The Little Mermaid. I am ready. I read and enjoyed Ember's debut Unicorn Tracks (reviewed here!) this year, and I can't wait to read more of her work!

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Girl From Everywhere (reviewed here!), so I'll definitely be checking out the sequel! I'm fairly certain this series is a duology so I'm curious to see how Heilig intends to wrap up Nix's story.

Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang: This sounds magical. I've been meaning to read Chang's debut novel, Three Souls, but haven't got around to it yet. Dragon Springs Road sounds like my cup of tea, though; it's historical fiction meets magical realism meets mystery, all with a mixed race protagonist. I always enjoy reading books featuring mixed race protagonists and I'm really looking forward to this one.

Take Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis: I loved Samantha Ellis's memoir, How To Be a Heroine (reviewed here!), and I love Anne Brontë, so Samantha Ellis writing a book about Anne Brontë sounds perfect to me.

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown: As far as I'm concerned Matthew Hopkins is one of the most evil men in history. He turned witch-hunting into a career for himself, inciting fear in small towns and making money killing women he accused of witchcraft - we even have him to thank for the Salem Witch Trials after a book he wrote became very popular overseas. This novel is from the point of view of Matthew's sister during the tumultuous years of the witch trials, and I think it'll be so interesting to read a book about Hopkins from the point of view of a female relative.

The Good People by Hannah Kent: Another author whose debut, Burial Rites (reviewed here!), I adored. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Good People which, like Burial Rites, is set in the 19th century but this time in Ireland.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck: This novel is set in Germany after the Second World War and follows the widow of a German resistor who was killed in a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1944. She has made a promise to her dead husband to rescue other widows of the resistance and make a home for all of them in the grand house of her husband's ancestors. I think there's a real lack of historical fiction set in Germany during or after the Second World War, and this sounds fantastic.

Which books made your list this week?