Favourite Books of 2017

Hi guys I hope you are all well. It’s the first day of the new year and so I thought I would share my favourite books of the past year. I’d been wondering whether to post before the year was ended but decided to at the start of the year. These are my favourite books from everything I read in 2017. I did full reviews of a lot of these books so I will link to any of them for you to check out if you so wish. I’m not going to go into detail about these books but just know that I loved all of them and would highly recommend checking them out. Let’s get started.

 

Disappointing books of 2017:
  • The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera
  • Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

 

After reading some pretty fantastic books in the past year, I’m looking forward to another year of reading. What are some of your favourite books of 2017? And have you read any of my favourites? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

Bookish Academy Awards 2017

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating and if you aren’t I hope you have a great day anyway. I did this tag last year and I think it’s quite a good way to round up the year. I will be doing a whole post about all my favourite books though, so keep an eye out for that. If you hadn’t already noticed about me I’m quite an indecisive person so for most of the questions I have multiple answers. Now I’m just going to get straight onto the questions.

 

Best Actor: (Best Male Protagonist) 
Once again I can’t just choose just one so I’ve a couple to share. Two of my favourites are Vaelin from the Raven’s Shadow trilogy by Anthony Ryan, Tormalin from The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams and Ven from the Queens of Renthia trilogy by Sarah Beth Durst.

 

Best Actress: (Best Female Protagonist)
There are so many options for this one so I’m sure you’re not surprised that there’s going to be multiple answers for this one too :). My favourites include Noon from the Ninth Rain by Jen Williams, Mara from the Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, Vasya from the Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden, Daliena from the Queens of Renthia trilogy by Sarah Beth Durst and Pole from Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan.

 

Best Cinematography: (Best Plot Twist)
My answer for this is kind of cheating but I want to mention it anyway as I never expected it to happen and that is the development of Malta in the Rain Wild Chronicles. I know it’s not technically a plot twist but while reading this series I was so surprised by her development. She starts off as a completely unlikable character and slowly progresses to be such an interesting character. Other than that, I’m drawing a blank for this one.

 

Best Costume Design: (Best Book Cover)

 

Best Supporting Actress and Actor: (Best Male and Female Sidekick)
For best male sidekick I’m choosing Hokanu from the Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts and for female sidekick I’m choosing Sonami from the Tensorate novellas by JY Yang. I’d love to know more about both of these characters, although Sonami is more of a secondary character then a sidekick. I don’t know that either of these characters would be considered sidekicks but I want to mention them anyway.

 

Best Original Screenplay: (Most Unique Plot/World)
There have been some amazing worlds in the books I’ve read this year so I’ve got a couple to share. Firstly Ebora from The Ninth Rain by Jen Willams, secondly Aratay from the Queens of Renthia by Sarah Beth Durst and the world of the Echoes of the Fall series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I also love the world of the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay: (Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation)
To be honest I think I’ve only seen one book to movie adaption and that was Fantastic Beasts, although I haven’t actually read the book. I enjoyed the film though.

 

Best Animated Feature: (A book that would work well in animated format)
I’m not too sure about this one but maybe the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell. I’ve really enjoyed the first two books in the series so far and I think that it has potential for an entertaining animated show.

 

Best Director: (A writer you discovered for the first time)
Once again I have more than one answer for this one. I’ve come across some great new authors this year including Juliet Marillier, Madeleine Thien, C. J. Sansom and Patricia A. McKillip.

 

Best Visual Effects: (Best Action in a Book)
I would say a lot of the books I’ve read this year with action scenes were written really well. I thought the action in The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. The action in Anthony Ryan’s books are great too.

 

Best Short Film: (Best Novella or Short Book)
I don’t actually read a lot of novellas but I did read and really enjoy The Terracotta Bride by Zen Cho. It’s only about 50 pages long (I think) so it was a pretty quick read.

 

Best Picture: (Best Stand-Alone)
The best stand alone is probably The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. Mckillip, which I loved. I picked it up on a bit of a whim and I am so glad I did – it was fantastic. I did also really enjoy Artemis by Andy Weir, which is another great standalone.

 

Best Documentary: (Best Historical Fiction or Non-Fiction)
I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction books this year but I did read the first two books in the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom. I loved both books so I’m excited to continue on with the series. Another historical fiction book I enjoyed was To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin – I loved the setting of the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

 

That’s all I have for you guys today. I’ve read some pretty fantastic books this year so keep an eye out for my favourite 2017 books post which will be posted soon. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Winter Book Recommendations

