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REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

It’s hard to review It Sounded Better in My Head, because the reality is that not a lot happens in this book. That being said, I bloody loved it. Main character Natalie gets a nasty surprise for Christmas when her parents announce that they are 

REVIEW: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

REVIEW: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Stepsister is a brilliant fairytale continuation with a lackluster ending (and far too many chapters!). I wrongly assumed that Stepsister was going to be a fairytale retelling of Cinderella from the point of view of one of the ugly stepsisters. Instead it’s a continuation of 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Purple, yellow and green book covers

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Purple, yellow and green book covers

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about celebrating books with purple, yellow and green covers because today is Mardi Gras! Without further ado, here are some pictures of the best purple, yellow and green books that we own.

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday post! Which purple, yellow or green cover is your favourite?

Alyce

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REVIEW: Breathless by Jennifer Niven

REVIEW: Breathless by Jennifer Niven

First things first, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Penguin for accepting my request to read Breathless via NetGalley. Breathless was my first Jennifer Niven read, and it didn’t live up to the hype. Following a girl called Claude as her parents 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Adult romances on my radar

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Adult romances on my radar

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I’ll be honest, I have no idea how to talk about adult books. I would call all of the books on this list contemporary romances, but I don’t actually know if they are: 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books written before I was born

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books written before I was born

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Because this week’s topic is rather vague, I’ve decided to split this list into two.

I’m going to start this list by talking about five books that were written before I was born (April 24th 1996, to be specific!) that I have read and enjoyed. I’m then going to talk about five books that were written before I was born that I still haven’t read (but want to, sooner rather than later!).

So, without further ado… Let’s start talking about five old books that I’ve read and love!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (published December 1st 1817)




I read a Jane Austen novel a month back in 2016-17, and Northanger Abbey was the only one that I gave five stars. The others were all very high four stars, but there’s something about Jane Austen’s take on the gothic novel that charmed me more than her most popular stories did.

The thing that struck me most during my read of Northanger Abbey was how strong Jane Austen’s voice comes across in the narrative. She’s so sassy and outspoken, not afraid to lace social commentary through her novels at a time when it was still very rare for women to be allowed to write, and it made me wish that she was still alive so that she could be my friend.




The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (published January 10th 1892)
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman




The Yellow Wallpaper is only a short story, but it’s a remarkably powerful one.

Following a woman who is experiencing postpartum depression, and the husband who refuses to listen to her wishes regarding treatment, this is a semi-autobiographical story that brings awareness to the plight of women in the 19th Century.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a brave woman to write a story like this, and it’s well worth a read if you haven’t picked it up before (particularly if you are interested in the origins of feminism!).




The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (published June 26th 1948)
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson






I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Lottery is one of the best short stories of all time.

This is the only one of Shirley Jackson’s short stories that I’ve read so far, but I was lucky enough to find a copy of The Lottery and Other Stories on the Kindle Daily Deal for 99p last month, so I’ll be reading more of her short stories soon.

The Lottery focuses on a quaint village with a dark secret, and even though the foreshadowing is rather heavy throughout, the payoff is delectable.



The Collector by John Fowles (published 1963)
The Collector by John Fowles





The Collector was the first book I studied at sixth form, and it completely changed the way I thought about classics.

I’d always thought classic novels were dry, dusty tomes that had no relevance in modern life (and I definitely didn’t think that they’d include a guy chloroforming the girl he ‘loves’ and locking her in his basement!).

If you’re interested in stories about obsession, The Collector is definitely the classic for you.







The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (published October 15th 1991)
The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan




I could have easily featured any of the first three books in the Wheel of Time series, because I’ve enjoyed every installment of this series so far. However, I have had to go with The Dragon Reborn because it features the least Rand!

If you haven’t started the Wheel of Time series, it follows a bunch of main characters, but the primary protagonist is a man called Rand al’Thor. For some reason, he really annoys me. However, he’s off on his jollies during The Dragon Reborn so the rest of the characters get more time in the spotlight, and it made reading this book so much more enjoyable than my experience with the first two.



And now, onto the books that are older than me which I still need to read!

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (published 1838)




I haven’t read anything by Charles Dickens – not even Oliver Twist – which is embarrassing when you consider the fact that I played a fruit seller during Who Will Buy? at a school concert.

I’d like to read anything by Charles Dickens, but this was the one that Sean suggest putting on this list because come on, I literally played a character in the musical version of this story and I still haven’t read it! What is wrong with me.




Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (published December 1847)




If I’m honest, the main reason I haven’t read Wuthering Heights is because I despise the song by Kate Bush which was inspired by this book.

I hate the song so passionately – surely the book can’t be any better?

But I’d still like to read Wuthering Heights eventually, just to see what all the fuss over Heathcliff is about. Also, I didn’t enjoy Jane Eyre, so surely one of the Bronte sisters must be for me!




The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (published February 2nd 1897)




I really enjoyed both The War of the Worlds and The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories by H.G. Wells, so I don’t know why I haven’t read more of his work.

It might be because I wasn’t a huge fan of The Time Machine, which put me off picking up any classic sci-fi for quite a while… But my memories of Wells’ writing is fond enough that he had to feature on this list.

I’d like to read either The Invisible Man or The Island of Doctor Moreau sooner rather than later, but I can’t see me prioritising these at any point in the upcoming months.



Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (published October 19th 1953)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury




I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that interested in Fahrenheit 451 until I read this absolutely wild review TRASHING it. Since then I’ve found myself intrigued by it and desperate to know if it’s as bad as that review says it is. That’s proof that bad reviews can still sell books!

That being said, I don’t own a copy of Fahrenheit 451, so it’s another book that I won’t be prioritising at any point in 2021. If I happen to see a copy in a charity shop (when they eventually reopen), or it pops up on the Kindle Daily Deal, I’ll grab it while I can.



The Shining by Stephen King (published January 28th 1977)




Again, Sean picked this book for me, because there are too many Stephen King novels that I want to read.

Pet Sematary, The Waste Lands, The Stand, ‘Salem’s Lot… They’re all older than me, and I’m yet to get to any of them! However, The Shining is another hugely iconic King novel – and an iconic film which I won’t let myself watch until I eventually read the book – so this is the one I should probably prioritise.

I’d eventually like to read all of Stephen King’s novels, but there are just too many. Maybe one day, though.




And that’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Let me know down in the comments the best book you’ve read which is older than you, and a book you need to read which is older than you.

See you next week!

Alyce

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REVIEW: Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch

REVIEW: Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch

I was so excited when Love & Olives popped up as one of the Riveted Lit Free Reads in December. Love & Luck is still one of my favourite YA contemporaries of all time, and I thought Love & Olives was sure to impress me 

REVIEW: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

REVIEW: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

There have been quite a few books inspired by King Arthur published in recent years. Here Be Dragons by Sarah Mussi, The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White, Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy, Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke… The 

REVIEW: Mossbelly Macfearsome and the Goblin Army by Alex Gardiner

REVIEW: Mossbelly Macfearsome and the Goblin Army by Alex Gardiner

I read the first book in the Mossbelly Macfearsome series two years ago, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I don’t really have all that much to say about Mossbelly Macfearsome and the Goblin Army.

Although Mossbelly Macfearsome and the Dwarves of Doom seemed clunky at times, I thought that this was because Alex Gardiner had done a lot of work crafting his world and it would be explored more thoroughly in the follow-up novel. We did explore more of the world, but the way that it happened was startling and rushed. Even though it’s only been a week or so since I finished the story, I’m already struggling to remember exactly how the characters ended up where they did because the direction of the story changed so rapidly.

If I’m struggling and I’m much older than the target audience, I’m not sure how well this book will be received by middle grade readers!

Going into this story all I knew was that there was going to be a goblin army and that it was set at Halloween, so I’d been expecting a very spooky adventure. There was some trick-or-treating, but it was portrayed very differently from any trick-or-treating I’ve experienced in the past! It made sense in the context of the story, but without Alex Gardiner offering a reason for the twist on the tradition it felt me feeling puzzled.

I did enjoy going on another adventure with Mossbelly and Roger. Mossbelly’s unfailing belief in Roger’s bravery – and Roger’s fear of everything Mossbelly forces him to do – is a great dynamic that makes for a lot of laughs, and there were some very funny moments during this book. However, there were also moments that were trying too hard: where things became so absurd that it just made me roll my eyes rather than chuckle. This might be different for a middle grade reader, so I’m not judging it too harshly for that, but that forced humour was missing from the first book which was one of the reasons I liked it so much.

The story ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m hoping that there will be another installment to the Mossbelly Macfearsome series in the future. The first book was brilliant, and even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of this installment it is still a series that I would love to carry on reading.

My favourite thing about the book had to be the bonus content at the end. I can’t tell you exactly what it was – it’s linked to an event that is a nice surprise! – but it certainly put a smile on my face. These books are great at putting in jokes that only adults will properly understand, so they do make great bedtime stories for you to read and enjoy with your little one.

Sadly Mossbelly Macfearsome and the Goblin Army wasn’t the best sequel I’ve ever read, but there’s still a lot of potential for these characters to go on a few more exciting adventures!

Thanks for reading,

Alyce

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I discovered in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I discovered in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I read 240 books in 2020, and a lot of those were new-to-me authors. It’s been really hard to narrow this list down to just ten, because I could have easily gushed over