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The Fourth Annual 2020 Book Blogging Awards – My Nominations

Last year I missed my chance to nominate any bloggers for the Book Blogger Awards so this year I decided to make sure that I took the time to nominate some of my favourite bloggers in the first round and hopefully help my followers find some more incredible pages to check out. Recognizing the wonderful achievements of our fellow bloggers is so, so important and I simply couldn’t miss this opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic bloggers whose pages I most admire.

The Fourth Annual 2020 Book Blogger Awards are being hosted by Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane and May @ Forever And Everly. For more information please do go and check our their posts. And thank you to both of them for giving bloggers such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate one and other.

Best Of Their Age:

Best Pre-Teen/Teen Book Blogger (13-19):

Emma @ A Few Chapters ’til Love

Everybody should 100% be following Emma on her wonderful blog. She’s honestly one of the nicest people that I’ve met through blogging and has an incredible variety of content on her page. Reviews, tags, discussions, recommendations, advice and memes can all frequently be found over on A Few Chapters ’til Love and are also always a joy to read. So what are you waiting for? If you’re not already following her please do go and check out her page for a wonderful variety of fantastic content.

Best Adult Book Blogger (20+):

Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books

Everytime that I read a post by Marie I’m left utterly in awe of her incredible content. It constantly amazes and inspires me that she manages not only to produce such fantastic and varied blog posts but also still keeps on top of all of her comments, reads a lot and blog hops too as much as she does. I seriously don’t know how she does it! There are always new posts by her that leave me itching to read them and her reviews strike that perfect balance of informing you about a book and sharing her feelings without stepping into spoiler territory. Plus she’s one of the kindest and most supportive bloggers that I’ve came across.

Best Genre Bloggers:

Young Adult:

Kaya @ A Fictional Bookworm

Kaya is another blogger that I’m absolutely over the moon to have met. Not only is she a lovely person who I adore exchanging comments with, she also has a lot of interesting and regular content that I’m always excited to read. Her reviews are always entertaining, fair and fun and the books that she includes are pretty much always ones that are already on my TBR or swiftly find their way onto it after her recommendations. She’s a truly wonderful person and her content is always engaging and entertaining.

Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads

Yes it’s another blogger whose posts I always make an effort to catch up with if I ever fall behind with my blog hopping. Why? Because her content is constantly intriguing and a joy to delve into. When it comes to reviews Evelyn is another blogger who manages to share enough book context to leave you intrigued (or else fairly share why she wasn’t a fan of a particular book) whilst tending to stay away from spoiler territory. Her list posts are always fantastic and I’m definitely in awe of how consistently she blogs.

Middle Grade or Younger:

Mandy & Sha @ Book Princess Reviews

As soon as I saw this prompt Mandy & Sha from Book Princess Reviews immediately sprang to mind. Although they also cover Young Adult books I definitely remember discovering a fair few Middle Grade offerings through their blog as well. Their page definitely seems to be a good go to if you want to try and discover more of the Middle Grade genre and it has a lot of enthusiasm for it to match. Plus they even have a wonderful guide of where to start with various options including MG books by YA authors, spooky reads and various diverse ones.

Science Fiction / Fantasy:

Mogsy @ The BiblioSanctum

Thanks to the amount of time that I’ve spent flicking through various Goodreads lists I generally think I’m pretty aware of what new book releases are on the horizon. Yet I’m still constantly discovering new and intriguing offerings of books in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres (as well as horror and thriller offerings too) on Mogsy’s page. They have such a wonderful variety of book reviews, memes and lists within these genres and I just adore reading their content. If you ever want to know what Sci-Fi & Fantasy releases are around the corner then this is the page to visit!

Mystery / Thriller:

Ludwig @ Ludwig’s Thrillers

I haven’t really spoken with this blogger much (so I’m incredibly sorry if I have your name wrong) but their page is definitely my new go to for thriller recommendations. They have a whole host of wonderful recommendations lists within the genre – including some YA ones too which was a lovely discovery to make – and also frequently post lists of Kindle book deals within both the UK and USA which I’m sure is a feature that many book bloggers – and readers in general – will find immensely useful.

Book Of Book Blogging:

Best Book Reviews:

@ Spines That Shine

Firstly I’m so, so sorry that I don’t know your name. I feel terrible about that fact.

If you’re looking for reviews that you can trust then look no further! Spines That Shine is one of the first bloggers that I followed and I absolutely adore her reviews. They’re wonderfully set out and share her fair and balanced opinions of the books that she’s read. By highlighting specific aspects and features of books (such as enemies to lovers, mythological beings or settings) I find her reviews the perfect read for when I’m in two minds about reading a book. She’s always kind and fair in her assessments of a book and explains exactly what it is that she’s loved or disliked within her reviews. Plus she takes the most stunning Instagram pictures so if you’re not following her over there too you definitely should be doing so!

Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner

Any post by Sophie is one that I know I’m going to enjoy and she’s another blogger with a wonderful variety of content. I’ve absolutely adored some of her recent book interview posts and her reviews are easily some of my most trusted thanks to the fair and balanced way that she sets her thoughts out. For me a good review shares a reader’s thoughts and opinions of a book without giving too much else away which is exactly what her reviews do. She tells her readers what she likes and dislikes within the books that she’s read but doesn’t spoil the content in any way. So in general her reviews leave me itching to pick up the book for myself. Plus I can’t mention Sophie without also bringing up the fact that she’s a wonderful individual to interact with and is so, so supportive of others too.

Best Book Recommendations:

Sofi @ A Book A Thought

Oh man do I love Sofi’s recommendation posts! As soon as you read them it’s perfectly clear that she’s put a lot of thought and effort into choosing books for her given subject. I have a weakness for book lists and her’s are definitely some of my favourite of those. The enthusiasm that she has practically leaps off of the page and I’m always excited when I realize I have another recommendation post by her in my inbox. She somehow constantly comes up with these lists and always has new offerings to share with her readers. Her page is definitely a wonderful place to visit if you want to discover some new books. Plus she is one of the sweetest bloggers that I’ve communicated with. Thank you so much for your wonderful talent for picking the perfect books to make my TBR grow!

Best Discussion Posts:

Sophie @ Me And Ink

Surely I’m not the only person who immediately thinks of Sophie when it comes to discussion posts? There’s something about the style in which she writes them that constantly leaves me wanting more. Her thoughts are well written, balanced and concise. She gets across both sides of an argument incredibly well and definitely leaves you with plenty to think about. It’s the engaging writing style of these posts that always leaves me most in awe but I honestly love everything about her discussion posts; the layout, the content, the subjects that she picks…where on earth do you get your ideas from? Personally I consider Sophie the queen of book blogging discussion posts.

Best Blogging/Writing Voice:

Rain @ The Withering

I discovered Rain’s page quite some time back and was immediately struck by her strong, unique blogging voice. Then, thanks to my lack of notifications, I completely lost track of her page which I am so, so sorry about. I recently went back through the blogs that I’m following and made sure everybody’s email alerts were set to ‘on’ (you’d think this would be automatic when you hit ‘follow’ surely?) and couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about her marvellous blog. I haven’t read any of her posts recently thanks to this total failure on my part as well as my semi-absence but I am intenstly eager to start catching up on them soon. And surely the fact that I can remember how profoundly her voice struck me after all this time is a pretty massive sign of how impressive it is? Check out one of her posts and you’ll swiftly see what I mean. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Kaya @ A Fictional Bookworm

As I said earlier I adore Kaya’s content and honestly do think she’s one of the nicest bloggers that I’ve met. I’ve made it my mission over my catch up sessions to read pretty much all of her posts and a major factor of that decision is due to her blogging voice. All of her posts are so much fun to read! She manages to get her humor and snarkiness spot on which is something that truly amazes me (I’m too scared to try and be sarcastic as I know I’ll just end up sounding dumb). Her blogging voice is distinctive, fun and just utterly amazing. So please follow her now!

Miscellaneous:

Most Supportive:

Lauren @ Twenty – Seven Letters

There are a lot of ways to support others within the blogging world, to make them feel accepted and included and to help raise awareness of their work. And one of those is to do collaborative posts that bring the work of various bloggers together. Lauren has reached out to several bloggers, me included, to write such posts and I can honestly say that receiving an email asking for your input is such an uplifting experience. She definitely raises awareness of other bloggers and supports them wonderfully. Plus she has such incredible post ideas and a beautiful writing voice (so yes I could have picked her for several categories truthfully) and she’s just an all round lovely person.

Emma @ A Few Chapters ’til Love

Do you ever feel like you don’t belong in the world of blogging? That you’re not good enough and that people don’t notice your page? I’m sure it’s a feeling that many bloggers are familiar with and having supportive followers helps a lot with those feelings. Back when I first started blogging I took a break as I became overwhelmed and during that time I received the loveliest message from Emma letting me know that I was missed. It was so heartwarming and uplifting to receive; plus such an incredible gesture to reach out to a blogger on hiatus like that. Emma’s all around supportive of others though. I’ve recently found a wonderful blogger thanks to her shout-out of them, she encourages you to check out everyone’s pages, leaves the most wonderful comments and has even written a help post for someone. As I said earlier she’s one of the loveliest people that I have met and I seriously hope that these nominations prompt you to check out her page.

Most Engaged In The Community:

Emer @ A Little Haze Book Blog

When it comes to being an active and engaged member of the bookish community then who better to mention than Emer? She has to be one of – if not the – most frequent poster that I follow and that in itself puts her in the running for this nomination. More than that though despite her activity level, and huge number of followers, she still manages to keep up with her comments and takes the time to check out the posts of others too. Plus, even after receiving awards dozens of times she continues to share the love by tagging others to receive them. The variety of books that she reads, and content that she creates, is incredible and I just highly recommend checking out her page.

Most Creative:

Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

Sometimes you find a blogger who constantly leaves you wondering where on earth they get all of their wonderful post ideas from; Caitlin is 100% one of those individuals. Her page is frequently populated with new and intriguing posts and I seem to adore each and every one of them. They’re generally on topics that turn out to be wonderfully creative and fun too such as making guesses about books based on their covers and sharing her reading experiences within ‘Caitlin Reads’. The topics that she picks for her discussions – which are always wonderfully well written and fun to read – are varied too. Plus she’s one of the loveliest people in the book blogging world. And such a supportive individual as well; I’ve found various people’s pages thanks to her blogger shout outs!!

Madison @ Madison’s Inkwell

Firstly – and I can’t stress this enough – please do go and follow Madison’s page! It breaks my heart that she isn’t more recognized within the blogging world as her content is flawless without fail. Whenever you read a post by Madison you know that it’s going to be incredibly well written, planned out and – if applicable – researched. Her post ideas are so creative too and I love seeing the content that she comes up with. Her Liquor Literacy series (where she shares drink recipes and teams them up with books) is unlike anything else that I’ve come across in the world of blogging and each entry in the series clearly takes her a lot of effort, research and time. Her enthusiasm always bursts off of the screen, whatever her subject matter. And she’s such a lovely individual too.

Friendliest Member Of The Community:

Amber @ Amber Reads

I’ve only met Amber fairly recently but she has to be one of the kindest, sweetest bloggers that I’ve come across. From the very first time that I commented on a post of hers she left me the friendliest replies imaginable. All of her comments – whether on her page or mine – are always so warm and heartfelt. To say I’m thrilled to have met her is a monumental understatement. Please do go and check out her page as she deserves all the followers in the world. I adore her content too and I can honestly say that if there was a category here for best fictional writing I would 100% nominate Amber in a heartbeat. Check out her fantastic fiction as it’s a gift to the world and I really would not be surprised to find myself reading a book by her at some point in the future.