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. As you can see from the title of this post I’m going to be sharing some books that are great to read in the winter. These are books that are ideal to snuggle up to read on a cold day with a blanket and cup of tea, if that is what you like to do. If not then these are still great books to read.
The Bear and the Nightingale / Katharine Arden
The setting of this book makes it a great book to read in the winter time. I actually read this last winter and plan to read the sequel, The Girl in the Tower, this winter.
His Dark Materials / Philip Pullman
Of course, I recommend reading this any time but I think reading it in winter is a great idea. Basically I love these books and will take every opportunity to recommend them.
The Hobbit or LOTR / J. R. R. Tolkien
I don’t have much to say about this one other than I think settling down with a dense fantasy over winter is a good idea. Although I read fantasy year round there’s something about winter that makes me think of the fantasy genre.
Daughter of the Forest / Juliet Marillier
There’s something about books with a fairytale/folklore feel that is perfect for winter, so the Sevenwater series is perfect for that.
That’s all I have for you guys today. I have to admit that I don’t tend to read books based on the seasons but there are definitely some books that have a wintery feel to them. Are there any books that you like to read in the winter months? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

Recommendations: Historical Fiction

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some more historical fiction recommendations with you. I really enjoy this genre but I actually haven’t read a whole lot of books from it. I get easily distracted by fantasy books :). I’ve got three books to recommend today, so I’m just going to get straight into it.

 

To Capture What We Cannot Keep / Beatrice Colin / ★★★.5

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Synopsis: Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love. 

 

The main thing I enjoyed about this book was the setting. The story itself is quite romance heavy which is not normally my thing but with the back group of the construction of the Eiffel tower I think it really worked. The characters are compelling and well written, although the secondary characters could perhaps have done with a little more depth. The writing is easy to get into and I found that I was invested in the story from early on. For me this was a quick, enjoyable read with a fantastic setting. If your not a big fan of romance heavy books than this may not be for you, but otherwise I would definitely recommend this.

 

The Shadow of the Wind / Carlos Ruiz Zafon / ★★★★

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Synopsis: One cold morning in 1945, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel to a labyrinthine library of forgotten titles, hidden in the old city of Barcelona. Allowed to choose one book, Daniel pulls out The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. But as Daniel grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to discover the truth about the life and death of Julián Carax, and to save those he left behind…
This is a fantastic book. I’d been meaning to read this for quite some time before actually picking it up. From the beginning I was immersed in the story and world, although there were a few sections that did drag for me. It is a slow moving plot, so if that’s not your thing than I wouldn’t recommend it. As I’ve said before I don’t mind a slow plot but it’s probably something to do aware of. Although the characters are generally well written, they are a little flat in my opinion and could do with a little more depth. The writing is good too.  Overall this is a great book and I would definitely recommend checking it out.

 

Empress of Bright Moon duology / Weina dai Randal / ★★★★
Synopsis of book 1: A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the Emperor’s attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively, hoping to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of seduction to draw his interest. But young Mei knows nothing of these womanly arts, yet she will give the Emperor a gift he can never forget. Mei’s intelligence and curiosity, the same traits that make her an outcast among the other concubines, impress the Emperor. But just as she is in a position to seduce the most powerful man in China, divided loyalties split the palace in two, culminating in a perilous battle that Mei can only hope to survive.

 

I picked this up mainly because it is set in ancient China and I’m glad I did. These books are definitely not perfect but I found them to be very enjoyable historical fiction to read and I loved the setting. I will say I think everything is quite surface level with these books, especially in terms of the characters. I wanted more depth but it’s only a minor complaint as I still really enjoyed these books. The characters are still well written and I found the plot to be quite compelling. Once I started reading I didn’t want to be the book down. The writing is so easy to get into and it really immerses you into this world. Basically I really enjoyed these books and I’m definitely interested in more books set in ancient China.

 

That’s all I have for you guys today. I’d love to know if you guys have a favourite time period for reading historical fiction – I’m not sure about mine :).  I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Recent Favourite Music

Hi guys, so today I thought I would talk about something a little different. Basically I am going to be sharing some of the music that I’ve been loving recently. I love listening to music and there’s some great songs out at the moment. I’ve been loving Spotify ever since my mum got the family account thing. It’s a great way to find new music too. Let’s get started.

 

I would say I have a quite eclectic taste in music, although I’m not a fan of heavy metal or anything that involves shouting. I also find it quite interesting how your taste in music can change over time – in my late teens I wasn’t really listening to the stuff I am today. Anyway I would love to know what you guys have been listening to lately. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Recommendation: More Fantasy

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s been a couple of months since I last recommended some fantasy books so I thought it was about time for another post. I have four more books to talk about today – all of which I loved. I have done quite a few of these so far, if you want to know so good places to start in the fantasy genre than check out this post. So I think I am just going to get straight into it.

 

Queen of Blood / Sarah Beth Durst
This is the first book in the Queens of Renthia trilogy (YA fantasy genre). The main thing I love about this book is the setting.  Basically everything is built on tree branches and everything has a spirit. I really liked that it isn’t your typical fantasy setting – it’s unique. The characters are wonderfully written, the world is fantastic and it has a compelling plot. I recently read the second book in the trilogy, The Reluctant Queen, which is just as great as the first book.  I have a full review of the first book which you can check out here. I am very excited for the third and final book.

