Ten books I read and loved before I started blogging

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week is a throwback freebie so I’ve gone with Ten books I read and loved before I started blogging.

First fantasy favourites

My fantasy obsession started as a kid with Harry Potter & David Eddings, and it’s only grown bigger since. I still love fantasy books with assassins, like Throne of Glass and Graceling, and I’m pretty sure that started with Silk from The Belgariad, continued on with Fitz in Assassin’s Apprentice and was reinforced with Poison Study. I absolutely can’t resist anything with a dragon, and I’m pretty sure both the Dragonlance books and the Song of Ice and Fire series (as well as later Robin Hobb books) played a huge role in that.  Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten is the odd one out of the group as the only urban fantasy, a genre I don’t reach for that often now, but I still remember reading and adoring this, and I keep telling myself one day I’ll make it to the end of the series…

The dystopia obsession begins

I picked up Uglies first and was absolutely hooked. Once I finished that  I snatched up anything I could find that was similar, which led me to both The Hunger Games and the Delirium series, both of which went on to become favourites (though Requiem was a bit of a let down if I’m honest).

Which pre-blogging books remain your favourites?

Ten books I disliked initially but ended up pleasantly surprised by

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week’s theme is “Top Ten….Books you had a hard time with“.  I didn’t want to do just books I decided to DNF, because that’s a bit depressing, but I’m also not sure I can think of 10 books I’ve DNF’d but then gone back to love, so I’ve tweaked the theme a little, to Ten Books I disliked initially, but ended up being pleasantly surprised by.

Pre-reading prejudice

Wolf of the Plains – This is one of the very first books I can think of where my initial snap-judgement was totally wrong. This was recommended to me, and I promptly turned my nose up – Genghis Khan? I knew literally nothing about him, but I knew I didn’t read historical fiction. That remained true, until I got nagged into reading this by the person who’d recommended it, and I ended up loving it. I still don’t read much historical fiction, but I don’t dismiss it straight out of hand any more, and this remains one of my favourite books.

Am I normal yet? – Contemporary? Not my thing, and I found Holly Bourne’s covers kind of cheesy-looking if I’m 100% honest. I picked this up after reading the third book in the series, and ended up being very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed both.

Graceling – I missed this when it initially came out, and by the time I got around to it, I’d sort of decided in my head that you were a fan of Graceling OR of Throne of Glass – and I loved Throne of Glass. How could Graceling compare? (Or, a tiny part of me worried, what if I loved it and ended up hating Throne of Glass?). Slightly irrational? Absolutely, but it did put me off for ages. When I finally picked it up, I loved it, and I discovered that I didn’t have to pick one over the other – I could just love both (I don’t know why I ever thought this would be an issue to be honest, but I did).

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child – Oh the fear of this one. The epilogue of Harry Potter is my least favourite part – I regularly tell people I’d rather just ignore it’s existence and pretend it never happened. How could I possibly like a story about the ridiculously named children, born of all the canon-pairings? I’m a fanon shipper all the way, and I resented that JKR hadn’t let us go off and make our own endings, but I knew I’d get spoiled for this so I picked it up to at least make my own mind up. I ended up actually really enjoying it (and Scorpius is awesome).

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Demons and romance? BORING AND CHEESY. Er, wait, actually, when I finally picked it up I burned through all three books rapidly and Laini Taylor went onto the list of favourite authors. Oops.

Didn’t like on first attempt

The Lord of the Rings – This is still probably never going to make it on to my list of favourite books, but I enjoyed it SO MUCH MORE when I picked it up at the right time. The first time, I didn’t even finish the first book. Second time, I made it part way through The Two Towers before I decided it was too much like hard work. Third time, I read through the whole lot in one go.

A Game of Thrones – I picked this up and thought “It’s another Tolkien. Everything is so slow, and boring, and so damn wordy.” I came back a year later and absolutely devoured the series, couldn’t get enough of it. Now an absolute favourite.

Fool’s Errand – I know, I know, this one seems weird. I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by Robin Hobb, and the Fool is my favourite character, how was this not an instant favourite? I don’t know either, all I know is that I absolutely loved these when I came back to them a second time (AFTER reading the Liveship Traders) I enjoyed them a lot more, even though the recommended reading order is these first and the Liveships later.

A Discovery of Witches – Too urban, too modern, too cliche-romance, I didn’t even make it through the first chapter the first time.  After someone recommended it to me I went back and gave it another go and got engrossed.

The Final Empire – I started this on audiobook the first time, and I couldn’t get on with it AT ALL – I ended up returning it to audible because it was all so bleak, and depressing, and I found the narrator just put me to sleep (definitely a personal preference, I know lots of people love him). I picked it up in paperback a few years later though and really enjoyed it.

Which books did you dismiss out of hand but end up loving? And have you ever had a book you initially dislike turn into a favourite, or am I being very weird?

Top Ten Books Read So Far in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week’s theme is “Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far“.

Putting this list together and going through my reads so far this year made me realise I haven’t had a particularly great reading year! I’ve read a lot of good books this year, but only a few truly stand out books that I think will be contending for favourite reads of the year.  That might be because I’ve been mixing up my reading a bit more this year – more contemporaries, a couple of thrillers, even a few re-reads.

The contemporaries

I wasn’t sure what to expect of Am I Normal Yet? but I ended up really enjoying it despite being slightly destroyed by the emotional rollercoaster Holly Bourne put us through!  One of Us is Lying could just as easily go in the thriller section – five students go into detention, and only four make it out alive – and it certainly lived up to the addictiveness it promised!  Release’s two separate plotlines evoked very different responses in me, so it won’t be vying for best book of the year, but I loved Adam’s story and it stands out as one of my most memorable reads of 2017 so far.

The thrillers

I picked up The Dry on a bit of a whim and ended up getting totally addicted to it, finishing it in two sittings! The unusual setting helps it stand out, because I sometimes feel thrillers can get very same-y.  Orphan X was a Christmas present and I loved the element of the secret-government-conspiracy (a total weakness of mine) which made it stand out.  I ultimately enjoyed it so much I’ve since bought and started book 2.

The fantasies

Of Fire and Stars was a review copy that I ended up really enjoying.  It was pretty light on the fantasy and pretty heavy on the romance (two princesses = awesome!) which was a bit disappointing, but it was a quick, somewhat fluffy read.  Shadow and Bone has been on my shelves for a really embarrassingly long time, and it finally got picked up this year because it won a TBR vote… Why did I wait so long? I enjoyed it a lot, and ended up reading the whole trilogy in less than two weeks.  I haven’t reviewed A Court of Wings and Ruin yet because I just had so many thoughts after I finished it, but it’s safe to say I enjoyed it.  I still prefer the Throne of Glass series, but I ended up loving this series a lot more than  I expected to.

Contenders for read of the year

Well, it’s no surprise to anyone that Assassin’s Fate is here, right? I had such high hopes for this book, and Hobb lived up to every single oneStrange the Dreamer had everything I hoped for and more, and I ended up loving it even more than the Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy I think.

What’s been your best read so far this year? And what are you most looking forward to for the second half of 2017? Give me all your recommendations and hopefully I can boost my reading year from good to great!

Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week’s theme is “Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t“.

Since this is actually a topic we covered way back in 2013 I thought it’d be fun to see what I’d put on my original list and the progress I made before setting my new list.

My 2013 list


  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Finished
  2. All Souls Trilogy – Finished
  3. Maze Runner – Finished
  4. Darkest Powers Trilogy – Not started
  5. Demon Cycle – Not started
  6. The Broken Empire – Read the first, DNF’d the second
  7. The Chemical Garden – Read the first two, may come back to the third eventually but I’m not convinced
  8. Across the Universe – Not started
  9. For Darkness Shows the Stars – Not started
  10. Graceling Realm – Finished

So 6/10. Not great but not terrible….

My 2017 list

Series where I already own at least 1 book

1. Nevernight
2. Seraphina
3. The Novice
4. The Witchlands
5. Shattered Sea
6. Traitor Spy

Obviously I really want to read these series, or I wouldn’t have picked up the first book! And yet, as so often happens, a new sequel or a review arrives and the new series on my shelves get pushed back.  I’ve heard particularly good things about Nevernight, The Novice and Half a King, but I’m genuinely excited for all of these!

Series on my wishlist

7. Wayfarers
8. Six of Crows
9. Memoirs of Lady Trent
10. Shades of Magic

Wayfarers sounds right up my alley, and I enjoyed Bardugo’s other series a lot more than I anticipated, so these were two obvious choices for me. I’ve heard such great things about A Darker Shade of Magic I keep meaning to pick it up, and do I really need to say anything other than DRAGONS to explain my need to start the Memoirs of Lady Trent?!

What series do you keep meaning to start? And any on here I should bump to the top of my reading list?!

Top Ten Tuesday: These are a few of my favourite things

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted at The Broke and The Bookish where they post a list idea and everyone is welcome to post the list with their own answers. This week’s theme is “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book“.

As well as listing ten of my favourite things, topics and phrases that will instantly make me pick a book up, I’ve also put together some of my favourite books that include them!

Dragons |Anti-heroes/Damaged characters |Magic | Secret government conspiracy |Enemies to lovers | Assassins | Aliens/Space | Dystopia | Apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic settings | Big cast of characters/Multiple POV

Anti-heroes/Damaged characters + Secret government conspiracy + Assassins = Orphan X

Dragons + Anti-heroes/Damaged characters + Big cast of characters/Multiple POV = A Game of Thrones

Magic + enemies to lovers + assassins = Poison Study

Anti-heroes/Damaged characters + Space + Dystopia = Red Rising

Anti-heroes/Damaged characters + Magic + Enemies to lovers = Carry On

Magic + Assassins + large cast of characters = Mistborn

Dragons + Magic + assassins + large cast of characters = Assassin’s Apprentice

Magic + enemies to lovers + large cast of characters = Pawn of Prophecy

Magic + Assassins + anti-heroes/damaged characters + large cast of characters = Throne of Glass