El @ Elated Books

Truthfully I really wanted to nominate El for one of the genre categories but she reads such a vast range of books that I couldn’t settle on which to pick for her. (So take that as a recommendation to go and check out her page whatever your taste in books!). Her content is fantastic and I love reading all of her posts. She’s also one of the friendliest bloggers that I know. Talking with her is so much fun and she always leaves the loveliest comments on people’s posts. I’m so happy to have found her page.

Best At Promoting Diverse Books:

May @ Forever And Everly

Despite only having followed May very recently I literally can not think of a better individual to nominate for this award. It was her incredible post featuring 25 different books by Asian authors that first drew me towards her blog and I’ve already noticed several other fabulous looking similar posts focusing on different diverse subjects since. To put it simply her recommendations posts are incredible; wonderfully well set out, jam packed with diverse books and full of fabulous sounding fiction. I seriously can’t wait to read more!

Lais @ The Bookish Skies

Lais is another blogger who 100% deserves this award and came pretty swiftly into my mind for this category. Whether she’s writing a recommendations post, participating in a tag or sharing some of her superb individual content (such as her trope series) the books that she includes always cover a pretty diverse range. Not only that but her comments on these books is always so thoughtful and give you plenty of reasons to pick each of the titles up. Her content is always superb and she’s such a sweet individual. So once again please do go and check out her page.

Most Importantly:

Best Overall Book Blogger:

Sophie @ Me & Ink

Earlier on I mentioned how utterly fantastic Sophie’s discussion posts are but the truth is that all of her posts are flawless. Whatever she writes it’s always a pure pleasure to read and I’m instantly excited when I discover that there’s a new post by her. Whether you want incredible bookish content, movie recommendations, writing advice, interesting discussions or plenty of tagging fun then Sophie’s is the page to turn to. Everything is wonderfully written, beautifully set out and clearly has had so much effort put into it. Plus she’s one of the loveliest people that you’ll ever meet and always goes above and beyond to leave the most thoughtful comments. Simply put she’s a blogging superstar and truly deserves all the followers in the world. Her sister, Beth, deserves a shout out too as her content so far has been incredible as well. I so look forward to more from both of these bloggers in the future.

Wow, that was a longer post than I was initially expecting but I thoroughly enjoyed taking the chance to share the love for some of my favourite bloggers. Please do let me know of any other bloggers that you think I’d like following. And I shall be posting more frequently soon. My blogging enthusiasm is pretty high right now tbh, I just need to get reading still.

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I’m Back (Sort Of) – Favourite Three Books Of 2020 & Current TBR

Hey, I guess the first thing that I should say is sorry for disappearing for so long. It wasn’t intentional at all; I’m just stuck in a terrible reading slump and find it kind of odd to be posting about all of the books that I love whilst failing to read them. I am seriously hoping to push passed this in the next week or two though and majorly fall back in love with reading as I miss it immensely. Plus there are some majorly magical releases coming out over the next few months and I HAVE to be reading if I want to pick those up. The rest of 2020 simply can not be a yet another year where I count down the days until a book’s release then promptly fail to read it.

Anyway this is just a quick post to say that I’ll be back and posting properly soon. I’m currently finishing off my attempts to play catch up and then I’m going to throw myself in to finishing off my library books (or reading another three of them at the very least) then I’ll return properly and start posting more regularly.

Long introduction aside this is just a quick post to share my favourite three books so far this year (reviews for them are all typed up and will get shared on Goodreads in the next few weeks then gradually added to my blog) and then to remind myself – and tell all of you – why I wanted to read my remaining library books in the first place. Hopefully that way I’ll start sparking up a bit more enthusiasm!!

Favourite Reads Of 2020 So Far:
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

If you love villains, pick up this book. The bad guys in this one were fantastic and multi-layered. There were even a handful of scenes from some of their perspectives. The world had a unique system of magic, the characters were wonderful and the Orisha were fascinating. Bonus point: there are even some small chapters from the POV of a deity; how unusually wonderful is that?

Circe by Madeline Miller

When it comes to Circe the hype is definitely real. From the very first line I was hooked on this fantastic story. The characters mesmerized me and I constantly wanted to know more about each and every individual to grace the page. (Seriously I’d read all of them if they were written). The writing was utterly enchanting and I seriously do need more. Want a beautiful, powerful book with some truly enchanting writing? Then look no further.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Once I picked ‘The Grace Year’ up I literally couldn’t put it down. Brutal yet beautiful, disturbing but addictive this book left me spellbound. It was definitely dark but it’s eerie world and setting left me fascinated. The survivalist nature of certain sections of the story even gave me Hunger Games vibes at times which is so, so rare. Once again, upon finishing this book, I wanted much, much more. I could read several thousand pages of Kim Liggett’s hypnotic writing.

Please be aware that all of the above books contained potentially triggering content.

Library Books To Read Still:

Please note that my summaries of why I want to read these books are based on a combination of memory and/or a quick skim of the blurb as I plan to read them all soon and don’t generally like reading blurbs right before picking books up.

A Throne Of Swans by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

Okay so this isn’t actually a library book but it is one that I definitely want to get read before returning to my blog properly. It’s a review copy and I feel terrible for not reading it yet. I kept falling into slumps between books and didn’t want to start this in case my slump affected my opinion of the story.

Shape-shifting magic, court politics, a brutal uncle, love, revenge and a main character who wants to protect her lands. What more could I possibly ask for? This sounds incredible and will definitely be one of the books that I read before posting again.

A Treason Of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth

Well with a title like ‘A Treason Of Thorns’ how could I possibly not want to read this book? I think it also involved an unusual sense of magic, a house that was almost a character on it’s own and I’ve seen some people whose opinions I trust love this book. It’ll probably be the one I start next.

Havenfall by Sara Holland

A fascinating sounding world, murder, a mysterious dead body, missing romantic interests, dark secrets and a dangerous creature on the loose. Once more what more could I ask for in a book? A stunning cover perhaps? Well I think it’s safe to say that this has that too!

What Kind Of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

A girl turns up at school claiming that her boyfriend is abusive and everybody rushes to take sides. Is she telling the truth? And if so why did she go to her principal rather than the police? I’m curious about whether the main character is being honest or not and believe that either way this will be a hard hitting book! I was constantly checking to see if my copy of this had came in yet so I have absolutely no idea how I haven’t read this one yet.

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

A woman leaves her daughter at a home and returns years later to discover that ‘shes’ already claimed her. How can I resist a storyline like that? I’m curious about the authors work too and once again adore the stunning cover. I feel like this will be the sort of twisty, historical tale that will engulf me.

All The Wrong Places by Joy Fielding

This is the book that I’m most wary about reading tbh as I did not like the only other book that I’ve read by the author. The idea of internet dating gone wrong is a fascinating one though. Plus this starts with a POV of the killer (or villain anyway, I’m assuming he kills his victims) and I just adore books that do this. So hopefully it’ll be chilling and get under my skin.

The Boy Series by Meg Cabot

I picked this up because A) I own two of the books already B) I love books that are written in email format like this and C) it seemed like a good idea to have an ‘easy’ read option in case I struggled to read (so why I haven’t read this yet I can’t say). I know that I read some of the books before and enjoyed them and am looking forward to diving into a sweet, romantic, email style story.


So those are my favourite books of the year so far, along with the library (and one review) books that I need to read. I’m probably going to be away for another week or so once I’ve caught up on everybody else’s content a bit more (basically I want to get at least three, preferably five, of these read before returning and I know I can do it in a a week to two as long as I actually get started and don’t convince myself that I can’t focus between each and every book). So I’ll post again most likely in the second week of June and then officaily be back and blogging. In the meantime I shall hopefully get reading and reignite my passion for books.

What are you hoping to read at the moment? Have you read any of these books? What are you favourite books of the year so far? And do you have any suggestions of blogs for me to follow? Let me know everything in the comments.
I’ve missed you all.

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2019 Books That I Still Need To Read

We’re almost at the end of 2019 and I still have hundreds (probably literally) of releases from this year to read. As it’s the end of the year – and in an effort to motivate myself – I’ve decided to share ten of the books that were released this year that I’m most desperate to read. They’re even in a sort of order to be honest although, as I’m definitely a mood reader, this isn’t exactly set in stone.

The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black

How have I not read this book yet? Seriously how? I absolutely adored the first two books in the series and need to find out how it ends. I better prepare to be left breathless…and get my heart trampled on numerous times though.

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Once again how haven’t I read this yet? It was probably the book that I was most excited for in 2019. It’s vampires in New Orleans and involves murder, mystery and sounds phenomenal. It’s definitely one of the first books that I plan to pick up in 2020.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

How could I resist reading the backstory of Dracula’s brides? I NEED to read this as soon as possible. The gorgeous cover helps too admittedly. But still this book sounds like it’s written for me.

Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Another stunning cover and mesmerizing sounding book. This ones also had fantastic reviews and has a really intriguing start. Plus it contains magicians. So yes this is another that I need to get read in the early portion of the year.

House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Once again this book has spectacular reviews and sounds utterly haunting. A fairytale retelling that follows a family whose daughters keep dying. What’s really going on? I need to know! And soon I surely will as I may have recently treated myself to a copy of this one.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Yet another one that I was itching to pick up but never did. In 2020 I 100% will as I absolutely adore the sound of this one. Witches, witch hunters, an unexpected wedding and this quote from the blurb ‘For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things: a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife and a wicked scar.’ What more could I ask for in a book?

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

Wow this one sounds incredible too. Countess Elizabeth Báthory takes a liking to Anna Darvulia, a new scullery maid of hers and gives her the dream job of Chambermaid instead. Of course not everything is quite as it seems. I hope to read this soon but, to be fair, it has literally just come out so I’m not exactly behind in this case. It sounds amazing enough that I need to pick this up immediately though.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

A Camelot retelling where Guinevere is a changeling whose given up everything to protect Camelot? Yes please! Seriously I need this already. Plus I loved And I Darken which gives me even higher hopes for this one.

The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields

I honestly don’t know how I haven’t read this yet as it sounds amazing. A world where bones are the source of all power and the central character has to live two potential paths at once? It sounds 100% for me so I need to pick this up as soon as possible too.

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

How haven’t I read this yet? Seriously how? I still even need to read book one of this series but I adore His Dark Materials so I definitely want to pick it up soon. I have a feeling this will become an instant favourite. Touch wood.


So those are ten of the 2019 books that I still need to read but it’s definitely not anywhere near all of them! What are some releases from this year that you’re still desperate to get on with?

Please note I’m currently on a semi-hiatus but I’ll be back sometime in January. After doing a lot of blog post planning I needed a bit of a break. But I’ll try to check in with comments a couple of times a week (probably after the first week in January as I would like a total blogging break over Christmas) and try to read other people’s posts fairly regularly so that I don’t totally fall behind.

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My Favourite Covers Of 2020 (So Far)

As I’ve been looking up a lot of books for my 2020 anticipated release posts I’ve seen a lot of lovely covers, many of which I’ve fallen in love with. So I’ve decided to do another top ten cover list, this time featuring the ones that I adore the most so far. I think, if I do another top ten at the end of the year, that it’ll be interesting to see which ones change and which stay the same as more and more covers are revealed. Once again I’ve also tried to put them in order but it’s so, so hard!

In Tenth Place:
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
In Ninth Place:
All Stars And Teeth by Adalyn Grace
In Eighth Place:
The King Of Crows by Libba Bray
In Seventh Place:
The Kingdom Of Back by Marie Lu
In Sixth Place:
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakra
In Fifth Place:
The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen
In Fourth Place:
House Of Earth And Blood by Sarah J. Maas
In Third Place:
Chain Of Gold by Cassandra Clare
In Second Place:
The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte
In First Place:
The Foundling by Stacey Halls

So those are my ten favourite covers of 2020 that I’ve seen so far. What are yours? Are there any major ones that you think I’ve missed? Please do let me know in the comments section below.

Please note I’m currently on a semi-hiatus but I’ll be back sometime in January. After doing a lot of blog post planning I needed a bit of a break. But I’ll try to check in with comments a couple of times a week (probably after the first week in January as I would like a total blogging break over Christmas) and try to read other people’s posts fairly regularly so that I don’t totally fall behind.

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My Favourite Covers Of 2019

There have been a lot of wonderful book covers this year and I just wanted to take the chance to share some of my favourites with you. I decided, as it’s not really a post that involves much writing (how many different ways can I put ‘it’s gorgeous’ in one top ten?) to try and put them in order instead…which was definitely challenging. Even now I’m not entirely convinced of my order and leaving some books out was incredibly hard. I also still need to read all of these but hope to get to them all in 2020, some of them fairly early in the year too. But anyway here’s my best attempt at picking my top ten covers of the year.

In Tenth Place:
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
In Ninth Place:
A Dress For The Wicked by Autumn Krause
In Eighth Place:
Enchantée by Gita Trelease
In Seventh Place:
The Candle And The Flame by Nafiza Azad
In Sixth Place:
The Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix E. Harrow
In Fifth Place:
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

In Fourth Place:
Sorcery Of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
In Third Place:
Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
In Second Place:
Descendant Of The Crane By Joan He
In First Place:
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

So those are my ten favourite covers of 2019. What are yours? Are there any major ones that you think I’ve missed? Please do let me know in the comments section below.

Please note I’m currently on a semi-hiatus but I’ll be back sometime in January. After doing a lot of blog post planning I needed a bit of a break. But I’ll try to check in with comments a couple of times a week (probably after the first week in January as I would like a total blogging break over Christmas) and try to read other people’s posts fairly regularly so that I don’t totally fall behind.

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Merry Christmas!

This is just a very quick post to say Merry Christmas to everyone who follows me. I hope that everyone who celebrates it has a wonderful Christmas (and that those that don’t have a lovely time too) and a happy new year as well.

I was hoping to get my comments answered today but it’s already ten past six on Christmas Eve so I don’t think I’m going to have time to. I look forward to reading everyone’s posts and answering all of your comments soon though. I also wanted to let everyone know that, although I have posts scheduled to save from falling behind with posting again, I am taking a hiatus over Christmas and New Year. I just want a couple of weeks to relax and get back into reading. I know I may not have seemed active lately but I honestly have spent a lot of time behind the scenes working on posts and looking up books. I may be semi-active at first – checking in several times a week – but I’ll be back and fully active here sometime in January. And, in the meantime, I will try to get a few more of all your wonderful blog posts read to save from falling totally behind.

Once again Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope everyone has a wonderful time!!

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Accidental Hiatus – Will Hopefully Be Back Soon

Sorry for mostly disappearing over the last few weeks. I was quite ill at the start of the month and as a result failed to get two review books read before they were released. Once better I wanted to focus on getting those two books read and reviewed which I’ve now sort of done. The reviews are typed up and ready but I can’t post them as I have no internet access other than mobile which is too limited for me to use to blog.

So basically someone managed to cut through my phone line when digging up the road and as a result I’m not entirely sure when I’ll next be online. I’d love to say it’ll only be a few days but last time that this happened it took over a fortnight for someone to get around to fixing it. So I won’t be online for a little while but I do hope to be back soon. If you need to contact me you can send an email or else message me on Instagram. And hopefully the internet will be back up and running soon as I have all of my October posts saved & ready to go.

Finally I haven’t forgotten anyone’s tags. I have five to post soon; three already in my drafts and the most recent two on Word waiting to be transferred to a proper post once I can get online.

Sorry again for disappearing. Fingers crossed I’ll be back soon.

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Birthday 2019 – Part Two – Longleat

Sorry for the double post today but, as I said in the previous one this was originally meant to be one single post before it got too long. This is the trip that I did on my actual birthday and it was absolutely amazing (:

I’ve been to Longleat countless times in the past and honestly don’t think I could ever tire of it there. I love getting to see all of the animals and am particularly fond of visiting at Christmas when the house is decorated so gloriously and the lights that are put up in the grounds are truly amazing to see. This was my first time doing one of their VIP tours though and I can’t thank my parents enough for the tickets and the chance to do so. It was truly amazing to get in one of the park’s safari trucks and get closer than ever to the animals, learning all about each of them from someone who has fascinating details about both the breeds in general as well as each specific animal that finds it home at Longleat.

The Safari:

To start with we went to the big cats section to see the Tigers, Lions, Cheetahs, Hyenas and Wolves. Unfortunately the tigers weren’t out at this time but, as one of them was prowling back and forth by the fence, we still got to see it and they’re just such fascinating creatures to see. I love their coats and their size is shocking to say the least. Everybody still got to see one of the parks newest tigers up close and learn some fascinating facts about them. Then it was into the lions to see some of these gorgeous creatures lounging around together. They’re fascinating to watch and it was amazingly sweet to see them bump heads as a greeting to one another. We were told about the three ‘mean girls’ and how things settled down, for the most part, once another male was added to the mix. The cheetah was curled up sound asleep but it was still lovely to see him (later on in the day we got to see one of the younger members of the family too) and we were quite lucky to catch a glimpse of the hyenas which apparently remain unseen quite often. It was the wolves who I was pleasantly surprised to see dashing around all over the place though. In the past I’ve generally only seen them in the distance but there’s a new pack in the enclosure now and, full of young, excitable energy, they were charging all over the place. They were gorgeous and I loved getting to see them up close for once! We even got the chance to see some of the previous pack, in retirement, in an exhibit behind the newest pack as one of its members was curled up on a hill, watching.

After seeing the big cats we went to feed the deer which is always quite exciting to do. The second they realize you have food they flock to the car and give you a truly up close encounter. The antlers are so impressive to see up close and it’s lovely to have such a personal encounter with the creatures. I love getting to see the deer at Longleat. Once we’d fed them we were taken over to the other sections of the safari where we got to see a pelican up close – it was almost blocking the path – and I must confess that they looked a lot fluffier than I’d ever imagined. We got a much closer view of the flamingos than ever before too as we were taken right next to the fence of their exhibit. I’m pretty sure I saw more rhinos than usual as well, although perhaps that is simply as they were together. Either way the mix of creatures, great and small, that I got to see up close was fantastic.

It was then time to visit the African Village and explore on foot for a brief time. It was up to each member of the tour what they did but my family decided to go up to the lemur walkthrough as they’re such lovely creatures to watch. I was surprised to find goats in there now too who seemed quite pleased to get a fuss from visitors (so that was another creature that I got to stroke). We got to see the lemur groups switch over (different individuals go out at different times, due to squabbles) which meant they were pretty excited as they came swooping into their outdoor enclosure. I love these creature’s tails! And it’s such fun to see them swing about all over the place. We also briefly got to see the giraffes on the way back to the truck which is always wonderful.

Once back in the truck we got to see the giraffes and zebras up close which, simply put, was amazing. I’ve always loved these beautiful creatures and I learnt some fascinating facts about them both. I even got to see an incredibly young giraffe. From there we were going to head to the monkeys but the keeper saw that Anne was out so we instead headed to her enclosure next. In all the years that I’ve been to Longleat I have never before spotted Anne the elephant as she tends to spend a lot of her time inside. This isn’t something that I’d ever complain about however because, truthfully, I’m just happy that she’s finally somewhere that she’s being looked after properly. Before being brought to Longleat she lived in a circus and was mistreated for years; when she arrived at the safari park she couldn’t use her trunk properly and she was incredibly wary of people. Now though she’s got that movement back (although she does sadly have arthritis in her legs) and a dedicated team of keepers to look after her. So, after being gawked at in the circus for years, you can hardly blame her if she prefers to stay inside a lot of the time. It was definitely a rare treat to see her on my birthday though and I learnt that, adorably, she has a trio of goats for company.

From there we headed to the monkeys but we saw several other animals along the way such as the camels, oryx, tapir and bongos. I’ve already said in here that I’ve been to Longleat plenty of times in the past but I have never actually been inside of the monkey exhibit before. This is because they’re very fond of pulling anything that they can – windscreen wipers, parking sensors, even number plates sometimes – off of cars. Some cars get through entirely unscathed; others come out missing plenty. So we’ve never taken the risk of going through in the past. Whilst in one of the park’s own safari vehicles that naturally wasn’t a problem however and wow was it worth it! Getting to see these little creatures at work was amazing; watching them climb over cars and scamper off with their newfound trophies; seeing the baby ones carried around by their mothers or playing with each other in the grass; getting peered at by them through the truck’s windows when they jumped on top of our truck too. It was fantastic! They’re so mischievous to watch and the babies are just unbelievably sweet. It was a fantastic final stop for the safari tour and I could have happily stayed in there, watching those cheeky beings at work for hours.

After the tour was over we returned to our own vehicles and had the remainder of the day to explore the rest of the park. As giraffes are a favourite of my mum’s – and mine – we went to watch them for a little longer and took the time to visit our favourite store which happens to be in that area (they sell some gorgeous wooden giraffes and zebras in it). From there we planned to head to the rest of the park, so that we could see as much as possible in the time available, but we accidentally took the wrong turn and ended up going through the big cats once more. This did allow us to see all of these gorgeous creatures again however so it was totally worth it.

Jungle Cruise:

Another family favourite, of ours, at Longleat is always the Jungle Cruise. If you’ve been before then I’m sure you’ll know all about it but for those that haven’t it’s a short boat trip that allows you to see a few more of the animals that Longleats home to. You take a journey around an island, that was once home to Nico the gorilla who sadly passed away last year, but is now home to some Colobus monkeys. There’s a new colony of gorillas on a separate island who were all outside, enjoying the sunshine. There’s two hippos that I’ve always looked for in the wrong place until last year (I’ve generally thought they were in the water when I’ve heard that they’re out of sight but actually they’re quite often tucked beneath the muddy banks instead). And, of course, there are the sea lions who flock to the boat demanding the fish that they know is about to be fed to them. I just love seeing these animals at Longleat and find them so fascinating to see. Afterwards, on the way off of the boat, we got to see the red pandas up close too which were just so gorgeous and vividly coloured. If you ever get a chance to see them clearly – they quite often seem to spend their time curled up at the top of trees – they have the sweetest faces imaginable.

The Rest:

Once we’d finished the Jungle Cruise we had a cream tea with the voucher that came in our VIP experience before heading off to see the rest of the animals within the park. There are so many other creatures there to see but here are a few of the highlights:

♥ The koalas who are fairly new additions to the park. This was my first time ever seeing these creatures in real life and they were unbelievably sweet.

♡ The giant otters who I have to admit I was excited to see. I’ve always loved seeing the Asian Small-Clawed Otters at Longleat so the chance to also get a glimpse of another breed was fascinating for me. Our timing at this exhibit was perfect too; when we arrived the otters were underwater and when we headed back out, they’d decided to go and roll around in the mud. It was definitely entertaining to see them playing in such ways.

♥ The meerkats who were having fun tearing apart newspaper in search of their food. This was another case of ‘perfect timing’ as it was interesting to watch them hunt for their dinner.

♡ The lorikeets which are beautifully coloured birds that I’ve wanted to walk through for quite a while. In the past I never have as I’ve always visited Longleat with someone whose afraid of birds; this time, finally, I got the chance to enter their exhibit and well… this happened:

Yes, for some bizarre reason one of the birds landed on my head and didn’t want to budge. I was carrying a pot of nectar to feed them but so were plenty of others yet somehow I seemed to be the only one to receive this extra special treatment.


Altogether I had an absolutely fantastic day and I’d definitely do it again. Going on a VIP tour at Longleat is definitely worth it. I did, unfortunately, run out of time to see the house but I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to do so at some point in the run up to Christmas.

Have you ever been to Longleat? What are your favourite animals? Have you ever had a chance to see any of these fantastic creatures – or others – in the wild? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Birthday 2019 – Part One – Highclere Castle

Last week was my birthday and I had two fantastic days out around that time. One was an actual trip, and gift, to celebrate my birthday and the other was a day out that I’ve been meaning to do forever but only just gotten around to last week. I was going to write about both trips in one post but it ended up longer than I anticipated so here’s part one about my recent visit to Highclere Castle. Sorry for the lack of pictures, photography isn’t allowed inside of the castle.

I have no idea whether you’ll know this or not – although I’d imagine a lot of people could figure it out, based on the image – but Highclere Castle is the setting of Downton Abbey. The ‘downstairs’ scenes are filmed in a studio but most of the ‘upstairs’ ones featuring the Crawley family are filmed within Highclere Castle. There are some absolutely stunning rooms there and it was a true joy to explore such an iconic location; especially as I’ve been re-watching the TV series lately, ready for the amazing film which I’ve now seen (and hope to watch again). Whether you’re a Downton Abbey lover or not I truly do recommend giving this glorious castle a visit; it’s absolutely stunning and left me in awe of its beauty.

The Castle:

What can I say about this magnificent castle that could possibly do it justice? It’s incredibly impressive both on the inside and out. Its architecture and furnishings left me stunned, truthfully. Whilst following the route through the state rooms I saw sights that I recognized from the show, along with ones that I didn’t, but both were absolutely stunning. I love seeing the decorations, details and impressive furniture in these kinds of places. Whilst walking through the castle I certainly saw sights that left me in awe and learnt a lot of fascinating history about the family that lived there. Every one of the rooms that I explored was impressive, to say the least, but for me the stand out room, that even over a week later I cannot stop thinking about, was the saloon. If you’ve watched the show you may remember Miss Bunting going upstairs to look down into this room in wonder and that is just how I’d imagine most people would feel upon seeing it. The detail in the stonework, the stunning tapestries that blend so well, the ornate furniture… it’s all absolutely awe-inspiring to see. Although, like I said, I loved every room on display within Highclere Castle.

Highlights, For Me, Included:

 The ornate fireplaces – whenever I get to visit a castle or house like this I love getting to see these truly stunning pieces which can vary from one another so greatly.

The Music Room – this is a room that I hadn’t seen before but it was absolutely gorgeous. The tapestries in here, too, were breathtaking.

 The ‘serving tables’ in the dining room – okay so I’m not certain that’s what they are but I’m not sure what to call them. In Downton Abbey you sometimes catch a glimpse of the staff placing food on this table though and it’s just so exquisitely detailed that I could not believe it. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it.

The Wyverns – has anybody else spotted the ‘dragon’ by the front door? I did whilst watching the show and then, much to my surprise, found several others whilst touring the castle. They vary in designs and settings greatly but they’re dotted all over the place and I loved spotting them everywhere. Only at the end of my trip through the castle did I realize that they were actually wyverns, not dragons. But honestly if you ever get a chance to visit do keep an eye out for them.

The Egyptian Exhibit:

I’ve got to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this part of my day out and I must confess that I only learnt of its links to the Carnarvon family whilst there. What I was fascinated to find out though was that the 5th Earl of Carnarvon discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. I had no idea that the Carnarvon family had ties to this amazing discovery so that was definitely fascinating to find out. There were so many interesting artefacts in this exhibit too with some truly stunning details. I learnt interesting facts about the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and saw some of the wonderful artefacts that were found by him and those working with him. So if you do get the chance to visit HIghclere Castle I highly recommending visiting this part of the tour too.

The Grounds:

What can I say about these beside the fact that they’re absolutely massive? Seriously they go on forever and there are some gorgeous sights to find within them too. Whilst in full bloom I’d imagine the rose garden is absolutely stunning – I’d love to walk through the tunnel whilst it was – and there are some other impressive statues and features dotted throughout the grounds. I love seeing trees as old as the ones on the grounds here. And, of course, I loved Jackdaw’s Castle. You get views of it from the house and, when you get up close to it, you learn some fascinating facts about its columns too. Luckily for me I visited on a gloriously sunny day and it was just wonderful.

Books – Yes My TBR Grew Whilst Here:

Before visiting I’d already planned to write a post about my experience at Highclere but I didn’t actually intend to mention books on it. Yes this is a book blog but, occasionally, I do plan to write about other things that interest me too. Whilst at Highclere I found more books to add to my TBR though so I couldn’t resist the urge to mention them briefly here.

Firstly I saw Lady Catherine And The Real Downton Abbey described in one of the rooms of the castle and thought it sounded fascinating. The way it was described reminded me of a real life version of Downton Abbey with true stories of both the family and the staff at Highclere Castle.

Later on I learnt quite a bit about Lady Almina and just knew that I had to add the book about her (Lady Almina And The Real Downton Abbey) to my TBR too. What inspired me to check this book out the most was discovering the fact that Highclere Castle really did in fact transform into a hospital during the war.

So I think it goes without saying that I had an absolutely fantastic day at Highclere. I could have said so much more than I did but I didn’t want to carry on forever in this post. Plus it’s a wonderful place to discover for yourself. Whether you love the show or not I highly recommend visiting the castle; it’s well worth a visit and absolutely awe-inspiring to see.

And now, to finish off, here’s the trailer for the wonderful Downton Abbey movie:

To learn more about Highclere Castle please do visit it’s official website here.

Have you ever been to Highclere Castle? Do you want to? What about Downton Abbey; do you watch that? Have you seen the film yet? Which characters do you love or hate? Let me know in the comments section below.


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Matilda The Musical & My Failure To Read Roald Dahl

Matilda The Musical:

Earlier this week I saw Matilda The Musical and absolutely adored it. The singing and acting were both fantastic and, although I will admit that thanks to how many times I’ve watched the film it did take a little bit of getting used to seeing a different selection of actors as the cast, they were all absolutely fabulous. There was some wonderful  stage work (I’m not entirely sure if that’s the right way to describe it but I loved one section where they were climbing up the school gates on some alphabet blocks and I’m amazed that they could do it, so perfectly timed, without falling). I also really enjoyed the opening to the second act but, as a reader, naturally disagree with Maltida’s parents views on books. It made me laugh numerous times throughout and the opening seemed pretty much perfect from the brief ‘First Look’ that I had of the Matilda book on Amazon once. It has a fairly dark plot when you think about it and yet, honestly, it was so, so much fun! I loved every minute of it.

My Failure To Read Roald Dahl’s Books:

I’ve got to admit though that although I’ve watched the film version of Matilda countless times and now also seen the musical that I’ve never read the book. In fact up until recently I was convinced that I hadn’t read a single book by Roald Dahl in my life which I definitely feel bad about as he’s one of those amazing authors that everybody’s heard of. I have no idea why I didn’t read any of his books as I’ve always been a reader. I guess his books might just not have appealed to me but I can’t see how when I’ve enjoyed so many of the film adaptations. But then, to be fair, I’ve always adored the A Series Of Unfortunate Events film but only ended up reading the books a couple of years ago.

My Attempt To Read One:

When I was younger I did take one of his books, George’s Marvellous Medicine, on holiday with me but it was impossible to truly read. I bought the copy from a book fair at school and, when I picked it up whilst away, it was literally just a jumble of random chapters in no real order.  Half of those chapters were even repeated several times within the book. Stubbornly (or from what I remember because I didn’t have anything else to read) I did read that copy but it hardly counts as it was such an odd order, with over half of the book missing, that it didn’t really make any sense. And now the only thing that I remember about that book is the ridiculously misprinted version that I’d somehow found.

The Unexpected Tale That I Have Read:

So, as it turns out, I recently found out from @BeingABookNerd that I have actually read something by Roald Dahl before although I’ve got to admit that it’s certainly not something that I’d have quickly connected with him. And I’d completely forgotten all about the short story in question until something – maybe the cover, maybe the name? – made a switch click on inside of my head, reminding me that I had read a fairly twisted story by him back at school. It’s called ‘Lamb To The Slaughter’, features a leg of lamb in a rather morbid way and can be found in ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’.  Actually having looked at the list of tales within this book I’m not sure if I also had to read ‘Skin’ for school or not. I feel like it sounds vaguely familiar but I can’t say for sure.

The Film Adaptations That I’ve Seen:

Matilda: As I’ve already mentioned I’ve seen Matilda countless times and have always loved it. To me it feels like one of those iconic films that should never be remade because the cast is just so perfect as it is (another example of this for me is the 1968 version of Oliver). I love that the central character is such an avid reader who has powers and her own sense of justice. I love – or love to hate – the villain (and OMG she’s actually quite scary having re-watched it a few years ago). And just… well I love this film; it’s as simple as that.

Charlie/Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory:  I’ve seen both the 1971 version of this and the more recent one and, as far as I can remember, I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. I remember the older version more vividly for some reason although one day should probably try to re-watch them both. I love the setting – because who doesn’t want to explore Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? – and the characters of this so much.

The Witches: I remember always really enjoying this film although I also think that there were parts of it that really freaked me out. That painting for one. And then, of course, what the witches within the film were actually up to. I still must have watched it one hell of a lot of times though as I can remember certain scenes from it quite well even after all these years.
I’ve also just seen that this is being remade in 2020.

James And The Giant Peach: This is the film that I remember least well but I still think that I enjoyed it.  I think it was part live action, part animated? To be honest my strongest memories are of James’s aunts who fascinated me for some reason :L

The Books That I’d Most Like To Try And Read:

Okay so I’m not entirely sure how I’ll get on with reading a children’s book at my age although I know that a lot of people still love these books so I do want to try and check them out sometime. Plus I really feel like I need to have read at least a few Roald Dahl books in my life. And, honestly?, it’s worth giving them a chance as they’re not particularly long as far as I know. Mostly I’m worried about getting them out of the library and looking odd but I think that most of them are available as ebooks anyway.

Matilda

It goes without saying that I want to read this one and I find it rather ironic that I’ve seen the film but not read the book in this case considering the main characters love of books.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Again it kind of goes without saying that I’d like to read this considering my past enjoyment of the films. I’m really looking forward to seeing Wonka’s factory in text.

The Witches

Naturally I want to try this one of his books, if I get along with the first okay, as I’m really intrigued by his take on witches and, again, it’s a film that I saw countless times growing up.

James And The Giant Peach

Again I basically want to read this because I’m fairly certain that I enjoyed the film. As this is Roald Dahl’s first book for younger readers it makes sense to include it for that reason too though.

George’s Marvellous Medicine

Since I started it in the past then I’d like to finish it tbh.

Tales Of The Unexpected

I basically want to re-read this to refresh my memory (and figure out if I ever actually did read Skin too). Plus it will be nice to read some of Roald Dahl’s other work.


So those are my experiences with Roald Dahl – mostly in films – and the books of his that I one day plan to read. Hopefully I will at least get to Matilda this summer.

Don’t forget to check out @BeingABookNerd and read her fantastic post ‘My Favourite Childhood Books‘ which is what reminded me of a Roald Dahl story that I never would have remembered, or connected with him, off of the top of my head. It also contains some other really great examples of childhood favourites, some of which I also still need to read!

Have you read Roald Dahl’s books in the past? Have you seen Matilda The Musical? Did anyone else have to study any of his ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ at school? What’s your favourite book of his? Whatever you want to say related to the subject I look forward to hearing from you.