 

Kings of the Wyld / Nicholas Eames 
This is the first book in the Bands series. I thought this was a great introduction to this series, although I don’t know how long it is planned to be. This is just a very enjoyable read. Some of the humour wasn’t really to my taste but that’s just personal preference. I thought the characters are well written, the plot is compelling and the writing is easy to get into. I did want more from the ending though. It wasn’t bad or anything, it just felt a little rushed. The whole of the book is built up and then it ends too quickly – it could have been explored a bit deeper. I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series.

 

The Ninth Rain / Jen Williams 
This is the first book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy. I thought this was a fantastic first book in this trilogy. It took me a little while to get into it but after the first few chapters I was hooked. This is definitely another favourite world for me. It’s rich, complex and interesting but it never felt bogged down. The characters are great, the plot is compelling and the writing is easy to get into. The detail in the writing make it an immersive read. I am excited about the potential of the next two books and cannot wait for more from this world.

 

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The Daughter of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts
This is the first book in the Empire trilogy. You guys have probably seen me talk about this book pretty recently so it’s no surprise that I’m recommending it now. If you enjoy politics and intrigue in fantasy books than you need to check out this book. It is so good. Although I loved this world (it’s Japanese inspired) I definitely wanted more from it, but it’s still good. The characters are fantastic – I love Mara as a main character. The writing is easy to get into and I found that I was hooked from very early on. I have also read the second book, Servant of the Empire, and it is fantastic as well. I am very much looking forward to reading the third and final book.

 

I am sure I will be doing another fantasy recommendation post in the future but for now this is all I have for you. I would love to know if you guys have any recommendations for me. Have you read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Recommendations: Classics

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. I am quite excited as it is my birthday this month and that means there’s an excuse to get more books :). At least in my head. Anyway today I thought I would recommend some more classics. I love sharing my favourite books with you guys. I have already done two recommendation posts on classics which can find here and here.

 

Middlemarch / George Eliot / 
I had this on my shelf for quite some time before I finally read it. The size is definitely a little bit intimidating. As you can see from the rating I ended up loving this. It did take me a little while to get into, as there is quite a lot going on, but after a couple of chapters or around the 100 page mark I was completely invested. I think the main strength of this book are the characters. They are so fantastically written and you want to continue reading their stories. The look into society at the time is so in depth and interesting. The writing is relatively easy to get into and is just wonderful. I think I would pick up on many new things if I reread it. It is a pretty slow read but I thought the writing really pulled it through. So even if the pacing is abit slow, the characters and world are interesting enough to keep it engaging. Overall I loved this, but it’s probably not for everyone.

 

The Count of Monte Cristo / Alexandre Dumas / 
This is another classic that sat on my shelf for quite some before I finally picked it up, again due to it’s size. I knew that I was probably going to like it as I’d heard nothing but good things about it and I had read (and loved) The Three Musketeers also by Dumas. I have to say it did take me sometime to get into this book and it took quite a lot of attention to keep track of all the characters. There were a few times that I was a little confused. Having said that, this is a fantastic book. The characters are fantastic. Dumas creates complex and flawed characters that are a pleasure to read about. The plot is engaging throughout, although perhaps a little slow at times. Overall I loved this one, but it is definitely quite dense and slow moving at times.

 

Wives and Daughters / Elizabeth Gaskell /
Gaskell is probably one of my favourite authors, so it made sense to include one of her books in this post. I love her writing style and find it so easy to read. Gaskell’s attention to detail is fantastic – it means you become completely invested in the world and the characters. I like that the characters aren’t simply good or bad  – they are all complex and have flaws, so it’s up to you to decide who you think is doing the right or wrong thing. I know I’ve said it a few times already but I think the main strength of this book are the characters. They are such so good. I also love the setting, the plot and the writing. Basically I love this book and author. I highly recommend checking this out. Although I will say this is not my favourite by this author – that definitely goes to North and South, but this is still an amazing book too.

 

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene / 
This was my second book by this author and I’m excited to try out more. I really enjoyed this book. Again the characters are wonderfully written, the plot is engaging throughout and the mystery is compelling. There is just something about fictional train journeys involving murder, or some other mystery, that just seem to work. It was a little slow to start, but it quickly improves. The atmosphere of this book is great and really adds to the reading experience. There were a few things at the end that seemed a little too neatly wrapped up, but that is only a minor complaint. Overall I thought this was a entertaining read.

 

I enjoyed all of these classics, so it made sense to recommend them all to you guys :). The first two are definitely a bit of a time commitment but they are well worth it. I’m hoping to read more classics this year so one of my goals this year is to read a classic every month. So far I am on track for that challenge. If you have any classic recommendations for me, I would be grateful. I hope you are having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa